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Salvador’s Pelourinho Neighborhood (Photo Courtesy of Embratur)

Salvador is known as Brazil’scapital of happiness” because of its countless number of popular outdoor parties, including its street carnival. Its humble beginnings can be traced to 1549 when Portuguese settlers decided to colonize Brazil and make Salvador the capital of the country. As a result, this coastal city quickly became the main port of call for ships from all over the world that would dock and import their goods into South America. Salvador is no longer Brazil’s capital, but it is a magnificent city with unique architecture, historic museums, chic gastronomy restaurants and African-inspired music, which makes it a unique host city for the 2014 World Cup soccer games.

Salvador, the City of Music
Bahia is the musical state of Brazil. Its rich mixture of Brazilian, African and European cultures birthed genres and rhythms like axe, pagode and samba.. The state’s capital, Salvador, marches to its own beat. People here sing and play special percussion instruments like the berimbau, agogos and atabaques.
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Rio Grande do Sul

Photography by André Maceira

When you think of Brazil, do you think of cowboys in wide-brimmed hats and red neck kerchiefs, verdant canyons and apple strudel? Didn’t think so.

These things happen to be as Brazilian as a pulsating samba beat; Technicolor carnival costumes and intoxicatingly beautiful beaches, and you can find them in the country’s southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, which is getting ready for its star turn during the 2014 World Cup.

The region will reveal a side of Brazil that few know with culture and customs traced back to fiercely independent gauchos, along with determined Portuguese, Spanish, German and Italian settlers.  These customs show up mostly in the region’s foods. There’s chimarrao, the evra mate tea sipped from a communal cup called a cuia; galeterias, restaurants serving the pastas, polenta and grilled chicken of Italian immigrants; and café colonial, serving plate after plate of German-inspired dishes, including strudel. And then, there is churrasco, the gaucho parade of grilled beef, pork and chicken, probably Rio Grande do Sul’s most well-known export. READ MORE

Start of Boston Marathon 2014 (Photo Courtesy of Reuters)

Boston is stronger a year after the tragic Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, 2013. And to prove it, millions of spectators came out today to cheer on 36,000 athletes as they raced from Hopkinton, MA, to Boylston, MA.

So who were the big winners? Meb Keflezighi took 1st place in crossing the finish line of the 26.2-mile run. Keflezighi, the first American winner of the Marathon since 1983, clocked in at 2 hours, 8 minutes and 37 seconds. And Kenyan marathoner Rita Jeptoo was the first woman to cross the finish line in 2:18:57.
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Curitiba (Photo Courtesy of Embratur)

Curitiba is a city that advocates sustainable living. The name of the city originates from Guarani, an indigenous language in South America, and translates to “lots of pine trees.” People traveling to Curitiba for the World Cup will admire the Arena Da Baixada, which is considered to be one of the most modern stadiums, as it opens its doors to more than 40,000 fans from around the world. Even with all of the excitement and energy surrounding the games, guests will enjoy Curitiba’s hidden gems, including its urban parks and city center.

Curitiba, the City with Sustainable Living
With existing public policies that focus on sustainability in urban public areas, the city of Curitiba is at the forefront of environmentally friendly living. These policies helped build and maintain 30 parks and forests, and the government’s efforts didn’t go unnoticed by the United Nations Environment Program, who awarded Curitiba a prestigious award for its recycling waste project.

To start your tour of Curitiba’s urban parks, we recommend going to the Parque de Pedreiras (Quarries Park) where the marvelous Ópera de Arame (Wire Opera House) is located. This gorgeous, translucent structure is built out of steel tubes and is full of windows, and it only took an impressive 75 days to construct.
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Hold on to your seats cowboys, Arlington, TX, located just outside Dallas, is being invaded by 2 of college basketball’s most storied, blue-blood programs in the nation. With a 9:10|8:10c tip off in the first-ever cats vs. dogs National Championship game, the Wildcats of the University of Kentucky will square off against the University of Connecticut Huskies for a chance to be crowned college basketball royalty — national champions.

Everyone knows the saying “everything’s bigger in Texas,” and no statement could ring more true for tonight on the eve of college basketball’s biggest game. After shattering the attendance record for a Final Four tournament this past Saturday with 79,444 fans, don’t expect that record to stay intact much longer — Dallas is about to see a lot more fans in blue. READ MORE

Charleston's Cooper River Bridge Run

Travelers, Charlestonians and runners (or walkers) alike, prepare for a big weekend in Charleston, SC. The annual Cooper River Bridge Run  happens this Saturday, April 5. Runners and walkers will find their position on the Mt. Pleasant side of the Cooper River Bridge at 6 a.m., to start the 10K race which takes runners across the massive, 2.5-mile-long Cooper River Bridge and ends on Meeting Street, just before the popular Marion Square in Historic Downtown Charleston.

Started as a way of engaging interest and awareness of better health and cardiovascular exercise, “Bridge Run” as it’s fondly called, has become one of the most popular events to happen during the spring season in Charleston – next to its world-class weddings, of course. But before the big race kicks off, the foodies and the kids get in on the action with Taste of the Bridge Run and Kids Run & Wonderfest. READ MORE

 

Christ the Redeemer overlooking Rio de Janeiro (Photo Courtesy of Embratur)

Rio de Janeiro is a magnificent city for travelers looking for a well-rounded experience of Brazil. Rio is more than a popular backdrop for countless movies. It’s home to iconic soccer players like Pelé, the popular Christ the Redeemer, the classic bossa nova, the most beautiful beaches in the world and  the world’s most entertaining carnival. Rio de Janeiro’s laidback culture and natural beauty will leave a lasting impression to adventure seekers, soccer fans and history lovers making their way to Brazil for the World Cup.

Rio de Janeiro, The City of Yellow, Green, Blue Through and Through
In 1950, Brazil hosted the World Cup, which left the country heartbroken and disappointed when the championship title was awarded to Uruguay after the team won the final game by 1 point in Rio de Janeiro. Since then, the sport and the country of Brazil have drastically evolved, and locals are ecstatic to experience with visitors the fruits of their labor after  more than 4 years of preparation for the 2014 World Cup. It all ends here in Rio de Janeiro, and only 1 team will win the title of  2014 FIFA World Cup champions.
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Arctic Man

Arctic Man

From Alaskan cuisine to winter sports events and hotel restorations, escape to Alaska with Andrew Zimmern, Adam Richman and Anthony Melchiorri this Sunday on Travel Channel from 2|1c to 7|6c READ MORE

Tough Mudder Pittsburgh 2013

Tough Mudder participants do a 12-foot-high jump into Walk the Plank.

Earlier this year, you had a goal. Then life happened, and so did the weather. But now that spring has finally arrived, it’s time to get back to that moment, a couple months ago, when you told yourself that 2014 would be the year of getting back into shape.

And what could be a better way to get motivated and enjoy the spring weather than to visualize what could be all yours to enjoy: Moments like trudging through waist-high mud … and scurrying in mud pits with electric wires dangling just inches from your face … or jumping into a vat of ice-cold water that, surprise!, you can only escape by swimming underneath one very long headboard … or climbing over a 9-foot-high wall, affectionately known as the Berlin Wall, while praying you land in one solid piece on the way down? And finally — in the piece de resistance — running through dangling wires juiced with 10,000 volts of electricity so powerful it’ll knock you to the ground. READ MORE

Have you filled out your bracket yet? The field of 68 is officially down to 64 as the real March Madness tips off today. In just a little more than 2 weeks of basketball mayhem, 64 teams will vie to be crowned National Champion. With so much parity among the 4 regions of this year’s tournament, upsets are sure to abound, so let the games begin!

From Bryce Drew’s buzzer-beating game winner for Valparaiso in 1998 to number 1 seed Kansas falling to 9th-seeded Northern Iowa in 2010, anything can happen. Whether you’re from one of the best college basketball towns in the country, like Lexington, KY, or you’re a small-town guy with big-hoops dreams, head to one of college basketball’s greatest venues to be on hand for this year’s best games and biggest upsets. If there’s one thing you can always count on the NCAA men’s tournament for, it’s that it won’t disappoint the fans.

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