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Being excellent navegators and having a deep desire to expland its territories, The Azores Islands were founded by the Portuguese in 1317. This is a clump of nine islands in the rough Atlantic Ocean about 1,400 kilometers west of Lisbon, Portugal. As a curious traveller, I always make it a habit of finding out how a city, town or in this case an island got its name. The name Azores comes from the name of a bird similar to a goshawk which is what the first settlers thought the...

Set Sail To The Azores Islands

Set Sail To The Azores IslandsBeing excellent navegators and having a deep desire to expland its territories, The Azores Islands were founded by the Portuguese in 1317. This is a clump of nine islands in the rough Atlantic Ocean about 1,400 kilometers west of Lisbon, Portugal. As a curious traveller, I always make it a habit of finding out how a city, town or in this case an island got its name. The name Azores comes from the name of a bird similar to a goshawk which is what the first settlers thought they saw, but it turned out that what they were seeing in abundance was just a type of eagle.The nine islands that make up the Azores are called Santa Maria, Sao Miguel, Terceira, Graciosa, Pico, Faial, Sao Jorge, Corvo and Flores. As far as we know, they are all from a volcanic eruptions and still seem to be active as far as registering seismic movements. Culture, tradition and religion have always been closely linked and therefore there is a tight tie between the festive celebrations held all over the islands in the small chapels from the 26th of August until the 31st. This celebration is to honour the Holy Spirit which the islanders feel will protect them from any natural disaster, especially the ones related to its volcanoes.Of all territories that Portugal once possessed, only Macao, the Azores Islands and Madeira still remain. Under the command of Henry the Navegator, these islands became a very important stop over for ships sailing in the Atlantic Ocean. Therefore, they received visitors from all over the world who not only brought riches and stories but also fruits, spices and plants. In 1420, Henry sent settlers to the island of Madeira with plants that he thought would grow well in the volcanic ground and in the mild year round climate typical there; the grapevine and sugar cane being the best product up until now, both heavily used in the Portuguese cuisine and well as other spices like the black pepper and cinnamon. But nowadays, the Azores have changed their tea, tabacco and fruit fields for livestock and tourism.Azores Islands and Its Third-TerceiraAs its name well announces, Terceira was the third island discovered by the Portuguese around 1450 having had as its original name that of Island of Jesus Christ. At the beginning Praia was the capital, being the first beach were the Flemish colonizer Jacome de Bruges first settled. But as we all know, improvements were made and they decided to use the town of Angra do Heroismo as the new capital, probably because it was well protected by the bay ( angro ) and the Brasil Mountain standing strong against the ocean. Here, there is a 17th century castle called Saint John the Baptist. All over the islands there are lagoons which look like big cauldrons which offer a breathtaking view of its natural surroundings. If I had to recommend one or two outstanding features, I would probably describe the beautiful Se or Cathedral with its bell tower decorated in blue, green and white tiles. Or even more so are the curious windows that the houses still have, made from stones in an arched formation with gaily painted frames such as green, blue and yellow. And the glass in these windows look like its cracked or iced.Easy Come and Easy Go to Azores IslandsBut as all practical traveller, the question of getting there and accomodations is always an important aspect to look into when planning a comfortable holiday. On all the islands, tourism is very well cared for and the hotels are tops. You can choose between sea front four star hotels to quaint rural house in the mountains or simple campings. And in the location of Lajes on the Terceira island and in Ponta Delgada in Sao Miguel island, there are airports which have daily flights between them and to Lisbon on mainland Portugal.

A Gem In Miami

A Gem In Miami

If you're thinking about basking under tropical sunshine, then Miami Beach's Royal Palm Resort is the perfect place. Among the many Miami hotels and travel lodges, this one offers cheap rates for a four-star hotel. Plus, it faces the beach, so you wake up to the sounds of the waves crashing on the shore and an amazing beach view. Located at central South Beach, clients can literally walk to each and any of the attractions. The Convention Center is just a short distance away, as well as other fine-dining restaurants and exclusive boutiques. The clubs and bars that dot the area around the resort also make for an exciting nightlife. It also takes only 20 minutes to reach the airport from the hotel. The Miami Ballet, Ocean Drive, Botanical Gardens, and other tourist attractions are less than a mile away from the hotel. Downtown Miami, Coral Gables, Coconut Groves, and other tourist attractions are just a short drive away.The hotel offers a $200 rate for an overnight stay in an ordinary room. But the ordinary things that are in Royal Palm are not ordinary at all. It is a 17-story affair of Art Deco design. The beachfront resort, like most "Miami hotels and travel" lodges, offers luxurious suites and rooms all with Atlantic Ocean views courtesy of the private balconies. All rooms have basic amenities which include hair dryers, coffee makers, mini bars, data ports, and voice mail. These may seem very basic, but these are essentials especially for an individual traveling for business. Rooms vary and range from guest rooms, suites, non-smoking, double-bedded, and single-bedded rooms. Families with pets need not worry about living their pooches and cats at home since the hotel allows guests to bring pets, provided that these pets have been checked and vaccinated. Located near the beach, the hotel even provides an outdoor pool and a whirlpool. People who are concerned about their fitness and bodies need not sweat the lack of exercise during their stay because the hotel has an on-site gym and fitness center.Personal services are thoroughly provided at the hotel. Aside from the multilingual staff that speaks English, French, Italian, Spanish, Hebrew, German, Greek, and Portuguese, the hotel also features accessible ATM machines, a laundry and dry cleaning service, baby-sitting, a laundry room, and safety deposit boxes. The hotel also has concierge services and the standard room services. Business travelers can also avail of copying services, courier, Internet, fax, computer use, printing services, and car rentals. Truly, in terms of personal services and world-class facilities, Royal Palm is indeed a gem among the many Miami hotels and travel lodges.

Visitors Guide to Houston, Texas, USA

Visitors Guide to Houston, Texas, USA

The city of Houston is America's fourth-largest city and although a spreading location, much of the appeal is concentrated in the city center, between the downtown district and the Galleria Mall. Houston is a young and vibrant city, with a host of restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Close to the Gulf Coast Cities, Houston is also home to a number of exceptional museums, popular festivals and regular well-attended sporting events at the city's stadium.Houston is a large and important city, incorporating a number of local communities and historical neighborhoods. Amongst these districts are Downtown - the center of Houston, full of entertainment, shops and restaurants; Midtown - easily reached by the city's light railway; and Uptown - one of the liveliest and most animated areas of the city, featuring the enormous cosmopolitan Galleria shopping mall.Other notable areas of Houston include the Museum District - home to an unusual concentration of exceptional museums and art galleries; the Theater District - one of America's most notable clusters of top theaters, in central downtown; and also the Heights - on the northwest side of downtown, with many historic buildings and specialty shops.Houston Tourism:Tourist attractions in Houston are plentiful, making Houston a particularly enjoyable place to visit. Facilities include many striking buildings and monuments, historical museums and traditional "art galleries" , must-see sights and numerous recreational activities, which are particularly popular in the city's many parklands, such as Hermann Park, Memorial Park and Sam Houston Park.Top attractions include Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, Downtown Aquarium, Houston Zoo, Space Center Houston and Byzantine Fresco Chapel Museum, Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS) and the JP Morgan Chase Tower Observation Deck. Museums worth a visit include Houston's Lawndale Art Center, Museum of Fine Arts, Contemporary Arts Museum and the Rice University Art Gallery. There are also a number of seasonal theater productions that are always popular with visitors to Houston.Houston Transport:Around Houston, public transport is well organized and a number of major freeways and interstates are nearby. The city contains a large train station along Washington Avenue, with regular Amtrak trains arriving and departing each day, traveling to a range of cities, including Los Angeles. Further transport options include Greyhound buses, the local METRO bus network, the METRORail tram service, car rental and taxicabs.George Bush Intercontinental Airport Houston (IAH) stands around 22 miles / 33 km on the north side of the city center and is an important transport hub. With four terminals and many passengers arriving each day from all over the world, Houston Airport provides a range of convenient ground transport, which includes shuttle buses, taxis and car rental options. Also nearby, the William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) is a smaller airport with mainly domestic airlines, located to the southeast of the city's downtown district.Houston Hotels:Being a modern, important and large cosmopolitan city, Houston's accommodation more than meets expectations. With a simply vast selection of well-placed hotels, there is plenty to suit visitors, although advance reservations are sensible. Hotels can be found close to both airports, along nearby highways and throughout the city center, with all main brands well represented. Camping grounds are also available for holidaymakers with RVs, and the Houston International Hostel along Crawford Street is popular with budget travelers.Houston Restaurants:Dining in Houston is massive and there are around 5,000 restaurants and eateries to choose from in Houston, with a wide range of different cuisines readily available for all palates. Many of the city's most popular restaurants can be found in the downtown area, the Richmond Entertainment district, and in the uptown district particularly along Richmond Avenue. International cuisine on offer in Houston includes French, Indian, Italian, Mexican, Spanish and Thai, together with traditional Texan dishes and American diners. Chinatown is the place to head for authentic Chinese restaurants and shopping malls have become a popular place to eat in Houston and often include large, open-plan food courts, with a number of options, including fast food.Houston Shopping:Houston is an impressive, vibrant shopping destination offering a large selection of shops and stores. Facilities include many popular designer outlets and fashion boutiques, together with well-known department stores and enormous shopping malls. Popular shopping areas include Chinatown, Main Street, Westheimer, Uptown Park Boulevard and Rice Village close to the Museum District. Worth a visit are the River Oaks Center between Woodhead and Shepherd, Alabama and Westheimer, and the University Village, close to Rice University.Houston Weather:The city has a subtropical and fairly humid climate, with sunny, hot summer weather and cooler winters. Temperatures during July and August are at their hottest and can peak at highs of around 35C / 95F. Spring in Houston is a mild season and a busy time of the year, when many visitors arrive in Houston. Winters in Houston are cool, although the temperatures stay well above freezing. January is the coldest month when daytime temperatures average around 16C / 61F, although lows of less than 10C / 50F may be experienced.

A Short Break In Rome Is Better Than No Rome At All.

A Short Break In Rome Is Better Than No Rome At All.

Ahh, Roma. It should be written in every person's destiny that they shall travel to the Eternal City at least once in their lifetime, to experience the romance, the history and the charm that is the capital of Italy. A short break in Rome may seem like a compromise, but in reality, even a few days is enough to experience a wonderful slice of life so different to one's own existence. To sit and ponder life's mysteries while enjoying affogato in a piazza, or to throw coins in the Fontana di Trevi and wish for a return to this magical place, are moments that justify making the journey for a short break in Rome.Whether you are Catholic, Jewish or Buddhist, stopping by the Vatican both inspires and humbles; if not for the religious significance, then to marvel at the historical nature. Exploring the Coliseum, you will learn about the magnificent gladiators who fought for fame and glory there. Back on the streets, you will dodge haphazard fleets of Fiats and Ferraris, whilst checking out the fashionistas who seem to loiter at every corner to see and be seen. Even a short break in Rome will transplant untold fascination into your heart.Accommodation choices vary from tiny hole-in-the-wall overnighters to grand hotels that you won't want to leave, even to go sightseeing. Depending on the time of year you choose to take your short break in Rome, you could save significant sums of money, or you could be at a disadvantage. Similarly, planning in advance could serve you well, whereas sometimes, last minute deals are irresistibly affordable.Many travel agents can plan weekend itineraries for you that will encompass all the absolute must-visits of Rome. Sure, you may have to make like a text-book tourist and stay on the well-worn paths of millions who have gone before you, but when time is of the essence, you certainly don't want to waste it on studying map books, asking for directions in an unfamiliar language and learning the hard way how not to be taken advantage of. A short break in Rome can be as exhausting and exhilarating as any two-week bus tour through the whole of Europe.The key to making the most of a short break in Rome is to pack light, plan ahead and be well rested before you arrive. And be prepared to sleep very little since there is always something to see in beautiful Roma, day or night, winter or summer, rain or shine.If you're ready to book your short break in Rome, visit our website for all the advice you'll need, and some great deals and "Insider" secrets about travel to the eternal city.

Selecting A Family Travel Destination: No Need To Forgo Hip Or Charm

Small hotels are adapting to family needs, and becoming an attractive alternative to resorts and large hotel chains.Out of guilt or a need to maximize the amount of time we spend with our children, we have convinced ourselves for years that a family vacation requires sacrificing the interests of the parents to satisfy the needs of the kids. Thus whether traveling half way around the world or driving a mere two hours from home many of us are heading to the same location: a child-friendly resort.This need not to be the rule. Many independent hotels and lodges have discovered how to make an adult environment work for kids and may be more child welcoming than those that bill themselves as child-friendly.Not surprisingly, smaller hotels, inns and lodges - many of them luxurious - are leading the pack. The atmosphere is cozy and the service, more personalized. In addition, your family will probably get more exposure to the local culture - not to mention cuisine - in a smaller hotel than is possible in a big international resort.Children profit the most. Many cultures embrace kids. Thus a large part of the experience in countries such as Argentina and Turkey is the interaction with the locals. Exploring other cultures provides children with a unique education; it broadens their horizon and helps them to learn more about life.Things to keep in mind Some smaller hotels may not offer round-the-clock service or traditional in-room services, such as minibar, tv and video games but are likely to be more spontaneous, warm your baby's bottle with a smile or offer your child a dish that is not on the menu. Children's meals may mean that kids are not allowed in the dinning room. Aside from providing parents with a reprieve, kids-only meals usually offer food they like and give them a chance to make new friends. No kids clubs. Relax. While it may take a day or two and a bit parental encouragement, kids will rediscover how easy it is to make friends and create fun, on their own. If the environment is relaxed, children will be relaxed as well. In a smaller hotel, you are likely to feel comfortable allowing your kids to explore on their own.Rules of thumb Review the hotels website. Find out if it belongs to a local or an international association. Is it recommended by your travel agent or a leading tour operator? Has it been rated? If the website does not mention children, they may not be welcome. A telephone call or email will avoid unwanted surprises.Copyright more2explore S.r.l. All rights reserved.

Mexican travel guide

Mexican flavor of architecture, food and living has impressed people all over the world. Mexican culture and artifacts are famous around the globe and hence there is no better way to enjoy and become familiar with the Mexican sprit than touring the country itself. Mexico as a tourist spot offers wide range of geographical locations and country sites for a traveler to choose. The country touches the shores of ocean at many places and has high-rise mountains at other end. The region presents an excellent opportunity for water sports and deep-sea excursions and mountaineering. With fabulous hotels and exotic views to offer Mexico has also developed into a favorite honeymoon destination. Recently wedded couples find numerous getaways in this country. The cities here present a promising adventurous vacation. Among the all time favorite destination is Acapulco a place that has attracted tourists since earlier times because of its rocking nightlife and beautiful beaches. Apart from regular water sports cliff diving is an added exclusive special attraction of the place. Mainly well-trained professionals perform this art after the sun goes down and it presents a spectacular view for the tourists. With hotels having private and semi-private swimming pools to offer it has become a favorite for couples on vacation. Another very popular spot for tourists is the Yucatan Peninsula, which is famous for its ancient ruins of Mexican architecture and traditions. The geographical location of Yucatan peninsula renders it a perfect visiting area. Although the weather at this place in inviting all year round still the tourist attraction is maximum from October to June. Mexico is a paradise for water game lovers, sea divers, trekkers and other such activists. Apart from offering boating, rafting and cruise options for tourists every popular travel spots also have dedicated shopping centers. The shops offer anything from Mexican folk art, handicrafts depicting Mexican culture, jewellery, pottery, shirts and many other such options to take back home as a souvenir from Mexico. The prime religion in Mexico is mainly Catholics and this thought is well expressed by the spread of well-constructed cathedrals around the town. These cathedrals are masterpieces of architecture and exhibit a great deal about the rich cultural history of the place. While on the way through the city lanes the Christian archeological extracts are visible throughout the journey. Vacationing in Mexico with stay and sightseeing the trip may sometimes prove to be costlier than expected. Hence its best advised to preplan the visit and opt for an all included packaged journey tour in the country. The travel agents best guide tourists through most favorite hot spots among travelers and options that fit best within the budget. Night safari through the forests of the region is an added attraction. A safari on four wheeler jeeps through the mountains can well be an experience of lifetime. The best ways for touring the country is having a base destination at one place and then go touring other neighboring spots on short trips. Biking is another favorite activity in the region cycling through Mexico is so popular that anyone visiting this country can hardly avoid returning back without enjoying a bike-ride.

Summary

Being excellent navegators and having a deep desire to expland its territories, The Azores Islands were founded by the Portuguese in 1317. This is a clump of nine islands in the rough Atlantic Ocean about 1,400 kilometers west of Lisbon, Portugal. As a curious traveller, I always make it a habit of finding out how a city, town or in this case an island got its name. The name Azores comes from the name of a bird similar to a goshawk which is what the first settlers thought the...