Archive for January, 2010
Barcelona is a fascinating city, with a buzzing rhythm reigning in this cosmopolitan heart of the Mediterranean. There are always lots of things to explore and to visit: the Roman origins, the great medieval old city, fishing quarters, the newer modernist district, the impressive urban architecture that arrived with the Olympic Games, the design shops, the parks, the beaches, the markets. And if you suffer of a culture overdose, just enjoy Barcelona’s rich gastronomy, one of its many terraces or look for a live concert in one of its many bars, theatre halls or churches. The last thing you should have to worry about is your accommodation.
These days it has become popular to rent an apartment in Barcelona. Apart from being cheaper than hotels, you will have much more space, more privacy, more flexibility, and will definitely enjoy a more personalised atmosphere and a feeling of being at home.
The problem is there are hundreds of companies renting out apartments in Barcelona right now and naturally, some are better than others.
It can be a nightmare finding a good place to stay. Imagine this – all your friends think you’re amazing because you have booked an amazing apartment on “La Rambla” for a bargain price, right in the middle of summer. However, once you arrive, you soon realise that this is not the famous “Las Ramblas” in the Barcelona city centre, but “La Rambla” in Sabadell – a town about 25km outside the Catalonian capital. You’re not quite as popular with your friends right now and you wish you’d spent a little more time investigating the whole apartment rental world.
So how can you avoid situations such as these? Well basically, you need to find a trustworthy rental company, one that offers quality. One where you won’t find any dodgy apartments located on a fifth floor without elevator – and there are many apartments like that in Barcelona. One that doesn’t offer their guests mattresses on the floor, worn-out beds and a bathroom that is oh-so-authentic but hasn’t been renovated since Gaudi was still alive.
Look for a company that is fully licensed, with apartments that meet the official requirements of the Generalitat (the local Catalan government). If a company meets certain standards, there’s more chance that the apartments they offer will be of a higher quality.
When traveling by train or bus with small children, safety is a crucial factor.
In the station lobby, keep children close by. Places like crowded airports and bustling train stations are very popular hangouts for purse snatchers and pickpockets, and an unsupervised child might be a very tempting target.
Don’t let your luggage out of sight, either. With a family-sized pile of baggage, one small piece might not be missed until the family is a hundred miles from the station. Put your ID on all of your luggage. While you’re at it, make sure every child is also carrying ID, including name, address, itinerary, phone numbers, and if possible, the contact information for the person the child is going to see at their destination. That way, even in the unlikely event you and your children are separated, they should be able to contact either you or someone at the destination.
Supervision of children is also critical when boarding or leaving the vehicle. Bus and train stations are very active places, with vehicles moving in all directions, and a child could very easily step into danger while the parents are wrestling with a stroller or heavy bag.
Bus or train rides that last longer than a few minutes will require moving around, even if only for restroom breaks. Since the vehicle will be moving, children may need help to keep their balance and footing while working their way to and from the restroom.
Place children in window seats on buses whenever possible. Not only will this give them something to look at during the trip, it will also make it more difficult for them to wander away down the aisle if mommy or daddy falls asleep because they would have to crawl over or under the adult.
Trains and subways can be very crowded at times and small children can get lost in the commotion. Be sure to keep the children close when the ride becomes “standing room only.”
The tides in the Bay of Fundy, the waterway between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, are the highest in the world, with an estimated 100 billion tons of water rolling in and out of the bay twice daily.
One of the best places to see this phenomenon in action is Hopewell Rocks Park. These “flowerpot” rocks are tree-topped rocks only partially visible at high tide. Low tide reveals their delicate, sculpted bases. During low tide it is possible to actually walk on the revealed sea floor. As the tide comes in, footprints left on the flats literally disappear before people’s eyes as the water rises six to eight feet per hour. In some parts of the bay the difference between high and low tide can be as much as 46 feet (14 m).
Whale enthusiasts will appreciate the bay area for the variety of marine mammals attracted to its krill-rich waters during the summer months. Up to fifteen different species of toothed and baleen whales make their summer home in the waters just outside the bay. Whale-watching tours depart daily from June to October each year.
For a glimpse into the planetary past, make a trip up the bay to the Joggins Fossil Cliffs. These sandstone cliffs are rich with 300 million year-old fossils of everything from invertebrates to lizards and the trees of the primordial forest they lived in. The powerful tides in the Bay of Fundy are constantly eroding the cliffs, constantly revealing more fossils.
No visit to the Bay of Fundy would be complete without seeing the Reversing Falls of St. John. The St. John River flows into the bay through a series of rapids. When the bay’s legendary high tide occurs, the flow of sea water forces the river water back up its course, reversing the direction of the falls.
The Southern Hemisphere is said to be the ultimate holiday travel destination, especially New Zealand. You can find small towns, big cities, mountains, ski fields, volcanoes, and beautiful beaches. There are only about 4M people in New Zealand. Its capital city is Wellington and the biggest city is Auckland. If you want a peaceful travel destination, make sure that you go to the south island of the country. If you travel anywhere in the world, even in New Zealand, you will surely need travel insurance.
A lot of tourists go to New Zealand to experience adventure. They can enjoy snow boarding, skiing, and bungee jumping, riding a bike, ski diving, surfing, and driving adventure. You can do all these things if you’re in the south island but if you want to shop till you drop, you should go to the north island. When you’re there, you can rent a car because this is the best way to get the most out of New Zealand’s adventurous places. Traffic is not a problem there as well, so you can have the most enjoyable vacation on wheels ever.
Even if New Zealand is a very interesting place of destination, you should not travel without any travel insurance. Adventurous-type individuals are highly recommended to secure travel insurance first. You’ll never know what’s going to happen there. But before anything else, determine the things that you plan to do in New Zealand. If you’re going to be involved in sports, ask the insurance provider if sports injuries are covered. You see, some insurance providers have limitations to the coverage especially where sports is concerned. Accidents and injuries usually happen in different kinds of sports, so don’t forget to ask.
So before you leave for New Zealand, you should already have travel insurance. Give yourself at least a couple of weeks before the travel when choosing for the right travel insurance. The travel insurance should suit your needs while you’re in New Zealand. You should already make a list of the thing you want included in the coverage. Try to investigate the different travel insurance policies and don’t make uninformed purchases. Check all matters pertaining to the insurance policy and that includes the background of the insurance provider, the premiums you need to pay, the coverage, exclusions, and many others.
By having travel insurance, you can enjoy more and at the same reduce the risks of unprotected traveling. Factors that need to be considered when choosing a policy are personal health, weather, transportation, and the season in the place of destination. The cost of the policy depends on the insurance provider and type of travel insurance plan or policy. If you’re traveling with your family, you should get a policy that covers the entire family. So you see, choosing the right type of travel insurance to meet your needs is a difficult task. You need enough time and money in order to purchase the one that will work for you.
You can contact the insurance providers by way of phone or you can visit their site on the net. Some people prefer to visit the physical offices of the local insurance providers because they feel that they are given a more personal service. Choose among these three options. It’s all up to you now; remember, choose the travel insurance that will suit your needs in New Zealand.
Situated at 350 Fifth Avenue is one of the most famous of Ne w York’s impressive buildings. Instantly recognizable from such movies as King Kong, An Affair to Remember and Sleepless in Seattle, the Empire State Building stands as one of the most well known skyscrapers in the world.
With its art deco architecture, the Empire State Building’s observation deck on the 80th Floor is where most visitors head. There’s a charge to enter the observation deck but it’s not too expensive, especially considering the unique view of New York and the surrounding area you’ll get from the top. There are 73 elevators in the building – these can take you from ground level to the 80th floor in a matter of seconds – but those who are more active, or like a challenge, the alternative is a 1,575 step climb – of course you could just take the elevator up and walk down if you prefer!
The Empire State Building is open daily from 9.30am until midnight – make sure you arrive in time to be allowed access as the building may shut at midnight, but they like the observation deck cleared prior to then. Despite its closing time, it’s just as good an experience to see New York from the Observation Deck at night as it as by day. Although you can’t see as far as you can in daylight, the lights of New York make the night visit special in its own right.
Although the Empire State Building is mainly for those who like to look rather than do, there is a hidden gem on the second floor for those who enjoy a thrill ride. The New York Skyride is a flight stimulator which will have you hanging to your seat as the images take you on a fast paced virtual reality aerial tour of the “Big Apple”.
For its celebrity, architectural beauty, spectacular views and not forgetting the incredible Skyride tour, a visit to the Empire State Building should be on every visitor’s itinerary.