Monthly Archives: December 2017

Tourists Traveling to Guatemala

Antigua is arguably the most visited city by tourists. Other places of interest to tourists include Peten, Lake Atitlan, and Tikal ruins. Sadly, the capital, Guatemala City, and Antigua are notorious for being dangerous and full of crime. Travelers commuting on city roads and between cities must remain alert and watch out for thefts and armed robberies carried out on public transport, bus terminals, etc. So for a safe travel and to avoid getting into trouble, follow the tips outlined below.

Travel Safety Tips for Tourists
When you are on the move, keep all your important documents (passports, travel, and health insurance papers) safe by depositing them in a safe deposit box available in most hotels. But it is recommended that you carry a photocopy of your passport and visa at all times with you.
Do not keep large amounts of money with you. Carry an ATM card which can be used at any of the ATMs found all over the major cities.
Traveling at night should be strictly avoided. Call for a cab, never walk alone on the streets after dark. Incidents of tourists being mugged and robbed at night, especially on deserted streets, are commonplace.
In the unfortunate event of you falling prey to mugging, it’s advisable that you cooperate with the criminals. Raising an alarm and calling for help or resisting and fighting them will land you in deeper trouble. Muggers are often armed with guns and will not hesitate to injure or even kill their victims. Give up whatever they ask for; your safety is far more important than the worth of the valuables you are carrying.
Guatemala City is particularly infamous for express kidnappings. Gangs kidnap individuals and release them only after they have been forced to use their debit cards to withdraw a specified sum of money. If travelers do not pay heed to the demands, these gangs do not hesitate to commit murder. To avoid such a nasty incident, never travel or walk alone, especially on lonely roads and highways.
Guatemala City is subdivided into zones. Of these, zone 1 in particular is where most criminals operate. Tourists fall prey to thefts and robberies often. It is unsafe also because this area sees a lot of drug dealers who engage in drunken brawls, so it is advisable to steer clear of zone 1.
Incidents of carjacking are common on highways leading up to international airports. Travelers are advised against using the highways after dark, especially when going to or coming from the airport. Cars and buses are targeted by assailants wearing police uniforms, who stop the cars and rob the passengers. In case you need to travel to the airport in the evening or night, contact PROATUR, the local agency that provides assistance to tourists. You can call a radio cab, which will pick you up from the airport and drop you off at your hotel, or vice versa. Note down the number on the license plate of the vehicle. If the cab does not arrive on time, do not linger outside the airport.

The World That Defy Human Imagination

Did You Know?
Even with the presence of strange lakes among nature, only one of them has the rumors of a monster living inside it. It’s none other than the Loch Ness, an ancient creature living in Loch Ness, a lake in the Scottish Highlands.
Lakes are among the most beautiful places in the world. They spread a sense of calm and serenity. Other than being the most go-to places for a picnic, some of these places are actually too strange to even exist.
From the red river in Bolivia, which resembles the Martian landscape, to the ice-cold regions of Russia, these lakes inhibit different creatures and colors. Journey with us around the world, as we take a look at some of the most strangest lakes around the world, ranging from interesting to not-stepping-foot-in-there.
Unusual Lakes in the World
Laguna Colorada, Bolivia

Colorada is a salt lake located in Bolivia’s Altiplano region, with the Andes mountains serving as the backdrop. It gets the nickname ‘Red Lagoon’ due to pigmentation of red algae and the surrounding sediments. Although the surface looks like floating ice, in reality, it’s speckled with borax islands and rings of sulfur. Due to the hyper-salinity of the lake, it’s a frequent haunt of James’ flamingos.

Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

The Plitvice (pronounced Plit-Veek-uh) lakes are a set of 16 lakes interconnected through waterfalls and caves, located in Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia. Each lake is separated from the rest by a layer of travertine, a type of limestone deposited along the banks intermixed with algae and the local moss. The strange thing is that, the travertine grows at the rate of 1cm every year.
Dead Sea, Israel

The most hyper-saline lake in the world, it’s too salty for any animal life to flourish in this environment. The surface and shores are 1,388 feet below sea level. Although the salinity makes it difficult to swim, floating is not a problem. An unusual feature of this lake is that, it spits up huge quantities of asphalt, which has been used in the mummification process by the Egyptians in ancient times.
Taal Lake, Philippines

It’s a freshwater lake located on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. The bizarre thing about this lake is that, it’s a haven for an island called Volcano Island, located in the middle of the lake, and the island also features a smaller lake called Main Crater Lake or Great Yellow Lake, which holds a smaller island called Vulcan Point.
Lake Balkhash, Kazakhstan

It’s the 12th largest lake in the world, and located in Kazakhstan in Central Asia. The bizarre thing about the lake is half of the lake consists of freshwater, and the other half consists of saltwater. These two halves are joined by a narrow straight that’s 2.17 miles wide and 6 meters deep.

Places to See Beautiful Flowers

The world always seems a better place to live in when you witness scores of flowers, stretching as far as you can see. Any place that invites with such stunning flowers is nothing less than a Shangri-la. Even the driest of deserts do not shy away from embracing the riot of colors that various flowers display.

Wondering where on earth you would possibly find places marked by a sea of beautiful flowers? The following destinations are hot favorites, especially if you want to witness how nature celebrates the arrival of spring.

Note: The flowering season depends on the amount of rainfall taking place in that particular year, and is subject to variance.
Tulips ( Haarlem, The Netherlands )
When to Visit: Mid-March – Mid-May
Haarlem (or Harlem) has been the most sought-after tulip destination since the 1630s, and is a major trading center even today. It is not just Haarlem, but most of Holland is world-famous for its tulip expo and festivals. With around 7 million flower bulbs blooming each season, Keukenhof is the main attraction when it comes to visiting tulip fields.

Lavenders ( Provence, France )
When to Visit: July – August
Since ages, lavender has been used as a scent for linens and bathing water. These sprawling landscapes of lavender are seen in the Sault area, covering the base of Mont Ventoux. The color of these beautifully-scented flowers vary from violet to indigo. If you prefer seeing a dash of yellow too, do visit Luberon, where you’ll witness sunflowers growing alongside the elegantly-textured lavenders.
Daffodils ( Cornwall, England )
When to Visit: March – April
Daffodils in England help spring to arrive in style with their canary-yellow trumpets and slender appearance. Apart from Cornwall, you can visit Cotswolds too for the pleasant experience of seeing hundreds of daffodils. Go ahead, bring out the William Wordsworth in you.

Cherry Blossoms ( Tokyo, Japan )
Cherry blossoms
When to Visit: March – April
‘Hanami’, the age-old tradition of having a picnic under a cherry blossom tree is practiced and enjoyed even today. These white- and pink-flowers are seen in thousands in the Yasukuni Shrine of Tokyo. With numerous flowers lining the streets of Japan in spring, this destination should not miss your bucket list!
Sunflowers ( Tuscany, Italy )
When to Visit: Mid-July
There is no better way to describe summer than a vibrant yellow sea of sunflowers; and if that is what you’re looking for, Tuscany is the place to be. Although native to North America and South America, the sunflower has almost become synonymous to the sultry summer Italy offers.

Bluebonnets ( Texas, USA )
When to Visit: April
The state flower of Texas, bluebonnets make this area feature on the list of places to visit, not only for humans, but also for bees. Such is the number of these flowers, that the entire state of Texas is painted with blue during spring. The next time you drive or ride through this state, do capture the picturesque panorama.

Mighty Historical Cities

Depending on circumstance, location, and a bit of luck, some of these cities were much more successful culturally and economically, gaining military strength and political influence, which affected civilizations from all corners of the globe. We present 13 such cities that once ruled the ancient world.

Veliky Novgorod

Saint Sophia Cathedral Novgorod

This city in present-day Russia, whose name means Novgorod the Great, actually was true to its name between the 12th and 15th centuries. Although the city was constantly under threat by the Swedes and Teutons, the people of Novgorod successfully defended it under the leadership of their prince Alexander Nevsky. Eventually, though the city was defeated by the Mongols, it still managed to negotiate and retain a large degree of its independence, and soon reached its peak of prosperity.

In the 14th century, Novgorod had a huge population of over 400,000 people, and was arguably the busiest port city in all of Europe. With the settlement thriving as a center of commerce, the Novgorod empire expanded dramatically, eventually extending all the way from the Arctic circle to the Ural mountains.

Unfortunately, the fortune of the city could not last. The leaders of the neighboring kingdom Muscovy (Moscow) were very envious of Novgorod’s fortunes, and the city’s close ties with the Catholic Lithuania caused heavy friction with Muscovy’s largely orthodox population. Finally, in 1478, Muscovy, under Ivan the Great, attacked Novgorod, which robbed the city of most its riches. The city struggled to hold on to its former glory. However, its fate was eventually sealed when a hundred years later, Ivan the Terrible attacked it, executed huge numbers of its citizens, burned much of the city down, and destroyed priceless records. The city never recovered fully from this blow. Muscovy became the new center of politics and society in Russia.


Buildings of Karakorum

The Mongols, once a group nomadic tribes, established the biggest contiguous empire in human history, under the leadership of Genghis Khan. Until the Mongolian conquest was active, the Mongols were constantly on the move, building temporary yurts, and traveling from place to place on horseback. However, once the Mongol empire was largely established, Genghis Khan started the construction of Karakorum, in the year 1220, which was to be the capital of his empire and the central base of operations.

The city was constructed near the Orkhon river, more than 200 miles from Ulaanbaatar (current capital of Mongolia), which made it an important stopping point along the silk road, providing travelers and traders with security, and also a place of worship. However, it was only after the death of Genghis Khan and the rise of his son Ogodei, did the development of the city really pick up pace. Although the city was a small one of only 10,000 people, the influence it had on the immense Mongol empire brought in people from across the globe, who wanted to serve or build political relations with the Khan. The city diminished gradually under the reign of Kublai Khan, the grandson of Genghis Khan, who moved the capital to Khanbaliq, present- day Beijing. Karakorum was mostly destroyed by the Chinese in 1388.