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Filtering by Tag: Vacation

Russia- World Cup 2018

              As summer quickly approaches, our dreams of vacation become stronger and stronger. This summer is special due to a tournament that is only played every four years: The World Cup. Not only is this a historical and thrilling tournament, but it is hosted by Russia, a country steeped in history and culture. The World Cup the legendary soccer tournament will feature some of the best of the best in this sport, such a Lionel Messi, Christiano Ronaldo, and Luis Suarez. This tournament will be buzzing around cities all over Russia giving you the opportunity to enjoy this country in its pure fullness. 

                    If you visit this city during the tournament, you will witness a city alive with color and spirit, but as it comes to be, getting tickets to these matches is extremely difficult. Even though you may not be able to go to the matches themselves, it does not mean there isn’t a lot still to do and see. Three of the cities we are excited most for are Moscow, Ekaterinburg and St Petersburg. All these cities are filled with beautiful architecture, delicious food, and vibrancy that only comes with a city alive with summer weather and national pride.

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              Moscow is the nation’s cosmopolitan capital and is filled with adventure and intrigue. At the very core of this city is the Kremlin, a building that is home to the president and is the historic center for this city and its past. What separates the Kremlin from the outside is the Red Square, which gives light to the vibrant architectural past of this city.

                  Visit the beautiful St. Basil’s Cathedral and make sure to take a guided tour of these historical landmarks that express so much of Russia’s historical and cultural past. Even as you are getting around Moscow, you are exposed to its iconic architectural influences within the Russian metro. Not only is this metro clean and efficient, but the stations themselves are works of art. To make your stay in Moscow even more enjoyable, stay at the Hotel Baltschug Kempinski Moscow. Not only is this a five- star hotel, but it also offers a fantastic view of the Kremlin and St Basil’s Cathedral. The building itself dates back to 1898, but their contemporary décor makes these 227 elegant rooms a must stay. When out on the town, some delicious eats includes Vai Me!, a charming Georgian restaurant with great food and music or Lepim i Varim, a great local find with delicious pelmeni. 

                 Ekaterinburg is another piece of Moscow’s diverse tapestry and worth a visit when you can’t go to the matches lined up for this summer. For a luxurious experience, make sure to the stay at the Hyatt Regency Ekaterinburg, that totes its five-star rating and is located on the bank of Iset River. This luxury hotel is also a short distance from city hall, Cathedral-on-the-Blood (or the Church of All Saints), and the Opera Ballet House.

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While there, also be sure to visit the Visotsky Business Center Lookout for the most beautiful view of the city from the observation deck and the Yekaterinburg War Memorial, which honors the soldiers who died in Russia's Afghan War. The highlight of Ekaterinburg is the Sevastyanov’s House, which is a beautiful example of the neo-gothic style present throughout the city. While perusing through the city, make sure to visit Moi Drug Olive and Pashtet for delicious Russian food and insanely tasty borsch.

                  St. Petersburg is one  of Russia’s most notable cities with food and culture to spare. Not only should you visit the Hermitage Museum, one of the most famous art museum’s in the world, founded in 1764, but also feel like a royal as you explore the Winter Palace and Peterhof Palace.

St. Petersburg

This city by the sea is filled with art and history and taking the time to explore the past is well worth your time. Further enjoy your visit by staying at the Hotel Asotria, which itself is a St. Petersburg landmark. This beautiful hotel sits directly across from St. Isaac’s Cathedral and its rooms are luxurious and tranquil amidst the bustling city streets. For a unique experience, visit the Mazzaro’sI Italian Market to get a little taste of Italy while walking through the beautiful streets of St. Petersburg. Overall, make this trip more than just about soccer, but about a complete cultural immersion.

For the schedule and more information on the World Cup visit: https://www.fifa.com/worldcup/.  

Need help planning your trip to Russia, send us an email at info@tripstravelagency.com

Happy Travels! 

 

 

Where to Go to Next: Panama!!

It's been a while everyone and we are now back!

Next stop on our Latin America tour is Panama.  I've traveled through Panama City via it's Tocumen International aiport for a layover mulitple times. This was the first time I got to visit the city!

As soon as I stepped off the plane the humidity smacked me in the face. Trust me It was a far cry from the rainy days in Bogota! Panama is known for its tropical weather, which apparently can be stifling. Thankfully I arrived on May Day, where many Panamanians are on holiday and out of the city which made driving into town very easy. 

The city is quite beautiful with it's tall skyscrapers against the skyline, even though the grey cloudy skies showed an imminent threat of rain. Thankfully the next day they went away and I was able to meander through the Historic District.

The historic district was very dreamy and romantic, filled with old colonial architecture quiet streets and palm trees. Not to mention all roads take you to the ocean where you can view the skyscrapers dotting the city skyline from afar. 

Park in Historic District

Park in Historic District

There's also a beautiful park along the ocean at the end. The waters did not look swimmable as it was really rough but there were some stairs nearby where one could walk down to the beach. 

When in the area take some time to visit the shops. We found that souvenir shopping was easy, of course it always is where there are not a lot of tourists around!

Things to Know if You Go:

Panama's bordering countries are Costa Rica to the north and Colombia to the south. Water is ever present as you can visit both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. 

If you're just stopping through the airport  know that it is undergoing construction and upgrades, so you might find some good shopping or you might not. Although when I go through the gates for the flights going to the US I do find good shopping, duty free and good restaurants.  When I fly to other parts of Latin America, the options are very limited. 

Money: 
If you have a hard time figuring out the currency exchange when you travel, you're in luck. Panama's official  currency (the Balboa) is on par with the US dollar. You will have a hard time finding Balboa bills as most ATM's just dispense US dollars. Your US dollars will go farther than in the US which explains why lot's of Americans tend to live in Panama.  

How to get there: Fly Copa Airlines. They have direct flights from Boston and Washington DC ( Dulles)  straight into Tocumen Airport (PTY).

Additionally Copa flies to many other South & Central American cities at a more economical price with a layover in Panama City. One thing to note though, if you're looking to get some work done using the in-flight wifi; it doesn't exist on Copa, most likely due to their fleet consisting of older planes. 

Our Stay:

We stayed at the Hotel Bristol. The hotel is centrally located, making it easy to get around the city. Our lovely room was located in the newest  tower where the rooms a slightly larger, newer and extremely beautiful. 

Tower Executive Room courtesy of Bristol Hotel 

Tower Executive Room courtesy of Bristol Hotel 

Lobby courtesy of Bristol Hotel

Lobby courtesy of Bristol Hotel

Lastly did you know Panama is the newest up and coming destination?  Well it is! What are you waiting for? Get going now! Need help planning a trip to Panama, shoot us an email at katiana@tripstravelagency.com and we'll help out

Happy Travels!!