Archives For Phil Stowers

Georgia Aquarium

Georgia Aquarium

Located in the downtown area of the capital city of Georgia, USA is the Georgia Aquarium. This internationally recognized aquarium is home to over 100,000 animals and many species of fish and sea creatures. It is the second largest aquarium in the world.

This public aquarium has been built by the generous contributions of individuals such as Bernard Marcus, Jeff Swanagan, the Coca-Cola company, and others. It was originally built around the establishment of a home for whale sharks and from that has grown a location with educational programs, public entertainment venues, and seven different exhibitions that are updated yearly to reflect the most recent combination of sea life.

Visitors may view seven different exhibits. Southern Company River Scout is an exhibit that shows local area and regional underwater environments to be seen from the bottom up. The AT&T Dolphin Celebration comes complete with a dolphin show from the 13 dolphins in residence. Cold Water Quest exhibit allows the public to see animals from the polar regions of the world. Ocean Voyager was built by Home Depot and shows life from the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. The Tropical Diver exhibit shows Indo-Pacific fish and the development of live coral reefs. Suntrust Pier is an exhibit of sea lions. Aquanaut Adventure: A Discovery Zone is the most recently built aquarium and features a scavenger hunt using the aquarium’s mobile app. Included in the offerings is also a Titanic Aquatic that has a walk-through of the original Titanic ship.

The aquarium is open to the public year round.

Fox Theatre

fox theatre

Located in Midtown Atlanta on Peachtree St. is the Fox Theatre, known as the “Fabulous Fox.” It was originally a Moorish temple and eventually a movie palace. It has been restored to be the most active venue for national and international performing companies and stars. Broadway touring companies may be seen at the Fox along with the Atlanta Ballet Company and many award winning films from around the world.

Make sure you hear and see “Mighty Mo” the Fox’s 3,662 pipe, theatre organ that still ranks as the second largest pipe organ in the United States. It has been featured in many live productions and Hollywood movies.


Atlanta Botanical Garden

atlanta botanical garden

Midtown Atlanta, Georgia is home to the 30 acre botanical garden started in 1976. It is designed to provide aesthetic, educational, recreational and dining experiences for the general public. It involves itself in conservation and research in order to continue growing species of plant life native to this area of the world.

The garden is home to the Children’s Garden, the Fuqua Conservatory, and the Fuqua Orchid Center. Social events, weddings, art exhibitions and the annual Garden of the Eden Ball are held in these locations. Of special interest during the winter season is the Garden Lights, Holiday Nights exhibition which features 1.5 million LEDs.

Piedmont Park

piedmont park

If you fancy a walk in a beautiful park, long to get your oils out and paint, or simply desire to listen to an outdoor concert, it can happen in Piedmont Park. This urban park was originally a gentleman’s farm, but was sold to the Piedmont Driving Club to be used as a racing grounds. The Driving Club joined arms and money with the Piedmont Exposition Company and began to use the property as a place for fairs and expositions.

In the 19th century, major expositions were held at this location and eventually the designer of Central Park in New York City was engaged to redesign the land to be more user friendly for the local population. Walking paths, benches, and places of repose were created and the park began to be a more common place for the general population to come.

In addition to a place of beauty and recreation, many outdoor concerts featuring national and international stars are held in the park.

Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site

Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site

Known worldwide as the leader of the American Civil Rights Movement, this location was very recently renamed the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park. It is home to the home of his birth and Ebenezer Baptist Church from which is preached and pastored.

The MLK site consists of a museum that showcases exhibits about the civil rights movement and Dr. King’s role in this movement. There is a gift shop built inside what was originally a fire station. The center is also home to the “I Have a Dream” International World Peace Rose Garden and a statue may be seen dedicated to Mohanda K Gandhi. Visitors may also walk along the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame.

Special events are held during Black History Month which is February and every anniversary of the assassination of this great man of peace.


Back in 2008, when the world was wondering if the economies of their countries were going to survive, I took off to Prague, Czech Republic. I had been to Mexico, Morocco, and other countries for work and vacations, but going to Eastern Europe would be a new adventure.

I arrived at the Prague Airport after an 11 hr. flight from Atlanta, Georgia, USA. My first thought was the information I had read about not trying to exchange money at the airport. It is more expensive than other places in the city, so I decided against it. Next was where to get a taxi and getting on to the apartment I had rented for the year.

One of my purposes in going was to earn a Teaching English as a Foreign Language(TEFL) certificate at a school in Prague. I would be earning this certificate and teaching for whoever would hire me after graduating from the 30 day certificate program. I hastened to a taxi and spoke my address as best I could in Czech. Fortunately, the driver had been picking up Americans for a long time at the airport and he took me straight away to my apartment.

After starting school, I began to make myself aware of some of the local attractions. I will list and describe them here, but I recommend after you see them go ahead and “go off the beaten path” to the non-touristy areas. The local people will help you find them and the prices will be cheaper also.

First of all, I think it’s important for any person visiting Prague to understand it is geographically divided in two different ways. It has individual sections and these look like pieces of a puzzle if you see them on a map. In addition, the capital of the Czech Republic is divided into three concentric circles known as Prague 1, Prague 2, and Prague 3. If you cannot pronounce the name of your street, it is possible to simply announce, “I live in Prague 2, section 10.” Every local will know what you mean.

Charles Bridge

charles bridge

So, what did I first see when I went on my first excursion in the city? Well, I went to the Charles Bridge, of course. Upon first stepping foot on to this bridge, one is confronted with the shear power of its presence over the Vltava River. Yes, there will be many tourists, musicians, and people selling their art, puppets and various trinkets. But, if you look closely at the structure and its statues placed all along the sides, you will begin to hear the voice from the past.

The Charles Bridge was started in 1357 when King Charles IV reigned over the area. It took the next two centuries to finish it culminating in the 15th century. The Charles Bridge replaced the old Judith Bridge which lasted from 1158-1172 and had its demise when flooding overwhelmed it. The Charles Bridge was the primary means of crossing the Vltava River from the Prague Castle into the Old Town. Establishing this connection made this bridge an important land connection for trade passing from eastern to western Europe.

The Charles Bridge is 2, 037 ft. long and 33 ft. wide. There are 30 statues and statuaries along the bridge fashioned in the baroque style. As you approach the Old Town side of the bridge, you will presented with the Old Town Bridge Tower. Do not fail to look up and see the Hebrew letters written on this Gothic style tower.

Prague Castle

prague castle

It is impossible to not see the Prague Castle as it looms over the city as a great testament to the past and present Czech history and government. It is actually a complex of smaller structures that is the home of the President of the Czech Republic. It houses offices of government, the Bohemian Crown Jewels and is in fact the largest ancient castle in the world.

It was founded in 880 and is presently a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s architecture is a combination of styles ranging from Romanesque to Gothic to present modifications after the Velvet Revolution.

St Vitus Cathedral

St Vitus Cathedral

Just as the President of the Czech Republic has his own castle that is his administrative address, so does the Archbishop of Prague. He offices at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Saints Vitus, Wenceslaus, and Adalbert. This is a Roman Catholic cathedral known to the locals as simply Saint Vitus. The cathedral is part of the Prague Castle Complex and is owned by the Czech government. It contains the tombs of Roman Emperors and Bohemian kings.

Prague Jewish Museum

prague jewish museum

When the Prague Jewish ghetto was demolished, many items were saved and placed in this museum. The founders of the museum were Salomon Hugo Lieben and August Stein sometime around 1906. Although it is an actual museum, one of its original purposes was to save Jewish culture and religious artifacts as a “safe haven.”

It has become nationalized and during the communist era, the museum was not allowed to research or curate on a variety of topics. Research and freedom to include various research areas were allowed in 1994 when the building was returned to the Prague Jewish population of people. Further, items were then made to be under the aupices of the Federation of Jewish Communities thus giving it even more freedom to curate.

Astronomical Clock

astronomical clock

Every day of the week, it is possible to stand in the Old Town Square along with a throng of camera phone wavers and observe the Prague Astronomical Clock do its thing. It is mounted on the southern wall of the Old Town Hall and consists of an astronomical dial, statues of Catholic saints, and a set of figures that present what is known as The Walk of the Apostles. It does this every hour upon the hour without fail. There is a skeleton that actually strikes the time and a calendar dial that shows the months of the year.

These were some of the places I visited while teaching in the beautiful city of Prague. I saw these locations most every day as I hustled around to my next client at some place of business. I loved the beauty and history of the place and I carry its inspiration with me.

If you can, go there. It will not fail to inspire, motivate, and educate regarding past culture, art, music, and architecture.

Whether travelling on business or pleasure, here are just 5 ways to get to New York and back again without breaking the bank in the process.

  1. Shop for Flights via a Budget Flight Provider

One way to instantly save a few quid whenever you plan to travel, and wherever you plan to travel to for that matter, is to shirk the better known airlines and flight providers out there. These companies are able to charge more for flights, even when using the same airlines, based entirely on the fact that we recognise and so trust their name. Hence, they genuinely are dining out on their name or reputation.

Meanwhile, lesser known of online booking agencies, such as Globehunters, one of the UK’s leading providers of cheap airline tickets to New York, have to ensure to provide better prices a high percentage of if not all the time because they haven’t fame to fall back on. Hence, their only means of drumming up custom is through ensuring they provide something else instead, and what is more likely to attract and make loyal clients and customers than by beating the big names when it comes to something as expensive as air travel?

  1. Search Incognito

For those unfamiliar with what browsing the internet incognito means exactly, refer to Google Support.

In summary, going incognito online means that the sites you visit and what you do online via an incognito browser window are not saved to your search history. It also means that cookies are not created while you browse. In turn this prevents airline sites and google itself from collecting information about what you search for frequently and preventing either from hiking up the prices when you perform numerous searches for the same items – for example airline flights to New York.

It is argued whether searching incognito really does ensure you always get to see the cheapest prices available, but with it being so quick, easy and free to do, why take the risk? Rather, ahead of looking online for flights simply switch over into incognito mode and you needn’t even concern yourself with whether it’s true – or pay more if it is.

  1. Travel Midweek

Book a flight heading out and returning midweek to save the most, no matter the airline; flights departing from the UK and headed for New York as well as those returning struggle to fill up most on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Hence, tickets sell for the least on these two days.

Meanwhile, it might surprise some to learn that Saturday is also an unpopular day on which to travel. Therefore, for those who require travelling at the weekend, always opt to do so on a Saturday. Sunday flight prices, in contrast to Saturday prices, are eye wateringly high though, be warned.

  1. Watch Out for Error Flights

For those who do not necessarily need to book too far in advance and who are able to take a more flexible approach to travelling, it is always worth keeping an eye out for error flights.

With literally thousands of flights taking off every day and airlines being busy 24/7 to ensure all their flights are listed online, this means that there is real potential to capitalise on any errors made when imputing information. And these mistakes happen surprisingly often, fortunately for use travellers and rather unfortunately for flight providers.

To learn how to spot or find these error flights amongst the rest, bookmark and make regular visits to the Flynous website which posts errors as they occur.

  1. Follow the Telegraph Newspaper Guide

Lastly, for a wealth of even more tips, tricks and means of getting to New York on a shoestring budget, take full advantage of the Telegraph Newspaper’s Travel Section Guide: The Cheapest Way to Get to New York. As well as offering further advice on how to bag a budget flight to New York, the Telegraph Guide also provides ideas as to how to get to New York without flying for those willing to take a round-a-about trip if it means saving some serious pounds – or dollars, as the case may be.

With the impact of Brexit already affecting the cost of our holidays abroad, more UK residents are looking for a destination a little closer to home.

In fact, The Guardian recently reported that there has been a sharp rise in holidaymakers opting for a staycation instead of heading abroad.

So where on Earth do you go? There are plenty of great options, but there is one destination which stands out from the rest.

The Lake District in the North West of England is easily one of the most beautiful places in the UK but that’s not all it offers.

There really is something for people of all ages and to prove that, here are five reasons why the Lake District makes the perfect staycation destination.

The Breathtaking Scenery

The Lake District is undoubtedly one of, if not the, most beautiful place in the UK. With nearly 900 square miles of peaceful lakes, rolling hills, towering peaks and forests, you’ll grow tired before you run out of breathtakingly beautiful photos to capture.

You can take in the stunning surroundings in a whole manner of different ways too. For the more adventurous holidaymakers you can trek up Scafell Pike, the highest peak in England, and take in all the Lakes has to offer.

For those of you who fancy something a little less tasking, you can appreciate the beauty of the region from plenty of lower locations too. Take a look at this list from the Lake District National Park website for some inspiration.

A Wealth of Activities for All Ages

Along with the amazing landscapes come plenty of opportunities to try out a whole host of different activities.

Obviously walking or hiking is the biggest and most widely enjoyed activity in the Lakes for many reasons, one of the best being that it is something everyone can enjoy.

Take a look at Walking Englishman, a handy site which describes the lengths and difficulties of all the walks in the Lakes, making it easy for you to find one most suitable for your fitness or taste for adventure.

If walking isn’t what you’re looking for, there’s still plenty of other options to keep the whole family busy. Try your hand at a number of water sports across the various lakes including Windermere and Coniston, including canoeing, kayaking, sailing, paddle boarding and more.

For those keen to brave to waters, there are opportunities to go ghyll scrambling, an all action activity which involves swimming, climbing, jumping and sliding up and down beautiful mountain rivers and springs.

Amazing Accommodation

Whether you are looking for an all-action staycation or a relaxing romantic week away, there are accommodation options for everyone in the Lakes.

We spoke to Lake District County Hotels, who have three different locations around the Lakes. They said, “There’s simply nowhere else in the country where you can enjoy a luxury hotel stay accompanied by stunning lakeside views from your bedroom.

No matter where you stay, you’re only a short drive from either the amazing lakes or one of the charming towns of the area, so there’s something for everyone.”

It’s Rich in Culture

If the thought of scaling up a mountain or swimming through a lake is your worst nightmare, the area still has plenty to offer.

The Lake District is incredibly fortunate to be the home to a number of respected and celebrated writers and literary works.

If you love poetry, what better way to spend your time than taking in the beautiful surroundings which inspired much of William Wordsworth’s publications? You can even visit the town of Cockermouth, the birthplace and home of Wordsworth.

Take a look around the beautiful Wordsworth House and Gardens which are a treat for any literary fan.

That’s not all though. Lovers of timeless children’s stories can visit Beatrix Potter’s home, which is brilliantly immersive.

Fans of children’s fiction can also visit all of the locations from the classic 1930s and 40s books Swallows and Amazons.

Delicious Food

One of the greatest things about heading on holiday is enjoying the local cuisine and thankfully the Lake District has lots of delicacies to enjoy.

Meat lovers can tuck into a classic Cumberland sausage, those who have a sweet tooth can visit Cartmel for the best sticky toffee pudding in the country and walkers can enjoy the best hiking fuel available by nibbling at a piece of Kendal mint cake.

For lovers of fine dining, there are a number of brilliant restaurants in the area too. From cosy country pubs to Michelin star standard restaurants, there’s more brilliant food in the region than you can shake a stick at.

Take a look at this great guide from the Telegraph for a rundown of all places to look out for during your staycation.

A holiday spent in the real life paradise that is the Caribbean country of Turks and Caicos deserves to also be spent in a hotel as awe-inspiring and luxurious as the destination itself. For that reason, here are five of TCI’s best hotels, along with a little of what makes each so special.

1# The Blue Haven Resort

To kick off is the Blue Haven Resort. Located in Providenciales, the most popular region of TCI amongst its tourists, the Blue Haven is one of the Turks and Caicos Islands’ newest and most exciting resorts.

As well as being equipped with all the luxuries expected of a four star hotel, including sumptuous private suites, a choice of onsite eateries, its own spa, gym and gourmet coffee shop café and grocery store, the Blue Haven is as well the only resort in the whole of TCI to boast its very own private marina.

Hence, for unrivalled luxury, amenities and for those arriving via private yacht, the Blue Haven is the perfect choice.

2# The Beach House

The Beach House is one of TCI’s only boutique Hotels, and as such provides the perfect option for those looking for something a little less like a resort and a little more special – in a more characterful but no less luxurious way.

Occupying an enchanting and impressive colonial style beach front mansion house that overlooks Grace Bay, touted as the world’s best beach, the Beach House Resort provides a choice of private suites – many of which also look out over Grace Bay Beach. Meanwhile, its remaining suites overlook TCI’s abundant and exotic countryside and mango groves.

A place with real character and charm as well as providing the highest level of luxury and service, the Beach House is also home to its own onsite restaurant, Kitchen 218 which is well loved and known of in Grace Bay and beyond for serving fantastic lionfish and fresh seafood.

3# COMO Parrot Cay

If neither of the two stunning options described above take your fancy how does a hotel and resort occupying its very own private island sound?

COMO Parrot Cay is not only the name given to a TCI resort but as well the name of a private island in TCI which provides the most popular accommodation amongst the Hollywood glitterati. A favoured holidaying spot with the likes of Justin Bieber and Cara Delevingne, as reported via The Daily Mail article: How celebrity hotspot Parrot Cay got its mojo back, for those looking to spend some serious cash and in return receive unrivalled privacy as well as rent their very own villa in paradise, there is no competition; COMO Parrot Cay is less a resort and more a millionaire’s village glittering in the Caribbean sea.

With a VIP list of regulars and holiday makers gracing its shores though, do not expect to join them for less than a VIP – or ‘very impressive price tag’ to spell it out; the least expensive accommodations booked during the least popular seasons at COMO Parrot Cay begin at around £500 per person per night, and the price rises even more impressively depending on the size and location of the accommodation or villa you opt to stay in. Hence, this is perhaps one TCI resort that is best kept for truly special occasions.

4# The Alexandra Resort

A fantastic option for families holidaying or wishing to holiday in TCI, the Alexandra blends both luxury and low cost, at least considering the high standard of its suites and wealth of onsite amenities, as well as its prime location.

In contrast to COMO Parrot Cay, the Alexandra Resort is self acclaimed as ‘the best value of all the Turks & Caicos resorts’ and certainly does provide by far the best value resort in the massively popular Providenciales Locale which is situated on the world famous Grace Bay Beach.

Then, providing both luxury and yet affordable suites, the Alexandra Resort definitely deserves its place on this top five lo-down, and is a brilliant choice for families looking to head out to TCI for their summer holidays.

5# Amanyara

Amanyara, situated in the TCI region of North West region of Providenciales, is not simply a luxury resort; as explained and celebrated via its website, Amanyara offers an experience and means of enjoying Turks and Caicos in an entirely unique way. Championing yoga and the meditative life, this is the ideal resort for those who are looking for something more than simply luxury and great service in a resort.

For that reason alone it deserves its place as one of TCI’s most brilliant places to stay, especially for those familiar already with TCI and looking for new ways to experience the country as well as those looking to soak up some spirituality as well as sun whilst on holiday.

As the UK starts to get used to waking up to grey skies every morning, it’s only natural to start daydreaming about sunnier climes.

Well, how about making that daydream come true, and booking a once in a lifetime getaway to Barbados?

Why Barbados? Well, when you think about your ideal island paradise, Barbados ticks all of the boxes, with its stunning beaches, delicious cuisine and cocktails, and luxury accommodation.

We’re going to take a look at five reasons why you should consider Barbados as your next holiday destination.

The beaches

As you would expect from a Caribbean island, one of the biggest draws of Barbados is its stunning beaches.

Even though it’s a relatively small island, you’ll find the beaches all have their own unique character, from large, sandy white ones to smaller secluded coves, perfect for a romantic picnic.

For example, on the west coast of the island, you’ll find calmer and more relaxing waters where you can chill out with a glass of rum punch and listen to the waves lap against the shore.

On the other hand, on the eastern side of the island you’ll find the famous Soup Bowl reef just off Bathsheba which is a popular surf spot.

The sea

You truly won’t believe the vivid blue of the Atlantic Ocean surrounding Barbados until you see it, and that’s only scratching the surface.

A scuba diving or snorkelling trip is not to be missed when in Barbados, and underneath those crystal clear waters you’ll encounter a whole new world, filled with exotic and colourful marine life, including the majestic sea turtles.

You can also hire out catamaran trips, speedboats and even board the pirate party boat, the Jolly Roger.

The weather

Barbados is sunny and warm all year round, with blue skies almost guaranteed at any time of year.

The temperature rarely drops below 22˚C and rarely exceeds 32˚C, meaning its always pleasantly warm, but not so much that it’s uncomfortable.

The little rain the island does get usually falls during the summer months, although any showers are short lived.

And if you’re at all worried about hurricanes, thankfully Barbados is far enough away from the other Caribbean islands that is usually relatively unaffected, and the last major one to hit was back in 1955.

The scenery

If you can bear to tear yourself away from the beach, the island has so much more to offer if you’re willing to do a bit of exploring.

For example, to the north of the island you’ll find dramatic cliffs, and in the centre you can enjoy the rolling green hills and jungles, as well as historic plantation houses.

There’s also an extensive cave network on the island, with Harrison’s Cave being one of the most popular among visitors, featuring underground waterfalls.

The island is also home to some of the most stunning golf courses in the world, such as the Royal Westmoreland.

The culture

Barbados has a fascinating history, and you get a real feel for this in the people and the architecture, with influences from Spanish, Portuguese and of course, British, culture.

The capital, Bridgetown, is brimming with historic sites, and is even home to its own UNESCO world heritage site, the Garrison, which was built to house British troops back in 1643.

The British influence can be felt throughout the island, especially at the many grand plantation houses which can be visited, but there is also a strong West African influence too, giving the country a really eclectic and vibrant feel.