Mar 27

Travel Advice That You Can Trust

The act of traveling can teach us incredible things. It really opens you up to new ideas. There is nothing quite like moving beyond the familiar and being exposed to something completely out of the ordinary. Getting to see it in person, far outweighs any inconvenience you may experience during travel.

Pack your luggage in such a way that it can be easily carried, even for fairly long distances. You’ll be walking with your luggage more often than you might think. A lighter bag will make your trip easier, safer and much more fun for you than if you are lugging a heavy case.

Before departing on a trip, the wise traveler makes sure at least one person back home knows where he will be. This “home base” contact should also be updated with any unplanned changes the traveler encounters on the way. Someone who knows where a traveler is – and where they should be – can be a great help in the case of trouble on the road.

The best part of traveling is being able to spend freely once you get to your destination. While the hotel and the flight are usually the most expensive part, the best trips usually involve spending a ton of money out and about. So before you travel set up a savings plan such that you have a fat wallet after paying for the hotel and the flight so you can maximize your enjoyment.

Replace the lock on your luggage with a combination lock. Many pieces of luggage come with locks and keys. Keys get lost. Not that it matters. The locks are so cheaply made, they can be broken right off. It would not be a bad idea to discard them entirely and replace them with a sturdier combination lock.

Be sure to compare airfares online. The Internet is a wondrous thing. These days, there are dozens of websites that will allow you to book a flight online. Some of these websites also allow you to check competitor rates for tickets. This makes it very easy to shop around for the best price.

Traveling with groups can be frustrating to say the least. Who wants to miss their flight because one or more member of the group can’t be located. One solution is to make everyone wear the same color of brightly colored t-shirts or maybe even visors that can be take off once you are in the air.

Before undergoing any major traveling, make sure you get plenty of rest the night before you leave. A lack of sleep can cause you to make poor decisions and causes forgetfulness. The consequences of bad choices when traveling are far more severe, than normal, so make sure you’re well rested.

Next time you’re out on the town and looking to grab a bite, consider chowing down at the nearest Japanese restaurant. Fresh sushi and sashimi are full of protein, very low in fat, and also incredibly delicious. Salmon, for instance, is amazingly rich in vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids.

Always check out a visitor’s center near your destination. They often have a lot of pamphlets on different attractions. A lot of these will even have coupons inside to get a discount. So not only will you find things to do, but you can save money while you do them!

Before you begin thinking about where you would like to travel next, subscribe to get emails from major airlines, hotels and rental companies. It will increase your amount of “junk” mail, but these newsletters often include information about last-minute hotel deals or flights that will allow you to use your frequent-flyer miles. Since these deals go quickly, finding out about them first is essential.

Travel can really help a marriage. It does not have to be an expensive vacation to an island resort. A simple weekend travel adventure to another state or even in your own city can be just what you need to feel reconnected. Spending time alone with just one another can help couples feel good again.

Follow your dreams and fish the Alaskan rapids or swim in a tropical paradise. Travel helps you create your own fate, and can give some purpose to your life. This not only gives you something to eagerly anticipate, but the planning part gives you something to do in your spare time. Travel can give you memories that will bring smiles and warmth to your life for years to come. Don’t delay! Begin planning your trip now.

Apr 13

Balea Lake Resort (Balea Lac)

Balea Lake Resort is a highly important tourist attraction, situated in Sibiu County, in Fagaras Mountains (in the Meridionali Carpathians). Balea Lake is a glacial lake located at 2034 m altitude. Balea has 360 m in length, 11,35 in depth and a total surface of 46.508 sq. ft.

Balea Lake

http://www.pensiuneadracula.ro

 

The lake, together with a surrounding surface of 100 ha, has been declared a natural reservation. The setting is spectacular. There are numerous terraces and peaks such as: Iezerul Caprei (‘The Goat’s Mountain Lake’ – 2417m), Saua Caprei (‘The Goat’s Saddle’ – 2315m) and Paltinul (‘Sycamore Mapple’ – 2398m). The lake is found at the foot of Piatra Craiului Mountains and of Olt River Strait.

During the summer, the Trasfagarasan is opened for circulation so you can reach the resort by car. But in the other seasons, the only access to Balea Lake consists of cable tramway. In 1904, the first cabin was built at Balea Lake, on the peninsula situated in front of the lake. This is the most renowned cabin in Fagaras Mountains as it is surrounded on three sides by water.

http://www.summitpost.org/

 

Balea Waterfall is one of the most impressive waterfalls in Romania. It is situated at an altitude of 1234 m and measures 60 m in length. The murmur that the water makes while falling down is quite powerful and for this reason, the cascade is also known as the Howling Balea. The waterfall then divides itself in several other smaller waterfalls which stream more peacefully.

Just to understand how noisy the cascade really is, you should know that tourists cannot get too close to it, as there is no access road. Even if they have to admire it from afar, they can still hear its ‘voice’. It is the voice of nature untamed.

The cascade and the lake can be admired for their actual size and worth from the cable tramway which runs over a 3800 m distance in order to take the tourists to Balea Lake. You cannot help but feel overwhelmed by the beauty of this landscape.Those who have a passion for the mountainside will be pleased to hear that they have a variety of mountain tracks to choose from, some posing a real challenge to the adventurers.

http://www.ecomagazin.ro

 

In 2006, the first Ice Hotel from Romania was inaugurated at Balea Lake and, at present, tourists can vist the Ice Church which is located right next to the hotel. The Ice Church is the first one of its kind in the entire south-eastern part of Europe. The worship house has furniture, crucifixes and icons, all made out of snow and ice.

Different sports, specific for the winter time, are practiced here. The area has numerous natural tracks and for this reason, skiing is the number one sport practiced by the majority of tourists. When the lake freezes, its surface is arranged for hockey, ice-skating and curling. In summer, tourists can engage in rowing.

http://www.alpinet.org

 

Another glacial lake, Goat Lake, is located in close proximity of Balea Lake. The lake is situated at 2241 m altitude and it is separated from Balea Lake by a mountain slope which can be climbed in more or less than 45 minutes. It is definitely worth the effort, as the view from the top of the mountain is fascinating.

Apr 12

Bran Castle (Castelul Bran)

Bran Castle is the main tourist attraction in the Transylvanian region. It is situated within less than 30 km from Brasov, between Bucegi and Piatra Craiului Mountains, on the road which connects the cities Brasov and Campulung Muscel.  The castle has a very rich history, having changed its destination throughout time from a medieval fortress to a royal residence. At present, the castle has become a museum, drawing thousands of visitors every year.

History

The castle dates from 1378, when it has been erected on top of a cliff. At the time, the construction bore high value from a military point of view as it reigned over the Rucar-Bran passage which led through the mountains.

Source: http://www.draculascastle.com

In 1407, the ruler Mircea the Elder received the Bran castle from Sigismund of Luxembourg, the German emperor and king of Hungary. The building remained under Wallachian authority until 1419. In 1427, the castle was taken over by the Hungarian ruler and it underwent a series of fortification and extension works.

The castle become royal residence in the true sense of the word in 1920 when the Town Council of Brasov donated it to Queen Mary of Romania as a token of appreciation for her contribution to the Grand Unification which occurred on December the 1st,1918. The Queen had decorated it according to her taste and had left it as inheritance to her daughter, Princess Ileana, the sister of Carol II. The royal family had been expelled from the country in 1948 and Bran Castle became property of the Romanian state. Unfortunately, the building was abandoned and suffered considerable damages.

It is not until 1956 that the castle is reopened for visitations when it is partially transformed into a history and feudal art museum. In 1987, restoration works are conducted and these are completed by and large in 1993.

 

Source: http://www.tripideas.com

Legend

Bran Castle is mostly renowned for the legend of Count Dracula, which has been promoted extensively through the novel ‘Dracula’ written by the Irish author Bram Stoker. The legend is actually based on a real story which revolves around the ruler Vlad the Impaler who was a cruel and bloody person that punished its enemies and its disobedient subjects by using different types of torturing measures: cutting limbs, boiling people alive, strangulation, burning, mutilating. But the legend distances itself from reality, as the main character is actually a vampire that feeds itself with the blood of its victims. It doesn’t really matter that Count Dracula did not resemble Vlad the Impaler in many ways, the fact remains that the fictional story has stirred the imagination of thousands of readers, bringing them to Bran from all over the world. Visitors are enticed with the idea of seeing in person the place where the cruel vampire dwelt. In fact, some are so convinced of the idea that Dracula actually existed that they are intent in finding evidence of his existence in the castle. This goes to show the impact that the book had on its readers and the fame that Bran Castle has attained throughout time.

Tourists can visit both the interior of the castle and the exterior courtyard and they have an experienced guide at their disposal who can reveal them the secrets hidden inside the castle.

 

Source: http://www.tripideas.com

At present, visitors can admire the ceramic collections, the furniture, weapons and armors which date from the time of Queen Mary’s reign. The modifications made by the Queen are quite noticeable as the castle has been transformed from a military fortress into a summer residence for the royal family, so the esthetic and structural improvements are visible.

In 1932, the Queen requested for an electric generation to be built and from this year onwards, the castle benefited from artificial light. An elevator was also built in order to facilitate the access to the garden from the superior floors of the castle.

A hunting house, a wooden church, a wooden house with 7 rooms and two cottages (one for the Queen and one for her daughter) have been built. You can notice the refined taste of the Queen in the design she conveyed to the entire castle. Among these, the Grand Room (a living room decorated in the German Renaissance style), the Yellow Room, the Music Hall, the Tyrolienne Chamber (belonging to King Carol II) stand out as they are characteristic to that period and to the sophisticated style of the Queen.

 

Source: http://www.romania-tour.ro

In the exterior patio, tourists can visit the Romanian Village Museum which brings together different types of architectural designs and popular customs from all over Romania.

As you can see, Bran Castle is a place where history, culture and myth intertwine. The architecture and the décor are impressive and you will definitely not regret having visited this one of a kind touristic attraction.

Visitation hours:

  • Monday: 11:00-18:00;
  • Every other day: 9:00-18:00.

Price:

  • Adults: 9 RON/person (3 euro);
  • Students: 4 RON/person (1,3 euro)
  • Children under 5 years old have free access
Apr 12

The Bear Cave (Pestera Ursilor)

History

The Bear Cave was discovered in 1975 due to a supervised explosion performed at the local marble quarry. The cave represents one of the main tourist attractions in Apuseni Mountains and it is located in Bihor District, in close proximity of Chiscau village.

The explosion created a well-like opening which provided access to the cave beneath. The first person to descend into the cave was Traian Curta, a miner from Chiscau, who took it upon himself to investigate the cave.

But the first official research conducted on the cave situated at 482 m altitude was performed on September the 20th, 1975, by a group of amateur speleologists called ‘Speodava’, original from Dr. Petru Groza town (which today bears the name Stei). Afterwards, the Speleological Institute ‘Emile Racovita’ in collaboration with the “Crisuri County” Museum from Oradea District, has performed various studies on the cave and has reached a conclusion concerning what needs to be done in order to properly arrange the cave and what protection measurements should be taken. The whole project took five years to be completed, but in the end the cave met global standards and on the 14th of July 1980, it was finally opened for visitations. At present, the cave receives more than 200.000 visitors per year.

Source: http:// www.ihotele.ro

And the reason for it is quite simple: the Bear Cave is worth visiting due to the impressive rock formations located within its walls. The cave is renowned for its variety of stalactites and stalagmites, but also due to the extensive number of bear fossils found here. In fact, this is the reason for which the cave was named this way. In ancient time, the cavern bears would retreat to the cave when they sensed that it was time for them to die. The fossils have remained undisturbed for more than 15.000 because the entrance to the cave had collapsed. Other fossils encountered by explorers belonged to lions, cave hyenas, ibexes, and black goats.

Structure

At the entrance, a special pavilion has been created which consists of a waiting room, a ticket booth, a bar, a small speleological museum and a souvenir stand where you can find items specific for this area.

Source: http://www.liontravel.ro

The Bear Cave has 1.500 m in length and is made up of several galleries disposed on two levels: the first gallery, the superior one, which has a length of 488 m, can be visited by tourists, whereas the second one, which is 521 m long, is destined to scientific research. The superior gallery has 3 sub-galleries and 3 rooms: the Bear Gallery (or the Boone Gallery), ‘Emil Racovita’ Gallery, Candle Gallery, Candle Room, Spaghetti Room and Boone Room.

The Bear Gallery is named this way because 140 skulls but also several shelters used by these animals were discovered in this place. The walls of the gallery are covered with bear paw prints and the theory behind this is that the animals had been trapped within due to a collapsed rock which obstructed the entrance.

In the ‘Emile Racovita’ Gallery, fossils belonging to some animals which went extinct thousands of years ago are on display. The stalactite and stalagmite formations which are found in this area are mesmerizing. It seems that drapes made out of calcareous rocks decorate the place. In the last gallery, the Candle Gallery, tourists can contemplate white stalagmites which have never been touched by human hands. This gallery ends with a 16 m long tunnel which has been artificially created in order to provide access to the surface.

Source: http://www.cipriandumitrescu.com

The stalagmite and stalactite formations, which vary in shape and size, are definitely something to gaze upon. There are some formations which stand out from the rest and which capture the tourist’s attention. These are: the Enchanted Palaces, the Lake with the Water Lilies, the Mastodon and the Dwarf House, the Drapes from the Bear Gallery, the Portal, the Pagoda and the last room, the Elderly Council, which is lit by candles. All of these are wonders of nature and it is definitely worth visiting the Bear Cave in order to admire them.

The temperature within the cave is constant throughout the year (10 °C) and the humidity level maintains itself at 97%.

How to reach the Bear Cave?

If you want to visit the Bear Cave, you have to drive along National Route 76 which connects Oradea and Deva Counties and then take the County Route 763 which will get you to Chiscau village – a 14 km drive.

This is one touristic objective you cannot miss. The cave is famous for the numerous fossils discovered here, as well as for the beauty of its architecture.

 

Visiting Hours:

  • Tuesday- Sunday: 10:00 – 17:00;
  • Closed on Mondays.

Tickets:

  • Adults: 15RON
  • Children: 10 RON

Price for taking photographs: 15 RON

Price for filming: 25RON