A Grecian Tour: The Ionian Islands

Kefalonia , Greece

Some say the Ionian Islands provide the best sailing routes of the entire Mediterranean. With light winds, beautiful scenery and protected waters, the islands make for one of the best yacht charters for beginners. There are many sites and routes that are unspoiled by tourists and are considered some of the most tranquil areas for a Greek holiday.

Begin your yacht journey from Corfu. From Corfu visit Plataria, just 51 kilometres away. Here you can fish your day away and in the evening eat your weight in prawns and watch the sun set over Corfu. You can’t possibly get anything better than that.

Kefalonia sea

Get adventurous in Sivota with mountain biking, waterskiing, wakeboarding and other water sports. The water is warm and gentle but with perfect breezes off the coast, which make this island ideal for water activities. With clear waters and sheltered bays, snorkelling and scuba diving are particularly popular in Sivota. Venture off the beaten path and discover coves, wondrous green hills and secluded beaches.

The stunning islands of Paxos and Antipaxos are just 16 kilometres from Corfu. Paxos is considered the smallest island of the Ionians; its small island charm means no hotel resorts or cheesy bars but rather strings of olive trees, fishing villages, beachfronts and boutique villas. When you’re on land, you can always find a grocery shop to stock up on provisions.

Assos, Kefalonia

The west coast of Paxos consists of limestone and caves but the east is everything but. There are 30 beaches that are reachable by car or on foot, and others only by boat. You can try your hand at some water sports, but other than that, there’s not too much excitement happening on Paxos, which is all part of the appeal.

For an extended trip, head down to Lefkas, Meganissi, Ithaca and Kefalonia, the southern Ionian Islands. Fortunately, the winds in the south Ionian are light and easy for those beginning to sail.

In Lefkas, as you walk around the town you can enjoy the smell of fresh, Mediterranean flowers, olive oil and other cuisines. Take some time to delight in the architecture, clear waters and the locals.

The beaches in Ithaca aren’t perhaps Ionian’s absolute finest, but this is made up for with an abundance of hiking trails.

Myrtos Beach, Kefalonia

Kefalonia is the largest of the Ionian Islands and it’s a popular tourist place surrounded by small villages, monasteries, breathtaking landscape and, of course, beaches. One of the most visited spots is Melissani Cave. Enter through an underground path and tour the cave by boat. Thanks to the size of the islands, there are plenty of activities to take part, but alternatively you can simply anchor down and take in the overall splendour.

There are many destinations when planning a yacht charter holiday, but nothing is quite as beautiful as the Ionian Sea. The Ionian Islands are full of charm, azure waters, stunning cliffs, greenery and sites you can’t miss. Sail your way through these islands and get lost in the Greek culture, cuisine and the Mediterranean Sea.

Phuket

Planning Thailand again… I will treat myself!

I’m planning a new trip to Thailand in October this year; I hope I can make it.
I read about an interesting event on Phuket during that period, it’s called the PHUKET VEGETARIAN FESTIVAL and it’s held mainly in Phuket Town and in all Chinese temples of the island.

Phuket Vegetarian

Besides the fact that for one week they will serve many vegetarian food everywhere, there are some worshipping activities which might seem pretty much splattering; many local people will turn into ‘mediums’ and will practice hazardous piercing on their body and face, some will step on ladders made of blades, and others will walk on burning charcoals. I’ve seen a few pictures already, very impressive, I’m curious about the whole history and philosophy behind all of this; I want to interview some locals once there.

Thailand

The advantage of attending such event is that I can enjoy the beach. I know it’s not the best time of the year for the weather, but who knows? I might be lucky.
For my stay in Phuket this time I want my own private pool. Yes, you heard me well. A friend of mine told me that renting a villa in Phuket would be cheaper than a good hotel, especially in low season. She recommended me to book a property in PHUKET using the website HOLIPLANET, because they are specialized on apartments and villa rentals. It’s a new platform, I had a look at it and the choice of properties in Thailand is really not bad. I’ve even found a few villas with one bedroom and pool, which for me would be perfect. The prices are interesting too, I wouldn’t expect it.

Pool villa Holiplanet
I thought that staying in a house I would enjoy much more space and more privacy. And being low season I don’t want to be stuck in a tiny hotel room if it will be raining. It will be a sort of retreat for me, I want to avoid the crowd of a resort or a hotel.
On the way back I will stop a few days in Bangkok for some unrestrained shopping! I was curious to see which offers has HOLIPLANET in BANGKOK, and they have a good number of serviced apartments available also for a few days only, and some of them, WOW, really affordable! So I thought, why not? Once again I can have more space for writing my articles about this experience in the evening without being immersed by my shopping bags!

Vienna christmas market

Cruising through the Christmas markets in Europe

There are many river cruises across Europe to choose from but one of the most original ones are just about to start, mainly the Christmas markets river cruises. Christmas markets originated in Germany and Austria and that’s where the cruises or trips usually start. Here are the top three Christmas markets in Europe, which are visited by scores of tourists each year both by road and river.

Nuremberg-Christmas-Market-

Nuremberg, Germany

Christkindlesmarkt is a Christmas market that is held annually in Nuremberg. It takes place during Advent in the Hauptmarkt, the central square in Nuremberg’s old town, and in adjoining squares and streets. With about two million visitors a year this Christmas event is one of the largest markets in German and one of the most famous in the world. Every year the Christmas market begins on Friday preceding the first Sunday in Advent and ends on December 24th, unless that day is a Sunday.

Nuremberg+Christmas+Market

Vienna, Austria

At the traditional Vienna Magic of Advent, the Rathauusplatz becomes a shining fairy tale land. The 150 or so sales stands offer Christmas gifts, Christmas tree decorations, sweets and warming drinks. The trees of the surrounding City Hall park are festively decorated and radiate in a sea of lights. There are lots of offers here for children in particular.

Other highlights in Vienna over the Christmas period include the festive illuminations of the historic Shoenbrunn Palace (a former home of Austrian Emperors) which provides a stunning backdrop to the Schoenbrunn Christmas Village which also has many market stalls as well as festive concerts to get you in the holiday mood. Possibly the most authentic Christmas Market of Vienna is the Spittelberg market in the historic quarter; specialities include local handicrafts. The markets typically begin from 17th November until Christmas Eve, and are open from 9am until 9pm, giving you plenty of time to explore.

Vienna-Christmas-markets

Vienna christmas market

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest Christmas markets are a great place to find quality folk trinkets, decorations and gifts. You can find there everything from gloves, woollen hats, candles, jewellery and decorative iron products. After browsing the stalls, refuel with local cuisine and Hungarian specialities such as sweet pastries, Kurtoskalacs, roast chestnuts, and warm mulled wine. Head to the front of Gerbeaudcafe to soak up the festive atmosphere, here you’ll find street entertainers and performers, dancers, brass bands, choirs and string orchestras all popular each winter.

The highlight of the Budapest Christmas market is the musical Advent calendar, where you can look into the Gerbeaud House windows to find contemporary works of art which at 5pm are opened and accompanied with beautiful lights, impressive fanfares and beautiful chimes. In the nearby square, a giant Christmas tree and advent wreath can also be found: the perfect photo opportunity. There’s plenty to do for young market goers too; children can enjoy puppet shows, play houses, Father Christmas games and other child friendly entertainment.

Budapest_ChristmasMarket_BIG

Mulled-Wine-at-the-Budapest-Christmas-market

cape canaveral

Things to do at the Kennedy Space Centre

Kennedy Space Center is situated on Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge just an hour’s drive east of Orlando. It is the only place in the western hemisphere where humans are launched into space. It was from here, with the launch of Apollo 11 in July 1969, that President Kennedy’s dream of landing a man on the moon was realized. The center is the home of NASA, whose manned Space Shuttle can regularly be seen lifting off from one of the launch pads. With a scale and popularity comparable to Orlando’s other theme parks, the Visitor Complex informs and entertains. Like for other venues and theme parks, Orlando tickets for visitors can be bought in advance on the internet and it seems to be the best option if you’re not a fan of standing in long lines. It is estimated that each year more than 1.5 million visitors from around the world experience their very own space adventure.

kennedy_space_center_map

Things to do at the Kennedy Space Center

  1. Lunch with an astronaut – these sessions offer a one-of-a-kind opportunity to meet a veteran NASA astronaut and get their autograph as well as ask questions related to their personal space travel.
  2. Apollo/Saturn V Center – a Saturn V rocket, of the kind used by the Apollo missions, is the showpiece here. There is also a reconstructed control room where visitors experience a simulated launch.
  3. Rocket garden – you can walk through a group of towering rockets, each of which represents a different period of space flight’s history.
  4. KSC Bus Tour – a bus tour makes a circuit of the center launch pads, passing the Vehicle Assembly Building and the ‘crawlerway’, along which the shuttle is slowly maneuvered into position.
  5. IMAX Theater – it runs films about space exploration. Footage from the shuttle missions offers some breath-taking views of Earth from space. Top of the bill is ‘Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D’. Narrated by Tom Hanks, this film takes audiences to the lunar surface to walk alongside the 12 astronauts who have been there.

Exploring the World in Las Vegas

It is known that Las Vegas was built so that the Americans would not have to leave the borders of their own country to explore the world. Here are a few famous landmarks in hotel casinos you can find on the Strip in Las Vegas. If you’d like to practice how to play poker or other games you can find in Vegas go to this website.

New York

New York New York hotel resembles the Big Apple in the middle of Las Vegas! The hotel replicates famous buildings from the Big Apple, including Chrysler Building, Brooklyn Bridget, and Empire State Building. The hotel made sure they feature the iconic Statue of Liberty.

new-york-Vegas

Egypt

Luxor Casino offers all the most popular tourist attractions that can be found in Egypt. Those include a real size Sphinx as well as highly modernized with a contemporary design pyramid style tower and 22-story ziggurat towers that were built as later additions. The hotel is names after the city of Luxor in Egypt. Luxor is the second largest hotel in Las Vegas and the eight in the world.

Luxor Hotel And Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, Usa

France

Paris Las Vegas is a hotel and casino and as its name suggest its theme is the city of Paris. The hotel includes a half scale replica of the Eiffel Tower, a sign in a the shape of the Montgolfier balloon, a two-thirds size Arc de Triomphe, a replica of La Fontaine des Mers and a 1,200-seat theatre called Le Theatre des Arts. Also, the front of the hotel suggests the Paris Opera House and the Louvre.

 

Italy

Bellagio is a luxury casino hotel which design was inspired by the Lake Como town of Bellagio in Italy. Bellagio is famed by its elegance and its 8-acre lake between the building and the Strip. The lake is a home to the Fountains of Bellagio, a large dancing water fountain synchronized to music.

Another famous hotel related to Italy is the Venetian, which design is inspired by Venice in Italy and features architectural replicas of various Venetian landmarks, including the Palazzo Ducale, Piazza San Marco, the Lion of Venice Column, and the Rialto Bridge.

Las_Vegas_Venezia

UK

Excalibur Hotel was names after a King Arthur’s sword. The hotel uses the Arthurian theme in several ways. Its façade is a stylized image of a castle. What is more, until 2007, a wizard like figure representing Merlin looked out from a high turret.

Vegas

retiringabroad

Best places to retire

Everyone reach this age when they have enough of busy commute to work, children are old enough to feed themselves and levels of energy makes them crave more of a peaceful lie down on the beach or a park than an adventure. This is the time when they look through leaflets and check online for over 65 travel insurance reviews. Those lucky ones with enough savings to pack their bags and move abroad research their potential retirement destinations. Here is a list of the most popular retirement spots for the British seniors.

retiringabroad

Malta

As one of the smallest states in the world, Malta is also one of the most densely populated countries on earth – for good reason, too. With more than 3,100 hours of sunshine a year, an average temperature of 19C and English as a first language for most people, it’s no surprise that many British citizens flock to the Mediterranean archipelago.

Malta-harbour

Portugal

Portugal is famed for its rich history, good health care and wonderful weather. Sharing time zones with the UK, pensioners will also find it remarkably cheap to live here. For example, it’s around three times cheaper to buy property in Portugal than in France. It also has the third largest European expat community after Spain and France.

"Portugal algarve"

Spain

Spain has the largest expat community in Europe and it is believed to have the lowest crime rate. With beautiful cities such as Madrid and Barcelona, the rolling countryside of Catalonia, historic UNESCO – protected areas like Toledo and islands including Tenerife, Ibiza and Menorca, there’s plenty of choice to set up a retirement nest.

"Spain wine la rioja"

Greece

While the economic crisis remains dire, this country continues to offer a relaxed lifestyle for many who have managed to save for their retirement. Greece offers great weather, readily available health care and a low crime rate.

Greece

Discovery Cove

Great family days out in East Florida

Cape Canaveral – NASA – Kennedy Space Center

Only at Cape Canaveral you can experience and learn a true story of the first space rockets and shuttles. You can explore the shuttle from the inside and hear the stories of the beginning of the space conquest. You’ll find yourself surrounded by original equipment for rockets and space travel, including Apollo rocket parts. Continue reading “Great family days out in East Florida” »

"route-66"

Road trip: Route 66

"route-66"The best way to explore the United States is by car. I am planning to present a few road trip routes on my blog in the weeks to come as I strongly believe that there is no better way of finding out about the history of the US or meeting exciting people than through travelling around this great country by some sort of vehicle. The first route I want to talk about is the famous Route 66. The is one more thing you need to remember about before planning holidays in the US, mainly visa. You can do it using esta (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). Continue reading “Road trip: Route 66” »