Things to Do In Antigua – Betty’s Hope

One of the more interesting things to do in Antigua is to visit the only restored sugar mill on the island that has working sails, at Betty’s Hope. Antigua was the center of the sugar trade for many years in the seventeenth and early eighteenth century. Slaves were brought to the island to grow and process the sugar that was destined for the tables of the wealthy in Europe. The heavily wooded island was denuded of trees in the pursuit of sugar and nowadays the ruined remains of sugar mills can be seen all around the island. A revolt, planned by Prince Klaas and  precipitated by the awful conditions in which the slaves were kept,  was discovered and forestalled, but slavery did come to an end in the early eighteenth hundreds.

Today, apart from just one restored sugar mill at Betty’s Hope, all the mills are in ruins or have fallen apart completely. Betty’s Hope was a sugar plantation in the centre of the island with two mills and produced more sugar than any other mill on the island. One of the mills was fully restored in the late twentieth century and has working sails and original sugar processing machinery, although not originally from Betty’s Hope. It was run by the Codrington family from the early seventeenth century who introduced some innovative techniques for processing the sugar cane. Helped by the constantly blowing trade winds the mill could produce over five thousand gallons of syrup a year. The sugar syrup was processed into sugar crystals to be sent to Europe and the molasses was used to make the famous Antiguan rum.

There is also a Visitor’s Centre, housed in the old cotton store , with maps, pictures and information on the history of the Codringtons and Betty’s Hope. Here you’ll be able to find out more about the history of sugar in Antigua and how the sugar cane was processed into sugar crystals and rum.

Europe’s Gem – Austria

Austria is a beautiful country and one not often thought of when planning a vacation in Europe. From the ancient, sprawling capital city, Vienna, to quaint Salzburg and off-the-beaten track villages such as Hallstatt, located on the shores of an idyllic alpine lake, there is something for just about everyone to enjoy in Austria.

If it’s culture that you’re interested in, you’ll surely want to begin your Austrian journey in Vienna, home of fantastic architecture and the seat of the Baroque musical movement. Composers like Bach and Mozart spent their days in Vienna, writing symphonies and drinking in cafes along the city’s busy pedestrian thoroughfares. Viennese architecture is one of the high points of a visit here, where buildings range from the grandiose Hofburg Imperial Palace to the looming Gothic St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

On the other side of the country, Salzburg is a quaint town known for its boutique shopping and mountainous scenery. The birthplace of Mozart, you will find no shortage of references to this classical composer in Salzburg, where you can even visit Mozart’s birthplace and explore a museum with his violins and pieces of music. No trip to Salzburg would be complete without a climb up to the impressive Hohensalzburg Fortress. This giant fort is located on a hilltop overlooking Salzburg and is Europe’s largest medieval fortress.

Austria is also an amazing country in which to escape the bustle of city life. With the Alps mountain range running through the country’s western corridor, there is no shortage of outdoor sports and alpine enjoyment to be had here. Pristine lakes are joined by snow-capped peaks that make for amazing hikes during the summer, while winter provides some of the best skiing and snow sports in Europe.

Wine-lovers will also enjoy sampling the finest of Austria’s vintner traditions. Along the Danube River Valley in Upper Austria you can explore tiny, undiscovered wine towns where grapes grow in in rows along the lush riverbanks. After a day’s drive, you’ll certainly want to stop into a heuriger, or wine tavern, to sample some of the local vintages.

Austria is a truly beautiful country and one that many tourists disregard, making it a wonderful vacation destination where you’ll find few crowds, fantastic weather and a plethora of activities to keep just about everyone happy.

San Antonio for All Seasons

Readers of Globe Trott, here’s a new place to take a holiday: San Antonio!

Visiting San Antonio is fun- it’s one of the undiscovered travel destinations. That’s not to say that people don’t visit San Antonio, but if people knew how fantastic it was there would be even more visitors. In future years, more and more international visitors will likely discover the joys of San Antonio.

Once a sleepy town, San Antonio has come a long way. It is the home to several military U.S. Army posts and United States Air Force bases.Many of the soldiers and airmen stationed here have chosen gracious San Antonio as their place of retirement. The lifestyle is so easy and friendly.

Traveling to San Antonio is not difficult. Drive in via the highway, or arrive at the San Antonio airport. Cars are easily rented at the airport.

Once you have your bearings, it’s time to start exploring the town.

What can you do in San Antonio?

Well, first and foremost, you must eat! Mexican food in San Antonio totally rocks. Drive up to any cafe, and you will probably be delighted. I would recommend Chicken Fajitas or Beef Fajitas. These dishes cost a bit more because of all the meat, but wow, are they good.

Visiting The Alamo is an important stop. This is a part of Texas history, and of American history, so take a tour. In addition, don’t forget to have a photograph taken in front. (I should stress that you should pack your home electronics carefully before leaving home, so that things like MP3s, DVD players, and digital cameras are not forgotten.)

The Riverwalk is a fine place to book your hotel, or to simply explore during the day. Hotel rates with a river view can be quite pricey, but if you want that memorable experience, then why not save up and spend your money on a r0verview room. Don’t miss the retail shops, large and small.  You’ll find shopping  to be fantastic and you can find some incredible things at delightful prices.

Military museums at places like Fort Sam Houston are quite interesting, and something that most tourists miss. Entering military bases can require some registration as an anti-terrorism measure, so be patient as you go through that process, and be thankful that such measures are in place to protect you.

San Antonio has tourist-friendly weather all of the year. Summers can be humid and hot, so if you prefer milder temperatures, consider visiting in the winter. Whenever you go to visit San Antonio, I am sure you will enjoy your trip.

Lovina, Bali’s Secret Destination

Lovina beach, on the north coast of Bali, Indonesia, is a must-see destination that many tourists never get around to visiting. It’s too bad because chances are the Lovina/Singaraja area of Bali has the more easy-going feel and slower pace that you probably had in mind when you booked your holiday in Bali in the first place. Between the lower prices, friendlier locals, good restaurants in excellent Lovina hotels, one could easily base a Bali vacation on this north coast instead of the hustle and bustle in the south end of the island.

Lovina is a great starting point for day trips to a national park that sits in the northwest corner of Bali.  The coastal road is surprisingly good and it’s a pleasant drive over to the park. Arrive early in the morning for the heat really picks up; you’ll enjoy a short hike through the lush tropical greenery.

Another day trip you can take from Lovina is a visit to the caldera at Kintamani, maybe via the small town of Bedugul. Take a break from the heat of the coastline and get a glimpse of what the island was like decades ago as you drive through small Balinese villages up in these hills.

Restaurants and hotels in Lovina beach have remarkably low prices compared to the south end of the island. The fact is that in some ways this coast resembles rural parts of Java or other Indonesian islands more than it does Bali tourist areas. If you have come for more than just a party and nonstop shopping, you might find it interesting to take a breath and slow down in Lovina. At the very least you’ll enjoy having a hotel room right near the placid Bali Sea, as opposed to having to fight the  heavy traffic and street hawkers in other parts of the island, just to get to your little patch of sand at the beach.

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