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 Today I decided not to write too much text for the blog,  because I know that pictures are worth a million words!  Our yoga teacher Bronwyn Murphy , who we work on many joint ventures with, went to  Bali on our Bali explorer tour and she was more than happy to share with us her impression and splendid  photos.  As you know Our Bali tour explores the unique culture, beautiful panorama, long sandy beaches and friendly people of Bali.  On this magnificent adventure tour you have the pleasure of trekking through the rice fields, plantations growing coffee, vanilla, avocado and see how they are grown and harvested. You can taste Balinese food, the famous ‘snakeskin’, observe and participate in everyday village activities, meet Balinese people and gain a first hand experience of their culture. Now relax and Explore Bali with our photo blog and who knows, maybe one day you will be on the other side of the camera!

Day 2 – Lovina Beach Snorkeling at Sunrise and fine dining in our own Beach side restaurant.

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Day 4- Practise Yoga and meditate on the beach in Lovina or indulge in a beach massage.Bali 5 Bali 6

Day 5 – Munduk: Light trek through many plantations growing coffee, cloves & vanilla. Lake Bratan and Danu Temple that appears to be floating on the calm waters & UNESCO heritage listed rice fields. Tour of a village and learning about the farming practises. Bali rise fields Bali 7Bali 8

Day 6 – Sustainable tourism excursion at Taman Sari Buwana farm and supporting a community-based tourism project in the village of Tunjuk. Famous Tanah Lot temple & night time Balinese dancers in the village.

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Day 7 – Ubud  Visit Tampaksiring Village for its Sacred Spring water.Lunch overlooking the beautiful rice terraces of Tegalalang and a day of shopping in Ubud

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Day 8 – Ubud  Discover the charms of Ubud. Palaces, local markets, yoga and the best vegan restaurants on offer. Lunch at Indus Restaurant, one of Ubud’s top tables, with breathtaking views over the Tjampuhan river valley.


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A few days ago, I went to a birthday party. Somehow we started a conversation about the health benefits of alcoholic drinks and created a top five list. Generally, people have a radical love-hate
attitude when it comes to any kind of alcohol. Detail of inside mash tun while making whiskyInterestingly enough, whisky won the first place. As you can already guess, I was immensely curious about the whole story and started to do some ‘research’ on the subject of whisky. To my surprise, I’ve read some stunning facts about this fabulous drink. It seems that the list of health benefits of whisky are pretty long. This magic potion boosts the immune system, strengthens your heart, fights against cancer, reduces the complications of diabetes, blood clots, has a positive impact on the brain and much more. It is considered to be a very strong antioxidant. Impressive, don’t you think?

Whisky from Islay

On the other hand, what is also impressive about this drink is its rich and adventurous history. The word whisky, owes its name to the Gaelic term ‘uisge beatha’ which means water of life. This powerful water of life was first used as a medicine in the middle ages. It appears you can create a quiz from the numerous whisky facts!

Whiskey Scotland

Though this drink belongs to the whole world, Scotland is its true homeland. The best quality whisky’s are only made in Scotland. There are five types of famous Scottish whisky: Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Single Grain Scotch Whisky, Blended Malt Scotch Whisky, Blended Grain Scotch Whisky and Blended Scotch Whisky. They all have one important rule in common – their production is governed by strict laws. That’s the key of their authenticity.

There are fantastic distilleries in Scotland where you can experience the real and unique taste of whisky. Devoted whisky fans claim you can almost feel the chills down your spine as your palate senses the ultimate pleasure of this powerful and overwhelming taste. These distilleries are much more than just common places where alcohol is made. They are part of Scottish identity, they are national pride and landmarks. When you think of Scotland, you think of the beautiful Highlands, kilt, bagpipes and whisky.

On your way from Inverness to Glasgow, you can enjoy traditional distilleries, all of them big and world recognised names –  Glenmorangie, Dalmore, Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Talisker, Ben Nevis, Glengoyne are a few of the numerous distilleries in Scotland. The distilleries offer tours and  a chance to taste some of their splendid drink, fantastic scenery, and various legends as an essential part of their rich and long tradition and historical heritage. Whatever whisky trail you choose to follow, the pleasure is inevitable.

Slainte mhath!

 

 

The Scottish Highlands draw the attention of worldwide visitors because of its unique beauty, untamed nature and turbulent history. A powerful place, the Highlands has everything a visitor could want including stunning scenery, fascinating legends, tales of heroism and of course, stories of strange creatures lurking in the lochs and glens. However, the most famous of them all is the legend of the Loch Ness monster – the world famous Nessie.

Loch Ness MonsterAs we know, there are many stories about different monsters from various countries and parts of the world. But, the fact is, most of them belong in the past. The story of Nessie, however, keeps coming to the fore and over and over, this she appears and captures our imagination.

This intriguing ‘monster’ is described as being quite large in size, with a long neck and probably one or m ore humps – in fact, some say that she resembles a long extinct species of dinosaurs. More than that, there are 1082 recorded sightings with the most recent being just last year and the oldest one from 565 AD.

Wow! That’s what I thought when I read this date – 565 AD? That’s almost 1500 years ago and people are still saying that Nessie exists. In my opinion, though, there is something that rings true about this story… There’s a great site – www.lochnesssightings.com , where I’ve found plenty of interesting facts about Loch Ness monster and in my case, until I read them, these were unfamiliar facts – information that you wouldn’t associate with something that most people think is just a myth.

Hugh Gray is the first ever picture of Nessie from 1933Gary Campbell, the Registrar of Sightings at Loch Ness says ‘It’s not just Nessie that fascinates people – did you know that in Scotland alone, there are 23 other lochs (in addition to Loch Ness) where sightings of unknown creatures have been noted …’ Yes, I know that Scotland’s rich in lochs, but as for the monsters, until now I’d really heard just of the Loch Ness monster. Amazing…

It’s also fascinating that 2016 had the highest number of sightings since 2000. And, what’s more important, all of them had photographic evidence. More interestingly, the last two sightings of Nessie happened on 21 August at exactly the same time but 12 miles apart. This could be an evidence of more than one creature living in the loch. So, Nessie is not alone? Again – wow! Somehow to me this is both thrilling and scary at the same time. And more – as well as this photographic evidence, in 2016 research by a local university professor recorded unknown sounds in the mysterious loch. It appears that Nessie is much more than just a legend.

When you read about this monster on the net or any other available resources, it’s interesting that this, or more likely, these creatures, appear suddenly, show themselves, more or less, for a few seconds and then calmly disappear. They have never attacked anyone, it seems they are a bit shy, and they don’t put on a big show. In some cases, they appear when very few people were around and in others, the eyewitnesses spot them somewhere in the distance. On the other hand, some people have observed them close up while they were cruising along the loch – this could be slightly more scary if you ask me.

Urquhart CastleAmazingly then, it seems that 1500 years on from the first sighting, these interesting creatures still live on today. Maybe they admire people the same way people admire them. Who knows what they are … but only time will tell. But, when? Many Loch Ness monster fans feel the intrigue heighten every time someone reports a new sighting of the Nessie or ‘her friends’. Of course we look forward to the day when someone will solve the enigma. But until that happens, we’ll all have to just enjoy new stories and photos that appear every year about this world famous legend.

 Nowadays, yoga pops up as an answer to many problems. For example, if you are under pressure, work too much, people say – go to a yoga class. If you have problems in your relationship, job, etc. – go to yoga. If you are overweight, feel tiredness, fatigue, lack of energy, again, the perfect answer is – go to yoga. A few days ago, my neighbour, a type of ‘ SheKnowsAll’ person, told me she has been practicing yoga for some time because – she knows – yoga is good for her health. Well, that’s definitely a sign. Seriously, I’m a bit lazy when it comes to physical exercise and Meghan Trainor’s All about that bass is all about me! So, these days I’m thinking about discovering the magical power of yoga myself. You know, because it’s good for my health! Maybe I sound a bit ironic but I’m definitely not. In my opinion, responsible people should do their best to connect their mind and body and keep themselves in good shape. Mens sana in corpore sano.meditate-1851165_960_720

I was truly dazzled when I read all about the benefits of yoga. It can really change your life. There’s a wide range of reasons to start with yoga, from – it boosts your immune system and improves your general health, helps with pain relief, brings your body/mind/soul into harmony, etc. In general, it makes you feel more comfortable with your inner self and logically, this leads to better communication with the outer world and its challenges.

On the other hand, yoga should become a significant part of your life in order to enjoy the full benefits of it.

For example, if you love to travel, you can do both travel and practice yoga. There are loads of amazing yoga retreats. They offer different things but all have something in common – picture book, simple and almost intact natural surroundings, where everything serves to one idea, to bring you back to yourself and make you become stronger and more positive.

For instance, if you choose to travel to some exotic destination where you can enjoy both yoga and sea issues such as, fabulous beaches, cruising, sailing…it’s possible. You’re only one click/ phone call away from it. I read a lot about yoga retreats and if I start practicing yoga seriously, then my perfect holiday would be Kerala Backwaters mixed with yoga. Absolutely fantastic! The wonderful sea, impeccable beaches, and relaxing yoga classes…Don’t want to call it an Earth paradise – I will!South India

Current life trends take their toll so many people have problems with their weight, eating habits, lack of physical exercise and depression. Instead of taking medicines, it’s better to try yoga healing. There are tons of holidays that cover all these problems and, yes, they’re affordable. So, dig into the search, and find your perfect match. Is it yoga wellbeing, spa, detox, or yoga mixed with juice retreats? Spending less time with your friends/ family? There are wonderful family/ friendly yoga retreats where you can strengthen your family’s bonds. On the other hand, if you seek to find your peace and solitude, then you should try to reach Zen in some of the Buddhist centres where you can practice yoga and meditation in order to reach the higher level of wisdom as well as your inner peace.balance-1842292_1920

This is my personal choice. What’s yours? Choose a yoga retreat that best suits your needs, pack your mat and let yourself into the magic of yoga! I will.

Christmas has passed as well as New Year’s mania… To tell you the truth, I love all that fuss and frenzy about New Year’s Eve bash, snazzy style all around…I love when people are happy. But this doesn’t mean that the fun has to end here. No way. Why don’t we convert things this year and say – New Year has passed but the real party begins! I was eavesdropping on people’s street talk a day before New Year. pexels-photo-196667One thing was interesting…they all shared the same feeling that the previous year was hard and were highly optimistic about the upcoming one…A friend of mine always reads horoscope when a new year starts, she has also told me this year is promising. Lol!

Generally, I’m more inclined to look at the bright side of everything, so I’m fine with this  optimistic attitude. According to my opinion, New Year is a great opportunity to draw some lines, to be honest with ourselves, to re-evaluate important people and things, to make fabulous resolutions and to create good plans for future. For example, to start new things. I got loads of offers for various courses – the best courses – to make you stand out in 2017., to stay focused on your goals, major ways to deal with stress, skills that will make you super successful, etc. So, the basic idea is to work on your own initiative and seek to improve yourself. The real growth comes with hard work and sweat.

massage-therapy-1731456_1920On the other hand, if you love yourself you should make yourself happy in every possible way. Starting with small things and pleasures till reaching the big ones. In my case, travelling is that big, magic word. To travel means to explore, to expand experiences, points of view, to broaden horizons. People mostly travel for holidays. Totally wrong. The current life pace is stressful and energy-eating. Why don’t we organize travels for at least weekends? It’s affordable, it takes less effort but brings lots of joy and fun. It’s a great energy booster, makes people closer to each other, harmonizes our body and soul and, let’s face it – it’s easier to live through another hard week if you know that something relaxing is waiting for you!

In my opinion, it’s also a good idea if you travel not only for fun sake but in order to improve your health. Nowadays, people spend too much time sitting in the office, eating junk food, drinking too much coffee… Well planned weekends can save us. For instance, you can organize a trekking weekend in order to bring your body in harmony with nature, to breathe fresh air and fill up with positive energy. If we lose connection with nature, we definitely lose ourselves…

For this reason, I have promised myself to slow down my pace a bit, to have more fun and travel more as well. These are my key New Year’s resolutions. What about yours?pexels-photo-273037

When you say – Scotland, the first images that come to your mind are – fabulous nature, turbulent but passionate history, magnificent castles, a homeland of golf, kilted Highlanders and plenty of friendly people. In one word, you can explore Scotland in many different ways, from various points of view. All of them give a memorable discovery and experience of this amazing country.

If you’re a nature lover and seek to enjoy fantastic landscapes, just let the stubborn Scottish winds take you through the charms of Scottish nature… Everywhere you go, you’ll be impressed and feel nothing less than respect at the sight of the untamed, towering mountains pebbled with deep lochs and glens, moorland, beautiful coastlines and sandy beaches.

For instance, immerse into the charming Isle of Arran. Known as ‘Scotland in Miniature’, this small island is a mirror image of the wonderful Scottish scenery. It’s a great opportunity for trekkers and cyclists to try the exciting paths that twist through the dense forests. The place abounds not only in picturesque sites, Arran offers a wide range of archaeological and historical treasures. Walk around, discover the castles and prehistoric stone circles, let them tell you the stories about past times and people…

You can’t say you’ve seen the best of Scotland, if you haven’t gone to the Highlands – a perfect piece of nature. Words are simply not enough to describe the beauty of the Highlands. You must experience it by yourself. Its steadfast natural features and pleasant people will engrave into your memory for sure.

If you fancy adventures, go to the world famous Loch Ness. The place owes its fame to the mystical monster Nessie. We’ve all heard the story about Nessie, but, you never know, maybe this story is a true one. Go and check! Seriously, it’s worth seeing. You can take an exciting boat ride along the calm loch and drop by its famous neighbour, a center of many ancient legends – the monumental Urquhart Castle.

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When it comes to castles, their fairytale look enchants and draws attention of the worldwide visitors. There are 17 spectacular castles only in Aberdeenshire. You’ll be dazzled at the sight of Crathes Castle, Craigievar Castle and all the fabulous stories and legends about kings and queens you’ll have a chance to unveil there. Ever seen the film ‘Brave Heart’? Whether you’re a fan or a ‘hater’ of this film, you should visit Stirling Castle. Situated between Edinburgh and Glasgow, Stirling played a significant role in Scottish history. It is known for the fabled Battle of Stirling, where a legendary hero William Wallace( the blue eyed Mel Gibson) won a victory for Scottish independence.

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Did you know that Scotland is the birthplace of golf? This is probably the most interesting Scottish invention and is nowadays one of the world’s most popular and distinguished sports. Scotland can boast with many high ranked golf courses. Among them, St Andrews Golf Course, Castle Stuart and the Turnberry stand out as the most spellbinding and absolutely must-play golf courses. If you have a strong desire to meet some famous people, you are most likely to meet them here!

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As a devoted and passionate poetry lover, I can’t help but mention one of my favourite poets – Robert Burns. If you want to understand and grasp the true spirit and character of Scotland, you must read a few masterpieces of this country’s most famous son. It’s a great idea to follow the Robert Burns Heritage Trail to learn about his life but also explore some of the most stunning parts of Scotland.

I’ll finish in Robert Burns’ style:

Farewell to the Highlands,
Farewell to the North,
The birth-place of Valour,
The country of Worth;
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.

It’s Christmas time…and the Christmas fever season is officially opened! It’s time for the gift-wrapping madness, flashy streets, Christmas and New Year’s resolutions, loud music, ginger- cinnamon cakes, family and friends gatherings. But also, we all sum up the ups and downs, successes and failures, tears and smiles. It`s time for new promises, new ideas and the well-known optimistic approach ‘Everything will be much better’ dances in the air as one of rare snow flakes.

pexels-photo-186613pexels-photo-66990Most of us spend Christmas with family, at home. It’s sounds good since we spend less and less quality time with our family and friends because we are constantly on speed.

For this reason, I think the best possible idea is to travel somewhere – anywhere at all in order to spend quality time together with your loved ones. It feels good to do something different, changes are always welcomed and an ocean of amazing Christmas getaways awaits. Pick any of them, let yourself into the charms of Christmas fever and, as one of my favourite songs says – Everywhere you go, always take the weather with you…

There are loads of fantastic Christmas breaks. One of my favourites is surely the Christmas Market breaks. What do you get? Memories for a lifetime, traditional presents, maybe a few new friends. Overall, it’s a great opportunity to immerse into the holiday magic and spirit in other countries, explore Europe’s traditional holiday markets, or even buy a last minute gift!

If you ask my husband, skiing is the perfect recipe for an idyllic Christmas family holiday. I agree, there are fabulous ski resorts and centres settled in picturesque scenery. On the other hand, skiing is good for your health. But,…there’s always a but…I hate skiing, and all those ski freaks. I feel more comfortable in warm-weather destinations, in sunbathed hideaways, with an exotic tropical drink in one hand and a relaxing book in other. Aloha!

pexels-photo-247835And also, if your budget is low, there are tons of cheap and warm places to go for Christmas and New Year as well.

If you take a look at our Christmas travel prospects, you can spot one interesting offer – Instagenic travels. In brief, if you are both an Instagram and travel fan, there are loads of places around the world to travel and take awesome Christmas inspired selfies for your Instagram profile.

A famous quote says – ‘There’s no place like home for holidays…”. True, but, why don’t you try something different. We all need a break and Christmas time can be the very best time for a quick and relaxing vacation.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 

 Since the early childhood, everywhere you go, your family, friends and others, always tell you to be responsible, to take care. Be responsible: at school, when you go out with your friends, when you fall in love, when you start any job, get married, become a parent…A real headache! But, when you go on a trip, you just get – Have a nice time, send a postcard, etc. Nobody says – Be responsible while travelling. Interesting, don’t you think?

Luckily, things are stepping forward. Lots of individuals and travel companies are trying to influence others to think globally but act locally. What does it mean? It indicates that travelling is much more than just selfish ‘I’ve come here to enjoy myself’ attitude. It’s a  serious set of rules you should follow in order to be a responsible traveller. It includes respect towards environment, local community, cultural heritage and economic needs of the countries you travel to.

Here are some top tips, according to my humble opinion, to help you become a more responsible traveller in the future.

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First of all, if you choose to travel with a company or agency, you should check if they have a responsible tourism policy. Before starting, it’s a great idea to learn as much as possible about culture, history, religion and customs of the target country. If you show knowledge of their culture, local people would surely appreciate it and show you respect. It’s also favourable to learn a few words and basic phrases of the local language. People would enjoy your willingness and efforts and friendly smile at your funny accent. Also, learn about appropriate behaviour, clothes and even body language. For example, in India, the left hand is considered to be ‘unclean’. For this reason, you should always use your right hand to greet someone.

In order to support the local community and economy, always eat and drink in local restaurants. Also, hire local guides! It’s better to give them a chance to work than give them charity. When you buy gifts or souvenirs, buy only traditional products. This way, you support and keep traditional crafts alive. But, also, shop smartly and responsibly. Be aware of what you buy and where your money is going. Don’t give your money to restaurants, stores, markets, zoos and other institutions that deprive endangered species.

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Respect the environment of the countries you visit as your own home. Don’t throw your waste around, recycle when possible, use alternatives to plastic, use public transport – trains, bikes, in order to reduce air pollution. Use water economically, because water is a vital but often an insufficient resource in many countries.

When you come back from your trip, it’s a great idea to write to the travel company or even hotel with your feedback, remarks and suggestions about positive and negative aspects of your trip. This way they can change the bad things you’ve noticed and support the good ones. The last, and perhaps the most important tip is to contact relevant organizations in case you’ve noticed any kind of violation of human rights or biodiversity.

Being a responsible traveller takes little effort but can leave a profound trace to present and future generations. Think of it and share it!

Is it just me or everything and everyone’s on speed constantly? I’m ‘running’ all the time and still got a few kilos over. Lol. For real, people are turning into basket cases. Lack of time, money, patience, love, understanding…there’s more on the list. But, on the other hand, lots of stress, negative energy…A few days ago, I literally cut my finger, found myself in ER, in a complete state of a shock. After that, I went to my regular chat/gossip coffee with friends. One of them was angry with her boss, that pompous, pressing…The other one said her kids were driving her crazy and the husband…let’s skip this one. In brief, we all agreed  – we need a break and to run away for a while. But,… where?

In my opinion, all of us should search for the reason or better say, the cause of problems in ourselves. The point is to slow down the pace, to think about priorities. It’s easy to just run away from everything. Some research show that people choose to travel as a solution to their problems and stressful life. And also, 1 in 5 British at least once a year go on a wellness journey. And the trip motivations are pretty much the same everywhere.water-1487304_960_720

What a great idea! When you think of it more closely, wellness journeys focus on mind/body/spirit balance. They offer lots of personal and spiritual growth activities and usually include fitness, detox, yoga, meditation, healthy eating habits, trekking. And the basic concept of a wellness journey is – relax, slow down your pace, get rid of stress, bad habits in a general sense of the meaning, increase the level of self respect in order to bring your body and mind into harmony and improve relationships with other people. One of the core messages, according to my personal opinion, is to get in touch with nature, because, we are natural beings and if we lose this bond with nature, we lose ourselves. That’s why all these fabulous journeys are settled in idyllic and picture book places with stunning scenery all around you, nice and polite people, all willing to help you have a memorable time… An Earth paradise. Or, as a great Latin quote says – Carpe Diem – seize the day. There’s a wide palette of perfect wellness runaways all around the world. In Thailand, India, Bali, Spain, Cyprus and many other out of this world spots. The final choice is up to your own taste.

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There are some misconceptions that these journeys are created only for elite. Wrong. There are loads of affordable wellness breaks in UK. For instance, Fonab Castle Hotel in Scotland  is a magnificent place where you can dive into ‘beyond ordinary’ wellness experience.

Summa summarum, at the end of a wellness awakening experience, people come back home full of energy and positive perspective on life and everyday responsibilities. As if you have drunk an energetic booster, everything converts into quite different shapes, much easier to accept and deal with.

In a nutshell, it’s better to enjoy a wellness break at least once a year than become a nuts.

Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a land of rising mountains, untamed nature and dignified people. Breathtaking landscapes all around you, wild mountain air so sharp, that it hurts. Listen to the cry and shivering sounds of pipes, the rage of drums, whisper of mountains. Let them tell you the stories about the eternal and everlasting flame of freedom. Justice. Bravery. Dignity. The famous poet Robert Burns said:

‘ Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North,
The birth-place of Valour, the country of Worth.
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highland for ever I love.’

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