Category Archives: Travel Experience

Acadia National Park

The Acadia National Park is simply one of those places that become etched in your soul and memory; once you visit it, there is a great chance you’ll become one of those who wish they could stay there forever. A picturesque surrounding, hills and islands that appear to have been sculpted by the very hands of God and a rollercoaster of mixed emotions that make you forget your name – these are just some of the things you can try to prepare for. Alas, we are happy to say that it will have all been in vain: not even the most detailed of photographs can transfer the magic of this place well enough.

The Acadia National Park takes up a significant part of Mount Desert Island, along with a number of smaller, associated islands. Located just off of the Atlantic coast in the ever surprising state of Maine, the Acadia National Park wasn’t always known by that name. Officially opened in 1919, it had the name Lafayette National Park for a full decade. In 1929, the decision was made to rename it to Acadia National Park (which was an awesome decision, in our humble opinion). We don’t know about you, but we think that the latter sounds much, much cooler. The Park encompasses just over 47,000 acres (19,200 hectares) of surface, approximately 930 (380 ha) of which are privately owned. The National Park Service tends to the maintenance and regulation of the park, as it does with all other national parks across the country. Ben Harbor is the nearest city, so if you’re ever in Maine, you’ll know what your next stop should be.

The Acadia National Park is thriving with wildlife. Over 40 different species of mammals can be found here. Some of them are black bears, bobcats, coyote, foxes, muskrats, porcupine, beaver, moose, white-tailed deer, chipmunks, gray and red squirrels etc. An interesting fact – due to peregrine falcons nesting in the summertime, during this period several of the trails in the Acadia National Park are closed for visitors in the purpose of protecting these incredible animals when they’re most vulnerable. This is a fine example of the park’s staff being at one with nature. We would like to say – great job, guys!

Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Japan

National parks all around the world represent the most beautiful treasure of many countries. One of the most beautiful national parks in the world is Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. It is divided into four general areas:

1. Mount Fuji area,
2. Hakone area,
3. Izu Peninsula,
4. Izu Islands.

This enormous national park covers an area of 1,227 square kilometers (or 474 square miles). With an area so big, it’s no surprise to hear that the farthest point south (the isle of Hachijo-jima) is several hundred kilometers away from Mount Fuji. It’s obvious that Fuji – Hakone – Izu National Park will take up several days of your time if you want to see every corner of it.

It’s impossible not to notice the giant volcano on Mount Fuji – it’s 12,000 feet high and it dominates the view in this national park. Also, it is often shrouded in clouds in the spring and summer, which makes it perfect for taking some breathtaking photographs. Depending on the sun, it may seem like this volcano is changing colors during the day. This makes it perfect for inspiration seekers. In fact, many poets and artists actually come to Fuji – Hakone – Izu National Park in order to find an inspiration for their new masterpiece.

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

If you take a drive along the Historic Columbia River Highway, you will see the Multnomah Falls somewhere between Dodson and Corbett. While the Multnomah Falls proudly wears the title of the tallest waterfall in the state of Oregon, there is a veil of mystery surrounding its ranking among the waterfalls in the United States. Actually, that veil somewhat covers its precise height, too. The general public seems to agree on the 542-foot (165-meter) height of the upper falls and a 69-foot (21-meter) height of the lower falls. There is also a gradual but significant drop in elevation between the two parts of the falls, which measures at 9 feet (or 3 meters).

Interestingly, the Native Americans believed that the Multnomah Falls originated in the intention to win the heart of an ancient young princess who desired a concealed place to bathe in. Although the story sounds very romantic, the actual creator of the falls lies under Larch Mountain. Its underground springs are the constant, year-round source of water for the Multnomah Falls. In the winter the snowpack on the mountain melts and causes the flow of the falls to increase. The same happens with rainwater during the other three seasons of the year.

If you feel like visiting Multnomah Falls, you should definitely check out the Benson Footbridge. It is a footbridge made of stone and it has a length of 45 feet (or 14 meters); it allows visitors to cross to the other side of the gorge while walking 105 feet (or 32 meters) above the level of the lower cascade. The footbridge was named after Simon Benson, who owned the waterfall back in the day. He is the main reason for the existence of the footbridge today, as it was he who financed its construction in 1914. The same trail that leads up to the Benson Footbridge further goes to a platform located at the top of the upper section of the waterfall. From this observation platform visitors have the perfect elevated view on the entire Columbia Gorge. Additionally, Little Multnomah is also visible from the platform. Little Multnomah is located further upstream from the upper falls and it’s a small cascade. If you’re interested in seeing Little Multnomah alongside the main waterfall, you should definitely go up to the platform as you won’t be able to see it from ground level.

Once you feel tired from all that hiking and climbing (and you definitely will!), you can stop by the Multnomah Falls Lodge for a refreshing cup of coffee and a break from hiking. The Lodge was completed back in 1925 and it’s on the National Register of Historic Places. The architect who designed the Lodge was A.E. Doyle – the same man who designed the Meier & Frank Building. The land on which the Lodge was constructed was donated to the City of Portland by the Oregon-Washington Railroad and Navigation Company.

Switzerland – The Home Of Chocolate

Vacations – where would we be without them? All year round you’re working hard, struggling to keep your job, maybe hunting for a promotion; basically you’re all work and no play. Finally, when you earn some time off, on one hand you feel like getting away from the office, the city, the desk job, and just letting go, relaxing with your friends or loved ones, maybe exploring some nature, and recharging your batteries. On the other hand, however, you also don’t feel like going all Bear Grylls on your family and taking them on an exotic jungle adventure of some sort (not yet, at least). So, if this sounds about right for you, maybe you should consider taking a trip to a country that can provide you with a little bit of both – Switzerland.

Switzerland is located in central and western Europe, and it borders countries like France, Germany, Austria, Lichtenstein and Italy. The capital city is Bern, but other major cities you can visit are Basel, Geneva, Lausanne, Zurich, Sent Galen, Luzern etc. The official languages spoken are predominantly German, but also Italian, French and Romansh, and those are also the main four cultural and linguistic regions that the country consists of.

An interesting fact you’ve probably already heard of – Switzerland has not been at war (intentionally) since 1815. On the other hand, it has constantly participated in processes aimed at building peace worldwide. Another interesting fact – Switzerland is the country in which the Red Cross was born.

Seeing how the Swiss train system is well organized, punctual and reliable, it presents an almost ideal way of traveling through Switzerland. I say “almost” because it is not perfect – in a country that has the valleys, gorges and overall scenery and natural landscapes such as Switzerland, some may consider it a sin not to experience all that natural beauty first hand. You have the option of purchasing some of the best footpath maps in the world and hiking for several miles (as many as you feel comfortable) a day. The hiking trails will take you over mountains, through forests and valleys, where you will be able to see breathtaking scenery and Mother Nature’s architectural creativity and design first hand. You will also be safe, since more than 60000 kilometers of hiking trails are documented, well maintained and marked clearly.

Finally, I would like to recommend some places you should definitely visit during your trip to the land of chocolate and watches:
• Rhine Falls – one of the largest and unusual falls in all of Europe;
• Spiez – in the most beautiful bay of Europe, the loveliest postcard picture town;
• Zermatt – at the very base of the legendary Matterhorn, one of the widely known mountain resorts;
• Grindenwald – also a very famous mountain resort located in the Swiss Alps.

The Millennium Park, Chicago

Visiting Chicago and not going to the Millennium Park would be a terrible mistake! This park’s beauty and unique spirit will seduce you and make you stay there longer than planned. It’s never boring – thousands of people visit it every day. Many events are organized during the year, so the time of your trip is not particularly important – there will always be something to amuse you.

The Cloud Gate (The Bean)

But, if it should happen that there are no exhibits organized when you visit the Park, don’t be desperate. There is one structure that will surely impress you; yes, you’re right – I’m thinking about the Cloud Gate (also known as The Bean). Kids simply love it, but if you’re not a kid, then this “cloud” will make you feel like one all over again. It weighs around 110 tons and is made from stainless steel plates (many people describe it like a giant curved mirror). In fact, you can actually see your reflection (to be honest, you’ll probably look strange) and it will immediately brighten up your day. Its construction is very complicated and it was made from pieces, but that’s something you won’t notice, because it looks like it was made from just one piece.

Jay Pritzker Pavilion

Are you a big music fan? You like to listen to it all day and all night? You’d feel bored if visiting the Millennium Park did not include music? Then you don’t have to worry! In the center of the park a specific acoustic shell (bandshell) can be found. This pavilion is capable of hosting around 11 000 people at once: yes, you read it well – 4000 seats, as well as space for 7000 more people more is provided. Does this tell you something about the overall size of this park?

Do you fancy classical music? Great! This place is the home of America’s only free outdoor classical music orchestra. Besides classical music, this pavilion also hosts different music festivals and genres, and occasionally even fitness activities (such as yoga) – perfect for recreation in the summertime.

Lurie Garden

When you hear that the Lurie Garden is a public garden, you probably think it’s a garden just like any other. But this one has something that makes it unique – its size. The Lurie Garden is spread across more than 10 000 square meters of surface (impressive, right?) Just imagine the effort and the time people spend to make the flowers look ‘’alive’’. Watering a garden this big is not an easy job, so a complicated system needed to be developed. The end result is a colorful combination of flowers and trees that create the largest green roof on the planet.