Florida – the ideal holiday destination for the whole family!

Still wondering why Florida is one of the best holiday destinations for the entire family? Just go through all that America’s ‘Sunshine State’ has to offer and you’ll understand.

Starting with its climate so warm and continuing with its clear blue water and tropical coral islands, going through the nature reserves, world-famous beaches to theme parks and the Kennedy Space Centre, Florida offers entertain to the whole family.
Orlando became one of the top vacation destinations in all of the United States since 1971 when Disney Land opened its gates. This entertainment mecca is world-famous as the home of Disney Worldฎ, but even without Disney, Orlando would be a magical kingdom. SeaWorld, Cypress Gardens, and Universal Studios are just a few of the attractions. Orlando, naturally blessed with a climate that is rivalled only by the temperate conditions of southern California is proud of the Walt Disney Resort that spans more than 47 miles and is home not just to one, but to several Disney Resorts.

The family of Disney Resorts that collectively make up Orlando’s Walt Disney World include the Magic Kingdom, the Epcot Center, the Disney-MGM Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. At the Magic Kingdom Resort, it’s the famous members of the Disney movie family that are center stage. This park’s famous attractions are “It’s a Small World”, “Peter Pan’s Flight”, the “Cinderella Castle”, the most recognizable of Disney's icons, the Jungle Cruise” and “the Magic Carpets of Aladdin”. Universal Studios is a place where you can live out your dreams of being a film star, is a combination of working movie studio and theme park. Sea World's Wild Artic will lead you through the world of polar bears and beluga whales. Disney-MGM Studios' Twilight Zone includes a 13-storey plunge in the Tower of Terror.

Science and the spirit of exploration are the name of the game at Disney’s Epcot Center. Popular attractions here include: “Mission Space”, “Test Track”, and “Turtle Talk with Crush”. This is a great place to take the kids in order to fuel their interest and childlike curiosity for the mysteries of science.

A holiday in Orlando is something special for a variety of reasons not only the surrounding theme parks. Orlando is dominated by Lake Eola and is an excellent centre for shopping and eating. The trendy boutiques of Thorton Park, antique shops on Orange Avenue, 150 challenging golf courses within a 45-minute drive, and plenty of nightlife prove Orlando caters to grownups, too. The most famous downtown icon is Church Street Station, a collection of restaurants, bars and shops which really comes alive at night as the air cools and the music bars get going. The Orlando Science Center and the Orlando Museum of Art will provide you findings about Mayan civilisation.

If you want to discover the ‘Real Florida’ go to Ocala National Forest, a delightful nature reserve with several natural springs and lakes, and fantastic hiking, canoeing, fishing and swimming or visit the Blue Spring State Park which, for hundreds of years, was home to the Timucuan Indians. You shouldn’t miss the manatee’s home at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge where migrating birds stop on their way to and from South America.

Palm Beach and Miami Beach are probably the most famous beaches on the Atlantic ‘Gold’ Coast. The golden beaches, warm and clear sea, the fine sand sea is are making this area of coastline ideal for children. The atmosphere on the streets, the food, the music and the spirit in Miami are vivid due to the Hispanic population. The Art Deco Historic District, a collection of bright pink, lavender and turquoise buildings dating from the 1920s, is one of the most spectacular parts of town.

Dubai Can Be Real Hot And Cool Both

There is more about Dubai you should know apart from its breathtaking skyline and the trade and commerce. Specially, if you were about to finalise a travel plan to one of its famous sea beaches. Things like the law, political system, weather and traffic congestion are some of the key areas that require attention. This article gives you an account of the same important issues before you embark on with your much awaited sojourns.

Historical Background

Dubai was one of the first emirates to join the UAE, a unified group of seven Muslim majority states, when the British forces finally left the Middle East in 1971. The area is surrounded by Saudi Arabia and Oman and the shorelines unite with the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. A Supreme Council of Rulers is the governing body of the United Arab Emirates. This council consists the seven ruling Emirs as its members, who in turn appoint the Prime Minister and the various Cabinet berths for the federal government. Note that while the Supreme Council of Rulers has overall control of the complete UAE, Dubai is famous for the high level of autonomy that it maintains as far as its local development issues are concerned.

Normal Weather

Since the Emirate of Dubai is in the Middle East, the climate is naturally sub-tropical and what you might expect from a desert in the neighborhood. This is good news in terms of clear skies all the year. There is very little rainfall and most of it takes place during the winter season. Temperatures follow an extreme trend with the daytime temperatures of summer touching the 48 degrees Celsius, and the winters the 10 degrees Celsius marks. January is the coldest with an average temperature of around 24 degrees Celsius, while the hottest month of July may report back an average of 41 degrees Celsius mark.

Population Estimates

The United Arab Emirates constitutes a population comprising that of the ethnic Arab community and a huge number of expatriates from India, Pakistan, East Asian countries, United States and the members of European Union. The region has been witnessing an insessent inflow of the expatriates due to the ongoing trade and commerce activities, and this can be visualized through its sharp rise in population since 1995. It shot up to 3.1 million in the year 2000 from the 2.4 million mark in 1995.

The population registered in the case of Dubai was 689,000 and 862,000 in the years 1995 and 2000 respectively. Most of these counted people reside within the urban areas of Dubai, while a tiny fraction prefers living on in the neighbouring countryside farms.

Language, Holidays, Local Time and Religion

Arabic is the official language of UAE, but also spoken are some other languages. English enjoys being the medium of communication in the majority of trade and commerce activities, while Hindi, Urdu, Malayalam and some other dialects are spoken by the expatriates from India and Pakistan.

Dubai's standard time runs four hours ahead of GMT and keeps unchanged through out the twelve month period. It runs one and one and half hours behind the Pakistan and Indian standard times respectively.

Islam is the official religion of all Arabian countries including the UAE. Dubai is no exception either in this context. As a result, the Muslim holidays and festivities assume a very significant role in its normal life. These holidays may keep varying from one year to another as per the Islamic calender.

Visa Issues and Transportation

Visa rules can vary for the travellers from different nations. Citizens of the western block of nations may walk out of the airport with a visa on their arrival. Visitors from the rest of world are not allowed the same kind of luxury though. Those who may be looking forward to carrying on with their business activities will have to get somebody local sponsorship first.

Buses and taxis are available for the transportation within Dubai, but it may not prove sufficient to those who may have plans of going outside of the city area. Hiring private vehicles is a much preferred option for this reason these days. Roads in and outside of Dubai are advanced in nature, but the general traffic sense may not prove out to be that much appealing. Be wary of driving on Dubai's roads, if you were not fully aware if its existing traffic hazards, like the disorderly driving on the roads within and the wandering camels off the city limits.

Dubai's government has initiated some steps recently to improve upon its general traffic scenario. There are several projects planned to carry out this task, including a floating bridge over Dubai Creek, upgrading of the First Interchange with a three-tier interchange, the Dubai Outer Bypass Road and the Sufouh Roads Network etc.

Getting Away To Charity Island

Getting away to Charity Island offers you the chance to get in touch with nature while relaxing. Unlike other destinations, Charity Island is also a environmentally protected area.

Getting Away To Charity Island

Charity Island is actually two islands, Big and Little Charity Island, both of which are in the state of Michigan. It is located in the Saginaw Bay, which is part of Lake Huron contained inside the state. More than 80 percent of Charity Island is owned by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as part of its Michigan Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Also on the island is an old and beloved lighthouse, built in 1857 and used until a replacement was built in 1939. Choosing Charity Island as a destination can make your trip to Michigan special and unique, especially if you choose to stay on the islands.

While on Charity Island, you must be aware that you are in a protected environment. As such, there are some rules that need to be followed. There is no camping on the island, so you will need to make other arrangements for accommodations There are also no campfires, hunting, firearms, fireworks, pets or alcoholic beverages allowed on the island. All of these rules are for the safety of the wildlife refuge housed here, and you will need to be mindful of the law as you enjoy your time on the islands.

For accommodations on Big Charity Island, there is just one choice: Charity Island Lodge. This seasonal getaway lodging spot was built in 2003, and it is the only private lodging on the island besides the lighthouse keeper’s home. The lodge offers accommodations for six with a loft area and master bedroom for sleeping. A kitchen is provided stocked with utensils and other necessities, but you will need to bring many items with you; including food, water, linens and toiletries. Getting to Charity Island Lodge requires a boat; either your own or via ferry service that is available from June to September. Nightly rentals of the Charity Island Lodge are available.

Even if you don’t wish to stay on the island, you can still experience Charity Island on a day trip. Ferries to the island including a dinner cruise leave from Au Gres, Michigan all summer. The "Northstar" runs this trip, which includes a tour of the historic lighthouse and a buffet dinner at the Lighthouse keeper's Home. The trip to Big Charity Island takes about 75 minutes, and is full of breathtaking views and a spectacular sunset on the ride back.

Whether you choose to stay on Charity Island, or in nearby Au Gres or East Tawas, you can be sure that you will have a memorable and exciting family trip. While enjoying the historic lighthouse and beautiful wildlife refuge, be sure to keep in mind the laws of the land, and your entire party will have a great time.

Disneyland - Fun for All the Family

Although some time ago now, I can still remember my visit to Disneyland Florida when I was a child. This is because of the enjoyment that I felt when I was there. It was almost as though this place was a fantasy and it really is a child's dream to go there. However this isn't to say that adults can not enjoy the visit, and in fact there are a number of attractions that can be enjoyed for people of all ages.

There is always something to see or do at Disneyland during the daytime, and there is also nightly entertainment during the peak season, and weekend entertainment during the off-season.

On Tom Sawyer's Island, a show called Fantasmic is held twice each night during the peak season and on off-season weekends. It features many Disneyland characters, fireworks, and music, and although seating is free, it is recommended to purchase tickets for the show in advance for the best seating possible.

Twice each day, The Parade of Dreams takes place and again includes many of the Disneyland characters, with choreographed shows featuring at various times throughout the parade.

Musical shows are available at many times throughout the day, including the Snow White musical in the Fantasyland Theater.

There is so much to see at Disneyland and so much going on that is impossible to get bored, and then to end the day you should not miss out on the fireworks display. The fireworks show is held late each night, before the park closes for the day.

If you are staying in a Disneyland hotel you will probably even be able to see the display from there if you can not stay for the fireworks! The firework display is a perfect opportunity to take some photo snaps to remember your time there, especially if you get to view the show from in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle.

Most of the entertainment is included in the admission price. However, consider purchasing priority seating for some events that you are desperate to see, as being able to view shows from good seating makes them even more memorable.

Disney World Traveling

Disney World is probably the most popular theme park in the world, attractions, rides, characters, the works, there is no doubt that nobody goes to Disney World to get headaches. To prevent unnecessary muscle and head pain, it is best to be prepared.

Proper Season

It is best to go to Disney World during off season, which is roughly around early January to mid February, or after Labor Day through mid December. During off season, there are less people, less congestion and less headaches. What’s more, it rarely gets cold in Florida, even during winter season, and it gets swelteringly hot and humid during summer, so winter, really is the time to go.

The Proper Lodgings

Although it is cheaper to stay in hotels outside of Disney World, the extra cash you’ll have to cough up if you stay inside is more than made up for by the comfort and convenience of an inside stay.

Imagine getting traveling from your room, then going through the 47 square mile area that is Disney world, then traveling back to your Hotel… exhausting isn’t it?

The Proper Schedule

Where to actually go once you get there is determined by your choice of companions, kids, teenagers or adults.


Go through Cinderella’s Castle and Visit Fantasy Land or Mickey’s Toon Town, the little tots will surely love all the characters roaming around that area. The rides in these parts are built for 6 year olds and below, but mommy or daddy can still squeeze themselves in if they want.

Adults or Teens

A trip to Magic Kingdom may be in order if you’re with big kids. You can go to Splash Mountain to get wet or to Space Mountain to get some indoor rollercoaster, and fun for the bumpy person, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad should be enough to satisfy their taste for adventure.

Rides for Everyone

If you want something that everyone can enjoy, a ride in the Walt Disney World Railroad, can rest those tired feet and at the same time give you an enjoyable view of Magic Kingdom.

Haunted Mansion, although not really for very young kids, can be a thrill for toddlers, it’s a ride not a walk through so there’s no tripping or running involved.

For relaxing walks, try the Tiki Room Show or the Swiss family Tree House.

The Proper Dining Experience

For cute snacks, try the Aloha Isle inside Adventureland, they conjure up creative drinks and snacks, a good place to try something cute and different.

Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe provides a cool indoor dining area between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland where you can enjoy your food to your hearts content.

Funchal Is Simple Sophisication

Not many places on earth get the opportunity to be discovered twice, but the islands of Madeira and Porto Santo have. These two islands together with Las Desertas and Las Selvagens islands make up what is called the Archipelago of Madeira. They are found 1000 kilometers southwest of Lisbon, Portugal and half that distance from the African continent. Since their discovery around 1419 and founded in 1425 by Joao Goncalves Zarco, little was known about these islands but in the last decade have quickly become the major tourist attractions in the Atlantic Ocean. Joao Goncalves, with a special permission from the Portuguese government, used prisioners from the prisions and enticed settlers from the poorest regiones like El Algarve to colonize Madeira. The airport on Madeira in the town of Santa Cruz on the east side is just an hour flight from Lisbon and also serves the other island of Porto Santo with smaller planes. This archipelago is really something special to enjoy.

Funchal was named the capital of Madeira in 1425 and is located on the south side. Under the rule of Joao Goncalves, Funchal prospered into being a very important sugar cane producer and by the year 1508, it changed its position from town to city and sugar canes were carved onto the coats of arms as its main symbol. Being as ocean travel was becoming more popular, especially among the greedy and pirates, Funchal was attacked and robbed. This fact made this enticing stopover react and built its city in a semi-circular way so that all the building would be looking and watching the sea. Even today there are houses and buildings that face the waterfront ‘ just to keep on eye on things’.

Animated Funchal All year Round

Whatever season you decide on, you will be guaranteed a warm, mild climate with temperatures between 17 to 26 degrees. One would think that the busiest season for tourism would late spring to early fall, but Christmas is actually one of the hottest and most lively times on these paradisiac islands. With visitors from the colder countries and very much into the Christmas spirit, Madeira dresses its port streets with the best lighting decorations and the most colourful fireworks on New Year’s Eve. July and August are usually very muggy and with the highest humidity and temperatures, but quite welcomed after a long cold winter.

The city of Funchal is chock full of history and architecture as you visit churches going back to the 17th century as is the Church of Colegio Sao Joao Evangelist or the Se which is cathedral in Portuguese. Being as Madeira means wood in Portuguese, the inside of the cathedral is done up in marble and cedar wood. One of the most impressive buildings is called Pacos do Concelho ( 18th c. ) with black volcanic stone counteracting with the white front facing and doorways. There are museums dedicated to religious art, the Museum of Natural History housed in the Palace of Sao Pedro where you can get a closer look at the marine life of these islands and a museum which holds many pieces left behind by all the different cultures that frequented the islands like Chinese porcelain and figures carved from the ivory tusks from the captured whales. Around this museum there are also interesting pieces of art accompanied by the aroma of fresh orquids.

Bon Appetite in Funchal But man does not live on beauty alone and therefore must feed its physical spirit too. Tunafish and codfish are main dishes done in so many different ways: baked, fried, stewed with home-grown green beans and potatoes. Tropical fruits are abundant such as maracuyas, mangos and bananas to mention a few. And of course, the famous Madeira wine. And in order to sleep well, there are luxurious hotels or simple rural homes on the hillsides so that everyone can feel as though they are at home, amongst a paradise of lush green vegetation in the city of Funchal on Madeira, Portugal.

France - Paris and Nice

From beaches to the alps, France has a little of something for everyone. In this article, we take a look at Paris and the beach city of Nice.


It is hard to know where to start when discussing Paris. Take a boat down the Seine River and you will pass Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower and so many other notable spots it is easy to get overwhelmed. The city is simply that dramatic.

Long considered the most glamorous city in Europe, Paris has a little of everything. For the romantic, one can visit the haunts of famous writers, historical sites of just about every nature and the Moulin Rouge.

On the other hand, art lovers can spend weeks visiting the 100 plus museums in the city with, of course, the Louvre being the crown jewel. Personally, I found the Rodin Museum just as interesting, particularly since there was a much smaller crowd.

Perhaps the best way to experience Paris is just to wander around. Yes, take a few days to visit the notable tourist traps…err, destinations. Once you get tired of standing in crowds, walk out of your hotel and just keep on going. You will find little neighborhoods with eccentric characteristics to make you smile. As you plod along, real cafes and gathering places will become apparent. Make sure you visit them as the locals in these neighborhoods are very friendly and funny.


Nice is a small beach city just to the east of Cannes in the south of France. It is an odd mix of old world charm and beach culture. In and of itself, there is nothing particular about Nice when compared to Cannes with the exception of the prices. They are significantly cheaper and you get pretty much the same thing.

One extremely positive thing about Nice is the launching factor. Nice is close to everything and a natural launching point to go practically anywhere in the general region. You can hop on a train to the east and be in Monaco in 15 minutes. You can take a 20 minute minivan trip inland to learn how to make cheese and soap. Thankfully, this isn’t the same location.

France is a diverse country with a rich history. It can be easy to overdose on the volume of things to see, but you can’t do much worse than just walking out your door and exploring. Remember, those boots were made for walking.

Fall Foliage Scenic Drive in Rhode Island

Rhode Island may be the smallest state in the union but when it comes to scenic drives it has one of the best. With over 400 miles of coastline and 20 percent of America’s National Historic Landmarks, Rhode Island packs plenty of distractions in this fall foliage coastal drive.

The trip is a one-way 61-mile scenic drive on Route 1A along Block Island Sound until turning North to follow the western shore of Narragansett Bay. You’ll eventually hook-up with Route 138 east and shoot over to historic Newport and the scenic 10-mile Ocean Drive.

Along the way are plenty of detours for lighthouses, wildlife refuge trails, beach walking, and quiet village rambles in autumn splendor. And if you’ve got an extra day, dock yourself at Point Judith and take the ferry across to Block Island and rent a bicycle to tour around and enjoy the stunning fall scenery.

But back to the drive, and let’s get going...

Start your scenic drive by heading south on U.S. Highway 1A from Westerly. Look for the sign to Watch Hill Road, which takes you out to Watch Hill, a marvelously preserved Victorian seaside town.

Attractions in Watch Hill include The Flying Horse Carousel, the oldest continuously operating merry-go-round carousel in the U.S., and the Watch Hill Lighthouse, a granite and brick-lined 19th Century masterpiece. The Lighthouse has no parking so you’ll park in town and stroll out the 15-minutes it takes to get there - but it’s worth it!

Continue the scenic drive by retracing the road back to US 1A and then heading east. Route 1A merges with Route 1 as you drive towards Charlestown and the Point Judith Area. This part of the drive has numerous beaches, long sand spits, inlets, coves, and turnoffs for salt ponds and wildlife refuges protected by the natural beach barriers on Block Island Sound.

Follow Route 1 until it intersects with Route 108 south and head down to Point Judith and the Junction of Route 1A. Drive the short distance to Point Judith Lighthouse, which was built in 1857. Here you’ll also get another great view of Block Island and its cliffs on the horizon. The island is just a short ferry ride from Point Judith and a popular daily excursion for many during the fall foliage season.

Take Route 1A North to Narragansett Pier and on to farms and countryside surrounding the Pettaquamscutt River. This area of stonewalls and forests once housed many Rhode Island plantations that gave the state its formal name of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. In the fall foliage season the forests are ablaze with autumn and add a satisfying splash of color to this coastline tour.

Continue the scenic drive north until it meets Route 138 and then head east on Route 138 over Jamestown Bridge to Conanicut Island, and then over the magnificent Newport Bridge into the city of Newport - once the home of the America’s Cup races, and still one of the sailing capitals of the world.

Newport is on the southern tip of Aquidneck Island, and the final leg of this fall foliage scenic drive. It is one of my favorite cities in New England - anytime of the year - but especially during autumn. There’s plenty to see and do, as you’ll discover...

After the Newport Bridge follow the signs to the Transportation Center. Stay on the main road as it winds through the harbor area, and which offers views of the alleys and passageways leading to million dollar yachts berthed at the docks. Eventually the road becomes Memorial Boulevard until it meets Bellevue Avenue on the right.

Bellevue Avenue is home to many of the famous Newport Mansions and when time allows worth a visit to a few on a return trip. For now admire the "summer cottages" as they were once called, from your driving view and work your way towards Ocean Drive.

Ocean Drive is a 10-mile route that starts on Bellevue Avenue and follows Ocean Avenue around a rocky peninsular with fishing coves, swimming beaches, and public parks.

The Ocean Avenue part of the drive is probably the most scenic with magnificent houses on rocky necks amidst the omnipresent Atlantic Ocean. A rest stop at the halfway point on Ocean Drive is Brenton State Park, and is popular for picnics and flying kites - it has tables and B-B-Q pits if you can remember to bring your own charcoal.

As you head out of the park you’re heading back to Newport Harbor, and you’ll pass the Castle Hill Lighthouse, Hammersmith Farm - where former Jackie Kennedy spent childhood years - and Fort Adams Park.

The Fort Adams State Park is on Harrison Avenue and another wonderful destination of its own another day. Turn left at the next intersection, and left again onto Halidon Avenue. Continue right onto Wellington Avenue and you’ll pass by King Park on your left, which is at the southern end of Newport Harbor, and leads you back into the city center where the tour ends.

There’s a lot of diversity packed into this fall foliage scenic drive and it’s in one of my favorite areas of New England, and after you’ve take the ride yourself I suspect it could be one of yours.

Discover The Costa Blanca In Spain

The city of Torrevieja in Spain is located about half way between Alicante and Cartagena. It belongs to the in the Providence of Alicante. The name Torrevieja means old town in English. It offers plenty to do for everyone, singles, couples and families with small children.

The weather in Torrevieja is hot in the summer and mild in the winter. The beautiful summer weather makes this area one of the most popular summer vacation spots in the Costa Blanca area. The city is a popular destination for British, German and Scandinavian tourists as well as visitors from other areas of Spain.

Travelling to the spanish Costa Blanca

Alicante airport is the closest for travelling to Torrevieja. The airport has several large and small carriers that offer a variety of flight options, both within Spain and internationally. Prices for tickets vary according to the season. A few discount airlines fly into this airport, offering great deals on flights.

Once you arrive at the airport, you have several options for travelling to the city. Buses run on fairly regular schedules. Taxis are available to the city. If you prefer not to use public transportation or want the freedom to travel throughout the area, you may want to consider a car rental. Car hire companies are plentiful and most will pick you up at the airport.

Things to do around the area

This area of Spain is known for salt production. There are two huge salt lakes around Torrevieja. These lakes produce about a half a million tons of salt per year. Salt, fishing and tourism are the major industries in the area. The Museum of Sea and Salt offers a look at the history of the major industries in the area.

The natural salt production in the area has other benefits for visitors. The Natural Park of the Lagoons of the Mata offers salt baths. These are relaxing and have health benefits as well. The baths are great for illnesses, such as arthritis and various skin conditions. The park also has plentiful fauna and a variety of exotic birds.

Torrevieja has one of the largest open air markets in Spain. This market is located near the bus station. It offers fresh fruits and vegetables every Friday. There is also a craft market, which may be of interest. The craft market is located close to the harbour. Vendors offer jewellery, carvings and leather goods.

Golf enthusiasts will enjoy playing in Torrevieja. There are many golf courses in the area, such as the Torrevieja Golf Club. Green fees range from thirty five to eighty Euros. The price you will pay depends upon the course you play and the time of year.

Music lovers will find plenty to enjoy in the city. An international music festival is held in the city every year, in late July to early August. The Habanera Festival features choral groups from all over. Music is common in clubs, bars and restaurants.

There are many choices for fun, if you are travelling with children. The Aquopolis Water Park offers rapids, a wave pool, slides, a swimming pool and baby pool for fun in the water. There are water activities for all ages, from infants through adults. The park also has mini golf and restaurants. You can enjoy lunch in the restaurant or bring along a picnic lunch.

Indiana Bills is a soft play park. This park is geared for children under the age of twelve. This is an indoor, air conditioned play area. The kids will have fun climbing, jumping, sliding and crawling. Since it is located indoors, this park is a good choice in bad weather or any season.

Curacao Marriott Beach Resort

Curacao: Island of Wonder and Intrigue

Sunny, warm and charming, Curacao [pronounced ‘koo-rah-sow’] is a beautiful resort destination that is relatively unknown to many people. With it’s Dutch Colonial buildings and traditional Caribbean feel, it’s a unique place that incorporates the best of 55 different nationalities to create a purely individual culture. In fact, four languages are spoken here: English, Spanish, Dutch and their own Papiamento. It’s cosmopolitan, but simple. And incredibly gorgeous. Where is Curacao? Located in the southern part of the Caribbean Sea, this exquisite island paradise is off the coast of Venezuela and is the most populated and largest of the three “ABC” islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Cura็ao). It is part of the Netherlands Antilles, a self-governing part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The capital is Willemstad. This busy port city sees a lot of traffic from the island's large oil refinery, which is second only to tourism for the local economy. As of result of the oil, Curacao is one of the more prosperous parts of the Caribbean region.

Also well known here are the island's coral reefs. The world’s best divers and snorkelers have already discovered this wondrous vacation hideaway. Where are the hot spots? Most of them are on the south side of the island. Especially interesting in Curacao is that the sea floor drops off steeply within a few hundred feet of the shore. As a result, you can get to the reef simply by swimming – no boat needed! In addition, the coastline of Curacao has lots of intriguing bays and inlets, many of which are good for mooring.

Surprisingly, Curacao has a semi-arid climate, similar to the Southwestern U.S., with plenty of cactus, evergreens and warm weather native plants. If you’ve been to the big island of Hawaii, it’s more along these lines, as opposed to a lush, tropical island rainforest. Although always a possibility, Curacao typically misses many of the hurricanes each season, as it’s positioned away from the hurricane belt. Curacao’s highest point is Christoffelberg, rising 1,230 feet in the northwestern part of the island.

The Food

Ever tried Stoba? Well, you’re in for a treat. A delicious stew made with lots of different ingredients, like papaya and goat, or beef. Stoba is a major dish of Curacao and part of the traditional fare, known as “Krioyo”. Similar to Caribbean and Latin American cuisine, Curacao chefs use an eclectic blend of flavors and techniques that bring out interesting tastes. Other popular dishes include Jambo, a soup made from okra and seafood), a cactus soup called Kadushi, and Funchi which is a cornmeal mush similar to polenta. Of course, being an island community, there are always plenty of fresh fish and other seafood dishes.

Of course, there’s also the one thing that many people have heard of before they even knew there was a place called Curacao. What is it? The Curacao liqueur. Developed here in the late 1800’s, it started out as a local experiment with the rinds of a locally grown variety of oranges, which themselves weren’t very edible. How is it made? Curacao liqueur is processed with the dried peels of the "Laraha" (Curacao native orange), which when dried by the sun, contains an etheric oil with a pleasing fragrance and even better taste.


• Visit Historical Sites: Make sure you see the restored mansions of Scharloo and Pietermaai, dating from the 1700's. They are spectacular, and incredibly interesting. These neighborhoods have even been placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, which commemorates unique value to the world's cultural and natural heritage.

• Curacao Seaquarium: Built on the oceanfront at Bapor Kibra in 1984, this exquisite complex is one of the most unique in the world because of its "open-water-system," which allows seawater to be continuously pumped into the aquariums. Be sure to watch a feeding show and experience the “touch tank“, which gives you the chance to touch live animals!

• Dolphin Academy: Get the opportunity to meet, swim, and snorkel up close with Curacao’s cute and fascinating dolphins! Because you stand on a platform in the water about waist deep, the animals will swim right up to you.

• Hato Caves: The Hato Caves are a must-see when you come to Curacao. Formed below sea level millions of years ago, the Ice Age dropped the water level down and left these spectacular caves. Beautiful limestone formations, romantic pools, a waterfall and even a colony of fruit bats await!

• Punda, Willemstad: Location of many shops and tourist activities in Willemstad.

• Landhuis Brievengat, Curacao: A museum by day and a partying live music club by night. This 18th-century plantation house is a great place to have some fun.

• Amstel Brewery, Willemstad: Take a tour of the factory and taste the only beer made with distilled seawater!

• Handelskade, Willemstad: The famous street with the brightly painted 18th century buildings. It’s a must for any traveler to check out the many boutiques, art galleries and intriguing cafes.

Chicago Is Home To The Historic Water Tower

Chicago is one of the largest and most populated cities in the United States. It has many attractions for visitors and tourists, to travel around and see. One of the oldest and more popular of all the attractions in Chicago is the City Gallery in the Historic Water Tower. The Chicago Office of Tourism is staffed to take care of and protect the gallery. Chicago Public Art Program is curator of the gallery.

The Historic Water Tower is Chicago's most beloved landmark and it has been for over 100 years. It was first designed and built by an architect by the name of William W. Boyington. Today, it stands as a memorial to the lives that were lost in the Tragic Chicago Fire. A little bit of history on the Historic Water Tower would date back to 1869 when it was first built to be the home of a 138-foot-tall piece of standpipe. This enormous pipe was also three feet in diameter. The purpose of the pipe was to maintain and equalize pressure and to knock down the amount of water that was flowing through all of the main water pipes in Chicago. The tower was built out of "Joliet" limestone, that was made into blocks, from a rock quarry in Illinois. This was probably the best idea someone had back then, because history tells of a great fire that broke out in Chicago in 1871 and leveled almost all of the buildings except for this tower. The day after the fire, people used this Water Tower as a guide to look through all the ash and ruins for items that had belonged to them.

The tower then became a city monument because of the city's water works engineers' spirit and drive to help the people who had lost nearly everything they had owned.

The enormous tower is actually constructed in what people call "castellated gothic style". The saw-toothed looking tower were drawn up and designed by Boyington to captivate ones sense of a medieval castle. The octagonal form symbolizes Gothic elements, and the slenderness of the tower is supposed to symbolize a "minaret quality". The total foundation of the tower has over 168 piles that are filled up with concrete and capped off by one foot oak timbers. Enormous stones that are edged in cement make up the base below the grade. All of the 40-foot sides have doorways and two large grand windows. The second and third sections look similar to all the other sides except they rise in height but their size decreases. The octagonal tower is centered and set a little ways back from the top of the third section. From top to bottom it rises over 154 feet from ground level.

The huge sandpipe was eventually removed in 1911, after it became apparent that there was no longer any use for it. The enormous eye-catching spiral staircase that went all the way around the sandpipe was left alone. The spiral staircase is still there, intact, today. The use of the staircase these days is to reach the new tower that was built called the "Cupola Tower".

Today the official use of the tower is as the city's photography gallery and the pumping station built below it serves as the Chicago's main water works supply. A Visitors' welcome center is also built near it so people may read up on how the tower was first built, and the purposes that it served throughout the years. In 2003 the Chicago Pumping Station became the home of the Lookingglass Theater.

Build Monuments to Your Future

On my recent trip to Cambodia I was blessed to spend three days exploring the ruins collectively known as Angkor Wat. We experienced sunrise and sunset, as well as the noonday heat, in this magnificent complex of temples, many built more than 900 years ago.

Relics of Past Splendor

These shrines were created with stones carried from far away; many were built without mortar, and all were built without modern technology. Yet the structures have withstood the ravages not only of time and weather, but also of mankind. Over the centuries temple figures sacred to one religion (Buddhism) have been removed or destroyed by followers of another religion (Hinduism), only to be replaced by the original worshipers (Buddhists). Just as destructive were souvenir hunters who have taken pieces from the carvings and sold them to collectors and museums. Lastly, bullet holes and bomb damage mar many of the temple walls — a legacy of the Khmer Rouge.

Like the pyramids in Egypt and the Mayan ruins in Central America, Angkor Wat is the relic of an ancient civilization that was far advanced for its time. Today many of the Angkor Wat temples are still in daily use. I saw monks and worshipers kneeling in the temples, burning incense and praying. Truly a profound experience.

Emblems of Today's Squalor

In contrast, on my last evening in Cambodia, I took a boat ride through Chong Khneas, a floating fishing village. This loose collection of more than 700 families of fishermen and a complete support community live on boats and travel Tonl้ Sap Lake following the fish and the rainy season.
To reach the floating village we drove through the town of Siem Reap and several smaller villages. The further from Siem Reap we traveled, the more primitive living conditions became. Homes went from cinder-block and concrete structures to wooden houses to one-room bamboo shacks supported on spindly bamboo poles to protect them from flooding. I would have been afraid to roll over in my sleep in these houses, much less raise a family or ride out a monsoon in one. Electricity was nonexistent, and the only running water was the stream we were following to the lake. The only nod to the 21st century was televisions, running on car batteries and prominently displayed in the glassless windows.

The floating village consisted of hundreds of boats, some no bigger than 20 feet by 6 feet. Entire families lived on each boat. Cages suspended underneath the boat served as impromptu fish farms. The back of the boat held a primitive outhouse. Children bathed in the lake while old women cleaned fish or cooked noodles in water dipped from the same source. The lake served not only a source of food and of cooking and drinking water, but as a bathtub and septic system as well. Here the ubiquitous televisions, and the outboard motors used to power the fishing boats onto the lake each evening, were the only lifestyle changes in the last 200 years.

The floating village and the bamboo shacks were light years below the standard of living enjoyed by the Cambodians who designed and lived in the temple complex at Angor Wat 900 years ago. All of those past splendors seem lost today.

The Lessons of Forgetfulness

What caused such an advanced civilization to revert to a shadow of its former self? And what lesson can we learn from this study in contrasts? To paraphrase George Santayana's famous line, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to forget it." Somehow the people of that floating village have forgotten the grandeur of Cambodia's past. They have lost touch with the creativity and spirit that made Angkor Wat possible. Instead of moving forward, they either stayed the same or moved backwards — and perhaps that amounts to the same thing. Once we cease to learn, build, create and stretch, we not only stop gaining or growing, we allow the rest of the world to pass us by. This is the equivalent of moving backwards.

We must ask ourselves each day, "Am I moving forward or simply standing still?" In our lives and at our work we all know people who refuse to change with the times. To our computer-savvy children watching us struggle to retrieve our email, we may look like slow-moving dinosaurs. We cannot afford the luxury of standing still. To do so allows the world to move past us. More importantly from a business standpoint, it allows our competition to move easily past us.

Do you risk becoming a relic of the past or a dinosaur whose fate is extinction? If you have any amount of doubt coursing through your veins, commit today to education, growth and constant improvement, both personal and professional. And know that if up until now you've been a bit lax, you're never too old or too young to make this commitment to yourself. The lesson I learned in Cambodia is that I want to be the one who builds monuments for the future — not the one who wonders how the monuments of the past were built.

Botswana Emerges as an Up Market Safari Destination

Botswana is a country of seemingly endless open spaces. Though it occupies an area the size of France, the human population is only 1.6 million. This is one country where wildlife does not face stiff competition for land resources from man. As a result the animals have multiplied with a flourish. Botswana can justifiably claim to host some of the finest game sanctuaries in Africa. The worlds' largest exporter of diamonds by value, the country is not under pressure to get in more tourists. And the government has adopted a deliberate policy of keeping visitor numbers low. The hidden hand of the market has responded by adjusting the price to reflect this reality. Botswana has therefore emerged as an exclusive up market safari destination.

Bill Clinton, together with his wife went on safari in Botswana in 1998. The power couple was greatly fascinated by the wildlife, and the serious games of life and death they play. Affirming his position on top of the food chain, the president ate for dinner some of the animal species he had watched earlier. His evening buffet included zebra, crocodile, impala in monkey sauce, and giraffe. "I tried it all", he declared with satisfaction. But the former American president is only one in a long line of heavy hitters to enjoy the wildlife havens of Botswana. Hollywood legends, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor chose to remarry here, for example.

Botswana is dominated by the Kalahari Desert. It occupies 84% of the land area, mostly in the west, central and north of the country. But the Kalahari is not a desert in the Sahara sense. You find the occasional sand dune, but also substantial vegetation in the form of short thorn and scrub bush, trees and grasslands. Very little water though, and hence the desert tag. To the northwest, you find Okavango, the world's largest inland delta. The northeast is a land of gently rolling tablelands interrupted by granite hills and rock formations. The east and southeast, where 80% of the people live has more varied relief. And the rain clouds linger more and unburden themselves more freely, relative to the rest of the country.

Today Botswana is a peaceful, well-managed and relatively prosperous country. The country wealth per man indicator places among middle-income nations alongside Mexico and Russia and ahead of Brazil. But it has not always been so and the country has come along way. The San people (otherwise known bushmen) are believed to be the original inhabitants of Botswana. Their descendants survive to this day, some living as their forefathers did for most of the 30,000 years historians guess they have been around. Later -much later, Bantu groups, prominent of which were the Tswana, became the masters of these realms.

The modern Botswana nation has been shaped by the alliances made in response to historical currents swirling in southern Africa in the eighteenth century. The rulers at the time aligned their interests with those of the British against the Boers who were approaching from the south and the Germans from the west. For the British, the value of the alliance was strategic and not much was expected in terms of economic advantage. And that is how the relationship resulted in the Bechuanaland Protectorate - the precursor of modern Botswana. The British remained in charge until independence in 1966.

The visitor to Botswana is drawn by the credible intelligence that abounds about the quality of its pristine wildlife sanctuaries. Chobe National Park, one of the finest game parks in Africa is located to the north east of the country. The park has the greatest variety of game anywhere in the country. That is why the busy Bill Clinton found himself at Chobe for his short safari. Wildlife thrives among the swamps and grasslands that stretch along the flood plains of the Chobe River. Occupying 10,560 square kilometers, it is particularly renowned for the great concentration and sheer abundance of its elephants, estimated to number 80,000.

The Chobe elephants are migratory and move along the Chobe River, their reliable redoubt in the dry season. African elephants are the largest among elephant species -and those at Chobe are the largest of them all. The population has gradually built up since the 1930's when wildlife in the area began to enjoy some sort of protection. The infamous trade in ivory, particularly in the 1970's and 80's encouraged the decimation of elephant populations in other parts of Africa. But the elephants of Chobe - thank God - were spared contact with the dirty hands of poachers. Other animals to see here include some of the usual suspects on an African safari - lion, cheetah, hippo buffalo, giraffe, antelope, jackal, warthog, hyena, crocodile, zebra. The birdlife is also diverse. Cruising or driving along the Chobe River, you get the best view of the animals.

The Savuti Marshes of Chobe are reputed to have the largest predator population density in southern Africa. The marshes have the textbook features that draw predators. In a flat and hostile environment, they provide a place where wildebeest, buffalo, zebra and many species of antelope congregate for a drink. The predators - cheetahs, leopards, lions, wild dogs, hyenas, wild dogs, and jackals - naturally follow. Some predators such as lion tend to be rather lazy and the setting here is a gift. The usual entry point for Chobe is Kasane, which is located about 800km north of Gaborone. You get here by flying from Gaborone, Maun or Victoria Falls in neighbouring Zimbabwe. Camps and lodges can be found throughout the park.

The Okavango Delta, in the north west of Botswana is the largest inland delta in the world. Spreading over 15,000 square kilometers, it is formed as the flow of the Okavango River slows down and soaks into the sands. That is why it is referred to as 'the river which never finds the sea'. The network of channels, ox bow lakes, lagoons, swamps and islands that arise is very pleasing to the eye. But that is not all of Okavangos' bounty. The delta is filled with wildlife - wildebeest, giraffe, hippo, elephant, zebra and buffalo have all found a home here. The birds too are plenty, more than 550 types, some of which live on the trees and others on the water.

The best place to see wildlife in Okavango is within the spectacular Moremi Wildlife Reserve. The reserve lies in the centre of the delta and occupies 3,000 square kilometres. In Moremi you view game aboard a vehicle or by gliding on a makoro (dugout canoe) or other type of canoe. Accommodation is available in camps and lodges within the delta area. In Moremi itself, you can stay in tented campsites but no permanent camps or lodges are allowed.

If you are interested culture, take a break at Chief's Island, the largest in the delta, and see ancient rock paintings. The painting were presumably executed by the artistically inclined fore bearers on the San people. The Okavango Delta should be avoided in summer, especially December to March, when most of the camps are closed down. At that time, it is very hot and humid- temperatures rise above 38ฐC, and thunderstorms unleash daily. You enter Okavango through Maun - the deltas' principal town, by flying or taking a bus from Gaborone, 600 km away.

Visitors to either Chobe or Okavango may wish to add on a visit to Victoria Falls. Victoria Falls is actually in Zimbabwe but is easily accessible from the northern part of Botswana. Victoria Falls is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world and one of Africa's prime attractions. Situated on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia, the falls occur where the steadily flowing Zambezi River, unwarned, casually approaches and then suddenly plunges down a series of basalt gorges in a breathtaking display of several waterfalls. Mist and thunder emanating from the falls can be witnessed from far off.

The spray from the falls sustains the rain forest on the opposite wall of basalt and creates an almost constant rainbow visible even by the light of the moon. The falls are best seen from the air, thus activities such as helicopter flights, balloon rides and micro-lighting over the falls are a must do. Other exciting activities available are bungee jumping off the bridge - which also gives a spectacular view down the gorge, canoeing, white water rafting, river safaris, elephant back safaris and many more. Be sure to review our offers for a Botswana safari and Victoria Falls tour.

Adventure seekers, who travel not merely to convenient places, may wish to check out the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. The shallow saltpans cover about 6,500 square kilometres and rank among the largest in the world. The atmosphere here is admittedly surreal, with shimmering mirages in a vast open terrain broken only by a few baobab trees. Bird watchers in particular will be intrigued at the unusual environment as they watch numerous flamingos and pelicans. The pans occupy the area between Francistown (410 km north east of Gaborone) and the Okavango Delta. There is plenty of wildlife, in the Makgadikgadi National Park, but not as much as Chobe- so this will not be your only reason for coming here.

Botswana is the site of a unique wildlife conservation initiative in Southern Africa- the concept of cross border parks. The initiative is anchored on the common sense observation that wildlife does not recognise international borders. Successful conservation efforts in an area bordering another country can be reduced to naught if the neighbouring countries do not collaborate. The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is a combination of two parks -the former Gemsbok National Park in Botswana and Kalahari Gemsbok National Park in South Africa.

Covering over 36,000 sq km, Kgalagadi is one of the biggest wildlife conservation areas anywhere in the world. Botswana contributes about 75% of the park in the southern Kalahari Desert. The park is a unique conservation area for it allows the large-scale wildlife migratory movements that were once common in the savanna grasslands of Africa, but are sadly not possible any more. The appeal of the harsh beauty of the Kalahari aside, scientists are extremely curious to find out the secret story of the flora and fauna that has adapted to what appears to be a very difficult environment.

For ordinary folks, the park is host to the famous black-maned Kalahari lions. You will also see gemsbok, springbok, eland, blue wildebeest, cheetahs, wild dogs, jackals, bat-eared foxes and leopards. Birding is also excellent and of 297 species recorded, 96 are resident. It is difficult to get to Kgalagadi. From Gaborone, you drive for 860 km, of which 550 km is tarred and the rest gravel. Being a cross border park, you can also access it through South Africa. The park has no permanent tented campsites and on safari you must bring in everything you need.

The dry season, especially between April and October, is the best time to visit Botswana on safari. It is then easy to spot wildlife gathered near water sources. The rains come over the southern summer months of November to March. The roads are then difficult to use and with the abundance of water and pasture, the animals tend to scatter. Early morning and night temperatures in winter (May to August) can drop below freezing, especially in the southwest. But the days are then cool to warm. The summer experiences high daytime temperatures of up to 38ฐC. The cloud cover, though, and the rains tend to cool things a little bit. Beware that August is very dry and dust and sand storms tends to rise from the west.

Remember to pack a pair of binoculars- they bring the animals closer without the usual risks. A pair of decent sunglasses is a good idea, especially if you travel to the Kalahari, where the glare can be somewhat unsettling. Also pack photographic and video equipment to record your safari for the sake of those of your unlucky friends who may not have been to Botswana. On safari, you are advised not to wear white or bright clothing to avoid exciting the animals. Light cottons and linens are adequate for summer. To survive winter mornings and evenings, you need warmer wraps and sweaters. Women should avoid wearing scanty beachwear in rural areas away from hotels and campsites to avoid offending locals.

Beautiful Vancouver, City of the Sea & Mountains

As one flies over Vancouver during the decent into the Canadian city’s airport, the surrounding beautiful natural scenery is already noticed with mountains on one side and the sea on the other. Once inside the baggage claim area of the international airport, visitors are greeted with large Pacific Northwest Coast Indian art carvings. This adds to the overall flavor of nature and the environment that makes Vancouver so different from other major cities. When driving along Granville Street towards the city center, one can’t help but notice that the trees and hedges in the residential areas are so much larger and taller than the ones we normally see elsewhere. One of the
locals claims that the superior growth of the area’s plant life is due to the huge amount of rainfall. Vancouver is close to both the ocean and the mountain range so lots of rain is expected. In fact, the rain here can actually be a problem as grey skies, especially during the winter months, are one of the few negatives of living in Vancouver. Fortunately, there is very little snowfall within the city so for Vancouverites, it is a trade off of some sort to have to deal with rain rather than shoveling snow during their winters. As for tourists, the best time to visit Vancouver is the least wet season which is during the summer months. I’ve been told by another local that September is one of the best months to visit. When the sun is shining in Vancouver with both the ocean and mountains as the background, it really doesn’t get any better.

Stanley Park on the west side of downtown Vancouver is the most visited attraction. A drive around the island will reveal great photo spots of both the city and the ocean. Vancouver’s Aquarium is also on site in Stanley Park as well as a magnificent collection of Pacific Northwest Coastal Indian art totem poles. Of course, one can always marvel at the tall trees which seem to touch the skies here. The Lion’s Gate Suspension Bridge connects Stanley Park with North Vancouver on the other side of the harbor. On the north side is Grouse Mountain, the area’s closest ski resort to the city that has turned into an all year round attraction. During the non-winter months, one can take the gondola up Grouse mountain for some wonderful hiking and views of the Vancouver skyline. The Capilano Suspension Bridge which visitors walk across to a nice nature area is another must see nearby. One of the cuisine highlights in the British Columbia province is the salmon and one of the best restaurants to sample it is the Salmon House in adjacent West Vancouver. Dinner there with the Pacific Northwest Coast Indian art d้cor and spectacular nighttime views of the city is one of the best ways to finish off a day of sightseeing.

Back in downtown Vancouver, the Gastown district is one of the top tourist areas for boutique shopping and souvenirs. Don’t miss the steam clock that rings on the hour. Vancouver has one of the largest Asian communities in North America so the Chinatown nearby as expected has some of the best dim sum luncheons outside of Hong Kong. Further boutique shopping can be found in the Yaletown and Granville Island districts.

If time permits, one of the recommended day trips to do out of Vancouver is to drive up the Sea & Sky highway to Whistler, one of North America’s largest ski resorts. During the off ski season, Whistler is all season resort with many activities such as hiking, biking, festivities and shopping in the village. A ride up the gondola here will enable visitors to get a bird’s eye view of the majestic Canadian Rockies mountain range. The drive itself to Whistler, about two and a half hours along the coastline, offers many wonderful scenic points as well.

Vancouver is a great city to visit as one can really see how a major city can still be in very scenic surroundings. For those coming to Vancouver as the departure port of a cruise to either Hawaii or Alaska, it is highly recommended to allocate at least a full day before or after the cruise to see what the city has to offer. As I mentioned before, on a sunny day with the sea on one side and the mountains on the other, Vancouver is really hard to beat.

Athens, Greece – A Whirlwind of History

Athens is the pre-eminent city of Greece and the main arrival destination. No city mixes history and a chaotic energy better than Athens.


Athens is city with stunning archeological sites, colorful neighbors, overcrowding and smog like you’ve never seen it. For many travelers, the general impression is one of a poetic chaos. Roads are packed, taxi drivers are nuts and shops seem to spill off the sidewalks and into the middle of roads. Yet, in the middle of this chaos you’ll find peaceful places such as the Acropolis, even though it is packed with tourists.


You can’t mention Greece without talking about the Greeks impact on civilization. The city is littered with sites of extremely significant significance. This is not the place where you’ll stand in front of an old structure where Sir so and so fought Sir so and so to the death in a duel that established something faintly important. Instead, you’ll stand in front of monuments where civilization took a quantum leap forward.

The Acropolis is the dominant archeological site in Athens. It is one of those rare locations you can visit where the massive number of tourist do not diminish the impact. Towering over Athens, the Acropolis has seen better days until you consider how old it is. The Pantheon and Erechtheion are the two standing structures and both are impressive.

While contemplating the Pantheon, one can’t help but be impressed by the ability of the Greeks to build such a towering, stone structure when much of humanity still considered a hut a luxury. The Erechtheion is amazing because it contains the famous Caryatids, the columns molded into the form of female figures. Standing upon the mount, you’ll have a view of Greece that will reveal the chaos and a sense of the age of the city.

Athens has much to offer beyond the Acropolis. Books have been written on the subject. Large books. I’m not going to try to cover them here, but you should try to get over to the Tower of the Winds, where the Whirling Dervishes got their start.

Walking through Athens is like walking through history. They say time travel is impossible, but Athens seems to suggest otherwise.

Arch Of Triupmh - Paris

The Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile, is the world’s largest triumphal arch. It forms the backdrop for an remarkable urban collection in Paris. The monument surmounts the hill of Chaillot at the center of a star-shaped configuration of 12 radiating avenues. It is the pinnacle of a vista seen the length of the Champs Elys้es from the smaller Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel in the Tuileries gardens, and from the Ob้lisque de Luxor in the place de la Concorde.

Since 1920, the tomb of France’s Unknown Soldier has been sheltered underneath the arch. Its eternal flame memorializes the dead of the two world wars, and is rekindled every evening at 6:30. On every Armistice Day, the President of the Republic lays a ceremonial wreath on the tomb. On July 14, the French National Day, a military parade begins at the arch and proceeds down the Champs Elys้es. For main occasions of state, and on national holidays, a huge French tricolor is unfurled and hung from the vaulted ceiling inside of the Arch. The last leg of the Tour de France bicycle race also finishes here on the third or fourth Sunday in July.

At the bases of the Arc’s pillars are four huge relief sculptures, commemorating The Triumph of 1810; Resistance, Peace; and the Departure of the Volunteers, which is commonly known as La Marseillaise. On the day the Battle of Verdun started, the sword carried by the figure representing the Republic broke off from La Marseillaise. The relief was immediately hidden to conceal the accident, so that it would not be interpreted as a bad omen.

Carved around the top of the Arch are the names of major victories won during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic periods. However the names of less important victories, as well as those of 558 generals, can be found on the inside walls.

The first view of this enormous monument will be startling. Naturally as it is the largest arch in the world. The imposing triumphal arch in Paris standing on an elevation at the end of the Avenue des Champs ษlys้es and in the center of the Place de l'ษtoile, which is formed by the intersection of 12 radiating avenues. It celebrates the victories of Napoleon I, under whose decree it was built. Construction was begun in 1806 by J. F. Chalgrin from his own designs and was carried on after his death by L. Goust, J. N. Huyot, and G. A. Blouet successively, who brought the arch to completion in 1836. In 1920 the body of an unknown French soldier of World War I was interred beneath the arch, and a perpetual flame was lighted.

One can climb right to the top of the Arc De Triomphe for a small fee. Any person will have to climb 260 steps up the narrow spiral staircase. Inside the arch, at the top, there is a small museum which has displays about topical events and the background history of the arch. There is a souvenir shop there, too. One can go outside at the top and enjoy the view across the city. There is a special fence to keep everyone safe. When one walks around, one can see all the twelve avenues that make up the “star”.

An Overview of Belgium for Travelers

Located on the European mainland, Belgium often is short-shifted in discussions of Europe. Following is an overview of Belgium for travelers.

An Overview of Belgium for Travelers

Belgium is located on the coast of the North Sea between Holland, German and France. The name comes from the Belgae, a celtic tribe.

Belgium’s geographic location places it at the crossroads of much of Europe, particular in relation to the United Kingdom and mainland Europe. As a result, the country has been heavily influenced by the powers that be in Europe during certain periods of times. You can find aspects of Romans, Celtics, Germanic, French and Spanish influences.

Ruled by various European empires, the cities of Bruges, Brussels and Antwerp were major commercial trading posts. They also produced some of the more spectacular artists in Europe, including Eyck and Rubens.

In modern times, the country is really three separate states with significant autonomy. The country is divided up into Flemish, Walloon and a smaller Germanic area. The Flemish are Dutch speaking while the Walloon are oriented to French. The divisions between these areas are significant and they have significant autonomy from the federal government. One might argue they are countries unto themselves.

The official name of Belgium is the Kingdom of Belgium. The country is located in Western Europe and covers approximately 12,566 square miles. Brussels is the capital of the country and has a population of approximately 922,000 people. The second largest city is Antwerp with 452,000 residents.

The people of Belgium are known as Belgians. Total population for the country is 10.4 million with a paltry annual growth rate of less than one half of one percent. The country is divided into three linguistic regions, Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels. French is the dominant language in Wallonia, Dutch in Flanders and German in the Brussels area. Most people of Belgium claim Roman Catholic as their faith, but Protestant, Jewish, Muslim and Anglican communities exist. The literacy rate is 95 percent.

Belgium is an odd hodgepodge of influences. That being said, everyone seems to get along in these modern times and Brussels is a major financial center in the Europe.

Alicante Beautiful Costa Blanca City

Alicante, Spain is located in Eastern Spain in the southern portion of the land of Valencia. Alicante is surrounded by Murica to the south, Valencia to the north, mountains to the north and west, and the Mediterranean Sea on the east. Popular travel destinations in the Alicante province include Alicante, Torrevieja, Benidorm, Alcoy and Elche.

Alicante is the second largest city in the Valencia region. It is a popular tourist destination, particularly in the summer. About six million people visit the Costa Blanca every summer and most enter through the Alicante Airport. The city has been called the best all around city in Spain.

Weather and Climate

This area has a typical Mediterranean climate. The summers are dry and hot. The winters are temperate. There is rarely any snow at all in the coastal areas. The weather is nice in both the summer and winter, making this area a good choice for vacations at all times of the year. Spring and autumn tend to bring rain storms, so keep this in mind when choosing a time for your trip.

Accommodations and Hotels in Alicante

Hotel options are abundant in this city. There are many hotels of all kinds, from basic accommodations to luxury hotels. Compare hotels and prices on the internet or through a travel agent. If you are planning to travel to the area during peak season, be sure to plan early. Some hotels fill up quickly, so make your reservations early.

Property rental is a good alternative to a hotel for some people. If you are planning an extended stay or are travelling with children, consider renting an apartment. You may be more comfortable and feel at home in a private residence. In addition, you can save money by enjoying some meals at home, rather than in a restaurant.

Things to do

The beaches are the biggest draw in the summer travel season. The Costa Blanca has the longest summer season in Spain. After enjoying the sun, take a walk along the Promenade in the shade of the palm trees. Sidewalk cafes are a great place to stop for lunch during your stroll. Craftspeople from all over the world can be found along the waterfront.

Consider taking a ferry to the island of Tabarca. This small island has a colonial style village and a beautiful beach. The island is a popular spot for snorkelling. Fins and snorkels are a common sight in the waters off Tabarca.

If you enjoy golf, there are several courses in and around the city. Green fees range from thirty five to eighty Euros. The fees depend on the course you choose and the time of year. Make your reservations early, as some fill up quickly in the summer season.

Alicante offers plenty of opportunities for sight seeing. Cathedrals and churches are popular sightseeing spots. The Concathedral of San Nicholas de Bari is a beautiful cathedral and home to the local Bishop. This cathedral is one of the landmarks of the city.

The Castle of Santa Barbara is one of the largest medieval fortresses in all of Europe. The original structure was built by the Moors in the ninth century and additions were made in the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. The castle overlooks the town and offers a breath taking view. The castle is rich in local history. Artifacts dating back to the Bronze Age have been discovered around the site of the castle. The castle is also home to modern art. A large collection of modern Spanish sculpture can be viewed during your visit to the castle.

There are several museums in the city for your enjoyment. The Nativity Museum is a unique place to visit. The museum contains hundreds of Nativity scenes from all around the world. Admission is free to this museum.

If you love the night life, visit the Barrio Santa Cruz. This is the old quarter of the city. The area has a medieval feeling. Bars and pubs are plentiful in this area, offering a variety of choices in the night life. Music from the clubs adds to the experience.

Alaska - A Freezing Adventure

All the way up the Yukon Trail, beyond the borders of the USA with Canada lies a bit (or rather, a lot, judging by the size of it) of Uncle Sam's land. Alaska is somewhat of a forgotten American state. It is also the last one. Lands that are mostly in the Artic Circle, mountains as high as the Himalayas, Alaska is an ice-paradise on Earth.

Alaska is the 49th state of the USA. It was incorporated on January 3, 1959. The Alaskan population is 626,932 according to the 2000 US census. "Alaska" derives from the Aleut Alyeska ('greater land'). Its borders meet British Columbia and the Yukon Territory to the east, the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Alaska to the south, the Bering Sea, Bering Strait and Chukchi Sea to the west, and the Arctic Ocean and the Beaufort Sea to the north. Alaska is the largest state in the United States area-wise and the 18th largest territory on the planet.

The first Alaskan inhabitants came across the Bering Land Bridge. This extinct stretch of land used to link Russia to Alaska during the Ice Age, but today it is submerged. Its first settlers were the Inuit, Yupik Eskimos, Aleuts, Inupiaq, and many other American Indian tribes. This route is widely believed to be the one taken by all pre-Columbian settlers of America.

Alaska over the centuries became part of Russia. On April 9, 1867, the US Senate purchased it from Russia for around seven million dollars at the time (around 134 million today counting inflation).

Alaska is not bordered by any other US state. A land stretch of 500 miles of Canadian soil separate Alaska from its homeland. Alaska is, again, the largest state in area in the USA with its 570,374 square miles. Its also has the longest coastline of the other 49 states. Since it has many islands, its shoreline is very tidal. There are some areas that have a 35-foot difference between high and low tide. Alaska is also a very wet state. It has three-and-a-half million lakes just counting the ones that are 20 or more acres large. There are also enormous marshland and wetland permafrost areas, all covering 188,320 square miles, mostly in the northern, western, and south western lowlands. Sixteen thousand square miles of the land are in the form of frozen water, or glacier ice.

Alaska's main export is seafood. Agriculture there is only a fraction of the industry. It mostly attends to its internal needs within the state as it is difficult for Alaskans to import food from mainland USA. This difficulty comes from the poor transportation infrastructure to and within Alaska. This makes food prices soar compared to the food prices in mainland USA. There is also a strong military pole that grosses high on Alaskan income. They industrialize crude petroleum, natural gas, coal, gold, precious metals, etc.

The alcoholism rate is very high in Alaska. People there tend to get depressed due to the intense cold and isolation. There is also a high suicide, domestic abuse, and violent crime rate probably due to the alcohol. There is also something called "brain-drain". When students achieve recognition in the academic field they usually flee to mainland USA and never go back, leaving behind the not-so-successful students. Nevertheless, the University of Alaska has been successful in taking care of this problem. It offers the best 10 percent of high school graduates a four-year scholarship.

So you see, Alaska grows year by year in the tourism field due to the magic of its arctic land. Don't let the downside of it keep you away from seeing the beautiful side of it! You might die without ever seeing the Aurora Borealis!

A White Mountains Vacation - Most Scenic 100 Miles in New England

This amazing trip through the White Mountains of New Hampshire includes gorgeous views, a visit to the home of the world wind speed record, and one of most scenic train rides in the east.

The White Mountain National Forest is a 4-hour drive north of Boston, Massachusetts. Deep in New Hampshire, the mountains are part of the Appalachian Mountain system that covers the Eastern United States. Within the forest park is the White Mountains Trail, and it’s a drive that’s arguably the most scenic 100 miles in New England. Here’s a selection of my favorite stops along the way - some of them require prior planning and are day trips in themselves.


Most people begin the drive from the White Mountains Visitor Center in North Woodstock on route 112 and head out on route 3N to the Franconia Notch area.

If you’re traveling with kids then you’ll want to pencil dates back in this area at the Clark’s Trading Post, and The Whale’s Tale attractions -- both in Lincoln on route 3N. At Clark’s you can see Bears, ride a steam train, climb towers, and generally keep the young ones happy. The Whale’s Tale is a water park with a wave pool, picnic areas, and live entertainment.

Back on the road head north towards Franconia Notch, and shortly you’ll see the sign for our first stop - the Flume Gorge.


The Flume Gorge was formed over 200 million years ago when the White Mountains were molten rock. As the terrain here cooled quickly, softer material was forced into the fractures that formed. These fractures wore down with natural erosion much quicker that the surrounding granite rock -- leaving the gorge. And so now you get to enjoy a geological wonder at the base of beautiful Mount Liberty.

The Gorge has a visitor center where your tour starts and ends, one of the oldest covered bridges on the White Mountains Trail, and some dramatic photo opportunities.
Continue to head north on Route 3 until it joins Route 302 and follow 302 towards Bretton Woods. Here the mountains get taller and taller until eventually you see the grand daddy of them all -- Mount Washington at 6,288 feet.


Depending on time available, you’ve got three options for experiencing Mount Washington: take the Cog Railway train ride to the top, drive the auto road to the summit -- the quickest way, or you can hike if you’re well prepared. But don’t consider hiking to the top unless you’re in great condition and with somebody. This mountain claims lives every year - even in the summer - as conditions in this area can deteriorate dramatically within minutes.

And yes, it’s worth getting to the summit. On a clear day the view is stunning. Visit the museum at the top and learn about the day in 1934 when the highest wind speed ever recorded on earth was taken - 231 MPH. You’ll learn why its unique geographic position provides the mountain with the worst weather on earth.

Now get back onto Route 302 and head south to the town of North Conway.


Schedule at least enough time to take the shorter valley scenic train, which you board in North Conway. The train rides offer wonderful views of the scenic valleys and notches in the surrounding area.

The valley train is a 55-minute roundtrip, and the Notch train is 5 hours. Both have a first-class car if you want to have a different experience. The notch train has a dome car as well, where you get magnificent views of the steep ravines and sheer bluffs. The trains usually run from mid-June until mid-October.


Let’s finish up our White Mountains Trail tour by joining back up with route 112 at Conway and driving back to the White Mountain National Forest Visitor Center.

Route 112, or as its better known the Kancamagus Highway, is the only road that runs directly east and west through the heart of the White Mountain National Forest. This is a dramatic road that shows off the magnificence of one of New Hampshire’s best-loved scenic spots. From this road your vistas include wilderness and the highest peaks in the presidential range.

During the summer and fall foliage months you’re likely to have plenty of company on your drive. But if the weather is clear who cares if the going is a little slow - this isn’t a drive to rush anyway. But it’s a magnificent end to our 100-mile scenic drive.

A Palm Springs Vacation Guarantees A Playful And Fun Time

Palm Springs, California is located just about 110 miles east of Los Angeles and is one of the most popular desert resort towns in the United States. The population is just about perfect with under 50,000 residents and along with eight neighboring cities including Desert Hot Springs, Cathedral City, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Indio and Coachella makes up the Palm Springs area. The name ‘Palm Springs’ comes from the region’s original inhabitants, the Cahuilla Indians. They named the area “la palma de la mano de Dios”, which translates to “the palm of God’s hand.”

Palm Springs is mainly famous for its Golf Courses. From mainly flat to flat and rolling courses, there is a course for every golfer in Palm Springs. For those who prefer to spend their vacation time in other ways, Palm Springs offers a diverse assortment of attractions and activities. Visitors can enjoy shopping, hiking, museums, gaming, architecture, simply soaking in the sun and much more! The natural beauty of the Palm Springs area is enough to keep many people returning time and again.

Palm Springs was known during the 1950’s and the 1960’s as a resort town strictly for the rich and famous like Frank Sinatra. In fact, Tinseltown’s most famous stars bought homes in Palm Springs during this time period and the area became known around the world as the place where the stars vacationed.

Fortunately, today Palm Springs is a resort town for everyone who wants to get away to one of the most delightful climates in the country. Vacation packages can be found for both people who are on a budget and those who can afford to enjoy luxurious resorts. Palm Springs has an average of 354 days of sun per year and very little rainfall. The winter season in Palm Springs has daytime temperatures that reach into the 70’s and nighttime temperatures in the 40’s. Sheltered by the Santa Rosa Mountains and the San Jacinto Mountains, Palm Springs seems to truly have been place by ‘the hand of God’ into one of the most ideal locations in the country.

A Cornish Pilgrimage - Falmouth

The road veers right and begins the steady climb to the heady heights of Pendennis Point. My modest car huffs and puffs as traffic files patiently behind me. A barrier to my left clouds the seascape and the temptation to peep is too immense. I stop the car and stride eagerly to the wall and peer over. The scene is impressive, revealing a small section of old Falmouth harbour. A vast warship, presumably undergoing maintenance prior to setting out to defend the shores dominates the visible harbour view.

As the road continues to twist and climb en route for the summit, hungry seagulls swoop overhead, groups ever-increasing as we approach the peak and assembled tourists. Surprisingly, parking is free, hence I immediately set off to take in the diverse panorama at the top.

The journey to the summit merits every second. To the north lie the Falmouth docks and an abundance of vessels anticipating their next voyage on the open sea. Facing eastwards, the eye is drawn to the glut of yachts spread throughout Falmouth Bay, sailing freely in the steady sea breeze. In the distance sits the appealing little town of St Mawes, a mile or so across the water.

“Magnificent view over there,” remarks an elderly fellow standing beside me, gesticulating towards the yachting event and its zealous sailors. I smile in acknowledgement as he shuffles back to his car and his waiting wife. I frequently wonder if folks living here fully appreciate such magnificent surroundings or if the beauty becomes taken for granted. Coming from central England, the sea has always held fascination with me, vacations to the coast forever keenly anticipated.

Look due south and on a clear day your eye is drawn along the magnificent, rugged coastline leading to Lizard Point, the most southerly part of Britain. As the wind howls and pounds the shoreline, a flock of seagulls unleash a cacophony of sound, daily rituals unperturbed by the resident tourist.

While the road twists and turns back towards sea level, my thoughts drift to the competing yachts, racing in the bay. What a wonderfully liberating sensation it must be sailing open sea. Envy races through my mind, but my thoughts return to the road. I’m heading west along the A394 to where my dad claims to have had the finest pint of ale in Britain – Helston.

6 Suggested Historical Destinations For Student Travel

Student travel promises to be an enjoyable trip. Not only do students can visit several places, they could also learn so much on every trip. And since air travel agencies as well as airlines provide student travel discount and special student travel rate, student travel is becoming more and more available for greater number of students who want to explore and learn more about the world.

For first time travelers, here are some historical destinations you can consider for you student travel:

As the center of knowledge, government, and system in the ancient world, every student would be amazed how this ancient city grew and evolved. Students can visit Acropolis, Agora, Library of Hadrian, Kerameikos, Olympieion & Southeast Athens, Pnyx, Roman Agora & Tower of the Winds, Arch of Hadrian, City Eleusinion and other ancient sites in this ancient city of Athens.

Visit one of the earliest civilizations founded in this part of the world. Egypt features 3000 years old city in the banks of River Nile. Egypt is also one of the oldest tourist spots in the world with visitors coming from the ancient Rome and Greece.

Moving your way south from Cairo, the nation’s capital, you can stop at Giza where the infamous Great Pyramid stands. It was built by Pharaoh Khafu in the year 2550 BC. Standing at 147 meters, it was the largest and the most ambitious structure built in the ancient Egypt requiring 2.3 million stone block to erect. Also at Giza, see the Pyramid of Khafre home if the Sphinx. It was built 30 after the Great Pyramid. As the second largest, the Pyramid of Khafre stands at 144 meters of 471 feet. The third pyramid located at Giza was the Pyramid of Menkaure which stands at 65 meters or 213 feet.

Further south, Saqqara is home to the Step Pyramid of Djoser built in 2630 BC. Pyramid of Pepi II, also located at Saqqara was the last pyramid built by ancient Egyptians. In Dahshur, the Bent and the Red Pyramids are located. And down south at Maidum, the Maidum Pyramid can be found.

See the temples, mummies, tombs, hieroglyphics, and Valley of the Kings and the Queens if you visit Egypt.

See ancient Rome still intact with evidences of Roman structure and architectures built more than 2000 years ago. Rome presents the living timeline from the Roman Empire to the shift of the Middle Ages, to baroque and renaissance, to the dawn of the romantic period and enlightenment. Rome preserves its temples, churches, arts, and priceless paintings and murals.

A former territory of the Roman Empire which stood strong for more than a thousand years against several barbarian attack. Turkey is in the easternmost part of Europe that features a diverse culture, religion, philosophy, and architectures.

Travel Far East and learn the history of the ancient eastern civilization that was once unknown until the last centuries. See the Great Wall, a remnant of the Zhou Dynasty along with other unique oriental culture and tradition. See the Chinese painting, calligraphy, paper cutting, and Chinese art.

As the center of the Inca civilization, Peru is a great destination for student travel for discovery of South American history. The 500-year old Inca traces could be relived in the Inca Trail that is both exciting and educational. Walk to the Ollantaytambo, Sacsayhuaman, Machu Picchu, and Pisac.

Maui Beaches

The island of Maui is home to some of the most amazing
beaches. Some beaches offer swimming all year round,
while others are best for surfing or snorkeling
during certain times of the year. Depending on
where you choose to stay, there are always some
famous beaches nearby.

West Maui beaches
If you drive along the west coast of Maui from Lahaina
to Kapalua, you'll see many breathtaking beaches
along the coast. Kaanapali Beach will offer
you over three miles of white sand with a variety
of watersports, including surfing, sailboating,
and even catamaran rides. On the north end of
the beach is Black Rock, which is well known for

Visitors like the sandy beach at Napili Bay,
because there are no high rise buildings around,
and the bay is protected well from waves. The
Kapalua Resort in west Maui is home to Kapalua
Beach, Oneloa Bay Beach, and the D.T. Fleming

South Maui Beaches
The rule with Hawaii and Maui is that the further
south you travel, the less crowded the beaches
will be.

Kihei offers you a series of beaches along the
six mile coastline, some even offering lifeguards,
restrooms, and picnic areas. Polo Beach and
Wailea Beach offer both restrooms and equipment
rentals. Or, if you prefer a more secluded beach,
you should visit Maluaka Beach at the Maui
Prince Hotel - where you may even encounter some
green sea turtles.

A few miles past the Maui Prince Hotel is the
Big Beach of Makena, which is one of the best
beaches on Maui. As the name implies, the beach is
quite large, and best of all - empty. It offers
white sand, picnic facilities, and even restrooms.

East Maui Beaches
The beaches of East Maui are unlike others in
Hawaii. Surround by lush scenery, the beaches are
secluded, scenic, and very colorful.

Hamoa Beach is a must visit if you plan to visit
East Maui. As you approach the beach from the
main road, you'll walk past colorful plants and
palm trees surrounding Hamoa Beach. Just off Hana
Highway is Hana Bay Beach, which offers black
volcanic sand.

The Red Sand Beach is difficult to get to, you'll
need to find a narrow path along the coast. The
beach offers plenty of swimming and snorkeling,
and you should be the only one there - which is
great for those looking for privacy. Even though
it is hard to get to, Red Sand Beach is truly one
of a kind.

Laguna Beach California

Perfectly situated midway between Los Angeles and
San Diego in southern Orange County, Laguna Beach
is a popular weekend vacation in Southern
California. Offering seven miles of coastline
with sandy beaches and palm trees, Laguna Beach
is the perfect beach vacation getaway.

There are 30 beaches and coves that visitors can
explore either on foot or by kayak. The activities
here include sailing, bird watching, beach volleyball,
surfing, and even scuba diving.

The Laguna Beach also enjoys warm weather year round
with an average high of 69 degrees in January and
77 degrees in July. Popular activities for the outdoors
here include romantic picnics, hiking, cycling,
tennis, golf, and even botanical garden tours.

Laguna Beach is also home to an active artist
community with almost 100 galleries that showcase art
pieces by local and international artists. There
are many festivals here in the summer, some of
which are known around the world.

For those who enjoy shopping, Laguna Beach offers
a wide selection of unique shops that sell hand
crafted jewelry, antiques, and other things that you
won't find anywhere else.

With the perfect weather year round, Laguna Beach
in California offers you the perfect location for
your beach vacation. Kids enjoy playing in the
sand at one of the several beaches, while parents
enjoy sun bathing and taking in the views that
Laguna Beach is very well known for.

If you've thought about taking a beach vacation in
the near future, Laguna Beach is perfect. There
are several hotels for you to choose from, many
of which offer discounts during the year, depending
on when you visit. There's something for everyone
here, even if your family is hard to please.

Huntington Beach California

One of the very best getaways for a beach vacation
in California is sunny Huntington Beach. With many
diverse sports such as surfing, biking, boating,
skateboarding, fishing, golf, tennis, and beach
volleyball - everyone can get into the game and find
something to enjoy. Even after the sun goes down,
you'll find something to do on Huntington Beach.

Even the briefest of family beach vacations to
Huntington Beach should include a visit to the
International Surfing Museum, where some of the
most treasured surfing artifacts are stored.

Other attractions ideal for Huntington Beach include
the Huntington Beach art center, and the surfers
hall of fame. There are plenty of other things to
do here besides the beach, which is perfect for
families who want more to do than swim.

Kids of all ages will enjoy a trip to Huntington
Central Park, which is one of the largest city parks
in Southern California. With picnic tables,
barbeques, restaurants, sports complex, the
Adventure Playground, and even a golf course, this
is a great place to spend some time away from
the beach.

Huntington Beach is also within short traveling
distance to many of Southern California's most
popular attractions and sights. Disneyland,
Knott's Berry Farm, Wild Rivers Waterpark, and
the Aquarium of the Pacific are all less than 20
miles away from Huntington Beach. After a fun
day of exploring and riding rides, the beach is
an ideal place to return to.

With a lot to offer you and a lot of things to do
nearby, Huntington Beach is one of the best areas
Southern California has to offer. There is always
something to do for your entire family, even if
your family is hard to please. Huntington Beach
is that good - and your family will soon see that!

Hamoa Beach Vacation Paradise

The black sand of Hamoa Beach is one of the best
beaches on Maui. The water isn't too rough, there
are no rocks in the surf, the crowds are minimal,
and the nearby scenery is amazing. For a beach
vacation, Hamoa Beach is tough to beat.

Hamoa Beach is about a five to ten minute drive
from the town of Hana. The drive is easy to make,
with lots of great scenery along the way. There
isn't a parking lot, so you'll need to park on
the side of the road and walk down the steps to
the beach. Parking isn't normally a problem
because the beach is never crowded.

There is a beach hut on Hamoa Beach that rents
body boards, snorkeling equipment, and even gives
out towels to guests of the Hotel Hana Maui.
There are also beach chairs and umbrellas that
are for guests only.

Unless you are a guest and want a chair, the best
spot on Hamoa Beach is on a big towel right in
the center of the black sand. There's plenty
of shade on the beach, so you won't have any
trouble getting out of the sun when you have had
your fill of it.

The water at the beach isn't rough and there are
no rocks to cut you as you swim. The waves here
can get quite large, although they are easier
to swim in than other beaches on the island.

Hamoa Beach is an excellent beach vacation spot,
offering something for the entire family. There
is always something going on here, no matter
what time of year you visit. For a beach vacation
that never lets up - Hamoa Beach is where you
need to be.

Family Beach Vacation In Maui

Located on the southwest side of Maui, the Fairmont
Kea Lani Maui overlooks the amazing waters off of
Polo Beach. The beach here is the center of all
water activities such as snorkeling, sailing,
kayaking, and even windsurfing.

Visitors here can play on any of the Wailea Golf
Club's three championship golf courses or enjoy
a game of tennis at any of the 14 courts the tennis
center offers. Parents that are tired can get some
much deserved personal time with a massage at the
Spa Kea Lani.

The resort accommodations are either suites or
villas, so there is no need to squeeze your entire
family into a tiny room. There suites here are a
minumum of 840 square feet and offer a separate
living room and marble bathroom with a separate
tub for soaking.

The private two levels villas here are minutes
away from the beach and are between 1,800 - 2,200
square feet as well. The villas are ideal for
larger families as they offer a full service
kitchen and a private courtyard with a plunge pool
and barbeque for grilling out.

Keiki Lani is also the hotel's activity center
for kids as well. It's a state licensed facility
for children between the ages of 5 and 13, giving
parents a break from watching their kids. Here,
children can enjoy painting coconuts, building
sand castles, exploring the tide pools, learning
how to dance hula, and even making real flower
leis. The activity center can accommodate up to
19 children, so be sure to call ahead and reserve
a space for your children.

The rates for stay start at $325 per night for a
suite. One of the benefits of a family vacation
here is the special deals that are almost always
available. The Fairmont Kea Lani Maui has several
packages available for family vacations.

If you are planning to explore the island with
the kids, you'll save a lot of money by taking a
package that includes a free rental car. This way,
you can explore the island at your will without
having to worry about paying any extra money.

For a family vacation, Maui is truly a one of a
kind destination. There are many different things
to do here for everyone in your family, even if they
are indeed hard to please.

Once your family experiences Maui and everything
there is to offer, you'll never look at beach
vacations the same way again. Maui has that kind
of power - especially when it comes to warm weather
and pleasing people from all over the world.