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Our Next Green Hot Spot – Egypt

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When I found out I was going to Egypt, I immediately went to the local bookstore and got a few books aboutancient Egyptian culture and society. I was sure I didn’t want to get there and not know what the guide was showing me and trying to teach me. The following nights lead me to learn about pharaohs, pyramids, the Nile River and a lot more… As the departure time for our trip got closer, I felt almost as if I had been studying this culture for ages! I was ready to “brag” about everything I had learned to people I met along the way.

 

 

The beginning of our trip finally came, and after a 12 hour flight we arrived in Cairo, the main city. I couldn’t believe I was here, never in my wildest dreams have I thought I was going to travel to Egypt.

Our G Adventures guide Said, local Christian Egyptian, and expert in Egyptian history, met us for dinner to give us our first introduction about our trip.  I’m using the Christian adjective for him, as many people think everybody in Egypt is Muslim. Yes, it is the predominant religion (80 -90 % of the population) but there are also others who practice Christianity, with a number of Catholics among them.

When Said started talking I knew we were going to be in good hands. His enthusiasm and energy were contagious, and the knowledge he was showing about his country was superb. And he was just giving us an introduction about the trip! Couldn’t imagine how it was going to be for the rest of the tour! Bed was calling me by now, and off we went to get some rest, so we could be “ready and excited” for the next few days. More later…

Pacaya Volcano – Heat Under Your Feet

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Our travels took us to Guatemala this time. A colorful country, full of history, archeological sites, volcanoes and local markets. It was a new experience for us, feeling the heat and power of the volcano under our feet.

Smoky Pacaya Volcano, a surreal landscape high above Guatemala City.

Visiting a volcanic cave!

 

Green Spot of The Day – South Korea

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Did you know that Korea is positioned to be on the front line of the movement promoting fermented foods throughout the world? Popular Korean dishes such as Kimchi, soybean paste, soy sauce, Korean chili paste, salted seafood and traditional rice liquors are some of the forerunners of fermented foods.

Back in July, 2011 when we had the pleasure to visit, we had the opportunity to visit historic temples, green tea plantations, interact with the locals, even to play hula hula in an organic farm, and to visit the  beautifulJeju Island, but kimchi seemed to be the most popular topic while on the trip! You know how in most countries, w

hen you have your group picture taken you say “cheese”?  In Korea, we were saying “kimchi”. We learned that its preparation process requires a lot of work from the women, who spend a lot of time in the kitchen, cutting cabbages in quarters, preparing the sauce (which is the main ingredient), soaking it in salt for hours, rinsing, filling and giving it the final touches. It sounds like a lot of work to me, but the result is delish.

This week, owner and founder at GreenSpot.travel, Richard Edwards, is back in Seoul where he will be speaking at the 2nd Annual Conference of Partners of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Tourism. Topics like “Linking Tourism and Conservation” and “Tourism & Poverty Alleviation” will be presented and discussed.

 

Hopefully, Richard is savoring some kimchi and SK flavors.

Biking Bangkok's Busy Streets

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Have you had the chance to explore the busy Bangkok streets by bike? We did, and it was one of the highlights of our trip.

When I found out that a biking tour was being offered during our most recent trip to Bangkok, I started picturing myself winding between the busy traffic of the city and ending the tour in tragedy…but if I didn’t do it I wasn’t going to know what the whole experience was about. So off I went with my little group of 7 people and our local Thai guide leading the way. The program was created in 2009 with the name of Green Bikes. A few years later they changed it to Bangkok Smile Bike. The routes are marked all along each side of the river. Most of the temples are located on the east side, while the west side is more residential. There’s no fee to use the bikes (just show your official photo ID/passport) grab a map and venture along, stopping at the interesting sites pointed out on the map. This is an excellent way of experiencing the culture and interacting with the locals.

 

Some tips to make the experience even better.

–  Go slow

–  Stick with the routes marked on the map

–  Try to bike in the morning and late afternoon, around 3:00 pm

–  Tall people – the seats are not adjustable. If you are under 5’10’’you’ll be fine.

–  Smile and be polite when passing the local

–  Have fun!

Hacienda Tayutic offers a unique hotel experience.

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Some refer to the Turrialba region as the “Switzerland of the tropics” – a place made famous for cheese production and organic coffee and raw sugar plantations. Today, Turrialba is considered the Adventure Travel Capital of Costa Rica offering world class rafting, mountain biking, cannoning and hiking.

Spot: Hacienda Tayutic

Location: Turrialba, Costa Rica

The Good Stuff: From the moment guests arrive at Haciendda Tayutic, a sense of of comfort and relaxation is created, as though they are at home. The personalized service and attention will allow them to relax and enjoy their stay with us. Hacienda Tayutic’s gourmet restaurant serves up Costa Rican-fusion dishes, each featuring organic ingredients and punctuated with vibrant herbs and spices – all grown right on the hotel grounds.
What We Love: Hacienda Tayutic and Turrialba are a great alternative to the Arenal Area. More authentic, less tourists and Costa Rica’s most active volcano.
Green Cred: the protection of 40 hectares of tropical rainforest; growing organic crops; donations to local churches, schools and a health center; worker and community training in art expression and working skills; and the promotion for the construction of an archaeological site museum for the National Guayabo Monument through the Tayutic Foundation.

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