10 things first-time tourists always end up doing in Paris
1. Huddling around Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa

Your everyday tourist knows little more of the Musée du Louvre than the fact that it houses Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. For that very reason, a swarm of tourists can be found buzzing around the masterpiece every minute the museum is open to the public.
The painting measures approximately 30” by 21” — not so epic in scale in comparison to the other work displayed in the Louvre. Unfortunately, many tourists who have seen the painting firsthand will tell you it wasn’t as magnificent as expected.
2. Roaming around the Notre-Dame Cathedral
One of the most famous churches on the planet, the Notre-Dame Cathedral attracts more tourists than the Eiffel Tower. And for good reason — the cathedral’s stained glass windows are some of the most impressive in existence. The South Rose Window, in particular, should be given special attention.
While many tourists will tell you to avoid specific landmarks, few will tell you to skip the Notre-Dame Cathedral, despite the crowds.
3. Upsetting a Parisian by speaking in English
If you’ve been to Paris and didn’t speak un petit peu de Français at the time, you may have started a conversation with a local in English. It probably didn’t go so well. Understandably, an exorbitant number of Parisians dislike being expected to speak in a different tongue off the bat. Well, “dislike” might be an understatement.
4. Butchering the French language after said incident
Every first-time tourist who’s experienced #3 above has likely made it a point to learn a few French phrases to avoid the potential awkwardness again. Such terms include “Bonjour!” and “Parlez-vous Anglais?” among others. Lucky for said first-time tourist, Parisians hate hearing their language butchered far more than they dislike speaking English. The conversation always falls back to English at the drop of a hat.
5. Waiting ages to scale the Eiffel Tower
Okay, so if you visit Paris, it’s your duty to see the Eiffel Tower. Potentially wait up to four hours (yes, four) in line in order to take an elevator to the observation deck of the Eiffel Tower? Not so much.
No matter the length of the line, millions of tourists brave the crowds and make the journey upwards. Visitors in the know often take the stairs to the “second floor” and jump on the elevator from there. A quick heads up: You’ll be climbing 670 steps to arrive at the second floor.
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10 things first-time tourists always end up doing in Paris

1. Huddling around Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa

Your everyday tourist knows little more of the Musée du Louvre than the fact that it houses Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. For that very reason, a swarm of tourists can be found buzzing around the masterpiece every minute the museum is open to the public.

The painting measures approximately 30” by 21” — not so epic in scale in comparison to the other work displayed in the Louvre. Unfortunately, many tourists who have seen the painting firsthand will tell you it wasn’t as magnificent as expected.

2. Roaming around the Notre-Dame Cathedral

One of the most famous churches on the planet, the Notre-Dame Cathedral attracts more tourists than the Eiffel Tower. And for good reason — the cathedral’s stained glass windows are some of the most impressive in existence. The South Rose Window, in particular, should be given special attention.

While many tourists will tell you to avoid specific landmarks, few will tell you to skip the Notre-Dame Cathedral, despite the crowds.

3. Upsetting a Parisian by speaking in English

If you’ve been to Paris and didn’t speak un petit peu de Français at the time, you may have started a conversation with a local in English. It probably didn’t go so well. Understandably, an exorbitant number of Parisians dislike being expected to speak in a different tongue off the bat. Well, “dislike” might be an understatement.

4. Butchering the French language after said incident

Every first-time tourist who’s experienced #3 above has likely made it a point to learn a few French phrases to avoid the potential awkwardness again. Such terms include “Bonjour!” and “Parlez-vous Anglais?” among others. Lucky for said first-time tourist, Parisians hate hearing their language butchered far more than they dislike speaking English. The conversation always falls back to English at the drop of a hat.

5. Waiting ages to scale the Eiffel Tower

Okay, so if you visit Paris, it’s your duty to see the Eiffel Tower. Potentially wait up to four hours (yes, four) in line in order to take an elevator to the observation deck of the Eiffel Tower? Not so much.

No matter the length of the line, millions of tourists brave the crowds and make the journey upwards. Visitors in the know often take the stairs to the “second floor” and jump on the elevator from there. A quick heads up: You’ll be climbing 670 steps to arrive at the second floor.

Continue

13 luxurious California spas

NORTHERN AND CENTRAL CALIFORNIA have a lot to offer active travelers — beaches and bluffs on the Pacific Coast, mountain trails and hot springs around Yosemite, wineries and unparalleled agriculture through Napa and Sonoma Counties and the Sacramento Valley.
But for me, it’s important to be able to unwind after a day of hiking, cycling, or sightseeing — even wine tasting can take a toll on the body. The spa culture of Northern California and the Central Coast is perfect for those looking to experience the state beyond Hollywood’s glamor and the rest of Southern California’s already laid-back attitude. Here, you’ll find luxurious spas that will complement any trip to this part of the Golden State.
1. Sense® Spa at Rosewood CordeValle
Part of the Rosewood Hotels line, the Sense® Spa is set within local vineyards in the San Martin area, a short drive south of San Jose. Aestheticians incorporate natural elements of the surrounding environment into treatments, using the healing properties of grape seed oil in many of their specialties. The spa’s CordeValle Signature Raindrop Ritual is the best way to experience this, which has a grape seed body gel exfoliation and grape seed head massage.
2. The Spa at Hotel Healdsburg
The Spa specializes in “Farm to Spa” treatments sourced from the best of Sonoma County — Meyer lemon sage massages, wine and honey wraps, and stress relieving facials with ingredients from local farms. Staff members provide services that revolve around the needs of hotel guests and clients; there’s even a special Deep Relief massage for cyclists coming in after a day of exploring the wineries and other nearby attractions.
3. Spa at Auberge du Soleil
Travelers headed to Napa Valley’s wine country can get the full vino experience by adding a little Chardonnay or Cabernet into their spa treatments. This property provides services that use the healing benefits of wine and grape seed oil, and most packages come with a complimentary glass of wine from a nearby vineyard.
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NORTHERN AND CENTRAL CALIFORNIA have a lot to offer active travelers — beaches and bluffs on the Pacific Coast, mountain trails and hot springs around Yosemite, wineries and unparalleled agriculture through Napa and Sonoma Counties and the Sacramento Valley.

But for me, it’s important to be able to unwind after a day of hiking, cycling, or sightseeing — even wine tasting can take a toll on the body. The spa culture of Northern California and the Central Coast is perfect for those looking to experience the state beyond Hollywood’s glamor and the rest of Southern California’s already laid-back attitude. Here, you’ll find luxurious spas that will complement any trip to this part of the Golden State.

1. Sense® Spa at Rosewood CordeValle

Part of the Rosewood Hotels line, the Sense® Spa is set within local vineyards in the San Martin area, a short drive south of San Jose. Aestheticians incorporate natural elements of the surrounding environment into treatments, using the healing properties of grape seed oil in many of their specialties. The spa’s CordeValle Signature Raindrop Ritual is the best way to experience this, which has a grape seed body gel exfoliation and grape seed head massage.

2. The Spa at Hotel Healdsburg

The Spa specializes in “Farm to Spa” treatments sourced from the best of Sonoma County — Meyer lemon sage massages, wine and honey wraps, and stress relieving facials with ingredients from local farms. Staff members provide services that revolve around the needs of hotel guests and clients; there’s even a special Deep Relief massage for cyclists coming in after a day of exploring the wineries and other nearby attractions.

3. Spa at Auberge du Soleil

Travelers headed to Napa Valley’s wine country can get the full vino experience by adding a little Chardonnay or Cabernet into their spa treatments. This property provides services that use the healing benefits of wine and grape seed oil, and most packages come with a complimentary glass of wine from a nearby vineyard.

Read more


How to piss off an Ecuadorian
1. Ignore where Ecuador is located, or picture the entire country as a jungle.

Many foreigners arrive in Ecuador believing the country only consists of jungles and thatched-roof houses. Seriously? Ecuador is a relatively small country, but that’s not an excuse to arrive totally ignorant. Before visiting, you should at least have an idea of Ecuador’s history and its current situation.
But sure, if you want to piss off an Ecuadorian, just tell them that at some point you thought Ecuador was in Africa, ask if Ecuador is a Mexican state, imagine we only produce bananas, picture us merely wearing loincloths, or mention how surprised you are to find cars, cinemas, and people over five feet tall in the country.
2. Fail to carry sueltos in your wallet.
You arrive in the country and jump in a cab. If you want to begin your time in Ecuador arguing with your taxi driver, make sure you only have 20 dollar notes in your pocket. Same thing with a street vendor, the cashier at a café, or a bus driver.
In Ecuador, it’s almost mandatory to carry small notes and sueltos (coins). Otherwise, you’ll be the target of verbal abuse (ándate a la verga), or just be left alone in the middle of the street without any means of transportation.
3. Share that you think we all look like Delfín Quishpe.
Please. Not all of us wear indigenous traditional clothing or dress as colorfully as Delfín Quishpe. Our music isn’t just the Andean rhythms played in European plazas, and we’re good at more than soccer.
4. Shit-talk our family.
Ecuadorians love to be the “mama gallina,” making sure everybody feels welcome and is having a good time at parties. You’ll have a blast at any gathering…unless you make an inappropriate comment about a family member. Go on. Comment on how much weight the cousin has put on, or dare say the mom’s cooking isn’t to your taste. Just know that you’ll never be invited over again.
For an Ecuadorian, family comes first. And not only close relatives. We usually throw family parties with dozens of people: the cousins of your great uncle, the mother of your brother-in-law’s father, and so on.
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How to piss off an Ecuadorian

1. Ignore where Ecuador is located, or picture the entire country as a jungle.

Many foreigners arrive in Ecuador believing the country only consists of jungles and thatched-roof houses. Seriously? Ecuador is a relatively small country, but that’s not an excuse to arrive totally ignorant. Before visiting, you should at least have an idea of Ecuador’s history and its current situation.

But sure, if you want to piss off an Ecuadorian, just tell them that at some point you thought Ecuador was in Africa, ask if Ecuador is a Mexican state, imagine we only produce bananas, picture us merely wearing loincloths, or mention how surprised you are to find cars, cinemas, and people over five feet tall in the country.

2. Fail to carry sueltos in your wallet.

You arrive in the country and jump in a cab. If you want to begin your time in Ecuador arguing with your taxi driver, make sure you only have 20 dollar notes in your pocket. Same thing with a street vendor, the cashier at a café, or a bus driver.

In Ecuador, it’s almost mandatory to carry small notes and sueltos (coins). Otherwise, you’ll be the target of verbal abuse (ándate a la verga), or just be left alone in the middle of the street without any means of transportation.

3. Share that you think we all look like Delfín Quishpe.

Please. Not all of us wear indigenous traditional clothing or dress as colorfully as Delfín Quishpe. Our music isn’t just the Andean rhythms played in European plazas, and we’re good at more than soccer.

4. Shit-talk our family.

Ecuadorians love to be the “mama gallina,” making sure everybody feels welcome and is having a good time at parties. You’ll have a blast at any gathering…unless you make an inappropriate comment about a family member. Go on. Comment on how much weight the cousin has put on, or dare say the mom’s cooking isn’t to your taste. Just know that you’ll never be invited over again.

For an Ecuadorian, family comes first. And not only close relatives. We usually throw family parties with dozens of people: the cousins of your great uncle, the mother of your brother-in-law’s father, and so on.

Keep Reading

theteardropdiaries:

Oregon was one of the states that we were really looking forward to. We pulled up to our campground around dusk after a scenic ride through beautiful winding mountain roads coming from Lake Tahoe. Our campsite was nestled right next to Diamond Lake. We set up camp and cooked our first meal as the sun was setting over the gigantic snow capped mountain that lives across the clear blue lake. Our neighbors informed us that we just missed a hailstorm and the temperature would be a record low that night, dropping below 40. We broke out our wool blanket and heavy socks in preparation for the chilly mountain air.

The following morning we woke up in clouds of heavy fog. Being the optimistic people that we are we headed to Crater Lake. Needless to say we couldn’t see five feet in front of us, let alone the beautiful unbelievably blue lake. So we headed north for some waterfalls and of course we weren’t disappointed. The green of Oregon’s forests with raging blue clean water is an unmatchable combo. Umpqua National Forest was a great area to explore. With four waterfalls and hot springs all within a 20 mile stretch it wasn’t hard to fill our entire day in the lush green forest.

The next day we headed to Crater Lake. Instead of writing about our experience at this incredible lake, I’d like to tell our personal favorite story of how the Lake came to be. We came across this story while reading “Your Guide to the National Parks.”

Mount Mazama had a cataclysmic eruption about 8,000 years ago. This cataclysmic eruption caused the mountain to collapse into itself forming a massive caldera.
The Makala Indians tell the story of an epic battle between Llao, Chief of the Below World and Skell, Chief of the Above World. Llao on one of his visits to Mount Mazama fell in love with one of the villagers. Llao promised the pretty young villager enteral life if she would come and live with him below Mount Mazama. The girl refused Llao’s offer which enraged the Chief of the Below World. Llao took his rage out on the village and started to destroy everything in sight. Skell, Chief of the Above World, seeing this from standing atop Mount Shasta decided to help the villagers. The epic battle between Llao and Skell ended in fiery destruction. Skell finally drove Llao back into the underworld through Mount Mazama where the battle took place all night. The next morning Mount Mazama was gone and all that was left was a gigantic gaping hole to the underworld. The following months after the epic battle was filled with torrential downpour which filled the void and created Crater Lake.

(via polerstuff)