Apartments | Travel Plans | Villas

Of Villas, Apartments and Vacation Plans

By on December 10, 2013


lignano beach
summer on the Italian coast

Years ago, I featured one of the Italian villas in Lignano. That where we stayed at with the whole family along with my parents-in-law and my brother-in-law’s family. It’s a simple compound with a pool, reachable by foot by the bus station and relatively just a few minutes away from grocery stores, restaurants, the plaza and the beach. There are also arcade centers to the kids’ enjoyment. We could bring them there if they get tired swimming.

We occupied two rooms at the second floor and from there, we could see the villa pool from the rooms. The kids would be up early, ready for the pool. There are lifeguards around and since they could be seen from our room, we do not worry a lot about their safety, oma or opa would accompany them while we have coffee or tea at our room’s balcony. They have their arm floats too and the other swimmers look out on them somehow.

lignano plaza
Lignano plaza
kids pool
kids loving the pool

We also stayed at a Villa with a lot of rooms in Balaton, Hungary, this one is more of a 2-storey house in a fenced lot with a pool too, all for ourselves. (Story link is on the sidebar.)

Renting villas or apartments when on a long-term vacation has its ups and downs. It’s cheaper than when staying in a hotel. The rates are lower, perhaps 1/3 of a daily hotel rate but convenience-wise, you cook for yourself, clean the place yourself. The extra hours you spent at the apartment cleaning and cooking could already be hours spent shopping and sightseeing unless the place offers bed and breakfast and cleaning services.

It could be said that renting a villa or an apartment for a vacation is like home away from home. You get to do the same things you do at home in a different setting, a different view and environment.

Our summer vacation may be over, winter has enveloped the region and it’s too early to plan for next year. Since we plan on going from city to city, country to country (yes, that’s a big dream on our bucket list); we are planning on renting one of the really charming villas in Athens or Barcelona, or probably an apartment in Nice. It’s a really convenient thing that online reservation websites have a long-range time-table. We could book as early as now for next year’s vacation. We’d definitely book one with pool and which is near the beach, that that serves breakfast and has house cleaning included.

pool villa
pool, seen from our room


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Travel Plans

One for the Bucket List: Swimming with Dolphins in Cancun

By on May 29, 2013


Regardless of whether there are just a few items on your Bucket List or you could go on forever, if you have an affinity for the ocean and dolphins, swimming with them will almost certainly be on the list of things to do when you still can.

The good thing is that, unlike some dreams that may require a little more thought (and a lot more financial backing);,swimming with dolphins is completely achievable with an affordable holiday to Cancun in Mexico. As far as the Caribbean is concerned, breaks in Mexico are some of the most reasonably priced and they land you in the perfect place to enjoy a once in a lifetime opportunity to swim with these incredibly intelligent mammals.

cancun dolphins
always a delight to watch

Notorious for its marine opportunities, a holiday in Cancun will not only help you to get one step closer to fulfilling your dreams but will also provide you with a top notch destination in which to enjoy your summer holiday. From the white sandy beaches to the swaying palm trees, Cancun is nothing short of bliss. While it’s not off the beaten track and may well be one of the popular tourist havens, it still provides a little piece of paradise for you and your fellow travellers.

Head for the popular Dolphin Discovery dolphinariums where you can swim with these loyal creatures with the help of a qualified instructor. Whether you choose to spend time whizzing through the waters with them or you’d prefer to hang back and enjoy an encounter with them including hugs and handshakes, these purpose-made centres will help you to achieve your dreams.

While swimming with dolphins will undoubtedly be at the top of your list of things to do once you arrive in Cancun, don’t forget the multitude of other activities available. From the bewitching seascapes to the lush jungle, Mexico is full of treasures that will remain in your memory forever.

Swimming with Dolphins
swimming with dolphins

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Spain | Travel Plans

Summer Holidays, Head to Benidorm

By on April 14, 2012
benidorm balcony
benidorm balcony

Summer is almost here (on our part of the world) and booking one deal of the available cheap Benidorm holidays is something that I’ve been contemplating on. The famous Balcony of the Mediterrenean – atop the blueness of the sea has piqued my interest since I saw it featured at one of my favorite websites. Benidorm is one of the most popular resort on the Costa Blanca, Spain. Summer vacation in this beautiful coast is a complete package especially if kids are involved. To summarize, here are a few of what you can do in Benidorm.

Play with the dolphins at Mundomar. Mundomar is a marine exotic animal park where children can get to be close with dolphins at the dolphinarium. The whole family will also enjoy parrot shows, see flamingos, turtles, sea lions, penguins upclose, be scared a bit at a bat cave, a children’s park, and a galleon with an underwater view.

benidorm mundomar dolphins

Visit Terra Natura. See the healthiest wild animals from the different regions of the earth. Terra Natura is a theme park showcasing elephants, monkeys, tigers, hippopotamus and more, although caged are well-kept in really clean environment. Also to look out for are the colorful display of the birds, poisonous creatures upclose, big wild animals who will be willing to take photos with you – mascots. Also fun and what every kid would enjoy is to feed the animals themselves and the most fun in it all is they get to ride a donkey!

Be fascinated with the Old Town and the Sandcastles. Benidorm’s Old Town is relatively small but every inch Spanish. The charm of old Spanish architecture is hard to resist and that’s just how Benidorm’s is. Find a pub or a cafe and have a cup of churros con chocolate before you explore the wonderful works of art at the beaches of Levante, sand sculptures. I could only make a pail sandcastle but there, they have the most intricate designs of the biggest sand sculptures.

Walk around the Parks or cool down at the Waterparks. Parque de l’Aigüera is the biggest park in Benidorm. It is a public park in the neoclassical style and separates the Old Town from the modern city. A truly beautiful crossover so to say. Aqua Natura is a waterpark inside the Terra Natura…and you and the kids can cool down in the only water attractionthat lets you experience the feeling of zero gravity.

There’s also Aqualandia where the kids can truly enjoy summer or cool off from the heat. Aqualandia has very good pools and wonderful slides plus a number of great food joints for you to enjoy. The kind of pool adventurous families would look for.

Plaza de la Hispanidad. The heart and soul of Benidorm. Most commonly known as the Triangle Square, the plaza is a hot spot for good restaurants serving the best food, outdoor cafes and shops. This is where you go to enjoy shopping and experiencing the lives of the locals.



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1001 Places | Africa | Travel Plans

1001 Places I’d like to visit before I die #10 – Cape Town

By on March 15, 2012
cape town photo
A view of the Table mountain – google image

Named the World Design Capital for 2014 by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design, Cape Town should be rightfully listed as one of the places one should see. Cape Town is the largest city in South Africa, so it follows that in its vastness, there’d be a lot of things to do, enjoy and see. Cape Town is also a multicultural city so there’s be so many interesting things representing different cultures. There are many cheap flights to Cape town that are offered online, such deals make Cape town much nearer than one could imagine. So what to do in this lovely South African city? Check these  out:

Ride the Table Mountain Cableway. Get a view of Cape Town going high up the flat-topped Table mountain and be mesmerized with the experience.

Visit Robben Island. Particularly the prison buildings were Nelson Mandela, Nobel laureate and former South Africa president was imprisoned for 27 years. There are more to see in this Dutch founded Island.

Relax at Two Oceans Aquarium. Who would say no to a wondrous display of underwater creatures and beasts? I say relax because I feel at ease when watching fish swim about.

Stroll around Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. And perhaps get the chance to identify plants that are in danger of extinction? Another thing to see would be the exhibits of Zimbabwean stone sculptures in the gardens.

Beaches. Soak in the sun and enjoy the white sand beaches or simply sit there and enjoy the view…Cape Town has top class beaches around it!

Tour the Castle of Good Hope. The Castle is the oldest colonial building in South Africa which was built by the East India Company some time in 1666 and 1679. If you’re a history buff, the Castle is a must.

Shop and drop at the V&A Waterfront. No vacation is complete without shopping and dining. V&A Harbour is the place for you to do both. Dine Japanese, Malay, Thai, Italian, French and a lot more other cuisines of your choice. Get your gear and other items from over a 100 stores of branded and local designs. You can also enjoy music, movies and other entertainment from this picturesque harbor or board a boat to bring you to any of the other spots listed above.

cape town  waterfront
V&A Waterfront via


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1001 Places | Travel Plans

1001 Places I’d like to visit before I die #9 – Uluru

By on March 14, 2012
Isolated, via

Another World Heritage site on my list of places to see is Uluru or Ayers Rock, a large sandstone rock formation in the southern part of the Northern Territory in central Australia. Uluru is an island mountain…it’s like a hill of rock in the middle of a dry region.

Forget the high temperature in the region, I’d definitely love to see Uluru change in color throughout the day…

Uluru Waterfalls, Australia
Uluru Waterfalls, Australia via

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1001 Places | Travel Plans

1001 Places I’d Like to Visit Before I Die #8 – Pamukkale

By on March 10, 2012

Where we live is a building where occupants are of different nationalities and most of our neighbors come from Turkey. Friendly as I am I’d hit up a conversation when I bump into one of them at the elevator or at the front yard. More often than not, Turkey holidays would surface in those small talks. It hasn’t come up in our plans to visit Turkey soon but there’s one specific natural site that I’ve always been dying to see there, Pamukkale, which meanCotton Castle. Looking at the photo below it is obvious why this World Heritage site is called so.

Travertines, Pamukkale, Turkey
Pools at Pamukkale, photo via

To be honest I am a more inclined to visit the city of Hierapolis, an ancient Greek city adjacent to Pamukkale (Greece is on my #1 list by the way) and see what remained of it. It was there where hot springs were used as spas to soothe ailments early on in history. Well, if I ever get the chance to go up Pamukkale, Hierapolis is just a few steps away, it’s all good.

Anyway, the hot springs in Pamukkale form travertines, a sedimentary rock deposited by water from the hot springs. Naturally, they are formed into terraces that are like pools. These terraces are so picturesque and attractive that tourists come in multitude. There are those who come for the sight of it but there are also those who try the waters’ healing powers.

Being the history buff that I am, if I get the chance to be here I’d perhaps spend a few hours dipping in the hot springs and most of the time taking photos of the place and touring around, admiring the ruins of Hierapolis. I heard there’s one remaining spa there too!

Pamukkale or Cotton Castle, photo via

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1001 Places | Travel Plans

1001 Places I’d Like to Visit Before I Die #7 – Tenerife

By on March 2, 2012

Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands, the most populated in the Canary and Spain too…and it is blessed with a sunshine-y climate all year round. Having winter that’s colder than before makes one, me in particular, dream of  Tenerife holidays. For a photography buff like me the blues of Tenerife, the beaches, the boats and yachts would make for a perfect photoshooting area…there’d be lots of postcard worthy shots. Of course dipping in the pristine waters and soaking in the sun is given…

Tenerife holidays blue
Lovely blues all year round, only at Tenerife. (google image)

But beyond the beaches of Tenerife is a fun, culture-rich island that visitors would love to explore. For foodies, the tapas routes is like being in heaven twice…being in a lovely island eating the best tapas offered by participating establishments…the deal comes with a beer at only 2.50€. (I’ve yet to see deals for 2012 but 2010 and 2011 were huge hits!) I’m cute sure that vegetables are in abundance too as well as seafood…

For art enthusiasts, the island is a haven of many festivals, operas and art exhibitions. There are also tours provided by local agencies for these. And yes, if you’re traveling with kids, water/theme parks, the Loro Parque (Parrot park), a boat trip or a fishing game would keep the little ones busy and excited as you are. I would love to try diving and snorkeling here.

There are many online booking services available for a Tenerife holiday. Make sure you get the best offer before committing to buy a deal. Can’t wait to get to Tenerife…I can feel the sunshine pulling me there!

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1001 Places | Travel Plans | Traveling

1001 Places I’d Like to Visit before I Die # 6 – Egypt

By on February 26, 2012

I’ve been digging the archives again and it’s surprising how much photos we’ve accumulated through the years. Speaking of digging, Egypt is perhaps one of the cities that has had so much antiquities being discovered, extricated, probed, unearthed, the fascination to its ancient civilization has never ceased. So much so that many of these discoveries or parts of can be found in museums or private collections around the world. One of the photos I dug and wrote about on our art blog is about the Sphinx of Tanis, the biggest Sphinx outside of Egypt that can be found at the Louvre Museum in Paris. Seeing this again made me want to book the first of those advertised cheap holidays to egypt on the sidebar of this blog,  I am after all one of those caught in the magic of Egypt’s mysterious past.

sphinx, egypt
The closest I’ve been to Egypt is via the Tanis Sphinx at the Louvre Museum.

When Egypt is spoken about, the pyramids, sands, sphinx, dates come to mind…but for me there’s one particular vista that I’d love to see personally, the Nile river. As a child exposed to Bible history I had always wondered what the Nile river really looked like when Moses as baby was sent adrift in a basket to escape death. I have an image of how it was when it turned blood red but being there to see it actually would be a different experience. The riverbanks of the Nile has definitely changed especially the modern Cairo area, Egypt’s capital…a big contrast to the ancient customs of daily life but there are still parts of the country where feluccas bring tourists to the rural side. Won’t you be delighted to cruise and see this magnificent sight?

Nile River
Nile River photo courtesy of

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1001 Places | Travel Plans

1001 Places I’d Like to Visit before I Die # 5 – Maldives

By on December 24, 2011

Never have I seen a beach so pure and blue like this, makes me think that this is Paradise. I am not a beach person but I certainly would love to see Maldives, take photos of the unadulterated white sands, blue waters and green-laden Islands. The archipelago is approximately consisted of 1,190 coral islands…I admit, I so envy those who’ve been there, who have taken their own photos and have dipped in it’s pristine waters.

I am so putting this archipelago on my number two spot of places to visit…you know #1 already, right? ^_^

photo credit:

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1001 Places | Travel Plans

1001 Places I’d Like to Visit before I Die # 4 – Cancun

By on October 18, 2011

Cancun at Night

Impresionante, encantador… son las mejores palabras para describir a Cancún. Breathtaking, enchanting…are the best words to describe Cancun. Whether at night, noon or morning, the shores – the island itself is a photographer’s haven.

Cancun holidays are sure to be full of fun. There’s snorkeling, scuba diving and other water sports, you can go visit historic ruins and fun ecological parks…it is also most likely that you’ll witness a wedding by the beach. Nightlife is also never boring!  Cancun is named the  premier destinations for a great night out. Why, with all the superclubs, mime artists, crazy waiters and bubble balloons all around the island, you may night want to sleep at all…

For the boring person in me, I’d be happy to snap around like crazy from the hotel window. The skyline and the night lights is a perfect spot for night photography. Come morning I’ll just enjoy the blue water and sky – a piece of paradise for me!

Cancun beaches

photo credits:, wikipedia

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