The Success And Freedom Of Home Based Travel Businesses

September 19, 2013 by  
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Between the start up costs and overhead, most people can only dream of starting a store based business. Even those who take the risk are now more likely to fail than ever before because of high taxes and increasing rents. Internet based companies, however, do not require the fancy and expensive retail location. Instead, these business owners are able to run their companies from the comfort of their own house — even in their pajamas if they like!

Those who work online never worry about additional rent, utilities, and shop upkeep. They only require a computer and an Internet connection to be well on their way to building a successful business. This is the way that home based travel businesses make their money.

The global economy is growing larger and larger each day. This means Internet based companies are able to connect with potential clients all over the world, creating a limitless supply of customers and a limitless source of revenue. It seems that everyone is making purchases online and this means that the market is saturated with customers, but not enough providers to service them.

Home based travel businesses are experiencing one of the largest booms in Internet sales history. As the population ages, more and more people are taking longer vacations. It is estimated that in the next few years this industry will increase by 500%. What a great time to get into the game.

Anyone looking to start their own online business needs to consider the education and technology they will require in order to be successful. A great way to minimize the stress of start up is to join a larger company that will be willing to provide all the materials required for home based travel businesses to succeed.

The key to success for any company is a secure foundation of preparation. Before starting a company, the owner needs to understand their product, know their market, and be in tune with their customers. By joining forces with an already established company, new business owners will be able to benefit from their knowledge and avoid making common rooky mistakes.

Even the largest companies feel the financial burden associated with soliciting new customers. By working with an established company, home based travel businesses can reap the benefits of already established customer bases and leave the marketing to the parent company. This not only reduces cost, but also eliminates the massive drain on time that marketing can create. A great example of this concept is seen in any franchise; given the choice of opening an independent burger joint or an already established franchise, the one who chooses the franchise will have more success.

Unfortunately, as with everything else in life, there are good and bad companies out there. One of the most reputable in the industry can be found at http://www.homebased-travelagents.com. This company is dedicated to providing members with full support during their training and right through the life of their business. They offer one of the highest commission percentages in the industry and are definitely the place to start if you are considering a career in this exciting field.

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The Perfect Spanish Ingredient

September 17, 2013 by  
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The Costa Blanca consists of 200km of wonderful coastline, the idyllic location for some of the best luxury villas in Spain. A province of Alicante, Costa Blanca attracts millions of tourists to its shores every year. To the north are the popular resort towns of Denia and Javea and to the South the Costa Blanca goes down to Guardamar, Torrevieja and the Costa Calida. The small and quaint resort of Moraira is situated towards the northern side of Costa Blanca and retains a beauty and charm that is waiting to be discovered by those who are willing to head off the beaten track. Just South of Javea Moraira offers up a blend of stylish cafes and restaurants and also has its own small castle attached to the sandy beach.

With over 300 days of sunshine in an average year the Costa Blanca region of Spain has one of the best climates in the world. The temperature in Moraira boasts an average of 18˚ C alone. The tranquil town is nestled between the mountains and the sea between Denia, Altea and Calpe. There are many attractions alongside the Costa Blanca and the town manages to combine modern services with its fishing background.

The 8 km of sandy and rocky beaches in Moraira have been awarded the Blue Flag of the European Community and can be enjoyed on foot or by boat or from a restaurant overlooking the expanse of the beach. Head for the cove of Portet to take part in water sports activities and afterwards take a leisurely walk up to the watch out tower near the Cap d’Or (the Golden Cape) for some spectacular views. The Cova de les Cendre is full of archaeological treasures, 40 meters above sea level the cove is well worth a visit.

Moraira is served by three airports Alicante Airport, Valencia and Murcia and the journey from Alicante and Valencia to Moraira is just 80km and 120km respectively. Traveling into Moraira along the national highway offers great views of the vineyards and there is a nice wine cellar you may want to stop off at along the way.

The fantastic beaches of the Costa Blanca attract visitors back time and time again. For those looking to enjoy the beauty of the Costa Blanca, whilst surrounding themselves in a traditional unspoilt setting, head North to the smaller resort of Moraira and rent out a luxury villa in Spain.

The Nile Cruise In The Footsteps Of The Pharaohs

September 15, 2013 by  
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Egypt is where history first emerged. It is here that we have the first pictographic record of events and persons. Hieroglyphics, the system of writing used by ancient Egyptians can be traced back to about 3200 BC. At about 3180 BC, the nations of Upper and Lower Egypt were brought under the rule of a single king titled Pharaoh. The first Pharaoh is thought to have been Menes, who set his capital at Memphis, 22 km south of Giza in today’s Cairo. The Pharaohs established the systems that brought forth the highly successful Egyptian civilization.

The history of Ancient Egypt lasted for about 3,000 years. Ancient Egypt declined, was overrun and thereafter ruled by foreign powers. The Greeks and Romans who ruled after the decline were aware of the great similarity between their own gods and those of the Egyptians. They not only tolerated Egyptian religion, but also expanded existing temples and dedicated new ones to existing cults. Some of the new overlords, Alexander the Great for example, styled themselves as divine priest-kings in imitation of the Pharaohs.

Emperor Theodosius, who reigned after Christianity became the state religion in Rome, extinguished the last remnants of the living culture. The Egyptians worshipped hundreds of gods – a great offense against the monotheistic religions; whose first article of faith is that there is only one God. Theodosius decreed in AD 391that all pagan temples in the Roman Empire be closed. The Arabs, who brought Islam to Egypt in 640 AD, also had no time for deities such as Anubis the jackal, Horus the falcon god or even Amon the king of the gods.

Ancient Egypt was dead for one thousand five hundred years, until the French came across the Rosetta Stone in the nineteenth century invasion of Egypt by Napoleon. This priceless discovery was inscribed in both Greek and Egyptian, and it was the key that allowed the deciphering of Hieroglyphics by Jean-Francois Champollion in 1822. The voluminous literature produced by Ancient Egyptians was now accessible to curious scholars. This rekindled great interest in Ancient Egypt in the West that remains undiminished to this day.

Religion is the common theme running through the attractions of ancient Egypt. The diversity of gods found worthy of worship is astounding. There were over 2,000 of them of either sex and they supposedly manifested themselves to earthlings as animals. There were overlaps and the same gods could be known with different names in various parts of the country. There was hardly any part of the life experience that was not assigned a deity- digestion, mummification, sexuality, feasting, childbirth, writing – you name it. Some gods came and went out of fashion, but those connected with basic aspects of life were enduring. Such deities had cults and temples dedicated to them.

The afterlife was taken very seriously, and a lot of the monuments relate to preparation for that glorious time. Mortuary and burial preparation was so elaborate as to ensure a painless and enjoyable afterlife. The custom of mummification, for example, was seen as necessary for the soul needed a physical body to occupy in the other world. There was however great inequality in preparation for eternal life. The Pharaohs and other royals, nobles and key officials were mummified and accompanied by grave goods and great treasure. The common folk who could not afford the full treatment had to do with statuettes of mummies.

The main draw to Egypt is the legacy of the Pharaohs and the Greeks and Romans who ruled after them. Basically this legacy is associated with temples, tombs and burial places. People in Egypt from the earliest times to present have always lived along the River Nile and this is where you find the richest harvest of ancient monuments. As many travelers will testify, the best way to experience classical Egypt is by taking a Nile cruise. The cruise is a very pleasant and relaxing way to get close to the attractions of antiquity, most of which are not far off from the banks of the river. You also get a glimpse of rural Egypt where many eke out a living just as their forbearers did thousands of years ago.

The typical Nile cruiser is really a floating hotel. Amenities on board will include lounges, restaurants, bars, swimming pool, discotheque and shops. The rooms are rather smaller than those of a land based hotels but will have air conditioning, TV and enough room for twin beds, private shower, nightstand and dresser. The quality of cruisers varies and they are graded with stars just like hotels. Top end cruisers have spacious suites and amenities almost equal to those of ocean cruisers. Generally, the quality and romance of Nile cruisers surpasses other riverboats anywhere else in the world.

Nile cruises normally take three, four or seven nights. You will be able to see the most important and interesting monuments on the shorter and more popular cruises that ply between Luxor and Aswan. The longer sail takes you up to Dendera. The boats sail both downstream and upstream and on the shorter cruises, you can embark at either Aswan or Luxor. The more adventurous travelers or those on a tight budget avoid the luxury cruisers in favour of fellucas- the traditional Nile sailboats. Though amenities onboard fellucas are very basic, those who can survive them, visit all the attractions along the Nile at a fraction of the cost of the cruisers.

At Aswan, the Nile is deep, calm and is at its most glorious. It is a good place to embark on your Nile cruise. Aswan was for long Egypt’s southern frontier city and its gateway to Africa. This was the region known as Upper Egypt, being upstream of the Nile. After Aswan, the Nile passes through a section of hard rock, resulting in rapids or cataracts. Thus by nature did Aswan attain its strategic position and it has served as a garrison town for those who have ruled Egypt over the centuries. And for this reason, there are monuments here associated with the Pharaohs, Greeks, Romans, Christian Copts and Islam.

At Aswan, make sure to visit the Philae Temple. Ptolemy II started the temple when the Greeks ruled, and the Romans completed it. It was dedicated to the goddess Isis, an important figure in Egyptian mythology that was worshipped across the Roman Empire. Even after Emperor Theodosius ordered all pagan temples to cease operations, Isis was still being glorified at Philae, until about AD 550 when Emperor Justinian finally shut down the temple. The early Christians converted the temple’s hypostyle hall into a chapel. For good measure, they defaced some of the pagan reliefs adorning its walls.

The temple forms an excellent backdrop for the nightly sound-and-light show. The temple was nearly lost after the Aswan High Dam was commissioned in the 1960’s. It took UNESCO and the Egyptian government ten years to move it, one stone at a time, to higher ground on Agilka Island. Most people also visit Elephantine Island, which has temples and a museum. The Island has been inhabited since about 3000 BC and was an important trading and cultural centre.

Aswan is home of the Nubians, a dark skinned people, related to the people of the north of the Sudan. You can see some Nubian villages at Elephantine Island. The Nubian museum celebrates Nubian culture right from prehistoric times. Aswan was once an important centre for Christian Copts. You can see the ruins of the once majestic Monastery of St Simeon, which was destroyed by the conqueror Saladin (Salah ad-Din) in 1173 AD.

Aswan was the source of the granite stone that the Pharaohs favoured for building temples and other monuments. The Northern Quarries are the site of the giant Unfinished Obelisk. Had the obelisk been successfully completed, it would be the single heaviest piece of monolithic stonework -reaching about 42 m and weiging over 1168 tonnes. It must have broken the hearts of the builders, who supposedly abandoned it, after coming across defects in the rock formation.

The next stop on the cruise is Kom Ombo, 48 km to the north of Aswan. The main attraction here is the Graeco-Roman temple. Work on the temple was started by Ptolemy VII in early second century BC and continued by some of his successors. The Romans Emperor Augustus built part of the temple at around 30 BC. The Temple of Kom Ombo actually consists of two separate temples, each with its own entrance, colonnades, hypostyle hall and sanctuary. The southern temple is dedicated to Sobek -the crocodile god, while the northern one honours Horus -the falcon god.

Though the two gods shared the same grounds, in mythology, Sobek was associated with the god Seth, an enemy of Horus. At Kom Ombo, the gods took the liberty to bring along family – Sobek sneaked in his consort Hathor and son Khonsu, while Horus had his wife Tesentnefert and son, Panebtawy. If you have not seen mummies before, be sure to see the mummified crocodiles in the Sobek part of the temple.

At Edfu, you disembark to see the Temple of Horus. Edfu was the cult centre of Horus the falcon god. It is perhaps the best preserved of ancient temples of Egypt. The temple standing today was started by Ptolemy III at about 237 BC on the site of an earlier Pharaonic structure. Work continued under some of the Ptolemies that followed. Appropriately, the entrance adorned by two majestic granite falcons. The walls bear reliefs depicting Horus. One scene would please any tyrant -it shows Ptolemy XII dealing mercilessly with his enemies.

You next stop and highlight of the cruise is Luxor. The range, magnificence and diversity of the monuments in the Luxor area is unsurpassed in all of Egypt. Known to the Greeks as Thebes, Luxor became the capital of Egypt at around 2040 BC. The city survived the sacking by the Assyrians in the 7th century BC, but steadily declined, and was finally destroyed by the Romans in the first century BC. Among the celebrated monuments dating from Luxor’s heydays are the necropolis complexes at the Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens and Tombs of the Nobles. You will also come across some outstanding temples scattered in the region.

The Egyptians buried their dead in the direction of the setting sun and the west bank at Luxor was the final resting place of royalty and high officials. The Valley of Kings is where the rulers of the period historians refer to as the New Kingdom period (BC 1550-1070) awaited the afterlife. The Pharaoh normally picked the spot for his tomb and had it built in his lifetime. Tomb building for royalty and high officials was very serious business and it supported a battery of architects and craftsmen, who had a settlement in the valley. The valley contains over 60 tombs that have so far been excavated.

The tombs have suffered in recent years due to increased number of visitors, pollution and the rising ground water that has come with the Aswan High Dam. For this reason, not all of them are open to the public at any one time. Unless you are a scholar, visiting three or four tombs should be sufficient. Among the best tombs are those of Ramses I, Tuthmosis III and Ramses VI. Tutankhamun’s is today the most famous – though he is not considered a significant Pharaoh and he died at only nineteen.

Treasure hunters had over the years looted most tombs in the valley. But Howard Carter, the British archeologist, discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb almost intact in 1922. The treasure that was found here is truly amazing- statues, chests, chariots, beds, weapons, and many items he needed for the afterlife. The main item today at Tutankhamun’s tomb is his mummy. About 1700 items recovered at the tomb are now at display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. The most outstanding of the collection is the 11 kg solid gold death mask. Imagine then, what the looters carried off from the bigger tombs of the more illustrious Pharaohs!

On the other side of the Valley of Kings is the Temple of Deir el-Bahri, built by Queen Hatshepsut. Hatseput. The temple is very impressive from a distance and is a great place to take photos. The name Valley of the Queens is misleading, as both male and female royals and some high officials were interred here. About 80 tombs have been identified, of which the most famous is that of Queen Nefertari. Take more photos at the Colossi of Memnon -two huge statues that are the sole legacy of the temple of Amenhotep III.

Amenhotep III also built the Temple of Luxor on the east bank. The temple was dedicated to the god Amon, though inside you also find a shrine dedicated to Alexander the Great. The temple’s entrance is lined with Sphinxes, and inside you find colonnades, courts, obelisks and wall murals. The mosque of Shaykh Yusuf Abu al-Hajjaj was built on top of part of the temple. You can also visit the Luxor Museum, which has interesting exhibits from the area.

The incredibly impressive Temple of Karnak is a huge complex that was dedicated to the god Amon. In the New Kingdom period, this was the most important temple is Egypt. It is probably the largest religious building ever and it can carry no less than 10 average Christian cathedrals. Some of the interesting structures within the complex are the gigantic hypostyle hall, the Kiosk of Tarhaka, statue of Ramses II, temple of Ramses III and the sacred lake.

The best time to take a Nile cruise is over the cooler months of November – March. These are also the peak months and to avoid crowds, always start out early each day. October, at the end the hot season is tolerable, especially when you factor in that it falls with off-season period: it is cheaper ad less crowded. When visiting the monuments, you are advised to hire a guide who will explain the historical context at each site. If you are on a Nile Cruise package, the services of a guide will usually be included.

You do a lot of walking, and you need to bring along suitable shoes. Other items you ware encouraged to pack are: sunglasses and sun screen lotion. Remember also to carry bottled water and photographic film, which you can buy at the cruiser or at a bazaar. Light clothing is generally recommended though you may need a sweater and jacket for winter evenings.

The Imperial Age Is Alive When You Travel To Vienna

September 12, 2013 by  
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There is no city that encompasses Western European sophistication and Eastern European culture and charm quite like Vienna, Austria. Baroque edifices enchant the pristinely kempt boulevards while sleek restaurants are packed with networking business suits. Remnants of pre-Roman history in the Danube River Valley make Vienna an intriguing center of human settlement apart from its European neighbors. Celtic and Viking history adorn the extensive museum collections while any conversation with a local will reveal a rather complex, if not completely convoluted, lineage (as anyone will find some way to connect their genealogy to the Habsburg dynasty).

Roped in by the Ringstrasse
Vienna is easily navigable for even the most turned around traveler, with the oldest and most commercial districts encircled by the grand Ringstrasse (Ring Street) and the Danube River to the North. The Innere Stadt is the first district and home to most of Vienna’s historic and architectural splendors. You will find yourself immediately drawn to St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a Gothic and Romanesque landmark soaring high above the surrounding square. Climb the 343 steps of the nearly claustrophobic spiral staircase to the watchman’s lookout in the South Tower or head underground from the North Tower to the catacombs beneath the cathedral where 14 members of the Habsburg family are buried alongside the mausoleum of the bishops. When Vienna was the center of the Holy Roman and Austro-Hungarian Empires, the Habsburgs made monumental efforts to carve their place into Viennese history. Schloss Schönbrunn is the former summer palace of the Habsburg family and the site of the oldest zoo in the world. Tour the halls and gardens and then go next door to the famous Spanish Riding School where the coveted Lipizzan Stallions are bred, trained and shown in elaborate performances during the winter.

The World Capital of World Class Music
The city of Mozart and Beethoven loves to remind the world of its heritage all year long. Summer, winter, spring and fall are all celebrated with unwavering zeal through a seemingly endless string of festivals. Even Mozart would be moved during the Film Festival am Rathausplatz, which is held during July and August. Remarkable films are projected onto the grand wall of the Rathausplatz (city hall) nightly, along with operatic performances from the world’s best. Men and women gather here after work to enjoy cocktails and the extensive array of international cuisines and stay well into the night to dance, watch films and stroll through the adjacent park. This is just a touch of the Viennese way of life.

Coffee Dreams of Chocolate
Before you leave Vienna, it would be a mistake not to indulge in the proud coffee culture. Find a coffeehouse and order from the endless menu of roasts. Also, you may find it difficult to avoid the tourist-targeted Mozart Balls (chocolates made for the man himself), but resist temptation and venture into a true Viennese chocolaterie like the famous Demels. There is no better Viennese experience than sinking into a silky chocolate tart and sipping a creamy latte outside the Imperial Palace!

For more information, visit http://www.cfares.com.

The Beauty Of Oregon

September 11, 2013 by  
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Have you ever wanted to be in a place where you can be in the ocean and near the woods at the same time? The kind of climate that you can have a rainy day and then a sunny day – a cold day and then a hot day? Have you wanted to visit a state in which you can have all of these things and feel safe, secure, and at home, all in the same moment? You should plan your next trip to Oregon.

The best Oregon vacation spots are mostly found all along the Columbia river and the other areas in that vicinity. They include Crater Lake National Park and Mount hood, two places that you should plan on spending a considerably large amount of time. If you are there in the summer, there are other travel attractions that include driving tours of the Oregon coast which go along Highway 101, or seeing the Oregon Caves National Monument, Hell’s Canyon, or the Newberry Volcanic National Monument. Also, all along the coast in Oregon, you can visit small towns and take part in their summer festivals.

The beauty in Oregon is found in the coast lines. Nowhere else are you going to be able to be this close to nature that you can touch it. One of the greatest things about Oregon is that you can travel through any different type of weather in an given day. Because of the ocean you are going to get cold and rainy days but you are also going to get days that are full of sunshine and warmth. And because of the ocean, even the cold and rainy days aren’t quite that bad.

If you want fun, you should visit one of the bigger cities in Oregon. Oregon and the entire corner of the United States have long been a cultural hot spot for the best musicians are artists of our time. If you are traveling through Oregon, you are going to be able to find yourself in many different situations in which you are going to be exposed to local music and art, in ways that are going to absolutely astound you. Stopping into cafés in Portland and other cities and listening to the local musicians is a great way to spend an afternoon or an evening.

And the people in Oregon are among some of the most friendly in the world. They love to help out travelers. The best places to stay in Oregon include the many bed and breakfasts that you might be able to find. You are never going to know a more friendly and more beautiful way of lodging than in a bed and breakfast in Oregon.

The Art Of Tropical Living

September 7, 2013 by  
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In the 1960’s all local houses consisted of very basic constructions, foreigners rented rooms in family inns (losmen). Shortly after trendy Sanur was the first area that attracted more sophisticated buildings, usually under supervision of western designers and architects.

Around 1980 the situation started to be influenced strongly by western business people that came to Bali frequently enough to build their own house. These houses and villas somehow took some traditional Balinese essentials to blend with imported Western standards. Although there was suddenly the comfort of a western bathroom, the bottom line was usually a lack of professional competence in an overall architectural context.

Starting around 1990 the present situation started to emerge: Elements of Balinese architecture like thatched materials for the roof or carved doors are used in a modern context and in combination with the Western tradition of comfortable furniture and furnishings.

That is not a general evolution of the “Bali style” it is rather used as reinterpretation in a decorative and usually aesthetic way. Many Westerners have build their Balinese dream home based on a mixture of Western comfort and Asian styles.

The indoor-outdoor living style is dominant to express the best possibilities the tropical climate has to offer. Natural materials used are wood, alang-alang, bamboo, stone, glass and ceramics.

The traditional Balinese way to construct buildings followed very strict rules of shapes and sizes, also positioning and orientation was absolutely predetermined. Constructing a building is guided by religious motives not by practical or designer aesthetics. Therefore it is originally not an art form but religious ritual.

The latest development is however an extracting of Balinese designs to merge with new international styles in an artistic way, giving birth to a new Bali style.

Now designers are getting creative in an unpreceded way to redefine this so typical local art of tropical living in a new, internationally valid way that possibly will set the trend for years to come.

Sutton Coldfield Tourist Information & Travel Guide

September 4, 2013 by  
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Sutton Coldfield is located in the West Midlands and is a remarkably vibrant town within the City of Birmingham, in the West Midlands. It lies about 13 km (8 miles) from central Birmingham, in the northeast of the city, and has a population of about 105,452.

The town of Sutton Coldfield has grown up around the periphery of Sutton Park.

Sutton Park is one of the largest urban parks in Europe and the largest outside a capital city. It covers 900.1 hectares (2224.2 acres / 9.0 km²), with a mix of heath land, wetlands and marshes, seven lakes and extensive ancient woodlands. Sutton Park is arguably the jewel in the areas crown boasting a handful of quality restaurants, several 18-hole golf courses, a number of children’s playgrounds, a visitors’ centre and even a donkey sanctuary! The park makes for a fantastic destination whatever the season and whatever the weather.

Sutton Coldfield can also be described as a shopper’s paradise. The famous Mall Shopping centre now boasts some of the finest shopping in the area and includes names such as House of Fraser, Marks and Spencer and Monsoon, to name but three. There is almost a continental café feel about the Mall; where one can take a gourmet coffee on the flower lined pedestrianised pavement, whilst listening to street music watching the world go by. The monthly farmers market on the second Friday in the month is a huge draw and reminds the locals of bygone days.

If you are looking for nightlife then Sutton Coldfield will not disappoint you having something for everyone. Whether it’s a sophisticated meal for two at the Boathouse or something more upbeat at the Ha Ha Bar, there is an abundance of options to suit all tastes and ages. There are some outstanding balti restaurants in the Sutton Coldfield area too; the standard of food served at these restaurants is first class and all are exceptional value for money

The area has always had an outstanding reputation for sport and Sutton Coldfield caters for all age groups and interest. There are numerous clubs and venues supporting the local community and just about every sport is catered for here. Whether it is rugby, soccer, hockey, swimming, athletics – you name it — Sutton Coldfield boasts a team of exceptionally high standing in that field.

Schools in the area are some of the best in the West Midlands and because of this demand helps keep property prices high. Schools such a s Bishop Vesey Grammar School, Sutton Girls School and even junior school St. Nicholas’, all regularly rank amongst the best in the nation in the annual league tables.

Sutton Coldfield is an excellent centre for business and commerce too. There are numerous offices around the town and there are plenty of industrial units supporting manufacturing and service industries.

All in all, Sutton Coldfield is a relaxed and friendly place that is just far enough away from the big city yet still retains all the charm of a small local town. It is certainly a great place to both live and visit.

Spain Bullfights And Sangria

August 31, 2013 by  
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A cocktail of bullfighting, flamenco and sangria, Spain is a country blessed with rich history and culture. Add beautiful beaches and warm climate, and it’s evident why Spain is the world’s second most visited country.

The demise of Franco opened Spain to a curious world. A booming tourist industry allowed the country to grow, revealing its history and way of life to an interested planet.

Each town revels in its individual brand of architecture, none more so than Barcelona, bearing the architectural signature of Antonio Gaudi. The Hostal Dos Reis Catolicos in Santiago de Compostela is believed to be the world’s oldest hotel. Buildings in the far south of Spain retain a distinct Moroccan influence, a consequence of invasions from ancient past.

Northern Spain seems to have been inspired by Celtic Britain, even borrowing the Scottish bagpipes as instrument of choice.

Spain’s emotional love affair with the art world is captured in its many fine museums. Works of the country’s favourite sons, including the surreal compositions of Dali, and the enigmatic genius of Picasso are displayed with honour.

Attracting over 2 million visitors a year, La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is Gaudi’s most celebrated masterpiece. Under construction since 1882, this magnificent cathedral is not expected to be completed until around the year 2080. Today, the project is funded from tourism.

The Plaza Major in Madrid is the capital’s most historic landmark. This old town square is the perfect place to sit and relax, drink your coffee, and watch the world go by. Tourists and locals congregate each day to absorb the ambience and exchange thoughts.

However, there is more to this place than meets the eye. In days gone by, kings have been crowned here and trials of the inquisition held. Other events such as bullfighting have also taken prominence. Despite its age, meticulous attention has kept the square beautifully preserved.

Sun worshippers with little cultural interest can find solace on the Costa del Sol. A haven for beach lovers, the long golden sands provide ample opportunity for that bronze tan.

Located off the west coast of Morocco, the Canary Islands are the ideal destination for beach holidays. Born of volcanic activity, plant life and vegetation thrive in the rich soil, providing safe refuge for local wildlife. Golden sands contrast the black volcanic rock, while the cool Atlantic breeze retains a comfortable temperature.

The Balearic Islands, southeast of Barcelona are another suntrap, a lure for those who enjoy a hot sun and long nights. Indeed, the island of Ibiza is the party capital of Europe.

For those of a more cultured persuasion, the Prado Museum in Madrid houses some of the greatest works throughout Europe. Since construction in 1819, millions have passed through and revelled in its glory.

Spain

August 29, 2013 by  
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Spain is the land of romance and amazing oddities. From bullfights to Gaudi to partying the night away on Ibiza, travelers could easily spend a year exploring Spain.

Madrid

With a population of over three million, Madrid is a big, modern city in central Spain. The suburbs of Madrid are very modern and not particularly interesting. Make it to the center of the city, however, and you are in for a treat. Small alleys, hidden squares and odd little shops are the norm. In this center, you will find a vibrant public life with outdoor cafes literally overrun with the passionate and interesting people of Madrid. When visiting the city, keep in mind it is very hot in the summer and pretty cold in the winter.

Barcelona

One of my favorite travel destinations, Barcelona is a costal city oozing charm. The city embodies all of the interesting little oddities of Spain with ancient streets where the local hobby is people watching. The city is also the home of best Gaudi architecture in Spain. Gaudi was either a genius or a madman, but there is no denying his architecture is unique. I would describe it as a mix between dripping candles and normal architecture. The big tourist attraction, of course, is the Sagrada Familia church, but better examples can be seen by just walking through neighborhoods. Yep, his work is throughout the city. The only downside to Barcelona is a trend of modernization. While modernization is generally okay, I think it is taking a bit away from the historic charm of Barcelona.

Ibiza

If you’re looking to sit on the beach all day and party the night away, Ibiza is the hottest spot in Europe. An island off the coast of Spain, Ibiza is the rare tourist spot where monstrous tourist hotels don’t dominate. Instead, you’ll find yourself staying in rented rooms, little hotels and hostels in Ibiza Town. During the days, it’s all about enjoying the beaches. At night, the bars and clubs of the island are world famous and they never really seem to close. Bring plenty of aspirin!

If you’re going to visit Spain, you can’t really go wrong. If time is short, Madrid, Barcelona and Ibiza are three spots worth seeing.

Ski Chic In St Moritz

August 26, 2013 by  
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Chic and fashionable St Moritz is the place to be seen on a luxury ski holiday. Probably the most famous of all the Swiss resorts St Moritz is set in the beautiful surroundings of the Upper Engadine valley and boasts 5 main resort areas; Corviglia, Corvatsch, Furtschellas, Diavolezza and Lagalb. Nestled 6,000 feet high in the Swiss Alps the town itself is split into two areas. Built on the side of the hillside is Dorf with elegant hotels and shops, whilst Bad is a quieter area up the valley from the lake.

There are an impressive 350km of pistes, 60 modern transportation facilities and runs at an altitude of 1800 to 3300 meters above sea level leaving you with stunning panoramic views. The resort has played host to the Olympics and the World Ski Championships offering skiers diversity, quality and quantity. The high quality ski area offers some extensive skiing. Advanced skiers can travel around to experience the best runs and there is some excellent off piste skiing to explore on the face of the Piz Noir as well as some challenging black runs at Diavolezza. Many of the pistes in St Moritz are for intermediates who can take full advantage of the terrain. Intermediates may wish to try long and open runs such as the Hahensee 6km which runs from Corvatsch through to St Moritz Bad. The nursery runs of Corviglia for beginners are accessible by funicular and run down to town. In addition Celerina provides broad slopes for some easy skiing. The lift system is extensive and getting around the resort is not a problem.

Due to its high altitude the climate of St Moritz is dry and crisp. The snow cover is reliable, and the sun shines here nearly all year round to make for ideal ski conditions.

Après-ski entertainments include a wide choice of mountain restaurants with magnificent views, ski huts and chic bars, which guarantee around the clock fun. Other Winter activities include the famous Cresta Run, as well as horse racing, polo, golf and cricket competitions on the frozen lake.

St Moritz is a resort synonymous with elegance, class and sophistication. Its name stands for style, tradition and quality – very appropriate descriptions judging by its success and popularity. On your luxury ski holiday in St Moritz Switzerland, you are likely to appreciate the cosmopolitan atmosphere, champagne climate, glamour and nightlife just as much as the skiing.

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