Archive for September, 2008

There’s only one time of year when any post outranks my post on how to get your check-in fee back from RyanAir, and that’s late September . . .


Seems I’m not the only one who wants to know how to save serious cash while looking like a native at Germany’s biggest festival!O'fest 2008, courtesy of Carija Ihus

I’m headed there this weekend myself and will be sporting my homemade dirndl, but this post outlines where to find the best bargains on Trachten for the beerfest.

Are you headed to Munich this weekend? Leave a note in the comments and we could do a meetup! Before you get there, save money and time by reading my other posts on German travel:

+ Getting Across Germany Cheaply, Part One
+ Getting Across Germany Cheaply, Part Two
+ Cheap Calling on the Go: Germany
+ Baring my Budget: Hamburg
+ Baring my Budget: Rostock and Warnemünde
+ Avoiding Overpriced Train Station Services in Cologne
+ Two Hours in . . . Berlin Hauptbahnhof, Part I
+ Two Hours in . . . Berlin Hauptbahnhof, Part II
+ Why Carry your Own Heavy Luggage?
+ ITB Impressions: Beer Tourism
+ Friday Freebie: City Guide Podcasts
+ Comparing Foreign Websites for Deals

Read Full Post »

Hundreds of museums across the U.S. have signed on to grant free admission to visitors this Saturday, Sept. 27, led by Smithsonian magazine and the organization’s affiliate museums.  You can check the list of offerings by searching your state here.

For you and a guest to qualify, fill out this online form and print the subsequent “card.”  Turn in this card at the museum of your choosing.  (NB: take a copy of the card for each museum you intend to visit.)

Art, science and history museums and even gardens and arboreta are represented, so there is something for everyone.  With all the talk about the presidential race and tonight’s scheduled debate, perhaps you’d like a little historical perspective on the office of the President and the men behind the decisions that have shaped our country?  Check out the following museums, participating in Museum Day:

If you, your friends and your families participate, link back here with your review of the exhibit and your free day out!

Thanks to Amy @ The Q Family Adventure for the tip!

Read Full Post »

It’s not where I’d recommend you stop for a drink after sightseeing in Nicosia, Cyprus:

Just inside the Paphos Gate, this cafe is one of many victims of the long-standing Cypriot conflict. Within the walled perimeter of the Old Town, it stands directly on the present border, the so-called Green Line, which cleaves the island nation into two halves — one Turkish Cypriot, the other Greek Cypriot. Its windows are blocked with concrete-filled barrels and sandbags, its plaster cracked and shedding, its roof rusted through completely. This is just one of many buildings in the center of the city which have been abandoned or taken over by the UN over the years that the conflict has dragged on.

There are plenty of comfortable and pleasant cafes on both the Turkish and Greek sides of the divided capital, and as tensions ease and EU money flows in, the safe mingling of tourists and locals may instill enough confidence to begin dismantling the physical barriers present in the city. As with all conflicts of this nature, however, decades remain before the emotional scars will truly begin to heal.

Have you visited Cyprus? Share your impressions in the comments.

Check out the rest of this week’s Photo Friday entries here.

Read Full Post »

Concerned reader Jennifer writes,

Right now Ryanair APPEARS to have some fares that are literally FREE (no taxes, fees special till 11/15 on some flights; free flight, free if you choose on-line check-in, no bags, no priority). Is that for real???

Yes, Jennifer, it’s for real — as “free” as you can get any “free” ticket from RyanAir these days (check out the post “Why I Love/Hate RyanAir” for more on this subject).

I booked myself a November trip yesterday, from Berlin to Edinburgh, for 10.02 euros: 2 cents in fares, 10 euros in credit card fees. Of course I plan to report all about it here.

So where would you like to go? Sale ends midnight Wednesday.

If you’re stuck in the States for the time being, get thee to a Cold Stone Creamery Thursday evening: from 5-8 p.m. they’re handing out free scoops of two new creations, inspired by children from the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

  • Jack’s Creation – Marshmallow ice cream with OREO® Cookies, Chocolate Chips and Fudge
  • Emily’s Creation – Nutter Butter® ice cream with White Chocolate Chips, Kit Kat® and Yellow Cake

I’m so jealous! You can find your nearest Cold Stone location here.

Read Full Post »

If you’ll be in our nation’s capital this weekend, you’re in for a treat:  Monday, Sept. 22 is the annual Metro DC Car Free Day.  Between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., there will be a car-free celebration at the corner of 7th and F Streets, with free music, tee-shirts and other giveaways.  The Circulator bus will be free all day Monday as well, so save your feet and enjoy the ride. 

Walking Town DC logoThe real car-free fun, however, begins on Saturday.  Over 80 different walking and biking tours are on offer this weekend, thanks to a coalition of DC heritage and arts organizations — and they won’t cost you one red cent!

Maybe you’d like to “Get Back to your Roots” at the National Arboretum, go underground and learn “The Story Behind the Artwork at Metro Stations,” or simply take it all in on a “Monument Tour”?  There’s something for everyone on offer, with specific tours targeted for children.  Even locals stand to learn a few things hidden in their own neighborhoods. . .

You can read more about the event, including a detailed schedule for both Saturday and Sunday, at the event’s schedule page.

Thanks to This Just In for the tip!

The fun continues through next Saturday, Sept. 27:  Bike DC is sponsoring a community bike ride through “17 miles of car-free city streets.”  The ride is designed for both new and experienced cyclists, and families are also welcome.  Sadly, not a freebie:  adults can register for $35, children for $15.  A map of the route can be found here.

If you won’t be in DC this weekend or next, don’t fret:  you can still uncover some local flavor on your next DC visit by following one of Cultural Tourism DC’s many designated heritage walking trails.

Read Full Post »

Most tourists tramping through Europe to conquer the must-see sights are likely surprised when they get to Pisa, Italy. With our singular focus on the tower (do you hear me, ladies?), many are caught unaware that it is part of a larger architectural ensemble and is in fact dwarfed by the huge cathedral and baptistry right next to it. Take it from the no-budget traveler: the cathedral is actually a far better investment of your tourist time and dollar! By all means, take the requisite photos holding up the Leaning Tower to show to Mom and Dad, but give yourself at least an hour to explore the intricacies and artwork of the lovely, massive cathedral.

I’ve visited hundreds of churches, but the inside of the Pisa Cathedral is a spectacular one worthy of the admission fee:

Glorious — heavenly, even! And you’ll appreciate the cool reprieve from the hot summer sun and the Africans hocking watches.

Follow (or join!) the Photo Friday trip around the globe by clicking here (starting Friday).

Read Full Post »

What a difference 100 years and 500 meters makes!

Within short walking distance of last week’s photo (Dresden’s Procession of Princes), the no-budget traveler will find this socialist mural on the side of Dresden’s Palace of Culture:

There is perhaps no city in the former East Germany that better exemplifies this historical juxtaposition of styles and cultures than Dresden, where the baroque old city with its blackened sandstone is surrounded by the alternately decayed and modernized concrete block houses of the 1960s.

What cities have you visited where you were struck (architecturally or otherwise) by the cruel march of history?

View this week’s other Photo Friday participants here.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »