On a recent trip to Florida, I had the pleasure of discovering the smallest Post Office in the United States.
The Ochopee Post Office is just 56 square feet and fits only one postal worker. This post office has been in continuous use since 1953, after it was quickly put into service when the existing post office and general store burned down in a fire.
The building used to be an irrigation pipe shed on the adjacent tomato farm, which no longer exists, but the post office hasn’t changed in nearly seventy years. There’s a phone but no internet, so money orders are created manually on a vintage-looking machine. It’s the old-fashioned away of doing it that nobody really does anymore.
Even during the pandemic, this tiny post office was open, serving local residents and businesses in three counties and is now a famous landmark.
If you are ever passing through this rural part of south Florida, it’s worth a stop to get a photo of this unique historical tiny Post Office in Ochopee
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I like adventure, and the opportunity to experience the World’s Highest Tandem Skydive from an aircraft at 18,000 feet/ 5,486m, almost five and a half kilometers, was a once-in-a-lifetime experience I could not miss out on.
On a recent road trip to the sunshine state, I had the opportunity to visit Titusville on the Space Coast, close to Kennedy Space Center. The Skydive Space Center specialises in high-altitude sky diving. It was exciting and scary as I thought about what lay ahead. What would it be like for one and a half minutes of free fall? What if the parachute didn’t open?
The Skydives usually occur in the morning as the sky is clear, with few clouds and less wind to blow you off course. I checked into the Skydive Space Center. After signing my life away in pages of medical, danger warnings, and indemnity paperwork, I was instructed and trained in the safety of parachute jumps, body position, hand signals, and what to expect.
Next, it was time to get kitted out in a harness to attach me to my tandem skydive instructor. Mick? was Italian and had jumped many times and assured me I was in safe hands. Eye goggles on, I made my way to the King Air aircraft with my instructor, wearing double belts to keep us attached during the jump.
In a matter of minutes, we were up and away with four other crazy jumpers. A 7-minute flight brought up to a height of 18,000 feet. There was no turning back as we moved through the aircraft on our bums toward the door. In seconds, it was my turn to jump. I was sitting at the door over five and a half kilometers up, looking out at the beautiful clear blue sky.
GO – we were out and falling at 120mile an hour. I imagined it was like a movie screen from MISSION IMPOSSIBLE. It was incredible, face felt like the skin as been pushed around the side of the face and behind my ears. One and a half minutes of freefall straight down. The gound was coming up very fast.
Then the moment the parachute opens. It caught me by surprise as the parachute deployed and slowed our descent. It felt like I was getting pulled softly upwards as I transitioned from the horizontal on my belly free fall position to sitting vertically in my harness. Once the parachute opened fully, I enjoyed the breathtaking scenery, and it was time to enjoy a 7-minute parachute flight.
The landscape of Florida was scenic, spectacularly beautiful, and unbelievably fantastic. In the distance was Orlando, and under my feet were breathtaking views of the Indian River and Kennedy Space Center.
The touchdown was so soft, gentle landing. An EPIC experience of pure adrenaline. I would do it again.
The summer travel outlook report, produced for the World Travel Market (WTM) by ForwardKeys, reveals that in the third quarter of the year, July, August and September, global air travel is set to reach 65% of where it was before the pandemic in 2019.
However, the revival is patchy, with some parts of the world doing much better than others and some types of travel, particularly beach holidays, being much more popular than urban city visits and sightseeing.
The region of the world that is on course to recover most strongly is Africa & the Middle East; its arrivals in Q3 are expected to reach 83% of 2019 levels. It is followed by the Americas, where summer arrivals are expected to reach 76%, and then by Europe, 71%, and Asia Pacific, just 35%.
The current preference for beach holidays is well illustrated by a comparison of the top ten beach and urban destinations in Europe, ranked by Q3 flight bookings compared to 2019. All those in the beach list, which is led by Antalya, 81% ahead, Tirana, 36% ahead and Mykonos, 29% ahead, are showing extremely healthy demand, whereas, in the urban list, only Naples is ahead.
Furthermore, the four leading urban destinations, Naples, 5% ahead, Istanbul, flat, Athens, 5% behind, and Lisbon, 8% behind, are all also gateways to beach resorts too.
A similar trend is exhibited in the Americas, where Q3 bookings for air travel to the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico are 5% ahead of 2019 levels, whereas flight bookings to South America and to the US and Canada are, respectively, 25% and 31% behind. The destinations which are set to perform most strongly are Costa Rica, 24% ahead, Jamaica, 17% ahead and the Dominican Republic, 13% ahead.
Enthusiasm to travel again internationally is so strong that a rise in air fares has done relatively little to dampen demand. For example, the average fare from the US to Europe climbed by over 35% between January and May with no noticeable slowing in booking rates.
And these fares were nearly 60% above the previous year. Fares for shorter haul, intraregional travel (ie: within the Americas) also increased substantially, by 47%, which is less than for long haul. However, the demand for those tickets peaked in March.
Helpfully for the travel industry and for many destinations, American travelers are planning to stay longer and spend more than they did in 2019 but not as much as they did during the pandemic.
The average planned length of stay in Q3 is 12 days, up from 11 days in 2019. Last year, it was 16 days, but fewer people, with a more affluent profile, were traveling then. The proportion of people flying in premium cabin classes in Q3 is also set to rise, from 12% in 2019 to 15% this year. The relatively promising outlook for summer travel to Africa and the Middle East is due to a combination of factors. Several Middle Eastern airports act as hubs for travel between Asia Pacific and Europe, which has led to the Middle East benefiting from the revival of intercontinental travel, particularly driven by people returning to Asian countries to visit friends and relatives. The closure of Russian airspace has also contributed to the uplift in hub traffic. Cairo, 23% ahead, has increased connectivity to European markets. Nigeria, 14% ahead, Ghana, 8% ahead, and Ivory Coast, 1% ahead, with large diasporas in Europe and the US, are seeing expats return to visit friends and family. Tanzania, 3% ahead, Cape Verde, flat and the Seychelles, just 2% behind, are successfully attracting long haul visitors from Europe
In 2023, a historic event is in store for Lithuania – the 700th anniversary of Vilnius. But we’re already starting to celebrate now! In preparation for the anniversary of the Lithuanian capital, there’s no need to think about presents – the city itself has prepared a multitude of gifts for its residents and guests. This 25 July, Vilnius will be giving you a spectacular music festival in one of the greenest places in the capital – Vingis Park.
The feast day of St Christopher, the patron saint of Vilnius, takes on new meaning – we will celebrate the city’s birthday twice a year: on 25 January, which, as historians have agreed, is the city’s birthday, and exactly half a year later, in the summer. Vingis Park, which is a favourite place among locals, will become a unique international music arena, where you will be able to enjoy an exclusive programme featuring a combination of classical and popular music. This festival is one of the main Vilnius anniversary events being held in 2022 for music fans.
Awaiting you completely free of charge are performances by famous Lithuanian performers, unexpected duets and… Lewis Capaldi – the famous Grammy nominee and winner of MTV and numerous other awards! Tickets to his concerts at the best venues in the United States and Europe sell like hot cakes. But on 25 July, Lewis Capaldi will be giving Vilnius – and you – a free show.
The festival will also have plenty of surprises. It’s hard to even imagine a line-up of Lithuanian artists with such different sound – different generations, different genres, different styles of music. But after all, Vilnius is a creative, experimental and passionate city! And that is exactly why the most famous Lithuanian singers and bands will be forming unexpected duets and making the audience’s hearts pound. There will be both well-known and popular songs, as well as legendary pieces that have been newly interpreted.
The event will also offer a chance to see a meeting of Lithuanian and foreign classical music performers. It is symbolic that we will be celebrating the capital’s anniversary with guests from Europe – just like artisans and merchants flocked to our capital from major European cities almost 700 years ago at the urging of Grand Duke Gediminas, today we will also have extraordinary artists. This celebration is far from being just for lovers of classical music – after all, music unites everyone!
Whether you like pop music, rock or electronic music, the all-day festival programme will be balanced for all tastes. Admission to the festival is free – it is a 700th anniversary gift for the city’s residents and guests.
“Rooftop Bar” is one of the great choices for MICE travellers who are looking for a meeting spot with a laid-back atmosphere and good live music which can help strengthen bonds in any conversations. It is a venue where MICE travellers can also experience the stunning night sky view of Bangkok, one of the most vibrant MICE cities, in a relaxing mood.
Today, TCEB would like to introduce you to 3 highly recommended rooftop bars that all MICE travellers will undoubtedly like in Bangkok, the hosting city of APEC 2022.
Octave Rooftop Lounge & Bar Let’s start with “Octave Rooftop Lounge & Bar”, a rooftop bar on Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit which is the luxurious landmark in the heart of Thonglor. The proper rooftop bar is perfect for dining and enjoying the picturesque 360-degree Bangkok cityscape. It covers three floors, where the dining zone is located on the 45th floor of the bar. In which, the fusion cuisine will be served, along with a variety of food and a specially made mocktail drink from the bar. The 49th floor is the top floor which allows everyone to enjoy the beautiful view of the high-rise buildings in the Phrom Phong and Thonglor. On a sunny day, MICE travellers will be able to see the Chao Phraya River even if it’s quite far away as well.
CRU Champagne Bar We would like to invite all MICE travellers to have a glass of champagne while enjoying the unique 360 panoramic views of Bangkok skyline at “CRU Champagne Bar”, one of the highest champagne bars in the world. CRU Champagne Bar is located in the Centara Grand Hotel, Central World, where MICE travellers can embrace a view of the city’s sunset while appreciating the champagne bubble and drinking all night long in a modern atmosphere with a wide variety of drinks.
Seen Restaurant & Bar Bangkok Located on the AVANI+ Riverside Bangkok Hotel, “Seen Restaurant & Bar Bangkok”, a rooftop bar that offers more than just luscious cuisine, provides the city skyline and Chao Phraya river in a 360-degree panoramic view, featuring with lights from Asiatique’s enormous Ferris Wheel and the Krung Thep Bridge. MICE travellers can stop by and have a glass of wine here in an exclusive surroundings under the flickering lights.
Located in Southeast Asia, Thailand is the world’s 50the largest city bordering with Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, and Malaysia. The country has a maritime border with India and Indonesia through the Andaman Sea, and with Vietnam via the Gulf of Thailand.
Theoretically, Thailand is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy, however, due to the unstable political situation, the country has been turned into a military dictatorship for the past several years.
The capital: Bangkok
Population: 69.43 million (2018 census)
Official language: Thai
Writing system: Thai (Abugida system)
Currency: Thai Baht (THB)
Do you need a visa?
Generally speaking, visitors coming to Thailand must have a visa obtained from one of the Thai diplomatic missions unless they are from a visa-exempt country or can get it on arrival. Currently, citizens of 64 countries and territories can travel visa-free to Thailand, while citizens of 18 countries can get a visa on arrival. Check this document for a detailed list.
Those who can apply for a visa on arrival can stay in the country for 15 days, while others are given a 30-day stay period. Only the citizens of five countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, South Korea, and Peru) can stay in the country for 90 days.
Most of those visas are extendible except for those obtained upon arrival. Those citizens who can get a visa on arrival can apply for an e-visa, however, there are only certain checkpoints that can issue the e-visa including Chiang Mai, Phuket, and both of Bangkok’s international airports.
Is Thailand safe to travel to?
One of the most frequent Thailand travel tips I am asked is how safe the country is. Generally, it is very safe to go to. There are few scamsthat lots of foreigners fall for, however, if you do your research and read about them, you’ll be fine.
There are few incidents of petty crime as elsewhere to general precautions apply here as well – always be attentive and keep your belongings at sight.
In terms of your health safety, it’s always a good idea to have proper travel insurance to cover unexpected incidents. I recommend SafetyWing as one of the most budget-friendly services.
Best time to visit Thailand
Thailand has two seasons that greatly affect the cost of your travel and how much you’d like to travel around. If you are a budget traveler and want to avoid the crowds, then plan your travel to Thailand in the monsoon season that falls from May till October.
Even though the weather is rainy most of the time, the prices for accommodation, flights, and various activities do drop. It should be noted that due to the rain, you might not be able to visit particular places or do some activities, but the rainfall lasts only for a few hours.
For those of you who want to have perfect sunny days to do island hopping, plan their honeymoon in Thailand, or visit various cities without worrying about the rain and bad weather, plan your trip during November to April – the dry season. This is the time which also brings lots of tourists, the warm temperatures, and low humidity.
Thai festivals to attend:
Songkran, Thai New Year celebrated as a water fight – April. Here’s your perfect guide for surviving Songkran
Loy Krathong lantern festival all over the country – dates vary
Looking for an alternative to the well-trodden Highway 1 this year? On the eastern side of California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range lies U.S. Highway 395, home to outstanding scenery and geology. This incredible road skirts the intersection of arid desert, rolling sagebrush and alpine mountains, with cragged mountain tops soaring 12,000 feet high. Each turnoff shelters some of the Sierra’s most compelling – and strangest – sights, and a very different side of California to what most people imagine.
Nestled in the two million acres of Inyo National Forest are dozens of remote wilderness trails lined by some of the oldest trees in the world (bristlecone pines). The high-altitude town of Mammoth Lakes is a must-visit. It hides expansive valleys, crystal clear lakes, natural hot springs and wildflower-lined mountain hikes, bursting with colour. The region provides refuge and critical migration corridors for plants and animals to survive climate change.
The Mammoth Lakes Basin has great hiking trails and even better views. Our favourite is Parker Lake – a fascinating, wildflower-trimmed trail, tucked in a small canyon overshadowed by the 12,000 ft. craggy peaks of the Sierra Crest. Visitors can also take the mountain gondola from the Main Lodge to the summit of Mammoth Mountain for spectacular views out over the surrounding mountains and the Minarets. Mammoth Mountain is California’s largest (and highest) ski resort, but in the summer and autumn months the mountain’s epic ski runs make way for mountain bikers and hikers. It’s a perfect spot for those looking to escape into the wilderness and enjoy the laid-back California mountain life.
In the town itself, visitors can hit up Mammoth Brewing Company, makers of award-winning craft beer since 1995. Since you’re driving US 395, it’s only right that you order the IPA 395, flavoured with juniper and sage.
Further up the 395 lies the magnificent 1 million year-old State Reserve Mono Lake, with its otherworldly ‘tufa towers’ (mineral formations) that rise up out of the water and look like you’re standing on the moon. This ancient inland sea is saltier than the ocean and harbours a thriving but fragile ecosystem of interdependent plant and animal species, some of which are found nowhere else in the world but Mono Lake.
Carry on north to Bodie, one of the largest unrestored ghost towns in the U.S. Preserved in a state of “arrested decay”, visitors can wander amongst deserted buildings that were constructed in the 1850s when gold fever gripped the Sierra before being abruptly abandoned when the gold rush mining boom went bust. Our one tip? Don’t take anything from the park – eager visitors who have lifted a souvenir have been known to be haunted upon leaving Bodie. www.visitmammoth.com
The northern Italian region of Emilia Romagna is celebrating World Lambrusco Day today, Tuesday 21 June. To celebrate the momentous festivity of one of the region’s specialities, the Lambrusco Protection Consortium and the Emilia Romagna Tourist Board are inviting wine lovers in the UK to raise a glass of Lambrusco and toast the start of summer.
World Lambrusco Day highlights this wine varietal’s famous red bubbles, in all their nuance of taste and colour. Compared to other wines, Lambrusco is ‘frizzante’, meaning it is slightly sparkling, which is why it is a common choice for those seeking a refreshing drink in the sun. The increasingly dry Lambrusco’s are the perfect partners to a variety of food; cutting through Emilia Romagna’s salty meats and cheeses with its fizz, and pairing nicely with sweet desserts due to its fruity notes.
Lambrusco consists of 12 different varieties – and it is Italy’s most exported wine. The Lambrusco Protection Consortium, which brings together 70 producers and includes 10,000 hectares of vineyards, protects six different denominations: Lambrusco di Sorbara DOC, Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro DOC, Salamino di Santa Croce DOC, Modena DOC, Reggiano DOC and Colli di Scandiano, and Canossa DOC.
Claudio Biondi, president of the Lambrusco Protection Consortium, said: “World Lambrusco Day is a symbolic day in which we aim to celebrate our bubbles, in their various forms, together with all the wine lovers around the world. From the UK and Ireland to Australia, Lambrusco is able to unite fans from all corners of the world.”
Those interested in participating in this year’s World Lambrusco Day can share their Lambrusco photos on social media with the hashtags #LambruscoDay22 and #InEmiliaRomagna and by tagging @consorziolambrusco and @inemiliaromagna.
Dubbed ‘Food Valley’ because of its world-known culinary traditions, Emilia Romagna boasts 44 PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) and PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) products, 24 PDO wines, 23 starred restaurants and 26 food museums dedicated to some of the most well-known treasures in Emilia Romagna, including Rosso Graspa museum, devoted to the Lambrusco Grasparossa DOC.
In 2021, more than 46 million bottles of Lambrusco DOC were produced – and about 60% of them were exported to international markets.
EVA Air, Taiwan’s leading independent airline, has announced that it is to increase its London Heathrow – Bangkok – Taipei service from three flights per week to five flights per week in response to encouraging sales and high demand. Effective from August, the flights will depart on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for all flights scheduled in August and September, with a view to increasing further depending on performance.
This will be yet more welcome news for the travel industry and EVA Air customers and coincides with recent reports of booming sales to Southeast Asia. The relaunch of the airline’s London to Bangkok flights, which was announced at the end of April and coincided with Thailand’s lifting of arrival testing, have seen encouraging sales, which has prompted EVA Air to add on the extra departure dates.
Commenting on the news, Sarah Wu, EVA Air’s General Manager of the London office said: “We are really pleased that we have been able to add on more flights, so soon after the announcement of the London-Bangkok-Taipei relaunch. The addition of these extra days gives our customers more flexibility. If demand remains high we are well on the way to returning to our daily service later in the year. We would like to thank all our partners for their support and are very much looking forward to seeing even more passengers from the UK flying with EVA Air again.”
The award-winning airline retains its desirable flight departure time of 2135 from Heathrow’s Terminal 2.
To learn more about EVA Air’s travel destinations and award-winning services, and to buy tickets, visit www.evaair.com
Kauno mieste vykstančių renginių diapazonas plečiasi – kultūra keliasi ir į mikrorajonus. Aukštaūgių daugiabučių pavėsyje gyventojus budins ir į lauką išlįsti visą vasarą vilios „Kaunas 2022“ bendruomenių programos „Fluxus Labas!“ kartu su gyventojais kuriami renginiai. Naujai pažinti, ištyrinėti ir prisijaukinti Kauno mikrorajonus birželį kviečia Dainava ir Šančiai.
Kauno mikrorajonai – daugelio dar neatrastas pasaulis. Miestui švenčiant Europos kultūros sostinės metus, čia vis dažniau skamba muzika, vyksta ekologijos, meno festivaliai ir renginiai. Jau nuo 2018 „Kaunas 2022“ bendruomenių programa „Fluxus Labas!“ kvietė Kauno miesto rajonų aktyvius gyventojus, bendruomenes ir vietos verslus ieškoti savo identiteto ir kartu įgyvendinti vietos kontekstą atspindinčias kūrybines iniciatyvas. Visą šiltąjį sezoną – nuo pat birželio iki rugsėjo vidurio – gyventojus ir svečius su projektų rezultatais susipažinti kvies Šilainiai, Dainava, Eiguliai, Panemunė, Gričiupis, Žaliakalnis, Vilijampolė, Petrašiūnai ir Aleksotas. Renginiai padės įsitikinti, kad kultūros toli ieškoti nereikia, o mikrorajonuose yra vietos kokybiškam veiksmui.
Vasarvidį kviečia pasitikti Dainavoje – nuo promenados iki senųjų papročių
Birželio 18 dieną, Vasarvidžiui artėjant, Dainava pasitiks senaisiais papročiais, folkloru ir kūrybine laisve persismelkusiu vyksmu. Skaičiuojant valandas iki vidurnakčio, V. Krėvės prospekto kiemais keliaus lietuviškų sutartinių įkvėpta muzikinė promenada, tris savaites kurta 50 profesionalų iš viso pasaulio („Academy of the Unfulfilled“) ir Kauno bendruomenės scenos menų atstovų. Menininkai kelias savaites ruošėsi renginiui dalyvaudami kūrybinėse dirbtuvėse bei bendraudami su vietos kūrėjais ir bendruomene. Specialiai renginiui jie netgi mokėsi lietuviškų sutartinių. Anot „Kaunas 2022“ programos „Fluxus Labas!“ koordinatorės Godos Kacilevičiūtės, menininkams Dainava pasirodė įdomi ir egzotiška – sužavėjo žali mikrorajono kiemai bei draugiški žmonės. Unikali eisena su teatralizuotomis stotelėmis seks René Daumalio alegorinio romano „A Night of Serious Drinking“ motyvais, pasakojančiais apie neretai kiekvieną aplankantį dvasinį troškulį.
Pastarąjį numalšinus – veiksmas kelsis į Draugystės parką. Čia postindustrinės muzikos garsais, griaudinčiais ritmais bei ugnies ir šviesų žaismu bus pristatyta daugiau nei metus mikrorajono bendruomenės ir profesionalių atlikėjų bei meno kolektyvų kurta misterija. Prie įspūdingo renginio „Dainava vyksme. Vasarvidžio burtai“ įgyvendinimo prisidėjo net 200 kauniečių.
„Manau, kad mikrorajonuose svarbu kurti bendruomeniškumą, terpę kultūrai, stiprinti ryšius su kaimynais. Tikiu, kad nebūtina važiuoti į miesto centrą tam, kad nuveiktume ką nors gražaus. Dainava – dainų kraštas, o tuo pačiu – pramoninis rajonas. Pasirodymuose išvysime šias abi Dainavos puses,“ – žada G. Kacilevičiūtė.
Šančiuose naujai atgims unikalios erdvės
Birželio 23-24 d. veiksmas kelsis į Šančius. Trumpiausią metų naktį netikėtomis spalvomis atsiskleis mažiau žinomos rajono erdvės ir pastatai, kurie pasitiks su muzika, šokiais ir plačiai atvertomis durimis.
„Šančiai – ypatingas rajonas, turtingas savo istoriniu paveldu. Čia gyveno ar savo kūrybos pėdsakus paliko ne vienas žymus žmogus, vietovėje galima rasti modernizmo stiliaus, kitų architektūriškai svarbių pastatų, nuolat atsiveria ir naujos erdvės. Šventėje istorinė rajono dalis pinsis su šiuolaikiškais pasirodymais, instaliacijomis. Festivalis pasiūlys savotišką tradicijos ir naujovių sinergiją“, – teigia Goda Karbonskytė.