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Cancun- Golf

Conde Nast Traveler readers have ranked Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort - Cancun's quintessential all-inclusive luxury family resort and home of a Jack Nicklaus signature golf course - among the world's Top 80 Golf Resorts in the 2010 Readers' Choice Awards. At the Moon Spa & Golf Club, guests enjoy one of only two Signature Jack Nicklaus courses in Cancun, with 27 holes set on the rolling Cancún - Riviera Maya landscape. Its dynamic layout requires golfers to navigate through native vegetation as well as numerous wetlands and strategically placed bunkers. After enjoying a challenging round on the diverse terrain, guest can partake in a deluxe spa experience at the Moon Spa. Upon arrival at the spa, a thoroughly relaxing hydrotherapy experience is the first stop, followed by a choice of premier massages, bath therapies, facials and body scrubs, all expertly administered in 30 spacious treatment rooms. Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resorts offers 2,457 luxurious guest rooms, including ocean view and garden view accommodations or golf villa suites. Two of the largest lagoon-style pools in Mexico wind their way along the beach for more than 650 feet and are complemented by two children's pools, one Golf Club pool, six Jacuzzis and four swim-up bars. Additional on-site adventures range from a water sports marina and sporting activities to a fully equipped fitness center and private Kids Club. Travelers enjoy a variety of international delights at 13 restaurants and premium beverages and nightly entertainment at 11 bars and lounges. To book a stay at Palace Resorts, call toll free (800) 635-1836, visit www.palaceresorts.com or contact your preferred travel agent.

Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort

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Caribbean Fast Facts

Explore The Caribbean

Capital: The Valley
Land Area: 35 sq. mi.
Currency: EC Dollar
Language: English

Capital: St. John's
Land Area: 108 sq. mi.
Currency: EC Dollar
Language: English

Capital: Oranjestad
Land Area: 70 sq. mi.
Currency: US Dollar
Language: English/Dutch

Capital: Bridgetown
Land Area: 166 sq. mi.
Currency: Barbados Dollar
Language: English

Capital: Belmopan
Land Area: 8,900 sq. mi.
Currency: Belize Dollar
Language: English

Capital: Kralendijk
Land Area: 111 sq. mi.
Currency: Neth. Ant. Guilder
Language: Dutch/English

Cayman Islands

Grand Cayman
Capital: Georgetown
Land Area: 100 sq. mi.
Currency: Cayman Dollar
Language: English

Cayman Brac
Land Area: 14 sq. mi.

Little Cayman
Land Area: 10 sq. mi.

Costa Rica
Capital: San Jose
Land Area: 19,725 sq. mi.
Currency: Colon
Language: Spanish

Capital: Havana
Land Area: 42,803 sq. mi.
Currency: Cuban/Convert. Peso CUP/CUC
Language: Spanish

Capital: Willemsted
Land Area: 171 sq. mi.
Currency: Neth. Ant. Guilder
Language: English/Dutch

Capital: Roseau
Land Area: 289 sq. mi.
Currency: EC Dollar
Language: English

Dominican Republic
Capital: Santo Domingo
Land Area: 18,715 sq. mi.
Currency: Peso
Language: Spanish

Capital: St. Georges
Land Area: 133 sq. mi.
Currency: EC Dollar
Language: English

Capital: Basse-Terre
Land Area: 657 sq. mi.
Currency: Euro
Language: French

French Guyana
Capital: Georgetown
Land Area: 83,044 sq. mi.
Currency: Guyana Dollar
Language: French
Capital: Port-au-Prince
Land Area: 10,714 sq. mi.
Currency: Gourde
Language: French/English

Capital: Tegucigalpa
Land Area: 43,278 sq. mi.
Currency: Lempira
Language: Spanish

Capital: Kingston
Land Area: 4,244 sq. mi.
Currency: Jamaican Dollar
Language: English

Capital: Fort-de-France
Land Area: 425 sq. mi.
Currency: Euro
Language: French

Capital: Mexico City
Land Area: 758,249 sq. mi.
Currency: Peso
Language: Spanish

Capital: Charlestown
Land Area: 36 sq. mi.
Currency: EC Dollar
Language: English

Capital: Managua
Land Area: 50,193 sq. mi.
Currency: Cordoba
Language: Spanish

Capital: Panama City
Land Area: 29,157 sq. mi.
Currency: Balboa/US Dollar
Language: Spanish/English

Puerto Rico
Capital: San Juan
Land Area: 3,514 sq. mi.
Currency: US Dollar
Language: Spanish/English

Capital: The Bottom
Land Area: 5 sq. mi.
Currency: Neth. Ant. Guilder
Language: Dutch/English

St. Barts
Capital: Gustavia
Land Area: 8 sq. mi.
Currency: Euro
Language: French/English

St. Eustatius
Capital: Oranjestad
Land Area: 8 sq. mi.
Currency: Neth. Ant. Guilder
Language: Dutch/English

St. Kitts
Capital: Basseterre
Land Area: 68 sq. mi.
Currency: EC Dollar
Language: English

St. Lucia
Capital: Castries
Land Area: 238 sq. mi.
Currency: EC Dollar
Language: English

St. Maarten
Capital: Philipsburg
Land Area: 16 sq. mi.
Currency: Naf/US Dollar
Language: English/Dutch

St. Martin
Capital: Marigot
Land Area: 21 sq. mi.
Currency: Euro/US Dollar
Language: French/English

St. Vincent & The Grenadines

St. Vincent
Capital: Kingstown
Land Area: 150 sq. mi.
Currency: EC Dollar
Language: English

Land Area: 32 islands
Currency: EC Dollar
Language: English

Capital: Scarborough
Land Area: 116 sq. mi.
Currency: Trin/Tobago Dollar
Language: English

Capital: Port of Spain
Land Area: 1,864 sq. mi.
Currency: Trin/Tobago Dollar
Language: English

British Virgin Islands

Capital: Road Town
Land Area: 24 sq. mi.

Virgin Gorda
Land Area: 8 sq. mi.

Land Area: 15 sq. mi.
Currency: US Dollar
Language: English

US Virgin Islands

St. Croix
Capital Christiansted
Land Area: 84 sq. mi.
Currency: US Dollar
Language: English

St. Thomas
Capital: Charlotte Amalie
Land Area: 32 sq. mi.

St. John
Land Area: 20 sq. mi.

Read travel articles about this destination at: http://www.whattravelwriterssay.com/destinationCaribbean.html

Cayman Islands (40 reasons to visit)

40 reasons to visit 1) Explore our underwater playground - With over 250 sites and crystal clear waters, the Cayman Islands is among the top five dive destinations in the world.

2) Swim with the Stingrays at Stingray City - A rare opportunity to touch and interact with more than two-dozen Atlantic Southern Stingrays in their natural habitat.

3) Take a kayak tour through the mangroves - Explore the shallow waters of this diverse ecosystem during the day or at night for a bioluminescent tour.

4) Interact with sea turtles at the Turtle Farm at Boatswain's Beach - Home to over 16,000 sea turtles of all sizes, here you can touch, hold and even sponsor a turtle to be released into the wild.

5) Travel back in time at Pedro St. James National Historic Site - Discover the story of Pedro and learn about the birthplace of democracy in the Cayman Islands.

6) Build sand castles or catch a tan on Seven Mile Beach - Famous for its white sand, crystal-clear water and abundance of water sports opportunities.

40 reasons to visit 7) Take a sunset helicopter flight over Grand Cayman - Get a bird's eye view of the island, Stingray City or Seven Mile Beach

8) Sample Caymanian fare - Try turtle stew or "Cayman-style" fish to get a real taste of the destination.

9) Go to Hell and send a postcard - Check out this one million year-old rock formation and then stop by the post office to see the devil.

10) Come face to face with rare Blue Iguanas at the QE II Botanic Park - Stroll 40 acres of colourful flora and fauna and keep a lookout for the iguanas who roam free.

11) Hike the Mastic Reserve and Trail - A rare woodland world, this two-mile long path is home to bird, butterflies, hermit crabs, lizards, frogs and more.

12) Laze the day away at Rum Point - Snorkel, swim or simply sway in a hammock at this quaint beach area complete with shady trees, shallow clear waters, picnic tables, water sports rentals and delicious fare.

13) Appreciate local artists - The colourful National Gallery of the Cayman Islands is home to fine art exhibitions by both local and international artists.

40 reasons to visit

14) Learn about Cayman's seafaring heritage - The National Museum in Grand Cayman tells the fascinating story of the Cayman Islands with traditional catboats and other natural history specimens on view.

15) Shop for local items at the Cayman Craft Market - Find all things Caymanian here including locally crafted items such as sea salt scrubs, thatch handbags and shell jewellery.

16) Feel the spray of the Blowholes in East End - With a spray that can reach in excess of 15 feet, these natural geysers make a fabulous photo.

40 reasons to visit 17) Encounter nature at its most splendid at the Butterfly Farm - Observe the lifecycle of these colourful creatures and walk among numerous species at one of only three butterfly farms found in the Caribbean.

18) Explore natural limestone caves in Cayman Brac - Once a place where pirates hid their booty and Brackers took refuge from storms, these underground formations are hidden all over the island.

19) Hike along the rugged Brac Bluff - This spectacular cliff rises 140 feet from the sea and provides a stunning view from the top.

20) Go bird watching at the Cayman Brac Parrot Reserve - Observe endangered parrot species and other rare birds among natural vegetation that includes mango trees, wild orchids and dolomite rock.

21) Dive the Brac's hotspots like the Capt. Keith Tibbetts wreck - A diver's dream, the Brac is teeming with tons of marine life and a sunken 330-foot Russian Navy frigate.

22) Keep a lookout for rare feathered friends at the Booby Pond Nature Reserve in Little Cayman - Boasting the largest colony of Red Footed Boobies in the Western Hemisphere, you'll also find Frigate Birds, the West Indian Whistling Duck, Egrets, Black-Necked Stilts and much more.

40 reasons to visit 23) Dive Bloody Bay Wall in Little Cayman - One of the world's premier dive sites, this dramatic 6,000 foot underwater drop-off provides divers the opportunity to view deep water corals and swim amidst bonefish, turtles, sharks and rays.

24) Cast for bone and tarpon fish in Little Cayman - Anglers looking for a challenge will find it here with both light tackle action and deep-sea excitement.

25) Feed the iguanas at Mahogany Estates in Little Cayman - This tranquil island is also home to about 2,500 iguanas. You'll find large and hungry iguanas here, so come ready to share your lunch!

26) Hike the Salt Rock Nature Trail in Little Cayman - Stroll along this mile-long path to discover orchids, mahogany trees, iguanas, blue land crabs and more.

27) Kayak or boat to secluded Owen Island - Seek out serenity at this secluded island off Little Cayman - the ideal spot for a picnic, snorkeling or just catching some rays.

28) Visit the Marine Research Centre and Dive with a Researcher - Available at the Little Cayman Research Centre, this program allows experienced divers the opportunity to make a difference by getting involved in an ongoing research project.

40 reasons to visit

29) Get festive - Whether you hit a high note at Cayman jazz fest, plunder some treasures during Pirate's Week or race a catboat during Cayfest, the Cayman Islands has a festival for everyone in the family.

30) Lace up and run in the Cayman Marathon - Now in its 5th year, the race is a Boston qualifier and one of the fastest and flattest in the Caribbean.

31) Discover the charming East End - From secluded beaches to breathtaking natural attractions and heritage sites, this Grand Cayman district is not to be missed.

32) Challenge your taste buds at Cayman Cookout - Join culinary all-stars and celebrity chefs including Eric Ripert, Anthony Bourdain, Anthony Giglio, Joy Spence and many more for this unforgettable annual celebration of food and wine.

33) Take a kite boarding lesson for an unforgettable adrenalin rush - Try your hand at Cayman's latest craze.

34) Get married Cayman style: underwater of course! - Tie the knot in unforgettable style by taking your vows in a wetsuit.

40 reasons to visit

35) Indulge in an array of culinary creations - With over 150 restaurants to choose from, your cultivated taste buds will be challenged by inventive Caymanian seafood dishes or an international array of flavours including West Indian, Thai, Italian, Japanese and beyond.

36) Take an underwater photography course - Learn to point and shoot under the sea with our world renowned experts.

37) Learn about the marine world at the Cayman Islands Sea School - From ecology lessons to up-close visits with protected sea life, this free program runs every summer in Grand Cayman.

38) Journey beneath the sea on a submarine ride - Plunge up to 100 feet without getting wet to see reefs, shipwrecks and a variety of marine life.

39) Walk back in time with a National Trust Tour - Take in 18th century Fort George and George Town's oldest buildings on a historic walk through Grand Cayman.

40) Catch some air or a wave at Black Pearl Skate & Surf Park - With 52,000 square feet of concrete bowls, half and quarter pipes, it is one of the largest skateboard parks in the world. But that's not all...a Waveloch Surf Machine creates 11 foot artificial waves, ideal for those who love to surf or would like to learn.

(Source: CITC)

40 reasons to visit

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Chicago, Illinois

Chicago Illinois

Whether you are a new or frequent visitor or a tourist in your own town, discover all the city has to offer as an internationally-known culinary destination, a waterfront oasis, a leader in greening, a tapestry of multicultural neighborhoods, the Blues Capital of the World, and a jazz lovers paradise. Choose from seven different themes with more than 200 insider ideas and suggestions designed for visitors, residents, and families. Plan a day trip or stay longer; organize a group expedition or create a self-guided tour. Head out to Farmers Markets, Wicker Park, lakefront beaches, Garfield Park Conservatory, Mexican-American communities, and the Annual Blues and Jazz Festivals in Grant Park. To encourage everyone to get out and find new experiences or revisit favorite destinations, we have selected seven different themes for this campaign filled with events and activities that represent the best of Chicago. We hope the public will use them as a starting point and create their own adventures all summer long.

Chicago Illinois

Start your adventure at Urban Adventures Headquarters located at the Chicago Cultural Center Visitor Information Center. 77 E. Randolph Street. Meet with an Urban Ranger representative to develop your itinerary and find out the latest adventure tips and recommendations. Participate in mini-adventures, which can be completed in 30 minutes or less to receive a special Urban Adventures prize. Urban Adventures Headquarters at the Visitor Center is open daily: Monday-Thursday, 8am-7pm; Friday, 8am-6pm; Saturday, 9am-6pm; and Sunday, 10am-6pm. Draw on the following Great Urban Adventures for inspiration; then set off on a voyage all your own. Many suggested events, attractions, and destinations are kid-friendly and free. Visit www.summerinchicago.com for details.

Culinary - Savor masterpieces at five-diamond restaurants or chow down on Chicago favorites like hot dogs and pizza. Forage in Farmers Markets, including the acclaimed Green City Market, and search for exotic spices and special treats at ethnic grocery stores and bakeries.

Wicker Park - Immerse yourself in an eclectic neighborhood packed with Victorian architecture, contemporary art galleries and studios, one-of-a-kind fashions, cutting-edge restaurants, coffeehouses, and sizzling nightlife.

Lakefront - For sun, fun and surf that is always free and open to the public, choose from 33 Lake Michigan beaches, 19 miles of bike paths, walking trails, bird sanctuaries, volleyball games, driving ranges, and golf courses.

Chicago Illinois

Green Chicago - Find out why Chicago is one of the top green cities in the nation. Get unusual flora and greening ideas at the Garfield Park Conservatory, tour the Center for Green Technology, sample organic appetizers and spirits at an earth-conscious cafe, and shop for garments and accessories made from sustainable and recycled materials.

Mexican-American Culture - Soak up Mexican-American art and culture in the thriving communities of Pilsen and Little Village. Start at the National Museum of Mexican Art, the nations premier Latino museum. Venture into other neighborhoods for music and dance performances, poetry readings, and both traditional and contemporary food.

Jazz - Head to the lakefront for a moveable feast of jazz at the 30th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival, August 28-31, featuring Sonny Rollins, Kenny Burrell, Ornette Coleman, and Dee Dee Bridgewater. Then join a Poetry Slam, dine at a live jazz brunch, and scour the rows of cds at the legendary Jazz Record Mart.

Visitors and Chicagoans entertaining out-of-town guests can receive Chicago brochures, reserve hotel accommodations, and receive trip-planning assistance by calling 1.877.CHICAGO (1.877.244.2246) or visiting www.cityofchicago.org/tourism .. For those calling from outside the United States, Mexico, and Canada, call 1-312-201-8847. The TTY toll-free number for the hearing impaired is 1.866.710.0294.

The restoration of the world's largest Louis Comfort Tiffany art glass dome located in Preston Bradley Hall in the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington Street has been completed with awe-inspiring results. Approximately 38 feet in diameter, the Tiffany dome spans more than 1,000 square feet. It contains approximately 30,000 pieces of glass in 243 sections within an ornate cast iron frame. The body of the dome has a "fish scale" pattern. The center, called the oculus, shows the signs of the zodiac. The interior stained glass dome originally was protected by an exterior translucent glass dome, which allowed much-needed natural light into what was then the library's general delivery room. The lower portion of the room is covered with white marble and glistening mosaics, also designed by Tiffany.

Chicago Illinois

During this project, the concrete and copper exterior dome that had been added during the 1930s was removed, once again allowing natural light to shine through the glass. Now, natural light pours into the room, changing the subtle colors of the restored glass minute-by-minute, while all of the room's decorative elements glow and harmonize. In addition to cleaning and repairing the art glass, the ornate cast iron framework of the dome was given a new application of its original finish. Delicate rosette lighting around the cornice of the dome, which had not been used in decades, also was refurbished, creating an elegant transition between the upper and lower portions of the room.

This summer, with its newly-restored Tiffany dome as the focal point, the Chicago Cultural Center will be revealed as a work of art in its own right: an essential cultural heritage destination on the basis of its landmark architecture and unique interior spaces. New signage, displays and printed guides will help visitors experience the decorative treasures of the building's interior, discovering the exquisite craftsmanship that makes this one of the world's most beautiful public buildings. With more than 800,000 visitors in 2007, the Chicago Cultural Center is Chicago's fifth most visited cultural attraction.

The cost of restoring the Tiffany dome was approximately $2.2 million. For more information about the project and photos, visit www.chicagoculturalcenter.org.

Chicago Illinois

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Clearwater, Florida

Clearwater Beach Clearwater Beach is consistently named one of the best city or public beaches in the country, primarily because of its cleanliness, safety and recreational offerings. Other outstanding beaches nearby include Honeymoon and Caladesi Island State Parks and Fort DeSoto Park, named among the best beaches in America by Dr. Beach. The Clearwater Municipal Marina, one of the best-equipped and most versatile marinas in Florida, offers a huge variety of senior and family-friendly recreational and sightseeing options, including several "dolphin encounters" and Captain Memo's, the "original pirate cruise." Sunsets at Pier 60 Festival is one of Clearwater's best-known and best-loved traditions. This free family event features artisans, crafters, street performers and live musical entertainment in Pier 60 Park on Clearwater Beach every day, from approximately one hour before sunset to one hour afterward.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a non-profit facility dedicated to research and public education, and it provides a home for many animals rescued and rehabilitated by the aquarium's stranding response team. The aquarium offers "behind-the-scenes" tours and various "hands-on" experiences with Florida marine life including "Sea Life Safaris" and other Marine Life Adventures, as well as educational opportunities for young and old, such as "Trainer for a Day" and "Day with a Dolphin." Big Cat Rescue is a wildlife sanctuary that provides opportunities to get "up close and personal" with a diverse population of exotic cats.

Pinewood Cultural Park is a cultural gem that offers seniors the opportunity to explore three distinct attractions in one easy and simple visit. Heritage Village is a 21-acre open-air living history museum - including 23 of the county's oldest structures, with two dating back to the Civil War era - set amid native pines and palmettos. The Florida Botanical Gardens is a working garden and educational resource, and features all Florida plants, both native and non-native, with wildlife nesting habitats, restored wetlands and natural bridges interacting with more formal gardens. The Gulf Coast Museum of Art features a permanent collection of contemporary Florida art and fine contemporary crafts from the 12 southeastern states and a diverse exhibition schedule.

Clearwater Beach Fred E. Marquis Pinellas Trail is a 34-mile long linear park linking some of the county's most picturesque parks, scenic coastal areas and residential communities. Along the way, visitors can enjoy groves of ancient live oaks hung with Spanish moss, quiet waterways, tidal streams featuring all varieties of wildlife and the charming downtowns of Tarpon Springs, Palm Harbor, Ozona, Dunedin and Clearwater. A trail "spur" even leads to Honeymoon Island! This is perfect for anyone who enjoys hiking, bicycling, jogging, power-walking or in-line skating. Moccasin Lake Nature Park is a 51-acre nature preserve that includes a five-acre lake, 1.25 miles of trails, three-acre watershed restoration area, live wildlife exhibits, interactive educational displays and many guest amenities. In addition, the city of Clearwater offers many more miles of trails and parks, suitable for hiking, kayaking, birding and more.

The Great Florida Birding Trail is a collection of over 440 sites throughout Florida chosen because of their excellent bird watching opportunities. Clearwater is in the West Florida Section of the 2,000-mile self-guided trail. Birders will want to visit Sand Key Park, which includes a salt marsh where several species of sea birds nest and feed. Loons, semipalmated plovers and American oystercatchers can be found along the beach. Waders and ducks frequent the small brackish pond, and white ibis feed on the pond's vegetated margins. Three sites along the Courtney Campbell Causeway - also known as State Road 60, the main road into Clearwater - provide opportunities to observe oystercatchers terns, gulls and roseate spoonbills. In addition, Clearwater - because of its central location on Florida's west coast - is the ideal destination for day trips or short excursions to nearby Dunedin, Tarpon Springs, St. Petersburg, Sarasota and Tampa, and all the attractions those places have to offer. www.VisitClearwaterFlorida.com

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Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland has a card that makes your romantic weekend to the Great Lakes city even more affordable. A single Cleveland Plus Pass gives you admission to ten major attractions and other valuable traveler discounts in the region. Purchase your pass for two, three or five consecutive days and then experience the gardens, museums, zoos and other destinations in Cleveland Plus. Visit www.positivelycleveland.com/pluspass for more information and to purchase your Cleveland Plus Pass today!

Cleveland Ohio

Cleveland Botanical Garden: 216.707.2846 www.cbgarden.org Even the most budget conscious can take their dates to Costa Rica this Valentine's season by visiting Cleveland Botanical Garden's dual climate Glasshouse. You and your date will forget that the snow is falling outside when surrounded by lush tropical foliage, plants and flowers. And if you and your date get carried away, it wouldn't be the first time wedding proposals have been made beneath the green canopy or romantic waterfall. Throughout February, the Garden also features Orchid Mania (free with general admission), its annual parade of hundreds of blooming orchids.

Ohio Wine Producers Association: 440.466.4417 www.OhioWines.org Enjoy mouthwatering chocolates and wine samples on a self-driving wine tour along the vines and wine trails in Cleveland Plus.

Cleveland Museum of Art: 216.421.7340 www.clemusart.com Spend the afternoon viewing one of the most prestigious art museums in the country. Packed with prestigious traveling and permanent exhibits, the acclaimed museum continues to reopen galleries to show off their treasures as it undergoes a multimillion dollar renovation and expansion.

Cleveland Orchestra: 216.231.7300 www.clevelandorchestra.com A Brahms Violin Concerto on Valentine's Day weekend performed by one of the top three orchestras in the world makes for a great gift to that special someone.

PlayhouseSquare: 216.771.8403 www.playhousesquare.org Make it a special evening in the second largest theater district in the nation. Grab tickets to see the romantic musical I Love You Because on Valentine's Day weekend.

Ambiance, Inc.: 440.234.6996 www.ambiance.com Ambiance, the store for lovers, works with local businesses to find fun and affordable ways for couples to have fun and reconnect. They have partnerships with hotels, boudoir photographers and a local chef to provide lovers in Cleveland Plus with romantic getaways and sexy escapes.

Walking Tours of Cleaveland: 216.394.0095 www.clevelandwalkingtours.com Step on a Segway and glide your way through a moonlit tour of Cleveland followed by dinner at a downtown restaurant.

The Divas of American Song: A Valentine Cabaret: Stocker Arts Center, 800.995 LCCC or www.lorainccc.edu/Stocker+Arts+Center A breathtaking performance by Helen Welch including favorites like "My Funny Valentine," "Unforgettable," "Have I Told You Lately" and "The Look of Love."

Lilly Handmade Chocolates: 216.771.3333 www.lillytremont.com Decorated in hot pink and black, Lilly is reminiscent of those upscale chocolate boutiques.

Cleveland Ohio

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CN Tower, Toronto

  • 1975: the CN Tower officially became the World's Tallest Free-Standing Structure (in 1996, the designation was officially changed to World's Tallest Building and Free-Standing Structure).
  • 1979: Dar Robinson jumps from the top of the main pod (1139 ft 8 in / 347.37 m) with a parachute for the movie, "Highpoint" starring Christopher Plummer. Dar Robinson later returns to perform a controlled cable fall filmed for the TV show That's Incredible.
  • 1986: The world's first flight simulator ride experience, Tour of the Universe, is launched at the CN Tower.
  • 1988: Two hang gliders fly from the roof of the main pod (1,207 ft / 368 m), landing at Toronto Island Airport, setting a world record.
  • 1991: first annual fundraising stair climb for the World Wildlife Fund is held. This along with the stair climb for United Way of Greater Toronto would go on to average over 15,000 climbers and raise over $1.5 million for charity every year.
  • 1992: a new rappel record is set by the Canadian School of Rescue Training along with the British Royal Marine Commandos who rappelled from the Sky Pod level, 1,465 ft. (446 m).
  • 1994: The CN Tower opens the world's first Glass Floor at 1,122 ft (342 m) high, thrilling guests with a "walk on air" experience. It is 23.8 square meters (256 sq. ft.) of solid glass and is five times stronger than the required weight bearing standard for commercial floors. It can withstand the weight of 14 large hippos.
  • 1995: The CN Tower is designated a Wonder of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers (along with other engineering wonders such as, The Empire State Building, Golden Gate Bridge, English Channel Tunnel, Panama Canal, Itaipu Dam and North Sea Protection Works).
  • 2003: The Barenaked Ladies join Canada Post and the CN Tower to officially launch the World's Highest Mailbox atop the World's Tallest Building (located on the Look Out Level at 1,136 ft / 342 m).
  • World's Highest Wine Cellar (Guinness World Records, 2006)
  • There are a full 40,524 cubic metres (53,000 cubic yards) of concrete in the CN Tower, enough to build a sidewalk curb from Toronto to Kingston, Ontario (that's over 231 km! (143 miles).
  • Lightning strikes the CN Tower an average of 75 times per year. Long copper strips, running down the CN Tower to massive grounding rods buried below ground level ensure that each lightning strike safely finds its way to ground.
  • Air temperature can be up to 10 degrees cooler at the top of the CN Tower than at ground level.
  • The CN Tower was built with the strength and flexibility to withstand an earthquake of 8.5 on the Richter scale.
CN Tower

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Cook Books

TOTALLY SCALLOPS not just another cookbook. It is the first and only single-subject cookbook featuring scallops. Filled with delicious scallop recipes from all the continents, it is not just a cookbook but is filled with little-known facts about scallops. This beautifully illustrated cookbook takes you on a journey, not only through the kitchen but through many countries. Some of the world's top chefs are featured with their signature recipes from Singapore, United States, England and of course Canada.


TOTALLY SCALLOPS offers approximately 80 recipes including sashimi, salads, chowders, pastas and baked main dishes offering plenty of ideas for those who are tired of cooking scallops the same old way. It is also the perfect book for those cooks who want to venture beyond a meat-and-potato menu to a healthy alternative. This is a book that will not be stored on a kitchen shelf but will find itself on your coffee table where you can enjoy the beautiful images from many countries.

Author Judy Eberspaecher, having grown up close to the sea, was inspired by the variety of ways her friends prepared scallops. Some of her earliest memories of foods are of scallops, brought to the door by the local fish peddlers and she soon realized that little was known about this wonderful food item. An accomplished travel and nature photographer, Judy (Hiltz) Eberspaecher lives in Oakville but spends much of her time travelling. You might find her enjoying scallops prepared by some of the top chefs in their kitchens or even out on a scallop dragger doing research alongside scientists and local fishermen. Judy can be reached at www.eberimage.ca.

The 200 page book can be ordered online from www.totallyscallops.com for $39.95, GST and shipping included (ISBN 978-0-9783549-9-2.)

Media Inquiries: If you would like a review copy of TOTALLY SCALLOPS, please contact KiMagic Publishing at www.totallyscallops.com. A high-resolution photograph of the book cover is also available by email.


    Zagreb is a capital of Croatia, and a great cultural center to visit year-round. During December Holiday season, there are many street fairs with Christmas gifts to buy, special holiday performances in city opera and many concert halls, as well as local theaters with many different shows. www.zagreb-touristinfo.hr

    Gorski Kotar is relatively less known region of Croatia located in the continental part, just half an hour drive from the Northern Adriatic Coast. With parks of nature and rich wooded areas, it is a great alternative for coastal vacation. During winter months, ski-lovers can enjoy in any of ski-resorts, like Platak or Bjelolasica. Other outdoor activities, like hiking or biking, are also popular all year long. www.gorskikotar.com


Above the capital city of Zagreb, you can visit a nature park, Medvednica. The mountain resembles one huge park because of many walking trails, monuments, bed & breakfast facilities and lots of things to do outdoors. While walking on Medvednica, you encounter more than a thousand flora & fauna species. Part of Medvednica is Medvedgrad, a medieval city-fortress from the 13th Century, abandoned after the quake in 1590. The renovation of Medvedgrad started in 1974. A visit to Medvedgrad offers a magnificent view of Zagreb. Another part of Medvednica is the Miner's Garden, a reconstruction of a silver mine that belonged to noble family, Zrinski, in 17th Century.

Zagreb Airport:
Zagreb airport is doing a major makeover and completion is planned for 2016. Expansion plan includes new modern passenger terminal, railway links to city center, hotels and a business center. www.zagreb-airport.hr

Discover Istria:
Istria is attracting an increased number of visitors every year, thanks to the variety it offers visitors, comparing it to the Italian Tuscany or French Provence; in addition to beautiful inland area, it also features great beaches and coastal resorts. Besides truffles, for which Istria is world known, you can taste other excellent products like cured ham, cheese, wine, fruit brandies, and see first hand the indigenous Istrian ox. www.oprtalj.hr

Town of Medieval Croatian Kings:
Knin was capital of the Croatian Kingdom in early 11th Century, and has a long tradition in Croatian history. The renown Knin fortress offers great panoramic views. Located inland, just behind the Sibenik Riviera, it is being developed as a tourist destination, especially for adventure tourism. With the national park, Krka, in its neighborhood, and the river Krka available for water sports, this area attracts more people every year. Horseback riding, walking, hiking and other outdoor activities are very popular in the area. There are many alpine lodges available on the nearby Dinara and Promina mountains. www.tz-knin.hr

Unique Croatian Ceramics:
"Peti Element" (Fifth Element) is the name of the Croatian artists organization located in Split. Local artists produce beautiful pottery, jewelry, frames etc. Besides art pieces exhibited in their gallery, they also started organizing an alternative way of spending vacation time: one-week residential course in painting and ceramics. Their workshops are located within the Diocletian's palace itself, with lodgings nearby. www.petielement.hr

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Cuba (40 reasons to visit)

40 reasons to visit

1. It's a unique country with a distinctive and colourful culture

2. Friendly, hospitable people who make visitors feel at home

3. Peaceful and healthy destination

4. The safety of its streets, very low crime rate; it's safe to go outside of the resorts

5. 330 beautiful pristine beaches some of them among the best in the world

6. Excellent climate with an average of 330 sunny days a year

7. Impressive historical values

8. Very good hotels with the highest standard

9. Good value for your money

10. Striking colonial cities, greatest collection of colonial architecture in the Caribbean (Havana, Trinidad, Cienfuegos, Santiago de Cuba, Camaguey, Remedios, etc.)

11. Remarkable cultural and historical traditions where Spanish, African, Chinese and French have clearly left their mark

12. Its cuisine as a result of the mix of different cultures

13. Close to Canada, just three hours from Eastern-South-Central Canada.

14. Easy access from Canada with direct flights from all major Canadian cities coast to coast

15. Extraordinarily rich and well-preserved nature ideal for ecotourism

16. Top destination for cigar and rum aficionados

17. Crystal-clear waters and excellent marinas and water sports

18. Exceptional Scuba Diving and snorkeling

19. Several World Heritage Sites

20. A number of World Biosphere Preserves

21. Good health services, top quality and economical

22. Water is safe to drink

23. Cuban music

24. National Parks

25. Hundreds of museums bring history to life

26. Numerous of art galleries and concert halls

27. A variety of festivals

28. Conference facilities and technology

29. Excellent destination for long / short stays

30. Old Havana, its fortresses, plazas and majestic buildings (lots of scheduled flights to Havana)

31. Spectacular scenery, caves and underground rivers

32. Bird watching

33. Bicycle tours

34. Golf

35. Swim with the dolphins

36. The Cuban Cayos with unspoiled and uncrowded beaches

37. Mountains and rain forests

38. Plenty of night spots with world-class entertainment (Tropicana, jazz clubs, etc)

39. Lots of things to do and see for active travellers, lots of day trips and excursions at every resort

40. A wide range of resorts from the most upscale-sophisticated to the economical ones with a laid back charm

(Source: CITC) www.gocuba.ca

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Cumbria-The Lake District, England

Mountain biking in the Cumbria is world class. Enjoy fast singletrack, purpose-built courses or take on one of the many regional cycle network trails like the Hadrian's Wall Cycleway. There's no shortage of ways to experience Cumbria's waterways-from sailing and wind surfing to kayaking and wake boarding. Whether you're a seasoned adventurer or want to learn the ropes from a qualified guide, there's something to suit all abilities. Exploring Cumbria's great outdoors you will discover some of the most beautiful scenery in England along with a wealth of flora and fauna. Cumbria boasts England's five tallest mountains and longest lake. Call: +44 (0) 1539 888 Email: amccoskrie@gocumbria.org www.golakes.co.uk/adventure

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Dawson Creek, BC

Dawson Creek offers Living History of a Historic Highway:
For residents of Mile "0" of the renowned Alaska Highway, Dawson Creek is a community rife with history, paved with one of the most storied roads ever travelled. And for visitors to this Northern BC city, the recently opened Alaska Highway House provides an archival re-telling of the blood, sweat and tears behind the monumental engineering task of the Alaska Highway construction (achieved in less than nine months, despite horrendous working conditions). Alaska Highway House, situated in downtown Dawson Creek (southwest corner of the Mile "0" Post intersection) focuses on three key themes: The Alaska Highway was Built for War (the bombing of Pearl Harbour in 1941 drove home the need for a North Pacific defense as well as a secure land transportation link to transfer military goods, materials, and men from the lower 48 states to Alaska); The Alaska Highway Changed the North Forever; and The Alaska Highway is the Road to Northern Adventure. Photo illustrations, fixed displays (including a 1942 original Willy Jeep), original movie footage, a PBS DVD: The Building of the Alaska Highway, and an opportunity to send friends and relatives an e-postcard await at the centre. Who would have guessed that such a task would have spawned incredible tales of intrigue, hardship and adversity? Indeed, mountains, mosquitoes and muskeg proved worthy foes for men and machine throughout the construction of over 1,500 miles of road carved within the vast untamed wilderness of northern Canada and Alaska. Alaska Highway House proves to be the ideal locale to explore this challenging time, thanks to Dawson Creek's role during the landscaping of the highway (with just 600 residents in 1942, numbers swelled to over 10,000 with the influx of American troops, engineers and both American and Canadian civilians). Today, visitors can learn about the highway's inception and the history of its construction, all while celebrating the integral role it plays today. www.tourismdawsoncreek.com

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Detroit, Michigan

Detroit Metro Airport's new North Terminal announced its opening after three years of planning, design and construction. Flights by Air Canada, American, AirTran, Frontier, Lufthansa, Royal Jordanian, Southwest, Spirit, United, US Airways, USA 3000 and all charter airlines arrive and depart from the North Terminal. The Smith and Berry terminals will retire as passenger facilities.

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Edmonton, Alberta


Festival City - Live All Year! What makes a city come alive? Thousands of volunteers and a number of particularly passionate festival producers who turn Edmonton into Festival City, with more than 30 festivals per year! Edmontonians and out-of-town visitors come together for the same reason: to celebrate live entertainment. Festival goers are brought together by diverse interests, everything from music, theatre, films, art, dance, poetry, sports, midway rides and bucking broncos! Ultimately, everyone comes for the same experience, to be together in a crowd that is celebrating life in a scenic city. What Edmonton's festivals offer sounds like a cliché: something for everyone. It's true. Edmonton's International Fringe Theatre Festival attracts 500,000 visitors to over 1,000 live theatre experiences every year. That makes it second only to the famous Edinburgh Fringe in size! There's also the Edmonton International Street Performers Festival, where visitors are guaranteed to gasp or guffaw at everything from trampoline artists and acrobats to clowns, jugglers, musicians and street comedians. In the summer, Edmonton has music in the air, with festivals celebrating jazz, blues, bluegrass, symphony, opera and ethnic music. Come to the Edmonton Folk Music Festival and you'll see the city at its most magical, as music lovers gather at Gallagher Park in Edmonton's river valley: little girls in sundresses dancing in bare feet on the grass and row upon row of young people and adults sitting in the dark with candles burning, thousands of tiny flames swaying to the sounds of big live acts like Joni Mitchell, Hawksley Workman, Feist and more! There's summer fun on the midway at Capital EX, Edmonton's longest-running festival, heritage festivals shining a light on 60 different cultural backgrounds... and in the winter, the fun continues with festivals celebrating skiing, skating, ice sculpting and all sorts of other winter activities.

World Waterpark, home to more than 20 different waterslides and attractions including the world's largest indoor wave pool and the world's tallest indoor permanent bungee tower, is set to welcome a major new addition this spring. Construction is currently underway on a nearly 6,000 square foot interactive play area featuring mini slides, water toys and a giant 1,200 litre tipping bucket that will douse guests with water. This attraction will be the largest indoor interactive water play feature in Western Canada. West Edmonton Mall is excited to continually offer its guests something new and exciting each time they visit whether it's an exclusive tenant, a special event or a major addition to one of our nine attractions. This new interactive play area will be an amazing addition to the overall experience guests will enjoy when visiting World Waterpark.

New interactive play area facts:
Unit Square Footage-5,913 square feet, Unit Height -42' 6"

Tipping bucket size-1,200 litres, Number of slides-four, Number of platforms-25, Additional features-net climb, net bridges, crawl tube, water guns, tipping cones, pipe falls, pull ropes, water curtains, bubble jets, tipping troughs and funnels

The name "Edmonton" is a Latinized version of a Saxon word meaning "Happy Hamlet."

Edmonton was named after a borough of London, England.

  • Edmonton's sister cities are Hull, Quebec (1967); Nashville, Tennessee (1992); and Harbin, China (1985). The province of Alberta was twinned with Hokkaido, Japan in 1980 and Heilongjiang, China in 1981.
  • Ripley's Believe It or Not has recognized 96th Street as "Church Street" for its 16 churches in the neighbourhood.
  • The Canadian Cold Buster Bar was invented and developed at the University of Alberta in 1991 by Dr. Larry Wang. This energy bar, sold under various trade names worldwide including Access Bar and Fat Lighter, is available in North America, Taiwan, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia.
  • The world's largest ice cream sundae weighing 54, 914 lb. 13 oz (24.91 tonnes), was made by Palm Dairies in Edmonton on July 24, 1988.
  • The first Booster Juice location opened in Sherwood Park - east of Edmonton - in 1999. Booster Juice was co-founded by its president and CEO Dale Wishewan of Sherwood Park.
  • The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford - starring Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck - was filmed in the park in fall of 2005. Several locations in the park were utilized by the production, including the park's working steam train which was used in a robbery sequence; the train's interior was refurbished by the production crew for even more historical accuracy in a goodwill gesture to the park.
  • Edmonton is one of Canada's sunniest cities with about 2,300 hours of bright sunshine per year. In June, Edmonton enjoys up to 17 hours of daylight per day!
  • In 2004, Edmonton celebrated its 100th anniversary as a city. As part of a community beautification project, The Old Strathcona Centennial Mural Project showcases local artists and their work on 40 public utility boxes located throughout the Old Strathcona area.
  • The Old Strathcona Provincial Historic Area was established under a provincial Order-in-Council on January 31, 2007. This designation signalled the recognition by Alberta of the district for its contributions to provincial history. The new district, including a section of Whyte Avenue, will now be listed on the Alberta and Canadian registers of historic places, placing its inherent merits before a wider public.
  • The High Level Streetcar operates spring through fall giving visitors a trip over the world's highest streetcar bridge - the High Level Bridge - built in 1912.
  • To commemorate Alberta's 75th anniversary, the Great Divide Waterfall on the High Level Bridge was created in 1980. This man-made waterfall is 7.3 metres (24 feet) higher than Niagara Falls.
  • With the arrival of the railways, Edmonton entered its first boom years. Between 1900 and 1914, its population soared from 2,000 to 72,000. During this time, it became the capital city of the brand-new province of Alberta.

  • Edmonton has more than 30 established festivals each year devoted to music, performances, visual arts, family fun, sports and culture.
  • Largest in North America, and second only in size to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Edmonton's International Fringe Theatre Festival attracts 500,000 visitors each summer and some 1,000 performances. The Edmonton Fringe attracts performers from across Canada, the United States, Africa, Austria, Australia, Bulgaria, Great Britain, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Sweden, Taiwan, and Central and South America.
  • For something a little different... Edmonton is home to the Silly Summer Parade, Old Strathcona Ghost Tours and the Mount Pleasant Cemetery Tour. Other different events include The Stroll of Poets, The Sourdough Raft Race and during Christmas check out Candy Cane Lane, a small community that goes all out to decorate their houses with colourful light displays and unique decorations.
  • Edmonton Heritage Festival is an annual opportunity to sample the ethnic foods from more than 50 different cultures in an unmatched outdoor experience.
  • There are up to 40 restaurants at A Taste of Edmonton each year that offer one savoury and one sweet dish from their menu.
  • Capital EX - formerly Klondike Days - continues to be one of Canada's largest exhibitions where more that 810,000 guests attend each July, and is Edmonton's oldest festival.
Arts & Culture
  • Edmonton was named as a Canadian Cultural Capital for 2007.
  • The first of its kind in Canada, the Gallery Walk was formed in 1981 to promote both art and artists of merit, with a special focus on Canadian artists and their work. Edmonton is home to over 60 art galleries.
  • Edmonton is home to 20 theatre companies and dozens of acting co-ops. Eight theatre companies can be found in the historic Old Strathcona district.
  • The first Moslem mosque in North America was the Al Rashid Mosque, now located at Fort Edmonton Park.
  • Edmonton's impressive Chinatown Gate was built as a symbol of friendship between the Edmonton and its sister city, Harbin, in the People's Republic of China.
  • Edmonton's only complete season of contemporary dance, presented by the Brian Webb Dance Company, is recognized as the largest dance season west of Toronto.
  • Mural, mural on the wall, which is the biggest one of all? Both Stony Plain, just west of Edmonton, and Legal, north of Edmonton, feature outdoor art walks focusing on more than a dozen impressive murals depicting the history of each area.
Urban Flair
  • There are over 3,500 restaurants in the Edmonton region to choose from.
  • Downtown Dining Week, held in March, promotes the downtown area's best restaurants.
  • In 1984, Edmontonian John Stanton opened the first Running Room, a small shop located in the living room of an Edmonton home. Since the opening of his small athletic store offering a variety of running shoes for the avid runner, the word has spread quickly of Stanton's passion for quality running shoes that met the specific needs of those who required them.
  • Old Strathcona, named one of the 10 best shopping districts in Canada is a bustling area rooted in history which boasts 300 businesses of which 90% are family owned.
  • Motor sport is revving its engines with the recent addition of Edmonton to the Indy Racing League circuit in 2008. In its inaugural year in 2005, the Grand Prix of Edmonton set the record for a Champ Car event in Canada with attendance of 200,052 spectators.
  • It's Canada's biggest money rodeo and the season-ending championship competition of Canadian professional rodeo - the Canadian Finals Rodeo. Held annually in mid-November at Rexall Place, it's the largest annual indoor sporting event in Western Canada.
  • Ride the EDDIE is Alberta's first and only step-on, step-off tour bus operating during the busy summer season (from June 28 to September 3 for 2008). The bus runs hourly on a daily service with 21 stops, including major attractions, historical areas and shopping districts.
  • Fort Edmonton Park is Canada's largest living history park, tracing the growth and development of Edmonton through four historical periods represented by The Fort, 1885 Street, 1905 Street and 1920 Street
  • The world's largest car park is located at West Edmonton Mall. It can hold 20, 000 vehicles. West Edmonton Mall also holds records for the world's largest indoor amusement park (26 rides and attractions), the world's largest indoor triple loop rollercoaster (1,285 metres of track), the world's largest indoor lake (complete with a replica of Christopher Columbus's Santa Maria), the world's largest indoor wave pool (12.3 million litres of water), and the world's largest indoor permanent bungee tower (30 metres up and 30 metres down)
  • The average yearly visitation to West Edmonton Mall is approximately 28.2 million, more than eight times the population of the province of Alberta, making WEM the Alberta's number one tourist attraction.
  • Some of the world's biggest roadside attractions can be found in the scenic countryside northeast of Edmonton. Find the world's largest Easter egg (Pysanka) in Vegreville; the biggest Mallard Duck in Andrew; giant mushrooms in Vilna; the largest pyrogy in Glendon and an oversized sausage in Mundare. You'll also find the world's first UFO Landing Pad in St. Paul.
  • Northlands has been rocking Edmonton since 1879 and now have 2500 events that attract over 3.5 million visitors every year.
  • West Edmonton Mall's Fantasyland Hotel features 12 different theme rooms for guests to stay in including: African Safari, Arabian, Canadian Rail, Hollywood, Igloo, Polynesian, Roman, Truck, Victorian Coach, Sports, Waterpark and Western.

Stepping Outdoors
  • Canada's largest Ecomuseum - Kalyna Country is a heritage and eco-tourism district in East Central Alberta.
  • Edmonton has the longest stretch of urban parkland in North America, which is 22 times larger than New York's Central Park and 8 times larger than Vancouver's Stanley Park.
  • The Victoria Golf Course is the oldest municipal golf course in Canada (1907). There are more than 70 golf courses within the Edmonton Alberta Capital Region.
  • With the exception of the Serengeti Plains of Africa, Elk Island National Park has higher densities of hoofed mammals per square kilometre than any other wild area in the world. Elk Island National Park of Canada - located less than one hour east of Edmonton - is home to herds of free roaming plains bison, wood bison, moose, deer and elk. There are over 250 species of birds; the park is a bird watcher's paradise.
  • The Canadian Birkebeiner - held in Strathcona County east of Edmonton - is Canada's premiere Cross Country Ski Festival and the largest Classical Cross Country Ski Festival in North America.
  • Jasper National Park - 370 kilometres (192 miles) west of Edmonton - is the largest and most northerly Canadian rocky mountain national park.

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England (The Heart of England)

  • Alton - Alton Towers Theme Park
    Alton Towers Theme Park is the perfect destination for everyone seeking magic and excitement, with more thrills and spills, Alton Towers features a selection of attractions for the whole family to enjoy together. Hurtle at terrifying speeds and dip and dive upside down on some of Britain's most renowned roller coaster's including Air, Oblivion, Nemesis and new to 2010 Th13rteen. Alton Towers also provides a fantastic selection of attractions for younger visitors with secure rides and activities to keep everyone happy, all day long. www.altontowers.com

  • Birmingham - Cadbury World
    Is a fun attraction about chocolate and the Cadbury story and remains the only purpose built visitor centre in the country devoted entirely to chocolate and the heritage of one of the UK's best-loved brands. Find out how cocoa became central to the Aztec way of life, explore the beginnings of Cadbury's chocolate, find out how chocolate is made, see part of the factory where the famous chocolate bars are wrapped and even take away some delicious bars yourself. www.cadburyworld.co.uk

  • Birmingham - Mac Art Centre
    After a £15m expansion and refurbishment project, the new-look Mac Art Centre in Birmingham is open. Visitors can look forward to being wowed as the final transformation is revealed, showing a totally new integrated centre, with new spaces for a purpose designed gallery, a first for Mac, creating opportunities to maximize the commissioning of work by leading national and international visual artists, craft makers and performance artists. www.macarts.co.uk

  • Sea Life

  • Birmingham - National Sea Life Centre,
    Escape the bad weather during an undersea voyage, with over 60 displays of fresh water and marine life, from the touch pool to an enormous one million litre ocean tunnel, you'll encounter everything from starfish to seahorses, sharks, rays and otters. The largest residents are two enormous giant sea turtles - Molokai and Gulliver who are part of a new turtle sanctuary. For more information visit: www.sealife.co.uk

  • Birmingham - Rotunda
    Staying Cool at the Rotunda - Birmingham's Rotunda has defined the city's skyline for the past four decades. The Staying Cool apartments, on the top three floors come in four sizes - small, medium, large and extra large. Each one is individually styled with original artwork and specially commissioned furniture. A wall of floor to ceiling glass gives you great views of Birmingham life... and French windows that open fully at 75 metres up make it all that little bit more thrilling. Website: www.stayingcool.com.

  • Birmingham - Royal Ballet
    During 2010, Birmingham Royal Ballet celebrates its 20th year in the city of Birmingham and will stage some of the Company's most memorable ballets to commemorate its achievements. The three performances of the 20 Years Celebration in March will mark the start of the anniversary celebrations. These will include excerpts from the varied repertory that has been enjoyed by so many over the last two decades. Probably the most famous and popular ballet in the world, Swan Lake also returns in June. The ballet is a classic tale of evil magicians, handsome princes, beautiful maidens and a doomed fairy-tale love affair. www.brb.org.uk

  • Symphony Orchestra

  • Birmingham - Symphony Orchestra
    Since the inaugural concert, conducted by Sir Edward Elgar in November 1920, the CBSO has grown into a 90-piece ensemble with a worldwide reputation. As the resident orchestra of Birmingham's Symphony Hall, the CBSO performs over 75 concerts each year and is in constant demand to appear at venues around the world. Let the music wash over you whether it be a night of tunes from classic movies or more traditional composers. A performance by the CBSO is a must for music lovers young and old. In 2010, the CBSO begins its build up to its 100th anniversary in 2020 with an exciting schedule of performances from Beethoven and Bach to Tchaikovsky and Strauss. www.cbso.co.uk

  • Cannock Chase - Pony Trekking,
    Enjoy the great outdoors with the ultimate experience of horse riding and pony trekking. The Cannock Chase Trekking Centre in Staffordshire offers rides suitable for all the family and you can choose from a selection of horses or ponies to match your ability before taking a journey through the spectacular countryside of Cannock Chase. For more information visit: www.cannockchasehorsetrekking.com

  • Hereford - Cathedral
    Housed within Hereford Cathedral's fifteenth-century south west cloister and the award-winning New Library Building, a mappa Mundi exhibition reveals the secrets of the largest and most elaborate complete pre fifteenth-century world map in existence, using models, original artefacts and the latest interactive computer technology. Visitors can also see the world's largest surviving Chained Library, containing over 1,500 rare books dating from the 8th to the 19th centuries. There is also a special exhibition highlighting the early copy of the Magna Carta on display in the Chained Library. www.herefordcathedral.org

  • Ironbridge, Shropshire
    Ironbridge in Shropshire is the birthplace of industry and a remarkable and beautiful place to visit today. With ten award-winning Museums to explore, you will find that a little advance planning helps you make the most of your time in the Gorge. Throughout your tour you'll see the products that set industry on its path and the machines that made them. Watch and talk to the Museums' craftsmen and costumed demonstrators as they work iron, fashion china and glass, and bring alive the people who lived and worked here. www.ironbridge.org.uk

  • Eco Log Cabin

  • Ludlow - Eco Log Cabin
    If you are interested in the environment, this hand-built Scandinavian-style log cabin is ideal. Set in an unspoiled meadow, 2 miles from Ludlow, the cabin has been constructed with the aim of minimizing the impact on the environment. A holiday here may give you some ideas on how to reduce your carbon footprint in your own home, and enable you to try out technologies such as a wood-pellet stove, solar water-heating, an induction hob and LED/low energy lighting. www.ludlowecologcabins.co.uk.

  • Shrewsbury - Charles Darwin
    Much of Shrewsbury remains unchanged from Charles Darwin's day - medieval buildings and passages the naturalist knew still exists as does his old school (now the library), and the fields and river that surrounds the town remain open areas. Shrewsbury celebrated the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth in 2009 so make 2010 the year to delve into his boyhood years and explore the town to find out where he was inspired. www.shropshiretourism.co.uk

  • Shropshire

  • Shropshire - Brompton Cookery School,
    Brush up on your cooking skills at this newly refurbished barn located in the Shropshire countryside. A stunning purpose built kitchen allows for the tuition of sixteen people, whilst a stylish dining room provides the perfect retreat for you to enjoy the new dishes you create. The cookery school offers a range of day, half day and week-long courses suitable for adults and children, teaching you everything from bread-making, stylish vegetarian food and delicious desserts. For more information visit: www.bromptoncookeryschool.co.uk

  • Stoke - Water World
    Water World, Enjoy getting soaked at Water World, the UK's number one Tropical Indoor Aqua Park. Kids of all ages will love splashing around in the wave pool, slipping down the fun slides, rides and flumes, as well as many other fun water features. For more information visit: www.waterworld.co.uk

  • Staffordshire - Wedgwood
    Set in 250 acres of beautiful parkland located at the home of Wedgwood in the Heart of England is the award winning Wedgwood Visitor Centre. Visitors will be able to experience the history of one of England's great names. A heritage that is still very much alive and working today. 2010 is the perfect time to visit the recently opened Wedgwood Museum which has one of the most interesting ceramic collections in the world, galleries tell the story of Josiah Wedgwood, his family, and the company he founded two-and-a-half centuries ago. www.wedgwood.com

  • Butterfly Paradise

  • Stratford upon Avon - Stratford Butterfly Farm
    Whatever the weather, at Stratford Butterfly Farm you can stroll through the wonderful world of an exotic rainforest and enjoy the unique pleasure of watching hundreds of the world's most spectacular and colourful butterflies flying around in a wonderful tropical environment. See their amazing lifecycles in the Caterpillar Room, observe the fascinating and strange in Insect City, and get close to the deadly and dangerous in the safety of Arachnoland; home of the world's largest spider, a scorpion colony and other spinners of webs and dealers of death. For more information visit: www.butterflyfarm.co.uk

  • Stratford-upon-Avon - Shakespeare Houses
    Step back in time and learn all about Stratford-upon-Avon's famous Bard, Shakespeare, with a trip to five houses relating to his life. You can get a feel for what life was like back in the poet's day with a visit to his home or have fun exploring a traditional Elizabethan working farm at Mary Arden's house. For more information visit: www.shakespeare.org.uk The Holy Trinity Church, where Shakespeare is buried, is celebrating its 800th anniversary in 2010 with a series of special events and concerts. Throughout the year the RSC runs an exciting program of the Bard's plays, but 2010 is a landmark year as the redevelopment of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre is due to be completed. 2010 brings a magnificent season of productions with King Lear and Romeo and Juliet staged in the first few months of the season. And for younger audiences the worldwide premiere of Roald Dahl's Matilda will be staged at The Courtyard Theatre in September. For a real Shakespeare experience, visit in April during the annual Shakespeare birthday celebrations (24-26). The main attraction is an annual procession of around 600 people, some in costume, which has a real carnival feel with brass bands, Morris dancers and ambassadors representing Commonwealth and ex-Commonwealth countries. www.shakespeare-country.co.uk

  • Experience Castles

  • Warwick - Warwick Castle
    Is bursting to the towers with tales of treachery and torture, passion and power and above all fascinating people times and events. At Warwick Castle you can experience preparations for battle, feel the weight of a sword and get a soldier's eye view from beneath a battle helmet, see lavishly decorated State Rooms, watch as a household prepares for a Victorian party and discover how electricity was generated over 100 years ago to light up the castle. www.warwick-castle.co.uk

  • Warwickshire - Talton Lodge
    Ten minutes from the Cotswolds and Stratford-upon-Avon. This venue grows all food on site or sources from local producers. Accommodation is either in old farm buildings or under canvas in tipi's or yurts. Activities on and off-site, include sausage-making, wine tasting, canoe trips, fishing, camel trekking, massages and walks in the Cotswolds. www.taltonlodge.co.uk.

  • Worcester - Hidelow House Cottages
    Hidelow House Cottages: The seven award winning cottages in Worcester are all located in the grounds of Hidelow House but each are in a discreet, private setting. The cottages share a carefully-coordinated blend of historic charm and modern, homely comforts but are totally individual in their style, both inside and out. www.hidelow.co.uk.

  • Worcestershire - West Midlands Safari Park
    If you're looking for a fun-packed family day out, then look no further than West Midlands Safari Park, voted best family day out in The Heart of England. You will see over 600 animals from all corners of the globe, during the four mile self-drive safari around the continents, including rare and exotic species such as elephants, white lions, giraffes, rhinos, African wild dogs and all kinds of antelope - you can even feed some of them. There's also plenty to explore on foot including Mark O'Shea's Reptile World or the Sealion Theatre which is where you can watch South African Fur Seals perform their very latest antics. For more information visit: www.wmsp.co.uk
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England - Olympic History - Where It All Began

Shot Put - 1908 Olympics
US Sportsman Ralph Rose took first place at the 1908 Olympic Games at White City Stadium, London
Photo courtesy of Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

From humble beginnings in a rural Shropshire market town to the bright lights and award-winning architecture of 2012.

1850 - Once Upon a Time, in Shropshire...
So everyone knows that the Olympic Games were first conceived in Greece, right? Well, in fact, the modern International Games have their roots not in Athens, but rather in the small market town of Much Wenlock in Shropshire. In 1850 the town's local doctor, philanthropist William Penny Brooks, established the Wenlock Olympian Games to 'promote the moral, physical and intellectual improvement of the inhabitants of the town and neighbourhood of Wenlock by encouragement of outdoor recreation.'

Now, more than 150 years later, one of the London2012 mascots has been named Wenlock in Brookes' memory, cementing in history the crucial role he played as the forefather of the modern Olympic Games.

1865 - The Games Go National
After several successful years of Much Wenlock Olympian Games, Brookes was responsible for creating the National Olympian Games in 1865. The premiere in Crystal Palace, London attracted 10,000 spectators, and the Games were held annually in different English towns and cities in the following years.

1908 - First Opening Ceremony and Going the Full Distance
Opening Ceremonies - 1908 Olympics Having originally been awarded to Rome, the fourth International Olympic Games instead came to London after the 1906 eruption of Mount Vesuvius skewed plans. The stadium at White City had been built at short notice for the Games (the first purpose-built Olympic venue), and was considered a marvel of its day, holding 68,000 spectators.

That year, the Olympic marathon started in front of the royal apartments at Windsor Castle and ended on the track at White City stadium in front of the royal box. At the time the actual race distance wasn't fixed - it was just a very long road race; around 25 miles. Moving the starting point from Queen Victoria's statue to East Terrace so that spectators wouldn't hinder the athletes added 700 hundred yards to the typical distance.

The 1908 Games were the first to be launched by an Opening Ceremony, during which the competing nations marched into the stadium following their respective national flags.

It was during a speech for Olympic champions by Bishop Ethelbert Talbot in 1908 that the Olympic Creed derides. The Olympic Creed, still used to this day, reads: "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."

When the Games closed in October, Great Britain topped the medal table with a total of 145 medals. Despite the short notice, the Games were widely declared a success and lay the foundations for London's legacy as a host Olympic city.

1924 - England Sets Marathon Standard - 26 Miles 385 Yards (naturally)
In 1924, the length of the 1908 Olympic marathon - which turned out to be 26 miles 385 yards - was internationally accepted as the official length of a marathon.

1943 - Stoke Mandeville Develops Sport for Rehabilitation
This August, the Buckinghamshire village of Stoke Mandeville will play host to the Paralympic Torch Relay; apt, as this was in fact the birthplace of the Paralympics. Pioneering German neurologist Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann became head of the National Spine Injury Centre (NSIC) at the Ministry of Pensions Hospital in Stoke Mandeville towards the end of WWII and came up with the revolutionary idea of using sport for rehabilitation. Sir Ludwig's patients were encouraged to try activities such as wheelchair polo, basketball and archery.

1948 - War is Over: National Morale Boosted by First Televised Games
BBC Coverage - 1948 Olympics Despite a shortage of time and resources, London rose to the challenge to host the first Games after World War II and a 12-year hiatus. This time the Games centred around Wembley stadium and were the first televised Olympic Games, though at that stage few people owned their own television set.

In 1948, the historic coastal town of Dover provided the welcome point for the Olympic Torch. It was a first for both Dover and England because the 1908 London Games took place before the torch relay tradition began. The flame, setting out from Olympia in Greece, travelled in 1,531 stages totalling 720 miles (1,160km), and 1,720 weatherproof torches - including spares - were manufactured to carry it on its way. Brought from Calais to Dover aboard HMS Bicester, a destroyer of the Nore Command, the flame then continued its relay via the Kent towns of Canterbury, Charing, Maidstone and Westerham, through Surrey and Berkshire and on to Wembley. In 1948, due to post-war rationing, many teams who attended the Olympic Games had to bring their own food with them.

1948 - London's Second Olympic Games Bring Paralympics to the Fore
In 1948, Sir Ludwig Guttmann organised a competition for 16 paralysed servicemen - the Stoke Mandeville Games for wheelchair athletes - which coincided with the opening ceremony of the London 1948 Olympic Games. Prior to 1948, athletes with disabilities had competed in the same sporting events. The first official Paralympic Games, open not only to war veterans, took place 12 years later, in Rome.

Sir Ludwig went on to found the British Sports Association for the Disabled, and was knighted by the Queen when he retired in 1966, having already been awarded an OBE and CBE. The NSIC continues its rehabilitation programme using sports and exercise to this day, and has expanded from just 26 beds to 190 in the main hospital.

2005 - "The International Olympic Committee has the honour of announcing the Games of the 30th Olympiad in 2012 are awarded to the city of...LONDON"
A spine-tingling announcement was made to thousands of gatherers in Trafalgar Square in central London on 6th July 2005. The city staved off stiff competition from Moscow, New York, Madrid and finally Paris after an impressive presentation by ex-Olympian Lord Coe, who chaired the bid. Prime Minister Tony Blair called it a 'momentous day' for the country, saying of London: "many reckon it is the greatest capital city in the world and the Olympics will help keep it that way".

2012 - London Hosts 30th Olympic and Paralympic Games
This year, London becomes the first city to have hosted the Olympic Games three times. The Games will take place across the country - many outside of the purpose-built 500 acre Olympic Park in Stratford. Football matches will place in Coventry, Manchester and Newcastle; sailing events in Weymouth; cycling in Surrey; rowing in Eton Dorney; mountain biking in Essex and canoe slalom in the Lee Valley.

The 2012 Games will coincide with the culmination of a four-year cultural programme, the Cultural Olympiad, which includes 500 events held over four years. The finale, the London2012 Festival, is the biggest festival the UK has ever seen.

The 2012 Olympic Torch Relay departs from Land's End, Cornwall on May 19th and will make a 70-day journey - carried by 8,000 torchbearers - around the UK, travelling within 10 miles of 95% of the population. On August 24th, a Paralympic flame will be lit in London, and will meet flames from Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff in Stoke Mandeville - the birthplace of the Paralympics - before returning to the Olympic Stadium.

For more information and inspiration visit www.visitengland.com.

Standing Long Jump Practice Session - 1908 Olympics
Martin Sheridan (US) took bronze in the standing long jump London, 1908
Photo courtesy of Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

Read travel articles about this destination at: http://www.whattravelwriterssay.com/destinationEurope.html

Fairmont President's Club Membership

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts exclusive guest recognition program, Fairmont President's Club, offers special benefits and privileges designed to reflect individual travel preferences and offer an enhanced level of service.
Membership is complimentary and the Fairmont President's Club experience begins the moment one arrives at any of the properties with express check-in at the private reception desk and continues during one's stay with complimentary high-speed Internet access, free local calls, complimentary health club access, complimentary use of TaylorMade golf clubs, use of Fairmont Fit and so much more. It only takes 10 stays or 30 nights to move to Platinum status - faster than all other hotel loyalty programs. As a Platinum member you can enjoy even more exclusive benefits including room and suite upgrades, complimentary nights, choice of $100 USD dining or Willow Stream Spa certificates, guaranteed room access, and more. See: http://www.fairmont.com/EN_FA/FPCPublic/MembershipBenefits/Benefits

Ferry Boat Rides: Top 10

Ferry Boat Rides

The Society of American Travel Writers (SATW), the world's largest organization of professional travel journalists and photographers, polled its members to come up with the "Top 10" most exciting ferry rides in the world. "Public and private ferry boats provide an inexpensive alternative to cruises, often traversing some of the world's most beautiful harbors, fiords, rivers and waterways at bargain prices," states SATW president, Bea Broda. Listed in order of votes with comments from SATW writers, are the world's "Top 10" trips by ferry boat:
  • 1. Star Ferry in Hong Kong: http://www.starferry.com.hk/home.html - "A ride aboard Hong Kong's Star Ferry is crammed with views and people to create the cheapest multi-cultural, multi-sensory cruise experience in the world." Chris McBeath, guide book author and freelance travel writer. "The view from Hong Kong's Star Ferry at twilight is one of the best in the world." Catherine Watson, freelance writer/photographer. "Hong Kong's Star Ferry provides great views of the city skylines and a glimpse into the lifestyle of Hong Kongers for under a buck." Robin Robinson, Toronto Sun travel editor. "Star Ferry is the perfect introduction to the controlled frenzy that is Hong Kong." Fred Gebhart, freelance travel writer.
  • 2. Ferries from Sausalito to San Francisco, California: www.goldengateferry.org; www.blueandgoldfleet.com; "Crossing San Francisco Bay on a sunny afternoon, with Alcatraz Island and the Golden Gate Bridge to the right, the Berkeley Hills to the left, and that glorious San Francisco skyline looming ahead; all that's missing is a bar of Ghirardelli Chocolate and a warm loaf of sourdough bread." Eric Lindberg - freelance travel writer/photographer. "The San Francisco-Sausalito ferry follows almost the same route as the more expensive tour boats." John Flinn, freelance travel writer.
  • 3. Staten Island Ferry, New York harbor: www.siferry.com/ "The Staten Island Ferry is not new, squeaky clean, or super fast but it is iconic, and even with the World Trade Centers gone the view it offers of Manhattan is superb - and you get to see it all with local New Yorkers, not just tourists." Christine Loomis, travel writer/editor. "Busy and bustling New York City shows you an entirely different, more romantic side when you're viewing it from the water." Katy Koontz, freelance travel writer. "Staten Island Ferry with twinkling skyline lights is a year-round Valentine." Jan Aaron, travel writer.

  • Ferry Boat Rides

  • 4. Washington State Ferries, Puget Sound to the San Juan Islands: www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/ "Washington State Ferries offer the most beautiful views of water, mountains and forests, with whales right up close, too." Robert Haru Fisher, columnist & contributing editor, frommers.com. "Stiff winds and dramatic weather changes turn a simple commute between islands into a short-burst travel journey on many of the Washington State ferries." Richard Varr, freelance travel writer.
  • 5. British Columbia Ferry System, including Vancouver to Victoria: www.bcferries.com. "The British Columbia Ferry System is a world apart, with tents set up on deck and people from all parts talking and comparing world travel experiences. And you can't beat the beauty all around you." Roger Toll, freelance travel writer. "The ferry system connecting Vancouver to Victoria is clean, efficient, and more than comfortable. Park your car and enjoy Wi Fi in the boat, a/c or heat, and sip a cup of tea in the lounge. You end up an hour later on a lovely maritime island totally relaxed." Annette Thompson, associate travel editor, Southern Living. "Cruising around the lush green islands dotting the waterway provides an every-changing view." Kathy Rodeghier, freelance writer.
  • 6. Ferry from Sydney Harbor to Manly, Australia: www.sydneyferries.info "The half hour public ferry ride from Sydney's Circular Quay, close to the harbor bridge and opera house, through the national park's superb scenery to the ocean-side suburb of Manly is a superb experience, and at a cost of AU $6.40, one of Australia's many bargains." Michael Algar, travel writer and photographer. "The trip across Sydney Harbour provides a priceless view of the Opera House as well as the skyline of the city. Do it on Sunday when the harbor is full of "yachties." Elizabeth Hansen, travel editor, Ranch & Coast

  • Ferry Boat Rides

  • 7. The Ferry System of the Greek Isles: www.greek-islands-ferries.gr/ "It's hard to find a more romantic experience for less money than a local ferry meandering its way through the Greek Islands." Mary Ann Treger, freelance travel writer. "Approaching mystical Santorini captivates the senses: the cliffs rear up, while caught in the morning sun and perched on top, like the frosting on a wedding cake, cling the white-painted houses in a scene you'll always remember." Eric Anderson, editor, Anderson's World.
  • 8. The "Blue Canoes" of the Alaska State Ferry System: www.dot.state.ak.us/amhs/index.shtml "The Alaska State Ferry system's 'blue canoes' allow overnight passengers to pitch their tents on deck - surely one of the world's most unusual camping experiences." Janet Fullwood, independent journalist. "Not only is the Alaska State Ferry System a bargain way to enjoy the Inside Passage, but you can get on and off the boat for independent exploration. Or haul your car down on the boat after driving up on the Alaska Highway." Alan Solomon, freelance travel writer.
  • 9. "Norway in a Nutshell" Tour and ferry ride: www.norwaynutshell.com. "The ferry ride from Flam to Gudvangen is the best way to see Norway's magnificent fjords." Barbara Ramsay Orr, freelance travel writer and photographer.

  • Ferry Boat Rides

  • 10. Ferry from Mallaig to Isle of Sky, Scotland: www.calmac.co.uk. "Skye is one of the most mysterious and beautiful islands in the world, and its emergence from the mists, shaped like a bird in flight, never fails to lift the heart." Marilyn Green, travel writer. "Sailing across the waters to Skye carries romance equal to its beautiful scenery, as travelers follow in the footsteps of the Bonnie Prince or begin their own island-hopping expedition into the Hebrides." Barbara Radcliffe Rogers, author of "Exploring Europe by Boat"

Fraser Valley, BC

Eager for a Taste of the Fraser Valley? Circle Around:
Succulent jams and golden honey. Farm-aged cheeses and hand-crafted ice cream. If these tasty treats top your weekly grocery list, then perhaps it's time to forgo the supermarket in favour of a far more earthy, out-of-doors experience. Think of it as seasonal shopping, BC-style. And thanks to an array of self-guided Circle Farm Tours of BC's Fraser Valley, all that's required is a full tank of gas, a Circle Farm Tours map and plenty of trunk space to gather your grabs. Where to start? A hop, skip and a jaunt away from Vancouver's hub...and hello Vista D'oro Farms. Just east of the city in Langley, Vista D'oro has mastered the art of artisanal preserves, marrying in-season fruits with a variety of tasty flavours. Blueberry and Bourbon, anyone? Also in Langley, seek out scenic and scented excursions at Full-Bloom Farm (think: lavender treats for the senses). Keep travelling east to Abbotsford, and flourish amid lush Tanglebank Country Gardens, stop in for a few licks at Birchwood Dairy or indulge in a few chef creations at Restaurant 62. Nearby Chilliwack is all about choice; you could find yourself checking out the offerings at Greendale Pottery & Country Guest House, sampling the wares at Rustic Soap Co., or buzzing about at Honeyview Farm. And there's plenty more by way of specialty farm-gate vendors, artisans, open air markets, charming eateries, heritage sites, fairs, and other special events (six Circle Farm Tours for a total of 61 stops, to be precise). Can't make it to the farm? Drop by Edible British Columbia's signature shop on Granville Island for a taste of all things BC. Time to set your GPS for the Fraser Valley. www.circlefarmtour.com

Read travel articles about this destination at: http://www.whattravelwriterssay.com/destinationCanada.html

Germany (40 reasons to visit)

40 reasons to visit

1. World-class infrastructure - Germany, where travel is quick and easy. The world-famous autobahn network has a total length of 11,000 km. Germany also boasts a 40,000 km. rail network and 30 airports, including the third-largest airport in the world, making travel quick and easy.

2. Germany is the 2nd most popular cultural destination in Europe - 32 UNESCO World Heritage sites, 4,000 museums, more than 400 theatres and opera houses

3. Germany is the leading destination for business travel - Worldwide, Germany has an 11 per cent market share of all business travel made by international visitors. It is also the market leader ahead of China in the promotable travel sector.

4. Trade fairs, conferences and conventions - Europe's number 1 location for trade fairs, conferences and conventions. 3.1 million square metres of exhibition space, 6,200 conference and event venues in 1,500 conference centres and 1,600 other locations.

40 reasons to visit

5. History to reach out and touch - "History and especially living history associated with real people that you can see and touch, is always more interesting than dead material." Princess Gloria of Thurn and Taxis, St. Emmeran Palace 2007

6. Experience recent history, like the reunification of eastern and western Germany. 2009, Berlin celebrates the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Wall

7. Architectural Highlights, for example in Dessau, birthplace of the famous Bauhaus movement

8. German Christmas Markets reveal the country's festive side. Over 2,500 Christmas markets in wonderful settings invite visitors to share in the joy of the pre- Christmas season and enter into Germany's special holiday mood.

40 reasons to visit

9. Some of the best contemporary cuisine in the world - Regional specialties and haute cuisine. Catering for all tastes - our country's restaurants are home to 300 Michelin-starred chefs and 200 certified gourmet chefs - offering everything from international cuisine to traditional German food.

10. Classical music in Germany: Experience the music of great German composers George Frederick Handel, Johann Sebastian Bach, Richard Wagner

11. Religious Highlights like the Oberammergau Passion Plays

12. Industrial Heritage in Germany with "Ruhr 2010. European Capital of Culture"; Essen - epitome of the Ruhr region and its industrial heritage

13. Annual Oktoberfest in Munich, the world's largest beer festival.

14. Castles and fairytales - 5,000 castles and palaces from down the ages, including from the Renaissance, baroque and classicist periods

40 reasons to visit

15. Active lifestyle holidays - walking, cycling, golf and the latest niche sports.

16. Over 300 spa resorts and more than 1,000 spa hotels.

17. The ultimate shopping experience in boutiques, high streets, factory outlets and more than 400 shopping centers.

18. Germany scores strongly for value-for-money hotels on an international comparison.

19. Castle Neuschwanstein - King Ludwig II's world-famous castle stands proudly against the spectacular backdrop of the Alps in southern Bavaria. Walt Disney also found inspiration for his magic kingdom here and based his world-famous Disney Castle on this spectacular Bavarian highlight.

20. For more than 50 years, the hallmark of the Romantic Road has been its wonderful combination of nature, culture and hospitality. Germany's most famous and popular tourist route runs for 350 romantic kilometres across a rich and varied cultural landscape along the river Main and through the Franconian wine country to the Alps.

40 reasons to visit

21. Castle Road - Journey back into the Middle Ages. Travel from castle to castle, from one magnificent stately home to another, following in the footsteps of the knights and counts palatine all the way. Welcome to Germany's castles and palaces!

22. Home of fairies and princes, of Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. Ever-changing, yet always magical - this is the Fairytale Route. Fairytales, myths and legends - and one celebration after another.

23. Baltic Coast - Dramatic cliffs, gently shelving beaches of fine, white sand, bays and narrow inlets cut deep into the land. Modern seaside resorts with delightful 1900s villa-style architecture, fishing towns and international seaports.

24. Rhine Valley - Few other regions around the world are so densely packed with authentic historical attractions. The sinister Hagen is said to have sunk the gold of the legendary Nibelungs in the Rhine here.

25. Moselle and Saar - A fascinating cultural open-air museum. Where the vines seem to grow right up to heaven, the local specialities are more likely to come from the cellar than from the kitchen. The region is known throughout the world for its Riesling wines.

40 reasons to visit

26. The Love Parade is still the world's biggest music event. Once a year, the whole world looks on as thousands of techno fans get into the groove with steadily pounding beats.

27. Carnival is the first thing that springs to mind when Germans think about Cologne, where it is celebrated in a particularly lavish and traditional fashion. Over five fun-packed days it's the Jecken (carnival jesters) that hold court at the carnival festivities.

28. Documenta - Since 1955, Kassel has provided the setting for the world's most important exhibition of contemporary art. New exhibition concepts are showcased alongside current trends that are moving the modern art scene.

29. Formula 1 - The number one motorsport event in the world makes an annual stop at Hockenheimring, attracting thousands of visitors. Out of all the racing series, Formula 1 is the most demanding, both in terms of the constructors' financial muscle and technological capabilities, and the drivers' racing skills. On 18 different circuits around the world, points are up for grabs that could later bring both a driver and his team the coveted world championship title.

40 reasons to visit

30. Lake Constance - Palm trees, emerald-green water, Mediterranean flowers, long hours of sunshine... Yes, that's Lake Constance and the Alps we're describing. People visiting Lake Constance, "Swabia's sea", really should not miss its islands and charming towns and villages.

31. Germany, the Car Country. History, passion and technology are the defining characteristics of Germany's car industry and its global brands Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Opel, Porsche and Volkswagen, which are world famous for their innovation and quality.

32. On April 16, 1927 Josef Ratzinger was born in the small, contemplative Bavarian town of Marktl am Inn and on April 19, 2005, Ratzinger became the Pope Benedict XVI and head of the Catholic Church.

33. Brandenburg Gate is Berlin's most famous landmark and a symbol of division overcome. For many years it stood in no man's land next to the Berlin Wall and was reopened on 22 December 1989, following the fall of the Wall.

40 reasons to visit

34. The Black Forest mountains extend along the Rhine, close to Lake Constance, Switzerland and Alsace. The region is famed for its food and drink, distinctive traditional hats and cuckoo clocks.

35. A fascinating region with much to offer, right on the border with the Czech Republic. Besides its traditions of silver and ore mining and wood carving the Erzgebirge mountains are also home to many German Olympic champions.

36. North Sea - Germany's windiest region - but so easy to fall in love with. Can you imagine a holiday in North Friesland without a walk across the mudflats? Twice every day they are covered by the sea. If only everything in life could be that certain.

37. The immense waterways network in Germany, which runs through Brandenburg - from Berlin up to Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania - will give anyone who loves boating a huge adrenaline rush. There are around 4,000 lakes, countless rivers, streams and canals, making this region one of the most remarkable inland waterway systems in Europe.

38. A masterpiece of Gothic architecture, Cologne Cathedral is one of the finest church buildings in the Christian world. Gargantuan proportions and craftsmanship of unparallel quality have made the cathedral a defining example of the Gothic style.

39. Dresden's most famous attraction is a masterpiece of baroque architecture. The destruction and rebuilding of the Church of Our Lady symbolizes the history of the city like no other building.

40. You will find a true paradise for the wine connoisseur when you travel the Rhine route from Lake Constance in the south to north of Bonn. The 13 German wine-growing regions are Rheinhessen, Palatinate, Baden, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Württemberg, Franconia, Nahe, Rheingau, Mittelrhein, Ahr, Hessische BergstraBe, Saale-Unstrut and Saxony.

(Source: CITC) www.cometogermany.com

40 reasons to visit

Read travel articles about this destination at: http://www.whattravelwriterssay.com/destinationEurope.html

Golf Vacations

Great Golf Courses

Here are 50 top golf blogs to read before you head off for a golf vacation:
  1. 4Golf.com (See "destination guide" section)
  2. Addicted 2 Golf (improving the amateur golfer)
  3. An Ideal Golf Course (design and building of golf courses)
  4. Andrew Rice Golf: (instructional blog for people who want to improve before a golf vacation)
  5. Aussie Golfer (Australia)
  6. Better Golf With Fitness (golf-specific fitness)
  7. Blair's Golf Travel Blog: (About.com blog on travel)
  8. Boston Golf Examiner (golf news)
  9. Brandon Tucker (section devoted to golf destinations)
  10. Buzzin Golf (destinations)
  11. Colorado Golfing (golf vacations in Colorado)
  12. Connoisseur Golf (luxury golf travel)
  13. Dogs That Chase Cars (misc. golf topics)
  14. Fanhouse Golf (all-encompassing blog)
  15. Florida Golf Travel Blog (guide to Florida golf travel)
  16. Forelinksters (best golf courses in the world)
  17. Golf at the Kingdom (tips, training, advice and instruction)
  18. Golf Babes (women golfers)
  19. Golf Chick (course reviews, clothing, etc.)
  20. Golf Course of Rhymes (poetic stories)
  21. Golf Fore the Good (charity golf)
  22. Golf Girl's Diary ("fun, flirty, fashionable golf blog" )
  23. Golf Gym Blog (exercise tips)
  24. Golf Travel Insider (articles from the Golf Channel)
  25. Golf Vacation Insider (golf travel)
  26. Golf Week Travel Blog (travel information)
  27. Golf, Naked: The Blog (see: "places" and "tournaments" categories)
  28. Golf.com Courses and Travel (travel section)
  29. GolfBlogger (purchase ideas)
  30. Golfgal (for women golfers)
  31. In Golf We Trust blog (golf travel)
  32. Into The Grain (News, reviews and tips)
  33. Itinerant Golf ("one man's quest to play the top 100 golf courses")
  34. Karen Misuraca's Best Golf Resorts of The World (See title)
  35. Life in the Rough (golfer's goals and achievements)
  36. My Green Jacket (shared experiences)
  37. Myrtle Beach Golf (golf info)
  38. Orbitz Golf Travel (tips, ideas and deals for golf vacations)
  39. Ottawa Golf Blog (reviews of the latest golf equipment and clothing)
  40. Phil Bundy (the PGA Tour)
  41. PinkDivaGolf.com blog (Interviews and news about women's golf)
  42. Pro Golf Swing Videos (slow motion golf swing videos)
  43. Putter Zone (putter reviews)
  44. Score Golf blogs (blogs)
  45. SpyGolfer (golf deals and a golfer's forum)
  46. The Official Blog of PerryGolf (international golf and travel)
  47. Tour Golf Blog (useful section on golf equipment)
  48. Travel Caddie (Golf Channel's travel blog)
  49. Traveling Golfer (personal experience golf travel blog)
  50. WAM Golf (Course reviews and information on the top 100 courses)
Source: AirlineTickets.com
Great Golf Courses

Great Britain

Great Britain

Britain has always excelled at luxury - Rolls Royce cars, Connolly leather, Harris tweed, Wilton carpets, Paisley shawls - most of it aimed at a small elite of aristocracy and arrivistes, it must be said. These days, though, the whole world wants luxury, so Britannia has shaken her skirts, booked in for a facelift and upped her game. There has been an unprecedented rise in luxury hotels, bars, shops and spas, many of them in gorgeous historic buildings, others in exciting new builds. Plans are afoot to bring luxury shopping to the heart of the City (London's financial centre), companies such as Dhillon Hotels and Crazy Bear are renovating historic coaching inns, and the Italian designers Missoni will open their first UK hotel in Edinburgh later in 2008. But that's all to come. Here's a thumbnail guide, for the man - or woman - on a mission to luxuriate now:
Skylon, Royal Festival Hall, London:
This airy, light-filled contemporary restaurant was the final flourish in last year's energetic re-design of the 1951 Royal Festival Hall, which now finds itself on one of the liveliest stretches of the Thames. The Skylon was a steel, aluminium and wire sculpture that came to symbolize the re-energizing of post-war Britain; the restaurant has taken the colours and design features of the period and updated them, with bespoke standard lamps, finned bronze chandeliers, walnut floors and a glamorous raised bar. Book a table with a river view, order from the formal restaurant or from the grill (the menu is European with a nod to traditional British) and watch the north bank light up at night. Skylon, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London (020 7654 7800; www.skylonrestaurant.co.uk).

Bath Spa

Thermae Bath Spa, Bath, Avon:
Around 2000 years after the Romans recognized the quality of Bath's mineral waters, Bath's baths re-opened in their modern incarnation. The architects, Grimshaw, had to work with five historic buildings - including the Cross Bath, an open-air thermal pool fed by its own hot spring and once used by Celts and Romans - as well as designing a modern one, the New Royal Bath, on the site of the city's old indoor swimming pool. The result is a pleasing jumble of old and new, golden stone, glass and steel, offering treatments that the Romans certainly never enjoyed: dry flotation, body wraps and Shiatsu massage, to name but a few. Loll about in the steaming pool on top of the New Royal Bath, admiring wonderful views of the abbey and city. Thermae Bath Spa,The Hetling Pump Room, Hot Bath Street, Bath(0844 888 0844; www.thermaebathspa.com).

Highgrove Shop

Highgrove Shop, Tetbury, Gloucestershire:
The Duchess of Devonshire started it all with a grand farm shop at Chatsworth, her enormous stately home in Derbyshire. That was followed by the hugely successful Daylesford Organics in Gloucestershire, opened by the Bamford family (of JCB digger fame), which now has several London outlets. Now the Prince of Wales has joined in, opening a shop in the pretty village of Tetbury, near his Gloucestershire estate of Highgrove. The shop is in a grey stone listed building, with shutters painted Provencal blue, and sells everything from stationery and homewares to gardening tools and the Duchy Originals organic food range. Opened in March by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, all its products are ethically and environmentally sourced and, wherever possible, locally produced. All profits go to charity. Highgrove Shop, 10 Long Street, Tetbury, Gloucestershire (01666 505 666; www.highgroveshop.com - online shopping from July 2008).

Loch Ness Lodge, Scotland:
Until now one of the top sports for visitors to Loch Ness was probably monster-hunting. But with the opening of the purpose-built, exclusive-use residence of Loch Ness Lodge, there are many more opportunities including fishing, shooting, golf on nearby championship courses and walking, kayaking and mountain biking. The Lodge, which opened in 2007 can cater for up to 14 guests in the seven individually styled en suite bedrooms, with additional accommodation in the neighbouring Loch Ness Cottages, has its own spa, and aims to combine the latest technology with traditional luxury facilities. Just 15 minutes by road from the Highland capital of Inverness, with its air and rail links, the lodge also has its own private helipad. Lodge at Loch Ness, Brachla, Loch Ness-side, Inverness, IV3 8LA (01456 459469) www.loch-ness-lodge.com

Fortnum & Mason, London:
Mess with a 300-year-old much-loved London landmark at your peril - but the management at Fortnum & Mason, the classy food emporium on Piccadilly, celebrated their tercentenary with a £24-million transformation. After a little initial grumbling, it's widely recognized as a success: the glass-domed atrium brings in light, there's a new fresh food section (featuring fish and game from some famous British estates) and a wine bar, 1707, on the lower ground floor. The four restaurants include the revamped - but pleasingly recognisable - brasserie, The Fountain, where you can indulge in anything from Darjeeling tea to Champagne. Other floors groan with clothes, china and glass, bed and bath ware, stationery, games and gifts. It must have worked: it's packed. Fortnum & Mason, 181 Piccadilly, London W1 (020 7734 8040; www.fortnumandmason.com).

Titanic Spa, Huddersfield, Yorkshire:
What the original workers at this Yorkshire textile mill would do if they could see it operating today we can only imagine: they came into the Colne Valley in Linthwaite from outlying villages to put in a long day's work at the rather forbidding Victorian mill, while today's visitors check into the ground floor spa - all contemporary slate, tile, wood, leather and glass - to use the saunarium, mud chamber or ice room, float to heaven in one of the treatment rooms, or use the hair & nail bar. The mill's eco-credentials are impeccable, with its own borehole, solar panels and heat system using woodchip technology. There are rental apartments if you want to stay and a spa hotel is due to open in 2009. Titanic Spa, Colne, West Yorkshire (0845 410 3333; www.titanicspa.com).

The Landau at The Langham, London:
The Langham hit the headlines a couple of years ago when it opened the most expensive suite in the world - complete with its own colossal Sharon Marston fibre-optic chandelier - and has been quietly completing a David Collins Studios re-design of the whole hotel, which was originally built in 1865. The latest addition, opened in late 2007, is The Landau restaurant, which has its own entrance and can also be reached from the hotel, through a corridor lined with wine bottles. The restaurant has walls of soft, brushed gilt panelling, timber floors, antique brass chandeliers and Chinoiserie silk screens. The chef, Andrew Turner, specialises in cosmopolitan food and regional British produce. The Langham London, 1c Portland Place, London W1 (020 7636 1000; http://london.langhamhotels.co.uk).

Ffynnon Townhouse, Dolgellau, Wales:
The appetite for turning lovely Welsh buildings into boutique hotels hasn't abated; this little three-suite hotel in a Victorian rectory at the foot of stunning Cader Idris, on the southern edge of Snowdonia, has all the luxe credentials (Egyptian cotton sheets, goosedown duvets, spa baths, TV/DVD, wi-fi), and also welcomes families. A fourth suite is just about to open, there is a butler's pantry with fridge and a room service menu, including children's options. It must run in the family; the owner's brother-in-law has an eight-bedroom art hotel called Manorhaus in Ruithin (www.manorhaus.com). Ffynnon, Brynffynnon, Love Lane, Dolgellau, Gwynedd (01341 421774; www.ffynnontownhouse.com).

Great Britain

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Grenada (40 reasons to visit)

Sun. Sand. The Caribbean Sea is on one side, the Atlantic Ocean on the other. Diving. Swimming. Miles upon miles of unspoiled natural beauty. Shopping. Relaxing. Sound too good to be true? It's not...it's Grenada. Located at the southernmost tip of the Windward Islands about 100 miles off the coast of South America, Grenada is actually made up of three separate island states: Grenada, and its sister islands, Carriacou (KARRy-a-COU) and Petite Martinique.

40 Reasons To Visit

Here are 40 reasons to visit Grenada!

1. Go river tubing...For the more adventurous, located at the Balthazar Estate is Adventure River Tubing. Wet, wild and wonderful with guides accompanying you on the journey, gently spinning and swirling in the currents of the river, taking in the exotic scenery, tropical vegetation and wildlife. A thrilling ride down the river, stopping only in the pools along the way, then finally at the last one, an opportunity for a swim before enjoying a Rum Punch or glass of local fruit juice.

2. Visit Carriacou...Unspoiled Carriacou (90-minute ferry ride away from Grenada/or 15 minutes by air) is the tiny island with 7,000 inhabitants. It is one of the last places on earth where old traditions are preserved, such as the Big Drum Dance, elaborate wooden boat building handed down from Scottish ancestors and accompanying ceremonies that are a blend of Caribbean and Glaswegian heritages. It's a spectacular centre for scuba diving and snorkeling, or taking a water taxi adventure to neighbouring Sandy Island.

3. Take an island tour...All who visit Grenada comment on the friendly people! None are more hospitable than the tour guides who take guests all around the island. They are a veritable encyclopedia of history and natural science that arrange visits to major waterfalls, hikes in the Grand Etang Rainforest, visits to towns and markets, strolls through the Carenage that encircles the picturesque horse shoe harbour in St. George's, tours of archaeological and historical sites, and can even plan a picnic in a choice location.

4. See La Sagesse Nature Centre - romance amid nature...One of Grenada's most spectacular nature centres, La Sagesse is composed of three beaches and lush flora with towering mangrove trees, coconut trees and small estuary pockets, where salt water and fresh water meet. The mixing of salt and fresh water attracts a variety of tropical fish and birds, making La Sagesse one of the best places in Grenada to enjoy wildlife. Nestled in a deep bay with cliffs on both sides, this white-sand, turquoise water and palm-tree studded beach is filled with beauty and Eco sensitivity. This picturesque spot on a secluded sandy beach, surrounded by lush vegetation is the ideal place to exchange wedding vows.

40 Reasons To Visit

5. Walk the Grand Anse Beach, having a Carib at the turning point - recognized as one of the world's best beaches...Grenada's most famous beaches and one of the largest in the Caribbean - this is the stretch called Grand Anse. This is a perfect place to walk particularly at the end of the day when locals come to have a swim. Grand Anse Beach, a sheltered two-mile stretch of perfect sand, dotted with sea grape and palm trees, just south of the capital St. George's, is recognized as being one of the world's best beaches and probably the most suitable in the world for families. It's accessible, with restaurants, beach vendors and water sport facilities. At the north part of the beach, enjoy a laid-back cold Carib at a thatched bar called the Turning Point, or meet Jennifer Hosten, the 1970 Miss World and former High Commissioner to Canada who still maintains a house in Manotick. Sunday brunch pancakes are served with maple syrup and Caribbean specialties.

6. Explore, hike and bird watch in Grand Etang...Hike a three to four mile, half-day rainforest trek through the 30-acre Grand Etang Forest to Concord Falls, a spectacular waterfall, then take a refreshing dip in the swimming hole or visit several natural wildlife sanctuaries. Grand Etang Lake (one of Grenada's extinct volcanoes) is a virtual bird watchers paradise, where avian enthusiasts will be enthralled by the rare tropical species that make Grenada their habitat such as the Grenada Dove (the national bird of Grenada), Gree-Gree, Hook-Billed Kite, which can be seen swooping down from atop the towering mahoganies of the Mount Qua Qua Trial. Graceful herons fish patiently in the crystal clear waters of Grand Etang Lake, while brightly plumbed wonders, such as the Antillean Crested Hummingbird, can be spotted among the many tropical blooms.

7. Watch turtles hatch - a nest in show...Grenada is one of the three sites in the Caribbean that annually hosts 150+ female leatherbacks. The turtles make the arduous journey from their feeding grounds in North America to the tropical climate of Grenada to lay their eggs. These ancient reptiles have been around for over 165 million years and have managed to outlive the dinosaurs. Levera Beach is where the nesting females bury their eggs in the sand in order to incubate them and to protect them from predators. Best viewing is in May and June of each year.

8. 'Spice' up your life with Grenada's products...Grenada produces allspice, clove, cinnamon, ginger, bay leaves, tumeric and sapote, and is one of the world's major suppliers of nutmeg and mace. Recommended visits include Dougaldston Spice Estate, a historical monument to Grenada's past of spice growing and processing; Gouyave and Grenville Nutmeg Processing Station, the largest in Grenada; Grenada Sugar Factory to savour rum products; River Antoine Rum Distillery to view processes that have changed little since the 1800's, and remains the oldest functioning rum-propelled distillery not only in Grenada, but the Caribbean; Westerhall Rum Distillery with vestiges of old artifacts used in the rum refining process; and the Grenada Chocolate Factory for the pure taste of rich local chocolate.

40 Reasons To Visit

9. Dive the unspoiled paradise...Located on the west coast edged by one long offshore reef, lays the 600-foot wreck of the Bianca C, the largest shipwreck in the Caribbean. Popularly referred to as 'the Titanic of the Caribbean,' competent divers speak admirably of its stunning pull as a premier dive option. The vast reefs and numerous dive sights surrounding Grenada allow aquanauts to explore without being crowded by other divers. Divers can enjoy a solitary expedition or book a group tour with one of Grenada's many dive shops. There are more than 28 sites including reefs, wrecks and walls most within 15-20 minutes from dive shops.

10. Experience part of Grenada's 'colourful' history - Carib village...A visit is incomplete without a stop at the Kalinago/Carib village on the northern part of Grenada. It was here in 1671 that 40 Caribs leapt to their death in preference to succumbing to French colonists. Later a town was built close to this historic site called Morne des Sateurs or Leaper's Hill. A newly created Kalinago/Carib village gives an opportunity to view the type of lifestyle that characterized the indigenous Carib people of Grenada. Nine kilometres away is the largest burial site of the Arawaks complete with their archaeological possessions.

11. Explore Grenada by Yachting Style...As the yachting industry in Grenada continues to grow, more marinas and boatyards are being added, providing dry dock facilities and ever increasing repair and restocking facilities. Each year, Grenada hosts a variety of water based activities including the Spice Isle Bill Fishing Tournament, Grenada Sailing Festival, Carriacou Easter Regatta and monthly yacht races by the Grenada Yacht Club.

12. Explore the coastline on a Safari High Speed Zodiac...This is a new and unique Zodiac boat ride that highlights shoreline sightseeing and showcases the history, ecology and geography of the island through the eyes of a well-trained and experienced tour guide. The ride on the vessel is nothing short of amazing, very dry and smooth. Approximately 30' long, it was manufactured in Europe and used by many Coast Guard units, military and commercial operators.

13. Dive or Snorkel the Underwater Sculpture Gardens in Molinaire Bay...Created by artist Jason de Caires Taylor, with the support of the Grenada Board of Tourism the sculptures located in Molinaire Bay, has been constructed with 65-life size individual sculptures so that divers or snorkelers can view from their respective vantage points. This is the only one of its kind in the world...as well with time the sculptures will preserve the ecology/marine life of the Molinaire reef. The statues not only create a hauntingly beautiful landscape, but also act as artificial reefs and will change appearances as they become home to various marine life. The statues have been carefully placed in shallow waters so divers, snorkelers and passengers of passing glass-bottom boats can access and view the statues.

40 Reasons To Visit

14. Dive in Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique...The state of Grenada, offers a unique dive product, both topside and underwater. Slipping below the calm surface, diving enthusiasts are treated to some of the most breathtaking underwater scenery and abundant marine life in the Caribbean. With over 30 dive sites, Grenada and its sister islands make ideal diving destinations. Grenada and Carriacou are known for spectacular walls and wrecks, with sharks, turtles, lobsters and giant moray eels gliding against the backdrop of soft coral forest, striking reefs and sponges.

15. 'Tie the knot' in Grenada - an unspoiled tropical paradise...Imagine getting married on a Caribbean island amidst the backdrop of fragrant spice laden air, palm trees and the sparkling blue water of the ocean...Grenada, a true paradise on earth, welcomes couples looking to tie the knot in an intimate, unspoiled tropical setting. Legal requirement are available by visiting www.grenadagrenadines.com

16. Enjoy Grenada's festivals and events the best in the Caribbean...Key events and festivals include: Let your body succumb to the rhythms of the Carriacou Marron festival; and come sail away at Grenada's 'Round-the-Island Easter Regatta' both held in April; dance to the beat of the Grenada Drum festival held in May; and celebrate Grenada's heritage with the Annual Carnival held in August of each year.

17. Discover, eat, smell nutmeg and all spices nice in Grenada...a few fast facts...Known as the 'Spice of the Caribbean' Grenada as examples:
  -   Gouyave and Grenville Nutmeg Processing Stations are the largest in Grenada.
  -   Grenada is the world's largest producer of nutmeg after Indonesia.
  -   Local plantation owners who had brought them from the East Indies first imported nutmeg seeds to Grenada in 1843. The local plantation owners had visited the East Indies in order to help farmers there improve their method of sugar extraction and ended up bringing the nutmeg seeds back with them.

18. Indulge in soft adventure and support eco activities in Grenada...Hike, bird watch, mountain bike, kayak, and parasail - as a leader in the growth of ecotourism, the government of Grenada is committed to preserving and sustaining the island's natural beauty. Measures have been taken to ensure that Grenada remains an unspoiled Caribbean gem. Through initiatives such as designating one sixth of the land mass to parks, natural sanctuaries and wildlife preserves, Grenada strives to limit human encroachment and to provide travelers with environmentally friendly and ecologically sound activities on the island.

19. Participate in varied water sports...Swimming in the pristine, safe, reef protected waters off the island is unlike anything in the world. With the temperature on the island hovering constantly around the 30-degree mark, the waters are warm and inviting for sailing, snorkeling and scuba. Avid sailors can charter a yacht and crew and take a tour around Grenada and the neighbouring islands. More experienced sailors can "bareboat" or crew their own boats for a day or longer. Deep-sea fishing is exceptional and game fishers who find themselves in Grenada during the annual Spice Island Billfish Tournament in January might just net themselves a cash prize.

40 Reasons To Visit

20. Search out the majestic whales off the coast of Grenada...Another popular island water sport doesn't involve getting in the water at all. Whale watching is a year round activity in Grenada and several tour operators offer daily and half day trips in search of resident pods of humpback, killer and sperm whales.

21. Immerse your mind in colonial and indigenous history points of Grenada...Grenada's long and storied history and its unique culture help make the island the perfect adventure vacation spot for history buffs. Historians can go back in time through Grenada's colonial past by visiting a number of local landmarks. The hilltop forts that surround the island are worth a visit and many are privately owned and in different stages of restoration. One of the few remaining sugar cane plantations, River Antoine Estate, continues to make Grenada's famous bay rum the 18th century way. At the River Antoine Estate, river water is still used to grind the cane and the Estate and distillery remain impressive testaments to colonial times.

22. Indulge in Fish Friday in Gouyave...Nestled in the heart of Gouyave, one of the Caribbean's premier 'fish villages'. For many years Gouyave has been host to the annual Fisherman's Birthday celebrations (June 29th). Now, expanded the festivities to become a weekly street festival held every Friday afternoon and evening. The festival offers visitors a chance to sample some of the Caribbean's finest local delicacies, seafood and music.

23. Explore day and night Grenada's underwater masters on 'Wind Dancer'...The Wind Dancer is a live aboard dive vessel fit to cruise with a maximum of 18 guests. Outfitted with a full service dive center and ten-member crew, including a Grenadian chef and dive master, the Wind Dancer has everything to meet the needs of any diving vacation. The MV Wind Dancer sails into the Grenadines and to offshore islands around Grenada and Carriacou.

24. Experience a bygone era at Grenada's plantation houses...Grenada is an island steeped in history and culture that comes alive with a visit to the island's beautiful plantation houses such as the beautification of Plas Manje. Walk through history and be enveloped with spices at Douglaston... One of Grenada's oldest spice estates and primary spice processing plants offers authentic spice processing, lectures and demonstrations on primary spice production - re creating an art/skill of centuries ago. Eat, walk and talk plantation life at Morne Fendue Plantation...Located in the parish of St. Patrick, on the northern side of Grenada, the charming Morne Fendue Plantation complete with period furniture and antique imported stained glass windows. Each guest room has an extensive balcony that overlooks scenic St. Catherine's Mountain, the sea and offers excellent sunset views. Morne Fendue Plantation is known for its outstanding West Indian Buffet.

25. Continue the plantation exploration at Mount Edgecombe Plantation...Grenada takes a great deal of pride in its historical plantations, with the restoration of Mount Edgecombe Plantation, a beautiful private working plantation in St. Mark. Unlike most traditional plantations that specialize in one particular crop, the Mount Edgecombe Plantation has set out to produce every fruit, vegetable and spice that can grow in Grenada. This will also be the sight of Grenada's first Eco natural holistic spa, located at Tufton Hall within walking distance. Spa treatments will be set in a tropical rainforest environment so guests can enjoy a more natural and spiritually revitalizing experience.

40 Reasons To Visit

26. Do the 'cocoa dance', the traditional manner at Belmont Estate...The family owned Belmont estate has existed in the parish of St. Patrick for over three centuries. The plantation sits on 400 acres of lush rolling tropical hills. The estate, which has been in continuous operation for centuries, still produces nutmeg and cocoa. Cocoa is still produced the traditional way, making for a world class export. Guests can explore the cocoa fields that produce world-class beans for export, and learn the story of chocolate in Grenada. They can indulge in a fresh cup of hot cocoa and learn to dance the cocoa (a traditional way of polishing the beans). Guests can enjoy lunch comprising the delights of Creole foods and fresh natural fruits and juices from the plantation. After lunch guests can venture through the remains of an 18th century sugar cane garden or take a donkey cart ride around the property.

27. Stroll through the botanical wonders of Grenada's gardens...Balthazar Estate and Botanic Gardens: Once an active producer of nutmeg, bananas and cocoa, Balthazar Estate has changed its focus recently to become Grenada's foremost producer of exotic tropical flowers and herbs. This 396-acre estate features some of Grenada's most beautiful gardens. Balthazar helps represent Grenada each year at the of being awarded gold medals for five consecutive years. Bay Gardens: This 4-hectare large tropical paradise, laid out jungle style, featuring tropical plants from all over the world. St. Rose Nursery: Featuring the Caribbean's largest selections of plants, including many rare and unusual varieties. Laura Herb and Spice Gardens showcases samples of the herbs and spices grown in Grenada.

28. Explore Grenada - a bird watcher's paradise...With over 8,616 known species of birds around the world, bird watching has becoming one of the fastest growing sports. The variety of subject and portability of equipment make bird watching an ideal hobby to take on vacation. Avian enthusiasts visiting Grenada will be enthralled by the rare tropical species that make the island their home.

29. Participate in the hustle and bustle of Grenada's famous 'Spice Market'...Bustling, noisy and colourful, the market in Market Square is the centre of activity in St. George's. It is the main site for those buying and selling local produce and spices.

30. Marvel at Grenada's waterfalls...Grenada's waterfalls are some of the most spectacular in the Caribbean - include Annandale Falls - small, scenic and accessible, Concord Falls - picturesque and ideal for swimming. The first Concord Fall is accessible by road, the second Au Coin, and the third Fountainbleu are accessible only by foot.

40 Reasons To Visit

31. Explore the fabulous Forts of Grenada...Grenada's Forts are historical landmarks of a colonial era, rich in military history and include: Fort Frederick - completed in 1791, this bastion type fort on Richmond Hill commands a panoramic view of St. George's town and harbour. Fort George - overlooking the harbour, built in 1706. The fort is central to the nation's history being the centre of the 1983 disturbance with Maurice Bishop. It now is the headquarters of the Royal Grenada Police Force.

32. Stroll the historic Carenage...The inner harbour is a perfect horseshoe shape and is the centre of marine activity in St. George's. Georgian buildings add character to the ambience of the Carenage. Coined the most stunning harbour in the Caribbean.

33. Become an archeologist for a day - visit Mt. Rich Amerindian Petroglyphs...Situated along the St. Patrick's river valley of Mount Rich, these petroglyphs are significant as they are the only extensive carvings left that depict the lifestyle of the Amerindians. Viewed on the top and sides of a large stone on the riverbank - where six carvings - headpieces, potter, implements and tools (spears/bows and arrows) used in hunting and fishing was found.

34. Visit Lake Antoine - a perfect extinct volcanic crater...Situated six miles north of Grenville Lake Antoine occupies about 16 acres and has been created in the perfect crater of an extinct volcano.

35. Take a lucky look at Grenada's famous Mona Monkey...Grand Etang National park is home to several troops of Mona Monkeys, not native to the Western Hemisphere, but introduced to Grenada by the ships from Africa. Characteristically, they do not have the prehensile tails of their new world cousins. Several can be seen near the parking lot and Welcome Centre of the Grand Etang National Park.

36. Be part of Grenada's growth - restaurants and new hotels/marinas etc...Grenada and Carriacou offer a wide variety of dining experiences, all with local seafood and spiced to perfection, and prepared in distinctively Grenadian style. Grenada is experiencing a 'boom' in new developments from the Mount Cinnamon boutique villa resort, Port Louis the best and most exclusive marina in the world, to Le Phare Bleu is a new marina and resort situated on the picturesque south coast of Grenada, to Le Phare Bleu is a new marina and resort situated on the picturesque south coast of Grenada, a five-star luxury property and many more.

37. Take a cruise stop in Grenada's new cruise ship terminal...Located in the picturesque capital city of St. George's, this modern facility accommodates up to two 980-foot mega cruise ships. There is an additional 328-foot (100 m) catwalk with dolphins. The shore side amenities include parking spaces for tour buses; a visitors' welcome complex, a spice and craft market and a duty-free shopping compound all abuzz with activity when ships are in port. Customs, Immigration, Port Security and Tourist Information services are all available within the Visitors' Welcome Centre.

38. Watch world-class cricket at the new National Stadium...In preparation for the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup - April 2007, Grenada completely rebuilt their national stadium, able to comfortably accommodate 15,500 charged cricket fans. Grenada with the financial efforts of the government and people from the Republic of China has gone through tireless efforts to build their state-of-the-art multi-purpose stadium capable of hosting major cricket matches and test series.

39. Feel comfortable with excellent medical care while in Grenada...There are three public hospitals in Grenada, including the newly renovated General Hospital in the town of St. George's. There are also private hospitals, as well as many public medical clinics throughout the island. Doctors will also make house calls.

40. Travel with ease to Grenada from Canada...Air Canada Vacations operates a non-stop flight from Toronto to Grenada (Sunday with easy connections from major gateways) from December 2008 to April 2009. Air Canada operates regularly scheduled flights from Toronto and Montreal to Barbados and Trinidad with connections on LIAT to Grenada. GG Tours and Titan Tours operate seasonal charter services ( www.ggtours.ca and www.titantours.com). West Jet will operate a flight from Toronto to Barbados with connections on LIAT to Grenada from November onwards.

40 Reasons To Visit

(Source: CITC) www.grenadagrenadines.com

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Haliburton, Ontario

The Haliburton Sculpture Forest Is delighted to announce a new sculpture by Bill Lishman, a versatile artist of world renown. His works over the past Three decades include two award winning films and numerous works of public art, which include an 86-foot high central theme Sculpture for Expo '86 in Vancouver and a 2700 square foot 21st century earth integrated dome home. He and seven pieces of his sculpture star in the acclaimed 3D IMAX film the "Last Buffalo." Bill was one of the pioneers of ultra-light flight in Canada and in 1988 became the first human to lead birds in formation. In 1993 he led the first experimental migration of geese from Ontario to Virginia, which was documented by ABC's 20/20. This sculpture has been made possible through the generosity of Janis Parker, through the Celebration Sponsor Program of the Sculpture Forest. The sculpture, Kennisis, is in tribute to Finn/Vasey racing stable and a horse of the same name.

The Haliburton Sculpture Forest

The Haliburton Sculpture Forest, in Glebe Park near the village of Haliburton in the Haliburton Highlands of Ontario, Canada, is a unique outdoor collection of sculptures by Canadian and international artists. The trails in the Sculpture Forest-for walking and bike riding in spring, summer and fall and skiing in the winter-provide changing perspectives of the forest and the sculptures in each of the seasons. There is no charge for admission in spring, summer or fall but donations are accepted. The Sculpture Forest experience, which is unstructured and unscripted, is ideal for families looking for an interesting outing, for those who enjoy outdoor trails, and for people looking for a unique artistic experience. A Sculpture Forest map and more information about the sculptures, the artists, and new additions to the Sculpture Forest is available at www.haliburtonsculptureforest.ca.

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Hayes River, Manitoba

This is Canada's old soul. You can feel her here in northern Manitoba on the shores of Hudson Bay, at York Factory and Thompson and along the Hayes River. This is where the commerce of early Canada thrived, until Ottawa put that damn railway through and left the North to atrophy. But they're still there, they're not going anywhere, those old routes the voyageurs used to take down from York Factory along the Hayes to Lake Winnipeg.

The fur trade. Are there are any two words more romantic than that in our history, I ask you? Two years the traders would spend on the rivers, stockpiling the York boats that came through - great big flat-bottomed boats that delivered supplies and collected the pelts of beaver trapped the length of this mighty, silent highway. History is not written in Canada. The land is the archive, the land is the book. When you canoe through here - be careful, there are rapids, and you need patience, and it can get awful wet near the Bay - it's like reading who we are. You can still feel the fur traders' presence, I promise you.

York Factory is still standing. The First Nation tends the place now, and will tend to you, too, when you arrive. Battles were fought here between the English and the French, and Hudson himself was set adrift on the Bay by a mutinous crew. Well before Captain Bligh, I tell you, and not in circumstances anywhere near as nice. Canada was just a fiefdom back then. If you don't care for history, then think of it as a "Survivor" expedition on Canada's great northern river. You'll eat the fish that you catch, you'll see birds and belugas and moose, and you'll have ridden through wilderness few others than the "Hudson's Bay Company of Adventurers" (that's what they were called, really) have seen at all. www.northernsoul.ca   www.wildernessspirit.com

(The Hayes River is not for novices. The weather can be difficult, the rapids challenging. A paddling journey typically takes two or three weeks, and ends in York Factory. Bloodvein River is an easier canoe trip, though without the seminal history of the Hayes. Most outfitting companies will arrange flights in and out of Thompson in northern Manitoba, accessible by charter and scheduled flights from Winnipeg.)

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Hay on Wye, Wales

A remarkable town of books: second-hand & antiquarian booksellers, print sellers & bookbinders

Hay on Wye - World Famous

1. The Children's Bookshop. (Judith Gardner). Toll Cottage, Pontvaen, Hay-on-Wye, HRJ SEW. Tel: (01497) 821083 Email: judith@childrensbookshop.com www.childrensbookshop.com l mile from Hay Car park on B4350 (Clifford Road). We have a large and varied stock, covering all aspects of children's literature. Established 1980. Books bought. Open 9.30-5.30. Closed all day Sunday & Tuesday from I pm.

2. Ashbrook Garage. Clyro, Hay-on-Wye, Hereford, HR3 SRZ. Tel: (01497) 821046. Bookroom - Motoring / Motor Racing, Local Interest and Automobilia. Even the garage here sells books! Open 5.5 days, sometimes more, ring over weekend to check. Motoring books bought.

3. Oxford House Books. 21 Broad St, Hay-on-Wye, Hereford, HR3 SDB. Tel: (01497) 820191. Excellent second-hand books, predominantly non-fiction: Art, History, Religion, Philosophy, Poetry, Lit. Crit. and Biog., Politics, Political Theory/Economy, Economics, Women, Performing Arts, Travel, Topography and more. Books bought in any quantity, and we will travel. All enquiries welcome. Open most days, some variations in winter. Email: oxfordhousebooks@aol.com

4. Broad Street Book Centre. 6 Broad St, Hay-on-Wye, Hereford, HR3 SDB. Tel: (01497) 821919. Open all year April-Oct 10.00 am-5.00 pm; Nov - March 10.30 am-4.30 pm. Saturday: Summer 5.30 pm Winter 5.00 pm E-mail: broadstreet.books@btinternet.com Matthew Nutt: Collectable & Antiquarian, Geoff Carss: Geology, Palaeontology and related Chris Luddington: Observer Books, Shire Albums, Ladybird Books Get2Books: European Royalty & Nobility, Literary & General Biography Les Barrett: Good quality general books, History & Maps, A1en Harrison: Hardback Fiction, Paperbacks, Poetry, Topography, Crafts, Mike Hobday: Railway Books, Models, Relics & Ephemera; Stephanie Smith: Children''s, General Fiction. Orbiting Books: Spirituality, Healing, Cookery, Music, Lit/Cult/SF Paperbacks; Matthew Bright: Nat. History, Topography, Archaeology, History, Literary Cat: Antiquarian Rare & Collectable Books & Decorative Prints, Passionate about History. See us online at www.literarycatbook.net Kestrel Books: Modern First Editions. Guru Bookshop: Buddhism, Hinduism, Spiritual Books, Asian Religions; Hazel Heightley: Churchill Specialist, Modern First Editions, Natural History; Garfi Books: World War II - Land, Air & Sea Forces LTS Books: Children's Books, Maritime & General Tommy Jenkins: Stamps and Football Programmes Hancock & Monks: Classical COs, DVDs, Sheet Music, Scores, Books on Music

5. Hancock & Monks. 6 Broad St, Hay-on-Wye, Hereford, HR3 5DB (01591) 610555. Email: jerry@hancockandmonks.co.uk. Hay's Music shop. Books on Music, Sheet Music & Scores. New & Used Classical CDs. Opera & Film DVDs. Talking Books. Online catalogue at www.hancockandmonks.co.uk

6. Rose's Books. (Maria Goddard). 14 Broad St, Hay-on-Wye, Herefordshire, HR3 5DB. Tel/Fax: (01497) 820013, Email: enquiry@rosesbooks.com www.rosesbooks.com . Specialists dealing only in rare and out-of-print children's and illustrated books. Established in 1982. Open daily. Catalogues issued. All books in stock listed on computer database. We buy single items or collections, will travel.

7. Outcast Books. (David Howard). 15A Broad St., (Behind Rose's Books), Hay-on-Wye, HR3 5DB. Tel: (Ot497) 821292. Email: outcastbooks@supanet.com www.ukbookworld.com/members/outcastbooks . Small general second hand stock, with emphasis on applied social studies, humanistic psychology, psychotherapy and human relations. Open Mon-Fri 10.30-5, Sat 11.30-5, Sun 12-2.

8. The Bookshop. The Pavement, Hay-on-Wye, HRJ 5BU. Tel: (01497) 821341. Email: info@bookends.uk.com. Prop. R. Thompson. 5 floors of books. Over 100,000 books in stock, on All Subjects. Open April-Sept: Mon-Sat 9.30am-8pm, Sun 11.00am-5pm. Oct-March: Mon-Sun 9.30am-4.30pm. www.bookends.uk.com

9. The Sensible Bookshop. Lion Street, Hay-on-Wye, HRJ 5AA. Tel: (01497) 822969. General Stock "Of a tolerable size and with a bargain basement where everything is £2 or less - restored my equilibrium" The Daily Telegraph, 2006. Open daily.

10. Richard Booth's Bookshop. 44 Lion St, Hay-on-Wye, HRJ 5AA. Tel: (01497) 820322, Fax: (01497) 821150. Email: books@boothbooks.co.uk. 500,000 books on all subjects including: Basement: Romance, Historical Fiction, Westerns, Crime Fiction and True Crime, Thrillers, Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror, Pound Shop. Ground Floor: Natural History, Gardening, Topography, History, Military History, Archaeology, Economics, Transport, Sport, Crafts, Children's, Cookery, Art, Music, Theatre, Film, Photography, Architecture. First Floor: English Literature, Languages, Anglo-Welsh Literature, Theology, Philosophy, Linguistics, Astronomy, Science and Technology, Education, Medicine, Sociology, Business Management, Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, Building, Mathematics, Law etc. Open 9.00 - 5.30 Sept-20th May, 9.00 - 6.30 21st May 31st Sundays 11.30-5.30 Closed Easter Sunday, December 25-Jan. 1.

11. Addyman Books. 39 Lion St, Hay-on-Wye, Hereford, HRJ 5AA. Tel: (01497) 821136. Fax: (01497) 821732. www.hay-on-wyebooks.com . "Addyman's upstairs is like a perfect sitting room ... floor to ceiling Modern Firsts". The Guardian, 2001. Large, comprehensive and well organised stock. Friendly and helpful staff. We have a long established and very fair buying policy and will travel anywhere. Email: madness@hay-on-wyebooks.com

12. Murder And Mayhem. 5 Lion St, Hay-on-Wye, Hereford, HRJ 5AA. Tel: (01497) 821613. Walk or stalk into the world of Detective Fiction , True Crime and Horror. The Baskerville Hound, Christie & Poe welcome you to the most bizarre and outrageously decorated bookshop in Hay-on-Wye. We are always interested in buying hardback and paperback detective fiction. Mon-Sat 10.30-5.30. Some Sundays. Email: madness@hay-on-wyebooks.com

13. The Poetry Bookshop. (Chris & Melanie Prince). Ice House, Brook St, Hay-on-Wye, HRJ 5BQ. Tel: (01497) 821812. Email: info@poetrybookshop.co.uk The ONLY bookshop in the UK devoted entirely to Poetry; Modem, Antiquarian, Scholarly, Criticism, Biography, Small & Fine Press, Beat, War, Illustrated. Poetry in translation and much more. Open: Summer Mon-Sat 11 am - 5 pm. Winter can vary so best to ring before you travel. Booksearch & Postal Service. Good quality books bought. www.poetrybookshop.co.uk

14. The Hay Book Company. High Town, Hay-on-Wye, HRJ 5AE. Tel: (01497) 821641. Admirable General Books. Central position. A well organised, large and varied stock of excellent books in most subjects. Competitively priced. Open 7 days a week. We look forward to helping you.

15. Hay-On-Wye Booksellers. 13/14 High Town, Hay-on-Wye, Hereford. Tel: (01497) 820352. Fax: (01497) 820382. www.hayonwyebooksellers.com Quality second hand and antiquarian books - suit scholars, collectors and light-hearted bookworms. We also offer a varied selection of new books at half-price or less. Large clearance section. Browsers welcome. We are always interested in buying libraries or small collections. We will travel anywhere. Open every day from 9am-6pm. Trade Warehouse Enquiries welcome.

16. Mostly Maps.Com. 2 Castle St, Hay-on-Wye, HRJ 5DF. Tel: (01497) 820539. Mostly antique maps both British and foreign but also antique topographical prints, caricatures, botanical prints and more. View our stock, with images, on www.mostlymaps.com VAT refund scheme. World-wide postage.

17. The Wye Gallery. SA Castle St, Hay-on-Wye, HRJ 5DF. Tel: (01497) 821163. PRINTS OLD AND NEW. Many signed limited editions. Artists include Gillian McDonald, Frances St. Clair Miller, Donna Crawshaw, Rhian Simes, Anne Cotterill and Rob Ritchie.

18. The Addyman Annexe. 27 Castle St, Hay-on-Wye, Hereford, HRJ 5DF. Tel: (01497) 821600. Email: madder@hay-on-wyebooks.com Described by the Antiquarian Book Review as "The jewel in the crown of this famous book town". Our handpicked stock covers most subjects. "" ... Put me in Addyman's and I lose all reason ... " Sue Gee 'Reading in Bed' 2007. Books at prices to suit all pockets from £1.00 upwards. www.hay-on-wyebooks.com

19. Greenways Corner Bookshop. Backfold, Hay-on-Wye, HRJ 5AJ. Tel: (01497) 820443. Over 12,000 books in stock. Paper Hardbacks. Fiction-Non Fiction on a range of subjects, for the reader or collector. Books bought, we can travel to you. Open daily, winter times may vary .. Email: geordenfish@aol.com

20. Hay Castle Books. Hay Castle, Oxford Road, Hay-on-Wye, HR3 5DG. Tel: (01497) 820503. Email: books@haycastle.demon.co.uk www.haycastle.com Website forthcoming. All subjects. Rare to Modem. Hardbacks & Paperbacks. Specialising in Art, Film;" Photography, Humour, & American Indians, plus Old Photographs. Also bulk sales from our warehouse to people wishing to emulate Hay's success in filling empty shops with books. Large 50p section outside.

21. Backfold Books. Oxford Road, Hay-on-Wye, HRJ 5DG. Tel: (01497) 820171. Interesting shop on 2 floors, quality general stock, especially c.20th Literature, History, Poetry, Topography, Transport, Children's, Cookery, Modem Fiction paperbacks, Postcards, Ephemera. Open daily. Closed January. Books Bought.

22. Bookends. Castle St, Hay-on-Wye. Tel: (01497) 821572. Email: info@bookends.uk.com Prop. R. Thompson. All books only £3 or less. All subjects. Open April-Sept Sun-Wed 9.30am-5.00pm. Thurs-Sat 9.30am- 8.00pm. Oct-Mar 9.30am-4.30pm. www.bookends.uk.com

23. Boz Books. (Peter Harries) 13A Castle St, Hay-on-Wye, HR3 5DF. Tel/Fax: (01497) 821277. Email: sales@bozbooks.co.uk Speciality in Dickens and nineteenth century authors. First editions, and fine literary sets. Fine bindings & Antiquarian bought. Valuations arranged. Open Mon-Sat 10-1, 2-5. Times subject to variation November to March - advisable to phone. Catalogue on www.bozbooks.co.uk

24. C. Arden Bookseller. Church St, Hay-on-Wye, HR3 5DQ. Tel: (01497) 820471. Fax: (01497) 820498. www.ardenbooks.co.uk Email: c.arden@virgin.net Shop dealing in Fine Illustrated & Academic books on Natural History, Gardening, Botany, Ornithology, Angling & Bee Books. 2 to 3 catalogues per year. We also buy books on the above subjects. Open Easter-Christmas everyday 10.30-5.30 (Sundays 12.00-4.00). Jan-Easter, Friday through Monday.

25. Hay Cinema Bookshop. Castle St, Hay-on-Wye, HR3 5DF. Tel: (01497) 820071. Fax: (01497) 821900. Email:sales@haycinemabookshop.co.uk. www.haycinemabookshop.co.uk Hay-on-Wye's converted cinema carries a running stock of c.200,000 second hand books on all subjects. Open (inc. Bank Holidays) 9.00am-7.00pm Mon-Sat. (Sun 11.30-5.30). Parking for patrons. GROUND FLOOR: Remainder books, Children's Sport & Pastimes, Gay/Bi/Lesbian, Social Sciences, Health, Religion & Esoterica, Philosophy, Languages, Economics, Paperback fiction, Performing Arts, Art, Crafts & Collecting, Science, Medical & Natural History. FIRST FLOOR: Travel, History, Military, Transport, Literature.

26. Francis Edwards. First Floor of Hay Cinema Bookshop. Castle St, Hay-on-Wye, Hereford, HR3 5DF. Tel: (01497) 820071. Email: sales@francisedwards.demon.co.uk www.francisedwards.co.uk Specialists in Antiquarian and rare books since 1855. Catalogues in all Subjects issued. 10,000 books in all subjects. We purchase single books of importance, collections and entire libraries.

27. Hay-On-Wye Books - Trade. Gypsy Castle Lane, Hay-on-Wye. Tel: (01497) 820352. Fax: (01497) 820382. www.hayonwyebooksellers.com Trade enquiries welcome. Large warehouse with publisher's returns and over-stocks. Ideal for retail trade and wholesalers. 9-5 Mon-Fri. Other times by appointment. Reg. Office 13/14 High Town. Email: sales@hayonwyebooksellers.com

Hay on Wye - World Famous 28. HCB Wholesale (A Division of Hay Cinema Bookshop Ltd.) Unit 2, Forest Road Enterprise Park, Hay-on-Wye, Powys, HR3 5DS. Tel: (01497) 820333. Fax: (01497) 821360. (Out of Hay on the Brecon Road - 1st left onto Forest Road). Warehouse now open to the public as well as to trade dealers, 7 days a week. l0 am to 5 pm Monday to Saturday., l0 am to 4 pm Sunday. 1000's of new titles at half-price or less, 1000's of second-hand books at wholesale prices. Email: sales@hcbwholesale.co.uk www.hcbwholesale.co.uk


29. The Hay Binders. The Blacksmith's Shop, Lion Street, Hay-on-Wye, HR3 SAD. Tel: (01497) 820840 or (01981) 510674. www.thehaybinders.co.uk A small hand bindery, specialising in the repair and rebinding of period and modern books in leather and cloth. Established in Hay in 1974.

30. The Black Mountains Bindery. Oxford Terrace, Hay-on-Wye, HR3 5AH. Tel: (01497) 821983. Open Tues- Sat 10-5.30. Craft bookbinding workshop. Sympathetic repair and restoration of old books; one-off new bindings in leather & cloth. Hand-bound sketchbooks, albums etc., for sale. Also Sheep Poo paper products and a selection of antique prints & maps from Hay.

Bookshops Near Hay-On-Wye

31. Andrew Morton Books. 11 Lion Yard, Brecon, Powys, LD3 7BA. Tel: (01874) 620086. Shop offers an excellent and diverse stock of over 50,000 second hand books. Well worth a visit, 15 miles from Hay with excellent parking Open 9.30 am - 5.30 pm Monday to Saturday and Sundays in season. Trade welcome. We buy books. Email: andrewmortonbooks@keme.co.uk

32. The New Strand. Eardisley, Hereford, HR3 6PW. A4111 Kington/Hereford road, 8 miles from Hay. Bookshop/Cafe/Bar. TeVFax: (01544) 327285. 30,000 second hand hard/paperbacks - all subjects. Specialities: Collectable Fiction, Natural History, Children's, large Penguin, Sci-fi, Horror, Detective sections. New & Used Maps, Stamps, Cigarette & Postcards. Open 9.30-7 closed Tuesdays. Good food served all day. Coaches welcome by appointment.

Hay Tourist Information Bureau

Oxford Road, Hay-on-Wye, HR3 5DG. Tel: (01497) 820144. Email and internet access, Accommodation guide and information supplied on request. Open throughout the year, 7 days a week. Easter to October l0 am -8 pm, November-April 11 am - 4 pm. (Closed for lunch). Closed Christmas and New Year. Visit us online at www.hay-on-wye.co.uk Published by: Addyman Books, Artwork by: Tom Goddard. Printed by: Print Plus, 126 Widemarsh Street, Hereford. Tel: 01432 272025

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Hockley Valley, Ontario

My friends from other countries talk about Canada's future as if it was a country so new, that it has no past to speak of at all. That makes me laugh, but I know how to cure it. When they come to visit, I get them out of the city and make them join me for a walk here, along the Bruce Trail, where the past is so humbling - there's no other way to put it - that it's as if you drop out of the furious present into geological time. I'm a broker. I make my money or I lose it in minutes. I feel triumphant, but like a stranger in my world, and how crazy is that? So I bring my friends here, for a day or a weekend in Canadian land as it has existed for hundreds of millions of years.

Bruce Trail

This is the Niagara Escarpment, a break in the land that's been eroded and grown over with trees but that reaches back to the Pleistocene Age - to a time before any cities or countries existed, when the Great Lake Ontario lapped at shores where these very cliffs are now. I love the Bruce Trail in the autumn especially - when I come here and let myself be infused with a beauty that can make me weep because it's glorious in its grandeur, but also in its details.

I'll sit at the edge of the old Escarpment and look over the Hockley Valley and marvel at how the changing season has turned the forest, much of it old-growth, into a gorgeous, heartbreaking tapestry of oranges, greens, browns, yellows, ochres and Canadian Maple reds and made the world so - so soft. And then I'll look down and pick up a leaf off the forest floor and take a moment to contemplate its brilliant sheen and all its godly detail - there's no other way to explain it - all the beauty of the world in one perfect, tiny leaf, and millions upon millions of them in the valley of beauty I have been looking at. That is humbling, and we all take a moment to be humbled.

Then we'll move on, because there is also a kind of excitement in the air. And I'll listen to the sound of the leaves breaking the silence with their tearing paper sounds as I walk over them underfoot. Only it's not silence, it's just one of the sounds of Mother Nature's busy orchestra. As we walk, we make a game of identifying them one by one: the trickling of a stream or a waterfall, the singing of different species of birds, the whispering of the wind through the trees, the laughter of children. Stand still and you can hear the sound of a leaf as it hits the ground. One leaf! And when I start reacting to the forest like that, then I know I've become a simple man again, and that I'm in a world where passing time takes years. There is no frenzy and I feel at home again. www.brucetrail.org   www.torontohiking.com   www.hockley.com   www.thehillsofheadwaters.com

(Deciduous trees change their colours and are at their most glorious at the end of September for three weeks through October. The Hockley Valley is a bit less than an hour's drive from Toronto, close to Barrie. There are a number of resorts and B&Bs in the Valley. The Niagara Escarpment runs for more than 700 km (453 mi). The Bruce Peninsula, a national park, has some 40 different suggested routes, and as the Escarpment reaches down from Georgian Bay to Lake Ontario, many of Ontario's prettiest small towns are within easy reach.)

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Holland's Major Events

See: http://www.holland.com/global/tourism/activities/events.htm

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Hong Kong (40 reasons to visit)


1. Stanley Market - Historic lanes jam-packed with vendors selling Chinese painting, handicrafts and furniture, silk, curios, clothes and a wide variety of souvenirs.

2. Temple Street Night Market - Hong Kong's most famous open-air market offering a vast array of discounted watches, leather ware, clothing and souvenirs. Side attractions include Cantonese opera and fortune- tellers.

3. Ladies' Market - Kowloon's most popular day-long street market, devoted to discerning women with an eye for bargain-priced clothing, cosmetics and household knick-knacks.

40 Reasons To Visit

4. Jade Market - featuring 450+ stalls selling jade of all types, sizes and prices. A perfect place to pick up a piece of jade for a friend/spouse/colleague as a souvenir.

5. Cat Street Bazaar - Named after the Chinese colloquial term for vendors for knickknacks and best known for stalls and shops selling pocket-sized antiques such as watches, old coins and stone carvings.

6. Tailoring - The craftsmanship of Hong Kong's tailors is second to none. They carry the finest fabric and create form-fitting masterpieces in a short amount of time.

7. Li Yuen Streets East & West - Two parallel streets in Central known as The Lanes is a great place to find inexpensive ready-to-wear clothes, buttons, needles and thread.

8. Man Wa Lane - Dwarfed by towering office blocks, Man Wa Lane is a place to find a Chinese "chop" - stone stamps engraved with their owner's name in Chinese characters.

9. Hong Kong "Must Buy" - Six great Hong Kong "Must Buy" products suggested by residents and visitors are Handicrafts, Chinese Clothing, Chinese Tea, Gold Jewellery, Chinese Assorted Cakes and Chinese Tableware.

10. Quality Tourism Services (QTS) Scheme - Organized by HKTB to help visitors find shops and restaurants they can trust. All establishments must pass a stringent annual assessment before they are allowed to display the QTS sign.


11. Star Ferry - The oldest method of transportation dating back to the 1800's. For about CAD 0.40, the Star Ferry still offers passengers with a million-dollar view of the Victoria Harbour.

12. Tram Ride - The classic icons have been around for over 100 years and are the largest double-decker fleet in the world. The front seat of the top deck is best to soak up the energy of this bustling metropolis.

13. Victoria Peak - Climb aboard the historic Peak Tram to the top of Victoria Peak for stunning views of Hong Kong, and enjoy a 360° view from the Peak Tower Sky Terrace.

14. Lantau Island - The largest island in Hong Kong, Lantau is steeped in history and blessed with magnificent mountains and fine beaches.

15. Lamma Island - Lamma features good hiking and beaches between two villages on either side of the island.

16. Cheung Chau - This tiny dumb-bell shaped island is charming and picturesque, with many villagers still cling to old traditions. The Bun Festival, an exotic colourful celebration staged every year is not to be missed.

17. Theme Parks - Hong Kong's two world class theme parks: Ocean Park is famous for marine life and animals, including the 4 lovely Giant Pandas; and the Hong Kong Disneyland, the latest Disneyland is right in Hong Kong.

18. Hong Kong Wetland Park - Located near the internationally recognized Mai Po Marshes bird sanctuary, this 60+ hectare park is designed to demonstrate the diversity of Hong Kong's wetland ecosystem.

19. Avenue of Stars - Meet the movie stars and enjoy the nightly Symphony of Lights multimedia light and sound show as you walk along the waterfront.

20. Nature Kaleidoscope - A wide range of outdoor activities offered by HKTB for avid nature lovers to explore the green side of Hong Kong.

40 Reasons To Visit


21. Traditional Chinese Festivals - With 150 years of colonial influence woven into 5,000 years of Chinese culture, Hong Kong's numerous Chinese festivals are one of the best ways for visitors to experience the city's unique culture.

22. Cultural Kaleidoscope - Mostly free programs created by HKTB for tourists to truly appreciate Hong Kong's culture and to take part in everyday life.

23. Giant Buddha - See the world's largest seated outdoor bronze Buddha & visit the nearby Po Lin Monastery and the Wisdom Path

24. Ngong Ping 360 - Board the Ngong Ping Skyrail for a 5.7-km cable car ride up the mountain in Lantau Island to enjoy 360° panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and the South China Sea.

25. Man Mo Temple - A 19th century Taoist temple with richly coloured religious paraphernalia and giant coils of burning incense.

26. Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple - A busy temple with 3 main religions of China - Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism practiced at the same colourful temple. Most famous and active of the 600 temples of Hong Kong.

27. Museum Visits - Make the most of Hong Kong's diverse range of museums by obtaining a Museum Weekly Pass that offers unlimited admission to seven major museums.

40 Reasons To Visit

28. Feng Shui - Chinese geomancy, or feng shui, arose out of a traditional Chinese reverence for nature. Visitors can learn more about this ancient Chinese belief by joining a feng shui tour.

29. Chi Lin Nunnery - A magnificent example of traditional Tang-era architecture, the Chi Lin Nunnery is considered to be a must-see attraction in Hong Kong.

30. Chinese Medicine - Chinese herbs, plants and medicines play an important role in Chinese life. Acupuncture, acupressure and reflexology have been practised in China for more than 2,000 years. With advance notice, visitors can attend introductory lectures on acupuncture, as well as demonstrations and short courses.


31. Dim Sum - No visit to Hong Kong would be complete without a tea drinking session with assorted dim sum - a variety of light snacks such as dumplings, buns & pastries usually comes in bamboo steaming baskets.

32. Hong Kong Delicacies - No trip to Hong Kong would be complete without dropping by one of the small popular cafes and trying some local snacks such as noodles, cakes, desserts and yuen yeung, a delicious 50/50 mixture of tea and coffee.

33. Lan Kwai Fong / SoHo / Knutsford Terrace - Long regarded as the trendiest nighttime bar areas in Hong Kong and equally famous for its upscale international restaurants.

40 Reasons To Visit

34. Sai Kung / Lamma Island / Lei Yue Mun - Three of the best areas that specialize in fresh seafood. Sai Kung and Lamma Island are also havens of spectacular scenery where you can enjoy alfresco dining with incredible sea views.

35. Jumbo Kingdom - The famous giant floating Chinese restaurants complex that includes a café, conference and banquet facilities, cultural attractions, a Cooking Academy and exhibits.

36. English Afternoon Tea - Hark back to the days of the British Empire at one of several up-market hotels and coffee shops while nibbling on scones, sipping tea from bone china cups and listening to the dulcet tones of a piano player or hotel string quartet.

37. Repulse Bay - romantic dining in an exquisite setting - overlooking the South China Sea.

38. Every type of Asian Food - Hong Kong's superb location at the crossroads of Asia means that virtually every regional cuisine is represented abundantly.

39. Cooking Class - Visitors can learn the culinary art of Chinese cooking in a fun and relaxed way by attending classes led by professional chefs who are experts in Chinese gastronomy, adding a new dimension to participants' understanding of Chinese cooking.

40. Best of the Best Culinary Awards - Reputed to be the Culinary Capital of Asia, Hong Kong showcases the signature cooking skills of its chefs through an annual Best of the Best Culinary Awards (BOB) run by the HKTB. Pick up a copy of the 2007 BOB Culinary Guide and see what the winning dishes are.

(Source: CITC) www.discoverhongkong.com

40 Reasons To Visit

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Rare Kid Dinosaur on Display:
Meet the New Kid Dinosaur on the Block at Burpee Museum of Natural History - she may be 66 million years old to us, but Jane the juvenile T.rex was actually only 11 years old when she died. Now a new teenage dinosaur is joining Jane at Rockford's Burpee Museum of Natural History - a juvenile Triceratops named Homer. Homer was found in the Cretaceous Hell Creek formation in Montana by Burpee volunteers. Homer, a juvenile Triceratops whose gender is still unknown, is an extremely significant find in the dinosaur world because not only is it a young teenage dinosaur, but its bones were also found with the bones of two other young Triceratops. Triceratops were generally known to be loners, so it is very puzzling that Homer was found with other dinosaurs. A display of Homer's skull joins the other dino exhibit of Jane, the world's most complete juvenile T.rex, making Burpee a special home for kid dinosaurs. Patrons can enjoy Jane's interactive exhibit Jane: Diary of a Dinosaur, where they can find out who Jane was, how she died and how she was found 66 million years later.

To find out more information on Homer and Jane, log on to www.burpee.org. Rockford, IL, is located approximately 60 minutes west of Chicago's O'Hare International Airport off Interstate 90. For information on accommodations and things to do, visit www.gorockford.com.

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India (40 reasons to visit)

1. Visit The Taj Mahal

2. Walk in the footstep of Kipling

3. Celebrate Christmas in Goa.

4. Bike to the barren moonscape of Ladakh.

5. Go rappelling

6. Watch corals.

7. Find out the French connection in Pondicherry.

8. Visit a spice garden in Kerala.

9. Visit a synagogue.

10. Get an oil massage.

11. Understand the true meaning of peace in the Himalayas.

12. Learn yoga.

13. Replace joints.

14. Change your heart (cardiac surgery).

15. Tiger atop an elephant's back.

16. Board the Darjeeling Mountain train.

17. Get enlightenment: Walk in the footsteps of Buddha.

18. Witness the birth of an endangered turtle.

19. Study erotic sculptures at Khajuraho.

20. Visit the world's largest open air laundry

21. Visit the world's only wild ass sanctuary.

22. Plant a tree. Join a centuries old eco-tourism effort.

23. Stay at a 17th century palace in Udaipur.

24. Shake hands with a real Maharajah.

25. Watch history being repeated at the Sound and Light Show at the Red Fort.

26. Learn dancing, cooking

27. Pay homage to the Ganges at Varanasi.

28. Attain salvation.

29. Enjoy royal treatment in the Palace on Wheels.

30. Go for a trek on the frozen river.

31. Live in ashram.

32. Attend an India wedding.

33. Scuba dive.

34. Go on picturesque cruises.

35. Visit an Indian home.

36. Design your hand, hint: use henna.

37. Play with colours: Celebrate the festival Holi.

38. Visit a temple of Gold.

39. Get a 22-caret gold facial.

40. Watch a Bollywood Masala (spicy with song & dance) movie.

(Source: CITC) www.incredibleindia.org
40 Reasons To Visit

40 Reasons To Visit

40 Reasons To Visit

40 Reasons To Visit

40 Reasons To Visit

40 Reasons To Visit

40 Reasons To Visit

40 Reasons To Visit

40 Reasons To Visit

40 Reasons To Visit

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Israel (40 Reasons to visit)

40 Reasons To Visit

1. To stand atop the Mount of Olives and gaze out over the City of Jerusalem

2. To relish the 190 kilometers of Israel's sun-drenched Mediterranean beach coastline

3. To experience Israeli style hospitality and meet the friendly people

4. To hike or cycle on the many hundreds of kilometers of routes and trails that crisscross the country

5. To trace the life of Jesus and to see the places where he taught and performed his miracles; to follow the stations of the Cross on the Via de la Rosa and to visit the site of Jesus' Crucifixion and Resurrection at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, or to visit the Garden Tomb

6. To see the shimmering golden Dome of the Rock that dominates the skyline of the Old city of Jerusalem

7. To visit the many remains of many ancient archaeological sites throughout Israel

8. To marvel at the country's picturesque beauty

9. To witness the Bible come to life

10. To visit the 4 seas - The Dead Sea, The Red Sea, The Mediterranean Sea and Sea of Galilee

11. To admire the "White City" collection of Bauhaus design buildings of Tel Aviv - designated UNESCO World Heritage Site

12. To visit and float on the Dead Sea, renown as the lowest natural spa and point on Earth and enjoy the medically therapeutic mud and spa treatments

13. To sit at one of the many curbside cafes throughout Israel and watch the world go by

14. To walk along the Mediterranean seaside promenades

15. To experience the charm of the pedestrian-friendly Sheinken Street arts and crafts market

16. To visit the Shrine of the Book, home to the Dead Sea Scrolls

17. To enjoy foods served in biblical times but with a twenty-first century Israeli twist

18. To go reef diving in the Red Sea resort city of Eilat

19. To follow the ancient Nabataea Spice Route through the Negev Desert

20. To explore subterranean archaeological sites from the time of the Knights Templar in Acre

21. To marvel at the Baha'i Temples and Gardens of Haifa- designated a UNESCO heritage site

22. Experience World Cup soccer match fever by being one of almost 50,000 fans at Ramat Gan Stadium

23. To visit Yad Vashem and reflect on the tragic past orchestrated by the Nazi holocaust which resulted in the founding of the State of Israel

24. To relish the fusion of international cuisines that has transformed Israel into a world-class gastronomic destination.

25. To taste the fruits of Baron Edmond de Rothschild's favorite vineyards and visit and any one of almost 200 commercial and boutique wineries that are attracting worldwide attention.

26. To discover why countless conquerors throughout history chose Israel as their favorite vacation destination

27. To partake in the vibrant culture and art scenes that Israel has to offer its resident population and international visitors

28. To be Baptized in the Jordan River

29. To experience the many colorful and dynamic Shuks (markets) throughout Israel

30. To pray at the Western Wall

31. To experience the vibrant nightlife of Tel Aviv renowned throughout the world as the city that never sleeps.

32. To watch the Pale Arctic-African migration of thousands of species of birds

33. To scuba dive or snorkel in the world's first underwater archaeological park of Caesarea

34. To conquer a fortress in the Negev Desert by climbing to the top of Masada

35. To look in wonder at the huge foundation blocks of the Temple Mount in the Western Wall Tunnels

36. To experience travel 3000 years ago by joining a Bedouin camel safari in the Negev Desert

37. To dazzle the senses and experience spring when the deserts, plains, mountains and cities and farms are in full bloom with flowers, blossoms and green grass

38. To experience the Tel Aviv Love Parade and be one of more than 250,000 participants - the only festival of its kind in the Middle East

39. To taste freshly pressed olive oil at the annual Olive Festival in the Western Galilee

40. The best reason to visit Israel is to tell your family friends and colleagues just how great it is. Once you've been you will never be the same!

www.goisrael.ca (Source: CITC)

40 Reasons To Visit   40 Reasons To Visit

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Jamaica (40 reasons to visit)

40 Reasons To Visit      40 Reasons To Visit

This list is just the beginning of many reasons to visit Jamaica (in no particular order):

1. The warmth of the people.

2. The legendary music of the island from Bob Marley to Sean Kingston and everyone in between.

3. The wide variety of amazing cuisine (from Jerk Chicken to Pumpkin Soup).

4. The best coffee in the world, Blue Mountain coffee.

5. Red Stripe beer on a hot day.

6. The spectacular site of the cliff-divers at Rick's Café.

7. The beautiful sunsets at Lover's Leap.

8. To climb Dunn's River Falls.

9. To fly over the beautiful canopy on a zip line.

10. The finest rum in the world, Appleton Jamaica Rum.

11. The ability to play golf at some of the best resorts in world.

12. A walk on the glorious seven-mile beach in Negril.

13. Swimming & river-tubing at the majestic YS Falls.

14. To jump in the legendary Blue Lagoon.

15. To visit the Pelican Bar, just off Treasure Beach's coast.

16. Face the crocodiles of the Black River.

17. Cycle down the Blue Mountains.

18. Explore the history.

19. Visit the National Art Gallery.

20. Learn the history of the music at Reggae Explosion, Island Village in Ocho Rios.

21. Sail down the Rio Grande on a guided raft.

22. Ride a horse in the Caribbean Sea.

23. Walk through the lush Fern Gully.

24. Splash around in Negril's Kool Runnings Water Park.

25. Watch the luminous fireflies at Firefly after dark.

26. Explore the Green Grotto Caves.

27. To take a ride with the Jamaican Dog Sled team.

28. To taste the fresh fruit of the island.

29. To have a massage at the biggest Spa in the Caribbean, Fern Tree Hill.

30. Learn to play dominoes with locals.

31. Drink the fresh coconut water.

32. Learn patois.

33. Observe the largest diversity of birds in Caribbean.

34. Sail on a sunset catamaran cruise.

35. Swim with dolphins, sharks and Stingrays at Dolphin Cove.

36. Experience luxurious duty free shopping.

37. Learn the latest Dancehall moves.

38. Discover the countryside on a dune buggy or ATV.

39. Head out for deep sea fishing.

40. To relax in one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

(Source: CITC) www.visitjamaica.com

Read travel articles about this destination at: http://www.whattravelwriterssay.com/destinationCaribbean.html

Japan (40 reasons to visit)

40 Reasons To Visit

1) Warm hospitality

2) Friendly and well-mannered locals

3) Excellent hot spring (onsen) resorts

4) Tasty and healthy Japanese food

40 Reasons To Visit

5) Unique differences in regional culture & cuisine

6) Endless shopping supreme

7) Absolutely safe for individual travel

8) Hygiene is well taken care in every corner of Japan

9) Punctuality of bullet train

40 Reasons To Visit

10) Great number of World Heritage sites

11) One of a kind festival (omatsuri) that you can find in different regions of Japan.

12) Grand Sumo Tournaments

13) The mysterious world of Geisha

14) World famous pop culture

15) Cutting-edge electronics / home appliances

40 Reasons To Visit

16) Renowned Japanese animation

17) Spiritual journey in Mt. Koya (Koyasan)

18) Picture-perfect Mt. Fuji

19) The largest wholesale fish market in the world, Tsukiji fish market

20) The world's longest two-tiered bridge system, the Great Seto Bridge

21) Breathtakingly beautiful cherry blossoms

40 Reasons To Visit

22) Serenity of Kyoto temples & gardens

23) Excitement from the flood of colors and noise in Tokyo downtown

24) Vastness and beautiful nature of Hokkaido

25) Great choices of Eco tours.

26) Ski resorts with excellent facilities and family entertainment in the sub-arctic region of Japan

40 Reasons To Visit

27) Beach resorts with beautiful water and marine sport facilities in the sub-tropical region of Japan.

28) Colorful and energetic local festivals

29) Efficient and comfortable public transportation systems

30) No tipping necessary

31) Low sales tax (only 5%)

32) Diversity in climate that allows skiing in Hokkaido and marine activities in Okinawa

33) Amusement parks for everyone. For example, Disney Resort, Universal Studio Japan, Ghibli Museum, Edo Wonderland, Sanrio Puroland, Huis Ten Bosch and many others.

40 Reasons To Visit

34) Many attractions for you to visit without costing a penny. To name a few; Imperial Palace East Garden and Sumo Museum in Tokyo, Nishi Honganji and Kyoto City Archaeology Museum in Kyoto, Osaka-jo Koen (Osaka-Castle Park) and Satsukiyama Park in Osaka, and many more.

35) Amazing contrast between modern and traditional architectures.

36) Hands-on cultural and fun experience. For example, learn about how to handle samurai sword, how to do ninja tricks, how to play taiko drumming, learn about tea ceremony, etc.

37) Japan is the ideal gateway and stopover spot for someone who is traveling to other Asian countries.

38) Amazing products in any of the "100 yen shop" (Japanese version of "one-dollar shop") are great for souvenirs

39) Except the New Year Day, all shops, restaurants and attractions in big cities are open all year around.

40) In addition to strong Canadian currency, Japan is much more affordable than you thought.

(Source: CITC) www.jnto.go.jp

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