Category Archives: Reviews

Universal Studios, Hollywood

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Inside every adult there’s still a child and I think that’s one of the many reasons that the amusement parks are a popular form of entertainment, globally.
Every year millions of people visit different amusement parks to celebrate the fond memories of their childhood.

Universal Studios, Hollywood is one such place. The overall atmosphere and ambiance can make anyone forget the regular monotonous life for at least few hours. People of all age find something or the other to entertain themselves. Movie fans will definitely not regret visiting, as the most amazing studio tour begins here and gives all an equal opportunity to learn about movie making. The Signature Studio Tour is a 45 minutes ride through live shoots, and well preserved – functional movie sets. The star attraction is the King Kong 360 3D experience.

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Universal Studios – Studio Tour from tram

This theme park also has a lot of rides based on popular movies including

Transformers: The Ride – 3D,

Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem,

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,

Revenge of the Mummy,

The Simpsons Ride &

Jurassic Park: The Ride.

May be you haven’t seen the movies but you will still love the rides. I went on each and every ride; some of them even thrice and I enjoyed all of them.
For all the techies out there, the Special Effect Show can be an interesting event. Go behind the scenes to learn about CGI, stop motion and 3-D technology and there use in the latest few Hollywood releases.

Universal Studio is one of the top most tourist attractions in Hollywood. If you are not on schedule then you are for sure missing a part of it. Situated not very far from the Union Station, it has good connectivity by metro. Driving is always considered the best option in Los Angeles. It could be very crowded sometimes and you might have to queue up for up to an hour. Plan it well and you will be sorted. Buying tickets is easy. Simply do it online and skip the queue at the main gate. I strongly recommend a minimum of “Front of Line” passes during a busy weekend. Trust me, you will thank me later!

Inside the park you have free WiFi, lots of kid’s friendly attractions, reasonable dining outlets and a variety of shopping options. Just remember to check the weather before and dress accordingly. Wearing a comfortable pair of shoes might help here. Start early, and prepare to ride the exciting world of movies and get amazed with the magnificent experience.

 

1…2…3…Absorb!

For more information visit http://www.universalstudioshollywood.com/

The Great Wall of China

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He who has not climbed the great wall is not a true man
– Mao Zedong

The moment I landed in China, I was excited to tick another attraction on my list. The Great Wall, one of the greatest wonders of the world. Listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO and having a historical significance for over 2000 years this wall is stretching approximately 21000 kilometers from east to west of China and indeed is an architectural marvel.

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Stairs leading to the watch tower
Stairs leading to the watch tower

The Great Wall of China is not one long wall but a system of many walls built over years by different dynasties coming in to power in China with a purpose of protecting their kingdom & people. The wall has a lot of beacon and watch towers which were built to garrison troops. The labor forces used to construct the wall were mainly soldiers and convicts. Many of them who died during the construction were buried within the wall itself. During the war times this wall played a vital role for communication. Messages were relayed by smoke and fire signals.

View of the wall with watch towers
View of the wall with watch towers

Today due to natural erosion & visitor induced damage a big part of the wall is missing but there are many sections which are restored and are open for tourism. Several well-preserved stretches of the Wall are near Beijing and are just a short drive away. The most touristic, crowded and restored of them being Badaling section of the great wall. Mutianyu section is a little far and less touristic. The third section which is Jinshanling is far from the city but is in the original state without any restoration.

To get to Mutianyu from Beijing, one can catch a bus, take a day tour or use a private car rental. The best alternative is to use a car rental. An excellent 4 seater car would cost something between 500 – 700 RMB (all inclusive) for a round trip and 4 – 5 hours of waiting time at the wall.

To enjoy the great wall it’s important to start early as the most of the crowd reaches by midday. I planned to visit the Mutianyu section and left early in the morning. It was a good decision as there was no traffic on the way and I was at the wall by Seven O’clock. Mutianyu is at an incredibly scenic location; the Wall looks like a giant stone snake built over ridges of mountains. You could get spectacular view while you are climbing up. If you don’t like climbing stairs to reach the wall then the easy way up is a cable car.

After getting up to the wall you can stroll between any of the twenty two watch towers and enjoy the beautiful forest scenery or impressive rolling hills. The wall has lot of steep climbs and descends so a good pair of walking shoes is a must along with lot of energy and enthusiasm as the climb is quite a challenge.

Scenic forest view from the wall
Scenic forest view from the wall

During your stay up at the wall if you feel like having a refreshment break then just next to tower 10 you a have kiosk selling cold and hot beverages. Feel free to have a can of Sing Tao (Chinese beer). There is also a graffiti wall available at tower 14 where you can mark your presence.

Graffiti wall available at tower 14
Graffiti wall available at tower 14

Planning to go back proceed to tower 6 where you can take a toboggan ride down the great wall in style. The individual carts are self controlled and fun, provided you don’t have someone slow in front of you to spoil the thrill. After all you don’t get a chance to slide down The Great Wall of China every day.

The entry ticket cost 60 RMB
Cable car/toboggan rides available at an additional cost.

To book a trip to the great wall visit:
http://www.wildgreatwall.com

The Adult Paradise – Las Vegas.

Photo 29-09-15, 10 39 27 PMThe moment you start outlining your first trip to Las Vegas, a string of thoughts will crawl through your mind. There is definitely some sin in the sin city and its time for you to plan it really well.
When you come to this adult paradise you might encounter things probably which shouldn’t be there. If you’re easily offended by things like adult services, topless pools and smoke filled casinos, then you might want to stay away from the Strip. Otherwise, just take a deep breath and go with the flow. Participation in all of the above is not a must however keeping an open mind is advised.

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The first thing you should work upon is booking a right hotel for yourself. Choose the hotel which is right in the center of the strip. No need to go towards the far ends as it has nothing much to offer. My suggestion is to stay anywhere in Zone 1.
HotelZones1The hotels are much far from each other than they appear but still walking down the strip is a good idea. In my opinion everything here is based on the tips. More generous you become better treatment you get. Throw money around and see the good things coming your way. Room upgrades, quick return of the casino cocktail waitress, complimentary mini bar etc.

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In a place like Vegas staying away from gambling is a little tough. It’s a place where you will see 100’s of artfully designed and digital slot machines inviting you with pure  lust for those dollars you got in your pocket. If you would like to try your hands on some other card games the opportunities are endless my friend. Just remember, gambling is fun when you’re playing with the money that you can afford to lose. Don’t get tempted by the free drinks or by the glamour around you, pick a limit and stick to it.

Keep a day to explore popular places in and around Vegas. One of the most popular activities in Las Vegas is to explore the majestic Grand Canyon. You will be able to book a tour from anywhere and it should be including The Grand Canyons, Lake Mead, and Hoover Dam. After the tour if you still have some energy left the Vegas downtown or Fremont Street is definitely a Go!

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There are a lot of shows to be seen in Vegas. Some of them are really famous but before you buy the tickets make sure to compare the prices online or visit a nearest half price ticket store. Taking a taxi is another expensive affair in Vegas due to long hauling. The best way to avoid it, use Google maps & make sure your driver sees that.

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Speaking of taxis, finding a taxi could be a task sometimes especially when you need it desperately. Don’t try to stop one at the strip. It is illegal for them to stop there. Instead just go to the nearest hotel taxi stand and you’ll find a line of taxis waiting to take you wherever you need to go.

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If like me some of you share this mad love for clubbing, Vegas is the place. Some of the best clubs can be found on the Las Vegas strip. Remember to dress up appropriately as here people believe what they see. Most of the time you have to choose from these 2 options – buy a table with a bottle service or stay in the queue for hours, and have your 20$ drink in a cramped up corner. Decide! If you want to have some fun then go for the first option and yeah, you can thank me later.
Ladies, you enter for free!

Do whatever you wish to do in Vegas but just don’t get married when you are drunk. If still somehow you wish to then the Las Vegas Marriage Bureau is open till midnight every night. Just remember your wedding the next day. 😉

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There is always plenty to do in Las Vegas so just try to get some rest in between your action packed nights and hangover filled days. Have fun and remember what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!

To book show tickets visit:
http://www.tix4tonight.com

To book a tour:
https://www.pinkjeeptours.com

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Babylon Hookah Lounge, NYC

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A good hookah and enjoyment goes hand in hand. I am sure there are many hookah lounges in New York City but I found this one closest to The Empire State Building, while I was on a city tour. I am very picky about flavored smoke, may be because I know my good hookah. After going to this lounge, I must say, I was impressed!

They start operations at 15:00 and are open till late. Also have a decent food and drinks menu to choose from. When I visited this place I was greeted by Selin. She not only made me comfortable but also suggested me few options that I could try.
Beware – other than being gorgeous, she’s good at up selling too 😉

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So, I ordered a special flavor (out of the menu) in a fruit head along with some beer and not to forget, their happy hours include almost everything fancy. Service was prompt and they constantly checked the coal. Selin and her team not only made sure that everything is fine but also were very hospitable and made sure that all their guests are having a good time.

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Their hookah hits amazingly and the overall profile is excellent. The music being played in the lounge is mixed genre which brings people from different origins together. They also have a club setup for a weekend which is another added advantage… probably a perfect spot to come smoke hookah, socialize and dance!

The seating area is comfortable and spacious, plus the Turkish lamps add to the ambience. I came to this place for the first time and I absolutely loved it! If compared hookah prices with the other part of the world some people might find it a bit expensive but in the end what matters is having a good time. 🙂

Whenever I will be in NYC will for sure stop by.

Contact for reservations:
Babylon Hookah Lounge
208 East 34th Street New York, NY
Phone: 212-933-0912
http://babylonhookahny.com/

Templeton Rye – The Good Stuff

Photo 10-09-15 1 31 44 amWhile I was traveling within the United States I tried the Templeton rye. This review is about the same. I am generally fond of Scotch & Bourbon but this time I thought of trying something new.

So, the story goes like this, in November 1918 because of war time Prohibition act in the United States the beverages having alcohol content more than 2.75 % were banned. The country went completely dry for almost a year till few residents of Iowa started producing their own rye whiskey. It was affectionately known as “The Good Stuff”.

In 1982 the production was legalized and was introduced to a wider audience.

In year 2007 this brand was known widely in the country and the production plant expanded at a very high speed. Also, the same year it bagged four top awards at the prestigious Los Angeles Wine and Spirits Competition. Which were – Best of American Straight Rye, Best of Whiskey, over all Packaging Design & Gold Medal & American Straight Rye Whiskey category.
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Over a week of having Templeton I realized that it is a well-balanced rye that’s perfect for the holidays. It has a nose of mint and pine and delivers smooth butterscotch and allspice. It has another interesting bit attached to it. Templeton Rye can actually get you a partial refund here in the states ranging between 3$ – 6$. No, it’s not because the company likes you. It’s because of a law suit filed against them which accused them of “deceptive marketing”.

Templeton Rye Spirits appear to be an Iowa product. Although the whiskey is distilled and aged in an Lawrenceburg, Indiana plant, a facility where many ryes on the market are produced but it’s in the different state.

Many legends and rumors have surfaced over the years concerning Templeton Rye but one thing is for sure that unique brand loyalty can still be found in the hearts of Templeton people even today.

Alcohol/Volume: 40%

Proof: 80°

Website: www.templetonrye.com

THERE’S A REASON PEOPLE CALL IT THE GOOD STUFF.
Cheers!!

Edinburgh Festival Camping 2015

File 03-09-15 3 34 21 amCamping at a festival is like becoming a part of a colorful village that only exists for a few days. It’s where friendships are made and adventures begin, where everyone is ready to have a good time. The Fringe is the world’s largest art festival held in Edinburgh every year in the month of August. It goes on for good 25 days and you can choose from one of the many camping venues. This year I preferred to stay in a camp site managed by camping ninja. It was at Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston.
Photo 27-08-15 10 14 36 pmThe camping ground was clean and well maintained. I was carrying my own tent so I picked up a standard pitch close by a lake. Other camping options were also available. A separate ground for people camping in their caravans was at a walking distance from the main entrance. A mini kitchen, toilets, shower rooms, cafeteria, and a charging station was also there.

It took me just few minutes to setup my tent and I was already thinking ahead of time about what to do next. Thinking about camping has a stress relieving effect on me. Camping means staying outdoors, close to nature, which never fails to make me happy. Campers on the whole are very friendly. I take great pleasure in having random chats, and sharing some stories I have.

I think I like the feeling of being connected.

Camping festivals always seem to be their own little alternative places where saying things like “join me for a drink” or “let’s go for a walk later” are totally common. Another best thing about festival camping is that curfews are non-existent, parties last all night, and nobody is judged.

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If you’re attending the festival and want to feel the true camping spirit, stop by a retail store to grab a sleeping bag. It’s a must have. I love wriggling inside my sleeping bag, in my tent and look up at the stars; luckily this time while I was camping it was a full moon night. It just enhanced the panoramic view of the entire place.

A camping experience can be either the best few days of your life or a frustrating hassle depending on the campground’s location and weather. My advice to you all is to plan well & book in advance.

Exploring and finding joy in the natural world is something I’ll never grow out of so people who would like to join me for the next festival camping session can pre register by following the link.

http://www.campingninja.com/

Hope to see you there!

Freetown Christiania

Danes are the happiest people on earth. This also makes Denmark the happiest country in the world. Beautiful architecture, lots of water and friendly good looking people on bikes everywhere.

Located in the centre of Denmark’s capital I visited Christiania, and was surprised by what I found in this famous hippie neighborhood.

Christiania in Denmark and Amsterdam in Netherlands have only one thing in common – Marijuana.

In 1971 a former military base was converted into a free town, better known as Christiania now. As it was declared a free state citizens living in there did not follow the laws of the society that surrounded them. They had their own laws and an individual state flag. When it was first established, the government tried to shut it down but due to the public pressure was unsuccessful.

Flag of Christiania
Flag of Christiania

Visiting Christiania in itself is an experience; a block of warehouses, workshops, art galleries, inexpensive eateries, colorful paintings huts and houses. Visitors are welcome to stroll around Christiania and to eat and drink in the area’s cafés and bars but spare a minute to read their rules before you enter because they are pretty strict on people not following these.
Clicking photos is a big NO! (Although I was able to click a few)

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As you will continue exploring Christiania, you might find small stalls, each one selling different varieties of marijuana and hashish. Displayed out in the open for customers to browse were large bricks of dark and light brown colored hash. Besides that, small plastic containers filled with marijuana named grapefruit, AK47, and white widow were displayed with various stickers identifying price. Also, right next to both was giant cones of pre-rolled hash for easy consumption. (Huh, that’s a lot of ‘erb)

Walking through Christiania is not illegal and the restaurants in the area offer delicious food and a unique atmosphere. Like most tourists I enjoyed walking through the district. Just remember that if you decide to exit Christiania leave all the “herbal stuff” in the area. Taking it out is definitely not a good idea.

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Always colorful and endlessly controversial, Christiania is a unique place to visit. More than a city district, it’s a way of life.

Bacardi Gran Reserva Maestro de Ron

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Having just returned from my vacation, I feel compelled to share something about this artfully crafted new super premium rum – Bacardi Gran Reserva Maestro de Ron.

Keeping the 150 years old legacy strong, Bacardi master blenders created to be the ultimate white mixing rum for cocktail fans looking for superior character in their drinks. Gran Reserva Maestro de Ron is double-aged using white oak casks that pass on an oaky smooth taste. It is best served in cocktails like a Collins, which is comprised of sparkling water, lemon juice and sugar.

The blend is said to be inspired by a recipe passed down through generations of master blenders and uses a slow-filtering of the blended rum – aged up to three years – through a coconut shell charcoal, creating a bold super smooth rum.

The rum is also described as premium version of sipping rum expressing fruity, floral and vanilla notes with hints of walnut, oak and almond.

Gran Reserva Maestro de Ron is packaged in a bottle that features solid Georgian green glass and strong lines reflecting the essence of the brand and its heritage. The optical effect of the glass mixing with the rum enhances the clarity, smoothness and purity of the liquid, creating a powerful and distinctive impression.

As of now, Gran Reserva Maestro de Ron is exclusively available at global travel retail outlets.

Alcohol/Volume:
40%

Proof:
80°

Website:
www.bacardi.com

“ The bat had always been a symbol of good fortune, so when Dona Amalia Bacardi spotted fruit bats in the family distillery, she insisted it to be used as their symbol. Today it remains on the bottle, helping the family survive whatever fate throws at it ”

LIVE PASSIONATELY. DRINK RESPONSIBLY.

Diamond Lounge in Munich, Germany

Diamond LoungeFood has always been a major part of German culture. Even the well-known German fairy tale makes reference to food, remember?Hansel and Gretel!
German food is more varied than you might think. In fact Germany today has the most international range of food in Europe.

Millions of foreigners living here have brought their cuisine with them and have made important contributions to the overall culinary development. Practically you can find each and every cuisine in Germany: Asian to Mediterranean, Turkish to African, Thai, Chinese, Indian, Moroccan and Italian, to name a few.

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Local cultures have a passion for their own food and flavors that cannot be found anywhere else and also which makes them different. But how interesting it would be if you get to visit a relaxing place where you could get a glimpse of two cultures merging together.

While in Munich this time, I visited Diamond’s Restrobar & Lounge. Situated centrally at Orleansplatz 3, it’s just a 2 minutes walk from the Ostbahnhof. Fortunately, there are several places in Munich where you can indulge, along with a meal, coffee, or dessert but this place was somewhere different. It was more like getting both German-Turkish cultures together. The place is big enough for a large crowd, well managed and decorated combined with different genre of world music spinned by the in house DJ Cüneyt.

Diamond Lounge

Diamond Lounge is an all-day dining experience. Grab a coffee and cake in the morning, a quick bite at lunch or socialize till late in the evenings. It also brings together the warmth of Turkish hospitality and cuisine with the atmosphere of a high on life bar. Enjoy the soothing flavored vapor from a shisha as you relax with friends or grab a meal of shared dishes inspired by the cuisine of the Middle East. The restaurant has comfortable seating for up to 300 plus people and serves mostly everything ranging between breakfasts to late night snacks.

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It is a delightful experience in every sense of the term, if you are looking for an unusual place to eat out alone or in a group. Advance reservation recommended as this place is mostly packed at the weekends.

For more information or reservations:
Mr. Barbaros Tasdelen
+49 176 32976416
https://www.facebook.com/diamondskitchen

Disclaimer: Smoking shisha regularly possesses multiple health hazards similar to a cigarette; smoker’s discretion advised.

Glenburn Lodge in Johannesburg, South Africa

South Africa is home to many ethnic and racial groups, many of them migrant communities. These groups have all contributed to the rich cultural mix of the country. Johannesburg being one of the largest urbanized cities has also maintained its natural attractions and indeed has so much to offer: there are parks, gardens, wonderful restaurants, relaxed cafes, busy shopping malls, nature reserves, casinos, nightclubs, and more…

Johannesburg’s entertainment and leisure options are vast and varied and during my 6 days stay here I tried my best to see and explore but reserved just one day to relax and laze around.www.glenburnlodge.za

DSC00341Not far from Johannesburg, in little under an hour’s drive Glenburn Lodge is situated near the Zwartkops Mountains, on the banks of the Crocodile River. It not only offers guests spectacular scenery and absolute peace but also stylish accommodation, fine dining and exclusive tours and activities – all included when you book your stay.
DSC00334This was an ideal option for a carnivore like me. With its braai (barbeque) facility it was very easy for me to do steaks and other meat I bought from pick & pay. Moreover, a lovely patio overlooking the river was adding to the leisure, I enjoyed the whole day self-catering. The kitchen was equipped with a two plate stove, fridge and microwave oven. A well furnished lounge has a fireplace, ideal for winter nights.

The natural scenic beauty of Glenburn Lodge makes it an excellent place to host a romantic wedding and other celebratory occasions, or simply relax and enjoy some pampering. One can also explore this place on a guided game drive, bush walks or simply staying by the river side.
DSC00347 DSC00339Expect a very delightful welcome as the staff here is very polite and always at your service. All in all it is one of the finest places if you want to spend some relaxing moments in the lap of Mother Nature.

For more information refer to-
http://www.glenburn.co.za