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Showing posts from April, 2018

Top second cities to visit

Top second cities to visit By Damien Martin
     Rome, Tokyo, Sydney, New York: They’re the huge metropolises in their respective countries that get the most attention, and the most visitors. They’re wonderful cities, full of vibrance and culture. Often, though, a country’s second-largest city, that’s worth a look. Perhaps like a younger sibling that is simultaneously trying to impress and free from the expectations placed on its older counterpart, these second cities do things a little bit differently. This week, let’s celebrate a few favorites.

     It’s hard to imagine Barcelona being second to anywhere, but Madrid is both Spain’s capital and its largest city and metro area. As the capital of the autonomous community of Catalonia, Barcelona has a longstanding rivalry with Madrid that has played out in everything from politics to sports. Compared to its classically styled counterpart, Barcelona has a flair all its own, evidenced by the architecture of Antoni Gaudi. The Catal…

Top sustainable travel companies

Top sustainable travel companiesBy Damien Martin

     We have only one Earth, and while it’s exciting to explore every corner, it’s important to preserve as many of the wonders as we can for future generations. Working with partners who are committed to sustainability and leaving things better than they found them is something that sets us apart and makes us comfortable sending our travelers across the globe. In honor of Earth Day, check out some of the initiatives a few of our preferred partners have created.
Natural Habitat Adventures
     Natural Habitat became the world’s first carbon-neutral travel company in 2007. Since then, Natural Habitat has offset more than 34 million pounds of carbon emissions. Partnering with the World Wildlife Fund, Sustainable Travel International and The International Ecotourism Society among other conservation-driven institutions, Natural Habitat is always looking for ways to improve in its stewardship of the natural world. All of the company’s tours a…

Top microstates to visit

Top microstates to visit By Damien Martin
     On the map, they’re just little blips. You might not even notice them at first. But when you do, curiosity takes over. Look at those tiny outposts sticking out by themselves in the midst of a much larger country. How did they get there? Why aren’t they just part of the larger country? Well, as you may have guessed, there are some interesting stories behind the creation of microstates. Here are a few unique ones particularly worth a visit.
     On the Mediterranean Sea and surrounded on three sides by France, Monaco has an interesting history. Near the site of ancient Greek colony, the city-state was given by the Holy Roman Empire to the Republic of Genoa. In 1297, Francesco Grimaldi, head of an ousted Genoese family, captured Monaco. At times it fell under the possession Aragon, France, Sardinia and the Axis Powers of World War II. Through it all, the Grimaldi family has been there, and their opening of a casino in the 1860s and subs…

Top walls around the world

Top walls around the world By Damien Martin
You’ve undoubtedly heard talk of building a wall along the southern border of the U.S. While the effectiveness of a wall is debatable in the context of the 21st century, the topic calls to mind some famous walls built throughout human history. One of the best things about travel is it gives us the chance to reflect on where we are, where we’ve come from and where we’re going. Though the walls listed below are no longer used for their original purposes, they still hold great significance as symbols of heritage and a past that should not be forgotten. They remind us that boundaries divide, while travel unites.

Great Wall of China

While it’s not really true that you can see the Great Wall from space (at least with the naked eye), it is an impressive feat of engineering and the extant portions of it span more than 13,000 miles. Erected over the course of several centuries, most of the current wall dates from the Ming Dynasty of the 14th-17th centu…

Top events on the sports calendar

Top events on the sports calendarBy Damien Martin
The excitement of March Madness has come and gone, but now that it’s safe to go outside again, the spring sports calendar is warming up. Even if you can’t make it this year, these are dream items to stick on your bucket list and resurrect each time the flowers start blooming again.
Baseball is back Opening Day has arrived, with all 30 Major League teams beginning their season last Thursday. It was the first time in 50 years that all MLB teams opened play on the same day. Whether it’s your goal to visit every stadium, take advantage of interleague play to see your team in a unfamiliar city or just invade your bitter rival’s ballpark, there are some great weekends to be designed around taking yourself out to the ball game. Minnesota and Cleveland will play a two-game series in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on April 17-18 and this year’s All-Star Game is July 17 in Washington, D.C.
The Masters Augusta National in Georgia is always a big draw with the…