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Top Souvenirs from Alaska

Alaska's breathtaking scenery and wildlife encounters will be memories that stay with you a lifetime. But there are one-of-a-kind tangible memories you can take home as well as your photos and close-encounter stories.

Lynn Elmhirst, Producer/ Host of BestTrip.TV, shares her favorite Alaskan souvenirs from her ports of call in Sitka, Skagway, Ketchikan, and Juneau on a recent Regent Seven Seas cruise to Alaska.

Alaskan Kelp Pickles

Food is such a fun souvenir when it's made from one-of-a-kind local ingredients. I found many flavors of Alaska to take home to treat family and friends.

One of my favorites I just had to share was the Alaska kelp pickles we discovered in Sitka. Picturesquely-named Bullwhip kelp is an edible seaweed member of the brown algae family that can grow up to 100 feet long.

Alaskans harvest the kelp at low tide through the summer. The long hollow stems cut in rings are around the size of the rings of a small cucumber… in other words, perfect for home made pickles.

One of the largest seaweeds, bullwhip kelp is a healthy sea vegetable with potassium, iodine, bromine, and even iron.

But the nutrients of kelp will be the last thing on your mind when you taste old fashioned 'bread and butter pickles' made from Alaskan bullwhip kelp. Sweet and sour, with mustard and celery seeds, you'll feel transported back to Granny's garden kitchen – with a refreshing, truly Alaskan maritime twist.

Shopping Tip: Also check out the spruce tip jelly (more floral than you think!) and the other grown-in-Alaska preserves, jellies and pickles.

Serving Tip: Take them home to entertain your friends, alongside your favorite aged hard cheese (like old cheddar or gouda) and French bread.

Make it a cocktail party! Pair them with…

Vodka or Gin made from Alaskan Glacier Water

When it comes to food, wine, and spirits, the best ingredients produce the finest results. The base of any spirit is the water used to make it. And nothing can beat the purity of water sourced from Alaska's glaciers.

So imagine how thrilled we were to discover Skagway Spirits. And it happened in the best way of great discoveries when you travel.

The shore excursions expert on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner told us we just couldn't miss the (formerly infamous) Red Onion Saloon in the historic, Klondike-era downtown of Skagway. Naturally, a visit turned into a drink at the bar. I always look for a local flavor on the menu, and there it was: A spruce-tip cocktail made with local Skagway Spirits gin. The perfect toast to local flavor; we needed to find the source! The bar chef drew us a map on the back of a napkin, and off we went on an adventure.

The map led us to an old hangar at Skagway's local airport, where Skagway Spirits has its small-batch distillery and charming tasting room.

This is a do-not-miss experience, meeting the members of this family owned- and operated distillery. Their passion and love for what they do is apparent with every fantastic sip of their vodka and gin.

They even make home-made local juices from berries and blooms. Their Fireweed Cosmopolitan or Rhubarb Collins will change your life. Ryan doesn't even like rhubarb and he was sidling up to the bar for another!

Shopping and Travel Tip: Skagway Spirits is used to packing up spirits for cruise guests' safe return home. Some cruise lines will have your purchase of wine or spirits stored until you leave the ship at the end of your cruise.

Alaska Jade

Alaska's state gem… isn't technically 'jade'. But don't let that stop you from bringing home a gleaming piece of Alaska's most famous stone.

To the naked eye, the green gemstone you see in shops throughout Alaska looks a lot like the Chinese semiprecious gem. They are actually different stones. Chinese jade is a lighter green and much harder than the softer, usually rich green Alaskan gem, which isn't technically the same 'jade'.

But polished into luminescent jewelry, figurines, knives and art objects that evoke the vivid greens of Alaska's unforgettable forests, Alaskan jade is a glowing and cherished emblem of the state's history, natural resources and craftsmanship of its indigenous people. The earliest Alaskans used pieces of Alaskan jade they found in rivers to make tools, jewelry and even weapons.

Large deposits still exist in Alaska – in fact, there's an entire mountain of jade in Alaska - British Columbia, and even parts of California. In addition to the identifying dark green, it's sometimes found in lighter yellower shades, red, black, white and even very rare and valuable lavender.

Shopping Tip: Unlike some other gems, Alaskan jade seems to appeal equally to men and women. Look for jewelry made in a wide variety of rustic/ native Alaskan styles and symbols, to nature and decorative themes. It's the kind of souvenir you'll wear forever, reminding you of your journey to Alaska.

Ulu

From as early as 2500 BCE, Ulu were an essential part of indigenous households throughout the Arctic, from Greenland to Canada to Alaska. Ulu means 'women's knife', and was an all-purpose tool for skinning animals, slicing animal skins, carving blocks of snow and ice for shelter, cutting food and even hair. It was a cherished tool passed down through generations with care.

Ulu are composed of a curved blade with a bone, antler or wood handle. Its unique shape centers force over the middle of the blade more than a knife shape we are used to, making it easier to cut bone, or use rocking motions that pin down food to cut easily one-handed.

Don't let your Ulu sit on a mantle as a conversation piece. Women and men will find infinite uses for an Ulu. I was given an Ulu by a friend who's a fellow travel journalist, and it's already indispensable. I don't cut my own hair with it, but it's great to have in the kitchen, where rocking motions on a cutting board make short work of mincing herbs, or in the garden, slicing the tops off root vegetables.

Travel Tip: check airline regulations to travel with blades; a souvenir Ulu most certainly needs to be safely stowed in your checked, not carry on luggage.

Shopping Tip: avoid cheap factory made Ulu and instead, look for crafted Ulu to support indigenous and individual artisans keeping Northern heritage alive.

Start your Trip!

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You Need This Suitcase For Your Next Trip to Wine Country

What's the only downside of finding that perfect wine abroad? Getting it home.

If your dream is traveling to vineyards and stocking your cellar with those one-of-a-kind bottles you can't get from your local wine seller, this is the suitcase for you. Unless you like wrapping wine bottles in sweaters in your luggage and hoping for the best, that is.

The VinGardeValise sounds impressively French for a viticulture travel accessory but is actually developed and made by an American company. From the outside, it looks like an ordinary, premium hard sided suitcase. Complete with details like spinning wheels, bumpers on the edges, telescoping padded handles, heavy duty zippers and extenders, you've got luggage that has both maximum durability and user friendliness.

It's when you open it that you see the real magic. Durable foam inserts safely cradle wine bottles - up to an entire case.

The best part is that the interior is modular and customizable to hold 2 to 12 bottles of wine. The designers seem to have thought of every bottle of wine you might fall in love with. In addition to regular wine bottles, inserts accommodate champagne, magnums and there's even an insert for two large Bordeaux wine glasses. We like the looks of that picnic!

And if you carry less than 12 bottles, you'll even have room left over for your clothes.

The VinGardeValise comes in two sizes: Grande and Petite. Fully loaded with a dozen standard bottles, the Grande still comes in at under 50 pounds (22 kg) to save you from airline overweight luggage fees. The Petite fully loaded holds 8 bottles and is less than 38 pounds. And the case complies with aviation and airline policies and procedures, so you're safe from hassles as well as spillage and extra fees.

Since they launched in 2014, the makers have seen many travel uses for the suitcase; taking wine from your own cellar on a cruise, to a get together, or on vacation where good wine is scarce, transporting wine to a tasting, business or a corporate retreat… all in addition to avid enotourists taking wine home from wine country.

Now you can book your dream trips to the wine regions of Europe, South Africa, Australia, South America and North America with confidence you'll get your treasured new tastes in wine home safely.

And we think we can all toast to that. Santé!

Copyright BestTrip.TV/Influence Entertainment Group Inc or Rights Holder. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this material from this page, but it may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Visit This: Underwater Winery in Croatia

Drinking and diving don't mix, but we've found one exception. At the Edivo Vina winery about an hour north of the Croatian seaside town of Dubrovnik, you need to slip into a wet suit for a cellar tour.

That's because this winery stores and ages their – aptly named – 'Navis Mysterium' or 'Sea Mystery' wine – 20 meters (66 feet) under water.

Sea Mystery wine begins life above ground as other wines do. The regional grapes are harvested, pressed and bottled, then aged for three months on land.

Then it gets interesting. Cork and two layers of rubber seal the bottles which are then enclosed in amphorae – locally made clay vessels like the ones used in ancient Greece with a narrow neck and double handles. To make them water-proof, they are lined with a thin layer of resin, just like the ancient Greeks did. Then the amphorae are submerged underwater in steel cages for two more years of aging. Divers visit the 'cellar' to check on them regularly to ensure they remain sea-proof.

When they emerge from the 'cellar', the amphorae are covered in sea life: shells, barnacles, coral and seaweed. Just like a storybook treasure you might discover on a sunken ship. And not one is exactly like any other.

But the sunken treasure look wasn't the winemakers' motivation for this unique cellar location. They believe the depths of the Adriatic Sea provide ideal cool and consistent temperatures as well as silence that improve the wine's quality.

You don't have to take their word for it, though. If you have diving credentials, you can go on a supervised dive to one of their underwater wine cellars in a sunken boat. On dry land, you – and any non-diving visitor – can enjoy a ceremonial opening of an amphorae-enclosed bottle and this one-of-a-kind wine in a spectacular seaside setting. You can even order them in pine gift boxes.

It took the vintners 3 years to perfect the process and to source entirely local materials. The grapes, clay, wrought iron, pine, glass and cork used in the making of 'Sea Mystery' wine are all products of Croatia – a true taste of the ancient Adriatic.

With a price tag in the hundreds of dollars, a bottle of 'Sea Mystery' wine won't be the least expensive bottle of wine you acquire on a trip to Croatia, but it will definitely give you the best story to tell while you're drinking it with your friends at home.

Start your Trip!

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Top 5 Souvenirs from Canada

Among the many pleasures of travel is the opportunity to bring home mementos of your journeys, even doubling your pleasure by giving some to loved ones (and the dog sitter.) It works the same in reverse; taking symbolic, beloved, or impossible-to-find-elsewhere local treats when you travel abroad to thank friends and hosts for their hospitality.

BestTrip.TV's producer/host Lynn Elmhirst is Canadian, and here is her list of her most-loved gifts she takes abroad, and recommends as souvenirs to people traveling in Canada.

1. To Satisfy a Sweet Tooth –Maple Syrup

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The maple leaf is of course Canada's national symbol and maple syrup can safely be considered the national food. Canada is the world's top producer of maple syrup.

Visitor's Tip: Spring skiing and maple syrup festivals in 'sugar shacks' in rural communities in Quebec and Ontario are probably the two most beloved early spring Canadian activities.

I got to help tap trees! (You use the back of the axe to tap the spiles into place). Photo BestTrip.TV

It astonishes me when I go abroad that there are people willing to eat a pancake without maple syrup. Imagine that: with a different syrup. In our family, the pancake is really just a delivery vehicle for maple syrup. Only the good stuff will do. 100% pure, and ideally from the source: a local producer at farmer's market. If you've been used to eating maple 'flavored' syrup your taste buds will flinch at the onslaught of deliciousness!

Syrup isn't the only way to enjoy the authentic taste of Canada. Other firm favorites are maple candy, and the maple cookie: a sandwich cookie made of two, maple leaf-shaped shortbread-type cookies with a maple cream filling in the middle.

Tip: Pack them deep in your luggage or I know you will eat them before you get home.

2. To cuddle – A Hudson's Bay Company Blanket

Photo Credit Top & Bottom

Founded in 1670 to serve the fur trade, the Hudson's Bay Company is North America's oldest continuously operating corporation.

Visitor's Tip: These days, 'The Bay' is a department store with nearly a hundred outlets in communities across Canada, including flagship stores in historic downtown buildings in major cities like Toronto that are shopping destinations.

The Hudson's Bay Point Blanket harkens back to HBC's roots in the fur trade. High quality wool blankets were traded for furs from First Nations communities, and the blanket, with its vivid, color-fast stripes: green, red, yellow, and indigo on a white background, became rooted in early Canadian culture.

Early Bay blankets have become collector's items, and the Bay now has a whole department dedicated to a line of products in its iconic striped design. Heavy, 100% wool HBC blankets are an investment piece. Like me, you may want to save them for wedding gifts. But the store also carries a line of other HBC products with the iconic stripe pattern that includes fleece throws, wraps, scarves and mittens, totes, house wares like mixing bowls, coasters, and more.

Tip: You can also buy a 7500$ HBC canoe, but you'll have to really plan ahead to get that souvenir home.

3. To Find your Way Home – An Inukshuk

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I think of Inukshuk as like leaving a candle burning in the window for those coming home.

Above the Arctic Circle, the tundra offers few natural landmarks. So from ancient times, Inuit erected stone Inukshuk as landmarks along travel routes, as way finding for hunters, indicating good places to camp, and generally signaling 'we were here' to those who came later.

They may have begun as upright large, single stones (remind you of any other ancient cultures the world over?) But Inukshuk along the way acquired a monolithic human form and deep resonance in Inuit culture. On Baffin Island, there are over 100 inukshuk, and the site has been designated a National Historic Site of Canada.

More and more, inukshuk are a warm symbol of Canada at home and abroad, second only to the maple leaf. It was the symbol of the Vancouver Winter Olympics, and it's on the flag of the territory of Nunavut.

Visitor's Tip: Keep your eye out for powerful and graceful Inukshuk that have sprung up in public spaces across Canada, and also in Canadian spaces abroad; in embassies and consulates, and Canadian projects as a symbol of home.

Tip: Don't just give table-top sized inukshuk as gifts. Making your own and talking about inukshuk is a wonderful and memorable craft day with children and teens.

4. To Warm You Up - Ice Wine

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Ice wine is a case of making lemonade when life gives you lemons. Freezing winters may not be everyone's thing, but when grapes freeze on the vine, life gives enterprising vintners ice wine.

Ice wine can only be produced in countries with wine regions where it gets sufficiently cold. Germany and Austria have a history with ice wine, but Canada's much younger wine industry, with its predictably sub zero temperatures every winter, has become an international ice wine superstar.

For natural ice wine, grapes must fully ripen on the vine, then undergo a hard freeze (−8 °C (17 °F) or colder). It's risky business. Grapes can be lost before harvest, and then the moment it freezes, pickers have to work at night harvesting all the grapes in a few hours before the sun warms them up again.

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Visitor's Tip: If you're in an ice-wine producing region of Canada in the New Year, get in on the action of a local ice wine festival. Sometimes you can even be part of the midnight frozen-grape picking, which is more fun than it sounds.

What makes ice wine special? When the grapes freeze, the sugars and other solids don't freeze, just the water content. So the juice extracted from the frozen grapes is very concentrated. That has two results: a very sweet wine with a balanced acidity - that can only be produced in small quantities. And it's priced accordingly.

Tip: Ice wine's best friend is a simple cheese plate served as a dessert course. Canada has some amazing cheeses too.

5. To Entertain Friends: Anita Stewart's Canada Cookbook

I have a whole bookshelf devoted to cookbooks I've picked up around the world; browsing through them, I can almost trace my travels over the years. They are among my most treasured souvenirs that recall meeting talented and passionate chefs, food producers and foodies, and of course, all those memorable meals.

If that sounds like your relationship with cookbooks and travel too, Anita Stewart's Canada cookbook is one you'll want to add to your destination cookbook collection or give to a favorite foodie.

Anita Stewart is not just a cookbook author, she's also a food activist, founder of Food Day Canada, the largest national culinary celebration in Canadian history, and a Member of the Order of Canada. This cookbook is about local food – where 'local' means the diverse regions, seasons and cultural heritage across the second biggest country in the world. Canada's culinary traditions are centuries deep and rooted in cultures around the world and this book is as good a read as it is a visual indulgence and recipe reference.

Tip: Have a Canadian dinner party where every guest makes one course from a recipe from Anita Stewart's Canada cookbook. And toast your success with ice wine!

Start your Trip!

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Gentlemen Prefer... Barbers: London Shopping Icon Becomes Destination for Men

The iconic Fortnum and Mason department store in London's Picadilly is an essential shopping stop if you have an evening off of business meetings in the City, a half-day of 'bleisure', or a relaxed schedule of pleasure in one of the world's top travel destinations. 

Originally a purveyor of fine foods, 'Fortnum's' is any discerning traveler's go-to department store to procure its house blends of tea, original-recipe biscuits (cookies), jams and more.  If it's good enough to earn a 'by appointment to' seal of approval from senior members of the Royal Family, it must be good enough for even your excellent taste.  

Show that good taste by ordering one of their coveted hampers to thank your London hosts, or dropping by to get a gift for your dog sitter at home. (One of the best things about doing favors for friends traveling to London is seeing them return holding a Fortnum's signature pale green bag out to you!)

 

Above Photo Credit  All other images courtesy Fortnum & Mason

Though Fortnum's has a renowned Men's Department on the 3rd floor, until now, Fortnum's may have been seen as more of a 'girlfriend getaway' or a Mother/ Daughter destination. Some men dash in to find a perfect, or emergency tie or an essential souvenir / gift. Others just get to hold the ladies' shopping bags.

No more.  Now you or the gentleman in your life is going to want to stay a while. Fortnum & Mason has 'beefed up' the 3rd Floor with the introduction of services that let any man channel his inner James Bond or Lord Grantham by…

Getting a Proper Cut and Shave from the Barber

After a hiatus of over 50 years (since 1963) Fortnum's Gentlemen's Department is once again home to an in-house Master Barber.  Now you can experience a cut above Piccadilly with The Barber.

A one-stop shop for the discerning gentleman, The Barber at Fortnum & Mason offers everything from haircuts and hot towel head massages, to bespoke beard styling (where your inner Gentleman meets your inner Hipster), wet shaves and hair treatments. 

A beautiful blend of the traditional and the contemporary, visitors to The Barber can expect first-class service that aims to put a little of the ceremony back into the art of male grooming.

There is a fully stocked (and fully complimentary) drinks cabinet in place too, should the need for a mid-snip sip of Martini arise. (And why wouldn't it?)


 

On one wall of The Barber are the ‘Keeps’ - beautiful wooden lockers designed to hold a gentleman’s personal grooming accessories - which are available to purchase for an annual fee of £850 which includes twenty haircuts and shaves throughout the year.

We think this is going to become a new ritual for any man lucky enough to regularly travel to London.

Ordering a Cocktail from the Barman

Set in the heart of the 3rd floor Gentlemen's Department, the newest bar at Fortnum's is a relaxed, intimate spot for all visitors to enjoy.  The '3 and 6 Bar' is for gentlemen and ladies alike who want to enjoy the perfect cocktail and bask in the height of British bar service.

And in typical Fortnum's fashion, its name hides a fascinating story you'll love. In the 1930s, customers could pay to have Fortnum's throw a cocktail party in their home. (How divine!) The price per guest (for everything excluding the alcohol, unfortunately) was three shilling and sixpence - written as 3'6 in old money and pronounced '3 and 6'. The current bar stands near the location you'd go to order your home cocktail party.  Converted into modern money, 3'6 is almost exactly £11 - which far from coincidentally, is the price of the most iconic cocktails on the menu too.

A huge range of spirits, from cognacs to whiskies and all points between, are also available. So too, Fortnum's famous tea. Also boasting a delicious food menu of light bites and sweets - including Steak Tartare, Potted Rabbit, Welsh Rarebit, Raspberry Trifle and Treacle Tart - 3 and 6 Bar combines Fortnum's signature sense of luxurious British comfort with a home-from-home, snug-bar atmosphere.   It's open from noon seven days a week.  

Outfitting your Travels like a Gentleman

While you're on the 3rd Floor Gentlemen's Department, treat yourself to your own souvenirs in the form of the ultimate British gentlemen's travel essentials. 

Perhaps a Fortnum's travel tag or Atlas.  A travel shaving brush to keep your new shave its best.  A Ghurka vintage leather travel tray that packs flat and snaps up quickly, making the perfect place to store your keys, spare change, jewellery, and valuables in your hotel room.  You know, when you've left your valet, or 'gentlemen's gentleman' at home.  Or an air-safe manicure kit that's hand-made in Germany, and has everything a modern man needs to put his best hand forward to close that deal. 

We're excited there's a new place for every man to discover his inner British gentleman in London.

Start your Trip!

 

Copyright BestTrip.TV/Influence Entertainment Group Inc or Rights Holder. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this material from this page, but it may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Opening Weekend for Germany's Christmas Markets

So many of our modern Christmas traditions hail from Germany (via England, thanks to Queen Victoria's German husband, Prince Albert); for a real injection of the spirit of Christmas, no better place to go than the source. Plus, Germans are nothing if not sticklers for authenticity – no plastic or made in China items. Only genuine evergreen branches, music, food, drink and shopping traditions allowed!

Lynn Elmhirst, BestTrip.TV's producer and host, shares her tips for visiting Germany's Christmas markets.

When to go:

Markets are traditionally open during Advent, the last four weeks before Christmas, ending Christmas Eve, the day most Germans celebrate. This year, Advent begins Sunday, November 27th; many opening ceremonies are the Friday before the first Sunday. One more tip about when to go: for an extra special experience, visit in the evening – when twinkling lights, bonfires and torches kindle the magic and spirit of the season and transport you back to the ancient origins of this winter festival.

What to eat and drink:

The fir branch-draped, traditional wood stalls include the best German standards: hot sausages, pretzels, and beer, plus the seasonal delights: hot, mulled 'gluhwein'; stollen, a particularly addictive fruit bread; gingerbread or lebkuchen.

And marzipan, oh, the glorious marzipan. Forget the icky, stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth goo slathered on top of cheap fruitcakes here at home. Once you taste the real thing, you just can't get enough. Marzipan in Germany isn't just for cake topping. It comes formed in all shapes. Look for the quirky Christmas traditional 'marzipan kartoffeln' – marzipan 'potatoes', little marzipan balls dusted with coco to look like… miniature potatoes. Other shapes are delightful, hand painted confections – a favorite in southern Germany is little pigs, a symbol of good luck. Take some home for gifts! I would love forever anyone who put marzipan kartoffeln in my stocking!

What to buy:

Markets are laden with high quality, and often, artisan-crafted German Christmas traditional items like nutcrackers, ornaments, religious items and toys, toys, toys.

You are going to want to buy the unparalleled handmade glass ornaments and you are going to spend a lot of time trying to figure out how and if you can get them home safely. Sheepskin slippers and mittens, and lots of boiled wool. I admit to an obsession with boiled wool, a northern European tradition I can indulge easily at Germany's Christmas markets, buying myself and loved ones hats, mittens, vests, jackets and more with a European design flair you don't find at home. Every market also has local specialties like the iconic blue and white china in Dresden, in everyday and Christmas designs.

How to get there:

Any trip to Germany during Advent and up to Christmas Eve gives you the opportunity to visit the local Christmas market. Land tour companies and river cruise companies offer Christmas market specialty tours this time of year that take you to multiple Christmas markets so you can compare the atmosphere, food and shopping. A Christmas market cruise on the Danube, for example, could include flying into Frankfurt and visiting its market before your cruise, and sailing to both Nuremburg's (possibly the most famous) town square market and Regensburg, in the castle grounds.

Even 'grinches' discover genuine Christmas good cheer in the historic, traditional atmosphere of Germany's Christmas markets. And lovers of the season add to cherished memories of Christmas celebrations.

Start your Trip!

 

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5 reasons why you must visit Pike Place Market in Seattle

The largest city in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle and its metropolitan area is home to some of the country’s superb art scenes, fun festivals and events, natural landmarks, numerous attractions, and one of the country’s oldest and most visited public markets, Pike Place Market. 

Pike Place Market is a mishmash of a fresh produce market, restaurants, cafes , craft and arts stores, art galleries and studios, smoke shops, book stores, florists, and just about anything! It is located on a nine-acre stretch in the historic district of Seattle. It was established in 1907 and has been in operation since then. It is visited by about ten million people annually!  Here are five reasons why you must pay it a visit:

  • The first original Starbucks was opened in Pike Place Market in 1971. It is a throwback experience you must not miss especially if you are a fan! Don’t forget to take some pictures.
  • You have got to eat at Pike Place Chowder Restaurant. It serves the best clam chowder in town!
  • Visit the Pike Place Fish Market. You do not have to buy anything; just enjoy the experience of watching fish flying around.
  • Shop for comics and manga, games and toys, and hard to find collectibles at Golden Age Collectables, the country’s oldest comic shop.
  • Find unique and authentic crafts at the Pike Place Crafts Market. All the items have been screened, guaranteeing that they are all handcrafted.

These are just teasers of what Pike Place Market offers.  There are more than a hundred reasons why you must visit Pike Place Market soon!

5 farmers markets you need to check out in Amsterdam  If you are in the city, you have already realized how expensive it is to eat out. If you are yet to travel, then today is your lucky day. You will learn how to save on your food budget. Listed below are the top farmers markets in Amsterdam. read more
Unveil Your Destinations with a Travel Scratch Map Maps are a must-have when traveling the world, but you can put in some fun in this through today’s featured travel accessory. read more
Icebreaker Kodiak Hood - Traveling in Comfy Clothes Searching for the perfect jacket for your next trip? Then you should take into account our featured travel clothing of the day. read more

Different Types of Meat

 

 

The Ginger Pig is famous all over Britain for consistently providing an excellent meat produce, hence making them one of the shops that you should consider dropping why when shopping for London souvenirs.
 
It is in here where you’ll find one of the freshest meats in London, aside from that sold at the popular Smithfield market, of course. Get more info on this meat shop, wherein sausage rolls are highly recommended, in this overview posted on its official site:
 
The Ginger Pig began over 20 years ago with a near-derelict farmhouse, an accidental farmer and three Tamworth pigs named Milly, Molly and Mandy. We now farm over 3,000 acres of farm and moorland, to supply our five London butchery shops as well as a handful of the capital’s best restaurants… Our beef, pork and lamb is from our of free-ranging Longhorn and Galloway cattle, our Tamworth, Old Spot, Berkshire and Middle White pigs and Blackface, Swaledale and Dorset sheep. We also farm 300 acres of barley, oats, wheat and fodderbeat to feed our animals, covering as much of the food chain as we are able to.
 
 

So communicate with us today to get more valuable pieces of advice on your next shopping galore in London!

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Adventure Travel in Tikal, Guatemala

 

For approximately $535, rugged travelers could now depend on a smartphone that could withstand their sporadic active lifestyle while on the road. The JCB Pro-Smart is an Android-powered smartphone that is proven to endure dust, water and even shock.

Get more details on this really useful smartphone, including its long juice life and hard-wearing design, in an excerpt of the review made by Cnet.co.uk’s Damien Mcferran.
 

Too heavy and thick to be of interest to style-loving mobile consumers, the JCB Toughphone Pro-Smart is better suited to people who don't mind getting their hands dirty. It's unquestionably the most robust Android phone available… As a phone for outdoor types who work amid dust, water and all kinds of weather, the Toughphone Pro-Smart makes a lot of sense… And because it's running Android, the Toughphone Pro-Smart can make use of Google's myriad cloud-based storage solutions, including Picasa (for photos and videos), and Google Music. You can even sign up to services such as Dropbox and Google Drive to grab even more online space.
 

So communicate with our travel reps today for more tips on your next adventure!

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Bergamot Station, CA

 

Aside from several offices, a bookstore and a café, the Bergamot Station is now home to two dozens of galleries that frequently change from Track 16 Gallery’s modern ingenuity and pop art to the monochrome photo displays of Julius Shulman.

Learn more about the Bergamot Station in California in the overview below:


Since its launch, Bergamot Station has become a popular destination for visitors from around the country and the world. Bergamot Station provides a central location which allows visitors to park in one place and spend the day seeing art, rather than spending time driving from one gallery to the next. It now appears in every guide to Los Angeles as a primary cultural destination, with well over 600,000 visitors each year.
 

Get started with your next gallery tours as early as now!
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There's a certain art form to packing: being able to bring as few clothes as possible that will cover you for your entire vacation, no matter what happens; choosing clothes that don't easily wrinkle or show stains; finding the right fabric for the temperature of your destination; the list goes on. 

I tend to be an overpacker, so whenever I can get my hands on super versatile clothing that I know I'll use over and over, I try to stock up.

ColoradoGal of TheVacationGals.com blog, wrote a great review for a wrap dress from GGO Clothing, made of 88% organic bamboo and 12% Lycra. Not only is it soft and wrinkle free, but it's "naturally antibacterial and wicks away moisture better than cotton."

Not to mention cute! Usually versatile clothing means utility, and utility doesn't often yell "travel glam." This dress is simple enough that you can dress it up or down, for a variety of occassions, and still look great. Plus the wrap-style works for many different body shapes. 

I agree with ColoradoGal though, in that I would probably layer a light tank or camisole underneath, unless I was going to the beach in the dress. 

Check out her full review here. Also, take a few minutes to poke around the GGO Clothing website, full of casual ready-to-wear items for women (and men!).

Ah, the souvenir. Ah, the souvenir. Nothing brings you back to those life-affirming moments abroad like some good old-fashioned kitsch.

Even if photos are enough memento for you, it’s nice to bring home trinkets as gifts for family and friends. Here’s everything you need to know about finding, buying, and bringing back the best souvenirs during your travels. 

The Hunt
First off, don’t wait until last minute. I repeat - don’t put this off. You’ll wake up in the airport when you’re rushing through duty-free, wondering if Mom would want a carton of Marlboros. (Hint: She doesn’t.) Make a list of the people you’d like to bring stuff back for, and keep an eye out throughout your trip. If something just screams your sister, grab it right then.

Also, make sure you include gifts for yourself and others into your budget. You don’t want to end up skipping meals for snow-globes.

Think outside the box when you shop. Variations on basic items with unique or bizarre packaging make for fun (and inexpensive) gifts. Try to buy locally-made, artisan goods. It’s a simple way to support the local industry and take home an authentic cultural keepsake.

Shop in markets or other places that locals do. Museum gift shops - though on the more expensive side - usually offer a wide variety of art, books, jewelry, and other items that make for beautiful presents.

If you’re traveling with a friend, make a game out of hunting for the best souvenir. Go to a market and split up. Set a price limit and give yourselves 30 minutes. It’s a fun way to find some gems, and you can trade at the end.

Trade Souvenirs
Whether it’s a t-shirt from your alma mater or baseball cap of your favorite team, stuff with American slogans or brands are unique abroad and make for excellent trading materials.

Try to make a trade at a vendor’s stall or somewhere else you can haggle. Offer to switch your shirt out with that of someone you meet. This is a fun way to interact with locals, and either way, you’ll go home with a good story. I’ve also swapped (inexpensive) jewelry.

On The Cheap
For yourself, think maps, brochures, visitor guides and other promotional materials. You can often find these for free at tourism offices or museums, and many are beautifully printed on quality paper. I’ve cut pages out of museum guides and framed them for elegant wall decorations. You can also do this with postcards.

Other super cheap souvenirs include stamps, coins, and newspapers - even if you don’t speak the language it’s a cool way to wrap your gifts. And if you want to learn the language, newspapers are a terrific place to start.

Gifts from nature work too. I once gave someone polished stones I found along a beach that I had brought home and put in a glass jar. Dried flowers, seashells, and plants seeds are other good examples.

Pass the Food
Remember - everyones like food. And food is everywhere.

Bring back your girlfriend chocolates from Belgium, or your mom dried pasta from Italy. When I went to Colombia I made sure I brought back my highly caffeinated Dad some good Colombian coffee beans. Teas and spices work too, and they’re cheap and easy to pack.

Bringing It Back
Leave some empty room in your suitcase while you’re initially packing; remember, bags are weighed coming back too, so if you’re over the limit you could be looking at some hefty fees. Another idea is to pack an empty suitcase or duffel bag inside your luggage to later remove and fill with souvenirs.

However, if you want to stick to your backpack and plan to travel on for a while, ship your souvenirs back. It might even be cheaper than checking another bag.

Also referred to as the Paddington Bazaar, this weekly market features over 200 stalls of high quality, Australian-made goods. Arguably the best in the city, this vibrant churchyard market is a great way to kick off your Saturday in Sydney.

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In the courtyard of the market you’ll find the emerging designers section where you can find distinctly New Age and high fashion clothing items. All around the market are stalls with unique clothing and accessories, ranging from avant-garde to vintage.

Within the market you can also find fresh flowers, baked goods, and other local, hand-made artisan goods and crafts. This is a top-notch market where most of the wares are of high quality as the different vendors are in friendly competition with one another. 
List of Stall Holders

The vibe here is fabulous and chic and you’re bound to pick up some gifts or a souvenir for your trip from the hodgepodge of cool items for sale.

Paddington Market Website

Saturdays only, 10am-4pm. Rain or Shine 

Address: St. John’s Uniting Church, 395 Oxford St., Paddington, Sydney 
Tel: +61 2 9331 2923

If you don't quite parle français or sprechen die deutsche, then odds are, you've had an awkward moment abroad. Maybe a cabbie didn't quite understand your directions, or perhaps a waiter brought out the wrong dish. One time I accidentally told a foreign dignitary that his earmuffs smelled of chutney. Messy business.

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The point is, there’s a way to avoid that kind of embarrassment. Nyrius makes a few different global translators, but for my money, the 12-Language LT12 packs the most bang for your buck. It’s got over 8400 key phrases that’ll not only display on its screen, but it’ll actually speak them aloud for you. So if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t do well with foreign tongues, you’re covered.

Covering a wide range of discussion topics, from emergencies to shopping to immigration to street directions, at a mere $39.99, it’s hard to go wrong with the Nyrius LT12. Pick it up today at Amazon.