Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year All Over The World!

It doesn't matter where you are now, whether you're at work, resting at home or maybe travelling...

It doesn't matter what your skin color is, what's your religion and what are your beliefs. All the same - I wish you all the best during this special time of the year, whether you call it Christmas, Hanuka, Kwanzaa, Solistice, or else.

Lots of happiness and new travel ideas for the upcomming New Year 2010 for all of you! :)

Arabian Holidays - An Introduction

Arabian Holidays - An Introduction
by David Price

The Middle East has become one of the most exciting tropical holiday destinations during the recent decades. Holidays to the Middle East are exciting because the geographical area called the Middle East combines the age-old civilization with the most modern of cities. It boasts some of the greatest modern structures like the Burj al Arab. This part of the earth has a rich historical as well as mythological background. This article aims to review the major holiday destinations in the Middle East.

Photo by twocentsworth

Time-lapse video of Mt Fuji, Miyajima, Iwate

The latest time-lapse video by Tokyo-based photographer Samuel Cockedey features captivating views of Mt. Fuji, Miyajima (Itsukushima Shrine), and Iwate prefecture.

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January in New York City

January in New York City  
by  Rosalie Scott

From cheaper flights and hotels to discount shopping and dining, travelling to New York after the holidays is a perfect way to see the city for a fraction of the regular price. It may be windy and cold in January, but the culture and excitement of New York City is always hot!

Ice Skating in New York City

When you think about lacing up your skates and gliding around a New York City skating rink, the iconic image comes to mind of skaters circling the rink at Rockefeller Center. But if you are curious to try something different and explore other New York City skating rinks, check out the Pond at Bryant Park. As the only free outdoor skating rink in New York, the Pond is a popular winter destination nestled in the heart of midtown Manhattan. Skate rentals and lockers are available.

Other outdoor venues for ice skating in New York City are located in picturesque Central Park at the Wollman Rink (east side between 62nd and 63rd Streets) and the Lasker Rink (between 106th and 108th Streets.)

NYC Restaurant Week

Curious about Cafe Boulud, Mesa Grill or Gramercy Tavern? NYC Restaurant Week is the best way to eat at some of the most renowned restaurants in New York City without breaking the bank. This week of delicious dining on a dime takes place twice a year and visitors travelling to New York City in January should plan to take advantage of this wildly popular event.

Photo by plate of the day

Participating restaurants offer a set menu for lunch and dinner at a fixed priced, typically offering customers two or three choices for each course. This event allows foodies a chance to try out some of the most talked about eateries in the city, including many helmed by celebrity chefs, at far less expensive prices.

Reserving a Table During NYC Restaurant Week
For information on participating NYC Restaurant Week eateries, their special Restaurant Week menus and dates of the event, visit Call your dining destination of choice well in advance to reserve as tables book up very quickly. Reservations can also be made for several of the restaurants at Open Table, which is a free site where diners can book their reservations online. With each reservation made, points are accrued towards gift certificates at participating eateries.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day in New York City

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a U.S. holiday commemorating the great civil rights leader who was assassinated in 1968. Each year the holiday falls on the third Monday of January, close to his birth date of January 15th. There are numerous celebrations, events and tributes organized throughout the five boroughs of New York City on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service

Every January, thousands of community service projects take place across the U.S. in honour of Dr. King’s teachings on the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. The slogan of this national day of community service is “Make it a day ON, not a day OFF” and the goal is to empower individuals to work together to strengthen their communities.

Photo by kugelfish

There is plenty to see and do in New York City in January, so bundle up and enjoy!

About the Author: will give you a comprehensive look at several hotels, attractions, shops and more in the Big Apple. Get the information you need to know before you travel and make sure you get to see and stay at the best of the best in New York City.
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Amazing Tilt-Shift Video of Swiss Landscape and Trains

Some of you, amateur world photographers, have probably heard about "tilt-shift" photography. It's a special technique, which allows you to focus only on specific parts of the picture, to emphasize its particularity. And the results, well - you can see an amazing example here:

First time I saw it, I thought: "Hey, those are toy trains!" and I bet I'm not the only one to think this way.
The truth is, this is a photo of a real train made using the "tilt-shift" technique.

This movie project is particularly interesting - it's all about beautiful Swiss countryside (villages of Sisikon and Göschenen) and its magnificent, legendary trains. If you had any doubts whether you should visit Switzerland and take a ride - I think the short movie below might be a nudge in the right direction for you. it is a project filmed by Andi Leemann and Jeri Peier (if you're interested in technicalities: they used two EOS 5D Mark II cameras, a Canon 90mm TS-E f/2.8 and a Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5 combined with a 1.4x converter, woohoo!).

And now, sit back and enjoy the amazing views of Swiss Trains from an amazing perspective:

Hope you like it as much as I do :)


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What to do in Grampian Scotland

What to do in Grampian Scotland  
by  Stig Johanson 

Have you been pondering lately the possibility of maybe taking a trip to a foreign country? If so, I would highly recommend that you look into going to either Grampian, Scotland or Aberdeen, Scotland as there are so many fun things to see and do there!

 For starters, while staying in the Aberdeenshire area that encompasses the cities of both Aberdeen and Grampian, you should definitely look into going on one of their hot air balloon rides! This is a fantastic experience that you will not soon forget! Do you love castles and all things having to do with royalty? If so, I’m sure you will be thrilled to hear that famous landmarks such as Crathes Castle and Castle Fraser are just a few of the gorgeous sights that you can expect to see while on your ballooning trip!

Also, are you a big fan of the performing arts? If so, I would highly recommend that you check out His Majesty’s Theatre while visiting Scotland! Every night, there are top notch actors and actresses here that put on a great show doing everything from opera, pantomime, and musicals, just to name a few.

If you happen to visit Scotland during one of their warm seasons, going to Codonas which is located at Beach Boulevard would be great fun for the whole family! At Codonas you will find an outdoor amusement park that offers not only rides such as roller coasters, but they also offer arcade machines, bingo and ten pin bowling!

Photo By: Divv3k

Another great activity in Grampian is quad biking. This can be enjoyed by anyone over the age of 16, this is for insurance purposes. Whilst better in the summer with dryer weather it can be done all year round. For the speed freaks amongst us, this is a lifetime must do. With the freedom of the track and in the company or your friends this is an great way to spend an afternoon or morning. I say afternoon or morning because youd have to be super fit to do a day of it, its very tiring. Do a search for Howie Irvine or House of Mulben. Both centres offer quad biking.

If you are an animal lover, and do you especially love marine animals? If so, you will be sure to enjoy going on a dolphin watching cruise trip through Aberdeen Harbour during your stay in Scotland! The view of the harbor is simply spectacular, and the dolphins themselves are quite stunning! Watching the dolphins play together as they swim near the boat is not only fun to watch, but it is also a very relaxing experience. Many times, the dolphins will even decide to do some acrobatic tricks which really are a fantastic sight to behold! Also, if you look closely during your dolphin watching cruise, don’t be surprised if you happen to spot a few other marine animals such grey seals and possibly even a minke whale!

Photo by: Almac555

I wish you the best of luck, and I hope that you and your family have a wonderful time while vacationing in Scotland!

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Sweden: A Mythical Lesbian City

There is a wide range of reasons to visit Sweden: beautiful nature, friendly people, mooses and other wild game... the list is unending. But there is another, and a very curious one, reason to visit this Viking country: a hidden city of Swedish Amazones!

 If you are a tourist planning to visit Sweden, you shoud be aware of this story. There have been rumors of a city dwelled by 25,00 lesbians somewhere in the northern parts of the country. The Swedish tourist authorities (not to mention the Internet queries) are being swarmed with questions about this intriguing topic.


The story has been spreading in Asia - in Chinese media, for example, you can find some information about a city called "Chako Paul City", supposedly founded in 1820 in northern Sweden by a wealthy man-hating widow who banned all males from entering the settlement. After some time, all of the women were to become lesbian, “because they could not suppress their sexual needs,” reports China’s Harbin News service. The city can be recognized by an medieval castle built there to protect the city, as well as tall, blonde and strong women guarding the premises.

 Needless to say, the Swedish tourist authorities are as surprised as the rest of the nation. Claes Bertilson, the spokesman for SALAR, says: “I've no idea where this came from, but it's not true. At 25,000 residents, the town would be one of the largest in northern Sweden, and I find it hard to believe that you could keep something like that a secret for more than 150 years.”

 Mountains in Lappland, Sweden.   
(Wikimedia Commons/Alexandre Buisse (Nattfodd)/"GNU Free Documentation License")

Although Per Wilhelmsson of the tourist office in Umea in northern Sweden said he had never heard of Chako Paul City, he did confirm that tourism in the area is bustling.
“Our tourism industry is doing quite well, among the best in northern Sweden,” he said.

He also confirmed that no “women-only” city existed in northern Sweden, but the story reminded him of an 30-year old stunt carried out by Pajala, a northern Swedish town suffering from a different problem:
“They arranged for bus loads of women to come up to this town because there weren't enough of them,” he explained.

When asked what else might be drawing tourists to northern Sweden besides the chance to visit an isolated town filled with sexually frustrated females, Wilhelmsson had a theory of his own.

“It’s hard to say for sure, but I think part of it might be increased interest following our designation as Europe’s Cultural Capital for 2014,” he said.

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14 Breathtaking Castles - A Must See!

In my journeys, very often I like to plan the route considering the castles or palaces I can find along the way. Some of them are hidden in old forests or placed on top of a hill mysteriously covered with fog. Others - built on islands - seem to float on the water, guarding the city nearby. All of those spectacular buildings, most of them still remembering the medieval times, are certainly worth seeing. Each of them has their own story to tell, filled with mystery, ghosts and treasures...

Mont Saint-Michel
Mont-Saint-Michel is is a rocky coastline island located in Normandy, France. This majestic castle is one of the first places to obtain UNESCO World Heritage listing. It is also one of the most frequently visited castles in France.


Neuschwanstein Castle
Neuschwanstein Castle is one of a kind in the world. It was built in 19th-century in Bavaria, situated on a rocky hill near Hohenschwangau in southwest Bavaria, Germany. You can see that the design of this castle is breathtaking: arched portals, all the arcade windows and high towers, columns and pinnacles. It looks like a fairytale castle. Rumor has it, that it has been an inspiration for Walt Disney and the famous castle in Disneyland.


Matsumoto Castle
Matsumoto Castle is one of the unique four japanese castles, which are listed as national treasures of Japan. Next to Himeji-jo, Matsumoto-jo, this was the next best existing castle donjon (a tall and sturdy defense and observation tower) in Japan. Built by Ishikawa Kazumasa and his son Yasunaga in  the year 1590.


Castle of Coca
Castle of Coca was built in the 15th century for Archbishop Alonso de Fonseca I. It is considered as one of the best castles in Spain, definitely worth seeing. The castle's characteristic turreted structure of plaster and red brick is surrounded by a deep moat. In spite of this defensive traits, the Castle of Coca has been more of a palace than a castle.


Isola di Loreto
Isola di Loreto is a neogothic castle, which has been rebuilt around 1910, being based on the fortified structure of the castle dating further back than 15th century. This castle was built on island L’isola di Loreto, the smallest island of the lake Iseo. It is located on the north side of Montisola, Italy.


The Potala Palace
The Potala Palace is located on the Red Hill of Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet. It was originally built in the 17th century by King Songtsen Gampo. The Potala Palace was a winter palace and the main residence of the Dalai Lamas until the 14th Dalai Lama had to escape to Dharamsala, India (he resides there until now).


Predjamski Grad
Predjamski Castle is a suprisingly placed renaissance castle built within a cave mouth in southwestern Slovenia, with lots of natural tunnels and smaller caves existing underneath, being a safe haven for many centuries for people living nearby. It is located approximately 11 kilometres from the famous Postojna Cave.


Hunyad Castle
Hunyad Castle was originally built as a fortress in 1212. Many believe that this castle is the place where the unfamous and terrifying Count Dracula was held as a prisoner for 7 years after he was overthrown in 1462. The castle is situated in Hunedoara, Romania.

Malbork Castle
The Malbork Castle’s construction began in 1275, along the river Nogat in Poland. This castle was made from red brick and became the world’s largest brick gothic castle. It was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1997. Today, it is well-preserved medieval gothic castle and a museum.


Prague Castle
Prague Castle is the Czech Capital City's premier tourist attraction. It was largest medieval castle complex in Europe and the ancient seat of Czech kings throughout the ages.

Eltz Castle
Eltz Castle is a medieval castle placed in the hills above the Moselle River between Koblenz and Trier, Germany. This castle is still owned by a branch of the same family (for 33 generations!) that lived there in the 12th century.


Palacio da Pena
Palacio da Pena is one of Europe’s most magnificent and uniquely designed palaces. It was built on the top of a hill above the town of Sintra, Portugal.


Löwenburg Castle
Löwenburg Castle was built around 1800 as a country residence for Count Wilhelm IX (Germany). This castle was intentionally designed to look like a medieval castle.


Bodiam Castle
Bodiam Castle is a quadrangular castle, surrounded with a huge moat, located in East Sussex, England. It was built in the late 14th century by a veteran of King Edward III’s wars with France. The purpose of this castle was to be a strategical point of defense from a possible french invasion and also - a peaceful and quiet homestead for its owner.


If you find any other castles you've seen or feel they should be mentionned here - write a comment, please! :)


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Stone Tree Forest - Yakutsk, Russia

I'm sure that after looking at those magnificent pictures, you will aggree with me when I say that this stone forest (called locally "Lena's Stone Forest") is one of the most amazing places on our planet.

Photo: A. Butorin

These magnificent natural stome formations are placed near a city of Yakutsk, located in the Asiatic part of Russia. It's a breathtaking experience to see them with our own eyes, so the place is very popular among scientists (geologists, paleontologists) and tourists alike. One "tiny" problem with this place is its location. It takes about four days to get there from Moscow: a very long flight and then a three-day-long boat ride, which costs "only" $500 if you're lucky. But once you get there - it's certainly worth seeing.

Photo: V. Grigoriev


You can check the location of the Stone Tree Forest on Google Maps - here.

Source:  English Russia
Photo Credits: A.Butorin, V.Grigoriev

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Tunisia - A Short Break in Sousse

Sousse is the third largest city in Tunisia and it is one of the better places to visit in Africa as well as in Tunisia. Getting around the city should not be difficult and it is an ideal city for the independent minded tourist who wants to both experience a wonderful holiday and also take in many pleasing sights to see. You will like the working port in the center of the city as also the Medina that is rich in history and which has some very nice fortifications surrounding it. There is also an exciting beach where tourists and the locals mingle together and if you want to see the rest of Tunisia, you will easily get rail connections to the north and also the south.

Sousse is also the capital of Sahel with olive groves that take up more than two hundred and fifty thousand hectares of land and which is a treasure which contributes immensely to the economy of Sousse itself as well as to the rest of the country. A visit to the Sunday market will afford you opportunity to buy everything from a mule to a motorcycle and if you are feeling hungry, head down to Route de la Corniche where you will find amazing places to eat.

Sousse is a city that has many things of interest which is why tourists flock here from all around the world though main attractions are centered on the Medina that is famous for its ancient ramparts. Within is the Khalel Al Fata Tower that is a lighthouse dating back to 859 AD, and you will also get to see the eight century fortress named Ribat that was used to defend the country against foreign enemies. You will also be impressed by the Great Mosque that has many arches shaped in the form of horseshoes which surround a regal courtyard built in 850 AD by the Afhlabid Emir Abou El Abbes Mohammed.

Another interesting place to visit in Sousse is the Sousse Museum that contains a very attractive garden along with many Roman mosaic collections that are as good as any you will find anywhere, especially such as those found in Bardo.
If you are not averse to visiting nearby places of interest you could head down to Port El Kantaoui that is just fifteen minutes away by taxi or Noddy train. There is also the birthplace of former leader President Bourguiba that is located in Monastir that you may want to visit as well.

In any case, once you are in Sousse you will find many resorts as well as beaches and also many orchards and olive groves. You will especially like the Mediterranean climate and in spite of the fact that Sousse is closely associated with olive oils, tourism is a major activity here and there are more than one million visitors coming here each year just to relax in the many fine hotels and savor the cuisine in comfortable restaurants as well as enjoy the nightlife and gamble at the casinos.

Map of Sousse


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Aruba's Hotel Absurd Ads: Get Pregnant, Get $300 Voucher!

First, let's take a closer look at Westin Aruba Resort. 
That's what you can read in Frommer's Review:

 Built in 1975, the hotel was renovated in 2006 when it went from being a Wyndham to a Westin. Olive, beige, and mustard fabrics accent the cherry wood furniture. Subtle carpeting, flatscreen TVs, and modern rectangular lamps add more Miami style. The trademark Westin "heavenly" beds are indeed a white fluffy retreat from the world.

Fluffy retreat, indeed. The newest controversial Press Release by Westin Hotel PR specialists claims that if a couple can prove thay they have conceived a child during their stay at this Aruba Resort, they will get a $300 voucher for their next vacation. Oh, and the child has to be conceived during, uh... "coral spawning season".

A joke, you say? Not at all. Don't believe me? - Let's read their original Press Release:

Romance Is in the Water in Aruba: Celebrate Coral Spawning Season with Escape at The Westin Resort

$300 ‘Conception Credit’ for Couples Who Conceive During Getaway; All-Inclusive Fall Rates Starting at $199 Per Person

Romance fills Aruba’s waters each fall during coral spawning season, when millions of coral reproduce, forming pink and white clouds that delight underwater enthusiasts. With love in the water, romance-inducing coral spawning season is a fitting time for lovers to escape to the island of Aruba, with its ideal location outside the hurricane belt and year-round sunshine.  The Westin Resort, Aruba invites couples to prolong the relaxing beach days of summer with the all-inclusive experience, with rates starting at $399 per room, based on double occupancy (that’s less than $200 per person, per day, including meals & alcohol), for travel through December 18, 2009.*  As an added bonus, couples who book prior to September 30, 2009 will receive a $100 resort credit, which can be used towards activities such as an in-room massage or other spa services.

Couples who were inspired by Aruba’s coral mating ritual during their fall getaway (September 1 – December 19, 2009), and can prove they conceived during their stay, will receive a $300 ‘Conception Credit’ towards a return visit to the resort in 2010. With all the stress of preparing for a new arrival, the expecting parents will surely be in need of a pre-baby Caribbean retreat.

The Westin Resort, Aruba’s all-inclusive package takes the stress out of planning daily meals and activities and allows couples to focus on the most important thing: each other.  A new twist on the all-inclusive vacation, without sticker shock – or the wristbands and endless buffet lines typically associated – the package includes accommodations, three meals daily, unlimited drinks (yes, beer, wine and cocktails, too), a $25 dining credit for the resort’s fine dining establishments, non-motorized water sports, tax and service fees and more.

For resort reservations or further information, call (877) 782-0149 or visit  When booking, please ask for rate plan CLASSIC.

Maybe we should ask some questions to the hotels' Manager:

1. Are those colorful clouds of coral sperm a real aphrodisiac? Wouldn't you rather go and take a shower after swimming in those "pink and white clouds" floating around in the seawater?

2. How many of kitchen staff members would laugh every time the Chef says: "put the buns in the oven"? How soon these and similar jokes will become obsolete?

3. Will the hotel supply the visitors with free pregnancy tests? How about a fertility pill or viagra instead of regular "goodnight mints" on the pillow?

4. What kind of papers, forms and test results would the hotel staff require to have proven the fact of conception? How about some forensics, photos, or maybe even videos from that special day? 

5. What about the future of the resort? Will the hotel in 2010 transform from "fluffy retreat from the world" to "crying-and-wet return to reality"? Maybe the managerial staff should start making decisions about transforming that modern-style hotel into a "Family Village"? You wouldn't like to loose your customers and their new families, would you? 

6. I suppose there may be already some trying-to-get-pregnant couples who would accidentaly choose this hotel with its offer over some other destination. In that case, maybe you should think about putting the money into the college fund of their child instead?

7. And finally - do you really think that a mere $300 voucher would make anyone think of conceiving a baby? Is that how low you estimate the miracle of birth? Is starting a new life worth only $300 to you? Come on...

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