Author: Therese Iknoian

Travel security gear we rely on anywhere we go

It would be nice to ramble through the world without a thought to safety and security, but these days travel safety, and the travel security gear you use to stay safe, should be top of mind. That’s not to say travel is unsafe and that you should forsake traveling – in fact just the opposite because of all you can learn along the way. What travel safety means is that you simply need to remain vigilant when it comes to travel security for both digital and physical possessions. Over our years of traveling in a wide variety of cultures...

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4 must-see cemeteries on three continents

There is something spooky, breathtaking and awe-inspiring all at the same time about cemeteries around the world that offer fantastic, mythical, memorable architecture. Here are 4 must-see cemeteries on three continents: La Recoleta Cemetery (Cimenterio de la Recoleta) — Buenos Aires, Argentina The cemetery in La Recoleta tops must-do lists for Buenos Aires, but we must admit we didn’t think it could be any different than a couple of the mesmerizing cemeteries named below. Still, we went. And it was so much more. First, ignore the tourist “circus” of street vendors outside the gates, the Western shopping mall and...

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Bike touring essentials: What to pack in your bicycle bags

Bike touring is a growing way to travel and see the world. Supported bike tours and self-guided tours that transport your luggage for you are becoming especially popular. On such a bike tour, you don’t need to worry about packing up panniers with all your gear when you move from place to place. Just pop what you need to carry for the day on a bike tour in a small rear or front rack bag, in a jersey pocket, or in a pack. Then off you go to enjoy your day. Without the care of loads of luggage, you...

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Parrilla food tour a tasty intro to Buenos Aires

Land in any sprawling metropolis as a traveler and finding your through the maze of restaurants, foods, potential language differences and neighborhoods is always a daunting task. That’s where a parrilla food tour can help in Buenos Aires, specifically THE “Parrilla Tour.” Certainly we expected good food and drink on our Parrilla Tour, but what we got was so much more. Over three hours walking between four establishments in a central Buenos Aires neighborhood, our vivacious guide German Landa taught us everything from how to eat an empanada to how to pronounce “parrilla” (meaning barbeque or grill) like a...

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Make the most of a visit to Smithsonian’s African-American museum

UNWIND... RELAX ... BREATHE... You deserve a vacation! Click on the image and start planning your next escape. The National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, D.C., hit its one-year anniversary in September 2017. And it remains a must-see in the nation’s capital, a soaring historical tribute to what happened and what can happen. Making the most of a visit to the African-American museum, however, takes a little work since it is so huge, so dense with information, and so all encompassing. I had the chance to visit the museum – part of the Smithsonian group...

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A traveler’s guide to dining and shopping in Germany

Eating and shopping – either for food, toiletries or other essentials – are part of a traveler’s life. This can become a little bewildering when you are trying to decipher unknown word and customs, especially at meals or in stores. Our traveler’s guide to dining and shopping in Germany (and most German-speaking countries like Austria and parts of Switzerland) will help take some of the mystery out of the process and make your dining and shopping experiences a little easier. Refer to our “German language cheat sheet for travelers” to help you say what you need (downloadable PDF available!)....

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Long Night of Museums: all-night festivities in Berlin museums

Whoever thought we would stay up all night to go to museums? When the Long Night of Museums in Berlin rolled around this year, however, we were there – along with many thousands of our best friends for the night. This year, the 20th birthday of the museum night drew more than 30,000 visitors all across Germany’s capital city. Organizers say this is where the popular global trend of annual museum days and nights started. With hundreds of museums from big to small taking part in Berlin, we wouldn’t be surprised. For this 20th-annual event in Berlin, there were...

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A German language cheat sheet for travelers

Going to another country means you are a guest of that nation. Learning a few basic phrases – more if possible, especially if you are there longer or just love languages like I do– is the ticket to getting around better. People will just be nicer too! In this German Language Cheat Sheet for Travelers, we will introduce you to a few basics words, sounds and phrases, as well as what to expect, see or hear in different situations such as shopping, dining, etc. For simple words, we will also do our best to help with a pronunciation, noted...

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Photography tips for improving your travel and street scene images

As a journalism major in college, I rounded out my writing studies with numerous photography classes. Street photography always seemed to draw me in – people, places and scenes that tell a story and are key for improving your travel photography. What I learned then still applies today. Whether you have a fancy camera or smartphone, the following photography tips remain essential to improving your travel and street photos. Wait I like waiting. Sometimes you see a scene and think, “oh wow!” and just snap. Sometimes it makes for a better photo if you see the scene (go ahead...

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The Draft Horse Classic has been a Nevada County staple since 1987

Draft Horse Classic A Nevada County favorite since 1987 Draft Horses and More The Draft Horse Classic, held at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Northern California every September since 1987, is recognized as the premier Draft Horse show in the western United States among perhaps hundreds around the world. Competitions, entertainment and much more take place over four days. Here, Mike McInnis drives his Clydesdale pair and wagon around the arena during the finals. Log Skidding Log skidding is an amazing event to watch, as the driver stands or walks next to two huge logs, guiding a team of...

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How to pack for a bike tour

When a daily activity like cycling is part of your travel plan, determining how to pack for a bike tour and what goes in your suitcase and carry-on may get a little more complicated. On the other hand, it may also be easier, since you will spend all day in activity-specific clothing, plus such a trip is usually quite casual. Here, we have put together some information that we hope will make your packing easier, tapping into our own experience on bike tours plus general adventure travel, as well as talking to seasoned bike tour participants, Packing light is,...

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Expert travel tips for packing and unpacking on tours

When your travels involve moving every day (or nearly every day), unpacking and repacking can become a time-consuming grind. Unless you have figured out key survival tips for daily packing and unpacking on tours. Be it for a bike tour, or perhaps for hiking, running, paddling or even just bus tours, getting in and out of your suitcase for frequent moves for what you need and then gather it all back up again to move along could make you cross such tours off your list. These survival tips from a few who have done this often on bike tours...

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A Croatian lady and her figs

Croatia is a multi-faceted country with mountains, oceans, islands, villages and cities. It became an independent country in 1991, although it has fought its share of battles since then too, including the Bosnia war through 1995 that has been called the bloodiest war in Europe since World War II. The Dalmatian Coast is a draw for many and, yes, it is in fact the origin of those spotted dogs. But we came for the back roads and villages on our bikes as a part of a small group bike tour along the coast and its islands. The subject: We...

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Schengen Agreement explained: do you need a visa for Europe?

If you are traveling to Europe, you need to know about the Schengen Agreement. U.S. citizens may still (at the time of this writing, see below) enter Schengen countries without the need for a special visa for short-term tourism, business or if in transit to non-Schengen countries. But…

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A traveler’s guide to European coffee culture

HI Travel Tales has experienced coffee culture around the world. We’ve sampled various ways of serving the caffinated elixer, from nearly syrupy dark tablespoons of caffeine in doll-sized cups to huge bowls of espresso and frothy milk. It’s what you do as a traveler – enjoy a cup of local coffee as the locals enjoy it.

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Fresno Underground Gardens: Highway 99 stop for curious travelers

The Underground Gardens tourist destination offers an intriguing tale for all ages that is well worth a stop. The Underground Gardens is what it sounds like: A weaving labyrinth of caverns, rooms and passages all dug underground and filled with fruit trees, vines and plants in spaces that open to the sky. This oddity was built – or shall we say, dug – by Italian immigrant Baldassare Forestiere for about 38 years starting in 1906.

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