Travel To Busan: Korea’s Megacity Outside Of Seoul

Busan does not get a lot of attention when South Korea is mentioned. Most of the time you hear about Seoul, South Korea’s capital city. This is a bit unfortunate, though, because Busan has plenty to offer. Located at the bottom of the Korean peninsula, this city offers beautiful scenery and great attractions.

1) Korea is a peninsula, and as such has many beaches, but Haeundae Beach is quite possibly its nicest and most famous. Don’t go there during the summer, though, because you won’t be the only one who wants to check it out. In fact, it gets so crowded during the peak season that most people can’t swim in the waters as much as just stand. Haeundae Beach is also where the Busan International Film Festival is hosted, which is Asia’s most successful film festival.

2) You’ve heard of fish markets, but you probably haven’t experienced anything like the Jagalchi Fish Market. It’s stunning and beautiful, and full of old Korean women selling buckets of fresh fish just caught that morning. You will see live crab clawing and crawling out of their sandboxes, and live octopuses thrashing their way out of their new fishtanks.

3) For those of you that are into shopping, it would be foolish not to check out the Shinsegae Department Store. It’s huge. So huge, in fact, that it has a banner across the front touting how it’s the biggest department store in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. It’s so big that you’ll find movie theatres – some with professional chefs catering for you during the movie – luxurious spas, and even a full ice rink.

These three points have barely scratched the surface of Busan, as there are many other places and things for you to see while you are there, such as breathtaking temples and amazing markets. If you do have the chance to go three hours south of Seoul, you won’t regret the trip.

10 Top-Rated Travel Attractions in Ontario, Canada

Ontario, Canada, home to 40% of Canada’s population, has some of the top-rated tourist attractions in the world. Ontario has breathtaking views and sights through all four seasons. The province has several lakes, various architectural wonders, and is both the national and cosmopolitan capital of Canada. Here are top 10 tourist attractions in Ontario.

1. Parliament Hill

Designed with large archways, copper adorned turrets, and Gothic revival gargoyles, Parliament is another top destination in Canada. One of the main features of Parliament Hill is the Centre Block, the main building of the Canadian Parliament. In the middle of the Centre Block is the iconic Peace Tower. The clock and bell tower stands slightly over 300 feet and is covered with stone carvings of gargoyles. The Centre Block was developed in the mid-19th century and was one of the first homes of the Canadian government.

2. CN Tower

The CN Tower is the most iconic sight in Canada. It’s a marvel of 1970’s engineering and it always ranks as one of the top places to visit in every Canada travel guide. It has the appearance of a gigantic hypodermic needle but its main role is to act as a communications tower. It is one of the highest free standing structures in the world that stretches to a height of 1,815 feet.

3. Killarney Provincial Park

Killarney is also referred to as the “crown jewel of Ontario parks”, with one of the highest rated kayaking destinations in the world. At Killarney, people can spend days exploring the well-over 50 lakes and network of trails that provide spectacular vistas of the lakes and Georgian Bay.

4. Elgin & Winter Garden Theater

This is a restored work of art that is regarded as one of the last fully functional Edwardian double-decker theaters. The Winter Garden was initially developed as the flagship for a vaudeville chain that never got started while the downstairs was converted into a movie house. Tours of the theater run on Thursdays and Fridays.

5. Royal Ontario Museum

The Royal Ontario Museum celebrated its centennial in 2014 and is regarded as one of the largest natural history museums in North America. With the addition of “The Crystal” entrance on Bloor St. in 2007, the museum building combines the traditional heritage buildings with modern architecture with great effect (and controversy). It is a memorable destination to visit with friends.

6. 1000 Islands Tower

Found in the isle of Ivy Lea, approximately 20 kilometers from a place known as Gananoque, lies the 1000 Islands Tower. This 130-meter-high observation tower provides exceptional views of the archipelago from two open locations and has exceptional exhibits about the glass enclosed deck design. Though it’s an historical site, it has an elevator for convenience.

7. National Gallery of Canada

This location is more than just a tourist destination, it’s also a work of art. It has a unique ensemble of glass spires and pink granite which complement the copper topped towers of nearby Parliament. The interior section features vaulted galleries, a Canadian art exhibition, and various other notable American traditional forms of art.

8. Canadian Canoe Museum

Exhibiting one of the largest collections of kayaks and canoes, this museum is also a top-rated travel destination. It has an exceptional display of 150 canoes and it also documents the long history of water navigation that occurred in the country. This occurred in the 17th to 19th century, when North America was one of the top canoe destinations.

9. Boldt Castle

This lavish, traditional North American castle is found in the middle of St. Lawrence. The Boldt castle was developed by George C. Boldt, who was one of the developers of the notable Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City. Several thousand tourists pass by this location each year to enjoy the scenic structures.

10. Ripley’s Aquarium

This aquarium is located in Ontario and is one of the three aquariums owned by the Ripley Entertainment network. The aquarium holds 1.5 million gallons of water and exhibits marine life from all over the world. It is organized into nine galleries, showing a variety of fish, sea animals and marine habitats.

Five Things You Must Do In Red River, New Mexico

So, let’s play a game. Your job is to come up with a list of things you absolutely, without a doubt, without fail must do while you’re visiting Red River, New Mexico. How long would it take you to compile a list that you were confident would be the essential Red River activity package? The truth is that Red River, like so many other small towns, may not be top of mind enough for most people to rattle off even just a few things that are “musts” while you’re visiting.

In fact, there’s a very good chance you may never visit Red River, which is a real shame. This mountain town is the perfect embodiment of everything you’ve ever wanted from a vacation destination in the American Southwest without the hoopla of so many more popular areas. Unlike other places, Red River has activities that span the entire calendar year, which means you can visit anytime and still get the best it has to offer. This mountain oasis looks as though it has been curated in a museum to represent a time in this country that was less hectic, which sounds nice and relaxing.

Don’t let that fool you, though. If you and your family are big fans of adventure, you’ll get more than you handle. You want to claim you’ve hung out in the Rocky Mountains? Check. Is sea level just a big yawn? Well, maybe being nearly 9,000 above it will put a smile on your face. If only you’re travels lead you to hanging out in one of America’s premier national parks, right? Boom. Welcome to Carson National Forest, boss.

There is an abundance of activity throughout the calendar year, and this is due to the tireless work of the town’s leaders. Most destinations in the area are content with a busy ski season and then lie a bit dormant throughout the rest of the year. Red River has taken the opposite approach. They not only have a killer ski season, but they’ve made sure spring, summer, and fall all are stacked. Moreover, with the tremendous backdrop of Mother Nature they have, they really pull out all of the stops with the outdoors interactions.

Not if, but when you make it to Red River, here are five things you must do while you’re there:

Wheeler Peak Hiking Trail – Hiking to Wheeler Peak (elevation 13,161 ft.) is about four miles each way with an elevation gain of almost 3,000 feet. You’re going to put in some work.

Four-Wheel & ATV Tours – Red River Offroad puts you in the driver seat of some all-terrain vehicles to explore all that the area has to offer.

Hidden Treasure Aerial Park – Zip line adventures with three levels of difficulty, and a grand finale called the Ultimate Descent that’ll really test you.

Red River Ski & Summer Area – This place is an institution, in operation for nearly six decades. If you’re looking for year-round fun for the whole family, look no further.

Pan for Gold – You can actually pan for gold in certain areas. Pioneer Canyon, Placer Creek, and Bitter Creek are known hotspots.

Red River, New Mexico may not be the first place you thought of for a vacation destination, but it sure may be the last.

Five Essentials For Your Next Summertime Mountain Town Getaway

You just got back from having the time of your life on a summer getaway to a quaint mountain town. Your bags are being handed over to you by the driver of the car service, and you’re heading up the pathway to your front door, and the smile on your face is almost hurting your cheeks. You really had more fun than you’ve had in a long time.

When you finally get inside, you dump the bags, toss your keys on the bar, and take a nose dive into the couch just to come down a bit. After a bit, though, you start thinking about the things about the trip that you wished were a little different. You haven’t come down from cloud nine, but your euphoria is a bit tempered now. Whatever. It’s time for a long, hot shower, some tea, and probably falling asleep watching TV.

A few weeks later, you and your friends are hanging out & talking about the trip you all took earlier. Lo and behold, everyone else had the same reaction you did. Nothing could erase the perfection that was the trip, but there were some parts of it that could have been better. As you talk things out, you decide two things: 1) there will most definitely be a return trip next summer; and 2) a list must be made for the essentials that must be part of the trip.

Here are five essentials for your own summertime mountain town getaway:

Layers Are Imperative – Changes in elevation and fluctuation in temperature throughout the year can make it hard to know how cold or hot it will be sometimes. Dressing in comfortable layers lets you navigate this back and forth. Since you’re in the mountains, think about a flannel shirt. It may be a little on the nose, but you’d be surprised at flannel’s versatility.

Pack More Than One Pair of Shoes – If you’ll be doing some serious hiking, you need some serious hiking boots or shoes. You’ll also be doing a lot of walking. If in the event you may have a more sophisticated night out, dirty hiking boots or tennis shoes may not fit the bill.

Sunscreen, Hand Cream, & Insect Repellent – No explanation needed. These are the basic you should have with you on any trip, and manufacturers are doing their best to make traveling with them easier & not take up so much room.

Sunglasses and Eye Protection – Bright sunlight hitting the snow or water can really mess with your eyes. Protect them at all times.

Something To Carry Water In – You’re in the outdoors, so don’t be that guy and carry plastic water bottles that’ll be thrown away later. Have some respect for nature, and carry a reusable bottle. It’s good to stay hydrated, and it’s an example of good stewardship.

Obviously, your essentials may differ a bit, but these tend to cover the most basic needs of staying hydrated and protecting yourself from the elements. Remember, you’re in the mountains, and while the natural beauty is taking your breath away, you want to be sure to be safe & prepared.

Cheap Vacation Spots Guide: 6 Affordable Destinations for a Fun Getaway

It’s not true at all that you have to spend a ton of money to go on a lavish vacation. For every popular tourist spot, there is a cheap alternative. Even some of the more popular destinations are becoming more affordable these days. No matter what kind of trip you’re interested in, you can count on there being some cheap vacation spots out there to fulfill your needs. Here are a few recommendations to get you started.

Thailand

Thailand is always a popular country for backpackers. It’s got a rich culture, beautiful islands, beach-huts, cuisine, and tons of adventures. All of these are usually available at affordable prices. There is more to Thailand than just Bangkok. Explore places like Koh Tao, Koh Samet, Khao Lak, Hua Hin District, and Phuket City as well.

Uruguay

This is a cheap alternative to more popular South American countries like Brazil and Argentina. There are plenty of gorgeous beaches to choose from and abundant wildlife to check out. Just hop on an American Airlines, Air Europa, or British Airways flight to Montevideo.

Isla Mujeres

If you’re looking for cheap vacation spots in Mexico, head here. It’s an inexpensive alternative to Cancun. As long as the dollar remains strong in Mexico, places like Isla Mujeres will be affordable for travelers from the US. You can get around the island with a rented golf cart. Since there aren’t any tourist traps to fall into, everything is available at a low price.

Camino de Santiago

Looking for a cheap European vacation? Camino de Santiago is your best choice right now. See many historic sites by walking the trail across Spain. Thousands of people from across the globe to the “pilgrimage” across the trail every summer. There are plenty of affordable restaurants and budget lodging places along the route.

Oklahoma City

This US city is an inexpensive getaway that offers plenty of fun activities. You can do everything from wandering through Bricktown (free) to visit the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. There is no shortage of restaurants, shops, bars, and hotels.

Daytona, FL

If you want a beach vacation, Daytona is one of the most fun beaches in the world. It’s also associated with NASCAR, so you might want to check out the speedway if it’s open. There are actually 20 miles or so of public shoreline to explore. Interested in history? Visit the Museum of Arts and Sciences.

These are just a few of the many cheap vacation spots to visit right now! Each of these destinations has something to offer travelers of all ages.

Cheap Vacation Getaways for Two – 5 Wonderful Ideas for an Affordable, Romantic Trip

Just because you’re on a tight budget doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a nice getaway with your significant other. Even if you just want to spend a romantic weekend out of town, there are some great deals out there. You will find a variety of destinations both domestic and abroad that don’t cost much money. Here are a few cheap vacation getaways for two for some ideas:

South Padre Island, TX

This Texas destination isn’t just a popular spot for spring breakers. It’s a nice place to visit for every type of traveler. Your itinerary will fill up quickly – especially if you go during the off-season when everything is available at a discounted price. Whether you want to relax by the water or go on thrilling adventures like windsurfing and diving, this can be an excellent place to visit.

Pocono Mountains, New England

There are more than 30 free breakfast hotels in the Poconos, as well as 100+ three star hotels available at affordable prices. A stay in the Poconos can be a very romantic experience, no matter when you go. If you want to spend most of your time outdoors then a basic hotel will do. However, you should still consider the location of the hotel as you will want to stay in a place that is close to the attractions you’re interested in.

St. Thomas, USVI

You can get to this affordable Caribbean destination via cruise ship or air. The city really knows how to cater to visitors, and there is no shortage of fun, romantic activities. You can enjoy lively nightlife and restaurants for any price range. Spend your days either relaxing by a pool or visiting a nature park.

Lake Tahoe, NV

The great lake town is bustling all year round. If you go during the summer, you can enjoy a boat ride across the lake and go on a scenic gondola ride. During winter months, Lake Tahoe is a haven for snowboarders and skiers. Stay warm in a romantic, cozy cabin. You shouldn’t have any problems finding an affordable cabin or resort when searching for cheap vacation getaways for two.

Napa Valley, CA

There’s nothing as romantic as beautiful hillside vineyards. This doesn’t have to be an expensive vacation either. There are a variety of hotels and inns in the area that are under $150 a night. You can either drive to Napa Valley from your own home, or take a plane to San Francisco or Oakland and make your way there. You’ll want to stay for at least a few days. Be sure to take a ride on the Wine Train!

These are just some of the many cheap vacation getaways for two that are available. There are plenty of other romantic places to go in every part of the world.

Have you looked over online coupons and discount offers yet to find out how you can save on your getaway? It doesn’t matter where you want to go or where you want to fly from, there is always some type of deal available. Go over all of the cheap vacation getaways for two right now and decide which one is right for you.

9 Excellent Tips for Hiking in the Heat

Summer is probably the best time for hiking, but at the same time, you can often feel like it’s the worst possible time to go outside.

The clear skies and long, fresh daylight hours attract most hikers but these skies and long days can bake you in the heat. When the temperature rises, it gets tough to keep yourself motivated and calm.

You can still enjoy the beautiful outdoors in the same hot weather. You just need to take few precautions before heading out.

Don’t let the weather stop you from making some beautiful memories.

Here are few tips for hiking in hot weather that you should know before heading out.

1. Check Weather

Don’t just assume that you’d be fine on the trail. Hot weather comes with a lot of risks. It is important to check the weather forecast before planning a trip.

Humidity can be a sign of rainfall. Be prepared in advance.

Thunderstorms are also much more likely to occur when it’s hot. Keep yourself safe in all situations. So, check the weather before going out.

2. Start Early or Finish Late

Another good way to avoid heat is to start your trip early in the morning or in the late afternoon or evening. Skip the midday heat, don’t hike between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Hike during the coolest time of day. Be an Early Bird or a Night Owl.

3. Choose Your Trail Wisely

Hiking in a shady forest is different from on an uncovered mountain pass. So, it’s important to choose your trail wisely. Your trail should include shady sections where you can rest for few minutes.

Try to find a trail that runs along running water/river.

You can get drinking water easily
You’ll be able to refresh yourself and cool down.
A trail at a lower height is preferred if the weather is going to be hot because a higher trail offers a lower amount of oxygen and stronger UV rays.

4. Light Apparel

In hot weather hiking, try to wear synthetic clothes as you’ll definitely sweat a lot and moisture-wicking clothes can prevent irritation.

It is better that you wear long sleeve shirts, hiking pants, and fine quality boots. The more of your body you can shield from the sun, the happier you’ll be.

Your boots should be made up of breathable fabric so wet feet won’t represent a problem during your hike. Your clothes should be in loose-fitting as it will allow for better airflow, which keeps you cooler.

5. Keep Yourself Hydrated

Staying hydrated is the key to every successful outdoor adventure. This is particularly essential when you’re hiking in hot weather.

Your body loses about one liter of water per hour on a regular hike. A challenging outing in hot weather can double that amount. Make sure you replenish, otherwise you’ll get dehydrated during a hike in hot weather.

6. Eat Salty Snacks

A hot weather hike will result in copious sweating. As water is essential to restore your body fluid levels, it’s equally important to restock the electrolytes lost through sweat. The most important ones are potassium and sodium. They play a major role in managing your energy levels.

Make sure to bring plenty of snacks that have complex carbs. Don’t go for simple carbs like sugary drinks and candy. You can have energy bars or fruit as they are great sources of complex carbs.

7. Take Regular Breaks

Continuous hiking in hot weather is near to impossible. Your tired body needs few minutes to relax. Regular breaks also allow your body to cool down and sweat to evaporate.

Put your backpack down, lay down, and give your body some much-needed rest. Drink water and have some snacks to restock your energy that will keep you going for the next few hours.

You may also want to take off your hiking boots and airing your feet and sweaty socks.

8. Be Aware of Heat Stroke

Be aware of the symptoms of heat stroke. Listen to your body and it will tell you when you can push yourself and when it’s time to coast. Eat when you’re hungry, rest when you’re feeling tired.

Common signs of heat stroke

Throbbing headache
Dizziness
Muscle cramps
Nausea
Disorientation or confusion
Lack of sweating, despite hot temperatures
If you feel any of the above-mentioned symptoms, immediately find shade and try to cool down as soon as possible.

9. Protect Your Skin

In such a hot weather, it is important that you take care of your skin.

Sunburns can damage your skin
They also affect body’s ability to cool itself, thus increasing risks of dehydration.
Apply a sunscreen with an SPF 30+, 30 minutes before heading out. Put it underneath your clothes as well.
Wear a hat or head covering to ensure that your head and neck area does not get too hot. Apply plenty of sunscreen and UV-blocking sunglasses
“Better safe than sorry” is always a good motto to live by.

Always carry a cell phone and let others know where you will be hiking. In case you run into trouble for any reason you’ll be able to make a call for immediate help. So, don’t just sit back thinking how hot the weather will be. Plan, prepare well, and head out.

8 Things to See in Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is located in north-central Colorado. The size of the area is around 266,714 acres and consists of 60% forests, 18% bare rock and 13% alpine tundra. According to statistics, about 11% of the site is 11,000 feet high. Here is a description of 8 things you should see in Rocky Mountains.

1. Roads/Trails

You can explore the roads and rails on a vehicle or horseback, but if you are fit, you can also visit the sights on foot. Trail Ridge Road is a long stretch in the park and offers a spectacular view at a height of 12,183.

2. Peaks

The Rocky Mountain has over 100 peaks at a height of over 11,000 feet. Moreover, in the North, you can see snow-covered Never Summer Mountains in addition to 17 other peaks. Aside from this, Longs Peak is 14,259 feet high and is one of the most favorite destinations for hikers and climbers.

3. Glaciers

While the glaciers are retreating because of the global warming and other temperature changes, you can still find the sky-high glaciers over there, such as Sprague, Moomaw, Mills and Andrews, just to name a few.

4. Alpine Visitor Center

At a height of 11,796 feet, you can see the Alpine Visitor Center, which runs along the popular Trail Ridge Road. This is one of the top rest stop in the Rocky Mountains.

5. Water Sites

In the Rocky Mountains, you can find a lot of waterfalls, rivers, lakes and streams. They are ideal for photography, rafting, kayaking, fishing and sightseeing. Once there, you can choose Bear Lake Road, The Lock Sky Pond or Glass Lake, for instance.

6. Plants

The many environmental zones of the park offer a host of flora and fauna. For instance, the park offers meadows with tall grass and amazing wildflowers, dense forests, wetlands and Roosevelt National Forest. On the other hand, the high zones offer subalpine fir trees, shrubs and wildflowers. These plants will steal your heart and you won’t want to come back home.

7. Animals

The fauna section of the Rocky Mountains include larks, sparrows, ravens, finches, falcons, eagles, mule deer, elk, sheep, bighorn, black bears, coyotes, lions and so on. Aside from this, if you are at higher elevations, you can find beautiful pikas, marmots, rabbits, deer mice, ermine, bobcats and red foxes.

Besides, the park is home to some endangered species, such as cutthroat trout, yellow-billed cuckoo and the Canada lynx. In addition, you can find over 140 species of butterflies and tons of species of other insects.

8. People

Every year, over 3 million individuals from different corners of the world head for the Rocky Mountain National Park. Visiting the RMNP will be a multi-cultural experience for you. You can talk to other park visitors in order to find out about their languages and cultures.

So, if you are getting bored, we suggest that you choose the Rocky Mountain as your next tour destination. We bet this destination will take all your boredom away from you.

Is Rocky Mountains your next travel destination? If so, we hope that the information given in this article will make your trip more enjoyable.

The Best Backpacking Europe Routes

An adventurous backpacking trip to Europe can be the international trip of a lifetime and one to add to your bucket list. I was on the fence when the idea was presented to me, but it didn’t take long to change my mind. I was promised by some experienced travelers that backpacking is the only way to go especially if you’re looking for gorgeous nature, a cultural melting pot, world famous sites and a whole world of adventure. There are few time restraints when you backpack and unparalleled when compared to other ways to travel. There is no right or wrong way to enjoy hiking in Europe, but here is a sample of our route that worked for us.

1. London
Our first stop was Heathrow Airport because it is connected to the public transportation that will safely get you to some very famous landmarks. Our first stop was Buckingham Palace and it was even better in person than any picture or video can relay. The home of the Royal family is as incredible on the outside as it is on the inside. We missed the iconic changing of the guards but I hear it’s spectacular. Make sure you add it to your “while in London list” as well as the Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. They, too have historical significance and are must-sees during your hike throughout the city.

2. Paris
Trust me on this. Paris, known as the City Of Love is awesome. Take the Eurostar, underground train from London to Paris. Just the thought of traveling underneath the English Channel is unbelievable. There is so, so much to experience here. How about the one and only Eiffel Tower. My wife and I enjoyed a leisurely picnic lunch (French staples cheese, wine, and bread) from the outside, but my travel partners paid for a ticket to get a bird’s eye view from the top. Either way, get a photo or two because seeing this iconic tower in person was to say the least, surreal. We could’ve stayed on the grass forever but when they came down from the top, we were off again to see the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Montemartre art district that features the Sacre Coeur Basilica. The architecture alone is amazing. Whether you appreciate art or not, these landmarks will impress you.

3. Rome
This is a truly the best place to backpack. It is full of ancient history and cultural sights that look just like postcard photos, only better. I have read about so many of the places this eternal city offers and the fact that we were personally experiencing it is was truly captivating. It takes a while to get there, but it’s well worth the train ride. Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day, so take your time and spend some extra time here, if your schedule allows. One of the must-sees (actually they are all must-sees) is the Colosseum. Walk around, experience the historical architecture and go back in time when the Romans sat and watched gladiators fight in that same arena. Then I recommend visiting the Pantheon, The Vatican, to say a prayer and take in Michelangelo’s masterpiece in the Sistine Chapel. If time permits go over to the Trevi Fountain and toss a few coins in for good luck. Tradition has it that one coin is for love and the other is to guarantee you will return to Rome again. I wish I had time to discuss the many different restaurants. Our policy was to eat where the locals do and live by the age-old rule, “When in Rome” do as the Romans do. We didn’t have one bad meal.

4. Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre translates into five tiny towns on the western Italian coast that look like a colorful boutique of buildings. The villages are Monterosso, Riomaggiore, Vernazza, Corniglia and Manarola and each one is an individual marvel. I can’t speak a word of Italian but it didn’t matter. My senses were able to drink in all of the culture and personality offered here. We were amazed by one of kind natural cliffs in their National Park that conveniently surround all five towns. It has to be one of Mother Nature’s best creations. It is perfect for backpackers who don’t always like to be in big city crowds. We boarded a train with a day pass that allowed us to ride between these picturesque towns as many times as we wanted. You need to purchase a pass to walk around too. Staying overnight will probably be a good idea. There is a variety of overnight accommodations that offer a comfortable and affordable good night’s rest. Cinque Terre is a place I will return to perhaps without my backpack the next time and stay a little longer.

5. Berlin
Germany is fascinating and never fails to impress me. The sightseeing opportunities and landmarks are full of history, architecture marvels and even castles. This European country is like no other and the scenery is almost like walking back in time through an eclectic collection of modern buildings. For example, the famous Brandenburg Gate landmark, once a symbol of country’s division is not considered just the opposite, unification. The dark granite pillars create a walking tour maze and is the perfect spot for photos. The most disturbing, but emotional place we visited was the underground museum that showcases the plight of the Jews when the Nazi’s had control. Talk about a challenging time. But Berlin has a much lighter, modern side too. There are some hip neighborhoods to explore, really cool locals to meet and delicious food to taste. I ordered the vegan cuisine with Vietnamese noodles that was delicious. Then we took a walk on a closed airport runway that is now open to the public. There is so much to do and see, but the common denominator of Berlin is that no matter where you go, whether you backpack or not, the sky is the limit for awesome sights, sounds, tastes and experiences.

There is never enough time to explore everything Europe in one visit, so don’t expect to. But I recommend planning where you want to go and leaving enough room for some unexpected stops along the way. Europe is one of the most interesting continents in the world, and especially interesting when you take along your best friends and a backpack.

Five Surprising Benefits of Outdoor Recreation

When it comes to exercise, many people head straight to the gym, preferring to work their muscles on a treadmill or elliptical machine. While gyms are certainly useful and can give an athlete a head start on their fitness goals, nothing quite beats the benefits of nature. For those looking to improve their physical fitness, outdoor recreation can help boost both physical and emotional fitness and health, while also transforming exercise from a dull routine into a fun adventure. Here are five reasons everyone should head outside.

Improve Physique

Outdoor recreation can often be physically demanding, but the sports work different muscles than those static machines at the gym. Instead of doing countless repetitions on a weight machine, try canoeing or go fishing with a friend. The motions of the sports work the arm and core stabilizer muscles in a different way, boosting the effectiveness of a gym workout and improving muscle tone and strength. Best of all, because the movements come with a healthy dose of fun, it won’t feel like exercise!

Engage With Others

Working out in a gym is often a solitary activity. Headphones and televisions often keep people from interacting or conversing as they work out. Outside, whether it’s on a hiking trail or at a golf course, people can talk to each other, turning a solitary activity into a social outing. Once the conversations start, many people find they have more in common with their fellow participants than they expected, resulting in new friendships and new connections.

Unplug From the Daily Grind

Technology is everywhere in daily life. At work, many tasks are completed on a computer, and at home, countless hours are devoted to the television. Heading outside for a walk or sitting in a park gives people the opportunity to unplug and relax. Rather than focusing on a screen, individuals can focus on watching the clouds or observe the way the leaves blow in the wind. Disconnecting from technology gives the mind a chance to rest and reset, reducing anxiety and stress associated with an on-demand society.

Better Sleep and Improved Focus

Anyone who is familiar with spending hours outside in the sun knows that at the end of the day, their body is tired. Outdoor recreation changes up the way the body moves, exercising new muscles and stimulating the mind. Physical activity helps the body relax and makes it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. Well-rested individuals are better prepared to focus the next day and often see an improvement in the quality of their work.

Develop New Hobbies

Getting outside is a great way to discover new passions and hobbies. Go to a new place, hike a new trail, or play a new sport. Not only will the new experiences help cultivate a passion for the environment, but it will also give individuals an outlet outside of their usual hobbies.

Instead of heading to the gym for a solitary workout session, head outside, take a walk in nature, and breathe the fresh air!