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Archive for March, 2013

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Friday’s Friendly Funny: “Traditional” Irish dancing

Check out this week’s Friday Funny from cartoonist Dave Blazek!

Friday’s Friendly Funny by Dave Blazek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at blog.friendlyplanet.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://blog.friendlyplanet.com.

Friday’s Friendly Funny: The ancient iPod

Check out this week’s Friday Funny from cartoonist Dave Blazek!

Friday’s Friendly Funny by Dave Blazek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at blog.friendlyplanet.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://blog.friendlyplanet.com.

The top 10 places and sites to visit in Israel

Here are our top 10 places and sites to visit in Israel (in no particular order):

Jerusalem: One of the oldest cities in the world, sacred to three major monotheistic religions: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.


Religious pilgrims have been traveling to Jerusalem for centuries, as Jerusalem is full of significant historical, religious and educational sites. Must-sees include:

  • The Western (Wailing) Wall, which is over 2000 years old. It is the most sacred site recognized by the Jewish faith, and the most visited site in Israel.
  • The Temple Mount, one of the most important religious sites in Jerusalem’s Old City. It is the third most important site in Islam, and the most important in Judaism. 
  • The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the most holy Christian site in the world.

Shrine of the Book: home to the famous Dead Sea Scrolls.

Located in the national Israel Museum in Jersalem, the largest museum and cultural complex in the country, the Shrine of the Book houses the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Scrolls are a collection of 972 texts discovered between 1946 and 1956 found on the shore of the Dead Sea, from which they derive their name, and are of great historical and religious significance. They consist of biblical manuscripts from what is known as the Hebrew Bible. (more…)

Why Israel is a country with something for everyone

The first time I visited Israel, it was 1972, a full year before the Yom Kippur War. It was a far simpler place then, with no skyscrapers, no color TV anywhere in the country, and little in the way of luxury goods. It was a time when calculators were golden gifts for Israeli students; transistor radios were treasured by young army recruits; and wineries were known by a single name, Carmel.

I’ve been to Israel many, many times since that first trip more than 40 years ago, when my tour guide made me cry because I wandered away from my group and made everyone late for the next stop on our tour. With each visit, I’ve come to appreciate more and more the amazing diversity and dynamism of this incredible country.

Only 68 years ago, survivors of the Holocaust staggered out of the ashes of the death camps and made their way (mostly illegally) to the shores of the yet-to-be declared State of Israel. I realize there are plenty of political issues surrounding the founding of Israel the nation, and there’s plenty to say about the politics of the region. But despite all of that, no one can deny that so much has been done in so little time. Amazing hardly describes the place. You simply have to see it for yourself to understand what progress, in the face of adversity, means. (more…)

7 more exotic destinations you can visit for the price of a weekend in Las Vegas

One of the most popular presentations I’ve ever given has been about seven exotic locations you can visit for the price of a Vegas weekend. Since I last spoke on the topic, travelers have been eager to know if I’ve added any more destinations to my list, and where they can go in 2013 to turn their ordinary trip into an extraordinary vacation.

So when I was asked to speak at the 2013 Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show, I knew this was a topic I wanted to revisit. I spoke for a little over 15 minutes this year, covering seven more exotic destinations to visit for the price of a Vegas weekend. We caught the speech on film for everyone who couldn’t make it, so just hit play to listen in.

After watching my speech, do you plan on visiting any of the destinations I mentioned? I’d love to hear about your travel plans in a comment below.

Recapping our Facebook travel chat with special guest Reid Bramblett

Thanks again to everyone who participated in our latest Facebook travel chat. Reid Bramblett and I had a great time answering your questions, debating travel best practices, and sharing our travel know-how. I want to recap the Q-and-A here on the blog for anyone who missed it.

Q: How is Friendly Planet able to send people to Cuba? Isn’t there an embargo against Americans visiting the island?

Peggy: The answer is a new license called ‘People to People’ which enables us to send American travelers to Cuba to engage in educational and cultural exchanges. This means that in Cuba you get to do all the things that you would long to do in any international destination — meet real Cubans, see how they live, work, study, and generally live their lives — in addition to visiting the important sites on the island.

Q: Hi there, I love history and learning when I travel, what would be some great historical places in Europe to visit that might be a bit off the beaten path or not as widely known as say, Stonehenge or the Colosseum?

Reid: It sounds like you’re interested in ancient sites, and Europe is full of them. For example, the Irish version of Stonehenge is Newgrange, a gorgeous passage tomb just an hour north of Dublin. The west coast of Ireland is filled with Celtic ruins as well. This year is a great time to visit Ireland because of the Gathering. There are many activities celebrating Irish heritage throughout the country. I recommend the Fleadh Nua in Ennis, the most participatory of the Irish music festivals.

As for an alternative to the Colosseum, the south of Italy is filled with ancient Roman and Greek ruins (much of it was once part of greater Greece), from ancient amphitheaters to temples. (more…)

Friday’s Friendly Funny: I declare!

Check out this week’s Friday Funny from cartoonist Dave Blazek!

Friday’s Friendly Funny by Dave Blazek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at blog.friendlyplanet.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://blog.friendlyplanet.com.

 

Get even more travel advice about Italy: Enter to win one of Reid Bramblett’s signed Italy travel guides!

We hope everyone enjoyed our Facebook chat with Reid Bramblett today! To keep the information flowing, we’re giving away three of Reid’s books about the most romantic country on Earth – Italy:

These guide books offer dozens of helpful lists about the destination, including the 10 best restaurants, bars, neighborhoods, hotels, local attractions, and much more. They’re great to read before your trip or carry with you while you travel, and even have pull-out maps and guides of city metro systems, useful phone numbers, and 60 great ideas on how to spend your day.

Enter to win your copy below, and stay tuned for more travel chats on the Friendly Planet Travel Facebook page soon!

UPDATE: We’ve chosen the winners! Congratulations to:

Thanks to everyone who entered! 

Friday’s Friendly Funny: Welcome to Cuba

Check out this week’s Friday Funny from cartoonist Dave Blazek!

Friday’s Friendly Funny by Dave Blazek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at blog.friendlyplanet.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://blog.friendlyplanet.com.

Join us for our next Facebook travel chat with special guest Reid Bramblett!

Do you have questions about travel, and you’re just not sure whom to ask? Well, why not ask the man who wrote the book? We’re hosting our next Friendly Planet Travel Facebook chat, and this time around, special guest Reid Bramblett will be joining us! This chat will be on Thursday, March 14 at 3 p.m. EST on Friendly Planet’s Facebook page.

Reid Bramblett has authored or contributed to more than 30 guidebooks, and has worked as a travel editor at Frommer’s, Budget Travel, and MSNBC.com. He’s also appeared on various news and cable television shows; spoken at the Smithsonian; and is the man behind ReidsGuides.com, a comprehensive travel advice website. With all these credentials, Reid is the perfect person to join us for our next travel chat!

I’ll be chiming in with Reid to help answer your questions and share travel advice. If you’re not sure where to start, here are some questions that we’ve gotten in the past:

  • When is the best time of year to visit Italy?
  • What types of things should I do in my spare time in South Africa?
  • Is there any way to avoid single supplement fees when booking a cruise?
  • If I want to get the best deal on airfare to Europe, how far in advance should I book?
  • Is it possible for me to visit Cuba legally?

Make your list of travel questions and join us for answers, insights, and more. We can’t wait to see you there!

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About Peggy

Peggy Goldman is a specialty tour operator and travel expert, who owns and operates Friendly Planet Travel, a full-service company that specializes in tour packages to exotic worldwide destinations at affordable prices.   More about Peggy

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