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Slovenia is an amazing country, and if it’s not part of your future travel plans, it should be. It is probably no coincidence that Slovenia has the word love in it. This small boutique country, in the heart of Europe, no pun intended exudes love in so many ways. To begin with, Slovenia is the first country in the world to be declared a green destination based on the Green Destinations Criteria. Caring for the environment is a priority of every Slovenian. In fact, one in every two hundred people, and growing, in Slovenia is involved in beekeeping. What a great way to help the planet!

We decided to visit the east side of Slovenia. Given Slovenia’s small size, it is easy to drive to most places for a visit in a day. In Slovenia, there are many diverse things to see and do. There’s something for everyone’s taste.

We have a recommendation for a complete, full day of amazing touring in Slovenia. We suggest visiting Postojna Cave, Predjama Castle, climb Gonjace Lookout Tower and finish the day with a wine tasting at Edi Simcic Winery. Because getting to all of three places can be difficult, we recommend a private tour with Ride Around Tours. They customized this tour just for us when we were in Slovenia. We had the full attention of our guide, and we could decide on how much time we spent at each place. In addition, while our guide drove, she would discuss the wonders of Slovenia. One of our favorite things to do when we travel is to talk to a local so when we drove, there was never silence. The advantages of a local guide. Here is some insight into our recommendations:

Postojna Cave

We visited the Postojna Cave, otherwise known as the “Queen of the Underground World.” Let me tell you this 2 million-year-old cave system is jaw-dropping. Postojna is the largest cave we have ever toured. When you enter, they give you the opportunity to rent a coat. They warn you just how cold it is in the cave. The temperature is a constant 50 degrees F with a humidity of 95%. We had our own warm coats, so we were prepared.

The huge caverns are some distance from the entrance, but they have a small electric train system that transports you back to the walking area. We traveled on the train for about 15 minutes before entering the huge open cavern. We disembarked the train and joined the group for the tour.

Tiny droplets of heavy mineral water shaped the fascinating subterranean paradise that is now Postojna Cave for over a million years. There are many cave formations and diverse fauna. Postojna Cave boasts towering mountains, murmuring rivers and vast subterranean halls. The cave is home to the famous magnificent five-meter-tall bright-white stalagmite called Brilliant.

The cave first opened as a tourist destination in 1819. In 1884, they added electric lights. The rails came in 1872. At first, the guides pushed the cars along the rails. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that they introduced a gas locomotive to take tourist back into the caverns. Then in 1945, the locomotive became electric.

Used in World War 2

During World War 2, German-occupied forces used the cave to store aircraft fuel. At one point, the Slovenian resistors destroyed the depot resulting in a fire that burned for seven days. Another interesting fact is that the world’s first “cave” post office resides in Postojna Cave.

There are 15 miles of underground passages, galleries, and halls in this relatively young discovery of only 200 years ago. The cave is open 365 days a year but their hours vary by month so check there site before making your plans to visit. One cavern is large enough to hold a concert, which they have throughout the year. There is a fee for this 1.5 hours guided tour.

Baby Dragons

In the Postojna Cave lives, a very unusual animal called an Olm. Olms are unusual even in their appearance: they have long snake-like bodies, with a length of 10-12 inches. Their length makes them one of the largest cave predators. Their skin is pale and pink in color and looks almost translucent. They have small short legs with three digits on their forelimbs and two on their hind feet. The Olms move around the water by snake-like twisting of their bodies, assisted by the legs. They breathe with external gills and rudimentary lungs. They have no eyes, but they can “see” with the help of skin receptors. These creatures are very good at sensing their prey and their skin very sensitive to light. They can go without food for up to twelve years and have a lifespan of up to 100 years.

The cave has some of these beautiful creatures in an aquarium type enclosure allowing you to see them easily. For the olm’s comfort and safety, they do not allow flash photography.

Predjama Castle

A few miles from Postojna Cave is the Predjama Castle. This dramatic castle is an impregnable medieval marvel perched in the middle of a 5000-foot high cliff for more than 800 years. Behind the largest cave castle in the world, there is a network of secret tunnels, from where the knight Erasmus of Predjama would set out on his plundering expeditions. The tunnels included a vertical shaft that leads to the outside of the castle, which they built to supply food to the castle during times of enemy siege.

The castle is an amazing piece of gothic architecture that they built specifically to make access difficult. They featured the castle in a Jackie Chan movie and a Ghost Hunters International episode because of its paranormal activity.

The Legend of Erasmus

Erasmus was a 15th-century robber-baron who, like Robin Hood, stole from the rich to give to the poor.   The cave below the castle is part of the 14km Predjama cave system. Erasmus carried out his plundering with the help of a secret passage that led out from behind the rock wall. During the wars between the Hungarians and the Austrians, Erasmus supported the Hungarians. The Austrians did not forget this. The Austrians killed Erasmus after a very long siege. According to legend, one of his men betrayed him. They got word to the enemy when he would use the bathroom. The bathroom located in the small-detached building to the left of the castle is where the enemy decided they would get Erasmus. The bathroom was a very vulnerable location. While Erasmus was using the toilet, the enemy shot a canon at the latrine, and that was the demise of Erasmus.

The world’s largest cave castle, listed as one of the Guinness World Records, tells a picturesque story about the times when comfort had to give way to safety. It is so special and unique; it ranks among the ten most fascinating castles in the world, and so romantic that many couples choose it for their wedding vows. When in Slovenia, If nothing else visit Predjama Castle for the great pictures. There is a fee to tour the castle.

Italy is so Close

It is strange to us how countries in the Schengen Area don’t have protected borders. Our guide pointed this out to us that while I was standing in Slovenia and Tina was standing in Italy. If you looked carefully, you would see a plaque on the ground that shows the border. If you look closely, you will see some of the old border walls that once stood and separated the two countries. The only way you would know what these were are from the plaques that describe what they used to be.

We were in the town of Nova Gorica. Originally, they split a single town Gorizia/Gorica between Italy and what was then Yugoslavia following World War II. The barrier, which divided relatives and friends for decades made people anxious. The people of each town began to fear the other. The fear was due to the tense atmosphere between the East and West in the 1950s.

Back in 2004, they removed the fence, which was one of Europe’s last symbols of the Cold War-era division. It took more than a decade after the fall of the Berlin Wall for this barrier that separated families to come down. Since 1947, this barrier separated the Italian town of Gorizia from its Slovenian sister Nova Gorica. Slovenia’s decision to join the EU was the factor that made all of this possible.

Today freewill determines whether Slovenian’s or Italian’s cross the countries border. Many Italians and Slovenians in the towns of Gorizia/Gorica are friends and family.  However, I am sure there are still those who are fearful of the open border.

Gonjace Lookout Tower

 Gonjace Tower located in the stunning region of Brda Slovenia is a great place to visit for 360-degree views of rural Slovenia. Brda with its rolling hills, vineyards, charming old villages will remind you of Tuscany. The lookout tower Built-in 1961 is 75 feet tall. There are 144 steps to get to the top. The tower located on the hill Mejnik above the village of Gonjace provides amazing views. They dedicated the tower to the 315 victims of World War II who lived in the area.

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Bled Slovenia, possibly one of the most photogenic places in the world, is a resort village in the foothills of the Julian Alps. It is Slovenia’s most popular resort town. Even with this popularity, we visited Bled during peak season and yet it was not swarming with tourists. Bled’s backdrop is the glacial, bluish-green Lake Bled. Once you visit Bled Slovenia, the beautiful image will stay in your memory forever. If you are visiting Slovenia, you really must visit Lake Bled.

We did our visit of Bled Slovenia on a private tour with Ride Around Tours. You know by now that Keith and I prefer private tours to the group ones because you get so much more out of them. The ability to change up the Itinerary a bit, like if you want to stay someplace a little longer is appreciated plus you get the full attention of the guide. These are so valuable for the best experience while exploring new places. After a full day of touring, we have three suggestions for a perfect visit to Bled, Slovenia.

Visit the Town of Bled and Bled Castle

First, visit Lake Bled. It is almost overwhelming to stand on the cliff in Bled and gaze upon the church on this tiny island. Perched atop this cliff that is 130 meters above Lake Bled is Bled Castle. Bled Castle is the oldest castle in Slovenia. The entrance of Bled Castle has a Gothic arch, and drawbridge. On the grounds of Bled Castle are many things to do. There is a small chapel, a restaurant that overlooks the lake, and a wine cellar with wine tasting. Also, there is a museum, a blacksmith shop, and a print shop. The castle, reached by way of a fairly steep 15-minute climb, is worth the muscle burn. For the history lovers, Bled Castle dates back to 1011. Bled castle is open year round for touring. There is an entry fee.

The town of Bled Slovenia is quite charming. There are interesting shops, cafes, bistros, and restaurants. Food wise there is something for everyone from traditional Slovenian food to vegan food. We recommend taking some time to enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee or a glass of wine and enjoy the sights of the town.

Visit Bled Island and the Pilgrimage Church

Lake Bled itself is a picturesque lake, surrounded by mountains and forests. The lake surrounds Bled Island. Atop of the island in the lake’s center is the Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Maria. Even from afar, you can see the churches steep Baroque staircase and bell tower. And in case you are wondering how many steep steps there are to climb, 99 stone steps lead to the church. Bled Island with this small church is a perfect postcard sight!

Take a ride to Bled Island on a Pletna

Bled Island in Bled Slovenia is the focal point of Lake Bled. The only way to get there is by boat. We got there by Pletna, a traditional boat made by locals. This boat developed in 1590 equipped with a colorful awning, which protects passengers from the sun, rain, and maybe even snow is unique to Lake Bled. To me, it is like a larger version of a gondola. The Pletna boat is a wooden flat-bottom boat with a pointed bow and stern. The boat moves through the water by standing oarsman rowing with two oars.

An oarsman, a highly respected occupation in Bled, operates the boat. The title of the Pletna oarsman is handed down generation to generation, so Pletna Oarsman have remained in the same families for centuries. Near the edge of the lake in the town, a 6 km path allows you to walk all the way around the lake. The views from this path are amazing. As you walk this path, you will see where the Pletna oarsmen wait with their boats for passengers. The boats leave when the boats are full, so you may have to wait a bit for more passengers to arrive. There is a small fee to take a Pletna to Bled Island.

Ring the Bells

As you approach Bled Island you will probably hear the church bells ringing, we did. That is because when you reach the Pilgrimage Church, you will have the opportunity to ring the church bell to have your prayers or wishes come true. Legend has it whoever rings the bell will have their prayer answered. According to the legend 500 years ago a widow had a bell made of the church in memory of her husband. While the bell was traveling across the lake, a storm came upon Lake Bled and sank the boat along with the bell and everyone on board. Because of this, the Pope consecrated a new bell that is the bell that hangs in the Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Maria. Supposedly when you ring the bell, you are honoring the Virgin Mary, and thus your prayers are answered.

Indulge in Bled Cream Cake; You Won’t be Disappointed

A visit to Lake Bled is not complete without trying a piece of Bled Cream Cake. Bled Cream Cake is the regional dessert and believe me it’s worth trying. There is..

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Ljubljana is a mid-sized European city with a small town feel and friendliness. If you are looking for a quaint, charming, walkable city that exudes European charm, then you must visit Ljubljana. Ljubljana is the capital and largest city in Slovenia, but unlike other European capitals, Ljubljana does not suffer from over tourism. From the Middle Ages until the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918, Ljubljana was part of the Habsburg Monarchy. After World War II and until 1991, Ljubljana became the capital of the Socialist Republic of Slovenia, part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Therefore, Ljubljana is full of beautiful architecture and history. However, there is so much more to discover in Ljubljana than just history and old buildings. There is also lots of culture and many culinary delights to enjoy.

Most of Ljubljana is discoverable on foot because Ljubljana is compact, pedestrian-friendly and it’s easy to navigate its cobblestone streets. Ljubljana is also a green city. We saw almost no plastic water bottles anywhere. For transportation, the focus is on public transportation and pedestrian and cycling networks. Since the city center is completely pedestrian, the city offers rides on electric-powered vehicles referred to as Kavalirs meaning Gentle Helpers to assist the elderly, people with suitcases, or the mobility-impaired.

Below are some of the best things to see and do in Ljubljana.

Private Tour 

The best way to get the most out a visit to Ljubljana is with a private guided tour. Keith and I toured Ljubljana on foot with Barbara from Ride Around Tours. You probably know by now how much we appreciate private tours. Ride Around Tours offers some great packages but also will customize anything for you. The guides at Ride Around Tours love Slovenia and love the environment. They are enthusiastic about sharing the beauty and hidden treasures of their country. Best of all they are friendly; we felt like one our friends showed us around Ljubljana.

We spent 2 days with Ride Around Tours that you can read about in our other blog posts. First, we started our Ljubljana visit with a city tour. It began with a cappuccino al fresco in the heart of Ljubljana. Afterward, we walked the entire city while learning about Ljubljana today and past. Let me tell you the central historic district with its bridges and colorful architecture, riverside cafes, shops and markets, and friendly people is adorable. The different period buildings coupled with the architectural styles in Ljubljana tell the history and stories of those who lived there. These building and shops along with the many outdoor cafes and bistros create such beautiful streetscapes. Barbara with Ride Around Tours really knows Ljubljana and all she has to offer.

Unique Shops

You could spend more than a day visiting the unique shops of Ljubljana. And, speaking of interesting shops, we visited a shop called Dobrote Dolenjske. Dobrote Dolenjske sells locally made food products from in and around Ljubljana, mostly the Dolenjska region. They sell marmalades, honey, cookies, oils, spirits, liqueurs and wines. They make all of their products with care for the environment as a top priority. Tasting local culinary treats is a great way to experience a new place.

Something very interesting that they sell is a unique brandy made by local monks with a whole pear inside the bottle.  The bottle is placed over a pear as soon as the blossoming has finished. The pear then grows inside the bottle. Once the fruit ripens inside the bottle, they pick it along with the bottle and clean it. Then they pour organic pear brandy that is distilled four times into the bottle resulting in a fruity, warm and aromatic brandy. In this shop, we also tasted dried pears, a local cheese, honey liquor, and cookies.  Everything was fabulous.

They also sell some local crafts such as hand-knitted dolls, stained glass products, and jewelry. This is a great shop if you are looking for real Slovenian experience, gifts or just something delicious to sample and take back home. Best of all they are open seven days a week.

Small Bites

Around late afternoon, we stopped for a glass of wine and ordered a couple of small bites at Gostilna Pri Kolovratu. Gostilna Pri Kolovratu is a café in the heart of Ljubljana. The restaurant offers traditional Ljubljana food since its opening in 1836. Their food includes slow-cooked dishes from the first Slovenian cookbook published in 1799. We paired our bites with a great Malvazija wine. Our waiter explained that Malvazija is a fabulous local white wine. The food and wine were great but eating on the street in Ljubljana while people watching made it perfect!

Preseren Square the Main Gathering Place of Ljubljana

Our guide told us that as long as she can remember Ljubljana’s main gathering place has been Preseren Square. The square named for the 19th-century poet France Preseren whose work Zdravljica (A Toast) became Slovenia’s national anthem. There is a statue of him next to the Central Pharmacy. But what will probably fist grab your attention when you arrive at the square is the Baroque style, Franciscan Church Of The Annunciation. The pastel reddish color is symbolic of the Franciscan order.

Preseren Square is part of the old town’s pedestrian zone and its where festivals, Ljubljana carnival, concerts, sports, and even protests take place. The square formed after the city walls were pulled down in the middle of the 19th century. The first decade of the 20th century saw Art Nouveau architectural gems appear.

Robba Fountain

The Robba Fountain sits in front of the Town Hall and is a symbol of Ljubljana. This 1751 fountain named for its creator, Italian Baroque sculptor Francesco Robba is lovely. Incorporating inspiration from the grand fountains of Rome, the fountain features three male figures with jugs. The men are thought to be the three river gods, supposedly representing the Krka, Ljubljanica and Sava rivers. Steps that lead up to the fountain represent the Carniolan Mountains. These mountains, which were part of Carniola, are a historical region that comprises parts of present-day Slovenia. Today the monument you see standing in Mestni square is a replica; the original is inside the lobby of the National Gallery of Slovenia to protect it from the elements and preserve it for eternity.

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Dusseldorf Germany is an international city for shopping, dining, and art. Everyone wants to “see and be seen” on the chic shopping street Königsallee. In the restaurants of Dusseldorf, you will discover contemporary culinary trends and exquisite tastes both local and international. The art and museum scene rivals many higher-profile cities. Dusseldorf on the banks of the Rhine River in western Germany is a contemporary, lively, and often missed destination.

We had the pleasure of visiting Dusseldorf, Germany recently. We found Dusseldorf colorful, creative, casual yet elegant and above all friendly. With these many different faces, it is easy to understand why Dusseldorf is known as the Pearl of the Rhine. Here are seven things you should include on your list of things to do when you visit.

Do Window or Real Shopping on Konigsalle Boulevard

Along Königsallee or “Kö” as the locals call it, classy boutique and famous high-end brands line the street. Kö has a sophisticated feel and is the main reason Dusseldorf is considered an elegant city. Celebrities to the wealthiest people in the world come to Dusseldorf to shop so you never know who you may see while strolling along the Kö. With its chestnut tree border, it is one of the city’s prettiest streets. The Ko is a place where you still dress to shop. We recommend you dress the part if you plan on doing some shopping here.

Stroll the Ko-Bogen

In keeping with the shopping theme, we recommend a stroll through the Ko-Bogen. It’s a mall so to speak filled with premium, luxury, and lifestyle shopping and dining in lively quarters. After WWII, Dusseldorf had to do a lot of rebuilding. They decided they wanted to go modern. Designed by New York architects, the Ko-Bogen is an ultra-modern two-part building ensemble filled with premium flagship stores, international brands, unique boutiques as well as cafés and restaurants. While you are there, take a walk around the outside. If you are inspired by architectural beauty, you will love the Ko-Bogen.

Take a Guided Walking Tour of Old Town

Now that you have your shopping done, it is time to tour old town or Altstadt Dusseldorf. As you walk the historic city center, you will see beautiful churches, and in contrast the worlds longest bar. That is right, more than 260 pubs line up in what is known as the longest bar in the world. As you tour the old town, you will see many cartwheelers and hear the legend of why they are so famous in Dusseldorf. You will see them on manhole covers, in souvenir shops, and fountains.

If you like history, Dusseldorf’s old town has intact air raid shelters that you can visit. Our guide took us to one of these shelters. Going underground in one of these shelters is a fascinating yet uneasy experience. Heavily bombed during WWII, Dusseldorf shelters gave protection to some people. But, as you think about living in Dusseldorf during the war, it must have been very difficult times. The shelters could not house everyone, and even if the shelters could, not everyone could make it to a shelter before the air strikes started.

It was an eerie experience to see the shelter’s capacity written on the wall. For the safety of those inside more people could not be added. There was a hand crank ventilation system. A person would turn the crank, and the system would bring in, hopefully, fresh air. I am sure that was not always the case. Air strikes took place round-the-clock for seven weeks at a time. The air strikes created many fires. An estimated 540,000 Dusseldorfian’s lost their lives in WWII

Back in the day, the sculptor on the front of this building was down at street level. The man’s face, of this facade, made of an arrangement of nude women designed by an artist to be beautiful came under scrutiny. You will see if you look closely. The cities townspeople at the time thought the artist’s work was too risqué. So, the town moved the man’s face up higher on the building. Today it is just a conversation piece.

Calsplatz

Another place that is a must when visiting Dusseldorf, especially if you are a foodie, is Carlsplatz. Carlsplatz used to be a farmers market, but as the city grew in culture and prestige, the farmers market became a foodie’s and gourmet’s paradise. Occupying an entire square in Düsseldorf’s old town, Carlsplatz is where you can buy fresh fruits, vegetables, cheeses, pastries, breads and more. It also has an area that is similar to food trucks in the US with stalls or stands selling their unique dishes. One place will sell bratwursts, another crepes, and another soups. Like some food trucks, you take your food to a picnic table and dig in! Our guide told us she meets friends here often. One friend will have ravioli while another has a flatbread and still another has a salad.

While in Carlsplatz Do Some Wine Tasting

After you have had a scrumptious lunch, what could be better than some wine? Keith and I have a second passion after travel, and it is wine. Concept Reisling is a great place in Carlsplatz to do a white wine tasting. We met with Bjorn, the sommelier. He enthusiastically shared his passion and dream of wine with us. Concept Reisling’s stand is a wine shop and a wine bar, which means you can shop for home or enjoy some great wine while you are there.

They do sell reds but they are known for their whites, so we tried whites. Each tasting was better than the last. Since this wine bar is outside, we asked Bjorn if they have much business in the winter and he said yes. He said that between the radiant heaters, the wine and the warmth of the crew at Concept Reisling anyone could overcome the cold. They focus on more mature vintages, rare rarities, and young talents. We were able to tour their wine cellar. We had no idea that some whites are actually better aged and that they could be so expensive!

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When you first think of a vacation in Germany, Media Harbor Düsseldorf is probably not your first thought. However, Dusseldorf on the banks of the Rhine River in western Germany is a contemporary, lively, and booming destination. Dusseldorf is an international city for shopping, dining, art, and people watching. When Dusseldorf decided to renovate its old harbor, filled with abandoned warehouses and buildings, they went modern, welcoming architects with unique thoughts and plans to submit designs. The outcome is amazing, for here ultra-modern blends with old. Media Harbor Düsseldorf is a place for young and old alike to spend their leisure time. Here are five reasons why you too should spend your next holiday visiting Media Harbor Düsseldorf.

First, Get to Know the Harbor

Media Harbor is beautiful, relaxing and hip all at the same time. At the end of the 19th century, at the southern end of the Rheinuferpromenade (Rhine Promenade) are the Dusseldorf’s docks. They played a part in the city’s boom until the end of WWII. In the 1990s Dusseldorf began to revitalize the harbor area. It is now a contemporary office district for fashion brands and media firms but also populated with great restaurants, bars, and a cinema.

We Recommend a Walking Tour

We recommend a walking tour of Media Harbor. We took a great tour with Anja Kuhner. She is so knowledgeable and passionate about Dusseldorf. She feels it is one of the most underrated cities in the world. We sat on the edge of the wharf before our tour began and listened as she gave us an impressive overview of what we were about to see. During the tour, we felt as if we were her out of town friends, and she was giving us a tour of her hometown.

Most Importantly, Media Harbor is home to the Gehry buildings, collectively considered Düsseldorf’s new landmark. Three contrasting building complexes appears like a gigantic sculpture along the riverfront. This newest landmark of Dusseldorf designed by Frank O. Gehry, USA, will entice architecture lovers and those who appreciate beauty. The three twisted constructions by Gehry, stretch, and spiral towards the sky in his iconic style, symbolizing the modernist ambitions of the harbor.

Dusseldorf was not unlike other harbor towns in the world that had seen better days. In fact, Dusseldorf may have been worse than most as they were bombed heavily during WWII. Dusseldorf’s economy, like many other western cities of the world, shifted from manufacturing and transport to information and finance. After a fantastic visit to the Dusseldorf harbor, all we can say is “thankfully Dusseldorf had visionaries who could see its potential.”

 

Hyatt Regency Dusseldorf

We recommend staying at the Hyatt Regency Dusseldorf. The Hyatt is another focal point of the Media Harbor. This modern designed hotel overlooks the Rhine and the city’s skyline. From our luxurious room, we had magnificent views of the Rhine.

One of the things that Keith and I look for when choosing a hotel to stay at is if they have a restaurant and a bar? Of course, we love to check out the top rated or any plant-based restaurants in town but sometimes, time plays a factor. So we want to make sure that the hotel has a good restaurant should we need or want to eat there. Next is a bar. Neither Keith or me are big drinkers, but we like, no we love hotel bars. Nice hotel bars can be very cozy and are a great place to hang out and enjoy some downtime or work while staying at a hotel. The Hyatt Regency excelled at having both of these including the Pebble’s Terrace restaurant that sits on the tip of the Media Harbor peninsula providing panoramic views of the Rhine.

 

Next Visit the Rheinturm for a Panoramic View of Dusseldorf

The Rheinturm or Rhine Tower is a telecommunications tower. As the tallest building in the city by a long shot, its bright neon lights can be seen all across Dusseldorf in the evenings. The observation deck is open daily to the public. It stands on the edge of the southern city center, at the entrance to Media Harbor. The concrete shaft of the tower also features a series of lights or dots that act as the world’s largest digital clock. There is a glass-fronted restaurant, 566 feet in the sky, that rotates once an hour, changing direction midday. From the viewing platform, you get a breathtaking view of the Rhine metropolis including the Media Harbor, the Altstadt, the Hofgarten, Königsallee and of course the Rhine with its bridges. While visiting the tower, try laying against the slanted glass walls to feel like you are floating above Dusseldorf.

The Beautiful District of Unterbilk

Just a short walk from Media Harbor and you are in Unterbilk. In fact, you are in the center of Unterbilk when visiting the Rhine Tower. Here in Unterbilk, you will find narrow streets lined with wonderful trees and lovingly restored old buildings. Unterbilk is full of creative workshops, great shopping, and charming cafes. Unterbilk is more of a local neighborhood so you will find fewer tourists here. Loretto Strasse is a chic corner of Unterbilk with beautiful one-of-a-kind shops and tasty eats. Unterbilk is a district that brings together the old and the modern making it exciting, colorful and always worth a visit.

A piece of the Berlin Wall

Halfway through our day, we stopped at the Currywurst Bistro to have an iconic fast food dish called Currywurst. Currywurst is a steamed, then fried pork sausage (bratwurst) that is served with fries and a curry spiced ketchup. It was quick and delicious.

A Museum Visit

Dusseldorf is full of museums, rich in art and lively in culture. There are so many great museums that choosing which to visit will be difficult. We recommend that you visit the Kunstsammlung. The Kunstsammlung is a museum of modern art divided into two separate museum buildings, the K20, and K21.

The area around the museum is quite lovely. The museum housed in the former Ständehaus (Parliament building) has a spectacular location. It sits facing a tranquil pond inhabited by geese. The Neo-renaissance style Parliament building converted into a functional and outstanding museum includes a large, open interior courtyard set beneath an enormous glass cupola. We recommend the K21 Museum focusing on the 21st century and international contemporary art.

On our visit to the K21 Museum, we took part in the Tomas Saraceno, IN ORBIT exhibit. The In Orbit exhibit suspended more than 82 feet above the piazza of K21 is interactive. When you arrive at the exhibit, you will be given shoes and overalls so you can become a part of the exhibit. The exhibit, constructed of virtually transparent steel mesh that interlaces three levels spans the massive glass dome area. To access the exhibit, you climb a couple of flights of stairs. Visitors are invited to enter the installation and explore it by climbing.

I was so excited to..

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India’s culture was like nothing we had experienced before. India is a country with many diverse customs, and any visitor traveling to India will be overwhelmed but also wowed. India is full of color, unique scents, and many sounds. It has diverse cultures, monuments, landscapes and places to explore. It is a land of surprises, delights and rich in heritage.

Rajasthan

We experienced much of India’s culture in the state of Rajasthan. Rajasthan is the land of Rajas, Maharajas, and camels. In the past, some of India’s wealthiest called Rajasthan home. Located in Rajasthan are wonderful monuments and haveli’s (mansions) showcasing the elaborate lifestyles of the rulers of India’s culture-rich past. The route that connected the East to the West, the Silk Road, traveled through Rajasthan.

An India Cultural Tour

To truly experience India’s culture especially in Rajasthan, you have to do more than visit the monuments and temples that attract so many visitors to India. You need to visit small towns, watch artisans at work, and witness the light in the eyes of the local children. You need to stay in places that hold so much of India’s history such as palaces and haveli’s that were once home to the royal families. Experiences like these are how you get up close and personal with a real feel for the culture.

Doing all of this takes someone who has the connections to put together a custom itinerary for your travels. We feel we experienced India’s culture by letting India Heritage and Cultural Tours create a custom program for us. We met with the owner, KV Singh and had a fascinating discussion about India and its culture. Nothing is off limits when talking with KV, which was refreshing.  He arranged our India culture tour complete with hotels and a driver.

Khandela with its Beautiful Bazaars

We began our cultural tour with a visit to the 2000-year-old city of Khandela. Khandela is a market town that services nearby villages. It is different than many of the other Indian villages that we visited. It is well organized, clean and welcoming. We toured the hustling and bustling bazaars of Khandela with a local guide who spoke English. The locals here let us shop and did not pressure us to buy, something quite different from our other experiences in India. Like many cities in the area, there is a mix of Hindu, Muslim, and Christians living together amicably.

Along the way, we stopped at a family business of pottery makers. Since the Light Festival was only a week away, they were busy making all sorts of things in preparation. It was amazing to see how fast they crafted the pottery and then painted it.

Castle Khandela

We had lunch at Castle Khandela. The castle has a royal feel and ambiance to it. It’s been in the owners family for eighteen generations. We toured some of the guest rooms, and each room was spacious and different from the other. Throughout the castle were many antiques on display. We requested a no dairy or meat meal, and they graciously accommodated us. We enjoyed a traditional vegan Indian lunch.

India Heritage and Cultural Tours also put together a Jeep safari ride for us. We traveled through very small villages and hamlets. In one village, we met some kids playing a game with an old tire. We asked them to show us how they played the game and their wide grins said everything. After the demonstration, they invited us to visit their home to see how they lived. They were such a happy family. The family; mom, dad, and three children lived next to one of the village wells. They shared their home with an ox, a cow, and several goats.

Visiting a Working Farm

We were also able to visit a working farm and a stepwell that the owner of the Castle Khandela owns. The farm had a caretaker. At night, the caretaker would sleep on a raised platform in the middle of the farm field. By sleeping on the platform, he could shew away cows that wandered in to try to eat the crops growing there.

Also on this jeep tour, just outside a small village, we came across these ruins. They were memorials to the Indian husbands of past who died along with their wife/wives who committed Sati (burning of the widow). When the male died, cremation took place along with his wives. There were plaques on the memorials representing the husband and each number of wives. The practice of Sati was banned when the British colonized India in 1840.

A Night in a Haveli and Dinner with a Local Family

We stayed at Khandela Haveli in Jaipur. The haveli is amazing. It’s a very authentic haveli set on a quiet side road with a lovely front garden. KV, the owner of India Heritage and Cultural Tours owns this hotel. He proudly displays antiques and pictures of his royal family past.

We finished our first day of this tour with a dinner at KV’s home. His whole family was there, wife, children, grandchildren, mother of his daughter-in-law. He said, “This is a frequent sight in our home.”  It was a real treat to share a typical family get-together and meal with KV. We enjoyed getting to know all of the family.

 

 A Visit to a Local School

The next day we were able to experience India’s culture in a very different way. We visited a local school in Jaipur. The school had children of all ages from Kindergarten through high school. The children were eager to show us what they were learning. They also seemed very proud to have westerners visiting their school. The school is a private school, but unlike most private schools, this one did not have mandatory fees. If the family could not afford it, they still could attend. We helped distribute a mid-morning snack of bananas while we were there.

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India is like no other place we have traveled. We traveled from Delhi to Jaipur to Agar and many smaller villages in between. It has the ability to overload the senses. India has intense colors, smells, tastes, and sounds. Many people live and work very close together in India, harmoniously. The beautiful faces of India coupled with the lively colors make India a truly memorable place.

The cities of Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur are commonly known as the Golden Triangle due to their geographical locations and their cultural splendor. The cities that we visited cover the classic tour of northern India, which included the majestic Taj Mahal. Most of this visit was in the province or state of Rajasthan in the north of India. Before we began our tour of India, our minds conjured up images of Maharajas and Moguls, of majestic forts and grand palaces. We were not disappointed, India is full of history especially Rajasthan. We are here to tell you that Rajasthan is still the land of camels, precious jewels and vast desert landscapes.

The Local People

The local people in India, from the big cities to the rural areas, are some of the kindest and most welcoming people we have encountered in our travels. The local people will gladly invite you into their homes. They know life in India must be very different from the lives we lead and they want to share these differences with the people they meet. The children playing on the street are the best. The warmth of their smile will touch your heart.

There are endless traffic jams, crowded streets, constant horn honking, cows on the highways, and swerving motorbikes that invade your road space. Oh, did I mention camels pulling loads on the highways? All of these things add to the culture that is uniquely India.

Many different cultures and religions live and work side by side each day. Spirituality, intricately intertwined with everyday life in India accounts for the actions of the people. Most major religions of the world are present in India, but Hinduism was most prevalent in the areas we traveled. Observing local people engaging in their daily rituals is an intimate experience. From the hotel we stayed, we watched people stop to buy food for the pigeons. In Hindu culture, everything is seen as of great importance whether it is a bird, animal, water, tree or even air. Feeding the needy is a highly noble cause.

Hindus believe God is present in all life forms. Feeding the pigeons is one way of serving him. Giving of the last you have to someone, or something in need will bring you abundance. Some of the people we saw looked like they needed the money to eat but in an attempt to please God spent their last rupees to feed the pigeons.

Land of Bright Colors

We will always remember India as the land of bright colors. As a visitor, India’s colorful culture, streets, and legends seem like something from a storybook. However, color, in essence, has been a large part of the Indian consciousness for thousands of years. Color is an expression of faith and belief. In the U.S., it is common to wear black, think little black dress. Because we all know, that black makes you look thin. Well, in India wearing black may mean anger, evil or death. While wearing white stands for everything desirable, widows wear white in India not black. India lives such a colorful life because the colors come from the powers and mythical lives of its gods. Each color has a meaning. Like green means nature and yellow means sanctity, so often you will see yellow in marriages. The wonderful colors of India are mesmerizing!

We have never done a photo post. Usually, we write a post and then we support it with photos. But in this case, the photos that we are calling the “Faces of India” are really telling the story. Moreover, a trip through our photos will lead you to an understanding of India’s pulse.

 

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A trip to India will be a trip like no other, and most people want to visit the sites of the Golden Triangle.  The Golden Triangle consists of three cities, Delhi, Jaipur, and Agra. They call it the Golden Triangle because of the triangular shape formed by the three cities on a map. Delhi is the capital of India and Agra is the home of the Taj Mahal.

India is a big country with so many places to see and things to do. Thus making it challenging to figure out on your own where to go, what to do, and how to get there. Driving alone is very difficult. The driving culture is unique onto itself. Cars share the roads with tuk-tuks, mopeds, motorcycles, camels, oxen, and cows. They also drive on the left side of the road. They make 2 lanes into 3 and use the car horn constantly to pass. Based on our experience, we couldn’t imagine driving a rental car in India. We highly recommend you use a private driver. You will enjoy your trip more, get from point A to point B faster, and not have to worry about finding a place to park at the site seeing destinations.

India Someday

How can you put together an itinerary including the driver, sites to see and hotels? Use experts like India Someday who will do all the legwork for you. India Someday is a  team of passionate travelers who provide planning assistance for those who want to explore India independently. They will use their extensive knowledge to make sure you won’t waste a single moment of your time trying to navigate the roads of India. Whether you are a budget traveler or a luxury traveler they can put together an itinerary that is right for you.

We used India Someday and had a wonderful experience. They emailed us lots of useful information on India before our trip. Then they gave us a complete itinerary that clearly detailed where and when the driver would pick us up, the hotel, and sites we would see. This is a very custom experience.

Delhi Itinerary

Delhi is the best place to start a tour of the Golden Triangle. It has a major international airport and most likely, the airport you will fly into. Delhi is a huge city of over 20 million people and is the capital of India. So we recommend two days to see the sights of Delhi.

The India Gate: This is a First World War Memorial dedicated to the 70,000 soldiers of the British Indian Army who gave their lives in the war. The memorial is located on the eastern edge of the “ceremonial axis” of what is now called New Delhi and is 138 feet tall.

The Rashtrapati Bhavan: This is the residence of the president of India. The presidents home has 340 rooms. This presidential estate also includes the Mughal Gardens, large open spaces, residences for bodyguards and staff, stables, and other offices within its walls. In terms of area, it is one of the largest residences of a head of state in the world.

The Laxminarayan Temple (Birla Mandir): This Hindi temple dates back to the mid-1930’s and was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi. The beautiful temple covers 5 acres and was the first large Hindi temple in Delhi. Adorned with shrines, fountains and lovely gardens the temple attracts many devoted Hindi people daily. We would put this at the top of the list in terms of what to see in Delhi.

The Qutub Minar: This is the second tallest minaret (a spiral or tower) made of bricks in the world. Minarets are usually adjacent to a mosque. The Minar and the surrounding monuments date back to the early 1300’s and are a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Humayun Tomb: This is a tomb built in 1569 for the Mughal Emperor Humayun. Architecturally, it was the inspiration for the Taj Mahal.

Gandhi Memorial Museum:  The National Gandhi Museum has a very rich collection of everything from journals and books to artwork connected to Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi envisioned an India in which all people lived in harmony. Through it displays, the museum hopes to motivate all guests to contribute to the betterment of all of society. When visiting you will have a sense of how Gandhi lived as well as a sense of peace.

Swaminarayan Akshardham:  Swaminarayan Akshardham is a Hindi house of worship. In the early 2000’s over 8000 worldwide volunteers helped build this temple.  More than 300,000,000 volunteer hours went into making this complex.  Believing that each soul is divine and that prayer improves oneself is the mantra of this temple.  This temple is beautiful and super clean. Unfortunately, along with shoes, cameras are not allowed in the temple. The temple, operated daily only by volunteers, encourages prayer, compassion, and non-violence.


A Rickshaw Ride through Old Delhi: A rickshaw is a perfect way to get around in old Delhi. It was a totally walled city and much smaller than the Delhi of today. Old Delhi once filled with mansions of nobles and members of the royal court, along with elegant mosques and gardens is very overcrowded today. A rickshaw can get through the streets of old Delhi much easier than a car. Our rickshaw driver showed us all of the sights. We told him we wanted to shop for spices so he was able to park and walk with us to the spice market vendors, which was much appreciated. Despite being extremely crowded and dilapidated, old Delhi is the symbolic heart of Delhi.

The Lotus Temple: The Lotus Temple is a modern temple built in 1986 at the cost of 10 million dollars. We say it is worth going to see the architecture and get some photos. The inside is unremarkable, and they do not allow photos so unless you wish to pray we suggest you skip the inside tour and long line that goes with it.

While in Delhi, we stayed at Eleven Delhi, a colonial bungalow bed and breakfast. The owner was very helpful with suggestions of places to eat and see. When we asked our host for a dinner recommendation, he recommended a café within walking distance. However, he was not sure they would take credit cards. There was no ATM’s nearby, and we had not picked up any rupees yet. He opened his wallet and lent us 1500 rupees or $21 US dollars so that we could go to dinner without worry. That is just one of the personal touches you get with these type of properties.

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Riding a train through Europe with Eurail is something we always wanted to do. However, as we got older, we thought that Eurail was mostly for backpackers. Many backpackers use the Eurail system because it is so cost effective. After traveling through Europe for 42 days, we are here to say that just about anyone of any age can have a wonderful travel experience with Eurail. We learned so much of the do’s and don’ts of European train travel. Things I wish we knew before we left. We love train travel, and we would do it again, but there are things you need to know to make it easier and less stressful.


Buying the Pass

Let us start by creating a schedule and booking the tickets. You probably heard about the freedom you have with a Eurail ticket. Just show up at the train station and get on the next train going to your destination. Yes, that is possible, but we are planners. Moreover, just showing up in the hope that there is room on the train or that there is even a train going to your destination that day is something we did not want to experience. Our preference was to find the train we were going to take ahead of time, and since we purchased a first-class Eurail pass, we could buy a seat reservation (sometimes mandatory) for a little extra money.

The first thing you need to do is purchase your Eurail pass. The Eurail website has an excellent system that will help you choose the best pass to buy. You enter the number of days traveling and the countries and/or cities you are going to,  and it will suggest the best options. We had the Eurail Global Pass for ten train days over 2-months. That means we could travel on trains ten days over a 2-month period. We went to nine countries,  so this worked out perfect.

Reservations

Once you receive your Eurail passes in the mail, you can begin any needed reservation requests. The easiest way to see the train schedules and make reservations is through the self-service Eurail reservation system. From this system, you can enter the country and city you want to depart from and arrive at, and you will see the options for that day. It is straightforward. It will show you if you have to change trains or if reservations are mandatory. Once you make all of your selections, you submit it to Eurail for processing. You need to allow time for Eurail. It took almost two weeks to have my choices processed and approved. Once they email you that everything is right, you can go into the system, accept and pay for the reservations.


The tickets are either e-tickets or paper. Of the nine trains we took in Europe, not one was an e-ticket. I found it very strange that they still used paper tickets. We had our reservation tickets sent to the first hotel we stayed at in Europe. They were there when we arrived

First Day on the Train

We flew into Zagreb Croatia. That is where our Europe trip started. Our first trip on the train was to our second destination, Ljubljana Slovenia. We got to the train station about an hour early. However, it turns out; there is really no need to get to any station much earlier than 30 minutes. Because the station does not assign a platform to the train until 30 minutes before arrival. Therefore, you have to stay in the central area looking up at the signage waiting for your train’s platform assignment.

Once our train was assigned, we made our way to the bottom of the platform and came to the stairs. In this station, there was no elevator or escalator. We both had suitcases of about 50 lbs. So we (or should I say “I”) had to carry them up the stairs. It would have been easier if we could have packed lighter but being away for six weeks and toting a bunch of camera gear made that difficult. Once on the platform, we just waited for the train.



Trains Don’t Stay Still for Long

One thing you have to remember is that the trains do not stop at the stations for very long. Maybe three or if you are lucky, ten minutes. Therefore, you have to get on the train quickly. The challenge is finding the car you need to get on. This only applies if you have a reservation with an assigned seat. When the train comes in, you watch for the car with your number on it and then quickly head for it. Once on the train, you need to find a place to stow your luggage.

There is always overhead storage by your seats but not always big enough if you are carrying medium or large suitcases. So we learned that you put your luggage anywhere you can find a place that does not block the aisle. Only on a couple of the trains we took did they have a dedicated luggage area. One time, there was no place but over our heads to put our suitcases. Luckily, I am in decent shape so lifting the 50 lb. suitcase overhead to the storage went without incident.

Lessons from Train Rides through Nine Countries

The first train ride was a little stressful but only because it was unknown. After the first one, we were pros. We continued to learn new lessons on European train travel throughout the nine countries. I decided to summarize what we learned in hopes that it will help you ease the fear of traveling through Europe on Eurail.

First Class or Not? We looked at the seats on every train, and I can tell you that the first class seats really were more spacious and comfortable. Therefore, if you can afford the little extra, I would go for it.

Allow Enough Time. Remember that it took 2 weeks to hear back from Eurail for reservations so make sure you allow enough time including the time needed to mail you any seat reservation tickets.

It’s not an Airport. Don’t bother arriving too early. There’s no need. Since you already have your ticket (Eurail pass) and possibly a reservation, you just go right to the train platform. Most stations don’t assign a platform to the train until 30 minutes before arrival.


Luggage. Keep in mind that you might have to carry your luggage up the stairs or put it overhead. Therefore, if you have any disability or are not that strong, you might have a problem. Some stations had elevators and some had luggage assist conveyors along the stairs. Moreover, nowhere in any of the countries we were in did we see porters at the train station to help you with luggage.


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Throughout the year, we discover many new travel items. Some things are great and some not so great. We personally used all of these and thought we would bring to you the ones that were fabulous. Many are not the typical travel items you read about so much. These are a little more unusual and probably things you didn’t know existed. Here are our top seven travel items of 2018.

ORGO Travel Organizer

The folks at ORGO are committed to finding smart solutions for small spaces. They came up with the ORGO organizer. It’s great for travel. Whether you’re on a plane, RV, cruise ship or hotel room, this organizer is perfect for a women’s cosmetics. Its innovative design is perfect for small bathrooms with limited counter space.

If you travel outside of the US, you will most likely be faced with a hotel bathroom with just a pedestal sink. That’s where the ORGO excels. You can pack all of your makeup neatly in the different compartments (2 with zippers). Then it expands from 15 inches to 36 inches to create your own tabletop over a sink. The ORGO is lightweight, durable and they make it to fit into a carry-on.  Here is a picture of us using it in a Slovakia hotel.

 

Our emphasis and test were for travel items but this can also be used for everyday use and even to store craft supplies. It comes in a bunch of different colors.

 

Check out the ORGO organizer here:

Website: https://everythingorgo.com/
Where to buy: https://amzn.to/2pBdZiT

 

EcoRaider Mosquito and Bed Bug Spray

I know bed bugs are something most people don’t want to talk about but they are a reality. It’s surprising the number of travelers we meet that have been bitten by bed bugs. With this travel size 2-ounce bottle, you can be sure that bed bugs won’t bother you. Simply spray the hotel bed and sleep sound. I know that all this talk about bed bugs is making you squirm but I have to tell you that the spray also works great on bed bug eggs. And to ensure you don’t bring any of those nasty critters home, spray it on the outside of your luggage.

EcoRaider is the only natural product that kills bed bugs with 100% efficacy, according to Entomological Society of America journal publication.

Mosquitos can be such a pain. We used the EcoRaider Mosquito repellent while we were in India for 17 days. In a country where you have to worry about Malaria, wearing a good mosquito repellent is necessary. We all know that DEET is an effective repellent but at what cost? I never liked that chemical on my skin. EcoRaider makes an effective repellent that is safe for not only you but also the environment. While in India, we never had a single mosquito problem.

Family Visit in Florida

On the way back, we stopped in Florida to see family. If you think mosquitos are bad in India, you need to be by the beach and intercostal of Florida. Our friends were being bitten like crazy whenever they had to take their dog outside. Basically, they wore long pants and a long sleeve shirt when walking the dog. They tried our EcoRaider repellent and were amazed at how well it worked. From bites to no bites. In addition, they love that it is safe for their dog.

EcoRaider Natural & Non-Toxic Mosquito & Flying Insect Killer is all you need to protect your family during the mosquito season. It has not only effectively repels, but also kills 100% adult mosquitoes instantly by contact. When applied in stagnant water, it kills 100% of existing larvae effectively but also keeps two weeks residual efficacy killing new larvae.

Eco-Friendly

All of the EcoRaider products make great travel items and are eco-friendly and non-toxic but lethal to targeted insect and pests. It does not affect humans, animals, birds, and fish. It delivers outstanding performance while being non-toxic and safety, proving that green can work effectively.

Check out what EcoRaider has to offer here:

Website: https://ecoraiderusa.com/
Where to buy: https://amzn.to/2IEgNED

 

Eustachi (Plugged Ears)

If you fly on planes, then I’m sure you’ve had plugged ears. For some people, this can be very painful and they can’t always unplug them the conventional way. Eustachi works with your body to clear your ears anytime, anywhere using just a little air. It’s all natural, safe and completely drug-free. Great for cold and allergies, flying, swimming, and diving.

Plugged ears are no fun. Especially when flying. Tina sometimes has real problems with getting her ears to unplug. We heard about this small electronic device that supposedly works miracles. The Eustachi works by helping exercise your Eustachian tubes using a little bit of air. The air is delivered into your nostril where it can reach the Eustachian tube openings. Combine that with a timely swallow and the pressure behind the ears is equalized. For some people, this could be a lifesaver for comfort.

Their website offers lots of information on the Eustachian tubes including how to videos and Eustachian tube exercises. They also have a 100% money back guarantee. So if it doesn’t work for you, no loss.

This battery operated device is small and can easily be carried in your carry on or purse which makes it an ideal pick for my travel items list.

Check out the Eustachi here:

Website: https://www.eustachiunclogsears.com/
Where to buy: https://amzn.to/2RrkotL

 

Travelan (Digestive Tract Protection)

The most common illness that travelers face is traveler’s diarrhea. Not something fun to talk about but when you visit other countries that may not have the same purification processes that your body is used to, diarrhea can happen. E. coli can ruin any one’s holiday. Now there’s an answer to preventing this from affecting you.
Travelan is a natural dietary supplement specifically designed to reduce the risk of infection by E.coli (ETEC) as well as Shigella, Salmonella and other bacteria that cause Travelers’ diarrhea around the globe.

Travelers diarrhea is caused by the consumption of food or water infected with bacteria, these bacteria attack the intestines releasing diarrhea-causing toxins into the bloodstream. Travelan binds to E.coli in the gastrointestinal track preventing them from attaching to the intestinal wall and thereby neutralizing their ability to cause diarrhea and its associated symptoms.

Our Trip to India

We traveled to India for 17 days. Throughout this time I took Travelan as instructed. One tablet just before each meal. I did drink bottled water throughout the trip (a least that is what I was told I was drinking). And we didn’t think twice about anything we were eating. We ate in all levels of restaurants including street food. I’m happy to say that for the entire trip, I had no stomach problems. I can’t say with 100% certainty it was due to Travelan but I have friends who visit India frequently and tell me every time they visit they get diarrhea. So my faith is pretty high that Travelan works.

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials show Travelan confers protection of up to 90% against infection with the major strain of E.coli that causes travelers’ diarrhea. In addition, these trials showed a significant reduction in abdominal cramps and stomach pain compared to those who did not receive Travelan. There were no reported treatment-related side effects.

Why take a chance? Here’s where you can buy Travelan for yourself to make sure it’s one of those travel items you always have with you:

Website: https://www.travelanusa.com/
Where to buy: https://amzn.to/2OamVL4

 

Nixplay WiFi Photo Frame

If you travel, then I’m sure you take a bunch of digital photos. Even if you just use your phone, you end up with some great shots that I’m sure you’d love to display. Enter the Nixplay Seed 10.1 inch Widescreen WIFI photo frame. We have this frame on our desk and love it. This is nothing like the digital photo frames of the past. This has a 1280 x 800 high definition screen. It has a motion sensor on the front that will turn the frame off when no one is in the room. You load photos via WIFI from your computer or mobile device. It so simple to use. 

Originally, we were going to give this frame as a gift to my mother who lives far from us and then remotely loads photos of our trips so she could enjoy them. But, once I played with this frame for a bit, we ended up keeping it for ourselves.

Your photos are uploaded to the cloud and then the device downloads them automatically. You can create playlists and show only the playlists you want. Maybe have a playlist of your kid’s birthday parties, another for a vacation you went on.

Using the Nixplay Web app, you manage all your photos from one account. Upload photos from your social media platform, mobile device or computer and assign them to your Nixplay frame with drag and drop simplicity. It’s even Amazon Alexa compatible. So you can just tell Alexa what playlist to display.

The Nixplay comes in a few different models. I picked the narrow bezel frame and widescreen format since I shoot all my pictures in a 16:9 aspect ratio. Even though I don’t travel with it, it made my travel items list because it’s a great way to keep the last trip fresh in your mind.

Check out Nixplay here:

Website: https://www.nixplay.com/
Where to buy: https://amzn.to/2Oz9x2v

 

Receptra Naturals CBD Oils

You’ve probably heard lately all the hype over CBD oil. There’s a reason it’s in the news, and that’s because it’s a powerful health supplement to help you achieve optimal physical and mental performance.

CBD is the abbreviation for the word “cannabidiol” and it is one of over 100 cannabinoids you find in the hemp plant. CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid known for its positive effects on both the body and mind.

Receptra makes its full spectrum CBD oil from organic hemp grown in Colorado. Marijuana plants also produce CBD oil, but these products often have different cannabinoid profiles and are likely illegal as they regularly contain more than the legal amount of 0.3% THC. Also, don’t confuse CBD hemp oil with hemp seed oil. Hemp seed oil is a product they use in food and beauty items similar to how you would use olive oil or walnut oil.

You Won’t Get High

CBD will not get you high. Receptra’s makes their CBD oil from organically farmed hemp, not from marijuana. The cannabinoid responsible for generating notable psychoactive effects is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Hemp and marijuana are both considered cannabis. Aside from their method of growth, the big difference is that to be considered hemp, the plant must contain no more than 0.3% THC. In Colorado, where Receptra’s organic hemp is grown, the Department of Agriculture does not allow hemp with more than that percentage to be used for the creation of CBD products. In fact, they destroy any crop that tests higher than 0.3% THC.

 

Full-Spectrum CBD and the Entourage Effect

Some people work best alone and others prefer to be a part of a team. CBD is a team player. Receptra full-spectrum CBD oil includes all of the cannabinoids in the hemp plant and hundreds of additional plant compounds such as vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, flavonoids, and terpenes. This creates a synergy between cannabinoids, providing the ideal environment for CBD to interact with your body’s natural receptors. This concept is called the “entourage effect.”

Pure full-spectrum CBD oil gives the body what it needs when it needs it with more effectiveness than if the CBD molecule was separated out (isolated) from all of the other cannabinoids and compounds.

How does this relate to travel? Well if you travel then you know it can be taxing on you both physically and mentally. From the long plane rides to time zone changes, all are taxing on the body. My son and I take the CBD Elite and the Plus.

It’s not always that obvious whether you see or feel an improvement. Especially when you are generally a healthy person. My son takes the CBD Elite and after about a week was noticing that he was sleeping better. Overall, we both felt more energetic and alert. I also think it helped with jet lag recovery after a long flight.

They also make one for your pets. We give our two dogs Max and Molly the Receptra Pet that has been specially formulated for your pet.

Receptra makes some other great products that help with your aches and pains and soothing your skin.

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