Contact VLLC to discover the language of Greece.
How many times have you heard someone say ‘It’s all Greek to me?” For many, a holiday in Greece is typically spent soaking up the sun in Zakynthos, Mykonos or Corfu or maybe a rushed tour around the touristy parts of Athens, and that is about it. But Greece has so much more to offer, and that so much more can only be uncovered when you speak Greek. At first glance, Greece could well be all Greek to you, but, with the knowledge of the language, it opens up.
Greece is well-known for its mythology and ancient history, and while much of this has been easily translated into English, and other more widely spoken languages, nothing beats getting a little off the beaten track and delving a little deeper. Greek culture and history has amazed many children at school, for many years, but only a few of them have taken the time to learn the Greek language with its own alphabet, to find out more and perhaps live out some of the mythological adventures.
Athens itself has a few hidden gems that, by speaking Greek, can come alive with a local guide. One such place is just north of the Acropolis and tucked away from most tourists. Anafiotika is a quiet neighbourhood that seems to have been untouched by much of the twentieth or even twenty first century. With quiet, meandering avenues and streets, one can escape the modern world and in the heart of a city find something special. But without speaking Greek, you can barely begin to ask about such a place.
While on your travels why not visit a flea market, a great place to test your Greek. Monastiraki’s Flea Market in Athens is one that is truly special, and if you don’t speak Greek you will miss out on some bargains and much of the fun. Monastiraki’s Flea Market is a great place to enjoy a Sunday and try and haggle, in Greek, for a good deal on whatever catches your eye. At Monastiraki’s Flea Market you will find everything from furniture, to art and old cameras, to World War II War items. The market and the traders come to life with language and the stories behind the items for sale are soon told, and whether they are true or not, it makes no difference.
After you have negotiated and haggled your way to buying something you never knew you ever wanted, in Greek, it is then time to enjoy the setting sun and find a place to eat. There are some amazing small restaurants tucked away throughout Athens and hidden away on Greek islands, and because you speak Greek, the menus are not all Greek to you. Sitting and eating surrounded by a handful of locals, is something only language can do, and this will be one of many memories you make when you uncover hidden Greece. No longer will you say “Greece is all Greek to me” but you will soon discover somewhere magical, that you will fall in love with, just because you speak the language of the Gods.
Contact VLLC to discover the language of Greece.
For most people, when planning a trip, the biggest consideration is the money! How much is in the bank account? How much will I need to spend on the basics?
If you want to travel, you need to either be rich, win the lottery, or save money which requires discipline. Here are a few tips to help you save enough for your next holiday so that you can keep your travel bug alive.
Join VLLC to celebrate Christmas around the world!
Selamat Hari Natal สุขสันต์วันคริสต์มาส Merry Christmas!
¡Feliz Navidad! めりーくりすます
C рождеством! عيد ميلاد مجيد Joyeux Noël
メリークリスマス Buon Natale
In the last three or four decades, the world has shrunk. As aircraft have improved, so travel has become easier and then with the introduction of low cost or budget airlines, so the cost of air travel has dropped. Furthermore, thanks to the internet travel has become easier, new destinations are easier to suss out, and ways to book experiences have just become simpler at the click of a button.
So where are the Top destinations for travel experiences? It could be said that everyone has their own idea of a great place to travel and explore and this is true. So, to get to the bottom of the Top destinations for travel experiences who better to look at than TripAdvisor. With TripAdvisor places and experiences are ranked and rated by real people thus the destinations that make their top places lists should be pretty good and interesting.
Here are the top 5 destinations for travel experiences:
Costa Rica ranks at the top of the current list and with its La Fortuna de Sam Carlos region offering unusual experiences such as Volcano Hikes and Sloth Seeing it is no surprise why. For the more adventurous traveller, Costa Rica has so much to offer. But imagine just how much more of this fascinating country you could explore if you spoke Spanish?
When it comes to the top US travel experiences, it will come as no surprise that Hawaii sneaks in at the top. To be precise Kauai is the top destination. The all year-round good weather certainly plays a part in this part of the world getting such a high ranking. Of course, there are some bucket items in the region such as surfing and yet again exploring some volcanoes. Thankfully, English is the spoken language in Kauai, so no further languages are needed unless you do not speak English.
The Nordic region is always a top destination for all travellers. Norway may lack the sunshine of Costa Rica and Hawaii, but it makes up for it some other interesting things. Tromso is the top destination in Norway according to Trip Advisor and having a grasp of Norwegian may well come in handy. Tromso tops the list because of experiences such as feeding reindeer and of course the amazing night-time views of the Aurora Borealis.
New Zealand used to be far off the beaten track in terms of distance but today is an easily accessible country. Rotorua in New Zealand has come top of the charts for great places to visit because, again, is has some awesome experiences. With white water rafting and jet boat rides through the Tatukua Gorge it is very much a place for those who like a bit of adrenaline flowing through their veins.
At number five on this list of Top destinations for travel experiences is Puerto Vallarta in Mexico. Mexico is another country that will open up dramatically if you speak Spanish but even if you don’t Puerto Vallarta has plenty of enjoyment for everyone. From an ATV adventure in the Sierra Madre to Tequila tasting after a zip-lining day out you are pretty much covered when it comes to having fun.
But these are not the only places you can visit. The world today is your oyster, and if you want to take home a few pearls, learning a language opens things up beyond your wildest expectations.
Can you imagine what it would be like if you were unable to have Christmas if you could not speak ‘Christmasese’? If Christmas had a language all of its own, would you take the time to learn it? What would it be like if you saw people loving Christmas and enjoying it because they spoke ‘Christmasese’ and you couldn’t? It would not quite be the same, and imagine if Christmas didn’t come to you but you had to go to it?
As we all know there are some words that are associated only with Christmas, and some things that worldwide are part and parcel of Christmas. In the many and varied traditions, these words would somehow form a part of ‘Christmasese’ and you would have to learn them. These words might include:
Mistletoe – a small twig like plant that people kiss under
Presents – gifts given to people (or pets) wrapped up in shiny paper
Christ - The birth of the Lord Jesus Christ is the reason for celebrating Christmas
Holly – a dark green bush with sharp pointed leaves and red berries often used for decorations
Mince Pie – a sweet pie eaten at Christmas
Tinsel - strings of shiny, glittering tassels that are used as decoration
Carols – songs sung to celebrate the season
Turkey – a large bird, killed and cooked for lunch – normally very dry
For anyone coming to visit the land of Christmas, these simple words would be very helpful. Phrases like “Merry Christmas” and even ‘Happy New Year” would be frequently heard, or a ‘Christmasese’ translation at least. A large, portly gentleman would be seen wearing red, and cheerfully shouting, “Ho Ho Ho” and calling out these strange words: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen, and unmistakably Rudolph, but of course, we all know they are the names of his reindeer and you only ever hear them spoken about at this time of year, but if you couldn’t speak ‘Christmasese’ you would not have a clue!
Christmas would not be Christmas is if you had no idea what was going on, and if people spoke in a language you didn’t understand, you would feel like an outsider. The meaning of Christmas might just get a little lost, but thankfully, one does not have to learn a language to enjoy Christmas. Christmas is a universal language, understood by everyone, and whether Christmas is celebrated in Spain, China, Vietnam or Poland, while traditions may change, the language that is quintessentially Christmas doesn’t.
The language of Christmas is a language of love, happiness and hope, it can be translated into any spoken language you choose, but the feeling, the sentiment, and the meaning is the same wherever you find yourself. Christmas is a time where one language is spoken. The barriers of language that we know exist, can fall away when a welcoming smile, a handshake and a hug speak more than words themselves, as Christmas comes from the heart and is easily shared.
Celebrate Christmas this year, and as you do, think of your loved ones, and then think of people all over the world who are celebrating the same but saying any one of the following…
عيد ميلاد مجيد Joyeux Noël!, Frohe Weihnachten!, 圣诞快乐, Καλά Χριστούγεννα!, メリークリスマス, ¡Feliz Navidad!, Selamat Hari Natal!, สุขสันต์วันคริสต์มาส, C рождеством! and Buon Natale!
You don’t have to go and visit 'Christmas' and no matter what language you speak, the sentiment is the same, and we wish you a Merry Christmas.
“Merry Christmas” from VLLC
There is nothing like a travel book to get you in the mood to set sail and see the world. There are hundreds, if not thousands of travel books in a variety of genres from the conventional travel guides to those a little more niche, (or is that weird?) to tempt you. Here are just 5 travel books you may wish to read, but remember this is my choice and you may have other tastes.
The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain. Is this a travel book or a hugely satirical novel? In my opinion, despite its age, this is one of the classic travel books. This book started out a series of articles Twain wrote for a San Francisco Newspaper in 1910/1911. The book covers a wonderful journey through Europe and the Middle East with some wonderful satirical observances of people, culture and countries.
Epic Drives of the World, Lonely Planet. A list of travel books would not be complete without something from Lonely Planet and Epic Drives of the World is a must read. Filled with amazing photographs from real travellers this book takes you on a number of road trips around the world with everything from Australia to Zambia covered. This is truly a book that will set your heart pounding to get behind the wheel and just drive and enjoy.
Ascent, by Chris Bonington. For the more adventurous Ascent, by Chris Bonington is a fascinating must read travel book. It more than just a superb travel guide, if you want to call it that, of mountains and places to climb. The book tells the epic tales of Chris Bonington’s many climbs many adventures from near death to amazing people and places discovered. Climbing and travelling since the 1950s this a book that is not just inspiring but a wonderful read.
Australia: The Ultimate Australia Travel Guide By A Traveller For A Traveller. This is one of the best and most accurate Australian travel books you will find. With some amazing photographs, plenty of detail and nice touch that explains some of the history of the country. For anyone planning a trip to Australia this book will help plan the perfect vacation. Australia: The Ultimate Australia Travel Guide By A Traveller For A Traveller just also happens to be a really nice read.
A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson. Of course this list has to have something from Bill Bryson and A Walk in the Woods just happens to be one of the best. For anyone who has walked or intends to walk Appalachian Trail this book is a must read. In typical Bryson style it tells the story of his unsuccessful walk through some of the best natural places on the planet. If you are a nature lover and you only ever own one travel book this is the one for you.
These are just 5 travel books that are among the best. Yes they may seem a little quirky and not your average travel book, but travel itself should be fun and of course a little quirky. It is the quirks of your journey that make your adventure what it is and these books may just inspire you.
Because of its importance as a defining aspect of Mexican culture and the unique aspects of the celebrations which have been passed down through generations, Mexico's indigenous festivity dedicated to the dead was recognised by UNESCO as part of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity in 2008. It is an interesting festival,
Although it is a holiday from far away in southern Mexico, it's a holiday one can personalise and integrate into their own religious and cultural beliefs. It is more of a cultural holiday than a religious one. It is a wonderful way to celebrate the memories of loved ones who are now gone... through art, cooking, music, doing activities with your children, recounting family stories, fun times and lessons learned... Not how the person died, but how they lived.
Whether you are taking a short city break weekend, a longer vacation or just doing business in Span for a few days, one if thing is for certain, you will love Spanish food. During your stay, no matter how long it is, you will want to eat, and while for some, global fast food is easy, for many Spanish food is a must. But what are some of the best Spanish dishes you really must try? Here are 5.
Let’s start with something sweet and something that is consumed in astronomical amounts by many Spaniards. Turrón is a sweet almond Nougat that is extremely popular at Christmas. However, many do not know that it is a true sweet treat available any day of the year even when you have no reason to celebrate at all. The small town of Jijona in the province of Alicante is where most of these very tasty treats are made and there are two types. Made with honey, almonds and egg white the two versions of this sweet treat are Jijona which is soft and chewy and the hard Alicante Turrón that has pieces of almond in it.
Tortilla Española is a classic dish and one that is surprisingly tasty. Over the years there have been some variations on the Tortilla Española just to spice things up, but the traditionalist will have nothing of it. Nothing beats a traditional Tortilla Española that consists of Eggs, Potatoes and Onions, for some even the onion is extravagant, but it does give the meal a little more taste. Slow cooked in olive oil this simple dish is a very filling meal.
Perhaps the most well-known of all Spanish Dishes, Paella, is for some what Spain is known for. A traditional Paella includes chicken or rabbit, saffron, runner beans and butter beans. However, the Paella is not complete without rice and quite a lot of it. The rice is used to absorb the flavours not just to make the dish more filling. Try Paella with rabbit and you will be surprised just how tasty it is.
A simple fried chicken dish, known throughout Spain is Pollo al ajillo. Everyone says the Pollo al ajillo made by their mother or grandmother is the best and truth be told this may actually be so as every time I have had it, it tastes better. This really is a simple dish. Whole unpeeled garlic is fried in olive oil to flavour the oil then removed. Chicken is then fried in the oil and when cooked the garlic cloves, some rosemary and thyme as well as a dash of sherry are added to make a dish that is unbelievably tasty.
If you have not had a bowl of Gazpacho then you have not been to Spain. This blend of ripe red tomatoes, cucumber, peppers and garlic can be found, ice cold, in jugs in many Tapas bars throughout Spain. It is one of the most refreshing things to eat or drink anywhere in the entire country and is quintessentially Spanish!
These are just 5 of the must try dishes you can have in Spain. There are many more surprisingly good dishes and one or two house specialities you will stumble up. However, to really get the most out of any restaurant, being able to speak Spanish, will open up many gastronomic delights.
Spain is a popular tourist destination and if a person hasn’t visited, he or she probably wants to. Apart from some flamenco and some lounging on the beach, Spain has many attractions, but there are some that can only be done in Spain. Here are 7, with one special one at the end.
Travel on a Zip Line to Portugal: Limite Zero takes one minute to travel from the Andalucía village of Sanlúcar de Guadiana and over the border to Alcoutim in Portugal. This is the only international zip line in the world and is the only zip line that takes you forward by an hour due to the time difference between Spain and Portugal.
Eat a Gazpacho at McDonald’s: This is a fun thing that can only be done in Spain. Gazpacho is very popular in Spain and while many tourists are looking for slightly different dining experiences to McDonald’s, this is worth a try. Spain is the only country in the world that has Gazpacho on the McDonald’s menu. Come on, it is worth a try, at least for a selfie!
Eat in the world’s oldest restaurant: This is a step up from McDonalds and Madrid in Spain is the only place in the world this can be done. Sobrino de Botin in Madrid is around 300 years old and holds the world record for the oldest restaurant in the world. If you visit, you really must try the oven baked lamb… it is legendary!
Visit the Tomb of Christopher Columbus: Christopher Columbus is well known by many people. Without out him much of the world we know today may not actually have been found. It is a tough thing to consider. Maybe it is worthwhile saying a word of thanks by visiting his impressive tomb. Recent DNA tests prove that the Cathedral of Seville does really house the remains of Christopher Columbus. The tomb is ok but the Cathedral is magnificent
Near Death Experience: No, you don’t have to come close to death but you can attend the festival of the near death experience or La Fiesta de Santa Marta de Ribarteme that takes place every year in Las Nieves, Galicia. During this bizarre event people pretend to be dead and are carried through the streets in coffins.
World’s biggest nightclub: For those wanting something a little less macabre a visit to the island of Ibiza will get your heart racing. Here the world’s largest nightclub called Privilege has space for over 10,000 people to party the night away.
Tapas: Perhaps the best thing about Spain, and final thing you can only do in Spain is to enjoy real Tapas. This gastronomic part of Spanish life will come to life when you can converse with the locals in their mother tongue.
Spain has so much to offer tourists of all ages. However, these and many other hidden gems can be found in the country, famous for its rich history and culture, by speaking Spanish. Language opens up more doors than many could imagine, takes tourists down a road less travelled. To really experience Spain, find places that perhaps no one else has before; speaking Spanish will make a difference.
Oktoberfest began as the marriage ceremony between Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese on October 12, 1810. All of the townspeople were invited to attend the festival, which took place in the fields outside of the city gates. Following the wedding the fields were named Theresienwiese after the Princess, and the party was such a hit that the townspeople asked King Ludwig to continue the celebration the following year. This year's Oktoberfest (2019) will mark the 212th anniversary of the festivities.
Today the remnants of the gates still stand and the fields, known by locals as the Wies’n (world's largest fair), now host the largest beer festival in the world: Oktoberfest! What was a simple wedding celebration has transformed into a 17 or 18-day festival in which 7 million people from around the world participate in, consuming more than 6 million litres of Bavarian beer. That’s 1 million gallons of beer! Oktoberfest officially begins on the second to last Saturday in September at noon when the mayor of Munich taps the first barrel at the Schottenhamel Tent, crying “O’zapft is” (It’s open). The festival concludes the first Sunday of October following German reunification day.
There are 14 main beer tents at the Theresienwiese grounds serving brews by the Maß (1-liter stein). Of the 14 tents there are 6 large tents, which rotate up to 12,000 people per day! That is a whole lot of beer! Only six breweries are represented at the Oktoberfest grounds – Späten, Augustiner, Paulaner, Hacker-Poschorr, Hofbräu and Löwenbräu. Everyone has their preferred brew by the end, which one will be yours? Also, for those of you who fancy a break from the frothy brews there is a special wine tent called Weinzelt.
The 2018 Oktoberfest, its 211th appearance and commences in late September. Apparently, the Schottenhamel tent is the place to be, if you want to catch the official opening ceremonies. At noon, the Mayor of Munich will have the honour of tapping the first keg of Oktoberfest beer. Once the barrel has been tapped, all visitors will then be allowed to quench their thirst. It pays to arrive early in order to experience the festivities up close and personal and it's quite common for visitors to come around 9 am to secure good seats. Experience German culture to the fullest by learning German before you go!
Travelling is an exciting opportunity which can be enhanced by learning the language before you go. This blog contains some interesting articles about language and travel.