Category Archives: General

Best vacation time has a ‘do nothing’ time as well.

Even though it seems that vacation is a time when people get rest  and can breakaway from everyday routines, for many people it’s very stressful time. I would say there are two options – many people consider vacation as an opportunity to do the things they havent done while working or really use as an opportunity to relax & do things in easy pace.enjoying the sunny day

Often we make a something like ‘wish list’ for the vacation time, what’s needed to do. Consider things you would like to do and you need to do. Someone has a lot of travel activities, someone is planning to visit relatives or go to countryside for a while.

What is on your vacation list?

  • Go to the movies;
  • spend more time outside the house;
  • go to an amusement park;
  • do some homework;
  • trip to Europe;
  • go to the beach;
  • clean your room;
  • design you dream house;
  • cook 3 meals a day;
  • read work related books;
  • chat with friends on facebook;
  • take summer courses at the community college;
  • spend more time with children;
  • visit relatives…

Well, did you pick things that relates to you? But where is a ‘do nothing’ time, when you will:

  • forget about alarm clock and have a ‘lazy’ morning;
  • surf the Internet without checking an e-mail;
  • do things with no-rush attitude during the day;
  • have a cup of tea and watch life going on outside the window;
  • eat and drink slowly, with enough time to taste a food;
  • read a book while at taking long warm bath;
  • spend time with family or friends without rushing;
  • head out to seaside & watch sunset;
  • do one thing at the time.

    enjoy the sunshine or watch people passing by

    enjoy the sunshine or simply watch people passing by

What comes to traveling, do you have a list of sightseeing ‘must see today’ places? Planning is good. But do you know that all the plans are made to be changed? If this is your holiday, do you really need to get up at 7am to have a quick breakfast and be first in line to famous tourist attraction?

I like traveling. I like sightseeing. But somehow staying in a queue for an hour or two to get  up on viewing platform of Notre Dame Cathedral, getting in to Coliseum/ Louvre  or  visit a Vatican doesn’t sound tempting at all. Therefore I would suggest use tourist sightseeing passes that include transportation and line skipping as much as possible 🙂

There are things that I don’t understand either – like traveling 5 European cities in 7 days or running trough British Museum in two hours. I see just a lot of stress from getting from place to place and tired people of ‘too much information’ in short time. I wish people would enjoy more:

  • breakfast without rush;
  • catching the morning sun at the hotel’s swimming pool;
  • enjoying the view of the city or some attraction;
  • simply sit down at the park and watch people passing by;
  • enjoy sunset (sunrise is nice as well, but too early 🙂 )sunrise

I do understand that not everyone can have 1 or 2 month off the job but even a week is good for it. With good planning even a short breakaway can be helpful to ‘recharge batteries’ of your body & soul. Do the things you have been wishing for a long time or go to the places that are off your regular route… 

With all the activities going on don’t forget to include time, when you ‘do nothing’. Modern meaning of ‘holidays‘ is a special days to have a rest or relaxation ( as an opposite to normal days of work).

Relax, take it easy!

…and enjoy you vacation days!

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European Museum Night 2011

Tonight on May 14, in many European cities there are a lot of evening activities going on. Besides grand finals of Eurovision Song Contest tonight Europe has some other event  in common – a Museum Night. In every big or not so big city there are many museums open late and have free entrance. With special programs, cultural activities, concerts and other hapennings going on from 7pm  till 1am of May 15.

European Museum Night

European Museum Night 2011, Riga

In Baltic States – Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania this event has some additional title – Neighbours. People visiting museums will have opportunity to find out interesting things about locals but get to know something about neighbouring countries as well.

In Latvian capital Riga this year people can visit not just museums but places like the Riga Palace, the House of Parliament – Saeims. Several Universities located in central part of Riga have created special programs regarding science, culture or history. And as a tradition many bookstores are open late as well, offering great discounts for books.

Middle of May is very good time for events like this, because the weather is good already for late night walking. And people enjoy it. Usually we go more to the museums when traveling abroad or visiting some special sightseeing place. During Museum Night not just tourists are visiting Museums. With free entrance option local people are using a chance to visit as many museums as possible together with friends and family.

Visitors of Museum Night

Visitors of Museum Night at Natural History Museum Of Latvia

When was the last time there were so many people in the museum or you were staying in the line to get into History or Art Museum?

During the European Museum Night there are long lines outside before the entrance in many museums.

During the European Museum Night there are long lines outside before the entrance in many museums.

Are you watching Eurovision?

This is kind of funny – I mean the Eurovision Song Contest. Everybody says they don’t like it; everybody says that is not a serious contest; songs are not good; singers are not professionals and the winning song will have a ‘short live’…

But in many European countries professional singers are trying to be the ones that represent country. But what’s even more fun that everybody knows or have heard at least some thing about Eurovision Song Contest. & to be more fun, in Facebook Eurovision Song Contest has got already 307  791 likes. Even more – to some posts about favorites before tonight’s semi-finals there are more than 4000 comments (and they keep coming )…

Wondering what it’s all about? Every year European Broadcasting Union is organising a song contest where every European country can be represented with one, lately published song. The winner takes it all – I mean the fame 🙂 but the winner’s country is the host of the next years contest. This year Eurovision Song Contest is hosted in Dusseldorf, Germany because last year it was won by Lena – a girl with a simple but ‘sticky’ song ‘Satelites’.

What ever is the people’s attitude to this song contest, millions of Europeans are watching this contest on TV and hosting country gets some additional tourist attention as well. Tickets to the finals are sold out in every country. Besides the local crowds, there are people who travel to the new destination every year just to be part of the event. Last year Oslo was hosting all the participants and travelers to the Eurovision Song Contest.  Before that many popular European travel destinations like Moskow, Belgrad, Helsinki,  Kiev, Riga, London, Stockholm, Dublin, Paris and many more European cities have welcomed Eurovision Song Contest.

What is your favorite Eurovision song?

P.S. Even though this is a song contest, many people turn on TV when the final voting goes on ( every participationg country can select their TOP 10 but own song).

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Sightseeing of the Royal London.

Have you been wondering about visiting London this or next year? I think todays Royal Wedding Ceremony broadcasted all over the world will be a little buster for many travelers who havent mada a mind about it. Besides next year, in 2012 London will host Olympic Games. Both these events will make people pay more attention to London as a travel destination.

If you are one of them, then here is something for you 🙂 For a limited time, here is a free download of Royal London Audio Walking Tour provided by Lonely Planet Publications. Explore the sights of London with some additional information. Round Tower of Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey are the places many travelers are looking forward to visit. This walking tour shares a bit on information about London’s best attractions. 

If considering trip to Europe, London is one of the destinations people pick for various reasons. Art, culture, heritage, famous attractions, special events, shopping, leisure, entertainment and so on. Any of these are good reasons for visiting London. All you need is to book a hotel & find the best way to get there 🙂

Summer time is here!

Just a quick note – tonight many European countries turn their clocks one hour ahead for Daylight Savings time. Many might like many not really. This weekend it will affect just people working or traveling. Other ones will have just one hours less to sleep…

Since I’m traveling to Russia in a few days, here is one thing that got my attention – this is the last time Russians are turning clocks for the Daylight Savings / Standard time. The time shift will be made last time in accordance with the decision of  Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

According the President’s decision, there will be no switch back to ‘winter time’. This decision is based on some studies were it has been stated that “the need to adapt (to the time switching) is connected with stress and illnesses”. Some experts has confirmed that the time change twice a year violates the human life biorhythm.

How it will affect rest of the world? As long as we switch to the summer / winter time, Russia will have prolonged day light & the time difference will vary GMT +3 or +2 hours for the Moscow & St Petersburg.

P.S Other news is that now there are just 9 time zones in Russia.

Exploring beauty of Norway in winter

Some time ago I participated in contest Norway.YourWay set by VisitNorway. My wish to be amongst 5 lucky persons to explore Norway this winter was great but I was not selected. The prize for the contest winners was great – 10 day trip with a lot of activities and adventures around Norway.

Well, it was already set in the rules for participation that 4 people will be selected from certain countries – UK, Germany, Spain and Netherlands. My hope was to be the one from ‘other European countries’. …not this time 😦 . Girl from Poland was chosen for this spot.

views of Norway

Travel destination - Norway

Anyway, this trip is about showing the world great outdoor travel  opportunities in  Norway during the winter. Norway.YourWay hava created a ‘trip of lifetime’ for participants. Lillehammer, Oslo, Bergen, Flam, Voss, Norefjell, Alesund, Tromso, Alta and North Cape are the places explorers are visiting (trip is going on right now Feb 18 – 27, 2011).

Adventure seekers are sharing with their travel experience &pictures on Facebook, Twitter and blogs. I found two of them very nice. I like Nancy’s blog NancyExpeditieNoorwegen  and VisitNorway Spanish branch blog. Even they are not in English, Google translation does wonders & pictures are wonderful 🙂

10 days is not a short trip to Norway. Not everybody will get a chance to do same route but you can get ideas about places you wish to visit in Norway. I see that if to divide this trip in two parts – southern and northern part of Norway, then there will be two wonderful journeys with a lot of sightseeing and physical activities. 

This Scandinavian country is very special and beautiful. I’ve been in Norway in spring  and in summertime, but now seeing these wonderful images from activities during wintertime I have great temptation to try it despite of cold weather outside.

Winter in Norwegian mountains

My favorite picture from Norwegian mountains

Cross country or downhill skiing, fishing in the sea and dog sledging are just a few activities provided for people getting to know Norway. Will see if 5 explorers and Norway.YourWay team will be lucky enough to find Northern Light.

Otherwise, enjoy the images from places Nancy and 4 other lucky explorers visited so far in Norway:)

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Travel ‘Jet Lag’ – best ways to handle it.

Traveling long distances comes with some excitement and new experiences. But there is something else that you have to deal with. While sun is shining bright your body still thinks that at home where it’s middle of night or early morning. Experienced travelers use the term ‘jet lag’ for this feeling. Mostly people feel exhausted in first days after arriving at far-away destinations.

In times when people where traveling more by car, train or even a horse, going to far away places took at least few days or even weeks. Human bodies had time to adapt to new conditions. Now we use air carriers a lot from getting place to place. It takes around 4 hours to go across the Europe; 7-8 hours from central Europe to US east cost or around 15 hours to far East countries. We cross different time zones without paying much attention to it.

Our bodies normally live in a 24-hour rhythm. While we sleep, the heart and breathing rates slow, the blood pressure drops, muscles relax and the mental and psychomotoric efficiency declines significantly. A rapid change to another location in another time zone disturbs phases in the human daily rhythm. Mainly we feel it as an interruption of usual cycles of sleeping and being awake.

Tiredness and slowed reactions combined with memory and concentration problems are the most frequent results. People can also suffer from headaches and a sense of nausea due to the interruption of their normal sleeping time. Therefore don’t plan a lot of physical activities in first two days after arrival.

Jet lag is more marked after an Eastbound flight than a Westbound one. The reason for this is that the human “inner clock” tends towards a rhythm of more than 24 hours. So if you fly from East to West (such as from Germany to the USA), the day is longer – which tends to suit the biological rhythm. Though is is kind of hard to stay awake for more than 20 hours. The human body adjusts to the new time zone about 20 percent faster than after an Eastbound flight (such as from France to Thailand), because flying East means ‘loosing’ several hours.

But from my personal experience I would say that going from Northern Europe to USA cases me more effects that coming back to Europe. Mostly it happens that in first day I would wake up at 4am and the add 30min every next day. So all the 7am clases at the seminars are ‘mine’ (which I wouldn’t do at home). But after a week in States I’m fine 🙂 Few times I’ve had headaches next morning after arrival.

More of travel cased fatigue you will feel if there are no direct flights and you need to take an additional segment before trans-continental flight. Therefore check the times, how long stop-overs are how much time you have. In European Airports 40min – 1hour is  good connection with no rush if you stay in transit area.

When planning a trip, pay attention to departure – arrival times. After several trips overseas now I prefer to pick the flights with arrival times at US destinations around 7pm. Well, since I live in a city with no direct overseas flights, I need to take an additional segment to Scandinavia or Germany in the morning. Total travel time is around 9 hours with some short stop-over. Few days before the trip I go to bed later than usual to get closer to new daily rhythm. No sleep during the flight (two meals, some moving around & in-flight movies help a lot to stay awake) but can go to sleep short after arrival.

When traveling from USA to Europe my suggestion would be to pick evening departures for transcontinental flights because your ‘inner clock’ will make you sleep during the flight and you’ll arrive at new destination in the morning. It’s easy to stay awake while daylight & if you move around more or less then there is no problem to ‘survive’ till evening. For this reason I never had any problems with sleep after eastbound flights. Of course airplane is not the best place for sleeping but it’s still better than stay up for 20 hours and arrive at European destination at 3am.