Authors Posts by ryanbendel

ryanbendel

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With the holiday season fast approaching it is time for you to begin making preparations to take your family to enjoy the annual year end festivities that are held at Disneyworld in Orlando, FL.  And part of those preparations calls for getting the gifts and activity items that your children will want to have handy while enjoying all the attractions and rides they will be visiting.  For example, you can’t have them sit in the car and make the drive down there without giving them a thermos from the Disney Store that they can use to keep their favorite drink hot or cold while riding in the car on the road.  Having some of the games that are available from the store might also help get them into the spirit while on the way there.  Those who’ve never had the opportunity will appreciate the chance to wear an item with the Star Wars logo or something that remembers the Mouseketeers. Getting these items from the online store gives you the chance to use a Groupon promo codes to save 50% from their list prices while having the official items in hand rather than risking the possibility of buying cheap imitations sold by cheap corner hucksters.

 

Of course, traffic on the way to Florida and Orlando during the holiday and the winter season is particularly busy.  And this year may be heightened due to the recent effects of major weather events.  But conversely this may serve to make such a trip a better option that it might have been in prior years.  The reports of weather damage often discourage large volumes of travelers and tourists.  There may be more opportunities to enjoy various events and shows that are often so crowded that many visitors are compelled to wait in long lines for extended periods.  Regardless of the situation a visit to the Disney complex of theme parks and activity centers is an occasion no family should miss.  And obtaining some items from the Disney Store can serve as the initial taste of great things to come.  Buying items from the Disney store is a great way to set the tone for a vacation the whole family will love.

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Ever have a day off and don’t really know what to do with yourself? You don’t feel like cleaning the house, there’s no real need to go shopping and sitting on the sofa to just watch Netflix isn’t exciting at all. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t really do things alone it can be a little daunting to have a day out exploring but London is one of the best cities for doing your own thing and rocking it in style.

If you ever find yourself in a pickle of what to do by yourself in London and want a day that’s more exciting than just going to the movies, then here are some great things you can do in London by yourself.

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Play Arcade Games

Is there anything better than trying to beat your high square at Pac-Man? How about playing Pac-Man on an original machine, drinking a fancy beer and having some chilli cheese fries. The Four Quarters down on Rye Lane right in the heart of Peckham is a bar set up like a retro style arcade with classic games and a lively atmosphere for anyone going solo. Who knows, you could make a friend while playing Time Crisis 2?

Get a Massage

Any day that’s stress-free is a day well spent and the perfect solo activity is a spa day, especially if you can take a few hours to be away from your phone and tune the world out. Getting a massage in London is easy with sites dedicated to helping you find a spa based on your current location and places like the Walk-in Backrub at Covent Garden helping you get a massage whenever you want.

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Be Greedy At Borough Market

Forget about Camden (tourist trap) and Greenwich Markets, get a few quid from an ATM and then head to Borough Market for brekkie or lunch and get something a million times better than a pre-packed sandwich.

Borough Market not only has stalls where you can buy fresh produce for your dinner, but has merchants who make all sorts of goodies on site. There are a few I can vouch for that you should check out; Balkan Bites does traditional Balkan cuisine that isn’t very well-known in the UK like filo based pastries with hummus, and Scotchtails who made incredible vegetarian beetroot & lentil scotch eggs.

Be Your Own Tour Guide

This is a great way to see other sides of London without having to spend money on a tour guide to do this.  Rather than being stuck in a tour with a bunch of tourists who spend more time holding their iPads up to take photos than actually seeing the sights, you can download apps that have self-guided tours around town. Two I’ve used before are Movie Map London which shows where a bunch of films and TV shows have been made and the Britain Audio Tour app which has great audio tours of Westminster, St.Pauls, the British Museum & the British Library.

Get a dog for a day

When you’re not busy and other people are, you can become a dog owner for a day. A service called Borrow My Dog will let you sign up and find dogs nearby that you can take out and look after for the day. The site matches you (just like a dating site) with dogs that you like and then finds owners nearby who need their pooch looked after for a few hours.

It’s a nice way of turning a walk around the park in to a game of fetch.

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Austin is quite a strange oasis in the middle of Texas as there are many walks of life. For this reason this has become one of the more frequented places to visit in Texas. Besides being the capital, the University of Texas has its campus right near downtown so the nightlife can be quite wild. Many people do not realize all that Austin has to offer but with its booming population it has become one of the best cities for a young professional to start out in. The prices of homes are quite reasonable and even the food is out of this world. The following are just a few ways to have fun in Austin.

Someone cannot visit Austin without taking a stroll down 6th street. This area is not for the faint of heart at night as on the weekends the streets are shut down to make for what looks like the Texas version of Mardigras. There are bars for the college age on a certain part of 6th street while the other end is for young professionals. The even older crowd makes their way to 7th and 8th street to stay out of the craziness that is dirty 6th street.

There are plenty of great Austin Tanning Salons as well as spas. The beauty of Austin’s giant hills can be quite relaxing especially with the great views of Ladybird Lake and the Westlake area. There are plenty of parks to visit that have live music as Zilker Park is known for its disk golf course as well as hosting some of the best music festivals in the country. If that isn’t your cup of tea you can visit the spring fed Barton Springs Pool to relax and cool off.

As you can see there is no shortage of things to do in Austin. The many different types of people have allowed Austin to take on a life and identity of its own that is separate from the aura of the rest of Texas. The locals say to “Keep Austin Weird” but if we are being realistic, it will stay of the strangest places in the United States. If you haven’t been to Austin you should definitely consider it.

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Located on the eastern shore of the Gulf of Thailand and about two hours south of Bangkok, Pattaya is a premier tourist destination for many people traveling throughout the area. In Pattaya, there is an abundance of sights to see, visit, and the city hosts some of the best restaurants in town. Pattaya’s dining opportunities are incredible, especially for couples seeking a romantic dinner to escape the hustle and bustle or the ordinary life. Depending on your preferred cuisine, Pattaya involves a handful of multi-cultural foods from all over the world, bound to satisfy your palette and appetite. Many of these locations are ideal to set up the perfect romantic dinner for two while watching the sunset and bask at Thailand’s Eastern seaboard.

Whether your tastes involves local Thai, seafood, Chinese, Italian, American, Indian, German, French, or other international food, Pattaya is bound to offer delectable romantic dinners around the city.

Moonlight Fine Dining

As its name suggest, the Moonlight Fine Dining restaurant is off the beaten path and guaranteed to offer patrons an intimate candlelight experience. With very little space and few wooden tables, guests will enjoy a quiet, delicious meal ranging from fine filets; premium cut steaks to incredible freshly-caught seafood options. Moonlight is one of Pattaya’s the top dining destinations for couples looking for a romantic retreat. The restaurant ambiance is very cozy, private and for those looking for nothing more than to reconnect with your sweetheart, it is recommended to reserve a table. Additionally, the restaurant will also provide a taxi service driving guests to and from the restaurant.

Mantra Restaurant and Bar

For those seeking to enjoy more authentic and regional Asian food, the Mantra Restaurant and Bar offers delectable Japanese, Chinese, Indian, and Thai cuisine with a classy Zen ambiance. Furthermore, the bar is very classy and offers a wide variety of drink selections. Mantra is conveniently located within walking distance of Holiday Inn Pattaya, Pattaya’s family-friendly hotel is a necessary stop for anyone visiting the city.

Café de Amis

Café de Amis is a restaurant that stands out from the rest for its exquisite dishes and excellent service. Hailed by many as the best restaurant in the city, Café de Amis provides a broad, well-rounded menu with dishes that are guaranteed to impress any couple on a romantic excursion. With premium food, great value, and impressive atmosphere, a reservation is a must but well worth every amount spent. The location is also conveniently close to the beach and many other travel destinations.

Five Star J

For those seeking healthier or vegetarian options, Five Star J is a necessary destination. With an extensive menu, quality ingredients, and an immaculate health rating, this restaurant will have you leaving feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Although less polished or upscale than some of the other restaurants, the atmosphere is still cozy and inviting. It is a bit away the more well-traveled areas, but it is certainly worth the adventure finding it.

Elements is a necessary stop for couples seeking a romantic dining experience that incorporates the local cuisine into the menu. With a grand seafood buffet and many other fresh and authentic Thai dishes, Elements is bound to please those seeking a local atmosphere that is very faithful to its roots. The staff is very attentive and polite, and there are stations where the chef will cook directly for each customer, providing an intimate dining experience that will result in lasting tastes and memories. The drink menu is also extensive and sure to satiate every palette.

No matter what kind of budget you are working with or what specific romantic evening you have in mind, Pattaya is guaranteed to have something for every couple. Although some restaurants can be hard to find, many are located in vast areas with many other attractions nearby to continue your date.

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Paris, the city of romance. This destination is popular with tourists the world over and has something to offer everyone. Paris is synonymous with champagne, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Disneyland Paris and the Champs-Élysées, but there is so much more to explore in this beautiful city.

This article contains seven must see things in Paris.

Arts et Métiers

Meaning ‘Arts and Crafts’, the Arts et Métiers is one of the city’s Metro stations and was inspired by Jules Verne’s science fiction. Opened in 1904, this station is also known as the steam punk stop due to its copper coloured metal decoration.

Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie

Translating as ‘City of Science and Industry’, this is Europe’s largest science museum. Home to an IMAX theatre, a planetarium and a submarine, this feat of engineering takes a whole day to get around. There’s something for people of all ages, so this a great attraction whether you’re travelling alone, as a couple, or with a young family.

Pont de Bir-Hakeim

This is the bridge from Christopher Nolan’s Inception, featured in the scene where Ellen Page’s character is learning about dream sharing and structure. This spot also offers an amazing view of the Eiffel Tower, so it’s great for film and architecture enthusiasts.

Catacombs

The setting for the film ‘As Above, So Below’, the Catacombs draw in thousands of tourists every year. Not to the taste of every traveller, this underground site holds the remains of approximately six million people and is known as the world’s largest grave.

Sainte-Chapelle

Located near the Notre Dame, this stunning medieval gothic chapel dates back to 1248. This ornate chapel is rich in the city’s history and contains stained glass windows and high gilded arches. A definite must see, especially for anyone interested in photography.

Café des Deux Moulins

This is the adorable cafe made famous by the French film Amélie. Her character lived in this neighbourhood, helping out those around her, including colleagues at the cafe. They even serve Amélie’s favourite, crème brûlée. While you’re there, buy some of the Amélie merchandise and send a parcel home for a thoughtful travel update.

Place Dauphine

Again, you’ll most likely recognise this street from the screen. This setting was used in the final couple of episodes of TV series Sex and the City, when Carrie moved to Paris with Aleksandr. This square is a beautiful example of Parisian architecture and a great place to stop for lunch.

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If you are heading out to New York for a weekend break, the Statue of Liberty will undoubtedly be on top of your list of places to visit. As amazing as the view of the city is from the crown of the Statue of Liberty, a trip to NY would not be complete without some pictures of Lady Liberty herself. What are some of the best ways to get those snaps of Lady Liberty herself? That is exactly what we look at in the following article.

Statue Cruises

When you take a trip across the water to visit Liberty Island with Statue Cruises, you are in an ideal position to take plenty of pictures of the statue in all its glory. Boats depart both from Liberty State Park in New Jersey and Battery in Lower Manhattan.

Lower Manhattan and Battery

If you want to see the statue and take pictures without having to get on a boat, head down to the southern end of Lower Manhattan to a place called Battery.

Brooklyn Bridge

Although a walk across Brooklyn Bridge is probably already on your “to do” list for your trip to NYC, it is worth mentioning that this not only enables you to see the bridges cables and Gothic arches, but gives you a spectacular view of both Lower Manhattan and the Statue.

Red Hook, Brooklyn

Red Hook is a modern neighbourhood situated at the waterfront in Brooklyn that offers one of the city’s best views of the famous Lady. Although there are plenty of points in the area from which you can view and snap shots of the Statue of Liberty, the best place is from the parking lot and rear patio of the local Fairway Supermarket. While you are in that part of Brooklyn, it is also worth heading over to the Louis Valentino Jr. Pier and Park for a remarkable and very unique head-on view, rather than the side views you have from other points in the city. ,

Museum of Jewish Heritage

The Living Memorial to The Holocaust, is a museum found at 36 Battery Place that has the heart-warming Voices of Liberty sound installation that features Holocaust survivors, refugees and many other types of people sharing their reasons why they decided to make the US and NYC their home. While you listen you can view and take pictures of the Statue of Liberty through the museum’s tall windows.

Liberty State Park, New Jersey

Liberty State Park is a city park that sits on the harbour on the New Jersey side and gives you the closest view of the statue without heading over to the island or taking a trip on a boat. If you are heading to NYC with kids, there is also a great museum called the Liberty Science Centre.

As you can see there are plenty of different affordable ways to see the Statue of Liberty in all its glory and take those pictures that will prove you were there and provide you with memories to cherish for the rest of your life.

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There’s no denying it is great to go on holidays with those closest to you in life, but that doesn’t mean you should completely rule out ever travelling on your own. In fact, in the following article we will look at 7 reasons why it’s great to explore the world on your own once in a while.

It’s Logistically Simple

Planning a holiday for you and another person or group of people who all have busy lives can be tricky. Although these problems can be solved by planning in advance, by choosing to travel alone you eliminate these issues completely.

Work through Your Bucket List

Are there things you have always wanted to do or places you have always wanted to visit that no-one else in your network of friends and relatives fancies? Whether it’s eating snails and frogs legs in France, exploring the rainforest or skiing in Hawaii; by going solo you get to experience the things you’ve always dreamed of without dragging loved ones along who just aren’t interested in it.

Quality Time Alone

As human beings we rarely get the opportunity to spend time alone and if you decide to travel alone you may be surprised at just how enjoyable it actually is. You have plenty of time to dream and ponder on deep thoughts that you usually keep locked away in the recesses of your mind. A trip alone can be a very life-changing and character building experience in this regard.

Meet New and Interesting People

Even if you are not the most extrovert person in the world, travelling alone can be a great way to improve your social skills. When you travel alone, it is amazing how much more approachable people will find you than if you were in a larger group. Always keep an open mind, while remaining safe and you will undoubtedly meet some great people along the way.

You Can Do Exactly What You Want

When you travel as a couple, family or small group there is the tendency to feel guilty if there are things you want to do that no-one else does, meaning that you miss out. However, when you are travel alone you don’t have to worry about what anyone else wants to do, and are free to do what you want when you want.

You Will Feel Empowered

While traveling in general can make you a smarter and better person, traveling alone can make you an even smarter and better person. It will seem daunting, especially if you hate going to cafes and cinemas alone, let alone going halfway across the world alone. However, if you take the plunge and face the fear and do it anyway, you will feel incredibly empowered.

You Avoid Any Drama

It’s often par the course to wait until you are in a relationship before having any big holiday and often these can make or break new relationships. If things go badly wrong, it can fill your time away with unwanted drama and misery. However, when you travel alone, you avoid the chance of any drama happening.

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If you have made the decision to head over to Scandinavia to spend some time in Sweden, you are in for a treat. Most people when they think of Sweden think of IKEA and ABBA and while there is nothing wrong with a bit of “Knowing Me Knowing You” or self-assembly furniture; there is more to Sweden than meets the eye. In this post you learn some important and interesting things you really should know before you arrive.

There Is Only One Alcohol Store

It might be a good idea to make sure you stock up on alcohol for your holiday at the duty free before arriving at Sweden, because local stores and gas stations are not allowed to sell hard alcohol and wine. As a method for keeping control over the alcohol consumption of the country, the Swedish government installed Systembolaget stores during 1955.

This is the only place you can buy alcohol outside of restaurants and bars and you have to be 20 years or older to buy it from a Systembolaget. In most towns there is at least one, while in cities they have a few – the only problem is finding them.

Pickled Herrings Are More Than a Delicacy

Everyone has food that they really love. Lots of us love chocolate, while the Swedes love pickled herring. We don’t say that they love pickled herring lightly as no family or social gathering is complete without a reasonable supply of the smelly fish. The herring is available infused with a wide variety of different flavours and is generally served with potatoes or crisp bread, sour cream and chives.

Swedish People Love to Fika

Instead of beer gardens, the Swedes have cake gardens. The fika is a vital part of Swedish culture and is used as a noun or verb that roughly translates as “pause” or “coffee break” and while you are enjoying pastries, cakes and coffee with your family and friends, you will have many chances to fika!

There are many great fika cafes throughout Sweden. If you are heading to the Northwest Skane, the fika we insist that you visit is Flickorna Lundgren which was opened in 1938 by 2 sisters. It has a beautiful garden and is just as popular for the relaxing surroundings as it is for the pastries.

Swedes Take Glass Blowing Very Seriously

In Smaland in the south of Sweden, you will find Glasriket, also known as the Kingdom of Crystal and is the home of a total of 13 glassworks including the famous brands Orrefors and Kosta Boda. You are allowed to watch the very skilled and experienced craftsmen as they work with glass, blowing the molten material into beautiful works of art or crystal. As an added bonus you don’t have to just settle for watching the experts at work, because at the Kingdom of Crystal you are allowed to have a try at blowing your own piece of glassware which you can paint and engrave to take home with you as a souvenir.