Thursday, April 30, 2009
The rooms and suites are sumptuous. The restaurants and bars are in a class of their own. The spa is one of the most beautiful in the world. All are rich in history and stories of the high profile guests who have made this hotel an essential stop on their world travels for almost 130 years
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
1. Take your award here
2. Put the logo on your post
3. Link the person who awarded you
4. Nominate at least 7 other blogs (rules are made to be broken...so I will not pass this to anybody...so a lot of blogger's I know got this award already...if you don't have this award yet....feel free to grab it...thanks)
5. Add links to those blogs on yours
6. Leave a messages for your nominees on their blog
Friday, April 24, 2009
The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Cinque Terre is noted for its beauty. Over centuries, man has carefully built terraces on the rugged, steep landscape right up to the cliffs that overlook the sea. Part of its charm is the lack of visible "modern" development. Paths, trains and boats connect the villages and cars can not reach it from the outside. It is a very popular tourist destination.
In 1998 the Italian Ministry for the Environment set up the Protected natural marine area Cinque Terre to protect the natural environment and to promote socio-economical development compatible with the natural landscape of the area.
Photo:courtesy of Google
Thursday, April 23, 2009
But when push comes to shove, you might have doubts about home exchange programs that open your home to strangers and the possibility of theft, property damage or injuries.
As people look for ways to trim traveling costs this summer, the risks and rewards of home swapping are getting closer scrutiny. In a perfect world, the idea is to save money and get a glimpse of life among local residents, all while keeping the conveniences of home.
"Home exchange isn't just about money. It's about getting off the tourist track and really caring about what other cultures are like," said Helen Coyle Bergstein, founder of the swapping site Digsville.com based in New Paltz, N.Y.
That said, here's what you need to know to arrange a successful home swap
Q: How does it work?
A: The traditional home swap is when you trade places with another homeowner at the same time. There are other ways to do an exchange, however. You might go on a cruise while they stay in your home, then they might hunker down with relatives when you visit.
Without hotel ratings to give you guidance, be prepared for varying accommodations. Asking the right questions should prevent unwelcome surprises.
Q: Are there any costs?
A: You'll most likely need to pay for membership to an online home exchange site. This gives you access to a bank of listings and boosts your chances of finding a suitable swap.
Membership fees vary, but are usually between $40 to $100 for a year.
Q: How do I know people are trustworthy?
A: Home exchange sites don't screen members, so you need to do your homework.
As with eBay or other peer-to-peer sites, home swappers can be rated after a stay. Don't be shy about reaching out to reviewers. Ask about their experience. Did the swappers keep the house clean? Did the online photos accurately portray their home?Q: How do I protect against property damage or liability due to injuries?
A: Generally, home exchange partners are treated as any other guests under homeowners and renters insurance policies. So if your exchange partner breaks your lamp or steals a computer, you're covered, according to Kate Hollcraft, a spokeswoman for Allstate. The normal deductibles apply.
Q: What if one of us has to cancel the trip?
A: There aren't many options to protect against trip cancellations. But one option is getting a policy offered through CHECtravel. The policies, which are written by TravelGuard, start at about $15, or 5 percent of the coverage amount up to $50,000.
Q: What is the most common reason for dissatisfaction?
A: Cleanliness. Standards vary widely, so be honest about your housekeeping and don't be afraid to ask about your partners.
Don't rely on photos alone. If you're afraid of seeming rude, volunteer information about your own habits. Be sure to indicate whether you smoke or have pets.
With two sets of twins, Michelle has gone through 15 pregnancies that ended in 13 natural deliveries and two Caesarean sections.
Both Michelle and Jim Bob — a former state legislator who served in the Arkansas House of Representatives — are real estate agents. They claim their family is debt-free, with the entire bunch helping to build their 7,000-square-foot home in Tontitown. And they are enriched by a devout faith in their religion.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Saturday, April 4, 2009
We are also able to see my sister-in-law and her husband from Colorado, it happened when they went there for a visit as well. What a coincidence!
This circular house is one of my brother-in-law's neighbor...weird isn't it?