August 9th, 2011

Rain or Shine | Britains Wettest Summer in Years | Bring Me Sunshine

Rain or Shine | Britains Wettest Summer in Years | Bring Me Sunshine

Posted by Viola Woolcott

Well, the below is an article I wrote a few years ago. I think in 2007. Sounds familiar and not much different to how the weather has been recently. So what’s different? ;-)

I couldn’t believe it this morning, but there it was, yet another “wet” and windy day. Just when you think summer is here, it’s gone again and it seems like the rain is never going to end!

Southern Europe seems to be having a heat wave and I guess we are all aware that Britain faces one of the wettest summers in years.

Not that I really been looking, but I’ve come across some pretty inexpensive sunshine deals which offer included taxes and charges and even free upgrades - especially if you travel over night. And don’t we all like to look for top deals as well as discounts and try to escape into the sunshine?

Some of the best deals I come across so far are for Greece and it’s beautiful islands.

Personally I do like the all-inclusive deals. In March I went to Egypt on a Nile Cruise with LOADS of excursions for just over £500. I really enjoyed it, except for the heat. Some days it was almost 50 degrees. Unbearable!

I guess it is time to get that holiday booked. Don’t hang around waiting for the sun, pack your bags and go!

My next trip is already booked, but it’s going to be winter where I am going ;-)

July 27th, 2011

La Tomatina - Tomato Food Fight in Valencia Spain

La Tomatina - Tomato Food Fight in Valencia Spain

Posted by Viola Woolcott

“La Tomatina” is said to be Spain’s most famous and popular ‘ fiesta’. People come together from all corners of the planet to take part in the worlds biggest, craziest tomato fight. Beyond any shadow of a doubt this will be more than messy.

The Spanish Festival takes place in Valencia, which is in the east of Spain in a village called “Buñol”. This is a yearly event and happens on the last Wednesday in August and starts at 10am.

La Tomatina has become a highlight in the festivals of Spain. And once the tomato lorries arrive with their 100+ tons of tomatoes, it is almost impossible to get into the central Piazza del Pueblo.

“Bunol” is a small village with a population of 9000 people, which on the day of La Tomatina increases to some 35000 + people.

If you are planning to be there to fling squashed tomatoes at each other, be there on August 31st. It’s a week-long festival and features music, parades, dancing, and of course fireworks.

Not my kind of thing, so don’t look out for me. Lucky I don’t have to clean up the the mess. ;-)

And before I forget, bring your goggles. ;-)

For more information please click here - “La Tomatina“

For more information please click here - “La Tomatina“ Tours

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Creative Commons License photo credit: RenoTahoe

Creative Commons License photo credit: RenoTahoe

Creative Commons License photo credit: RenoTahoe

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May 23rd, 2011

Croatian Facts and Tastes

Croatian Facts and Tastes

Submitted by Kylie Hahn

Croatia’s local name is:
Republica Hrvatska

The area:
56,600 square km

The population:
4.5 million


Phone Country Code:

Internet Code:

Time Zone:
Central European (GMT +1)

kuna (100 lipa= 1 kuna

Many locals speak English, but of course the Croatian’s would be over the moon if you spoke a few words of their language. Just like any other country, so try and make some effort.

Dishes vary between Dalmatia in the south and Istria in the north. But throughout Croatian cuisine are several menues that pop up on every menue. So don’t worry, you can get your favourite dish wherever you go.

So how about:

AJVAR, a local relish which is made from Aubergines, Red Bell Peppers and of course Chillies. Depending on the peppers that are used, it can be quite a hot relish.

CEVAPCICI are meatballs which are made from a combination of minced meats. They are slightly spicy and most often served with raw, sliced onions, the AJVAR relish (see above) and not to forget the local flatbread.

BRODET is an easy, simple stew made with a mixture of several fish, which is than cooked in a single pot with garlic and onions.

BUZARA is a tasty sauce that is made to accompany fish and seafood to bring out its flavour. It is made with olive oil, garlic and of course fresh tomatoes.

BUREK is for you if you are a pastry lover. It is a snack that is found everywhere in the Balkans. There are a number of different types of Burek with the most popular variety containing cheese or meat.

It is said that the Croatian Cuisine is one of the best in Europe. Now I wonder, what is your favourite dish?

Creative Commons License photo credit: avlxyz

May 11th, 2011

Pesetas are back in Murgados, Santiago De Compostela

Pesetas are back in Murgados, Santiago De Compostela

Posted by Viola Woolcott

It’s 9 years now that the euro was introduced. Amazing really how fast time travels.

Not for all the euro has been ‘working’. There is a Spanish town called ‘Murgados’ , which is near ‘Santiago de Compostela’ has re-introduced the peseta in the hope to boost local business. About 65 of the local shops are accepting the ‘old’ currency now.

It’s been a great success and the Bank of Spain accepts and converts the pesetas into euros and they have estimated that there are still 1.7 billion euros that have not been accounted for.

So if you travel to Murgados by any chance, don’t forget to trade in your ‘old’ pesetas.

Creative Commons License photo credit: mmoroca

February 23rd, 2011

Lonely Planet - Explore a World of Travel

Lonely Planet - Explore a World of Travel

Posted by Viola Woolcott

If you haven’t done so already, click on the banner to Explore a World of Travel with Lonely Planet. Maybe you like to make someone a gift just before they are heading off. ;-)

Explore a world of travel with Lonely Planet!

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Explore a World of Travel - Lonely Planet

December 26th, 2010

World Famous Markets & Bazaars

World Famous Markets & Bazaar’s
by Rubel Zaman

Shopping is a past time favoured by nearly every woman in the world, and quite a few men. Some say that there is nothing quite as exhilarating as the purchase of something shiny and new; or a unique and unusual acquisition, found in the corner of a junky looking market stall. Markets everywhere harbour hidden treasures, just waiting to be found.

From wholesale markets selling large quantities of goods for retail, to the tunnel-like souks of North Africa and the Middle East, there is nothing quite so exciting as a find in a market. But wherein the world is the best place to sample the delights of markets, bazaars and souks?

There is nowhere in the world that has such an interesting array of markets, from wholesale meat market of Smithfield to fruit and vegetable’s in New Covent Garden, to the many clothing, thrift and vintage markets. London has it all.

Finding the best London has to offer is quite a task as there are many amazing markets selling clothing, accessories and trinkets. There are large markets such as Borough Market, medium sized markets such as Petticoat Lane and small markets such as Dover Street Market. But two particularly stand out, Portobello Road and Camden Markets. Both of these are synonymous with youth culture and fashion. Camden Markets is the 4th most visited attraction of London, its markets sells everything from bric-a-brac and craft to fast food. Portobello Road in trendy Notting Hill is the ideal place for vintage clothing and antiques.

Marrakech, Morocco

Morocco is famous for its traditional markets, and none are more revered than the one in Marrakech, which has the largest traditional souk in the country.

The Djemaa el Fna, one of the busiest markets in Africa is a way of life for the locals and a source of amazement for visitors.

The square in which it is held is a hive of activity with acrobats, story-tellers, dancers and musicians; alongside stalls selling trinkets, clothes, water, in fact anything at all.

At night food stalls open in the square and the souk becomes a busy open air restaurant.

Cairo, Egypt

North Africa is renowned for its souks and the busy Khan el-Khalili is an ancient shopping area in Cairo.

The souk (suq in Arabic) is one of the oldest in Africa dating back to 1382, and houses a number of stalls and shops in its winding alleyways, many with their own factory or workshop attached.

Paris, France

The famous Paris flea market, on the banks of the River Seine, is in the district of Saint-Ouen.

It is widely appreciated to be one of the most important antique and second hand furniture markets in the world; and is held every Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.


Bangkok plays host to a plethora of markets. From the tourist orientated Patpong market, where cheap fake designer items can be bought, to Chatuchak weekend market, which is the largest market in Thailand, to the famous floating fruit and vegetable market of Taling Chan, bartering is a way of life in Thailand.

If you are looking for a wholesale baby clothes or clothes for toddlers, then visit Bamboo Baby.


December 25th, 2010

Vacation Inspiration: 4 weeks backpacking in the Middle East

Vacation Inspiration: 4 weeks backpacking in the Middle East


Andrew Marsden

A backpacking adventure in the Middle East can be eye-opening, exciting, and at times challenging. As you explore sites of immense religious, cultural and historical significance, you will further your education and gain insights into other less familiar cultures and ways of life. Backpacking through the Middle East is never short of an adventure and you’re likely to experience some incredible hospitality, sample some delectable cuisine and meet some fascinating people along the way.

Fly into Istanbul in Turkey, a city at the crossroads of East and West. The perfect introduction to the Middle East, Istanbul is both westernised and familiar, while at the same time it’s exotic and enchanting.  After a good few days haggling in the grand bazaar and marvelling at the architecture, head by comfortable overnight bus to Cappadocia.

Cappadocia: The natural beauty of Central Turkey is breathtaking. Goreme is a good base for a few days sampling delicious Turkish cuisine, walking through the spectacular landscape of ‘fairy chimney’ rock formations and exploring churches cut in rock by the early Christians.

From Cappadocia, head to Antakya for your final night in Turkey before heading over the border by bus to Aleppo in Syria.

Aleppo: Syria probably contains almost everything that comes to mind when you think of the Middle East: Legendary Arabic hospitality, mouth-watering mezze, conservative Islam and rich history and culture. The people here are some of the friendliest in the world, and to really get a feel for the place, spend some time in the cafes and markets (souks). Around every corner, there seems to be a point of historical interest, but just observing the culture and chatting to the locals can be an experience in itself.

Damascus: A must on any Middle Eastern traveller’s itinerary. A few days can be spent in the coffee shops and souks of Damascus, sipping intense Arabic coffee to the sound of the Muslim call to prayer. The Umayyad Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in the world and the architectural beauty is awe-inspiring.

Palmyra: If you’re into ruins, you won’t want to skip Palmyra. These ruins of one of the ancient world’s most important centres of culture are located at an Oasis in the Syrian Desert, and you can get there by bus or taxi from Damascus.

From Damascus, head south and cross into Jordan. Sharing a taxi is relatively easy in Damascus and is a great opportunity to make friends with the locals. Catch a ride in Damascus heading for Amman in Jordan.

Amman: After a day or two exploring this fascinating, hospitable city of contrasts between old and new, continue south by bus to the UNESCO world heritage site of Petra.

Petra: Jordan’s greatest tourist attraction is the vast rock-carved Nabataean city of Petra. Marvel at the awe-inspiring carvings, dazzling red colours and beautiful rock formations as you explore the Petra valley on foot, or on horseback or by camel.

Aqaba: From Wadi Musa (the town to use as base for visiting Petra), head by bus to the Jordanian Red Sea resort of Aqaba. From here, you’ll have access to some of the best snorkelling and diving in the world and the timeless crimson beauty of the Wadi Rum natural landscape. Wadi Rum is virtually untouched by humanity and can be explored by 4×4 vehicle or camel. You can arrange to stay with the local Bedoiun people, spending a night in a tent after a traditional campfire meal.

Into Israel: Allow plenty of time for the border crossing into Israel. It can be helpful to have a clear idea of where you’re heading in Israel and what you hope to do there. Be patient and polite and once the border formalities are done, you’ll want to jump in a taxi and head to the Israeli resort of Eilat.

Eilat: After a couple of weeks in the Arabic countries of Jordan and Syria, Eilat will be a major culture shock. You can see the Jordanian flag and the town of Aqaba from the beach in downtown Eilat but it feels like a different world. Eilat is an Israeli beach resort, with westernised restaurants, bars and nightlife. If sun, sea, sand and partying is your thing, you’ll want to linger for a few days in Eilat.

Jerusalem: The centre of three major world religions, Jerusalem is like nowhere else on Earth. The old city contains sites of huge historic and cultural significance to Jews, Christians and Muslims. A visit to Jerusalem provides an opportunity to explore sites of historic and religious interest, while also gaining an understanding of the background and the issues surrounding the present-day conflict.

Dead Sea: Easily accessible from Jerusalem, Ein Gedi is an Oasis on the shores of the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth. Due to the salt content, the human body will float on the Dead Sea, an experience not to be missed.

Galilee: Travelling around Israel is comfortable and straightforward and a trip north to Galilee provides opportunity to explore the area where Jesus lived and taught, including the Mount of Beatitudes (where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount) and the Sea of Galilee.

Tel Aviv: Known as ‘the city that doesn’t stop’ because of its reputation for partying, Tel Aviv is the heart of secular Israel and the economic and commercial centre. The highlight is the sandy Mediterranean coastline and the fantastic beach scene where you can relax for a day or two before boarding your flight home.

Assuming you travel independently as a backpacker, this 4 week itinerary through the Middle East is likely to cost in the region of $1500-$2000 if you travel and share rooms with a partner and in the region of $2400-$2700 if you travel on your own.


Article Source:

About the Author

Travel writer and researcher for Roam The World. Andrew caught the travel bug somewhere between riding a motorbike in the mountains of Northern Thailand and venturing through the souks of the Middle East. He now travels to far-flung destinations as often as possible.

December 16th, 2010

Top 10 Beaches in the Caribbean

Top 10 Beaches in the Caribbean

Author: Travel Guru

A holiday to the Caribbean offers you the chance to visit some of the most spectacular beaches in the world. Virtually every island of the Caribbean will have beaches that amaze; with crystal clear blue seas, sugar white sand & palm trees.

To help you choose where to go and more importantly what beach to choose, we have compiled a list of the top 10 beaches in the Caribbean.

1/ Palm Beach (Aruba) – Idyllic beach setting with superb white sand.

2/ Grand Anse Beach (Grenada) – 3km beach with sugar-white sand, lots of space & shallow waters.

3/ Johnson’s Point (Antigua) – Made up of secluded coves; these white soft sand beaches are a must for snorkeling & swimming.

4/ Pink Sand Beach ( Bahamas) – One of the world’s most photographed beaches, often voted world’s best by travel publications. 5km’s of salmon pink coloured sand, due to red plankton that has mixed with the fine white sand.

5/ Crane Beach (Barbados) – Often voted as Barbados’ most beautiful beach. Imposing cliffs, a natural coral reef and soft white sands make for a perfect beach.

6/ Negril Beach (Jamaica) – Laid back atmosphere and Jamaica’s prettiest beach. A lot quieter than Seven Mile beach.

7/ Englishman’s Bay (Tobago) – A sheltered beach with fine white sand, crystal waters & surrounded by a palm jungle.

8/ Grace Bay (Turks & Caicos) – Part of a national marine park, this beach has fine white sand, calm turquoise waters and is protected by a barrier reef.

9/ Trunk Bay (US Virgin Islands) – A beautiful beach with crystal clear waters, considered one of the best places for snorkeling in the Caribbean.

10/ Shoal Bay (Anguilla) – Put Angullia on the tourism map; sugar-white sand, crystal clear blue waters & coral reefs.

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November 25th, 2010

Singapores Top 5 Museums

Singapore’s Top 5 Museums

Author: varun

Fashionistas and shopaholics have been trooping to Singapore for years, lured by its many shopping malls that offer every brand, and labels that fulfill the (shopaholics’) hearts’ desires. But while I do enjoy shopping, I don’t relish the idea of going to penury just to pay for a huge credit card bill. There are other ways of enjoying Singapore.So instead of heading to the malls, I often go to Singapore’s museums.They are the best in Asia, benefiting not only from the government’s vast resources (this wealthy country is competing with Hong Kong to be Asia’s art center) and the the city’s state fondness for organization and efficiency. That may be boring, but it has nevertheless produced well curated art spaces. All of Singapore’s museums are accessible through public transport, air-conditioned, and have wheelchair accessible facilities, restrooms and souvenir shops.Best of all, given that Singapore is one of Asia’s most expensive cities, . And some days, you can even go to the museums for free!So when you’re in Singapore, try visiting:

1. The Peranakan Museum

The only museum that showcases the arts and culture of a distinct ethnic group that was shaped and continues to influence Southeast Asia. The Peranakan, which means “locally-born” in the Malay language, usually refers to the descendants of Chinese traders who settled in the straits Settlements of Singapore, Malacca and Penang in the 14th century and married Malay women. The Peranakans also include those who descended from unions between Indian merchants and local women during the 15th century. This intermarriage produced a fusion of cultures, and is reflected in the colorful cuisine, architecture and fashion that form the multicultural mix of Singapore and Malaysia.

2. Singapore Art Museum (SAM)

With over 7,000 Southeast Asian pieces of artwork in its permanent collection, SAM stands as the region’s repository of visual art. The collection includes paintings, sculptures, multimedia installations, drawings, prints and photographs – eye candy for those who can’t get enough of modern and contemporary art.

3. National Museum of Singapore

This is custodian of the 11 National Treasures – the most important artefacts in Singapore’s history. It includes the Last Will and Testament of Munshi Abdullah, the Father of Modern Malay literature, the 1930’s era Chinese glove puppet theater stage and a collection of watercolor paintings of local floral and fauna commissioned by William Farquhar, the First Resident of colonial Singapore.Visitors interested in Singapore’s history should also go to the museum’s Four Living Galleries – a showcase of artefacts, replicas, pictures, costumes and even old films that document the history of Singapore fashion, performing arts, photography and cuisine.

4. Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM)

This is a must see for those who want to backpack around Asia. A visit to the ACM is like going through a crash course on Asian studies. It is the only museum that’s dedicated to present artifacts and collections representing different regions of Asia including China and the Middle East.

5. Singapore Philatelic Museum

The museum that appeals to the child in us, as who after all didn’t have a stamp collection when they were kids? The museum’s collection includes stamps and archival philatelic material of Singapore from the 1830’s to present day. The museum also encourages philately in Singapore, with its permanent galleries not only dedicated to the global history of stamps, but also organizes workshops and talks on how stamps chronicle Singapore’s history.

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June 14th, 2010

Travbuddy - Create Your Own Travel

Travbuddy - Create Your Own Travel

Posted by Viola Woolcott

If you travel a lot and like to keep track of where you have been, maybe this is of interest to you. Create your own map.


Fun Travels | Adventure Travel | Viola Woolcott Travel Writer