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Archive for September, 2009


Freeport is a city on the island of Grand Bahama and it was founded in 1955 by Wallace Groves. It soon grew into the second most populous city of the Bahamas, after capital city Nagau. Freeport operates as a trade free zone, businesses don’t have to pay taxes before 2054. The city is located close to Fort Lauderdale in Florida.

Freeport had over half a million of tourists before two major hurricanes hit the island in 2004. The tourist industry in the city is mostly on the seaside suburb of Lucaya. Here you will find the only important market. Look out for small resellers, don’t buy from the many international shops as prices are very high here. Life on the Bahamas is more expensive than in America. Try to pay cash to avoid having to pay taxes. Most of the hotels in Freeport are located along the southern shore. Although life is expensive, you can stay for reasonable prices when booking before your travel. Restaurants, bars and shops are found in the Lucayas Beach Resort.

Freeport has some nice clean beaches to relax. There are many couples that spend their honeymoon here. Tourists can book water bikes or go diving. The city has three national parks, The Rand Nature Centre, the small isle Petersons Cay National Park and the Lucayan National Park. The last Park is 40 acres large and has five ecological zones, from the south shore to the pine yard. Beneath the Park there is an extensive underwater cave system which is one of the longest in the world. Two of the caves are accessible via a short footpath.

Travelers to Freeport need a valid passport and return ticket. American citizens don’t require a visa, only proof of sufficient funds. The easiest way to reach the city is by a cruise departing from Fort Lauderdale. The port and airport are not near the city, so reaching the city will cost extra.


Cairns is a popular tourist city in the province Far North Queensland in Australia. For many tourists is the best place to start their travel around Queensland. The city is located on the east coast on a coastal strip and it is surrounded by rain forest. It is a major port for the export of goods. There are two rivers flow thing through the city’s boundary, the Mulgrave River and the Barron River. Cairns has a population of approximately 130 thousand people.

Cairns has a lot of accommodations for all budgets and many drinking establishments and restaurant catering. The city has a handful of museums and an old wharf area. In the center a swimming lagoon is located with adjoining barbecue areas. Cairns is home to many sports, including basketball, amateur rugby and international cricket. The city is close to the sea, mountains and rain forest, so this gives you plenty of choices for activities, including swimming, fishing and walking. The area is popular for spotting a huge variety of birds, mammals, and reptiles. You can learn more about the Australian wildlife in wildlife exhibit Cairns Wildlife Dome. This exhibit has a replicated tropical rain forest.

While Cairns itself does have much to offer, most travelers come to the place to visit sights nearby. In less than an hour you are at the Great Barrier Reef. Experiencing a tropical rain forest is possible in the Daintree National Park and the Cape Tribulation. There are tours to the Atherton Tabelands, Port Douglas and Copperlode Dam. Or you could enjoy exploring other places such as Cooktown and Cape York Peninsula. There are plenty of organized tours that depart from Cairns to different destinations.

Travelers to Cairns are required a valid passport and visa. Citizens of America, Canada and Europe will automatically after application receive a tourist visa that is valid for 12 months. It permits multiple entries into Australia for a stay of up to 3 months on each visit. You’ll soon discover that Cairns is a popular place to hook up with fellow travelers.


The capital of Brazil in the central west region is a masterpiece of modern architecture. Brasilia was inaugurated in 1960 in the Central Highlands of the country along the plateau Planalto Central. Brasilia was built because president Kubitchek decided the country needed a monumental capital. After the start of building in 1956 the urban planning was built in four years time. Today Brasilia has a population of more than 2.5 million people.

Brasilia is a true modern utopia. It is home to all three branches of Brazilian government and the headquarters of many Brazilian companies. The city has a planned design in the shape of a giant bird or airplane. Various separated zones are assigned for specific functions. The city is still developing its own culture. Many Brazilians are proud of their futuristic capital and marvelous architecture.  The city is listed as a World Heritage Site of UNESCO.

Brasilia has many architectural sites. The Monumental Axis in the center is the start for many other modern architectural buildings. The Square of the Three Powers houses the three highest authorities. The Palace of Justice, the Itamaraty Palace, the Palace of Dawn, the Brasilia Cathedral, the National Theater and the Juscelino Kubitschek Memorial are all close to the Monumental Axis. The city lacks major museums, but it has cultural centers and contemporary arts scenes. Brasilia also has nature attractions, such as the Paranoa Lake, the City Park and the Brasilia National Park.

Travelers landing on Presidente Juscelino Kubitschek International Airport require a valid passport and visa. Tourist visas are valid for 90 days and can be extended for another 90 days. The restaurants and bars are located in the smaller neighborhood centers, the wings of the airplane.


Klagenfurt is the sixth largest city in Austria. It is the capital city of the federal state of Carinthia close to the southern borders with Slovenia and Italy. The city is surrounded by several hills with forests and mountains. Close to the city is Lake Worthersee and the Glan River. Klagenfurt has almost 90 thousand inhabitants.

Throughout the 16th and 17th century Italian architects developed the city center of Klagenfurt. This has given the center an almost southern atmosphere. Tourists can take an organized historic city walk during summer time. There were built over 50 romantic courtyards. Most of them were renovated and are open to public. Klagenfurt is nevertheless a living town. There are shopping arcades, cafes, shops and restaurants. The city is the native town of writer Robert Musil and his birth house is turned into a literature museum.

Lake Worthersee and Strandbank Beach offer good swimming and water sports. It is recommended to get to the Beach by bike. Every year the Beach volleyball Grand Slam Tournament is held here at the lake with the world’s top beach volleyball players. Other attractions are landmark the Lindworm, small zoo Reptilienzoo Happ, the park Minimundus with miniature models of famous buildings and the park Europapark.

Travelers to Klagenfurt need a valid passport. A visa is only necessary for stays of more than 90 days. The best time to visit the city is during the Summer months.


Banlung is a small town in the north east of Cambodia. It is the capital of Ratanakiri Province. The city has a population of 17 thousand people, but it is still growing. Its surroundings are heavily forested. The city is an important commercial center. Many people from neighboring villages sell their goods on the market of Banlung.

Banlung itself isn’t very spectacular. The town is growing however and many roads are being built. In the center there are two story buildings, a monument, a market and a few newly paved roads. Banlung is however a very good base to visit the undiscovered parts of the Ratanakiri Province. This province is heavily forested. People are active in plantation agriculture, for rubber, cashews and oil palms. There are also gem mines.

The surroundings of Banlung offer several spectacular natural attractions, including waterfalls, lakes and natural parks. Worth a visit is the 700 thousand year old Yeak Laom Volcanic Lake, 3 miles from the town centre. Spectacular waterfalls are Cha Ong, Kan Chang and Ka Tieng. You will come across rubber plantations on your way up. Active possibilities are rafting, kayaking and dirt bike rides.

Travelers to Banlung require a valid passport and visa. American citizens will receive a visa upon arrival valid for 30 days in exchange for $20.00 US. There’s also an exit fee of $25.00 US when leaving the country. Banlung and its environment is home to 12 ethnic groups. Respect their culture and remember that many taboos exist.


Gjirokaster is one of the biggest cities in the south of Albania. It is situated in a valley between the Gjere mountains and the Drino River. Gjirokaster is built on mountainous terrain, so it has many stairs in the small streets. This has given the city the nickname City of Stairs. The city has a population of around 40 thousand people with an ethnic Greek community of about 4000 and communities of Vlachs and Roma.

Gjirokaster has a history of war and occupation, just as other cities in Albania. It was part of the Ottoman Empire, it was occupied by the Greek and in 1939 the city and whole southern region was captured by the Italians. The Greek took control again in 1940, but in 1943 the Germans came. Eventually the city returned to Albanian control in 1944. It was under control of the communistic regime until 1991. The city has an interesting intercultural mix of Albanian, Byzantine and Ottoman heritage and tradition.

Gjirokaster is actually just a museum city. Visit the Etnographic Museum and take a look at some old bazaars and Ottoman houses. Most houses are made of white and black stone. Walk up to the 11th century Gjirokaster Castle or Citadel on top of the hill. This castle and museum city overlooks the city and its surroundings. Gjirokaster has beautiful nature with the surrounding mountains.

Travelers to Gjirokaster need a valid passport. A visa is not required for short visits up to 90 days. You do need a return ticket in order to enter the country. The warmest time to visit the city is in June or July.


Saranda or Sarandë is a small city in the south of Albania on the Albanian Riviera. It is located on a horseshoe bay between mountains and the Ionean Sea. The city is also located opposite the Greek island Corfu. Saranda is named after an early Christian monastery and it has a population of 32 thousand people. The city has a Mediterranean climate with almost 300 sunny days per year.

Saranda was occupied by the Greek, Italians and Nazi Germans. It was occupied by the Italians in 1939, by the Greek in 1940 and by the Germans in 1941. The city center has communist architecture, but there are many shops and bars since the fall of communism. This gives the city a very nice Mediterranean feel. Tourists can relax at the Saranda Bay, the Butrint Lagoon and Pulbardha Beach.

Most attractions are outside the city center of Saranda. The impressive ruins of Butrint are definitely worth a visit, as well as the hypnotic Blue Eye Spring and lovely beaches at Ksamili village. Tourists can take the coastal road to Vlore or other Albanian cities. Just above the city there is the old castle of Lekures where you can get a panoramic view of the bay below, below, the inland mountains, the Lagoon and Corfu.

Travelers to Saranda need a valid passport. A visa is not necessary for short visits up to 90 days. You do need a return ticket to enter the country. As said Saranda has 300 sunny days a year.


Sihanoukville is a port city in the south of Cambodia and overlooks the Gulf of Thailand. The city is named after King Father Sihanouk, but it also known as Kompong Som. Sihanoukville suffered from war and it was the place of the last official battle in the Vietnam War. These days the city attracts tourists with its fine beaches and laid back atmosphere. The city also attracts foreign and national investors. It has a population of some 18 thousand people.

Sihanoukville was founded in 1960 after Cambodia became independent from France. French-Cambodian people carved a camp out of the jungle in 1955. They began building the first, and only, deep-sea port in order to communicate with international trade. During the Vietnam War the port was used by the Vietcong and later by the American army. The last ten years the city has been picking up the pieces. The Independence Hotel is  up and running again and more and more Khmer people are running bars and restaurants.

Sihanoukville has some good beaches for relaxation. The popular beaches are Ochheuteal, Sokha, Otres, Independence and Victory Beach. Some beaches have there own beach resorts. There are more than a dozen islands to hop around. You can take water taxis to go scuba diving, snorkeling and swimming. Be aware that the beaches can be covered in more rubbish than you might be used to. There are businesses that tried to dump their waste into the city.

Travelers to Sihanoukville require a valid passport and visa. American citizens will receive a visa upon arrival valid for 30 days in exchange for $20.00 US. There’s also an exit fee of $25.00 US when leaving the country.


Salzburg is the fourth largest city in Austria and is located on the banks of the Salzach River. It touches the northern boundaries of the Alps. The city has rolling plains in the north and mountains in the south. The closest alpine peak is the Untersberg. The city has a population of 210 thousand people.

Salzburg is the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the composer. His birth house is turned into a public museum. Salzburg is also the setting for parts of the musical and film the Sound of Music. Film fan might recognizes the water gardens of Hellbrunn Castle and some sections of the gardens of the 17th century palace Schloss Mirabell. Salzburg has many beautiful attractions of kitsch and class.

The center of the city, the Altstadt or “Old Town”, is known for its world famous baroque architecture. The center is listed as a UNECO World Heritage Site. It is a pretty compact city, so you can easily walk from one point to another. Walking through the city you will come across baroque towers, churches and mansions. There is also the massive fortress Festung Hohensalzburg and many museums.

Travelers to Salzburg need a valid passport. A visa is only necessary for stays of more than 90 days. In the surroundings of the city you can visit the ice caves or salt mines, the Silent Night Chapel in small city Oberndof or the mountains of the Alps.


Innsbruck is the provincial capital of Tyrol in Austria. It is located in the Inn Valley between high mountains of the Alps and the Inn River. The name of the city is German. ”Bruck” means bridge, so the city is named “the bridge over the Inn’. Innsbruck is an alpin ski village and it attracts many American winter visitors. The city has a population of over 100 thousand people.

Innsbruck is a popular winter destination and one of the finest ski resorts in the world. The city hosted two modern Winter Olympics in 1964 and 1976. The high mountains are the Nordkette in the north, the Patscherkofel and the Serles in the south. These are 7,657 feet, 7,369 feet and 8,917 feet high. The Nordpark offers several ski routes, as well as the Patscherkofelbahn in the south. Winter sports fans can use the Innsbruck-Card for one free ascent & descent. In the summer tourists can go hiking or mountain bike.

Although many tourists come to Innsbruck for skiing and other winter sports, the city has more to offer. It has a rich historical environment. Innsbruck knew two “golden” ages, one in 1500 and the second in the mid-1700′s. You will come across historic churches, palaces and buildings, monuments, museums and galleries. The focal point is the renowned Gold Roof. Visit the Ambras castle with its good art collection, the Gothic church Hofkirche, the palatial estate Hofburg Innsbruck, the Goldenes Dachl and many other beautiful buildings.

Travelers to Innsbruck require a valid passport. American citizens and other nationalities can stay in the country without a visa for no more than 3 months. Winters are cold and snowy. In summers hot and dry days are quite common, as well as days with cool and rainy spell, but nights can be cool. The people of the city are unpretentious and friendly. If you had enough of sports and sight seeing, you can relax at the riverside lounge bars, brewpubs and beer gardens.