Category Archives: General Travel

Beautiful Hotels and Resorts – The Manta Resort

Here at Penguin we love holidays. Who doesn’t love holidays? Holidays are the only way to take a step back from everything, relax and see the sights at a leisurely pace. However a crucial part of the holiday is where you choose to spend it. Some people may enjoy a holiday in the sun with an all-inclusive hotel, allowing for just a little spending money to get you by on market days. Other people will save as much money as possible on the hotel by just going for the basics, and then splashing out on informative tours and trips out.

Whether you are a sunbather or a sight-seer, certain hotels and locations are simply too stunning to pass up and they are guaranteed to make the experience of a lifetime. They may cost a pound or two more than a normal 3 star hotel or all-inclusive holiday package deal, but the memories created by staying in these gorgeous locations are well worth the hefty price tag. 

The Manta Resort

Imagine waking up after a long luxurious nights rest, and rolling over in your bed to see…the sea. The Manta Resort, located in the sunny tropics of Zanzibar is a resort like no other in that it has a specially designed underwater room. The entrance to the room is above sea level, with a beautiful wooden chalet standing atop wooden stilts and the iconic underwater room built underneath which is also anchored to the sea bottom by thick chains.

5956802620_bb66ded10a_zThe bedroom floats four metres below the surface of the sea, where you can take a look out into the murky depths, keeping your eyes out for the beautiful tropical fish that can be seen, right from your bed! Plus the view from the top veranda at night is breathtaking, with the unhindered sight of a million bright stars, where you will honestly feel as if you are miles away on your own private island.

Currently there is only one underwater room available at the Manta Resort in Zanzibar, but there have been plans for extra rooms to be added in the future. Why not splash out for a few nights of pure wonderment as you enjoy the beautiful sights of the deep sea without ever having to get your feet wet!

At Penguin we understand how important reliable transport can be, and that it can make or break your holiday, particularly after a long flight that leaves you wanting to simply flop down onto the hotel bed. We provide an easy to search hired car directory anywhere in the world, simply type in your location and go!

 

Quick Games for a Long Trip

We all know that a long car journey can be both stressful and boring, particularly with young children and particularly if you’re travelling down a long set of awkward windy roads that require your full concentration just to stop yourselves from getting lost. At times like this the voices on the radio only serve to increase your annoyance and your children have long worn out the ‘red car yellow car’ game. So what else can you do to help keep your concentration levels up and distract the kids so that you don’t end up careening off the end off a cliff?

One sentence story challenge

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Start up a story and say one sentence of it. The next person has to continue the story by adding their sentence, trying to keep the story going for as long as possible. You are only allowed one sentence before you have to pass the story onto the next person, and you have to try and keep to a reasonably plotline (which can be hard for the younger passengers!)

If your kids are artsy, why not ask them to draw the main character from the story at their favourite point in the story? It will get their imagination working hard, and if they know they have to draw it beforehand they will put more effort into creating a believable story.

Alphabet Challenge

Pick a topic and challenge everyone to come up with an item from that topic that starts with each letter of the alphabet. Once you’ve completed the alphabet, move onto the next topic.

The Twenty Question Game

Again pick a topic and think of one thing in relation to that topic (i.e Robin Williams for famous film stars). Write the item or person down – ask a friend if you are the designated driver – and then give it to someone else. They cannot look at the piece of paper, but must hold it in a way so that everybody else can see it.

PostItNotePadThe aim of the game is to then guess what the item is that is on your piece of paper. You are allowed 20 questions which will help you to figure out what is on your paper, and the other players can answer yes or no to those questions. Each player asks one question, where the answer is yes or no, and then the next player asks their question. Once 20 questions is  up, you have to guess what you are. You can guess beforehand if you have a clue, but sometimes it can be quite hard!

Staying on the road for long periods of time can be hard. But if you remember to take plenty of breaks and stop as soon as you start to feel tired, you should reach your destination without a hitch!

Most Sacred Sites in the World

Temples, Shrines, Mosques, Churches; sacred places have an eerie calmness unlike nothing else seen on this earth. In visiting some of the most sacred places in the world you may find out something new about a religion you previously had no interest in, you may be inspired to try something new, you may discover things about people you didn’t know before. Religion is a heavily influential thing present in most if not all modern and ancient societies, but religion has also built some of the most beautiful buildings we can see today. Here at Penguin we take a look at some of the world’s most beautiful sacred religious locations.

Meiji Shrine – Tokyo

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Built 100 years ago and dedicated to the spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife Empress Shoken, the Meiji Shrine is located in one of the central areas of Tokyo, but is surrounded by dense, beautiful forest land. It is an ideal location to sit and meditate in peace away from the busy business life of modern day Tokyo, but it has all the modern amenities of being only 10 minutes away from a subway station. The huge archways built in the Meiji Shrine are over 40 feet tall and are carved from solid wood.

Notre Dame Cathedral – Paris

Considered as one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture and known for its beautifully sculpted arches and stained glass windows, Notre Dame was first completed in 1345 and currently contains the official chair of the archbishop of Paris. The cathedral has 10 bells, all named, the largest of which weighs over 13 tons.

Western Wall – Jerusalem

Located at the foot of the western side of the Temple Mount, the Western Wall is one of the most sacred sites recognised by those of the Jewish faith, second only to Temple Mount itself. It is a place where the thousands gather in their masses to pray and worship. It is often speculated how the giant stones of the western wall were made, but nothing is certain. Men and Women must worship and pray at separate sections of the Western Wall.

Lotus Temple – New Delhi

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Serving as the Mother Temple of the Indian subcontinent, the Lotus Temple is so named for its flower-like design. The beautiful temple has won countless architectural awards. The temple is open to all regardless of religion or faith, and the Baha’i laws decree that the House of Worship is designed to be a gathering place for people of all religions to worship God without restrictions. Although Choir music is permitted, no musical instruments can be played inside the lotus.

Is there a temple or shrine that you would love to visit? Penguin car hire can help you get there with a hired car!

National Tug of War Day

Wednesday the 19th of February is National Tug-of-War day, so today we here at Penguin are going to have a look at where in the world tug of wars regularly took place. Originally thought to have been practised in ancient Egypt, Greece and China, the Tug of War sport was first made popular in Great Britain in the 16th century by Lord Elliott Simpson.

‘Hook pulling’ in the Tang Dynasty

According to a book dating back to the Tang Dynasty, tug of war was a training method used by military commanders of the time as an exercise of strength for warriors. The Emperor at the time; Emperor Xuanzong of Tang promoted the use of large scale tug of war games to train warriors, and these games normally used ropes of up to 550 feet long with shorter ropes attached for people to hold onto.

Each side of the ‘war’ had over 500 people on it, on the larger tug of war matches, and each side also had a set of drummers to encourage the participants.

Helkustinda in Ancient Greece

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There were three different variations of tug of war in ancient Greece; helkustinda, efelkustinda and dielkustinda. All of these variations come from the word helko which means ‘I draw, I pull’. The first two variations of ancient Greek tug of war seem to be ordinary versions, whereas dielkustinda was tug of war without the rope.

This was done by linking hands with your teammates, and was considered much more difficult as it is harder to sustain grip on hands than on a rope.

Like in the Tang dynasty, all types of tug of war were used by the ancient Greeks as strength building games and also to build up strength in preparation for battle, when they would have to move quickly in heavy armour.

As an Olympic Sport

Tug of War was an official part of the Olympic Games from 1900 to 1920, but has not been included since, perhaps because of health and safety reasons as people have been known to had fingers severed and limbs broken as a result of the rope snapping.

The Tug Of War International Federation hosts annual world championships for tug of war, with both indoor and outdoor contests. The 2014 World Championships is being held at Olin-Turville Court in Madison, USA. Why not hire out a car to help get you to the Championships if you are thinking of going?

‘Naha Tug of War’ in Okinawa

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Originating in the 17th Century, an annual festival held in Naha, Okinawa Japan, holds a giant tug of war contest that correlates with the competition between two ancient rulers in the Naha area. The event attracts over 25,000 attendees each year.

Where Will You Spend New Year’s Eve?

There are several different ways to celebrating the coming of the New Year and every family does it differently. Most of us would be contented with simply sitting at home with the family and a glass of bucks fizz, or celebrating the countdown with friends at the local pub. However some of us are more adventurous, and like to spend the New Year off celebrating in a tropical location, or simply chilling on the other side of the world while sipping a cool cocktail. In readiness for the New Year we have put together a top five places to visit that host the best New Year’s parties worldwide.

5. Sydney – Australia

A country renowned for its beauty, Sydney in Australia puts on a fireworks performance that is like no other. The capital of Australia, which is famous for its Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House, offers a huge selection of parties, fair rides and nautical parades that ensures that there is something suited for every member of the family. Buy yourself a ticket to one of the Royal Botanic Gardens show, but hurry, because the spots sell out fast!

4. Cardiff – UK

Cardiff’s Flybe Winter Wonderland, the Christmas and New Year themed park, is open from the 14th November to the 5thJanuary, with an open air ice rink, a variety of different fairground rides and spectacular lights and fireworks displays on New Year’s Eve. Plus from 2013 Cardiff Winter Wonderland has opened a new traditional festive dining experience in the Alpine Village. German Beer and Bratwurst all around!

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3. Disney Theme Parks – Various

Widely known for their cheery celebrations and performances, a great place – especially for the kids – to spend New Year’s Eve is at one of Disney’s theme parks. Disney World in Orlando, Florida has a great variety of entertainment on, from Disney parades to the fantastic fireworks displays. Tokyo Disneyland is an extremely popular attraction on the 31st December, which is home to the special New Year’s Parade (Beginning at 11:30). Disneyland California is also celebrating the New Year with its “Ring in the New Year” fireworks spectacular.

2. London – UK

With the fantastic fireworks show illuminated by a backdrop that hosts spectacular sights such as Big Ben, the Tower Bridge and the London Eye, sometimes the best place to celebrate the New Year is closer to home than you think. Just be prepared to arrive early if you want a good spot seeing the festivities!

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1. Watching the Ball Drop; Times Square – New York (USA)

For over 100 years the huge disco ball has marked the final countdown into the New Year in New York, USA, and although several hundred other cities in America have adopted their own ‘ball drop’, New York still holds the prize for its significance. Arrive around lunchtime in the iconic New York taxi, or by hired car, as the streets will become extremely packed in order to follow the ball’s 70 foot journey down towards the New Year. When the moment finally arrives, confetti is released into the air, accompanied by the excited shouts and screams of attendees welcoming the New Year. An unforgettable experience!

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Merry Christmas From Penguin Car Hire – Christmas Trees

It’s Christmas Day! And the turkey is ready and roasting in the oven, the children are busy playing with their stocking gifts and mum and dad are desperately trying to clean up the shredded wrapping paper lying all around. Maybe you are stuck in traffic, driving a hired car over to relatives to spend the day with them. Or perhaps you’re just starting off your day with a lazy breakfast of bubble and squeak from the meal the night before. Whatever festivities you and your family are enjoying on Christmas day, we have a very Christmas themed blog for you on this day to keep up with the Christmas Spirit!

Here is a short list of some of the most amazing documented Christmas trees from across the world, all in one place. Enjoy!

Largest Floating Christmas Tree

The Christmas Tree in Rio de Janeiro is an 85 metre metal cone that weighs a staggering 542 tonnes, and floats atop the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas. It is decorated with a staggering 3.3 million Christmas lights, and Christmas doesn’t start in Rio until the Christmas Tree has been properly erected and lit up.

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World’s Biggest (to date) Christmas Tree

Lies in Gubbio, Italy. It is not a traditional ‘tree’ but is instead a tree decoration display situated on Mount Ingino, located above Gubbio. The ‘tree’ is 650 metres high and 350 metres wide, and can be seen from miles away. The shooting star at the tip of the ‘tree’ is made from over 25 lights and covers over 1,000 square metres.  The tradition of this hillside ‘tree’ has been going on for over 30 years, but this year the ‘tree’ has been the town’s biggest undertaking yet.

 

World’s Strangest Christmas Tree

There have been several competitors for this top spot, but the upside down Christmas tree is certainly worthy of the top spot, because it has all the aspects of a traditional tree, just turned on its head. The upside down Christmas tree is a great addition to any home, because it is also a space saving tree! 

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And one more, for those who really love sparing no expense at Christmas time…

World’s Most Expensive Christmas Tree

Located in the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, this tree has been decorated with over 180 items of jewellery and precious gemstones, and has been valued at 41,329,531 AED, which is approximately £6,975,880. The tree alone is worth over £6,000 but the majority of its wealth is accumulated through its furnishings.