SiestaOh yes, that lovely time of day. Empty streets, full restaurants. Don't expect shops to be open between 2pm and 5pm (some only close between 2pm and 4pm). However, we do feel the urge to demistify this urban legend: not everyone goes have a 3 hour nap in the middle of the afternoon. Long lunches accompanied by wine and followed by neverending cafe solos are usually taken place during this mid-afternoon break. "Maana, maana". If you live here, you know what it means. We love it.Travelling About TownTaxis are cheap. Flabbergastingly cheap. If you don't know what "flabbergastingly" means... look it up. But know that taxis are very cheap. Especially when shared with 3 other people. But don't expect to find available taxis on a Friday or Saturday night - they are impossible! Queues in Pl. Catalunya can range from 15 minutes to 2 hours on a Friday or Saturday night.. Buses are easy to use and get around. Nightbuses don't run that frequently though. Getting the bus from the airport to Pl. Catalunya costs 3.65 euros and the average journey time is about 25 minutes. The metro stations are HOT! In the summer, they are boiling hot. Girls should walk around in their bikini tops - that should be made a rule. But the metro itself has air conditioning and is usually on time. And everything is pretty much within half an hour reach. A 3 month pass for under-21 year olds costs 100 euros, which is excellent. And the pass works for bus and metro. For over 21 year olds it is 112 euros, so there is not much of a difference. Overall, it is cheap, reliable and hot. Boiling hot. And that's all I have to say about that.Botellon Beers have average bar price of 2 euros. Cubattas shoot up to over 5 euros. Sorta expensive... So, what's the alternative then? Head down to your local Champion, Dia or SuperSol and find the cheapest bottle in stock. You can easily make a 1.5L bottle of Cuba Libre (whisky-coke) for under 3 euros. Any plaza should be the perfect setting. Have a couple of bottles, mingle with the locals and the night is set... Note: Doing the botellon is illegal (no drinking in the streets) in Barcelona. Watch out for those Mossos - You have been warned! The Ping-Pong Table Random fact. There are dozens of ping-pong tables around the city of Barcelona, most of which are located near playgrounds in residential areas. And there is a great vibe going on at these spots. If you know how to play this amazing, exhausting, uber-competitive Olympic sport then stop and ask those at the table if you can have a match. 'Ping-Pongers' tend to be a nice group of welcoming people that like to share 'chocolate' and beer. You know what I mean. Watch out for windy days. Part-time JobsRelatively easy to find them if you are a Spanish speaker. Even better if you also speak Catalan.If not, look in loquo.com or english pubs around the Ramblas. Don't expect to be paid a lot though. A normal 4 hour\day part-time job will pay you about 300 euros per month (obviously, it also depends on your job). In other words, Spain is not the richest country in the world and hence you don't get paid so well as you do in other European countries. But then again, where else can you find sun, fiesta and sangria like you do in Barcelona....? The Prostitutes They are out there! In the heart of Barcelona, flooding the Ramblas (and not only) after 2am, totally transforming Barcelona from day to night. If you are a group of guys walking through the Ramblas, it is guaranteed that at least one of them will grab you and ask, very blatantly, if you want sex. Our advice: Run. The most likely thing is that they will go for your pocket to try andsteal your wallet or mobile. Or they will take you somewhere dodgy and steal from you there. Either way, don't do it. You will look like nothing but a 50-year old frustrated English businessman, and people will make fun of you. I know I will!! The Street Beer SellersThere are dozens of Pakistani/Indian beer sellers around Bairro Gotico, Raval and the Ramblas. Remember: They are your friends, not your enemies. There is no reason to be afraid of the,. I have yet to hear a story of anyone getting robbed by a beer seller. They sell beers for 1 euro each and 5 euros for a pack of 6. If you know how to talk to them, youll be able to bargain it down to 70cents a beer. They swear they are not part of a mafia. Yet they share beers and change constantly. The truth is out there...Cigarettes And TobaccoSince the first day of 2006, an "anti-smoking law" has been put in place by the Government. However, it doesn't obligate any establishment to ban smoking. Instead, it gives them the option to choose whether they want to ban smoking or not and notify the public with a banner outside the establishment. Needless to say, you can smoke pretty much everywhere. Ciggarettes are cheaper in specialised tobacco shops ("Tabacs"). The only other place to buy cigarettes are from machines in bars and certain kiosks.
The dates are still to be confirmed but the period is definitely July 2008 for the International Istanbul Jazz Festival where you can be sure the programme will be one of the most interesting and intriguing as the guests have always been of international relevance. Names such as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Stan Getz, Ornette Coleman, Youssou NDour during the years have played and entertained crowds of music lovers in Turkish starry and unforgettable nights.This year the Istanbul Jazz Festival celebrates the 15th anniversary and as every year the festival will award a 'Lifetime Achievement Award to one of the old jazz masters for their contribution to the world of music. For these reasons the festival has a wide resonance attracting large crowds of jazz lovers from Turkey and the rest of the world for a packed two-week programme of jazz concerts taking place in various venues around the city. The exact dates are very close! From 2-16 July 2008 these are the names on the stages: Caetano Veloso ( 10 July); Herbie Hankcock (2 July); Al Jarreau (16 July); Lenny Kravitz (30 July) ; Paolo Fresu and his trumpet on 5 July and so on! Tickets range from 30 YTL for students to 80 YTL ( from about 15 euros to 45 euros). For all information, photos, programmes, costs and concert booking see the official website iksv.org/caz If you are taking your holiday a little later this year, and you will be missing the Jazz Festival, dont panic! In October Istanbul treats its music lovers with another packed appointment of concerts and stages of 10 days. The Akbank Jazz Festival programme includes concerts that range from the classical sounds of traditional jazz to the modern sounds of experimental jazz. Akbank Jazz Festival hosts international groups, artists and musicians to perform at various locations in this lively city. The dates although still not official seem to be between October 8 and October 18, 2008.The Akbank Jazz Festival is known to be a festival that brings jazz to every corner of Istanbul, Ankara and zmir this year the festival celebrates its 18th anniversary. Unfortunately the programme is still not updated and we invite you to check the official website later o n this year. pozitif.info. Last year masters such as Archie Shepp Quartet who celebrated his 70th birthday, Mark Murphy, The Phil Woods Quintet, Nublu Orchestra as well as many critically acclaimed young jazz musicians took the stage during the festival and literally took a piece of heart of their fans!For accommodation solutions be happy! Istanbul has still very fascinating old turkish lodgings to offer and at very affordable prices. You can choose to stay in a youth hostel and pay around 7-13 euros per night or choose a familiar guest house with a terrace on the roof with a marvellous view on the blue mosque with prices that range between 18-25 euros per person or a nice hotel better if furnished with a stylish Turkish taste and providing you will all genres of comforts such as the famous Turkish baths. We have selected some accommodation providers among Flashbookings website proposals: GEZGINCI HOSTEL Istanbul and BUHARA HOTEL Istanbul
When selecting a flight, remember that a departure early in the day is less likely to be delayed than a later flight, due to "ripple" effects throughout the day. If you book the last flight of the day, you could get stuck overnight. If you have a choice between two connections and the fares and service are equivalent, choose the one with the less-congested connecting airport. This reduces the risk of misconnecting. Also consider potential adverse weather when choosing a connecting city. Consider paying by credit card, which provides certain protections under Federal credit regulations. For example, in all recent airline bankruptcies passengers who had charged their fare and were not provided service were able to have their credit card company credit their account for the amount of the fare. If possible, pick up your ticket from a travel agency or from one of the airlines airport or city ticket offices. Airline procedures for replacing a ticket that you claim was lost in the mail can be inconvenient. Safeguard your ticket after you receive it; it is an accountable document and has value, much like cash. Keep a separate record of the ticket number. Bring a photo I.D. when you fly. For security reasons, most airlines are requiring such identification at check-in. Also, airlines dont permit tickets to be sold or given to other persons. Make sure your name on the ticket is exactly the same as it appears on the I.D. As soon as you receive your ticket, check to make sure all of the information on it is correct, including your name. Have any necessary corrections made immediately. Keep checking your fare after you buy your ticket. Fares change all the time and if that same fare goes down before you fly, the airline will often refund the difference. But you have to ask. Call a day or two before your flight to reconfirm your reservation. Flight schedules sometimes change, and while airlines usually call to notify you if this happens, its wise to double-check. Check in early. Airlines rescind specific advance seat assignments 30 minutes before scheduled departure, even if you already have your boarding pass. You can lose your entire reservation if you haven't checked in 10 minutes before scheduled departure time on a domestic flight (longer on international flights). Allow time for traffic and parking problems. If a flight is oversold, the last passengers to check in are the first to be bumped, even if they have met the 10-minute deadline. Check your ticket immediately after checking in for each flight on your trip. Airline agents accidentally lift two coupons instead of one on occasion. If you are "bumped" because your flight is overbooked, read the Overbooking Notice in your ticket, and then ask for a copy of the rules mentioned in that notice. This information applies to over sales, where your flight operates and leaves you behind; it does not apply to canceled or delayed flights. Before agreeing to accept a travel voucher as compensation for being bumped, ask about restrictions. For example, with some vouchers you can't make a reservation until a few days before you want to fly. Put a tag on the outside of your baggage with your name, home address, and home and work phone numbers. The airlines provide free stick-on tags. Most carriers also have "privacy tags" which conceal this information from passersby. Put the same information inside each bag, and add an address and telephone number where you can be reached at your destination city. Verify that the agent checking your bags attaches a destination tag to each one. Check to see that these tags show the three-letter code for your destination airport. Remove tags from previous trips to avoid confusion. If your bag arrives open or unlocked, check immediately to see if any of the contents are missing or damaged. Report any baggage problems to your airline before leaving the airport. Insist that the airline fill out a form and give you a copy, even if they say the bag will be in on the next flight. Before leaving the airport, ask the airline if they will deliver the bag without charge when it is found. Open your suitcase immediately when you get to your destination. Report any damage to contents or pilferage by telephone right away. Make a note of the date and time of the call, and the name and telephone number of the person you spoke with.
1) When taking taxis from an airport to your hotel, travel in the more expensive airport taxis and ensure that the drivers have official identification. Never take a taxi waiting outside the airport grounds.I know this sounds extreme, but it is by far better to be safe then sorry. 2) When traveling from your hotel to the airport, go with a taxi recommended by the hotel. Again, taxis can be very dangerous. I cant express that enough.3) Try not to arrive in a new city or town late at night.This can just go wrong in a number of ways. It is much easier getting checked in during the day time and security at night in certain areas is just horrendous. 4) Travel in a group if possible.Since when is traveling in numbers not a good idea? 5) Learn the basics in the local language before you arrive. Don't expect that people will speak English.English is becoming more widely spoken these days, but you want to be sure. You should always check on these things before your arrival. 6) Keep your valuables hidden.A money belt is great if it is an option that you willing to look into. There are many different styles of money belt. One of the most popular is an over the shoulder style wallet on a strap that you were underneath your top. This makes it very difficult for a thief to make off with your valuables. 7) Avoid going on your own to remote areas/ruins where tourist would be expected to go. Seek local advice or take a guide. 8) Read the guide books and talk with other tourists to find out which areas are best avoided. 9) When leaving discos late at night take a taxi home no matter how close your hostel is. Outside most discos you'll find a street vendor selling cigarettes. Usually these people know all the taxi drivers and can recommend a safe one. 10) When arriving in a new town, keep to your original plan and stay in the hostel that you have decided on. Don't let the taxi driver persuade you that your hostel is fully booked and that he knows a cheaper and better one. He'll be working on commission and the hostel probably won't be in a safe part of town. 11) Even better, when arriving lane/train in a new city, try to reserve your hotel in advance, preferably with a hotel that has an airport/station collection service. 12) Don't wear expensive looking jewelry. 13) On public transport have your day pack close to you at all times, preferably with the straps around your legs or padlocked to the luggage rack. On buses your backpack will normally go outside, either on top of the roof or in the external luggage compartments. On long distance buses ask for a receipt for your bags. On short rides just keep a careful eye out each time the bus stops to off-load bags. In the event of having your bags stolen, stay with the bus - you will probably require a declaration from the bus company accepting responsibility for the loss in order to claim any money from your insurance company. 14) Leave your valuables in your hotel safe when making day trips or longer tours. Obtain a receipt not just for your money belt/wallet etc. but for its contents, with each item listed. 15) If you have to leave your passport and credits cards together, place the credit card in a sealed envelope and sign your name across the flap. This way when you return you will know that nothing has been tampered with. 16) If planning on going to market areas, crowded streets, fiestas etc. don't go with all your valuables. Leave them in the hotel. If youre planning on buying something expensive keep your money safely in a money belt. Try to be discreet when opening it! To protect small change in your pockets you can stuff a handkerchief in after. 17) If the pavements are really crowded, especially in market areas, walk in the road. 18) If you suspect someone is following you, stop and stare them in the eye until they go. If you really get a bad feeling about a place, go with your first instincts and leave. Bag slashing is rare nowadays but for added safety you can wear your day pack on your chest. 19) If it's on your back try to walk without stopping. If you need to stop, sway your pack gently from side to side so that you can feel if anyone is tampering with it. 20) When putting your bag down on the floor, to take a photo or just to sit in a caf, remember to put your foot through the strap. Not only will it be impossible to snatch, you also won't forget it! This is the most common type of theft - tourists forgetting bags in cafes and on returning to ask if anyone has seen it, you've guessed it, it's gone.
Carefully chosen walking shoes will make a world of difference on your vacation. Your feet are as unique as your personality so just any old shoes won't do.Here are some tips to help you choose the right walking shoes for you.Find an athletic store that has qualified people who can evaluate your walking gait. They can then point you toward a shoe that will match your style.Your feet will swell on a walk. So pick a walking shoe that is about a size bigger than you usually would buy. Or, if possible, try on your shoes after a long walk.Fit your shoes while wearing the same socks that you will be wearing on your vacation.Consider the type of walking you will be doing. Hiking boots are good for poorly maintained trails, off trail or cross country hikes. But they are heavy and stiff. Stick with walking or running shoes for walks on paved or maintained trails.Make sure there is room at the toes and the sides. Even a small amount of rubbing will produce blisters.Cushioned shoes provide comfort and are great for non rugged walking surfaces. They usually have a little less support.Lightweight is important when you are walking all day. You can afford to give up a little support for light weight when you are walking on pavement or maintained trails.Avoid flared soles and heels that are more than an inch higher than the sole in front. These types of shoes are not good for a walker's gait.You want a flexible shoe that will twist and bend at the ball of the foot.If you have wide or narrow feet make sure that you get a shoe that is sized for you. Don't settle for a standard width shoe. You will regret it.The success of your vacation can depend on having a comfortable pair of shoes to walk in. Take the time to find the right one. It is worth it.