Sep 18

Exploring Barcelona

Barcelona is best to explore and visit during the months of May to June when temperatures are balmy with lots of festivals to enjoy that declares the advent of summer.

Families, couples, most especially culture lovers and adventurers will truly enjoy Barcelona for it is rich in architectural and artistic tradition such as sacred cathedrals and churches, historical remnants, bustling beaches, splendid sites like Parc Guell, Casa Batlló and Sagrada Familia and more.
The region also offer exquisite food and wine one would really savor. You can find traditional Spanish dancing and cuisine throughout the city. Famous popular spots are  Barri Gòtic, Las Ramblas and Eixample

The Sagrada Familia, is found at the Eixample neighborhood, the proof of  the city’s rich Catholic tradition.

la_sagrada_familia

la sagrada familia
photo credits: Ljupcoi/Stockphoto.com

Parc Güell in Gracia is another place worth to travel around. Travelers recommend Taking escalators up to the top of the hill is recommended for travelers, not used to arduous climbs uphill.

parc guell

Parc Guell
photo credits: matthewleesdixon/iStockphoto.com

 

barcelona parc guell columns

Barcelona Parc Guell Columns
photo credits: wikimedia commons

As most sights and scenes can be explored by foot, more outlying attractions are reachable through public transportation to maximize  sight pleasure. If you are looking for a night out, quite a lot of bars are open throughout the city for a vibrant night life.

Spend a day and enjoy a fantastic swim with the crystal clear blue water with your loved ones in Barcelona beaches.

Barcelona Beach

Barcelona Beach
photo credits: oh-barcelona.com/flickr

Moreover, if you are a collector, Barcelona is a great place to shop for antiques, artisan and crafts.

 

 

Aug 29

Santa Catalina Island Family Vacation

Santa Catalina Island located in the Southern coast of California is a popular family vacation destination in the US. Vacationers can travel to this island by air or by boat. Most people choose the luxury of travelling to Santa. Catalina via a helicopter which only a 15-minute journey. Boat trips usually take an hour from the mainland.

Santa Catalina Island

The proximity of this island to the busy Southern California area makes it a favorite destination of families who wish to escape for a while and experience rest and relaxation. The island offers great activities including parasailing, fishing, golf, diving, kayaking and scuba diving. Kids and adults are found frolicking on the beach or taking an enjoyable walking tour on any ordinary day in Sta. Catalina.

Image via catalinachamber.com

image via catalinachamber.com

There is nothing that you will want more in terms of entertainment in the area. The island Museum is filled with rich historical artifacts. Shoppers will have a grand time at the Metropole Market Place which is designed with a French Quarter cobbled stones and beautiful water fountains. You can find everything you need from the shops such as artwork, books, gift and souvenir items, baked goods or sportswear.

IMG_4033:  Casino Building, Avalon

Casino Building, Avalon by Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce, on Flickr

Plus, whatever your budget is, you can also find different types of accommodations for you and your family. There are bed and breakfasts, camping grounds and hotels that offer special packages for the whole family.

IMG_4049:  Avalon at dusk looking toward mainland

Avalon at dusk looking toward mainland by Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce, on Flickr

Aug 20

Totally Relaxing Senior Vacation Rentals

senior vacation

The best part of your retirement years is probably when you are finally able to travel, to relax and have fun. What better way to do so than going on a relaxing and fun-filled vacation be it with your significant other or visiting family members from afar. The first thing you need to consider when planning your vacation is where you should stay. This is where senior vacation rentals come in.

What Is a Vacation Rental?

A vacation rental is the rental of a furnished condominium, apartment, or house on temporary terms as opposed to paying to stay in a hotel. Opting to rent fully furnished houses are relatively cheaper and more convenient for most people basically because all the necessities you will ever need is already provided for by the owner or landlord.

However, like any other alternative option, there will always be pros and cons. For example, vacation rentals are cheaper especially when you are planning to stay for an extended periods. Know, too, that vacation or holiday rentals do not have the same amenities as hotels such as 24-hour room service or maids to clean up your room. You have to do all those yourself.

As a senior citizen, you are faced with the challenge of how you can effectively budget your money for the duration of your vacation. In this case, availing of senior vacation rentals are the best choice. Sure, it means you have to do manual labor from time to time but it is a small price to pay for comfort as well as affordability – two terms that usually do not coincide because comfort is known to be costly.

Besides, if you were wise enough to ensure you have more than ample funds in your 401k coupled with your retirement money, then you would be able to enjoy your time in senior vacation rentals. You might even start looking for golf carts for sale since it’s no secret golf is one of the activities that seniors enjoy, and senior vacation rentals happen to feature some of the best golf courses on the planet. They find it therapeutic and calming, not to mention the fact that it keeps their minds and bodies active.

 

Finding Your Way around Hawaii

There probably is no better way to spend your senior vacation than enjoying the salt and sand in Hawaii. The easiest to find a vacation rental is through a travel agency specializing in booking top of the class vacation rentals in all islands of Hawaii. Having your own travel agent to book and plan your travel plans will alleviate you of having to stress about your accommodations and travel itineraries. In addition to that, asking your booking agent to help you out with your planning will not entail additional costs. Two fabulous vacation rentals around Hawaii are:

• Maui Kai North Kaaanapali Beach, West Maui. Unlike most vacation rentals, Maui Kai is not only a senior-friendly condominium; they also have a daily maid service as well as high-speed Internet access. In addition to that, the condominium is situated in front the beach giving vacation goers a beautiful oceanfront view.

• Outrigger Royal Sea Cliff, Kona Big Island. Like Maui Kai, Outrigger is also a condominium that is also senior friendly. Although it has a daily maid service, they do not offer laundry service, which means you have to wash your own clothes. Given the situation, each condominium unit is equipped with their own washing machine and kitchen area for cooking. They offer various discounts and special amenities for the seniors and offer free Wi-Fi Internet as well.

 

Away from the Beach: North Georgia Cabin Rentals

If the beach is not for you and you would prefer the outdoors then the North Georgia Cabin Rentals are your best option. Unlike planning a stay in Hawaii, North Georgia’s mountain reserve does not have their own booking agency, but they do have their own website where you can book in advance. They offer a variety of things to do like canoeing, trout fishing, and golfing.  The place offers a variety of flea markets, fairs, and festivals. For seniors who love all things vintage, there are also a variety of antique and craft stores around town.

Wherever you choose to go on your senior vacation, the first thing on your requirements should include a budget- and senior-friendly senior vacation rental. With an agency to help you, all that is left to do is relax and have fun.

 

Photo credits to: Great Senior Opportunities

Aug 20

Unusual Architecture – Odd Buildings That Should Be In Your Bucket List

Summer break may be over, but that does not mean your travels should be. From the Philippines to another part in Asia to Europe to the United States and to the Latin Americas, depending on your budget, here are some places you definitely must see first-hand because their Architect must have been truly… inspired.
CULTURAL CENTER OF THE PHILIPPINES (Metro Manila, Philippines)

Cultural Center of the Philippines

image via jon mannion on Flickr

In 1969, National Artist Leandro V. Locsin finished the construction of a national center for culture and the arts. Consigned by the infamous first lady, Imelda Marcos, he built an 88 hectare complex. It was made mostly of concrete with the main building square shaped and a fountain pool in front of it.

During its construction, a lot of people, Locsin included, highly criticized the total cost of the CCP, making it more of an extravagance for the elite than anything else. In subtle retaliation, rumor has it that Locsin designed the CCP to look like a toilet bowl. There goes ?50 million flushed down the drain.

Nowadays, it is no longer only the Marcos family that holds the cards on what can be built or not. More businesses in the private sector are investing in property development. Big players such as Megaworld are building communities, while startups such as Lamudi Philippines  are selling individual real estate online.
SANZHI PODS (New Taipei City, Taiwan)

Sanzhi Pod Village

image via Carrie Kellenberger on Flickr

Futuro is a Finnish house design that was devised around 1960-1970. It was meant to be a movable home that could suit any environment. Unfortunately, the design was met with public hostility, as they were seen as too unrealistic looking.
In 1978, Futuro-styled homes, now known as the Sanzhi pods, were built originally as a vacation resort for the U.S. military in East Asia. To make things even creepier than it already is, the construction was abandoned only two years later due to numerous superstitious deaths and accidents.
Today, these pods are a popular tourist destination in northern Taiwan. They are actually color coded depending on their location. The northern ones are white, the southern ones are blue, the western pods are green, and the eastern pods are blue. These may be Futuro for students of architecture, but for the rest, they look like UFOs.
ATOMIUM (Brussels, Belgium)

The Atomium, Brussels, Belgium 2009

Image via Jeremy Crawshaw

For those who watch the Big Bang Theory, this construction must definitely be in the gang’s bucket list. The Atomium is a 335 feet (102 meters) stainless steel architectural accomplishment that was built for the 1958 Brussels World Fair. It has nine spheres 59 feet (18 meters) in diameter with 6 of it open to visitors, containing exhibitions, and offering panoramic views. Each one is connected by 12 diagonal tubes that contain escalators. An elevator is found within the vertical tubes.
At the top-most sphere is the Belgium Taste Restaurant with a seated capacity of only 80 people. Reservations, especially during dinnertime, are strongly recommended as a gourmet menu is offered.
P.S. The spheres are for rent!
HAINES HOUSE (Pennsylvania, United States)

Haines Shoe House

image via Beck Gusler

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children, she didn’t know what to do;
She gave them some broth without any bread;
Then whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.

 

This might just be the most blatant form of advertisement yet. Built in 1948, this house was built by Mahlon Haines… a shoe salesman. It has actually five floors, and is even next to a dog-house of course, also shaped like a shoe.

 

CALAKMUL BUILDING (Mexico City, Mexico)

 

Lavadora_0489

image via Omar Barcena on Flickr

 

The invention of the washing machine must have really changed architect Agustin Hernandez’s life. The Calakmul Building, also called La Lavadora, was inaugurated in 1997, and is located at the center of Santa Fé, one of the wealthiest areas in Mexico. Unlike a real washing machine where you can see inside the circular pane, the Calakmul building has a mirror effect and reflects the city, making it looking out than looking in.

 

The Calakmul building was actually named after a Mayan city during the period of the Mayan Civilization. Calakmul is one of the largest of the Mayan sites that were discovered in Southeastern Mexico. It was rediscovered in 1931.

 

Nowadays, Mexico has the 14th largest economy in the world, and the 10th strongest in purchasing power. Santa Fé is one of the country’s major business zones, and the third largest shopping mall in Latin America is located here. Companies such as the Chrysler Group and Liverpool (not the soccer team) have their head office here. However, over investment in the city has caused an influx of commercial properties, and it now has a vacancy rate of 27%… more than a quarter of the city.

Aug 14

Top 5 Tips for Getting Cheap Flights to Europe

Whether you’re heading overseas to celebrate a college or university graduation, nipping off to get married in secret or are just desperate to get away from it all, you’ll get more holiday for your money if you travel on a low-cost flight.

cheap flights to Europe

Photo credit: http://europetravel.net

 

These top 5 tips will show to how to get yourself the cheapest flights to Europe:

Shop Around

The internet has made it really easy to find out about European flight routes, timetables and prices and with so many operators offering online bookings, it’s not surprising that a lot of price comparison sites have popped up promising to make your search, quick and simple.

But – if you really want a good deal, don’t rely on them.

Take the time to shop around yourself. Smaller,independent or ethic operators don’t necessarily work with these sites and it’s usually these airlines that have the lowest prices.

Travel at an Awkward Time

If you’re using annual leave to take time away from work, there’s probably nothing stopping you from going mid-week and returning mid-week instead of being off from Monday to Friday.

Mid-week flights are usually less popular, as are flights very late at night or early in the morning and this makes them cheaper.

They might be a little inconvenient, but once you hit that sun-drenched beach with a lot more euros in your pocket, you just won’t care.

Book Ahead

Although it’s nice to jet off at a moment’s notice, it’s cheaper to get organised and plan your travels in advance.

According to industry research, the best time to book a flight to Europe is between 5 and 13 weeks before you want to travel.

Avoid School Holidays

If you don’t yet have children then the smart thing to do is just travel as much as humanly possible, now!

When you’re looking for cheap flights, make sure that your travel dates don’t clash with any school holidays.

A study carried out by Travelzoo showed that when schools close,Airport Passenger Duty (APD) goes up by a whopping 40%.

Not only will your flights during term time be cheaper, but your holiday resort and attractions will be quieter too.

If you’re not sure when the school holidays are, then you can usually find the dates on your local council or government websites.

Get Informed

Getting a cheap flight is much easier if you’re informed and thankfully, most travel operators are keen to send information, promotional offers and discounts to their members, for free.

To make this manageable, set up a new email account and use it to register your interest with airlines, airports, travel agencies, tourist information boards and even enter travel competitions.

You’ll find that almost every organisation has a mailing list, a newsletter, Twitter feed or Facebook page that you can follow to get news about cheap travel opportunities,and it really works.

If you were doing it now, you’d know that Travelex just ran a ‘Happy Hour’ with promotional rates on its currency exchange and that Liverpool John Lennon Airport just announced the launch of a new low-cost route to Bucharest.

Deals and promotions are happening all the time and by keeping on top of all sorts of travel information, you can stay one step ahead of other bookers and bag yourself a great deal.

To find out more about the new flights to Bucharest from Liverpool, visit the flight carrier directly at Blue Air and make a booking or see what other cheap flight deals they have on offer, before someone else does.

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