Monthly Archives: November 2015

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Wales is often overlooked when planning a trip to the United Kingdom, but it shouldn’t be! It’s an amazing gem, with delicious food, fantastic people and ridiculously long place names. It may surprise you to learn that Wales is officially bilingual with the majority of people speaking Welsh along with English. Despite being boarded by England to the East,  when visiting Wales you’ll experience a unique cultural identity all its own. We’ve made a list of awesome things to do this November and onwards to make your trip worthwhile!

The Real Ale Wobble: Mid-November

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The Real Ale Wobble takes place at the start of a 10-day long beer festival in Llanwrtyd Wells, Mid Wales. Split into two separate courses, this alcohol-fueled bike ride will weave you through some stunning views of mountains and forests in Mid Wales, while giving you a taste of some genuine local brews and some new folks to ride with. There is one course for more avid bikers, and one for eager amateurs, and it’s non competitive; because really, when you’re drinking handcrafted Welsh ale, everyone wins.

There are two checkpoints along the way along with a final checkpoint at the end and at each checkpoint, tokens can be exchanged for delicious ales — all which have been brewed locally (they also have other drinks available, but why would you want that?) and the main station will also have a BBQ and a “Coffee Pod,” and spots where you can buy food and more drinks. When you factor in the beautiful scenery, the amazing ales, and the added bonus of live entertainment and nighttime festivities, there’s absolutely every reason to grab your bike and get drinking!

Abertoir in Aberystwyth and Cardiff: Mid-November

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This festival has gained so much popularity that it’s begun to take over Cardiff (the country’s capital) as well! Every year, the festival showcases some of the best in new and classic horror films, along with a short film competition that allows you to explore some really good (and some very student-based) new horror as well. In addition to the films on show, you can attend scary story readings, panel discussions, and this year a Vincent Price themed dinner. If you’re into horror movies, or if you just didn’t quite get your fill of spooky stuff this Hallowe’en, then the Abertoir festival is for you!.

Hay-On-Wye Winter Food Festival: Late November

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Held in a place of the same name (Hay-On-Wye), this one day food festival comes a few weeks after the end of the main Hay Festival. As far as food vendors go, it’s actually quite limited with no more than 50 vendors allowed to partake in the festival, which allows for a bit of competition and an assurance that the food and the experience will be a good one. There’s an arts and crafts fair that takes place the same day at the Butter Market, and once you’ve filled your belly you’ll be able to listen to some traditional music, including male choir performances.

The Hay festival itself, which is held at Hay Castle is a solid meeting of minds for discussions of literature, film and political agendas which proves to be good fun for those whole like a good debate and enjoy being entertained.

Are you planning on visiting Wales in November?

Following airlines on social media pays off sometimes. Like when a major airline has a giant sale on round-trip tickets and you spontaneously purchase a ticket to explore a new city. Thanks, Southwest! Last weekend the boyfriend and I jump aboard a 90-minute flight to St. Louis and hung out in the city for three wonderful days. Here’s some St. Louis attractions we found to fill our 72 hours.

Schlafly Brewery Tour

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Flickr photo via clio1789

Every Saturday and Sunday Schlafly hosts free guided tours from 12 to 5 p.m. at the Schlafly Tap Room. Reservations for tours aren’t required and are booked on a first-come basis. Best part – besides the hilarious brewery guides – each tour goer gets a free brew afterwards.

Rabeang Pasak treehouse resort

Haven’t you always wanted to sleep in a treehouse? There is a place in a small town in the northern part of Thailand where your childhood dreams can come true. A treehouse resort called Rabeang Pasak has multiple different treehouses where you can spend some quality time with your family, friends, or even by yourself.

Rabeang Pasak is a family-run place that started in 2010. The houses were designed by former Architect Mr. Bullsiri Suwannachin, better known as Lee. When he retired, Lee decided to put his creative juices into designing a treehouse to live in, later expanding to a small collection of treehouses. Each house is a different design and has a unique name such as “Moon House” or “Bamboo House.” There are eight houses in total, six regular and two that are set aside for families.

Rabeang Pasak treehouse resort

When you think of a treehouse, you may imagine a haphazard pile of planks nailed together with a rickety latter. However, these treehouses are unlike anything you’ve ever seen or imagined. Lee transferred his passion as an architect into creating these magical houses within the trees of Thailand complete with stairs, showers, and windows.

Rabeang Pasak is located in Doi Saket, right outside of the popular city of Chiang Mai. When traveling to Thailand, stop in Chaing Mai, a city that has been around since the 1200’s to soak in some history and culture before driving to Doi Saket to enjoy the rural market village and experience beautiful nature of Thailand. The Treehouse resort is built in the Teakwood forest where you can hike around, wander within the trees, explore caves and more.

A couple of attractions near the treehouses include the Mae Ngat Dam and Reservoir and the Maetaman Elephant Camp. The Reservoir and Dam are great for picnics and for fishing and swimming. There is also a waterfall near the area that you ca hike to. The Elephant camp is a little bit more of a trek and might be worth renting a car for. The camp has mixed reviews. While some people truly love seeing such majestic creatures in real life, others worry about their treatment.

The Rabeang Pasak resort is truly a magical experience. Sleep and live in the trees just like you imagined as a kid on your next trip to Thailand.

Would you stay at the treehouse resort in Thailand?

Would you brave Bolivia’s Death Road, one of South America’s ultimate challenges? In a land of adventure and wilderness, going down this windy, unbarriered mountain road 56 km northeast of La Paz remains one of the continent’s biggest adrenaline experiences. While riding the 58 km down the Death Road may seem like a crazy endeavor, the activity is offered by well-established, licensed tour providers with many years of experience helping tourists tackle it.

The Death Road (or Ruta de la Muerte in the original), is the ominous nickname given to the north section of the old Yungas Road linking Coroicos and La Paz. It was voted the “world’s most dangerous road” by the Inter-American Development Bank in 1995, and a 2006 estimate suggested that 200-300 travelers were killed along the road each year. Besides the facts that sections of it can get wet and visibility can be significantly impaired on foggy days, what makes the Road so dangerous is its very narrow size.

Despite this chilling reality, the Road has become a popular attraction on the South American travel trail. Today, the traffic and number of casualties have been culled by the construction of a safer alternative, and the old Yungas Road is the perfect terrain for thrill-seeking mountain bikers. While the Road is barely large enough to let one car through and needs to be navigated very carefully by motored vehicles, it is much more manageable on a smaller bike… and rewards you with epic vistas from its 4,650 m-high starting-point to the end!

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Flickr photo via wanderlasss

Perhaps surprisingly, you don’t need to be an accomplished mountain biker or cyclist to enjoy those views: the descent of the Death Road is not particularly physical or technical, and is open to almost anyone who can pedal! Your experience will start with a 20 km ride down a more securitized road in order to familiarize yourself with your bike and to master the turning and braking techniques. Once you’re comfortable with your gear and have found your cruising pace, a short minivan drive will take you up to La Cumbre Pass, the start of the actual North Yungas Road. Then it’ll be time to whizz down the remaining 38 km – with many stops for photographs along the way!

You’ll have a chance to relax and calm your nerves after the effort with a drink in a mountainside bar and a late lunch at a wild animal shelter. There is also the opportunity to sign up for optional activities, including zip lining, swimming, and tours of the shelter’s monkey area. Finally, you will set off for perhaps the scariest part of all: your minivan drive up the Death Road and back to La Paz.

After reaching the capital city in one piece, you’ll have earned major boasting rights: After all, you’ll be an official survivor of the world’s most dangerous road!

* Tips for a successful (near-)Death Road experience: This is not an activity you want to skimp on! There are tens of providers offering Death Road tours from La Paz – make sure that you do your research and choose a reputable company providing modern bikes with good suspension and appropriate riding gear. Although the Death Road is mainly downhill, it contains small flat and uphill sections towards the end. You will need minimum levels of fitness and confidence on two wheels to enjoy the ride.

So, will you brave Bolivia’s Death Road?

Below are the best Bay Area spots to unroll a blanket, unpack a basket and dine outdoors.

Welcome to the City by the Bay, a peninsula of steep and rolling hills. San Francisco is no stranger to open space and waterfront activities, which is why picnicking is a popular pastime. Choose from countless parks, fields, and beaches. Each provides a unique ambiance – with a view! Below are the best Bay Area spots to unroll a blanket, unpack a basket and dine outdoors.

Mission Dolores Park

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Flickr photo via Mik Scheper

It’s so much more than a grassy hill. This park has one of the best views of the San Francisco skyline. Set up camp under a palm tree and enjoy. As one of the city’s favorite parks, Mission Dolores fills up quick with nothing but good vibes.

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visiting wales

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Wales is often overlooked when planning a trip to the UK, but it shouldn’t be!