Sunday, September 6, 2009

Santa Croce

We left at 9:00 and met Kirk Duclaux at 10:30 in front of the Florence Duomo (Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore). From these pictures you can see the layout: the San Giovanni Baptistry, the enormous Cathedral with Brunelleschi's famous dome (containing the Vasari and Zuccari frescoes of The Last Judgement), Giotto's impressive bell tower. At the time of its completition the Cathedral was the largest in Europe, still second only to St. Peter's in Rome.

We visited the Duomo Museum, just east of the Cathedral. It was wonderful, but as with everything else here, the internet and books are loaded with images, so here's just a sample, the charming choir of Luca della Robbia, along with the truly wrenching Donatello Maddalena (Mary Magdalen), of which Vasari wrote: "a finely executed and impressive work. She is portrayed as wasted away by her fastings and abstinence, and Donatello's expert knowledge of anatomy is demonstrated by the perfect accuracy of every part of the figure."

After reaching the saturation point ("arted out" as our guides say) we were hungry for a different kind of Italian art -- food and wine. We followed Sabrina's advice and found the tiny Trattoria Le Mossacce (via del Proconsolo 55r). I didn't take any pictures of the outside (must've been hungry), but found one on the 'net. You walk through a very narrow hall into a very tiny dining room. Nearly everyone inside was Italian, with the exception of a group which followed us in. They were German but could as well have been Americans. The idiots wanted to push two tables together so the eight of them could sit together. It would have been impossible. The waiter told them to go to hell, so they settled for a men's table and a women's table (the women, who sat near us, seemed relieved). I had spaghetti, and Karen had tagliatelli; the wine was chianti.

Bargello Museum

We next dropped into the Bargello, aka Bargello Palace or Palazzo del Popolo (Palace of the People), which is a former barracks and prison, the principal place of execution, one of the oldest buildings in Florence, begun in 1255. Initially the headquarters of the Capitano del Popolo and later of the Podestà, in the sixteenth century it became the residence of the Bargello or head of police spies from which it took its name. Saw a lot of Cellini, Michelangelo, Donatello - in particular, Donatello's David. Also got a chuckle out of Michelangelo's Bacchus






Santa Croce - Gothic Franciscan church

Novotel Peace Beijing

Novotel Peace Beijing features a restaurant, serving breakfast only. This property features massage and treatment rooms, beauty services, and a hair salon. In addition to an indoor pool, Novotel Peace Beijing provides a spa tub, a sauna, and a fitness facility. Novotel Peace Beijing also offers a bar/lounge, high-speed Internet access, and conference rooms. The property has a 24-hour front desk.

  • Swimming pool - indoor
  • Spa tub
  • Sauna
  • Air-conditioned public areas
  • Fitness equipment
  • Bar/lounge
  • Restaurant(s) in hotel
  • Business services
  • Number of rooms: 401
  • Multilingual staff
  • 24-hour front desk
  • Express check-out
  • Medical assistance available
  • Currency exchange
  • Hair salon
  • Gift shops or newsstand
  • Babysitting or child care
  • Beauty services
  • Conference room(s)
  • Express check- in
  • Internet access in public areas - high speed
  • Massage - treatment room(s)
  • Parking (secure)

Xi'an Garden Hotel

Surrounded by lovely parks and manicured grounds, the 292 modern rooms at this establishment make travel to Xian memorable for all. The city itself is very busy and noisy. However, that notion escapes the mind of guests to the Garden Hotel, where tranquility is a paramount feature of the establishment whether visiting the very arge pool, or relaxing for a coffee or cocktail in one of the lounges. Most visitors come to Xian for the Terra-Cott
Garden Hotel Xian - Hotel Exterior
Hotel Exterior


Garden Hotel Xian - Hotel Exterior
Hotel Exterior


Garden Hotel Xian - Hotel Exterior
Hotel Exterior


Garden Hotel Xian - Hotel Exterior
Hotel Exterior


Garden Hotel Xian - Guest Room
Guest Room


Garden Hotel Xian - Standard Room
Standard Room


Garden Hotel Xian - Suite


a Warriors (Bingmayong,) but the doormen at this hotel will give visitors a myriad of other locations to check out while they are visiting. All rooms in this modern facility allow for an effortless pleasure or business stay in this richly historical, yet ever-growing, city in China. Book your room now at Garden Hotel via our secure online booking form. The first step is to enter and submit your travel dates in the spaces provided.

Shanghai Peace Hotel north building--5 star hotel

Known by many as the most famous hotel in China, the Peace Hotel has been a Shanghai Landmark for nearly a century. The decor is stunning throughout, and rooms such as the recently restored dining room are frequently featured in Chinese films. In addition to well appointed accommodations the hotel has an impressive array of services and facilities. The hotel also features the 'Old Jazz Band', a group of Jazz veterans who play in the hotel's English-style bar nightly.

Shanghai Peace hotel Location

Located on the famous Bund by the Huangpu River (at the cross roads of Nanjing Road East and Zhongshan Dong Yi Road).

  • Hongqiao International Airport 18km
    Pudong Interantional Airport 50km
    Shanghai Railway Station 5km
    Nearest Subway Station 1km
    The bund 0km
    Nanjing Road Shopping Area 100m

Dubai Beach Hotels

Well defined as the top holiday destination in the UAE, Dubai is filled with an incredible variety of services and attractions. One of the biggest appeals of Dubai is the combination of exciting urban adventures and nightlife coupled with easy-going days spent at one of the many notable Dubai beach resorts. Beach hotels in Dubai run parallel with the city’s standards offering exceptional surroundings, world class services and plenty of excellent amenities.

On Dubai’s famous Jumeirah Beach lies the Jumeirah Beach Hotel nestled invitingly on a stretch of privately owned beachfront facing the Arabian Gulf. Less than a half hour from the city center, this Dubai beach hotels location offers the best of both worlds, tranquility and excitement. Luxurious and spirited Jumeirah is one of the top beach hotels in Dubai. Designed for families, couples and friends, the hotel presents a large variety of fun possibilities for every traveler. This beach resorts Dubai visitors, especially families, love the close proximity to the Wild Wadi Waterpark.

Atlantis Hotel The Palm

Atlantis Hotel Dubai Rising from the warm waters of the Arabian Gulf, this luxury resort is situated on 113 acres. Opening in September 2008 this resort is an Architectural Wonder and one of Dubai’s newest Landmarks, located on the crescent of The Palm Jumeirah, known as the 8th Wonder of the World. Offering something for everyone, this resort features “Aquaventure” – a 42-acre waterpark with the “Zigguret” Centerpiece that touts a 27.5 metre-vertical drop; “The Lost Chambers” – where you can journey through a labyrinth of chambers to experience its fascinating underwater world with over 65,000 fish, the 11-acre “Dolphin Bay” with its innovative Dolphin Education Centre, and the “Ambassador Lagoon” with 100’s of species of marine life. Everything you need is on-site. Its Spa and Fitness Center offers treatments from all over the world. Enjoy Atlantis’s Aquatic Gardens, or a day of windsurfing and kayaking from its Private Beach. Shop in the up-scale boutiques in “The Avenues”, a 7500 sqm. retail and entertainment complex, or dance the night away in their ultra-chic nightclub, “Sanctuary”. Atlantis – The Palm offers an array of fun-filled activities for children of every age. Through nature and science, arts and crafts, and marine welfare, Atlantis–The Palm offers a series of educational programs for families to enjoy. The hotels also offers convenience to many of Dubai’s other Tourist Attractions. Guests can experience the Region’s largest Indoor Ski Resort, Ski Dubai, located in the Mall of the Emirates, or Dubai’s other waterpark, Wild Wadi in Jumeirah Beach. Other nearby sites to see are the Burj Al Arab, the world’s only 7 Star Hotel and the iconic structure that represents Dubai, Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest building, and the famous Dubai Marina. Guests will find a vast array of shopping venues in the area. There is the popular Mall of the Emirates with its own Indoor Ski Resort, known as Ski Dubai. For those looking for a more unique style of shopping, there is the Madinat Jumeirah offering Designer Boutiques in an Arabian Style Souk. And, opening in Oct. 2008 is the Dubai Mall, slated to be one of the largest malls in the world. With so much to do and see, guests of the Atlantis – The Palm will not want to leave this vacation paradise.

Located in a prestigious area on the Crescent of the world’s largest man-made island, Palm Jumeirah, it is just 35 km from Dubai International Airport, and 15 minutes from the Mall of the Emirates.

Hotel Facilities:

Hotel amenities include: Private Beach, Banquet Facilities, Conference/Meeting Rooms, Family Activities and Themed Parks, Water Sports, Swimming Pools, Fitness Center, Sauna/Spa, Beauty Salon, Boutiques, Tennis Courts,

Guest Rooms:

1539 spacious and well-equipped rooms equipped with Air Conditioning, Walk-In Wardrobes, Dressing Areas, Jetted Tubs, Balconies with magnificent views of the Arabian Gulf and Palm Jumeirah, High Speed Internet, I-Pod Deck, Sat. TV, Bathrobes, and Slippers.


With 17 Restaurants, Bars and Lounges, the Atlantis has facilities to suite the pallet of very guest. The world-renown Nobu with its fusion of Asian Flavors is a restaurant of celebrity status. Rostang – the French Brasserie by 2 star-Star Michelin Chef Michel Rostang. Atlantis will also house Santi Santamaria’s signature seafood restaurant, Seafire Steakhouse and Grill, Levantine – serving authentic Arabian Dishes and Nightly Entertainment, and Locatelli’s – a fun and fashionable Italian Restaurant. For casual dining the Altantis offers Nasimi located by the Royal Pool, and Kaleidoscope offering a delicious array of cuisines.

Cancellation Policy:

Cancellation should be done 15 days in peak season, 8 days in high and 4 days in low season prior to arrival Else full charges are applicable. No Show/ Early Departure Full night charges are applicable.Name changes will be considered as cancellation

Child Policy: