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EXPLORE Go behind the scenes of Hollywood TV and Film sets!

Visit the Natural Beauties of the West of America The world’s own paradise, Costa Rica

Going on a Gap Year? We have all the information you will need to get you there!

Explore.co.uk £3.50 Issue 1 - April 2013


Contents Cover Story Page 15

Nature in the West

Travel through the West of America and visit all of the wonderful National Parks and Canyons that they have to offer.

A Little Piece of Paradise...

Delve into the paradise and sunshine that is Costa Rica. Look into the beauty and extordinary life of this amazing palce.

Page 23 Page 45 Prague

Take a look into this beutiful European City, and find out what fantastic things you can get up to here.

Hollywood

Go behind the scenes and see the productions and sets of your favourite TV shows and films. Discover the secrets of Hollywood.

Page 33


E

WELCOME from the editor

ver since I can remember I have been lucky enough to go on family holidays, and every time we would get back I would look forward to the next one. As my brother and I got older the places we travelled to became further a field and longer. And I could not be more grateful for the opportunities that I have been given. So since then I have become a person who itches to see the rest of the world. There is so much out there to see, so many different experiences and cultures, beauty all over the world and I can’t wait to go and discover it all. After my recent trip back from California, I found different parts of the State that I had never discovered before, not only did I go to the extraordinary National Parks but I also hopped across a few State lines to go to the other National Parks and Canyons within driving distance. In this issue we look at the trip you can take and what should be top of your list too visit whilst you are getting back to grips with nature. This first issue of ‘Explore’ will hopefully not disappoint, we hope to be able to give you help and advice when you are planning your gap

year, and if you’re not ready for a year long trip we have some great City breaks for you to have a look at. If you want to keep up to date with the staff’s travelling adventures follow us on twitter and facebook, where we will be updating daily our new trips.

Page 17 - Top Tips on getting a visa Page 19 - How to pack for a weekend break in the City Page 21 - Perfect summer destinations Page 25 - Perfect City breaks in Europe Page 29 - Englands hidden treasures

Page -31 - Go off to Hogwarts Page 33 - Gap year diary - Asia Page 35 - The best places to go on your Gap year Page 37 - How to plan your gap year Page 41 - A first time view of skiing Page 43 - Dublin in the Spring Page 47 - Exploring the Big Apple

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JAde Willingham

Publishing

Editoral Director: Jade Willingham Publisher: John Smith

Design: Future PLC 30 Monmouth Street, Bath, BA1 2BW UK Office: 40, Park Street, Exeter Devon EX1 3QD

The Editor in Zion National Park ,Utah.

Contents continued... Page 51 - The best restaurants in Venice Page 53 - Follow Marco Polo’s route Page 55 - Climbing in Yosemite National Park Page 57 - Road Trip around Florida Page 59 - Snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef


Nature on the West Coast

Ever fancied a trip around the West coast of America, discovering the canyons and National Park? I can tell you know that this is a perfect way to spend the summer. Flying into San Francisco airport, starting like I had been completely transported to another world, this world was stunningoff your journey to discovering the great outdoors. Spending a few days in the City ly beautiful. I have never been a very outdoorsy person; this is the place that before you enter into the great outdoors. changed that for me. I had fallen in love There are several options that you can with it. Nature just surrounds you; it is like do to allow you to travel round the West. You can hire a motor home, which allows a little piece of quiet paradise tucked into a world full of loudness and noise. The you transport and comfort, with a place comparisons were overwhelming. This to sleep, you can hire a car and stay in part of California is best known for it’s fanthe fantastic lodges and hotels that are tastic waterfall, there are within the parks, ‘Nature just surrounds many walk routes around or why not try your hand at you; it is like a little piece the park. If you are there are a few days you will camping. Each of of quiet paradise tucked not run out of things to do, these parks will have an available into a world full of loud- the average visitor to the park only sees half of the space to pitch ness and noise.’ park. However if you have up your tent for limited time in this amazing park I would a few nights. Everybody truly is catered highly recommend the ‘Valley Floor Tour’ for. Whether you want to be at one with nature, or enjoy your home comforts, you which allows you to go around in an open will get to see the beauty that these natu- air truck guided by a ranger, it enables you to see some of the famous sites of ral places have to offer. Yosemite National Park. First stop Yosemite National Park. As soon as I stepped foot out of the car it felt

Bryce Canyon is up next and is most famous for it’s horseshoes shapes carved into the eastern edge. There are many different things to do when you get to the Canyon, hiking is something I would recommend, even if you don’t want to go on a long hike I would suggest that you at least go on one. It enables you to look at the beauty of this magnificent natural wonder. The high altitude in some parts of the park may leave you light headed so always take water with you, especially in the hot seasons. The colours of this Canyon are so unbelievably vivid and bright, it doesn’t seem as though this colour rock is at all possible. It again shows the wonder of nature, and what it can do when it is left to make it’s own path. And I think it has made something completely wonderful. Lake Powell is such a tranquil place, and taking a boat trip along the Lake is such a peaceful experience, just slowly going between these towering surroundings was amazing. I would recommend at least one boat trip whilst you are there. If


you stay in the resort within Lake Powell, try and get a room that faces the Lake, I could not think of anything more beautiful than waking up with the sun shining through your bedroom window onto this beautiful scenery. Although this Lake was manmade in 1963, looking at it today you wouldn’t think so; you would think it had been here forever. If boat trips aren’t your thing why not go for a hike around this famous landmark. On a clear day you can see where we are off to next, Monument Valley. Monument Valley is an iconic landmark that has been shown in many images throughout the years. Starting at the visitors centre will give you a start point for the rest of your day. I would strongly recommend driving around the park, although the terrain is rough, and you have to drive incredibly slowly the pictures that you get and the sites that you will see will make everything worth it. If you don’t fancy driving yourself, why not get a self-guided tour around the park. The rangers will tell you all about the history and how Monument Valley came to be the place it is. Last stop The Grand Canyon! This place is truly magical, every corner you come around you get a different view of this magnificent Canyon. It reinforces the strength of nature, it was carved completely out of the Colorado River, spanning across 1,218,375 acres and is home to a large number of wildlife, and so the David Attenborough in you can shine through. Instead of just driving around the edge of the Canyon, why not experience it in another way? Canoe down the Colorado River, and view the height of the rocks from the Canyon floor. If this doesn’t seem like your cup of tea ranger trails are offered, where you can get tours around the Canyon, and see the wildlife and beautiful rock that towers before you. For the adrenaline junkies, there is the Grand Canyon skywalk where a glass ledge comes out over the Canyon; all you can see beneath you is the drop below you, definitely not for those who are afraid of heights. But what a fantastic view, it is indescribable, all I can say is you will be glad you did it. After a day of discovering the beauty that this national treasure holds stick around for the sunset, it will make everything you have just throughout the day ten times more beautiful. The light slowly bounces off rocks and ledges that come out over the Canyon. This definitely cannot be missed; it honestly will take your breath away. This glimpse at the beauty that the west

cost of America holds will make you want to stay and explore for longer, and I know I definitely wasn’t ready to go back to hustle and bustle of reality. Pictures Clockwise (Right to Left): Lake Powell, Monument Valley, Lake Powell, Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon.


Hollywood “Hollywood is a door, leading to a thousand doors.”

Hollywood is known for its connection with movies, television sets and film stars. In the 1920’s it had become famous for being the centre of the United States film industry. Over the years more television and film companies have set up home here, or in the surrounding areas. So for the film and TV buff in you, why not head over to Hollywood and experience the fantastic studio tours that they have to offer. The only major motion picture studios to still be situated in Hollywood, it is the longest running studios that have operated out of this area. Home to the Marx Brothers, Frasier and Dr Phil. Touring around this studio set you will get an insight into the workings of the Paramount lot. A knowledgeable tour guide will show you around this busy lot. Get behind the scenes of this international companies secrets, your small group will be led around the sets where you can delve into the lives of some of your favourite television films. The standard tour will take approximately two hours. If you didn’t get your fill of film sets, head over to the Warner Brothers Studios, which is now situated in Burbank California. This behind the scenes insight gives you a look into some of the company’s

best comedies. Along with new shows that they are set to be releasing. Carts will take you around the sets, accompanied by a tour guide. This working set tour will never show you the same thing, depending on what is filming and which sets are free for you to look around, the tour guide will tailor it to suit those who are on the tour. So if your favourite show is ‘The Big Bang Theory’ or ‘Hart of Dixie’ the tour guide will do their best to allow you to see aspects of your favourite shows. This tour has a surprise in store. The lots have a museum of some props from some of there most famous films and television shows, and for the Harry Potter fan in us all there is a whole floor of this museum with props and costumes from this British classic. Next stop Universal Studios! Unfortunately you can’t access this tour without purchasing tickets to the theme park, however this could be an awesome opportunity to have a fun day on roller coasters and enjoying everything that this Studio has to offer. This tour is set up with a queuing system and is then shown a cart that you will tour the studios in. This studio tour is slightly different to both the previous tours as it is a certain route that the carts take. It is more like a ride than a tour around

$10 off your first visit to Universal studios! Take this ticket along when you purchase your ticket or fill in code UNIVERSAL13 if you are purchasing your tickets online


a backlot. Don’t get me wrong you get to see fantastic props and movie sets just like the other studio tours, but this one is less tailored to specific carts, and is the same tour for everybody. If after all your movie set tours you rediscover you lover for films, then why not find the places around the City that some of your favourite films have shot on location. L.A Confidential (1997) was filmed at the famous ‘The Formosa Café’ in West Hollywood. This café has a long history of entertaining the stars of Hollywood. If you want to venture out of the City you can find the main playing field that was featured in Grease (1978), the famous ending and musical number ‘We go together’ was set at John Marshall High School, Silver Lake. This school has been the backdrop to many films including Pretty in Pink (1986) and the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992). So for the movie buff inside of you, Hollywood and it’s surrounding areas are a perfect location for your next trip, and if you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the City life and the hectic film industry then the beaches are never to far away.

Did you know ?? - Steven Spielberg pops up for a cameo in Vanilla Sky wearing a Pre-Crime baseball cap - For his scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Charlie Sheen stayed awake for 48 hours to give the desired ‘wasted’ look. - Shooting for No Country For Old Men was interrupted for a day due to a smoke cloud from the set of There Will Be Blood, which was also filming in the area. - Ronald Reagan was originally announced as the lead for Casablanca. The proclamation turned out to simply be a ruse to keep the actor’s name in the press.


A little piece of paradise...


‘Costa Rica certainly boasts thrills and chills for any traveller looking for a wide range of missions.’ By Aaron Hamilton

Some say when they think of such a place as Costa Rica they impenitently focus a certain image in their mind. That image is of a complete paradise; your mind tends to turn to the soft beautiful golden sands and warm crystal waters. To add to this the towering palm trees at the edge of the sands, look out into the horizon in a sort of protection of the jungle held deep within. While walking down the tranquil beaches and listening to the waves smashing gracefully in tune with the shore, with the occasionally thud of the coconuts impact been caught effortlessly by the sands below. This is certainly a place to get your thinking on, to escape the everyday modern twist and turns that society has created for us. Costa Rica certainly boasts thrills andchills for any traveller looking for a wide range of missions. With around 1.5 million visitors attracted every year to this oasis, it does seem to attract all kinds of travellers, from students to the elderly couples there is a host of activities from surfing to hiking to the more relaxed spotting local wildlife. As most tourist destinations get world wide appeal things do start after a certain period to get a tad bit crowed. It all depends on the traveller and what exactly the goal of the visit would be intended. There is the extreme getaway experience while also showing a more relaxed resort/ beach based escape. With the high influx of travellers every year, the eco-system as many appealing destinations takes a

back seat in terms of care. In regards to the suffering of the environment, there are now more and more measures being adapted to have a complete substantial environment which will last until the ends. In terms of certain times of the year that one would venture out would be around the Christmas breaks. During the 25th to the 1st of January in the city of San José, were all things Costa Rican is brought out, Las Fiestas de Zapote. This is a mad week of all the entertainment you can imagine from rodeos that would blow your socks off and cowboys showing and testing their skills for thousands. The carnival, the party atmosphere that would immense the beautiful town of San José, the smells of the freshly cooked food and the sounds of beats ringing in your ear drums many hours after the party is done, done for just a few hours.

Did you know?...

- At the same time throughout the year the sun rises and sets at the same time. Which means that the amount of daylight doesn’t differ much through the year. - You cannot flush toilet paper down the toilets due to small old copper pipes. - It is not common for people to blow their noses in public, it is considered impolite and embarrassing. - Locals aren���t usually upfront or direct, this is considered rude, all with the purpose of not hurting each others feelings. -When getting directions in Costa Rica it is common for landmarks and meters to be used. - The population of Costa Rica is 4,196,000 people. - Costa Rica means Rich Coast in Spanish. - The area is 19,652 square miles. - You can swim in Costa Rica’s waters all year round as the tempreture can be anything from 21 to 29° C.


Hogwarts

You have been accepted to of witchcraft and wizardry

15 months since the last film and 5 years since the final book was written and there is still the worldwide fan base of Harry Potter. Growing up with the fantastic series I have been brought in a world filled with magic and belief that you really can do anything if you have enough nerve. For me this series is a great part of my childhood I remember my mum reading it to me before I went to bed. I remember watching it at the cinema and realising that everything I was imagining in my head when I read these books was coming to life on screen and there was nothing more amazing than that. Until they opened the Harry Potter Studios that is. Walking through the Great Hall doors was like all my childhood dreams come through at once. I don’t believe anyone who said that they weren’t disappointed when they turned eleven and discovered that they hadn’t been accepted to Hogwarts. So that eleven old in you just got their dream. Not only is place amazing for the Harry Potter nerd is us all but it also

amazes me with the creativity and determination that clearly went into making these films as special and magical as they could be. These studios show you so much about the making of the films, the creating of the costumes and even how they created Dobby. They go into so much detail about how some of your favourite characters became who they are, and how they dressed them to fit their personalities. This tour has taken over two sound stages of the original Leavesden Studios, which is still currently a working set. Across this 200 acres site it is pretty hard to miss the giant sound stages, navigating you towards Hogwarts. If you are planning on making a special trip to the studios I would highly recommend booking beforehand just so you aren’t disappointed should you not be able to get tickets on the day. Don’t forget to bring your camera; you will not want to forget any of what you see. Each tour lasts about three hours; the

school


only time sensitive part is when you first arrive on the tour as you watch a brief film describing what the studios did to create Harry Potter. The rest of the tour you can go through at your own leisure. The artwork and craft that went into creating some of the smallest details make you realise how much they loved making it. They were so specialist with their props and room decorations you can see it in every part of this place. All the wellknown room are available to see from the Gryffindor common room, to Hagrid’s Hut. When you reach the end of the tour there is a surprise waiting, it will truly give you goose bumps. This is a truly magical place, and it’s true the magic really does come alive here. You leave feeling like you have just experienced a completely different world.

Did you know?

- J.K Rowling and Harry Potter share the same birthday - Over the course of all the movies 6 actors have played Voldemort - Voldemort means flight of death in French - The driver and the conductor of the Night Bus, Ernie and Stanley are named after J.K Rowling’s Grandfathers - ‘Avada Kevadra’ drives from the Aramic phrase ‘Abhadda Kedhabhra which means ‘to disappear like this world’ - If a muggle were to stumble across Hogwarts all they would see would be a ruined castle with a sign saying ‘keep out dangerius building!’


The Sunshine State

‘Key West beach, it’s the state’s own version of paradise.’


When you think of Florida, I’m sure like most people you think of theme parks, roller coasters, water parks, Disney and Universal Studios. But here I am here to tell you; you are missing a beautiful and amazing part of this state known as the Sunshine State. Florida’s beaches are absolutely beautiful. I would highly recommend Key West beach, it is the state’s own version of paradise. With the sugary sand falling between your toes and the tranquil waters, why wouldn’t you want to come to relax and recuperate? If you want more than to sit and bask in the Florida, (and I don’t know what would be more perfect) then snorkelling is on offer in the area, or a glass bottomed bottom so you can discover what is living around these coasts. What a perfect way to cool off from the heat then explore the Ocean. If water activities aren’t for you, and you much prefer sticking to dry land rent out a bike and discover the beautiful coast from the shore. Still getting fantastic views, navigate your way around the single bike track that runs adjacent to the Key West shipping channel, and through many perfect picnic spots. If you want to grab a couple of days away from the beaches, the next stop on your

Florida tour has to be the Everglades. The Everglades National Park protects 1.5 millions acres of park that has many rare and endangered species living within this area. Many people come from all over to visit this extraordinary landscape. 2,400 square of this park does not allow airboats in, however that should not put you off going on an airboat ride. They allow you to see so much more of the wilderness than you would if you ventured out on your own. Your tour guide will talk you through the nature and habitants that live in the famous Everglades. If outdoors adventures are what you are looking for there are plenty of hiking and canoe trails in this area that would be perfect to experience. Take a road trip along the Keys, which will supply you with days of activities. Take in all the beautiful scenery, chill out on the golden beaches, and wake up in the morning with the Ocean only being a few feet away. I can’t think of anything more perfect. If you’re lucky you will get there in time for turtles nesting season, you may be lucky enough to see the newly hatched turtles making their way to the Ocean for the first time. Who could think of a more wonderful thing to see on your holiday than a turtle taking it’s first steps into the

Ocean. So, Florida isn’t all about whizzing around at theme parks, eating burgers and waiting in lines for a rise for an hour. You can experience the tranquil, peace and quite of Florida with it’s beautiful nature, just waiting to be explored.


Prague

The City of Prague is situated in the heart of the Czech Republic, since the Middle Ages it has been known as one of the most beautiful Cities in the world. The 16th century Renaissance style surrounds you as you walk through the old town part of the City. Just walking around this ancient part of the town is an activity in itself, you will get distracted by the beautiful buildings, tiny alley ways and fantastic local shops that are on offer. It will transform you back hundreds of years and is just five minutes away from two other main squares situated in Prague. To fully experience everything this place has to offer I would highly recommend sitting down, getting a coffee, and people watching. Also situated in the Old Town part of this historic City is Prague’s famous astronomical clock. First installed in 1410, which makes it’s the third astronomical clock of its kind in the world. Representing the position of the Sun and Moon in the sky, accompanied by a clockwork hourly

WIN!

show of the figures of the Apostles. If you manage to get to the clock on the hour be sure to look out for figures around the clock that are set into motion. It is a prominent part of the Old Town charm, and it easy to find once you have a walk around this lovely park of the capital City. Getting around in Prague is simple, quick and easy. The main form of transport throughout the City is the tram, either pick up at ticket from the machines dotted around the City or get them from a local shop. Prague’s castle is the heart of the City. The gothic style buildings are the largest complex of building’s in the world, The oldest parts of the castle remains enfolds and you walk around this historic site. This is a great starting point for this walk able City. From the top of the hill you will receive amazing views of the City spread out before you. The old Jewish Cemetery is regular tourist spot in Prague, the direct origin of the graveyard is unknown, and however that

didn’t stop people for conspiring to the history of this magnificent site. According to Halakhah, Jews must not destroy Jewish gravestones, which resulted in many graves being placed on top of each other. When space ran out they just places more soil on top of already existing graves, which have then resorted into this cemetery being about twelve graves deep. For any of you John Lennon fans his memorial wall is a must. When you visit every day will be different, artists and fans come from all over the world to add their own ideas and memories to the wall. It is living art and it is truly a fantastic thing, people coming together to remember one man who believed in the power of peace. And don’t forget to take your pen with you to add your own piece of art.

a trip to this amazing City. What currency is used in Just answer this question....

Prague?

A - Euros B - Dollars C - Crown


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