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Monthly Archives: December 2016

Trip to The Hunter Valley this Winter

The hunter valley is definitely one of the more popular destinations in the whole of Australia, and just about every Australian has been there at some point in their lives. The entire valley is perfectly set for farming with more than enough rain throughout the year to keep the soil fertile and ideal for growing. During the winter time though, all of that moisture in the air gets cooled during the change of seasons, and when the average temperature starts to approach zero on a regular basis there is a good chance that you will see snow in that region during the middle of the year. It’s perfect for exploring around the country side when everything is covered in a white snowy blanket, not to mention all the fun things you can do in the snow. If you are tired of the cold and bored of being at home, you can take a mid-week break or perhaps even for a weekend. Couples can find great deals for the valley online, through sites like getawaylounge.com.au where you can book a last minute trip for you and your partner. The two of you can hop in the car early on a Friday afternoon after work and drive through there. If you are staying in Sydney or Melbourne, then it is the perfect distance for you to get there within a few hours by car. If you are up in Brisbane or anywhere else along the west coast, it might take you a little while longer. As long as you plan for it, you can make the road trip fun, just make sure that you keep warm the whole way through. If it is going to take you more than five hours to get there you might want to consider the midweek break, unless you can get the whole of Friday off. Once you get to the valley though, you can go ice-skating on the open air-rink, or perhaps even try your hand at skiing or snowboarding if there’s been enough snowfall. When you check into a lodge over there, you can get a room with a great view, so that even if you feel too cold to go out, you can always snuggle up indoors and keep warm in front of a fire while you enjoy each other’s company.

If you are brave enough, you can even enjoy an early morning champagne breakfast at a thousand feet up in a hot air balloon, watching the sun rise. It’s the perfect way to start your day, and from there it can only get better.

Way to Experience Patagonia

The prestigious holiday destination of Patagonia, positioned between Chile and Argentina attracts people from all over the world for various reasons. Some people visit the region to take in its natural beauty in its astounding scenery, whereas adrenaline junkies take advantage of the extreme natural phenomena such as the violent lakes that are perfect for kayaking and white water rafting. Whether visitors are looking for a peaceful break or an action packed holiday, everyone that sets foot on the region is taken back by its organic offerings.

As a world famous holiday destination, largely appreciated by students hoping to make the most out of their gap year, among many other types of people of course, Patagonia takes pride in what it has to offer those who seek serenity from the landscapes that appear untouched by mankind; a kind of peaceful solitude that only placid fishing lakes and graceful waterfalls can provide.

But the South American wonderland also accomodates for more adventurous holiday makers with the kind of dramatic mountain ranges sought by mountaineers from around the world, that also bring opportunities of skiing and mountain biking.

Another highly popular activity visitors take part in in Patagonia is trekking; exploring the truly unique landscape first hand and witnessing the region’s overwhelming natural offerings up close and personal. This activity is appreciated by all holiday makers, from those who enjoy simply observing the scenery to those who really get involved for an adrenaline rush that can’t be found anywhere else, because this exercise can be taken as far as you wish.

The Patagonian Treks are quickly building a reputation as a must do for everyone that visits the area, and this is because the landscape really has to be explored to be believed; shaped by the Andes and the ice cap, Patagonia is a unique natural wonder.

There are a number of different treks on offer, each taking a unique route and showcasing different parts of the scenery, such as the world famous Torres Del Paine route, venturing through beautiful icy mountain ranges, valleys, glaciers, and stopping for lunch by crystal blue lakes in an easy to manage day-long trip. At the other end of the spectrum, the Patagonian Icecap trek allows more adventurous trekkers to face extreme weather conditions as they will set up camp on the third largest mass of ice in the world.

The range of opportunities in the selection of treks on offer really does highlight the diversity of Patagonia as it accomodates for the contrasting personal tastes of different types of holiday makers, deeming these adventures an absolute essentiality for anyone that sets foot on Patagonia and hopes to make the most of what it has to offer.

Bamboo Grove of China

With its diversified geographic environment and corresponding climate conditions, China is endowed with kinds of food materials which results in rich eating habits with distinguished features in different areas and regions. In traditional Chinese dietary, there is a particularly dainty come from the bamboo grove- bamboo shoots, which are fully employed in almost each of the four major Chinese cuisines- Cantonese, Sichuan, Shandong and Huaiyang (combining Anhui, Jiangsu and Zhejiang). Chinese chefs love bamboo shoots because of its simplicity of material quality which make it easy to match and assimilate other tastes, in especial to produce a splendid balance with greasy meat.

Bamboos can only flourish in a particular situation with abundant rainfall and relatively steady warm temperature. In consequence, the south China is favored by the nature and gifted with this kind of slim plant, and many people live around are their masters just living by them. In the southeast province of Zhejiang, numerous counties are abound in bamboos, and maso bamboos are the most common kind, from where the toothsome winter bamboo shoots are gained. As a rule of thumb, only a pure bamboo grove can produce bamboo shoots; the mixed plants of other species in the grove will affect the development of bamboos and no bamboo shoot can be found.

A sprout of bamboo hidden under the soil layer, winter bamboo shoot is not easy to be detected. Seen from the appearance in the grove, nothing exists except bamboos; but for those experienced masters, they can always figure out the accurate location of a bamboo shoot just from the colors of the tip of the bamboo. To find a bamboo grew for several years in the first place and then to dig along with the bamboo rhizome; when seeing the shoots, to dig and take out it gently. The fresh-keeping of this food is a big problem as the sprouts is the most vigorous part of the plant. Thankfully, smart bamboo masters have worked out an easy way, a best way taking advantage of the nature – to bury the shoots under the soft and moist soil on the site, and this retaining of the freshness will last for at least two weeks.

In the bamboo grove in Liuzhou, a city with only 2-hour drive to Guilin in the southwest province of Guangxi, it is the place where the sweet summer bamboo shoots are growing. The best time to reap the finest and most tender shoots of this kind is from the midmonth of every June to the midmonth of September. Different from the winter shoots in Zhejiang, they are cut above the soil, and the reaping must be in right time as these shoots will turn to hard quickly after breaking through the soil. If cut not timely, they will taste bitter. Though less fresh and tender than winter shoots, summer shoots are the materials to make the best known pickled sour bamboo shoots of Liuzhou. The freshness of newly cut shoots is retained only for several hours, and people have to speed up to peel off the skins and pickle them in unique way, otherwise these shoots will soften and then rot after being cut in 4 hours.

Different ingredients conduce to various dishes, while slight differences of even one kind also contribute to varied flavors. A material common to find in bamboo groves, the bamboo shoots present frequently at table though cooked in different ways. Braised Bamboo Shoots and Bamboo Shoot Soup with Salted Pork are the most familiar homely dishes in Zhejiang. The former one is simple to cook- just cut fresh shoots into sections and braise them thoroughly in oil with sundry seasonings. As for the later dish, stir-fry salted pork and bamboo shoots according to the same proportion, and then stew with soup-stock; the blending of the salt flavor of the pork and the delicate of the shoots never fail to delight local mouths.

Among all typical local dishes of Guangxi, the stewed little yellow croaker with soybean and sour bamboo shoots is an extremely appetizing dish. Bamboo shoots are pickled in sour flavor in a unique way before cooking in Liuzhou, and this distinct flavor not only contributes to many a delicious homely dish but also a foremost auxiliary material in a national known local snack, Luo Si Fen- the rice noodles cooked in spiral shell soup.

Bamboo shoot is a kind of seasonal food that difficult to store, but the vital reproductive bamboos offers its delicate shoots to people at most of the time of a year all in spring, summer and winter. Though slightly different in the flavor, they are essentially the same and loved by every bamboo-shoot addict.

Destination in Vietnam For Adventure Tourists

Trekking routes across the Karst plateau of Dong Van Town, situated in northeast Ha Giang Province, have become increasingly popular since being recognized as part of the Global Network of National Geoparks (GGN) in 2010. Dong Van-based Karst Plateau Travel offers amazing trekking routes between the rocky town, ethnic Mong villages in Ma Le and Thien Huong as well as up to the Ma Pi Leng mountain pass.

The 18km route from Ma Le to Thien Huong has become known as the valley of rocks due to its spectacular natural appearance. As per schedule, tourists are taken to Ma Le Village, 5km from central Dong Van, via van before embarking on a full-day tour.

“The trip is amazing. The landscape and natural conditions across the 1,600m above sea level area has lured many travelers,” said Karst Plateau travel agent Hoang Anh Tuan. “The wild routes offer the perfect conditions for memorable experiences such as barbecues,” he said. Tuan added that tour groups are always accompanied by local Mong guides to avoid people getting lost.

Tourists are additionally provided with sticks and jungle-knives to help them make their way through dense undergrowth. Ta Lang Village, home to the hospitable Giay and Tay ethnic groups, is the first stop.

“Because tourists often can’t speak their language, the hosts may refuse to welcome them into their homes. That’s where we as guides come in handy,” said local guide Li Thanh Hong.

“We always prepare lunch near the Nho Que river-bank while often buying either goat or chicken meat for barbeque parties in the jungle,” Hong added.

“It’s like a wild life lunch. Local guides often teach tourists how to catch fish by hand,” said tour guide Luc Thi Thuy. She added that fish is mostly grilled alongside moss while chicken is coated with clay before being placed on the fire.

Vertical limit: The route is very tough and challenging, and the mountain pathways are almost vertical in places. Ban Mo Village is another favourite stop over for lunch with visitors seated on stone slabs in the middle of the Nho Que River in the dry season. The last and final trek of the day, running 7km uphill from the river-bank to the top of the Ma Pi Leng mountain pass, takes a challenging two hours.

“The route is very tough, but also very interesting. The mountain pathways are almost vertical,” said Anh Tuan, who designed the route two years ago.

“When you reach the top, the river looks like a silk thread cutting through the deep valley.” The tour reaches its end on top of the Ma Pi Leng mountain pass from where tourists are taken back to Dong Van Town to while away the afternoon in exploration. Tour operators offer packages from US$100 for groups of four, which includes transportation from Ha Noi to Dong Van Town.

Karst Plateau also provides trekking tours via Tam Son Town in Quan Ba District as well as in the districts of Yen Minh and Meo Vac. Tourists always benefit from exploring the UNESCO recognised town as a member of the Global Network of National Geoparks. The town’s main market day falls on Sundays while it lights up with lanterns on Saturday nights. Dong Van Town is a definite must on the tourist radar due to its spectacular natural surroundings and its well preserved cultural and ethnic heritage.