Rick's Travel Blog

Trips & Tricks

The Art of Travel

Everyone should find time to travel. It’s the one thing that gets us out of our comfort zone and into the big wide world. There are a lifetime of experiences to be had here at home in the US or abroad in far-flung destinations. In this blog I will bring together a collection of stories about my adventures and those of other travel writers. If you’re looking for inspiration for life on the open road you’ve come to the right place. Please check back at Rick’s Travel Blog soon to catch the latest travel write-ups on must-see destinations and experiences to do before you die.

lofoten-fjords-norway

A Unique Seaside Destination Way Up North

People associate beach holidays with the tropics, with palm trees and coconut fruit in your hand. However, for a different seaside experience, you should visit the beautiful fjords in Scandinavia. 

So beautiful are the Norwegian Fjords that they have been named by the UNESCO as one of the “Seven Wonders of Nature” and as one of the best unspoiled travel destinations in the world. It is certainly impressive, especially when you visit it during summer. Norway is considered as the Land of the Midnight Sun, so you can enjoy the views up to midnight.

lofoten-fjords-norway

Sea Views All the Way Inland 

Fjords are unique because the seawaters come inland, due to its past. At the end of the last Ice Age, the glaciers retreated and were replaced by seawater. The existing U-shaped valleys were flooded and thus, the awe-inspiring fjords came to be. Interestingly, Norway has a warm sea current so that the fjords do not freeze during winter.

These beautiful sea views in the Norwegian Fjords have inspired many tourists who have journeyed north.There may be other breathtaking sea views around the world, including these destinations, but the scenery in this Scandinavian wilderness is especially spectacular. Imagine the waters snaking in between very high mountains that reach up to 2000 meters in height, and even reaching up to 1300 meters in depth. At times, the passages are tight, so that not every cruise ship can go inside. Passengers of ships who do make it can literally touch the side of the mountain while standing on deck. 

All over the country, there are numerous fjords to be visited, though the most breathtaking ones are concentrated in the western and northern areas. For example, the Geirangerfjord and Nerøyfjord, included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, offers visitors more than just the sea view. They can see alpine mountains, lush villages, and even waterfalls. On the other hand, Trollfjord in the north, is just 100 meters in the narrowest part, making it one of the most captivating fjords in Norway.

Visitors can expect neck aches from staring at the mesmerizing sights, and their cameras low in space and battery due to taking thousands of pictures. When you also decide to stay in one of the picturesque villages by the fjord, you can wake up to a dream and you will have to pinch yourself to remind you that it is all real.

Best Way to Experience the Fjords

While hiking is a way to enjoy the seaside views, steep mountains might make it difficult for the beginner hiker. Instead, you should try to experience the fjords through a sea kayaking tour. Using these small kayaks, you can explore areas that would otherwise be tough to access through boat. You can even have these areas all to yourself due to their isolation.

Sea kayaking tours are available from half a day to 10 days in total, allowing enthusiasts to fully explore as many fjords as they want. Some hikes may also be integrated to allow a different view. When you go during summer, you do not just get to glimpse the fjords, you can literally stare at them, thanks to about 20 hours of sunlight.

While heading up to Scandinavia is not your typical choice for a seaside holiday, this truly unique landscape will give you an unforgettable trip. Moreover, the midnight sun is something that you should not miss, so include Norway on your travel to-do list now.

For more information about the Fjords and other places to see and things to do in Norway, check out the national tourist board website at https://www.visitnorway.com/

Hawaii Tourism Destinations

The Best Places to See in Hawaii

Aside from surfing the waves of Hawaii, you can best make the most out of your trip there by visiting the must see places. Below is a list of some of the most incredible sites in The Big Island.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

This national park is located on the Big Island. The island is considered as one of the most powerful volcanic landscapes. With this, Big Island is one of the most sought of islands in Hawaii. Tourists will probably hear the legend about how the islands were formed through volcanic eruptions. The landscape nonetheless embodies the dominance of nature’s power. This national park has the following main attractions: the Hawaii Volcano Observatory, the Jaggar Museum & Giftshop, the steam vents and lava field from a safe distance of course and the 500 year-old lava cave.

Waikiki Beach

Waikiki basically means “spouting waters.” It was intended to refer to previously flowing freshwater rivers towards the wide ocean. Well maintained and developed, Waikiki is currently a hotspot for tourists because of its wide and beautiful beach which runs about 1.5 square miles. To make the most out of Waikiki, visitors usually take surfing or stand-up paddle lessons. These are partnered up with numerous resorts, restaurants, and hotels. Nightlife is enjoyable here and so is the day wherein you can go and exhaust yourself in the many shopping centers.

Kona Coffee Farms

Other than the mentioned national park for volcanoes, Big Island also has a coffee farm to be proud of. Coffee farms are plentiful in the Kona area and you can choose to visit a few of these. Tours in farms like this include wine tasting, coffee harvesting, and watching how they mill the coffee. Tourists are often given a short background on what processes the bean undertakes before they can be served. If your trip is scheduled in November, consider yourself lucky because you will be given the chance to witness the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival in the Kailua-Kona Village.

Haleakala National Park

Tourists often visit the famous 10,023-foot dormant Mt. Haleakala in the island of Maui. There are various activities you can join to have a good time here. The best times for trips to Haleakala is during sunrise and sunset because these times offer the best view of the mountain. Visitors should not worry if they are not that trained for hiking because most of the trips and activities here are guided. Hiking and camping are the most sought after activities. You can plan your trip to the mountain’s crater ahead to be able to canvass the best trip packages.

USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor

Of all the Hawaiian Islands, Honolulu is considered the most visited or the number one tourist destination. One reason for this is the fact that the USS Arizona Memorial is located here. Particularly, this memorial park is located at Pearl Harbor. It is no question why people go here. Tourists most of the time visit the park to have their picture taken at the area where WWII began for America. Aside from this, Pearl Harbor is a must-visit given that it is considered as the largest natural harbor in Hawaii.

Woman traveller London Bridge UK

5 Budget Tips to Enjoy the UK for Travelers

If you’re planning to spend the next holiday in the United Kingdom, it is imperative that you work out your travel plans exceptionally well. The UK may have a lot of historical, cultural, architectural, and even religious sites to offer international tourists, but it definitely is not the friendliest when it comes to expenses. That is why it is important to consider these 5 budget tips to enjoy the UK for travelers.

Get the Visitor Oyster Card

The first thing you will need to do when you arrive in the UK, especially if you’re going via or staying in London, is to purchase a Visitor Oyster Card. This smartcard gives you superb access to London’s famed public transport system. Of course, you will still be paying for your fare but when you compare it with a one-day Travelcard or even single trip tickets, the Oyster Card comes out as relatively cheap, often saving you up to 50 percent from the usual cost of moving around the UK capital. And get this. The Oyster Card actually qualifies you to special offers and discounts on certain foods and drinks as well as other items in the city.

Walk! It’s Healthier, Too

The British countryside has hundreds of miles of walking paths that are designed specifically for hikers and other outdoorsmen who want to enjoy everything the locality has to offer on foot. Even large cities like London have excellent streets ideal for walking or even cycling. There are a lot of benefits to walking. The most important if all is that you’ll discover more of the place when you walk because you’ll be spending more time appreciating the beauty of a place.

Do Everything in Advance

Different providers often provide discounted rates if purchases are made a few months to several weeks before the intended use of the service. Also there are companies that provide rebates as well as special offers if you perform these transactions well in advance and online. The point is, you need to have a definite plan on what you want to do in the UK.

Try Self Catering

Hotels can get very expensive. Even pretty basic guest houses or bed and breakfasts can cost around £100 per night. Instead of paying out for pricey holiday accommodation you could try self-catering, where you rent a place and look after yourself. This article is useful for planning self-catering holidays in cottages, houses and lodges. Or you could try AirBnB or Owner’s Direct websites for a wide choice of affordable holiday homes to rent.

Consider Walking Tours

If you’re in London, you might want to try the Free Tour of London by Sandeman. It takes you on a 3-hour walking journey across the different sights and places of interest in the city such as the Houses of Parliament, the Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, the Tower of London, and many more. It’s completely free unless you’d like to give the tour guide a tip. Other cities all over the UK have similar walking tours; some of which are free while others are for a nominal fee.

Go Budget Eats

Chain restaurants, traditional cafes, and buffets offer the best budget eats if you’re in London. There are other similar establishments all over the UK, each one with its signature budget entrees that are sure to whet your appetite and keep you coming back for more. Street food and food trucks are very popular choices, too.

Traveling to the UK may not be cheap. However, there are clearly ways you can minimize your expenses while still enjoying what the island nation has to offer.

bizarre tourist attractions - temple in Thaialnd

The Most Unique Tourist Attractions on Earth

If you are tired of visiting famous and common tourist spots because they are almost always crowded at any given time of the year, and if you are in search of the most unique, thrilling, weird, or offbeat locations where you can spend your vacation, then the list presented below is for you. Here are some of the least noticed bizarre attractions which can be found here on the planet.

Electric Ladyland, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Electric Ladyland, as the name somehow implies, is a museum that features fluorescent art. If you are interested, you should take note that you will be required to remove your shoes upon entry. But you should not worry as a special pair of slippers will be provided. After putting them on, you can go down the stairs to the museum proper wherein sculpture works of Nick Padalino and other luminescent artworks are featured.

Wang Saen Suk Hell Garden, Thailand

Of no instance would you want to be greeted with “welcome to hell” but this seems to be interestingly attractive for visitors of the hell garden in Thailand. There you will see sculptures and signs which supposedly depicts the underworld. Some of the signs contain phrases like “If you meet the devil in this life, don’t postpone merrymaking which will help you to defeat him in the next life.” Other displays feature punishments which one might encounter in hell.

Island of the Dolls, Mexico

Isla de las Munecas is a hideout turned into an attraction. This is the place where a famous alcoholic by the name of Don Julian Santana used to hide. You will probably hear stories such as the little girl who drowned in the nearby canal who usually trades her dolls to the aforementioned alcoholic. Now the place is full of dolls, baby dolls usually, whether hanging or just plain displayed.

Cockroach Hall of Fame, Plano, Texas

Cockroaches are usually not welcome anywhere. However, a former pest control specialist used cockroaches to his advantage. Michael Bodhan developed the Cockroach Hall of Fame, or as others know it the “Queen of Quirky.” Here, cockroaches are displayed in costumes and named accordingly. While the displays are predominantly composed of cockroaches, other insects and pests are also featured.

Temple of Rats, Deshnok, India

The Temple of Rats is famously known as the Karni Mata Temple. This temple is named after a well-known goddess by the name of Karni who preached about her belief that her family would not die or in case they did, will be reincarnated as rats. Here rats are considered sacred because in life with the Goddess’ belief, these are her family members.

The Mindfield, Brownsville, Tennessee

This tourist spot was developed by the artist Billy Trip. He made use of scrap metal to create the largest outdoor sculpture in the area. Rumor has it that this life work represents his emotions and some of the important life events of his.

Pamukkale Thermal Pools, Turkey

From afar, these thermal pools look like a cotton ball field. Well, its name literally translates to a cotton castle. The pools are filled with water coming from natural hot springs flowing through various tiers. While enjoying the heat of the thermal pool, visitors will also enjoy the mesmerizing views.

This is just a shortlist of weird and wonderful tourist attractions around the world. For more great suggestions see this article from the Huffington Post. It seems there are plenty of bizarre sights to experience as you travel around the world.

extreme sports travel ice climbing

The Ten Best Extreme Outdoor Activities around the World

Aside from visual satisfaction, many individuals go on a trip for thrilling adventures. Below is a list of activities which will surely make your adrenaline level rise. These are really heart-pounding but are nonetheless fulfilling once you have conquered them.

1. Bridge climbing

As the name implies, you will actually climb a bridge in this activity. Thus, there is no need to go out of town to other places for adventure. Any takers, however, should secure a permit to do so. Equipped with climbing skills, you will definitely indulge in panoramic views this activity offers. An alternative is using the walkways provided for in bridges like that of the famous Sydney Harbor Bridge which is popularly known as a 440-foot monumental landmark.

2. Sandboarding

Walking and riding a 4×4 are the classic ways to go about sand dunes. However, sandboarding is a more enjoyable alternative. You can either sit or stand on the board while sliding down the hill. This is dependent on your capability to balance yourself on the board.

3. Skydiving

Skydiving is one of the best if not the best way to pump adrenaline into your body. It is basically a freefall in the air from an airplane. With the help of a parachute, you are able to enjoy the spectacular top view of famous sites while falling.

4. Rappelling

Climbing a mountain is challenging but rappelling down from the mountain is more exciting as well as thrilling. Through rappelling, individuals are given the chance to have a glimpse of the mountain from another point of view. Rappelling requires more skills compared to mountain climbing. You can actually enjoy abseiling more when you are able to capture mesmerizing views like that of a natural wonder of a towering falls.

5. Ziplining

Ziplining is challenging when the line is long and high. For views pleasurable to the eyes, ziplines are often located on tree tops. Harnesses are there to secure you on high altitudes. The famous zipline adventures include that in Bootleg Canyon and the longest zipline circuit in North America which is included in the well-known Cancun Extreme Zipline Canopy Tour.

6. Swimming with sharks

Swimming with the sharks takes more than just the ability to swim, which is really not relevant to the activity. It requires ample amount of courage or bravery. This is because you will be so close to the sharks that you can feel the impact of their fins as they swim. But fear no more because you will be secured from shark bites for you will be enclosed in a cage.

7. Glacier climbing

Glacier climbing is probably one of the least noticed and participated activity in the world. Iceland is the best place to experience this activity. In glacier climbing, individuals should expect deep crevices and of course frozen landscapes.

8. Rafting

Rafting is a classic way to speed up your heartbeat! You can choose between the motorized and manual paddling rafting. While the latter is undeniably adventure at its finest, motorized rafts are the real deal for tours. There are quite a number of areas where you can enjoy this activity but the most famous is in the Grand Canyon.

9. Rock climbing

Rock climbing is a popular way to conquer peaks. It has been relatively popular over the past decades which is justified by the number of individuals who join this activity. China and Colorado are two of the many hotspots for rock climbing.

10. Caving

Caving is not really an adventure for everybody since it wouldn’t really be fun and enjoyable for the claustrophobic. It entails going through rock crevices by means of crawling. There are times that you have to swim too especially when there are underground bodies of water. Not only is caving a challenge, it is a chance to see the beauty of nature from the inside.

This is just our pick of the world’s best extreme sports perfect to do for an adventurous holiday or vacation. For more exciting ideas see Outside Online.

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