Enjoying History and Wine in Trier

On a tour of the European waterways, one may be fortunate enough to be drifting down the Moselle River to visit Germany’s oldest town, Trier. The Moselle region is known for its superb wine, crushed from the Riesling grape; so what better place to taste a delicious wine than in the very place the grapes are grown? With a little bit of history and a little bit of wine, nothing could go wrong visiting this area while on a hotel barging tour of the European waterways.

The History

In 2009, the town of Trier celebrated its 2015th birthday! This area is bursting with ancient history and beautiful Roman architecture dating from its founding around 17 BC. It was the seat of government for the Western Roman Empire, and in the Middle Ages was given the name “holy city”, because of the number of bishops that were born there and the number of monasteries, churches, and convents.

The Sights of Trier

One of the most impressive sights of Trier that anyone on a hotel barge tour of the European waterways will encounter is the Cathedral. Located in the centre of town, it used to be the site of a former Constaninian Palace, and is the largest Christian church in Antiquity. Today the church still has a Roman central section with the original walls, and a few other original features. The Roman Amphitheatre is also a great place to stretch your legs. This arena was built in the 2nd century A.D. for games with gladiators and animals, and could seat about 20,000 spectators. You can also visit the vast cellar beneath the arena where prisoners sentenced to death waited alongside the rabid animals.

Wine Country

Trier and its surrounding area is one of the largest wine-growing communities in Germany, and are considered a cultural hub for wine growers. While floating through the European waterways by barge, this delightful German destination is a must for anyone who enjoys a delicious drink and the wonderful hospitality of the German people. You can even take a wine tour where you can see how the grapes are grown and pressed, and learn all about the fermentation process. Summer is the best time to see the scenery as, with the baby vines tied up, you get the classic vineyard view.

Trier is the perfect place to stretch your legs after being on a barge travelling the European waterways in Germany. Enjoy some history, take a walk through a German vineyard, then taste the Riesling wine, made fresh from the ground you stand on. This is a perfect side trip when travelling down the Moselle River.

Dog City Guide to San Francisco

Suzy my pet Shih Tzu and I continued our U.S tour of the countries best dog friendly cities with an exciting trip to San Francisco. A throbbing nightlife, panoramic views of the sun, sand and sea, warm people and great food pretty much sums up San Francisco. Famous for its bays and the picturesque view of the Golden Gate enveloped in white fog, San Francisco is a traveler’s destination to the core.

The best time to enjoy the spoils of San Francisco is from September to November, when the weather is pleasant. The city offers some of the best in International cuisine, is a paradise for shoppers and much to see. Some of activities you can get involved in include sailing, surfing, walking, cycling etc. You will often find people surfing over some of the biggest waves with their pets or dogs.

Stay

If you are looking for accommodation in San Francisco the best location is close to the ocean or at a place that can provide you with a view of the rising mist over the Golden Gate. We found one and it was the Best Western Tuscan Inn Fisherman Wharf situated at 425 Northpoint Street. They didn’t charge me any additional fee for getting Suzy and I used to leave her at the hotel’s kennel when venturing into the swimming pool. What’s more, my room had a mini-bar, coffee maker, refrigerator, hairdryer and a free high-speed wireless Internet connection.

This hotel is located right at the heart of the Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, and it has an unbeatable location. I get to see the Golden Gate first thing when I wake up. It is very close to the North beach, and the famous Pier 39.

Note: If you are planning to make a reservation in advance then type “I am bringing my dog.” You need to mention this clearly in the additional comments and requests box in the online reservation form.

Check-In: 3PM

Check-Out: 12PM

You can check out some other dog friendly hotels in San Francisco like:

-Campton Place Hotel -340 Stockton Street

-Crowne Plaza – Union Square -480 Sutter Street

-Days Inn – Lombard St -2358 Lombard Street

-Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco -757 Market St.

-Harbor Court Hotel -165 Steuart Street

-Holiday Inn -50 Eighth St

-Hotel Cosmo -761 Post Street

-Hotel Diva -440 Geary Street

-Hotel Metropolis -25 Mason Street

Play

The Golden Gate Bridge

Suzy and I walked across the Golden Gate Bridge and it was an extraordinary experience. The view from the Golden gate of the bay and San Francisco city is spectacular. It was an evening walk just around the time when the sun set and left the sky in a myriad of orange and red colors. It felt more like Suzy walking me then me walking Suzy. Dogs are permitted on the Golden Gate but only if they are on leash.

Timings:

March 11, 2007 – November 3, 2007: 5am to 9pm

November 4, 2007 – March 8, 2008: 5am to 6:30pm

Waterfront Carriage Rides

From Austin all the way to San Francisco, Suzy and her fascination for horses! It is said that if you want to see the city in the true San Francisco in style then head for the carriage rides. Suzy loved every moment of the smooth and sometimes bumpy ride around the waterfront.

Alcatraz tour

It was my Shih Tzu’s idea to visit the infamous federal prison at Alcatraz. She was the one who wagged her tail but I think it was a good idea. Alcatraz is considered to be one of the foremost tourist destinations in San Francisco and was home to Al Capone, Robert “The Birdman” Stroud and George “Machine Gun” Kelley. It can be reached by traveling in a ferry. You can use ferry services to visit:

-Angel Island

-Oakland/Alameda

-Sausalito

-Tiburon

-Vallejo

Dog Parks/Beaches

I had a rollicking time with Suzy in San Francisco as there were many parks for her to play in. I watched her chase a butterfly at some of the San Francisco off leash parks and even caught her panting for breath behind the smallest shrub. Some of the San Francisco beaches also allow dogs like the Baker Beach at Lincoln Blvd and Bowley St/Golden Gate Nat’l Rec Area. Dogs are allowed on this beach off leash but under voice control. It is situated 1.5 miles south from the Golden Gate and you can almost walk down there from the Golden Gate Bridge. Suzy and I had a long sunbathing session and then we took a walk closer to the water. Another nice beach is the Burton beach near Skyline Blvd./Hwy 35. It is a popular dog friendly beach and park.

Some of the other off leash parks in San Francisco include:

Alamo Square Off Leash Dog Park -Scott Street, between Hayes and Fulton Streets

Alta Plaza Off Leash Dog Park -Steiner and Clay Street

Bernal Heights Off Leash Dog Park -Bernal Heights and Esmerelda

Brotherhood Mini Off Leash Dog Park -Brotherhood Way

Buena Vista Off Lead Dog Park -Buena Vista West at Central Avenue Grooming

After all the sun and sand on the beach, the first thing a Shih Tzu like Suzy needed was a nice haircut and bath. You can choose from mobile grooming salons and grooming centers. I chose the classic pet grooming mobile services. They really know how to pamper a small dog and Suzy was made to feel extra special.

Their basic services include:

Shampoo

Grooming

Hand dry and brush out coat

Cleaning Pads

Cutting Nails

Ears and eye cleaning

Express anal glands

Their specialty services include:

Flea and tick shampoo

Brushing teeth

Medicated oatmeal and herbal shampoos

De-skunking

Rejuvenator or hot oil treatments

You can also try out the following grooming centers in San Francisco:

Four Wet Feet: 4599 18th St

South Paw: 199 Brannan St

Russian Hill Dog Grooming: 1929 Hyde St

Wags Pet Wash & Awesome Accessories: 1840 Polk St

Shop

Any pampered puppy needs good and healthy food, clothes, toys, and a leash. Suzy is definitely a pampered puppy. There are plenty of dog boutiques in San Francisco to choose from. We visited the B & B Pet Supplies located on 4820 Geary Blvd. They sell dog treats, toys, food, training supplies and various other accessories for exotic pets too. The staff is really good and extremely helpful. You can also find some of the most spectacular clothing and apparel for your dog. This Shih Tzu certainly did. Suzy’s favorites were the leather leashes with fluorescent colors and faux crocodile prints. Not the most bashful of small dogs.

Other San Francisco pet boutiques include Babies at 235 Gough Street. Babies has everything your pampered pet could possibly desire from luxury pet dishes to houndstooth dog beds to luxury Cosmo Dog Carriers to dog tees and hoodies from Urban Hund. Everything a growing pup needs, or so Suzy says. I’m still trying to get her to leave the store so our next tour may be slightly delayed.

Holiday & Travel Guide For Bali

Beaches

Bali in Indonesia is a small island that can be pretty much navigated around by car in around an hour, but it has some beautiful beaches with many activities available. Like the popular Kuta beach, for example, where water sports like wakeboarding, surfing and swimming are offered and on the beach there are activities like kite flying as well as slingshot activities. But if you’re looking for something more relaxing while you’re lying on the beach then there are many pleasurable experiences to be had with wonderful massages, manicures and hair braiding. It’s ideal for those of you wanting to bake in the sun and be pampered at the same time. For family fun there is a brilliant waterslide park called Waterbom. It is filled with exciting slides and exhilarating raft experiences, along with wall climbing and tubing. There is plenty to do there for a full day excursion in this tropically green and lush environment.

Sightseeing

There are so many highlights to this small island as it is crammed with culture and nature, from volcano tours and botanical gardens to amazing rice fields and trips to see the beautiful Hindu Temples that are dedicated to different spirits. These Temples are dotted all around the island. The court house Kerta Gosa is a fabulous building built in the 18th century that has now become quite famous for its bright and lavish ceiling paintings that depict the hell that awaits the law breaker. Some of the buildings in Bali are truly amazing and there are so many photo opportunities.

Shopping

As to be expected on such a small island, there are no malls, or international chain stores, but what there are is plenty of buying opportunities, because this small island has plenty of small shops selling designer fashion ware. There are also open air markets to tempt you with handmade clothing to your personal preferences, beautiful jewellery and many handcrafted items. Not forgetting the bright and wonderful art work. The prices are excellent, but a little haggling won’t do any harm. You won’t be going home empty handed, so be sure to leave some spare room in your suitcase.

Eating

There are many eating establishments in Bali, but very few selling typical Bali food like suckling pig with rice. Most of the restaurants and hotels sell international cuisine to appeal to the tourist market. Eating out in Bali is very cheap and not to be grumbled at as there are very few cheap places left nowadays. The outdoor markets sell some delicious fruits for you to taste and there are beach hut vendors selling snacks and drinks.

Nightlife

There are plenty of nightclubs and bars around this small island, but they don’t open until around midnight and the best place to be at that time is in Legian; any of the taxi drivers in your resort will take you there. The clubs are very popular in this area, it is very well known as it’s more upmarket, the place where everyone dresses to impress in their designer clothes. International imported drinks can be very expensive in these places though, so don’t expect the night life to be cheap.

Wildlife Itinerary for a Family Friendly New Zealand Holiday

When traveling to a foreign country with your family, the youngsters in your group are likely to get excited about seeing the exotic wildlife there. If they can get up close and personal with the animals, all the better.

Planning on taking your brood to New Zealand? Here are our suggestions for a family friendly holiday itinerary that focuses on wildlife viewing, starting with a trip south after hiring a car rental from Auckland to Wellington.

Whales in Wellington

New Zealand’s capital city of Wellington offers more than just cultural attractions, dining establishments and a great nightlife. When visiting during the months of February and March, you are likely to see both whales and dolphins if you hang out at Wellington Harbour long enough. You may want to rent a kayak or take a tour of the harbour for the best opportunities to see these magnificent marine mammals up close.

More North Island Sights

Whilst you are visiting the southern point of the North Island, there are several more trips to make in order to see some of New Zealand’s native species.

Head to the coastline surrounding Wellington’s suburbs in order to see the world’s smallest penguin species, Little Blue penguins. These flightless blue birds nest up and down the southern coast in boxes placed there by the Wellington Zoo. Your best chance of seeing them are right at dusk, when mama and papa head home to the family burrow. Do pay attention to the signs indicating “penguin crossings” as many of them must cross the road on their way home.

A two and a half hour drive southeast of Wellington will bring you to Cape Palliser, which is home to lots of fur seal colonies. These seals aren’t quite what zoo goers are used to as they feature external ears and a set of very large flippers. If you want to see the cute babies with their mums, plan your New Zealand holiday for the spring months of August through October. Seal Coast Safari offers guided tours of the best places to find fur seals.

Head the opposite direction, west, to visit Owhiro Bay and the Red Rocks Walkway. Although there aren’t any zoos or parks here, you are sure to catch glimpses of the wild horses and goats brought over by early New Zealand settlers – a magnificent sight!

Kapiti Island

If your family is up for a boat ride, they are sure to enjoy a trip to the Kapiti Island Nature Reserve. Located a short distance off the southwestern coast of the North Island and accessible by boat from Paraparamu Beach, only 160 people are allowed to visit the island each day in order to minimize the environmental impact. You’ll definitely want to make plans ahead of time for this day trip from Wellington but it’s well worth it in order to see native birds such as Kaka parrots, kiwi and kereru pigeons.

Zealandia

Looking for some of New Zealand’s rarer and endangered species? A trip to Zealandia and the Karori Sanctuary, located just minutes from downtown Wellington, provides access to trails where you and your family will find tuatara, the “living dinosaur”, the flightless takahe bird and New Zealand’s only native owl, the morepork. At night, guided tours along the trails allow visitors to view some of the country’s more exotic nocturnal animals.

To plan a family friendly holiday viewing New Zealand’s wildlife, start with a flight arriving at the Auckland Airport. Then hire an affordable car rental from Auckland to Wellington in order to see the most during your stay in the Land of the Long White Cloud. Your kids are sure to love this itinerary revolving around the beautiful, strange and exotic animals of New Zealand – and you will, too!

Are you planning a trip to New Zealand with car rental from Auckland to Wellington? In conjunction with Snap Car Rental, I offer all the inside information you need to get around the country, see the best sights, and enjoy the most exciting activities the Land of the Long White Cloud has to offer!

Looking for tips on how to get around, transfers between the North and South Islands and how to best enjoy New Zealand via car, SUV or campervan? Offering convenient pickup and drop off services on both islands, Snap Car Rental is your one stop shop for seeing the country from the comfort of a reliable rental vehicle. Please visit our rental cars Auckland Airport blog for itinerary ideas and travel tips and then reserve your rental car at Auckland Airport for an exciting, unforgettable holiday in New Zealand.