Spain and especially Valencia is filled with tradition, and Las Fallas is the most popular and outstanding tradition in this marvellous city. It is a festival where everyone can participate whether you are from the local land, a foreigner who has chosen to spend some time there or an intentional tourist who has planned to visit the city on purpose to find out what emotions can be lived. Satire and gaiety are two very important concepts that you must keep in mind along with good food and entertainment on practically every corner. It is always held from March 15th to the 19th, Saint Joseph's Day, when the great bonfire or Fallas are burnt. Let's find what its all about.No one really knows how it all started, but it seems to have began with a pagan festival having to do with Saturn, something very much celebrated in the old Roman Times. All activities were put aside except cooking, in those times done over wooden fires where a lot of kindling wood was not only used for light and cooking but also to alert the towns people and those travelling by sea. Saturn is also linked to Satan and there is no doubt that all this can be tied together with fire and the pagan tradition of burning things to get rid of bad spirits.But a more recent explanation will take you back to 16th century when the carpenters guild used tall sticks with various arms and rags soaked in tar as if they were candelabros for lighting in the streets in winter. But when spring time came around, they did their spring cleaning and made heaps of wood and all the material that they no longer needed in the town square with the candelabros in the middle. Soon, many people would take advantage of this massive clean-out and threw old clothing and other household objects. With the imagination of a few townsfolk and being as the candelabros could be dressed with the old clothing, they started to make real like figures, some of which looked quite like some of the people from the village. And being as the people needed this time to organize their homes and some time to enjoy themselves and the spring season, they made it an annual event and from there - a tradition. They other surrounding neighbourhoods started to do the same and now there are over 360 huge Fallas or intricately elaborated carton monuments as if there were comics made real, just in the capital of Valencia.Fallas and spring cleaning go hand -in-handBut even though we can still relive traditions from many centuries ago, none can escape progress. So in order to make Valencia Fallas more well known, the printer guild came up with booklets or pamphlets explaining what satire or criticism all the different Fallas wanted to express. Back then, the people did not dare to openly criticize the king or political leader in power so the figurines were mainly about machism and females who were " slaves" in their own homes and to men. But this has completed changed and there is an ample range of freedom in expression and very astutely done. The only problem is that the explicative signs which accompany each fallas or carton monument are in Valencian, the local language.Easy come and easy stay for Valencia FallasOne of the best parts of fully enjoying a popular festival is being able to get there and have a comfortable stay with the minimal amount of problems possible. And thanks to the nearness of the Valencia Airport to the city, the long lists of flights you can catch daily from almost any European city, especially from England, the wide range of prices and availability of hotels and the quickness of having a car hire for your personal use, your trip cannot be anything but a great success. And now with the city's preparation for the 2007 America's Cup, the world's most important sailing competition, the whole port area where many luxury yachts is being transformed, adding to the magic of Valencia Fallas.
The history of London as a permanent settlement stretches back almost two thousand years. The city's story is a fascinating one, its fortunes inextricably linked to those of the British Isles. London was founded by the Romans at a convenient crossing of the Thames, though it had been convenient for the local inhabitants too. Tacitus describes a flourishing trading city existing in AD 67. The area was marshy but there was a low hill, roughly where the Bank of England now stands and it was here that the Romans chose to build a typical Roman city, primarily for military reasons. England at that time was inhabited by a hodge-podge of tribes and small kingdoms, and the Romans had little difficulty subduing them - despite some noble efforts at defense. The locals assimilated Roman culture, and after a couple of hundred years were more Roman than the Romans. When the Romans pulled out, pressured by frontier wars, the Saxons took over. They hated living in the old walled Roman city and established their own city of long huts, roughly where Covent Garden is today. By the time the Normans took over from the Saxons, the basis of the mercantile capital was already laid through a charter of citizens rights and a confederation of tradesmen, providing a counterweight to the aristocracy. London was a leading trading port of Western Europe wherein merchants from Italy, the Netherlands, France and Germany lived around the river it had only one crossing -the Old London Bridge, until 1769. By the late 16th century, the seeds of Englands future as a world trading power were sown with the formation of the Trading Companies - The East India Company, The Muscovy Company the Levant Company, and the Turkey Company, which along with Britains naval prowess, saw management techniques still venerated by world corporations, conquer the world. The Plague in 1665 and the fire in 1666 shook London out of its contentment but also lead to a wave of property development that saw the forerunners of Sir Richard Rogers dominating the city skylines. The redevelopment went on into the 18th Century, seeing buildings like The Bank of England and most of the Bridges across the Thames springing up. The Victorians supervised the transformation of London into a modern city, sewers and underground railways tunneled beneath the clay of the worlds capital, while over ground railways and omnibuses opened up across the city, and the port of London enjoyed a final flowering. Despite the presence of the Royal Palaces, Westminster Abbey (a place of pilgrimage) and the countrys first printing presses, Westminster really only came into its own in the 19th century, and was granted the title of a City, with its own mayor in 1900. The two World Wars saw huge destruction, to both the populace and the city and some terrible rebuilding followed, with little real conservation work. London's architectural revival started with the completion of the Lloyd's building by Sir Richard Rogers in 1979. London is beginning to rival Paris in its Grand Projects.
Recently in the news across the USA there have been several reports of parents leaving their children locked in their cars, while the parents sit in a casino and gamble.A great way to stop this from happening would be to legalize online gambling so that parents that can not afford a baby sitter will not do something as stupid as locking a small child in a car alone for several hours.Another solution would be for the casino industry to take responsibility of the people they lure in with promises of riches beyond belief. If the casinos all offered 24 hour free daycare for all casino players those parents who are so far gone in their addiction will not have to make the decision of what to do with their children, they can just take them to the casino and let them be watched after in the casinos daycare centers.As well as making sure children are not being neglected by their parents or legal guardians, the children in their care can be checked for signs of abuse and any parent that brings a child regularly to the casino can be talked to about gambling addiction.Please do not get me wrong I feel the parents should be the ones taking responsibility for their kids, but gambling addiction is a disease, and at least this would provide a way for the government to monitor parents gambling habits, and to provide them with help if they need it.Besides being the right move for the casinos to make for its own civic duty, it also makes good business sense. If the casinos offer such a service they also open themselves up to single parents that could use a little time for some adult fun, and by making the day care 24 hours a day there is no reason why a parent would leave their kid at home instead of at the casinos free daycare.The parents could relax and have a little fun with the knowledge that their kids are being taken good care of.This is not a new concept there are several casinos in Las Vegas that offer day care. These centers offer children of different ages fun things to do, such as all the popular videos, and games fro kids. This will appeal to people with kids. The parents get to gamble and have some adult fun and the kids get to do fun kid stuff. By doing this the casinos will get more business and they are doing the responsible thing for their customers with gambling problems. I understand that the casinos are a business, but they should make sure that some of their less responsible gamblers do not put their children's lives in danger just to make an extra few dollars in a multi billion dollar a year industry If enough people recommend this to their local casinos and state officials, casinos could be required by law to provide child care when they are open.
General summary of city:The city of Brussels is the capital city of Belgium and is a modern city that is rich in medieval and art-nouveau buildings. Brussels is steeped in rich history with plenty of museums and galleries and a pulsating cultural life.Brussels is also the administrative center of the European Union, which has earned the city the title the capital of Europe. The business sector in Brussels is booming with international agencies taking root in the city, however not at the expense of the rich cultural history. The juxtaposition of past and present is evident in Brussels with blocks lined with international businesses and their advanced steel and glass high rises which are only a few steps away from cobbled streets and medieval architecture that speaks of the citys flavourful past.With a mixture of French and Flemish culture and language, Brussels is steeped in history and culture, with something for everyone to enjoy. The nightlife culture of Brussels, complete with clubs and pubs to enjoy add to the eclectic ambience of this fair city in Belgium. During the day, as business booms throughout the week, there is a wide variety of attractions for visitors and locals to enjoy, regardless of age. Families enjoy Belgium for its unique atmosphere which embraces every aspect of family life and socialization for adults.Places of interest:Brussels boasts over a century of history which lends too many intriguing sights to visit and see in the city and immediate area. Brussels possesses the most fabulous market square and the highest concentration of restaurants in the entire world.The Petite Rue des Bouchers, which translates to street of the butchers is located in the medieval center of Brussels and is most famous for the simple fact that every building on the street is a restaurant. The roadway is very narrow and is closed to automobile traffic, which allows for the restaurants to boast their wares in spectacular fashion, while on wider parts of the road, restaurants feature outdoor eating areas.The central market square in Brussels is known as the Grand Place, which is notably the most beautiful in the world. A 15th century Town Hall dominates the Grand Place with hundreds of small statues and an elegant tower is surrounded by 17th century buildings with golden inlays which surround the entire square. Other places of interest to visit is the Manneken Pis, the Saint Michael cathedral, the Atomium, the Palais de Justice as well as a plethora of parks including the impressive Bois de la Cambre and the forest to which it once belonged, the Foret de Soignes which features birch trees that are hundreds of years old.Brussels features many interesting sights for the whole family - business people, families, nature lovers, culture devotees and historians alike.Things to do:There is a wide variety of things to do in Brussels, regardless of your age or fancies. For those who love to dine, you could spend an eternity sampling all the wonderful restaurants and eateries in Brussels, which boasts itself as having the highest concentration of restaurants in the world. The restaurants in Brussels feature a wide variety of food types and styles for anyones palate.For those who want to take in the rich history of Brussels, there is a surplus of museums that boast the wonderful and flavourful richness of a millennium in Brussels.Sightseeing is plentiful in Brussels with many 15th and 17th century buildings around the city. Declaring a beautiful surrounding with intricately designed buildings from these centuries, the city of Brussels promises a wonderful view in any direction. With beautiful boulevards, picturesque squares, parks and a very active cultural life in every sense of the word, there is something for everyone in Brussels. You can take in a movie or a play at a theatre, enjoy dinner in one of the many restaurants, and visit the monuments and places of great interest that abound in this beautiful city.Brussels is steeped in over 1000 years of history and beauty for each individual to unfold whether visiting or moving to the city.Food & Drink:Brussels is all about the food. Because Brussels has the highest concentration of restaurants in all the world, the dining industry is literally one of the most prolific in the city. The Petite Rue des Bouchers (the street of butchers) is literally lined with restaurants. Every single building on the street is a restaurant that caters to a variety of flavours and tastes.Throughout this beautiful historical city, restaurants, eateries and quaint cafes abound, offering up a dish of enlightening flavor to satisfy any palate. There is, of course, plenty of French food and Flemish food, but with the coming of immigrants to Brussels, there is an increasing variety of foods from other cultures and countries throughout the world. Within the streets of Brussels, you can find Western cooking, Lebanese flavourings, Greek, Mexican - really any ethnic food flavouring that your heart could desire.To go to Brussels means to enjoy good food in a beautiful atmosphere. Brussels is known world wide for its upper class restaurants and small, cozy eateries that are both quaint and classy.Hotels & Accommodation:Silken ResidenceLe Chtelain All Suites HotelHilton BrusselsMinotel ChambordLe Mridien BruxellesEazires Europarthotel Avenue LouiseHotel Villa RoyaleHotel le DixseptiemeSun HotelNew Hotel CharlemagneHotel L'auberge Du SouverainAristoteHotel ContinentalHotel le ChanteclerHotel De FierlantHotel ErasmeRijckendael HotelEurostars Royal Embassy Grand PlaceEntertainment:Brussels is very much a city of the night. There is a bustling nightlife in Brussels in the many clubs, discotheques, bars and restaurants. There is always something to do in Brussels.During the day, the museums offer a great deal of entertainment for the entire family. With the wealth of history and past culture in Brussels, everyone in the family will find the museums, galleries and culture centers interesting and intriguing.There are a wide variety of cultural festivals that are also offered throughout the city at various times of the year ranging in depth from family fun to adult entertainment.Fun for the whole family is offered in the heart of Belgium in the capital city of Brussels. Movie theatres, shopping centers, parks, forests, museums, cultural centers and places of interest abound in this gorgeous city. Boredom is nearly impossible in Brussels - there is always something to do or see in this fair city. A rich social life is just around the corner in Brussels, all you have to do is see what they have to offer during your visit.
Italy has always been a consideration for those interested in experiencing the Alps for less. Having said that, it is still considered one of the top European skiing countries today, and is a magnificent place to take a skiing vacation. There is a certain romance about Italy that makes it the number one choice for so many skiers each year, and it is easy to see the attraction with the place. From its northern snow-tipped peaks, you can also venture towards the cultural hotbeds of Rome and Turin, and experience Italy as it is intended, as well as its amazing ski slopes.One of Italy's smallest resorts, tucked up high, near Canazei in the North, is Alba. Based on a tiny village, the Alba resort is the truest form of skiing escapism, with amazing off piste skiing to be had. For the keen skier, this would make for an excellent day trip, or an excellent weekend away whilst staying at a bigger resort, and although it has only 5 lifts, it is a real Italian treasure, and something not to be missed if you like peaceful surroundings whilst you ski. On top of that, if you enjoy cross country skiing, Alba also offers a number of extensive trails for you to pursue, ensuring that you are likely to have a great time, whatever you skiing preferences and ability. If you're looking for something bigger, why not consider Italy's highest resort, Passo Tonale. An ideal family resort, Passo Tonale is focussed more around beginners and intermediates, and provides a friendly atmosphere that is just simply lacking from some of the bigger resorts. Passo Tonale is also home to a top class ski school, employing some of the region's most talented skiing instructors. In addition to that, the staff pride themselves on the conditions of their slopes, which are groomed frequently. From the peak of Passo Tonale, you are faced with a wonderful panoramic view of the whole region, which is truly breathtaking, and it has been known for skiers to spend hours simply analysing the view. Passo Tonale is a great resort if you are looking for a busier, more down to earth ski resort for you and your family.Selva Gardena is one of Italy's largest resorts, and if you are looking for some great scenery and excellent, consistent snow coverage, you could do a great deal worse than here. A great value for money resort, Selva Gardena is also child friendly, making it another fantastic resort to take the family.Italy has a diverse range of ski resorts to cater for all different tastes and abilities. In general you will find all the resorts welcoming and friendly, not to mention the amazing hospitality you will experience in some of their restaurants and bars. If you are looking for a good value for money trip, and you enjoy skiing, the North of Italy is ideal for you, and can provide any skier with an adequate challenge of their abilities. Additionally, with some of the best skiing instructors in the world, Italy is one of the best places in Europe to enjoy skiing without paying an absolute fortune. Italy truly is a great skiing location for anyone looking to experience the Alps in all their glory, amidst the wealth and depth of culture and history right around the corner.