It’s been more than 20 years since I was in the beautiful Central American country of Costa Rica. I have fond memories of my time there so when I was invited by their tourism board for a quick trip down, I jumped at the chance.
Compared to some of its neighbours, Costa Rica is an oasis. Its commitment to protecting natural habitats for wildlife and in turn using that as a tool to attract tourists is commendable.
I was only there for a few days in the central highlands and on the Pacific Coast, but the diversity of creatures and experiences we had was amazing.
Here are some of my photos that will give you an inkling of what I saw and did.
The small, mountainous nation of Montenegro that sits astride the Adriatic Sea celebrates July 13 as Statehood Day, a day in 1878 in which the Berlin Congress recognized it as an independent state.
It was later occupied by Austria-Hungary during the First World War, became a part of Kingdom of Yugoslavia between the wars, was occupied by the Axis during the Second World War, was a member of socialist Yugoslavia for decades after the war then became embroiled in the civil war that led to Yugoslavia’s dissolution before finally regaining its independence in 2006. History is inescapable in the Balkans, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying the spectacular scenery and hospitality of the place. These photos will give you a small hint of what it’s like:
June 23 is officially Luxembourg’s National Day, but celebrations start a day early when the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess visit a different town in the European city each year.
The actual date has moved around over the years to coincide with various monarch’s birthdays, but the date they celebrate now was simply chosen to take advantage of the fine summer weather that typically happens in June. Sounds practical.
If you’ve never been to the tiny country, then these photos give you an idea of what it’s like:
The Indian Ocean archipelago of the Seychelles is paradise on Earth. Take a few minutes scrolling through Instagram to find photos of the 115-island nation and you’ll see a constant stream of blue skies, blue water, palm trees and pretty people who come to enjoy its beaches. This coming June 18, Africa’s least-populous nation celebrates its national day. In honour of the occasion, here are some photos that leave no doubt that it’s a land of beauty.
Today marks Freedom Day for South Africa, a national holiday that commemorates the nation’s first elections after the end of apartheid.
Then president Nelson Mandela said these words at the first commemoration of the holiday:
“As dawn ushered in this day, the 27th of April 1994, few of us could suppress the welling of emotion, as we were reminded of the terrible past from which we come as a nation; the great possibilities that we now have; and the bright future that beckons us. And so we assemble here today, and in other parts of the country, to mark a historic day in the life of our nation. Wherever South Africans are across the globe, our hearts beat as one, as we renew our common loyalty to our country and our commitment to its future.”
I was lucky enough to hear Mandela speak at a rally held in his honour in Montreal back in 1990. It was an inspiring experience.
Here is what South Africa looks like today:
The South Asian nation of Pakistan has two national days, Independence Day and Pakistan Day. Today, they celebrate the latter, marking the 77th anniversary of the Lahore Resolution which called for a separate homeland for British India’s Muslim population which eventually became Pakistan.
Since the War on Terror began, tourism has dropped to Pakistan. In 2014, it only attracted 530,000 foreign visitors compared to more than 8.9 million in neighbouring India last year which is a shame because it’s an amazing place to visit. Here is what you’ve been missing:
Just got back from my first trip to Cuba, a country that I’ve been wanting to visit for a long time. It totally delivered.
Music is everywhere, old American cars are omnipresent and not just on show for tourists and the people love life and are more than happy to share their country with visitors.
Here is some of what I saw during my short stay there: