Monday, December 30, 2013

Travel to Sochi, Russia - resort for ski and sea

About Sochi (Сочи)

The first settlers on the territory of Sochi appeared 400-350 thousand years ago in lower Paleolithic age. Founded in 1838 obtained city status in 1896, Sotschi is biggest seaside center of Russia.  Its population in 2010 was 343,334 people.
If you wonder, where Sochi is located in Russia, please have a look at the Sochi map. That Russian resort city is located on the Black sea coast, near the Caucasus Mountains - 270 km (167 miles) from Krasnodar and 1620 km (1006 miles) south of Moscow. The longest city in Russia (150 km / 90 miles) - Greater Sochi - includes four administrative districts: Lazarevsky district, Tsentralny district, Khostinsky district and Adlersky.
With its subtropical climate - hot summers and mild winters, and proximity to the beach as well as mountains, Sochi has attracted vacationers for many years and is a favorite place for recreation of the population of the former Soviet Countries.
Sochi Adler International Airport
"Sochi Adler International Airportby rapidtravelchai is licensed under CC BY 2.0 

2014 Winter Olympics Sochi 

City has been chosen to host the Winter Olympic Games in July 4, 2007 during the IOC Session in Guatemala City, Guatemala. XXII Winter Olympic Games 2014 will be opened on February 7 and will continue until February 23, 2014 in Sochi.Olympic Games in Sochi will be the first Olympics in Russia after the Summer Olympic Games in Moscow in 1980. At the time, Moscow was the capital of the USSR. Except Sochi, some of the races will be held in “Krasnaya Polyana” ski resort.At the end of the Olympic Games the same places will host the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

How to get to Sochi ?

By air

Easiest way to get there is to fly from Moscow (Sheremetyevo airport , Vnukovo airport , Domodedovo airport) to Sochi-Adler Airport. There are regular flights from Moscow and major Russian cities to Sochi , daily. Flight duration is about two hours. You can reach the city from the airport by: 
  •  public transport - you can take the following bus and mini-van lines numbers:
51 - Torgovy center Adler (market)
105 - Forelevoe Hozaistvo (s.Moldovka)
124 - Sochi (railway station)
130 - Forelevoe Hozaistvo (s.Moldovka)
131 - s.Golitsino
135 - Krasnaya Polyana
144 - Dagomys

Check the live schedule of Sochi  bus station timetable .

  • taxi – have in mind, that you have to negotiate the price with the driver before getting into the car. Reasonable prices are about USD 20 to the city, but it’s very likely to change during the time of the Olympics.
In case you need to spend a night near to the airport - try to find your best place among these Adler hotels.

By train

Other option to travel to Sochi is by train from Moscow. It will take about 30 hours and it will cost between USD 100 and USD 200. It’s more comfortable to book a sleeping car if you choose this option. 
There are a couple or railway stations at Sochi, so check here for live timetables of major ones. 

By sea

If you coming from Georgia or Turkey, you can travel to and from Sochi by ferry or hydrofoil, but it’s good first to check availability, because it depends from the season.

Where to stay in Sochi ?


There are plenty of hotels in Sochi, and they are usually more expensive during the summer (May-August), but the winter of 2014 is an exception, because of Winter Olympic Games (February). Early booking is recommended if you plan to visit the Olympics. 

Sochi hotels are located both near the beach and in the mountains, so plan to book your hotel accordingly depending on if you're traveling to Sochi more for the skiing or for swimming and sunshine. Krasnaya polyana (eng. - Red Valley / Red Glade) ski resort is a good option for skiing, for example.

Where to eat in Sochi ?

Restaurants in Sochi provide everything from traditional Russian and Georgian cuisine to hamburgers and pizzas. whether or not you are looking for a pleasant dinner complete with native wine or somewhere fast and attractive, you will not have any problems to find it .

What to do and what to see in Sochi ?

Sochi offers a lot of opportunities for relaxation like nature-focused activities and activities that will appeal to families. Water parks, aquariums, parks, amusement parks, an arboretum, museums as well as shops bars and clubs will help fill time not spent at the beach or ski slopes. You may also visit Stalin's dacha, caves, waterfalls, and a tea plantation. 


Another thing worth visiting is Sochi's sanatoriums - very famous places for relaxation for workers during Soviet times. There you will enjoy medical treatments, fitness programs, and leisure activities or with other words - all-inclusive spa.



Thursday, December 19, 2013

Dubai, UAE – hot tourists destination for the cold winter holidays

Dubai is one amongst the seven emirates that structure the United Arab Emirates. It's rather like associate freelance city-state and is that the hottest and progressive emirate within the UAE, developing at an incredible pace within the traveler and trade sectors particularly.
Dubai skyline
Dubai skyline
A relatively new traveler destination, city was gaining quality in recent years. It is actually a desert town with very good infrastructure, liberal policies (by regional standards), that became standard for its wonderful traveler amenities. Dubai’s location makes it an excellent short break for searching, partying, sunbathing, fine feeding, sporting events, and even a number of sinful pleasures. it's a town of superlatives: for the quickest, biggest, tallest, largest and highest. it's the most important migrant population within the world.
Recently urban center won the bid to host Expo 2020, a Universal scale Registered Exposition approved by the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE), Paris. If you plan to spend a week at Dubai, I'll suggest you: 

7 places to visit in Dubai.

  • Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa – the tallest building within the world identifies metropolis because the centerpiece of traveler attractions found obscurity within the world.

Placed in Downtown metropolis, the pyramid-shaped building is home to the distinguished Armani building and its 900 residences are occupied by solely few of the élite. Even the company offices open doors to entrepreneurs celebrated to own a protracted business history. Another fascinating facts regarding the Burj Khalifa includes its height at 828 m. / 2,722 ft (163 flors), the observation deck is at 124 floor (452 m /1,483 ft).
Burj Khalifa Dubai
Burj Khalifa Dubai


Atlantis Resort stationed on the crescent of Palm Jumeirah is luxury and happiness personified. Be it families, couples or single travelers, there’s one thing for everybody at the imaginary place resort. Even children have plenty of fun at the Marine and Water Park with umpteen activities to heighten their feelings of fun and happiness. Dining, Shopping, Nightclub, Pools, Beaches, Fitness Center, Business Conference room; you name it and its offered to you at the imaginary place, similar to Aladdin’s jinni.
Atlantis The Palm Hotel & Resort
Atlantis The Palm Hotel & Resort


Dubai boasts one of the biggest retail gold markets within the world. You will find everything from ingots to elaborately worked jewelry at discount costs. The street-front stores aspect alleys of smaller outlets with scintillate show windows.
Gold souk
Gold souk


The slender lanes of the spice open-air market area unit scented with cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, incense, edible fruit and loco. The spices are sold-out straight out of open sacks that surround the search keepers.
Deira Spice open-air market
Deira Spice open-air market


This is a formidable landmark, a 5 star Hotel (unofficially referred to as the worlds solely seven star hotel) that is made on a man-made island, with a sail-shaped build reaching out at 321m. It's definitely a rare building with very good interior decoration, as well as a Skyview bar with superb views.
Burj Al Arab
Burj Al Arab

  • Madinat Jumeirah the Arabian Resort

A luxurious five star resort in metropolis and is additionally the biggest resort within the emirate, spreading across over forty hectares of landscapes and gardens. It's designed to tally a standard Arabian city. The resort includes 2 hotels (Al Qasr and Mina A'Salam) and a court of twenty nine summer homes known as Dar Al Masyaf. The resort has over forty restaurants and bars. It is located right next to, Burj Al Arab  and Wild Wadi Water Park.  It takes about thirty minute drive from metropolis International airdrome in non-peak traffic.
Madinat Jumeirah the Arabian Resort
Madinat Jumeirah the Arabian Resort


You will find at Wild Wadi Water Park  a heated/cooled wave pool, multiple water slides and 2 artificial surfboarding machines. Additionally, the park had the biggest water slide, however recently it had been removed to create house for 2 alternative rides . Another feature of the park is associate degree eighteen m (59 ft) body of water that burst each 10 minutes. The water park conjointly has 2 gift retailers, 3 restaurants and 2 snack stands.
Wild Wadi Water Park
Wild Wadi Water Park


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sofia is ready for Christmas and New Year's celebrations

I had a chance to walk around Sofia downtown these days and I was happy to see that the city is well decorated with the Christmas symbols – Christmas trees and shining lights. Especially some of the big buildings like banks, shopping centers and hotels attract me with its decorations.
Sofia downtown
Sofia downtown

Location of Sofia Christmas market

I‘d like to share some pictures (sorry for the poor quality, but it seems to be that smart phones are not the best decisions for night shots) and information about a place I found (exactly here) , that turned out to be the Sofia Christmas Market.  It is located at the city garden, right next the Bulgarian National Theatre “Ivan Vazov”. I don’t why, but It makes me feel like I’m in Austria or Germany, may be because there were signs “Weihnachtsmarkt”. 

Weihnachtsmarkt Sofia
Weihnachtsmarkt Sofia

The market offers:

 Christmas food - different type of sausages, just like Austrian’s and German’s “Wurst”, pastry and candies; hot wine (Glühwein) and punch; Christmas souvenirs and children's shows with Santa. 

Sofia Christmas market
Sofia Christmas market

Sofia Christmas market
Sofia Christmas market

Sofia Christmas market
Sofia Christmas market

Sofia Christmas market and Santa Claus
Sofia Christmas market and Santa Claus
Christmas tree in one of Sofia's shopping centers
Christmas tree in one of Sofia's shopping centers
Particularly impressed me the candles making workshop, which was real fun for the children.



Friday, December 13, 2013

Alberto Tomba and Marc Ghirardelli open ski season at Bansko

Five ski legends are guests to the official opening of the ski season in Bulgarian resort Bansko, located at Pirin Mountain.
  • Alberto Tomba – three times Olympic and double world champion in alpine skiing. Alberto gave his name one of the resort’s ski slopes, which is called - TOMBA ; 
  • Marc Ghirardelli - the only five times winner of the Big Crystal Globe in alpine skiing , who is also honorary citizen of Bansko; 

Foto: facebook
  •         Luc Alphand - winner of the overall World Cup title in 1997. One of the biggest names in the French Alpine skiing, has become a real phenomenon in the sport after the 2006 winning in the most serious car race in the world - "Dakar Rally ";
  •         Jure Košir - Slovenian alpine skier, which has 15 seasons in the World Cup with three wins and 20 podiums;
  •         Peter Popangelov - Bulgarian all time number 1 alpine skier.
    An unique opportunity opens for the most ambitious skiers -  to compete with these five legends  in  "beat the champions"  game .

    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

    The Rainbow Sheikh and the Emirates National Auto Museum

    I spent half a day to visit the Emirates National Auto Museum (ENAM) and now I can definitely say that this is one of the places in the UAE, which are worth seeing. And it’s not because there aren’t many auto museums around the world, but because the exhibits of this museum were private collection of HH Sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan , also known as “Rainbow Sheikh”. The collection is one of the largest of the world.

    Emirates National Auto Museum entrance and Mercedes monster truck
    Emirates National Auto Museum entrance and Mercedes monster truck

    How to get there.

    The museum is located 70 km. / 43 miles away from Abu Dhabi (Corniche Rd) on the E65 road to Liwa Oasis and it takes about 40-50 minutes driving. Explore the map to find Auto museum location.
    The road to Emirates National Auto Museum
    The road to Emirates National Auto Museum
    You can buy tickets at the entrance of the pyramid in which is the museum. Nobody offered us a guide to take us around the museum and frankly, the people who stood at the entrance were not very talkative. The admission price is AED 50 (USD 13.61).

    What to see.

    The first strange thing that you’ll see is the giant Land Rover (4:1 scale), which as I heard has been a cafeteria in the near past.
    Giant Land Rover (4:1 scale)
    Giant Land Rover (4:1 scale)
    Around the museum there are two giant caravans. One looks like globe and the other one is the world largest two wheel caravan. With its length of 20 m. , width of 12 m. , height of 12 m. , 8 bedrooms & bathrooms and 4 garages, the caravan is in the Guinness book of records.
    Giant globe shaped two wheel caravan
    Giant globe shaped two wheel caravan
    Guinness - world largest two wheel caravan
    Guinness - world largest two wheel caravan 
    You will also see the world largest Willys WW2 Jeep (4:1 scale), the access to which was closed for some reasons, so I don’t have the opportunity to make closer shots. Right next to it , there is an airplane also.
    World largest Willys WW2 Jeep (4:1 scale)
    World largest Willys WW2 Jeep (4:1 scale)
    Emirates National Auto Museum - refreshment
    Emirates National Auto Museum - refreshment

    ENAM’s collection comprises of cars from entire world. 

    Gold plated elements Mercedes
    Gold plated elements Mercedes 
    You will see American, German, Japanese, cars made in UAE and other vehicles, some of them even produced in the last century. Many of the cars are rainbow coloured or have a rainbow logo painted on them and have been customized to meet Sheikh’s requirements.
    Rainbow color painted Mercedes Benz 500 SELs
    Rainbow color painted Mercedes Benz 500 SELs
     The most memorable exhibits are: 1885 three-wheeler Mercedes; a huge red truck - replica of a classic Dodge Power Wagon, whose tires are 2.5-meters in diameter ; 8x8 - eight-wheeled Nisan Patrol; 7 Mercedes Benz 500 SELs - painted one rainbow colour for each day of the week and equipped with refrigerators and TV; Rolls Royce Pantome 6 Silver Cloud III, used by HH Queen Elizabeth II, during her visit to Dubai in 1979; 1928 Ford T; some prototypes and military vehicles.
    1885 three-wheeler Mercedes
    1885 three-wheeler Mercedes
    1928 Ford T
    1885 three-wheeler Mercedes
    Disco car
    8x8 Nissan Patrol
    8x8 Nissan Patrol
    Giant Dodge truck
    Giant Dodge truck
    Rolls Royce Pantone 6 Silver cloud
    Rolls Royce Pantone 6 Silver cloud

    Here is a list of some of the vehicles I managed to record:
    Mini Cooper 1972, Italy
    Mercedes SL500, 1984
    Mini Cooper 1997, Germany
    Porsche Boxster,1996
    Mini sport 1988, UK
    Endurance 1998, Japan
    Mini Cooper 2002, UK
    The Giant Dodge
    Fiat 500
    Chevrolet Fleetline 1942
    Citroen 2VC6 1990, France
    Mercury 1984
    Volkswagen Beetle 1991, Mexico
    Buick Super, 1956
    Volkswagen 1975, UAE
    Dodge Viper, 1996
    Trabant
    Ford Thunderbird, 1964
    Smart
    Pontiac Trans AM 1972, 1074
    Erad Junior 1963, Italy
    Nissan Datsun 1977, Japan
    Me Baily 1963, Japan
    Maserati Shamal 1991, Italy
    Ford Ka
    Ford Fairline 1955
    Ford T, 1928
    Rolls Royce Pantom 6, Silver Cloud
    Nissan Patrol 8x8 2010, Japan, Modified in UAE
    Trucks
    Cadillac and other American limousines
    American limousenes
    Rolls Royce Corniche 1984, UK
    Mercedes, 1885
    Nissan 1980, UAE
    Mercedes, different models
    Mercedes S500, 2001
    Rainbow Mersedes 500 SELs
    Mercedes SE280, 1967
    SUVs
    Military Hammers






    Tuesday, December 3, 2013

    Bulgarian ski season 2013-2014



    Only a few days remain until the opening of the ski season 2013-2014 in Bulgaria.

    If you are curious to know when the official 2013-2014 ski season openings of the major Bulgarian ski resorts will be and what ski pass prices to expect, just read the post below.






    Ski Bulgaria

    Borovets
    The oldest Bulgarian ski resort is situated on the northern slopes of Rila Mountain at the attitude of 1350 m. 1350 m. / 4429 ft. (route from Sofia)

    • Official ski season opening : 

    Saturday, Dec 14

    • Ski passes prices:



        15.12.2013-14.03.2014
        15.03.2014-15.04.2014
        Half day adults
        30 BGN / 15 €
        22 BGN / 11 €
        Half day children
        20 BGN / 10 €
        14 BGN / 7 €
        1 day adults
        55 BGN / 28 €
        44 BGN / 22.5 €
        1 day children
        33 BGN / 17 €
        27 BGN / 14 €
        3 days adults
        155 BGN / 79 €
        123 BGN / 63 €
        3 days children
        82 BGN / 42 €
        66 BGN / 34 €
        6 days adults
        290 BGN / 148 €
        229 BGN / 117 €
        6 days children
        161 BGN / 82 €
        129 BGN / 66 €
        Night Skiing  adults
        22 BGN / 11 €
        18 BGN / 9 €
        Night Skiing  children
        13 BGN / 7 €
        11 BGN / 6 €

        • Lifts working hours:

        Day skiing:  -  generally 8:30-16:30, but check working hours for every lift for details
        Half day: - from 12:01
        Night skiing:  18:00 – 21:30



        Read this post to find out more about Borovets !


        Pamporovo

        Picturesque ski resort, situated in Rhodope Mountains at the attitude of 1620 m. / 5314 ft. (route from Sofia)

        • Official ski season opening: 

        Saturday, Dec 07

        • Ski passes prices:



          Adults
          Children
          Half day
          38 BGN / 19.5
          24 BGN / 12
          1 day
          53 BGN / 27
          32 BGN / 16
          2 days
          103 BGN / 52
          56 BGN / 29
          3 days
          149 BGN / 75
          83 BGN / 42
          4 days
          195 BGN / 98
          108 BGN / 55
          5 days
          238 BGN / 122
          133 BGN / 68
          6 days
          280 BGN / 143
          156 BGN / 80
          7 days
          326 BGN / 167
          182 BGN / 93
          8 days
          373 BGN / 191
          208 BGN / 106
          9 days
          401 BGN / 205
          220 BGN / 112
          13 days
          578 BGN / 296
          318 BGN / 163



          Night Skiing 
          18 BGN / 9
          10 BGN / 5

          • Lifts working hours:


          Day skiing:  -   9:00 -16:30
          Half day: -  9:00 -12:30 or 12:30 -16:30
          Night skiing:  17:30 – 22:00



           Read this post to find out more about Pamporovo !


          Vitosha

          Vitosha mountain is very good opportunity for skiing for residents and guests of the Bulgarian capital – Sofia. You can reach the ski area for less than an hour, because the distance to downtown Sofia is about 20 km./ 12.5 miles. The attitude of Aleko ski area (map) is 1800 m. / 5900 ft.

          • Official ski season opening:

           It depends from the snowfall, but it’s expected to happen in the middle of December

          • Ski passes prices:

          Adults
          Pupils, Students
          Children up to 12 years
          Half day
          22 BGN / 11
          18 BGN / 9
          16 BGN / 8
          1 day
          35 BGN / 18
          28 BGN / 14
          21 BGN / 11
          2 days
          64 BGN / 33
          51 BGN / 26
          39 BGN / 20
          3 days
          95 BGN / 49
          76 BGN / 39
          57 BGN / 29
          4 days
          118 BGN / 60
          94 BGN / 48
          70 BGN / 36
          5 days
          132 BGN / 68
          106 BGN / 54
          79 BGN / 40
          6 days
          147 BGN / 75
          117 BGN / 60
          88 BGN / 45




          Night Skiing 
          22 BGN / 11
          22 BGN / 11
          22 BGN / 11


          • Lifts working hours:


          Day skiing:  -   9:00 -16:30 (Gondola lift "Simeonovo-Aleko" opens at 8:30)
          Half day: -  9:00 -12:30 or 12:30 -16:30
          Night skiing:  18:30 – 22:00



            Bansko

            Bansko is a Bulgarian town, which is located at the feet of the Pirin mountain at the attitude of 925 m./ 3035 ft. The highest point of the ski area is at 2560 m. / 8400 ft.

            • Official ski season opening:

              Saturday, Dec 14
            Alberto Tomba and other ski legends will be special guests to Bansko and will give the season start.

            • Ski passes prices:

            Adults
            Pupils, Students
            Children up to 12 years
            1 day
            58 BGN / 30
            52 BGN / 27
            40 BGN / 20
            2 days
            112 BGN / 57
            101 BGN / 52
            78 BGN / 40
            Half day
            48 BGN / 25
            43 BGN / 22
            34 BGN / 17


            Half day: - after 12:30