Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Trip Itinerary Ideas : Frankfurt, Germany

By LetThere BeTravel   Posted at  5:18 PM   travel No comments

As we help plan a two week trip to Germany, we put together this list of places to see and things to do on your trip to Frankfurt, and day trips from the city center. 

Check out the Frankfurt Tourism Board's website, and their virtual city tour as well.


The weather in Frankfurt is moderate throughout the year, though often damp and drizzly. Summers are mild, with the occasional hot day, and it rarely gets very cold in winter and hardly ever snows.


There are many ways to get around in Frankfurt and to other cities, the rail/subway system is the most commonly used. Uber is also available in most big cities in Germany but you might have communication issues with the drive. Be prepared with a translation app on your phone or a address you can show. 

Frankfurt's smooth-running, well-integrated public transportation system (called RMV) consists of the U-bahn (subway), S-bahn (suburban railway), Strassenbahn (streetcars), and buses. Buses are the public-transit option between 1 am and 4 am.
Fares for the entire system, which includes an extensive surrounding area, are uniform, though they are based on a complex zone system. Within the time that your ticket is valid (one hour for most inner-city destinations), you can transfer from one part of the system to another.
Tickets may be purchased from automatic vending machines, which are at all U-bahn and S-bahn stations. Weekly and monthly tickets are sold at central ticket offices and newsstands. A basic one-way ticket for a ride in the inner zone costs €2.60 during the peak hours of 6 am–9 am and 4 pm–6:30 pm weekdays (€2.30 the rest of the time). There's also a reducedKurzstrecke ("short stretch") fare of €1.60 the whole day. A day ticket for unlimited travel in the inner zones costs €6.60. If you're caught without a ticket, there's a fine of €40.
You can also buy RailEurope passes to go from Frankfurt to almost anywhere in Europe, some offering overnight trains too! (Save hotel money on a lay-flat bed and sleep on the train!)

In Frankfurt

Day Trips from Frankfurt

With a huge number of domestic and international flights landing in Frankfurt, the lively metropolis makes a strategic base for exploring central Germany, with excellent transport links to Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and the Rhine Valley. If you’re short on time or money, basing yourself in the city and exploring the surrounding sights can be easier than traveling around the region,  so to give you some ideas, here are some of the best day trips from Frankfurt.

Rhine River Valley

One of the most popular day tours from Frankfurt is to the idyllic Rhine River Valley and the most atmospheric way to explore the region is by boat. Take a boat cruise from Frankfurt to Mainz then continue through the UNESCO World Heritage listed section between Mainz and Koblenz – one of the most scenic boat rides in Europe, dotted with impressive hilltop fortresses, medieval villages and natural landmarks.


Its most famous for the Cologne Cathedral which started being built in 1248, but was not finished until 1880. 


A day or half-day tour to nearby Heidelberg is top of many traveler’s itineraries, reached by a drive along the dramatic Bergstrasse, or Mountain Road. Stop off at one of the many wineries and castles before you reach the main attraction –the romantic Heidelberg Castle (Schloss Heidelberg), once the principal residence of the Kurpfalz Princes and now renowned as one of Germany’s most beautiful castles.

Go back in time with a visit to Germany’s oldest city, Trier, dating back to 2000 BC. Less than 2 hours from Frankfurt, Trier’s main sights are the remnants of the Roman colony established in the city in 16BC, including Germany’s oldest cathedral, built by Constantine the Great  in 326 AD. A designated UNESCO World Heritage site, the ancient city is set on the banks of the Moselle River and features one of the earliest Gothic buildings in Germany, the Liebfrauenkirche, Roman Baths and a 20,000-capacity Roman Amphitheater.

Romantic Road

Lying close to the start of Germany’s iconic Romantic Road, Frankfurt makes a perfect launch pad for exploring Bavaria’s most scenic tourist route and there’s plenty to explore even if you’ve only got one day. Starting out at nearby Wurzburg, the road takes in attractions like the medieval town of Rothenburg, the walled city of Augsburg, the Tauber Valley vineyards and, further south, the fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle.

Black Forest

Those looking to escape the city will find plenty to do in Bavaria’s majestic Black Forest with ample opportunities for hiking, cycling and horseback riding. Don’t miss a visit to the picturesque spa town of Baden Baden en route.

Did we miss something? Tell us in the comment section below! 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

British Virgin Islands Food Fete

By LetThere BeTravel   Posted at  4:53 PM   lobster festival No comments

November 1 is the first ever British Virgin Islands Food Fete, a month-long culinary experience with delicious events such as the Anegada Lobster Festival. The festival will feature incredible spiny lobster serviced in various styles, and will take place on November 29 and 30. Check out the full events calendar before you go. 

BVI Restaurant Week is positioned as a culinary draw for both the local community and visitors alike to immerse themselves in the local culinary culture and tantalise their taste buds with its flavourful cuisine and artfully prepared dishes that are offered throughout the BVI.

BVI Restaurant Week is in its third year and brings great excitement, as restaurants throughout the Territory anticipate this fantastic event by creating their special breakfast, lunch and dinner menus with an alluring twist. The event begins with the Taste of the BVI on Tortola, November 14th and Taste of the BVI Virgin Gorda, November 15th. Starting November 16th participating restaurants will feature mouthwatering dishes and attractive discounted specials until November 23rd.

They will also have:

Click HERE to learn more

Click HERE to learn more

Click HERE to learn more

Lobster Festival Map:

This wonderful month long even is part of the BVI Tourism Board and the sponsors of the event. BVI is a wonderful place to visit! If you need help with accomodations, flights, and finding great deals, please reach out to us

Monday, October 27, 2014

Iceland Travel and Tips

By LetThere BeTravel   Posted at  4:37 PM   travel deals iceland No comments

Spoiler Alert! 

There is little to no ice in Iceland. 

Thinking about going to Iceland on your next adventure? Yes! Do it!

Wether you are going to see Iceland's hottest new attraction or the famous Blue Lagoon, you will have an unforgettable trip.

A trip to Iceland is a fascinating exploration of massive waterfalls, tiny churches, pristine waters, and volcanic scenery. Combine that with warm, welcoming people, incredibly clean and well-maintained places to stay, safe communities with low crime, and better weather than most visitors expect and you get an ideal vacation spot.
A few tips that may help you:

  • The Ring Road (Rte. 1) encircles the island, but don’t hesitate to roam off the beaten path. Many roads are paved (and the number of paved miles increases almost every day) but even the dirt roads (with the exclusion of the “F” roads) are hard-packed and provide a firm, albeit dusty, driving surface, even for a compact car. Unless you are really planning to go into the central highlands you do not really need a 4WD car. If you are planning on taking those "F" roads, then you probably need something significantly stronger and bigger than a standard road 4WD.
  • There usually are no hairdryers in the guesthouses, hotels and B&Bs, so if that’s something you can’t live without, remember to bring your own with a current converter. The electricity is 220v - 2 round plugs.
  • The water from the tap is safe to drink everywhere in the country. Sometimes the hot water smells like sulphur (eggs) but that doesn’t affect the taste. 
  • Although the weather in July is generally good, always bring rain gear - waterproof pants (if you’re doing any hiking) and a waterproof jacket or poncho. Even in July it gets cool or cold on the bluffs near the ocean, so gloves can come in handy.
  • ATMs are common throughout the country.
  • English is spoken everywhere and generally spoken very well, often without an accent.
  • Many of the guesthouses have shared kitchens with pots, pans, plates, etc. so you can save yourself some money by cooking food that you buy from a grocery store. The Bonus supermarkets have some of the lowest prices.
  • If you are interested in activities such as glacier walks, whale watching etc, remember that these are going to take at least half a day. Book in advance, and, if possible, leave some flexibility in your planning so that you can postpone to the following day if the weather is bad - even in summer. 
  • If you’re heading to Vestmannaeyjar (AKA Heimaey Island) in the Westman Islands, the ferry ride takes about 35 minutes. The “Pompeii of the North” in the town of Heimaey reveals parts of some of the buildings that were covered by lava in the 1973 volcanic eruption. Don’t expect to see much; they’ll be excavating for years to come and there’s not much visible at this time.
  • Some atlases show the road to Gardur is unpaved and the same with the road south of Sangerdi,  both in the southwest of the country. Not so. Both roads are now paved.

A few tips on attractions NOT to see:
  • The Eden hothouses in Hveragerdi are no longer there. Sadly, they burned down.
  •  At the intersection of Rtes. 427 and 42 is supposed to be the Krysuvik church, built in 1857. Nope. It burned down in 2010.
  •  If you have any ideas about seeing the fossils at Ytritunga north of Husavik, think again about driving there. The road is suicidal! It’s one lane, dirt, very steep, and winding so you can’t see if another vehicle is coming. One side of the road is made up of the side of a cliff, the other side drops at least 100 feet into the ocean and part of it, in the narrowest spot, had washed away in a recent storm. God help you if you should meet another vehicle coming from the other direction. If you want to look for fossils, pull onto the access road and pass through the sheep gate and then PARK! Walk the rest of the way down. It's some kind of nightmare in a car.

These breathtaking photos inspired us.

Not inspired yet? These photos from Nomadic Matt should help, or visit the Iceland tourism board website for more information. Whenever you are ready, let us know and we can help plan the trip with you.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What You Need to Know About Travel and Ebola

By Let There Be Travel   Posted at  10:25 AM   warning No comments

Traveling can be scary—especially when there is a major health scare on everyone’s minds. The good news is that Ebola is difficult to catch, as The New York Times explains:

“Ebola spreads through direct contact with body fluids. If an infected person’s blood or vomit gets in another person’s eyes, nose or mouth, the virus may be transmitted. Although Ebola does not cause respiratory problems, a cough from a sick person could infect someone who has been sprayed with saliva. Because of that, being within three feet of a patient for a prolonged time without protective clothing is considered to be direct contact.

The virus can survive for several hours on surfaces, so any object contaminated with bodily fluids may spread the disease. According to the C.D.C., the virus can survive for a few hours on dry surfaces like doorknobs and countertops and can survive for several days in puddles or other collections of body fluid. Bleach solutions can kill it.

In the current outbreak, most new cases are occurring among people who have been taking care of sick relatives or who have prepared an infected body for burial. Health care workers are at high risk. Symptoms usually begin about eight to 10 days after exposure to the virus, but can appear as late as 21 days after exposure.”

Now that you know it’s not that easy to catch and you shouldn’t be paranoid when you travel, the five tips below should help you and everyone be prepared and minimize the risk and check the C.D.C.'s travel advisory and the Ebola Fact Sheet

Impact on International TravelConfirmed and suspected cases of EVD continue to be reported in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. There have also been a number of cases in Nigeria and a single case in both Senegal and the United States of America.  Cases of Ebola have also been identified in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), unrelated to the outbreak in West Africa.  In October, the first recorded case of EVD transmission outside Africa occurred in Spain.  This involved a nurse who had been treating an Ebola patient who had returned from West Africa. Travel restrictions have been imposed in a number of affected and neighbouring countries in West Africa and this will significantly impact departure options and freedom of movement.
Guinea has closed its borders with Sierra Leone, Liberia and Senegal. Health screening has been introduced at border crossings. Sierra Leone has closed land borders with Guinea and Liberia. Health screening has been introduced at border crossings. Liberia has closed the majority of its borders. Health screening has been introduced at the border crossings that remain open. Nigeria has introduced health screening measures for passengers arriving and departing at all airports in Nigeria. Senegal has closed the land border with Guinea. Sea and air borders are also closed to vessels and aircraft from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
5 ways to minimize your risk of catching Ebola while on the road:

  1. Use antibacterial wipes: When I travel, I’m almost borderline Howard-Hughes-insane about germs. I constantly wash my hands, use hand sanitizer, make a conscious effort not to stick my fingers in my mouth/eyes/nose, and wipe down plane seats and hotel rooms with antibacterial wipes. When I’ve been lazy, I’ve paid the price for it. Don’t make the same mistake.
  2. Don’t spread your germs: If you’re sick, don’t go out. No one wants to be around a sick person – especially during this Ebola outbreak. Did you see that yesterday an American Airlines flight made an emergency landing to offload a vomiting female passenger in Texas amid fears she has Ebola … despite not having been in Africa? So, do everyone a favor, including yourself, and STAY HOME! If you have to go to work or catch a flight, then wash your hands more than usual, use hand sanitizer and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
  3. Wear a surgical mask: In Japan everyone wears a surgical mask when they’re sick. Why can’t we bring that tradition to America or, better yet, the rest of the world? Who cares if people think you look like a freak? As you can see from the photo above, I put on my mask recently not because I was sick but because the passenger next to me was and was coughing without covering his mouth. After I put on my mask and gave him my “crazy eyes” look, he got the hint. If you don’t want to look like a freak, get a Scough, which has a mask built in a scarf or just put a scarf around your mask or a get a designer mask.
  4. Travel insurance: Before you leave, check to see if your health insurance covers you during your travels (especially international). If not, buy travel insurance. It’s not expensive and provides great piece of mind. 
  5. Change your plane ticket: Unless you buy a refundable ticket (most people don’t, including me), it’s difficult to make changes to it without getting slapped with a fee (except with Southwest Airlines). I think airlines should make an exception for people who are sick because the metal tube just makes them sicker and spreads their germs to others. But for now they don’t, so we have to deal with it or figure out ways around it—and there are ways around it. Calling the airline won’t help (usually). The best way to change your ticket without a fee is to go to the airport and speak to an agent or their supervisor. I know it’s a pain but it often works. Just tell the agent you aren’t feeling well and would like to see if you can fly another time. More often than not they will help you do it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Resort Wear and What Not To Wear

By Let There Be Travel   Posted at  11:32 AM   what to wear to a resort No comments

All you need to know about what to wear and what not to wear.

What is "Casual Resort Wear"?

Is it casual? Is it formal? What kind of shoes can I wear? How long should my skirt be? While the exact rules may vary by specific resort or cruise, simply imagine that you are going to a country club with your grandmother.
Country clubs naturally conjure up visions of polo shirts, khaki pants and loafers, and these items are 100 percent appropriate for resort casual wear. Collared shirts are a must, whether polo shirts or button-downs. Although there is little limitation in terms of color or pattern, use your judgment and avoid oversized logos or text. Although khakis or linen pants are a nature resort casual choice for day wear, slacks are a smart choice for dinners and other evening events. Avoid sandals and other shoes that shoe more bare foot than a loafer or boat shoe would.
Determining what is and what is not appropriate resort casual wear for woman can actually be a more difficult endeavor. The basic tenets are fuzzier, consisting of more guidelines than rules. Women can, of course, wear khakis, linen pants, slacks and collared shirts like their male counterparts, but they are typically expected to wear dresses or skirts in situations that call for resort casual apparel. Classy, knee-length summer dresses and skirts are always a good way to go. Aim for crew neck or boat neck necklines and wide straps.
The "casual" in resort casual may seem formal or relaxed, depending on who you are speaking with. For a student, resort casual is essentially a type of formal dress, required nice, pressed garments not typically worn every day. Jeans are not typically appropriate, although expensive, on-trend pairs may be acceptable in certain fashion-forward settings. Women should exercise discretion in their hem and necklines, erring on the reserved side. If you are looking to spice up this seemingly bland type of attire, look to the runway resort or cruise lines. Many prominent designers from America and Europe show new looks each year.
These are some new upscale resort wear looks we love.  Some pieces for your next luxury cruise or just weekend trip to Mexico. 

Looking for a bikini? We got you covered:

Roberto Cavalli

Sleeveless Alize Print Gown

Explore resort wear on Pinterest while you are at it. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Tips for Thanksgiving Travel

By Let There Be Travel   Posted at  5:16 PM   vacation No comments
Charlie Brown and Snoopy celebrate Thanksgiving, but remember that if you travel internationally then they won't be serving turkey dinner.

Pumpkins and Halloween decorations are suddenly everywhere, and that means that Thanksgiving is just around the corner, so it is time to start booking your travel plans if you haven’t already.

Trying to make sense of airfare fluctuations and fare rules is a tough game to play, especially around the holidays, and Thanksgiving is usually the most expensive time.  

Once again, September into mid-October looks to be the deadline for getting a good deal locked in, so start looking now yourself, or email us for help! 

As expected, fares increase drastically in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, which is on Thursday, November 27th this year. The cheapest times to book airfare for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve travel were found to be from September to mid-October, and airfares for Thanksgiving increased up to 17% after that time (and 51% for Christmas and 25% for New Year’s Eve).

So while it is not too late to get a great price, the clock is ticking and you need to act fast and be flexible. Traditionally, the busiest – and therefore most expensive – days are the Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day and the Sunday after, so avoid flying then if possible.

Of course, when you travel – not just when you book – greatly affects flight prices. The best day to depart if you are flying domestically is the Monday before Thanksgiving when prices are 15-23% below average. Then try to either have a shorter trip or a longer one, returning on Friday or the following Monday, after the rush. By being flexible, you can save up to 20% on your airfare!

With Thanksgiving being such an American holiday, global travel is not as common, but many people do want to take advantage of the four-day weekend and go abroad. The fare patterns differ to domestic in that when booking in July through September they remained low, then rose steadily from mid-September all the way up to the week before the Thanksgiving holiday.

If you are flying internationally, try leaving close to or on Thanksgiving Day and stay through the weekend to save on airfare.

Remember that while Americans can’t imagine life without it, Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated around the world, so don’t land in London or Paris and expect to be able to get a turkey dinner and pumpkin pie there – it is just a regular Thursday for them!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Trip Itinerary Idea : Prague to London in 7 Days

By Let There Be Travel   Posted at  7:19 PM   vacation No comments

7 Days, Prague to London



Visit 4 countries: Czech Republic, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium

Begin in medieval Prague in Czech Republic, tour Dresden and Berlin in Germany, party in Amsterdam in Netherlands and sip Belgian hot chocolate in Brugge.


  • Day 1: Prague

    Begin in Prague, the beautiful capital of Czech Republic. A walking tour can take you to the memorable Charles Bridge, Hradcany Castle, the Tyn Church and Wenceslas Square. Then, perhaps we can check out why Prague’s nightlife is so famous! 

  • Day 2: Prague

    Explore this Gothic city full of dramatic spires, cobbled alleys, rumbling trams, hand-made puppets and artists around Charles Bridge. Stroll through the Jewish Quarter, visit Old Town Square and the medieval Town Hall, and perhaps find an old traditional inn to try the excellent (and cheap) local beer. 
  • Day 3: Berlin

    Stop in 800 year old Dresden in Germany, a city which has heroically rebuilt itself following near-destruction during World War II. After seeing the symbolic Frauenkirche and other beautiful buildings, continue on to Berlin, Germany’s vibrant capital. A driving tour can take you to the remains of the Berlin Wall, the Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag building, Holocaust Memorial, Checkpoint Charlie and more impressive landmarks. 
  • Day 4: Berlin

    Berlin is yours to discover today. You can hear about the rise and fall of the Nazis on an optional ‘Third Reich’ walking tour in the morning, which takes in sites of historical significance including the spot where Hitler had his bunker. Other attractions include world class museums such as the German History Museum and the Pergamon Museum, the massive Berlin Zoo, and a myriad of cool shops, cafés and bars. At night you can take an optional Nightlife tour and check out some of Berlin’s coolest nightspots! 
  • Day 5: Amsterdam

    It's a fairly long drive to the Netherlands, which gives you a chance to conserve your energy for Amsterdam! The 'Dam is a city of contrasts where bicycles, clogs, tulips and the infamous Red Light District live side by side in harmony. Just outside the city, stop at a traditional farm to see how Dutch cheese and clogs (wooden shoes) are made. After checking in to your hotel, head into the heart of Amsterdam to see Dam Square or even investigate the Red Light District itself! 
  • Day 6: Amsterdam

    Take a full day to enjoy Amsterdam. A bike ride is the perfect way to tour the city, just like the locals. Wander the canals or visit attractions such as Anne Frank House, the Van Gogh Museum and the Heineken Experience. In the evening, look forward to dinner in a local restaurant, followed by a canal cruise on a private boat along Amsterdam’s waterways. 
  • Day 7: London

    Make your way to the Belgian city of Brugge in the morning, where a walking tour will take in the city’s excellent Gothic architecture. We’ll have free time here to seek out some Belgian specialities – chocolate, waffles and beer! Afterwards, drive to Calais in France to catch a ferry across the English Channel. 
    Go HERE for train times and tickets in and around the cities. 

    While in Berlin:

    Grunewald is Berlin’s largest forested area, to the south-west of Charlottenburg and easily accessible via S-bahn. Pack a picnic and head down here for a day of tranquil respite from the bustle of the city. Venture through the woods by foot, bicycle or on horseback and, if weather permits, take a dip in the clean waters of Schlachtensee or Wannsee, the nearest of the forest’s several freshwater lakes. Look out for Teufelsberg, a man-made hill rising above the woodland, constructed by the Allies after World War II from the city’s rubble. Although there’s no general access to the hill, you can get to the top of the hill by going on a guided tour: English tours start at 1.30pm on Sundays.

    Posing for four shots in Berlin’s Photoautomaten is an almost obligatory activity. These black and white photo booths are open all hours and scattered across the city. The photos only take a few minutes to print and provide a brilliant souvenir of your time in the city. Draw back the curtain and pose for posterity or cram in your friends for a fun set of snaps.

    A shopping tour of Berlin covers a lot of ground. North Mitte has recently risen as a key shopping district, counting scores of boutiques and independent retailers around Torstraße and Mulackstraße (view our shopping guide: Berlin's 20 best stores). Those in search of vintage clothing should venture further north to Prenzlauer Berg, to the areas many small and well-selected shops. Alternatively you can pay for the contents of your basket according to weight in a number of outlets: head westwards to Garage at Nollendorf Platz, or to the vast and musty Colours Kleidermarkt on Bergmannstraße. For oodles of vintage at bargain prices, the Humana chain of second hand stores is one to note, of which a big outlet is in Alexanderplatz. Friedrichstraße is the street for big name designer stores as well as KaDeWe, Europe's largest department store, which offers a fantastic range for those with a larger budget.

    The Olympiastadion exemplifies fascist taste in architecture. This arcaded classical oval of pale Franconian stone is simple but grandiose and on an epic scale. Its greatest claim to fame however came during the 1936 Olympics, which had been intended by the National Socialist government to be a showcase for Aryan triumph. Instead the stadium was the spot where black American athlete Jesse Owens won four gold medals, emphatically disproving Hitler’s ideas about racial superiority in front of the world’s media. The original design survived World War II bombs and demolition threats, before undergoing a major refit for the 2006 World Cup: now a hovering disc leaves the central structure open to the sky.

     While in Amsterdam:

    When you think of Amsterdam, images like clogs, tulips, cheese and windmills spring to mind. But beyond the clichés lie unique sights. Just outside the city, there's the Zaanse Schans museum, detailing the history and symbolism of the clog, and other tradtional crafts. The most famous place to buy tulips is the Bloemenmarkt, along the Singel, and you can find flavourful cheeses at the smart Reypenaer tasting room. Meanwhile, eight windmills remain in Amsterdam, the most famous of which is De Gooyer. It's a great place to sip a beer, as it's right next to the award-winning artisan brewery Brouwerij 't IJ.

    Criss-crossed by bridges, 165 canals encircle the city of Amsterdam and keep the sea at bay. The waterways provide an attractive border to the arty locales of the Museum Quarter, the Jordaan and the Pijp. Within the pockets of land that their eclectic network creates, you can find shops, galleries and authentic cafés. The most picturesque of canals is Prinsengracht, lined by shady trees and funky houseboats. As you wander up to this area, you'll find the tall spire of the Westerkerk and the modest Anne Frank Huis. Smaller canal areas that are worth visiting include the historic Brouwersgracht, one of the city's most desirable residential addresses.
    Herring stall, Herengracht, Amsterdam

    You simply must try raw herring. We don't want to hear any excuses. The best time to try one is between May and July when the new catch hits the stands, because this doesn't require any extra garnish such as onions and pickles, since the fish's flesh is at its sweetest. There's a quality fish stall or store around most corners. There are stalls all over town, but the best places to buy a herring include the family-run Stubbe's Haring on the Singel Haarlingersluis near Centraal Station. This fish is a bargain snack and makes for an authentic Dutch eating experience.

    Amsterdam's Red Light District has cultivated a notorious reputation on the international stage. But when you visit, you'll discover that the reality is a bit different. It's like a small, cutesy version of Las Vegas, with cheesy sex shops selling blow-ups, massive dildos and other outrageous toys. Situated in a rough triangle formed by the Central Station, it's the oldest part of the city. But its historical significance has been largely obscured by the popularity of window-shopping in the area. Along its streets, the multi-cultural community of prostitutes, junkies, clerics, carpenters and cops freely intermingle, exhibiting a strange kind of social cosiness. As a tourist, of course, you'll be a mere voyeur.

    At the Begijnhof, a secluded garden and courtyard offers a hidden sanctuary where traffic sounds dim and the bustle of the city fades into the distance. Established as a 14th-century convent, it formerly housed the religious and liberated sisterhood of the Beguines. In the centre of the courtyard stands the Engelse Kerk, the principal place of worship for the local English community. It's worth stepping inside to take a good look at the pulpit panels, designed by Mondrian. Although it's popular with tourists, noise levels never rise above a whisper.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

UPDATED: Excellence Group Press Release #2 - Finest Resorts

By Let There Be Travel   Posted at  5:21 PM   vacation No comments
On September 26th, 2014 they released on Twitter that the new opening date will be February 12, 2015!

See below today's press release from Excellence Group about the opening of Finest Resorts, March 1st, 2015.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Drinking Customs Around The World

By LetThere BeTravel   Posted at  9:53 AM   wine No comments

Before you clink glasses with your new friends while traveling, you might want to take a minute and learn about their drinking customs. Just as every country's cuisine is different, so, too, is how they drink their booze.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Best Fall Trips in the US : 2014

By Let There Be Travel   Posted at  1:08 PM   winter No comments
These are some travel ideas in the U.S. that might be just perfect for a fall getaway.

Enchanted Circle Scenic Drive, Taos, New Mexico

From late September through early October, north-central New Mexico’s Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway is a best-of-fall highlight reel. For those beginning and ending the drive in Taos (basically circling the state’s highest point, 13,162-foot Wheeler Peak), the 83-mile loop offers spectacular natural features: golden-hued aspens, thick evergreen forests, and abundant wildlife, including Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. “An early snow can make the spectacle even more amazing,” says Fritz Davis, a local musician and editor of the Red River Miner. “The fall palette of red, orange, and gold beneath distant snowy peaks and around the high mountain lake is breathtaking.” It’s possible to make the drive in a couple of hours, but Davis recommends taking time to explore side roads. One of his favorites is the Route 578 fork off Main Street (Highway 38) in Red River, where the vibrant aspen leaves take on a butterfly shape each fall. “You’ll see either a single butterfly with wings spread wide or, if you’re romantically inclined, two butterflies kissing,” says Davis.
How to Get Around: Begin in Taos and drive clockwise around the loop. From downtown Taos, head north on NM 64/68 to NM 522. Continue north on NM 522 for about 24 miles to Questa and turn right (east) on NM 38. Continue east and then south on NM 38 about 30 miles to Eagle’s Nest. Here, you’ll rejoin NM 64 to complete the circle back to Taos.
Where to Stay: The recently renovated Palacio de Marquesa (formerly Casa de las Chimeneas) is a romantic, pueblo-style retreat. Surrounded by cottonwood trees in a quiet neighborhood, the 1912 adobe estate is within easy walking distance (about ten minutes) of shops, restaurants, and galleries at Taos Plaza. The inn’s eight guest rooms (two of which are suites) are individually appointed to reflect the spirit of a legendary Taos woman artist such as Georgia O’Keeffe and Millicent Rogers. Each room has a fireplace and courtyard access, some have beamed ceilings and skylights, and all include complimentary breakfast, which can be delivered directly to your door.
Where to Eat: At family-owned Hatcha’s Grill of Angel Fire, order an authentic New Mexican dish such as sopaipillas (fried pastries) stuffed with carne adovada (cubed pork in red chile sauce) or a steak and papitas (fried potato) burrito. Eat like a local by asking for it “smothered with Xmas.” Christmas, or Xmas, is a spicy, red-green New Mexico concoction made by blending mild (red) and hot (green) chile sauces.
What to Buy: Find genuine turquoise and sterling silver pendants, rings, cuff bracelets, earrings, and other pieces designed by Native American and other New Mexico artists at the Jewelry Lady Red River in Frye’s Old Town.
Helpful Tip: Take it slow and stay alert for changing weather conditions and wildlife on or near the road. Before making the drive, check the weather forecast for the entire route and plan accordingly. Curves on the two-lane route can become slick in wet or snowy conditions, and some sections of the road have little or no shoulders.
Fun Fact: One must-see Enchanted Circle detour is the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, located 12 miles northwest of Taos on U.S. 64 (8 miles west of the NM 522 and NM 150 junction). Completed in 1965 and restored in 2012, the steel bridge is the second highest suspension bridge in the U.S., towering 650 feet above the Rio Grande River. For the most dramatic gorge views, park in the lot at the west end of the bridge and walk (staying on the walkways) out to the center.

USA’s Largest Oktoberfest Celebration

Follow the lederhosen-clad locals to Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, the largest festival of its kind in the United States. First staged as a block party in 1976, the free, family-friendly event now attracts more than 500,000 people and celebrates the city’s deep German roots (German immigrants built Cincinnati’s Over-the‐Rhine, or OTR, neighborhood in the 1800s). “Oktoberfest here is like being in 20 beer gardens,” says veteran restaurateur Mick Noll, who’s cooked his German specialties (bratwurst, potato pancakes, Bavarian smoked skinless sausage) at every Oktoberfest Zinzinnati. “Grab a beer, share a table with someone you’ve never met, and get into the spirit. There’s nothing like it outside of Munich.” Beyond the beer (the equivalent of some 18,000 12-packs are consumed each year), there’s continuous live German music, the “World’s Largest” Chicken Dance, and boisterous competitions, including stein hoisting, beer barrel rolling, and the Running of the Wieners.
How to Get Around: Cincinnati is located in southwestern Ohio at the junction of I-75, I-74, and I-71, about a hundred miles northwest of Louisville, Kentucky. The greater Cincinnati area extends south across the Ohio River to northern Kentucky, where the airport is located. Take the TANK (Transportation Authority of Northern Kentucky) public bus (operates 5 a.m. to midnight) from the airport to downtown, where the festival is staged on six blocks of Fifth Street, from Vine Street to Sentinel.
Where to Stay: Located in the 983-building OTR National Historic District, the city’s original German enclave, the Symphony Hotel is a restored 1871 mansion with nine rooms, each named for different composers. The third-floor Beethoven and Shubert rooms have the only shared bath. An on-site gourmet restaurant is open Friday and Saturday evenings (five-course prix-fixe menu) and Sundays for brunch. Reservations suggested. The hotel is next door to the 1878 Music Hall, home of the Cincinnati Symphony (and included on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's June 2014 list of 11 most endangered historic places).
Where to Eat: Meet Mick Noll at his Covington Haus Oktoberfest booth to try a Cincinnati German-American specialty: goetta (“get-uh”). The breakfast sausage is made from a slow-cooked blend of pork, beef, onions, spices, and steel-cut oats. Noll’s all-meat version is goetta balls, which he describes as “meatball in shape but like nothing you’ve ever tasted.” While not traditionally German, another Cincinnati culinary classic is a beanless, sauce-like ground beef chili (try Price Hill Chili in Cincinnati and Dixie Chili & Deli in northern Kentucky). Variations exist, but the traditional chili parlor menu has six options: bowl (plain), two-way (plain over spaghetti), three-way (two-way plus cheese), four-way (three-way plus onion), four-way beans (three-way plus beans), and five-way (four-way beans plus onion).
What to Buy: During festival weekend, visit historic Findlay Market in OTR (about a half-mile walk from the Symphony Hotel). Opened in 1855, Findlay is Ohio’s oldest surviving city market house and the longest continuously operating public market in Cincinnati. Visit more than 80 permanent and weekend vendors, plus the additional open market and farm shed booths, to shop for teas, herbs, and spices; fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, and meats; imported and domestic cheeses and wines; and local baked goods. Through mid-October, there’s also an on-site beer garden hosted by the local Christian Moerlein Brewing Companyand the OTR Brewery District.
Helpful Tip: Download the free Oktoberfest Zinzinnati app (available in September on iTunes or GooglePlay), the interactive festival guide for iPhone or Android.
Fun Fact: The beer may get top billing, but Oktoberfest Zinzinnati is an all-out German food fest. According to the Cincinnati Regional USA Chamber survey of food vendors, the hungry herren and frauen at a recent Oktoberfest Zinzinnati consumed 80,500 bratwurst, 64,000 sauerkraut balls, and 1,875 pounds of German potato salad alone.

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