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: Soft Drugs, Smart Drugs, Paraphernalia

Thanks to the tolerant attitude of the Dutch, soft drugs (marijuana and hashish) are everywhere and can be purchased at any one of over 400 coffeeshops.  See our Dutch Coffeeshop Scene for more info.  In addition all over town are smart shops that sell magic mushrooms, and herbal ecstacy type products.  If you're looking for these sorts of soft drugs we recommend a stroll down the Damstraat into the Red Light District.  What ever you do, don't buy anything on the street.  Not only will you get ripped off, you might get sick!  There is no need to buy soft drugs on the street!  And lastly, don't bring any drugs back home, it ain't worth the risk!

Note: From marijuana to mushrooms, bongs to bubble bags or herbal extasy to hemp soda, Amsterdam offers up an amazing array of tempting treats for your psychedelic party.

Posted by on Tuesday, June 19 @ 03:40:40 UTC (17105 reads)
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: Kinky Stuff

You'll find everything you can think of in Amsterdam.  Besides all the porno shops, most of which sell some clothing and accessories, there are specialized fetish shops for those who love leather, spikes, restraints and whatever else you fancy.  If this is your thing they also have clubs and special event nights around Amsterdam where you can dress for the scene. Visit the Real Kinky Forum!

Note: You won't have much trouble finding lots of kinky toys, fetishware, or places to wear it and let it all hang out in Amsterdam.

Posted by on Tuesday, June 19 @ 03:37:42 UTC (15144 reads)
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Jewelry & Ceramics

Amsterdam tourist shops usually have a good selection of ceramics with little colorful canal houses being very popular.  Delftware is of course more expensive.  Be sure to get a certificate of authenticity to guarantee its Delftware.  Diamonds are still cut in Amsterdam as they have been for centuries.  Don't expect any bargains, but you should be able to find a good selection if you visit one of the larger places like Coster Diamonds (free tour), founded in 1840, across from the Rijksmuseum.

Note: From Delftware to Diamonds, Amsterdam has a great assortment of ceramics and jewelry for the discriminating buyer.

Posted by on Tuesday, June 19 @ 03:33:25 UTC (7598 reads)
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: Antiques & Art

The Jordaan has a nice collection of small antique shops, each specializing in a period or region.  It's a pleasant area to stroll (little traffic), and windowshop.  There are also art galleries in the Jordaan, around the Concertgebouw and on the Rokin. If you have more money you might want to attend an auction at Sotheby's or Christie's auction houses. The Melkweg has an eclectic photo gallery worth checking out!

Note: Whether you're looking for something from the "old world" or a breathtakingly modern piece, Amsterdam's art scene is diverse and exciting.

Posted by on Tuesday, June 19 @ 03:29:07 UTC (6082 reads)
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Spain Map and Fact Sheet

Facts about Spain The Kingdom of Spain is known to Spaniards as Espana. The chief of state is King JUAN CARLOS I (since 22 November 1975). His Heir Apparent is Prince FELIPE. The head of the Spanish government at present is President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero a socialist who has changed Spain's poilitical direction. Under Zapatero Spain has now become the most progressive, liberal country in Europe, if not the world. One of his first acts as president was to withdraw Spain's troops from Iraq. Another liberal achievement of Zapatero's government was the legalization of gay marriage, which was strongly opposed by the Catholic church. Espana is a member of the European Union and the European Monetary Union, using the Euro as its official currency. Espana is a co-signer of the so-called Schengen Agreement in Europe, and has relaxed border controls with it’s Euro neighbors, but be prepared to carry the proper identification at all times. Area: 504,782 square kilometers. Includes 19 autonomous communities including Balearic Islands and Canary Islands, and three small Spanish possessions off the coast of Morocco - Islas Chafarinas, Penon de Alhucemas, and Penon de Velez de la Gomera. Population: 40 million estimated as of 2002. Life Expectancy:
female: 82
male: 75 Languages: Castilian Spanish (official) 74%, Catalan/Valencian 17%, Galician 7%, Basque 2% Major Industries: textiles and apparel (including footwear), food and beverages, metals and metal manufacturing, chemical production, shipbuilding, auto manufacturing, machine tools, and of course tourism – with over 40 million visitors per year.

Posted by on Tuesday, April 22 @ 03:54:39 UTC (17153 reads)
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History of London

The Romans founded London in the year 50 AD, and the city burnt to the ground just ten years later when Queen Boudicca from present-day Norfolk led a major anti-Roman rebellion. However, the Romans rebuilt, and administered Britain through this capitol city until AD 410. Then the Dark Ages descended on Britain, and London was mainly in ruins for hundreds of years hence. The scattered Roman survivors clung to hordes of old Roman coins lived in hiding until they died from plague or pestilence. In the 5th century the Anglo-Saxons were in power and rebuilt a city nearby. Christianity arrived around the year 600 AD, and St. Paul’s cathedral was built upon the site of an ancient pagan temple. This was a common method of the church, used to physically supplant themselves in the local community and take charge. In the area of Charing Cross a thriving trading community setup in the 640s, and other areas of London began to be resettled until the Viking invasions of the 800s. It wasn’t until the 900s that London was firmly established as an international city of trade and culture, not to mention the government and church establishments. Since the year 1191 the City of London has held much power, and is still somewhat autonomous to this day. The Lord Mayor is an important position indeed. The Magna Carta of 1215 further expanded the power of the City. From the 13th century, extensive records are available for researchers, into the complex lives of Londoners, at many times the world’s largest and most important capitol city. The Tudor’s brought a bit of class to London with their age of architectural renaissance. Henry VII started the game with a chapel at one end of what is now Westminster Abbey, which ended up being his own mausoleum. Henry VIII, when he wasn’t madly marrying and executing wives, built some notable palaces, including St. James Palace, and enlarged and made Greenwich Palace into a spectacle for the day. From the mid-1500s and during the reign of Elizabeth I, London became a cultural center of the world. Famous for playwrights such as Shakespeare, writers, scientists, poets and just plain radical thinkers all converged on London, the center of the world for centuries. After 1588, and the successful repulsion of the ill-fated Spanish Armada invading fleet, London and Britain became more politically stable and started to look outwards, towards conquering the world. In 1603 the Stuarts came to power and Scots by the cartful started appearing in London. King James I and Charles I introduced city planning and a clean water supply for the first time. In 1649 Charles I was executed and Cromwell and his gang took power. During his reign, the Jews established themselves in London and created a thriving community. In 1665 Charles II had re-established the Monarchy, but the country was in ruins from the Great Plague, 68,000 people died in London that year alone. A year later the great fire of 1666 destroyed most of the city. 4/5ths of the buildings burned, including over 13,000 houses. Not until WWII would London again see such destruction and death. In 1688 King James II fled for his life, and William of Orange and his wife Queen Mary took control of London, and Britain. From this point on all buildings in London were to be built from stone or brick only, and a public works scheme was devised to provide basic services. During the 1760s the last remaining walls and gates to the city of London were demolished, and the Lord Mayor of London had complete power. In the 1770s freedom of the press led to the establishment of many newspapers on Fleet Street. Opulent architecture became common during the 1780s and the wealth and prosperity of London grew as the British Empire flourished around the globe. Achieving naval supremacy over Europe at the Battle of Trafalgar began a long period when the sun never set on the British Empire, as it ruled many colonies completely around the globe until after WWII. During the 1800s the Industrial Revolution further heightened the city’s importance globally, and it became the center of banking and commerce. In 1851 Prince Albert led the nation in celebrating its importance with the “Great Exhibition” under a glass dome in Hyde Park. The era also saw a bounty of culture and scientific learning bursting forth from the universities and colleges in and around London. Modern times arrived at the turn of the 20th century as London was first electrified, then telephones were installed everywhere. Communications and science took off, until two world wars and a worldwide depression turned the entire planet’s fortunes on end. Today London is still an important world capitol and center of banking and culture. The modern skyline of London rivals many other cities, and it is a wonderful place to visit. Here you can enjoy modern times and ancient history all in one block, revel in the royalty of it all, or just listen to the free-thinkers at Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park. There is tremendous variety and life to experience here in London.

Posted by on Friday, January 13 @ 02:12:15 UTC (2416 reads)
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Cornwall is the best of Britain

Cornwall is the best of Britain

And not the inane comedic characters from the BBC show either, this is the real thing.

Cornwall is the southwest tip of England facing the Atlantic Ocean, and guarding the English Channel.

Some of the things to see and do here include the Eden Project, castles ranging from Tintagel on the north, windy shore, to St. Michaels Mount near Penzance.

There are hundreds of wonderful villages to explore, the Cornish coastline is spectacular and wild in spots, and getting out onto the turbulent sea is the favorite pastime of the hardy Cornish folk. Mining drove the economy in times past, and now Cornwall is a favored place to live in the country for the British, and tourists are beginning to discover its charm.

The first settlers arrived some 7,000 years ago and were called strange hill dwellers, hence the name Cornwall from Latin. 2500 years BC copper and gold mining made the area valuable, and many wars were fought over its ownership. Until the 1890s the locals spoke Cornish, and were decidedly different from the rest of the Brits.

Although the Romans held most of Britain around the time of Christ, Cornwall never came under their influence being ruled by the fierce Celts.

Later the Normans conquered the Celts and Britain began to control Cornwall. The first Duke of Cornwall was Edward, the Black Prince, son of Edward III. Thus ensued a lengthy period of centuries of warfare and destruction.

In the 18th century things had settled down somewhat and the invention of the steam engine led to advances in very deep mining. Cornwall’s many mines for lead, tin and copper are deep, and require constant pumping to keep out the ground water.

Now all the mines are closed, and the skilled workers long gone to other continents, and the native fish stocks that kept the coastal villages alive are mostly depleted. Tourism is keeping the place alive, and with good reason. It’s a beautiful place indeed.

From Giants to Piskies Cornwall abounds in folklore, and this is the land of King Arthur and his legends. And, standing stones abound if that is your thing, connect with the cosmic stones in over 90 locations in Cornwall alone.


Martin Trip

Posted by on Thursday, January 12 @ 04:54:07 UTC (2393 reads)
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Holland has the most successful flower industry in the world.  They ship daily by jet to everywhere.  In the spring you can tour the bulbfields south of Haarlem, or visit the beautiful gardens of Keukenhof park, or see the world's biggest flower auction in Aalsmeer, or just stroll through the Bloemenmarkt of Amsterdam.  Whether or not you decide to bring back or ship home tulip bulbs, the displays of flowers in any of these places is beautiful to behold.

Note: Holland is famous for it's tulips, and their flower industry is the world's most successful.

Posted by on Thursday, June 07 @ 08:11:38 UTC (5295 reads)
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Getting Around Paris

Getting around Paris seems daunting at first, but with a little planning you can find your way easily. In fact Paris has much to offer in the assortment of districts or "arrondisements" that comprise the city.

Note: Find out the best ways to get around Paris and what to avoid.

Posted by on Friday, March 22 @ 11:23:05 UTC (10707 reads)
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Believe it or not Holland is one of the cheapest places to buy a car.  Of course you'd want to buy a European model, like a Mercedes to get a good deal.  The population density of Holland and the lack of parking spaces in cities like Amsterdam have forced the Dutch to favor small cars.  You'll see some of the smallest vehicles ever made on the streets of Amsterdam. So if you're looking for something unusual you might find it here.  If you're planning a long drive through Europe you can buy a car in Holland and either sell it or ship it home when you're done.  Each country in the E.U. has different regulations regarding the purchase of cars by tourists.  In some cases you can avoid paying sales tax and registration fees.  Check with the authorities before buying anything since the rules are subject to change.

Note: Looking to buy a car? You'll find an eclectic assortment in Holland, and good prices too!

Posted by on Friday, June 01 @ 08:30:23 UTC (3872 reads)
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