Articles Los Angeles

Manhattan Beach

volleyball_beach_blue_268276_l.jpgThe city of Manhattan Beach is a beach community close to the downtown area of Los Angeles and LAX. Named for New York’s Manhattan island, the city is one of the most desirable places to live in the city and home to many notable residents. Athletes especially seem to gravitate toward Manhattan Beach. The point guards for several NBA teams have houses in Manhattan Beach, as well as Michael Olowokandi, the Boston Celtics center, Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan, soccer player Landon Donovan and baseball player Nomar Garciaparra.

Manhattan Beach began in the late 19th century when several ranches were purchased and combined into one mega-sized plot of land that is now the 10.2 square mile city.

Beach Sports

It is not terribly surprising that so many athletes would gravitate toward the city. The beach attracts athletes of all levels to roller blade or bike along the paved path that runs up and down the entire length of Los Angeles’ beaches as well as a large number of surfers, beach volleyball players and joggers who want to exercise on the sand itself.

Manhattan Beach is actually the de facto home of beach volleyball and the epicenter of the pro beach volleyball circuit. Although the sport was technically invented in nearby Santa Monica, the scene volleyball scene is nowhere better than Manhattan Beach. Numerous nets and courts are set up each day for public use and pick up games are easy to come by.

Pros describe the Beach volleyball tournament at Manhattan Beach as the best that the circuit has to offer and because many grew up playing on the sandy courts at Huntington and Manhattan Beach, they games are often the most competitive at this tournament. The national television audience and high prize money probably doesn’t hurt either.

Manhattan Beach can fill up on the weekends and parking can be hard to find. There are a few parking garages sprinkled throughout the city, but be sure to bring quarters to feed the meter and be sure to head back to your car promptly. Parking enforcement comes through swiftly and writes hefty tickets if they get to your car.

Real Estate

Money Magazine ranked Manhattan Beach the fourth most expensive city to live in in America in 2005 and Forbes ranked the Manhattan Beach ZIP code 90266 the 29th most expensive in the nation that same year. Houses typically sell for millions of dollars depending on the proximity to the beach and as sets of family size houses are torn down and replaced by beachfront mansions, the prices have continued to climb.

Articles Croatia

Windsurfing and Kitesurfing Croatia

punta_puntacana_cana_1414900_l.jpgWindsurfing has been available in Croatia since the 1970’s, when tourists from elsewhere in Europe brought their equipment to Croatia’s relatively still and calm sea to take advantage of windy days.

Windsurfing is a sport where athletes ride a surfboard with a sail attached and use the wind to propel their boards around the water. Hugely popular among surfers and extreme athletes, the sport grew in popularity and slowly got a foothold in the local population over the next two decades, and has recently taken off among travelers as Croatia’s tourism boom peaks.

There are now nearly a dozen windsurfing clubs up and down Croatia’s coast and most resorts on the water provide instructors and equipment for hire for their guests. Windsurfing, although it may look easy, requires you to learn how to harness the wind and use it for your own purposes instead of dumping you when you try to stand up.

You can devote as little as an hour to windsurfing or organize your vacation around the sport. Just be sure to take some lessons if it’s your first time on the board or the frustrating process of getting up on the board, falling off, getting up, and falling off, may sour the sport for you permanently.

For lessons, there are many great options and your choice will largely be dictated by your location in the country. The best windsurfing to be had in Croatia is on Korcula, an island a few hours from Split by ferry. Unfortunately the island is too far away to really be a day trip from the mainland, but if you have accommodations on Korcula this, or the Peljesac peninsula just across the way near Orebic, will be the best spots to windsurf.

If you’re staying in Split, the X-shop windsurfing club is on the southern end of the peninsula, or if you make a day-trip to Zlatni Rat on Hvar, there are several nearby resorts within easy walking distance that provide windsurfing rentals for beginners by the day, half-day or hour.


Windsurfing’s younger, sexier cousin kitesurfing is just blooming into its own industry as windsurfing shops and resorts begin to carry all of the specialty equipment that kitesurfing requires and providing lessons on how to get started.

Kitesurfing involves riding a lightweight board behind a kite that pulls the rider over the top of the water. Kitesurfing is also considered a highly skilled activity and requires lessons for first timers.

The best kitesurfing is found at the same spots that windsurfing is popular. Korcula, the Peljesac peninsula, Hvar, and other plaecs. Most shops that rent equipment provide lessons and safety instruction, most require that you complete one of their classes before you take their equipment out.

Articles Croatia

Bicycling Croatia


Popular wisdom says that Croatia has the makings of a world-class bicycle touring destination. Tours of Croatia by bike are popular and plentiful. The beautiful views, sunny weather that’s not oppressively hot, and plentiful lodging along the way do indeed make biking through the country one of the more relaxing and enjoyable touring experiences you can have. You don’t need to do any excessive planning or preparation, and, unless you head away from the coast, you shouldn’t encounter any leg-killing mountains, so long as you have a reasonable level of fitness under your belt.

Articles Croatia

10 Croatia “Fun Facts”


Everyone loves little bits of trivia. You can commit them to memory for small-talk at parties, or use them to bring up your upcoming vacation among friends and coworkers. (“Your dog likes chasing tennis balls? That’s interesting because I’m going to Croatia and Croatian Goran Ivanisevic won Wimbledon in 2001 playing tennis.”) Here are 10 little and not-so little known facts about Croatia. Use them wisely.

1. Dubrovnik, (an independent state at the time) was the very first nation to formally recognize the United States as a nation when it declared independence from Great Britain.

2. The White House was built out of Croatian stone, from the island of Brac. This same stone had been used to build Diocletian’s Palace in Split.