A Tourist in a New City

So you’ve just arrived in a new city. Everything looks strange and new. You’re tired and overwhelmed with all the unfamiliar sights. Don’t worry; panicking won’t get you anywhere. Just remember that this is a whole new adventure and there are a lot of things in store for you.

What’s next in your agenda?

Relax. Prior to arrival, you may have entertained thoughts of ‘Are we there yet?’, making you all excited and giddy, or maybe anxious and weary. Calm down. Getting frightened won’t make your mind function properly. It won’t make you enjoy the sights that you exerted a lot of effort to see. Take deep breaths and loosen up.

Take a break. Sometimes this is forgotten even by frequent travelers. Rest first to recover the energy the trip took, and to prepare yourself for the days ahead. If it’s too early for you to check in to your hotel, then what you can do is to look for a cafe first, order coffee, plop down in a comfy seat and have serene thoughts. Anything you could do to rejuvenate yourself even just for a while.

Grab a map — look for one, or check maps installed on your smartphone. It’s best to have a map or at least a city layout. Google maps may require Internet connection, but a good old-fashioned map will still work if you don’t have access at the moment. It will be a saner trip if you have a map to teach you where the places are.

Know your hotel route. Be familiar on the routes available for getting to your hotel. It also won’t hurt to check your reservation prior to arrival just to make sure that you indeed have one. See which buildings and sights are close by to maximize your stay. Stroll around the neighborhood to feel more settled in an unfamiliar location.

Check out upcoming events. Talk to the hotel’s concierge service or receptionist, and find out if there are any events coming up – that is, if the reason you went there is not because of an event or occasion. It’s a bad feeling when you realized you missed out on something fun. It’s also best to check events in advance so that you can buy tickets or make reservations in case it’s necessary.

Have cash with you. You’re not sure yet where the closest ATMs are — or if there’s actually one. No matter where you are, even on your hometown, you won’t get too far with an empty wallet. Not only you should have paper bills, you should have coins as well.

Get a transit pass. Buying tickets from time to time is not only time-consuming but also energy-draining. In Hong Kong, you can buy a tourist pass that allows you to have unlimited trips in the train for the whole day. Other countries also have that option that you can utilize. Get a multi-day pass so you can make the most out of your travel.

Being a tourist in a new city doesn’t have to be scary and stressful. Once you get used to the surroundings, traveling would be fun and exciting. All you’ll be concerned about is where to get those postcards to send to people back home.

France’s B&B’s Best Destinations

Chateau-Chenonceau

For visitors to France, bed and breakfasts offer one of the best ways to get the most out of the country. Not only do B&Bs provide cheap accommodation, they also allow the visitor to experience authentic French living far more than one would staying in a characterless hotel.

The quality of bed and breakfasts in France is excellent, whether you choose a city apartment or a rural cottage. Comfortable and clean beds, romantic and idyllic settings, and naturally, delicious continental breakfasts of hot coffee, warm baguettes and croissants await the guest in France, where hospitality is simply a part of the culture.

French charm and hospitality

Some of the best locations for B&Bs in France include Arles, a charming and historical city in Provence that simply oozes charm and atmosphere – as well as being where one of the world’s best-known artists, Vincent Van Gogh, painted many of his works. Staying in a B&B here in Arles is an ideal budget solution to touring the many attractions in the region, including the city’s art museum, Musée de l’Arles, the Church of Saint Trophime, and the amphitheater. Further afield, the natural beauty of the Camargue regional park, with its flamingoes and wild horses, is an experience unlikely to be forgotten.

Châteaux and vineyards

You could stay at a bed and breakfast in the Loire valley and enjoy peace and tranquility, and the ideal base for touring one of France’s best regions for châteaux and vineyards (you may well be staying in one yourself). One can simply hop from one spectacular château to the next, enjoying the garden festivals of the vast and well-groomed estates. In Bourges, the 12th century cathedral is known for its meticulously detailed stained glass, while the huge Apocalypse Tapestry in Angers can equal the Bayeux Tapestry for fascinating storytelling and vivid colors.

In Saint-Émilion in Aquitaine, a region not far from the Spanish border in the shadow of the Pyrenees mountain range, classic châteaux overlook spacious vineyards. This beautiful and ancient walled town has no less than seven gates, and its steep, narrow streets hide wonderful restaurants and shops. Its monolithic church, meanwhile, was carved out of the rocks by the town’s monks.

A house by the sea

Experience the rustic idyll of the Breton region with a room in Saint-Malo, an authentic fishing settlement in France’s Brittany region with a history of seafaring and piracy. Visitors can enjoy walking around the town’s cobbled streets and ancient ramparts. Two small islands can be reached on foot from Saint-Malo at low tide, while the Grand Aquarium is also worth visiting with this town as base. Take a boat trip up the Rance River and back again for a leisurely four-hour sightseeing tour.

France has much to offer the budget traveler, and is a country synonymous with good food and a high level of service and hospitality. Look for reasonably priced hotels, and you’re never far away from an excellent and memorable French experience.

A Week in Melbourne with the Gals

Melbourne in Blue

You and your girlfriends should travel somewhere special for your week out, and there is no city more magical than Melbourne. From the most delicious restaurant spots to the beauty of Melbourne’s theatre scene, you will never want to leave. Not to mention, there are tons of bars for the ladies who like to get their drink on. Follow some of our suggestions so you and your gals can have a fun trip in the heart of Australia, and perhaps you can complete the trip with male strippers, find them here in Melbourne and a gorgeous butler or two.

One must-stop shopping centre is Queen Victoria Market in Central Melbourne. This classy market has everything from fresh fruits and meats to the most fashionable clothing. Queen Victoria Market is the biggest open air market in the entire southern hemisphere. In addition to having fun shopping spots, this market has wine tasting on Sundays and guided tours on certain weekdays. This market is a quality place to visit if you want to be immersed in the most delicious aspects of Melbourne culture.

If you and your ladies desire an introduction to the more natural aspects of Melbourne, check out the Royal Botanic Gardens. This allows you to observe the ripest beauties of nature discovered by scientists who love aesthetic plants just as much as you do. Another place to visit, on a more serious note, is the Shrine of Remembrance which remembers those who lost their lives in the first World War.

Do not forget to try a theatre visit or two before the end of your trip. Choices include Once, The Last Confession and My Struggle. These shows pack a lot of emotional substance in each line, and the actors know how to keep the audience interested. For a more comedic punch, take your gals to God Save the Queen, a show built on funny improvisation that is sure to earn a chuckle or two from your loved ones. We topped out day off by getting pampered.

After you catch up on your shopping and cultural immersion, visit some more fun places. A few of the best attractions do not even cost money. For example, you could try visiting top street art sites such as Hosier Lane, one of the biggest tourist attractions. Don’t forget to grab a camera. Another option is to visit the Grainger Museum; it offers free admission and a look into the life of the eccentric genius Percy Aldridge Grainger.

You cannot have a blast on your Melbourne vacation without getting a bit silly. There are bars all over the city that cater to tourists with all types of drinking tastes. From whiskey to wine, you and your girls will find your niche. Some of the most famous Melbourne bars include Fall from Grace and Tuscan Bar. However, there are several to choose from in the city’s scene. These bars are always packed with great customers who love meeting new people.

Top 5 Things To Do In Verona Italy

Verona in Italy is a popular holiday destination not just for Italians and other Europeans, but for people from all corners of the globe! Located along the Adige river in Veneto, northern Italy, the city of Verona is also a notable holiday destination because of its UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

Not much is known about the early formation of this great city, but it certainly has a lot of Roman influence hence the inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage Site listings.

Photo Credit: weyes (via Flickr)

If you are planning a trip to Verona soon, here are five of the best tourist destinations you should be adding to your travel itinerary!

1. Parco delle Cascate di Molina (Molina Waterfall Park)

Photo Credit: Marcok (via Wikimedia Commons)

Described as an “oasis of peace” the Parco delle Cascate di Molina is a waterfall park that is approximately 80,000 square metres in size. It dates back to around 30 million years and is one of the world’s outstanding areas of natural beauty.

Because of the powerful streams located here, a number of mills have been built in the area in the past to perform all manner of functions such as grinding mill, forging iron and pressing wool.

2. Museo di Castelvecchio (Castelvecchio Museum)

Photo Credit: ladyous (via Flickr)

Located in an old medieval castle (hence the name), the Museo di Castelvecchio features a range of interesting sculptures and paintings from the Romanesque period of Verona.

The castle was renovated by Italian architect Carlo Scarpa in 1959 over a period of 14 years and also contains other items such as medieval weapons, ceramics, and more. Worth a visit if you are interested in learning more about the area’s history.

3. Ponte Scaligero (Scaliger Bridge)

Photo Credit: Jakub Hałun (via Wikimedia Commons)

Whilst you are in the vicinity of the Museo di Castelvecchio, you ought to catch a glimpse of the mesmerising Ponte Scaligero.

It is a fortified bridge that dates back to the early 14th century, and was supposedly a way for Cangrande II della Scala to escape from the castle in the event of attack or rebellion by the local people against his unpopular rule.

4. Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore (San Zeno Maggiore Church)

Photo Credit: Franco2005rsm (via Wikimedia Commons)

Also known as the Basilica of San Zeno, the San Zeno Maggiore Church is one of Verona’s most-popular churches, and Paul from Venere highly recommends checking it out if you are in the area.

Built in the early 12th century, the San Zeno Maggiore Church is famous in that its crypt is well-regarded as the location for the marriage of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

5. Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi (Marcantonio Bentegodi Stadium)

Photo Credit: El Passs (via Wikimedia Commons)

If you feel like you are in a sporting mood, perhaps you should head over to the Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi!

The stadium is home to two local teams, the Chievo Verona and Hellas Verona of Serie A. First built in 1963, it features an array of solar panels on its roof that can produce nearly 1 megawatt of electricity.

3 Great Destinations For A Driving Holiday

Port Underwood, Marlborough, New Zealand

New Zealand

Road trips in New Zealand are popular and have been for ages, with campervan hire cheap and easy and providing a great way to get around. In the 50s all the way to the 70s, families could be seen setting off for summer breaks in family vehicles complete with caravan in tow to a famous holiday spot nearby. Today the idea of holiday on wheels is still as magical as it had been and now attracts both locals and visitors to experience its stunning sceneries some recognizable from ‘The Lord of the Rings Trilogy’, its unique flora and fauna and its geographical remoteness.

New Zealand is a country that consists of two main island and other smaller ones and is endowed with landscapes that change from one spectacular vista to the next every few minutes, a driving holiday experience in New Zealand or rather famously, the land of the ‘Kiwi’ will be like watching an exceptional slide show of jaw dropping natural beauty.

France

If you have been wondering how to get the most out of a France holiday, then you can opt for a road experience in France. Well, it is not only a fascinating option driving across enjoying all the magical sights and sounds but it is a very affordable way to explore France. Many people love it so much that they take advantage of the many mobile homes for sale in France and come back year after year

France has a well developed network of roads and exquisite camping facilities to suit all budgets which makes it ideal for driving holidays. France boasts of some of the most scenic locales in the world some of them featured in many movies and can be best explored on a road trip. With its fabulous destinations such as the French Riviera, the fine weather that screams for an open hooded vehicle to take in all the views, the colorful towns and villages dotting the landscapes and the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean makes it an excellent driving holiday destination.

There are numerous routes that you can choose from; whether you want to drive along the stunning Mediterranean coastline, maneuver the winding roads of the French Alps or venture to off the beaten track, your driving holiday in France will take you to stunning locales and destinations.

UK

The UK is a remarkable country; it is the land of the Queen, castles, manor houses and dynamic variety of landscapes and a driving holiday is the perfect way to enjoy a tour of the British Isles. There are numerous places to visit whilst on a driving holiday in the UK; you can explore its elegant cities, its charming villages, the highlands, the dramatic coastline and even its lakes and rivers.

The UK boasts of well connected roads and fabulous routes that can take you to stunning scenic locations. If you are looking for a historical experience you can start from London and explore the Buckingham Palace and the tower of London.

In Edinburgh you can have a taste of culture and see men wearing skirts and playing bagpipes and eating haggis, but only on special occasions.

On the other hand you can enjoy a scenic drive along the UK’s magical coastline with stunning beaches and popular holiday resorts. The beaches are safe and offer the much needed relaxation after a long day in on the road competing with the ever changing horizon. Whether you are seeking a laid back ride or a thrilling one, UK is never short of tempting options.