Monthly Archives: October 2016

Old World Historic Destinations

Egypt

Egypt is the cradle of one of the world’s oldest civilizations, rich with ancient treasures, pyramids, tombs and temples. Moreover, it is the fusion of various cultures and religions that survived and co-existed peacefully for so many years that give Egypt its unique identity.

Archaeological sites, Pharaonic tombs, ancient temples, vibrant bazaars and sailing down the Nile are only some of the experiences that will give the traveler an insight into the historically rich tapestry that weaves this amazing country. The beauty of Ancient Egypt, the stunning Mt. Sinai at sunrise, camel trekking into the desert with local Bedouins, donkey rides into the Valley of the Kings makes for some of the most exotic and cherished experiences you will ever encounter. In a journey of a lifetime, indulge into the truly memorable expedition across Egypt’s sandy deserts to the spectacular Gilf Kebir, location of the famous Cave of the Swimmers, romantic and remote landscapes following the great explorations of the Long Range Desert Group and Count Almasy.

While Sinai is an area of outstanding natural beauty, delicate eco-systems and home to many Bedouin villages, a visit to Luxor will take you to the depths of the ancient wonders, Valley of the Kings, and the famous Karnak Temple. The Pyramids, Tomb of Tutankhamum and the wind sculpted rock formations, cliffs with corals and fossils dating back millions of years are some of the other highlights that make Egypt as a tourist destination and truly one of the wonders of the world.

Greece

Greece is the true amalgamation of cultures, colors and civilizations that are not only diverse in nature but rich in history and heritage. Much before most of the world was still trying to break out of its cocoon Greece was known to have already developed its birthright through the elements of chaos, drama, tragedy and democracy. Combined with its deep respect for its ancient traditions, it still believes in the proclivity to partying, an inheritance that has been brought down from the Dionysos.

It is a land of contrasts and ecological value, endowed with a rich and diversified natural environment – legacy of a rare geomorphology. The country’s abundant natural gifts that include thousands of indented coasts, imposing rocky massifs, caves, gorges, lakes, rivers, biotopes of spectacular beauty and unique natural habitats have made Greece a truly unique and popular tourist destination.

Greece is full of ancient archeological sites and monuments of distinctive charm. The rich cultural and historical mosaic has left its impression on every region of the country emphasizing the diverse manifestations of the Greek tradition to date. The Acropolis of Athens, Monastery of Aghio Oros, Temple of Epicurean Apollo, Thessalonica and Monastery of Meteora are the sites characterized as the monuments of cultural heritage. Among its more ancient attractions are the navel of the cosmos at Delphi, fallen columns on the sacred island of Delos, frescoed Minoan palaces on Crete and remnants of Atlantis at Santorini.

China

China situated in eastern Asia and bounded by the Pacific in the East is the third largest country today and one of the four oldest civilizations in the world. It has a written history dating back 4,000 years and boasts rich cultural relics and historical sites.

China claims to be the inventor of the compass, paper and gunpowder as well as having built three ingenious engineering projects 2,000 years ago that include the Great Wall, the Grand Canal and the Karez irrigation systems. Now they represent the rich cultural heritage of this mighty Chinese nation.

It has a 9000 mile coastline where scenic rivers like the Yangtze meander their way from the northern and central mountains to the oceans of the east. The diversity of this nation is vast and unique, in that we see western winds blowing across desert sand dunes, pandas munching bamboo forests in central highlands and rice terraces climbing mountains in the south.

Beijing, one of China’s thriving communities has been confirmed to have existed since the last 3000 years. In the year 1215, it was established as the capital of the newly declared Yuan Dynasty by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan. It was during his rule that the city truly blossomed – imperial palaces were built, streets broadened and temples as well as canals were built. Beijing’s major attractions include the Forbidden City, Jing Shan Park, Tiananmen Square, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Mansion of Prince Gong and Hutongs.

The Yangtze River is known as China’s “Mainstreet.” For thousands of years, this 4,000-mile river provided a vital and only link between China’s seacoast and the rich, fertile lands of inland provinces.

China will always be linked to its ancient civilization, friendly people, and many of the world’s most revered treasures, such as The Great Wall, Terra-Cotta Warriors and Horses and the Yangtze River. Even today we find impressive architecture and towering skylines in Shanghai and Beijing, luxury accommodations as well as exquisite cuisine.

India

India is a vast country with a rich cultural heritage and a diverse historical background. An amalgamation of different ethnicities, traditions, cultures and languages has manifested into many architectural wonders that makes India the land of the unique and the exotic. Its first civilization flourished almost 5000 years ago along the Indus River. The journey since then has been colored with hundreds of rulers and dynasties helping to shape India as we know it today.

In a country as diverse and complex as India, people here reflect the rich glories of the past, the culture, traditions and values relative to geographic locations and the distinctive manners, habits and food that will always remain truly Indian. The colorful mosaic of Indian festivals and fairs – as diverse as the land, is an eternal expression of the spirit of celebration for the Indian people.

India is set apart from the rest of Asia by the Himalayas, the highest, youngest and still evolving mountain chain on the planet. The subcontinent as it is rightly called, touches three large water bodies and holds every kind of landscape imaginable. An abundance of mountain ranges and national parks provide ample opportunity for eco-tourism and trekking, and its sheer size promises something for everyone.

From north to south India extends a good 2000 miles and represents a diversity that is distinctive and spectacular, ranging from the snow covered Himalayas in the North to the sun-drenched beaches of Kerela in the South, from the Rajasthan deserts in the West to the lush forests of north Eastern India. The Taj Mahal in Agra, Meenakshi Temple in Chennai, Arjuna’s Penance at Mahabalipuram, Bharathiyar Illam in Tamil Nadu, the Hawa Mahal, Amber fort and Jantar Mantar in Jaipur, the Ajmer Sharif in Ajmer and many more make up for the unique attractions that India has to offer. Honeymoon getaways, hill stations, pilgrimage sites, wildlife sanctuaries, and beach resorts, there’s something for every traveler in India

Italy

Italy has long been recognized as a country full of historical and cultural attractions. Two-thirds of the world’s historical artistic heritage is in Italy. Rome, the Eternal City, contains the ruins of the Roman forum and Coliseum as well as the independent state of the Vatican City with its famous Sistine Chapel. Naples is close to the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum, and Mt. Vesuvius is another famous attraction. Florence has been a centre of the arts since the fourteenth century, and has many museums and art galleries along with the Pitti Palace and Ponate Vecchio. The town of Pisa is home to the famous leaning tower and Sienna with its ancient piazza and cathedral is a must see. The majestic Alps in the north, the soft and green hills of Tuscany and Umbria, the romantically rugged landscape of the S Apennines and the Bay of Naples, dominated by Mt. Vesuvius are some of the world’s most famous sights.

Italy is also known as the land of la dolce vita (the sweet life) and is one of the world’s most loved travel destinations. Whether it’s culture, gastronomy, haute couture, or simply the art of dolce far niente — doing nothing and just soaking up the atmosphere – this is a country for lovers of all that is good in life.

Honeymoon Destinations in the US

Everybody knows how expensive a wedding can be and if the couple is paying for it themselves they often have to forgo the honeymoon that usually follows. Some of the most popular vacation destinations in the world are also some of the most expensive. In the past it was an added expense to have to hire a travel agent in order to have a honeymoon vacation planned but these days many individuals do not even bother hiring an agent but act as their own agent. The internet makes this possible which makes honeymoons possible for many more people with all kinds of budgets. If you still find it difficult to afford an exotic getaway for your honeymoon though you could go an alternative route by taking your honeymoon inside the US. If you live in the United States a vacation inside the states will cost considerably less than traveling outside the US. And the great thing about planning a honeymoon in the US is that there are numerous great destinations that are full of the romance and excitement that you are looking for on a honeymoon. Whether you are looking for a destination with tropical weather, a beautiful mountain view, or refreshing woodland air you will find it all right here in the United States. And the best thing is that it will cost so much less to honeymoon right here in the states but yet you won’t lose any of the natural beauty that you would be able to enjoy anywhere else. These five destinations in particular make for great honeymoons that will stay in your memory forever.

New Orleans – New Orleans is a wonderfully romantic place to honeymoon and very affordable as well, especially during off seasons if that is the time you intend to get married and take your honeymoon. The French Quarter offers a special experience that will be remembered for a lifetime. Take joy in the beautiful scenery, the excitement nightlife, and the romance in the air without spending a fortune.

New York City – What better place in the US to take a honeymoon than New York City. Here you can wine and dine in some of the nation’s classiest restaurants, see a show, and indulge with a stay at an upscale hotel with all of the amenities. A trip to NYC may seem like it would be expensive but it will likely be much less than going somewhere exotic.

Poconos – This is one of the most romantic honeymoon destinations as well as one of the most affordable. A trip to the Poconos in Pennsylvania can be as luxurious as you want it to be and as low cost as you want it to be as well, without having to sacrifice the romance in the air.

Miami – This is the place to honeymoon for young, hip couples and older newlyweds alike. Soak up the sun and sand without having to pay to go to a far off island and see what romance is all about.

Hawaii – Although more expensive than others no one can deny the romance that Hawaii offers and it is actually more affordable than many think. Go off-season and you can save even more money and still have a great honeymoon.

If you don’t have a endless budget for your honeymoon stay close to home and go to one of these great destinations for less.

Romantic Weekend Getaway

The Romantic Weekend Getaway is here; however, the only thing missing is you!
You now have the opportunity to surprise your loved one, whisk them off their
feet, and head off into an exciting romantic adventure. Where?…Victoria
Canada; board the Victoria Clipper
and languish in romance at the
Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour.

This was the perfect choice for my wife, Maria, and I to have the opportunity
to experience a romantic weekend getaway together, away from the routines of
life. Before embarking on this wonderful occasion, we organized the
babysitting for our four kids, finalized various weekend projects and easily
arranged our transportation with accommodations to Victoria Canada.

Getting to Victoria Canada couldn’t be any easier. You can
choose airplane or boat; we chose to travel by boat aboard the famous Victoria Clipper. It’s fast,
comfortable, convenient and provides an appealing romantic atmosphere traveling
across the water. Life
couldn’t be any easier. The Victoria Clipper also offers all-inclusive getaway
packages including: transportation, accommodations and even sight-seeing
opportunities.

Getting to the “Clipper” is effortless. We simply had a
relative drop us off at the Clipper dock located on Pier 69 along Seattle’s
waterfront, 2701 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98121 (206) 448-5000. If you’re
driving and need parking, that’s simple too, check out the
parking facility the Clipper recommends.

We arrived an hour before the scheduled boarding. This gave us ample
time to check-in our bag, pick up our boarding passes and proceed through
security. Be sure to bring the appropriate identification. Check
with the Victoria Clipper before leaving your home if you have any questions
regarding acceptable identification. You don’t want to miss the boat!

Once you’ve gone through all of the check-in procedures, boarding the vessel
is a simple process. Boarding is based on a first-come, first-served
basis. If you’re one of the first passengers through check-in, you’ll
likely board first. The benefit?…You get to pick your seat. There
are no assigned seats for this romantic weekend getaway, you pick what’s right
for you.

Once we found seats, most appropriate for us, we simply relaxed as the
boarding process continued for the remaining passengers. We checked out
the small “Duty-Free Shop”, purchased a breakfast basket and visited the
self-service complimentary coffee bar. With our food and drinks in hand,
we nestled back for a relaxing romantic voyage up Puget Sound to Victoria
Canada, the beginning of our romantic weekend getaway.

The trip takes approximately 2½ hours; however, time goes very quickly. We were easily engaged in conversation with
the Clipper’s crew, explored the aft outside deck and occasionally visited one
of the several restrooms. I was especially impressed with the stability
of the vessel. It was smoother than flying any commercial airliner.
If you’re anxious about boarding a vessel, the Clipper will most likely take all
of your anxious feeling away. Most of the time, you will not even know
you’re moving.

Arriving into Victoria is exciting.

Peering through the windows as we entered the port area created a magical
sensation. After all, this was our destination for a romantic weekend
getaway. We waited patiently in anticipation as we disembarked the
Victoria Clipper, collected our piece of luggage, passed through customs and
gingerly left the dock as the city of Victoria unfolded before our eyes.

The prominent landmarks caught our attention as we walked from the Clipper
Dock. The Parliament Buildings and the Royal B.C. Museum were like a
guiding light showing us the way into the heart of Victoria. Our venue of
romance was all around us as we further entered into the romantic weekend
getaway.

Traveling with one piece of luggage made our
romantic ten minute walk to the Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour Hotel a breeze.
To the suggestion of my wife, we utilized a compact over-night travel bag on
wheels. This is the way to travel, light with ease, no heavy bags slung
over the shoulder.

The Marriott is easy to find. You can
easily walk, as we did, or take a taxi. We preferred walking, it added to
the magical mystery of exploring this romantic setting. Pick up a free map
from the Clipper and you’ll find the Marriott just behind the notable Fairmont
Empress Hotel, 728 Humboldt Street.

The Marriott offers some fabulous accommodation
packages
, ask the hotel for more specifics. Of course, we
chose the Romantic Package, and the Marriott delivers! After our brief
check-in, with the help of the courteous hotel staff, we pursued to our Romantic
Suite on the 14th floor overlooking Victoria’s inner harbor.

Wow!!! What an elegant suite, all prepared with
the romantic touch, adding the essentials to our romantic weekend getaway. The elegant furniture, beautiful decorations,
accompanied with a gorgeous picturesque back drop of Victoria’s Inner Harbor
added a sensual suggestion. We were mesmerized by the romantic affect
with the room’s preparation. A waiting chilled bottle of wine consorting with
chocolate covered strawberries only amplified the romantic setting.

We took a moment to savor the time as we melted
away on the relaxing couch gazing across Victoria’s Inner Harbor. The
adjacent large bedroom’s soft, warm bedding simply added to the romantic
environment, providing our romantic weekend getaway with a stimulating touch. The Marriott had prepared it all, even the Romantic Aroma
Therapy Soaps.

We found it very appealing to simply enjoy the
romantic arrangement; there was no rush to engage in the typical tourist
activities, just relax in the wonderful romantic Marriott surroundings. The
weather wasn’t the most conducive for thoroughly exploring Victoria, but that
didn’t matter to us, we could spend quality time together in a lush romantic setting,
right in our hotel room. It was simply perfect.

After several hours of relaxation in our
magnificent room we headed out to explore the romantic wonderlands of Victoria.
Strolling hand-in-hand along the waterfront, looking at the glistening Victoria
lights dance on the waters reflection, makes for the most favorable romantic
occasion. We ambled up and down the streets of Victoria, no hurry, no
worries, just enjoying each other’s company.

Our meandering through Victoria’s streets put us
at the front door of a local restaurant, The Tapa Bar. The restaurant’s
outside looked very appealing and inviting. We couldn’t resist exploring
this cultural delight. Tapas are small assortments of food, typical in
Spain, and mouth watering.

We decided to order the “Tapa Platter For Two”
dish, fully loaded with a broad assortment of Latin spice, Spanish influence,
and a dash of Cuban, South American and Mexican delight. The food was
prepared by the specialty chef, Armanda, in the spacious open kitchen. We
were caught in amazement watching Armanda prepare the dish with such delicacy.
And even more so, the food was delicious, a highly recommended treat for the
romantic adventurer and adding the specialty spice to your romantic weekend
getaway. You can find the restaurant in the historic Trounce
Alley, just off Government Street.

For those who want to sliver away in your Romantic Suite, instead of
venturing out into the heart of Victoria, the Marriott provides elegant meals
directly to your suite through their astounding “Fire & Water Fish and Chop
House Restaurant”. You have the ability to enjoy each others company,
romantic style, eating a fabulous meal without venturing anywhere. And,
you’ll find the menu items are very affordable. A highly recommend treat,
and added touch to your romantic weekend getaway.

As time would have it, our romantic weekend
getaway could not last forever, we had to make the return voyage back to Seattle
aboard the Clipper. Our departure time was late in the afternoon so we had
ample time to check out of the Marriott, stroll the streets of Victoria and pick
up a few gifts for the kids. The Marriott offered to “watch” our luggage
while we strolled around Victoria one last time. This was very helpful, it
eliminated the hassles of pulling a piece of luggage throughout Victoria. (The
Clipper will come by and pick up your luggage too; however, you’ll need to have
it in the lobby before noon. If that interests you, check with the
Marriott staff.)

Upon boarding the Clipper for your departure to
Seattle,
it’s recommend to arrive an hour early. Similar to your departure in
Seattle,
you’ll check in your luggage, pass through customs and board the Clipper.
It’s a pretty simple task, just abide with all the security rules.

Our voyage back to Seattle allowed time to
recount our romantic time together. The moments we shared in
Victoria was like “time in a bottle”, it was priceless and appeared endless.
Our short time away seemed like days, for we had ventured miles together into a Magical Romantic Wonderland.

Top Honeymoon Cruise Destinations

If you’re planning your honeymoon, you may want to consider a romantic cruise destination. Cruises are ideal for newlyweds because they can be low budget and easy to plan, meaning that you don’t have to stress about the vacation in the weeks leading up to your big day. Where can you go on your honeymoon cruise? The options are nearly limitless, but here are some of the top honeymoon cruise destinations to consider.

Disney Honeymoon Cruises

You might think of a Disney Cruise as more of a family vacation, but this can also be a great option if you’re celebrating your new life together. You’ll spend a number of days sailing through the Caribbean, and enjoy at least a day at Disney World at the beginning or end of the cruise. Disney cruises are a great option because they’re even more hassle-free than a standard cruise, since Disney provides transportation and other special accommodations. Mention that it is your honeymoon, and you’ll have even more fun, romantic options.

European Honeymoon Cruises

While most people associate cruises with the Caribbean, another wonderful alternative is a European cruise through the Greek Islands or other Mediterranean locations. These cruises are very romantic, stopping at some of the most beautiful locations in the world and offering tons of privacy to couples who want to celebrate together. Some cruises in the Mediterranean are exclusively for couples, so you can avoid crowds of families with children and singles looking for their next partner. Instead, you can focus on celebrating together.

Hawaiian Honeymoon Cruises

Many couples travel to Hawaii for their honeymoon every year. This might be a great option for you too, since you won’t need a passport to book this trip. You’ll visit islands such as Kauai, Maui, and the big island of Hawaii, check out black sand beaches, beautiful reefs and more. Many Hawaii cruise ships also have traditionally Hawaiian food and celebrations, like luaus. Because you’ll be staying in the United States, the costs associated with a Hawaiian cruise are often much lower than the costs of cruises to other areas of the world. You can also book a hotel and spend some times on land before or after your cruise.

Caribbean Honeymoon Cruises

Of course, the Caribbean is a popular honeymoon cruise destination for couples who want to spend some times in the sun. Most ships travel exclusively to eastern locations or to western locations, though some longer cruises may have you traveling all over the islands. The great thing about a cruise to the Caribbean is that you can see a number of islands without having to book separate vacation to each of them. Along the way, you can also enjoy island activities, food and much more.

Alaskan Honeymoon Cruises

If you and your new spouse enjoy cooler weather, a tropical cruise might not be the best option. Instead, check out Alaskan options. You can go whale watching, see the Northern lights, and participate in other romantic activities while on your Alaska cruise. Along the way, you’ll also be able to participate in cruise activities that you’ll find on other ships as well, such as trying unique foods, taking classes, and even checking out the pool if the weather is warm enough. Alaskan cruises often allow you to see majestic wildlife as well, which is something you won’t get with most other cruises.

French Polynesian Honeymoon Cruises

For a tropical vacation that leaves from Hawaii but doesn’t take place in the Caribbean, check out French Polynesian cruises. Typical port destinations include Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea and Papeete. This is a unique and romantic culture, and cruises in this area of the world are usually smaller and less crowded, giving you a more intimate setting to enjoy with your new spouse. Many of these cruises also offer special activities like diving, fishing, and snorkeling, since the reefs in this area are unlike any others.

Confused about where to go on your honeymoon? Your honeymoon is an important time to connect with your new spouse and recover from the stress and frenzy associated with planning your wedding. It’s important to take the time to carefully plan this trip together, and consider what will provide the most relaxing and romantic setting. Start by setting your budget, and then explore these romantic honeymoon cruise options. You might be surprised at how affordable they can be.

Talk to a travel agent about booking your trip, and be sure to mention that it is your honeymoon. Many cruise lines offer special discounts, rates and romantic amenities to make your trip a memorable occasion.

Top Honeymoon Cruise Destinations

If you’re planning your honeymoon, you may want to consider a romantic cruise destination. Cruises are ideal for newlyweds because they can be low budget and easy to plan, meaning that you don’t have to stress about the vacation in the weeks leading up to your big day. Where can you go on your honeymoon cruise? The options are nearly limitless, but here are some of the top honeymoon destinations to consider.

Disney Honeymoon Cruises

You might think of a Disney Cruise as more of a family vacation, but this can also be a great option if you’re celebrating your new life together. You’ll spend a number of days sailing through the Caribbean, and enjoy at least a day at Disney World at the beginning or end of the cruise. Disney cruises are a great option because they’re even more hassle-free than a standard cruise, since Disney provides transportation and other special accommodations. Mention that it is your honeymoon, and you’ll have even more fun, romantic options.

European Honeymoon Cruises

While most people associate cruises with the Caribbean, another wonderful alternative is a European cruise through the Greek Islands or other Mediterranean locations. These cruises are very romantic, stopping at some of the most beautiful locations in the world and offering tons of privacy to couples who want to celebrate together. Some cruises in the Mediterranean are exclusively for couples, so you can avoid crowds of families with children and singles looking for their next partner. Instead, you can focus on celebrating together.

Hawaiian Honeymoon Cruises

Many couples travel to Hawaii for their honeymoon every year. This might be a great option for you too, since you won’t need a passport to book this trip. You’ll visit islands such as Kauai, Maui, and the big island of Hawaii, check out black sand beaches, beautiful reefs and more. Many Hawaii cruise ships also have traditionally Hawaiian food and celebrations, like luaus. Because you’ll be staying in the United States, the costs associated with a Hawaiian cruise are often much lower than the costs of cruises to other areas of the world. You can also book a hotel and spend some times on land before or after your cruise.

Caribbean Honeymoon Cruises

Of course, the Caribbean is a popular honeymoon cruise destination for couples who want to spend some times in the sun. Most ships travel exclusively to eastern locations or to western locations, though some longer cruises may have you traveling all over the islands. The great thing about a cruise to the Caribbean is that you can see a number of islands without having to book separate vacation to each of them. Along the way, you can also enjoy island activities, food and much more.

Alaskan Honeymoon Cruises

If you and your new spouse enjoy cooler weather, a tropical cruise might not be the best option. Instead, check out Alaskan options. You can go whale watching, see the Northern lights, and participate in other romantic activities while on your Alaska cruise. Along the way, you’ll also be able to participate in cruise activities that you’ll find on other ships as well, such as trying unique foods, taking classes, and even checking out the pool if the weather is warm enough. Alaskan cruises often allow you to see majestic wildlife as well, which is something you won’t get with most other cruises.

French Polynesian Honeymoon Cruises

For a tropical vacation that leaves from Hawaii but doesn’t take place in the Caribbean, check out French Polynesian cruises. Typical port destinations include Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea and Papeete. This is a unique and romantic culture, and cruises in this area of the world are usually smaller and less crowded, giving you a more intimate setting to enjoy with your new spouse. Many of these cruises also offer special activities like diving, fishing, and snorkeling, since the reefs in this area are unlike any others.

Confused about where to go on your honeymoon? Your honeymoon is an important time to connect with your new spouse and recover from the stress and frenzy associated with planning your wedding. It’s important to take the time to carefully plan this trip together, and consider what will provide the most relaxing and romantic setting. Start by setting your budget, and then explore these romantic honeymoon cruise options. You might be surprised at how affordable they can be.

Talk to a travel agent about booking your trip, and be sure to mention that it is your honeymoon. Many cruise lines offer special discounts, rates and romantic amenities to make your trip a memorable occasion.