Sports and Activities in Dubai (VII)

Author: George Augustine

Sports and Activities in Dubai (VII)

Sports and Activities in Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Dubai Rugby Sevens – The magnificent sevens

 

Part of the IRB Sevens World Series tournament, this is one of the highlights of the international rugby sevens calendar, featuring top international teams, with recent winners including England, South Africa and New Zealand. Also provides an excuse for some of the city’s most raucous expat partying. 

 

Matches are played at the purpose-built The Sevens stadium, one the edge of the city next to the road to Al Ain. Tickets go for around 200dh.

 

 

Sports and Activities in Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Diving – Take the plunge in the Gulf

Dubai itself has only limited diving opportunities: the offshore marine environment has been significantly damaged by development and there are no natural reefs, although a number of wrecks can be dived reasonably close to the shore. The city does, however, lie within easy striking distance of numerous outstanding dive sites off the UAE’s east coast in Fujairah, and off the Musandam Peninsula in Oman, both of which are only a couple of hours’ drive away. 

There are a couple of good diving operators in Dubai. The Pavilion Dive Centre at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel offers a range of on-site PADI courses and introductory dives, plus dives to nearby wrecks and one- to three-day excursions to Musandam. Al Boom Diving operates dive centres at the Jebel Ali Golf Resort and Spa in the far south of the city, and at the Al Aqah Méridien hotel in Fujairah, offering a range of PADI courses and dives, plus Musandam excursions.

 

 

Sports and Activities in Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Wild Wadi – Wild and watery thrills and spills

 

One of the city's most enduringly popular attractions, Wild Wadi waterpark boasts a wide range of attractions to suit all ages. Younger kids can inner-tube around Lazy River or splash about in Juha's Dhow and Lagoon play area, while older children and grown-ups can try the various master-blaster tube rides or have a crack at surfing the Wipe-Out and Rip Tide Flowriders. Confirmed adrenalin-junkies should head up to the Jumeirah Sceirah speed slide, during which you'll hit around 80kph and experience temporary weightlessness.

 

Best Places to Eat in Berkeley, California (III)

Best Places to Eat in Berkeley, California: Bistro Liaison Restaurant – Classic French Cooking

 

Bistro Liaison offers traditional French cuisine from its well-positioned location on Shattuck Avenue, close to the Gourmet Ghetto, the university, and the Downtown / Arts District.

 

The guiding forces behind Bistro Liaison are chef proprietor Kenneth "Todd" Kniess and wife Natalie Kniess. The style at the restaurant is described as "French food for the soul." Another chef, chef Walter, prepares a salmon scallop souffle in the photos.

 

The emphasis is on fresh ingredients and seasonal possibilities. The menu has variety, ranging from bouillabaisse to vegetarian specialties. The restaurant is good enough to be rated by Michelin.

 

Consider beginning with a traditional French onion soup and then indulging in a pan-roasted Alaska halibut fillet.

 

 

Best Places to Eat in Berkeley, California: Build Pizzeria Roma – The East Bay’s best build-your own gourmet pizza experience

 

Build Pizzeria Roma is an upscale “create your own” thin-crust pizza restaurant on 2286 Shattuck Avenue, corner of Bancroft. Think fine dining rather than pizza-by-the-slice. Build is located in a light and airy loft-like space, with the pizza assembly in the center and a casual dining area on one side. A more formal and elegant fine dining section is on the other side. You might begin with a glass of wine and the bar bites menu as an appetizer. Twelve wines are available by the glass. The Truffle Arancini is a tasty appetizer choice. Arancini means “little oranges” in Italian. This delicious hot appetizer consists of truffle risotto, smoked mozzarella, and house-made tomato sauce. This appetizer name suggests the “Roma” part of the restaurant’s name. The proprietors feel that there are some ingredients and vision that only Italy can provide well. Other than the ingredients from Italy, the goal is Northern California fresh everything.

 

After wine and an appetizer, it’s time to get in line and build your own pizza. It’s possible to go with several named pizzas on a menu card and let the experts create and cook for you. It’s also possible to go through the line and build-from-scratch or take one of the themed pizzas and make alterations. I started with a pesto base, though tomato base and a white base are also possible. Then I added some veggies, such as grilled garlic cloves and multicolored bell peppers. For a protein, I added cubes of pork. Once you return to your table, the pizza will arrive soon. The large wood-fired ovens can bake a thin-cruster in about 90 seconds.

 

Top Magical Places to Visit in New Zealand (I)

Nestled away in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, are the islands of New Zealand. Often overshadowed by its large neighbor, Australia, this is a country that should be singing its natural rugged beauty. Instead, it quietly carries on — knowing that every day, a few thousand new visitors fall in love with it.

 

There's a wealth of beauty to discover here — and these top magical places to visit in New Zealand are just a few of our favorite places.

 

The North Island, home to the capital Wellington and boasting great rolling hills, dense rainforests, fruitful wineries and steaming geothermal lakes, was the stunning setting for The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings films. Volcano cones dot the countryside — some extinct, others still bubbling. The South Island is best known for its spectacular scenery — vast blue lakes, world-famous glaciers, rusty red mountain ranges and dramatic fjord land.

 

1. Top Magical Places to Visit in New Zealand: Auckland

In New Zealand's largest city, you'll find yourself at the heart of the country's shopping Mecca. Designer stores line the streets of Chancery and the Otara Saturday flea market overflows with Maori and Polynesian homemade cuisine.

At the Viaduct, hire a jet ski and take a tour of the harbor to learn about the city's surrounding suburbs — and there's no better view of the Harbor Bridge than from underneath it. Stop for dinner at the marina, with dozens of sailboats, in the bar and a ruby sunset backdrop, this is the perfect welcome scene.

 

2. Top Magical Places to Visit in New Zealand: Matamata

If the love for Tolkien's Hobbits has brought you to New Zealand, then you'll find the velvety green fields of Matamata completely magical. Located two hours south of Auckland, one of the prime film sets for The Hobbit, and Lord of the Rings trilogy, is now open. A tour of 'Hobbiton' will take you to the homes of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, along with other familiar scenes. Finally, the Green Dragon pub is open to all.

 

3. Top Magical Places to Visit in New Zealand: Rotorua

Thanks to its spot on the Volcanic Plateau, Rotorua is home to the world's most lively geothermal activity. Watch the famous Pohutu Geyser erupt hot spring water up to 30 meters into the air and take in the spectacular rainforest vistas from the banks of beautiful Lake Tarawera and Lake Tikitapu.

To get a bird's eye view, book in for a 15,000ft skydive with NZone Rotorua. The one-minute free fall allows plenty of time to take in the swirling blues and greens of the hot lakes below.

A short helicopter ride from nearby Whakatane town is an active volcano called White Island. Explore this sulphur-spewing beauty with a guide and a hardhat.

 

Top Museums and Religious Sights in Dubrovnik (I)

Dubrovnik is one of the first locations that come to one’s mind when thinking about Croatia and is one of the most visited travel destinations on the Croatian coastline.

 

1. Museum of Modern Arts (Top Museums and Religious Sights in Dubrovnik)

The Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik was founded in 1945. The structure, which is now a museum, was initially designed and built (1935-1939) as the residential villa of a ship-owner from Dubrovnik, Božo Banac. In 1948 it was transformed into a museum. It was designed by the well-known croatian architects Lavoslav Horvat and Harold Bilini in the neo-Renaissance-Gothic style. Together with the large terraces looking on to the sea and its garden, the Museum has over nine hundred square meters of interior and over one thousand square meters of exterior exhibition space. Concentrating its interest on artwork from the times of world-famous painter Vlaho Bukovac until now, the Museum managed to acquire a valuable collection with more than 2000 paintings, sculptures, graphic art and drawings over more than 60 years of its existence. The collection is divided into three different parts: regional, national and international, and it contains the work of nearly every influential local and national painter, sculptor and graphic artist. 

 

2. Orthodox Church (Top Museums and Religious Sights in Dubrovnik)

The Serbian Orthodox Church of Saint Annunciation from the late 19th century is located at Stradun΄s southern parallel street – Od Puča.   The church is built in ornamental neo-byzantine style and stands out from the surrounding architecture, being located in a small, narrow street with many souvenir shops, jewelry shops and galleries. A museum with valuable icons is located just a few doors down on Od Puča 8 Street, with Balkan and Russian icons from various centuries.

 

3. Jewish Quarters and The Synagogue (Top Museums and Religious Sights in Dubrovnik)

In 1546 Dubrovnik Republic allowed the Jewish community to settle within the city walls. This officially marks the establishing of the Jewish Ghetto in Zudioska Street. In 1652, one of the buildings was transformed into a synagogue. Its interior, which was designed in Baroque style, has been well preserved till today, with slight changes. This structure is one of the first synagogues in Europe. At the first level of the building you will find a museum with a huge number of artifacts, religious objects and archive documents like The Torah – which dates between the 13th and 17th centuries, and stands as witness to Dubrovnik’s Jewish Community’s history throughout six centuries. Besides the Synagogue, the Dubrovnik Jewish Community has its own cemetery at Boninovo and a small Jewish fountain at Pile.

 

Lodging in Santa Barbara, California (I)

Santa Barbara is the county seat of Santa Barbara County, California, located in Southern California. If you’ve planned a tour of the Central California Coast, then Santa Barbara is definitely the best overnight destination. This articles series will reveal everything you need to know about lodging in Santa Barbara, California:

 

Lodging in Santa Barbara, California: Bacara Resort & Spa – Posh Mediterranean resort on the beach

 

The Bacara occupies 78 acres of prime beach-and-bluff property about 15 miles north of downtown Santa Barbara. 

 

The Spanish Colonial "village" includes 350 guest rooms and suites, each with private patios or a balcony deck. It also has three pools, nature trails, a Kids Club and activities (seasonal), tennis, and a huge spa with 36 treatment rooms. Sandpiper Golf Course is just down the street.

 

The Bacara edges Haskell's Beach – a local favorite. But don't expect soft, white sand á la Cancun. It's a "natural" stretch of beach with kelp, driftwood, shore birds and lots of wildlife.

 

The three on-site restaurants include the Bistro (California-Italian meals) and Miró, a high-end restaurant known for its excellent wine country dishes from around the world and extensive wine list to match. There's also a snack bar on the beach.

 

The Foley Wine Society opened an on-site tasting room at the Bacara in May 2013. They plan to offer many wine-themed events and excursions to Santa Barbara County wine country, less than 40 minutes from the resort.

 

 

Lodging in Santa Barbara, California: Ballard Inn & Restaurant – Wine country’s most romantic dining room

 

Budi Kazali grew up in Santa Barbara, became a chef and worked, among other fine restaurants, at Blue Ginger with Chef Ming Tsai. He and his wife Christine bought the Ballard Inn in 2004 and established what quickly became one of the nicest B&Bs in Santa Barbara wine country. The 12-table restaurant with fireplace and candles consistently wins accolades as the most romantic restaurant in the region and has won awards as the #1 restaurant in the county.

 

Budi's creative French-Asian-California dishes reflect his eclectic background and experience. The seasonal menu typically has a just handful of delectable appetizer, entree and dessert options; examples may include Thai curry kabocha soup with whipped coconut cream, or grilled squab with spaghetti squash, pomegranate demiglace and truffled watercress salad. Budi can advise you on great wines to pair with each course. 

 

The B&B has 15 rooms – rates range from $245 – $315 and include Budi's exceptional breakfasts.

 

Most Romantic Places in the World to Propose (I)

"Yes!" It's such a powerful word that it can bring men to their knees. A word that they hope to hear when that big moment arrives. To set the stage to pop the "M" question, here are some of the most romantic places in the world to propose, which help you both relax. These destinations will get her in the mood for romance and create memories that will last forever—till death do you part…

 

1. Most Romantic Places in the World to Propose: AYANA Resort & Spa —Jimbaran, Bali, Indonesia

The spiritual intrigue of Bali, for many, is the appeal of this verdant Island of The Gods. Bali's diverse geographical offerings, from green rice terraces to long tropical beaches, ancient temples and volcanoes, provides the dream setting for any couple seeking to make that life-long commitment. Nowhere else on the island is the "I do" spot more perfect than on AYANA Resort & Spa Bali's private jetty. Perched 35 meters above Jimbaran Bay, AYANA Resort and Spa Bali enjoys majestic views and a secluded location. With a 290-room hotel and 78 luxury private villas in Bali, this is the most spacious and one of the most acclaimed Bali luxury resorts. For a completely indulgent romantic vacation, escape to the best villa in Bali, dine at lavish restaurants, take part in boundless resort recreation, or just relax in the five star hotel with no schedule except your next treatment at the Thermes Marins Spa and award-winning Spa on the Rocks.

 

2. Most Romantic Places in the World to Propose: Central Park— New York City

Amid New York City's 8 1/2 million people, where do you go to feel like you're the only couple on earth? You go on a carriage ride through Central Park, where plush velvet seats and the clip clopping of horses hooves provide the perfect setting for a romantic proposal. Add a bottle of champagne, some roses and, of course, the velvet jewelry box, and the Central Park carriage ride remains the classic, most romantic way to get engaged. A warm summer's night, when the sounds and sights of the busy city fade behind leafy foliage in favor of the sounds of crickets is another wonderful option. But don't resist taking a carriage ride during the winter; carriages come equipped with cozy lap robes and there's nothing quite like "getting snuggy in a buggy" with your loved one. Romance combines elements of tradition, elegance and natural beauty. The carriage ride through Central Park has been providing these for over 150 years and remains one of the world's most romantic places to propose.

Tourist Objectives in Lefkada, Greece (II)

Lefkada is a Greek Island in the Ionian Sea, on the west coast of Greece, which is linked to the mainland by a long road and a floating bridge. It has many beautiful beaches and amazing landscapes. This article series covers the best tourist objectives in Lefkada, Greece. Subscribe to our Blog and make sure you don’t miss any of our travel news & updates!

 

4. Tourist Objectives in Lefkada, Greece: Ai Lias

 

Built at a height of 1.015 meters, above the village of Egklouvi, is the chapel of Ai Lias and it is the best location for a view of the whole Lefkada from above. 

The date that the chapel was built is carved on a stone above the chapel’s entrance:  1 May 1869. The floor was laid in 1890 as inscribed on one of the tiles. In 1879 a big earthquake struck and the chapel collapsed. It was rebuilt without a dome, but rather a tiled roof. A cistern is found outside the chapel, which is surprising at such a height.

 

 

5. Tourist Objectives in Lefkada, Greece: Archeological Museum of Lefkada

 

The Archaeological Museum of Lefkada is housed on the ground floor of the Town Hall along with the Cultural Centre. It is small but very significant. Its remarkable collection of findings, photographs and the information that accompany them give the visitor an idea of the dynamics of the region, the changes it suffered, which determined its economy, the relations amongst the different regions and the inhabitants’ activities during ancient times. An important section of the exhibits has been derived from the excavations carried out by the archaeologist Wilhelm Dörpfeld who used innovative methods and interdisciplinary ways of searching the island for evidence to substantiate his theory that Lefkada was Homer΄s Ithaca. The exhibits of the Museum cover a long time period, from the Paleolithic Period all the way through to the Roman Period. They have been found in different locations of the island, such as in the ancient capital Niriko and the surrounding regions, in the caves of Heirospilia (in Eugiro, a village in the south of island), in Asvotrypa  (in the village of Fryni – a suburb of the town), in Heirotrypa (an area of Apolpaina village), in the cave of the Nymphs in Agia Kyriaki, in Mpoliatsos Cave (in the central and highland mainland), in the burial mounds (Early and Middle Bronze Age), in Nydri, in the graveyards of the ancient town of Lefkada, in the Skaroi Mountain, in Meganisi  etc.

 

The Museum, which is considered one of the most important tourist objectives in Lefkada, Greece, is housed in the Cultural Centre of the Municipality of Lefkada (A. Sikelianou & N. Svoronou). The findings appear to cover a large time period that begins from the middle of the Paleolithic Age (200.000 – 35.000 B.C.) up to the later Roman Period. The museum exhibits the finds from the excavations of German archaeologist Wilhelm Dörpfeld, in a separate space, who developed the theory that Lefkada was Ithaca in Homer’s poems. The museum houses tools, ceramics, brass items, jewelry and grave gifts mainly from ancient Niriko, Nydri, Hoirospilia in Eugiro and the cave of Fryni.

Best Places to Eat in Berkeley, California (II)

Best Places to Eat in Berkeley, California: Ashkenaz Music & Dance – Community music and dance center

 

The Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center is an unusual and yet typically Berkeley venue. It was founded in 1973 by David Nadel, a social activist and folk dancer, as a non-profit. 

 

This is where I went to see my friend Michael perform with his Balkan music band. The evening was devoted totally to Balkan music, and involved community dancing done by children as well as octogenarians.

 

Ashkenaz, on San Pablo Avenue near Gilman in west Berkeley, presents live music six nights a week. The music can best be describe as "world" music and "roots" music, often nurturing an ethnic cultural expression. Check their website and look over the ambitious monthly menu of performances to choose something of interest to you.

 

Kick back with a glass of wine or beer and the organic vegetarian food of the Ashkenaz Cafe and enjoy a performance. 

 

Besides performances, Ashkenaz presents a spectrum of classes in dance, movement, and music.

 

 

Best Places to Eat in Berkeley, California: Barney 's Gourmet Hamburger – The burger at its best

 

Barney's is the place for a good, honest burger.

 

It is in the Gourmet Ghetto, but is not intimated by the competition.

 

Patrons sit out on a terrace when the weather is sunny and enjoy their burgers.

 

Of course, this being Berkeley, Barney's burgers have a pedigree. They even serve 11 vegetarian burgers, such as the Teriyaki Veggie, with a pattie consisting of sauteed bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms, smothered in a teriyaki glaze.

 

Best Places to Eat in Berkeley, California: Bette's Oceanview Diner – A classic diner on Fourth Street

 

Bette's Oceanview Diner attempts to re-create a classic diner and has succeeded now for decades. The enduring success of this restaurant is due to the founder, Bette Kroening, who started here in 1982. 

 

Her latest evolving interest is a five-acre organic farm near Sebastopol, where she and husband Manfred practice the food gardening arts.

 

Serving only breakfast and lunch, Bette's also has a thriving takeout business. 

 

Bette's offers a dependable and tasty dining option for shoppers in the busy Fourth Street area.

 

The establishment now has a vigorous mail order business if you want their buttermilk pancake or scones mix, as examples.

 

Best Tourist Attractions in California (III)

Best Tourist Attractions in California: Apple Company Store – Visit the Mothership

 

Located inside Apple's headquarters, this unique geek boutique sells souvenir T-shirts, baby onesies, accessories and hats, all emblazoned with our favorite half-bitten apple.

 

Unlike most Apple retail outlets, the store is only open weekdays and it doesn't sell computers. Still, it's a must-see for the true Mac fan.

 

 

Best Tourist Attractions in California: Aquarium of the Bay – Explore the depths of the sea

 

A family trip to Pier 39 in San Francisco wouldn't be complete without stopping at this 65,000-square-foot oceanfront aquarium. It's home to more than 20,000 sea creatures — including the native sevengill shark, which cruises the nearby bay. Watch these massive predators devour their lunch at 11:30 a.m. Sundays and Thursdays, then explore the aquarium's floor-to-ceiling tunnels filled with schools of anchovies, bat rays, skates and giant sea bass. 

 

In the "Touch the Bay" exhibit, you can lightly pat leopard sharks, bat rays and tide pool creatures such as sea stars and sea cucumbers.

 

Tip: Buy the Bay Cruise package ($37 adults; $22 kids 5-11) and you can visit the aquarium and join a 1-hour tour around Alcatraz and San Francisco Bay.

 

 

Best Tourist Attractions in California: Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World – Shopping for the manly man (or woman)

 

This ginormous 180,000-square-foot store, dedicated to the great outdoors, sells everything under the sun — from full-size Tracker boats to fire arms and kayaks.

 

Inside the massive "log cabin," you'll find giant freshwater and saltwater aquariums, an indoor trout stream, Nascar simulator, shooting range and target casting. Several events are offered throughout the year, from archery classes to hunting/fishing workshops and family summer camps. Fish feedings take place at noon every Saturday.

 

While you're here, enjoy lunch at the Islamorada Fish Company, where you can dine on wild game and seafood alongside a 13,000-gallon saltwater tank. Menu items include hickory smoked rotisserie chicken, venison stuffed mushrooms and hand-breaded alligator. We prefer the Islamorada Sandwich, made with grilled mahi mahi, sauteed onions and American cheese.

 

Tip: An additional store is located in Manteca at 1356 Bass Pro Drive, Manteca, CA 95337.

 

World’s Most Beautiful Flower Destinations (II)

Few spaces are more peaceful and awe-inspiring than a beautiful garden. One feels calmer when surrounded by flowers, water features, fountains and the sound of nature.

 

Some of the world’s most beautiful flower destinations can be found from California up to Victoria, Canada. Each park is an ideal destination to visit to appreciate the beauty of a city. All offer wonderful walking trails for exercise among colorful flora and fauna.

 

 

World’s Most Beautiful Flower Destinations: Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve

 

In March and April, the hills come alive in bright orange, with delicate poppies.

 

Some call this reserve "March Miracle" depending on how much rain the area receives. Many times mid-April is the peak of the poppy display.

 

Other wildflowers include owl's clover, lupine, goldfield, cream cups, and coreopsis. The desert grassland produces a mosaic of color and fragrance each spring.

 

Located in the Mojave Desert Grassland habitat, the duration and intensity of colors and scents vary from year to year. There are eight miles of trails through the gentle rolling hills, including a paved section for wheelchair access, making the park a wonderful place to hike and explore. Benches located along the trails make good places to sit quietly and watch for singing meadowlarks, lizards zipping across the trail, gopher snakes and rattlesnakes. If you're lucky, you may spot a coyote or bobcat. Numerous burrows around the walking trails house mice, gophers, kangaroo rats, beetles, and scorpions.

 

Visit the onsite Jane S. Pinheiro Interpretive Center at the Reserve to watch a short video to learn more about the reserve. There are wildlife and plant displays and a gift shop. It's open weekends from 9 am. to 5 p.m. beginning March 22nd, and then daily through April from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 

 

World’s Most Beautiful Flower Destinations: Huntington Gardens and Library

 

Located in San Marino, about 25 minutes from downtown Los Angeles, is a breathtaking 207-landscaped property of unique and exotic plant collections and botanical gardens. There are more than 14,000 different of varieties of plants showcased in more than 12 gardens. Forty gardeners, a curatorial staff and marathon 100 volunteers maintain the collection.

 

A must-visit is Liu Fang Yuan, the Garden of Flowing Fragrance. It's the largest Chinese Garden outside of China. This authentic 12-acre garden inspires the elegant harmony of the beauty of nature and learning. Architects and artisans from Suzhou, a Chinese city renowned worldwide for its ancient gardens, worked with Californian builders to produce a traditional Chinese landscape. Walking through its paths enriches the mind and spirit alike. Chinese architecture and rocks are placed around the water's edge to balance native California oaks. Aman-made lake, windows, bridges, and pavilions provide different views of the landscape.

 

Continue on your garden journey to explore Australian gardens, camellia gardens and an interactive children's garden.

 

The Japanese Gardens transport visitors to a tranquil and Zen-like oasis. Completed in 1912 and opened to the public in 1928, it features a drum and red moon bridge. Sit near koi-filled ponds and be sure to visit the bonsai collection.

 

The Conservatory appeals to families with its hands-on opportunities. Make a reservation to have a tea lunch or snack in the Rose Tea Room.