Thursday, October 05, 2006

Goharik

Saturday, September 23, 2006

np

Thursday, March 30, 2006

New York City - Without Breaking Your Budget

New York City

It’s the Big Apple, baby, and all roads eventually lead – or cross – in its streets. But you won’t be doing your sightseeing there, because it’s too expensive…right? If you’re resourceful, there are many free and/or inexpensive tourist destinations in New York City. Below are but a few – including well-known sites, food, and New York’s art scene.

THE SITES

- Central Park – Stretch your legs and see the world’s most famous park without spending a dime. Enjoy just walking around the 800 + acres, or visit one of the park’s many famous sites for reasonable prices, including the Central Park Zoo, take your kids to one of the 21 playgrounds, or enjoy one of their many tours.

- Ground Zero – Many New York visitors want to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the terrible events of September 11, 2001. Today, you can take a guided tour of the site for around $20, or visit it on your own for less. While you’re there, you might want to visit St. Paul’s Chapel on Broadway and Fulton Streets near the area. An impromptu memorial has grown there, with messages from visitors in many languages.

- Many birds, one stone – A variety of tours exist for a variety of budgets, ranging from the all-day $75 tour including Ellis Island, the United Nations, and many others, to a few hours’ $35 tour including visits to famous New York neighborhoods and museums. For a mere $20, you can take a Harbor Cruise to the Statue of Liberty.

THE FOOD

- Ethnic Delights – While you’re in New York, don’t pass up the opportunity to sample the flavors in the world’s biggest melting pot. Whether you stop for a slice of pizza in Little Italy, or grab some Dim Sum in Chinatown, New York’s diverse residents have brought their recipes with them from their home countries and they are ready to share them with you. A unique dining experience in New York can be had for under $10.

- Union Square Greenmarket – At Union Square, vendors sell fresh produce, homemade breads, homemade drinks, and even homemade cheese – and they are willing to share. They often offer free samples. The Greenmarket is a project by the Council on the Environment of NYC, and they’ve managed the open-air farmers’ markets in New York since 1976.

THE ARTS

- Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway – So you want to see one of New York’s famous Broadway shows, but you don’t want to break your budget? Consider one of the Off-Broadway or even Off-Off-Broadway theatres, where you will pay only 25% - 50% of what you would pay to see it on Broadway. There are numerous sites advertising discounted Broadway and Off-Broadway tickets; if you plan in advance, you can easily budget a show into your trip.

- Museums – There’s MOMA, the Met, the Guggenheim, the Whitney, the Natural History Museum, and many other world-famous New York City museums. Visiting all of them would cost a fortune, right? Not necessarily. There are several options for the cash-poor here. First, you could arrange to take a tour – for around $50, you can visit most of New York’s most famous museums. But there are plenty of free museums, too – including the American Folk Art Museum, urban art particular to New York at the Urban Center Gallery, and the National Museum of the American Indian, which has the largest collection in the world devoted solely to Native American culture and history. But if you don’t feel a visit to New York is complete without a tour of some of the famous museums mentioned above, then go see them on a “pay what you wish” night – MOMA’s, the Whitney, and the Guggenheim are all “pay what you wish” Friday evenings, and although not everyone is aware of it, the Met and the Brookly!

n Museum of Art has a suggested admission, but is “pay what you wish” everyday!

Remember, you can find a vacation that matches your budget as long as you’re willing to be flexible and creative – even in New York. There are many online resources you can use to plan an exciting but realistic vacation to the Big Apple. Have fun, and good luck!

Rachel Medlock
www.MyVacationInfo.com.

Choosing The Right Bahamas Vacation Package For Your Family

The Bahamas are a group of islands located west of Florida. It is for most people a perfect place, especially for newlyweds on their honeymoon, for those who just want to have a relaxing vacation, and for a fun filled and exciting family vacation. The Bahamas are famous for its beautiful beaches and exhilarating activities that suit diverse types of experience. People who often visit the Bahamas have their own favorite places that they visit again and again.

They feel like the Bahamas is their home away from home. With seven hundred islands and cays, countless activities, and millions of web pages referring to The Bahamas, it can be confusing to plan a vacation, especially for the first time visitor because there are so many places to see and so many activities to do and experience.

For a family vacation in The Bahamas, the first step is to plan ahead the places that you want to visit and the activities that you will do as a family. To ensure that your family really enjoys your planned family vacation it would be best to ask them what type of vacation they want to experience.

The Bahamas is a place that is full of exciting activities and fun things to do for people of all ages; it offers a wide range of vacation experiences. Here are some activities that you can experience in the Bahamas: boating, casinos and gambling, cruises, diving resources, golf courses, night life and entertainment, sailing and boat charters, best buy shopping and water sports.

For a fun-filled family vacation experience there’s dolphin encounters where your family can experience swimming with wild dolphins. These are guaranteed to give you endless joy. Then there’s Abaco National Park, Family Island Regatta, Harbour Island, Sport Fishing, Swimming with Sharks and so much more.

Once you have decided on what you and your family are interested in, you might want to make sure which island best offers those activities. There are island guides that contain most of the information regarding the islands; also individual maps are available to show the whereabouts of the major activities and attractions of each island in the Bahamas.

Second is choosing your family vacation accommodations to suit your family and the type of vacation they have decided on. The Bahamas offer a wide variety of accommodations to choose from; from the most exquisite villas to economy hotel rooms, major islands like Atlantis Paradise Island, Wyndham Nassau Resort, Four Seasons, and Nassau also known as New Providence Island, offer large family resorts. In case your family wants a more private vacation experience, consider a vacation rental home which is offered on almost every island.

The last thing you need in order to have that perfect family vacation is to find a great deal on airfare to the Bahamas Island of your choice. The best way for you to have flexible flight arrangements for the lowest airfare, is to make reservations directly with the airlines. Now you’re ready, the family is ready, may you have a happy and unforgettable vacation experience in the Bahamas.

Jeff Linaker
http://www.enbahamasvacation.com

Travel to Croatia: A Beginner's Guide

Croatia has quickly become Europe's hottest destination, and for good reason. The rocky coastline continues for 1778 kilometres and includes pine-fringed coves, wide sandy beaches and cozy inlets. As if that weren't enough, there are a good 1185 islands that range from lush and wooded to stark and hilly. Yachties love the sailing opportunities, sunbathers have an incredible choice of beaches and scuba divers have a paradise of sea life to explore.

Beyond the pretty scenery, Croatia also boasts a fascinating history and cultural life.The walled city of Dubrovnik on its southern tip is a must-stop for Mediterranean cruises but the long coast is littered with remnants of Croatia's varied past.

The Romans swept through two thousand years ago, leaving an amphitheatre in Pula and Diocletian's Palace in Split. Long ruled by Venice, many ports along the coast bear the distinctive imprint of its former master. In southern Dalmatia, the towns of Hvar and Korcula resemble Little Venices without the canals. In Istria, the striking bell tower in Rovinj is modeled after that on St Mark's Square in Venice.

In contrast to the Italian-influenced coast, the Croatian interior was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire and looks it. Zagreb, Croatia's capital, has the kind of stately architecture that wouldn't be out of place in Vienna or Budapest. Plus,it has a small medieval quarter that vaguely resembles Prague.To the north of Zagreb, in the middle of green, rolling hills, lies Varazdin, Croatia's most underrated city. Lying too far from the coast to attract much tourism, Varazdin nevertheless boasts a stunningly well-preserved baroque center.

So, what to see first? Following is my personal list of highlights for a Croatian visit:

Dubrovnik

Byron called it the "Pearl of the Adriatic" for the magnificent curtain of walls surrounding a city paved in marble and strewn with Renaissance sculpture.

Hvar Town
In addition to the splendid harbor promenade and sculptured facades, it's becoming known for the best nightlife on the Adriatic.

Korcula Town
It resembles Hvar in some ways, especially the narrow cluster of streets,but iit lies on a narrow peninsula and is quieter.

Rovinj
Istria's prettiest little town, it retains the flavor of a traditional fishing port despite the heavy influx of tourists in recent years.

Plitvice Lakes National Park
It has to be seen to be believed. The 16 turquose lakes seem to glow and there are waterfalls everywhere. It's a UNESCO world heritage site.

Brela Beach
The idyllic coves, bordered with pine trees, stretch out like a long necklace of beaches. Forbes magazine recently named it one of the top twenty beaches in the world.

No matter where you go in Croatia, you'll find people eager to welcome tourists after the grueling war of the early 1990s. English is widely spoken and costs are comparatively reasonable compared to the rest of the European coast. So what are you waiting for?

Jeanne Oliver
http://www.croatiatraveller.com.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Top Tips For Saving Money On Car Rental Rates

Rental cars are leased to users who don't have access to their own automobiles, such as when travelling. They can be hired from rental car centres. Car hire in Britain & USA has become a highly competitive market with the arrival of online booking and bargain air tickets offering a car hire package deal. As a result prices are very keen. The big rental companies are having to look at their online strategies as a result. Another growth area is the decision many people have made to give up their private car and opt for renting when they need one. This has given rise to home deliveries and one way car hire in Britain, proving to be a very popular sector.

Top Tips For Saving Money On Car Rental Rates

· Compare car rental rates on the internet and find a bargain

· Comparison shop on any 'extras' such as damage waiver

· Check the companies mileage policy to avoid additional charges.

· Make your reservation as soon as you know what you want. A lot of car rental companies increase their reservation rates as fleets become booked.

· The best rates are found off season ( more cars available = more supply = lower prices ).

· Ask if there are any special upgrades available.

Renting a car should be relatively easy. Check the customer service record of the company you are booking with. Ask people who have used them what their experience was like.

Jack Grocott
http://www.car-rental-information-zone.com

How To Find Cheap Airfare Within Europe

Cheap Airfare

It is often tiresome to search for cheap airfare between European cities and has been near hopeless for a number of years. Travelers were told that Europeans didn't bother offering cheap airfare. Instead of by air, they traveled at a low cost within Europe using the railway system or rented cars to get around if required.

However, now there are situations where cheap airfares within Europe are in fact the only option, peculiarly when time is of the essence. Some travelers cannot afford to pay not-so-cheap prices to get from Point A to Point B using airfare within Europe, but they often require to get there faster than say, by car.

The primary point to consider when researching cheap airfares within Europe is to look and see if you can arrive and depart from cities different than your originals. Why? Because a different terminal may be cheaper to fly from, or to, when planning airfare within Europe. Restructuring a trip to admit for a little more travel isn't terribly bad, especially IF there are giant savings, yes?
The problem with really cheap airfares within Europe is that there can be strings attached. Perhaps your return trip will be almost twice the cost of the one that got you there in the first place. Or the dates you can choose to travel may be very restrictive. And don't forget that the tax on some of these cheap airfares within Europe is as a rule more than the flight itself.

Also, be sure to bear in mind that shopping for cheap European airfares isn't the same as in North America. There aren't many connecting flights in Europe and the majority of cheap airfares are straight, city to city runs.

Places to Look for Cheap Airfares within Europe

It may be important to note that we are not supporting any of the following airlines. It's a reasonable starting point for cheap European airfare, however. Here are some of the movers and shakers in the cheap European airfare game so you can get started with your cheap airfare within Europe research.

Basiq Air - Has a home base in Holland and flies to 20 cities, give or take. Flights from Amsterdam run anywhere between 30-60 EUR ($37-74 USD).

BMI Baby Airlines - Offers routes across Europe.

Simple Jet - A very large amount of routes across Europe. However, there is an extra burden if you book with a credit card, and there are no refunds, unless there are extenuating circumstances (i.e. death of a family member).

Germania Express - Discount flights between Spain, Italy, Germany and Greece.
Sky Europe - Apparently the cardinal deduct airline in middle Europe.

Snowflake - Caters for the Mediterranean from Europe.

Continent Express - Taxes and fees at this locale are incomparably higher than the authentic fares.

Volare Airlines - An Italian based airline.

Wizz Air - A new airline, but quite prolific with it's customers. Travels between Warsaw and Athens.

Finding cheap airfares within Europe doesn't have to be an uphill battle. As long as you're armed with the correct facts and appropriate resources, you're on your way to finding that cheap airfare!

Zahid Saddique
http://www.GetCheapAirfares.info

Things To Do While Visiting Dublin

With a population of almost half a million, Dublin is the capital and largest city on the island of Ireland. It was originated in 488AD as a shipping port while going through the Irish Sea and has progressively grown into a modern day city throughout the years.

Today Dublin is a mixture of the old and the new Metro and they merge nicely from the downtown area out into the suburbs.

Dublin has a sizable number of immigrants, coming from Great Britain, the US, Australia, New Zealand, and continental Europe. More recently, Nigerian, Indian, and Eastern European populations have also migrated into the city, largely attracted by Ireland's economic success since the mid-1990's. Old and once run-down streets have rapidly become busy 'ethnic districts', such as Moore Street's transformation into 'Little Africa' and Parnell Street East into the city's de-facto 'Chinatown' and 'Asian Village'. These villages are a great way for tourists to spend the afternoon, casually walking the cobblestone streets, shopping and having lunch!


There is plenty to do in Dublin if you are on vacation or sightseeing.

- The National Print Museum of Ireland
- The Irish Museum of Modern Art
- The National Gallery of Ireland
- The Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery
- The Chester Beatty Library
- And three centers of the National Museum of Ireland are all located in Dublin.

These cultural museums would make an informative and beautiful tour around the city of Dublin. And Dublin has an excellent bus system that will carry you around the town with very little effort or expense. Or if you prefer a more energetic afternoon, renting a bicycle and touring on a bike is a popular way to see the city “up close and personal.”

The river Liffey separates Dublin, the North from the South, with typically the working class on the North and the middle and upper class on the South. In more recent years the city has also been divided socio-economically between East and Westside too. But not to worry! There are plenty of restaurants and nightlife anywhere you want to go, from the friendly outdoor pubs to the Temple Bar, which is "The Place" for nightlife and often people from Britain and beyond visit for the weekend.

Whatever you prefer, you are sure to find in Dublin. And don’t forget to catch a football or a rugby game at Croke Park, which seats 82,300 fans! There are other sports arenas scattered around the city for soccer, horse and greyhound racing, baseball, and other athletic events which are held at Morton Stadium in Santry.

So, from fine dining to eating in your hotel and the wonderful restaurants, to cultural exhibits around town, and seasonal sports events across the country to ending a wonderful day with a night of dancing or walking along the beach, there is sure to be something for everyone to enjoy while in Dublin.

And don't forget the week-long celebrations for St Patrick's Day, which culminate in the great parade on 17 March.

Niall Cinneide
http://www.St-Patricks.info

Flying High

Traveling can be a wondrous experience that has the capacity to broaden one’s perspective about life through numerous new experiences and discoveries along the course of a journey. It can also be very taxing and costly which is why there are quite a number of people who just dream continuously about dream vacation they will never take.

A lonely planet

While the earth is essentially a lonely planet in it’s galaxy being the single planet that hosts the most diverse life forms and unique biodiversity, one need not be lonely in this lonely planet. Go out and explore the only world you’ve got, making the most out of life by seeing the bigger picture through extensive travels.

The book called Lonely Planet has a version for each country in the world that will help you, the adventurous traveler, a new world to explore at every turn-- inexpensively.

A lonely bank account

Although the lure of adventure and discovery is strong, the pull of the reality that you may not be able to afford destinations despite the help of travel guides such as the lonely planet tends to rain on one’s parade. One of the biggest spends in traveling is actually the price of an airline ticket. Not to mention that purchasing one may prove to be a hassle if you have to buy one on your own and not go through a travel agent to be able to cut costs.

Fortunately, this need not be the case. With a little prudence and some flexibility, you can finally reach that dreamed of destination without having to take out a second mortgage on your loan.

Be Alert

So you’ve researched extensively on your destination and found the proper accommodations and have all the off-beat trips written down. While doing that, you should’ve kept your eyes and ears peeled for airline ticket promotions and chances are, you have found them. There are usually limited-time promotions from airlines and they advertise these in the papers and send email blasts.

The wisdom of the bamboo

Learn to be as flexible as the bamboo and get that airline ticket dirt cheap because of it. Find out what are usually the cheapest days to fly and book your tickets then. Also consider taking late night or very early morning flights with at least one stop and you can be sure that these will be discounted.

Check the package

Sometimes airlines will have travel packages that include accommodations and transportation bundled into the air line ticket price and these allows you to be able to save up on other expenses so be sure to ask your air line for these promotions.

The early bird

In this case, the early bird will not catch the worm but will land a discounted air line ticket by booking early. There are advance ticket discounts available if you reserve twenty-one days in advance.

Fly!

So you have everything in tow and have landed the best deals for your travel destination which includes a great bargain on your airline ticket. Don’t forget to make a checklist so as not to forget anything and avoid inconveniences. Remember that all you need to bring are the essentials: passport; airline tickets; traveler’s checks; a sense of fun and adventure. And if things don’t go as smoothly as planned during your trip, remember that it’s the journey, more than the destination that counts.

Robert Thatcher
http://www.aboutairlinetickets.info.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Favourite British Scenic Drives: St Just To St Ives

The barbed Atlantic winds screamed at me relentlessly, penetrating the bones and drowning the songs of seabirds. Cape Cornwall stood defiantly in the face of the mighty Atlantic Ocean, sculptured over time by driving currents, wind and rain.

Cape Cornwall lies in the far west of county Cornwall, deep in the south-westerly reaches of England. Standing sentry against the intensity of the Atlantic, Cape Cornwall guards the town of St Just from the worst of the elements.

St Just is the last major town in England before the shipping graveyard of Land’s End and its treacherous stretch of rugged coastline. A delightful little town, St Just is just minutes from the ancient monument site of Carn Gluze on the Penwith Heritage Coast.

Travelling north from St Just along the B3306, you soon descend a steep gradient before passing through the sleepy little village of Botallack. A little further is the enchanting Pendeen, home to the old Geevor Tin Mines, offering a glimpse of days gone by and unenviable working practises.

Pendeen Watch stands at the head of the shore, embedding you amongst the jagged Cornish coastline at the mercy of the elements and Atlantic Ocean. The South West Coast Path provides opportunity to explore more of the seacoast.

The coastal road continued northeast through Morvah village and the excellent coastal observation post Gurnards Head, before the panorama broadened to incorporate a vast expanse of land slowly descend as it approached the sea.

Vibrant coloured plants and shrubs blanketed the ground as they raced across the decline towards the towering cliff tops, stopping suddenly at the edge to observe the high seas. A fusion of scents emanated from the vast array of flowers swaying in the ocean breeze.

The narrow road continued to twist and turn slowly through the pretty Cornish countryside. The monopoly of fields and shrubs rescinded upon arrival of Zennor. Calm and peaceful, this serene village seemed the perfect antidote to the rigours of modern day city living.

A steep downhill gradient preceded the final approach to St Ives with its tight cobbled streets and busy harbour. The land began to rise again as the town neared. Tantalising glimpses of St Ives Bay and a glut of sailing vessels suddenly emerged between breaks in the houses.

The steep descent through cramped streets became a battle of wills with pedestrians; everybody fought for the same space. A fortunate place in the harbour car park left me gazing into the Atlantic. The wind had now relented; all was calm again.

About The Author


Steven Cronin owns the City Breaks website featuring city break special offers from luxury hotels to budget accommodations. For more information please visit http://www.sargas.co.uk.

Castles, Raisins and Paella – Denia, Spain

I just love trips where I’m never bored. I mean, don’t you just hate to go to a destination where there’s really only one attraction? Only one type of architecture? One thing the place is known for? That’s why I love Denia, Spain, which sits on the Mediterranean Sea. It’s so… out of the ordinary. Denia can’t help but be out of the ordinary. Again, it does sit on the Mediterranean. And, take into account the many cultures that have dominated Denia in its history: the Roman, Greeks, Arabs, Moors. They all have had an impact on the culture, architecture and food of the region.

After taking in the beauty of the Mediterranean, it’s good to begin your trip to Denia with a visit to the hill-top castle which dominates over the city. The castle was once an Arab fortress, and now houses The Archaeological Museum, which has a great number of remains of all the different cultures which has invaded this area.

Then head on over to the Ethnological Museum on Cavallers Street for an exhibit on raisins. That’s right, raisins. Denia was once the premier raisin producer in the region. Though tourism now dominates Denia, raisins are still grown there and are quite the local delicacy.

Okay, now that you have gotten acquainted with Denia’s culture and raisins, it’s time for a little fun in the sun. If you’re a scuba-diving enthusiast, you must head south to a coastal area call Les Rotes, which is known for excellent scuba diving and fishing.

If you’re like me and you want to just relax in the sun, there are sandy beaches north of town. Els Palmars and Las Marinas are two wonderful beaches where the not-so-deep waters appeal to families with children (or, people who are just chicken of deep water, like me).

After a day of sunning, scuba diving and visiting museums, it’s time to eat. And when I think of Denia and food I think Paella, a rice dish with fish, meat and vegetables. Rice is very common in Denia kitchens. There are actually over 200 ways that Denia cooks have found to prepare rice. Someday I plan to try all 200 variations. So, for something very much out of the ordinary, plan a trip to Denia, Spain.

Shari Hearn
www.thetravelerscompanion.com

Friday, March 24, 2006

Fatima In Portugal Moves Mountains

Fatima, Portugal is one of the few places on earth that everyone, be they christians or not, associates with the word miracle and deep faith. It was once a poor village in the Beira region where the economy was in a profound depression and there was just enough to get by on and life was a big struggle. But one day the appearance of the Virgen Mary or as others have called them the Marian Apparitions changed the life and fame and everyone referred to the Virgen as Our Lady of Fatima. It rapidly became a great sanctuary of pilgrimage, and today it is one of the most important ones in all of Europe.

Messages from Fatima

On May 13th 1917, at a time when one part of the world was in war with the other and when people needed spiritual guidance and something strong to believe in, the Virgen Mary made her appearance to three young children who were taking care of their sheep near their village called Aljustral. For the next five months, the Virgen Mary called upon these children in the same place called the Cova de Iria and on the same day. As it to be expected, who was going to believe Lucia who was 10, 9 year old Francisco Marto and his sister Jacinta who was 7. The messages that the Virgen had passed on to them seemed so unreal and far fetched, predictions that seemed so futuristic for these simple towns people. They probably expected religious advice and preaching, but the message that three children had to pass on was more of a political warning with a moral basis to it. The Virgen wanted to express the idea that if the Soviet Union converted to Catholism and opened its borders to the free world, all of which could probably avoid more wars which always produced horrible endings. She also indicated a strong desire that the Berlin wall be knocked down so that the poeple of the world could unite and become one, all under Catholism. She also warned that the highest representation of the Catholic church would be in danger. Everything she told the shepards seemed hard to understand but as we can see nowadays, everything has come true. For me the most shocking predictions that we have lived through is the terrorist attack on Pope John Paul II’s life. But back then it was a test of faith which we can see today has been passed quite well by the people.

Fatima’s Colossal Square

Soon after the appearances, many people gathered at the spot where the Virgin appeared and so a small chapel was built and a figure sculptured by Jose Ferreira Thedim of the Virgin. But in 1922 a bomb destroyed it and a new one was immediately built and in 1928 the Basilica del Rosario was finished. Ever since that glorious day, Fatima‘s history has taken on new dimensions and meaning for the whole world. It has become a study place for those wanting to follow a religious life as there are about seventy religious buildings and more than ten religious schools.

When you arrive in the immense plaza that surrounds the Basilica, other than contemplating the splendorous church, you will come across people who have decided to make their way to the Appearance Chapel‘ on their knees. There is a special path starting at the entrance and leading up to the chapel, going around the back part, where people light candles and ending up at the main altar in the front. In front of the chapel there is a column that shows you exactly where the Virgin appeared. To the right of the oratory there is the Big Oak tree ( having had to be replaced once ) where the three shepard children would wait for the miracles. In the centre of the square is a statue to the Sacred Heart, in the exact same place where a stream of water came forth during the period of the miracles. And inside the Basilica lay the tombs of the three shepards who have graced Fatima with their courage and continuing faith.

Room for all

I imagine that right from the beginning, the people of Fatima opened their homes to all wishing to share the religious experience that was happening at that time. Since then, many hotels, youth hostels and camp grounds have been built to accomodate the heavy influx of tourism. All hotels or pensions have restaurants and the majority of them are located on the Rua Jacinta Marto or Rua Francisco Marto. One excellent place to eat where I have personally been is the restaurant called Tia Alice. It is placed in an old wine cellar ( therefore the decoration is as if you were in a nicely decorated cave) and the food is exquisite. Be sure to reserve well in advance. In the town Cova de Iria, about 2 kilometres away, there are more accomodations which can be easily reached by rented car. Spend a few days in Lisbon too as it is the centre and capital of Portugal and offers interesting sights to see.

Ken Morris
http://www.lisbon-and-portugal.com

Italy: a Visit To Civita di Bagnoregio

Between the Tevere River and Bolsena lake, in the green latium countryside, on the top of a clay hill, rises the small town "Civita di Bagnoregio".

Civita appears isolated on a cliff spur to dominate the around valley and, thanks to this isolation, the town shows intact its medieval architectonical structure.

Joined to Bagnoregio, and to the world, through only one bridge, Civita appears in an unreal isolation due to landslip series and downfall of argillaceous ground on which the entire town is built and that is still in danger.

The History of Civita and Bagnoregio links each to other and the legend wants that Longobardi's king Desiderio named the city Bagnoregium after he was there to cure serious disease with local thermal water (Bagnoregio is a word composed by bagno (means: bath) and regio (regal, king)).

The urban planning of the city is of Etruscan origin, constituted from ortogonal alleys as Etruscan and later roman use, while the entire architectonic has medioeval and rinascimentale styles. Several sculptures of medieval age, pertaining to buildings destroyed for continuous landslips are inglobated on the arc and in the wall to the sides of town access gate.

The heart of the village of Civita is constituted from San Donato square, on which the cathedral dome rises. The cathedral was built in centuries VII - VIII, over a more ancient pagan temple. The building was widened in the XI XII when a bell tower was built too. In origin the cathedral had to be faced from a porch, today destroyed, like us testifies the rests of two columns placed the facade. Inside, the building, has three naves splitted by columns of medieval origin.

Always in San Donato square, on the left of the bell tower, there is a passage that leads to the building of medieval jails, while on the southern side of the square we have "Via della Maestà" where we can see fragments of typical longobard sculptures. At the end of this road there were the gate of the Maestà, collapsed with the church of "Santa Maria della Maestà" after a landslip in 1695. From there, a narrow lane came down to the water sources of Civita, in particular to source

of the Columns and in the zone called "dell'Uncino" (hook), where, for the legend, was located the thermal source from which Bagnoregium name derived.

Davide Farace
d.farace@insonniateam.it

On the Texas Barbecue Trail

Texas

Among polite society, a few subjects are invariably touchy, threatening to flare into heated debate. Politics. Religion.

And don't forget to add one more topic to that list if you’re in Texas: barbecue.

Whether you spell it barbecue, barbeque, bar-b-que, or just bbq, one thing's for sure: barbecue is more than just a meal, it's a mantra.

At last count, Texas boasted over 1,300 barbecue joints, ranging from side-of-the-road greasehouses with slamming screen doors to sit-down restaurants with beautiful vistas, air conditioning and even (gasp) wine lists. The business of barbecue rings up over a half-billion dollars annually, a cobweb of commerce that connects an otherwise diverse, sprawling state with a common mission: Go forth and seek out good barbecue.

Although you can find good barbecue throughout the South, the Texas variety is different from that in other barbecue capitals. Texas barbecue means beef brisket, basted meats, and tomato-based sauce, or sometimes no sauce at all. The selection varies from pit to pit but in most tradition reigns.

In each region, divided by hundreds of miles, the local barbecue is influenced by other culinary cultures, from Southern to Tex-Mex to Southwest. Cabrito or barbecued goat is often served in the western portion of the state while pork or lamb is a more common offering in East Texas. Cooking styles vary as well. Out on the West Texas plains, barbecue is usually cooked over a slow fire of mesquite wood while in Southern and Central Texas pecan and oak are more common. Farther east, barbecue pits are stoked with hickory. Throughout the state, meals are served with sides of cole slaw, pinto beans, and spongy white bread, often on plates of butcher paper. Dessert, if found at all, is usually a scoop of banana pudding with a dose of vanilla wafers.

Unlike Kansas City and Memphis, Texas has no clearly defined capital of ‘que. But Texas does have what’s sometimes nicknamed the “barbecue belt,” a smoky swath that runs through the central part of the state and includes:

Llano: On the westernmost edge of the barbecue belt lies the community of Llano. What makes Llano unique among the central Texas barbecue towns is its cooking style. Most pit masters in this town rely on indirect barbecuing. In a firebox, wood burns down to coals, then it's transferred to the main section of the pit beneath the meat to impart a delicate smoky taste subtler than ordinary smoking. Don’t miss Cooper's Old Time Pit Barbecue. From its huge rectangular pits located by the front door to the dining room lined with loaves of white bread and jars of jalapeño peppers, this is the real deal.

Taylor: Taylor calls itself "The Barbecue Capital of the World,” home of two legendary barbecue joints separated only by a parking lot and small road at their locations on Second Street. Louis Mueller's is housed in one of the most authentic barbecue joints in Texas, with an old-fashioned screen door, smoke-covered walls, and giant fans that provide the only cool breeze on a hot summer day. Next door, Rudy Mikeska's serves its equally fine offerings in a more citified atmosphere. During his lifetime, Rudy Mikeska was the dean of Texas pitmasters. If there was a political function to be held, Rudy Mikeska and his barbecue specialties were there.

Elgin: In Texas, the town of Elgin is synonymous with sausage. The small community, located about 25 miles east of Austin, produces the sausage sold by many barbecue joints through the state. The best known of Elgin's smokin' stops is the Southside Market, probably one of the most recognized names in Texas barbecue lore. In business since 1882, the market is known for its Elgin hot sausage, sometimes known as Elgin Hot Guts.

Lockhart: Twenty-three miles south of Austin lies another "Barbecue Capital of Texas," Lockhart. The test of a real Texan is to know the correct pronunciation of the town’s Kreuz Market. No, don't say "Cruise." It's "Krites," rhyming with "lights." Also in town, don’t miss Smitty’s, housed in the building where the original Kreuz Market was located, and Black's BBQ, which claims to be the oldest barbecue house in Texas continuously owned by the same family. Since 1932 the Black family has been firing up these brick pits every day for lunch and dinner.

Luling: Located east of Austin, Luling is the land of oil wells. No longer a boomtown, today the barbecue restaurants are the ones producing black gold. The best known spot in town is the City Market, a no-frills smoky meat market, with ambiance replaced by plenty of local atmosphere.

Paris Permenter and John Bigley
editors@texastripper.com

Slip Into Greece

Greece

If you're looking to travel, may I recommend Greece? Scanning through some picture on the internet today, I was amazed at just how much there is to see. The ruins, the culture, the landscape.... everything! It is a beautiful country, which fits well in beautiful Europe.
There is something like 15,000 kilometers of coastline to view in Greece, which also includes numerous islands such as Rhodes, Crete, and Kos. Although the edge is at sea level, approximately 80% of the land is made up of hills and mountains. Maybe this isn't a perfect destination for a walk, but what do the hills and mountains contain?!

And the culture of Ancient Greece, which is a period of about one thousand years, is really something to sink your energy into learning about. Their schooling, their housing, their cooking and food, and their arts are all very interesting to take a look at or to read about. Most historians believe Ancient Greece to be the foundation of western civilization. It heavily influenced our government, education, architecture, and language!

Greece has a little something in store for all of it's visitors, everything from history to the beach! Now for planning next years summer vacation...

Tyler Brooker
http://www.mygreecetravelguide.com

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Uganda Hotels - The Boost For Tourism

UGANDA

HISTORY

Hotel growth in Uganda started in the19th century, a decade after independence during the colonial period. This saw the growth of accommodation, transport and infrastructure in Uganda (tourism.) The political instability during the 1970’s and 1980’s led to the decline in the hotel industry as well as tourism. Hotels were closed, destroyed and made into police barracks like the Nile mansions.

The taking over of power in 1986 by the National Resistance movement (NRM) led to the revival of the tourism industry. Uganda has consistently worn foreign and international relations, support of large international organizations like World Tourism Organization, and has attracted internal and external investors. This has led to the rehabilitation of leisure and tourism facilities like hotels.

Visitor arrivals have grown due to the increase in tourism demand from the 512,000 in 2004 to about 700,000 in 2005.Uganda’s tourism sector has continued to grow and is expected to earn the country over $500m (about sh905b) this year from $360m (sh651.6b) last year.

HOTELS/ACCOMMODATION

Uganda has a wide range of excellent hotels and accommodation facilities located in all regions of the country. These are mainly located in the main towns of Kampala (Capital City), Jinja, Entebbe, Gulu, Mbarara, Mbale, Fortportal, Arua.

Uganda is well known for its hospitality and the welcoming nature of the local people, which has promoted the growth and development of hotels and other accommodation facilities.

Upmarket, low budget and more affordable hotels and accommodation include Sheraton Kampala hotel, Serena hotel (formerly Nile hotel), Speke hotel, Grand Imperial hotel, Emin pasha hotel, Hotel Equatoria, hotel Africana, Tourist hotel, Hotel Diplomate, Holiday Express hotel. Imperial Resort beach hotel, Botanical beach hotel, Hotel Triangle, Crested crane hotel, Windsor lake Victoria hotel, Mbale resort hotel, Mt.Elgon hotel, to mention but a few.

Other accommodation facilities include hostels, lodges, campsites, guesthouses and apartments, which are located in the city center, suburbs and in all regions of the country. Lodges include Mweya safari lodge, Speke resort Munyonyo, Red chili rest camp and hideaway, Gorilla forest camp, Volcanoes, Arra fishing lodge, Jacana safari lodge etc. Apartments include Acacia apartments, Windsor apartments, Kabira club, Dolphin suites, Mosa courts, golden leaves, Royal suites, Salama springs, Speke resort, etc. Campsites and hostels include Adrift/Nile high camp, Red chili hideaway, Backpackers, Bigodi wetland sanctuary, Bunyonyi overland camp, Ishasha wilderness camp, Sambiya river lodge Bandas, Hornbill, The crows nest, Lake Nabugabo campsite, etc. Guesthouses include Rwenzori guesthouse, Mamba point, palm tree guesthouse, 2 friends guesthouse, Palm tree guesthouse, etc and Islands like nature’s prime island, Ssese Island, Bulago island.

HOTEL DEVELOPMENTS IN UGANDA.

The latest hotel developments in Uganda are a sure indication of tourism growth in Uganda and EastAfrica as a whole.

The development of tourism has been enhanced by effective promotion, of both the destination and products offered by specific businesses. Establishment of awareness programes, qualified, trained and skilled human resources, improved and stronger tourism administration, investment in the tourism plant and associated products (attractions, entertainment, shopping, etc), enhancing marketing methods and development of basic facilities, social services and proper infrastructure.

The hotels and other accommodation facilities have developed to offer distinguished ambience, panoramic views, and tranquil surroundings. They are uniquely refurbished to offer comfortable accommodations for a relaxing business or holiday trip. Hotels are perfectly situated for visitors with a welcoming atmosphere, friendly and hospitable services, with excellent facilities as well as comfortable guestrooms and public areas.

Business centers with boardrooms and equipment, Bars and restaurants serving intercontinental cuisine with wines and cocktails, Services like massage, sauna, Internet facilities, private lounges, gyms, swimming pools, shopping malls, Recreation courtyards, open spaces, pergolas, terraces and entertainment centers are offered by Uganda’s hotels and accommodation facilities.

The hosting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting scheduled for 2007 in Uganda has also enhanced hotel development and refurbishment, and Hotel Owners have put their facilities together necessary to host the summit in 2007.

Hotels are on the increase in the country like Emin pasha, which opened at the end of March 2004. Kampala Sheraton Hotel, Bwebajja on Entebbe Road, Garden City, Golf Course and Kampala Serena hotels are undergoing construction and refurbishment. Buhoma Homestead, mantana-tented camps and the Volcanoes lodges are undergoing upgrading and expanding, and the most luxurious hotels used by business travellers and upmarket tourists have prices set in dollars.

There are plenty of budget hotels and accommodation facilities in Uganda, and the accommodation sector is growing consistently, with remarkable staff offering hospitable décor in hotels and all accommodation facilities.

Jackie Kisibo
http://www.hotelsinuganda.com
Jackie@hotelsinuganda.com

The Seaside Village Of Aegiali

Aegiali, in the Greek Cyclades, is a very beautiful seaside village full of outstanding beaches and picturesque landscapes. Besides this, Aegiali offers a wide variety of facilities and therefore tourists could be almost sure of finding practically anything they might need while being in this destination.

Aegiali's cuisine is very appealing too and there are several typical dishes that tourists should not miss, especially those containing Mediterranean fish. Night life at Aegiali is also very nice and those visitors who enjoying going out and partying until late would also be able to have a good time in this city.

It is also often easy to find a hotel or a room in Aegiali since there is several of them spread throughout the city. Despite of this, it is always advisable to ask in advance and count with a reservation whenever it is possible in order to make sure of finding a place where to stay after arriving.

Among the main attractions offered by Aegiali there are its beaches. Aegiali and its surroundings count with many attractive and several outstanding beaches spread throughout the coastline. This way, this destination is also ideal to all those who enjoy the sea, the sand, sunbathing, or practicing beach sports.

One of the most picturesque and peculiar beaches visitors could find in Aegiali and its surrounding area is what is known as Levrossos Beach. Levrossos Beach is a nudist beach which offers great sands and clear waters, although many time tourists who approach to it are driven by curiosity rather than by the natural beauty offered by this area of the coast line.

The seaside village of Aegiali is situated at about 24 kilometers from the main port of Amorgos and the city of Katapola. This spot also offers several amazing beaches and it is highly recommendable that tourists always try to visit it while being in Aegiali, especially those who enjoy being close to the sea. Aegiali can be a great destination to all those who are fond of the sea, the beach, and traditional Greek food, among several other aspects.

Jakob Jelling
http://www.eurotomic.com

Amorgos And Its History

Amorgos is one of the most visited islands in the Cyclades of Greece. This island has a size of about 120 km2 and inhabited by around 1800 people can be found at the east of the Cyclades, next to Dodecanese. Anciently called Minoa, the origins of this city and its population can be found strongly attached to the Cretans who are believed to be the first inhabitants in this island.

The island of Amorgos counts with a very rich and interesting past, and therefore all those who enjoy historic spots would be able to have a great time while visiting it. Many centuries ago, Amorgos was used by the Ionians in order to go from their islands to mainland Greece. Many constructions and elements from such époque can be still observed nowadays since was important in shaping the island's culture and traditions.

Three of the main and most antique cities in Amorgos can also be still visited nowadays. These three cities are Militos, Efessos, and Alikarnasos and also are strongly attached to the époque in which the Ionians used to go through this island in order to reach mainland Greece in such a way that each one of them can tell a bit of the history of those days. These three cities count with the peculiarity of being autonomous although they share a same currency and have many other aspects in common as well.

The city of Arkesini, one of the main spots in Amorgos, contains several appealing and unique characteristics. One of these interesting characteristics tourists could find in Arkesini is the antique walls that surround it and which were part of many important historical events.

It is also interesting to know that the island of Amorgos has received many different names throughout its history, and still, nowadays, it receives a variety of denominations. Among the names tourists could find Amorgos is called nowadays, there is the name of Pagali, Psichia, Patagy, Yperia, and Karkisia. This way, tourists should not be surprised or confused when they hear, read or see any of those names in reference to the town of Amorgos.

Jakob Jelling
http://www.eurotomic.com