Vacations…Underground

 

Vacations…Underground

by Amy Lignor

 

There are millions of spots to visit and sites to see around the world when it comes to vacation time; however, there are also those you can’t necessarily “see.” In this world of digital technology and highly imaginative architecture that creates buildings that are higher and more “glitzy” than ever before, it is important to remember that in ancient times, people were building “down.” Various civilizations created locations underground, while others actually got buried by Mother Nature and simply forgotten about. Let’s begin internationally…

 

Heading to France, you can admire an entire village made up of caves and stone called the Barry Troglodyte Village. Overlooking the Rhône Valley, not only do you receive some of the most scenic sites imaginable, but you also get to delve into history where the Neolithic actually lived until the early 20th century. And, while in France, if visiting the stunning cityscape of Paris, you can also be a part of wandering amidst over 200 miles of catacombs resting right below “The City of Lights.”

bootlegging industry, caves, Bunker Palace, NORAD, summer vacation ideas, Seattle Underground, Wieliczka Salt Mine, Underground Great Wall

In Scotland, you can be awed by a series of chambers that were formed in the 19 arches of South Bridge in Edinburgh. Built to link the “Old Town’s High Street” with University buildings on the city’s south side, the Edinburgh Vaults are something you and the family will never forget.

 

In Saskatchewan, at a place called Moose Jaw, you can visit an award winning attraction operating year-round that will give you a sneak peek at the bootlegging industry during the days of Capone.

 

If a wartime historian, the tunnels resting below the earth in Beijing, China, make up a network that is absolutely enormous. Called the “Underground Great Wall,” this was provided for the people in order for them to have the ability to run if the Russian Army invaded during the Cold War.

 

Spain offers one of the most special “underground” sites there is with Setenil de las Bodegas. Here, residents make their homes under a rock. Growing out of a network of caves, these bright white tiny houses look like they are actually emerging from the cliff face, with rock roofs as well as some with olive groves growing on their rooftops.

 

A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978, the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland is truly amazing, clocking in at more than 700 years old. Visitors are offered the tourist, miners’ or pilgrims’ route to take, as well as the “Mysteries Tour” which is one of the physically hardest – perfect for all those hikers out there. Being a location for TV shows, exhibitions and theatre performances, even the movie industry has utilized this incredible site.

 

And if looking for something in the United States… The Seattle Underground in Washington is extremely cool to witness. Lying under Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood there are bars, hotels, banks, and even shops that sit abandoned since 1889, when the Great Seattle Fire hit the city, razing most of the wood buildings in the business district at that time. With people capitalizing in on rebuilding efforts, they failed to do it correctly, and in 1965, a local citizen established a very popular Underground Tour (Bill Speidel) where you will learn all about what “really happened” and what “used to be.”

 

If a fan of “War Games,” the Cheyenne Mountain Complex set in Cheyenne Mountain near Colorado Springs is the place for you. Inside lies the Combat Operations Center which became a self-contained and sufficient town hidden underneath the Rockies. It was meant to withstand a Soviet nuclear attack with NORAD – the North American Aerospace Command being the leaders of it all. Closed at one time, it was reopened to the public to tour in 2015.

 

Last, but not least, if you’re headed to “Sin City” for a little gambling fun, you just have to leave those gaming tables for a minute to check out Bunker Palace. At 15,000+ square feet, this complex is actually on the market, for sale at just $1.7 million. A two-story home is visible at street level, but underground you find an actual house with a lawn, hot tubs, and a 360-degree mural of the “Great Outdoors.” You add in a putting green, and this becomes the one place that would cause you to never want to “come up for air” again. A perfect setting for either a vampire or a person who is simply looking for a house that is one-of a-kind.

 

So when you plan your next vacation and want something out of the ordinary, just remember that there are “spots” on the map you can find and visit that will give you both thrills and chills. All you have to do is look…down.

 

Where to Vacation? Go Big or Stay Home!

 

Where to Vacation?
Go Big or Stay Home!

by Amy Lignor

We speak about luxury vacations, budget vacations, vacations that are fun for the kids, and many more areas of travel at this time of year. But there is also a category that many do not touch upon because they “assume” it is far too difficult for those on a budget to be able to enjoy these jaw-dropping wonders. However, whether you are a backpacker looking to “become a journeyman” and all you need is the price of the plane ticket; or one that is saving up for that “ultimate trip,” these are locations where either can go to create memories that will be among the greatest and grandest of their entire lives.

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Let us start with the island of Kauai in the United States. For those who are unaware, Kauai was the stunning backdrop for the Jurassic Park movies. Taking aerial tours will show you the sea cliffs of the Na Pali Coast that reach into the sky like monoliths towering over the water below. When it comes to exploring the island on the ground, just hiking along the marked paths is a photographer’s dream. Heading onto the floor of Waimea Canyon, or through the bogs of Alakai Swamp, visitors hike through the largest mahogany forest North America can boast. Whether journeyman or someone looking for luxury, Kauai is awe-inspiring beauty to the ‘nth’ degree.

When talking about remote, rustic and a place that actually offers up reindeer farms and snowshoeing, the Arctic Circle in Lapland, Finland is yet another “big” vacation that will never be forgotten. Staring up at the Northern Lights, Finland is filled with national parks, historical sites, and hiking sanctuaries for those seeking silence and tranquility that can be found nowhere else on Earth.

Another country that people are saving every nickel to visit is India. Here, the wild tiger population is growing by leaps and bounds (thankfully), and being able to see those regal Bengal tigers is a true vision that can only be viewed here in the U.S. inside an IMAX theater. Which is fine, of course, but definitely takes away from the magic of it all. In Central India, the Madhya Pradesh national parks are absolute havens for these wild tigers and visitors can even ride the Indian Railways’ new Tiger Express tourist train to go on the ultimate safari.

In Ecuador’s Chocó region, visitors can actually be a part of the primeval cloud forests – these are areas filled with the richest plant and animal life on the planet. North of Quito, these Andean slopes shrouded in fog play home to hundreds of species of birds, the rarest of orchids and air plants, as well as the olinguito – which just happens to be the newest mammal species discovered here in 2013. Can you just imagine exploring these sites by flying through the clouds on a zip-line Sky Bike? The immensity of this one-of-a-kind spot offers both thrills and chills.

For those looking to “go big” in the city and see beauty they’ve never before seen, Marrakech, Morocco is just the place to be wowed. With colors that set the imagination on fire, this former imperial city is now a major economic center that allows visitors a look at some of the most amazing palaces, gardens and mosques to be found anywhere. Mazelike alleyways allow people to come upon thriving, busy marketplaces packed with traditional textiles, pottery and jewelry. Even the famous fashion icon Yves Saint Laurent used Marrakech’s kaleidoscope of colors as his own palette when creating his vibrant fashions.

Another city that deserves to be on the “big” list was enjoyed by Hemingway, himself, who was so intrigued by the place that he called it “The Capital of the World” in one of his short stories by the same name. This is Madrid, Spain, and is a cosmopolitan fantasy come to life. With everything from parks and gardens to street artists and more than sixty museums, Madrid is all about creativity and class.

Last but not least is Germany’s “gateway to the world.” Although many plan trips to Berlin, it is Hamburg that takes the breath away. This floating city located on the Elbe River near the North Sea is a maze of canals that rivals Venice, itself. You can cruise the canals and take in the spectacular views of one of the world’s largest historic port warehouse districts and even visit the brand new concert hall complex that was built atop a brick warehouse providing stunning views of the city.

So whether heading out as a nomad with a backpack and a dream of viewing some of the world’s biggest sites to be seen; or one with money in the bank looking for luxury in a new locale that just has to be part of that proverbial bucket list – these “big” locales are the ones to see!

Original Source:  St AUG News

New Museums & Exhibits Boost Travel in 2017

 

New Museums & Exhibits Boost Travel in 2017

by Amy Lignor

 

It is true that after a while the “same-old, same-old” gets, well…more than old. Finding a place to visit that is new, fresh and filled with fun for the family can grow into one heck of a research project. But some old names are opening some pretty amazing exhibits and expos this year. In addition, some brand new buildings are being placed in various countries worldwide that have more and more people booking tickets.

 

https://www.wbstudiotour.co.uk/forbidden-forest?gclid=Cj0KEQjw76jGBRDm1K-X_LnrmuEBEiQA8RXYZ9GGOi1zMfOe3xW4ObKvmBty6hLZimfEPlVtMizflNEaAk7h8P8HAQLet’s face it, when it comes to children, taking a journey to anything that has the name “Walt Disney” is the place to be. But even if you have been there before with the kids, Disney World is now adding things to bring it up-to-date. You won’t get past the higher ticket prices, but with new restaurants coming in, evening entertainment taking the stage and beloved character appearances growing by leaps and bounds, Walt Disney World is actually an “old place” with a “new, exciting” vibe. And if you’re looking at the Pacific Coast, Disneyland is bringing in more and more sites to see inside the Hollywood Studios where the Star Wars Force continues to “awaken.”

 

On the other side of the pond, in Leavesden, England, the Warner Brothers Studio Tour has added even more to the Harry Potter world that kids absolutely fawn over. The new “Forbidden Forest” opens at the end of this month, where visitors can follow the footsteps of their favorite characters and run into everything from Hippogriffs (remember Buckbeak?) and Hagrid’s favorite pet, Aragog. This huge ‘Acromantula’ is deep in the forest and will most likely be emerging from his lair as you walk through the tall trees to have a chat with you. Just remember…his family of spiderlings are all around, so make sure an escape route has been planned.

 

Now we come to some amazing museums taking over in 2017 that are definite “must-see” stops. In Germany, you will be able to view a new attraction in the city of Potsdam’s historic center. Named the Museum Barberini, this is a stunning reconstructed palace that includes works created by the literal masters, including Monet and Renoir.

 

If looking to see the largest museum to open on an entire continent, in Cape Town, South Africa, the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa will be a $38 million dollar institution housed inside the 57-metre-high Grain Silo. This incredible work of architectural art will include various expos and exhibitions built to celebrate Cape Town’s industrial heritage.

 

In the stunning country of Greece – one that has ancient myths and legends galore – sits the new National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST) in Athens. This is a major reconstruction project that has met with some ‘kinks’ while getting it ready for the public to enjoy. Which is exactly what you can do when it opens to one and all in the autumn of 2017.

 

At home in the U.S., the Institute of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles has actually re-designed their logo in an attempt to evoke the one-of-a-kind urban life L.A. possesses. The building is a rehousing of the Santa Monica Museum of Art and opens in the Downtown Arts District in the autumn. From architecture to urban design to fresh exhibitions and educational programs, the ICA LA will bring together sites that all will love to witness.

 

Also a gift to the U.S. is the Museum of the American Revolution opening in Philadelphia. For everyone interested in politics, history, war, freedom and the civilization of this country, this museum is for you. From historical objects to works of art, manuscripts and more – all of the exhibitions will bring you and the family on a journey that the U.S. is proud to remember.

 

If you happen to be visiting the world of Harry Potter in London, the Victoria & Albert Museum should also be on your “go to” list. In July of 2017, V&A will also be bringing in a fresh, new look with “Exhibition Road.” This is the largest architectural project in London that has happened in over a century and will offer up new exhibition space, the Sainsbury’s Gallery, the Sackler Courtyard and the Blavatnik Hall – which is an entrance fit for a King.

 

These are just a sneak peek at the list of many new locales to enjoy as you plan your next vacation. If things keep going like this, the proverbial “bucket list” will become longer than Santa’s “good kid list” has ever been.

 

Source:  GIG News

“The Purple Isle” is Calling!

 

“The Purple Isle” is Calling!

Welcome to Islamorada, Florida

by Amy Lignor

 

When a vacationer dreams of visiting that perfect location with stunning sunsets, amazing food, and deep blue waters decorated with the most extraordinary coral reefs on this planet, it is a fact that they run to their cell phones and computers to book their flights as fast as they can to…Islamorada, Florida.

Islamorada, Florida, paradise on earth, Art Walk, Long Key State Park, Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park,  ICE Amphitheater, History of Diving MuseumA literal village of islands first sighted by Spanish adventurers back in the 1500’s, in this day and age it is the ultimate spot to sit back, relax, and enjoy sights that cannot be seen by simply looking out the living room window – especially if you happen to live in parts of this country where the snow is still flying this time of year.

Islamorada has a rich history that involves many industries cropping up throughout the centuries. In fact, when a fleet wrecked on the reefs of Islamorada, a thriving wrecking industry grew that made the area of Key West the wealthiest one in all of the United States straight through the 1870s. But new and interesting industries continued to grow as more settlers arrived. From being a Spanish trading post to playing home to the first canning factory for a true delicacy that ended up being a beloved one worldwide – pineapples – the farmers also raised limes, melons and vegetables, adding to the wealth around them.

 

From, perhaps, these less glamorous trades, this location has gone on to thrive because it just happens to be ‘paradise on earth.’ In 2017, reveling in the industry of tourism, Islamorada has a list of items that calls out to anyone and everyone who wants to escape the cold and be a part of what has now become one of the most unforgettable vacation spots on planet Earth.

 

Nicknamed “The Purple Isle,” Islamorada is a “top ten choice” to visit. Between the saltwater wilderness of Everglades National Park and the blue waters of the Florida Strait lies this conglomerate of six islands, and because of the location, everyone from amateurs who simply want to sightsee to professionals who want to “land the biggest catch they can” have access to the world’s highest density of professional offshore charter boats. Tournament-grade captains and the most highly skilled recreational fishing guides work here, and can navigate any vacationer to the best spots Islamorada has to offer.

 

If looking for fun and a whole list of activities for the family, Robbie’s Marina is a great place for people to come and feed the hungry tarpon that wait at the docks for visitors to arrive. Then, the family can move on to see a variety of shows that include everything from sea lions to parrots at one of Florida’s original marine mammal parks.

 

Those who love (or live) to dive, come to Islamorada to be fascinated by the History of Diving Museum before “jumping in” to view and explore the unique reef line and patch reefs that are breathtaking to one and all.

 

For those who wish to stay on land and listen to the music, daylong festivals are held on the lawn of the outdoor waterfront ICE Amphitheater located inside Islamorada Founders Park. The music can also be enjoyed after the sun goes down and the tropical evening takes hold. This is one park filled with things to do. An Olympic-sized pool, a beach, ball fields, a skate park, a dog park – Islamorada has made sure that no family member will be without something fun to do each and every day of their vacation.

 

If a nice leisurely walk is on your ‘to do’ list, the lush nature trails at Long Key State Park, and Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park allow you peace, quiet and historic sites to see before heading to one of the many amazing locations to dine. “Fresh-from-the-dock” seafood and cuisine for all the landlubbers are served in the tiki-covered bars, the fish houses, secluded island bistros, as well as gourmet cafes where you can sit on the beachfront and take in the stunning scenery while you eat.

 

The shopping never has to end because of the ever-burgeoning boutiques and those who love the creative art world can rejoice in the “Art Walk” held in Islamorada every single month.

 

With a full package that includes excellent beachfront lodging, quality hospitality, dining, and activities, there is no end to The Purple Isle’s vast number of choices for those who wish to experience a true vacation in paradise.

Source:  GIG News

With the Kids in the Car “Road Trips” are Out the Window

 

With the Kids in the Car “Road Trips” are Out the Window

by Amy Lignor

 

Travel…with kids. The one thing that most all parents will agree upon is the fact that heading out on the road with kids for a relaxing holiday is a big mistake. Did you ever see the movie National Lampoon’s Vacation? If you have, then you know exactly what I mean. Now parents may roll their eyes at this. Especially those that have saved up money by skipping “big family vacations” for the last couple of years just to go somewhere unique and a whole lot of fun in 2017. Others may roll their eyes because they will feel like “Disney” is the only ‘world’ that the kids will enjoy. However…that is not the case. If you are looking for that awesome vacation for both you and the kids, (with no long-distance driving involved), there are a few that will delight every member of the family.

Merry old London is one of those mega-city’s that cannot and will not let parent nor child down. There is no way to be bored in this place. From entertaining tourist spots to the amazing dinosaur exhibitions and interactive worlds found at the museums in London, the kids will never even yawn once. From heading to Big Ben to stepping inside one of the most famous bridges in the world; from paddle boating in Hyde Park to riding on the world’s largest Ferris wheel; from legends to mysteries to castles – London is the best place to visit.

 

If wanting one of those mega-city vacations in the U.S. of A., The Big Apple is the place to go. The list is so lengthy when it comes to what New York City has to offer both parent and child, it becomes even longer than the list Santa keeps of all those ‘good boys and girls’ who get a present delivered to them on Christmas Eve. This is the place to check out!

 

But what if you’re the outdoorsy type of family and a mega-city literally turns you off? If that’s the case, then the answer is simple. Right here on the Florida Panhandle sits one of the most popular vacation spots to be found. Destin, Florida is all about beaches. The shores are made of snow white Appalachian quartz, and Dad can certainly go off and have a ball golfing while the kids head to the water parks and be thrilled and entertained all day long.

 

Camping, meteor showers, lunar eclipses…no, this is not about how to travel with your kids to the moon. It’s actually about what you will be able to give your kids who need entertainment by planning a family trip to Death Valley. Spring is the right time to go when it comes to this one, however. Don’t wait until those scorching days of summer set in. With over three million acres of wilderness to choose from and no artificial light taking away from the beauty that the skies have to offer, every kid’s jaw will literally drop.

 

Just as much fun can be found in the Grand Canyon. You and your family can fly there and rent a camper or plan a vacation where you will be led by the pros to the most beautiful locations America has to offer. Hiking, biking, backpacking – trips that include almost every outdoor activity you can think of are made available in the Grand Canyon, and your kids will be talking about it forever. They will literally have so much fun they’ll make it a point to bring their own kids there one day and make it a true family tradition.

 

Could we get through the list without even mentioning Disney? Of course not. BUT, everyone always talks about the theme parks that are ripe with entertainment for kids. This time we’ll speak only about those rich, fun Disney cruises. Unlike most other companies that have had major issues with the cruises they offer, Disney still remains one that is reliable and will keep the kids entertained the entire time. Avoiding all the long, long, loooonnnnngggg lines that you find at a Disney theme park, the cruise offers movie theaters, water slides, deck parties and live shows with those lovable Disney characters, and a whole lot more. This is most definitely the “happiest place at sea.”

 

So when it comes to planning for that spring or summer trip, take a good look at these locations that are literally perfect for both parent and child.

Source:  GIG News

Perfect Vacation Spots in Small Town, USA

 
Perfect Vacation Spots in Small Town, USA

by Amy Lignor

 

Yes, big cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, as well as Orlando always rate as being perfect vacation spots to travel to in the U.S. of A. But, oddly enough, small towns are out there littering the road maps that are fun and kooky
Ferndale, Mount Airy, unforgettable memories , Gibsonton, Ligonier, Santa Claus, Indiana, where Superman lives, save money, quirkiestenough to draw visitors each and every day. Some even have extremely fun names like, Accident, Maryland, Peculiar, MO, and even Ugly, TX. So if you wish to save a little more money when it comes to your spring or summer vacations, instead of having to deal with higher price locations, visiting these will save on money and still allow you and the family to make memories you’ll never forget.

We begin with towns that literally feel like they are straight out of a movie. Some are even based on movies and movie characters, as well as one that pays homage to perhaps the biggest and most popular “celebrity” known worldwide.

One town that feels like it was the ‘set’ for every lovely, sweet, all-American town that was ever on-screen is Ferndale, California. Registered as a California Historic Landmark (the whole town, that is, not just one building), the avenues that visitors walk down are lined with pristine Victorian homes and businesses that make you feel as if you’ve been transported back in time to when the world was a peaceful, serene place.

 

Yet another area like this is Mount Airy, North Carolina. The allure for most visitors comes from the fact that this was the inspiration for the beloved “Andy Griffith” television show. You can’t get more “apple pie” than that. Mounty Airy is literally a remake of the fictional town of Mayberry, offering tours in squad cars that are identical to the ones Barney and Andy drove in the show, as well as a very real “Floyd’s Barber Shop.” (If you don’t understand these references, rent the TV show; it’s worth it to see Mayberry in all its glory.)

 

If looking for the ultimate realm that will remind your kids of every fairytale they’ve ever read, head to Carmel-by-the-Sea, located in California. With a population under 4,000, the hometown boys and girls dwell by the seaside in little storybook cottages. This is a very well-preserved town that even has laws in place to keep their community as beautiful as possible. In other words, leave the high heels at home ladies before traveling here, because there is an actual ban on wearing them without a permit. (Not kidding).

 

The location of Metropolis is absolutely well-known to most everyone on Earth. Why? Because Superman dwells there, of course. In the state of Illinois, you can visit Metropolis and actually take pictures of the 15-foot bronze statue of the “Man of Steel” that watches over the town. The local newspaper is called “The Metropolis Planet” (AKA: The Daily Planet, where Superman and Lois Lane worked), and every year a Superman celebration is had by one and all.

 

But what little, lovely town is dedicated to the most popular and well-known “celebrity?” Well…that would be Santa Claus, Indiana, of course. A large budget is not needed to visit here, thankfully, considering you do not have to head to the North Pole in order to be a part of this truly beloved location. Here you can take pics of the 20-foot statue of St. Nick (yes, he rates an extra five-feet over Superman, himself). You can stroll and shop along Christmas Boulevard and Kringle Place, and even visit an adorable amusement park called “Holiday World.”

 

And speaking of amusement parks that should be seen by one and all…Ligonier, Pennsylvania, boasts one of the oldest parks in the country. Settled in the 1760s, Ligonier also maintains a truly historic downtown square that still has its bandstand to this day. Somewhere to sit and relax after the visit to the amusement park comes to an end.

 

If you’re looking for the “quirkiest” of all areas to head to, Gibsonton, Florida, is also all about the “amusement” industry. This off-season retreat where famous carnival performers once lived, (AKA: “Lobster Boy”), Gibsonton is a hub for the carnival lover in you. While visiting the local diner, it’s not a shock to see a sword-swallower as well as an exotic animal grazing outside, enjoying its own special meal.

 

No matter what you choose, these are locations that offer families the ultimate picturesque vacations that serve up unforgettable memories and allow you to save dollars at the same time.

 

Source:  GIG News

It’s Time to Save for Summer Vacation!

 

It’s Time to Save for Summer Vacation!

by Amy Lignor

 

Putting the “pennies in the piggy bank” is something everyone in this world does (or wants to do) on a daily basis. But NOW is the time to take those “extra” pennies and purchase that great piggy bank that’s perhaps wearing some sunglasses, a colorful hat, some swim trunks…anything that makes that new piggy remind you of the one thing you want to do all year long – go on the perfect summer vacation.

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Getting away from it all, as any doctor will tell you, is something that should be done for your health, your well-being, and to remove some of that ridiculous stress that comes with the job, family, and the everyday problems life hands to you on a silver platter.

 

Yes, there are bills to pay, but beginning that “travel budget” for the summertime is something that should begin right now – this early – while the snow still falls outside the window. Being 2017 and living in the world of absolute and 100% technology, it is also far easier to begin than it used to be. By heading to websites out there, such as Priceline, you can begin to find the “best deals” from hotels to travel costs in order to form a good estimate of how much it’s going to cost for you to sit in your chosen “paradise,” take a deep, calming breath and…relax. But once you have a good estimate in place, what do you then do to save those pennies?

 

First, setting up a separate savings account is a great way to begin. This savings account would be used only for your summer vacation funds and will help you keep perfect track of the money and give you focus. A separate account will give you extra motivation and keep you on the right path to building your summer vacation fund. Then, concentrate on making weekly contributions – not monthly. Even if your normal, everyday life is based on a monthly budget, this separate account will thrive if you make it a habit to mark on your calendar to deposit money into it on a weekly basis.

 

Second, start scaling back those “extra” expenses for at least three months. You would be amazed how much money you could put into the summer savings account by cutting out those $3 scratch-off tickets every day, that extra cup of over-priced coffee, that movie night – and more – for only three months. Cook at home and avoid those pricey restaurants, as well. Believe you me, the summer stress-free vacation will make you far happier than a night out at the local restaurant. One delivery pizza night of $35.00 can really add up fast if adding it to the summer vacation account.

 

Third, work on planning a week’s worth of spending ahead of time, then stick to that plan as much as you possibly can. Compare prices of things online to keep costs down and avoid shopping on a whim for the next few months. If you get in the habit of making lists for the upcoming week and anticipating things ahead of time, your summer vacation account will grow and you will find it far easier to stay inside your pre-set budget lines.

 

Fourth, you can also think about selling something you don’t need in order to increase your summer vacation account. Having a tag sale doesn’t sound like a “big thing,” but you would be amazed by the amount of cash you can bring in and put toward that summer vacation account when you choose to liquidate items that you only glance at when you dust the house. Not only that, but you can also add some items to sell on programs like eBay. There are those out there who will look at your “spring cleaning” and see it as “must-haves” for their very own home.

 

There you have it. Simple and easy. Stay aware, make lists, stop the deliveries for a bit, remember that you don’t need that extra pair of shoes to join all the others sitting in the closet, and open that separate “piggy bank” in order to deposit those funds that will go a long way when it comes to relieving stress.

 

Then…book the flight, the hotel, and put a smile on your face. Because even though it may be snowing now, summer IS on its way and you are prepared to take full advantage of it!

perfect summer vacation,  liquidate, make a list, scale back, spending ahead of time, weekly contributions, Life is Good

 

Source:  GIG News

The Imagination Vacation

 

The Imagination Vacation

by Amy Lignor

 

Works of art actually relieve stress. Not only are we all experiencing that, but headlines have appeared that state this election year was the most stressful on record. Marriages actually broke down and broke apart all together because of this political agenda. So now that all of this is over and done with, taking a vacation from it all would be the best thing to alleviate that stress as fast as possible. Of course, seeing as that only 5% of the population or less can actually afford a trip like that, perhaps reading about these incredible (and very large) works of art could at least make the imagination run enough to be swept away from the stress for a time. So…ask yourself this question: If you could witness the most beautiful, incredible buildings ever created on this planet, where, exactly, would you go?

Well, let us begin in a world where beauty and politics actually came together. It is a fact that on the steps of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece, many politicians met on a daily basis to debate, fight and make the citizens want to pull their hair out. But for us, in 2017, this building is truly the highest standard of beauty. The slight curve of those Corinthian columns, sitting atop that hill, is a stunning sight to behold and literally remains the base of perfect architecture.

Traveling on to Spain, the Museo Guggenheim is one of a kind. Set in the northern city of Bilbao, the interconnecting blocks and sheets of titanium make this a classic and thrilling industrial design. Go inside and you’ll even get a glance at some of the most amazing works of art on the planet.

 

Moving away from industrialism, yet staying in the beauty that Spain has to offer, you can head to a church that rises above the rest. Sagrada Familia was born in the brilliant mind of one of the most unconventional designers in all of history: Antoni Gaudí. Construction commenced in 1882 and, oddly enough, is not scheduled to be completed until 2026 when the 100th anniversary of Gaudí’s death is celebrated. It was this particular artist’s vision that was so intricate that by the time this huge Roman Catholic Church is finished it will sport three facades and eighteen towers, with the highest set to represent Jesus Christ. However, no matter what building stage this church is in, the beauty and grandeur that can be witnessed is overpowering.

Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Bibliotheca Alexandrina Photo credit: Nikola Smolenski

As everyone knows, Egypt has a wealth of architecture and sites that boggle the mind. However, the ancient pyramids are not, in many peoples’ eyes, the best of the best when it comes to stunning architecture. It is
actually a “new” building that pays homage to an ancient building that people wish with all their hearts still existed – especially in regards to what treasures it once held. The Bibliotheca Alexandrina is a combination library and cultural center located on the shore of the Mediterranean in the city of Alexandria. It has been described as looking like a giant discus that alit on the ground at an angle, and is arguably the first stunning creation of the new millennium, being completed in 2002. With a vast rotunda that could hold eight million books, Cleopatra and the incredible Hypatia of Alexandria (if you want a good story, read up on her), would be more than proud.

 

Another piece of architecture that comes with an incredible backstory that includes everything from a mad monk to a mysterious room that was never found yet held treasures that would be truly priceless today, is the Winter Palace in Russia. Known as the core of the State Hermitage Museum, this literal palace on the banks of the Neva River in St. Petersburg came from the brilliant mind of Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli. The Russian tsars loved this odd pistachio-colored structure and used it as their winter residence. Filling an entire block, call up some pictures and let your imagination run wild with this one. So many stories, mysteries and historical secrets; if only those walls could talk…

 

If extra time is left over for this stress-free escape to the various corners of the earth, add in a stop to Syria and stand before a true medieval castle that’s 800 years old. Crac des Chevaliers stands proud and tall, looking like it weathered time even better than Elizabeth Taylor did. A mini-town can be found as you cross over the moat dug out of the rock and enter the thick outer walls. A chapel, a Great Hall – all Gothic things survive and thrive, making it look as if the Crusaders only moved out yesterday.

 

There are many other great architectural landmarks to be seen and coveted. So take the time for an “Imagination Vacation” in order to take a deep breath before going back to the always fun world of “reality.”

Source: GIG News