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Parasol Store – 10 Travel Trivia Treats

So, unless you particularly like to dress up as a pumpkin and ask strangers for out of date sweets, it is fair to say that October is not the most eventful month in the northern hemisphere. Everyone is craving those long summer days that they seemed to have just days ago, and no one is quite ready for Christmas to take its hold just yet. As well, many of us have just returned from our travels, and do not have anything booked in for the coming months.

Parasol Store wanted to both help tame your boredom, as well as put you in the travel planning mood. We therefore thought that we would put together a number of travel trivia nuggets together. 10 to be accurate.

1.The average Briton has travelled to 10 countries. In contrast, only 29% of Americans have ever left the U.S.

2. The most visited country in the world is France, with a whopping 82 million people travelling there each year.

3. The worlds largest hotel is the First World in Pahang, Malaysia. It has a massive 7,351 rooms.

4. The word Hodophobia translates to mean the fear of travelling or road travelling. The word hodo is Greek for travel or road, and phobia is the Greek word for fear. Just make sure you do not spend too much time with someone who suffers this, because you may not leave the house very often.

5.  During the peak times of air traffic, which usually takes place between 2-4 pm on a Friday afternoon in July or August, there are over 16,000 planes in the air globally.

6. Jet lag feels worse when you travel eastwards, compared with travelling westwards. This is as it is more difficult to go to sleep earlier than you usually do, rather than later. Pretty much common sense really.

7. The largest human migration to occur annually in America is during Thanksgiving, with over 50 million people travelling home for the holiday. This is nothing compared to the largest annual migration globally, which occurs in the lead up to Chinese New Year. A massive 385 million people travel to loved ones. That is over 6 times the U.K. population…

8. You can probably guess which city is the most visited in the world right? Got to be London, or maybe Paris, or how about New York? Well it is actually Bangkok, which welcomes 20.2 million visitors a year. To be fair, you were not far off, as London does welcome 20 million annually itself.

9. The tallest mountain in the world is not actually Mount Everest. It is Mauna Kea, which is located in Hawaii. So you are probably thinking, that you would have heard about this right? Well Mauna Kea is located on the seafloor, and from base to peak is approximately twice the height of Everest at 32,000 feet tall.

10. If all this travel trivia is giving you wanderlust, then you might want to consider moving to Austria. Austrians are legally required to be guaranteed a minimum of 22 paid holidays and 13 paid bank holidays, so there is plenty of time to go plane hopping.

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Saucony – The Original American Running Shoe

Saucony (Pronounced Sock-Uh-Knee), was founded in 1898 in Kutztown, Pennsylvania.  The brand started by producing children’s shoes, but soon moved into Men’s and Women’s. Growth was fast, and 800 pairs of shoes were being produced daily in their own factory by 1910.

So why Saucony? The companies first factory was situated on the high banks of the Saucony creek, and just in case you happen to be interested, the word Saucony comes from the Native American word Saconk, which means where two rivers run together. Even the logo derives from its routes, with it representing the Saucony Creek’s constant flow and the boulders lining its bed.

It wasn’t until the 1970’s that Saucony had developed its esteemed reputation for quality running shoes. The running fraternity really gave the brand momentum at this point, and it has never looked back.

Believe it or not, the Saucony originals range that the company is now so famous for were originally made to be high performance running shoes. The 1980’s was a phenomenal era for the brad, with its best ever selling silhouette, the Jazz, conceived in 1981 and the ever popular Shadow in 1988.

Take a look at our recently dropped range of Saucony originals via the below link – 

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Parasol Places – Granville Island (Vancouver)

Our next chapter in our Parasol Places blog is going to focus on Canada.

Having recently visited Vancouver and The Canadian Rockies, we hope that we can provide you with a few golden nuggets of insider information.

Let’s start with Vancouver’s Granville Island, which is actually a peninsular… Once an Industrial Manufacturing area, it has been transformed into an eclectic hot spot for both entertainment and tourism. Set across the water from Vancouver’s Downtown centre, and underneath The Granville Street Bridge, it really is quite a setting.

So what is it all about? When the area was converted from it’s manufacturing past, the Vancouver authorities stipulated that in order to be a business on the island, you had to be independent, with no franchises such as Starbucks or McDonald’s allowed anywhere near. Your business also had to originate in Vancouver itself, as the whole rhetoric of the project was to promote the very best of the city’s own talent.

Personally, our three favourite aspects of the island are the Public Market, Granville Island Brewing Co and the Granville Island Silos. Let us tell you a little bit about them.

The public market is everything you could ever ask for in a public market. There is fruit, cakes, fresh meat, seafood and street food vendors in copious quantities. The choice, quality and variety is just perfect for any food lover or connoisseur. Even better, the prices aren’t scary at all.

The Granville Island Brewing Co has been making and selling on site made recipes since 1984, and even claims to be the first microbrewery in Canada. Using local ingredients wherever possible, the brewery is also completely carbon neutral, trying to recycle it’s glass bottles a minimum of 13 times before disposal. The Brewery hosts 5 tours a day, and these are definitely not to be missed.

Lastly, the Granville Island Silos? No, we don’t have a fetish for concrete, or manufacturing for that matter… These once ghastly structures have been transformed by Os Gemeos’, who are identical twins from Sao Paulo, Brazil. They have turned the silos into gigantic characters (The above image), with each painted in vibrant colours, and striking attire. They are something to behold, especially from the water taxis passing by to and from the island.

Well that is it for now, but another of Vancouver’s gems will be coming to you soon…..

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Parasol Places – Bacoa Burger, Barcelona

Bacoa Burger External View

The amazing weather that we are having this summer has got us thinking of a trip that we made to Barcelona a couple of years ago.

As much as we were in awe of The Sagrada Familla, the Cam Nou and Las Ramblas, the thing that we are craving most is a visit to Barcelona’s most famous Burger joint, Bacoa Burger.

Perfect subject matter for this week’s Parasol Places, let us tell you a bit about it.

A wonderful story which began with a single 15 seat outlet situated near Las Ramblas. In fact, founders Brad Ainsworth and Paula Lera never actually had intentions of Bacoa Burger at all. They initially opened an Australian/Thai fusion concept in the original Bacoa Burger (Bacoa Kiosk0), but had to change direction during the global financial crisis back in 2009. They had opened a second outlet of their original concept, and needing to sell on the original outlet, they found a lack of suitors in such tough times. Instead, they decided to create a simple barbecue concept, the simplest and cheapest way of making the outlet pay its way, and the now legendary Bacoa was born.

From the first few weeks, it was evident that the single burger on the menu (La Bacoa), was the firm favourite of the initial Bacoa clientele, and as a result, the original barbecue concept morphed again to become what it is today.

 Now with five locations in Barcelona, and one in Madrid, the business has gone from strength to strength.

What is so special about Bacoa? Every ingredient they use is homemade, everything can be customised and the venues and locations are just a pleasure to be in. Other than that, I guess you will have to make a trip and see for yourself.

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Parasol Places – The Whitsundays, Australia

With our Summer Sale launching this week, we thought it might be good to take a look at one of the worlds finest sailing locations. Shocking tie in we know, but you have to try don’t you.

The Whitsundays in Australia is one of those locations that you have to see to believe. Bright white beaches, clear blue water, and a never-ending supply of sunshine.

Situated 560 miles north of Brisbane, the 74 islands that make up the Whitsundays cover a total of 109 Square Miles. Given that the population is only around the 1500 mark, it is fair to say that the area is pretty much untouched.

Of all the postcard views, the most famous is the Hill Inlet. Situated at the northern end of Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island (The largest of the 74), this view point is truly world class. As the tide shifts in and out, it glimmers against the white sand underneath and creates a turquoise mirage as far as the eye can see. Have a look at the header image to see what we are talking about.

Another must see is the Heart Reef, which is unsurprisingly heart shaped. Having to be conquered by helicopter or seaplane due to it’s protected status, it is well worth making the extra effort.

So where does the sailing tie in come in? The most luxurious way of getting from island to island, remember there are 74 of them, is to sail between them. Fraser Island is a great place to start and end, as it boasts both luxury hotels and an airport allowing access to and from the main land.

Definitely bring your snorkels aboard, as the islands are home to some of the most beautiful reef life in the world.

The Whitsundays Style Guide –

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Parasol Places – Sugarloaf Mountain

Sugarloaf Mountain

When people think of the Football World Cup, many have visions of the Infamous Brazil strip, and the many famous icons to have donned it. Yellow shirt, Blue shorts, Pele, Rivaldo, Ronaldo and now Neymar. Well we thought we would go with an iconic location for this week’s edition of Parasol Places as well.

The Sugarloaf Mountain gained its name in the 16th Century.  During the heyday of the sugar cane trade in Brazil, the Portuguese transported blocks of sugar back to Europe in conical clay moulds which bared a resemblance to the shape of the mountain. The name was given and has stuck ever since.

The mountain only recently gained appropriate protection against development in 2006, but any future worry subsided when Sugarloaf Mountain became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2012.

So, what is the big deal? The mountain is famous for its breath-taking view of Rio De Janeiro and the surrounding areas and attracts over a million tourists annually. Standing at 396m high, it gives a 360-degree view of white beaches, vast forests, and mountainous terrain.

The ascent to the top is made in two stages and begins at Praia Vermelha (Red Beach). The first cable car makes the journey up to Urca Hill at 220m. At this stage there are fantastic aerial views of both Copacabana and Christ the Redeemer. From here, the second journey is made up to the ultimate view at the top, and the long trip there has been worth it!

Sugarloaf is definitely on our bucket list, and really it should be on yours too.

Rio De Janeiro Style Guide –

Here are our key choices for the ultimate Rio De Janeiro trip.

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Parasol Places – The Belmond Grand Hotel Europe

In line with our new website launch, Parasol Store would like to introduce Parasol Places.

Parasol Places will be a blog that brings you nuggets of knowledge on the most iconic and interesting hotels, restaurants, and landmarks across the globe. The obvious classics will definitely be making appearances, but also look out for lesser know gems from further afield.

Given that the Football World Cup got under way in Russia yesterday, it seems like the beautiful city of St. Petersburg is a good place to start our blog journey.

This week, we will be focusing on the iconic Belmond Grand Hotel Europe.

The hotel, one of the truly iconic buildings of St. Petersburg, has played a central role in the city’s landscape since it opened over 143 years ago. A technological pioneer, it was the first hotel in the city to boast electric light bulbs. Absolute luxury indeed.

The hotel has witnessed much change in it’s relatively short history, and has played many a role in it’s lifetime. It began as a cultural attraction in it’s own right. A hotel known for it’s ornate beauty, vast art collection and of course it’s many light bulbs. However, this all changed after the October Revolution with St. Petersburg, now Leningrad, changing drastically. The hotel was no more, and instead in it’s walls, were both a hospital and an orphanage. It’s initial grandeur and status somewhat fading into the abyss.

The Belmond Grand Hotel Europe did not rediscover it’s initial grandeur until the thawing of the Cold war in 1980. The hotel underwent a significant renovation, and to the amazement of the renovators, a priceless art collection was found in it’s basement. It is believed that this collection was purposefully hidden away by wealthy Russian aristocracy, so it could not be taken by the authorities. This art collection was the making of the re-birth of the hotel, with much of the art now hanging in the hotel’s suites and common areas.

The hotel was not officially re-opened until 1991, the same year that St. Petersburg re-embraced it’s initial name. This has led to the hotel being a great symbol of the post cold war era for the City.

I think you will agree with me that if you are ever in the beautiful city of St. Petersburg the hotel is most certainly worth a look. Even if England do not make it past the group stages…..

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Native Union – Tech Accessories Reimagined

Created with the intention of designing and creating well-made tech accessories that solve every day problems, Native Union has made a big impression to the tech accessories market in a relatively short period of time.

As is the case with many start-ups, the company’s founders, Igor Duc and John Brunner, were uninspired by what was previously available to accompany high end tech devices, as well as growing tired of seeing cheap plastics dominate the designs on offer.

This has resulted in Native Union being based on three core principles. Firstly, all the products in their portfolio must improve the everyday experience of the user, and therefore must be functional in their design. Secondly, the products must look good aesthetically, which we feel that they have most definitely conquered. Lastly, all accessories in their offering must be built to last, and they back this statement up with all ultra-strength cables coming with a Limited Lifetime Warranty.

Check out Native Union’s range of long and short Belt Cables, Key Cables, Phone Cases, and Night Cables at Parasol Store, we promise you that you will not be disappointed…

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Anderson’s – A stubborn dedication to quality and tradition

Anderson's Belts - Parasol Store

Hailing from Parma in Northern Italy, Anderson’s Belts has been built around the tradition of quality leather goods that the region is so famous for. This tradition, coupled with great passion for craftmanship and an enviable level of subtle skill, has resulted in one of the finest belt makers around.

Where others have opted for cheaper and easier methods, Anderson’s has shown a stubborn dedication to persist with the traditional techniques it has employed for the last 50 years. The proof in the pudding is that Anderson’s has been making belts in Parma, and only Parma since it’s conception. Not bad dedication to quality craftmanship if you ask us.

However, where Anderson’s is even more special, is that it has fused these traditional values, with an eye for innovative design and functionality. The brand’s multicolour hand-woven belts have become their trademark over recent years, with many manufacturers copying the standout designs. All of the imitations do not even come close in our eyes, with the leather and steel detailing Anderson’s use being just as high quality as the elasticated woven tubes themselves.

Whether it is a traditional leather belt, or a standout contemporary number, Anderson’s have created a belt for everyone. Take a look at Anderson’s belts, in stock at Parasol Store.

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Hestra Gloves – Perfect For Winter

Hestra gloves - Blogpost - Parasol Store

The town of Hestra in southern Sweden is known for its lakes, forests, and small ski area. It is also known for a glove maker of distinction.

Founded in 1936, Hestra know a thing or two about glove making.  The company was initially named after its’ founder as Martin Magnusson & Co, but as the quality of the gloves spread, customers referred to them as the gloves from Hestra and the name stuck.

Keeping with its roots, the Magnusson family still owns the business, with Hestra now in the capable hands of the third and fourth generation of the family.

Even though the company has come a long way in the last 80 years (manufacturing over two million pairs of gloves in 2015,) not much has changed within the company DNA.

The company is still based in Hestra, and all leather, wool and other fabric is sourced by the company themselves. The reason for this is simple, as that way they have a guaranteed supply chain, and the materials used are always of the quality that is required.

Given that they now offer gloves in over 400 styles and in 30 colours options, we would say that they are on to something good.

Take a look at Parasol Store’s range of Hestra gloves here.