The capital city of the Czech Republic is one of the top destinations in Europe. Prague’s one thousand years of existence gives it a rich history that is embedded in every part of the city. For visitors to the city, this means that Prague is filled with a wide variety of interesting places to see.
Comprised of two 17th century libraries, the Strahov Monastery is arguably one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. It’s divided into two main halls, both of which are decorated with ceiling frescoes similar to the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, except these are framed by ornately gorgeous wooden reliefs. The Baroque Theological Hall has around 18,000 religious texts, organized via an old and beautiful card catalog system with decorated wooden cartouches that specify which titles are on which shelves. Meanwhile, the Philosophical Hall holds over 42,000 ancient philosophical texts. There’s also a room filled with ocean specimens, minerals, anthropological artifacts, some remnants of the extinct dodo bird, and glass cases filled with wax fruit.
Kingdom of Argondia
This psychedelic kingdom can be found on a small hill in Prague. It’s actually a former mill that was converted by artist Reon Argondian into his home. He covered the walls with a hand-sculpted facade that looks and feels like a natural cavern. Instead of bare rock, he filled the space with gorgeous and strategically placed swirls of paint, and his paintings. The result is a veritable fantasyland. A uniquely psychedelic feast for the eyes that you’re unlikely to see anywhere else.
Prague’s largest graveyard is a leisurely walk through the city’s history. In the late 17th century, when burying plague victims within city limits was deemed unhygienic, the site of Olšany Cemetery was designated to be the official cemetery of Prague. It served this purpose for centuries until a variety of art nouveau graves turned it into a sightseeing spot in the 20th century. Today, its 12 different sections can be explored via the “Learning Trail,” a historical guide for those who want to explore the cemetery chronologically.
Since 1410, the Astronomical Clock in the Staré Město district has been chiming every hour. As one of the few still working astronomical clocks in existence, it’s complete with a Zodiacal ring as well as indicators for Babylonian time. Make sure to see its figures move at least once during your stay in Prague. The hourly occurrence features a procession of 12 apostles along with figures representing greed, vanity, and death – the last of which strikes the time. It’s surreal, macabre, beautiful, and educational all at the same time.
The Museum of Alchemists and Magicians
Back in the 16th century, Old Prague was the hub of alchemy and dark practices in Europe. Under King Rudolf II, the sorcerers, alchemists, and magicians of the world had a safe and conducive place to practice the dark arts without interference. The remnants of this time in the city’s history are now located in the Museum of Alchemists and Magicians of Old Prague. Inside are stacked textbooks with instructions for all sorts of spells, incantations, and otherworldly creations. You’ll also find aged scrolls, half-formed homunculi, proto-science artifacts, arcane tools of the trade, and even a tableaux of a dark ritual in a magic circle. We’re not saying the place is cursed, but just watch your step.
London might be more closely associated with its main attractions than any other place in Europe. That is, if you’re visiting London, you probably already have a list of places you’d like to see before you even start thinking about it. But it also happens to be a huge city with a lot of really interesting stuff going on, which means it’s a good idea to look past the guidebook headlines and top-10 lists you’ll find when you do start thinking about what to do and see.
The following aren’t exactly off-the-beaten-path destinations. Some are very prominent, and some are quite famous. But they still represent a deeper layer of London landmark tourism than, say, checking out Big Ben and Buckingham Palace!
Hampton Court Palace
Buckingham Palace gets so much attention - and deservedly so - that you almost wouldn’t know there are other palaces nearby. But Hampton Court Palace is another sensational royal residence that you can visit as a tourist. And it’s arguably a more entertaining place to explore. There are all kinds of activities for visitors, from exploring a 300-year-old hedge maze to attending festivals to touring the rooftop.
There are a few different parks in London that get a lot of attention as traveler hot spots, like St. James’s and Hyde Park. But the South Bank might actually be the nicest outdoor area to explore for a few areas. Essentially a sort of tree-lined promenade on the Thames, it’s a very welcoming stretch, lit at night by lanterns along the walkway and with tons of restaurants in close proximity.
Here again, we have a spot that is simply overlooked in comparison to other, similar attractions. The Tower Bridge is a mighty, impressive landmark and one of London’s most famous sights. The Millennium Bridge, however, is also a gorgeous piece of engineering, and one every visitor to London should explore. Built via Britain’s Heritage Lottery Fund, it was actually created to celebrate the year 2000 and still seems to be one of the city’s more modern features.
Natural History Museum
It’s easy to forget that there’s a selection of museums in London given that the British Museum commands so much attention and other attractions like Trafalgar Square and Westminster Abbey have plenty to say on their own about British history. But there are other museums, to be sure, and the Natural History Museum is frankly incredible. With displays dedicated to dinosaurs, outer space, recent science, human history, and more, it’s quite the learning experience as well
The Kew Gardens also get overlooked sometimes because of some of the popularly recommended parks around London, as well as because some of the royal palaces and castles in and around London have their own meticulously kept grounds. But this is one urban botanical garden you should make time for. Claiming to have the largest botanical collection in the world, it makes for a beautiful excursion for anyone who enjoys nature. And make sure you don’t miss the Temperate House - it’s a massive Victorian glasshouse with upwards of 10,000 plants inside.
This stadium doesn’t actually exist yet, and what’s more, we don’t know for sure what it will be called. But Tottenham Hotspur, which plays its home football in London, is transitioning from White Hart Lane to a new arena that’s quickly taking shape and is expected to be ready for the 2018-19 Premier League. These days it seems that any new football stadium in a prominent country or league is magnificent, and by the look of things, Tottenham’s new home could become the new best stadium in London (which is saying something).
When visiting Europe it would be a shame not to spend a couple of days in this remarkable city. With its unique architecture, amazing art collections and a truly vivid nightlife, Amsterdam has plenty to offer all its visitors. When you are there it seems like there is never enough time to visit all the stunning locations and sites this marvelous city has to offer. So I always tend to choose several different items each time I visit just to make sure I get to soak in as much of Amsterdam as I possibly can.
A Walking Tour of the City
This is the perfect way to start your visit. Usually when I get off the plane I prefer to move instead of just sitting around. Luckily there are numerous free walking tours of Amsterdam, and I try to pick a different one each time. With a whole array of great guides, who have different stories to tell, there is never a dull moment. All you have to do is book your tour online or by phone and decide on the date and time. It is usually up to 20 people in a group so you don’t feel overwhelmed, and the beauty is actually hearing about the city from the people who love it and live in it.
A Day at the Rijksmuseum
One of the best experiences I have ever had was visiting this magnificent museum. The sheer size and architecture of this place will leave you in awe. Just a quick note though, the lines at the entrance can be quite long, and considering the ever changing Amsterdam weather, it would be wise to pack your Go Travel pocket poncho so that you don’t get soaked. Once inside brace yourself, the amount of stunning works of art is overwhelming. From the famous Rembrandt’s auto portrait to his Night Watch, a colossal painting covering an entire wall of the museum. It will take you several hours to walk around the entire museum, but it is well worth it. After your tour you can take a break at the nearby Vondelpark, one of Amsterdam’s most relaxing locations. Or in case you haven't had your fill of art, get to the Van Gogh Museum, it is just a short walk away and you can continue to marvel at the grand artworks of the true masters.
And for Fun
If you want to experience a bit of adrenaline rush and at the same time capture some stunning views of the city you should definitely take a ride on the giant Ferris wheel at the Dam Square. There is usually a bit of a line but nothing major, and after your ride you can pay a visit to the wax museum right there at the square. You can also take a break and have a delicious meal at one of the local cafes and restaurants. Considering I have some dietary restrictions regarding gluten my favorite was the Greenwoods Singel, a quaint little place where you can get the tastiest gluten free, vegan and vegetarian meals along with a wide array of quality local cuisine.
End Your Trip on a High Note
There is no shortage of a great night time scenes in Amsterdam, from bustling cafes to music clubs and cabarets. One of my favorite places to unwind and dance to some great live tunes is definitely the Bourbon Street Music Club on Leidsekruisstraat. This vintage jazz club with an old school feel hosts live music session seven nights a week and offers some of the best beers on tap. It is definitely worth your while. It opens its doors around 10 PM so you will have plenty of time to have a drink or two at a nearby cafe and taste some of those famous Dutch waffles. Finally, when it is all said and done and it is time to go home, take a few hours and sit by the side of one of numerous canals and just take in the unique energy of this remarkable city.
The one thing about Amsterdam I can guarantee is that it will keep inviting you back for more, and you will never run out of sights and locations to explore and discover here. Until next time, goede reis!
Spain is one of the most beautiful vacation destinations in Europe. In addition to the nation's excellent food and beautiful scenery, there are plenty of great tourist attractions you have to see when you visit. Whether you go alone, with your significant other, or the whole family, there are countless sights and amazing adventures that await.
A lot of people like to take tours of the many museums where they travel. Some like to take advantage of the many beautiful, historical buildings that you can find just about everywhere you go. Others like to take excursions through natural parks and forests, and spend time outdoors. Depending on the type of experience you're looking for, here are a few attractions that can meet everyone's expectations.
1. Basilica of the Sagrada Familia
This basilica is an incredible sight to behold, regardless of your religious background. Its located in Barcelona, Spain. When you visit you can listen to an audio tour while you take a look at the breathtaking Medieval Artwork. The stunning architecture and the stained glass windows that line the basilica are unique and unlike any other basilica in the world.
If audio tours aren't your thing, you can take a private tour to get a good grasp of the history inside the building. Regardless of how you experience the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, make sure you plan on taking time to really enjoy every detail; most people recommend planning to spend anywhere from two to three hours here, and there are plenty of amazing Spanish restaurants within walking distance to grab lunch or dinner after you're done.
2. Museo Molinos Mazonovo
Unlike many traditional museums, the Museo Molinos Mazonovo is a themed museum that adds an exciting and natural element to your historical experience. While you learn about the mills that this museum is dedicated to, you can also take in the breathtaking views of this historic place. You can take a tour that will take you over cobblestone bridges and over stone walkways that take you through beautiful forests full of streams and waterfalls. This attraction is located in Taramundi, Spain and is recommended for guests of all ages. Although it is a little out of the way it's highly recommended by everyone who goes there, as well as the bar nearby to get a bite to eat after your visit.
3. Montserrat Tour with Tapas and Wine
This wine tasting tour is a favorite among tourists for a wide variety of reasons. Your tour starts off in Barcelona, Spain and includes transportation to the Montserrat Vineyard via a really unique train called a cogwheel railway. During your trip, you'll experience amazing views of the countryside. Guests can enjoy samples of different wines and food, including pastries and cheese. You will be able to explore the land on foot on your own or travel with a group and the guide. The area is rich in historical value and this tour is one of the most educational and relaxing options offered in all of Spain. This tour is meant to be an all-day excursion, as it takes 7 to 9 hours to complete from pick-up to drop-off. It's certainly worth dedicating an entire day of your vacation to Montserrat.
Regardless of where you end up during your trip to Spain, you are sure to find an exciting, all-around experience full of history. Be sure to plan ahead in order to take full advantage of everything offered by this unique culture.
Costa Rica is one of the world’s ultimate travel destinations. It has world-class scenery and nature, excellent weather, a rich culture, and some of the friendliest people imaginable.
Millions of tourists a year visit to experience these things for themselves, meaning some of the most popular areas can get very crowded in high season.
To help you get away from the crowds, here are 3 of the top ways to experience Costa Rica off the beaten track.
As with many Central American countries, Costa Rica has its share of socioeconomic and environmental issues. Many of these issues are addressed mostly by the action of generous volunteers, who are willing to give up there time and energy towards helping a good cause.
The good news is, becoming a volunteer in Costa Rica is an incredibly rewarding experience for anybody willing to put in a bit of effort and try something different.
It may sound like hard work, but being a volunteer can genuinely enrich your travels massively, and people often feel it’s the best and most memorable part of their travels.
In Costa Rica, budding volunteers are lucky enough to have a huge range of options to choose from. You might want to work in animal conservation, for example assisting endangered sea turtles to breed, or you may want to focus more on social issues, by volunteering to teach English to children.
Regardless of what you choose, you are sure to have an amazing experience in an amazing setting. How could you not in such a beautiful country filled with such friendly people.
You will be able to live and work with local people, getting to know their culture, language, and customs. You will also have ample opportunity to explore the country, whether you choose to spend it on one of Costa Rica’s thousands of stunning beaches, or seeing the sights.
Costa Rica is one of the world’s top surfing destinations. With a name that literally translates as ‘Rich Coast’, and endless miles of pristine beaches, it probably comes as no surprise that surfers from far and wide flock to the country for epic and consistent swells.
But surfing is by no means the only sport available here that will get your adrenaline pumping, and giving them a try can be a good way to get away from the crowded beaches and towns and into nature.
The powerful rapids found all over the country’s rivers are a huge draw for fans of white water rafting. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or an old pro, there are varying grades to suit all abilities.
With dozens of volcanoes dominating the landscapes of Costa Rica (don’t worry - most of them are no longer active…), as well as many mountains, all sports relating to being really high up are available here. For example, there is world-renowned rock climbing, mountain biking, and hang-gliding on offer, along with many other vertigo-inducing activities.
In short, if you’re adventurous in your choice of sports, then Costa Rica is perfect for you.
Another great example of an activity you can pursue in Costa Rica is trekking. Fortunately, it’s a bit tamer than the extreme sports on offer, but it can still offer some breathtaking experiences.
The volcanoes and mountains again provide the perfect platform for any trekkers looking for mindblowing panoramic views.
Further to this, over 25% of Costa Rica’s landmass is designated as protected national parks. This is exceptionally high by international standards and illustrates just how magnificent the natural world is here.
Rainforest makes up most of this space, and the range of exotic flora and fauna inhabiting it is simply unrivaled anywhere on earth. Walking through these areas can be an ethereal experience and is highly recommended to anybody.
Costa Rica has lots to offer. This small Central American nation punches well above its weight in terms of sights and activities for travelers.
There is far more on offer here than it would be possible to fit into any vacation.
If you like the sound of Costa Rica, you should definitely consider visiting one of its geographical and cultural cousins - Cuba - to experience one of the most exciting periods of economic and cultural development of any country in the world.
Some of us dream of the day where our own Cinderella fairytale would come true. The one where we get to leave our ordinary lives, go live in a beautiful castle and forget about all of our responsibilities, right? Luckily, you don’t need a fairy godmother to make all your dreams come true any longer. Now, it’s as easy as one plane ticket or one train ride away!
Here are 10 must-see castles around the world.
1. Cardiff Castle in Cardiff, Wales
The 2,000-year-old castle has been renovated a number of times. As a very versatile space, the castle has been used as a Roman fort and a coal exporting port, until finally being restored into a beautiful castle. Architect William Burges remodeled the castle in 1866, transforming the enormous structure by creating gothic towers, murals, stained glass, marble, wood carvings and assigning each room it’s own theme. Some of these themes include a Mediterranean garden and Italian and Arabian styled rooms. The castle was presented to the city of Cardiff as a gift and has since been one of the city’s
largest tourist attractions.
Along with obtaining a rich history lesson, as a visitor at the Cardiff Castle, you'll be able to see breath-taking views of the city of Cardiff from the high towers scouring over the area.
2. Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh, Scotland
Set in the capital of Scotland this stunning castle is sure to be the best part of your trip. It sits atop a volcanic rock (referred to as the Castle Rock), so it can be a bit of a climb to reach, but the stone walls and towers and the encapsulating view will make the climb well worth it.
The castle is the biggest attraction in the city with over a million visitors in 2013. Audio and staff-led tours are available of the historic castle in addition to fully costumed reenactments of the Fourth Earl of Bothwell and Mary, Queen of Scots. Set a date as soon as possible to see the beloved Edinburgh Castle.
3. Pena Palace in Sintra, Portugal
The Pena Palace in Portugal surpasses all language barriers a traveler may face with just one look at it. The view from the top makes stumbling around with little language knowledge a little better.
The palace lies on top of a hill in the Sintra Mountains, towering over the town of Sintra. This national monument can be seen from the capital city Lisbon and other surrounding cities. The style of the castle was heavily influenced by romanticism during the 1800s. As for photo-worthy spots go, The Queen’s Terrace serves as an excellent photoshoot setting as well as the clock tower. As one of the seven wonders of Portugal, there is no excuse not to go see this architectural masterpiece.
4. Matsumoto Castle in Matsumoto, Japan
Commonly referred to as the “Crow Castle,” this all black sleek castle is a must-see for any tourist. Original wood and brick cover the interior and exterior of the castle. This castle was built on top of a plain which gives easy access to everyone. Besides the appeal of the castle’s elegant and historic infrastructure, it is in close proximity of the capital of Japan, Tokyo. Classified as one of the national treasures of Japan, there is no doubt this castle should be at the top of every traveler's bucket list.
5. Dover Castle in Dover, England
Created during the Bronze Age, this medieval castle holds the history of the country within its walls. It is the largest castle in England and is called the “Key to England” because of its historical significance. The castle has been classified as a national monument and is recognized worldwide for its preservation of history. If the worldwide significance isn’t enough to convince you to visit, maybe the secret war tunnels, Roman lighthouse, or ocean views will be enough.
6. Chillon Castle in Veytaux, Switzerland
This quaint castle resides on an island alongside Lake Geneva and is one of the most highly visited castles in Switzerland. Visitors can tour the whimsical castle or look around and absorb the tranquility of the surrounding nature. If the cozy setting hasn’t sold you, maybe a little nostalgia will. This castle was used as the castle in the 1989 film The Little Mermaid. That’s right, the beloved setting of one of your favorite Disney movies is just a plane ticket away. This historic monument is a perfect tourist attraction for anyone who wants to relax, take some photos and maybe catch a tail flipping through the water.
7. Spiš Castle in Žehra, Slovakia
If you find yourself traveling in Europe, hop on a plane and head to Slovakia to see one of the largest castles in all of Europe. Built during the 12th century, this castle has changed its style enough times it could make its own clothing line. The structures original style was Romanesque then it went through its goth phase during the 1400s until it was destroyed in a fire in 1780. But honestly, who didn’t destroy their goth phase? The castle was partially rebuilt in the 20th century and now is open to the public for tours and viewings.
8. Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg in Orschwiller, France
A fairytale castle without a fairytale story, this castle was taken back by the French from the Germans after World War I through the 1919 Treaty of Versailles. Originally a French castle….and then a German castle….and then a French castle once again, the Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg is considered one the most popular tourist attractions in France. Although the last reconstruction of the castle does not precisely mimic the original medieval construction, this castle is one you do not want to miss.
9. Powis Castle in Powys, Wales
This eloquent castle houses an array of gardens and terraces that attracts thousands of visitors a year. The gardens are the most notable of all the aspects of this castle. The mansion was originally used as a hideaway for the treasure that Robert and Edward Clive retrieved from India through their work with the British East India Company but was later transformed into a castle. This cultivated castle is perfect for any history lover to come visit.
10. Tourbillon Castle in Sion, Switzerland
Ruined by a fire in 1788, this Swiss castle is perched atop a hill, towering over the city of Sion. Parts of the demolished castle have been restored and is open for public visitation. Now setting foot on the grounds of this castle is no easy battle. Visitors must climb up the winding stairs that hug the edges of the hill. If you are up for a worthwhile challenge, this castle is the one for you.
To find out more about castles, check out Tripedia's Guide to Castles.
Travelers to the beautiful country often go to it’s most visited sites, like the Taj Mahal or the Golden Temple, one of the most important pilgrimage sites of Sikhism. But what about some of the lesser known sites?
Some places are full of India’s lesser known but still rich history. Consider these two cities for your next travel excursion and even fly between the two.
Chennai, located in along India’s east coast, has an incredibly rich history and culture. It’s home to over a dozen architectural wonders like Pancha Rathas.
Pancha Rathas is a 7th century monument complex, currently listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The complex consists of five monuments resembling a ratha. Ratha being the word for chariot. Each monument is carved out of a single granite boulder of granite which slopes in north-south direction with a slight incline. Construction of the site was never completed, but it is believed it was intended to function as a temple.
The Shore Temple
The Shore Temple was built out of granite in the 8th century. This temple complex consists of three temples and overlooks the Bay of Bengal. At the time of its construction, this area where it stands used to function as a busy port, acting as a landmark for shipping vessels to find their way. The intricately carved stone depicts hundreds of images including deities and animals.
The 16th-century Kapaleeshwarar Temple is dedicated to the worship of Shiva, one of the principal deities of Hinduism. There are several different shrines within the temple where worshipers can come to pray. Services are held six times throughout the day. Inscriptions dating back to the 12th century can be found inside. The temple has a 120-foot tall tower and is adorned with hundreds of colorful figures.
Pune, India is located on the nation’s west side. It’s home to some of India’s more modern wonders, like Shaniwar Wada.
Shaniwar Wada is a massive fort in the city of Pune. Constructed in 1732, it was once a central hub of Indian politics. At its peak occupancy, it housed over a thousand people. The gates of the structure were built at a height to accommodate an elephant with a seating canopy. To defend against enemy elephants ramming the gates, the doors are fitted with twelve-inch long spikes, arranged at the height of the animal’s forehead.
The Fortress of Sinhagad, which translates to Lion’s Fort, is rumored to be roughly 2,000 years old. Perched on an isolated cliff, it has been the site of many battles in India’s long history. It’s currently a must-see destination for tourists traveling through Pune.
Aga Khan Palace
The Aga Khan Palace was built in 1892. Sitting on 19 acres, this palace is one of the largest landmarks in India. It once served as a prison, where for two years Mahatma Gandhi and his wife were held. In 1969 the palace was donated to the people of India and today it’s home to the ashes of Gandhi and the memorial society dedicated to his honor.
Have you been to any of these places? If you are planning to visit these wonderful places check for Pune Chennai flights to ease your journey. Let us know in the comments below.
Check out the podcast episodes below:
The whole Jamaican island is a breathtaking vision of furrowed lush mountains which drop off into the sparkling blue sea below. But you need to know where to explore to make the most of your Jamaican holiday.
Check out our seven favorite activities and spots to experience Jamaica’s unique beauty, rich culture and decadent cuisine.
Booby Cay Island’s Amazing Lobster
Just off the end of Negril’s east end is a small island called Booby Cay. Take a boat ride to the island for a day spent snorkeling in the shallow waters where you can spot colorful fish, rays, and sea fans. Follow a day in the sun with a lobster feast on the beach, where you can relish fresh lobster cooked over a fire.
Swimming at Frenchman's Cove
There is no better place for a refreshing swim than the picturesque Frenchman’s Cove, where you can enjoy the calm waters of the small river near Port Antonio. As the tide comes in and out, you will be sucked from the chilly stream into the warm sea, allowing you to feel like you are having a natural water massage.
Glow in the Dark at Glistening Waters
Sadly, this is one of Jamaica’s least exposed attractions while being one of the best. The Falmouth Glistening Waters are unlike anything you have ever seen. Take a boat ride to the middle of the lagoon, and watch as the water lights with every movement. Once you get in the water, you will turn into a glow in the dark water creature, which will be one of the most amazing night swims you will ever have. You can find this and similar tourist attractions in Jamaica.
Snorkel along the Rockhouse cliffs
Negril’s West End is well-known for its limestone cliffs which are lined with gorgeous hideaway villas and hotels that overlook the turquoise sea. But no hotel blends luxury and rustic vibes quite like Rockhouse. If you have the money, get a freestanding villa, which is made of stone and timber, and boast private outdoor showers. Spend an afternoon exploring the Cliffside marine life for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Unwind at Lime Tree Farm
Jamaica is unique in that it is not just blue waters and white sand, but rather a wide array of natural wonders. Lime Tree Farm is located high up in the hills of the highest mountain range in the Caribbean – the Blue Mountains. The farm is a working coffee plantation which is surrounded by 7.5 acres of coffee beans. This eco-friendly estate features four cottages, a local chef, and yoga.
Soldier Camp Bar & Grill’s River Crayfish
You will need a guide to find this well-hidden restaurant in Port Antonio. Everol Daley serves incredible Jamaican cuisine cooked over the flames. You need to call ahead to check that he has fresh crayfish available, which is caught in the Rio Grande River located nearby. You will be able to enjoy spicy and sweet food that will leave you wanting more.
Mento Music with the Jolly Boys
Mento music predates ska and reggae music and is originally from the island. It is known and loved for its acoustic elements, particularly the rhumba box, which is played with the musician sitting on top of it. No trip to Jamaica would be complete without experiencing this music, which can be heard live at Port Antonio’s Geejam Hotel every Friday night when the legendary Jolly Boys take the stage.
Jamaica is mostly marketed for its crystal clear turquoise waters and white sandy beaches, but there is so much more to see and do which will have you loving the island more than you ever thought possible.