Tuesday, February 28, 2017

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Monday, February 27, 2017

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Friday, February 24, 2017

Friday Travel Tip - Dubai - Visiting the Burj Khalifa, the worlds tallest building

The Burj Khalifa is the worlds tallest building, standing at 828 meters is not only impressive from the top, but it's also interesting to see from the ground. Dubai is a city designed for aesthetics, and there are many places one can see this tower that are truly remarkable.

The most popular spot to snap a picture of the tower is just outside the Dubai Mall next to the Burj Khalifa Lake fountain (the world's largest choreographed fountain system). Going up the Burj Khalifa requires buying a ticket in advance. The ticket office is located in the Dubai Mall on the ground floor. There are several ticket options available, At The Top viewing area, Sky Ticket, and a special VIP ticket. The tickets are not cheap (anywhere between 125 AED to 500 AED), prices vary depending on how high you want to go, if you want to wait in lines, and what time of day you're going.

If you're on a budget and can't miss going up, the At The Top viewing area still offers a great view, and is well worth it. If you're looking for a great view of Dubai the Burj Khalifa is one of the best. Keep a few things in mind before you shell out the big bucks, most of the viewing areas are surrounded in glass and there are some pretty harsh reflections, so at a few angles you won't get the greatest photos.Dubai is also a very spread out, so many of the other famous landmarks are actually very far away. Finally it's a very popular place to visit, so expect crowds and expect tickets to sell out quickly.

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Monday, February 20, 2017

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Friday, February 17, 2017

Friday Travel Tip - Athens - LAIKI AGORA

If you want to go shopping with the locals there is really only one way to do it, the laiki agora. The laiki agora, or just laiki as most people call it, translates to the people's market. In the olden days this was a weekly market where all of the local farmers would have the chance to come into the cities and villages to sell their wares. Today the tradition lives on, however many of the sellers may not be farmers themselves, and some crops are imported from other parts of Greece, or even from other parts of the world. This is still the place where many people get their weekly fruits and vegetables.

The products are generally sold by weight, and bargaining isn't always accepted (particularly if you’re buying less than a kilogram). Most of the vendors speak English, and sampling before you buy is often encouraged. The laiki can get very loud and a little chaotic, so some might be overwhelmed, but getting there early often leads to less crowds.

To find a laiki is a bit of a challenge for foreigners since they only happen once a week at fairly random locations. Asking a local can sometimes get results, but most people only know of the laiki where they shop, so hotel employees may not know of a laiki in the area of the hotel. Downtown Athens has 3 great laikis that I use, all of which take place on Fridays from about 8am till 2pm. Kolonaki has one about halfway up the hill, and Pangrati has two one near the Divani Caravel hotel and one at the end of Spirou Mercouri.

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Monday, February 13, 2017

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Friday, February 10, 2017

Friday Travel Tip - Athens - KERAMEIKOS GRAVEYARD

The location of the Kerameikos graveyard is fairly off the beaten path, and there's basically no signs or anything to tell you how to get there. There's also very little information about this site in most guidebooks or maps. Having said all of that, it is well worth visiting.

Historically the site holds a few interesting things, but for the average non-archaeologist type you'll probably most appreciate the graveyard with it's stunning marble headstones. The most famous of all of these headstones is the giant bull. There are two ways to explore the graveyard, you can either see the original marble statues in the museum, or walk through the graveyard and check out some beautiful reproductions in their original settings. I recommend doing both, start with the walk through the graveyard, and cool off in the museum.

Once you've finished off in the museum it's well worth exploring the second part of the Kerameikos site with pathways, part of an ancient wall, and several religious sites. This area may not appeal to you on the artistic side the same way as the graveyard, however the walk is very pleasant and it gives you an idea of the landscape on the outer part of ancient Athens.

If you decide that this is a site you want to check out, you simple have to walk about 15 minutes from Thesio Metro Station and you're there. Also make sure to bring your ticket from your visit to the Acropolis, as your ticket will give you access to Kerameikos as well.

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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Monday, February 6, 2017

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Friday, February 3, 2017

Friday Travel Tip - Athens - TEMPLE OF OLYMPIAN ZEUS

The Temple of Olympian Zeus was the largest of all the known temples in Athens. To give you some perspective, the Parthenon on the Acropolis was about half the size of the Temple of Olympian Zeus. Today, the Parthenon still stands fairly close to its original size, where as the Temple of Olympian Zeus is really just a cluster of pillars. Don't get me wrong, those pillars are impressive, and they give you a great idea of just how colossus this temple once was.

The site itself has two great vantage points, one that is free, and another that costs. Most people's first view of the temple comes when they visit Hadrian's Arch on Vasilissis Amalias. Right behind the fence located near the arch you get a great view of the temple. This view will cost you nothing, and it affords the only view of this temple at night, and it looks great at night. To many this view is enough to say that they've seen it, and not too many people venture around to the other side of the site to enter.

The site itself is a mixed bag. The great thing about going into the site is to get up close to these colossal pillars and really get an idea of how big they are. You can also see the one pillar that fell down in 1852 much better from close up. Other than that this site is fairly barren with a few ancient building foundations scattered around, but not much to see. If you visit the Acropolis, your multi-site ticket does give you access to the Temple of Olympian Zeus, and this makes the site worth visiting.

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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Wednesday, February 1, 2017