Archive for April, 2010

Exploring Dubai

dubaiWhile making your travel plans if you happen to find yourself torn between the desert and the sea, Dubai is the travel destination for you. Dubai is located in the Arabian Desert on the coast of the Persian Gulf. It is a place where you can go deep-sea fishing one day, “dune bashing” the next and wrap it all up with clubbing at night.
Dubai is the most populous of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). An emirate is a political territory that is ruled by a Muslim Monarch or emir Emirate is just one of the new words you will have to learn for your trip- souk is another. Souk or Souq refers to the traditional markets or market stalls which still co-exist amongst Dubai’s ultra modern developments.

There are several tour companies that lead daily desert safaris. Generally there are four tour options: morning, evening, dinner and overnight. The overnight tour is the most adventurous option and includes dune bashing, quad biking, camel riding, sand skiing and sand boarding. I hired the same tour only. Dune bashing is just what it sounds like- driving around at high speeds and jumping, sliding or bashing into the sand dunes. After a long day in the heat the evening, dinner and overnight tour options include a relaxing meal and belly dancing beneath the desert sky. It was really fun to me, I just cant wish for any thing more than it.

Dubai is a great place to visit. There are many things to do here and the hotels are amazing. I couldn’t believe the luxury here- one hotel was even its own island. How crazy is that? Make sure you book early though because you can find some good deals now if you book head. I checked various hotels after which I booked my room. I got a pretty good deal too. Between the posh hotel and the posh environment, Dubai is a luxurious and exciting place to visit. I have even recommended many people of my acquisition to have a tour to Dubai. I don’t know why but Dubai is some thing special to me.

Cruises for all budgets

cruiseIf you want a holiday you’ll never forget, perhaps to celebrate a once-in-a-lifetime occasion like an anniversary or a honeymoon, why not consider touring a range of fabulous locations in one trip rather than settling for just one? Cruise holidays offer just this. And, today, the fleet of vessels top companies like Royal Caribbean Cruises, Carnival Cruises, Princess Cruises and Costa Cruises have on offer can suit every budget, from the modest to the extravagant.

If the idea of a luxurious, state of the art vessel rings your bell, you could opt for a fairytale castle-at-sea, such as Royal Caribbean’s magnificent oasis of the Seas.î Boasting nine restaurants spanning an array of fabulous cuisines, stunning swimming pools to suit adults, children and even toddlers, breathtaking evening entertainment and the most advanced sea-faring technology available, this gorgeous ship will stay in your reminiscences forever. But most of the big players in the world of cruise holidays offer smaller vessels too, where you’ll get a more intimate, personal experience at a surprisingly humble price that will suit even the tightest budget. Look out for cruise offers with these companies.

Whichever end of the cruise spectrum you select, there are always tempting cruise deals to be found, particularly if you’re opting for last minute cruises. A mini-cruise to a romantic European city like Amsterdam lets you wine, dine and stay overnight in a history-steeped capital before heading back for home ñ all before the weekends done. On longer forays, such as Mediterranean cruises or Caribbean cruises, you’ll be able to step ashore virtually every day in exotic and exciting locations. Or mix your cruise with a week of travel and a week of onshore sunshine with one of the many cruise and stay holidays now available. Whatever you choose to do, it will be a fantastic way to see another country or part of the world. Live a little, cruise a little.

Understanding Brussels

brusselsFounded as a 10th century fortress by a descendent of Charlemagne, Brussels has continually grown over the years until today it is home to roughly two million inhabitants. Travellers are continually visiting the city on cheap flights due to the fact that Brussels is now a major metropolis, and as well as being the largest city in Belgium doubles as the de-facto capital of the European Union. Not only does it host a number of the principal European Union institutions, it is also the home of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and ever since the end of the Second World War has been one of the major cities in the world for international politics, bringing in leaders from all around the world.

Above and beyond its importance within the international community, there are a large number of tourists coming in on flights from Edinburgh and London, as well as those heading out on flights to London, Aberdeen and many other cities.

The city is a complex mixture of medieval architecture dating back to the 10th century, juxtaposed with modern edifices. In addition, there are a variety of French and Dutch speaking communities throughout the city. French is spoken by the majority of the population these days, although it was traditionally and historically a Dutch speaking community and as a result the languages used in the markets and restaurants throughout the city will vary, depending on which district you happen to be in.

Barcelona - The Icing on the Cake

Me and my girlfriend love Spain. We’ve been traveling here for a couple of months now. We started in Torrevieja before moving up to Valencia, Madrid and Zaragoza. The one thing we’ve noticed is how different each city is. So it was with great excitement we decided to end our trip in the Catalan city of Barcelona. Barcelona is truly a tale of two cities. Spanish by name, Catalan by nature.

We arrived in Barcelona in December and were amazed that even without the Spanish sun, it looked more spectacular than any of the other cities we’d been to. The Sagrada FamÌlia is widely considered Gaudi’s master piece and it shows. We nearly forgot to check in to the hotel because we’d spent so long admiring it.

We had a bit of money left and since we were only there for a few days we splashed out on a hotel. I had been hoping that the hotels in Barcelona all looked like the Sagrada FamÌlia but my girlfriend enjoys her creature comforts so was a lot more happy in our modern hotel with fully functioning power shower.

Once we were fed and watered we decided to head out into the city for a quiet night. Iíd always assumed that Barcelona was a party city. Now this is true if that is what you are looking for. Night Clubs are legendary in this town and easy to find. Me and my lady actually prefer something a little more quirky and we decided to eat in a Frank Sinatra styled restaurant. The food was incredible and was actually really cheap.

We had managed to get a really good deal on theatre tickets online and after dinner strolled across to the Gran Teatre del Liceu to check out one of my girlfriends favorite Operas. I’ve never slept so well in all my life! The music was so loud not even my girlfriend heard my snores.

The trade for a night at the Opera was my girlfriend attending the Barcelona game the next day with me. It’s been a lifelong dream to visit the Camp Nou and I wasn’t disappointed. Even my girlfriend enjoyed it!(sort of ).

We went back online later to compare flights back to the UK and found the cheapest were actually the next day. We really wished we had stayed longer but some deals are just too good to pass up. It is not often a city can cater for two such different people but it is not so surprising when you realize it caters for two different cultures everyday.

Spend a Weekend with American History in Boston

bostonBoston, the Hub, Bean Town; no matter what you call it is recognized around the world as the Cradle of Liberty. Despite its growth into a modern world class city with tall buildings straddling major highways, it still safeguards pockets of our nation’s colonial history. The revolutionary period is alive in Boston, and you can flavor most of it in a single weekend. Coming from North Carolina, you would think I had enough opportunity to experience early American history with all of the famous battles fought in the Carolinas between the Swamp Fox, Frances Marion, the Colonial Militia, and Britain’s Lord Cornwallis; but only Boston has incorporated the American Revolution and its major characters into its everyday experience.

It’s been several years now since my wife and I, along with two young sons, made the trip to Boston. Staying in one of the many fine in-town hotels can be a tad pricey, especially for a family, but that shouldn’t be a problem if you have or rent an automobile. The great highway systems leading into Boston from the suburbs offer plenty of inexpensive places to stay that lie about thirty minutes out of the city.

Lexington and Concord are adjacent to one of those highways, and offer not only excellent lodging, but a great taste of revolutionary history as well from the bridge over the Concord River where, in the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes, “…the embattled farmers stood, and fired the shot heard round the world.” Only a few miles away, you can visit Lexington Green where the first pitched battle between the British regulars and the minutemen took place.

Boston is a city to be appreciated by walking and by tour bus. The city’s great shuttle tour bus network will get you to all the places that you must see, and leave you there with pickups every hour until late at night. In one day you can visit the family home of Paul Revere and climb the seemingly endless stairway to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument. You can visit and tour the USS Constitution “Old Ironsides,” the oldest ship in the United States Navy that is actively commissioned, has a full crew complement, and is ready to go into harm’s way when needed.

No visit to Boston is complete without visiting and enjoying the Italian flavor of Boston’s North End with its fine restaurants. While you’re there, you can visit the Old North Church where Paul Revere climbed to the church bell tower to signal that the British were indeed on their way. Toward evening you can walk through the Boston Public Gardens and the Common to Tremont Street where the gravesites are spotted with names from our history books: Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, William Dawes, John Hancock, the parents of Benjamin Franklin, and the victims of the Boston Massacre.

At the end of each day of touring, you can visit the shops and restaurants at Haymarket Square and stop at the famous New England Oyster House for a bowl of hot delicious “Clam Chowda.” Just one word of advice, however, when you plan your trip to Boston, keep in mind that it is in New England, a place with formidable winters. Visit in the late spring, summer, or early fall to ensure that you enjoy the city at its weather best.

© 2010 Pat Travels the World
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