Travel Review SItes

August 11th, 2014  / Author: admin

One of the most interesting developments in travel recently has been the advent of review sites such as trip advisor where it is possible to go and check reviews of hotels and travel sites before booking. These stem from the many ┬ácomplaints from travelers about either hotels, or restaurants or package deals that they might have bought through travel agencies. A very good one is – as mentioned earlier – tripadvisor – which covers flights, vacation rentals and numerous other travel related questions.

These have subsequently spawned numerous other review sites from yelp to google reviews and smaller niche specific sites such as this one here which deals primarily with a company called primestyle – primestyle reviews – which encompasses several niches from beauty products to diamond rings. This is an interesting development from the travel industry’s perspective (and other industries) because it is now extremely difficult to get away with sub standard services or products.

Of course, certain industries such as the travel business or construction business are more likely to attract “cowboys” than other industries. Traditionally the construction industry has probably – well deservedly – garnered the worst reputation. But the travel industry cannot have been far behind.One interesting development has been the emergence of in house reviews on sites such as Amazon for specific products. It is now almost impossible to get rid of poor stock or products through these sites because a certain number of poor reviews will get your account cancelled and in some cases they have been known to seize stock in transit until any complaints have been dealt with to their satisfaction.

Thankfully it appears also that the various governmental agencies that deal with consumer fraud have been prepared to step in when it seems as though fake or false reviews have been posted so nowadays most people can trust many of the consumer review sites as being above board and genuine. This does – of course – lend itself to abuse by (usually) the “big boys” in a given industry because they can bring far more resources to bear. But that is the way of of capitalism now. Look after the big players and leave the smaller players to founder and fail.

It is interesting that these review sites started in the travel industry though. Who knew we would be leaders in the Internet one day? Not me that is for sure. I must admit I tend to go straight to tripadvisor when I am thinking of booking a trip anywhere, and I suspect that many others do also judging by the amount of tripadvisor stickers i see on hotel and restaurant windows.

Save Money with Suburban Apartments

April 9th, 2012  / Author: Katy Vanbrunt

It always amazes me that when people are looking for cheap accommodation in Rome or other European centres, they forget there is such a thing as suburbs.

If you live in an American city, chances are your  city has suburban areas.    Ditto if you live in the UK, or Australia, or anywhere else in the world.  In most of those places, the majority of ordinary city residents don’t live in the CBD – they live further out. Yet somehow, they manage to get into the city to work, five days a week.

The reason the natives don’t live in the city centre is simple – it’s too expensive.  Rentals in the outlying areas are much, much cheaper.  Often, local restaurants are much cheaper than the inner-city eating places, which are often more upmarket.

So really, it shouldn’t take a leap of imagination to realize that you, too, can save a heap of money by searching for an apartment in the areas where ordinary Romans live, instead of heading straight for the usual tourist traps.  Especially in Rome, where public transport is incredibly cheap, very reliable, and easy to understand. 

It’s not that hard to find apartments outside the main tourist areas – a search on TripAdvisor will usually turn up quite a selection.   Read the reviews carefully – and there’s no reason why you can’t email the owner for details of buses, trains or subway services to the city. 

On my recent trip, I paid about two-thirds the rent I would’ve paid in a more central location.   And I was able to save more by doing my own cooking – a local supermarket was close by, something it’s almost impossible to find in central Rome.  And the small trattoria around the corner was far, far cheaper than the touristic cafes where I ate lunch while sightseeing.   Overall, it was well worth the extra half-hour or so travel time each day.

A Bit of Tuscany in Napa

March 16th, 2012  / Author: L Curlee

Perhaps you’re longing for a trip to Italy, but this year’s vacation budget doesn’t quite allow for that sort of extravagance?  Here’s an alternate, easier-on-the-pocketbook idea for you:  plan a Napa vacation and visit the Castello di Amorosa winery’s authentic 12th century style, Tuscan stone castle.

This is no silly, little fake castle.  It’s the real deal, with 100+ rooms included in its 121,000 square feet that stretch across eight above-and-below-ground levels.  It was fashioned using medieval techniques and largely from salvaged European building materials.  Over 8,000 tons of locally quarried stone were chiseled – not sawed – by hand during the course of its construction.

The sumptuous furnishings include a late-Renaissance Iron Maiden in the castle’s torture chamber and a 500-year-old fireplace in its 72-by-30-foot Great Hall.  There’s a moat and drawbridge, ramparts and guard towers, a knight’s chamber, a candle room and a sweet, tiny chapel on the property – everything you’d see in a real-life Tuscan castle!  Check it out for yourself in the video tour below:

As you might expect, Castello di Amorosa winery specializes in Italian varietals, with both red and white offerings, as well as a selection of dessert wines.  You should plan to stock your home’s wine shelves on your visit, as the winery’s selections are not available in stores.

The guide to the hidden secrets of Rome

March 9th, 2012  / Author: Margery L

If you are planning a trip to Europe, include Rome as one of your main attractions. Neighborhoods like Testaccio and Esquilino will grant a tourist the chance to get away from the noise of busy streets and tourists. The heat in these locations  fills the air with the aroma of the wonderful ingredients of Italian cuisine. The best time to visit is later, during fall or during the early months of spring.

Esquilino and Testaccio are not luxurious or classy locations but they are on the list of many famous people such as artists, intellectuals and academics. The particular attraction is food with guests having a good time savoring local Italian cooking.

When visiting Rome you are known to the locals as a doctore. You will experience the Stendhal syndrome while being here. There’s a mix of cheap electric lights coming from a nearby Caravaggio church, bathed in light  from the hot Roman sun. The imperial aqueduct is one site to be experienced. Sculpted statues of ancient Romans  are appealing and make you want to squeeze their buttocks.

Rome can prove to be overwhelming in beauty. When going back to your home town you might feel deflated , because you’ve left this type of magnificence behind. In Rome everything is set up to impress. The ancient city has  history that cannot fail to impress. The Coliseum comes to life under the narrative of the local guide.

Esquilino is an immigrant enclave while Testaccio is a working-class wonder environment that will help you appreciate Rome’s architecture and cuisine. It offers a rustic experience quite unlike a visit to a modern faceless and impersonal city.

Should you choose to include England as part of your trip to Europe then you might want to experience the flavor of the English countryside by visiting typical bed and breakfast establishments like set in the heart of the country.

What Cocktails to Drink in Rome

February 22nd, 2012  / Author: L Curlee

So, you’ve flown to Rome and are now at one of the city’s most famous bars, be it Harry’s or one the many fine establishments boasting spectacular views of the Forum, but you’re not sure what to order. After all, a Jack and Coke or a screwdriver is hardly an appropriate beverage for a great international metropolis. When sitting on bar stools in Rome, after all, you’d like to drink like the Romans do. Here are three great cocktail choices.


The Americano — Considering the name of this fine beverage, you might think ordering it would paint you as an outsider. Fortunately, that’s not really the case. Yes, this thoroughly refreshing, light drink did get its name because visiting Americans seemed to like it, but Italians were guzzling it first and very enthusiastically under another name. It consists of carbonated water, sweet vermouth, and Campari, an amazing cocktail ingredient beloved in Italy combining very strong sweetness and equal parts bitterness. Fun fact: the first drink James Bond ever ordered in Ian Fleming’s first 007 novel (“Casino Royale,” 1953) was the Americano. How could any drink possibly be any cooler?


The Negroni — This concoction of gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari, usually served “up,” martini style, in a cocktail glass, was supposedly invented by a Count Negroni from Florence. As with most tales about the invention of cocktails, what really happened is anyone’s guess. What we do know is that few drinks will make you happier while chatting with friends. One word of caution, however, it’s fairly strong and too many of these have been known to make more than a few fellows fall from their Roman bar stools.


The Martini — While this even stronger drink was probably first invented in New York City, it may have been  the creation of an Italian bartender named Martini. Assuming, however, that that story is entirely legend, there is no doubt that the dry vermouth used so sparingly in a classic dry martini is from the very Italian firm of Martini & Rossi and, in any case, this ultra-classic cocktail is a true citizen of the world. In any case, you’ll never look less than cool in any world capital while drinking a martini. Here’s a secret: Ian Fleming notwithstanding, most cocktail pros prefer their martinis stirred, not shaken, though everyone loves to make a big dent in their bar stools spending hours arguing about it. What could be more Italian?


The Horror of Flying at Christmas

December 12th, 2011  / Author: L Curlee

Well, it’s that time of year again: millions of people around the world are preparing to fly home or off on vacation for the holidays, and for the next few weeks the skies will be filled with… well, with far too many people who don’t have the first clue how to fly. 

I fly a few dozen times a year, sometimes totting up three or four flights in a week (trust me, it’s even less fun than it sounds).  Before each of these flights I despair at the long lines at airport security, watching with disappointment as yet another person fails to understand what they can and can’t take on board the flight with them. 

Let’s clear this up in advance of the holiday season.  You can’t take a Swiss Army knife on a plane.  You can’t take a gun.  You can’t take a 2 liter bottle of pop.  You just can’t.

Unsurprisingly it’s the last one that trips most people up (most people are smart enough not to try taking a pistol on board with them).  In every security line you’ll find some idiot trying to carry a bagful of liquids through to their flight.  A bottle of soda is easily dealt with – just throw it in the trash – but the problem becomes much thornier when people try to take expensive cosmetics through security.  

Seriously, it’s every flight.  ’I'm sorry, officer, but it’s just a bit of eyeliner.  It’s only a stick of lipstick.  It’s just moisturiser.’  Sure, maybe, but how the heck do they know that?  

Here are the facts.  According to TSA regulations you’re only allowed to take 1 quart sized clear cosmetic bags onto a flight.  Each bag can contain 3 3oz clean bottles, and you’re allowed 1 bag per passenger. 

That isn’t too complicated, right? 

Now let’s watch you all screw it up.

Things to Do In Rome

December 8th, 2011  / Author: Silberman

Rome is a beautiful place to spend your vacation whether for the whole family or just you and your other half. It is a place that is rich in culture and with many warm and friendly natives awaiting you, you will definitely have a splendid time if you choose to make it your next vacation spot.  To help you make the decision of whether to go to Rome on vacation or not here are some things you can do while there;

  1. Visit the Vatican City. You could say that this city is almost like another state by itself. It is one of the most visited places in Rome and is home to the Papacy. Here you will find a lot to see where the Catholic Church and its history are concerned as well as countless beautiful pieces of Catholic Art.
  2. Visit the Pantheon; a historical Roman site where time seems to have stopped.
  3. Take a walk along the Forum. This also has a deep historical background and its setting has remained pretty much undisturbed giving you that ancient Rome feeling as you walk through.
  4. Visit the Colosseum. This is where gladiators had their fighting matches which you will find in a pretty untouched state.
  5. Ensure you eat a Roman meal.  Get your fair share of authentic Roman cuisine even if just for one meal out of your entire trip. You can take along a flex belt just in case you find you love the food too much. Here is a flex belt coupon that could come in handy prior to your trip.
  6. Do some shopping. Many times when we go on vacation we only purchase little nick knacks to take back home as souvenirs. When you are in Rome break this tradition and purchase some fresh fruits and vegetables that are native to Rome. Purchase clothing items and other things that will help you live the Roman lifestyle. You will find this to be a very scintillating activity.
  7. Rent a moped for moving around the city. This is a great way for you to check out Rome at your own pace and leisure and a great way to take part in core Roman activities.


November 5th, 2011  / Author: L Curlee

The people of Rome live among the architectural achievements of over 2,000 years of the city’s history.

Rome’s most important industry is tourism as the city abounds in art, museums and libraries. However, other industries such as high fashion clothing, printing, electronics, engineering, chemicals and food processing are also significant. These are to be found mostly on the south and east of the city, which is also an important center of banking and commerce.

The curving Spanish Steps, designed by Francesco de Sanctis in 1723, are famous for their elegance and for the colorful markets at their feet. The Castel Sant’Angelo, a huge imperial mausoleum, was built by the Emperor Hadrian in AD 135; today it is a state museum. The Arch of Titus stands at the entrance to the Roman Forum; it was built in AD 81 to commemorate the emperor’s capture of Jerusalem. St Peter’s Basilica is arguably the most famous church in the world. Completed in 1615, it is the scene of papal ceremonies and is a place of pilgrimage for the world’s Roman Catholics

The Leonardo da Vinci airport at Fiumicino provides international air links and many major roads and railways converge on the city. Rome has a bad traffic problem but efforts are being made to free the heart of the city of traffic by new schemes such as the extension of the Metropolitana subway and the building of enormous underground car parks. The rapid growth of Rome during the last century has led to housing shortages and congestion but public services are modern and efficient.

The population of the city is now about 2,700,000

Where was Carthage?

September 27th, 2011  / Author: K Fairfield

Carthage (Greek Karkhedon, Latin Carthago), ancient city of Africa, situated on a peninsula in the Gulf of Utica, about 20 km east of modern tunis. Founded from Tyre circa 700 BC, its real name was Kirjath-Hadeshath (New Town). By the mid-6th century BC Carthage was the center of a great Phoenician commercial empire whose numerous colonies were scattered throughout the Mediterranean area. At the height of its power, the city had a flourishing textile industry, while Sicily, Italy, and Greece alike welcomed its exports of Negro slaves, ivory, metals, precious stones and all the products of central Africa.

Carthage enters European history in 550 BC, when its soldiers conquered most of eastern Sicily. Fourteen years later the Carthaginians defeated the Phocaeans and Massaliotes on the coast of Corsica; c. 500 BC they subdued Sardinia and the Balearic islands. In 480 BC a Carthaginian army, intended for the final subjugation of all Sicily, was defeated before Himera by the combined forces of Himera and Acragas. The war, however, continued intermittently for 200 years

In 509 BC, Carthage had entered into a commercial treaty with Rome: but during the 220 years since that date Roman power had greatly increased, and conflict with the Carthaginian empire was inevitable. It proved to be one of the most remarkable and most decisive struggles of history (see punic wars), and ended with the defeat and destruction of Carthage in 146 BC, when all its territory became subject to Rome and was formed into the province of Africa.

The city remained virtually in ruins until rebuilt and made a colony (colonia Julia) by augustus. Carthage is described by Pomponius Mela, Strabo, and Herodian as one of the greatest and wealthiest cities of the Roman empire; it was also important in ecclesiastical history. The city was taken by the Vandals in 439, retaken by Belisarius in 533, and finally destroyed by the Arabs in 697.

Lladro Christmas Tree Figurine Collectibles

September 26th, 2011  / Author: MalindaW

Lladro artisans have designed and made several gorgeous Christmas tree figurines. If you are like me and love all things Christmas tree, then you’ll love a Christmas Tree figurine as much as the real thing. They are wonderful home accessories during the Holidays season and can bring life to any quiet corner of your home. I love to put them in groupings of table lamps and Christmas candy dishes.

They are also wonderful gifts for people who have limited space or mobility. If you’ve got a relative in a nursing home, this Chistmas figurine is a wonderful addition to their room. You can bring it shortly after Thanksgiving, with a few small presents. It will give your relative a sense of anticipation and inclusion into the holidays.

In addition to lone decorated Christmas tree figurine, there is also a figurine that shows children in vintage clothing decorating the tree. This could bring back very many happy memories for many of us.

Some of us just don’t have the space or time for a Christmas tree. If you don’t have children, then it might just not fit into your December time priorities. But you can place a Christmas tree on a coffee table and still share in the Christmas spirit!