Archive for » May, 2014 «

May
31

From the enchanting Venetian lagoon on the Adriatic sea in Italy, when Venice was the center of commerce with Asia from the 13th to the 19th centuries, organic baking traditions were born that are still practiced today by housewives and pastry chefs. Explorers and sailors carried foodstuffs on board the merchant and war galleons that would survive the long voyages in the perilous seas. Among these were sweet treats, simple to make, that in name and taste, reflected their Venetian origins. Not to mention that in those days, the only existing agriculture created organic food; no pesticides or additives were used in foods, except those from mother nature herself.

The Queen of these, and the most famous, is the organic cookie named “Biscotti Baicoli”. Created in the 1700′s, the word “baicoli” is Venetian dialect for sea bass. In fact, their oval, thin, long shape is very similar to the sea bass which inhabit the lagoon. At that time, bakers supplied them to coffee shops, or they were served to house guests along with zabaglione cream, hot chocolate or tea. Still others served them with a sweet Doge’s desert wine, the Venetian Moscato dei Doge.

Today they are considered a delicate, light, yet flavorful organic cookie to be enjoyed by everyone. In fact, almost every child in Venice today knows the poem in Venetian dialect which brags of the goodness of the Baicoli and its Venetian origins.

In the lagoon sits Burano, the fisherman’s island, famous for it’s rows of brightly colored houses. From this tiny island comes the organic cookie “Bussola Buranello”, which translated, means the compass of Burano. Here too, the marine traditions date back centuries. Baked in a shape like a backwards “s” or an outline of a circle, this cookie was a typical Easter treat, kneaded at home by the women of Burano, and then brought to the baker’s for baking. On feast days, it was dipped in holy wine “vin santo”, or in local whites. Packaged, they were placed in the middle of clothes drawers in order to scent them with the delicious aroma characteristic of this cookie.

Still today, considered a genuine and nutritional organic cookie, it is enjoyed in the same manner, or served to children.

Both organic cookies are easy to prepare, with simple organic food ingredients. The recipes follow:

Biscotti Baicoli -

Organic Food Ingredients: 1 ¾ cups flour, ¼ cup melted butter (unsalted), ¼ cup sugar, 1 small glass of milk, one half ounce of yeast

Dissolve the yeast in a small amount of tepid milk in a glass, and then mix it together with ¼ cup of flour. Form a ball and leave it to rest, covered by a cloth, in a warm place until it doubles in volume (approx 30 min).

Mix together the remaining ingredients, starting with the flour and sugar, then the melted butter, and finally the tepid milk. (You may also add a bit of freshy squeezed orange juice for more flavor) Add the leavened dough and knead all together.

Leave the dough in the mixing bowl and place the bowl in a larger bowl of boiling hot water in the oven (turned off), for at least one hour.

Divide the dough in roughly 6 long, oval shapes, each roughly 3 inches in width. Cook in the oven for approx 10 minutes at 300°, and then increase the temperature to 430° until completely cooked (approx 1 hour). Remove from the oven and let it completely cool. Then thinly slice the 6 oval shapes into organic cookies, and put them back in the oven to “toast” for approx 20 min at 120° – 175°.

Dip in hot tea, coffee, or hot chocolate. Or serve with zabaglione cream or a sweet desert wine.

Bussola Buranello -

Organic Food Ingredients: 6 egg yolks, 1 cup butter softened at room temperature, 1 cup sugar, 2 cups flour, a dash of extract (choosed between, vanilla, lemon or anise, the island tradition), a dash of salt.

On a kitchen workspace, form a volcano shape with the flour, and in the middle create a crater where you add the softened butter (not melted).

In a bowl, lightly beat the eggs with the sugar. Then add this to the butter /flour mixture, and quickly mix /knead with your hands.

Take the dough and create the desired cookie shapes (outline of a circle or backwards “s”) and cook in the oven at 350° until done.

Modern versions add dark chocolate chips, raisins, or substitute a bit of the white flour with coconut flour.

Serve these organic treats at home along with your usual array of organic foods or try them on your friends at your next gathering. Bring to your table a culinary, organic, pastry delight which is centuries old, yet enjoyed every day by Venetians and tourists alike.

May
31

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.

May
30

Venice – as romantic at 58 as it was at 8?

You don’t think of an 8-year-old being romantic, do you? Maybe it was the fascination of the city towering over a young boy, with a golden glitter in the summer sun. I didn’t think of the city being a simple island in the sun that was no more than 15 kilometers square.

The architecture of the city was fascinating to me. The love of buildings was something I got from my grandfather who was an architect back home.

Architecture tells such a wonderful story of the people. Imagine the pride of the Doge in building a new church for the remains of Saint Mark, one of the four Evangelists that followed Jesus. This new church became his tomb, the Basilica of San Marco.

I remember taking a photo in the square with the Basilica in the background and all of a sudden a pigeon lighted on my sister’s head just as I was ready to snap the picture. We all laughed. Well . . . everyone laughed except my sister.

Maybe it was riding in the gondola under the Bridge of Sighs, thinking of the last glimpse of light a condemned man would get. I wondered what type of death those people had to endure centuries ago and was glad THAT was centuries ago.

I felt fortunate to come back to the main canal and see the bustling life of the city. Life in the city of canals was definitely different. No cars, no pedestrians walking across the streets, but the sidewalks and small cafes were busy.

So what was so romantic at that age? Maybe it was taking the gondola through the “streets” of Venice as the sun was setting, changing a golden sky to crimson just before dark. Maybe it was the patrons sitting at the outdoor cafe who called the gondolier over so the adults could share a glass of wine. The fascination of that simple gesture would bring good luck to all.

All those sights were seen through the eyes of an 8-year-old. Is that part of what made me the romantic I am today?

Will it be the same romantic city when I go back next year? Will it have changed so much over the last 1/2 century? I don’t know, but am sure looking forward to that trip.

May
30

THE IDEAL VACATION: TIPS AND IDEAS

When it comes to vacation ideas, several options come into play. I have been on vacations with my family since early childhood, first dating back to when I was about 8 or 9 years old. The problem with vacations, having taking numerous ones from varying perspectives, ranging from child to adult and guardian. A famous sayiing about Americans is that we often need a vacation to recover from our vacation. We have an emphasis with activity, and often find it hard to just “relax.” Vacations are often agenda-oriented and planned according specific time intervals. A true vacation is one of fun, excitement, and pure joy, and spontaneity, which should be spent with friends and family. The prototypical vacation would be a cruise to…You pick the location: The Bahamas, the Caribbean, St. Thomas and the Virgin Islands, Venice, off the coast of Italy, or off the coast of Africa perhaps. Any tropic and tantalizing environment is ideal. Let someone else assume the responsibility of DD (designated driver) and kick back and enjoy fun in the sun. Take time to read a book while sitting in the sun, basking in its light and energy. There are pools and arcades for kids, and some cruise ships even have designated areas for young children. Many come equipped with casinos, exquisite cuisine that you can’t even pronounce, spas, and the works. They have gyms for the exercise buff and the for those who must be active. You get to enjoy a tremendous view that one typically sees on postcards on a daily basis, at least for a week, or however long you intend (or can afford for most of us financially challenged folk. That is what vacationing is all about, experiencing a breathtaking and once in a lifetime endeavor. Choose the location. After all, every place on this earth is surrounded by water, 70% of the Earth’s contents, so go and see it… and avoid the hassle of hotel fees, traffic jams, car rental agencies, and confusing and often outdated maps.

A vacation in the Swiss Alps, where you can literally feel on top of the world, is another ideal vacation scenario. Days full of adventure, hikes, nature, snow, deer, skiing, and ice-skating followed by evenings of hot cocoa and hot chocolate snuggled up next to the one you love accompanied with family and close friends perhaps sounds quite appealing. Sitting in front of a sizzling fireplace where the glowing embers engulf one’s eyes and spirit have an enticing aura and hypnotizing, yet soothing spell. If you have kids, what better place than to visit than an environment that resembles a “winter wonderland.” A “Christmas in July” illusion can make one forget the stress, tension, and one’s inner feelings that become susceptible to anger and frustration more easily, all of which accompany the summer.

May
29

Italy as one of the most ancient European civilizations is unknown to none. Italy had been the land of Roman Empire for long. Today the country has a rich history and tradition that speaks for itself and gathers tourists from all round the world. Italy is a place known for its wonderful cities and their archaic art and architecture. There are great Roman structures like Roman Colosseum and Pantheon; the Sistine Chapel, sculptures by maestros Leonardo, Michelangelo etc. and many more attractions that can make your vacation a dream come true.

A Walk through the Italian Cities-

The cities of Italy are quite popular across the globe. For instance the land of Julius Caesar i.e. the city of Rome also known as the “Eternal City” has an aura of exotic Roman art and architecture. Rome is famous for its architectural masterpiece of the Colosseum, the National Gallery of Ancient Art which in itself is a magnum opus and displays the work of Bernini, Raphael and Titan. The Capitoline Museums houses the complete history of Rome, the Gallery of Modern Art presents the 19th and 20th century at work by eminent artists and the Galleria Borghese museum in Rome has the largest art collection in the world.

The city of Venice seeks no introduction. It is the city where tranquility prevails and the beguiling art and architecture makes everyone’s day. The visitors are attracted by pulls like the Grand Canal, the museums such as the Museum of Modern Art and Museum of Oriental Art in the Santa Croce region of Venice, which put at parade the art work from countries like Japan, Indonesia and China. Also worth visiting are the Academy of Fine Art and the Correr Museum known for its Renaissance art.

The fashion city of Milan has always been inviting visitors. It is a primary economic and cultural center of Italy. Milan is popular for the Romanesque architecture in the Lombardy region of which Milan is a part; The Cathedral of Milan that is a paradigm example of Gothic architecture. The Milan museums include some of the fascinating museums in the world. For instance the Brera Gallery that presents the tour de force of geniuses like Raphael and Giovanni Bellini. You can also gaze at the awesome “The Last Supper”, Jesus and his disciples at the Piazza Santa Maria delle Grazie church.

Since the entire Italy is swarming with museums and art, the city of Florence too grounds few wonderful ones. The Uffizi Gallery which is best known for the art work of Sandro Botticelli – “Birth of Venus”, Leonardo da Vinci’s strokes, and apart from these the Dutch, French and Spanish work of art it displays.

Besides this, Florence is thronged for its delectable cuisine, hill slopes and the oldest archaeologically significant region of this place i.e. the Tuscany region. One among the wonders of the world, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is nestled in the Italian town of Pisa in the Tuscany region.

The Vatican City is a center of attraction in Italy particularly for magnificent Sistine Chapel, designed by the architect Baccio Pontelli and feathers added to it by Bernini. The galleries of this Chapel present some of the exclusive art works-paintings and sculptures like “run-of-the-mill”, the archaic bronze statue of Apoxyomenos, Michelangelo’s sculpture ‘The Pieta’ and so forth.

After these Italy has many other cities that have always been welcoming visitors with their pleasant surroundings and amazing art work.

So one should, in one’s life time definitely bask in the glory of the skill of distinguished artists, painters and architects, no where else but Italy.

May
29

The Russian Federation or simply Russia for short is a vast transcontinental country straddling the continents of Asia and Europe with Moscow as its capital city. With a massive territory covering 6,592,800 sq miles (17,075,400 sq km), Russia is the largest country in the world spanning across eleven time zones and covering more than one eighth of the world’s land area.

For a country so vast, Russia has a population of only about 142 million people as at 2007. The country’s history and culture went back a long way and because of this, although the Russian landscape is so beautiful and diverse, its main tourist attractions are its historical monuments and sites of majestic buildings, cathedrals, ancient cities and museums.

Nevertheless, nature loving tourist to Russia will always marvel at the largest freshwater lake in the world, stunning raging rivers and alpine forests teeming with fish and wildlife, majestic volcanoes, and towering mountains.

Herebelow are some of the more popular tourist attractions in Russia.

Moscow – Since Moscow is the capital of Russia, it is also the main gateway to the country and its provinces and tourist will usually start their sight-seeing tours here exploring Russia from this ancient city. Moscow itself is also home to several tourist attractions such as the Kremlin and the Red Square amongst many others.

Moscow is one of the biggest cities in the world and occupies an area of about 400 sq miles (1035 sq km) with a population of about 9 million people. This is not counting the more than three million tourists and visitors to the city yearly.

Moscow buildings are rather unique because its architectural style combines the features of Eastern as well as Western cultures and features. The Vysantium styles are mixed with architectural styles of Britain, Italy and other West-European countries.

A visit to some of Moscow’s 80 museums are indeed eye openers as these museums preserve invaluable treasures ranging from rich collections of Russian and foreign art and culture. The Kremlin, the symbol of Russian might and power stands proudly towering over the left bank of the Moskva river. It is the oldest part of the city and is its political, historic and cultural center and the seat of Russia’s legislative power. It is also the site of several museums.

Another tourist attraction in Moscow is the famous The Red Square which is the main square in Moscow and Russia not unlike what Tian An Men square is to China.

St. Petersburg – St Petersburg is another well known city in Russia popular with tourists because it is one of the most beautiful cities of Europe and affectionately called Venice of the North. St Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia after Moscow and has a population of about 5 million people. The city was founded by Peter the Great in 1703 and was the capital of the Russian Empire for about 2 centuries from 1712 to 1918. This historical city was the scene of the February and October revolutions in 1917 and was a besieged and fiercely defended city during the last world war.

St.Petersburg is an impressive display of remarkable architectures which can be seen from the cathedral of the Peter-Paul Fortress, the Summer Palace, the Winter Palace, the Smolny Convent, the Vorontsov and Strogonov palaces, the Kazan and St.Isaacs Cathedrals. It is also the soul of Russian fine arts in its rich world class music, ballet, and theatre performances.

If you are in St Petersburg, then you must not miss visiting The Hermitage Museum. This is one of the biggest museums in the world which was founded by Catherine the Great in 1764. Here is a treasure trove of famous works of luminary greats such as the likes of Leonardo da Vinci, Rafael, Titian, Velazques, Murillo, Rubens, Van Dyke, Hals, Poussin, Watteau, Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Picasso, Matisse, Michelangelo and Rodin, just to name a few.

Velikiy Novgorod – Velikiy Novgorod is located on the banks of the river Volkhov River which is about 120 miles (about 190 km) south of St.Petersburg. This amazing ancient city was founded more than 11 centuries ago and is a popular tourist attraction today.

Velikiy Novgorod suffered severe damage from German bombing runs in the Second World. The good news is that many of the historical monuments are now restored to its former splendor and glory.

Murmansk – The town of Murmansk is located in northwestern Russia and has a population of almost half a million people. This town is now an important fishing port and is home to one of the largest its fish-processing plant in Europe.

The best time to visit Murmansk is during the Festival of the North, which is celebrated in the last week of March with a ski marathon and reindeer races.

Sochi – After touring some of Russia’s city and towns, let’s take a look at Sochi, Russia’s favorite resort by the Black Sea with towering Caucasus Mountains serving as the beautiful resort’s backdrop.

What makes Sochi such a popular resort in Russia is because of its cool subtropical climate, warm blue sea and the modern resort complexes. This resort also attracts dignitaries like local and foreign head of states and movie stars as its guests.

To cater to the demands of tourists, you can find dozens of hotels and campsites with more than 50 sanatoriums. There are also natural beauties to enjoy such as picturesque waterfalls, wonderful hilltop views, mineral springs spas and alpine vistas to stroll in.

Vladivostok – This is also another important Russian town that is worth visiting. Vladivostok is an important seaport and administrative center of Primorsky Kray region, in southeastern Russia and is extremely rich in Russian military history.

The town was founded in 1860 and is now the chief educational and cultural centre of the Russian Far East. The city is famous for its performing art theatres and its philharmonic symphony orchestra.

Vladivostok is surrounded by the Ussuri Nature Reserve and the Far East Maritime Reserve. Nature lovers can find bumbling black and brown bears, Siberian boars, majestic Ussuri tigers, the rare Amur leopard and colorful migratory birds in these reserves.

The Trans-Siberian Railway – The best way for tourists to discover and tour the vast expanse of Russia is by The Trans-Siberian Railway. The rail trip on the train from Moscow to Nakhodka takes about eight fascinating days, passing through forests of birch and pine, quaint Russian villages and beautiful steppes.

The train will also rumble past Siberia’s Lake Baikal which is as big as Belgium and is home to the world’s only freshwater seal. Other tourist attractions along the journey are the multicultural town of Irkutsk and Ulan-Ude city which is Russia’s center of Buddhism.

Visiting Russia soon? Then do not missed out the tourist attactions featured in this article.

May
28

Want to know where one of the hottest wedding destinations is? On water. That’s right, it seems the idea of getting married on a boat is gaining in popularity each year.

And, why not? There’s just something about water that just screams romance. In addition, most boat charter companies or cruise lines will take care of all the details for you in one convenient wedding package, leaving you to just enjoy your wedding.

But, what about the cost? How much is all that romance on a boat going to set you back? As with all weddings, there can certainly be a wide range of cost. But, given that the average cost for a U.S. wedding is creeping up towards $30,000, you’d be surprised to learn that you can have a boat wedding for a fraction of the typical wedding cost.

Where can you have a boat wedding? Anywhere that floats your boat…literally. You can have a boat wedding in an exotic location like the Bahamas or Virgin Islands, or popular U.S. destinations like Florida, California, Hawaii and Alaska. You can even be married on a boat in Dubuque, Iowa! If there’s a body of water, you can be married on it, whether it’s a cruise ship, sailboat, powerboat or gondola.

Considering that there are hundreds of boat wedding locations and options, it may be difficult to choose which one is right for you. But, here are just a few boat weddings to consider; some obvious, some not so obvious:

Cruise Ship Weddings:

When most people think of a boat wedding, they usually think of a wedding on a major cruise ship. A cruise ship wedding allows couples to have their wedding and honeymoon at the same time. Some couples choose to get married on the ship before the ship leaves port, which allows for friends and family to attend without having to join the cruise. The cruise then becomes your honeymoon. Some cruise lines, such as Princess, Azamara and Celebrity, offer weddings at sea on selected ships. Princess even offers a live webcam of the wedding, so family and friends back home can be a part of the wedding.

Wedding Aboard the Queen Mary – Long Beach, California:

Want a cruise ship wedding without having to leave port? Consider the Queen Mary, an Art Deco wonder, now operating as a floating hotel and popular tourist attraction in Long Beach, California.

You can choose to have your wedding in the Queen Mary’s Chapel or on deck, with a Gazebo Ceremony for up to 100 guests, or the Queen Mary Verandah Deck wedding ceremony for up to 350 guests. If you choose to elope with the just two of you, or if you have a small number of guests (under 15 people), you can opt for the inexpensive Intimate Wedding Ceremony package. For more information on a Queen Mary wedding you can email chapel@queenmary.com.

Sailboat Wedding off St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands:

Say “I do” while sailing the magnificent waters around St. Thomas. Then, after you exchange vows, jump into the tranquil waters, wedding dress and all, and go snorkeling. You can find numerous charter companies on St. Thomas, including Weddings By Sea, that offers couples weddings on a sailboat for 2 to 6 people starting at just $550. You can reach them at married@weddingsbysea.com. St. Thomas offers newly-wedded couples a honeymoon filled with adventure and relaxation. Be sure to take the St. Thomas Skyride to Paradise Point, 700 feet above sea level, for a panoramic view of Charlotte Amalie Harbor.

The Paddlewheeler Creole Queen – New Orleans, LA:

Take a step back in time and get married on the Mississippi River aboard the Paddlewheeler Creole Queen. Though built in 1983, the Paddlewheeler Creole Queen is richly appointed in Victorian detail, from the promenade deck where you’ll say your vows, to one of the elegant dining rooms where you’ll hold your reception. Afterward you’ll honeymoon in one of the most popular cities in America, New Orleans. And, since it’s your honeymoon, you’ll definitely want to take the French Quarter Love Stories Walking Tour. For more information on getting married on the Paddlewheeler Creole Queen email pbair@visitnola.com.

Gondola Wedding – Venice, Italy:

What’s one of the most romantic cities in the world? Why, Venice, of course. A gondola wedding in Venice may be one of the most romantic boat weddings you can imagine, as you say your vows while gliding through the canals under bridges, and past ancient palaces and lovely villas. The hard part will be in deciding which incredible wedding photo to put on your mantle.

Gondola Wedding – San Diego, CA:

Can’t make it to Venice, Italy? Then how about a gondola wedding while cruising the Coronado Cay off San Diego? The Gondola Company, which operates out of Coronado Island, provides several different wedding packages for you to choose from. You can opt to arrive to your waterfront wedding on a gondola to the delight of your wedding guests, or you can choose to get married on the gondola, with wedding guests either watching from shore or joining you in their own gondolas. Of course, this is also a perfect wedding for just the two of you. And, for a small charge, you can add a violinist or mandolin player. You can contact the Gondola Company at 619-429-6317.

May
28

Botswana is a small country with a big heart. The population is very sparse and most of the country is semi-desert but Botswana sports a gigantic array of wildlife. If you are thinking about taking a safari in Botswana you are really in for a treat. The country boasts some of the best game parks and nature reserves in the world.

How to travel

The magnificent scenery of Botswana is gorgeous from any angle. Whether you soar over the thundering herds in an aeroplane or drift along in a dugout canoe, the sweeping beauty of your surroundings is sure to take your breath clean away.

• The moroko is a dugout canoe which is ‘poled’ along, much like a gondola in Venice. Unlike a trip through the ancient city though, there is no traffic or pollution and you are surrounded by unspoiled African wilderness. If you are in more of a hurry though you can take a motorboat along the main waterways and lagoons but only the moroko can slide silently through the quiet backwaters of this wild watery wonderland.

• 4X4 adventures are a fun way to explore the main islands and you can even take night drives through private concession areas if you want to experience something a bit more unique.

• There is always more than a hint of romance to the idea of flying; the sweeping views you have always seen in the cinema but never imagined you could do in real life. The Game Viewing flights over the parks of Botswana are every bit as exciting and romantic as you could hope for. Helicopter flights are a really wild adventure while light aircraft sweep over the massive herds of migrating animals and off into the sunset.

• If you are in need of a taste of something truly exotic then an Elephant Ride Safari may be the only way for you to travel. This is a truly original and quite unforgettable experience since the gentle sway of the elephants walk and your height above the ground will give you a view that is unparalleled by anything else in this world.

• The traditional way to go on safari is of course to trek on foot. You will have the unique opportunity to track and stalk live animals with the help on an expert guide. Of course, unlike in the old days, the favourite kind of shooting done nowadays is with a camera so be sure to pack plenty of extra film and memory cards! Getting up close to nature in this way is an old-fashioned, grass-roots, real adventure.

Okavango

The primary attraction of Botswana safari expeditions is the Okavango Delta. This, the largest inland delta in the world is a treasure trove of scenic waterways, romantic lagoons, forests and plains that stretch to the horizon. Nature has her playground here with thousands of species of birds and animals all sharing the magnificent landscape under the enormous African sky.

The delta is only about five thousand years old. Formed when the great Okavango river was blocked from the ancient Makgadigadi lake, the delta is the site of the slowest moving flood in the world. The flood begins in Angola during April and it only reaches the bottom end of the delta during July. This strange, leisurely flood is the result of the flatness of the landscape. In fact, the entire landscape only drops 60 metres over the course of 450 kilometres!

Chobe National Park

The Chobe National Park is the second largest national park in Botswana. It is world famous for its abundant elephant population. The Chobe elephant is, in fact, the largest of the entire species. The Chobe National Park also contains an enormous variety of wildlife, some of it completely unique to the park.

Moremi Game Reserve

If you visit Africa to see her beauty, then the Moremi game reserve is an essential stop. Besides the variety of birds and animals, here you will witness some of the most breathtaking landscape in Africa. No photographer (no matter how amateur) could miss the opportunity to capture the lily-covered valleys or the infinitely photogenic forests and plains of Moremi.

Kalahari Central

The largest game reserve in Botswana is the Kalahari. This enormous stretch of wild countryside is completely arid during the dry season but is flooded with life-sustaining water during the brief rainy season. The rains bring all manner of wildlife to drink and romp in the refreshing ponds and lakes that form in the pans and valleys.

Makgadigadi Pans National Park

On these, the largest saltpans in the world, immense herds of game migrate for the rainy season while flocks of water birds fill the skies and waters. The waters that fill the normally arid pans are a mere hint at the massive lake that covered the entire area five thousand years ago. The animals that fill the plains though are as magnificent now as there ancestors were when the great lake was filled by the ancient Okavango River so long ago.

May
27

Berlin, quite surprisingly, has more water surfaces and bridges (650 approx) than Venice, Amsterdam and Stockholm put together! This beautiful capital city and heartbeat of Germany, Berlin is a fascinating place year round with a vast array of attractions to entice all visitors to it again and again especially in the Winter months when its 7 Christmas Markets are out in full force. From traditional markets selling Christmas arts and crafts including hand-blown glass objects, jewellery to mulled wine and cinnamon buns, visiting these markets is a fantastic and fun lead up to Christmas for all the family.

Sightseeing is intense in Berlin…from the remnants of the former Wall to the Brandenburg Gate to Checkpoint Charlie, there is a lot to see in Berlin. A short city break is usually not enough to take in all the historical sights of this legendary city and a second visit is usually imminent on any first-time traveller’s agenda. The transport system in Berlin is, justifiably, known as one of the most efficient in Europe and connects Berlin with the rest of Germany and European countries.

With so many airlines operating routes to Berlin’s main international Tegel airport and a whole crop of low cost carriers now flying to Schonefeld Airport too, it’s never been easier to visit Berlin. Berlin specialists, www.myberlin.co.uk offer fantastic, low prices for a city break to Berlin. They combine cheap flight and discounted hotel packages at top quality hotels including the 5 star Westin Grand Hotel. Check out the offers now as these prices are unbelievably excellent value for money and are not going to be around forever!

As Berlin is just an hour’s flying time from the UK, it makes for the perfect city break, both midweek and weekend. Whether for shopping, sightseeing or for the Christmas Markets, Berlin also makes a great culinary break for food lovers. Try authentic sauerkraut, spicy sausages, schnitzels and pretzels washed down with one of the 800 varieties of beers found in the Bavarian region of Germany. I would recommend you visit Berlin at any time of the year but more so at Christmas when the city is lit up by thousands of twinkling lights and the air is crisp with a hint of snowfall beginning to cloak the city with its velvety texture – that’s the best time to go to Berlin!

May
27

Los Angeles ‘City of Angeles’- A cultural city full of life 24 hours a day 365 days a year. When you come to LA, you will find a city full of fun, glamour & dreams. A City that redefined enjoyment, Los Angeles is a place you would like to come again & again not only because of the glitz & glamour of Hollywood or the attraction of the rich and the famous personalities but also because of the sun soaked beaches of Santa Monica and Venice Beach, this original Toon-Town has more to offer then you can ask for. It helps to know that what is commonly referred to as ‘LA’ is really ‘LA County’, a conglomeration of 88 cities of which LA is just one. The heart of the city of Los Angeles is Downtown, about 19 kilometers (12 mi) east of the ocean and hemmed in by the I-10, I-5 and US 101

There are many places in Los Angeles to visit, few of them are list below:

  • Disneyland
  • Six Flags Magic Mountain
  • Los Angeles Zoo
  • Los Angeles Convention Center
  • LA Staples Center
  • LAX Airport
  • Burbank Airport

California Los Angeles Studios

  • Warner Bros. Studio
  • NBC
  • CBS

Los Angeles California Beaches

  • Venice Beach
  • Santa Monica Beach

Los Angeles California Universities

  • UCLA
  • USC

Hollywood Area Attractions

Hollywood really is the land of dreams to its visitors from this site you can know every thing about Hollywood area attractions like- Universal studio Hollywood, Hollywood walk of fame, Paramount studios, Hollywood sign, Rodeo Drive, Farmers Market, Los Angeles Hollywood Streets & Los Angeles Hollywood Theaters. Know about past and present of these Hollywood attractions & familiarize yourself with Hollywood California.

There are many places in Hollywood to visit, few of them are list below:

  • Universal Studios Hollywood
  • Hollywood Walk of Fame
  • Paramount studios
  • Hollywood Sign
  • Rodeo Drive
  • Farmers Market

Los Angeles Hollywood Streets

  • Sunset Boulevard
  • Hollywood Boulevard
  • Highland Ave

Los Angeles Hollywood Theatere

  • Hollywood Bowl Theater
  • Grauman Chinese Theater
  • Kodak Theater
  • Pantages Theater
  • You can visit these beautiful places & enjoy your vacation with your family.

    You cab get the information related to rooms, facilities, booking and other details of selected Los Angeles Hotels and Hollywood Hotels. If you find most comfortable hotels in Los Angeles and hotels in Hollywood area that are guaranteed to make your stay that much more relaxing and enjoyable during your vacation or business trip.

    Visit here to know more about Los Angeles Hotels