Winter 2015

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Travel Diaries: 
Plan Less


By late December, I still had no travel plan. I was leaving for Ireland on December 29, and, other than a rental car and a plane ticket, I had nothing booked. My brother and I had a vague idea that we wanted to drive from Dublin across the West Coast, via the Wild Atlantic Way. Beyond that, we knew nothing.


It's easy for a lack of planning to result in stress. However, for us, the opposite happened. We had the advantage of traveling during low season; while some sites were closed, most lodging options, and even the roads, were empty. This gave us the dual advantage of having hostel dorm rooms all to ourselves, as well as the option to book at (literally) the last minute and still have plenty of diversity in our choices.



But there was another advantage of planning less. When we were invited to Donegal with locals, we were able to go without a hitch. When we stayed with family friends, we spent more time with them than we'd anticipated because there was no need to get on the road. Casually, we drank beer, ate steaks, saw Enya's home pub, and visited one of the most beautiful coasts I've ever seen.  It felt like a vacation and an adventure at the same time. The flexibility ended up being a gift in itself.



It's common knowledge that traveling to most parts of the world during the winter isn't ideal. Truly, there aren't that many places that enjoy great weather during these months: chances are, if it isn't snowing and bitter cold, it's rainy. But, as I was reminded soon after my winter departure, traveling while the rest of the world hibernates or migrates to the beach can leave more room for spontaneity and adventure than there would be at other times of the year. There's a distinct pleasure that comes with vacant tourist sites. But there's also wild excitement to be had in leaving the plans at home and seeing where life takes you.

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It's a great time to go to Europe


"The European economy favors American tourists as vacation time is at a four-decade low. The American dollar rising against the value of the euro means that trans-European dream trip of yours could finally come to fruition." via U.S. News.



NYT Releases 52 Places to Go in 2015


Cuba come as less of a surprise than Orlando, but there's no place on this list that we wouldn't be happy to jet to this year. Read the full list at the New York Times.



2015 European Capitals of Culture

1. Mons, Belgium
Flickr: ines saraiva
Mons' festivities range from gastronomy to art, dance, theater, literature, digital exhibits, music, and, perhaps most intriguing, trails. The year kicks off with a bang with an opening ceremony, which includes a fire exhibition in Place du Parc, on January 24.
For more on Mons, visit


2. Pilsen, Czech Republic
Flickr: Roevin
Pilsen will feature creative displays and venues throughout the city, which will include not only performances, festivals, and food, but also spaces for creative people to gather and get their creative juices flowing. 


Among such venues is the wo-co husovka, a pay-per-month co-op for work, workshops, discussions, meetings, connecting with people from other domains, and a community bar. There's also the DEPO 2015 creative zone, a hall which will host exhibitions and artist residencies. 

For more info, visit




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Let's Travel! is a radio show and website that gives visitors and listeners the insider's take on travel. Come explore the world of travel and culture with us at  

The Tattler, radio show and website are produced by Susi Raphael and Michael Zufolo.


Ireland's Northern Oasis



 Tourism Ireland has announced a huge push for tourism in 2015.  The timing is fitting on the year of Yeats' 150th birthday and the Irish Year of Design. No doubt, the Blarney Stone is slated to get a lot more kisses over the upcoming months.


We needn't detail the long list of favorite tourist spots, in the Emerald Isle; the Cliffs of Moher, the Ring of Kerry, the cobblestone streets of Dublin and Galway are more-than-adequately documented in travel guides and the corners of the internet alike. Instead, we want to highlight the parts of Ireland that isn't so popular,  the Northern County, Donegal. 

 With a population of approximately 161,000 spread across its 1,877 square miles, Donegal is both sparsely populated and fiercely loyal to its heritage. Here, you will hear Gaelic being spoken in the local pub. In the summer, you'll find rolling hills and empty beaches. In the winter, Donegal looks like a scene from the American West, with harsh snow storms descending upon the rugged landscape as a surprise.

 It's worth the long drive North. But don't take our word for it: fill up on petrol, grab a raincoat (and a swimsuit!) and see Donegal for yourself.


Best Places to Visit in Donegal

1. Portsalon Beach



 A very extensive sandy beach on the shores of Lough Swilly. It gently slopes towards the Atlantic ocean and is located in a Natural Heritage Area. The beach at Portsalon can be reached by travelling north east in the R246 from Carrowkeel to Portsalon.


2. Slieve League Cliffs



 Climbing to the highest point on Slieve League Cliffs yourself and taking in the landscape is magic.


3. Glenveagh National Park



Glenveagh encompasses some 16,000 hectares in the heart of the Derryveagh Mountains. The vast wilderness is the haunt of many interesting plants and animals. These lands were managed as a private deer forest before becoming a national park in 1975.  Be sure to check out the Glenveagh Castle, which is within the park.


4. Mount Errigal



Errigal is a mountain near Gweedore in County Donegal, Ireland. It is the tallest peak of the Derryveagh Mountains, the tallest peak in County Donegal, and the 76th tallest peak in Ireland. Errigal is also the most southern, steepest and highest of the mountain chain, called the "Seven Sisters" by locals. 

5. Glenevin Waterfall



The walk up Glenevein Valley to the Glenevin Waterfall in Clonmany, County Donegal, takes the rambler on a safe, well sign -posted route. Newly installed picnic areas blend easily into the natural landscape. Footbridges are dotted along the track as visitors cross the stream using the stepping stones. has more to see and do in Donegal and throughout Ireland.



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