Sunday, May 24, 2009

Places To Visit In Seattle

Places to visit in Seattle

Seattle, home of Software giant Microsoft, has plenty of great places to visit. My list of top 10 places to visit in Seattle of course starts with the magnificent Space needle and ends with the music project with blues, jazz, hip-hop, funk, punk, country or rock 'n' roll. Seattle is anything but ordinary. It's a place where bike messengers share elevators with world-renowned researchers. Where fishermen have lunch alongside top surgeons.

Washington State Ferries

Washington State Ferries is one of Washington state's largest tourist attractions and easily makes my list of top 10 places to visit in Seattle. It's also the second largest mass transit system in Washington, and the largest ferry system in the United States. No matter how you look at it, a ferry is a beautiful way to experience the gorgeous waters and mountains.

Sparkling waters, snow-capped mountains, cityscapes, salt air, leaping Orca whales, the call of the gulls-a journey aboard a Washington State Ferry appeals to the senses. And it makes a lot of sense when you see all the places you can go on any one of our ten different routes throught Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands.

Tillicum Village Experience

This is a 4-hour adventure to Tillicum Village on Blake Island State Park. Relax and enjoy the magnificent scenery during the 50 minute cruise. Upon arrival you will be welcomed by a path strewn with white clamshells bleached by the sun and greeted with an appetizer of steaming clams in nectar broth.

Inside the longhouse, you can watch the whole Chinook salmon are cooked over an alder-wood fire on cedar stakes in the traditional Northwest Coast Indian style. Your meal is served buffet-style and includes a menu of Traditional Indian-style Baked Salmon.

As you finish your meal, the lights dim while the myth and magic come to life in the spellbinding performance featuring the Tillicum Village dancers. Tillicum Village is yet another wonderful item in the list of top 10 places to visit in Seattle for the relaxing atmosphere it provides for tourists of all ages.

Underground Touring

After the Great Seattle Fire of 1889, the city was rebuilt over the top of the ruins. This guided tour takes visitors through the hidden subterranean passages that once were the main roadways and storefronts of old downtown Seattle and tells stories of the frontier people who lived and worked there. The subterranean walkways are dry, but the history is not.

Tours last 1-1/2 hours and are offered daily, year-round is a great place to visit

in Seattle. The schedule of tours varies from season to season

Safeco Field - great place to visit in Seattle

Safeco Field is the fabulous home of the Seattle Mariners. Guests are treated to a 19.59-acre outdoor baseball park with real grass and a retractable roof. Tour one of the premier baseball facilities ever built, including areas of the ballpark that are not normally open to the public: press box, luxury suites, field, dugout and visitor's clubhouse

Tours are approximately one hour in duration and cover a walking distance of one mile.

Must-Haves When Going to The Beach

The beach is a lot of fun, unless you forget things that make it possible to be in the sun and stay comfortable. Here are my must-haves when going to the beach.

Living within an hour’s drive of the beach I have learned to love the ocean and at times take it for granted. However I have also learned through time the items you really must have if you plan on making a day out of it. Here is what I recommend.


Ok this is a no brainer but sun tan lotion is the most important thing you need to bring. You should also bring a sun block as well just in case the sun feels really strong when you are there. You should apply 30 minutes prior to sitting in the sun and then reapply as necessary. Some “experts” say that reapplying doesn’t help, and I say bull shi-tak-e. I apply anyway and I feel it does help me.

The Maldives

For a long time, the Republic of Maldives was one of the best-kept secrets in the world; a beautiful string of low-lying coral islands in the Indian Ocean, a paradise for watersports enthusiasts and sunseekers alike. Now the islands are developing quickly to become an increasingly popular long-haul destination. The country’s 26 natural atolls offer nautical delights from night-fishing trips, windsurfing and scuba-diving. Many islands embrace enormous lagoons, where bright blue-green water laps gently.

The Maldives “The beautiful garland in the Indian Ocean” or as some say, the necklace of pearls. This is the dream holiday destination for millions all over the world.

A country known as the idyllic, peaceful heaven, with more than 1800 “Robinson Crusoe” like coral islands surrounded by vast shimmering lagoons of aquamarine and turquoise and endless azure sea- the country with 99% water compared to the 1% land.

The nation’s largest attraction is the underwater coral gardens, with its colourful inhabitants ” the richest collection of multicolored fish and live coral reefs which adds up to a diver’s paradise. For the thousands of visitors who pursue this dream and find their way here, services of the highest quality is offered.

From October 1972 when the Maldive Islands opened its doors to international visitors till today, over 10 million tourists have visited Maldives, out of which 20% of tourists are regular repeat visitors.

With only 73 holiday resorts from over a thousand uninhabited islands, The Maldives boasts of a tourism industry based on quality over quantity.

For those who are active, a range of water-sports are offered. Excursions, night-fishing and safari cruises.what more can you ask for? If that’s not enough to keep you coming back again and again, then think of the best restaurants and shopping this nation has to offer. Before you know it, you will be extending your stay in this piece of heaven.

Iguazu Waterfalls

The Iguazu Waterfall is a true wonder of nature and is heralded as the most beautiful waterfall in the world by many visitors. The waterfall is located right at the border of the countries of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay about an hour and a half flight from Buenos Aires.

The waterfall itself is physically located in Argentina, but it is very common to also visit the Brazilian side as well. On the Argentinean side of the waterfall you can walk right around the falling water, take a boat tour to the mouth of the waterfall, and explore the National Park next to the waterfall. On the other hand, the Brazilian side offers beautiful panoramic views and displays the full splendor of the wonder of the world.

The Devil’s Throat is the site of the biggest waterfall and the greatest sight Iguazu Falls has to offer. You can see a great amount of water gushing over 230 feet from above the waterfall or from many different angles in the surrounding area. There are even helicopter tours that let you see the amazing spectacle from above for a fairly reasonable rate.

The Iguazu Waterfalls are located near the little town of Puerto Iguazu with a wide selection of lodgings. You can also see what kind of weather to plan for on the Iguazu Falls Weather page.

“Iguazu” means in the native language of the Guarani “The big Waters”. One can say this without exaggeration if you think about the 275 waterfalls, falling down up to 70 meters on a length of just 2,5 kilometers at the Argentinian-Brasilian border, about 1500 kilometers away from Buenos Aires. Our offered tour takes about 4 days and can be combined with our other tour offers or it can be changed individually, if you wish. You will visit the waterfalls from the Brazilian and also from the Argentinian side. But there’s so much more to see, like the tropic flora and fauna - also worth a visit.

Although Iguazu is best known for their waterfalls, the surrounding jungle is well worth including in your explorations. A plethora of animals and birds make their home in the lush vegetation around the Iguazu National Park. There are also a number of other highlights in this region such as The San Ignacio Jesuit Mission Ruins, The Itaipu Dam, and the Yacutinga Lodge Wild Preservatory.

The Preikestolen Cliff

Preikestolen or Prekestolen, also known by the English translations of Preacher’s Pulpit or Pulpit Rock, and by the old local name Hyvlatonnå, is a massive cliff 604 metres above Lysefjorden, opposite the Kjerag plateau, in Forsand, Norway. The top of the cliff is approximately 25 by 25 metres, square and almost flat, and is a famous tourist attraction in Norway.

There is a trail to the rock through different mountain landscapes. The walk is very steep in places. The path takes about 5 hours for a round trip hike and starts at the Preikestol-hytte at a height of approximately 270 metres, and climbs to 604 metres. Eventhough the elevation difference is only 334 metres and the walk is not particularly long (3.8 km each way) the actual hike is more than one might initially expect as the path goes up and down various ridges. On clear days you get a great view of the Lysefjord.

To date no safety ledge has been constructed on the edges of the cliff despite the great danger, in order to preserve the natural beauty of the cliff. There is no record of anyone falling over the side of the cliff accidentally, but there have been several deaths due to suicide.

Tahiti The Isle of Love

Legendary Tahiti, isle of love, has long been the vision of “la Nouvelle Cythère,” the earthly paradise. Explorers Wallis, Bougainville, and Cook all told of a land of spellbinding beauty and enchantment, where the climate was delightful, hazardous insects and diseases unknown, and the islanders, especially the women, among the handsomest ever seen. Rousseau’s “noble savage” had been found! A few years later, Fletcher Christian and Captain Bligh acted out their drama of sin and retribution here.

The list of famous authors who traveled to Tahiti and wrote about the island reads like a high-school literature course: Herman Melville, Robert Louis Stevenson, Pierre Loti, Rupert Brooke, Jack London, W. Somerset Maugham, Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall (the Americans who wrote Mutiny on the Bounty), among others. Exotic images of uninhibited dancers, fragrant flowers, and pagan gods fill the pages. Here, at least, life was meant to be enjoyed.

There’s a wonderful geological diversity to these islands midway between Australia and South America–from the dramatic, jagged volcanic outlines of the Society and Marquesas islands, to the 400-meter-high hills of the Australs and Gambiers, to the low coral atolls of the Tuamotus. All of the Marquesas are volcanic islands, while the Tuamotus are all coral islands or atolls. The Societies and Gambiers include both volcanic and coral types.

The hot and humid summer season runs from November to April. The rest of the year the climate is somewhat cooler and drier. The refreshing southeast trade winds blow consistently from May to August, varying to easterlies from September to December. The northeast trades from January to April coincide with the hurricane season. Rainfall is greatest in the mountains and along the windward shores of the high islands. There can be long periods of fine, sunny weather anytime of year and seasonal variations should not be a pivotal factor in deciding when to travel.


Barbados is an island in the Caribbean, northeast of Venezuela. The island is portrayed as the little England of the Caribbean because of its long association as a British colony. The name “Barbados” comes from a Portuguese explorer named Pedro Campos in 1536, who originally called the island Los Barbados (”The Bearded Ones”), after the appearance of the island’s fig trees, whose long hanging aerial roots resembled beards.

A warm, friendly welcome awaits on this Caribbean island. You can relax in the sun or surf, swim and snorkel on one of the abundant white-sand beaches. Sail, cruise on a catamaran, dive to sunken ships or tour a submarine. See the natural wonders of Harrison’s Cave. Stroll the quaint streets of ridgetown, the island’s historic capital, and take advantage of the duty-free shopping. And if you have any energy left, enjoy the island’s variety of bars and clubs, including the famous Harbour Lights.

It benefits from all year round climate with temperatures bubbling around 25-30C day and night. Put simply - its beautiful beaches surrounded by light blue sea are a taste of paradise. Barbados is well developed with varied first-class hotel accommodation as well as timeshares, small and medium sized local hotels and rental villas. Visitors can enjoy a peaceful retreat at a beach location or for the more active there is plenty to see and do with a variety of wildlife reserves, historical sites and museums plus some excellent shopping and golf courses. Of course, the island is legendary as a location for water sports, especially scuba diving.

Barbados was the only overseas destination visited by George Washington, the first president of the United States.

Best Hotel Swimming Pool Views

Cliffside Pool, Hotel du Cap Eden-Roc, France
The majestic infinity-edge pool of the fabled Hotel du Cap Eden-Roc is forged into cliffs along the rugged Cap d’Antibes coast just outside Cannes. Filled with ocean salt water and heated on cooler days, it looks out on the Lérins Islands and the glassy Cannes Bay, where the gin palace yachts of the celebrities and tycoons who stay here bob on the water. On a secluded cement terrace, hidden among rocks above the pool, cocktail waiters tend to guests reclining in private cabanas on deck chairs under glossy white umbrellas. Almost as spectacular as the views are the celebrity sightings of the likes of Kate Moss, Bruce Willis, and Johnny Depp.

Tip: A rope at pool level allows you to swing Tarzan-style off the cliffs into the ocean swell below.

Atrium Pool, Park Hyatt, Tokyo
On the 47th floor of the famously sleek Lost in Translation hotel, this 65-foot-long, four-lane masterpiece under a double-height glass roof has floor-to-ceiling windows that offer spectacular views of the Shinjuku district, the city, and Mount Fuji beyond. Visit at night when the pool is a fluorescent blue and the cityscape glitters below. The pool is part of the hotel’s Club on the Park spa and fitness center, so you can order salads and juices from the spa menu while you recline on deck chairs under those tall windows.

Tip: Bill Murray struggled to do a lap here when he took a dip in Sofia Coppola’s film. Try to do better.

Rooftop Pool, Athens Ledra Marriott Hotel, Athens, Greece
While not as chic as our other selections, the rooftop pool of this central Athens hotel has 360-degree panoramas of the ancient city, including a front-on view of the Acropolis and a great vantage point over the nearby Parthenon and the cafés, shops, and winding streets of the Plaka below. On hot summer evenings, with the Acropolis illuminated in the distance, the hotel hosts parties
and banquets by the pool.

Tip: Whether going to or coming from a holiday on the islands, you’ll find this the perfect place to relax away from the frenzied chaos of Athens’s city streets.

Main Pool, Singita Grumeti Reserves Sasakwa Lodge, Tanzania
Watching the great annual migration of antelope and zebra on the Serengeti Plains is a spectacular sight in its own right; at billionaire Wall Street trader Paul Tudor Jones II’s flagship hilltop lodge Sasakwa, you can see the migration while paddling in a heated infinity-edge pool built on the cliff-edge promontory of his lodge’s lush front lawn. The lawn is lined with telescopes to better see the animals, and if you spot something you like, you can summon a game ranger and drive down to see it…in your swimming trunks.

Tip: Each of the seven cottage suites at Sasakwa has a secluded private garden plunge pool with similarly dramatic views.

Rooftop Pool, The Standard Downtown, Los Angeles
André Balazs’s über-cool hotel takes the urban swimming pool to another level—namely, the 12th-floor rooftop. The glowing L-shaped pool, rimmed by funky space-age cabanas with vibrating waterbeds, has a lively cocktail lounge to the side, which attracts wide-eyed tourists and local hipsters. They come as much for the drinks and music as the spectacular views of Library Tower, Museum Square, and the rest of the city’s glittering skyline.

Tip: You can watch classic Tinseltown movies projected drive-in style on the giant wall of a neighboring building while you sip a mojito in the pool.

Garden Pool, Palazzo Sasso, Ravello, Amalfi, Italy
This 60-foot-long heated pool in the gardens of the grand 12th-century Palazzo Sasso villa hotel in Ravello is perched on 1,000-foot-high cliff-edge lawns looking out on lush mountains, blue waters, and the historic fishing villages of the Amalfi coast. Windows built into the walls of the pool mean you can see the sparkling ocean while underwater. Garden chairs and umbrellas set to the side let you soak up the view without getting your feet wet.

Tip: Palazzo Sasso’s Infinito Suite has a private heated plunge pool in its terraced garden with an equally dramatic view of the shimmering coastline.

Main Pool, Banyan Tree Seychelles, Mahé, Seychelles
Lush swaying palms and huge granite boulders tower over this glassy, dark-blue infinity pool on Intendance Bay in the Seychelles. A narrow point at the center of the pool juts out over a talcum-powder beach below, leaving you with the feeling you’re floating above the waves. Out on the bay, forest-covered tropical islands loom out of the water, and fishing boats and catamarans sail the trade winds.

Tip: Every one of the resort’s 60 colonial plantation-style villas has a private pool with bay views, but the recently built two-bedroom DoublePool Villas, set in manicured gardens yards from the beach, have one for each room, as well as heated jet-pools.

Rooftop Pool, The Berkeley, Knightsbridge, London
In a city not known for its pools, the heated rooftop lap pool of the classy Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge is one of the best-kept secrets in town. Built in the 1970s and framed by handsome Roman pillars and arches, it’s set under a retractable roof that opens up to the sky on warm days. You get rare views of the leafy expanse of Hyde Park to the north, and an eagle-eye vantage point of Knightsbridge and flagship stores Harvey Nichols and Harrods to the west. You can’t order cocktails from the Blue Bar, but you can sip juices from the spa menu.

Tip: For US $120 (GBP 60) a day, nonresidents can get access to the pool and spa.

Floating Pool, Villa D’Este, Lake Como, Italy
There are few more exhilarating sights on earth than the floating pool on Lake Como, part of the stunning 16th-century, 152-room Villa d’Este hotel in northern Italy. Built into a pontoon that floats on the 28-mile lake, the pool is the centerpiece of a stunning watercourse. Giant cloud-topped mountains rise up from the water’s edge, while streams, grottoes, and fountains gurgle down the mountain slopes. A Jacuzzi has been added to the pontoon pool, although since the pontoon is only open in summer, you’re just as likely to want to cool off in the lake.

Tip: A heated indoor pool open all year round is located in the Sporting Club building of the grounds, accessed by an underground passage
from the main building.

Cancun: Mexican Caribbean

Cancún (kanˈkun) is a coastal city in Mexico’s easternmost state, Quintana Roo, on the Yucatán Peninsula. Cancun is located on the Yucatan Channel that separates Mexico from the island of Cuba in the Greater Antilles. Cancun’s region is sometimes known as the Mexican Caribbean.

Cancun is the municipal seat of the Benito Juárez municipality and a world-renowned tourist resort. The city center is located on the mainland which connects over the Nichupté and Bojórquez lagoons to a narrow “7″ shaped island where the modern beachfront hotels are located. The island of Isla Mujeres is a nearby island located off the coast and is accessible by boat from Puerto Juarez or Punta Sam.

The older section of the city, known as “El Centro” follows the original master plan, consists of neighborhoods called “supermanzanas” (superblocks) that are formed by the intersections of the boulevards and traffic circles (roundabouts). This area is characterized by winding streets with culs-de-sac that tend to keep out the main flow of traffic, including market places such Xel Ha. They usually have one or more parks, green spaces, paseos (pedestrian walkways) and various national historical monuments. (source: wikipedia)

Spring Break Vacation Idea

Cancun is a gorgeous paradise. It is a premier destination that can also be considered a playground of indulgence. Whatever happens in Cancun stays in Cancun, so we don’t have to tell you how crazy it can get during your spring break.

Phenomenal sun and sand await as you embark on a quest for that perfect tan. Your Cancun Spring Break can also consist of leisurely beach bar hoping and attending poolside parties. Those that like to explore can choose to take a day trip to the ancient Mayan ruins at Tulum or the Temple of Kukulcan at Chichen Itza. If you still have some energy left, take a cruise from Cancun to the waters off of Cozumel, home to the second largest coral reef in the world. coco bangos

No matter what you do during the day, after the sun sets is when Cancun comes to life. The clubs, like Senor Frogs, Club Bulldog, Dady ‘O, Coco Bongo, and The City can entertain thousands with incredible light shows and energetic dance floors. Drink specials as well as contests and stage shows keeps the party going all night. Stay in one club all-night or go club hopping. The party doesn’t stop until the last person leaves! Cancun is a Spring Break paradise that offers everything you can imagine. You’ll go home laughing with a tan, maybe some braids or new tattoos, tons of memories, and probably a few secrets too!

Looking for a Spring Break 2009 vacation idea? You haven’t done Spring Break until you’ve done Spring Break in Cancun! It’s the #1 International Destination for Spring Break. Spring Break in Cancun means warm, sunny days spent on white coral sand beaches packed with fellow spring-breakers and sizzling nights of mega-club dancing, drinking, and all-round partying with friends old and new. he bulk of the resorts and night clubs in Cancun are located on the L-shaped island (a.k.a. Isla Cancún, also called the “Zona Hotelera”), which boast about 16 miles of pristine white-sand beaches opening onto the turquoise-green water of the Caribbean. This is where almost all of Cancun Spring Break happens.

The vast majority of hotels are located on the island, along the powdery white sand beaches facing the Caribbean Sea. The “back side” of the island faces the Lagoon of Nichupté, a popular Cancun tour stop where there is plenty of water skiing, sailing and jet ski rentals for touring the mangroves and open water. Many of the cheaper hotels on the island are lagoon-side, rather than facing the ocean.

Not to be overlooked, though, is the north-end of the island, which faces the Isla Mujeres. The beaches here are some of the most popular for a Cancun tour as they are shielded from the occasional strong current and choppier water of the Caribbean.

Getting around during your Cancun tour is never a problem as there is a single main road stretching the length of the island called Paseo Kulkulkán. The bus system and taxis are easily used (more on that here) and most drivers speak basic English. You will get to know the main hotel landmarks and the major Spring Break Cancun hot spots that are near them.

Be aware that the farther south you stay on the island, the longer you will wait in traffic to get to most of the hottest night spots, which are grouped toward the top end of the island.

Fiji Islands

The Republic of the Fiji Islands is an island nation in the South Pacific Ocean east of Vanuatu, west of Tonga and south of Tuvalu. The country occupies an archipelago of about 322 islands, of which 106 are permanently inhabited, and 522 islets. It covers about 1.3 million square kilometers of the South Pacific Ocean. The two major islands are Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. After nearly a century as British colony and the British brought over Indian contract labourers, Fiji became independent in 1970. Today Fiji has one of the most developed economies of the Pacific islands.

Viti Levu hosts the capital city of Suva, and is home to nearly three quarters of the population. Other important towns include Nadi (the location of the international airport), and the second city -Lautoka (the location of a large sugar mill and a seaport). The main towns on Vanua Levu are Labasa and Savusavu. Other islands and island groups include Taveuni and Kadavu (the third and fourth largest islands respectively), the Mamanuca Group (just outside Nadi) and Yasawa Group, which are popular tourist destinations, the Lomaiviti Group, outside of Suva, and the remote Lau Group. Rotuma, some 500 kilometres (310 mi) north of the archipelago, has a special administrative status in Fiji. Fiji’s nearest neighbour is Tonga. The climate in Fiji is tropical and warm most of the year round.

Fiji’s culture is a rich mosaic of indigenous, Indian, Chinese and European traditions, comprising social polity, language, food (based mainly from the sea, casava, dalo & other vegetables), costume, belief systems, architecture, arts, craft, music, dance and sports.

The indigenous culture is very much active and living, and is a part of everyday life for the majority of the population. However, it has evolved with the introduction of old cultures like the Indian and Chinese ones, as well as a large influence from Europe, and from various Pacific neighbors of Fiji, mainly the Tongan and Rotuman. The culture of Fiji has created a unique communal and national identity.

With hundreds of Fiji Islands to visit, there is plenty to see and do on your Fiji Vacation. Snorkel and Scuba dive in some of the worlds most beautiful tropical reefs, kayak along the coast line, or hike through one of the many tropical rain forests, the Fiji Islands have it all!

5 of the Best Cornish Beaches

With over 150 beaches and coves Cornwall has something to over beach-lovers of all types. From golden sand beaches stretching for miles to secluded rugged coves with a heritagesmuggling and pirates.

Best for scenery

This was a toss up between Porthcurno and Kynance coves. Both are on the south Cornish coast and both are undeniably beautiful. In the end I decided to opt for Porthcurno as I could invent another section for Kynance!

Porthcurno is best known for 2 things; the clear, turqoise water and the Minack Theatre. The Minack is an open air theatre perched on the cliffs above the cove with the Atlantic Ocean as a back drop. It was largely constructed by one woman, Rowena Cade, during the late 1920s.

The Minack aside, Porthcurno abounds in natural beauty and drama. It is no wonder that more than one succesful photographer have built their careers on this location.

The cove itself is set in a valley between high granite cliffs which seem to form into rounded cubic blocks in places. At the extreme southern headland is Logan Rock, a several ton stone that in the past could be rocked back and forth.

As mentioned before the sea here is a stunning green-blue. This is attributed to the reflective properties of the coarse sand of broken sea shells.

As an added bonus Porthcurno can be witness to some fierce Atlantic storms and huge crashing waves just add to the drama.

Check out Virtual Cornwall for a 360 panorama of Porthcurno

Fitral beach surf
Fitral beach surf

Best beach for surfing

Again another tough call as the North Cornish coast is full of great surf beaches and the south coast has some rare but classic spots. However, I think I am going to be very conservative and opt forthe best known of them all, Fistral Beach in Newquay. Other contenders would be Porthtowan, Penhale/Perranporth and Praa Sands but it is Fistral that is the most consistent and flexible.

Facing west with just a hint of south Fistral picks up plenty of Atlantic swell. What happens to this swell depends on which end of the beach you are at.

South Fistral is a little more sheltered from both the swell and southerly winds. There are often some quality lefts to be had here.

North Fistral is the main stretch of sand in the middle of the beach. Unlike many beaches on the north coast it can hold a decent sized swell and works through the tide. The best waves are often fast hollow rights at low tide.

Little Fistral is at the far north of the beach and only surfable at low tide because of the rocks inside. Again this is a spot capable of producing quality lefts and rights.

On the downside, Fistral is one of the best known beaches in Europe and as a result can get very crowded. In the summer, if it is less than 4 ft it probably isn't even worth thinking about. In the winter though there are still plenty of days when you can get an epic session.

Oh, and before you do go, check out my article on surfing slang so you can sound like the real deal (or not!!)

Porthminster Beach Cafe
Porthminster Beach Cafe

Best beach for eating

With Cornwall's recent elevation in the foodie stakes there are a host of beachside cafes catering for all wallets. The best known (but by no means best) is celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's 15 at Watergate Bay. Other contenders include the Blue Bar at Porthtowan and the Beach in Sennen. However, the general consensus seems to be that the Porthminster Beach Cafe in St Ives ticks all the right boxes. It isn't cheap but manages to pull off relaxed beachside dining with well presented, quality, fresh food.

Porthminster Beach itself is a Blue Flag beach nestling under the cliffs on the edge of St Ives. The sand is fine and the sea is rarely rough making it agreat beach to relax and enjoy some fancy food!

Marazion Beach
Marazion Beach

Best family beach

Any of the beaches with the Blue Flag award are pretty safe choices for a family day out. The award is based not only on the quality of the water but facilities such as lifeguards, toilets, access etc. 3 of these beaches are in St Ives (incl Porthminster above) Other's include Marazion, Polzeath, Sennen, Porthtowan and Crooklets in Bude.

My choice would probably be Marazion for a couple of reasons. Whilst all these beaches are safe and have all the facilities you need they don't all have the things kids love, i.e. rock pools and streams. Marazion has both of these and being set in the shelter of Mount's Bay is pretty safe. The beach here slopes so gently that it is a long walk to get out of your depth too.

An added bonus of Marazion is the fact you have a whopping great castle on an island as a back drop! If you get bored you can always take a boat ride (or walk at low tide) over to St Micheal's Mount.

Of course if you have an action family, or older kids then maybe one of the north coast beaches might be more suitable with Sennen topping my list here. There is nearly always some surf here and the beach is more than adequately lifeguarded.

Prussia cove
Prussia cove

Best for smuggling!

Perhaps the best known smuggler in Cornwall was John Carter - the King of Prussia. Carter and his brothers, Harry and Charles ran their smuggling operation from the small cove that was then known as Porthleah.

Located about 6 miles east of Penzance the cove provided a natural harbour offering both shelter and seclusion. It is even said that the caves in the cliffs where connected to the house above via series of secret passage.

10 Cities to Visit in Arizona

Arizona is a really beautiful state with a lot that is interesting for a visitor to see. What is really great about Arizona, though, is that you can see many different types of things within a fairly small geographic area. There are mountains and valleys, deserts and forests, huge urban areas and deserted ghost towns. There is the hustle and bustle of Phoenix, one of the largest and fastest-growing cities in the nation and there is the laidback life of Native American reservations and rural communities. There is snow for skiing and extreme heat during the summer. And there is, of course, The Grand Canyon, one of the natural wonders of the world.

The best way to plan a trip to see the most out of all of this different stuff in Arizona is to hit ten of the most interesting and diverse cities in the state. Here are the ten cities that you would want to put on your Arizona travel itinerary.

1. Phoenix. Phoenix is the capital city of Arizona and it’s smack dab in the middle of the state so it’s something that you’re not going to be able to miss on a tour of Arizona even if for some reason you wanted to. Because it’s such a huge, sprawled-out urban area, there are a lot of options for what to see and do here and in the suburbs surrounding here. Many people go to enjoy resort vacations filled with golf and spas. Other things people visit here are designer fashion stores, the Phoenix Zoo, art galleries, museums and the Desert Botanical Gardens. People interested in college towns can check out neighboring Tempe, home to Arizona State University which is one of the biggest party schools in the nation.

2. Tucson. Tucson is a great place for people who want to head to an urban area but who find Phoenix to be a bit too overwhelming. With a population hovering around one million, Tucson is a large city with a lot to offer to visitors but it’s also small enough to be a welcoming, laid back and friendly place. Outdoorsy people will find opportunities to go hiking in the mountains (try Mt. Lemmon) or the desert (check out Saguaro National Park). Urbanites can do window shopping in the Fourth Avenue, Downtown and University districts. There are many galleries, shops, museums and landmarks to see in Tucson for the visitor who wants to do it all. This is also the home to the University of Arizona, a campus which offers a lot to do including an impressive planetarium and science center.

3. Flagstaff. The third major university in Arizona, Northern Arizona University, is the main reason that people come to this small town in Northern Arizona but there are a lot of other good reasons to come here as well. For one thing, it’s really close to the Grand Canyon but far enough from it that hotel prices are good. Although this is a college town, there are some other things that can be done here including a lot of skiing in the winter. One cool thing to do during warmer weather is to explore the volcanic lava tubes that are a tourist attraction at this site.

4. Sedona. This is a really fascinating city unlike any that you’ll see anywhere else and therefore one that you should take the time to check out while you’re traveling through Arizona. It’s located north of Phoenix and south of Flagstaff in Northern Arizona. It is considered to be a mystical healing center where vortexes of energy come together so you’ll find a lot of stuff here about psychics and crystals. But you’ll also find a lot of really great opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. There’s nothing quite like horseback riding in the red rock canyons of Sedona to make you feel like you’re truly living it up in the Southwest. Go to Oak Creek Canyon to enjoy natural water slides or explore the art galleries that are popular here.

5. Bisbee. This is an old mining town in Southern Arizona that should be explored because mining plays such an important role in the history of Arizona. There are many different abandoned and active mines throughout the state but this city is great because it’s a fun little place where you can take a tour of an old copper mine. In addition to taking that tour, take an architectural tour of some of the neat homes built on the hills here.

6. Nogales. This is a border town on the edge of Mexico and it’s something that you should experience while you’re in Arizona. You should also experience the chance to cross over into another country into the city of the same name on the Mexican side of the border. The Mexican culture plays a big role in the life of people in Arizona and it can be enjoyed as a tourist in this area.

7. Jerome. This is a town in the middle of Arizona that often gets overlooked by travelers because it’s a small place without a whole lot going for it. However, it’s also a really, really neat place. It’s built on a mountain and has some interesting panoramic views of Arizona. It’s filled with little shops and galleries and it’s one of those places that you should stop at for half a day, grab some lunch and explore for the sheer experience of seeing a neat part of Arizona that other travelers might miss.

8. Willcox. Willcox is a small town in southern Arizona. There are many small towns like it where farmers live out in the country of the state. However, Willcox is particularly of interest because many of the farms here are set up for tours. You can go to these places and pick apples or have a fresh pressed glass of apple cider on the farm where the apples where grown. A great time of year to go here is Halloween when the pumpkin patches are open to the public but you can go at almost any time of year.

9. Chinle. This is a really small town that you’re going to take one look at and wonder why you’re here. It’s a Native American town but there aren’t a lot of landmarks here to check out. Mostly it’s a residential place with a number of hotels. So why would you come here? Because Chinle is located near one of the coolest hiking spots in Arizona – Canyon de Chelly. Yes, you should head further north and see the wonder that is the Grand Canyon, but you shouldn’t miss the chance to see this smaller canyon that is beautiful in its own right and much less populated with other tourists.

10. Tombstone. You shouldn’t go to the Southwest without seeing at least one ghost town. Tombstone is set up for tourists and it’s a great place to go to experience a fun day of history in the Wild Wild West.

Seeking some rest and recreation in the hidden corner of Batam

Let’s start by being brutally honest: At first glance, Batam Island does not really appear a great vacation proposition.

Parts of the island are best described as an eyesore, with highly utilitarian industrial and commercial premises stretching over large swathes of the land.

And let’s be frank about the land itself, too – flat for one thing, with soil – exposed through the island’s numerous excavations – in an unappealing orangey-yellowish color that looks infertile and grubby.

Now we’ve got that out of the way, there is one more thing to add: Better things lie ahead.

As you travel from the island’s Hang Nadim airport to the area known as Nongsa, the industrial and commercial buildings – and that grubby-looking soil – gradually give way to dense thickets of shrubs and low-lying plants.

Keep going. This unkempt shrubbery then gives way to something else – to signs of humanity taming this wilderness and making it into something lovely and fresh. You have arrived at the dreamy vacation area of Nongsa, Nongsa is in the northern coastal region of Batam Island, with attractive inlets and beaches that add up to an idyllic and tranquil setting for some rest and recreation. There are golf courses here for those so interested, but it is much more the coast, the beaches and the resorts along the waterfront that attract visitors.

The resorts at Nongsa range from the pristine and ultramodern to the more traditional and tropical made from timber and bamboo with thatched roofs. Some of the modern architecture is impressive but those who find all that concrete and steel clinical and cold with may prefer the more “traditional” architecture with its natural materials.

Regardless of the style of architecture, the common theme here is the sea and the Strait of Singapore that Nongsa looks out onto. The shores and skyscrapers of Singapore are visible in the distance – no prizes for guessing why Singaporeans account for many of the holidaymakers.

Singapore is but a 45-minute ferry ride away, making it all too easy for those city-dwellers to escape their crowded city-state for the tranquility of Batam’s resort, the ferry dropping them at the very well-constructed and -managed ferry terminal known as Nongsapura.

Thanks to Nongsapura, getting to and from the resorts is easy and comfortable, with ferries setting off at regular intervals to destinations in both Singapore and Malaysia. These speedy ferries deftly negotiate busy waters, weaving around the huge cargo ships and tankers that pass through the strait. Before all that, though, comes the Nongsa River.


The Nongsa River connects the island to the strait. Like much of the rest of Batam Island, it is surrounded by dense vegetation, which lends it a distinctly wild air. Trips upriver to view exotic birds and wild monkeys are possible, although most people find it hard to drag themselves away from the coast.

One of those coastal attractions is Nongsa’s impressive and expansive marina open to private vessels. Otherwise, there are plenty of watery activities to help while away the holidays: fishing, snorkeling, parasailing, water-skiing, jet-skiing and banana boating.

The downside of all these water activities is the water itself – or more particularly the clarity of the water. It is perhaps only to be expected that with this strait being a major marine thoroughfare – dozens of massive ships pass through the Strait and often time clouds of exhaust fumes can be seen belching from their enormous engines – the water is going to be on the murky side of pristine.

The problem of pollution is also evident in the work of the cleaners raking the beaches each morning, burying the less desirable offerings that have been washed up on the shore.

Never mind – there is no need to swim in the sea, as the resorts all have their own swimming pools replete with fountains and waterfalls, and a mix of depths to please everyone from children and the more serious swimmer. Given this, the sea may be better left alone as a backdrop for the resorts.

Otherwise, the environment in Nongsa is generally clean and well kept, creating great benefits for the local wildlife. In the thick lush forests, visitors can see exotic and colorful birds going about their business of foraging and nesting. At night, bats sweep across the sky, gorging themselves on the abundant fruit hanging from the trees.

Nongsa and its resorts may be quite different from the rest of Batam Island, but are created ideally for rest and recreation. The detail in the construction and management of the hotels and resorts means taking a vacation here can be very pleasing and satisfying – regardless of first impressions.

Travel USA 10 cool places to visit

Travel USA 10 great adventures ideas

it’s so beautiful and full of natural wonders and man made havens. I compiled a list of 10 places that I think everyone should try to visit. I tried to come up with places maybe you’ve never heard of but are defiantly worth the travel.

Here they are in no particular order.

1.I’m all for natural wonders and for your first destination might I recommend the Geysers in yellow stone national park in Wyoming. It is perhaps has the most famous geyser in the world, “old Faithful” as it’s called. It is one group of about two hundred actice geysers. Old faithful erupts every hour for about four minutes, it’s an amazing site.

For those who aren’t sure what a geyser is, it is a hole in the ground that shoots our steaming hot water from the ground. Some geyser shoot water hight into the sky and others just bubble and gurgle. Some geysers go off several times an hour or in a day and some are only active every few years or more. So I recommend you take the kids to Yellowstone park, hey maybe you’ll even see Yogi Bear…LOL

2. In Colorado at a place called “MesaVerdeNational park an amazing architectural wonder can be found. Discovered by two cowboys in the late 1800’s is a abandoned houses carved into the side of a cliff. These apartment style homes had been long abandon but are believed to have been built by early Indians. This Cliff palace as it’s sometimes called is a unique and unlike any other place in north America. For what ever reason it was abandoned hundreds of years ago, it’s a great place to check out, just a bit of ancient ruins right here in your own backyard.

3. We have some beautiful natural wonders here in America, we have the grand canyon Niagara falls and in Oregon we have Crater lake. Scientist say thousands of years ago MountMazama exploded, sending rivers of lave gushing from the top. After being quiet for years the mountain finally trembled, cracked, and the edges of the crater fell into a big hole at the top. That is why some people say MountMazama swallowed its self. Now the crates is filled with clear blue water…it’s like looking into gods bowl….There is a small village where your can find quaint places to stay and visit. There is a highway that runs around the lake, it’s a beautiful sight. Like something out of a fantasy movie. Guests can visit Crater LakeNational Park throughout the year. If you plan to visit Crater Lake in the winter, you might consider joining one of the ranger-led snowshoe walks. These walks are offered completely free of charge, though you will need to bring your own snowshoes. Each Saturday and Sunday at 1 pm from Thanksgiving until the end of March, the friendly rangers of Crater LakeNational Park take willing hikers around sections of the lake. The crater is located in Oregon at Crater LakeNational Park.

4. This next spot has got to be one of my favourites, Carlsbad caverns a collection more then 100 limestone caves including Lechuguilla Cave the nation’s deepest limestone cave(1,604 ft) and third longest (over112 miles). This is a sight to see, if your not squeamish about traveling under the earth. Caves are an amazing creation in nature, remember whats beneath our feet is just as important as whats above it. Take one of the year round tours learn how caves are formed, what lives in them and so much more. Caving is a lot like hiking under ground so please take caution if you embark on a caving adventure.

5. As most Americans know California was the place to be during the gold rush. High in the mountains of eastern California in a hidden valley a town called Bodie was born when a wondering prospector discovered gold in 1859. People came from all over to find gold and small towns sprung up everywhere. The town of Bodie filled with thousands of people and eventually became known as a wicked place where robbers and thieves killed and fought for the gold. All that’s left today is a ghost town one of the few. Many of the town building still remain today, such as the church, stores, saloons, houses, post office and even the morgue. Bodie was once thriving with almost 10 thousand people now deserted it is a very cool and creepy place to visit

6. Looking to go back in time and see some of the countries history, then you have to take your family to Mackinac Island between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. On Mackinac Island there are no cars allowed, as soon as you get off the boat you get a horse and buggy or a bicycle. There are many places to visit on the island like Old fort Mackinac where British and American soldiers once fought to control the northwest territories. You can also visit The grand Hotel it use to be one of the largest summer hotels in the world. There are many sights and activities for the whole family on Mackinac Island, take your family back in time it’s defiantly an adventure worth checking out.

7. Another neat place to visit is a natural and man made is the graveyard of the Atlantic, or CapeHatteras. Many years ago on the very shores of North Carolina and Virginia Captain Black Beard sailed and attacked any ships that came into sight. They stole cargo and scared the local. On this very coast Black Beard was killed now it’s called Cape Hatteras Recreation Area. Along the shores of CapeHatteras the waters are shallow and have swallowed many of ships, to this day hundreds of ship wrecks lay on the sandy beaches. So to visit the place where black beard once ruled and then died and you want to see a graveyard of ships this is defiantly a cool place to take a vacation. And if you don’t care much about the ship wrecks the beach is just as fabulous on hot summer days.

8. In Oklahoma you can find an authentic IndianVillage. IndianCity is in the Tonkawa Hills near Anadarko Oklahoma. The Indians have built everything here from the grass houses to the fine art. Tours are held teaching about the customs of different tribes, Indian dances and feasts are held. Learn about their clothing, tools, musical instruments and more. Meet the ancestors of those who where here first see what life was like before big cities and stone houses. This is a very interesting place to visit, defiantly for the kids.

9. This next adventure may not be for everyone, I’m talk’n about heading south to the vast and mysterious Okefenokee Swamp. The swamp stretches from Florida to Georgia. Visiting the Okefenokee swamp is like stepping into an exotic land. The swamps provide a refuge for thousands of plants and animal who find sanctuary in the many lakes, islands and wetlands. There is much mystery in the Okefenokee some say you can hear the echoes of ancient reptiles that once roamed, or perhaps still do. What ever you believe this place is magical yes it’s full of bugs, frogs and alligators, but it’s pure and raw beautiful nature.

However, visiting the swamp can be some what confusing. There is no one park you go to that offers the entirety of the Okefenokee experience. Visitors have four choices of parks, each with their own set of natural qualities and recreation opportunities. Three parks are located on the eastern side of the swamp, and one park is located on the south-western side. Because of the size of the swamp, visiting the full complement of parks requires some driving because one must travel around the perimeter of the wetland, which is larger than the interior of Interstate 285 or all the barrier islands of Georgia combined. The most popular activities in the swamp are sightseeing, boating, and fishing there are walking trails and a historic site and a nature museum. All located around the swamps perimeter. This is defiantly and outdoorsmen adventure, and defiantly for the kids a great experience I totally recommend.

10. The final place I think everyone should visit is the Grand Canyon. I figured I should mention this one because it truly is a natural wonder of the world. Its depth and vast size are breath taking and makes you feel connected to the world like no other place. The Grand Canyon speaks history and engulfs your soul, it’s so beautiful and worth any effort it may take to see it. I also recommend if you are in a healthy state of life that you and your family should take some of the many tours both hiking rafting the river are fun and exhilarating. See one of the wonders of the natural world right here in the USA take you family and have some fun.

Remember it is important to spend time with the ones you love, and spending time togther in places full of beauty and excitement makes life worth living. You don’t have to travel far from home either I bet you have some great places to visit right in your own neighbourhood. Explore your world and the world around you and bring those you love closer to you and you to them, enjoy life and see all it has to offer….Happy Times Y’all