Nov 30, 2012

Australia (The Land Down Under)

Over 60,000 years ago the Aboriginal people discovered an island that brought them much fulfillment. This land down under was their home for centuries until 1788 when the British began colonizing it as a land for prisoners. In January of 1788 British citizens consisting of convicts, government officials, and Royal Marines landed at Port Jackson and found a new nation; AUSTRALIA.

Now in the 21st century Australia consists of a diverse population of 22 million including the Aboriginal people. Together they live in a country that's also a continent with much natural resources.

Australia is divided into seven regions; New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Northern Territory, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.

My time in Australia was spent as a conservation volunteer in New South Wales. A group of us volunteers were based in and around the Bathurst area. Living in a charming residence that was once a train station a small group of us spent several days working on an old homestead and planting trees at various private and public schools. As a volunteer I mingled with the locals and really got to do a lot of things off the beaten path that most tourists would only dream of.

Most people who come to Australia land in Sydney and this beautiful city is really worth spending a few days in. Sydney is Australia's largest and oldest city and there's lot to do and see here. I recommend the following places: 

*Sydney Opera House is a stunner from every angle. Some of the world's best vocalists sing here

*The Rocks and Harbor Bridge 


*Darling Harbor

*Bondi Beach (one of the best beaches in the world)  Be sure to walk the 25 minute cliff top track

After a few days of culture and eating great food head to the Blue Mountains for some of the best hiking in all of Australia. The high mountains, sandstone cliffs, and forested gorges are an outdoor enthusiasts dream. If time permits take the Skyway cable car or Scenic Railway through the Blue Mountains. 

Australia is known for it's wine and there are no shortage of wineries, One of the best places is Hunter Valley (the oldest commercial grape growing area in Australia). Many wine connoisseurs make their way to Hunter Valley to sample and purchase wines at wineries such as Tyrrell's Vineyards and Petersons Wines. 

No visit to Australia is complete without seeing some wildlife. One of  the highlights of my visit to Australia was seeing kangaroos with their babies roaming through the open fields. There are many areas to look for kangaroos and sometimes you might spot one or two of them while touring through Australia.

Just because Australia is an island doesn't mean it's small. It takes a long time to see the wonders of the land down under from the Outback to Kangaroo Island; the choices are endless. Some of the most popular places to visit are Adelaide, Ayers Rock, Fraser Island, Great Barrier Reef, Melbourne, Byron Bay, Daintree Rainforest, Perth,  and Darwin & Kakadu National Park. 

Australia is blessed with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world so don't miss out on exploring one of the hundreds of beaches along the coast and be sure to explore the Outback for a truly unique Australian experience. With so many things to offer it's no wonder millions of people visit Australia every year.

I'm certainly happy that I was able to spend some time in the land down under and experience life as an Aussie. I hope you will too.

Australian Foods 

Arnott's Tim Tams, Meat Pies, Pavlova, Lamingtons, and Vegemite

Recipe for Deviled Carrots:

2 cups carrots (washed and cut into matchstick sizes)
1 Tablespoon  melted butter
2 Teaspoons honey
1 Teaspoon mustard
1 Tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon water

Saute carrots in melted butter for two minutes then add remaining ingredients and simmer for five minutes.  

Adrianna (Travel World)

Nov 12, 2012

Alluring "ARUBA"

                                                        A  R  U  B  A

                                         One of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean

                                               Adrianna in ARUBA

Although our world is now at a population of about 7 billion human beings there's still plenty of places on earth that feel and look like a bit of paradise.
When the daily stresses of work, family, and responsibilities get overwhelming a few days or even weeks on a relaxing Caribbean island can restore the senses 
and make worries seem a million miles away. 

The Caribbean is known for it's abundance of palm trees, pure sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and beautiful islands. Each island has it's own uniqueness and you really can't go wrong with any of the islands that make up the Caribbean.

I never had much opportunity to explore the Caribbean until I started working for Hyatt Hotels and Resorts. One of the perks of being an employee with this outstanding company was getting free complimentary nights at almost any Hyatt in the world. I remember how much I wanted to spend my upcoming birthday on a Caribbean island but couldn't decide on which one. My answer came when a billboard of ARUBA was placed over the entrance of Lincoln Tunnel just outside my apartment building in Manhattan. 

Everyday when I looked out my bedroom window at that alluring ARUBA billboard with pirate like boats docked on the calm turquoise waters I fantasized
about soaking in the Caribbean Sea. As luck would have it I was able to get a complimentary room at the Hyatt Regency Aruba Beach Resort & Casino on popular Palm Beach. Within a week I was on a plane headed to Oranjestad, Aruba with a smile on my face.

The moment I left customs and walked out the doors into the warm sunshine I knew I was in the land of natural wonders. Aruba's topography consists of blue-green waters, stunning palm lined beaches, rock formations, and a desertlike interior. Aruba also has it own entity within the Kingdom of Netherlands which consists of Aruba, the Netherlands, and the Netherlands Antilles. The locals speak Dutch and Papiamento. In order to be a citizen of Aruba one must speak fluent Dutch or Papiamento.

So what's there to do in Aruba besides basking in it's perfect Caribbean Sea?
Well there's biking, diving, horseback riding, sailing, snorkeling, swimming, windsurfing as well as golfing, and gambling. Aruba is loaded with casinos mostly found in hotels on Palm Beach, Eagle Beach, and Oranjestad. The minimum age to gamble is 18 and many casino establishments offer complimentary meals at local restaurants.

Aruba located only 17 miles from the coast of Venezuela in South America is one of the few Caribbean islands that can be enjoyed 12 months of the year because of small amounts of rainfall and rare occurrences of hurricanes. Known as "one happy island" a vacation to the "one happy island" of ARUBA will have you smiling for days and yearning to return again and again.

Thumbs up to Aruba!

Adrianna's Recommendations:

Palm Beach is loaded with the most hotel properties. Its calm waters make it the top choice beach for swimming. I'm partial to the Hyatt Regency Aruba Beach Resort and Casino where I stayed. Situated on 12 acres this gorgeous resort offers swimming pools, water slides, a casino, great restaurants, and
a spectacular Regency Club with views of the Caribbean Sea. I highly recommend the Hyatt Regency Aruba Beach Resort and Casino.

Alto Vista Chapel (built in 1750) sits pretty on the northwest coast of Aruba.

Horseback riding along the beach, snorkeling the turquoise waters, hiking the 617 foot Mt. Yamanota at Arikok National Park, and visiting a casino are fun activities.

Oranjestad Aruba's capital is the place to go for dining, shopping and nightlife.

Check out the Cunucu Houses (pastel houses) made of old and contemporary

Eagle Beach is ideal for those seeking a wide beach with little crowds.

Indulge in locally made rum cake that will keep you humming for days.

Words in Papiamento (Aruba's language)

Bon Dia     Good Morning
Bon Bini     Welcome
Ajo           Bye
Danki       Thank you

Adrianna (Travel World)


Nov 7, 2012

Alaska (America's Crown Jewel)

                                    Wild & Wonderful ALASKA

For many years I longed to see Alaska and immerse myself in the great outdoors of America's last frontier. As a New Yorker I was accustomed to life in a concrete jungle where nearly everyone is in a hurry and the hustle and bustle of an exciting city never ends but my heart was longing for big open
spaces where I could roam for miles and not see a single soul except for an occasional deer or moose.

My opportunity to fly from New York City to Anchorage Alaska occurred on a mid June day.
Laid off for over a month from a busy Manhattan hotel where I worked as a concierge (due to
renovations) I was off to Alaska at long last. (Hooray)

I couldn't have chosen a better time to arrive in Anchorage because in June Alaskans celebrate
solstice festivals and 20 hours of daylight. Imagine being able to hike at midnight? (Very Cool)

My first two days were spent smack in Anchorage where I felt right at home. I stayed in a home hostel
with other folks from around the globe who quickly became my friends. We all had big thing in common; a love for the outdoors.

Anchorage really is wonderful place to start your Alaskan experience. It's a big city nestled in the wilderness and about 40% of the states population lives in Anchorage. Below are some things to do
while in Anchorage.

Sights:                                                                                  Activities:
Anchorage Museum                                                             Bicycling:  Tony Knowles Coastal Trail.
Alaska Heritage Museum                                                     and Chester Creek Bike Trail 
Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center                                    
Alaska Native Heritage Center                                           Hiking Flattop Mountain Trail (one of the 
Goose Lake                                                                         most popular in Anchorage)
Alaska Botanical Gardens                                                   
University of Alaska;Anchorage                                         A train ride on the Alaska Railroad
                                                                                            Visiting animals at the Anchorage Zoo

Dining (Wbere the locals eat)

Snow City Cafe
1034 West 4th Avenue
Known for the best breakfast in all of Anchorage

Bear Tooth Grill
1230 West 27th
A broad menu ranging from tasty burgers to Asian fusion dishes 

After a visit to Anchorage the real adventure begins and if time permits why not see every region you can.

Alaska's Diverse Region 

The Bush is quite remote. It's known as Arctic Alaska and it gets really cold here. It's home to polar bears. This is where you'll find Barrow, Nome, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and Gates of the Arctic
National Park and Preserve.

Denali National Park is a hiker's paradise. With 6 million acres to explore Denali is proud to have North America's tallest mountain known as Mount McKinley. Denali National Park is located in the
Interior section of Alaska. After exploring this awesome national park a trip to nearby Talkeetna will
reward you what a typical Alaskan community town is all about.

Kenai Peninsula takes everyones breath away with awe-inspiring scenery. This is the place to kayak the majestic waters and experience hundreds of glaciers. (I had the honor of kayaking here and the
memory of this experience will be instilled in my mind for many more years to come).

Prince William Sound is a stunner with its abundance of fjords and glaciers. Highlights here include
Valdez and Whittler. 

Southwest Alaska is where the bears love the salmon. Kodiak Island has the largest bears in the world
who feast on delicious wild Alaskan salmon as often as they can. Southwest Alaska can only be reached by place which helps it retain its remote feel of pure wilderness.

Juneau and the Southeast; is where Alaska states capital is located. This region has the mildest climate in all of Alaska and sits on a panhandle surrounded by lush rainforest.

Everyone has their own idea of how they want to explore Alaska. For some a luxurious cruise brings
much comfort along the lovely waterways, others find happiness in traveling by car, plane, or train.
The Alaskan Railroad is a wonderful way to get around parts of Alaska while enjoying spectacular views from the passenger windows.

I chose to camp the whole time I was in Alaska (with the exception of staying at a home hostel in Anchorage). I travelled with a group of 20 other anxious campers. We were accompanied by a well
informed tour guide who really knew Alaska first hand. We camped in many remote places where there weren't even showers or flushing toilets. Sometimes I went 3 days without a shower but this was all part of roughing it in the great outdoors. At times I came in contact with native Alaskans who never stepped foot inside a city in Alaska or even left the state. One man told me he dreaded shopping once a month because it meant seeing cars and buildings. As a New Yorker who is use to tall buildings and
lots of cars I could totally relate to a man who just couldn't deal with any type of city life. Once one
has experienced life in the wilderness it's culture shock to enter a concrete jungle of highways and traffic jams.

Spending a whole month in Alaska was a dream come true and I made my wish come true of roaming miles of open space without seeing a living soul except for a few bears. Alaska is wild and wonderful and exploring it as a camper made it even more authentic. Alaska is so diverse and scenic that it rightly deserves being known as "The Last Frontier." 

Don't miss out on a visit to ALASKA (America's Crown Jewel).

Alaska Highlights:

Native CultureClimbing Mount MckInley
Riding a ferry or taking a train ride on the Alaskan Railroad
Viewing bears, eating wild Alaskan salmon and  having a salmon bake
Watching the Midnight Sun and Northern Lights
Kayaking in the Kenai Peninsula

Nov 5, 2012

Wild and Wonderful Alaska

Alaska is a massive state so massive that if it were its own country it would be the seventh largest country in the world. Alaska's beauty is unsurpassed and it's diversity comes in first place. Alaska
is the land of glaciers, forests, tundra, mountains and sea as well as a haven for wildlife. Alaska
is America's gem.

With a wander lust for exploring America I was thrilled when the opportunity came to make a trip to
Alaska. For a whole month I left the busy streets of Manhattan, New York where I lived and worked and immersed myself in a true Alaskan wilderness experience by camping in a tent. My trip started
in Alaska's biggest city Anchorage where about 40% of Alaskans live. 

Anchorage is one of the only cities in America where cosmopolitan vs outdoors comes so close
together. Within a short distance of corporate buildings and busy streets one can easily get onto the
Tony Knowles Coastal Trail and spot some bears. The museums, shops, and restaurants of Anchorage are within close proximity of beautiful Chugach National Forest with it's abundant supply of trails for
outdoor enthusiasts. Anchorage is indeed a good starting point for those seeking the beginning of an
Alaskan travel experience.

There are many ways to explore Alaska; some choose a cruise, others count on planes and trains to get
around and then there are those that are happy exploring as much of Alaska as they can in their own vehicle. I chose to explore Alaska with a camping group and I'm glad I did because I really got to get
up close and personal with Alaska's brilliant wilderness. My camping peers loved adventure. We didn't mind roughing it from time to time like going a few days without a shower, getting drenched by heavy rain showers in our small tents in the middle of nowhere and having a limited supply of
food to eat. This actually was all part of the fun.

There are some residents of Alaska that rarely venture to a city or town. One native Alaskan I met during my Alaskan travels loved remote living so much that he dreaded going to a town 100 miles away from him to shop for food supplies once a month. He told met the largest place he ever visited in his lifetime was Fairbanks and that to him was too big. (That's Alaska for you)

So where in Alaska would you like to visit?

Barrow located in the Arctic is the most northern mainland town in all of North America lying on the Arctic Ocean. It's home to polar bear and whales who enjoy the extremely cold temperatures. 

Denali National Park is a treasure for spotting wildlife. Many visitors choose to take the shuttle bus that goes through the park. Seats on the left side are the best for viewing animals and binoculars are highly recommended for seeing caribou, grizzly bears, moose, sheep and other Denali National Park wildlife.Within the 6 million acres of Denali National Park sits the majestic high and mighty Mount McKinley. Rising to 20,320 feet Mount McKinley is North America's highest mountain and a challenging mountain to hike.

Kenai Peninsula is the place to fish, see glaciers and marvel at the gorgeous fjords.
The little town of Homer with its artsy community is a great base to sea kayak among islands,
visit museums, and eat fresh fish. Over in Seward there's the Alaska Sea Life Center home to marine animals. Here you can fish for halibut and salmon on a charter boat and take pictures of cute sea otters.
Kenai Fjords National Park sits on 670,000 acres where blades of glaciers fall into the sea. It's where mountains meet the ocean and wildlife enjoys sea life. The extraordinary beauty of Kenai Fjords National Park is the kind of place that leaves a footprint in the minds of those that are fortunate enough to bask in its wonders.

Kodiak Island is a huge island with an influx of Alaska Native and Russian American culture.
During salmon spawning season a multitude of bears appear to catch and eat their favorite food of
Alaskan salmon. If fishing and kayaking are your passions Kodiak Island is the place to be.

With 424,491,520 acres to boast Alaska is the kind of state that can takes months to see. Known as
"The Last Frontier" Alaska's beauty and diversity will forever make it wild and wonderful. So book
a trip to Alaska for a travel experience you'll never forget.

                                                           When in Alaska:

Take a train ride on the Alaskan Railroad

Eat some wild Alaskan salmon (absolutely delicious)

Book a dog sled tour and get to know Alaska's magnificent dogs

Plan some outdoor activities

Adrianna (Travel World)

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