Thursday, November 17, 2022

Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands Flag



Why visit Solomon Islands?
Ideal for the adventurous experienced off-the-beaten path travelers seeking to enjoy battle sites, canoeing, culture, fishing, history, isolated beaches, jungles, lagoons. marine life, mountains, panpipe music, scuba diving, snorkeling, villages, and waterfalls.


At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Baskets, postage stamps, shell goods, and wood carvings.
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Cassava Pudding (dessert). Kibbie Pie (meat pie). Palusami (stuffed
    leaves). Poi (taro root).
  • Local Drink to Try: Canoe Lager (beer). Chocolate Raspberry Port (wine).

Fun Facts
  • Consist of 6 major islands and over 900 smaller islands (Oceania).
  • Guadalcanal Island is the largest. 
  • Formerly called, British Solomon Islands Protectorate.
  • Scuba Divers experience submerged World War II (1939 - 1945) history of planes and shipwrecks.
  • Has no railways.
  • Experienced an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.1 (2007).
  • Islanders chew betel nuts.
  • Has active and dormant volcanoes.

Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (May) Spear Dancing Festival, Wagosia Festival, (July) Festival of Pacific Arts, (August) Shell Money Festival, (September) Good to Go, Honiara Marathon, (October) Dive Festival, Lagoon Festival, Stunned Mullet Fishing Competition, and (December) Surfing Competition.
  • Holidays: New Year's Day, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter Monday, Whit Monday, Monarch's Birthday, Independence Day, and Christmas.

About the Main Islands
  • Choisuel Island (aka: Lauru) - The largest island.
  • Guadacanal Island - Best known for Central Market and WWII relics Home to the capital, Honiara.
  • Malaita Island - The second largest and most most populous.
  • Makira Island - Third most populous island.
  • New Georgia Island - The 200th largest island in the world. 
  • Santa Isabel Island - Longest amongst the islands.

Good to Know
  • Amongst one of the least visited countries in the world.
  • Soccer is popularly played on Saturday.
  • Ocean temperatures are known to be the warmest in the world.
  • Facial tattoos are common amongst locals.
  • Tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and inspections do not commonly occur. 
  • Do not purchase goods made of dolphin, sea turtle shells, or whale teeth.
  • Stepping over a sitting or sleeping person is culturally insulting.
  • For the best views of Iron Bottom Sound visit Point Cruz Yacht Club (Honiara).
  • Only hyperbaric recompression chamber is on Guadalcanal Island.
  • On Malaita Island  for taboo reasons do not wear black or red clothing.
  • Island of Guadalcanal (Honiara) offers the best panpipe performances at major hotels.
  • Lacks infrastructure.
  • Traffic moves on the left side of the road.
  • Importing or exporting of ammunition, firearms, pornography, military artifacts from World War II and select prescription drugs is not permitted.
  • A high speed catamaran operates from Honiara to Auki daily.
  • Homeowners may demand money for accessing their property without permission.
  • Guadalcanal Island (Honiara) is the only island with paved roads.
  • Avoid evening explorations.
  • Prevalent Diseases: Dengue & Malaria.
  • Ridges of Hell’s Point and Islands of Russel and Tulagi are known to contain unexploded from World War II.
  • Betikama Mission School Bamboo Band are popularly known for its blend of bamboo, guitars, and ukulele instruments.
  • Avoid public demonstrations.
  • Vehicle accidents require drivers to remain on scene until the police arrive.
  • A light sweater is recommended year round during the evenings.
  • Boat/Charter/Ferry Services connect the island chains.
  • Homosexuality is illegal and subject to prison.
  • Medical care is considered below our western standards.
  • Taxi services are widely available in Auki (Malaita Island) and Honiara (Guadalcanal Island).
  • Rain occurs from northwesterly winds between November - April.
  • Schools tend to have no access to drinking water or waste relief.

This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport with six months of validity and one blank page for entry stamp.
  • COVID-19 required and Measles vaccination from select countries. 
  • Currency Restrictions for Entry/Exit: 50,000SBD.

Subject to cyclones, earthquakes, humidity, tsunami, and volcanic eruptions. 

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

Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: East Rennell


Ready to embark on custom and personalized services, your journey begins with Louvet TravelYour one stop source: Accommodations I Air I Car Rentals I Cruises I Disney Excursions I Tours I Transfers I Travel Insurance I Villa Rentals


Stay connected, find us online: Alignable Facebook  LinkedIn  Pinterest  Twitter 

"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.  

Monday, November 14, 2022

Slovenia

Slovenia Flag



Why visit Slovenia?
Ideal for repeat European travelers seeking off-the-beaten-track destination to experience adventure sports, architecture, beaches, casino gambling, castles, caves, culture, cycling, farmhouses, fishing, folk arts, gastronomy, health spas, highlands, hiking, horseback riding, lakes, mountains, paragliding, river rafting, skiing, valleys, and vineyards.
 


Triglav National Park, Slovenia. Photo Credit: kvetlotosa/Pixabay 



At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Art, ceramics, crystal, lace, embroidery, handmade carpets, honey, jewelry, leather boxes, tapestries, wine carafes, wines, wood carvings, and woolens.
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Bograč (stew). Kraški Pršut (dried meat dish).
    Kremna Rezina (cream cake). Kranjska Klobasa (sausage). Močnik (porridge). Potica (dessert). Prekmurska Gibanic (cake). Prežganka (soup). Štefani Pečenka (meatloaf). Žganci (polenta dish).
  • Local Drink to Try: Brinjevec (beer). Cviček (wine). Metliška Crnina (wine). Pelinkovac (liquor). Pinela (wine). Refošk (wine). Schnapps (liquor). Žametovka (wine). Zelèn (wine). Železna (mineral spring). 


Bled Castle, Bled, Slovenia. Photo Credit: nocloset/Pixabay 



Fun Facts
  • Was declared (2016) the world's 1st green country by the Netherlands, Green Destinations.
  • National Geographic Traveller's Magazine declared (2017) the country with the world's most sustainable tourism.
  • Awarded the European Region of Gastronomy (2021).
  • Triglav National Park (northwest) is their only national park.
  • Third most forested European country.
  • Most picturesque church, Church of Mary the Queen (aka:  Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Mary or Our Lady of the Lake) is on Bled Island. 
  • Predjama Castle (Predjama) is partially hidden in a cave.


Škofja Loka, Slovenia. Photo Credit: MW/Pixabay 



Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (January) Zlata Lisica, (February) Prešeren Fair, Ptuj Carnival, (March) Planica Ski Jumping, Pokal Vitranc Cup, (April) Radovljica Chocolate Festival, Salt Pans Festival, (May) Druga Godba, International Wildflower Festival, Three Hearts Marathon, Vinska Vigred, Walk Along the Wire, (June) Bled eConference, Cherry Festival, Franja Marathon, Indrija Lace Festival, Lent International Summer Festival, Jurjevanje, Ljubljana Jazz Festival, Night at the Lake Festival, Novi Rock Festival, Slovenska Popevka Festival, (July) Beer & Flower Festival, Grintovec Mountain Race, Ljubljana Summer Festival, Punch Festival, (September) Bohinj Annual Hiking Festival, Cow’s Ball, Kravji Bal, Maribor Festival, Pippi Longstocking Festival, Vilenica International Literary Festival, (October) International Festival of Computer Arts, Ljubljana Marathon, (November) Frankfurt After the Frankfurt, Ljubljana International Film Festival (LIFFe), Martinovanje, Slovene Book Fair, and (December) World Cup Biathlon.
  • Holidays: New Year's Day, Prešeren Day, Easter SundayEaster Monday, Day of Uprising Against Occupation, May Day, Whit Sunday, Statehood Day, Assumption Day, Reformation Day, Day of the Dead, Christmas Day, and Independence & Unity Day.


Maribor, Slovenia. Photo Credit: Jarko/Pixabay 


Good to Know
  • Required to carry your passport with you at all times.
  • Ljubljana or Maribor Tourist Cards offer attractions, shopping, and transportation discounts.
  • Year round evenings tend to require a light sweater.
  • Compared to Western Europe, it is not a very windy country.
  • Vodno mesto Atlantis (Ljubljana) is a large waterpark offering something at any age.
  • Requires third-party liability insurance for car rentals.
  • Highway use requires a windshield sticker, vignettes on all rental vehicles.
  • Banks do not accept paper checks or travelers checks.
  • Maximum legal blood-alcohol limit is .05% and .00% for drivers with less than two years’ experience.
  • Headlights, helmets, and seat belts are mandatory.
  • All vehicles must have: blank European Accident Form, First-Aid Kit, Reflective Vest/Jacket, Spare Headlight Bulbs, and Warning Triangle.
  • Turning right on red stop light is illegal.
  • Possession or use of illegal drugs is subject to severe punishment.
  • Drivers must yield to bicycles.
  • International Driving Permit (IDP) required.
  • Between November 15 - March 15 vehicles must have all-season tires.
  • Majority of tourists are from Austria, Benelux, Croatia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Russia, Serbia, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.


Ljubljana, Slovenia. Photo Credit: ivabalk/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: 10,000EUR.

Predjama Castle, Predjama, Slovenia. Photo Credit: ivabalk/Pixabay 

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

Piran, Slovenia. Photo Credit: Zsolt Hollósi/Pixabay 


Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Heritage of Mercury Almadén & IdrijaPrehistoric Pile Dwellings around the AlpsPrimeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians & Other Regions of EuropeŠkocjan Caves, and The Works of Jože Plečnik in Ljubljana – Human Centred Urban Design.


Slovenia. Photo Credit: Pierre Prégardien/Pixabay 


Ready to embark on custom and personalized services, your journey begins with Louvet TravelYour one stop source: Accommodations I Air I Car Rentals I Cruises I Disney Excursions I Tours I Transfers I Travel Insurance I Villa Rentals


Stay connected, find us online: Alignable Facebook  LinkedIn  Pinterest  Twitter 

"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. 

Friday, November 11, 2022

Slovakia

Slovakia Flag



Why visit Slovakia?
A great additional while visiting central Europe tacking onto Austria, Budapest, Hungary, & Vienna to enjoy architecture, castles, caves, churches, cultural events, folk, hiking, historical sites, ice caverns, mountain climbing, mountain villages, picturesque valleys, quaint villages, ruins, skiing, spa towns, and streams.
 


Tatra Mountains. Photo Credit: Eszter Miller/Pixabay 



At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Antiques, carved wooden figures, corn husks dolls, crystal, decorated Easter eggs, dolls, embroidery goods, felt boots, fujaras, honey, horalky, lace, medovina, peasant frocks, pottery, puppets, slivovica, tatratea, wine, and wooden pitchers.
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Bryndzove Halusky (national dish). Gulášová Polievka (soup). Kapustnica (soup). Krvavnica (blood sausage). Lokse (pasta dish). Wiener Schnitzel. Zemiakove Placky (stuffed pancakes).
  • Local Drink to Try: Demänovka (liquor). Koniferum Borovička (spirit). Kofola (soft drink). Slivovica (spirit).Tatratea (spirit). Vinea (wine). 


Bratislava Castle, Bratislava, Slovakia. Photo Credit: Walkerssk/Pixabay 



Fun Facts
  • Čachtice Castle (Čachtice) was home to the late Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed (1560 - 1614) an alleged serial killer, "Bloody Lady".
  • Adventure production, Dragonheart was filmed at Strečno Castle (Strečno).
  • During 2023, Volvo is building a new plant to begin building electric cars (2026).
  • Carpathian Mountains extend across the northern region.
  • Nearly 41% of land surface is forest.
  • Ochtinská Aragonite Cave (central), is 1 of only 3 aragonite caves in the world.
  • Education is required for youths from 6 - 16.
  • Has 3 international airports. 
  • Football and ice hockey are the most popular sports.
  • Only European Union members not have any mosques.
  • World's largest car producer.
  • Tatra Mountains has 29 peaks.
  • Gerlachovský štít (8,711 ft) is the highest point.
  • Home to 9 National Parks.
  • Váh is the longest river.
  • Danube is the largest river flowing through the country.


Liptov, Slovakia. Photo Credit: michaltrnka360/Pixabay 



Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (January) Junifest, (February) Sled Dog World Championships Sprint, (May) Košice Music Spring Festival, International Festival of Ghosts & Monsters, (June) Fabulous Castle, Festival of the Culture of the Hungarians of Slovakia, Festival of the Ruthenian & Ukrainian Cultures, International Folk Costume Dolls Festival, International Folklore Festival Myjava, Touches & Connections, Zamagurské Folklórne Slávnosti  Festival, Zvolen Castle Plays, (July) Echoes of Old Slavic under Kráľova Hoľa Mountain, European Folk Craft Festival (EĽRO), Folklore Festival Poľana, Folklore Festival Východná, Jánošík Festival, Summer Esperanto Study, Východná Folklore Festival, Summer Shakespeare´s Festival, (August) European Festival of Humour & Satire Kremnica Gags, Festival Hontianska Paráda, Folklore Festival Podroháčske Folklórne Slávnosti, Scénická žatva Festival, Zemplínske Slávnosti Festival, (September) Middle Ages under the Walls, Nitra Theatre Festival, Radvanský Jarmok Fair, (October) Apple Festival, and Bratislava Model United Nations.
  • Holidays: Day of the Establishment of the Slovak Republic, Epiphany, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Labor Day, Day of Victory over Fascism, St Cyril & Methodius Day, Slovak National Uprising Anniversary, Day of the Constitution of the Slovak Republic, Day of Our Lady of the Seven SorrowsAll Saints’ Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and St Stephen's Day.


Photo Credit: Walkerssk/Pixabay 


Good to Know
  • Tick-Borne Encephalitis (TBE) vaccination is recommended.
  • Requires proof of funds and a return plane ticket. 
  • Most populated cities are Bratislava (capital) and Košice.
  • Slovenský Raj (Slovak Paradise) is the most popular park.
  • Fog is common during winter.
  • Travelers 16+ must carry their passport at all times.
  • Do not drive under the influence of alcohol due to tolerance level of 0%. Punishable with incarceration.
  • Prešov Region is known for wooden churches. 
  • Photography of military installations or security is illegal.
  • Piešťany is considered one of the busiest spa towns.
  • Vacationing in a private home, within 3 days you must you must register with the local Border and Alien Police.
  • Main hospitals are in Kramare, Old Town, Petrzalka, and Ruzinov.
  • Museums and tourist sites tend to be closed on Mondays.
  • Seatbelts are mandatory.
  • International Driving Permit (IDP) is mandatory.
  • Helmets are mandatory for motorcyclists.
  • Taxis are relatively inexpensive.
  • Rental Car Drivers must be 21, a surcharge fee applies to those under 25.


Photo Credit: Jarek/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: 10,000EUR.

Subject to humidity, snowstorms, and summer monsoons.

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


Levoča, Slovakia. Photo Credit: Walkerssk/Pixabay 



Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Aggtelek, Banská Štiavnica, Bardejov, Danubian Limes, Dobšiná Ice Cave, Domica Cave, Jasovská Cave, Spiš Castle, Ochtinská Aragonite Cave, Vlkolínec, Žehra, and Zipser Kapitel.   


Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia. Photo Credit: Miroslav Gecovic/Pixabay 


Ready to embark on custom and personalized services, your journey begins with Louvet TravelYour one stop source: Accommodations I Air I Car Rentals I Cruises I Disney Excursions I Tours I Transfers I Travel Insurance I Villa Rentals


Stay connected, find us online: Alignable Facebook  LinkedIn  Pinterest  Twitter 

"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.  

Switzerland

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