Aug
30

Cyprus holidays are the best holidays in the world. Then again I am bound to say that because we (Julie and myself) have fallen in love with this beautiful Mediterranean Island. Every since our first holiday there in 1996 we have been well and truly hooked on Cyprus holidays. So much in fact that we have bought a Cyprus holiday home of our own which we share with our family and friends. I could wax lyrical for hours (and probably will) about the virtues of Cyprus holidays.

Situated close to Turkey and Egypt Cyprus has a beautiful climate boasting over 320 days of sunshine every year. The beautiful clear blue Mediterranean Ocean stays warm right through till the end of November and the short Cyprus winter only last from around the end of December until around the end of March. That’s when it rains and boy does it rain! The Cyprus landscape is dry and barren for 10 months of the year then wham! all the rain in one go so to to speak. The reservoirs get topped up and the ground soaks up all that life giving water. When it rains in Cyprus you could be forgiven for thinking that you are in Venice. The roads become rivers and vast tracts of low laying land become lakes.

But hey! we don’t take our Cyprus holidays for the rain we take them for all that glorious Mediterranean sunshine and there is always plenty of that from March right up to the end of November. Even in December you can go for walks on the beach in shorts and tee shirt although the evenings are cooler. Like I said the sea stays warm well into the year and in fact bathing in the sea is probably warmer in October than swimming in the pools. The reason for this is that the sun heats the sea throughout the long hot summer and it takes a long time to cool down again.

There are some fantastic holiday resorts in Cyprus and they are all easily accessible from one of the Islands airports at either Paphos or Larnaca. There is a modern coastal motorway linking all the main resorts and towns so getting around is a cinch. The Cypriots drive on the left same as the U.K. which is a throwback to the days of British rule that ended in the 1960s. The road signs too are in both Greek and English another legacy of the English occupation of the Island. In fact some people love Cyprus so much that they retire there. They say that Cyprus is like England with the sun but without the rip off taxes.

I won’t go on about the cheap cost of living in Cyprus apart from saying that it makes me question what the British government is actually spending all my taxes on. With so much to do and see in Cyprus you will be coming back year after year (like we do) to get round to seeing everything. You will never tire of this beautiful Mediterranean paradise with it’s friendly people and warm sunny climate. Who knows you may even come to love the place as much as we do and buy yourself a beautiful Cyprus holiday villa or apartment.

Aug
30

I don’t get a commission for touting this miraculous gift for traveling seniors. I only wish I had it in the 90s when I did all my post-retirement jaunts around Europe, Mexico, South America, Canada and Alaska. It’s the Garmin StreetPilot, a handy little portable GPS (Global Positioning System). The cost ranges from $250 to $1,500, depending on screen size (2″ to 7″) and number of advanced doohickey attachments, like Bluetooth for giving it cell phone capabilities. Of course, there are competitive makes of the same kind of GPS product, but many experts tout the Garmin as best.

If you’re aware of how the larger, much more expensive GPS units work in cars, just imagine walking down a narrow, dark street in the middle of Venice and wondering how to get back to your hotel. Then you take out your trusty little Garmin, and watch and listen while the lighted screen and voice tell you precisely all the twists and turns on how to get back to your Venetian palazzo in time for the antipasto.

Or you’ve decided to stroll through Muir Woods, home of the giant Redwoods in Northern California, and you’re beginning to believe you’re caught up in a redwood hall of mirrors. Your brilliant Garmin will look up in the sky for that ever circulating satellite, in an instant, compute all the info in its electric brain and tell you how to get back to that woodsy lodge in time for the campfire sing of coombaya.

In my foreign travels, when I got lost, which was quite often, I had to bring out all the maps and try to figure which way to turn, or ask natives in high school versions of their language just where the hell was I. The current versions of portable GPS devices would have been great companions then, and I can only guess how much more sophisticated and helpful for senior travelers they will become in the near future.

Of course, not many gift givers will have the inclination or budget to be so generous with their farewell present for your soon-to-happen senior adventure. So, as long as you’re paying $1,500 to fly to the port of embarkation, another $5,000 for the cruise and another $2,000 for the three-day stopovers in Venice, Florence, Rome, Paris and Barcelona, why not give yourself a bon voyage present … a handy, little, portable GPS system. With it by your side, you may lose yourself in the joys of travel, but never again when you’re in the middle of a strange city.

Aug
28

Italy is certainly one place that is on top of the mind of every tourist and people who wish to see the most beautiful things of the world. Pointless to even mention but while you are enjoying Italy tours the best of the cities to find accommodation includes the , Venice hotels, Florence hotels, and hotels in Milan and Pisa. These are few of the places located in Italy where you can expect mouthwatering cuisine, piazzas, memorials, churches, museums and wine regions.

There are choices of tourist destinations that are set on the world map. Right from Asian countries to the African countries to the European nations and the American continent to the green land and amongst all is the beautiful country called the Italy. This is one of the places when visited one can enjoy in abundance. It has been noticed from quite a while that Italy has been quite distinguished for its hospitality and hotels. If you actually observe and make a count then there are a number of best hotels available in all probable categories from luxury Italy hotels to discount hotels in Italy or Budget hotel Italy. Most of the discounted hotels endow with facilities and services they fall upon. There are a number of hotels that are known to provide the world class services and facilities to their guests.

The luxurious, exclusive Venice hotels are quite located at convenient locations that provide easy commuting facilities to their tourist. Apart from the basic facilities most of the hotels go beyond and delight their customers completely by presenting pleasant courtyards and a fitness center that comes along with a tennis court, swimming pool and golf course. The tourist may also find discount hotels in Venice which cater to all their needs and go right with their pocket strength.

The cheap hotels room also meets the highest international accommodation standards and hence is known to be the best in Italy.

Aug
28

In 1907 Paul Cornu built the first helicopter. He was a French engineer who manufactured bicycles. In the 15th century, some four hundred years before Paul Cornu built the helicopter, Leonardo Da Vinci sketched one.

Leonardo also invented many devices which enabled the salvation of Venice in 1499. Leonardo was described as a man whose “talents transcended nature”.

Imagination, often times, transcends nature, or what we immediately know.

I am mesmerized by Leonardo Da Vinci. He makes me proud to be a member of the human race. He makes my own imagination go bonkers as I try to imagine him, sitting there, sketching a helicopter. He must have been thinking, “Flight would give us a great advantage over the enemy”. I can imagine that he probably thought in terms of organizing the battlefield a time or two. The actual attack, or defense. Probably envisioned spears or arrows or perhaps bullets shooting from the helicopter.

I think how odd it is that as a child, no one noticed the talent and imagination of Vincent Van Gogh. That it was actually his brother, Theo, who noticed it and encouraged Vincent as a teenager. Van Gogh, himself called his childhood, “gloomy and cold and sterile….”.

My own imagination gets me into trouble. I forget I’m driving. Hours can pass me and I know it not.

Of course, I’m not inventing future war machines. I’m just not that into war. No. I’m usually envisioning something I’d want to paint. Or write. I envision myself as becoming a master on the violin.

While my imagination can make me something of a delinquent, it also is a wonderful gift. One that frees me from this hard reality. My mind romances the universe. I can conquer my fears and enemies within my mind. In that, I truly can relate to Da Vinci.

Fight or flight? Or both!

I really hate war. I’d rather envision images of Le Pantheon upon my drab livingroom floor. I did. And I did. Took me a week. There upon my floor is a cherub riding a sea serpent. Done in an antique olive with black contrast.

You know, if imagination originates within the organic brain and not the ethereal mind, then perhaps imagination itself is something of a genetic echo. Maybe the world really is going in circles and cycles and what if long before Da Vinci was born, there really were helicopters. What if great imagination is the product of a strand of DNA and within that strand is coded the lives of those who lived before. Only stronger than normal. Concentrated.

I fell in love with John Steinbeck when I was 26 and first read The Grapes of Wrath. I thought he was brilliant. I fell in love with each carved word he wrote. Steinbeck was a great observer and a magnet for detail. He had such a way with words. If ever there was a Romantic Journalist, he was.

There was something almost Knightish about him.

Oh, it’s probably just my imagination.

Aug
26

 

With its delightful historical, cultural and geographical ambiance, Kerala is one of the most beautiful states of India and one of the prime tourist destinations in the world. Travelers from all over the world visit this beautiful Indian state no without reason. There is something for every tourist that grabs the heart of its visitors. Nature has endowed this state with extra-ordinary beauty. You will find lush green landscapes all around the state that offers a great feat to the eyes of its visitors. In whatever the part of the state you travel, it doesn’t matter; you will find amazing places of tourist interest all around the state.

 

Also known as the God’s Own Country, the Indian state of Kerala has numerous tourist spots and attractions to offer its visitors. Pleasant climate, sun-kissed beaches, breathtakingly beautiful backwaters, verdant hill stations, exotic wildlife, wonderful waterfalls, historical monuments, terrific temples, Ayurvedic health & Spa resorts, enchanting art forms, colorful & vibrant festivals, romantic houseboat cruise over scenic backwaters, lip-smacking cuisine, friendly people and lot more are waiting you and your family for Kerala tours. Exploring Kerala’s beautiful landscapes seems to be exploring the paradise. Rightly the National Geographic Traveler Magazine has declared it one of the ten paradises of the world and one of the top 50 must visit destinations of a lifetime. Surly, it will be a memorable travel experience.

 

Important tourist destinations of Kerala, South India

 

Munnar: Hill Destination

Munnar is a small but beautiful hill town of Kerala, set amongst the Kannan Devan Hills and situated at the confluence of three mountain streams – Kundala, Nallathanni, and Mudrapuzha. Adorned with lush green surrounding, lovely lakes, tea estates, green forests, and exceptional beauty Munnar is the prime attraction of every Kerala tour package. The serene and sheer ambiance of this hill town attracts even honeymooners and couples from all around the world for memorable holidays in Kerala, India. It also provides paragliding and other sports on Kerala tours. Other important hill stations are Wynad, Idduki, Ponmudi, etc.

 

Alleppey: Backwater Destination

Also known as the Venice of the East Alleppey (Alappuzha) is a major backwater destination of Kerala. It is a small but beautiful town of the state and globally famous for its breathtaking backwaters, boat races, houseboat cruise, exotic beaches, and extra-ordinary scenic beauty. It is not only famous for its scenic beauty and backwaters but also for marine products and superior quality coir products. Kerala package tours to Alleppey can make enable you to explore all these attractions. Other backwater destinations of the state are Kumarakom, Trivandrum, Kuttanad, Kollam, etc.

 

Fort Kochi

Popularly described as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, Kochi is one of the prime tourist destinations of the state. It is the famous port city of Kerala, South India. While you will explore Fort Kochi you will have wonderful opportunity to see and explore several places of tourist interest; such as, Chinese Fishing Nets, exotic beaches, emerald backwaters, monumental heritage, etc. The port city of Kochi, (formerly, Cochin) is considered as the economical capital of Kerala, India. Don’t miss opportunity to visit this important city of India on your dream tour to Kerala .

Kovalam: Beach Destination

Kovalam is one of the most beautiful and globally famous beaches in Kerala. Lined with coconut trees and endowed with natural splendor it is the excellent place of for relaxation and holiday making. It provides excellent ambiance for sun and sea bathing. Ayurvedic treatment center is another attraction of Kovalam. Other beach destinations of Kerala are Fort Kochi, Marai Beach, Alleppey, Beypore, Kumarakom, etc.

 

Thekkady, Silent Valley, Trivandrum, Kottayam, etc are other worth visiting tourist destinations of beautiful state of Kerala. If you too want to enjoy fascinating charm of the Kerala, select Kerala tour packagebased on your choice and theme and be ready for enjoying fascinating travel and tourism in India.

 

Kerala is located on the tropical southwestern coast of India. One of the most popular tourist destinations, Kerala attracts tourists from around the globe. Kerala Tours offer a plethora of options, in a culturally rich, naturally salubrious and spectacularly captivating setting. The state has endowed with extraordinary natural beauty and unique culture.

 

Kerala’s art and architecture, ayurveda and spa, beautiful hill stations with great nature beauty, exotic backwaters, breathtakingly beautiful beaches, lovely lakes, magnificent monuments and temples, nature revitalization and therapy, rich culture and tradition, rare flora and fauna, world class hotels, warm hospitable smiles from its people all these things make this state world’s most loved tourist destination. Truly, an experience of tours in Kerala is something that will be hard to forget. You can experience all of this with your Kerala tour package.

 

Rich varied and colorful flora and fauna of the state will enthrall you on your Kerala Tour. For nature lovers and honeymooners, beautiful hill stations of the state are paradise on earth.

 

Kerala backwaters are extremely popular among tourists. Travelers from all over the world honeymoon tour Kerala for experiencing the beauty and charm of its backwaters and beaches. The best way to experience backwaters is to sail in houseboats which provide an excellent opportunity to see palm-fringed water passages, rice fields, traditional villages and captivating surroundings. Several Kerala tour packages provide an opportunity to experience the nature at its best at Kerala backwaters. Beautiful sun-kissed beaches, dotted with coconut trees are a great getaway.

 

There are several Kerala tour packages available catering to different tastes and needs. Package tours to Kerala enable you to customize your experience of Kerala. All the tours mentioned below include Kerala packages and some also take you to Goa, so you can travel along India’s West coast and enjoy its beauty on your Indian Holiday.

 

 

 

Aug
25

Europe is one of the most beautiful places in the world. If you want to tour Europe and get to see what the continent has to offer, then read through these 10 places you can visit in this great continent. It might be a bit expensive, but a vacation I bet you will never forget in a million years.

1.) Fall in Love with London

There are so many places you can visit here in London. The first and most wonderful sight you will probably see is the Buckingham Palace. Next, I would recommend that you visit the Tower of London. If you want to get to know the place better, then do not forget to walk in the streets of the City of London and admire its historic buildings.

2.) Lover’s Paradise

Of course, if you want to tour Europe, do not forget visiting the ever-romantic place of Paris. This place has a lot to offer historically especially the Eiffel Tower, a most beautiful sight you will ever see. This is where most tourists go to, and once their feet get tired of walking, get to enjoy the many cafes and bars located in its history-filled streets.

3.) Come Visit Rome

This is another great place that you should never miss. Rome offers a lot of historic buildings. The Vatican City alone is just one of its attractions and the many other churches it has, especially after being made more famous by Dan Brown’s book, the Da Vinci Code.

4.) Charles Bridge

This is one of the best places Prague has to offer. The wonderful scenery it has especially at night when all the lights are lighted is enough to steal one’s breath away. Get to know the wonderful people of Prague and their culture.

5.) Enjoy the Scent and Beauty of La Rambla’s Flower Shops

This is one of the places Barcelona has to offer visitors – the La Rambla flower shops. If you love flowers, then this is an ideal place for you to stroll through. Also, you could visit its historical places like Temple de la Sagrada Familia and Cathedral La Seu, etc.

6.) Come Fly to Amsterdam

Amsterdam – the country where Anne Frank came from, author of the famous Anne Frank’s diary, a teenager during the Nazi period. Get to know this place’s historical canals and bridges. If you love Van Gogh, do not forget to visit the Van Gogh Museum.

7.) Lovely, Lovely Venice

One can never deny the beauty that Venice has to offer. Get to see more of its famous bridges and churches traveling by gondolas. The Grand Canal alone is enough to fulfill every newlywed’s fantasy of a romantic and perfect honeymoon.

8.) Beauty of Madrid

Do not forget Madrid if you want a grand European tour. This should be in every European tour as this country is known for its famous yet romantic bullfighting. If you also love flea markets, then go to El Rastro, Madrid’s biggest and very popular flea market.

9.) Amazing Athens

As one of the lands of the gods and the goddesses, you can visit so many tourist destinations here like the Athens Acropolis and the Athens Ancient and Roman Agora. There are also museums and galleries that you can visit. Of course, do not forget the churches and monasteries the place has.

10.) Idyllic Florence

This is another great country that one should visit. Get to know it people and culture by visiting the museums and galleries. Also, if you enjoy shopping but wants it to be quite unique, then go visit Arno River where its bridge is full of little shops and stores.

Aug
25

Snapshot of Venice

A Love Affair with Venezia

Venice to the tourist, Venezia to the Italian, and Venexia to the Venetian, but whatever you choose to call it, it is one of Italy’s most captivating cities. This city of canals carves its way through several small islands nestled within the marshy lagoons along the Adriatic Sea, and takes its place as the capital of the Veneto region. With its shoreline embracing the Adriatic, it’s no wonder it was considered a major sea power, making it an important staging ground during the Crusades, a leading area for commerce, and a central inspiration for the arts during the Renaissance.

One only needs to stroll the streets of Venice to feel the whimsical wonderment, which captivates and lures you in to days long gone. The intricate detailed architecture of the buildings will keep you in awe as you wander through every nook and cranny. Though there is a blending of modern alongside the pieces of the past, the newness has not overshadowed the splendor of this ancient city, which was founded in 568 following the emigration of refugees escaping the invasion of northern Italy by the Lombards. The narrow paths and walkways are not only crowded by tourists, but the ghosts of yesterday hauntingly carry you along your journey, as you step back in time.

Whether you are there for its beauty or a connoisseur of sorts, Venice will offer up a dish of something for everyone. Though often crowded by tourists, this city is not hard to navigate at all. Once you abandon your car at a parking garage/lots, or step off the Train at Venezia S. Lucia station, the paths are clearly marked by yellow signs pointing the path of the most common sites visited in Venice. In addition, there are many water taxi/bus stations along the canal, each having maps noting your location; and if you are feeling intimidated and unsure, you can purchase a water taxi/bus ticket and tour the city by boat.

The streets of Venice are lined with small shops, selling everything from souvenirs, Murano glass, carnivale masks, art, jewelry, clothes, food, wine, bread, gelato, and more. There are open-air markets where you can buy fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and souvenirs. One of these al fresco markets can be found at the famous and oldest bridge in Venice, The Rialto, which spans across the Grand Canal. The Rialto, itself, consists of two covered inclined ramps, which lead to the central portico. Small shops line the covered ramps of the Rialto.

Before

Aug
24

Tourists in Europe can easily spend fifty bucks a day just on food. After the cost of flights and a hotel that may not leave much for enjoying the holiday – seeing the sights, taking a tour or doing some shopping.

But it’s easy to find good, inexpensive places to eat, if you look around. A few simple rules will help.

1. Head away from the tourist traps! In Venice, you can get a whole meal in Cannaregio for what a coffee would cost on Piazza San Marco. Even just a few streets can make a big difference; off the main drag, you’re more likely to find a good price.

2. Head for the business district. Wherever there are lots of office workers, you should be able to find a good value lunch. That may mean eating in a bar or sandwich joint instead of a restaurant – but many small restaurants also do a good trade, often with a relatively cheap set menu.

3. Look for the market and buy yourselves a picnic instead of having a big lunch. Fresh fruit, ham, cheese and a good hunk of bread can cost little – and be fun to eat. You may find good fast food too; many markets do couscous, sauerkraut, sausages, and other local snacks.

4. If you’re at the market but you don’t fancy a picnic or eating in the street, then you may still strike lucky. You’re likely to find a few good restaurants near the market, cooking fresh produce. The menu may be limited but the food is good, and often inexpensive. The stall holders need to eat somewhere, after all – and they’re thrifty.

5. In the city, eating your main meal at lunchtime will allow you to take advantage of set lunch offers. Dinner is always the most expensive meal of the day and often there’s no set price option.

6. If you’re picking from a set menu make sure you don’t wander off it. You can be stung if you’re not careful – a ten euro set meal can easily become thirty euros if you start picking and choosing. Make sure, too, that you don’t economise on the set menu and then give the money back on extras – more drinks, coffee, extra bread. Know what’s included and stick to it – and make sure the waiter knows you’re on the set menu to start with.

7. Ask the locals. This might not work in a real tourist trap, but in small towns local people will often know a good value bar or restaurant. If you’re chatting with locals – or other travellers – in the bar, ask them where they enjoyed eating.

8. Follow the old guys. When you see two local pensioners at a table they’re probably not pushing the boat out – they tend to go for places they know will serve them a good meal at an affordable price.

9. In some countries, such as Spain, hotel breakfasts are usually charged extra and are often poor value – just a couple of slices of toast and a cup of coffee. Instead, head for a bar and grab a croissant and coffee at half the price.

10. Don’t neglect local media. Many hostels and budget hotels have small and up to date guidebooks aimed at their clientele and it can be worth taking their tips on local food.

11. Be adventurous with your tastes. While you can tour Europe on MacDonald’s, or eat in a five star hotel every night, it’s more fun and cheaper to try local food. After all, if you wanted to eat the same stuff all the time, why would you be travelling at all?

Aug
23

With Valentines’ day just around the corner, many will be looking to shell out on special gifts and gestures for their partners.

Going on holiday over the Valentine’s Day period offers the chance to get away from the everyday with their loved one – be it a romantic weekend, or for those wishing to pay a little more, a holiday in an exotic location.

Whether you’re looking to get away on a long trip or short stays in luxurious hotels during a city break, there are plenty of destinations and packages available. From cottages in the countryside, short city breaks in Europe and the United States to exotic beach holidays in the Caribbean.

City breaks are popular packages for those wishing to get away for Valentine’s Day. Traditional favourites include Paris, Venice and Rome – offering a touch of European grandeur and romantic settings.

And with more cheap flights to European destinations from UK airports now on offer, these romantic locations are now within easy reach.

There are also plenty of hotels in Britain which offer special packages around the Valentine holiday, offering couples the opportunity to enjoy romantic short breaks in picturesque settings – with some hotels offering candlelit dinner and champagne.

Popular destinations around the UK include the Lake District and Scotland, where you can find a wide range of holiday cottages. These traditional dwellings offer couples the chance to escape everyday and spend some time together.

Hidden away within picturesque woodland and lakeside locations, allowing the opportunity for romantic walks (weather permitting of course) and with some offering spa facilities, couples can get away, relax and enjoy the romanticism that Valentines’ Day brings.

Aug
23

Stockholm is the capital and largest city of Sweden
It is built across 14 islands and is often called the Venice of the North. Lots of foreign visitors than any other city in Scandinavia it is also considered to be the Capital of Scandinavia.

As water covers one third of the city area, the maritime life is an important aspect of the city. There are plenty of bridges, marinas and locks. The water is so clean that you can drink it and catch salmon in the middle of the city.

Due to its unique location surrounded by water and countryside, with parks and gardens everywhere and a delightfully pure atmosphere.

Everything is in easy walking distance, everybody speaks perfect English, and the summers midnight sun makes Stockholm a great destination for short break.

Stockholm, like many other big cities, is best experienced on foot. In the city centre through Gamla Stan all the way to Slussen a walk that will take you through a wealth of history, culture and shopping opportunities. Visit the Royal Palace for the changing of the guard at midday in summer or see the imposing City Hall. Stockholm boasts an impressive collection of museums, including the National Museum of Art and the new Design Museum. The extraordinary Vasa Museum is a must, housing a superbly restored 1628 warship.

In the winter visit the Christmas markets in and enjoys a warm glass of alcohol or ginger biscuits.

For shopping, the best local buys are crystal, leather goods and ceramics. There are numerous contemporary design outlets selling cutting edge Scandinavian design furniture and accessories, while the many antique and curiosity shops are well worth a browse.

Theres no shortage of entertainment from theatre to live music and more at clubs and cafes. Stockholm This Week tells you whats on when listings.

Despite being an expensive country, Sweden has a good youth hostel and campsite network and there are plenty of budget travel hotels, but booking ahead is essential in summer, particularly at two of the best hostels, Al Chapman and Langholmen which is a former prison cells. Regular hotels, packages are the best way to get a room for a reasonable rate, or try to stay weekends when most places offer half price rates.

A good selection of traditional eateries and a wealth of international restaurants are found in the city centre. Try fresh fish, meatballs or a traditional smorgasbord. For lively bars and jazz clubs, the most popular are to be found in the Sodermalm and Stureplan areas.

The climate is very much conditioned by the sea winds, so even the warmest summer day will be contingent upon the sea breeze finding its way into the city streets.