The Loveliest Beaches In the World to Visit

I’ve been meaning to write a post about the most beautiful beaches in the world, but then I thought……..a picture is worth a 1000 words.
SO here are thousands of words in this little shared youtube video.

Which one calls out to you?

Advertisements

Top 7 Reasons To Go Glam-Camping AKA Glamping On Your Next Vacation.

Planning your next vacation? Make certain you consider glamping as an option.

Here are 7 reasons why.

1.  Glamping locations tend to be located in the most beautiful parts of the country,  often in spots where hotels and resorts can’t go.

Imagine Waking Up To These View?

Rockwater Secret Cove Resort and Spa offers unique Tenthouse Suite accommodations on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia Canada.  Nestled in the arbutus trees, overlooking Secret Cove, each suite opens onto an endless expanse of Pacific Ocean.

2.  Return to a a simpler way of living.  You are practically one with nature, almost living outdoors, yet without giving up luxury creature comforts.

DSC_0130

River Dance Lodge On The Clearwater River

River Dance Lodge in Idaho, features luxurious glamping tents and a  range of  outdoor adventures including horseback riding, rafting, biking, fly-fishing, hiking and simply being in nature.

3. Glamping isn’t limited to traditional “out of the way” campsites.   New glamping areas feature stunning beachfront locations,  guest ranches, mountain retreats.

The Resort At Paws Up Montana

Pinnacle Camp situated on a bluff overlooking the confluence between the Blackfoot River and Elk Creek is a truly special camp that offers its guests one of the most spectacular views around.

5.  Glamping is about the experience –  it’s a way to truly experience the best of life.  The best that nature has made and the best luxuries created by man.  Glamps tend to offer you the amenities of 5 star resorts, some even including your own Glamping Concierge.

Beautifully Appointed Interiors 

Glacier Under Canvas is located in one of the most breathtaking spots in the world. 7 miles from Glacier National Park, where peaks reach to the sky, glaciers move the earth, waterfalls carve rocks, and the wildlife roam free, as they always have.

6.   Privacy and connection to the rhythm of nature.   Luxury in nature, amongst the trees,  hearing the sounds, sights and smells, that are missed when staying at a traditional resort.

Treehouses designed by Kevin Mooney and Pete Nelson. Animal Planet and The Discovery Channel filmed the building of one of the tree houses and it was shown on a show called Tree House Masters.

7.   No setting up shop.   Camping typically brings to mind tents, hard grounds, uncomfortable nights,  wet sleeping bags, chilly feelings, annoying insects,  dirt,  hauling equipment and getting a fire started.   Gone are those days. Glamping is about sleeping in a world-class bed,  in a warm and beautiful accommodation, surrounded by the healing sounds of nature.

Siwash Lake Guest Ranch

Perhaps the worlds premiere, luxury dude-ranch experience. Personal yet sophisticated, Siwash is dedicated to the most discerning travelers, adventurers and active travelers seeking freedom, and a life-enriching experience.

Things to consider when going glamping.

There is no “one size fits all” definition for glamping.   Different locations offer varying services.   Where you sleep will also vary depending on the glamp.   Some glamping resorts features canvas safari-style tents, others yurts, to teepees, trailers and tree houses.

Experiential travel comes alive at El Capitan Canyon situated minutes from Santa Barbara. Just bring you and your bags and experience the Californian Riviera at this beautiful glamping resort.

The one thing that is the same is that these offerings are designed to be comfortable and luxurious. Structures typically are very sturdy,  set atop platforms, keeping you and your guests off the ground.   Amenities vary, though often include:  high quality beds and linens,  beautiful bathroom facilities,  heaters,  down duvets,  rugs, pre-made fires,  morning coffee service and built at the best locations in the most beautiful parts of North America.

The Giant Buddha in China

Leshan-Giant-Buddha-

The Giant Buddha is the largest carved stone Buddha in the world and is located in the Mount Emeri Scenic Area of Leshan City, Sichuan Province, by three rivers, namely, Min River, Qingyi River, and Dadu River. This stone statue was built during the Tang Dynasty in 618 and ended in 907 when it was ruled under the Tang Emperors. It was during this time that it was the most powerful and prosperous country in the world.  Today Leshan City is still well known because it was one of China’s most famous period when its culture and military strengths was at its all time high.

In December of 1996, the Giant Buddha was included by UNESCO on the list of the World Heritage sites.

sideview2

The statue dates back to the year of 713, it took 90 years to build ending it in 803 even though thousands of workers had exhausted their efforts and wisdom on the project.

Paysage panoramique du mont Emei, incluant le paysage panoramique du grand Bouddha de Leshan

It measures 233 feet high, and 92 feet wide which is about the size of a basketball court.  His feet along are big enough for 100 people to sit on.

feet

Buts not all about size when you see this enormous figure, it’s the architectural beauty that stuns us.  His coiled hair is made up of 1,021 buns. Each bun has been skillfully embedded in the head. The skill is so beautifully unique that the 1,021 buns seem integral to the whole.

leshan-giant-buddha-158158

Another  architectural highlight is the drainage system as it’s structure design was made up of hidden gutters and channels, scattered on the head and arms, and behind the ears and in the clothes. The structural design helps displace rainwater and by keeping the inside dry, which plays an important part in the protection of the Buddha. The large pair of ears, each measures 23 feet long, is made of wood and is decorated by mud on the surface.  Being these were craftsmen of thousands of years ago, it could not have been so easy to fix these to the stone head to where they would fit perfectly.

Having such a long history Chinese government did begin repairing any work needed to maintain its history beauty as it does bring in tourist from all over the world.

How would you get there?

Presently there are not airports in the city. Though you can fly to Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport which is about 93 miles away from Leshan City.

If you happen to traveled to China, would you include the “Giant Buddha” in your must see list?

Nude Beaches, Free-Spirited or Therapy?

“The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea.”   –Isak Dinesen

nakedonBeach

Is baring it all considered taking a walk on your wild side?  No not always, in fact some people consider it a form of therapy as it can relieve stress and depression.  Think about it a little.  It takes you out of your everyday routine “for sure”, and gives you a chance to explore the outside world from a different view especially when you’re not in your everyday attire.  Theres scientific evidence that the salty sea air has many health benefits especially those that suffer with seasonal allergies.  Whatever the case may be it surely gets you out of what ever funk you might be in.  But would you? Could you? ….and where would you?  How about for Therapy?
Don’t most of us all enjoy and love the wonders of the sea? Is it because it has some potent power to make us think things we’d like to think about.  Does the waves enable us to reflect on deeper issues that allow us to see clearly or is it just plain fun and thats what makes it all worth wild.  In any case the beach is a good place to be and if you dare to bare it then heres a few places you might want to consider.

Baker Beach, Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California, USA.

Bakers Beach right outside where the little cable cars climb halfway to the stars right outside of San Francisco.
If you’re out there early in the morning the fog may chill the air, but you won’t care because its San Francisco.  Views of the Golden Gate included.  What else could anyone want?  Except maybe a great body so the view isn’t only one sided. 😉

8rios

Ochos Rios beach in Jamaica has 635 miles of coastline with warm, crystalline waters; rugged black-sand shores and tranquil waters with sugary coves perfect for little swimmers.  Sounds more like a delicious fat-free recipe. Maybe good enough to take the plunge.
This place just might want to touch you rather fancy while exploring it.
After all it’s not far from where Stella got her grove back.

PlaloaVillage

On the east end of Crete’s Plakias Beach is a favorite for nude beach-goers though if your not ready to let it all hang out, then this beach might not be for the shy.  However since it is pretty popular there are showers all along the beach and many parking spaces. Don’t forget the boom-box and sunscreen.

red-beach

The striking red sands of Red Beach in Santorini, Greece, welcomes those with a free-spirit.  The  volcanic island, Santorini is known for the red sand and its  horseshoe-shape with steep slope.  On the other side you’ll see a gentle downward slope to the sea, giving it the natural beauty look. Add yourself to the picture and it just might be a master piece of delight.

wreck

Vancouver, British Columbia, is home to Wreck Beach, and is considered to be one of the world’s busiest beaches where clothes are optional.  The reason it’s so popular is because its right next to the British Columbia University campus and it’s quite typical to see close to 14,000 visitors flock for the right to bare arms, legs, and anything else that feels good.
I bet you don’t see to many students with books out there.

taulm

If you’re searching for an all-inclusive nudist resort then look to the southern tip of the Riviera Maya.  Tulum Beach in Mexico would be the place to be.  This beach has limestone sands and crystal blue waters. The name Tulum comes form the word wall, and its beach ruins will have you looking up in wonder at the ancient pyramid-shamed Mayan ruins.   If the beach isn’t enough to keep you interested then the surrounding walls that are over 1,000-year-old sure will. That history lesson alone is something to marvel at. How did they build that place anyway?

cap_d_agde

The nudist resort at Cap d’Agde, France, welcomes folks willing to bare it all.  The beach is sandy and beautiful and some ares very clean.  Though these waters can be very cold even during the month of June. However, it’s a great beach for the kids as there is very shallow waters for miles and lifeguards are often seen which makes it excellent for families. The far left side of the beach attracts a large number of gay sunbathers and the central part tends to attract a more youthful crowd which makes that side of the beach a little livelier.

australof-7

Samurai Beach, in Queensland, Australia is a perfect escape, for nature lovers and naturists.

Queensland

I can go on and on when it comes to this beach but no need to as these two picture alone speaks a 1000 words.  I mean….really?   It doesn’t get much better then that!

black

Black’s Beach, a secluded beach in San Diego beneath the bluffs of Torrey Pines is the largest nude beach in the US.  Its quiet and lovely though you won’t see any  lifeguards and its the regulars that take care of the area and clean up in order to ensure its natural beauty.  Theres easy trails to get to the beach from the parking area and everyone keeps to themselves unless you ask for help.
Nature took a hold of its beauty as the view is amazing no matter where you’re standing.  Watching the cliffs, the hang gliders, all make the experience worth wild and special.
And if your suit doesn’t fit just right then toss it.

A few unspoken etiquette rules you should know before you visit a nudist beach.  It can keep you out of trouble.   

resort

Hey…just because my shell is bigger then most doesn’t mean you have rights to my pearl.

  • Clothing is optional when visiting a resort as it was designed for people to shed their clothes and it’s what they want to do there. But staring is never an appropriate thing to do.
  • No taking photos or videos of other people or you just might be looking down at the sand. Most resorts are strictly against it and if your are caught doing this, expect staring down at the sand before you could say “holy-Sh!# Batman, why did you do that?”
  • You may take a picture of yourselves and even with your partners or group of friends if your party is at ease and willing.
  • Depending where you stay there are several laws banning any sort of lewd or crude behavior so be aware of them.
  • If is expected that you place a towel or something similar to it when siting down at a seat or in a bar or restaurant. This is for hygiene and is another one of those unspoken rule that everyone always follows.
  • Like anywhere else respect others and their privacy.
  • Remember that others are here to relax just like you so don’t worry so much about what everyone is doing. If it’s you’re first time no one knows but you and possibly your partner.  If you need a few hours to gather your bravo side then do it its all good.

Do you have what it takes to Step Into the Void?

2342423432

Employees at “Step into the Void” 

On the top terrace of the Aiguille du Midi mountain peak, high up in the French Alps,  overlooking Chamonix, stands a five-sided glass structure named “Step into the Void.”  Inspired by the Grand Canyon’s glass-skywalk, the Chamonix glass room takes things to an entirely new level – the Void!.  Rather than looking over a railing, here guests stand 3,396 feet in a completely glass box,  hanging over the valley below.

23242432

During Construction of “Step into the Void.”
Photography Compagnie du Mont-Blanc Chamonix

“Step into the Void” is made of three glass walls, a glass floor and glass ceiling panels,  offering spectators the opportunity to manage, their vertigo and experience “space,”  all while admiring the outrageous views from a rather dramatic perspective.

234324

Chamonix ‘Step into the Void’ – architect’s design. Credit Compagnie du Mont-Blanc Chamonix

Safety is clearly of utmost importance.  Each of the glass panels is custom built,  12mm thick, and consist of three layers of glass that have been bound together. According to creators, the structure can withstand winds of more than 220km/ h and a maximum temperature of 60° so a few humans hanging in the room aren’t too much stress on the structure.

234242

Credit Compagnie du Mont-Blanc Chamonix

Designed by Pierre-Yves Chays,  “Step into the Void”  is reached by The Aiguille du Midi cable car. The summit of Aiguille du Midi is the closest point you get to Mont-Blanc without climbing it.   The  Aiguille du Midi is the starting point for the ascent of Mont-Blanc to the Three-Mont-Blanc Route and many other sports such as off piste skiing in the winter season, or hiking, and paragliding in the summer and autumn seasons.

Brave enough to “Step into the Void”?  Visit Compagnie du Mont Blanc and make your plans to visit Chamonix, France.

Elegant African Manor Where Guests Include Stars & the Rothschild Giraffe

1Photograph thanks to Giraffe Manor

If you have ever wanted to experience Africa then Giraffe Manor, near Nairobi, Kenya, belongs on your “bucket list.”

An elegant and graceful home, turned boutique accommodations, Giraffe Manor cares four its four-legged guests as much as human travelers that stay at this magnificent place.

2

Photograph thanks to Giraffe Manor

Giraffe Manor,  one of Nairobi’s most iconic historical buildings, was constructed in 1932 by Sir David Duncan and is reminiscent of the early days when Europeans ventured into East Africa.  In 1974 the Manor was purchased by Betty Leslie-Melville and her husband Jock.   Shortly after the purchase Leslie-Melvilles learned that the only remaining Rothschild giraffes in Kenya were in danger due to a compulsory purchase by the Kenyan government of an 18,000-acre privately owned ranch at Soy, near Eldoret, which was their sole habitat.

3

Photograph thanks to Giraffe Manor

The Manor was already home to three wild bull giraffes, nicknamed Tom, Dick and Harry,  Leslie-Melvilles decided to re-home one of the giraffes, an 8-foot-tall,  450-pound baby whom they named Daisy, and about whom Betty subsequently wrote the book “Raising Daisy Rothschild”, that was later turned into the move The Last Giraffe.

4

Photograph thanks to Giraffe Manor

Daisy was soon joined by another baby giraffe, Marlon, named after Marlon Brando, and since then the Manor, in conjunction with locations such as Woburn Safari Park in Bedfordshire, England, has run a breeding program to reintroduce the Rothschild giraffe into the wild to expand the gene pool.

5

Photograph thanks to Giraffe Manor

Fortunately for travelers wanting to experience the “real” Africa, it was in 1983 that Rick Anderson, Betty’s sonand his wife Bryony, moved into the Manor, and opened Giraffe Manor, a place where guests could feed the giraffes from their breakfast table, through the front door, and out of their bedroom window. The Manor has six bedrooms, one of which is furnished with the belongings of Karen Blixen, author of novel and 1985 movie “Out of Africa.”  All profits from the hotel go to furthering the charitable objectives of African Fund for Endangered Wildlife.

6

Photograph thanks to Giraffe Manor

The Manor has been home to other famed guests, aside from the Rothschild Giraffes, including  Mick Jagger, Walter Cronkite  Johnny Carson, Brooke Shields and Richard Chamberlain, as well as being the host to Richard Branson, Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman on the launch of Virgin Atlantic’s London–Nairobi service in 2007. 

7

Photograph thanks to Giraffe Manor

The buildings here resonate of the past,  yet while here you will be much in the now, when the herd of  Rothschild giraffe come by the mornings and evenings,  to mingle with guests before venturing back into the 140 acre sanctuary.

8

Photograph thanks to Giraffe Manor

Giraffe Manor offers guests many ways to interact with these magnificent animals – from comfortably relaxing in the the Manor’s sitting room while gazing out its large windows at the herd, to siting outside in the lawns, where you’ll have the opportunity to hand feed these friendly four-legged guests.

2342432

Photograph thanks to Giraffe Manor

Ready for that once-in-a-lifetime adventure?   Connect with Giraffe Manor on the web at:

Website : Facebook

Go Ski & Be Happy

1

Photograph by  joedesperado ©2012-2013

“Planning a skiing vacation? The sheer pleasure and excitement that humans experience on skis, a snowboard or other downhill mountain paraphernalia,  undoubtedly enhances one’s happiness, producing more serotonin than perhaps any pill can.    This is based on personal experience, hitting the slopes with buddies.  Funny, how science often proves, what we know to be true, as really true.

It’s official.  Plan your ski vacation now and, barring any unforeseen circumstance, you’ll increase your happiness levels, according to an article published  in Springer’s Journal called “Applied Research in Quality of Life” by Hyun-Woo Lee and colleagues from Yonsei University in the Republic of Korea.

According to the release dropped this week   “… even one-off skiing trips can give you a valuable boost in pleasure and well-being.”  So there’s no reason to delay your ski-vacation,  even it’s the only one you are planning this wintery season.

How wonderful is life when science and skiing cross paths and participants get an all-inclusive, paid snowboarding vacation,  in resorts in the French Alps,  Switzerland’s St. Moritz,  Zermatt or Davos,  Colorado’s  Aspen,  Vail, or   Copper Mountains, or perhaps Mt Baker, Washington …… ok… that’s not in the study, though,  can’t we dream of the places that “science meets pleasure. ”   Where we get to go on vacation to prove something that we already know.   The bottom line is clear.  If you want your family to love you and feel that real holiday spirit, then plan your ski vacation now.

A slightly more interesting perspective, or prospective ski study, would be to figure out the difference between what your mood level is from the time you get to the ski-lift,  reach the top of the mountain,  select the black diamond, or not,  and make your way down the slope to the bottom.

Perhaps all you need is your Jawbone or some other monitoring device to do this.   There seems to be no need for MRI’s or fancy scientific equipment.  Perhaps just a simple questionnaire or voice activated recording,  with geo-location capabilities, of course,  that triggers you with a complex question, such as “how are you feeling right this moment.”  Say or press  “1” for ecstasy  “2”  excited  “3”  fearful  “4”  happy  …..  You get the idea.

Any info. on how to apply for a scientific grant to do this study?  I’m in the mood to ski.   What about you?   Think about it.   Each run is always different.   Perhaps we can study ski resorts around the world,  run by run,  resort by resort,  and then do an overall comparison of where people experience the most happiness on each mountain. More specifically we can propose to identify exactly where on each slope we felt the happiest.   Was it in Copper, while in one of the bowls, or in Vail as we finished one of the long, wide runs of Riva Ridge, Born Free, Simba,Lodgepole, or Bear Tree? You got the picture.

One thing is certain,  as long as you make it down the run,  you always arrive at the base a lot happier than you were when your first got into the line to go up the mountain.   It’s after the run that eyes are sparkling,  smiles are bigger,  and there is an overall sense of feeling really good.   And isn’t that what vacations are about anyway?

So how many runs would it take to turn that frown into a smile?   Perhaps just visualizing the run could do it as you avoid any possible frost bite,  standing in line,  strained muscles,  and freak accidents.

Nah, that’s not living.    To live,  as an adult, and be truly happy and fulfilled requires us to turn to a more child like state. “Adult playfulness can influence people’s happiness, while activities and socially convening around a sporting activity such as skiing have positive psychological outcomes and contribute to overall well-being,” said Hyun-Woo Lee.   Just writing this article and thinking about skiing has put me in a better mood.

Now what if we studied the impact of who you went skiing with on your happiness level.  I mean, would it make a difference whether you took the run with a lover,  your spouse,  your entire family, or a group of friends.

Happy Trails! Oh, and Holidays from VacationDiggs!