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In the western spans of Serbia, we travelled through the Valjevo gulch(canyon) like we were its first settlers, gradually and to a hush just broken by the streaming of the river which we would break with our steps as we traversed. A steam train transported us through the rippling green woods that began in Mokra Gora and spread past the mountain tops on the steam-fuelled tracks of the Sargan Eight Railway. An evening, flanked by an eminent and glorious sun, was spent after the delicate flow of the strong Dunabe River from the little shorelines of Novi Sad to a narrow point that appeared like the serene end of its overwhelming course. On another, our little pontoon conquered the many twists of the 10-kilometer long Uvac River, embraced by the mountainous plateau.

Nature of Serbia

The back and forth movements of Serbia don't just originate from its social change since troubled time. A nation that is 75% bumpy! What I mean is Mountain! It is scattered with rolling green, secured nature parks, ravines, rivers, and lakes. I spent seven days investigating nearly the full extent of the nation west of its Capital, Belgrade - from the coastline of Novi Sad to the valleys of Valjevo, the wilderness of Gostoljublje to mountainous Zlatibor and the breadth of Tara National Park to the gigantic, snaking Uvac Gorge.

On the off chance that there is one thing that Serbia isn't really known for, it's a plenitude of untouched and unfamiliar nature. Traveling through Serbia is to move with the natural setting that has been presented to it, to be dynamic to explore its multi-layers and exceptional landscape.

For when you strip away a mind-boggling society and governmental issues, the magnificence of the landscape and nature in Serbia is the one thing here that has not ever changed and neither will be.

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Trekking The Gradac River, Valjevo 

The Gradac River goes through what I said to be some of Serbia's ideal and untouched scenery. Steep slants, high rock developments, and precipice faces encase a shallow river that curves through the timberlands and meadows of this secured region in shades of white and silver. Its streaming waters were our waymarkers as we trekked through the towns of Valjevo that lay covered up in this bumpy landscape - a 50km-long said to represent to a natural outskirt of northwest Serbia towards the south. Wild Serbia, an experience tour organization set up by local people from this very zone, takes you into the very heart of the area - deep into the Canyon, through its forest, and knee-deep into the frigid icy crisp waters flanked by twisting trees and mud tracks!

Winding The Uvac Gorge

We landed on a street that bended around the edges of the high cliff faces, and the main sighting was of a swing that just called for us to leave dead speechless and take in the view. It was the flight of flexibility after entering the Uvac Gorge in southwestern Serbia, and keeping in mind that 10,000-foot view can catch the eminent curves of this river. Even this scene was sufficient to catch the feeling of the numerous wild and free landscapes in this nation.

Inching down a manmade soil incline, we came straightforwardly to the riverfront where we could hire a boat and driver. Pontoon trips are the must-do here, where you feel as though you've been gobbled up by all the clichés of a marvelous natural scene, gliding through the gorge of the River Uvac yet feeling as though you have never observed anything like its color of reflected blues and greens never before. Truly, you haven't!

Drifting on The Danube 

Obviously, the greatest river that slices through Serbia is the Danube - a relentless spread that slices through 10 nations, from Germany and Austria in the west to the Balkan plain (and in the long run Ukraine). Europe's second-biggest river and its wide banks and endless appearance are tempting to explore.

From the sandy banks that line Serbia's second greatest city of Novi Sad, we delicately skimmed down towards a little sandy hill, likened to a mysterious island, before bouncing in kayaks and paddling to the most tranquil corners. Dunavski Rafting are your hosts, welcoming you on board its wooden house-like vessel and giving all the gear you have to float around, entire with a local guide who knows these waters and its stories. Isn't it great?



Riding The Sargan Eight Railway 

Riding the Sargan Eight narrow gorge railroad in southwestern Serbia through the bumpy valleys is a cultural-changing experience here, regardless of whether you just take a short half-hour travel. An eager train nerd's fantasy, the steam's emerald green shell sits inside a setting likened to stepping back in time. Maybe to the late 1900's, the point at which it initially ran its chugging, steaming course through restricted gages from Sarajevo to Belgrade - a connection that shut in 1974.

Now you can bounce on board at the town of Mokra Gora and take in the barcode tag of tree trunks in a shuddering of green as you trundle through the Sargan pass that was remade in the mid-2000's.

A place where there is diverse landscape, it is Serbia's natural treasures untouched by the contention that give it another new lease of life, and additionally hope for the local people to show a wonderful side to the nation that we once in a while, if at all, hear about.


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The enticing landscapes of Switzerland lure millions of tourists throughout the year. There are enough adventure sports opportunities, and nature lovers can enjoy exploring the glittering lake shores, lush green mountain meadows and pretty vineyards. It is ideal for those bitten by wanderlust or families seeking a vacation in the lap of nature, away from the clutter of the metropolis.

Listed below are the 10 attractions in Switzerland that should be part of your Switzerland holiday tour package. 

Rhaetian Railway



You might not know that Switzerland and Italy are connected to each other via railways – the Rhaetian Railway, to be precise. The railway line passes through the mountains of Graubünden. The engineering involved in the laying of the railway tracks amidst the most photogenic regions of Switzerland is truly awe-inspiring. The distance covered is about 130 kilometers and in it, one has to cross through 55 tunnels and pass over 196 bridges. The highlight of this attraction is the curving Landwasser viaduct.

The Matterhorn



Switzerland’s iconic pointed peak, The Matterhorn, is among the highest mountains in the Alps. With towering height of 4,478 meters, the mountain shares its borders with Italy. The extremely charming and tranquil village of Zermatt lies at the foot of The Matterhorn. Today Zermatt is one of the most popular resorts in the world with world class accommodation facilities in hotels and quaint chalets. The chic restaurants, the horse-drawn carriages etc. add to the charm of the place. Skiing is one of the most popular activities in the region. Motor vehicles are banned to prevent any kind of pollution.

Gruyeres


Switzerland milk products, particularly cheese, is very popular. Gruyeres is considered as the cheese capital of the country. Les Gruyeres, the cheese which is needed to prepare fondue, is made in this place. People who are not very fond of cheese should also visit the place for the meringue dessert and the cream. Leaving Switzerland without tasting these would definitely be a great miss.

Lucerne



You cannot miss Lucerne while exploring Switzerland. The grand blue lake surrounded by majestic mountains, waterfront promenades, frescoed historic buildings, covered bridges, bubbling fountains and sun-splashed plazas – all this can be seen in Lucerne. The car-free medieval town hosts innumerable concerts and music festivals of the world. From history to archeology, from music to infotainment, the city has all for travelers and tourists.

Geneva



The second most populous city of Switzerland, Geneva is the European hub of the United Nations. It is very much a green city with one fifth of land devoted to parks. The sightseeing includes the grandiose Cathedral of St. Pierre and monumental Jet d'Eau. The city is also home to a number of museums. The Lake Geneva is beautiful and tourists love taking boat rides. You also get views of the expansive Mont Blanc.

Swiss National Park



Established in the year 1914, the Swiss National Park is considered as the oldest reserves in the Alps. The lush green pine forests in the mountains is a treat to the nature lovers. Expanding over an area of 170 square kilometers, the forest is replete with wildlife. There are almost 5000 species of animals and birds in the reserve including red deer, marmot, ibex, chamois, fox etc.

Interlaken



Interlaken was a watchmaking hub but later it grew as a major tourist resort. The fresh mountain climate and spa centers led to the inflow of tourists since the 1800s. You get an amazing view of iconic swish mountains- the Monch, the Jungfrau and the Eiger. Foodies may gorge on exquisite local dishes like raclette- a cheese based delicacy.

St. Moritz



Mountain destinations in Switzerland are not uncommon and St. Moritz needs special mention in this regard. Glaciers, clear turquoise lakes, alpine forests, snow washed peaks and excellent sunshine – this is what St. Moritz is all about. Two winter Olympics have been hosted at the place. Skiing, skating and snowboarding are among the popular activities of tourists here.

Zermatt



Zermatt is ideal if you want to explore small towns with quaint charms. It is known for mountaineering and skiing. It is close to Matterhorn which is among the highest mountains in Switzerland. It is ideal for environment lovers as gasoline driven vehicles are not allowed entry.

Zurich



Zurich is the largest city of Switzerland and it is a magnet for history and couture buffs. There are over 50 museums and 100 art galleries in this city. Lake Zurich is ideal for relaxing after a city tour. You should ensure the Swiss National Museum is included in your Zurich tour package.


Author: Simmie Verma


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There is Mexico and there is the Mexican state of Yucatan. The former gets a lot of negative (and often unfair) press and the latter hardly gets mentioned (unlike the resorts of next-door state Quintana Roo, Cancun and the Riviera Maya). Being inquisitive slow-travelers who prefer the "unusual," we did a lot of research and discovered the essence of a fascinating destination.

Why the Yucatan Peninsula?

The Mayan Culture

The Yucatan Peninsula has a mystical vibe due to the ancient Mayan civilization that was founded here about 2600 BC. These ingenious people developed astronomy, calendrical systems, hieroglyphic writing and built magnificent ceremonial architecture.

The Mexican State of Yucatan promotes dozens of well-maintained Mayan temples/pyramids with palaces surrounded by intact ancient villages that have been carved out of the dense jungles... picturesque and dramatic vistas in every direction.

The Gastronomical Oasis

As slow-travellers always searching for culinary adventures we learned that this part of Mexico has a unique epicurean history... it is not "Mexican" it is "Yucatan" (yucateco) cooking.

We uncovered a hands-on cooking class being offered by the renowned chef David Sterling. His "Los Dos" school, which is located in Merida, tilted the scales in favor of taking this journey.

Getting to Merida

We flew into the modern Cancun airport and were greeted by the normal hoard of sales types promoting "free" timeshares, hotel and villa rentals as we walked through the "welcoming area". As we stepped out of the terminal area we were rewarded by a warm, lush, tropical atmosphere fragrant with flowers and palm trees.

We booked the Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort Villas and Spa and arranged beforehand for their transportation service. Our good fortune was to be met by Rafael who proved to be a perfect "Ambassador of Goodwill" with his welcoming personality, charm, national pride and simply being an endearing person.

We were greeted at the Westin by an efficient and pleasant desk staff and were soon settled into our spacious room overlooking the immaculately maintained grounds, bordered by a bright, white sandy beach that fades into multiple shades of azure ocean water...

Our day at the beach left an indelible memory. Envision warm sugar granules of beige and white sand that traces each squeaky footstep as you walk into the 80+ degree opaque, electric blue water... tranquility.


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Dinner Recommendations

Now ready for a good meal, we headed to the front desk for dining suggestions. The concierge produced a few tourist menus that offered Americanized Mexican" fare just like we can get back home.

We had something different in mind and asked for the local favorites and where she would take her family or friends... a new set of menus appeared offering real Yucatan dining and we selected the "La Habichuela Sunset" restaurant for our first night in Cancun.

The weather was perfect and we were seated at an outdoor, secluded and candlelit table overlooking the lagoon... the cuisine was exceptional with tastes that we never had before. A great way to get introduced to the Yucatan food scene. with Soft Shell Crab Taco Appetizer, followed by Seafood Empanxonostle which is fish fillet, shrimp and sea scallops prepared with aromatic herbs and vegetables and wrapped/cooked in aluminum foil. Then finishing off the meal with a unique local beverage known as Xtabentun (made of fermented honey from the flowers of the Xtabentun plant).

Cancun to Merida Decision Time - Fly... Bus... Rental Car


What is the best way to get there?

Option A - The flight from Cancun to the regional airport in Merida was less than an hour but cost considerably more than the flight from Los Angeles to Cancun.

Option B - There is a bus system with a decent schedule offering local and express travel with different classes of service.

Option C - Rent a car from Hertz... a jeep would be appropriate in case we had to go off-road for any reason.

We made our decision and with a bit of trepidation, mixed with a sense of adventure and a strong desire to explore this unique part of our world, we booked the car.


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The Drive to Merida

The drive was 196 miles and took about 3 hours with a rest stop at the toll booth at the halfway point. The facilities were immaculate and they offered a food service with fresh, reasonably priced options and plenty of variety.

The toll was 355 pesos (about $30 USD) and we were glad we had pesos since credit cards were not accepted.

After all the negative hype about the "bad guys", the only attack that we experienced was from a swarm of beautiful blue butterflies that cropped up a few times during our pleasant drive... so much for media drama.

Arrival in Merida

Casa del Balam (The House of the Jaguar)

We selected a small, old-world hotel that was once a colonial mansion and is situated in the historic town center. The management maintained the charm and have kept some of the original furnishings in the rooms and the open lobby area.


Such a welcoming oasis after the drive.

The long day was topped off with a delicious meal of local favorites. We began with traditional guacamole with fresh made chips, then on to Sopa de Lima (lime soup) and finished off with a large and delicious Yucatan Sample Platter consisting of Cochinita Pibil, Tamales Colados and for dessert Flan.

Tomorrow we will explore the city and uncover the hidden gems that await the adventurous traveler.

Summary

Our first impressions of the Yucatan Peninsula have been excellent and reassuring. All of the negative hype proved to be just that... hype. The people are amazing and the beauty of this region is remarkable.

We are looking forward to exploring Merida and the surrounding area... But most of all the Los Dos cooking school which is why we are here in the first place.

Please follow our journey into the wonderful world of the Yucatan Peninsula.

After all, what is the hurry... be inspired.

Author: Bob Kollar

Has that dream vacation been on your mind a lot lately, but the travel costs keep holding you back? Make that much-needed getaway possible with Wizootravel. Save up to 60% on hotels and flights with our guaranteed cheapest deals to destinations worldwide. No hidden fees. Just what you see. Book your dream holiday now!

Planning ahead when you travel reduces stress. This is particularly important for a diabetic. These 5 diabetes travel tips are simple to implement and crucial to your diabetic management. They are particularly important if you are traveling abroad.

1) Have a pre-travel check-up. Make sure your A1C blood sugar levels; your blood pressure and your cholesterol levels are OK. Get the appropriate shots for any country you plan to visit.

2) Wear a diabetes medical ID. Ideally, it should be in the language spoken in the country you're visiting. Not everyone speaks your language and you don't want medical problems through misunderstandings.

3) Keep your medication and glucose snacks in your hand-luggage. Check-in baggage does, unfortunately, go astray. Don't risk your diabetes medication by packing it in your main luggage.

4) Keep your medication in its original box, complete with pharmacy labels. It will prevent misunderstandings about why you are carrying drugs and, if you are on insulin, syringes.

5) Be aware of time zone changes, especially when altering your watch. Remember when you travel east your day becomes shorter; if you travel west your day becomes longer. You may need to alter the timings of your medication.

Traveling need not be traumatic. A sensible attitude and a bit of pre-travel planning can make things go far more smoothly.

Author: Hotel Etc


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Regardless of if the traveler is a male or a female, it is vital to take precautions when traveling. Women travelers especially need to be cautious of traveling alone anywhere around the world. However, unlike many other countries, travel to America is much safer in comparison. Taking precautions will help abundantly, especially if you are a female.

The foremost thing to consider is understanding the culture. The culture you follow may be very different and so it is vital to learn about the place to which you are traveling. Trying to follow the values of the country when you are visiting will help abundantly. Being a rebel may lead you into trouble. So it is vital to never overlook. Try communicating with locals with an open mind and mingle with them with an open mind.

Be prepared to be shocked by the weather. Each state that you travel to might have a different climatic condition. Southern states are usually hot and humid and the northern parts are cold. You may have to be prepared to experience snow and carry different types of clothing too. Take these weather conditions into consideration when planning your packing. It would be a better idea to carry more that require rather that finding out that you do not have enough. Think about the places you will be visiting, understand the weather conditions and then be prepared with clothes.

Relying on maps is a good idea. However, ensure you have other ways as well. most tourist places are huge and just having one source for your travel may leave you stranded. The distance you will be traveling will be really long. Ask locals and improve your knowledge on the distance you will have to be commuting on a daily basis. Prepare yourself depending on the distance you will be traveling. Highways are more often deserted and you wouldn't find a lot of eateries on your way if you decide to travel by road. This is exactly why you would have to stock up on food, water as well as gas. It would be best practice to not venture out on these routes.

Apart from these tips, make sure you follow the regular safety tips. Keep your money to yourself and never flash it out in public. Using a lot of jewelry can land you in trouble with robbers. You may want to reserve doing that for a later place. Never talk to strangers whatever the circumstance. Keep the emergency number in memory and use it when necessary.



Your feedback means so much to us as they help us strive to provide content that specifically meets your needs. Kindly share with us your comments (recommendations, thoughts, compliments, etc.). We look forward to having them.