Monday, April 11, 2016

Dubai Travel Guide

Dubai is the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It is located on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf and is one of the seven emirates that make up the country. Abu Dhabi and Dubai are the only two emirates to have veto power over critical matters of national importance in the country's legislature. The city of Dubai is located on the emirate's northern coastline and heads up the Dubai-Sharjah-Ajman metropolitan area. Dubai is to host World Expo 2020.

Dubai has emerged as a global city and business hub of the Middle East. It is also a major transport hub for passengers and cargo. By the 1960s, Dubai's economy was based on revenues from trade and, to a smaller extent, oil exploration concessions, but oil was not discovered until 1966. Oil revenue first started to flow in 1969. Dubai's oil revenue helped accelerate the early development of the city, but its reserves are limited and production levels are low: today, less than 5% of the emirate's revenue comes from oil. The emirate's Western-style model of business drives its economy with the main revenues now coming from tourism, aviation, real estate, and financial services. Dubai has recently attracted world attention through many innovative large construction projects and sports events. The city has become iconic for its skyscrapers and high-rise buildings, in particular the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. Dubai has been criticised for human rights violations concerning the city's largely South Asian workforce. Dubai's property market experienced a major deterioration in 2008–09 following the financial crisis of 2007–08, but the emirate's economy has made a return to growth, with a projected 2015 budget surplus.

As of 2012, Dubai is the 22nd most expensive city in the world and the most expensive city in the Middle East. In 2014, Dubai's hotel rooms were rated as the second most expensive in the world, after Geneva. Dubai was rated as one of the best places to live in the Middle East by American global consulting firm Mercer.

During the 1970s, Dubai continued to grow from revenues generated from oil and trade, even as the city saw an influx of immigrants fleeing the Lebanese civil war. Border disputes between the emirates continued even after the formation of the UAE; it was only in 1979 that a formal compromise was reached that ended disagreements. The Jebel Ali port was established in 1979. JAFZA (Jebel Ali Free Zone) was built around the port in 1985 to provide foreign companies unrestricted import of labor and export capital.

The Gulf War of 1990 had a negative financial effect on the city, as depositors withdrew their money and traders withdrew their trade, but subsequently, the city recovered in a changing political climate and thrived. Later in the 1990s, many foreign trading communities—first from Kuwait, during the Gulf War, and later from Bahrain, during the Shia unrest—moved their businesses to Dubai. Dubai provided refueling bases to allied forces at the Jebel Ali Free Zone during the Gulf War, and again during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. Large increases in oil prices after the Gulf War encouraged Dubai to continue to focus on free trade and tourism.

A relatively new tourist destination, Dubai was gaining popularity in recent years until the global economic crash of 2008. Dubai is essentially a desert city with superb infrastructure, liberal policies (by regional standards), that became popular for its excellent tourist amenities. Just 5 h from Europe and 3 h from most parts of the Middle East, the Near East, and the subcontinent of India, Dubai makes a great short break for shopping, partying, sunbathing, fine dining, sporting events, and even a few sinful pleasures. It is a city of superlatives: for the fastest, biggest, tallest, largest and highest, Dubai is the destination. It has the largest immigrant population in the world. The weekly day off is on Friday. Note that, since September 2006, a harmonised weekend of Friday and Saturday has been adopted for the public sector and schools. Government departments, multinational companies, and most schools and universities are now off on Friday and Saturday (after years of a mixed bag of Friday/Saturday and Thursday/Friday weekends). Some local companies still work half a day on Thursday with a full day on Saturday, but larger companies tend to permit relaxation and time off work for their employees on Friday and Saturday.

Tourism is an important part of the Dubai government's strategy to maintain the flow of foreign cash into the emirate. Dubai's lure for tourists is based mainly on shopping, but also on its possession of other ancient and modern attractions. As of 2013, Dubai was the 7th most visited city of the world based on air traffic and the fastest growing, increasing by a 10.7% rate. Dubai is expected to accommodate over 15 million tourists by 2015. The emirate is also the most populous of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates.

Dubai has been called the "shopping capital of the Middle East". Dubai alone has more than 70 shopping centres, including the world's largest shopping centre, Dubai Mall. Dubai is also known for the traditional souk districts located on either side of its creek. Traditionally, dhows from East Asia, China, Sri Lanka, and India would discharge their cargo and the goods would be bargained over in the souks adjacent to the docks. Dubai Creek played a vital role in the sustaining the life of the community in the city and was the resource which originally drove the economic boom in Dubai. As of September 2013, Dubai creek has been proposed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many boutiques and jewellery stores are also found in the city. Dubai is also referred to as "the City of Gold" as the Gold Souk in Deira houses nearly 250 gold retail shops.

Dubai Creek Park in Dubai Creek also plays a vital role in Dubai tourism as it showcase some of the most famous tourist attractions in Dubai such as Dolphinarium, Cable Car, Camel Ride, Horse Carriage and Exotic Birds Shows.

Dubai is divided into multiple districts or municipalities:

Jumeirah — A diverse district whose residents are the Europeans to the Filipinos to the Pakistanis; a mixed Little Europe, Karachi and Manila. Jumeirah is much favoured by Europeans due to the ease of access of the beach, Beautiful villas are seen here. Jumeirah Beach, Jumeirah Beach Residence's the Walk and Jumeirah Mosque are the top attractions.

Downtown Dubai — While Bur Dubai and Deira are traditionally considered "Downtown", the Downtown Dubai development is smack in the center of the "New Dubai," between Dubai Marina on the south end and the border with the city of Sharjah to the north. It includes the Burj Khalifa (tallest building in the world), the Dubai Mall (world's biggest), Dubai Fountain, and lots of other skyscrapers and hotels.

Dubai Marina — is a mega-development that borders Jebel Ali (the world's largest man-made port). It is full of skyscrapers and hosts the "Jumeirah Beach Walk" with a number of restaurants, hotels an open-air market when the weather permits, and frequent shows. Dubai Marina houses one of the highest concentrations of Westerns in Dubai.

Satwa — One of Dubai's Little India and Little Manila, due to the presence of Filipinos and Indians, a rise in Filipino and Indian restaurants, shops, supermarkets are seen here. Gold and textiles is what people come here for, Gold Souk might be your top destination but Satwa too has gold shops and is hassle free, not so crowded.

Karama — More of like a mixed commercial residential district, one of Dubai's Little Indias and Little Manilas, cheap eats and cheap buys are the top things here.
Bur Dubai — A historical district and Bur Dubai is usual term for the area from Jumeirah to the creek, the creek separates Bur Dubai from Deira. Tourist attractions from abras to souks to floating restaurants to the famous creek are found here.

Deira — Dubai's old Financial centre, today Deira is a bustling commercial-residential district with some old souks, including one specializing in spices.

Arabian Ranches and Emirates Hills — These are two separate places, residential rents here are expensive due to the land value, just like the whole of Dubai, these two are Man-made.

Mirdiff/Mirdif — A commercial-residential district which is somewhat newly built and lies directly under the flight path to Dubai International Airport. Mirdif City Center is one of the attractions. This is another residence for the well-to-do.

International City — Just a simple residential area in the middle of the desert, what's special about it is its architectural design, the residential rents here are cheap and is somewhat the next Chinatown as many Chinese businessmen and women reside here.

Jebel Ali — Once isolated from the main bulk of Dubai back in the 70's, Jebel Ali is now a major residential and industrial hub encompassing the southern portions of the city. The main attraction popular with locals and tourists alike is the easily recognizable Ibn Battuta Mall, styled on the countries visited by the famous explorer. The mall is built adjacent to the Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel that's large archway can be seen from afar. Surrounding the mall is the Gardens apartments, an ethnically diverse district with a strong Indian community. Jebel Ali village, a 35 year old community built on the side of Jebel Ali (Ali Mountain) for the European builders of Jebel Ali Port is still popular with western expats. The coastal side of the Sheihk Zayed Road in Jebel Ali consists of many unattractive power and desalination plants that somewhat ruin the view. The port was the 9th busiest in the world in 2011.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Costa Rica Travel Guide

Costa Rica literally meaning, "Rich Coast", officially the Republic of Costa Rica, is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and Ecuador to the south of Cocos Island. It has a population of around 4.5 million, of whom nearly a quarter live in the metropolitan area of the capital and largest city, San José.

Costa Rica was sparsely inhabited by indigenous people before coming under Spanish rule in the 16th century. It remained a peripheral colony of the empire until independence as part of the short-lived First Mexican Empire, followed by membership in the United Provinces of Central America, from which it formally declared sovereignty in 1847. Since then, Costa Rica has remained among the most stable, prosperous, and progressive nations in Latin America. Following a brief but bloody civil war, it permanently abolished its army in 1949, becoming the first of only a few sovereign nations without a standing army.

Costa Rica has consistently performed favorably in the Human Development Index (HDI), placing 62nd in the world as of 2012, among the highest of any Latin American nation. It has also been cited by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as having attained much higher human development than other countries at the same income levels, with a better record on human development and inequality than the median of the region. Its rapidly developing economy, once heavily dependent on agriculture, has diversified to include sectors such as finance, pharmaceuticals, and ecotourism.

Costa Rica is known for its progressive environmental policies, being the only country to meet all five criteria established to measure environmental sustainability. It was ranked fifth in the world, and first in the Americas, in the 2012 Environmental Performance Index. It was twice ranked the best performing country in the New Economics Foundation's (NEF) Happy Planet Index, which measures environmental sustainability, and identified by the NEF as the greenest country in the world in 2009. In 2007, the Costa Rican government announced plans for Costa Rica to become the first carbon-neutral country by 2021; in 2012, it became the first country in the Americas to ban recreational hunting.

Flora and fauna
Costa Rica is home to a rich variety of plants and animals. While the country has only about 0.1% of the world's landmass, it contains 5% of the world's biodiversity. Around 25% of the country's land area is in protected national parks and protected areas, the largest percentage of protected areas in the world (developing world average 13%, developed world average 8%). Costa Rica has successfully managed to diminish deforestation from some of the worst rates in the world from 1973 to 1989, to almost zero by 2005.

One national park, the Corcovado National Park, is internationally renowned among ecologists for its biodiversity (including big cats and tapirs) and is where visitors can expect to see an abundance of wildlife. Corcovado is the one park in Costa Rica where all four Costa Rican monkey species can be found. These include the white-headed capuchin, the mantled howler, the endangered Geoffroy's spider monkey and the Central American squirrel monkey, found only on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and a small part of Panama, and considered endangered until 2008, when its status was upgraded to vulnerable. Deforestation, illegal pet-trading, and hunting are the main reasons for its threatened status.

Tortuguero National Park – the name Tortuguero can be translated as "Full of Turtles" – is home to spider, howler and white-throated capuchin monkeys; the three-toed sloth and two-toed sloth; 320 species of birds; and a variety of reptiles. The park is recognized for the annual nesting of the endangered green turtle, and is the most important nesting site for the species. Giant leatherback, hawksbill, and loggerhead turtles also nest there. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is home to about 2,000 plant species, including numerous orchids. Over 400 types of birds and more than 100 species of mammals can be found there.

Over 840 species of birds have been identified in Costa Rica. As is the case in much of Central America, the avian species in Costa Rica are a mix of North and South American species. The country's abundant fruit trees, many of which bear fruit year round, are hugely important to the birds, some of whom survive on diets that consist only of one or two types of fruit. Some of the country's most notable avian species include the resplendent quetzal, scarlet macaw, three-wattled bellbird, bare-necked umbrellabird, and the keel-billed toucan. The Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad is allowed to collect royalties on any biological discoveries of medical importance. Costa Rica is a center of biological diversity for reptiles and amphibians, including the world's fastest running lizard, the spiny-tailed iguana (Ctenosaura similis).

Since the late 1980's Costa Rica became a popular nature travel destination, and its main competitive advantage is its well-established system of national parks and protected areas, covering around 23.4% of the country's land area, the largest in the world as a percentage of the country's territory, and home to a rich variety of flora and fauna, in a country that has only 0.03% of the world's landmass, but that is estimated to contain 5% of the world's biodiversity. The country also has plenty of world renowned beaches, both in the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, within short travel distances between both coasts both by air and land, and also several active volcanoes that can be visited with safety.

By the early 1990s, Costa Rica became known as the poster child of ecotourism. According to the Costa Rican Tourism Board, 46% of international tourists visiting the country in 2009 engaged in activities related to ecotourism, including trekking, flora, fauna, and bird watching, and visits to rural communities. However, most visitors look for adventure activities, which Costa Rica offers as well. Costa Rica was included by Ethical Traveler magazine in the 2011 and the 2012 list of The Developing World's 10 Best Ethical Destinations.

Costa Rica historically managed to stay away from the political turmoil and violence from which neighbouring nations still suffer. The nation constitutionally abolished its army permanently in the 1940s. It has also managed to be the only Latin American country included in the list of the world's 22 oldest democracies, paying homage to its stance as a peaceful and politically stable nation. Costa Rica has also consistently been among the top Latin American countries in the Human Development Index, and is cited by the UNDP as one of the countries that has attained much higher human development than other countries at the same income levels.

Costa Rica is ranked third in the world and first among the Americas in terms of the 2010 Environmental Performance Index. And the New Economics Foundation (NEF) ranked Costa Rica as the happiest nation in the world, both in 2009 and in 2012. This same organization (NEF) ranked Costa Rica as the "greenest" country in the world.

This nation has bewilderingly diverse culture, climates, flora, fauna, and landscapes. From rain forests, to dry tropical and temperate forests, to volcanoes, to Caribbean and Pacific beaches, to high mountains, and marshy lowlands.


Caribbean Costa Rica 
The least visited region of the country, owing to its relative isolation (and mosquitoes), which has great opportunities for whitewater rafting and sea turtle spotting

Central Valley 
The population centre of Costa Rica. The capital and main airport is located here.

Central Pacific 
Perhaps one of the most visited regions of the country. There are many beaches, tourist accommodations, and national parks.

The "dry region" of Costa Rica, with few rains any time of year, fabulous beaches and surfing, and some large volcanic and dry forest parks in the North by the Nicaraguan border

Plains of the North 
A sparsely populated, but beautiful and mountainous region, most famous for its active volcano, Arenal, and the surrounding hot springs and volcanic lakes

South Pacific Costa Rica 
One of the most bio-diverse environments on the planet, full of exotic endemic flora and fauna, and some of the planet's most beautiful and remote tropical beaches

Friday, March 25, 2016

Sydney Travel Guide

Sydney is the state capital of New South Wales and the most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Located on Australia's east coast, the metropolis surrounds the world's largest natural harbour, and sprawls towards the Blue Mountains to the west. Residents of Sydney are known as "Sydneysiders". Sydney is the second official seat and second official residence of the Governor-General of Australia, the Prime Minister of Australia and the Cabinet of Australia.

The Sydney area has been inhabited by indigenous Australians since the Upper Paleolithic period. The first British settlers arrived in 1788 to found Sydney as a penal colony, the first European settlement in Australia. Since convict transportation ended in the mid-19th century, the city has transformed from a colonial outpost into a major global cultural and economic center. The population of Sydney at the time of the 2011 census was 4.39 million, 1.5 million of which were born overseas, representing many different nationalities and making Sydney one of the most multicultural cities in the world. There are more than 250 different languages spoken in Sydney and about one-third of residents speak a language other than English at home.

Sydney has an advanced market economy with strengths in finance, manufacturing and tourism. Its gross regional product was $337 billion in 2013, the largest in Australia. There is a significant concentration of foreign banks and multinational corporations in Sydney and the city is promoted as Asia Pacific's leading financial hub. In addition to hosting events such as the 2000 Summer Olympics, millions of tourists come to Sydney each year to see the city's landmarks. Sydney is also a gateway to Australia for many international visitors. Its natural features include Sydney Harbour, the Royal National Park, Bondi Beach, and the Royal Botanic Gardens. Man-made attractions such as the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge are also well known to international visitors.

Sydney is known as the Harbor City. It's the largest, oldest and most cosmopolitan city in Australia with an enviable reputation as one of the world's most beautiful and livable cities.

Brimming with history, nature, culture, art, fashion, cuisine, design, Sydney's set next to miles of ocean coastline and sandy surf beaches. Longterm immigration has led to the cities reputation as one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse cities in Australia and the world. The city is also home to the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, two of the most iconic structures on this planet.

Sydney has a compact city center surrounded by sprawling suburbs, all coming together to form a vast and diverse metropolitan area.

Central Sydney

Central Sydney districts
City Centre 
The busy centre of government and finance, but also home to many famous attractions, fine restaurants, and shopping.
The Rocks 
Just to the west of Circular Quay, now a cosmopolitan area, The Rocks includes the first colonial village of Sydney and the iconic Harbour Bridge.
Darling Harbour 
An extensive leisure and entertainment area immediately to the west of the Central Business District (CBD). See restaurants, boardwalks, aquariums, wildlife, and museums by foot.
City South 
The Haymarket, Chinatown and Central Station area is home to markets, cafes, Chinese culture and cuisine, and some cheaper accommodation and shopping.
City East 
Kings Cross, Darlinghurst, Surry Hills, Woolloomooloo and Moore Park. Busy nightlife, and coffee shops, fashion and entertainment by day.
City West 
An early morning trip to the fish markets, exploring the Powerhouse Museum, finding a maritime pub or hitting The Star Casino.

Greater Sydney

Sydney is a vast sprawling city, and the suburbs in the city metropolitan area spread for up to 100km from the city centre. The traveller visiting the suburbs will find less crowded beaches, parks, cheaper shopping, commercial centres, cultural festivals, and other such hidden gems.

Greater Sydney districts
Eastern Suburbs 
Between the City and the sea, includes the world-famous Bondi Beach and other city beaches, which are strong drawcards for visitors and residents in the city during summer.
Southern Sydney 
The area south of the CBD and north of the Georges River, including the areas surrounding Sydney Airport and Brighton Le Sands on Botany Bay.
Inner West 
Sydney's original suburbs are now bohemian and are a hub of cheap eats, shopping and inner-city culture. Also contains Sydney Olympic Park, the home of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, parks, cycling, and events.
Lower North Shore 
Over the Harbour Bridge are leafy residential areas stretching northwards. The North Shore also has major commercial and retail areas at North Sydney and Chatswood, many smaller boutique shopping areas, and many parks and gardens, and Sydney's famous Taronga Zoo.
Upper North Shore 
Includes leafy residential areas, national parks and waterways.
Northern Beaches 
From Manly stretching North along the coast to Palm Beach.
North West 
Contains the Northern Districts with includes Sydney's Silicon Valley at Macquarie Park, the northern side of the western reaches of Sydney Harbour, and the the largely residential area of the Hills District in the north-west of the city.
Sydney's "second" CBD, with history, shopping, eating, all just 30 minutes from the city centre.
Sutherland Shire 
The district to the far south and east of the city centre including Cronulla and Captain Cooks Landing Place.
South West 
Contains the centres of Liverpool and Campbelltown are a large swathe of residential and commercial Sydney.
Outer West 
Stretching from Parramatta out to the Blue Mountains
The Hawkesbury is a semi-rural area to the northwest of the city, centred around the Hawkesbury River. Its main towns are Richmond and Windsor.

Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House is a multi-venue performing arts centre in Sydney, Australia, identified as one of the 20th century's most distinctive buildings.

Designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, the building was formally opened on 20 October 1973 after a gestation beginning with Utzon's 1957 selection as winner of an international design competition. The government of New South Wales, led by the premier, Joseph Cahill, authorised work to begin in 1958 with Utzon directing construction. The government's decision to build Utzon's design is often overshadowed by circumstances that followed, including cost and scheduling overruns as well as the architect's ultimate resignation.

The Sydney Opera House became a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 28 June 2007.

The building and its surrounds occupy the whole of Bennelong Point in Sydney Harbour, between Sydney Cove and Farm Cove, adjacent to the Sydney central business district and the Royal Botanic Gardens, and close by the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Though its name suggests a single venue, the building comprises multiple performance venues which together are among the busiest of performing arts centres – hosting well over 1,500 performances annually, attended by more than 1.2 million people. A wide range of performances is presented in the venues, by numerous performing arts producers, including four key resident companies: Opera Australia, The Australian Ballet, the Sydney Theatre Company and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. As one of the most popular visitor attractions in Australia, more than eight million people visit the site each year, with around 350,000 visitors annually taking a guided tour of the building.

The building is managed by the Sydney Opera House Trust, an agency of the New South Wales State Government.

Darling Harbour
Darling Harbour is a harbour adjacent to the city centre of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It is also a large recreational and pedestrian precinct that is situated on western outskirts of the Sydney central business district. Originally Long Cove, the locality extends northwards from Chinatown, along both sides of Cockle Bay to Darling Harbour wharf on the east, and to the suburb of Pyrmont on the west. Cockle Bay is just one of the waterways that makes up Darling Harbour, which opens north into the much larger Port Jackson.

The precinct and its immediate surroundings are administered independently of the local government area of the City of Sydney, by a New South Wales state government statutory authority, the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority.
The Darling Harbour precinct is home to a number of major public facilities and attractions, including:

Harbourside Shopping Centre, which includes Kingpin Bowling Alley (the only bowling alley in Darling Harbour), M9 Laser Skirmish, as well as Australia's first retail Jet flight simulator.
Sydney Entertainment Centre
Paddy's Markets
Chinese Garden of Friendship
Tumbalong Park
Darling Quarter Playground
Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre
Australian National Maritime Museum (featuring museum ships including HMAS Vampire)
SS South Steyne
The Star Casino and Entertainment Complex
The Darling Hotel & Spa
Powerhouse Museum
Sydney Aquarium
Madame Tussauds
The LG IMAX theatre – the largest screen in the world
Sydney Wildlife World
Aboriginal Centre[clarification needed]
Sega World Sydney (closed in 2000)
International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney), due to open in December 2016.

Taronga Zoo
The Zoo is one of the major tourist attractions in Sydney. The best way to get there is by ferry from Circular Quay. Once you arrive at the ferry landing on Mosma, take the tram up to the Zoo. You get a bird's eye view of the park and of Sydney Harbor. I must say I was a bit disappointed with the Zoo.
Taronga Zoo is the city zoo of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia and is located on the shores of Sydney Harbour in the suburb of Mosman. It was officially opened on 7 October 1916. Taronga Zoo is managed by the Zoological Parks Board of New South Wales, under the trading name Taronga Conservation Society, along with its sister zoo, the Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo.

Divided into eight zoogeographic regions, the 21-hectare (52-acre) Taronga Zoo is home to over 4,000 animals of 340 species. It has a zoo shop, a cafe, and information center.

The Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales opened the first public zoo in New South Wales in 1884 at Billy Goat Swamp in Moore Park, on a site now occupied by Sydney Boys High School and Sydney Girls High School. Inspired by a 1908 visit to the Hamburg Zoo, the secretary of the zoo, Albert Sherbourne Le Souef, envisioned a new zoo based on the bar-less concept. After realizing that the Moore Park site was too small, the NSW Government granted 43 acres (17 ha) of land north of Sydney Harbour. A further 9 acres (3.6 ha) were later granted in 1916.

Taronga is an Aboriginal word meaning beautiful view.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Montreal Travel Guide

Montreal  is the metropolis of the province of Quebec. Quebec City is the political capital but Montreal is the cultural and economic capital of Quebec and the main entry point to the province. The second largest city in Canada, it is a city rich in culture and history and a well-deserved reputation as one of the liveliest cities in North America. Montreal is the second-largest French-speaking (as a mother language) city in the world, behind Paris. The population of Montreal is about 1.9 million, with 4 million in the metro area. Montreal is sometimes referred to as The Paris of Canada.


Central Montreal

Montreal boroughs
Ville-Marie borough
Montreal is composed of 19 large boroughs. The most important one in central Montreal for visitors is Ville-Marie, which is further subdivided into neighbourhoods. From West to East, some of its neighbourhoods include:

Downtown — Skyscrapers, shopping, museums, McGill and Concordia universities, and the Parc du Mont-Royal.

Old Montreal — The historic and (dare we say it) quaint riverfront Old Town and Old Port.

Chinatown — The third largest in Canada, filled with numerous restaurants and shops.

Quartier Latin-Le Village — Restaurants, boutiques, cafes, pubs near UQAM in the Quartier Latin, gay bars and clubs in Le Village, and the working class neighbourhood of Sainte-Marie.

Parc Jean-Drapeau — The islands of Île Sainte-Helene and Île Notre-Dame and the Montreal Casino.

Plateau Mont-Royal district

The Plateau — A large, trendy district north of downtown and east of Parc du Mont-Royal noted for its quaint architecture, diverse mixture of cultures and languages, parks, music venues, theaters, restaurants, pedestrian streets, and the location of many summer festivals. Its attractions include Parc Lafontaine, the Main (Saint Laurent Blvd) with its many hotspots, St-Denis and Mont-Royal for shopping, eating and drinking. The Plateau includes several distinct neighbourhoods, including Mile End.

Mile End — The legendary Fairmount and St. Viateur bagel shops, Dieu du Ciel brewery, trendy restaurants and cafés, bookstores, thrift shops, espresso and soccer bars, the Rialto Theatre, St Michael and St. Andrew's church, boutiques and hipsters.

Other Montreal districts and Montreal Island towns

Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie — Little Italy and Rosemont, home to Italian, Vietnamese, and Latino communities, as well as the Jean-Talon market, one of Montreal's largest, most popular, and liveliest open-air markets. The section of St-Laurent Boulevard that runs through this borough has seen a recent (2015) resurgence in new restaurants and bars.

Westmount–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce — Westmount is legally a separate town from Montreal and is mostly residential, although it has a lively section of Sherbrooke Street and Victoria Avenue as its commercial hub. Greene Avenue further east is another tony commercial area. Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (NDG) is a diverse neighbourhood that includes leafy residential streets, a long commercial section of Sherbrooke West, gentrified Monkland Avenue, the Saint-Jacques strip, and the new MUHC hospital at Vendôme metro station.

Hochelaga-Maisonneuve — the "Espace pour la Vie" includes the Olympic Park, Botanical Gardens, Biodome and the Planetarium.

Côte-des-Neiges — Multicultural neighbourhood northwest of the mountain. NDG and Côte-des-Neiges are part of one large borough but have quite different vibes. Côte-des-Neiges is a vibrant street that borders on the academic world of the Université de Montréal and the Hautes Études Commerciales on one side, and the hospitals (St. Mary's and the Jewish General) on the other. Queen Mary Road is another commercial street of note.

Outremont — Upscale, francophone neighbourhood noted for its architecture, boutiques and restaurants, and its flourishing Hasidic community.

South West — Including the Lachine canal, Atwater Market (a must!), St. Henri, and the emerging culinary hot-spot, Little Burgundy.

Villeray/Parc-Extension – Parc Extension, one of Canada's most ethnically diverse neighbourhoods, is noted for its vibrant South Asian community and its family-run restaurants, while to the east, beyond Jarry Park and north of Little Italy, lies Villeray, mostly residential, but also home to a range of cafes and restaurants.

Situated on an island in the St. Lawrence River at the historically highest navigable point, Montreal has been a strategic location since before the arrival of Europeans in Canada. A thriving St.Lawrence Iroquoian town called Hochelaga was on the site of present-day Montreal when explorer Jacques Cartier first visited in 1535. A hundred years later, in 1642, the tiny town of Ville-Marie was founded as a Sulpician mission by Paul Chomedey, sieur de Maisonneuve. It soon became a centre of the fur trade. After its capture by the English in 1762, Montreal remained (until the 1970s) the most important city in Canada and was briefly capital of the province in the 1840s.

Prohibition on sales of alcohol in the United States during the 1920s and 1930s made Montreal a mecca for cross-border fun seekers from nearby New England and New York. The city built up a seedy, yet playful, industry in alcohol, burlesque, and other vices. In the 1960s, an urban renewal drive centred around Expo 67. The World's Fair in Montreal brought a subway system and a number of attractive urban parks and is considered to be one of the most successful World Fairs. Over 50 million visitors gathered to Montreal during this memorable summer. The 1976 Olympics left a strikingly idiosyncratic stadium and many other urban improvements.

St Lawrence river gateway
The opening of the Saint Lawrence Seaway in 1959, though much lauded as an economic boom, spelled the beginning of the end for Montreal's economic dominance in Canada. Once the transition point between western railroads and eastern sea carriers, Montreal watched helplessly as some of this business moved farther west, up the now navigable Seaway, to ports in Ontario and on Lake Superior. The Quebec Sovereignty movement, which began to pick up steam in the 1960s, further chilled the atmosphere for Canada-wide businesses, many of which moved their headquarters to Toronto.
Following an economic depression in the 1980s and 1990s, Montreal became more secure in its place in North America and the world. It remains a centre of culture, arts, computer technology, aerospace, the biotech industry, and media for all of Canada.

It has been said that Montréal is the only city in the world where the sun "rises in the south."
Montrealers use an unconventional compass, using the river and the mountain as cardinal points. When you are downtown, the St Lawrence River is “south” and Mount Royal is “north”; making the West Island and the East End correct in both their names and orientations. The dividing line between "east" and "west" downtown is the boulevard Saint-Laurent. In downtown, streets slope up "north" toward Mount Royal. This local compass tends to confuse visitors because the “East” End is really to the north and the “West” Island is to the south, and the St Lawrence River runs almost northeast-southwest at this location.

Most local maps use this convention as do the highways around the city. For example, Autoroute 15 north actually runs northwest and Autoroute 40 east runs northeast.

To underscore this fact, a Montreal map will show that the "south end" of Victoria Bridge is in fact further north than the "north end".

Gay Montreal
Montreal is an extremely inviting destination for gay and lesbian tourists. Canada's contributions to gay rights have recently become widely known, but Quebec was the first province in Canada to pass a non-discrimination law for sexual orientation and to provide same-sex civil unions (although Toronto was the first municipality in Canada to do so). Same-sex marriage is legal in Quebec (neither residency nor citizenship are required for a marriage license, but there is a three-week waiting period after you receive the licence) as well as in the rest of Canada. Canadian and Quebec immigration law allow residents to sponsor their same-sex partners or spouses.

Montreal itself is a very safe, open, and inviting city. The métro station in the Gay Village, Beaudry, is marked with rainbow pillars. Montreal's pride celebration, Divers/Cité(last week of July, first week of August) is the second-largest in Canada after Toronto's.

Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°C) -5 -4 2 11 19 24 27 25 19 12 5 -2
Nightly lows (°C) -12 -11 -5 3 10 15 18 17 12 6 0 -9
Precipitation (mm) 74 71 80 77 87 88 106 101 101 84 94 102
See the Montreal 7 day forecast at Environment Canada
The climate of Montreal is a true humid continental climate with 4 distinct seasons. The city has warm, to occasional hot & humid summers, generally mild spring and autumn, and often very cold & snowy winters. Montreal gets over 2,000 hours of sunshine annually. Precipitation is moderate throughout the year, with around 2 meters of snow per season.

By metro or bus
Montreal is home to one of the three public subway/metro systems in Canada, the others found in Vancouver and Toronto. The public transit system, run by Société de transport de Montréal (STM) , is safe, efficient, and is overall pleasant to use. Tickets have been replaced by cards with magnetic stripe containing one trip, called an à la carte ticket. These are valid for one trip (including unlimited transfers in the same way for 120 min) on the metro and buses, costing $3.25 each (exact fare in coins is required on the buses but not on the metro) but are also available for less when you purchase 2 for $6.00 either from the metro agent, the automatic fare vending machine located in metro stations, or an authorized seller.

Unlike some subway systems you do not need the fare card to exit, but you can use the card to transfer to a bus, and you can be asked at any time by a transit cop to produce the valid fare card. So don't throw it away while you're still in the transit system or you can be fined.

Note that Montreal metro stations and train cars lack air conditioning, the Metro can sometimes get uncomfortably hot, in every season. It does however still exist as the best transport option in the city. The train cars are all old (original rolling stock) and will be replaced over several years starting in 2016.

Announcements are in French only as is the vast majority of signage. In addition, Montreal transit workers are not obliged to speak in any language other than French (with the exception of customer service representatives). While most transit workers are happy to speak to you in English and are generally friendly to visitors, it is possible that a question in English might be met with sign language or dead silence. It never hurts to begin a conversation with "Bonjour, est-ce que vous parlez anglais?" The customer service counter at Berri-Uqam (on the Orange, Yellow, and Green lines) have English-speaking staff. In addition, airport staff are fully bilingual.

When departing from metro stations in Laval and Longueuil, tickets and passes bought in Montreal can't be used. You have to pay a different fare inbound from those stations.

If you are using cash to pay your fare on the bus, it is important to have the exact fare since the driver does not give change; you will receive an à la carte ticket, which is your proof of payment and your transfer.

Passes are available which offer unlimited travel on the bus and metro for periods of 24-hours ($10) or three days ($18) and are well worth it to avoid fumbling for change, checking transfer times and restrictions, and worrying about getting off at the wrong stop and having to repay. There are also evening passes valid from 6:00 PM to 5:00 AM ($5) and weekend passes valid from 6:00 PM Friday to 5:00 AM Monday ($13). As with all fares, they are available everywhere there is an OPUS machine. Weekly ($24.50, week is from Monday to Sunday) and monthly ($82) passes as well as 10-trip fares ($25.50) are also available; unlike one-day and three-day passes, these fares must be loaded onto an OPUS card (see below) and are not available in paper ticket form. Only students (25 years and under) studying at a recognized academic institution in Montréal or seniors (65 and over) may benefit from reduced fares, and a special OPUS card must be obtained from the STM.

The OPUS card is a smart card with a chip that contains your fare and transfer information. The OPUS card can be purchased at all metro stations for $6.

OPUS cards can be refilled and paper fares can be purchased at metro stations using the automated machines or at the ticket booth (cash only). They can also be purchased from other authorized sellers. A list of sellers is here. 

Fare prices increase at the start of every year (although the expected increase for 2016 has been delayed). The current fare grid can be found here. 

The STM website offers an online trip-planner service on their home page and their smartphone app. Trip planning can also be done using Google Maps. Free bus and Metro system maps are available from the ticket booth at most metro stations. These are useful to find where you are on the island.

At each subway station, directions are not indicated by compass directions, such as westbound or eastbound. Instead, trains go in the direction of a subway line's terminus. The green line runs from Angrignon in the west to Honoré-Beaugrand in the east. If you were to travel eastbound, for example, you would look for Honoré-Beaugrand on the platform. If you were to travel westbound, you would look for Angrignon. There are four interchange stations at which commuters can change subway lines without extra charge: Snowdon (blue/orange), Lionel-Groulx (orange/green), Berri-UQAM (green/yellow/orange), and Jean-Talon (orange/blue).

Bicycles are permitted aboard metro trains outside of the rush hours such as: 10:00am to 3:00pm and 7:00pm to end of service on weekdays and all day Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays. Bikes are only allowed in the lead car of the train up to a maximum of 6. STM staff may deny bikes aboard the metro for safety reasons such as special events that might generate a high level of ridership. Lists of such events are posted on the STM website and at the entrances to metro. During festival season in Montreal, bikes are seldom allowed at all.

Bike riding inside stations or the Underground City is strictly prohibited.

By train
Montreal has a commuter train system run by the Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT)  with termini at the Montreal Central Station (Gare Central) and at Lucien-L'Allier (both are accessible from the metro). Commuter trains are handy for getting to suburbs and neighbouring towns.

Commuter train stations are divided into eight zones that radiate out from downtown. Stations have automated machines from which you must purchase a ticket appropriate to the zones of the station you are traveling to or from, whichever is farther (for example, a trip from Zone 4 to Zone 3 or vice versa would require a Zone 4 ticket). In addition to the zone number, there are two types of fares: TRAIN fares (valid on commuter trains only) and TRAM fares (also valid on buses and the metro within the zone purchased). A prepurchased ticket card (SOLO) must be validated at the card scanners at the entrance to the platform. You can also purchase a six-trip ticket. As with the bus and metro, monthly passes require an OPUS card and reduced fares for students and seniors require a special OPUS card.

There are no ticket machines on the train and ticket inspections are random. Incorrect tickets sometimes go unnoticed because inspectors check only occasionally. However, it is best to avoid taking chances as if the ticket is not valid, the customer can get a fine of $400. Note that the ticket machines should now all be bilingual in English and French. The two downtown stations have staffed ticket booths Monday to Friday, but not in the evenings. Other stations may also have booths but generally only during either the morning or afternoon rush hour.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Jagannath Rath Yatra

Just imagine you haven't seen your most beloved one for a protracted time. would not a reunion with him or her be the explanation for your paramount pleasure? however one thing completely different happened concerning 5000 years ago, when the reunion of 2 most intimate parties had been the explanation for enhanced separation. The divine brothers, Krishna and Balarama had enacted their enchanting childhood pastimes at Vrindavan. They captivated the hearts of the residents there, most in order that they might not bear even an instant of separation from the brothers. however this happiness didn't stick with the Vrajavasis for a protracted time. When Krishna and Balarama were still young kids, unexpectedly their uncle Akrura took them to Mathura, leaving the tender hearts of the residents of Vrindavan devastated.

when many decades, on daily of solar eclipse, Krishna and Balarama along withtheir sister Subhadra came to the pilgrimage web site of Kurukshetra to own holy baths. Knowing that Krishna was returning to Kurukshetra, the residents of Vrindavan conjointly came there to satisfy him. though the sight of Krishna revived their lives, the residents of Vrindavan simultaneously felt extreme separation when reunion with Krishna. the rationale being, each relationship has an inherent mood that forms the premise of such bonding. which mood usually demands a selected atmosphere and even outfits. The Vrajavasis who were familiar with see Krishna as an easy cowherd boy holding a flute in his hand, couldn't appreciate this manner of their beloved as a royal prince of the kingly order. meaning to have his association once more in his charming sort of Gopal, they pulled the chariots of Krishna, Balaram and Subhadra inside their hearts towards Vrindavan. This earnest invite of Vrajavasis later turned out to be the grandest and most well liked event on this planet known as 'Jagannath Ratha Yatra.' This competition of chariots, conjointly known as by the names Gundicha Yatra, Ghosa Yatra,Navadina Yatra & Dasavatara Yatra is widely known per annum at JagannathPuri within the state of Orissa. historically the utsava murtis or the representative deities of a temple are taken out for procession. however in Jagannath Puri, the presiding picket deities of Lord Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhadra along side the celestial wheel Sudarshana, are taken out for procession throughout the Jagannath Ratha yatra. the large colourful chariots are drawn by thousands of devotees to the Gundicha temple.

Ratha yatra is that the day when Jagannath, the Lord of the Universe bestows His causeless mercy on each living entity by personally initiating of His abode. Saints and scriptures have repeatedly glorified the sanctity of this most special and auspicious competition. A glimpse of Lord Jagannatha on the chariot is taken into account most auspicious. Even slightly of the chariot or the ropes with that they're being pulled is enough to confer the results of many pious deeds or penance for ages. Srila Prabhupada, the founder acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness took this most magnificient manifestation of mercy of the Supreme Lord, to varied components of the planet and thousands of Ratha yatras are being held over many cities worldwide nowadays by ISKCON.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Most weird travel requests

From asking a consulate Prince Charles' shoe size, to why ruined castles are designed, tourists are bobbing up with the foremost zany travel queries

Sure, travel arouses excitement, curiosity even however this one borders on the wacky. Recently, a news web site mentioned that The British consulate has revealed, travelers have created a variety| of weird requests like requesting the phonephone number of Phil Collins and Prince Charles' shoe size. a person rang the consulate in Sydney to raise what garments he ought to pack for his vacation, whereas another in Sofia, Bulgaria, needed the consulate to sell his house for him, a news major reported.

It's weirdville alright! 
Artist Seema Narayan reveals a couple of fun anecdotes from her last year's Scotland vacation along with her husband. "We were a travel cluster of concerning twenty and every day somebody would come back up with one thing weird to raise the travel co-coordinator. One day, there was this young girl who asked if Nessie (the fabled lake monster) was ever fed, and if so, very created us laugh," she says.

Advertising government Ramila Sharma conjointly includes a howler to share. "I had gone to UK for a piece trip and took a sightseeing tour too. and that i was thus amazed when somebody piped up, 'why do they build such a lot of ruined castles and abbeys in England'; i am unable to stop laughing once I consider it," he grins.

While a person is alleged to possess known as the consulate in Florida to report that there have been ants in his vacation villa and asked for recommendation on what he ought to do, Indian travel company coordinator Nisha Phillip remembers one that she heard right here on home turf. "I was accompanying this cluster of women on a coastal sojourn and one amongst them, asked me, 'so that beach is closest to the ocean in India'? i used to be too flabbergasted to reply and then released she was a simpleton," she smiles.

The right inquiries to ask:
What is included and excluded within the trip?
How do i purchase the simplest deal on airfare?
How am i able to keep the budget in check?
Do i would like trip insurance?
Where are the nice spots to eat and drink at?

Time stops on Kolkatas Sudder Street

It's not simply another bylane of Kolkata. Sudder Street is understood to interrupt down barriers betweeen foreigners and locals creating it one amongst the most-loved hangouts for tourists in Kolkata. 

It's a world where the color of your skin, your faith, your nationality does not matter, where the walls of a class-conscious society break down unconsciously, where chai stall vendors provide directions to the yank tourist in yank accent and also the British tourist in a very British accent. Come, sit down, admire the graffiti and sip some chai on the makeshift benches of Sudder Street! 

This space is vastly widespread with foreign tourists attributable to a budget accommodation and food offered. Crude wanting foreign exchange kiosks line up the sidewalk jostling for house with retailers selling pajamas, cotton shirts, skirts and baggage. However, the most attractions of Sudder Street are the wall graffiti. A refreshing amendment from the politically charged ones that we have a tendency to normally encounter on the streets of Kolkata, Sudder Street's graffiti border on the trippy to the obscure and outright funny. 

A walk on Sudder Street is usually recommended for all travellers travelling to Kolkata.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine Women prefer to bring their children into the world

The Valentine's Day , a date that lovers around the world commemorate the mutual expression of love is also the time chosen by women to give birth to their children , according to a study that analyzes the influence of beliefs in human body functions. Evidenced by a recent investigation by the Yale University performed on millions of birth certificates in recent years in America. On 14 February the natural births rose by 3.6 percent and cesarean at 12.1 percent. Instead, the day that we celebrate Halloween (witches night, Oct. 31) natural births fell by 5.3 percent and caesarean sections showed a decrease of 16.9 percent. "The partnership between the two dates has never been investigated so far. Our research suggests that beliefs derived from our culture can have a major impact on body functions, to the point of influencing not only scheduled deliveries but also the natural birth, "said Becca Levy, director of the study published in the journal Social Science & Medicine and professor of epidemiology and psychology at Yale Medical School. The research confirms "that women are not taxable at the time of the happy event but assume a decisive role which can facilitate the birth or postpone it." "The symbolism of the two dates is the opposite. Halloween Day is associated with witches and death and is considered an unfavorable time to be born. Instead, Valentine flowers and symbol of love, is considered an auspicious day, "said Levy. On this subject, also said Gilberto Corbellini, philosopher and historian of medicine at the University of Rome Sapienza. "Today we have a technology that allows a certain margin of freedom to plan and control the date of births with deliveries scheduled but the medicine is, as always, strictly linked to the environment and the cultural and social context. To this point, which may influence the response of patients sick, "he said. According to the philosopher, cultural representations and stereotypes "affect the birth, on the health and even death." "The pagan religious dates can also develop the famous" placebo effect "facilitating the relaxation of pregnant women or, conversely, increasing the level of stress," he said. Beyond indicating the research to Corbellini "it is not surprising that culture influences the preferences and that women are more affected contexts better and to prefer an atmosphere of celebration to bring the world to their children."

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Site rents out rooms per hour for couples

Hotels where you can rent rooms hourly rate has not had the best of reputations. Maybe it's about to change. A new hotel site sells short dagvistelser at fine hotels. is for travelers who need to take a nap, businessmen in need of a meeting room, or couples who want a room for a secret rendezvous. Focusing primarily on the latter.

The site was founded by - what else - Frenchmen and hotels in Paris and other French cities, but also rent out rooms per hour in London and soon in New York.

One of the founders of, Thibaud d'Agreve, says the Daily Mail that 95 percent of the bookings at hotels in Paris is related to love affairs and that it is mostly women who make the reservation.

Most hotels on the site accepts payment in cash, for those who do not want to leave traces of their bank statements.
The price for a few hours to three or four star hotels in Paris will start from 80 euros. As a rule, they can only be booked in the afternoons when rooms are empty in anticipation of future, full-paying, overnight guests.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Twelve destinations for 2012

Centenarians and tributes to twelve enclaves make the planet in the most desirable. TRAVEL supplement of The World, on newsstands Tuesday, they are shown as well as the best ski resorts, developments in Mexico City, the keys to New Delhi .

New year, new journey . Or rather, many trips ... Specifically, 12, one for each month of the year. Star is the proposal next issue of TRAVEL supplement of El Mundo, in newsstands on Tuesday 27 December. Bicentennial, anniversaries, capital and recognition of various kinds. Are some special reasons make the 12 selected destinations . Miyajima (Japan), Petra (Jordan), London, Uganda, Vienna, Cadiz, Bosbuana, Brazil ... Learn why the same Tuesday.

TRIPS also does stop and post in New Delhi upon completion of the centenary of the founding capital of India by the British Raj. And while a century is too small for so vast civilization, during this time interval have occurred in her most significant events of the tortuous history of India. They are we.

From station to station

Home next issue of TRIPS.
The time of year we are also a mandatory a visit to the snow. The idea is to put on some snowshoes and take a nice walk. Or throw in a hurry on a powerful snowmobile. Or dance until exhaustion at a party in the mountains. Where? At the stations of Baqueira-Beret, Candanchú, Sierra Nevada, Courchevel (France), Grandvalira ... The universe is still blank Macedonia , in which the west is Mavrovo, where the highest peaks are concentrated in the country rock.

The look of journey on the always exciting Mexico City , but this time run away from the stereotypes, the mariachis and tacos, to make our way through the new art spaces, shops and cocktail bars of the megalopolis. From Mexico to Segovia , whereThe Whisky TrailDYC, the biggest seller in Spain. We suggest a visit to this distillery only half-hidden in a natural environment full of surprises.

No missing sections fixed and sleep and dream , dedicated this time to The May Fair Hotel , London exquisite enclave in which appointments are celebrities from all walks. Do not miss your suite Schiparelli, chosen the best room in the UK by Condé Nast Johansens publisher. In The Traveler's Faro know the key to win two nights accommodation at the Barcelo Jaca . Also revealed everything necessary to visit Spain with the ideas of the Repsol Guide while to dig in agencies and websites offer the best deals for travelers. It only remains to wish happy new year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Devin Castle Slovakia

Do you wish to know the mythical castle where Jules Verne set his novel " The Castle in the Carpathians "We invite you to visit on this occasion, the ruins of a fortress where you can see the River Danube and Moravia found in a landscape that drew up at the same Napoleon.
The Devin Castle is located in the region of Devin in Bratislava, the capital of the Slovak Republic. He is currently working on it, part of the museum of the city that develops exhibitions in various parts of the area.

Its strategic position at 212m in height, gives the visitor, from one of his most beautiful towers - a magnificent panoramic view of the confluence of the rivers Moravia and Danube, as well as part of the Austrian territory.

Formerly, this location-coupled with the height at which he was-he gave the castle, the essential characteristics for an eminent strength.

The view from this point, allowed its successive occupants, control the main trade routes and military steps. These were established mainly along the Danube from ancient times.

In fact, the area has been inhabited since found prehistory and also have passed through it, Celts and Romans, and even the very Napoleon, who in 1809 destroyed much of the castle. The Romans, have given the complex, one of the most ancient Christian churches in Slovakia.

Today we can see the ruins at the base of the castle.

His story
Its foundation is given in the eighth century, and their participation was definitive in wars held between Moravia and France . It began as a strong call Dowina (girl in old Slavic language) and in subsequent years was expanded and renovated into a stone castle, before the thirteenth century.

The medieval castle stone was built with the aim of defending the western border of the Kingdom of Hungary and in the year 1320, was baptized under the name "Devin Castelanus." XVth century, enriched it with the addition of a palace.

Jules Verne and other stories
As I mentioned above lines, it is said, Devin has inspired the famous writer Jules Verne. The castle that Verne describes in his novel "The Castle in the Carpathians", takes its essence of this quote, although in outline, the story is located in Transylvania.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Some days in Ireland for Christmas

Day 26 is St. Stephen: young people noisily parade procession.
New Year's Eve the house is cleaned thoroughly as a good omen.
The day is celebrated January 6 Nollaig na mBan, a tradition that men are responsible for cooking and other preparations.

Ireland is an ideal destination to enjoy Christmas. His landscapes, legends, myths and history and, above all, their culture, who knows seamlessly combine the best of yesterday and today . Their traditions are mostly Catholic, as is the country, but always with the peculiarities of Irish idiosyncrasy. For the Christmas market of '12 Days of Christmas' One of the most unique traditions of the Irish Christmas decorations is the placement of a candle at the entrance or in some of the windows of the house. The candle is lit by the youngest of the house on Christmas Eve and it is a symbol to welcome the Holy Family and may only be extinguished by a girl or woman named Mary.   Christmas markets always occupy a special place in the events that make up the celebrations of this time in Ireland . Dublin is very popular '12 Days of Christmas', a Christmas market that takes place in the Docklands .

St. Stephen Festival
On December 26, the day of St. Stephen, is one of the most deep-rooted festivals of Ireland . During this day we celebrate the Wren Boys throughout all of Ireland but especially in the small town of Dingle in County Kerry. In St.Stephen youth, dressed in masks and suits, are asking for money Young people come to Street outlandishly loud clothes and parade in procession. Are usually dressed in masks and suits asking for money and singing their traditional songs, and anyone who gives them that gift, he was given a pen full of good luck . On this day also celebrated two important events related to riding , as St . Stephens was the patron saint of horses: in Dublin , Leopardstown Christmas Racing Festival and The Limerick Racing Festival, both from the 26th until December 29th. The New Year's Eve, December 31 , it is customary to clean house in Ireland thoroughly as a good omen and good luck in the coming year. They fill the house and winery supplies of firewood for the night of 31 with the hope that the new year is just as plentiful.

Eating and drinking
The day is celebrated January 6 Nollaig na mBan , a tradition that the men of the house is responsible for the day of cooking and other preparations for women to rest and not worry about anything. As meals, most typically on the night of Christmas Eve is taken as a dessert plum pudding , steamed sweet made an elaborate sauce served with cognac and butter and enjoy Christmas dinner duck, goose or pheasant stuffed with potatoes and apple sauce and typical foot mince (mince pies). All can be accompanied by mulled wine , a sort of hot red wine is added spice and cinnamon.

Florida wants to be the destination for Nude European Tourists

Pasco County is a classic nude in the U.S. for over 70 years.
They estimate that there could be 19 million European nudists.
The municipality of Florida will spend public money on an advertising campaign in France, Germany, Holland and Britain.

Nudity is also a way of tourism and its "practitioners" can be an object of desire of many tourist areas. A town of Florida , with nudist beaches for nearly 70 years , it is clear, and now you want to attract European nudists.

For over 70 years
The Pasco County , in western Florida this week agreed to invest public funds to promote itself as a destination for nudists, an initiative that aims to promote European tourism in the area. Looking for European tourists in low season: July and August this municipality is the United States with the highest offer in this regard , but until now never had happened spend taxpayer money to advertise this aspect. The town granted public funds to the Association for the Development of Pasco Area Naturist, which responsible for trying to attract Europeans interested in nudism in this area of Florida . According to the daily Tampa Tribune , the campaign seeks to promote the influx of European tourists during the hot months of July and August , which in this state are considered low season . Those months, the ambitious tourist complex built for visitors nudists have a very low occupancy.

19 million potential visitors
Advertising Pasco County nudist destined will focus on France, Germany, Holland and Britain . There, they estimate, more than 19 million practicing nudist. In summer there is what tourists "We have multiple complex next to each other, but in summer vacations we do not have are tourists . We were told that we built and would come But the fact is that we have built and the tourists do not know it, "said the president of the association, Paul Brenot, the television channel ABC News .

Fuerteventura is committed to its volcanoes as tourist

The council will include volcanoes in the island to offer visitors.
They're going to put trails in volcanic areas of interest and create bird observatories and landscapes.
The project will maintain its seal of Biosphere Reserve.

The Canary Islands are a sun and beach destination, a place of rest. But reducing the attractiveness of the islands only to that would be grossly unfair. The peculiar nature of Canary makes these unique islands. Its geography, its landscapes are of incomparable beauty. Part of that different natural assets are its volcanoes . Lanzarote has long been showing its underground treasures, El Hierro has begun to take advantage of its recent seismic events, and now Fuerteventura also wants to "sell" their volcanoes.

A volcanic experience
The project 'Canary volcanic experience' diversify the range of leisure and open new business opportunities and employment associated with the concept of sustainable tourism. The background paper, the catalog of volcanoes on the island is now a reality. in value is placed inside the island and its sea The project, which will give value to the inland sea, serve to maintain the seal Biosphere Reserve . 'Canary volcanic experience' is divided into three installments (2011-2013) and has a budget of 766,667 euros to cover by the Cabildo of Fuerteventura (31%), the Canary Islands Government (31 %), Turespaña (31% and the Association of Hotel and Tourism Fuerteventura (7%). Once developed the technical study and inventory of resources volcano of Fuerteventura, is now entering its second phase.

Bringing tourism volcanoes
In 2012 is planned to develop various activities such as fitness trails in volcanic areas of interest (in 2011 and these works were undertaken in Tindaya, Pico de la Zarza and Gairia boiler) , these signaling pathways (the pathways and the specific geological transit), building observatories (of birds and landscapes), training of guides and tour operators in the product 'volcanoes', promotion of this product in tourist areas (hotels, airport, port, museums ...) and development of material specific media promotion. In short, as the president of the Association of Hotel and Tourism Fuerteventura, Antonio Ant, "is very interesting that the tourist is alternative to the sun and the beach .

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Easter Island myth and reality of a culture

Rapa Nui is considered the largest outdoor museum in the world.
The island has played host cultures as the Inca or the Maya.
There are over 900 of its famous megalithic statues called Moai.

Easter Island , called by its inhabitants Rapa Nui or Te Pito Te Henua is the most remote inhabited island in the world. It developed a more complex cultures, comparable only with great megalithic cultures (Egyptian, Inca, Maya) - in extreme isolation. Myth and reality are confused in this area that gave rise to a unique culture, which makes Rapa Nui a valuable archaeological treasure that crosses the borders of Chile .

Rapanui and Spanish
Rapa Nui is the name of the ethnic group inhabiting the Easter Island . This name was later extended to Aboriginal people for their language and the island they inhabit. Moai and Ahu decorate the entire coastline Currently Spanish is the official language of the island, although the rapanui is protected by law, from the approval in Chile in 1990 of the 'Indian Act. " Rapa Nui National Park was designated by UNESCO in 1995 as a World Heritage Site . Easter Island is considered the largest outdoor museum in the world.

Moai and Ahu
The megalithic landscape surprises with its religio-political centers dedicated to the spirits of the ancestors, who were deified and represented in statues megalithic or Moai . More than 900 270 Moai and Ahu or altars, decorate the entire coastline and part of the land as sacred interiors. In terms of existing islets against the cliff of Rano Kau and Kari Kari , are protected as a Nature Sanctuary since 1976.

Krakow Spiritual Capital of Poland

Its old town is one of the most beautiful in the world.
Nowa Huta allows us to know what life was like in the years of communism.
The Wieliczka Salt Mine, the first registered World Heritage List, are a maze of 300 kilometers underground.

Krakow, with its 700,000 inhabitants, is perhaps the Polish city more European feeling. The so-called "Slavic Rome" is a true "crossroads." Located close to the Czech and Slovak borders, was a vital location on trade routes in Europe. Today, Warsaw will be the official capital of Poland, but Krakow is its spiritual capital. The beauty of this city watered by the Vistula River is palpable in its historic center, in 1978 declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO . It is claimed that this old "almond", chaired by the imposing Market Square, is one of the most beautiful old towns in the world (which was saved from the bombing of the World War II).

The Jewish quarter of 'Schindler's List'
Whatever the chosen door, the most spectacular is that of St. Florian, the old protective wall safe and Krakow, the road leads to the Plaza del Mercado ("Rynek Glowny"). Then, the largest square of medieval Europe , which has preserved its positions Cloth Lonja, the tower of City Hall, the churches of St. Mary and St. Adalbert, mansions and houses that surround this unique stage of Poland . Since 1978 , its old town is a World Heritage Site must walk along the Camino Real in the direction of the Barbican, which was part of the defensive wall, stopping before in "The Michalik burrow." This cabaret of the late nineteenth century is still a meeting place for tourists and Cracow. Nearby is the most important paintings saved Krakow: "Lady with an Ermine", the famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci (who recently went through Madrid), exhibited at the Museum of the Czartoryski The Kazimierz district, which portrayed in the list Schindler Steven Spielberg , is currently a "Soho" Polish bars and restaurants that "coexist" with the old Jewish synagogues. In fact, just as the Jewish population is not in this neighborhood or the city are only 80 people surveyed.

Life in Communist Poland
The Wawel Hill is the great symbol of royal power . This hill, dominated by the Cathedral, is the site of coronations and where lie the tombs of Polish kings. There are 17 other beautiful churches in the old city, interest in their appearance or their ornate interiors. You can drive a car 60 to visit a working home the outskirts of Krakow, Nowa Huta offers us an unusual shock. The former industrial area built around the Tadeusz Sendzimir Metallurgical industrial complex, allows us to dive into the architecture of socialist realism after the Great War. You can even see the cars "Trabant" (the popular "soap" in the years 60) visiting a working house and the neighborhood that once presided over a six-meter statue honoring Lenin. More classic, but no less striking is the visit to the Wieliczka Salt Mine , recorded in the first list of UNESCO as "World Heritage". In this maze of underground chambers and 300 kilometers of galleries walk only 3,500 meters, at a depth between 64 and 135 meters, but the 22 chambers of the mine founded in the thirteenth century visitors jaw-dropping.