Since my aspiration in life is to become a mermaid, it shouldn’t be a surprise that one of my favourite animals is the manatee. With a loving but unglamorous nickname of ‘sea cow’, these creatures might not always get the most press, but they are delightful, friendly and funny (scroll down to see the classic manatee squash video). While others may have had teenage dreams of swimming with dolphins, I’ve always wanted to swim with manatees, and on my third trip to Florida I was finally able to tick it off my bucket list.
New Orleans is one of the most culturally rich cities in the United States, littered with historic buildings and surprises around every corner. Chain stores and fast food have been shunned for Royal Street art boutiques and homestyle restaurants brimming with local seafood. While there’s no denying that there’s tourists crowding the streets, nearly everyone you talk to is a local eager to reveal their own favourite spot for gumbo or beer; you may have been to San Francisco or Boston, but New Orleans is unlike anyone else in the USA and worth a visit in it’s own right.
For most of us the chance to get away is a luxury in short supply. Annual leave is strategically used to best optimise your time – hours are spent scouring the internet for the right destination, flights and hotel, and pennies saved away each paycheck just to cover the train ticket to the airport. Travel is my passion, and I’m lucky enough to do it frequently and blog about it here – but I also have a full-time, demanding career which pays for my (relatively) expensive hobby. So for me, like many, the planning stages of a trip are the most important parts – hours spent calculating how many trips are possible this year, looking for deals daily, and getting inspiration and envy from Instagram – but the most difficult part is often making that final decision of where to go. Planning is the make or break of a stress free trip.
1. It’s Insanely Photogenic
The streets lined with tiled cafes and ornate churches are pretty enough, but hit the Riberia and you’ll get mesmerised by the Duoro and the scene stealing Bridge. You’ll want to capture every panorama, then start it all again once the light changes or you walk along a few feet.
One of the most unusual experiences when visiting Cuba’s the lack of advertising – it’s something you don’t consciously think about at home, but once you hit the sun soaked streets it’s noticeably absent. There are no flyers on lampposts, or even jingles over the radio in taxis. Instead, the only disruption you may see to the authentic Cuban vistas are messages from the government, often in the form of propaganda murals. It’s safe to say Cuba has more Che Guevara stencils than all the bedrooms of teenage boys combined. In this post I’ve included some examples of these public propaganda symbols from my travels through the country.