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Spring has finally sprung and with beautiful weather comes the welcome excuse to get outside, just in time for Mother’s Day! Before you get mom any ordinary plant, check out our top ten list of the most beautiful gardens around the world for some inspiration. Take mom along for the day or make a future getaway out of these. Happy Mother’s Day! Read more
Giggles are muffled and eyebrows are raised when anyone mentions traveling to Amsterdam. After some perfunctory chit chat about the Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House, a pregnant pause typically lingers until someone asks the question: “Did you smoke marijuana?” Since the 1970s, tourists have flocked to Amsterdam to legally get high. Now, however, the laws have changed and, come May 1, coffee shops in the southern half of the country will cater only to Dutch residents who are registered members and possess a “weed pass.”
Of course, lawyers for the coffee shops are fighting the ban on tourists and hope to prevent the law from going national come January 1, 2013. However, I think it’s high time that other cities followed the Dutch and made local customs available only to residents. Here are just a few treasured traditions that locals deserve to enjoy without having to share with tourists.
Serious climbers, here’s a serious goal for 2011 that will give you all kinds of bragging rights: Reaching the top of the 121-foot Excalibur in the Netherlands, a climbing wall that bills itself as the highest in the world.
Perhaps named for its curving, sword-like shape, this 50-ton monster, which is part of the Bjoeks climbing center, towers more than eight stories over the town of Gronigen, in the northeastern corner of the country. If the height isn’t imposing enough, here’s a breakdown of Excalibur by the numbers: a 500-ton concrete base, a foundation of 36 nine-meter poles, and an imposing 33-foot overhang that only experienced climbers should attempt.
But even if you never set a (chalked) hand onto Excalibur, it still makes for some pretty incredible photos. Another enticing reason to add it to your itinerary? You’re not likely to encounter hordes of visitors, as the wall is more of a landmark for the city and surrounding community than it is well-known among tourist circles.
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