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How to Spend a Sunny or Snowy Weekend in Sochi

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Caption: Sochi’s sandy beaches and blue sea are something we might associate with a Caribbean getaway.

Snow and Sochi are not always two things we associate with one another. Sochi has a sub-tropical climate and is one of Russia’s best-known beach resorts. However, just a short trip inland is the famous ski park of Krasnaya Polyana. In one weekend you can sun yourself on the beach and pick up your skis in the mountains. The incredible range of activities on offer makes this a bucket list destination for many. Here’s how to spend 48 hours there.

Stay at Rodina Grand Hotel & Spa

The Rodina Grand Hotel & Spa is undoubtedly the most luxurious hotel in Sochi. All of the rooms look out either onto the beautiful black sea or to the immaculately kept subtropical gardens. While the views out are stunning, the rooms are even more special. Each room is only furnished with natural materials, marble bathrooms, precious wood furniture, and leather upholstery. Royal interior designers were appointed to ensure that the hotel was up to the most exacting standards, and it shows.

Stroll Along Sochi’s Promenade

Sochi’s climate is perfect for beach-goers. The city boasts a long, well-kept promenade, which provides the perfect place to enjoy a morning stroll. Start at the port where you’ll see enormous cruise ships, as well as some privately owned superyachts. If you get lucky then you might even witness a regatta. After you’ve enjoyed the port, make your way along the rest of the promenade, taking in the Olympic Park as you go. Once you’ve found the best bit of beach, stop off and soak up some rays. Perhaps have a swim to build up an appetite, then dry off and take a short walk up to the restaurant for lunch.

Eat at Vysota 5642

Caption: There are lots of traditional dumpling dishes at Vysota 5642 but Khychin might just be the most delicious.

Vysota is a spectacular restaurant near the beach. It’s owned by famous restaurateur Arkady Novikov, who was determined to make this place a foodie destination. If you fancy a taste of home then the burgers here were immediately voted the best in Sochi, bringing together freshly ground, properly seasoned beef and simple toppings. However, if you want to try true Circassian cuisine, then the menu will not disappoint. The Khychin are delicious, combining beet leaves with cheese in a paper-thin casing. So too is the chicken in sour cream. All of the ingredients are sourced locally, from foraged herbs to chickens that have lived an almost wildlife.

Visit Krasnaya Polyana

Krasnaya Polyana is a ski resort just an hour away from Sochi. You can buy a day’s ski pass and enjoy the slopes to your heart’s content. Or if you aren’t particularly sporty, there’s another big draw up here, Casino Sochi. The European Poker Tour is one of the most hotly anticipated events to come to Sochi in recent years and will be returning again in 2021. The Casino Sochi has played host to the tournament and has seen some interesting occurrences in its time. Besides holding regular events it also has a huge selection of table games and slot machines. The building itself is beautiful, with richly decorated interiors, so whether you’re playing the slots, skiing the slopes, or soaking in the scenery, Krasnaya Polyana is definitely worth a visit.

Sample Some Sochi Wine

Russia is most widely known for its vodka, but it has a surprising wine history. Sochi is the region that produces the most wine, some 60% of the country’s output, thanks to its southerly location and warmer climate. Russian wine is fascinating for those with a real interest in wine and delicious even for those who haven’t. Abrau Durso is a short trip away and offers tasting sessions and vineyard tours for real enthusiasts. However, if you’re pressed for time then most of the restaurants around town will be glad to tell you about the local wines on the menu. Of course, if you’d rather there is always a good selection of vodka too, so no need to choose one or the other!

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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7 Best Ways to Explore Greece

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Greece has everything to offer travellers–whether you want to explore bustling cities, relax on pristine islands, learn about fascinating culture, or just soak up the sunshine. Whatever you decide, we hope this list helps inspire your next trip to the country.

Visit Athens

Athens is one of Europe’s most beautiful cities and should be at the top of every traveller’s itinerary when visiting Greece. This thriving metropolis boasts of over 1 million inhabitants and a rich history dating back to 3000 BC. Overlooking the Saronic Gulf, the Acropolis dominates the skyline with its distinctive minaret-like structure built upon layers of rock.

Its construction started under Pericles and continued right up till 1828. For centuries now, Athenians have lived side by side with their past glory. Athens offers plenty of reasons to visit its many museums and monuments, including the Acropolis, Keramikos museum, Ancient Agora Museum, National Archaeological Museum and more.

Sightsee the Peloponnese Peninsula

The Peloponnese peninsula stretches southwards from Sparta and includes the largest cities of southern Greece: Corinth, Argolis, Patras and Larissa. Its mountainous terrain provides excellent conditions for walking, biking, para-gliding, rock climbing and mountaineering. The area is dotted with small settlements, monasteries, castles, and churches dating back centuries.

Take a boat tour along the Greek Islands

The best way to see the beauty of the Greek Islands when you visit Greece is by taking a cruise ship vacation. You’ll experience breathtaking views as well as enjoy an authentic island lifestyle that’s unlike anywhere else in the world. There are dozens of different cruises available throughout the Mediterranean Sea; however, there are only two main types: coastal tours and offshore trips.

Coastal tours take passengers near shore while offshore excursions allow them to travel farther out into the open sea. If you’re looking for something between these two options, consider a mix of both. For example, a combination of a coastal tour followed by an overnight sail will give you time to spend ashore before returning home. For the best experience, consider renting a private boat or yacht.

Get into the water activities at Mykonos

Mykonos is known for being one of the world’s top destinations for windsurfing, kite surfing, parasailing, scuba diving, jet skiing and yachting. Whether you prefer land-based sports or sea adventures, you won’t get bored on Mykonos. Several companies run organised trips to different locations around the island. However, if you’d like to venture off the beaten track, there are several opportunities to rent equipment locally.

Watch sunset drinks while sitting by the beach

Kos offers several great locations for watching sunsets. One particular area worth checking out is at Kasteloura Beach where you’ll find a bar serving cocktails with fantastic views across the water. Alternatively, head to Platis Gialos harbour, where you will spot dolphins playing around the boats moored nearby.

Have breakfast overlooking the sea in Corfu Town

Corfu town sits right next to the beautiful bay of Laganas, where it enjoys views over the Gulf of Mirabello. This picturesque location means that this part of Corfu will always be busy, especially during summer months. However, even though there are plenty of bars and clubs, most people still choose to enjoy their breakfasts here.

Wander through old town Patras

Patras used to be one of the largest cities in southern Europe until the 19th century. It keeps much of its original charm despite being modernised. The old quarter contains ancient churches, narrow streets lined with restaurants, cafés and boutiques. There’s also lots to do beyond wandering around the old town; take boat trips or visit the Aquarium of Southern Italy.

Enjoy seafood fresh off the grill in Halkidiki

Halkidiki is a popular choice among tourists looking for cheap holidays in Greece. With so many activities available, no matter what your interests may be, you’re bound to have fun!

Do a wine tasting in Rethymno

The Greek island of Crete is most commonly associated with luxury resorts, high end cuisine and glitzy nightclubs. However, those seeking something more down to earth will enjoy visiting the small towns scattered throughout the region. Among them is Rethymnon located along the southern coast. Here, visitors can sample some delicious wines before heading home.

Greece has been attracting travellers since antiquity. Today, thousands flock here every summer hoping to experience this beautiful country first hand. From exploring bustling markets to relaxing on pristine islands, there’s plenty to see and do in Greece. Whether you choose to stay in cosmopolitan Athens or explore remote villages dotted all over the Aegean Sea, there’s always an adventure waiting just round the corner.

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Travel Tips

5 Best Things To Do In Maryland

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One of the smallest states in the United States, Maryland sits peacefully on the Atlantic shore on the historic Chesapeake Bay, near Washington, D.C. Regardless of its size, this beautiful state has a lot to offer—from museums to historic sites, breweries, amusement parks, lakes, thriving wetlands, forested mountains, lakes, and waterfalls to keep you entertained throughout.

The state is quite popular with sailors, beachgoers, and nature lovers due to the vast number of outdoor settings. However, that isn’t to say that Maryland doesn’t appeal to others. Sports betting and gambling are legal in Maryland. Meaning, a lot of people from the neighboring states often enter to visit Maryland sportsbooks and casinos.

After all, you don’t require a huge budget to experience all the fun Maryland has to offer.

If you are planning a trip to this state, here are the top five attractions you shouldn’t miss visiting.

1. National Aquarium

Located in Baltimore, the National Aquarium is a dramatic building that overlooks the Inner Harbor. Inside, you will find the replicates of numerous ecosystems for marine life from across the world. Additionally, the place is also home to birds, mammals, and appropriate plant life.

Though all environments are not underwater, they do share a common link to water. The largest of all the ecosystems here is the five-story Tropical RainForest, where you will get to explore life at various levels—from forest floor to the treetops and from plants to frogs, birds, sloths, and monkeys.

In the Atlantic Coral Reef Exhibit are sharks and dolphins alongside other tropical fishes.

2. Ocean City Boardwalk

As the name suggests, this attraction is located in Ocean City. It features nearly 3 miles of exciting pedestrian route lined with various sorts of entertainment for people of all age groups.

You will also be able to find some of the most popular attractions for families in Maryland near the boardwalk, including museums, restaurants, rides, and hotels. So, after enjoying a leisurely stroll, taking in the beautiful beach with soft sands and sparkling waters, consider grabbing an ice cream and finding a place to relax.

If you are traveling with your kids, drop by Timper’s Rides and Amusements and Ripley’s for some added fun.

3. The Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum situated in the Mount Vernon Cultural District in Baltimore is a unique cultural landmark. It is also one of the few institutions in the world that stand for a comprehensive history of world art.

The museum features all forms of art from the third millennium B.C. through the early 20th century. The collections are displayed and interpreted spectacularly. However, the museum is best known for its magnificent jewelry, ivories, enamels, bronzes, and illuminated manuscripts.

Furthermore, the Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Byzantine antiquities here are immaculate. So are the medieval and Renaissance art collections.

4. Old Town Annapolis and William Paca House

Located between the Town Dock and the Maryland State House are a handful of blocks that feature history and charm. The State House was once the United States Capitol. It is also one of the oldest State House that is still in continuous legislative use.

The William Paca House and Garden are located down the hill. As you make your way there, you will get to explore narrow streets brimming with picture-worthy brick and clapboard buildings. Now, if you are wondering who William Paca is, he was the signer of the Declaration of Independence.

The place was fully refurbished with period antiques and original Paca family items. It features a two-acre garden with a fish-shaped pond, terraces, and a topiary. The house is also an example of how an influential and prosperous Annapolis family looked and felt in the colonial era.

Fort McHenry National Monument

5. Fort McHenry National Monument

The fort was completed in 1803 in an effort to secure the entrance to Baltimore’s busy harbor. In 1814, Fort McHenry withstood a 24-hour bombardment by the British, thereby evolving to be a national icon in the country. However, there is more history to this fort than the bombardment.

The fort once saved Baltimore from occupation. It also acted as a source of inspiration for Francis Scott Key to write The Star-Spangled Banner. He was held a prisoner on a British ship during the attack.

While at Fort McHenry, you can tour the buildings, walk the ramparts, or catch a dramatic multimedia presentation on the fort’s history and the national anthem.

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Travel Tips

Where Is Polynesia, And What Is The Disney Polynesian Village Resort?

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What does Polynesia mean?

The word Polynesia comes from 2 Greek words, “poly and nesos”, which translates to mean  “many islands”. The name is appropriate considering that the Polynesian islands take up more than 800,000 sq miles!

Where is Polynesia? Thanks to Disney it can be a lot closer than you might think. In this article, we’ll review a few fun facts about Polynesia, as well as what you can expect when visiting the Disney Polynesian Village.

So take a look! By the time you’re done reading this article, you can start planning your dream vacation.

Where Is Polynesia?

Where is Polynesia? Polynesia takes up a large triangular area of land in the east-central Pacific ocean.

The apex of the triangle is right at the Hawaiian Islands. The base angles of the triangle are New Zealand for the west angle and Easter Island for the eastern base angle.

In addition to stretching out from Hawai, Polynesia also includes its group of Polynesian islands. A few of the islands include Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, Wallis, and French Polynesia. At the islands, you can find picturesque overwater bungalows.

Where Is the Disney Polynesian Village?

You can find the Disney Polynesian Village in sunny Florida, right by the Magic Kingdom. The resort rests on the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon.

The Seven Seas Lagoon is a body of water made by humans. It’s like an aquatic red carpet leading to Magic Kindom. The lagoon features boating, fishing, and more fun activities for guests of all ages.

What the Disney Resort Is Like Inside

After opening in 1971 the Polynesian Village Resort has been a sought after location by many guests. The resort has a motto, “Aiita Peatea”, translating to mean “Tomorrow there will be another day, exactly like today”. In other words, don’t worry, life’s good!

The zen-like motto reflects the laid back, peaceful atmosphere of the resort. The 847 room resort is only 2 monorail stops from the Magic Kingdom. The entire resort takes up a total of 39 acres and the decorations transform each acre into a tropical paradise.

While touring the resort, you’ll be able to enjoy looking at waterfalls, tiki torches made of bamboo, tropical plants, and of course a beach area. The casual, family-friendly resort uses the Great Ceremonial House as the lobby. You could easily spend all day just hanging out in the lobby admiring all of the exotic plants and landscaping.

Disney Vacation Club

Moving on, let’s look at what being a Disney Club Vacation member is all about. If you already know you want to visit Disney resorts more than once, a membership could help you save money.

When you’re a part of the Disney Vacation Club or DVC, you’ll get a certain amount of points. The number of points you get is up to you based on your initial membership purchase.

Next, you can use the points to reserve your stay at any of the DVC resorts like the polynesian dvc resort in Florida. There are DVC resorts all over the world, and your membership won’t lock you into a singular location. Instead, you’ll have access to all of the resorts worldwide, as well as additional DVC member benefits and perks.

What To Expect in Your Resort Room

What do the rooms look like at the Polynesian Village Resort? All of the rooms are in 1 of 11 different longhouses.

The longhouses are large buildings, that allow you to access your room from an interior hallway. Every room is either 2 stories or 3 stories high.

A standard room at the Polynesian will have a day bed, 2 queen-sized beds, a small table, 2 chairs, and an armoire for your clothes. The standard room size is about 415 square feet and you can’t have over 5 occupants in any 1 room. You’ll also find amenities like a coffee maker, ironing board, Disney shampoo and soap, an iPod dock, and a safe.

Did you want to get a king-sized bed? If yes, you’ll have to make a special request since they only have a limited number of king-sized beds available.

Next, if you want to stay in a suite, you can house anywhere from 4-9 people. All of the resorts suites are in the Tonga longhouse.

Different Room Views at the Polynesian Village Resort

What type of room view matters to you? If a relaxing room view is important to you, we suggest you book a room that offers a lagoon view. If you want to keep an eye on all the action, ask for a clear view of the theme park.

A standard room view will feature the lovely landscaping and walkways the Polynesian resort is famous for. The marina and pool are included in the standard room views, so you can request them at no additional cost!

Finally, some rooms overlook the parking lot. When you book your room, you have to specifically ask to not get a parking lot view, otherwise, you probably will.

Room Check-in and Check-Out Policies

After booking your room, you’ll need to download the My Disney Experience App. Open up the app and look for a section titled “Online Check-in”. After clicking on the online check-in, you’ll be able to request an early check-in.

We suggest you choose the early check-in options since this will give you the most freedom. Rooms aren’t ready until 3 p.m., and there’s no guarantee an early check-in will mean your room’s ready sooner.

However, you will have the freedom to drop off your luggage with the bell services, get your magic bands for the park, and start exploring! Magic bands are colorful wristbands that connect you to everything on your vacation. Your magic band can help you with park access, getting into your room, buying Disney merchandise, and more.

Plan Your Dream Vacation

Where is Polynesia? Now you know where to find the Polynesian islands, as well as Disney’s Polynesian Resort.

Were you surprised to discover the resort is right outside of Magic Kingdom? Or how about how you can request a lagoon view for your room?

We hope our article was able to answer all of your questions so you can start planning your dream vacation today! For more great locations to visit, check out the rest of this site.

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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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