Persuade people not to poop in public but dissuade people from visiting India

So the last video I posted had some good reasons to visit Oman. This video will be a bit different.

I’m sure there are lost of good reasons to visit India. This video, however, will probably leave a dark brown stain on many travelers’ view of India as a tourist destination. For context, the webpage poo2loo.com has some numbers about India:

“Daily 620 million Indians are defecating in the open. That’s half the population dumping over 65 million kilos of poo out there every day. If this poo continues to be let loose on us, there will be no escaping the stench of life threatening infections, diseases and epidemics.”

Certainly sounds like a problem. Maybe this video will help persuade people to stop pooping in public. It will definitely hurt India’s tourism marketing efforts.

Seeing Oman: National Geographic Channel World Traveller – Muscat & Nizwa

A friend of mine from Oman recommended this video as a nice snapshot of two cities. The first city they show you is the capital, Muscat. With just over a million people, Muscat seems like a good size. Not as crazy as Seoul (for example), but not too quiet either. I’ve never been to Muscat, but I could already imagine living there.

The second city they show is Nizwa. They say this is the cultural capital of Oman thanks to its rich history. It’s also a good place for shopping. I went to a few souqs in Istanbul, but none of them had cattle so I’m not done yet. The Nizwa souq looks like quite an experience.

Enjoy!

Introduction to Tenerife, Canary Islands: Santa Cruz tour highlights

Please enjoy the following guest submission on the tour highlights of Santa Cruz. All pictures are thumbnails so click to enlarge.

As a blogger, I’ve become a savvy traveller (I tend to think so but reality might be different) and learnt to figure my way round my destinations, embarking on solo tours and expeditions to lesser-known towns because I have a base knowledge of where to go and where to get information but I always think back to when I first started out.
Going on your first trip overseas or visiting a country you know nothing about can be quite intimidating especially when the destination doesn’t speak your home language but luckily most of the popular holiday destinations have friendly people and this is quite prevalent on any of the Canary Islands.

tropical beach wallpaper

The Spanish Square (Plaza De España)

This is usually the starting point for most tours of Santa Cruz, mainly for its laid-back atmosphere. After the plane ride and transfer from the airport, then booking into the hotel and getting settled, I found it a calm transition into being on holiday (I understand why people like stay-cations, the stress of travel can overwhelm). Depending on your arrival time and disposition, you can have a coffee, ice-cream, beer or a mojito in any one of the cafés in the Plaza and take in the sights, sounds and smells of this island capital.

The Market of Our Lady of Africa (Mercado de Nuestra Señora de África)

Although I’ve worked in many countries, I am definitely a trinket hound and typical tourist, I’m sure merchants see me and my money coming a mile away and get all the curios they can out in front of me. And I love it. The market has little shops that sell wine, olive oil, jams and preserves. Stalls sell local art, statues, clothing, beads and other jewellery as well as their fish market and local foods made fresh. I’m used to the loud markets of Tunisia and Turkey but at here, people leave you be to mull around and look at things, there was never any feeling of pressure to buy anything, but me being me, I wanted to buy everything.

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The Almeida Military Barracks (Cuartel De Almeida)

I’ve always been interested in the military history of countries. What they have or don’t have or have but never used illustrates the amount of sacrifice one country has made and what the local people have suffered. You get a unique glimpse at the heart of the people. These barracks were converted into the Regional Military Museum in the early 1940’s and houses two important cannons, the Hercules and the Tiger (El Tigre), most noted for injuring Admiral Horatio Nelson during battle in 1797. The museum also highlights historical cartography, history of the San Cristóbal castle and a display of weapons used during the conquest of Tenerife.

Tenerife-Military-museum (2)

A Guide to Getting There & Back

There are a number of charter flights that connect the islands with mainland Spain as well as most European countries have flights to Tenerife leaving from the main cities at cheap rates. There are also a number of ferry services that run weekly ferries Cádiz, via Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Puerto de Rosario (Fuerteventura) and Arrecife (Lanzarote), departing every Monday at around 3pm.

The island has so much more to offer than the above list, which was in no particular order but it’s up to you to visit the island and see what gems the island has to offer, as well as adopt the Tinerfeños motto of ‘pleasure before business’. I’m positive I’ve forgotten many attractions, so what are your favourite places to visit on the island?

Travel Plan – Sanibel Island itinerary for Spring

You may be thinking of escaping the monotonous daily routine to spend a few days in the sun looking for shells, visiting a wildlife reserve, watching dolphins, or simply enjoying the casual atmosphere of an island not far away. Sanibel Island on the Gulf Coast, about 15 miles across the bridge from Fort Myers, might be just the place with warm days, cool nights, and lots to see and do.

Day One – Arrive mid-afternoon at Southwest Florida International Airport and rent a car to drive to the Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa, about 21 miles. (Avg taxi fare $45.) Guestrooms have modern amenities and private balconies overlooking the waterfront. Enjoy casual or formal dining at any one of five restaurants. After checking in, you could unwind at the spa before dinner at the hotel’s Tarpon Café. Great steaks, pasta, and seafood after 6pm. Prices: $20-$40.
Rates: From $199/dbl. (Packages & promotions available.) Parking: $12/day.

Day Two – Start early!

With a map and directions from the hotel, take the Causeway across the bridge to Sanibel Island, about an 8-minute drive to the Over Easy Café on Periwinkle Way. Extensive menu of traditional American and Mexican breakfasts. Bridge Toll – $6/car. Café Hours: 7am-3pm. Prices: $10-$15.

Drive to the J.N “Ding” Darling Wildlife Rescue Refuge (named after cartoonist Jay Norwood Darling), 6400 acres of the mangrove ecosystem encompassing 1/3 of Sanibel Island. Bring your camera! You can rent a bicycle, or take a guided tour of the nature trails inhabited by vast numbers of migratory birds and wildlife. Free 30-minute naturalist programs and interactive exhibits at the Cross Dike Pavilion or Education Center. Bookstore & gift shop. Kayaks, canoes, fishing bait & licenses available.
Entrance Fee: $5/car, $1/bicycle
Hours: Wildlife Drive, 7am-7:30/8pm. Daily, closed Friday.
Education Center, Jan-Apr, 9-5pm, May-Dec, 9-4pm.
Tours: Tram, Adult – $13, Child – $8. Kayak/Canoe, Adult – $30, Child – $20. Nature & Sea Life, Adult – $23, Child – $15.

Lunch on the patio of the popular Island Cow. The extensive menu includes baked oysters, shrimp won tons, crab, and frickles (fried pickles). Starbucks, beer, and other beverages. Gift shop for Moo Ware. Hours: 7:30am-till closing. Prices: $10-$25.

Spend time this afternoon at the Sanibel Historical Museum, a village of restored historical buildings from the 1500s-1800s including an old schoolhouse, the Rutland “cracker house,” Ms Charlotta’s Tea Room, and Bailey’s General Store.
Hours: Nov-Apr, Wed-Sat, 10am-4pm. May-Aug, 10am-1pm.
Admission: Adults (18+) – $10. Unique items at the Old Village Gift Shop.

Dinner at the Blue Giraffe on Periwinkle Way before returning to the hotel. Try the chicken scarpariello with Italian sausage, peppers, and potatoes, or an order of babyback ribs. Hours: Daily, 9am-9pm. Prices: $15-$30.

Day Three – Seashells by the shore

Have a quick breakfast at the Palm Court Bakery in the hotel, grab your camera and beach gear, and off to Bowman’s Beach at the eastern end of the island. Enjoy sunbathing, swimming, daydreaming, or bird watching. Join the other beachcombers in the “Sanibel Stoop”; looking for shells in the sand is a popular pastime among visitors and locals. Shells are a significant part of the history, economy, and culture of Sanibel Island, where even the streets are named after shells. Picnic tables, grills, bike racks, restrooms. Hours: 7am-7pm. Parking: $2/hr

Time for lunch at Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grill, named after the main character in the novels by the owner Randy Wayne White. Recommended for great atmosphere and delicious food prepared with Caribbean spices and special sauces. Clam chowder, fish tacos, and jumbo shrimp are favorites. If you’re in the mood for an afternoon cocktail, have Doc’s specialty rum mojito. Hours: 7 days, 11am-11pm. Prices: $11-$30.

Visit the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum on Sanibel-Captiva Road, the one museum in the world featuring hundreds of shells in fascinating exhibits and interactive displays. The museum houses the most common shells of the islands and mangroves, 25,000 types of land shells, rare shells, and deep sea mollusks. It is educational, as well, with a children’s learning lab and exhibits explaining the benefits of shells used in medicine. The Raymond Burr exhibit, famous shell collector and philanthropist, is a new addition to the museum. You’ll find apparel, books, jewelry, games, china, and wonderful, unique shell items at the museum store (shellmuseum.org/store).
Hours: Daily, 10am-5pm. Closed New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday, July 4th, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day. Admission: Adults – 17 and up, $9. Youth – 5 to 16, $5, ages 4 and under, Free.

Return to the hotel to relax before dinner at the Courtside Steakhouse (menu & prices were unavailable).

Day Four – Sea Cruise

Early morning stop by the Palm Court before driving to the Marina and an exciting sea cruise onboard the Sanibel Thriller. The 55′ yacht takes you on a narrated tour in the Gulf of Mexico and Pine Island Sound around Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Great opportunity to take pictures of dolphins, wildlife, and the 120-year old lighthouse. Tour (1 -11/2 hrs): Adults – $43, Child – $35. Reservations.

Return to dockside and lunch at Gramma Dot’s Seaside Saloon, winner of the Taste of the Island People’s Choice Award for 7 years (original owner & world traveler Dorothy Stearns.) Dine on fresh seafood, enjoy waterfront activities, and browse at the Marina Ship Store. Hours: Daily,11:30am- 8pm. Prices: $15-$30
Back at the hotel, relax and refresh, while looking forward to dinner tonight at the Sangria Grill. Enjoy excellent sangria made in house by Pepper and “food for the fun of it” by Chef Todd Erling. A variety of international cuisine on both regular and vegetarian menus. Good reviews for this recent addition to Sanibel dining.
Hours: Tues-Sat, 11am-10pm. Sun, 11am-8pm. Closed Monday. Prices: $12 & up.
Day Five – Go Shopping

After breakfast at the Over Easy, it’s time to shop at Periwinkle Place for eclectic gift items, jewelry, clothing, and beach wear at numerous stores including Trader Rick’s, Butterfly Beach, and Peach Republic. Visit Sea Life for unique shell items, and Tiki Jim’s for T-shirts and souvenirs. Have lunch at the Blue Giraffe before returning to the hotel to pack before dinner. Enjoy the beautiful sunset and view from the verandah at Charley’s Cabana Bar. Have a mojito, martini, or other specialty cocktail with an order of tapas or a delicious gourmet flatbread. Prices: $10-$25.

Day Six – Thoughts on leaving. Sanibel is like other islands in many ways with beaches, warm weather, and tropical breezes, yet it holds a different kind of appeal from similar vacation destinations. Besides the fun you’ll have exploring for shells and discovering the culture of Sanibel, you will escape the noisy nightlife, bright lights, and fashion conscious crowds that flock to the usual tourist hotspots in the spring. It is an ideal place to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature and the simpler pleasures of life. In the words of world traveler Arthur Frommer, Sanibel is “an idyllic haven of white-sand beaches.”
Getting There: All major airlines fly into Florida’s Southwest International Airport, many nonstop. Some travelers may prefer driving their own vehicle (or renting one).

Sharon L Slayton

Travel Plan Idea – Spring Break Destination with more than parties – Charleston, South Carolina

Spring Break is just around the corner, and you are probably thinking of going some place warm, affordable, and not far from home. Charleston is not a tropical island in the Caribbean Sea or a resort on the Mexican coast, but it is a great place to visit. With a mild climate, good beaches, beautiful gardens, and interesting historical attractions dating back to Revolutionary and Civil War days, Spring Break in Charleston can be inexpensive and fun.

Day One – Arrive at Charleston International after noon and take the shuttle bus 10 miles to 26 Vendue Range Street (19 Vendue under renovation). Located in the French Quarter on a waterfront park, the Vendue is within walking distance of dining, shopping, and many attractions. Junior and king suites are tastefully done with antique furnishings and artwork. Some guestrooms feature themes based on a specific person or event in Charleston history. The 4-star Vendue Inn offers continental breakfast, afternoon wine and cheese, and evening cookies and milk. Highly recommended for excellent location and friendly staff. Free bicycle rental.
Rates: From $150-$214/dbl. Romance, City & Beach, & Spa Packages available.

Spend the afternoon exploring the 3-story Old Slave and Provost Dungeon nearby. Relive stories of colonists and pirates, traders and slaves, and the Revolutionary War on a narrated tour through this National Historic landmark. Hours: 9-5pm. Last tour 3:30pm. Admission: Adults – $9, Children (ages 7-12) & College Students – $5.

Dinner and live jazz music at the High Cotton, rated 5 stars for outstanding food, wine, and cocktails. Menu features traditional Southern Low Country, fresh seafood, steak, and a few exotic selections. Prices: $20-$40. Hours: Mon-Fri, 5:30-11pm. Sat, 12Noon-11pm. Sun, 9:30am-10pm.

Day Two – Tours & History

The weather is perfect for a carriage ride and harbor tour on your first full day in Charleston. Bring your camera and join the tour at the Old South Carriage Company on Anson Street at 9am. Narrated by a guide in Confederate uniform, the one-hour tour covers 30 blocks of old, pre-Civil War mansions, churches, and gardens.
Hours: Daily, every 20 minutes, no reservations.

After the carriage tour, you can meet the Spirit Line Harbor Tour leaving at 11am from Aquarium Wharf (use the Market/Waterfront downtown shuttle service). This relaxing, educational tour is skillfully narrated and includes Ft Sumter, Battery Point, Castle Pinckney, and the Cooper River Bridge. Snack bar & beer. Not handicap accessible.
Carriage Tour: Adults – $22, Children (4-11) – $15
Carriage Tour & Harbor Cruise: Adults – $35, Children – $24.

Casual lunch at the Brown Dog Deli on Broad Street. Menu of salads, subs, and hotdogs, all under $10. Hours: Mon-Thurs, 11-6pm. Fri&Sat, 11-8pm. Sun, 11-4pm.

This afternoon, visit the Nathaniel Russell House Museum, a carefully restored National Historic landmark built in the prewar architectural style of the Old South. The 3-story “flying staircase,” fine furniture, paintings, and elegant interior of the grand Russell House are definitely worth seeing. Admission: $10
Hours: Mon-Sat, 10-5pm. Sun, 2-5pm. 30-minute tours, last tour 3:30pm.

Enjoy the atmosphere, fun, and music at Tommy Condon’s Irish Pub tonight. Go Irish for dinner with corned beef or shepherd’s pie along with a Tommy Creation of Guinness and Bass beer. Family oriented, indoor or outdoor dining. Prices: $10-$25. Hours: Sun-Thurs, 11am-1am. Dinner till 10pm. Fri&Sat, 11am-2am, Dinner till 11pm.

Day Three – Plantations & Gardens

What to do today? You could go to the beach on Sullivan’s Island or the Isle of Palms, but the beaches during Spring Break will be very crowded (especially Folly’s). Why not visit a historic plantation instead. The fascinating history of the Charleston Tea Plantation on Wadmalaw Island began in the 1700′s and it remains as America’s only tea garden/farm today. Enjoy the 6-hour Island Sip & See Tour on a trolley ride though the beautiful acres of more than 300 varieties of tea with stops at the Irvin House Vineyard and Firefly Distillery. Gift shop. Hours: Tues & Thurs, 9:30am (from the Visitor’s Center)
Tour Price: $52. Includes catered outdoor lunch, tea, and complimentary glasses.

Return to hotel, relax, and refresh before going to A.W. Shuck’s in the City Market for an informal dinner and cold pitcher of beer. Oyster bar, Low Country shrimp boil, or steamed snow crab legs are popular choices. Try peach bourbon bread pudding, a southern favorite, for dessert. Prices: $15-$30. Hours: Sun-Thurs, 11-10pm. Fri & Sat, 11-11pm.

Day Four – Shopping Spree

Begin a busy walking day with breakfast at Toast, highly recommended by visitors to Charleston. Open – 6am. Prices: $10-$15. Head on over to King Street for upscale shopping at the Copper Penny for ladies apparel & jewelry, Berlin’s for sportswear, and Ben Silver’s for men. Stop by the Charleston Crafts Gallery for wonderful handmade items, and go to Christophe’s Artisan Chocolatier-Patisserie for lunch and unique gifts of French chocolate. You’ll find designer and estate jewelry at Croghan’s Jewel Box, and for a glimpse of Gullah (Low Country) culture, go by Gallery Chuma on Meeting Street. Stroll through the open-air City Market for bargain shopping including baskets, candles, candy, and souvenirs.

Return to the hotel with your purchases and enjoy afternoon wine and cheese. For something different to do tonight, have an early dinner at Bocci’s Italian before the 7:30 comedy show at the Dock Street Theater. Bocci’s features seafood, lasagna, chicken, and veal. Hours: Dinner – 4-10pm, 4-11 (Fri&Sat). Lunch – 11am-4pm. Prices: $10-$25.

The famous old Dock Street Theater, destroyed by the Great Fire of 1740, was eventually rebuilt within the Planter’s Hotel and reopened in 1937 with performances year round. Renovated and updated in 2010, the Theater is currently presenting the award-winning comedy “The Foreigner” by Larry Shue. Tickets: Adults – $34.50-$53.50. Seniors – $2 less. Students & active duty military – $10 less.

Day Five – More historical beauty

After breakfast, consider spending the day on a tour through another great, historic plantation, the Middleton Place. You’ll see America’s oldest landscaped gardens, visit the museum housing Middleton family memorabilia from 1740-1880s, and watch craftsmen in the stableyards recreate the activities of an 18th century rice plantation. The Middleton Place gardens are absolutely beautiful with rare plants, flowers, and trees. In addition, there’s a rice mill pond, butterfly lakes, and Arthur Middleton’s tomb, a signer of the Declaration of Independence who lived on the property. Visit the Garden Market & Nursery, have a light lunch, or dine on typical plantation food at the onsite restaurant.
Hours: Noon-3pm. Prices: Avg $15

Spend-a-Day Package (all inclusive): Adults – $55, Students – $44, Children (6-13) – $39
(Note: Other tours available on website.)

Enjoy the ambiance and gourmet cuisine at McCrady’s near the hotel on your last evening in Charleston. Elegant & expensive. Hours: Sun-Thurs, 5-9:30pm. Fri&Sat, 5-10:30pm. Prices: $65 – 4-course meal. A-la-carte also available. Variety of wine and cocktails.

Day Six – Leaving Charleston and its history behind, Spring Break has gone by much too quickly. With lots more to see and do, you are probably thinking about a return visit to this captivating city.

Getting there: Some travelers may prefer to drive to Charleston and avoid the airline hassle, but if time or distance is a problem, most major airlines fly into Charleston International Airport.
(Note: Tours are probably the best option to see Charleston. Information and tickets available at the Visitor’s Center, 375 Meeting Street, 8:30-5pm Daily.)

Sharon L Slayton

Former TSA agent writing book about TSA

It sounds a little like a cliche – a creative writing major (Jason Harrington) gets a job with TSA to pay for school. Then he writes a book about how bad things are at TSA.

Is this a trustworthy source or just the exaggerations of a disgruntled (former) employee? I have no clue but this short article is an interesting read at least.

And if you want more to read about America’s TSA, we have some stuff here.

On the Road for 17,527 Miles

Here’s a funny one: Would you follow the exact route Jack Kerouac took in On the Road?

I loved On the Road (the book, not the movie), but when I look at these directions I think there is no possible way I would ever follow them. Sure, part of me thinks it would be cool to follow Jack Kerouac’s route across America. But part of me would hate that the road trip lacked the improvisation that made On the Road fun and unpredictable.

Anyway, what about you? Would you use these directions for something?

Travel Plan Idea – Spring Break in Savannah, Georgia

It’s springtime in the South and time to get away from the daily grind of going to work in the miserable winter weather which many of us have experienced this year. What better place for fun and relaxation than Savannah in the Spring? We often think of Spring Break as something only the younger crowd enjoys, but in Savannah it can be much more than a wild party scene. You will have a wonderful mini vacation in a milder climate with exciting things to do, numerous good hotels and restaurants, interesting old mansions, and a lot of history.

Day One – Arrive Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport early afternoon and take the courtesy shuttle to the Mansion on Forsyth Park, an exceptional, luxurious boutique hotel in the historic district. The district itself is laid out in multiple squares named after famous people or events in keeping with the original plan made by British General Oglethorpe in 1733. If you’re a pet owner, as are many visitors to Savannah, the Mansion does allow dogs up to 40 lbs ($150 non refundable cleaning fee). Located a short distance from various attractions in the historic district, the interior decor of Italian marble and Venetian columns adds charm and appeal to the Mansion. The hotel offers concierge service and numerous amenities in elegant guestrooms, as well as the Poseidon Spa/fitness center, a rooftop lounge with live entertainment, a wonderful art collection, and the excellent Drayton Restaurant onsite. Restaurant Hours: 7-10am, 11-2pm, 5-10pm. Room Rates: Avg $295/dbl.
Spend the afternoon strolling through the beautiful gardens beneath the hanging Spanish moss on live oaks in Forsyth Park. From the famous cast iron fountain at one end and the Fragrant Garden for the Blind to the various monuments and neighboring Victorian mansions, the Park is one of Savannah’s main attractions. Magnolia Hall/Inn is of particular historical interest as the birthplace of poet laureate Conrad Aiken and temporary residence of author John Berendt, while writing Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Have dinner tonight at Sam Snead’s Oak Grill & Tavern, highly recommended by other travelers. Enjoy a cocktail or a glass of wine in the casual, comfortable atmosphere, visit the various rooms featuring Sam’s golf memorabilia, and choose from a varied selection of appetizers, entrees, and desserts on the menu.
Prices: $20-$30. Hours: Mon-Fri, 11am-11pm, Sat, 5-11pm, Sun, 11-9:30pm.
Mon-Fri Happy Hour – 4:30-6:30pm.

Day Two – Places to Go

After breakfast, join the Old Savannah Tours minibus for a nonstop 3-hour tour through the Victorian District, Thomas Square, the Beech Institute, and Victory Drive. Lunch at Johnny Harris’ restaurant is included in the tour (recommend BBQ and mud pie for dessert).
Prices: Adult – $41, Child – $26. Hours: Mon-Sat, 9-2pm.

Reservations for dinner tonight at Paula Deen’s Lady and Sons’ restaurant, a landmark and tradition in Savannah offering the best in Southern cooking. Stop in at her store next door to find cookware, cookbooks, and other Paula items while waiting for dinner. Menu includes fresh seafood, chicken, and steak pot pies. Try fried green tomatoes or grits with your meal and don’t forget sweet tea. Enjoy a delicious dessert such as banana pudding, peach cobbler, or pecan pie.
Prices: $20-$30/entrees. Lady’s Southern Buffet (all you can eat): $17.99.
Hours: Mon-Fri, 11am-9pm, Sun-11am-5pm.

Day Three – More to Do (see Concierge for map & directions)

Begin a leisurely day with a visit to the Savannah History Museum inside the Visitor’s Center to view artifacts and exhibits from 1733 to the present. The museum houses memorabilia from Native American cultures, the Revolutionary War, Johnny Mercer, and Forrest Gump. Hours: Mon-Fri, 8:30-5pm. Sat-Sun, 9-5pm. Admission: Adults – $5, Children Under 6 Free.

Next stop, the historic Davenport House on Columbia Square built in 1833 and carefully restored for a public museum. The museum houses archaeological artifacts and a collection of ceramics, books, textiles, and household items portraying domestic life in Savannah in the early 1800′s.
Daily Tours. Hours: Mon-Sat, 10-4pm. Sun, 1-4pm. Admission: Adults – $9, Children, 6-17 – $5.

Lunch at the SoHo South Cafe, recommended for nice atmosphere and good, inexpensive food.

Splurge on dinner tonight at The Olde Pink House, next door to the Planter’s Inn on Reynolds Square, an 18th century mansion with outdoor dining and live entertainment in beautiful surroundings. Gourmet menu includes sushi, oysters on the half shell, and lobster, duck, pork, and steak entrees.
Hours: Mon-Sun, 5-10:30pm. (Lunch – Tues-Sat, 11-2:30pm) Prices: $31-$50.

Day Four – Tybee Island

Plan a day in the sun on Tybee Island (weather permitting). Stroll down to the south end pavilion to see the dolphins, visit the Marine Science Center (open 7 days, 10am-5pm), and look for gifts and souvenirs at Seaside Sisters. Fannie’s on the beach is a fun place for lunch.
Shuttle service to/from Tybee Island – $3/pp, one-way. Hours: 7 days,10am, 12 Noon, 2, & 5pm. Last return service – 7pm, Fri & Sat.

Return to the Mansion to rest and dine in tonight with gourmet cuisine at the Drayton.

Day Five – Spend Money

Start the day by going to Narobia’s Grits & Gravy for a hearty Southern style platter of anything you like from French toast, eggs, and grits to sausage, biscuits, and gravy. Inexpensive. Open 7:30am. After a great meal, it’s time to shop. Savannah has the usual malls and large department stores, but it’s more fun to shop for collectibles and unique items at the smaller shops and boutiques in the historic district and the Riverstreet Market Place. One Fish Two Fish has everything from painted furniture and home accessories to apparel, jewelry, and gifts. Look for handmade crafts and original artwork at the Village Craftsman, and visit Paris Market & Brocante on Broughton Street for French items. ShopSCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design) for paintings, photographs, handmade jewelry, and pottery. Go to Iona’s Gallery and Great Finds on Abercorn and Congress for paintings, home decor, and jewelry.

Lunch at Huey’s on the riverfront – have a shrimp or oyster po boy or fried green tomato muffuletta with a slice of praline cheesecake for dessert .
Prices: Sandwiches – $8-$12, Dinner – $14-$30.
Hours: Mon-Thurs, 7am-10pm. Fri-7am-11pm. Sat-8am-11pm & Sun-8am-10pm.

Return to the hotel, put away shopping bags, and relax at the Poseidon Spa before dinner tonight at the popular Pirate House on Broad Street. Highly recommended for excellent food and service, the Pirate House is one of the oldest historic spots in Savannah. The extensive menu includes a variety of appetizers and features large platters of shrimp, oysters, crab, and other seafood, prepared Creole or Southern style. Order a rum cocktail and enjoy the ambiance of the Pirate House.
Prices: $30 or less
Hours: Dinner, 4:30-9:30pm. Lunch, 11am-4pm.

Day Six – Leaving Savannah today, you’ll remember Spring Break this year as a pleasurable fun-filled week (or longer) of experiencing real Southern hospitality and reliving some of the history in one of our nation’s most fascinating cities.

Getting there – Most major airlines fly into Savannah/Hilton Head International, about 7 miles from downtown. Cheap and reasonable airfares available. Driving to Savannah, or renting a car at the airport is another option.

Sharon L Slayton

Sanibel Island, Florida – laid back family vacation spot

If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway spot with no real night life, Sanibel Island may be the place for you.

Beautiful beaches

It’s fun to do some shelling with the kids at Bowman’s Beach. And the water is usually good for swimming (water on the Gulf is often calm but make sure you shuffle your feet in the water because there are stingrays that you might inadvertently step on). A lot of people go out in the morning, until it really starts to heat up (depending on time of year) and then do more indoor-related things until later in the afternoon, when it’s beach time again. Sunset on the beach is great.

Other nature related stuff

Visit Ding Darling for the nature trails. You can also bike or drive through the Ding Darling refuge. Rent a boat and explore around the islands (and see dolphins) if your timing is good.

Fishing

The fishing in Tarpon Bay is terrific. You can hire a guide for a half-day trip and haved a great time. Even non-fishermen often end up enjoying themselves out on the water.

Restaurants

The Island Cow is great with kids. Mucky Duck and bubble room on Captiva. Doc Fords and the Little Lazy which is by the bridge going over to Captiva. Take the boat to Cabbage Key for lunch from Captiva. It is a beautiful ride on the intercoastal waterway. The Mad Hatter right before Captiva is excellent. Doc Ford’s Mojitos are good. Grandma Dots has a very nice grouper.

Watch out for…

If you’re driving just watch the cyclists – many folks rent bikes there and some haven’t been on one in years.

Where to stay

Marriott across the bridge from Sanibel.

Cape Verde honeymoon experience

Guest submission: Last year I ventured to the Cape Verde islands with my beautiful wife to be for our honeymoon. We wanted somewhere remote, far removed from the usual hassle of many traditional holiday destinations. Armed with a few months of research and the convenience of a direct flight route from Manchester, we settled on the island of Sal. The Cape Verde Islands are a 10 island archipelago around 300 miles west of Senegal on the African mainland and 900 miles south of the Canary Islands. They’ve become increasingly popular over the last decade as a tourist destination with many holidaymakers travelling as part of their honeymoon drawn to the islands by their rugged remote natural beauty, world class beaches and new luxury resort developments.

We arrived at Sal International airport (also known as Amílcar Cabral International) mid afternoon and stepped out into the mid-day sun. Two things the islands are noted for, strong winds and barren landscapes, were both in evidence. The airport was very small but relatively new. It didn’t bear much resemblance to a standard European holiday destination arrival and it began to sink in we were in Africa. We knew in advance that Sal was not noted for greenery but had the vista not contained some cars, people and an airport you could be excused for thinking you had just stepped off one of 1070s Viking Landers probes to Mars. A car was waiting for us, pre-booked, and we made our way through a remote dead landscape along a straight apparently newly laid four lane highway to the main tourist town on the island, Santa Maria.

Santa Maria is a small fishing town about 25 kilometres south of the airport. The area is synonymous with the recent growth in Cape Verde tourism and associated development boom. The resort is notable for is beautiful sandy beaches and various watersport activities but before we could visit the beach we had to check into our catered beach villa at Tortuga Beach Resort. This was located just north of Santa Maria town centre further round the coast heading west and was nestled perfectly on the edge of another one of Cape Verde’s endless pristine white beaches. Our stay in the resort for 10 days was serene and most days we spent relaxing on beach sun loungers and most nights watched the sun set from the beach also.

We ate some nights in the resort complex and others made our way into Santa Maria by taxi to eat at one of the local restaurants. Santa Maria is not a mature tourist destination yet and we knew we wouldn’t find a plethora of gourmet restaurants but one we did find and grow to love was La Prive. Hidden away and set around a secret walled garden, it was gem which we returned to on several occasions during our stay. The food was excellent but the outside dining set up in the garden was the perfect setting for romantic dinners during our honeymoon.

During our stay, whilst we wanted to relax as we were on honeymoon, we did enjoy many of the watersport activities on offer in Santa Maria, by learning to windsurf and enjoying some snorkelling. Cape Verde winds are legendary so you can always windsurf whilst choppy seas make surfing possible as well.

All in all we loved our stay in Cape Verde and it made for the perfect honeymoon; no unnecessary travel, completely stress free, great weather and beaches and complete relaxation. We intend to return to Cape Verde as soon as we can and next time want to explore some of the other islands like Sao Vincente and Santo Antao.