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Hotels search and book partner: Trivago A trip to Guatemala and Honduras is perhaps the most vivid adventure that has happened to me in...

Guatemala - Bright!

A trip to Guatemala and Honduras is perhaps the most vivid adventure that has happened to me in recent years. This is a guaranteed demolition of the roof: you have not seen anything more exotic and surprising. When the Mayan cities collapsed, this people went into the mountains, where it was impossible to plant reeds and there was no gold - the Spaniards did not follow them, and the once great civilization was preserved there.

Guatemala is cute. This word first comes to mind when you try to sort through the impressions of the first day. In any case, such is the toy town of Antigua, the capital of colonial times. He probably would have remained the main city of this country, if not for the terrible earthquakes that wiped out the majestic local cathedrals and magnificent monasteries. Despite this: perhaps, nowhere else in the New World have I met such an abundance of well-preserved buildings of the era of the conquistadors. We lived in one of them. Now here is the Porta Antigua hotel: a patio overgrown with flowers, a pool reflecting the sky and a volcano, four-meter high ceilings, fireplaces, antique-styled furniture and at the same time all the comfort of the modern world.

Guatemala is vibrant. Here is just an explosion of all colors! I don’t even know which other country can be compared with it in terms of brightness of colors. Is that India? By the way: here, as in India, the majority walks only in national clothes. And men - they have cotton shorts embroidered with touching parrots. And, of course, women: according to the patterns on their homespun skirts and scarves, the connoisseur easily guesses where the charming woman comes from, in which of the Mayan languages​​she speaks words of love to her betrothed ...

Women weave all this beauty not just by hand - they don’t even have looms. The guiding threads of the future canvas are attached to the hook on the wall, and the other end to the leather belt, which the girls receive as a gift when they turn ten. Their whole life is a shuttle and cotton threads, they are old-fashioned painted with a decoction of flowers, seeds and leaves of tropical plants, and then fixed with a brew from the trunk of a banana palm.

Our trip to Guatemala and Honduras was just magical. We poked our noses where we didn’t get to, got acquainted with local people, tried everything (especially for “independent” people: we stopped when we got tired, ate where we wanted, etc., but fell into places where you could break yourself, you will not get).

Have you ever seen a pagan temple in the center of a Christian temple? And what about a headdress made of 10-meter tape? And the shaman who takes in the church in the room next to the altar? Drop everything and go there. Thank you, I promise!

Hotels search and book partner: Trivago Poor, poor Basques! Imagine - this nation does not have a single relative in the whole world: t...

Basque Country, Spain

Poor, poor Basques! Imagine - this nation does not have a single relative in the whole world: their language does not belong to any group. There was once a theory that they were supposedly relatives of Georgians, but now they have abandoned this seductive idea. No one really understood where the roots of their language and traditions were, unlike anything else. The only thing that can be argued: the Basques are relatives to the Gascons, tribesmen of D’Artagnan. But who are where they came from? Some hypotheses.

I won’t tell you all about the Basque Country, there’s not enough time, but here are some interesting things. First: local men take off and rent a room equipped with a kitchen. It turns out to be a closed "gastronomic club". If you want, bring your products there and cook yourself, but if you want, order the cook, he will buy and do everything himself. An outsider is booked, and you always have a table there free to eat with friends and tasty.

About to eat is another interesting thing. Here they have no idea what “tapas” is, but they drink cider. It happens like this: the waiter comes up with a special teapot, raises it above his head on his outstretched arm and, looking straight into your eyes, manages to get a trickle of the drink exactly into the glass.

Speaking of Spanish “tapas” - pleasant snacks that are free of charge attached to a glass of wine in any institution. In Basques, they are called pinchos, and the main difference is that goodies should be on skewers, and then the waiter will consider them when the time comes to pay. So: these "pinchos" - just some indecent rampant gastronomic fantasies! By the way: Bilbao, the main city, it is no coincidence that several years ago it was declared the "culinary capital of Europe." It is believed that everything caught in the cool Bay of Biscay is the most delicious!

Fourth interestingness of a different kind: in one and a half to two decades, the Basques turned the wilted Bilbao into the third most visited city in Spain. Fortunately, so far the Spaniards themselves come here mainly, and not one of our Chinese friends.

And the Basque Country is beautiful. And not at all like the dull landscape of the Costa Brava, where you spend your vacation. Oddly enough, the north of Spain reminds me most of all ... Siberia and Crimea at the same time. Mountain slopes overgrown with pine trees stretch along the coastal road. Eye-catching! Who was not in the north - in Galicia, Asturias, the Basque Country, did not see Spain.

And the last: in vain you did not go with me! You yourself will never find Fat Fat Jesus - the Cheese King of the Basques. Not to meet Pedro - a smiling baker and artist from Bermeo. Oh you, Thomas unbelievers. I must obey!

Hotels search and book partner: Trivago In Argentina, there is one of the seven recognized wonders of nature - the incredible Igua...

7 wonders of Argentina

In Argentina, there is one of the seven recognized wonders of nature - the incredible Iguazu Falls on the border with Brazil. But, in fact, there are many more miracles here: natural, cultural, and gastronomic.

Do you know at least one person who saw Argentina and was left disappointed? Me not. From the bustling Buenos Aires to the harsh Patagonia, from the penguins at the end of the world to three hundred waterfalls on the northern border of Argentina - this is one big bag with wonders. And if suddenly it’s not enough, you can always look to the neighbors: they also have something to surprise and please.

Buenos Aires Rhythms and Montevideo Calm

The scale of Buenos Aires will catch your eye when a metropolis sparkling with lights appears in the porthole. “The city of good winds” is like a wind: in perpetual motion, always different, and sometimes it takes your breath away. The rhythm of the capital is especially acute during the daytime on the streets of the historical center, along which a crowd of “portenos” rushing off somewhere (“port dwellers”, as locals proudly call themselves), constantly plying. In this case, everything is done leisurely and thoroughly.

Buenos Aires - as several cities in one. The capital is divided into 48 districts, and each of them has its own face: bohemian Palermo, creative San Telmo, fashionable Puerto Madero, elegant Recoleta ... And sometimes there are even several faces, like La Boca: the bright, hospitable, touristy Piglet Caminito adjoins with dilapidated, gloomy quarters, where the ragged boys are chasing the ball, and where the prudent traveler should not meddle. But how not to meddle if here the luxurious La Bomboneroa is the stadium of the Boca Juniors team, the delight of which even a traveler far from football will experience.

These contradictions are the whole “Bayres": the city of immigrants, the port city where prestigious neighborhoods border on slums, skyscrapers on unpretentious buildings, boutiques on flea markets. As Istanbul combines Europe and Asia, Buenos Aires is both Europe and Latin America. Advanced and backward, rich and poor, passionate and slow, dangerous and benevolent - controversial, but very charming.

And quite nearby, on the other side of La Plata, is Uruguay. An hour of travel by ferry - and you are in the cozy colonial town of Colonia del Sacramento, founded by the Portuguese in the 17th century and repeatedly passing from them to the Spaniards and back (for several decades it even went to the Brazilians). From here it is a stone's throw to Montevideo. The capital of Uruguay is also a metropolis, where most of the country's population lives. But the rhythm here is not at all the same as in Buenos Aires. Montevideo will charm with old buildings and cars, cozy retro bars, calm, relaxed atmosphere. Go to the port in the late afternoon and see for yourself: people walk slowly, fish on the pier, enjoy the sunset and sip a mate (and every first one drinks it).

Uruguayans are funny, cute and simple: they talk to the first person they come across, sing all the way and do not lock the doors (it’s so safe here), and their former presidents lose their immunity, go unguarded and live a normal human life. By the way, in Montevideo souvenirs are still very popular with Jose Mukhika, nicknamed the “poorest president in the world” for modesty: while still being the head of state, Mukhika gave almost all his salary to charity, lived on a farm with his wife and three-legged dog, and rode an old one Volkswagen Beetle 1987.

"Big water"

But not only and not so many cities are rich in the region. In the north, divided between Argentina and Brazil, Iguazu Falls are noisy: not one, not ten, but as many as 275 powerful streams up to 80 meters high amid raging tropical greenery. Huge colorful butterflies flutter in the humid air, in one of the ponds an alligator froze warily, and cunning little animals scurry under their feet: they fight, dig the ground and brazenly rob gapeous tourists. Water falls down with tremendous force, and you stand wet through the spray, trying to shout down the roar and once again tell the world that you do not believe in the reality of what is happening. Because this reality is strikingly reminiscent of the scenery for the movie "Avatar". Iguazu (“big water” in the language of the Guarani Indians) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the seven natural wonders of the world and a place where you especially acutely feel how beautiful our world is and how lucky you are to see this part of it.


Perito Moreno (and all of Patagonia)

Well, lovers of the north - to the south, in the harsh and beautiful Patagonia. Like Buenos Aires, you appreciate it even from the air, looking at the endless pampas floating under the wing interspersed with unnaturally blue lakes. Patagonia is surprised even after Iguazu: take at least the Perito Moreno Glacier - a giant ice field the height of a skyscraper and an area larger than Buenos Aires. The giant lives its own life: it shimmers with the colors of the Argentine flag and constantly makes noise - sometimes lulling, like on the sea coast, then frightening with a deafening roar when huge boulders crack off from the blue-white mass and fall into the water.

Patagonia is Mount Fitzroy, whose capricious weather shows only to the most successful travelers, and the turquoise Lake Argentino, and the granite “towers” ​​of the Torres del Paine National Park on the Chilean side. These are fjords, lagoons, icebergs, mountains and timid guanacos on the sidelines of endless, empty Patagonian roads.

Gateway to Antarctica

Someone considers Ushuaia a well-advertised tourist destination, where they go for a show: they say, I was in the southernmost city on earth. But how can one remain indifferent when there are cozy village houses in the city, snowy mountains around, and ships sailing from the port to Antarctica?

If the white continent is not yet in your plans, be sure to go on a six-hour voyage along the Beagle Channel: to get acquainted in the natural environment with cormorants, cormorants, dolphins, lazy sea lions and hilarious penguins that settled on local islands. And to think - that you, indeed, are on the edge of the earth, what’s next - only Antarctica, from which a little more than 1000 kilometers separate you.

By the way, you can still do something for show (or rather, for fun): go to the city department of tourism and put a penguin stamp on your passport stating that you visited Ushuaia, the gateway to Antarctica. Checked: more than one border guard smiles at such a label.

People talking

A distinctive feature of the locals is the ease with which they get to know and start a conversation. Here is an elderly tango dancer in Patagonia discussing with you about Russian classical literature and its impact on Argentine authors. A young musician waiter retells the story of his wanderings while you sample wine. The owner of the bar draws for you a map of the trekking routes of El Chalten. The grandfather-driver flies free of charge from a broken bus to Paraguay to talk about the good and future of the Guarani language. A bookstore employee treats the Paraguayan terere infusion, a cold mate counterpart. The landlord in Ushuaia teaches you to drink Fernet liquor while making a fire for a barbecue. Each will bring his list of new friends from the trip, but he will definitely be, do not hesitate.

Football passions

And also - nowhere so passionately, madly do not like football. Diego Maradona, who made the Argentines world champions in 1986, and now for the locals is a living god, and the current star Lionel Messi will have to sweat solidly to share the Olympus with him. T-shirts with idols and talk about your favorite sport are everywhere here, and the ball is chased even at the end of the world, in Ushuaia. Go to the match of the Libertadores Cup - an analogue of the European Champions League - and you will get to the holiday. At the stadium - dancing and music, something fried, laughing, getting to know each other. At the stadium - they sing in a loud voice an hour before the match and do not fall silent until the final whistle.

Food and wine

Those who think that calling food a miracle is inappropriate just did not try the juicy Argentinean steak “BifĂ© de Choriso”. They didn’t crawl out of the restaurant after a good portion of asado fried meat. They did not drink the tender Patagonian lamb with a glass of Malbec. Argentina is a place where you regret not to eat ten times a day; where you promise yourself not to take so much more - and you do it again, and you remember a few more years a sandwich with a piece of meat in a street stall.

Hot as coals under asado, like tango, as the first big sip of wine. Cold as the glaciers of Patagonia, like crazy spray of Iguazu waterfalls. Argentina is a country where your head is spinning: from a whirlpool of faces in the crowd of Buenos Aires, from the colors of La Boca, from the cry of fans, from the contrasts of nature. From miracles.

Hotels search and book partner: Trivago The Iranian island of Kish in the Persian Gulf is one of the most unusual resorts in the world....

Iranian Kish Island

The Iranian island of Kish in the Persian Gulf is one of the most unusual resorts in the world. Vacationers here bathe and sunbathe, as in a bath. I mean, not because it's hot, but because it's separate. Women are on the women's beach behind a tall concrete fence, and their husbands, you guessed it, on the men's, barely covered with miserable vegetation.

There are, of course, joint beaches here, so to speak, unisex beaches. But there the ladies bathe in ... hmm ... I would call it a light summer coat over which a scarf is put on. And it is very correct! Iran is in a seismic zone.

How correctly noticed one of the local religious leaders! Women who frivolously put on tight-fitting or open clothes, with their appearance, cause indecent desires in men, provoking extramarital affairs and thereby increasing the frequency of earthquakes! But Kish is in all probability the only place in Iran where men are allowed to wear shorts, which, on the contrary, does not affect the tectonic activity of the earth's mantle. And I personally understand her, this mantle.

The appearance of the lower part of the male limb, as well as the upper one, does not cause any activity in me either. Although, according to common sense, I am ready to admit the existence of a diametrically opposite point of view on this subject.

Measures aimed at seismic stability of Iranian society, of course, are not limited to this. For example, shopkeepers are instructed not to display plastic copies of female organisms without a headscarf - a hijab - in shop windows. There is also a catalog of recommended hairstyles that should be worn under a hijab ... I made a courageous decision to abandon the idea to investigate: do Iranian beauties follow these recommendations?
Many people remember the sad story of a frivolous tourist from Germany who saw the sky in a cage after allowing himself an outrageous trick: he hugged his Iranian girlfriend who met him at the airport named after Imam Khomeini.

My Iranian friends say that all this is the horrors and fears of bygone days. Yesterday I myself just watched Tehran women of fashion dressed in a light hijab style sipping their ideologically alien Coca-Cola in a restaurant in Divani, a suburb of Tehran, gently hugging their companions, and they reciprocated.
Allah is a witness: the earthly firmament did not open.

Hotels search and book partner: Kayak No matter what city of Morocco you are in, you can not predict for sure what awaits around t...

8 reasons to go to Morocco

No matter what city of Morocco you are in, you can not predict for sure what awaits around the corner: an abandoned wasteland or a luxurious riad, a herbarist shop or artisan workshop, a royal palace or a palm grove.

Even an experienced traveler will tremble when he sees Marrakesh wake up at dawn and the first rays of the sun illuminate the horizon of the Atlas Mountains. As all shades of pink creep with every minute of sunrise and gradually turn from pale to bright - terracotta. When he first gets to the old bazaar of Fez and feels a vigorous mixture of aromas of spicy spices and fresh bread, and then gets lost in six thousand labyrinth alleys of the medina - the old part of the city, built in the ninth century in Arab times. Out of habit, the crowd of the city will knock down, and from the booth of dark-skinned Moroccans he will lay his ears, but he will get used to it. You can’t get used to it.

Why go?

1. Look at the fountains framed with colorful mosaics - an echo of the Portuguese Azulejos - which had been working all over the city some ten years ago, but because of the rapid population growth (many began to move from villages to the city), Fes began to suffer from acute lack of water.

2. Learn not to miss the desired turn - the one behind which is hidden a luxurious riad, stretching over several floors. Translated from Arabic, “garden” is a traditional Moroccan house or palace with a courtyard, from where natural light penetrates into all rooms of the house. Moroccans thus “hid” privacy from prying eyes.

3. See how city minarets turn into anthills. Five times a day, the herald muezzin calls on all the inhabitants of the city to pray: whether you are in at least Fez, even in Marrakesh, even in Casablanca or any other city in Morocco - prayer yells at the loudspeakers that are placed around the perimeter of the medina. An unprepared traveler will flinch from surprise, and more than once. As for the pilgrimage, then everything is prosaic. At the same time, everyone is ringing a phone with a reminder, in case they haven’t heard the call: so that there is enough time to wash, change clothes, and put everything in order.

4. Surprise incomprehensible. In order to photograph a person, you need to ask him for permission. Sometimes you can also buy coffee or give some amount of money. When asked whether this habit is associated with superstition, opinions diverged. Someone says, locals believe that the evil eye awaits them, and someone just does not want to "wander" through the expanses of social networks. Like, this is my personal space, please, do not violate it.

5. Find out what truly gastronomic delight is. Friday family couscous is a holy tradition for every family. Not only is this an occasion for everyone to get together and discuss what happened to someone over the week, but also to cook dinner together. And couscous is not just cereals cooked in one way or another. This is a full hearty dish - with vegetables, meat, seafood - for every taste. But not one couscous: Morocco is famous for tajine - made from meat or chicken, and fish in honey sauce with dried apricots, and numerous salad sets for every taste (from baked peppers to spicy pumpkin) and, of course, desserts.

6. Try to stay on your feet at the conditional intersections of Marrakech, since there are no traffic lights and pedestrian crossings in the center, and go ahead, despite the fact that cars and mopeds are rushing from all sides. And to accept that the Russian arrogant “where you go” is just an ordinary show off, in which there is no sense. To stop the endless stream, you need to raise your hand and quickly and quickly cross the road. There is still an option to wear a suit. Yes, yes, in this case, the Moroccan at the wheel will worry: they say, are you a cop? Better to give in.

7. Look in the herbarist's shop and try healing tea: perhaps green with spices, and possibly with the addition of other secret ingredients. In any case, only the owner of the shop will know the recipe and, of course, wink conspiratorially. Like, how are you?

8. And, finally, to find out a fact that may not be useful in life, but the piggy bank of memories will be replenished. After all, the oldest university in the world is not Oxford and not the Sorbonne, but Al-Karaouin, located in Fes al-Bali.