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Taiwan Lantern Festival

Photography by Reuters

Today marks the 25th year of the Taiwan Lantern Festival, which is celebrated on the 15th day of the first lunar month, and marks the tail end of the celebration of the Chinese New Year. This year’s festival will take place in Zhongxing New Village, Nantou County – the second largest county in Taiwan. 

The main theme for the festival is determined by the Chinese zodiac animal for the new year. This year’s lantern theme is representative of the Year of the Horse. The lantern – a 75-foot-tall “Prancing Horse” — will be lit up with more than 200,000 LED lights, and will be on display at the festival’s center stage, positioned facing Taiwan’s highest peak, Yushan, which means “Jade Mountain.”

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(Photo Courtesy of Embratur)

Recife will set the scene for the much-anticipated USA vs. Germany World Cup game, scheduled for June 26. In addition to being an entertaining host for the big game, Recife is also an ideal destination for a relaxing vacation full of adventure, culture and beaches just waiting to be explored. Recife is a popular city that is no stranger to grand celebrations and festivals. In the upcoming months, travelers can experience various events with the locals.

Recife, the City of Many Bridges
Recife is referred to as the “Brazilian Venice” because of its 50 bridges, which cross over various waterways and rivers similar to the ones in Venice, Italy. These bridges serve the purpose of connecting the city’s smaller surrounding islands like Santo Antonio, Sao Jose and Bairro do Recife. Nestled in Recife’s modern metropolitan style, the city also has an “Old Recife,” known as Recife Antigo, which is the oldest, most traditional district in the state of Pernambuco. Visitors can appreciate the city’s cultural and historical landmarks, all while enjoying its modern attractions, like the dozens of restaurants and craft fairs that are attended by locals and visitors alike.

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Photography by Andre Maceira – Photo Courtesy of Embratur

Of all the 12 cities hosting the 2014 World Cup, Porto Alegre is the southernmost city in Brazil. Travelers heading down to the state of Rio Grande do Sul are recommended to pack warm coats and extra layers because unlike northern Brazil, the winter weather in Porto Alegre is usually  between 44° and 55°F. Undoubtedly, the weather will not take away from the countless activities Porto Alegre has to offer both soccer fans and world travelers alike. Visitors should know that the citys offers  great urban parks, wine tasting tours, cultural centers, delicious food and exhibits that feature some of the most important pieces of art in Brazil.

Porto Alegre, The City with Multiculturalism.
In the 19th century, Porto Alegre had a large influx of immigrants; the majority of which came from Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Africa and Lebanon. The immigrants that settled helped the city flourish as a melting pot of cultures. As a result, Porto Alegre has grown to become a diverse cosmopolitan city with over 1.5 million inhabitants known as Porto-Alegrenses. The city’s gastronomy and architecture is a mixture of Brazilian traditions infused with influences from different countries.
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Red Fox Restaurant (Photo Courtesy of Lewis Johnson)

If someone dropped you off in the village of Rosa Khutor — in the Mountain Cluster of the Sochi Olympics — you get the feeling like you’re in western Europe. Everything is brand new. All of the village’s hotels, restaurants and nightlife were created for the 2014 Winter Olympics. The charm of this luxurious mountain ski village is amazing especially the panoramic views from a ski lift. You’ll love it!

So far, here are my 3 favorite spots to have a meal and a beverage, and chill with a nice mix of locals and fans of the Olympics.
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Photography by Eric Schwortz / Glasshouse

For decades, the Parc de la Cuitadella was Barcelona’s only public green space. Today, the 70-acre park remains a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.

Daily Escapes!

Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

On February 9, 1964, the Fab Four indulged the States with a 4-song set on the Ed Sullivan Show. But with all the hype surrounding the Beatles 50th anniversary show this past Sunday commemorating that event, people tend to forget about their first live performance that sparked a musical revolution.

Just 2 days after the iconic Ed Sullivan appearance, the Beatles hit the road for Washington, DC, ready to take the stage with a performance that would propel the Beatlemania phenomenon. On February 11, 4 lovable lads from Liverpool, England, walked into the Washington Coliseum for their first-ever live performance in America, and delivered an unbelievable, 12-song set that started off with a cover of the Chuck Berry classic, “Roll Over Beethoven.” READ MORE

Photography by Daniel Schoenen / Image Broker / Aurora Photos

Walt Disney may have found this dramatic setting in Bavaria as inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s castle, but the real life occupant of this German castle was far more fascinating than a Disney princess.

Daily Escapes!

The Amazon (Photo Courtesy of Embratur)

If there is something that should be well-known about Brazil, it is that ecotourism is taken just as seriously as soccer. Just ask Fuleco, the 2014 FIFA World Cup mascot whose name originates from “ful” for futbol and “eco” for ecology. This personable armadillo is native to Brazil, and symbolizes the importance of preserving the ecosystem, as well as a passion for soccer that is present in Brazil. The city of Manaus is a perfect marriage of the 2: the practice of street soccer and efforts to preserve the Amazon rainforest.

Manaus, the City of the Amazonas
In the 19th century, Manaus was known as the “Heart of the Amazon and City of the Forest,”  when the natural resources of the Amazon rainforest were used in creating rubber as an international export. The city instantly began to flourish, and with wealth exponentially growing, extravagant buildings were being constructed like the Amazon Theater (Teatro Amazonas). For a while, there was a strong European presence in the tropics, but the city’s economic success suffered when the Asian market discovered a way to create artificial rubber. Since then, Manaus has made a comeback.  Locals have continued to work hard to offer excellent tourism services and educational programs  to travelers interested in exploring the Amazon rainforest.
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Photo Courtesy of Thinkstock

The World Cup is a momentous occasion that sets the stage for the world’s greatest soccer athletes. Thousands of people will travel to  12 cities in Brazil to see their favorite teams play an international sport that will bring people together from all around the globe.  And there are several reasons why Fortaleza is the perfect  city to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup games.

Fortaleza, the City of “Fortalezenses”
Fortaleza is known for its people, “Fortalezenses.” Although the city on its own is aesthetically beautiful, it’s the good-humored nature of its people that automatically make it a charming destination. Fortalezenses are known for being helpful, hospitable and caring hosts to tourists. They stay active by walking around in urban parks or by the seafront.

The History of the Fortress
In case you didn’t know, Fortaleza in Portuguese translates to “fortress.” In 1649, the Dutch settled and built Fort Schoonemborch. A few years later, in 1655, the Portuguese seized the fort and renamed it Nossa Senhora da Assunção, after the patron saint of the city, the Lady of the Assumption. Visitors can visit  the beautiful fortress on Monte Marajaitiba for free. Today, the fortress is home to the Army Military Headquarters.

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Photography by Getty Images

Barcelona’s favorite son, Antonio Gaudí, never finished his reverent masterpiece, the Sagrada Familía, but that only seems to add to its allure; two million-plus visitors meander through its mystical spaces and climb its twisting staircases every year.
Daily Escapes!

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