Thursday, March 14, 2013

Amsterdam: The City Of Canals, Red Lights And All Things Green

Amsterdam: The City Of Canals, Red Lights And All Things Green picture
Amsterdam canal during the blue hour
Before our trip there, all I knew about Amsterdam was prostitution is legal as is smoking pot! So I wasn't too sure how I would feel about this infamous Netherlands capital.

But I was pleasantly surprised to find there is so much more to this amazing city than ladies of the night and 'coffee shops' (places you go to buy and smoke weed).

Amsterdam is a city rich in history and culture. With its picturesque canals, stunning architecture and lush greenery this is one of the most beautiful cities I have been to.

Nicknamed "Venice of the North", the best way to experience this city is by boat along the canals. You see the city from a different perspective and in all its glory.

You can walk through the city very easily which is another great way to take it all in. Bike riding is also very popular there with tourists and locals alike. However there didn't seem like there was enough road for the cars and the many many bicycles so we decided to stick with using the canals and footpaths.

Of course, most visitors to Amsterdam want to take a walk through the Red Light District or visit one of the many coffee shops Amsterdam is so well known for. And we did just that.

Its quite surprising to see the 'ladies' standing in the doorways of their tiny rooms waiting for their next customer. And what's even more surprising is the smell of weed wafting out from every other shop in broad daylight. It's a very surreal situation. But something I encourage everyone to experience because there are not too many places in the world quite like this! Do not worry about safety issues; Its very safe to walk through the district and its quite common to see a family strolling through the area. Keep in mind however, you are not allowed to photograph the ladies (unless you want to see your treasured camera thrown into the canal).

A few of our favorites places...


This World Heritage Site is a picturesque body of water and is one of the three major canals that shape the city.

Prinsengracht, which translates to 'prince's canal', is filled with gorgeous houseboats and lined with cafes, galleries and boutique shops and is the liveliest of all the canals.

The Jordaan

Another great World Heritage Site in Amsterdam, the Jordaan is a charming neighborhood in Greenwich Village. With narrow alleys, picturesque canals and 17th century houses this quaint neighborhood is worth a visit.

Walk through the Jordaan and shop at the designer boutiques, have lunch at a charming café and visit the eccentric specialty shops.


The city's most famous park has been around since 1850 and is a popular area for both tourists and locals alike. A great place for a casual stroll or, for those with more energy to burn, cycling and skating are very popular here.

It's the largest of Amsterdam's 30 parks and in the summer months you can struggle to find a piece of lawn for yourself.

A great place to enjoy a picnic on a beautiful sunny day.

Free City Walking Tour

I am a huge fan of free walking tours and this one did not disappoint. As you walk through the city your guide will share some of the fascinating history with the group and show you some of the best sites Amsterdam has to offer.

They offer different tours, depending on what you are most interested in, which are free (though you are expected to tip). We did the 3 hour city tour which covers a little bit of everything and gave us a great feel of the city. There are also a tour that focus on the Red Light District and a bike tour.

Tours like this are the best way to get to know a city better and to orientate yourself on arrival.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Best Mexican Resorts

The Moon Palace Resort in Cancun, Mexico
The Moon Palace Resort in Cancun, Mexico
Mexico is often referred to as a vacation "hotspot." The popularity of Mexico has led to an increase in the amount of tourists that visit the area. To cater to tourists, of all financial standings, a number of popular resorts have developed all-inclusive vacation packages. 

Each year, more Mexico resorts make the decision to develop all-inclusive packages. For many, these packages are a great way to save money. If you are interested in saving money while vacationing in Mexico, you may want to consider staying at an all-inclusive Mexico resort. Below is a summary of five of the most popular and top rated resorts.

(1) The Moon Palace Resort is located in Cancun. This all-inclusive resort is owned and operated by Palace Resorts, which operates multiple resorts throughout the Cancun area. Upscale hotel accommodations are ideal for those planning a business trip or a romantic getaway.

While the upscale hotel accommodations may leave you feeling like the resort is only for those without children, it is not. The Moon Palace resort is open to adults and children, of all ages. Popular onsite activities include swimming, golfing, exercising, drinking, and socializing. Whether you are taking a romantic vacation, a family vacation, or you are on your honeymoon, the Moon Palace will be able to accommodate you.

(2) The Sunscape Tulum Riviera Maya all-inclusive resort is located in the Maya Rivera. The resort is said to be one of the most beautiful resorts in all of Mexico. Unlike many resorts that have limited hours on the use of all-inclusive purchases, the Sunscape Tulum Riviera Maya does not. Most onsite facilities are open all day and night. 

If you are interested in scheduling a romantic vacation then the Sunscape Tulum Riviera Maya may be just what you are looking for. The coastal views, obtainable from most rooms, create an exotic and romantic environment. In addition to romantic adventures, the Sunscape Tulum Riviera Maya is also an ideal location for family vacations. There is no age limit in place and a large number of "kid friendly," activities and facilities can be found nearby. 

(3) The Dreams Puerto Vallarta Resort and Spa is located in Puerto Vallarta. This all-inclusive resort is located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. As with many beachside resorts, the Dreams Puerto Vallarta Resort and Spa is ideal for romantic getaways and family vacations. 

If you are interested in booking at stay at this all-inclusive resort, you will find a number of onsite activities and facilities that make your vacation enjoyable. Amazing restaurants, a fitness center, a spa, and kid-focused facilities are open for daily and sometimes nighttime use. Located within a short distance from the local airport, you may find yourself not needing to travel anywhere else.

(4) Secrets Excellence Rivera Cancun is located in Cancun. Unlike the above mentioned resorts, this all-inclusive resort has an adults only policy. With beautiful costal scenery and the lack of children, Secrets Excellence Rivera Cancun is known as one of the best places to schedule your next romantic getaway.

Located close to the beach, Secrets Excellence Rivera Cancun offers a wide range of beach activities. Popular activities include swimming, boating, snorkeling, or scuba diving. Elegant and romantic dining restaurants and bars, along with a spa, can be found onsite. For an exciting, yet romantic getaway, Secrets Excellence Rivera Cancun may have everything that you need and want to get out of your Mexico vacation.

(5) The Adventure Spa Palace Resort is located along the Riviera Maya. This all-inclusive resort is ideal for those wishing to experience a romantic vacation in Mexico. As with the Secrets Excellence Rivera, the Adventure Spa Palace Resort only caters to those that are adults. To vacation at this popular resort, you must be at least eighteen years of age. 

The atmosphere created at the Adventure Spa Palace is something that many can only imagine. All rooms have a view of the ocean and in room Jacuzzis make the Adventure Spa Palace one of the most sought after resorts in the area. Dining in upscale restaurants, relaxing by the beach, or snorkeling tours are enjoyed by many.

The above mentioned all-inclusive vacation resorts are just a few of the many that can be found in Mexico. Each resort is likely to have different rules and restrictions in place. To make the most out of your all-inclusive vacation, you are encouraged to research these rules and restrictions before you make your reservations.

Great All Inclusive Holidays To Disneyland Paris

sleeping beauty castle at disneyland paris
Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Paris
Holidays to theme park resorts are very popular among holidaymakers with families and those who are big thrillseekers looking for an exciting break from the daily grind. Among the best of the European parks is Disneyland Paris and potential guests can take advantage of all inclusive holidays to the resort. For holidaymakers that are on a long weekend break in Paris the park is a good day out before heading back into central Paris for an evening’s entertainment. Holidaymakers can also make a short trip to the nearby La Vallee Outlet Shopping village.

Visitors have the choice of seven themed hotels for a fun stay. The Disneyland hotel sits majestically above the entrance to the park and is the most opulent and popular of the hotels in the park. There are as can be expected, a number of things to keep children entertained including a Disney characters welcome at breakfast. Among the biggest and best of the other themed hotels are the gigantic ones bordering the resort’s lake, the unsurprisingly named Lake Disney. The Sequoia lodge was built to resemble an early 20th century lodge and the massive Newport Bay club has the traditional features of New England architecture.

On first entering Disneyland Paris holidaymakers walk on to Main Street USA, a reproduction of an American town from the turn of the 20th century. This is where visitors can first buy balloons and other fun things from the stands and the Disney characters walking up and down Main Street. At the end of the street is Central Plaza and the entrance to the various magical lands in the park. The most eye catching of them is Sleeping beauty’s castle, the entrance to Fantasyland. Fantasyland is mostly aimed at young children with mild but fun rides like the Mad Hatters Tea cups and the joyful sing along fun of its a small world.

Taller holidaymakers can visit Discoveryland, a futuristic Utopia where holidaymakers can travel back in time in the Visionarium. On their travels riders stop to pick up Jules Verne while he is mid conversation with H.G Wells at the 1900 Paris Exposition. Young drivers and those with real licenses can drive the miniature futuristic vehicles of Autopia before heading for the bigger rides. Space mountain mission 2 is one of the most popular rides in the park, subjecting riders to an incredible 1.3 G’s and momentary weightlessness. For fun loving young visitors who want to fight evil there is the opportunity to help Buzz Lightyear fight the evil emperor Zurg on the Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast.

For holidaymakers that want a really big thrill Disneyland Studios next door to the main park has a spectacular stunt show that includes jumping jetskis and leaping rally cars. The best roller coaster is the incredible 5G Rock and Roller coaster, definitely not one for the faint hearted. The ride breezes around in the dark while riders are disorientated by strobe lights and rock music. By far the most enjoyable thing about holiday deals to Disneyland is the proximity to such famous tourist attractions as the Louvre and the Pompidou centre.

By: Chris L D Brown, photo by: Tallapragada

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany - A Wonder In Itself

Neuschwanstein Castle Germany otherwise Schloß Neuschwanstein, is regarded one of the most magnificent castles in Germany forever built. It is positioned near the townships of Hohenschwangau and Füssen, in the southwestern Bavaria. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany was constructed in the nineteenth century by the King of Bavaria, Ludwig II who was a fervent fan of musician Richard Wagner. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany is known to be one of the two most important castles surrounded by the area, the various other castles being Schloss Hohenschwangau, constructed by King Maximillian II who was Ludwig's father. Ludwig II was nicknamed as mad King Ludwig by the his cabinet members on account of his quirks, however additional benevolently in German since der Märchenkönig, otherwise fable king, as well built a number of various other castles, which includes Herrenchiemsee and Linderhof, as well as had plans for some more.

When it was constructed, Neuschwanstein Castle was known as New Hohenschwangau Castle. It was only after the death of the king that it was renamed Schloss Neuschwanstein, meaning "New Swan Stone Castle", after the castle of the Swan Knight Lohengrin in Wagner's opera of the same name. 

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany mirrors capricious character of King Ludwig. This castle was planned by Christian Jank, his dramatic set designer Christian to a certain extent than being an architect. Architectural proficiency for the venture was afforded foremost by Eduard Riedel, who was the architect of the Munich court, as well as after that by George Dollman along with Leo Von Klenze.

The castle was constructed by means of the private money of king, not by means of the state budget. It extremely almost ruined the imperial family, on the other hand, the government charged him of tarnishing Bavaria monetarily with his generous building projects.

On 10 June, in the year 1886, the government stated Ludwig insane as well as placed him beneath house arrest. The punishment was been based on the suggestion of Professor Bernhard von Gudden, who was the head of a squad of psychiatrists, in spite of not having inspected the king as well as by means of tittle-tattle as "proof". Prince Luitpold who was Ludwig's uncle was made trustee. 

In spite of his disastrous providence, King Ludwig II was well-liked with his subject. In addition at one point of time they had as well tried to put off the government as of arresting him. He delighted himself to the whole country folks, over and over again taking a stop as to chat with the numerous farmers as well as laborers in the region. To all of his subjects, he was only "Unser Kini", or else more simply "our darling king".

In the present day Neuschwanstein Castle is regarded as one of the most popular tourist destinations in Germany. It is as well designated as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

By: Emily Whale, photo by: Kristian Golding

Fascinating Honeymoon Destinations For March

Honeymoon is one of the most cherished and awaited moments in the life of an individual.Everyone tries to make their honeymoon a memorable lifetime event.Are you wondering where to plan your honeymoon vacation in March? It is advised that you settle for places at a higher altitude than the low lying regions,as it is the time of early spring.Some of the most preferred honeymoon destinations in the month of march are:

1) Las Vegas
2) Arizona
3) Morocco
4) Washington, DC

These are some of the honeymoon destinations in March where you find the weather to be pleasant and comfortable.


Talking about Arizona for your honeymoon and not being a part of the Grand Canyon makes your trip incomplete. This is one of the best destinations for the tourists as well as the honeymoon couples. It is situated in the northern part and is known as one of the natural marvel. To see its actual beauty you have to experience it with your own eyes.Whilst visiting the Grand Canyon, both you and your partner should keep it in mind that is immense and cannot be covered totally in a day.


Morocco is another attractive honeymoon destination in March. There are several who opt for this place for various reasons. On your honeymoon vacation to Morocco the best places to explore are the majestic cities of Meknes, Marrakech and Fes. It is here that you would find the old town of Medinas. In addition there are the colorful bazaars, bustling town squares and also the beautiful monuments. 

Las Vegas

Las Vegas is one of the other famous destinations for honeymoon in USA. It is one of the most popular places for couples, with its resorts, entertainment arenas, shopping plazas and best restaurants. It is the entertainment capital in the world and has some of the famous casino resorts. Most of the hotels, resorts and casinos are located near the Las Vegas Boulevard.

By: Ameria Hat, photo by dragonisis

Monday, March 11, 2013

Malapascua Island Beach, More Than Just A Diver’s Haven

Seems that tourists and vacationers had a unified say on what they are after for in a vacation; a serene place without too much crowd and noise for a relaxing feeling. Good thing that such attributes are present in Malapascua Island.

Couldn’t agree more with tourists and vacationers say, indeed sometimes commercialism took away the natural and innate and tranquil beauty of a beach. Tagged as one of the best sunset beach and best diving spot in Cebu. 

Malapascua Island is about a four-hour travel from Cebu City. Take a bus bound for Maya which would take around three hours to reach there, and a thirty minute boat ride from Maya port to Malapascua Island. This tiny island, located at the northeast tip of Cebu, is relatively new to the international market, but already rates highly on the list of world's best beaches - some say it is the new Boracay. 

This has also become a major dive centre, famous for the crowds of thresher sharks. You are guaranteed to see thresher sharks and manta rays the earlier you wake up. Recommended local guide master divers are the Sea explorers, Thresher Shark Divers and Sun and Fun Divers. Their professional and friendly service wowed foreign intro divers. Group divers can try to have a single guide with a group for the whole holiday but this is often not possible. If that is the case then you might be stuck with a temporary one or an instructor who's not a local as a guide. 

Malaspacua Island also caters non-divers, intro diving, snorkeling, skim boarding and going around the island on a banca. You can even ask the boat operator to get you to where the crabs, crustaceans, shrimps are, and you’ll be surprised to see how huge they are. They will also get you to where a Japanese warship sank, where you can snorkel there and see the ship’s skeleton. Also, you can get to the lighthouse, some dive spots, and adrenaline-pumping jump off cliffs, if you’re that suicidal.

By: jazzel, photographer: dachalan

5 Must Visit Places In London

London is a beautiful city which you must visit at least once in your lifetime. Once you are in London, it is not easy to pick the places to travel. London is filled with so many beautiful places that you are bound to be spoilt for choice. Here are the top 5 must visit places in London, once you are there.

1) London Eye and River Thames

The first thing you do once you get down at St. Pancras railway station is to grab a map of London. The next thing to do is to hit the road to the banks of River Thames. This is the heart of London and if you haven’t visited this place, you haven’t visited London. There is nothing like walking along the banks of River Thames. And once you start walking along this road, you will see the beautiful and marvelous London Eye Ferris wheel. As you walk along the banks of the river, there are so many beautiful places you can visit and coffee shops where you can sit and sip a cup of hot coffee. 

2) Big Ben and Downing Street

Ever seen the Big Ben on screen? It is time to see it in reality. The clock tower, visible from over a mile, makes you feel that you have arrived in London. Once you walk past the Big Ben, cross Westminster Abbey up Whitehall and you reach 10 Downing Street. Now, you can’t enter the official residence of the Prime Minister, but you can definitely see it through the bars. And if you are lucky enough to be there at around 4 pm, you can even witness the dismounting ceremony.

3) Trafalgar Square

One of the top 5 must visit places in London is the Trafalgar Square. This also has the National Gallery of London which boasts of housing some of the best European paintings. The paintings include works of Van Gogh, Turner, Botticelli and even Leonardo Da Vinci. Trafalgar Square is also the place to be during New Years Eve, especially if you love hugging strangers. 

4) Tate Modern

If you are a huge fan of modern art, there is no place you can visit in London other than Tate Modern. This museum is situated very close to St. Paul’s Cathedral near the Millennium Bridge. Though, modern art is something which most people don’t relate to, it is one place where you can appreciate the works of so many artists including Picasso. 

5) Buckingham Palace

This is a place that doesn’t require an introduction. This is the principal residence of the royalty of England and currently the administrative headquarters of the royalty. The palace is located in the City of Westminster. Though there are a few guests invited for some occasions in the palace, the State rooms of the palace are open to visitors every year. Check the Royal Collection website for more information.

So, here are the top 5 must visit places in London. As mentioned earlier, London is filled with attractive places and this will take considerable time. Hence, make yourself completely free at least for a week in order to enjoy this beautiful city.

By: Caz, photographer: _Hadock_

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