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    Many people dream of taking a trip to Europe – and exploring all there is to see across the pond. But choosing an itinerary can be hard; there are so many cities and cultural highlights to consider. Whether it’s your first trip to Europe or you’ve been there many times, consider visiting these lesser traveled European destinations the next time you go.

    Wales, United Kingdom

    Rugged cliffs, sandy beaches and a trail along its entire coast are just a few of the reasons to visit Wales – the home of Prince William and Kate Middleton. The country offers 500 castles, eats for even the most finicky of foodies and plenty of charm and breathtaking views of a glistening countryside.

    Istria, Croatia

    Want to immerse yourself in countryside with miles of vineyards and picture-perfect scenery? Of course you do, so be sure to check out Istria. Enjoy incredible seafood, pizza and pasta dishes topped with truffles – a delicacy for which Istria has become famous. There is even a truffle festival to celebrate this popular treat!

    Scotland, United Kingdom

    Dramatically beautiful countryside, mist-filled highlands and centuries old castles make Scotland a great place to visit. Visitors can explore miles and miles of coastline and hundreds of historical sites like ancient battlefields that serve as monuments to kings from days gone by. The country is also filled with magnificent architecture travelers can see by touring one of many towering cathedrals or abbeys nestled in Scotland’s bustling cities.

    Kosice, Slovakia

    Kosice has been selected as the 2013 capital of culture by European Commissioner for Education. And it’s no wonder - with a vibrant mix of old town medieval and renaissance baroque, this city’s stunning architecture is enough to captivate anyone’s mind. To celebrate being named the capital of culture the city has planned many cultural festivals. So what can visitors expect at these events? Anything that draws on the city’s Slovakian and Hungarian heritage including music, theatre, art and street performers.1

    Budapest, Hungary

    In 1934 Budapest was awarded the title of “spa city” – and with over 130 thermal baths with medicinal qualities it has earned its name.2 Besides relaxation, Budapest has a lot to offer. The city has a wide variety of cultural entertainment with festivals all year round. There are also more than 100 museums in Budapest, so weather you fancy fine arts, contemporary arts, science, history or gastronomy – you’ll find an interesting cultural venue to explore.3

    Lisbon, Portugal

    Officially Western Europe’s least expensive capital, you’ll get more bang for your buck in Lisbon.4 Also called the City of the Sea, there are great opportunities to take advantage of beautiful beaches. For a closer look at the local sea life, you can visit the Oceanarium – one of the world’s largest aquariums.

    It’s obvious that Europe has a lot to offer for travelers. There is truly something for everyone and an endless opportunity to explore new cities. Wherever you go, you’re sure to be awed by the history, culture and people that are the spirit of Europe.

    Sources:
    1: http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/01/travel/top-destinations-2013/index.html
    2: http://www.travelettes.net/5-reasons-to-go-to-budapest/
    3: http://www.budapest-tourist-guide.com/why-visit-budapest.html
    4: http://www.golisbon.com/

    Saving on Souvenirs

    Story 2 Image August

    Do you ever get home from vacation and realize you spent way too much on souvenirs? Or that the souvenirs you arrived home with aren’t necessarily worth what you spent? Here are some ways to save on your souvenirs so you can arrive home with a token from your trip and some extra money in your wallet:

    Pressed Pennies
    Possibly one of the least expensive souvenirs, for 51 cents you can imprint a penny with a design that represents the place you are visiting. The pressed penny machines often found at zoos and museums are popular for the unique souvenir they provide. You can even purchase pressed penny souvenir books to store all your pressed pennies from your trips.

    Something You Need
    Need new sunglasses or a new purse? Instead of buying these things at home before your trip, wait and purchase them on your trip. You’ll end up with a unique souvenir that you’ll actually use. You’ll be reminded of your travels each time you use the item.

    Thrifty Purchases
    Thrift stores, flea markets and antique stores are great for finding inexpensive souvenirs. You may even find something that’s local to the area’s history.

    Free Stuff
    You don’t have to spend money to walk away with neat souvenirs. Save a napkin from a funky restaurant or gather up brochures and maps from every place you visit. You’ll end up with a nice record of your trip.

    Photos
    The best way to look back and remember your trip is with lots of pictures. Take plenty of pictures you can scrapbook back at home. You’ll likely get more enjoyment going back again and again to look at your photos than if you had purchased a small trinket that may end up in the back of a drawer.

    Nature
    If you’re visiting a beach or park you can collect sea shells, sand or rock to bring home. Check the local policies to make sure they allow you to take some of nature home with you.

    Where in the World?


    Where in the World August

    Where in the world can you find this famous fountain?

    Answer:
    This is Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi) and is located in Rome, Italy. It is a popular legend that visitors who toss a coin over their shoulder into the fountain will return to Rome.1

    Sources:
    1: http://traveltips.usatoday.com/famous-water-fountains-rome-3579.html

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