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Bahamas, Nasos: The profound beauty of "shallow sea"
Timeless and always a favorite destination for both Americans and Europeans, the Bahamas offer hidden thrills to those who unravel the glossy wrapper
Less than three hours had passed since we left New York with dismal gray sky when the airplane crew informed us that we approached the Nassau International Airport and landing process had already begun.
Those who had the foresight to ask the 'window' duly compensated for. Large and small tracts of land, any known and unknown shade of green, decorated with garlands of golden sand and surrounded by a sea as varied shades of blue in all its glory. Swimsuits and shorts out, therefore, and other heavy clothing ... suitcase!
Seven hundred islands and more than 2,000 islands stretching for 1,200 km on the western side of the Atlantic, and not in the Caribbean-between in Florida from the north and Haiti and Cuba from the south. Two of these have Greek names, Andros is the largest and most primitive island and Liberty, welcomed its first British-born settlers in the 17th century.
His heart pounding island state in the capital Nassau or rather Naso, who is a medium sized island, New Providence. There reside almost half of the 300,000 of the total population of the islands. This population consists of 85% of African-American former slaves, mostly from West Africa, something common in all the island states of the region.
The 15 km route from the airport to town was enough to be informed by Nelson, the Lalistati and excellent guide us enough about the place. As the standard of living of the islands is the highest in the region and that would feel perfectly safe.
Wanting to escape the onslaught of mass tourism and the standard package we had chosen one of the renovated traditional accommodation in the city center. A typical sample of colonial architecture from the early 19th century, set in a tropical garden overflowing with exotic aromas and lush vegetation. A walk in the enchanting surroundings and enjoying a local cocktail fresh juices with fine, also local, dark rum drove the last traces of the fatigue of the journey and introduced us to the relaxed pace of the holiday of a bygone era.
GETTING TO THE CITY
The next day, immediately after the ritual called English breakfast, we decided to start wandering the city. Just steps from the hotel entrance and probably not by chance came across our Nelson with a young girl, Gina, who introduced us as his fiancee and professional guide. Willing to guide us and help us to know the true Naso and with very reasonable fee. We followed our new friends, who then turned a mobile encyclopedia, in order, starting from the old governor, to descend to the coast, crossing the city center.
The building, a neoclassical mansion from the early 19th century, with dominant colors pink and white, was until 1973 the seat of the British governor. The omnipresent in every capital of the New World, statue of Christopher Columbus gave Gina the opportunity to talk to us about the history of the islands.
In the Bahamas Columbus is considered the first "tourists", as has prevailed version that landed on the island Gkouanachani or San Salvador on October 12, 1492.
The Spanish never settled permanently in the islands, although the "own" Ponce de Leon gave the 16th century the name you keep up to date-Baja Mar-ie shallow sea. The ... noble but conquistadors gave value to those of the native Ciboney not exterminated, to serve as slaves to the neighboring islands, Cuba and Espanola.
For the Ciboney or Loukagias, who came to the Bahamas from Central America around the 10th century, little is known.
The walk to the city center like in the turbulent journey, though short, history. Market Street, George Street, Bay Street and other names, but most reminiscent of the close relationship with the erstwhile Great Britain.
We made a short stop at the "Museum of the pirates." Their action, sometimes arbitrary and sometimes with the blessing of the British Crown, was intertwined with the life and development of the islands, and in particular of Nassau, since its inception as Charles Town, in 1666 (its current name came in 1695 ) until the first quarter of the 18th century.
In the architectural identity of the city dominated by a colonial style reminiscent of southern U.S. state, interspersed, however, with many colors, or pastel or too strongly. Magnet for the eyes of the visitor, the riot of color! To find everywhere, the villas, the simple-but not slum-dwellings of fishermen, schools, and even in churches.
To the square of Roses, the busiest part of town, where most of the public buildings and services: mail, the municipal library, the police station and much more. Although the square was given the name of an English governor in 1860, Gina showed us proudly bust Milo Butler, who in 1973 became the first black governor of the newly formed state.
The scenery changed as we had reached the area of cruise disembarkation. A motley crew of tourists-among them, and a company-Greeks had invaded the "Bazaar Psatha" where sold every kind of straw construct, along with several wood carvings, shells and other souvenirs. Many overweight visitors, who had reluctantly left the sun deck, huddled in front of a row of decorated carts to navigate comfortably in harrying the hapless ponies.
Ships with passers visitors a day, is a daily occurrence in the small capital, including some Greek interests. They provide everything passengers, so the only economic benefit to locals is shopping and walks with buggies.
KI ANOTHER STORY
We enjoyed a refreshing juice and sea breeze, the garden of another restored Victorian building now houses a luxurious hotel and learned even more things from our guides about the history and development of tourism in the islands.
The stability and peace that followed the era of pirates brought the islands a large wave colonists loyal to Britain after the independence of the United States in the late 18th century. The same happened with the end of the American civil war, nearly a century later, as several wealthy families in the south went to the Bahamas.
The Nassau became the chosen holiday destination of the English aristocracy. The Duke of Windsor with its exquisite heart who settled here became a pole of attraction for European crowned heads. Soon followed by the magnates of the global economy.
Names like Howard Hughes and "our" Aristotle Onassis upload their shares at any restaurant or hotel can rely on a visit to showing proudly displays a photo or a note in the guestbook. The '50s was a catalyst for the entry of islands in the era of mass tourism.
The Cuban revolution and its exclusion from the visited for American countries, and the short distance from the southern U.S. coast, leading American and European tour operators to make substantial investments in the islands.
The excellent infrastructure of the British administration, along with clever advertising, completed what we see today.
We crossed again the center. In a corner, an itinerant musician caressed the ears of passersby with saxophone, tourists loiter in front of shop windows where coexisted everything necessary for the jet set expensive accessories, side by side with exotic objects from around the world. The female members of the group informed us that they had never seen so many designer shops in such a small town.
Arriving at the hotel, we received an invitation to visit a neighboring cigar lab, where under the supervision of a Cuban exile craftsman built admittedly wonderful cigars.
The nightlife in Naso has two sides and is worthy of its reputation. One side housed the vast halls and gardens of hotels in Paradise Island: luxury restaurants, including refurbished "Cafe Martinique" where Sean Connery and Claudine Oze-as James Bond and Domino-enjoyed a luxurious dinner with caviar and champagne in the film "Operation Thunderbolt". Casino, where the game associated with spectacle, modeled on Las Vegas, with some of them having a good dose of folklore.
And the other side: quaint restaurants with cuisines of all nationalities and musical "corners" where possible rum and locals rhythms dominate. We chose a local estiatoriaki which tasted exquisite seafood and delicious grilled fish and also continued a local bar with music. Here our guests-Nelson and Gina-created the happenings of the evening dancing beautiful Limbo.
The next day started with a visit to the fort Finkastel in which one goes from the "Queen's Staircase." The view was magnificent, the city and the famous Island of Paradise, with the two bridges that connect them, lay at our feet. The fort was the work of the last quarter of the 18th century, while the 65 stairs to the famous "ladder" had been carved into the rock by slaves, just before the abolition of slavery in Britain and its possessions.
Shortly thereafter, the cultural center Ntoungkalik, Nelson and Gina's tour to the secrets of the African-American tradition and culture.
African-American slaves dominated peacefully in the islands and participated in any social activity. Today, in addition to their standard of living, the Bahamas have achieved an enviable record of educating -0.5% illiteracy-as well as great social benefits.
He had now reached noon, had now time to bask in the cool embrace of aquamarine enchantress.
Local currency is the Bahamas $ following the rate of U.S. dollar.
When to go
The seven months November - May is the best time, while from June to October hurricanes-although rare-lurk.
HOW TO GET THERE
The shorter and more comfortable route is via London with British Airways (T/801 115600, www.britishairways.com).
Through USA (New York, Miami or Philadelphia) one can find cheaper fares, but will need a visa and the trip is longer.
HOW TO BE MOVED
The Nassau connected by air and by sea with all the surrounding islands. Driving is the English system and permits are valid for three months.
WHERE TO STAY
In Nassau there are hotels for every budget. Three hotels worthy of note are:
British Colonial Hilton € € €
Best Western € € and
Cray Cliff € € €.
Certainly, there are many smaller units in renovated colonial buildings with very low prices. A careful browsing the Internet (www.Bahamas.com) will give you a complete picture not only to Nassau and the Paradise Island.
Beware of prices usually do not include breakfast and the credibility of the website!
€ - up to 60 €
€ € - up to 110 €
€ € € - 200 € up
€ € € € - from 200 € and above
WHERE TO EAT
• The options are many, with an emphasis on seafood offered everywhere at reasonable prices, depending of course on the type of restaurant. Small restaurants that remind our beach taverns where locals and foreigners become one by the sounds of a spontaneous local orchestra, is the best and most economical option.
• It perhaps of a colonial-style dinner at one of the luxurious places of surnames with the most searched cuisine and sophisticated cellars. Here, a bottle of wine can cost as much as holidays for all the family, so check first your finances!
• Good solution are the rooms of large hotels with international cuisine, where sometimes dinner accompanied by local spectacle.
• Finally, there are many ethnic corners and all our known international fast food.
What To Buy
The local rum and cigars are well worth it. The very good and inexpensive wicker structures exhibit transmission problems due to their size. Imported items are tax exempt and their prices lower by about 20% from Europe.
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Bali - Lombok
Categoty: Travel destinations
One is famous all over the world, the other upcoming destination with natural beauty and competitive prices: Spring tour in two "earthly paradise" of Indonesia, which geographically are a short, but deep belong to different worlds
By probing looks, "tourist is it," he says, "all a treat it anyway in his pocket to buy me." In frustration, I just take out the camera and he brings the mouth of a can of Sprite and drain nervously. Click. He looks back up bored and spin with slight jumps in the company. Located 800 m above sea level, on the road that crosses the tropical maimoudodasos Pasak, in Lombok, Indonesia. And this was my acquaintance with a wild macaque, the kind the comme-il-faut guide Frommer's recommends careful because biting (when running for rabies injections).
"Here life is simple," says Mr. Chandradinata or Chandra, our tour guide on the island of 3.5 million people, located 25 miles east of Bali and some 30 years back in terms of tourism development. How simple? "If you provide three meals a day for your family, which means somewhere 25 kg rice per month, and she's got a bike, you're happy." He, as an experienced guide in an emerging destination that still live mainly from agriculture (Lombok means "red pepper" in the local dialect of Sasak, one of the 700 spoken in the 17,000 islands of the country), are better off than a worker who makes somewhere 800,000 rupees a month (or 60 euros). Na, say, deliver home English lessons, with 50,000 rupees a month, altho
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