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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Argentina Travel

Argentina is on the way back from the economic crisis of the last few years. If you are looking for a travel destination, Argentina is amazing and cheap.

Economic Woes

While Argentina has unlimited beauty, it also has unlimited corruption. The massive corruption finally lead to an economic crisis at the turn of the century. With the currency devalued and jobs hard to find, Argentina was a decidedly dangerous place for travelers. At one point, the country was going through Presidents faster than I go through coffee. At one point, the country went through five of them in a month! Wait, that might not be such a bad idea. Regardless, things appear to have stabilized and the country is back on the travel map. So, what’s to see?

Buenos Aires

Prior to landing in Buenos Aires, you are strongly encouraged to glue your jaw shut. Buenos Aires is a city of jaw-dropping beauty. In many ways, you will feel as though you have magically been transported to Vienna. The European impression is overwhelming. The city is elegance itself. If you’re a meat eater, make sure you experience one of the steak houses. You won’t be disappointed.

Mar del Plata

You’ve been doing sit ups, right? The Mar de Plata is the hot beach area. Literally. Damn hot, sometimes. If you wish to pursue a little melanoma research, this is the place. If you prefer to pass on the cancer research, you can hit the Mar de Plata Aquarium, play golf on five different courses. The area is also rife with discos. Try the ones on the “Noisy Avenue”, but don’t mention my name. There were…problems last time I was there.

Iguazú Falls

If you like waterfalls, this is the place for you. The Iquaza Falls are twice as wide and taller than Niagara Falls. The Falls actually consist of over 250 cascades that came into existence due to a volcanic eruption. If you can, try to visit the falls in the spring or fall as it is ungodly hot and humid in the summer.

Tierra del Fuego

Welcome to the end of the world. At least, that’s the hook for Tierra del Fuego. Ushuaia, the capital of Tierra del Fuego, is the southernmost city in the world. From the city, you can take the “end of the world” train to see incredible snow covered mountain ranges in the Tierra del Fuego National Park. Words fail me, but the area is definitely worth visiting. Come on, you rode the elephants in Thailand, didn’t you? Patagonia

No, we are not talking about the clothing line. Patagonia is located in a vast area below Buenos Aires and is famous for uncompromised beauty. Greater Patagonia is actually split between Chile and Argentina. The section in Argentina is filled with glaciers, national parks and so on. I can’t possibly describe it, so I’m not even going to try. Just know that you will not be disappointed.


From glaciers to beaches, from elegant cities to friendly little towns, Argentina is a top travel destination. With the economy stabilizing, now is the time to go.

Rick Chapo is with - preserve the experience with a written journal. Visit to read more travelogues and articles.


Say “Greenland” and a traveler immediately thinks of a giant slab of ice. With attractions such as Disko Bay, Motzfeldt So Lake, and the hikes around Qaqortoq, Greenland is great for travelers looking for something off the beaten path.

Disko Bay

Disko Bay is the home to massive icebergs. By massive, I am talking icebergs the size of large buildings. The icebergs are simply everywhere. Watching one of these giants shrug off a few hundred thousand pounds of ice is a sight you will never forget. More than a few people have suggested a one day boat cruise around Disko Bay is the most impressive you could ever take.

Motzfeldt So Lake

If hiking is a mandatory part of your vacation plan, Lake Motzfeldt is for you. The lake is enclosed by glaciers, has it’s own icebergs and is a stunning color of green. The peeks surrounding the lake top out above 5,000 feet. There are hundreds of stunning hikes around the lake with nearly all winding between immense glaciers. Staring up at the beautiful monsters will make your mind swirl.


Qaqortoq is a harbor town in the South of Greenland. Meaning “the white”, Qaqortoq has a population of a little over 3,000 people. The town is the location of the stone and people project, which involves sculptors creating marble pieces and placing them throughout the town. It is an impressive site, particularly during summer when flowers sprout with a vengeance throughout the area.

Travel Adventure

With the onset of adventure travel, Greenland has sprouted a new industry. If you’re going to go extreme, you really can’t beat Greenland. If you fancy yourself a jogger, try the Artic Marathon around Nuuk or the Polar Circle Race that runs from Kangerlussuaq to the boundary of the ice cap. If artic running doesn’t cut it, how about a playing with sharks? Yep, you can try your hand at catching the Greenland Shark in a 7-day shark challenge. These monsters weigh as much as 1,500 pounds.

While you may blanch at a suggested vacation on Greenland, you shouldn’t. The country is truly one of the last undiscovered refuges for the modern traveler.

Rick Chapo is with - preserve the experience with a written journal. Visit to read more travelogues and articles.

Switzerland Travel

Since time memorial, Switzerland has proved itself as one of the most cherished tourist destinations. Every part of this country seems to be caressed and lying in the lap of nature. The land of magical Alps Mountains, Lake Maggiore and the home of cities like Zurich and Bern need no introduction.

An Encounter with the Swiss Cities

Switzerland greets you with one of the most beautiful cities on earth-Zurich. This metropoplis is a significant financial center in the world. Apart from its blessed location at the tip of Limmat River, the city has some of breathtakingly wonderful attractions that include Gothic Fraumunster, the Church of Our Lady, the Fluntern Cemetery where the soul of famous Irish writer James Joyce rests in peace. You can take some of the most expensive items home from the Bahnhofstrasse Street meant for the rich. Accommodation is not a problem in this city for there are many a great hotels like The Widder Hotel, The Baur au Lac Hotel, Arabella Atlantis Sheraton Hotel and the like that provide the best of all amenities.

Cuddled up on the shores of river Geneva is the historical city of Switzerland-Geneva. Amongst a multitude of pulls, the city is known for possessing the world’s tallest fountain, a beautiful flower clock (Hologe Fleurie), the archaic Cathedrale de St.Pierreand the renowned Musee de L’ Horlogere that enhances your knowledge about the worldwide recognized Swiss watches.

The great Luzren’s Lowendenkmal, also known as Lion Monument can be gazed in the city of Luzren. The city is endowed with beautiful surroundings that include villages and mountains. The Luzren city happens to be at the spot where the River Reuss flows out of Lake Luzren. The bees are related to honey and water to bridges. So there are some grand worthwhile bridges here. For instance The Chaff Bridge, the Kapellbrucke or The Chapel Bridge that

If you are stunned with the popularity and status of ‘bears’, you have stepped in the metropolis Bern. Bern is a delightful city that is the capital of Switzerland and is nestled in a curve in the River Aare. The ancient exotic fountains, the majestic arcades that seem to be eternal and caring, the Kunstmuseum or art Museum with the original magnum opus of the genius Swiss painter Paul Klee, are some of the outstanding features of the Bern city. Some more museums like Bern Historical Museum that presents exclusive archaeological artifacts; 15th century tapestries etc., The Natural History Museum, the Communication Museum and the Kunsthalle Bern Museum always receive the vacationers’ attention.

The Bernese Oberland region of Bern is an evergreen tourist destination. The area has some of the captivating spots like Interlaken town that is bedecked by three mountains namely Jungfrau, Monch and the Eiger. The spectacular Grindelwald Glacier near the recognized Grindelwald resort never lets one take off his eyes from it. To elate your spirits the Trummelbach Falls that can be distinctively viewed via an elevator built in the rock and the Staubbach Waterfalls await your visit.

To rock your body on the pulsating music, celebrate with the Swiss their highly acclaimed Montreaux Jazz Festival in the Montreaux city. What can also be relished is the amazing work of art of the mentally ill and criminals at the distinguished Collection de l’Art Brut museum that is to be found in the city of Lausanne. The town of Klosters is swarming with visitors for its fantastic ski resort that too is known as Klosters. Skiing can also be enjoyed at the popular skiing resorts in the town of St. Moritz. Since the town rests on the southern side of Alps Mountains at an altitude of 6000 feet, it is all the more appealing to the visitors.

Mansi aggarwal writes about switzerland travel topics. Learn more at

South Africa

South Africa is a relatively large country. Its is five times the size of Britain, twice as big as France and about one eighth the size of the United States of America.


South Africa ranks high in the world as far as sunshine days are concerned and the climate is generally mild throughout the year. Refer to the temperature charts for each region.


As in most countries in the world, travelers are advised to take the necessary safety precautions. Do not walk alone in unpopulated streets after dark or draw unneces-sary attention to money or jewellery on your person. Please make copies of passport and travel documents and keep in safe place. Only keep sufficient cash on your per-son for the days activities. Police emergency no is 10111


Light cotton clothing is normally the most comfortable in summer. Warm clothing is required for winter. South Africans dress casually on most occasions and for visits to theatres and restaurants smart casual dress is quite acceptable. Evenings can be cool pack accordingly.

Credit Cards

Most major credit cards are accepted, as well as traveller’s cheques in major curren-cies. Please note fuel cannot be purchased with standard credit cards.


There are plenty of shopping opportunities. Centres such as the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town and Sandton City in Johannesburg offer first world shopping expe-riences. Shops are generally open in major centers on Sundays and shopping hours are from 8.30am till late.

Price indicators

Cool drink – R5.00, Bottled Water – R5.00, Bottle red wine – R40.00, White Wine – R30.00, Beer – R9.00, Draught – R12.00, Spirit – R8.00 per tot, Shooter – R10.00, Cigarettes – R13.00, Steak – R60.00, Pizza – R40.00, MacDonalds meal – R23.00, Movies – R30.00, Game of Pool – R5.00, Milk – R5.00 per litre and loaf of bread R4.00.

Dining and entertainment

These facilities are good and you can choose from international standard cuisine in top class hotels and restaurants or try one of the smaller bistro restaurants found all over the country. Dining out would cost on average R100.00 per head


Tipping for foodservice and guides is standard practice and while any tip is nor-mally welcome a good guideline is a 10% gratuity.


No international immunisation is needed when entering South Africa. Malaria though is a risk, which is predominant in the malignant form P. Falciparum, and exists through the year in certain areas of the country, mainly northern Kwazulu Natal and Mpumalanga (Kruger National Park). Resistance to Chloroquine has been reported.

Medical care

Medical services are readily available from Doctors in private practice and private hospitals. It is very important for visitors to have taken out travel insurance which incorporates medical cover. Medicine may be purchased at pharmacies and emergency pharmacies are open at night.


Although there are 11 official languages, English, Afrikaans and a variety of African dialects. The English-speaking visitor will have no problem while traveling through the country.


Tourists can have sales tax refunded at a port of exit, provided the value of each invoice for goods purchased exceeds R50.00 and the value of the total items purchased exceeds R250.00. Tax of 14% is normally included in the quoted price of goods and services. Your passport, invoices and goods purchased must be available when claiming the refund at the departure lounges of Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban International Airports


The standard power source is 220volts AC. Most foreign appliances will need an adaptor or transformer to link with local electrical power.

Driving in South Africa

We drive on the left hand side of the road. The roads are generally good and most National routes have toll fees. The cost varies from R7.00 to R40.00 The speed limit in built up areas is 60km per hour and varies from 100 to 120km on national roads.


Many fuel stations throughout South Africa are open 24 hours a day and all with leaded and unleaded petrol and diesel. Fuel will cost approximately R4.8O per litre.

Seat Belts

It is compulsory to wear seat belts, both front and rear. Small children and babies must be restrained in an appropriate child seat or carrier. Child seats should be ordered when you book your car.

Drinking and Driving

You are strongly advised not to drink and drive. Penalties are severe.

Public Transport

Public Transport is not up to international standards. One needs a vehicle to get around effectively. Taxis are available but are quite expensive.

How fast by road? (hours)

Cape Town to Johannesburg – 16 hours
Cape Town to Port Elizabeth – 8 hours
Cape Town to Plettenberg Bay – 5 hours
Johannesburg to Nelspruit – 4 1𔊪 hours
Durban to Johannesburg – 5 hours
Durban to Port Elizabeth – 10 hours
Johannesburg to Sun City – 2 hours

Sun Protection

The sun in Africa is harsh. Sun protection is strongly recommended.


The water in most areas is drinkable however a wide range of still and sparkling water is sold throughout the country.

Mau is an editor for, an online African holiday planner featuring information on African desitinations, activities and accommodation facilities

Las Vegas Travel

Las Vegas evokes visions of extravagant, exciting, colorful mega resorts; flashing neon lights; warm, desert weather; slot machines; showgirls; and fun. Las Vegas is no longer just about gambling. Today, Las Vegas has world-class restaurants, unique shopping, headliner entertainment, spas, golf, tennis, and elaborate pool complexes. If you’re planning on going to Las Vegas, here are some tips to save you money.

Package it
Las Vegas trip planning needn’t be difficult. Often the best prices are found by booking a package through a tour operator that includes roundtrip airfare, accommodations, and transportation to and from the airport all for one price. Often these packages feature charter flights, and are frequently non-stop flights. There’s something festive about a plane full of vacationers all headed for Vegas. Charter flights require a little flexibility, as they generally don’t operate every day, but the rewards can be savings of up to 40 percent.

Book Early; Book Late
The paradox of Las Vegas travel planning is that the best rates, almost always, go to those travelers who either book very early or very late. Tour operators, airlines, and hotels reward those who ante up their travel dollars early and help operators meet their booking goals. Conversely, they tend to panic within 21 days or so of departure, fearing they won’t be able to sell all their seats or rooms, and consequently slash prices dramatically. One example of this is the deep discounts offered via the Internet for travelers who can book on Wednesday and travel on Friday or Saturday. The catch to this, of course, is that not all cities are offered on any given week.

Take Advantage of the Freebies
Las Vegas is famous for its “comps.” You don’t have to be a high roller to qualify for freebies. Most casinos have some type of frequent player’s club. Don’t be shy. Sign up as soon as you arrive and make sure that you insert your card into the slot machine or show it to the pit boss for table play. Rewards can range from complimentary meals and gifts to free hotel nights.

Ask about coupon books when you make your reservation and when you check into the resort in Las Vegas. Many tour operators and most hotels offer a value book with two-for-one drink and meal specials, match play coupons, and other specials. Don’t leave this bet on the table.

Travel Off-Season
It’s hard to imagine that the thousands of hotel rooms in Las Vegas can all be full during certain times of the year, but they are. Las Vegas is one of the busiest convention destinations in the world. These mega-shows are held mostly from early spring through late autumn with a break during the hottest middle of the summer. Book your trip in early January or mid-July for a lower price.

Las Vegas trip planning needed be stressful. Online travel information, a good travel agent, and a little flexibility can go a long way to putting together a memorable and enjoyable trip to Las Vegas. Don’t delay. Get started on planning your trip today.

Sandy Mitchell is a Cleveland-based full-time freelance writer and former travel agent. When she's not at the computer, she's flying off somewhere for the weekend. She's available for copywriting and travel article assignments. See more of her writing at

The Florida Keys

When people ask about the top sights to see in the south Florida area including Fort Lauderdale and Miami, I always advise them to try and make some time to go down to the Florida Keys. The Florida Keys are the string of islands just south of the Florida mainland and runs 120 miles from end to end. Fort Lauderdale and Miami are fun but for a relaxing change of pace, the Florida Keys is the place to be. For snorkellers and scuba divers going to south Florida, I would consider Florida Keys a must. The waters around Key Largo are a protected marine park with a very healthy fish life and offer the best diving in the US. Key Largo is the first town as you enter the Keys after crossing the bridge from the mainland. It can be reached from Miami in an hour and from Fort Lauderdale in an hour and 45 minutes. Once the bridge from the mainland is crossed, the change in pace is noticed immediately. There is much less traffic and people just seem more relaxed in the Florida Keys compared to the mainland.

Key Largo is the main scuba diving town with many dive shops. There is even an underwater hotel with two guestrooms for adventurous types. This was a former marine research unit that was converted to the hotel. Islamorada and Marathon located more west are also top scuba dive locations. For those who are not into diving, there are numerous shops with colorful local arts and crafts. One collection of shops has a giant statue of a spiny lobster out in front. For more fun, there are two dolphin centers, one in Key Largo and another near Marathon where visitors can interact with captive dolphins. Dolphin programs should actually be booked well in advance since they are extremely popular.

There are sign markers along the main US number 1 highway that mark each mile along the 120 mile route. Most addresses in the Florida Keys along the main highway will actually refer to which mile marker they are located near. It's a very efficient way to navigate. It takes about 3 hours to drive from Key Largo to the far end at Key West but more than likely, visitors would want to stop off at numerous locations along the way for shopping, photo opportunities or just admiring the scenery. The scenery gets better as one heads out more west, especially near the bridges that connect the islands. A common sight to see are locals fishing off the bridges and numerous pelicans standing on the posts like permanent fixtures. One of the most spectacular sights is the seven mile bridge which is the world's longest segmented bridge.

The Florida Keys are not really known for its beaches with the exception of Bahia Honda Park which is even further west in the lower keys. The snorkeling in this area, especially Looe Key, is among the top sites in North America. The city of Key West at the far end of the Florida Keys is the largest community in the islands and a stay here for a night or two is well worth it. The downtown area full of restaurants, bars, boutiques and shops is a funky, fun place to be. There are hotels along the water as well as numerous B&Bs inland. We stayed at the Quality Inn near the entrance of the city and had no problem getting downtown since there is a very convenient bus system that runs throughout Key West. We chose to leave our car at the hotel and use the buses because parking can be limited in the downtown area. A very neat way to tour the city is to rent scooters which are very common in the streets here. With the scooters, we criss-crossed the city and saw the wonderful colonial houses in the residential streets including Ernest Hemmingway's house.

The seafood is predictably very fresh in restaurants everywhere in the Florida Keys. Some local specialties not to be missed are conch, local spiny lobster and a few varieties of the local fish including snapper and grouper. Of course, one must try the real, authentic key lime pie that originated in the area. Each restaurant has a slightly different recipe but in general, the authentic key lime pie here is not as sweet as the commercial brands sometimes found in the rest of North America.

Hotel accommodations suit every budget in the Florida Keys from simple motels to top notch resorts. The last town back in the US mainland is Florida City and it has some very affordable hotel accommodations with well known chains such as Comfort Inn, Hampton Inn and Best Western. This is another option for some travelers, especially those who are scuba diving in Key Largo as Florida City is only about 20 minutes away if hotels in Key Largo are fully booked or at high season rates.

The Florida Keys has a way of enticing visitors back during return visits to south Florida. Its slower pace helps balance things out against the crowded and crazier styles of Fort Lauderdale and Miami. I have been to the Keys three times and will definitely return there again.

Clint Leung is owner of Free Spirit Gallery, an online gallery specializing in Inuit Eskimo and Northwest Native American art including carvings, sculpture and prints. Free Spirit Gallery has numerous information resource articles with photos of authentic Inuit and Native Indian art as well as free eCards.

Thailand Vacation

Thailand is one of those destinations, which is forever teeming with tourists. The country holds an exclusive position in the hearts of all vacationers for the place has much more to offer than anyone can expect. Thailand lies in the South East Asia region and can be taken to be the land of Buddha. Almost all the Buddha devotees desire to visit this country once in their lifetime. This is due to the fact that Thailand has some of the unique and exquisite Buddha temples where perfect tranquility prevails.

A Concise Review of a Seemingly Interminable Place

The Temple of the Emerald Buddha is worth visiting spot. This sacred temple has Buddha statue that is 65 centimeter elevated and is entirely made of jasper quartz or jade. While the jade goes back to 15th century, the murals on the walls of the compound can be traced back to 18th century. The visitors can take a look at The Royal Thai Decorations and the Coin Pavilion. All in all the sanctity of the temple speaks through itself and the ambiance is enough to enchant the visitors.

Along with Temple of Emerald Buddha, several other grand Buddha temples can be seen once you move into the city of Bangkok. Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand has proved its worth across the globe. This metropolis has everything to offer to its visitors. From wonderful museums to thrilling nightlife, Bangkok has it all. The bustling city owns the largest South East Asian museum called The National Museum. National Museum has a gathering of various things like Thai art from old to contemporary, musical instruments, weapons, woodcarving, ceramics, clothing and sacred Buddha images.

Visitors that come to Bangkok never miss the opportunity to encounter Vinmanmek Teak Mansion that is supposed to be the largest teak building in the world. The Royal Elephant Museum and Dusuit Zoo are perfect places to have some learning with fun. The Wat Pho temple near the temple of Emerald Buddha in Bangkok is perhaps the oldest and the largest of all Buddha temples there. The Wat Pho temple is known for its 46 meter long statue of reclining Buddha and the largest collection of Buddhas in the country. A refreshing massage therapy is done at this place that too attracts a lot of people.

Finally when it comes to shopping, Bangkok has it all. There are ample of markets here that will serve you with all the things of your necessity. The Chatuchak Market or The Weekend Market (that is open on Saturdays and sundaes only), the Pak Khlong market and markets in Chinatown and Phahurat district are particularly quite famous.

The Thonburi region resting on the west bank of river Thonburi has always gathered attention due to different reasons. The Taksin Monument that has a statue of Thailand’s eminent king Taksin which is a delight to watch. The Royal Barges Museum that has a fantastic collection of boats, the outstanding one being the king’s personal barge –The Golden Swan is definitely a pull in Thonburi.

Buddhist stupas area centre of attraction at Ayuthaya, a city that lies to the north of Bangkok. The oldest and largest temple here is the Wat Phra Si Sanphet, another famous temple is Wat No Phra Meru that has a green stone Buddha statue inside. The Ayuthaya and the Chantharakasen are the two significant national museums. The Lopburi and the Kanchanaburi town in the Central Thailand region is a host to a lot many tourists every year.

In the Southeastern Thailand region is situated the Ko Chang National Park that is crammed by people due to the various activities like elephant riding, diving, snorkeling etc. and also to enjoy the wildlife in this area. The Rayong Province has a set of exotic beaches along with the Khao Chamao-Khao Wong National Park that has striking limestone mountains, caves, cliffs and waterfalls including impressive wildlife. Pattaya is another eventful beach spot located 150 kilometers away from Bangkok.

The Northern Thailand is bedecked by the Lamphun Province that has numerous historical temples, Doi Khun Tan National Park, the Lampang Province that grounds the Wat Phra That Lampang Luang temple which is considered to be one of the most beautiful temples in Thailand and there is also the famous Thai Elephant Conservation Center which provides acre for sick elephants, animal shows and tourist exhibits from time to time. The Sukhothai Province is important for its Ramkhamhaeng National Park.

The Isan Region of Northeastern Thailand has the renowned Khao Yai National Park, which is a home for innumerable wild animals and the Phanom Rung Historical Park.

Few places at the Thailand’s Southern Coasts like Phetchaburi city, the Southern Gulf Region (known for marine life and water sports) and the Andaman Coast are everlastingly meant for vacationing in Thailand.

Mansi aggarwal writes about thailand travel topics. Learn more at

Vienna Austria

Vienna has long been renowned as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, with good reason. The architecture is magnificent, there are abundant gardens, and it’s a pedestrian’s paradise. Getting out on foot with a good map is the best way to view its charms.

The Habsburg family ruled Austria for over 6 centuries, and Vienna was their base. The Hofburg Palace was begun in the 13th century, then expanded and altered for centuries, incorporating numerous architectural styles. Nowadays it houses the Austrian President. Sunday mass provides an opportunity to hear the Vienna Boys’ Choir. Various parts of the palace are open to visitors, and it’s worth allowing plenty of time to go exploring.

Like all good European royalty, the Habsburgs also had their summer palace – the Schloss Schönbrunn. An overwhelming experience of gilding and stucco, it’s worth the U-bahn journey to visit, just for the pure magnificence of it all. The gardens are very beautiful, and well suited to a peaceful stroll.

Back in the centre of Vienna, St Stephen’s Cathedral (Stephansdom) has long been regarded as a landmark, with its magnificent tiled roof and spindly spires. It’s possible to climb up the south tower and enjoy the view. The nearby Haas Haus, completed in 1990, is more recent, and a source of controversy. Some say the beautiful old cathedral is crowded and degraded by its silver curves and glass. Others say it makes some very interesting reflections.

Close by is Kärntner Strasse, a pedestrian only mall which provides hours of fascination for the visitor, with cafes, shops and street entertainers. A stroll here is a great way to get a real feel for the human heart of Vienna.

If you follow Kärntner Strasse south, you reach the Staatsoper (State Opera House), built in the 1860s. This opulent building was badly damaged in the 2nd world war, and was only reopened in 1955. The interior is best enjoyed attending a performance, but you can also go on a guided tour during the day. Nearby is the Burggarten, a lovely garden containing many statues of Mozart. There’s also the Butterfly House, if you want to see something a little different.

Although the list of places to visit in Vienna is very long, you certainly don’t want to miss Maria Theresa Platz. Flanked on two sides by the identical museums of Fine Art and of Natural History, it’s an excellent place to sit and contemplate the beauty of Vienna. Both museums are also worth losing yourself in for a while.

As a final touch to the day, the Prater Amusement Park is full of traditional delights. The huge ferris wheel in the centre of the park provides a great view of the city at night, and may provide a sense of déjà vu for those who enjoy James Bond movies.

Many people pass through Vienna in a hurry on their whistlestop tour of Europe, and miss out on this city’s many beauties and attractions. Do yourself a favour and make sure you allow plenty of time to sample its delights.

Travelling in Austria is a much loved past time for the author. To find out more, check out or for more information.

Salzburg Austria

Mention the city of Salzburg, in Austria, and it’s amazing how many people burst into their favourite song from “The Sound of Music”. Despite this, Salzburg has another claim to musical fame – it was the birthplace of Mozart. With much of its central city relatively untouched for centuries, Salzburg also offers the chance to see magnificent architecture in abundance.

Mozart, however, is very much an element of Salzburg, and can’t be forgotten very easily. There is Mozartplatz, with a big statue of guess who! The music academy is called Mozarteum, and of course there’s the house he was born and raised in (Mozart Geburtshaus) and another house where he lived between 1773 and 1780. This residence, known as the Mozart-Wohnhaus, contains a fascinating museum, well worth visiting.

Best of all, though, is the confection called Mozartkugeln, or Mozart balls, a chocolate covered mix of nougat and marzipan, which seems to decorate a large number of shop windows.

“The Sound of Music”, however, doesn’t receive the same enthusiastic support, and in some ways is almost ignored in Salzburg. Still, it is possible to visit the gardens of Schloss Mirabell, where many scenes were shot. You can also wander the cemetery of St Peter’s. This is where the Von Trapp family hid from the Nazis in the movie. In real life it’s much harder to imagine so many people hiding in such a small space!

The old part of the city centre provides many delights, so make sure you take a stroll around this exquisite area. Start with both the Residenzplatz and Kapitelplatz, which are on either side of the magnificent Dom (Cathedral). Finish up in Domplatz and you’ll be rewarded with a view of the Dom, the first building outside of Italy that was built in the baroque style. Its three bronze doors symbolise faith, hope and charity.

Even better, take the time to go inside and appreciate the interior. There’s also a museum if you want to explore further. There are many other beautiful churches nearby, including Franziskanerkirche (Franciscan Church) and Kollegienkirche (Collegiate Church). Alternatively, you can find a place to sit and drink a coffee while you absorb the atmosphere.

No trip to Salzburg would be complete without a visit to Festung Hohensalzburg – the Hohensalzburg Fortress. This old building dominates the old part of Salzburg, sitting on a hill above the city. You can be energetic and walk 15 minutes up the hill to reach it, or you can catch the funicular. When you reach the top, if you breath hasn’t already been taken away by the walk, it will be when you see the stunning views in so many directions. You can pay to visit the interior of the fortress, which includes a fascinating look at everything from state rooms to torture chambers.

Hopefully you will also get to hear some of the interesting tales about the fortress, some true, some not, but all entertaining. One archbishop had a particular fondness for turnips, and there are supposedly 58 of them located in various motifs around the castle. Another story tells of when the city was under siege, and the whole population was hiding in the fortress. With their food almost gone, they paraded their final cow along the ramparts. They fooled the enemy into believing they still had abundant provisions, and the enemy gave up and went home!

If you have plans to visit Austria, then make sure you include Salzburg on your itinerary. There is so much to enjoy and admire, and something to suit everybody’s taste. Even if your taste doesn’t run to Mozart or “The Sound of Music”!

Copyright Felicity Walker 2005

Travelling in Austria is a much loved past time for the author. To find out more, check out or for more information.

Prague Travel

Prague is a well- known old city of Europe that is a host to many tourists all round the year. The aura of the place speaks for itself. Prague is the capital of Czech Republic whose traditional and archaic European ambience is too appealing than ever imagined. Czech is deemed to be the heart of Europe and ahs a population of more than ten million people out of which 1.3 million are nestled peacefully in the city of Prague.

The Sites Worth Gazing

The Charles Bridge at Prague is a host to many visitors all round the year. This bridge was completed and made public in 1400. It displays grotesque architecture and river views that keep the visitors engaged especially during the summer season. There is also the eminent Wenceslas Square hat is deemed to be the heart of Prague and that grounds some of the most wonderful restaurants, shops and pubs in Prague. The Old Town center is also a place worth visiting in Prague. The center has on parade some of the marvelous historical sites like the Old town Hall and the Astronomical clock where the visitors get to see the land from the 60 meter elevated tower.

Getting around in Prague is quite simple and convenient. Besides the natural beauty that the place is blessed with, the human technology does not score less. There are trams, metros and buses to explore the charismatic place.

Prague is the land of wonderful museums. There is the National Technical Museum, which puts to display old cars, bikes, planes, trains, cameras, watches and so forth. The best part is the museum itself that is a historical building of 1930’s. The Mozart Museum is worth appreciating. The music lovers can have a gala time here for the place offers historical music scores, letters and musical instruments that are exclusive and great to enjoy. Specifically for the artists is meant the Museum of Decorative Arts that presents Czech porcelain, crystal and wood -carvings. Not to overlook is the Wax Museum that has proved its worth across the globe. Apart from these there are many good museums and art galleries that are evenly spread across the city.

Pargue also has some of the magnificent castles like the Karlstejn Castle that was redesigned in 19th century and which is one of the most photogenic castles known so far. Close to the castle place, are sold exotic Bohemia crystals that the tourists often love to take back home. The Konopiste Castle is known for its French style architecture from 13th century. It is located about 44 kilometers southeast of Prague and is thrown open for visitors from May to August. The Krivolat is a 13th century castle that boasts a prison, torture chambers and one of the biggest non-church Gothic Halls in the Czech Republic. Prague is an ideal place for all the music devotees for they can relish the classical concerts at the Sate Opera and at the Rudolfinum or the Municipal House. The Prague Autumn Festival is a big music event that offers lots of classical concerts and music. The Prague Spring festival is famous all over Europe. It is a liked cultural event that goes on from 12th May to 3rd of June every year.

The nightlife of Prague is thrilling and active with music in the air and loads of pubs, discos and bars cuddled in the city. Besides these there are many other attractions that make Prague a perfect holiday destination.

Mansi aggarwal writes about prague travel topics. Learn more at