Canal holidays: totally different, totally peaceful

Written by Gareth Powell


Know first that canal and waterway cruising is not a holiday that will please everyone. If you like playing tennis and golf all day, if your idea of happiness is lying beside a pool looking atrepparttar young ladies in their miniature bikinis, if you must absolutely be able to enjoy a hectic night life every day of your holiday then a canal cruising holiday is most certainly not for you. Onrepparttar 143165 other hand, if you don't mind gliding peacefully through some ofrepparttar 143166 most beautiful country inrepparttar 143167 world at a speed of around 7 km an hour, seeing parts ofrepparttar 143168 countryside that other people never do, avoiding allrepparttar 143169 rush hour traffic, and slowing downrepparttar 143170 pace of your life to a gentle amble, then a canal cruising holiday will be very much your speed. Canals are not straight roads you rush down. Typically they turn around followingrepparttar 143171 bends ofrepparttar 143172 countryside, although, occasionally, you may find yourself going through a town even throughrepparttar 143173 center of a major city. To livenrepparttar 143174 proceedings you will frequently come across locks which, in almost every case, you will have to work yourself. You soon get used to it. It is a small but pleasant skill that provides an enjoyable break inrepparttar 143175 day. It is also a good place to meet people from other boats who will be full of information and advice some of it correct and valuable. There are several guide books available for each country, and they listrepparttar 143176 waterside pubs, which are some ofrepparttar 143177 most interesting and attractive of hostelries in Europe. Basics If you are going to be operatingrepparttar 143178 boat yourself and there is no other way to totally enjoyrepparttar 143179 experience then you need to be agile enough to get on and offrepparttar 143180 boat fairly quickly and you need to have somebody to steerrepparttar 143181 boat. In fact, a three person crew is preferable. If that is impossible, then there are hotel boats, especially in France, which cater to your needs. There are no high levels of skill involved in handling a canal boat. It is not like a yacht. Steering is either from a small hand wheel or a tiller atrepparttar 143182 back ofrepparttar 143183 boat, and you have a throttle lever to controlrepparttar 143184 speed. When you hirerepparttar 143185 boat you will be given a very short training course to show you how to handlerepparttar 143186 locks, bridges and other items of canal technology. There will be a towpath running along one side ofrepparttar 143187 canal, which is whererepparttar 143188 horses used to walk when they towedrepparttar 143189 boats. When you want to stop you can moorrepparttar 143190 boat onrepparttar 143191 tow path side. There is no charge for mooring and you either use mooring posts or hammer some stakes intorepparttar 143192 ground. You, of course, carry your water with you and you will have to re-fillrepparttar 143193 tanks every second day or so. You will not have that trouble with fuel as typically you will be supplied with enough to more than last forrepparttar 143194 duration of your holiday. You can cook onrepparttar 143195 boats all utensils are supplied but you will probably find yourself having dinner at one ofrepparttar 143196 many waterside hostelries. You will have to take with you proper boat shoes so that you do not slip on wet decks. On older boats,repparttar 143197 person steering can sometimes be annoyed byrepparttar 143198 sound ofrepparttar 143199 diesel engine. This is not a problem onrepparttar 143200 newer boats which are normally those for hire. In either case, it is onlyrepparttar 143201 person steering who notices. Atrepparttar 143202 front ofrepparttar 143203 boat there is no noise except forrepparttar 143204 lapping ofrepparttar 143205 water andrepparttar 143206 swishing ofrepparttar 143207 reeds. In Britain,repparttar 143208 canals are fairly narrow two meters is fairly wide and that is whyrepparttar 143209 boats are called 'narrowboats'. Despite their lack of beam these boats have all ofrepparttar 143210 conveniences of home including showers, kitchens andrepparttar 143211 inevitable television. Note that they never come equipped with telephones it is not meant to be that sort of holiday. But if you need to be in constant touch you can hire a mobile phone. Almost all boats have a dining area which can be made up into an extra double berth. Unless you are very pushed you should avoid this. It is only suitable for young people. Thusrepparttar 143212 rule is that if you are hiring a boat for four people you hire a six person boat. The electricity after all, this is Europe is weird and wonderful and if you need to use a hair dryer or recharge a camcorder you need to check withrepparttar 143213 hirers very carefully before you start out. In Europe there are several cruising grounds, some more attractive than others. For example, canal boating in Scotland sometimes means that you are sailing across quite large bodies of water and you need something other than a narrow boat. Ireland, onrepparttar 143214 other hand, has become a major area for canal cruising and many ofrepparttar 143215 canals have been restored and reopened. In Irelandrepparttar 143216 Grand Canal and Barrow Systems andrepparttar 143217 Shannon River offer yourepparttar 143218 freedom of 240 kilometres of uncrowded waterways. The start ofrepparttar 143219 Grand Canal is only 100 km from Dublin. The Shannon isrepparttar 143220 backbone of a vast network of inland waterways, joined torepparttar 143221 Erne viarepparttar 143222 newly restored Shannon-Erne link. The Grand Canal connects it to Dublin andrepparttar 143223 east coast, whilerepparttar 143224 Barrow Navigation makes it possible to travel torepparttar 143225 south east. The river immediately torepparttar 143226 south is ideal for beginners. But it is in England that British canal cruising comes to perfection.

Freeport In The Bahamas

Written by Clint Leung


Freeport in Grand Bahama Island isrepparttar closest of allrepparttar 142998 Bahamas torepparttar 142999 USA. A quick 45 minute flight from Fort Lauderdale or Miami will get you into Freeport. It is a very popular destination because of its close proximity andrepparttar 143000 fact that US dollars are widely accepted. There are two main clusters of hotels and resorts on Grand Bahama Island. One is atrepparttar 143001 Port Lucaya area located onrepparttar 143002 south shore of island andrepparttar 143003 other is near downtown Freeport which is more inland. There are also other individual resorts scattered aroundrepparttar 143004 west and south shores ofrepparttar 143005 97 by 17 mile island.

I have traveled to Freeport twice and stayed inrepparttar 143006 Port Lucaya area both times. Most ofrepparttar 143007 hotels here are next torepparttar 143008 Port Lucaya Marketplace which is a collection of restaurants, boutiques and other retail services. In addition torepparttar 143009 higher end retail, there are also small outdoor vendors selling cheaper goods such as souvenirs and t-shirts. One should be aware that much ofrepparttar 143010 items available for sale from these vendors are not actually made inrepparttar 143011 Bahamas but overseas in Asia. There is also a nice sized marina here for those coming torepparttar 143012 island via private boat. For those interested in scuba diving,repparttar 143013 Unexso operator is very convenient since it is located next torepparttar 143014 marketplace. There are also deep sea fishing excursions offered here as well. Atrepparttar 143015 center ofrepparttar 143016 marketplace isrepparttar 143017 Count Basie Square where free entertainment is featured on some evenings. A casino is on location here as well. The white sand beach is quite nice with no rocks inrepparttar 143018 water but it could use some cleaning up since I did see some cigarette butts and small litter scattered around. This is also true for some ofrepparttar 143019 areas aroundrepparttar 143020 Port Lucaya area in general as it seems that nobody wants to take responsibility for bottles and other trash visible to tourists.

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