The following books are available through our affiliation with Amazon.com. These are the best books currently available.
Travel Guides: Amsterdam by Robin Pascoe, Christopher Catling, Deni
superb guide to Amsterdam has splendid illustrations of the city's architecture
including cut-aways of the most important buildings. Detailed maps,
descriptive reviews of restaurants and hotels, attractions in and around
Amsterdam and walking tours leave no tulip unopened. A joy to behold and
a treasury of information about this wonderful city. Highly recommended.
Out Amsterdam Top
notch guide to the good life in the city by locals. Eating, drinking,
dining, smoking, it's all covered in here. Up-to-date.
Amsterdam: A Traveler's Literary Companion by Manfred Wolf (Editor)
Amsterdam is a very inspiring place for authors as this book attests. It contains twenty fascinating stories about Amsterdam divided into sections like "Red Light District", "Gay Amsterdam", "Canals". The stories are in English, and some have been translated from the Dutch yielding a rare look at Amsterdam by Amsterdammers.
UnDutchables: An Observation of the Netherlands; Its Culture and Its
Inhabitants by Colin White, Laurie Boucke.
Dutch are an unusual bunch, and this hilarious book does a good job of
sorting out their eccentricities. Even the Dutch testify as to its
veracity, once they stop laughing. A must if you're going to spend
more than a few days in Holland.
Lost! : The Cool Guide to Amsterdam - by Joe Pauker.
you've perused our Amsterdam
Site, if you want to know more about Coffeeshops, the Red Light district
and those other cool things to do in Amsterdam this is the book to read.
Rough Guide Amsterdam Like
all the Rough guides, this one is geared towards the independent traveler
and has lots of tips for finding what you need in Amsterdam. Good maps
include sights, bars, hotels, restaurants, clubs, and public transport
Gogh's Van Goghs : Masterpieces from the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
by Richard Kendall, Vincent Van Gogh, John Leighton, Van Gogh Museum
you're a fan of Vincent's work and you haven't got a chance to see his
work at the Van Gogh or Kroller-Muller museum, or when it was on tour,
here's you chance to see the master in his glory.
Lonely Planet Amsterdam Map This
sturdy, waterproof map is all you need to navigate Amsterdam's confusing
maze of streets and canals. Includes the many mass transit options.
Living and Working in Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg
by Beverly Laflamme
Whether you're moving to Holland (or Belgium) permanently or just for awhile, this book has indespensible tips on such subjects as finding a job, legal issues & bureaucracy, finding a place to live, services, money matters, vehicles & driving, shopping and entertainment. If you're unfamiliar with these countries, this book is a must! It will save you tons of hassles and aggravations learning the in and outs of these countries.
Dealing With the Dutch
by Jacob Vossestein
The Dutch are a peculiar people, and it's easy to make wrong assumptions about why they behave the way they do. This excellent book will set you straight about Dutch tolerance, money issues, the role of management in business, competition, social issues and more. There's a lot more going on than meets the eye in Holland, and the author shares his insights, as well as those of many foreigners he's interviewed. Once the stereotypes vanish, you're left with an even more intriguing and complex society than you imagine. A must for business people and anyone hoping to understand the Dutch.
Frank : The Biography by Melissa Muller, Rita Kimber (Translator),
Robert Kimber (Translator), Miep Gies
book includes the missing pages that Anne's father left out of the diary.
The author explores the lives of the family before they went into hiding
as well as the larger historical context.
Diary of Anne Frank : The Critical Edition
by Anne Frank, David Barnouw, Gerrold Van Der Stroom, Arnold J. Pomerans
special edition compares three versions of Anne Frank's diary.
Note:Our selection of alternative Amsterdam travel guides, maps and books about the Dutch.
Posted by on Monday, June 18 @ 04:22:30 UTC (21859 reads) comments? | Score: 0
Holidays for United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for 2006 include:
January 1 New Year's Day
January 2 Bank Holiday
January 27 WWII Genocide Memorial Day
March 1 St. David's Day
March 2 World Book Day
March 17 St. Patrick's Day
April 1 April Fool's Day
April 21 Queen's Birthday (actual date)
April 23 St. George's Day
May 8 V E Day
July 12 Battle of Boyne/Orangemen's Day
July 14 Emmeline Pankhurst Day
July 15 St. Swithin's Day
September 29 Michaelmas
October 31 Halloween
November 5 Bonfire Night (Guy Fawkes Day)
November 11 Remembrance Day
November 30 St. Andrew's Day
December 25 Christmas Day
December 26 Boxing Day
December 31 New Year's Eve
Posted by on Wednesday, November 24 @ 14:09:47 UTC (3394 reads) comments? | Score: 0
Posted by on Sunday, August 18 @ 07:37:56 UTC (7594 reads) comments? | Score: 0
: British Pubs
English public houses have a long history and are an essential part of British culture. Pubs can be found everywhere, even in the smallest village, and they tend to be the center of social life for most adult males.
Most pubs have fanciful names, and unique interiors that in many cases are centuries old. Whereas in other countries they try to recreate the British Pub ambiance, here you can experience the real thing. Ancient wood beam ceilings, stone floors, heavy wood furniture, fireplaces, old paintings and antique bric-a-brac give these pubs so much of their country charm and cozy vibe.
Many pubs have beer gardens where you can sit outside in nice weather and relax in a beautiful floral environment. English gardens are legendary and some pubs pride themselves on their gardens.
The wonderfully tasty beers, brown ales, bitters, porters on tap are always a joy to imbibe. Pints are the standard, filled to the top, with no head. And apparently there's no limit on how much the Brits can consume. Unless you're used to drinking till you drop, I'd advise you not to try and keep pace.
Hard cider and whiskey are also popular in pubs. If you're not a big beer drinker you can try a Shandy which is beer mixed with lemonade or ginger beer. Of course other soft drinks and tea or coffee are always available. Pub etiquette requires each person in the group to buy a round at some point, so don't forget your turn!
Then there's Pub food. Once upon a time pub food was based upon the traditional English diet of meat and potatoes. I was amazed at the variety of items and the quality of the food being served in pubs these days. Italian food seems to have found its way onto most pub menus, increasing the choices available. Even a few vegetarian items appear on the list. Some pubs have very talented chefs who specialize in international cuisine. You should keep in mind that Pubs are the main restaurants in most small towns in England, so don't be shy about checking out the menu, you won't be disappointed!
I was surprised to find out that Pubs close around 11pm or earlier in some areas. This seems to cause everyone to gulp down as much beer as they can in the last 20 minutes, which isn't a good idea for those who must then jump in their car and drive home. Even big new supermarkets close down their liquor sections after 11pm, making it impossible to get anything to drink later in the evening. I suppose this is for the good of all, since it prevents people from staying up all night getting too drunk to work the next day. Still it is rather disconcerting if you're coming from a country with more liberal drinking hours.
So don't miss out on this very British of institutions. The English Pub is an experience that others may copy, but can never be authentically duplicated elsewhere.
Posted by on Saturday, August 10 @ 08:58:27 UTC (6315 reads) comments? | | Score: 0
: Eating in England
Food is very important to the travel experience, since you must eat out most of the time. One of the reasons why I hesitated to visit the U.K. before was its infamous cuisine. Why eat such dull pedestrian fare as fish and chips or bangers and mash, when one can indulge in the legendary French or Italian cuisine on the continent?
But noticing the popularity of recent British cooking shows, like the Naked Chef and Ready, Steady, Cook!, I felt at last the Brits had come to appreciate creative cooking and now there would be a much greater variety of fare to choose from when eating out in the U.K.
O.K. so my first meal after landing in Liverpool was fish and chips and I had my first taste of mushy peas. But that was to be the ONLY fish and chips I had during my two week stay! I was pleasantly surprised at the diversity of cuisines now available in the larger cities in England.
Even pub food took me by surprise. It's no longer your typical British fare, athough some traditional items are still featured on many menus especially in the countryside. I found many pubs now employ talented chefs, often trained in foreign lands, like France or Italy. Some pubs even specialize in international cuisines.
The Indian subcontinent's influence on British taste buds has grown over the last century. So it's no surprise that fish and chips have now been supplanted by curries and balties as the most popular British food. Indian takeaways and restaurants can now be found in almost every town in England.
Italian, French and Chinese food have always been popular in England's larger cities, but now even the more exotic Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Mexican, African and middle eastern cuisines are finding their way into the British diet. Asian food in particular is gaining ground as trendy restaurants popup everywhere, especially in London.
Vegetarians have always been welcome in England, as there is a long tradition of prominent vegetarians in their society. But finding vegetarian fare or vegan based menus has always been a challenge outside of a few major cities. But now most restaurants acknowledge the existence of those who prefer not to eat meat, and offer a wider range of veggie selections on their menus. In addition the number of vegetarian restaurants has blossomed, and now they can be found in smaller cities around the isles. I was particularly impressed with the selection of veggie restaurants in Brighton.
One major weak spot in British fare that is changing only slowly is breads. We can thank the British for inventing the "sandwich", but you'd think by now they'd realize there's more than white bread to eat with it. Whole grain breads are starting to appear here and there, but aren't as well established as on the continent. The traditional English "toast" is still made with square pieces of white bread, which now comes in opaque plastic bags so you can't even view it in the markets. And yes, I did see people eating beans on toast and spaghetti on toast, or just plain dry toast. Come on folks, let's try some other breads for a change! I did find some bagels and tortillas at Tesco's. So I guess there's hope after all!
The most exciting food experience I had in England was a visit to Harrod's food courts. If you visit London, this is an absolute must! The incredible displays of food are legendary, with beautiful sculptures highlighting vast quantities of fresh produce, fish, meats and much more. I wish I could've taken pictures to show you, but photography is prohibited in the store. There are various cafes and bars where you can sit and partake of the extraordinary tempting delights prepared to order (quite pricey). I found their bakery to be excellent with a wide selection of reasonably priced tasty treats .
So be prepared to give your taste buds a workout in England. The food IS good to excellent these days. And the variety is amazing. Don't forget your traditional dishes too, as these can be very tasty, if you don't mind the meat and grease.
Posted by on Saturday, August 10 @ 07:15:43 UTC (4349 reads) comments? | | Score: 0
Many European countries are re-evaluating their laws concerning the personal use of soft-drugs. Following the lead of the Netherlands which clearly divides soft drug use (marijuana and hashish) from hard, highly addictive drugs (meth and heroin), Belgium, Spain, Portugal and now the U.K. are decriminalizing and destigmatizing soft drug use.
If Tony Blair's government actually implements the changes scheduled for July 1, 2003, cannabis will become a Class C drug, making the possession of cannabis for personal use subject to confiscation, warnings and fines rather than imprisonment.
The highly successful Brixton experiment, was responsible for the change in attitude, especially among the police. They discovered that by not focusing their efforts on marijuana prosecution the police had much more time to go after hard drug dealing and other criminal activity.
In the meantime, until July 1, 2003, there is a sort of limbo regarding cannabis prosecution. The Blair government has said it would begin phasing in the reduced penalties as soon as the fall of 2002. But there are other issues involved as cannabis activists still aren't satisified with the changes because they don't go far enough.
All over the U.K. activists are attempting to open up Dutch style coffeeshops to cater to the needs of medical marijuana patients as well as serving the demand for quality cannabis among the millions of users in the U.K. The most successful of these attempts has been the Dutch Experience in Stockport, which as of this moment is still open for business, dispensing high quality marijuana to those in need.
This is a very important development as it presages the next phase of cannabis tolerance, which is legal marijuana selling coffeeshops. Unfortunately the conservative elements in the government are tacking on INCREASED penalties for those who distribute cannabis, putting the coffeeshop owners and personnel at greater risk of imprisonment. So public support for these endeavors is very important at this time to show that people prefer buying high quality cannabis in a legal establishment to "dirty", inferior cannabis from street dealers. This is very important for those with medical needs who should only smoke the purest form obtainable.
Which leads us to the real problem with cannabis in Britain. It's called Soap Bar because it comes in cellophane packages that look just like a bar of soap. People seem unsure of what exactly is in this dark "hash", but it certainly isn't good quality hashish. Yet this is what has been flooding the U.K. for years, and it seems everyone is smoking it. Whatever impurities it might contain are certainly cause for concern, not just because you must smoke much more of it to get high, but because those impurities can be very dangerous to the health of smokers.
A small campaign is being waged to make people aware that this Soap Bar is a potentially dangerous rip-off and to get people to boycott buying it. But as it seems to be everywhere and cheap, it continues to thrive in the marketplace.
People are being urged to support any Coffeeshops that open in their area, and purchase their cannabis there. The price might be higher per gram than Soap Bar, but a gram would last four times longer, and get you far higher than Soap Bar can.
It appears that there's a boom in clandestine grow operations all over the country. Small and large grow rooms are now supplying an ever increasing quantity of high quality marijuana. However these people do face increased penalties for growing once the new law takes effect.
It's up to the cannabis users and supporters of Britain to become even more active and vocal especially in their communities if the laws are to change further. The Dutch model is very successful and should be emulated. Yet the government should go further and LEGALIZE growing and possession for personal use. This would remove the criminal element completely from the issue and give people the freedom to choose what they put in their own bodies and help thousands of people who require marijuana to ease their pain and suffering.
LEGALIZE CANNABIS NOW!
Posted by on Saturday, August 10 @ 05:22:18 UTC (4981 reads) comments? | Score: 0
Poland offers some interesting shopping for the traveller. From glittery hi-tech malls in Warsaw, to the ancient markets in Krakow, you will find many interesting trinkets and bargains to take along with you as you journey.
However, if you need any specialty items as birth control products, newer types of medication, or cosmetics, you should bring it along with you, and enough to spare. Especially in the instance of birth control, Poland is a strict Catholic country (where is the Pope from???) and some things are simply unobtainable.
Also in Warsaw, which is now incredibly 'westernized,' one can find anything from Ikea, to Marks & Spencer, in the various malls and shopping areas of the city.
Local products to be found are antiques, hand-embroidered linens, glass or crystalware, leather goods, and of course the outstanding amber jewelry and objects made from this resiney substance. In the city of Warsaw visit the Nowy Swiat and Old town for antiques, and souvenirs.
In Warsaw the Blue City is making waves, because of the diversity of offerings under their blue domed roofs. Here you can shop for a car, entertain the kids in a theme park, eat, drink, and be merry. You can find the Blue City on Al. Jerozolimskie not far from Rondo Zesłańców Syberyjskich (near the Zachodni railway station). There is a tunnel giving access to the mall for people coming along Al. Jerozolimskie both from the city center, and from the Pruszków direction. There is parking available for 3000 cars.
In fact this is just one of literally dozens of malls that are springing up around Warsaw. Here you can go bowling, eat in a nice restaurant, shop, drop off the kids for playtime, and just relax. All in one environments designed to cost you money every step of the way like a good consumer.
List of Warsaw Malls:
Klif, Okapowa St.
Galeria Centrum, Marszafkowska St.
Galeria Mokotow, Woloska St.
Panorama, Witosa St.
Promenada, Ostobramska St., Grochow
Reduta, Jerozolimskie Av.
Reform Plaza, Jerozolimskie Av.
Sadyba Best Mall, Powsinska St., Sadyba
Krakow is far more interesting for the tourists to shop. In the authentic old town square is the amazing Cloth Hall, which we discuss in another article on architecture.
Here in Krakow looks for beautiful displays of amber jewelry, chess boards, pyramids and more. There are many different vendor stalls to explore in the Cloth Hall and adjacent alleyways. It's the closest thing you'll find to a souk in Northern Europe. Beautiful hand-made dolls, amazing lace tableclothes and pieces of lace for God-knows-what purposes and delightful wooden toys for the kids are displayed here.
In the buildings aroind Krakow's old town square are designer shops, and antique stores galore. Here you can find everyone from Gucci to Versace and lots more...
Posted by on Tuesday, January 11 @ 14:18:59 UTC (3902 reads) comments? | Score: 0
There has never been a better time to fly to the U.K. or to travel around the U.K. by air. At this time there are a number of airlines offering cheap fares, vigorously competing to service your travel needs.
Given the relatively poor state of the British Rail system, any alternative for domestic travel will probably be safer, faster and cheaper, and indeed flying around the U.K. has never looked better.
The low-cost companies are now down to EasyJet and RyanAir. They have been buying their smaller rivals and hurting the big international carriers like B.A. and the other European Flag carriers. So now even these top airlines are having to lower their fares drastically to stay alive. Which makes you, the consumer, the king of air travel, for a change. You might even want to reconsider your itinerary given these great values!
On my last trip, for example, I flew out of Amsterdam to Liverpool on EasyJet for 55 Euros one way. That included everything. We were in the air less than 45 minutes, and I was outside the airport in about 20 minutes, baggage in hand.
My return flight from London's Gatwick (check the airports and destinations because each carrier has a different selection), cost more (75 Euros) because I waited until two days before leaving to make the reservation. If I had waited any longer the price would've been even higher, as EasyJet prices tickets according to supply, and thus prices go up as the departure date gets closer.
RyanAir specializes in flights to Ireland and has different destinations in the U.K. and the continent than does EasyJet. So check both airlines out to find which one better suits your itinerary.
The major airlines are now offering roundtrip fares to the U.K. for as low as 99 Euros return! However there's more restrictions such as 3 week advance purchase to get the lowest fare. And of course things may change by the time you read this, so please check the airlines themselves for the latest fare deals.
If you're flying in from the U.S. or other overseas destinations, you options are more expensive for getting to Europe, but once here, you can fly cheaply between the major cities, and lots of minor ones too!
To fly EasyJet you must make reservations online to get the best price. It's about 5 Euros more to make a reservation over the phone. There are some important rules, since they don't issue tickets. You must print out your reservation and bring it with you, otherwise you probably won't be allowed to board.
Also note that these low-cost airlines' fares can't be found at the major travel sites online like Travelocity or Orbit, since they only book thru their own websites.
If you need to book Hotels for your U.K. trip look no further than this website since we list over 300 U.K. hotels and offer special discounts not found thru travel agents. Click here to see our U.K. hotel deals!
Posted by on Friday, August 09 @ 06:58:23 UTC (3470 reads) comments? | Score: 0
Belgium has been a center of the art world for centuries, and the flea markets abound with some amazing finds. Bring a flashlight to look thru dusty stacks of canvases, and a magnifying glass for checking out those ancient sterling silver or gold hallmarks. Generally be prepared to have fun, but you might get dusty and thirsty.
The antiques markets in the area of Place du Grand Sablon are the best, and offer a myriad of objects d’art for visitors on the maze of streets emanating from the square, and in the square itself. Saturdays from 9 am to 5 pm, Sundays 9 am to 1 pm. Famous for antiques from the 1900’s thru the ‘30s and furniture especially.
Daily there is a Flea Market (the Marche aux Puces ) at the Place du Jeu de Balle, near the Palais de Justice. It opens at 7 am and closes around 2 pm, an early-bird type of thing.
Also for fun is the Boulevard de la Woluwe open only on the First Sunday
of every month from 8 am until 1 pm. Then there is the Westland Shopping Center on Sundays from 8 am until 1 pm; and the Auderghem at Place Pinoy, also only on Sundays, but from 7am until 1 pm.
Just imagine what you can find here in Brussels at the Flea Market!
Posted by on Monday, January 03 @ 13:12:55 UTC (4158 reads) comments? | Score: 0