Fano A Dream Of A Holiday Destination The Great Barrier Reef A Must See Swellendam One Of South Africa S Best Kept Secrets Turkey Holiday Rentals And Vacation Homes

You stand on the beach on Fano Island with your back to the sand-dunes looking out towards the North Sea and you wonder if what you’re seeing is real. The beach is so wide you cannot guess how far it is to the sea. You can see little black figures on the shoreline; sometimes they resemble the figure eight and sometimes they break in half, just for a fleeting moment, so that you see two ovals, one above the other.

Everything about this island is dream-like and when you leave you wonder to yourself if you were really ever there.

But real this island is. Fano (pronounced fay-nooh) is the northern most of the North Sea islands that span from Holland in the south, to Denmark in the north. It is small, only about 8 km wide and 20 km in length and lies 3 km off the Danish city of Esbjerg, onetime 3rd largest fishing port in Europe and, undeniably, Denmark’s ugliest city, though a good deal better than many other cities to be found in Europe.

The only way to reach Fano is by a small car and passenger ferry that departs from Esbjerg every 20 minutes. There has been talk of building a bridge to the island, but it is to be hoped that this will never happen. After a 15 minute crossing you arrive at the main town of Nordby (pronounced nor-booh). It is called a town but it is really only a village. The island has two settlements Nordby and Sonderho (pronounced sunner-hooh) and both are exquisite.

When departing the ferry, spend some time walking the length of the main street. The street has barely changed in over 200 hundred years. Both sides are hemmed in by single storey thatched cottages – the ridge of the thatched cottages is finished with sods of grassy-earth, unlike England where the ridge is also made of thatch. And the road narrows in places so that a car can only just squeeze through. The street contains many little shops, selling everything from flowers, knit wear and crafts. There is an ancient potter (complete with a shaggy beard) who makes and paints beautifully simple pots, vases, plates and cups. You can also pop-in to the amber shop. If you talk to the owner, he will tell you how he collects the amber off the beach after the spring storms and polishes and grades the amber. He will even show you his more unusual pieces that contain insects that lived and died millions of years ago.

You can travel south to the island’s other settlement, Sonderho. Both villages are on the east side of the island, gaining protection from the North Sea on its westward side. Sonderho, especially, seems to ‘hunker down’ in the sand dunes. The visitor will leave Nordby knowing that the town is truly exquisite, he will arrive in Sonderho and know he has found something sublime.

Sonderho, is beautifully positioned on the south of the island amongst the sand dunes and reed beds. There are few shops but there is the Sonderho Kro (inn). It was founded in the early 18th century and has been in the same family for nine generations. The visitor really should dine there. The cuisine is superb and the inn is one of the most romantic spots on earth. You should try the smoked fish and meats, and afterwards walk in the small garden of the inn and inspect the smoke-houses. There is also a windmill on the outskirts of the village and a church, and both are well worth seeing.

The islands crowning glory is its beach. It runs the entire length of the island and is very, very wide. There are acres of room, even at the height of summer. You can be far away from everyone else despite the cars and camper vans that drive up and down it; the island bus that connects Sonderho to Nordby; the kite buggies and kite boarders that throng to the island; dog walkers; and the few nude tourists you’ll often see strolling along the beach! There is an annual kite festival held every year on the beach, in May, and thousands of kites are flown; it’s a fantastic site.

The island has, what seems like, hundreds of summer-houses. Most are holiday homes for Danish families. If you’re going to spend some time on the island, you should consider renting one and spend time amongst the dunes or in the woods, sitting on the porch, sipping wine in the a amber-glow of the long, Nordic summer evenings. The intoxicating, dream-like quality of the island will take hold of you and wash your weariness away; it’s a promise.

And when you come away, you’ll have dream-like memories of the shimmering images you saw on the beach and doubt if you were really there. Maybe the island is just a dream, maybe it isn’t. Perhaps, the island is the ‘Lorna Doon’ of the North Sea. A place, a lucky few, has had the good fortune to visit.

It has been my privilege over the past twenty years to travel to many parts of the globe. When I was hired to be a traveling photojournalist for a popular travel magazine, I had no real idea what kind of life lay ahead of me. I never really expected to spend weeks on an African safari or climbing the Great Wall of China. I guess I sort of expected that my job would take me to places like Kansas and Canada. I have made it to nearly one hundred countries now, and I have a short list of favorite places that I’ve seen. For the most part I would be happy never returning to the places I’ve seen, but there are a few that stick out that I must see again in my life. Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is one of those places that I just cannot get enough of.

My coworkers laugh at me for how many times I suggest the Great Barrier Reef when we need an article or a spread of photos for an upcoming issue. They all know how much I love the reef and how I’m dying to go back at any chance I get. We sit in staff meetings and I slyly or not-so-slyly suggest the Great Barrier Reef as often as I can. It has worked sometimes because I have been able to travel to this beautiful part of the world six times now. My coworkers have said that my turn is up because they all want to go as well.

The Great Barrier Reef is simply breathtaking, and Australia is not bad itself. I love going there for work or for play. I have been able to bring my family with me three times and they have loved it as much as I can. There is nothing like spending a day deep sea diving around the most famous reef in the world. I have captured a collection of the most amazing underwater shots from the Great Barrier Reef.

So if you’re looking for a beautiful location for your next vacation, look no further than to Australia and the Great Barrier Reef. Talk with a travel agent or get online to find the best deals. There are often great packages that can be purchased that include airfare, hotel and excursions, so just take your time and look carefully.

The world is a beautiful place. Few places compete with the beauty and wonder of the Great Barrier Reef though. See it for yourself.

Swellendam, South Africa’s third oldest town is nestling at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains and has much to offer visitors who have an interest in history, nature, outdoor activities and art. Swellendam is ideally situated halfway between Cape Town and George and is therefore an ideal stop over for tourists. In these two hours from Cape Town to Swellendam, you will pass through unspoilt villages and towns. Take a trip back in time and stay in some of the historic homesteads and country houses in the area, which offer bed and breakfast. Rainfall is spread over the year and there is little wind and temperatures are moderate all year round

Swellendam has been an important travel centre for centuries. Early travelers and explorers traded with the Khoi-Khoi people and in 1743 the Dutch East India Company declared Swellendam a magisterial district and built the Drostdy which was completed in 1747. This Drostdy, a national monument, is the only eighteenth century Drostdy that is preserved in its original form and will give tourists a wonderful insight as to the life of the settlers.

The more adventures tourist can go on the Swellendam hike. Located in and around the Marloth Nature Reserve this hiking trail is one of the most beautiful in the Cape. There are numerous shorter routs if a six day hike is too long for you. On this trail you will see stretches of fynbos alternated with cool indigenous forest, small animals and birds. Other sections of the trail will give you the sensation of being in a peaceful and secluded wilderness. The six day hike demands a medium to high level of fitness and is therefore not recommended for the light hearted. The Marloth Nature Reserve is also one of the best birding spots in the Western Cape and therefore defiantly worth visiting.

The rare and beautiful Bontebok antelope and other small buck species can be seen at the Bontebok National Park. This park is only 6km out of Swellendam. A total of 126 different bird species have also been identified here. There is a charming caravan park on the banks of the Breede River where they also have fully equipped chalets for hire and where day visitors are welcome to swim, fish or picnic.

Other than hiking the adventurous at heart can also enjoy a day or two off river rafting. The Breede River rafting adventure is about a 2.5hour drive from Cape Town. On this adventure you will enjoy your days paddling in two-man Mohawk canoes in the tranquil waters of the Breede and your nights socializing around a campfire. The Up the Creek Camp is situated near Swellendam on a hill side overlooking the river where the accommodation is A-frame chalets or 3 ox-wagons. This accommodation includes comfortable beds with linen and Duvets. All in all, this adventure will be well worth a try and is ideal for a family to enjoy together.

Youngberry tasting can be done at the Buffeljags Dam. This cultivated wild berry was imported to South Africa in 1939 by Prof OSH Reinecke. The industry is sadly declining because of endless problems associated with wind and rain damage or to much heat, pest attacks and insufficient labor during the peak harvesting period from mid – November to early December. Today over 90% of the total annual crop of just over 600 tons is produced by farmers in the Swellendam area. On your visit to the Hermitage Liqueur Farm just 3km out of town you can sample some of the liqueur made from youngberries. Other Youngberry products are also for sale here.

Local artists like the potter Jan du Toit’s vases are famous, visit him and other artists in the town.

Other activities that Swellendam has to offer include:

* 4×4 Mountain Experience: Marloth Nature Reserve

* Canoe the Breede River

* Sunset Cruises on a kitted-out double-decker wooden raft

* Buffeljachts Dam for Water sports

* Horse Trails

* White water raft the Breede River

* Waterskiing

* Several well-known artists have settled in Swellendam and their studios may be visited

* Pop into the Sulina Faerie Sanctuary: Magical Faerie display & garden

* Cruise down the Breede River on a double-decker river boat – “Pot se Vlot”

* Motor glider flights

As you can see Swellendam is well worth a visit. Come and enjoy a few days of relaxation in our beautiful town while we pamper your every need.

Vacationing in a country that bridges the great continental land masses of Europe and Asia can be unforgettable. Most tourists vacationing in Turkey often go back there to savor the flavors again. Surrounded by sea on three sides and its capital Istanbul resting on the Bosphorus Strait, the magnificent view of the sea on either side is simply beautiful and breathtaking. Istanbul was the capital of the Ottoman Empire for a few hundred historical years.

Turkey integrates an internal body of water also known as the Marmara Sea. Located in North-West Turkey, the Uludag Mountain is one of the most well known ski resorts in the area. The coast line of South-Western Turkey on the Aegean Sea, also known as the Turkish Riviera is home to Izmir, the largest city in Turkey. The Turkish Riviera houses many modern styled holiday resorts like Kusadasi and Bodrum.

The most important historic attraction of Turkey is the remnants of Troy that can be found along the northern and central areas of Aegean region. One can see 9 Troys that were built over different periods on top of the previous ones. As all of us know, the very popular and famous historical love story of beautiful Helen and Paris of Troy had caused wars in this region in ancient times. As a reminder of the Troy war lies herein in the form of a replica horse that was used as the final strategy to culminate the war.

Ephesus, also known as the Asia Minor in the Roman times is still evident in this region. The wonderful library that still stands along with the enormous open-air entertainment theatre and the ancient houses alongside the harbor attract great many vacationers year after year and remind us of the civilization that flourished once upon a time. Another important site to visit is the last house of Virgin Mary situated on Bulbul Dagi near Ephesus. This holy shrine attracts thousands of Christians and Muslims yearly. Not far from here is the grave of St. John the Evangelist who is said to have come to Ephesus with St. Mary in her last years.

Vacationers coming to Turkey, especially the ones who return year after year have an option to cut their costs by avoiding expensive hotels and using vacation rentals in the form a Turkey villa, condo, farmhouse, cottage, apartment, hotel or even a Turkish castle as per their needs and requirements. Many Turkish people love to rent out their regular apartments, villas, cottages or condos on a weekly basis due to their basic need of finances.

Many of these vacation rental options come with staff and are available in near proximity to major tourist attractions across Turkey. Moreover, after the new laws of the government has enabled foreign investors to invest in Turkish real estate, making the vacation rentals more popular and available. As a regular vacationer to Turkey, one may contemplate buying a condo or a villa there and renting it out to other vacationers when they do not need it. Added to these new laws, Turkey’s progress on the issue of its adaptation into the E.U is being speeded up due to the government’s efforts to improve living standard. This is contributing further to the tourism industry by making available more and more foreign owned vacation rentals.

Turkey is evolving and is set to get expensive. Plan your vacation to Turkey today..!

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