June 1, 2018


Travel Tips for a Fabulous European Holiday

Who doesn’t want a holiday in Europe this summer? It almost seems a ridiculous question, if you take money out of the equation. But it is hard to not consider the costs if you want to have a European holiday and you live in North America. While there are plenty of no-frills airlines these days as well as a host of great cheap flights on sale, how do you save once you are there? We have some great tips to share with you that just might make that dream of a holiday in exciting Europe, steeped in history and culture, your next vacation stop.

Forget the Car Rental

While you may want to indulge in the romance of driving through Europe, the truth is it can be quite expensive to see it this way. If you are planning to head out to more than one destination, local transit is the best way to go. Trains are relatively cheap and best of all well used. This means you can afford that quick trip to Southern France while you are in Holland and still have time to tour the windmills when you get back. Rent a bike, walk through towns or just take the local bus to the next destination. You will see far more of the countryside and even get a chat with the locals this way.

Rent an Apartment

The new cheapest way to travel if you want to spend time in one place is to rent an apartment. While you were once restricted to simply hotels or short-term rentals while the residents were away on holiday, today the options have grown. A new idea is purpose built short term rentals, like the holiday apartments in Copenhagen that have proven so popular. These are designed to accommodate travellers but have all the comforts of a home. When you add these specially built apartments to the mix that places like Airbnb have on offer, there is a wealth of options to choose from in Europe.

Eating in or Out?

While for many of us a big part of exploring a new location is the food, it doesn’t mean you have to eat out every night while on vacation. Many cities have a local farmers market. You can buy local, cook at home and really get a feeling of what it would be like to live in this city or country. How about adding in a cooking class while you are there? Many places offer them and a little time spent searching online will probably yield one in your area. It is the perfect combination of exploring the local food and adding a new skill.

Just looking at these few examples you can see a pattern emerge. When you look beyond the traditional hotel, car, sightseeing tour package of most holidays, you save. But best of all, you also get a more authentic experience when travelling to a new place. After all, how can you say you truly saw Spain or Norway if all you saw were hotels, tour buses and other tourists? Bon voyage and happy exploring.

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History of Fountain Pens

It feels great to take a break from banging away on the keyboard to write a piece by hand. Whether it is a journal entry, a love letter or a novel- writing it out by hand truly gives a unique pleasure. There are few things that can heighten this pleasure. One is having coffee while writing. Another is using a fountain pen to craft your master piece.

Fountain pens are easier and comfortable to use and they are great for cursive. Many from the old generation are fond of fountain pens because of their unique benefits. Most people are unaware how fountain pens came to be and why they were introduced to this world in the first place. Let us glance into the history of fountain pens to see how they came to be.

Ancient Era

In 973 AD people were searching for better options to write. We know this from the writings of a caliph. Someone fulfilled the wish of this man, but the pen did not survive so no one knew how the pen worked. During the 16th century, drawings of a practical pen were given by Leonardo da Vinci. Some say that Leonardo used the pen to craft his work, but there is no physical evidence that can proof this.

The Dip Pen

Frustration of people continued because of messy pens. Most materials available for writing left the hands and paper dirty. The dip pen was fountain pen’s predecessor. However, the problem that made the dip pen a bad option for writing was that the nip had to be dipped in the ink again and again to write. The dip pen later evolved into pens that carried ink within them. This brought forward fountain pens.

During the 1600s, pens with inks were being manufactured informally, but there were still many flaws in these pens. The ink used to leak because the air that goes back into the pen’s reservoir could not be regulated.

As education and industry developed, a proper writing tool became a necessity. Lewis Waterman lost one of his most important clients because his fountain pen leaked ink onto a contract. This made Waterman dedicated towards developing a better pen. In 1884, he filed a patent. He introduced an air hole and grooves that prevented ink spills and blockages.

Writing with fountain pen became much more convenient and effective thanks to the efforts of Waterman, but filling the ink in the pen remained a tedious affair. The reservoir had to be opened and the ink had to be replenished with the help of an eye dropper. Thus, improvements were still necessary.

More Developments

During the 1850s, fountain pens began to gain momentum and more developments were made. Fountain pens were sold with retraceable nibs or caps which allowed people to carry them without worrying about the ink leaking. Invention of self fillers at the turn of the 20th century made it easy to replenish the ink and users just had to put the nib in the bottle of ink and fill the pen’s reservoir by twisting the barrel or pulling a lever.

During the 1900s, ballpoint pens were introduced, but the fountain pens maintained their dominance and their popularity never wavered. Even today, increase in the sales of fountain pens is reported by vendors.

Fountain pen is truly an amazing writing tool and its history shows us why this writing instrument is still preferred by many writers. Are you mesmerized by the interesting history of fountain pens?

If you wish to get your hands on a quality fountain pen, check out the unique collection of fountain pens at Appelboom.

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