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Best Things to Do in Florida, US

Florida is a tourist paradise with a wide array of family fun locales including beaches, theme parks, cultural stops, resorts, boutiques, and concert centers. The whole state is a sunshine destination that attracts tourists for its evergreen landscapes, tropical gardens, cool seashores, and hidden and man-build gems.

A few popular man-build gems are Walt Disney World, Coral Gables Merrick House, Mizner Park Amphitheater, and Fort Zachary Taylor. The most remarkable ecological sites are Everglades National Park and Dry Tortugas National Park. Cultural enthusiasts must explore the Castillo de San Marcos, Truman Little White House, and the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum.

Orlando

It is home to many amusement and state parks. Walt Disney World and Universal Studios are the top-ranked theme parks. Walt Disney World is a huge resort with a vast assemblage of pools, lodges, diners, and shopping and entertainment areas. Go for a jaw-dropping variety of rides, zips, slide tubes, carousals, and adventure shows. Watch comic and fictional shows in Universal Studios and the Islands of Adventure. Harry Potter exhibits are best viewed in the Wizarding World. Cruising toward south from the Islands of Adventure, you may head to Everglades, Kennedy Space Center, and some museums. Meanwhile, traveling west, you may stroll through TibetButler Nature Preserve and Kingdom Factory. Preserve features trails, a picnic spot, and a butterfly garden. Kingdom Factory takes you through an interactive chocolate tour.

Jacksonville, just 2 hours from Orlando, invites epicureans to have different types of culinary like Steakhouse Jacksonville, Cuban Jacksonville, Columbian Jacksonville, etc.

Miami Beach

It is spectacular with stretches of waterfronts, beaches, deco art buildings, community halls, and hotels. Along Ocean Drive are some beaches, shopping malls, and precincts. Carry out activities like fishing, padding, speedboat riding, snorkeling, and swimming in sandy beaches of the city. It is pleasure rambling along the streets of art deco buildings. Hit the Lincoln Road Mall, a large pathway with stores and restaurants. Besides shopping, visitors may listen to open space concerts, go for biking, and grab delis at street-side bars.

Tampa

Tampa is a coastal city best known for parks, zoos, museums, and entertainment venues. Busch Gardens is a theme park with spaces for coasters and rides and an African zoo. Take a safari to closely see rhinos, giraffes, gorillas, ostriches, etc. Ybor City Museum State Park houses Mediterranean gardens, a cigar factory, and exhibits for cigar production.

Key West

This coastal city is known for ecological reserves, port beaches, and cultural homes. Fort Zachary Taylor features a beach for snorkeling and preparing BBQs and a fort built during the American Spanish War. Audubon House & Tropical Gardens is an American mansion of the 80s encircled by a garden of tropical plants, trees, and herbs. Another cultural home, typical of Audubon but includes a museum, is Hemingway Home. The museum houses the author’s souvenirs and works. Southernmost Point is a port in Key West from where to cruise or kayak and catch sight of dolphins. Sunset Key is a resort island accessible only via waterway. Duval Street is famous for boutiques, galleries, nightlife centers, and relics.

Coral Gables

Coral Gables is a community that boasts the Merrick House, Venetian-style houses, parks and tropical gardens, a historic pool, and golf courses. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is the largest tropical garden with vast stretches of flora, groves, and biking paths. Venetian Pool is a large pool built in the 20th Century. A bridge from the pool extends to a hillside grotto. Visit Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre to watch children’s programs, music concerts, and dramas. Matheson Hammock Park is a man-made isle pool. Grab a hammock and enjoy the breeze from the nearby bay. The restaurant in the park has been made by carving a coral rock.

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Elephants and stars: the magic of the Elephant Sands in Botswana

There is a place that more impresses me on my journey through southern Africa. This is a camp in Botswana , more precisely the Elephant Sands . There are many camps in which we have assembled and dismantled our tents, which we reached at sunset and abandoned at the first light of dawn, but here two things happened that struck me and amazed me so much that it made it an unforgettable place for me.

Let’s go in order, starting from the first topical moment that coincides exactly with our arrival at the Elephant Sands Lodge & Campsite. In fact, as soon as we get off the truck, we take just a few steps and we find ourselves facing a large pool of water where we are drinking  splendid specimens of elephant . We can not believe how close we were to approach and observe them closely. We are there, leaning against a wall of stone that defines the perimeter of access to the pool, motionless, a bit incredulous and at the same time enchanted in front of these majestic mammals.

Two concepts on what are the largest land animals. First of all it must be said that there are two species of elephants, the Indian and the African ones. Obviously, those we have been lucky enough to observe from such a short distance are those in Africa. The African elephant can be quickly distinguished from the Indian elephant because of its larger size. Even the ears are larger, so that they can reach a length of 1.5 m. The African elephant is taller, has a wrinkled skin and both sexes have fangs, while in Indian specimens are present only in the male, and the proboscis has only one lobe, instead of two. Males reach a height between 3/4 meters ,while the females, these little ones, reach a height that is around 2.5 meters. Characteristic of this species is the possessing large and mobile ears that frequently wave.

Unfortunately, it is up to me to disillusion those who, witnessing this wave of ears, have thought of a courteous form of greeting. In reality, this movement serves the elephants to lower the blood temperature of their body.

The elephants consume 225 kg of fodder a day and drink 190 liters of water , which is why they can often be seen around the rare pools of water and this is also why their stay in these places often drag on for a long time. The water is sucked from the proboscis fundamental organ for most of its activities, and then it is thrown into the mouth. Very versatile, the proboscis is also used to emit recalls, to lighten trees in order to create a passage and tear off leaves.

But the characteristic that, more than any other, struck me in the elephants, is their stealthy step. I did not miss the term, I wrote a sweatshirt. Contrary to what reason would suggest to these giants, the progression of elephants is silent and delicate, so much so that even in total silence it is difficult to realize their presence. In fact, despite having set up the tents very close to the water, none of us heard noises during the night indicating their passage, although in the morning the signs were very clear on the sand all around.

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Safari in Kenya: a journey of emotions

The road from the airport of Mombasa was taking me to Watamu had something magical but sad at the same time. It was as if all those dirt roads and villages without running water wanted to make me feel guilty about the fact that that night I would sleep in a room with a comfortable bed and air conditioning. When we are faced with poverty, we always feel small and small.

Watamu is a part of Kenya that actually does not have much of Kenya . Or rather, it is the tourist destination par excellence since it has a beautiful sea and easy access to various excursions.

By the way, on the beach you will find many, many beach boys , always smiling guys ready to sell you any type of package at prices much cheaper than those of the resorts and some of them are well recommended in the world of the web. I have, in fact, bought a package for € 250 (including accommodation in the savannah and meals) that offered: Safari at Tsavo East, Blue Safari and ride to Malindi , another town not far from Watamu that, in my opinion, however it does not have much of memorable to tell. The two safaris, however, fall into the most beautiful experiences of my life .

Tsavo East safari is definitely the most ‘purchased’ safari. About three hours from Watamu, it is a truly unmissable experience! Kenya postcards , with all the animals imaginable free in their habitat and very close to the jeep: the giraffe at sunset, the elephants, the rhinos, the lions and many others. It allows you to make a little stop, before entering the savannah, to admire the crocodiles and the little monkeys. Beware of sunglasses, they seem to have a certain tendency to steal them! Usually this experience lasts two days because inside the park there are also places to sleep. Imagine the excitement of waking up at dawn with that show before your eyes!

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Ethiopia, a journey through time

Time travel exists. Ethiopia is proof of this. Not so much for a specific location over time, but just because you just left the airport in Addis Ababa you have the feeling of being finished in a parallel time …

First of all for the Ethiopian method of calculating the passage of time. I am writing this text on October 23, 2013 at 12.45. Well, in Ethiopia it is the 13th of the month of Tekmar in 2006. Ah, it’s 7.45 of the day. A casino in short …… also because, unlike many other countries that follow a different calendar from ours, in 99% of cases everything is regulated by the European time standard. In Ethiopia no. The first time I was in Ethiopia, I had a row of appointments behind the other. I was told to introduce myself at 4 and I, very precise, I arrived in mid-afternoon to understand that only have 6 hours late. But let’s go in order. The difference in the date is simply due to the fact that in Ethiopia the Coptic calendar is followed, while the difference in the timetable depends on the fact that being very close to the equator and having the days a regular duration between hours of light and dark hours (12 hours of light and 12 of darkness), it becomes more logical to start counting the hours of the day starting at dawn, at six in the morning, and dividing the day into 12 hours of light and 12 of “night”.

In addition to this temporary disorientation, there is also the reality : 80% of the 90 million inhabitants of Ethiopia live on agriculture , and it is clear: the sensation is that of having returned to a past with less cars and more carts, more stalls and shops and less supermarkets (in Addis there is a Western type, but they are still few and in the richest areas like Bole – the airport area).

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South Morocco, escape into the desert

Once you leave the plain where the city of Marrakech rises to the desert, the landscape changes radically . In fact, the fastest route passes through the largest Moroccan mountain range, the middle Atlas .

The metamorphosis of the landscape is at the same time gradual and impressive , from the arid plains we pass to a view full of shrubs to finally reach the imposing forests of cedars, where many monkeys are lodged.

The intermediate stages of this long transfer, which will take you to bypass the Atlas, are at the numerous kasbahs , old palaces of sultans who, like the castles of our latitudes, were the nerve center of rural life and offered defense to the mercantile streets.

Here the joint work between the orogeny and hydrology has created a breathtaking panorama where the rugged landscape of the bare rock merges with the green of the lush palm groves that rise in the valleys, thanks to small watercourses.

This is a magnificent example of the Dra and Todra valleys , so do not miss the chance to stay one night in the Kasbah Taborihte hotel located in the palm grove of the latter.

After two days of traveling you arrive at the small town of Rissani at the gates of the desert , you will not find anything luxurious and elegant, very few Western tourists, local people call themselves “people of the desert”.Here life is essential, we live on commerce and crafts. The current market is what remains of the place that for centuries has been a meeting point and bargaining for the Berber, Bedouin and nomad caravans who arrived there after crossing the desert.

As we understand the transfer to the desert is short, in less than half an hour you get to the hotels that rise at the foot of the majestic dunes. These are also the starting point for excursions ranging from the most classic walk, to the 4×4 or quads.

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Holiday in Kenya. Souvenirs from Africa

I had dreamed of Kenya for years. I dreamed it especially for the Savannah with its animals, landscapes and breathtaking colors. What I brought home from Africa goes far beyond the souvenirs . I learned that the law of the strongest is not only valid in the Savannah, that a smile of a child means above all hope. That a bus will never go too strong for the agile legs of a small eager to receive a few crayons and a handful of gift cards. That the sweets, those not because they hurt the teeth and the money is never enough to pay the dentist. 

That the orphanage is not, perhaps, the worst thing that can happen when on the other side of the fence you have dwarfs waiting for you to come out to receive their attention.I was shocked on the way from Mombasa to Watamu because of the impudent poverty my eyes are not used to seeing . I changed the yardstick then, entering the heart of Kenya, where the children waving their hands screaming “Jambo” and what they ask for as gifts are not games but water. I learned that a walk on the beach is impossible without being beached by beach boys , insistent guys who compete to sell you all the salable.

I learned that coconut wine is disgusting, that you have to swallow it without smelling it after having toasted on a full moon night. What to do your 31 years eating fresh fish, on the beach, by candlelight makes sense and is that of lightness, of the years you leave behind, and has the scent of new friends singing incomprehensible songs, sitting all by the fire .

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Cape Town: the suggestion of a city where a page of history was written

The sad actuality of these days made me want to write about South Africa, or rather that South Africa city where Nelson Mandela spent the 27 long years of captivity and in which he gave his first public speech after his release on 11 February 1990. Clearly I’m talking about Cape Town.

The site of the first European settlement in South Africa, in Cape Town there is still a strong perception that racial balance is still a point of arrival towards which the city moves slowly. A demonstration of this the shanty towns that welcome us at our entry into the city, inhabited entirely by the black population.Yes, because I arrived in Cape Town after a long safari through southern Africa.

Our truck has crossed the border between the wilds and the metropolis too quickly because the impact is not abrupt. I simply was not ready for so much civilization, back from days and nights spent in contact with a nature that had inevitably accustomed me to follow its rhythms. Precisely for this reason I did not love this city right away, in fact, I felt distant, almost a bit ‘hostile, and I could not immediately establish a relationship. So much so that the first round at the City Bowl, or the vital center of Cape Town, saw me a little cold. I looked around for a sign, something that caught my attention and justified all the good I had read and heard about this place.

And the sign I was looking for came to Grand Parade, the square where Mandela spoke the famous speech I mentioned above. Here, in that square, where my gaze was immediately captured by two banners placed on the facade of the old town hall and depicting the smiling face of Madiba, I made contact with the city.

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The moon on earth: the Namibian desert

One evening, in the middle of a safari that took me to the south of Namibia, I hear myself say: “Tomorrow guys wake up at 4”. At 4 o’clock? Let me understand, there are fifteen days of absurd alarms but at 4 means in the middle of the night, which then in Africa at night, allow me, is still much more night of the other continents! And this alarm that would immediately re-discuss the concept of vacation, what do we owe it to? I’m told: we have to get on the dune 45 to see the sunrise . At this point I was silent because the idea, although a little crazy, or perhaps because of this, I liked it all right.

And so it is precisely with the alarm at 4 am starting this day, which will remain one of the most memorable of our entire trip . In absolute darkness, helped only by the torches placed on our heads that make us look like so many miners about to challenge the heart of the earth, with the usual morning frost (or better, nocturnal) represented by a 4 degrees indicated by a thermometer, dismantle the tents and we load our luggage on the truck. Needless to tell you: the conversation this morning is scarce and I’m sure that a single voice echoes in the head of each of us and punctually says the following words: “But who made you do it.”

But, despite the rumors, at 5 we are in front of the gate of the campsite that will open from there to a quarter of an hour. Here the surprise: madness is not just our business, apparently we are in good company because other cars are in line with our truck. Right now I understand that the question is big: or the completely crazy people around are more than I expected, or what we are going to see really deserves every kind of uproar. Only after a half-hour drive we arrive in a square where there are already some other cars from which descend people who head for a mountain of red sand very hastily. Eggià, because the novelty is that, as if it were not enough the uproar, here it is also about struggling, and to work very quickly. Our driver advises us to start the climb to grab the seats in the front row to see the sunrise. It is easy for him, who knows then if on the dune 45 it never really climbed.

The climb is remarkable and the fact that the feet sink into the sand as in quicksand, makes it all very tiring. So much so that, I admit, I also thought not to make it. But it was enough to stop me to take a breath and move the concentration that until then had been catalyzed in putting the feet in the right places, to the surrounding landscape, to find the motivation to continue.

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That oasis called Nosy Komba, the island of lemurs

when we start evaluating Madagascar as a destination for a future trip, we Italians usually mean the small island of Nosy Be . It is located northwest of the Madre island and is home to a large number of French tourists and residents. For years, Nosy Be – which in Malagasy means ” big island ” – attracts middle-aged men who, once they reach retirement, decide to settle down in the quiet island, perhaps accompanying young local women.

We too, for the first approach, we chose Nosy Be as the basis of our journey but we did not miss the opportunity to discover some of the small islets that form a wonderful archipelago with a special fauna.

In particular I speak of Nosy Komba – “the island of lemurs” – and the name already says it all.
The small volcanic island is located between Nosy Be and the north-west coast of the Isola Madre and offers a very calm and clear sea with the possibility of snorkeling and diving . It is easy to meet under you a beautiful sea turtle, or a huge grouper!But you could be distracted by the sea because of some lively and very nice little creatures that populate the island: the lemurs! Mainly lemur macaque, perhaps the most widespread in the area. In appearance and in movement they resemble arzille monkeys but they are less spiteful and they gladly come closer if you offer them a banana.They will jump on their shoulders without thinking for a moment . They will hold the banana in their hands with their useful opposable thumb or will be content to lick the pulp from your hands.

They do not fear man, Nosy Komba is a wildlife paradise and they do not run any kind of danger for us. And they are perfect photomodels! If you are quick to take pictures, they change position every moment, going from the shoulders, to the head and with a surprising jump, up to the nearest branch. Skilled climbers and innate curious, spend a large part of their lives on trees looking from up there and waiting for a good reason to get off.
Although the island takes its name from them, the lemurs are not the only inhabitants of the dense tropical forest that extends to most of the land that emerged.