When you enjoy the vacation of your life in Orlando, Florida you may want to treat yourself and your family to a meal at some of the finer restaurants in the area. Here is a pick of some of my favorites.California GrillLocated on the 15th floor of Disney's Contemporary Resort this restaurant was voted Orlando's Most Popular restaurant. Its renowned chef Clifford Pleau continually reinvents his "unique seasonal menus", creating "divine" dishes paired with an "equally eloquent wine list"; add "impeccable" service and "spectacular" views of the park and its fireworks, and the result is truly great, even if it is accompanied by tourists wearing shorts and Mickey Mouse ears! Location: Disney World, Contemporary Hotel, $41Christini'sThis restaurant has been called "a treasure among restaurants", and is located in the in the Dr. Phillips area of South Orlando. It is well-known for lavish meals, complemented by a 450-label wine list. The food is served in a romantic setting with strolling musicians giving you the ambience of a night out in Italy. However, the feasting here does not come cheap and the prices are "high" even by "expense-account" standards. South Orlando 7600 Dr. Phillips Blvd., $52HemingwaysIf you have always loved the mystique of Ernest Hemingway then this is the place to go. The Hemingway-at-Key-West decor (rods and reels, a stuffed marlin, nautical trinkets) at this Lake Buena Vista hotel seafood house makes you feel like you've spent the day fishing with Hemingway. Guests describe it as "a nice place to bring clients" or to celebrate "special occasions" and some of the favorite dishes include coconut shrimp and paella. Lake Buena Vista 1 Grand Cypress Blvd. $41Morton's of ChicagoIf price is no object to a good meal then this steakhouse is the place for you. When was the last time you've had beef so tender and full of flavor that you have to remark after every bite? While the steakhouse is particularly close to the Central Florida theme parks, it is tucked away in the quaint Doctor Phillips Marketplace, a respite of sorts from nearby tourist hangouts. The clientle is made up of Orlando executives and Orlando business travelers. They are all here to drink martinis and sink their teeth into the juicy porterhouse, sirloin and Maine lobster. As for side dishes, don't pass up the specialty, potatoes Lyonnaise. Location: 7600 Dr. Phillips Blvd. $60Venetian RoomThis is a fine-dining restaurant that prides itself on offering an elegant experience of the highest level. The chef de cuisine is Khalid Benghallem, a former sous chef at Emeril's and the opening chef at Shula's Steakhouse in the Dolphin Hotel. The menu is typical for an upscale restaurant in this category and includes foie gras, crab cake, lamb rack, veal chops and other dishes. However, it is the special preparation of these common items that makes this restaurant special. You will, however, have to pay for this unique treat. This is not a cheap restaurant and appetizers range from $14 to $17, and six of the seven entries are more.than $30. Location: Caribe Royal Hotel 8101 World Center DriveThere you have it. If price is no object, and you just want to enjoy a fine meal at a great restaurant, then one of these Orlando restaurants will certainly satisfy you.
Angsana Ihuru is situated in the North Male Atoll, with only a short 25 minute transfer from the airport. Angsana has only 45 villas with thatched roofs, private gardens, and verandas with relaxing and dining areas. There is also an outdoor shower, airconditioning, a mini bar, and tea and coffee making facilities.Internally the colours are vivid with lime green, tangerine, and yellows predominating.If you are after totally luxury holidays in the Maldives, or a Maldives honeymoon, then this spa retreat surrounded by a shallow lagoon, an unspoilt reef, and a quite beautiful palm fringed picture postcard beach would be totally perfect.When you arrive, and all through your stay at Angsana Ihuru you will realise why it is one of the most photographed of the Maldive Island resorts.Angsana Resort is also very well known for the excellence of its cuisine, so if your idea of a perfect luxury holiday in the Maldives is to eat, then this may be for you.So the main reasons why you may wish to stay at the Angsana Resort for either your holiday in the Maldives or your Maldives honeymoon could easily be summarised as follows.Angsana is close to the airport at Male being only a 25 minute transfer by speedboat, which is good after a long flight.Angsana is one of the most beautiful islands in the MaldivesIt is a foodies paradiseIt has one of the best house reefs in the MaldivesThere is a host of things to do including beach volleyball, as well as snorkelling and scuba divingAngsana has a top class spa which is the perfect place to relax and unwind.A beautiful beachIt is small with 45 private villasAngsana is totally luxurious and the perfect Maldives Honeymoon destination, and if it isnt a honeymoon you are after, it could be the perfect destination for you for the top luxury holiday in the Maldives that you always promised yourself.
Barcelona is the capital of Catalunya, one of the richest and most fiercely independent regions in Spain. Catalan people speak their own language and many do not believe themselves to be Spanish. The golden age of Catalunya was around the twelfth to fourteenth centuries, when Barcelona was the centre of the great seafaring empire of Aragon. In addition to Barcelona, Catalunya is made up of the cities of Lleida, Girona and Tarragona, and the long Costa Brava, stretching from the French border to Valencia.Barcelona has become a real tourist trap for the fantastic mixture of activities on offer there. Its coastal location attracts sun worshipers who enjoy the beach front resorts along the coast, as well as the vibrant nightlife of the city centre. The cultural and historical delights of the town appeal to the sightseer, visiting for a long weekend, and the more active will love hiking in the nearby mountains, where skiing can be found in winter.The most famous symbol of Barcelona and one sight that all holidaymakers want to visit is Gaudis Sagrada Familia. Even those that have not visited the city will be familiar with the dripping wax image of the main faade. The famous architect began work on this church in 1882, however the task took a long time as the building work relied on donations, and it had not been completed in 1926 when Gaudi was struck by a train and died. Work has since recommenced on the church and much has been added since Gaudis death, but there is speculation as to whether the building will ever be completely finished, or in fact whether it really should be.You can pay to go up inside one of the towers, of which there are now eight, each one over one hundred meters high. The initial design was meant to incorporate eighteen towers, one for each of the twelve apostles, four for the Evangelists, and one each for Jesus and the Virgin Mary.Other piece of Gaudis work can be seen all over the city. You will want to pull the Park Guell, La Pedrera and the Mila house into your itinerary if you possibly can.You can get detailed information about the sights of Barcelona before you go from your travel agent, the internet, or the tourist information office in Barcelonas main square once you get there. Make sure you pick up a map showing all the main sights as well as the major stores, restaurants and hotels. Also consider going on a bus tour of the city. It is a great way to get your bearings in a very busy and crowded city, and give you an idea of the distance between places of interest. Talk to your guide, they may be able to give you local information about great eating places and temporary exhibitions that will not be marked on your map. You will never get bored in Barcelona; your only concern will be how to fit in everything you want to see.
Legions of artists have tried to capture the elusiveness of Venice in word, music and paint. Goethe, Thomas Mann, Dickens and Henry James, just to name a few, have penned magnificent lines. Richard Wagner and Mendelssohn have composed great symphonies and Monet, Manet, Renoir and Whistler have been inspired to paint some of their finest canvasses. All have struggled valiantly to express the essence of Venice.According to Mary McCarthy, author of 'Venice Observed,' "...what one is about to feel or say has not only been said before by Goethe or Musset, but is on the tip of the tongue of the tourist from Iowa who is alighting in the Piazzetta with her fur piece and jewelled pin."Questions race to mind. Why do heartfelt attempts at description sound like the most banal clichs? Can anything new be said, or has human thought and emotion over the centuries been exhausted? What immerses people in such a delightful and frustrating endeavour to define the elusive with originality? I, too, am compelled to take up the challenge.The German author, Thomas Mann, who wrote Death in Venice, said that Venice must be first seen from the sea. Having arrived by both train and boat, I know this is true. I landed at Marco Polo airport in the early afternoon on a sunny spring day and boarded the public boat for the city, an hour away. Watching the sun dance on the glistening water, I craned my neck for the first glimpse of Venice. Within half an hour, the Lido, a sand-spit protecting Venice from the open sea, appeared with its faint air of a seaside town. Women with baby carriages strolled the promenade, amongst businessmen with briefcases. This foretaste was the proper introduction to the city of the soul. Soon, Venice rose before me from the dark, choppy waters like an enchanting golden vapour. Like a lover's first kiss, you are forever smitten and hunger for more.But I will leave it up to Harry Jenkins to describe his first sight of Venice.Bridges arced over glistening water and soft colored walls of pink, yellow and white hung above the dark, impenetrable, doorways just above the water line. From shadows, gondolas swept past marble balustrades then emerged into light. The indistinct cries and song of the gondoliers rose up to him. Riveted, as if standing before a painting of great beauty, he longed to reach out and touch the view, simply to assure himself of its reality. Excited, his imagination drew him both inward and outward in the same instant. Like an artist, he labored before the scene to fix its essence within himself and yet laughed at the impossibility.Now who might Harry Jenkins be? Why hes the protagonist of the Osgoode Trilogy, which I wrote. I am doing the final edits on the third in the trilogy, A Trial of One, which will be published in early September 2007. If you have read the first two, Conduct in Question and Final Paradox, you will definitely want to know where the hunt for the shares ends that money which has poisoned the lives of so many in Final Paradox. Of course, it ends in the only possible placeVenice, the mirror of the soul.But back to my visit, which certainly inspired the setting and some of the events forA Trial of One.Within the hour, I reached the landing for San Marco, where I had arranged to meet the lady from whom I was renting a flat at the Sullam Palace. I was partly attracted to the place by its rather exotic name. After all, who would not want to live in a palace?At the San Marco stop, I stepped onto the landing where trees made leafy patterns in the sunlight and waited for her. Within moments, she arrived. Pulling my bag behind me, I walked with her past San Marco and along narrow streets to the Sullam Palace. The apartment on the fourth floor was small, but had everything I could wanta bedroom with a comfortable double bed, a tiny living room and dining room, plus kitchen and shower. And the view was magnificent! Across red-tiled rooftops could be seen the Palazzo Contarini-Bovolo famous for its architectural detail and its exterior spiral staircases. I unpacked and began to settle in. Within twenty minutes I drifted off with the singing of gondoliers beneath my window. When I awoke, the room was dark and I was hungry. Outside to find a restaurant! Down through the darkened stairwells of the Sullam Palace, I reached the narrow calles lined with tiny shops of masks and Pinocchio marionettes. If you look at the cover of Final Paradox you will find the photograph I took that first night of a shop window. www.maryemartin.comIn the next several travel articles, I will be telling you much more about my stay in Venice, which was just about five years ago. Heres the question I have been mulling over. How can a city so possess a writer so that no other place could possibly be a proper setting for the events, which must unfold in the story?
If youre spending your holidays in Benidorm Spain, youll be at the most popular tourist resort on Costa Blanca. Whether youre looking for entertainment thats low-key and subdued or youd rather be wild and crazy, youll find activities to suit your mood. Things to DoOnce you arrive at the airport in Alicante, youll drive about an hour until you get to the excitement capital of Costa Blanca. Choose from theme parks, beaches, nature tours, golfing and water activities during the day, and at night enjoy dining at one of the 1000 restaurants in the area, and visit one (or two!) of the 30 nightclubs in Benidorm. If youre traveling with children (and even if youre not), you can enjoy a day at a local theme park. Terra Mitica is the popular amusement park that is modeled after many different ancient civilizations. Aqualandia is a popular water park, and Mundomar is a haven for popular marine life, like dolphins and seals. You can find a tour group to explore the area with, or you can check it out on your own. Festivals are held often, to commemorate a religious holiday or a community event. The wide range of local shops offers a unique shopping experience. You dont even have to leave the city limits to find enough activities that interest you. The hustle and bustle of this town is rivaled only by the sheer number of exciting things to do.Finding a Vacation DealWith careful planning, you can find great deals on vacation packages in Benidorm. Thanks to the internet, youll be able to compare packages and choose the best hotel for you, all with the click of a mouse. Often times, vacations are pre-packaged to offer airfare, hotel accommodations and sometimes a car, all for a lower rate than booking individually. It makes sense to plan far in advance, but sometimes you can find a last-minute deal to Spain thats too good to pass up. You might find a four-star hotel at a budget price, or a low-priced hotel at a rock-bottom price.The Perfect Benidorm VacationNo matter your interests, you can find something you enjoy here. If youre a history buff, you can learn about ancient Spain and all its artifacts. If youre a nature fan, you can find walking tours that allow you to enjoy the natural beauty of Spain. If you just want to relax, a wide, sandy beach is just steps away. Theres something for everyone in Benidorm!