Saturday, February 28, 2009

Is Travel Out now that the Ecomony has Tanked?

By Chris Linch

I will agree with anybody that says the state of the economy is no the best. I do still feel that we need to get out and enjoy our lives, however. I don't know how bad it will end up, but if we can do things, we should.

Many travel agencies, hotels, airlines, and more are slashing prices just to attract people to their destination. I say go for it. I think right now is a great time to take advantage and go somewhere. Better to do it now than worry about it and not be able to do it for a long time.

I see it every day, there are great deals out there as you read this. You will be so disappointed in the future if you miss out on them. Right now is the time to book some travel and get out. Even if it is just a few days somwhere, that is better than sitting at home.

One thing we can say for sure is nobody knows what the economy will be like in 6 months to a year. It could go either way at this point. The fact is, however, life is too short to do nothing. I don't want people to blow their savings accounts that they might need to travel, but if you have a little extra money you might as well enjoy it, you will spend it elsewhere anyway, right?

Things will be just the same when you return. There is no reason not to take a little trip and forget about the day to day. It will make you feel much better upon your return. There is nothing wrong with looking for a budget deal, and not spending as much. Not traveling or doing anything though will only make things worse.

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Friday, February 27, 2009

Amanusa Resort: Serenity in Bali

By Chris Linch

The goal of the Amanusa is serenity, and it couldn't be more perfectly situated to achieve that goal. On one side of the resort lies the lush green tropical splendor of Bali, and on the other lies the clear, turquoise sea.

The resort provides the ultimate in Balinese hospitality, combined with western amenities, based on spiritual principles, in a beautiful setting. Where better to surrender to total relaxation?

Just a short drive from the Denpasar airport, the traveler is quickly absorbed into the relaxed pace and pampered lifestyle offered by the welcoming staff. The lovely town of Nusa Dua is a bike, walk, or chauffeur-drive away for guests who want to explore its flower lined boulevards, boutiques, restaurants and entertainments.

As an aid to total wellness, resident massage therapists offer spa treatments within the comfort and privacy of the guest's private suites. As an aid to relaxation, a flawlessly manicured golf course sits like a gem between the resort and the blue, blue ocean.

Of course, dining well is an important part of any luxury experience, and Amanusa does not disappoint. There are four restaurants at the resort offering Thai, Indonesian, Italian, and western selections. The dining ranges from elegant to al fresco, but all of the venues make the most of the tropical setting and breathtaking views.

The beach at Amanusa is on of Bali's best. It's white sand, and surrounded by a coral reef , so there is a safe lagoon for water activities.

The resort has a Beach Club at the Bali Golf and Country Club. The Club features nine bale' (pavilions) with loungers. Refreshments, showers and restrooms are available.

Massage therapy is an important part of total wellness. The therapists at Amanusa combine traditional Balinese and Swedish massage with acupressure. Reiki massage and reflexology are available, as are beauty treatments. You can have your massage in your suite, at the Spa or at one of the Beach Club bale'. Yum.

Bali is paradise for golfers. The three courses are totally unique. All are complementary for Amanusa guests. The first is the Bali Golf and Country Club and is right next to the resort in a scenic, seaside setting. It was designed by Robin Nelson and Rodney Wright, is 18 holes and named on of Asia's top five courses. The second is the Nirwana Bali Golf Club. This course is at the Tabana Regency, on the west coast, about an hour's drive from the resort. The course was designed by Greg Norman, and is famous for its visually dramatic setting. Golfers play through rice paddies, creeks, tropical forest, and gardens. The final course is about 1 hour away. The Bali Handara Kosaido Country Club is famous as one of the world's most beautiful courses. The course was designed by Peter Thomson and Graham Wolveridge and is set in an extinct volcano.

Guests stay in thatched roof suites. Each suite has a four poster bed swathed in white fabric netting. Sunken baths with tropical plants dominate the huge bathroom. The walled gardens are very private and have an outdoor shower, draped in hanging flowers. The terrace has an inviting daybed with a canopy. You can dine privately in your courtyard if you like. Eight of the suites have their own private swimming pool.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Unique Charm of Bangkok

By Chris Linch

Because Thailand was never colonized, it has managed to keep its unique culture and heritage intact. Bangkok offers visitors the opportunity to experience fascinating glimpses of Thailand's gentle culture within the larger context of a bustling city. This great metropolis has had amazing success in combining the ancient and modern world. It offers visitors not only the cosmopolitan amenities they would expect from other big cities, but a treasure trove of cultural attractions as well.Bangkok is home to approximately 10 million people, and serves as the country's economic, spiritual, cultural and educational center.

For tourists, Bangkok is a banquet of attractions. The city houses 400 glittering Buddhist temples, magnificent palaces, classical dance extravaganzas, numerous shopping centers and examples of traditional ways of life. This is especially evident along the "Venice of the East"timeless canals and the Chao Phraya River that winds through the city. It is worth taking a trip along its waters before exploring further into old Bangkok. The best time to make a canal boat trip is around six o'clock in the morning in order to capture the authentic atmosphere and the varied activity which begins early in the day: Monks receiving alms, children hurrying to school, and boats delivering vegetables from farms to markets.

If possible, time your visit to take advantage of one of the colorful festivals that Bangkok celebrates:

1)Bangkok Songkran: The Thai New Year is celebrated with parades, music troupes and boat racing.

2)Chinese New Year Festival celebrates the best in Chinese culture. Enjoy Chinese Lion and Dragon dances, special recipes, traditional costumes, and music.

3)Loi Krathong; One of the most beautiful festivals, this is the "festival of the lights". At night, celebrants gather waterside to float lotus-shaped boats decorated with flowers and lit candles, as a thanksgiving and worship of the Goddess of Water.

Other things to do and see in Bangkok include: a trip to the Royal Grand Palace, or the floating market on the River Kwai. See the reclining Buddha at Wat Yai Chai. Take a Thai cooking class. Enjoy traditional Thai dancing, or a kickboxing demonstration. Relax and indulge your senses at one of the famous Thai spas. Shop at open air markets, or an upscale Mall.

With so many delights waiting, a trip to Bangkok is sure to charm everyone.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Ten Best Attractions in Miami

By Chris Linch

If you are planning a trip to Miami we have a list of the top ten things you must do. Miami is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. Making this list is quite a feat. Anytime you travel to Miami you are sure to have a good time, we just provide this information to add some value to your trip.

#1 Miami Children's Museum - What an experience for all ages. There are tours that are bilingual so everyone can enjoy them. They have educational classes and plenty of displays.

#2 Miami Art Museum - This museum has Art dating back to 1940. What a place to see the most beautiful sculptures, painting and photography.

#3 Vizcaya Museum and Gardens - John Deering went to this location in 1914 for the winter. The main house has been kept up and still contains much of the original dcor and furniture. There are 10 acres of beautiful gardens and restored buildings.

#4 Miami Seaquarium - In operation since about 1955 this is where the famous Flipper show was filmed. Take a dip with some dolphins and see the fantastic displays at this great attraction.

#5 Offshore Rockets - This is where you can learn all about the exciting boats around the area. These people worked on the show Miami Vice!

#6 South Beach - Well a whole article could be written on South Beach, right? If you don't know they have the best clubs, and crazy life at night. It is also a beautiful area and neighborhood.

#7 Art Deco Historic District - One square mile of nearly a thousand buildings all restored to their original stucco way of building. You can take a walking tour through this beautiful area.

#8 Little Havana - Sights, sounds and tastes of the country Cuba, minus the Cigars. This is a real authentic area, make sure if you go you catch some food.

#9 Miami Nice Tours - This group offers tours of various things around Miami. You can go snorkeling take a day tour of the Everglades and go see the beautiful Key West.

#10 Island Queen - A guided boat tour of the Biscayne Bay. They have beautiful boats that take you out on the narrated tour.

That sums up the top 10. I don't think there is anybody that could get all this done in one trip to Miami, so maybe you better book two! However, you go and whatever you do, have fun.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Cruises To Bermuda

By Charlie Reese

The island of Bermuda has many charms and is a terrific destination for water sports, golf, and historic sights or just lazing on the pink sands. Several companies offer cruises to Bermuda, so you get a great vacation on a luxury cruise ship and on the island. By the time you reach your destination at Kings Wharf, you will feel pampered and rested.

Norwegian Cruises run a 7-Night cruise from New York City on board the Norwegian Dawn, a ship with a choice of 12 restaurants, 9 bars and lounges and 3 swimming pools to relax in. There is also a fitness center and spa, a theatre and a casino.

The Royal Caribbean line has years of experience in the cruise industry and their Bermuda cruises combine an elegant lifestyle on ship with sightseeing on the way to the island. The 5-Night Bermuda Cruise goes from Baltimore, Maryland on the Grandeur of the Seas, a ship that deserves its name. Passengers can enjoy the spa, and a selection of six whirlpools. For the more active, there is an outdoor running track.

Another 5-Night Royal Caribbean cruise leaves from Cape Liberty, New Jersey. The ship is the Explorer of the Seas and it is one of the largest ones in the fleet with a capacity for 3,114 guests. In addition to the usual amenities, there is an ice skating rink and a rock climbing wall. The ship is also proud host to the University of Miami Ocean Lab, a facility for the study of oceanography.

The 6-Night Carnival Cruise Line cruise to Bermuda is on board the Carnival Miracle, which departs from New York City. Passengers can visit Newport, Rhode Island on route and enjoy the cruiser's casino, spa and nightclubs.

The Costa Cruises Line organizes cruises from Quebec, calling in at Charlottetown, Boston, New York City and Port Canaveral on the way to Bermuda. This cruise to Bermuda is for 13 nights and is on board the Italian ship, Costa Atlantica.

There are plentiful sightseeing and leisure opportunities for passengers once their ship has docked. The largest city is Hamilton, where there are several museums and examples of fine architecture. The Anglican Cathedral is well worth a visit and there are lots of shops and markets to browse in. The former presence of the Royal Navy has left behind several forts to explore and there are beaches to watch the world go by. St. George is a small town that has historic sights and an interesting past, being the former capital of the island.

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Finding Cheap Honeymoon Cruises

By John Ledger

Living your honeymoon aboard a cruise is a double-unforgettable experience; unfortunately, people have the wrong idea that honeymoon cruises are just too expensive. You can save money by keeping in mind these cheap honeymoon cruises tips.

You may know that cruise lines have special honeymoon packages with "gifts" and extras for the couple. Each of these packages in different lines will have a different cost, so you should start by collecting price info and choosing one that fits better your budget.

Sure, many of these honeymoon specials may look and sound great, but the reality is that in order to spend a romantic honeymoon, it depends on you more than in a bunch of gifts.

After that, you should start looking at economic packages. All cruise lines offer different packages for the journey, all of them include food and drinks (except alcohol). The choice is obvious: packages that are affordable and give a cheap honeymoon cruise experience.

For example, some fancy packages include a special dinner in the luxury restaurant aboard the ship. Your creativity can change this and instead, you could enjoy cuddling on the deck while admiring the beauty of the stars.

If you are the kind of couple who like to party and spend time outside, then why spend extra money on a big room? A basic deck room will not only suffice, but small rooms are also great to unleash the passion.

When choosing a destination, the best would be to go on a cruise that doesn't require you an extra cost. For example if you live in Florida it will be less expensive to choose a cruise that departs from there, instead of choosing a Mediterranean cruise.

Finally, if you want a cheap honeymoon cruise, you should know that the best time to travel is during low season as you'll find lowered prices. Alternatively you can also find last minute cruises, though they don't allow for much planning.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Best Holiday Places in Turkey

By Thomas Dawkin

Altinkum is one such small resort town on the shores of the Aegean Sea; it is only 90 minutes transfer from Bodrum Airport. The town has got its name after the golden sand on its beaches. Altinkum means golden sands. The magnificent beaches of golden sand gently shelving into the shimmering turquoise blue water of the Aegean Sea is an enchanting sight.

Altinkum is a busy holiday resort behind large bay of soft golden sand with of sunbeds and water sports, backed by the gentle hills. The beach has particularly shallow waters making Altinkum especially suitable for family holidays but also great for couples too. The beach offers sunbeds and a range of water sports.

Its variety is one of stanbuls greatest attractions: The ancient mosques, palaces, museums and bazaars reflect its diverse history. The thriving shopping area of Taksim buzzes with life and entertainment. And the serene beauty of the stanbul strait, Princes Islands and parks bring a touch of peace to the otherwise chaotic metropolis.

Bodrum - Homer describes Bodrum as "The land of eternal blue" and the words of another resident of Bodrum. Throughout history of Bodrum, known as Halicarnassos in ancient times, has always been fought over and people have been unwilling to share its beauty with others.

Altinkum provides an excellent beach life with various water sports available for the more active or pedal boats for those who prefer the pace of life a bit slower. After a swim in the inviting turquoise blue Aegean you can relax on the many available sunbeds soaking-up the golden rays or shaded by one of the umbrellas which are available for rent.

Didim also has a local street market where you can buy fresh natural product every Saturday or if you prefer you can shop in one of the many supermarkets.

Antalya - Because of the archaeological and natural riches of the area, Antalya is also known as the Turkish Riviera. The sun, sea, nature and history combine to form a very popular resort, highlighted by some of the cleanest beaches in the Mediterranean. The 630km shoreline of the province is liberally scattered with ancient cities, harbours, memorial tombs and beaches, secluded coves and lush forests, many of which are easily accessible from the city.

Apart from swimming and basking on the beach, there is plenty of sight seeing you can do. There are many interesting ancient sites you can visit near Altinkum. A short ten minutes journey from the resort center is the Temple of Apollo where you will see the famous head of Medusa adorned with snakes; and you will be astonished with the size of the columns here.

Kusadasi - Many cruising ships travelling around the Aegean Islands stop here, especially because of its close proximity (20km) to Selcuk. Kusadasi is a good base to explore this and other ancient cities like Priene and Didyma.

Hunting - Geographic structure of Turkey, is appropriate for development of hunt tourism in connection with its plant cover and wild life. Hunting grounds, which will be opened to hunting tourism with considering the hunting animals potential of our country, are determined and announced by Ministry of Environment and Forests (National Parks, Hunting and Wild Life General Directorate).

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Travel - Miami International Airport

By Marco Baumann

Are you a Florida resident? If you are and you are looking to travel out of the country, you will need to find a Florida airport that is known as an international airport. International airports are airports that regularly have flights arriving from or going to an area outside of the Untied States. For Florida residents, particularly those in or around the Miami area, the Miami International Airport is the airport that they turn to when it comes to scheduling an out of the country trip.

In addition to being conveniently located, in Miami, the Miami International Airport is also well known for the number of airlines that it houses. Unlike most other airports, including other international airports, the Miami International Airport does business with over fifty airlines. That number of huge, especially when compared to other airports. Essentially, this means that wherever you are going and whenever you need to get there, the Miami International Airport should have what you are looking for.

While it is nice to have access to an airport that gives you a number of different choices, especially when it comes to airlines, it may also be difficult. Since there are over fifty airlines that partner with the Miami International Airport, you will find that their airport is large in size. This may pose a problem for you, especially if you have never visited the airport before. If this is the case, you will want to familiarize yourself with the airport?s layout or even print off a map. You can do this by visiting the online website of the Miami International Airport. These maps should also provide you with valuable information on airport parking arrangements.

This is especially important for international travelers or travelers who are unfamiliar with the airport. A simple wrong turn or a delay at an airport security checkpoint could cause you to miss your flight, especially if you did not arrive at least two hours before your flight was scheduled to take off. Also, before arriving at the airport, it is important to make sure that you have all of the documents needed to travel on an international flight. These documents commonly include picture identification, a passport, or a visa.

The airport is stocked full of retail stores, including clothing stores and gift shops. You can also find a large number of bars, restaurants, as well as other establishments. Due to the size of the airport, you will find that certain retail establishments are only available in certain airport terminal areas. However, all airport terminals have a number of different eateries and retail stores for you to choose form.

Whether you are looking to check the status of your flight, learn more about airport security procedures, or learn more about international flights, you should be able to find what you are looking for on their online website. For additional information, you may want to consider contacting the airport directly.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sydney: Australia's Iconic City

By Chris Linch

The breadth of diversity in Australia is staggering. Physically, surreal landscape of the Australian Outback gives way to the beaches, which give way to the cities, and so on. Culturally, the urban richness of Sydney competes with the exotic splendor of the Aborigines. The trouble with Australia is choosing what you want to do.

There is no special season to visit Australia either. Since they are on the other side of the equator from North America, their summer is our winter and their fall our spring. But the size of the country means that whenever you visit you can probably find something in the climate you prefer as well.

We are going to explore Sydney probably the most well-known city in Australia. Its Opera House floating in Sydney Harbor is one of Australia's most famous images. Sydney's laid-back outdoor lifestyle and physical allure make it one of the world's easiest and most pleasant cities to visit. The people who live here are a friendly, energetic bunch with a tell-it-like-it-is approach to life as visitors to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games found out.

All of Sydney's attractions lie within easy reach of the city center. Sydney's harbour is its playground, and a prominent factor in so much of what the city has to offer. The city has a dynamic cultural life, vibrant food scene and a colorful cityscape of outstanding contemporary and colonial architecture. Stunning beaches and accessible national parks deliver unforgettable experiences.

Getting Around Sydney is easy

1)Ferries: Ferries are the most pleasant and popular way to get around Sydney. With 37 wharves around the city, most Sydney residents use ferries for their daily commute.

2)Buses: Buses service is cheap, and easy to use.

3)Trains: The CityRail network is fast, convenient and clean.

4)Monorail: Sydney's Metro Monorail is on of the few above-ground rail systems in the world. Ride it for the experience. The circular route winds its way through the CBD and around Darling Harbour.

5)Light Rail: Popular with the eco-conscious residents, the Light Rail travels all over the city and you just hop on and off.

Where to Stay

1)Four Seasons Sydney - Elegant contemporary hotel. The hotels 500 plus rooms and suites overlook the Harbour and offer views of the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and the Royal Botanic Gardens.

2)Park Hyatt Sydney - Elegant hotel built on the harbour directly under the Harbour Bridge. Offers spacious rooms, outstanding service, and spectacular views.

3)The Observatory Hotel- The Observatory Hotel is one of Sydney's most acclaimed hotels, where stylish tradition meets modern efficiency. The sophisticated 100-room hotel puts guests at their ease and offers a relaxed and luxurious atmosphere. Located the heart of the historic Rocks district and only a short walk from the city and bustling King Street Wharf, the hotel offers easy access to nearby fashionable bars, restaurants, and a wide variety of entertainment, including the Opera House. Spacious, elegant, beautifully appointed, the rooms and suites at The Observatory Hotel are designed to meet the needs of the most fastidious guest.

When it comes to which city is Australia's true global city, there's no argument. It's Sydney - with its sense of style, its love of sport and exuberant celebrations.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Enchanting Kenya beach and safari holidays

By Nick Roberts

Our holidays are meant to be memorable but there are times that our plans become repetitive and we end up with something a little less than desirable. Kenya holidays are so far out of the ordinary that this unique destination makes for the most unforgettable memories and you long for the day when you can go back.

It really doesn't matter what time of year you want to take your holidays as Kenya is the perfect destination all year round. The days are long and sunny so you can skip winter this year. The days are never too hot but they are warm and inviting. Basking in the comfort of the warmth and enjoying life no longer seems too far away. March through June is the rainy season but the rains come and go quickly while staying at a delightful temperature.

The stunning vistas are but one reason that this holiday will land on the top of your list of favorites. No matter where you look whether it is the endless Indian Ocean that sparkles in a brilliant turquoise shade, or the lush fertile tropical setting on the miles of white sandy beaches, a sense of serenity and splendor fill your sense. There are several ways to enjoy the scenery on Kenya holidays such as air or boat tours and of course the traditional hiking or guided excursions.

What are Kenya holidays without safaris? This pastime has become a world renowned favorite for decades and it only continues to grow in popularity. Safaris are unique in Kenya because the vast array of wild life that is span across the territory. It is the only place on Earth with such a diverse list of animals in one location. Within the safety of your guide and the vehicle, tourists can discover an untamed exquisiteness and marvel in awe.

Kenya holidays are whatever you wish to make of them. You can be pampered and relax on the white sand beaches, while being treating like a celebrity or you can be as athletic as you desire. With the more than thirty challenging golf courses to enjoy you'll never be bored on your Kenya holidays. Water sports are also a favorite so while you are visiting the most breathtaking waters in the world have fun fishing, diving, snorkeling, and swimming.

Southern Palms Hotel has plenty of spacious rooms with panoramic views of the breathtaking beaches. The tropical gardens, live music, dancing and endless buffets cater to all of your desires. Nothing is out of reach and they offer many benefits and activities to their guests at an affordable rate. This can help to make your holidays in Kenya more convenient.

The Cove Tree Houses are a fantastic way to spend your Kenya holidays as your private setting is as unique as the land of Kenya itself. These quaint tree houses are both spacious and lavish. The service and quality at this facility is unparalleled. If privacy and luxury are on your mind then this is a superb choice in accommodations.

The Sun n Sand beach resort makes Kenya holidays special for a number of reasons and the affordable price makes it an added pleasure. Free scuba diving lessons are only one of the benefits of choosing this specific location. Besides the obvious beauty this grand structure has everything needed for family fun and romantic settings. The nightlife entertainment is culturally unique and inviting for all couples wishing to spend a great time together after the sun goes down.

Kenya holidays are a genuine enjoyment and with the affordable rates for holidays it is the best time to plan a trip. The service is unbeatable, the finances go further and the pleasures are everlasting. Break away from the ordinary and see what Kenya can offer.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tips To Consider Before Hitting The Tropics

By Rick Jenkenns

Now is the time of year to get to your local travel pro and start planning that summer time tropical getaway. I've made plenty of such trips, and here is some quick advice for those of you looking to get to warmer latitudes this year!

Time Of Year

This tip tops the tropical vacations list because the main reason we go down there is for the weather! You can look at weather trends on line for different times of the year, as well as check with your travel agent on when the best time to go is. You also need to be mindful of how cold it gets at night during the winter months as this can cause you to have to pack more clothes!

Where To Go and What To Pay

I will assume here that you are a new traveler and have not visited the tropics before. If that's you, then realize that most places will be paradise in your eyes. Since that is the case, go to a cheaper location and work your way up in future years. An example would be going to Cancun instead of the Caymans and you can save hundreds of dollars.

One strategy for saving money is to visit a spot in the Tropics that are not as well known, but quickly growing in popularity. Many spots like this will offer steep discounts to get your business. Punta Cana is one of these places.

The Resort

There really is no other way to go besides the 'all inclusive' route. This by far is your best value and leaves the least headaches to get in the way of enjoying your vacation. The key with all inclusives is to stay at one that is higher class and top rated. This way you will be assured of good food and better selection and service.

Stay Away From The Local Water

I know you have heard to never drink the water in Mexico, but really you should apply that advice to anywhere you go outside of the United States. You just don't want to take a chance on ruining your vacation with bowel problems. Just find bottled water and you are all good.

Most of all, just go to get relaxed and recharged. Have fun, enjoy the beach and the pool and start planning your next trip, while your first one is still in full swing.

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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Holiday in Spain

By reklicom

A very popular holiday destination for Brits in the summer of 2007 was Menorca. Menorca is one of the Balearic Islands located in the Mediterranean sea, southeast of Spain. Menorca is well known as a smaller, much more private holiday spot than neighboring Majorca. Majorca is much more densely populated than Menorca with many celebrities owning homes there such as Michael Douglas and wife Catherine Zeta Jones and Antonio Banderas. Both Majorca and Menorca have a lot to offer their annual visitors. Where Majorca offers a bustling night life, white beaches and celebrities; Menorca provides more privacy, quiet coves and shaded areas.

The family oriented laid back style of these communities, increased safety and 24 hour security are also primary reasons why families traveling with children prefer them. One such resort where I have recently stayed is situated in Vilanova I la Geltru a mere 50km from Barcelona Spain. Not only is there a number of organized activities offered to guests, there is also plenty of freedom to do whatever you desire while there. I highly recommend anyone traveling to the Costa Dorada to consider staying with Paramount Places.

Narrow your choices down to three and compare them all. You should pick the place that will suit everyone and allow for unforeseen circumstances. For example, if you have a child that has a tendency to be vocal, you should rent a villa that is relatively isolated from other villas. If you aren't generally comfortable in an apartment, you will not likely enjoy apartment life elsewhere. You should consider such important factors before deciding on any lodging.

Firstly there is La Sagrada Familia, a colossal Roman Catholic temple and museum, which has been in construction for over a century.Over the years La Sagrada Familia has been the architectural project of many influential figures, each adding their own ideas and mythologies to the temple.Like many other architectural masterpieces throughout Barcelona, its a must-see for any visitor.Situated next to the La Catedral in Seville is a royal palace El Alcazar. The palace dates back to 1364, when it was built for Pedro the cruel and his mistress, Mara de Padilla.

The gothic elements added by Charles V, contrast beautifully with the distinctly Islamic elements that Pedro incorporated. This has resulted in a palace that it considered one of the best remaining examples of mudjar architecture.

Due to Spain having the second highest altitude in Europe, it is also the perfect holiday destination for those who enjoy winter sports such as skiing or snowboarding. There is a wide selection of ski resorts in the Pyrenees Mountains, Sierra Nevada and the Cantabrian Mountains.

The idea of vacationing abroad doesn't always bring thoughts of relaxation beside a pristine beach or casually hiking through a mountain range. Vacationers may believe they can only go to another country with a tour group or travel agency. This also presents the problems that arise with traveling on someone else's schedule. Other people decide when you eat or where you visit.

Spain has much more to offer than an excellent night life though. It presents a strong sense of its own identity ornamented with an astonishing religious history which has resulted in a country rich with breathtaking cathedrals and palaces, gorgeous rolling landscapes and a vibrant culture of art, dance, and outstanding architecture.

Elsewhere in Spain there is a swinger holiday hotel with eighty rooms and three suites for swinger groups. The hotel is located on the Costa Del Sol near to Malaga. Also located on the outskirts of Malaga is a four double-bedroom villa with totally secluded pool and terrace facilities suitable for both swinging and naturist leisure. Further east along the coast near to the resort of Nerja another similar villa offers swinger holidays with regular parties.

The Spanish swinger holiday resorts are generally on a much smaller scale than the Caribbean ones and there is far less in the way of laid on entertainment. Many British swingers do not see this as a disadvantage however, preferring to avoid the organised fun and games that is so popular with the U.S. swingers who holiday in the Caribbean. In Spain, the swinger holiday resorts are often nothing more than a large villa suitable for accommodating as few as four couples per holiday. Other resorts comprise of a group of similar villas sharing a swimming pool.

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Friday, February 6, 2009

Experience The Historic Catacombs of Rome

By Larry Pocobor

You may have heard about the catacombs of Rome. These ancient underground burial locations are near or under Rome itself. There are at least forty of them, and some have only been discovered in the past few decades.

These catacombs are best known as burial places for Christians, but they've also held pagan Jewish burials, too. The catacombs started around the second century, since there wasn't enough land for the increasingly popular burial rituals, and cemeteries were filling fast.

Though the land around Rome is too sparse for burials, its soft volcanic rock is easy to tunnel through - softer when air first touches it and much harder later. There are many kilometers of tunnels under the city, up to four layers deep in some places.

Anyone with an interest in early Jewish or Christian art should take a trip to the catacombs. The incredible frescoes and sculptures located here represent the majority of artistic examples of the cultures prior to the fourth century.

Romans originally cremated their dead. However, at around the second century, it became popular to bury the burnt or unburnt remains of loved ones instead. In addition, Christians preferred this method, as burial was considered important for bodily resurrection.

The first large catacombs began in the second century, and were carved through the rock outside the city, due to laws forbidding the creation of burial places within the city limits. Initially, these locations were used for burial, memorials, and religious celebrations of the deaths of Christian martyrs, but not for ordinary worship.

The forty known catacombs in and around Rome are all build along roads like the Via Appia and Via Ostiense. Named after saints like Calixtus and Sebastian, the catacombs are rumored to contain the bodies of those martyrs.

Enormous passage systems were created by these early excavators, around seven to nineteen meters below the surface, encompassing an area of around two and a half square km. The levels are joined with narrow stairs, with passages no more than three feet wide in most places. Burial niches are placed along the walls.

In these relatively small niches, bodies were placed, as well as in special burial chambers. Despite being Christian in religion, most of the burials were generally Roman in appearance, with frescos and carvings in a similar style to mainstream ones.

With the rise of Christianity to a status as a state religion, the practice of burial in catacombs declined, though this did not happen right away. As the dead were buried increasingly in churchyards, the catacombs became used only to celebrate the martyrs.

Rome was sacked in the tenth century by invaders from the north, ransacking the catacombs. After this, they fell into disuse, and all the remaining relics moved above the ground. The catacombs of Rome were then forgotten until about the late sixteenth century.

Over the centuries the catacombs have been intermittently explored, though professional studies weren't published until the nineteenth century. These burial locations now act as an important monument to the early church, and are under the maintenance of the Vatican.

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Must Do in Rome: Villa Doria Pamphili

By Bruno Namtabi

Rome's largest public landscaped park, the Villa Doria Pamphili, takes up an area of around 2 square kilometers. It was originally owned by the family that gave the park it's name, then bought by the City of Rome at the end of the twentieth century.

This amazing area is one of the best places in all of Rome for bird watching, and it's also a wonderful choice for a jog or a pleasant stroll.

This area has a long history, dating from before 1630, when it was referred to as the Villa Veccie. At this time, it was purchased by Panfilo Panfili, as well as the vineyards around it.

This was the beginning of an enormous holding on the high ground, towering over the rest of Rome and offering incredible views. This holding acted as the owner and his family's suburban escape.

Later in 1644, a new villa was begun on the site by the nephew of Giovanni Battista Pamphili, then the Pope. Work progressed until 1652, and the villa was designed to complement both contemporary and ancient sculpture and decor.

You'll find most of the artifacts in the Capitoline Museum today, though there are still some at the site. Visitors to the Villa Doria Pamphili will see an exterior in the busy Baroque style, with alternating niches and windows, as well as Mannerist-type bas relief panels.

Inside, you'll see frescoes depicting Roman history and even more Bas reliefs. Around the exterior there are gardens, first laid out around 1650 and creating a sequence of connected areas surrounding the villa and the lower levels. Statuary was once placed here, but much of this area is now grassed.

Other later features include fountains and gateways, giving the gardens a real complexity. You can still hear music from the 16th and 17th centuries at the Villa Doria Pamphili, in its Giardino del Teatro.

Currently, the majority of the gardens of the Villa Doria Pamphili are planted in a sixteenth century style, with close cut greenery and wide gravel walks. At one point there were a number of Roman tombs on the site, but they have all been excavated through the centuries.

If you visit this lush park, you may be surprised to learn that it was once a site of violence - during the short lived nineteenth century Roman Republic, hand to hand fighting broke out in the fortified villas on the city outskirts, including at the Villa Doria Pamphili. However, this region survived while other neighboring villas were nearly destroyed.

The villa's owner then took advantage of his neighbors' misfortune, buying up their property and expanding his holdings even more. Surviving structures on these pieces of land host art exhibits and more.

If you're on a trip to Rome, you should definitely include a trip to this fantastic Roman park in your plans. The Villa Doria Pamphili is something that every tourist in Rome should see.

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