Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Switzerland

Switzerland Flag



Why visit Switzerland?
Offers something for everyone art, balloon rides, canoeing, churches, climbing, cobblestone streets, culture, cycling, fishing, galleries, gliding, health spas, hiking, horseback riding, lakes, medieval architecture, mountain chalets, museums, quaint villages, rafting, sailing, scenery, shopping, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoe trekking, tobogganing, tennis, and water sports.


Photo Credit: allPhoto Bangkok/Pixabay 


At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Appenzell dog collar, antiques, army knives, cheese, chocolates, cowbells, clocks, crystal, embroidered goods, fondue sets, herbs, lace, leather goods. liquors, music boxes, pottery, raclette maker, shoes, ski equipment, stainless steel cultery, watches, and wood carvings.
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Basler Läckerli (biscuit). Bündner Nusstorte (nut cake). Capuns (meat dish). Carac (tart). Landjäger (dry sausage). Malakoff (fried cheese balls). Fondues. Maluns (potatoes). Rösti (potato dish). Tirggel (Christmas biscuit). Zopf (bread). Zürcher Geschnetzeltes (veal dish). 
  • Local Drink to Try: Absinthe (distilled). Damassine (liqueur). Jean-Francois Neyroud-Fonjallaz (wine). Merlot del Malcantone Montagna Magica (merlot). Ovomaltine (chocolate milk). Riesling Sylvaner (wine). Rivella (soft drink). Raissennaz Grand Cru  (pinot noir). Sassi Grossi (merlot).

Bern, Switzerland. Photo Credit: GPhotography/Pixabay 


Fun Facts
  • Vineyards have been cultivated since the Roman era
  • Since the 18th Century (1701 - 1800) has been making chocolate.
  • European Headquarters for the United Nations (UN).
  • Oldest Democratic confederation in the world.
  • Has over 1500 lakes.
  • Hosted (St Moritz) the 2nd Winter Olympic Games (1928).
  • Birthplace (St Moritz) of bobsleighing.
  • Headquarters (Bern) for Ovaltine (locally Ovomaltine).
  • Ranks as one of the least corrupt countries in the world.
  • Alps and the Jura mountains are popular for skiing and snowboarding.
  • Engadine Village of Poschiavo and Jura Village of St Cergue are known for snowshoe trekking.
  • Residents are required to buy private health insurance.
  • Birthplace (Basel) of Roger Federer, Former Professional Tennis Player who won 20 Grand Slam Tournaments.
  • Home to 8 of the world's ten best hotel schools.
  • Tobogganing tracks on the Albula Pass Road from Preda to Bergun or Darlux to Bergun.
  • Approximately 1000 museums throughout the country.
  • Berner Oberland, Graubunden, Jura, and Ticino are best for horseback riding.
  • Monte Rosa is the highest (15,203 ft).
  • Has the densest rail network in Europe.
  • Basel, Geneva, and Zürich ranks highly in cost of living and quality of life.

Montreux, Switzerland. Photo Credit: Christel/Pixabay 


Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (January) International Balloon Festival, Neujahrsmarathon Zürich, Ski World Cup Wengen, Vogel Gryff Festival, (February) White Turf St Moritz, (March) Basler Fasnacht, Baselworld Watch & Jewelry Show, Engadine Ski Marathon, Geneva Motor Show, Luzern’s Fasnacht, Shapes Festival Leysin, Zürich Marathon, (April) Caprices Festival, Festichoc, Sechseläuten, (June) Art Basel, Greenfield Festival, William Tell Festival, Zermatt Unplugged, (June) Ironman Zurich, (July) Fête de la Cité, Gurtenfestival, Montreux International Jazz Festival, Openair Frauenfeld Festival, Paléo Festival De Nyon, Shankra Festival, Züri Fäscht, (August) Fêtes de Genève, Locarno Film Festival, Lucerne Festival, Openair Gampel, Zurich Street Parade, (September) Cow Processions, Knabenschiessen, Omega European Masters, Weltklasse Zürich, (October) Aelplerchilbi, Autumn Festival, Chestnut Festivals, Lucerne Cheese Festival, (November) Zibelemärit, (December) Christmas Festivities & Market, and L'Escalade.
  • Holidays: New Year's Day, Berchtold Day, Epiphany, Republic Day, Saint Joseph's Day, Näfelser Fahrt, Good Friday, Easter Monday, May Day, Ascension Day, Pentecost Monday, Corpus Christi, Jura Independence Day, Swiss National Day, Assumption of Mary, Jeune Genevois, Federal Fast Monday, Mauritius Day, St Nicholas of Flüe, All Saints' Day, Immaculate Conception, Christmas Day, St Stephen's Day, and Restoration Day.

Zurich, Switzerland. Photo Credit: Christel/Pixabay 


Good to Know
  • Has 4 national languages: French, German, Italian, and Romansh.
  • Not for the budget conscious traveler. 
  • Considered one of the most expensive countries in Europe.
  • Bicycles are permitted on the trains.
  • Drivers require a toll sticker (vignette) affixed to the vehicle's windshield for motorways.. 
  • Bikers, pedestrians, and trams have the right away.
  • Bicycle rentals are available at train stations.
  • High altitude may result in altitude sickness: fatigue, headache, nausea, and shortness of breath.
  • Minimum age to operate a motor vehicle is 18.
  • Avoid wearing flashy jewelry.
  • Alpine wildflowers are peaked between June - July.
  • Avoid shouting in public.
  • Maximum blood alcohol level is 0.05%.
  • Alpine hazards include: avalanches, falling rocks, flooding, glacial crevasses, landslides, snowdrifts, sudden weather changes, and sun exposure.
  • Roundabouts are very common.
  • Popular cheeses are:  AppenzellerEmmentalGruyère, and Vacherin. 
  • Talking or texting while driving is not permitted.
  • Vehicles require headlights on at all times.
  • Climbers should purchase Travel Insurance to include mountain search and rescue coverage due to costs.
  • Between April - May non-lake mountain resorts tend to be quiet.
  • Sweater and jacket required year round.
  • Turning right on red is illegal.
  • Many vendors only accept chip and PIN cards.
  • Alps can get snow year round.
  • Wines are produced in Geneva, Ticino, Valais, and Vaud.
  • Avoid wearing sneakers mountain hiking.
  • Most banks do not accept U.S. citizens as Clients.
  • Travelers arriving at Geneva or Zurich airports within the country's final destination, may have their baggage forwarded there directly by an accelerated service.
  • Tick Borne Encephalitis (TBE) is common. 
  • Sidewalks tend to be narrow and uneven.
  • Swiss Pass offers unlimited lake boats and train use.
  • Bus, train, or tram tickets must be validated prior to boarding.

Photo Credit: Julita/Pixabay 


This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport with six months of validity upon return and one blank page for entry stamp.
  • Tourist VISA not required for visits under 90 days.
  • Currency Restrictions for Entry/Exit: 10,000CHF.
Lake Geneva, Switzerland. Photo Credit: Christel/Pixabay 

  • Best Time to Visit: April - October
  • Coldest Months: December - February
  • Hottest Months: June - August
  • Peak Season: June - August & December - February

Basel, Switzerland. Photo Credit: Birgit Böllinger/Pixabay 


Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Abbey of Saint Gall, Aletsch Glacier, Bellinzona, Bern. Bietschhorn, Convent of St John Müstair, and Jungfrau.

Oberhofen Castle, Thunersee, Switzerland. Photo Credit: Enrique/Pixabay 


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Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Sweden



 
Sweden Flag



Why visit Sweden?
Ideal for the outdoorsy and sophisticated cultural traveler seeking experiences to enjoy art, architecture, beaches, bicycling, camping, canoeing, castles, culture, festivals, fishing, forests, gardens, golf, hiking, history, ice fishing, ice skating, islands, lakes, manors, mountain biking trails, mountains, museums, national parks, northern lights, quaint villages, sailing, saunas, scenery, shopping, skiing,  sleigh rides, snowboarding, snowmobiling, tennis, valleys, wilderness, and winter sports.



Stockholm, Sweden. Photo Credit: brightfreak/Pixabay 



At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Amber, coins, crystal, furniture, glass, glassworks, gold jewelry, knitted sweaters, rya rugs, silver jewelry, stamps, stainless steel cutlery, woodwork, and wool goods.
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Ärtsoppa (pea soup).Gravlax (cured salmon). Gubbröra (anchovy salad). Kalops (stew). Kanelbulle (cinnamon bun).  Knäckebröd (crisp bread). Korv Stroganoff. Köttbullar (meatballs).
    Pitepalt (potato dumplings). Prinsesstårta (cake). Pyttipanna (hash). Smörgåstårta (sandwich). Wallenbergare (traditional).
  • Local Drink to Try: Akvavit (spirit). Filmjölk (yogurt). Glögg (wine). Gotlandsdricka (beer). Julmust (soft drink). Pucko (chocolate milk). Punsch (liqueur). Saft (soft drink). Söderblandning (tea). Snaps (vodka).


Drottningholm Palace, Drottningholm, Sweden. Photo Credit: Erich Westendarp/Pixabay 



Fun Facts
  • Relied on U.S. nuclear submarines during the Cold War (1947 - 1991).
  • Hosted the Equestrian at the Summer Olympics (1956), FIFA World Cup (1958), FIFA Women's World Cup (1995)Summer Olympics (1912)UEFA Euro (1992), UEFA Women's Euro (2013), and World Championships in Athletics (1995).
  • Home of  Vikings and Volvos.
  • At Lake Gryttjen (Gävleborg County) are mysterious sightings thought to be of a sea cow.
  • Largest Nordic country.
  • "Die Another Day", a James Bond film is based on the real structure (Icehotel) in Jukkasjarvi.
  • Norway and Sweden pedestrian bridge was designed by Leonardo da Vinci.
  • Gota Canal is between Gothenburg and Stockholm.
  • Fifth largest European country.
  • Largest city is Stockholm (capital).
  • After 200 years, broke Switzerland's record for peace.
  • Largest country in Northern Europe.
  • Highest point is Kebnekaise (6,926 ft).
  • Longest river is Klarälven-Göta älv.
  • Maintains their own currency, the Swedish Krona (SEK).
  • Every Swedish resident receives a state pension. 
  • Considered one of the oldest populations in the world.
  • English is taught between grades 1 - 9.
  • Ericsson Globe (Stockholm) is the largest hemispherical building in the world.


Photo Credit:  Janina Bienkowski/Pixabay 



Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (January) Gothenburg Film Festival, Kiruna Snow Festival, (February) Stockholm Design Week, (April) GothCon, Uppsala River Rafting Event, International Science Festival, Walpurgis Night, Walpurgisnacht Festival, (May) Drottningholm Court Theater, Stockholm Japan Expo, (June) Gothenburg Aero Show, Hultsfred Festival, Midsummer, Peace & Love Festival, Stockholm Early Music Festival, Summerburst Festival, (July) Around Gotland Race, Arvika Festival, Gay Pride, Rattviksdansen, Stockholm Jazz Festival, (August) Kulturkalaset, Malmo Festival, Medieval Week, Minnesota Day, Stockholm Folk Festival, Uppsala Reggae Festival, World Water Week in Stockholm, (September) Göteborg International Book Fair, Kivik Apple Market Festival, Lund International Fantastic Film Festival, (October) Intrum Stockholm Open, Stockholm Jazz Festival, (November) Stockholm International Film Festival, (December) Lucia the Festival of Lights, Musikhjälpen, and Nobel Day.
  • Holidays: New Year's Day, Epiphany, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, May 1st, Ascension Day, Whit Sunday, National Day, Midsummer Day, All Saints' Day, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day.

Mellerud, Sweden. Photo Credit: Lena Lindell/Pixabay 



Good to Know
  • Not recommended for budget conscious travelers.
  • Ride a train north from Stockholm to Lapland to be transformed from the city to untamed beauty of Arctic wilderness.
  • Has 4 distinct seasons and mild temperatures throughout the year.
  • Northern region is known for its midnight sun.
  • Viking artifacts are scarce.
  • Most popular museums are Gothenburg's Universeum (Gothenburg), Museum of World Culture (Gothenburg), and Vasa Museum (Stockholm).
  • Sailing is most popular in Gothenburg along the coast north of Gothenburg.
  • Are Bike Park (Areskutan) is popular.
  • Ostersund is known for its winter activities.
  • Topless bathing is permitted.
  • Vehicles are required to drive with headlights on.
  • Most beautiful beaches are Bohuslan, Gotland, Havang, Laholm, Oland Island, Sandhamn, Tylosand, Uto, and Varberg.
  • Snow tires are required from December 1 - March 31.
  • Drivers must be at least 18 years old.
  • Parking is expensive.
  • Popular bike trails include around Lake Siljan (Siljansleden), around the lakes of Malaren and Hjalmaren (Malarsleden), from Helsingborg to Karesuando (Lapland), and Stockholm to Nynashamm (Nynasleden).
  • January, March and April are considered the best times to ski in the northern region.
  • Taxis are expensive.
  • In small towns, stores tend to close by 2PM on Saturdays.
  • Locals tend to speak at a lower volume level compared to us.
  • Fishing License required for lakes and rivers.
  • Daily ferries from Stockholm also run between Helsinki and Turku, Finland; Tallin, Estonia; and Riga, Latvia.
  • Oresund Bridge links Malmo, Sweden, with Copenhagen, Denmark.


Stockholm, Sweden. Photo Credit: Lena Lindell/Pixabay 



This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport with three months of validity and space for entry/exit stamp.
  • Tourist VISA not required.
  • Currency Restrictions for Entry/Exit: 10,000EUR.


Photo Credit: JaakL/Pixabay 


  • Best Time to Visit:  May - September
  • Coldest Months: November - March
  • Hottest Months: June - September
  • Peak Season: July - August


Bohuslän, Sweden. Photo Credit: Klaus Reiser/Pixabay 



Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Birka Viking Museum, Decorated Farmhouses of Hälsingland, Drottningholm Palace, Engelsberg Ironworks, Falun, Gammelstad Church Town, Grimeton Radio Station, High Coast, Hovgården, Karlskrona, Kvarken, Laponian Area, Öland, Royal Domain of Drottningholm, Skogskyrkogården, Suomenlinna, Tanumshede, The Chinese Pavilion, The Struve Geodetic Arc, and Visby.


Vittskövle Castle, Scania, Sweden. Photo Credit: David Mark/Pixabay 


Why visit Sweden?
Ideal for the outdoorsy and sophisticated cultural traveler seeking experiences to enjoy art, architecture, beaches, bicycling, camping, canoeing, castles, culture, festivals, fishing, forests, gardens, golf, hiking, history, ice fishing, ice skating, islands, lakes, manors, mountain biking trails, mountains, museums, national parks, northern lights, quaint villages, sailing, saunas, scenery, shopping, skiing,  sleigh rides, snowboarding, snowmobiling, tennis, valleys, wilderness, and winter sports.
Why visit Sweden?
Ideal for the outdoorsy and sophisticated cultural traveler seeking experiences to enjoy art, architecture, beaches, bicycling, camping, canoeing, castles, culture, festivals, fishing, forests, gardens, golf, hiking, history, ice fishing, ice skating, islands, lakes, manors, mountain biking trails, mountains, museums, national parks, northern lights, quaint villages, sailing, saunas, scenery, shopping, skiing,  sleigh rides, snowboarding, snowmobiling, tennis, valleys, wilderness, and winter sports.

Ready to embark on custom and personalized services, your journey begins with Louvet Travel

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                                        All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice.  

Monday, December 19, 2022

Suriname

Suriname Flag



Why visit Suriname?
Ideal for the outdoorsy experienced traveler seeking to enjoy birdwatching, botanical gardens, culture, diversity, ecotourism, fishing, guest ranches, hiking, horseback riding, jungle adventures, lakes, markets, national parks, rainforests, religious festivals, small game hunting, and wildlife.


At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Batiks, handwoven baskets, varnished piranhas, necklaces, sarongs, and wood carvings.
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Bakabana (fritter). Bojo (cake). Javaanse Bami (noodles). Kapsalon (salad). Kip Saté (appetizer). Moksi Alesi (chicken dish). Nasi Goreng (fried rice). Pinda (peanut soup). Pom (chicken dish). Saoto (soup).  
  • Local Drink to Try: Gemberbier (soft drink). Orgeades (soft drink). Parbo (beer).

Fun Facts
  • Smallest sovereign state in South America.
  • Largest city is Paramaribo.
  • One of the least densely populated countries in the world.
  • Julianatop (Sipaliwini District) is the highest mountain.
  • Celebrate unique holidays: Indian, Javanese and Chinese arrival days.
  • On New Year's Eve, firecrackers (pagaras) with long ribbons are detonated at midnight.
  • One of only 2 countries on the mainland of South America that drive on the left.
  • Only 6 small airports are paved out of 55.
  • Brokopondo Reservoir os one of the largest man-made lakes in the world.
  • Education is mandatory until the age of 12.
  • Jules Wijdenbosch Bridge connects Paramaribo with Commewijne.

Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (February) Brazilian Carnival. (April) International Film Festival, (May) Avond Vierdaagse, (June) Fete de la Musique, (July) Staatsolie Swim Marathon, (August) Surinamese Chess Championship, (October) National Art Exhibition, Suriname Jazz Festival, (November) Srefidensi Marathon, Suriname Savanna Rally, (December) Pagara Estafette, and Surinamese Footballer of the Year.
  • Holidays: New Year's Day, Three Kings Day, World Religion Day, Chinese New Year, Holi, Good Friday, Easter, Labour Day, Ascension Day, Indian Arrival Day, Keti KotiJavanese Arrival Day, Indigenous People's Day, Day of the Maroons, Chinese Arrival Day, Diwali,  Independence Day, Christmas, Boxing Day, and Eid-ul-Adha.

Good to Know
  • Sanitary conditions are below western standards.
  • Not ideal for beach goers. Instead consider Aruba, Dutch Antilles or St Maarten.
  • Catamaran and Hobie Cat sailing off the coast near Paramaribo.
  • Golf and tennis are available in Paramaribo.
  • Avoid photographing bridges, ferries, government buildings, and military.
  • Keep receipts for Customs upon departure.
  • Internal flights are unreliable.
  • Crime is an issue.
  • Avoid traveling alone.
  • Outside of Paramaribo police presence is limited.
  • Very hot and wet tropical climate.
  • Avoid evening explorations.
  • Rainy Season is from April - August and November - February. 
  • Central Suriname Nature Reserve is their largest and most popular reserve.
  • Drive with your windows closed and doors locked.
  • Dry Seasons is from February - April and August - November.
  • Tourism industry is unevenly regulated.
  • Credit cards are not widely accepted.
  • Exchange currency at banks, hotels, and official exchange houses only.
  • Outside of major cities cell phone reception is unreliable.
  • Prevalent Diseases: Dengue and Malaria.
  • Has no emergency call boxes, lights, or service stations along roads.
  • Seat belts are mandatory.
  • Cell phone use while driving is illegal.
  • International Driver’s License is required.
  • Roads are poorly maintained.
  • Avoid motorcycles, public minibuses, or scooters.

This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport with six months of validity upon return and one blank page for entry stamp.
  • Tourist VISA required.
  • Yellow Fever Vaccination required. 
  • Currency Restrictions for Entry/Exit: $10,000USD.

Subject to high temperatures and humidity.

  • Best Time to Visit: February - April & August - November
  • Coolest Month: January & February
  • Hottest Months: September & October
  • Peak Season: July - August, October & December

Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Central Suriname Nature Reserve and Paramaribo.

Ready to embark on custom and 
personalized services, your journey begins with Louvet Travel

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                                        All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice.  

Friday, December 16, 2022

Sudan

Sudan Flag



Why visit Sudan?
Only adventurous travelers experienced in visiting developing countries should consider for ancient ruins, camel markets, culture, desert, game  parks, jungle tribes, rivers, snorkeling, and wildlife.


At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Camel seats, canes, copperware, decorated daggers, discarded bullet casing goods, drums, ebony carvings, gold jewelry, leather goods, silver jewelry, swords, and wooden pipes.
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Miris (stew). Mullah (stew). Salatat Dakaw (peanut salad).

Fun Facts
  • Largest African country.
  • Supplies over 70% of the world's gum arabic, an ingredient used in soft drinks and pharmaceuticals.
  • Highest point is Mount Kinyeti (10,620 ft).
  • Fifteenth largest country in the world.
  • Sahara Oryx are extinct in the wild.
  • Women are not allowed to attend sporting events.
  • Education is free for children 6 - 13 years.

Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: Camel seats, canes, copperware, decorated daggers, discarded bullet casings goods, ebony carvings, drums, gold jewelry, leather goods, silver jewelry, swords, and wooden pipes. 
  • Holidays: Independence Day, Easter, Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, Muharram, The Prophet's Birthday, and Christmas.

Good to Know
  • Extreme poverty.
  • Obtain VISA before travel.
  • Violence continues along the Chad border.
  • Escorted and hosted tours are the best ways to see the country.
  • Travel with a copies of your passport and VISA.
  • International cuisine is limited to Chinese and Middle Eastern.
  • Khartoum visitors are required to register with the police within 3 days of arrival.
  • Sanitary conditions tend to be below western standards.
  • Electronics: cell phones, laptops, satellite phones, tablets and video cameras require approval. 
  • Prevalent Diseases: Dengue, Hepatitis A, Malaria, Meningococcal Meningitis, Rabies, and Yellow Fever.
  • Outside of Khartoum visitors are required to register with the police within 1 day of arrival.
  • Landmine remnants of war still exist in rural areas.
  • Select airlines and hotels are known to require bank receipts before accepting payment.
  • Only cities and major highways are paved.
  • Avoid walking or traveling alone.
  • Traveling outside Khartoum, take at least two extra passport size photos for your permit.
  • Commuting with additional fuel, provisions, and spare tires is highly recommended.
  • Garbage is commonly dumped in empty lots.
  • Avoid wearing shorts in public.
  • International Driving Permit is required
  • Third-party liability insurance from the government is required.
  • Drive with doors and windows locked.
  • Dress modestly with knees and shoulders covered.
  • Due to sandstorms always carry face coverings.
  • Avoid photographing border areas, bridges, camps, government buildings, infrastructure, military installations, military personnel, police, public utilities, and  transportation facilities.
  • Most local drivers carry no insurance.
  • Little tourism infrastructure is in place. 
  • Roads in the south tend to be closed in July - September due to local weather.
  • Avoid public transportation.
  • Homosexuality is illegal; punishable to life in prison.
  • Operates on a cash-only economy; USA issued credit and debit cards are not accepted.
  • Vehicles tend to be poorly maintained.
  • Clinics and hospitals are poorly equipped.
  • Taxi Drivers rarely speak English.
  • Weekly passenger train service from Khartoum to Wadi Halfa and to the Port.
  • Ambulance services are unavailable.

This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport with six months of validity upon return and two blank pages for entry stamp.
  • Tourist VISA required.
  • Yellow Fever Vaccination required. 

Subject to droughts, heavy rainstorms, high temperatures, humidity, and sandstorms. 

  • Best Time to Visit: November - February & April
  • Coolest Months: December - February
  • Hottest Months: April - July
  • Peak Season: February, July, & October 

Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: El-Kurru, Jebel Barkal, Meroë, Musawwarat es-Sufra, and Nuri.

Ready to embark on custom and personalized services, your journey begins with Louvet Travel

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                                        All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice.   

Switzerland

Switzerland Flag Why visit Switzerland? Offers something for everyone art, balloon rides, canoeing, churches, climbing, cobblestone streets...