More and more people are buying a villa in Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. So youve spent many, many hours searching for the perfect villa, and youve found it! Everything is arranged with the estate agent at lawyer, now you just need to pay for it. So how do you send over the money?The cheapest and easiest way is to use a specialist broker. You will see them advertised in overseas property magazines and the internet, or your estate agent can recommend one for you. By using a good broker you can achieve very favourable rates of exchange compared to what you might get at your high street bank, saving you perhaps thousands of pounds on the purchase price. When buying abroad, normally you have to pay a deposit to secure the property and have to pay the balance in 2 or 3 months time. For the deposit, you are likely to use a Spot Contract. This is where the rate of exchange is fixed at the moment in time when it is asked for. This rate of exchange can move quite a bit even in just one day. For the balance of the money, the most common method is to use a Forward Contract. This fixes a price today for a transaction to be made in the future. This eliminates the risk of currency fluctuation changes and means you know exactly how much your property is going to cost you. Currency levels can fluctuate quite markedly as weve said. Sterling to Euro levels have moved by over 5% in the past 6 months, which means that on a property of 200,000 pounds sterling value, fixing the rate at the start could have saved you 10,000 pounds by the time it comes to hand over the money. Of course it can work the other way and you could lose the opportunity to gain through the fluctuation of the rate of exchange! Do you want to take the gamble?
With all of the buzz around Al Gore's Nobel Prize winning efforts, many are hoping the heightened awareness of global warming will turn some attention to the plight of the polar bears. It would be utterly heartbreaking if this incredible predator was relegated to zoos or worse, especially after hundreds of years of adaptation to the hostile Arctic environment. I was once lucky enough to see a family of bears in the wild in the high arctic, a mother and two cubs - it was a powerfully moving site, considering this wasn't a refuge but actually ice flows viewed from a Russian Icebreaker. What a great many people were not aware of until recently is that "polar bears" need the sea ice to freeze over. This gives the polar bears ideal hunting grounds for the seals that build dens and breathing holes in on the floes. Polar bears are classified as marine mammals and are surprisingly deficient in skills for catching prey on land.There have been several reports of polar bear migrating into the northern boreal forests of Alaska and mating with grizzly bears, resulting in a hybrid bear: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grizzly%E2%80%93polar_bear_hybrid . While this phenomenon is not entirely new, the frequency of the polar bear's forays into southern lands is bound to increase. A bear has gotta do what it's gotta do, afterall. Biologists fear the interbreeding could dilute some of the polar bears greatest (and least understood) adaptations, such as the ability to navigate incredible distances in a dynamic environment with few landmarks, their aquatic skills and the instinct to catch seals under sea ice.Arctic studies have shown that over the years, the sea ice grows and recedes with somewhat normal consistency but the last few years have shown a massive recession, along with the retreat of hundreds of Arctic glaciers. Call it "global warming" or whatever you like, but I think the time to start "thinking green" is nowif nothing else, so the great white north stays north. We may never encounter the polar bear in our normal lives and very few people will get to visit them, but that's exactly why we need to act now - to keep those wild places wild.Writing and/or reading an article about polar bears isn't going to do much good without a soliciting a reaction. With that in mind, here are A Few Resources to Help Our Polar Pals in the Arctic...Update on Polar Bear Status: From the Humane Society: http://www.hsus.org/marine_mammals/a_closer_look_at_marine_mammals/polar_bears/saving_acts_for_the_polar.htmlTrack Real Polar Bears: From the WWF http://www.panda.org/about_wwf/where_we_work/europe/what_we_do/arctic/polar_bear/index.cfmVisit Polar Bears in Their Own Habitat: From Natural Habitat Adventureshttp://www.nathab.com/northOther Actions You Can Take: From Defenders of Wildlifehttp://www.defenders.org/programs_and_policy/wildlife_conservation/imperiled_species/polar_bear/index.phpAside from the resources above, the best thing you can do for polar bears is to reduce the effect your lifestyle has on global warming. Whether that means taking a bike to work or school, installing solar panels on your home, or just turning out the lights when you leave a room - every little bit helps.
The distinct prestige and popularity that Germany enjoys as a prime destination for vacationers makes it a distinctly friendly country to enjoy relatively hassle-free in-country travel options. Traveling through Germanys breathtaking country sides, unique cityscapes, and along its inspiring coast lines in a memorable experience that vacationers enjoy as much as the other facets of their visit to the country. Travel options vary widely from train to automobile, to boat. Each of these modes of transport offers its own, unique aspects that will prove convenient and enjoyable.Relax and Travel by Train to Enjoy Germanys BeautyThe European rail system is renowned world wide as one of the most reliable, efficient, affordable, and all-around convenient ways to travel. Germany is certainly considered to be the Crown of Europe in the way that it has made its own rails a large draw for passengers both that are both local and visitors to this exquisite country.Rail travel can range from no-frills packages that cater to the budget-minded traveler to the prestigious and luxurious offerings that cater to visitors that wish to indulge and pamper themselves in well-appointed settings and a one-of-a-kind experience.Travel options and tickets for traveling through Germany by train are conveniently available at train stations in each city.Rental Cars Available in Germany for VisitorsEnjoy the freedom and privacy of traversing the countryside and exploring Germanys unique and beautiful cities from your own rental car. Foreign-licensed drivers can rent a wide range of automobiles hassle-free in Germany.A trip to Germany for many is not complete without taking a drive down the world-famous German Autobahn. Though the Autobahn boasts stretches of road that are free of speed limits, it is remarkably safe and free from accidents due to its unique design and distinct German courtesy for its fellow travelers. Slower-moving vehicles stay right at all times, allowing the faster-moving left lane to be left clear for passing. Typically, once the vacationer gets the taste of the courteous and efficient nature of German driving, they will appreciate the friendly nature of Germans even more.Take a Boat Trip through Germanys Scenic RiversTravel by boat is often a secret left to German visitors that are in the know. This unique method of traversing Germany affords the traveler an exclusive experience that can be much more relaxing and enjoyable than traditional methods of reaching German destinations.Several companies offer one-way and round-trip treks through German water ways that never fail to enthrall passengers and enhance their overall German vacationing experience. Availability can vary by season, but the vacationer in the know will not pass up this journey in the German springtime.Traveling through the German countryside and through its city streets augments the experience of experiencing German culture and scenery for the vacationer. While in Germany, dont hesitate to enjoy the varying means of taking in Germanys sites that are available. Each of the methods described above offers its own enjoyable and fulfilling criteria for enhancing your German vacation and ensuring that it will be a positive memory that lasts a lifetime.
The French are known world-wide as being extremely passionate about the French film industry, a central point of Frances economy and culture. Ask virtually anyone walking through the streets of France about their opinions on film, their favorite movies, and the last time they watched a film, and you will quickly get to meet a range of interesting people and find yourself deep in French conversation. For this reason, knowing a few words and being able to talk a little about film in French is a great tool as this is a good opportunity to practice your French speaking with native speakers.For starters you need to know the basics. Below are a few words you will commonly use when discussing your film interests. The soundings of many of these French words also give a reasonable English description.actors: comediensactresses: comediennesadventure: adventureanimated films: dessins animesbest film: meilleur filmbest screenplay: meilleur scenarioCannes film festival: le festival de CannesCesars: the Cesars (French version of the Oscars)crime: policiercomedy: comediedirector: le metteur en scene (literally-a putter in stage)Golden Palm: La Palme d'Or (honorable prize at the Cannes film festival)movie: le filmmovie theater: le cinemaA Quick French MOvie Phrase- "Et maintenant, le moment que nous attendons tous: le Cesar du meilleur metteur en scene."- And now, the moment we have all been waiting for: the Oscar for the best director....As mentioned earlier, the cultural and language trends are often very similar between the French and English. this make it reasonably simply to learn the language, the transition or conversion from English to French is really quite intuitive. In regards to the above French sentence, if I told you that 'maintenant' is 'now' in French, it would be easy to understand what was being said.Below are some more French sentences about film. Read the French sentence first, see if you understand what is going on and being said, then see if you were correct with the English translation.-"Avez-vous vu (voo) le dernier (dare nee ay) film de Spike Jones?"- Have you seen the last Spike Jones film?- "Oui, j'ai beaucoup aime le scenario, mais pas la mise en scene."- Yes, I really liked the screenplay, but not the direction.- "Est'ce que le film passe en VO ou en VF?"- Is the film in the original language version or dubbed into French? (VO is an abreviation for Version Originale and VF is Version Francaise.)- "Heureusement (uhr uz mehn), en VF. Je ne comprends (com prahn) pas Anglais tres bien."- Happily, dubbed into French. I don't understand English very well.You may notice that the first two conversations are in the past tense. In France it's actually more common to converse in the past tense than present or future, the past tense is used more so than in most other languages. If you look to the French verb tenses lesson (http://learnerfrench.com/french_verb_tenses.php) on my learn French site, you will see that the past tense is also the most basic, easy to learn conversation tense. Just take the parts of the verb 'avoir' and use it with the past participle to form the past tense.Although forming the past participle for French verbs is done differenty for each verb, if you are using "regular" verbs, the ending will remain consistent."er" verbs: remove "er" from the infinitive and add "e""ir" verbs: remove "ir" from the infinitive and add "i""re" verbs: remove "re" from the infinitive and add "u"Parler(speak): parleRemplir(fill): rempliEntendre (hear): entenduGo back to the second conversation we covered, "Oui, j'ai beaucoup aime le scenario". See how the verb "aimer" (to like) is an "er" verb, here we removed the "er" and added "e", so it became "j'ai aime le scenario".Of course, since we liked it very much, we have to insert "beaucoup" to the middle. (In the case of the "er" verbs, however, both the infinitive and the past participle end up sounding similar, despite the fact that the spelling is different. In this case, an 'ay' sound is acheived by the 'er' and 'e' endings.See if you can take the following short sentences and create the past tense using 'ir' and 're' verbs."J'ai rempli le verre." I filled the glass. "Il a entendu sa mere." He heard his mother.
When it comes to choosing the right summer vacation for the family, it can be extremely difficult. With so many different destinations to choose from, how do you know which one will be right for you? If you have children then finding the perfect destination can be even trickier. This is because whilst many places claim that they are family friendly, that is not always the case. So if you do have children, how exactly do you find the right summer vacation for the whole family?Finding Family Friendly VacationsWhen you are looking for a destination to suit the whole family, really you need to take into consideration the ages of the children. This is because whilst many family summer vacation packages offer various activities for children, they are not always suited to specific age groups. Many parents assume that a family vacation destination would have something to suit all ages, but unfortunately that is not always the case and so research into the destination is advised before you book. The main type of tourist vacation that people prefer to take is a beach vacation. Now with children you might not be able to get away with lying on the beach relaxing for hours, but you certainly should not rule it out altogether. There is no reason why you cannot enjoy an hour or two of relaxation, just as long as you give the children something to do. A bucket and spade usually comes in handy, as does a beach ball. Then when you have had a little relaxation, you can perhaps teach them to swim in the sea (or paddle depending upon their age)? There is plenty to do for families at the beach and so it is certainly something worth thinking about.If you really want to show your children a good time, then an amusement park vacation might be the best idea. They are the most family friendly places you can go and they literally have something for every age group. So if you have a family with both young children and teenagers, there will definitely be something at an amusement park to suit everyone. However, whilst most parks do cater for all age groups, in some countries the amusement parks are mainly designed for young children so it is worth checking out before you set off. Overall there are plenty of destinations which cater for children. It is a good idea to sit down with the family and talk about the options available. Hopefully you will all be able to reach an agreement as to the destination you will travel to and that way everyone will be happy.