Steve's World Blog Information and articles on cities, towns and villages around the world.

December 23, 2009

Stoke Mandeville Buckinghamshire

Filed under: England,United Kingdom — Tags: , , — needahand @ 5:37 pm

A small village situated near to Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, England, Stoke Mandeville is mostly well known for it’s hospital which specialises in spinal injuries, and although the hospital carries the name of the village it is in fact located in the town of Aylesbury, on its parish border with Stoke Mandeville. An ancient village, which would have existed in Anglo-Saxon times, Stoke Mandeville featured in the Domesday Book, where it was recorded as ‘Stoches’. Having several other names throughout the years it took the name of Mandeville after the local manor came under the control of the powerful Norman de Mandeville. These days it remains a typical English village, with a small population of just over 6,000 and an area taken up mostly by arable land, much as it as for centuries. Although virtually connected to Aylesbury due to the expansion of both communities, it retains it’s village identity. The weather in Stoke Mandeville is typical for the Aylesbury Vale, with mostly warm summers and mild, wet winters, snow is rare and mostly disappears as quickly as it falls, the most common month for snowfall is February. Stoke Mandeville can be accessed from the A4010, the A413 and the B4443 from Aylesbury.

Stoke Mandeville Street Map

Learn plenty more about Stoke Mandeville here: http://www.stoke-mandeville.co.uk/

December 11, 2009

Discovery Cove Orlando

Filed under: Holidays,Travel,USA — Tags: , , , — needahand @ 7:02 pm

Swim with dolphin small 170If you are thinking of visiting Florida in the United States of America in the near future, you should certainly consider taking time out for a look at the Discovery Cove theme park located close to Orlando in central Florida. The prime attraction of Discovery Cove, and the main reason for most people visiting, is the dolphin pool, where you can participate in a swim with the bottlenose dolphins in an a life changing thirty minute session. The Discovery Cove theme park has many other fabulous attractions that will also contribute to making your day memorable, such as the free flight aviary with a wide variety of tropical birds, the beautiful coral reef, where you can snorkel with the inmates (even barracuda and sharks) the Wind Away River, where you can ride the currents of a tropical river, passing through an underground cave, amidst a tropical rain forest and pass beneath tumbling waterfalls, or relax on the fabulous Serenity Bay, swim in the clear waters or enjoy the beach. To take part in a swim with the dolphins though, is the main attraction in Discovery Cove and the park is open from 9 in the morning to 5.30 in the evening. Packages including the swim with the dolphins start at $289, not cheap to many people but certainly worth the money for a once in a lifetime experience. The theme park is open for visitors all through the year and with Orlando and Discovery Cove weather being a warm and humid, subtropical climate, any time is a good time to visit the wonderful Discovery Cove.

December 10, 2009

Cala Mondrago Mallorca

Filed under: Balearic Islands,Holidays,Spain — Tags: , , , — needahand @ 12:59 pm

If you are visiting the island of Mallorca this year and are fed up with the crowds and drawbacks of mass tourism, you might want to consider heading for somewhere a little quieter. One of the recommended places for visitors of this ilk is the beautiful Cala Mondrago, situated in the south-east of the island. Having just a couple of hotels and very little else to attract those seeking a pulsating nightlife scene, Cala Mondrago will not keep you occupied for long, if you are looking for more than a relaxing beach holiday, but if it is the beach that you like, you will find one of the finest on Mallorca and in fact in the entire Balearic Islands region and with the fine climate that goes with it, you might just think you are in paradise. To say there is nothing to do here is a slight exaggeration, as nature lovers will be attracted by the Mondrago Parc Natural, which surrounds the resort and comprises 2,000 acres of important wetland with enough bird species to keep even the most ardent twitcher happy. For those who just have to visit a rowdy club or disco at night, you will just have to head into nearby Cala d’Or for the evenings and get your fix of noise.

December 9, 2009

Arpora Goa

Filed under: Travel — Tags: , , , — needahand @ 7:54 pm

A resort which is growing in popularity in the Indian tourist state of Goa, Arpora offers the chance to take a unique and relaxing beach holiday whilst providing the opportunity to explore the beauty and culture of this thrilling location. Situated near to the Northern Goa beach resorts such as Baga Beach and Calangute Beach, Arpora is both a pretty village and a beach resort combined, it is well known for its shellfish and fresh fish dishes, which will be one of the highlights of your stay in this unforgettable place.

Jellyfish of the Mar Menor

Filed under: Costa Calida,Spain — Tags: , , , — needahand @ 5:28 pm
The Mar Menor

The Mar Menor

There have been reports suggesting that the Mar Menor jellyfish population has been significantly reduced by an ongoing campaign aided by local fishermen. Some 42 km of protective nets have been installed in this large salt lagoon on the Costa Calida, Spain, to help protect the popular beach areas and this has been mostly successful in preventing jellyfish infestation during the busy summer seasons of the last 2 years (2008 and 2009). Seventy eight tonnes of jellyfish were netted last year by local fishermen on the Mar Menor, a significant reduction compared to the 5,000 tonnes removed between 2000 and 2002. The oceanographic institute in Lo Pagan has been monitoring the jellyfish situation. The Mar Menor, formed by a narrow spit of land known as La Manga (The Sleeve) has some of the most popular seaside resorts along the Costa Calida, boasting wonderful sandy beaches and safe warm bathing waters, which are particularly renowned for their healing properties, being very high in salt content. The Mar Menor and Costa Calida are situated within the province of Murcia, in south-eastern Spain, some of its best known resorts include Los Alcazares, San Pedro del Pinatar, Santiago de la Ribera, Los Narejas, Los Urrutias, and San Javier.

December 8, 2009

The Search for a Majorca Beach

Filed under: Balearic Islands,Holidays,Spain — Tags: , , — needahand @ 7:14 pm

When considering taking a Majorca beach holiday, the most important factor to take into account will be the exact purpose of your visit. If you are looking for a Majorca beach with good water sports facilities, there are several beaches which would be perfect choices – Platja de Formentor, Cala Tuent and Platja de Sa Coma for example, all have first class water sports facilities. For families with children, looking for safe swimming, and sunbathing, the perfect white, sandy beach might be Colonia de Sant Jordi or Badia d’Alcudia. Naturists heading for Majorca will pick a more isolated beach such as Cala El Mago, one of 3 small coves at Cala Portals Vells. Whatever the purpose of your visit, you should have no trouble finding a Majorca beach which meets your requirements, to take a tour of the best beaches finding a Majorca car hire vehicle would be essential when making plans for your holiday, and booking in advance is recommended to avoid disappointment.

Calvia Soller and Deia Mallorca

Filed under: Balearic Islands,Spain,Travel — Tags: , , , , , , , , — needahand @ 6:57 pm

Three attractive Mallorca towns, which may escape the attentions of holidaymakers visiting the island, are nevertheless worth taking a look at, the towns in question are Calvia, Deia and Soller. Calvia, the administrative centre of a region which contains some of the best known resorts in Mallorca, lies in the foothills of the Tramuntana mountains, and is set amongst olive groves and fertile agricultural land, take a look at its 13th century church, the Calvia region has a rich historical heritage going back to the times of the Romans and beyond. The picturesque mountain town of Deia, was a popular haunt for expats during the First World War, and will always be associated with English poet Robert Graves who lived there for many years and is buried in the church there, Deia is also the home of the renowned Hotel la Residencia. The last of our towns is Soller, located at the end of the Palma “toytown” train, and dominated by the Puig Major mountain, its coastal arm Port de Soller is a popular holiday resort. Worth a visit in Soller is the Balearic Museum of Natural Sciences and Botanical Gardens. If you are holidaying in one of the coastal resorts such as Magaluf or Santa Ponsa then you may need to hire a car in order to visit these interesting towns, although organised trips may be available from your local tourist office. Sporting enthusiasts staying in the resorts of the Calvia area will find plenty to keep them occupied, water sports facilities are plentiful along the coast and golf is especially well catered for with the 3 courses of Santa Ponsa Golf nearby and the Club de Golf de Poniente adijng to the variety.

December 7, 2009

Megalithic Structures of Menorca

Filed under: Balearic Islands,History,Spain — Tags: , , , , , — needahand @ 1:40 pm

Menorca is beyond a shadow of a doubt the most abundant in megalithic sites of all the Spanish Balearics, having many hundreds of stone structures dating from the Talaiotic period (2000BC – 1000BC) many of these ancient sites are still in a good state of repair and well worth the effort needed to see them. The majority of the finest megalithic sites are situated in the south of the island below the route of the ME-1, Mahon to Ciutadella carraigeway, many are decently signposted, others are much trickier to find and require some exploration and a good map, if you are doing the full tour you will need a decent guide book and a detailed road map of the island. Some of the finest and best known sites on Menorca include Torralba d’en Salort, for a great example of a taula (“T” shaped stone structure), Naveta d’es Tudons for a superb example of a naveta (upturned boat type stone structure) and Son Mercer de Baix for the most ancient settlement on Menorca. To have the required freedom to tour these and many other sites you would be best advised to rent a car hire vehicle for at least a couple of days of your stay, this will give you the opportunity to tour the island without any constraints. While touring the historic sites you can also pop in and see a few of the more “out of the way” coves and beaches, or perhaps take a morning for a game of golf at Son Parc in the north and then visit Monte Toro (Bull mountain), Menorca highest peak.

December 5, 2009

Jameos del Agua Lanzarote

Filed under: Canary Islands,Spain,Travel — Tags: , , — needahand @ 2:29 pm

Another of the major tourist attractions on the island of Lanzarote, the Jameos del Agua caves are located in the north of the island around twenty seven kilometres north of the capital Arrecife. Skillfully transformed during the 1960’s by Lanzarote architect Cesar Manrique, the caves now feature a restaurant and a concert area with 600 seats, where superb acoustics provide an ideal venue. The Jameos del Agua caves were formed by volcanic activity of which there has been plenty on Lanzarote, one of the caves contains a lake, which was formed as water entered during the lava flow. Jameos del Agua can be reached from the Orzola to Arrecife road.

December 4, 2009

Ibiza North and East

Filed under: Balearic Islands,Holidays,Spain — Tags: , , , — needahand @ 3:51 pm

The north and east coast of Ibiza, is dotted with some of the most popular resorts on the island and also features some interesting towns and villages. The most northern town and resort on the whole island is Portinatx, a mostly built for tourism resort with very little Ibizan charm or tradition, it is however a popular holiday destination with 4 fine beaches, a wonderful climate, and a decent range of facilities, the main and most popular beach is called S’Arenal Gros an attractive sandy beach with the usual amenities. For a bit more peace and quiet head for the attractive Cala d’en Serra beach set on a pretty pine-laden bay just a short drive from Portinatx. Slightly inland are several interesting little towns and villages, including Sant Joan de Labritja, Sant Miguel de Balansat and Sant Llorenç de Bataifa. Across to the east coast you will find the coastal resort of Santa Eulalia (Santa Eularia des Riu), the 3rd largest resort on the island, popular with families it also has some interesting places to visit. Near to Santa Eulalia you will find the resort of Es Cana, here at Punta Arabi many choose to visit the popular Hippy Market, a good place to pick up a few gifts and mementos. This concludes our short visit to Ibiza north and east a wonderful area to visit if you are holidaying in Ibiza in the Balearic Islands of Spain.

December 3, 2009

Es Pujols Formentera

Filed under: Balearic Islands,Holidays,Spain — Tags: , , , , , — needahand @ 11:50 am

The only tourist resort of any real note on the island of Formentera in the Spanish Balearic Islands, Es Pujols is a pretty laid back place which is ideal for a relaxing, away from it all, holiday. Backed by a beautiful white, sandy beach, the seafront promenade of Es Pujols is dotted with restaurants and bars, though not to the extent that you would expect from a Balearic Islands resort, nightlife is equally low key with plenty to keep the less demanding tourist happy without disturbing those who prefer a quieter time whilst on holiday. Formentera is still a charmingly undiscovered holiday destination (relatively!), no doubt assisted by the fact that it does not yet have an airport. Arrivals are by way of a ferry from Ibiza (or Denia on the mainland) and this in itself is a unique holiday experience. If you need to get around the island then securing a Formentera car hire vehicle will be a must for those seeking anything more than a relaxing beach holiday. Those hiring a car be have the freedom to tour around and see what the island has to offer, you could head into the capital Sant Francesc or head along the coast and visit some of the ancient watchtowers which were constructed to warn of pirate attacks many centuries ago. Whatever you are looking for, you will find Es Pujols and Formentera Island well worth a visit for a somewhat different holiday experience, the weather is similar to that of Ibiza, being pretty reliable during the summer months (May to October) and pleasant though less reliable through the winter.

December 2, 2009

Towns of Catalonia Tortosa

Filed under: Costa Dorada,History,Spain — Tags: , , , — needahand @ 10:23 am

One of the only towns of any significance in southern Catalonia, Tortosa boasts a 10th century castle, some ancient fortified walls and a long history of conflict. Standing on the banks of the River Ebro, which has many times been the boundary between warring factions, Tortosa was originally established by the ancient Iberians who called it Dertosa, further changes were made by the Romans and even later by the Moors who held control of the town between the eighth and thirteenth centuries. The 10th century mosque built by the Moors was flattened and replaced by a Gothic cathedral after the reconquest. Much damage was sustained by Tortosa during the Spanish Civil War, and little of the old town remains, casualties were high and are still remembered by the inhabitants. Today Tortosa is more peaceful and is a popular day trip location enjoying pleasant weather, near by is the River Ebro Natural Park a significant wetland area, amongst other things the River Ebro is famous for catfish fishing, with these tough fish reaching huge sizes in this area. Map of Tortosa.

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