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The Norwegian Mjolfjell Youth Hostel isn’t just for youths

July 31st, 2015

The Mjolfjell Youth Hostel (don’t even begin to ask me how to pronounce that) is a place for people of all ages to experience the absolutely stunning scenery and fresh air of the Norwegian mountains.

Staying here is almost like camping without sleeping in a tent because the indoor accommodations are simple and comfortable while the main attractions can be found in the great outdoors. The moors and forests of this mountainous area are bisected by cold, rushing streams and make for beautiful hiking and horseback riding. Canoes and mountain bikes can also be rented to float on a nearby lake or zoom around on trails, and it’s an excellent place for cross country skiing during the winter.

The more adventurous visitors who want to challenge themselves or do their very own Norwegian dreamquest can also sign up for a wilderness survival course. Participants learn how to use a map and compass, how to survive in the wilds of Norway, and pass the night in a snow cave! I hope this last part is the graduation from the course because if not, the next step can only involve the building a Viking era boat or hand to hand combat with a bear.

For the less adventurous, (or for those who need to bring their core temperature back up to normal levels after the snow cave ordeal), there is also a heated swimming pool at the hostel. Although the pool is only open during the short summer, they make up for that with an outdoor Jacuzzi open and available to guests at all times of the year.

Green travelers will also be pleased to know that the Mjolfjell Youth Hostel gets all of its energy from its own hydro plant that runs with water from a nearby stream. Food is fresh, delicious, and includes such healthy local staples as trout and salmon.

Stay green when visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park by lodging at the Volcano Guest House

July 28th, 2015

The Hawaiian Islands are one of those places that tend to generate visions of something along the lines of a tropical paradise. Typical day dreams of Hawaii include beautiful beaches lined with coconut palms where surfers ride massive, tubular waves on a blue ocean under a hot sun, waterfalls that rush through luxuriant jungle vegetation, and soothing Hawaiian music with the whispering sea as a backdrop.

Hawaii does showcase such appealing images but eco-travelers planning a visit to the islands should also be aware of the incredibly fragile and endangered nature of Hawaiian ecosystems. As is common with island flora and fauna that are left to evolve into strange and amazing forms all on their own, the plants and animals of Hawaii are easily outcompeted by introduced species. To help native Hawaiian species as much as possible, it’s especially important to go green when visiting Hawaii.

One of the greener choices for accommodation near the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is at the Volcano Guest House. A cozy little hotel where the owners live on the premise, this bed and breakfast-like place was partly constructed with recycled wood and has a number of green features.

Guests will be happy to know that the sun is heating their hot water showers and was used to dry their bedding, rain water is captured by the hotel buildings and then made drinkable through filtration and treatment with UV rays, and recycling is a basic component of the business.

The owners enjoy educating guests and visitors about the sustainable practices at their hotel for the present as well as the future. One of these projects involves gardens with native plants to investigate restoration of surrounding rain forests.

Its location is also perfect for experiencing the unique habitats of Hawaii in being found just outside of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The high elevation forests of this park can be visited to see a number of endangered bird and plant species, some of which can also be found in the six acres of native habitat that grows on the grounds of the hotel. There are many economical Hawaii flights available and carbon offsets can be purchased.

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