02 Feb Beachy Keen

OK, so you have your enormous designer sunglasses and know how to order a croissant and café au lait, totally French-ified, right? Hate to burst your bubble, but there is much more to France than Parisian cafe culture, so trade your book of Sartre for swimwear and hop on a train to the coastline of Southern France. Here, you can channel Brigitte Bardot or pretend you’ve been invited onto a mega yacht by P-Diddy. Known colloquially as Le Midi, the region’s beautiful beaches (and the Cannes Film Festival in May) have made it a haven for jet setters, filmmakers and celebrities. But you don’t have to be rich or famous to enjoy the idyllic scenery. Anyone can enjoy the golden beaches, deep blue Atlantic Ocean, pine-lined headlands, and aspirational yachts bobbing in the sea. For indulgence, relaxation and a glimpse of the European high life, check out our picks of the best beaches in Southern France.   Cap Ferrat, Paloma Plage Located in Cap Ferrat, one of the richest areas in Europe, Paloma Plage is a tree-lined stretch in a small shallow cove. Swim out in the crystal clear waters for a great view of the area’s palatial mansions, where people like composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, make their summer homes.   Argeles-sur-mer, Le Racou Situated at the top of Cote Vermeille, France’s only eastern coastline, Argeles-sur-mer is the sun-drenched region where you’ll find Le Racou, a small bay set against a...

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21 Jan King of the Castles

Top 5 Castles in France One of the first words you need to learn when you get to France is "chateau". France is home to some of Europe’s most stunning castles (or should we say chateaux). For a change from cosmopolitian Paris, why not indulge in a different kind of experience and take a fairy-tale journey of France’s most beautiful castles? Without further ado, here are our top 5 French castles:   5. Chateau d’Amboise Located in the town of Amoise, this castle is a late 9th century design that sits above the River Loire. The medieval castle was restored after the 16th century and it still retains its formidable outer circuit of defensive towers and walls. 4. Chateau de Chantilly Situated in the quaint town of Chantilly, the Chateau de Chantilly is a historic monument boasting a rare assortment of 17th century pieces. Every two years, the castle hosts Nuits de Feu, a biannual fireworks competition. 3. Chateau de ChenonceauBuilt in the 11th century on the banks of the River Cher, this castle is one of the most well-known castles of the Loire Valley. Designed by French architect Philibert de l’Orme, the picturesque, bridge-like castle spans across the width of the river with the western side looking out to the water. Inside, visitors will also be impressed by the castles’ extensive collection of art and antiques. 2. Chateau de Chambord Located in the Loire valley in Europe’s largest enclosed wooded park, Chateau de Chambord is the perfect fairytale castle. With...

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03 Nov No Money? No Problem!

From fringe festival events to cultural institutions and glorious gardens, Edinburgh offers lots of activities for travelers on a shoestring. So don't let your lack of funds keep you from the vacation you dream about! Here are our picks of the best free things to do around the city. Discover Scotland’s national museum and galleries Trace Scotland’s story, from prehistoric times to the present, at the National Museum of Scotland. The museum has just undergone a £46.4 million redevelopment, and is set to add another ten galleries for 2016. Art lovers can also spend many budget-friendly days in the Scottish National Gallery, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Visit the Writers Museum See the writing desk of Robert Burns, the beloved Scottish bard who made ‘Auld Lang Syne’ a song of drunken new year greeting around the world. The museum also celebrates the lives of Sir Walter Scott, who penned Ivanhoe, Rob Roy and The Lady of the Lake, and Robert Louis Stevenson, author of the classics Treasure Island and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Imagine the lives of these literary geniuses through their personal artifacts, including a dining table and rocking horse owned by Scott and an engraved ring given to Stevenson by a Samoan chief. 3. Hit the free Fringe Festival A limited cash flow wont stop you from enjoying the cultural whirlwind of the Edinburgh Fringe, with hundreds of ‘Free Fringe’ events on offer throughout...

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27 Oct Say Cheese

There are many things in my life for which I am grateful, not being lactose intolerant chief among them. You may wonder why that would be so high on my list and the answer is, simply, cheese. Cheese is a glorious use of dairy that comes in so many varieties you continuously discover new favorites. With so many cheeses left to try, here are 5 unique cheeses to put on your bucket list. 5) Tomme Au Marc De Raisin Traditionally a Christmas cheese, the process begins in autumn when cow’s milk is salted and curdled. Wrapped and doused in brandy, it is then completely covered in the same raisins that were used to make the alcohol. Decadent, right? Better make sure to have some crackers on hand to balance out the richness. 4) Stilton Au Porto If there were a hierarchy within cheese society, Stilton Au Porto would be king. A historic blue cheese, its production dates back to the 18th century, with only 6 modern dairies licensed to produce it. Turned daily to ensure it is aging evenly, the cheese is soaked in port to achieve the signature creaminess and blue veins. 3) Tchnerni Vit This cheese is region-specific to a town of the same name located in a small Bulgarian province. Made from the milk of local sheep, the curds are salted, and put into a lime wood box, which is then taken out into the mountains and left there until the end of October....

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04 Aug Enter the Pilgrim

Spain is a religious country, but it wasn’t always Christian. For hundreds of years leading up to around 1000 BC, Spain was predominantly Muslim. A strong Arab influence (think Granada) ruled the day. During this time Judaism was also heavily present. Enter the Middle Ages, a pushy king in a Spanish province, and the Bible being mass produced for the first time. Christianity rose above the other widely held beliefs, and has remained the most popular to this day. Consequently, pilgrimage is still a strongly held tradition across the country and thus we present: Panrimo's Top 5 Spanish Pilgrimages 5. La Semana Santa, Holy Week [caption id="attachment_962" align="aligncenter" width="2288"] Bring your own mask.[/caption] http://www.euroclubschools.org/userimages/Domingo_de_ramos_astorga.jpg Arguably the most important holiday in Spain, Spaniards take a week to remember the trial, deception of his friends, and suffering of Jesus Christ. Processions occur with actors walking the streets, whipping a man carrying a cross. It can get fairly intense. 4. Dia de Todos los Santos, All Saints Day [caption id="attachment_963" align="aligncenter" width="350"] Flower shops seriously love this day.[/caption] http://elgranitodearenadeishtar.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/cementerio_989711207.jpg The 1st of each November, Spaniards take time to remember loved ones who have died. Families walk to graveyards to place flowers and gifts at sites. It is a very community-oriented affair. 3. The Way of St. James, or El Camino de Santiago [caption id="attachment_964" align="aligncenter" width="800"] C'mon kids! Only 1 month of walking to go![/caption] http://frescotours.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/cd2181.jpg St. James was one of Jesus’ 12 apostles, and the first Christian martyr. His body was taken from Jerusalem and across Spain...

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01 Aug Did you pack your…? (5 Items You Shouldn’t Forget)

Take it from someone who has spent quite a bit of time traipsing about the world: you will always forget to pack SOMETHING. However, if you can avoid leaving the following items behind, your trip might go a little bit smoother. 5) Plastic Bag [caption id="attachment_954" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Do you ever feel like a plastic bag? No? Me neither.[/caption] http://img2-2.timeinc.net/toh/i/g/products/1009-plastic-bags/00-plastic-bags.jpg You probably have a dozen of these crammed in a closet right at this very moment. Though it may seem strange to bring one along on your international journey, the uses for a plastic bag are endless. Wrap it around your lotions and mini shampoo bottles to prevent spills. Use it to keep that wet swimsuit away from the rest of your dry clothing. Can’t remember which socks need washing? Segregate them to the bag. Unexpected downpour? This is the perfect way to protect your electronics! Take one along, you won’t regret it. 4) Pen & Paper [caption id="attachment_955" align="aligncenter" width="670"] Scribble, scribble, scribble.[/caption] http://www.truenorthquest.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/pen-and-paper.jpeg It doesn’t matter if you take a nicely bound notebook or a few sheets of loose leaf, paper and a pen to write with are hugely useful. (Also, very old school) Does that helpful man giving you directions want to draw a map? No problem! Do you need a way to remember the name of the restaurant your hostel buddies recommended? Got it! No smartphone service overseas? Thank goodness you wrote your friend’s contact info down! And, should the urge to sketch...

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22 Jul No Travel Selfie! 5 Places to Resist the Urge

We all do it. Selfies have taken over our society as a main way of communicating ‘Hey guys! I’m here, doing this, right now, and I am TOTES ADORBZ!’ This is all well and good, but in the recent furor over the Auschwitz selfie on Twitter, here are some suggested places where you should put the phone down and walk away. 5) War Memorials [caption id="attachment_926" align="aligncenter" width="2816"] They put others before themselves. It's past time to return the respect.[/caption] http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/archive/2/2a/20090218175200!Vietnam_war_memorial.jpg We’re not sure why you’d want to, but maybe finally visiting the place where Great-Grandpa died during WWII seems like the perfect selfie-opp. Please don’t. War memorials, memorials of any kind for that matter, are places that should be held sacred in remembrance of those who died for something larger than themselves. Regular pictures are fine, but please don’t make this about you. It’s about THEM. 4) On the Edge (of a mountain, or a building, or a cliff, or anything really) [caption id="attachment_927" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Just...

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21 Jul Knot Just Art

One of Ireland’s chief exports (apart from zinc, ore, and Guinness) is artwork. Hugely popular all over the world, the colors, craftsmanship, and patterns integral to Celtic culture can be found reproduced on everything from t-shirts to jewelry. One of the most integral and recognizable elements is Celtic knot work, but do you actually know the meaning behind the knots? Before you get that cool-looking tattoo, better check our basic guide to Celtic knots first. 5) Tree of Life Knot [caption id="attachment_919" align="aligncenter" width="500"] I want to plant a few of these in my yard.[/caption] http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41pcpSZj3nL.jpg Just like the Shel Silverstein book about a similar deciduous character, the Tree of Life is all nourishing, all giving, and a symbol of how life continues despite it all. With strong roots to anchor it, and branches reaching out to all, this knot is the perfect design to remind us of how we’re all connected. 4) Sailor’s Knot [caption id="attachment_920" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Who knew sailors could make such cute bracelets?[/caption] http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/img-thing?.out=jpg&size=l&tid=76841387 Also commonly known as a Lover’s Knot, designs of this type always feature 2 separate threads intertwined until it’s impossible to figure out how to tear them apart. So why are there two different names for the same style of knot? Historically, sailors would present their sweethearts with knots or symbols of this sort before leaving on long voyages. So romantic! 3) Shield Knot [caption id="attachment_921" align="aligncenter" width="674"] This letter is signed, sealed, and SHIELDED.[/caption] http://images3.sw-cdn.net/model/picture/674x501_297970_135607_1338413387.jpg One of the most ancient designs, this four-cornered...

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04 Jul As American as…

The 4th of July. The birthday of the United States of America, it’s a celebration of summer, sunshine, and all the best homegrown traditions. Which got us to thinking: just what exactly IS as American as apple pie? Below are 5 things that couldn’t be more ‘murica if they tried. 5. Barbeque Ribs [caption id="attachment_875" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Be right back. Salivating.[/caption] http://usbbqsupply.com/home/images/categories/barbecued-ribs.jpg The debate over who makes the best ribs will never be won. The secret sauces, the best cut of meat, cooking time and temperature: all are elements essential in perfecting this most revered cooking technique. What everyone CAN agree on is this: BBQ is an American art form. 4. Blue Jeans [caption id="attachment_876" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Should I wear my formal jeans? Or my informal jeans? Or my jorts?[/caption] http://img1.southernliving.timeinc.net/sites/default/files/image/2011/01/Travel-Awards/1101-travel-awards-best-blue-jeans-x.jpg A fashion developed for the hardworking cowboys and miners of the American Old West, since their debut in the 1870s, jeans have taken the world by storm. Perhaps no other clothing item is so instantly identifiable as being ‘American’. 3. Bruce Springsteen [caption id="attachment_877" align="aligncenter" width="800"] The man. The legend. The Boss.[/caption] http://www.showbiz411.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/springsteen.jpg Known for his hard rocking brand of Americana and patriotism, ‘The Boss’ is one of the most successful American rock stars of all time. Both at home and abroad, his songs are evocative of all the best this country has to offer. 2. Baseball [caption id="attachment_878" align="aligncenter" width="5120"] Nice catch.[/caption] http://www.massbay.edu/uploadedImages/Second_Level_Pages/Student_Life/baseball.jpg Whether you play in a local league, cheer from the ballpark stands, or just wear baseball caps while running errands, baseball...

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26 Jun 5 Stars Who Studied Abroad

It doesn’t matter what career you plan to pursue in the future, study abroad can enhance not only your personal knowledge, but also your appeal to future employers. Here are 5 people at the top of their game who started it all by spending time overseas. 5) Bill Murray    If the list starts with Bill Murray, you know it’s going to be pretty epic. One of the most beloved, respected, and eccentric actors of the past 50 years, Bill didn’t want to rest on his acting laurels. Instead he spent a full 4 years studying philosophy and history in Paris. Magnifique! 4) Anderson Cooper Everyone’s favorite blue-eyed reporter didn’t get to be a primary-anchor for CNN by hanging onto the coattails of his fabulously famous mother (Gloria Vanderbilt), he did all the leg-work himself. Starting out early, Anderson first studied abroad as a precocious high school senior (!!) in South Africa. But this wasn’t enough for the man who would go on to report from hundreds of locations all over the world. Cooper would follow up his S.A. study with a full year at the University of Hanoi in Vietnam.   3) JK Rowling Before the woman who brought us Harry Potter could create her own worlds, she needed to travel the one we all live in.  In order to complete her degree in French and the Classics at Exeter, Rowling spent a semester studying in Paris. Since writers write what they know, it doesn’t take...

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