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Hokkaido-Japan Fall Foliage Spots

Hokkaido is a beautiful destination for viewing fall foliage.  Popluar spots are:

Daisetsuzan Mountains / Sounkyo Gorge

One of Japan’s earliest fall foliage usually happens in the Daisetsuzan mountains from mid September.
Location: Daisetsuzan National Park Sounkyo Onsen
Kamikawa-cho, Hokkaido

It takes  about 30 minutes by bus to Sounkyo Onsen Stop from JR Kamikawa Station

Fall Foliage Season: mid September – early October.

Lake Shikotsu

Location: Shikotsuko Onsen Chitose-city, Hokkaido
it takes about 45 minutes by bus for Shikotsuko from JR Chitose Station
Fall Foliage Season: early – mid October


Lake Akan

Location: Akan-ko Onsen Kushiro-city, Hokkaido
Access: About 2 hours by bus from JR Kushiro Station to Akanko Bus Terminal
Fall Foliage Season: late September – early October

Sapporo Fall Foliage Viewing Spots

There are many fall foliage viewing spots in Sapporo-city.

Onuma Koen Park

Location: Onuma-cho Nanae-cho, Hokkaido
Access: JR Onuma Koen Station
Fall Foliage Season: mid – late October

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Fall Foliage in Canada

Jordan woos Gulf tourists

Europeans, Americans stay away amid unrest, prompting search for replacement; tourism from Gulf Cooperation Council grows.


A promotional campaign urging visitors from the Gulf to visit Jordan appears to be paying off for the Hashemite Kingdom, whose hotels and attractions have been struggling with a drop in tourism from Europe and America.

Although Jordan has been relatively quiet, unrest elsewhere in the Middle East has frightened travelers and caused tourist arrivals from Europe to the Hashemite Kingdom to drop by over 17% in the first eight months of this year to 400,000 from 483,000 in 2010. The number of visitors from North and South America declined by 13% to just 125,000.

But, according to data obtained by The Media Line, at least 26% more visitors from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which includes oil-rich countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait, states came to Jordan in the first eight months of 2011, compared with the same period last year.

With its economy rattled by unrest, a growing import bill and interruptions in the supply of natural gas imported from Egypt, Jordan needs tourism earnings more than ever. The International Monetary Fund cut its forecast on Tuesday for the country’s economic growth to 2.5% this year from a previous 3.3%.

Foreseeing that the tumult of the Arab Spring would likely deter Western visitors, Jordan’s Tourism Ministry moved to compensate by encouraging more Arabs to visit, especially from the GCC.

Jordan’s top attractions include the ruins of the ancient city of Petra and the Red Sea resort of Aqaba, which was named Arab Tourism Capital of 2011 by the Arab Tourism Ministers Council. The designation has helped it draw some of the tourism away from the volatile, shark-invested resorts in the Egyptian Sinai coast.  It has fewer strictures on liquor and the intermingling of the sexes than many of the conservative Gulf kingdoms.

According to a report from the Jordanian Ministry of Tourism, some 827,132 tourists from the Gulf visited between January and August this year and spent more than one night in the country. In contrast, just 658,197 came in the same period last year. Nearly seven out of eight of the Gulf country visitors came from Saudi Arabia (718,000), which was almost twice as much as the previous year.


Just over half of the GCC visitors arriving in Jordan last year were “transit tourists,” who spent no more than a few hours in the country on their way to Syria or Lebanon. The Tourism Promotion Authority launched “vigorous efforts” to entice these kinds of travelers to stay for a real vacation. Jordan has been hoping to capitalize on its image of a relatively calm country amidst turbulent unrest to draw visitors.

The number of tourists from African countries also grew, with 17% more arriving in the first eight months over the 8,786 in the same period last year. The Tourism Ministry data also showed an 8% increase in tourists from Asia and the Pacific, with 189,327 arriving so far this year.

The report cited the decline from the West as “not significant under the circumstances” and could be adjusted quickly when stable conditions return to the region.

Anti-government protests have largely subsided in Jordan. Over the weekend, a million-man march was called in Amman to protest in front of the Israeli Embassy amid a rising tide of anti-Israeli demonstrations in the Middle East. While only 300 showed up, Israel chose to evacuate its embassy.

Weekly demonstrations demanding political reform erupted in Jordan earlier this year, but were milder that protest movements elsewhere in the Arab world. Key drivers of unrest have included unemployment, high living costs and corruption, but a consensus has emerged in demands for political reforms. King Abdullah, a key US ally in the region, has promised reforms and amendments to the constitution in a bid to snuff out protests.


Tourism to Jordan surged last year, according to official figures released in January, with overnight visits up to 4.55 million from 3.78 million in 2009 and visitors spending a 2.42 billion Jordanian dinars ($3.4 billion) in the process. But according to the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Jordan saw a dramatic 27% drop in visitors in May preceded by a 20.5 % drop in April.

That stands in contrast to global trends: Worldwide international tourism rose 4.5% in the first half of this year to 440 million, 19 million more than the same period last year, according to the latest update of the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. Tourism to the Middle East was down 10.8%.

Alternatively, the recently released Maplecraft Terrorism Risk Index showed that travel to Jordan is not without its risks. But it noted that the protests have been “scattered and small in size.”

“Jordan is one of the top-10 most water scarce countries in the world. This condition is exacerbated by an increasing population and water intensive sectors such as agriculture and industry. Furthermore, climate change is expected to result in higher temperatures and less rainfall, making water scarcity an important issue to consider in the future,” the report said.

“It was clear that this was the tourism capital of Jordan. There were lots of Saudis and their families there,” Gary Bregman, a tourist from a Western country who had recently visited Aqaba, told The Media Line. “The cafes were packed. They had real liquor stores, nicer than any I’d seen in the rest of the world, and massage parlors. It was clear you could do things in Aqaba you couldn’t do in other cities in Jordan.


“There were lots of Arabs vacationing and there was no reason not to. It is nearby, easy to get to and there is something interesting for them to do,” he added.

  By Arieh O’sullivan/ Jerusalem Post

 Also Read

Places to See Fall Foliage in Canada

The Best Autumn color tends in the eastern parts of Canada; if the main purpose of your visit is to see fall foliage, Ontario, Quebec or the Maritime provinces are your best bet.
best spots in Canada to take in the changing colors of autumn leaves, starting in the west of Canada and moving east.

Algonquin Park, Ontario
The size, beauty and proximity to Toronto of this 7,725 square kilometre park make it one of the most popular parks in Ontario. The forests, lakes, and rivers that comprise Algonquin Park can only be explored by foot or canoe.

The maple trees are at their best at the end of September or early October. The aspens, tamaracks and red oaks reach their peak in the middle or end of October.

Agawa Canyon Trip, Ontario
The Algoma Central Railroad/Railway’s Agawa Canyon trip, which runs north from Sault Ste Marie in northern Ontario, is another excellent way to see the colours at the end of September / beginning of October.
Fall Foliage Romance by Rail, Toronto – Montreal – Quebec City – Halifax
There is nothing more spectacular or romantic than the dramatic changes autumn brings to the forests of Eastern Canada. Via Rail’s special 6-night Fall Foliage vacation features some of Canada’s most dramatic and interesting cities like Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, and Halifax.

Niagara Parkway, Ontario
The historic Niagara Parkway, or “River Road,” is the route that Winston Churchill called “the prettiest Sunday afternoon drive in the world,” and follows the winding curves of the Niagara River, which divides Canada and the US. The loveliest stretch in autumn is between the small towns of Queenston and Niagara-on-the-Lake and reaches its pinnacle of color in early October. Finish your day by tilting back a glass of Niagara Wine.

The Rocky Mountains, Alberta
In September and October, the days are warm and dry in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains.
Try accessible spots like Johnston’s Canyon and Tunnel Mountain near Banff or hike up to Lake Agnes from Lake Louise.

The Bruce Peninsula, Ontario

The Bruce Peninsula features one of the best portions of the Bruce Trail – an 800 km (almost 500 mile) hiking trail – that features splendid Ontario flora, fauna and water vistas.

Prince Edward Island

PEI forests have an exceptional range of colours in autumn. The warm waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Northumberland Strait give PEI a relatively moderate climate and help create one of the longest fall foliage periods in northeastern North America. In addition, PEI’s forests are bear-free and there are no deer or moose, ensuring a safe, hunter-free environment.

The Laurentian Mountains, Quebec
Québec is famous for its autumn colours because of the sugar maple trees. Also prevalant are the provincial yellow birch and the American beech. Try the Laurentian Mountains for one of the most beautiful displays of fall foliage in North America. Colours begin their peak at the end of September and continue until mid- to late-October in lower elevations and more southern locations. Celebrate the season by visiting resort town Mont-Tremblant for its annual Symphony of Colours festival.

The Cabot Trail, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia

Hailed as one of the world’s most beautiful drives, the Cabot Trail winds around Cape Breton’s northern shore and rewards fall color seekers in a spectacular way. Fiery reds, oranges, crimsons and golds blanket the highlands and reach their peak the first or second week of October.



Fundy Coastal Drive, New Brunswick
Like the Cabot Trail, the Fundy Coastal Drive is another outstanding maritime journey. See some of the highest tides in the world and enjoy the vivacious reds and deep pumpkin oranges, which are at their best the first two weeks of October during Canada’s Thanksgiving Weekend. Tree variety and colors are similar to New England’s, yet crowds are minimal in New Brunswick by comparison.

Maple Tree Red Leaves are best

The same trees that have made Canada famous for Maple Syrup are the ones that dominate the landscape with brilliant fall colours (colors) throughout the provinces. The main Canadian provinces for fall colour changes are Ontario, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Prince Edward Isalnd and New Brunswick.  Each province will offer up their own version of the fall leaf changes during the colour season.  The hardwood forests of central and north east Canada are some of the largest forested areas in the world. 


Useful Links

Festivals in Nova Scotia

Hike the Highlands Festival, taking place September9-18, 2011.

Leaf Watch

Fall colors fall leaf foliage 2011

fall foliage colour progression report



By: Adma Dababneh

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Categories: Autumn, Canada Tags: Tags: , , , , , , ,

A Farmer’s Lunch in Paris

Bars / RestaurantsA Farmer's Lunch in Paris

A Farmer’s Lunch in Paris

«Marcel, the one who produces the ham, is Ginette’s cousin, and she makes the Brie. And that’s Etienne, he grows apples and he’s also my uncle by the way ». Merci Guillaume for explaining your family tree. Now what we really want is… a taste of your sandwiches.

Guillaume is one of the four merry founders of Label Ferme, the new sandwich shop located on the rue Peletier. Their concept is simple: they pick the best produce from their mountainous region and bring them straight back to their shop in trendy SoPi. You walk to the counter and order two slices of local ham and 50 gr of home grown tomatoes, freshly picked from some garden in the Alps. They transform your selection of ingredients into a divine sandwich and sell it to you by the weight. You can either enjoy it on the spot or follow their advice to the best sunny public bench in the neighborhood. Thank you fellows.

Label Ferme, 43 rue Le Peletier, Paris 9th,
Tel : 00 33 1 44 63 71 94
Open Mondays to Fridays from 11.30 am to 2.30 pm
Sandwichs for 6€ and salads for 8€


Article Source-My Little Paris



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Experience The Life Of The Rich And Famous In An All-Inclusive Resort

When you are on holiday, you’ve some pretty essential things to consider. Should I have the grilled octopus for lunch, or perhaps the fried squids? Go snorkeling first, or play beach volleyball? Wake up early to look at the sunrise on the beach, or don’t bother going to sleep at all? Of all of the stuff you need to take into consideration on holiday, the main thing you should not have to worry about is the budget.

The majority of us are never able to live our lives like the wealthy and famous do, taking luxurious holidays and investing huge amounts of money on the very best of everything. The all inclusive resorts, however, allow us to experience a somewhat similar lifestyle, at least for a short while.

To be certain, budgets really are a fact of life. So, does having a financial limit mean always controlling all your needs, simply because there is no room for them within your budget? Absolutely not. When you are on holiday, you should be spoiled. You’ve labored hard for so long, and you’ve gained the right to have some excellent food, a few expensive drinks and simply have a great time.

All-inclusive beach resort holidays make it easy for travelers to get the most bang for their buck. Today you will find over four hundred resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean alone offering all-inclusive travel packages for people looking for budget-friendly holiday opportunities.

Having said that, all-inclusive holidays aren’t always as trouble-free as they may appear. You have to thoroughly compare available resorts before finally selecting your holiday destination.

Comparing and researching the available offers will lead you to the conclusion that the packages, lodging and resorts themselves can differ to a great extent. Some hotels offer packages that are designed for couples only. Others introduce offers for singles, gay couples, or families. Many beach resorts are meant for grown ups only, so be cautious if you are planning a vacation with your little ones.

Besides the resorts as such, travel packages can differ when it comes to what they offer. Regrettably, not everyone’s understanding of “all-inclusive” is identical. Some include airfare and hotel. Others cover airfare, hotel, transfers, plus some foods. You will find resort holidays which are all-inclusive, except for airfare. Some beach resorts include all alcoholic drinks, as long as they are not premium brands, or offered before 7 pm or after 12 am. Make a price comparison while doing your research, and you will surely find ways to save cash. Including airfare in your all-inclusive package could cost less than booking a flight and having to pay for it on your own, and could save you some energy that scheduling your vacation undoubtedly requires.

If you wish to find a very good deal, it is best to first identify what you would like and need in order to have a great vacation. When you realize the characteristics and amenities you are expecting, you can start to examine all of the holiday offers you will find. Travel agencies and also the Internet are efficient ways to find many resorts and packages to check out.

The most significant benefit of booking an exciting-inclusive beach resort vacation is getting all you need for a one-time expenditure. Being aware of this, you will able to relax and revel in your vacations knowing there will not be any unpleasant surprises waiting at the destination. Your finances will remain intact, and the only thing you’ll have to make up your mind about will be the choice between an exotic drink or a cold beer.

By: Stan Rich

“Stan is an online entrepreneur and rock guitar player. He enjoys traveling the world together with his wife, two children and… four cats. He’s also the webmaster of Best All Inclusive Resorts.”

Dubai-Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa — The Tallest Building in the World

Former names Burj Dubai

Burj Khalifa (“Khalifa Tower”), known as Burj Dubai prior to its inauguration, is a skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and is currently the tallest structure ever built, at 828 m (2,717 ft). Construction began on 21 September 2004, with the exterior of the structure completed on 1 October 2009. The building officially opened on 4 January 2010, and is part of the new 2 km2 (490-acre) flagship development called Downtown Dubai at the ‘First Interchange’ along Sheikh Zayed Road, near Dubai’s main business district.

The tower’s architecture and engineering were performed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill of Chicago, with Adrian Smith as chief architect, and Bill Baker as chief structural engineer. The primary contractor was Samsung C&T of South Korea.

The total cost for the project was about US$ $1.5 billion; and for the entire “Downtown Dubai” development, US $20 billion.[ In March 2009, Mohamed Ali Alabbar, chairman of the project’s developer, Emaar Properties, said office space pricing at Burj Khalifa reached US $4,000 per sq ft (over US $43,000 per m²) and the Armani Residences, also in Burj Khalifa, sold for US $3,500 per sq ft (over US $37,500 per m²).

The project’s completion coincided with the global financial crisis of 2007–2010, and with vast overbuilding in the country, led to high vacancies and foreclosures. With Dubai mired in debt from its huge ambitions, the government was forced to seek multibillion dollar bailouts from its oil rich neighbor Abu Dhabi. Subsequently, in a surprise move at its opening ceremony, the tower was renamed Burj Khalifa, said to honour the UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan for his crucial support.

Due to the slumping demand in Dubai’s property market, the rents in the Burj Khalifa plummeted 40% some ten months after its opening. Out of 900 apartments in the tower around 825 were still empty at that time.

Burj Khalifa lifts the world’s head proudly skywards, surpassing limits and expectations. Rising gracefully from the desert and honouring Dubai with a new glow. Burj Khalifa is at the heart of Dubai and its people; the centre for the world’s finest shopping, dining and entertainment and home for the world’s elite.

Information Source

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Stockholm is Beautiful!

Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. It is the site of the national Swedish government, the Riksdag (parliament), and the official residence of the Swedish monarch as well as the prime minister. Since 1980, the monarch has resided at Drottningholm Palace outside of Stockholm and uses the Royal Palace of Stockholm as his workplace and official residence. As of 2010, the Stockholm metropolitan area is home to approximately 22% of Sweden’s population. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality (2010), 1.37 million in the urban area (2010), and around 2.1 million in the 6,519 km2 (2,517.00 sq mi) metropolitan area (2010).
Founded circa 1250, Stockholm has long been one of Sweden’s cultural, media, political, and economic centers. Its strategic location on 14 islands on the south-central east coast of Sweden at the mouth of Lake Mälaren, by the Stockholm archipelago, has been historically important. Stockholm has been nominated by GaWC as a global city, with a ranking of Alpha-. In The 2008 Global Cities Index, Stockholm ranked 24th in the world, 10th in Europe, and first in Scandinavia.  Stockholm is known for its beauty, its buildings and architecture, its abundant clean and open water, and its many parks.

It is sometimes referred to as Venice of the North.

Stockholm is a major international city with great natural beauty, good eateries, fabulous standard hotels, an internationally renowned club and music scene and a vibrant cultural life.
Stockholm, as a city, is over 700 years old and spreads across 14 islands as it faces proudly out to the Baltic Sea. You can get to just about all of Stockholm’s many wondrous sites on foot, a perfect way to see the city. You can also take a boat trip that will give you a different facet of Scandinavia’s largest and probably most beautiful city.

Attractions in Stockholm
One of Stockholm’s top attractions, Djurgården (English: Game Park) is an island right in the middle of Stockholm, known for its beautiful green spaces, many sights, events, parks, and tourist attractions. The island Djurgarden has more than 10 million (!) visitors each year. The location is perfect for an interesting 2 hour Djurgarden walking tour across Stockholm’s popular island.




Gamla Stan is one of the largest and best preserved medieval city centers in Europe, and one of the foremost attractions in Stockholm. This is where Stockholm was founded in 1252.






The Royal Palace
Welcome to one of the largest palaces in Europe! The Royal Palace is the official residence of His Majesty the King of Sweden, with over 600 rooms.





The Vasa Museum

The Vasa is the only preserved seventeenth-century ship in the world, and a unique art treasure.






Skansen Open-Air Museum
Skansen consists of the oldest open-air museum in the world and the Stockholm zoo, with a beautiful location on Royal Djurgården and a view over all of Stockholm.





Fotografiska is one of the world’s largest meeting places for contemporary photography. Fotografiska presents four unique major exhibitions and about 20 smaller exhibitions annually.





The City Hall
Stockholm City Hall is one of the country’s leading examples of national romanticism in architecture. The City Hall was designed by the architect Ragnar Östberg, and opened on Midsummer Eve in 1923. The City Hall is built from eight million bricks, and the 106 meter tall tower has the three crowns, which is the Swedish national coat of arms, at its apex. Behind the magnificent facades are offices and session halls for politicians and officials, as well as splendid assembly rooms and unique works of art




Moderna Museet
Experience one of Europe’s foremost collections of art from the twentieth century to today, featuring works by artists including Picasso, Dali, Derkert and Matisse.





National Museum
The leading museum of art and design in Sweden, with collections of older paintings and sculptures as well as drawings, graphics, handicrafts and design up to the present day.






Boat Sightseeing


Royal National City Park
The world’s first national urban park is a green lung forming an arc more than six miles long, stretching around and through the city.
The park abuts the adjoining forests around the city, ensuring an exceptional wealth of species. You can encounter deer and hares, even foxes and moose, and spot rare birds, butterflies and insects, right inside the city. You can walk for days through the Ekoparken, discovering ever new lovely spots.






Food & drink!

Stockholm is recognised as one of Europe’s most dynamic and exciting gastronomic metropolises.

Regardless of what you prefer to eat, Swedish, international, ethnic or a fusion of all of these. Stockholm’s restaurateurs and chefs are renowned for their culinary creativity, and the restaurant atmosphere are very much part of the total experience.




Budget Cafés

There are a huge number of good restaurants, bars, cafeterias and cafés, many with an ethnic flavor.
Casual eating
For casual dining, every district in Stockholm has local restaurants that serve a wide range of dishes in various styles and frequently function as local meeting places as well, often with adjoining bars.



Fine dining in Stockholm

At the top of the scale Stockholm has a number of restaurants with a Michelin star, including the well-established F12 and Esperanto, where diners can enjoy modern fusion cuisine, and the chic Lux in the up and coming area of scenic Essinge Island.
Stockholm never sleeps




Nightlife in Stockholm

Most bars and nightclubs are open until around 3 am. All restaurants, bars and nightclubs in Norway are smoke-free indoors but often have a sheltered smoking area outside.

Oslo’s nightlife is anything but boring. Clubs and bars in Oslo are inviting and friendly and DJs from all over the world help keep the action and mood going in the city’s bars and nightclubs.

Blaa is situated in the Grünerlokka district and is popular among people over 25 in Oslo. It is well known for having new and upcoming bands and bringing in different popular international DJs at the weekends. The music varies between techno, soul, hiphop, house, electronica, rock and pop. The club is situated in an old factory by the river.

Looking for some great nightlife in Helsinki? Keep in mind that Finns love late nights: Clubs in Helsinki often don’t open before 10 pm and close at 4 am. At most nightclubs, you have to be 20 to get in.

Some of the most popular nightlife locations in Helsinki include The Lux Nightclub. If you’re looking for nightlife with class, go party at the Lux. It’s got five bars and big terraces, along with a suitable dress code, and is more expensive than other nightlife locations in Helsinki.

Ever heard of ice hotels? Well, Helsinki has an ice bar, located at Yliopistonkatu 5! The Arctic Icebar (temperature: -5 C) is a unique nightclub that provides you with gloves upon entering. EUR 10 admission includes a drink.

Looking for the nightlife scene in Sweden? Well, Malmo offers countless bars and clubs in different styles, so you’re sure to find something good. Most clubs stay open until 3 am or 5 am – nightlife starts late here. Slagthuset , which translates to “slaughter house” is Scandinavia’s largest night club with three different dance floors and a party on every weekend. Go bowling at Big Bowl, Malmo’s hangout for bowling, dining, gaming, and even dancing.

Very few cities offer nightlife on a par with Stockholm’s – a scene that really lives, seven nights a week, year in, year out. In this respect, Stockholm has very little competition from anywhere north of Paris and London. The various Stockholm districts abound in meeting places – pubs, cafés and club-style restaurants with different profiles depending on age group and musical preference.

The ‘shopholm’ of Stockholm

Stockholm is known as a leading design center, and design in the broadest sense – both contemporary and traditional – is an important part of the city’s exciting shopping scene.
The City area is home to department stores Nordiska Kompaniet (NK), Åhléns and PUB.





By:  Adma Dababneh

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Denmark ‘happiest place on earth’

If it is happiness you are seeking a move to Denmark could be in order, according to the first scientist to make a world map of happiness.

Adrian White, from the UK’s University of Leicester, used the responses of 80,000 people worldwide to map out subjective well-being.

Denmark came top, followed closely by Switzerland and Austria. The UK ranked 41st. Zimbabwe and Burundi came bottom.

A nation’s level of happiness was most closely associated with health levels.


Prosperity and education were the next strongest determinants of national happiness.

Mr White, who is an analytic social psychologist at the university, said: “When people are asked if they are happy with their lives, people in countries with good healthcare, a higher GDP [gross domestic product] per capita, and access to education were much more likely to report being happy.”

He acknowledged that these measures of happiness are not perfect, but said they were the best available and were the measures that politicians were talking of using to measure the relative performance of each country.

He said it would be possible to use these parameters to track changes in happiness, and what events may cause that, such as the effects a war, famine or national success might have on the happiness of people in a particular country.

Measuring happiness

He said: “There is increasing political interest in using measures of happiness as a national indicator in conjunction with measures of wealth.

“A recent BBC survey found that 81% of the population think the government should focus on making us happier rather than wealthier.

“It is worth remembering that the UK is doing relatively well in this area, coming 41st out of 178 nations.”

He said he was surprised to see countries in Asia scoring so low, with China 82nd, Japan 90th and India 125th, because these are countries that are thought as having a strong sense of collective identity which other researchers have associated with well-being.

“It is also notable that many of the largest countries in terms of population do quite badly,” he said.

He said: “The frustrations of modern life, and the anxieties of the age, seem to be much less significant compared to the health, financial and educational needs in other parts of the world.”

Article Source:



Happiness map
1st – Denmark
2nd – Switzerland
3rd – Austria
4th – Iceland
5th – The Bahamas
23rd – USA
41st – UK
90th – Japan
178th – Burundi



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Attractions in Hokkaido, Japan

Hokkaido (???, Hokkaid?) is the second largest, northernmost and least developed of Japan’s four main islands. Its weather is harsh in winter with lots of snowfall and below zero temperatures while its summer is mild and not as humid as the other parts of Japan. Hokkaido attracts outdoor lovers, skiers and snowboarders in the colder seasons and hikers, campers in the summer.

Hokkaido confounds expectations at every turn. While the mainland of Japan has a reputation for being tiny and crowded, Hokkaido is expansive and  populated. While the mainland features typically Asian architecture, the major cities of Hokkaido have a European feel. Hokkaido has natural wonders, from fields of alpine flowers in the summer to breathtaking ice-scapes in the winter months.

Cherry blossom year 2018

It has been predicated that skaura (Cherry Blossom) will start to bloom as usual in Okinawa. Therefore, cherry blossom festivals are scheduled to be held at different spots between January 27, 2018 and February 12, 2018.

Places to visit in Hokkaido

Cities and Resort Towns

Furano and Biei

are towns in the center of Hokkaido, Known for their pleasant and pictureque rural landscapes. Best time to visit in July when the Lavender fields are in bloom.  Furano is a popular downhill and cross country skiing resort.












Furano Ski Area is one of Hokkaido’s famous snow resorts. Located in a town known for its flowers and television dramas, the resort offers an exciting attraction for the cold winter months.





Asahikawa Winter Festival

The Asahikawa Winter Festival (??????, Asahikawa Fuyu Matsuri) is Hokkaido’s second largest winter festival after Sapporo’s Snow Festival. The festival takes place over a week in early February, about the same time as the Sapporo Snow Festival. Hence, it is possible for winter visitors to visit both festivals on the same trip as the two cities are only an 80 minute train ride apart from each other.

Asahikawa  has some of the biggest snow sculptures. Every year one massive sculpture is made as a stage for music and other performances. The giant sculpture of a Korean fortress in 1994 even made into the book of Guinness World Records as the largest snow construction built. The giant sculpture has a different theme each year, such as a snowman castle in 2010 or the Daisetsuzan Mountains in 2011.

An Ice Sculpture in the Heiwa Dori Area

Rusutsu Resort

Rusutsu Resort is considered one of the best ski resorts in Hokkaido. It has a large

ski area that covers three mountains, each having a variety of long runs with a good mix of groomed trails, great powder and tree runs. It is close to Lake Toya (Toyako) and is on the other side of Mount Yotei from Niseko.

A large hotel complex sits at the center of the resort, consisting of the highrise Rusutsu Tower, A monorail connects the buildings with each other.

Rusutsu Resort offers numerous attractions beside Skiing, hot spring baths, as well as places catering to foreigners such as the Cricket Pub sports bar. Summer activities include golf and an amusement park with over 60 attractions and 8 roller coasters.




Noboribetsu Onsen

Noboribetsu Onsen is Hokkaido’s most famous hot spring resort. A large amount of Noboribetsu’s many types of hot spring water surfaces in the spectacular Jigokudani or “Hell Valley” just above the resort town. Noboribetsu is part of Shikotsu-Toya National Park.

Other Nearby Attractions

Lake Toya,  Lake Shikotsu. Jigokudani, Hot Springs, ???Porotokotan, Mount Uso, Caldera Lake and Hell Valley.

Jozankei Onsen

is located inside Shikotsu-Toya National Park between the high cliffs of the Toyohira River. The town is only one hour from Sapporo, making it a popular side trip from the city for residents and tourists. As a result, Jozankei is very developed compared to smaller onsen towns in Hokkaido.

The onsen waters of Jozankei were discovered in 1866 and the town now has dozens of ryokan, restaurants and shops catering to hot spring tourists.




is Hokkaido’s third largest city, located at the island’s southern tip. Hakodate is best known for the spectacular views to be enjoyed from Mount Hakodate and its delicious, fresh seafood.

As one of the first Japanese harbor cities to be opened to international trade after the country’s era of isolation, Hakodate has experienced notable influence from overseas, and the foreign population’s former residential district and a Western style fort are among its main tourist attractions.

Onuma Park, a quasi national park with beautiful, island dotted lakes, is located only half an hour north of Hakodate.



The Shiraoi Ainu Museum, also called Porotokotan, is one of Hokkaido’s better Ainu Museums. Ainu culture and lifestyle is shown in an outdoor reproduction of a small Ainu village and inside a conventional museum building. Several performances, such as traditional Ainu dances, are held throughout the day.






Located in the center of Hokkaido, Asahikawa is the island’s second largest city after Sapporo. The city is not known as a leading tourist destination, but its zoo, Asahiyama Zoo, is among Japan’s best and most popular. The local noodle dish, Asahikawa Ramen, is also quite well known.








Otaru is a harbor city,  Its beautiful canal area and interesting herring mansion make Otaru a pleasant one day trip from Sapporo  to or from the Shakotan Peninsula.

Ferries from Niigata and Maizuru on Honshu arrive at Otaru Port








Sapporo is the capital of Hokkaido and Japan’s fifth largest city. Sapporo is also one of the nation’s youngest major cities. In 1857, the city’s population stood at just seven people.

Sapporo became world famous in 1972 when the Olympic Winter Games were held there. Today, the city is well known for its ramen, beer, and the annual snow festival held in February.




Hokkaido and Asahikawa are Famous for its Ramen


Hokkaido, Asahikawa is famous for its ramen. Whereas Sapporo is known for its miso based broth and Hakodate for its salt based broth, Asahikawa is known for its shoyu (soya sauce) based broths. Shops serving shoyu based ramen can be found throughout the city.

The broth of Asahikawa Ramen is also known for being quite oily, and there is often a thin layer of oil on top of the soup. Another characteristic of the local ramen is the generally thin, hard and wavy noodles. The range of toppings is quite typical and includes green onions, pork, bamboo shoots and eggs.

On the outskirts of the city there is an interesting collection of ramen shops called the Asahikawa Ramen Village. Eight famous ramen restaurants from Asahikawa have opened small branch stores besides one another in the complex alongside a gift shop and a small ramen shrine.


By: Adma Dababneh

Information taken from

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Moving to Spain

Moving and living in Spain for UK Nationals

The process of becoming resident in Spain has been simplified as much as possible, and it now involves less paperwork and time. However it is strongly advisable that new residents complete all the required procedures when registering, opening a bank account, obtaining medical cover and registering cars and driving licences. This is likely to save them an enormous amount of time and trouble when dealing with other aspects of the bureaucracy. Please see the sections on these topics for full information.

Entry and residence requirements

Taking up residence in spain

We advise that all residents obtain a residence card even if it is not obligatory for them, as it is easier to carry than a passport, and simplifies many of the other administration procedures for new residents. However, the information below shows who is legally required to hold a residence card.

Who doesn’t need to obtain a residence card?

UK nationals who are Employees, Self-employed, Students. EU national dependants of an EU or Spanish national or pensioners who have worked in Spain and receive their pension from the Spanish Social Security system no longer need to hold a residence card, and can live in Spain with a valid passport. (Dependants who are non-EU nationals still require a residence card.)

Who must obtain a residence card?

Pensioners who have retired to Spain, people of independent means and non-EU national dependants of an EU or Spanish national, are still required to apply for a residence card. They must apply for one of the following two types of card:

  • Temporary residence card: intended stay of more than three months but less than one year.
  • Ordinary residence card: intended stay of more than one year with a maximum validity of five years and renewable.

How to apply for a residence card


All those who wish to apply should submit the application form, available from the nearest Oficina de Extranjeros, to the local Provincial Police Station (Comisaría de Policía) or Foreigner’s Office (Oficina de Extranjeros). In Madrid this is at C/General Pardiñas 90, along with three passport size photographs, their passport and a photocopy of the original. The issue of a card is at the discretion of the Spanish authorities.

Further information is available from the Spanish Ministry of the Interior, Tel: 900 150 000. You can also download an application form here

Residents should ensure their passport is valid and shows next-of-kin details on the back page. They should keep their family informed of their address in Spain at all times.


Using the Services of a ‘Gestor’

Many people – including Spanish nationals – find that using the services of a ‘Gestor’ is the best way to cope with paperwork. The ‘Gestor’ is not a lawyer as such but will produce the final result with minimum stress, usually for a reasonable fee. New residents can do most of the work themselves, but if they have little time, do not speak fluent Spanish, or are confused by the Spanish administration system, the ‘Gestor’ can be useful.

However, ‘Gestores’ do not produce immediate results and residents should always obtain an estimate of costs before engaging their services. It is not uncommon for the ‘Gestor’ to require a down payment to cover the whole fee. Gestorías can be found in the Páginas Amarillas

Bank accounts

  • Non-residents: Visitors can open a bank account with a non-resident certificate, which they can get from the local Spanish police office (in Madrid, this is at the Brigada Provincial de Documentacion, c/Los Madrazos 9), by presenting their passport and a copy of the original and completing the application form. Visitors must close these accounts if they become resident.
  • Residents: UK nationals resident in Spain can open a bank account with a residence card.

If they do not have a residence card (see Entry and Residence Requirements), UK nationals can open a bank account with their passport and an NIE (Foreigner Identification number).

How to obtain an NIE (Foreigner Identification No.)

Residents can apply for an NIE at the local Police Station (Comisaría de Policía, in Madrid at c/General Pardiñas 90). They need to take their passport and a photocopy of the original, and fill in the application form. They must be prepared to prove they are in Spain legally, and show why they want an NIE.

Alternatively their representative can go to the police station, with the documents to show why they want an NIE, or they can go to the Spanish Consulate in the UK.

Transfer of capital

There is generally no restriction on the import of capital into Spain, but it is advisable to keep records showing that the funds were transferred from abroad and not derived from income earned in Spain. Residents should check with their bank in case any special formalities are necessary.

Transfers of Capital from Spain are governed by Spanish Foreign Exchange Regulations.

Residents in Spain are allowed to take out up to 6,010.12 Euros in cash per trip before having to make a Customs Declaration. They may also bring that amount into Spain without having to declare it. Anything above that should be declared on Form B1, available on entry into Spain.


Britiain has a double taxation agreement with Spain, to ensure people do not pay tax on the same income in both countries. However, taxation is a complex issue, and advice should be sought. The Spanish Finance Ministry publishes a book in English called ‘Taxation Regulations for Foreigners’. Further info: Residents, including retired people, are liable to pay tax on income earned in Spain or from property held in Spain. This includes Property or Real Estate Tax, Wealth and Capital Gains Tax, VAT (IVA), Inheritance Tax, and local municipal charges.

Medical cover and treatment in spain

Taking up residence in spain

Residents in Spain should ensure they are covered by private insurance if Spanish Social Security does not cover them.

Long-term residents

Long-term residents in Spain who are not pensioners, employed persons or officially resident do not qualify for Spanish State health care or NHS treatment in England. UK nationals living in Spain are not entitled to health care in Spain at UK expense. Using an old UK-issued E111 to obtain Spanish health care (which is charged to the NHS) is fraud. They have no right to health care in the UK either, as they are not ordinarily resident there. However, they would receive emergency NHS health care in the UK, in the same way as those persons who are officially registered as resident in Spain may receive emergency healthcare in England while on a visit there.

People in employment

UK nationals working in Spain should be affiliated to the Spanish Social Security system and are covered by Spanish National Health care for which the employer will deduct social security contribution’s from the employee’s pay packet, usually on a monthly basis. Proof of such payments are shown on the pay slip.

A social security number card should be obtained from the local Tesorer?a de Seguridad Social (in Madrid at c/Astros 5 y 7, Tel: 91 503 80 00). This should then be presented at the local medical centre (ambulatorio) along with the correct form, which will entitle the card holder to receive a medical card (tarjeta sanitaria) for ordinary health treatment. A list of medical centres in Madrid is available from the Provinicial Madrid Health Service (Instituto Madrile?o de la Salud), c/ Sagasta 6. Medicines are free if prescribed to treat work-related accidents or illness, otherwise patients pay 40% of the cost.

The self-employed should first obtain an NIE (foreigner identification number) from the police (although we advise obtaining a residence card is easier and more useful) and the Alta Fiscal from the Head Tax Office (Hacienda).

They should take these two documents to the nearest office of the Tesorer?a de Seguridad Social and ask for the Alta de Aut?nomo and the Inscripci?n en la Seguridad Social. They will receive a social security number card, which will entitle them to the tarjeta sanitaria (health card) from their nearest ambulatorio (medical centre), and full medical cover.

The minimum social security contribution for medical cover is 208,18 Euros p/m. (25% less for those under 30, or women over 45).

Working temporarily for a uk employer

Anyone who works in Spain for up to a year is entitled to form E128, if the DSS or the Social Security Agency in Northern Ireland, confirm that they and their employer continue to pay UK national insurance contributions. Those employed on a temporary posting, and any dependants who accompany them, are entitled to treatment for ANY condition during the posting, using an E128. However, if they visit a third EU country, they are only entitled to emergency treatment and will need a UK-issued E111.

If the job unexpectedly lasts longer than 12 months, and the appropriate insurance authorities in Spain agree, employees may remain under the UK scheme for a further period of not more than 12 months.


UK nationals who are studying in Spain as an integral part of a recognised UK course are entitled to form E128 for up to two years. They, and any dependants who accompany them, are then entitled to treatment for ANY condition for the period of their course. They should apply to the National Insurance Contributions Office, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Tel: 0845 915 4811. If the studies are not a compulsory part of a UK course, students are covered by an E128 for up to 12 months. However, if they know in advance that a course will last longer than a year, they are not entitled to an E128.

A student who is undertaking work in Spain that specifically relates to their studies is entitled to form E128 for up to two years.

UK pensioners settling in spain

UK pensioners (anyone receiving an Old Age Pension or a disability pension) who live in Spain will be entitled to receive free medical treatment under the same conditions as Spanish State Pensioners. The UK pays Spain an annual lump sum per pensioner to cover their health costs.

To establish entitlement they must obtain form E121 from the DSS in the UK. To register a UK-issued form E121 they should go to the local INSS office – Oficina del Instituto Nacional de Seguridad Social (the main office in Madrid is c/Padre Damián 4-6, Tel: 91 568 83 00) with their E121, application for a residence card and their passport. The INSS will issue a ‘tarjeta de afiliación’ and assign the pensioner to an outpatients clinic (ambulatorio) and INSALUD doctor. They must apply for a residence card before they can register their E121. Prescribed medicines are free for pensioners and their dependents.

Those who settle in Spain after early retirement, i.e. before the normal UK pensionable age (60 for women, 65 for men), should consult their local DSS office about their medical cover, possibly under form E106, before travelling.

Ill or deteriorating health is costly, and the Spanish Health services do not cover the wide range of assistance pensioners may be used to in the UK. All EU citizens may expect the same social services as any Spanish citizen under the same conditions, subject to local waiting lists and financial contributions. However, they should bear in mind that such things as meals on wheels, day care centres and nursing homes, which are the responsibility of local, regional and municipal authorities, vary from district to district, may be scarce and welfare staff will not usually speak English.

British citizens who have been in Spain for a long time may be admitted to Spanish State homes, but places are very limited even for Spanish pensioners, and there are no British Government or other officially subsidised places. Copies of the Guía Directorio de Centros para Personas Mayores (Directory of Nursing Homes) are available by writing to: IMSERSO, Departamento de Publicaciones, Avda de la Ilustración s/n, c/v Ginzo de Línea, 28029 Madrid. Tel: 91 363 88 88, Fax: 91 363 88 80, More specific information can be obtained by contacting the Consejería de Trabajo y Asuntos Sociales or its equivalent in the area where the pensioner lives.

Private residential homes, which provide various levels of treatment, from purely residential facilities to full-time nursing care and medical assistance, are expensive – probably no less than ?1000 per month, and staff will usually only speak Spanish. However, there are some British run homes, mainly on the Costa Blanca.

It is advisable to take out private insurance, which will cover medical and dental treatment and even repatriation to the UK.

People of independent means

People of independent means should be entitled to healthcare on production of their residence card. The Tesorería de Seguridad Social should issue a social security number card with which they can obtain a tarjeta sanitaria (health card) from their local ambulatorio (medical centre).

Returning to the UK

Some UK nationals who have been living abroad for a prolonged period choose to go back to live in the UK. It is important that those in need of long-term care make, or have made for them, arrangements for care before returning to the UK. Entitlement to long-term care services also depends on being ordinarily resident in the UK (previous payment of income tax or NI contributions does not count). Local health or social services in the UK will need persuading that someone who may be completely unknown to them has any right to scarce local resources.

Finding work in Spain

There is a high level of unemployment in Spain, and it is often difficult for foreigners to find work. There is often temporary and seasonal work available e.g. in bars, mainly in holiday areas. Work can also usually be found as an English Teacher in one of the many language schools, although the better jobs will go to those with a qualification such as TEFL. A good knowledge of Spanish is normally essential for most long-term jobs.

Job centres in the UK have details of vacancies throughout the EU, supplied to them through the EURES network, which supports free movement of workers within Europe. As well as UK job centres, EURES can be contacted through Job Centres in Spain (Oficinas de Empleo). For more information visit, or call 0114 259 6190.

Employees may wish to seek legal advice before signing any contract for work. Companies with over fifty employees will normally have a trade union representative who can advise on basic rights and recommend a labour lawyer.

Those looking for work are expected to support themselves while doing so. Unemployment benefit may be transferable to Spain for a limited period. Spanish benefits are not usually payable to non-Spanish nationals. Further information: INEM (National Employment Office). INEM: c/ Espartinas 10. 28001 Madrid. Tel: 91 576 89 02


Those who take up self-employment will need to apply for the necessary documentation. Information is available from PYME (the office for small and medium enterprises). The Ventanilla ?nica Service which helps those wishing to set up business may be helpful. Prospective self-employees can also ask for the Enterprise Creation Support Service (Servicio de Apoyo a la Creaci?n de Empresas) at their nearest Oficina de Empleo (Job Centre).

The British Consulate-General in Madrid and the British Consulates in other cities are not equipped to provide an employment service and cannot reply to enquiries about openings for employment, enter into detailed correspondence or make arrangements in connection with paid or unpaid work. Nor can they intervene in disputes over employment, contracts etc.

PYME : c/ Castelló 117. 28006 Madrid. Tel: 900 190 092.
INEM: c/ Espartinas 10. 28001 Madrid. Tel: 91 576 89 02.


Education is obligatory for all children aged 6-16 if the parents are legally resident in Spain, and is free from pre-school to 18 years. However as pre-school is not obligatory, not all children can gain a place. The availability of places depends on the area of Spain and demand for them.

The British Council has details of schools in Spain which offer an English-type education. Most are members of the National Association of British Schools in Spain, which organises periodic inspections by British inspectors, in collaboration with the British Council.

British Council
Paseo General Mart?nez Campos 31
28010 Madrid
Tel.: 91 337 35 66/ 00
Fax: 91 337 35 73

Spanish british associations, clubs and expatriate organisations



c/ Núñez de Balboa 43
28001 Madrid
Tel: 91 576 51 09
Sunday service: 8.30am, 10am and 11.15am

Rev C. Bingman
C/ Viña 3
28014 Madrid
Tel: 91 571 21 36/ 655 03 18 57
Sunday service: 11am

Dr. D. Dixon
C/ Hernández de Tejada 4
28027 Madrid
Tel: 91 407 43 47
Sunday service: 11am & 7pm

Rev. J. Campbell
Tel: 91 630 22 58

R Richard Wallace
c/ Playa de Sangenjo 26
28230 (Las Rozas) MADRID
Tel: 91 630 51 37/ 667 32 87 68

Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church
The English-speaking Parish of Madrid
Calle Dracena, 23
28016 Madrid
Tel: 91 350 3449
web site:

C/ Balmés 3
28010 MADRID
Tel: 91 591 31 31


Sociable English speaking field hockey team
playing in the Madrid first division. .
Enquiries to Mark – Tel: 91 541 12 00

Long established English speaking team playing in the
Local Spanish league. New players always welcome.
Enquiries to Stewart Gibb – Tel: 91 742 2998

Cross-country runs & social gatherings.
Tel: 91 518 81 31

Enquiries to Tom Fryer. Tel: 605 18 73 36

Enquiries to Nico – Tel: 651 11 33 67

Cultural and social events.
Enquiries to Mrs P. Arriete – Tel: 91 345 63 44BRITISH LADIES ASSOCIATION
Monthly meetings and social activities throughout
the year. Enquiries to Shelia Jones –
Tel: 91 803 47 13

Ex-university members, social activities.
Enquiries to Sydney Perera –
Tel: 91 431 64 97

Provides information about community activities and
Services. More information:

English speaking amateur Theatre Group
New members welcome. Tel: 91 326 24 39

Weekly meetings in St. George’s Church Hall

C/ Núñez de Balboa 43
International interdenominational group holding
meetings. Enquiries to Mrs. Milton –
Tel: 91 441 09 13


English speaking
C/ Juan Bravo, 40 bis
Tel: 91 309 19 47

International Community Mental Health Association
C/Juan Bravo 7
28008 MADRID
Tel: 91 576 15 38
Provides mental health services to English-speaking community in Madrid.

English-speaking community publication
Tel: 91 523 74 80


An unofficial network of welfare groups and small charities can help expatriates facing difficulties. Some are British orientated, but in all cases limited resources restrict the assistance they can provide and none would be able to offer long-term care or financial support.
Astral House
1268 London Road
SW16 4ER
Tel: 020 8765 7200/ 0800 00 99 66
(Madrid area only)
Contact British Consulate-General, Madrid for details.
Apartado 7
07180 Santa Ponsa MALLORCA
Tel.: 971 23 15 20
Fax: 971 23 04 90


Information Source:

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St. Sophia Museum

Haghia Sophia Museum, the great masterpiece of Byzantine art. It was built by Justinian in 6th century AD and is the 3rd church to occupy this site.
At the time it was built, it was the largest church in existence. The church was sacked by the Latins during the 4th crusade in 1204 and many of its treasures taken to the west.
When Contantinople (Istanbul) was conquered by the Ottoman Sultan, Mehmet II in 1453, it was converted into a mosque.
Since 1936, by Ataturk’s order it has been a museum.



Blue Mosque



Blue Mosque, Sultan Ahmet Camii is one of the most beautiful mosques in the world. Its name is derived from the blue tiles decorating its interior. Completed in 1616 by Mehmet Aga, Imperial Architect and one of the students of the great architect Sinan.

Its grace and beautiful proportions were intended to reflect the splendour of Islam. It was the supreme Imperial Mosque of the Ottoman Empire. The famous blue and green

Iznik tiles on the walls are bathed in glorious light that is filtered through 260 windows.



The city was founded on a hilltop and spread down to the plains. Aspendus has one of the best preserved and largest Roman theaters in Turkey. It was built in the 2nd C AD. The city’s aqueducts are also well preserved and worth a visit.


Commagene Kingdom at Mt.Nemrut

One of the most spectacular sites in Turkey especially at sunset. Mt Nemrut (approx. 2552m) is an extension of the Taurus mountain range in southeastern Turkey. After the division of Alexander’s Empire into three, the Seleucids established the relatively small and wealthy Commagene Kingdom in the region.

In 62 BC, Antiochos I became king of Commagene and developed his kingdom as a strategic crossroad on the important trade routes between Syria, Mesopotamia and Rome.



Pamukkale is one of the natural wonders of the world. It is a unique geological formation formed over 14.000 years. The spring water at Pamukkale has therapeutic qualities and since antiquity has been said to cure rheumatism, kidney and heart diseases.

Hierapolis, means sacred-city and its history goes back 6th C BC. At its peak the population reached about 100,000. The ruins at Hierapolis cover an extensive area.

The theater, Temple of Apollo, Colonnaded Street, Byzantine Gate, Plutonium and Necropolis (Cemetery) are some of the highlights of the city. The Necropolis has approximately 1000 tombs and is the largest in Asia Minor.



Ephesus is one of the best-preserved ancient cities in the world with a history dating back the 12 C BC. It was an important trade and religious center. During the Roman period its population reached approx. 250,000.

One of the seven wonders of the world, Temple of Artemis was in Ephesus. It is also the site of one of the Seven Churches of Revelation.
St. Paul lived and preached for about 2 years in Ephesus.

Cappadocia Region

One of the geological wonders of the world. Cappadocia is a high plateau in Central Turkey at an altitude of 3270 ft / 1000 m. It lies in a triangle formed by the three main towns of Kayseri, Nevsehir and Nigde.

The history of Cappadocia begins 60 million years ago with the eruption of 2 volcanos, covering the area with lava and tufa. In later periods rain and wind eroded the land and created unusual valleys, canyons and cones.

For many centuries Hittites, Assyrian Colonies, Greeks and Romans lived in the region. Cappadocia is also a very important region in early Christian History.

There are over 600 hundred rock-cut churches built by monks and hermits between the 4th and 11th centuries. In some of these, church walls have been decorated with wonderful frescoes depicting scenes from the Bible.



The history of the city starts in the 8th C BC when Aeolian Greek colonies settled in the area. The city was founded on a hill overlooking the Caicos plain. During the reign of Eumenes II in the 2nd C BC, it became one of the cultural and intellectual centers of the day.

With the invention of pergamena (parchment) its library grew to rival in size, the great library of Alexandria. The famous Altar of Zeus was here.

Pergamum was one of the Seven Churches of the Revelations. The famous Roman physician, Galen was born and studied in Pergamum.The
ruins are separated into 3 parts, the Acropolis, Red Courtyard and Asclepion, which was the cure center of Pergamum.



Sardis was the capital of the Kingdom of Lydia. It was founded on the banks of the famous golden-bearing river Pactolus. The legendary
King of Lydia Croesus (560-540 BC) controlled most of western Asia Minor and made generous offerings to the temples of Delphi, Artemis and Didyma.
Part of the Gymnasium was converted into a synagogue in 3rd C BC. Sardis is one of the Seven Churches of Revelation.



Gallipoli Anzacs – Canakkale

In 1915, Allied warships tried to force their way through the straits with the intention of opening a supply line to Russia via the Black Sea. Allied landings on the Gallipoli Peninsula were finally beaten off by the Turks following bitter warfare.

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Wadi Rum-The Valley of the Moon-Jordan

Wadi Rum is near Petra the Rose City Petra is a fascinating ancient city and was selected as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. The rose-red city carved into the limestone mountains was predominantly …featured in the climax of the Harrison Ford/Sean Connery movie, Indiana Jones and the Lost Crusade.


Wadi Rum also known as The Valley of the Moon is a valley cut into the sandstone and granite rock in south Jordan at 60 km to the east of Aqaba. It is the largest wadi in Jordan. The name Rum most likely comes from an Aramaic root meaning ‘high’ or ‘elevated’. To reflect its proper Arabic pronunciation, archaeologists transcribe it as Wadi Ramm. The highest elevation in Wadi Rum is Mount Um Dami at more than 1800m above sea level.


Mount Rum in Wadi Rum stands at 1734 m above sea level. The mountain was named the Seven Pillars of Wisdom (for its shape as seven pillars) by Lawrence of Arabia.

Wadi Rum has been inhabited by many human cultures since prehistoric times, with many cultures–including the Nabateans–leaving their mark in the form of rock paintings, graffiti, and temples. As of 2007, several Bedouin tribes inhabit Rum and the surrounding area.

In the West, Wadi Rum may be best known for its connection with British officer T. E. Lawrence, who based his operations here during the Arab Revolt of 1917–18. In the 1980s one of the impressive rock formations in Wadi Rum was named “The Seven Pillars of Wisdom” in memory of Lawrence’s book penned in the aftermath of the war, though the ‘Seven Pillars’ referred to in the book actually have no connection with Rum

The area was “discovered” as a climbing area in 1984 by Tony Howard, Di Taylor, Mick Shaw, and Al Baker. Howard and Taylor have since written two guidebooks: Treks & Climbs in Wadi Rum and Jordan – Walks, Treks, Caves, Climbs & Canyons, both published by Cicerone Press.

The area centred on Wadi Rum (the main valley) is home to the Zalabia Bedouin who, working with climbers and trekkers, have made a success of developing eco-adventure tourism, now their main source of income. The area around Disi to the NE, home to the Zuweida Bedouin and erroneously also thought to be part of Wadi Rum by visitors, caters more for Jordanian visitors from Amman, with campsites regularly used by party-goers.


Khaz’ali Canyon in Wadi Rum is the site of petroglyphs etched into the cave walls depicting humans and antelopes dating back to the Thamudic times.
Petroglyphs in Wadi Rum




The area is now also one of Jordan’s important tourist destinations, and attracts an increasing number of foreign tourists, particularly trekkers and climbers, but also for camel and horse safari or simply ‘day-trippers’ from Aqaba or Petra. In contrast, there are almost no local or Arab tourists though nearby Disi (not actually part of Rum) attracts young people from Amman at weekends. Popular activities in the desert environment include camping under the stars, riding Arab horses, hiking and rock-climbing amongst the massive rock formations. Jabal Rum (1734 metres above sea level) is the second highest peak in Jordan and the highest peak in the central Rum, covered with snow and rising directly above Rum valley opposite Jebel um Ishrin, which is possibly one metre lower. The highest peak in Jordan is south of Rum close to the Saudi border. Named Jebel um Adaami it is 1840m high and was first located by Defallah Atieq, a Zalabia Bedouin from Rum. On a clear day, it is possible to see the Red Sea and the Saudi border from the top. It is now a very popular trek from Rum village.

The influx of tourists to this once isolated area has substantially increased the financial fortunes of the Bedouin people, and it is not uncommon to see locals using mobile phones and driving expensive four-wheel drive vehicles; many also have wi-fi and computers to run their adventure tourism businesses.

The village of Wadi Rum consists of several hundred Bedouin inhabitants with their goat-hair tents and concrete houses, one school for boys and one for girls, a few shops, and the headquarters of the Desert Patrol.
Article Source
A panorama of Wadi Rum


36 Hours in Abu Dhabi

36 Hours in Abu Dhabi

WHAT would you do with $600 billion in cash? If you’re the capital of the United Arab Emirates, rich in oil, the answer is easy: go shopping. Once aloof from the spendthrift ways of neighboring Dubai, Abu Dhabi — which, so far, has not experience the unrest many Arab countries are facing is now ticking off items on a five-star shopping list. Top-notch museums? New branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim are rising from the sands. High-profile events? The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Abu Dhabi Film Festival and Gourmet Abu Dhabi have made their debuts in recent years. Toss in a multibillion-dollar hotel project and a stunning new mosque and you have one of the world’s most ambitious new destinations.


5 p.m.

Come early evening, all of Abu Dhabi — expat professionals from Europe, South Asian laborers, local families in white dishdashas (for the men) and black abayas (for the women) — strolls along the Corniche, a picturesque seaside walkway. It’s the perfect vantage point for taking in the city’s fast-rising thicket of skyscrapers. Finish up at the Heritage Village (Marina Mall breakwater; 971-2-681-4455; free admission), an ersatz old fortress that tries to recreate the Abu Dhabi of yore through camel enclosures, Bedouin tents and traditional artisans. At its beachfront cafe, Al Asalah (971-50-526-5575), sip a watermelon juice (15 dirhams, or $4.15 at 3.60 dirhams to $1) while watching the twinkling city skyline across the bay.

9 p.m.

Even if you can’t afford to make a withdrawal from the ATM that dispenses bars of gold, the gargantuan and garishly opulent Emirates Palace Hotel ( is worth a visit. Built at a cost of $3 billion, the 362-room behemoth is said to be the most expensive hotel ever built and contains some fitting hangouts. Hakkasan restaurant-lounge (971-2-690-7999; opened last year with Asian-cool décor and cocktails like the Hakkatini (orange flavored vodka, Campari, Grand Marnier, apple juice; 50 dirhams). For a traditional Emirati dinner, hit Mezlai (971-2-690-7999). Reserve an outdoor tent and sample local specialties like creamy shark velouté, sautéed chicken livers (with garlic, cinnamon and pomegranate sauce) and lamb nachif (slow cooked in zesty garlic-turmeric sauce). A three-course meal for two runs about 450 dirhams, without wine.

11 p.m.

The fastest-growing part of town is the formerly dusty Yas Island (, now brimming with diversions: a lush 18-hole golf course, a Formula One track, a sprawling indoor theme park (Ferrari World; see below), a marina and a host of five-star hotels. Hugh Grant, Sir Richard Branson and Prince are among the luminaries who have been spotted in the fractal-like white interior of Allure (Yas Island Marina, 971-2-565-0050;; cover, 150 dirhams). Opened last year by the Cipriani restaurant group, the glittery nightclub serves three-liter bottles of Cristal Champagne (68,000 dirhams) and Bellini cocktails (65 dirhams) to a BlackBerry-toting international crowd.


10 a.m.

It’s hard not to be awestruck as you stand on what is said to be the world’s largest handmade Persian carpet (about 65,000 square feet), gazing up at a huge, glittering chandelier in the main prayer hall of the enormous Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (Al Salam Street; 971-2-441-6444;, which can hold more than 40,000. Opened in 2007, the marble mosque, with its 82 domes and some 1,000 columns, is a mix of Moorish, Ottoman and Mughal styles. Free tours are held on Saturday at 10 and 11 a.m. and 2, 5 and 8 p.m.

1 p.m.

Funky, bohemian and cheap are not adjectives normally used to describe anything in Abu Dhabi, but Zyara (Madinat Zayed area, next to Hilton Corniche Residence; 971-2-627-5007) is a rare bird indeed. Abstract art and couches upholstered with wild fabrics provide the décor at this cafe-restaurant, where locals and expats noodle on laptops (thanks to free Wi-Fi) and flip through Time Out Abu Dhabi. The menu ranges from French toast (22 dirhams) to savory manakish (warm flatbread rolled in spices and sesame seeds; 10 dirhams) and a dish called foul (mashed beans stewed with tomato, garlic and olive oil; 20 dirhams).

3 p.m.

Arabia goes avant-garde at the Souk at Central Market (Khalifa Street; 971-2-810-7810;, a soaring new shopping center of geometric wood slats and colored glass that was designed by Norman Foster. Trouble finding a date? Zadina (ground floor; 971-2-658-8637) has them in abundance: plain dates (100 dirhams per kilo), dates stuffed with pistachios (125 dirhams per kilogram, or 2.2 pounds), chocolate truffles made with dates (450 dirhams per kilo), and much besides. For tea glasses (six for 400 dirhams) and other glassware etched and painted with Arabesque patterns, visit Kudu for Arts (ground floor; 971-2-627-8980; Electronics stores, boutiques, waterpipe cafes and henna artists also fill the space.

5 p.m.

Speed freaks, thrill jockeys, car buffs and lead-footed drivers will get their kicks at the futuristic Ferrari World (Yas Island; 971-2-496-8001;, an amusement park that pays tribute to the most popular red product to come out of Italy since tomato sauce. The curvaceous complex houses pulse-quickening rides, from Formula One simulators to one of the world’s fastest roller coasters. Between thrills, check out the car exhibitions and the acrobatic musical show. Admission: 165 to 225 dirhams.

8 p.m.

If the designer Terrance Conran had read “1,001 Nights” too many times, the result would be something like Pearls & Caviar (Qaryat Al Beri; 971-2-509-8777;, a sultry den near the Shangri-La hotel with chain-mail curtains, a mosaic floor and a D.J.-spun soundtrack. The menu also melds Occident and Orient to original effect. Especially good are the tuna carpaccio (with pomegranate seeds and crispy thin bread) and tender strips of beef drizzled with hummus. The zucchini fries in a chickpea batter that are topped with a spicy tomato and red-pepper chutney are also excellent. A three-course dinner for two costs around 400 dirhams.

11 p.m.

Any lingering myths that there is no alcohol in the Islamic world will be put to rest at Souk Qaryat Al Beri (971-2-558-1670;, a sprawling bazaar filled with canals, boutiques, restaurants and ample booze-soaked nightspots. Left Bank (971-2-558-1680) is a den of slick black surfaces and red banquettes where a young crowd drinks Left Bank Iced Teas (vanilla vodka, rum, cachaça, Bombay Sapphire, sour mix and ginger beer; 40 dirhams) and other creative cocktails. Everything goes white and bright at Sho Cho (971-2-558-1117;, a sushi lounge whose drink list includes concoctions like the Sho Cho Infusion(Bacardi, ginger, lime, brown sugar, ginger beer; 43 dirhams).


10 a.m.

Started in 2008 and still expanding, the new (and free) Corniche Beach is endowed with powdery sand, translucent sea and abundant water sports, including waterskiing and parasailing (971-50-781-2312; There are even a few private family beaches — outfitted with sun beds and umbrellas — that can be rented for 10 dirhams.


Café Arabia (15th Street between Karam Street and Airport Road; 971-2-643-9698), a stylish new cafe and boutique, showcases creations from numerous Arabic-speaking nations. Ensconce yourself on the rooftop terrace or airy ground-level salon and feast on Lebanese fattoush (a salad of lettuce, tomatoes, red pepper, whole-wheat bread chips, powdered sumac and pomegranate syrup), Syrian fatteh (warm yogurt with croutons, chickpeas, garlic and mint), Moroccan-style mint tea and more. Afterward, shop for Palestinian ceramics (55 dirhams) and Egyptian mirrors (from 175 dirhams). Or score a chocolate bar made from camel’s milk. A high-end blend of East and West, it encapsulates the flavor of the new Abu Dhabi.


A sprawling low hotel complex with 128 rooms, One to One – The Village (Al Salam Street; 971-2-495-2000; has an impressive gym, a pool, a beer and shisha garden and several restaurants. Doubles from about 465 dirhams, or $130.

The towering Aloft hotel (Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center; 971-2-654-5000; has 408 rooms done in a sleek and angular style and contains the popular rooftop bar Relax@12, among others. Doubles from 405 dirhams.

Picturesque waterways run past the luxurious Shangri-La (Qaryat Al Beri; 971-2-509-8888;, affording lovely views of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque on an opposite bank. Amenities include a private beachfront, the Asian-inspired Chi spa and the opulent Pearls and Caviar restaurant and lounge. Doubles from 960 dirhams.

World’s Cheapest Countries to Retire to

The World’s Cheapest Countries to Live In.

Living abroad can be an exciting, mind-opening experience and is the best way to learn about new cultures. But it’s made even better if your money goes further than at does at home. Find out which countries offer the most bang for your buck.

In the west, we’ve gotten used to over-paying for things: car parking charges, expensive housing, rip-off public transport, beers that cost as much as your hourly wage, the list goes on… Thankfully, there are plenty of countries where your money goes much further. They all share common characteristics: cheap accommodation, lots of activities to keep you occupied, and tropical climates that make food bountiful.

Of course, the tropical climate also offers the not-insignificant benefit of gorgeous weather and often pristine beaches on which to while away the hours. And if you can manage to get away from the bigger towns and off the beaten track, you’ll usually find that life becomes cheaper and the scenery even more stunning. Your life in paradise can actually become a reality.


The Land of Smiles needs no introduction. More than probably any other South-East Asian country, it knows how to make us farangs (foreigners) feel welcome.

If you’ve visited, you’ll know the satisfaction of strolling up to a street stall, paying 25 baht (about £0.50) for a plate of fried rice, then sitting on a little plastic chair and watching the world go by. Then there are the cheap, comfortable guest houses (or beach huts!), the dollar-a-bottle beers and the cheap buses that can take you half the length of the country for the same price as getting to the next town at home.

And you know what, living here is even cheaper than visiting. Even in Bangkok, a long-term studio apartment is only £90 per month; move somewhere like Chiang Mai, and you could pay as little as £20! So you can budget just £300 for the whole month and have a lifestyle just as comfortable, but infinitely more satisfying than you’ve got at home.

Oh, and we’ll let you into a little secret… pretty much everyone leaves Thailand looking slimmer than when they arrived! Why? Because instead of stuffing yourself with burgers and chips, you’ll be having rice and green curry; because instead of finishing off your meal with cakes and biscuits, you’ll probably find a fresh mango shake infinitely more refreshing; and because instead of being chained to a desk all day, you’ll be out exploring this gorgeous country!


It may have a troubled history that could give most countries a run for their money, but there are few places in the world where it’s cheaper to live than Cambodia. Even in the capital city, you could live on just £300 per month.

An air-conditioned apartment will only set you back £120 per month. This might be slightly more expensive than Bangkok, but you can easily trim your outgoings further by sharing with other westerners.

But the added bonus is that food and drink is probably even cheaper than in Thailand. You can have a whole meal in a local restaurant for just £1.20 where a beer will be just £0.60; these costs can again be slashed even more by venturing into the markets and street stalls, which will also add a bit of excitement to your stay.

What’s more, the troubled history makes Cambodia a fascinating place to visit. It’s one of the poorest places in Asia and the people are working hard to emerge from the shadow cast by Pol Pot’s infamous regime, but it offers an edge and excitement that’s sometimes missing from nearby countries. The more you learn about Cambodia, the more you’ll come to love it!

The Philippines

Could this £300 budget ever become boring? We certainly don’t think so! Especially when you have fascinating cities and so many beautiful beaches; not surprising when you realise that it’s the second-biggest archipelago in the world. An apartment comes in as low as £25 per month in the smaller cities, rising to £120 in the busier locations.

Once again, the food is probably even cheaper than in Thailand, as large beers come in at only £0.35, while meals at even the nicest restaurants costing just £6 per person, and significantly cheaper than that a smaller, local places.

And guess what: there are also fewer visitors than most other South-East Asian countries, too, so by living here you’ll really feel like you’re getting a uniquely authentic experience.

Costa Rica

The “Rich Coast” is one of Latin America’s best destinations no matter how much money you have, and is even better if you’re on a budget. You know you’re going to get value for money when the cost of your flight is rewarded with a Caribbean and a Pacific coast!

Once again, our magic number of £300 per month appears, although expect your costs to be slightly higher in San Jose, even if you do share accommodation with another westerner. However, venture outside of the capital and prices drop off quickly, with whole houses available for just £150.

Food is similarly priced, with a good meal costing just £1.20 in a locally-run restaurant, and a bunch of bananas from an outdoor market costing £0.30. Even the 2-hour bus journey from San Jose to either coast is less than £2.

These prices may be slightly higher than in other Latin American nations, but what sets Costa Rica apart is just how much is available to you for the still negligible prices. There’s hiking, wildlife-spotting, active volcanoes and some of the best surfing in the world. It’s an amazing location to explore for a couple of years.


Vietnam is a popular budget travel destination and should be high on your list of places to stay for a one year, two years, maybe longer. It offers a scintillating mix of beautiful scenery, unrivalled food and some of the most spirited people you’re ever likely to meet.

So, once you’ve taken into account the £120 per month for your apartment, what should you expect tospend on a typical day in Vietnam? You can wake up and head down to the nearest street stall for a nutritious breakfast of Pho Bo (Hanoi Beef Soup) for just £0.70; hop on a bus for less than £0.50; pick up some fried rice for lunch at about the same price; pay a similar amount for a fruit shake when you get peckish later on; have a Vietnamese Curry in a local restaurant for £2, then finish it off with a few glasses of Bia Hoi for £0.10 each.

Sound good? Well, this 1,600km-long country offers a stunning array of landscapes and almost as many different cuisines to go with them, so you can be sure that life in Vietnam will never get boring.

Original Post

Major Discovery of Christian History found in Jordan!

Could lead codices prove ‘the major discovery of Christian history’?

By Chris Lehmann Wed Mar 30, 11:36 am ET

British archaeologists are seeking to authenticate what could be a landmark discovery in the documentation of early Christianity: a trove of 70 lead codices that appear to date from the 1st century CE, which may include key clues to the last days of Jesus’ life. As UK Daily Mail reporter Fiona Macrae writes, some researchers are suggesting this could be the most significant find in Christian archeology since the Dead Sea scrolls in 1947.
The codices turned up five years ago in a remote cave in eastern Jordan—a region where early Christian believers may have fled after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE. The codices are made up of wirebound individual pages, each roughly the size of a credit card. They contain a number of images and textual allusions to the Messiah, as well as some possible references to the crucifixion and resurrection. Some of the codices were sealed, prompting yet more breathless speculation that they could include the sealed book, shown only to the Messiah, mentioned in the Book of Revelation. One of the few sentences translated thus far from the texts, according to the BBC, reads, “I shall walk uprightly”–a phrase that also appears in Revelation. “While it could be simply a sentiment common in Judaism,” BBC writer Robert Pigott notes, “it could here be designed to refer to the resurrection.”
But the field of biblical archaeology is also prey to plenty of hoaxes and enterprising fraudsters, so investigators are proceeding with due empirical caution. Initial metallurgical research indicates that the codices are about 2,000 years old–based on the manner of corrosion they have undergone, which, as Macrae writes, “experts believe would be impossible to achieve artificially.”

Beyond the initial dating tests, however, little is confirmed about the codices or what they contain. And the saga of their discovery has already touched off a battle over ownership rights between Israel and Jordan. As the BBC’s Pigott recounts, the cache surfaced when a Jordanian Bedouin saw a menorah—the Jewish religious candleabra—exposed in the wake of a flash flood. But the codices somehow passed into the ownership of an Israeli Bedouin named Hassam Saeda, who claims that they have been in his family’s possession for the past 100 years. The Jordanian government has pledged to “exert all efforts at every level” to get the potentially priceless relics returned, Pigott reports.

Meanwhile, biblical scholars who have examined the codices point to significant textual evidence suggesting their early Christian origin. Philip Davies, emeritus professor of Old Testament Studies at Sheffield University, told Pigott he was “dumbstruck” at the sight of plates representing a picture map of ancient Jerusalem. “There is a cross in the foreground, and behind it is what has to be the tomb [of Jesus], a small building with an opening, and behind that the walls of the city,” Davies explained. “There are walls depicted on other pages of these books, too, and they almost certainly refer to Jerusalem.”
David Elkington, an ancient religion scholar who heads the British research team investigating the find, has likewise pronounced this nothing less than “the major discovery of Christian history.” Elkington told the Daily Mail that “it is a breathtaking thought that we have held these objects that might have been held by the early saints of the Church.”

Still, other students of early Christian history are urging caution, citing precedents such as the debunked discovery of an ossuary said to contain the bones of Jesus’ brother James. New Testament scholar Larry Hurtado observes that since these codices are miniature, they were likely intended for private, rather than liturgical, use. This would likely place their date of origin closer to the 3rd century CE. But only further research and full translation of the codices can fully confirm the nature of the find. The larger lesson here is likely that of Ecclesiastes 3:1—be patient, since “to everything there is a season.”

Moving to Turkey


Istanbul modern tramway

Image by mwanasimba via Flickr

Turkey’s geographical location, which features the only city       to straddle two continents, Istanbul, has made it an ideal destination for living and doing business for centuries. Connecting two continents by a body of water known as the Bosphorus, Turkey is home to many ethnic backgrounds, religions and cultures. With the great cultural treasure that holds artifacts, traditions and literature, Turkey is a melting pot of many cultures and peoples. Due to its colorful and long history, this beautiful country is also a mix of old and new, eastern and western, worlds.

Culture and Customs

Modern day Turkish culture and customs are derived from European, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Slavic and Asian heritages, making it truly diverse. The three major religions of the world are also to be found within the culture, each claiming historical beginnings in the region. Other major ethnic groups include the Albanians, Arabs, Assyrians, Bosniaks, Circassians, Kurds, Laz and the three officially recognized minorities, i.e. the Armenians, Greeks and Jews. After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk created what is now known as modern day Turkey; one of his primary goals was to make it a progressive, secular, unified state, which helps to illuminate Turkey’s western-leaning foundations.

Turkey is 99% Muslim despite being a secular state; the remainder of the population consists of Christians and Jews.


Turkish has been the sole official language of Turkey since the founding of the Republic in 1923.
States and Territories

Turkey consists of seven regions: the Black Sea Region, the Marmara Region, Aegean, Mediterranean, Central Anatolian, the East and Southeast Anatolian. Turkey has three major coastlines (Black Sea to the north, Mediterranean to the South and Aegean to the west).


Education is compulsory for ages 6-15 during primary school years. High schools are either 3 or 4 years long and students can choose from either public or private. The majority of Turkish adolescents attend public schools. Public schooling is free and users pay fees for private schooling. University entrance in Turkey is based on a national exam, the OSS, which allows you to attend Turkish universities based on the score received. The literacy rate is 95.3% for men and 79.6% for women.

Family Life

Family is a cherished aspect of Turkish culture. Family ties here are strong, and extend far past the immediate members. Within recent years, younger generations are becoming more independent of their families and are establishing their own reputation and financial income. In rural areas, extended families tend to live together; a household might very naturally consist of parents, children, and grandparents and perhaps even aunts or uncles. Urban families mostly consist of parents and children and maybe grandparents. Because family life is so important here, children rarely move out unless they are married, even when/if they do, they still remain firmly connected and in frequent contact. Additionally, retirement homes are unheard of as their children almost always look after the elderly.


One of the most significant developments in the health care sector in Turkey recently has been the specialization of hospitals by branch, which has led to higher performance rates overall. Some of the most impressive hospitals include the Dünya Göz Hastanesi, which specializes in eye care, Acibadem Saglik Group’s Kozyatagi Acibadem Hastanesi, which specializes in neurology and oncology, and the Anadolu Saglik Merkezi, which focuses on oncology and was opened after an 80 million dollar investment. These hospitals are part of a collective with some of America’s most important medical schools including Harvard Medical and John Hopkins Medical Schools.

These investments have greatly increased the number of patients coming from abroad to receive treatment within Turkey, as well as having elevated the status of the health sector in Turkey significantly. For example, Turkey’s thermal hot springs are very popular and both locals and tourists enjoy the benefits of these natural wonders. In addition to the thermal hot springs, some of the most in demand treatments include organ transplantation, heart and eye surgeries, hair transplants and plastic surgery. Of the European and Middle Eastern countries, Danes, Norwegians and Swedes travel to Turkey in the largest numbers for treatments. Of the 100 billion dollars that will have been made in the health sector in the world, it is predicted that 10 billion dollars will belong to Turkey within the next 5 years.

Real Estate

The Turkish real estate sector, which experienced a surge in 2005, in Istanbul in particular, went through a golden age in the first half of 2008. Turkish real estate made significant developments in the city centre areas dominated by offices; in particular, in Istanbul, the area ranging from Barbaros Bulvari through Büyükdere Caddesi all the way to Maslak went through a major transformation during the golden years from 2005-2008. Many rented buildings and signed contracts even before the construction was done, thus elevating the status of the area and increasing the demand for even more buildings and in turn the prices as well.

Many international real estate companies are hoping to take advantage of the global economic crisis by significantly decreasing prices for real estate projects and thus filling a void in the market, by providing housing at more affordable prices.

Under the supervision of US company Pricewaterhouse- Coopers (PwC), The Urban Land Institute (ULI) prepared a ‘European Real Estate Sector New Trends Report’, earning Turkey the spotlight in 2006 for being the number one country to invest in. What made Turkey an attractive place for real estate investment were a number of things including the tourism sector’s potential, indicating the country’s need for more hotels as the report had stated. The report also stated that Istanbul and Izmir were among the most favorable cities to invest in, also due to a rise in their tourism sectors.


Recreation in Turkey tends to reflect the slower pace of European life. People of all ages enjoy meeting with friends and drinking tea, perhaps also while playing the very popular backgammon. Football (soccer) is the most popular sport in Turkey and much time is spent watching, playing and discussing. The three most popular teams are Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe and Besiktas. Turkish people are very fond of the sun and everything that goes with it; the warmer months are spent outdoors or on the beach. Turkish people also love to dance and enjoy music, thus it is not out of the ordinary for a dinner party to turn into a dance party or sing-along. Turkey also has many impressive museums and the locals love to support the arts. Istanbul, for example, has the popular and impressive Istanbul Modern Art Museum, Sabanci Museum and Santralistanbul, just to name a few.


Though taxis are popular and inexpensive in urban areas, travelling throughout the country is usually done by bus. Traveling by water is another efficient option within the city and is popular in Istanbul and Izmir. One of the most exciting projects of late is the subway system, which is being worked on and developed. The aim is for the subway system to eventually be as impressive as that of any other European city. Istanbul has also been enjoying the addition of the Metrobus, which runs from Levent to the Airport; it is fast, inexpensive and easy. The best part about it? It has it’s own lane on the freeway, thus bypassing traffic completely.


Everyone has the right to work in Turkey if they have the right documentation and work permit. How quickly you can find a job in Turkey depends on economic factors, qualifications and skills, the type of work you are seeking, and particular circumstances that may affect the availability of certain types of work in different parts of the country. The government sets laws on wages and work conditions. The laws are about the types of legal agreements that define the work relationship between employers and employees. The agreements determine the amount paid to an employee, the hours worked and conditions such as safety, leave, allowances, training, anti discrimination and more. However, within private institutions working agreements are made between employer and employee directly. If you do not already have a source of income or a job available, and provided your visa allows it, you will need to look for work.

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Egypt has long been an African vacation spot, ever since Thomas Cook escorted his first Egypt tour in 1969 thereby inventing long – haul Egypt vacation package tourism. No other country is more stuffed with monuments and antiquities, all the more astonishing when you realize that 96 percent of Egypt is desert, relieved only by the Nile valley and its delta.

as one of the world’s oldest continuous civilizations, is rich in history and presents an astonishing sweep through five millennia: Three thousand years of pharaoh rule prepared by Assyrian, Persia and Greek invasions, and followed by Roman, Byzantine and Arab conquests, and colonization by Turkey, France and Britain. The most famous pharaonic sights are the pyramids of Giza, the sphinx which are considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, valley of the kings and Kamak. But these are just a tiny fraction of what can be seen. Among the country’s later wonders are some of the world’s oldest churches, with the World’s ‘oldest university’ unearthed in Egypt CAIRO.

Egypt has a lot to offer and our list of attractions below only scratches the surface.
Antiquities aside, there are other treasures to lure travelers, too – luxurious Nile cruises, camelback desert adventures, oasis, Red Sea beaches and coral reefs, isolated monasteries. Egypt truly offers an unforgettable holiday experience.

Egypt’s Attractions And Places To Visit

The pyramids of Giza and Sphinx are just outside downtown Cairo. The Great Pyramid of khufu, the only survivor of the seven wonders of the world, flanked by two other pyramids and the sphinx. The sheer size and geometric precision of the monuments including their astronomical alignment, have long led to theories about their hidden meaning, powers and their architects with some even claiming that they must have been built by beings from outer space.

Cairo is Africa’s biggest metropolis and even the pyramids and sphinx aside, Cairo is a place still worth spending time in. In spite of a population of over 14 million, the visitor to Cairo will find it surprisingly gentle. It can however look about chaotic at times for a foreigner but it has a great feel. Apart from Giza, the indisputable highlight is the Egyptian Antiquities Museum. Even if you’re not a fun of museum’s don’t miss this one – It has some of mankind’s most beautiful creations among its 130,000 exhibits. Most famous among these is the golden funerary mask of pharaoh Tutankhamen. Travelers are often surprised to find that the heart of the city itself is also a museum, especially of Islamic times- there are architectural masterpieces at every turn, including visitable mosques. Close at hand, too, are the ever – entertaining souks of khan el-khalili.

Dakhla oasis
A custer of oasis, gardens and lakes, Dakhla is life for fourteen settlements. The oldest and most memorable, with well-preserved traditional architecture, is the village of Al-Qasr, deliciously positioned amid pink dune-draped mountains. Despite having been largely abandoned. Al-Qasr’s old town – dominate by a cylindrical twelfth – century minaret – remains intact, and conceals many a photogenic nook and cranny. Dakhla’s other attractions include romantic Qalamoun village and its improbable desert lakes, the Muzawaka Tombs dug out of a table-top mountain, and the diminutive Egyptian Roman temple or Deir el-hagar, which became a Coptic monastery.

Egypt’s Valley of the Kings Halfway down the Egyptian Nile, Luxor (meaning “the palaces:”) was ancient Thebes, capital of Egypt’s New Kingdom in the second millennium BC. An obscene profusion of pharaonic temples and tombs are found within a few kilometers of town, mostly famously at Kamak and in the valley of the kings. The latter was where generations of pharaohs excavated their tombs; the most famous is that of Tutankhamen, which was opened in 1922 after 3274 years in darkness. Most of its treasures are housed in Cairo’s national museum, though the pharaoh’s mummy and innermost gold coffin are still in situ. Dozens of other tombs can also be visited, many lavishly decorated with hieroglyphs and cosmological scenes.

While the valley of the kings is all about decoration, in kamak it was size that mattered-its temples, arranged into three precincts, were built to gargantuan scales to house the gods. The most impressive is the colossal temple of Amun, with its bulging columns and even more portly statues, but there are plenty more temples besides, less visited but no less imposing, including those of Khonsu and Ramses III, an impressive avenue or ram-headed sphinxes.

Gilf Kebir
For dedicated desert rats, a day to an oasis may not be enough. For those interested, desert excursions and expeditions are possible, both in the Sinal and west of the Nile. Kebir plateau in the Uwaynat Desert, with its evocation World War II wrecks and prehistoric rock art.

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Abadiania is located in the central state of GOIAS in the Brazilian Altiplano. It is aproximately 88 Km (55 miles) North East of the State Capital Goiania. It is also about 98 Km (61 Miles) South West of the Federal Capital Brasilia. The population of the Municipality of Abadiania according to the last census in 2005 was approximately 12,000 people. The local authorities now believe that number is closer to 14,000 now. Although only about 7,500 live in the part of town that is closest to the highway. The rest are in the old city of Abadiania and in the rural areas surrounding the city which are also part of the municipality. The original city was formed in 1953 and it is now known as old Abadiania. Once the highway that unites Brasilia to Goiania was built, many of the residents of Abadiania were unhappy with the distance between them and this major through fare. Some of these residents began building their homes closer to the highway and eventually the city government was transferred to this area making it the official Abadiania. The old Abadiania also known as Posse d’Abadia remains a quaint little village nestled in the middle of green rolling hills speckled with white Brahma cattle. The elevation of Abadiania is 1,052 Meters ASL. or 3,455 feet ASL. The principal industry in this region is agriculture and cattle ranching.

Weather in Abadiania is classified as Tropical Savana (AW). Concentrated rain showers in the summer months October through April and a dry season from may through September. The maximum precipitation generally occurs in December/January and the warmest months are September and October with average temperatures around 25o Celcius (77o F) although 40oC (104o F) is not uncommon. The coldest months are June and July with average temperatures around 18o C (64oF) and lows ao 12o C or (53o F)

The City of Abadiania is known as the City of Spiritual Cures because of the presence of psychic healer, João de Deus, (John of God) who attracts many national and international tourists seeking cures for their maladies. JOHN OF GOD: , (João de Deus) is without a doubt one of the most powerful channeling mediums and healers alive today. João has been working at the Casa de Dom Inacio for over 30 years. There are some thirty three entities he channels at the Casa, so named after one of the entities, St Ignatius de Loyola, founder of the Jesuits.

John of God is able to help heal so many people at once because he does not work alone. There are thousands of beings working with him who are able to attend to people. He has helped people recover from all kinds of illness, including AIDS, cancer, auto immune disorders, arthritis, injury from sports and accidents, every illness is treatable at the Casa although results can vary. John of God also treats all kinds of emotional disorders, including addictions, depression, schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder. The majority of healing by John of God and the entities is invisible, visible surgery is entirely voluntary and makes up a very small proportion of the healing work.

For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who disbelieve, no amount of proof is sufficient.



For many people Jordan begins and ends with the magical ancient Nabataean city of Petra. Petra is one of the Middle East’s most spectacular, unmissable sights and the world’s most dramatic ‘lost city’.

Lawrence of Arabia, Holy land, bible stories,ancient cities, lost cities, Jordan is one of the most welcoming and hospitable countries of the world.

this where you get invited by total strangers to thier homes to eat and sleep over.

Ruined Roman cities, Crusader castles, desert citadels and powerful biblical sites: the brook where Jesus was baptized, the fortress where Herod beheaded John the Baptist and the mountain top where Moses cast eyes on the Promised Land. Biblical scenes are not just consigned to the past in Jordan; you’ll see plenty of men wearing full-flowing robes and leading herds of livestock across the timeless desert. But it’s not all crusty ruins. Jordan’s capital Amman is a modern, culturally diverse Arab city which is light-years away from the typical clichés of Middle Eastern exoticism.

The country also offers some of the wildest adventures in the region, as well as an incredibly varied backdrop ranging from the red desert sands of Wade Rum to the brilliant blues of the coral-filled Gulf of Aqaba; from rich palm-filled wadis to the lifeless Dead Sea. Ultimately it’s the sensual delights of daily life in the Middle East that you’ll hanker for longest after you return home; the bittersweet taste of cardamom coffee or the smell of a richly scented argileh (water pipe); the intoxicating swirl of Arabic pop sliding out of an Amman doorway and the deafening silence of the desert.

Jordanians are a passionate and proud people and the country truly welcomes visitors with open arms. Despite being squeezed between the hotspots of Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Israel & the Palestinian Territories, Jordan is probably the safest and most stable country in the region. Regardless of your nationality, you’ll be greeted with nothing but courtesy and hospitality in this gem of a country.
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Visit Ireland

Deciding When and Where to Go to Ireland

Would you rather gaze at the rainbows that show up during the spring in Ireland, or enjoy the countryside during the winter? Maybe you rather experience the Galway’s Arts Festival in July, or Cork City’s Jazz Festival in October? Should you base yourself in one place and take day trips, or go the nomadic route?

The summers are warm and the winters are moderate with some snow. May and June are the sunniest months. Weather changes quite frequently from cloudy to sunny and vice versa. If planning the visit during the summer, lightweight woolen or cotton clothes are recommended and jacket for spring and autumn. Always carry raincoat for that untimely showers. Incase of emergency call 999 or 112.


Most of the locals prefer speaking English here. Handshaking is customary. Irish are social people and are good at having a lively chat even with strangers. People live in great harmony and make great friends. Foreigners are welcomed with warmth and are made to feel at home. Guests are never sent back empty stomach as food is always served at any time of the day, to the guest. Most of the locals come from an agricultural background. Dinner is considered to be a meal of importance as it is the time when the whole family gets together and eat. One can dress casually when out on the streets except women are expected to dress formally at social gatherings and at fine restaurants. Smoking is banned in public places.


Many towns organize flee markets at least once a week, which is worth checking out for cheap goods. Belfast is the shopping capital of Ireland; most of the stores open up early and close early too. On Thursdays, shops remain open till 8 in the night.  Value Added Tax of almost 17% is charged, which can be reclaimed later. So if the visitors buy anything from the stores remember to check if the store operates the Retail Export Scheme, which would require the passport and filling of the Tax Free Shopping Form by the sales person. If the restaurant bill doesn’t includes any tax, leave behind a 10% tip to appreciate their service. Giving a tip to the porters and hair dressers is customary here.

Getting There

The national airline that operates here is Aer Lingus, which provides service from most of the major cities of the world. Airlines like Delta Air Lines and many other have been introduced and to promote them, promotional air fares are being offered. Checking out such offers will prove to be money savers. There are many flights from UK to Ireland. The Dublin airport is located at 10 km away from the city. Services like taxis, air coach, buses transport passengers to their destination. Airport has duty free shops, bank, currency exchange, car hire, tourism information, and restaurants for a comfortable journey. Shannon Airport is situated to the north of Limerick City and is 24 km and 25 minutes away from it. Buses, coaches and taxis are available for transportation. Other services that are provided are duty free shops, currency exchange, bank, tourism information and restaurants. While planning to travel, check out other airports like Cork Airport and Knock Information Airport for more options. A departure tax of €10 is to be paid by people over 12 years of age at the Knock International Airport.

To take ferries check out the Baltimore, Galway, Dublin, Wexford and Kinsale ports. Most of the ferries offer high-speed services. Time to time special offers are being announced which can be availed to save money. Check out the websites as some of them offer online booking facility.