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Wild West Adventures in Brazil’s Pantanal

Combining the region’s rich biodiversity with the “Wild West” culture of the local cowboys, eco-lodges offer one of the best opportunities to get the ultimate Pantanal experience. The Barranco Alto Eco-lodge, a small family-run operation located on the banks of the Rio Negro in the Brazilian state Mato Grosso do Sul is such a lodge. A converted authentic Panteneiro farmhouse and one of the oldest in the region, it was acquired by the lodge’s founder, Jorge Schweizer, for conservation and research purposes. While supporting research into environmental conservation continues to be an important priority at Fazenda Barranco Alto, the lodge offers a truly magical Pantanal experience, as well as the hance to see amazing wildlife. Few eco-lodges have quite the diversity of local fauna that Fazenda Barranco Alto has to offer. And because the lodge is located on a working ranch, you have the rare opportunity to live out your “Wild West” dreams and learn a few tricks from the Pantaniero cowboys.

The lodge and its surrounding farm is about as far away from civilization as you can get. The nearest town is over four hours away, and if you try driving in on your own, you will undoubtedly have a rough ride on bumpy and inhospitable roads. If you prefer not to spend your vacation digging land rovers out of the mud, the option of flying in on a private plane might be preferable. Upon arrival, you will find that the cozy Pantaniero lodge with its friendly staff and comfortable rooms await you. Despite its distance from the world at large, the lodge offers all the modern conveniences you could possibly desire, including air-conditioning, Internet, and a full-service restaurant. Additionally, experienced guides fluent in English, German, French, Spanish, and Portuguese are available to delight you with their knowledge of the area. Best of all, because the Barranco Alto hosts a limited number of guests, you are guaranteed plenty of pampered personal attention.

Thanks to its relative isolation and unique geography, the Fazenda Barranco Alto is home to an amazingly diverse and colorful assortment of wildlife. Visitors here are treated to such wonderful sights as macaws taking flight, filling the skies with their brilliant multicolored plumage, and capybaras strolling cautiously along the river bank of the Rio Negro. Perhaps the lodge’s most famous and beloved animal inhabitants are its giant river otters. This particular otter family has entertained lodge visitors for years and even served as the inspiration for at least one book. Other animal inhabitants include jaguars, maned wolves, howler monkeys, and caimans. And when it comes to birds, the owners have counted at least 394 bird species! The area also supports a large enough hyacinth macaw population (one of the rarest and most prized birds in the Pantanal) which can be spotted regularly.

The lodge offers a myriad of activities, ensuring that you get the most out of your stay. Canoeing, boating, horse-back riding, hiking, birding, fishing, open-vehicle safaris, swimming, star gazing, cattle wrangling, singing around the camp fire, or simply sun bathing on the beach with the local caiman population – all are readily available. All wildlife tours are accompanied by one of the owners, Marina Schweizer or Lucas Leuzinger, both experts on the local wildlife and ecosystem. The lodge’s friendly staff is there to meet your every need, in terms of exploring, scheduling and simply pampering. The varied activities, unique wildlife, and warm ambiance make the Barranco Alto Eco-lodge the ultimate remote “Wild West” and wildlife adventure for the entire family.

Discover the Best of Venice on a School Trip

The school trip is the undisputable highlight of many a student school year. Although the concept of a school trip is not new, it is only recently that the benefits have been recognised on a national scale. Now an encouraged part of the national curriculum, the school trip is considered a positive and constructive part of both learning on an academic level and developing on a social one. While the classroom is the perfect place to learn theories and consider ideas, there is nothing quite as motivating or inspiring as putting learned theory into context.

Venice, one of the most romantic cities in the world, is the epitome of Italian art, culture and history. The perfect place for a school trip, Venice is a haven of architectural delights, historical sites and a wonderfully rich cultural heritage. The intricate waterways criss cross the city and the imposing bridges, churches and beautiful palaces standing bold and breath taking for all to see, are very much part of the true essence of this intriguing and captivating city.

In simple terms the city is a museum that lives and breathes. For art lovers and history enthusiasts alike there is no place more awe inspiring and interesting than Venice.

The Best Venetian Attractions

Venice claims to have the most artistic masterpieces per square kilometre than any other country. Such a claim is not refuted, as the city boasts an array of artwork from medieval pieces through to Renaissance works, and some wonderful examples of Cubism and Abstract Expressionism. Students will have ample opportunity to sketch the Venetian street scenes, capture the beautiful light that rebounds from the gloriously old palaces and reproduce some of the stunningly depicted scenes captured by many a famous artist.

Visit the Doge’s Palace, which was once the seat of government, the law court and the city prison. Today the Gothic Palace, once home to Venice’s supreme authority, is one of the city’s main landmarks. In 1923 a museum was established here, and today the museum constitutes one of the eleven main museums in Venice.

The Galleria dell’Accademia is a huge attraction in the city of Venice and home to the largest collection of European and Venetian paintings in the world. On the way into the museum you can linger on the large wooden arch, known as the Ponte dell’Accademia, and take in a wonderful view of the Grand Canal and the famous Church of Santa Maria della Salute.

Being a city of waterways it is little wonder Venice showcases some fine bridges. The Bridge of Sighs is one of the most famous and is the one that connects the Doge’s Palace to the old city prison. Built of fine white limestone in an ornamental style, the bridge was actually a practical necessity, used to lead prisoners from the examining rooms to the prison cells. The romantic poet Byron, who referenced the bridge in his 1812 book ‘Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage’, immortalised it in his words.

No visit to Venice would be complete without taking to the water. Students can take the vaparetto and travel like the locals do or hire a gondola and explore the canals in real style. St Mark’s Square and its 10th century basilica should be included in the itinerary, as should a stop or two in the wonderful Italian ice cream or pastry shops.

A school trip to Venice will be one to remember. With abundant opportunity for academic stimulation this place will open eyes, broaden horizons and inspire learning in all students who visit.

Bad Foods For Diabetics – Avoid These 5 Foods

If you have diabetes, you are forbidden from eating certain foods! They are the foods high in carbohydrates, and foods high in fat. Refined sugar is another bad food for diabetics. You should also put an end to consuming excessive alcohol, and tobacco products. It is absolutely needed that you should avoid bad foods for diabetics. If you are aware of the foods to keep off, you will have more chance to keep off diabetes from you, or at the most you can manage your diabetic condition with ease. Here you have a brief description of the diabetic foods that are considered as bad for diabetics.

Foods high in Starch

Starches are nothing but carbohydrates whose function is to convert the consumed food into glucose. Glucose is the energy source for your body following digestion of foods. Starches can be had in great quantity from breads, rice, cereals, and root vegetables. Starch foods should not be consumed in large volume as they are bad foods for diabetics. However, carbohydrate foods should not be totally discarded from your menu. For instance, potatoes are high in starch but they are good source of protein to build your body. So you cannot keep off high carb foods as a whole. Eat a little bit!

Fatty high in fats

There are foods high in saturated fats which you should avoid as far as possible when you have diabetes. These foods include butter, margarine, and whole milk. Dietary products such as cheese and ice-cream are not at all recommended for diabetics as they are highly forbidden as bad foods for diabetics. Whole milk is to be curtained from consuming as fats form the prime component.

Refined sugars

If you have sugar intakes in the form of direct sugar, high fructose syrup, and candy sweets you will notice rise in sugar with these foods. But you cannot completely avoid all sugar. Indeed, you need to consume certain foods with less sugar ingredient in different forms of foods or small snacks.

Cholesterol foods

Cholesterol part of any food is harmful for health as it may worsen diabetic condition and increasing blood sugar in the bloodstream. Egg yokes, organ meats like liver, and brain are very bad foods for diabetics.

Excessive Alcohol drinks

Though alcohol is a pleasant drink to warm up your body, its role to control blood sugar is zero. Indeed, consuming excessive alcohol worsens the diabetic condition and spoils your health starting from damaging your liver, and then heart.