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The Tourist Calendar to Copenhagen

by Richa G 17. December 2012 01:50
  The Swing Carousel
The Swing Carousel in Tivoli. Maybe the most photogenic attraction at night in Tivoli, but always only up at Christmas time
Photo by Stig Nygaard, on Flickr
Planning a trip to Copenhagen? Should you visit during the fun-filled summer when the days are long or will a Christmas holiday in December be better with plenty of festive fun and merrymaking? No matter when you plan to visit the city, it’s fun and welcoming. Here is a calendar of what you can expect in Copenhagen when you go there.

If you are here for New Year's Eve, enjoy the celebration at Amalienborg, the royal Palace. After the Queen's speech in the evening, there's lot of festive fun and when the City Hall clock strikes midnight, it's time for fireworks.

For the first time, the Tivoli Gardens and ten of its restaurants will be open to usher in New Year 2013. Enjoy the magically lit gardens when you wait for the new dawn of a year.

Like in Jan, the days in Feb are likely to be short and cold. But while the Vinterjazz Festival starting on Feb 1st will shake you up, the Copenhagen Fashion Festival from 30th Jan to Feb 3rd with its crazy sale, concerts and events will make "fairytale-land" seem an understatement to describe the city. Be here for this fest and the Wondercool, a month-long festival celebrating winter and you'll never notice the cold and the dark.

March is when the winter marches out and excitement springs in.21st March 2013 marks the reopening of Bakken, the world's oldest amusement park to visitors after winter. Enjoy the rides, restaurants and views at this 400 year old theme park or if you feel you're too old for rides, take in the wicked cabaret scene. The Copenhagen Puppet Festival from 20th to 24th March is another family entertainer that shouldn't be missed.

Starting from 11th April, the Tivoli Gardens is thrown open to tourists who want to enjoy the wonderful spring and summer of Copenhagen. With live music, fun rides, games, green space and lakes, this garden is not just for kids. 2013's April will see the introduction of three new rides in Tivoli; all the more reason for you to visit.

"May I extend my stay?" Most hoteliers are badgered by this question in May. The free flowing beer at the Copenhagen Beer Festival, the merry parade and colorful ambience of the Carnival and the lively spirit of the Copenhagen Marathon makes this city a terrific place to visit in May. Another interesting event is the Copenhagen Ink Festival from 9th to 11th May.

June 1st marks the beginning of the opening of Copenhagen Harbor Swimming Pools for the public. Watch the Esrum Abbey's Medieval Markets where knights fight tournaments while jesters keep everyone entertained. Don’t miss the Roskilde Festival, North Europe's biggest music extravaganza, from 29th June till 7th July.

The Copenhagen Jazz Festival with its exciting line-up of artists performing in venues all over the city makes July an exciting time to visit Copenhagen. Weather-wise too, the days are long and warm without being too hot; ideal for an outdoor holiday. If Classical Music is your choice, you can have it at the Copenhagen Summer Festival where chamber music takes the stage. Don’t miss the free concerts.

Locals and tourists swear that August is the best time to visit the city. The fine weather and the excitement of festivals like the Copenhagen Pride, Copenhagen Opera Festival and the Cultural Harbor Festival make August in Copenhagen magical. If you love vintage, be there in time for the Copenhagen Historic Grand Prix and enjoy the road show of classic vehicles. August is also the month when the Mermaid statue's birthday is celebrated and when the famous Copenhagen Cooking event takes place.

While the Golden Days Festival looks back at Copenhagen's history, the Kopenhagen Contemporary sees the celebration of current trends in the city's galleries and the Designer Forum held in September every year takes a look at the future trend of designer wear. September is also the time for the Copenhagen Blues Festival and Film Festival.

If you want to explore Copenhagen's culture, make sure you are in this city for the Kulturnatten when all the galleries, museums and even the Rosenborg Palace celebrate the vibrant culture of the city with performances, music, plenty of food and free public transport. Celebrate Halloween in Tivoli and enjoy the fine weather of autumn in this grand park.

Christmas season starts in November and the Tivoli Gardens hosts its annual Christmas markets in this month. The city gets ready for Christmas with plenty of indoor activities in museums and shops. Don’t miss the Christmas Parade through the city center in the last week of November.

Christmas lights, concerts, plays, markets in Tivoli Gardens and New Year celebrations at the city centre make Christmas in Copenhagen a merry experience. Though the weather can be cold and dark, the festivities offer warmth and lighten up the mood.

No matter when you're planning to visit Copenhagen, you'll find something happening to add value to your holidays.

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Being Cheap in Chic Chicago

by Richa G 13. December 2012 22:59
Around Chicago, June 2011
Photo by Dave Sizer, on Flickr
Don't read this if you think "cheap" is a bad word.

However, if you want a blissful holiday in the large metropolis of Chicago without letting your money drift away in the "windy city", read on and make some serious savings on your vacation fund. Like any other major city, Chicago has an exclusive tourist economy and one for its locals that's far cheaper. So all you have to do is, avoid the tourist traps of this huge city and you'll find yourself spending far less on your holiday.

Hotel rates in Chicago can be confusing and very expensive. Rates vary for weekdays and weekends and generally go up during festivals and conventions. Yes; you can shop around, book early and save a few bucks. But a better option would be to check out hostels, especially if you are travelling alone or as a couple. Nowadays, families can also opt for hostels since most new hostels offer private rooms for up to 6 people with exciting bunk beds for kids.

The only adjustment here would to use the common bathroom; but then look at the sum you'll be saving. You can book a hostel in downtown Chicago instead of searching for a cheap hotel room away from the city and spending on transport.

Here again, the Windy City is known for its stormy costs; restaurants here are among the costliest in the country. But again, there are places where you can get a delicious meal sans the luxurious settings for a fraction of what you would pay in touristy restaurants. BYOB (bring your own booze) is yet another cost-saving technique where you can avoid paying premium rates for drinks.

Most hostels have kitchens where you can cook your own meal; else book a service apartment with a kitchen where you can cook and save on dining costs. If you're bored of cooking and want to check out the local cuisine, try the street food of Chicago. Chicago Hot Dogs compete with Italian Beef Sandwiches, tortas, tamales and cheese burgers. Of course, you haven't been to Chicago if you don't taste the deep dish Pizza at Pizzeria Uno.

The El makes travel very easy for the budget traveler. When in Chicago, forget the car and hop on the El, a water taxi or a bus and reach your destination on time and within your budget. This is much better than traveling by car, getting stuck in the traffic, wasting time looking for parking space and paying a parking fee that's more than you'd have to spend in the place you plan to visit. Buy a visitor pass for the duration of your stay and enjoy unlimited rides on the El and in buses and get to see as much of the city as possible.

The view from the Sears Tower, now the Willis Tower, is incredible; but so are the entrance costs and the crowd. Instead of waiting for an hour and paying a fortune to see Chicago from the top of this building, check out the views from the Adler Planetarium or from the Signature Lounge at the John Hancock Tower where you just have to buy a drink to relax and enjoy the spectacular view.

The Millennium Park with its Cloud Gate and Crown Fountain is one of the best free attractions of Chicago as is the Lincoln Park Zoo. If you are holidaying with kids, these are nice, cheap places to take them to. The sandy shores of Lake Michigan and the beaches of Chicago are other enticing places that can be enjoyed for free.

Museums in Chicago are very interesting and an essential part of Chicago; but entrance fees may cost a fortune here. Most museums have free entry days like the Art Institute of Chicago that can be visited for free on the first and second Wednesday of every month. Schedule your itinerary based on these and you will find that you've saved a good sum of money to spend away at the Magnificent Mile.

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What Makes Boston America's Favorite City?

by Richa G 11. December 2012 03:58
  Red Sox game. a good seat.
Photo by BuzzFarmers, on Flickr
As far as superlatives go, Boston never seems to run short of them; one of the finest, greenest, liveliest, oldest, yet trendiest city in the United States, it is also among the costliest and most uptight cities. So what makes the "Hub of the Universe", as Boston is called, the most loved city of America? Let's find out.

The History
While history is documented and preserved in monuments in other places, Boston's history lives on. The Freedom Trail is the first proof to this fact. Starting from the Boston Common, America's first public Park, the trail moves on to visit several important historical sites like the Massachusetts State House, King's Chapel, the Boston Massacre Site, Paul Revere House, USS Constitution and the Bunker Hill Monument.

The mix of old with new; the sight of towering old churches beside gleaming skyscrapers is part of the charm that makes Boston a favorite with residents as well as visitors. The "Boston pride" in having all these interesting sites is yet another reason where this city scores points.

The Crowd
The nerdy looking guy sitting next to you in the train could be the next President of the United States; dreamy artists, buoyant students, busy techies, innovative businessmen and genteel seniors are all a part of Boston and proud to call this city their home. While its excellent universities have given Boston its youthful bounce, its location on the coast and it stately history have made it a haven for entrepreneurs and retired seniors.

The Grub
Irish pubs, Japanese Sushi stalls, Indian Street food or Brazilian steak... just name it and it's there in Boston. So whether you are yearning for home food or looking for variety, you won't be disappointed in this city. Of course, you can't go to Beantown without tasting its baked beans and clam chowder. Apart from these, the seafood scene and Boston's popular food trucks make it a dream destination for foodies.

The Waters
The lovely coast along the Boston Harbor and the charming Charles River not only offer a breathtaking backdrop to Boston, but also provide scope for plenty of activities. From island hopping to ferry rides, sunset cruises and sailing in the Charles River Basin, water-lovers have abundant options.

The Culture
The Athens of Americas is a downright winner when it comes to culture. Enjoy stimulating live music performances in places as humble as subway stations or flight for tickets to the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

On the arts side, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum are impressive; enough to give Boston its own identity in the field of arts in spite of mighty competitors. The Institute of Contemporary Art with its unique architecture is another feather in Boston's crown. Of course, you can't say you've been to Boston if you come back without watching a Red Sox game at the Fenway Park.

In spite of its unpredictable weather, heavy traffic and worthy status as one of the most expensive cities in the United States, people who've stayed here even for just a while wouldn't want to move out. Anyone who's been in Boston for a Fourth of July celebration, a Red Sox game or a Jazz Festival will know that the beauty of the city is not just on the surface. The true charm lies within and this is the secret ingredient that makes Boston America's favorite city.

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See Berlin With Your Legs

by Richa G 10. December 2012 02:39
  Berlin Wall
Colorful paintings on the Berlin Wall
Photo by carolynconner, on Flickr

Seeing Berlin with your legs is the best way to discover this huge city

The first thing that strikes every new visitor to Berlin is how incredibly big the city is. With so much history, culture, shopping and modern attractions to take in, the idea of seeing Berlin with your legs may seem daunting, even laughable. But lots of visitors who've attempted this journey swear it's the best way to discover this huge city.

Walking or biking is the cheapest way to explore the various attractions the city has to offer.

You wouldn't have to wait in traffic or figure out where to park your vehicle each time you travel. Berlin claims to have installed the first traffic lights in Europe; the vehicle rush here has been heavy even decades back. Berlin also has the cute Ampelmannchen, the little traffic light man who shows the green light to pedestrians. Do you need any other excuse to walk in this city?

By taking a walking tour, you would actually be experiencing the place instead of just viewing attractions from inside a car. In Berlin, this fact is all the more important because the city is filled with history.

You can take breaks or stop wherever you want for a drink or eat or just to get to know the locals better.

One cannot walk across the breadth of Berlin to see its important sights; but there are several companies offering themed walking tours that allow tourists to experience different aspects of the city by foot. This is a great way to get oriented with the city.

Join a walking tour and select your theme. Ranging from historic Berlin to a tour of breweries, every kind of tourist interest is fulfilled in these tours. If you happen to be here before Christmas, try a Christmas Markets tour for a rich cultural experience.

Walking tours in Berlin cover a wide range of places.

If you want an orientation tour of Berlin, take the 4 hour "Discover Berlin" tour offered by Berlin Walks where you can truly discover the various fragments that have made Berlin what it is today. Starting from the early history of Berlin through the Nazi rule till what Berlin is today, this tour is both in-depth and informative.

History buffs will love the Third Reich Berlin Tour, the Cold War Tour and the walking tour that will introduce you to Jewish Life in Berlin. While all these seem like the typical tourist routine, actually being there to see Hitler’s bunker, hear about the topography of terror or witness the story of Jewish struggle in takes you a century back to the time all this happened.

If you do want a tour that takes you away from the regular tourist beat, try the Hidden Berlin Walking Tour that takes you to lesser known attractions in this vast city.

For other options, check out the Potsdam Walking Tour that takes you to explore the city of Emperors or the Dresden Tours with its museums and City center. The Alternative Tour of Berlin is yet another lovely walk that shows you the artistic and multi-cultural face of Berlin.

Yes! Berlin is unbelievably vast; but these walking tours that make you see the city with your legs are sure to be your best experience here.

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Best Tapas Bars in Barcelona

by Richa G 6. December 2012 04:40
Tapas in Cal Pep
Photo by robertpaulyoung, on Flickr

A part of the charm in visiting a place lies in doing what the locals do; nothing can beat a firsthand experience of a vacation destination. And when that experience is something like Tapas in Barcelona, you'll start wishing you were Spanish. Bar hoppers in particular have much to celebrate because Tapas gives you an excuse to visit and linger at the bar before or after meal hours.

A Tapa is an appetizer that is served with your drink in Spanish bars; there are usually several snacks served with your drink in small portions and can be anything from roasted nuts to pickled octopus. If you are new to Tapas, before you Google to find out the best Tapas bar near your Barcelona hotel, find out more about this delightful Spanish tradition so that you can Tapas like a pro.

  • By tradition, Tapas should be free. Yes! The snack that accompanies your drink need not be paid for. Though rare, this practice still exists in Barcelona; so if you want you can enjoy free Tapas. However, remember, paid Tapas usually has better choice of snacks.
  • Pack your appetite before you set off to Barcelona for your Tapas tour. An empty stomach will help you appreciate the snack and drink combination better.
  • Don't get overwhelmed by the crowd at Tapas bars. A part of the charm in ordering Tapas lies in queuing, or rather crowding around to get your order. This is a fun way to get to know the locals. You don't have to pay when you place your order; the waiters here have an uncanny billing sense that calculates the cost of each order no matter the crowd or the size of orders.

Here is a roundup of Tapas bars in Barcelona ranging from free to high-end. Each one can offer you a different Tapas experience; so make sure you make the right bar selections.

Best free bars
The Ambiente Del Sur with its Tuesday special Paella and Thursday special sardinas offers the best of Andalucia on a plate while Atrapatapa has very attractive homemade tapas to accompany their cava. The Sesamo near Sant Antoni market is a veggie haven where you can sample free tapas every Tuesday; but make sure you book your space through their Facebook page in advance.

Inexpensive Tapas Bars
For the budget conscious, Inopia with its bite-sized tapas, Quimet & Quimet with their tinned delights and sharp flavors and Ziryab Fusion Tapas are exciting options where you can have your full at very affordable rates. For the authentic experience, try the Bar Celta in Barri Gotic and La Cova Fumada in Barceloneta.

Classy Tapas
Though by principle, Tapas is meant for the mass, Barcelona's restaurant culture has brought in the class aspect to this tradition. So if you want your Tapas served to you in fine restaurant setting, consider these options.

Taller de Tapas is multilingual and tourist-friendly while Tickets is a trend setter where you have to book your table at least 3 months in advance. It's a privilege to sample the Tapas here as well as in Pla in Barri Gotic and Cal Pep where the seafood is said to be excellent.

The tapas tradition is just a part of Barcelona's culinary charm; the city has much more to offer to foodies with varying tastes. But that's another story!

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In Pursuit Of Paidakia in Athens

by Richa G 5. December 2012 01:35

You have heard that the Paidakia is an icon of Athens; but before you ask your cab driver to take you see Paidakia, let me clarify. Paidakia is not a place or the name of a celebrity; it's just one of the most celebrated dish in Athens. And though it's a national favorite, there's nothing elaborate about this delicacy; it's just simple lamb chops. However, the way it is cooked and revered in Greece makes it a precious treat; one that forms a part of your Athens holiday experience.

What goes into the Paidakia?
Juicy lamb chops marinated in olive oil, lemon, herbs and pepper grilled on a charcoal fire and served with Greek pride. Before you prepare to dig your forks into the Paidakia in an Athens restaurant, make sure you learn how to pronounce the name of the dish. Pah-ee-thak-yah is the way it should be pronounced. And again, before you take your fork, remember, the Paidakia is best eaten with fingers; the Greek way. Approach this dish with a lot of appetite (remember you have to order in kilos) and you won't be disappointed.

Where to eat?
To Steki Tou Ilia - A favorite with locals, this taverna near the Parthenon is famous for its Paidakia made of thin but juicy lamb chops. Enjoy the view of the Acropolis and dig into kilos of succulent lamb chops at this affordable restaurant that's crowded with locals as well as visitors.

Taverna Tou Psiri - A hidden gem, this is a non-touristy taverna and also one of most affordable places to get excellent authentic Paidakia. Though a little hard to find, this no-frills restaurant in Psirri is fun to visit with its charming cartoon painted walls and tons of character.

Taverno To Trigono - Be prepared to make a small journey just for your Paidakia. The Taverno To Trigono in the Kalyvia, a small town 35 kms from Athens, is said to serve excellent juicy lamb chops.

Karavitis - With its rustic atmosphere and old-world charm, Karavitis is a charming place for delicious Paidakia. Located near the Panathenaic stadium, the Karavitis is a favorite hangout for local politicians and celebrities.

Myrtia - This family run tavern near the Aghia Paraskevi station offers generous portions of delectable Greek food with a smile. Apart from their tasty Paidakia, this restaurant is also known for its complimentary desserts. Now who would want to miss that?

Strofi - If you are in the mood for fine dining, nothing can beat the lovely rooftop ambience of Strofi that offers spectacular views of the Acropolis. The food and service are also excellent. Here is a place where you can lick your lamb chops and potato roast amidst luxurious settings.

These are just a few places where you can get your hands on delicious Paidakia. Though there lots of other places where you can get these grilled lamb chops; however, select your restaurant carefully. Don’t get carried away by the sales pitch given by waiters standing outside restaurants in crowded tourist places. Athens has too many superb restaurants that you can't afford to miss just because you were taken in by these false claims.

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Rio for the Super Rich

by Richa G 4. December 2012 06:21
Copacabana Palace Hotel, Rio
Evening by the pool "at the Copa"
Photo by Charlie Phillips, on Flickr

With a sprawling ocean right in front of you, wonderful views, amazing wildlife and spectacular landscapes, Rio de Janeiro lives up to its reputation as the marvelous city; especially if you have the money to spend here. One of the most expensive cities in the world; yet a pioneer of good life, Rio de Janeiro is a gem that offers enough worth for your money and more. If you are looking for a luxury holiday here, find out where you can get the best of the best.

If you want to holiday like royalty, your stay should be in a palace. The Copacabana Palace Hotel is a landmark fit for royalty; make sure you select an Oceanview Suite for the ultimate imperial experience.

The Sofitel Rio de Janeiro Copacabana Hotel with its graceful design, gracious service and grand image is another legend in this city where guests feel proud to belong. With striking views of Ipanema Beach and the Copacabana, the Sofitel makes your holiday memorable.

If style is your obsession, stay in uniquely designed rooms at the Fasano Rio. This is also a favored haunt for party lovers; the Londra lounge bar has an impressive celebrity guest list. Don't miss the rooftop swimming pool and the views from there.

The Santa Teresa hotel with its swanky Design concept image, the Marina All Suites with its excellent location and unique design and the Sheraton Rio with its exclusive beach are other options where you can get the best of luxury and location.

Romantic Rio is a fine dining haven. If you want a taste of native South American food, head over to Casa Da Feijoada; the signature dish, Feijoada is a must try when you visit Brazil. This national dish of Brazil is a rich black bean stew flavored with meat and accompanied by rice, veggies and orange slices.

Careme with its fine French cuisine, Madame Butterfly's special Sushi, Gero's incomparable Italian cuisine and the appetizing portugese food offered at Antiquarius are just a few choices for food connoisseurs.

The Le Pre Catelan restuarant at Sofitel Hotel and the Cipriani at the Copacabana Palace Hotel are popular high end options where the food as well as the service come highly recommended; make sure you make reservations in advance.

The Carnaval sets the mood to Rio's "ever-ready-to-dance" atmosphere. Ipanema and Leblon have some swanky nightclubs and bars where you can dance the night away. Zero Zero, Nuth, Casa de Matriz and Fosfobox are a few known names. You could visit a bar or nightclub each night of your stay in Rio and yet by the time your holiday ends, you wouldn't have experienced all the different kinds of experiences the city has to offer.

For sightseeing, after you complete your regular beaches and city tour, take a panoramic helicopter flight to see the beauty of the marvelous city from the skies; admire the statue of Christ the Redeemer and take in the spectacular landscape of the city.  Fly over to neighboring Buzios, a lovely town with exciting shopping and nightlife options.

Ipanema and Leblon are good for shoppers; the boutique shops here display the best and latest in the fashion scenario. Gemstones are a must-buy in Brazil. H Stern is a popular jewelry store that's reliable and has a good collection.

Complete your luxury holiday in Rio de Janeiro with a pampering spa massage at the Copacabana Palace Hotel Spa.

To know more about Rio

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Seven Secrets Of Sao Paulo

by Richa G 1. December 2012 05:54

Sao Paulo's first secret hits all its first time visitors in the face. Don't make the mistake of traveling to this city expecting some hot South American beaches and wilderness. Sao Paulo is a complete metropolis with congested roads, towering high-rises and bustling offices. The cultural and art scene, however give the city a distinct image and these combined with fantastic shopping options and terrific nightlife make Sampa (as the locals prefer to call their city) a lovely place to visit.

Check out seven secrets of Sao Paulo ranging from funny to bizarre; these are sure to make your holiday in this city a lot more interesting.

Secret #1: Voodoohop
Don't get scared when a seemingly abandoned building comes to life with music. Voodoohop is a group that started with performances in old car garages and isolated buildings; the group's popularity increased manifold, thanks to word-of-mouth campaigning and of course, Facebook. Now a favorite with many locals, a bizarre concert with Voodoohop is sure to electrify your holiday. Keep a watch on their Facebook page for event listings.

Secret #2: Ludus Luderia Bar
This bar in May Street offers great food and cold beer; but then, that's available all over the city. What makes this place different is, it combines this food with some excellent gaming; that too, of the non-digital type. If games like Monopoly and Scrabble bring back fond memories of your childhood, visit this bar and have fun playing any of its 700 board games. Here is a secret Sao Paulo specialty that you're sure to wish you had in your hometown too.

Secret #3: Beco De Batman
Try to find a piece of blank space in Beco De Batman and you may have spend your whole day searching around with a magnifying glass. A whole alley covered with graffiti drawn by stencilers and painted by excellent artists, the Beco De Batman keeps changing every week. This versatile landmark of Sao Paulo is a treasured attraction, yet not too crowded with tourists.

Secret #4: A Figueira Rubaiyat
The centerpiece of this restaurant is a 130 year old Fig tree; but that isn't the main attraction here. The food is. Fresh food direct from the ranch is enough to attract a sizeable crowd; but when the food tastes like heaven, people may even be ready to climb on the tree to wait. If you are a fan of grilled meat, this restaurant is heaven for you. The soft steaks here are worth dying for; go there to experience.

Secret #5: Z Carniceria
No, you are not here to buy meat, but you will be forgiven for thinking you are in a butcher's shop. The bright red lights of the bar highlight its theme and history, both being a meat-packing unit. Complete with meat hooks and counters, this is an interesting place for a cowtail, oops... a cocktail.

Secret #6: Air taxi
Did you know Sao Paulo; not New York, not Tokyo, is the helicopter capital of the world? The land traffic is so congested that people with the means and the wings have resorted to air transport to travel. Landing pads can be found in lots of hotels and skyscrapers. So if you want a tour of the city, see it from the skies.

Secret #7: Juquehy
If you feel the beach is the only attraction that's missing in the concrete jungle of Sao Paulo, think again. The sexy Juquehy beach is just a couple of hours away from Sao Paulo by car. With clean sand, clean water and plenty of activities, this secret getaway from Sao Paulo just completes your holiday.

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San Francisco Sans Car

by Richa G 24. November 2012 05:58

How does one explore any city in the US?

The answer: Book your flights. Rent a car, get a map of the tourist attractions and find your way around.

Right? Think again. Of course, it is convenient to drive around in a car; but think of the time you have to spend waiting in the traffic and the hassles of parking. In a city like San Francisco where there’s excellent public transport, sightseeing by car can be time consuming as well as expensive.

Explore San Francisco the way the locals do; by public transport. This not offers a more intimate view of the splendid city; it also takes out of your hand the task of hiring a car, seeking directions and parking. Even if you have your own car, park it in your hotel and enjoy your sightseeing using SFO’s buses, trams and cable cars; the city is notorious for its heavy traffic and difficult parking.

How to go about it?
Muni and BART are the two public transport systems available here; while the former serves San Francisco city, the latter is used in SFO Bay area.

Get the San Francisco CityPass. This value pass offers unlimited travel in Muni buses and cable cars for seven days. As a bonus, you also get free entrance to five attractions. You can buy this pass online or outside SFO’s major attractions.

Clipper is another travel card that can be used on Muni, BART, VTA, SamTrans and Caltrain. Directions and maps are available in major bus stops and key attractions; so you don’t have to worry about finding your way around.

Start The Journey
As soon as you land at the San Francisco airport, take the free airport shuttle or walk over to the BART station. The BART trains will take you to downtown San Francisco and from there you can take a Muni to your hotel. SamTrans also has trains from San Francisco Airport to the city with a good frequency. Though it seems much easier to hire a cab for an airport transfer, locals swear that using the public transport is cheaper and gets you downtown quicker.

Moving Around – Cable Car
For tourists, the cable car is both fun to ride as well as an efficient means to travel within the tourist circuit. The Union Square is a convenient place from where you can start your SFO city tour. Do your shopping or window shopping here before you proceed to take the cable car on Powell Hyde line to Mason Street. Get off here to see the Cable Car Museum.

Continue your journey and decide which place to see next. The line continues on to Russian Hill, Nob Hill and goes to Lombard Street, an interesting tourist point with the “crookedest” street. The views over Telegraph Hill and the San Francisco Bay are breathtaking.

All important tourist attractions like the Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghirardeli Square, the Maritime Museum, North Beach and Nob Hill are easily accessible by cable car.

Save Money With Muni
SFO’s Muni isn’t known for its perfection, but it’s a charming transport system all the same.

Get spectacular views of San Francisco from the Twin Peaks which can be reached by taking the K,L,M or T Muni Metro Subway Lines from Market Street.

Take Muni Bus #39 to Coit Tower from Pier 39 or Washington Square and take in the lovely views from the top as well the beautiful murals.

Muni’s F Line will take you to Pier 33; get down here to board the Alcatraz cruises ferry to Alcatraz Island. Make sure you book your Alcatraz Tours tickets in advance especially during peak tourist seasons.

Muni’s #28 and #29 Buses can take you to Golden Gate Bridge’s South Point; to experience the actual beauty of the bridge, forget the bus or car. Walk across or rent a bicycle to cross the Bridge.

These are just a few sample plans for places to visit. When you get to San Francisco, ignore your car keys and explore the vast city with its efficient and inexpensive transport system.

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Camping In Orlando

by Richa G 22. November 2012 05:55

Planning a family holiday to Orlando? Before you follow the routine of booking hotel rooms, arranging for extra beds for the kids, making travel and parking arrangements and finding out how much you have to spend on food, consider the option of camping in Orlando. This is a much cheaper option and don't worry; if you want frills, you can have them too.

Camping isn't just for people who want to rough it out. Orlando's convenient campgrounds make sure you have the best of amenities for child-friendly and pet-friendly camps. Of course, if you do want to be one with the wild and avoid the embellishments, there are campsites where you can have that authentic experience. Let's see what choices Orlando has to offer to campers.

Disney's Fort Wilderness Campground
If you think Orlando is a place in Walt Disney World, the Fort Wilderness Campground is the best place for your camp. With over 700 acres of wilderness and four types of camp sites with provisions for accommodation in tents as well as recreational vehicles. Apart from necessities like hot water and electricity hookups, there are amenities like cable, internet and sewer hookups. Get pampered in the wild with Disney's dinner shows, campfires (where the sticks and marshmallows are provided by the resort) and sparkling swimming pools.

Of course, being in a Disney resort means you aren't too far from the action; there are umpteen activities like cycling, a beach, boat rentals and even kayaking. And again, since you are in a Disney resort, you may also be paying more than you would for other campgrounds; but most people swear that the Disney experience of the place and the amenities it offers, especially for families with kids, are totally worth the extra cost. Add to this the perk of being close to the theme parks with free transportation; and you'll never regret having chosen this place for your camping.

Circle F Dude Ranch
Enjoy an authentic ranch experience at the Circle F Dude ranch where you can get hook up facilities for your tent or RV. Along with delicious food, the ranch offers summer camp activities for kids and activities like volleyball, tennis, swimming, family softball and campfire programs.

Wekiwa Springs
Just one hour from the major theme parks, the Wekiwa Springs State Park offers a genuine camping experience with rustic campsites, some of which can be reached only by canoe. So if you want to camp for the sake of camping, this is the kind of place that's most suitable. The springs are lovely for a cool dip or a canoe ride. If you want a full service camping, you get amenities like water, electricity, grill and picnic tables.

Other quality campgrounds like the KOA in Lake Whippoorwill, Kelly Park, Blue Spring State Park and Grayton Beach State Park are also excellent options for your camping site. Most of these campgrounds also offer cabins where you can stay if you are not comfortable in a tent and some of these cabins can accommodate up to six people. This option proves very economical when you travel as a group.

On the downside, remember, camping is not meant to be luxurious. Be careful with your packing and remember to take enough mosquito repellants, bedding, pillows and warm clothes. Also plan your travel when the weather is expected to be good; camping can be a scary experience when there's a storm or hurricane.

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Tags: camping, camping in orlando, fort wilderness campground, orlando

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