Total Travel TAG Issue 1

totaltraveltag

Total Travel TAG is a magazine written by travelers, for travelers. With personal stories, off the beaten track, photos and more. All this in our FREE digital publication.

Total Travel TAG

tips | advice | guides

Uluwatu Temple, Bali

Coming Issue 2

Issue #1

Spring 2017

Total Travel TAG Magazine | 1


A Note From

The Editors

Well, here we are. The historic first issue of the Total Travel TAG digital magazine. We

have been working hard since August last year to make this happen. Many bourbon

biscuits and lucozade fueled nights have been had.

We now have nearly 5,000 subscribers. All this before we even launched the first issue.

Growing more, and more daily.

We have been going through all 350 submissions we recieved during the submission

window. We had so many great stories that didnt make the magazine. But, we will be

adding the best ones that didnt make it, along with all the ones in here, to our new Total

Travel TAG website. We hope to have this all ready to go live over the next couple of

months.

The great thing about our digital magazine, is that we have placed clickable links

everywhere. You will be able to click writers social media links, websites, and links within

the text itself.

We will be experimenting with video content over the next few issues. All videos that

we do include will be viewable in the magazine itself. None of this clicking away malarky.

So, without further ado. We welcome you to the first Total Travel TAG digital magazine.

We would love to hear your feedback. So, give us a follow, and let us know what you

would like to see from issue 2 and beyond.

Lee Webber and Tina Bennett

6

37

Things to do in...

Off the beaten track

48

Personal experiences

64

World food pictures

66

Bloggers Q&A

80

How I fucked up

BECOME A CONTRIBUTOR

We are always looking for people wanting to share

their experiences ith the world.

Whether this is with words, pictures, or both. At

this stage we are unable to pay you for these

contributions. We cant even pay ourselves at the

moment. But we are hoping this will change over

the next 12-18 months.

Coutesy of Bao Vo

1717 meters above sea level, Mount Batur

(Gungung Batur) is one of the few active

volcanoes on Bali, Indonesia. A middle-ofthe-night

trek takes you to the summit, for a

stunning sunrise and incredible panorama of

Mount Agung and Mount Rinjani (Lombok).

If you still want to contribute towards the next

issue, and beyond. Just click, yes, click on the link

below.

totaltraveltag.com/submit

2 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 3


Look at our World

week before our next adventure

down under.

By far, and away the best element

for me was spending valentines

day in Paris with Tina. Although

the weather was horrendous most

of the day. It was great to see all

the sights with the one I love. A

close second would be meeting

our good Friends Markus, and

Anja from Zornheim, Germany.

We asked to stay for three nights

but was invited to stay for 6.

Not being sure, we said yes, with

trepidation. I have to admit;

Markus and Anja are some of the

most beautiful, and friendliest

people we have ever met. They

even helped us out when our host

in Belgium let us down 2 nights

before we were due to arrive.

True lifesavers! It even meant I

had the chance to experience a

Bundesliga match. All while Tina

was indulging in some German

cheesecake, and tea.

We finally made our way to Paris.

Purposely planned so we could be

in the city of love for valentines

day. It’s just a shame the weather

did not play ball.

None the less, we saw all the

sights that you need to see when

you visit Paris.

It was then just a week until

heading to Australia and the next

huge adventure to begin.

We can’t wait to tell you all about

our Australia adventure in the next

issue.

“We were treated

like VIP’s on our

way to Brisbane.

Sitting in economy,

but being served

business class food.

Utter heaven!”

Our First Year

Travelling

written by

LEE WEBBER

from Look at our World

www.lookatourworld.com

So, it was back in July of 2015. Tina woke

me up, so softly. She had been up for hours

already, coming up with a name for our travel

website.

This is when Look at our World was born. So,

now what? We had our name, but we had

little else. We lacked social media accounts,

and we certainly didn’t know if any handles

we wanted were available.

We had no idea that, on that July morning in

a single room in a house share in Brighton,

UK. We would be sitting here now, piecing

together our first magazine.

WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA DO WE

HAVE?

So, we thought, and we thought some more.

What channels are we going to have? At this

point, it was only a diary, and somewhere for

our friends and family to see what we were

doing.

We settled on Facebook, Twitter, and

Instagram. We knew that these were the

easiest to maintain while on the road. Who

knew when we would have WiFi, so keeping

the number of social media to a minimum was

key.

Before we knew it, a whole day had come and

gone. Just with social media! However, that

was the easy part; the next part was creating

this website.

Thankfully, lookatourworld.com and .co.uk

were free. I must have spent 16 hours a day

for the next two weeks, crafting, and building

this site. Looking at the user interface and

how the end user would navigate the site

itself. It was only recently; we received a score

of 100 for our user experience. Happy days,

and made me very pleased indeed.

It was not without problems, one instance

we can remember was when the whole site

crashed, and all the days of custom CSS had

vanished! So, a sleepless night later, it was

fixed in 30 minutes. So, if anything learned

from this. Sometimes, you need to step back,

take a deep breath, and come back to it later.

The website you see now when you visit our

page has not changed much over the course

of the past 12 months.

SO, WHERE SHALL WE GO?

With no money saved (we didn’t think about

this too much before leaving our jobs). We

started selling everything we owned that was

not of sentimental value. So, bye, bye car. Bye,

bye Xbox One (this turned out to be a nasty

sell. There is more about this on our website).

Before long, we had sold everything we were

going to sell.

planning.

Now, was the time for the

Where to go? Where do we sleep? How

long do we spend in each place? These were

all valid, and important questions. So, to

cut a long story short. We had planned a

6-week tour around the UK and western

Europe. Everything was planned and secured.

Every single night was to be spent with a

CouchSurfer. However, then, my operation

date was postponed for a month. Putting all

my plans down the drain. Well, almost all of

them. All but our few days in Cornwall, and

then three days in Wales.

SO, LET US PICK UP AFTER

CHRISTMAS AND OUR TRIP

AROUND EUROPE.

So, we spent Christmas and New Year back

in England. With a date set for the middle

of January to embark on our 6 week tour

around the UK and Western Europe. Visiting

Hartlepool, Halifax, Castricum, Dortmund,

Zornheim, Cumstadt, Zornheim, and then

Paris (for valentines day. I know, how romantic

am I). All before heading back to the UK for a

We went from zero to 5,000

followers in just under 4 months.

It was crazy!

4 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 5


THINGS TO DO

AROUND THE WORLD

Lofoten Islands

British Columbia

Muskoka Lakes, Ontario

Kingston, Ontario

Dublin

Vienna

Slovenia

The Big Sur

Seville

Marrakech

Pushkar & Ajmer

South Korea

Ho Chi Minh City

We all wonder about things to while we are on our holidays.

We visit places we have never been to before, yes, we

look at places before we go. But you never know what its

actually like.

Namibia

So, we have some great things to do from around the world. From

the bustling Ho Chi Minh City through to the pictureqsue Lofoten

Island in Norway.

Over the next few pages you will find yourself wanting to visit all

these far flung places. I know we have since be inspired to visit all of

the places featured.

Have a good read, and we are certain there is somewhere you will

want to visit next week.

Please note that the opinions and views expressed are the personal

opinions of the writer and not necessarily those of this magazine, we

hope you love them as much as we do”

6 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 7


Don’t forget

your camera,

and have a

great time... you

will fall in love

with it. Just like I

did.

brewing process of the world famous beer. After the tour, you can get a free pint of Guinness

at Gravity Bar which offers you an incredible 360-degree view of Dublin City.

ST. STEPHEN’S GREEN PARK

This park is one of my favourite places in Dublin, and when I am in the city, I am always going

there. St. Stephen’s Green is located in the centre of the city. The main entrance lies at the

end of Dublin’s main shopping street - Grafton Street. It is a perfect place to relax and escape

the hectic pace of the city. You can also take beautiful photos here of the fountains, trees, or

ducks.

GRAFTON STREET

It is Dublin’s main shopping street but also expensive. At the south end of this busy street lies

the St. Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre. On three floors you can buy clothes, food, or gifts.

The main reason I love Grafton Street so much are the many talented street musicians you

can find here. During my six weeks stay in Dublin, I sometimes went to Dublin City after work

and enjoyed street music. If I hear great music, I just have to stop and listen.

TRINITY COLLEGE

Ireland’s oldest university was founded in 1592

by Elizabeth I. Many famous people have studied

here. Jonathan Swift, Samuel Beckett and Bram

Stoker are only a few of them. Worth a visit is the

Old Library with the Book of Kells from the 9th

century. It is said to be the most beautiful book in

the world. The Long Room houses over 200.000

books. George Lucas used the Long Room as

inspiration for “Star Wars: Episode II”.

DUBLIN CASTLE

Even Barack Obama

was here to taste

a pint of the “black

stuff”

Things to do in...

Seven years ago I visited Dublin for the first time. It is a city

that immediately captivates you. Dublin has this unique

atmosphere: The street music, the pubs, the architecture

and it is a place full of history. However, above all the

people make your trip to Dublin something special you

will never forget. You often read that the Irish are always

friendly and helpful. Moreover, that is true. It is easy to

make friends here because they are so welcoming and

kind. You feel like you are home. Even driving a cab was

fun because the taxi drivers were so friendly and always

had interesting stories to tell. I had the opportunity to live

and work in Dublin for six weeks during an internship and the people I got to know

made my stay an unforgettable experience.

After my first visit to Dublin, I swore that I would definitely come back and I have

returned several times since then. One of my hobbies is photography, and Dublin

offers you great photo opportunities with its old buildings and beautiful nature in

places like Howth and Malahide which are not far away from the city centre and can

be easily reached by bus. Of course, I visited the well-known tourist attractions, and

now I want to show you those places which you should see when you are in Dublin.

GUINNESS STOREHOUSE

Dublin

written by

ALEXANDRA SCHNEIDER

Dublin Castle was built in the 13th century. Today

it is used for the inauguration of the president.

You can do a 45-minute tour through the State

Apartments. If you want to learn something about

the Irish history, I can recommend this guided tour.

TEMPLE BAR

Although it is crowded most of the time, it is worth

a visit. Here you can find pubs, restaurants, and

cafes. In the famous bar with the same name, you

can listen to Irish live music seven days a week.

PHOENIX PARK

It is one of the largest city parks in Europe. Here

you can find a large herd of wild deer. Dublin Zoo

which is located in Phoenix Park is the third oldest

zoo in the world and houses over 400 animals.

JEANIE JOHNSTON

You can go on board of the re-created famous tall

ship which sailed to America during the famine era.

This guided tour shows you what the passengers

experienced on their journey to the “New World.”

HOWTH

If you want to escape the busy city I have a special

tip for you: Just take the bus to the coastal town

Howth where you can walk along the stunning

coastline. At the end of the cliff walk, you will

see the Baily Lighthouse. Alternatively, you can

enjoy a meal at Howth Harbour. You have lots of

restaurants which serve seafood.

Don’t forget your camera and have a great time in

Dublin! I am sure you will fall in love with this city

just like me

Barack Obama visiting the Guinness Storehouse

It is probably the most famous tourist attraction in Dublin and my opinion a mustsee.

Even Barack Obama was here to taste a pint of the “black stuff.” On seven floors

you get the ultimate Guinness experience and learn a lot about the history and the

8 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 9


Things to do in...

Namibia

DEAD VLEI/ HIDDEN VLEI/ SOSSUSVLEI:

These spectacular attractions are situated in the Namib-

Naukluft Nationalpark, which is Africa’s largest conservation

area. The whole national park is a dream for photographers

and pictures one of a fascinating landscape on earth. The red

sand dunes are some of the highest in the world by reaching

almost 400 meters. Together with their black shadows,

rocky mountains, rolling plains, animals, and plants, they

create a stunning atmosphere and one of the most incredible

ecosystems in the world.

Sossusvlei is said to be the most popular vlei, whereas Dead

Vlei might be the most beautiful one. It is characterised by

pitch-black Dead Camel Thorn Trees, a white clay pan and

rusty-red sand dunes, such as Big Daddy, which is supposed

to be the highest one in the world.

Its entry is for free, even though you can book guided tours

if you want to. If you want to find untouristic Hidden Vlei (as

the name tells), you should go with a navi in your car where

this vlei is marked. Note: Dead Vlei is only reachable by foot

(15-20 minutes walk), so make sure to take enough water

with you!

Tip: Another nice way

of experiencing this

oldest desert of the

planet is in a hot air

balloon.

ETOSHA NATIONALPARK:

This 22.000 m² area gets its name from a large 5.000 m²

endorheic Etosha salt pan and is the right place for any

safari. The national park is home to hundreds of species of

mammals, birds, and reptiles, including several threatened

species such as the black rhinoceros. We got to see the ‘Big

5’ within three days doing our non-guided safari tour. In

every camp, you should check the safari books, where which

kind of animal was seen the other day. The fee is 5€/day per

Person and 70ct for a car. This is a lot cheaper than booking

a safari tour! Because it is a huge national park, it is easy to

find!

SWAKOPMUND:

written by

LENA GROSS

from the Day Travels

www.thedaytravels.com

The city was founded in 1892 as the main harbour for German

South-West Africa and is an excellent example of German

colonial architecture. Today, a small part of its population is

still German-speaking. While driving along Skeleton Coast,

you can hardly miss it!

Tip: Get excellent dinner in a simple restaurant named

Ocean Basket.

CAPE CROSS SEAL RESERVE:

On your way, you should totally stop at Cape Cross, which

is a small headland in the South Atlantic Skeleton Coast.

This protected area is home to one of the largest colonies of

Brown Fur Seals in the world. Even though it costs you 3,40€

to get in, it is worth seeing it.

FISHRIVER-CANYON:

This canyon is the largest in Africa, as well as the

second most visited tourist attraction in Namibia. Even

though you might finally meet other backpackers, it is

entirely worth hiking there. There are some footpaths,

the longest follows 88 km of the Fish River and usually

takes five days. Important to know is that there are no

amenities on the trail and hikers have to carry all their

needs with them. Excellent public viewpoints are near

the camping side Hobas (of course, they are for free)!

Also, visit the hot springs resort of Ais-Ais at the lower

end of the Fishriver-Canyon. We spent a night there

and just loved its comfortable atmosphere.

QUIVERTREE FOREST:

I am addicted to this place! It is all and only about quiver

trees, but they depict a prime photo motive. This place

is hard to find; it is 13km north of Keetmanshoop on

the road M29. You need to watch out for a small sign

telling you when to leave the main road. Its entrance

is for free, and the campgrounds around are cheap (3-

8€/Person).

10 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 11


Things to do in...

written by

NADIA WAUGH

Did you ever stop in at a town or city, just

passing through, only to realise you

have fallen in love with the place and

you never want to leave? Ever?

It was like that for me and Seville, Spain.

I was two weeks into an epic ten week trip

around Europe with my primary focus being

Spain. Seville was merely a stop off on my

way to visit a couple of friends in Portugal,

and then a returning transit stays on my

journey around Spain.

The plan was a couple of nights, look around

at the “sights” then head on to my dream

destination: Granada.

Oh regrets, I have had a few! - Like, why

couldn’t I have spent a few more days, a

week…nay, a MONTH in the beautiful city of

Seville!

My hostel was situated in a grand old

building near Seville’s beautiful and imposing

Cathedral and right in the heart of the Old

Town too. It was surrounded by lovely old

buildings and cobblestoned alleys, lively bars,

cafes, and shops.

It was also a short stroll to The Alcazar, an

exotic Moorish Palace full of history, and

Seville’s answer to Granada’s Alhambra.

Seville

Oh the Alcazar, what a stunning place to visit!

From the moment you pass through the fiery

red gates, you are surrounded by intricately

carved walls, archways, pillars, colourful tiles,

fountains, and lush gardens.

The entrance fee is €9.50 (free for children

under 16, people with disabilities, and

residents); and is open from 9.30am-7.00pm

(April to September, and until 5 pm October

to March).

I recommend getting there as early as possible

– not only to beat the crowds (and the heat!)

but once they reach their maximum capacity

of 750, they will deny access.

The Alcazar is right opposite Seville’s

enormous Cathedral of Saint Mary of the

See (Catedral de Santa María de la Sede),

better known as Seville Cathedral which is

the largest Gothic cathedral (and 3rd largest

church) in the world. It dominates this part

of the city and is just breathtaking to admire

from the outside. Although I did not step

inside, I was told by fellow travelers that it

was stunning and a definite must-see… that

is one for my next visit!

Seville is a beautiful city to explore either

by foot through the labyrinthine alleyways

flanked by gorgeous old buildings, or by the

river on one of the many boat tours available.

Traveling this was is a lovely way to get a

different perspective of this great ancient city

– history, architecture, bridges, graffiti, and

local life appear in abundance as you cruise

along the Guadalquivir River. Make sure you

wear a hat, as a lot of these boats lack covers

on their roof decks!

Then, it is off to a cool bar for a glass of local

Vino Naranja – a refreshingly sweet, chilled

orange wine made in the Andalusian region.

On my last night in Seville, I decided to visit

Aire de Seville: a beautiful Turkish Bathhouse

situated in a 16th-century mansion built on

the foundations of a 1st century AD Roman

ruin. For €31 (€34 Fri-Sun) you can spend

90 minutes soaking in the sensations of the

Warm Bath, Hot Bath and Cold Bath, the

Thousand Jet Stream Room, the Steam bath

(or Hammam), before finishing up with a

relaxing float in the Salt Bath. Massages are

also available at an extra cost.

Seville is worth visiting: full of culture,

stunning architecture, great food, people, and

plenty to see. Be warned, though: it can be

scorching in high summer… but that is why

the Spanish invented siestas!

Courtesy of Kwangil Yoo

Luang Prabang, Laos

12 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 13


Things to do in...

The lofoten Islands

written by

MELANIE RENK

3. Å I LOFOTEN AND LOCAL BAKERY

TOP 7 MUST-SEE PLACES ON THE

LOFOTEN ISLAND, NORWAY.

There is no denying of the fact that the Lofoten Islands are on many

travellers’ bucket list. The Islands allure with idyllic fishermen’s

villages, picturesque landscapes and tall mountains. However, how

to decide what to see on a short trip to this beautiful destination?

Here is a list of the seven places you must see when travelling to

the Lofoten Islands:

1. REINE

Å I Lofoten is a small fishing village at the southern tip of the

Lofoten Islands chain. Here end the roads that lead south and after

it comes only vast plains, mountains, and the ocean. However,

as unremarkable the small village may seem at first it is worth

spending some time there. May it be to dine at the restaurant

right at the docks or to visit the several museums where you can

learn about the fishing in Norway or the famous Stockfish; the

village has a lot more to offer than the picturesque fishing huts

and beautiful landscape. While you are there, you also have to try

one of the famous cinnamon buns that are sold in the local bakery.

4. FREDVANG BRIDGES

Heading back north on the E10 you will come across two bridges

that connect the Moskenesøya island with the neighbouring island

of Flakstadøya. These bridges are worth a short detour and a great

chance to take some memorable pictures.

There is no denying of the

fact that the Lofoten Islands

are on many travellers’

bucket list.

Melanie Renk

5. RAMBERGSTRANDA

Not even five minutes further north the E10 leads right past one

of the most beautiful beaches on the Lofoten Islands. It is perfect

for a short break from all the driving, and the Lofoten Adventure

Company offers fun activities for the whole family.

6. HAUKLAND BEACH

Haukland is one of the most famous beaches in all of Norway.

Turquoise water and white sand surrounded by tall mountains and

green plains. Not even 10km away from Leknes; it is easy to get to

and a perfect spot to shoot remarkable pictures or go for a quick

swim – if you do not mind the cold water temperature.

Reine is a small fishing village in the south of the island chain, and

it is most likely the best known to most people. The village itself is

located on multiple small islands and connected by arched bridges.

It is easily reached by the E10, the highway that runs from the

north of the island chain all the way to the south, which goes right

through. Here is the perfect opportunity to stop for a hotdog or

some ice cream, take pictures or just enjoy the atmosphere before

heading further south.

2. REINEBRINGEN

Reine’s local mountain is famous for its incredible view over Reine

and the neighbouring islands. The ascent is not recommended

by local guides anymore but experienced hikers with a couple of

hours at their hands should dare the climbing. One gets rewarded

with a once-in-a-lifetime view and a chance to shoot pictures

you’d usually only find in calendars.

7. NUSFJORD

One could say that this small fishing village is the tourist trap of

the Lofoten Islands. Almost every tour group takes a detour to the

famous Rorbuer, the traditional fishermen’s huts, and the equally

famous small corner shop. Later is an experience for itself with the

displayed goods that were sold here at the beginning of the 20th

century.

“I haven’t been

everywhere, but it’s

on my list.” And those

seven places are only a

few of the reasons you

should put the Lofoten

Islands right on top of

your travel list!

As Susan Sontag put it so nicely

14 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 15


Courtesy of Nina van Rijn

written by

MINT TOH

www.mintqft.wixsite.com/mintqft (Coming April ‘17)

Things to do in...

Vienna

VIENNA (WIEN), THE CAPITAL AND

LARGEST CITY OF AUSTRIA, A LOVELY

CITY FILLED WITH RICH HISTORY,

IMPECCABLE ARCHITECTURE, AND ART. THE

PEOPLE I HAVE MET ARE NOTHING SHORT

OF FRIENDLY, THE GUY THAT SAT NEXT TO

ME ON MY FLIGHT EVEN RECOMMENDED

AREAS TO VISIT IF I WERE TO STAY LONGER

SINCE HE LIVED AN HOUR OUTSIDE THE

CITY!

ATTIRE

I went in late September of 2016 to visit a

friend. The weather was a tad chilly for me (I

am from Singapore) so alter my suggestion

based on how susceptible to cold you are.

For the most of my trip, I was in smart casual

outfits. A shirt, jeans, paired with either a

long knitted cardigan or long vest or blazer

to keep warm and finished off with black

oxford shoes. If you wish, you can bring a

scarf along too. Backpacks and handbags

are safe to carry around but do observe the

general rule of traveling and safeguarding

your belongings.

With all that said, here are my takes on a

short trip in Vienna and how to stretch your

time and money:

MUST DO – 2 TO 4 HOURS

Visit the Schönbrunn Palace (Schloß

Schönbrunn). Although photography is

not allowed within the palace is it still

magnificent to view. (You will not regret it!)

I suggest paying a little more for the Grand

Tour (€16.40) with 18 additional rooms to see

than the Imperial Tour (€13.30). At the back of

the palace, there are public gardens too.

Tip: Wear shoes you do not mind getting a

little dusty! The gravel left a layer of dust on

my black oxford shoes; I learned that the hard

way!

Visit the St Stephan’s Cathedral. Go up

the North Tower (€5.50) for a stunning

architectural detail of the roof!

MUST SEE – 1 TO 5 HOURS

If you only have a short day, I highly

recommend the State Hall (Prunksaal) of the

Austrian National Library (Österreichische

Nationalbibliothek). It is considered one of

the world’s most beautiful libraries in the

world (You can thank me later). It houses the

biggest Baroque library in Europe, complete

with beautiful paintings and statues. So,

you will have plenty to discover in one room

alone!

Tip: I suggest paying for a small fee (€3) for

the audio guide! You can get them while

purchasing the entry ticket (€7). Let your eyes

wander while it explains its beginnings and

follow along each description of the paintings

without craning your neck in odd angles. The

best part? You do not have to stand around

reading an information board with others

crowding around!

Tip: Avoid tour hours! I was lucky enough to

be there when there was only a handful of us,

but it did get crowded as I was leaving.

If you have more hours to spare, visit the

MuseumsQuartier. With many cultural

institutions, museums, and shops clustered

together in one area, you will be spoilt for

choice! There you can also view some of the

most iconic works of all time such as Andy

Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Egon Schiele and

more.

MUST EAT – 1 TO 2 HOURS

This may come as a no surprise, but the

famous Viennese Schnitzel (Wiener Schnitzel)

at Figlmüller is one you should not miss.

Tip: Make a reservation! Even during lunch

time, it fills up quickly with a long line waiting!

16 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 17


Things to do in...

Marrakech

written by

RHIAN STOYLE

At first glance, Marrakech may seem like a hectic city. There is,

of course, the Djemaa el Fna, the main square where snake

charmers, storytellers, acrobats, and monkeys can be seen

arriving at midday as stalls are being set up, but it is after dark that this

square comes alive! The city is also composed of the souks that are

surrounding the famous Djemaa el Fna.

beyond the souks, is the Musée de Marrakech.

The museum is in a Palace that was renovated

in the late 1990’s into a museum of Moroccan

culture. There is a large courtyard surrounded

by rooms that hold each of the artefacts. The

museum consists of traditional Moroccan

artwork, various aspects of Moroccan life and

visitors can get a look at the Berber lifestyle.

Old Berber attire, jewellery, and coins are on

display. The museum is open daily, and there

is an entrance fee of 50 Dirham. (approx.

£4/€5) The museum is located just around

the corner from the captivating Ben Youssef

Madrasa. It would not be hard to walk past

this stunning school as it is hidden away

behind the busy streets of the Medina but

it is what I would consider being ‘a hidden

gem’. It is an ancient Islamic school built in the

Saadian era. It is the Courtyard that captures

people’s heart. It is beautifully decorated,

each wall and doorway embellished with

exquisite detail surrounding a reflecting pool.

This piece of history is open daily, and it costs

a mere 20 Dirham to enter. (just little over a

pound and just under two Euro)

If you want to take a moment away from the

madness and step into a place of serenity,

take a trip to The Jardin Majorelle. It is a

stunning 12-acre garden that was designed

by French painter Yves Saint Laurent and was

gifted by him to the city of Marrakech. Within

the gardens is a vast range of flora and cacti

and buildings of a bright electric blue colourknown

now as Majorelle Blue. It is a must-see

in Marrakech and not just if you are a plant

enthusiast, as I do not have much interest

in that myself, I just loved the freshness of

the whole place and taking in the vibrant

colours around me. Photographers will also

lose themselves within the luminous gardens.

The Gardens are situated in the Ville Nouvelle

Unique handmade and crafted goods are for sale within the maze

of markets, and there are bargains to be had, remember to haggle!

The souks are also a spectacular sight and photographers will find

themselves captivated within. It is important always to ask the owner

of a stall if it is possible to take a picture, it is rude not to, and they will

not hesitate to say approach you about this.

Besides, the electrified streets of the Medina, Marrakech has a lot more

to offer that might make you forget just how busy the city is. Not far

Marrakech

is certainly

unique...

you will

see another

side to this

remarkable

city

and are easy to locate. If told by any local

that the gardens are closed today, do not

believe this as the gardens are open daily

and this is more than likely a ploy to defer

you to somewhere else. The entrance fee

is 70 Dirham (approx. £5.50/€6.50)

Marrakech is certainly unique. It is

often first perceived as a bustling city

comprising of dusty streets that at times

can seem over-crowded with passer-by’s,

motorbikes speeding through the narrow

gaps and local men transporting goods on

donkey-back. However, dig a little deeper

and seek out all the hidden wonders that

Marrakech has to offer. Trust me; you will

see another side to this remarkable city.

18 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 19


written by

JENNIFER CLUTE

With over 30

wineries in the

region... Wine not!

Things to do in...

British Columbia

Top 3 Things to See and Do in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada

From conquering mountain tops and exploring vineyards to indulging

in mouth-watering cuisine, Kelowna, British Columbia offers diverse

experiences for every type of traveler.

1. RELEASE YOUR INNER ADVENTURER

Kelowna is a stellar hiking destination with trails for every type of explorer

and mountain tops that offer diverse and unique aerial views of the city.

Located just 20 minutes from downtown Kelowna, Myra Canyon is a

restored section of the Kettle Valley Railway Trail that runs approximately

24 km (12 miles) roundtrip and includes two tunnels and 18 trestles. With a

vantage point like no other, cycling enthusiasts and hikers alike will bask in

the astounding canyon and Okanagan Valley views.

DIFFICULTY LEVEL: EASY TO MODERATE

LOCATION: LAT. 49.801944 LONG. -119.3125

FREE, BIKE RENTALS AVAILABLE, POPULAR WITH

LOCALS

Mount Boucherie, located on the west shore of Lake Okanagan in West

Kelowna, is what remains of a nearly 60 million-year-old extinct volcano

and one of the best hikes in the Kelowna area. With a top elevation of 758

metres, the mountainside switchbacks and several lookout points allow

for continuous photo ops. Educational signage about local flora and fauna

and possible wildlife sightings also add to the hiking experience. It may be

an hour+ trip to the top, but the spectacular lake and city views are well

worth the trip.

DIFFICULTY LEVEL: MODERATE TO HARD

LOCATION: LAT. 49.852529 LONG. -119.568067

FREE, POPULAR WITH LOCALS, HIKERS, AND

CYCLISTS

2. TANTALIZE YOUR TASTE BUD

The dining scene in downtown Kelowna is nothing short of impressive.

From brewpubs to authentic Mexican cuisine, Kelowna offers a diverse

dining experience for every palate. BNA Brewing Co. supports local

farmers and businesses showcasing Okanagan ingredients when crafting

their incredible menu. The interior is cozy, rustic, inviting, and exudes

classic west coast charm. Don’t leave without trying their spicy prawn

tempura with citrus aioli and chives along with a tasting flight (3 x 5oz) of

their current selection of draught beer. Try the Pamela Blond Ale, made

in house.

WWW.BNABREWING.COM

PRICE: $$-$$$ LOCATION:

1250 ELLIS ST., DOWNTOWN KELOWNA

Unique Feature: Enjoy a good ol’ fashioned game of indoor Bocce Ball on

the pub’s upper level

El Taquero serves up some of the most incredible Mexico City style tacos,

quesadillas, tostadas, and tortas right in the heart of Kelowna. Grab a

stool, a side of chips & pico and immerse yourself in the authentic Mexican

cuisine, décor, and music and before you know it, you’ll swear you were

dining in the streets of Mexico. Portions are huge, and the tostadas are a

must. Don’t miss out on Happy Hour from 2-6 daily and enjoy four tacos

and Mexican beer, sangria, or frozen margarita for $15.

WWW.EL-TAQUERO.COM

PRICE: $-$$ LOCATION:

1443 ELLIS ST., DOWNTOWN KELOWNA

Unique Feature: The salsa bar is fun and yummy (try the watermelon

flavour), and all tacos are served on soft, gluten-free corn tortillas.

3. WINE. BECAUSE WINE NOT?

It’s impossible to visit Kelowna or the Okanagan Valley without tasting

some local wines, mainly because it’s home to some of the highest

quality wine and wineries in the country with national and international

recognition. With over 30 wineries in the region, many are open year

round for self-guided or guided tastings and tours. Sip and savour a vast

array of wines that encompass the flair and flavours of the Okanagan.

PRICE: $-$$$$ VARIES PER WINERY

LOCATION: OKANAGAN VALLEY

UNIQUE FEATURE: TOUR OPERATORS OFFER

STRESS-FREE SHUTTLE SERVICES

20 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 21


Things to do in...

Pushkar & Ajmer, India

written by

AKSHAY NAGPAL

from Akshay Nagpal Photography

www.aks7694.wixsite.com/mysite

Ringed by the rugged Aravalli Hills, and home to

the beautiful Dargah of Khawaja Moinuddin

Chishti. Ajmer is an extraordinary blend of

culture and nature.

Located in the heart of Rajasthan, with some of the

most beautiful Jain temples in India, along with two

artificial lakes, Ajmer is a tourist’s heaven.

Fifteen Kilometres from Ajmer lies the ancient Hindu

pilgrimage town of Pushkar. The city with the only

temple dedicated to Brahma (The Creator) in the worl

Said to have more than 500 temples it is in this town;

salvation is said to have be found.

Camel fair of

Pushkar is one of

the largest Camel

fairs in the world.

When planning a trip first question that comes to

mind is “WHAT TIME OF THE YEAR should I be visiting

this place?” Well, the best time to visit Pushkar and

Ajmer is sometime around NOVEMBER. When the

sun is not too harsh, winters are just beginning, and

Pushkar is filled with Camels.

Camel fair of Pushkar is one of the largest Camel fairs

in the world. This fascinating spectacle that occurs

once a year (November) attracts a lot of tourists from

around the world. Filled with competitions, ranging

from “longest mustache” to cricket competitions

between local Pushkar clubs and casual foreign

tourists. There are hundreds of shops selling

traditional Rajasthani items as well as thousands of

camels dressed up beautifully. Making it arguably the

most colourful gathering of humanity and livestock

on this planet.

When visiting the fair, you should go and watch a

traditional Rajasthani dance, take a camel back ride

and participate in at least one competition. Only

then should you move forward and explore more of

the town. Deep into town on the banks of Pushkar

Lake stands the next stop. The famous Temple of the

Hindu God Brahma. The Brahma temple, where Artists

from around the world take a pilgrimage to request

inspiration of Brahma and Saraswati, his consort, the

goddess of the creative impulse, the source of music,

beauty, and eloquence. This should be on the must

visit for everyone visiting Pushkar.

A day at the colorful fair can get tiring, which can be

easily handled by trying out the amazing food Pushkar

has to offer. Ranging from mouthwatering tikki chaat

to Falafel. A lot of options are available, but one dish

that stands above all, and everyone should try is Rabdi

Malpua. This is an Indian version of pancakes (fried in

ghee and dunked in sugar syrup). This heavenly touch is added to the

whole experience by the sunset there. Pushkar Lake, with prayer bells

ringing in the temple and the sun going down, is a sight to behold.

the beauty of the

picturesque Ana Sagar

Lake will absolutely

make the trip worth it.

A half an hour ride from Pushkar takes you to the city of Ajmer.

Home to the ancient shrine of Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti (Ajmer

Sharif Dargah). The famous Dargah consists of several white marble

buildings, all decorated with intricate and beautiful carvings, making it

the most beautiful Dargah in India.

Located at the foot of Taragarh hill near the Ajmer Railway Station.

The best time for a visit to the beautiful Islamic monument is either

early morning, or in the evening.

In the center of the city not far from the Dargah, and just about five

kilometres from Ajmer Railway Station, is Soniji ki Nasiyan the temple.

Famous for its City of Gold. Sitting in the double-storey hall, it is a

diorama depicting the Jain concept of the ancient world. Decorated

with Gold, Silver, and precious stones, it is unlike any other temple in

Rajasthan and is worth a visit.

Driving to the outskirts of Ajmer on the Aravalli hills takes you

to the Nareli Jain Temple. This is another beautiful monument in

Ajmer. Spread across hundreds of acr, the temple when viewed from

above the hills is breathtaking. When the sun starts setting behind

the mountains, the temple lights are left open taking the whole

experience to a different level.

Well, known for its food, Ajmer can be a delight for foodies. Along

with various mouthwatering delicacies, you can get a chance to taste

several traditional dishes. Dal Baati Choorma, Lahsun Ki Chutney, Ker

Sangri, Bajre ki roti, Moong Dal Ka Halwa, Ghevar, and Rabdi are some

of the best dishes that are to be consumed during your stay in Ajmer.

The beauty of Ajmer lies in the fact that the city, encircled by the

Aravalli Hills itself, surrounds the spectacular Ana Sagar Lake. The Lake

is one of the most scenic places in Rajasthan. While sitting outside the

Bajrang Garh temple, located near the circuit house, having an icecream

and admiring the beauty of the picturesque Ana Sagar Lake will

absolutely make the trip worth it.

22 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 23


Things to do in...

The Big Sur, California

written by

MATT WYLAN EVANS

www.wylanevans.com

In May of last year, my girlfriend decided to

plan a trip to Big Sur, CA for my birthday.

Since we had never been to Big Sur

before, we were not sure what to do while

we were there. After finding many popular

suggestions, such as Bixby Bridge, McWay

Falls, and Pfeiffer Beach to name a few, we

decided we want to try and find something

different and off the beaten path to do as

well. Then, we found it. For a mere $12.00 you

could get a guided 3-hour tour through an old

light station that was built on top of a rock

outcropping right on the edge of the Pacific

Ocean, perfect!

The Point Sur Light Station is easy to find right

off Highway 1 north of the old Naval Station.

The lighthouse itself is still lit every day and

is easy to spot, but keep a look out for the

actual gate itself along the road as it is easy to

pass, there is a sign with tour info on it. There

are only two times per day on specific days

to do the tour (the days and times change

throughout the year so be sure to check their

website for the correct days and times for the

season) and is first come first serve so be sure

to get there early. Volunteer tour guides meet

you at the gate and let you through, after

which you drive along the somewhat paved

dirt road to the base of the rock where you

park your car and begin afoot.

After you park the guides start to take you

up the narrow road that leads to the top of

the rock, stopping along the way to share

fascinating stories of its history and for photo

ops.

You are allowed a backpack, and I would

suggest bringing extra water and snacks

since it is a long tour. I would also encourage

a jacket or windbreaker, especially during

colder seasons, due to common cold winds

blowing in off the ocean. Also as a side note

for those of you with small children, there

are no railings along the road as you make

your way up to the lighthouse and the cliffs

are sheer at some points so definitely keep

them close. As you make your way up the

road, the views only get more and more

breathtaking of the Big Sur coast. The first

of the buildings you stop at is the lighthouse,

which you get to go inside! You then make

your way up to the rest of the light station

at the top of the rock, which is surrounded by

an inspiring 360-degree view, where you get

to go through the station keepers’ cabin and

workshop. Finally, you end the tour in the gift

shop where you then pay your fee and can

pick up cool souvenirs and have some snacks

outside at the tables and benches and enjoy

a gorgeous view.

It is an unforgettable tour, and it is only $12!

Bring a Camera as you are allowed to take

pictures of any and all that you see on tour.

Also, the light station volunteers do night

tours and other special events as well. You

can check out dates, times, events, and other

info at their website: pointsur.org.

Courtesy of Sebastian Hofmeier

This photo was taken in Milan, Italy

on Sunday, October 30, 2016.

After a long day of trying way too

hard to get THE shot with my DSLR

on a short trip to Milan, on the way

back to our hostel I took this snapshot

with my smartphone. It turned

out to be my favorite photo of the

trip and a useful reminder to me that

sometimes, you can not find great

pictures, but they have to find you.

24 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 25


Things to do in...

Ho Chi Minh City

written by

EMMA-LIISA GREED

www.emmaliisa.com

Ho Chi Minh City, the largest city of Vietnam,

boasts a population of eight million humans

and seven million motorbikes. Saigon, as it

is still popularly called, will never cease to have

things to do, experience, see, learn, or consume.

The main ‘sites’ are not numerous or massively

impressive – an apparent fact is that one of its

most famous sites is the post office – but the

distinguishing feature of the Saigon Experience is

the atmosphere.

classes for some sophisticated hip-shaking

accompanied by Boppy Vietnamese pop

music!

Saigon provides you with plenty of fun days

out, too. For a relaxing, paradise-vibed day,

take a ride to the Binh Thanh district to

the beautiful Van Thanh Park (48/10 Dien

Bien Phu), complete with an uncrowded

swimming pool (60k).

Another favorite water-themed adventure is

situated the opposite side of the city - Dam

Sen Waterpark (3 Hoa Binh Street, 140k for

adults), full of rides ranging from the fastwhirling,

adrenaline-filled with names like

Kamikaze and Boomerang, to the leisurely

tyre-rides floating gently down the river.

However, the primary experience in Saigon

is its traffic. Crossing the road is a thrill

comparable to the craziest rides of Dam Sen

Park. Remember to never rush across the

road, as motorbikes are used to maneuver

around pedestrians with predictable, steadypaced

walking paths. Also remember,

motorcycles are always allowed to turn

right regardless of the colour of the traffic

light. If you feel up to it, definitely hire your

own bike (there are many on Pham Ngu Lao

street) and brave the streets of Saigon.

Saigon will, without a doubt, keep you

entertained for ages and ages. Enjoy it

with every sense you have, and soak up the

compelling, chaotic madness. Moreover, the

motorbikes.

Firstly, make sure you eat. Banh mis (filled

baguettes), xoi ga (sticky rice and chicken) and the

ubiquitous pho (noodle soup) are best enjoyed at

various street food stalls you can find at every

corner. For a nice local meal, go up to district 3

and enjoy dinner and people-watching at a canalside

street restaurant, for example, Hoa Map on

Truong Sa 922 (prices around 50k).

Western restaurants are also exceptionally

affordable in Saigon – try Au Parc (23 Han Thuyen)

for excellent Mediterranean food; it is easy to find

and conveniently right near the aforementioned

post office, with prices for mains for 150-325k.

Saigon will,

without a doubt

will keep you

entertained for

ages and ages.

For a stunning sunset, pop by the View (195 Bui

Vien), a picturesque restaurant with affordable

drinks and decent food (rice served in a pineapple,

ah). Prices for food range from 100-150k and nonhappy

hour cocktails are around 100k. Note that

you have to go inside the Duc Vuong hotel to get

to the restaurant.

For a proper cloud-skimming experience, visit the

incredible Chill Sky Bar (AB Tower, 26th Floor, 76

Le Lai), just a stone’s throw away from Bui Vien

(cocktail prices from 250k). Just remember – you

will not be allowed in with flip-flops! (Ironically,

murky trainers are usually ok.)

For a cheaper, more practical experience (literally),

find the tiny plastic chairs and 10k beers of 96 Bui

Vien, and start your Bui Vien nightlife experience

there.

Saigon also has a booming coffee culture going

on. Try out the dilapidated old warehouse 14

Ton That Dam – yes, you have come to exactly

the right place – with numerous out-of-the-way

cafes, along with funky vintage shops, hidden

within the crumbling stairwells.

For non-food-related escapades, visit the

green park on Pham Ngu Lao in District 1. Pick

up a smoothie in the morning and chat with

the local students, and in the evening, if you

are brave enough, join the local free aerobics

26 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 27


written by

AGATA NOWACKA

from Podróze małe i duze

www.podrozemaleduze.pl (Polish)

Things

BOAT SWIMMING AT

LAKE BLED

There is something magical about this

tiny little island in the middle of Lake Bled.

No matter what season you will decide to

visit Slovenia, you will be enchanted by

this place. We went there at the beginning

of September. The weather was still great,

but the number of tourists was lower than

during summer holidays so we could enjoy

the remarkable views just by ourselves.

Lake Bled is located around 50 kilometers

from Ljubljana – the capital city of

Slovenia, near by the Austrian border. In

September it is easy to find a parking place

just next to the lake. You can get to the

heart of the Island by a traditional boat

called „Pletna.” You will get to the shore

and back and will have around 30 minutes

to climb 99 steps of the St, Mary’s Chapel

located on the island. You have to ring the

Bell at the campanile built in XV century –

it will bring you luck. Many couples decide

to get married at this unique place. It is an

absolute must-see in Slovenia!

Many couples

decide to get

married at this

unique place.

to do in...

WALK AROUND BOHINJ

LAKE

Slovenia

It turned out that during our visit

in Slovenia there will be a summit

organized in Ljubljana. That was the

reason why the choice of hotels was

limited; all were too expensive for

us. Because of that, we decided not

to go to Ljubljana at all. Instead, we

have booked a room in a little Inn at

Ribcev Laz – small town in the Triglav

National Park. Sometimes you get

to an amazing place just by accident.

That was exactly what happened to

us. We never expected to find one of

the most remarkable spots in Europe

in Slovenia. However, we did.

Bohinj Lake is located within the

Bohinj Valley of the Julian Alps, in the

northwestern Upper Carniola region,

and part of Triglav National Park.

We were stunned by its beauty. In

September there were few tourists, so

wandering around the lake was pure

pleasure. It takes about 3 hours to

walk around the whole lake, but you

will stop every five minutes to take a

picture and enjoy the views. If you are

planning to engage this is the perfect

spot!

PARAGLIDING FROM THE VOGEL

MOUNTAIN

I have been thinking about paragliding since I saw “The

Intouchables” movie. Remember the moment when Philippe

is off the Grodnu and his face just glows? I wanted to feel the

same. The office where you could book a flight was located just

300 meters from our hotel. This had to be a sign from above.

The lady at the office told me that it depends on the weather if

I can fly. I left my number at the office and waited for the pilot

to call. He said that we could try to climb the hill, but it will be

just here where he will decide whether we can fly down or not.

I decided to take the risk. Moreover, of course, it was worth it.

The wind was just perfect! I was scared as hell standing at the

edge but when the wind took us above the hills It was one of

the most amazing moments of my life! I felt so happy, powerful

and free…

How much it costs:

€14 - PLETNA AT LAKE BLED

FREE - WALK AROUND THE LAKE

€130 - PARAGLIDING FROM VOGEL

€125 - 2 NIGHTS IN RIBCEV LAZ

(DOUBLE ROOM)

28 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 29


Things to do in...

Muskoka Lakes,

Ontario

written by

JENNIFER CLUTE

THINGS TO DO IN MUSKOKA LAKES,

ONTARIO, CANADA

From lakeside relaxation to sipping wine in the cranberry capital of

Ontario, Muskoka Lakes, named by Travel Gay Canada as one of the

top 10 gay-friendly destinations in Ontario other than Toronto, offers

a vast array of experiences for LGBT travelers.

Located just two hours north of Toronto, Muskoka Lakes, known

as Canada’s “cottage country,” has long been recognized as the

destination to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city life.

Surrounded by Lakes Muskoka, Rosseau, and Joseph, this quaint and

picturesque township is a diverse destination eager to welcome and

introduce LGBT travelers to the natural paradise they so lovingly call

home.

THE WINE

Located in Bala, the cranberry capital of Ontario, Muskoka Lakes

Winery and Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh boasts a variety of yearround

activities for every type of traveler. Designated a Canadian

Signature Experience by the CTC, the winery’s Bog to Bottle Discovery

tour guides guests through the cranberry bog and concludes with wine

tastings and cheese pairings.

WWW.CRANBERRY.CA

PRICE: $-$$

LOCATION: CRANBERRY ROAD, BALA, ONTARIO

Unique Feature: Bala’s Cranberry Festival, always hosted the weekend

after Canadian Thanksgiving, is one of the top 100 festivals and events

in Ontario.

THE GREAT OUTDOORS

Muskoka Lakes is home to an unbelievable array of activities for every type

of traveler. Tap into your inner adventurer and go boating or wakeboarding

on one of the many lakes in the area or enjoy the serenity and peacefulness

of one of the many hiking and nature trails. One of the more popular trails,

Torrance Barrens, is not only known as one of the most incredible geological

areas in Muskoka but an ideal place to view the night skies.

DIFFICULTY LEVEL: MODERATE TO DIFFICULT

LOCATION: SOUTHWOOD ROAD, TORRANCE, ONTARIO

FREE, POPULAR WITH LOCALS, HIKERS, AND

CYCLISTS

WINTER WONDERLAND

While Muskoka Lakes may be known for its summer fun, this year-round

destination also attracts winter tourists seeking adventure and rest. Venture

to the JW Marriott – The Rosseau Muskoka for luxury accommodations with

classic cottage décor. While you are here, take advantage of snowshoeing

trails, snowmobiling or dog sledding excursions!

WWW.THEROSSEAU.COM

PRICE: $$$$

LOCATION: PAIGNTON HOUSE ROAD, MINETT, ONTARIO

Special Feature: In 2014, JW Marriott hosted “Matrimony in Muskoka” proudly

welcoming LGBT couples to be married at the resort.

Whether you are planning the quintessential Muskoka summer experience

at the cottage, basking in the fall colours, or sledding through a winter

wonderland, make sure to contact the local chamber of commerce (www.

muskokalakeschamber.com) and consider the LGBT diversity ambassadors

listed, on the website that are eager to welcome you with their Muskoka

hospitality!

30 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 31


Things to do in...

Kingston, Ontario

Home of one of the biggest events in Canadian history,

Kingston, Ontario has so much more to offer than just

being the home of the world famous band, The Tragically

Hip. Being where The Tragically Hip played their final concert.

Kingston is a beautiful, waterfront city full of appeal for all ages.

It has activities all year round, and this article is going to name

one activity to do in Kingston in each season, although there are

endless possibilities!

THE SPRING

Is a good time to visit Kingston and see all of the snow melt and

the flowers start to bloom as well as new and old activities start

to arise once again. An activity that is perfect for the spring season

in Kingston is to go on a hike on one of Kingston’s many beautiful

trails! Kingston has several different trails in the area to discover!

A trail that is worth a

hike on is Lemoine’s

point conservation area

which is surrounded by

Lake Ontario

A trail that is worth a walk on is Lemoine’s point conservation

area which is surrounded by Lake Ontario and has many different

trails through forests, marsh’s and along the beautiful lake. This is

a great spot to come and relax, get some exercise and see some

beautiful views and wildlife!

written by

REBEKAH BOUDREAU

ONTO THE NEXT SEASON!

Summer is a prime time for tourists to visit Kingston

because the number of activities that you can do is

endless, just one activity to get you inspired to visit

the limestone city during the summer!

One activity that you can do i the summer in

Kingston is visiting Wolfe Island, which is just

a quick 20-minute ferry ride away from the

city. Wolfe Island is a large island with beautiful

farmland and famous wind turbines that give

power to almost every home on the island, as well

as an excellent bakery and other small shops.

Wolfe Island has so much charm and is worth a

visit! Ah, the season of fall!

FALL (AUTUMN)

Fall is a fantastic time to travel anywhere in but

especially in Kingston! This event is during the

month of October at the historic Fort Henry which

was built in the 1800s and was used to protect the

city of Kingston, but is now a historic landmark

with year-round tours of the fort and also home

to a modern bistro! However, during the month of

October, Fort Fright is where the souls of soldiers

and other creatures come out to frighten daring

guests and seek their revenge!

Each year there is a different theme for the

fort, which can range anywhere from spiders to

zombies to clowns to the cursed hallows! This

event is world famous and is so fun!

FINALLY, WINTER!

Winter is a fabulous time to come to Kingston

and see the beautiful snow fall! An activity to

do in Kingston during the winter is to go to the

famous Feb Fest which takes place every February

in Springer Market Square. Each winter, the square

is transformed into a huge skating rink!

During Feb Fest, visitors, and locals can come and

skate on the ice with their friends and family, watch

professional figure skaters perform, watch hockey

games, compete in hockey games, as well as enjoy

some warm Beavertails (Fried dough not real

beaver tails!) and hot chocolate. This event is fun

for all ages and is a huge hit every year! Kingston

may not be the perfect tropical or European

vacation, but Kingston has a lot to offer all year

round with activities fit for everyone! Kingston

also has a lot of history, culture, and friendly faces

to see! I hope you visit one day!

32 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 33


written by

NERI FATRINA SARI

Things to do in...

South Korea

On my second time to Korea, I tried a few

things that I had not dont the first time

i visited..

After 6 hours flight to Seoul, we landed at

Incheon International Airport. We got a Coupon

book of Halal restaurants in Korea to support

the Halal Restaurant Week in November. This

book useful for us who sometimes difficult to

get a Halal meal during our traveling.

In this visit, I also want to have an experience

living in Hanok, traditional Korean houses. I

booked a room at Hanok Guesthouse in the

area near Gyeongbok Palace. Using the airport

limousine bus, we arrived at the guesthouse.

It was gorgeous. You get rooms with futon

bedding that held in the floor. We went in

autumn, at the room was warm.

After taking some rest, we walk to Insadong

area. We saw many groups of teenagers

walking around using the Hanbok, Korean

Traditional Dress.

Still, in the Insadong area, we tried the Halal

food which was mentioned in the Coupon

Books and devoured some homemade food of

Korea. It is delicious!

During this time I tried some Korean Halal food

such as Samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup),

Chuncheon Dakgalbi (spicy grilled chicken),

Bulgogi (Korean BBQ), Banchan (appetizers

typical of Korea), Tteok (rice cake), Hotteok

(Korean-style pancake), and of course drink

the famous Banana Milk. All of which were

delicious! Thanks to the Korean government

who had promoted the Halal Food Week!

From the list of Must Visit Place at Korea, this

time I visit:

1. Gyeongbokgung Palace

2. Namsan Hanok Village

3. Nami Island

4. N Seoul Tower

5. Gwanghwamun Square

6. Cheonggyecheon Stream (there’s a Seoul

Lantern Festival)

7. Dongdaemun area

8. Myeongdong area

Beside Seoul, I also visited Jeju island. We took

a domestic flight from Gimpo Airport to Jeju

International Airport. In 1, five days we visited

Seongsang Ilchubong Peak with a bus from

Jeju Intercity Bus Terminal (bus no 701). We

also visited the Teddy Bear Museum, Jungmun

resort using Jeju Airport Limousine bus. If you

want to explore all Jeju area, you need 2-3

days. I will back here one day to explore more

because Jeju has many beautiful landscapes.

I will go back to Korea because there are many

places I want to visit, and most importantly,

Korea one of the safest place for women to

travel alone. Especially now there are many

places to eat which are certified halal for

Muslims.

On my second

time to Korea,

I tried a few

things that I

had not done

the first time i

visited.

See you next time in Korea

34 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 35


Courtesy of J. Randy Houk

He used his tripod to capture this moment, as he

was waiting to catch a ferry from Patras, Greece to

Italy

OVER THE NEXT FEW PAGES YOU WILL SEE

SOME OF THE VERY BEST PLACES TO VISIT

OFF THE BEATEN TRACK.

36 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 37


When visiting the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania, most

people stick to the cities of Arusha and Moshi. There are

plenty of things to see and do there, but, if you go on a little

adventure to a spot between Arusha and Moshi, you will

find a hidden oasis!

In a village called Rundugai, far off the main road, there is

a hot spring (or Maji Moto) waiting for you to jump in! Its

sapphire waters are warm, with a constant current running

through it. The spring is even made complete with a rope

swing!

This can be a day trip spent swimming in the clear water,

with a beer in hand, or you can camp out under the stars

for the night and explore. Just bring your tent and some

food to BBQ, and you are all set for a fantastic night in the

Tanzanian wilderness.

HOW TO GET THERE:

A two-hour drive from Arusha town or a one hour drive

from Moshi. This little paradise is seemingly in the middle

of nowhere, but it is easy to drive there and if you get

someone to show you the way it does not take long. You

can easily find a tour company to take you, but you can

also quickly drive yourself if you ask for directions from the

locals once you reach an area called Boma. Alternatively,

you can park your car at a hotel on the main road and jump

in a bajaji (like the Asian tuk-tuk) and ask them to take you

there. You can also ask a motorcycle taxi to drive head of

you and lead the way.

Tip: you will feel

lost at least once

or twice once you

turn off the main

road. Have no fear,

just keep asking

the locals you see

for the Kikuletwa

Hotsprings, and

you will reach

your destination

eventually!

WHAT TO BRING:

Money for transport and fees, a towel and a cooler full of

drinks! You can buy drinks there, but no electricity means

no fridge. I do not know about you, but I prefer my beers

cold!

COST:

There is a small ‘villiage swimming fee’: 5000tsh approx.

$2.50USD. Food is only Chips, Mayai (local dish much like

a potato omelet): 2000tsh Approx $1USD. You can then

wash it down with a warm beer: 4000tsh approx: $2USD

each.

written by

OLIVIA LEACH

from Liv Life in Wanderlust

www.livlifeinwanderlust.com

TANZANIA

written by

VIRGIL REGLIONI

SRI LANKA

When visiting Asia, I advise hitting

the Sinharaja National Reserve in

the southern province of Sri Lanka.

Surrounded by the tropical jungle, I

have been amazed by the amount

of wildlife you can spot around you

once immersed into the rain forest.

The fauna and flora will leave you

speechless.

From colourful forest lizards

to large butterflies, without

forgetting the kings of camouflage

such as snakes, spiders, kangaroo

lizards or Boyd dragons, you

cross path with some of the most

beautiful species of animals in Asia,

including some species unique to

Sri Lanka. You will be able to cross

an amazing hanging bridge across

fresh water river flowing from the

jungle hilltops, leading to a resort

handled by locals.

One of the best spot during this

three and half hours hike is the

beautiful water hole and waterfall

in which you can have a nice deep

before heading back on the track.

Jumping from rock to rock to reach

the spot; you can be sure about

the adventure awaiting for you.

You will need a guide to

lead you along the track

through the tropical

rain forest. The guide

costs about 1500Lkr

(Sri Lankan Rupee)

which is about 10 euros.

They are friendly, with

excellent English, very

knowledgeable and will

show you how to spot

things that you do not

even imagine bumping

into.

The place is known for

the locals who will take you there

without any problem. The trip to

head to Sinharaja Reserve can be

made from Galle by Tuktuk. Quite

bumpy and hard to go through

when the rain flooded the day

before, I would advise checking the

weather before planning the trip. It

would take about three hours from

Galle.

I heard about the place while

traveling to the Daintree rainforest

in Australia, comparable to

Sinharaja tropical rainforest in Sri

Lanka.

KOS ISLAND,

GREECE

There is a place in Kos island where

you can experience the hot water

from the spring of the mountain

exactly next to the cold water of

the sea.

Before we tell you about the hot

water we should explain you the

way to reach the place. It is located

to the most North Eastern place of

the island, reachable by a vehicle,

about 10 km away from Kos town

and exactly where the road ends.

You can reach the area by the

local bus and then walk for 2 Km

in declivity on a beautiful rocky

scenery. If you have a car you can

leave it only 700m away from the

spot, still enjoy the rocky scenery

and fortunately skip the uphill

later.

If you ever

visit Kos

island, put

Therma on

your list....

the scenery

is so

beautiful...

written by

THENIA GAGALIDOU

from BeenThere

www.beenthere.eu

It is a small hot spring under high

cliffs, almost hidden from the

rocks around and separated from

the sea water with just some rocks.

The water of the spring contains

Potassium, Calcium, Sodium,

Magnesium, and Sulfur and as the

locals say “all these elements are

ideal treatment for rheumatism,

arthritis and any gynecological

related issues.”. There are not any

organized facilities there and you

feel close to pure nature, away

from the civilization and especially

not the peak hours. The nights are

silent there and the days bright.

Once you go there, you will notice

that the Therma is full of people

all day. It is common for the

youngsters to visit here for a night

bath instead of going out. Some of

them even spend the night there

with their sleeping bags.

The older generation enjoy to

take their bath at sunrise. If you

are well equipped you can climb

100m north and reach the next

small gulf. Here you will find a lot

of free campers with their tents.

Ready to spend their holidays by

the Therma.

If you ever visit Kos, make sure you

put Therma on your list of places

to visit. The scenery if so beautiful,

it will just take your breath away!

38 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 39


written by

JOLLY QIAN

BALI

I would like introduce my trip to a forest

resort in Bali, named Bagus Jati.

Most of us may have been to the beach

resort or the Ubud area in Bali. However,

Bagus Jati is not close to any of these resorts.

It is about 40 mins drive from Ubud, located

in the mountain area.

Because of its unique location, the air is a

bit chilly. We had to wear our jacket most of

the time. We called it ‘our superb detox trip’

because of the serenity, and peace it brought

to our body and mind.

The resort has very well equipped chalet that

not only has a huge bathroom but a jacuzzi

as well. You have the luxury of an open air

massage, with all sorts of natural product.

We woke up every morning at 6am to do

some Yoga. Followed by the fresh, and very

enjoyable healthy breakfast.

There were very few guests during my stay,

so your privacy is assured. The peace and

quiet added to the amazing experience.

I would Highly recommend a visit here. Not

only for ladies, but for couples who are tired

of the hustling-bustling life of the city.

written by

KAROLINE MERTES

ICELAND

Me and my boyfriend were travelling through

eastern Iceland, when we came across a little nature

reserve we had not heard about yet, located near the

Reydarfjördur fjord.

We stopped at a parking lot on road number 92 some

miles south from Eskifjördur. From where we parked,

we could overlook the entire fjord. Right below us we

saw a little peninsula with two hills and a short beach.

A small little reserve full of nature to explore.

Since it was a sunny day, we decided to take a short

hike to scout the area.

The trail started out as a steep, rocky and narrow

path. Soon we reached the first valley, and the trail

was now covered in knee high grass. We hiked around

the first hill, passing through some meadows until

we got to the foot of the second hill. 15 min later

we arrived at the top. The most amazing view over

the fjord and the surrounding mountains awaited us.

We made our way down to the beach, following the

tiny, wooden, red markers. As soon as we reached the

beach, we realized that some of the markers must

have gone missing. We were lost. Ironically in reserve,

that was not bigger than eight football grounds. Since

we went too far to double back, we decided to try our

luck finding the path. After what felt like hours, we

finally found the trail. The short hike we had planned

took us almost three hours, but it was worth every

minute of it. The landscape was fantastic, and the

solitude was lovely.

In case you ever find your way into this part of Iceland,

I really recommend a stop at this lovely little island of

peaceful quietness, to go on an adventures hike in a

breathtaking landscape. I does not cost you a penny

and it is a real treat.

And remember to keep a close eye on the little red

markers… ;)

Courtesy of Jesús Román

Representation of Mexican independence

war, this is done every September

16 in Cocula, Guerrero, Mexico. The

man with the painted face pretends

to be a native in battle, the man on

the horse represents even a mestizo

general in full fight, rather than a representation

is a game in the locality.

40 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 41


written by

MELISSA MAHONEY

from Worldly Roamer

www.worldlyroamer.com

ICELAND

Ever since I was a child, I considered myself an

explorer. I always go off the proverbial (and

often literal) beaten path in order to discover

something that, hopefully, not many other people

have found before. Even to this day, I roam and

explore until I find an abandoned building to

photograph, or perhaps some street art down an

alley in a not-so-traversed area of a city. I have

found so many interesting things to photograph

throughout my life by heading off the beaten

path.

written by

RAJ LODHIYA

INDIA

The September of 2016, I went hiking with

some friends in ‘Govind’ national park situated

in Indian Himalayas that tourists and hikers

from all around the world visit. It is a two-way

trail starting from Taluka, a small mountain

village at 7,000 feet, going up towards

Jaundhar glacier at 14,200 feet through the

Har-ki-dun valley and ending back at Taluka

coming back via the same trail. It took us five

days to hike these 45 miles.

Day One of the hike, the trail went through

green Himalayan broadleaf forests along the

river Tons and we spent the night in a small

wooden cottage in Osla, another mountain

village. Osla has one of the very few temples

dedicated to Duryodhana, the bad guy from

Mahabharata, a Sanskrit epic of ancient

India. This temple was built by the people of

Har-ki-doon who worship Kauravas as their

ancestors. Wild Himalayan cannabis plants

are found in abundance in and around Osla

and one may see some of the local smoking it

using a ‘Chillum’!

On day two we started hiking from Osla

through endless meadows of alpine flowers

going over our heights and camped for the

night reaching ‘Har-ki-doon.’ ‘Har-ki-doon,’

meaning ‘Valley of Gods’ is a cradle shaped

Himalayan valley at about 12,000 feet altitude.

This valley is blessed with many natural

elements and every picture you click here is

sure to look like a desktop wallpaper. At night,

if the sky is clear, one can clearly see our Milky

Way in all its glory and get the tripod out to

capture some amazing star trails.

The third day of the hike we walked to

Jaundhar glacier at 14,200 feet and caught

some close-up views of the over 20,000 feet

high Swargrohini peaks. This day is in complete

contrast to the lush greenery of the past few

days and adds an element of high altitude

scenery with its breathtaking landscapes. We

came back to our camp at Har-ki-doon and

spent the night.

We took days four and five to come down to

Taluka down the same trail where our hike

ended.

Now, as an adult and when in a foreign city,

the way I explore is to combine it with exercise.

Admittedly, I am a bit of a health and fitness

freak, and, oftentimes, the hotel I am staying in

has no gym. So, what do I do? I wake up early in

the morning and go for a jog (just so long as I feel

safe in the area my hotel is located). My favourite

off-the-beaten path jogs so far have been in

Reykjavik, Iceland. Why? Well, the early mornings

I am out running the streets and alleys, there are

hardly any people around. And I have found some

incredible street art, and perhaps even a Banksy

(see the photo and judge for yourself).

The hotel my

family stayed at

in Reykjavik was

on Laugavegur,

the main street

that is bustling

The hotel my family stayed at in Reykjavik was on

Laugavegur, the main street that is bustling during

the day, but not so much in the early morning. I

would run in either direction on the road and veer

off in the opposite direction of the water. I would

get “lost”, turning corners and finding roads I

ordinarily would never explore whilst with my

family. What I have seen has been extraordinary

to the point where Reykjavik has now become my

favourite place to discover street art. I felt that

everywhere I looked while on a run, there was

art splashed on the side of buildings and even on

back walls of a car park in front of an apartment

building. There is even gorgeous street art located

on the walls of the garage located across from the

Harpa.

written by

THENIA GAGALIDOU

from BeenThere

www.beenthere.eu

LIMNOS ISLAND,

GREECE

Limnos island is the 8th largest island in

Greece. The Limnos Island is located in

the northern part of the Aegean Sea. You

can reach it by boat either from the port of

Kavala or Thessaloniki.

Limnos is commonly known as a windy

island and therefore is a real paradise for

surfers from all over the world. There is also

Keros beach, ideal for surf, sup, windsurf

and Kite-surf practice. The kite spot there

is magnificent to watch from a distance. All

these sails in the air make the atmosphere

exclusive.

Another unique place that captures the

visitors’ attention in Limnos is “Ammothines.”

“Ammothines” is the Greek word for the

dunes and frankly there are dunes

there. They give you the feeling of

being in the desert and the beauty

is remarkable. If someone has a

camera there, he/she could be so

creative with some photographs

and pretend to be at the Sahara

Desert, too!

Also, one of the spots worth visiting

is the Salt Lake of Limnos. It is a big

muddy area covered with a thick

layer of nutritious salt, where you

can collect some of it. Be careful

when you head to take it because

the mud gets thicker as you walk

further into the Salt Lake. If you want our

advice, you better leave your shoes behind

and enjoy the walk barefoot. It gives you a

nice chilling sense after all.

Finally, every traveler that can hike for 2

hours must visit the small church of Panagia

Kakaviotissa. The thing we liked the most

there is the fact that the church has no roof

and is the only one roofless in Greece! It is

located in a beautiful location, up on the

mountain, where you must hike among the

windy hills to enjoy its beauty.

Limnos is ideal for campers, backpackers,

surfers and alternative travelers who like to

explore places off the beaten track. Enjoy it!

My advice to everyone who is an explorer at

heart, just get lost! You never know what you will

discover.

42 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 43


written by

VARADA SARIF

AUSTRALIA

Edinburgh and San Diego are two beautiful

cities, and the love for their dogs is

celebrated. Scotland’s capital city may not

seem like it would have much in common

with a Southern California beach town. The

architecture, the accents, and most notably

the weather are relatively different. Despite

both being coastal cities, Edinburgh and San

Diego are far apart in their likeness. However,

through all their differences, one small part

of their canine history has connected them

in a unique way.

Since the mid-1800’s, Edinburgh’s Greyfriars

Bobby has become the city’s most prized pooch

and an enduring story of devotion. Bobby, a

Skye Terrier, belonged to a local Edinburgh

policeman named John Gray. Following John’s

untimely death, Bobby’s unconditional loyalty

was demonstrated as he faithfully remained at

his master’s grave for the next 14 years. Leaving

only for food or occasional shelter, Bobby

always returned to John’s side in Greyfriars

Kirkyard, thus earning him the name “Greyfriars

Bobby.” The devoted dog kept watch over the

grave until he too passed away on January 14,

1872, at the age of 16. In remembrance of his

commitment and dedication, a statue of Bobby

written by

MATTHEW CEMENTINA

from Wanderxlove

www.wanderxlove.com

SCOTLAND & USA

was placed out front of Greyfriars Kirkyard.

Around this same time, another furry friend was

making his impression over 5,000 miles away

in Southern California. Lovingly named Bum

by his newfound colleagues, the St. Bernard/

Spaniel mix arrived in San Diego as a stowaway

aboard a ship coming from San Francisco in

1886. His free-spirited nature soon captured the

hearts of his community, and he was happily

taken in. Even after being struck by a train and

losing one of his legs, Bum never lost his upbeat

personality. Food, shelter and even medical

treatment were provided for Bum by his fellow

San Diegans until he passed away on November

10, 1898. As a tribute to his positive impact on

the city, a statue of Bum now resides in San

Diego’s historic downtown.

In commemoration of their extraordinary

connection, Edinburgh and San Diego became

Sister Cities in 1977. This officially joined them

together through acknowledgment and

adoration of their furry friends. To symbolize

this friendship, Edinburgh presented San

Diego with a duplicate statue of their beloved

Bobby. Moreover, in return, a statue of Bum

was given to Edinburgh. Both cities now hold

a permanent place for their precious pets.

It is fun traveling to such different and distant

destinations and still finds a familiar face.

If you are interested in visiting each statue

location, here are some helpful hints on where

to find them. Edinburgh’s Bobby statue is set

on a pedestal located out front of the gates to

Greyfriars Kirkyard and across from Greyfriars

Bobby Bar. Bum, often nestled amongst leaves,

is laying at the bottom of Edinburgh Castle

near King’s Stables Road. In California, Bobby

and Bum can be found together in Pocket Park

at the William Heath Davis House Museum in

downtown San Diego.

While the Land Down Under has

a ton sights that should be on

everyone’s bucket list like the Reef

and Kangaroo Island, it also has

a ton of secrets that are tucked

away in all corners of the country.

One of these beautiful secrets is

Lake McKenzie – a freshwater

lake in the middle of the world’s

largest sand island; just off the

east cost of Queensland. The

island is probably the strangest

thing I have seen – it has got

bright yellow sand dunes that

hug the coast and rainforests

full of eucalyptus and palm trees

in the middle. I did not even

know rainforests could survive

in the sand till I saw this island. I

suppose the island is an accurate

depiction of the strange wonder

that is the landscape of Australia;

it feels like it should not work, but

somehow not only does it work,

it thrives.

Getting to the lake is not exactly

an easy drive in your car because,

well, there are no roads on the

island. The best way is renting

an ATV and strapping in for

the ride because if your guide

is anything like mine, he will

insist on providing the “full ATV

experience” which means driving

over every bump in the road and

forgetting that the ATV comes

with brakes.

The lake is just a short hike

through the forest after the ATV

ride. The walk leads to a large

clearing with an awe-inspiring

view of crystal clear waters and

bright white sand. I do not really

think there’s a way to describe

the beauty of that lake – other

than saying that the view is

jaw-dropping. The water is so

clear and vibrant, you can see

about fifty different shades of

blue across the lake. The sand

surrounding the lake is made

from white silica, and it is the

softest I have ever walked on.

The fine grains of silica make it a

perfect exfoliator for your skin!

Moreover, because there are no

inflows into the lake, the water is

spotless – making it a great place

to swim!

The white sand, blue-green

landscapes, and quiet atmosphere

leave you wondering how

this paradise is even possible.

A local legend does offer an

interesting explanation for the

vibrant colours of the lake. The

natives believe that the island

was created when the goddess

K’gari transformed herself into

the land. The lake is said to be

one of the goddess’ eyes. More

recently a different explanation

has been offered - the organic

matter at the bottom makes the

water too acidic for most plants

and wildlife. A lack of aquatic life

leaves the lake a perfect shade of

aquamarine. Whether you believe

the local legend or the scientific

reason, I think we can all agree

that the blues and whites of this

lake are fascinating and worth a

visit!

44 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 45


Courtesy of Nina van Rijn

Showing the modern influence from around the world.

46 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 47


written by

LEE WEBBER

from Look at our World

www.lookatourworld.com

The beautiful Canggu Club Bali.

This

multi-functional leisure and sports club

is a one-stop hub for all your needs. We

were lucky enough to get to explore this

beautiful place for the day. The club has a

whopping amount of options available, and

you would need a whole day to do them

all. The club itself has several tennis courts,

extensive trampoline centre, bowling alleys,

child creche with additional after school

activities. They have a fully comprehensive

gym, football pitche, a private spa boutique

area and last but not least a water park

with rides, slides, climbing frames and lap

pool too. It’s an excellent place to spend

the day, just by yourself, or a couple, with

friends or with your family. Not forgetting

the wide range of snack places, sports bar

and a bistro restaurant on site too.

The Waterpark

Is Just

Incredible!!!

The club itself has several tennis courts,

an extensive trampoline centre, multiple

bowling alleys, child creche with additional

after school activities. They even have a

fully comprehensive gym, football pitch, a

private spa boutique area and last but not

least a water park with rides, slides, climbing

frames and lap pool too. It’s an excellent

place to spend the day, just by yourself, or a

couple, with friends or with your family. Not

forgetting the wide range of snack places,

sports bar and a bistro restaurant on site

too.

Canggu is a former private country club

style venue, but they have opened their

doors to everyone in Bali with introducing

a day pass to all of the clubs facilities. There

is a membership option too, so a perfect

place for the locals to take advantage of,

which is great also as you get discounts on

all the activities and food on site too.

With some of the activities such as bowling,

trampolining and the create, have an

additional cost though but we have to admit

although we had everything available to us

we did end up spending most of our day in

the fantastic waterpark. It was so hot, and

the water was just perfect. There were no

queues for the rides, and we had the best

day, definitely a great place for families to

relax and enjoy the surroundings.

We had an excellent day, and we know you

would too definitely check this place out

next time you’re in Bail.

VISIT THE BEST

WATERPARK IN

BALI

THEN VISIT THE

INCREDIBLE FINNS BEACH

CLUB

OMG, this place

is just incredible.

Book a table in

bed in advance

This stunning beach club is on the Berawa

surf break around ten minutes from

Seminyak, Finns is a beautiful beachfront

club with stunning views and has a delicious

restaurant food too. Easily accessible by

car and plenty of parking as well. They

have these gorgeous daybeds, set on the

white sand and right next to the infinity

pool with the underwater sound system.

It truly is a wonderful way to spend a lazy

day in the sun, with your beverage and

food needs taken care of too. Absolute

heaven.

FOOD QUALITY

We had lunch here, the food and drinks

were top quality dishes which isn’t so easy

to find in Bali. I had a mango smoothie, it

was so good I could of drank the whole

thing in one as it was so delicious but I

reframed, I had the steak sandwich with

crispy rustic potatoes for lunch, and it was

to die for. The steak was perfectly cooked

with just a hint of pink and the caramelised

onions with the mustard was the icing on

the cake, yum yum.

Lee had a chocolate milkshake (his

absolute favourite), and he chose Finn’s

burger, and it was also superb. Lee was

even asked how he would like it cooked

(which just doesn’t happen over here that

often). With the crispy potatoes I had, you

know the type of potato, they’re so bad for

you, but they taste so damn good too.

We were both in the mood for dessert, so

I chose the dark chocolate salted caramel

tart with coconut ice cream, this dessert

was to die for; I was in absolute heaven

and recommend it. Lee had a baked

apple crumble with honeycomb gelato;

it tasted like heaven in a bowl, with tiny

pieces of honeycomb in the crumble itself.

It reminded me of home, definitely an

excellent twist on a British classic.

VALUE FOR MONEY

Finn’s restaurant is a little pricey compared

to other places to eat in Bali, but this is no

ordinary run of the mill place. It’s a truly

wonderful experience, and you get what

you pay for here. Finn’s may not be a cheap

eat by any means but what you do get

here is top quality food and an excellent

experience of pure luxury.

ATMOSPHERE

A great place to spend the whole day,

definitely get there early though if you

want one of the day beds as they fill up

fast on the beautiful Bali days.

Finn’s is a real slice of luxury like no other

in Bali; the staff are friendly, chatty and

so attentive too. We felt so relaxed and

looked after it was an awesome experience

and one I would recommend.

48 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 49


WHAT IS, THE MEANING OF

TRAVEL TO ME?!

I sit there, like a child flying for the first time,

staring out the window of the plane. I am 1

week away from my 31st birthday. What am

I doing with my life? I feel like I am always on

the run, but why? I am constantly hopping on a

plane, trying to live my life to the fullest. In the

process of seeing the world, I contemplate why

others are traveling. Is that couple on vacation?

Why are those parents bringing their child to

Las Vegas? Why do that businessmen act like

he is better than me as he reads the Wall Street

Journal?

Everyone has their life and seeing parts of

strangers’ lives as he or she travel, wondering,

makes me question if I am missing out on

something. Travel is what I love, but it is also a

way for me to escape. I run to the airport when

I need to clear my head of all the chaos. I run to

the airport when I break up with a lover. I run to

the airport when I am bored, happy, sad; I run to

the airport, period. I frequently end up in places

I never considered. Whether it be Hawaii on a

written by

JENNIFER SZYMANKOWSKI

whim, small town Indiana because I was bored,

New York because my friends and I all realized

we have the same off days. London because

a friend ended up there last minute or Buenos

Aires because it is finally the weekend with no

plans and I have always wanted to go to Fuerza

Bruta. The list of excuses for to anywhere and

everywhere with little to no notice is endless.

Staring out the window this particular evening,

I wonder if how I live my life is normal. I ponder

this thought as I see thousands of people

traveling with friends or family or solo traveling

for business with their family waiting for them

at home. I have traveled the world, but more

often than not, it is by myself. Am I supposed

to be traveling with at least one other person

because that is what is normal? What does that

even mean? I tried dating a German man once,

and after knowing each other for less than ten

days, we had our whole life of travels planned

out, but he walked out on me while in Berlin

after knowing each other for a total of 19 days.

Hmm…..maybe normal, whatever that is, isn’t

for me. I know there are other single females

such as myself who travel the world, but we are

a diamond in the rough.

Well, until I figure out the meaning of my life, I

will continue to stare out the window of the crj-

700 as I have made yet another spontaneous

decision not to go home, but to fly to Ohio to

see a good friend of mine.

Happiness is key, and travel makes me happy.

It is where I belong regardless of how everyone

else in the world chooses to live his or her life;

in the sky, planning or not, for that matter, my

next solo trip.

MY FIRST ADVENTURE IN

THE PHILIPPINES

My first ever adventure began when my

girlfriend thought of something crazy. An

idea just occurred to her to go south of Cebu.

That time was around 5 in the morning. She

texted me if I was free. For no reason I just

replied “yep, all free”

She then she told me about her itinerary for

the day. First, was to go swimming with the

Butanding (whale sharks) at Oslob, Cebu.

Next was to go waterfalls hopping nearby.

From that moment on, I was beginning to see

more of what nature has to offer. It was an

overwhelming experience, and from then on

I promised myself to never stop wandering.

It was the start of the first of the many

adventures to come.

Most of my travels are based in the Philippines

since I was still a student back then. One of

the places I conquered was Dumaguete City.

To say that it is nice place is a massive

understatement. Dumaguete City has a lot to

offer, from the tranquil, laid back environment

and rich history, to the friendly people as well

as the cheap yet delicious food.

They are also rich in marine life. One

beautiful place filled with this is Apo Island.

written by

NIÑA CHRISTINE A. PANEBIO

I had the opportunity to visit Apo Island with

my partner. Personally, that was the best

experience I had so far. There were turtles of

all sizes everywhere, corals are rich, vibrant,

and very well protected. You just had to swim

a few minutes from the shore, and you’d be

swimming with amazing sea turtles!

From Dumagute, I did not miss a chance of

visiting the Island of Siquijor. At first, I was

quit reluctant to go there because of the

many stories my folks used to tell. You see

Siquijor, according to old folks was a place

where people practiced witchcraft, but I went

anyway. I couldn’t be happier.

We visited Salagdoong beach, a famous

beach for cliff diving. There are three

different levels, each level is quite high. In my

case I decided to just indulge myself with the

view. The beach was blessed with white sand

beaches and clear water. I swam for hours not

minding the heat of the sun while waiting for

my friends to finish cliff diving.

When they were done, I remembered I

smirked at them for having bruises all over

their body because of the impact of the water

from the jumping. But later on, I realized I

should have gone with them as well, I can

only imagine the feeling of what it was like to

fall and plunge into the blue waters, and tell

stories of how you overcame your fear and

the bruises that came with it.

Man, I would be proud to show those bruises,

for they tell a story, an experience one can

never take away from you.

Our day took us to Cantabon cave, wherein

we walked for almost 2 hours. My friend and

I were the ones always behind because we

were taking our time, taking it all in.

The day was finished with a trip to the

infamous Balete tree, which in local tradition

is a haunted tree. We had to lower our voices

down since that tree was believed to be

enchanted.

Being able to travel is a luxury, not anyone

can do it even if they wanted to. I say I

am well blessed to have witnessed these

beautiful places. I only hope for the best that

these places will not be abandoned. So that

other people can explore and love them as I

have loved every place I have been to.

50 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 51


MY UNEXPECTED

CULINARY TRIP AROUND

THE UK.

written by

MODESTA SOEKOWURIATMIRA

from Brolloli and Friends

www.broccoliandfriends.wordpress.com

Finding the traditional food in the U.K. from a

person that used to know little about British

cuisine

What is the famous food from Indonesia? Most

Indonesians would answer “Nasi Goreng” (fried

rice). What about Taiwan? Beef noodle or stinky

tofu (a fermented tofu which has an unpleasant

smell). Singapore? Most would say “Laksa” (a

spicy noodle soup that is a combination Chinese

and Malay cuisine). The U.S.A.? Burgers. Italy?

Pizza, Pasta. The same question came across

to my mind before my two weeks vacation in

the U.K and would be my first trip visiting the

country.

What is the

most famous

food in the U.K.?

To be frank.

Initially, I could

only think of fish

& chips.

For an introduction, I am from Surabaya, Indonesia

and currently living in Taipei. In this trip, I would be

accompanied by my Taiwanese friend.

Both of us knew less about British food, a bit

skeptical about the taste and had not done any

British cuisine research before this trip.

Here is our British food list other than fish & chips.

LA PAIN QUOTIDIEN IN COVENT

GARDEN, LONDON

Baked scone, clotted cream, and soft-boiled eggs

from Le Pain Quotidien at 48-49, Covent Garden,

The Market, Covent Garden Piazza, Henrietta St.,

London WC2 8RF, UK. I would give it five a star

rating because the scones were good. I have never

had a scone as good as that one. My friend was

happy with the clotted cream. The eggs were good

too.

CAFE ZIQUE IN GLASGOW,

SCOTLAND

The large Shetland mussels, and a full

breakfast menu that had a black pudding

(it is made from pork fat, suet, onions,

oatmeal, animal blood, generally pork.

A traditional food from England and

Ireland), baked beans, bacon, eggs

and sausages, from Cafe Zique at 66

Hyndland St., Glasgow G11 5PT, UK.

I liked the mussels, enough so that I

would give the mussels another 5-star

rating. The breakfast would get an

equally impressive 4-star rating. The

scrambled egg was too mushy; I would

give Cafe Zique an overall rating would

be 4.5 stars.

SKIFF INN IN SWALWELL,

ENGLAND

Mussels in Mariniere (shallots, garlic,

cream, and white wine) sauce, and

homemade steak and kidney pie with

shortcrust pastry menu from Skiff Inn

restaurant at Clasper Way, Swalwell,

NE16 3BE, UK.

I enjoyed the homemade pie; the beef

gravy was excellent, I gave it another five

stars. The mussels were not too bad, but

I did prefer the ones we got in Glasgow.

The rating for both dishes would be 4.5

stars.

LOXLEYS IN STRATFORD-

UPON-AVON, ENGLAND

A beef roast rib with Yorkshire pudding

is a traditional British meal, finished off

with a rum & raisin crème Brulee for the

dessert.

All this came from Loxleys at 3 Sheep St.,

Stratford-Upon-Avon, CV37 6EF, UK.

Yorkshire pudding just a batter (eggs,

flour and milk (if you want the real deal)).

We were satisfied with the food. I would

give five stars. My favorite dish so far.

You can tell, I like the food here in the UK.

THE LEGENDARY SAVOY HOTEL

IN LONDON, ENGLAND

The last stop on our culinary trip was

an afternoon tea experience from The

Savoy Thames Foyer (part of The Savoy

Hotel) at Strand, London WC2R 0EZ, UK.

What an experience to have afternoon

tea in that special place was a nice choice

although the bread and cakes were just

okay. I would give it four stars rating.

We didn’t intentionally make a plan to

complete a culinary trip or list down what

we are going to have.

However, in the end of our vacation, we

could have a list full of traditional British

food that we had no anticipation of

eating. We enjoyed the traditional food,

broadening, and changed our view about

British food.

After all, British food was not that bad.

52 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 53


AUSTRALIA HAS TICKED

OFF MANY THINGS ON MY

BUCKET LIST.

Since this is my

first contribution

with any travel

writer. I am

going to share with

you something that

means so much

to me that no one

even knows

A real honour for us here at Total Travel TAG!

My 2016 has never been better,

especially given this opportunity to

share my experience with you. Let

me start by introducing myself; I am Junee

Aguelo, the voice behind the blog Cebu

Travel Junkie, from the tropical country of

the Philippines. I was exploring Australia

when Look at our world noticed my feed

and popped the great news to me on

Instagram.

Traveling to the Land Down Under was not

like any trips you guys have; coming there

was purely for business, as I was sent by

the company, and exploring the continent

was just a side dish.

I was excited for the next big step of my

life and at the same time scared. Since it

will be my first time to be away from my

family for an extended period of time; first

time riding a plane, solo; first time to be

in a foreign country; most especially, first

time as a solo traveler.

It is true what they say, leaving your

comfort zone will take much courage, and

it was not until the night before my flight

that I packed my things. I admit I was a

bit scared to get on the plane, but, having

traveled since I was just a toddler and being

on the aircraft was like catching up with my

long lost buddy.

Before coming to Australia, I had my

expectations about the country, in fact,

I even researched the best places to visit,

and I was disappointed when the results

were mostly pubs and buildings. However,

when I got there and during my stay,

Sydney, actually made a mark in my heart;

from the people down to the buildings; and

she will forever hold a special place in it.

written by

JUNEESISA AGUELO

from Cebu Travel Junkie

www.cebutraveljunkie.wordpress.com

Sydney helped me realized my dream of

living in a safe neighborhood, which I have

only seen on my favorite TV series. She

was the first one to take me on a ride via

train as well as the first one to take me on

a sky ride via the cable car in Taronga Zoo,

and it was a great experience.

The buildings, which I hated, it is even more

beautiful when they outshine the stars at

night. The Opera House, their famous

landmark, I realized that it is roof reflects

the color of the horizon; white or bright

yellow when it is midday; and orange-red

when it is almost sundown.

What amazed me were the people. Despite

the constant warning of my cousin to

beware of them; they made me believe in

humanity again. I could not believe how

gentle and kind they were. There was a

time in Central Station where I got lost

while looking for the platform going to

the airport. I had with me my luggage, and

someone offered to carry it going up the

stairs, and it was not just a 10 step stairs.

This happened not only once, but it also

happened while I was on the way out of

the lodge that I was staying.

What made this so special is that I have

crossed off many items from my bucket

list just in a single trip. As a self-confessed

wanderlust, it has been my life’s dream to

travel the whole world no matter how long

it will take.

Australia just set the bar high. I do not

think I can ever look at the world the same

way again.

LIVING AND BREATHING

THE PARISIAN LIFESTYLE.

I know I’m the different one on the metro

tonight.

My hair is up. My dress is long and it’s

only 6:30pm. Dinner doesn’t even start until

7:30.

Although no one says anything, I know I

am the one getting glanced at, the one that

people tell stories about when they get off

-- “there was this girl all dressed up, I wonder

where she is going.”

But I get off, eventually, and stumble up

escalators and crowded stairwells until finally

I see the sky. And with the sky, the facade of

the Palais Garnier comes into view.

I try to keep calm. I am Parisian now, these

things are normal. Going to the ballet on a

Tuesday night -- not typical, but not atypical

here. I greet my friends, kisses on cheeks and

grins on faces. Let’s ask that lady to take our

picture, my grandmother will want to see this.

The bell sounds, the lights dim. People

crowded on marble steps, heels clicking and

stumbling upstairs -- higher, higher, until I

reach the fourth floor and the attendant

points me to a seat that might be wide

enough for a four-year-old but certainly isn’t

written by

SARAH KENNEDY

from Tales and Times of a Traveling Twenty

www.talesandtimesofatravelingtwenty.com

large enough for me. I squeeze in, hearing at

least three different languages swirling in the

air around me.

“Sarah, tu es

contente?” I

respond from

the bottom of

my heart, “Oui.

Bien sûr. Je suis

contente.”

The music starts. The dancers appear. And the

world slips away.

When it all ends, there’s nothing to be said. The

words do not seem right, because nothing in

either French or English could describe what

it is like to be a part of that audience while

knowing that this is my country now,

that I am not only there for a day or two

squeezing every moment into a 24 hour

day. That I’m there learning and living

and throwing myself off the metaphorical

fourth-floor balcony, doing things I’m not

comfortable doing and speaking words that

feel funny in my mouth without knowing

the result. Taking the opportunity to watch

something so incredibly beautiful.

Moreover, I walk down the marble steps,

lingering until the crowd has left and all that

remains are the couples waltzing on the

steps to a cheesy recording playing from an

old stereo. Moreover, I twirl a little, swaying

my dress that feels like magic to the notes.

Moreover, when a friend asks “Sarah, tu es

contente?” I respond from the bottom of my

heart, “Oui. Bien sûr. Je suis contente.”

Studying Abroad in Paris, France has been

one of the most rewarding experiences of my

life, and I cannot recommend the experience

of a semester abroad enough. The Palais

Garner (metro stop Opèra) in Paris hosts

the national ballet of France as well as ballet

and opera groups from all of over the world.

Tickets (and gift cards!) are not expensive and

can be purchased from their website.

54 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 55


Was I crazy to not

refund my ticket to

Cairo and opt for

a different destination that

had less political fragility? In

December of 2011, everyone,

Egyptians and travelers to

Egypt, all expressed the same

sentiment: if you played it

smart around Tahrir Square on

Fridays, you should be okay.

Traveling on the heels of Arab

Spring brought me to sites like Couchsurfing

to gauge the atmosphere.

Stay alert and mindful. This advice was

already a mantra of mine. As a woman who

traveled alone, I had already developed a

sixth sense for detecting danger.

I barely planned my 3 ½ weeks. The agenda

was lax. I hoped to stay with a local,

preferably a woman, but no women were

available. Instead, I arranged to couch surf

with an English teacher from the UK. I would

figure out my itinerary once I arrived. I ache

for nature: caves, mountains, lakes, deserts.

I assumed three days in Cairo would suffice.

An “ambassador” couch surfer, deemed

for his dedication to the community’s

positive values, offered a ride to my host’s

apartment, the location would be revealed

once I phoned.

Before taking off, the ambassador messaged

me. Change of plans. He was stuck working

the parliamentary elections and would be

sending somebody else instead. My flight

delayed provided me with extra time to vet

this new person. I did not really know the

ambassador, which left me a little hesitant

about this sudden change of plans. I cursed

myself for not taking the time to prep. The

Institute d’Egypte had burned down just

five days earlier inciting my family to beg

for me to cancel my trip. However, I am

cheap and stubborn.

A SERIES OF

UNFORTUNATE

EVENTS LED TO THE

BEST TIME EVER!

my sister. It is the Egyptian way.” So I stayed.

A series of unfortunate events and optimism

led to the most adventurous three weeks. I

lived with Mostafa’s family, befriended his

best friends, and together we road-tripped

across Egypt, celebrating the new year by

the Red Sea, and hiking the desert. “You have

given me a chance to explore my country,” he

said over a cup of tea.

Chaos was still ravaging the country, but

for us, we had found a way to suspend our

distrust in the unknown. With open hearts,

we allowed a series of mishaps to form a

friendship that still lasts today.

written by

CRYSTAL VAGNIER

from Crystal Takes Care

www.crystaltakescare.com

“I can not just abandon you.

I am now responsible for

you. You’re my sister. It’s the

Egyptian way”

Mostafa on Crystal whilst getting in trying to get in touch with the CouchSurfer in Cairo.

Courtesy of Beata Jarek

Hanging Houses, Villajoyosa, Spain

Mostafa messaged. He was a medical

student, in his late 20’s, and an amateur

photographer. Mostafa said I could pick

him out from his fedora. I told Mostafa he

could pick me out quickly from my bright

purple pants.

Moreover, there he was in his fedora hat

and a big smile. He stood out from the rest,

a snazzy pizzazz that served to comfort

me. “I have to say,” he said, “thank you for

coming. Everybody is scared to travel to

Egypt right now. They see all crazy things

on the news. So wow, it makes me happy

to see some brave souls.” “Do you mean

it is brave to trust you, a stranger, for a

ride?” I laughed. In his neon blue sedan, he

offered me a selection of juices and snacks,

“I did not know which flavor you liked,” he

said, “so I got all three.”

We killed time at the Sun City Mall, close

to the airport, as I tried, without success,

to get in touch with my host. My lodging

plans were now a bust. Instead of driving

to a hostel, Mostafa insisted I return to

his home where his family just welcomed

a litter of kittens. “I can not just abandon

you. I am now responsible for you. You are

56 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 57


Traveling became a huge part of

my life: saving for it, planning

trips, living the nomad life and

even writing about it. Everything now

is related to a map and a plane ticket.

The more I traveled, the more I started

realising what I liked the most about the

places I visited.

Somehow I have always ended up taking

pictures at some colourful alley covered

with people´s paintings. Moreover, no

matter how many places I visit, that

is one of the things that always keeps

me wondering on the streets for hours.

Every place is different, now I am writing

about the ones that I visited and fell in

love with.

HOW TRAVELLING

HAS GIVEN ME A

PASSION FOR ART

written by

PETU GUTIERREZ

from Eso Que No Todos Ven

www.esoquenotodosven-com.over-blog.com

BELFAST

To me, nothing screams the word

“embellished” more than Northern

Irelands capital city. Working class,

industrial, and very affected by civil

war not that many years ago, Belfast

resurfaces between the ashes, especially

through music, literature, art and every

culture expression you can imagine.

Graffiti is all over Belfast, but mainly in

the area between The City Hall and the

Cathedral. Here you will find yourself

walking around charming little alleys and

even parking lots full of art.

MIAMI

While in Miami, I heard about a

neighborhood called “Wynnwood,” I had

to check it out. First of anything, because

I was told that my beloved serigraphs

master, Shepard Fairey painted some

walls over there. Looking for some

information about it, I found out that

a man called Goldman create an open

space, with free entrance during the day

known as “The Wynnwood Walls” where

some of the world most famous graffiti

experts participated. Beautiful place to

visit, as so the whole neighborhood, full

of design shops, studios, and galleries.

From the graffiti

in Belfast and

Varnasi. Through

to the incredible

building art in

Santiago de Chile.

You can always

admire world art!

PRAGUE

One of the most breathtaking places

in East Europe, the gorgeous buildings,

Charles Bridge and Prague Castle made

me a fan of this city. In search of Urban

Art here, I was sent to the John Lennon

Wall. At first look, it may seem like just

a wall, but when you hear about the

meaning of the place, it is not. The wall

was painted by fans of Lennon after his

dead as a tribute. Authorities painted

over the wall several times because it

was considered a rebellion act at that

moment. Every time they covered it,

the following day new poems, songs

and portraits appeared. Now THAT is an

expression.

SANTIAGO DE CHILE

At the north side of the Mapocho river,

not far from Santiago´s Downtown,

is located “Bella Vista” district, what in

English would be called something like

“Beautiful Sights.” This was the place that

I loved the most of all Santiago. It has nice

bars and restaurants. The house of writer

Pablo Neruda is here (La Chascona) and

also the Metropolitan Park. Bella Vista´s

walls are full of colour and art, and even

mosaic art.

VARANASI, INDIA

Well, here graffiti gets an entirely new

meaning, as they are not like the ones

we are used to seeing. This Holy City is

where most Hindus come to die or to

be cremated and thrown into Ganges

River, with the hope that Mother Ganga

free them from reincarnation. So, given

the spiritual sense of the place, It´s not

weird that images painted on the wall

are mostly referred to their gods and

goddesses, or people who inspired them

as Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela,

and Mother Teresa.

58 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 59


THE MOST UNHELPFUL

POLICE OFFICER EVER IN

PRAGUE!

written by

CRISTINA CUTLER

from Cold Pasta and Red Wine

www.coldpastaandredwine.com

“Chris,” I thought I heard my husband say from

somewhere that was not in bed next to me.

“Someone was in the apartment.”

“Whose apartment?” I thought I was dreaming.

“This one. Ours. Someone was in here.” By the

time he got to “in here,” I was in the living room.

“I do not think he got anything.” Mike looked

around. “I think I scared him.”

“He got my laptop case and my new camera.” I

think I was screaming. “My new camera.”

It was 3:00 am in the morning of our last day in

Prague, and the day was not off to a great start.

While we had been there more than two weeks, I

still wasn’t comfortable and was looking forward

to leaving. The rude awakening did not help.

Mike thought he heard our apartment floors

creak. Located in an ancient building in Old Town,

the apartment had wood floors throughout.

Of course, the floors and pipes tended to “talk”

at times, but nothing had woken us before.

At first, Mike thought the noise was someone

walking around upstairs, but the start-and-stop

movement made him realize someone was

creeping around in our place.

He glared at me.

“Why you no

chase him?

He got up, tip-toed into the living room, flashed

on the light, and saw the apartment door closing.

By the time he got to the door and opened it, the

hallway was empty and dark. That is when he

called to me.

As we dressed quickly, we tried to assess what

was missing. Everything the guy took was mine—

camera, laptop case, license, credit cards, cash,

and a few irreplaceable personal items.

Since our cell phones did not work in the Czech

Republic, we could not call the owner or the

police. One of us needed to walk the three blocks

to the police station to report the incident. I knew

where the station was in the maze of streets,

so Mike watched me from the window as I took

off. Upon my arrival, I rang the bell, and a leery

policewoman admitted me to the dreary room. I

told her I spoke English, and she motioned for me

to wait.

Two minutes later, a dour policeman appeared.

I babbled that we had been robbed, that someone had broken

in, that they took my camera, wallet, and more.

He glared at me. “Why you no chase him?” I tried to explain, but

my words were white noise to him. I handed him the owner’s

card and asked him to call and tell Mira what happened.

“Why? Already gone.” He pushed the card back at me.

“Tomorrow. Translator. Come back.” He marched through the

door.

Deflated, I returned to the flat. I emailed Mira and hoped he

saw the email when he woke up.

He did.

At 8:00, Mira arrived with an English-speaking policeman

and crime lab technicians (CSI PRAGUE!) who took photos,

got fingerprints, and gave us two pages of legal documents

in Czech that told us our rights as crime victims. Because the

officer did not understand English, Mira translated and said

that the police probably wouldn’t find the man, and even if

they did, they would not do much.

“Here, court drags out a long time,” he said. “You might wait

ten years, and you might win, but criminal only have to pay

500 Czech crown. Too much work for too little.” He sighed.

Mike sighed. I sighed.

Still dazed from the violation, we flew over the red-roofed

city the next morning. I looked down and wondered what the

burglar was doing with the pieces of me he had taken.

“Why? Already

gone.” He pushed

the card back at

me. “Tomorrow.

Translator. Come

back.” He marched

through the door.

We couldnt get out of Prague quick enough

60 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 61


9 DAYS AND 479KM ALONG

THE MANALI-LEH HIGHWAY

IN INDIA

written by

RAJ LODHIYA

90kpm.. filming..

controlling our

bikes with

one hand,

sometimes

with no hands.

The 479 kilometers long Manali-

Leh highway is one of the most

picturesque routes in the world to

road trip on that attracts travelers and

bikers all around the world.

It traverses some of the highest

motorable roads in the world and consists

of five mountain passes, going as high

as 5,100 meters above sea level and the

total elevation gain is over 13,000 meters

(4,000 meters more than the height of

Mount Everest).

Having seen all the breathtaking pictures

of this route, road tripping here was on my

bucket list for over a year. The July of 2016,

I booked myself for a cycling/camping/

road trip on the Manali-Leh highway with

an adventure tourism company.

Hundreds, if not thousands of people do

it on motorcycles every year, but very

few individuals in the world do it on

push-bikes losing thousands of calories

which make it a truly rare experience.

Being a 19-year old inexperienced cyclist.

Naturally, the thought of going through it

intimidated me.

Reaching Manali with my bike, I met the

people who were going with me. Including

two mountain-bikers, employees of the

company I went with, two videographers

hired by the same company to film our

trip for advertisement purposes, and a

49-year old man from Sydney who was a

client like me.

Being weird and aloof, I did not get

comfortable with any of these until the

first night of our trip at our camp in Marhi.

When the filmmakers offered me a smoke

we got talking. I can neither confirm, nor

deny if it was Himalayan cannabis that

we smoked that night, and the nights to

come.

Om Namah Shivay! We ran out of our

“stuff.” It was the 8th day of our 9-day

tour when we reached Rumptse, the

village where smoking was banned. This

region being near India’s border, we came

across army check points. At one of which

we asked the soldiers if they had any

cigarettes, they could spare. They said

they do not smoke because then it gets

harder for them to breathe in the harsh

high altitude environment.

We did not find anything up until later

that night when one of the truck drivers

that stopped in the village to spend the

night gave us his only pack of tobacco

joints. We could not thank him enough.

Climbing was not particularly challenging

for me, but it was very slow, and at times

it felt like we had been climbing forever.

Slowly making our way up to the high

passes. Averaging just 6-7 kilometers per

hour through thin air, with little oxygen

took every last bit of my patience more

than once.

I was still faster than most of the other

cyclists outside of our team (some solo,

some with other adventure companies),

the exception being an Austrian group

of three, one of which was Jacob Zurl, an

ultra-cyclist who holds the world record

for cycling the distance of this same route

in just 39 hours that he did in 2014. This

time, he took it slow and did it in 8 days

camping along the way and taking in the

views.

Of course, descending at as high as 90

kilometers per hour and filming it (I had

been helping the guys film) controlling

our bikes with one, sometimes with no

hands on the handlebar felt like pure

adrenaline. The roads while descending

all five passes except Tanglang La were

broken down, and so it was like riding

downhill off the road, sometimes through

knee high glacier melted water streams.

The shocks are not easy on the body, but

we sure looked cool doing it.

62 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 63


MEMORABLE

FOOD

WorLD

FROM AROUND

WE LOVE FOOD. MORE ACCURATELY. WE LOVE EATING FOOD. BUT THERE IS

NOTHING QUITE LIKE SEEING WHAT FOOD YOU CAN FEAST YOUR TEETH INTO

FROM AROUND THE WORLD. SO WITHOUT FURTHER ADO, FEAST, AND SALIVATE

TO YOUR HEARTS CONTENT ON THE LITTLE BEAUTIES YOU WONDERFUL PEOPLE

HAVE SENT INTO US.

WE VISITED THE TASTE FOOD TOURS. WHILST

ON THE INDIAN FOOD TOUR. WE SAMPLED

SOME EXCUISITE PANIPURI. JUST FEED ME THIS

ALL DAY!

TASTE OF THE OCEAN DOWN AT THE UMII

JAPANESE RESTAURANTS JUST OUTSIDE

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

SOME INCREDIBLE CHURROS DOWN IN ANDALUCIA.

THESE CAN BE FOUND IN THE HISTORIC TOWN OF

RONDA.

OLD FERNVALE BAKERY, QLD, AUSTRALIA. MMMMM,

MY FAVOURITE PIE PLACE. ESPECIALLY THIS PORK

AND APPLE PIE. FEED MY BELLY!

A VERY DELICIOUS TIGER LOAF WITH CHEESE AND

BUTTER. JUST PULL APART GOOD!

SOME DEVINE CHOCOLATE HEAVEN IN BRISBANE AT

THE ALCHEMY RESTAURANT AND BAR IN THE HEART

OF THE CBD.

GREAT FISH AND CHIPS WITH CURRY SAUCE. A VERY

NORTH OF ENGLAND. YOU CAN GET THIS AT

YORKSHIRE FISHERIES IN BLACKPOOL

CHRISTMAS 2016 IN SPAIN. YOU CAN TAKE THE LAD

OUT OF ENGLAND, BUT YOU CANT TAE ENGLAND OUT

OF THE LAD. TURKEY AND ALL THE TRIMMINGS.

SOME OF THE INCREDIBLE FOOD YOU CAN EAT DOWN

AT EAT STREET MARKET, BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA. GO

HUNGRY, LEAVE IN A FOOD COMA!

SOME DUTCH FRIES WITH SOME CURRIES MAYO. OMG,

YOU HAVE TO GET YOURSELF SOME IF YOU FIND

YOURSELF IN AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS.

64 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 65


Q A

&

So what better place to start out

Q&A segment, than with the

creators of the magazine. Look at

our World started their travels only

back in September of 2014.

What is even more amazing, is that

the whole idea of blogging was

only meant to be a diary to keep

friends and family up to speed with

their travel antics.

So, with that, the Look at our

World website was born, and the

NomadicBrits social media handle

was created.

With ZERO social media experience,

well, in fact ZERO experience in

writing. The following just grew

and grew. It was in December of

2014 those numbers had reached

5,000.

It was then over the course of the

first 12 months that figure grew to

over 50,000! Such an incredible

achievement from 2 wannabe

travelers, wanting the world.

Q.

SO WHAT MADE

YOU COME UP

WITH THE NAME

LOOK AT OUR

WORLD?

I was asleep one morning. Tina

woke me up saying.

“I have a name for the website.

What do you think of Look at our

World”.

I knew straight away that it was the

one for us. So it was that morning,

the domain was purchased, and

the hard work to build the website

began.

Q.

SO HOW LONG

DID IT TAKE TO

CREATE THE

WEBSITE YOU HAVE

NOW?

Well, the website you see now is

still an ever-evolving site.

However, generally, from nothing,

to the first workings of the site.

You are probably looking at

around 1,000 hours of creation.

That includes the image creation.

Everything you see has been

created ourselves.

Q.

REGARDING

YOUR TRAVELS

ITSELF. WHO IS

IT THAT HAS THE

FINAL SAY ON WHERE

YOU BOTH HEAD OFF TO?

We are a great pair. We both have

the same passions on places to

go. We always knew we would

be heading over to Australia for a

large part, as Lees mum and sister

(and now niece) live over there.

However, regarding where we both

brought places to the table, the

other had not thought of. It was

good, as we both saw things we

would not have if we had traveled

alone.

Q.

WITH

LOOK AT OUR

WORLD

SO WHAT MADE

YOU GO AROUND

THE WAY YOU

DID?

Well, neither of us are people that

enjoy the cold. Hey, we have spent

our whole lives experiencing the

cold that England can bring at

times.

Also, we quite liked the idea of

following the sun around the

world.

So we headed to the UK first,

before going over to Holland,

THE STATS

12,965 likers

16,350 followers

Germany, and then a monster 12-

hour drive to Paris for Valentines.

That was Lees idea, and something

Tina did not know anything about.

WERE THERE

ANY HAIRY

MOMENTS ON

YOUR TRAVELS

AROUND EUROPE?

Ok, so we were in a part of Germany

(i cannot remember the name of

where). We were due to be driving

to Brussels 48 hours later to our

next CouchSurfing host.

That was until we got a message

from him saying, sorry I will not be

here. I need to be in Poland, it is

the children’s half term. However,

my flatmate will be around.

With that, we looked at each other.

It was in that instant; we decided

that we would look to see if we can

extend our stay where we were.

Then, ask our CouchSurfer in Paris

if we can arrive a day earlier.

521 followers

NomadicBrits

93 subscribers

So thats the Look at our World social media statistics. Thats a total

following of 51,003 followers in 15 months, all from having ZERO social

media knowledge

Q.

22,118 followers

However, it was a comment on

Facebook Lee had made, that gave

us the perfect outcome.

We had stayed with a lovely couple

in Zornheim, Germany. After a

week staying with them, they then

asked us if we wanted to stay with

them again for two nights.

All for free using CouchSurfing. I

must admit, it did mean that Lee

got to go and see a Mainz football

match.

Q.

SO IT LOOKS LIKE

YOU HAVE MADE

SOME FRIENDS

FOR LIFE IN

ZORNHEIM.

You bet we have.

We have already planned to see

them later this month (February

2017) for ten days.

We even got a German advent

calendar from them last Christmas

delivered over to us.

We will be sure to take an English

package of goodies that’s for sure.

Q.

SO HOW DID YOU

MANAGE TO KEEP

UP WITH THE

SOCIAL MEDIA

WHILE AWAY?

With great difficulty. In both Holland

and Germany we could only use our

phones when we had Wifi. Which was

even harder, when one of the German

hosts did not have Wifi.

It did mean, though, that we did not

upload as often as we would have

liked. However, when we got to

France, we could use our phones for

free (because of the phone plans we

have in England).

This meant, Facebook, Twitter, and

Instagram updates from our past few

days in Germany.

When we got to Australia, it was great.

We were able to use our phones there

as well. So for the rest of our travels

around, we had no issues with not

having data on our phones.

Which was great when we needed

Apple Music, or podcasts to keep

us busy on our 5,000km trip from

Ipswich, QLD through to Port Douglas,

and back again in 2 weeks!

Q.

Yep!

5,000KM IN 2

WEEKS! THAT IS

SOME SERIOUS

MILEAGE COVERED!

It is like driving from Malaga, Spain

straight through to Helsinki, Finland.

It was mind numbing at times. When

Lee was driving, as Tina was not

insured on the hire car. It was no less

than 8 hours driving. We even had a

12 hour driving day once.

Not fun.

Q.

I BET YOU SAW

SOME INCREDIBLE

THINGS, THOUGH!

Oh, that we did. We Jet Boated

around Sydney Harbour, held a Koala,

drank some home brewed lager in a

brewery, and went on a trike tour.

That’s just to name a few of the

places we went. All without paying a

penny. That’s right, it was gratis, free,

no money changed hands. We must

have had over $10,000USD worth of

free places to stay, things to eat, and

great things to do.

Q.

OVER $10,000USD

WORTH OF FREE

THINGS? HOW ON

EARTH!!

You will hear a lot of bloggers talk

about numbers. Yes, it helps to have

numbers. Because without the sort of

figures we had at the time. Businesses

will not even entertain you.

However, with a stunning website

that Lee designed, and built. Along

with Tina’s excellent marketing skills.

We contacted places, in exchange for

a write-up on our site.

We can’t let you know all our secrets.

However, let us say we had a large

amount of success.

Q.

SO ARE YOU GOING

TO BE SHARING

THIS KNOWLEDGE

WITH EVERYONE?

The long, and short answer is YES.

However, we have yet to start to

figure out how we will do this. We

have a few ways of doing this.

However, we are more than likely

going to be creating a membership.

This membership will be very well

priced against what you potentially

will be able to save with obtaining

things in return for exposure.

Q.

ALL SOUNDS

VERY PROMISING

INDEED, NOT ONLY

FOR YOU BUT ALSO

FOR EVERYONE READING

THIS. SO WHAT’S NEXT FOR

YOU GUYS?

We are very busy with one thing or

another.

We have a wedding to plan for, the

next issue of the magazine, and some

more very exciting things coming very

soon. We cannot share with you just

yet. However, let us say, we cannot

wait to share it with you when we can.

Well, thank you for your time today.

If you want to hear more about

how you too can get increase your

following like Look at our World have.

As well as finding out the tricks that

saved them over $10,000USD on free

food, things to do, and place to stay.

66 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 67


Courtesy of Michael Leahy

There are a lot of great spots to watch the sun set.

But Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy is truly hard to

top!

68 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 69


A LITTLE BIT OF

FREEDOM: HOW TO

DRIVE IN AMERICA

written by

MARY SAVCHENKOVA

from She loves everything and nothing at all

www.marrysavblog.com

America is not just a country for the drivers; it is the

country in which it can be tough to reach all the hidden

depths of the continent’s natural beauties without a

car. By the age of 16, almost every schoolchild collects

a small amount of money to buy an old car to be

proudly driving it to school and parties. Moreover,

after that what can be told about adults.

While preparing for the trip, a huge number of online

resources about the peculiarities of driving behaviour

on US roads were examined. Here are the three most

important rules:

- Almost in all states (except New York and

Pennsylvania) it is possible to turn right on a red light

if there are no restricting signs and no interference for

the other drivers.

- If there is a yellow school bus with flashing lights on

the road, then it is necessary to stop and wait until the

lights are off.

-There are a lot of so-called ‘All Ways’ crossroads

where the rule of the right-hand does not work.

Usually, there is a ‘Stop’ sign in front so all must

stop first and then the first one who arrived at the

intersection can cross it.

In general, all the drivers are polite and friendly, but

the secret of this discipline is because of the rather

rigid penalties system. Apart from the payment of the

rather significant penalty. Your insurance will also be

notified about the violation and from that moment,

for this person, the payment for the insurance will be

doubled over the next three years. Moreover, so on.

One of the most watched for violations are speeding,

and talking on the phone, in the repair working area

and school zones. Penalties are twice as high here,

and a record of the violation is stored for five years.

5 YEARS !!

So, except for the standard traffic rules, such as

fastening your seat belts and not breaking the

speed limit, it is necessary to remember some more

peculiarities in order not to blush in front of the local

sheriff.

No parking in places for disabled people, near

the fire hydrants, in the places with the yellow

stripe on the pavement, and locations for

motorcyclists. These are quite strict rules, and

the car can be easily towed to the penalty

parking.

This pleasure will cost at least $500. At the same

time when parking in permitted locations do

not forget to pay in individual machines. Most

importantly is to put a check on the dashboard

near the windshield of the car. If the check is

not there, but in your pocket, you still will be

welcomed with a fine.

For those who like alcohol, the allowable

rate is about one bottle of beer or a glass

of wine. Although it is still not worth your

safety. Fines for drunk driving starts at $6000.

Transportation of open alcoholic beverages in

the passenger compartment and even in the

trunk is strictly forbidden - penalty even when

the driver is sober.

Police also monitor highways. Many roads

have special lanes for more rapid driving in a

traffic jam. There is HOV lane which you can

use when there are more that two people in

the car, sometimes often referred to like the car

pool lane. There are also TOLL lanes which are a

paid road. The number of passengers does not

matter if you travel in this lane.

In America, police officers are not sitting in the

bushes and waiting for the victim. They move in

the stream and monitor the situation. If there is

a police car behind you then there is no reason

to panic - perhaps they just check the car

number. If there are then flashing lights or siren,

then you should stop at the next available safe

point. There is no need to run joyfully towards

them. According to the rules, it is necessary

to stay in the car, do not make any sudden

movements and keep your hands visible all the

time. Bribes in America will not work because

everything is documented by the video camera

on the police car windshield.

Most interesting is that during the whole

trip almost nothing of this was encountered

by us. Just a couple of times we came across

this strange ‘All roads’ intersection and to be

honest, I did not manage to understand how

they determine who should go first. Every time

it was turning into a show of unprecedented

courage and faith that they see me and won’t

drive directly into the car.

However, the overall driving experience was

very pleasant. Drivers are phlegmatic enough

not to get nervous or angry if someone behaves

stupidly on the road. A couple of times I saw the

guys saying thanks with the help of emergency

lights although here it is not common. Usually,

they thank with the hand.

Highways are taken care of. They are special

reflective markings on the road that help a lot

when driving at dusk and night. Also, they are

convex, so when leaving the road, you will be

shaken to death causing the driver to wake up.

In the US large cars are a common choice for

the Americans, you will hardly find the small

two-door cars at the rental office. However, it

is an advantage. From the personal experience

for the driver, it is much easier to travel long

distances in a crossover car rather than in an

average sedan.

You will face no problems with gasoline either.

There are three types of fuel - 87, 89 and 91. For

the rent cars, 87 will be okay unless something

is specifically marked. So for example for $20

Nissan Rogue could easily drive for 400-500

miles.

Gas stations are located on the highway about

every hour and even more often. The process

itself is not hard- put the gasoline gun into the

car, you go to the cashier, and you give a certain

amount, go back and choose the required type

of fuel. It is possible to pay by card as well, but

I have not tried. Plus there is a $1 charge for the

transaction.

In general, it is easy and inexpensive to rent a car

there. Of course better to do that in advance in

a few months before the trip. I booked through

a regular site www.rentalcars.com at the Alamo

operator. Crossover Nissan Rogue 2016 (yes

completely brand new) cost about $380 for

seven days. You will hit with all kinds of add-on

insurance. Importantly no additional fees were

charged meaning that the amount stated at the

end of booking did not change. Do not forget

that some distributors require a card deposit of

$200-300.

If you do not want to stand in long lines at the

rental place. You are sure that you will take the

car, it is possible to confirm the reservations in

advance. You just go directly to the cars. In the

parking lot, cars are usually arranged according

to the body type. Find the right one, and you

can choose any of the proposed 10-15 cars. At

the exit, there is a special booth. Here you have

to show your reservation, driver’s license, and

a valid credit card. Typically rent offices are not

located at the airport, but all of them provide a

free shuttle bus to and from the airport.

Well, that is probably all. All the most important

points are highlighted. In general, my father

likes to say that the car is some level of freedom.

No more so than on this continent. When in

front of you, there, dissolving into the horizon

road, your favourite music is playing. Hands on

the wheel, you can feel the soft vibration of the

motor engine, the freedom is incredible!

70 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 71


A JOURNEY TO

GREEK HOSPITALITY

written by

JESSICA NARDI

from Pure Organic World

www.pureorganicworld.com

IT HAS BEEN AN EXCELLENT SUMMER, BUT LIKE

ALL GOOD THINGS, IT MUST SADLY COME TO AN

END.

So while I sit back to reflect on all of the amazing

memories, there is one in specific that tops them

all.

It was just another day exploring Crete with my

two cousins, Brandy and Jon, who came to visit my

husband, Dan, and I in Greece.

During their visit, we sunbathed on numerous

beaches, dove off 25-foot cliffs into the sea, and

strolled along the ancient alleyways that make

up the Old Venetian Harbour in Chania. Towards

the end of their vacation, they both wanted to

do something different than the typical tourist

stuff – which led us to experience something

unforgettable.

OUR GOAL WAS TO VISIT THE CAVE

OF ZEUS.

There are two caves of Zeus: one where Zeus was

born, and another where he grew up. However,

we did not realise that until after, we had driven

headstrong into a tangled mess of unpaved, and

unmapped roads; while managing to get lost with

no guarantee we would be able to make it out of

this mountain labyrinth (and for what seemed to

be hours on end).

HOLD ON, I’M GETTING INTO THE

THICK OF IT… LET’S BACK UP…

Before we left the house, we packed up three maps,

several large water bottles, and a few nutrition

bars. With spotty wifi on our cell phones, we drove

off sometime around mid morning from Chania.

Heading straight to the national road (Crete’s

largest, longest road that resembles a highway –

connecting all of the major cities on the island)

towards Rythmeno.

Following three different maps (not counting our

“trusty” Google maps because the internet was so

scarce), we were on our way to see Zeus’ cave!

We exited the national road just before Rythmeno

and continued on a secondary road (which is just

another name for an old, uneven paved road on

Crete).

WE DROVE FOR WHAT SEEMED TO BE SEVERAL

HOURS UP A SWITCH BACK MOUNTAIN ROAD

IN A SMALL, UNTRUSTWORTHY 4 CYLINDER

MANUAL EURO CAR

While passing sheep flocks and goat herds as

they grazed the hard, clay soiled terrain. We were

headed to the greater area of where the cave was

supposed to be…

Trying to find these caves

with ZERO internet.

Google Maps not working

was a nightmare!!

Following this

coach. Who knew

where we would

be heading. Hell.

Who knew where

we were anyway!

…but once we made a right turn

towards what seemed to be the

correct path, we knew we had taken

a very wrong detour when the road

turned to dust. Literally.

We could not turn around until we

found enough space for a 10 point

turn – kid you not.

The roads here are extremely narrow

with small rocks to big boulders that

are scattered everywhere. One flat

tire and we would be screwed. I

mean, I know all three of us could

handle changing a flat, but trying

to drive out of here on a spare

tire would be suicide – for the car

anyway.

WE WERE LOST. THERE

WERE NO SIGNS. NO

CIVILISATION. NO

INTERNET CONNECTION.

WE HAD NO IDEA WHERE

WE WERE. HELL! ALL

THREE MAPS DIDN’T

KNOW WHERE WE WERE,

EITHER.

We were tired, hot (no AC in the

car and it was at least 80 degrees),

famished and exhausted. All we

wanted to do was reach this damn

cave. Come on Zeus! Help us out

here!

Then, off in the distance, we saw a

shuttle bus driving. Alas! Civilization! We

decided the best thing to do would be to

follow it. Maybe it was going to the cave,

too! We backtracked our route and drove

up another rocky hill where we found the

shuttle bus parked on the side of the

road with a church at the top of the hill.

I got out of the car and approached the

man sitting in the driver seat. He, of

course, spoke tiny English and pointed

up the hill for us to meet a tour guide.

THAT IS WHEN WE MET

DANAE. SHE WAS SPEAKING

IN FRENCH, LOOKED

AMERICAN, BUT WAS GREEK.

It threw us for a loop. She informed us

that we stumbled upon a Cretan home

cooking tour that traveled to a shepherds

home… moreover, this was the French

version.

Both Danae and the shepherd, Andreas,

tried to give us directions to Zeus’ cave,

but informed us that it would take at

least another 4 hours to get there!

We all looked at each other and rolled

our eyes. There was no way we would

continue driving to the other side of the

island. It was already 2:00 pm, and we

still had a long way to get back home.

As I looked around, I saw roast meat on

a spit over a handmade fire pit, sharp

meat hooks hanging from the shed and

a bloody butcher knife gouged into a

wooden tree stump. Instant thoughts

came to my mind of a Halloween horror

film.

Danae had told us that the shepherd had

prepared a delicious home cooked meal

for the tour group (ah… makes sense)

and since we were technically lost, he

wanted to provide us with a meal as well!

He handed us some roasted goat meat

with his bare hands… it was so bizarre

but awesome at the same time. I mean,

it does not get any more “real” than that!

The Shepherd signaled us to sit with

the tour group under his thousandyear-old

oak tree. We were in awe

of his hospitality, as well as Danae’s

enthusiasm to join them. We thanked

them both numerously as all three of us

were blown away by their generosity.

She explained to the tour group what

happened to us… all in French. They

all smiled, and as we sat down, Danae

handed us forks and cups.

We tried to communicate with the other

guests (Brandy knew a little French) as

a cute little old gregarious French man

kept pouring our wine out of a plastic

water bottle.

We ate a delicious organic home-grown

Cretan meal and drank refreshing organic

house wine.

We listened to stories and laughed along

with strangers who soon became friends.

It was such an incredible moment.

IT IS CRAZY! WHO KNEW

GETTING LOST IN THE MIDDLE

OF NOWHERE FOR HOURS ON

END WOULD SOON LEAD US

TO EAT AND DRINK DELICIOUS

ORGANIC CRETAN CUISINE

WITH THE FRENCH IN A

PRIVATE SHEPHERDS HOME?!

It was such an amazing experience, and it

tops all of my other adventures on Crete

so far!

72 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 73


WHAT YOU FIND IN THE

SKIRTS OF A HURRICANE

Luckily, it rarely happens. Certainly, it

is rarely something you plan for. But

sometimes you just encounter urgent

circumstances that ask of you to move into

the discomfort of uncertainty, while still

dressing up in the larger gowns of group

responsibility.

From time to time, I am called up to join

a group of students as they travel to a

destination in Latin America. This November, I

had one such job for 12 days in Costa Rica with

young students of culture and sustainability.

Costa Rica, being one of the most biodiverse

nations along with an interesting geological

composition and, at the same time, home to

one of the most ambitious and successful

educational frames for future visions in

sustainability and poverty prevention. Right

down my alley, that is what I thought.

The gap between rumour and reality

The gap

between

rumour and

reality

The morning of November 21st, after a night

of sleep over in San José, we drove towards

the Caribbean Coast to begin the first day of

written by

LOUISE BARNER

from Pocket Journeys

www.pocketjourneys.com

educational tourism near Limón, at EARTH

University. The weather was decent, the

humidity high. We settled into our rooms

on campus where we would be spending the

next four days engaging with students and

their field projects. Everything was smooth

and easy. No electronic distractions – only

nature – and I had already pictured myself

hunting down rare species of frogs in palm

trees before bedtime.

Instead, I woke up to rumours of a tropical

storm brewing 250km off the Costa Rican

coastline, to make landfall as a hurricane

within 48 hours. His name Otto measured

and weighed, but not following straight lines

on a map. The dining room was buzzing with

lively debate. It has claimed three lives in

Panama; one told his neighbour. It will not

make landfall in Costa Rica, but in Nicaragua,

another said, the third nodding in agreement

and added, but we will get the rain.

In the face of a possible emergency we did

what was prudent: made a plan. Find a valid

source of information; monitor the situation,

contact local authorities for perspective,

and stick to the plan to avoid uncertainty in

the group. As the flow of information was

ticked in, we continuously evaluated possible

scenarios and appropriate responses – along

with answering emails from concerned

mothers. I learned that a hurricane lingers a

lot as if it needs to consider its move.

Our primary concern was safety. Another

concern was related to being stuck due to

flooding and mudslides blocking our exits.

NATIONAL EMERGENCY!

However surreal, our program that morning

sent us into the subtropical habitat for

teachings on biodiversity. By the time we

got back, Otto was a Category 1 hurricane,

which would likely make landfall Midnorthern

Costa Rica. Limon, avoiding the

eye of the storm, would still be affected by

heavy rain and flooding. I believe, we were

safe at EARTH University, but we would

risk getting stuck for several days. Our next

stop, Fortuna, at the volcano Arenal, was

less prone to remain unmarked by events

and the area would probably be closed and

the volcano inaccessible. We did not know,

and safety first. The most sensible move was

crossing the mountains into San José while

the storm passed. The Pacific coast was now

issued a tsunami warning as Otto made his

way out. Geez, where to go?

After days of waiting and a broken program,

we finally made it to the Pacific, only to find

that national emergency had closed all parks.

Luckily, the beach is fun even in pouring,

tropical rain for the dedicated optimists.

MY PERSONAL AND

written by

CLAIRE MATA

UNFORGETTABLE

EXPERIENCE OF BATANES

Philippines northernmost and smallest province

located at the confluence of the West Philippine

Sea and the Pacific Ocean.Dubbed as the home

of the winds and nature’s playground.It is also

composed of three islands, the Batan Island,

Sabtang Island and the Itbayat Island.It has

six municipalities, 29 barangays, 230 square

kilometer territorial waters and 4500 square

kilometers.

To begin with, my personal and unforgettable

experience in Batanes, last Oct 2016, my sister

and I went there for six days, and this is both our

first time to visit the place.

As the plane landed at the airport of Batanes, my

heart skipped a beat because I immediately fell

in love, love at first sight actually because, the

airport itself has a magnificent view that I never

wanted to take off my eyes from that beautiful

Mt.Iraya from behind us. Then, off we go to our

hotel, it felt like you were at your home. It is a

two-storey house with a kitchen, dining room,

living room, veranda and a garden plus they also

have a bike for rent in case you want to roam

around.

We spent our first-day tour at Batan Island. We

opted to rent a tricycle for a more fresher air

to breath and a cheaper way to roam around.

Every time we trek, we leave our personal

belongings (cell phones, wallets, etc.) with our

tour guide. Telling us no one would steal it from

the tricycle. I did not think he was not lying

because Ivatans (Batanes people) are known for

being honest. In fact, there is an Honesty Shop

in Batanes. Moreover, as we returned from our

trek, our things were still there, it was an amazing

experience, the honesty of the Ivatans are their

best trait.

Batanes, as considered nature’s playground,

you will see breathtaking landscapes and

seascapes around the province.The “Rolling

Hills” stole my heart, these are seemingly

endless waves of rolling hills with a view of

the region’s three major islands. They also

have the boulder beach-it is a rock bay

popularly known for its long stretch of rocks

due to Mt Iraya’s eruption in 400AD.

Honestly, it was my first time to see a lot of

big rocks on a beach, a huge beautiful rocks.

Stone houses are also found at Sabtang

Island, the locals say, these houses are sturdy

enough in case typhoons/tsunami will

devastate their place.

Also, lastly, on the photo, the Mount Carmel

church or popularly known as the Tukon

church. To give you a little introduction about

Ivatan’s religion, approximately ninetyseven

percent are Roman Catholics, and

they appreciate visitors observing traditional

dress code whenever they enter churches.

Going back to Tukon church, the design was

based on the traditional Ivatan stone houses,

the roof is concrete red bricks, and on the

ceiling, you will be amazed by the paintings

of different municipal saints painted by

Ivatan artists. It is one of the most beautiful

and unique church I have seen in my entire

life.

Batanes is a must-see place on earth and

must be included on your bucket list. Their

beautiful and breathtaking nature, honest

people, good food, and their quiet and

serene surroundings will give you a complete

relaxation and would make your vacation

worthwhile. If you would ask me if I will go

back to that place again, I will and would

always love to come back there.

Batanes is a

must-see... on

your bucket

list.

74 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 75


WHO KNEW PERTH

COULD OFFER SO MUCH!

written by

IRENE CHAN

from Lady Redot

www.ladyredot.com

This is my third time traveling to Western

Australia, Perth. Every time it is different and

given me many unforgettable memories. The

recent one is the most incredible and thrilling.

Want to find out more? Read on.

I arrived at Perth International Airport on 17th.

I planned not to self-drive as I want to travel

differently. I took Transperth Bus 380 from the

airport and travel to Perth City where I am staying

for the next three days before my friends arrived.

The first day was more of exploring the

neighbourhood. After check into The Pensione

Hotel Perth, I took a stroll around the city area

looking for a decent restaurant. I realised that the

shops closed very early at 5 pm. It is unbelievable

quiet. Hence, I walked into the supermarket –

Woolsworth and grab some essentials. Finally, I

have settled my dinner with a burger and chips

and back to my room to prepare for the next

adventure ahead the next day.

I am so looking forward today as I signed up for

a 14000feet Tandem Skydive. It is one of the

activities that I would like to achieve in my “Bucket

List.” Thinking about it, I have completed two this

year – first is the hike up to Mount Bromo and

second is this Skydive.

I am very excited and looking forward to it.

Friends around me are asking, “Am I scared?

Nervous?” The fear does not come to mind.

I took TransPerth Subway towards Mandurah

Line, reached Rockingham station and took bus

550 to Skydive office. There had been a delay,

and I have waited for an hour before getting

instructions before the jump. I need to be

“kneeling” position upon falling and hands to be

held on to the clips around my chest. The group of

participants went to Rockingham beach to take

a look at the team before. I guess Skydive like to

assure us by allowing us to see how safely these

people landed.

Hopping on to the bus, it took us another

30 minutes to the Take Off point. My group

consists of 2 guys and one other lady who are

all celebrating their 21st Birthday. Okay, I am

celebrating my 31st! (Not that bad too!) The

plane took off, and the view of Rockingham was

breathtaking and beautiful.

While we were on the plane, Androx, my coskydive

coach made videos of my entire journey

and experience. He was humorous and trying his

best to make me feel comfortable with all the

uneasy feelings crawling up in my tummy.

The red light went on, here we go. My eyes were

shut for those 10 seconds! It happened too fast

way before I can think or scream of my lungs off.

The parachute is up, and this is the moment where

I started to enjoy the view. The ocean, beach, the

coastal line was so scenic and amazing. The sea

was in turquoise blue and with the bright sun

shining on a gorgeous day.

Androx gives me a 360-degree view of

Rockingham. The pressure of turning round and

round was very disturbing, and I keep yelling “I

hate this.” The entire sky experience happened

too fast, and we are soon landed on the beach.

I am so pleased and proud of myself! I did it!

The entire experience is so amazing and

memorable. I must admit it is quite addictive and

I am planning to do a second time when I visited

Perth again!

Note to all readers before signing off:

“Get out of your comfort zone, take the first step,

and you find lots of unbelievable experiences out

to explore!”

76 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 77


THE MOST INCREDIBLY

FRESH, BLUE CRAB IN

TURKEY

Environmentalists and the Turkish Tourist

Board often boast about the excellent work

being done on Iztuzu Beach.

It is pure golden sands stretch 4 kilometers

separating the Mediterranean Sea from

the Dalyan delta, except for the narrow

strip that joins the two waters. The delta is

a vast area of narrow seaways formed by

tall reeds growing out of the river flowing

down from the freshwaters of Lake Ortaca,

passing the picturesque town of Dalyan

where the tourists can access the beach most

favourably by riding the taxi boats. Chugging

along these winding waters for 13 kilometers

is an amazing experience in itself as you pass

ancient Lycian rock tombs carved into the

mountainside, then brush against the reeds

with each meandering turn until you arrive at

the natural expanse of the golden sands itself.

This is a protected area forbidding night time

access between May and September and no

umbrellas on a strip close to

written by

UMIT YESILDAG

Freelance Photographer

https://uy.smugmug.com

the waves to allow loggerhead turtles to

lay their eggs in the sand and allow them to

incubate.

You might spot a loggerhead turtle peer

out of the water before vanishing again just

about anywhere on the delta.

However, what you will not see, unless you

look for it, are blue crabs that have also

flourished here.

Who knew

blue crabs liked

chicken!?

Anyone who lives in Dalyan owns a boat.

My wife, Alison and son Alexander hired one

and filled it with beers and chicken pieces.

Captan Osman took us out to an area away

from passing boats and in the shade of 10-

foot tall reeds where we wrapped our hooks

with chicken pieces and threw our lines as far

out as we could. Then we waited: I had one

hand holding the line, the other holding a

beer. Eventually, I felt a tug and very gently

I began pulling up the line. Then, still, several

feet below the surface, the crab became

visible as it clutched the chicken piece. This

is where being in the shade helps as I appear

to be part of the reeds, the crab could not

see me. Just as it reached the surface I pulled

harder, and it dangled above the water for

a split second, and immediately Alison, who

had been waiting beside me, pushed a fishing

net underneath it. Once out of the water, the

crab released its claw and dropped into the

net. We had caught our first blue crab!

These are rather large crabs. Perhaps seven

will fit in a standard bucket without being

able to crawl out. Then Alexander began

pulling them in, too. Moreover, by the time

we finished, we became very proficient at

catching them. Who knew even crabs like

chicken!

With Captan Osman’s expertise, we had

over twenty of these on the boat sitting in

buckets to remain wet. Then we tied the boat

to a rock behind the beach, lit the barbecue in

the traditional Turkish way, using newspaper,

twigs, and charcoal, and enjoyed a cold bottle

of Efes beer. When the coals were white hot,

we humanely killed a crab with a knife before

placing it on the grill. In just a few minutes, we

began enjoying the freshest most delicious

crabmeat ever. The meat inside the claws

tasted particularly sublime.

Not forgetting that the most fantastic sandy

beach is right there, we enjoyed a day like no

other.

Courtesy of K. S. Brooks

There are many amazing national parks in the United

States, so to me, the Grand Canyon isn’t the be-all

end-all. But at dusk, when the red sunlight had finished

bouncing off the rocks, and then the supermoon rose, I

have to admit it was pretty inspiring.

THIS WAS JUST ONE OF THE MANY BLUE CRAB WE

CAUGHT THAT DAY.

78 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 79


WE HAVE ALL BEEN

THERE. THAT MOMENT

WHERE WE PROPER

FUCKED UP.

WE HAVE THREE

STORIES SHARED

FROM PEOPLE THAT

HAVE HAD SOME REAL

HORRORS WHILST

TRAVELLING THE

WORLD.

80 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 81


STUCK IN THAILAND

WITHOUT ANY MEANS

OF GETTING CASH

Before traveling to Thailand, my friend who

had arranged for my tickets had assured that

I could withdraw money from any ATM at

Thailand by paying an additional service tax.

I ensured that I carried enough cash before

travel but being a shopaholic girl, I exhausted

all my money.

I was at Bangkok then when I stepped into

the ATM outside my hotel. I inserted my

card only to get a regret response. I thought

there was a problem with the specific ATM

and tried another. To my dismay, I got the

same regret message. This time, I was tensed

and grew restless. I tried another and then

another and all in vain.

I immediately called my friend at India

and reported this. He said Indian cards are

supposed to work and that I should try

again. Helplessly, I tried again, but it did

not work as I knew. I was traveling alone

in a foreign country with no local contacts.

I called Somnath, my friend again and began

to blame him for misguiding me about

Indian cards working at Thai ATMs. Somnath

suggested that I should go to Indira Market,

an electronic market near the Baiyoke

Towers. He said there were Indian stores

there and I could seek help from them.

I rushed to Indira Market and spotted an

Indian store. I lamented my situation to the

fellow shopkeeper and tried to push the

Indian emotional button by saying,” I am

from India brother. I am alone in Thailand,

and I am unable to withdraw cash. Can

you please swipe my card and give me some

money in return?” I felt I was able to convince

him. He took me to another shop that was

run by a women. He explained to the woman

that I was in need of money and asked her to

help. I saw some hope that got lost when the

women said she would not withdraw cash

unless I purchase something expensive, a

minimum of 5000 baht. I did not want to buy

something that expensive. I tried to convince

her, but there was no way she would listen.

She asked me to try at the hotel as I was

their guest and they would help me out.

Meanwhile, I called my brother in India and

asked him to call up the bank and ask them

for a solution.

I called my

brother in India

and asked him

for help

went to the hotel and asked them to

written by

PUJAN GUPTA CHOUDHURY

swipe my card and give me some cash. I was

hopeful they would help me as I was their

guest. However, to my surprise, the lady at

the counter blatantly refused to help. She

was rude and said they were not a bank. I

requested her reminding her that I was their

guest and I was in need of money. Moreover,

I was not lending any money from them. I

was only asking them to swipe some money

out of my card and give me some cash. The

lady’s response was bitter. I did not know

what to do then and helplessly began to cry.

Just then my brother called and said that he

spoke to the bank and guided me how to

enable international transaction by logging

into the bank’s site. I did so and went to the

ATM to try, and it worked. I was happier than

ever to have the cash at hand.

It was then that I pledged always to ensure

that international transaction is enabled

before I travel outside my country.

written by

JENNIFER SZYMANKOWSKI

If you have ever been to Singapore,

you know it is a pretty amazing

airport. I have wandered around

that airport thoroughly; watched

a movie in the theater, seen the

butterflies in the garden, strolled

through the sunflower garden,

taken a selfie in the transit area,

played video games upstairs,

gotten my feet eaten by hundreds

of fish at the spa; the list of

activities is endless.

It all started out with a 4-hour

sit in between connecting flights

while on our way to Bali. Before

my friend and I even left the US,

however, we decided to leave a

day earlier. We wanted the luxury

of first class, so we switched our

tickets to make that happen. Our

4-hour sit in Singapore would

now be a 28-hour sit. We were

excited to thoroughly explore this

fantastic airport.

While studying the various aspects

of the airport and planning on when

to fit in a nap at the transit hotel,

a lady at the left baggage area told

us about a tour of Singapore. This

is a tour that takes you out into the

city of Singapore you are welcome

to sign up for if you have large

airport to appreciate the time in

between flights.

My friend and I jumped at the

chance to explore the city until our

flight on to Denpasar. All you need

to do at the sign up is to show your

boarding pass, and if you want to

stay in the city longer than the

length of the guided tour, the only

requirement is that you are back

behind security before midnight.

We signed up at 7 am for the 9 am

tour and even without our next

boarding pass in hand, the guides

still let us go; we told the guides

we would check in when we got

back to the airport so we would

have our boarding pass to get back

through security, or so we thought.

After the tour of Singapore with

our very knowledgeable tour

guide, it was time to get our

boarding passes. The only problem

was, unlike the US, where we can

check in 24 hours prior, we had to

wait until 4 hours before departure.

Well, this cannot be right, maybe

we can convince the agents

otherwise, or so we thought. We

had no clothes and limited funds

since all of our belongings were

behind security and if we did not

get back behind security, we were

screwed. This is where the rush of

uneasiness settled in very quickly.

OUR GOOD, BAD,

AND UGLY DAY

IN SINGAPORE

The shock, stress and angry

traveler rage got the best

of us as we argued with the

ticket agents as best we could

and tried to get back behind

security. We were at a loss.

The tour of Singapore was not

worth this trouble; we were

locked outside security with no

way of convincing the agents

to give us our boarding pass

more than 12 hours before

our allotted 4-hour check-in

time, and we did not want any

problems with our passports

for future travels.

After several attempts to get

behind security, we managed

to get a hold of people in

charge of customs. They had

us sign forms and then led us

through security to get our

bags and then walked us back

outside security since we still

did not have our boarding

passes in hand. By this time,

we had 5 hours to kill, so we

booked a day room at the

Capri by Frasier to take a nap

and cross our fingers we could

get our boarding passes as

close to midnight as possible.

After a relaxing nap, Jetstar finally

gave us our boarding passes just

before midnight, after an entire

day of stressing, where we found

a comfy couch to cuddle up in to

rest a few hours more before our

5 am flight on to the beaches of

Bali. The real vacation was finally

in sight.

Just a side note, I was having a

hard time how to write this, so it

sounded appealing to others. I am

going to try to think of how else

I can word it. Also, I do not have

many pictures because all my

photos got deleted, but I would be

happy to go back to Singapore to

get more pictures if need be!

After several attempts

to get behind security,

we managed to get

hold of customs.

82 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 83


written by

EMMA-LIISA GREED

www.emmaliisa.com

There are worse places to be stuck in than Bali,

but trust me, it is not always intentional…

My friend Nikki and I had just finished a

fantastic holiday. We were in good spirits,

and I was wearing my luminous neon yellow

Gangnam style top to match my mood.

It was at Bali airport gate, just as our flight’s

boarding had started, that I realised I had lost

my purple folder that held my passport and

boarding pass. So I had been of possession of

it just twenty minutes previously at passport

control.

THE DAY I

WANTED THE

GROUND TO

SWALLOW ME

UP IN BALI

After rummaging through Nikki’s bag, my

bag, and my brain, I ran off to retrace our

steps. There was no sign of my passport in the

toilets – the only stop we had had between

passport control and the gate. Panicked, I

stammered my predicament to the cleaning

lady, who pointed me to customer service,

who in turn told me to talk to security at

immigration.

I started running back, stopping only to take

off my flip-flops as they were impeding my

run. I got to immigration and told the security

guard: “I have lost my passport and boarding

pass. What do I do?” He was understandably

confused and tapped the shoulder of one of

the immigration officers.

“You have lost your passport?” Mr.

Immigration Officer was flabbergasted.

“Yes.”

“When does your flight leave?”

“Now.”

Mr. Immigration Officer promptly left his

desk and the passenger he had been in the

process of dealing with.

There were many concerned airport officials,

many phone and walkie-talkie calls, and

a little nagging feeling of deep, deep

embarrassment at the back of my gut.

No lost and found purple folder.

It was approximately five minutes till takeoff,

and I had to run back to the gate. Fingers

crossed Nikki would have found it… She had

not.

I started, slightly crazed and void of all feeling,

desperately going through my bag, knowing

it was hopeless; the gate officials were

reminding us the flight has to leave NOW;

our names were announced on the airport

loudspeaker. last call; Nikki was asking “What

do we do?” and I, the experienced, confident

traveller, was telling her hopelessly honestly:

“I don’t know.” Amid all this, however, I did

remember to make a point of putting on my

hoodie so as to cover my ridiculous Gangnam

Style top. Now that would have been just too

tragicomic.

When the airport officials went off to tell the

plane that it has to depart without us, I found

a suitable corner to cry in.

While blubbering to my dad on the phone,

lent to me by the Friendly Main Airport

Official Guy, the airport officials came to

us with exciting news. Someone had found

it! We dashed to customer service, where

they were holding MY PURPLE FOLDER.

With its joyful elephant and singing bird and

exceptionally ironic ‘Good luck!’ on it.

There is no excitingly mysterious reason for

its misplacement. It was found at the airport

restaurant. It came back to me now - the

restaurant had an excellent sign in front

of it that I had to get a picture of. So, I put

down my purple folder on a table, put down

my bag, took out my camera, put away my

camera, picked up my bag… so didn’t pick up

my folder.

We were escorted out of the airport, and I

felt like a criminal being caught just before

the final escape.

We managed to get decently priced tickets

booked for the next day, a VOID stamp into

our passports, and suddenly there was a taxi

waiting for us, taking us back to central Kuta.

It was a horrific and an incredibly

embarrassing experience (though we did not

complain too much about an extra full day in

Bali...) However, considering circumstances,

everything went amazingly. The Bali airport

staff were magnificent, so helpful and

friendly despite me being the dim-wit of the

century.

The next day we tried again, and this time

managed it through passport control and

even through the gate onto the plane out of

Bali.

The lesson of the day: Never travel in a

Gangnam style-top.

THE SAID PURPLE FOLDER THAT CAUSED ALL THESE

PROBLEMS

Ready to board the plane.

Shit, where is my passport!

With the gate closing, and

still not passport in sight!

JUST ONE OF THE MANY THINGS YOU CAN SEE WHILST

WANDERING AROUND BALI AIRPORT.

VISA DEPARTURE STAMP. VOID! OOPS. IT DOES MEAN

THAT I GET AN EXTRA DAY IN BALI.

84 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 85


Astagina Resort

Villa and Spa

in Legian, Bali

Book your stay HERE

86 | Total Travel TAG Magazine Total Travel TAG Magazine | 87


Issue

Whats coming up in

2

May 2017

- More of your personal experiences

- More off the beaten track

- Unforgettable culture experiences

- Best of Instagram

- More breathtaking photos

- Build a website on a budget

Plus so much more!

88 | Total Travel TAG Magazine