East Meet West at Blakes Amsterdam

Written by Carolyn Proctor

East Meet West at Blakes Amsterdam

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Don't forget to take an umbrella," calls a cheerful concierge at Blakes Amsterdam.

It's autumn in Amsterdam,repparttar air is crisp, and we are peering outrepparttar 138626 front door ofrepparttar 138627 hotel, contemplating a sky filled with low, gray clouds. In a stand next torepparttar 138628 door are a number of large umbrellas, all black in keeping with Blakes' black and white Asian décor. They are complimentary for Blakes' guests, a practical reminder ofrepparttar 138629 personal service for which this upscale boutique hotel is known.

Amsterdam is a city of as many bicycles as people. In Blakes' hand-laid herringbone brick entry courtyard is a stable of bicycles. These are available for guests to use to tourrepparttar 138630 city; you can feel right at home cycling withrepparttar 138631 residents along picturesque canal streets.

Upon our arrival at Blakes we received a refreshing fruit juice welcome. Monique, one of several attractive young men and women in tailored black suits inrepparttar 138632 reception area, asked, "Do you have any fruit allergies or sugar concerns?" before pouring our drinks.

The striking décor of Blakes Amsterdam has been created by London hotelier and internationally renowned designer, Anouska Hempel. The ambiance is high style, yet intimate and welcoming, an environment of luxurious escapism in an old European city noted for crowded accommodations.

The design ofrepparttar 138633 hotel building is an architectural makeover that respectsrepparttar 138634 past and embracesrepparttar 138635 future. Blakes Amsterdam was once a dignified 17th century canal house, a landmark on one ofrepparttar 138636 city's most famous tree-lined canals, Keizersgracht.

Things to Make Your Gap Year in Africa Easy!

Written by Gregory Hudson

The kind of things you pack when you go on a trip says a lot about where you're heading and what you're going to be doing.

Taking a warm top and a ‘blanky’ is OK if you're going to stay at Granny’s house, but when you're taking a gap year in Africa, these items come highly recommended...

Work Pants with zip-off longs x 2

Great for casual wading inrepparttar water and getting within meters of Southern Right Whales breaching just off your sea sprayed research boat.

This is what work atrepparttar 138625 O.R.C.A Foundation in Plettenberg Bay was all about. Plettenberg Bay is a coastal town located alongrepparttar 138626 world famous Garden Route. It's where some ofrepparttar 138627 worlds most fascinating marine species can be seen, anything from Humpback Whales to Great White Sharks.

My gap year travel here gave me a once in a life time chance to work with these magnificent marine species in exciting and groundbreaking marine conservation volunteer work.

My Gap year atrepparttar 138628 O.R.C.A. Marine Foundation was also spent doing:

Rescue and rehabilitation of marine species Sampling, tagging, monitoring and dissection of fish species Participating in commercial marine-eco tourism activities, that included whale and dolphin watching tours, sea kayaking, township tours, and river ferry cruises Supervised collection of touch pool and aquarium species forrepparttar 138629 O.R.C.A. Education Centre O.R.C.A. patrol boat trips to collect data, monitorrepparttar 138630 bay and take photos of whales, dolphins and other marine species

The Fleece Beanie

The Kapama Private Game Reserve gets cold at night; I reckon fleece beanies are essential. Long nights monitoring and tracking game is an amazing experience, chills or no chills.

I foundrepparttar 138631 stars inrepparttar 138632 sky were a thousand times brighter than they are inrepparttar 138633 city. Thoughrepparttar 138634 stars were beautiful, most ofrepparttar 138635 timerepparttar 138636 thrill of stalking around inrepparttar 138637 bush took preference. Darting parties were conducted to inspect and tag animals for conservation purposes.

The monitoring programs enable conservationists to keep records ofrepparttar 138638 movements and numbers ofrepparttar 138639 game inrepparttar 138640 area.

Working atrepparttar 138641 Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre involved feeding and taking care of baby animals. Quite a few species are bred here, includingrepparttar 138642 cheetah, which is a most interesting cat when you get to see one close up.

Other activities we were involved in: Camping inrepparttar 138643 reserve to getrepparttar 138644 African feeling Target shooting Capturing of wild animals when required byrepparttar 138645 reserve orrepparttar 138646 sanctuary Assisting in hand raised animals Elephant back safaris

Handy Gloves forrepparttar 138647 Colobus Trust

You can't even begin to imagine how a pair of gloves help while you're fixing fences and chasing baboons and monkeys all day. They're also a great help for removing vegetation from power lines to prevent these silly monkeys from being electrocuted. Another priority was removingrepparttar 138648 snares inrepparttar 138649 Diani Forest in an effort to protectrepparttar 138650 Colobus Monkey and its habitat.

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