Fascinating Places to See in Havana, Cuba (II)

Category: Travel Blog

Fascinating Places to See in Havana, Cuba (II)

When Christopher Columbus landed in Cuba in 1492, he described it as the most beautiful country that human eyes had ever seen. He wasn’t wrong. Numerous Spanish settlers soon followed him, and the glorious churches, fortifications and palaces in Havana’s Old Town still tell of their power and wealth to this day. In contrast, the many slaves who had to work to create this luxury in the tobacco and sugarcane plantations lived in much less pleasant circumstances. Keep reading to discover which fascinating places to see in Havana, Cuba.


4. Fascinating Places to See in Havana, Cuba: Capitoline Hill (Building)

The Capitol in Washington D.C. was taken as the inspiration for this dazzlingly white building, with a 62-metre-high dome and a very wide set of steps. The bronze doors at the entrance depict scenes from the history of Cuba. There is a diamond set into the floor of the domed hall, from where all of the distances on the island are measured. In addition to all this, you will also find magnificent assembly halls and a library with around 3,000 scientific works.


5. Fascinating Places to See in Havana, Cuba: Museum of the Revolution (Museum)

Behind the building stands the yacht, Granma, with which Fidel Castro and 81 other revolutionaries landed on Cuba in 1956 to overthrow the government, On the second floor there are various depictions of the revolutionary struggles, from the uprising of the slaves to the two wars against Spain and the fall of president Batista at the hands of the Communists. The first floor is dedicated to the achievements of the revolution in terms of medicine and education.


6. Fascinating Places to See in Havana, Cuba: Malecon (Street)

The facades of the houses on this coastal road, some seven kilometers in length, are marked by their regular contact with salt water. Yet this is a pulsating part of town where above all young people like to meet to go jogging, fishing and skating, to play music and to flirt. There are also small, quaint shops here and at carnival time each year there’s plenty of clowning around. 

Best Places to Eat in Thailand (V)

Best Places to Eat in Thailand: Pum Patong – Restaurant and cooking school


The younger sister to Ko Phi Phi's Pum, Pum Patong maintains the fun vibe and yummy food, as well as the excellent cooking classes. 


Pum emphasizes simple, whole ingredients, and the result is super-tasty treats.


Dishes have fun names such as "red lipstick" (red curry), and cocktails are creative: try the lemongrass and Mekong whisky, or Thai coffee and Mekong whisky. Sweet and refreshing!


Cooking classes are held several times a day, at 11am, 4pm and 6pm. You can take short classes that focus on a single dish for 399 baht, or three-hour classes for 1200 baht, plus options in-between.


Call ahead to make a reservation or schedule a private cooking class.



Best Places to Eat in Thailand: Tonsai – Great Thai food on Ko Chang


A large menu of Thai specialties is the reason to visit Tonsai. Besides the usual curry favorites, you can try less mainstream (but still friendly) dishes, such as dried pork with sticky rice and som tam or Thai lettuce hand wraps. The menu is extensive and it's a good place to dine with friends, as you can order many dishes and eat them Thai-style.


It's in a lovely garden setting that offsets the road's proximity. 



Best Places to Eat in Thailand: Baan Chivit Mai Bakery – Where to get your jelly rolls


This bakery is popular with newspaper-reading expats and carb-loving travelers. With two small cases filled with items such as brownies, jelly rolls and fresh-baked bread, the Swedish bakery is a great place to stop before a long bus ride. (It's right across the street from the Chiang Rai bus terminal and the Night Bazaar.)


Baan Chivit Mai is part of a larger social enterprise offering local independent relief. The bakery functions as vocational training for prostitutes and drug dealers.


Best Coffee Houses in Berkeley, California (II)

4. Best Coffee Shops in Berkeley, California: Chester's Bayview Café – A breakfast scramble


Chester is an especially suitable Gourmet Ghetto choice when you are in the mood for a hearty breakfast scramble. Sit outdoors in the enclosed courtyard when the weather is mild.


The Chester scramble sticks to your ribs. The ingredients include eggs, potatoes, and your choice of meats or fish, all served with a side of toast and a never-empty cup of strong coffee.


Chester's functions with breakfast through the lunch hour, then closes, opening again in the evening for a Tapas Bar dinner. Local musicians entertain Wednesday through Sunday, with music and dancing. The spectrum includes jazz, swing, folk, and country.


5. Best Coffee Shops in Berkeley, California: Freight & Salvage Coffehouse – Music 300 nights a year


Rarely a night goes by in downtown Berkeley when Freight & Salvage is not presenting some acoustic music or roots music offering. Freight & Salvage calls itself the "home of traditional music."


Freight & Salvage has some music playing for about 300 nights a year. The entity celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2008, and calls itself "the longest-running full-time folk and traditional music venue west of the Mississippi River."


The setting is downtown at 2020 Addison in the Arts District, opposite the Berkeley Rep, showing the density of performing arts venues on a single block of Addison.


Freight & Salvage also is a coffeehouse and cafe. The company is proud of its new, green building. 


Classes in music and dance occur, beyond the nightly musical performances.


6. Best Coffee Shops in Berkeley, California: Elmwood Café – Ozzie’s Soda Fountain


The Elmwood Cafe honors the memory of a beloved local person, Charles "Ozzie" Osborne, who turned the soda fountain in what was the Elmwood Pharmacy into a major community-gathering place for decades.


That early legacy has been recreated in this contemporary cafe on the same site, complete with a fountain-style marble slab counter and straightforward but inventive food.


The coffee is carefully roasted and sold in retail packages as well as by the cup.


There is an all day menu that includes items such as a frittata or house made granola.


From 11 am on there is also a Served Later menu in which good choices might be the roast turkey or a plate of California fresh figs and goat cheese.


Best Hotels in La Paz, Bolivia (III)

Nuestra Señora de La Paz commonly recognized as La Paz, is Bolivia’s third most populated city, the seat of the country’s government and the capital of La Paz Department. It is located on the western part of Bolivia at an elevation of about 3,650 m above sea level. In this article we offer you a review of the best hotels in La Paz, Bolivia.


8. Best Hotels in La Paz, Bolivia: El Rey Palace Hotel, Avenida 20 de Octubre

El Rey Palace comes complete with doorman and elevator music in the halls. Each room has a king-sized bed (some have two) a radio, phone, cable TV, air conditioning, a safe, hair dryer, bidet, Jacuzzi bath, shampoo, soap and telephones in the bathroom and the bedroom. A mini-bar is stocked with good wine. The high-quality wood closets, colonial furniture and plush carpets are an added draw. Buffet breakfast is included in the price. The hotel also has a business center and Internet access at no extra cost. Single rooms are just a bit smaller than doubles. A discount is offered to those staying more than one night and you may have a room for just the day at the discounted price of $30. Weekend prices are much lower than during the week. There’s a restaurant and a quiet piano bar. The staff speaks English and some speak French Canadian.


9. Best Hotels in La Paz, Bolivia: Hotel Ritz, Plaza Isabel la Catolica

Hotel Ritz has suites to suit all tastes. Located in the better part of town, near the Bridge of the Americas, this hotel has British-styled décor (complete with John Peel paintings) and British-style reserve. The suites are large and well decorated and the price includes an excellent buffet breakfast. The starting rate is $121 and it goes up to $177 for two people. However, due to different plans and promotions available, they offer up to 47% discounts (weekends are one of the best times to get a deal).


10. Best Hotels in La Paz, Bolivia: Hacienda Villa-del-Sol

This is an award-winning, five-star hotel that has one-, two- or three-bedroom suites. Located near the golf course, it looks like a North American walled city. The award it won was for the best-constructed hotel in La Paz. Each suite has 60 channels on the cable TV, a bar, balcony, telephones, Internet connection, safes and a wood-burning fireplace.

Leisure Activities in Calabria, Italy

Recreation and fun are top priorities in Calabria. It boasts spectacular – and in some cases – still unspoilt beaches and bays. The very sight of these natural wonders will help you relax effortlessly. You can engage in many leisure activities in Calabria, Italy. The region boasts several mountains, where tourists can hike, climb and go mountain biking. For the dear little ones (and for others also) a visit to the series of theme parks will turn every dull, sluggish day into quite an eventful day. And last but not least, the relaxed behavior of the local people emanates a feeling of well-being.


1. Capo Rizzuto Aquarium (Leisure activities in Calabria, Italy: Other – Isola Capo Rizzuto)

In this aquarium, consisting of a total of 22 tanks, children and adults alike can learn about some of the mysteries of the sea. In the multimedia room with movie screenings and a touch pool, visitors can gain a wealth of very clear and easy-to-follow information.


2. Capo Rizzuto (Leisure activities in Calabria, Italy: Beach – Isola Capo Rizzuto)

The peninsula of Capo Rizzuto in the province of Crotone has about 15,000 inhabitants. The headland has some of the most beautiful beaches in Calabria. In the Old Town of Capo Rizzuto, you can visit the remains of a 16th century castle.


3. Terme Luiciane (Leisure activities in Calabria, Italy: Therme & spa – Acquappesa)

The thermal park in Acquappesa has everything needed to do something good for your body. The variety of bathing pools and the peaceful ambience makes it the perfect place to relax and unwind. The beautiful complex takes care of everything else necessary to revitalize yourself.


4. Nuova Aquafans Praia a Mare (Leisure activities in Calabria, Italy: Waterpark – Praia a Mare)

Waterparks are the perfect place for a holiday excursion with the family. The Nuova Aquafans Water Park is a fun experience for all ages. Choose from a variety of different fun pools, numerous entertainment facilities as well as a kids’ club.


5. Pescaturismo (Leisure activities in Calabria, Italy: Other – Diamante)

Pescaturismo is a special kind of holiday fun. Here you have the opportunity to experience the everyday life of a fisherman. Starting very early, before sunrise or in the middle of the night, the fisherman gets up with his guests and together they begin their day. Offered by La Guardiola pub.


Best Places to Stay in Rome, Italy (III)

Best Places to Stay in Rome, Italy: Hotel Barocco – Friendly small hotel


The Hotel Barocco is located just off Piazza Barberini, not far from the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps, at the foot of Via Veneto. Many of the 41 rooms have views out over Rome, and some even have small terraces. It features classic decoration, travertine bathrooms and good-sized rooms. Several luxury suites have just been added, including one with it’s own terrace and Jacuzzi. 


The hotel is known for it’s friendly service, and staff is gracious and willing to help with anything you need. Wi-Fi throughout. It also has a wonderful breakfast buffet.



Best Places to Stay in Rome, Italy: Campo dei Fiori – Great location for dining at night


This small hotel is in a fantastic location, right off Campo de’ Fiori and it’s daily market. Very old-world in feeling, with each room decorated with antiques, heavy curtains and brocade fabrics. 


The common spaces include a cozy living room, complete with working fireplace and a rooftop terrace with great views. Since the hotel has no bar, grab a drink or a bottle from the bar across the street, and head up to the hotel’s roof. 


This is a great place to stay to be near all the great restaurants in this neighborhood (Campo de’ Fiori) as well as the Ghetto and Trastevere, all within walking distance. Sites are nearby as well, including Piazza Navona, The Vatican and Castel Saint Angelo.


Extremely friendly staff, helpful and speak English. 



Best Places to Stay in Rome, Italy: Hotel de Russie – Luxury Hotel near Piazza del Popolo


Hotel de Russie opened several years ago to immediate raves. The building was completely redesigned, and the large, modern rooms display an understated luxury that is hard to find in this history-laden town. The garden, with a romantic restaurant and bar is one of the best places to enjoy an appetitive and climbs up the hill in the back of the hotel, making the place unique, and providing a tranquil oasis within the hustle and bustle of Rome.


This is a full service luxury hotel, with gym, spa, restaurant and bar. Rooms are spacious and some of the suites are the preferred home away from home for traveling movie stars. 

Best Haunted Places to Visit

Caution for the fearful: perhaps you should stop reading this article right now, because what follows is a review of the five most frightening haunted places in the world.


1. Terror Behind the Walls

Set inside Philadelphia's now obsolete Eastern State Penitentiary, the Terror Behind The Walls has been entitled one of the most important haunted places in USA by the renowned Haunted Attraction Magazine. Terror Behind the Walls provides a different set of rules: tourists can be touched, grasped, or even held back from their groups by disguised performers throughout the spooky expedition. It is found at 2027 Fairmount Avenue and was operational from 1829 until 1971. Notorious criminals such as bank robber Willie Sutton and Al Capone were held inside its innovative wagon wheel design. The prison is currently open to the public as a museum for tours.  Terror Behind the Walls takes the first place in our list of the Best Haunted Places to Visit.


2. The Darkness

The Darkness, situated in St. Louis, MI, has been terrifying even its most daring guests for over 20 years by now. This attraction has new and horrifying pop-ups, excitements, and 3D undertakings. The Darkness Haunted House is one of the longest running haunted houses in America and one of the most well known haunted attractions in the World. The Darkness first opened its doors in 1994. The Darkness takes the second place in our list of the Best Haunted Places to Visit.


3. Disturbia: Torment of Fears

Located right nearby Chicago in Addison, IL, Disturbia: Torment of Fears is not just a terrifying house of horror. This attraction dominates more than 15.000 square meters of landscape. Disturbia has 25 frightening zones, a specially prepared room for those who don’t like clowns, and a cave where monsters locked inside cages prey upon the visitors. The managers begin preparing the eerie building around July 1. Disturbia: Torment of Fears takes the third place in our list of the Best Haunted Places to Visit.


4. Thrillvania

Thrillvania is everybody’s Halloween nightmarish dream: a Texas Chainsaw Massacre came true. Thrillvania is one of the biggest houses of horror in the country, taking 50 acres of haunted land. It has an annual audience of more than 20.000 horror pursuers. The park includes four attractions like "labyrinth of terror" and "trail of torment"; Thrillvania takes the fourth place in our list of the Best Haunted Places to Visit.


5. Nightmare New England

Situated in Litchfield, NH, Nightmare New England is one of the topmost horror sights in the area. The magnitude and the variety of this place "offers something to delight even the bravest Halloween fanatic."  Nightmare New England takes the fifth place in our list of Best Haunted Places to Visit.

Best Cities in Florida (I)

When the Spanish arrived on the coast of Florida in the early 16th century, they initially thought that it was an island. They were not entirely wrong, as The Sunshine State, with its tropical temperatures, palm groves and sandy beaches, is in many ways more like a Caribbean island than the rest of the USA.  We sought to identify the best cities in Florida and here is what we found:


1. St. Augustine (Best Cities in Florida)

This idyllic small town is considered to be one of the smallest settlements in the USA founded by Europeans. Right by the harbor is the Castillo de San Marcos, a star-shaped fortress from Spanish colonial times. In the town centre, above all on St. George Street, visitors can admire the countless old buildings which have been lovingly restored, while in the Living History Museum, actors in historical costumes bring the everyday life of a bygone era back to life.


2. Saint Petersburg (Best Cities in Florida)

Saint Petersburg is a city on the Florida peninsula, which is also called “Florida’s Sunshine City”. A pier stretches 400 meters out into the bay, which offers visitors a wonderful view. The view of the skyline is also very pleasant at nighttime, as is a walk through the harbor area in general.

When it comes to leisure time there are approximately 125 city parks, play areas and sporting activities. The 70 km-long cycling and hiking router is the longest in the eastern USA. Also worth noting is that America’s only reprocessing plant for domestic water was built here. Attractions include the botanical gardens “Sunken Garden”, the “Tampa Bay Walk of Fame”, “Baseball Boulevard” and the “St. Petersburg Times Walk Through History” as well as the “Bayfront Center Arena”, “Mahaffey Theater” and the “Coliseum”.


3. Fort Lauderdale (Best Cities in Florida)

It’s worth discovering Fort Lauderdale by boat, as it is also known as the “Venice of America”. It’s not just the canals and many arms of the river that offer wonderful views, there’s also a lot to discover at the harbor. Ten ships can be processed simultaneously at this harbor, and there is the option to take a day trip to the Bahamas.

Many yachts are built or serviced in Fort Lauderdale. The world’s biggest drive-in cinema with 13 screens also comes highly recommended. The nightlife is also very lively and highly regarded by youngsters.

Best Golf Clubs on Vancouver Island (I)

"Where do you picture the clubhouse?" is a game some of us golfers play while we're driving along admiring landscape that seems naturally predisposed to being the perfect golf tract. Pristine and breathtakingly beautiful, Vancouver Island with its sweeping ocean views, beaches, rainforests, marshes, mountains, meadows, rivers and lakes is a mother lode of such locations.


Fortunately, this attribute has been duly noticed by the professionals, so you will find outstanding championship courses designed by masters such as Jack Nicklaus, A.V. Macan and Les Furber as well as great nine-hole options and community facilities suitable for all skill levels. While this article will focus on some of the finer 18-hole championship courses, there's much more golfing at your disposal.


1. Best Golf Clubs on Vancouver Island: Victoria Region

Given its quaint setting on a harbor, and decidedly British roots, downtown Victoria is a place you'll want to explore —from its funky BC craft beer breweries to high tea at The Fairmont Empress Hotel.


2. Best Golf Clubs on Vancouver Island: Cedar Hill Municipal Golf Course — While short in length, Vancouver Island's first municipal golf course, established in 1920 as nine holes and expanded to 18 in the 1950s, is good place to get your game going, because water hazards, rock outcrops and other features demand every club in your bag.


3. Best Golf Clubs on Vancouver Island: Olympic View Golf Club — Owned and operated by GolfBC and located just 20 minutes from downtown Victoria, it is a par 72, 18-hole championship golf course highlighted by two waterfalls, 12 lakes, the Olympic Mountains in the horizon, and roaming deer and soaring eagles Its award-winning GBC Golf Academy offers expansive grass tee decks, five target greens, and three short game area. Enjoy locally inspired cuisine at Forester's Bistro & Bar in the stunning 23,000 square-foot club house with floor to ceiling windows and wrap around patio overlooking the course caps off the round.


4. Best Golf Clubs on Vancouver Island: Highland Pacific — Victoria's newest public course, just minutes away, threads through West Coast forest, rock, fescue and natural water features, while affording spectacular views of Victoria, Olympic Mountains, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Thetis Lake Park and Bear Mountain. Even the practice facility has plenty of targets and hazards in its two-tiered driving range, bunker and short game areas. Unwind from your game at The Range Café.


5. Best Golf Clubs on Vancouver Island: Mount Brenton Golf Club — As you might expect in this abundant growing belt, in artsy mural-bedecked Chemanius, you'll find the course dubbed the Island's friendliest.


Book your next island golf getaway to Vancouver Island where you don't have to imagine where to place the clubhouse; it’s already there!


Most Important Tourist Attractions in Chicago (II)

Although Chicago is often called the “Second City” of the USA, it can easily compete with New York City. The city on the bank of Lake Michigan is not only one of the largest in the USA; it is also the economic and cultural center of the Mid West and one of the major transportation hubs in America. In this article we will review some of the most important tourist attractions in Chicago.


4. Most Important Tourist Attractions in Chicago: Water Tower (Tower)

The Water Tower rises to a height of 160 feet (49 meters) between all of the city’s skyscrapers. The Gothic tower from yellowish limestone was built in 1869 and was one of the few buildings to survive the Great Fire of 1871. It is therefore one of Chicago’s oldest maintained constructions. With its numerous small peaks and turrets, the Water Tower resembles corny Walt Disney castle. The Pumping Station houses a visitor’s center with tourist information.


5. Most Important Tourist Attractions in Chicago: Old Town (District)

The Old Town is located north of the city center. The area was originally home to many German farmers before it later became a lower-income residential district with small houses and narrow streets. Today most of the workers’ houses have been restored, making Old Town a popular residential area. Especially noteworthy are Moody Church, a large Protestant brick-façade church, and Menomonee Street, which still contains historic houses from the time before the Great Fire.


6. Most Important Tourist Attractions in Chicago: John G. Shedd Aquarium (Aquarium)

The aquarium, which opened in 1930, is one of the largest and most frequently visited in the world. Visitors can expect various salt and freshwater tanks with habitats recreated true to the original. There is for example an artificial coral reef as well as walkways through the rainforest. Over 8,000 marine animals inhabit the underwater world, including sharks, dolphins and whales, but also ocean turtles, penguins and seals. Demonstrations take place on a regular basis in the large saltwater tank.