Sri Lanka: Polonnaruwa – The capital of the 2nd dynasty of Kings in Sri Lanka

Some 800 years ago Polonnaruwa was a bustling commercial and religious centre for the Chola dynasty, as can be seen by the amazing density of ruins of temples, palaces and other buildings. In the early 13th century the city’s glory faded and it was abandoned. The capital moved to the western side of the island where Colombo is today. In 1982 Polonnaruwa as added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites

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California: Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

High-up in the California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains are two of USA’s most spectacular National Parks, Kings Canyon and Sequoia. Sequoia National Park gives you the chance to get up close to the largest trees on the planet whilst in Kings Canyon you can explore the most incredible alpine scenery with the backdrop of some of the tallest peaks in lower 48 States.

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Oregon: Portland – No Bones Beach Club

Located along the trendy Mississippi Ave in Portland, No Bones Beach Club is Tiki-themed vegan restaurant with all the expected trapping expected of a Tiki Bar; surfboards, fishing nets and bamboo screens pineapples, coconuts; tropical drinks (with plenty of rum and coconuts) and tasty bites. While most Tiki menus contain a heavy focus on seafood and meat, No Bones replaces this with vegan alternatives such as jack fruit, soy curls and even cauliflower.

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China: Hong Kong – arriving during a tropical cyclone

We were greeted in Hong Kong by some wet, miserable weather. The weather in the tropics are complex. For Hong Kong and this part of South East Asia this time of year can be wet, and our arrival coincided with a passing tropical storm. I was happy though, because I hadn’t seen any rain for 3 months! Karen was concerned by the warnings at the airport, but we were assured that the “standby signal No. 1” was nothing to be concerned about.

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Hawai‘i: Volcano National Park – encompassing the mighty Kilauea and Mauna Loa

Hawai’i, the Big Island, like all the other islands in the 50th State of the US, has been formed by volcanic activity and is the youngest of all the islands. It sits over a hot spot in the Earth’s crust, resulting in two of the world’s most active volcanoes, Mauna Loa and Kilauea. Visiting Volcanoes gives you the opportunity to get up and close to a volcano and learn more about the science of volcanology and its role in the creation of these islands.

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Czechia: Bohemian Switzerland National Park – a picturesque region in north-western Czechia

After a few days of trudging around the hard pavements of cities, we felt the need to escape to the countryside and get some fresh air and slow down the pace of life somewhat. I had booked for us to take a tour from Prague to the Bohemian Switzerland National Park, which takes about 90 minutes to drive.

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