Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Gnome Travels – Jamaica

Friday, March 19th, 2010

After being cooped up all winter, surely you’re more than ready for the warmth of the sun. A trip to Jamaica is the perfect way for both you and your Gnome to get a taste of the summer months ahead.

Jamaica immediately brings beautiful beaches to mind, and this Caribbean island will not disappoint. Just use plenty of sunscreen while soaking up those rays, as Gnomes’ protruding ears and noses tend to burn quite easily.

As much as they love to relax, Gnomes can’t stay sedentary for long. Luckily, this tropical island offers countless ways for people of all ages — and sizes — to stay active and entertained.

Head to Montego Bay or for a round of golf, while your Gnome snags a sun visor and hitches a ride in your golf bag. Afterward, cool off with a swim in the Blue Lagoon — so named for the eponymous movie starring Brooke Shields — or simply admire the brilliant hues, which vary with the sun’s position throughout the day.

If you want more time in the water — and, really, what Jamaica visitor doesn’t? — a trip to Dolphin Cove is a must. There, you can swim with dolphins (and sharks, too) or enjoy the marine life from the safety of a glass-bottom kayak. Be sure your Gnome has a properly secured life vest before embarking on any of these adventures, and that he keeps his distance from hungry fish.

Nearby, check out Dunn’s River Falls, which has been proclaimed one of the world’s most beautiful waterfalls. Hold on tight to your Gnome as you climb 600 feet to the top of the falls, where you can watch the rushing water below.

You’re both sure to work up an appetite after so much activity and fresh air. For a taste of Jamaican cuisine, visit one of the jerk huts that line the island and serve up plates of spiced chicken, seafood and pork. These dishes come with a kick, so caution your Gnome to take small, careful bites.

Spend a night moving to the beat of reggae music, popularized by Bob Marley, who was born on the island. Visit the Bob Marley Museum in Jamaica’s capital city, Kingston, features photos and other momentos from the musician.

Kingston and its surrounding towns are also home to dozens of national monuments and historic sites, including the Institute of Jamaica, the Supreme Court and Devon House, which gives tourists a look at a colonial-era estate.

With so many activities at your disposal, you and your Gnome will find your Jamaican vacation flies by. However, the memories you create during these island adventures will last a lifetime.

Gnome Travels – Egypt

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Egypt is famous for mummies and hieroglyphics, but there is so much more for a tourist and his Gnome to explore in this historic African country.

The Pyramid of Giza will be a highlight of your trip. One of the original Seven Wonders of the World, this attraction is actually composed of three main pyramids, each of which is an Egyptian king’s tomb.

You will marvel at these great structures, which historians believe took thousands of workers more than eight decades to construct, but your awe will pale in comparison to that of your Gnome, who is sure to experience a stiff neck after gazing up at these monstrous creations. He may need some reassurance, too, when he comes upon the Sphinx, a half-man, half-lion craved from a single, massive block of stone.

Want to see the pyramids from a different vantage point? Sign up for a camel ride through the desert. Let your Gnome perch atop the camel’s back as you pass by the ancient tombs.

While the Giza pyramids are probably most well known, they are not the only ancient tombs. The Pyramids at Dahshur include the Bent Pyramid, so named for its unusual appearance, and the Red Pyramid, which was constructed from colored limestone. The Red Pyramid will be particularly interesting to you and your Gnome, as you’ll be able to explore the inside.

Also fascinating is the Valley of the Kings, a series of tombs built for pharaohs including Tutankhamen. King Tut’s collection of priceless jewelry and artifacts can be viewed at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo– a one-stop shop where you and your Gnome to get your fill of all things Egyptian.

Of course, no trip to Egypt would be complete without checking out the Nile River. We suggest booking a tour so that you get the most out of your adventure (and so you won’t lose your way. If you’ve never been lost in an ancient land with just a Gnome for company, well, you want to keep it that way.) Instead, indulge in a five-day cruise, which includes opportunities for guided tours, hot-air balloon rides and ethnic food and entertainment.

If you haven’t quite had your fill of nature, plan a hiking tour through the White Desert, where you can spend a night under the stars , or climb up Mount Sinai to witness a spectacular sunrise or sunset.

Your Gnome will surely miss the ancient land when he returns home. You can help ease the transition by helping him construct his very own pyramid (luckily, a small-scale version will suffice) and perhaps by giving him a recording of The Bangles’ 1986 hit single. In no time at all, you’ll find him in his garden, walking like a native Egyptian.

Gnome Travels – Tokyo, Japan

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Japan may be known for its cars and anime, but the country has so much more to offer its visitors. Here are just a sampling of stops you’ll want to put on your itinerary when you and your Gnome embark for Tokyo.

First thing’s first. You and your Gnome will want to immerse yourselves in Japanese culture. Neither of you will forget shopping for your first silk kimono (and don’t forget the obi — that’s the belt that holds it closed) at the Oriental Bazaar. Choose from the countless colors and patterns that appear on this traditional apparel, most often worn today for special occasions. You have no place to wear it, you say? Well, in our book, there’s nothing more special than a trip to Japan with a Gnome. So go ahead, get some use out of it while you’re there.

Once you’re dressed, you’ll need a place to go. We suggest taking a quick course to learn about the Japanese tea ceremony. Tea gatherings, which in addition to the hot beverage can include sweets or sometime an entire meal, include a string of rituals that include all guests drinking from the same bowl. When it’s your Gnome’s turn to partake, you’ll want to grab hold of his ankles to prevent him from plunging headfirst into the bowl of steaming tea.

The content post-tea feeling might not last long. There’s no better way to energize yourself than by attending a sumo match at Kokugikan Stadium. You’ll want to reserve your tickets well in advance to ensure you’ll have a seat as these oversized men engage in battle. Keep your Gnome’s enthusiasm in check by making sure he stays appropriately dressed. The locals may frown upon him if he insists on prancing about, looking for an opponent, wearing nothing but a strategically placed obi.

If you haven’t yet had your fill of Japanese culture, you’ll get more than your fill by visiting some of Tokyo’s well-known museums. Whether you like modern art, folk crafts or swords, there’s a museum sure to please you and your tiny robed companion.

Want some divine assistance in the future? Stop at Tokyo’s oldest temple, Sensoji, which according to legend was originally built more than 2,000 years ago to house a gold statute of the goddess Kannon. Visitors crowd the temple, asking the goddess for favors. If you want a more immediate response, ask a monk for assistance in translating your fortune pertaining to work, relationships and travel. If you receive a less-than-favorable reading, don’t worry. According to tradition, you have the power to change your outlook if you discard the fortune by tying the message to a nearby tree. So don’t give up until the future looks bright for both you and your Gnome.

Like many popular tourist destinations, Tokyo is not without its share of aquariums, gardens, amusement parks and baseball parks. So if you’re looking to enjoy a familiar activity in a foreign place, consider cheering on the Yomiuri Giants, visiting the Sunshine International Aquarium, perusing the tropical plants at Shinjuku Garden or, for a true connection to the U.S., spending a day at the Tokyo Disneyland Resort.

Just make sure your Gnome is on his best behavior. The creatures are known for their efforts to make a home for themselves among Snow White’s dwarves. If you notice an eighth member of the mining crew (he’ll be pretty conspicuous in his silk robe), pluck him from the crowd and issue this reminder: While it’s common to want a vacation to last a lifetime, if he doesn’t follow you back home, he will miss out on your next adventure together.

Gnome Travels – Moscow, Russia

Friday, January 15th, 2010

The Kremlin, Red Square and Lenin Mausoleum are just a few attractions you won’t want to miss when you head off to Moscow, Russia.

Moscow’s powerhouse is the Kremlin, which houses cathedrals, government buildings, an array of palaces, and the State Armory, which contains royal treasures dating back to Medieval times. You’ll want to consider taking your Gnome on an organized tour of the grounds so that you don’t miss anything. Then, return in the evening to see the illuminated towers. It will be a sight neither you nor your Gnome will forget.

Just as memorable will be your visit to Red Square, where you’ll be able to explore the ornate St. Basil’s Cathedral, which is made up of nine connected chapels, and the Lenin Mausoleum. You’ll want to think twice before letting your Gnome accompany you for this one, as he might be alarmed to discover Vladimir Lenin’s mummified body is visible through a glass tomb.

No trip abroad is complete without exploring the region’s cultural art. Moscow boasts the Pushkin Fine Arts Museum, where you can see works from such artists as Monet and Cezanne, and the Central House of Artists, which contains both international modern art and the Tretyakov Gallery, where you’ll find an enormous collection of Soviet art.

Be sure to also plan stops at the Gorky Park amusement park which has inspired a novel and movie; the Seven Sisters, the name given to seven skyscrapers commissioned by Jozef Stalin that are prominent on the skyline; and Moscow’s famous Old Arbat, a pedestrian street lined with cafes, artists and souvenir shops.

As a keepsake, pick up some of Russia’s famous nesting dolls. The hollow, wooden dolls fit inside one another and can also be displayed individually. The smaller ones will make great knick-knacks for your Gnome, while the largest one will make a great silent roommate, and might even be roomy enough for him to hide inside. He’ll consider it the Russian version of a Trojan horse.

After admiring so much art and distinctive architecture, your Gnome is sure to be inspired. If he decides that he, too, wants to live in a colorful dome-topped structure like the ones that dot the Russian landscape, but is not quite ready to relocate, consider a creative compromise. The next time damp weather brings a crop of mushrooms to your yard, give your Gnome a painter’s palette and let him add some exotic flair to his habitat. The results will serve as a welcome reminder of your visit to Moscow.

Gnome Travels – London, England

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Your Gnome stands guard in your garden, faithfully protecting your flower beds and landscaping day and night, rain or shine. Let’s face it – he’s due for a break. There is no better reward for your faithful servant than a glimpse at how the other side lives. So pack your bags and head to London for a look at the home of the Royal family.

Buckingham Palace is a vacation hotspot for tourists, and a tour of this 7775-room mansion is a must for any London visitor. Choose a walk through the palace’s exquisite State Rooms, which house an impressive collection of famous artwork and ornate furniture, or peruse the current exhibit displayed in The Queen’s Gallery.

Next, take your foot-tall travel buddy for a neck-craning look at Big Ben. The giant bell, housed in a 316-foot-tall clock tower, may be enjoyed most after nightfall, when the clock’s face is illuminated. Be advised that only United Kingdom residents are invited to climb the clock tower for a close-up look at the eight-foot bell. Big Ben is part of London’s Houses of Parliament, where you and your Gnome can take a guided tour and see the rooms used by England’s key leaders.

Trafalgar Square is another prime attraction, and the open space, used for performing arts events, is the perfect place for your Gnome to burn off some energy. Before you arrive, check the Square’s schedule of events. If you’re planning to visit during the holiday season, you’ll enjoy views of Trafalgar Square’s giant Christmas tree. and the songs of nearby carolers.

Of course, no trip to London would be complete without a stop at Westminster Abbey. Attend one of the 700-year-old church’s daily services, or jump aboard a guided tour to explore the abbey’s gardens, museum and chapels.

Before your trip draws to a close, treat your Gnome to a cup of English tea and a scone or two. With his littlest finger in the air as he sips his beverage, there’s no question he’ll feel like a native Londoner. He may need a gentle reminder of his humble roots upon his return home. Or consider humoring the little guy and buy him a souvenir robe and crown, so he can bring a bit of Britain to his own turf.

Gnome Travels – New York, New York

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

For a lesson in America’s history and a sampling of culture, there’s no better destination than New York.

You and your Gnome can start your vacation with a visit to the Statue of Liberty. Be patient as you wait for your Gnome to hop up 354 steps to reach Lady Liberty’s crown, from which you will share an inspiring view. A symbol of our country’s freedom, this giant statue may well motivate your Gnome to fight for his own rights – perhaps petitioning for better living conditions, at least during inclement weather. Just make sure his flaming torch doesn’t start a fire in your shrubbery as he campaigns.

After leaving Liberty Island, catch the ferry to Ellis Island, where you can visit the American Family History Immigration Center to learn about immigration history and investigate your own ancestry.

One of New York’s biggest attractions is Rockefeller Center, a 19-building complex that is home to one of the world’s largest performance stages and the renowned Rockette dancers. Stay for a show or take the Stage Door Tour, which includes photo opportunities and a chance to meet one of the dancers.

Next, make a stop at the Empire State Building and view the Big Apple from the skyscraper’s observation decks on the 86th and 102nd floors. Give your Gnome a boost so he can peer through high-powered binoculars that provide a bird’s-eye view of the city.

New York, however, isn’t all tall buildings and stage shows. Manhattan’s 843-acre Central Park offers an expanse of trees in addition to parks, fountains and restful retreats such as the peaceful Strawberry Fields. Take a leisurely walk with your Gnome, or let him scamper among the sculptures of this famous park.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is another must-see for any New York tourist. The Met contains more than three million pieces, including famous works of art, musical instruments and costumes. After you’ve had your fill, accompany your Gnome to one of the museum’s many family-friendly programs.

If you’re planning to celebrate Thanksgiving in New York, you won’t want to miss the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. You and your Gnome will sing and dance from the sidelines and stare up at the oversized balloons in the images of your favorite cartoon characters. Keep close tabs on your Gnome when Santa makes his appearance, taking care that your elf-like companion doesn’t hitch a ride in the sleigh, intent on joining the North Pole’s army of helpers.

Whether you want adventure, a dose of culture or just some rest and relaxation, New York has something to offer. So pack your bags and get your little friend ready for his first visit to the Big Apple. It will be an experience you will both treasure forever.

Gnome Travels – Rome, Italy

Monday, September 28th, 2009

When in Rome, we’re supposed to do as the Romans do. And just what do the Romans do? Those fortunate enough to have a Gnome take full advantage of their historic surroundings together, soaking in the culture and indulging in the cuisine.

So if you find yourself in Rome with a Gnome, here are some attractions you definitely won’t want to miss.

A trip to Vatican City is a must while you are in Rome. Not only is the Vatican the home of the Pope; the walled city also contains Vatican museums, St. Peter’s Bascilica, St. Peter’s Square and the Sistine Chapel. Organized tours are available, and will prevent you and your Gnome from missing any of the highlights, which include astounding architecture and famous works by Michelangelo, Raphael and Bernini.

Next, stop at the Pantheon, which has been used as a Catholic church for two thousand years. The building also houses the tombs of renown artists, boasts original bronze doors, a dome with an oculus and an adjacent plaza.

The Colosseum is among the most famous Roman landmarks. Another 2,000-year-old building, the Colosseum once seated up to 45,000 spectators for gladiatorial events, plays and battle re-enactments. Animal hunts were also common attractions. While there is no reported history of harm to Gnomes your travel buddy might require a little reassurance.

Be sure to also stop at the remains of the Roman Forum, where residents once gathered to hear speeches, attend trials and discuss politics.

If you want to explore Italy’s famous cuisine, the Taste of Italy Food Tour is right up your alley. This 13-hour tour, which departs from Rome and takes you to Chianti and Umbria, will give you and your Gnome the opportunity to sample Italian cheeses, salami, olive oil, wine and more.

Don’t forget to sample authentic Italian espresso, cappuccino and gelato, too. Three-ounce espresso cups are the perfect size for a Gnome, but their contents pack a powerful punch. So you may want to encourage your Gnome to build his caffeine tolerance prior to your trip, or else serve his steaming beverages in a thimble.

Before your trip ends, visit Trevi Fountain. Another classic Italian attraction, the fountain features Neptune, god of the sea, riding a chariot pulled by two sea horses. According to legend, if you turn your back to the fountain and toss a penny over your shoulder, you will return to Rome.

So if you and your Gnome enjoyed your adventure in Rome, pluck out a penny or two to feed the fountain. All that will be left to do will be to look forward to a repeat of this unforgettable vacation.

Gnome Travels – Washington D.C.

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Washington, D.C. is home to the most powerful man in the country, as well as countless historic buildings and educational opportunities. You and your Gnome will relish your adventure in the nation’s powerhouse, where you will visit some of the most famous landmarks in the country and expand your knowledge of U.S. history.

A trip to the nation’s capital calls for a visit to the White House, the home and office of the U.S. president. Self-guided tours (be sure to reserve your free tickets well in advance) are available through select areas of the 132-room mansion. Keep close watch on your Gnome, who might not be able to resist sneaking away for a glimpse of the First Family to watch democracy in action.

Be sure to visit some of the tributes to presidents of the past, too. You and your Gnome will be awed and inspired by the great proportions of the 19-foot-tall (in a seated position, no less) Honest Abe, inside the historic Lincoln Memorial. Your miniature mate will seem downright microscopic when photographed in front of the 16th president’s enormous lap.

It will be impossible to miss the Washington Monument, constructed in honor of the nation’s first president. Viewable from 30 miles away or from a close-up neck-craning perspective, this 555-foot obelisk with capture astound your Gnome and cause both of you to ponder the greatness of a leader who could inspire such a structure. Be sure to take a walk along the Reflecting Pool, a shallow pond more than 2,000 feet long, where you and your Gnome can peer at your own reflections as well as admire the reflections of the Washington Monument and other surroundings.

If you haven’t had your fill of the nation’s political power, stand on the steps of the Capitol building, and watch legislators and lobbyists rush by. Let your Gnome exercise his Freedom of Speech by calling out to the legislators and lobbyists, asking them to push for better living conditions for garden dwellers.

For a more somber experience, spend some time at the Vietnam Memorial, a series of walls engraved with the names of those who lost their lives in the Vietnam War. Further reflect the sacrifice of your fellow man at Arlington National Cemetery, the resting place of more than 300,000 war veterans over more than a century’s time. Don’t miss the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier or the Eternal Flame, which burns in tribute of President John F. Kennedy.

Washington, D.C. also offers plenty of opportunities for non-political entertainment. At the Smithsonian Institution – a conglomeration of 19 museums – offers an astounding range of exhibits, including artifacts ranging from Judy Garland’s ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz” to The Dolls’ House, a five-story miniature mansion filled with tiny treasures your Gnome will be sure to admire.

So be sure you and your Gnome pack your walking shoes and pick up a guide book or two, as this is just a sampling of the many attractions in the nation’s capital city. Regardless of the duration of your stay, you will never run out of places to explore in Washington, D.C.

Gnome Travels – Mount Rushmore

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

Get ready to experience one of America’s more inspiring destinations when you visit South Dakota’s historic Mount Rushmore National Monument.

No one will better appreciate men born from rock than your own Garden Gnome, molded from resin. You Gnome will be awe-struck by the sheer magnitude of Mount Rushmore and ponder why whether his own size was compromised in order to create these enormous granite carvings. He’ll likely be grateful for his small stature and peaceful origins, however, upon learning that the majority of Mount Rushmore was shaped by dynamite.

A trip to Mount Rushmore is a history lesson come alive. Before you leave for this vacation, be sure to brush up on the lives of presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, whose 60-foot sculpted faces represent the first 150 years of U.S history.

You may wonder why those four leaders were chosen. Well, neither of you will have questions for long. Mount Rushmore offers a number of guided tours sure to satisfy your curiosity. Whether you take a guided walk along the trail, listen to a talk about the tools used in the construction process or explore the history of the land, which is home to American Indians, you and your Gnome will gain a stronger grasp of and appreciation for your nation’s history.

Be sure to allow time for your Gnome to frolic in the park’s Kids Exploration Area, too, and stop and smell the wildflowers along the park’s walking paths. Take care, though, not to let your Gnome get swooped up by any of the hungry vultures, eagles or hawks that populate the area.

Want to spend some more time in the area? Luckily, there’s plenty to do near the Black Hills of South Dakota. Take a tour at Wind Cave National Park, where you will learn about unique cave formations and collect an additional dose of local culture.

Just a short drive away is Badlands National Park, home to fossil beds millions of years old. Go for a hike, take a tour or sit back and watch the sunset at this breathtaking park. While you’re there, visit Minuteman Missile National Historic Site , a former 13,500-square mile missile fiend from the Cold War era. Visitors can view rare intact components of a nuclear missle and a launch facility.

For a healthy dose of distant and recent history, combined with expansive natural beauty, there is no better place for you and your Gnome than scenic Mount Rushmore. Don’t be surprised if your Gnome asks for a chisel upon return from your trip. After experiencing Mount Rushmore, he’ll surely want to create stone images of his own heroes. It will be only a matter of time before the faces of famous Gnomes materialize among the rocks and stones in your garden bed.

Gnome Travels – China

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Your last fortune cookie predicted you would travel to a foreign land. Now it’s about to come true. Pack your bags … you and your Gnome are headed to China!

Traveling to a country as large as China likely sounds a little intimidating. Where should you begin? To help, we’ve composed a list of places you and your Gnome simply can’t miss.

Your Gnome will be drawn to Sichuan’s Fairyland Jiuzhaigou by its name alone. And, as it is purported to be one of China’s most beautiful areas, you will marvel in the breathtaking scenery. Waterfalls, mountains, lakes and forests will surround you and your Gnome as you take in nature’s beauty.

While you’re in Sichuan, be sure to visit the Giant Buddha of Leshan . This 233-foot statue is the tallest Buddha statue in the world. Your Gnome might feel a little overwhelmed, so keep him close as you contemplate this 1,200-year-old carving’s 92-foot-wide shoulders and 18-foot-wide eyebrows.

A day in Hangzhou City is also a must for the China tourist. One of the country’s biggest textile industry centers, this is the origin of many silk products. In addition to wheat and cotton, silkworm cocoons are raised in Hangzhou. Stop at the marketplace to nab great deals on a variety of silk apparel and accessories. When your Gnome sees the flawless material silk worms produce, he’ll surely urge his garden’s earthworms to show similar ambition.

The Great Wall of China will, of course, be a highlight of your adventure. Whether you walk along the top of the 21-foot-high wall or meander alongside it, you’ll never forget this brush with China’s past. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes. Organized tours are available at various locations along the 5,500-mile long wall. Whether your interest is in scenery or history, you will be riveted by this excursion. Your Gnome will be inspired, too. He’ll be floored to learn the Great Wall was constructed for defense purposes. Don’t be surprised if he rounds up his friends back home to build his own fortress.

No trip to China would be complete without a glimpse of the world’s beloved giant pandas . Watch these benevolent bears feast on bamboo shoots and play. Panda tours offer the opportunity to hold a baby bear, so be sure to bring your camera and get a shot of you and your Gnome alongside one of the world’s most adorable endangered animals.

Before you embark on this trip, you and your Gnome might want to practice eating with chopsticks — after all, you’ll want to experience the country’s customs, even at the dinner table. That said, we suggest that you pack a box of toothpicks in case the Chinese restaurants you visit don’t supply utensils appropriate for their tiniest tourists. Your Gnome will enjoy the challenge of eating like a native.

Neither you nor your Gnome will ever be quite the same after experiencing the awe-inspiring sights of China. So order your Passports, pack your camera and get ready for the trip of a lifetime.