A Time Travel Postcard

"IT" (otherwise known as HD 36405.b) isn't your average "oddball" exo-solar planet made of rock that wobbles on its end & zips around a nearby star in less than 2.46 days.

Seeking a spot of serenity somewhere in the universe, I recently booked a deep-discount dodgy berth on the 'White Elephant Express Space Shuttle', to a little known place in a galaxy far, far away.

If truth be told, (after reading random excerpts from "The Itty Bitty Bunkum Book About Life, the Universe & Practically Everything Under the Sun Not To Mention Stuff Going On In Remote Galaxies), I was basically delirious. According to its noted author, Dr. Jarn Leffer, "IT is a 'must-see' for those with little time on their hands & a passionate interest in Innocuous Things."

Most linear thinkers have a great deal of difficulty even comprehending why on earth someone in their "right mind" would be interested in visiting a planet called "IT". Not being a linear thinker with an investment in the "right" answer, I didn't give a hoot. After all, what does one (who walks on water & listens to miffed mortals all day long) do for a frigging night off, now I ask you?

As planets go, "IT" is a  ho-hum celestial pit-stop with perhaps one exception. the welcome notice that reads, "Cosmic Cowboys - Welcome to the furthest unexplored outreaches of the Galaxy . Home to the Flop Fairy & Oodles of Gadflies!"

"IT" is populated by colonies of giggling, green grasshoppers . What else would you expect to inhabit a far-flung, fantasy-challenged hellhole like this? But, what made "IT" strictly speaking a strange place was the fact that the inhabitants munch on green, biodegradable garbage bags  for fun. Lacking masticating capabilities, the gadflies process their food by vigorously jumping up & down on it. No wonder they have no need for fast-food franchises, strip malls or landfills!

To put "IT" bluntly, life on "IT" is  shy of a tittynope*. The jolly green grasshoppers & the carefully manicured green fairways with sand traps as far as the eye can see certainly make for an utterly harmless world. Regrettably, without a pair of golf clubs, a dimpled white ball, & the notion that 19th hole even exists on this planet -- "IT" is about as fun as bag of toads!

Anyway, I picked up this picturesque postcard of the blessed ballyhooing buglugs. they look perfectly happy but don't be deceived. In reality, they are  a gang of glad-handing grasshoppers. they don't play golf, eat burgers, or drink beer -- & none can frost a rock! Come to think of it, apart from the company of bugs & the elusive flop fairy, this pathetic planet has precious little going for IT!!

Life Lesson 42: Remember to talk to your travel agent before ever embarking on a flight of fancy to a planet called "IT" in a galaxy named "Have-a-Nice-Day"!! 

__________

If you need to know what those green, glad-handing grasshoppers from "IT" look like -- ask any four-year old, or failing that request some help from a Flying Saucer Club member.


*"Tittynope" for you whiffling word-peckers means "a small quantity of anything left over".

A Review On Travel Insurance – Do You Need It Or Not?

Personally I think it would be very foolish not to have some sort of travel insurance, especially if you are flying abroad. People sometimes make the mistake in thinking that their local insurance policies will cover any losses and have a big shock when they come to make a claim. Besides, if you have the right policy, it takes all the worry out of your trip.

You should always be offered insurance, by your travel agent, when you arrange your trip. If not, ask, because it will be on your own head if anything goes wrong.

A Cheap Policy or Not?

When a travel insurance policy is issued there are a number of allocations if the premium, agents commissions, administrative costs, some goes towards profit and what's left over goes towards the actual insurance coverage. So, you can see, if it's a cheap travel insurance policy, something is going to miss out and you can bet it will be the level of coverage.

If you buy a regular travel insurance policy, that is, you fill out a form and send it to the insuarance company with your remittance there are a lot of costs involves. A better way would to get a wholesale policy (which travel agents do sell) where the administration costs are dramactically reduced, meaning more money is spent on the actual coverage.

Some tour operators and agents provide an "in-house" travel insurance policy and, often, all it covers is their own cancellation fees and little else. It may be cheaper but will not give you much travel insurance coverage.

Another way to reduce costs, which depends on the level of travel you are going to do, is to purhase an annual travel insurance policy. This is buying in bulk and is likely to be much less expensive than the one-off trip policy.

Primary or Secondry Travel Insurance Cover?

These 2 types of cover determine the way the payouts are made. The primary travel insurance cover means that the company will "Pay First", that is the payment will be paid to the claim maker. The secondary travel insurance cover means they will pay only after you've have claimed as much as you can from other insurance cover that you may have. So, you can see that the primary cover is a lot better than the secondry cover.

What Type Of Coverage Will You Need?

It's fair to say the 2 biggest risks that are covered by most travel insurance policies are the costs of changing your travel plans and and any medical care and emergency assistance that is required while you are away.

Most travel insurance policies will include a few hundred dollars for baggage/loss/damage/delay, loss of travel documents and other small sum for flight delay or interuption. Some will also cover for someone to fly out to you if you are to be hospitalised for more tha 2 or 3 days.

Another major cost, and I must admit I never thought of this one before, can be supplier bankruptcy. Many time the supplier of your travel insurance policy are unable to have the policy to cover thier own bankruptcy. This would be another good reason to have an independant policy from the company arranging your travel.

Most travel insurance policies include a large ammount of air death insurance, but surprisingly, it's of very low value item about 25 cents for a $100,000 cover. I suppose this indicates how safe air travel is.

Some travel isurance policies will also cover car rental risks and this may be an important thing to consider as car rental insurance policies are extremely expensive.

Trip Cancellation/Change Coverage

To understand the possible costs that you may need if you have to change your itinery or cancel the trip, if you have pruchased an unrestricted first class ticket there may be not any costs associated with changing the ticket as this is usually covered in the purchase price.

It may seem strange but the the cheapest ticket has the most risk attached to it as far as cancellation/change is concerned. It can cost a heap more to change the cheap fare to return home on a different flight than the original purchase price of the ticket.

You will have to be aware that when some travel insurance policies state that they will cover 'your total trip cost' you may think that the full charges are covered, but this may not be so. Let's say that your discounted fare cost $590 and you have a package that actually costs $895 and you have to change you may find the return trip will cost more than the whole package. Maybe you will have to pay another $1120 to get home on a no advanced one way return ticket.

I had this experience a few years ago when I had to rush home for my Father's funeral. Because of time restrictions I had to buy a non-discounted ticket. After not feeling well all day, when I finally arrived at the airport I succumbed to a middle ear infection. So with all the vomitting and the different air pressures that come with flying there was no I could get on a aircraft. But, as I had purchased a full fare, there was problems in changing my flight to the next morning. Goes to show that you can't always control your circumstances.

The more restictive travel insurance policies may exclude circumstances that are deemmed 'under your own control', and perhaps this may include work related issues. Let's say you are about to leave work and you are told there is an issue that has to be solved and that you leave has to be deffered. There's a very good chance that this type of travel insurance would no pay out because of this reason.

Medical Care and Emergency Assistance

Some people mistakenly think that their home medical insuarnce policy will cover all costs wherever they are in the world. They may find that that it doesn't cover at all, or the deductions will be much higher or perhaps their medical costs are covered but not any related transport costs.

You may be on a cruise and you need some medical attention by the ship's doctor. There is a good chance that their services are charged for as with any other doctor. You may have to be flown home on a stretcher and this will involve blocking out nine seats, can you imagine how much that would cost. You should make sure that you have travel insurance of at least $10,000 or more to cover these emergencies. Let's imagine you are in a remote area and you break a leg and you need to be lifted out by a helicopter, this is what good travel insurance is all about.

To Summarise

Imagine your worst case travel mishap scenario and decide whether you need travel insurance. This may be the cancellation of the whole trip coupled with the associated cancellation costs or some emergency medical mishap that will require medivac and local care. I know these are horrible thoughts but if you can't afford to self-insure the expenditure of around $100 on travel insurance will give you the piece of mind and one less thing to worry about.

A Review Of German Mannerisms For Foreign Travelers

Visitors from other parts of the world that visit Germany for vacation or business purposes are typically pleased to note that Germans are cordial, polite, and welcoming. However, as with any culture, Germans have mannerisms that are unique to them. Since social etiquette is considered important in every society and Germans are no different, visitors that take a small amount of time to familiarize themselves with what Germans consider good manners will find that locals will often appreciate and even more warmly accept them into their country.

Shaking Hands

Germans typically wait until introduced by a host to shake hands. Typically, older parties in a group or more senior persons reserve the right to extend their hand for a handshake first. Attendees of small parties will always take the time to shake hands with one another when greeting, as opposed to larger functions where hand shakes are very rarely performed. The act of shaking hands in passing is considered rude. If one takes the time to shake hands, it is considered a precursor to at least a brief chat. Additionally, it is considered to rude to shake hands while the other hand is in your pocket.

In formal settings, it is still considered custom to kiss a lady’s hand when introduced, though the lips should never actually touch the hand. When being introduced to adults, little German girls will occasionally courtesy in greeting. Furthermore, unlike in the United States, children will rarely thank someone for a compliment.

Addressing Others in Germany

The female term “Fraulein” is only used to address particularly young, unmarried girls. The shorter “Frau” is used to address older, unmarried young ladies and women since it is considered a more mature greeting. Also unlike in the United States, a married woman is not addressed by her husband’s first name (e.g. Mrs. John Smith), but by her own first name (e.g. Frau Jane Smith).

Common Business Etiquette in Germany

“Du” and “Sie”

The method of addressing others by saying “you” is divided into the formal and informal manners of “Du” and “Sie.” “Du” is considered informal and should be reserved only for close acquaintances, friends and family. To avoid seeming disrespectful when meeting new persons, especially in a formal or business environment, it is generally accepted that “Sie” is the proper form to use.

Attire

American standards of business dress have relaxed in certain niche industries in recent years, but that doesn’t mean that the same is true of Germans. It is typically customary for business attire to be worn in nearly every business setting. Jeans, T-shirts, and similar clothing will typically be frowned upon. When in doubt, always opt to possibly slightly overdress than to take the risk of under-dressing.

Meetings and Functions

Unlike many other cultures, Germans will typically send invitations that outline not only when a meeting or function will begin but also when it will end. It would be considered good manners to use this time as a queue to bid a proper farewell. Though no one will expect every one to jump up and run out the door at the exact time, it can be considered rude to ignore the outlines set up by the hosts.

A Review Of Airline Tickets & Travel

Airline travel is not as pleasant as it used to be!

Over the last few years as airline profits have been squeezed by rising fuel costs, frequent flier programs, security etc. airline travel, if you want to do it at a reasonable price, could be likened to the cattle-truck effect. Planes have got smaller, the number of seats has been increased and in-flight service, especially meals, has become almost non-existent. Now, I do not blame any of the staff, this has become of today's realities.

So! What can you do?

I have written a series of articles with tips, tricks and information which, I hope, will help to make your flying experiences a little less stressful and more enjoyable.

To be able to use some of these tips you will have to plan and be willing to be flexible. You will have to shape your flight around airline programs, it's not going to happen the other way round. I have been able to save a lot of money by being able to fit within a certain flight schedule which would not have been one I would have normally taken. In the long run it really didn't make any difference to the experience of the trip.

To further make it easier on yourself make sure that you are the airport in plenty of time. On most occasions you will find that security checks will be much quicker and easier. Also, book your flight online as it's very simple these days. You will be able to, if you do it far enough ahead, choose your own seat. I love this service, as I happen to have a large frame,I like to have an aisle seat which will give me more shoulder room. This also helps you get through the luggage check-in a lot faster as you can also print out your boarding pass as well.

I hope you will be able to use some of the information and put it to some good use. Happy Flying.

A Quick Travel Getaway To A Fantasyland, Literally

Sometimes everyone needs a little vacation. Atlantic City provides just that. You’ll find a wide variety of casino’s, nightlife, the boardwalk, and much more. Whether you’re just spending the day or staying the weekend you’ll never have a dull moment.

The Hilton Casino Resort is one place not to be missed. Not only do they have luxurious rooms but they just added 250 new slot machines. They also offer a variety of fine and casual dining. The Oak Steakhouse is a must. Are you interested in a show? The Hilton Theater can hold up to 1,200 sets. It has showcased many top name performs. No matter where you sit it’s the best seat in the house.

Didn’t leave the kids at home and can’t get a nanny last minute? Bring them along and take them to the Steel Pier. It holds twenty four rides, as well as games, and a food court. The Boardwalk has a wide variety of candy stores and an ice cream shop. When you think of Casinos, the last thing a person has on their mind is Art. The city Museum should be visited by everyone who attends the city…you can’t leave this city without spending a couple of ours in the Museum. It is one of the most culturally diverse. It not only displays modern art but displays ‘futuristic art’.

For adults there is always the Belrose Galleries. Family-owned since 1955 it specialize in jewelry, artwork, and statues. See rare diamonds and antiques.

Looking for a younger and hip crowd? The place to be is the Tropicana. It has Vegas-style gaming. They have their own poker room. One of the largest in Atlantic City it offers food side service while you play 24 hours a day. It also offers slot gaming, table games, and Asian games. It also has its own comedy club. The Comedy Stop is said to be the funniest in town. It is where the club original started. Since then it has become so popular it has expended to Vegas and Laughlin.
So if you’re in need of some fun look no further then New Jersey.

It should be mandatory that everyone who needs relaxation should visit the Bluemercury Spa. It has been highly advertised in some of the top 10 magazines across the nation. Anyone who spends a day or two in this spa will come out feeling years younger. If the spa isn’t your thing maybe working up a sweat is! Go to they’re health club. With treadmills and weight you never have to worry about all the delicious food you’ll be eating. When it’s too hot…it’s time to cool off. Here you will find both an indoor and an outdoor pool. You can swim in any kind of weather. You can also relax in their Jacuzzi or sauna.

A Quick History of Sydney for Prospective Travelers

As the state capital of New South Wales (http://www.visitnsw.com.au) in Australia, Sydney is certainly full of rich history that any traveler would like to discover for themselves.  Established in 1788 when Briton Arthur Phillip claimed Australia for England, Sydney has grown to be one of the more famous cities in the world, boasting over four million people for the population.

Situated along the Sydney Harbor, Sydney is known as the ‘Harbor City’ in which travelers and residents can enjoy such sights as the Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge.  A previous host of the Summer Olympics, Sydney is certainly creating a destination for the travelers of today and the future.

The indigenous Australians (http://www.dreamtime.net.au) once roamed the lands of Sydney and the surrounding areas for approximately thirty thousand years.  And while their numbers dwindled before the arrival of Arthur Phillips, they still inhabited the area and made their homes in the region.

In the past, there were three different languages spoken in Sydney: Darug, Dharawal, and Guringai.  Many of these languages also have separate dialects for various tribes and clans.  These languages are all but gone now, but rock carvings remain to tell the stories of these ancient peoples.

In 1770, James Cook was the first to see Australia and note its existence.  This led to the British convict settlement as founded by Arthur Phillip.  Founded in Sydney Cove, this settlement was named after the British home secretary.  A few years later in 1789, a virulent disease spread over the land, killing the indigenous populations—many believe that this was the result of smallpox.

By 1820, there were few aborigines left and the period of civilization began: the education and Christianization of the natives.  With the leadership of Governor Macquarie, the city of Sydney began to take a more organized form.  Roads and wharves were constructed and local development was rapid.  People began arriving from Britain and Ireland in order to find a new life for themselves.

This influx of people led to some of the first villages and later towns in Sydney.  As the era of gold rushes came and went, the development of suburbs and improved transportation also blossomed.  The construction of railways and tramways in the nineteenth century aided this rapid development.  By the twentieth century, Sydney already had a population of over a million people.  While the Great Depression hit Sydney hard, the Harbor Bridge (http://www.sydney.visitorsbureau.com.au/page2-03g.html)  was still completed during that time.

With the second highest immigrant population of any larger world city, Sydney is an interesting mix of culture and expression.  In fact, forty-five percent of the population is said to be migrants of some relation.  This makes for a different feeling in the city—one of acceptance and sharing, rather than segregation.

This allows Sydney to be an ideal vacation destination for those travelers that want a sense of history and development as well as great weather and nearby activities.  Sydney is more than a vacation hotspot; it’s where time has shown that anything can be achieved with patience and hard work.

A Photocopied Travel Letter To Home

As they drove from Traverse City, illinois to Tucson, Arizona, I wrote a series of letters, & photocopied them to send to relatives & friends. This was the first of the two.

Travel Letter #1

Saturday, 12/13/03 - nice morning. Welcome to our holiday form letter. we are in Arizona now. The sun is shining & it will be in the sixties today, which should melt the ice on the windows soon. Ana's foot doesn't seem to be broken, as they thought, so they took a long walk in the desert last night. they saw a coyote, probably the same two I chased the other day, & there were javelina tracks everywhere.

The library in Safford has books in french, so Ana is enjoying reading now that her eye-patch is off. The doctor promised that the "divet" left by his golf-club-like blade will heal soon. they learned that eyeballs have plenty of nerve endings, & they think the object in her eye may have been a fiber from a yucca plant.

Our uncontrollable coughs are under control now, & they are not among the ten people in Arizona that died from the flu this week. Oh, & the antibiotics from the Safford clinic seem to have helped with Ana's abcessed tooth.

I should start at the beginning. The first day, after dealing with the usual rudeness of the INS employees in Detroit, they made it to Kansas. they hit a traffic cone there at high speed, & heard a horrible sound coming from under the van. The cone, I discovered, had been dragging along underneath. Nothing was broken, but later the bright light switch stopped working.

In Farmington, New Mexico, they spent a few days resting & coughing. they were about an hour away from buying a house when they discovered it needed new wiring, had a garden hose attached to the natural gas line, & other problems they missed on our first visit. The new bloke begged me to buy it, called our motel room to tell me they needed money for open-heart surgery in two days, & called again to lower the price, but they moved on. By the way, the house was to be a winter project, not a new home.

Fortunately, they drove during daylight after that. In the Colorado mountains they went from 16 to 20 miles-per-gallon, confusing the sensors & causing the "check engine" light to turn on. they successfully ignored it until it changed it is mind.

Steve & Ana


Monument Valley was beautiful, the Christmas parade in Holbrook was cute, & despite various problems & illnesses, we are having a great time. You see, I didn't need to make you all jealous, so I left out a lot - the constant sun, the beautiful sculptures in Grand Junction, & the nine times we've been in hot springs in Colorado, New Mexico, & Arizona. Next week we are going to Mexico for lunch. Hope all is well in arizona. Adios,

A Personal Guide to Travel: New Zealand

Travel Rotorua

This article is a basic tour guide to traveling in Rotorua highlight and evaluating the main sites in the district.

Introduction:

If you had only one day in the North Island of New Zealand and you asked me where should one go for that day I would without hesitation say Rotorua.

This article is my personal guide to Rotorua from someone who has visited it more times than I can remember and if given the chance I would visit it again. This article is non-commercial and is intended to be for general information.

Location:

Rotorua is approximately 2.5 - 3 hours drive south of Auckland. Head south through Hamilton and Cambridge, or for a quicker route via Mata Mata. Shortly after Cambridge turn left and take the number 5 which will lead you right to Rotorua. Coming up from Wellington head to Lake Taupo and take the number 5 to Rotorua. Train and Bus routes also service Rotorua.

Attractions:

Rotorua is a jewel in the North Island, with geothermal wonders, a center of Maori Culture, Parks, Lakes, Natural History and numerous modern day attractions. Most visitors comment on the smell when they arrive. It is Hydrogen Sulphide (rotten egg gas) and while distinct at first, if you stay for any length of time you will adapt and seldom notice it.

Geothermal Parks

The main geothermal parks in Rotorua and its surrounds include Whakarewarewa thermal area, Waimangu Volcanic Valley, Waitapu Thermal wonderland, Orakei Korako Geyserland and Hell's Gate. All these required payment.

Whakarewarewa:

Visiting this site used to be standard fare in any visit to Rotorua. Unfortunately the park has now divided into two parts, and I personally don't believe either site has enough to stand alone. So what you used to get for one entry price now costs two (be warned). On the Hemo Road entrance is the NZ Maori Arts and Crafts Institute with its master carvers. Also includes a weaving house, kiwi house, and Maori meeting house. Pohutu (big splash) and the Prince of Wales geyser are also on this side. (Prince of Wales geyser so named because the 3 directions the geyser shoots out resembles the feathers on the Prince of Wales crest). On the Tyron street entrance you get another meeting house where a cultural show is put on, a village, shops and some hot pools, etc. Also here outside school hours you may find the local Maori children willing to jump off the bridge into the stream below in return for chasing your loose change thrown into the same.

Waimangu Volcanic Valley:

A nice walk along a valley with numerous hot pools, lakes, and near the end of the track the Warbrick thermal terrace - a multi coloured silica terrace, probably the most colourful terrace in Rotorua. Worth a visit if you have already seen some thermal parks and want more, or like a more expansive tour, you can link with a boat tour. (see the gallery for some photos courtesy Waimangu's website). The pink and white terraces once existed in the area prior to the 1886 eruption.

Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland:

My personal favourite, about 20 min. south of Rotorua towards Taupo. Be prepared to walk abit. Numerous rainbow pools, the huge champagne pool, artist palette, sulphur vents, boiling mud and a huge silica terrace. If you arrive early in the morning, before 10am, a short drive leads you to the Lady Knox geyser that gets set off once a day by them feeding it with soap, cost of this is included in your admission (was $25 an adult). Also on this road is a natural mud pool which is the best display of boiling mud I have seen and its free.

Orakei Korako Geyserland:

Closer to Lake Taupo than Rotorua on a side road connecting route 5 to the main route 1. You need to catch the ferry across the lake to begin exploring the park. Like most of the parks good tracks requiring you to walk to see mud pools, a large cave, the emerald terrace and the largest silica feature in the country. Worth the visit if you are passing that way.

Hell's Gate:

Another thermal park with numerous boiling things, including Adam's frying pan, a mud volcano, hot water falls and one of the few places I found I could buy the multi-colour sand in a glass container (quite pretty). Once visited by Mark Twain who stated he would have gladly paid not to have gone there. I'll have to disagree; I think it’s worth the visit.

Maori Culture

Rotorua has plenty of Maori based attractions. These include Tamaki Maori Village (I've yet to visit). The NZ Maori Arts and Crafts Institute (already spoken about), the Buried Village and numerous Hungi and Cultural Performances.

The Buried village is what it sounds like, a half buried village. During the 1886 eruption a number of local Maori perished buried in mud. Some of the village has since been dig out and rebuilt to give tourists an idea of a Maori village.

I haven't been to Tamaki Maori Village so can't give a review.

If you really want to get a good taste of Maori culture food and hospitality then book one of the many feasts and concerts put on by the local hotels. The food, music and friendship are always top rate.

Other Attractions

Rainbow Springs Park:

A nice park with trout fish as its centerpiece, beautiful clear running water and a top bushland. Lovely walking tracks and you can feed the fish. Also has a farm show attached.

Skyline Skyrides:

The main reason to take this ride on a gondola is not just to get to the top for the view, the main reason is to ride the luge. Massive fun, as long as you don't fall off. They have a small chairlift operating so that you can ride the luge for as long as your budget can afford.

Agrodome:

Everything you wanted to know about sheep. Surprising a show about sheep and farming in NZ is interesting and entertaining.

Rotorua Museum of Art:

One of the first buildings built in NZ solely with tourists in mind. Originally built as a bath house and hot water treatment center it has now been converted. Good museum but the highlight is the movie on local history, sit down and be sure to be holding on - a total multimedia experience. Definite must do. The building itself is one of the finest examples of Edwardian design and is an art piece in itself. The surrounding gardens are always nicely maintained.

Natures Wonders

There are numerous things to do, totally free for nature lovers.

Huka Falls:

Just North from Lake Taupo on the M1 is Huka Falls and the world famous Huka Falls Lodge (for the novu-rich of the world). Huka Falls itself is free for all. Near the beginning of the mighty Waikato river (NZ longest river) it’s not the height of the falls but the sheer volume of water that is forced through which is impressive, few people have gone over the falls and survived. Boat trips are now run up to the base of the falls for those wanting a different perspective.

Whakarewarewa Forrest Park:

On the road to the blue and green lakes. Contains beautiful stands of redwood trees, walking and horse riding tracks. The redwood trees are relatively young for trees, but they are already huge in size.

Government Gardens:

Outside the Rotorua museum is well kept flower beds, rose gardens, bowling greens and more.

Kuirau Park:

Opposite the main hospital on Kuirau road is Kuirau Park with numerous boiling pools and geothermal activities. Contains some foot pools to ease your sore feet and a children’s park with miniature railway. On my last visit there was a huge hole in the ground and several trees blown over or covered in mud due to a localized eruption. It is a reminder the whole area is geothermally active and has the potential to be dangerous.

Blue and Green Lakes:

Past Whakarewarewa Forrest Park is the blue lake, great for swimming or boating activities, clear water with a pumice bottom, those further out there is a problem with weeds. Keep going on the road to get a view of Mt. Tarawera. The green lake is banned and tapu (Maori for cursed, sacred, special) and no is supposed to enter it.

Mt. Tarawera:

For the true adventure fanatics. Take the back road and climb Mount Tarawera. Enter the crater and run down to the bottom at full speed. The massive crater was caused by the 10 June 1886 eruption which destroyed the pink and white terraces and buried many villages.

Lakes:

The number of lakes is simply too many to mention. Great for trout fishing, boating or picnics. Some lakes even have black volcanic glass and/or pumice stone lying on their shores.

Hamurana Springs:

If you want to see a beautiful spring feed stream, this is worth a visit, pure water with a hint of blue flowing over white pumice bed. There is also a nice stand of redwoods and I would be surprised if you didn’t' see any trout in the stream (no fishing allowed, sorry).

This list is by no means exhaustive and like any tourist destination new venues are always opening up. I hope this provides you with a basic to do list when visiting. To see pictures go to the website in the resource box below.

A Nutritious Diet while Traveling

Sticking to a nutritious diet while traveling can be one of the more difficult things to do. However, if you learn how to make smart choices, a healthy diet is really not that difficult. It’s probably not the best time in which to start a healthy diet, but if you are currently making healthy choices in your foods already, modifying your diet slightly to accommodate travel, is not as difficult as it first may seem.

If you are traveling by airplane, your diet may have to include airplane food, which can often be of poor nutritional value, depending on the selection. When you book your flight, ask about your food options, ask if a vegetarian dish is available? Vegetarian dishes are sometimes more nutritional in this case, but it really depends on what they may be serving. If you can, eat a larger meal before your flight, so that you don’t have to eat the entire meal that is served, to feel full. 

When driving or taking a bus, you may be tempted to stop at fast food restaurants and eat the meals found there. Avoid this whenever possible! If you’re on vacation, you may wish to splurge a tiny bit, but having fast food more than once during a week can really be bad for your health. If you must, choose the healthiest options available, like chicken breasts and diet soda. 

Also, remember that you can take your own meals when traveling. Carrying a loaf of whole-wheat bread or pita wraps, some lean lunchmeat, and low-fat cheese in a cooler is a great way to avoid high-fat and high-cholesterol junk food meals. These are much better choices and you’ll save a lot of money as well. Call ahead to ask if there will be a refrigerator in your hotel room. 

Lastly, make smart choices when you eat out. If you choose salads or pasta get the dressing on the side and ask about low-carb options. In fact, many places print these dieting options directly in the menu for the health-conscious people. Control your portions by ordering lunch menu sizes or splitting the meal in have and getting a doggie bag, and you’ll be well on your way to healthy eating, even away from home. 

Yes, eating healthy foods when you travel can be a challenge. However, your health is worth it. Eating meals high in nutrition will also assist in fighting illnesses that you are likely to encounter when traveling and you will find yourself more alert so that you can enjoy your trip.

A Nation Is Born In Philadelphia – Travel Information

Often referred to as “America’s Birthplace,” Philadelphia has been the center of progressive beliefs and democratic principles since the first settlement of the city was founded by the now famous Quaker, William Penn. Naming the settlement “The City of Brotherly Love,” William Penn hoped to protect individual freedoms and promote religious tolerance in stark contrast with what many colonists had escaped under British rule.

William Penn’s visions were realized when the Declaration of Independence was signed in Independence Hall, and after years of bloody and hostile clashes with the British Army during the American Revolution when the United States Constitution was first drafted in the same hall. Travel through time in Independence National Historic Park (Old City) where the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and Constitution Hall are all concentrated. You can view the Constitution and Declaration of Independence in Constitution Hall and take a walk through the many Revolution-era buildings that have been restored and preserved. Travel to Philadelphia, once the capital of the United States, and see for yourself the remnants of revolutionary battles and the emergence of a new, independent nation.

Hoagies, Movies and Masterpieces

A simple walk through the streets of central Philadelphia will reveal the nation’s largest collection of public art amidst ample park space and well-planned, easily navigated streets. Stroll along West Market Street near City Hall and through LOVE Park, taking in the fantastic murals and sculptures along the way. For a more traditional experience, visit the masterpieces of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the steps of which were made famous by Sylvester Stallone in Rocky. For the most unique museum experience, visit the Mutter Museum, originally open to medical students and featuring a wide array of formaldehyde-filled cadavers and skeletal displays, along with some little known facts about the nation’s medical history.

Philadelphia is also known for its many famous architectural feats and noteworthy buildings. The City Hall, completed in 1900, is the world’s tallest load-bearing masonry structure. Another Historic Landmark, the Philadelphia Savings Fund Society building is considered to be America’s first International Modernist skyscraper and also home of the first ever savings bank in the United States. On a smaller scale, Philadelphia is known for the homes of Benjamin Franklin and Edgar Allen Poe.

Find airfare to Philadelphia around the first Friday of the month to enjoy the galleries and sights in Old City for free until late in the evening. When you have had enough of museums, stop into a pub or restaurant for an original Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich and some Italian ice for a true taste of Philadelphia. You will probably even want to order a few extra sandwiches for the flight home!