Expert Travel Reviews

Stay on the tree tops for a unique Maui vacation

October 30, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

If you are looking for a unique Hawaii honeymoon spot, then you might be up a tree – literally. One of the most unusual Maui vacation destinations is the Hana Lani Tree Houses, and they are just what the name says – living quarters located in the trees.

Located deep in the Maui jungle, this incredible Hawaii vacation site is only accessible by a series of ropes and ladders spanning the tops of the trees. Imagine falling asleep to the sounds of the natural wonders and animals of the jungle. Of course, this might not be for everyone – the site’s Web site notes that this experience is “not for the fussy,” meaning that if you’re the type of person who enjoys sleeping on a comfortable bed while having room service deliver your morning breakfast and coffee before enjoying a nice, warm shower, you might want to consider staying at one of the island’s more conventional resort hotels.

The most dangerous European roads

October 29, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Even when on holiday, one of the most perilous parts of travel is the dangers faced on the roads in other countries. The EU’s Transport Commission report says that more than 600 deaths and close to 7,000 accidents could be avoided annually, if Europe’s road were in a better condition. The EU’s new member states have the highest number of accidents due to old vehicles, poor road infrastructure and bad driving habits. In 2006, a total of 46,000 people were killed in accidents on European road – 2,000 less than in 2004.

Turkey is very popular amongst tourists. While local auto-assembly plants supply local car-rentals with small cylinder capacity vehicles, technical service is poor and vehicles are generally in very bad shape. Defective cars are quite common in Turkey, with the probability of brake malfunction being quite high. Cabs in Turkey are quite awful as well, with the cab drivers’ irresponsible driving manner and etiquette. This leads to multiple accidents every year. Annually, close to 3,000 people die on Turkish roads, and these are deemed to be the most dangerous in Europe.

The greatest accident rate in the European Union is registered in Greece. With a total of one million citizens, 180 people die on the road every year. Sixty percent of all accidents involve a bicycle or scooter, while two-wheeled transport is quite popular here. Children as young as fourteen are legally allowed to ride motor scooters.In Portugal, the situation is no better, with 326 fatalities per each million of Portugal citizens younger than 15 years of age, per year. EU safety specialists have introduced a new programme targeted at increased road safety in a bid to halve fatalities on European roads by 2010.

Take extra precautions when travelling through these countries, such as taking cabs instead of renting and driving, or walking short distances, or even look at air travel for medium distances you would normally drive. Better to be safer than sorry.

Eiffel tower will be more accessible for the tourists

October 28, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

The Eiffel Tower is undergoing reconstruction to ensure easier and faster access for tourists to France’s main attraction. The plan, an investment of 170 thousand euros comprises a list of technical novelties, which will be carried through until 2015. Most importantly, the handicap access to the tower will be further enhanced, while attention will be more focused on attracting school children and the Parisian public, which currently accounts for a mere 2 percent of ticket sales.

‘Altitude 95’, a restaurant located on the second floor of the tower will also be reconstructed, while ‘Jules Verne’, the first-floor restaurant was reconstructed last year. Patrick Jouin, one of Paris’ most fashionable designers is responsible for both restaurants interior design.

As part of its new plans, the Eiffel Tower will also get more internet savvy, with tickets available online. This ensures that entrance dates and times can be reserved. This is currently only available for tourist groups. The tower’s modernization plans also include the souvenir shops, which are currently not in very good condition. The reconstruction will also include work on the three hydraulic elevators invented by Gustave Eiffel himself. This means that for the next one and a half years, only two elevators will be available for use to serve the millions of tourists that visit the Tower every day. A cloak room will be created at the foot of the tower, a long awaited and requested facility for tourists to leave baby carriages and heavy backpacks before they embark on their journey up the tower. This year, in 2009, the Eiffel Tower celebrates in 120th anniversary.

Top 10 of World’s Terrifying Places

October 25, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Most people revel in scary things and find it fascinating. If you are one of those people, here is the top ten list of the world’s most terrifying places that you must visit:

1. Museum of Anatomopathology, Austria, Vienna
Also known as the Tower of the Stupid, it is located in the isolation ward of a former lunatic asylum. Representing a real monument to harsh medieval medicine and abnormalities, even the most cynical tourist agrees that this place has a chilling atmosphere.

2. The Sedlec Ossuary, Czech Republic
The plague left many cemeteries overfilled, and people were forced to dig out bones and arrange improvised depositories. The Czech ossuary is a special depository of sorts. Its greatest impression is produced by its walls made of stacked up human skulls.

3. Paris Catacombs, France
While seemingly a common tourist path, only a small part of it is open for excursions. It is patrolled day and night, and the country spends considerable funds to maintain a special police service, even though it contains nothing of value. Tales are far and wide about ghosts, monsters and blind lunatics who have not seen the light of day for several generations.

4. Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, Oswiecim, Poland
Created on the former concentration camp of Oswiecim, where more than 4 million people died, you enter through the famous gateway shot in almost every war movie. The museum exhibits include brick blocks and things taken away by the fascists.

5. Museum of Torture, Mdina, Malta
Containing a huge collection of guillotines, tongs for pulling out nails and other torture instruments, this museum also has extremely naturalistic wax figures used to demonstrate the use of the torture devices.

6. The Winchester Mystery House. San Hose, California
Built by Sarah Winchester, the heiress of an armourer who went crazy due to a terrible prophecy, the house was built to house the souls of every person killed by her father’s rifles. The house is considered to be full of ghosts and other evil forces.

7. Dracula’s Castle. Transilvania, Romania
Situated on the edge of an abyss, you can even walk into the room where on the big bed with a canopy, Count Dracula used to suck his victims’ blood. The castle was also inhabited by Vlad the Impaler, considered to be one of the most monstrous personalities of the Middle Ages.

8. Gulag, Russia
During its twenty years of existence, millions of people have passed through Gulag, whose camps were known for violation of elementary human rights and drastic punishments. Starvation, disease, death and exhausting labour were extremely high. Even today you can see deserted barracks, tunnels, punishment cells, prisoner’s clothes and shaved hair.

9. Museum of Execution Instruments, Paris, Fountaine de Vaucluse
Its founder previously worked as an executioner for over a decade. The museum has execution instruments from all nations and covers all times.

10. The Valley of Death, Tibet
Full of bones, yogis are known to come here to die. Others travel to the Valley of Death to find purification, obtain secret knowledge. Interestingly, very few come back in their original mental state. The belief is that in the Valley of Death, the human soul undergoes a ‘special’ trial.

The most unusual museums of the world

October 24, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Here is a list of the seven most strange and unusual museums in the world.

1. The medieval torture instruments, Prague, Czech Republic – Visitors are offered a 45-minute tour around the museum which consists of sixty torture instruments. Information on the usage of each mechanism is supplied.

2. The Museum of Bad Art, Boston, USA – with over 400 so-called masterpieces in its collection,only forty of them are can be exposed simultaneously due to a lack of space. Entry is free of charge. The items in the collection are gathered and moderated by its curator –
Scott Wilson.

3. Three museums of Sex: in Amsterdam, Paris and Husavik (Iceland) – In the “Musee de l’Erotisme” in Paris amongst its items of modern erotic art is the history of Parisian prostitution. In the Netherlands, the museum has paintings, sculptures, manuscripts and contraceptives. In Iceland, the Phallus Museum has a 195-strong collection, including salted penises of horses, mice, hamsters, rats, guinea-pigs, seals, whales and polar bears.

4. The mysterious Winchester house in San-Hose, California – the house of 160 rooms and 40 bedrooms was constructed over 38 years till the death of Sarah Winchester. All the construction was in aide of the souls of the people killed from the rifles of her father.

5. The Mutter medicine history museum, Philadelphia, USA – it is famous for its huge collection of skulls and unique items such as the corpse of a woman that turned into soap in the soil she was buried in.

6. The Glora Psychiatric museum, Saint-Josef, Missouri – retelling the 400 year history of the treatment of psychic diseases, the museum has on exhibition 1446 items taken out of the stomachs of the patients.

7. The International Toilet Museum, New-Delhi, India – it tracks the history of toilets since 3000 B.C. until the present.

Favourite celebrity resorts

October 15, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Forbes Magazine recently revealed a list of resorts rated as favourite by celebrities:

Lake Como, Lombardy, Italy
Lake Como is of glacial origins in Lombardy, Italy. It is the third largest lake in Italy and is one of the deepest lakes in Europe, measuring over 400m in depth. This is a favourite of George Clooney, Matt Damon and Madonna.

Mykonos, Greece
One of Paris Hilton’s hot favourite places to be, Mykonos in Greece is a tourist destination known for its cosmopolitan character and intense night life. Believed to be named after a local hero, considered to be the offspring of the god Apollo, the island is composed mainly of granite and has very little fresh water.

Dalmatia, Croatia
Waves of the Adriatic Sea gently splash upon the shores of Dalmatia and its thousand islands, islets, and cliffs. Reaching around 56m in depth, the sea is the most transparent and beautiful around the outermost Dalmatian islands. This destination is a Ralph Lauren and Bernie Ecclestone favourite.

St. Tropez, France
A popular French Riviera vacation spot, especially for P.Diddy, Pamela Anderson and Bruce Willis; it is located on the Mediterranean coast near Nice. Saint Tropez is also home to Plage de Tahiti, a famous nude beach.

Capri, Italy
The spectacularly dramatic coast of Capri is has a many creeks, tiny bays and caves. Sunny days means you can see beneath the crystal clear waters, and gaze for hours at the seabed rich in flora and fauna, including banks poseidonia oceanica. This is a top favourite of Rod Stewart, Jane Birkin, Naomi Campbell and Tom Cruise.

New time zone adaptation method

October 13, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Starving for half a day can help you ease into adapting into a new time zone. Harvard medical school scientists revealed that the ingestion schedule is very important for the human body as is the habit to sleep at night. Significant changes in time zones can be difficult to adjust to. Generally, the organism takes at least four days to adjust to the change, even if it gets daylight change as its only orientation. Therefore, the only efficient recommendation for travellers is to calculate the nearest time for breakfast, and not to eat food for around 12-16 hours until then. This seems to be the only way to reduce the adaptation period up to one day.

The Harvard Medical School scientists say that starvation as recommended will contribute to the setup change of the human body, which is like the ability of all living creatures to accommodate in extreme living conditions. So if a person has changed several time zones and does not put his body into critical and exhaustive conditions, will find he feels quite healthy and will possibly only suffer from the wish to sleep at day and be active at night.

Keep in mind however, that this organism which is usually accustomed to receiving nutrition 5-6 times a day, and has now been left sans food for at least half a day, will only enter into extreme adaptation mood. The only way to combat this is to combine the first breakfast after a significant nutrition break and at the beginning of a new day, the adaptation process to the new time zone should be completed and make you feel fresh and ready for a new day.

The sexiest beaches in the world

October 8, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Where can you take a vacation to that would be truly unforgettable and romantic? Here is a list of the sexiest beaches in the world.

Lake Nyasa Mozambique
Located in Mozambique, Nyasa is the 9th largest freshwater lake in the world. Its groundless water level change still remains a mystery. Famous for its purest waters, Nyasa boasts of white, virgin beaches, palm forests, picturesque views, little islands and crystal clear lagoons.

Malibu, California
What can be sexier than a plethora of suntanned Hollywood playboys and gorgeous girls? This beach boasts the likes of top-class stars such as Angelina Jolie, Cindy Crawford, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston and Pamela Anderson.

Paros, Greece
Not a beach for the backward type. Stretching into 13 miles of sandy pleasure, most patrons of this beach sunbathe topless. Incredibly romantic rocks give you some shelter from the sea breeze as well as a little bit of privacy.

Lansarote, Canary
Famous for its volcanic beaches complete with black sand, rocks and white crests of the Atlantic Ocean, the Canary Islands’ Lansarote is a small island with over 90 beaches. Wow!

Gottland Sweden
A little island in the Baltic Sea, it is not very popular with the tourists. The most interesting thing about this beach is its white nights. In summer, the sun always shines.

Krabi, Thailand
One of the most romantic beaches, complete with chalk cliffs, clear water and heaps of sea grottoes. The Beach, starring Leonardo di Caprio was filmed here.

Touristic Frauds Abroad

October 7, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Holidaying abroad means you must be extra vigilant about your money, credit cards and other personal effects. Some of the most popular thefts in tourist destinations are of credit cards and money.

Credit card frauds – remember, your credit card is not the only convenient way to pay when travelling abroad. One of the most popular means of obtaining access to your accounts is through a special device that reads data from your card and saves its number and pin code. This can happen at restaurants, cheap resorts, etc. Avoid using your card at small shops and restaurants.

Superimposed keyboards – are attached to ATMs, so that the crooks have your PIN number and will probably steal your card next.

Conversion calculators – currency exchange points show ‘convenient’ currency conversion calculators which show the wrong amount, less than it should be. The exchange operator also uses the same device. Always use the calculator on your mobile phone to double check if the conversion is correct.

If you really must use an ATM, use those located inside bank offices and hotels. Their administrations detest scandals and these terminals are generally guarded round the clock. Before travelling overseas, activate the SMS-informing service that your bank offers. This service sends all information regarding any operation with your credit card, all delivered via an SMS to your mobile phone. This will also enable you to block your card at any time in case it gets stolen. Make sure you keep telephone numbers of bank emergency departments saved on your phone and in a separate note book as well.

Crystal Cruises offers amazing deals on luxury cruise vacations in 2010

October 1, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

In a sign that luxury cruise lines might be the next place to find discounted cruise vacations, Crystal Cruises announced in September a major revamping of its price structure for 2010. The major change is that all cruises will offer two-for-one fares for all destinations.

This change makes the luxury cruise line more affordable than comparable lines offering a lower class of service. In addition, Crystal Cruises will offer spending credits for onboard purchases of up to $2,000 per couple, plus amazing airline ticket specials including free airfare (economy for North American destinations or business class for European destinations). People taking European cruises will also receive a sweet hotel suite deal: a free stay at a penthouse in a top hotel.

“The scope of changes we’ve made is unprecedented as we literally have to reproduce every piece of collateral we’ve had in the marketplace,” said Crystal Cruises senior vice president Bill Smith.

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