5 Reasons River Cruising Is A Great Vacation Choice

Many travelers have cruised on ocean vessels to the Caribbean, Alaska, Europe and other ports throughout the world. For those looking for a new and unique experience one should consider taking a river cruise. River cruises are offered throughout the world including Europe, Russia, China and Egypt. The experience of a river cruise is like no other cruise. A river cruise vacation allows travelers to really become immersed in the area they are visiting. Here are five reasons why river cruising is a great vacation choice for both the new and experienced traveler alike.
1. Explore Beyond The Coast – River cruising is much different from cruising on an ocean-going vessel. When you dock in port and walk off the ship you are quite literally in the middle of a city or town. You also get to visit much smaller cities which gives you the opportunity to really experience the culture of the area. These interesting and sometimes off-the-beaten-path locations make for a great cruise experience you’re sure to remember forever.

2. A More Personalized Cruise Experience – Travelling on some of the larger cruise ships around the world, you’re likely to find yourself lost in the mix. With thousands of fellow passengers and crew constantly on the move, it can be hard to provide a personalized travel experience. River cruises offer an opportunity to bond with fellow passengers and forge relationships with a helpful cruise staff. River cruise providers like Avalon River Cruises create an atmosphere that is easy to enjoy. Instead of being another sheep in the herd, you can enjoy your travel companions as the beautiful scenery unfolds. Be sure to bring a camera to document the experience and capture photos of your new friends as well as the one-of-a-kind destinations.

3. Enjoy Local Destination Cuisines – Many river cruise lines offer a rotating cuisine that reflects your most recent port of call. Leave the pizza and hotdogs at home and take your taste buds along for the ride. From local specialties as you travel through Europe, to fantastic meals as you sail in the Galapagos Islands, you’re sure to find something as new as it is delicious. Most meals feature local ingredients and regional wines served up by experienced chefs.

4. Tailored Presentations From Local Experts – River cruises tend to feature local guides who are experts in a particular field. Avoid the more nuanced lecture-driven tours of common cruise lines and opt for a more personalized tour from a local naturalist, guide or storyteller. These folks aren’t skimming through a Wikipedia section for your next destination to prepare for their presentation; they know the area, live in the region and truly enjoy informing others.

5. Spend Less Time “At Sea” – Perhaps one of the most intriguing reasons to choose a river cruise over a traditional cruise or comparable vacation is the 360 degree experience. As you find yourself submersed in location after location, you’ll spend far less time staring at open water (or open road, for that matter) and far more time enjoying what you came to enjoy: the surroundings. The rivers of Europe, China, Egypt and other river cruise destinations offer an amazing array of enjoyable scenery. On traditional cruise lines there are days “at sea” but on a river cruise vacation, every day is an adventure.

At Its Best – Chicago On Foot

They say walking is the way to get to know a city best. Chicago hotels are usually set in convenient locations – allowing you a head start on your exploration. There’s something about this lovely city that makes for great tours on foot– whether organized with guides, or on your own, armed with only a guidebook or brochure. Perhaps it’s the weather that inspires brisk walking, or perhaps it’s the pace of the people around you – not too hectic, yet not too laid back. You can walk at the pace that suits you and explore the sights and sounds of the city up close and personal.

The sheer variety of things to see all in one place makes Chicago a joy: artwork by Chagall one minute, then a hotdog stand or deep-dish pizza place the next – it’s up to you to decide what aspect you like the best. Chicago hotels make a great starting point for a walking tours – in fact, some of them are even destinations in themselves!

Here are a few things you might want to include in a walking tour of the city.

Michigan Avenue

A short walk from any of the best Chicago hotels will lead you down the famed Michigan Avenue to what is known as the Magnificent Mile, and all the sights and attractions located along the way. Tourists know it for its high-end shopping (another excursion on its own), but those who prefer to sightsee will enjoy its landmark attractions, including the Water Tower, Water Tower Park with its distinctive clock, the Cultural Center, Grant Park and Millennium Park, the Historic Michigan Boulevard District, the Art Institute of Chicago and many distinctive late 19th and 20th century skyscrapers.

Art At the Loop

If you’re an art aficionado, the best Chicago hotels are only a few steps away from what is perhaps among one of the world’s greatest open museums. An excellent collection of sculpture, mosaics and other art at the Loop turns the Windy City into a museum without walls. In fact, there are over 100 internationally acclaimed works in the downtown area alone, by famed artists such as Chagall, Miro, Dubuffet, Calder, Taft, and Picasso. If you have a walking tour guide, he or she will lead you through plazas and lobbies of grand buildings to appreciate the treasures in this city.

Millennium Park

Considered to be one of the city’s most important projects since the World Expo, this amazing modern area is a walking tour all its own. You can marvel at the workings of Crown Fountain designer Jaume Plensa’s 50-foot high dual interactive glass block water towers, with their giant LED video screens, and be awed by the 33-foot high concave centre of artist Anish Kapoor’s stainless steel “Cloudgate” sculpture.

Visit the Pritzker Music Pavilion and perhaps listen to a lecture on the acoustic concepts and design principles employed by architect Frank Gehry. You can walk along Gehry’s 925-foot serpentine, stainless steel pedestrian bridge that passes through perennial gardens, and finally to the shoreline of Lake Michigan.

The Food Tax (a.k.a. “fat Tax” Or “soda Tax”) – An Appropriate Answer?

The concept of taxing certain food products more than others in order to sway consumers away from unhealthy products is an intensely controversial issue. Proponents of the food tax say it is necessary to protect the economy and public health. Interestingly, opponents of the concept claim that a food tax will HURT the economy and will do nothing to help counter the epidemic proportions of overweight and obesity that we are currently experiencing in this country and throughout the globe. So who’s right? Let’s sift through some of the arguments and apparently contradictory statistics quoted from both sides of the debate and look for the kernel of truth.

One argument for food taxes is simply that nothing else seems to be working. While many people from diverse locations on the political spectrum are wary of government intervening too deeply into the personal lives of citizens, it has become evident that the obesity train wreck in the US is not going away any time soon. Dr. William H. Dietz, director of the division of nutrition, physical activity, and obesity at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was quoted in 2010 as saying, “I don’t think we have in place the kind of policy or environmental changes needed to reverse this epidemic just yet.” Clearly, something needs to be done to fix the problem. Food taxes are one possible answer.

Another line of evidence in favor of a food tax comes from research studies looking at the interaction between the price of unhealthy foods and consumption patterns of those products.

One such study, published last year, evaluated how the price of pizza and soda affected the buying preferences of young adults. The researchers found that a 10% increase in the price of soda decreased its caloric contribution to the participants’ diets by over 7%, on average. In the case of pizza, a 10% increase in price led to an 11.5% drop in its caloric contribution. Additionally, soda and pizza prices were also found to significantly affect total caloric intake and body weight. That finding indicates that the calories NOT consumed by way of pizza and soda weren’t simply replaced by those from other sources. Instead, they were simply not consumed.

Another recent study from the Netherlands looked at how college students’ lunchtime preferences were affected by 25% and 50% taxes on high-calorie items. The research team found that the students decreased their overall caloric intake from the meal by 100-300 calories, depending upon the tax level.

A similar study actually put taxes like those seen in the Netherlands study to a real-world test. A Boston hospital instated a 35% tax on sugar-sweetened sodas sold in their cafeteria. The investigators found that sales of the taxed beverages fell by over a quarter and that consumers generally substituted coffee or diet sodas.

Finally, a study published last year by the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) found that a 20% tax on sugar-sweetened sodas could reduce the prevalence of obesity by almost 10%. While that may seem like a relatively large tax for a relatively small decrease in obesity, consider that this study only evaluated the effect of taxing a single type of “unhealthy” food. If a similar tax was applied to other foods, an even greater decrease in obesity would be likely, as was observed in the Netherlands study of pizza and soda prices.

Clearly, there is scientific evidence supporting the institution of food taxes. However, as the saying goes, one can find statistics to support anything! Indeed, the opposition to food taxes has done a pretty good job at finding some numbers to support their view on this contentious issue.

One study referenced by the anti-food tax faction was performed at George Mason University (GMU) and examined whether the food tax would accomplish its goal of curbing obesity and how the economics of the tax would impact various demographic groups. The researchers concluded that sugar-sweetened soft drinks only accounted for a “trivial” amount of calories in the overall diet. They also pointed out that a tax on such beverages would likely be regressive, meaning it would negatively impact the poor more intensely than it would the rich. Because the poor spend a higher percentage of their earnings on food, any increase in food price will hit them harder.

There are a couple of problems with the GMU group’s analysis. First, what these researchers consider a trivial amount of calories may actually be enough to make a significant difference for many people on the border of overweight, obesity, or diabetes risk. In the GMU study, many of the examples given were of the tax’s effect on very overweight individuals. While a small tax on sodas will not be enough to solve serious problems like those, it can help people in less extreme, but still serious, situations. A study on overweight adults found that each kilogram of weight lost over a ten year period led to a 33% lower risk of diabetes in the subsequent ten years. In addition, each kilogram of weight gain was associated with a 49% increase in diabetes risk. Not so trivial, eh?

With regards to the claim of a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages being regressive, it’s true. Without any other considerations, such a tax would likely be relatively more injurious to lower-income individuals and families. However, in addition to the tax, a complimentary subsidy program has been proposed that would use the funds generated by the tax to make healthy foods more affordable. This subsidy could even be designed to primarily benefit the poor. With this offset taken into account, the regressive nature of the tax seems to be an economical non-issue.

Other studies cited by those opposed to the food tax note that physical activity is also imperative to maintaining proper body composition. Anti-food tax groups have proposed and even implemented a number of youth-oriented fitness and exercise programs to show their support for childhood exercise promotion. While they do make a valid point regarding the necessity of exercise for the maintenance of optimal health and fitness, they seem to use it as a reason for not also addressing nutrition in public health policy. The human body requires both proper nutrition and exercise, not only one or the other, to perform at its best, both physically and mentally. Playing one side of the coin against the other indicates either an extremely uninformed perspective on the subject of human health or simple bias. I’d tend to suspect the latter.

Besides the issues covered here, there are other considerations to address, such as food industry cooperation with the application of any new taxes. For the taxes to have the desired effect of lowering the public’s consumption of certain products, the industry would have to pass the increased cost onto the consumer. Unfortunately, food companies could instead choose to simply absorb it or distribute it evenly throughout their entire product line. Loopholes also exist through which local retailers may work to counteract the tax. In fact, there are many facets to this issue that demand further research and refinement in order to make the tax as efficient and fair as possible. But the potential problems with the implementation of a food tax should not stop us from considering it as a viable method to benefit public health.

Food taxes represent one potential tool to help turn the tide against obesity in the US. While attention needs to be paid to the method of implementation and the breadth of application, the research supports the realistic benefits of the concept. Research data show that a food tax, even a relatively modest and limited one, can make a significant and meaningful difference in the public health. Let’s not be afraid to try something different. Let’s not be swayed by the fear-mongering of those opposed to any sort of governmental action, even when it’s designed to counter the epidemic of our generation. Let’s instead commit to making changes that produce real results. A food tax can be a part of the obesity solution and it’s time to put forth effort to do it right.

Location, Location, Location, Pizzeria Property

There is no truer saying in business than the ancient motto “location, location, location”. Comprehending exactly what tends to make the most sense with regard to your concept, and, almost more importantly, the best way to identify a undesirable site, could make or break your pizzeria. With some experience and preparing, it is possible to selected a site which is ideal for your company design, be it within an urban, suburban, or destination area. Your site can have an effect on your concept, as well as the pizza equipment and also supplies you employ. Remember, the very first thing which needs to be completed would be to look into the local zoning laws to make sure that it is ideal for your pizzeria.

Location vs. Rent Rates

A pizzeria which will be providing sit-down dining may benefit the most with the appropriate location. Great exposure and traffic flow close by are very important in the success of your business. Leading locations may come at a price, however require significantly less precise advertising to draw in new clients. If your emphasis will depend either primarily or even exclusively on product delivery, a less notable site would certainly do just as well, because you will be going to the customers. Continue to keep in mind that you may have to take into account delivery mileage into your overall expenses, and price your goods appropriately. If your site is especially distant, or uniquely situated, decide to work with a trustworthy supplier who deals with top quality wholesale pizza supplies. Making an investment in the correct equipment can help to save a lot of money on delivery as well as repairs later on. A great working relationship with suppliers and warehouses will not only save money on shipping expenses, but will also assist when equipment breaks down and you have to have a technician ASAP.

Contemplate Your Operation Size and Accessibility

A fundamental requirement for any site you are thinking about is that it is big enough to build your ideal pizzeria. Find out the safety and health requirements for restaurants in your town because these will establish exactly how many individuals may occupy your building at any time. Occasionally the spot you considered was just right eventually ends up being too small for the customers you’ll want to bring in. Additionally, ensure the space is big enough for the pizza baking supplies and equipment that you will need to operate your pizzeria. A full service restaurant must be located in areas with excellent accessibility that are close to business districts and residential neighborhoods. You may easily bring in a lot more customers when you are seen, accessible, and convenient for your patrons.

Location: More than Just Rent Prices

Your location means more than just rent prices, and a potential customer base (although these are important factors to consider). If your business model includes an operation in a more rural setting with an extensive delivery area, it would make sense to purchase a fair amount of high quality pizza delivery bags. If you are creating a sit down restaurant with little or no delivery program that would not be a major consideration.

Regional Cuisine Of The United States: California-style Cooking

The great state of California carries some of the most rich aspects of American culture, from the pioneers to the gold rush to quality cuisine. Bordered by the Pacific Ocean, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, and Baja, classic California food can take on many forms. The unique cuisine of California is earmarked by a tradition of freshness and home grown quality, calling forth to mind fresh leafy green salads, fruit, and organic just-about-anything.

California is one of the major agricultural centers of the United States. The state of California, as one of the nation’s leading producers of fresh produce, has an extreme abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. When it comes to food in California, a lot of the focus is shifted to quality and nutritiousness rather than cost, taste, or anything else. While this does not necessarily mean that California cuisine tastes badly, it is not for everyone. Those who prefer a heavier, fried or battered food would have better luck sampling some other type of cuisine.

Fruits and nuts account for at least a quarter of California’s farm income, and vegetables in themselves account for another 25 percent. This includes the famous grapes, oranges, nectarines, peaches, nectarines. and avocados that California is famous for producing, as well as almonds, pistachios, and walnuts. Organic food, which is grown without the aid of pesticides, insecticides, and other potentially harmful additives, is also an extremely popular aspect of California cuisine. Don’t get it confused, though; contrary to popular belief, California food is not all about grapes, nuts, yogurt, and organic orange juice.

The taste of California is, of course, highly accented by its major influence from the south–of course, Mexico. Tex-Mex or Baja-style cooking plays an integral role in good old-fashioned California Cuisine. Mexican-style food is part of the way of life in California; with the dense Mexican-American population in California (about 34.3 percent of the total number of California residents), a great California chef can put a south of the border twist on just about anything! El Pollo Loco is a fast-food restaurant very commonly seen in California. El Pollo Loco, which translates into The Crazy Chicken, specializes in marinated, grilled chicken in tacos, burritos, or alone. El Pollo Loco is an excellent representation of southern California’s obsession with Baja-style “Mexican” food.

There are some restaurants in California, even, that boast to serve the “classic Californian cuisine.” The California Pizza Kitchen is a chief example of this type of restaurants. The California Pizza Kitchen has more than 180 locations all over the United States and the world. On July 5 the company even opened a CPK in Shanghai, China. They specialize in making food authentically “California-style.” The Pizza Kitchen specializes in healthier foods; they mainly serve many different kinds of salad and pizza. All of their pizzas are specially prepared in an open flame pizza oven, conforming to the California trend of healthier meal preparation and eating.