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Posted on Sep 12, 2013 in Europe, Guest Posts, Travel Destinations |

Kinross House – The most beautiful and regular piece of Architecture in Scotland

This was Daniel Defoe’s description of Kinross House, the home built by the remarkable politician “on the make” Sir William Bruce. So grand were his plans that there were even thoughts it was intended as a royal residence. The architect never saw the building fully completed as he soon fell from favour of the new Scottish king. The parts of the interior and grounds that were completed to the original designs were grand enough to attract regular admirers of this fine Scottish estate. Sir William Bruce had designs on building a major role for himself in the brave new world of late seventeenth century Scottish court life. He started his role in royal circles by remodelling Holyrood House and this lead him to acquiring some positions of power in the new Scottish political world. He had helped Charles II to reach the English throne in 1660 which gave him his baronetcy but proved trouble for him in the future. New found wealth prompted Bruce to buy large Kinross Estate and start to create a lasting piece of Scottish architecture. The building was never going to be cheap – extensive drainage works was required to even commence building the house. No one really knows why Bruce fell from favour but his closeness to Charles’ administration would not have proved popular when James II came to power in 1685. There are also questions as to whether his wealth came from sources not entirely legitimate even at a time when abuse of government power was the norm. Initially however, James appointed Bruce as Privy Councillor so he probably thought the money would keep flowing and he would be safe to commence the build of Kinross House in 1685. His success only lasted a year before his fall from grace became complete with the removal of his lucrative government posts. The cost of £10,000 to build the house did not seem to dissuade Bruce with the politician desperately trying to regain favour. Was he hoping that his house would tempt the King to look favourably upon him by creating something beautiful and regal?...

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Posted on Sep 12, 2013 in Guest Posts, Travel Destinations |

Ravishing tour destinations in Vietnam

Vietnam, a country located on the eastern Indochina Peninsula has mostly hilly and dense forest areas. It is a thin land of natural beauty which traces down at the eastern edge of South-East Asia with an extraordinary natural beauty.  Planning for a holiday at Vietnam is quite good idea as it has beautiful deserted beaches, magical rock formations, steamy waterways and dramatic mountain ranges. A place known as Saigon crackles 24 hours a day and Capital city of Vietnam- Hanoi is full of distinct charm where old buildings overlook avenues buzzed with motorbikes. Visiting Vietnam will lead you to discover Technicolor locations, incredible scenery and charming locals. Some of the best ravishing touring destinations are as follows: Halong Bay: Vietnam’s number one tourist destination is Halong Bay. It is the most visited tourist destination which consists of 3000 islands where beautiful natural areas are viewed. Literally Halong Bay means “Descending Dragon Bay” where tourists come to explore beautiful places. Halong Bay is declared as World’s Heritage Site by UNESCO.   Hanoi City: Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam is second most visited tourist destination. The French colonial heritage building is most important tourist attraction. Another place of attraction is the French Quarter, where small streets are surrounded by old French Quarter buildings. The oldest university of Vietnam- Van Mieu University and Hoan Kiem Lake is a good tourist destination. Hoan Kiem Lake is most beautiful lake located at the middle of the town having Pagoda in the middle. Hoa Lu: Hoa Lu, a tourist destination place, was an ancient royal complex of which main attraction is a Pagoda. Hoa Lu is dedicated to King Dinh and King Le, the Vietnamese hero who lived in 10th century. Perfume River: Perfume River, crossing the city of Hue spreads perfume-like fragrance around the river when autumn fell into river. This perfume-like aroma is a natural attraction as it spreads perfume-like aroma around its surroundings. Thien Mu Pagoda is situated right next to the pier. Dalat: Dalat, a hill station in central highlands with a mountain plateau scattered with small villages throughout its area....

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Posted on Sep 10, 2013 in Travel Destinations |

Around the World in Casinos

With the end of summer fast approaching many of us are looking for unique ways to spend the winter months travelling and what could be more unique than a tour of the world’s best casinos? From the obvious choice of the Las Vegas Strip all the way through to Macau in China, there are many stunning, adrenaline filled games to be played.  So where are the best destinations for your whirlwind tour of the best casino’s in the world? Here are some of the most unique, traditional and exciting casino’s to wet your appetite but before you head off, it may be wise to brush up on your casino game knowledge through sites like the Casino Las Vegas blog. The Golden Nugget Casino, Las Vegas To begin your tour you must check out the traditional, it will give you some background history to the wonderful world of gaming and show you how traditional casino’s run. One of the best has got to be the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas. The casino is part of the legendary Freemont Street Experience that encompasses vintage Vegas, uncompromising hospitality and old school poker matches; this is old fashioned gambling at its best. Inside the casino you will have the chance to play at some of the best traditional tables money can buy, from Blackjack all the way through to high stakes poker. No casino in Las Vegas would be complete without some extravagant entertainment to match the fast paced gaming. At The Golden Nugget, you will get the chance to experience some old fashion show girls, saloon style dining and plenty of free live music. The Venetian Casino Complex, Macau You cannot go through a world tour of casinos’ and not stop off to visit Macau. This 24 hour, nonstop casino city comes in a close second to Las Vegas in terms of size and entertainment. There are over 30 casinos’ to choose from, along with numerous night clubs and theatres for you to choose from, but there is one Casino that encompasses all of these and high stakes tables in one...

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Posted on Sep 9, 2013 in Travel Destinations |

Planning Your Perfect Tiny Island Getaway

Do you dream of visiting an exotic, tiny island to get away from it all? That is easier than ever with so many destinations around the world! If you want to ensure you visit the best island in the world, take a look at the following small islands that feature some of the best island living in the entire world: St Lucia Why visit St. Lucia island in the Caribbean? Aside from it being one of the most beautiful locations in the Caribbean, there are also many other reasons to visit St. Lucia. St. Lucia offers many romantic locations, spa-resorts, dive-resorts, and even several accommodations located between the Piton volcano peaks! While visiting, you won’t want to miss the yearly St. Lucia Jazz Festival where jazz musicians from around the world gather. The festival will bring you there, but the friendly islanders will make you want to stay forever. Tahiti When it comes to small island get-aways, Tahiti is one of the best in the world. Even though Tahiti is the largest French Polynesian island, it is hardly large by any stretch of the imagination. Here you will find deep valleys, giant waterfalls, and towering mountains. You can find legendary surfing and calming beaches around the island. Visit the Paofai Protestant Temple for a historical look into heavenly voices from the Singing Mamas. Visit in July and you can see the Heiva festival complete with fire twirlers and a traditional dance show. Bali Want a little more Asian flair in your island get-away? Bali located in the Asian Pacific is the place to be. Here you will find nothing but the best in authentic Indonesian culture. This island offers more than simple resort accommodations. You will find amazing customer service, beautiful beaches, an active nightlife, and some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. You may never want to go home again. Anguilla In the northern Caribbean islands, you’ll find small Anguilla Island. Anguilla is currently under British control and boasts some of the most varied culture in the world today. The natives hold dearly to their traditional...

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Posted on Aug 26, 2013 in Guest Posts, Travel Destinations |

Experience The Real Majorca: Why There’s Much More To This Island Than Sandy Beaches

If you’re planning a resort holiday, Majorca might be one of the first places that springs to mind. But what if you’re after something a little different? After all, lounging in the sun all day isn’t for everyone. From ancient cathedrals to medieval walled towns, there’s more to this island than sandy beaches. Places To See Majorca has a rich and varied history. A trip to the island should involve taking the time to appreciate it. The first inhabitants settled between 1300 and 1000BC, and centuries of history have left their mark. A historical sight not to miss is the Sanctuary de Sant Salvador Felanitx, an old hermitage lying 509m above sea level. It is flanked by two impressive monuments, a 14m stone cross and 35m column topped with a statue of Christ. Of interest are the main church and side chapels. Still a place of pilgrimage, the trip is worth it for the panoramic views if nothing else. If you’re hankering after some ancient history, a trip to the Ses Paisses, Arta should satisfy. These ruined Bronze Age settlements are around 3,000 years old and a reminder of the original island settlers. The massive entrance way formed by stone slabs is particularly impressive. For a taste of historical Majorcan luxury, head to the Raixa Estate, Bunyola. An impressive stately mansion, the house has been owned by several noble families. Parts of the garden even date back to the 13th century. Raixa was remodelled in the Italian villa style in the 18th century and consists of several homes arranged around a central farm building. Activities If you’re fed up with sun bathing and want to get active, Majorca has plenty to offer. Unsurprisingly the island offers an array of sailing trips, which promise stunning views of the coast and turquoise waters. Tudor Dawn Charters offer yacht charter, day sailing activities and a selection of day cruises in the Bay of Pollensa. Trips can be customised to suit your requirements. Gear for water sports and snorkelling can be provided. And you got the choice between sailing or a quiet relaxing...

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Posted on Aug 22, 2013 in Europe, Guest Posts, Travel Destinations |

Europe by Road: The 5 Best European Driving Vacation Routes

When Canadians travel in Europe, they often think in terms of trains and package tours. Those are both great ways to see the Old Country, but taking a road trip along the scenic byways of Europe is also a fantastic way to get off the beaten track. With car rentals available and affordable throughout Europe, there’s no reason not to try these routes on your next trip overseas. The Basque Coastline Travellers to Spain often focus on the southern areas, imagining dusty castillos and sun-drenched courtyards framed with orange trees. But the northern areas, especially in Pais Vasco, the Basque Country, offer a look at Spain that may surprise and delight road trippers. Starting at the French border, at the Pyrennes, and heading westward along the coast of the Bay of Biscay, stop in local fishing villages or wait until San Sebastian, only 20 km from France, to sample some of the region’s best seafood. San Sebastian’s Beach of La Concha is a smooth crescent of white sand well worth strolling along. Continue westward until you reach Bilbao, a large commercial hub and the home of the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum, which you won’t want to miss. From there, decide whether to continue west along the top of the Iberian Peninsula to Cantabria or whether to head south to La Rioja or southeast to Navarre, two of the country’s best wine regions. Geneva, Switzerland, to San Marino Meander around lakes and over mountain passes as you exit Geneva, the original home of the League of Nations, and cross the French border. Still in the Alps, you’ll drive by the famed skiing mecca of Chamonix on your way to the Italian border via the Mont Blanc tunnel. Once in Italy, choose whether to visit fashion-forward Milan or cultural hotspot Turin — or both — before angling southeast to Parma. Spend some time here sampling the cheese and world-famous Parma ham and taking in the spectacular architecture. After Parma, Bologna is the next big city on your way to San Marino. But many drivers may prefer to skip the cities in favour...

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Posted on Aug 15, 2013 in Tips and Tricks, Travel |

9 Practical Tips for Making Your Holiday Money Go Further When Abroad

It is all well and good comparing prices and booking a cheap package deal before you leave for your holiday but the reality is that the most expensive part in most cases is once you have actually reached your destination. With a bit of healthy frugality, you can continue the money saving effort abroad and make your money go further. All you need to do is follow these simple steps: Inform your bank: Many banks will issue you with a hefty charge if you use your credit or debit card abroad without first informing them you intend to do so. There is also the risk of being cut off, as they may suspect the foreign usage means your card has been stolen. Let them know before you go to avoid any such problems. Exchange your money beforehand: You should never wait to exchange your money at the airport once you arrive as they often have higher exchange rates because they know they are your last resort if you have yet to change your currency. The Bureaux de Change will also charge a ‘cash withdrawal fee’ for using a card to convert money, so take cash and use that instead to avoid the fee. Pay in cash: Almost anywhere – especially in mainland Europe – is open to a bit of friendly haggling if you are paying in cash. From market stalls to retail outlets and even some restaurants; it is worth trying to barter to get a discount. Carry your ID: Many places will recognise your student ID or European passport as suitable identification that may well entitle you to a discount. Many of the world’s top tourist attractions accept them and so it never hurts to carry them with you. Pay in local currency: Many places now offer what is known as ‘Dynamic Currency Conversion’ where they will charge your card using your own currency. If you are offered this, you should decline it and opt to use the local currency instead to make the most of the exchange rate, saving yourself some money in the process. Carry...

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