How to Make the Perfect Coffee Around the World: Traditional Coffee Methods and Varieties (Around the World)

From watching baristas grounding coffee beans just before their café opens in the streets of Vienna, to visiting coffee plantations in Vietnam and Brazil, there is no doubt about coffee being one of the most loved and sought after drinks around the world.

The legend of coffee has different accounts. In Africa, Moroccan Sufi mystics observed birds of unusual vitality eating berries off of coffee trees, leading them to assume the healing powers of the bean. Another tale of the plant’s special properties is Omar, the Mecca priest who survived an exile, who then turned into a priest because of the “miracle drug”. Even Ethiopian hunters used to consume the beans for energy and hunger-quelling on day-long treks. 

Whether it’s the Islamic world praising the drink for the association with Muhammad’s birthday or Americans drinking 400 million cups of coffee for their caffeine hit, one can surely say that the drink has spread throughout the world.

How to Make the Perfect Type of Coffee

The best tips from around the world?

Morocco

Mix things up by adding spices such as cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg, and you’ll enjoy some new flavours in your daily morning drink!

Vietnam

Use a Vietnamese Phin instead of a French press or Italian espresso maker. The cold drip coffee will have a strong taste, even if you serve it with ice.

Ireland

Make it sweet! Instead of following the conventional white-sugar cube, add some brown sugar or use condensed milk as the Vietnamese do.

Brazil

Brazil’s billion-dollar speciality coffee is all about experiencing the popular drink in unconventional ways. The best tip? According to experts, when boiling water is gradually poured, the infusion drips into the jug not too quickly.

Portugal

If you are in a hurry and cannot dedicate enough time to brew the perfect cup of coffee from grounds (or beans), use the coffee ampules, especially when you want to keep it fresh.

 

If that is not enough, here is a tip from Jamie Foster, a mathematician from the University of Portsmouth:

“If you want a stronger cup of coffee, you should grind your coffee finer.”

Coffee Varieties from Around the World

Now that you know brewing methods from around the globe, here are coffee varieties you’ll find in any continent you visit.

Ethiopia

If you go to Africa, an Ethiopian coffee ceremony is a must-see (and must-taste!) In the origin country of Arabica beans, coffee is brewed in large coffee pots, but contradictory to a Japanese green tea ceremony, it is served in a hurry by only one host. The pot, called jebena, sits in hot coals and when served, sugar is added for an additional dose of energy.

Morocco

In Morocco, mint tea is more popular, yet coffee is occasionally served as well. You’ll find Arabic coffee beans roasted on charcoal fire and ground in a mortar. Take a break from the mint tea and experience Morocco by drinking some of the best coffee available in the region.

Poland

You will find Poland’s speciality coffee Robusta in every store you go – from Krakow’s coffee stores to Warsaw’s cat cafes.

Sweden

From Nestle and Lofbergs Lila to other widely known Quora coffee brands, Swedish coffee is mostly characterized by its differences in brewing water. In the South, the water is hard which has high mineral content and leaves plenty of calcium deposits. Whereas in the North, the water is softer which pulls a lot more essence and taste out of the coffee grounds. In the end, it all depends on the coffee brewing.   Regardless of where you are in Sweden, try the local coffee brand Zoegas or the famous Arvid Nordquist Classic.  

Japan

Japanese are known for their tea tradition, but in recent years, coffee is the king. Japan is now among the world’s largest importers of coffee! Their national brewing techniques of siphon and pour over (hand drip) are impacting the global modern coffee movement.

Italy

Apart from eating Pizza Ebraica and gelato, making an Italian caffe from a mokka pot is a must-do when visiting Italy. Originally used by Muslims in Kaffa (the Southeastern side of Ethiopia), the mokka pot was later distributed through Europe and eventually became a staple for Italy. You can easily find them from local vendors and coffee shops!

 

Indonesia

What makes Indonesian coffee unique? The answer is two-fold. Indonesian coffee cultivation began in the 17th century and has grown to be one of the largest producers of coffee in the world today. A cup of Indonesia’s premium coffee, Kopi Luwak, can cost as much as $100 a cup; it is considered the most expensive coffee in the world. The drink is made from coffee cherries digested by Asian palm civets that remove the fruit pulp. However, it is not the most animal-friendly or sustainable practice so we suggest going on a budget and animal-friendly when visiting Bali. There are plenty of delicious (and animal-friendly) coffee cafes and roasters in Bali!

Guatemala

Guatemala coffee is among the most well-known in the world, and rightly so. Currently producing more than 3 million bags of coffee beans a year, the mountainous and cloudy regions are perfect for producing  toffee-sweet and nutty coffee beans.

Jamaican Coffee

Jamaica is known for its Blue Mountain Coffee. It is the lack of bitterness that makes it so special. Growing in high altitudes on mountains, the coffee is bold in taste and specially farmed by the Jamaican government.  The coffee beans are a must-buy when shopping for souvenirs from Jamaica. 

Vietnam

Vietnamese coffee, or cà phê đá uses Vietnamese grown coffee with a metal drip filter. Grown in Trung Nguyen in Buon Ma Thout, Vietnamese coffee drinks can vary from simply ice-cold coffee with condensed milk, to  the traditional egg coffee.

Hawaii, Honolulu

Hawaiian Kona coffee is one of the best known in the world and compares well with Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee due to its full-bodied flavor. Coffee trees grow in rich volcanic soil, providing the special taste that Hawaiian coffee boasts.Hualalai and Mauna Loa Mountains are a place to go if you want to visit coffee plantations on the island.

Austria

In Vienna, coffee is made especially fluffy and is enjoyed as a dessert type of coffee. Made from two espresso shots and topped with a fluffy layer of heavy cream, you can’t go wrong with a coffee in Vienna.  Ask for Mellocino, Einspanner or even Kapuziner types when visiting Vienna.

Ireland

Thought as a serious rival of the Irish stout, the rich black coffee drink is flavored and full-bodied with a shot of whiskey. Also topped with heavy cream, the Irish coffee will not leave your sweet tooth unsatisfied.

While a caffe latte or an Americano may be your way to go around the world, people watch, work, or get warm during winter spell, there is much more to making a perfect cup of coffee. From Moroccan spiced coffee to the highest-quality Guatemalan bean, there is amazing coffee found everywhere in the world. Make new travel memories by attending a coffee ceremony and bring the coffee beans back home to share the deliciousness from around the world. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, or share our travel tips by pinning:

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No need to fly: three European trips easier by train

No Need to Fly: Two European Trips Easier by Train

No need to fly: three European trips easier by trainDid you just land in Berlin and need to get to a hotel soon? While flying allows us to travel to both popular and not so popular destinations in Europe, Asia and everywhere else in the world, there is no excuse not to explore the countryside.

From Matching in the United Kingdom, to the French countryside and Balkan nature parks and SPA centers, there are many destinations in the countryside that planes do not connectto. We listed some of the most beautiful European countryside castles, inspired by The Guardian’s “European Trips Easier by Train” article.

Opening new routes, or taking an advantage of train prices in the last days before Brexit with newly launched Interrail four-day pass (€ 185), can be an advantageous feauture of train travel.  Going through the mountainous Europe – Alps, Pyrenees and Tatras – Europe offers one of the best opportunities for anyone traveling by train. . We looked at Burgundy, the Austrian Alps, and the Dutch Coast among other amazing destinations only reachable by European trail tracks. No flights here, keeping it green in 2020!

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A Taste of Burgundy

Taste and smell the famous Burgundy wine region. Along with amazing wine and views to the green yards,  the main winemaking villages can also be reached by stopping at Gevrey-Chambertin, Meursault and other Burgundian wine regions. For more wine travel in Europe, go to this article on Hungarian wine history and travel tips.

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The Austrian Alps

Austrian Alps can not only be the place to live through The Sound of Music scenes, but it can also be easily visited on your way from Brussels to Vienna on the newly opened railway. From the nearest Vienna airport, hop onto the Vienna – Brussels line and take bus 172. After a  27-mile journey over the Seeberg Saddle, you’ll arrive in Bruck-an-der-Mur where the Unesco-listed Semmering Railway can take you back to Vienna by night.

Away from Airports and Still in Reach

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Eltz Castle, Moselle Valley, Italy

Trains from Koblenz in Germany where Moselle flows into the Rhine, can connect you to Trier in Italy. Sit back and enjoy the view with some perfectly roasted espresso.

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Falkenstein Castle, Savoy, Jura route

Since the Handbook for Travellers in Switzerland and the Alps of Savoy was written by John Murray in 1846, the Savoy was one of the main European destinations on the Jura route to visit for nobleman taking their European journey. Drop by Waldenburg, or

Heinfels Castle in Rhine Valley, Italy

Taking a train from Koblenz towards Cologne along the Rhine valley will allow you to relax. Visit the Rheinfels Castle on your way!

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Black Forest, Germany

The Black Forest and Eifel in Germany? May sound like a mix of France and Germany, but the southwestern North Rhine-Westphalia has it all. Visit the Cochem Castle in the meantime!

 

Ready to go on a train? Make sure you have a place to stay first.

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Plane passenger gives first-class seat to 88-year-old woman, makes her 'dream' come true: 'No one asked him to'

Plane passenger makes an 88-year old woman’s ‘dream’ come true: Be Kind During Your Travels in 2020

Plane passenger gives first-class seat to 88-year-old woman, makes her 'dream' come true: 'No one asked him to'

However hard it may be to imagine, the new year – new you could become a new type of approach to travel. Make the world a better place and when possible choose the train over plane If you can’t avoid flying across oceans, you may as well be a better person by giving your seat to the elderly. Extra legroom, in the end, is not the reason why you travel to new places.

There are some tips you can take from viral acts of kindness. From heartwarming Christmas stories like “the passenger trading his upper-class cabin ticket with a traveler seated next to the economy toilets“, the “kindness of his own heart” articles have been overflowing the internet during the holiday season.”

There are some tips you can take from viral acts of kindness. From heartwarming Christmas stories like “the passenger trading his upper-class cabin ticket with a traveler seated next to the economy toilets“, the “kindness of his own heart” articles have been overflowing the internet during the holiday season.”

However, as Roy T. Bennett once wrote, “Be the reason someone smiles. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness in people.” After all, life becomes easier not only for people but for the planet and peoples to come, as we live with the right attitude, respecting and choosing optimism for people around us.

Here are 3 simple tips on how to make your holiday more enjoyable not only for yourself but also for those around you.

Give the Seat to the Elderly

Next time you’re traveling with a priority train ticket through South East Asia via train and the next cabin over is overcrowded with rural vendor workers, switch your ticket with an elderly local and make their day! You’ll have a more authentic experience and might make friendly connections with the locals.

Always Ask before Taking Photographs – and then Send it Back

So, you just snapped a beautiful street portrait of a craftsman in a market – but what about taking it another step and sending him a digital version of it? You never know when it may become useful

Keep it to the Trains

We already wrote about it, but once again: choose train, or share a ride. Flying should always stay a last resort option for short-distance travel.

 

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Plane passenger gives first-class seat to 88-year-old woman, makes her 'dream' come true: 'No one asked him to'

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Travel India, Asia or other SouthEast Asia Destinations: CuddlyNest travel 2020 Destinations

Travel Destinations 2020 According to Your Zodiac Sign

Travel India, Asia or other SouthEast Asia Destinations: CuddlyNest travel 2020 DestinationsAstrology is considered to be both an art and a science, just as travel is. While interpretation is necessary, the New Year makes people to wonder not only about new goals, new places to visit and draw up new bucket lists, there is always a science behind it.

Wanderlust stargazing and future telling can do wonders, but mathematics is necessary for a good interpretation. While Sixtus IV was the first Catholic pope to draw and interpret a horoscope, Leo X, born Giovanni di Lorenzo de’ Medici later relied on astrologers to rule the Florentine Republic since 16th century.

While there is not a small kingdom in the middle of Mediterranean Sea for everyone to rule, and golden Florentines may be a wish rather than a reality for some of budget travelers, there is a perfect destination for everyone to list on the 2020 bucket list. From switching from the crowded destinations in Europe to visiting lesser-known Eastern European capitals.

If you are up for a bucket list added to your 2020 wish list, then astrology may give you a pointer to which direction to look at when booking your next trip. From zodiac signs traits, weaknesses and other characteristics, there is just the perfect destination for everyone, depending on the Sun and Moon, and the projection of planets at the moment of your birth.

Air Signs

Gemini, Libra and Aquarius, known as air signs, are all about philosophical conversations. They love conversations, giving advice, reading new books and socializing in social gatherings. Find them in old book stores or flea markets getting a new book wherever they go.

Fire Signs

Fire signs Aries, Leo and Sagittarius are all about social travelling. As rational and naturally talkative travelers, they are all about connecting to people wherever they go. Think about exploring and going on an adventure, and being passionate, dynamic and temperamental, they also can get quite dramatic when travelling in groups. From inspirational to passionate, they are all about leading the way t unexplored destinations.

Water Signs

Highly emotional and ultra-sensitive, water signs are intuitive and would go deeply into profound conversations. From Cancer to Scorpio and Pisces, those born in February, October and June are characterized by a willingness to explore the depths of the culture while travelling.

Earth Signs

Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn are travelers which are known as highly skilled planners. Conservative and realistic, they are always there much before the museum closing time and would also be planning their tour well ahead.

CuddlyNest Best Travel Destination Inspiration for 2020 - where to go according to your zodiac sign? Aries, Saggitarius or Leo - best travel destinations for Áries, Touro, Gêmeos, Câncer, Leão, Virgem, Libra, Escorpião, Sagitário, Capricórnio, Aquário e Peixes, le Bélier, le Taureau, les Gémeaux, le Cancer, le Lion, la Vierge, la Balance, le Scorpion, le Sagittaire, le Capricorne, le Verseau et les Poissons.

Aries

The fire sign, ruled by Mars, is easily recognizable because of their energetic, assertive nature. Ruled by Mars, Aries people are passionate, confident and direct in their approach. Uncomplicated and often frustrated by unnecessary nuances, they will thrive when going on an independent and spontaneous hiking trip.

Best destinations? Go on a hiking journey to Argentina in Cerro Fitz Roy, or swim in Indonesia.

CuddlyNest Best Travel Destination Inspiration for 2020 - where to go according to your zodiac sign? Aries, Saggitarius or Leo - best travel destinations for Áries, Touro, Gêmeos, Câncer, Leão, Virgem, Libra, Escorpião, Sagitário, Capricórnio, Aquário e Peixes, le Bélier, le Taureau, les Gémeaux, le Cancer, le Lion, la Vierge, la Balance, le Scorpion, le Sagittaire, le Capricorne, le Verseau et les Poissons.

Taurus

Taurus, an earth sign, feel themselves the best both in hot and wet as well as cold and dry climates.

Best destinations? Go on to catch some spring air to the wet and hot Madagascar beaches in wintertime or seek the wintertime and Advent Christmas feel in the cold and dry Gulf of Boothia Sea.

CuddlyNest Best Travel Destination Inspiration for 2020 - where to go according to your zodiac sign? Aries, Saggitarius or Leo - best travel destinations for Áries, Touro, Gêmeos, Câncer, Leão, Virgem, Libra, Escorpião, Sagitário, Capricórnio, Aquário e Peixes, le Bélier, le Taureau, les Gémeaux, le Cancer, le Lion, la Vierge, la Balance, le Scorpion, le Sagittaire, le Capricorne, le Verseau et les Poissons.

Gemini

Gemini, as smart, sharp and speedy, will enjoy a trip to a somewhere where they can think, more than a feeling or doing.

Best destinations? Go to the breezy Koh Samui in Thailand and enjoy a  thoughtful, yet refreshing trip in your 2020.

Cancer

Cancerian travelers are one of the most emotional and intense. To let their senses run free, destinations in the Southern hemisphere where people are naturally more laid back (and some would argue they are not) will be the best bet to discover new horizons in 2020.

Best destinations? Go to Siem Reap in Cambodia or Nha Trang in Vietnam to dip in the Southeast Asia spirits and enjoy the taste of Vietnamese egg coffee and more.

CuddlyNest Best Travel Destination Inspiration for 2020 - where to go according to your zodiac sign? Aries, Saggitarius or Leo - best travel destinations for Áries, Touro, Gêmeos, Câncer, Leão, Virgem, Libra, Escorpião, Sagitário, Capricórnio, Aquário e Peixes, le Bélier, le Taureau, les Gémeaux, le Cancer, le Lion, la Vierge, la Balance, le Scorpion, le Sagittaire, le Capricorne, le Verseau et les Poissons.Leo

Leo signs are one of the most loveable – and as such, they will be a great and loyal travel companion for any other sign.

Best destinations? Be adaptable by choosing form European South: Florence, Santorini and Milan are good options to consider with your loved ones in 2020.

CuddlyNest Best Travel Destination Inspiration for 2020 - where to go according to your zodiac sign? Aries, Saggitarius or Leo - best travel destinations for Áries, Touro, Gêmeos, Câncer, Leão, Virgem, Libra, Escorpião, Sagitário, Capricórnio, Aquário e Peixes, le Bélier, le Taureau, les Gémeaux, le Cancer, le Lion, la Vierge, la Balance, le Scorpion, le Sagittaire, le Capricorne, le Verseau et les Poissons.

Virgo

Those born under the earth sign will enjoy the hot and dry summer destinations calling with their summer fire constellations and feel their best underwater sign in winter. Conservative yet realistic, the most suited destination for Virgo will be well known for every other traveler.

Best destinations? Learn from the best – see the true diligence and learn from the constant practice of monks in Pattaya and Chiang Mai, or Vietnam.

CuddlyNest Travel Alps France Destination Inspiration for 2020 - where to go according to your zodiac sign? Aries, Saggitarius or Leo - best travel destinations for Áries, Touro, Gêmeos, Câncer, Leão, Virgem, Libra, Escorpião, Sagitário, Capricórnio, Aquário e Peixes, le Bélier, le Taureau, les Gémeaux, le Cancer, le Lion, la Vierge, la Balance, le Scorpion, le Sagittaire, le Capricorne, le Verseau et les Poissons.

Libra

Librans love to be loved, and they love to love as well. To travel further this year, Libras will choose destinations that are in tune with their realm and harmony. No chaos, please!

Best destinations? Keep away from chaos by going to Stockholm or discover the Alps and French countryside in 2020.

CuddlyNest Best Travel Destination Inspiration for 2020 - where to go according to your zodiac sign? Aries, Saggitarius or Leo - best travel destinations for Áries, Touro, Gêmeos, Câncer, Leão, Virgem, Libra, Escorpião, Sagitário, Capricórnio, Aquário e Peixes, le Bélier, le Taureau, les Gémeaux, le Cancer, le Lion, la Vierge, la Balance, le Scorpion, le Sagittaire, le Capricorne, le Verseau et les Poissons.

Scorpio

Scorpios, being one of the most vengeful, morbid yet strategic signs, will find their best travel bucket list items with an option to meditate or learn some martial arts.

Best destinations? Go to Guangzhou or Chengdu to learn basic Wushu.

CuddlyNest Travel Stokholm Destination Inspiration for 2020 - where to go according to your zodiac sign? Aries, Saggitarius or Leo - best travel destinations for Áries, Touro, Gêmeos, Câncer, Leão, Virgem, Libra, Escorpião, Sagitário, Capricórnio, Aquário e Peixes, le Bélier, le Taureau, les Gémeaux, le Cancer, le Lion, la Vierge, la Balance, le Scorpion, le Sagittaire, le Capricorne, le Verseau et les Poissons.

Sagittarius

Honest, optimistic and adventurous, Sagittarians will feel their best among happy people.

Best destinations? Go to the countries known for happiness and find yourself in Stockholm, Aarhus, or Reykjavík this year!

CuddlyNest Travel China and Japan Destination Inspiration for 2020 - where to go according to your zodiac sign? Aries, Saggitarius or Leo - best travel destinations for Áries, Touro, Gêmeos, Câncer, Leão, Virgem, Libra, Escorpião, Sagitário, Capricórnio, Aquário e Peixes, le Bélier, le Taureau, les Gémeaux, le Cancer, le Lion, la Vierge, la Balance, le Scorpion, le Sagittaire, le Capricorne, le Verseau et les Poissons.

Capricorn

Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn are travelers which are known as highly skilled planners. Conservative and realistic, they are always there much before the museum closing time and would also be planning their tour well ahead.

Best destinations?

Go to Shenzhen in China or plan well before visiting Incheon in South Korea.

CuddlyNest Travel Indonesia Destination Inspiration for 2020 - where to go according to your zodiac sign? Aries, Saggitarius or Leo - best travel destinations for Áries, Touro, Gêmeos, Câncer, Leão, Virgem, Libra, Escorpião, Sagitário, Capricórnio, Aquário e Peixes, le Bélier, le Taureau, les Gémeaux, le Cancer, le Lion, la Vierge, la Balance, le Scorpion, le Sagittaire, le Capricorne, le Verseau et les Poissons.

Aquarius

Aquarius, notable for their originality and independence, will feel their bets in places they can enjoy themselves and feel assertive and travel solo as they usually do.

Best destinations? Go and be independent in Wuhan, China, or visit Krabi in Thailand in your own way.

Pisces

Generous, positively natured people, Pisceans are also very easygoing and will be acting a great travel companion wherever they go.

Best destinations? Go to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and enjoy yourself in a group of friends sipping on iced kopi-o’s.

If you want to know more about Hindu astrology, or Chinese astrology, or other Oriental mythology types, please follow CuddlyNest on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.

CuddlyNest Best Travel Destination Inspiration for 2020 - where to go according to your zodiac sign? Aries, Saggitarius or Leo - best travel destinations for Áries, Touro, Gêmeos, Câncer, Leão, Virgem, Libra, Escorpião, Sagitário, Capricórnio, Aquário e Peixes, le Bélier, le Taureau, les Gémeaux, le Cancer, le Lion, la Vierge, la Balance, le Scorpion, le Sagittaire, le Capricorne, le Verseau et les Poissons.

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Marathons 2020 Cuddlynest blog

Exotic Marathons Around the World in 2020

Are you a running addict and you would like to perform a marathon outside your comfort zone? Well, this is the ideal post for you. We are going to discover what marathons 2020 are the most suitable long-distance trails for the craziest and toughest runners who need a bit of adrenaline new goals. Of course, we all know the mythical marathons like New York, Athens or the great and mythical cities. Therefore, we will give you 5 options a little more alternatives for marathons 2020 has to offer.

1. Marathons 2020: The Great Wall Marathon (16th May 2020)

A Marathon that opened in 1999 and now has approximately 2,500 runners. A very tough race, since it crosses the 5,164 steps of the Great Wall of China, one of the most famous scenarios worldwide. Mentalize to endure the humidity and heat of the area, that is one of the most important conditions with which you will face.
If you are not prepared to run 42 kilometres but you still want to have the chance to experience it, do not worry, you can make other distances such as the half marathon or even an 8.5 km fun run.

2. Midnight sun Marathon (20th June 2020)

The next edition of this marathon celebrates its 31st anniversary. The most curious thing about the race: the sun will accompany you all the way. With 24 hours of daylight in the summer, this unique evening marathon can start at 8:30 p.m.
Sure, you have to deal with possible freezing temperatures and a few crossings of the gruelling Bridge of Tromso, but you might also spot some polar bears hiding out in the snowy mountains, too.

3. Inca Trail Marathon to Machu Picchu (3rd – 12th July, 2020)

Rated as the toughest Marathon on the planet, it can not be completed in a single day or two. It is a little-known race since it only has 6 years old. It started in 2012 with 40 entries and is gradually increasing in number.
For this event, it is necessary to be an expert runner as it’s described like “A Marathon in distance but an ultra in effort”.
The highlight of the trip is one of the world’s hardest marathons as well as the most scenic South American marathon with the finish line at Machu Picchu (Peru).

4. Antarctic Ice Marathons 2020(13th December 2019)

If you are into eccentricities this is your one. 42 km crossing the ice and the low temperatures characteristic of the Antarctic. That is why it is impossible to establish an average finish time since the weather conditions and terrain are variable from one year to the next. To give you an idea: The men’s event record of 3: 34.47 was set by Petr Vabrousek (CZE) in 2013, while the women’s event record of 4: 20.02 was set by Fiona Oakes (GBR) in 2013.
It’s a unique event that usually does not have more than 50 brave humans, are you one of them?

5. Great Ocean Road Marathon (16th – 17th May 2020)

This is a foot race on one of the most iconic routes of Australian road trips. But you must bear in mind that it can also be extremely hard: the point-to-point course is winding, hilly and is technically 45 Km in distance to the finish in Apollo Bay (although you’ll get a finish time at the 42 Km mark, too). A unique opportunity to experience another way of traveling by road.

Luckily for you, we have all kinds of accommodation to help you rest and prepare your body and mind for any challenge you have ahead. Take a look at our website and do not forget to pack your sports shoes!

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10 Things to Do in Hanoi, Vietnam on Budget

If one goes for budget accommodations, yet wants to get the most value out of the money, enjoying all the perks of traveling and exploring new places, exotic locations, an abundance of fresh fruits, then South East Asia is the place to go. Even high-class places and luxury hotels here in Vietnam are priced very moderately. From hotels to cafes to even haircuts and foods are extremely budget-friendly. Here we list 10 experiences you should have when visiting Hanoi, Vietnam.

Why Vietnam?

Vietnam is one of the countries of South-East Asia that in the West is mostly known for its clothing and apparel industry, tea, coffee, and war. However, the history of Vietnam makes it much more alluring. If you for a Vietnam 10 day itinerary, you will definitely see it. From the early days of inhabitation, the rule of Chinese and European arrival and colonization, Vietnam has survived and blossomed throughout centuries and preserves the diversity of cultures, customs, and traditions. French architecture, Chinese temples, Vietnamese coffee, and traditional religion has been well preserved and not yet destroyed by globalization, tourism and catering to travelers.

Eat Out and Good

If you are a foodie, then Vietnam will be a paradise for you. We promise this. From healthy vegetarian Pho soups with tofu to crunchy spring rolls to green clean-eating vegan Morning Glory dishes, Vietnamese cuisine is simple, yet super delicious and good for your belly. And the best thing is, you can eat like a queen for just a couple of dollars a day. Even at the fanciest restaurants, your meals are unlikely to cost you more than 5 dollars. Make sure you try street food as well, like spice mango slices everyone gets crazy about!

Taste the Egg Coffee and Vietnamese Coffee

Food is food, but what desserts are a whole different level. What could be better than a freshly picked mango, dragon fruit or guava fruit for breakfast? These exotic fruits are deliciously sweet, ripe and well preserved. Look for the best prices at night markets, on the streets of Hanoi in the daytime or grab a snack of mango and spices on the street at night. The best market we recommend for you to visit is Cho Hom Market. Get some cash before though, as looking for an ATM that accepts your Western card in Hanoi can be a bit of a hassle.

If you are more into nuts, seeds, and other salty and savoury snacks, here is great news for you! Vietnam is the largest exporter in the world of blood cashew nuts. As an exporter country, Vietnam also offers the best prices for cashew nuts. So do not wait and dive straight in!

 

Shop for Silk Clothing for Cheap

Along with cotton fabrics and sports clothing manufactured for Nike, H&M, Zara and other consumer labels around the world, silk is one of the top export fabrics of Vietnam. If you happen to look for a new dress, shirt or some other clothing, then go and visit Hang Da Market in the Old Quarter which is open every day from 5 AM to 5 PM. You will find deals you would never imagine.

Go to Body Massage

 

If you wish to relax a bit, you should definitely go and try Vietnamese massage. You will find posters advertising cheap foot massages or full-body massages on every single street for one of the best prices in the world available, but in case you want to visit a trusted review, go and have a massage at  TRE Massage.

Ride a Bike

Are you more into action? Hanoi (and the whole Vietnam) is best enjoyed and discovered while riding a motorbike. If you live in the outskirts of the city, make sure you rent a bike. In case you are staying here for longer, it is even better to buy one and sell it further when you leave. Many go on a full-fledged adventure from South to North or the other way around, discovering Vietnam on a whole different level.

 

All in all, you can enjoy just about any experience in Vietnam on a budget. Be it a fancy restaurant, a street food market, tailoring services or even hairdressers, you can have it all, not wasting money and having the best travel experience and quality time. Not sure you want to go to Vietnam? Here is our guide on how to choose between Vietnam vs Thailand trip.

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cuddlynest thailand booking vietnam book a villa private villa with pool versus thailand what to do

Vietnam or Thailand, Where Should I Go?

When it comes to choosing between two Vietnam vs Thailand travel destinations, it is not easy. There are several factors to consider. What kind of vacation are we looking for? What is the budget? How much time do you have? Who are you going with? These are just some questions we suggest you to answer. Then, you can go on packing the luggage for sustainable travel to Asia.

If you have to choose between two exotic and budget-friendly destinations: Thailand and Vietnam, what then? Both countries are part of Southeast Asia. What’s more, both are famous as backpacker paradise and loved by authentic travelers, offering authentic experiences, such as Ha Long Bay Tour – we definitely recommend experiencing the wholeness of South East Asia with budget travel tips!

Vietnam vs Thailand: What to Expect

Thailand: the most Fun Country in the World

Cozy and festive, exotic and tropical, cultured and historic, Thailand versus Vietnam offers a thousand attractions. From striking temples and tropical beaches to the always comforting smile of its people, it is a destination to have fun.

If it is the first time you travel to Asia, it is the ideal destination. Many of its inhabitants speak English, so communication is easier. Bangkok Thailand is a developed city. While it retains the charms of Asia, the culture sock may not be as great, in comparison with neighbouring countries in South Asia.

If you are looking for a destination with dream beaches, Krabi, Southern Thailand is just perfect. Do you remember the famous movie “The Beach” starring Leonardo Di Caprio? It was shot here on the Maya Beach, Thailand. There are thousands of similar beaches throughout the country (in fact, the Thai government has decided to close Maya Beach to the public between the months of June to October to avoid further deterioration of its natural heritage).

Surely you have also heard about the famous Full Moon Party. It is said that Thailand is the most fun country in the world. It is celebrated on the island of Koh Phangan once a month and is the high point of chaos and fun. Maybe that kind of parties are not to everyone’s liking, but if you’re there by the date indicated, it’s worth seeing for yourself at least once in a lifetime.

If you are keen on diving, a must-visit is the Similan Islands. They may not be as popular as Koh Tao. But this is only because the nature reserve is not open all year round. It must be said that there is also a substantial difference in the price. Koh Tao is the best place if you are an inexperienced diver and your goal is to get a license. Many head to Koh Tao to obtain one, as courses are one of the cheapest you can possibly find. 

On the other hand, we have the North of Thailand, the most cultural part of the country. Here, people are calmer and more receptive. In the North of Thailand, you will find that image of Southeast Asia. It is full of the typical mountains and valleys, rivers and waterfalls, temples and history. Places like Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai or Pai are a gateway to Asian ancestral culture.

Vietnam: History, Beauty, and Culture

Its attractions are almost endless: a cultural diversity that combines centuries of local history.  Both Chinese and French had a large influence over Vietnam throughout the centuries.  Eternal rice fields, paradisiacal beaches, and natural landscapes are among the most beautiful in the world. Definitely visit Ha Long Bay, for shopping and for the fresh food that is common in Vietnamese cuisine!

Looking for an adventure? Vietnam, a little more shocking than Thailand but not as extreme as exotic India, is the middle ground.

While films like Apocalypse Now or Platoon are recent classics of the history of cinema, many relate Vietnam history to war. Picturing the Cu Chi tunnels is something common, yet make the country special.

Vietnam is your destiny if you want to have a deeper experience and you are open to new points of view. Local dynasties, Chinese occupation, the Hindu kingdom Champa, the French colonization, the union of Indochina, the occupation of Japan during the Second World War, the division and horrors of the Vietnam War, the consolidation of the communist regime, the opening towards Capitalism … The intense history of Vietnam cannot stop beating you behind every corner of the country.

One of the most magical things about Vietnam is its gastronomic culture. Go out to the street and share a table with the locals in a den where you would probably never enter. Open your mind and try new things, soak up their culture and their customs and above all, observe. Sometimes communicating with locals is tricky.  Since a large part of the population doesn’t speak English, prepare yourself to use body language throughout the trip.

Of course, Ha-Long Bay is a place you can not miss. Get lost in the rice fields of Sapa, if you are good at riding a motorcycle – do not hesitate to rent one! Go on exploration as authentic adventurers. Go canyoning around Da Lat and take some time in Hoi An (read: What to do in Hoi An)to visit the best tailors in the world.

 

Thailand or Vietnam?

As a summary, we will say that both countries are a great option. It does not matter if you are a backpacker, or a solo traveler. Or, if you go on family vacation with kids. Budget-wise, the choice is irrelevant, as in both countries prices are quite similar. 

So, for the first trip to Asia, Thailand is an enviable country. It is full of contrasts, yet local sympathy flows over every corner. Vietnam, on the contrary, is more authentic and surprising.  Thus, it may be that the surprise is not to everyone’s liking. If you want to combine culture and beaches, the right choice is Thailand. Do you are want to explore the history and experience a cultural shock? Then Vietnam is surely your target destination. But before you head to Ha Long bay in Vietnam, read our top things to do on a budget in Hoi An, the Lantern City in Vietnam, or what to do on a budget in Hanoi, Vietnam.

 

CuddlyNest Chicago Christmas Travel Ideas

Winter Fun Ideas in Chicago

CuddlyNest Chicago Travel IdeasJust because winter is here doesn’t mean  you have to stay cooped up in your house. In fact, there’s plenty of activities to do in the winter that will keep you busy. Here are some winter fun ideas in Chicago.

Art Institute of Chicago Special Holiday Events

Visiting the Art Institute of Chicago will open your eyes to a variety of special holiday-theme performances and events:

  • Open Lecture: The Neopolitan Creche
  • Holiday Choir Concerts
  • 36th Annual Holiday Treasure Hunt & Tea Party (Hosted December 10th, 10:45 AM until 2:30 PM)
  • Get Crafty and Build a Gingerbread House (On December 16th between 11:00 AM and 1:30 PM, and other times to come.)
  • Member Lecture: Holiday Thorne Rooms
  • Holiday Small Plates at the Museum Cafe (Every Thursday evening in December. Reservations encouraged)

 

Brookfield Zoo – Experience the Holiday Magic of 2017

Visit Chicagoland’s longest and largest running lights festival, the Polar Lights Show during its 36th year. Additional holiday highlights include: Dolphins in Action, photo opps with animals, Wild Encounters, Singing to the animals, Photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

 

How to get in: You can obtain Brookfield Zoo tickets as they are included with the Go Chicago Card, as well as holiday events and activities, are all included with admission, unless specified otherwise.

CuddlyNest Chicago Travel Ideas

Ice Skating at McCormick Tribune Ice Rink

Step out on the ice and have a blast with a view of the Chicago skyline. This ice skating rink is a holiday favorite for several locals. Due to convenience and being able to find, this area is the place to be during the cold, winter months. If skating with a crowd isn’t something you jump for joy about, the skating rink is open throughout March, so there will be time to skate in peace after the New Year.

 

Be sure to check online for more information and specified hours. The rink is free but if you need to rent skates, rentals are available for around $10.

Lincoln Park Zoo and Zoo Light Festive Fun

Head to the Lincoln Park Zoo for some family tradition and festive fun in Chicago. Between the fun seasonal activities and bright illuminations, your Christmas spirit will for sure blossom. Whether you want to take the kids, or just stroll around with some adults, it’s the ideal place for anyone. Admission to the Lincoln Park Zoo is free.

 

Polar Adventure Days

Mainly for kids, Polar Adventure Days boast tons of fun such as meeting and greeting Siberian huskies, live music, storytelling, and ice sculpture creations. This is the 13th year for Adventure Days and it’s the perfect spot for some winter fun in the Chicago area. Once you’re done, you can explore nearby attractions, including the Adler Planetarium, where your children can learn about space exploration. Admission to the Polar Adventure Days is free and Adler Planetarium tickets come included with your Go Chicago Card.

 

What type of winter, snowy fun will your family have this year? Share and spread your ideas to spread Christmas spirit with us and our readers.

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9 of the Most Romantic Canals in the World

 

You’ve probably seen a cliché, romantic scene with a couple on a gondola, going down a waterway under the moonlight. You may have only seen these images in movies and on TV, but the truth is that they can indeed be a reality!

If you want to experience true romance, find a short-term rental property on CuddlyNest in one of the following cities and go on the romantic adventure of a lifetime.

Venice, Italy

 

 

That cliché scene you were thinking of? You were probably thinking of one of the canals in Italy. Italy is famous for its romantic scenery, but perhaps no location is more iconic than Venice and their Grand Canal. Gondolas take tours and couples up and down the Grand Canal all day, especially under the Bridge of Sighs. There’s a legend that says if a couple kisses under this structure, their love will be eternal.

 

Annecy, France

 

France is even more beautiful when you’re touring it via a canal boat ride. For optimum romance, head to Annecy and sail past Vieille Ville, a part of the city containing a myriad of cafes, bridges, and shops that all have a decidedly French flair. Once you’re off the bridge, stop by the lover’s bridge, Pont des Amours

 

St. Petersburg, Russia

If you decide to travel down the Griboyedov Canal in St. Petersburg, you’ll get to see the stunning Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood up close. The canal flows for about three miles, showing you downtown St. Petersburg like you can’t experience it anywhere else.

 

 

Alleppey, India

 

The canals that can be found in Alleppey are numerous and winding. Couples can enjoy a relaxing boat ride while under cover of palm trees, exploring Indian villages from a houseboat. You can see everyday activities like prawn fishing and peek in on villages from your comfortable boat.

 

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Canals may not be the first thing to come to mind when you think about Amsterdam, which may be why it’s surprising that there are 165 running through the city. At night, the boats that line the sides of these canals light up to match the bright lights of the shops and restaurants of the city (pictured above), casting Amsterdam in a yellow glow.

 

Nan Madol, Micronesia

Nan Madol is a treat to see in the first place, but experiencing it via a canal boat is an even more incredible experience. The sunken city can be toured by boat, which can allow couples to experience the city that inspired famed authors like Lovecraft and Rollins.

 

Suzhou, China

Suzhou is where you can travel to experience a canal experience under beautiful Chinese blossoms. Dubbed “Venice of the East,” Suzhou, China is home to another Grand Canal that has been around for over a thousand years. Tourists can enjoy a ride down this canal in a traditional Chinese boat while observing the everyday goings on of this beautiful city.

 

Bruges, Belgium

 

Bruges, Belgium is called “Venice of the North.” By traveling the canals in Bruges, you can get a personal look at the Europe you can see in fairytale illustrations — orange brick buildings, green yards with ducks and geese. The scenery is medieval and absolutely stunning.

 

 

Stockholm, Sweden

 

Finally, Stockholm is a beautiful city with a long canal of its own, linking the city to Gothenburg. The Gota Canal is man-made and took over two decades to complete, though the finished product is well worth it. Couples can see historic churches and palaces along their ride, and there are numerous docking spots for a quick lunch or dinner.

 

Romance is waiting for you in any one of these cities. Check out our current rental options on CuddlyNest.com and pick the destination that’s right for you!