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60 Second Geography – United Kingdom

Few places cram in as much scenery, history and culture as the United Kingdom. England‘s southwest is dominated by a rugged shoreline and ancient history, the uber hip and metropolitan capital, London, sits amid the rolling hills of the southeast. The people of northern England are among the friendliest; while the scenery of the Northumberland coast, Peak District and Lake District are all incredible sights to behold.

But to experience the true wilderness of the United Kingdom, travel to the Scottish Highlands where you will discover that it can be harsh, snow capped and often inaccessible. Art-drenched Edinburgh is a stunning city to explore (especially if you are a JK Rowling or Harry Potter fan), and the larger islands of the Hebrides attract walkers and whiskey lovers.

Across the water, sharing land with Ireland, Northern Ireland is a stylish and modern area anchored by Belfast. Outside of the city, the countryside is every bit as intriguing as the United Kingdom’s.

Wales features the vibrant Cardiff and industrial Swansea to the south, and craggy peaks of the Snowdon Massif to the north.

  • England is the biggest country in the U.K., and is home to the largest city in Europe – London. It’s also home to over 600 miles of beautiful coastline and some of the world’s top tourist attractions. England is divided into 9 distinct regions, each with its own unique personality, history and culture – from the rolling hills of the Cotswolds and charming Cornish villages to the bustling city life of London and the dramatic coastlines of the North East. So no matter what kind of experience you want, you’ll find the perfect destination in England.
  • Northern Ireland is the smallest country in the U.K., and is situated in the northeast corner of Ireland. Northern Ireland’s size makes it easy to navigate. Once you’ve settled into your hotel, you can easily visit the country’s main attractions on short day trips. The country offers a variety of landscapes from breathtaking mountains and glens, World Heritage Sites to an inland sea.
  • Scotland is a diverse and extraordinary country, with a rich and fascinating history. The country has nearly 800 islands, only 300 of which are inhabited, and these islands are home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. It is a photographer’s paradise. In Scotland you will find vibrant and exciting cities, breathtaking lochs, mountains and coastlines. Scotland shares its Southern border with England and is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the west and the North Sea on the east.
  • Wales is bordered by England on the east and is a small country with a rich history and spectacular landscapes, including three national parks and five “Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.” Due to its size (170 miles tall by 60 miles wide) you’re never far from a mountain or a sea. But Wales is also home to vibrant cities, traditional villages and great tourist attractions. Welsh – the native language – is spoken by many people in Wales, and is one of the oldest (and some say most difficult to understand) languages in the world.

What are you waiting for? Contact Travel of Orange and explore the United Kingdom.

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December 3, 2013 · 7:34 pm

60 Second Geography – The Netherlands

The history of the Netherlands is a history of shifting borders. The Dutch United Provinces declared their independence from Spain in 1579; during the 17th century, they became a leading seafaring and commercial power, with settlements and colonies around the world. Every school child reads of the power of the Dutch East India Company. A Kingdom of the Netherlands was formed in 1815. In 1830 Belgium seceded and formed a separate kingdom. Today, the Netherlands is one of the most popular destinations in Europe for visitors from North America.

  • The Netherlands remained neutral in World War I, but suffered invasion and occupation by Germany in World War II. It has become the home of the International Court of Justice, situated in The Hague.
  • The city of Amsterdam offers many museums and art galleries such as the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art, the Rembrandt House and the Amsterdam Historisch Museum.
  • With Dam Square at its center, Amsterdam is surrounded by quaint canals and stone-cobbled streets, multi-colored three story homes and a wonderful tavern and pub life.
  • Even the most puritanical of visitors to Amsterdam find their way to the notorious Red Light District. Keep your camera put away, however as photographers are not welcome!
  • Yes, marijuana is sold in the “coffee houses” but it is not legal, just tolerated.
  • Amsterdam’s hedonistic side is wining as newly enacted laws have trimmed back on the scope of the Red Light District and marijuana use.
  • Holland was once mostly a set of islands, precariously separated from the North Sea by dunes. The Dutch managed to pull together the islands using a clever system of wall, levies, dikes and a lot of hard work. Much of the nation is below sea level.
  • Let’s get the terminology straight: the Dutch refer to themselves as Nederlanders. “Dutch” is an English corruption of “Deutch” or “German”. However, the Nederlanders are comfortable with either term.
  • “Holland” is really in reference only to the northern provinces of Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland, not to the entire country.

Contact Travel of Orange and start planning your vacation.

Toll Free 877-538-0010

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November 8, 2013 · 5:29 pm

60 Second Geography – Paris

60 Second Geography – Paris

Paris is a city to see on foot. There a many great walking tours and options, all of which involve time well spent in Parisian cafés. Sites you won’t want to miss in Paris are the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, The Sacred Heart Basilica, Museum d’Orsay and the Louvre National Museum. Give yourself plenty of time to visit the sites because there is an overwhelming amount of fascinating art and history to take in.

  • Paris is perhaps one of the most filmed and photographed cities in the world. The “City of Light” is inundated with romance, intrigue and elegance.
  • There are enough museums in Paris that you could easily spend your entire visit admiring the art of world-famous artists such as Rembrandt, Van Gough and collections from Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Etruscan history.
  • You’ll also want to take time to relax at a sidewalk café and enjoy the French cuisine.
  • The Eiffel Tower was unveiled in 1889 at the Paris Exhibition, despite a multitude of protests. Today, more than 2 million people climb the tower’s stairs each year to take in the breathtaking panorama view of the city. Most people walk up the 747 steps, but in 2002 Hugues Richard rode a bicycle to the top in 19 minutes.
  • The Latin Quarter received its name because it’s where scholars studied in Latin during the Middle Ages. The area surrounds Sorbonne University.
  • It took over 180 years to complete Notre Dame Cathedral. The building was cleaned in 1990s with lasers that burned off the grime. Parisian officials decided to leave a portion of the cathedral dirty to remind people what it used to look like.
  • Pere Lachaise Cemetery opened in 1804 but didn’t have any customers because people felt it was too far from the city. Eventually the bodies of the famous medieval lovers, Abelard and Heloise, were transferred to the cemetery. Since then, the cemetery became a popular graveyard and tourist destination.
  • Paris is often called the City of Light, although the nickname has nothing to do with the city’s actual light. Instead, the name refers to intellects and artists who came to the city, making it a place of enlightenment.
  • Paris is a city proud of its history. The landscape is still based around the Ile de la Cite where Celtic tribes first settled over 2,000 years ago. Years later, the Romans showed interest in the area until the English ruled from 1420 to 1436. Around the same time a consecutive order of French kings centralized France with Paris at its heart.
  • As one of the most popular destinations in the world, Paris receives 45 million tourists a year. Sixty percent of the visitors are foreigners.Hotels in Paris are rated into category by prices ranging from 100 Euros to over 400 Euros.

Contact Travel of Orange and start planning your vacation.

Toll Free 877-538-0010

info@traveloforange.com

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October 31, 2013 · 11:47 pm

Black Sea Cruises

Black Sea Cruises

The Black Sea is an inland sea in Eastern Europe, surrounded by Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania. It is connected to the Mediterranean by the Bosphorus Strait. A Black Sea cruise will take you to lands known for their history, terrain, unique cultures and long-standing traditions.

Port stops in the Ukraine, Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania are featured and sailings are typically 7 to 14 nights in length sailing from April through October. Favorites are the sunny Crimean Coast, the colorful day-to-day activities of Istanbul, or the therapeutic resorts of Odessa.

Most cruisers have not considered a Black Sea cruise and undoubtedly the question comes up – is it worth it? Absolutely! But, go there soon before the modern plague of commercialism starts to erode its unique characteristics.

The Black Sea is one of the best-kept secrets of the cruising world. It offers a perfect antidote to the crowds that clamor to the Mediterranean. It offers every bit as much history and culture, alongside fabulous white sand beaches and increasingly sophisticated cities.

You can look forward to a wide variety of experiences on a Black Sea cruise – one day soaking up the sun on the beaches of Varna in Bulgaria, the next exploring the cobbled medieval streets of nearby Nessebur. Perhaps the magnificent parks and fine architecture of Odessa, the region’s most sophisticated city piques your interest. Or if some real world history is your Black Sea thing, visit Sevastopol – where the Light Brigade made its legendary Crimean War charge. Yalta is where Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill gathered and re-drew the map of Europe at the end of World War II.

For the foodies in the group, a Black Sea cruise should not disappoint. Local dishes abound including pelmeny (meat dumplings), vareniki (a sweet version of pelmeny but stuffed with cherries or ricotta cheese). And if you are VERY adventurous, a plate of barbecued sheep’s testicles are sure to hit the spot; or not. And like every bizarre food that few have the courage to eat, they supposedly taste (wait for it) just like chicken.

Contact Travel of Orange Toll Free 877-538-0010and start planning your Black Sea Cruise.

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October 21, 2013 · 5:00 pm

Geography – Alaska

60 Second Geography – Alaska

Feeling adventurous? Then Alaska is the place for you. From guided tours, hiking on an ice glacier, going on a dog sled ride, riding in an airplane, rafting, kayaking, even a jet boat ride, your options in the great outdoors and beyond are endless. Even safari rides are available, riding in a sponsored vehicle and getting up-close-and-personal with the wildlife and other characters of nature.

  • Want to explore the outdoors, but aren’t quite so brave? Then a cruise is the perfect choice. The sighting of whales, seals, sea lions, orcas, sea otters, mountain goats, even brown and black bears from the safety and protection of a ship are common, letting you come within enough distance to appreciate, but not disturb, them. Another great option for a sea-faring explorer is a riverboat ride on a grand sternwheeler. Dating back to the early days of exploration, sternwheelers are a great way to take a trip back in history while still enjoying all of the modern amenities.
  • Experiencing the culture and entertainment firsthand is what will really set your trip to Alaska apart. Right off the screens of The History or National Geographic Channel, visitors can immerse themselves within the native environment via totem carving, dancing, blanket tossing, music, crafts, festivals, museums and heritage centers. Taking influence from not only the local population but also from Russia, your to-do list will grow longer and longer the more you discover.
  • One of the most relaxing pastimes, Alaska’s fly-fishing, saltwater fishing, freshwater fishing and even ice fishing is known worldwide as being some of the best. From beginner to professional, every level of experience is catered to and met with just about any accommodation possible.
  • Getting around in Alaska is an adventure within itself — any mode of transportation you take will lead you on an once-in-a-lifetime journey. Whether you choose to go by boat, car, motor coach, plane or by train, each option will leave you with stories to tell.

Contact Travel of Orange and start planning your Alaska vacation.  Toll Free 877-538-0010

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October 18, 2013 · 3:52 pm