Dont be shy about taking lots of pictures when you visit Barcelona, Spain so you can send them to your friends and make them all jealous! When you get home you can organize your photos in various scrapbooks to remember all your great memories. Add a map to your scrapbook so you can remember what part of town you were in when you took different shots. Before you can make your memories you must have somewhere to begin.Dont lose a minute of time when you get to Barcelona. Organize yourself and your itinerary to make the most of your schedule. Depending on the time of year Spain can be very sunny or have rain showers. Pack in your museums on the cloudy days and save the outdoor parks and strolling around the neighborhoods for your sunnier days.Make sure to check out the best in Barcelonas architecture. You will want to hit up the Sagrada Familia or Sacred Family church, which was designed by famed architect, Antonia Gaudi. You can also visit La Pedrera or the Block of Discord, all of these sights are very modern and lovely to visit.If photography isnt your thing then check out all the great postcard stands that are all over the city. You can great cards to send to friends and family back home that have shots from all over the city. Some may also have Gaudis works on them. If you do want to take lots of photos then buy high quality film or make sure your memory card on your digital camera isnt full and your batteries are fully charged.If the weather is great, then walk down Las Ramblas to admire all the beautiful flowers and exotic birds. You can also head north in the city to the lovely Park Guell to see more of Gaudis art. You can start a sightseeing tour at Park Guell and work your way down the city all the way to the Olympic Stadium and the Port. Check out Camp Nou, which is home to Barcelonas famed football team, commonly referred to as Barca.Leave Barcelona if you want to explore other parts of Catalunya for a short day trip or even for a few nights stay. You can visit other coastal towns or travel inland. You can check out Stiges and stay at a hotel right on the beach for the ultimate relaxation experience. Costa Brava has many delightful places to stop so drive up and down this coast for a day or two to take it all in. Make sure to take your camera for the beautiful rocky vistas you will experience if you travel inland from Barcelona.
During the Thai economic boom of the middle of 1980s to 1990s, hotels have been over-built in Pattaya, Chonburi. As a result, prices are very reasonable compared to most other countries given the high quality of accommodations and services offered.But if visitors plan to visit Pattaya, it is highly recommended to make hotel reservations well ahead of time, since most hotels there are fully overbooked in these popular tourists destination.Pattaya has an excess of accommodation in every price bracket. Yet tourist are advised to always take a look at the room (or better still several rooms) before agreeing on a price. However, tourist can see hotel review in more internet websites.Pattaya boasts an incredible choice of accommodation to suit for every traveler. Facilities range from luxury hotels with private beaches to bayside hotels and bungalows, and inland, economy class hotel and guest houses.For backpackers and adventurous tourists, guesthouses are usually the cheapest option, costing fewer than USD 10 per night (or less for a dorm bed). This gets you a room with a fan, a squat toilet (often shared) and not much else.Pattaya hotels start around USD 10 and go up to around USD 300. The upper end of this range will be air-conditioned or more facilities , the lower with not. The primary difference is that with a hotel room, your bathroom should be more private, beautiful, luxurious, bed linen and towels should be provided and there may be a hot shower. Moreover, some hotels provide other facilities such as satellite televisions, WIFI internet and more.Tourist hotels are generally around USD 25-40 and offer the basics for a beach vacation: swimming pool, room service and cable television. Business and luxury hotels, more than USD 50, offer every modern amenity you can think of and are largely indistinguishable from hotels anywhere else in the world.Some notably Pattayas The Hard Rock hotel are the worlds best hotels which is win the award Hard Rock Hotel of The Year. The most luxurious resorts also fall in this price category, with some of the very best and most private.With a projected 15 millions plus visitors to Thailand predicted in 2006, it is expected that many of the hotels in Pattaya will have high occupancy rates throughout the year.For those who are not familiar with the Pattaya geography. The South and Central Pattaya located hotels are the ones to choose if you are looking to be in the center of the action. There are lots of restaurants, bars, shopping and etc.For those looking for perhaps a quieter nights sleep chose North Pattaya or Naklus, where there are several quality hotels down by the beach at Wongamart.The beach is better than that in Pattaya and the congestion of both people and vehicles is a lot less than in Pattaya. It is however, easier to travel to Pattaya for the evening by taking one of the many baht buses which is Thai people called Song-Thaew. They congregate at several points along the Pattaya Beach Road
Language study travel is not at all new to me. Two years ago I went to the University of Havana to study Spanish, and last year I studied Spanish at two different language schools in Cuernavaca, Mexico. I obviously love the Spanish language and the huge variety of Spanish-speaking destinations, but Italy is a gorgeous country in its own right another perfect place for a language-study trip.So my initial three and a half days of exploration in and around Taormina had come to an end, and now it was time to get serious: my first day of classes at the Babilonia Language School awaited me. I had never taken any Italian classes before, but in high school I had 6 years of Latin, 4 years of French and my knowledge of Spanish is quite advanced. So in theory I should do okay with Italian. In addition, I had bought an Italian grammar book in Toronto and was reading up on the intricacies of Italian grammar for a few weeks before I embarked on my trip to Sicily. Well prepared I was not, but given the commonalities among Latin languages, at least my verbal comprehension skills were good enough to get by in everyday situations.I arrived at 8:45 am at the Babilonia Language School. Coffee was served, and a local restaurateur by the name of Ciro, who regularly provides catering services to the language school, was looking after the students with fine Italian coffee and a delicious chocolate cake home-made by his mom. Although the weather wasnt perfect, the space on Babilonias rooftop terrace provided a gorgeous view of Mount Etna and the mountains surrounding Taormina . The rooftop terrace and community/computer room are a perfect place for the schools social activities.About 12 new students were about to start their language studies this Monday, and they came from various different places: England, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, Finland, the United States and Canada. Alessandro Adorno, the founder and director of the Babilonia Language School, gave a brief presentation about the Italian study program and asked the new students to introduce themselves by throwing a small soft ball to the first student who would then pass it on to the next student after their own introduction and so forth. I was third to introduce myself, and followed suit after two advanced students whose linguistic level was considerably above mine. Almost all students had some prior knowledge of Italian with the exception of two students who had never had any exposure to the language.Alessandro also informed us that there would be a written placement test followed by a brief evaluation of our verbal Italian skills following which we would be placed in the appropriate level. By 11:20 the placement tests were completed and I was informed that I would be put into the Intermediate group. This was rather surprising to me since I had never really studied Italian and there were two levels below this level: Beginner and Elementary. So after the break I joined five other students who had all studied Italian before. All of them had already spent a week at the Babilonia Language School, and some were there for three or four weeks already.The class from 11:40 am to 1:30 pm was called Communications and different techniques are used to make the students communicate. Today we were going to do role plays: we had to select three scenarios from a possible 13 situations that all related to the topic How to make and how to respond to a complaint. The class was split up into groups of two and we each had to practice our three scenarios. My partner and I picked a scenario where a tourist complains about an excessively high bill to a waiter, a tourist complains to the car rental agency when the rental car company breaks down, and a traveller complains because the local tourism office continuously provides incorrect information about museum opening hours.Well, when I heard the word role play I immediately started having heart palpitations because after our private 2-person practice round we would get to act out all these scenarios in front of the class! I am notoriously bad with role plays, particularly in a language that I dont know in front of people whom I dont know. I was admiring the students who went ahead of us who performed admirably well in Italian and were rather comfortable acting out their scenarios in front of the entire group. I am sure my performance was rather clumsy and awkward, but I got through it.I was rather intimidated though, so after class I saw my teacher Simona to inquire whether Intermediate wasnt a level too high for me (considering I had no formal Italian learning background). Both Simona and the head teacher Anita concurred that Elementary would be too basic for me so I accepted their opinion of my language skills and trusted them that I indeed belonged to the Intermediate group.Although I found the role play rather stressful the first time around I concluded that it is a very effective way to get you talking, particularly about scenarios that one might encounter as a tourist in Italy. My first official Italian lesson was over, and I felt gratified that I could make myself understood, if sometimes with hands and feet, and that I managed to get my point across, albeit rather clumsily.After the class we had a couple of hours for lunch and we regrouped at 3:30 pm to attend a presentation about the Babilonia Language School. Alessandro gave us an overview of the school and educated us about its teaching methodology. Babilonias philosophy believes that language learning is not just about rote learning of grammatical rules, but about expressing emotion, even about learning local gestures. Our daily lessons would consist of two parts: Language Analyses (which includes grammatical explanations and exercises), and Communicative Tasks which uses all sorts of techniques including games and role plays to induce students to talk. During the Language Analysis portions students are corrected by the teacher while during the Communications portions the teacher refrains from correcting the student in order to encourage them to express themselves as freely as possible. The main goal of Babilonias language courses is to teach communication, verbally and in writing.As far as the schedule is concerned, private lessons are available from 8:30 to 9:25 am and from 2:30 until 5:25 pm. The Language Analysis class is taught from 9:30 until 11:20 am and the Communications Class is taught from 11:40 am until 1:30 pm. Alessandro also explained that there is a coffee break every day from 11:20 to 11:40 am during which students can order a lunch that will be provided by Ciro, a local caterer and restaurant owner of an establishment called Bistro. Lunch can be ordered using a preprinted order form and will then be conveniently ready by 1:30 pm and delivered to the student just after the class. This is certainly a convenient service, and I noticed that the prices were very reasonable, particularly in comparison with Taorminas rather high restaurant prices.Alessandro also explained that Babilonia offers a variety of excursions and social activities which include out-of-town bus trips to interesting locations, local walks and hikes as well as cultural and historical presentations to shed further light on Sicilys culture and history. I had already had the pleasure to participate in two of Babilonias excursions last week: a hike to Castelmola and a driving tour to the historic city of Siracusa. At 4:30 pm we got another chance to see Babilonias activity program first hand since Peppe Celano, Babilonias social activities coordinator and one of the language teachers, met us in front of the school to take us on a walking tour of Taormina.Taormina is one of Sicilys main tourist destinations, and the principal draw in this town is the beautiful Greco-Roman Theatre which dates back to the third century B.C. and was almost completely rebuilt by the Romans in the second century AD. The theatre is built as a semi-circle into the side of a mountain with a perfect view of the Ionian Sea and (on a clear day) of "Mount Etna" . The ancient Greeks were renowned for choosing stunning settings for their theatres, and the natural surroundings of the theatre always played an important role in the selection of the location. The Greek Theatre in Taormina holds more than 5000 spectators and is still in use today for theatre productions as well as a major international concert venue that has welcomed stars like Elton John, Diana Krall, Michael Bubl andWe continued our stroll through Taormina past the Gate of Messina towards the Municipal Market which every morning provides a great shopping opportunity for fresh vegetables, fruits, fish and meat. Along the way Peppe pointed out various restaurants and gathering places that might be of interest to us. Part of our walk took us along Corso Umberto, Taorminas main thoroughfare and a fully pedestrianized area that just swirls with people. The main square of Taormina, called Piazza IX Aprile, features a panoramic terrace with a great southwards view (which on a clear day would have featured Mount Etna, but not today) which is surrounded by the historic Torre dell Orologio (clock tower) and two churches. Right next to the clock tower is the famous Wnderbar, a rather expensive and upscale bar that was once frequented by Liz Taylor and Richard Burton.For more practical purposes Peppe also pointed out the local supermarket on the western edge of town and the only coin laundry in all of Taormina. Now appropriately equipped with local knowledge, a crowd of Babilonia students gathered in the evening at 7:30 pm at Bistro, the bar owned by Babilonias caterer Ciro. Babilonia regularly organizes dinners and culinary explorations for its students, and today we got a sampling of four different types of Sicilian pizza. I had a chance to sit beside a lady from Holland, a computer programmer, who had done a trip around the world in 1995 and had many interesting stories to tell. One of the most interesting tid-bits was that she ran into the same French couple by accident four different times in different locations during her trip around the world in places like Fiji and New Zealand. What an almost inconceivable series of coincidences: to bump into the same couple four times in different places on a trip around the world! She took this as a sign and is still friends with this French couple to this day.Together with two ladies from the US we also discussed topics like 911, and the War in Iraq and it was amazing to see that four women from three different countries could share such a similar philosophy. We even touched on the situation of Muslims in Holland since the murder of Theo Van Gogh by the radical Mohammed Boyeri. It was fascinating to be able to discuss these international events with citizens from the respective countries who shared their own personal insights. As world travelers, we all concurred that today the world is a much different place today.I could tell that an interest in travel, foreign cultures and foreign languages united us all, and it was wonderful to conclude this eventful day in the company of like-minded people. The party was still going strong when I left to catch a good rest for my driving tour of Mount Etna tomorrow.
When you are vacationing on Koh Samui, you'll be enjoying the beaches, the waterfalls and the active nightlife, you'll still need a place to stay, and some of the best places to stay on Thailand's third largest island are the rented villas! The villas of Koh Samui are inexpensive and they can provide you with a degree of privacy that's hard to get in some of the larger resorts. When you stay on one of Koh Samui's beautiful villas, you get a real idea of what it's like to live on this island paradise.When you are planning out your vacation accommodations, you might automatically dismiss the villas as being to expensive. Depending on your situation though, they could be exactly the right choice for you! For instance, if you are planning to stay for longer than two weeks, or even a week and half, the rates of the villa suddenly become a lot more manageable. In the long term, they are cheaper than staying at the resorts, and much more comfortable as well. While you might feel uneasy after an extended stay in a hotel, a villa will provide you with a kitchen, where you can do some cooking if you're tired of eating out and space to just kick back and relax.One thing that a villa will definitely do is give you a terrific sense of privacy. Many Koh Samui villas have views that show you the ocean with nothing between you and the beach. While this might take you slightly off the beaten path, you'll find that you can enjoy the wonderful tranquility that Thailand's islands are so well known for. Frequently, because the villas are part of a loose system, you'll still be able to get get to town for the nightlife and parties via a bus or a car, and when you go home, you won't have to deal with that vibrant nightlife right outside your window!Just because you choose to skip the overcrowded resorts doesn't mean that you have to spend your vacation tidying! Many villas have the option of maid service for a small extra fee and you can find your home away from home spotless every time you walk into it. Because most villas are part of a larger system, you'll find that you have access to things like guides and delivery service, so rest assured that even in a villa you will be well taken care of.Another benefit of the Koh Samui villas is that you can find them practically everywhere and that they have many of the benefits of the resorts but without the crowding. You'll find palatial villas that have pools and hot tubs, but you'll also find plenty of more cozy options that encourage you to settle in and just be yourself. When you are looking for a Koh Samui villa, think about what you want to do while you're in Thailand and make sure the villa you choose in a central location for it. You can have a terrific Koh Samui vacation using a villa as your center of operations, so start planning today!
There are several transportation choices available for you to reach Torrevieja, Spain upon your arrival to the area. However, you will also need transportation during your stay. If you intend to explore nearby cities throughout the Costa Blanca, a Torrevieja car hire is the best transportation to choose providing you with the freedom to travel on your schedule and not that of public transportation. Here are some tips for finding the best car hire service for your trip. There are several major car hire companies in and around Torrevieja. You, of course, have the option of renting a car at the Alicante International Airport, the best airport to fly into when visiting Torrevieja, or you can wait until you arrive in Torrevieja. Be sure to reserve a car early, though. With the increased tourism during the summer season, the rental cars sell out rather quickly. It is a good idea to reserve a car when you book your flight and make the hotel reservation, which also gives you the advantage of getting a good price on the car. Online comparison is the easiest way to find the car you want at a price you can afford. Some websites allow you to compare prices of multiple companies side by side to allow for a more convenient comparison. Pay attention to the prices and deals offered, though, and be sure to compare the entire car package offered. For instance, the rental price of one car may be more than another car but only because it includes extra costs such as unlimited mileage, an extra driver or the taxes. With this in mind, the car appearing to be more expensive upon first glance may actually be the better deal. Of course, you should read the fine print and ask plenty of questions to be sure to get the most accurate estimate before committing to a car. It may also be beneficial to your pocket book to call the local car hire company in Torrevieja. You may find that the local Torrevieja agency is offering a special not advertised online. The economy size is the least expensive with the best rental rate and fuel efficiency. If you do not know what size you need at the time of reservation, you should reserve an economy as they sell out the fastest. You always have the option of upgrading at a later time. If the car hire company does not have an economy size available, they will upgrade you to a larger size and many will only charge you the cost of the economy size vehicle. Finally, you should consider the length of time you will need the car when comparing the advertised costs among companies. Most car hire agencies offer either a daily or weekly rate, and the daily rate is often more expensive than the weekly rate. Even if you will not need the car an entire week, you may ultimately save money by paying for the weekly rate rather than the daily rate.