12 Jan Wish, Kiss, and Touch

The new year is here! 2015 is the year for travel and discovery, and all the personal wealth that comes with it. We’ve put together a list of places for you to go this year that are not only beautiful and entrenched in history, they will bring you good fortune. 1. Edinburgh, Scotland- Grayfriar Bobby Statue Meet the most famous and beloved terrier of Scotland, Grayfriars Bobby. His life-size statue stands near the main entrance of Greyfriar Kirkyard, a cemetery in Edinburgh’s Old Town. The statue was erected to memorialize the Skye Terrier who kept faithful watch over his master’s grave for 14 years until his own death in 1872. A tombstone marks his actual burial site in Kirkyard, where he rests eternally near the grave of his owner John Gray. The story has unfortunately been discredited by recent research, but tourists still enjoy rubbing the nose of the loyal pup for good fortune. City officials encourage you to pet gently, not because he bites, but because his nose has undergone some damage over the years from repeated touching. [caption id="attachment_1340" align="alignnone" width="189"] http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Greyfriars_Bobby_statue,_Edinburgh.JPG[/caption] So sweet. 2. Blarney, Co. Cork, Ireland- Blarney Castle Kiss it, it’s Irish! When you’re in Ireland, be sure to visit the Blarney Castle and kiss the Blarney Stone for the “gift of the gab.” According to legend, proprietor of the castle Cormac MacCarthy was being denied his land owning rights by Queen Elizabeth I. Feeling helpless to argue his case, he...

Read More

13 Oct October Fest(s)

With the month half over, many people are starting the countdown to one of the biggest parties of the year: Halloween. What they don’t realize is how many other festivals they could be celebrating in the 2 weeks leading up to that spooky day. Read on to find Panrimo’s favorite international festivals in October. 7) Naga Fireball Festival (Nong Khai, Thailand) October 16th Crowds gather on the banks of the Mekong River to enjoy this unexplained phenomenon. As darkness falls, glowing orbs of varying sizes (some as large as basketballs) rise high into the sky over the river before vanishing. Though some nights are more active than others, thousands of these reddish, fireballs can be seen in the sky near the close of the Buddhist Lenten season. Many have tried to find scientific explanation behind the orbs, but no scientific explanation has stuck. Locals attribute the phenomenon to Naga, a mythic river snake. 6) Bridge Day (West Virginia, USA) October 18th The New River Gorge Bridge in Fayetteville, West Virginia held the first Bridge Day to celebrate the 3rd anniversary of the bridge’s completion, and what better way to do that than by allowing hundreds of people to throw themselves off of it? Every year 400 BASE jumpers parachute off the bridge, floating to safety in the river 876 ft below. Hundreds more rappel down from the bridge supports as 100,000+ spectators cheer them on. Supported by a number of extreme sport companies and...

Read More

28 Aug Animals on Ice

Iceland is portrayed as the country of ice and volcanoes. A cold, barren, sparsely populated region of the world that is great for Vikings and geologists, but not so great for anything else, right? None of this could be further from the truth, and Panrimo’s going to set the record straight the best way we know how: pictures of adorable, fluffy animals! So sit back, relax and prepare to be in “awwwwwww”, as we count down our Top 7 Icelandic Animals. 7) Wood Mouse Wood mice are not native to Iceland’s harsh climate, but proved up for the challenge by stowing away in Viking longboats, which brought the first settlers to the northern shores. Often found living in the cozy foundations of churches, farmhouses, and the neighboring bushes wood mice have survived, but not easily. An award winning documentary film “Wood Mouse – Life on the Run” provides surprising drama as it follows two mice and their battle to survive the winter. 6) Grey Seals If there is any animal that has truly flourished in the North Atlantic, it’s the grey seal. Though archaeological digs have turned up seal remains dating back to 800AD, the earliest written records of their presence in and around Iceland date back to the 1700s. Unfortunately, early inhabitants of the region were not as taken with the seals’ appearance as modern day tourists and promptly dubbed them ‘hook-nosed sea pigs’. Today the seals are particularly populous in the Myrar...

Read More

26 Aug Capture the Castle

While most people think of castles as residences for the royal, wealthy, or privileged, the Scots placed emphasis on much more than just edifice: defense was the primary purpose (though of course, the wealthy did enjoy living in them). During the Dark and Middle Ages, the British Isles were littered with skirmishes among invading vandals, neighboring cities, and even within the same extended families! But as times changed, along did Scotland’s castles, with adaptations to suit the new tools of warfare. Check out Panrimo’s favorite castles in Scotland and note the variety of castle styles, as well as the sheer magnificence! 7.) Culzean Castle Although this castle may look less formidable than the rest on this list, note the turrets and battlements that were incorporated into the design, making this pretty, aristocratic looking castle a much deadlier force than it seems. The perfect place to walk and enjoy beautiful outdoor gardens, aside from the incredible interior, Culzean Castle is owned and managed by the National Trust for Scotland. 5.) Dunvegan Castle Located on the Isle of Skye off the western coast of Scotland, Denvegan Castle overlooks Denvegan Loch and the Minch, a narrow straight separating the Inner Hebrides (inner Scottish isles, closest to the Western shore), from the more distant Outer Hebrides, providing fantastic views across the waters. Dunvegan Castle is the oldest continuously habited castle in Scotland and is still the seat of the MacLeod Clan, an historically famous Scottish clan from the...

Read More

25 Aug Bailamos!

Close your eyes and picture a Spanish dance. What do you imagine? Probably dark moody lighting, twirling skirts, and lots of flair, right? Though all of these components can be labeled as stereotypes, they all arise (not incorrectly) from the cultural force that is Spanish dance. Below is Panrimo’s alphabetical guide to our 7 favorite Spanish Dances. Olé! Alegrías https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuYPv16BCBA A very specific variation of flamenco native to the Cádiz region, Alegrías is most notable for it’s difficulty. Danced to a 12 beat structure, it is compiled of 6 sections that all feature differing tempo, emphasis, and phrasing. Though strict, when performed well it’s a stunning, intricate performance that will please even the sternest audience. Bolero https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVKClliJWh8 The Bolero is a slow dance best performed by a couple. Popular since it’s conception in the 18th century, the dance is a unique combination of the grace of classical ballet and the flourish of traditional village dances. The accompanying music often features some sort of string instrument (primarily guitar) and castanets, which work well with the triple time beat. Corrido https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cimnyVwZ56I A favorite couple dance in Castilla and Leon, the Corrido is a group participation event. Popular since the 19th century, the music’s irregular rhythm drives the dancers around in circles, speeding and slowing in time with the beat. Still used in many local festivals, this dance always tells a story. Themes range from romance to revolution, so the audience must pay close attention; the ending isn’t always happy! El Vito https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdYCxamQG5U Similar to the Bolero,...

Read More

20 Aug The Musical Isle

Irish music is one of the few indigenous music styles to have attained both international popularity and commercial success. Though traditional music styles do not often translate well when played for audiences outside of their native country, Irish folk ballads, drinking songs, and rock music have all connected with listeners around the globe. This is particularly true for American audiences with a hankering for a sense of the ‘old country’. Below you’ll find Panrimo’s picks for the Top 7 Most Beloved Irish Songs. 7) I’ll Tell Me Ma https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBKdcn7whOs Though the video above is a performance by the all-male troupe Na Fianna, I’ll Tell Me Ma is a song traditionally sung by young girls. A well-known children’s song bemoaning the hijinks that result from adolescent flirtations, it is lively, fun, and easy to dance to. In fact, it used to be associated with a game! Similar to ‘Ring around the Rosie’, a group would hold hands to form a circle around a boy (or girl) in the middle. At the appropriate moment, the center child would call out the initials of their crush, who would then join them in the middle. Ah, young love. 6) Siúl A Rún https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rHLxnuYUYU Siúl A Rún (Walk, My Love) is a lament for lost love was written during a particularly war-torn period of Ireland’s history, though no one is quite sure which. Best guesses place it sometime around the Glorious Revolution, when English occupying forces gave young Irishmen the difficult...

Read More

19 Aug Oodles of Noodles

Not all pastas are created equal. Variations in size, shape, serving methods, and cooking time all combine to create the intricacies that define this hallmark ingredient of Italian cuisine. Among other identifying characteristics, some are infinitely more adorable than others. (Spaghetti? Please, too basic.) Though we definitely can’t claim to have mastered all of them, below you’ll find our guide to Panrimo’s Top 7 Cutest Italian Pastas. 7) Barbina A long, thin noodle similar to angel’s hair pasta, Barbina is cute mostly for it’s name, which translates to ‘little beards’. Often twisted into a shape resembling a bird’s nest or a ‘little beard’, this pasta is great for a charming, pre-portioned appetizer. 6) Orecchiette A pasta traditionally made in the southern part of Italy, orecchiette or ‘little ear’, is a small thumb-sized noodle made in an oval shape that looks just like it’s namesake (cute!). Though the signature orecchiette dish is made with the rapine leaf, this pasta can be cooked with a variety of vegetable based sauces and is often paired well with broccoli or ricotta cheese. 5) Fusilli Bucati These tightly spiraled pieces of pasta add cuteness to any dish! Translated as ‘holed rifles’, they are surprisingly long (about 2 inches) and uniquely suited for consumption with any kind of chunky sauce (the pieces of vegetables or meat get caught in the twirls). Most cooks recommend serving this pasta with an artichoke heart cream sauce. 4) Radiatore Designed in the 1960s by an industrial engineer who...

Read More

18 Aug Gotta Get A Getaway

While Paris is one of the world’s greatest cities and an absolute must-see, France’s charm lies in its quaint towns and villages. Whether it’s throughout the French Alps or along the Northern coasts, you’ll always find beautiful buildings and friendly people throughout. And the journey to and from them is half the fun! Take a look at Panrimo’s top 7 French getaways. 7.) Marseille France’s second largest city, Marseille has been designated one of Europe’s cultural capitals. The city is quite different from the rest of France, and is actually proud of this distinction. Marseille is known for its opera houses, several museums and art galleries, and numerous cinemas, bars, clubs, and restaurants, making this unique destination a fantastic weekend getaway. 6.) Besançon Nestled along a bend in the River Doubs, Besançon is an ancient village that’s managed to remain well-preserved over the years. In pre-Roman times, the city was already the capital of the surrounding area. When Julius Caesar conquered France, he declared Besançon “the jewel in my crown.” Now, Besançon is a thriving city, with a large university, two major museums, and the Citadel, a UNESCO Heritage Site consisting of a massive 17th century military structure stretching across a massive outcropping of rock above the River Doubs. 5.) Les Baux One of the most beautiful sights in France, the village of Les Baux de Provence sits atop a huge outcropping of rocks overlooking the expansive plains below. While the village relies on tourist visitors...

Read More

14 Aug Carrying on the Tradition

We all have our favorite cultural traditions. Whether it’s celebrating 4th of July in the US, Bastille Day in France, or Holi with our Indian friends, each culture brings it’s own unique heritage and traditions to the table. And the Scots are no different! If you’re itching to learn about some of Scotland’s most notable traditions, look no further. Here are, in no particular order, Panrimo’s favorite Scottish traditions! 7.) Bagpipes One of the most obvious Scottish symbols, bagpipes were first recorded in Scotland in the mid 1500s. Made from a several different pieces faceted together, including the bag itself, typically made from animal skins, the bagpipe is known for its distinctive sound and the drones produced when playing it. 6.) Haggis Another iconic Scottish classic, haggis is presented as a savory pudding, haggis is a combination of sheeps ‘pluck’ (heart, liver, and lungs) and minced onions, oatmeal, spices, stock, and salt, all encased in sheep stomach. Pleasant, huh? While most haggis is now prepared in casing as opposed to stomach, the ingredients remain the same. 5.) Kilts Although originally associated with the Highlands, kilts are now ubiquitously associated with Scottish culture. Although previously worn frequently, kilts are now generally relegated to formal events, or competitions in Highland games. 4.) Highland Games The origins of Highland games predate written history, and are integral to Scottish Highland culture. There are several categories of events, including heavy games, music, dance, and other events as well. You’ll likely know them from...

Read More

13 Aug Holding Out for a Hero

We've all heard the stories of Sir William Wallace (or at least seen Braveheart) and know of the epic accomplishments he achieved. But what about other Scottish heroes? In the wild North of Scotland, some of the world’s most important figures grew to change the world. Without further ado, here are Panrimo’s 7 favorite Scottish heroes, in no particular order. 7.) Robert the Bruce [caption id="attachment_988" align="aligncenter" width="185"] That beard! That axe! That Bruce![/caption] http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a3/Robertthebruce.jpg One of Scotland’s most famous heroes, Robert the Bruce was King of Scots from 1306-1329 and led the Scots during the Wars of Scottish Independence. While he commanded several major successful battles, his most famous may be the Battle of Bannockburn, where he defeated the much larger English army under Edward II, thus confirming the establishment of a Scottish monarchy. 6.) Agnes ‘Black Agnes’ Randolph  [caption id="attachment_989" align="aligncenter" width="316"] Dressed to impress.[/caption] http://www.medievalarchives.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Black-Agnes-countess-of-dunbar.jpg An example of Scotland’s strong female characters, Agnes Randolph, Countess of Dunbar, was besieged at Dunbar while her husband was off fighting English forces due to Edward Balliol’s attempt to seize the Scottish crown from David II. English forces began besieging her castle, but Agnes held strong for over five months with only servants and a few guards, forcing the English to finally concede their defeat. During the besiegement, Agnes was rumored to have ordered her female servants to dress in their nicest clothes, parade along the castle walls, and lightly dust the damage the English had done, taunting them...

Read More