Tag Archives: travel

A London 2012 Olympics Travel Guide

The city of London has been an iconic city for centuries, as well as one of the top tourism destinations on Earth. In 2012, the capital city of the United Kingdom will also serve as the host city for the Summer Olympics. Although the city is typically busy and full of action, there is no denying that the atmosphere will be even more exciting during the summer months of 2012. The official dates of the Olympic Games are between 27 July 2012 and 12 August 2012, but it can be expected that the city will be busier than normal in the days and weeks prior to the event as well as after. Let this article serve as your guide to tourism during the 2012 London Olympics, including everything from accommodation to dining and local area attractions.

The photo above shows a view of the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, East London.

Image Source: http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6011/6195073299_0e4e4c359d_m.jpg
Image Courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/southeasternstar/6195073299/

 

Accommodation in London: As might be expected during an event of this size, accommodation will be an issue for visitors in London during the Summer Olympics in 2012. Many of the largest hotels in the city centre are already fully booked, both because of international travellers and the athletes themselves who need accommodation for the event. Thankfully, there are many specifically designated London Olympics rentals available for travellers. Choose from London apartment’s right in the heart of the Olympic Zone or housing rentals further away from the centre. Whatever you decide, try to book accommodations as soon as possible to prevent disappointment, as it is predicted that nearly every available bed in London will be full for the events.

Attractions in London: For many, the main attraction in London will be the Olympic events themselves. However, there is much to see and do in the city aside from the games. On days where you are without tickets or just want a break from the action, be sure to visit some of the famed landmarks in London like the Tower Bridge, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey.

The photo above shows the London Olympics 2012 logo.

Image Source: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7180/6788394998_cbcf9203f6_m.jpg
Image Courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/megoizzy/6788394998/

 

Tickets for the Olympics: There was some controversy surrounding the sale of tickets for the 2012 London Olympics. As might be expected, there was a far greater demand for tickets than was available. By the beginning of 2012, all the available tickets have been bought and the only ways to secure additional tickets are by purchasing them through individuals rather than the official vendor for the Olympics.

Transportation during the Olympics: One of the major concerns for the logistics of the London Olympics in 2012 is the issue of transport. The best choice for travellers is to purchase an Oyster card in advance in order to travel quickly and affordably on public transport. Most venues will have two or more means of transport for spectators to use in order to alleviate congestion. Venues outside of the city, such as Portsmouth which will be used for sailing events, will need to be reached by private car in most cases.

By reading this guide, visitors will be prepared for their trips to London during the 2012 Summer Olympics. Although much of the planning needs to be done in advance with regard to accommodation and ticketing, there will be many attractions to explore around the city at a moment’s notice.

This article was written by Alan Horton. He is a regular author of travel and social media articles, to view more of Alan’s work click on his Google+ profile

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Thing to do in Berlin?

Hi,

I am currently planning my trip to Berlin next week and I am not sure what to visit when going to Berlin?

I guess a lot of people already here visited Berlin already and would like to ask you to give my your best tips about places to see, restaurants or bars to visit, hotels and special places that you could recommend me.

I have already found some interesting articles in the Blogosphere.

Please give me your recommendations!

I will write a blog post after my visit, where I will give my impressions about your tips and am happy to share the best posts, that people recommended to me (including back links).

I already booked my visit at the Bundestag (thanks to Kathy at trippykath.wordpress.com) and I will attend the ITB for two days, the rest of my program is still open.

 

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Piazza Sordello, Mantua

Piazza Sordello, MantovaMantua is a city that is often overlooked, but this town deserves a lot of credit. This picture of Piazza Sordello is one of my favorite pictures from my last trip to this exquisite northern Italian city.

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Going to England – where to get the best rates on your flights

This week there was a guest blog article on this blog. It was themed around “picture perfect places to visit in Cornwall”. This blog normally concentrates on stories about visiting Central Europe, as this is the region I live in and have great knowledge of. But I believe that many visitors from overseas also want to see other regions of Europe and I want to show some places that are worth visiting outside my region, too.

I chose Cornwall as first example, as it is quite easy and affordable to get to England from my region and vice versa. Today I would like to give some advice on how to combine England with Central Europe.

Getting to England from Western Central Europe is quite easy. There are dozens of airlines which connect to London and other major English cities. I want to point out some of the connections I use, for my visits to England.

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The Top 5 Picture Perfect Villages in Cornwall

Today I present you a guest blog entry by Laura, it gives us some insight about picture perfect villages to visit in Cornwall. I hope you like it as much as I did!

Sometimes the best way to really experience a new place during a holiday is to simply get lost.  Too often, travelers spend all of their time seeing new places, but not really experiencing them.  Cornwall is one of those places that has so much to offer its holiday visitors, but you can’t just stick to what the hotel travel brochures suggest.  Cornwall is a beautiful place hiding all kinds of treasures; start with this list of perfectly picturesque villages and see where you end up.

Kingsand and Cawsand

Villages that remain practically unaltered by time, Kingsand and Cawsand are located on the Rame peninsula and are actually quite popular among tourists.  Once you’ve gotten over the initial sight of these incredible villages, you might be intrigued to learn a little bit about their past filled with fishing and smuggling.  Frequent winners of the “Best Kept Village” award, Kingsand and Cawsand are perfect to the last detail and have pubs, restaurants, shops, and beaches that will have you wanting to extend your holiday.

St Mawgan

This pretty little village could easily be called the prettiest.  It may be a good place to start since it is located quite close to Newquay airport but is still hidden away where most do not see it.  You can spend hours taking in all that St Mawgan has to offer.  There are amazing places to simply walk and take in the views, a beautiful ford to paddle your feet in, and a rather out-of-place bonsai nursery.  When you need a rest, you can visit the Falcon Inn for a pint of authentic ale, delicious food, and a Cornish style welcome.

Port Isaac

If you’re a fan (or have ever heard of) the hit television series “Doc Martin,” it’s filming location of Port Isaac may be a fun place for you to visit.  It’s completely authentic look and feel make it the perfect location for many television and movie productions looking for that “Old Cornwall” touch.  The classic 18th and 19th century cottages are nestled snuggly inside of a sheltered valley and the long and winding streets between shops, houses, and other locations give it that extra special something.

Mevagissey

A traditional 14th-century fishing village, Mevagissey can only be described with one word; magical.  You’ll be able to take it all in as you wander the streets and in and out of craft shops, gift shops, or while stopping for some of the best fish and chips to ever tantalize your taste buds.  There are sightseeing trips available, and daring tourists can even test their fishing skills.  Rent a cottage right inside the village and spend a few days to really give Mevagissey the time and attention it deserves.

Fowey

If it’s history dating back to the Middle Ages doesn’t immediately draw you in, then the first glimpse of it will.  Fowey is so picture-perfect that it seems like you have just jumped right into a picture on a postcard.  Fowey is one village that has continued to grow and expand as the years have gone by and is still a working harbor.  From the pastel, terraced homes to the endless number of galleries, restaurants, and shopping; Fowey should definitely top your list of must-see places in Cornwall.

Photo courtesy of Karen Roe

If you are thinking about visiting Cornwall England check out the Owner’s Direct website before you travel.  With a wide selection of Cornish cottages available for rent you can make your experience truly traditional.

 

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Stein am Rhein – where Lake Constance becomes Rhine (again)

In my last post „The Rhine Falls – an amazing place to see“ I told you, that the Rhine Falls take about half a day to visit. My suggestion to go afterward (or before) is Stein am Rhein. This small city is famous for its very well preserved historical houses. When walking through Stein am Rhein there are lots of things to discover. Almost every building has a story to tell (and most have signs outside, which tell you this story) and there are dozens of details at every house, which wait to be discovered.

The City is set at “the end” of Lake Constance – the Rhine flows into Lake Constance and then leaves the lake again at Stein am Rhein. You can spot this near the Monastery of St. George.


When you linger through Stein am Rhein you should not restrict yourself to the main streets – every narrow alley has its own impressive buildings and you might discover a hidden restaurant or bar to have a break.

If you are having dinner or lunch in Stein am Rhein I suggest you try some “Bodenseefelchen” – this is a local form of ciscoes. In the main street (towards the town hall) you can find a lot of ice cream parlours, which offer delicious ice.

Stein am Rhein combined with the Rhine Falls makes a great day with impressive sightings – do not miss out on this two highlights.

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The Rhine Falls – an amazing place to see!

One of the most impressive natural wonder in Central Europe are the Rhine Falls.  They are 150m wide and 23m high. The average water flow changes over the year. In Winter its going down to around 250m3/s and in Summer it averages at 700m3/s – and the more water runs the more impressive the Rhine Falls get. This year should become a pretty good year – there are loads of snow in the Mountains and when this snow starts melting in Spring and early Summer, the Rhine will receive a lot of water.

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Visiting the Rhine Falls is always fun – but its best in summer when its hot and the water filled air refreshes you. There are a lot of boat tours – you can just cross the Rhine beneath the falls (going from the one Swiss province (Zurich) to another (Schaffhausen), you can take a ride towards the falls (these boats get pretty close) and there is on trip that takes you to a rock inside the falls, which can be climbed up (via stairs) and will provide you with the best views of the spectacle.

On both sides of the rivers are Castles – Schloss Wörth on the Schaffhausen side (featuring a restaurant) and Schloss Laufen on the Zurich side (with a museum about the falls in it).

The Rhine Falls were one of the first places in Europe that were visited regularly by Tourists. In my opinion it is still an absolute highlight and no one should miss out on that.

Visiting the Rhine Falls will take about half a day – afterwards you could visit the picturesque town of Stein am Rhein – more on that later!

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Traveling through Austria by Train

Today I would love to introduce you to a very convenient way to travel Austria – by railway. A lot of the major cities, in Austria are connected that way.

ÖBB tracksI just recently wrote a guest article at Voyage Articles – Three Cities to visit in Austria. There I wrote a short review about the three major Cities, tourists visit in Austria. The nice thing about Vienna, Salzburg and Innsbruck is, that they are very well connected – not only by car, but also by train. They are all part of the Westbahn-Trasse, which connects Bregenz (Vorarlberg) to Vienna – this route is one of the backbones of the Austrian railway system. This way you can go from Vienna to Salzburg in approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes. Innsbruck – Salzburg are another 2 hours and to go to Vorarlberg you will need another 2 hours. But it is well worth the way, as the railway tracks between Innsbruck and Vorarlberg run over high bridges and through narrow alpine valleys.

A lot of trains are on international routes – there are a lot of trains from Vienna to Zurich (via Feldkirch, Innsbruck, Salzburg); there are trains from Munich to Rome (via Innsbruck) and from Munich to Vienna (via Salzburg) – others run from Bregenz to Budapest (via Innsbruck, Salzburg, Vienna).

There is a second major route – the Südbahn. It takes you from Vienna to Carinthia (via Graz) and connects to Venice.

Visiting Europe by train is a very good alternative, as it is convenient, safe and gives you a lot of opportunities to see rural Europe. I love to travel by train, as it gives me time to read, to meet people or to work (I prefer it to flying – check out this article) There are international train tickets for Tourists who want to use the railway system in different countries – you can find information for international visitors at Eurails Homepage – European Travelers can use the Interrail System.

Deutsch: Panoramablick vom Kapuzinerberg auf d...

Image via Wikipedia

Other important links:

ÖBB (Austrian railways) Route planner: click here

Westbahn (private operator from Vienna to Salzburg): click here

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Going to Berlin: Train vs Plane?

In March I will attend the biggest tourism fair worldwide – the ITB Berlin. I am really looking forward to this, as I have never attended this fair before and I never visited Berlin, either. I will use the ITB to meet potential partners for my company (www.happyheartofeurope.com)

Today I was planning my trip to Berlin and after checking flights and connections I also checked the train schedule.

This was my outcome:

Best way to get to Berlin by Plane is via Zurich Airport: It will take me 5 hours 30 minutes to get from my place to Berlin City Center and it will cost me €310 (with 15 minutes estimated from arriving at Berlin Tegel to leaving the Airport)*

To go there by Train it will take me 9 hours and 10 minutes – for €88. This is possible due to a special offer of the Austrian Railway Operator. I am not allowed to change my schedule (but I am not allowed to do this on the plane, too).*

* both options with my house as starting point

I went for the train option – for several reason:

  • Costs – €230 are good money, and as I am setting up a company, this is something I have to consider.
  • I do like train rides – I have always plenty to do: read a book, have some coffee, work on my net-book or prepare my appointments… if the train is not too crowded, a lot of work can be done. Moreover I will be able to SEE a lot of Germany, just by passing through it – and I am looking forward to that.
  • My carbon footprint – train rides are more ecological. I did some very long flights in December (to and from India) and I believe its time to be more aware of my carbon footprint again.
  • Social aspects – I somehow tend to be get drawn into interesting conversations, while taking the train – and I can remember only one conversation to a stranger on a plane. This might be connected to my
  • Slight feeling of shakiness, whenever I am flying. I know its safe, I know nothing will happen – but still I am getting nervous during when starting, during landings and whenever we hit the slightest turbulences.

 

As you can see, the time factor was not my decisive for flying. As I am using my train time to do some work, I do not feel I lose that much time, that it weights up all the other upsides of taking the train.

So, what are your thoughts … is time so valuable that you always take the fastest options? Have you suffered too much on trains to consider them (I have friends who tell me just that)? Are you a airplane enthusiast? – or would you have made the same decision?

 

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A swiss gem

Summer days in Stein am Rhein, Switzerland

Stein am Rhein is one of my favorite swiss towns in the area – great place to visit old houses, enjoy some ice cream and discover narrow alleys!

You want to know more about Stein am Rhein – read this post: Stein am Rhein – where Lake Constance becomes Rhine again!

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