Archive for November, 2008

Head to Zakopane in Poland for some fresh powder this winter

Your vacation rental in a typical mountaineer's house on Kasprowy Wierch

If you enjoy skiing and winter sports and are always on the lookout for new slopes to conquer you may want to try your luck this year at Poland’s premier mountain resort – Zakopane in the Tatra Mountains. Zakopane for years was a well kept secret which was popular with Poles and other Eastern European tourists who used to come here for the skiing in the winter and for hiking and camping in the lush mountain forests the summers. Now with the opening up of Eastern Europe, ski enthusiasts from all over the world head to Zakopane for its many world class ski slopes and its virgin natural beauty.

Like many other Alpine resorts, Zakopane is not really accessible by air and if you are headed to Zakopane from overseas you would have to fly into Cracow’s  Balice Airport  and then take a local bus or train or hire a car  to take you into the mountains in order to get to your vacation rental in the mountain resort of   Zakopane.  As many of the vacation rentals in Zakopane are equipped to sleep small groups perhaps you would like to ask a few friends to come along for the ride as skiing itself is quite a social sport which is best enjoyed with a bunch of friends.

Zakopane is located in the heart of the Tatra Mountains which are the youngest alpine mountain range that offer a variety of ski slopes to suit all levels of skiers. About fifty ski lifts abound in the region which is gaining much popularity among ski enthusiasts and winter sport lovers as the skiing in Zakopne is still more reasonable than in Switzerland or in the many  winter sport resorts located in the US.

A vacation rental located in the heart of Zakopane gives you access  to slopes and much more

A vacation rental located in the heart of Zakopane gives you access to slopes and much more

Kasprowy Wierch offers one of the best ski slopes in Zakopane and its summit can be reached via an ancient 1930’s cable car from Kuznice.  This slope is immensely popular with tourists in the peak ski season and in order not to get stuck in a queue for hours waiting to get access to the summit you should try and buy your cable car ticket at a travel agency in downtown Zakopane before you attempt to get the top. You could also try other slopes like the one at Nosal or the slope at Gubalowka, which is the closest slope to the town of Zakopane and whose summit is accessible by a newly built rail car or one of many T bar lifts.

For the more adventurous folk in your group, the slopes frequented by the locals from the surrounding mountain villages may also provide a new challenge.  The slopes at Bialka, Poronin  Bukowina Tatrzanska are perfect for this kind of adventure and for those who prefer cross country skiing to hurtling down long slopes the nearby Krokiew area may be ideal.

After you energetic day at the ski slopes you may want to head into the Zakopane town to take in many of its nocturnal delights which take the form restaurants, bars and clubs that line its main drag of Krupowki street. Krupowki street  is also home to all sorts of vendors and ski so if you want to shop for new ski gear its best to try the shops which are located here as prices for skiing gear in Poland are still lower than elsewhere.

Zakopane being largely a seasonal resort Krupowki street is particularly busy in the peak tourist season which is winter when ski enthusiasts from all over head to Zakopane  in search of fresh powder. So if you want the total mountain resort experience with the  skiing and the après-ski  nightlife  its best that you book your vacation rental for the coming ski season.

Istanbul for Example

Everyone I know who has returned from a visit to Istanbul wants to move there. No kidding.

Maybe it’s the diversity. What can you say about a country where the state-run Turkish television and radio network (TRT) is planning on broadcasting in 30 languages on its web site?

Istanbul has had lots of names, too, including Byzantium and Constantinople. The city even spans two continents, Europe and Asia. It’s been on everybody’s trade route ever since its founding. There’s access to two seas, too: the Med and the Black Sea.

So, what I’m saying here is that instead of visiting those 7 European countryies in 13 days like you were planning on doing, why not just get an apartment in Istanbul for two weeks and see two continents where folks speak lots of different languages? Not to mention lots of religions, spices, and some mighty strange toilets…

And there are those Bazaars, full of hand crafted things. Hey, Meester, you want a rug? This has to be the national call of Turkey during tourist season. Where do tourists, even with their bigger than life baggage, put a rug for Pete sakes?

And you have to go have a Turkish bath. Those were the good old days, eh? I mean when people bathed together in public.

So to Istanbul. Chill out in the melting pot. Tell me how it was. I’ll be right behind you.

Related Links : Rug Cleaning

Escape to the Golden isle in Georgia to relax and rejeuvenate your body and soul

On the coast of the southern US state of Georgia lies a tranquil paradise in the form of Georgia’s ‘Golden isles’. These golden isles which are made up of four barrier islands-St Simons island, Sea Island, Little St Simons island and Jekyll Island are all accessible from the main land city of Brunswick. These islands were named the golden islands by the Spanish explorers who came here more than four hundred years ago in search of gold and instead found a serene stunning paradise which had golden sands and amiable year round weather.

Your beach-front vacation rental overlooking the golden sands and the ocean

Your beach-front vacation rental overlooking the golden sands and the ocean

St Simons Island is the largest of these four sun-dappled islands which is located across the Marshes of Glynn and is accessed by crossing two bridges that have been built over the river inlets and the marsh lands. This quaint island which has an all pervading sense of calm is characterized by a lush verdant landscape which is made up of gently swaying green grasses, tall palm trees and massive ancient oaks which are filled with Spanish moss. The marshes and creeks that surround the island teem with many kinds of birds, fish, crab and white tail deer and greatly enhance the ambiance of serenity which prevails on this stunning island. Moreover the island is constantly cooled by a gentle ocean breeze which blows in from the Atlantic Ocean and no matter where you are on the island you are always enveloped with this fresh breeze from the ocean which does provide a respite from the intense southern summer heat.

Majestic Oak Trees on St Simon Islands

Majestic Oak Trees on St Simon Islands

The beaches which are the biggest draw of the island are especially beautiful as they port a golden hue due to the mineral enriched sand which is packed tightly down. The sand on the beaches of St Simons Island is so firmly packed because the beaches are constantly washed by the waters of the changing tides. Most visitors to this tranquil golden paradise choose to book their vacation rentals close to these golden sands and luckily for them many of the vacation rentals on St Simons Island are located in beach-front condominiums which afford spectacular views of the ocean and these golden sands.

Moreover having a beach front vacation rental on  St Simons Island offers you easy access to  the water based activities that are offered on the island like sea kayaking, canoeing, boating, deep sea fishing, swimming, wind surfing, parasailing and of course simple beach combing. Another activity here which visitors to St Simons Island find most intriguing and extremely entertaining as well is ‘crabbing’. The islands waters are home to hordes of blue soft shell crabs and the local islanders  stand on the shoreline to fish for these crabs in a practice which is known as ‘crabbing’ wherein they  use a piece of chicken as a bait to attract and catch the crabs. Once you get the hang of crabbing it can provide you with hours of entertainment.

Your beach-front condo vacation rental on St Simon affords you easy access to its manywater based activities

Your beach-front condo vacation rental on St Simon affords you easy access to its many water based activities

The island is also well equipped for bicycling as it has many paved trails that you can follow from your vacation rental at the coast to the center of town or the Pier. If your vacation rental doesn’t offer you a bike rental you can easily rent one in town and enjoy exploring the island on your own. St. Simons Island is also home to seven fine golf courses and is also a popular destination for golfers from around the world. Apart from all these sporting activities the island also has many dining and shopping options in its main village.

For those who enjoy sight- seeing the island also has  much to offer in the form of its many renowned national monuments like its imposing  Ford Federica which was built in 1736 by James Oglethorpe to  protect the British colonies in North America from the marauding Spaniards in Florida who had  expansionist designs. The island also has other national treasures and historical landmarks like the Christchurch Church, the Bloody Marshes, the St Simons Lighthouse and the Neptune Park which has a mini golf course, a playground and even a fishing pier. In fact the golden isle of St Simon has much to offer for everyone and a vacation on this serene tranquil paradise is sure to relax and rejuvenate your body and soul.

Break new ground on the slopes of Oščadnica, Slovakia

If you are looking for some new challenges this Ski season why don’t you head to one of the newly discovered ski resorts in Slovakia? The Republic of  Slovakia is located to the south of Central Europe and it lies sandwiched between its more well known and prominent neighbors, Italy, Croatia, Hungary and Austria. The city of Bratislava located on the banks of the River Danube is Slovakia’s capital and its political, economic and cultural center as well.

Bratislava has become a popular tourist destination in recent years as it is served by many of Europe’s leading low cost airlines and now visitors to this lively city use it as a gateway to many of Slovakia’s other attractions like skiing on its Alpine slopes, bathing in its thermal springs, exploring its mysterious limestone plateau of Karst, walking in its many ancient forests and much more.

Why not stay at an apartment house rental in the village?

Why not stay at an apartment house rental in the village of Oscadnica?

Skiing is in fact become a big business in Slovakia as this tiny republic has established many ski centers at various Alpine locations which are constantly being upgraded and are always vying with each other to attract the many ski enthusiasts who traverse the globe in search of new slopes. Jasná, Ski centrum vrátna, Ski Park Ružonberok, Park Snow Donovaly, Park Snow Vysokétatry, Tatranská Lomnica and Snow Paradise Vel’ka Rača Oščadnica  are some of Slovakia’s most popular ski resorts which are constantly upgrading their facilities by installing new ski lifts and establishing many new après-ski activities in order to attract winter sport enthusiasts  to their slopes.

In fact one of the fastest growing ski resorts in Slovakia is Snow Paradise Vel’ka Rača Oščadnica which is a mid size ski resort located near the Slovak- Polish border. The resort is easily accessible by road from Bratislava and if you fly into the Slovakian capital you can get to this increasingly popular weekend getaway in under three hours.

In order to get to Snow Paradise from Bratislava you could also ride the convenient coach service which is run by the Skibus Company. This service departs from Bratislava’s Bajkalská station daily in the morning during ski season and offers a package which includes your bus ticket and a day ski pass. These coaches then return once the slopes close for the day.

Your vacation rental at a charming Slovak Alpine cottage close to the Ski runs

Your vacation rental at a charming Slovak Alpine cottage close to the Ski runs

The Snow Paradise ski resort is located near the tiny village of Oščadnica and offers 420 metres of vertical ski slopes. At Snow Paradise, skiers can test their skills on eleven trails including a 2350 meter long intermediate trail as well as two expert runs. All levels of skiers are catered to at this resort which is spread over three valleys -Dedovka, Marguška and Laliky all of which are connected by ski lifts.  The runs at this resort are all located within ancient forests and are equipped with artificial snow.  Also located on the slopes are several Chaty( huts) that offer reasonably priced, hearty  and delicious Slovak fare like sausages, goulash, and pirohy s bryndzou (pirogies filled with sheep cheese) to help you recharge your batteries after a particularly energetic run.To enhance the pleasure of ski enthusiasts further Dedovka offers night skiing while the lower Marguška base area offers a terrain park for snowboarders. Snow Paradise opens its doors for business in December and stays open until mid April.

Actually the best way for you to enjoy its many attractions is to book one of the many vacation rentals that are available in close proximity of the ski resort in and around the village of Oščadnica. Located here are a number of vacation rentals which take the form of apartment houses, picturesque alpine cottages and modern builds all of which come equipped with many amenities to make your skiing holiday at Snow Paradise an extremely pleasant experience.

Your adorabale Oscadnica village vacation rental located close to its  many attractions

Your adorable Oscadnica village vacation rental located close to its many attractions

If you choose to hire a vacation rental in Oščadnica you can also take time out from the slopes to explore the surrounding region for located close by is the Budatín Castle in the historic city of Žilina which is easily accessible via a 45 minute ride on a public bus and near Žilina is the village of Čičmany which showcases much well preserved typical Slovak architecture. If sightseeing is not your thing you could always opt for an invigorating soak at the thermal spa of Rajecké Teplice which is also located close to the village of Oščadnica. So booking a vacation rental at Oščadnica  for a skiing holiday  makes much sense as it opens up a world of opportunities apart from the skiing.

Admire Nature in all it’s isolated glory at Big Sky in Montana

If skiing on the slopes of Europe is not a possibility this winter why don’t you stay Stateside and try your hand at the slopes of Big Sky Ski resort  instead?  Big Sky Ski Resort is located in similarly named Big Sky  which is located in vast and sparsely populated state of  Montana.  The region known as Big Sky is located between the city of Bozeman and West Yellowstone and it contains some of the most stunning landscape in the entire United States.

Your Mountain Lodge Rental overlooking Lone Mountain

Your Mountain Lodge Rental overlooking Lone Mountain

The Big Sky ski resort was conceptualized and created by NBC News anchorman Chet Huntley who was a Montana Native. The resort opened for business in 1973 and it has grown in leaps and bounds over the last 35 years. Big Sky Ski Resort has three mountain terrains that are ideal for all level of skiers and snowboarders. The most famous mountain located here is Lone Mountain which soars to a height of over 11,000 feet and has many trails which cater to all levels of skiers. Also located within Big Sky Ski Resort is the Andesite Mountain which is more suited to intermediate skiers. The third mountain which is  called Flat Iron Mountain  also has  a landscape which is  suited to all types of skiers and snowboarders. Apart from skiing, this resort which is located in close proximity to the national treasure of the Yellowstone National Park also has facilities for golfing, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, whitewater rafting, snowshoeing, fly fishing and tennis. So even if skiing is not your thing there is much to keep you busy in this wild  beautiful land.

Your vacation rental at Huntley Lodge

Your vacation rental at Huntley Lodge

When you choose to book a vacation rental in Big Sky you can actually choose to stay at Huntley Lodge which is a hotel that was part of the original plan for the resort. This hotel has been recently refurbished and now offers many amenities for enthusiastic skiers like ski storage and the ability to ski-in or ski-out to core base camp. The hotel is also equipped with an invigorating Spa where you can rejuvenate and refresh your tired muscles after pounding the slopes all day. Huntley lodge is just one of the many vacation rentals that are offered at Big Sky.  Some of the other vacation rentals located here also include traditional mountain lodges which afford great views of Lone Mountain and Lake Levinsky and are located in close proximity to the slopes .

A winter sports holiday in the untouched wilderness of Montana may  perhaps provide a welcome change from the ordinary this ski season.  So why dont you give it a try by reserving your Big Sky vacation rental at the earliest.

Gouvy is Groovy – Belgium That Is

It always stuns me when I go to Europe and find that jazz–the, um, American music–is more popular there than in the US, at least judging by the clubs spread about everywhere you look.

Just outside of Gouvy, Belgium lies la Ferme Madelonne, a jazz, blues, rock and chanson club, for example. Gouvy, mind you, has but 5000 people.

Le Refuge, Gouvy, Belgium Vacation Rental

Le Refuge, Gouvy, Belgium Vacation Rental

But what I want to point out is a nice little hide away near Gouvy, Belgium that might float your boat. It’s called Le Refuge. That, my super, nuclear-powered translator tells me, is “The Refuge.” It really looks like it is.

You can be sipping some coffee on the porch and then decide to slip into your rowboat and paddle into center of the mirrored lake. Sounds like bliss to me, especially if you can get someone else who’s cute to row the darn thing.

Belgium is quite the country. Small enough to see (superficially, you know-as a tourist) in a few weeks, but diverse enough to make you think you’re in two or three different countries. And the food is top notch, although pricey.

And, when you get tired of watching your sweet honey row the boat, you can always head off to one of Belgium’s cute cities, like Bruges.

CuteTravelTM might be just the ticket. I gotta trademark that.

Enjoy a vacation that you desire in the ‘Land of Eternal Spring’, Canary Island, Spain

The seven Canary Islands or the Islas Canarias are a part of Spanish territory but are actually geographically much closer to Africa than to the Spanish mainland. They are in fact located nearly 1350 kilometers to the south of the Iberian peninsula in the Atlantic Ocean with  the island of Fuerteventura  being  situated  95 kilometers to the  east of Morocco.

Your gorgeous vacation rental in Gran Canaria which is close to all the hedonistic action

Your gorgeous vacation rental in Gran Canaria which is close to all the hedonistic action

The seven Canary Islands enjoy a year round temperate climate which is guaranteed by the Gulf Stream and the Trade winds as a result of which the islands are perfect for a getaway all year round. This amenable climate brings 11 million tourists to the shores of the Canaries annually.  In fact these Canary Islands are often described as the ‘Land of Eternal Spring’ because they are blessed with this ‘fine’ weather year round.

The archipelago of the Canary Islands is made up of the five main tourist-centric destinations which are  Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote  and La Palma. In addition to these five main islands are two relatively quiet unspoiled natural paradises called Hierro and Gomera which are a favorite with walkers, hikers and nature lovers.

These islands are all volcanic in nature though they are characterized by extremely different landscapes that include towering mountain peaks, tropical forests, white sand beaches, verdant pine forests and majestic sand dunes. Four of Spain’s seven major natural reserves are located here in the Canaries.  The Tiede volcano which is located on the island of Tenerife and is the third tallest volcano in the world is one such natural reserve as is the Taburiente crater on the island of La Palma. Similarly the island of Lanzarote has the Timanfaya Park which is a UNESCO declared globally protected biosphere while the island of Gomera has an old laurel forest which is located in the midst of its Parque Nacional de Garajonay which extends over 10,000 acres.

Enjoy a golfing vacation at your vacation rental on Tenerife's Golf del Sur

Enjoy a golfing vacation at your vacation rental on Tenerife

The liveliest of the seven islands are Gran Canaria and Tenerife as they have well developed tourist centers which are a magnet for package tourists but if you step away from these touristy areas you can actual enjoy the wild beauty of these islands which is made up of volcanic peaks, lush forests, and beautiful beaches. In fact the landscape on  Grand Canaria is dominated by banana, coffee, sugar cane and tobacco plantations as the weather here is perfect for the cultivation of several tropical fruits and trees.

Your vacation rental options on the island of Gran Canaria are located within fully equipped resorts which are located on its main hubs of activity like the renowned Playa del Ingles and Maspalomas from where the many hedonistic delights of Gran Canaria including its all night dance clubs and bars and its camel treks on the dunes of Masplaomas  are easily accessible.

Enjoy Lanzarote's pulsating nightlife from your conveniently located vacation rental

On the largest Canary island of Tenerife you have a plethora of choices for your vacation rental and depending on what kind of holiday you want to have  you can choose to book a vacation rental on the Golf del Sur which would make teeing off a breeze  or  then you  could book a vacation rental located in the quaint district of  Puerta del Cruz which is populated with historic buildings or you could choose to stay at a vacation rental located  near the stunning cliffs of Los Gigantes on the south west coast of the island. No matter where you stay on this 2000 square kilometer island you can indulge in its many delights. You can either choose to be a sun worshiper and lay out on its black volcanic or imported golden sand beaches or you could party away all night at its many night clubs and bars or you could join its  band of enthusiastic eco-tourists and go on to explore the various natural bounties of Tenerife like its ancient dragon trees that have grown here since the ice ages.

On the island of Lanzarote, you can choose to book a vacation rental in its main tourist areas of Puerto del Carmen or Costa Teguise where nightclubs, bars and restaurants abound but the  nightlife here is trifle tame  when compared to  that on Gran Canaria or Tenerife. If you are a beach lover then perhaps you will opt for a vacation rental on the island of Fuerteventura which though not as lively as its neighbors is blessed with the longest beaches in the archipelago and is an ideal destination for a quiet family vacation especially of you are looking to escape the winter sun.

Whatever you want from your vacation get away as long as you choose your island with care you are sure to find it in the Canary Islands  which have something for every kind of traveler.


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