Contents

Bulgaria is a sunshine haven for fresh, mountain or sea air, open spaces and mineral spa treatments. For many, it is ideal location for a relaxed and healthy lifestyle.

Health and Leisure in Bulgaria

Health and Leisure in BulgariaBulgaria is a sunshine haven for fresh, mountain or sea air, open spaces and mineral spa treatments. For many, it is ideal location for a relaxed and healthy lifestyle.It is no wonder that Bulgarias tourism figures are increasing at a level never seen before (50% in the past 4 years). Bulgarias recent government initiatives have invested heavily in its leisure industries and in turn they are creating some highly desirable tourist resorts.Black Sea ResortsBulgaria is best known for its budget holiday resorts on the Black Sea. Here you can enjoy great health and leisure activities at a fraction of the cost of most other tourist destinations.Warm sunshine with pleasant temperatures (around 26C in summer) comfortable hotels, white, non-tidal beaches, water sports are but some of the attractions to the area. There is also plenty of entertainment laid on by the hotels, including night life at all the resorts. In addition, within minutes you can find yourself in picturesque mountains, ski resorts and golf courses.The major seaside resorts are located at: Albena, Golden Sands (the largest seaside resort where 22 brand new hotels are currently under construction), St. Konstantin, Varna (known as the sea capital and Bulgarias third largest city), Elenite, Sunny Beach (the third largest resort) and Bourgas.For extra entertainment, modern aqua parks can be found in Golden Sands and Sunny Beach.There are several nudist beaches in Bulgaria. They are located-between Albena and Kranevo - after Gergana Hotel in Albena-Golden Sands resort - past the yacht port, in front of Glarus Hotel-Kamchia - the widest nudist beach on the Bulgarian Black sea coast and a famous nudist-Destination.-Bourgass - north of the town after the Burgas Hotel, direction Nessebur (new town) near the saltpans of Bourgas. -Sozopol - south of Harmanite beachSkiingToday Bulgaria is a highly desirable ski location, with some of the best value skiing and aprs-ski available in Europe. The main ski centres are at: Bansko, the most developed of all the resorts but also retaining a rich history and culture, Borovets, the largest, with 40 km of piste, Pomparovo, the highest point is 1,926 m), Chepelare, picturesque and near to the longest Bulgarian ski run, Mechi Chal (5,200 m) and Vitosha,set in a National Park and overlooking the capital city of Sofia.The rugged heights of the Rila and Pirin mountains form a spectacular setting for the ski resorts.The highest peak is Rila with its Musala peak(2925m).The season is from mid-December, extending through to April in many locations. The average temperatures in the main ski resorts are:Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec oC -1 1 5 9 15 19 22 23 16 12 6 1 oF 30 33 41 48 59 65 71 74 61 54 42 33 Trekking and Local CultureTo truly experience the character of Bulgaria, you must venture away from the resorts to where the locals live. The Balkan Range, a 435-mile (700km) chain, crosses the entire country and offers some of the best hiking in Europe. Rodopifor easy trekking amid green forestsJeravna or Kotelfor more strenuous trekking in the Eastern Balkan mountainsNational Parksfor various levels of trekking, at Pirin, Central Balkan or RilaThe six very different mountain ranges vary from high, snow-covered peaks to gentle green slopes and forests. They harbour thermal springs and mineral spas. The valleys are rich with Balkan flora and fauna.The mountain dwellers have their own distinctive customs, crafts, colourful folklore, religious beliefs and speech. They welcome guests with typical Bulgarian warm-hearted hospitality, and are delighted to share age-old traditions and cooking.Rural Bulgaria is particularly poor and many people here live under the poverty line. The villagers mainly live off self-sufficiency and preserve almost everything they produce, even meat. Mineral Spas & treatmentsPeople travel from far and wide to discover the health benefits to be gained from the Balkan mountain mineral spas. The main ones are located at:- Hissarya 22 mineral springs for the treatment of urological and liver diseases- Touzlate for bone diseases- Sandanski for bronchial asthma- Velingrad - for conditions of the respiratory tract and disturbances of the locomotory system, neurological disorders, gynaecological complaints, mild forms of diabetes and obesity- Kystendil - for conditions of the bones, joints and tendons, disorders of the nervous system, cardiovascular diseases, disturbances of the reproductive system and sterilityHealing MudThe Black Sea resorts at Sveti Constantine, Pomorie and Albena are famous for their mud treatments. The best known Black-Sea spa centers are at: Dobroudja Hotel at Albena resort, Ambassador Hotel at Golden Sand resort, Riviera Holiday Club, Sunny Day and Grand Hotel Varna at St.Constantine resort and Pomorie Hotel in the coastal town of Pomorie.The boost in tourist amenities has led to many of the luxury 4 and 5 star hotels offering spa centres, including pools, saunas, jacuzzis, solariums and fitness centres. Some of the best can be found in: Castle Hrankov Hotel in Sofia, Grand Hotel Veliko in Lovech, Plovdiv Novotel in Plovdiv and Kempinski Hotel in Zografski, Sofia.GolfDespite the abundance of open space, golf is in its early stages of development in Bulgaria. It is developing at a steady pace to create world-class facilities that will not only support the growth of golf in Bulgaria but act as a focus for tourism. However at the moment there are only three golf courses in Bulgaria. Todays courses are located at Ihtiman, opened in 2000, 40km from Sofia, and at Sliven, opened in 2004, 90km from the Black Sea. Due to a huge increase in tourism and foreign interest in Bulgaria, several more golf courses are underway. One of these will be located at Razgrad, in the north-east, about 90km from the Black Sea. More are scheduled to open within the next few years: two at Kavarna and one at Primorsko, near Sozopol. Another course is near completion in the ski town of Bansko. A large golf complex at Dolna Banya, between Kostenets and Borovets, near Ihtiman, now the country's foremost ski resort is near completion. Its timely opening is scheduled for 2007, the year of Bulgaria's entry into the European Union. The complex will include 220 apartments around a comprehensive sports complex, with access to the golf course by a short footpath. Additional outdoor facilities will include: tennis, volleyball, squash, badminton, lawn bowls, boules (boccia), shooting, archery, croquet, mountain biking, and fishing nearby. Indoor facilities will include: 140-seat main restaurant and cabaret stage, a huge main bar (perhaps the largest in Bulgaria), a sports bar with projection TV, snooker, pool, table football, table tennis, a Chinese restaurant, Indian restaurant, fast food cafeteria, pizzeria, gymnasium, sauna, massage parlour, clinic, chemist, sports shop and mini market.Real estate prices in all golf resorts are set to rise substantially with increased public recognition and media coverage. Ian Woosnam, the 2006 Ryder Cup Captain, has increased international awareness whilst becoming heavily involved in the development of two of the new golf complexes at Bansko and Balchik, with their accompanying leisure centres and hotels.

Traveling In Germany

Traveling In Germany

The distinct prestige and popularity that Germany enjoys as a prime destination for vacationers makes it a distinctly friendly country to enjoy relatively hassle-free in-country travel options. Traveling through Germanys breathtaking country sides, unique cityscapes, and along its inspiring coast lines in a memorable experience that vacationers enjoy as much as the other facets of their visit to the country. Travel options vary widely from train to automobile, to boat. Each of these modes of transport offers its own, unique aspects that will prove convenient and enjoyable.Relax and Travel by Train to Enjoy Germanys BeautyThe European rail system is renowned world wide as one of the most reliable, efficient, affordable, and all-around convenient ways to travel. Germany is certainly considered to be the Crown of Europe in the way that it has made its own rails a large draw for passengers both that are both local and visitors to this exquisite country.Rail travel can range from no-frills packages that cater to the budget-minded traveler to the prestigious and luxurious offerings that cater to visitors that wish to indulge and pamper themselves in well-appointed settings and a one-of-a-kind experience.Travel options and tickets for traveling through Germany by train are conveniently available at train stations in each city.Rental Cars Available in Germany for VisitorsEnjoy the freedom and privacy of traversing the countryside and exploring Germanys unique and beautiful cities from your own rental car. Foreign-licensed drivers can rent a wide range of automobiles hassle-free in Germany.A trip to Germany for many is not complete without taking a drive down the world-famous German Autobahn. Though the Autobahn boasts stretches of road that are free of speed limits, it is remarkably safe and free from accidents due to its unique design and distinct German courtesy for its fellow travelers. Slower-moving vehicles stay right at all times, allowing the faster-moving left lane to be left clear for passing. Typically, once the vacationer gets the taste of the courteous and efficient nature of German driving, they will appreciate the friendly nature of Germans even more.Take a Boat Trip through Germanys Scenic RiversTravel by boat is often a secret left to German visitors that are in the know. This unique method of traversing Germany affords the traveler an exclusive experience that can be much more relaxing and enjoyable than traditional methods of reaching German destinations.Several companies offer one-way and round-trip treks through German water ways that never fail to enthrall passengers and enhance their overall German vacationing experience. Availability can vary by season, but the vacationer in the know will not pass up this journey in the German springtime.Traveling through the German countryside and through its city streets augments the experience of experiencing German culture and scenery for the vacationer. While in Germany, dont hesitate to enjoy the varying means of taking in Germanys sites that are available. Each of the methods described above offers its own enjoyable and fulfilling criteria for enhancing your German vacation and ensuring that it will be a positive memory that lasts a lifetime.

When Traveling To Memphis

When Traveling To Memphis

Memphis the jewel of the mid-south, sits on the might Mississippi river, and is home of the worlds greatest attractions. If youre looking for a vacation full of excitement, history, and southern charm, then Memphis Tennessee is the place for you.Memphis a City that dates back over 200 years, also that survived the civil war, and the great earthquake is a warm inviting city for vacationers every year. Famous for its music and barbeque, there are also other things that one can visit while staying in Memphis.Everyone should visit Beale Street where you still get the feel of that down home blues of B.B. King and Memphis Minnie. On Beale Street you can also get world famous soul food and party the night away with the sound of constant music from an eclectic assortment of musical clubs. It would also be comforting to talk a stroll down on Front Street to the Mississippi River. A ride on the Memphis Queen is always a nice closure to your evening. When the night has died down you can stroll back to you hotel room at the world famous Peabody Hotel and in the morning watch the ducks waddle in to lobby before breakfast. After breakfast, you should visit Elvis Presley Mansion and maybe stay or eat lunch at the Heartbreak Hotel in front of Elviss House. Mud Island, a replica of the Mississippi River is a museum full of enlightening information of Memphis past. You can also take a ride on the Monorail and maybe have brunch there. The Pyramid is also a tourist attraction found downtown, Memphis very own replica of Ancient Egyptians Pyramids.There are other social important places to see as well. For instance a trip to Memphis wouldnt be quite complete with a visit to the Civil Right Museum. There you can get the history of Civil Rights Movement, get a historical perspective, and even see where Martin Luther King was slain. The controversial replica of the Statue of Liberty is housed in Memphis at World Overcomers Church. It has received national attention, so dont forget to stop by and get a snapshot.Memphis very own NBA team, The Grizzlies play at the FedEx forum downtown. Go watch them in action while youre in town. The Peabody Place, located in downtown Memphis is another great way to spend a day in Memphis. Shop in the malls, hang out at Jillians, or enjoy the IMAX theatre.You cant leave Memphis without stopping by the Memphis Zoo. Memphiss Zoo is a large fantastic zoo that also features the Panda Exhibit. After the zoo, the Pink Palace Museum and the Brooks Art Museum are a must.Remember when visiting Memphis, partake in all of its many inviting and alluring aspects. You wont be sorry, because the southern hospitality, fascinating entertainment, and incredible cuisine will never disappoint you

Three Easy Steps To Your Dream Vacation!

Three Easy Steps To Your Dream Vacation!

Lets face it. For many of us, our dream vacation may not quite fit into our financial possibilities. But with persistent determination, diligence and discipline, your dream vacation could be much closer than you may think! Here are 3 easy steps to your dream vacation.1. Join a Home exchange program. When it comes to a dream vacation, you simply cannot get any better that FREE!! Home exchange programs allow you to swap homes with other home-owners in your dream vacation destination. This means you save on costs of accommodations! There are several excellent home exchange websites that provide great information about swapping homes. We recommend "Travel The Home Exchange Way" and "Know Your Trade" . There is no better way to fast forward to a dream vacation! 2. Put your credit cards to work for you! Just about everyone uses credit cards in one way or the other, so as long as you are going to use one, why not let it work for you? Get a credit card that allows you to accumulate credit-card miles, which you can then use for FREE travel awards, travel upgrades and many other luxuries you may otherwise have to dish out large sums of cash for. So before you make your next charge, find out if your current credit card offers any travel rewards. If not, its time for a switch. There are many credit cards that award airline miles, cruise vacation points or hotel points.Caution: Do NOT make unnecessary charges on these travel award cards merely to get a free airline ticket! Use the travel reward cards to pay for necessary expenses! The trick is to use the card to make purchases you would have made with cash. Then pay off the card to a zero balance each month. That way, you made a purchase you would have made with cash anyway PLUS are piling up points toward great travel awards.3. Liquidate unnecessary assets. So now you got free accommodations and a free airline ticket. But what about spending money? Most of us have stuff all around the house that we seldom ( read:never) use. Why not sell it and use that cash as spending money on your dream vacation? You can hold a virtual yard sale by using Craigslist and Ebay to you sell stuff you no longer use or need. Remember, one mans junk is another mans treasure. Follow these three easy steps and you may be enjoying your dream vacation much sooner than you think. It really is as easy as 1-2-3.

Hello From Nova Scotia: 400 Years Of History At Port-Royal

Following my introduction to the quaint and historic town of Annapolis Royal I drove about 10 kilometers out of town across the causeway on the north shore of the Annapolis River and arrived in one of the most historic locations in north-eastern North America. Port-Royal is a reconstruction of a settlement a Habitation of French settlers founded in 1605 by Sieur de Mons and Samuel de Champlain and one of the earliest successful European settlement attempts in North America. The settlement existed until 1613 when it was burned to the ground by Captain Samuel Argall of Virginia.My expert guide for this introduction to early French life in Canada was Wayne Melanson, a ninth generation Acadian and twin brother of Alan Melanson who I had already met at Fort Anne during my initial discoveries of Annapolis Royal. Interestingly, on my drive to Port Royal I noticed a sign saying Melanson Settlement, a National Historic Site of Canada which indeed refers to the forefathers of todays Melanson family. When I connected with Alan and Wayne Melanson, I realized that I had tapped into a piece of living history and was excited to learn more about their story.Charles Melanson, the forefather of todays Melanson family, had come to todays Annapolis River area with his wife Marie Dugas in about 1664 and settled along the north shore of the river. The Melanson Settlement was an agricultural community employing the Acadian dykeland farming techniques that were unique in the colonies. In 1755 Charles' son Ambroise and his family were deported from the Annapolis area by the English as part of the Great Expulsion (le grand derangement) once this area changed from French to British ownership. Wayne explained that six men, including Ambroise's son-in-law Pierre Bellieveau initiated a mutiny on the boat and overpowered the crew. Pierre's son Amand returned to settle in the Clare region in southwestern Nova Scotia.To this day, some descendants of Charles Melanson are still living right near the original homestead that he founded in the 17th century. Wayne commented that despite this tragic past, people have survived and preserved their cultural identity, a testament to human fortitude and tenacity in the face of adversity. It was amazing to me that after this great diaspora of Acadian settlers in the 18th century two ninth-generation Acadian twin brothers would live and work right next to their ancestors original settlement, both bringing history to life for the area's visitors.Wayne is a presentation supervisor with Parks Canada, the federal agency in charge of many of Canadas most significant heritage sites, and his appearance reflects the style of dress of early French settlers in the area. He explained to me that today he was dressed in the style of working class people with a simple shirt and pants, covered by a heavy woolen cape against the cold. On his feet he was wearing wooden clogs, a popular piece of footwear at the time.We entered the habitation through the wooden gate that features the coat of arms of Henri IV, King of France in 1605 when the original habitation would have been built. The coats of arms of the two governors, Sieur de Mons and Sieur de Poutrincourt, are also represented above the doorway.The entire Port-Royal complex consists of six attached wooden buildings located around a central courtyard. The buildings were reconstructed from 1939 to 1940 and are a historically accurate replica of the original habitation. This project was a result of the efforts of Harriet Taber Richardson of Cambridge, Massachusetts who raised funds to bring in a Harvard-educated archeologist for the authentic reconstruction of this early French settlement.The Port-Royal Habitation is an excellent example illustrating the lifestyle and hardships of the early French settlers and fur traders that settled in the eastern part of Canada. Wayne explained that the original settlement held about 30 craftsmen and 15 gentlemen, including a surgeon, a lawyer and a ships pilot. No women were residing in Port-Royal.We started our walk at the forge where metal goods were produced on site. The blacksmith was an important member of the community because he produced the hardware needed for the upkeep of the habitation. He also fabricated goods for trade with the Mikmaq First Nations People which contributed directly to the settlements financial well-being.The kitchen next door was a place where geese, rabbits and other interesting dishes would be prepared and fresh bread would be baked. The adjacent Common Room was decked out in 17th century style with pewter tableware and was the location of frequent dinners of the French settlers and Mikmaq natives. The Order of Good Cheer was the first European social club, founded to while away the long dark winter nights. Prominent members of the colony took turns preparing a feast, arranging entertainment and preparing delicacies such as fricasseed beaver tail and boiled moose nose.Despite the harsh conditions at the early settlement, culture was present at Port-Royal. A Parisian lawyer by the name of Marc Lescarbot, spent the winter of 1606-1607 at the Habitation and wrote a play called The Theatre of Neptune which was first performed in November of 1606. He also chronicled life in the habitation and his records provide great insight into the daily challenges of early French settlers.Wayne then introduced me to the second-story dormitory that at the time would have held about 30 craftsmen, including joiners, carpenters, masons, stonecutters, locksmiths and iron workers. These men were required to work three hours a day at their trade and could use the rest of their time to go fishing, hunting or tend their gardens. A foot-powered spring pole lathe was made to turn wood and create objects such as spindles, goblets and candlesticks. Wayne gave me a demonstration of this contraption and the functionality of this human-powered piece of equipment was astounding.The apothecary next door was in charge of ensuring the health of the early settlers. Various herbs would be crushed with a pestle and mortar to provide remedies for common health problems. This was a harsh environment and many of the original inhabitants did not survive the harsh winters.Several gentlemens quarters follow, each equipped with bunk beds and draw curtains for privacy. Generally each room was inhabited by two to four gentlemen and equipped with a table, chair, wardrobe, a large bench and a fireplace. The largest sleeping quarters are those of the Governor which are decorated with a smoked moose hide, artwork originally produced by the Mikmaq natives which was much admired by the French settlers. Wayne explained that moose hide would often be worn to protect against the cold. The most effective way was to wear the hairy side on the inside with the smooth part facing outside.The next building holds the fur storage area where furs from various animals are displayed, including beaver, silver fox, bobcat, raccoon, timber wolf, otter and lynx furs. Wayne informed me that beaver fur was the most valuable fur since there was a big craze for beaver fur hats at the European royal courts. Essentially the entire early settlement of Canada was a result of Europes fashion hunger for beaver fur. Rabbit fur was also used to make hats, but in order to remove the keratin from the hair, mercury had to be used which had severe effects on the mental health of the craftsmen producing the hats. Wayne explained that this is where the expression mad as a hatter comes from.When we entered the wine cellar, my expert guide pointed out that every man who resided here received 1.5 pints (about 1 litre) of wine a day. Wine was considered much healthier since much of the water in the early communities was polluted due to poor sanitary conditions. People would toss their slob buckets into the rivers, effectively contaminating their own drinking water supply.Next door we entered the trading room which was a room were barter transactions for basic goods would take place. In a loft upstairs a Mikmaq canoe as well as an original coffin is on display. The steep roof would help the snow slide off during the long harsh winters. Wayne then took me outside to the Cannon Platform from where there is a great view over the Annapolis River. Any intruder approaching the area could easily be seen from this platform.Outside the Habitation is a monument honouring Membertou, one of the great Mikmaq chiefs who helped the French adapt and survive in Acadia who together with his family was baptized in 1610. I thanked Wayne Melanson for his great introduction to Port-Royal, this early place of French history. On an increasingly cloudy day I made my way back to Annapolis Royal, stopping to take some pictures of a few beautiful house in Granville Ferry, the town located directly across from Annapolis Royal. Prior to an earlier bridge and todays causeway, Granville Ferry was indeed the location of a ferry service that would connect both towns by ship.Shortly after I arrived back in Annapolis Royal and was more than ready for a tasty dinner. And I would have a chance to see history brought to life in my much anticipated Garrison Graveyard Tour, to be presented by Alan Melanson, the other member of this duo of historic experts.

Secrets To Low Cost Airfare

Airfare continues to rise with no end in sight it seems, especially since gas prices have skyrocketed. If you plan to fly on business or for vacation you may be worried about the high cost of airfare. There are a few ticks of the trade you can use to help ensure you get the best deal for your air travel.Be flexible with datesIf you must travel on a specific date, chances are you will spend more for your ticket especially if you are booking your ticket within a couple of weeks of departure. If you can be flexible with your dates, a day or two on either side, your chances for savings are increased. If you use a travel website such as Orbitz or Travelocity, then you will be given the option to search for fares by lowest price first on multiple dates. These sites make it easy to shop around for air the best prices in air fares.Book your flight in advanceYou can also save on airfare by booking your flight at least two to three weeks prior to departure. If you wait to book your flight a couple of days out, you will have to pay quite a bit more. The exception is if you try and get a last minute fare on a flight that leaves the same day. Sometimes you can get a real good deal on last minute flights. If you plan to fly overseas then you should plan to book your flight a minimum of four weeks out if you want to get a reasonable price for your fare.Fly on weekdaysIt is usually cheaper to fly on a Tuesday or Wednesday than it is Friday or the weekend. So if you plan your flight to leave and return on a Wednesday you will save money and may even save a few more dollars for including an overnight Saturday stay.Fly out of a smaller airportYou may get a better deal on your ticket if you fly out of a neighboring airport instead of the airport of a major city. If you search for your fares on a travel website, you will be given the option of looking for fares at a nearby airport.There is no need to spend more money than you have to on your airline ticket. By booking early and flying on weekdays, you should be able to get the best deal possible.

Summary

Bulgaria is a sunshine haven for fresh, mountain or sea air, open spaces and mineral spa treatments. For many, it is ideal location for a relaxed and healthy lifestyle.