Travel

Ancient Greece By Dr Reena Koppala
Dr Reena Kopala   Jan-2019   34 Views   0 Comments

Greece was always on my bucket list for a very long time, but to do a trip that has a 17 hour journey from Dallas to Athens, with a huge time zone difference, I had to wait for my son to be 13. Before we embark on my journey and experience, I have to put it out there that we are one of the super crazy families that DO NOT relax on a vacation as we want to spend every single minute trying to explore some nook or corner of the city even if it is at midnight. 

 

Day 1 and Day 2: We took a flight from Dallas to Athens via Chicago and Frankfurt. Plan the flight timings in such a way that you get to sleep during your flight and land before 12 pm in Athens. For any Europe travel, try to use your ATM card for Euros rather than exchanging cash. We reached Athens around 10:30 am and took a cab to our hotel, which was right in the middle of Syntagma Square and walking distance to the Parliament building. Once at the hotel, we quickly refreshed and soon were back on the cobblestone pavements leading to the Square. Greece is synonyms with gastronomy, as there was a wide range of cuisines to choose from at the market square, with everything tasting delicious. We visited a local travel agent and booked a Delphi Tour and made our reservations for the Hover speed boat to Santorini (it is better  to book locally than on the internet because local reservations have so many choices). After lunch, we strolled around for 10 minutes and came across Acropolis, which is an ancient citadel located on a rocky outcrop above the city of Athens and contains the remains of several ancient buildings of great architectural and historical significance, the most famous being the Parthenon.We took a hike to the top of the mountain and saw breath taking views of Athens. Watching the city during sunset made it even more spectacular. We spent some quiet moments absorbing the glory and stories it contained. On our way back, we stopped at the foot of the Acropolis had a gyro wrap for dinner, which ended with the strongest coffee I ever tasted. Once we reached our hotel, we all slept deeply.

 

Day 3 :  We woke up early,around 7am, and enjoyed a sumptuous Greek breakfast spread. Do not forget to taste the Greek Coffee that really has a distinct taste. Next, was a brief visit to the Parliament, which was a 2 minute walk from our hotel. Make sure you get to witness the changing of guards and the march. Our next stop was the Panathenaic Stadium (the only marble stadium in the world!) where the first modern Olympic Games took place in 1896. My husband and son did a sprint on the track, feeling every bit of the history within them. What felt like a 20 mins stopover, actually ended up being a 2 hour enriching experience at the stadium with a short stop at the museum in the far left side corner that displayed the original Olympic torch. By now it was midday and we wanted to cover the Acropolis museum as planned, but due to local political protest our commute to the Acropolis museum was longer than expected. By the time we reached it was 4pm and the museum was closed. After a late lunch we shopped for a while in the local stores on the streets of the ancient part of town. We walked to our hotel and later went for a local Greek Folkfore dinner show. The best part was the actors making us dance along with them, which was so much fun. This is something that should not be missed and planned the moment you land,with the help of your concierge service. We reached our hotel at 11:30 pm and called it a day.

  

Day 4: Today too, we were up at 7 am and took a day tour to Delphi which we planned only because my son insisted to visit, due to its historical significance. However, once we reached there I felt any trip to Greece is incomplete without visiting the ancient center of the earth and the Apollo temple. Our guide was very knowledgeable and explained the stories of each village or town that we passed on our way. During such journeys it is better to take a tour than drive because of the jet lag. It gave us some time to rest and I also loved the local photo and coffee stops on our way. We went through some old towns and reached Delphi around noon. Delphi was believed to be the center of the ancient world- the “Omphalos” (Navel) of the earth, and home of God Apollo. The history behind that was equally spectacular. After a visit to the museum we had a Greek lunch in the valleys of Delphi with the scent of olive and bay leaf trees in the background. We did a pullover for a brief stop at Arachova, the skiing town, for some shopping and started to head back to Athens. We reached the hotel around 7 pm and once back there, had some dinner, packed our luggage for the next day and slept.

 

Day 5: We checked out from the hotel at 4 a.m.and took a cab to Piraeus to get on a Hover speed boat to Santorini which is 5 hour ride. We had our breakfast on the boat as we sailed thorough Mykonos and finally reached Santorini at 1pm. The ride to Fira, the capital, was 20 mins. Our hotel was in Firastephani with a beautiful sunset view of the ocean, a private pool, and white washed exterior. We quickly dumped our luggage and went for a walk along the narrow alleys on the coastline and surprisingly found an INDIAN restaurant. Today was my son’s birthday so we had an extra spicy biryani lunch and walked back in the panoramic shopping district. Santorini is the supermodel of the Greek islands, a head-turner whose face is instantly recognizable around the world: multicolored cliffs soar out of a sea-drowned caldera, topped by drifts of whitewashed buildings. With its reputation for dazzling panoramas, romantic sunsets and volcanic-sand beaches, Santorini is a must visit place. In the evening, we went for a quiet local dinner within a short walk of the cliffs and spend the rest of the night gazing at the beautiful ocean.

 

Day 6: Breakfast at our private pool on the whitewashed walls was one of our most beautiful experiences. Our first stop was to Akrotiri, which is a group of prehistoric settlements that were unearthed during archaeological excavations. It was short drive from there to the top of Mount Profitis Ilias for panoramic views of the whole island. On our way back, we visited the black sand beach and spent our afternoon there and had a delicious lunch. We just had a little time to have a brief stop at a winery and back to view the idyllic Oia sunset from the Kastro — the Venetian castle ruins atop Santorini. Every tourist makes sure they visit this village and view the sunset and do some shopping. My son found a hidden old Atlantis book store and yes, we did indeed buy some book marks, not books though.  We ended the day by having dinner and catching a local city bus back to our hotel. The beauty of this whole trip is trying to commute, eat and dine just like locals to get the real essence of Greece.

 

Day 7: We woke up leisurely and then took a boat to our first stop at Santorini’s hot springs, which are on the tiny, uninhabited islet of Palea Kameni. Continuous underground volcanic activity maintains the springs’ temperature between 86ºF and 95ºF (30°C and 35°C). The sulfuric, orange-tinged spring waters that bubble up into a shallow cove off the islet’s coast are said to be curative for the skin and joints. After an hour stop, we again boarded our boat and went to a caldera atop the volcanic hill. Make sure you have good walking shoes as the trek was steep, bumpy, and quite a walk. We ended the day with a quiet cruise back to Fira.

 

Day 8: We took an afternoon flight from Santorini to be back in Athens by 1pm. We checked into a unique hotel in the Plaka district that was like a rabbit hole. We spent our afternoon visiting the Temple of Zeus (one of the biggest temples in history) and Hadrian’s Gate. We ended our day by shopping and eating delicious Greek yogurt with honey and fresh fruits that tasted so different.

 

Day 9:  By 6 a.m. we were at the Athens airport on our way back to Dallas, home sweet home, with beautiful memories of this ancient country.




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THE QUICKEST WAYS TO TELL WHETHER YOUR HOTEL ROOM HAS BED BUGS
TP4U Editor   Sep-2018   92 Views   0 Comments

It was always sweet when mom used to say stuff like, "Sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite." Like you really had a choice in the matter. Nobody in the history of beds or bugs has ever actually wanted those pesky little bloodsuckers chawing away on their skin all night. But, inevitably, it can happen.

In case you aren't an aspiring Gil Grissom, bed bugs are the common name for Cimex lectularius, a flat, louse-like insect that lives off the blood of other animals. Because they're so dark, they can be hard to spot, especially when hiding under furniture or in dark corners of your hotel room or hostel bunk. And while they don't transmit any diseases, they can leave nasty, itchy bites that are at best highly uncomfortable, and at worst leave you boiling all your clothes as soon as you get home.

Even nice hotels can catch a case of bed bugs, so it can pay to turn on your cellphone flashlight and have a look around as soon as you get to your room. We talked to some folks at Rentokil, who kill bugs for a living, and they told us where to look to find the critters before they find you. So, what should you scan for in your room? Saying, "I'm looking for bed bugs" is all well and good, but do you even know what you're looking for? Small, crawling insects roughly the size of apple seeds are the dead giveaway, but sometimes you can have bed bugs without actually seeing them. Juvenile bed bugs shed their outer skins five or six times, so look for what might be discarded insect skin in the areas we outline below.

Also, small blood smears don't mean somebody went all Very Bad Things in your room right before you got there. It could mean bed bugs' messy eating. You can also look for tiny black smudges that denote bed bug excretion (kinda like insect skid marks) or tiny white eggs, generally about 1mm in length.

Where else to look?.... The mattress and bed frame.: The most obvious spot to look for bed bugs is in the mattress, but spotting them is a little more involved than just picking the mattress up and looking for dark spots. Bed bugs tend to hide in the joints of the frame and along the slats. Sofas and throw pillows.: Quite often, you'll find them in other soft seats but NOT in the bed. Take a look along the seams, inside the slip cover, and along the zippers of any decorative pillow or sofa cushion. Closets and floorboards.: Bed bugs don't even need soft, cushy spaces to find a home. They can be hiding in your closet, which can ultimately lead to that unfortunate clothes-boiling we mentioned earlier to try and get them killed. Check the spots where floor boards or floor molding meet the wall. 

Night stands.: Much like with the rest of the furniture, look at the drawer seals and corners of the nightstand. Also check inside lampshades or the spots where the lamp makes contact with the nightstand. Same goes for picture frames, alarm clocks, or any other bedside decor. Luggage and luggage stands.: Take a look at the webbing on the fold-out luggage stand, especially where it wraps around the frame. And just to be safe, never, EVER put your luggage on the bed itself. Those bugs will jump right in and might never leave.

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Best Things to do in BALI Indonesia
TP4U Editor   May-2018   172 Views   0 Comments

One of the most popular travel destinations in the world is Bali. There are many good reasons why Bali is popular. It has one of the most beautiful islands which is known as "Island Of the Gods". Bali is surrounded by azure seas and edged with golden beaches. If you are looking for a relaxing holiday then Bali is one of the best places. It has a beautiful island which is set in the middle of Indonesia

Apart from sea and sand, Bali has many other places to enjoy like caves, waterfalls, museums, markets, temples. If you love history and culture then you can spend some time learning the local legends and Balinese traditions in the place of Ubud. In short, we can say, whatever you want to do, you will get it in Bali easily. One of the hardest things is to decide where to go first in Bali and what to see. Here are the best things to do in Bali 

  • Visit Ulun Danu Temple

                Ulun Danu temple is dedicated to the goddess of the lake and is situated at the edge of Baratan Lake in Bedugul in Bali. On the island, Ulun Danu temple is the quietest place. Whenever you visit this                 temple, don't forget to check out the different shrines. All the shrines are dedicated to a different god. Must also look the ornate architectural touches like carved gates. 

  • Go surfing in Kuta

                One of the famous beach in Bali is Kuta Beach. If you want to surf and want to look some waves then go to Kuta beach. The beach is over from a Sandbar, means it has rolling surf which is free of                 any reefs. On this beach, you can also rent a board and sign up for a surf lesson. 

  • Bali Treetop Adventure Park

            This is the park where you will find lots of rides which is surrounded by lush forests. It is a good park for couples, families, groups and it also has rides for small children. 

  • Have lunch at Bebek Bengilin Ubud

            BebekBengil means the 'Dirty Duck' in Indonesian. It is one of the most-loved restaurant.

  • Go muck diving in Padang Bai

            Padang Bai is in the east of Bali. It is famous for diving. Here there are seven different dive sites. You can reach here after a short boat trip.  

  • Strap on a jetpack in Tanjung Benoa

            If you want to try water sports then you must totally visit TanjungBenoa. Here you will find many different activities which will be on offer. The most exciting thing is strapping on water jetpack. It will let             you fly up in the sky to a height of 10 meters. The session lasts around 20 minutes.

  • Spend time in Sidemen
  • Buy some silver in Celuk
  • Elephant Safari Park
  • Marvel at Tanah Lot Temple

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Illinois visitor numbers hit record high
TP4U Editor   May-2018   155 Views   0 Comments

Visitors to Illinois hit an all-time high in 2017, government Bruce Rauner announced earlier. 

Nearly 114 million people travelled to the state last year to ‘Enjoy Illinois’ and give a $1.1 billion boost to the state’s economy. 

Last year’s visitor totals were 1.4 per cent higher than 2016, which also was a record year. Travellers came from all over the world for business (17 per cent) and pleasure (83 per cent).

In the past ten years, travellers visiting Illinois increased by more than 22 million, and tourism has become one of the state’s most important industries. The Illinois tourism industry supported 335,500 jobs in 2017, an increase of 18,600 jobs since 2015.

Visitors spent a whopping $39.5 billion in Illinois in 2017, according to the US Travel Association. That’s an increase of $1.1 billion or three per cent from 2016. Visitor outlays for goods and services generated $2.95 billion in state and local tax revenue, up $75 million from 2016. Tourist spending saves the average Illinois household over $1,300 in taxes each year.

“Tourism is a critical part of our economy,” Rauner said. “There is so much to see and do in our state. It is gratifying to know that so many people come here each year to experience what we have to offer.

“My hat is off to DCEO and the department of tourism for getting the word out with the ‘Up for Amazing’ campaign. 

“It is paying off smartly for our businesses and our tax rolls.”

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Most powerful passport in the world revealed – and it’s NOT Germany or the UK
TP4U Editor   May-2018   153 Views   0 Comments

THE MOST powerful passport in the world has been revealed by the Henley Passport Index, with the previous winner Singapore being knocked from the top spot.

The most powerful passport has been revealed to be Japan, according to new research. Henley Passport Index, who perform the study, use data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to analyse 199 passports from 227 destinations. The research looks into the freedom of travel that the passport offers; this means how many countries the holder can visit without needing a visa.

Japan has knocked Singapore from the top spot, who are now in second place along with Germany.

How many countries can Japanese passport holders now travel to

Japan passports allow citizens to travel to 189 destinations in the world without the need to purchase a visa beforehand. This beats Singapore and Germany who offer 188 destinations visa-free. 

Third place is shared by South Korea, Finland, France, Italy, Spain and Sweden, allowing visa-free travel to 187 countries.

The UK makes it to fourth place, along with the US, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Portugal, with 186 countries allowing citizens to travel without the need for visas.

UK passports could soon be the most secure passports in the world.

The weakest passports are from Afghanistan and Iraq where citizens can only travel to 30 countries without needing a visa.

Despite recent travel bans from the US and Brexit in the UK, this hasn't affected the strength of the US and UK passport.

Dr Christian H. Kälin, Group Chairman of Henley & Partners explained in the study: “Countries such as China and the UAE that are rapidly ascending the Henley Passport Index remind us that opening your borders to others results in reciprocal benefits and improved passport strength for your own citizens.

“The countries that perform well on the index are those that are embracing new models of global citizenship and adapting to, rather than shrinking away from, an increasingly globalized world.

“The index is a useful yardstick for intergovernmental policies and progress, and we expect to see further exciting developments with each quarterly update.”

The UAE was the fastest climbing country on the list, ranking in 23rd place, which is 38 places higher than 2008

Most powerful passports in the world:

1. Japan: 189

2. Germany, Singapore: 188

3. Finland, France, Italy, Sweden, Spain, South Korea: 187

4. UK, US, Norway, Austria, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal: 186

5. Denmark, Belgium, Switzerland, Ireland: 185

6. Australia, Greece: 183

7. New Zealand, Czech Republic, Malta: 182

8. Iceland: 181

9: Hungary, Slovenia, Malaysia: 180

10: Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania: 179

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