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Gadlinks for Monday 12.7.2009

I hope everyone enjoyed their first weekend of December! I have a feeling many cities inaugurated the season with some sort of Christmas lights parade and Honolulu was no different. Here on the islands we have a paradise Santa display where he and Mrs. Claus kick off their shoes and dip their feet in the water for some tropical relaxation. Here are some good travel reads to get you all relaxing this holiday season. Hope you enjoy.

'Til tomorrow, have a great evening!

More Gadlinks here.

Coming attractions: Colombia

Ten years ago, Colombia was the kidnapping country of the world, and its second largest city, Medellin, was the murder capital of the world. When I made my first of many journeys to South America ten years ago, I was warned not to go to Colombia. Ten years ago, people who rode with their arms sticking out of a cab and would get their jewelery or watches stolen. I'd also heard of tourists and over innocent family members being taken from their streets and held in captivitiy.

Ten years ago, Colombia was a different place: a crime-ridden, drug-infested nation with a bad reputation for danger. However, when Alvaro Uribe took office back in 2002, the country quickly turned around. Within a few years, the drug cartel and paramilitary threats to civilian safety were halved -- and when I stepped foot on Colombian soil in 2007 I was both curious about what the country had to offer and also wary of the threats and potential danger that still lurked.

What I came to find that winter, however, was a country full of vibrant life and rich in natural resources and wonderfully travel-worthy destinations. From its Sierra Nevada mountain range to its Caribbean-induced coastal towns like Cartagena, and the salsa-infused cities of Medellin and Cali as well as the coffee rich cloud forests near Bogota, Colombia has months worth of amazing travel delights.

Photo of the Day (12.5.2009)

This is a typical sight on the Pacific coast -- one that brings back lovely memories of breezy coastal strolls. I love the balance in this photo, the contrasts of color, and the curved lines throughout. The kelp that gathers into a nest and spreads its thick reeds toward the viewer is a perfect focal point as well.

Today's photo comes to us from Bryn Tassell, who has an amazing array of natural shots from all over the world. This one was taken during the calm after a series of storms in Victoria, Canada.

If you have some great travel shots you'd like to share, be sure to upload them to the Gadling pool on Flickr. We might just pick one as our Photo of the Day!

Gadlinks for Friday 12.4.2009

It's time to take in the first weekend of December. The web's been abuzz with tons of travel-worthy stories, so your weekend reading material is pretty hearty. Hope you enjoy!

'Til Monday, have a great weekend.

More Gadlinks here.

Coming attractions: Cuba

The buzz about the end of the near 50-year U.S.-Cuba trade embargo is mounting and soon enough American will have the privilege of experiencing Cuba as tourists, like the rest of the world's citizens have all along. Despite being just 100 miles off the coast of Florida, Cuba is figuratively worlds away from the familiar capitalist lifestyle we lead in the States. From its unique music to its unbelievably resilient and friendly people, this amazing country is certainly more than a coming attraction: it's a must-see, and you should see it now (or soon) - before the country is Americanized beyond recognition, which it could very well be within ten years or perhaps less.

The first and most important distinction that must be made is that it is not illegal for Americans to travel to Cuba. It's just illegal to spend money once you get there. It is true, though, that if you travel there you will inevitably spend money, so American tourists should seriously consider whether it is worth the risk in committing such a crime.

If you do decide to travel to Cuba, you are advised not to use your U.S.-based/issued bank or credit cards. That means bringing a big wad of cash and not losing it. Additionally, there is still a steep tax when converting U.S. traveler's checks and dollars, so it's best to bring Canadian money or Euros.

Gadlinks for Wednesday 12.2.2009

I hope you're all having a good start to the final month of the decade! It's time to look ahead -- not back. So let's look to the future by taking a peak on the world's newest destinations, shall we?

  • How cool would it be to take a green break to start the new decade? Here are five clean holidays for those eco-friendly travelers out there. [via Green Traveller]
  • Eastern Europe must be on my mind right now. Here's my first selection on backpacking through Austria and Slovenia. [via Peter Greenberg]
  • For my second selection, a Serbian film crew is right now traveling around to all the Belgrade towns in the U.S., creating a documentary tentatively called "Finding Belgrade" that contrasts these American cities from their namesake. [via NPR]
  • ...and my third selection? There are so many cool things I've heard about Ukraine. This neat article about Odessa makes me want to get there pronto. [via SoSauce]
  • Would you rather be a hermit crab or a savvy backpacker? If the latter appeals to you, then try your hand at these tips to better backpacking. [via Vagabondish]

'Til tomorrow, have a great evening.

More Gadlinks here.

Get out and go: Events around the world (December 2-5)

It's time to look at the festivals and events happening around the world, and this week has a particularly international selection of happenings. If you're close and have time, then you have no excuse to get out and go!
  • Alaska - The Talkeetna Winterfest will take place in Talkeetna, Alaska throughout the month of December. The month long celebration features various activities, including Taste of Talkeetna, Broom Ball and Bachelor Auction.
  • Hobart - It may be winter in the States, but it's summer in Tasmania, and the Hobart Summer Festival will be held for the whole month of December in Hobart.
  • British Virgin Islands - The Fireball Full Moon Party will take place today (Wednesday, December 2) in Trellis Bay, British Virgin Islands.
  • Seattle - Seattle's Winter Beer Festival takes place at Hale's Ales Brewery this Friday, December 4. More than 30 Washington State breweries will be pouring their winter brews. There will be a vintage beer tasting featuring favorites from years past. Pub food will be available as well as a selection of fine chocolates and holiday gifts for sale.
  • Aberdeen - We Americans may not "get it" but curling is a real spectator sport in some parts of the world. The European Curling Championships will take place this Friday, December 4 in Aberdeen, Scotland and will last through the week until the 12th.
  • New Jersey - Annual Festival of Trees will begin this Friday, December 4 in Basking Ridge and will continue for over a week through the 13th.
  • St. Lucia - Jade Mountain will hold its annual chocolate festival this weekend, from December 4-6. It is a delicious, interactive and exotic introduction to the world's favorite aphrodisiac. Cacao has a history in St Lucia that dates back to the 1700's.
If you make it to one of these events, let us know how it was, or if you know of an event that's coming up, please let us know and we'll be sure to include it in the next "Get out and go" round-up.

Gadlinks for Monday 11.30.09

I hope you all survived the biggest shopping weekend of the year! With Black Friday AND Cyber Monday your pockets may very well be depleted but your spirits should be high -- of course. As we enter a new decade in one month, it might be a good idea to adjust our travel lens and be travel adventurers! Here are some great adventurous reads for this daredevil-themed Monday. Enjoy!

'Til tomorrow, have a great evening.

More Gadlinks here.

Photo of the Day (11.28.2009)

Yesterday, I passed by several businesses that were setting up their holiday lights and decorations. I chose this shot as a lovely reminder of the beauty of city lights no matter what time of year it is. There's something about the haze of a big city in particular that makes for a great photograph. The light lingers in the air and makes the city vibrantly alive.

Today's photo comes to us from toffiloff, who has some amazing high-def shots worth browsing of Holland, his home country, or other places like China or Switzerland. If you have some great travel shots you'd like to share, be sure to upload them to the Gadling pool on Flickr. We might just pick one as our Photo of the Day!

Gadlinks for Friday 11.27.2009

It's Black Friday! I hope you all survived the mall madness. We can look forward to more Christmas lights and even more shopping deals through the weekend and then Cyber Monday! It will be an exciting few days for sure. Here are a few exciting travel reads from across the web, too.

'Til Monday, have a great weekend. Don't spend too much money!

More Gadlinks here.

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