Eastern Europe today is an understated treasure-trove of sites, sounds and history. The exuberance for life in the post-Communist era has found expression in a proliferation of music and arts festivals, celebrations of national identity and history, and an eagerly welcoming attitude toward foreigners. Travel in "Eastern Europe" is a rewarding journey for those seeking insight into the most significant moments in recent history. It is also the perfect place to leave your cares behind and immerse yourself in the magical terrain and genuine hospitality of a region slowly opening its doors to the global community.Travel Through Time in Eastern EuropeThroughout history, Eastern Europe has been continuously molded by the hands of great clashing powers. Travel through this region will reveal monumental reminders of the Holy Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire's struggle to retain the land, and the once expansive Austro-Hungarian Habsburg rule. Imperial palaces and exquisite national museums adorn the entire region. A journey along the Danube between Budapest and the Black Sea exposes the most heavily utilized route of human migration and invasion into Europe from the Celts and Greeks to the Mongols and Turks. The Danube is also where a fascinating fusion of cultures has occurred. Christianity and Islam met along these banks and the lifestyle of the Orient was introduced to Europeans.During the 20th century, Eastern Europe was devastated by the Holocaust and World War II. Many of the countries were used as staging grounds for the great powers, which continued through the Cold War era. Today, visitors have the privilege of touring many of these testaments to history, including battle grounds, internment camps and abandoned Soviet bunkers.Anyone's AdventureEastern Europe boasts some of the fastest growing cities and the most energetic nightlife on the European continent. Prague, Vienna and Belgrade are a fascinating blend of unchanging history and Eastern Europe's addiction to hyper-modernism. Additionally, winter ski resorts abound, particularly in the north and near the Balkan Peninsula, and there is no shortage of summer arts festivals; most notable are the film festivals in Vienna and Warsaw.Travel to Eastern Europe and take part in the progressing celebration of life and nationalism in a way only post-Communist countries know how. Avoid the overwhelming crowds of its western neighbors and discover the sweet satisfying secret of traveling through this historic wonderland! For more information, visit www.cfares.com, your source for cheap airfare on the web.
If you want to experience Europe, you need to travel to Italy. No other country on earth offers the depth, breadth, and scope of Italy. For lovers of art, history, architecture, or music Italy is unsurpassable. From the Ancient Roman Empire to the Medieval Tuscan fortress towns and the Venetian Republic, Italy's incredible historical diversity has come together to produce a country so incredible, so remarkable, so beautiful as to leave the visitor with an unquenchable desire to return again and again. The legacy of the Renaissance and its masterpieces of art, music, and architecture have left such a tangible mark on the Italian soul one can barely help being swept along in the tide of culture. If you're a lover of nature, there are majestic mountains, crystal seas, rolling hills, fertile plains, sweeping cliffs, and magical lagoons, you need to "travel to Italy" .Travel to Italy The Cities to SeeMilan is rivaled only by Paris as the fashion capital of the world and is shopping at its best. Rome has been the heart of Italy from the time of the Romans through today; to walk its streets is to walk in the footsteps of Emperors and Popes. Florence is the birthplace of the Renaissance and its presence reverberates through the old cobbled streets and beautiful churches. Venice - the most unique and romantic city in the world, stands timeless and beautiful in the midst of the Adriatic, a magnificent creation highlighting man at his most artistic. Finally the majestic and striking natural beauty of the Amalfi Coast, a place to relax, soak in the tremendous natural beauty, dine on the world's favorite cuisine at its finest, and experience that special joy of being that is uniquely Italian. No matter what you're seeking, it awaits you when you travel Italy and visit its cities.The WeatherWhen you travel to Italy, it's important to know that despite its geographical position at the center of the temperate zone, Italy has rather variable climatic characteristics. This is due to the presence of the Mediterranean, whose warm waters mitigate thermal extremes, and the Alpine arc, which forms a barrier against the cold north winds. Furthermore, when you "travel Italy" , remember that Italy is subject to both wet and moderate atmospheric currents from the Atlantic Ocean and dry and cold ones from Eastern Europe.The Apennine chain too, confronting the wet winds from the Tyrrhenian, causes considerable climatic differences between the opposite sides of the peninsula. The differences in temperature between the winter and summer months are more marked in the northern regions than in the south and along the coasts. The mean temperatures for the month of January in the Po Plain fluctuate around zero, while in the Alpine valleys the thermometer can drop to -20 and snow can remain on the ground for many weeks.In the southern regions, instead, the mean temperatures for January remain around 10, with the exception of the inland mountainous zones. Mean summer temperatures throughout all Italy rise to 24-25 for July, only being lower in the highest zones. Rainfall distribution also varies considerably, due to the influence of both mountains and prevailing winds. The highest quantities are registered in the Alpine arc (over 3,000 mm pa in the Lepontine and Julian Alps) and on the Apennines (over 3,000 mm pa in the Apuan Alps). The plains, however, including that of the Po, receive scarce precipitation. Generally it is less than 800-900 mm pa but in the southern regions (Tavoliere and southern Sicily) it falls below 600 mm pa. The great internal Alpine valleys and the coastal plains of the Tyrrhenian (Maremma) and Sardinia also receive little rain. Altogether, six large climatic regions can be distinguished, mainly characterized by mountain influence.So as you can see, when you travel to Italy, there is much to experience. The culture, history, and beauty of Italy make Italy a top European travel destination.
For men looking to get more out of lifeI have 3 questions for you:1. Have you ever wanted to retire to a sunny tropical climate?2. Are you disenfranchised with the way things are going in your society and culture?3. Do you long to become happy again?If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you may need to discover foreign lands. Those lands that completely break the norm and boundaries of your current culture.I did just such a thing when I visited Thailand for the first time, and Ive been going back ever since. I fell in love with the country so much that I plan to retire there early, and spend the rest of my life as an expat.Why do I want to do so, here are several reasons:1.I love warm tropical climates2.An abundance of single appreciative women3.I need a country where my money can go a long way4.I always wanted to live on the beach5.It seems as though I no longer fit inFinancesOne of the main things to consider when planning such a move is finance. Although your dollars may go much further in Thailand, to under-finance your new life will be disastrous. You must look at the big picture. Once over there, your options to create income will be minimalso you must save! 10 to 20 grand is not going to do it for you.Most Popular Areas for Expats In ThailandTwo of the most popular areas for expats in Thailand are Bangkok and Pattaya. Bangkok is an incredibly large city with all those goes along with a huge metropolis:1.Shopping2.Dining3.Arts4.NightlifePattaya is a beach resort area huge into the nightlife. Pattaya first started out as an R and R spot for American soldiers during the Vietnam War and has been going strong ever since.You dont have to limit yourself to these two areas, but first time expats are usually most comfortable in Bangkok or Pattaya due to the large expat communities.Visa RunsOnce in Thailand, there is also the subject of remaining there legally. Most vacationers are granted a 30-day visa. When this is nearing an end, you must leave the country and re-enter so you are granted a new 30-day visa. This is a practice that will continue with your tenure in Thailand, unless you do the paperwork with the Thai government for a retirement visa. Most expats choose to go on visa runs. In fact there are casinos built right on the Cambodian border for just this purpose.If this sounds like a life you may be interested in, I caution you to read and research as much as you possibly can. You want to talk to as may expats as possible and get opinions on both sides.Yours for more out of life,Pattaya Joe
Tulips, windmills and wooden shoes might still be a draw to this Dutch region for some travelers; however, Holland is a far more versatile locale with an international and maritime history extending farther back than most of the rest of Europe, including the establishment of New Amsterdam as a major trading city, which became New York when the British took over. Holland, particularly Amsterdam, is also well known for its diamond manufacturing and polishing industry. If that tickles your fancy, make sure to visit the Amsterdam Diamond Center located in the center of the city.Before you continue with this informative guide to Holland, make note that although the name "Holland" is used commonly in everyday language, the country is strictly called The Netherlands and internationally recognized as such.Red Lights and RembrandtBesides being the capital city, Amsterdam has enough to offer to fill your entire vacation. The unavoidable multiculturalism has brought Amsterdam to the forefront of controversial equality and human rights issues. Muslims, Jews, Dutch and Surinamese all have a very active role in the life and politics of the city. The Anne Frank House is an extremely popular sight with a new exhibit at the end that discusses the modern day conflict between freedom of speech and respect for cultural and religious diversity. Amsterdam is also home to the Van Gogh Museum and the newly restored Rembrandt Museum.The Dutch acquired an extensive collection of colonies during the 18th and 19th centuries, one of which was Suriname, located on the northern coast of South America. Suriname finally gained its independence in 1975 and through an education exchange program the Surinamese population remains predominant in Amsterdam. The cultural flair adds richness to the city in the form of contemporary music, art and exquisite cuisine. Make sure to dine in a Surinamese restaurant at least once!Amsterdam is also notorious for its Red Light District and Coffee Shops. Stroll through the winding streets at night for an incredibly diverse experience and stop at one of the bustling pubs for delicious locally brewed beer. Also, many visitors enjoy seeing the city from the water. There are boat tours offered on an hourly schedule during the summer months that take you through the picturesque canals and past charming old faades.Timeless and TraditionalEven though Amsterdam is a modern hub in the globalized world, there is still an incredible amount of tradition and history prevalent throughout The Netherlands. Visit the nearby town of Alkmaar in the summer to take part in the centuries-old cheese market and festival. Locals don traditional dress and haul giant rounds of cheese through the town square for weighing. After your fill of diary, wander through this seaside town's canals and shops. Travel through central Holland to the medieval town of Utrecht, established around 47 AD. The 14th century wharves, cathedrals and Roman architecture are sure to transport any traveler to another place in time.For international travelers, Holland exists in a class of its own. Whether you enjoy the bustling urban experience or the intimate countryside adventure, you will find what you are looking for in Holland.For more information on travel to Holland and other regions in Europe, and discount airfare to Holland, visit www.cfares.com.
The country of Panama holds a unique strategic geographic location, and it has tried its best throughout the ages to exploit this to the full. From the time of the Portobello fairs to the first transisthmian railroad to the present waterway, often considered to be the eighth wonder of the world.A canal linking the Atlantic with the Pacific oceans had been a dream since the first Spanish colonizations. In fact it was Charles V of Spain who first envisaged a shortcut through the Panamanian jungle to ease the difficult crossing. So in 1524 he ordered a survey of the land. However what inspired the king initially was not so much the possibilities for trade, so much as how to bring back to Spain with least difficulty the hoards of treasure recently discovered in Peru. Unfortunately for him, earth-moving techniques were to need major improvement before his idea could be undertaken.It was not until 1826 when the United States started investigating a treaty with South American countries to "protect the companies intending to open a communication system between both oceans", that the building of a canal attracted worldwide interest, with France, England and the United States looking for locations and means to avoid the long, difficult and dangerous voyage around Cape Horn. The first attempt at this was the construction of the Transisthmian Railroad in 1855, which eliminated about 8,000 miles from the journey.The first attempt at a canal was in 1854 by a multinational expedition comprising the United States, France, England and New Granada. But the impenetrability of the jungle was to take its toll and the attempt failed with many resultant deaths. But not to be daunted in this most crucial endeavor, in 1878 the French obtained a concession from Colombia to build a waterway. Yet again, after seven years of fighting disease and other jungle problems, the attempt was to fail with yellow fever, malaria and various plagues holding sway. This project, with the idea of building a level canal, was ultimately abandoned at the turn of the century.Eventually the creation of a canal was to become a military imperative for the United States who commenced (fruitless) negotiations with Colombia in 1902. Finally, Panama declared its independence from Colombia in 1903 and the project went ahead. The monumental construction took 10 years to complete at a cost of $387 million.The Panama Canal is 50 miles in length running from northwest to southeast. About 8 hours is needed for a typical vessel to transit the canal, whilst being lifted gradually to a height of 85 feet through three sets of locks the Gatun, Pedro Miguel and Miraflores.Operating the gigantic locks consumes vast amounts of fresh water. For every ship passing along the waterway, around 52 million gallons of water flows into the locks then out to sea. This comes from the Gatun and Madden lakes. The lock gates, themselves engineering wonders, consist of pairs of towering leaves from 47 to 82 feet high, 65 feet wide and 7 feet thick. Their weight is from 400 to 700 tons, yet each can be opened or closed in 2 minutes, powered by electric motors.To navigate the canal, a ships captain must relinquish responsibility for his vessel to a Panama Canal Pilot. Currently over 250 pilots steer over 14,000 ships through the canal each year. The total time spent in the canal is around a full day. Navigating through the canal is not cheap for vessels, averaging several 10s of thousands of dollars, depending upon the size of vessel and its contents. However, whatever the toll, it is typically ten times what it would have cost to navigate around Cape Horn.The Panama Canal Commission welcomes visitors at the Miraflores Locks on the Pacific side of the Isthmus seven days a week, from 9am to 5pm. Ships passing through the locks can be viewed from a pavilion where commentators provide an English and Spanish-language commentary, giving all the details of the canal including the amazing statistics. From yachts and small crafts through to container vessels, huge cruise liners and even small submarines, the Panama Canal is truly an international crossing point.