Famous and historic casinos to visit when travelling in Italy

Although there are certain places, like Las Vegas and Monte Carlo, which are particularly associated with casino gambling, in this era of the online casino, most cities in the world have great ones. Indeed, despite predictions that being able to play casino games online would lead to the decline of land-based ones, the majority have continued to thrive – although some carry greater levels of fame and historic import than others, which ensures that there will always be people interested in visiting them.

One of these is the Casino di Venezia, which you will find in the beautiful city of Venice in Italy, and which at one time was spread over much of this city. The reason for this was the fact that the waterways for which Venice is famed made it difficult for the original casino building to be expanded as it started to gain in popularity, ensuring that the only option was to build additions to it elsewhere in the city. Another notable historic Italian casino is the San Remois Municipal Casino, which can be found in the beautiful city of San Remo, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

This is not the biggest casino you will find, but it boasts a fascinating history, as it dates back all the way to 1905, and was one of the very few casinos to survive when Mussolini demanded that all Italian gambling halls shut their doors, in 1924. Nowadays visitors to the San Remois Municipal Casino will find an establishment that is still thriving – nearly a century after Mussolini failed to close it down – with a fine selection of both slots and table games, enough even to rival online casinos such as www.mobileslots.net. This ensures that it is a great place to gamble, but also a great slice of Italian history, for anyone who has any interest in this country’s troubled past.

Top 5 Golden Beaches in Crete

Once the heart of the Minoan civilisation, a flourishing Bronze Age society associated in mythology with the bull and labyrinth and noted for its Goddess worship and advanced arts, Crete is one of the Mediterranean’s most intriguing islands. An island large enough to retain a strong identity and culture while being incorporated in Greece, Crete has its own distinctive poetry, music and dance styles. Traditional dress can still be seen in the island and the islanders are proud of their history and customs.

There is much to be proud of, not just with regards to their legacy and traditional way of life, but also when it comes to the island’s stunning geography. Mountains stretch along the interior, a vast range made up of different groups, while gorges plunge steeply down and rivers flow out to the sea. It’s a superb landscape for hiking and car rental in Crete is easy to arrange for those who like to explore by car.

But around the coastline lie even greater gems. From the prefecture (regional unit) of Chania in the west to Lassithi in the east, there are hundreds of beaches to be found. From broad sweeping curves of golden sand to tiny inlets, from gently shelving slopes and quaint harbours to rocky beaches with cliffs as their backdrop, the beaches in Crete do not disappoint. Here are five of the best.

Elafonissi Beach is one of the most spectacular beaches on the island, with an unreal quality that sets it apart from other contenders. Located to the far southwest of the island, in the regional unit of Chania, Elafonissi has sparkling pink-tinted white sand, an amazing colour that is due to the thousands upon thousands of broken shells that make it up. With its pristine turquoise waters, shallow and inviting, you might be forgiven for thinking that Elafonissi lies somewhere in the Caribbean rather than the Mediterranean.

Looking for seclusion and a more untamed habitat? No problem. Crete has so many beaches it is easy to escape the crowds. St Paul Sandhill Beach, in Rethymnon prefecture and around 60 km south of the city of the same name, is a wild and impressive site. The name comes from the large sand dunes behind the beach, and these lend to St Paul a sheltered and private quality. The bay also protects against the wind and there is a very peaceful and quiet feel to the beach. Great views can be had from the top of the dunes. The waters are clear, green and deep and the seabed rocky, making it superb for snorkelling.

Also in Rethymnon prefecture, between the villages of Fragokastelo and Rodakino, is Peristeres Beach. The defining feature of Peristeres is its amazing caves to the east, complete with magnificent arches and huge boulders. There are a number of other tiny beaches scattered around. Peristeres itself is secluded and access can be a bit tricky, but once there it is well worth it. The water is great for snorkelling and there are a couple of laid-back tavernas in which to while away a lazy lunch or afternoon.

Back in Chania prefecture, around 12 km west of Chania town, is Gerani Beach. If Elafonissi Beach is reminiscent of the Caribbean, with its exotic appeal, then at Gerani there can be no doubt that you are firmly back in the Mediterranean. Nestled in a lush green valley of olive and citrus groves, with its golden sands, Gerani offers the perfect blend of relaxation and activity. Unlike some of Crete’s more secluded beaches, Gerani has excellent tourist facilities, with loungers and umbrellas for hire, showers and lifeguards. There are some great bars along its 2.5 km length and opportunities for water sports, such as wind-surfing and water-skiing.

Another beach that offers a great balance between chilling out and more adventurous activities is Episkopi, between Chania and Rethymnon towns. At 3.5 km in length, it is one of the longer beaches in the region, and visitors can find all kinds of services here. There are many beach bars and cafes, suitable for all the family, and the beach has a lively and fun atmosphere. There are also loungers, umbrellas, lifeguards and water sports.

The Best Things To Do In Eritrea

The Best Things To Do In Eritrea

With a coastline on the Red Sea and plenty of natural resources that could be used to develop the economy, there are plenty who think that Eritrea could be a much stronger economic power and a better tourist destination than it is.  Eritrea is one of the poorest countries in Africa, and with a single party of government and no independent media in the country, it is a very different country when compared with some of the democracies of Africa.  Some of the most interesting places to visit in Eritrea date from the colonial period, with the Italian influences being clear to see in many sites.

Visit The Asmara Cathedral

One of the most attractive and impressive buildings in the capital city of Asmara is St Joseph’s Cathedral, which is currently under the jurisdiction of the Eritrean Catholic Church.  This large building is a great example of the Italian influence seen in the country during its period as a colony, as it is built in the romanico lombardo style with a grand frontage and attractive touches throughout the building.  Probably the most distinctive feature of the building is the bell tower which is located on the left hand side of the building, and is said to be based on the tower that is a part of London’s Palace of Westminster.

Ride The Train To Massawa

If you are lucky enough to be in Eritrea when the railway is running, it is one of the most interesting experiences to enjoy during a visit to the country.  The line connects the important port of Massawa with the capital city of Asmara, and is usually used to transport minerals and freight to the port, but there is a group that runs occasional steam trains along the line, which is a great thrill for visitors.  While the stations at Asmara and Massawa may look a little deserted and functional these days, the steam engines are fascinating examples of the Italian trains that were brought to Africa.  The line also includes one of the steepest climbs possible by rail and some superb aqueducts.

See The Asmara Theater And Opera House

This historic old building is another of the impressive legacies of the Italian presence in Eritrea, with a main hall with a stunning ornate dome to the building that is slowly decaying.  The building itself is located behind a popular local restaurant, and can be a little difficult to visit, but is well worth the effort.  Nominally the building is home to the National Theater of Eritrea, but productions seem to be irregular at the current time.

Visit The Alien Landscape Of The Danakil Desert

The Danakil Desert is a region of Eritrea that is truly remarkable, and is not only a stunning place to visit, but is also home to some of the oldest salt mining traditions in the world, with salt still been loaded on to camel trains to be transported.  The landscape here is arid and sandy for the majority, but where the sulphur and mineral salts erupt to the surface, it leaves bright and colourful landscapes that are beautiful and otherworldly, and are truly a sight to behold.

The Best Things To Do In Khartoum

The Best Things To Do In Khartoum

The capital city of Sudan is a city that has seen significant and dramatic upheaval over recent years, and the independence of South Sudan has changed the capital city of the country too.  Like many African cities Khartoum has seen a significant amount of development over recent decades, with many modern buildings standing shoulder to shoulder with some beautiful traditional African architecture.  While Khartoum is generally a fairly safe place to visit, it is always wise to be vigilant, and traveling on to the west of the country is something that should certainly be avoided.

Visit The Confluence Of The Blue And The White Nile

One of the most dramatic sights that can be seen a short distance outside Khartoum city center is the point where the Blue Nile and the White Nile come together to form the great Nile river that flows through much of Africa.  While the two rivers may not be the blue and white colors that they are referred to in their names, there is a distinct difference in the color of the two rivers as they join.  It is possible to walk to the confluence by following Nile Street from the city center, and it is around two miles.

It is also worth noting that the metal bridge where most people will stand to get the best view of the two rivers merging does have a strict policy about not taking pictures of the confluence.  Locally the site is called Al-Mogran, and is also close to the Al-Mogran family park where there are several fairground rides.

Explore The Sudan National Museum

For those who are used to visiting museums in the west, the Sudan National Museum may be a slightly different experience, as it is a large collection of artifacts in a building that is generally quiet.  While it may have the air of a collection that has been neglected, it does have a superb collection of paintings and artifacts tracing the history of Christianity in Sudan.  However, the real gems of the museum are to be found in the large buildings around the grounds of the museum, where there are several temples, tombs and other artifacts dating from the period of the Egyptian empire.

Stroll Down Nile Street

Nile Street is one of the most popular boulevards in Khartoum, as it has a series of attractive colonial buildings on one side with the Blue Nile on the other side of the street.  Many of the city’s most important and attractive buildings are located here, including many of the foreign embassies, along with the occasional modern development such as the Al-Fateh Tower which is a stark contrast to the older architecture.  The tree-lined streets also has sidewalks unlike many streets in the city, making it a popular place to go for a walk.

Visit The Presidential Palace Museum

This museum is to be found in the grounds of the Presidential Palace on Nile Street, and is to be found in a converted church that used to serve as a place of worship for the palace.  Visitors will not be allowed to get too close to the Presidential Palace itself, but it does have a great collection of old cars.  The museum also has several artifacts and small exhibits relating to the British colonial period and the war for Sudanese independence.

The Top Locations To Visit In Addis Ababa

The Top Locations To Visit In Addis Ababa

The capital city of Ethiopia is a city that shows some of the most interesting blend of colonial buildings and African culture on the continent, and is largely considered to be the political capital of Africa.  While there are many different things to do in this large city, it is also a nice place to walk around, and is considered to be one of the safest cities in Africa.  While there are plenty of colonial buildings worth visiting around the city, there are plenty of things to do here too, which helps to make it a great place to start a visit to Ethiopia.

Explore The Cathedrals Of The City

As an important part of the administration of the region during the colonial period, Addis Ababa has several churches and cathedrals that are some of the most fascinating buildings in the city.  The Holy Trinity Cathedral is one of the most important buildings in the city, as it has the tomb of the legendary emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie along with the tombs of his wife and several family members too.  Both the exterior and interior of this beautiful cathedral has some wonderful statues to see, and a good look around the church can take a couple of hours.

St George’s Cathedral is another of the important religious buildings in the city, and has a distinctive octagonal shape.  The building was constructed by Italian prisoners of war, while the cathedral today traces a part of the battle for independence in the small museum that is to be found within the cathedral.

Climb Entoto Mountain

In the northern suburbs of Addis Ababa is the Entoto Mountain, which is a very popular place for an afternoon walk for visitors and the residents of the city.  The hike itself takes you through several different parts of the city, while the hill itself has a small church and a small palace at the top of the hill that can be explored for a small fee.  The real highlight of the walk is the several viewpoints that are to be found along the route, offering a great view back over the city.

The Ethiopian National Museum

Like many of the museums to be found in the cities of Africa, the buildings of the Ethiopian National Museum may not seem like much from the exterior, but it has a truly wonderful collection to explore.  Some of the highlights here include some of the oldest fossilized primate remains found anywhere in the world, including the partial skeleton ‘Lucy’, which is believed to be over three million years old.  There are also some superb exhibitions including a look at the life of their great Emperor Haile Selassie, and also has a good collection of art from the best Ethiopian artists.

Walking Down Menelik II Avenue

This is one of the most important streets in Addis Ababa, and includes many of the most important buildings in the city, including the Holy Trinity Cathedral and the Parliament building.  This is one of the best places to see the best of the colonial buildings that are to be found in Addis Ababa, including several palaces and grand homes that were built for the important leaders during the colonial period in Ethiopia.