Posts Tagged ‘holiday’

A Quick History of Sydney for Prospective Travelers

Thursday, August 30th, 2016

Copyright 2006 Tom Dinic

As the state capital of New South Wales (http://www.visitnsw.com.au) in Australia, Sydney is certainly full of rich history that any traveler would like to discover for themselves.  Established in 1788 when Briton Arthur Phillip claimed Australia for England, Sydney has grown to be one of the more famous cities in the world, boasting over four million people for the population.

Situated along the Sydney Harbor, Sydney is known as the ?Harbor City? in which travelers and residents can enjoy such sights as the Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge.  A previous host of the Summer Olympics, Sydney is certainly creating a destination for the travelers of today and the future.

The indigenous Australians (http://www.dreamtime.net.au) once roamed the lands of Sydney and the surrounding areas for approximately thirty thousand years.  And while their numbers dwindled before the arrival of Arthur Phillips, they still inhabited the area and made their homes in the region.

In the past, there were three different languages spoken in Sydney: Darug, Dharawal, and Guringai.  Many of these languages also have separate dialects for various tribes and clans.  These languages are all but gone now, but rock carvings remain to tell the stories of these ancient peoples.

In 1770, James Cook was the first to see Australia and note its existence.  This led to the British convict settlement as founded by Arthur Phillip.  Founded in Sydney Cove, this settlement was named after the British home secretary.  A few years later in 1789, a virulent disease spread over the land, killing the indigenous populations?many believe that this was the result of smallpox.

By 1820, there were few aborigines left and the period of civilization began: the education and Christianization of the natives.  With the leadership of Governor Macquarie, the city of Sydney began to take a more organized form.  Roads and wharves were constructed and local development was rapid.  People began arriving from Britain and Ireland in order to find a new life for themselves.

This influx of people led to some of the first villages and later towns in Sydney.  As the era of gold rushes came and went, the development of suburbs and improved transportation also blossomed.  The construction of railways and tramways in the nineteenth century aided this rapid development.  By the twentieth century, Sydney already had a population of over a million people.  While the Great Depression hit Sydney hard, the Harbor Bridge (http://www.sydney.visitorsbureau.com.au/page2-03g.html)  was still completed during that time.

With the second highest immigrant population of any larger world city, Sydney is an interesting mix of culture and expression.  In fact, forty-five percent of the population is said to be migrants of some relation.  This makes for a different feeling in the city?one of acceptance and sharing, rather than segregation.

This allows Sydney to be an ideal vacation destination for those travelers that want a sense of history and development as well as great weather and nearby activities.  Sydney is more than a vacation hotspot; it?s where time has shown that anything can be achieved with patience and hard work.

Over-the-top fun at Universal Studios Florida

Monday, August 27th, 2016

Caught in the rather long shadow cast by Walt Disney World, Universal Studios have always been something of a scrappy younger sibling.  To make comparisons even more pronounced, the similarly themed Disney-MGM Studios opened at the Mouse House around the same time. But Universal Studios offers some tremendous attractions and has its own, unique rhythm to compel vacationers through its turnstiles. Like its sister park, Islands of Adventure, nearly every major attraction features loud, kinetic, frantic action. It is one over-the-top moment after another.

Universal Studios Florida opened in May 1990 as Universal’s first park after the original Universal Studios in Hollywood and it is located in the Universal Orlando Resort, on the southeast side of Orlando, 10 minutes north of Walt Disney World.  The least crowded seasons are from Labor Day to Thanksgiving and from mid-February to mid-March.

Universal Orlando Resort is way more than a theme park.
The Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure theme parks are a world where every member of the family can choose their own perfect fun.
You can have the ultimate adventure, have fun with your kids, rejuvenate yourself, have a romantic dinner, challenge yourself on incredible theme park rides and relax by the pool in a beautiful Florida setting.

There is a wealth of dining options throughout the resort.
The dining options range from Bice Ristorante at Portofino Bay Hotel and the Palm Restaurant at the Hard Rock Hotel, to Emeril Lagasses famous Emerils Restaurant Orlando in Universal CityWalk.

Orlando is also home to some of the best shopping in the States.
From the new Millenia mega-mall, to the extremely popular designer outlet malls featuring all the latest designer fashions at fantastic prices. For many tourists, shopping is one of the many great reasons to visit Orlando often.

Shrek 4-D
Join Princess Fiona and our heroes on an all new honeymoon adventure picking up where the Oscar-winning movie “Shrek” left off.

Revenge of the Mummy
Plunge into total darkness as you face fireballs, scarab beetles, and an army of warrior mummies on a psychological thrill ride.
If you love roller coasters, you are in for a truly unique experience that you won’t find anywhere else.

TWISTER…Ride It Out
Apart from an amazing ride, this set includes parks and a network of alleyways that you can explore.

MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack
There are 120 different alien species, many created specifically for this thrill ride.

Back To the Future the Ride
You’ll fly from 2015 Hill Valley through an Ice Age avalanche and into the clutches of a dinosaur and back to the future all to stop Biff from altering the future.

Terminator 2:3-D
This ride features live-action stunts, special effects, and amazing 3-D film come together.

All-Inclusive Family Vacations: Get The Planning Right

Thursday, August 23rd, 2016

An all-inclusive family vacation is a fun and convenient way to spend a holiday. You spend a week or two with your family in an exciting, often exotic location, without worries about schedule, planning, transportation, or calculating those annoying extra costs. You pay once, and enjoy the rest.

Planning an all-inclusive family vacation is often half the fun. Even before you visit the travel agency you can work out loads of exciting family vacation ideas based on the world?s most famous all-inclusive resorts that fit your budget.

Popular all-inclusive family vacation favorites include Mexico, the Caribbean, and Hawaii. Other great family destinations include Rocky Mountain ski resorts and Disneyland in California or Florida. Transatlantic trips are less popular, because not many people want to travel this far with younger children.

The best way to please all family members is to plan an all-inclusive family vacation with your family. Take enough time now to plan your next family get-away, as you will have fun together as a family, learn more about the world around you, and at the same time get the most from your vacation.

The first thing that you need to do when planning a trip to an all-inclusive resort is to be clear on your location choices. Time and budget restrictions will be factors. Certain times of the year are better for vacationing families than others. For example, when you plan going to Florida, you should prepare to spend twice than average for hotel or even bed-and-breakfast accommodation during the school vacation periods.

Among the busiest holidays with the highest tourist traffic are long weekends, Easter week, Labor Day weekend, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. April to May and September to November are the best times to take an all-inclusive family vacation, especially if you are flexible, because rates are much more affordable than during the high seasons.

Most all-inclusive family vacation packages have age limitations for children, depending on the type of activities offered by a resort. Because of this, all-inclusive family vacations may be more suitable if you have older children. For trips that involve rafting, some companies require that children are at least ten years old. Some all-inclusive vacation packages include offer activities that take less than a day, which is a great way to have fun without too much pressure for the younger family members ? and your wallet, too.

Look for family-friendly vacation destinations. Family focused resorts are designed with children in mind, which is reflected in the selection of activities, their safety, availability of other entertainment, even the number of food choices. Plus, at family-friendly resorts you can meet other families with children the same age as yours, and sharing the fun can turn a good all-inclusive family vacation into a great one.

When picking an all-inclusive family resort, make sure you check what is included in the price of the package. All-inclusive family vacations can be expensive, but most parents agree that you get lots of fun for the money. In most cases, the price of the package includes accommodation, basic activities, sports and leisure equipment, meals, and transportation to places of interest and an airport coach. Never be shy about asking for a child?s discount ? sometimes an agent can offer you one even if it is not listed. You can further lower the costs by taking a smaller hotel suite.

All-inclusive rates provide convenience and comfort both for parents and kids. With a little creativity, vacation planning can be a fun, exciting, and an educational way to spend some family time together with the end result being a great vacation enjoyed by the whole family.

Canary Islands – A Great Vacation Paradise For Beach Bums!

Monday, August 13th, 2016

Lanzarote

Having a vacation with the family is a great thing to do. I will enjoy a holiday cruise anytime of the year. I especially like great beaches with the blue skies. Of course, it helps, when the people are friendly too.

When I travel for leisure, the Canary Islands off Spain is never far from my mind. You can get there by cruise. If you choose to do so, remember to go to a cruise-only travel agent or an online agency that specializes in cruise vacations. They probably can give you better cruise holiday deals.

You can also get there by air. All the islands have airports. Most international flights and those from mainland Spain goes to Tenerife, Gran Canaria, and Lanzarote. You can also fly to the Canaries from most European cities. If you are flying from North America, flights usually go to Madrid, where you can get a connecting flight.

An unknown North African aboriginal group originally inhabited the Canary Islands. Later, in the 15th century, a Frenchman Bethencourt discovered the islands. Some popular Canary Islands destinations to explore are:  Fuerteventura, Gomera, Grand Canary, Lanzarote and Tenerife.

If you want an all-out summer holiday with sand, beaches, and babes, the Canary Islands is a good choice for travel. There are numerous activities here. The mini golf course will give you hours of fun. There are also many tracks for biking and hiking.

One of my favorites is the Teide National Park. It is a marvel of nature with its stunning volcanic landscape. It is also home to Spain’s highest mountain, the dormant volcano Teide. There are numerous walking trails and a cable car to the top of the volcano. Truly awesome!

You can’t talk about the Canary Islands without talking about the Bahia de Pozo Izquierdo which is the best beach on Gran Canaria. It is great for windsurfing, deep sea fishing and sailing. When you snorkel or scuba dive, you will probably see grouper, barracuda, turtles, rays, tropical fishes and the occasional shark.

If you are at Gran Canaria, a hotel to stay is “ClubHotel Riu Vistamar”. It is well maintained, and the service is good. Although the pool area can be crowded, the food more than makes up for it. You get pancakes, cereals, toast and even champagne for breakfast! On certain days, you’ll even get smoked salmon. Quite frankly, I don’t mind having it everyday! Remember to attend the 6:30pm dinner to enjoy the night entertainment too.

The Canary Islands has a population of 1.84m people, most of whom are Roman catholic. The weather is generally warm and sunny all year round. If you hate winter, this is the best place to be a lazy beach bum, and have nice and friendly people around you!

The Costas of Andalucia

Sunday, August 5th, 2016

Costa del Sol

The Costa del Sol is the coastline of the area of Andalucia in southern Spain. The Costa del Sol and its varied coastline runs from Gibraltar to the holiday resort of Nerja. It is a very popular destination and has many resorts from the luxury of Marbella and its marina, Puerto Banus full of expensive yachts and motor boats to the more family orientated holiday destinations such as Estepona and Rincon de la Victoria. It is also the preferred choice of many looking for spanish golfing holidays, as over 30 of Europe’s best golf courses can be found a short distance inland.

There is a huge choice of vacation accommodation here from Costa del Sol holiday rentals run by private owners to large resort hotels.

For those looking for a more traditional Spanish holiday, the beautiful ‘white villages’ (pueblos blancos) can also be found not far from the coast with their holiday accommodation comprising of rustic fincas, traditional villages houses to Spanish Cortijos set within olive groves. Places such as Competa, Mijas and Casares and the slightly larger towns of Gaucin, Ronda and Jimena de la Frontera.

Costa de la Luz

The Costa de la Luz, known as the Coast of Light is situated at Spain’s most southern point. It is an unspoilt stretch of coastline with many lovely beaches and has not yet become a part of the mass tourism found in other areas such as the Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol.

Tarifa is on the southern edge of the Costa de la Luz and is very popular for windsurfing. Jerez de la Frontera is further up the coast and is home to the famous names of Gonzalez Byass and Pedro Domecq for their sherry production. It is also well known for its equestrian school, the Real Escuela Andaluza de Arte Ecuestre.

A popular day trip from this area is to Seville, the fourth largest city in Spain. It has a mix of architecture and many sights worth visiting such as the Cathedral and La Giralda, the Cathedral’s bell tower which was first built in 1198 and improved upon in 1568. From here there are wonderful views over the city.

Costa Tropical

The Costa Tropical is situated between the Costa de Almeria and and the Costa del Sol. The climate has an average temperature of 20 degrees and approximately 320 days of sunshine a year enabling the area to develop a large fruit industry, with many exotic fruits. The oldest town and one of the most popular resorts is Almunecar. The old town has a Moorish castle and a museum. There are several very good beaches and the resort has very good facilities. From Almunecar it is approximately only 75km from the historic city of Granada with its Alhambra Palace

The resorts of Salobrena and Motril are also to be found on the Costa Tropical. Salobrena has a restored Arab castle with a backdrop of traditional white houses and has wonderful views of the Sierra Nevada.

Costa de Almeria

The Costa de Almeria has a varied and unspoilt coastline. The town of Mojacar has lovely beaches as well as a traditional ‘white village’ which holidaymakers are always keen to visit. Roquetas del Mar is a popular tourist resort and further south is the developing town of Almerimar which has wide, sandy beaches, water sports and is becoming well known for its golf course.

Almeria, a Moorish city, has the 10th century Alcazaba castle, which overlooks the old part of the town, and is well worth a visit.

There is an airport at Almeria with flights from the UK. This provides quicker travelling time to your holiday accommodation on the Costa de Almeria.

Fot large family accommodation in Andalucia please visit www.atticusandfinch.co.uk

Alicante Beautiful Costa Blanca City

Saturday, August 4th, 2016

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.  For acommodation for big families of 5 or more don’t forget to check out www.atticusandfinch.co.uk

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.

The Costa Blanca And Alicante In Its Festive Mood

Friday, August 3rd, 2016

The Costa Blanca and Alicante area runs north to south or south to north, you can begin your holiday travel either way. The Costa Blanca, on the Mediterranean Sea coast is situated in the Province of Alicante, entering in the south through the town of Pilar de la Horadada or maybe Torrevieja might sound a little more familiar, all being part of the Valencian Community. Costa Blanca in English means ‘the White Coast’ probably because of its clear white beaches, the white washed buildings and the sunny weather which brightens all its villa like Guardamar, Javea, Altea, Benidorm, Torrevieja, Moraira and Alicante.

Navigate your own route in Costa Blanca

Being as Alicante was last mentioned and it has the advantage of its international airport called the Altet, you can start an entertaining holiday there. As you arrive into the city either by public bus, mini-bus from your hotel or by taxi, you will love how it is set at the foot of a hill where the Saint Barbara Castle still remains. It was built in 300 B.c. by the Carthaginians and even though it has undergone many wars, it has been kept in good condition, which nowadays houses an excellent restaurant. It is also surrounded by extended beaches with only a beautiful tiled promenade lined with all kinds of flowers and palms to separate them from the busy city and the harbour. Stroll along this refreshing central walkway where hand made goods are always set up in booths, or in the summer months, different bands and orquestras play soothing music to accompany the night breeze. Or delve into a good guide book with map of Alicante to be able to choose a special holiday festival such as The Saint John Bonfires with spectacular carton and wooden monuments depicting local and international characters which are finally burnt to the ground, carrying out a pagan tradition of wanting to eliminate all bad spirits.

Benidorm, which has excellent transport from the Alicante airport is also a very moving city. During the day you can either choose to relax and enjoy the long out stretching beaches or take the kids and family to one of the many parks around. You can choose from one of the Theme parks like Terra Mitica which has set up rides and attractions having to do with ancient Egypt or Rome, Aqualandia, a water park right within Benidorm where there are rides for the wee folks, younger dare devils and just splashing pools for the older ones. A good keep cool day! If animals are the theme for the day, go to Terra Natura also within the city and have your children come into full contact with very different kinds of animals. Here too, you can cool off in an area where there are water rides, underwater diving or nature climbing and trekking. At night, the nightlife is quite moving and the selection of places to dine go from fast food restaurants to the most exquisite delicacies, whatever you feel affordable for you.

Altea, the next village you can see on the map, has kept its old town atmosphere while offering good places to stay. There are usually pebble beaches and many exclusive coves to hide out in – a very recommendable tranquil ambience. Calpe is the next villa on our map tour so that you can get a glimpse of the Rock of Ifach, a steep rugged hill made of rock formation that has captured amateur and professional mountain climbers from all over the world. Whether you have used your energy rock climbing or just lazing around on the white soft beaches, you must head over to the harbour area for either lunch or dinner. There, you have an endless show of seafood and fish to choose from and have it cooked as you like, or just trust others and go for the caldereta, a stew of many kinds of seafood with a succulent broth.

Save time for Javea

Javea, on the east coast, lies a little over 100 kilometres from Valencia and just 94 kilometres from Alicante city. At either of these cities you can find international flights making travel plans easy to arrange all year round. On the map of Spain, just a little south of Denia and right near the outstanding Montgo mountain peak, Javea can be found.

This park was declared under national protection in 1987 so that its marvellous richness in fauna and flora could be conserved and further studies could be done on its archaeological discoveries. These discoveries can be seen in one of the many museums in the town. But what makes travelling to Javea so much fun is its traditional and cultural activities of long times ago, especially on the Costa Blanca and made available for the tourist to see nowadays. One of these activities is the sport called ‘ Valencian Ball’. There are two teams, usually two players on each team. It can be played right in the middle of the street, without a referee. Many times it is the public who must decide if the ball was fair or foul.The ball is made up of rags that have been tightly wound and covered with other rags. The players use their hands as rackets, using a special wrap to protect the palm of their hands. If you are looking for a good game, head to the Nou Street or to the Jesus Nazareno Street, or ask at the tourist office.

You will never have enjoyed your Spain vacation stay so much thanks to the variety and friendliness of the people who are awaiting to share their Costa Blanca with you.

European Cities – Top Five To Visit

Wednesday, July 18th, 2016

Paris

Paris is the capital and largest city of France. A stylish, sophisticated and romantic city, it boasts many sights to see, such as Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Arc de Triomphe as well as some of Europe’s best shops and restaurants. Located on the River Seine in the country’s north, Paris maintains much of its traditional architecture, with hidden squares, churches, cathedrals and palaces mixing in well with more modern designs. Access to Paris is fairly simple by car, rail or air.

Rome

A vibrant city with timeless architecture and a passionate culture, Rome is the largest city in Italy and also the capital. Located on the Tiber and Aniene rivers near the Mediterranean Sea, Rome enjoys a warm, comfortable climate in which visitors can explore the city. In addition to a rich history, Rome is also home to the Vatican City, a sovereign enclave within Rome, it is the seat of the Roman Catholic Church and the home of the Pope. Traveling around Rome is fairly easy on a network of trams, buses and trains, although travel by car is not recommended.

London

One of the world’s major business and financial centres, London is also a cosmopolitan and energetic centre for arts, culture, politics and entertainment. London’s population includes an extremely diverse range of peoples, cultures and religions, and with over 300 languages being spoken it is the most linguistically diverse city in the world. In addition to this, the city boasts a great number of important buildings and iconic landmarks, including world-famous museums, theatres, concert halls, galleries and palaces.

Venice

The “city of canals”, is the capital of the region of Veneto and of the province of Venice, in Northern Italy. The city stretches across numerous small islands in the marshy Venetian Lagoon along the Adriatic Sea. Venice has a very rich history and in previous centuries the Venetian Republic was a major sea power and a staging area for the Crusades, as well as a very important centre of commerce and art during the Renaissance. As Europe’s largest car free area, traveling around the city can only be done by boat or on foot.

Barcelona

Barcelona offers a range of tourist attractions, from Roman remains and a historic city centre, the old harbour, museums and the famous Sagrada Familia church. It is the capital city of Catalonia and the second most populous city in Spain. Located in the comarca of Barcelonès, along the Mediterranean coast, Barcelona benefits from a temperate Mediterranean climate.

To find hotels in these cities with family rooms to sleep 5, 6 or more persons please visit www.atticusandfinch.co.uk