Posts By Daniel Harrison

Travel: Hokkaido, Japan

Hokkaido, Japan full of wonders,lovely place and culture. I’ve been there so may times, this year I am travelling with a friend of mine from Polished concrete manhattan  one more time and share to him how beautiful and colorful Hokkaido is. So here are the things to do while in Hokkaido, Japan:

Visit Shikisai-no-oka

Dozens of blooming flowers blanket the hills of Shikisai-no-oka during the months of April to October which makes you decide which month you would like to visit and feast your eyes for colorful blossoms. Snow covers the ground during the winter season and sledding down is the best adventure to do. This place also has alpaca ranch where visitors can help feed fuzzy animals which is open all throughout the year.

Visit Sapporo

Sapporo is Hokkaido’s capital but one of the most underrated cities in Japan.  Sapporo is a must place to visit for it offers expansive sculpture parks, home to the eponymous beer and because of its popularity, a museum has been dedicated on its behalf and must try regional cuisine like jingisukan or a grilled mutton. Markets in Sapporo is also worthy to visit where you can find shops for souvenirs and Japanese trinkets.

Sapporo Snow Festival

The Sapporo Snow Festival happens every month of February which you can witness around 250 snow and ice sculptures. These sculptures depict everything under the sun from temples to cartoon characters. These sculptures can be found in three sites: The Odori Park, Tsudome, and Susukino. It brings a whole new take to the winter wonderland concept and its worth to experience the freezing temperature in this side of Japan.

Taste Soft Serve Ice Cream

Hokkaido milk is considered top quality and its even regarded as the best milk in Japan, which makes this place the best location to savor the soft serve ice cream. You’ve never had this kind of ice cream before for its creamy, smooth, and comes with very distinct flavor. I bet two cones a day isn’t enough for anyone who can taste Hokkaido’s sweet treasure.

Iona, Scotland

 

A tiny tranquil island – Iona, Scotland – hardly six kilometers long and two kilometers wide. Despite its small area, its contribution to the history of Scotland and the world is great. Iona Island is known as the cradle of Christianity in Scotland and this was the place where St. Columba founded his famous monastery. This island is home to a treasury of wildlife and plants, white sand beaches, and a deep sense of solitude. Check what this mystic island has to offer:


How to get there

Iona is low and often whip by the winds off the Atlantic Ocean to the west and is unearthed about two kilometers off the coast of the island of Mull, itself perched off the remote Ardnamurchan peninsula. The main settlement, Baile Mòr, is simply called The Village, and being a small island, it has a tiny population of less than 200 but it caters to around 130,000 visitors each year.

Nature’s Offer

Both on land and shores, Iona has a prosperity of nature. Especially in midsummer, the wildflowers here are spectacular, with favored ones like sea holly, four species of orchid, and thistles, harebells, and speedwell. The rare corncrake, comical puffins, great northern divers for birds. The basking shark the second largest fish in the world is attracted by the offered offshore waters of Iona, including orca, pilot, and minke whales, three species of dolphin and on occasions the rare and giant sunfish. Nature lovers can truly get near to many different species, all within a tiny geographic area with the addition of the otters and seals around the coast.

 

Other Interesting Activities

No matter where the direction of the wind, even by simply heading to the other side of the island, the beaches of Iona is a wonderful experience just to be on the island. Walks are generous and a visit to the abandoned marble quarry to the south of the island can be included or a simple stroll is enough. It is not difficult to find an inaudible spot in Iona, perfect for inner peace-type of travel.

 

 

 

 

Things to Do in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is one of my favorite cities in the world. It has a very diverse and rich culture that’s worth discovering. The sceneries outside the city are definitely a must-see for the bold and adventurous, while the shopping districts are perfect for the shopaholics! But Hong Kong is so much more than that.

There are so many beautiful things to discover and fun activities to try. One’s trip to Hong Kong will never be complete without food-tasting.

They have very unique and flavorful food to offer. It’s a fusion of Asian cuisine in its finest. You will see a variety of must-try street food everywhere. Go out there and have a taste of the flavors of Hong Kong.

One of my favorite places to visit is Lantau Island. It’s where the famous Tian Tan Buddha is, also known as the big Buddha to many. It’s about 200 feet tall, that’s why you have to climb like a thousand steps to get to the top. Lantau Island is truly a beautiful attraction that you must not miss. Next time you visit, go catch a cable car for an even better experience.

Next place that you should check is The Peak. Do not leave Hong Kong without trying the Peak Tram experience. It’s a cool ride that leads to a breath taking view. Visit Madame Tussauds’s wax museum when you get to the top. I’m sure you will enjoy admiring wax statues and staring at the polished concretes similar to what you’ll find in Epoxy Flooring Contractor Seattle.

Disneyland is another crowd favorite. Both children and adults come to Hong Kong to visit the happiest place on earth. It’s not every day that you get a chance to see Mickey Mouse and his friends parading around, so do enjoy the experience while you can.

If you’re a fan of theme parks and wild rides, then Ocean Park should be on your list. The crazy rides will get your adrenalin rushing, and the giant Panda will melt your heart.

There are so many other things to do and places to visit. Be sure to come again.

Airbnb

When people want to go on vacation they first need to plan their trip. They look for an affordable flight. If they find one, they might then look for a hotel. That used to be the only option people had. At least for the hotel part. I’m not saying there is a new way to travel, yet. One day, soon, we’ll be able to travel at high speeds underground, thanks to Elon Musk and his Boring Company. But something has happened to lodge on vacations. The hotel industry is being disrupted by Airbnb.

Airbnb is a service where patrons can either put their house up for a night’s rent or stay at this house. Hosts and guests get connected on Airbnb’s website, online. It’s very easy to use. As a matter of fact, I’ve used Airbnb multiple times! Airbnb is disrupting the hotel industry, but it won’t have much of an impact. Most people still use hotels for vacations. However, guests might want to stay in an area where there is no hotel. What do they do, then? They can go to Airbnb’s website and see if there is a house or apartment available for them.

One of the good things about Airbnb is that the owner of the house sometimes throws in extras. For example, where I stayed, I had many free things at my disposal. I was able to take out kayaks and bikes that were part of the property. I was able to use the grill to make dinner. And I enjoyed sitting on the pier as the sun went down. Airbnb has its perks. But hotels have plenty of benefits as well. For example, I love it when hotels have free gyms, swimming pools, or free breakfast. If I’m staying in a hotel, it better than free breakfast! And I prefer a hot breakfast, with eggs and sausages. If anything, Airbnb is just another option for travelers.

My Korea Trip

People don’t necessarily know what to expect when they travel to a foreign country. They know the food will be different, except for many a Starbucks or McDonald’s they might find. They know the people will be different, although English is one of the world’s most spoken languages. And they know the terrain will be different, even though we have nearly all types of landscapes here in America. So what did I expect when I traveled to South Korea? I expected everything to be new. And I was right.

Even the airport was amazing. I visited Korea many years ago. The technology was advanced. It seemed more advanced than what I was used to. There was one major thing they had, that Americans didn’t. They had smartphones! I was shocked an amazed. I hadn’t seen anything like it. at the time, I believe most people in the States had those Nokia brick phones. The iPhone had not been released yet. I remember walking around downtown Seoul and seeing a smartphone in the window. It was playing The Simpsons. I stood in amazement, wondering what type of device it was. I realized it was a phone, and it was very cool.

Another thing I realized was that Korea is very green. Likewise, there is a lot of greenery in the Korean diet. Koreans eat numerous green vegetables, I suppose like Americans do. But they are different in Korea. A quick visit to an Asian supermarket will show that.

One major thing about Korea is that there is not much English there. Unlike Europe, signs are mostly in Korean. Asia has been mostly secluded from the Western world. And it shows. Fashions, foods, and culture are distinctly Asian and specifically Korean. Stop by next week to learn more about my Korean trip. There will be some surprises!

A Train Ride

The most popular way to travel is by car. After all, it’s the most common vehicle type. Most people don’t have their own airplanes, or trains, or helicopters. Jetpacks aren’t really a thing yet. I don’t always get to travel by train. But when I do, I enjoy it.

Maybe it’s the fact that I don’t have to be active during a train ride. I’m free to do as I please. I can read a book if I feel like it. Or I could watch a video on my phone. The great thing is that I get to choose. This isn’t the case when I’m driving. While driving, I always need to keep an eye on the road. I can’t read a book or watch a movie. Maybe I’ll be able to do that in 15 years if I ever have a self-driving vehicle.

I’d like to highlight a recent train ride I was on. I went from Philadelphia to Washington, DC. Let me first say that, if you are ever in Philadelphia, eat a cheesesteak! Now, the train ride was good, but not great. They advertised free WiFi, which was something I was excited about. I wanted to watch something on Netflix from my phone. However, the WiFi was essentially broken. I was not happy about that. But my ride was only a couple of hours.

It was nice to “go sightseeing” from the train. I saw buildings, small towns, and beautiful rivers. The most shocking part of the trip was riding through a part of Baltimore. It looked as if I were traveling through a war zone. Buildings were abandoned and so much seemed devastated. Factories were closed and many of the windows were broken. When I arrived at my destination, I was happy to be on my feet again. I do enjoy traveling by train.

Puerto Rican Cuisine

 

Arroz Con Gandules

The great thing about this post is not only an appreciation of Puerto Rican cuisine. It’s not only something experiences from afar, akin to some type of biography. Instead, this would classify as a type of “autobiography”. The great thing about writing about Puerto Rican food is that I experienced it firsthand. Even better, I experienced it in Puerto Rico!

When I was there, I visited many towns and cities. I spent time in San Juan, Old San Juan (the touristy area), Cayay, and Caguas, among other places. Puerto Rico is closest to Florida. However, the food is a world of difference.

Sure, one can find the standard fast food restaurants which are in every state. Puerto Rico, after all, is a commonwealth of the U.S. At the same time, Puerto Rico is a country. The point of this writing isn’t to go into the whys of its status. Instead, let’s get right down into the food.

Plantains are delicious. They look just like bananas. They feel just like bananas. But don’t eat them raw! Plantains are cooked and fried. When they are finished, they taste like fries. Coconut tree can be found scattered all throughout the island. Also, one can find someone selling coconuts in many places. People even sell coconuts on the side of the road. It usually comes with a straw. What for. you might ask? Well, that’s the easiest way to drink the coconut water! The salesperson will usually have some type of large knife to cut open the top of the coconut. Then, they will simply throw the straw inside of the coconut. The coconut water is always cold! And it’s delicious as well.

The best way to try and taste Puerto Rican cuisine is to go there. This way, one will find the most authentic types of meals. Other places that have authentic Puerto Rican cuisine are certain areas of New York and Florida, where there is a large Puerto Rican population.