Friday, September 30, 2022

Qatar

Qatar Flag


Why visit Qatar?

Ideal for the affluent traveler seeking to enjoy beaches, camel racing, camping, culture, diving, fishing, museums, shopping and snorkeling.



Photo Credit: elcri/Pixabay 


At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Coffee pots, essential oil, incense burners, lamps, oud, pashminas, scarf, shawls, shisha pipes, spices, weaving, and wood boxes.
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Balaleet (pasta dish). Ghuzi (roasted lamb). Harees (porridge). Kousa Mahshi (stuffed zucchini). Luqaimat (dessert). Machboos (chicken dish). Madhruba (porridge). Margoog (lamb dish).
    Saloona (stew). 
    Thareed (stew).
  • Local Drink to Try: BE (smoothie). Coffee. Karak (tea). Karak Chai (black tea). Shaketastic (smoothie). Sun Top (juice).


Photo Credit: Bea Amaya/Pixabay 



Fun Facts
  • First Muslim country to 2022 FIFA World Cup.
  • Almost uniformly flat.
  • Women have far more freedom compared to the previous regime.
  • Women may now refuse a marriage proposal.
  • Polygyny is permitted.
  • First in any Gulf state for Women to vote.
  • Only has one liquor store.
  • Pregnant women must present a Marriage Certificate to receive prenatal care at medical facilities.
  • Multibillion-dollar Doha Expressway and the Qatar Bahrain Causeway, is to connect Qatar to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
  • Largest exporter of liquefied natural gas in the world.
  • Highest point is Qurayn Abu al Bawl (338 ft).
  • Considered one of the richest countries in the world.
  • Flogging and stoning are considered a legal form of punishment.
  • Men and women eat and entertain separately.
  • Soccer is the most popular sport.
  • Largest art market by value in the world.
  • Practices a mixture of Civil and Sharia Law.
  • Has no income tax. 
  • Annually hosts a cycling race, Tour of Qatar.
  • Arab businessmen are known to hold hands, symbolic of friendship.
  • Qatar Airways (QTR) is one of the largest airlines in the world. 


Photo Credit: ekrem/Pixabay 



Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (January) Doha International Book Fair, Open Tennis Tournament, (February) Halal Hal Qatar Festival, (March) Doha Cultural Festival, Garangao Children Festival, International Food Festival, Kite Festival, Marine Festival, Masters Golf Tournament, (May) IAAF Diamond League, (September) Losail International Circuit, (October) Ajyal Film Festival, Doha International Trade Fair, Doha Tribeca Film Festival, (November) Katara Traditional Dhow Festival, (December) Art Festival, and Souq Waqif Spring Festival.
  • Holidays: New Year's Day, National Sports Day, Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, and National Day.


Pearl Monument, Doha, Qatar. Photo Credit: walsarabi/Pixabay 



Good to Know
  • USA citizens obtain a free VISA upon arrival.
  • Attendees to the FIFA Men’s World Cup (November - December) require a Hayya Card as your entry VISA.
  • Official language is Qatari Arabic. English is often spoken as a second language. 
  • Former residents are required to carry  a "no objection letter" issued by their Sponsor.
  • Becoming a tourist destination.
  • Use of drones and photography equipment to include telescopic lenses is not permitted.
  • Dress modestly; men should not wear shorts, women should have arms and knees covered.
  • During Ramadan (holy month) avoid drinking and eating in public before sunset.
  • Importing duty free alcohol, laser pointers, and pork products are not permitted. 
  • Tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and inspections do not commonly occur.
  • Sweater required year rounding during the evenings.
  • Tent should face the south.
  • Prone to very hot and humid summers with mild winters.
  • Traffic violations are easily captured by cameras. Fines are costly.
  • Until a case is abandoned or resolved which could be months to years, one may not exit the country.  
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • It's against the Law to photograph government buildings, firemen, military, and/or police.
  • Minimum driving age is 18.  
  • Leggings must be covered with a dress or long shirt.
  • Foreign Drivers Licenses are acceptable for up to 1 week.
  • Avoid political conversations.
  • Be vigilant at ATM'S.
  • Khor and Jebel Fuwairet offers the most popular beaches.
  • Dust Season is March - August.
  • Avoid religious conversations.
  • Journalists require specific VISA's.
  • Do not photograph locals!
  • Air quality is poor.
  • Unmarried persons engaging in sexual relations is illegal.

This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport with six months of validity upon return and two blank pages for entry stamp.
  • Tourist VISA required.
  • Required Vaccination from select countries. 
  • Currency Restrictions for Entry/Exit: $10,000USD.


Photo Credit: ilfioredellavita/Pixabay 


  • Best Time to Visit: November - March
  • Coolest Months: December - March 
  • Hottest Months: July - September
  • Peak Season: December - February & June - August

Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Khor Al-Adaid Natural Reserve


Doha, Qatar. Photo Credit: LAGRANDEENTREPRISE/Pixabay 


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

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Portugal

Portugal Flag



Why visit Portugal?
Travelers seeking to enjoy archaeology, art, beaches, castles, churches, culture, golf, deep sea fishing, festivals, fishing villages, hiking, historical sites, history, horseback riding, kayaking, medieval villages, monasteries, mountain biking, remote mountains, nightlife, scenery, street cafes, surfing, trekking, vineyards, water sports, and windsurfing.  



Grotte de Benagil, Lagoa, Portugal. Photo Credit: Julius Silver/Pixabay 



At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Ceramic tiles, copper pans, cork items, embroidery, guitars, honey, leather goods, needlepoint carpets, olive oil, porcelain, Rooster of Barcelos, and wine.
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Alheira (sausage), Bacalhau (codfish). Bolo de Arroz (rice muffin). Caldeirada (fish stew). Caldo Verde (soup). Carne de Porco à Alentejana (pork dish). Cataplana (seafood stew). Chouriço (pork sausage). Cozido à Portuguesa (stew). Dobrada (tripe). Farinheira (smoked sausage). Feijoada (stew). Gueijo Serra (cheese). Francesinha (sandwich). Leitao da Bairrada (roast pork). Pastéis de Belém (tart pastry). Presunto (cured ham). Rabanadas (dessert).
  • Local Drink to Try: Alentejo (wine). Douro (wine). Ginjinha (liquor). Licor Beirão (liquor). Medronho (spirit)Vinho da Madeira (wine). 


Porto, Portugal. Photo Credit: Nuno Lopes/Pixabay 



Fun Facts
  • Sportsmanship dates back to 104 - 146AD. 
  • Between 726 - 1249 was part of al-Andalus. 
  • Name derives from the Roman-Celtic (Portus Cale);  present city of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia.
  • Birthplace of António Egas Moniz (1874-1955), Neurologist who invented Cerebral Angiography and Leucotomy.
  • First country in the world to abolish life imprisonment (1884).
  • First country in the world to decriminalize use of common drugs (2001).
  • Minimum regulated wage by law (2022) is 705EUR monthly.
  • Home of Azores and Madeira Islands.
  • Oldest continuous nation state on the Iberian Peninsula.
  • Home to 6 terrestrial ecoregions.
  • Maximum prison sentences are limited to 25 years.
  • Top producer of cork. 
  • Douro Valley wine region was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status for its dramatic culture and scenery.
  • Lisbon Oceanarium (Lisbon) is the largest amongst European countries.
  • Third largest exporter of chestnuts. 
  • Approximately 5–6 million people visit the Sanctuary of Fátima annually.
  • One of the founding members of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
  • Amongst the Top 10 largest olive oil producers in the world.
  • Soccer is their national sport.
  • One of the warmest countries in Europe.
  • Mount Pico (Pico Island) is the highest point. 
  • President is elected to a 5 year term.
  • Red flowers symbolize the revolution and white lilies are a symbol of death amongst locals.
  • Rooster of Barcelos is folklore of a dead rooster's intervention to the innocence of a man falsely accused and sentenced to death. 
  • Presides over 23 islands.
  • Vasco da Gama Bridge is the second largest in Europe.
  • Ramirez & Cia, is the oldest canned fish producer.
  • Military consists of Air Force, Army and Navy. 
  • Forest areas largely consist of Cork Oak, Eucalyptus, Holm Oak, and Stone Pine.
  • Northern Region has their own martial art (Jogo do Pau),
  • Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima (Fatima) is one of the largest Roman Catholic shrines in the world.
  • Ranks amongst the most Top 20 visited countries in the world.


Photo Credit: Bernardo Ferreria/Pixabay 



Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (January) Festa das Fogaceiras, (February) Carnival, International Chocolate Festival, (March) International Sand Sculpture Festival (FIESA), Porto Interceltic Festival, (May) Cantarinhas Fair, Fatima Pilgrimage, Festival of the Crosses, Lisbon Book Fair, Lisbon Parque Nações, Somersby Out Jazz, (June) Agricultura National Fair, Arraial Pride, Fado Fest, Festa de Sao Joao, Feast of Saint Anthony Festival, International Garden Festival, National Agricultural Fair, Rock in Rio-Lisboa, San Antonio Festival, Sintra Festival, (July) Boom Festival, Festa dos Tabuleiros, Festival of the Red Waistcoat, Medieval Market, NOS Alive, Paratissima, Rallye Biker, Sumol Summer Fest, (August) Cascais Festival of the Sea, EDP Vilar de Mouros Festival, Feira de São Mateus, Madeira Wine Rally, Neopop Festival, Ocean FestivalRio Formosa Festival, São Mateus Fair, Sea Festival, Silves Medieval Fair, (September) Avante, Festival de Gastronomia, Vinho Verde Wine Fest, (October) Baja Portalegre 500, Lisbon Marathon, (November) Feira Nacional do Cavalo Golegã, Lisbon & Sintra Film Festival, National Horse Fair, Porto Marathon, Sudoeste Festival, TransAlentejo Walking Festival, (December) Adiafas Festival & National Light Wine Festival, Festival of the Boys, and Pine Nuts Fair.   
  • Holidays: New Year's Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Liberty Day, May Day, Portugal Day, Corpus Christi, Assumption of Mary, Republic Day, All Saints' Day, Restoration of Independence, Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and Christmas Day.


Pena Palace, Sintra, Portugal. Photo Credit: jganzarain/Pixabay 



Good to Know
  • Adhere to local Tide Charts as beaches tend to disappear during high tide.
  • A developed country with high living standards.
  • Dinner hours tends to start between 8PM - 9PM.
  • Seacoast (Atlantic Ocean) is along the west side.
  • Majority of red wines are from Alentejo, Dao, and Douro.
  • Smoking is not prohibited in public places.
  • Speeding is unlawful.
  • Avoid public demonstrations.
  • Considered one of the world's best golf destinations.
  • Luxury travelers retreat along the Comporta Coast and Portuguese Riviera.
  • Towns still have cobblestoned streets.
  • It is illegal to photograph government buildings, military, and/or police.
  • Easily seen by bus, car rental, escorted tours, and/or rail.
  • Taxis rates increase after 9PM and during holidays.
  • Pepper Spray is illegal.
  • Most popular tourist areas are AlgarveCascaisCoimbra, Fatima, Lisbon, Madeira, and Porto.
  • Unlicensed Metal Detectors are illegal.


Douro Valley, Portugal. Photo Credit: Ramiro/Pixabay 



This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport with three months of validity upon return and two blank pages for entry stamp. 
  • Currency Restrictions for Entry/Exit: $10,000EUR.


Belém Tower, Lisbon, Portugal. Photo Credit: Pedro Grão/Pixabay 

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

Photo Credit: René Priebe/Pixabay 




Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Alcobaça Monastery, Angra do Heroísmo, Batalha Monastery, Belém Tower, Convent of Christ, Evora, Guimarães, Jerónimos Monastery, Pico Island, Porto, and Sintra.


Terreiro Do Paco, Lisbon, Portugal. Photo Credit: Pedro Grão/Pixabay 


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

Monday, September 26, 2022

Poland

Poland Flag




Why visit Poland?
Ideal for travelers seeking to enjoy agri-tourism, architecture, art, beaches, bicycling, birdwatching, boating, canoeing, cultural events, ecotourism, festivals, fishing, forests, historical sites, hunting, kayaking, kite surfers, lakes, medieval castles, mountain hiking, national parks, natural landscape, opera, rivers, sailing, shopping, skiing, spas, trekking, quaint villages, wildlife, and windsurfers.



Gdańsk, Poland. Photo Credit: erwinbauer/Pixabay 



At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Amber jewelry, barszcz (spice), cheese, decorative easter eggs, dolls, gingerbread, pickled cucumbers, Ptasie Mleczko (candy), skincare goods, linen goods, pottery, sausage, vodka, and wood carvings. 
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Bigos (stew). Gołąbki (cabbage rolls). Kielbasa (sausage). Kluski (soft dumplings). Kotlet schabowy (breaded meat). Lody (ice cream). Makowiec (pastry). Mizeria (cucumber salad). Napoleonka (dessert). Oscypek (smoked cheese). Pierogi (filled dumplings).
  • Local Drink to Try: Ciechan Miodowe (beer). Korzenny (mead). Lubelski (mead). Miód Kurpiowski (mead). Trybunalski (mead). Perła (beer). Zubrowka (vodka).


Photo Credit: Wioletta/Pixabay 




Fun Facts
  • Jagiellonian University (Kraków) was the first (1364) established higher education. 
  • Commission of National Education (1773) was the world's first ministry of education.
  • Vang Stave Church (Karpacz) was shipped from Norway (1840).
  • Home to the oldest zoo, Wrocław Zoological Gardens (1865).
  • Hosted the Intel Extreme Masters (2105).
  • Shares maritime boundaries with Denmark and Sweden.
  • The 9th largest country in Europe.
  • Kraków was the former capital.
  • Motorcycle Speedway Racing is the largest spectator sport. 
  • Home to the extinct aurochs (cattle).
  • Bug, Oder, Vistula, and Warta are the longest rivers.
  • Largest Island is Wolin (northwest). 
  • Superstitious customs observed are not found elsewhere in Europe.
  • Home to over 100 castles throughout the country. 
  • Shares Szczecin Lagoon and the Usedom Island with Germany.
  • Highest point is Mount Rysy (8,205 ft).
  • Castle of the Teutonic Order (Malbork) is the largest castle in the world. 

  • Home of the first written mention of vodka.

  • Lake Hańcza is the deepest (356 ft).
  • Major European hub for video game development.
  • Considered one of the most religious countries in Europe in Roman Catholicism. 


Poznań, Poland. Photo Credit: David Mark/Pixabay 



Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (January) Vodka & Chaser Festival, (February) International Sailors' Song 
    Festival, POlish Folk Festivals, (March) Marzanna, 
    Piłka Nożna Magazine Plebiscite, (April) Cracovia Marathon, Flower & Art Festival, Ludwig van Beethoven Festival, (May) Film Music Festival, Florianski Fair, International Book Fair, International Festival of Independent Cinema Off Camera, Juwenalia, International Soup Festival, Kraków Film Festival, Kortowiada, Night of Museums, Swieto Narodowe Trzeciego Maja, (June) Fair Hetmanski, Festival of Good Beer, Jewish Culture Festival, Jarmark Sqietojanski,  Juwenalia, Open'er Festival, Malta Festival Poznań, Mystic Festival, Opener Festival, Opole Festival, Orange Warsaw Festival, Selector Festival, Sonisphere, Tauron Nowa Muzyka, Warsaw Chamber Opera Mozart Festival, Wianki, ianki & Free Music Festival, (July) Carnaval Sztukmistrzów, Chopiniana, Crossroads Traditional Music Festival, Gdańsk Shakespeare Festival, Harvest Festival, International Street Arts Festival, International Street & Open-Air Theaters Festival, St Dominic's Fair, StreetArt International Festival of Street Theater, Smmer Jazz Days, Urban Highline Festival Lublin, (August) Boleslawiec, Chopin Festival, Chopin & His Europe International Music Festival, Coke Live Music Festival, Gdansk Shakespeare Festival, International Highlanders' Folk Festival,  International Mime Art Festival, Live Music Festival, Music in Old Kraków, Pierogi Festival, Pol’and’Rock Festival, Singer's Jewish Culture Festival, Sopot Festival, Sopot International Song Festival, (September) Advanced Music Festival, Autumn Contemporary Music Festival, Cross Culture Festival, Festival of Four Cultures, Magnetic Festival, Sacrum Profanum Festival, Wratislavia Cantans, Zielona Gora Wine Festival. (October) Blues Festival, International Film Festival, Rawa Blues Festival, Unsound Festival, (November) All Souls' Jazz Festival, American Film Festival, Audio Art Festival, CannaFest, Car Festival, Fair of Pretty Things, Jazz Jamboree, Jazz Jantar Festival, Podlasie Slow Fest,
    and (December) C
    hristmas Market.
  • Holidays: New Year's Day, Epiphany, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, May Day, Constitution Day, Whit Sunday, Corpus Christi, Assumption of Mary, All Saints' Day, Independence Day, Christmas Day, and Second Day of Christmas.


Morskie Oko (Tatra Mountains), Poland. Photo Credit: Arek Socha/Pixabay 



Good to Know
  • Within 48 hours of arrival travelers are required to register with the hotel or local police department.
  • Few locals speak English fluently, primarily German and Polish.
  • Comparable to western Europe standards.
  • Coldest region is Suwałki (northeast).
  • Carry your passport with you at all times.
  • Ski Season is December - April.
  • Seat belts are mandatory.
  • Avoid public demonstrations.
  • Lower Silesia (southwest) area is considered the sunniest and warmest. 
  • Central and eastern region boasts in wooden churches.
  • September - October is best for hiking.
  • Has a severe penalty for driving under the influence, 2 - 12 years of imprisonment.
  • It's illegal to photograph government/military buildings or restricted areas.
  • Southern area is hilly and mountainous.
  • Rainy Season is June - September.
  • Roads tend to be narrow and poorly lit.
  • Validated tickets are required before boarding a bus or tram. Otherwise subject to a fine.
  • Pedestrian Crossings are not always respected by drivers.
  • Tatras is known for skiing.
  • International Driving Permit (IDP) required.
  • Sandy beaches are in the north.
  • Wildflowers are best between May - June.


Krakow, Poland. Photo Credit: Dimitris Vetsikas/Pixabay 



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


Photo Credit: Arek Socha/Pixabay 

  • Best Time to Visit: May - June & September - October
  • Coldest Months: December - March
  • Hottest Months: May - September
  • Peak Season: June - August

Warsaw, Poland. Photo Credit: Rudy & Peter Skitterians/Pixabay 



Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Ancient & Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe, Auschwitz Birkenau German Nazi Concentration & Extermination Camp, Białowieza Forest, Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork, Centennial Hall, Churches of Peace in Jawor and Swidnica, Historic Centre of Kraków, Historic Centre of Warsaw, Kalwaria Zebrzydowska: the Mannerist Architectural & Park Landscape Complex & Pilgrimage Park, Krzemionki Prehistoric Striped Flint Mining Region, Medieval Town of Toruń, Muskauer Park/Park Mużakowski, Old City of Zamość, Tarnowskie Góry Lead-Silver-Zinc Mine and its Underground Water Management System, Wieliczka & Bochnia Royal Salt Mines, Wooden Churches of Southern Lesser Poland, and Wooden Tserkvas of the Carpathian Region.

 

Wawel Royal Castle, Kraków, Poland. Photo Credit: Dariusz Staniszewski/Pixabay 


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

Your one stop source: Accommodations I Air I Car Rentals I Cruises I Disney Excursions I Tours I Transfers I Travel Insurance I Villa Rentals


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"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page" Saint Augustine


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

Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands Flag Why visit Solomon Islands? Ideal for the adventurous experienced off-the-beaten path travelers seeking to enjoy battle ...