Winter Wonders—Planning Your Best Holiday Yet!
With the mad dash of the holiday festivities just around the corner, it’s much too easy to get run-down and bedraggled before the fun begins. Grand meals to prepare, houses to tidy and gifts to purchase—it’s no wonder you’ve run out of steam! But wait. There’s no reason for you to fret, for there is a very simple solution. Consider yourself stress-free, heading towards a vacation you deserve, while your Neopets enjoy their best holiday season yet! There’s a catch. Your favourite vacation spot will be packed with holiday-bound tourists in no time, and you need to act immediately. Now is the time to plan your winter holiday, but endless brochures and misleading pamphlets are a thing of the past. This hassle-free, quick and easy guide will have you sailing to your holiday destination before you can say ‘Happy Holidays’!
For you beach-loving bums, Mystery Island may be the most obvious choice, but who needs an over-crowded island when you can visit splendid Kiko Lake? Just fifteen miles northeast of Neopia Central, Kiko Lake is home to a number of Kikos and other Neopets, with pleasant, sunny weather year-round and a body of water so pristine that its only rival is the brilliant sky overhead. Beneath its crystal-clear surface, an entirely new world awaits—masses of coral artistically sculpted into homes, shops, and even life-like monuments of legendary heroes. Glass-bottomed boat tours are available for those who would rather enjoy the warmth of the sun and this idle boat ride shows the picturesque scenery and landmarks below, narrated by a knowledgeable and friendly tour guide. On moonlit nights, gliding along the serene lake offers an experience like no other, as tourists behold the stars twinkling above, and swaying coral below.
Floating Acara, Peophin, Flotsam and Kiko pedalos are available for eager young Neopians to splash around on warmer afternoons. But why settle for standard tourist attractions when you can find a few of your own? If you fancy a swim in the cool water or even a dive into the city below but have the trivial problem of not being able to breathe underwater, just bring your own scuba gear and take a plunge! The locals are always friendly and will gladly offer to show you around their neighbourhood—you might even get a chance to view the delicate seaweed gardens, some of which have won the prestigious annual competition for Prettiest Garden in Kiko Lake, presented by the Mayor himself. For the more adventurous, Tubular Kiko Racing is a fast-paced sport to try, though the mischievous locals may play a prank or two on you. Watch out for that whirlpool!
On land, the high street offers mouth-watering candy at Kiko Lake Treats (think: stocking stuffers!) and exotic coral furniture at Kiko Lake Carpentry. Don’t leave without sampling at least one of every kind of candy at Kiko Lake Treats, from their scrumptious Buttery Pecan Kiko Fudge to their fruity Raspberry Kiko Swirls. If you want an interesting new experience, why not go behind the scenes and see how it’s all made? The Kiko shopkeeper sometimes grants a few lucky Neopets the chance to visit the kitchens where each bag of Kiko Treats is assembled and every Tigersquash Rock Stick is swirled and crushed together. Your Neopets will be dying to make their very own Kiko Lake Cookie, and you might even decide to leave them there a little longer so you can sneak away to Kiko Lake Carpentry and consider purchasing that pink Oyster Shell Chair that you’ve been dying to own. World-renown Chef and author of “Kiko Food”, Monsieur Le Croque prepares delectable dishes that all are sure to enjoy. Indulge in a round of Kiko Fudge Sundaes (a generous helping of rich chocolate ice cream and fresh bananas, topped off with a dollop of whipped cream & maraschino cherries) in the late afternoon; it will satisfy your pets’ taste buds. Go on, get yourself a treat. After all, you deserve it.
The best thing about Kiko Lake? Its estimated population is 9400 Neopians in total—that leaves plenty of space for you and your Neopets to head out to this fabulous holiday destination and have the time of your lives. Before long, you’ll be sitting by the lake on a comfy lounge chair reading a heart-warming tale of a snow-bound Meerca, all the while sipping a delicious, chilled glass of Foozette juice.
For a mere 30 neopoint fee, you can take a jolly ferry ride from Neopia Central to wonderful Roo Island. With warm weather all year-round and light-showers daily, the sprawling meadows are home to Neopia’s beloved Blumaroo. With three main towns, Roo City is located at the heart of the island, where the royal palace is situated. Any Dice-a-Roo fan must pay a visit to the Tournament Hall, where thousands of Neopians meet every year to play and attempt to win one of King Roo’s spectacular prizes. Although the tournament isn’t held over the winter, a trip to the Tournament Hall is definitely in order to sharpen up your Dice-a-Roo skills, whether you are a novice or an expert.
A night-time stroll in Roo City may also provide some entertaining possibilities—at the witching hour, a number of local citizens claim that a mysterious Count Von-Roo lurks about, challenging Neopians to a game of Deadly Dice. If you’re feeling rather lucky, it may be worth taking him up on his offer... although be warned, you never know what prizes he has in store for you.
Worried about getting lost on the island? The fun-loving native Blumaroos are always happy to point you in the right direction, and you will always see a pack of them hopping about merrily, either playing a game of Yooyuball in the hills or chatting with one another. Some tourists prefer an entirely different mode of transportation to the standard trade caravans or by foot, and the Spring Shop in northern Blumaria sells various pogo sticks and trampolines that may help you bounce as high as any Blumaroo you know. (Results are not guaranteed and may vary amongst individuals.)
Feeling rather peckish? Grandma Roo’s Café can be found north of Roo Island in the village of Blumaria, and offers a range of delicacies that are perfect for a balmy afternoon—scones and tea. Grandma Roo has been running her café for over thirty years, and her homemade pancakes are so delectable that King Roo is rumored to order his every morning, made just as he loves them—crown-shaped chocolate chip pancakes drizzled in thick vanilla and chocolate sauce, with a generous dollop of caramel on top. Sounds tempting? Well, if you pay her a visit, you’ll be able to order your very own custom-made pancakes—just let her know what toppings you prefer. If you linger long enough, you might even get to have a chat with Grandma Roo and find out what makes her pancakes (and scones!) so unbelievably delicious. But don’t wait around for an answer—all she’s revealed so far is that her secret ingredient is none other than... love.
While you’re at it, each of the smaller cities in Roo Island are all worth a visit, and by trade caravans (or Pogo stick), you should definitely seek out the smaller villages on the outskirts of the cities. Although this holiday hot-spot is much larger than Kiko Lake and also has a population of approximately 275,000 Neopians (95 % of which are Blumaroo), your pets can enjoy a fun-filled vacation while you can relax with a strong cup of tea and a stack of syrupy pancakes at Grandma Roo’s. But don’t wait too long! With Roo Island’s increasing popularity since its success in the Altador Cup, tourism on the island has sky-rocketed in the past month. Don’t hesitate to hop on that ferry boat (only available twice daily) and enjoy the sights and sounds along the way... you’ll be there before you know it.
A classic favourite, you’ll want to get first dibs before all the tourists flock in! When you first arrive at Happy Valley, you’ll want to make a quick stop to the Slushie Shop, where a plethora of awe-inspiring slushies await you. Slushies in the winter?! We suggest that you try a Chocolate Chip Slushie or a truly decadent Crème Brulee Slushie while curled up in front of a roaring fire. Steer clear of anything that exudes pungent fumes and wriggling worms! If the chilly air and icy slushie combination is too much for you, a cup of Hot Borovan and some Christmas cookies are in order.
Venture along down the snowy streets and take a peek at the fancy new winter suits in Merry Outfits—you may be inspired to add a little cheer to your outfit for Christmas Eve. If you’d prefer a cuddly creature instead, stop at the Wintery Petpet Store (always packed with visitors) and see if there’s one that your pet might like to have. The Usul shopkeeper is always happy to help you find the perfect petpet. Meanwhile, doing an errand or two for Taelia, the Snow Faerie, will put you in her good books. She’ll be inclined to invite you over for a slice of her famous Borovan Pavlova and a delicious bowl of sweet Vanilla Flavoured Borovan.
If you’re raring to stretch your legs, you and your pets should take a spin on the ice—after all, the Annual Happy Valley Skating Competition is officially in session! Admissions are free, so the skating rink is usually packed, but if you can wiggle into an empty spot on the rink, you’ll have fun twirling figure eights around all those other Neopians. Not much of an ice skater? Sit this one out with your steaming mug of Hot Borovan and watch amateurs slip & slide while the professionals claim their prize. Don’t forget that a rousing snowball fight is just as fun for those a little more clumsy on the ice, and you can either join in with the fun or sit out and enjoy another slushie while your pets bury each other in piles of snow. Last but certainly not least, get an early start to the Advent Calendar daily before the throngs of visitors line up round the block! You don’t want to be stuck waiting all day.
From the imaginative to the mundane, a visit to Happy Valley is sure to produce numerous happy memories. After all, it isn’t a winter wonderland without the ‘happy’ in Happy Valley. Just don’t forget to put on your favourite pair of boots and gloves, and you’ll have a holiday to remember!
Whichever delightful place you choose to visit, remember to select a destination where both you and your pets will have a relaxing, memorable holiday. Now, what are you waiting for? Book your holiday, pack your suitcases and get ready to frolic to your best winter holiday yet!
Author's Note: Thanks for reading my article! Comments & feedback are always appreciated. =)