Thursday, November 13, 2008

Croatia Sv. Ivan na Pucini lighthouse

Sv. Ivan lighthouse, built in 1853, is located on the most distant islet of the small archipelago in front of Rovinj. This islet is actually a 70 x 50 meter rock with a relatively easily accessible shore and shallow waters, which makes Sv. Ivan an ideal destination for families with children that would like to spend a Robinson Crusoe type of holiday.

Croatia Sv. Ivan na Pucini lighthouse

The 23 m high lighthouse tower offers fabulous views, while there are two four-bed apartments in the lighthouse building. The islet has a berth where smaller boats can be pulled out with the help of a hoist. Due to splendid underwater sites and numerous species of fish, this destination is very popular for those looking to get away from the everyday rut, as well as for those that like to go fishing and diving.

Croatia Rt Zub lighthouse

The lighthouse Rt Zub (cape tooth) was built in 1872 on the Lanterna peninsula. It is equally distant (13 km) from Porec in the South and Novigrad in the North. Peninsula Lanterna lies between two bays, Tarska and Lunga, both famous for their children friendly stone pebble beaches. The lighthouse is directly accessible by car and has a parking lot for guests' vehicles right beside it.

Croatia Rt Zub lighthouse

The lighthouse is a stone building covered by lush flora situated some 10 meters from the sea. It contains a single apartment designed for 6 people. The lighthouse has a ground floor and a first floor and is surrounded by a fenced yard. Due to the automatization of the light signalization, there is no light keeper in the facility, which is completely at guests' disposal.

Croatia Savudrija lighthouse

Savudrija is the oldest lighthouse on the Adriatic, built in 1818. It is also the most northern Croatian lighthouse, situated right next to Slovenian border and only 56 km south of Italian town Trieste.

Croatia Savudrija lighthouse

Closest tourist center and famous destination for tennis lovers - Umag, is situated only 9 km away. The lighthouse also has a good traffic connection with the surrounding area. Its light signal can be seen from up to 17 NM or 32 kilometers distance, its building is 36 meters tall and there is a keeper living inside it.

Soca Fairyland

This summer’s movie blockbuster has been well travelled before it even reaches the screen.

Like its predecessor The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe (and The Lord Of The Rings trilogy), The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian was filmed partly in New Zealand for its magnificent scenery, but the final battle scene takes place in a remote but wonderful valley closer to hand, beside a river of otherworldly blue, the Soca in Slovenia.

Slovenia Soca Fairyland
Hopefully, the resulting film has managed to capture some of the Soca’s magic.

Even if it hasn’t, you can always go see yourself.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Croatia Sveti Petar lighthouse

Sv. Petar lighthouse was built in 1884 on the peninsula of the same name that is placed at the entrance to the town of Makarska, in the vicinity of one of the most beautiful beaches on the Adriatic. The lighthouse is a 20 minute walk from the center of Makarska and is 85 km from Split Airport. An asphalt road leads to the lighthouse.

Croatia Sveti Petar lighthouse

The lighthouse is a stone, ground-floor building surrounded by a terrace. There is one five-bed apartment in the lighthouse. The peninsula itself is a forest park. The town of Makarska is one of the best known tourist destinations on the Adriatic and, apart from its beaches, offers many sports activities.

Croatia Prisnjak lighthouse

The islet of Prisnjak is only some 300 m from the western coast of the island of Murter. In 1886, a lighthouse was built on the islet in order to make it easier for captains to navigate in the Murter archipelago.

Croatia Prisnjak lighthouse

The surrounding waters are very rich in fish, while the lighthouse building is only 15 m away from the beach and the docking place. Prisnjak, lined with stone walls and pine woods, is the most beautiful islet in the Murter archipelago. There is one large apartment and a spacious stone terrace in the lighthouse. It is surrounded by pine trees and is ideal for an active holiday.

Croatia Veli Rat lighthouse

The lighthouse was built in 1849 on the southwestern cape of the island of Dugi otok, 35 km west of the city of Zadar. The villages of Veli Rat, Verunic and Polje are 3 km away, while the ferry port in Bribinj is 20 km away.

Croatia Veli Rat lighthouse

The lighthouse, surrounded by pine trees, beautiful bays and pebble beaches, is considered one of the most beautiful on the Adriatic. Veli Rat offers an unforgettable experience - splendid views from the 40 m high lighthouse tower.
The lighthouse has one four-bed and one three-bed apartment and can be reached by car.

Croatia Porer lighthouse

Porer lighthouse was built in 1833 on the islet of the same name, southwest of Istria's southernmost cape. The islet is an 80 m cliff, 2.5 km from the mainland and the place of Premantura.

Croatia Porer lighthouse

The 35 m lighthouse tower is central with regards to the rest of the stone building. There are many beautiful bays and islets in the vicinity of Porer. The islet itself has three smaller berths. The stone edifice is a ground-floor building with a concrete yard and has two four-bed apartments.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Poem Mountain - Halong Bay Vietnam

Poem Mountain stands over the city of Hon Gai. On his visit to Ha Long, King Le Thanh Tong (15th century) wrote a poem glorifying Ha Long's beauty. This poem is carved on a stele on Nui Truyen Dang which was later renamed Nui Bai Tho or Poem Mountain.

Poem Mountain - Halong Bay Vietnam
The King was a poet and the person responsible for forming the group of intellectuals, Tao Dan Nhi Thap Bat Tu, or Tao Dan twenty-eight scholars.

Hang Luon - Halong Bay Vietnam

Like Ao tien, Hang Luon is in the middle of rock formations the center of which is an open area where the water is clear and calm. There is also a sandy beach.

Hang Luon Halong Bay Vietnam photos

Hang Luon Halong Bay Vietnam photo

Hang Luon Halong Bay Vietnam
However, Hang luon's opening is substantially bigger than the opening of Ao Tien. Depending on the tide, a large boat can go through the tunnel.

Ao Tien - Halong Bay Vietnam

Ao Tien or Pond of the Nymphs, was named by the locals because it was rumored this is where the nymphs gathered to take a bath. The limestone walls surrounds this part of the ocean creating a natural pond in the middle of the bay. Ao Tien is located in an island with a lagoon-like setting, surrounded by limestone walls, accessible only by small row boats and only in low tides.

During high tide, the water rise to cover the opening and keep the water here clean. The water in Ao Tien is only chest deep and very warm. During low tide visitors can disembark from the bigger boat and use a row boat to enter Ao Tien. Some visitors even swim through the opening without using a boat. Many tourists use Ao Tien as a place to sunbathe and wade.

Dong Hang Hanh - Halong Bay Vietnam

Dong Hang Hanh tunnels through mount Quang Hanh 9 km from the township of Cam Pha. The tunnel and cave is approximately 2 km in length.

To visit this cave the visitors must take a small row boat to access the entrance. On the way the rower must maneuver through a variety of rock formation often so narrow that only one boat can fit through at a time.

The air in the tunnel is several degrees cooler than the air outside. As one proceed deeper into the cave, the surroundings become more mystifying as the rocky walls take different shapes, sizes, and hues. Hang Hanh contains many formations. One formation takes the form of a drum (for water) called Ang gao. One looks like a temple with millions of diamond-like crystals as its outer layer. There are several columns of rocks that look like remnants of buildings from some ancient world. These monoliths are several stories high. Theres also a formation of a natural amphitheater in the middle of the water with smaller formations in place as the audience.

Cave of Awe (Hang Sung Sot)

Sung Sot cave is on the same island with Trinh Nu cave. The path to Sung Sot is quite steep and is lined with shady trees. The cave has 2 chambers. The outer chamber is square and is often referred to as the waiting room. The cave's ceiling is approximately 30 m high. The walls are almost perfectly smooth as if it was built by man. The walls generate a variety of colors that blend with the setting of the area.

The path to the inner chamber is approximately 3m wide. The inner chamber is known as the serene castle. The formations in the chamber take the form of sentries conversing with one another, animals in varying poses etc. In the middle of the chamber stands a formation which resembles a general surveying his troops.

There is a side entrance which is approximately 6m in height. The light reflected from the moving water outside causes the formations inside the chamber to seemingly come alive. According to the locals, this was the reason the cave was named Sung Sot, from the awe-stricken reaction of the visitors to the cave.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Best 5 historical places in Italy

Italy… a country so rich in culture, art and history that it's hard to narrow down its highlights. The number of books on the subject shows just how fascinating the area is to so many tourists with a yen for historical discovery, and this article could in fact be several tomes in length. For brevity, I have picked out the very best Italy has to offer – if you only visit 5 historical places in Italy, these should be them. Unfortunately, they're not within easy reach of each other, so you may have to book several luxury resorts in Italy if you wish to tackle them all in one go!

The Coliseum - Italy

Rome's Coliseum is another one for those interested in ancient history – but even those who aren't can't fail to be impressed by the structure! Standing 165 feet tall and measuring 600 feet long, this legendary historical place in Italy held up to 50,000 screaming spectators for blood soaked fights to amuse the gathered crowds – which would include the emperors of the time.

The Coliseum - Italy

The Coliseum Italy
Although the fighters in the ancient ring were typically trained gladiators or convicted prisoners of war, you would occasionally get glory hunting members of the public wanting to try their luck – though, more often than not they overestimated their skills and suffered the ultimate consequences for their bravery...

The Ruins of Pompeii - Italy

Over the last 200 years, the ruins of Pompeii have been successfully excavated to reveal an incredibly preserved city that was lost to Mount Vesuvius' eruption in 79 A.D.

The Ruins of Pompeii - Italy

The Ruins of Pompeii Italy
Having lain in ash for 1700 years, wandering round the ruins is a haunting, yet fascinating experience and something that everyone with an interest in ancient history. As the ruins cover such a large area, this may not be one historical place in Italy that you can see in within a single day.

The Vatican City - Italy

The smallest independent country in the world warrants its own place as an historical sight in Italy. With a population of just 932, the holy city still manages to never feel empty thanks to the seemingly constant influx of tourists and Catholics eager to see the Pope.

The Vatican City - Italy
In terms of historic value, the place oozes it – from the medieval walls to the city to the Sistine Chapel and its famous ceiling painting to the seemingly endless stream of museums, the Vatican City should be on every historical tourist's Italy hit-list.

Duomo di Milano - Italy

One of the world's largest Cathedrals, the Duomo di Milano is a magnificent structure that really makes an impression from the second you first see it.

Duomo di Milano - Italy
Work building it began in the 14th century, and continued all the way up to the 19th – in a way, it is still unfinished as work continues to be performed upon it. Its spire reaches 349 feet, and it has a capacity of 40,000 – if you're used to seeing local parish churches, this is a real eye-opener!

Basilica di San Miniato al Monte

When it comes to Florence, it's hard to narrow down the spot which captures the very essence of the history, but for me the Basilica di San Miniato al Monte is as close as you can get.

Italy Basilica di San Miniato al Monte
Construction on this beautiful church was begun in 1013 in the name of St. Miniato – an Armenian Prince beheaded for being a Christian. Legend has it that after being thrown to the beasts in the Amphitheater, a panther refused to eat him. When beheaded by the emperor, Miniato is alleged to have physically carried his head up the hill of Mount Fiorentinus to his hermitage, which later became the site of the church. Whether or not you believe the legend attached to it or not, there is no doubt that the Italian historical sight is truly beautiful, and it is one of the most tranquil places in Italy, let alone Florence.

Halong Bay Vietnam

Ha Long Bay - means "Bay of the Descending Dragon" in the Vietnamese language.
The bay consists of a dense cluster of 3000 limestone monolithic islands, each topped with thick jungle vegetation, which rise spectacularly from the ocean. Several of the islands are hollow, with enormous caves. Hang Dau Go (Wooden stakes Cave) is the largest grotto in the Halong area. French tourists visited in the late 19th century, and named the cave Grotte des Merveilles. Its three large chambers contain large numerous stalactites and stalagmites (as well as 19th century French graffiti).

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Some of the islands support floating villages of fishermen, who ply the shallow waters for 200 species of fish and 450 different kinds of mollusks. Many of the islands have acquired their names as a result of interpretation of their unusual shapes: such names include Voi Islet (elephant), Ga Choi Islet (fighting cock), and Mai Nha Islet (roof). 989 of the islands have been given names. Birds and animals including bantams, antelopes, monkeys, and iguanas also live on some of the islands.

Halong Bay Vietnam video:

Tuan Chau - Halong Bay Vietnam

Tuan Chau island or Sentinel Chau Island is 3 km west of Dau Go cave. The island is approximately 3 km2. This island is inhabited by people. The nurturing hands of humans have turned this island into a fertile farm producing vegetables and fruits for the outlying mining and fishing villages of Ha Long Bay.

According to the inhabitants, Tuan Chau is a derivative of two words. Before the revolutionary war, each island was under the surveillance of an officer. Each was in charge of a group of sentinels assigned to keep security for one island in the bay. There were several of such officers assigned to Ha Long. The Vietnamese words, linh tuan means sentinel(s) and tri Chau means mandarin (officer) Chau, hence the combination of the two words means Tuan Chau or Sentinel Chau.

There is a bamboo hut on the island that has became a shrine, since it was rumored that this place was favored by Ho Chi Minh when he visited Ha Long. The hut is maintained and kept by the people of the island. Today visitors to the island can visit the hut as if it was a historical monument.

Pelican Cave (Hang Bo Nau)

Unlike Dau Go cave, Bo Nau cave is not as deep and large. Looking out from the cave the visitor can enjoy the scenic beauty of Ha Long. The clear blue water with rocky formations rising forms a picturesque setting. Bo Nau is a compound word derived from two words, bo cau meaning pigeon and nau meaning brown. Bo Nau literally means brown pigeon. For some reason, many foreign translations refer to this cave as Pelican cave.

According to the fishermen in this region, long ago, when there were still few visitors, Bo Nau cave was home to thousands of pigeons. Today as more visitors and people begin to inhabit the surrounding islands, the pigeons have left until only the name Bo Nau remains out of habit of the local fishermen.

Hang Trinh Nu (Virgin Cave)

Hang Trinh Nu or the Virgin is also known as Mid Gate cave. According to local lore, an old couple lived here long ago. The husband made a living fishing around the bay. They were very poor. They had only one daughter. She grew up to be a beautiful young woman, so beautiful that people from all around knew of her. There were many suitors and her reputation reached the local mandarin. The mandarin immediately sent his soldier to her home to capture her. She was forced to marry the old mandarin.

After much cajoling and threats the fair maiden still steadfastly refused. One day, she escaped from the mandarins home, however she was afraid to return home for fear of retaliation. After much thought, the maiden decided to go to Mid Gate cave to commit suicide. Her body turned into the stone statue lying atop a flat surface. Since then, Mid Gate cave became known as Virgin cave.

Virgin cave tunnels through the middle of an island approximately 2 km long. Along the tunnel, there are many chambers. Each is famous for a different reason. All are unique in their beauty. Many visitors to the cave are awed by its beauty and so the name Hang Sung Sot was given to the outer chamber of the Virgin cave. Sung Sot literally means astonishment or awe.

Best Croatia lighthouses

Lighthouses on the Croatian islands and promontories are special places for a unique holiday. Choose a lighthouse in the vicinity of tourist centers or a lighthouse in the open sea - your own "paradise" far away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Best Croatia lighthouses

Croatia Palagruza lighthouse

Palagruza lighthouse was built in 1875 on the island of the same name, placed in the middle of the Adriatic sea, between the Italian and Croatian coasts, 68 NM south of Split and 26 NM south of the island of Lastovo. This historically rich island of exceptional beauty is Croatia's furthest island. The island itself is 1400 m long, 300 m wide and 90 m high, and is covered in Mediterranean vegetation.

Croatia Palagruza lighthouse

Since the lighthouse building is placed in the middle of the island at the height of 90m, we do not recommend holidays on Palagruza for the elderly or for those with health problems. There are two four-bed apartments in the spacious lighthouse building.

Croatia Susac lighthouse

The island of Susac, off of navigation routes, is 23 NM south of the island of Hvar and 13 NM west of the island of Lastovo. It is surrounded by endless open sea that makes you feel completely secluded from the rest of the world. This sensation is even stronger than on the island of Palagruza from which you can sometimes catch a glimpse of the Italian coast. When viewed from a distance, it seems as though Susac consists of two islands.

Croatia Susac lighthouse

Susac lighthouse was built in 1878 on the highest point of the extremely steep southern side of the island, where there are numerous cliffs jetting out of the deep crystal clear sea.

Croatia Struga lighthouse

In the middle of the southern side of the island of Lastovo, at the entrance to the bay of Skrivena Luka lies the Capeof Struga where the lighthouse of the same name with a capacity of 15 people was built in 1839.

Croatia Struga lighthouse

Lastovo is a scarcely inhabited island 55 NM from Split and Dubrovnik, while its archipelago consists of over 40 islands, islets and cliffs. Due to its distance from the mainland, it seems as though it emerges from the blue of the sea and sky. The lighthouse lies at the height of 70 m, at the very edge of a steep cliff that offers a splendid view of the open sea.

Croatia Plocica lighthouse

Plocica lighthouse, built in 1887, is placed on the island of the same name between the islands of Korcula and Hvar, and the Peljesac peninsula. The island was named after its interesting shape. Flat and low, it resembles a slate protruding out of the sea. It is one of the most beautiful landscapes on the Adriatic.

Croatia Plocica lighthouse

Out of all lighthouses, Plocica, along with Struga, can accommodate the most people (max. of 14) and is perfect for a Robinson Crusoe type of holiday. Plocica does not have a lighthouse keeper and the waters surrounding it are great for diving. The ground and first floor have an area of 165 square meters, while the yard is paved with stone and the tamarisks and century-old fig trees offer shade all day long.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Tropical Villa Vacations

Tropical Villa Vacations
Image tags: facation, vqacqation, vction, vaxcaxtion, vxcxtion, vacat9on.

Tropical Villa Vacations, through our boutique property management service known as Tropical Villa Realty, brings to market an exclusive collection of sumptuous ultra-luxury quality legal hotel-zoned vacation accommodations. Hotel-zoned or otherwise legally appropriate short-term vacation properties include all of our exclusively managed premium resort villas at "The Wailea Beach Villas", Makena Surf, Wailea Point, the Ka`anapali Hawaiiana House, Ka`anapali Sea Shells Beach House, Ka`anapali Empress Estate, Wailea Sunset Estate, and Wailea Sunset Bungalow, and other select vacation accommodations on Maui and the other islands of Hawai`i including Kaua`i, "Big Island" of Hawai`i, and O'ahu.

Tropical Villa Vacations is celebrating more than twelve years of exceeding customer expectations. Discerning travelers choose Tropical Villa Vacations for its fabulous collection of exceptional and truly luxurious beach front vacation estates, secluded retreats, romantic hideaways and villa resorts.

Tropical Villa Vacations is the original villa rental agency to pair extraordinary vacation residences with complimentary "Personal Concierge Service". Our staff trained for an aggregate of more than twenty years as Concierge with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts in Maui, Seattle, Beverly Hills, Tokyo, and beyond.

The esteemed guests of Tropical Villa Vacations receive personalized luxury vacation planning services. Our service is entirely custom and reflects the individual expectations of each guest. Whether you are seeking new-luxury "sophistication without pretense" or traditional-luxury with "every wish indulged", the experienced and attentive staff of Tropical Villa Vacations will anticipate and accommodate your needs with exacting attention to detail.

If you are seeking a vacation villa nestled within a resort setting, select one of our exclusive privately-managed Wailea Beach Villas. Your reservation will be confirmed for the individual villa of your choice, providing you with a guaranteed view and location.

Tropical Villa Vacations and Tropical Villa Realty are based in sunny Kihei on the island of Maui, which has been repeatedly voted the best tropical island in the world by the readers of specialized travel publications. Tropical Villa Vacations is the actual hands-on property manager and direct rental agent for many of the extraordinary properties displayed in this expansive web brochure.

Mailing Address:
* Tropical Villa Vacations
* P.O. Box 959, PMB 747
* Kihei, Maui, Hawaii, USA 96753-0959
Office Location & Courier Address:
* Tropical Villa Vacations
* Island Surf Building
* 1993 South Kihei Road, Suite 15
* Kihei, Maui, Hawaii, USA 96753

Vacation as a trip as an observance

travel vacation
Image tags: travepl, trwavel, traveil, travwel, trawvel, ttavel.

In England the word "vacation" referred specifically to the long summer break taken by the law courts (and later universities)—a custom introduced by William the Conqueror from Normandy where it was intended to facilitate the grape harvest. The French term is similar to the American English: "Les Vacances." The term derives from the fact that, in the past, upper-class families would literally move to a summer home for part of the year, leaving their usual family home vacant.

vacation kauai
Image tags: vacatfion, vqcqtion, vacatioin, vacat6ion, vacationb.

Vacation is a term used in English-speaking North America to describe a lengthy time away from work or school, a trip abroad, or simply a pleasure trip away from home, such as a trip to the beach that lasts several days or longer. In the rest of the English-speaking world the word holiday is used (e.g. "I'm going on holiday to Malta next week"). Americans, especially those of recent British or European descent, may also use the word "holiday." "Annual Leave" is another expression used in Commonwealth countries. Canadians often use the terms vacation and holiday interchangeably when referring to a trip away from home or time off work. In Australia, the term can refer to a vacation or gazetted public holiday, but not to a day of observance such as Mothers' Day or Halloween.

vacation trip
Image tags: trkp, trkip, trrip, tr9ip, t5ip, 5trip.

In all of the English-speaking world including North America, a holiday can refer to a day set aside by a nation or culture (in some cases, multiple nations and cultures) typically for celebration but sometimes for some other kind of special culture-wide (or national) observance or activity. A holiday can also be a special day on which school and/or offices are closed, such as Labor Day. By extension, (observance)-holiday, e.g. Labour Day holiday, refers to the rest period around the official observance.

Monday, February 25, 2008

5 biggest hotels

Image tags: hote, hotaal, hotiil, hotfl, hootel,.

The largest hotel is at the womb of Asia. It can be found in Thailand, the Ambassador City Jomtien. It is a paradise away from home. Just try to imagine a 40-acre beach singing you waves of lullaby. The mountains also embrace you with its green. All your anxieties are sure to vanish into thin air. You just need a ten-minute boat ride from Pattaya. If you crave for the city-way of relaxation and leisure, you need not worry about it.

MGM Grand Hotel
Image tags: hotrl, hotgel, hoterl, hohel, hotelk, hotelo.

This is also a complex which has tennis and sports center, business service for those who need one and convention center for those who gather for assemblies, reunions, forums, and so forth. Not to forget, this hotel has the largest swimming pool in Asia. The biggest trivia is that it has a total of 5,100 guest rooms and suites.

If you are around Las Vegas for some casino or whatever, it will make your trip complete if you try sleeping at MGM Grand Hotel Casino. It holds the title of the second biggest hotel in the world and the biggest in the North American region. You will say nothing but praises when you will see right in your very eyes its four 30-storey towers. What more if you treat your sight with its massive video screens? A huge gold lion is outside while live lions dwell inside the place. Feed your appetite with nine restaurants and two food courts. Go and get one of its 5,005 guest rooms.
Luxor Hotel Casino
Image tags: hotfel, hofel, hatel, jotel, ho6el.

Are you still in Las Vegas? If the MGM is not the hotel for you, try the second biggest in Las Vegas and the third biggest in the whole world, Luxor Hotel Casino. The adjoining tower house and the pyramid-like structure have 4,408 guest rooms and suites in it.

Las Vegas also owns in its midst the fourth largest hotel in the world Mandalay Bay (including THEhotel). Ever since 1999, it has become popular due to being one of the hippest night spots.
Mandalay Bay front
Image tags: hot6el, hoitel, hot3el, horel, hoteli.

Numerous concerts are held here. When the sun is out, one can savor the enigma of its rich heritage for it has a unique coin museum.
Mandalay Bay
Image tags: hhotel, ho5tel, hotelp, hogel.

A walk-through aquarium is also another delightful spot. Your stomach and your spirit alike will enjoy the trendy restaurants. It has all in all, 4,341 rooms.
Mandalay Bay shark reef
Image tags: uhotel, hortel, hyotel, hoel.

Do you love Italy? Well, if Europe is just too far, Las Vegas will be happy to let you in. Yes, the next biggest hotel is still at its area. A replica of St. Mark’s Square does the trick. You will experience Italy on its Renaissance period.
St. Mark`s Square hotel
Image tags: Swauare, Squar4e, Squaroo, Sqjare, Squa5re.

For music-adorers, this the right place. Strolling musicians are almost out 24/7. The Venetian has the largest standard rooms. Their size is at 700 square feet. Have a reservation from one of its 4,049 guest rooms and suites.
St. Mark`s Square hotel inside

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

10 best roller coasters

1. Steel Dragon is a roller coaster at Nagashima Spa Land Amusement Park in Mie Prefecture, Japan. Built by Morgan Manufacturing, this gigacoaster opened, appropriately, in 2000 - "The Year of the Dragon" in the Far East. It debuted only months after Millennium Force and surpassed the Cedar Point coaster as the world's tallest complete-circuit coaster. It also set a record for longest track length - 8133 feet, 2 inches (2479 m), which it currently holds.

2. Top Thrill Dragster is a steel, hydraulically-launched roller coaster located at Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio. It was the first "Strata Coaster," loosely defined as a complete circuit coaster that is 400 to 499 feet tall. It was built by Intamin AG and debuted to the public on May 4th, 2003. It is one of only 2 stratacoasters in existence, the other being Kingda Ka (2005) at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey.

3. Thunder Dolphin is a steel roller coaster at the LaQua amusement park, which is part of Tokyo Dome City in Tokyo, Japan. At 262 feet (80 m) tall, Thunder Dolphin is currently the 5th tallest continuous circuit roller coaster in the world, behind only Kingda Ka, Top Thrill Dragster, Steel Dragon 2000 and Millennium Force.

4. Millennium Force is a steel roller coaster located at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, and was built by Intamin AG. The fourteenth roller coaster built at the park, its royal blue track stands 310 feet (95 m) tall at its highest point. The coaster overlooks Lake Erie. When it was built in 2000, it was briefly the tallest complete circuit roller coaster in the world. It is also the first roller coaster to utilize a cable lift system, rather than the traditional chain lift. The chain lift was too heavy considering that Magnum's chain was 7 tons and two-thirds as tall. The cable lift uses a 800-horsepower motor that turns a set of sprocket gears that pulls the cable Cable lifts were previously only used on smaller coasters in Europe.

5. Dodonpa is a roller coaster at Fuji-Q Highland, Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan. It opened in 2001 and is a steel sit-down roller coaster with a compressed air launch. The ride was built by S&S Power of Utah, U.S.A.
It is 52 metres (170 feet) tall, and has a launch speed of 172 km/h (107 mph), which is reached in less than 2 seconds. When it was opened it was the fastest roller coaster in the world. As of 2006 it is the 3rd fastest but still has the highest acceleration at launch time.

6. Goliath is a steel roller coaster made by Giovanola of Switzerland. The hypercoaster is located in the Colossus County Fair area of Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California.During a brief period from its opening on February 11th to May 13th, 2000, Goliath's 255-foot opening drop was the longest and fastest (85 mph) on a closed-circuit roller coaster in the world. Millennium Force at Cedar Point eclipsed Goliath when it opened on May 13, 2000 with a drop of 300 feet and speeds of 93 mph.

7. Titan is a hyper coaster located at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, Texas.Titan's supports used 2.8 million pounds of steel to manufacture. When it was built, the Titan was the longest roller coaster ever to be built at a Six Flags Inc. park.The impressive layout includes a negative G camelback turn and a double helix turn that produces 6 full seconds of sickening G force of up to 4.5 G. The Titan has a massive drop, 255ft at the tallest section, and reaches speeds of 85mph during a 5,280ft long ride lasting for 3 and a half rather thrilling minutes.

8. Kingda Ka is a roller coaster located at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township, New Jersey, USA. At its opening on May 21, 2005, it became the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world, claiming the title from Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point. The train is launched by a hydraulic launch mechanism to 128 miles per hour (206 km/h) in 3.5 seconds. At the end of the launch track, the train climbs the main top hat tower reaching a height of 456 feet (139.5 m). Due to aviation safety concerns, the tower is equipped with three dual strobes: two mid-way up, and one on the top.

9. Nemesis is an inverted roller coaster located at Alton Towers, England. The ride was designed by Bolliger & Mabillard and opened in 1994 in the Forbidden Valley area of the park. It is themed around an entirely fictional legend created by The Tussauds Group (the park owners at the time) in which a monster, disturbed during routine maintenance work, creates a large crater in the Staffordshire landscape, and is necessarily restrained using the hundreds of tonnes of steel that make up the roller coaster tracks. The subterranean aspect of the theme was born of the necessity to build the ride in trenches to reduce its height above the ground, in compliance with local planning restrictions which require Alton Towers to build below the tree line.

10. Dragon Khan is a steel sit-down roller coaster located in the PortAventura theme park in Salou, Catalonia, Spain. Dragon Khan boasts eight inversions; this was a world record when the coaster was built. This record was broken in 2002 with the opening of Colossus in Thorpe Park, United Kingdom, which has ten inversions.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The most isolated islands on Earth

Easter Island is a small, hilly, now treeless island of volcanic origin. Easter Island is famous for its monumental statues, called moai pronounced (Mow-eye), created by the Rapanui people. It is a world heritage site with much of the island protected within the Rapa Nui National Park. The current Polynesian name of the island, Rapa Nui or "Big Rapa", was coined by labor immigrants from Rapa in the Bass Islands, who likened it to their home island in the aftermath of the Peruvian slave deportations in the 1870s. The island received its most well known current name, Easter Island, from the Dutch sea captain Jacob Roggeveen who became the first European to visit Easter Sunday, April 5, 1722.

It's believed that Easter Island was colonized around A.D. 300 by Polynesians from the Marquesas Islands or Mangareva, as part of an eastward migratory trend that originated in Southeast Asia around 2000 B.C. Here developed one of the most remarkable cultures in all of Polynesia.

Easter Island (Spanish: Isla de Pascua, Polynesian: Rapa Nui) is one of the most isolated islands on Earth. Early settlers called the island "Te Pito O Te Henua" (Navel of The World). Officially part of Chile, it lies far off in the Pacific Ocean, roughly halfway to Tahiti.

isolated islands on Earth
Image tags: iqslandqs, lislands, iaslandas, iselandse, ioslands, islqands.

Due to its extreme geographic isolation, many people assume that only the highly intrepid traveler can get to Easter Island. In fact, the island is accessible by regular commercial air service, and tourism is the main industry of the island.

Still, it is rather "out of the way" for most people, with a minimum of more than 5.5 hours in the air from the nearest continent, and very limited routes to get there. The only regular flights are via LAN Chile airlines, several times each week on the route between Tahiti and Santiago de Chile. With no competition for fares on an objectively lengthy and obscure flight, it's a bit pricey.

Polynesian Easter Island
Image tags: Eastere, Easted, Eastger, Eacster, Easterg, East4r, Eastwr, East5er.

Hiking and surfing are the big activities here. One of the most intriguing and practical hikes on Easter Island is along the rocky northwest coast from Anakena to Hanga Roa. Horseback riding here is fun and inexpensive. Anakena is too far to go by horse and return in a day anyway, so look upon riding more as a change of pace than as a way of getting around. The area north of Hanga Roa is ideal to explore by horse.

The biggest tourist attractions on Easter Island are, of course, the Moai. Please note that the Moai are archaeological features and should be treated with care as they are far more fragile than they seem. Often Moai will be placed upon ceremonial platforms and burials called Ahu. DO NOT WALK ON THE AHU as it is an extremely disrespectful gesture. Even if you see others walking on the Ahu do not do so yourself.

islands on Earth
Image tags: islasnds, slands, islanxds, islzands, izlandz, isklands, islants.

All of the sites, which can be visited for free (with one exception), are mostly found along the coastline of the island. The exception is the slightly inland quarry at "Rano Raraku". This 300 foot volcano remnant provided the stones for the great figures and is where a visitor can see various stages of the carving, as well as scattered partially-finished figures.

Easter Island features two white sand beaches. Anakena, on the north side of the island, is an excellent shorebreak bodysurfing location with a bit of north swell. Even the 1" waves barrel (it's also possible to surf in the harbor at Hanga Roa and many of the locals do so). The second beach is a gem so hidden, it doesn't even have a name. Found along the southern shore of the island near Ahu Vaihu (along the road from Hanga Roa to Ahu Akahanga), this beautiful and desolate beach is much larger than that at Anakena and is surrounded by breathtaking cliffs. Note of caution: the path leading down to the beach is somewhat treacherous and unstable and best reached by foot - driving off-road (contrary to the misguided and somewhat callous actions of some tourists) on most of the island is illegal anyway.

Spanish Easter Island
Image tags: Ezaster, Exster, Easrer, Eastee, Eazster, Eastser, Eawster.

Scuba diving and snorkeling is possible near the islets Motu Nui and Motu Iti (well known for "The bird man culture") who are located about 1 km. south of the island. There are at least one shop where it is possible to rent the equipment and from there get on a guided tour to the islets.

An often overlooked but particularily fascinating and "otherwordly" aspect of Easter Island is its extensive cave systems. While there are a couple of "official" caves that are quite interesting in their own right, there is also real adventure to be had in exploring all of the numerous unofficial caves on the island, most of which are found near Ana Kakenga. While the openings to most of these caves are small (some barely large enough to crawl through) and hidden (amid a rather surreal lava strewn field that has been likened to the surface of Mars), many of them open up into large and inhibitingly deep and extensive cave systems.