Monthly Archives: August 2017

A Guide To Virginia Beach Hotels

If you’re traveling to Virginia Beach, consider yourself lucky. People who’ve never been there have no idea what they’re missing, and you’re about to experience it. Long expanses of white sand stretch as far as you can see from dozens of beautiful, waterfront hotels. The breathtaking ocean views will make you lose track of time, and after sunset the nightlife will keep you entertained. However, your hotel very easily influences the beauty and fun of Virginia Beach.

Choosing the right hotel is one of the most important pieces of your Virginia Beach vacation. Take the time to investigate what attractions are your favorites and look for a hotel nearby. Being in close proximity to activities you want to enjoy will save you travel time and the confusion of trying to navigate in a new city. If you’re a nature lover, look for a hotel close to the local nature preserves or hotels that offer dolphin and whale watching expeditions as part of a vacation package. Next, ask the hotel about their typical patrons. Some hotels are the perfect place for kids. They’re close to the park and have facilities to keep your children entertained. On the other hand, some hotels specialize in quiet, secluded getaways with quaint reading rooms overlooking the water. Bringing in children may not be such a good idea. It’s important to know what your hotel is known for and what you will need.

No matter what you need, there is a hotel for you at Virginia Beach. Look for them online, or call around. Don’t settle for the first offer, because with the hundreds of local hotels, inns and bed and breakfasts, you’re bound to find one perfect for you.

15 Lanzarote Beaches – Arrecife

Arrecife is the smallest of the islands seven municipalities and house the islands new capital (having taken over the mantel from Teguise at the end of the 18th century). Like neighbouring San Bartholme, there are relatively few beaches in this area, although the two that follow are well a visit.

Arrecife (the name originates from the abundance of reefs and islets along its short coast), has a skyline totally dominated by the islands tallest building (the Grand Hotel) which you may have seen during your approach to the airport. The first beach is known as El Reducto, a picturesque European Union, ‘Blue Flag’ beach set in an almost enclosed bay and measuring half a kilometre by 45m wide with calm waters and fine golden sands.
To one end of the beach you will find a park with palm trees and benches designed as a monument of a ship wreck. If you’re looking to get away from the crowds, this beach is for you as it is frequented only by locals rather than tourists.

As you would expect from a ‘city beach’, El Reducto boasts excellent services from its coastal promenade including showers, public telephones, bar/restaurants, wheelchair access , parking and is easily reached by guaguas (autobus). One of the major attractions of this beach is the “Charco de San Gines” lagoon, a natural pond formed by sea water housing a collection of small boats belonging to inshore fishermen, who live around the lagoon.

The beach was landscaped in conjunction with the Cesar Manrique who grew up in this area and who held his first exhibition in the San gines Lagoon area.
If you’re planning a trip here or to neighbouring El Cable Beach (below), check to find out if there are any festivals going on at the time as these offer a unique authentic insight into canarian life on the island.
The second and final beach in Arrecife is just along the costs and is known as El Cable. It measures 315m.long and 18m wide and consists of fine golden sand. El Cable is windy with moderate waves which makes it good for windsurfing and be found next to the development of the same name.
The beach can be prone to local pollution which puts it off limits from time to time. Services include showers, public telephones and bars/restaurants. It is easy to park locally.

Best Fashion Bargains in Rome and How to Find Them

Rome is a Mecca of aural and visual treats. Remnants of the great empire remain proud and dignified. Classical, Renaissance and Gothic architecture blend with modern high rise buildings. The people are feisty, swarthy and stylish.

The city is pure romanticism coming to life. The melting pot of cultures that the city boasts of is best savored slowly. Rome is a favorite of artists because the mere act of standing before the Colosseum is enough to flood their senses with infinite inspiration

Rome is as elegant as any European city imagined by ordinary folks through rose-tinted glasses. Many of the top designers are Italian so one of the things you will notice is how common high-end fashion houses are in Rome. The good news is that these finely crafted pieces can be had at prices significantly lower than say the US. The down side is that shopping in Rome is a bit different than what many of us are used to. For ordinary mortals like us who pursue the less sublime, Rome is a shopper’s paradise.

When in Rome, dress to impress. Take the hint from the numerous designer stores you see. You can enjoy great bargains if you look the part. Italians are generally warm people but the sales personnel can get snooty.

Italians are creatures of pleasure and leisure. In Rome, all shops and businesses close for the afternoon siesta. If you have a lot of ground to cover, start your day early. Or do as the Romans do and use siesta to enjoy the sights over a nice meal and a bottle of wine.

Make sound shopping choices and decisions. Most shops in Rome have a no return, no exchange policy. Even if the product sold is defective or you changed your mind a few hours later, chances are the retailer will neither honor a refund nor an exchange.

If high end fashion is not your style, there are numerous specialty shops and street markets as well. The difficulty with specialty shops is most of their merchandise are kept behind counters. You need to know exactly what you want or be armed with a good number of Italian words. Street markets are fun and the variety of goods can be staggering. Be alert not just for good bargains but for pick-pockets and smooth sales talk. When in Rome indulge your shopping cravings but be alert, firm and smart.

Backgammon Rules: Learn How to Play Backgammon

The board game backgammon is one of the most ancient games known to man. It is believed that early variations of the game were played in Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and Ancient Rome. Since then, the game has evolved, changed several names and spread to different parts of the world. It is currently a popular pastime all over the US, East Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

In order to play backgammon all you need is a partner, two dice and a special backgammon board with checkers. The backgammon board is divided into two sides with each one is the mirror reflection of the other. Each side contains 12 triangles called points numbered from 1 to 24.
Points 1 to 6: Home Board or Inner Board

Points 7 to 12: Outer Board
7 point: Bar Point
13 point: Mid Point

At the starting position of the game, each player has 2 checkers on the 24 point, 3 checkers on the 8 point and 5 on the 13 and 6 point. Each player moves from his home board through the outer board towards the opponent home board.

The object of backgammon, then, is to move your checkers towards your opponent home board and remove them off the board before your opponent moves his checkers towards your home board. The speed of the progress of each move is determined by the outcome of the dice roll.

The backgammon play begins with both players tossing one die. The player whose outcome is the highest, makes the first move using both his and his opponents number. If the outcome of the dice toss is even, the players toss the dice again until an uneven outcome appears. From now on, each player tosses both dice on his turn.

After each toss of dice, you should move your checkers forward the number of steps appears on both dice. You can move either one checker the number of steps summed up by both die or move two checkers. To make it clearer: if the outcome of the dice roll is 5 and 4, you can either move one checker 9 steps forward or move one checker 5 steps forward and then move the other piece 4 steps forward

If the dice rolls a double, which means an even number on both dice, you can move double the number appears on the dice. For example, if you roll double 2, you can move 2 points four times. In that case, you can either move one checker 8 steps forward; move two checkers a total of 4 steps; move two checkers a total of 2 steps each plus a total of 4 steps; move one checker a total of 6 steps plus 2 steps; or move four checkers 2 steps.

You can move a checker to a point where there is another one of your checkers or no more than one checker of your opponent, called blot. When you hit a blot, it is moved to the middle of the board to the part divided between the home board and the outer boards, called the bar.

The checkers placed on the bar are kept out of play until the bar can be entered by a dice roll in the opponent’s home boards. For example, if you roll 2, you can enter a checker to the 23 point and enter the opponents home board and re enter the bar checkers into the game. You cannot move the other checkers unless your entire bar checkers are at your opponents home board.

By the time your checkers are in your home board, you must remove the checkers from the board, to bear off, using a roll of dice. For example, if you roll 1, you can bear off one checker from the 1 point; if you roll 2, you can move a checker form the 2 point, and so on.

If your opponent has not borne off any checkers while you have borne off 15 checkers, you win the gammon. If your opponent has not borne off any checkers and still some of his checkers are placed on the bar, while you have borne off 15 checkers, then you win the backgammon.

A day in Florence between food and art

Let’s start with wine bars and cafes! In Italy bars are literally on every corner. Do not confuse them with the classic American bars. Italian bars ( or caffè) serve café, cappuccinos, hot chocolates, tea, light snacks and aperitifs. We recommend in particular 2 historic places.

The Gilli which is a wine bar and restaurant and since 1733 it has been serving also all kinds of treats and light meals.. (Piazza della Repubblica,ph: +39 055 213 896). And just in front the Giubbe Rosse Cafè where you can have brunch from 9€ or a complete menu from 18€ ( Piazza della Repubblica 13/14; ph: +39 055 212 280).

Tip: a coffee is way too cheaper (up to 1€) at the counter that at your sit at the table. In this way you can enjoy a good coffee-break in fantastic places without spending a fortune!

Once stuffed with an excellent Italian Breakfast with cappuccino and brioche you are ready to visit the Uffizi Museum, probably the reason why you got your flight ticket to Florence!

Palazzo Vecchio (Uffizi) is an amazing palace set just around Piazza della Signoria, once the centre of political power and city life. Just behind there is the spectacular Ponte Vecchio housing numerous antique and modern jewellery shops and the Signoria open arched gallery

In the Uffizi Gallery you can enjoy Italian masterpieces from Medieval period to Modern. Just to give you some masters’ names: you will be meeting Leonardo, Michelangelo, Botticelli and Caravaggio.

There are also periodic modern art exhibitions Check the official website to get all info and the ticket reservations to avoid extenuate queues. The main entrance is under the portico of the Palazzo degli Uffizi 6 and it is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 8.15am until 6.35pm (last entry 6pm). Admission: €9.50 (plus €3 to online reservations); concessions available. (uffizi.firenze.it). One of the best ways to reach the city centre is to get the n. 23 bus or line B.

To get an affordable accommodation while in Florence you can check the following nice Bed and Breakfast ( B&B) providing clean accommodations and friendly atmosphere. The Abatjour B&B close to the train station, Soggiorno Primavera, the central B&B Cinque Sensi, Althea rooms B&B, Cimarosa Armony BB, a Casa di Dante BB; Bed and Breakfast tourist house, Bed and breakfast Montebello B&B. Usually a double room costs around 50-70 euros per night.

If you prefer a guest house or a budget hotel you can try this selection where the prices are very good for the quality and the services they offer. Hotel Castri which is set in a Renascent villa with a green park, hotel Palazzuolo, hotel Guelfa, il Ghiro guest house. There are also studios and apartments or upper scale hotels where you start form 50 euros per person per night at the Gemini Studio, Alex house, Leopolda hotel, hotel Autopark, hotel Erina, Alamanni Hotel, Hotel Beatrice, Goldoni hotel. This prices are for a night stay and they are subject to changings but in general they include breakfast, linen and towels.

Arriving at an Airport You Can’t Even Pronounce

I have been traveling to Thailand off and on for the past 35 years. I was stationed in Bangkok in the early 70’s and I still go on vacation there 2 or 3 times every year. With all of those trips, I knew the Bangkok International Airport like the back of my hand.

In September 2006, the new airport, Suvarnabhumi (su-war-na-poom) opened and the end of the Don Muang era came to a bittersweet close. Suvarnabhumi is now the official International Airport for Bangkok and Don Muang has been relegated to domestic flights. I now had to learn to navigate this new metal monster.

Suvarnabhumi, meaning “Golden Land” is about 30 km east of Bangkok in an area known as Nong Ngu Hao, or “Cobra Swamp”. The complex covers 32 square kilometers, and has the world’s tallest control tower (132 meters). The passenger terminal has 360 check-in desks, 120 gates, and accommodations for handling 45 million passengers a year. Surrounding the airport are flooded rice paddies.

The new airport is an architectural masterpiece of metal and glass and is aesthetically beautiful. My only complaint is that it is a long hike from the arrival gate until you actually reach the Immigration lines. It seems like miles.

On the plus side, as soon as you clear Immigration, there is giant electronic display board which tells you where your luggage is. There are many luggage carousels and knowing exactly which one is yours makes life a little easier.

Once you get your bags, clearing customs is a snap. I have never been checked once in over 35 years of flying in to Bangkok. The next thing you will face is the taxi mafia gauntlet.

Bags in hand, you will walk into a mass of humanity – some waiting for loved ones – most waiting to harass you. They are the infamous clipboard toting taxi mafia. They will pester you, block your way, ask where you go, and never give up no matter how many times you refuse and no matter how many languages you swear at them in.

Having used all of your best football moves, you work your way past the clipboard thugs and head for the down escalator. This will take you to legal and much more reasonable taxis. You will have to pay a small fee – but you will get some piece of mind in return. The taxis are registered, the girls in the booth speak English, and you won’t have to do any bargaining as these taxis use their meters.

If your cabbie offers to take you and not use the meter, agree upon a price and who will be paying for the tolls. This will be your first opportunity to experience haggling in Asia. Have fun.

I can’t vouch for all the taxi drivers but I did find one very honest one using this service last year. I left my credit card wallet in the cab and the driver contacted my hotel and arranged to return my plastic intact. He was rewarded handsomely and saved me a lot of hassle and possibly a lot of money.

Now you will experience the controlled chaos of driving in Bangkok. It is indescribable and has to be experienced. Say a prayer and hope for the best.

If you plan to go anywhere in Thailand, you might be lucky enough to fly out of the old International Airport – Don Muang. It resembles more of a ghost town than an airport but still brings back to me memories of hundreds of trips to Thailand. Being the first thing you see in a foreign country, you develop a fondness for airports.

I guess I will get over it and learn to accept Suvarnabhumi and treat this new International Airport as a new friend. I have been there twice and will return in March, 2008 for another holiday. And, luckily, I will get to visit my old friend, Don Muang, the next day as I head up to Khon Kaen. It will be good to see old and new friends.

A Basic Traveller’s Kit Guide

Never be caught unprepared during a trip. Plan ahead and stuff your bag with essentials things you need. The better prepared you are, the more fun you will have on the trip. Here’s a checklist of what should be inside your traveler’s kit.

*Medicine Kit
Never assume that no mishaps will happen on a trip. Even minor bruises should be taken care of. Always keep your first- aid kit handy.

Treating wounds
Bring along a roll of bandage, safety pins and scissors. Tweezers might be needed to pull out foreign materials that penetrate the skin. Bring ointments and alcohols for treating abrasions. If you are prone to allergies and itching, antihistamine medications like Benadryl should be handy.

Common medicine
Carry along medicines that you are likely to use, like aspirin for headaches, laxative for proper bowel movement and pain relievers. If you have a runny nose, buy a couple of decongestant. Dehydration and motion sickness is common when traveling, consult your doctor on which medicine is appropriate for you.

Prescription drugs
Remember to bring along whatever medication you are taking. Bring enough supply to last for the entire trip.

*Personal Hygiene Kit
This kit must include all your toiletries. This will keep you looking fresh all the time.

Dental
Bring along your toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss. Buy a small bottled mouthwash or if you have plenty of supply left, just transfer it to a smaller container.

Hair
Carry along your favorite brush, comb and shampoo. Stuff in your hair spray, hair cream and gels if you are using one.

Personal effects
This will include your make-up kit. Remember to bring only the cosmetics that you are likely to use. Carry with you a handy mirror. You can bring your manicure set too.

Skin protection
Keep your skin healthy by putting on sunscreen and lip balm as often as you need them.

Bathroom needs
Bring along with you sets of toilet papers, soaps, towels and washcloth.

*Emergency Kit
This includes the stuff you might need like flashlights, lighters, pocket knife and duct tapes. Mobile phones are important in case of emergency, be sure to bring your charger and an extra battery.

*Leisure Kit
For added fun, you can bring along your travel journal, reading materials and the locale’s language book. Make the most out of fantastic views with your binoculars and your camera.

There is no such thing as a standard traveler’s kit. It varies upon the place and the activities you’ll do in a certain place. The above kits are basically the essentials. Be sure to keep everything checked and have a fun trip ahead!