May 15, 2012 00:50 - holly | 1,243 views
Since opening its arms to Western tourists, visitors to the European destination of Croatia have increased at an average of 10% each year. And after its coastal city of Dubrovnik was being named number 36 in the New York Times’ Top 45 Places to Go in 2012, there’s no doubt that holiday-makers will be streaming there in great numbers this summer season.
Often referred to as the “Jewel of the Adriatic” this traditional postcard-perfect city features marble-clad streets, baroque buildings and pristine white sandy beaches. The most recognizable feature however, are the intact stone walls which encircle city. This wall is one of the most beautiful and strongest fort systems in Europe and is a key historical attraction to tourists.
It’s hard to imagine that, even in the 90′s, this now-popular destination was a war-torn area closed down to travellers. Today, however, you’ll find a very different atmosphere in Dubrovnik and summer-time is definitely the time to buy your tickets. Here’s what to book into your calendar this summer in Dubrovnik:
Summer in the City
If planning to visit Dubrovnik this summer (getting there by Europe cruise is extremely popular), those looking for a holiday with a difference won’t be disappointed by the abundance of events and activities available to travellers.
Dubrovnik Summer Festival
This festival is the main cultural highlight on Dubrovnik’s social calendar. A programme of classical music, theatre and dance is scheduled at open-air, historical venues all over the Old Town and runs from July 10-August 25. Free street performances are also happening around Old Town if you missed out on tickets.
For those looking for an event that’s a little more upbeat, the electronic music spectacle of Re-Vel-In Festival will be held from Thursday the 28th of July 2012. This four-day event will bring together some of Croatia’s most famous artists and DJs to the Revelin club, set in the fortress of Dubrovnik.
Beaches in Dubrovnik
According to a Trivago opinion poll, Dubrovnik’s was included in the top five most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean and with summer temperatures heading upwards of 30 degrees Celsius, the cool clear waters of the Adriatic will beckon the majority of holiday-makers. The most popular beach in the area is the Sunj beach on the small, car-free Island of Lopud. This long, shallow beach boasts pristine white sand and Mediterranean warm water. Here you’ll find many locals playing the picigin, Dubrovnik’s most famous sport, which is like volleyball but played in knee-deep water. One end of this popular beach is also home to a community of naturists.
Kayak from Dubrovnik
For a unique view of the walls go sea kayaking in Dubrovnik and tour around the city, gliding through the clear waters of the Adriatic. This four-hour tour starts near St Lawrence fortress and continues to Lokrum, an island, which is home to a nature reserve and an 11th century Benedictine Monastery. Here you can swim in secluded caves and snorkel before heading back to Dubrovnik.
May 10, 2012 09:00 - iprospect | 1,517 views
As soon as you hear the name Egypt, images of the pyramids tend to be the first things that spring to mind. The Great Pyramids are one of the Seven Wonders of the World and are one of the most popular tourist attractions in Egypt, but Egypt has so much more to offer.
If you want to spend your holiday unwinding, then you’re in the best place for it. For an unforgettable experience, you can take a relaxing Nile cruise and sail away down the world’s longest river, taking in the picturesque scenery. Sharm El Sheikh is home to many incredible spas, and so you can treat yourself to a traditional Egyptian massage, indulge in a mud bath or pamper yourself with treatments at a luxury spa.
For those who love adventure, Egypt has so many activities! For an adrenaline rush, you can jump on a quad bike and explore the Eastern Desert, or if you prefer being underwater rather than in the desert, you can go scuba diving and snorkeling in the Mediterranean and see the underwater ruins for yourself. For more underwater entertainment visit the incredible marine life and coral in the Red Sea. Egypt is also home to many beautiful beaches and the year-long sunshine and warm waters mean that you can spend as much time as you want relaxing on the beautiful sandy beaches.
All-inclusive Egypt holidays mean that you don’t need to worry about finding places to eat every day, or the added cost of food. This means you can save your money for wandering around traditional Egyptian markets and taking day trips to other parts of Egypt. Luxor, divided by the Nile River, is often referred to as the world’s greatest open-air museum. Luxor is home to the Valley of the Kings where Tutankhamen’s tomb was discovered, a sight that no trip to Egypt would be complete without.
Holidays to Egypt are becoming ever more popular, with so much to do and see in this ancient place and affordable Cosmos package holidays to tempt visitors. The glorious sunshine means that you can spend your days topping up your tan on the beach or by the pool, or go exploring and immerse yourself in the remarkable and historical sights that Egypt has to offer.
May 9, 2012 12:46 - annadewinter | 1,428 views
There are over 18,000 separate islands making up the Indonesian archipelago in SE Asia, and due to constant movement of peoples down the centuries the cuisine is as diverse as the population. Most of the people of Indonesia dine out rather than cook at home, because as well as the vast numbers of great and often world-class restaurants there are also swarms of cheap ‘warung’ food stalls selling basic fresh food, prepared in a bewildering variety of ways.
Indonesian cuisine is more oriented towards a vegetarian diet than a carnivorous one, and it’s easy to understand why when you see the natural resources available here. Tropical fruits are available all year round and coffee is an intrinsic part of daily life because of the great coffee plantations on the islands. This is
incidentally, normally drunk unfiltered, and the dregs have to be allowed to settle.
The basic foodstuffs are coriander, coconut, chili, ginger, galangal, garlic, palm sugar, noodles, lime, shallots, rice, peanuts, salam leaf, tamarind, shrimp paste and tempeh. From these basics plus a few additional odds and ends a fantastic variety of spicy and exotic dishes can be made, which are nourishing and healthy as well as exciting, and it’s easy to reproduce most of them whilst on vacation in a Bali luxury villa.
Stir-frying is the most common method of food preparation in Indonesia and in the Far East in general, where small cuts are cooked quickly over a high heat. This is easily achieved in a wok, and the minerals and vitamins are sealed in by this cooking method.
Deep-frying is normally only used for cooking crackers and spring rolls, although with some recipes it is used for meats, to give them a crunchy coating. The food floats in a deep pan of oil whilst cooking, a method known as ‘swimming’, and you can do this in a wok too.
Steaming and stewing
Steaming and stewing are also popular Indonesian cooking methods, with the ubiquitous dish Dim Sum for example, consisting of meats, vegetarian elements and seafood, prepared by steaming. Stewing is reserved for cuts of meat like chicken legs and beef shanks for curries that require longer cooking times.
Like many of the Indonesian islands, Bali has its own local cuisine, in this case known as Masakan. Rice is the staple element but pork and vegetables are often added along with some chili.
Lawar is the most famous Balinese dish. It is made from pig’s blood and a range of spices such as shrimp paste and kunyit, galangal and various roots. Optionally, green beans, grated coconut, singkong leaves and boiled young jackfruit can be blended in for extra flavor.
Babi Quling is also hugely popular here, and as Bali isn’t Islamic like the rest of Indonesia, there is no taboo on pork products. A young suckling pig is roasted on a spit and cooked until tender, then served with spiced rice and noodles. This dish is best sampled in authentic Bali restaurants as it takes some time to prepare. All of the other traditional recipes of Bali and Indonesia can easily be reproduced in any kitchen, as long as it has a wok and a heat source. All of the required spices are readily available in local markets.
Apr 23, 2012 11:23 - annadewinter | 1,504 views
In the current economic climate, deciding what to do on your next holiday may be complicated. If your funds are somewhat limited, you may want to consider taking a cruise. The cruise industry has been booming for the past decade and shows no signs of slowing, even as travellers’ purse strings tighten. Whether you’re planning your cruise a year in advance or choosing from a selection of last minute cruises, there are lots of excellent reasons to get on board.
Reason 1: Value
Cruises offer good value for your money, with costs averaging around £93 ($150) per day. Cruises are usually all-inclusive, so it’s easy to budget for the trip knowing the price per day includes your cabin, your meals and any activities on the ship. Your only out-of-pocket expenses would be any excursions off the ship. Booking in advance allows you to take advantage of room discounts and upgrades you might not have known about otherwise, and booking directly with the cruise line frees up even more special offers. Cruise lines also offer great seasonal deals worth taking advantage of. Many times the off-season pricing is considerably less expensive with all the same amenities and ports of call to choose from.
Reason 2: Ports of Call
Oh, the places you’ll go! Cruises offer a rare opportunity to explore many different cultures and experience varying climates, all in a short period of time. Whether your cruise is to Alaska, the Caribbean, Europe, or around the world, you will have the opportunity to see historic places and exotic locales without the frustration of airports, renting cars or securing decent lodgings. Be sure to bring plenty of film for photos and videos of your adventures.
Reason 3: Relaxing Atmosphere
One of the most popular aspects of cruising is the fact that you only have to unpack once. In a sense, your hotel room comes with you and avoiding that hassle of packing and unpacking multiple times makes for a relaxing trip.
Most cruise ships also feature luxurious spas, with treatments, massages and yoga sessions offered gratis to all aboard ship. After a strenuous day by the pool or browsing shops at the day’s port of call, you can enjoy a relaxing evening in the spa as part of your trip.
This atmosphere of relaxation leads to a feeling of closeness and camaraderie amongst all on board. Many friendships and lasting relationships are formed during cruises, making meeting yearly for a cruise a reunion or anniversary celebration of sorts.
Reason 4: Free Entertainment
Many big-name singers and music groups perform on cruises and these shows are all included in the overall cost of the cruise. Original shows featuring up-and-coming singers and dancers, as well as Broadway shows, and dinner theatre are also available.
While not free, many Cruise ships now feature casinos. When in international waters, the casinos are not bound by the laws of any land, adding an element of excitement to the play.
Reason 5: Endless Variety
Family cruises, singles’ cruises, even political and nostalgic cruises… You can be sure one of the major or minor cruise lines offers an ocean or river cruise to satisfy you.
Apr 22, 2012 23:53 - ricky | 1,370 views
Whether your relationship is in its early stages and you are still getting to know one another or you have a solid foundation built on years together and you know each other inside out, the dynamics always change when you go travelling.
You might be a new couple planning to go on a trip and feeling nervous about how you will cope in a different environment or maybe sharing accommodation for the first time. Travelling in a new relationship can either make or break it as you are living together in a close environment and perhaps spending more time together than you would normally. Add to that the fact that travelling can be stressful as well as fun and it may expose some cracks in your partner’s personality!
Don’t let any of this put you off. You might discover you are made for one another and cement your relationship even further. You can discover shared interests and activities and try out new things and explore new places. There is nothing like having fun together and creating memories to build on a relationship that can last when you return home. Do something completely different – something you would never do at home. For example, yacht rental can be a fun and novel experience, adding a little luxury and excitement to your holiday. On a yacht charter you can find private time relaxing on deck or have fun in the water. It’s something you can do with your new partner as you can always find some personal space when you need it.
On the other hand, if you are in an established relationship – perhaps you are married or have been together for years – you may want a trip to re-enforce what you already have or to rescue a flagging relationship. Maybe it’s a second honeymoon to recapture the romance of your earlier days as a couple.
Choose a destination that has something to engage both of you if you have different interests, as often spending some of the day apart and meeting later in the evening to talk about your different experiences can be a great way of adding spark and interest into your conversations which at home may be more mundane and domestic.
The key to creating a better relationship while travelling is to make sure you spend some quality time together and also ensure that it includes a variety of activities. Romantic meals and scenic walks have their place, as they allow you privacy and time to chat, but one of the best ways to add some sparkle back into a relationship is to try out some exciting activities, to experience a challenge together and have a shared experience.
It could be anything that appeals to both of you, for example horse riding, hiking or water sports. Make an event of it and perhaps look at some options for yacht rental. Spend a couple of days at sea and enjoy the glamour and excitement of life on a yacht. It’s almost certainly something you would never do at home. Often just getting away from home and all the stresses associated with domestic life can be the catalyst you need to kick-start your relationship again. A second honeymoon, perhaps to your original honeymoon destination, is also a great way of reminding you all over again why you got together in the first place.