Last summer I went to the Atlantis Marine World Aquarium in Riverhead, Long Island, NY. It is about one hour in the car from Manhattan but there is also a train. I looked at a giant octopus and at a tank with a giant turtle with big sharks. There is a cage you can go in to be near the sharks but you have to be 12 years old or more to go in the cage. There are seals and penguins outside and the seals do tricks. But the most exciting bit was when me and my dad went swimming in a big outdoor pool with leopard sharks, rays and other fish. You wear a wetsuit and a mask and snorkel and you can touch the sharks if you want but they are quite fast. The rays are friendly and they are easier to touch. This aquarium is much better than the London aquarium, which I also like a lot.
From Finn Bennett (age 7).
431 East Main Street, Riverhead, NY 11901
Tel: 631 208 9200
I strongly recommend a visit to the Mljet Island on the Adriatic coast. That is one of the most beautiful places one earth one can imagine! And something else - take a few days to discover it and enjoy!
Here you can find a lot of useful information about Mljet as well as about accomodation
Delphi is usually the second point of interest on every traveller’s list when planning their itinerary for Greece. Second only to the Acropolis. 180 kms from Athens it is quite easily a day trip. The famous oracle of Delphi has a fascinating history. But how does one get there?
You could go on one of the tours. Or you could do what we did. You would need two things. A map of Athens and a metro map. Armed with that you head to the nearest metro station and head towards Kato Patissia on the Green line. You exit the metro station and head towards Terminal B on Liossion Street. It’s a ten minute walk at most. Ask for directions or follow the map. I find the metro a lot faster than the bus, but you could take a bus from Syntagma (the centre of Athens) to Terminal B. The bus terminal itself is more or less like an inter state bus terminus in one of our metros. If you are looking for great service and smiling personnel, take the tour from the city centre. At the terminal, go to the office and look for a kiosk marked for Delphi. There is a bus going every couple of hours or so. We managed to take the one that left at 10.30 am. The ticket was approx 10 Euros. Buy the return. Actually, decide if you would like to stay in Delphi or Arahova. If not, get the return ticket.
Pamukkale has one of the most spectacular landscapes I have ever seen. On approaching it, one notices a rock rising up, with terraced slopes filled with natural basins of white water that seemed more like ice than a hot spring, because of the colour. When I saw the hill , I gasped - the place was breathtakingly beautiful. It was a waterfall in snow.
There are several ways to approach the place, but the best way is through the western gate, near Necropolis. UNESCO declared it a world heritage site in 1988 to restore the natural wonder which was being detsroyed by excessive commercialism and tourism. It was a mess, but concerted efforts of various agencies paid off and the place has regained much of its lost splendour. There is an entrance fee of 3 Euros. Ideally, this place is best appreciated off-season. Somehow, a lot of toruists wandering about the travertines takes away much of the magic. As the waters rolled down each terrace, they created magnificent white stalactitiles, and in the travertines the temperature of the water is around 33 degrees Celsius. It takes 20 mins to reach the top of the plateau - all barefoot.
You could take a dip in Cleopatra’s pool—the Sacred Pool (for a small fee), which is a nice experience and although it does not make you look a decade younger as it is often claimed, it is still fun. The water is supposed to have medicinal properties, but I guess a 15-minute dip is not the answer. The springs have been renowned for their therapeutic features dating as far back as the Roman era.
I was told that the calcium carbonate in the water as it flows down the hill, on reaching the surface allows carbon dioxide to be released and the carbonate forms the white sediment. These sediments create travertines where water collects and created this visual tapestry. The continually forming terraces and pools, allow for continuous movement of water and formation of stalactites. In winter, you can see a mist over the surface of the water. You can take off your shoes and walk in the water. The reason I suggest staying a night in Pamukkale, is that it is worth visiting the ancient city of Hierapolis and a few other places. You can get relatively cheap accomodation in this place - 20 USD for a double if you are really on a low budget.
There are a lot of good pensions and although a lot of them have swimming pools as an attraction, you are unlikely to use the pool - not the one in the hotel anyway. In winter, make sure you stay in a better place as hot water is a problem!! But in summer there are many good places. When you take a dolmus from Denizli to Pamukkale you can just tell them which hotel you want to go to. If you call the hotel a day earlier, giving them details of when you will arrive they will generally arrange for a pick-up. A couple of recommendations for pensions are Serin and Koray - very basic, but nice. The bigger resorts are in Karayhit, which is located north of the plateau. Wherever you decide, you will get a great deal with breakfast included, as there are too many hotels and too few tourists.
We took a one and a half hour train from Udine to Trieste...and it was closed. With just a few cafes open the main activity seemed to be watching some workmen dig a hole!!
Bought a sandwich and an English newspaper from Trieste station, took the 1 and a half hour train back to Udine and had a late lunch in McDonalds (the only thing open there as well).
Moral of the story...check local Bank Holiday Mondays!!
Orchha is full of beautiful, yet crumbling, palaces, tombs and temples from the mid 17th Century set amongst fields within the loop of the River Betwa. There is a feeling of slowness and peace, which can be rare in India, and a trip here provided the setting for 'a perfect day'.
Orchha, 18km from Jhansi, Madhya Pradesh
www.orchharesort.com/Places%20Of%20Interest.htm (I don't recommend the overpriced resort though).
Where Hamburg goes to the seaside: Northern Germany's biggest beach -- a seemingly endless beach which is over a mile wide in places. Try your hand at landyachting, windsurfing, kitesurfing, riding or simply walking on a beach. Or just sit in a traditional Strandkorb -- a 'beach basket' which is a combination windbreaker and armchair -- chill out and enjoy the view.
On the North Sea coast about 100 miles northwest of Hamburg.
Eltville is known for its wine, sekt, and roses. Some of the most renown German wineyards are located within the city limits (Steinberg, Rauenthaler Baiken, Erbacher Marcobrunn).
The Rheingau is the hill country on the north side of the Rhine river between Wiesbaden and Rüdesheim near Frankfurt, reaching from the western Taunus to the Rhine.
Many small cities with wine taverns invite you to have a drink. It is famous for its wines, especially the "Rheingauer Riesling".
Very relaxed...nice landscape!!!
The next larger city is Wiesbaden (Frankfurt), about 10 km to the east. Culturally, Eltville belongs to the Rheingau region.
See one of the UK's greatest wildlife attractions. There are over a thousand Grey Seals at very close quarters at the Donna Nook nature reserve between mid-November to mid-December.
Location details can be found here www.lincstrust.org.uk/reserves/nr/reserve.php?mapref=15
For more details www.lincsuk.com/donnanookseals.htm
Lovely island just off the coast near Pattaya. No commercial pressures or cars, just lots to explore in peace and quiet, including the ruins of a royal palace, a Chinese temple and great views of the sunset. Eat at Pan and David restaurant.
Boat from Si Racha, Chonburi
Although the majority of natural and historic attractions are outside the town Antequera itself is worth a day trip from Granada or Málaga. The Baroque church of El Carmen has a fine exterior and the views from the ruins of the Alcazaba take in the green and lush Sierra de Ronda.
The locals are really friendly and welcome the few tourists who visit their town. There are plenty of hill walks starting from Antequera and leading to El Chorro gorge and the natural park of El Torcal.
Antequera is one of the most authentic country towns of Andalucía with a comforting village atmosphere.
Antequera lies 55km to the north of Málaga on the main rail line to Granada. There are no buses from either Granada or Málaga to Antequera so you have to take the train from either of these cities. The once daily train from Málaga to Granada stops at Antequera, but 7 trains depart daily from Granada to Seville (calling at Antequera) giving you more time to spend in Antequera.
From one of the piers in the centre of Trieste's waterfront, little ferries chug across the gulf to the fishing village of Muggia. Fantastically well preserved old village centre, generally sleepy atmosphere (well, I was there on a Sunday) and no shortage of small and authentic eating places.
Jaén is not the most spectacular provincial capital of Andalucía but it does have some beautiful attractions which are worthy of a day trip from nearby Granada or Córdoba. The most inspirational monument is the city's cathedral. There is also the Baños Arabes and the Museo Provincial.
Jaén lies 98km to the north of Granada just off the N323 motorway to Madrid. 12 buses depart daily from Granada. The journey takes 2 hours - look out for the famous olive groves creeping down the mountains alongside the motorway.
The last stronghold of the Moors in Iberia, the Alpujarras is an unspoiled region of hilltop villages spilling down from the Sierra Nevada mountains south of Granada. Up here the mule is still an essential form of transport and tapas are still free when you buy a glass of wine in a village bar. Fabulous area for walking and birdwatching.
We stayed in a lovely, newly reformed holiday let with stunning views in Juvíles, one of the highest and prettiest of the villages, about an hour and a half from Granada city.
This large and attractive market town sits high up in the mountains tucked away behind the tourist traps of the Costa del Sol. Fortunately it has escaped the mass-tourism of nearby Torre del Mar and Fuengirola; for that reason it is a peaceful and friendly town with lots to see and do.
The must see places are the 13th century tower of La Fortaleza - the most prominent remnant of Vélez Málaga's Moorish past which dominates a hill overlooking the town. On a clear day you can see right down the Mediterranean coast towards Málaga in the west and Almería in the east. There are also the numerous churches to see - such as the 15th century Santa María la Mayor church, the church of Señora de la Encarnación and finally San Juan la Baptista.
Don't miss the 16th century Palacio del Marques de Beniel, the Moorish-built walls of the old Arab quarter and the town's two convents - Convento de Jesús and Convento de las Carmelitas with it's eighteenth century paintings.
Vélez Málaga is only 30km east of Málaga itself so it makes for an excellent day trip from there. There is also a tram link running between Torre del Mar (just 4km away) and Vélez. Almost all of the buses which take the slower mountain road between Málaga and Granada rather than the quicker N340 and N232 stop at Vélez Málaga. The journey time from Málaga is approx 40 mins.
Chang means elephant in Thai and so it is fitting that when a new home had to be found for the elephants from northern Thailand, as they were no longer used for work or transport, that they were brought to Ko Chang. It is possible to go on a 1 or 2 hour elephant trek to the interior of Ko Chang taking you through rubber and mangrove plantations. Our elephant, Banyen, treated us to 2 hours of pure pleasure - we rode her through the plantations, watched her bathe in the pool and fed her pineapples and bananas. A fabulous trip to be enjoyed by all the family for only 900 BHT per person - approx 11 pounds.
Klong Prao, Ko Chang
It is a little known area of Galicia. Some great young wines are grown there. Loads of old historical monuments ranging from the Celtic through to the middle ages. Land is similar in feel as Ireland.
A privately-owned, car-free island 21 miles off the coast of Long Beach. A haven for sailors, you can hire bikes and kayaks, gamble in the casino, take one of the guided bus tours of the interior or just sit in one of the cute cafes or on one of the small but pretty beaches. The pace of life here is roughly 50 times slower than that of the mainland - a reviving day trip.
Away from the well-known coastal resorts, the already pretty half timbered buildings of Espelette are decorated with strings or bas-reliefs of dried peppers for the Fête du Piment at the end of October, a favourite design is the swirls of the Basque flag. You can buy bottles of jelly or hot dried pimento to remind you of its spiciness.
You can undertake excursions/daytrips and explore the Sierra Maestra, go to the beach or Parque Bacanao from Santiago.
I recommend a trip to 'El Cobre' a pilgrim's church just outside of town (by taxi), well worth seeing and for a Christian a very impressive experience.
As for beaches ... there are many around with different characteristics ... though none have white sand and/or a great deal of infrastructure. Try 'Siboney'- the beach most frequented by tourists. Expect some hussling, or 'Mar Verde' or 'El Frances' all about half an hour's taxi ride from town.
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