Overseas Adventures: Eat, Shop & Play Around Four Continents
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Seeing animals in a zoo is one thing, but seeing them in their natural habitat is another. Take a walk on the wild side and book a trek up Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park. While hiking up a mountain, wander through towering forests of bamboo, along scarily-steep hillsides and around swarms of huge creepy crawlers. At the end of the trek, though, visitors come face-to-face with adorable fuzzy gorilla babies, rolling around and romping through the weeds, as well as Silverback, the head honcho of the gorilla family. Being just feet from these gargantuan primates in the middle of the woods is an exhilarating experience.
When booking a trip to warm, sexy Rio de Janeiro, most travelers grab their bathing suit and little else, but Rio has one amazing under-utilized attraction that will change people's perceptions of the The Marvelous City. Tijuca National Park, better known as the home of Christ the Redeemer, is 8,000 acres of native flora and fauna. One of the largest urban forests in the entire world, the park boasts 30+ waterfalls and hundreds of types of plant life. Pay a visit to Vista Chinesa, an homage to Brazil's large Asian population and favorite lookout point of adventure travel lovers and extreme sports fanatics who hanglide and climb the steep ascent. Don't skip a visit to the crowded statue, grab the cog train up Corcovado mountain for a look at this modern marvel.
As part of the People's Republic of China, millions of visitors flock to Macau to experience the opulent glitz and over-the-top glamor (not to mention fantastic dumplings and dim sum) of this unique region. But there's more to the cuisine here than delicious pork buns. Put down those chopsticks and pull-up a plate of the amazing Iberian meals offered on this once Portuguese-owned island. Though the Portuguese left in 1999, Portuguese heritage is bursting from the seems of the little island, where young, hip Portuguese artists and chefs are known to flock. A Lorcha, boasting a 15th century Chinese temple in view, has the best meal in Macau, a spicy cacciatore-style meat dish called African Chicken. Or grab a seat at Michellin-rated Antonio's for the seafood stew, curried prawns and lots of theatrics from Chef Antonio Coelho.
Among the most spectacular sites in this medieval city is Pražský Hrad. Like something out of a Disney fairytale, Prague Castle, the largest castle of its kind in the world, rises above the cobble-stoned landscape with its imposing structure outfitted in five churches and four palaces, not to mention the Bohemian crown jewels. Architecture fans will love the change from Gothic to Romanesque styles. Climb high and get a stunning view of the famous Charles Bridge, several local puppet shops and Old Town Square, all visible from the high perch.
Flea market fanatics flock to Agra. This corner of India's famous Golden Triangle is known for the Taj Mahal, but dig a little deeper and there are massive markets that dot the city. Kinari Bazaar, right in the city center, is known for its Indian wedding specialties, which means gold and silver bangles, brocade frocks and miles and miles and silk, used for veils. Next, hit up Sadar Bazaar, great for haggling leather and marble goods. Make one final stop at the authentic stalls of Shilpagram, just outside the Taj. Visiting adventure travelers and fashionista's love this market for the handmade by local craftsmen shiny souvenirs laden with jewels and gems.