Top Literature Spots in England

Scottish Highlands and Jacobite Train (Harry Potter)

J.K. Rowling first imagined Harry Potter while riding a train through the British countryside. You can do the same in the Scottish Highlands, the setting for Hogwarts.

If you want the full-blown experience, take the Jacobite steam train from Fort William to Malliag. This route is credited as one of the most stunning train rides in all of England, and it does not disappoint. On the steam train, you go at a leisurely pace, and can fully enjoy all the sights. This is also the route used to film exterior shots of the characters traveling to Hogwarts in the movies (including the infamous car incident).

If you’re a fan, like the Brits on the train with me, consider bringing along a bottle of something good, hold it high, and toast, “Ta ’Arry Potter!

Alyssa Hollingsworth / Own Work

Alyssa Hollingsworth / Own Work

Stratford-upon-Avon (Shakespeare)

If you’re in the mood for thatched cottages, look no further than Stratford-upon-Avon, home of William Shakespeare. There are museums for William Shakespeare, shops for William Shakespeare, pubs for William Shakespeare, canal boats named for William Shakespeare… You will definitely get your fill of Shakespeare here.

Despite the tourism, the town still maintains its own flavor, and there is something strangely lovely about his humble grave in the Church of the Holy Trinity.

I highly recommend catching a show at the Royal Shakespeare Company while you’re in town. You can go with a classic, or look for one of their more eccentric performances. (While I was there, I saw Romeo and Juliet in Baghdad, written and performed entirely in Iraqi Arabic. It was amazing.)

Alyssa Hollingsworth / Own Work

Alyssa Hollingsworth / Own Work



Extravagant Hotel Pools You Need to See

For a lot of us, the pool is the holiday and the holiday is the pool. The success or failure of a getaway in the sun is determined by just how good the pool is. Knowing this, many hotels have some truly absurd swimming pools. Absurd for their grandeur and extravagance, these pools alone would make an unforgettable holiday.

Total Relaxation: 10 Best Wellness Retreats

Depending on what kind of relaxation you are looking for, a wellness retreat can offer an extraordinary vacay away from daily distractions of life, while enjoying incredible cuisine, along with fun activities to keep your body moving. Whether you love the idea of some hiking, yoga, meditation, or massages, there are a variety of wellness retreats all across the globe that help you relax, find your inner self, and feel rejuvenated.

Mini Guide to Russia

Russia is the largest country in the world and has a population of nearly 150 million, though around 77 percent live in the western part of the country. It’s best known for being the first constitutionally socialist state and its role in World War II and the ensuing Cold War. The country has also many technological accomplishments, including sending the first human to space. Nowadays, it’s the world’s 12th largest economy by GDP, the biggest producers of natural gas and oil, and also a permanent member of the UN Council.