We Need More Space

Above – A Manila Jeepney

Please Help

We have reached the space maximum for our current plan and will not be able to add more than one or two more posts without upgrading our plan or moving to a new host. This has been a hobby and we have really enjoyed sharing our travels and tips but do not want this to become a major investment. We would really like to hear what others do and what providers we should investigate.

Please Contact us:

Intent2Travel@gmx.com

And let us know your experiences.

What We Have Done

Web Site – We passed our one year anniversary just a couple of weeks ago using the free hosting at WordPress.com. We bought a couple of domain names so our total initial out of pocket was under $25 (with another $25 to renew the domains last month). In the beginning I would reduce the size of photographs to web specifications to save space but stopped after a few months. It seemed I had plenty of space and I realized that there were visual issues with the reduced size pictures (I now see that this is the main reason we now out of space).

I have learned a lot about the WordPress platform over this year including work arounds to get features of plugins that aren’t allowed under our WordPress plan. The learning curve has been steep at times and I am not looking forward to starting from scratch.

Other Sites – We have set up other social media sites primarily to help promote the blog and have managed to pull it all together with four strongly related names. We are on Pinterest and twitter with the name Intent2Travel and facebook with the name Intend2Travel.

Email – Our emails are all with GMX for a number of reasons. First they are free, they also do not cause all the security issues when traveling internationally that happen with Apple, Gmail, Outlook… Doing this also allow us to maintain these addresses even if we change domains.

Potential Problems

The Intentional Traveler site currently uses over 600 internal links mainly for indexes,  that will ALL have to be redirected with a change in address (this may be unavoidable regardless of what we decide). We also have over a thousand incoming links from shared and other social media sites that would also have to be edited (this may also be unavoidable regardless of what we decide).

I am also concerned about continuity with followers and subscribers both on the site and also with the other social sites? In looking into WordPress it seems that I can set up a redirect using a plugin but the only way I can use these plugins is to buy an upgrade  which doesn’t make financial sense.

What We Have Looked At So Far

WordPress – If we have to upgrade it doesn’t seem to make sense to pay for a service that still doesn’t allow services that we would really like to have. Some plugins are an important issue and WordPress currently would be $300 a year which doesn’t make financial sense to us.

Bluehost -This host offers a lot of what we want for less than $50 year right now. We set up a free 30 day trial with Bluehost since they use the WordPress engine and we exported and imported our site (have not published as yet). While all the posts and categories and menus seemed to have imported, about 20% of the photos are missing. Also headers, widgets and directories are missing so it will require hours of work to get ready to publish.

Again – Please Help we could really use some advice on this
Intent2Travel@gmx.com
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The Port of Palma de Mallorca

Mallorca is the largest of Spains Balearic Islands and a major vacation destination for many western and northern Europeans attracted to its beautiful beaches.

Cathedral of St. Mary

Palma is an ancient port with architecture showing the influence of Christians and Moors in its castles, fortifications, cathedrals and in the winding streets of the old town. If you like to walk this is a great place to spend time exploring. The city is also famous for its many excellent tapas bars and restaurants.

Where You Will Dock – Palma de Mallorca has two areas where cruise ships dock. Most cruise ships will dock at Estacio Maritime which has a modern terminal and is about four miles from the old historic district. If that port is full your ship will dock in the industrial area at Porto Pi which is six miles from the old city. While the Porto pi facility doesn’t have the modern terminal it does have a major shopping mall just a short walk outside the port entrance. Both ports will allow passengers to walk out but in either case it is a good hike into town.

Palma Marina and waterfront

Transportation – Most ships provide shuttle service into the town center for about $15 round trip.

Public transportation is provided by a number of private bus lines that cover the island. Information about schedules and routes can be found at the TIB website . One popular destination is the beach resort area of Palmanova with regular bus service provided from the port areas on bus numbers 105 and 106 for around three Euros each way.

Taxis – In the city and around the port taxis are readily available. A taxi to Palmanova or the airport would cost about twenty five Euros.

Castell de Bellver

Money – The Euro is the local currency and credit cards are generally accepted.

Attractions

Castell de Bellver is a fourteenth century circular castle set on a wooded hilltop overlooking Palma, home to the city’s history museum.

Cathedral of St. Mary of Palma is a Gothic cathedral overlooking the sea, with a vast rose window & wrought-iron canopy by Gaudí. It was built on the site of a Moorish Mosque and was begun by King James I of Aragon in 1229 and is one of the tallest cathedrals in Europe.

Miro Museum and Workshops where Miro painted and sculpted from the 1950s to the 1980s and houses a number of permanent and visiting exhibits.

Beach Resorts. Six to eight miles down the coast from the port are the beach resorts of Palmanova. The resorts are located around three beautiful bays, Playa Son Matias, Playa de Palmanova and Playa Es Carregador.

 

 

A Wet Day In Blarney

Blarney Castle

When you have a limited number of days to visit a country you just keep going, even when the weather turns foul. Such was the case when we traveled to Blarney Castle. Not so much cold but a persistent on and off drizzle. I’m still not sure what brought us to pick Blarney over a dozen other famous Irish castles but I think it was the name recognition more than anything. The bonus in picking Blarney was also going to kiss the Blarney Stone but I was told that the last thing I needed was to increase my “gift of gab”.

Kissing the stone

Blarney Castle is a medieval stronghold in the town of Blarney, near Cork, Ireland. The keep was built by the MacCarthy of Muskerry dynasty in 1446. The castle is now a partial ruin with some accessible rooms and battlements. At the top of the castle lies the Stone of Eloquence, better known as the Blarney Stone.

The entrance to the property is well laid out and there is a nice stream flowing through the estate. The gardens surrounding the property are worth a visit provided the weather is accommodating and there are also a number of out buildings and exhibits.

The grand hall

The castle itself stands about ninety feet tall with the interior mostly gutted. Upon entering the castle you find yourself standing in the cellar and looking up through the grand hall with its floor completely missing. You can see the stone supports that used to hold the floor just below the halls fireplace with remains of the two story vaulted ceiling above that

Getting to the top of the castle where the Stone of Eloquence is located is a climb up a narrow stone spiral staircase with only enough room for one person at a time to ascend. Before you start your climb they stress that it is a one-way climb (descent is by another narrow staircase) and once you start you cannot back down, so make sure you are up to the climb.

 

 

The castle top

As we ascended there were a number of small chambers off the stairs as well as defensive slits for fighting off attackers. Once we reached the top there was a pretty steady rain falling but people were still laying on their backs to stick their faces out to kiss the stone. By that time I wasn’t keen on going through with kissing the stone and had concerns that I didn’t have enough sanitizer with me considering the number of people that preceded us.

Once back down and wet we headed off to find a pub and an Irish Coffee. In the center of the town we found the Muskerry Arms – cozy, friendly and makers of great Irish Coffees.

Besides the castle the village of Blarney was home to the Blarney Woollen Mills built in 1823. In its day it was known for spinning and weaving wool. The mill closed in 1973 after which it was re-opened as an Irish heritage shop.

 

 

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The Acropolis in Athens

Rising up out of the center of Athens, Greece is the Acropolis. It is located on a rock formation that rises 490 ft above the sea . The semi-flat surface covers an area of about 7.4 acres which makes it a pretty small place to be recognized as the birthplace of Western civilization.

It is one of a number of places around the world that I have tried to visit in the past and have been frustated for a number of reasons. I’ve been to Athens a couple of times and had not made it up to the Acropolis. Just recently I broke this particular string of bad luck when my wife and I made up onto the Acropolis.

The word acropolis is from the Greek words meaning the highest point and city. The term acropolis doesn’t refer to a single place and there are many other acropoleis in Greece, but the Acropolis of Athens is so significant that it is commonly known as just “The Acropolis”.

While the earliest artifacts relating to this site date to the Middle Neolithic era, there have been documented habitation as far back as the 6th millennium BC. It has been established that a Mycenaean megaron palace (the megaron was the great hall in ancient Greek palace complexes) stood upon this hill during the late Bronze Age. Nothing of this megaron survives except, probably, a single limestone column-base and pieces of several sandstone steps. The Acropolis of Athens is an ancient citadel that contains the remains of several ancient buildings of great architectural and historic importance, the most significant being the Parthenon.

It was Pericles (c. 495 – 429 BC) in the fifth century BC who managed the construction of the most important structures including the Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Erechtheion and the Temple of Athena Nike.

The Parthenon

The Parthenon is a former temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their patron. Construction began in 447 BC during the golden age of the Athenian Empire. It is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece, generally considered the zenith of the Doric style. The Parthenon is the most enduring symbol of Ancient Greece, Athenian democracy and Western civilization and one of the world’s greatest cultural monuments. To the Athenians the temple was a symbol of victory over the Persian invaders and a tribute to the gods .

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The Porch of the Maidens

The Erechtheion is an ancient Greek temple on the north side which was dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon. One of its more noteworthy features is on the south side, the famous “Porch of the Maidens”, with six draped female figures (caryatids) as supporting columns. The porch was built to conceal a giant beam needed to support the southwest corner of the building.

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The Temple of Athena Nike

The Temple of Athena Nike is a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena Nike. Built around 420 BC, the temple is the earliest fully Ionic temple on the Acropolis. It has a prominent position on a steep bastion at the south west corner of the Acropolis to the right of the entrance (the Propylaea). In contrast to the Acropolis proper, a walled sanctuary entered through the Propylaea, the Victory Sanctuary was open, entered from the Propylaea’s southwest wing and from a narrow stair on the north. The sheer walls of its bastion were protected on the north, west, and south by the Nike Parapet, named for its frieze of Nikai celebrating victory and sacrifices to their patron goddess, Athena Nike.

Temple of Hephaestus

In addition to the Acropolis ancient Athens left behind a number of other significant archeological sites like the Temple of Zeus’ ruins and the Temple of Hephaestus that deserve a visit.

Heat getting to you? Be sure and visit the Acropolis Museum (€5), it has good air conditioning and excellent exhibits. It features glass floors that show off the ruins of homes excavated during the construction the museum and displays that let you get up close to details up on the Acropolis.

It is highly recommended that during peak season you arrive early to avoid the ticket lines and crowds. If you are visiting be sure to wear good walking shoes as there is a nice up-hill walk and uneven ground at the top. Disabled access at the Acropolis is provided by a wheelchair stair climber lift and an elevator.

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The Port of Barcelona

Barcelona is one of the two largest cruise ports in the Mediterranean and is used as an embarkation port as well as a popular port of call. The city is a modern and historic place with a number of iconic neighborhoods and attractions. If you are cruising out of Barcelona do not miss the opportunity to spend a couple of extra days visiting this vibrant city.

 

The Port of Barcelona

Where You Will Dock – The entrance to the Barcelona ports is at the foot of La Rambla, which runs through the city centre. Generally there are three major port areas. Most cruise ships are docked at Adossat Quay Terminal which is the farthest out and is serviced by a shuttle to the La Rambla area. This includes terminals A, B, C and D.

 

 

Barcelona Harbor

There are also 3 terminals at the World Trade Centre pier called North, South and East terminals and are much closer to the Columbus Monument on the waterfront at La Rambla.

The third terminal is Sant Bertrand, and it to is near the World Trade Center (refer to our cruise terminal map). Sant Bertrand is usually used for ferries to the Balearic Islands.

Transportation – The T3 PORTBUS (the “Blue Bus”) runs a circuit from all cruise port terminals to the monument of Christopher Columbus. The tickets for the T3 need to be purchased with cash on the bus itself.

At this writing the tickets cost:

Single ticket: €3.00

With Return ticket: €4.00

Many of the cruise ships also provide a shuttle bus to their passengers for free or a small charge (usually about $5 to $8).

Walking – The nearest cruise terminal to La Rambla is about a 15 minute walk away. However the major cruise terminals, which are furthest from La Rambla are about a mile and a quarter (2 Km) from the Columbus Monument. From Christopher Columbus monument to La Rambla is about a 1 minute walk, and the nearest Metro is Drassanes (Green Line, L3), which is another 5 minutes walk.

Barcelona Metro – Barcelona has a good transit system that is excellent for getting around the city. The Barcelona Tourist Travel Pass (also known as the HolaBCN card) is a transport pass specifically designed for tourists. Once purchased it enables you to have unlimited journeys on the Barcelona public transport system which includes the TMB buses from Barcelona Airport to the city centre, the Airport metro from both T1 and T2, the Airport train to the city centre, the entire metro underground system in the whole of the city, the TMB buses that run in the city centre and the suburban tram system. Barcelona Card gives you unlimited transport on the Barcelona transport system (metro, bus, tram). It can be purchased in advance of your trip. The Transport Card can be purchased for 2 to 5 days. ()

The Gothic Quarter

Taxi – A taxi from the port to the city centre is normally less than 10 minutes with a fare of about €20.00. A Taxi to Barcelona airport from the cruise port should take about 25 minutes with a fare: of €30.00 – €35.00.

What To See – Barcelona is a city steeped in culture and history and many think it is the city itself that is the main attraction. From great food to an exciting night life, from the old Gothic quarter to the modern shopping districts this is truly a remarkable city.

The Sagrada Familia

Barcelona is famous for the fantastic architecture of Antonio Gaudí, whose buildings can be found scattered around the city. The most famous can be found along Passeig de Gràcia where you will find La Pedrera and Casa Batlló. There is also the Parc Güell which is a incredible park designed by the Gaudí himself. The most notable of Gaudí’s works is the Sagrada Familia, the huge, still unfinished Basilica.

The Gothic Cathedral in the heart of the Gothic quarter is a must-see as is a walk up Las Ramblas. Make sure to save time to explore the winding side streets with their shops and restaurants.

There are also a number of great museums in the city. The MACBA (museum of modern art) and the CCCB next door are worth an hour or two. The Picasso and the permanent Dalí exhibition in the Gothic Quarter are always worth a visit. The Caixa Forum is a museum which has different art exhibitions every month. It is just off Plaça Espanya, on Avenida Marques.

Dublin Gardens in the Spring

For several days this May we visited a number of gardens while in Dublin, Ireland. The weather was mostly good with one morning of rain when we headed out for the National Botanic Gardens. By the time we reached the gardens the rain had lifted.

The National Botanic Gardens – This is a really beautiful garden with a number of greenhouses matching several environments. There were greenhouses dedicated to orchids, another to tropical plants and another to desert flora. The outside gardens cover a number of acres and feature several different styles. Admission is free, there is a restaurant and gift shop as well as a number of special programs including lectures and concerts. If you have time while in Dublin do yourself a favor and go see this garden.

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National Botanic Gardens
Glasnevin Cemetery

Backed up to the Botanic Gardens is Glasnevin Cemetery and Glasnevin Cemetery Museum. The museum’s web site describes it as “the guardian and storyteller for over 1.5 million people. From the ordinary to the truly extraordinary, these people helped shape the Ireland of today. We want to share their stories and times with you through tours of the cemetery, a visit to the museum or through a genealogy search for your family history”. While in the neighborhood stop in at the well known Gravediggers Pub for a pint.

St. Stephen’s Green
St. Stephen’s Green
St. Stephen’s Green

St. Stephen’s Green is located in the heart of Dublin and is a focus in the area, and provides an oasis of green in the middle of this busy city. The Dublin Public Works web site describes this garden as “four centuries of history that are eventful and complex, involving such important figures as Arthur Guinness, 1st Baron Ardilaun, and Countess Constance Markievicz. The park itself hosts a large number of important sculptural monuments to Irish history. Many species of birds and plants also call the park their home. Public facilities at St Stephen’s Green Park include a playground and a garden for the visually impaired”.

Blessington Street Park
Blessington Street Park

Half way from the River Liffey to the National Botanic Gardens we stopped at the Blessington Street Park or “The Basin” and what a find. Located near the intersection of Royal Canal Bank and Primrose Avenue this is a beautiful and well kept pocket park surrounding a lake. After walking thru this park we thought how lucky the neighbors are to live next to this gem.

Blessington Street Park

 

Piraeus The Port of Athens, Greece

General –  Piraeus is the seaport serving the city of Athens. This city is a major metropolis in its own right and the commercial area southeast of the port and near the sea has a number of excellent restaurants and attractions. While most passengers visiting this port for the first time will head out toward Athens and the Acropolis, if you have visited before consider spending some time discovering this area.

Where You Dock – Most cruise ships will dock along the northwest side of the port. There is a good walking sidewalk around the port and if you walk north and than continue around the port off to the east you will reach the central district in less than half a mile.

Transportation – There are a number of ways to go from Piraeus to Athens. If you want to head out on your own the best bet is the metro but you can also take a bus or taxi. Rental cars are also available.

The metro can be used to travel from Piraeus to central Athens. A trip to Athens using the metro costs <€1. Also a free bus usually operates in the port taking passengers from the ships to the metro station.

The metro station is about one mile away from the cruise terminal, or a 15-20 minute walk around the harbor. After that, you have a 20-minute ride on the metro to Athens. If the shuttle isn’t running you can take bus (number 843) from the cruise port to the metro station. The ride should take no more than 5 mins. The cost of the ticket is 1€.

To get from Piraeus to the Acropolis by metro, take the metro from Piraeus to Thissio (15 mins). At the metro station follow the pedestrian avenue towards the Acropolis. The walk is another 10 minutes to reach the Acropolis.

Traveling from Piraeus to Athens on a bus will cost roughly €0.80. Due to the usual heavy traffic, you should avoid the bus if you don’t have a lot of time.

Taxis offer more flexibility. To get to Athens one would spend about €15. This will get one to the centre of the city. If you plan to travel to the airport, the price price could be about €40.

Money – Greece uses the Euro and US Dollars are not readily accepted.

Nearby Attractions:

Acropolis -First and foremost there is ancient Athens and the Acropolis and if you haven’t visited before this is not o be missed.

In Piraeus take time to visit the Greek Nautical Museum and the Piraeus Archeology Museum with both walking distance from the port.