02 Jul Ditch the “hostel”-ity: Pros and cons of hostels

[caption id="attachment_2236" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Hostel living.[/caption] Alright, so let’s address this topic once and for all: Hostels are not sketchy. No, they are not like the movie Hostel. No, they do not all have bed bugs. No, they’re not all sex, drugs, rock and roll. Yes, there are plenty of safe hostels. Yes, hostels are a great way to meet new people. Yes, they are very cheap and you should take advantage of them! Hostel Pros: Hostels can be very cheap! Ranging from $12 to $40 a night, hostels are a great way to travel if you are trying to save money. Sure, you won’t be living in the lap of luxury but you probably won’t be spending much time at the actual hostel anyway. Hostels are an awesome way to meet people! Generally, the average hostel goer is 18-26 years old. So, if you fall in that category as well, you will most likely be meeting many people your own age, from all over the world! Some hostels are considered “youth hostels”—these generally have lower rates and age restrictions (another safety bonus, if that is what you’re worried about). Often times, hostels will have a “community room”—a space with all the plugs to charge your phone and other electronics. This makes it even easier to meet people and maybe even make some plans! Of course, use your own judgment and common sense when interacting with strangers. Breakfast, shower, lockers, oh my! Some hostels include...

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06 May Where the World Vacations

Spring is here and with it comes the inevitable urge to travel during the upcoming summer months. Though the vast majority of Americans travel domestically, there are still those who wander farther. These are the people who dream of tropical getaways to Mexico, or hiking adventures in the northern wilds of Canada. These are the travelers who don’t feel fulfilled until there is a new stamp in their passport and a new security tag on their baggage. Seasonal wanderlust is hardly limited to Americans. In fact, Europeans are famous for their vacations. It certainly helps to live on a continent full of distinct nations easily reached by a car trip or short plane flight. Interestingly, a study conducted on travel trends for the EU noted that vacation destinations differ by nationality. Here are some of the results. Italians vacation in France. Yep, even Italians need a break from pasta occasionally. They head inland to the mountains and cities of France for a refreshing getaway. British go to Spain. It’s no secret that the Brits love the Mediterranean coast. Tans, tea, and tapas; Spain is the dream destination for everyone looking to escape the grey skies of England. The Irish visit the UK. This is a bit of a surprise until you consider that you can get a round trip from Dublin to London for $50. $50! You can hardly buy a suitcase for that price! Czech tourists choose Slovakia. Though not well known in the US, Slovakia is a gorgeous...

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07 Aug Animation Innovation

When it comes to dominance in the field of animation, Japan and the USA usually get most of the credit for groundbreaking characters and massively popular franchises. This severely maligns the contributions of many other talented industries, foremost among them the UK. Many of the most beloved cartoon characters of the past 50 years are British. Here are Panrimo’s Top 7: 7) The Snowman [caption id="attachment_979" align="aligncenter" width="480"] Do you wanna build a snowman?[/caption] http://www.sfsymphony.org/SanFranciscoSymphony/media/Library/Artist-Images/S/Snowman_480x270.jpg?width=480&height=270&ext=.jpg Long before Elsa took over as the Snow Queen, the reigning power of the winter wonderland was a friendly, carrot-nosed snowman who never uttered a single word. Anyone who has seen this British film can attest to the childlike joy that the flight over the forest evokes. C’mon, you know you want to revisit this classic. 6) Paddington Bear [caption id="attachment_980" align="aligncenter" width="600"] In that hat, he's practically invincible.[/caption] http://www.thewrap.com/sites/default/files/2013/Jun/07/96071/8536-2.jpg Most Americans know Paddington best as a storybook character, but he also starred in his own, very successful TV show, the earliest episodes of which aired back in the 1970s. He has since returned to the small screen in two more series, broadcast across a variety of networks. Not bad for a small bear! 5) Dennis the Menace [caption id="attachment_981" align="aligncenter" width="406"] Nice rugby shirt, Dennis.[/caption] http://forbiddenplanet.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/Dennis_the_Menace.jpg Dennis is arguably the most famous character to have gotten his start in ‘The Beano’ a long-running British comic (since 1938!). Though he has been cast in American and British versions, both animated and live action, his roots lie in...

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05 Aug Hole in the Wall

Top 7 Scottish Pubs While Scotland may not command the respect that Ireland does in terms of pubs, it still boasts a respectable pub culture. And of course, while it’s incredibly difficult to do so, Panrimo has compiled a list of Scotland’s best pubs. Whether it’s in a nook down the street or one of the most recognized establishments in the city (or even country), you’ll always have a good time bellying up to the bar and grabbing a drink at each of Panrimo’s top 7 favorite pubs! 7.) Applecross Inn [caption id="attachment_969" align="aligncenter" width="347"] An apple a day keeps the doctor away, does drinking here daily count?[/caption] http://www.applecross.uk.com/inn/images/inn.jpg One of Scotland’s more remote pubs, you won’t be disappointed making the trek out to this inn. Located in Applecross on the far West side of Scotland and overlooking the water to the Isle of Skye, you’ll reach Applecross after passing through Britain’s highest mountain pass, Bealllach na Ba. But once you arrive, you’ll find a quaint little inn with a beautiful waterside location, plenty of great food, and fresh beer on draught. 6.) The Anderson [caption id="attachment_970" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Turret room = win.[/caption] http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/01/2e/43/60/the-building.jpg Located just outside Inverness in Fortrose, the Anderson has picked up several culinary awards throughout Scotland. In addition to over 100 Belgian beers to choose from, the Anderson has also recently unveiled Knitting Nights, where skilled knitters or even beginners can kick back, pick up their needles, and enjoy a pint as well. 5.) The Halfway House [caption...

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13 Apr Wandering through Wales, Part 2

[caption id="attachment_2352" align="alignnone" width="660"] Time to revisit the magic of Wales.[/caption] Ready to resume the trip through Wales? Having regained the energy lost exploring castles and the Caerleon Amphitheatre, it’s time to hit the road and explore the wilderness, both above and below ground. You’re off to Brecon Beacon National Park, the Big Pit National Coal Museum (located inside the mines themselves), and finally, Tintern Abbey, a gorgeous palate cleanser after the claustrophobic tunnels below the earth. Known for its rolling plains and scattered collections of waterfalls, Brecon Beacon National Park will have you mesmerized as you blaze along the trail. Appropriately, Brecon Beacons takes it’s name from the fires formerly lit atop the mountain range's peaks to warn villages and cities of invading enemies. This scene from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King visualizes the process perfectly. Driving through the National Park, you’ll find flocks of mountain sheep dotting the plains, as well as a few mountain ponies; proof that these lands are still as wild as in the past, preserved from industrialization. The Black Forest (Fforest Fawr in Welsh) sprawls across the path you’ll follow, and Black Mountain looms to the West. After braving the forest, you’ll briefly get a comforting view of the fields and pastures once again. Relish these plains because soon, you’ll be deep within them. It’s time to hit the mines. Upon arriving at Big Pit National Coal Museum, you’ll receive some training in proper...

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03 Nov Tours, Tastes, and Tradition: Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon

[caption id="attachment_2314" align="alignnone" width="660"] Feeling poetic yet?[/caption] It’s chilly this early in London. You wake up early for your Stratford-upon-Avon excursion. You walk to the train station, feeling your bag bounce with each step. Inside tumbles The Riverside Shakespeare, a hefty book containing Shakespeare’s plays; his impact upon London, literature, and love. The train ride takes 3 hours to Stratford. There’s time to kill. A “Free Wi-Fi” sign stares at you. Now would be the perfect time to watch Anonymous, the thriller questioning Shakespeare’s existence (scholars are still debating, and you have yet to be convinced of either side). However, you’ve left your computer. You bury your head in the Riverside, oblivious to the time passing. You’ve arrived! Stepping off the train, you meet up with your coordinator before heading toward the River Avon. Ironically, ‘afon,’ the Welsh word from which ‘Avon’ takes its name, translates as “river,” literally titling it, “River River.” Here, walk along the river, stopping to take in the incredible architecture and quaint riverbanks behind them. You’ll be literally following the footsteps of Shakespeare, admiring the magnificent Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Swan Theatre, both featuring an incredible selection of performances. Learn with your coordinator how Shakespeare began to hone his imagery, with phrases forming in your head as you continue strolling down the street: Shall I compare thee to a Summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And Summer's lease hath all too short a date - Sonnet...

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