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Top Things To Do In Stockholm
August 11, 2013 7:27 PM



Sweden is merely impossible to imagine without Stockholm, the capital that stands on 14 islands and each has something to show. Tourists might highly estimate this city considering the number of cultural exquisites: national cuisine, places of interest, presence of indigenous Vikings’ spirit, vivid history of the North, and many others. Anyway, Stockholm appears to be one of those exemplary travel destinations, worth visiting at least one in a lifetime. Apparently, sightseeing around requires at least several days, one week is perfect, as far as the number of world-known museums and historic sites is indeed impressive. In addition, there are a couple things one should do if paying a visit to the capital of Sweden.

  1. Besides conventional excursions and exploring the city through a prism of museums and galleries, travelers can go to local parks and green areas that surround Malaren Lake. Stockholm is one of the greenest cities in Europe, where ecofriendly tourism is perfectly combined with fishing, boating, hiking, kayaking and other adventurous leisure. These might be a great alternative to long-lasting walking around Stockholm historic sites.

  2. If travelling with children, Stockholm is likely to offer several places to visit. Starting with Junibaken museum, for instance, is a place where Astrid Lindgren’s fairy tales are still alive. It is not only children but also adults eagerly travel from one story to another, getting the opportunity to sit down with Karlsson on the roof, to play with whimsical Pippi Longstocking, to see revived Moomin. Speaking of Karlsson, it is also exciting to search for the roof, on which he lived in the story. The very house is situated on the corner of the southern tip of St. Eriksplan, near the park Vasaparken, where Astrid Lindgren loved to walk. The writer claimed that Karlsson was lodged on the terrace under the turret.

  3. National cooking traditions are a distinctive feature of every country. Sweden, including Stockholm, is not an exception at all. Dishes made of salmon are a trademark of Swedish national cuisine. Gravlax (literally - "pit" or "grave") is one of the world-famous Swedish dishes. In ancient times it was impossible to save fish by freezing, and the salt that had to store it was expensive; thus, it was better to put fish in a pit and pour a small amount of salt so it did not deteriorated or got fermented. As such, the fish meat did not spoiled, and could be stored for a long time, and when it was processed with spices, salt and sugar, meat lost its smell of raw fish. Currently gravlax is still popular both within the country and abroad.

  4. Shopping is also one more feature Stockholm can boast of. It is a great destination to buy some antiques, as well as it is a great spot for fashionmongers. Probably, there is no point reminding that H&M, world-known clothing brand, has a head-quarter precisely in Stockholm. However, the foundation of the company occurred in Västerås town, Sweden, in 1947.

  5. One more thing Stockholm is associated with is the largest spherical building in the world. It is Globen arena, the first point of the so-called Swedish solar system, stretching to the north, and at the same time the place of the most prominent music and sport venues in Sweden. It is recommended to take a ride in glass gondolas of the skyline along Globen Arena surface, which present the most breathtaking views on Stockholm.

/Guest post by Maria Kruk, an author for Stockholm.net


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Famous And Historical Casinos In Australia
June 26, 2013 7:26 PM



When we think of famous casino venues we immediately think of Monte Carlo, Vegas or Macau, but one definite name on that list should be Australia; a country which has a fantastic mix historical and new age casinos.

The Crown Casino Melbourne and the Star Casino in Sydney are classic examples of the huge high rise casinos that we’re familiar with in the likes of Vegas and Macau.  Some of you may be aware of the famous fire ball show at The Crown that takes place frequently on weekend evenings.  Both casinos have all of the paraphernalia you’d associate with a modern hotel/casino complex such as water features, bars and restaurants.

Australia also has a selection of casinos based in more traditional buildings such as the Treasury Casino and the Adelaide Casino, both of which are based in very beautiful old buildings giving the casinos a debonair feel, somewhat akin to Monte Carlo or any of the other older European establishments.
The Adelaide Casino has the solitary table gaming licence issued by the South Australia authority, so if you’re travelling this area and like traditional casino games, this is the casino for you.  The Adelaide Casino is situated in the old Adelaide railway station which was built in the mid-19th century.  This gives the casino a very classy feel.

The Treasury is probably more impressive architecturally, with its Baroque façade lending it a New Orleans kind of vibe. Anyone in the area should acquaint themselves with this beautiful piece of early Australian heritage.

Australia is haven for large casino gambling, especially Australian online pokies.  They have a great blend of casino architecture keeping the industry entertaining, and if you’re a casino fan there’s a casino at most ports of call.  Check out the photos of places like Jupiters Casino and Hotel, to get a glimpse of the scale of the trade in Australia.

/Guest Post


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Three Simple Ways to Cut the Cost of International Calls
June 21, 2013 1:01 PM



Have you ever received your phone bill only to be hit with a nasty shock? Most of us have seriously underestimated the cost of international phone calls at one point or another. It turns out that five-minute call to your uncle in Singapore or best friend in Australia can cost a serious bundle! Rather than being blindsided by the cost of international calls, you can budget for them in advance. There are plenty of ways to keep in touch with friends and family living overseas at a discounted rate, if you know where to look. By choosing one of these three tips, you can hear your loved ones' voices without relying solely on Facebook or email.

Voice over Internet Protocol

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to make international calls is through Voice over internet protocol (or VOIP) services. The best known of these is Skype, which currently has over 100 million global accounts and is growing every day. However, Google, Yahoo, and Sipgate all have competing services. If you use the same service as your contact, you can speak over the internet without spending a cent. You can also call mobile phones or landlines using services like Skype, but this will cost you a small charge. Generally, you can register for an account and top up your credit to cover the cost of these calls, seeing exactly how much is being spent on your screen as you chat away. Some services also offer subscription services. One thing to keep in mind is that you can't call local emergency services over Skype or other providers.

Prepaid Phones and Local SIM Cards

There's something to be said for having a phone, either when travelling or when placing calls overseas. The connection is usually better than via an internet connection, and you can place emergency phone calls when necessary. However, mobile rates can be sky high if you're not careful. If you're signing a new contract, compare overseas rates from several different providers to find the best deal. Comparison tools like moneysupermarket.com are a good resource to see how different providers stack up. Travellers may wish to consider purchasing international SIM cards, which can be far lower in cost than your own provider. To use an international SIM card, you'll need to unlock your phone first and pass on your new number to your contacts.

Dial Providers

In addition to making cheap international calls with Lebara or other SIM card providers, you can use dial provider websites. These work by overriding your regular landline provider and charging you a lower rate. Most of these require you to register and set up an account, and they also start charging you whether or not your contact picks up the phone on the other end.

Finally, the old-fashioned method is still a valid one. You can purchase international phone cards at airports or corner shops, which can be used from your landline or a payphone. These can still provide the lowest rate outside of a service like Skype, in some cases. The best rates will depend on your location and where you are calling, so it's best to shop around to lower your phone bill.

/Guest Post


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A Guide To Walking In Majorca
June 13, 2013 7:58 PM



A guide to walking in Majorca
Majorca might strike you as a party island that has nothing more to offer its visitors, but this could not be further from the truth. Sure, its nightlife scene is buzzing and sometimes raucous, but its scenery is beautiful and there are lots of things to do for those who prefer romping around the countryside to sipping overpriced cocktails in a sweaty bar.

If you are keen on outdoor pursuits, consider packing your walking boots and exploring the beautiful mountains and lush valleys of the Balearic island.

Read on to find out more about the hiking opportunities before booking your cheap holiday to Majorca with Cosmos.

Where to walk

There are so many routes to choose from, but if you want to see the Majorcan coastline in all its glory, make Ses Salines your starting point. Enjoy the gentle breeze skimming over the ocean as you ramble west along the coast, then stop for lunch at the beautiful powdery beach of Es Trenc.

If you'd prefer to explore the Tramuntana mountains that form the backbone of the island, catch the bus to Caimari and walk to the historic monastery at Escorca. The route takes about three hours for determined hikers and you'll get to see the most incredible views as you pass El Barracar and the valley of Aubarca.

To see a bit more about the locals' way of life, follow the walk devised by Archduke Ludwig Salvator as he toured his estates by mule more than 100 years ago. Start at Valldemossa near the west coast and pass through 13km of countryside, coastline and village life. Have a look out for the round charcoal ovens known as sifjas and the lime kilns used by locals, as well as the thrush nets spread out between the trees to protect the olives and grapes from the birds' eager beaks.

General advice

As with any walking holiday, it's vital to look after yourself and prepare well before embarking on your journey. Remember that in the Balearic archipelago temperatures can soar to the mid-30s in the summer months, so protecting your skin and eyes from the sun is essential. Always wear a wide-brimmed hat to ward off sunstroke and keep a supply of water on you to prevent dehydration - you may be walking in areas that have no shops or residences for miles around, and many rivers and streams dry up in the heat.

Taking some high-energy snacks along is another wise plan, as is wearing clothing suitable for hiking. This includes lightweight walking trousers and a loose long-sleeved top for the daytime and a few warmer layers for when the sun sets.

Always let your hotel know whereabouts you're planning to walk so the reception staff is aware of when to expect you back. Check that your travel insurance is up to date and stow your EHIC card in your backpack so that it's with you at all times, and always take your passport or driver's license too - it is mandatory to carry identification when in Majorca.

/Guest Post


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Dine In Style Along Route 66
May 13, 2013 6:47 PM



Is there a US road trip more iconic than Route 66? I don't think so. It isn't all about the drive itself, though, because there are just so many things to see and experience along the way. Personally, I think stopping at some of the route's best restaurants is one of the absolute highlights of this kind of trip - and I'm sure keen foodies will agree with me!

Route 66 is peppered with well-esteemed eateries, including amazing Michelin-starred restaurants. Whether you want to seek out some of the best local food or go for the ultimate in luxury by dining at the most critically-acclaimed establishments, you will be in for an unforgettable experience. To give you the most freedom with your itinerary - including where you eat - I think it is worth booking a self-drive holiday along Route 66, but you can opt for an escorted tour if you prefer. Below, you'll find my top picks for eating in some of the most exciting cities along Route 66.

1) Girl & the Goat

Where: Chicago

The first restaurant on my list is the interestingly named Girl & the Goat, which you'll find in Chicago's West Loop. Open seven days a week, it has a reputation for its down-to-earth style and wonderfully fresh, locally sourced creations that have made it popular with locals and chefs alike. It divides its food into three broad categories - vegetables, fish and meat - as well as offering craft beers and even blending its own wine.

The atmosphere here is really laidback, with a communal bar table and rock and pop hits playing in the background. It's open from 16:30 each day, so it's a dinner venue rather than a lunch venue, and sometimes remains open into the early hours. As a quick tip, don't forget to try the bread here, which is freshly baked each day.

2) Joel Robuchon

Where: Las Vegas

Over in Sin City, you can discover the cooking of one of France's best-loved chefs, Joel Robuchon. Located in the MGM Grand, the Joel Robuchon Restaurant boasts an impressive three Michelin stars, as well as a Forbes five-star rating and a host of other accolades. So, if you decide to come here, it will definitely be one of the finest eateries you visit during your holiday.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to book in advance - the seating here is very limited (its capacity is approximately 60 people) and, thanks to the calibre of the chef's cooking, it's extremely popular. Should you be keen to try as many different dishes as possible, opt for the multi-course tasting menu. However, if you'd rather have a more traditional dinner, there's an excellent a la carte menu too.

3) Animal

Where: Los Angeles

The final restaurant on my list is pretty unusual in that it's a total celebration of all things carnivore. Located at 435 Fairfax Avenue, this restaurant is actually quite easy to miss unless you know it's there, since it doesn't have any grand exterior signage - something that adds to its charm, I think.

This menu is one that will leave meat eaters utterly spoilt for choice, as it includes the likes of ricotta gnocci with six-hour Bolognese - which is what I'd go for - and bolder dishes, such as pig's ear, beef heart and crispy pig head. The desserts caught my eye, too, thanks to the combination of classics like sticky toffee pudding and more unusual options, such as the bacon chocolate crunch bar.

/Guest Post


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Download the brand new book, One Year Lived, for free!
April 21, 2013 2:11 PM



Recently I was contacted by the author Adam Shepard, who with about $25 in his pocket left his home state in the US to search for the American Dream. His goal was to within 365 days become a “regular” member of society. A journey that later became Shepard's successful first book - Scratch Beginnings. A book that lead Shepard to be featured in the New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, the New York Post, on the Today Show, CNN, 147 radio programs and so on. Needless to say, I was quite intrigued with why this adventurous soul had contacted me?

Turned out that Shepard had found my blog through a series of links on the web and wondered if I would like the opportunity to offer my readers the chance to download his brand new book, One Year Lived, for FREE! A book which will be released tomorrow. Of course I said: "YES!". :p

Download the brand new book, One Year Lived, for free!
Book cover of Adam Shepard's brand new book, One Year Lived.

One Year Lived is about how Shepard decided to travel the world and spend all the money he earned with his first book. So between 2011 and 2012 Shepard visited seventeen countries on four continents, which of course resulted in some amazing experiences. Shepard's intent with One Year Lived is to inspire people to get out in the world and and start to live their lives - something I myself definitely also encourage. Which is really why I wanted to write this post.

Now on to how to get Adam Shepard's brand new book (eBook version), One Year Lived, for free? Just answer this question with a comment in the comment section:

"If you could go anywhere, where would you go?"

And I will e-mail you instructions on where and how to download the eBook for free. So make sure to leave an e-mail address with your comment as well. To read more about the book and the author, check out: OneYearLived.com.

Note: this opportunity only lasts until May 1st, 2013!

Enjoy! :-)

/A.L


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Travel Talk
Page 1 2
Top Things To Do In Stockholm
Famous And Historical Casinos In Australia
Three Simple Ways to Cut the Cost of International Calls
A Guide To Walking In Majorca
Dine In Style Along Route 66
Download the brand new book, One Year Lived, for free!
 
 
 
   
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