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Top 5 Summer Party Spots

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008
by Sue

As the weather heats up this summer, so does the party scene. These 5 sizzling hotspots encompass seasonal music and art fests, sexy seaside towns and great destinations for you to get your groove on.

  • Berlin

BerlinThere are more than a few reasons to head to Germany’s capital city for a raging summer jaunt you won’t soon forget. Not only has the “capital of cool” (its common moniker) just played host to Europe’s most celebrated sports event, the World Cup (June 9-July 9), it’s also the stomping ground for the Love Parade (July 15), possibly the world’s biggest street party. Even if you miss these two headline events, any summer night in Berlin holds endless opportunities for debauchery-laden fun—its mercurial nightlife scene is renowned for its underground clubs, beer gardens and über-cool lounges.

  • Ibiza

IbizaListed as the “entertainment island of the world” by the Guinness Book of World Records, Ibiza, one of the three main Balearic Islands off the coast of Spain, has become synonymous with summer hedonism. Characterized by world-renowned clubs, where dance floors heave under the tracks spun by A-list international DJs, it’s quite possible you’ll spend more time dancing on this pleasure island than anywhere else on our list. When you’re in need of a break, kick back under the moonlit skies at Benirras Beach or stroll the local marina—one of the multimillion dollar yachts moored in the harbor may just belong to a visiting celebrity.

  • Montréal

MontréalSummer merrymakers seeking a blend of sophistication and sass, and culture without pretense, can find a bit of debauchery à la française in Montreal. Of course, you’ll have to forego beaches and bikinis here, but with alcohol consumption and casino gambling (check out the chic Casino de Montréal) open to the 18-and-over crowd, scintillating nightlife (try Boulevard St-Laurent or Crescent Street for the best action), strip-clubs galore, and a certain je ne sais quoi, Montréal’s appeal reels in its fair share of summer party-goers all the same. Popular seasonal festivals also abound—two not-to-miss events include the renowned International Jazz Festival (late June to mid-July), which has headlined greats like Miles Davis and Dizzie Gillespie, and the Just for Laughs Festival (July), featuring some of the world’s funniest comics.

  • Mykonos

MykonosThe sizzling summer months spark a hedonistic wildfire on this famed Greek isle, as jet-setters, backpackers and cruise-ship day-trippers alike converge in search of the ultimate party. Indeed, if your idea of paradise involves rambling white sands met by the deep-blue Aegean, beach bars bumping with Euro tunes, bikini-clad bodies dancing on tables, and topless girls sprawled on the sand, you’ll find it and more on two adjoining local beaches, the appropriately named Paradise and Super Paradise. Come late-afternoon, you’ll be hard pressed to resist the full-blown party that gets going along the shores; the music doesn’t typically die down before dawn—in time for sunrise and a morning nap on the sand.

  • Reykjavik

ReykjavikIceland’s unpretentious capital of Reykjavik is home to a legendary nightlife scene that’s actually a blast to partake in all year long. However, the city nonetheless really comes into its own in summer, when the fabled Midnight Sun crests the horizon—and heralds a season of midnight golf and white nights. June 23 marked the onset of “midnight madness,” with a Viking-inspired festival complete with bonfires and live music. Despite its chilly temperatures (summer highs barely top 65 degrees), there are plenty of thermal wonders to keep you warm here too; most popular, perhaps, is the Blue Lagoon, where mineral-rich hot water bubbles up from the earth in a moonlike landscape.

Historical Places In Romania

Friday, February 29th, 2008
by Sue

The World Heritage Lists sites with outstanding universal value. Seven Sites are in Romania. Following are outstanding significant historic places in Romania.

Romania is a land of majestic castles and ancient medieval towns. Romania is famous to movie goers as the land of Dracula movies. Located in the former Eastern Bloc of Europe, Romania is becoming known as a great vacation area for snow skiers. Winter in Romania can be harsh. The best season for non-skiers to visit is summer.

  • Churches of Moldavia

Churches of moldavia15th-16th century frescoes on painted exterior walls of seven churches are considered masterpieces of Byzantine art. The churches in northern Moldavia are unique in Europe. The paintings represent complete cycles of religious murals on all facades. the paintings are outstanding in composition, elegant outline and harmonious colors.

  • Dacian Fortresses of the Orastie Mountains

Dacian Fortresses of the Orastie Mountains, Transylvania: fortresses built in the 1st centuries BC and AD, under Dacian rule. the fortresses demonstrate a fusion of military and religious architectural techniques. The fortresses defended the Geto-Dacian kingdoms, which had exceptionally high cultural and socio-economic levels in this era. The well preserved remains of the fortresses are in spectacular natural surroundings. the site was selected as an outstanding example of this type of defended site.

  • Danube Delta, Dobruja Region:

The waters of the Danube flow in the Black Sea. These waters form the largest and best preserved of Europe’s deltas. The Danube Delta is home to over 300 species of birds and 45 freshwater fish species in numerous lake and marshes.

  • Monastery of Horezu

Monastery of Horezu, Region of Wallachia. The monastery was founded in 1690 by Prince Constantine Brancovan. The monastery is considered a masterpiece of”brancovan” style.the building is known for architectural purity, balance, rich sculptural detail, composition, votive portraits an painted decorative works. In the 18th century a school of mural an icon painted was established. the school was famous throughout the Balkan region.

  • Villages with Fortified Churches in Transylvania:

Transylvanian villages that provide a vivid picture of the cultural landscape in southern Transylvania. The seven villages, with their fortified churches, show a settlement pattern and organization of the family farmstead. They have been preserved since the late Middle Ages. The buildings illustrate building styles from the 13th to 16th centuries.

Cool Summer Travel Places

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Summer travel in Southern Europe can mean sweltering cities and overcrowded hot beaches, but Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal also have cooler places to escape the heat.

  • The Dolomites

the dolomitesHead for the hills when the valley cities like Verona turn to open-air saunas. Mountain temperatures are lower and the nights cool. Choose a resort town such as Cortina or a small city like Bolzano, in the Upper Adige. Or pick a small village in the Cadore valley and hike along the mountain trails.

  • The Val d’Aosta

val d’aostaNorth of Turin, along the Swiss border are two of Europe’s most famous and beautiful mountains, the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc. Italian towns on their southern slopes get the cool mountain breezes. To the south are the peaks of the Gran Paradiso National Park, where walking trails along the high ridges and green wooded valleys seem designed for hot summer days.

  • The Pyrenees

The PyreneesSummer is a good time to explore the mountains between Spain and France, visiting Basque country and Andorra. Stick to the highlands, though, since the valleys can be blistering. Somewhat cooler are cites on the Atlantic coast, such as Bilbao, whose summer average high is in the 70sF. But that doesn’t stop the occasional heat wave when temperatures push into the 90s.

  • The Northern Portugal Coast

The Northern Portugal CoastAtlantic beaches are cooler than Adriatic or Mediterranean, so you can always cool off in the waves in northern Portugal and Galicia. North of Lisbon the entire coast is a string of beaches. Choose those that are protected by headlands and be careful to observe the flags that warn of dangerous surf and riptides before going into the water. This is the downside of beaches washed by the open ocean.

  • Serra da Estrela

Serra da EstrelaPortugal’s mountains offer breathtaking scenic drives and friendly villages with low-key resort facilities. Castles crown some of the towns (one of the finest is in Linhares) and the pace of life is charmingly old-world. Stay in the park itself or in the nearby town of Belmonte, which has a castle of its own. The Pousada there sits on a breezy height overlooking the valley. The summer wine of choice in Portugal is chilled Vinho Verde, a light white wine that goes well with hot-weather meals.

Quick Family Travel Planning Checklist

Monday, February 25th, 2008

family travel checklist

When You Book

  • Try first for a nonstop flight. If that’s not available, fly “direct,” which means you’ll stop at least once but won’t switch planes.
  • Book flights that depart early in the day, if possible. If your flight is delayed, you and the airline will have time to make other arrangements.
  • Specify your ticketing preferences, whether paper or electronic.
  • Check to see if a meal will be served in flight. If so, order meals your kids like. Many airlines offer kids’ meals or a vegetarian choice that may be pasta. If not, plan accordingly.
  • Ask for the seats you’d like, whether they’re a window, an aisle, or the bulkhead for legroom.

Packing Tips

  • Stuff your carry-on for every contingency. Pack all medications, extra clothes for little kids, diapers, baby food, formula, wet wipes, and snacks (they’ll also help kids swallow to relieve ear pressure).
  • Have each child carry a small backpack with travel toys, a light sweatshirt, and a pair of socks for the flight.

On the Day of Your Trip

  • Call ahead to check for delays.
  • Have all photo IDs within easy reach (not necessary for kids under age 18 traveling with their parents on domestic flights; on most international flights, even infants will need a passport).
  • If you have heavy bags, check your luggage first and then park.
  • If you are early for the flight or run into long delays, don’t go straight to the gate. Instead, meander through the airport’s diversions: windows onto the runways, children’s play areas (many major airports now have these), Web access computers, and, of course, stores where kids can find a treat to tide them over.
  • Carry on extra bottled water. It’s easy to get dehydrated on a plane, and the drink service may be slow in reaching you.

On the Plane

  • Ask if your child can view the cockpit (the best time may be after the flight is over).
  • Secure pillows and blankets for family members who may want to nap.
  • Take breaks from sitting; occasionally walk the aisles and switch seats.

The Longest Bridges In World

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008
by Ann
  • Seven Mile Bridge

Seven Mile BridgeThe Seven Mile Bridge, in the Florida Keys, runs over a channel between the Gulf of Mexico and the Florida Strait, connecting Key Vaca (the location of the city of Marathon, Florida) in the Middle Keys to Little Duck Key in the Lower Keys. Among the longest bridges in existence when it was built, it is one of the many bridges on US 1 in the Keys, where the road is called the Overseas Highway.

  • San Mateo-Hayward Bridge

San Mateo-Hayward BridgeThe San Mateo-Hayward Bridge (commonly called San Mateo Bridge) is a bridge crossing California’s San Francisco Bay in the United States, linking the San Francisco Peninsula with the East Bay. More specifically, the bridge’s western end is in Foster City, the most recent urban addition to the eastern edge of San Mateo. The eastern end of the bridge is in Hayward. The bridge is owned by the state of California, and is maintained by Caltrans, the state highway agency.

  • Confederation Bridge

Confederation BridgeThe Confederation Bridge (French: Pont de la Confédération) is a bridge spanning the Abegweit Passage of Northumberland Strait, linking Prince Edward Island with mainland New Brunswick, Canada. It was commonly referred to as the “Fixed Link” by residents of Prince Edward Island prior to its official naming. Construction took place from the fall of 1993 to the spring of 1997, costing $1.3 billion. The 12.9-kilometre (8 mi) long bridge opened on 31 May 1997.

  • Chesapeake Bay Bridge

Chesapeake Bay BridgeThe Chesapeake Bay Bridge (commonly known as the Bay Bridge) is a major dual-span bridge in the U.S. state of Maryland; spanning the Chesapeake Bay, it connects the state’s Eastern and Western Shore regions. At 4.3 miles (7 km) in length, the original span was the world’s longest continuous over-water steel structure when it opened in 1952. The bridge is officially named the William Preston Lane, Jr. Memorial Bridge after William Preston Lane, Jr. who, as governor of Maryland, implemented its construction.

  • Donghai Bridge

Donghai BridgeDonghai Bridge (literally “East Sea Grand Bridge”) is the longest cross-sea bridge in the world and the longest bridge in Asia. It was completed on December 10, 2005. It has a total length of 32.5 kilometres (20.2 miles) and connects Shanghai and the offshore Yangshan deep-water port in China. Most of the bridge is a low-level viaduct. There are also cable-stayed sections to allow for the passage of large ships, largest with span of 420 m.

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