Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Georgia to Maine On the Appalachian Trail

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

I’m sorry about the lack of blog posts here lately, as well as the delay in approving and replying to comments. An internal servor error prevented me from updating and editing the blog.  Fortunately, the issue seems to have been solved and I hope it doesn’t reappear.

This week, I will do something different than usual and share a guest post every day for x days. Today’s guest post was written by author Paul V. Stutzman as part of his first virtual book tour promoting his memoir Hiking Through: Finding Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail.

Georgia to Maine On the Appalachian Trail

Hiking 5 Georgia to Maine On the Appalachian Trail

Paul V. Stutzman along the Appalachian Trail.

I’ve always wanted to see what lies over the next hill or around the next bend in the road.

Traveling is an adventure, anticipating those surprises that wait ahead, those serendipitous meetings or discoveries that you never imagined.

I knew hiking the Appalachian Trail would be an adventure. I’d read many accounts by thru-hikers (folks who hike the entire 2,174 miles in one season) of how the hike had changed them. But I never imagined how dramatically it would change my own life.

I’ll back up just a bit to tell you that I was running pretty hard in the same rat race that many people run. My wife Mary and I had a plan to eliminate our debt and retire early and do wonderful things together.

Then Mary was diagnosed with breast cancer, and when she died in 2006, all my plans changed. Well, I guess that in reality, after she was gone, I really had no plan. Life as I had known it had been dismantled. I drifted through a year of trying to adjust to life without my wife, but I knew that only something drastic would kick me back into living once again.

Hiking Through Georgia to Maine On the Appalachian Trail

I’d been a hiker for many years; the beauty of nature always had a soothing and healing effect on me. One of my dreams had been to hike the Appalachian Trail, and I decided this was the time to follow that dream. I left a good job, strapped on a backpack, and headed for the starting point on Springer Mountain in Georgia.

The adventure lured me. I wanted to see what was beyond the next mountain, what waited on the path tomorrow. I admit, before I started I did wonder if I might get bored just walking every day through wilderness and over mountains. Really, what excitement could there possibly be just taking a walk in the woods, all day, every day?

My hike through fourteen states took four and a half months, two pairs of shoes, and forty pounds. I walked through snow and ice and heat and storms; suffered lack of sleep, injury, and loneliness; met bears and kind people and God; and, at the top of Mt. Katahdin in Maine, realized that my hike had not put my life back together as I had hoped. Instead, I had found a new life.

In spite of the fact that I had read dozens of books on hiking the AT, I never imagined both the difficulty and the joy of this journey. There were surprises and discoveries almost every day, but the biggest surprise was how this hike changed my life.

If you’ve ever dreamed of hiking the Appalachian Trail—even just a small section of it—then do it! You’ll find your place in a family—the community of hikers and hostel owners and all those who welcome and aid hikers along the AT. You’ll find that there is still much kindness in our country, the close communion with nature will make you more aware of the beauty around us, and you will undoubtedly leave the Trail a different person.  

Paul V. Stutzman left a restaurant management career to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail in 2008, after losing his wife to breast cancer. He tells the story of his hike and his changed life in his new book, Hiking Through: Finding Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail.  See more photos from his hike on his website,

Possibly related posts:

  1. How to Beat the Backpacker Trail
  2. Right Off the Beaten Track in Morocco
  3. Q&A with Senior Trip Leader Alexander Lemunge: Part 2

BOGO Lodging to Celebrate National Parks Week

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Let’s go BOGO. Who doesn’t love a buy one get one free lodging bargain? When it’s combined with free entrance to a U.S. National Park during the week of April 17- 25, your spring vacation is a budgetary winner. Sure, you could camp at Shenandoah or Yellowstone, but look at these bargains:


Far View Lodge

At Mesa Verde National Park in southwestern Colorado, explore the ancient cliff dwellings of a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visits to Cliff Palace, Balcony House and Long House require a ticket on a ranger-led tour. Be sure to save some time for hiking one of the many trails or visiting the Chapin Mesa Archaeological Museum. From your room at Far View Lodge, high on the mesa’s shoulder, the view encompasses three states and all the stars you can count in the dark, night sky. Rooms are priced at $99 with a consecutive night free. This offer is valid from April 22 – 30, 2010. And, entrance to Mesa Verde National Park is free through the end of April.

Experience Virginia’s beautiful spring with a stay at Skyland Resort in Shenandoah National Park. The historic resort, built in 1886, offers inspiring views of the Shenandoah Valley. But don’t spend all of your time looking out the window from the highest point on Skyline Drive — take a hike, go biking or visit one of the local wineries. Book one night for $125 and receive the second consecutive night free. Offer valid from April 18 – 29, 2010.


Kalaloch Lodge

Olympic National Park in Washington encompasses rain forests, rugged beaches and mountain splendor. Confused about what to see first? Why not split your visit into two Olympic experiences? First take in the rugged Pacific coastline from your accommodations at Kalaloch Lodge. The bird-watching paradise includes hiking, biking and beach-combing opportunities. Next, head 12 miles into the heart of Olympic National Forest for a stay at Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort. Soak away tired muscles after an invigorating hike through an old growth rainforest. Both Kalaloch Lodge and Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort are offering accommodations priced at $157 with a second consecutive night free. This offer is valid from April 17 – 25, 2010.

Shenandoah, Mesa Verde, Olympic — I’m having a hard time deciding which National Park BOGO lodging adventure to choose. How about you?

Photos courtesy ARAMARK Parks and Destinations.

Review by Donna L. Hull, My Itchy Travel Feet.

Signs at the Airport

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Signs of anticipation.

Flights are long and often lonely. It’s always nice to see a light at the end of your tunnel.  Two is even better.

For more family-friendly travel photos visit DeliciousBaby’s Photo Fridays.

Photo by Whit Honea.

16 Ways To Have a Thrilla In Manila

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

I spent 2 enjoyable months in Manila doing things like volunteering in Payatas, jogging through chaotic side streets, eating peculiar fried and boiled edible items, and making ultra spontaneous decisions.  Though Manila is not the cleanest or nicest looking city in Asia, it has a unique atmospheric buzz and presents amazing opportunities of adventure and submersion.  Here is a list of 16 fabulous ways to have a Thrilla in Manila.    

1.  Spanish Old Town (Intramuros)

The colonial Spanish walled in area of Intramuros is an interesting place to breeze around. Churches and schools built with complete Spanish influence make it hard to believe you are still on an Asian island. Horse drawn carriages with guides are available at small fees (probably around $3) to take you around and show you the main and important sites. However, the thick surrounding walls make Intramuros a friendly walking environment as rowdy traffic roars outside.   

spanish intramuros manila church

Intramuros Manila

2.  Binondo: The World’s First Chinatown

Strolling through various Chinatown’s around the world from Yaowarat in Bangkok to Chinatown in Buenos Aires, is always a culinary expedition.  The world’s first Chinatown also known as Binondo in Manila is no different, as an exquisite place to stimulate your senses. Walking the streets is particularly interesting with hundreds of people going about business, napping, and chowing great things.   

binondo chinatown manila

Binondo Chinatown Manila

Eating Recommendations:
Ho-Land Bakery: purchase a few Chinese Filipino baked treats
Dong Bei Dumpling: Serves incredible dumplings and fresh noodle soups
Wai Ying Fastfood: Stunner dim sum and other Chinese foods
Many Restaurants: the notorious Soup Number 5: Discover the aphrodisiac soup that remains mysterious (see for yourself)   

3.  Get in Touch with GK

Gawad Kalinga known as GK, is an organization that provides homes for the poorest of the poor with aim to create sustainable villages with safe environments.  GK has numerous volunteering opportunities, or just opportunities to visit some of the development sites around Manila and chat with some amazing folks.  You can get in touch with Gawad Kalinga on their website.   

gawad kalinga GK manila

Helping with GK in Manila

4.  Quiapo Church and Market

In and around the Quiapo Church in Manila, is a wonderful place to see Manila’s finest trinquets and a chance to scan a storm of bizzare inhabitants. On Friday, the area is buzzing with people lighting candles, fortune tellers contemplating lives, and vendors trying to sell junky items. Walking around the church and under the highway is the sprawling Quiapo Market where infinite shopping options are to be discovered.   

quiapo church manila philippines

Quiapo Church Manila

quiapo market manila philippines

Quiapo Market Manila

5.  Manila Bay Waterfront

A decent place to see the sunset over Manila Bay or to let the kids run around, is directly outside the avoidable Mall of Asia. The huge crowds may be discouraging, but the sunset and ice cream carts with their tunes are usually worth it.   

manila bay mall of asia

View of Manila Bay

6.  Seafood Dampa

If you care about attempting to finish buffets (like I do), or are just passionate about the utmost in fresh food from the sea, Manila’s Dampa Seafood extravaganza is a gig you will never want to miss. Seafood Dampa works like this: At the market, purchase kilos and kilos of seafood from the extensive catch selection, walk it over to the next door restaurant, and have them transform everything into a tasty art form of your liking.  Some of the delicous dishes include, cheesy mussels, stir fried prawns, chili crab, and ginger fish.   

seafood dampa manila philippines

Seafood Dampa Feast

Recommendation: There are a number of Dampa Seafood markets but the greatest one I went to was in Pasay City near Manila Bay called Seaside Dampa.
Location: Diosdado Macapagal Blvd., Pasay City, near Manila Bay and close to Mall of Asia   

7.  Filipino Karaoke

It is without doubt that most Filipino’s love to sing and it seems that all of them can sing quite well. The widely popular karaoke booths are outfitted with high tech sound systems and there’s nothing like a little evening sing-off with a crowd of friendly Filipino’s.  In fact, Karaoke makes one to believe that singing is not actually all that difficult and can act to really boost the self esteem.   

8.  Jog Through Manila

Though jogging in Manila sometimes feels like you are smoking a pack of cigarettes, it is a greatly beneficial experience. The observations you will make from the side neighborhoods and side streets while breezing through at an inobtrusive speed will surely enrich your life.   

9.  Jolly Jeep

If you find yourself in the highly business oriented and yuppie community of Makati City, pay a rewarding visit to a Jolly Jeep.  Jolly Jeep’s are the street food stalls in Makati City that resemble parked jeeps and serve greasy Filipino foods from plastic bag wrapped bowls.  Filipino specialties like bicol express, pork adobo, and pork carbona are sure bets.   

10.  Hang Out in Payatas

If you want to see a pig being slaughtered and squealing on the side of the road or see homemade pushcarts and motorcycle devices that should never work, hang out in Payatas. The cities largest dump is located here and most of the humans struggle to eek out survival.  Payatas is a real reminder of how we should stop complaining and be thankful for what we have.   

Payatas Manila

Butchering a Pig in Payatas Manila

11.  Cockpit

A cockfight in Manila, though may be considered brutal by some, is an interesting experience that will broaden your entertainment and gambling views. The men in the bleachers shout at the top of their lungs and blurt their gambles for their choice rooster. The premises then goes silent and the fight begins. The roosters fight till death do them part to cheers and then shrieks of the men who lucked out. Money rolled into tight balls is angrily thrown to collectors from the not so lucky’s. There are various cockpits around Manila to check out and maybe win a few pesos on the fiercest rooster.   

cockpit cockfight manila philippines

Cockpit Cockfight Manila Philippines

12.  Nightlife

From greasy midgets boxing each other to hard thumping electro mixed nightclubs, Manila is full of a vibrant community of party attenders.  There are also countless neighborhood restaurants serving San Miguel (local beer) and Sisig (fried pig’s face) till the wee wee hours of sunshine.  A trip to Manila is incomplete without browsing or at least making a few empirical conclusions in this direction.  

13.  Balut/1 Day Olds

Balut is one of those can’t miss bizarre food opportunities that is rampant throughout Manila and which some love as others despise. Search for a styrofoam chest with “BALUT,” written on the side. Crack the egg, drink the soup, eat the egg white, and feast on the fetus with 5 Steps to Eating Balut. You simply can’t go to Manila without putting a few of these precious eggs into your gastronomic system.�
If you are on the go, grab yourself a brightly orange colored, and triple deep fried, 1 day old chicken.  They are sure to beat out all KFC similar competition. Poke’em with a stick, dip’em in vinaigrette, and crunch them down.  1 day olds are found all over the streets and even sometimes in the Metro stations.   

Balut Egg Fetus in Manila

Eating the Balut Egg Fetus

14.  Ride Around on a Jeepney

Rustic WWII Jeeps are the most affordable and entertaining transportation system in Manila. The drivers hurl through traffic with jerks and stops, pretending there are no passengers in the back. The greatest part of the adventure is that when sitting in a Jeepney crammed with people, it is impossible to look out the window and determine where you are or where you are going.   

Jeepney in Manila

Jeepney in Manila

15.  Tagaytay: World’s Smallest Active Volcano

Mt. Taal is located about 2-3 hours away from Manila close to a town called Tagaytay and is considered the world’s smallest active volcano. Upon arrival it is necessary to hop on a boat and cross the lake to the volcano island. Hiking to the top takes less than 1 hour and the view with the fresh air is marvelous.  I know this is not exactly in Manila, but after the rest of these activities, a decent day trip from Manila with a small to medium sized group and fresh air is a welcome relief.   

tagaytay mount taal philippines

Mount Taal Tagaytay Philippines

16.  Browse a Local Market

Pyramids of naked chicken heads, piles of pig snouts, messes of fish, weird bakes goods, colorful coconut deserts, ancient looking candies, bite sized dried fish, rice everything, assorted sausages, and all kinds of tropical fruit and vegetables are to enjoy in a local Manila market.   

Market Manila Chicken Heads

Market in Manila with Chicken Heads


-Migration Mark

A Haven of Serenity in Sangkhlaburi

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Sangkhlaburi is a small town located about 5 hours Northwest of Bangkok in the province of Kanchanaburi, Thailand, on the Burmese border.  It is a haven of serenity and a superb place to unwind, relax, eat, and wander about.

Wooden Bridge at Dawn and Dusk

The longest wooden bridge in Thailand looks like a game of pick up sticks, with boards and branches pounded into place by dull nails. The bridge itself is entertaining to walk across as is observing the clientele who traffic the bridge daily. At dawn, fog hovers over the water as the chaos remains still in the calm water. At dusk, the sun shines orange on the jumbled bridge as fishermen and boaters navigate the water.

wooden bridge sangkhlaburi thailand khao laem lake

Wooden Bridge Sangkhlaburi

wooden bridge sangkhlaburi thailand

Wooden Bridge

Rent Motor Bikes and Cruise

Renting a motor bike not only opens up opportunities of places to visit in and around Sangkhlaburi, but it’s just plain fun to cruise like the wind and not have to worry about rowdy or volumes of traffic, which are non existent in Sangkhlaburi. The only place in town that rents out motor bikes is P. Guest House for 200 baht (6.14 USD) per 24 hours.

Hire a Boat to Visit the Sunken Temple

In the wet months, the temple is halfway submerged into the lake and it is eerily spectacular to float around the ruins on a boat and observe the freaky temple. Though the temple is not itself aesthetically beautiful, the surrounding composition is gorgeous.  Water levels do drastically change from wet to dry season.

Boat should cost anywhere from 300-500 baht

sunken wat mon temple sangklaburi thailand

Sunken Wat Mon

Wat Wang Wiwekaram (Temple Wat Mon)

On the Mon side of the lake, across the wooden bridge, is the glittering golden Wat Wang Wiwekaram (Wat Mon). From a distance, you can see the temple glistening in the sunshine. Up close it looks like a Babel of geometric shapes and shrines guarded by two giant sculpted lions. It is simple enough to walk the few kilometers to the temple, although motorcycle taxi’s are also an option.

wat mon temple sangkhlaburi thailand

wat mon temple sangkhlaburi thailand

Mon Market in the Morning

While walking to the market at 6 am, I was extremely privileged to catch a grandmother cutting vegetables while obliviously listening to a stereo blasting Chris Brown to the entire community (a moment to be cherished). The am market on the Mon side of the lake is just another market until you open your eyes and look carefully. Mon women secretly toke on massive cigarettes when no one is looking, vendors sell cooked snacks for a single baht a piece (1 baht= $.03), and the morning fresh catch from the lake is glamorously displayed. Having time to burn seems to be a general rule at this market, and it is an ultra relaxed environment.

My life changed forever when I spotted a husband and wife, combo-ing their forces to create a delicacy with the label of, Roti Ong. A pancake like roti cooked in a wok over a fire and filled with chick peas, added spices, and crunchy fragrant onions. This stall in the Mon Market is an ultimate treat that could be the highlight of anyone’s visit to Sanghklaburi. I’m not ashamed to say, I went back for thirds in a matter of moments.

Note: Mon people are an ethnic group from Myanmar (Burma) living on the Thai-Burmese border.

mon mon market sangkhlaburi thailand

Mon Market Roti Ong

mon market roti ong sangkhlaburi thailand

Roti Ong

Note: Mon Market is best in the early morning, try to arrive at 6-7 am, or right after viewing the sunrise on the wooden bridge.

Visit Takianthong Waterfalls

The Takianthong Waterfalls is about 18 kilometers from Sangkhlaburi town and is a lovely motor bike ride away. The small shelved waterfalls provide transparent, refreshing pools to splash about in and act like a child. The highlight advantage of Takianthong, unlike the spectacular waterfalls in Luang Prabang Laos, was the low visitation rate which maximized the beauty and relaxation aspects of the river. When we were there, we shared the river with no one.

Entrance is 200 B for a foreigner

takianthong waterfalls sangkhlaburi

Takianthong Waterfalls

Ban Songkaria Resting Restaurants

About half way between Sangkhlaburi town and the Takianthong waterfalls, right by the bridge, is the Ban Songkaria area of river playing and eateries (about 9-10 km away). A brilliant idea led to simple bungalows on stilts over the speedy flowing cool river paired with serving delightful som tam (papaya salad), sticky rice, and Issan foods. If you have an entire day this is a masterful place for rest and recuperation.

sangalia restaurant sangkhlaburi

Ultimate Relaxing at Sangalia Restaurant

Food Recommendations

Baan Urak: A quaint little coffee shop that serves baked goods to perfection. The chocolate cake (20 baht), cinnamon rolls (5 baht each), and carrot cake (20 baht), were all fantastic.

Suanmagmai Resort Restaurant: The Suanmagmai restaurant is a food connoisseur’s imagination in reality. The dishes are simmered and stir fried to flawless perfection. I’m sure everything on the menu is exuberant, but our order consisted of pad pak gung (vegetables with shrimp), gang som ruam mit (chili vegetable and fish soup), and the life altering gang kaeng*** (known in English as a Muntjac or a Barking Deer)- a Mon specialty of curried goat.


I met a friend who had a friend in Bangkok who allowed us to stay in the Sangalia Resort, in Sangkhlaburi town, free of charge. Depending on your budget, but if you would like to splurge a little, the Sangalia Resort is beautiful.  Other popular and lovely places I checked out to stay were the P. Guest House and the Burmese Inn.

wooden mon bridge sangkhlaburi thailand

Sanghkhlaburi Thailand

How To Get To Sangkhlaburi

  1. Vans depart from Century Mall at Victory Monument BTS station to Kanchanaburi town. The vans begin running at 5 am and depart every hour, taking about 2 hours. Cost is 110 baht
  2. From Kanchanaburi town you need to locate the van stall for Sangklaburi. Vans from Sangkhlaburi take about 3 hours. Cost is 175 baht

Have an awesome time in Sangkhlaburi!

-Migration Mark

A few days in Dunedin.

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010
I’ve decided to add a few city travel guides to the site. These will most likely focus on New Zealand cities to begin with, but hopefully I can branch out as I travel more. I already have one up on Wellington, and now you can also check out my guide for Dunedin. Included in the suggested Dunedin itinerary [...]

Best and Worst of PhoCusWright @ ITB Berlin 2010

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Great one day event in Berlin. Here’s one man’s take on the best and worst of the latest PhoCusWright

Most honest -
David Roche, head of (globally) and Venere. (I’m paraphrasing him liberally): “we have a match for Priceline in the U.S. with Hotwire, but is on fire and we don’t have a match for them globally” {my two cents is that TripAdvisor is the bulldozer Expedia eventually uses to level the international field}.

Most greedy - Matthew Goldberg, CEO of Lonely Planet. Matthew is credited for convincing Rupert Murdoch – when he bought the Wall Street Journal – that News Corp. could have their proverbial cake and eat it too (i.e. keep readership free but also charge a premium for a slice of premium content). Well, Matthew has rebuilt the LP team and is doing the same – and then some – down under: licensing LP content, selling content in snippets to consumers via iPhone apps, and making money off transactions and ads on the LP website. Hey, in Canada, we call that a hat trick eh?

Most controversial - Séverine Philardeau of TripAdvisor starting off her talkback with Matthew by asking (again, I’m paraphrasing because I have a memory like a sieve) “Matthew, you lost 7 million pounds last year, what’s that all about”. In the genteel world of PhoCusWright, that’s the closest thing to controversy we get.

Most disappointing
1. Google. Yes, we heard you aren’t entering the travel vertical (but nevertheless, the reality is that the local “horizontal” business is having a huge impact on organic search for travel businesses), video is the next big thing, and we should all buy more ads. Hey, we have heard Rob Torres say that for years – and eloquently too. So… what’s new? Stop coming and telling us the same thing. {note: apparently Travelcom got a little bit more – see Dennis Schaal’s post}
2. Bing. OK, visual search is the next big thing and consumers love it (hey, if that’s true, share some numbers to convince us; it’s hard to believe visual search makes a material difference to consumers and Google can’t be bothered to replicate), you are a global search engine and you are in Germany but you don’t have a German product yet, and you do software releases quarterly (quarterly?!?!?! That’s slower than shrink-wrapped software companies). Note: these are all nits, after 9 months, Bing has shown clear market share gains — from 8.4% to 11.5%. In the world of web search, this is ENORMOUS!

Most not-sure-what, but good news nevertheless
1. Tripology off death watch, purchased by Rand McNally (Tnooz news, of course)
2. Pixell bought by Amadeus
3. Norm Rose – great data on the continued evolution of mobile, complete with a prediction that 50% of phones will be smart phones by EOY 2010.
4. Rick Seaney from FareCompare about U.S. carriers starting to update rates for international flights hourly. Gone is the day where we could check Tuesday morning – real time all the time!

Most surprising – that only three hands when up when Norm asked the attendees who had built a mobile application already.

Most common occurrence we have elected to accept – “The black screen of Apple” – attendees who couldn’t check email or anything else because their iPhones ran out of battery life. That is one heck of an exceptional phone for us to suffer through that terrible battery and AT&T in the U.S.

Most unknown company (not in attendance) with a travel pedigree that came up – After Norm Rose’s insightful take on mobile and implications for travel, two different attendees mentioned they use the Skyfire mobile browser and it’s great. Remember Jeff Glueck, formerly CMO of Travelocity? He’s the CEO of Skyfire. Nice to know there is life after the gnome (note: Skyfire is also a Trinity portfolio company).

Best after-party – I would tell you, but I can’t remember the name of our host (but I do want to thank Christina Norton for getting us in). I do remember it was a FABULOUS party complete with ice sculptures, cavier, cohibas and Abba. Who could want more?

I welcome your comments – please let me know what your observations were about the day, if you think I’m off-base, or if you have questions.

A Visit to the Uffizi Gallery

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010
uffizi A Visit to the Uffizi Gallery

The Uffizi Gallery at night / CC BY 2.0

Written by: Roberta Leoni

The Uffizi Gallery is located in Florence, Italy. It was commissioned to be built by Cosimo I de Medici in 1560. The architect, Giorgio Vasari, began construction on what was to be the offices of the Magistrates for Florence. This is how the Uffizi (offices) got its name. When Vasari passed away the work was continued by Bernardo Buontalenti and Alfonso Parigi. Following the designs which Vasari had made the building was completed in 1581.

The Medici family had an extensive collection of artwork they either collected or had commissioned by some of the leading artists of the time. Such great masterpieces needed to be displayed. The Uffizi was the perfect place to do this. The works were put on display and anyone who wanted to view them simply needed to ask for a personal showing. The Uffizi Gallery opened its doors to the public in 1765. This makes it one of the oldest museums in the world.

Built in a U shape, the Uffizi Gallery is open at one end to overlook the Arno River. The entire building is a work of art on its own accord. The ceilings are painted with impressive art work as you walk in the main corridor. You will also find many sculptures and statues to hold your interest.

Primavera A Visit to the Uffizi Gallery

La Primavera - Alessandro Botticelli

There are works of art by some of the best artisans in Florence. Great painters like Michelangelo and Raphaello Santi have works displayed in the Uffizi Gallery. The museum is also home to collections from Botticelli and Tizian Flora.

You can spend three hours in the Uffizi and not see everything. The collection is massive. There are over 700 self portraits of the artists. Most of them were presented to the gallery by the artist, themselves. A few even made the trip to do so in person.

You will be able to see the wonderful Birth of Venus by Botticelli. Also in the gallery are works by Leonardo da Vinci and Caravaggio. There are 45 rooms on the second and third floors which comprise of the Uffizi Gallery. Each room is set to chronologically show style of painting throughout the ages. Although you may want to view every one of the beautiful pieces of artwork, there are more than just paintings. The Uffizi Gallery also has statues, tapestries, and an entire room devoted to miniatures.

If you want to gain entrance into the Uffizi Gallery, you can stand in line for a ticket. This line can move very slowly during the busy season. Typically, in July or so, the waiting can take hours. There is a way to avoid the queue. You can make reservations for a tour. There is a small fee of 3€ to place the reservation. When you show up at your appointed time, there is no wait. You just go to the second door and pay your entrance fee to begin your tour. It is well worth the added fee to know you will be able to view the exquisite masterpieces which are on display in the Uffizi Gallery.

Roberta Leoni writes articles for, a useful resource to find cheap apartments in Florence and 1&2 star hotels in Florence. Roberta is a tourist guide and specialises in the Uffizi Gallery history.

Possibly related posts:

  1. Now’s the Best Time For a Weekend Trip
  2. Photo of the Week: Panoramic View of Florence
  3. A Journey into Michelangelo’s Rome: Interview with Angela K. Nickerson

Take a Spring Break Splash in Albuquerque at Radisson’s New Indoor Water Park

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

You don’t have to travel to the beach for spring break water fun. Why not combine the beauty of the southwest with family-friendly activities in Albuquerque, New Mexico? Worried that the weather will be too cool for splashing around? The Radisson Hotel Albuquerque has you covered with New Mexico’s only indoor water park. Opening March 12, 2010, the 30,000 square-foot facility offers five fun pool features. Take a look:


·         63,895-gallon lazy river and double slide plunge pool
·        298’ raft slide and 237’ tube slide
·        32,235-gallon kids’ activity pool
·        12,577-gallon wading pool with play structure for younger children
·        8,690-gallon indoor/outdoor adult whirlpool spa
·        57,230 gallon dual FlowRider™ Wave Rider
·        26 water play features including a 55-gallon super splash bucket, three basketball hoops, waterfalls, spray features, and inner tubes.


Executive King Room

Once families dry off, the kiddos will head straight for Arcadia, a family entertainment center with a 50-game video arcade. Afterward, kids and parents alike will challenge their inner artist at Art! Attack™, paint your own pottery and create your own Cuddly Critter™ studio, while mom will enjoy shopping at Old Town Gifts and Sundries.

The fun starts on March 12, 2010. Overnight packages include hotel accommodations, arcade tokens and four Water Park passes good for the day of arrival and day of departure.

If you go:
Radisson Hotel Albuquerque

Review by Donna L. Hull, My Itchy Travel Feet

Photos courtesy Radisson Hotel Albuquerque

Travel Around the Internet

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Hello, and welcome to our weeklyish look at what’s hot on in travel.  We comb through feeds, links and tweets to find the best of the best — or the first 10 or so that we find, depends on the mood.

Please enjoy.

Obama signs Travel Promotion Act into law.

The New York Times says more taxes and more fees for air travelers. Personally, I’m against it.

Airlines and unions may disrupt U.S. flight.

The new hotel room key? Your iPhone (or the like).  There’s a booty call joke here, but I’m not seeing it.

Gadling questions the security of security.

Iran knows what’s in a name — and they’ll impound your jet for it.

Frommer says to bet on Vegas.

British Airways to use fuel made from city waste.

CNN reports a rise in voluntourism.

Wild Blue Yonder shares outlandish eateries across America.

A kid pushing tin? The FAA isn’t amused.

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