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All You Need to Know About Crete

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Everything you need to know about eating, sleeping and sight-seeing in Crete. 

 The Lowdown:

Greece’s islands often get a bad rep and are considered more of a destination for boozed-up teens than a relaxing holiday haven or foodie paradise. One side that often gets overlooked when we’re flicking through photos of the blue hues of the sea, the resorts and beaches is that Crete has a long history of myths and legends – tales of which make travel to Crete a much more interesting experience.

The Legends: According to legends, Crete was the home of the monstrous Minotaur, who lived confined in King Minos’ labyrinth. As the story goes, he was eventually killed by brave Prince Theseus of Athens to prevent him from eating 7 Athenian girls and 7 Athenian boys. The legacy of King Minos’ dynasty (the oldest known civilization in the whole of Europe) lives on in the island’s magnificent palatial buildings, including, of course, the palace at Knossos. With its use of luxury materials and its grandiose size, it is a monumental symbol of the Minoan civilization. (It’s 150,000 square feet (14,000 square meters) in total!) According to legends, Crete is also the birthplace of the mighty Zeus, who was hidden in a cave by his mother Rhea so his father (Cronus) could not find him and kill him.

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What to do in Crete:  Aside from the palace, the old Venetian harbor in Chania is another favorite for visitors. With its beautiful old buildings, churches and shops it’s a great place to spend a relaxed afternoon in the sun. Those more interested in history and cultural artifacts will also enjoy a visit to the island of Spinalonga,  which is the last leper colony in Europe. Read The Island by Victoria Hislop before you go to get a sense of life as an ostracized leper living on the island.

What to eat in Crete:  Another pull Greece has over tourists is its fabulous cuisine, including: Mizithra cheese (a soft cheese, often compared to ricotta) Kaltsouni – like a calzone; a crepe stuffed with mixed bitter greens and mizithra Dakos – the Greek answer to bruschetta, finished with crumbled cheese (there’s a theme here…) Sfakiani pita – looks like a pancake but has cheese kneaded into the dough. Best served as a snack, dribbled with honey.

Where to feast in Crete:  One place that can guarantee to impress is  Dounias (Ntounias), a restaurant settled high up in the mountains.  It’s one of those small, family-run kind of places that will serve you up what they’re making that day. The food is all locally sourced, incredibly fresh and often killed that day (sorry vegetarians!)

When to pack your suitcase: May, June, September and October are the best months – the weather will still be warm and balmy, but hotel prices are likely to be cheaper and you won’t have to fight with hordes of bustling tourists for restaurant and café space.

Where to stay in Crete: The north of the island is home to Chania and Rethymnon – the old harbour towns, whereas the south is busier with resorts. When choosing where to stay in Crete, you could check out hotel reviews and base your location on which hotel sounds perfect for you. From there, rent a car to travel to the island’s hotspots (or go by taxi). Public transportation around the island is also good.

What’s the time there? Crete is 2 hours ahead of GMT.

How much for the essentials? In most bars, a beer will cost around 4 euros, a coffee will be 3 euros and bread at the supermarket will be 1,50. More information on prices can be found here.

Anything else? If you do decide to take the plunge and rent a car, be careful not to get caught doing anything untoward; traffic fines are astronomical!

Photos credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org

Krk – The Largest and Most Exciting Island in Croatia

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The lush Island of Krk is located in the northern Adriatic Sea, positioning it as a natural first stop for tourists visiting Continental Europe from the Balkans – and vice versa. Krk is one of the largest islands in Croatia, but not so large that it can support a crowded megalopolis, so instead of being cluttered by enormous buildings, the landscape is open and inviting, except for the occasional small town or village. The largest settlement on the island, also called Krk, has just over 6,000 residents, and most others have less than 2,000. The second largest community, Omisalj, hosts Rijeka Airport, and is connected to Rijeka, Croatia, by one of the largest concrete bridges in the world.

People have been living on the island since before the Roman Empire, and it’s historically been seen as one of the most beautiful places in the world to live. That reputation hasn’t receded in the modern era, and Krk has been voted as one of the best islands to live on. One of the real estate agencies, Casa de Mar Krk, gets regularly field calls from tourists that want a more permanent place on the island – which only proves the fact that Krk is one of the property hotspots in Croatia.

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image source: croatia.hr

Tourism is the largest industry in Krk, thanks to it’s perfect location and rich history. Every village has something to see, from ancient buildings to beautiful vistas boasting fantastic weather. The island has been inhabited so long, just about any era in history can be explored without ever leaving island.

Frankopen Castle in the town of Krk was first built in 1191, but restorations in the 14th and 16th centuries show the growth of European architecture during the time. The village of Vrbnik has a political charter dating back to 1388, and besides being home to the Gothic Chapel of the Rosary, offers visitors a view of vineyards that stretch out to the horizon – along with the promise of some delicious local wines.

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image source: ecotravel.pl

The island’s cultural history makes it a fantastic destination for food and wine lovers from all over. Besides having it’s own Croatian cuisine to draw from, chefs in the area have centuries of experience experimenting with foreign flavors to draw from. The restaurants on the island are some of the best in the region, and their position in the sea mean that seafood is as fresh as seafood is capable of being. Since the island is so sparsely populated, visiting foodies can also be sure that nearly everything on their table isn’t too far away from where it was grown or made.

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image source: croatia.hr

Even though the communities are small, they know what tourists want and they want it themselves. There are nightclubs, like Boa in Malinska and Jungle in Krk, that stay open all night, and many of the communities hold regular village parties, where DJs play on the waterfront and the weather is good enough people can stay out all night.

Reaching Krk is easy. Besides all of the ship tours that go to the area, Rijeka Airport in Omisalj is one of the busiest tourist airports in the area, and many of Europe’s economy airlines stop there. Accommodations are easy to find, since every village and town has numerous hotels, bed and breakfasts, and homes for rent. There’s even camping facilities.

Featured image source: 500px.com

Top 5 Croatian Islands For Unforgettable Holidays

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Croatia’s coast is dotted with a multitude of magnificent islands. While there is an enormous variety in the size of these islands, some are buzzing resorts, some host historic towns, and some are deserted. The stunningly beautiful islands tend to get crowded during peak season; however, late August and September are also a perfect time to enjoy the warm waters, ancient towns, vine-covered hills and fantastic food.

Susak

This small island is a true connoisseur of Mediterranean getaways. Susak is located off the coast of Losinj, and the island is largely made up of sand and boasts superb sandy beaches. The crumbly, ochre-colored cliffs are covered in ferns, wild fennel and soaring bamboo-like grasses. The island is crisscrossed by footpaths, which makes it easy to explore.

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Image source: puntarka.com

Susak Island is farther away from the Croatian mainland and therefore has retained many of its original traditions, such as archaic dialect and folk costumes that are unique to this little island. The island has a long tradition in growing vines and Susak wines are one among the best in Croatia. The island is home to the annual Air and Kite Festival. It is connected with the mainland through regular ferry services running from Losinj, Cres and Rijeka.

Rab

Rab is an odd island out in a country where classic sandy beaches are rare and it is an island of marvelous scenic diversity. This island is popular for its beautiful golden sand in Veli mel, a broad and shallow bay that is packed with paddling families. If you want to have a peaceful time alone, then there is a sequence of wilder, untouched, deserted sandy beaches lining Rab’s heavily indented northern shore. The island also features a cultural milieu dating back to pre-Roman times, a rich historic heritage, a bountiful sea, pine forests, high cliffs, and fertile fields, vineyards and olive groves.

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Image source: mcp.hr

Silba

The kidney-shaped Silba Island is located in the Zadar archipelago. The island brims with Mediterranean vegetation, aromatic herbs, incredibly clear sea, wonderful sandy and gravelly beaches, and untouched nature. You can enjoy swimming and sunbathing in the clear, unpolluted waters of the Adriatic in Silba’s numerous small beaches and bays. There are no roads for cars or motorcycles on this island, so you can enjoy a peaceful and relaxing holiday.

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Image source: croazia-silba.com

Hvar

This island is laid back and full of charm and it is popular with tourists who want a piece of the Mediterranean that is family-oriented, unspoiled and affordable. The island offers vast fields of lavender, ancient olive trees and vineyards, rich cultural and historic heritage, and a unique gastronomy. Some of its towns like the Vrboska, Jelsa and Stari Grad boast old stone houses and an unhurried, fishing village feel. Hvar enchants its visitors with its ruggedly unspoiled wealth of bays and coves, and beautiful beaches. You can find other amazing islands near Hvar like the island of Korcula, Vis and Komiza. The best way to reach and explore them is by boat. If you don`t have your own you can simply get one from a charter in Croatia and start exploring them. You will be surprised what these gems have to offer. They are definitely worth the visit.

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Image source: ljepotejadranskogmora.com

Island Brac

This is the largest island of the central Dalmatian group of islands and the third largest among the Adriatic Islands. Island Brac also features Vidova Gora, the highest peak of all Croatian Islands. Zlatni rat in Bol, a very popular beach in Brac Island, is one of the most beautiful in the entire Adriatic. This island is not only a place of exceptional beauty, but it is also full of traditions and secrets that will enchant a visitor. The quarries in Brac are the symbol of the island and from here stone has been taken since Roman times. The high quality white stones have been used to build some very important buildings like the Cathedral in Sibenik, the White House and the Palace of Diocletian in Split. Brac boasts a rich historic and cultural heritage, beautiful beaches and bays, crystalline waters, and a unique gastronomy.

The Croatian islands have become very popular tourist destinations and they are well connected by ferries. The stunning array of beautiful islands offer their own unique attractions and sights. The sheer diversity of Croatia’s islands ensures that there is something for everyone.

Featured Image source: direct-croatia.com

Top Destination Wedding Locations

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For many engaged couples it is easy to get captivated by the allure of tying the knot overseas. Exotic locations and unbeatable experiences that suit your personal tastes will make for a perfect special day. However when it comes time to select a location it is best to remember that as well as choosing where you will marry, you are also choosing where your guests will vacation next. This means that you need to select a location that has mass appeal in order to attract your guests to make the journey. To help you decide we’ve compiled our list of some of the world’s finest destination wedding locations detailing exactly what sets them apart.

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Hawaii
Made up of several plentiful islands each with their own unique features and feel couples are guaranteed to find their ideal seaside setting in Hawaii. For couples seeking a more private and secluded affair it is best to head for the Big Island or Maui which are known for having fewer crowds. The Hawaiian Islands boast picturesque landscapes of pristine coastlines, stunning waterfalls and rugged terrain including mountains and volcanoes. Couples will enjoy the diversity on offer and will be particularly fond of the luxury hotels and resorts that provide the perfect escape. Friendly locals and a colourful culture only add to the appeal of Hawaii and with a range of activities to suit all tastes your guests will too love the appeal of a Hawaiian wedding.

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Mexico
Another popular beach wedding destination Mexico’s appealing warm weather, vast coast line, vibrant culture and array of enticing food options poses as a major drawcard for bridal couples. With an extensive amount of all-inclusive resorts to help plan the perfect destination wedding couples will struggle to find reasons why not to wed in Mexico. The local flavour of Mexico with its welcoming locals and exciting atmosphere (it is the home of tequila) will add flair to your wedding celebrations sure to entertain and captivate your guests.

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Bali
Known for its hospitable locals and astounding bargains bridal couples can tie the knot in Bali’s luxurious surrounds on a range of budgets. Boasting first-class resorts, lush scenery, beautiful beaches and a rich culture it’s easy to find yourself immersed in Bali’s distinct ambiance. Fast becoming a go to destination wedding location, Bali’s exceptional resorts and hotels are fully equipped with an array of experienced wedding planners and coordinators to ensure your day goes off without a hitch.

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Santorini, Greece
This European hot spot is famous for its crystal clear waters, volcano backdrop and breathtaking sunsets. The idyllic location that is Santorini has an unmistakable romantic atmosphere perfect for a wedding. The striking architecture of this ancient city combined with the delights of feasting on delectable Greek food is sure to entice your guests. The added beauty of tying the knot in Santorini is that you can then island hop for your honeymoon or embark on a sightseeing European adventure.

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Italy
A beautiful country filled with diverse landscapes to suit a range of wedding types. From exquisite vineyards and historic chapels with undeniable charm to Mediterranean beaches Italy has it all. A visual wonder Italy has a rich history and culture that offers an air of romance to any nuptials. Let’s also not forget to mention the food – nothing compares to traditional Italian fare and your guests will love sitting down to an Italian feast paired with local wines.

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Las Vegas
There’s nothing else quite like a Vegas wedding. Whether you choose to tie the knot in one of Las Vegas’ premium hotels and resorts or in one of the famous chapels on the strip it’s sure to be a memorable occasion. Couples can tie the knot on the tightest of budgets in Vegas with an abundance of wedding options and packages available to them. Your guests will love the excitement and fun that comes with Las Vegas and all its offerings. Aside from its obvious action packed nightlife, Las Vegas offers a beautiful backdrop and a great deal of activities to keep guests entertained.

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Fiji
This exotic location is famed for its magnificent beaches and lush forest scenery. Offering stunning landscapes Fiji is also credited as being one of the friendliest destinations in the world. Fiji has a distinct leisurely attitude which can be infectious ensuring a stress-free wedding day for all concerned. With a rich culture and paradise feel Fiji has a definite charm about it.

‘Kristi Charter is an experienced freelance writer with a breadth of knowledge across an array of subjects. Captivated by the wedding industry, Kristi is currently the Content and Social Media Coordinator at Giant Invitations‘.

 

5 PLACES TO EXPLORE DUBLIN WITH FUN!

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Are you tired of museums and parks?
Visit only the most interesting places in Dublin!

By driving to Dublin you can come across some inscription on the bridges like “BaileÁthaCliath” which was one of the names of the city meaning – Ford of the Reed Hurdles.
We are sure you will discover after visiting the city why it has been called so!
To help you in solving this interesting task we offer to rent a car to make your trip easier and more exciting.

1. Take a look at the 18th century unique Berkeley Costume and Toy Collection in the castle!

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Location: Rathfarnham Castle Dublin 14, Rathfarnham Road, Ireland
GPS position:53.298076 ,6.28363
Working hours: 10.00 – 17:00 Wednesday – Sunday.
Price range:free
Parking: not available
You can not only enjoy visiting Rathfarnham Castle but get a chance to see at your own eyes the Berkeley Costume and Toy Collection.
Why it is so exclusive?
Differently shaped toys, various precious dolls, costumes and dresses of the 18th-19th century attract people to this castle.
Do you want to know who has gathered these marvelous items?
Countess Ann Griffin Bernstorff, a well-known artist, was fascinated by the beauty of toys.
Her relatives helped to complete the collection over many years. Now we can display it in one of the apartments of the castle.

2. The King of Vampires is still alive inDraculaCastle!

Launch of Dublin: One City, One Book 2009

Location: Castle Dracula, Westwood Gym, Clontarf Road, Dublin 3
GPS position:53.359672, 6.199411
Working hours: Friday 19.30-22.00
Price range:25Euro (booked in advance(01) 8 51 21 51)
Parking: Free
Are you afraid of vampires? Maybe you want to feel yourself like a heroine of the “Buffy” movie fighting with different creatures and saving the world…?
Dracula Castle offers you 2 hours of incredible magic show.
Do not wonder if you see scaring characters which are following you in the tunnels and bridges, eerie sounds are heard from the Haunted Library.Zombies are trying to catch you in Gargoyle Courtyards!
Enjoy Graveyard Theatre with Vampire Show and bizarre Hilarious Comedy Show.
Here you can find everything about the life of Dracula from movies to death certificate.
By the way you can get 10% off and order night’s lodging for two people for 140 Euro if you make an online reservation.

3. Visit the old Dublin Castle to admire its beauty!

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Location: Dame Street, Dublin 2, Ireland
GPS position:53.343488, 6.266945
Working hours: Monday-Saturday: 9.45am – 4.45pm
Sunday 12.00pm – 4.45pm
Price range:Adults- €4.50
Children under 12- €2.00
Parking: Available at Werburg Street (7 min)
During 7 centuries the castle was used as a fortress, a residence of the King, a jail, a treasury, and a court.
The building was constructed in 13th century and carefully restored. Now it looks very respectable.
It is opened for the public visits.Now, there are held Presidential Inaugurations,reception of foreign delegations, banquets on the special occasionsand otherimportant events.
It is builtwith Norman courtyard, which is surrounded by high stone walls.Round towers can be seenat the corners.

4. Create a real masterpiece in Giddy Studios!

What colour?

Location: Unit 4, 1st Floor, Grange Road Retail Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin 16
GPS position:53.277296, 6.265013
Working hours: Mon- closed
Tue-Sat 10:00 – 18:00
Thu 10:00 – 20:30
Price range:13Euro
Parking: available
Have you ever tried to create something with your hands?
Giddy Studios will help you to make this dream come true!
Just imagine you can make a memorable present for your friends or your sweetheart.
This experience is good both for adults and children. Make an incredible art work which can be the best in your life.
What about the family portrait? It is also possible. All you have to do is to paint it and it will be completed in one of the furnaces.
This unique masterpiece will cost you 13 Euro. Do not hesitate and have fun!

5. Take part in exploring life of Irish immigrants by sailing Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship!

Dublin Docklands - The Jeanie Johnston is a replica of a three masted barque that was originally built in Quebec

Location: Dublin Docklands, Custom House Quay, Dublin 1
GPS position:53.347873, 6.247085
Working hours:
April-October
Every day 10.00-16.00
Price range:Adults- €9.00
Seniors, Students- €8.00
Children under 15- €5.00
Parking: available
If you are on the board of Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship it means that you want to learn more about people whotried to survive by crossing the Atlantic.
In this “museum on water”you can see figures of some people who wereforced to seek for a better life.
This ship saved lives of 2500 people who began a new life in North America and Europe.
It was one of the last of herkindcrossing the Atlantic in the 19th century.
The beautiful copy of Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship has tours every day and is very popular.
What is the best way to get to famous places in Dublin?

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you have chosen to travel to Dublin you must know that without your own transport it can be really hard to move through the city.
That’s why we offer you to rent one of comfortable cars. You might think that is too expensive…Well, actually it is not!
Renting a car is even cheaper than taking a taxi!
Follow http://ireland.rentalcars24h.com/dublin-airport to make an online reservation, which will take you not more than a few minutes. You can get your car just from the airport and enjoy traveling around Dublin.
Get the best trip with a rental car!

Featured image courtesy: wikimedia.org

The Tradition Of Bihari Cuisine

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It is no secret that food is important in India. It is such an integral part of life in India that the country’s cuisine has blended with its culture, traditions and ethos. Look at India state-by-state and you will see distinct flavours, aromas and tastes as you move across this vast expanse of land. Look a little deeper and you will discover differences in cooking styles and techniques as you move between urban and rural locations – even household to household.

The cuisine of Bihar is no different. It is predominantly vegetarian (Bihari society being influenced by Hindu and Buddhist values), but meat is eaten (chicken and mutton are the most common) and fish is also enjoyed (in part due to the fact that the Ganges, Sone and Gandak rivers flow through the state).

But it’s not just in the Indian state of Bihar that the cuisine is enjoyed. Bihari people originated in Bihar, but can be found in locations across the globe. As well as being eaten in the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra (amongst others), Bihari cuisine is also enjoyed in Nepal, Pakistan, Mauritius, Fiji and Trinidad and Tobago.

Traditionally, Biharis have been considered a down-trodden part of India’s society. They have long been seen as illiterate, corrupt law-breakers who carry out the menial jobs that others don’t want to do. This prejudice is slowly dissipating, but it is this cultural status of Biharis within the country is just one element of what has defined the cuisine.It has also been shaped by its history, geography and economic status.

One consistent element of Bihari cuisine is the use of mustard oil and panchporan (a five-spice blend of cumin seed, mustard seed, aniseed, fenugreek and black cumin seed).

Wherever you are living in the world, a traditional way to spend Saturday lunchtime is eating khichdi with friends and family. Often hailed as India’s favourite comfort food, khichdi is a dish made from rice and lentils. It is also believed to be the inspiration for the Anglo-Indian creation of kedgeree. It is a staple of Bihari cuisine and a dish that has become a much-loved part of family life.

For a lighter culinary alternative, there is litti – a popular snack which consists of balls of wheat, sattu and spices which are filled with ghee. As well as being eaten as food on the go, in western Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh litti is also served as an accompaniment to a larger meal. Litti feature alongside murgh korma (a mild chicken curry) and chokha (a mixture of roasted and pureed aubergine, tomato and potato) to create a well-rounded meal.
Sweets are also an important part of Bihari cuisine and in direct contrast to the syrupy sweets of Bengal, Bihari sweets tend to be dry.

If this has inspired you to sample some of India’s wonderful cuisine then you should treat yourself to a trip to one of London’s popular brasseries. Whether you live in the capital or are planning a weekend away, it is hard to beat the authentic taste of India. Our brasseries offer delicious meals, street food and sweets at a price that won’t bust the budget.

Fusing The Flavours Of India

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Fusion food is big news and has been for a long time. There’s long been a connection between British and Indian food and the resulting Anglo-Indian cuisine has been embraced enthusiastically by the UK today. But beyond the ubiquitous chicken tikka there are other ways that Indian food can be blended with other cuisines of the world. In theory, you can fuse Indian flavours with any cuisine – although some combinations will work far better than others. If you like to try new things in the kitchen, read on. Here are a few basics to help you inject some Indian pizzazz into your next family meal.

Be creative with spices
You don’t need to have a spice cupboard full of every spice ever included in any Indian recipe. All you need is a few well-chosen spices that will add a subtle Indian impact to your dish. Coriander will add an understated undertone to any dish, while cumin will add a warm, earthy note (plus the latter is the most-used spice in the world after black pepper, so is worth investing in).

Use whole spices
The ready-ground spices that are sold at supermarkets may be convenient, but they tend to lose their flavour very quickly. It’s best to buy your spices whole and grind them as you need them to get more intensity of flavour. They also last much longer. Add them to a dish at it will instantly transport you to India.

Dry roast the spices
A technique known as tempering, dry roasting a selection of spices to use in dishes is a great way to release the flavours. This is a technique that can be incorporated in many dishes to create a more intense taste – think macaroni cheese, home-made humus or anything else you fancy.

Use chutneys
Beyond mango chutney India has a while host of chutneys and pickles – both sweet and savoury – that are used as an accompaniment to dishes. But don’t just use them as a condiment, they work well in sandwiches or as marinades for meat. Indian chutneys include pineapple, coriander, coconut, ginger, onion, tomato and carrot, so you can see why they are so versatile.

Embrace chillies
Perhaps not literally, but certainly in cooking terms. Fresh chillies and dried chilli flakes are your friend in the kitchen. Use them sparingly or use them liberally – just make sure you use them!

Of course, there is no guarantee that by taking a taste of India and mixing it with your roast dinner and apple crumble you are going to create a meal that wows the family (although you never know). If you prefer not to experiment in the kitchen and enjoy eating out then there are other alternatives. Head to London and book a table at one of the capital’s excellent fine-dining Indian restaurants. Here you can taste mouth-watering meals, including a range of fusion dishes, prepared fresh for you by expert chefs. They’ve been cooking fusion dishes for a long time so there will be absolutely no nasty shocks.

The Healing Power Of Indian Food

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We may not realise it, but many of the ingredients used in Indian cooking have healing properties which are great for our overall health. In fact, ingredients found in typical Indian dishes have been used for thousands of years to treat certain conditions and improve overall health. Let’s take a look at some benefits of the ingredients found in Indian cuisine:

Garlic

Garlic – which is known as ‘Lassan’ in Hindi – is used in abundance in Indian cooking and contains endless benefits for the body. Garlic contains both anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, while it was recently discovered that it can also be used for the management of Diabetes. Garlic is good for boosting the immune system and is known to relieve symptoms associated with gum disease.

Chilli

Some like lots of it, while others prefer only a small amount in their curries. Nevertheless, chilli contains healing properties and has been used for centuries as a form of pain-relief. Chilli peppers are also renowned for improving circulation. In particular, the cayenne pepper is good for the physical healing of the body, as it is known to almost instantly stop any bleeding when it is applied to the wound.

Fenugreek

Fenugreek is a popular ingredient in dishes from India’s subcontinent. It contains properties that aid with digestion and can be eaten to prevent stomach cramps. It is also known to limit the side effects of flu.

Cumin seeds

Cumin is used to boost the flavour of many Indian dishes and eating it has numerous benefits for the body. The spice is known to boost the immune system, helping the body fight any illness. As well as this, it also aids indigestion and relieves stomach pain.

Turmeric

Turmeric, which is native to southeast India, offers numerous health benefits and is used in Indian medicine to help strengthen the body. The spice is known to aid digestion and contains antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.

In fact, turmeric has been discovered to contain anti-cancer properties, too. As well as this, researchers from the University of California found that consuming turmeric can limit the chance of you developing Alzheimer’s.

Cardamom

Native to south India, cardamom is a key ingredient of garam masala and many other Indian dishes. Cardamom is a great aid to digestion and can be used to fight fatigue and prevent flu.

Ginger

Ginger – particularly the root – is used in many Indian dishes and is known to limit flu symptoms and to help curb indigestion. Several studies have revealed that ginger is perfect for suppressing nausea; in fact, it is proven to be more effective than anti-nausea medicine that is prescribed over the counter.

So, not only is Indian food delicious, it is good for us too. To sample some of these spices in all their glory – and reap the health benefits they deliver – why not head down to one of London’s top fine-dining restaurants. There, you will be able to sample an array of mouth-watering dishes, all of which boast a delectable combination of Indian spices.

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A Guide to the Captivating Islands of Croatia

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The Croatian coastline, with more than 1000 dazzling islands, is one of the most beautiful in the world. People say that if you look out to the sea from any spot in the Croatian coastline, it is impossible not to notice a speck of green in the distance. It is interesting to note that the majority of the Croatian Islands is small and uninhabited. The travel guides reckon that there are only 20 islands which are popular among the tourists and locals. The colors and sounds of these beautiful islands are much more intense than the mainland and people can develop a serious addiction to these over time!

There has been a huge development in this part of the world after the Balkan War and some of the popular islands like Hvar, Brac & Korcula remain fully crowded during the peak months of July & August. The good thing is that accessibility to these islands has improved a lot with the introduction of boat and yacht rent services and a corresponding increase in the frequency of flights to the Rijeka Airport. The islands are very impressive and some of them house the last remains of the Greek & Roman civilization. Even if you hated history in school you will fall in love with the amphoras of Hvar and the archaeological bronzes off Mali Losinj. Examples of beautiful architecture of the Venetian Empire can be found in the capitals of Cres, Rab & Hvar.

Natural Attractions

There is a plethora of natural attractions on the islands of Croatia that will delight even the most discerning traveler. The Blue Cave of Bisevo is a spectacular play of light on the blue waters that will simply mesmerize your senses. The place is easily accessible by boat from the neighboring island of Vis. If you are big fan of wildlife then head towards the Cres Island where you can catch a glimpse of the griffon vulture. The gorgeous red corals of Korcula and the pebble promontory on Brac are equally popular with the tourists.

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image source: stjepantafra.com

Good Infrastructure

If you want to spend 2 – 3 days on an island then you need to choose one of those islands which have good infrastructure and have reliable ferry connections that will enable you to make day trips to the neighboring islets. The islands of Korcula, Krk, Cres and Mali Losinj fall in this category. They have good beaches, well laid out towns and a variety of restaurants.

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image source: telegraph.co.uk

Adventurous Activities

The islands of Croatia provide a perfect backdrop of adventurous activities that you can enjoy almost throughout the year. You can visit one of the nudist beaches and lie down there to relax or discover the traditional method of fishing with the help of a trawl net. The sunset sail excursion from the Krk Island is an exhilarating experience and should not be missed under any circumstances. Water-skiing is another enjoyable activity that you can pursue here and the kids love playing on the sun-kissed beaches.

croatia activities

image source: blog.campingsplit.com

Delicious Food

If you are a real foodie then you should enjoy exploring the islands of Croatia. Here you will get to savor the finest wine and authentic local dishes like squid lentils & barley, the scampi of Kvarner Gulf which are served in a risotto and the excellent fish stew of Hvrar. There are lots of things to do in Croatian Islands and it is all fun and excitement each day of the year. Now with the ease of accessibility, more and more tourists are making a beeline to visit these lovely islands on the Adriatic Sea. The fun, excitement and adventure of visiting these beautiful islands are simply incomparable.

croatia cuisine

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image source for featured image: croatia.hr

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Major attractions in Belfast, UK

Belfast (Featured) - 4 May 14

Belfast is the capital of and largest city in Northern Ireland, as well as the second largest city on the island of Ireland. It is the seat of devolved government and legislative Northern Ireland Assembly. The city forms part of the largest urban area in Northern Ireland. The city of Belfast has a population of around 267,500 and lies at the heart of the Belfast urban area.

A holiday in the Northern Irish city of Belfast is fast becoming one of the more fashionable new destinations for holiday makers.  Growing numbers of tourists are now attracted each year by Belfast’s charms.

Belfast is a very welcoming, friendly place to spend time and the relative peace it has enjoyed over the past decade has enabled it to flourish.  With a long history, some impressive architecture and vibrant nightlife, the city offers a great deal for those seeking a new city break holiday destination.  Belfast has ferry links with the UK, good road and rail links with the rest of Ireland and Belfast International Airport.  Belfast is easily accessible from other cities in the UK and Europe with regular scheduled flights coming into both Belfast City and Belfast International Airports. Travel from most UK destinations takes just over 1 hour.

UK Northern Ireland Belfast City Hall - 4 May 14

Belfast enjoyed rapid growth during the Industrial Revolution and many of the ornate 19th century buildings survive today, including the City Hall, Queen’s University, St George’s Market, the Ulster Bank and Northern Bank buildings, the Royal Courts of Justice and the Linehall Library.

A holiday in Belfast offers a lively arts scene, with theatre, live music and dance on at large and small venues across the city. The annual arts festival is very popular, while the Grand Opera House provides popular dance, music and drama production, the Lyric Theatre more contemporary works and the impressive Waterfront Hall has an impressive schedule of classical and modern music.

The city’s turbulent past is part of what has created it and, in order to better understand Belfast, holiday makers should tour the sectarian murals painted on walls and houses across the city.

Key places of interest within the city include the magnificent Belfast Castle, situated on Cave Hill, the flamboyant Crown Liquor Saloon, owned by the National Trust, the Belfast Botanic Gardens and palm house, the Albert Clock, the Ormeau Baths Gallery, the McNaughton Gallery and Belfast Zoo.

Belfast (Titanic) - 4 May 14

The major new attraction in the city is the Titanic Museum. Belfast has a proud reputation as a ship-building city. The giant cranes of the Harland & Wolf Shipyard dominate the skyline. The Titanic Museum will take you through the full life of this famous ship as well as providing a fascinating insight into ship building in Belfast.

The countryside around Belfast is beautiful and the stunning Giant’s Causeway, the huge Giant’s Ring neolithic henge, the Mourne Mountains, Carrickfergus Castle and the Sperrins are just a short drive away. If there is time, hire a car and do some exploring in the unspoilt landscapes outside Belfast.

UK Northern Ireland Belfast Palm House Botanical Gardens - 4 May 14

Belfast Botanical Gardens is a public park occupying 110,000 m² (28 acres) of south Belfast. The gardens’ most notable feature is the Palm House conservatory, a greenhouse that is specialised for the growing of palms and other tropical plants.  Designed by Charles Lanyon and built by Richard Turner, Belfast’s Palm House was built in 1840. This curvilinear cast iron glasshouse is one of the earliest examples of its kind in the world. It predates the Kew glasshouse in London by four years. It attracts about 600,000 visitors each year.

Victoria Square offers a vast array of shops and restaurants whilst the city centre has some great bars such as The Apartment.

Belfast (Night) - 4 May 14

The Value Cabs Taxi Tours offer tours of Belfast and beyond. Knowledgable drivers can do political tours of the city.

In the evenings, head for the many bars, restaurants and clubs across the city centre. The economic boom in Belfast has led to the opening of numerous stylish places to eat, drink and dance, while many of the older, characterful pubs remain.