Best destination weddings

Top destination wedding locations for couples from USA

June is the month when the vacations start. It is also the most popular month for weddings. Destination weddings became very popular in last years and it seems appropriate to check some of the top holiday resorts where you can kill two birds with one stone – metaphorically speaking, of course, many of these spots are known by their protection of the nature – having a memorable (not necessary loud as Niagara) wedding experience for you and your guests, and spending some time (maybe even a honeymoon?) in exotic location.

What are the best wedding destinations for Americans?

We can make few different groups based on location, but I think the one with the beach and the ocean in major roles is so powerful, we can skip others for now. Maybe on some other occasion?
All used photos are available as Public Domain material.

beach wedding acapulco

Romantic sunset in Acapulco

destination wedding barbados

Sandy beach in Barbados

Destination weddings are not necessary the most expensive option, because many popular destinations are already well prepared and can offer complete packages with ceremony, not just tje wedding venue and catering. They are highly adaptable and can satisfy the most demanding customers and people who are pretty much on the budget. They got hi-tech luxurous and eco-friendly options, but the most important thing is, they can help the newlyweds with experienced wedding planners.

Considering the fact there are less guests in destination weddings than in classic ones, this means significant reduction of stress and much more chance for pleasant first step in matrimony.

bahamas destination wedding

Lovely resort in Bahamas

bermuda destination wedding

Spectacular view in Bermuda

Less guests has good and not so good sides. The fact is, you don’t invite just everybody on destination wedding. It’s actually a great chance to keep things simple ad avoid people you don’t really know or you know them, but you’d rather don’t. Because a destination wedding is in most cases a three day event, you will have plenty of opportunities to hang out with everybody and enjoy the party, not just like many newlyweds experience when the run from table to table, to thank all three hundred invitees for being there in only few hours.

On the other side, some of your friends can’t afford to pay for the trip.Or the can pay, but this will be very painful for their pockets and their laugh at the wedding won’t be so loud as you may wish. Even if you pay for their travel and stay, there is still a chance they can’t afford to spend full three days away from their homes or jobs or whatever they have hundreds miles away from the exotic location of your choice. So be careful – it is very likely some people you care about, can’t be there.

I try to look at this dilemma on the bright side. If somebody can’t attend the party, we can catch up at the after-party!

jamaica destination wedding

Jamaica is known by eco-friendly facilities

bora bora destination wedding

Bora Bora offers very memorable experience

Apart from ceremonial part there will be plenty of other, less formal activities. The places offer some of the best beaches in the world, there will be a lot of sun, sea and free time. When you think about the locations, think about your guest’ preferences as well do the dive? Snorkeling? Windsurf? Or gamble? Exploring new places and cultures, making new friends? Most of wedding planners can arrange activities as short trips or sightseeing. It is up to you, to go through the list of your guests and find out what can be of their best interest.

destination wedding costa rica

Imagine leisure time under the palms of Costa Rica

destination wedding hawaii

There is no top list without Hawaii

Let me make one more point about destination weddings. Many couples today come from very different parts of the country. With a location which is kind of neutral terrain, maybe a place, which means something special to both of them, or a location they would like to visit some day anyway, their first step in the most important journey of their lives.

california destination wedding

California can offer beautiful nature

beach weddings in florida

Florida is known by beach weddings

For the final touch I have chosen two popular locations in Europe. A destination wedding in Greece or in Italy (Dubrovnik, Croatia, would be my choice, but, please, don’t tell that anybody!) can be a beautiful introduction in prologed vacation for guest and of course honeymoon for the happy couple. But remember: there will probably be parents of both and a honeymoon with parents doesn’t count as the real honeymoon.

destination wedding santorini

Santorini, Greece, looks like totally different world

destination weddings in capri italy

Cheers from Capri, Italy!

Last but not least! Before you send the invites, check the legal issues. If you decide to marry in different country (or at least state), you still want to have all the papers in perfect condition. you don’t want to find out after few years your marriage is not valid because you didn’t sign a certain document, don’t you?

Have the best destination wedding ever!

Interesting facts about history of Dubrovnik

Ever heard about Dubrovnik? Check it’s interesting history with next facts!

Dubrovnik is the pearl of Adriatic. (Lord Byron)

If you by any chance already heard about Dubrovnik, it was probably in connection with luxurious holiday locations for celebrities. It is actually not a fresh trend. I found out Agatha Christie spent her honeymoon in Dubrovnik. When we look at spectacular fortifications and amazing beaches, it is very easy to miss how much the city more has to offer.

city-walls-of-dubrovnik

So here are some interesting facts about Dubrovnik:

1. The name Dubrovnik is derived from dubrava (oak tree), but distorted by Turks to Dobro-Venedik (Good Venice). Venice was long-term rival and ally to the city.

2. Despite the legend of being founded on rocky island which served as a shelter , latest findings suggest it was established by Greek sailors what is supported with with next facts:

– being approximately half way between two well known Greek settlements,

– lying about one day of travel by a ship from each,

– having a good supply of fresh water.

3. It is believed Dubrovnik is among ten best preserved medieval walled cities in the world.

4. Dubrovnik was a center of Republic of Dubrovnik (1325-1808) which was independent under protection of Turkish Empire and other stronger entities. With over three hundred ships it had at its peak the third biggest capacity of ships in the world.

5. Motto of the Republic was: “Liberty can’t be sold for all the gold.” Dubrovnik officially abolished slavery in 1416, centuries before Great Britain or USA (both in 19th century).

6. There is a rumor Republic of Dubrovnik was the first state which recognized United States as independent country. This is not true for several reasons including simple fact Republic of Dubrovnik wasn’t real sovereign, but it is true they were probably the first who have sent merchants in New York in 1776 right after the Declaration was signed.

spectacular picture of dubrovnik by night

7. It is on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO from 1979.

8. The Patron Saint of Dubrovnik is Saint Blaise, who supposedly warned the rector of the cathedral in his dreams against the invasion of Venetians. There is a huge feast in his honor in every February.

9. There are 5.423 steps in Old Town of Dubrovnik: 1.080 on the city wall and 4.343 within the perimeter.

10. Considering rich cultural, scientific and political history it should be no surprise to find it as a scene of numerous festivals and other important international events, especially in July and August.

If you search for the Paradise on Earth, you should visit Dubrovnik. (George Bernard Shaw)

 

Vintage paintings as source of inspiration for the next vacation

Do you like vintage paintings of country houses?

I owe my today’s inspiration to Helen Allingham, fine painter who’s specialty were watercolor paintings of old country houses. By old I mean they were already old when she decided to portray them on canvass. Why she did that, apart from the obvious ‘they are so cute’ factor?

Well, the reason is pretty simple. She loved the idyllic countryside of England and she lived in times when everything was changing. (Aren’t we all living in times with too many changes?) So she traveled around and painted houses just before they were demolished by new owners which were new riches from London, looking for escape place from town where they actually earned the chance to leave it. And destroy something beautiful by the way.

Just because these house were old.

Or just because.

Shall we take a look?

01-helen-allingham-photo-portrait 02-in-the-farmhouse-garden 03-the-market-cross 04-the-robin 05-miltons-house 06-the-waller-oak 07-apple-and-pear-blossom 08-the-young-customers 09-the-sand-martins-haunt 10-the-old-mens-gardens 11-the-clothes-line 12-the-convalescent 13-the-goat-carriage 14-the-clothes-basket 15-in-the-hayloft 16-the-rabbit-hutch 17-the-donkey-ride 18-a-witley-lane 19-hindhead-from-witley-common 20-in-witley-village 21-blackdown-from-witley-common 22-the-fish-shop 23-the-childrens-tea 24-the-stile 25-pat-a-cake 26-lessons 27-bubbles 28-on-the-sands 29-drying-clothes 30-her-majestys-post-office 31-the-childrens-maypole 32-spring-on-the-kentish-downs 33-tig-bridge 34-spring-in-the-oakwood 35-the-cuckoo 36-the-old-yew-tree 37-the-hawthorn-valley 38-ox-eye-daisies 39-foxgloves 40-heather-on-crockham-hill 41-on-the-pilgrims-way 42-night-jar-lane 43-cherry-tree-cottage 44-cottage-at-chiddingfold 45-cittage-at-hambledon 46-in-wormley-wood 47-the-elder-bush 48-the-basket-woman 49-cottage-at-shottermill 50-valewood-farm 51-an-old-house-at-west-tarring 52-an-old-buckinghamshire-house 53-the-dukes-cottage 54-the-condemned-cottage 55-on-ide-hill 56-a-cheshire-cottage 57-the-six-bells 58-the-kentish-farmyard 59-study-of-a-rose-bush 60-wallflowers 61-minna 62-a-kentish-garden 63-cutting-cabbages 64-in-asummer-garden 65-by-the-terrace 66-the-south-border-1 67-the-south-border-2 68-study-of-leeks 69-the-apple-orchard 70-the-house 71-the-kitchen-garden 72-the-dairy 73-one-of-lord-tennysons-cottages 74-a-garden-in-october 75-hook-hill-farm 76-at-pound-green 77-a-cottage-at-freshwater-gate 78-a-cabin-at-ballyshannon 79-the-fairy-bridges 80-the-church-of-sta-maria-della-salute 81-a-fruit-stall

 

All these beautiful vintage paintings can be found in the Happy England, book published in 1903 by Adam and Charles Black. The first picture is of course photo of the artist, lady Helen Allingham herself and the last two are paintings from Venice, one of rare, if not the only occasion, when she left her homeland. All other painting are presentations of her country, part of her life which she managed to preserve although nobody asked her to do it. In my previous post I was talking about London, one of the favorite tourist destinations in the world ever. But only with artwork of Helen Allingham we can clearly see how much more has England to offer.

At least is had not so long ago. I bet it still can. And the same story is with all other countries. We really don’t know enough about cute little spots known only to the locals and selected elite.

Imagine to have a chance to have a vacation in one of these scenes. I am not talking about fancy replicas which, I am sure, are still available somewhere, at least to some extend. I am talking about the real thing. Can we do that?

Next set of images is also done by Helen Allingham. The book, where all were published is titled The Homes of Tennyson, publisher is the same, year of first edition 1905. Tennyson from the title is of course one of the most famous poets ever, Alfred Tennyson, first Baron Tennyson, Poet Laureate, who for many years lived and wrote in two locations: Farringford House on the Isle of Wight and Aldworth in West Sussex. Both homes with surroundings and the magic of time were captured by Ms. Helen Allingham and here they are:

01-aldworth 02-tennysons-down 03-the-primrose-path-of-dalliance 04-the-glade 05-gimpse-of-farringford-from-the-upper-lawn 06-farringford 07-freshwater-bay 08-arbour-in-farringford-kitchen-garden 09-in-the-kitchen-garden 10-the-kitchen-garden 11-the-dairy-door 12-farringford-dairy-and-home-farm 13-alsworth-from-blackdown 14-from-the-porch 15-chase-cottage-and-pond 16-the-temple-of-the-winds 17-cottage-at-roundhurst 18-shed-at-roundhurst 19-old-don 20-tennysons-woods-at-blackdown

Well, I prepared another set of beautiful paintings of country houses by Helen Allingham. She was apparently very prolific and in we still have 64 color plates published by Edward Arnold in 1909 to see how England looked one hundred years ago. I am sure, few pieces of this tranquility are still somewhere to be discovered, but it is up to you to discover and enjoy them. My main goal – to prove England has so much more than London to offer – is already achieved …

the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-01 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-02 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-03 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-04 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-05 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-06 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-07 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-08 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-09 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-10 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-11 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-12 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-13 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-14 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-15 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-16 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-17 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-18 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-19 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-20 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-21 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-22 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-23 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-24 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-25 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-26 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-27 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-28 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-29 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-30 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-31 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-32 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-33 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-34 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-35 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-36 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-37 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-38 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-39 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-40 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-41 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-42 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-43 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-44 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-45 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-46 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-47 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-48 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-49 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-50 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-51 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-52 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-53 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-54 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-55 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-56 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-57 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-58 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-59 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-60 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-61 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-62 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-63 the-cottage-homes-of-england-helen-allingham-64

I hope you enjoyed my little trip to vintage countryside. See you soon in new beautiful places!

What to do in London?

Things to do in London

 

With so many options the question is really not “What to do in London?”, but rather how to make the best of time in this metropolis. Because we are so different, don’t expect the exact answer with discount coupons. Well, I’ll probably should start …

 

photo-tower-of-london

 

Why London? It was named as the best city in the world several times. It claims it has best theater scene in the world, better museums than Paris and New York and is claimed as the cultural capital of the world. With so rich historical background and so many connections with all parts of the world, it can’t be far from truth.

Visit Tower Bridge and London Eye, or, if you are more into sacral objects, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral or less famous St Bride’s Church which tiered design supposedly inspired designs of modern wedding cakes, relax in at least one of the eight Royal Parks (from legendary Hyde Park with its legendary Speaker’s Corner to the Greenwich as the oldest of all Royal Parks and have it own herd of deers), walk over the Trafalgar Square or Millennium Bridge or even take a cruise on Thames River. Did you know you can visit Modern Tate Gallery with many collections of contemporary artists for free?

London is a city of technological innovations for centuries as well. The first traffic lights were installed in London at the House of Commons in 1868. They were made of semaphore arms and gas lamps of red and green color. The system was operated by a constable. Less than one month after the start lamps exploded due to the leakage of gas and injured him. The project was abandoned until 1912, when Salt Lake City in USA introduced electric traffic lights.

great-fire-of-london

 

London was also the largest city in the world for the majority of 19th century, when it counted from 1.3 to 6 million people. Now it has over 8 million people, but it is not even in top 10 anymore. Large cities are of course more prone to all sorts of catastrophes and London was no exception. Let’s point out only one which is particularly interesting because of the consequences. It was so called The Great Fire of London. Although it destroyed more than 13 thousand houses, the official number of deaths is only six. This sounds really shocking when we compare the number with number of people who died by jumping or dropping from the Monument to the Great Fire of London.

Yes, I could go on and on. But it’s still better to go – in London!

 

Is the journey more important than the destination?

We often say ‘The journey is more important than the destination.’ At first it makes sense. We are accustomed to setting goals. They keep us going. And going. And going …

photo of steam train

Not only WHERE, it is also HOW!

Unfortunately setting new goals (and chasing them) all the time can pan out pretty bad in the end. Why? Because in the end we run out of time!

If we focus only on destinations (goals), we miss all the beauty the path can offer. So it is journey which counts the most, right?

Not exactly.

Without goal we don’t have a motivation to start a journey. Without destination there is no path. It can’t be. Journey is always defined with a goal. Even if it changes and we achieve something completely different than we intended in the first place. Even if we never achieve the original goal. Yes, it’s the gold medal in the end of competition, but only memories from the path (trainings, friendships, adventures) will count in the long term.

A medal can be stolen much easier than the journey, so choose your path wisely and stop thinking about your goals only. Take moment to enjoy the path as well. It’s great to have dreams. Future without dreams is not worth mentioning. It’s even greater to have memories. Our past consists from memories only. They are the only proof of our existence.

But all in all we only have the present. Right here. Right now.

Don’t miss it.

Set your goals. Enjoy your path. Have a great moment!

Niagara Falls by Night

As you may probably notice, I am, among other things,  fascinated with everything related to water.

Some fun facts about Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls consists of three waterfalls: the American Falls, the Bridal Veil Falls (smallest) and the Horseshoe Falls (largest). It is a product of ice age and it is about 12 thousand years old. It is estimated it took only few weeks for the formation. As every fall it moves backwards thanks to erosion. With about five kilometers in 12 thousand years it is one of the fastest moving waterfalls in the world.

It’s height is about 54 m (21 m effectively due to loose rocks in the river base) with flow of 3000 tons per second on average. Almost 20 percent of world’s fresh water (it is largest system of fresh water on the Earth’s surface) is stored in the Great Lakes and about 80 percent of it is flown over Niagara Falls. This mass of water falling downwards produces noise of 95 decibels what can be compared with a noise by a rock concert.

niagara falls picture

Flow varies. It is also partially regulated by authorities and is greatest during summer months. Large percentage of this power is used by hydro electric power stations. This is the place from where first alternate current was transferred on long distance (in 1896). In the winter Niagara Falls can freeze and form so called ice bridge which can be several miles long and more than 20 m thick.

Niagara Falls attracts about 12 million tourists from all over the world. It also attracts many adventurers and stunts. Many tried to go over in a barrel or similar ‘equipment’. Some survived and some not. There were also several tightrope acts performed across the river including the longest walk without support in 2012. Apart from the falls the area offers wineries, restaurants, hotels, casinos and a convention center, golf course, shopping malls…

All in all… It’s a spectacular place to visit and they say in we have only about to to fifty thousand years before it disappears!

Better early than never

Old year is slowly dying and new year is knocking on the door…

fireworks at yokota japan

This beautiful firework celebrates friendship among two countries, two nations, but we can say it can also symbolize clearing everything old and making space for new things, new events, new friends. New year is one of rare opportunities when almost everybody in the world takes a minute, stop whatever important is he or she doing and maybe even contemplate a bit about the past.

While I am not huge fan of fireworks, I can still enjoy in their majestic beauty on special occasions. And this is actually what life is all about, isn’t it? Series of very special moments with periods of waiting…

Here is to the future, my friends!

Cheers!