Family Breaks – surviving the school holidays

Written by Robin Richmond

As a child one can fondly rememberrepparttar unadulterated joy that was school bell ringing forrepparttar 150194 last time in term – thus signallingrepparttar 150195 beginning ofrepparttar 150196 summer holidays. Six weeks of free time followed and life didn’t get any better. Unfortunately, many parents aroundrepparttar 150197 country probably felt somewhat different. Inevitably children get bored (usually after 48 hours in my case) and adults are left staring into a six week chasm of time before their pride and joy are returned to full time education.

One ofrepparttar 150198 biggest challenges facing parents duringrepparttar 150199 holidays is trying to organise holidays for allrepparttar 150200 family. This can be difficult for a number of reasons – not least thatrepparttar 150201 school holidays is a relatively small window so all families are trying to organise and book holidays forrepparttar 150202 same dates. In addition to this, prices tend to be higher as it is peak season and spending long hours travelling with a young family of kids is at best stressful and at worst downright depressing!

One way to avoid travel traumas such as this is to look intorepparttar 150203 massive range of activities an options available torepparttar 150204 family on their own doorstop right here inrepparttar 150205 UK. An example of this would be takingrepparttar 150206 family to a theme park. Inrepparttar 150207 past my families wouldn’t have considered a theme park holiday inrepparttar 150208 United Kingdom and instead would have looked into heading to Florida or Disney Resort Paris. However, overrepparttar 150209 past ten yearsrepparttar 150210 quantity and overall quality of UK theme parks has increased massively. Not only have parks such as Alton Towers - - become world leaders in theme park technology with rides such as “Oblivion” and “Air” but they have also developed excellent facilities in terms of eating and accommodation too.

Other parks such as Chessington World Of Adventures, is full of rides and attractions especially forrepparttar 150211 under-12s. The ever popular Legoland Windsor is also a perfect day out for families, with a range of attractions based on Lego and Duplo products, including models and over 50 interactive rides, set in 150 acres of beautiful parkland.

The dazzling beauty of the Shwedagon Paya

Written by David Barry ++ explore-myanmar ++

The Shwedagon Paya is much more than just another temple. It isrepparttar cultural and religious heart of Myamar. Built on a small hill in central Yangon (Rangoon)repparttar 150193 great golden dome rises almost 100m and dominatesrepparttar 150194 city skyline. Rudyard Kipling was moved to call it “a golden mystery”.

By day,repparttar 150195 dome glitters like golden fire. Sunset plays a melody of shades withrepparttar 150196 monument that never fails enchant. At night,repparttar 150197 complex is illuminated by thousands of strategically-placed spotlights. All Burmese are rightly proud of their national monument, and try to visitrepparttar 150198 site at least once in their lives.

Legend has itrepparttar 150199 main stupa (Buddhist monument inrepparttar 150200 shape of a dome) is 2,500 years old and is home to eight hairs of Buddha, although archaeological evidence suggests it was built by Mon rulers ofrepparttar 150201 area around 1,000 – 1,400 years ago. Wars, earthquakes and other calamities have taken their toll onrepparttar 150202 Shwedagon and most ofrepparttar 150203 present structure dates back to 1769.

The sacred dome is an enduring symbol ofrepparttar 150204 resilience of Burmese – or Bamah – culture. After each setback, Shwedagon is rebuilt and restored to its former glory.

Getting there is easy, asrepparttar 150205 Shwedagon is just north of central Yangon and is easilyrepparttar 150206 most popular tourist attraction inrepparttar 150207 city. Every taxi and motor rickshaw driver knowsrepparttar 150208 way. The $5 entrance fee includesrepparttar 150209 use of a lift torepparttar 150210 main floor ofrepparttar 150211 complex, but there’s nothing to stop you followingrepparttar 150212 footsteps of Buddhist worshippers and climbingrepparttar 150213 steps up Singuuttara Hill torepparttar 150214 summit. You have four covered walkways to choose from in addition to lifts atrepparttar 150215 northern and southern entrances.

Visitors are allowed from dawn until early evening. English speaking monks often offer themselves as tour guides in return for a $5 donation.

Be advised that all visitors must remove shoes and socks while inrepparttar 150216 main complex. Marble flooring is very hot around noon and slippery after rainfall, but a mat pathway is provided aroundrepparttar 150217 main stupa.

As with all Buddhist monuments, visitors are expected to walk clockwise aroundrepparttar 150218 complex. Whilerepparttar 150219 golden stupa isrepparttar 150220 central feature of Shwedagon, it is notrepparttar 150221 only attraction. Inrepparttar 150222 north-western corner isrepparttar 150223 23 tonne Maha Ganda bell which dates back torepparttar 150224 1770s. Afterrepparttar 150225 first Anglo-Burmese War in 1825,repparttar 150226 bell was seized byrepparttar 150227 British who intended to ship it to their homeland. The bell was dropped inrepparttar 150228 Yangon River andrepparttar 150229 British were unable to raise it. The Burmese were allowed to try their luck, and they placed logs and bamboo underrepparttar 150230 bell until it floated torepparttar 150231 surface and was restored to its rightful place.

Just besiderepparttar 150232 Maha Ganda pavilion is a small stupa with a golden spire. Betweenrepparttar 150233 eight niches around its base are figures of animals and birds representingrepparttar 150234 directions ofrepparttar 150235 compass andrepparttar 150236 associated sign and planet for each day ofrepparttar 150237 week (Wednesday is divided into morning and afternoon.

This theme is also displayed onrepparttar 150238 main stupa. North is represented by Friday,repparttar 150239 planet Venus and a guinea pig or mole. North-west is Wednesday afternoon, Yahu and a tuskless elephant. West is Thursday, Jupiter and a rat. South-west is Saturday, Saturn and a naga (dragon-like serpent). South is Wednesday morning, Mercury and a tusked elephant. South-east is Tuesday, Mars and a lion. East is Monday,repparttar 150240 Moon and a tiger. North-east is Sunday,repparttar 150241 Sun and a garuda (mythical winged beast like a dragon). Worshippers are supposed to pray atrepparttar 150242 site which representsrepparttar 150243 day on which they were born.

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