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The food Manti is a type of dumpling popular in most Turkish cuisines, as well as in the cuisines of the South Caucasus, Central Asia, Afghanistan, and Chinese Muslims. Nowadays, manti are also consumed throughout Russia and other post-Soviet countries, as it has gained acceptance in these countries of the world. In the long list of the very tasty Turkish cuisines, Manti has a staple food and the highly satisfying dish that always brings almost all family members on one table.  Most times Mantı tends to remind you of ravioli at first sight, but this traditional Turkish dish is completely unique in taste and texture. The size and shape of this unique dish may vary significantly depending on the geographical location. 

Manti stands out with a unique name in various regions and countries. The name, depending on the language, can refer to a single dumpling, or to more than one dumpling at a time; in English, it is often used as both a singular and plural form.  Manti is one of those dishes you could tag as ‘sacred for the special day’, considering that it takes a valuable piece of time to prepare and in most part of the Asian continent, it stands out as one of the few meals for the festive moments. 

Throughout Turkey, many varieties of mantı can be found in varying sizes. Circassians make bigger mantı pieces and fill them with potatoes—this dish is called psıhalıve. In the Trakya region, there are versions of mantı filled with goose meat called kuru mantı (dry mantı)—this variety is not served with yogurt, that’s why it’s considered dry. Another Trakya version, sulu mantı (watery mantı), is also filled with goose meat and is served with yogurt and additional goose meat on top. Thracians use local geese for meat and water buffalo milk for the butter and yogurt. Considering the ingredients used in the preparation of Manti, you could think of mantı as some kind of dumplings. 

Most people in the Asian part of the world belong to the school of thought that, homemade Manti gives the consumer both the required satisfaction and the sumptuous mouthwatering taste he can never forget, although, how true this is, can only be ascertained by the consumer.

Ingredients used to prepare Manti include:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon water, or as needed
  • 2 onions, peeled
  • 1/2-pound ground beef
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 (8 ounce) container plain yogurt

     Procedure/ How to Prepare:

  1.   Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the eggs and water, mixing well with your hands. Add more water, if needed, to form a soft dough. Cover and set aside for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Shred the onions and place them in a colander or sieve set over a bowl; drain the juice and discard. Combine the onion, ground beef, salt, and pepper; mix the meat well with a spoon until mashed.
  3. Divide the dough into two portions and lightly flour a work surface. Keep one piece of dough covered while you roll out the second portion into a rectangle, rolling the dough as thin as you can. Cut the rectangle into 2-inch squares with a knife or pastry wheel.
  4. Place about 2 teaspoons of the meat filling in the center of each square. Seal the dumplings by gathering the edges of the dough and pinching them together at the top to form a bundle. Transfer the finished manti to a floured plate, and sprinkle more flour over the manti to prevent sticking. Repeat with the second piece of dough.
  5. Heat the oil and red pepper flakes in a small skillet over low heat just until the pepper flakes have started to color the oil; don’t let them burn. Remove from the heat and keep warm. Stir the minced garlic into the yogurt and set aside.
  6. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat, and cook the manti until the filling is no longer pink, and the dough is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain well. Divide the manti among four plates. Spoon the yogurt sauce over the manti and drizzle each serving with the hot pepper oil.

It is very true that food continues to remain a vital need of man but it should never be forgotten that a good meal always has its way of creating a great experience for man.

Sources:
https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/154920/homemade-manti-traditional-turkish-dumplings/
https://www.buzzfeed.com/chelseypippin/27-turkish-foods-that-will-ruin-you-for-life
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manti_(food)
https://theistanbulinsider.com/handmade-manti-so-much-more-than-just-turkish-ravioli-with-yoghurt/
https://www.theguideistanbul.com/manti/

It is true that Leisure helps us relax after a very busy and hectic activity; regardless of that, some leisure activities can cause great damage to our vital body organs.

Hearing loss can be caused by a number of things, from being around extremely loud equipment as part of your job to simply growing older. It can also be caused by your choice of leisure activities. The number of activities available in St. George and Southern Utah abounds. From the open roads with red rock scenery to the sand dunes, to the many miles of outdoor trails, boating on reservoirs, leisure activities can put your hearing at risk.

Depending on how much free time and disposable income you have, you may not be able to enjoy these activities regularly, but even the occasional noisy hobby can damage your hearing if you don’t take the necessary precautions.

Here are just a few popular leisure activities that could be robbing you of your hearing.

Concerts

Loud music has always been linked to hearing loss anecdotally, but the truth is that the noise level at a typical rock concert can reach levels of over 120 decibels. Anything over 80 decibels runs the risk of damaging your hearing, so be careful if you like live music. If you’re going to a particularly loud concert, don’t be afraid to bring earplugs. You will still be able to hear the loud music, but your ears will at least have some protection.

Sporting Events

The roar of a crowd and a thrilling finish at a live sporting event like a football or basketball game may be exciting and memorable, but it is likely damaging your hearing. The noise can get to levels of 127 decibels, especially if you go to an indoor event.

Automotive Races

Some would say that automotive races fall under the category of sporting events, but they still have their own issues when it comes to hearing loss. The noise level of just one large truck or similarly loud vehicle is typically around 90 to 100 decibels. An automotive race has several vehicles, and when you combine their noise with the roar of a live crowd it all becomes very bad for your ears.

Hunting and Target Shooting

A gunshot is between 150 and 167 decibels, which is well past the point of ear pain. Just one gunshot is enough to cause hearing loss in unprotected ears, so make sure you wear some kind of ear protection if you enjoy hunting or target shooting.

Motorcycle Riding

Like the cars at an automobile race, motorcycles are easily loud enough to damage your hearing. They have been known to reach 120 decibels, which would make them a little louder than race cars or large trucks. Even when you’re the one riding the motorcycle or ATV, you still won’t have a lot of protection since you’re exposed.

One of the hidden dangers or your hearing when riding a motorcycle or off-road vehicle is wind noise – one more good reason to wear a helmet. If you enjoy motocross or a similar activity, make sure you protect your ears along with the rest of your head.

More Potentially Dangerous Noises

Leisure activities aren’t the only non-work activities that can put your hearing at risk. Even routine tasks like operating a lawnmower, using a power drill, or cranking up the food blender can have an adverse impact on your hearing health.

Considering that the importance of leisure activities cannot be overemphasized, it therefore necessary you identify healthy leisure activities that will not abuse the necessity of leisure.

Source: Intermountain Audiology Hearing Clinics

Ecuador is a country straddling the equator on South America’s west coast. It is the fourth smallest country in South America, but it’s also one of the world’s 17 megadiverse countries (this refers to any one of a group of nations that harbor the majority of Earth’s species and high numbers of endemic species).

Its diverse landscape encompasses Amazon jungle, Andean highlands and the wildlife-rich Galápagos Islands. In the Andean foothills, Quito, the capital, is known for its largely intact Spanish colonial center, with decorated 16th- and 17th-century palaces and religious sites, like the ornate Compañía de Jesús Church.

In just one day of exploring Ecuador, you can see the Amazon Basin, watch a volcano billowing smoke in the distance, walk through misty cloud forests, and have a drink on the Pacific coast.

Ecuador is the home of the first UNESCO world heritage sites, and fantastic local crafts, and despite being the fourth smallest country in South America, it is a highly sought out travel destination, and it is one place you want to go prepared. So, we have gathered a few tips from experts to enable our readers plan and execute an incredible experience in Ecuador.

Here is 5 Things you probably didn’t know Ecuador.

Whether you’re here for a trip to the incredibly diverse Galápagos Islands, to shop for trinkets at an indigenous market in Otavalo, to challenge yourself on a serious trek around the Quilatoa Loop, or ride the TelefériQo in Quito, these tips could add some more excitement to your trip.

Did You Know that Ecuador produces eight-million tonnes of bananas a year, and has had nine presidents since 1997? I bet you did not.

Ecuador is one of only two countries in South America that does not share a border with Brazil, and the national tree of Ecuador is the cinchona tree which produces Quinine, the first drug used to prevent and treat malaria.

The Panama hat is actually from Ecuador. Straw hats woven along the Ecuadorian coast were taken to Panama initially to be sold to canal workers and, after the canal opened, to affluent westerners passing through the Panama Canal.

It has the highest official capital city. At 2,850m, Quito gets the accolade of the highest official capital in the world. Although La Paz in Bolivia stands higher, it’s not considered the constitutional capital, just the seat of government.

Rights of Nature. In 2008, Ecuador was the first country to officially recognize the rights of nature. Rather than treating nature as property, Ecuador recognizes that nature has constitutional rights and has the “right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles.” So refreshing.

Galapagos Islands. Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution was heavily influenced by Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands. The Galapagos Islands are an incredible, albeit expensive, highlight of an Ecuador visit. Home to creatures that cannot be found anywhere else – giant tortoises and myriad bird species – the Galapagos also inspired Darwin’s revolutionary evolution theory. Pretty cool stuff. It’s a site you need ti visit while at Ecuador.

The equator runs right through Ecuador, hence its name. But there’s a whole tourist attraction centred on the line, and you can even get your passport stamped as proof of your visit. It’s called La Mitad Del Mundo, which translates as the middle of the world, and it provides endless photo opportunities, usually involving standing with one foot either side of the line.

It is in fact the only country in the world officially named after a geographical feature. The official name, República del Ecuador, translates as “The Republic of the Equator

Some other tips that may help you plan better for your trip include:

Travel Jabs. Before you travel to Ecuador, see a doctor and make sure you’ve got all the relevant immunizations. Your doctor should be able to let you know which vaccinations you will need. These will protect you from illnesses that might strike when you eat and drink in questionable situations or get bitten by a pesky mosquito.

Pack a Longer Skirt. Catcalling by men to women is an issue. You’re not going to blend in if you wear a mini-skirt or spaghetti-strapped singlet, so perhaps pack a longer skirt and t-shirt to avoid unwanted attention from men. There’s a strong sense of macho culture in Ecuador, and hearing a whistle or catcall isn’t out of the norm. Try to ignore it – in most cases, this isn’t a form of intimidation.

No matter how old or how fit you might be, altitude sickness can strike anyone. Quito is 9,350ft (2,850m) above sea level, and many travelers feel the symptoms of altitude sickness while walking around town – especially soon after disembarking the plane. Do your best to avoid the symptoms by drinking lots of water and taking it slow. If you feel nauseous or unusually tired, listen to your body and take it easy.

Ecuador has one of the best markets in South America. Enjoy an epic experience on a day out to the Otavalo market, rainbow colours, traditionally dressed salespeople, and all the tourist that you could ever desire. One set of panpipes for every distant relative: easy souvenir shopping.

There are all sorts on offer, from colourful textiles to, well, fully grown llamas. Though one of these fits more easily into a backpack than the other. It’s at its biggest and best on the weekend: Saturday is when most people choose to visit

Seek New Experiences. If you seek out Ecuador’s lesser-known parks and mountains, always consult a credible local guide about walking trails, and check weather conditions before you start the hike. Never go hiking without telling someone about your plans, and give them a rough idea of when you should return.

If you’re prone to motion sickness, bring seasickness medication – don’t rely on your tour operator to have this on-board. If you haven’t brought any from home, a motion sickness medicine called Mareol is available in Galápagos and can be found in many pharmacies on mainland Ecuador.

Ecuador might not be the first country you’d think of visiting in South America, but honestly that would be a mistake. Choose Ecuador as your holiday destination! Live a unique experience, live Ecuador!

 

By Eloke-Young Splendor

Relaxation is an essential element in the life of every man, as he tries to capture the pure joy of discovering the pleasures the world has to offer. In a world, where relaxation and food has become an inevitable means to survival, accessing a nice location for relaxation as well as sumptuous meal is a great necessity.

Seychelles continues to portray Africa as the true destination for tourism as it magnifies its glamorous travel destinations as well as relaxation areas; of which Bird Island Seychelles represents. Bird Island can be described as the northernmost island of Seychelles. It is located at a strategic part in the country, 28 miles from Denis Island on the edge of the coast of Seychelles, specifically where the ocean drops to over 2000 meters.  Its name Bird Island, originates from its spectacular colony of around 700,000 pairs of sooty tern that nest on the island.

This picturesque sea-side is occupied by diverse creatures which include about 700,000 pairs of sooty tern that nest on the island.   This Island also hosts the heaviest turtle in the world as it makes the island its nesting abode. It can be described as one of Seychelles most loved and treasured locations because of the luxury of comfort it provides; which include twenty-four comfortable bungalows, excellent beaches, a reputation for good food, a friendly atmosphere complemented with fabulous spots for diving, deep sea fishing, and comfortable points to clearly observe nature. The Island is inhabited by a colony of terns, kingfishers and swallows that you can observe at your leisure, thereby giving you a sight-filled journey.

Bird Island Seychelles gives its visitors an opportunity to experience and observe nature; as it pulls them away from some artificial leisure experiences such as air-conditioning, phones, televisions, pools, cars, and even daily newspapers, thereby giving them strong reasons to appreciate nature. It is a destination that allows its visitors explore the fullness of nature without resistance.

The birds that can be found in this location include; White fairy terns, lesser noddys, Seychelles sunbirds, common mynas, Madagascan Red Fodies and so on. These birds add to the untold beauty of the island. The Island’s ecolodge is a comfortable base from where you can watch free-roaming Aldabra tortoises and preening, red Madagascar fodies.  It literally brings other creatures close to your dwelling. Another interesting fact about this island is that all rats have been eradicated, thereby making it the safest environment for recreation. This touristy charming location is renowned for its perfect blend of hospitality, relaxation and simplicity in its most natural form.

This island also provides sumptuous meals, nourishing fruits and also allows for Citizens to cultivate food and vegetables. So expect to see small organic farms where pumpkins, papayas and tomatoes are grown for the lodge’s restaurant. This is a recommended holiday destination with a reputation for its delicious cuisine.

After a great tour on this beautiful island, one is filled with the desire to bring back some of the beautiful creatures and materials that adorn the Island. Unfortunately, nothing can be brought back, everything should be left where it is except your photos and the memories gotten from the beautiful Island.  Bird Island can be said to be one of the “must visits” in Seychelles because it has more affordable and reasonable prices compared to other islands.

What to Bring on your Trip:

You might probably have your own packing list; nevertheless, this list is not cast in stone, so feel free to create your own list as you enjoy your journey to this beautiful Island. For women, a summer or evening dress is always the appropriate attire. For during the day, light, summery, airy clothing is recommended, as the high humidity can quickly cause you to sweat.                                          

Other items include, Sunscreen with a high factor of protection, hat, sunglasses, comfortable sports shoes for walking and hiking to various beaches or through the Vallée de Mai on Praslin. For La Digue, a torch (or better yet a headlamp) will assist you through that route.

Taking a trip to Bird Island Seychelles will leave you in deep awe and an overwhelming admiration of nature as well as life; it might as well prove that to travel is to discover that everyone is sometimes wrong about other countries.

I recently visited Accra, Ghana in West Africa. I live in Lusaka, Zambia which is a landlocked country in Southern Africa, so I was excited about my first ever visit to West Africa.

Being a foodie, I was excited to taste different foods and experience the different cultures and I was not disappointed.

Zambia being landlocked, did not really take part in the spice trade with the Arabs and Europeans and most tribes were nomadic in nature as they were running away from various wars around Africa and finally settled in Zambia so our local foods do not have many additional spices. Others would argue that our local food is so full of natural flavours that there is no need to add spices to the food. So, with that in mind, my palate was a bit taken aback by the generous amounts of pepe (chilli) in every meal that I ate. I literally had to have a bottle of water next to me at mealtimes.

First night in Accra, we were hosted by Sierra Leone Chef Binta who specializes in Nubian Fulani cuisine and is known for her ‘dine on a mat’ food experience.  What I love most about African cuisine are the stories that go with each dish and how our ancestors came up with the different recipes and decided what is edible and what isn’t.  The Fulani tribe in west Africa are nomads so of course, each dish had lots of stories to keep us entertained throughout the dinner. As an African, experiencing a different African culture, it was interesting to see how we are so similar in our cultures but yet so different. 

Our first course was Kuti (which is fried cassava balls) with a chilli powder. For our main dish, we had Maffe Tigga (which is lamb cooked in peanut sauce with rice, sweet potatoes, okra and garden eggs). In Zambia, garden eggs are a large part of our local cuisine and referred to as Impwa. We usually serve it mixed with other green leafy vegetables with nshima (which is like fufu, banku or kenke but made from pounded maize meal or cassava) and a protein dish to complete the meal.   For dessert, we had millet in sour milk. What amazes me is the fact that most ingredients used in the meal we ate are all readily available in Zambia, but we would never cook up recipes like that in our local cuisine.

Our host, Chef Binta, told us the stories surrounding the food we ate, and how according to Fulani tradition, you can only eat with your right hand.  For the main dish, all the food is dished out into one big plate and everyone eats together.  You have to eat the food with your right hand while holding the plate with your left hand. As with most African traditions, elders get to eat most of the meat and it is very bad manners to leave unfinished food on the plate. Everything must be eaten.  I am glad our host didn’t take offense when we didn’t finish the food, as we were all still shocked with the generous portions of Jollof rice we had been served at lunch at a popular restaurant in Accra.

After such a delicious meal, I will be sure to go out and buy ingredients to share these exciting new west African recipes with my friends back in Lusaka. My favourite food on this trip has definitely been fried plantain – something else that I will introduce to my Zambian friends. After a lot of research on the fried plantain, I discovered that it is a favourite dish in most parts of the world like north and south America, the Caribbean and parts of Europe. Great to know that African cuisine has made its way across the world. In Zambia, our climate is similar to West Africa but the plantain doesn’t grow as big. Let’s see how we could make some Zambian fusion cuisine with West African influences.

I got to try out Ghanaian jollof rice, fufu, okra soup, banku and a local drink that became my favourite – bissa or sobolo (made from hibiscus and ginger). It is really tasty and nutritious and will definitely make its way onto the African Sunsets Restaurant menu.

With all the wonderful west African food I got to try, I was glad I also got to showcase some Zambian cuisine at the indigenous TV show launch.  Indigenous is a TV show about African cuisine and the effects of westernization and climate change which begins to air in Ghana. It’s made interesting by the interactions with the different chefs from across Africa and the recipes they share.

On the Zambian food menu, we had:

Vinkubala- (which is our local caterpillars sometimes referred to as Mopani worms in other Southern African countries). This is a Zambian delicacy, and can be eaten as a snack or served with nshima and vegetables.

Chikanda – which tastes and looks like meat and is affectionately referred to as African polony. It is made from the chikanda plant, which is a tuber which is washed and dried and pounded into powder form. It is then cooked together with pounded groundnuts and is on the fire until it is hard. It is left to cool and cut up into pieces to be served as a snack. It is perfect for vegetarians who still want to feel like they are eating meat. I still wonder what on earth our ancestors were doing when they discovered chikanda mixed with groundnuts made a delicious snack!

I also served Lumanda in peanut sauce or visashi as we call it in our local language.  Lumanda is actually a weed that grows wild in most parts of Zambia and can be cooked in vegetable oil or peanut sauce.  Most of the west African dishes can easily be made in any part of Africa as ingredients are so readily available across the continent.  I think we need more of these cultural and food exchanges within different African countries just to showcase how diverse and at the same time similar, we actually are. If we are ever going to get our indigenous food out into the world and recognized as potential five-star cuisine, we need to band together to market our food and culture.

My trip to Accra was fun, delicious and exciting.  I met some wonderful people and the ocean air was just what this girl from a landlocked country needed. Learning about the history of the Ghanaians and seeing how entrepreneurial they are even in their packaging and exporting of black soap and shea butter, gave me inspiration on how we all as Africans need to export our local food and culture around the world.

 

By Abigail Mbuzi
Mastercook Zambia

 

 

 

Chamonix is a vibrant, edgy town known as both a world-class ski resort and a mountaineering destination. Situated in the Haute-Savoie region of eastern France, Chamonix is bordered by Switzerland and Italy and dominated by the incredible Aiguilles de Chamonix mountain chain which peaks at the top of Mont Blanc (4810m).

With these vast, jagged mountains towering over the town, the scenery is arguably the most spectacular in the French Alps. The snow-capped peaks soar into the bright blue sky, ancient glaciers sweep down towards the valley floor and waterfalls cascade through pine-covered hillsides. Old rustic farmhouses and barns can be found in the Alpine meadows, whilst new luxury chalets stake claim to the best locations on the valley floor. Take in the views from Chamonix itself or ride the cable car up to the top of the Aiguille du Midi peak at 3842 metres. Pretty mountain huts only accessible by foot are hidden along the mountain trails providing welcome refreshment stops for hikers and often offer the best views around. The natural beauty of this valley is the main draw for those who love the outdoors whether you be a skier, a mountaineer, a hiker or a sightseer. There is a real international feel to the place, not just from tourists, but from individuals and families who have decided to settle here from all over the world. Come and find out why!

Skiing in Chamonix

Chamonix is most famous as a ski destination. It has five separate ski areas spread above the 20km of valley floor that provide terrain for skiers of all levels, from beginner to advanced. The skiing is often talked about as ‘challenging’, this is because 70% of the pistes are classified as red or black as they tend to be long and steep descents.

However, each of the ski areas has nursery slopes and blue pistes that will keep beginners happy for their week’s holiday. The high altitude of the skiing (most pistes are over 2000m) means that snow is assured through to the end of April. In addition, there is an incredible amount of off-piste and ski touring terrain that draws experienced skiers and snowboarders from all around the world.

Sights & Attractions in Chamonix

The main attraction that brings tourists to this picturesque town is Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Western Europe at 4810m.

Visitors either come to reach the summit themselves, view it from the station at the top of the Aiguille du Midi cable car (3842m) which also enjoys spectacular views of the Mont Blanc range, or take it in from the valley floor. At the top of the Aiguille du Midi, you’ll find “Step into the Void”, one of Chamonix’s most recently added attractions. You literally step into a glass-sided box with views of Mont Blanc to your left and a 1000 metre drop under your feet.

Another hugely popular place to visit is the Mer de Glace glacier (the “Sea of ice”) which is accessed by the Montenvers train. From the top, you can descend to an ice cave excavated into the glacier via a cable car and a series of walkways and steps. Markers along the rock walls on the descent show you just how much the glacier has retreated in recent years.

You can also take the Tramway du Mont Blanc from Les Houches down into the neighbouring town of St Gervais and back again up to the Nid d’Aigle (2372m). Many mountaineers use this as the start of their access to routes up Mont Blanc but it’s even more popular with hikers and sightseers in the summer months.

Events in Chamonix

Chamonix hosts a wide range of sporting events throughout the year. The biggest ones include the Freeride World Tour in January where you can see pro skiers and snowboarders making extreme tracks down the mountain, the various Mont Blanc Marathons in June, the World Climbing Festival in July and the UTMB trail running race in August.

It’s not all about sport though, Chamonix also has a strong music tradition. The lively Fete de la Music takes place on 21st June every year where dancing in the streets until the small hours is standard – even if it rains. The Cosmo Jazz Festival at the end of sunny July has venues in different mountain locations as well as the town centre (all concerts are free) and Black Crow’s ski and music event, Chamonix Unlimited, takes place in March.

Things to Do in Chamonix

Many visitors come to Chamonix simply to admire the scenery. Nevertheless, a big draw is to take part in one of the many adventure sports that are available, or even one of the many sports endurance races/events organized each year. The resort is open and busy all year round, including the lifts, which makes Chamonix a fairly unique destination in the French Alps. Apart from the big draw of alpine sports, the area has a number of more leisurely pursuits, including forested trails, adventure playgrounds for kids, shopping & markets, and a number of spa facilities where you can enjoy a well-earned rest at the end of an activity-packed day. There’s so much to do here you’ll have to read our guide, as a summary introduction just can’t cover it!

Restaurants in Chamonix

Chamonix is a town inhabited by and visited by a large international community and its cuisine reflects that. As well as the much-loved fondue, raclette and traditional French restaurants, you’ll also find Indian, Scandinavian, Chinese and fusion cuisine on offer. There are plenty of restaurants in Chamonix, most on the valley floor, but also a good selection at altitude which you can access by the ski or summer lifts. Many of these mountain restaurants offer spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.

Nightlife in Chamonix

The Chamonix valley offers visitors a range of nightlife from live bands, boisterous après ski parties and nightclubs to more sedate jazz nights, the occasional music festival and film nights. In the centre of Chamonix, you’ll find the broadest selection of things to do, with each of the villages along the length of the valley offering their own unique selection of nightlife.

Where to Stay in Chamonix

There is a vast selection of accommodation, covering all budgets from hostels to luxury chalets. There are very few ski-in and ski-out properties because of the low altitude of the valley in comparison to the high-altitude skiing but you can find some in Les Houches, Chamonix and Le Tour. Many hotels and apartment rentals have a flexible approach to holiday bookings so you don’t need to be tied to a traditional Saturday to Saturday, seven-day holiday.

Chamonix is more than just a ski resort, it’s the beating heart of the valley. This is the place to stay if you are looking for the biggest selection of accommodation, shops, restaurants and nightlife. There are two lift stations in the town, the Aiguille du Midi cable car (for views and the off-piste ski route La Vallee Blanche) and the Brevent gondola (for sunny skiing suitable for all abilities).

Argentiere & Les Praz

The smaller, more traditionally Alpine villages of Les Praz and Argentiere lie further up the valley. Les Praz is served by the Flegere cable car, taking you to a beautiful ski area suitable for all abilities. It’s also where you will find the golf course. Argentiere is a lovely village with a good selection of accommodation, bars and restaurants and is right next to the Grands Montets ski area. This is where to come if you want challenging skiing as it’s renowned for its steepness and long descents. It’s also north facing, and so holds on to the best snow all the way through to May.

Les Houches

Les Houches is a larger village just below Chamonix with its own ski area. It’s a pretty town and the ski area is a favourite with families thanks to its mix of pistes and kid’s play areas. Chalet holidays are popular here, with many companies offering minibus services so you can also explore the rest of Chamonix’s skiing area.

Servoz, Les Bossons, Les Tines and Montroc are quieter hamlets, dotted along the valley, where you will need to take a bus/train or drive to the slopes.

Where is Chamonix?

Chamonix is situated in the French Alps, at the foot of the Mont Blanc. The resort is nestled up against the border of Italy and Switzerland, giving access to three countries (sometimes within the same day!).

It takes a little over an hour to get here from the nearest airport at Geneva, making it a popular destination for quick weekends away and short trips. Its location and accessibility to neighbouring countries make it a great destination for people touring through Europe in summer as well as to ski the varied terrain in winter. A 15-minute drive through the Mont Blanc Tunnel will take you to Italy, and the Swiss border is a 30-minute drive if you continue on up the valley.

So, if you are planning a trip this holiday, you should consider Chamonix.

Events are a reason for people to come together and celebrate; people either celebrate progress or in remembrance of past experiences, usually held on a yearly basis. This gives attendees ample time to prepare and come with their best at the next edition.

One of such annual events is the Winter Light Festival. This event is usually organized by different cultures in different parts of the world. The winter light festival is always celebrated to mark the end of the winter and beginning of the light season. Most times the event is marked with a huge showcase of art, workshops, light designs, live music, and street food.

At the earlier times of this celebration, it was revered as a religious and spiritual gathering to celebrate the end of a dark period in a year and the beginning of the days of light. It was celebrated as a moment of rebirth of the spirit and mind, with each religion celebrating it differently.

In the Hindu religion, the essence of light is symbolized with equating everything in existence with a divine quality as well as the illumination of the mind. While in Judaism, light is signified as a symbol of the good and beautiful and is seen as an emanation of a different essence from the other side of reality. The Judaists mostly celebrate the Hanukkah as the principal festival of light. For the Buddhists, light is seen as the presence of God within all human and the wisdom that dispels ignorance.

In celebrating the winter light festival, the Nabana no Sato festival held in the Mie Prefecture, Japan is usually the best display of winter illumination that can be seen across the country. The Nabana no Sato is a park that is entirely dedicated to flowers and is located on the island of Nagashima in Kuwana City. The park is famous for its seasonal flower shows which takes place all year round with the winter light festival being held generally from the end of October to the end of March in the next year. This year, the Winter Light Festival in Nabana no Sato will take place from October 25, 2018, to March 31, 2019. This means that the sight can also be enjoyed during the month of February which is the month of and a good sport for couples to hang out.

The Nabana no Sato is a botanical theme park which features carefully planned landscape gardens and impressive giant greenhouses. During the spring, the park is decorated with an array of colourful flowers, blossoms, and cherry trees, including multiple rows of tulips, pansies, viola, stock, and daisies.

In celebrating the winter light festival, the park is beautifully illuminated with over eight (8) million LED lights and turning it to a sight straight out of a fairy tale. Usually, the theme of the display changes yearly and also has also featured spectacular LED-illuminated models of objects in nature like Mount Fuji, the Niagara Falls, the Swiss Alps, Northern Europe Aurora’s show model, and the Kumamon, which is depicted by a black bear, Kumamoto Prefecture’s superstar mascot. The light bulbs are always charged via solar panels to reduce the impact on the environment since they will be on for a particularly long period of time.

One breathtaking part of this festival is the 200-meter-long light tunnel that is usually covered with over 1.2 million light bulbs. The bulbs will represent a tiny flower and together, the lights draw a beautiful part along the park. The park has also added recently the Kawazu Sakura light tunnel which 100-metre-long with around seven hundred thousand pink LED bulbs to resemble the Kawazu cherry tree. This tunnel has become especially popular with the couples that come for the winter light festival.

The fragrance of the flowers mingles with the cold winter air as visitors walk and enjoy the famous Tunnel of Lights which will always be accompanied with elegant light shows and designs that blanket the entirety of the theme park and its waters.

Now, because there is obviously going to be a lot of walking to admire the sight of the park, there is an Ashiyu foot bath (a Japanese public bath in which people can bathe their feet) available for visitors to use free of charge. The spa is made from a contained underground natural spring.

The winter light festival in Nabana no Sato provides visitors with the right ambiance to truly appreciate nature as well as enjoy the comfort and company of their loved ones. While the garden is open all year round to visitors, visiting the garden during the winter festival will truly give you the most breathtaking sight have ever seen.