Stay Curious

Stay Curious
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The 10 Best Things to Do Around Christmas

You may have chosen to celebrate the most festive time of the year somewhere else? We have got the perfect adventures ready for you! These 10 best things to do around christmas worldwide will set every grouch into the right spirit!

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10 Travel Tips – How Not to Be a Tourist

How to explore new destinations without being labeled as a tourist? With these 10 travel tips we will ensure you to discover the soul of the unknown city!

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Our 5 Top Places to Celebrate New Years Eve 2014

Avoid tourist hordes and see the New Year 2015 in the following 5 top destinations!

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Winter Time – Theater Time

Theater fun facts and the hottest shows for this winters season of spectacles when you just need to sit back and enjoy the entertainment!

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The 10 Best Things to Do Around Christmas

It’s that time of the year again…christmas carols can be heard throughout the city, the smell of gingerbread cookies and mulled wine lingers in the air and the first snow is falling. With the days getting shorter and Christmas is approaching, you may have chosen to celebrate the most festive time of the year somewhere else, to discover new christmas customs and explore a new holiday destination? We have got the perfect adventures ready for you! These 10 best things to do around christmas worldwide will set every grouch into the right spirit!

1. Manhattan – Holiday Yacht Cruise with Jazz, Cocoa & Carols

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New York, New York – one of the most beautiful places to celebrate christmas. The whole city turns into a winter wonder land and you are right in the middle of it! Why not explore the city from a different setting for once? Jump on-board a cruise ship which is illuminated with beautiful christmas lights and let the journey begin! Sail around Manhattan and see the New York skyline, decked out in its Christmas clothes, and warm up with complimentary cocoa and cookies as you listen to live entertainment and carols!

2. Chicago – Christmas Light Tour

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This enjoyable Christmas lights tour will take you through the brightly decorated streets of Chicago in the evening. Never been to one of Germany’s famous Christmas markets? Well now is the time! Chicago is known to have one of the most authentic German markets look-a-likes set up in town. Enjoy delicious mulled wine or hot cocoa which will definitely warm you up! Otherwise, just take in the festive atmosphere and sing along the choir that gives carols to its best. 

3. Paris Christmas Gourmet Tour of St-Germain-des-Prés

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Paris, voila! You are lucky enough to be spending a few days in one of the most romantic cities in the world. But, during the holiday season, Paris even steps up a notch and presents itself in magical Christmas decoration which will take your breath away! And then there is the food…discover the magic of Christmas with this special winter gourmet tour in the heart of the bohemian Paris neighborhood of St-Germain-des-Prés. Your guide will escort you to some wonderful specialist gourmet shops, from pâtisseries to boulangeries, introduce you to chocolate makers and invite you to sample a superb selection of delicacies along the way…bon appetit! 

4. Kayak Tour in Rio de Janeiro

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Every year for the past 18, the city of Rio de Janeiro has built one of the country’s most enchanting Christmas trees and set it floating through the waters of the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, casting the city in a spectacle of light and sound. Hop on a kayak to experience this unique spectacle and learn more about the rich history of Rio and its christmas tree while paddling towards the floating tree. A must see for locals- and visitors, this tour provides you not only with insider-information but also offers you one of the best shows of the year here in Rio. 

5. Experience Christmas shopping in Prague

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Prague is one of the most romantic capitals in Europe and has its very own charm, why not visit it with somebody who knows all about the fascinating city? Your guide will take you to the largest market at Old Town Square where you can see the biggest Christmas tree in Prague and many other stalls and activities. Enjoy the festive surrounds and activities and take the chance to buy some unique Christmas presents for your loved ones at home. Varying from artisanal soap to delicious chocolate and hand-knitted scarfs, the choice is yours! Apart from shopping you will also hear many interesting facts about the historic side of the city and how Christmas is being celebrated. Merry Christmas! 

6. Rome: Christmas Traditions Tour

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Discover how Romans celebrate the holiday season, and see the city’s spectacular festive decorations, from Piazza del Popolo to Piazza di Spagna! 

7. Berlin Christmas Lights Tour by Bus

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Berlin, recently ranked as the most fun city in the world, has got much to offer not only when it comes down to partying: During Christmas season, the city itself is beautifully illuminated for the festive time of the year. Every evening the city will be ablaze with light – feel the fascinating magic throughout and hop-on a bus which will take you to the most famous sights, allowing you to take breathtaking photos of the most popular attractions. Finally, visit one of the many stunning Christmas markets in town and drink the traditional mulled wine which is also available in many different variations, e.g. orange-ginger, strawberry and much more! 

8. Vienna Christmas Markets Tour

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Stroll through the markets at the Rathaus or the Belvedere Palace, wander over to those at Marien Theresian Platz, Schönbrunn, or Karlsplatz, or opt for the most known and largest of them all held in front of the City Hall. The unique backdrop gives this market a charm all of its own, and the delicious aroma of punch, traditional gingerbread, roasted almonds and honey is enough to lull any visitor into the seasonal joy.

9. London Christmas Bike Tour

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Tour the festive lights and sights of London, with a bike tour across the seasonal displays and Christmas markets. See the lights at Oxford Street and Covent Garden, visit the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, and see the Harrods’ window displays! London during Christmas time is a must-see – while riding along the lovely decorated streets you’ll also learn interesting facts about the main sights that you will come along and learn about what the locals do on Christmas day and during the holiday season. 

10. Stockholm: Christmas Old Town by Lantern Light

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Stroll down the enchanted streets of Stockholm by lantern light at Christmas time. This walk offers a blend of history and Swedish Christmas traditions. Walk along winding alleys to the aroma of glögg and pepparkakor – traditional holiday treats! Take in the city during this season of the year and see how it comes to live at night, while learning about traditional Christmas celebrations and finishing up your stay in the Swedish capital with the whole family. 

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10 Travel Tips – How Not to Be a Tourist

We all know the problem: getting into town on vacation and not really knowing where to go first in order to truly discover the beauty of the city, or how to act like a local! Travel trends have recently changed: from exploring the typical touristic points of attractions and being surrounded by other travelers, to more unusual sights or just taking in the city as it is: Eating a gelato on a piazza in Rome, and going for a walk near the Montmartre in Paris rather than visiting the Eiffel Tower immediately.  

How to explore new destinations without being labeled as a tourist? With the following 10  tips we will ensure you will discover the heart of the unknown city and will go where the locals are:

1. Stay in local neighborhoods

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What’s the point of you staying in the city center where most of the stores close by 8pm, when the locals goes home after work and the streets are empty? Exactly. That’s why we recommend you should figure out where the best neighborhoods are and which are also the least touristic. Check out Wimdu, an online-platform where locals rent out there apartments while on vacation. This is not only a cheap way but also it gives you the most authentic experience when traveling as you are actually staying at a local’s home! 

2. Work out

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Going for a run in Paris for example, you will explore random neighborhoods, charming streets and places you may would have never discovered while following the tourist crowd to the Louvre. Hold on, we are not saying don’t visit the Louvre (here you can skip the line) but by checking out other places of the city we promise you a totally different view of your holiday destination! But back to the sporty side of life: In Shanghai for example, you can find old ladies on the street or in the parks doing Tai Chi and they are always happy if people join them! Can’t get much more local. 

3. No time for souvenirs

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Instead of running to the first tourist shop near the biggest main attraction for some souvenirs, go check out small boutique shops in your neighborhood. You will be amazed by the variety of original present that may be found in local street art or interior design shops. Another tip is to visit a book store as you will find artsy postcards and much more to send home apart from typical ‘attraction’ cards. 

4. Get a massage or haircut

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What’s better than getting a haircut or a spa treatment while on vacation? First of all you have finally got the time for it and secondly, you will feel so local doing it! Depending on where you are going, the city can be specialized in certain treats, e.g. Thailand is known for their excellent massages, in Finland you should go for a sweatbath and in Paris, the City of Fashion, you can get the latest hair cut fresh from the catwalk. 

5. Rent a bike

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Of course, when in Amsterdam, you should definitely rent a bike like everyone does. But – what about Prague, Berlin or Rome? If you are scared to ride a bike alone, we can recommend you guided bike tours. In case you want to explore the city at your own pace, rent a bike and have fun! No need always to follow a map, just enjoy the ride and take in the city to its fullest! You will discover places far away from the common touristic paths.

6. Meet up with friends of friends

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Yes, you are here to spend time with your family but it might not be a bad idea – if you don’t know anybody in town but your friends do –to meet up with them since they can provide you with the best insider tips as locals. It’s also nice to get to know new people! For singles – if you are new in town, check out one of the various apps which will make it easy to meet up with like minded people who are traveling around or share the same interests! 

7. Relax

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You don’t wanna be a tourist? Well, it’s easy. Do whatever you would do at home on a weekend: meaning, take a stroll along the park, ride your bike and check out new stores in the area! Far away from tourists, crowds and queues, you will discover the city at your own pace, totally at ease and still soak in its soul on a sunny afternoon, at a piazza watching the kids play and just enjoy life. 

8. Watch sports

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A Yankee game in New York City or watching the LA Lakers play in Los Angeles – it can’t get more local than that! Every nation loves its national sport and teams, so go on an visit a game somewhere! It is not only is it great to explore a new sport or cheer for one of your favorite teams but moreover, you will be far away from the touristy paths, leading again to a unique local experience. 

9. Visit a church

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Sunday morning, take the time to go to church in your destination of choice. Especially European churches are full of history, stunning architectural features and tell their own story. Taking part at a service, will make you also explore the countries culture and understand where they are coming from if it is not your religion. 

10.  Have dinner in unknown neighborhoods

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As for the question of where to eat – it is apparent, that we would not recommend you to eat near any major tourist attraction. Even in touristic areas you should be aware that the prices for a dinner can double compared to a restaurant in a less crowded area. For the real authentic treat, ask around in your area where you stay and locals will provide you with the best options to eat out and have a wonderful night – away from the masses. Tip: Take a foodie tour in your destination – mostly hosted by locals, you will get to know everything you need about the best food in town! 

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Our 5 Top Places to Celebrate New Years Eve 2014

Bye, bye 2014 – the year is nearly over and for the ones that don’t know where to celebrate this New Years Eve –we came up with several exciting options all over the world! Many cities offer fabulous fireworks, crazy party where you can dance the night or just piece and quiet if you wish to celebrate in tranquility. 

Avoid tourist hordes and see the New Year 2015 without any bruises in the following 5 top destinations and one special secret tip:  

1. At the end of the year in the Eternal City

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Rome has got a lot to offer. If you are only here for a weekend it is still obligatory to see as much as you can in the Italian capital. Where modernity meets antique, New Years celebrations are being held all over town. Especially at the Piazza di Popolo, the famous Spanish stairs and the chic shopping street Via Veneto are very popular for the end of the year festivities.  If you don’t feel like being stuck in a huge crowd and dance the night away, head over to the Pincio Hill where you can enjoy the best view of the city.

 

2. On to the Persian Gulf

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A bit more of an exotic New Years destination is the Emirate Dubai.  Moderate temperatures and the sea will definitely make the celebrations feel very differently and instead of freezing in the cold, you could be sitting in an hammock on the beach! However, party animals will rather be disappointed: The streets will remain quiet and it is not permitted to drink or party while outside. Regarding fireworks, the Emirate is just the ticket as in 2014 the cities fireworks went on for 6 minutes and blew up to half a million firecrackers in the air. For 2015, the spectacle which takes place at the Burj Khalifa will be yet another highlight. 

3. Celebrating in between continents

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A special New Years adventure will await you in Istanbul. Th Bosphorus Bridge which connects Asia with Europe will be illuminated by firework troughout the whole night. Go to the Asian part of the bridge and enjoy the festivities! The Galata Tower always holds a very spectacular gala during the day of New Years from which platform you will have an amazing view on the city and the fireworks as well. Up for a real Turkish party? Celebrate with thousands of citizens on the Taksim Square.  A huge advantage in Istanbul: The city consists of many hills so that you can see the fireworks from almost anywhere. A tour on a yacht can also be the perfect place for New Years celebrations. 

 

4. London Calling

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The British capital has got much to offer over the days of festivities too! In the past couple of years London became one of the most popular places to celebrate, worldwide. With almost half a million visitors, the fireworks can be best seen near Big Ben or the London Eye. This year however, it will cost 10 Pounds per person for the first time, due to the immense costs throughout the past years. If you don’t feel the need to see the firework live, you can watch it on huge video screen at Trafalgar Square. For the ones who want to avoid the crowds, pick a cruise on the river while dining and watching the fireworkf from the water! 

5. Firework in Down Under

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Sydney is the place to be when it comes to New Years festivities. Worldwide famous for the cities fireworks at the Harbor Bridge, you can enjpy the spectacle for over 12 minutes. Tickets to the best parties, events and reservations for restaurants are already fully booked months before so make sure to reserve your tickets early! You can’t drink alcohol in public but while waiting for the fireworks to start you may bring your own snacks. If you feel adventurous on the next day, climb the Harbor Bridge on a guided tour. 

Insider Tip:

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For all New Years grouches and haters, listen up: We have just the right destination for you. Asia! In Shanghai, you will not be bothered by loud firecrackers – the city will quietly start into its celebrations by flying over a million of Chinese lanterns up into the sky which illuminates the night in a warm light and makes the moment just very special and unique.  Hop on-board a cruise ship and spend New Years on the water while enjoying authentic Asian cuisine. Ganbei! In Japan, New Years is seen as a religious day and will be spent with the family in a very traditional way. At midnight, the first visit to the temple is due while the bells will jingle 108 times. Visit the extraordinary temples at your own pace and get to know the Japanese culture here. 

 

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Winter Time – Theater Time

As the  days get shorter, we tend to snuggle up on the couch in the warm and stay in at night. But – what’s better than a visit at the theater or taking the family to a comedy show? Winter time for us is definitely show time, to sit back and enjoy the spectacle while it’s snowing outside.

But do you actually know where the theater was invented? We came up with a list of  fun facts regarding the boards that mean the world and the highlights of this season’s best musicals,  dance performances and more!

The show must go on! Did you know that…

1.  The theater (‘behold’ in Greek) began in ancient Greece and was a former religious ceremony? The audiences at that time used their feet instead of their hands to applaud.

2. The place with the most costumes in the world (1.2 million) is….Disney Land Orlando.

3. The 27th of March is ‘International Theater Day’ since 1962, when the ‘Theater of Nations’ in Paris opened its doors to the public.

4. ‘Les Miserables’ is the world’s longest-running musical having opened in 1985.

5. In 1600, when Shakespeare performed his plays at the Globe Theater in London, no women were allowed to play. Young boys had to dress up as actresses since it seemed to be too risque a place for the ladies.

6.  Shakespeare wrote 37 plays and he invented the word ‘assassination’ which he used in the play ‘Macbeth’.

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7. The latest addition to the broadway’s famous musicals is ‘Aladdin’. Watch as the famous story of Aladdin is brought to life at New York’s Amsterdam Theater, and experience a magical new Broadway musical. 

8. In London, each year there are 18,000 performances being held, and over 13 million people are watching the many shows and musicals. 

9. Berlin has a unique offering for tourists: A bus that let’s you explore the city from its roof top but…on board are a bunch of excellent comedians that will also test your laughing muscle!

10. In New York, you can take a guided tour around the broadway theater district where you will learn all about the New Yorker stage history, see the most famous theaters and  get ready for 2 hours of non-stop entertainment! 

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