Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

Rome Taxing Tourists Rather Than Locals

December 16th, 2010 by Mariah

Tourist tax in Rome is now offical.

As of January 1, a hotel stay will cost an extra $4 (€3) per person per night at four- and five-star properties and an extra $2.70 (€2) per person per night at other hotels. (Hostels and kids under age 2 are exempt.) A maximum of 10 nights can be taxed, so you could pay up to an additional $40 per person on your next trip—about the cost of a dinner out. This is in addition to a 10 percent hotel tax that’s typically included in the advertised room rate.

The new tax revenue will help to compensate for slashed funding from Italy’s national government and will go toward the much-needed restoration of Roman monuments. Cultural treasures are literally crumbling in Rome and across Italy. Three chunks of Roman mortar fell from an arched ceiling at the Colosseum back in May, and a few structures collapsed in Pompeii last month.

So some may agree that the tax is going to a good cause, and tourists do leave an impact on local monuments. But does that really mean we tourists should be stuck footing the bill? Local councilor Frederico Guidi has readily admitted: “In order for the city of Rome not to tax Romans, we have decided to tax the tourists,” according to the Daily Mail.

Venice has similar plans in the works to charge tourists an entry tax of perhaps $1.33 (€1) upon arrival by train, plane, or cruise ship—which means we’ve got the beginnings of a trend. What’s your reaction to these tourist taxes?

Oprah Unveils Plane

November 5th, 2010 by Mariah

(CNN) – The Queen of Talk’s influence is reaching new heights with the unveiling of a plane marking the 25th and final season of the “Oprah Winfrey Show.”

United Airlines debuted a 757 Thursday newly painted from nose to tail with the logo for the show’s farewell season. During its inaugural flight from Chicago, Illinois, one ticketed passenger will receive enough United miles for a trip around the world.

“As Chicago’s hometown airline, United is proud to celebrate The Oprah Winfrey Show’s Farewell Season with our customers, employees and ‘Oprah’ show fans,” said Mark Bergsrud, senior vice president of marketing for United, in a statement.

“This unique plane represents the global reach of two great Chicago icons.”

The Oprah plane will fly United customers between cities in the airline’s domestic network through May 2011. An onboard video featuring Oprah Winfrey will greet customers.

United is also launching a sweepstakes that will award 1 million United Mileage Plus miles to one passenger each month through May 2011.

Passengers on the inaugural flight to Los Angeles, California, will take home “Oprah 25″ fleece blankets.

Fun Fall Craft Idea!

September 24th, 2010 by Mariah

Celebrate the splendor of autumn with colorful fresh flowers displayed in a plump pumpkin vase. In about an hour you can create a dazzling centerpiece rich with tones and hues of the season.


You will need:


  • One 8″ diameter pumpkin, with 6″ diameter top removed and insides scooped out
  • Small plastic container to fit into pumpkin
  • Floral foam
  • Floral tape
  • 12 leatherleaf fern tips, each 5″-7″ long
  • 5 pencil cattails: two 7″ long, two 9″ long and one 12″ long
  • 15 bronze pompon chrysanthemums, each 10″ – 12″ long
  • 9 yellow pompon chrysanthemums, each 6″ – 8″ long
  • 12 yellow asters, each 6″ – 8″ long
  • 8 stems preserved oak leaves
  • Utility knife
  • Scissors



What you do:



Place container in pumpkin. Measure and cut floral foam to fit container so that top of foam extends 1/2″ over rim of pumpkin; secure foam and container to pumpkin with floral tape.



Insert leatherleaf ferns into foam around rim of pumpkin, spacing evenly. Insert shorter pieces in top of foam to completely cover foam. Insert five cattails at top of arrangement at varying heights.



Insert 15 stems of bronze pompons into foam at varying heights, spacing evenly: Place one 12″-long flower near center top of foam and several flowers around rim of pumpkin; then place remaining flowers above the bottom flowers.



Insert one 8″-long yellow pompon at top of foam and four 6″-long pompons, evenly spaced, around rim of pumpkin. Insert remaining four yellow pompons halfway up to top yellow pompon and in between the four yellow pompons at bottom.



Insert yellow aster stems into foam, spacing evenly between the yellow and bronze pompons. Insert oak leaves around rim of arrangement. Fill container with water; check water level daily. Place arrangement on shallow dish or place mat to protect furniture from marks or spills.