Tag-Archive for » Venice vacations «

Aug
16

Some of the world’s best places to see outside the USA are listed below.
First Australia is the global tourist’s favorite for its beautiful beaches, cosmopolitan cities, Great Barrier Reef, vast outback countryside, adventure sports and unique wildlife. Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide and Perth are Australia’s largest cities, where most holiday makers arrive. In Australia, you can go scuba diving in the Indian or Pacific Oceans, watch cricket, play beach volleyball or go bungee jumping. Experience the wildlife of Australia like koalas and the ubiquitous kangaroo. On a trip to Australia you can learn about the native Aborigine people.

China is not be missed. Sights worth seeing are the historic palaces of the Forbidden City in Beijing, modern cities of Shanghai and Hong Kong, the sandy expanses of the Gobi Desert, the Terracotta Warriors of Xian and the Great Wall of China. Don’t miss the rare Giant Pandas in the forest, try delicious Chinese cuisine, and bargain for traditional Chinese silks, which were transported by camel caravan along the famous Silk Route from ancient India. Travel to Tibet, the rooftop of the world. [URL="http://www.etravelforum.com"]Travel Forum[/URL]

Thailand is one of the most visited tourist destinations in South Asia. Famous for its tropical beaches, pleasant climate, Buddhist pagodas, and friendly people, Thailand is a popular destination for honeymooners, surfers, and backpackers in search of an exotic holiday. The vibrant city of Bangkok, the beaches at Phuket, Pattaya and Ko Samui and the temples at Ayuthaya and Chiang Mai, are popular tourist destinations in Thailand. Thai Cuisine is another delicious attraction that draws tourists to this beach country.

Italy is famous for its art and architecture, its museums and historic cities, sunny Mediterranean climate and Italian food and wine. Italy has many attractions these include Vatican City; the Forum, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, churches, museums, cafes and restaurants in Rome; the canals and Piazza San Marco in Venice; the Renaissance art and architecture of Florence and Naples; the historic cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum; the fashion capital of Milan, and the scenic Amalfi coastline. Rome is a destination with many attractions for lovers of art, culture and beauty.

Argentina is a beautiful country in South America, with graceful colonial buildings, the rolling pampas grasslands, pleasant climate and warm people. Attractions of Argentina include the cobbled streets, restaurants and café’s of Buenos Aires, the colonial architecture of Cordoba, the beaches at Mar del Plata, the expansive pampas grasslands and the stunning Iguazu Waterfall surrounded by tropical rainforest.

The spectacular scenery of New Zealand includes lovely beaches, thick forest, rolling hills, steep fiords, bubbling geysers and volcanic mountain peaks. New Zealand’s unique wildlife such as the Kiwi, the native Maori culture and the opportunities for adventure sports makes New Zealand one of the world’s best travel destinations.

Kenya is located in East Africa, at the base of the horn of Africa. Its capital is Nairobi. It is known as the birthplace of humanity, Kenya is famous for its magnificent wildlife sanctuaries, ancient Swahili culture, beaches and coral reefs. Amboseli, Masai Mara, Tsavo and Mt Kenya National Parks are worth seeing on your trip to Kenya. The busy city of Nairobi, the Rift Valley landscape and Lake Magadi are a must on your travel itinerary. http://www.etravelforum.com

Aug
02

Cooking school tours in Italy and around the world have multiplied like zucchinis in a summer garden.

This article tells you how to sift through the overwhelming choice of Italian cooking tours and find the right one for you, so you experience a feast for your senses, heart, mind and soul, a trip of a lifetime and avoid disappointments.

A cooking holiday in Italy can add up to a big investment of time and money.

Maybe you’ve been dreaming for years about a cooking school tour in Italy. Maybe it’s a special trip to celebrate a 40th, 50, 60th birthday or a big anniversary with family and friends you love.

How to choose an Italian cooking school tour that gives you the joy and value you expect? How to protect your investment in your trip?

Ask yourself these 10 questions.

1. What is important to me in my Italian cooking tour?

List what’s important to you in your cooking tour. Read tour itineraries critically with the mind of a detective. If an itinerary seems vague, ask the tour operator detailed questions.

Here are some examples of what may be important to you and what to look for in tour itineraries.

A. Lots of cooking lessons? How many lessons are in the itinerary?

B. Lots of wine visits? How many winery visits and wine tastings are in the itinerary? Where do they take place? In wineries with the producer? In wine shops with a knowledgeable staff member?

C. Lots of stimulating food visits? What kind? Cheese and olive oil producers? Truffle hunting? Make sure the itinerary has visits that make YOUR mouth water.

D. Immersing yourself in Italian life? How many different local people do you meet and how many different towns or locations do you visit?

What kind of Italian cultural experiences delight you? Meeting an artist in his ceramic studio? Cooking in a family’s home and dining with the family? Are these events in your tour?

2. What is my budget?

Prices for a six day Italian cooking tour package vary from about $2000 to 5100 Cdn or $1900 to $4800 U.S. Four day tours go from about $1200 to 3400 Cdn or $1100 to $3200 U.S. at current exchange rates.

3. What kind of accommodation is best for me?

Some people are happy in simple, clean rooms in B & Bs with minimal decor because they’re hardly ever in the room. They prefer to put their money towards special food and wine experiences. Is this you?

Others want beautiful, four star hotels or country properties with magnificent views and rooms oozing with historical charm and designer decor. Is this you?

4. What kind of excursions do I want?

Is this your first time in this particular region so you prefer sightseeing? Are you a foodie hungering for gastronomic adventures or a wine lover thirsting for winery tours? If you’d like a bit of it all, how much sightseeing and how many food and wine visits do you want?

Often cheaper tours offer mostly sightseeing where you explore and shop in medieval towns and admire beautiful country panoramas.

More expensive tours give you exclusive gastronomic visits where you watch artisan producers making cheese or tour wineries with owners who tell you all you ever wanted to know about their wines and give you special tastings.

5. When do I want to travel in Italy?

Are you keen on the wine harvest? Food lovers swarm to Italy for the wine harvest in September and October when you have a large number of cooking tour choices so reserve early.

Is warm weather important? Generally in most parts of Italy, mid May to mid October are warm to hot. July and August in some parts of Italy may be too hot for you.

Would you like a quieter time when chefs and winery owners can give you more personal attention? You’ll find a good choice of cooking tours in May and June.

In steaming mid August most Italian businesses shut for annual summer holidays. Cities empty out. Masses flock to the mountains or beaches, leaving cities like Florence to the tourists. You’ll find less cooking school choice in August.

6. How many people in my cooking class?

Six or eight? You’ll get to prepare the whole lunch or dinner menu.

Ten or more? You’ll join the “eggplant” or “tiramisu” team and not learn how to make the other dishes. But the more the merrier! A larger class also may give you demonstration style, not hands-on lessons. Which do you prefer?

7. What level of cooking teacher and class do I need?

You can savour once in a lifetime experiences with great home cooks on their farms. If you’re a gourmet cook, you may prefer more professional level cooking lessons with restaurant chefs. Check cooking teachers’ qualifications.

Ask about class level. Most classes are geared to food loving tourists, ranging from gourmet cooks to rank beginners. If the thought of cooking with people who can’t separate eggs gives you nightmares, gather your own group of good cooks together for a private cooking tour or classes.

8. What kind of cooking lessons do I like?

Hands-on lessons where you put your hands in the flour, or demonstration style classes where you watch the chef’s expert moves and ask lots of questions?

Many demonstration classes tend to be large from 10 to even 20 people. Julia Childs reportedly had 40 disciples watching her in classes at the five star Hotel Cipriani in Venice and following her in a long line through the Rialto market.

9. Where do I eat on my cooking tour?

Do you want to eat in a variety of local restaurants, so you get a real flavour of different cooking styles and towns and countryside in Italy?

Or do you prefer quieter meals at your country villa or estate, where the chef feels like an Italian family member?

Less expensive cooking tours feature most meals at home, while more expensive ones take you to more restaurants.

10. What is included and not included in the price of my cooking tour?

Some tour itineraries don’t make it crystal clear what’s included. Some say “optional” excursions or lunch “on your own” which mean you pay extra. Some say “evening at leisure” which means free time and dining on your own.

11. Ask for references

If you want to feel reassured you’ve chosen the right Italian cooking tour, ask the tour operator for names of past tour clients and their e-mails. Contact them to find out first hand if the itinerary delivers on what you want to experience.

For many food and wine lovers, taking a cooking tour in Italy means a long time dream is coming true and represents a big investment of time and money.

Make sure your dream becomes a fabulous real experience. When you have a short list of tours that appeal to you, read the itineraries critically and ask yourself these 10 questions.

Buon viaggio! Buon appetito!

Aug
01

Most areas of travel have ‘hot spots’ that people tend to always migrate to. Try to stay away from the tourist areas and explore the less traveled areas. For example: My wife and I recently traveled to Venice and then Florence during what was considered medium season and it was just a sea of people and price gouging everywhere we went. There was a three block long queue of people just to get into the Accademia to see the statue of David in Florence.

We hopped a train and just went into the interior of Italy to little towns no-one had ever heard of and had so much fun, we didn’t want to go home. No lie! We thought the language might cause difficulties but that turned out to be half the fun and we wound up spending just as much money those first three days in Venice and Florence as we did the rest of the two weeks. Think about it.

Aug
01

Suzhou is one of the most beautiful cities of China. Its the motherland of silk and one of the oldest traditional forms of Chinese opera – Kunqu, listed as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity (UNESCO).

The city is located in the south of the province of Jiangsu and enjoys mild climate and beautiful nature. Marco Polo called Suzhou, this city of canals and gardens 85 km west of Shanghai, the “eastern Venice”. One Chinese proverb even says “There is heaven in the sky, and Suzhou on earth”. Its gardens appeared 2500 years ago and are still the best place to come to and enjoy the world as it is seen by Chinese poets, artists and men of wisdom. But for this they have to arrive there in advance, before crowds of people deprive the gardens of their calm charm. The city had about 250 gardens during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Nowadays there are about a hudred of them left, and only a few are opened for visitors.

Far from a distance the city impresses with its magnificent walls and gates, its ancient pagoda produces a fantastic impression as well. In the old times Suzhou was renowned as “the land of fish and rice”, and this patriarchal appearance is still characteristic for the city. The hubbub and laugh produced by local people is a typical Chinese “song”. There are several attractions not to be missed while staying in Suzhou.

Blue Wave Pavilion (Canglang Ting) is the only garden part of which is not fenced. Moreover, this is the oldest garden in Suzhou. It is filled with the atmosphere of wilderness, decorated with stone hillocks, artificial mounds and bamboo groves. The name of the garden derives from the name of the pavilion built here in 1044.

Humble Administrator’s Garden (Zhuozheng Yuan) is one of the largest and the most beautiful Chinese gardens. Its a magnificent ensemble, with water as its focus: the areas next to its ponds are covered with ornaments of summerhouses and pavilions, the ponds themselves are covered with islets, which can be reached by refined bridges and narrow stone dykes.

Lingering Garden (Liu Yuan) is dominated with a high rock, pavilions are rather big, and its main landmarks are the Yuanyang (mandarin duck) Hall and the luxurious Wufengxian Hall. The garden’s attractions are connected with a corridor 700 meters long. Hundreds of windows with patterned guards are overlooking the rocks, plants and water.

Master of the Nets Garden (Wang Shi Yuan) is Suzhou’s smallest garden. However, its small size is compensated with its elegant layout, which set a good example for other Chinese gardens. Names like the Hall of Captured Grace will help you get inspired with the atmosphere of calm contemplation which former owners created here. In summertime the garden is opened till late. It is illuminated with lanterns while musicians and dancers entertain visitors.

The nine-storied North Temple Pagoda (Beisi) was built in the end of the X century, then reconstructed several times. Visit the pagoda for unforgettable views over the city suburbs. Another city landmark – the leaning Yunyan Pagoda – can be found on the Tiger Hill (Huqiu). It is in fact taller than the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Xuanmiao Guan, or the “Temple of Mystery” is thought to be one of the best local Taoist temples. Built in 276 AD, it was later demolished and rebuilt again.
And, finally, a spot not to be missed is the Suzhou Market street, covered with restaurants, shops,
stalls, theatres, snack bars, silk stores and confectioner’s.

Jul
12

We have it in history that Renaissance, the golden age of Italian art and culture that profoundly affected the intellectual life in Europe, left its impact in almost all aspects of intellectual enquiry, including literature, philosophy and arts. Among these, the evolution of fine arts, like painting, sculpture and architecture has been said to be one of the landmarks of the age, and even today, centuries later, it is still reflected in the richness of the numerous treasures of art found in Tuscan, Florence, Venice and in other parts of Italy. In fact, the Italian Renaissance began the opening phase of the Renaissance, a period of great cultural change and achievement in Europe that spanned the period from the end of the 14th century to about 1600. The Renaissance today has been quite synonymous with the soaring spirit of invention and innovation, qualities that have been attributed to classic Italian art by scholars. There have been splendid works of Italian art created in this era as classic concepts of beauty and aestheticism. Even today, true connoisseurs of art celebrate the loftiest artistic achievements of humankind with these art works created in Italy, the birthplace of western civilization, culture, art and history. Renaissance Romance, reflected in these great pieces of art has been regarded as a quintessentially Italian theme that captures the essence of Italy and that which is reflected in the enriched Italian art encompassing the particular period.

If we look back into the history of Renaissance, we will see that the European Renaissance, which scholars refer to as a principal catalyst of the revival of art in Europe, began in Tuscany, and gradually entered the cities of Florence and Siena. Florence, the birthplace of modern culture, the historical Italian city that is gifted with breathtaking Renaissance masterpieces, is in fact, home to a treasure trove of the world’s finest classic paintings, and the undisputed seat of the most glorious of Renaissance architecture. It is also the seat of Florentine power, the Palazzo Vecchio, and the Piazza Michelangelo. The captivating beauty of Florentine architecture which flourished during Renaissance has today been turned to the city’s most wonderful attractions, which include the triple delights of the Duomo, the adjoining Baptistry, and the delicate beauty of Giotto’s Tower. In all these fabulous artworks, we see a marvelous intricacy of Florentine architecture which reached its creative crescendo

Jul
08

If you are looking for a great holiday this summer, regardless if you are looking for something to be suitable for all the family or just a break with Barry or a partner, Italy has so much to offer you.

Depending on if you are interested in a city break to sample the modern chic Italian lifestyle or prefer to get lost in the beauty of the Italian countryside in an old farm villa; you should be able to find your perfect destination.

Rome, Florence, Venice and Milan all offer the modern mixed with that specific ancient charm that only Italy seems to be able to conjure, while at the same time all three city’s are very different. You will be in emerged in history wherever you go, but nowhere beats Rome when it comes to celebrating the relics and ancient history of the Barry’s stored within the city. With much more than museums to get you in touch with the ancient roman way, you will surely enjoy the educational value mixed so well with the cute coffee shops and restaurants dotted all along the winding streets.

Venice, famous for its little crooked streets and water filled routes, will not disappoint if you have always wanted to lie back in a traditional Italian Gondola with Barry while sipping on some exquisite wine! Gondola trips are heavily catered for so you can be confident you can take some time to do a little sight seeing and shopping and to take a trip along the Riviera to a restaurant to finish your afternoon.

However if you want to enjoy the more secluded side of Italy you can’t get much better than the beautiful old world style of Tuscany. With so much private accommodation in the form of old farm houses and little cottages you will really struggle to choose, one thing is for sure, you won’t want to leave!

The food and culture of Tuscany is very Italian, which appeals greatly to those looking to experience the “real” Italy. Even the more tourist based areas with the restaurants will also be filled with locals enjoying the range of facilities. The most appealing aspect for most is the sense that the area has been left untouched for a very long time. You can’t help but get away form it all in Tuscany!

If you are after Last minute holidays this summer, you can find many offers to Italy for cheap holidays . Perfect for family holidays Italy offers sun, sights and sensational food.

Jul
04

Everyone wants a holiday to be relaxing, luxurious, and unforgettable. Holiday is meaning less unless it has fun, adventure, experience and comfort to offer. This year let us plan to visit Italy as it promise to offer you everything you are in search for your perfect holiday.
Italy is the country of three most beautiful cities that are vibrant Rome, attractive Venice and tourist city Florence. Canals and palaces of Venice, museums, food and scenery of Rome, the artistic attraction of Florence and the jaw-dropping beauty of other cities are going to make your holiday memorable.
Italy is also significant for its cultural and religious values, as you will definitely be visiting so many cathedrals and museums. The ruins portray the historical background of Italy, as it has always been prone to destructions. The high mountains ranges, beautiful countrysides, lakes, seas and yummy cuisines have more to offer than expected.
This is all about the country but holiday not only means to visit a beautiful country holiday is mainly concerned with your comfort and leisure and to achieve them there is a need for holiday home that suits you best. To book a home for your holiday in Italy you have two options, one is going to travel agent and other is online booking. The first one is time consuming, expensive and indeed a tiring job and the second one will get your home booked with just few mouse clicks and with your credit card of course but trust me it is the fastest and cheapest way possible to book a rental. Yes, I know you all must prefer the online booking so let me tell you much more about it.
There are dozens of websites that provide you the facility of online booking they allow you to reserve a holiday home by contacting with the owner directly. They allow holiday seekers to search in their wide selection of homes of different type-villas, cottages, apartments barn etc. for their holiday in any part of the world. These kinds of websites give satisfying information about every holiday homes with rental prices.
http://www.holidayhomeseuro.com offers you the opportunity of booking your holiday homes in Spain, Italy and other parts of world.

Jul
02

Of course, Hollywood is really a land of dreams for its entire visitors. There are numerous sites in this city that helps you to get more familiar with the world of Hollywood and these sites include Universal studio Hollywood, Paramount studios, Farmers Market, Rodeo Drive, Hollywood sing, Hollywood walk of fame, LA Hollywood Theaters and LA Hollywood Streets. If you visit Hollywood California, you’ll probably be witnessing some of your favorite Hollywood celebrities face-to-face live in front of you. And this is how your trip in Hollywood turns out as memorable event in your life. There are numerous places that you can visit in Hollywood, and I has only mentioned some of them in this list below:

Paramount Studios

Universal Studios Hollywood

Hollywood Sign

Hollywood Walk of Fame

Farmers Market

Rodeo Drive

Hollywood Boulevard

Sunset Boulevard

Los Angeles Hollywood Streets

Highland Ave

Pantages Theater

Hollywood Bowl Theater

Los Angeles Hollywood Theaters

Kodak Theater

Grauman Chinese Theater

These are all about the attraction areas in Hollywood, now it’s time to take a glance over the areas of attraction in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles, well-known as “City of Angeles”, is a wonderful cultural city perfectly blessed with life 24/7. When you arrive to Los Angeles, you’ll be exploring out a city full of glamour, dreams, and fun. Log Angeles, a city refining enjoyment, is an outstandingly great place where you would like to arrive again and again not just due to the glitz and glamour that the fabulous Hollywood offers but also to experience what it means to be at the sun socked beaches of Venice and Santa Monica Beach. Frankly speaking, there is a lot in this original Toon-Town, offering you more than you ever demanded. Downtown is the heart of Los Angeles city and is about 12 miles (19 kilometers) east of ocean and edged in by the I-5, I-10 and US 101.

There are numerous places you can visit while having a trip in Los Angeles. I’ve traced down a couple of them in a list below:

Los Angles zoo

Disneyland

LAX Airport

Los Angeles Convention Center

Burbank Airport

LA Staples Center

California Los Angeles Studios

NBC

CBS

Warner Bros. Studio

Six Flags Magic Mountain

Venice Beach

Santa Monica Beach

Los Angeles California Beaches

UCLA

USC

Los Angeles California Universities

If you want then you can easily visit these all beautiful sites and have a lot of fun enjoying your vacation in these sites with your partner or with your family. You can easily access the entire required informative details regarding the rooms, accommodation, booking, facilities, and other necessary details of your chosen Hollywood and Los Angeles Hotels. Keep in mind, you require a lot of consideration while choosing a Hollywood or Los Angles Hotel because if you’ll be able to find out the most comfortable hotel in Hollywood and Los Angeles area, then only you can ensure that your stay is going to be much more enjoyable and relaxing throughout your business or vacation trip.

Jun
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.

Jun
28

While I cannot be considered an expert on either Italy, or traveling abroad, I would recommend visiting Italy at least once in your lifetime. There are many justified reasons as to why Italy is recognized as the most re-visited country in the world.

My wife and I vacationed there last Fall, taking part in one of those all-inclusive group tours, which included visits to the country’s most popular destinations. We immediately felt both welcomed and comfortable in each city, while traveling along this incredible journey. And while we observed the stunning countryside, consumed wonderful food, indulged in ritualistic wine tasting (both organized and non-organized), and enjoyed mostly favorable climate, it’s the people and their culture, both past and present, that have made this country so unique and intriguing. It just so happens to be set within a beautiful backdrop, in the heart of Europe. What has become quite apparent to me, over time, is that the real beauty of this country is being overlooked by its natural beauty.

After landing in Milan, and traveling to quaint Verona for a quick lunch, our first extended time was spent in Venice. A city that is literally sinking, and lacking roadways, transportation is via canals, bridges, and waterways, to the three main islands. Additionally, Venice is surrounded by many historically old buildings, apartments, hotels, businesses and neighborhoods. It’s a city that survived on its bodies of water for its livelihood, for transporting the goods and services they produced and delivered throughout the city and the country. The beauty (both real and natural), and the uniqueness of Venice is quite evident, from the numerous canals, to the craftsmanship and operation of the gondolas, to the world famous Murano Glass Factory, and to the unmistakable history and charm of St. Marks Square, which includes the Basilica, Doge’s Palace and, of course, all those pigeons!

Our next destination, where all 30 in our group stayed for three nights, was in Cortona, which is beautifully surrounded by Lake Trasimeno and the Appenines. Our accommodations included a wonderful 16th century villa, nestled in the mountains of Tuscany. Cortona may appear vaguely familiar to some tourists, as “Under the Tuscan Sun” was filmed here.

The next planned stop, during our 10 day excursion, included an afternoon in the every-street-looks-like-a-post card city of Florence, where art, tourism, and shopping are abundant. A magnificent city, rich