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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Parisian Romance at the Parc Monceau

La roseraie du parc Monceau en Automne, Paris,...Image via Wikipedia
Author: Pushpitha Wijesinghe

Paris is well known for its romantic atmosphere; classical structures, churches, the Seine, food and vine, the arty culture which all depict its romance. Most visitors to Paris come in search of ‘d'amour', and will find that as promised the city is really very enchanting and that at every turn and at every nook the main theme will be romance.
Discovering Paris will definitely take a lot of your time. So in order make the most of your visit, its best to priorities and plan ahead. And, categorising key interests will help any traveller narrow down the key areas targeted during the Paris visit. For travellers who prefer to take things easy and enjoy the many parks and gardens afforded by the romantic Parisian culture, one will find that the city is home to some of the most enchanting parks in the world.

The Parc Monceau is one such public garden affording relaxation and romantic setting for the Parisians as well as to the visitors to Paris. Initiated by the Duke of Orleans in the 18th century, the park, with its flower gardens and collection of adorning statues, is one of the prettiest parks in Paris and a much sought after park by those seeking relaxation and romance.
Originally designed by Louis Carrogis Carmontelle, the idea behind the park was to create an English style garden, or to be less formal compared to conventional French garden. And even today, it is this unique factor that sets apart the Parc Monceau from other public parks and gardens in Paris.
So explore the exotic attractions Paris has to offer and dwell in its amorous parks - for travellers searching for Paris hotel rooms the city boasts the most amazing range of lodging options to suit any budget. Choose from a range of hotels, hostels and apartments, all of which boast the romantic atmosphere of the city. For a serene atmosphere try the Millennium Hotel Paris Charles de Gaulle. Located close to the Paris city centre as well as the international Charles de Gaulle airport, this hotel is one of the cosiest Paris airport hotels.

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About the Author

Pushpitha Wijesinghe is an experienced independent freelance writer. He specializes in providing a wide variety of content and articles related to the travel hospitality industry.
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Switzerland - A tourist's paradise

Wasserturm and Kapellbrücke - the town's two m...Image via Wikipedia
By: Matrix
Switzerland does not need any introduction in any manner whatsoever, being a favourite of tourists from around the world, including even the Europeans. Such is the beauty of this destination, that despite the chilling cold, finding a reservation in hotels is really a daunting task. Following is a brief about some of the 'hotspots' of the country.
Basel: The best time to visit the city of Basel is in the summers, even though popular notion is that the city is famous for its Fasnacht and Vogel Gryff festivals in spring and winter. The reason for such a reasoning is that it is precisely during this season that the local population shows its true colours by hanging around the multitude of fountains in the city, driving past their stylish motor scooters, and drinking and dining on the pavements, which are already overcrowded, much to the surprise of a tourist from any part of the world. To an average tourist, the city, also known as Bâle in French, and occasionally Basle in English, is a great place to visit because of its art galleries and fantastic examples of modern architecture. But even for those who don't have such tastes, it's a worthwhile visit.

Lucerne: According to a popular legend, an angel with a light guided the first settlers of Lucerne regarding where they should build a chapel. So profound is the setting of this town, that even someone who does not have much belief in the concept of god would gape at awe at its splendour. Having a breathtaking lake (to say the least) in its 'premises', Lucerne, which was once a small fishing village, rests within itself and its Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge) the essence of Switzerland. Its primary importance was as a rest stop of sorts while en route to the Alps (between the 13th and 19th centuries). After this, tourists just kept pouring in, and Lucerne found its way to the top rather easily.
Bern: One can't spend too much time in Bern without hearing or reading about UNESCO, for the capital of Switzerland is so proud of its medieval town centre being declared as a world heritage site by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization! Walking on the city's topsy-turvy streets that have tall 15th century buildings, one will feel as if he is in another dimension. The surrounding hills give a fantastic view of the parallel rows of red roofs that are interspersed on a relatively small stretch of land at the bend of the Aare river. However, unlike other global capitals like Canberra in Australia, Bern, which has two different nomenclatures in French and English (Berne), only got so much prominence since it was easy for French and German speakers to agree on when the new Swiss Confederation came into being in 1848, and this is precisely the reason it is still a provincial town, having a parliament.
While in Switzerland, one would obviously want to stay in touch with friends and family. Those who purchase Matrix international calling cards will have a great advantage in this case, since they will be able to save upto 80% on every call, making the conversations longer, and the bills shorter!

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Article Source: - Switzerland - A tourist's paradise

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Italy, Dolomites – When Advent Knocks on the Door

Sarentino/Sarntal - Provincia di Bolzano/South...Image via Wikipedia

By: Lena Seifert
In the authentic Sarntal Valley in Italy's South Tyrol traditions are kept alive passionately.  For example, "Kloeckeln" is a tradition during the Advents time (the four weeks before Christmas) that exists here since the 16th Century and has survived until today in its special original form. 
Anyone who visits the Sarntal valley finds authentic, evolved tradition, which is kept alive naturally by the Sarners. Customs are no routine rituals here; they are authentically observed and celebrated. A special tradition is Kloeckeln, a custom at the time of Advent with pagan elements. The term "Kloekeln" is derived from "klocken", which in Sarner dialect means as much as "to knock". In former times Kloeckeln existed in the entire Alps, nowadays it is kept alive only in a few valleys – and rarely as authentically as in the Sarntal valley. The evenings for Kloeckeln are the three Thursday evenings in Advent before the winter solstice. On December 3, 10, and 17, 2009 Sarner men, parade as masked figures, noisily blowing their buck-horns in the still winter nights, knocking at the doors, and asking for gifts in the form of food and drink. In this custom these men wear hand-made masks and Sarner working-costumes, and present traditionally two songs: The Kloeckel Song, and the Thank-You Song. In these three nights of December visitors can witness this old tradition in the wintry streets of the Sarntal. 

When the Kloeckel-group, the so-called "Kutt", parades with noise from house to house, certain characters may not be absent: The "Zussler" - two men dressed as a married couple, the accordion player,  the "Lottrsackträger" as well as further "Kloecklers" using bells, buck-horns and other loud instruments. The Zussler are meant to represent in this play the dark demons of winter fighting with the bright spirits of spring. The "Zusslmandl" wears in this pageant the old Sarner costume with the red, split sword, which is beaten continuously on the hand to the beat of the Thank-You Song and the constant pursuits by the "Zussweibele". The "Weibele" wears the "Niederfeiertag"-dress of Summer and around her hips a belt with bells, that is heard already from a distance when running. While the "Kutt" presents the Kloeckel song, the couple often enters the homes and accepts served food. During the Thank-You Song the "Zussler" finally come into the village center, and dance out of respect. At the end of such a Kloeckel night, the "Kutt" take off their masks, and all Kloecklers celebrate wildly with song and dance at a farmer's place. Hearty food like dumplings, meat, and sauerkraut are not supposed to be missing. Since fasting was done previously during the time of Advent, the Kloeckler could not eat their earned gifts immediately, but had to be patient until Stephen's day (December 26th) But then the so-called "Kloeckel-Sausage-Brewing" was celebrated happily with dance and music. This tradition is alive up to today in the small mountain village Durnholz in the Northern Italian Sarntal Valley.

About the Author
Lena Seifert writes for, a travel destination website with many useful tools to help you plan (or at least dream…) about your next walking holiday or hiking vacation in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Italian Dolomites and South Tyrol. Visit them online at
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Paris in the Winter

This panorama is made from 8 photos. Hugin and...Image via Wikipedia
By: Peter Merifield
Every body has heard of "Paris in Spring" and "Paris in Fall", but Paris in the winter? The fact that everyone has heard of Paris in the Spring ought to give a clue as to why it might be smart to visit the city during the off-season winter months. There are fantastic deals on hotel rooms that make luxurious Paris accommodations affordable even for the budget-minded. The winter is the perfect time to splurge on a Parisian holiday at rates that won't put too much strain on your bank account.

It's true that the weather can be dismal in Paris, but that won't keep you from enjoying fine dining, shopping, or visits to the famous art museums and other indoor attractions. There are sunny days and temperatures rarely go below freezing, but it's important to bring appropriate clothing for windy, rainy days. One good reason to visit Paris in the winter is for the state-regulated sales in stores that the government only allows two times per year, once in January and once in the summer.

Many people don't realize that Paris is on vacation in August, with much of the population taking their holidays elsewhere, leaving many hotels and restaurants closed for the month. The spring months are over-flowing with tourists, reservations are at a premium and prices are high. It makes good sense to visit Paris at least once in good weather, but there's plenty to come back again and again for, so why not take advantage of the bad weather and the good prices and do all the things that don't require sun to enjoy? You'll feel less like a tourist and you'll get to see the daily life of Paris as it really is.

There are dozens of hotels in the heart of the city offering deals this winter. Check with your travel agent or look online to find great deals and packages at some of the places you might not have thought you could afford. You can stay in the heart of the city at one of the grand hotels or for convenience's sake you could stay at the Hilton Hotel Charles de Gaulle, located in the airport. It's easy to get to the city from the airport and if you stay at the Hotel CDG you won't have to haul your luggage all the way into the city and back.
About the Author
Peter Merifield is a London-based freelance journalist with a mission to make you a better and happier human being. Drawing attention to the peculiarities of life in the modern age is all part of the package.Check out his other articles for everything you need to know about Hotel Charles de Gaulle
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Article Source: - Paris in the Winter
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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Italy - The Island of Sardinia - Alghero

16th century catalan city walls, Alghero, SardiniaImage via Wikipedia
By Irina Pushkova
Alghero is an Italian town in the province of Sassari, one of the major towns of Sardinia. Its population consists of about forty-four thousand of inhabitants. The town of Alghero is located very close to the airport which makes Alghero one of the most important towns on the north of the Island of Sardinia. Besides Alghero stands on the seashore which attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. It is very comfortable even just to come to Alghero for a weekend since one can get from the airport right to a nice beach within a few minutes.

Lifestyle and traditions of the local population have been significantly influenced by Spanish culture. Sometimes Alghero is called Barselonetta which means little Barcelona. Some locals speak a dialect compiled from an ancient Catalan language and in the twenty-first century this dialect is used as an official language on a par with the Italian on the territory of Alghero.
The historical center of Alghero is something that is worth visiting. It has preserved the medieval spirit of the mixed cultures of Italy and Spain and at the same time it is full of modern ideas and rhythm of life so much required today. Young people are very fond of coming here, especially on summer holidays. During the day they spend their time on the beach and in the evening go to the disco. Older people like walking through the historic center and along the coast on a nice paved road to admire the berths in the night lights.
The coastline of Alghero is called the Coral Riviera. In the waters of the Gulf of Alghero there is a huge amount of precious red coral of the highest quality. Collecting, processing and sale of corals played an important economic and cultural role in Alghero for centuries. A branch of red coral has become a symbol of the city of Alghero. Its image can be found on the arms of the city of Alghero.
The neighborhood of Alghero is famous for the vineyards that belong to a worldwide known Italian wine producer named Sella and Mosca.
The natural landscape of Alghero is very diverse: beaches and rocks with flat or very sharp rocks, typical Mediterranean plants. The town is surrounded by olive groves. Along with the sea and the beaches, the colours of the nature around Alghero create a picture of extraordinary beauty. You can enjoy the views of Capo Caccia with a huge rock in the shape of a sleeping giant which also has become a symbol of Alghero along with the precious red coral. The marine national park was created recently in the area of Capo Caccia. This area abounds in caves and gorges which are still largely unexplored. The most famous cave is the Grottoes of Neptune with its giant stalagmites and stalactites of particular shapes.
The flora and fauna of the waters of Alghero is very attractive for those who like diving. Colonies of red coral, crabs, huge lobsters, moray eels, eels can be observed in the local waters. The most popular spot among divers is Grotto Nereus which is considered the largest sea cave in Europe.
Alghero offers you hundreds of nice places to eat. Local restaurants have a wide choice of fresh seafood as well as typical Sardinian dishes such as fresh pasta and pizza.
DoverieSardo. We take care of you and your projects in Sardinia! For more information please visit our website:

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Abruzzo Travel Tips

'Before the Storm', Italy, Abruzzo, PacentroImage by WanderingtheWorld ( via Flickr

By Prachi Mehta

Here are some useful tips if you are planning a trip to Abruzzo
If you are planning a visit to Abruzzo, then go in autumn season as the heat of the country is cooled down and you will not experience much rush there. Moreover this is the season best for harvesting of olives and grapes so you would have a taste of classic wines in Abruzzo.
Tourists have underestimated this place but Abruzzo has spectacular scenic beauty, castles and ancient roman mythology is still intact here. Half of the Abruzzo's region is covered with mountains while rest of the land is contributed to parklands.

Bus facility is available for tourists and locals in Abruzzo but the schedules and timings are often not suitable. Most of the Abruzzo's region is covered with parklands, so it will be convenient for you if you travel by car.
Abruzzo is famous for its peasant dishes. Lamb's milk ands its meat is very popular in this region. You will find that fish is the main ingredient in many cuisines of Abruzzo.
As the land is covered with national parks and parklands, you will find that this town attracts many adventure lovers. Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo is popular for biking trails and hiking.
Pacentro is lies in the heart of Italy. It is a beautiful village located on the hill top of Abruzzo. Family of pop singer Madonna hails from Abruzzo.
Scanno is another village located in central Abruzzo. More tourists are attracted to Scanno as compared to Pacentro. It has better accommodations and hotels than Pacentro. Streets are very narrow here and you would notice hanging clothes in front of many houses.
Campo Imperatore
Campo Imperatore is a plateau. It is a huge plateau and you will experience thrill while traveling on its rocky terrain. Duca Degli Abruzzi is a mountain in Campo Imperatore where Mussolini was kept before his execution.
Roca San Giovanni
Roca San Giovanni is a small village surrounded by ancient fort wall of Rome. The church of Roca San Giovanni is the main tourist attraction.
Lanciano is only a few kilometers away from sea. It is famous for its nightlife and is the commercial hub of Abruzzo. Architecture of this city is pretty fascinating. It is commonly known as religious city of Abruzzo.
Atessa is one of the old towns of Abruzzo. It is situated on the peak of two hills. The name of this town is based on a legendary story which involves a saint. In ancient times there were two villages named Ate and Tixe which were separated by a canyon. A dragon haunted these two villages and later he was killed by Saint Leucio.
Abruzzo should be on your top priority in your travel list as it is a beautiful place to visit where you can feel the ancient Rome.
The author Prachi Mehta is a freelance content writer and can be reached at

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Winter Walks in the Belgian Ardennes

Confluence of the Ourthe Occidentale (Western ...Image via Wikipedia

Interested in exploring the Belgian Ardennes on foot this winter? It's the ideal location for a good dose of fresh air in the hills. But before you scurry off to find your hiking boots, I feel obliged to give you three small pieces of advice.

First, there is a high chance that you will become addicted, because the Ardennes is a wonderful region for walking. It's easily accessible by car, train or bus; there are hundreds of well-marked walking routes of various lengths; the scenery is breathtaking; the nature is fascinating; and yet you are never too far from a café, hotel or village shop. In other words, once you have walked in the Ardennes, your free weekends may never be the same again.

Second, be prepared for sudden changes in the weather. I have set off in glorious sunshine to find myself in a hail storm just an hour later. In addition, the higher you ascend, the colder will be that chill wind. So dress for the worst eventuality. For a winter walk, this means warm clothing, sensible footwear, a waterproof coat, gloves and a hat. Take sufficient water and snacks; personally I always take a thermos flask of hot soup. And do not leave your mobile phone at home.

Third, take a detailed walking map. These are readily available from local bookshops and tourist offices. Plan in advance to know where you intend to walk, and the length and duration of your route. This will help avoid unpleasant surprises, especially if you are taking children with you.

So, armed with these hopefully helpful warnings, it's time to pack up your backpack and go. But where? It's easy to look at a map of the Ardennes and feel overwhelmed by all the possibilities, so a few of my personal favorites might help you decide where to start.

Hertogenwald Forest, Eupen

I am particularly fond of this area as it was my first encounter with the Ardennes. It offers a splendid mixture of landscapes: impenetrable, silent, coniferous forests; deserted moorland stretching to the horizon; and picturesque babbling brooks. It can be reached by taking the N67 south-east from Eupen. Halfway to Monschau is the Ternell Nature Center. This old forester's house was built in 1770 and transformed two hundred years later into a museum and information center. I recommend the route heading north-east from the nature center into the forest. The first time I walked this route I had to cross the River Getzbach by taking off my boots and socks and wading across. When I returned a few years later, I was quite disappointed to find a bridge had been installed. Next to the nature center is a cosy tavern serving excellent snacks. When ordering, don't forget that you are in German-speaking Belgium!

River Ourthe, La Roche-en-Ardenne

If you want to make a weekend of your trip to the Ardennes, La Roche-en-Ardenne is an excellent base from which to explore the River Ourthe, as it offers numerous hotels and restaurants. Most people walking in this area will be drawn to the well-known sights of the Nadrin Belvedere, the Nisramont Dam, Saint Margeurite's Cross and the confluence of the two Ourthes (Orientale and Occidentale). All of these are well worth visiting, but if like me you prefer to steer away from the crowds, then I would recommend trying one of the less popular but equally outstanding walks from the villages of Maboge, Grande Mormont or Bonnerue. My tip would be the 8 km Champs Thomas walk from Maboge. The deserted uplands seem to be a favorite hunting ground at this time of the year for hen harriers. These rare birds of prey are similar to the more commonly seen buzzards but have a white rump and fly with their wings held in a shallow 'V' as they glide low over the fields in search of a mouse or vole.

Anlier Forest

Even deeper into the Ardennes, between Martelange and Habay-la-Neuve in the province of Luxemburg, is the huge 7000-hectare Anlier Forest, one of the biggest forests in the country. Its northern slopes reach an altitude of 517 meters and are drained by the tributary streams of the River Sûre, which flows into Germany as the Sauer and eventually into the Moselle. The forest is so vast that parts of it are virtually unexplored. Living in its deeper recesses are deer, wild boar, badgers, foxes and wildcats. I have enjoyed many hours walking along the banks of the rivers Sûre and Géronne hoping to catch a glimpse of an otter, which is making a comeback in this region. Beavers have also been re-introduced into these river systems. A particularly attractive walk starts from Volaiville and gives you close-up views of two watermills on the Géronne.

These three walks will give you an excellent introduction to this lovely area in the south of Belgium.

Denzil Walton is a professional writer based near Brussels. Focusing on technical copywriting, he also enjoys writing about the flora and fauna of Belgium.


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What To Do In Kensington London

Kensington PalaceImage by rafitorres via Flickr
By Carolyn Clayton

When someone is visiting London, they may wonder what to do in Kensington London. This area is full of tourist attraction spots. Whether someone wants to take a walk through the many gardens or take part in an afternoon of shopping, there is something for every taste and desire.
The Kensington Palace is a grand place to visit. Tickets can be purchased ahead of time or at the door. There are many tours that take place in this building. One tour will show visitors the amazing staircase that belonged to one of the kings. There is also a bedroom that belonged to Queen Mary and it shows her infamous bed. It is one of the oldest beds to be preserved. These tours will show visitors the decor and detail of the interior design. There are ravishing gardens to explore, shopping and places to view art.

The museum is home to five collections and shows. It is the most famous for its dinosaur exhibit, featuring many dinosaur collections and skeletal remains. There are over 70 collection pieces for visitors to explore.
There are a few side streets that are known for their shopping. Streets lined with small shops and fancy boutiques. These stores will offer visitors a range of products and items. There will be both new and antique stores to browse through. Along the rows of shopping boutiques, there are small cafes, coffee shops and restaurants to dine in.
A huge mall is available to anyone who wants to explore the shopping mall. This place features many stores that will service the needs of all ages. There will be stores that sell clothing as well as items for the home and to be bought as gifts.
The collage of art is a place that people can visit and explore. This building is full of art pieces to be viewed. Visitors can take a tour through the collage and have tea and coffee at a local tea shop.
When someone is wondering what to do in Kensington London, they will be delighted with the options. There is a vast assortment of shopping, and places to explore and visit. This community is rich with royal sites and attraction places, for anyone to walk through and discover. A good idea for a traveler, is to arrange activities ahead of time. When someone plans out what they want to do while visiting, they can ensure that tickets and tour times are well thought out. The right holiday and vacation will begin with a great plan of places to see and things to do.
For somewhere cheap to stay in London try one of the Kensington Hotels like Kensington West, which is of the Hotels near Harrods.

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New Attractions to See in Ireland

Achill Island sunsetImage by chb1848 via Flickr
By Seamus Maguire
Ireland is suffering the worst economic disaster in its history. Reckless lending by the banks fueled a massive property bubble that exploded in 2008 and the ramifications are now only becoming fully apparent. The country risks losing its sovereign status such are the dire circumstances in which it finds itself. It is unable to raise money on the international markets, the banks are broke, the Government is incompetent and leaderless and half a million people are on the dole. The crisis is unprecedented in the history of the sate and at the time of writing looks set to get worse.
Now the IMF and EU Emergency Fund are in Ireland and are, in effect, forming the next four draconian budgets for Ireland, not in any gallant bid to help Ireland, but instead acting in an increasingly desperate attempt to save the Euro and the whole EU project.

The excesses of the so called "Celtic Tiger" period have left an array of vanity property monuments and "white elephant" projects dotted around the country. Perhaps the Tourism Ireland authorities might design a tour of such sites.
Some highlights might include:
Ghost Housing Estates: These are not ones that are haunted, but a term given to unfinished housing estates around the country with little or no people living in them and lacking all but the most basic services. Free entry.
Anglo Irish Bank Skeleton: This creature can be seen on the Dublin Docklands and would put the fear of God into you as it towers over the Liffey Basin. Carbon dating experts trace its origins back as far as 2007 or 2008 AD though the matter is a bone of contention amongst some scientists. Tickets €10 from the NAMA ticket agency.
Zombie Hotels: These are hotels that are ran by liquidators and receivers and are encountered in remote areas of the country where humans were never likely to wander in the first place. Built primarily on the business case that avoiding paying tax was better than servicing the needs of tourists, zombie hotels will warmly welcome you, but like Hotel California, you can never leave. Because they are built in the back of beyond, nobody will find you when you disappear. Free entry
Foxrock Tractors: These are to be found in fire sale auction house around the country. They are huge 4 x 4 jeeps that used to collect the children from school in opulent, upmarket areas of Ireland, but were actually capable of climbing Carrauntoohil Mountain in Kerry and could pull Achill Island around the coast. Reduced from €150,000 to €10,000.
Further tourist attractions will be announced in the coming months!
Further Information
Seamus invites you to take a virtual tour of Ireland through Look Around Ireland - the Ireland Travel Guide. Check out our Map of Ireland

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Venice, Italy - Ghetto

View from a bridge on Murano, overlooking the ...Image via Wikipedia

By Harry Preston

The Jewish Ghetto, famed as the setting for Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, dates from 1516 when the Council of Ten was pursuing its policy of zoning Venice. Murano was given over to glass production, Arsenale to ship building and the northerly island where there once stood a foundry (geto) became the home of Venice's Jewish population who had arrived as refugees from the mainland. Venice was a tolerant host and Jews were allowed to trade in medicine, money-lending and textiles. The Ghetto (which was to give its name to all other ghettos in Europe) was cordoned off by canals and entered by two water gates manned by Christian guards.
Although Napoleon removed the gates when he attacked Venice, the Austrians reinstalled them when they took over the city after the Congress of Vienna in 1815. Venice's Jewish population was not fully emancipated until 1866 when the city became part of the new kingdom of Italy. By that time. two satellite ghettos, Ghetto Vecchio and Ghetto Novissimo, strained to accommodate a population that had swelled to 5,000.
Because of overcrowding, houses in the Ghetto were built as high as possible, but these Venetian skyscrapers were forbidden to be more than one-third taller than any other Venetian building. As a result, as many storeys as possible were crammed in, resulting in ceilings that are lower than anywhere else in Venice. Nowadays, the Ghetto is inhabited by only five Jewish families, but it still maintains its kosher food shops, a Jewish bakery and two synagogues. The Museo Ebraico here shows visitors many 17th- and 19th-century Ghetto artefacts followed by guided tours of the area's German, Spanish and Levantine synagogues.
For more information about Venice, Italy visit
For more information about Cuba visit

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Paris, France - Place Des Abbesses

Basilique du Sacré-Cœur in Paris (France)Image via Wikipedia

By Harry Preston

After the din of the neighbouring place du Tertre, the tranquil place des Abbesses is the ideal place to pause, enjoy a coffee and take in the absorbing atmosphere of the area. One of Montmartre's prettiest squares, it is just a short walk from the Sacre-Coeur and Pigalle, and is a favoured Sunday morning haunt of local residents as well as visitors.
Surrounding the square are some fine examples of extravagant art nouveau architecture, the most notable of which is the canopied metro entrance that leads to Paris' deepest station at 40m (31 feet). Designed by Hector Guimard, it features amber lanterns and green wrought-iron arches, and is one of the last remaining examples in the city. The Eglise St-Jean-de-Montmartre, which dates from 1904, is named after the abbey that once stood on the site. The decorative windows, which significantly brighten up its otherwise austere facade, date from the same period.
This is where caricaturists, portrait and landscape artists congregate each day to paint local scenes and willing passers-by. Visitors throng these "street studios" so that they can can take home a drawing or painting of themselves. The place du Tertre is a fascinating, though touristy, reminder of a time when Picasso or Renoir may have sat in this very square and painted.
From my personal experience, the surrounding square is an excellent location for a traveller to immerse him or herself in some of Paris best local art architecture. There are many great photo opportunities to be had, so make sure to bring a camera and save a couple hours for the Place des Abbesses.
For more information about Paris, France visit
For more information about Madrid, Spain visit

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Barcelona, Spain - The Museu De Cera and The Museu Frederic Mares

Catedral de Barcelona - Interior2Image via Wikipedia

By Harry Preston

The Museu de Cera also known as the Barcelona wax museum sits just off Las Ramblas in a neoclassical stately home that belies its unremarkable contents. It's not exactly Madame Tussauds, but it is popular with kids and worth a visit if you have a family to entertain.
The building was designed by architect Elies Rogent. Formerly the site of El Banco de Barcelona, it remains largely intact, complete with winding staircases and frescoes. Features include the "staircase of honour" and "the armoured room", an example of rooms used by banks in the 19th century.
The museum was founded in 1973, the creation of architect and set designer Enrique Alarcon. It shows around 300 wax models of historical figures, celebrities and literary characters, complete with audio-visual effects. Pope John Paul 11 hobnobs with the likes of Franco and Hitler, artists and film stars, and horror creations Dracula and Frankenstein.
The museum's cafe, El Bosc de les Fades (Forest of the Fairies) is next door and a destination in its own right. Fitted out in the style of an enchanted forest, it has gnarled trees, toadstools and a grotto.
The Museu Frederic Mares sculptor and collector Frederic Mares i Deulovol donated his home and this fascinating collection to the city of Barcelona. Just behind the cathedral, it is one of the biggest collections of medieval sculpture in the region and is a remarkable repository of objects from everyday life from centuries long gone.
The museum occupies a series of buildings formerly belonging to the Royal Palace and is divided into three sections: sculpture, the collector's cabinet and Mares' library-studio. The palace has beautiful interior courtyards, chiselled stone and soaring ceilings. There is a huge collection of religious sculpture and imagery, from pre-Roman times to the 20th century, but it is the upper floors which contain everyday paraphernalia that really make it worth a visit.
Literally thousands of 19th-century household items and memorabilia, including bicycles, photographs, scissors and clocks are displayed to give a glimpse of life in Barcelona over the years. Objects are organised into themed rooms, including the "Ladies quarter", which shows the life of a 19th-century Spanish woman through a vast collection of bags, hatpins, fans, jewellery and other feminine accessories.
The Entertainment Room features toys and automatons. The museum is accessible through an attractive courtyard with an outdoor cafe, open during the summer months. The cafe is the perfect resting place during a visit to this incredible museum.
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Holidays in Val D'Oise, Ile-De-France

Moulin de Sannois - Val-d'Oise (France)Image via Wikipedia

By Phil Hanlon

Located in the Ile-de-France on the Oise River that shares its name, the Val d'Oise region is located just on the outskirts of Paris. In fact, the Val d'Oise is the first part of Paris that many tourists see as the area if where the main airport, Charles de Gaulle, is located. Elsewhere in the region are small picturesque and historic towns alongside suburban centres serving Paris commuters, as well as areas of forest.

Chateaux and Museums

The Val d'Oise is only around one hour's drive away from Paris and is well worth a visit if you are looking to escape the city for a day or even just a few hours. There are a number of chateaux in the region, ranging from medieval fortresses to 17th century luxury homes. Many are open to the public so you can enjoy their opulent decoration and beautiful gardens. Some have even been converted so that they now house important regional and national museums. The Chateau d'Ecouen, as well as being home to some fine examples of 16th century tapestries, is also the National Museum of the Renaissance, and features many artworks and items from that period of French history. One of the largest chateaus in the Val d'Oise is the Chateau d'Epinay, which was built by one of the king's advisers in the 1700s and has been home to many writers and poets over the centuries.
River Oise

The river that gives the region its name passes right through the centre of the Val d'Oise and there are many tours and activities you can enjoy either on the water on the shore. In the summer months, you can take a cruise in a pleasure boat along the river or splash out and hire a speedboat with your own driver!
Forests and Walking

For an area so close to a major city, the Val d'Oise still has plenty of unspoilt countryside and woods which are perfect for hiking. The Montmorency Forest is an ancient forest, which has hardly changed in hundreds of years. Explore among the trees and you may even stumble upon the ruins of the 13th century Chateau de la Chasse. The Isle d'Adam forest is a little less wild, with smoother and flatter paths for easier walking. If you prefer your wildlife a little more organised, then there are large botanical gardens in the towns of Sannois and Luzarches.
The Author writes for Holiday Home Rentals who have a selection of Villas in Val d'Oise and Villas in France which can be rented direct from their owners.

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Top 5 Tourist Attractions in Spain

Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, SpainImage via Wikipedia
By Chris J Anderson

If you are looking for the truest Latin Romance with all its glory, beauty, and valor, Spain is just the place to start looking. Here are top five tourist attractions in Spain apart from the must visit Beach, Cadiz and La Fiesta, in Ibiza.
1. Golden Art Triangle, Madrid.

2. Alcazar, Seville.

3. Barri Gotic, Barcelona.

4. Paella, Valencia.

5. Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao.
The Gold Art Triangle consists upon de El Museo, El Prado and La Reina Sofia. This region produced one of most significant art in history of man kind. You can enjoy the great sights and sounds being here so close with art from all period and styles.
While most of tourist start in Barcelona for its energetic night life and music, there are great surprises that you will also find here in shape beautiful beaches and volcanoes in Astorga. The Chiliad Leku Museum is wonderful site for its living sculptures that might give you chance to even try being living sculpture for one day too.
The Barri Gothic experience will leave you amazed for sure with astounding gothic building style and haunting castles. Being here you will easily realize the reason why the architecture of Barcelona has been such great influence for so many artists and architects.
The Picasso Museum contains all the great works of the most popular painter in history. The fun part of being here is that you can find some of lesser known work of great artist alongside the world known masterpieces like sunflowers here. One caution about being here is that you should try to reach the museum early as most of the tourists can not complete the whole experience in one or two visits.
The Moorish Palaces can easily take you to another time instantly. You can see some of great examples of remains in Seville. Renting a less expensive room in here could be the right thing as you will not be going back. Most tourists spend their time just roaming in once the royal quarters astounding beauty. The Spanish food is delight to have right from the Paella, to freshest salads and most sumptuous roasts with local wine that is just perfect.
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Monday, November 22, 2010

London, England - Harrods

Harrods Department Store as viewed from the no...Image via Wikipedia
By Harry Preston

One of the world's most famous stores, Harrods has built its reputation on its Latin motto: "Omnia, omnibus, ubique" ("Everything, for everyone, everywhere") - Noel Coward was once given an alligator for Christmas, bought from Harrods' pet department.
Far more than a shop, it is an experience. Spend enough time - and money here - and you can organise almost all your life. From designing and fixing up your home (whether you're thinking Louis XIV opulence or Scandinavian minimalism), to scheduling your eyebrow-shaping session and planning the evening's dinner menu - everything can be done under one roof.
It has come a long way from the Stepney grocery store that specialised in tea and was set up by Charles Harrod in 1834. He used his intuition and moved to a small shop on the present site in 1849, feeling that the planned Great Exhibition of 1851 would be good for business.
Today the store covers more than 9.2ha (23 acres), with 330 departments and 5,000 staff. It has counted Oscar Wilde, Sigmund Freud and many members of the British Royal Family among its customers.
The terracotta palace on Brompton Road dates from 1901 and was designed by the architect of Claridge's hotel, C W Stephens. For many, the first-floor food halls are the highlight, as much for W J Neatley's tiled ceilings with hunting scenes above the fish, meat and poultry counters, as for the produce beneath.
In 1985 the Egyptian businessman Mohamed al-Fayed bought Harrods for £615 million. His renovations included installing a £20 million "Egyptian Escalator", designed with experts from the British Museum. Check at an information point when you go in on the day's programme. As well as catching a high-profile book signing, you may find opera singers performing arias on the moving stairway.
Try to have tea under the original art nouveau skylight in Harrods' flagship Georgian restaurant which offers a buffet, carvery and an a la carte menu (you will almost certainly need to book ahead for this), and pass by at night when the exterior is ablaze with 12,000 lightbulbs.
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Top 5 Tourist Attractions in Turkey

Edirne TurkeyImage via Wikipedia
By Chris J Anderson
Being right in the middle of Europe yet completely a different experience all together, Turkey is just the place to visit to experience all the forbidden pleasure and earthly delights. The Turkish food, natural scenery and historic buildings are great to visit especially if you wish to be away from crowds of the typical Roman holiday.
The top ten tourist attractions that you can enjoy in Turkey include, St Sophia Museum, Blue Masque, Pamukkale, Ephesus, Cappadocia Region, Sardis, Aspendus, Kingdom or Mt Nimrod and Gallipoli.
The must visit for any Turkish holiday is Haghia Sophia Museum. Being here is amazing experience of spiritual kind. There is functioning church attached alongside museum here carrying the glorious artifacts of Ottoman Empire. If you are in Istanbul, the local beaches are also great place to visit in summer too.

The Blue Mosque also known as Sultan Ahmet Camii Masque is known to be its pristine symmetry and most tranquil vibe. This is covered in most intricate blue tiles. Most tourists carry back beautiful tiles from here as saviors to remind them of being in the most beautiful mosques in the world.
The Christian spiritual sites are also spread in every corners of Turkey too. There are many significant places for example the Mt Nimrod is known to be the stopping place for Noah's Arch. There are great ruins with great tiles in here from the Byzantine period too. Strangely enough you might also find similar tiles in building too, so being here makes you feel being lost in time.
Known to be great geological find, Cappadocia has most scenic plateau with magical feel. This historic place is located in Central Turkey. The altitude here is approximately 3270 ft. Being here is an experience of one of kind as you can see the strangest architecture with triangle being formed with three towns of Kasseri, Nigde, and Nevsehir.
The Ephesus is great place for any body interested in history. This region houses the great remains of full city from 12 BC. This place shows the Turkish roots with Roman times. The city was throbbing civilization with more than 250 thousand population at one time.
Similarly important is the region of Pamukkale known for being part of eight wonders of world. This place has amazing geological formation that has been here untouched for more than 14 thousand years.
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