Photo of the Day – Boats in Croatia

As a kid, I spent lots of summer vacations staring at boats in the harbor. I never had a good reason for it but today, Flickr user nicocrisafulli’s photo brought all those boat memories rushing back. There’s something childlike and wonderful about their motion, sound and colors: the way they chaotically bob up and down, the soft thwapping of the covers whipping in the breeze and their colorful hulls accented by a rainbow of blues and reds. It’s pretty much exactly what we see in this shot, which was captured in the beautiful Mediterranean city of Dubrovnik, Croatia. I can already smell the crisp sea air in my mind.

Have any great travel photos you’d like to share with the world? Why not add them to the Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.

Daily Pampering: Year-round yachting at Radisson Royal Moscow

Feel like taking the yacht for a ride through the ice? Not a problem, if you’re in Moscow.

The Radisson Royal Moscow just introduced a fleet of specially commissioned river yachts now equipped with ice breakers — just so that winter travelers can still see the [snow-capped] sights while in Russia.

The yachts provide year-round, private cruises along the Moskva River, where guests can take in the likes of the Kremlin, Christ the Savior Cathedral, etc. River yachts can also be reserved for private parties and events, vodka likely on board.

To celebrate the arrival of the new yacht, the Radisson Royal Moscow is offering a new holiday package that includes a spin around the waters:

  • Two nights in a Superior Room, with upgrade to Deluxe pending availability
  • Daily Super Breakfast Buffet for two in Veranda Restaurant
  • Two-hour private sightseeing cruise on the Moskva River in the hotel’s custom river yachts
  • Access to the Royal Wellness Club and its Olympic-sized indoor swimming pool
  • Festive Sunday Brunch in Veranda Restaurant
  • Early check-in and late check-out, pending availability
  • In-room holiday welcome gift

Rates start at RUB 10,400 per night (approximately $350), based on double occupancy and the package is good through Jan. 16, 2011.

Want more? Get your daily dose of pampering right here.

Daily Pampering: Superyachts of the future

What makes a superyacht super? It’s not just size that matters with these boats. The superyachts of the future are going green, according to the latest designs from Zero to Nine Design.

The eco-friendly superyacht 006 is a 43-meter (141-feet) concept yacht that boasts a fitted hardtop with photovoltaic cells capable of generating up to 20kW. Instead of using that power to for the sauna or the Jacuzzi, the yacht stores the additional power in dedicated 400-kWh battery packs for use while entering or exiting marinas or when shipping through protected and uncontaminated areas at low speed. The superyacht will have three diesel generators installed which will help optimize fuel consumption.

As for the asethics of this ship? The yacht design shows a twin-deck owner area, three crew cabins on the lower deck, one crew cabin on main deck and a captain’s cabin on the upper deck. The guest cabins have been designed to accommodate up to six people in three cabins. Not a bad way to spend time at sea.

Want more? Get your daily dose of pampering right here.


Weekending: Bodrum/Greece

As an expat in Istanbul, I am very fortunate to have awesome opportunities for short trips around Europe and the Middle East. My previous weekend jaunt was to Beirut, Lebanon. Though the current 90+ degree weather is ruling out a lot of domestic travel for now, for my next getaway, I made like the locals and headed south to the beach.

The place: Bodrum, Turkey

The Bodrum peninsula fancies itself the Turkish Riviera, though the town proper feels a bit more like the Jersey Shore, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The Bodrum coast (like the Jersey Shore) has great beaches and fun nightlife, though it lacks the sophistication of other European beach towns and the coastline is getting more developed each season. Still, there’s charm left in Bodrum town, beautiful castle and harbor views, and easy boat access to more secluded spots in Turkey and even Greece. Big and boutique resorts with private beaches (many of them jetties) line the sea though you may have to rent a car or rely on taxis and dolmuses (minibuses) to get around. As we wanted to stay in a walkable area with restaurants nearby, we chose the Su Hotel in town, on a quiet street close to the harbor, with a good-sized pool and friendly service.

  • Water is the big draw to Bodrum, though the town itself has only a few small strips of beach, with most of the beach clubs and resorts in neighboring towns like Bitez and Gümbet. The few town beaches are small but serviceable, as well as convenient and most often free, though you may be obliged to buy a drink from one of the adjoining cafes. If you’re after the wide, sandy beach experience, you’re better off in a resort outside of town or taking day trips.
  • Hop on a boat and be in Greece in an hour. From the ferry, you can walk to a beach where 5 euro will get you two chairs, some bottled water, and an umbrella. Pleasant Kos Town doesn’t have a wealth of tourist attractions, but does remind you how NOT European Turkey is, if only for the good wine, availability of pork, and sensible city planning. Alternatively, boat trips are offered all over town to nearby islands and coves in Turkey.


  • While sometimes it’s pleasant to visit a foreigner-friendly city where English is widely spoken and familiar foods are available, after seeing the third cafe in a row serving a full English breakfast, Bodrum’s popularity with Brits and Australians becomes overwhelming and almost demoralizing. I happened to be in town during the England-Germany World Cup match, and the English loss could be heard up and down the streets. On the plus side, a nice book market on Cumhuriyet Caddesi towards the east end sells English books for as little as 5 TL.
  • You don’t come to Bodrum for sightseeing, but the main attractions can still be a little disappointing. The Castle of St. Peter holds the Museum of Underwater Archaeology (admittedly, I hoped it would actually BE underwater) and while the views from the castle are spectacular and several of the exhibits are interesting, the highlights (the cool-sounding Glass Shipwreck and remains of a Carian princess) are only open Tuesday – Friday. Imagine if New York’s Met Museum closed the Temple of Dendur on weekends or the Louvre limited days to see the Mona Lisa?! Likewise, the Mausoleum might have once been one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, but not much of it remains.

Getting there

Bodrum is an hour flight from Istanbul, with sporadic direct flights from continental Europe in season. The airport is 60 kilometers from town and a pricey 90 TL taxi ride, but a shuttle bus connects with domestic flights for 17 TL. If you have early or late flights, be sure to factor in the round-trip taxi fare to the cost of your travel. Ferries depart for Kos (also Rhodes) in the morning and return late afternoon for around 55 TL.

Make it a week

Get your bearings in Bodrum town and then sail a gulet yacht for a cruise along the Aegean. Booking a cabin will cost from 400 euro per person including meals (but not alcohol), crew, fuel, and taxes for a week, chartering the whole yacht can run thousands of euro but can work for a group of friends or family. Do your homework and shop around; Turkey Travel Planner is a good primer.

Daily Pampering: Sailing Bora Bora in your own private catamaran

You’re already in Bora Bora, what more could you possibly want? Fortunately, the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora has planned for travelers like you, who want just a little bit more with their side of luxury. Adding to its fleet of custom-built boats, Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora has introduced the Navigator, a custom-crafted catamaran, available to guests for transportation in and around Bora Bora.

The Navigator features a full bar, dining tables, rooftop sundeck, lavatory and rinse shower, and a fresh water shower on the rear deck allows guests to refresh back on board. Its low hull design and shallow draft allow it to charter to just about any nearby destination.

Go alone or with a group. The configuration of the interior of the boat allows for guests to have intimate evenings at sear or host small receptions and dinners.

Total cost: At today’s exchange rate a 4-hour rental will run you approximately $900; 8-hour rental will cost $1,500. This is just for the catamaran and captain. If you want to go snorkeling, dine on the ship, hire musicians or a private astronomer (which is available), it’ll cost you extra.

Want more? Get your daily dose of pampering right here.