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Playa Delfines

June 25th, 2008

Playa Delfines

Playa Delfines is one of the less crowded beaches in Cancun Mexico, if you are looking for a Spring Break hot spot, this beach is not for you. This beach is more for avoiding the crowds, tanning and relaxing. Not the best place to swim because of the strong currents, swimming in these waters is dangerous. One of the highest points in Cancun, this beach has some of the best views. See a more relaxed side to Cancun and visit Playa Delfines.

Tips for visiting Playa Delfines

  • Free admission.
  • Restrooms at location.
  • Pack a lunch or bring a snack as there are not many places to eat near by.
  • Parking is limited so it would be a good idea to take a taxi or to take the bus.

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“Exotic” Travel in Helsinki

June 23rd, 2008

If you are a savvy traveller and you know that there is more to Europe than London, Paris and Rome why not including one of the more exotic European capitals in your next trip in Europe? Helsinki – the capital of Finland - will definitely have a top ranking on this list.

 

 

There is a lot to explore although the city is only a fraction of the size of Paris or Berlin.

Luckily most of Helsinki’s people speak English very well otherwise you would have problems. Unlike a trip to France or Germany you will not be able to pick up a few catchy phrases from a guide book during your flight time. Street names and words with seven “i”s will make you look into your guidebook or on the map the same number of times before you memorize the words. This makes a taxi ride as exotic as in Japan so you better point on the map or on the street name in a book. Otherwise it may happen you land in a totally different neighbourhood. Speaking of taxis: the basic starting fare when you board a taxi at Helsinki’s Vantaa airport is EUR 6.80 (and you are not gone any mile for this)….

 

 

The number of typical sightseeing targets (think: mum is standing with hanging arms in front of Eiffel Tower) in Helsinki is not high. That does not mean you cannot spend 4 or 5 days for a visit. It’s more about the full picture of Helsinki and Finland: what are the people like, what are their habits, what is the fashion, what are they interested in, where do they go for their weekend, what is the food like…

 

Hotel Kämp

Hotel Kamp

So while you visit you may include classic spots like the Senate Square with its neo-classical Cathedral; Esplanade Park with elegant shops and the posh Hotel Kämp; the “Rock” church with modern architecture, quarried out of the natural bedrock with excellent acoustics for concerts; the orthodox church with its golden cupolas showing the Russian impact of former times.

Helsinki

During a summer trip you can enjoy long days and a 20 minute ferry ride to Suomenlinna, an island with a maritime fortress and beautiful views of other sides of the city at the sea.

 

 

 

Suomenlinna

Suomenlinna

If you travel in winter time you should not miss a visit to your hotel’s sauna (you do not need to stay in a spa hotel to have that) or much better: to Yrjönkatu, an amazingly restored swimming hall from the 1920s.

 

A cheap and fun way to see different neighbourhoods is to jump on a tram. One of the most interesting neighbourhoods you will see then is the Design District with many shops, galleries, design hotel Klaus K and the Design Forum Finland showing most of the country’s big names in design and art. You will find all the classic top-class brands and trend-setting young designers for objects and furniture.

 

 

Hotel Klaus K

Klaus K

 

But one of my favourite things to do in Helsinki is: checking out restaurants ! I do not speak of traditional so-called-typical Finnish food like elk. Not that it’s bad but admit it: it is rather to show off next time when your friends compare what exotic meat everybody ate on his trips than to enjoy a fantastic dinner. There has been a development in Helsinki’s restaurant scene that brings very creative chefs from all around the world into this city’s kitchens. The food is very fresh and of high quality, the meals are creative and restaurants offer various atmospheres. Try “Sasso”, a Tuscan restaurant with fantastic food and an exceptional wine list. The service is outstanding and you can dare to ask for details of a wine and you will get the full story including who created the label on the bottle. Similar situation at “Fishmarket” , situated below “Sasso” in the same building and has the same owner but different approach and style. Despite its location in a cellar it is very bright and crisp in style. The fish is a well. Both restaurants can be found at the end of Esplanade street towards the port.

Another favourite is “Mecca”, a cool lounge/club goes restaurant goes club. The atmosphere is as you would expect it from a stylish club. Regular guests match this style – without the attitude you know from New York or Paris.

 

Mecca

Mecca

For another Mediterranean top restaurant I recommend “La Cucina” - with Catalonian and Basque cuisine. Located at the Palace Hotel’s second floor directly at the port. The restaurant welcomes guests with dark black and red design, stylish, modern but cozy. They offer pintxos (tapas) and main dishes of great variety and combinations. Fantastic dark blood coloured red match perfectly. I had my best deserts at this restaurant (chocolate varieties with sea salt) and would not fly Helsinki if I knew this restaurant was closed during that time (almost…).

La Cocina

 

La Cucina

I did not expect the great food and sophisticated interest for architecture and design before I came to Helsinki for the first time. Be surprised if you are going.

carsteng Destinations, Travel, Travel Guide , , , , ,

Utrechtsestraat Amsterdam

June 20th, 2008

Utrechtsestraat Amsterdam

Known for it’s trendy, hip fashions specifically for women, this street is typically less crowded than De Negen Straatjes or Kalverstraat. Lots of places to eat to choose from and excellent shopping basically sums up this place. You can find anything from fashionable clothing to gadgets and good food.

Two places to check out in Utrechtsestraat Amsterdam

  • Be sure to check out Pasja for some funky clothing fashions
  • de Keuken offers specialty kitchen products and a small, quaint restaurant

View Larger Map

LMT Clock Destinations, Tips, Travel, shopping

De Negen Straatjes ‘The Nine Little Streets’ in Amsterdam

June 18th, 2008

De Negen Straatjes ‘The Nine Little Streets’

In the heart of Amsterdam you can find ‘The Nine Little Streets’; Amsterdam’s prestige shopping. Located between Raadhuisstraat and Leidsestraat, you can find anything from vintage stores to specialized theme stores. The coffee is amazing and the shops have a variety of specialty items, here are some examples:

  • Like shoes? Shoe designer Yvette Riemersma has a shop called Antonia by Yvette filled with this seasons latest fashions.
  • Enjoy the artwork of Bilal Chahal at BIHP, the Bar and restaurant that offers lunch, dinner, high tea, fine wines and cocktails.
  • Onitsuka Tiger Store Amsterdam carries imports from Japan such as sport shoes, clothes and accessories.
  • Marlies Katy Smit’s store, MK Jewelry has must see Designer Jewellery and Bespoke Jewelry. There are also Jewellers and Diamond Specialists.
  • Claire V is a designer boutique of designer silk and embroidered silk bags in the season’s best colors.

Interactive Google Map of de Negen Straatjes ‘The Nine little Streets’ in Amsterdam

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Canal Ring in Amsterdam

June 16th, 2008

Canal Ring in Amsterdam

In the 17th century, the Canal Ring became a very wealthy place. Famous merchants, extremely wealthy bankers and other very wealthy business owners built their magnificent homes here. The most prestigious residents built their homes on the Golden Bend or the Gouden Bocht. This area is located where all three canals intersect with Nieuwe Spiegelstraat. The Canal Ring is located Soutwest of the city center of Amsterdam. Also know as Grachtengordel, there are three main canals that make up this ring of canals:

The Princes\' Canal (Prinsengracht) Amsterdam

The Princes’ Canal (Prinsengracht)

The Emporer\'s Canal (Keizersgracht)

The Emporer’s Canal (Keizersgracht)

The Gentlemen\'s Canal (Herengracht) Amsterdam

The Gentlemen’s Canal (Herengracht)

The Canal Ring offers shopping, dining, museums and many other attractions.

 

Tips for visiting Canal Ring in Amsterdam

  • Bring an umbrella and a wind proof jacket as the weather in Amsterdam is known for changing often and very quickly.
  • Wear a good pair of walking shoes that will withstand the cobblestone streets.
  • There are a lot of people on bicycles, watch out for them when crossing the street.
  • Use a good map. Below is an interactive map of the Canal Ring by Google Maps:

View Larger Map

 

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Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam

June 13th, 2008

Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam

The Van Gogh Museum is located on Paulus Potterstraat 7 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The museum is home to more than 200 of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings. In fact, it is the largest collection of Van Gogh’s paintings in the world! Drawings and letters from the famous artist are also on display. Guided and audio tours are available through the museum.

Tips for getting the most out of your visit

  • Go to the information desk and pick up a free leaflet (available in 8 languages: Dutch, English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese and Russian). The leaflet contains a biography of Van Gogh’s life and can be used while watching the presentation on the first floor of Van Gogh’s life in chronological order. The leaflet also contains a map of the entire museum by floor.
  • The audio tour is offered in 9 languages including Dutch, English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Mandarin. If you are going to be visiting in a group you will need to make reservations in advance. If you are visiting with children ask about the Children’s Audio Tour (for children ages 7 to 12).
  • The Van Gogh multimedia tour uses PDA technology to take visitors on a tour through the museum featuring reproductions, stories, photos, letters, drawings, interviews, film clips, music and games. This tour is available in English and Dutch.
  • Don’t forget to stop by the Van Gogh Museum Shop. They have tons of informative books and magazines about Van Gogh and other artists from the 19th century.
  • The museum is accessible for disabled visitors.
  • To get to the museum take tram number 2 and 5 from the Central Station. Here is a map of the location below:

View Larger Map

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Kalverstraat Amsterdam

June 11th, 2008

Kalverstraat Amsterdam

Kalverstraat in Amsterdam is the busiest shopping street of the entire street. Starting from Dam Square and ending about 750 meters down Munttoren, this street is the longest shopping street in Amsterdam packed with people! See the image below.

Kalverstraat Amsterdam

Tips for getting the most out of your Kalverstraat Amsterdam visit

  • Kalvertoren is a small shopping mall open 7 days a week. This mall stores such as features shops from department stores to boutiques. There are also many places to eat here as well.
  • It is most crowded on Saturdays and Sundays. Tuesday mornings are said to be the least crowded.

LMT Clock Destinations, Tips, Travel, shopping

Museum Het Rembrandt in Amsterdam

June 6th, 2008

Museum Het Rembrandt in Amsterdam

Museum Het Rembrandt

The Museum Het Rembrandt is actually the artist’s 17th century house. Rembrandt lived and worked in the house from 1639 to 1658. The house has been recreated and very little of the original home remains but his artwork in displayed along with other artists from the 17th century on the upper levels of the home. The home has 10 rooms and is a sight to see itself.

Tips for getting the most out of your visit

  • But sure to check out the demonstrations of how Rembrandt created his sketch art.
  • Sketches are located in the new building attached to the old house
  • You can purchase reproductions of Rembrandt’s work as full sized prints or postcards in the museum’s gift shop

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Ushuaia

June 4th, 2008

In Yamana, the dialect of the ancient Indians, Ushuaia means “Bay that penetrates to the west”. It’s the capital of Tierra del Fuego.

It was established in 1990. It is the youngest of the 24 argentine provinces. And it lies on the shores of the beagle canal.

 

Ushuaia Argentina

The hotels have grown in the last couple of years. Of course the ones I like best are:

Hotel del Glaciar

Las Hayas Resort Hotel

These are to die for!!!

As you all know I like cooking but also love to eat, in Ushuaia there are typical products that are the best to eat…the spider crab, the black hake and the Patagonian lamb are just a few of the gourmet alternatives you can find. A restaurant I always make sure I visit when in Ushuaia is Tia Elvira. You can eat crab in any and every way thinkable…great!!! The main street is called San Martin and guess what it is all DUTY FREE!!! And of course you can find the bars and cafes..

One of the things you can do is take the “end of the world train” the 14 km ride covers the last kilometers that the prisoners train that was used by the prison of Ushuaia prison between 1896 and 1947. this prison were forced labor in extreme weather conditions as you can imagine. the train stops at the Macarena Cascade where you can get off and see a reconstruction of an Indian camp and the source of the cascade.

Another thing you can do is the “Tierra del Fuego National Park” the road goes through the park up to the Lapataia Bay where you can take the Typical picture of the sign that shows Buenos Aires 3063 Kms and Alaska 17,848 km. this park is the country’s most southern protected area. It belongs to the Andean Patagonia protected areas and it tries to preserve 6 of the tree species there are there. Some of the trees: ñires, lengas and coihues or cherry trees for you guys.

From here you can also see the End of the world Lighthouse, and believe me you get goose bumps not only cause its cold but also cause it blows your mind to think you are at the bottom of the map.

Cerro Castor

Skiing Cerro Castor is a must.

The newest in Argentina and, like everything in Ushuaia, the southernmost in the world, Cerro Castor or Castor mount for you.

50 cms of powder snow every morning due to the stability of its temperature, offering one of the longest seasons in South America. Modern lifts, skiing and snowboarding school for those of us that always have room for learning and all the services that complement Ushuaia scenery.

jlacoste Destinations, Travel, Travel Guide , ,

Wonderful Copenhagen!

May 30th, 2008

Copenhagen

Why is Copenhagen so wonderful? Here what I think of when I think about Copenhagen:

 Home to HC Andersen (Poet and Fairytale Writer)

  • The Little Mermaid
  • Carlsberg Beer (”Probably the best beer in the World”)
  • Tivoli Gardens (Amusement Park)
  • Fashion Week (Top 10 fashion events in the World held twice a year)
  • Design (contemporary Scandinavian design)
  • Freetown Christiania (self-governing area of the city of about 850 hippies)

these are a few of the things that best describe Copenhagen to me.

mikaelhellstrom Destinations, Travel