Monthly Archives: January 2016

Get charged up at Igloofest 2016, Montréal

Introduction

If you are planning to visit Montréal this winter, and are in love with the upbeat Electro music, you should definitely book tickets for Igloofest at Old Port.

montreal

With a gigantic playground and the unique competition of winter apparels known as Iglooswag, the festival has become one of the most happening events in the city and the most loved and attended event of its kind in Canada. Because of the fun-filled events and festivals along with the beautiful snowy winter, Montréal is the place to celebrate your holidays this January and February.

History and features

For the past 9 years, Igloofest has been drawing tens of thousands of music lovers together to cheer and dance to the rise and fall of groovy and soulful beats. With the beautiful ambiance of star-lit skies above and the impressive architectural projections by way of steel structures and the icy decor of the stage, you are bound to get into the euphoric energy of the crowd at the Old port.

Attractions

Like every winter, the people attending the Igloofest will witness the extreme ecstasy of music this year too. The programs include performances by the best of international as well as local DJs and artists such as Bonobo, Lunice, Paul Kalkbrenner, Lexis & Dr Love, Mistress Barbara, Dave Clarke, WYLN, Rue De Bois and B2b Mlb. Furthermore, attractions like the “One piece” contest and the Igloo Village is enough to pull people from everywhere.

Schedules and Tickets

Igloofest, in its ninth edition, plans a huge extravaganza spread across four long weekends, including Fridays, Saturdays and of course, Sundays. So, in effect, you there will be as many as 12 charged up frosty night-enders. The weekends fall on the 16th-17th-18th, and then on the 23rd-24th-25th and 30th-31st and 1st February, followed by 6th-7th-8th February.  You can buy your tickets from Iglooboutique, which will remain open from Monday, 21st December to Thursday, 24th December, 2015 and then from Wednesday 6th January to Saturday 6th February, 2016, from Wednesday to Saturday only. You must be at least 18 years old to attend the event.

Three Popular Ice and Snow Festivals in the World

Initially, ice-sculpture making started as a kitchen skill and was taught by culinary schools.

Snow-Festivals

Things have clearly changed since then and every year, various countries from all around world host many festivals and celebrations where ice and snow play a central role. If you are an art enthusiast, you may book flights for any of these three destinations to check out this art form.

Ice Music Festival – Norway (21st -24th January 2016)

Anyone expecting ice-sculptures at the festival is in for some surprise. Every year, the festival is held at Geilo and the sculptors at the Ice Music Festival craft different instruments such as guitars, harps, violin, drums, percussions and various other instruments, which apart from looking beautiful can also play certain tunes. Musicians from all around the world come and gather between Bergen and Oslo on the first full moon of the year (Gregorian).

Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival –Harbin, Heilongjiang, China
(31st  December– 1st  February 2016)

Harbin, situated  in the north-eastern region of China, hosts one of the world’s the biggest ice festivals. Sculptors from all around the globe have been competing with each other every year since 1963, to create the most outlandish and the largest ice art in the world. The ice blocks are carved out from the Songhua River and are set before the ice-sculptors, who use different tools such as chisels, saws, and picks to create colossal animal, plants and mythical creatures. The festival is officially going to open on the 5th of January, though if the weather is favourable, it might commence earlier.

London Ice Sculpting Festival –London, England
(January 2016)

The English winter is apt for hosting the London Ice Festival. Situated adjacent to the Canary Wharf tube station, the festival is perhaps one of the most fitting and convenient of all the ice festivals in the world. The competition consists of eight teams from all across the globe competing with each other for a time-span of two days to create some of the most intricate, detailed, and beautiful ice-masterpieces. If you want to learn ice-sculpting, you may join the ice-sculpting classes. Around that time, Montgomery Square will be transformed into a snow pit for the kids to play with snow and make artworks such as snow angels, snow castles, and snowmen.

Top Food and Wine Festivals in South America

Food has always been one of the most crucial and integral part of most celebrations, festivals and day-to-day life in South America. No cultural event or festival can be complete without featuring the local cuisine.

wine-festival

Like many other areas across the globe, the harvest season holds a special importance in South America’s culture and beliefs. If you are planning a visit to any of the South American countries, you will notice that the feasts, festivals and festivities are deeply imbibed in the culture. So, take a look at a handful of such festivals in South America.

Punta del Este Food and Wine Festival, Uruguay

In the popular beach town of Punta del Este, food and wine plays a crucial role in culture and day-to-day lives. Every year, a large number of international and South American chefs come together to be a part of the month-long festival which is held every fall.

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Prominent chefs host various events every weekend and incorporate the local ingredients in their dishes and pair up with the Uruguayan wines. The festival is not that old, but is becoming one of the major epicurean annual highlights. You don’t need any tickets or invitations to join the famous beach parties.

Mendoza Wine Harvest Festival, Argentina

Gourmets and chefs aren’t surprised about the fact that one of the best festivals related to gastronomy in South America is hosted in Mendoza, Argentina. Mendoza is well known as the wine province of Argentina. The food and wine region hosts Argentina’s annual harvest festival and all the 80 communities get together to celebrate the best of the region and the season.

Mistura, Peru

Peru has always celebrated its rich culinary culture and is slowly emerging as a new force in the global scenario of gastronomy. Nowadays, various globally recognised chefs have been incorporating the Peruvian cuisine and culinary inspiration. Mistura is one of the biggest food festivals held in Lima every September. Thousands of people attend the festival, including actors, celebrity chefs, and musicians. Like Punta del Este Food and Wine Festival, Mistura too is not an old festival.

Tips to Enjoy Valentine’s Day in New York

If you are planning to take your partner on a romantic holiday this Valentine’s Day, do consider the Big Apple. There are many places in New York City, where you can spend some quality time with your partner, thus making the day much more special.

valentine-in-new-york

Here are some ideas to make your Valentine’s Day much more memorable. These ideas are not too expensive, boring, or over the top; in short, they’re just about perfect. Have a look at our top 5 picks.

Romance under the Stars

Instead of going to a regular candle-lit dinner, how about a unique star-studded experience? All you need to do is to book some tickets for this plush and romantic experience at the Rose Center for Earth and Space in the American Museum of Natural History. The night would commence among the asteroids with champagne and cocktails from their open bar along with hors d’oeuvres and delicious chocolate, while a brilliant jazz quartet plays romantic notes. After an hour of quality time with your partner, settle down at the Hayden Planetarium, where an astronomer will narrate some romantic stories based on the various mythologies of the constellations and the universe.

Dinners in the Dark

If you and your partner share a common love for blind-taste test and food in general, ‘Dinners in the Dark’ is just the thing for you. For this unique and innovative experience, the guests are blindfolded for the duration of their four-course dinner, at the renowned chef Abigail Hitchcock’s Camaje. The whole step-by-step planned experience will be occasionally punctuated with entertaining performances by your servers. The whole experience will be presented as a way to test and also to awaken your senses.

Love in Times Square

There is no better place than Times Square in New York to celebrate any festival, whether it is the New Year’s Eve, Solstice or the Valentine’s Day.  Watch people get married, pop the question, or retake their vows in Times Square itself.  On this day, people of all ages, backgrounds, races, genders and political beliefs come together to celebrate the day of love.

Most Popular Carnivals in South America apart from Rio

The Carnival season in the South American countries starts from late January and stretches to early March, before Lent. The tradition of Carnivals was brought to Latin America by the Spanish Colonists.

Rio-De-janeiro

A carnival started as a means to celebrate one’s beliefs as well as a final chance to have a good time before the solemn deprivations and rituals of Lent. While the most famous Carnival in the whole world is the Rio Carnival in Brazil, but if you want to avoid the crowds and want to go to a different carnival destination, consider booking flights for the following Latin American carnivals.

Oruro Carnival

Oruro Carnival can be counted among the best festivals in the whole world. Celebrated with great pomp and show in the Bolivian city of Oruro, it is the largest carnival in the country and has also been recognized as a “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO. The festival continues for 10 days followed by Ash Wednesday, which is marked by the “Dance of the Devils”, locally known as La Diablada. The entrance procession of Oruro on the Saturday before Ash Wednesday is a huge affair with performances by various musicians and dancers that can go on for 20 hours.

El Callao Carnival

Venezuela’s El Callao Carnival is the largest carnival of the country with a blend of different traditions from various countries such as Trinidad, the French Antilles, West Indies, and Venezuela itself.  The two signature styles of costumes include the Devils and the Madamas. During the Carnival, the Devils are dressed in black and red costumes along with various scary masks, whereas the Madamas (the woman dancers) wear traditional robes and African headscarves.  Nowadays, several other masks such as that of Snow White, Zorro Bane, Darth Vader and Superman are popular, especially among children.

Barranquilla Carnival

Columbia’s Barranquilla Carnival is celebrated for four days and has its origins in Indian, African and European traditions. Like the Oruro Carnival, the Barranquilla Carnival has also been honoured by UNESCO as a “World Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.” The dances in the festival have been influenced by Spain, the Americas and the African Congo. The music combines drum ensembles along with various types of wind instruments played by various artistes. The Grand parade is the highlight of the carnival and features a blend of various folk and cultural aspects in the dances which are based on present as well as historical events.

Mardi Gras 2016 New Orleans, USA

If you are thinking of Mardi Gras, New Orleans is the place to be. The extended weekend (From the 5th to the 9th) prior to the Mardi Gras is the perfect time to visit the city.

New-Orleans

With popular events and parades such as Rex, Zulu, Bacchus and Endymion, you can get ready to have a memorable holiday.

About Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras, also known as Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday, is the concluding day of the season of Carnival and falls a day before Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of Lent. Family Gras will continue from Friday, 29th January through Sunday, 31st January. If you are planning a long holiday, you can book your flights for the 29th to join the festivities in the suburb of Metairie. There will be various outdoor concerts by both local and national artists.

Performances

The Family Gras Celebration will take place in the neutral grounds across the Lakeside Shopping Center in the Veterans Memorial Boulevard in Metairie. Since it is a free celebration, you don’t have to buy any tickets to attend. In the past, various famous musicians and performers have performed at the event, including the Four Seasons, Frankie Valli, The Drifters, Jessy McCartney, Montgomery Gentry, Wilson Phillips, Blood Sweat & Tears, Cowboy Mouth, Amanda Shaw and the members of the Electric Light Orchestra. So, rest assured that it is going to be a fun-filled musical celebration this year too. There are various regional and local artists, who set up their stalls in the art market from where you can buy brilliant works throughout the period of the festival.

Food

How can we forget food in a celebration? Of course we haven’t, as various vendors at the Flambeau Food Court would be preparing excellent specialties of Louisiana, such as gator-on-a-stick, pizza, muffulettas, crawfish pasta, jambalaya and much more! You can also buy delicious desserts such as the king cake and bread pudding. If you are a food-fanatic and would like to spend a great time tasting various local delicacies, you can buy the Royal Pass for $99. The Royal Pass would give you the privilege to access the VIP food and beverage tent, comfort station, and also access to the premium stage viewing among other things.

Mauritius – A Beautiful Indian Ocean Gem You Must Learn About

A beautiful island in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius is famous for its incredible natural riches and fantastic culture and traditions. It is not surprising that millions of honeymooners, family holidaymakers, and adventurers visit this fabulous island nation year on year.  It is important that tourists learn as much as possible about the country before hitting its shores.

mauritiusi-infoo

Mauritius lies some 2,000 km off the southeast coast of the African continent and is connected to most of the world’s major destinations by Air Mauritius, the flag carrier of the country, or other global operators. Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport is the key gateway to the country and welcomes over 2 million passengers annually.

mauritiusi-info

Mauritius has long list of tourist attractions, which ensures elaborate sightseeing excursions for the visitors.  [sg_popup id="21"]Mauritius Botanical Garden[/sg_popup], [sg_popup id="20"]Black River Gorges National Park[/sg_popup], [sg_popup id="22"]Île aux Cerfs Island[/sg_popup], [sg_popup id="19"]Port Louis[/sg_popup], and [sg_popup id="23"]Ile aux Aigrettes[/sg_popup] are some of the key tourist spots you’ll love to visit in the country. When it comes to climatic conditions, Mauritius remains pleasantly warm, more or less, throughout the year.

As a result of its multicultural population, a number of festivals are celebrated in Mauritius and each one of them is enjoyed by the locals. Most of the major Indian festivals are celebrated here and so are the Chinese ones. The island is extremely lively during the Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Along with enjoying the colourful festivals, do sample some of the region’s best known delicacies.  Mauritian cuisine is a mix of Indian, Chinese, and European/ Mediterranean food. You can enjoy rougaille, briyani, curries and other local dishes popular in the country.

In regards to health tips, travellers must opt for comprehensive health insurance for their holidays in the country. Also, visitors to Mauritius are advised to carry insect or mosquito repellents. To enjoy a happy and safe holiday in the nation, one must practise basic safety measures.

Fun and Frolic at Coconut Grove Festival, Miami

Coconut Grove Arts festival was started by the tightly knit, warm Bohemian community of Coconut Grove in the 1960s. Moving forward; presently, the 52nd Annual Coconut Grove Arts Festival has become one of the most anticipated art events of South Florida.

miami

The main reason behind its popularity is the brilliant art and music performances, the delicious food and a weekend full of fun activities and events. As the festival is held on the same weekend of the month every year; it makes the planning easier for attendees. If you are planning to visit Miami between the 13th and 15th of February, 2016 and are in love with music, art and food, make sure to book tickets for this grand affair.

Art

This year, the festival will host more than 300 artists from across the globe, who are going to perform in relaxed outdoor settings. You will see various artists, woodworkers and sculptors work their magic. The best part is that you can buy these brilliant artworks. Some of the painters focus on the surroundings and the scenery of Miami for inspiration, while others use their own flavour and blend to create a wonderful collage of various art forms.

Food

In the last few years, the food in the festival has evolved from the carnival like stalls and stands selling fast food to gourmet food for a delightful culinary experience. The festival promises something for everyone, including families, friends and kids.  Many local chefs come together to entertain and astonish the attendees with their brilliant food and artistic culinary genius. Coconut Grove has been home to some of the best chefs in Miami and a hub for the culinary arts.

Music and Performing Arts

If you are a music lover you should head to the Peacock Park, which becomes the waterfront stage of Coconut Grove during the festival. Throughout the duration of the festival, you will find a large number of local and international musicians entertaining the crowd. The schedule is full of various Latin groups, jazz performers, Caribbean-influenced music groups and various bands performing a mix of rap/funk/Latin music. Apart from the main stage, you will find a number of small-scale music, dance and theatre performances being conducted at other venues.

Holidays in Rio de Janeiro – Three of the Top Things to do in the Brazilian City

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s second largest city is a terrific holiday destination. A well-developed urban centre with Atlantic coast on one side and the mountains on the other, Rio provides a fascinating experience to the millions of tourists who visit here annually.

rio-de-janerio

The city is also gearing up for the mega event – Olympic 2016; new hotels and restaurants are mushrooming along the beaches, roads are being broadened, and transport infrastructure is being build up. It surely is an exciting time to be in the city. Here are some of the must-do activities in the Brazilian metropolis.

Marvel At the Enormity of Christ the Redeemer

Rio’s famous landmark, the imposing statue of Cristo Redentor is impossible to miss. Take a funicular train to reach the top of the 710 m high Corcovado hill for admiring not just this fascinating (32 meter tall) structure but also the marvellous views of the city. The train passes through the dense Tijuca forest, which brims with scenic vistas.

Enjoy Free Walking Tour of Downtown Rio

A few local agencies offer free walking tours through the cultural centre of the city. The tour usually begins from Carioca square and takes visitors through tiny pathways in the downtown area, known as Centro. Enjoy views of marvellous buildings, explore intriguing street arts or visit some popular tourist attractions such as the Imperial palace and the Selaron steps. The downtown brims with souvenir shops, cosy cafés and lively art galleries, making it a delightful place for one and all.

Visit the Beaches

No visit to Rio is complete without the fun and frolic at the legendary Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. With the fascinating blend of sun, sea and sand, these beaches are just fabulous.

beaches

You can see men and women playing games of football and volleyball, or just laying on the sands to soak up the sun. Ipanema is a popular haunt for adrenaline junkies, with a variety of water sports to enjoy. If you’re looking for a tranquil retreat, head to Barra da Tijuca beach. Even in peak season, you might have the entire beach to yourself!

Three of the Most Beautiful Dams in India That Make For Fabulous Tourist Attractions

India is fondly known as the land of rivers because of the seven major rivers, along with their tributaries and distributaries, flowing through the peninsula. Over the years, several dams have been built on these rivers for water conservation and proper streaming of the water. Many of these dams make for beautiful tourist spots due to their majestic appearance and overall natural beauty of the rivers.

Tehri Dam

Tehri Dam is located on the Bhagirathi River in the state of Uttarakhand. Apart from being the tallest dam in India, it is also one of the most picturesque dams in the country.

tehri

With a staggering height of 261 metres, this structure is also world’s eighth tallest dam. You can enjoy various water sport activities here, such as scooter riding, boating, angling, scuba diving, canoeing, rowing, boating, speed-boating, canoeing, rafting and kayaking. The foggy-mountainous ambience of the Garhwal Valley further attracts tourists from across the globe.

Bhakra Nangal Dam

Bhakra Nangal Dam, situated on Sutlej River in the north Indian province of Himachal Pradesh, is the largest dam in India and second largest in Asia. The reservoir is known as the Gobind Sagar Lake and is a beautiful place to spend some time with your friends and family, especially when you are en route to the hilly McLeod Ganj or Dharamshala.

Nagarjuna Sagar Dam

Known as the world’s biggest masonry dam, the Nagarjuna Sagar Dam is built across the Krishna River in Andhra Pradesh, a southern Indian state.

The dam is a beautiful picnic spot for families who come during holidays and weekends. Remember to take a camera with you as the views from the dam are spectacular. It is also a great place for bird watching; the enthusiastic among you might be able to spot various species of bids in the vicinity of the dam.