Tijuanathe mere mention of the word conjures up images of a sultry afternoon spent relaxing under the shade with a cold drink in hand or strolling leisurely along the brightly colored avenidas in search of a memento of your trip to take home with you. While you will certainly find many opportunities to do those things in Tijuana, there is so much more that the city has to offer.Located on the U.S.-Mexican border right next to San Diego County in California, Tijuana is visited by countless thousands of tourists every year, not just from the U.S. but from other countries as well. This has given the city the reputation of being the Most visited city in the world, a distinction that is the source of no small amount of pride.In many ways, Tijuana serves as the gateway into Mexico from the United States. This is reflected in the citys motto, Aqu empieza la patria, which when translated means The homeland starts here.While there is certainly no shortage of fun and leisure activities that you can partake of in the city, some people may be surprised to find that Tijuana is actually gifted with a rich and varied cultural heritage that often takes a back seat to its more tourist-oriented features. The city is in fact home to a flourishing arts and entertainment scene, with many world-renowned galleries, museums and cultural centers that feature works from both local and international artists and performers. Among these are the Tijuana Cultural Center, the Museum of the Californias, Municipal Institute of Art and Culture, the Tijuana Wax Museum and the Trompo Museum. The Tijuana Cultural Center is a particularly highly regarded cultural center in the city, having hosted the Orchestra of Baja California since 1992, and serving as the headquarters of both the Center of Scenic Arts of the Northwest and the Hispanic-American Center for Guitar.Of course many people come to the Tijuana for fun, and naturally the city has plenty to offer in that area as well. The Avenida Revolucin or Revolution Avenue is the place to be in that respect, and it is where you will find virtually everything that you came to Tijuana for. Food establishments abound and anything that you could possible wantfrom international cuisine to a host of flavors from many different countriescan be had. Of course, you would be missing out if you didnt at least try some of the local cuisine and this is the best place to get it.The Avenida Revolucin is also the place to go for that all-important shopping spree. Leather goods, jewelry, perfumes, cigars and tobacco products, and of course, genuine handmade Mexican handicraftstheyre all here and at amazingly low prices.Now if you can have this much fun visiting Tijuana for a few days, imagine living here for an extended period of timeor even retiring here. With the ever-rising prices of real estate in the U.S. and everything that Tijuana has to offer, its a prospect that just may be worth a closer look.
Many tourists from all over the world visit Thailand, especially Khao Sarn Road in Bangkok during April to take part in the water festival (Songkran) festivities. To those tourists who have been in action during the friendly yearly water fights, I am sure it was very fun. I thought so too until a few years ago, when I visited Myanmar during dates coinciding with Myanmar's version of Songkran. The Myanmese called the "water festival" (Thingyan).In Thailand's version of the Songkran water festival, people loaded up tanks of ice cold water in pick up trucks going around splashing and drenching everyone who is within range all in good fun. Some like the picture above load water guns and ice cold squirt at you you are expected to retaliate with... what else, cold water of course.Now this festival although coming from the same custom is celebrated differently in Myanmar. It is much more wild and spirited. The Myanmese authorities will build stages after stages called "pandles" on sides of main roads. Some of these stages will have live music bands, dances, gay models and bodybuilders on parade amplified by music blaring loudly from the speakers and PA system, others will be packed chocked full of people armed with wildly colorful hoses splashing tons of water on whoever wants the showers of blessings on them.The Yangon ( former capital city of Myanmar) hotel I stayed in organized a tour of the city on the back of.....yup, you said it......pick up trucks with refreshment, water guns and large drums of ice cold water ammunition. This is certainly much more fun than the Thai version, especially if you bring your whisky along. The roads were flooded and water was flowing like small rivers.So if you ever visit Thailand for its Songkran festival, then hop over to Myanmar to open a second water war front. A word of warning though, better book your hotel room or accommodation and air travel tickets early. The hotel rooms are always booked months in advance by fun loving tourists both in Thailand and Myanmar.The festivities will usually last a few days every April. After hard day at play, do remember that Thailand is famous for its ancient Thai massage. Do get a skillful massuer to soothe those aching muscles after a few days of fun. You can even order a massage service from the hotels.
Each year at the beginning of the tourism season, world champion catamarans and their sailors descend on the island of Aruba. Lured by the incredible weather and perfect sailing conditions, participants in the prestigious Heineken Aruba Catamaran Regatta will race this year from November 10-16. Though a limited number of boats will be featured in the daily races, this world-class sailing event also features plenty of activities for tourists. As the races and special events take place at Palm Beach home to some of Arubas most popular resorts and tourist destinations the Heineken Aruba Catamaran Regatta will provide a little extra fun for everyone during one of the most exciting weeks of the year.Now in its 17th year, the Aruba Heineken Catamaran Regatta will feature 40 European sailing teams and five boats local to the island. During the races, all sizes of catamarans will sail side by side. Additionally, world champion sailing teams will share the waters with less experienced sailors, adding to the events playful camaraderie. Over the course of a week, several different types of races will be held off the coast of Aruba. The short track races (also known as gate courses) and triangular races are estimated to take about one hour each. The most exciting event, for sailors and spectators alike, is the long distance race that hugs the islands coastline and finishes up in the harbor surrounding Palm Beach.After the races each day, tourists can also sit in on the award ceremonies. Daily prizes are presented to the top three catamarans in each handicapped category. As all sizes of boats start each race together, the results are separated into fast and slow heats. With more awards to go around, the daily award ceremonies and their accompanying happy hours have come to be known as the events most entertaining evening activities.Even before the Heineken Catamaran Regatta became an annual event, Aruba was known as a premier sailing destination. Nearly all year round, the winds offshore create perfect sailing conditions. These gentle Caribbean breezes are always consistent enough to fill the sails of world champion regattas, yet pleasant enough for amateurs to enjoy the water. Likewise, the waves are mild and the crystal-clear water allows sailors to enjoy the underwater sites while racing. For tourists, the event falls at the beginning of Arubas tourism season. Throughout the winter, uninterrupted sunshine is the norm while temperatures remain in the high 70s and low 80s.For all the visitors not participating in the races, there will be plenty of activities throughout the week, all focused on Arubas most famous beach. As the boats race close to the shore at Palm Beach, you can watch the races while relaxing in the sand. The Heineken Catamaran Regatta will also provide spectator boats during the races. Visitors can hop aboard and sail next to the racing sailboats, right in the heart of the action. Throughout the week-long event, there will also be a number of special dining and entertainment opportunities open to the public.With one of the best sailing events in the world on the island during the exciting start to the tourism season, visitors can enjoy some extra fun outside of their itineraries. As perfect weather is almost a guarantee in Aruba, tourists will have a chance to see and potentially participate in an exclusive sporting event from their own stretch of powdery sand on Palm Beach. Most importantly, the conditions that make Aruba so popular for sailing can also be enjoyed by you and your family throughout the year.
Arianna & Friends is a tourist incoming project that offers both accommodation in country houses in Tuscany, and tourist services such as wine and food tours, cooking classes, cultural tours, arts classes, outdoor activities. The project originated by the desire to increase the tourism and the quality of the tourist services in two areas of Tuscany which are not a destination of the mass tourism, the area between Pisa and Volterra and the area around the medieval village of Vinci.The owners of the accommodation facilities together with professional tour leaders, cooks, tour guides, chauffeurs, teachers and artists, farmers, restaurants owners, and many other "friends" work together to give to their guests and customers very personal and exclusive services.Accommodation is available in rooms or fully equipped apartments in farm houses and villas, that still preserve the Tuscan country architecture and furniture. The activities offered by Arianna & Friends are thought for visitors who want to experience as local people the culture and the traditions of the region. There can be only two people as well as families, and bigger groups of friends or colleagues. Activities are planned also for solo travellers.Arianna & Friends organizes wine and food tours with the visit totraditional family-run estates producing wine, olive oil, sausage, cheese, honey, marmalade, spelt, pasta. But also visits to modern companies such as big wineries, and chocolate factories are included in the programmes. The tours are led by a tour leader that accompanies the guests and guides them during the visits. At the end of the visit a tasting of the typical produceis always offered. The cultural tours are focused on destinations like small medieval villages, castles, local museums, ruins of ancient fortresses, handicrafts production such as ceramic and terracotta. During these tours guests can see how localpeople live and what their history, usages and traditions are. Cooking is another important activity offered by Arianna & Friends. Guests have at their disposal local cooks and interpreters and can learn a lot about Tuscan and Italian cookery. Lessons usually last 2 or 3 hours and after the preparation of the meal, the attendants can enjoy their disheswith local wines. Everything take place in a familiar and informal atmosphere. Also sport activities are offered by this project. Guests can choose among bike tours, horse riding, quad tours, trekking and gold programmes. There is even the opportunity to take part in painting classes, classes of decoration of ceramic and decoupage, as well Italian language courses. Arianna & Friends is able to customize and personalize any kind of vacation or holiday in the countryside and satisfy its guests wishes.
Downtown Orlando offers a welcome reprieve from the purpose-built areas to the south-west of the city that have been created solely to accommodate tourists. In fact, many of the historic downtown neighborhoods are beautiful, offer a great variety of architecture, and give you a feeling of community where regular people actually live and work.Right around the downtown core are a number of beautiful neighbourhoods that lend themselves nicely to exploration on foot. Some of the streets are cobble-stoned, making them the perfect destination for a neighborhood walk.After visiting Loch Haven Park, on this grey and drizzly day, we decided to drive south, park our vehicle and explore some of the central neighbourhoods on foot. We parked in Lake Cherokee Park, walked all the way around the lake and delighted in admiring the upscale architecture and the wildlife on the lake.Bird lovers are able to see a great variety of water birds right in the middle of town and we observed one waterbird, as it sat quietly and then catapulted its head forward to catch its winged prey, all within a split second...On this misty day the atmosphere was even a bit mysterious, with Spanish moss hanging down from ancient oak trees. You could almost see mist drifting off the lake. One of the interesting features of Orlando are its lakes, more than 300 of them, that can be found throughout the entire city, and many of them are equipped with facilities and public parks.We carried on from Lake Cherokee to Lake Lucerne, which is immediately south of Orlando's downtown core. Several fountains adorn the middle of the lake and you get a perfect view of downtown Orlando's architecture.Orlando has a surprising number of public parks with special facilities that provide recreational opportunities for local residents as well as tourists. With the help of the City of Orlando's website I have compiled a list of some of the special outdoor public spaces that Orlando has to offer. These places include a very reasonably priced golf course, Loch Haven Park - Orlando's center of culture and science, the Dickson Azalea Park, a variety of wetland areas, an ecology center, camping and more. In one word, public spaces that offer free or inexpensive recreational and educational opportunities:Lake Cherokee is bordered by a 3.8 acre scenic park and surrounded by the Lake Cherokee Historic district, a residential neighborhood with architecture representing virtually every significant period of Orlandos history.Lake Eola Park is a popular destination in the downtown area, with many people taking advantage of the beautiful surroundings to walk at lunch or in the evenings. The sidewalk that circles the lake is .9 miles in length, making it easy for visitors to keep track of their walking or running distances. Other activities available to park visitors include renting ($10 for hour) swan-shaped paddle boats, feeding the live swans and other birds inhabiting the park, being paddled around the lake on a romantic gondola cruise (www.gondola.com), seeing a concert or a play in the Walt Disney Amphitheater, watching the children play in the playground, grabbing a bite to eat at The Terrace on Lake Eola or relaxing amid beautiful flower beds and a spectacular view of Orlandos skyline.Orlando Loch Haven Park covers 45 acres and serves as the regions premier cultural park. Nestled between three lakes, Lake Estelle on the north, Lake Rowena on the east, and Lake Formosa on the south, the park is located on North Mills Avenue and Princeton Street. The park was renovated in February 2001. With the many museums or theatre groups located in the park, there is always something new to see or do. The lawn areas in the center portion of the park are wonderful places to sit and enjoy the lake views shaded by majestic oak trees. One of Central Floridas oldest and largest oak trees, "The Mayor", grows in the park near Orlandos Mennello Museum of American Folk Art.Located just minutes from downtown Orlando, Dubsdread Golf Course features the oldest public layout in the area, originally designed in 1923. This classic course has plenty of history attached to it as the former site of the Orlando Open, when it hosted such golf legends as Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, and Claude Harmon. Today, golfers are treated to the same beautiful scenery and challenges of the original course, including narrow fairways and heavily bunkered greens. A full restaurant and bar complete the ultimate golfing experience. Dubsdread is also the home of the Dubsdread Golf Learning Center, a full service teaching facility. Visit "www.historicaldubsdread.com" for more information.The Mayor Carl T. Langford Neighborhood Center provides a natural oasis in downtown Orlando. The center is located in a shady oasis of mature oaks, wide sidewalks, green lawns, birds, butterflies and plenty of room for the kids to play. Young children will love the swinging bridge over the creek and the playground . There are a great deal of educational and fun nature programs offered in this beautiful neighorbood center.It offers a yearly summer nature and art camp, as well as family and corporate picnics at a reasonable rate. The Mayor Carl T. Langford Park is a beautiful place to have a quaint wedding ceremony at an affordable rate. The Central Florida Folk, Inc. performs the second Sunday of each month through fall and spring.The Wetlands Park is a great place to come out, relax and enjoy nature. The most popular activities are bird-watching, nature photography, jogging and bicycling. Nature enthusiasts will be greeted by 1,650 acres of hardwood hammocks, marshes and lakes. There are over 20 miles of roads and woodland trails crisscrossing the Park.Experience a walk through time as you meander along Fern Creek in historic Dickson Azalea Park located across the street from the City of Orlandos Mayor Carl T. Langford Park. The Washington Street Bridge was constructed in 1926 and is reflective of many bridges found in South Florida. The lush landscaping, singing birds and flowing water are a treat to many visitors. This park is an oasis for those needing a quiet place to eat lunch or to reflect when this area was a watering hole years ago for cattle ranchers to quench the thirst of their cattle in Ferncreek. The dragonflies, shady trees and quietness of Dickson Azalea Park are a must see for people of all ages to experience.Enjoy a day of family fun and play in the City of Orlando's beautiful 300-acre Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake. Open year-round, seven days a week this park has something for everyone. A swimming pool is open for those hot summer days, large pavilions for huge group picnics are available for rent and small sun shelters for family gatherings are available on a first come first serve basis. The well stocked lake for fishing is tempting to all anglers from novice to experienced. A children's farm is on-site as a remnant of the farm era of the property. The Ecology Center has an air conditioned meeting room. The camping area is a reasonably priced destination for people from all over the U.S. and the world who visit Orlando and area attractions. Another area has bunk houses and grills for those nature based group retreats or chaperoned youth groups. Park visitors are offered a wide variety of nature-oriented activities including: hiking, baseball / softball, volleyball, biking, and large playground for the kids. Feel free to take advantage of our Youth Group rates, Family Pass and Individual Pass.As you can see, in addition to theme parks, Orlando offers a surprising variety of inexpensive family fun and recreational opportunities off the beaten path that offer interesting things to explore for the whole family.For more information about Orlando please contact the Orlando Convention and Visitors Bureau.This entire article including photos is located at http://www.travelandtransitions.com/stories_photos/orlando_parks_neighbhourhoods.htm