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Secrets of the Eternal City — 5 Hidden Gems of Rome

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The history and culture that define Rome keep travelers coming back again and again. In fact, it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve seen the Colosseum, St. Peter’s Basilica, The Pantheon, or the Trevi Fountain, there’s always something magical about those old cobbled streets and stories behind them. 

However, for anyone who wants to see a different side of the Eternal City, it’s certainly worth stepping off the usual tourist trails to explore some of the lesser known sights. Rome is bursting with hidden gems that most visitors either never see or never notice as they’re exploring the city, and by taking a little extra time to discover Rome’s secrets, you can enjoy a different perspective on this ancient metropolis that has so much to offer. 

So, read on to discover our top 5 hidden gems of Rome and enjoy a city that you never knew existed. 

Borromini’s Perspective

This fascinating and largely ignored corridor of Rome is definitely worth a visit. Located in the Palazzo Spada, Borromini’s Perspective is an optical illusion on the grandest scale, creating what seems like a 40-meter corridor in the space of just eight meters. Stand at the entrance to this other worldly piece of architecture and your mind will be blown! 

Designed with the help of a mathematician, Francesco Borromini built diminishing rows of columns and a rising floor to create this Roman oddity, placing a sculpture of just 60 cm at the end of the corridor to really nail the illusion. The sculpture sits in an open part of the building bathing it in daylight, also helping to support this real-world trompe l’oeil and fooling your brain into thinking that this corridor is much longer than it really is. 

Trastevere

Located just across the Tiber from the city center, Trastevere is a lesser-known district of Rome that rarely gets much attention outside of the Piazza di Santa Maria. However, if you’re willing to dive a little deeper, you’ll find some of Rome’s best food and drink in this pleasant neighborhood, alongside a calm atmosphere that the rest of the city would kill for. 

Leaving the Piazza di Santa Maria, you’ll quickly find that the number of tourists drops off considerably. Head to the Piazza di San Cosimato to begin with to check out the outdoor food market and stop for a coffee at one of the cafes in the square. Once you’ve had your fill, be sure to wander around the charming old streets of Trastevere to escape the usual tourist trail and see a different side to Rome. 

Gianicolo

Rome is the city of seven hills, and there are plenty of great views to be had if you’re willing to climb any one of them. However, for those that don’t already know, Rome actually has an eighth hill! Gianicolo offers some of the best views of the city if you’re willing to hike up from Trastevere, and it’s also a very pleasant place to explore away from the majority of tourists. 

While you’re there, make sure you check out the Fontana dell’Acqua Paola and the Piazzale Garibaldi where a cannon fires every day at noon. Additionally, the church of San Pietro in Montorio is worth a look as it is thought to be the site of St Peter’s crucifixion. 

Villa Borghese

As the largest public park in Rome, you’d think that the Villa Borghese would be overflowing with tourists on a daily basis—particularly in summer! However, most people come here to see the galleries and skip the 80 acres of lush green space, tranquil ponds, and winding paths of the gardens. It’s a true oasis nestles between the bustling city streets, and the perfect place to eat a picnic an unwind a little. 

Developed over the course of the 17th century, the gardens of the Villa contain many hidden places to just relax, alongside plenty of interesting buildings, fountains, and sculptures that will give you more insight into the history of this garden. Animal lovers will also be particularly pleased with the old city zoo that has now been turned into a Biopark with more than 200 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. 

Quartiere Coppedè

It’s quite possible that if you blink, you’ll miss the Quartiere Coppedè entirely. As Rome’s smallest district, this unique little corner of the city is usually quiet and ripe for exploration by intrepid sightseers. It’s also home to some very interesting architectural wonders that are sure to stop you in your tracks as you discover this hidden gem for yourself. 

Start at the corner of Via Dora and Via Tagliamento and wind your way through the Art Nouveau, medieval, baroque and Greek influences that were designed by architect Gino Coppedè between 1923 and 1927. It’s Rome’s equivalent of Gaudi’s Catalan masterpieces, and a surefire way to enjoy the eternal city from an entirely new perspective! 

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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Adventure Travel

Hammock vs Tent Camping

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Camping with a hammock is slowly but surely becoming more popular in recent years with new and improved hammock designs being preferred by some campers, compared to the traditional tent.

In this article we will discuss some of the key benefits and drawbacks of sleeping without a tent, and analyze key criteria so that you can choose your preferred shelter choice!

Weatherproof

Most tents work well in the rain; however, you’ll need to bring a tarp if you’re using a hammock. Traditional hammocks are not waterproof, and are generally open at the top, allowing water to find itself inside if you don’t have an adequate tarp. Moreover, a decent under quilt is also a good idea so that you can stay warm and cozy during cold and stormy nights.

Packing up your hammock after a long night of rain isn’t too bad, whereas packing up a soaking wet tent is always annoying. You almost always get wet in the process.

Setup

For first time campers, pop-up tents are the simplest to setup. All you need to do is find flat ground, and bam, your setup is complete! The beauty of pop-up tents is that you don’t need to worry about figuring out where to insert the poles and erect the tent. Although, traditional tents are usually more robust, and have a longer life span.

Essentially, a tent is simple, but a hammock can become a little more complicated for first timers. You’ll need to find 2 trees facing a good direction and tie each end of the hammock to them. If your hammock setup is too tight, you will generally wake up with sore ancles, but if it’s too loose, you run the risk of the hammock touching the floor, and insects crawling in with you.

If your campground doesn’t have many trees, or if the trees are dead (they could break and injure you), hammock stands come to the rescue! Basically, hammock stands allow you to pitch a hammock if there are no trees nearby. They are portable, adjustable, and are easy to setup. The only drawback is that the ground should be relatively flat, whereas if you were to hang a hammock between 2 trees, there won’t be any stands touching the ground, so a rocky floor wouldn’t be a problem.

Comfort

One of the main reasons for choosing a hammock is the comfort that it provides you! It has a basically has in-built seat which is arguably more comfortable than a standard blow up mattress. You need to pick your tree’s wisely though! You don’t want a pinecone falling on your face mid-sleep.

If you have constant back pain and find it hard to sleep inside tents, you should give hammocks a try as they cause you to sleep sideways, similar to a banana shape, which a lot people find much more comfortable.

Price

Hammocks are usually lighter and don’t include a wealth of poles and gear that tents do. Depending on the type of hammock that you purchase, they are usually quite similar to tents. You can however, find very cheap tents <$60, but they most likely won’t last long.

A good tent or hammock can cost between $200-500 without accessories. If you need a hammock stand, that will add to your cost, just like a mattress and other tent necessities will to its cost.

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Adventure Travel

Yacht Charter Destination Of The Month: The Middle East

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Mysterious and exotic, the Middle East is full of surprises, blending fascinating cultural heritage with stunning contemporary architecture. What’s more, with guaranteed sunshine and warmth, the winter months of November and April are the perfect time to visit. That’s why we’ve made the Middle East our yacht charter destination of the month.

What makes the Middle East such an exciting yacht charter destination?

Dubai: Glamour and shopping

An ideal starting point for your luxury yacht charter, Dubai is famous for its tax-free designer shopping, five-star resorts and world-class gastronomy. Thrill seekers can head into its vast desert for four-wheel-drive adventures across the dunes, while families will love the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, Legoland, or the magnificent water park at Atlantis on The Palm.

Abu Dhabi: Art and architecture

Neighbouring Abu Dhabi offers a more relaxed yacht charter destination – here, lovers of art and architecture will appreciate the iconic Louvre Abu Dhabi, which boasts some 9,200 m2 of galleries within its striking contemporary design.

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is one of the world’s largest, and its open-door policy encourages visitors from around the world. The elegant Qasr Al Hosn museum, former home of the ruling family, is Abu Dhabi’s oldest standing structure, and displays artefacts dating back to 6000BC.

Oman: An understated gem

The understated, hidden gem of the Middle East, yacht charter destination Oman has an abundance of natural beauty, from spectacular mountains and wind-blown deserts to a pristine coastline.

At its northernmost tip, visit the red-hued fjords of the Musandam Peninsula. Action-seekers can admire the rugged Al Hajar mountain range by microlight, while land-based activities include desert sand-boarding, jeep rides and quad biking.

Capital city Muscat is steeped in history, with centuries-old souks where you can pick up fine pashminas, spices and frankincense, or even dazzling jewellery in the Gold Souk.

The Kingdom of Bahrain: Home of diving

It is said that diving was invented in Bahrain, and pearl diving is considered the quintessential Bahraini experience. Expect to find up to 30 types of coral and over 200 species of fish, too, making this yacht charter destination ideal for underwater enthusiasts.

Bahrain’s rich trading history is palpable in the Qalat al-Bahrain fort and museum, a registered UNESCO world heritage site. The Bahrain National Museum, found next to the Art and Cultural Centres, blends cultural heritage with contemporary ambience. Or, to indulge in some retail therapy, enjoy a traditional shopping experience at the Manama Souk, selling natural-oil perfumes and incense, fabrics and handicrafts.

The Red Sea: Reefs, diving and beaches

The Red Sea is another popular Middle Eastern yacht charter destination due to its year-round sunshine, warm water, coral reefs and incredible dive sites, including one of the world’s best wreck dives, the WWII British cargo ship SS Thistlegorm. In the south, the relatively undiscovered Marsa’ Alam promises incredible shore or beach diving around its natural fringing reef.

Mysterious, timeless and alluring, the Middle East is a yacht charter destination full of contrasts and surprises. Better still, it’s best visited in winter. What are you waiting for?

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Adventure Travel

Hiking Adventures in Bryce Canyon National Park

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If you are on the lookout for the perfect environment for an adventurous and challenging hike, look no further. Located in the Southern Utah region is the best park that is most suitable for your hiking adventure, the Bryce Canyon National Park. This is a great option to relaxed after you are through playing in $5 minimum deposit casinos.

This park hosts hike lovers from time to time and people even come from other countries in the world to experience the wonder of this park. The landscape and beautiful trails make this a choice venue. There is a rental service at this location if you love to stay behind.

You can enjoy the priceless glimpse of the sunrise and sunset from the different landscape. The part also permits visitors to create traditional camps at different locations for a more adventurous experience.

There are a couple of trails that you can choose from for your hiking adventure, and no matter your level of experience in hiking, you will find a track that matches your taste. Even if you are totally new to hiking, there is something for you at the Bryce Canyon National Park . Below is a list of some of the trails to try when you take a trip to this park.

The Rim Trail

This is the most accessible trail at Bryce Canyon National Park. It is suitable for those who just want to have a good time walking around and savoring the magnificent scenery of the park. From any part of the park, you can connect to this trail as it goes all the way around the park.

When lodging at the Bryce Canyon Lodge, it is a good idea to start your hike from the place known as the sunrise point. Just as the name implies, if you wake up early to start your walk, you’ll be able to watch the sunrise. If you have a camera with you, you’ll take some fantastic pictures.

Also, you’ll get a clear view of the Bryce amphitheater from this point. Just like in an adventure movie, you have to find a way to link up to boat Mesa, and on your way, you walk through some sites like the Mormon temple and Queen garden. This hiking trail is easy, and all you have to deal with is a total of approximately 200 feet elevation. You will surely have a nice time on this trail.

Navajo Loop Trail

On the order of difficulty, this trail comes next after the rim trail. The starting point of this trail begins from the sunset point around the southern area of the Bryce Canyon Lodge. Just like for the rim trail, the trail presents a nice view of the sunset, and with a good camera, you’ll be able to take exciting photo shoots.

Walking this route involves a visit to the Silent City, which is an aesthetic combination of limestone and urban expansion. During the hike, you will also walk through Wall Street, which happens to be a distinctive attraction at the Bryce Canyon park. You won’t ever want to miss the narrow walls. From this point, you may decide to go back to the sunset point or take other shorter hikes like the Peekaboo loop trail and Queen garden trail. Both routes are challenging and adventurous, but you will enjoy every bit of the challenge. After you have done this, you can then go ahead to have some fun in a $5 minimum deposit casino.

Mossy Cave Trail

This Trail presents an entirely different sight than the one that we have previously mentioned. From this trail, you will be able to catch the view of the towers in the park nearby without descending to the amphitheater. This hiking course begins at approximately 4 miles from the entrance to the Bryce Canyon park. However, if you visit this park and would like to enjoy something completely different from the other common tracks, then this is an exciting hiking trail for you to try.

Hiking is more than a walk, it is a fun and adventurous experience. All trails at the Bryce Canyon National Park are worth trying on your next visit. Whether you seek to have some fun or you just want to catch some beautiful scenery and feel close to nature, you will find the right place that suits you. Get ready to have an amazing hiking experience.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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