ABBA The Museum opened its doors just one week ago and, as an enormous amount of luck would have it, free admission was the most exciting add-on to a competition won by a friend of mine that included return flights to Stockholm in a private jet for him and 49 friends, two nights’ accommodation at the Clarion Sign Hotel and a complimentary VisitStockholm pass. Not bad, eh?
The museum's slogan ‘Walk in, dance out’ couldn’t be more appropriate. This bad boy will have you laughing until you cry and begging your friends to go round again when you realise you've finally reached the gift shop. Shed your inhibitions at the front door and you will have more fun than you ever thought possible in a building with the word 'museum' in its title. Read more [...]
I recently posted about being in Rio for the Canival street parties. They were, understandably, awesome...each and every one of them. But you can't really go to Rio for Carnival and not see the biggest and most colourful show in the world - the Sambadrome Parade.
I only got round to booking my Sambadrome tickets a few weeks before the event, but our seats in sector 5 turned out to be among the best for getting a panoramic view of each of the schools as their floats passed by, followed by thousands of dancers in elaborate costumes.
Despite the hype that surrounds this event, though, I found that there were quite a few surprises in store...
Each parade lasts roughly 10 hours
With each of six schools taking pretty much bang on their Read more [...]
Ever been to a street party?
Truth is, if someone had asked me that question a few months ago, I'd have reeled off a bunch of outdoor urban gatherings, from the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations to Notting Hill Carnival. Hell, I might have even thrown in a couple of sleepovers from when I was a prepubescent and we used to roller blade up and down the pavement at the end of my parents' driveway.
But now, and with no disrespect to our reigning monarch, those tiny highlights on my social calendar feel like insignificant non-events, when compared with the world's biggest street party - Rio Carnival.
That's because, until you've had your limbs squashed up against thousands of international revellers dressed in the most ludicrous and elaborate Read more [...]
From the moment I crossed the border into Brazil, things started to go wrong. It was new year's day and my friend and I were trying to get to Foz so we could check into our hostel before a fleeting visit to Iguazu Falls. Things had gone smoothly until we got our passports stamped on the Brazilian side, and then the bus that was meant to come every 15 minutes just never showed. Grabbing a taxi instead, we only just made it in time to jog along the footpath at the falls for one hour before the park closed.
Later that evening, we headed into town to get money out and find some food. There were plenty of banks, but all of the ATMs were in foyers behind locked doors. It took us 45 minutes to find a restaurant that was open and three more hours Read more [...]
Traverse 2013 was my first experience of a travel blogging conference, and there is no doubt in my mind that it won't be the last.
I came away with a brain-boggling to-do list of tips, a diverse bunch of new blogger friends, and hazy memories of free-drink-fuelled fun in various impressive locations across Brighton.
After a networking evening in Brighton's seafront Terrace Bar, it was time to get down to business bright and early Saturday morning. Since, at any one time, there were three workshops happening simultaneously, it was tough to narrow down the options, but the following all delivered quality presentations, so I have no regrets.
Frankie Thonpson of As The Bird Flies engaged her audience from the beginning Read more [...]
Dona Marta favela sits on an impossibly steep hill in the district of Botafogo in Rio. With just 8000 residents, it's a wee baby in comparison to some of it's more well-known sister favelas such as Rocinha. So, what makes it special?
Two words: Michael Jackson.
The singer caused controversy when he recorded the video to his single 'They don't really care about us' among local residents at the top of the hill. He was accused of exploiting the poor by local officials who were concerned that images of poverty would affect tourism to Rio. At the same time, others argued that the exposure would act to highlight the problems that were being faced.
There are rumours that Michael Jackson negotiated Read more [...]
Botanical gardens aren't everyone's cup of tea. I think I've only been to a handful in my life and I'm pretty sure I was dragged to all of them by my parents.
So, why, you ask, did I make the trek halfway across one of the biggest cities in South America to see the Botanical Gardens in Rio?
The honest truth? I'd intended to see Christ the Redeemer that day with some friends, but it was so damn cloudy we'd have been squandering our reais. The Botanical Gardens are just a short bus ride away from the base of Corcovado, so we decided to make the most of being in that part of town.
So, is it worth the trip?
If you're actually into plants and all that jazz, you'll love it. There are 54 hectares of greenery, made up from about 6500 different Read more [...]
If I haven't said it enough already, solo travel is fantastic. You're free to do whatever you want whenever you want. You learn to be totally independent. You develop patience you never knew you had. You have time to learn what truly makes you happy. And you gain the confidence to approach strangers, sometimes speaking a broken foreign language you were once scared to try out for fear of ridicule.
But the downside to solo travel, especially if, like me, you're into documenting your trip with as many visual images as you can muster, is the issue of getting just a few photos that actually feature yourself - a little proof that you were there and, let's be honest, a way to ensure some of those brilliant backdrops appear in the photos people actually Read more [...]
Have you ever seen someone's photos from their trip to Brazil and wondered what those amazingly colourful steps were in Rio? I know I did a few years ago. That was before they were made yet more famous by Snoop Dogg and Pharrell in the video for their hit song 'Beautiful'.
Lapa steps is lazy English speak for the 'Escadlaria Selaron' - so called because they were designed and constructed by Chilean artist Jorge Selaron, who, it turned out, had been found dead, just one week before I arrived in Rio, on the steps of his creation with burn marks on his body.
The circumstances of his death remain unknown. I heard rumours he'd committed suicide, while others said it was murder. There was also talk that the police had been investigating death Read more [...]
Going to Rio and not visiting Christ is like not taking a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower when you're in Paris. It just has to be done.
The 38-metre tall statue stands atop the massive granite dome of Corcovado hill and, since its erection in 1931 has become one of the most famous landmarks in the world.
Amazing as it is, though, it was definitely one of those trips I was kind of relieved was over when I finally made it back down to sea level.
For starters, it's not as easy as you might imagine to find a day when fog isn't shrouding him from view. I'd taken a bus across town from Lapa days earlier only to sit at the bottom for two hours waiting in vain for a patch of clear sky. After all, just over 50R$ (about £16) is quite a hefty amount Read more [...]