Category: Countries

    Best Places To Retire In 2018

    When thinking of retirement, you need financial planning before searching for the perfect country to move to!
    Key points to remember before retirement:

      • You should have a mix of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, Gold and other assets to provide your portfolio growth opportunity throughout retirement
      • Health care costs will likely be higher later in life. Consider options to make sure your needs are covered in retirement.
    • Review any 401(k) accounts you may still have with former employers

    Retirement and lifestyle opportunities overseas been researched by International Living for 38 years, we all love most of the distinations over the years!  The Retirement Index is the most comprehensive and in-depth survey of its kind. This list of best retirement havens in 2018 is not just for retirees, it is for digital nomads or whoever wants to live abroad on a budget.

    How International Living choose these places?

    Their team covers five contents to come up with the index, it reflects the experience of every expat who has contributed to International Living since the publication of our first issue, nearly 38 years ago. The team members moved overseas and immersed themselves in the destinations where they live and learned their lessons the hard way, International living experts are ideally placed to compare, contrast, and bring nuanced insight to the most appealing retirement destinations in the world.

    What are the Best retirement Havens in 2018?

    Peru—Low-Cost Living, Vibrant, and Diverse

    By Steve LePoidevin, IL Peru Correspondent

    number 10 peru

    A climate to suit every taste…1,500 miles of coastline stretching from Ecuador to Chile…centuries-old Spanish colonial cities…hundreds of archaeological sites to explore….and towering mountains to climb and deep canyons to hike. These are just some of the things that have drawn an increasing number of adventurous expats to call Peru home, including me.

    My wife Nancy and I have lived here a year and a half now and love it. We decided to look for a place where we could become permanent residents relatively easily, not too hot and not too cold, inexpensive and absent of a huge expat population. Peru seemed to be a good fit, and it is.

    Spectacular Macho Pichu, Cusco, and the Sacred Valley of the Incas have always been major attractions for tourists but more expats are now heading to this area for long-term stays and retirement. Nights are cool but midday highs can reach the 70s F for much of the year. You can find two-bedroom apartments to rent for as low as $250 per month and couples report monthly expenses of less than $1,000. From renting to eating out, you will be surprised at the high quality of life you can have in Peru with a modest income.

    Head south to the city of Arequipa and you can bask in more than 300 days of sunshine per year. We spent our first year in the southern metropolis of Arequipa and discovered that it has a lot going for it. Less than a two-hour drive from the coast, it is easy to escape to the nearby popular beaches during the peak summer months of January and February. And the food is to die for. Arequipa is renowned for its range of high-quality restaurants, wonderful traditional cuisine, and centuries-old colonial center.

    The capital city of Lima is home to the largest number of expats. They enjoy some of the best restaurants in the world, a large variety of art galleries and museums, a vibrant theatre scene, and the easily accessible international airport. And for anyone breaking into Peru’s business world, Lima is the place to see and be seen.

    Surfers enjoy the year-round waves at seaside towns such as Huanchaco. Located only 15 minutes from Trujillo, the second-largest city in the country, it offers the best of both worlds. Huanchaco has maintained its small fishing town charm despite the annual increase in tourist numbers.

    Although not in the top countries when it comes to public healthcare, Peru has a large network of excellent private clinics and hospitals. A variety of national private insurance companies offer healthcare plans for far less than in the U.S.  Policies are available within individual healthcare networks for as little as $100 per month.

    9. Spain—Romance, History, and Charming Villages

    By Glynna Prentice, IL Editor

    number 9 spain

    For decades, Spain has been a top vacation and retirement destination for Europeans. And today North Americans and others are following their lead… And why not?

    Spain’s miles of beach and warm coastal climate mean there’s plenty of places where you can enjoy a seaside lifestyle, as well as temperate weather, pretty much year-round. The cost of living is one of Europe’s lowest—in many of Spain’s midsized coastal cities, a couple can live comfortably (including rent and private health insurance) for around $2,100 a month. And, of course, it’s true First-World living, with first-rate telecommunications, modern housing and amenities, and superb, widespread public transportation (so you can take the cost of car repairs and insurance right off your budget).

    I love all the cultural amenities that cities offer, and for me, a big plus to Spain is that you can find a good level of cultural amenities—cineplexes, museums, and a music and theater scene—not only in the very large cities, like Madrid and Barcelona, but also in smaller cities. Alicante and San Sebastián.

    Spain covers most of the Iberian Peninsula, from the Pyrenees Mountains right down to the Strait of Gibraltar, looking across at Africa. This gives it a climate that ranges from cool and moist in the northwest (rather like the U.S.’s Pacific Northwest), to hot and dry in the south, where you’ll enjoy sunshine up to 300 days a year.

    But Spain offers more than just great beaches…it is rich in vibrant coastal cities and, between them, scores of charming villages. On Spain’s eastern, Mediterranean coast are popular metropolises like Barcelona and Valencia and the beach resort of Alicante. To the south is Málaga and the Costa del Sol. West of Gibraltar, on Spain’s southern Atlantic coast, are charming coastal villages that have been discovered by Europeans—but that are relatively unknown to North Americans. And if you prefer the cool, green northwest, there is bustling Bilbao, the chic resort (and foodie capital) of San Sebastián, and smaller, sleek Santander.

    My own favorite city for full- or part-time living is Valencia. For me, it combines the best of all worlds. Spain’s third-largest city, it has all the goodies of a metropolis: convenient air and rail connections, major hospitals, universities, and plenty of parks.

    From any coastal destination, you can easily explore Spain’s vast interior, with its romantic, historic cities: the ancient university city of Salamanca, in western Spain; Burgos, with its cathedral; Toledo, Almagro, and other Castilian cities on the central plain; and the Moorish wonders of Granada, Seville, and Córdoba, in southern Andalucía, just to name a few…

    8. Nicaragua—Best Bang-for-Your Buck in Latin America

    By Scott Hed, IL Nicaragua Contributor

    number 8 nicaragua

    If you’re looking for a tropical locale where your dollar will go far, Nicaragua deserves your attention. It’s a country on the up, developing fast, yet still among the most affordable on the IL beat. It’s easy to reach and being in the Central/Mountain time zones, makes it easy to stay in touch with family and friends in North America.

    My wife Nicki and I moved to Nicaragua full-time in 2016, after visiting the country a number of times since 2011. We were seeking a respite from northern winters, with a low cost of living and a bit of adventure. We built a beautiful home just outside of Granada for a fraction of what the cost would have been back in the U.S.
    Similarly, our daily living costs are lower and we’re able to afford luxuries like house and yard help as well as weekly massages.

    Our neighbors Darrell and Amy Bushnell had similar reasons for making the move to the Land of Lakes and Volcanoes more than a decade ago. In their words, “Nicaragua is different enough to be interesting, but not so different as to be bizarre.”

    Nicaragua offers much to do in the way of outdoor activities. You can peer into an active volcano, it has some of the best surfing in the world on its Pacific coast, and I enjoy the game fishing on the Caribbean coast. In the north you’ll find deserted beaches and just a few hours away temperate coffee highlands with hiking trails.

    The larger cities also offer many shopping, entertainment, and dining opportunities that will keep urbanites happy while Nicaragua’s transportation and telecommunications infrastructure continue to improve annually. The highways between major cities are very good as is cell phone and internet coverage.

    There is a large enough expat presence in the country—especially in the more popular destinations of Granada and San Juan del Sur, where many Nicaraguans also are bilingual to varying degrees—which means that in those places, at least, you could get by speaking mostly English, but learning a bit of Spanish will make things easier and more fulfilling.

    To get a sense of expat life in Nicaragua and query those who are already living here, there are a number of Facebook groups you can join. Expats of Nicaragua, Expats of Granada, Expats of Leon, etc. Once in country, there are expat groups and clubs in most places where you can socialize, take up a new hobby, or give back to the community in many ways.

    Daily living expenses in Nicaragua can be very modest, especially if you frequent the local markets for fresh meats and produce. A couple renting in Nicaragua and enjoying meals out several times per week could easily live well on $1,500 per month, and often for much less. Owning our home takes away a major expense, and we consistently spend under $1,000 per month, which includes automotive expenses, groceries, pet food, dining out and entertainment, part-time help around the house, even regular massages.

    7. Portugal—Europe’s Best Retirement Haven

    By Tricia Pimental, IL Portugal Correspondent

    number 7 portugal

    On a tree-lined square in the beach town of Ericeira, I sit at an outdoor café and inhale the aroma wafting from my hot coffee. On the table, butter melts on a torrada, a short stack of toast, fresh from the bakery’s oven. A cool autumn breeze hints of winter, yet the Iberian sun is warm enough for me to shed my sweater. This is the life for me.

    I’ve lived in Portugal for five years, and as IL Portugal Correspondent, I have shared a lot about what makes this country great. Others agree. “It’s the people,” says expat Molly Ashby, who bought an apartment in Lisbon five years ago. “They’re mellow and very receptive to foreigners.”

    Another reason is the affordable lifestyle. My husband Keith and I find we spend about a third of what we did to live in the States. For example, a simple lunch of soup, main course, beverage, dessert, and coffee runs about $10. A taxi start is about $4. Monthly utilities for a two- or three-bedroom apartment average $100 a month. We pay just $1,000 a month for a four-bedroom, four-bathroom home, half an hour from Lisbon.

    Rated the third-safest country in the world in the 2017 Global Peace Index, Portugal is not only secure, but beautiful. “The blue-green water is absolutely fantastic with the sun shining on the sea; it’s as if diamonds are dancing on it,” says Annette Ford Rio, who lives in Cascais, near Lisbon. “The sunrise and sunsets are fabulous.”

    I’ve had personal experiences with the healthcare system, both private as well as public, which offers professional treatment at little or no cost. Does that mean you won’t occasionally encounter some bureaucratic red tape? Of course not. But I certainly did in the States, too.

    If Portugal’s attributes have convinced you to give it a try, here’s a tip: Begin your test drive in the capital. Lisbon is easy to reach, with direct flights from major cities around the world. English is widely spoken and comprehensive train, bus, tram, and taxi offerings make it unnecessary to own a vehicle. The city is a cultural cornucopia, with museums and historical sites like St. George Castle and the nearby Palace of Queluz. Expat organizations like Americans Living in Portugal, International Women in Portugal, and the Royal British Club are ready to help you find your way.

    6. Colombia— Sophisticated and Affordable

    By Nancy Kiernan, IL Colombia Correspondent

    number 6 colombia

    Perfect spring-like weather all year was the first thing that drew me to retire to Medellín, Colombia. I had lived my whole life in the northeast., and I never wanted to see or shovel snow again. While not exactly pioneers, my husband and I are two of the growing number of expats who have discovered that they can live a First-World quality of life in a country that’s only now showing up on fellow retirees’ radar.

    Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world, so you can easily find a climate and environment that suits your taste. If you want hot and tropical, consider retiring to the lovely Caribbean coastal cities of Santa Marta or Cartagena, where crystal-clear water laps against warm, sandy beaches. For those who prefer more temperate climates, then I suggest my adopted mountain city of Medellín, or anywhere in the “coffee triangle” of Pereira, Armenia, and Manizales, where you are surrounded by lush, green mountain scenery.

    Colombia ranks high as a place for healthy living. The great weather allows retirees to enjoy an active, outdoor lifestyle every day of the year. Walking, hiking, horseback riding, swimming, tennis, and even golf will keep your body strong and your spirit young. Pat Turney, a retired nurse from Idaho, refers to Medellín as “a city with a built-in weight management program,” thanks to all the walking she does.

    And then, of course, there are the fresh fruits and vegetables that are locally grown and available year round. I’ve lived in Colombia for over five years, and I still haven´t sampled all the exotic varieties of fruit.  Diego, a semi-retired and self-confessed foodie from the U.S. Midwest, is also impressed with the fresh and healthy food. “I love having fresh tomatoes all year round,” he says.  In the U.S., he was used to waiting until late summer for the bounty, and then eating what he could and canning the rest. “Now I can get fresh vegetables any time of year.”

    As we all reach retirement age, access to high quality but affordable healthcare becomes a front-and-center issue. I was a hospital executive in the U.S., so I know healthcare and understand why Colombia ranks so highly in that category. The World Health Organization (WHO) ranks Colombia #22 out of the 191 countries it reviews for quality of care. That surpasses Canada (#30) and the U.S. (#37). Colombia is home to 22 of the top 43 Latin American hospitals.

    Retirees are discovering they can stretch their retirement dollars, thanks to the low cost of living and the great exchange rate. The Colombian peso has been hovering around 3,000 to the U.S. dollar since late 2015. Monthly rental costs range from about $300 in small towns to $1,500 and more for a penthouse or a sprawling country home. But in many areas of Colombia, a couple’s total cost of living can be $2,000 a month or less. I live in Medellín’s upscale neighborhood of El Poblado for 60% less than it cost me back in Maine. My combined utilities (water, waste, gas, electric, trash removal, cable, internet, home phone) average $94 a month.

    Some of the best things about retiring in Colombia don’t show up on a survey, though. For example, the warm, welcoming Colombian people. As the expression goes, “You don’t meet a Colombian…you meet the entire family!” Here you’ll always feel part of the community.

    Don’t let a lack of Spanish keep you from trying out Colombia. I saw it as an opportunity to learn something new. As word spreads about all that Colombia has to offer, expats are drawn to the metropolitan city of Medellín, especially the neighborhoods of El Poblado, Laureles, and Envigado, as well as to the coastal communities of Santa Marta and Cartagena. A cute two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment in the Castrapol section of El Poblado currently rents for $750 a month, furnished. If you want to put your toes in the sand, a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment, only two blocks back from the beach in the Rodedero section of Santa Marta, goes for $500 a month.

    5. Malaysia—Easy, English-Speaking, and First World

    By Keith Hockton, IL Malaysia Correspondent

    malaysia number 5

    Cities with a buzz, idyllic beaches, islands that seduce the senses and some of the most pristine ancient rainforests in South East Asia—this is Malaysia. And these are just some reasons why I call it home.

    As an ex-colony of Britain, English is widely spoken. Expat clubs have existed since the 1700s, yet still welcome new members. Bang-for-buck Malaysia is hard to beat, for instance it’s joint second in the “Renting” category for a reason. In Kuala Lumpur, a couple can live comfortably on $1,500 a month, or extravagantly on $2,500 a month, including rent. For $700 a month you can rent a 2,195 square-foot, four-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment in Penang on a natural harbor overlooking the Straits of Malacca

    “Between the lower rental costs, lower utilities, and eating out a few days a week, we are looking at a 50% lower cost of living than our home in Canada,” says expat Ellen Ma of the life she and her husband Jim enjoy in Malaysia. Hobbies and pastimes won’t break the bank either: “A round of golf back home was $72, whereas here it’s $30. A tennis pro could cost up to $100 an hour [back home], whereas here it’s $15,” she adds.

    This year, Malaysia topped the “Entertainment and Amenities” category of the Retirement Index, and it’s easy to see why. For starters it’s a gastronomic delight, and the street food here is hands down the best in Asia.

    In Penang, there are street stalls selling Chinese, Malay, and Indian fare that have my mouth watering just thinking about them. My favorite stall specializes in Nasi Lamak. Considered the national dish of Malaysia, the recipe combines dried anchovies, roasted peanuts, and chicken that has been cooked in sambal (a sauce made from chili peppers, shrimp paste, fish sauce, ginger, garlic, and lime juice). This is then added to fragrant rice that has been cooked in coconut milk. Heavenly. A serving rarely costs more than $1.50.

    If white-sand beaches are your dream, you have here more than 878 islands to choose from. I’ve been to scores of them and my favorite two are Layang-Layang and Langkawi Island. Layang-Layang because of its pristine waters and deep drop-offs (great for Scuba divers), and Lankawi for its natural beauty and luxury. Located on the border with Thailand, there are a few established resorts to choose from, not to mention the countless deserted white-sand beaches where you will never see another soul. (Datai Bay is my favorite.)

    Canadians Jacques and Sharon Giraud moved to Penang, sight unseen, just 13 months ago. “Although we hadn’t been to Malaysia, everything that we read made sense,” says Sharon. Jacques continues, “We didn’t consider anywhere else because Malaysia ticked all of our boxes. Why continue searching when the place that we wanted was staring us in the face?”

    As for healthcare, when you compare surgery prices between the U.S. and Malaysia, the benefits are obvious. A knee replacement in Malaysia costs just $4,000 compared to $45,000 or more in the States, while a hip replacement can cost as little as $5,200, versus $39,000 in the U.S. When I tore my anterior cruciate ligament recently, the cost of my excellent care, including consultation with a top surgeon, MRI, surgery, and a private room, came to $2,000. In the U.S., the same would have set me back at least $18,000.

    4. Ecuador—Diverse, Unhurried, and Metropolitan

    By Wendy DeChambeau, IL Ecuador Highlands Correspondent

    number 4 ecuador

    History-filled colonial cities…peaceful mountain villages…lazy coastal towns…cloud forest, nature-filled hot spots… For those looking for a sense of variety in their ultimate destination, Ecuador has it all. Choose a metropolitan lifestyle of luxury, the carefree existence of a sun-worshipping beach dweller, or just about anything in between. And because the country is small (about the area of Nevada), it’s easy to explore all that Ecuador offers.

    Thanks to its many lifestyle options, Ecuador has become a retirement hot spot among North Americans. Most of us live along the Andean corridor or in a few beautiful locales along the Pacific coast.

    With impressive mountain peaks, welcoming locals, and spectacular weather, Cotacachi, in the Andes, is where I chose to make my home six years ago. High altitude keeps temperatures nice and moderate, ranging between the low 50s F and high 70s F all year round. My days of shoveling snow are long gone.

    While I appreciate the natural beauty and the mix of indigenous, Incan, and Spanish culture, one of my favorite benefits is the affordable lifestyle. My family of four lives on approximately $1,200 a month (without rent, as we own our home outright). At Cotacachi’s local produce market, I can load a canvas grocery bag full of fresh fruit and vegetables for $5 to $10. The mild climate means I don’t need to pay for heating or cooling, so my electric bill stays under $18 a month. And there’s no need for me to own a vehicle, since public transportation is everywhere and cheap. A one-hour bus ride costs just $1.50.

    Doug Klaver and his wife Melody came to Ecuador from British Columbia. He says, “Living here allowed us to retire early, with a lifestyle we couldn’t have afforded in Canada. We now have 25 acres of land, chickens, six dogs, a couple of horses, and we’re growing cacao. What’s not to love?”

    Many expats choose to start their Ecuadorian experience in Cuenca. This colonial city of 580,000 is easy to navigate, offers plenty of amenities and entertainment options, and is already home to several thousand North Americans. You’ll find the best of both Latin culture and back-home comforts here. Rentals are plentiful and affordable. Sara Coppler, from Kentucky, is renting a one-bedroom apartment right in the city center. “It’s by the Rotary Market, costs $200 a month, and is semi-furnished. The owner bought new appliances for me, and it has beautiful hardwood floors,” she says.

    Ecuador has changed many lives for the better. Georgia natives Julian and Cassandra McClellan say, “We love Ecuador because we feel truly at peace. We’ve been given the gift of time and an unhurried pace where we can turn to our passions. That’s the most priceless gift ever.”

    3. Panama—Friendly, Welcoming, and Great Benefits

    By Jessica Ramesch, IL Panama Editor

    number 3 panama

    Modern, convenient, and close to the U.S.—not to mention sunny, warm, and welcoming. It’s hardly surprising to me that Panama always does well in IL’s Annual Index. I’ve been living in and writing about Panama for nearly 12 years, and what impresses me most is how this country continues to grow, making it more attractive with each passing year.

    Panama City is a destination for exciting food, beer, jazz, film, golf, tennis, and much more. The lush mountain towns of Panama rank among the best retirement destinations in the world. Our livable, clean, and uncrowded beaches include the popular beach hub of Coronado, the lesser-known gem that is the Pedasí region, and a Caribbean paradise—there is no other word for it—called Bocas del Toro.

    The local people are fun, friendly, and welcoming…and so is the government. That’s why Panama wins out when it comes to benefits for retirees and ease of obtaining residence. Here I pay no income tax on my overseas earnings. The healthcare is top notch, too. The city’s four major private facilities include a technologically advanced Johns Hopkins International affiliate. My dental care is inexpensive, and yet I get the same quality of care I expected back in the States. (And I find it way more personalized…my doctors actually sit and talk to me.)

    Panama City is a world-class capital (one that’s on the water) and comparable to cities in California. Yet you would be hard pressed to live comfortably in a major cosmopolitan city up north for $2,500 a month.

    Leave Panama City and costs are even lower, with expats living well on a monthly $1,500 or less. And we’re talking convenient, idyllic settings—not depressed or remote areas. Power costs can be as low as $40 a month when you don’t need air conditioning or heating. Water and trash collection cost $10 to $25 a month. I know expats who spend as little as $15 on cell phone, $20 on internet, and $150 on outings. Healthcare costs are perhaps the biggest savings, with expats here spending 40% to 75% less than they did back home.

    Expats in Panama report they are overwhelmingly happier and healthier since making the move. Just ask Mike and Deb Lunsford, who moved from Colorado to the lush mountain town of El Valle. They both say they’re healthier than before, with minimal effort. They don’t diet—they go out for pizza and drinks with expats and locals alike.

    But fast food and processed meals aren’t the norm here. Produce tastes better to them, as it’s not full of preservatives. Deb enjoys gardening in the fertile, volcanic soil. Mike makes delicious nanobrews—his latest golden ale is perfect for sipping as you walk around their tree-filled property.

    “It’s an amazing place,” admits Mike. “These days I don’t wear a watch and I barely look at my cell phone. You learn to go with the flow…and a slow flow means a lot less stress.”

    2. Mexico—Convenient, Exotic, First-World Living

    By Glynna Prentice, IL Mexico Editor

    number 2 mexico

    In Mexico’s Colonial Highlands, where I now live, I enjoy sunny, temperate weather basically all year round. A concert ticket costs me $4, a first-run film about the same, and a doctor’s visit about $40. Last week an evening out—drinks and dinner with friends, a symphony performance, and a taxi home—was less than $20, all in.

    When I first moved to Mexico over 10 years ago, I did it for Mexico’s convenient location and low cost of living. (A couple can live here for anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 a month, depending on location—and that includes rent and healthcare.)

    I didn’t even realize the host of other benefits that I’d enjoy. The near-First World lifestyle, for one thing. I don’t mind roughing it on occasion—say, when exploring Mexico’s Maya ruins, deserted beaches, or viewing wildlife in the jungle interior—but I like comfort for day-to-day life. In Mexico, I have that. Fast internet. Free long-distance phone calls worldwide. Plenty of gourmet foods in specialty markets. Cheap air fares on discount airlines to destinations all over the Americas. First-run films (in English). And much more. These are the goodies a huge, developing economy like Mexico’s can offer.

    I have my pick of climates, from tropical beaches (thousands of miles of them) to temperate mountains. I can live in romantic, Spanish-colonial cities…or choose beach lifestyles that range from chic, sophisticated Puerto Vallarta to small, laidback villages on the Yucatán Gulf coast.

    Healthcare is good to excellent, too. You can opt for private healthcare that tends to cost a quarter to a half of U.S. prices (and your doctor may speak excellent English, too). Or, if you have a residence visa, you can sign up for Mexico’s public healthcare, which costs a few hundred dollars a year. If you’re over 60 and are a legal resident, the public system is free.

    But at heart, what I and most other expats love most about Mexico is the vibrant life and culture. Round a corner and you may find a perfect, tranquil plaza where bougainvillea blooms, a lone musician playing a tune, or a local parade of costumed dancers or riders on horseback. “Mexico is my bliss,” says expat Mona Primlani, who lives in the Colonial Highlands. “There are so many things that make me happy here…the comida [food], culture, and colors….”

    Expat Steve Garcia considers himself “privileged to be able to experience culture in a way I never knew before—the music, the arts, the history…”

    Throw in the many colorful traditions, such as the Day of the Dead celebrations, and you have a place that delights and stimulates your senses.

    If you’re looking for your own slice of Mexico to call your own, there are plenty of expat havens where you can live a rich, varied, fulfilling life for pennies on the dollar. In fact, thanks to the current favorable dollar-to-peso exchange rate, Mexico is arguably less expensive today than it was when I moved here, over a decade ago.

    For instance, I recently saw a small, furnished one-bedroom, one-bathroom house in Mérida, capital of the Yucatán Peninsula, renting for $650 a month

    1. Costa Rica—The World’s Best Retirement Haven

    By Jason Holland, IL Roving Latin America Editor

    number 1 costa rica

    North Americans have been flocking to Costa Rica for more than 30 years, attracted by the tropical climate; low cost of living; top-notch, affordable medical care; bargain real estate; and natural beauty.

    I love Costa Rica. You can kick your shoes off on white-sand beaches, hike through lush lowland jungle or mountain cloud forests, and bask in volcanic thermal springs. Rent a furnished two-bedroom home for just $500 a month, buy an ocean-view property for under $200,000, spend $25 in the feria (farmers’ market), and come home with a week’s groceries for a couple….

    No wonder Costa Rica always seems to be on the shortlist. Readers at IL conferences tell me so, and expats I meet as I scout throughout Latin America often tell me, “We seriously considered Costa Rica.”

    In an increasingly uncertain world, Costa Rica is a beacon of dependability. It’s not up-and-coming or edgy or the hot new thing. It has been quietly growing into a model country—a standout in the region. It has a steadily growing economy; dozens of multinationals like Amazon and Microsoft have major operations there. The low crime rate means you can feel safe just about anywhere in the country, day or night. There is a focus on preserving the environment, with 25% of the country’s territory protected. And there is commitment from the government to power the country on solely renewable sources, especially hydroelectric, wind, and geothermal.

    Tens of thousands of U.S. and Canadian expats already live in Costa Rica full- or part-time. And millions have traveled there over the years for beach-resort vacations, surfing, fishing, rain forest treks, and more. There’s a comfort level knowing you don’t have to be a pioneer. Plus, with many Costa Ricans speaking English, it’s pretty easy to navigate as you learn more Spanish.

    That’s not to say Costa Rica is too Americanized. It very much has its own rich culture and distinct way of life. This is expressed in a tradition of hospitality, which makes it very welcoming to expats, as well as a carefree attitude—and unofficial national motto—known as Pura Vida, which roughly translates to “life is good.” It’s an attitude that quickly rubs off on expats. Ticos, as Costa Ricans call themselves, have a live-and-let- live attitude. They value time with family and friends above all else. A strong sense of community exists and with it an emphasis on personal freedom, which appeals to many expats who feel hemmed in by the countless rules and regulations back home.

    You may not know that Costa Rica has no army. It was abolished in 1949, after a brief but bloody civil war traumatized the nation. Since then, it’s had a stable government, a democracy with peaceful elections. The money that would go to the military is used to fund education for all (the literacy rate is 96%) and a solid national healthcare system, which is open to expat residents at a very low cost—averaging about $95 a month per couple. That’s a welcome respite from the spiraling costs in the U.S.

    Good modern healthcare coverage, plus traditional and herbal medicine, natural foods, including abundant fresh fruits and vegetables—you can grow your own, thanks to the fertile soil—and a more active lifestyle (it never gets cold, so you can exercise outdoors year-round) combine to help many expats feel healthier than they have in years. Some have even found relief from chronic conditions. A friend of mine lost 40 pounds simply by deciding not to have a car (which is doable in many communities) and walking in the hills around his Central Valley home. As they built their stamina, he and his wife were inspired to hike the Appalachian Trail, which they recently completed.

    You’ll find that most people are relaxed and low-stress, too. The need for status symbols and the anxiety that comes with the 24/7 news cycle disappears. In Costa Rica, you’ll come to enjoy a healthier body and mind.

    With all these benefits, it’s not surprising that Costa Rica has topped the Happy Planet Index three times.

    For such a small country, Costa Rica also packs a punch when it comes to variety of climates and landscape and the lifestyle that goes with it. You’ll find expats living in the eternal spring climate of the mountainous Central Valley. This is rural and small-town Costa Rica, where expats live in towns like Grecia and Atenas amid coffee plantations and forested hillsides. From their terraces they enjoy coffee from local beans and views of the surrounding countryside.

    Some prefer life at the beach. There are funky beach towns like Tamarindo and Playas del Coco, resorts, and luxury communities on the northern Pacific. Head far south on the Pacific coast, and you discover rain forest-covered mountains, small coastal villages like Ojochal and Dominical, and the wild seaside of the Southern Zone. In the central Pacific you have fun beach communities like Jacó, plus the conveniences of the country’s capital, San José, an hour and a half down the road. The bohemian and undeveloped Caribbean, including towns like Cahuita and Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, may be the most Pura Vida of all places in Costa Rica. You also have Lake Arenal, a highlands region known for a mild climate and rural charms; life on the lake is quiet and peaceful, with a close-knit expat community.

    Expats live well in all these areas, whether they rent or buy. Try two- and three-bedroom homes in good locations with views, starting at $800 per month. One- or two-bedroom condos or apartments—even within a walk to the beach—are $500 and up. Many rentals come fully furnished—completely turnkey. And when you’re ready to buy, you’ll find bargains too, like one-bedroom beach condos for under $50,000. Mountain-view homes in the Central Valley list for under $100,000. It’s very much a buyer’s market in Costa Rica, so prices are negotiable. It also helps that property taxes are just 0.25% of assessed value, a fraction of what’s typical in the U.S.

    It’s true that Costa Rica isn’t the cheapest country on our Index. But it offers excellent bang for your buck. It’s possible for a retired couple to live very comfortably on $2,500 a month in Costa Rica. On this budget, they might eschew the “fancy” grocery store with imported goods in favor of the feria, where they can fill the fridge for the week for $30. Instead of hitting up the tourist restaurants that charge a premium, they might go to local sodas, restaurants serving up hearty Tico fare. But combine those cost-saving measures with the modest expenditures required on healthcare, rental homes, and utilities (no heating costs, and no cooling costs at least in Arenal and the Central Valley) and you can see how a good life can come at a modest price.

    Read The Full Article By: International Living

    Gstaad-Switzerland

    Gstaad

    Bernese Oberland

    The Gstaad-Saanenland holiday region in the Bernese Oberland is popular with a charming mix of visitors: while the chalet village of Gstaad attracts countless stars and starlets the smaller neighbouring villages offer attractive options for families with children.

    Zoom map

     

    In the past years the centre of Gstaad has developed into the most popular and shortest shopping street in Switzerland. With its top hotels, gourmet restaurants, luxury chalets and nearby Saanen airport, the car-free resort of Gstaad is a popular destination for international celebrities. With the neighbouring resorts of Saanen, Rougemont, Schönried, Saanenmöser, Zweisimmen, Gsteig and Lauenen, the Saanenland as a whole however offers a considerably broader spectrum: the nature preserve by idyllic Lake Lauenen with its waterfalls and high moors, the narrow streets in the historic village centre of Saanen, the advantageous situation of Schönried and Saanenmöser for winter sports enthusiasts and the peacefulness of the idyllic mountain village of Abländschen are examples of an extremely diverse holiday region.

    The Saanenland ski and hiking arena with 57 transport facilities has been given the name «Gstaad Mountain Rides». It is accessible from several villages by link transport facilities. The Montreux-Oberland-Railways (MOB) and buses connect Gstaad with other base stations in Saanenmöser, Schönried, Zweisimmen, Gsteig, Reusch, Lauenen Rougemont and Château-d’Oex in the French-speaking neighbouring region of Pays d’Enhaut.

    Summer

    The wide-open countryside of the Saanenland offers a versatile and and diverse sports programme: hiking (trail network of over 300 km), mountain biking, paragliding and golf. On the River Saane there are opportunities for mountain torrent and canoo adventures. Summer cross-country skiing is possible in the «Glacier 3000» ski region. The summer toboggan run in Schönried, a via ferrata and the Lake Lauenen nature paradise are ideal excursion destinations for families.

     

    Winter

    In winter, 220km of pistes at altitudes of up to 3000 metres above sea level await skiers and snowboard riders. Several snowparks and numerous toboggan runs as well as 165km of trails for classic- and skating-style cross-country skiing are at the disposal of visitors. For walkers there are about 200km of winter walking trails. Among the rather more unusal activities on offer there is Bavarian curling in the centre of Gstaad and glacier- and heli-skiing.

    Winter in the smaller resorts in the region, such as Lauenen, means peace and pleasure on long winter walks, while cross-country skiing or taking a ride in a horse-drawn sleigh.

     

    Wellness

    True to its slogan, “come up, slow down”, Gstaad provides a deliberate counterpoint to our increasingly hectic daily lives. The wellness destination of Gstaad guarantees a perfect wellbeing experience thanks to its intact nature, unsurpassed variety of leisure activities, healthy mountain agriculture and international top events. The right pampering programme is provided by five hotels with a publicly accessible and complete wellness infrastructure, eight hotels with a partial wellness offering and a sports centre with indoor swimming pool. The area’s harmonic topography is made up of five valleys. The location between 1,000 and 3,000 metres above sea-level has a positive impact on your wellbeing. Rushing mountain streams, sparkling mountain lakes, forests and gently rolling green hills with a spectacular Alpine backdrop lend the landscape its idyllic charm. Gstaad is also a paradise for fine diners, with more than 100 restaurants ranging from cosy raclette restaurants to acclaimed gourmet temples. Those who are fond of Alpine authenticity will find plenty of options for accommodation in traditional Alpine operations. Gstaad’s car-free promenade and its easily accessible recreation areas complete the overall impression in a pleasant way.

    Highlights

    • Gourmet restaurants – the gourmet’s paradise of Gstaad has no fewer than fifteen renowned restaurants, including the Restaurant Chesery which has been awarded 18 Gault Millau points.
    • Lake Lauenen – idyllic mountain lake you simply have to take a dip in and excursion destination with a restaurant for mountain bikers and walkers.
    • Scooter fun – Wispile-Gstaad or Sparenmoos-Zweisimmen offer fast descents on special scooters.
    • «Golden Pass» panorama railway – journey from Montreux on Lake Geneva via Gstaad to Lake Thun and from there on to Lucerne in Central

    Top Events

    • International Balloon Festival in Châteux-d’Oex – most important Alpine balloon event with about 90 hot-air balloons in a variety of shapes and colours (January).
    • Swatch FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour – 1to1 energy Grand Slam Gstaad – volleyball admidst impressive scenery (July).
    • Crédit Agricole Suisse Open Gstaad – international ATP Tennis Tournament with elite players (July).
    • Davidoff Saveurs Gstaad – celebration of authentic flavours from kitchen, cellar and humidor (July).
    • Menuhin Festival Gstaad – summer music festival in honour of the great violinist and conductor (July – September).
    • Hublot Polo Gold Cup Gstaad – international teams riding fiery Arab horses fight for victory (August).
    • Country Night Gstaad – leading country event encompassing a wide musical spectrum (September).
    • Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad – intimate festival of classical music in spring (February/March).

    MySwitzerland.com

    Summer In Cyprus

     

    For those seeking the splendour of the Mediterranean at its peak, summer is an ideal season to visit Cyprus.
    From May to mid-October, in Paphos, temperatures are at a steady high, the sky is a cloudless azure blue and, when the heat gets too much, the sea is a stone’s throw away for a refreshing dip. It’s also the ideal season for a range of water sports activities such as scuba diving and sailing.
    The early part of the day is perfect for exploring the exceptional local archaeological remains, including the Temple of Aphrodite, where the goddess of love was worshipped.
    During the summer, visitors must get into the habit of wearing sunscreen and protective head-wear.
    April and May bring in early summer when days are comfortably warm but the evenings are cool. Light daytime clothing and long sleeved cotton or thin woolies are recommended for this part of the season. Especially in April, the countryside is in bloom with wild flowers making it an ideal time for nature-walking.
    June, July and August mark the height of summer when temperatures soar and the beaches are at their busiest. There is a selection of tourist and less well known beaches to enjoy in Paphos. The Cyprus Tourist Organisation can advise visitors on where it is safe to swim.
    A day-tip to the Troodos villages in the mountains provide an opportunity for traditional dining, visits to UNESCO churches and welcoming cooler climes.

    Climate
    April
    Day Temperature High: 22C
    Night Temperature Low: 12C
    Sea Temperature: 20C
    Hours of Daily Sunshine: 9
    Humidity: 67%
    Days of Rain: 3
    May
    Day Temperature High: 26C
    Night Temperature Low: 16C
    Sea Temperature: 21C
    Hours of Daily Sunshine: 10
    Humidity: 68%
    Days of Rain: 3
    June
    Day Temperature High: 30C
    Night Temperature Low: 18C
    Sea Temperature: 24C
    Hours of Daily Sunshine: 12
    Humidity: 64%
    Days of Rain: 1
    July
    Day Temperature High: 32C
    Night Temperature Low: 21C
    Sea Temperature: 26C
    Hours of Daily Sunshine: 12
    Humidity: 60%
    Days of Rain: 1
    August
    Day Temperature High: 33C
    Night Temperature Low: 22C
    Sea Temperature: 27C
    Hours of Daily Sunshine: 12
    Humidity: 61%
    Days of Rain: 1
    September
    Day Temperature High: 31C
    Night Temperature Low: 20C
    Sea Temperature: 26C
    Hours of Daily Sunshine: 11
    Humidity: 59%
    Days of Rain: 10
    October
    Day Temperature High: 27C
    Night Temperature Low: 16C
    Sea Temperature: 24C
    Hours of Daily Sunshine: 9
    Humidity: 64%
    Days of Rain: 3

    Original Story

     

    World’s Best Places to Visit

     

    Sometimes, when the travel bug strikes, the only cure is to pack your bags and go. But where to? We’ve compiled a list of our favorite spots from across the globe. Our list includes the most popular places and we’re adding new destinations all the time, so don’t worry if your favorite spot didn’t make the cut. Check back soon to see if your dream vacation makes the list.

     

     

     

    Why go: Year after year, the magnetic City of Lights draws new travelers to its Eiffel Tower, Louvre and Notre Dame — but Paris also keeps experienced travelers coming back for more. See, there’s always a new Michelin-rated restaurant to try, a new exhibit to see at the Centre Pompidou or a new shop in which to swipe your credit card. And we can’t discount Paris’ je ne sais quoi charm that’s unexplainable but also unmistakeable.

    #2

    Why go: Known around the world for its legendary fútbol team, Barcelona boasts much more than just athletic talent. Touring the city is a feast for the eyes: Visitors walk past medieval architecture in the Barri Gotic and the innovative creations of Gaudi in Parc Guell. Matching Paris’ Notre Dame with its own Sagrada Familia, Barcelona puts itself near the top of this list with a fun-loving spirit and creative ambition.

    #3

    Why go: The United Kingdom’s capital city is a world unto itself. With eclectic neighborhoods and numerous landmarks, London requires several days (if not years) to get to know. That said, your inaugural visit (as you will certainly be coming back for more) should include trips to the Tower of London, the National Gallery, and the British Museum. But if you have more time, hit up Portobello Road and Borough Market to appreciate the local culture.

    #4

    Why go: Relaxed yet professional, classic yet innovative — San Francisco takes its paradoxical qualities in stride, boasting diverse cultural enclaves. Neighborhoods like Nob Hill, the Castro and the Mission District offer unique experiences for every traveler. Yet, there are several monuments that you can’t miss, such as the cable cars, Fisherman’s Wharf and Alcatraz. And, of course, the city’s crowning architectural achievement — the Golden Gate Bridge — is unmistakable.

    #5

    Why go: Author Ayn Rand once wrote, “I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York’s skyline.” While many disagree with her politics, her sentiment for the Big Apple is widely shared. America’s most populous city hosts infinite urban adventures. Enjoy an afternoon in Central Park or visit the exhibits at the MoMa or the Met. While new sites, like the National September 11 Memorial, are always popping up, the classics, like the Empire State Building, never get old.

    #6

    Why go: Of all the Hawaiian Islands, Maui might be the most beloved. The island encapsulates all that Hawaii has to offer: exotic beaches (like Kaihalulu), palatial resorts (like the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea) and lush terrain (as seen in the Iao Valley State Park). Maui can also cater to a range of budgets — the same cannot be said for some of its sister islands, like neighboring Lanai. Visitors regularly return to the mainland singing praise for Maui, but the smart few just put down new roots and pick up a Mai Tai.

    #7

    Why go: Here, it’s as if Paris migrated to North America. Montreal boasts elements of French culture with a friendly Canadian feel. Travelers adore the quaint cafés, bustling marketplaces and old-world architecture that characterize Montreal. To truly appreciate the city’s majesty, visit St. Joseph’s Oratory, next to Mont-Royal. This immense basilica crowns the skyline and provides an ideal vantage point.

    #8

    Why go: While it may not be as grand as New York City or as historic as Montreal, why Vancouver caught the attention of the International Olympic Committee is no mystery. This coastal Canadian city boasts a vast amount of outdoor activities that beckon to adrenaline hounds. Kayak in English Bay or test gravity on the Capilano Suspension Bridge before enjoying a scrumptious meal in the second-largest Chinatown in North America.

    #9

    Why go: Whether they’re swimming in Lake Zurich in the summer or skiing down the nearby Alps in the winter, travelers find delight in Zurich. Delectable pastry shops abound, as do museums and historic churches. Excellent shops reside in upscale Bahnofstrasse and more affordable Niederdorf. For fun, locals and travelers alike hit up the bars and clubs of edgy Zurich West.

    #10

    Why go: Renowned for the Edinburgh Festival in August, this Scottish city entertains guests year round. Set among steep hills like Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh impresses visitors with its historic sites along the Royal Mile and its casual pub culture. While you’re here, don’t miss Edinburgh Castle or Holyroodhouse Palace for a glimpse of the royal lifestyle.

    #11

    Why go: Pick a vacation experience you’re looking for, and Puerto Rico can oblige. An old town with historic architecture and cobblestone streets? Look no further than Old San Juan and it’s El Morro fortress. A beachside getaway with stunning vistas and miles of soft, white sand? Consider the bioluminescent bays of Culebra and Vieques. A cosmopolitan destination with high-end shopping and exciting nightlife? Head to the Isla Verde or Santurce neighborhoods of San Juan.

    #12

    Why go: The U.S. Virgin Islands offers a taste of home (non-roaming cell phones, U.S. dollars, and no language barrier), as well as a varied international vacation (lively Carnival season, reggae music  and clear Caribbean waters). For the best deals and weather, consider visiting in late spring or early summer.

    #13

    Why go: One of the most visited cities in the U.S., the country’s capital is filled with a huge number of postcard-worthy monuments and buildings. The White House and the Lincoln Memorial are here, as well as a variety of eclectic and walkable neighborhoods. Those on a budget will especially enjoy themselves here since the noteworthy Smithsonian museums are free.

    #14

    Why go: Budapest is sure to be a highlight of any trip to Central/Eastern Europe. The city has a lot to offer all types of travelers with all ranges of budgets. And Budapest will keep you occupied with its thermal baths, mellow coffeehouses, ridiculous nightlife and pretty much whatever else you can think of.

    #15

    Why go: Over the past decade or two, Prague has transitioned from a backpacker secret to the unquestioned tourist capital of Central/Eastern Europe. With well-preserved sites, such as the Charles Bridge and St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague retains its gothic mystique. You can spend the days taking in the architecture and the evenings enjoying local pilsners on a never-ending bar crawl.

    #16

    Why go: If you have to choose one island to visit in Greece, it’s easy to make a case for Crete. Its diverse landscape features everything from anicent ruins to gorgeous beaches, and you can spend a day doing anything from shopping in Agios Nikolaos to hiking the Samaria Gorge.

    #17

    Why go: If you’re looking for gorgeous weather year round and parties set against beautiful backdrops, look no further than Miami Beach. This Floridian city bursts with colors, crazy nightlife, an amazing coastline and intriguing Art Deco architecture. Head to South Beach’s Ocean Drive to reach the heart of the action.

    #18

    Why go: If you want a laidback, family-friendly vacation, San Diego should be a top contender. Here, you can sunbathe on Mission Beach, engage in some retail therapy in the Gaslamp Quarter, hike through Torrey Pines State Reserve or the San Diego Zoo, and dine at the historic Hotel del Coronado. There’s plenty to keep you busy, but the Southern California ambiance keeps the pace of life at a comfortable level.

    #19

    Why go: The Bahamas has so many islands that it’s hard to mash them all into one recommendation, compared to our other destinations. But that’s also part of their appeal. Airfare and hotel rates are generally modest year-round in the Bahamas, but you’ll get the best deals and have less crowds if you plan your visit for the summer or early fall. But take note: These islands’ atmosphere and activities largely cater to tourists, and you’ll be hard pressed to find an authentic Bahamian vibe during your getaway.

    #20

    Why go: Puerto Vallarta stands out for its outstanding cuisine, eclectic bars and clubs and breathtaking landscape. You could spend just a day exploring the cobblestone streets and art-laden Malecón (or boardwalk) of Zona Centro, or extend your trip for a few more days to try out the nightclubs and European cafés of the downtown area, as well as the hiking in the nearby Sierra Madre Mountains.

    #21

    Why go: You don’t need to be on a cruise vacation to experience two Caribbean countries for the expense of one. This dual-governed island nation offers chic dining and dazzling stretches of sand on the French side of Saint Martin, and animated nightlife, buzzing casinos, and some of the best duty-free shopping of the Caribbean in Dutch Sint Maarten. Consider visiting in late spring to cash in on the not-too hot weather and discounted hotel rates.

    #22

    Why go: Limestone-carved Aruba will appeal to the adventure junkie better than any of our best destinations. Dive into the depths of Hadicurari Beach to explore the island’s many shipwrecks, avoid the Aruban rattlesnake on an ATV tour of the Arikok National Park, or party hearty until the wee hours on a booze cruise. But you should be prepared to pay for the adrenaline rush, as Aruba is also one of the pricier vacations on our list.

    #23

    Why go: This notorious hedonist destination offers visitors every opportunity to make it or break it. Colossal casinos, like the Bellagio and Caesar’s Palace, beckon to travelers with neon light, fascinating shows and, of course, sprawling casino floors. But these mega-resorts offer guests more than just slot machines and drink. Spas, pools, luxury hotel rooms, elite clubs and exotic restaurants are now part of the allure.

    #24

    Why go: The City of Angels, La La Land, the Entertainment Capital of the World — Los Angeles needs no introduction. But its notoriety both help and hurt its reputation. The traffic on the “101” will tire you out just as much as an evening at a lively West Hollywood club. And your disgust at the thick smog over the city will negate your enjoyment of a sunset overlooking Santa Monica Beach. To appreciate Los Angeles, visit the area more than once and get advice from locals.

    #25

    Why go: When it comes to the best of the best, size doesn’t matter. Austin may be small compared to other capital cities, but its personality is overwhelmingly large, with citizens holding fast to the city’s mantra, “Keep Austin Weird.” Although home to vast green spaces, funky boutiques and cozy coffee shops, Austin really comes to life at night; the self-proclaimed “Live Music Capital of the World” boasts numerous live music venues and one of the largest music festivals in the U.S.

    Also Consider…
    Beijing

    Why Go: With the 2008 Olympic Games, Beijing officially debuted on the global stage and is quickly outshining its more modern brethren — Hong Kong and Shanghai — as a tourist destination. The city boasts world-class attractions, like the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, that showcase country’s past and present. Plus, the jaw-dropping Great Wall of China stands just north of the city, making Beijing a world-traveler must.

    Sydney

    Why Go: Sydney has more than just an opera house. At the sight of this famous white structure, outsiders quickly forget all the attractions of this world-class metropolis. You’ll find the bustling Sydney Fish Market and the striking Sydney Harbour Bridge, which stretches high above sailboats and azure waters. Plus, there are numerous beaches (Coogee and Bondi for starters) that draw locals and tourists alike. Also, in its rivalry with Melbourne, Sydney wins the weather battle with its warm, sunny climate.

    Rio de Janeiro

    Why Go: With its sun-drenched beaches and soothing samba rhythms, Rio jockeys with Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo as South America’s hottest destination — and not just with its temperatures. The famous Christ the Redeemer statue presides over Copacabana Beach and Lapa, a vibrant neighborhood. And you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more riotously fun event than Rio’s Carnival.

    Tel Aviv

    Why Go: While Jerusalem may be the old city, Tel Aviv is the trendy new one. Sitting along the Mediterranean, Tel Aviv boasts a broad, sun-drenched shoreline that lures both locals and travelers. And once the sun goes down, a pulsating nightlife erupts across the city. Foreign visitors savor the mouth-watering cuisine found at intimate eateries or street carts. Take your time with this metropolis: There’s a lot to surprise you.

    US NEWS

     

    A Farmer’s Lunch in Paris

    Bars / RestaurantsA Farmer's Lunch in Paris

    A Farmer’s Lunch in Paris

    «Marcel, the one who produces the ham, is Ginette’s cousin, and she makes the Brie. And that’s Etienne, he grows apples and he’s also my uncle by the way ». Merci Guillaume for explaining your family tree. Now what we really want is… a taste of your sandwiches.

    Guillaume is one of the four merry founders of Label Ferme, the new sandwich shop located on the rue Peletier. Their concept is simple: they pick the best produce from their mountainous region and bring them straight back to their shop in trendy SoPi. You walk to the counter and order two slices of local ham and 50 gr of home grown tomatoes, freshly picked from some garden in the Alps. They transform your selection of ingredients into a divine sandwich and sell it to you by the weight. You can either enjoy it on the spot or follow their advice to the best sunny public bench in the neighborhood. Thank you fellows.

    Label Ferme, 43 rue Le Peletier, Paris 9th,
    Tel : 00 33 1 44 63 71 94
    Open Mondays to Fridays from 11.30 am to 2.30 pm
    Sandwichs for 6€ and salads for 8€

     

    Article Source-My Little Paris

     

     

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    Moving to Spain

    Moving and living in Spain for UK Nationals

    The process of becoming resident in Spain has been simplified as much as possible, and it now involves less paperwork and time. However it is strongly advisable that new residents complete all the required procedures when registering, opening a bank account, obtaining medical cover and registering cars and driving licences. This is likely to save them an enormous amount of time and trouble when dealing with other aspects of the bureaucracy. Please see the sections on these topics for full information.

    Entry and residence requirements

    Taking up residence in spain

    We advise that all residents obtain a residence card even if it is not obligatory for them, as it is easier to carry than a passport, and simplifies many of the other administration procedures for new residents. However, the information below shows who is legally required to hold a residence card.

    Who doesn’t need to obtain a residence card?

    UK nationals who are Employees, Self-employed, Students. EU national dependants of an EU or Spanish national or pensioners who have worked in Spain and receive their pension from the Spanish Social Security system no longer need to hold a residence card, and can live in Spain with a valid passport. (Dependants who are non-EU nationals still require a residence card.)

    Who must obtain a residence card?

    Pensioners who have retired to Spain, people of independent means and non-EU national dependants of an EU or Spanish national, are still required to apply for a residence card. They must apply for one of the following two types of card:

    • Temporary residence card: intended stay of more than three months but less than one year.
    • Ordinary residence card: intended stay of more than one year with a maximum validity of five years and renewable.

    How to apply for a residence card

     

    All those who wish to apply should submit the application form, available from the nearest Oficina de Extranjeros, to the local Provincial Police Station (Comisaría de Policía) or Foreigner’s Office (Oficina de Extranjeros). In Madrid this is at C/General Pardiñas 90, along with three passport size photographs, their passport and a photocopy of the original. The issue of a card is at the discretion of the Spanish authorities.

    Further information is available from the Spanish Ministry of the Interior, Tel: 900 150 000. You can also download an application form here

    Residents should ensure their passport is valid and shows next-of-kin details on the back page. They should keep their family informed of their address in Spain at all times.

    Finance

    Using the Services of a ‘Gestor’

    Many people – including Spanish nationals – find that using the services of a ‘Gestor’ is the best way to cope with paperwork. The ‘Gestor’ is not a lawyer as such but will produce the final result with minimum stress, usually for a reasonable fee. New residents can do most of the work themselves, but if they have little time, do not speak fluent Spanish, or are confused by the Spanish administration system, the ‘Gestor’ can be useful.

    However, ‘Gestores’ do not produce immediate results and residents should always obtain an estimate of costs before engaging their services. It is not uncommon for the ‘Gestor’ to require a down payment to cover the whole fee. Gestorías can be found in the Páginas Amarillas

    Bank accounts

    • Non-residents: Visitors can open a bank account with a non-resident certificate, which they can get from the local Spanish police office (in Madrid, this is at the Brigada Provincial de Documentacion, c/Los Madrazos 9), by presenting their passport and a copy of the original and completing the application form. Visitors must close these accounts if they become resident.
    • Residents: UK nationals resident in Spain can open a bank account with a residence card.

    If they do not have a residence card (see Entry and Residence Requirements), UK nationals can open a bank account with their passport and an NIE (Foreigner Identification number).

    How to obtain an NIE (Foreigner Identification No.)

    Residents can apply for an NIE at the local Police Station (Comisaría de Policía, in Madrid at c/General Pardiñas 90). They need to take their passport and a photocopy of the original, and fill in the application form. They must be prepared to prove they are in Spain legally, and show why they want an NIE.

    Alternatively their representative can go to the police station, with the documents to show why they want an NIE, or they can go to the Spanish Consulate in the UK.

    Transfer of capital

    There is generally no restriction on the import of capital into Spain, but it is advisable to keep records showing that the funds were transferred from abroad and not derived from income earned in Spain. Residents should check with their bank in case any special formalities are necessary.

    Transfers of Capital from Spain are governed by Spanish Foreign Exchange Regulations.

    Residents in Spain are allowed to take out up to 6,010.12 Euros in cash per trip before having to make a Customs Declaration. They may also bring that amount into Spain without having to declare it. Anything above that should be declared on Form B1, available on entry into Spain.

    Taxation

    Britiain has a double taxation agreement with Spain, to ensure people do not pay tax on the same income in both countries. However, taxation is a complex issue, and advice should be sought. The Spanish Finance Ministry publishes a book in English called ‘Taxation Regulations for Foreigners’. Further info: www.aeat.es Residents, including retired people, are liable to pay tax on income earned in Spain or from property held in Spain. This includes Property or Real Estate Tax, Wealth and Capital Gains Tax, VAT (IVA), Inheritance Tax, and local municipal charges.

    Medical cover and treatment in spain

    Taking up residence in spain

    Residents in Spain should ensure they are covered by private insurance if Spanish Social Security does not cover them.

    Long-term residents

    Long-term residents in Spain who are not pensioners, employed persons or officially resident do not qualify for Spanish State health care or NHS treatment in England. UK nationals living in Spain are not entitled to health care in Spain at UK expense. Using an old UK-issued E111 to obtain Spanish health care (which is charged to the NHS) is fraud. They have no right to health care in the UK either, as they are not ordinarily resident there. However, they would receive emergency NHS health care in the UK, in the same way as those persons who are officially registered as resident in Spain may receive emergency healthcare in England while on a visit there.

    People in employment

    UK nationals working in Spain should be affiliated to the Spanish Social Security system and are covered by Spanish National Health care for which the employer will deduct social security contribution’s from the employee’s pay packet, usually on a monthly basis. Proof of such payments are shown on the pay slip.

    A social security number card should be obtained from the local Tesorer?a de Seguridad Social (in Madrid at c/Astros 5 y 7, Tel: 91 503 80 00). This should then be presented at the local medical centre (ambulatorio) along with the correct form, which will entitle the card holder to receive a medical card (tarjeta sanitaria) for ordinary health treatment. A list of medical centres in Madrid is available from the Provinicial Madrid Health Service (Instituto Madrile?o de la Salud), c/ Sagasta 6. Medicines are free if prescribed to treat work-related accidents or illness, otherwise patients pay 40% of the cost.

    The self-employed should first obtain an NIE (foreigner identification number) from the police (although we advise obtaining a residence card is easier and more useful) and the Alta Fiscal from the Head Tax Office (Hacienda).

    They should take these two documents to the nearest office of the Tesorer?a de Seguridad Social and ask for the Alta de Aut?nomo and the Inscripci?n en la Seguridad Social. They will receive a social security number card, which will entitle them to the tarjeta sanitaria (health card) from their nearest ambulatorio (medical centre), and full medical cover.

    The minimum social security contribution for medical cover is 208,18 Euros p/m. (25% less for those under 30, or women over 45).

    Working temporarily for a uk employer

    Anyone who works in Spain for up to a year is entitled to form E128, if the DSS or the Social Security Agency in Northern Ireland, confirm that they and their employer continue to pay UK national insurance contributions. Those employed on a temporary posting, and any dependants who accompany them, are entitled to treatment for ANY condition during the posting, using an E128. However, if they visit a third EU country, they are only entitled to emergency treatment and will need a UK-issued E111.

    If the job unexpectedly lasts longer than 12 months, and the appropriate insurance authorities in Spain agree, employees may remain under the UK scheme for a further period of not more than 12 months.

    Students

    UK nationals who are studying in Spain as an integral part of a recognised UK course are entitled to form E128 for up to two years. They, and any dependants who accompany them, are then entitled to treatment for ANY condition for the period of their course. They should apply to the National Insurance Contributions Office, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Tel: 0845 915 4811. If the studies are not a compulsory part of a UK course, students are covered by an E128 for up to 12 months. However, if they know in advance that a course will last longer than a year, they are not entitled to an E128.

    A student who is undertaking work in Spain that specifically relates to their studies is entitled to form E128 for up to two years.

    UK pensioners settling in spain

    UK pensioners (anyone receiving an Old Age Pension or a disability pension) who live in Spain will be entitled to receive free medical treatment under the same conditions as Spanish State Pensioners. The UK pays Spain an annual lump sum per pensioner to cover their health costs.

    To establish entitlement they must obtain form E121 from the DSS in the UK. To register a UK-issued form E121 they should go to the local INSS office – Oficina del Instituto Nacional de Seguridad Social (the main office in Madrid is c/Padre Damián 4-6, Tel: 91 568 83 00) with their E121, application for a residence card and their passport. The INSS will issue a ‘tarjeta de afiliación’ and assign the pensioner to an outpatients clinic (ambulatorio) and INSALUD doctor. They must apply for a residence card before they can register their E121. Prescribed medicines are free for pensioners and their dependents.

    Those who settle in Spain after early retirement, i.e. before the normal UK pensionable age (60 for women, 65 for men), should consult their local DSS office about their medical cover, possibly under form E106, before travelling.

    Ill or deteriorating health is costly, and the Spanish Health services do not cover the wide range of assistance pensioners may be used to in the UK. All EU citizens may expect the same social services as any Spanish citizen under the same conditions, subject to local waiting lists and financial contributions. However, they should bear in mind that such things as meals on wheels, day care centres and nursing homes, which are the responsibility of local, regional and municipal authorities, vary from district to district, may be scarce and welfare staff will not usually speak English.

    British citizens who have been in Spain for a long time may be admitted to Spanish State homes, but places are very limited even for Spanish pensioners, and there are no British Government or other officially subsidised places. Copies of the Guía Directorio de Centros para Personas Mayores (Directory of Nursing Homes) are available by writing to: IMSERSO, Departamento de Publicaciones, Avda de la Ilustración s/n, c/v Ginzo de Línea, 28029 Madrid. Tel: 91 363 88 88, Fax: 91 363 88 80, www.seg-social.es. More specific information can be obtained by contacting the Consejería de Trabajo y Asuntos Sociales or its equivalent in the area where the pensioner lives.

    Private residential homes, which provide various levels of treatment, from purely residential facilities to full-time nursing care and medical assistance, are expensive – probably no less than ?1000 per month, and staff will usually only speak Spanish. However, there are some British run homes, mainly on the Costa Blanca.

    It is advisable to take out private insurance, which will cover medical and dental treatment and even repatriation to the UK.

    People of independent means

    People of independent means should be entitled to healthcare on production of their residence card. The Tesorería de Seguridad Social should issue a social security number card with which they can obtain a tarjeta sanitaria (health card) from their local ambulatorio (medical centre).

    Returning to the UK

    Some UK nationals who have been living abroad for a prolonged period choose to go back to live in the UK. It is important that those in need of long-term care make, or have made for them, arrangements for care before returning to the UK. Entitlement to long-term care services also depends on being ordinarily resident in the UK (previous payment of income tax or NI contributions does not count). Local health or social services in the UK will need persuading that someone who may be completely unknown to them has any right to scarce local resources.

    Finding work in Spain

    There is a high level of unemployment in Spain, and it is often difficult for foreigners to find work. There is often temporary and seasonal work available e.g. in bars, mainly in holiday areas. Work can also usually be found as an English Teacher in one of the many language schools, although the better jobs will go to those with a qualification such as TEFL. A good knowledge of Spanish is normally essential for most long-term jobs.

    Job centres in the UK have details of vacancies throughout the EU, supplied to them through the EURES network, which supports free movement of workers within Europe. As well as UK job centres, EURES can be contacted through Job Centres in Spain (Oficinas de Empleo). For more information visit http://europa.eu.int/jobs/eures, or call 0114 259 6190.

    Employees may wish to seek legal advice before signing any contract for work. Companies with over fifty employees will normally have a trade union representative who can advise on basic rights and recommend a labour lawyer.

    Those looking for work are expected to support themselves while doing so. Unemployment benefit may be transferable to Spain for a limited period. Spanish benefits are not usually payable to non-Spanish nationals. Further information: INEM (National Employment Office). INEM: c/ Espartinas 10. 28001 Madrid. Tel: 91 576 89 02

    Self-employment

    Those who take up self-employment will need to apply for the necessary documentation. Information is available from PYME (the office for small and medium enterprises). The Ventanilla ?nica Service which helps those wishing to set up business may be helpful. Prospective self-employees can also ask for the Enterprise Creation Support Service (Servicio de Apoyo a la Creaci?n de Empresas) at their nearest Oficina de Empleo (Job Centre).

    The British Consulate-General in Madrid and the British Consulates in other cities are not equipped to provide an employment service and cannot reply to enquiries about openings for employment, enter into detailed correspondence or make arrangements in connection with paid or unpaid work. Nor can they intervene in disputes over employment, contracts etc.

    PYME : c/ Castelló 117. 28006 Madrid. Tel: 900 190 092. www.ipyme.org
    INEM: c/ Espartinas 10. 28001 Madrid. Tel: 91 576 89 02. www.inem.es

    Education

    Education is obligatory for all children aged 6-16 if the parents are legally resident in Spain, and is free from pre-school to 18 years. However as pre-school is not obligatory, not all children can gain a place. The availability of places depends on the area of Spain and demand for them.

    The British Council has details of schools in Spain which offer an English-type education. Most are members of the National Association of British Schools in Spain, which organises periodic inspections by British inspectors, in collaboration with the British Council.

    British Council
    Paseo General Mart?nez Campos 31
    28010 Madrid
    Tel.: 91 337 35 66/ 00
    Fax: 91 337 35 73
    www.britishcouncil.es

    Spanish british associations, clubs and expatriate organisations

     

    CHURCHES


    BRITISH EMBASSY CHURCH OF ST. GEORGE
    c/ Núñez de Balboa 43
    28001 Madrid
    Tel: 91 576 51 09
    Email: stgeorgemadrid@telefonica.net
    Sunday service: 8.30am, 10am and 11.15am

    COMMUNITY CHURCH OF MADRID
    Rev C. Bingman
    C/ Viña 3
    28014 Madrid
    Tel: 91 571 21 36/ 655 03 18 57
    Sunday service: 11am

    IMMANUEL BAPTIST CHURCH
    Dr. D. Dixon
    C/ Hernández de Tejada 4
    28027 Madrid
    Tel: 91 407 43 47
    Sunday service: 11am & 7pm

    MADRID PRESBYTERIAN MINISTRIES
    Rev. J. Campbell
    Tel: 91 630 22 58
    MPM@MadridPres.org

    MOUNTAINVIEW INTERNATIONAL CHURCH
    R Richard Wallace
    c/ Playa de Sangenjo 26
    28230 (Las Rozas) MADRID
    Tel: 91 630 51 37/ 667 32 87 68
    Email:richard@mountainview-church.com
    www.mountainview-church.com

    Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church
    The English-speaking Parish of Madrid
    Calle Dracena, 23
    28016 Madrid
    Spain
    Tel: 91 350 3449
    E-mail: olm@ourladyofmercy.info
    web site:http://ourladyofmercy.info/

    SYNAGOGUE
    C/ Balmés 3
    28010 MADRID
    Tel: 91 591 31 31

    SPORT

    HOCKEY
    Sociable English speaking field hockey team
    playing in the Madrid first division. .
    Enquiries to Mark – Tel: 91 541 12 00

    FOOTBALL CLUB BRITÁNICO
    Long established English speaking team playing in the
    Local Spanish league. New players always welcome.
    Enquiries to Stewart Gibb – Tel: 91 742 2998

    MADRID HASH HOUSE HARRIERS
    Cross-country runs & social gatherings.
    Tel: 91 518 81 31

    THE MADRID CRICKET CLUB
    Enquiries to Tom Fryer. Tel: 605 18 73 36
    www.crickeintmadrid.com

    MADRID ULTIMATE FRISBEE
    Enquiries to Nico – Tel: 651 11 33 67

    SOCIALBRITISH HISPANIC CULTURAL FOUNDATION
    Cultural and social events.
    Enquiries to Mrs P. Arriete – Tel: 91 345 63 44BRITISH LADIES ASSOCIATION
    Monthly meetings and social activities throughout
    the year. Enquiries to Shelia Jones –
    Tel: 91 803 47 13

    CAMBRIDGE CLUB
    Ex-university members, social activities.
    Enquiries to Sydney Perera –
    Tel: 91 431 64 97

    INTERNATIONAL NEWCOMERS CLUB
    Provides information about community activities and
    Services. More information: www.incmadrid.com

    MADRID PLAYERS
    English speaking amateur Theatre Group
    New members welcome. Tel: 91 326 24 39
    www.madridplayers.org

    MOTHER & TODDLER’S CLUB
    Weekly meetings in St. George’s Church Hall

    ST. GEORGE’S GUILD
    C/ Núñez de Balboa 43
    International interdenominational group holding
    meetings. Enquiries to Mrs. Milton –
    Tel: 91 441 09 13

    OTHERS

    ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS
    English speaking
    C/ Juan Bravo, 40 bis
    MADRID
    Tel: 91 309 19 47

    International Community Mental Health Association
    C/Juan Bravo 7
    28008 MADRID
    Tel: 91 576 15 38
    Provides mental health services to English-speaking community in Madrid.

    THE BROADSHEET
    English-speaking community publication
    Tel: 91 523 74 80

    CHARITIES

    An unofficial network of welfare groups and small charities can help expatriates facing difficulties. Some are British orientated, but in all cases limited resources restrict the assistance they can provide and none would be able to offer long-term care or financial support.
    AGE CONCERN ENGLAND
    Astral House
    1268 London Road
    London
    SW16 4ER
    Tel: 020 8765 7200/ 0800 00 99 66
    BRITISH BENEVOLENT FUND
    (Madrid area only)
    Contact British Consulate-General, Madrid for details.
    FEDERACIÓN AGE CONCERN ESPAÑA
    Apartado 7
    07180 Santa Ponsa MALLORCA
    Tel.: 971 23 15 20
    Fax: 971 23 04 90
    Email:federation@ageconcern-espana.org

     

    Information Source: http://www.spanishhabitat.com

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    Top Attractions in Turkey

    St. Sophia Museum

    Haghia Sophia Museum, the great masterpiece of Byzantine art. It was built by Justinian in 6th century AD and is the 3rd church to occupy this site.
    At the time it was built, it was the largest church in existence. The church was sacked by the Latins during the 4th crusade in 1204 and many of its treasures taken to the west.
    When Contantinople (Istanbul) was conquered by the Ottoman Sultan, Mehmet II in 1453, it was converted into a mosque.
    Since 1936, by Ataturk’s order it has been a museum.

     

     

    Blue Mosque

     

     

    Blue Mosque, Sultan Ahmet Camii is one of the most beautiful mosques in the world. Its name is derived from the blue tiles decorating its interior. Completed in 1616 by Mehmet Aga, Imperial Architect and one of the students of the great architect Sinan.

    Its grace and beautiful proportions were intended to reflect the splendour of Islam. It was the supreme Imperial Mosque of the Ottoman Empire. The famous blue and green

    Iznik tiles on the walls are bathed in glorious light that is filtered through 260 windows.

     

    Aspendus

    The city was founded on a hilltop and spread down to the plains. Aspendus has one of the best preserved and largest Roman theaters in Turkey. It was built in the 2nd C AD. The city’s aqueducts are also well preserved and worth a visit.

     

    Commagene Kingdom at Mt.Nemrut

    One of the most spectacular sites in Turkey especially at sunset. Mt Nemrut (approx. 2552m) is an extension of the Taurus mountain range in southeastern Turkey. After the division of Alexander’s Empire into three, the Seleucids established the relatively small and wealthy Commagene Kingdom in the region.

    In 62 BC, Antiochos I became king of Commagene and developed his kingdom as a strategic crossroad on the important trade routes between Syria, Mesopotamia and Rome.

     

    Pamukkale

    Pamukkale is one of the natural wonders of the world. It is a unique geological formation formed over 14.000 years. The spring water at Pamukkale has therapeutic qualities and since antiquity has been said to cure rheumatism, kidney and heart diseases.

    Hierapolis, means sacred-city and its history goes back 6th C BC. At its peak the population reached about 100,000. The ruins at Hierapolis cover an extensive area.

    The theater, Temple of Apollo, Colonnaded Street, Byzantine Gate, Plutonium and Necropolis (Cemetery) are some of the highlights of the city. The Necropolis has approximately 1000 tombs and is the largest in Asia Minor.

     

    Ephesus

    Ephesus is one of the best-preserved ancient cities in the world with a history dating back the 12 C BC. It was an important trade and religious center. During the Roman period its population reached approx. 250,000.

    One of the seven wonders of the world, Temple of Artemis was in Ephesus. It is also the site of one of the Seven Churches of Revelation.
    St. Paul lived and preached for about 2 years in Ephesus.

    Cappadocia Region

    One of the geological wonders of the world. Cappadocia is a high plateau in Central Turkey at an altitude of 3270 ft / 1000 m. It lies in a triangle formed by the three main towns of Kayseri, Nevsehir and Nigde.

    The history of Cappadocia begins 60 million years ago with the eruption of 2 volcanos, covering the area with lava and tufa. In later periods rain and wind eroded the land and created unusual valleys, canyons and cones.

    For many centuries Hittites, Assyrian Colonies, Greeks and Romans lived in the region. Cappadocia is also a very important region in early Christian History.

    There are over 600 hundred rock-cut churches built by monks and hermits between the 4th and 11th centuries. In some of these, church walls have been decorated with wonderful frescoes depicting scenes from the Bible.

     

    Pergamon

    The history of the city starts in the 8th C BC when Aeolian Greek colonies settled in the area. The city was founded on a hill overlooking the Caicos plain. During the reign of Eumenes II in the 2nd C BC, it became one of the cultural and intellectual centers of the day.

    With the invention of pergamena (parchment) its library grew to rival in size, the great library of Alexandria. The famous Altar of Zeus was here.

    Pergamum was one of the Seven Churches of the Revelations. The famous Roman physician, Galen was born and studied in Pergamum.The
    ruins are separated into 3 parts, the Acropolis, Red Courtyard and Asclepion, which was the cure center of Pergamum.

     

    Sardis

    Sardis was the capital of the Kingdom of Lydia. It was founded on the banks of the famous golden-bearing river Pactolus. The legendary
    King of Lydia Croesus (560-540 BC) controlled most of western Asia Minor and made generous offerings to the temples of Delphi, Artemis and Didyma.
    Part of the Gymnasium was converted into a synagogue in 3rd C BC. Sardis is one of the Seven Churches of Revelation.

     

     

    Gallipoli Anzacs – Canakkale


    In 1915, Allied warships tried to force their way through the straits with the intention of opening a supply line to Russia via the Black Sea. Allied landings on the Gallipoli Peninsula were finally beaten off by the Turks following bitter warfare.

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    World’s Cheapest Countries to Retire to

    The World’s Cheapest Countries to Live In.

    Living abroad can be an exciting, mind-opening experience and is the best way to learn about new cultures. But it’s made even better if your money goes further than at does at home. Find out which countries offer the most bang for your buck.

    In the west, we’ve gotten used to over-paying for things: car parking charges, expensive housing, rip-off public transport, beers that cost as much as your hourly wage, the list goes on… Thankfully, there are plenty of countries where your money goes much further. They all share common characteristics: cheap accommodation, lots of activities to keep you occupied, and tropical climates that make food bountiful.

    Of course, the tropical climate also offers the not-insignificant benefit of gorgeous weather and often pristine beaches on which to while away the hours. And if you can manage to get away from the bigger towns and off the beaten track, you’ll usually find that life becomes cheaper and the scenery even more stunning. Your life in paradise can actually become a reality.

    Thailand

    The Land of Smiles needs no introduction. More than probably any other South-East Asian country, it knows how to make us farangs (foreigners) feel welcome.

    If you’ve visited, you’ll know the satisfaction of strolling up to a street stall, paying 25 baht (about £0.50) for a plate of fried rice, then sitting on a little plastic chair and watching the world go by. Then there are the cheap, comfortable guest houses (or beach huts!), the dollar-a-bottle beers and the cheap buses that can take you half the length of the country for the same price as getting to the next town at home.

    And you know what, living here is even cheaper than visiting. Even in Bangkok, a long-term studio apartment is only £90 per month; move somewhere like Chiang Mai, and you could pay as little as £20! So you can budget just £300 for the whole month and have a lifestyle just as comfortable, but infinitely more satisfying than you’ve got at home.

    Oh, and we’ll let you into a little secret… pretty much everyone leaves Thailand looking slimmer than when they arrived! Why? Because instead of stuffing yourself with burgers and chips, you’ll be having rice and green curry; because instead of finishing off your meal with cakes and biscuits, you’ll probably find a fresh mango shake infinitely more refreshing; and because instead of being chained to a desk all day, you’ll be out exploring this gorgeous country!

    Cambodia

    It may have a troubled history that could give most countries a run for their money, but there are few places in the world where it’s cheaper to live than Cambodia. Even in the capital city, you could live on just £300 per month.

    An air-conditioned apartment will only set you back £120 per month. This might be slightly more expensive than Bangkok, but you can easily trim your outgoings further by sharing with other westerners.

    But the added bonus is that food and drink is probably even cheaper than in Thailand. You can have a whole meal in a local restaurant for just £1.20 where a beer will be just £0.60; these costs can again be slashed even more by venturing into the markets and street stalls, which will also add a bit of excitement to your stay.

    What’s more, the troubled history makes Cambodia a fascinating place to visit. It’s one of the poorest places in Asia and the people are working hard to emerge from the shadow cast by Pol Pot’s infamous regime, but it offers an edge and excitement that’s sometimes missing from nearby countries. The more you learn about Cambodia, the more you’ll come to love it!

    The Philippines

    Could this £300 budget ever become boring? We certainly don’t think so! Especially when you have fascinating cities and so many beautiful beaches; not surprising when you realise that it’s the second-biggest archipelago in the world. An apartment comes in as low as £25 per month in the smaller cities, rising to £120 in the busier locations.

    Once again, the food is probably even cheaper than in Thailand, as large beers come in at only £0.35, while meals at even the nicest restaurants costing just £6 per person, and significantly cheaper than that a smaller, local places.

    And guess what: there are also fewer visitors than most other South-East Asian countries, too, so by living here you’ll really feel like you’re getting a uniquely authentic experience.


    Costa Rica

    The “Rich Coast” is one of Latin America’s best destinations no matter how much money you have, and is even better if you’re on a budget. You know you’re going to get value for money when the cost of your flight is rewarded with a Caribbean and a Pacific coast!

    Once again, our magic number of £300 per month appears, although expect your costs to be slightly higher in San Jose, even if you do share accommodation with another westerner. However, venture outside of the capital and prices drop off quickly, with whole houses available for just £150.

    Food is similarly priced, with a good meal costing just £1.20 in a locally-run restaurant, and a bunch of bananas from an outdoor market costing £0.30. Even the 2-hour bus journey from San Jose to either coast is less than £2.

    These prices may be slightly higher than in other Latin American nations, but what sets Costa Rica apart is just how much is available to you for the still negligible prices. There’s hiking, wildlife-spotting, active volcanoes and some of the best surfing in the world. It’s an amazing location to explore for a couple of years.

    Vietnam

    Vietnam is a popular budget travel destination and should be high on your list of places to stay for a one year, two years, maybe longer. It offers a scintillating mix of beautiful scenery, unrivalled food and some of the most spirited people you’re ever likely to meet.

    So, once you’ve taken into account the £120 per month for your apartment, what should you expect tospend on a typical day in Vietnam? You can wake up and head down to the nearest street stall for a nutritious breakfast of Pho Bo (Hanoi Beef Soup) for just £0.70; hop on a bus for less than £0.50; pick up some fried rice for lunch at about the same price; pay a similar amount for a fruit shake when you get peckish later on; have a Vietnamese Curry in a local restaurant for £2, then finish it off with a few glasses of Bia Hoi for £0.10 each.

    Sound good? Well, this 1,600km-long country offers a stunning array of landscapes and almost as many different cuisines to go with them, so you can be sure that life in Vietnam will never get boring.

    Original Post i-to-i.com

    Moving to Turkey

     

    Istanbul modern tramway

    Image by mwanasimba via Flickr

    Turkey’s geographical location, which features the only city       to straddle two continents, Istanbul, has made it an ideal destination for living and doing business for centuries. Connecting two continents by a body of water known as the Bosphorus, Turkey is home to many ethnic backgrounds, religions and cultures. With the great cultural treasure that holds artifacts, traditions and literature, Turkey is a melting pot of many cultures and peoples. Due to its colorful and long history, this beautiful country is also a mix of old and new, eastern and western, worlds.

    Culture and Customs

    Modern day Turkish culture and customs are derived from European, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Slavic and Asian heritages, making it truly diverse. The three major religions of the world are also to be found within the culture, each claiming historical beginnings in the region. Other major ethnic groups include the Albanians, Arabs, Assyrians, Bosniaks, Circassians, Kurds, Laz and the three officially recognized minorities, i.e. the Armenians, Greeks and Jews. After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk created what is now known as modern day Turkey; one of his primary goals was to make it a progressive, secular, unified state, which helps to illuminate Turkey’s western-leaning foundations.
    Religion

    Turkey is 99% Muslim despite being a secular state; the remainder of the population consists of Christians and Jews.


    Language

    Turkish has been the sole official language of Turkey since the founding of the Republic in 1923.
    States and Territories

    Turkey consists of seven regions: the Black Sea Region, the Marmara Region, Aegean, Mediterranean, Central Anatolian, the East and Southeast Anatolian. Turkey has three major coastlines (Black Sea to the north, Mediterranean to the South and Aegean to the west).

    Education

    Education is compulsory for ages 6-15 during primary school years. High schools are either 3 or 4 years long and students can choose from either public or private. The majority of Turkish adolescents attend public schools. Public schooling is free and users pay fees for private schooling. University entrance in Turkey is based on a national exam, the OSS, which allows you to attend Turkish universities based on the score received. The literacy rate is 95.3% for men and 79.6% for women.

    Family Life

    Family is a cherished aspect of Turkish culture. Family ties here are strong, and extend far past the immediate members. Within recent years, younger generations are becoming more independent of their families and are establishing their own reputation and financial income. In rural areas, extended families tend to live together; a household might very naturally consist of parents, children, and grandparents and perhaps even aunts or uncles. Urban families mostly consist of parents and children and maybe grandparents. Because family life is so important here, children rarely move out unless they are married, even when/if they do, they still remain firmly connected and in frequent contact. Additionally, retirement homes are unheard of as their children almost always look after the elderly.

    Health

    One of the most significant developments in the health care sector in Turkey recently has been the specialization of hospitals by branch, which has led to higher performance rates overall. Some of the most impressive hospitals include the Dünya Göz Hastanesi, which specializes in eye care, Acibadem Saglik Group’s Kozyatagi Acibadem Hastanesi, which specializes in neurology and oncology, and the Anadolu Saglik Merkezi, which focuses on oncology and was opened after an 80 million dollar investment. These hospitals are part of a collective with some of America’s most important medical schools including Harvard Medical and John Hopkins Medical Schools.

    These investments have greatly increased the number of patients coming from abroad to receive treatment within Turkey, as well as having elevated the status of the health sector in Turkey significantly. For example, Turkey’s thermal hot springs are very popular and both locals and tourists enjoy the benefits of these natural wonders. In addition to the thermal hot springs, some of the most in demand treatments include organ transplantation, heart and eye surgeries, hair transplants and plastic surgery. Of the European and Middle Eastern countries, Danes, Norwegians and Swedes travel to Turkey in the largest numbers for treatments. Of the 100 billion dollars that will have been made in the health sector in the world, it is predicted that 10 billion dollars will belong to Turkey within the next 5 years.

    Real Estate

    The Turkish real estate sector, which experienced a surge in 2005, in Istanbul in particular, went through a golden age in the first half of 2008. Turkish real estate made significant developments in the city centre areas dominated by offices; in particular, in Istanbul, the area ranging from Barbaros Bulvari through Büyükdere Caddesi all the way to Maslak went through a major transformation during the golden years from 2005-2008. Many rented buildings and signed contracts even before the construction was done, thus elevating the status of the area and increasing the demand for even more buildings and in turn the prices as well.

    Many international real estate companies are hoping to take advantage of the global economic crisis by significantly decreasing prices for real estate projects and thus filling a void in the market, by providing housing at more affordable prices.

    Under the supervision of US company Pricewaterhouse- Coopers (PwC), The Urban Land Institute (ULI) prepared a ‘European Real Estate Sector New Trends Report’, earning Turkey the spotlight in 2006 for being the number one country to invest in. What made Turkey an attractive place for real estate investment were a number of things including the tourism sector’s potential, indicating the country’s need for more hotels as the report had stated. The report also stated that Istanbul and Izmir were among the most favorable cities to invest in, also due to a rise in their tourism sectors.

    Recreation

    Recreation in Turkey tends to reflect the slower pace of European life. People of all ages enjoy meeting with friends and drinking tea, perhaps also while playing the very popular backgammon. Football (soccer) is the most popular sport in Turkey and much time is spent watching, playing and discussing. The three most popular teams are Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe and Besiktas. Turkish people are very fond of the sun and everything that goes with it; the warmer months are spent outdoors or on the beach. Turkish people also love to dance and enjoy music, thus it is not out of the ordinary for a dinner party to turn into a dance party or sing-along. Turkey also has many impressive museums and the locals love to support the arts. Istanbul, for example, has the popular and impressive Istanbul Modern Art Museum, Sabanci Museum and Santralistanbul, just to name a few.

    Transport

    Though taxis are popular and inexpensive in urban areas, travelling throughout the country is usually done by bus. Traveling by water is another efficient option within the city and is popular in Istanbul and Izmir. One of the most exciting projects of late is the subway system, which is being worked on and developed. The aim is for the subway system to eventually be as impressive as that of any other European city. Istanbul has also been enjoying the addition of the Metrobus, which runs from Levent to the Airport; it is fast, inexpensive and easy. The best part about it? It has it’s own lane on the freeway, thus bypassing traffic completely.

    Work

    Everyone has the right to work in Turkey if they have the right documentation and work permit. How quickly you can find a job in Turkey depends on economic factors, qualifications and skills, the type of work you are seeking, and particular circumstances that may affect the availability of certain types of work in different parts of the country. The government sets laws on wages and work conditions. The laws are about the types of legal agreements that define the work relationship between employers and employees. The agreements determine the amount paid to an employee, the hours worked and conditions such as safety, leave, allowances, training, anti discrimination and more. However, within private institutions working agreements are made between employer and employee directly. If you do not already have a source of income or a job available, and provided your visa allows it, you will need to look for work.

    See Original Article
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    Abadiania-Brazil

    Abadiania is located in the central state of GOIAS in the Brazilian Altiplano. It is aproximately 88 Km (55 miles) North East of the State Capital Goiania. It is also about 98 Km (61 Miles) South West of the Federal Capital Brasilia. The population of the Municipality of Abadiania according to the last census in 2005 was approximately 12,000 people. The local authorities now believe that number is closer to 14,000 now. Although only about 7,500 live in the part of town that is closest to the highway. The rest are in the old city of Abadiania and in the rural areas surrounding the city which are also part of the municipality. The original city was formed in 1953 and it is now known as old Abadiania. Once the highway that unites Brasilia to Goiania was built, many of the residents of Abadiania were unhappy with the distance between them and this major through fare. Some of these residents began building their homes closer to the highway and eventually the city government was transferred to this area making it the official Abadiania. The old Abadiania also known as Posse d’Abadia remains a quaint little village nestled in the middle of green rolling hills speckled with white Brahma cattle. The elevation of Abadiania is 1,052 Meters ASL. or 3,455 feet ASL. The principal industry in this region is agriculture and cattle ranching.

    Weather in Abadiania is classified as Tropical Savana (AW). Concentrated rain showers in the summer months October through April and a dry season from may through September. The maximum precipitation generally occurs in December/January and the warmest months are September and October with average temperatures around 25o Celcius (77o F) although 40oC (104o F) is not uncommon. The coldest months are June and July with average temperatures around 18o C (64oF) and lows ao 12o C or (53o F)

    The City of Abadiania is known as the City of Spiritual Cures because of the presence of psychic healer, João de Deus, (John of God) who attracts many national and international tourists seeking cures for their maladies. JOHN OF GOD: , (João de Deus) is without a doubt one of the most powerful channeling mediums and healers alive today. João has been working at the Casa de Dom Inacio for over 30 years. There are some thirty three entities he channels at the Casa, so named after one of the entities, St Ignatius de Loyola, founder of the Jesuits.

    John of God is able to help heal so many people at once because he does not work alone. There are thousands of beings working with him who are able to attend to people. He has helped people recover from all kinds of illness, including AIDS, cancer, auto immune disorders, arthritis, injury from sports and accidents, every illness is treatable at the Casa although results can vary. John of God also treats all kinds of emotional disorders, including addictions, depression, schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder. The majority of healing by John of God and the entities is invisible, visible surgery is entirely voluntary and makes up a very small proportion of the healing work.

    For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who disbelieve, no amount of proof is sufficient.

    Jordan

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    For many people Jordan begins and ends with the magical ancient Nabataean city of Petra. Petra is one of the Middle East’s most spectacular, unmissable sights and the world’s most dramatic ‘lost city’.

    Lawrence of Arabia, Holy land, bible stories,ancient cities, lost cities, Jordan is one of the most welcoming and hospitable countries of the world.

    this where you get invited by total strangers to thier homes to eat and sleep over.

    Ruined Roman cities, Crusader castles, desert citadels and powerful biblical sites: the brook where Jesus was baptized, the fortress where Herod beheaded John the Baptist and the mountain top where Moses cast eyes on the Promised Land. Biblical scenes are not just consigned to the past in Jordan; you’ll see plenty of men wearing full-flowing robes and leading herds of livestock across the timeless desert. But it’s not all crusty ruins. Jordan’s capital Amman is a modern, culturally diverse Arab city which is light-years away from the typical clichés of Middle Eastern exoticism.

    The country also offers some of the wildest adventures in the region, as well as an incredibly varied backdrop ranging from the red desert sands of Wade Rum to the brilliant blues of the coral-filled Gulf of Aqaba; from rich palm-filled wadis to the lifeless Dead Sea. Ultimately it’s the sensual delights of daily life in the Middle East that you’ll hanker for longest after you return home; the bittersweet taste of cardamom coffee or the smell of a richly scented argileh (water pipe); the intoxicating swirl of Arabic pop sliding out of an Amman doorway and the deafening silence of the desert.

    Jordanians are a passionate and proud people and the country truly welcomes visitors with open arms. Despite being squeezed between the hotspots of Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Israel & the Palestinian Territories, Jordan is probably the safest and most stable country in the region. Regardless of your nationality, you’ll be greeted with nothing but courtesy and hospitality in this gem of a country.
    Please comeback for more details on Jordan!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Please vote for this photo from Capture Jordan http://www.capturejordan.com/SearchViewPhoto.aspx?UserPhotosId=2446&txtSearch=amir%20abuhouran

    Ski Megeve in the Heart of the French Alps

    Ski- Megeve, France and discover its Chic and Charm!

    I am one of those who never know the direction of my journey until I have almost arrived………
    I spent 3months in Megeve, France taking French Language and Ski lessons, I just adore Megeve!!
    Megeve is made up of a well linked collection of resorts; St Gervais, Jaillet, Combloux, Cote 2000, Rochebrune, Mont D’arbois, and Mont Joly. These are all lift connected ski areas, the lift passes allow skiers to ski Les Contamines too but this is a drive. The ski areas setup is beginner-intermediate friendly and has plenty of terrain for this, but the thing is there are great selections of terrain to move way past this level to cater to the expert skier too. Easliy accessible backcountry terrain and a great area (Mont Joly) for free ride and steeps 35-50 degree pitches. Not to mention the women’s world cup downhill course at cote 2000, which is a must, plus through a short backcountry ski route you can get into the heart of the Les contamines ski area, “you need a professional to take you on this one”

    Megeve has so much to offer. It beats the Killy range, Porte du soleil, and the 3 valleys.
    Michelin Guide rated restaurants, high-end shopping stores, casinos, and quaint narrow cobbled streets. The village is dominated by the traditional church belfry, and a square all in a pedestrian friendly atmosphere. Horse drawn sleighs carry tourists all over during the peak periods adding a festive and memorable experience for young and old.

    There is plenty to do off the pistes. A sports center with an indoor pool, indoor and outdoor ice skating ring and curling rink, climbing wall, indoor tennis courts, table tennis, weights gym, Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room. Scenic flights over Mt, Blanc, hot air ballooning, dog sledging and snow shoeing excursions, cross country skiing areas and a bowling alley. There are also numerous events such as FIS ski racing fixtures, winter polo, and winter golf cup, ball room dancing competitions, International ice hockey competitions and music festivals. There are numerous Michelin star restaurants in town and on the mountain but be prepared to pay for the privilege of being in the most entertaining and exclusive resort in the French Alps!
    Also Genève, Switzerland is only 33 miles to Megeve, it is great for shopping and night clubs or if you like Milan is only 126 miles away from Megeve, not to forget the high-end shopping stores in Megeve.

    Now down to the snowfall:
    With the regard to the resort’s altitude and the snow fall; most of the terrain is around the 1800-2000m mark with slopes for all levels (1 week skier to expert) the skiing base station starts at 1600m and the highest point is 2380m (plenty of steeps and free ride terrain up here). Megeve has always benefited from an above average snow record for its altitude range thanks to the microclimate resulting from the proximity of Mont Blanc. Sufficient snow cover is always expected from Christmas until mid-April. Megeve also benefits from tree line skiing which provides good shelter and visibility on bad weather days so it has the luxury of always having somewhere good to ski. And a few lesser known facts that work in favor of Megeve are; because it is a lower resort the terrain underneath the snow is generally grass land and tussock as opposed to a rocky topography, this means that it takes very little snow coverage to open up all areas and keep them open! Not to mention when the winds pick up the windward slopes that get scoured will still be skiable without wrecking skis on rocks! Megeve is always open until the very last scheduled week.

    What a place to ski!!!


    What better way to ensure a white Christmas than to treat the family to a Magical Christmas in the enchanting resort of Megeve., Spend Christmas day skiing, sledging or having a snowball fight with the kids, listen to the children carol singing in the village, watch Father Christmas passing through on his sledge and ski Instructors skiing into the village by torchlight.

    Paris in Spring

    Paris in Spring “The City of Love”

    updated October 4th, 2018

    Paris is popular year-round, as mentioned in my post “Paris the City of Love”, there is a low season as far as prices goes. In November you will find a lot of good bargains in Hotels and flights, you will find special discount on almost everything. So you’re more likely to save money on your Paris airfare by traveling in late summer and autumn.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Spring Weather in Paris

    Paris in spring is a delight. After a few months of cold, and a little rain, the sight of new flowers and more consistent sunlight is always welcome – to Parisians and tourists.

     

     

    There is a chance of getting rain in early spring. But the average temperatures climb noticeably from February into March. The nights are still cool, so bringing warm clothes is good policy. Pay attention to current Paris weather forecasts as you’re coming up to your trip, as much of Europe has been experiencing unseasonably warm weather in the Spring in the last few years.

    Best Paris parks to enjoy in spring

    Jardin des Tuileries

    Tuileries Garden

    This formal beauty in the heart of the city links the Louvre with the Place de la Concorde, stretching along the north bank of the Seine.

    The Tuileries Gardens get their name from the tile factories which previously stood on the site where Queen Catherine de Medici built the Palais des Tuileries in 1564. The famous gardener of King Louis XIV, André Le Nôtre, re-landscaped the gardens in 1664 to give them their current French formal garden style.

    The gardens, which separate the Louvre from the Place de la Concorde, are a cultural walking place for Parisians and tourists where Maillol statues stand alongside those of Rodin or Giacometti. The gardens’ two ponds are perfect for relaxation. The Musée de l’Orangerie, where visitors can admire the works of Monet, is located south-west of Tuileries. From March to December, free tours in French are organized. For lovers of candyfloss, rides and thrills, go to the Fête des Tuileries from June to August.

    You can read more on The Tuileries Gardens in Paris official website of convention and Visitors Bureau

    Jardin du Luxembourg

    Luxembourg Garden-Paris

    Jardin du Luxembourg is situated on the border between Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Latin Quarter, the Luxembourg Gardens, inspired by the Boboli Gardens in Florence, were created upon the initiative of Queen Marie de Medici in 1612.

    The gardens, which cover 25 hectares of land, are split into French gardens and English gardens. Between the two, lies a geometric forest and a large pond.

    There is also an orchard with a variety of old and forgotten apples, an apiary for you to learn about bee-keeping and greenhouses with a collection of breathtaking orchids and a rose garden. The garden has 106 statues spread throughout the park, the monumental Medici fountain, the Orangerie and the Pavillon Davioud.

    There are many activities and facilities for children such as puppets, rides and slides. Adults, whether they are Parisians or tourists, can play chess, tennis, and bridge or remote control boats. The cultural programme is characterized by free photography exhibitions on the garden railings and by concerts in the bandstand. You can read more in Paris official website of convention and Visitors Bureau

    Jardin du Palais Royal.

    Jardin du Palais Royal-Paris in spring

    The Palais-Royal originally called the Palais-Cardinal, is a former royal palace located in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, France.

    The screened entrance court faces the Place du Palais-Royal, opposite the Louvre. The larger inner courtyard, the Cour d’Honneur, has since 1986 contained Daniel Buren‘s site-specific art piece Les Deux Plateaux, known as Les Colonnes de Buren.

    In 1830 the Cour d’Honneur was enclosed to the north by what was probably the most famous of Paris’s covered arcades, the Galerie d’Orléans. Demolished in the 1930s, its flanking rows of columns still stand between the Cour d’Honneur and the popular Palais-Royal Gardens.

     

    Square du Temple

     Square du Temple-Paris

    The Square du Temple is a garden in Paris, France in the 3rd arrondissement, established in 1857. It is one of 24 city squares planned and created by Georges-Eugène Haussmann and Jean-Charles Alphand. The Square occupies the site of a medieval fortress in Paris, built by the Knights Templar. Parts of the fortress were later used as a prison during the French Revolution, and then demolished by the mid 19th century.

     

    Jardin des Plantes

    Jardin des Plantes-Paris

    The Jardin des plantes (French pronunciation:  [?a?d?? d? pl??t]; French for ‘Garden of the Plants’), also known as the jardin des plantes de Paris when distinguished from other jardins des plantes in other cities, is the main botanical garden in France. The term Jardin des plantes is the official name in the present day, but it is in fact an elliptical form of Jardin royal des plantes médicinales (‘Royal Garden of the Medicinal Plants‘, which is related to the original purpose of the garden, back in the 17th century).

    Parc Montsouris

    Montsouris Park- Paris

    Parc Montsouris is a public park in the 14th arrondissement of Paris, at the southern edge of Paris directly south of the center. Opened in 1869, Parc Montsouris is one of the four large urban public parks, along with the Bois de Boulogne, the Bois de Vincennes and the Parc des Buttes Chaumont, created by Emperor Napoleon III and his Prefect of the Seine, Baron Haussmann, at each of the cardinal points of the compass around the city, in order to provide green space and recreation for the rapidly growing population of Paris.

    Parc Andre Citroen

    Parc Andre Citroen -Paris

    Parc André Citroën is a 14 hectares (35 acres) public park located on the left bank  of the river Seine in the 15th arrondissement of Paris.

    Built on the site of a former Citroën automobile manufacturing plant, the park is named after company founder André Citroën. When it opened in 1992 it was the largest park to open in Paris in more than a century.

    Parc Monceau

     

    Getting Around Paris, The Paris Metro or Metropolitan

    France has a terrific rail network that reaches almost every part of the country. If you would prefer to navigate around Paris and France by bus, inter-regional bus services are limited but buses are used extensively for short distance travel within regions.

    Having your own vehicle can be expensive and is inconvenient in city centers where parking and traffic is problematic. Renting a car is expensive if you book on the spot but pre-booked and prepaid promotional rates are reasonable.

    Paris is one of Europe’s most walkable cities with all of the city’s top attractions close together.

    Even whe cheap transportaiton and Metro is budget-friendly and easy to use, with stops at all major tourist spots, I did walk all over the city without taking

    any transportation except when coming back to my room to sleep!

     

    Update October 4th, 2018

    Taxis and Uber “at the time this original post was written, there was no Uber!”

     

    Taxi.

    You can hail taxis from the side of the road, but it may be difficult. Taxis aren’t legally allowed to pull over if you’re within 50 metres of a taxi stand, which you can find throughout the city. You can also call and book a taxi in advance.

    Uber

    Uber is available and costs EUR €40-80  from Charles de Gaulle Airport to the city center “it depends where in the city you are going to”. From Orly International Airport, Uber is EUR€30-50.

    (French: Métro de Paris) is the rapid transit metro system in Paris. It has 16 lines, mostly underground, there are 300 stations. Since some are served by several lines, there are 384 stops in total.

    Metro System

    Paris has one of the densest metro networks in the world, with 245 stations within 86.9 km2 of the City of Paris. Lines are numbered 1 to 14, with two minor lines, 3bis and 7bis. The minor lines were originally part of lines 3 and 7 but became independent.
    Lines are identified on maps by number and color. Direction of travel is indicated by the destination terminus.

    Paris is the second busiest metro system in Europe after Moscow It carries 4.5 million passengers a day, and an annual total of 1.388 billion (2007). Chatlet-Les Halles, with 5 Metro lines and three RER commuter rail lines.
    The Paris subway system is the second oldest in the world

    Paris Streets in Spring

    Why Paris in Spring?

    I loved this poem by Sara Teasdale

    Paris in Spring

    Oh, it’s Paris, it’s Paris,
    And spring-time has begun.

    I know the Bois is twinkling
    In a sort of hazy sheen,
    And down the Champs the gray old arch
    Stands cold and still between.
    But the walk is flecked with sunlight
    Where the great acacias lean,
    Oh, it’s Paris, it’s Paris,
    And the leaves are growing green.

    The sun’s gone in, the sparkle’s dead,
    There falls a dash of rain,
    But who would care when such an air
    Comes blowing up the Seine?
    And still, Ninette sits sewing
    Beside her window-pane,
    When it’s Paris, it’s Paris,
    And spring-time come again.

    Sara Teasdale

    Categories: Countries, Paris, Vacation, World Travel Tags: Tags:

    Paris A city to dream wild

    Paris the City of Love

    I have to start my travel site talking about my favorite city in the world, the most romantic city in the world; I am referring to PARIS – the city of love! the city of light! a city to dream wild!

    I have lived in Paris for one year in the late 90’s, still my faverite city in the world!

    while i was living in Paris for one year i learned that……….to apologize humbly before asking any question.
    I’ve learned to cross the streets on the red light at a slow pace.
    I’ve learned to wear skirts in the middle of winter, and have my coffee last as a separate course.
    I’ve learned that you can have it all and enjoy it without guilt, like a cheese course before a crème brulée, or five weeks of paid vacation!! I’ve learned that life is for living, here and now, and that money doesn’t have anything to do with quality of life. It’s attitude that matters!!!

     

    Paris is the capital city of France. It is also said to be the city of lovers and the most romantic place on earth, where they speak French the language of love.

    Paris is one of those cities that’s popular year-round, and most popular during spring and summer but also all year around you find tourist from all over the world.

    Paris offers many tourist attractions and exquisite places that will ensure your trip is truly a memorable one. Including monuments, museums, parks and gardens, squares, bridges, the canals of Paris or trade fairs and conferences, whatever your interests, Paris has a lot to offer.

    Paris is also known as the City of Light, is the world’s most popular city destination. Paris is the second-largest city in Western Europe, and the most things to see.

    The center of Paris

    is divided in 20 arrondissements , the first arrondissement in the middle and the higher numbers on the outer circle. Most of the arrondissements have their own characteristics. The majority of the world known attractions (Eiffel Tower, Champs-Elysées, Louvre, Panthéon, e,…) are situated in the first 8 arrondissements.

    The city of love

    is a massive city with many attractions in reachable distance thanks to the
    Highly efficient public transport system. It boasts of more than 80 museums and 200 arts
    Galleries. A trip to Disney land and the magnificent Eiffel tower will make the trip worthwhile.

    The attractive tourists spots

    are the Arc de triomphe which spans over the tomb of an
    Unknown Soldier, the forbidding gothic architecture of the Notre Dame cathedral, the picturesque
    Sacre Coeur, to Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, the Moulin Rouge and boat tours along the
    Seine. Get the Carte Musees-Monuments pass, which gives access to 70 monuments and
    museums.

    Page is Updated September,11 2018

    Important Information

    Paris Tourist Office
    https://en.parisinfo.com/

    IN 2018

    Exhibitions

    This autumn, there is a bumper line-up of exhibitions in the capital. Admire the masters of Cubism at the Centre Pompidou or the 200 or so sculptures and drawings by Austrian artist Franz West. This year, the Fondation Louis Vuitton throws the spotlight on Basquiat and Schiele whilst the Musée d’Orsay presents a collection of paintings from Picasso’s Blue and Rose periods. And the Grand Palais is the place to go to see paintings by Miro, artworks based on the iconic singer Michael Jackson and the exhibition Magnificent Venice! Venice: Europe and the Arts in the 18th century.

    The annual jazz festival ‘Jazz à La Villette’

    Like summertime, autumn in Paris offers rich pickings when it comes to festivals. The Festival d’automne is probably the most eclectic of them all: featuring dance, cinema and theatre, it offers a range of diverse and high-quality events in 47 different venues in the capital and around. Are you an art enthusiast ? The event Rendez-Vous à l’Atelier is the opportunity to visit different artists’ workshops in Paris and discover the world of Delacroix, Moreau, Scheffer, Dubufe, Rodin, Bourdelle and Zadkine in the space of a weekend. For nightbirds, MaMa Festival  is one of the top musical events of the new season with more than 120 concerts in 3 days. And for fans of jazz, swing and indie music, there are two not-to-miss festivals: Jazz à La Villette and the Pitchfork Music Festival.

    European Heritage Days

    from 15 September 2018 to 16 September 2018

    First organized by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication, more than 30 years ago, the European Heritage Days  invite you to discover or rediscover Parisian monuments for free. Numerous special events take place over one weekend at participating venues.

    Visit classic places (Elysée Palace, Matignon, Musée d’Orsay and the Arc de Triomphe), or contemporary buildings such as the Philharmonie de Paris, the Fondation Louis Vuitton and the Cité de la Mode et du Design

     

    Nuit Blanche in Paris

    CHECK THE WEBSITE FOR DATES
    As the days shorten and autumn heralds winter, the Nuit Blanche event in Paris invites you to see the city in a different way, at night, lit by moonlight, neons and other lights.
    On the first Saturday in October, in all parts of the city, artists will be proposing installations, exhibitions, concerts performances, trails, staged scene sets and creations that explore all facets of contemporary art and offer a new view of the city.Public transport stays open all night so that spectators can design their own route among the dozens of avant-garde projects of international artists. The Nuit Blanche was first organized in 2002, and, like the Fête de la Musique, it has spread around the world to other cities in France and other European capitals, a proof of its popularity and relevance today.
    Celebration
    from 06 October 2018 to 06 October 2018
    Tout Paris – Paris, Paris

     

    Shows

    Paris offers eclectic selection of events. Lasting 3hrs20, the eagerly-awaited tragic opera Traviata, by Verdi, comes to the Opéra Bastille (surtitled in both English and French). A number of great musicals will also have Paris audiences singing along from September onwards: Chicago will be playing at the Théâtre Mogador and the Fashion Freak Show at Folies Bergère. If you are a fan of circus acts, the Compagnie les 7 Doigts de la Main returns with the show Cuisine et Confessions, a savvy mix of acrobatic acts, theatre and culinary art. Finally, the new show by Bartabas, Le Sacre de Stravinsky, mixes equestrian art, dance and symphonic music at the Seine Musicale.

     

    Sport

    Paris is a great stage for international sporting events. This year, the coveted Ryder Cup is being staged for the first time in France, an opportunity for golfers and golfing fans in the Paris region to see the best European and American players. And for running enthusiasts, there is the 20 km de Paris with its 25,000 runners, and La Parisienne – an exclusively women’s race over 6.7 km in the heart of the city. Not forgetting the Qatar, Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, a full weekend of horseracing events drawing the best thoroughbred horses and international jockeys.

    Kids

    There is no lack of things for kids to do in Paris ! For a family day out, head to the Fête at the Bois de Boulogne to enjoy this famous funfair. The exhibition T-Rex includes workshops for children and the largest T-Rex skeleton ever exhibited in France; and to find out all there is to know about Fire, head to the Cité des sciences et de l’industrie. Kids and adults will love Totem et Plume, two magical shows filled with acrobatic acts, music and lights.

    Categories: Cities, Countries, Paris, Uncategorized Tags: Tags:
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