Tag-Archive for » Venice Hotels «

Aug
12

Southern California is home to some of the most gorgeous beaches in the country, with nearly half the state’s boundaries surrounded by water. Every area has its own luxury resorts offering golfing and beaches, but weeding through the pack to find the best ones can seem daunting. To save time, here’s a list of some of the best resorts for beaches and golfing in Southern California.

Some might argue that the best golfing in the country is in Palm Springs, but for those looking to also the enjoy the beach, Palm Springs is too far removed from the ocean. Instead look to San Diego. The Pala Mesa Golf Resort offers proximity to Carlsbad Beach, and Oceanside Beach, and an 18 hole par-72 golf course on site. The Pala Messa Golf Course was named one of the top 10 golf courses in the county in 2006. Located near the resort are a variety of other opportunities including wine tasting and hot air balloon rides. For the golfers, the resort also offers a special “Unlimited Golf Package” that includes two days of golf and a room at the resort, starting at only $99 a night.

Orange County is another option in Southern California, and the best resort with both great beaches and golfing is Laguna Rivera Resort on the Beach in Laguna Beach. For the beach enthusiast, the resort provides free rentals of water equipment including surfboards. The resort also has a close proximity to some of California’s biggest attractions such as Disney Land, Crystal Cove State Park, and is less than an hour from Hollywood. Hotel rates begin at $99 a night.

The nearest golf course to Laguna Rivera is the Aliso Creek Golf Course. Vacationers might prefer the Aliso Creek Golf Inn on the property, though it depends on what they prefer; golfing or the beach. Laguna Rivera offers beach proximity, but a short drive to the golf course, with the opposite at Aliso Creek; a short drive to the beach, but onsite golfing. Room prices at Aliso Creek began at $134 a night, and they also offer executive suites and penthouses. Aliso Creek is also home to the Canyon Lodge American Grill steakhouse. Other than their 9 hole, par-32 golf course, vacationers can take lessons from a pro, spend time in their spa, or take a trip to the Aliso State Beach.

Many visitors to Southern California immediately think of Los Angeles and in LA, the top choice for a golf and beach resort is The Tower Beverly Hills. Amenities at the resort include laundry service, a fitness room, and an outdoor pool. Venice Beach and several golf courses are located within a ten minute drive. Prices range from $150-300 a night. Visitors can check out the sites and sounds of Hollywood when they need a break from the beaches and golfing.

The Avalon Hotel is the best option for those vacationing on Catalina Island. This gorgeous hotel has free internet, in-room refrigerators, and is just minutes from the historic Casino Building. After enjoying a dip in the ocean, play a round of golf at the Catalina Golf Course with its two 18-hole courses. Prices begin at $195 per night, and they have a special deal running now; book a stay online in September or October, start on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, and get a night’s stay free.

The best resorts in Southern California must have beach access and a quality golf course within a short distance. The resorts listed above offer both, and a whole lot more.

Aug
09

Lesser Town in Prague is truly an architectural treasure chest. It was founded in 1257 on the slopes bellow the Prague castle and it is the part of Prague least affected by resent history. If you are looking for something medieval, this is the place to be. You will be surrounded by history, museums, theatres, high-class restaurants and fashion boutiques. You can find here a lot of nice and neat hotels. Everything is easily accessible by foot, though the centre is very well connected by trams and 3 subway lines. But parking might be difficult to find and a permit is required.

The historical core of the city is situated on both banks of the Vltava River. The hotels in Lesser Town have their own atmosphere which is ensemble by this mythic place. You will have a wonderful view from each of them. Lesser Town located on the left river bank, with its unique architecture and antique cobblestone streets, unchanged for centuries, is home to lots of foreign embassies, gardens and best restaurants. What can you find here exactly?

Charles Bridge (Karluv most)

Named after the Emperor Charles IV in 19th century the Charles Bridge is Prague’s most familiar monument. Designed by Petr Parler, it was completed in 1400 and it connects the Lesser Town with the Old Town. Although it is now pedestrianised, it withstood wheeled traffic for 600 years. There are thirty statues on the bridge; many of them have been replaced with copies. Originals are kept in the Lapidarium of the National Museum and at Vysehrad. The magnificent Gothic Old Town Bridge Tower was designed by Petr Parler and built at the end of the 14th century. It is considered the finest Gothic tower in central Europe, mainly for its decoration. There are marvellous views of the Vltava River Valley. The Prague hotels with the view of the Charles Bridge are the bests. 

St Nicholas Church (Kostel sv. Mikulase)

St Nicholas Church is the dominant of the Lesser Town Square and one of central Europe’s finest baroque buildings. It was begun by Kristof Dientzenhofer, continued by his son Kilian and finished by Anselmo Lurago. The statues, frescoes and paintings inside the church are by leading artists of the day, such as Karel Skreta and Johann Kracker. 

Kampa Island (Kampa)

Known as the Venice of Prague, Kampa Island has been formed by a branch of the Vltava called the Devil’s Stream (Certovka). Originally there were only gardens on the island but it was also used for washing clothes and bleaching linen. In the 17th century the island became well known for its pottery markets. Today it is an elegant part of Prague with a village-like character. A lot of myths are narrated in Prague about this place. Make your holidays special and find yourself a cute Prague hotel in this area. 

Petrin Hill (Petrin)

With a height of 318 m the Petrin Hill is a network of eight parks offering magnificent panoramas of Prague. Most of the vineyards from the 12th century were transformed into gardens and orchards by the 18th century and today it is a great place for quiet walks easily accessible from Hradcany and Strahov or by funicular railway from Ujezd. Up the hill there is an observatory, the 60m high Observation Tower – an imitation of the Eifel Tower, the Hunger Wall that was built by the poor of the city in return for food in the 14th century, the Mirror Maze, the Church of St Lawrence and the wooden Church of St Michael. 

If you really want to enjoy your stay in Prague, relish the atmosphere of the historical centre of the town, you should look for a charming hotel in Prague´s Lesser Town.

Aug
07

One can spend hous, days and weeks running around Amsterdam as it is one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in Europe that is famous for its tolerance and diversity. It could be said that it is the city full of life with little road traffic and enriched with its cultural heritage. The canal view of the city gives it a completely different and beautiful look. Other tourist attractions including the museums, coffee shops, historic port, theatres, restaurants etc capture one’s attraction easily. Additionally the weather of the city supports tourism a lot. Various hotels and accommodations are present here at various locations that provide you the facility to enjoy the city with desirable view. The correct selection of a hotel that suits your trip makes the trip more enjoyable and comfortable. Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in Europe. The name of the place is derived from Amstel dam that means a dam on the river Amstel, thus pointing to the city origin.The beautiful canals running through the city center adds a wonderful attraction to the place. It ‘s appealing as well as pleasing to walk around the place as it has a little road traffic. The culture, international restaurant, good transport facility, intimacy of city clubs and bar and its welcoming attitude attract visitors very easily. Due to its beautiful view the cultural capital of Holland ‘Amsterdam’ is well known by the name of “The Venice of the North”. People from different background, culture, and sub-culture could be seen here giving it a unique and distinctly urban environment. Amsterdam is the city full of life. It is famous as the city of tolerance and diversity. The city is famous for its red light district, historic port, coffee shops, canals and many more. It is one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world. The destination is never far away in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is a city of contradiction but has all the advantages of a big city as its attractive culture, international restaurants, good transport and calm and quite atmosphere. It’s hard not to get attracted by the buzz of open-air summer events, pubs, beautiful views of canals of this likeable city. All these views and pleasure could be enjoyed nicely along with various facilities provided by different hotels of Amsterdam. Most of the places of city remind us of 17th century city, but it is progressive and open city unlike any other European city. Another attraction of the city is Rembrandt’s famous painting ’The Night Watch’ at Rajksmuseum. Rembrandt was one of the most successful painters of his time. Apart from museum various historical places also attract tourists a lot. The city has several top-rank jazz venues and concert hall to entertain visitors. In addition to this shopping in Amsterdam is also a delightful activity that could make one’s trip the memorable one. Besides this the weather of Amsterdam is also calm and relaxing. It has gentle and mild climate but due to its geographic location variation in temperature is quite common. The trip to Amsterdam is a pleasurable one as rain is evenly spread all through the year that makes the day more pleasant and breathtaking. On the whole Amsterdam is a complete entertaining and relief-giving package that one should never miss.

Aug
02

Anyone traveling this holiday season will either stay with friends and family or book a hotel room. Luckily, hotel reservation services are a convenient means of securing the best rooms in any city across the nation…or world. Many prominent hotels and more discreet names are slashing their prices on winter stays, especially on seasonal destinations.

If you enjoy winter-inspired getaways to beautiful location such as Vail and Aspen, Colorado, 6Star Reviews reports that Hotels.com is offering huge savings on ski condo stays. For interested travelers, the sale runs through March and top-rated ski destinations are included. Besides extending great discounts and offers, the Hotels website is running a Vacation Giveaway for in-demand locations like Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

If your idea of a fabulous winter weekend isn’t in downtown Manhattan or the slopes in ski-lodge-saturated cities, why not check out international rates abroad? GTA Hotels, for instance, runs continuous special offers on cities such as London, Venice and even Paris. Even for the non-globe-trotting individual, these specials are hard to resist. International travel doesn’t have to burn a hole in your wallet, as long as you book ahead and on rooms with travel discounts.

Hotel reservation services are the perfect trip-planning tool, especially if you’re interested in holiday travel. Not only are you able to preview your actual room, you’ll gain access to brand-new specials continuously. Most hotel booking sites allow you to sign up for newsletter updates, which send news and discounts right to your inbox. Before the holidays arrive and rooms fill up, book your reservation online to enjoy the colder months ahead.

Jul
25

 

Bangkok was known as the “Venice of the East” in the past as it was filled with many canals. People used to live on water doing their day to day activities while floating on boats. Many of these canals were filled in to make way for new roads and buildings over the past years but even now many of these old canals still remain on the Thonbui side of the Chao Phraya River.

 

Along these canals, we can see even now many people dwelling and they are very much used to the life in their floating residencies. They are visited monks who do alms rounds, the postmen, and even vendors coming by boats. One can enjoy a long tailed boat ride for about 1,000 baht to have some good time in a quiet environment and even to have a closer look as in how Thai people used to live along the canals. And also it is possible to visit so many temples that have very historical background. While traveling through these temples and other ancient monuments one can gain a thorough knowledge about the history and the development of the entire city.

 

More over, during the boat ride, it is also possible to stop at the Royal Barge National Museum, which is established along one of the main temples in the canals. That is also a major destination where most of the tourists intend to go in the hope of gaining more knowledge about the traditions and basic cultural aspects of Thailand as well as Bangkok. Therefore many tourists who come across Bangkok for their business purposes and to spend some good time do not miss the opportunity to spare some more time along the canals to relax them selves.

 

For visitors who opt to stay for a longer time Bangkok serviced apartments such as President Park will provide convenient access and comfortable stay to most of the other attractions in Bangkok as well.

 

Mentioning about more attractions that grab the eyes of the visitors are the monasteries called “Wat Paramal Ylkawat”, “Wat Suwannaram”, “Wat Chaloand more near the canals in Bangkok. All of them are based on the history and various cultural aspects of Thailand which enhances the value of the nation.

Jul
23

The best time to go to Italy could well be, well, anytime. In reality the best time is between April and June as the flood of school holidays hasnt yet hit the roads, the countryside is at its fullest bloom and the weather isnt uncomfortably hot yet.

When deciding at which time of the year to go to Italy it may be worth scheduling around a couple of festivals as they are invariably spectacular occasions.

Here is a shortlist of the best on offer:
Festa dei Ceri, Umbria in May
Il Palio, Siena in July and August
Carnevale, Venice in February
Festa di San Gennaro, Naples in December
I Candelieri, Sardinia in August
Palio delle Quattro Antiche Repubbliche Marinare, Venice / Pisa / Amalfe / Genoa in May / June
Processione dei Serpari, Abruzzo in May
Sa Sartiglia, Sardinia in February
Umbria Jazz, Perugia in July

In August prices tend to skyrocket across the country along with the weather, so is best avoided. However, that is not true of the whole of the country. In a country such as Italy the weather is incredibly diverse, ranging from stifling heat in the low-lands of Florence to the snow-capped chills of the Alps and the Dolomites.

Overall you can expect long hot summers the further south you are, with Sicily and Sardinia enjoying the best of all, where sea swimming is possible right into mid October.

Italy is a fairly expensive country with accommodation being the single most costly aspect of a trip. You may find cheaper accommodation out of the city centres and in surrounding satellite towns. Expect to pay around 12 to 20 euros for a youth hostel, 25 to 45 euros for a basic pensione or small hotel, and around 70 to 120 euros for a mid-range hotel.

Eating out is an incredible experience throughout Italy. As any Italian will tell you, there really is no such thing as Italian food, as each region tends to be known for its particular specialities. Budget for around 20 to 35 euros for a great full-course meal with a house wine on average.

The delectable Cucina Italiana is never far away in Italy. If youre a bit of a gastronomic connoiseur then id recommend touring around the Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna and Umbria regions for the quintessential food tour.

Shop for Italian delights to take home in the Mercato delle Erbe in Bologna, then head off to nearby Modena for a bottle of perhaps the worlds finest balsamic vinegar.

Next pick up a delicious antipasto in the most well-known food town of Parma – see Parma ham and Parmesan cheese.

For you first dish perhaps Umbria for some umbricelli (pasta served with shaved truffles). If you can try to get your hands on the ever-elusive tartufo nero or black truffle from Norcia.

For the next course perhaps a taste of the infamous bistecca alla fiorentina from Florence or head to Perugia for a porchetta, an Umbrian speciality of suckling pig stuffed with its own liver plus a handful of wild fennel and rosemary.

What to drink with these delights? Head to the Chianti region for a rocking red, or Orvieto for a succulent and sharp white.

Round off this tour with dessert in Siena in the form of a slice of panforte, a hard flatcake of candied fruits and nuts, or perhaps cantucci e vin santo (yes you guessed it – a biscuit doused in sweet white wine), a Tuscan speciality.

Getting around Italy is relatively easy and cheap, although car hire prices are on the rise. If you decide to take a train the regionale (local stopping trains) are much cheaper than the diretto (fast intercity and eurostar trains) and in my opinion are far more rewarding as you get to see more and take photos along the way.

It youre in search of good reading to help in capturing the spirit of Italy then id recommend picking up a copy of Il Gattopardo by GT di Lampedusa, The Aeneid by Virgil, La Storia by Elsa Morate or perhaps Grazia Deledda’s Canne al Vento.

Have fun!

Jul
18

November 2, 2004, Internet Cafe Sit´n Surf, Graz, Austria, 2:05 pm

I finally found Internet access here in Graz. Not the easiest thing I have to admit. Had to ask 3 people and finally went to the tourist info who competently directed me to an Internet Cafe.

The last few days have been interesting. The first day my sister-in-law and I took a little tour through my home town of Weiz, and in the 8 years that I haven’t been here there has been a lot of change. New buildings, renovations, traffic reorganization. It almost felt like being in a different place.

On Saturday my brother, sister-in-law and I started our little weekend tour to Slovenia and Italy. We drove on the highway to Austria’s border with Slovenia (only about 45 minutes from my home town). Then we continued on for about another hour and 15 minutes to the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana. We parked the car by the river and took a little walk to the central market. The place was just packed and you can buy anything from fresh bread to meat, sausages, fish, vegetables, fruit, flowers. People were out in full force, even shopping for candles for the annual trip to the cemetery. After all it was the weekend of All Saints Day and people take their cemetery duties very seriously in Central Europe.

We walked through the old town with its cobble-stoned streets and then started the steady climb up to the castle hill. At the top is an old castle with a renovated tower that can be accessed. You get to the top through a really interesting winding staircase and once outside, there is a beautiful 360 degree view of the surrounding area, including the limestone outcrops of the Julian Alps.

After a brief lunch in a local pizzeria we continued our drive towards the Slovenian coast. I couldn´t keep my eyes open since I was so tired, so I missed a good part of interesting landscape. The Postojna mountain pass is always interesting and after that we got close to the Adriatic coast. We drove by the Slovenian towns of Koper, Strunjan and Izola and finally ended up in Piran.

Piran (formerly Pirano – in Italian) was a town that has changed hands many times among many people. Most of its core was built by the Venetians and on the hill above town there is a clock tower whose style is very reminiscent of the Campanile in Venice. Beside the harbour is a beautiful square with houses dating back several centuries. We checked into the Hostel-Hotel Garni Val, very similar to a youth hostel, where we could stay for Euro 20/night. My sister-in-law and I stayed in a room with 4 beds (2 of them bunkbeds), and washrooms/showers were in the hallway.

We went on a beautiful stroll through town, again nice cobble-stoned streets, the weather was gorgeous, we had blue sky with about 20 degrees. Of course we climbed the belltower which gave us a beautiful 360 degree view of town and the Adriatic coast to the north, all the way past Trieste. I almost got a heart attack when the bells of the clock tower started ringing right next to my ears. They were unbelievably loud.

We had a nice dinner in the evening in a restaurant called “Delfin”. My brother of course had fish, one of the local specialities. I ended up picking up a stomach virus and on Sunday and Monday I was dealing with some very unpleasant symptoms. Sunday morning we checked out and continued our journey towards Italy.

After about 30 minutes of driving and basically no border check at the Slovenian-Italian border we ended up in Trieste, a city of 270,000 people, and a major industrial and port city at the north end of the Adriatic. Trieste used to be part of the Austro-Hungarian empire and the architecture is very reminiscent of many Austrian cities. We visited the main square with the City Hall, checked out the “Canale Grande”, an outlet of the sea that stretches into the city.

On the harbourfront there was some sort of exhibition by the Italian Navy, the Military and various police organizations. 3 war ships were parked in the harbour and apparently people were able to go on tour inside the war ships. All sorts of military and police vehicles were parked in the harbour area and sailors, soldiers and policemen and women were available to answer questions, pose for photos etc.

After our short stop in Trieste we continued our Northern Italian tour and stopped in the town of Cividale, a medieval town that was originally built by the Germanic tribe of the Langobards. It also has an old town core with ancient churches, narrow cobble-stoned roads and the most famous sight is the “Tempietto”, the little temple that was built many hundreds of years ago by the Langobards.

After lunch (where I couldn’t eat any of the Italian delicacies due to my stomach problems) we continued our way home through the Italian Val Canale, past Udine, Tolmezzo towards the Austrian border. It had been raining for several days and it was still pouring and all the mountain streams were very close to overflowing. Waterfalls overflowing with water were shooting down from all the mountains and the major river, the Tagliamento, looked like it was going to flood the area in the very near future.

About 3.5 hours later we finally arrived back home in Weiz, after driving through the pouring rain. Sunday night and yesterday I had to take it easy since my stomach was still bothering me a great deal. Today I finally took off, picked up my rental car at the airport in Graz and I have spent the last 2 or 3 hours rediscovering my university town. I checked out the castle hill (Schlossberg) in the middle of town, walked up to the Uhrturm (clock tower), the symbol of Graz, and looked at all the medieval remains of the old fortress castle on top of the hill. I also walked through the town´s centre, across the Hauptplatz (the main square with its market, which also houses City Hall) and finally, after some extended searching, ended up in this Internet cafe.

So the last few days have been quite exciting, Austria, Slovenia, Italy. The beauty of Europe are the small distances between all the various places. A perfect place for a sightseeing aficionado.

For the entire article including photos please visit

http://www.travelandtransitions.com/stories_photos/hello_graz.htm

Jul
16

The city of Amsterdam is an old city that has embraced the new cosmopolitan flair of Europe. The seat of government is in The Hague, but Amsterdam is also thought of as the capital and it is the home of The Netherlands royal family. The Dutch are also a cultured people who enjoy the finer things in life when it comes to the arts.

Amsterdam is a city of less than one million residents but has over 50 theatres and movie houses, two ballet troupes, a symphony orchestra, and numerous museums.

The Leidesplein is the theatre district of Amsterdam. Many of the numerous theater cinemas are themed in that each carries a certain type of film art house, film noir, English only, new, etc. The Dutch run the film in its original language with the sub-titles in Dutch dialogue; as a result, visitors can often find a film in their native tongue; especially English.

The various theatres carry the best and latest in operas, symphonies, dances, and various other concerts. It is not uncommon to find a theatrical production being played out in a plaza or park. There is even a theatre that specializes in programs for the younger generation.

The Dutch art scene covers everything from graffiti to works by the masters; both inside the museums and galleries and out on the streets.

Some 50 of the over 400 museums in The Netherlands are located within the city of Amsterdam and are among the citys most popular tourist attractions. Besides the typical works of the masters, modern art, film, and photography; some of the museums that can be found in Amsterdam are the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, a Botanical Museum, a museum dedicated to the Dutch resistance during World War II, the Heineken Experience, the Ajax Museum (Dutch football team), a houseboat museum, a torture museum, museums dedicated to sex and erotica, NEMO a hands on science museum for the children that is housed in a boat shaped building, the shipping museum, a Biblical Museum, the tropical museum and the Jewish museum. There are also several art galleries within the city.

The largest of the museums is the Rijksmuseum, which houses Dutch art dating as far back as some early religious works, and of course; the masters.

Located in the middle of the city is the Anne Frank House, where the young teen wrote her diary while hiding from the Nazis with her family. The original diary is on display at the house.

The Houseboat Museum is an actual houseboat similar to those used by some residents of Amsterdam. The boat is set up as if the family where merely out running errands or at the cinema and will return at any moment.

Across from the Anne Frank House is the tulip museum. The small museum offers a multimedia presentation of the famous flower including its history.

For those interested in the art of the adult beverage there is the Heineken Experience which provides everything about the famous beer. And there is the Vodka museum that not only gives a history of the alcoholic potato and a display of unusual vodka bottles, but a bar where visitors can sample the famous Russian concoction. There is also a coffee and tea museum for the coffee and tea lover.

The Jewish Museum tells of the history of Dutch Jews and is housed in four synagogues some dating back to the sixteen hundreds.

Located on the edge of the Red Light District is the Museum Amstelkring which houses religious artifacts and art.

Visitors to St. Petersburg, Russia can see a few of the works housed in the Hermitage along the Neva River; but it is nearly impossible to see everything housed within the palace walls. However, visitors to Amsterdam can visit the Hermitage in Amsterdam which features two exhibits each year.

The TIN-Theater Museum features the history of the theater back to the Middle Ages. And the Film museum features a history on cinema history. The FOAM specializes in photography.

And for those who have an interest in things ancient and archeological is the Allard Pierson Museum.

And of course; the old city would not be complete without a historical museum of Amsterdam itself and the maritime museum Nederlands Scheepvaart Museum.

The tropical museum features exhibits on the tropical areas around the world.

There are museums dedicated to the works of Vincent Van Gogh, Rembrandt and writer Theo Thijssen.

Madame Tussauds offers visitors the chance to see Rembrandt at work, see Kylie Minogue, Bono, Bob Marley or hold court with Princess Maxima.

The Tassen Museum Hendrikje is dedicated to the great designers of womens purses and handbags offering thousands of the womens accessories for visitors to view. The Brilmuseum features eyeglasses.

For the musically inclined there is a small museum featuring player pianos and thousands of the paper rolls used in creating the music. Sir Elton John has nothing on this small museum which offers s glimpse into the history of eyewear.

With the wide variety of exhibits offered by the museums and the variety of cultural events there is something for almost any interest for the visitors and residents in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam

Amsterdam a city sometimes called the Venice of the north is a city surrounded by water. Holland is a small country located between Germany and England across the sea. Whether it be along the North Sea or one of the many canals and rivers throughout the city, finding a place to stay with a waterfront view is an easy task. This modernized city with an old world charm offers a variety of places for visitors to stay from the finest international chain hotels to an intimate inn and even a houseboat. For a relatively small city Amsterdam contains nearly 300 hotels and that does not include the 100 plus guesthouses, the hostels, cottages, houseboats, and even some apartments for extended stays. But even with all of these available hotel rooms and other places to stay, finding lodgings during the tourist season can be very difficult. As a result, it is recommended for tourists to book a room or other lodging in advance. By booking ahead guests will be ensured that not only will they get the room that they want but at a price they desire as well. There are websites that list these hotels and similar accommodations in the city by category large, number of stars, small, etc. there are even listings those places that are suitable for families, are pet friendly, wheelchair accessible, and even the ones that are gay/lesbian friendly.

For the adventurous tourists and travelers Amsterdam also offers campgrounds just outside the city. In winter it gets very cold in Amsterdam cold enough to freeze the waterways so for the avid camper, summer is the best time to visit. Residents of Amsterdam even skate along the waterways during the winter for pleasure and as a way to get from one place to another.

Like many European cities Amsterdam is a popular tourist destination but the city does not offer a lot in the way of parking; as a result, it is best to make use of the extensive public transportation services offered by the country of The Netherlands. Bicycle riding is also very popular in this small country. Visitors can easily rent bikes and even take them on the trains. The Netherlands transit system includes buses, trams, subways, and a train service that operates over 100 trips each day. There is even a train that runs right under Amsterdams Schiphol Airport for easy access into the city so there is no need to pay those high taxi fees to get into the city or to the hotel. It is even possible to take a trip across the country on the train and return to Amsterdam in the same day.

For those visitors who insist upon driving, they must pay close attention to any and all traffic laws. The Netherlands may be liberal in some areas of the law but it has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to traffic violations and tickets with heavy fines are given out even for first offenses and with no warning. If the ticket is not paid within a 24 hour period then the vehicle is towed.

Since the city of Amsterdam is considered small, walking from place to place is also a relatively simple task.

Bicycle and walking tours around the city of Amsterdam are among the items offered to visitors to the city.

Getting to Amsterdam as a tourist destination is even easier than getting around in the city once visitors have arrived. Schiphol Airport serves some 40 million visitors each year with approximately 90 different airline services from every corner of the globe.

The trains that run all through the country also offer trains to the neighboring countries of Germany, France, Belgium, and beyond. Many Hollanders speak English and offer informational kiosks throughout the train stations and airport making it easier for visitors find what they want and to get around the city.

Besides the windmills, wooden shoes, chocolates, and tulips for which Amsterdam and The Netherlands are best known; Amsterdam is the home of the artist Rembrandt and oddities like leaning houses.

Among the other rather unusual things that can be found in The Netherlands and Amsterdam are targeted for adults that of the coffeehouse where Cannabis is smoked and the Red Light District where the ladies are displayed in shop windows. In the Red Light District a man literally shops for the companion he wants. Beware: no photos are allowed when visiting the area.

Football fans can watch the two time World Cup Champions the Amsterdam Ajax play. One of the biggest teams in Europe the Ajax have been a part of Amsterdam and football for over 100 years.

Since Rembrandt lived, worked, and died in Amsterdam there are a number of museums and art galleries some of which are dedicated to the great artist; as well as, the other great masters in art.

Amsterdam Attractions

When many people hear the words Holland, The Netherlands, or Amsterdam the first things that comes to mind are wooden shoes, windmills, chocolate, and tulips. But the country of The Netherlands and Amsterdam have a lot more to offer its millions of visitors each year. This small country in western Europe is located west of Germany with England to the east located across the sea.

Amsterdam is a city located on the North Sea and while storms can be fierce the summer weather is pleasant. There are four beaches in the Amsterdam area for residents and visitors to enjoy the warm sun. Some of these beaches even permit swimming.

Like Venice and St. Petersburg, two cities surrounded by water, boat traffic is numerous and tourists can find rides along the waterways in the form of a taxi or a structured ride.

Amsterdam offers the golfer a number of choices to get in a few holes while on holiday.

Since bicycle riding is more than just a popular pastime in The Netherlands, it is also a form of transportation instead of the motor vehicle; bike riding tours are available during the non-winter months. A combination bike and boat ride is also offered during the summer months of June, July, and August. These bicycle tours wind through the Dutch countryside offering tourists a glimpse into the real Holland with trips through the countryside, cheese farms, and clog factories. While on the tour visitors can see windmills, get a bit of history, and learn a bit about how the Dutch have reclaimed some of their country back from the sea The Netherlands is a country at or below sea level which floods easily.

And of course; there are the numerous gardens located all over the country showing off the tulips the country of The Netherlands is so famous for. While there are many small gardens hidden behind the walls of private homes, there are also large public gardens with thousands upon thousands of flowers in a rainbow of colour.

For visitors who wish to view the city in a more pedestrian manner, there are several walking tours of Amsterdam. The most well known is the The WOW or Walking Over Water Tour. During this 3 hour and a half tour visitors can see the old Amsterdam City Center, leaning houses, sea dikes, lost city walls, hidden monasteries, sites of former executions and spectacular murders, and the famous Red Light District where the girls are on display in shop windows; but beware taking photographs is prohibited.

The second walking tour takes about 2 hours and is called The Red Light District walks. As the name implies this tour focuses on the Red Light district. The Red Light tour visits the spots where the women offer their services to men and educates the people with a visit to the PIC or Prostitute Information Centre.

The walking tours are conducted in English year round. The residents of Amsterdam and The Netherlands are a cultured and sophisticated people and their festivals reflect such culture. Besides the various festivals for various holidays there are art festivals, literary festivals, and festivals for film and theatre; as well as, music festivals and concerts. There is some kind of festival taking place nearly every month of the year in Amsterdam. The Dutch even put on a festival to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

What began as a country wide celebration of the Queen Mothers birthday has evolved into a massive outdoor party each April 30. All of Holland comes out dressed in orange to enjoy a giant birthday party and celebrate out among the blooming flowers and warming weather. The holiday is more than just a big party; marketing is strictly regulated as everything imaginable is available for sale; even the children get involved and show off their business skills.

Among the more unusual festivals happens in November when the various coffeehouses in the city hold the High Times Cannabis Cup; a six day festival that includes musical events and tasting parties. In The Netherlands it is legal to buy and smoke cannabis. It is illegal however to carry more than 5 gram of the drug.

December is the month that all the children wait for; on December 5 St. Nicholas arrives but not is a sleigh, but in a boat. The arrival of St. Nick is accompanied by a parade and festival. The Dutch do not celebrate the traditional Christmas of December 25 as the jolly ones arrival so for many Dutch it is a normal day with businesses and museums open to the public.

The year ends with a bang literally on December 31 with bars and nightclubs opening late, early evening is for families, and a big fireworks display.

Summer may be the time when most of the tourists come to visit but The Netherlands offers something for residents and visitors any time of the year.

Jul
09

Welcome to the City of Dreams. Home to Tinseltown and its famous celebrities, Los Angeles is like no other city on earth. Situated on the southeastern corner of the west coast of America, the city coastline stretches 76 miles from Malibu in the north to Long Beach in the south.

Los Angeles is the second largest city in the US after New York, and is famous for setting new trends and making them popular across the world. One of the most popular tourist destinations on the west coast of America, many Los Angeles hotels are the first choice of celebrities and dignitaries. Besides comforts and luxuries, these Los Angeles hotels offer easy access to most of the star attractions of the city. Nokia Theater, Museum of Contemporary Art, Beverly Hills and sunny beaches are some of the famous attractions of the city.

Los Angeles Hotel Attractions

The internet is a very generous place; you will find many listings and guides for different services on it related to hotel accommodation. One of the best service providers in the industry is Last Minute Travel. The company offers excellent services including:

• Accommodation

• Car rental

• Cruise

• Flight reservation

• Packages

All these services save valuable time for the customer besides providing huge savings.

You can choose from a wide variety of accommodations available in the Los Angeles area. With the help of services from Last Minute Travel you can choose your accommodations on the basis of:

• Destination and location

• Star rating

• Price category

• Best value

• Name of hotel

You can find out about the availability of the rooms on your own schedule. Another service allows you to find Los Angeles hotels based on the number of members of your family. All these listings across the various categories can be arranged alphabetically or based on price.

Top 10 budget hotels in Los Angeles

You might be surprised to know that Last Minute Travel offers you 10 budget hotels in the price range of $50 to $70. The two or three star services and amenities of these hotels are good value for the money. These hotels include:

• Guest House

• Cecil Hotel

• Hollywood Inn Express South

• Vagabond Inn Hacienda Heights

• Royal Century Hotel

• Stay Los Angeles

• Clarion Hotel

• Adventure All Suites

Besides these hotels there are two Los Angeles hotels in the listing that are off the record. These are exclusive offers from Last Minute Travel Services. These exclusive offers are not permanent and keep changing from time to time. Check the website of Last Minute Travel Services to find the latest exclusive offers.

Los Angeles is never short of excitement. Once settled in your hotel, relax for a bit and you will find yourself ready to explore the abundant opportunities for fun and excitement that the city offers in no time. A visit to Santa Monica beach, a bike ride on Venice beach or a shopping trip to Rodeo drive in Beverly hills are just some of the most popular things one can do in Los Angeles.

Jun
29

Our journey took us to the Yorkshire Dales in a place called Asenby near Thirsk. What a wonderful site greets you in the form of a wonderful public house with a thatched roof and lots of strange and wonderful objects strategically placed on and around it. After all it was named the Crab & Lobster so a crab and lobster is what we saw. It is the kind of site you see in your lifetime, where you wonder if you are still deep in a dream or on some kind of medication. Needless to say we were definitely not on the latter. This beautiful little building is the start of your wonderful weekend break, holiday or maybe even wedding day. More about this pub later.

Just around the back we found the Crab Manor Hotel. As we drove into the graveled car park, two large white alabaster hounds greet you in a very welcoming way. The dog statues line the way to the magnificent front door surrounded by climbing ivy which reaches right up to the rooftop. In fact as we looked around, the whole grounds were a gardeners dream with trees of all colours and species, shrubs plants and flowers. If this was a taste of the opulence inside then we were in for a great treat.

Stepping into the hallway, well, what can I say it is to be seen to be believed. Decorated with beautiful artifacts and antiques, we did not know where to look first. I could see an enormous and I mean enormous Yeti in the window of the staircase wearing an apron. There was the biggest clock I have ever seen in my life on the wall. For anyone with bad eyesight, worry not. To tell you everything we could see just from the area we were stood in would constitute pages and pages of description. Take my word for it unusual is the word that comes to mind.

You will be greeted by the receptionist who is also very informative as well as kind and be shown to the room of your choice, which could be the Waldorf Atoria in New York the Cipriana Palace in Venice. La Mamounia Hotel in Marrakesh and many more. We stayed at the Sharrow Bay hotel in Ullswater.

As we walked through the door a Four Poster bed looms ahead of you with drapes and cherubs and beautiful bedding. I could not wait to lie under the canopy and imagine I was royalty at least. Down a couple of steps is the sitting room with television, wonderful furniture and Crisps! Yes crisps not just any old crisps but packaged in a container I have never seen before and enough to feed an army. Biscuits, coffee and teas.

Next we walked into the bathroom and oh my goodness