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City Breaks in Europe – This Summer’s Hot Ticket

Typically when you think of summer holidays you begin to conjure up images of sitting on the beach all day sipping an umbrella drink, but more and more holidaymakers are moving to the city for their holidays, European cities specifically.

Obviously European cities are popular for a multitude of reasons: The history, the cuisine, the shopping.  There is something for everyone and it’s clearly a trend that many people looking to take holidays this year with many british tourists leaving the beaches of Spain and Greece in favour of city breaks all over the continent.

The main favourites for British tourists are Rome, Paris and Barcelona as they are well known.  Paris has many famous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, L’Arc De Triomphe and the Louvre for the art lovers out there.  Rome also has a lot of historic remains from the days when Rome ruled most of Europe, amazing structure such as the Coliseum and the Circo Massimo have stood the test of time and can still be visited to this day.

There are plenty of other cities worthy of visiting though other than the big three of Western Europe, many of these can be reached by train from the previously mentioned big cities.  One such attraction is Venice which is famous for being the city built on waterways rather than roads.  Venice has been seen in many movies such as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the new Italian Job and the recent James Bond movie Casino Royale.  Not far from Venice is Milan which is famed for being one of the fashion capitals of the world. 

Some tour operators may offer deals where you can have multiple stops on your trip to add a bit of variety.  One such instance could be getting flights to Rome or Venice, staying a few nights and then catching a train to Rome or Milan.  Near to Venice is also Lake Garda which can provide a break from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Other popular cities include Amsterdam and Prague, tow recent favourites for stag and hen weekends but also have amazing sights to see.  Prague is a brilliant example of Eastern European culture with buildings and architecture than is amazing to see especially when the snow has fallen.

flights to these cities can normally be found fairly cheap due to many holidays being booked in parts, one place for your hotel, and one place for your car hire and another for the cheap flights that get you there.

A lot of companies allow you to compose your own holiday and so you get to take on the role of a travel agent and make the perfect holiday for yourself.  These multi-stop city breaks ensure you can see all the places you want to in a short space of time, depending on how much you want to see you could spend only a day or two in one location or you could spend a week, with this kind of holiday you’re the boss and you can march to the beat of your own drum.

Italy: The Art Of Good Living

Most people’s perception of Italy is that of style, a country whose taste for the good life is matched only by its panache. The food is full of flavour, created with a desire to serve nothing but the best.

Variety is the spice of life; kitchens all over the country try to outwit one another with new recipes, each one tastier than their neighbours.

But what drives the Italian people is their passion, their zest for life. Nowhere else is life lived with so much enthusiasm.

The boys cruise by street cafes in their open top sports cars looking cool, trying to catch the eyes of the girls. The girls drink their coffees, dressed to the nines in their Versace designer dresses and pretend not to notice. This modern day mating ritual continues endlessly.

Elsewhere in Italy, tourists flock annually to this culturally diverse country, making it the fourth most popular destination in the world.

The majority of holidaymakers fly into Rome and make a beeline for the Colosseum. Brought to life in the recent Hollywood epic ‘Gladiator’, the ancient ruin makes no less impression in real life. Built in 80 AD, this bloodthirsty arena became graveyard for many a brave soldier, thrown to the lions with no mercy.

Within the walls of Rome lies the Vatican. Though technically not part of Italy, it is in fact an independent state and the smallest country in the world. Considered by many to be Christianity’s finest Renaissance church, St Peter’s Cathedral is a magnificent piece of architecture. Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel is another must see, though you may have to compete with large crowds. It is advisable to book your visit beforehand.

High up in the mountains sits the beautiful little town of Assisi, overlooking Perugia. The 14th century fortress of Rocca Maggiore sits predominantly, once the sentinel guarding this proud city. It is the birthplace of St Francis and well worth a visit, provided you can negotiate the religious pilgrims.

In the north of Italy sits the vogue city of Milan. The town is famous for its fashion businesses and exquisite shopping. Indeed, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele is believed to be the oldest shopping mall in the world.

The Biblioteca Ambrosiana holds sketches by Leonardo da Vinci amid its considerable resources of books and drawings. It is one of the main libraries of European culture.

It’s a God Thing

People ask me all the time why I went to occupied Palestine-not just once-but five times since 2005 and why do I care so much about such a small plot of real estate.

I reply, that I went the first time to meet a little boy of Bethlehem who changed my life and to be the Christian delegate amongst the Palestinian and Jewish co-founders of the Olive Trees foundation for Peace [http://www.olivetreesfoundation.org/] an interfaith non-profit dedicated to raising awareness and funds to purchase trees to replace those that have been destroyed by The Wall.

But, my last four trips to occupied Palestine were driven by the fierce urgency of now and a sense of calling; to go-bear witness-and report about the lives of regular people living under military occupation and to learn about and support the grass root efforts of Israeli, Palestinian and International nonviolent activists against the occupation of Palestine.

I also left hearth and home for occupied Palestine five times because injustice anywhere reverberates all over the world and American taxpayers are culpable in where their money is laid down. Annually, over 3.2 billion USA tax dollars are sent to Israel to support the now 40 years of military occupation of the indigenous peoples of the Holy Land.

It was at an Olive Trees Foundation for Peace meeting, that I met a Catholic woman who showed me a photo first published by the Florida Catholic in 2000; a photo that irrevocably changed my life.

Photographer Debbie Hill, captured three year old George [it is his photo that adorns the banner of my website] of Beit Jala, a once peaceful Christian village a five minute car ride from downtown Bethlehem, the morning after the Israeli army destroyed his sanctuary.

Israeli forces had retaliated against a few hopeless militants who had infiltrated George’s neighborhood to snipe across the way into the illegal settlement/colony of Gilo, about a mile from the top of the hill not far from George’s home.

The shrapnel that blew apart the wall of George’s bedroom read ‘Made in USA ‘ and was delivered via American made Apache helicopters.

The second I saw George’s eyes, in that photo, my heart said “DO SOMETHING!”

What could I possibly do I wondered, but I did make a copy of the photo, put it in a frame and placed it upon the altar [a bar high table] in the upper room of my home. Dozens of times a day, I stop and gaze into the eyes of that little boy of Bethlehem and wonder what it will take to end the insane cycle of violence in the Holy Land; which is in pieces-bantustans.

When I met George for the first time in June 2005, I vowed to him that the rest of my life would be dedicated to doing all I could to help bring about the end of the occupation of Palestine.

Of course I had no clue as to what I would or could possibly do, or how much of an ‘impossible mission’ I had promised a little child of Bethlehem. But, every morning I wake up and wonder what I can do today in the pursuit of peace and justice; equal human rights for all, for that is the only way Israel will ever be secure.

A month after my first return home from occupied territory, I put up my website and became a civilian journalist; which is best understood as one who goes out of their comfort zone to report for the benefit of we the people, without orders or censorship from editors or paychecks from conglomerates.

The first civilian journalist may well have been Rachel Corrie, the altruistic young American and volunteer with ISM/International Solidarity movement who was run over and killed by the weight of a Caterpillar bulldozer in Gaza in 2003, four days before America bombed Baghdad.

Rachel and other NONVIOLENT activists had spent hours protesting against the demolition of the home of a pharmacist with five children in Gaza. The Corrie family has sought but has yet to receive justice; an open Congressional investigation and admission of accountability by the Caterpillar Company which continues to reap profits from manufacturing products that further the military occupation of Palestine.

On February 7 2003, Rachel wrote:

“…no amount of reading, attendance at conferences, documentary viewing and word of mouth could have prepared me for the reality of the situation here. You just can’t imagine it unless you see it – and even then you are always well aware that your experience of it is not at all the reality…Nobody in my family has been shot, driving in their car, by a rocket launcher from a tower at the end of a major street in my hometown…When I leave for school or work I can be relatively certain that there will not be a heavily armed soldier waiting…at a checkpoint with the power to decide whether I can go about my business, and whether I can get home again when I’m done…I am in Rafah: a city of about 140,000 people, approximately 60% of whom are refugees – many of whom are twice or three times refugees. Today, as I walked on top of the rubble where homes once stood, Egyptian soldiers called to me from the other side of the border, ‘Go! Go!’ because a tank was coming. And then waving and [asking] ‘What’s your name?’

“Something disturbing about this friendly curiosity. It reminded me of how much, to some degree, we are all kids curious about other kids. Egyptian kids shouting at strange women wandering into the path of tanks. Palestinian kids shot from the tanks when they peak out from behind walls to see what’s going on. International kids standing in front of tanks with banners. Israeli kids in the tanks anonymously – occasionally shouting and also occasionally waving – many forced to be here, many just aggressive – shooting into the houses as we wander away…There is a great deal of concern here about the “reoccupation of Gaza”. Gaza is reoccupied every day to various extents but I think the fear is that the tanks will enter all the streets and remain here instead of entering some of the streets and then withdrawing after some hours or days to observe and shoot from the edges of the communities. If people aren’t already thinking about the consequences of this war for the people of the entire region then I hope you will start.”[1]

It was the events of THAT DAY we call 9/11 topped off by President Bush’s advice a few days later to we the people that we should all go shopping if we wanted to help, that drove my curiosity to learn “about the consequences” of USA foreign policy in the Middle East.

Being a Christian, I also was driven by the need to forgive, love and do good to my ‘enemies’ that led me to connect with the interfaith non-profit OTFFP/Olive Trees Foundation for Peace during the summer of 2003.

I connected with the OTFFP after reading two oped’s published in the Orlando Sentinel written by the Palestinian Muslim and American Jewish Co-Founders of the OTFFP regarding the need for open dialogue that recognizes, respects and empathizes with the pain of the other; for when that happens, anyone of good will, will be moved by compassion to do something to alleviate the pain of the other.

The OTFFP organization united American and Israeli Jews, Christians and Muslims after THAT DAY we call 9/11 to literally extend the olive branch of peace to all the cousins in Father Abraham’s family in Israel Palestine by providing the funds to purchase fruit bearing trees on both sides of The Wall. So far, 30,000 have been rooted.

After a few phone calls and emails to the OTFFP organization, I committed to attend a Sunday afternoon OTFFP meeting in south Orlando following the final third of my first year of weekend retreats for students in a two year formation program for Spiritual Director’s.

During 2002-2003, I participated in a central Florida, Episcopal-Methodist Formation Program for SD/Spiritual Director’s/SD’s. SD’s are not counselors or therapists, but are centered and prayerful people who have learned to listen with their hearts to any other speaking of their struggles with God.

I knew going into the program that I would NOT be hanging out a shingle as an SD, I was drawn to be there for the curriculum; studying the saints and various ways of prayer. That is also when I began to write creative spiritual literature.

But on a Sunday afternoon in the summer of 2003, after concluding my final weekend retreat I attended my first OTFFP meeting and my life was irrevocably changed, and it began that morning during a guided meditation.

The workshop leader instructed my class to close our eyes and breathe deep and slow as she invited us to enter into a long corridor with many closed doors; and then, she went silent. Immediately, I imagined myself skipping, jumping, dancing and running past miles of closed doors as I headed to the end of that long corridor. I was aware of, but not interested in any of the closed doors on my right and left. I headed straight ahead although it was a while before I saw the enormous cathedral sized double doors at the very end of the hallway. As I approached the wooden doors they slowly opened into the inner space and I could see trees and mountains. After crossing the threshold, I realized I stood upon a mountain top and I could see for miles. There were people of every color and creed, in diverse dress and all were at rest and in peaceful harmony under those trees.

When the workshop leader interrupted my reverie, I did not want to leave that mountain top. I also had no clue if I had a glimpse of heaven or a possibility for this world, but as I was on my way to meet some of the Olive Trees for Peace people I thought that had something to do with my imaginative meditation.

I was the first to arrive at Dr. Diab’s home for the meeting, and on that Sunday I was the only Christian in a room filled with American Jews and Palestinian Muslims. I was in awe of all of them as I prayed, “Jesus Christ! Will you look at all these Muslims and Jews doing exactly what you commanded your followers must do; forgive, love and bless ones enemies. Imagine when all we Christians do it too!”

It was that fateful day that led me to travel two hours every Tuesday afternoon for many months in order to listen and write down Dr. Diab’s memoirs, with the intention that it would be for his grandchildren.

But, being an Irish story teller, dissident and spiritual creative, I had no control over the six fictional characters that welled up within me and who began to converse with Dr. Diab during the days that followed our Tuesday meetings. Not until I completed, KEEP HOPE ALIVE did I even realize that my ‘imaginary friends’ also represented six different ways to intuit, love and serve God.

KEEP HOPE ALIVE is also an historical fiction based on the memoirs of a 1948 Palestinian Muslim refugee who became an American citizen with Top Secret Clearance during the Cold War and founded the non-profit interfaith Olive Trees Foundation for Peace as a positive response to THAT DAY we call 9/11.

Because of my connection to the OTFFP, I journeyed the first time to occupied territory in June 2005. I wrote down everything I experienced, felt in my gut and wondered about. I went places I had never imagined existed and I did things I never thought I would or could; such as leaving Ramallah for Jerusalem late at night with a driver I did not know and who only spoke Arabic.

That morning, I rode along with Dr. Diab and his driver to Ramallah from Jerusalem, and witnessed the Wall in full frontal, brutal view. On my left was a thirty foot high wall of concrete; on my right, only rows of bankrupt businesses.

“Financed with U.S. aid at a cost of $1.5 million per mile, the Israeli wall prevents residents from receiving health care and emergency medical services. In other areas, the barrier separates farmers from their olive groves which have been their families’ sole livelihood for generations.” [Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Page 43, Jan/Feb. 2007]

Dr. Diab and I had an appointment at the Palestinian Authority’s compound, where Arafat is now buried.

We met with Rafiq Husseini, chief of staff to President Abbas who informed us, “We have lost more than 1.1 million fruit-bearing trees in Palestinian territories. Trees are about food, the environment, and life. Ancient trees have been demolished by tanks, and we thank the Olive Trees Foundation for Peace for addressing the need to replace them and rebuild the faith of our people. Palestine has always been tolerant to people of all religions. The Jews came here out of Spain along with many Arabs — and then came Zionism. When one wants to take over another, war happens. President Abbas is a very bad politician; he does not lie! He is ready to move on from the past. We have quit crying over our losses; we must move on. Live and let live is the motto of this administration. We can not carry on a battle; it must stop. Peace can only happen with peace, not force. President Abbas has promised, ‘We will do whatever it takes to show the world we want peace.’ We need America to help us. The best thing would be for Americans to come and see the truth of the situation for themselves. I encourage Americans to come and see the Wall; it has nothing to do with security, but everything to do with grabbing water and more land. When Americans understand the real situation, things will change for the better. The humiliation at the checkpoints is beyond belief. It can drive anyone to desperation. We condemn all terrorism, but resisting occupation is necessary.”

After that meeting, Dr. Diab set off for his home village in the Galilee and I explored Ramallah with a friend who was born and lives there. Just before midnight, my friend walked me through the checkpoint to where the cabs waited. I cringed when I saw the watchtower’s small window lit up, and I considered how easy it would be to be shot at and never see it coming. The ground was rocky, uneven, and littered with debris and the only light was from the moon.

My friend bargained with a cabbie in Arabic and I marveled that I, who hated to fly before 9/11 and with absolutely no sense of direction at all, who only speaks and understands English, was traveling alone through occupied territory without any fear at all.

After two weeks of traveling through Israel Palestine with ten other Americans connected with the OTFFP, I remained alone in Jerusalem for the following three days and once again, my life was irrevocably changed.

On the third Tuesday in June of 2005- six days before I returned to the USA- after an excruciatingly painful day in Hebron, I crossed paths with Vanunu for the first time.

In April 2005, two months before my first trip to Jerusalem, I turned the TV on that had last been tuned onto the History channel. They were broadcasting a show called, “Sexpionage” all about Russian female spies and one from the Mossad.

The very first clip that ran before my eyes was of Vanunu being transported to his closed door trial depicting his inspired move to write upon his palm: “HIJACKED” and the Rome flight number he had been on. That was followed by a clip of Shimon Perez in 1986 stating that Israel would never be the first in the Mid East to possess nuclear weapons.

Then, a black and white photo of a bearded, unkempt and disheveled Vanunu filled the TV screen and I thought his eyes looked just like George’s of Beit Jala’s, and again, I heard in my heart:

“Do Something!”

I did email Vanunu after that show to thank him for what he had done in 1986 and to let him know that I and nine other Americans would be in his territory in two months and we would like to take him to dinner or lunch. But, just days before that trip, a Palestinian American warned me not to contact Vanunu as Israel had denied him the right to speak to not just foreign media but also ordered him to not speak to any foreigners at all.

Only because a friend from Ramallah happened to be in Jerusalem on the third Tuesday in June 2005, and invited me out to dinner, did I venture out again. I had no hunger for food after my day in Hebron but as we walked towards the Old City and neared St. Georges Cathedral where Vanunu had been living, I asked my friend if he knew about Vanunu. He recalled hearing about Vanunu’s release from prison in 2004, but he did not know Vanunu was a Christian who had grown up in an Orthodox Jewish home but rejected the faith at 14 years old.

As we entered the courtyard, Vanunu was on his way out to a meeting and a few minutes difference and we would have missed him completely.

Instead I was startled by his physical presence, for I had imagined Vanunu to be dark eyed and much taller than I at 5’4″. Vanunu is not much taller or heavier than I, but what knocked me for a loop were his light green-blue eyes that immediately reminded me of the eyes of an old woman I met in 1998, who irrevocably changed my life.

Her name was Bernice and I crossed paths with her for the first time just a few weeks after I began visiting someone at a local nursing home. As I walked down the hallway, Bernice called out, “Help me. Help me.”

I had been a registered nurse for twenty-five years and when ever I hear someone ask for help, I am compelled to do something, or at least try. All Bernice wanted was for me to change her position, for she was completely paralyzed. From a distance I thought her eyes were dark, but as I approached her, I was startled at how light green-blue they were. That day was the beginning of my now ten year nursing home ministry, and although I have no clue what color Jesus’ eyes may have been, in that moment, I sensed/experienced the presence of The Other; that mystery we call God, for lack of a better word. Crossing paths with Bernice was the first time I had known a visceral, intuitive experience of the presence of God within another. It happened for the second time in the courtyard of St. George’s Cathedral in 2005, during the chance crossing of paths with Vanunu, who inspired me to do something I had not yet imagined I would or could.

During our third meeting, while Vanunu was telling me about growing up in Marrakech, Morocco he asked me if I had ever seen the “Dorothy Day” movie, “The Man who Knew Too Much” for the beginning scenes were shot where he grew up.

He meant to say Doris Day, but in that moment I realized my childhood dream of being Brenda Starr had matured, for Vanunu’s slip of the tongue was the catalyst for me to begin to imagine following in the footsteps of Dorothy Day, the 20th century socialist muckraker who became a Christian and a voice for the voiceless in her newspaper The Catholic Worker, which persists today.

Dorothy Day understood that, “Love is not the starving of whole populations. Love is not the bombardment of open cities. Love is not killing……Our manifesto is the Sermon on the Mount, which means that we will try to be peacemakers.”

During my travels through occupied Palestine and after listening with my heart to the people who shared their stories with me, I asked everyone, “How can I help? What can I do to try to be a peacemaker?”

Everyone responded, “Tell our stories.”

Dorothy Day and Rachel Corrie told the stories of the oppressed. They both are dead, but as long as I can do something and have breath, I too will tell the stories as I try to be a peacemaker by seeking justice; equal human rights for all, and persist to hope for the best.

Might you do something too.

1. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/mar/18/usa.israel

Best airlines for a budget

Paris to Marrakesh and return for $85….Barcelona to Rome and back, $70….London to Milan, return, for four cents!

These are just a sample of the low airfares I turned up during a recent Internet search for travel across Europe and into North Africa.

Discount airlines are booming in Europe these days, and for medium and long-haul routes across the continent, they can’t be beat for timing and price. For cost-conscious travellers from North America, they open up a whole new world; jetting out to various exotic destinations from one European base at an affordable price. In many cases, it’s cheaper for North Americans to book an overseas ticket to one of the major hubs like London then book a discount airline on to their final destination, than it is to fly direct. There are some drawbacks, including a longer time in transit and the risk of missing a connection. But as long as you are aware of the potential problems and do a little planning, the results can save you hundreds of dollars, and open up destinations you never thought you could afford to reach.

How can you uncover these juicy airline deals? First, get yourself organized with a special folder in your Internet Browser so you can store all the information you find. Then start clicking away….

1) One-stop shopping. Visit www.whichbudget.com, a worldwide clearinghouse for information about discount airlines. Simply plug in the country and city you wish to depart from, and the site will list all the destinations to which you can travel using discount airlines, along with hotlinks to the airlines’ websites. Many results will show multiple carriers making the same run, so check out each one for the best deal. And save the ones you like in your Favourites folder for future reference.

2) Google It. Whichbudget’s website is comprehensive, but it may miss an airline or two. Don’t hesitate to do a search for something like “discount airlines france” to see what pops up. Add anything new you find to your Favourites folder.

3) Don’t Ignore the Big Guys. Any time you find a great fare between two points, make sure you check with the traditional airlines that may make the same trip. Aer Lingus, Ireland’s national carrier, converted itself into a discount carrier in the spring of 2007 to do battle with the more recent upstarts. In fact, Ryanair, the Irish airline that pioneered discount air travel more than a decade ago, tried to buy up its new competitor, but the offer was rebuffed

Cheap Airl Tickets – Flying On A Shoestring

1. If you fly frequently, consider joining a frequent flyer program.

Frequent flyer programs can offer long-term discounts, so don’t always buy the cheapest ticket. Once you factor in the free tickets that you eventually qualify for, you could end up saving money. This is an especially good strategy for those who often fly overseas – how many trips to Singapore would it take to accumulate enough frequent flyer miles to get a free domestic ticket?

2. Check the airlines’ own websites

Don’t restrict yourself to the major airlines. Some regional and national carriers offer cheap airfare. China Airlines, for example, might offer cut-rate airfare to Beijing.

3. Check the online travel agencies

Expedia and Orbitz are among the most popular. Travel agents purchase air tickets at a discount by buying in bulk from the airlines, so they can often offer you cheaper rates than the airlines.

4. Be flexible.

Cheap airfares are often available only on certain days and require you to stay a certain minimum time.

5. Try the small agents in ethnic enclaves.

If you live in a big city and want a ticket to Japan, for example, go to Little Tokyo and check out the small agencies. If you want to go to Rome, check out Little Italy. I have purchased round trip tickets from Los Angeles to Tokyo for as little as US$500.

6. Book in advance.

Tickets booked in advance are normally cheaper than last minute purchases.

7. Buy from an air courier service.

Air courier services are companies that buy your luggage allowance in exchange for discounted tickets. Although they are the cheapest tickets available, they are usually reserved for international travel. Please note, however, that you may only bring carry-on luggage.

8. Become a student.

An International Student ID Card will get you lots of places cheap.

9. Offer to pay your way aboard an unregistered cargo plane by cleaning toilets and mopping the deck (bring along a parachute and you can stop anywhere you like – for the very adventurous only!).

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Holidays in Milan

Milan is the second largest cosmopolitan city of Italy after Rome. It is one of the chief silk markets in Europe. Inhabitants of the Milan are very fashionable and particular about their dresses, perfumes and hair styles. Milan is well-known as a holiday station and considered as hot destination for city breaks. There are many travel agents offering cheap flights and hotel packages in Milan. You can easily book online yourself Milan city breaks for a holiday or business trip.

Milan is a vigorous metropolitan area offering a absolute variety of actions and tourist attractions. Milan’s climate is Mediterranean and you can comfortably visit throughout the year. Mountains to the north guard the city from the nastiest of the Arctic chills, but there are the periodic cold snaps. The throbbing heart of Milan is Piazza Del Duomo the whole city seems to revolve around the square; people can be seen everywhere, either on their way to the office, out for shopping, off to the theatre, or else slowly walking around under the elegant arcade. Milan is a class destination for city breaks.

Shopping In Milan

The most important pull of the Milan is shopping and eating. The country is leads in fashion and design technology. Fashion is its lifeblood, and is a dwelling for some of the world’s most stylish boutiques, designed by leading architects with modest elegance. There are many showrooms with the work of glass and mirror and there are shops selling rare and original furniture. Milan is ranked nearby Paris and London as one of Europe’s greatest places to shop. A short break in Milan will always be cherished by you even long after your holidays. You can find the every thing in this city, specially its in the fashion and design. For a luxury shopping in Milan, the sort out places are Montenapoleone, Via della Spiga and Via Sant’Andrea. In case of the affordable purchase there are Corso Vittorio Emanuele, Corso Buenos Aires, Via Torino and Corso di Porta Ticinese. Corso Buenos Aires is one of the longest streets in Europe.

Hotels In Milan

Milan can boasts of many hotels ensuring a quiet, peaceful and a enjoyable stay for business and leisure travellers alike. The graceful location of hotels in Milan offers a beautiful view and superb inner courtyard. You can get the cheapest rates for Milan hotels at http://www.mymilan.co.uk. You can also choose the location that suits you best as they offer hotels in all districts of Milan.

Cuisines, Nightlife, Clubs, Pubs & Cafes

Eating is one of Milan’s greatest delights. The city has implemented a number of international recipes over the years, it is famous for fast foods, cakes and desserts. The Brera area has several modish restaurants and countless bar viz. wine bars, pubs, cafés, bistros, wine cellars, live music bars and lots more to opt from. The Milan night’s panorama is very comprehensive and keep modifying its variations. Milan has some of Italy’s top clubs, cinemas and bars, it is famed as the Italy’s clubbing capital.

City Breaks In Milan With Flights & Hotels

There are many UK based travel agents offering cheap city breaks to Milan. They also provide cheap flights to Milan and hotels in Milan in their short break packages at discounted rates. You can book a short city breaks to Milan at http://www.mymilan.co.uk and receive an additional discount of £5.00 per person on very online booking of flights & hotels in Milan. The discount of £5.00 are offered only for city break packages thought you can book only flights or only hotels as well at very cheap contracted rates. Get yourself ready for spending your weekend holidays in Milan as www.mymilan.co.uk makes available everything you need for apleasant & relaxing city break.

Money

Tips for how to get a cheap airfare in Europe

Getting to Europe is an expensive task, however once here, everything is very close and travel can be affordable if you are clever. I have identified a few tricks that could enable you to get those European vacations you desire without paying full price for airline tickets.

Be flexible in your travel dates. This helps to find the cheapest fares available because the airlines charge more for travel on certain days for example Fridays and Sundays. It will also cost you more to fly a public holiday or the day immediately after a holiday. These are all heavy travel’ days so airlines won’t discount them. Alls try flying in unusual times of the day; this tends to be cheaper than peak commute’ times. If you still wish to travel over the weekend a small change like flying on a Friday morning or even Thursday afternoon can be economically beneficial.

Do your homework: Websites like www.skyscanner.com or www.bestfares.com they are fantastic because they are not an individual company’s website; they are independent and will identify the best airline travel options for you the consumer.

Book your tickets in advance: It’s often the airlines company policy to increase the price of the ticket in direct relation to the length of time before the planes scheduled take off. It’s a simple thing to identify, ask for a ticket on the next plane available and then for one also in 3months the price difference will be obvious.

Watch out for cheap airlines: There are a number of companies out there that offer cheap airline flights’, or the best price airline tickets’, my advice is to be careful. While the initial price quoted for your airline ticket can be incredibly cheap ensure that you add up all the costs before you start comparing your actual flight costs. The operating costs of these cheap airlines are not much less than standard airlines. They will cover their costs by selling you a cheap plane ticket then making up the money by charging extra on bags, paying with a credit card, and other miscellaneous taxes. The cost of these cheap airline flights can actually be more than flying with a standard airline. Once you total the costs it is cheaper to fly from Frankfurt to London on British Airways than to buy a 5 euro ticket with other companies.

Finally, find out which airport the plane lands at is: Often the cheap flights deal’ will land at obscure airports and require an expensive bus or train tickets to get to your final destination. For example one company that fly’s from Frankfurt in Germany uses an airport that is two hours travel from the main international airport Frankfurt Mann this bus trip will cost you 17.50 euro per person each way. The same applies for the airports in Rome and London. These taxis, bus and train tickets can all grow transportation costs exponentially. Don’t forget to add this into your costs when comparing your options. A friend bought a 90.00 euro ticket to go skiing in Italy, problem was it cost another 80.00 euro per person to get connections to the ski field because they landed so far away in comparison the flight cost 120.00 euro and a further 20.00 euro (for two people) in the taxi.

Ways to travel cheap or free – Part 1

Winter Away – on the Cheap

The very best way to save money on travel is to do it in the off season. I have been to Spain in the summer when it was so hot you could hardly move. All the folks walked on the shady side of the streets and the consumption of water to keep hydrated was constant. Not only are the temperatures high but so are the prices and the wait times. I found that by going in the off season I could stay in very nice hotels for about 50 to 25 percent of the cost during the high season. This was a huge saving and enabled me to extend my stay. There are savings to be had on cabs, restaurants and tourist attractions which are utilized far less in the off season making site seeing much more enjoyable. I also think that the locals are more willing to help and be kind when they are not bombarded with thousands of tourists.

It is a good idea to pre-book your hotels. Many hotels totally shut down in the low season saving money on staff expenses. You can find good deals. It just takes a little more time on your computer. I have found the Youth Hostels in Europe to be very clean and reasonably priced.

Another little tip – don’t book your flights within Europe through your travel agent. Do a little work on the web and find airlines that operate within Europe. I flew from Madrid to Rome for $42.00. There are many flight deals to be had by booking directly with the airlines in Europe.

The attractions of Europe have been there for a thousand years and they don’t change because the weather changes. You do need to carry an umbrella. The summers in Spain are extremely hot. Too hot for my Canadian sensitivities. I found the Fall weather much more agreeable. I wore a light jacket over a shirt but many of the locals were in much heavier and warmer coats. I had the feeling that they were looking at me like I was a little crazy.

I was in Spain and Italy for six weeks in November and December. The temperatures were very comfortable and it only rained three days. It was cool in Venice on the water but that problem was solved with a light jacket and a scarf. I was told that during the high season a person can wait up to six hours to go up the tall tower in St. Mark’s Square. We were able to go straight up and while at the top our view was not blocked by other tourists. I was able to walk straight into the Vatican after weaving my way through a large maze of fences that are used in the high season to control the crowds.

Malta’s Holiday Marketing Strategies

Malta’s location in the Mediterranean makes it a popular vacation spot for tourists from Europe.

Prior to the development of Malta’s tourist industry in the 1950s, the economy was geared toward providing services to the British military.

During this time, the tourism industry was not as important as the island’s strategic placement. After the British government closed down its military base on Malta, tourism began to flourish. The island also became a port for ship repairs and light manufacturing.

In the late 1950s, the Maltese government formalized its efforts to promote Malta as a tourist destination and to improve access to its beaches – tourism began to grow rapidly.

Malta soon was playing host to more than 12,000 tourists and filling its hotels, often to capacity, during prime vacation seasons.

Malta has been a prime vacation destination for years. Its white sandy beaches and many attractions appeal to a wide variety of audiences.

For the 2008 holiday season, the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) launched an entirely new marketing plan. The plan, launched in late 2007, promotes Malta through a variety of media. Methods have included television advertisements, radio spots, posters, billboards and online marketing.

In cooperation with Air Malta, MTA launched several key promotions in Italy and France. Promotions in the two countries included television commercials that were played simultaneously on 1,152 large, flat-screen televisions in 22 major train stations.

This method alone was seen by millions of potential tourists. More than 600 large posters were hung in the Paris metro station and another 300 were on display on outdoor advertising.

In March 2008, Malta’s representation at the Globe Fair in Rome helped promote Malta to a new, younger crowd of potential tourists.

Promotions continued through the month of April and included Maxi Retro advertisements in Rome, Milan, Bologna, Treviso and Mestre. In total, 225 public transit buses and trams bore advertisements for the MTA and Air Malta.

Spain also has seen an increase in MTA advertisements. Barcelona is home to a large, 980-square-foot billboard promoting Malta.

The billboard is well-lit and visible from a great distance both during the day and night. In addition to the billboard, hundreds of posters hang in the Barcelona and Madrid subways. Two trams in Valencia also bear advertising, along with two Maxi Retro buses in Barcelona. A radio campaign was launched in Madrid to help promote low-cost flight connections from Spain to Malta.

Malta recently has changed currency from the Maltese lira to the euro. Some argue that the change will have a detrimental effect on the holiday Malta industry. Others believe the change will have a positive effect on Malta’s economy and tourism.

Both sides have valid arguments, as the euro is gaining value against the sterling and dollar.

However, current exchange rates will cause a bit more of a wallet-pinch as international tourists plan overseas vacations.

Lower-cost airfares will definitely be more popular this year as a result. Low-cost flight alternatives offer more flexibility for tourists who enjoy a long weekend away from the rigors of everyday life.