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We’re funny (usually), controversial (sometimes) and insightful (always!). Our travel experts share their experiences below in hopes of hearing back from YOU. So read, comment and enjoy!

Posts from September, 2008

Adventure travel continues to thrive

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Travel experiences that offer an alternative to package deals and beach holidays are increasing in popularity, new research has shown.

Whether it”s trekking the Inca trail in South America or visiting unspoilt beaches in the Far East, tourists are demanding more from their time spent abroad.

But its not just high-earning young professionals that are looking to fulfil their travel dreams.

A survey by North American tour operator Intrepid has revealed that adventure travel is growing across a wide demographic, notably among women and travellers in their 50s and 60s.

”Whether it’s riding public transportation…or travelling part of the way under their own steam, such as by bike or kayak," Intrepid”s Steve Larkin says the findings show people "want the real life experiences".

In addition to a range of destinations for their adventurous customers, operators are increasingly offering wider choice of types of experience – from the relaxing to the physically challenging.

What”s more, in line with consumers” increasing green concerns, many tourists are choosing ”low environmental impact” activities, with an emphasis on small group numbers and ethical travel.

Enjoy an exhilarating helicopter ride over New York or a serene hot air balloon ride over the Australian outback.ADNFCR-1652-ID-18786801-ADNFCR

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Singapore landmark for Formula One

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The first night race in Formula One (F1) history will take place in Singapore from September 26th – 28th.

It is also one of only three races to be run anti-clockwise this season, as drivers speed their way around 61 laps of the 24-turn circuit in the city”s Marina Bay.

Drivers have had their practice schedule specially extended for the night event to allow the teams extra time to adjust to the new conditions.

The Singapore Grand Prix is also the ever first race to be held on a street circuit in Asia, alongside old favourite Monaco and this year”s European Grand Prix in Valencia, Spain.

At last week”s dramatic Italian Grand Prix at Monza, the Championship really heated up, with British driver Lewis Hamilton seeing his lead trimmed to just a single point.

However, the real story was Toro Rosso”s Sebastian Vettel becoming F1”s youngest ever winner, giving his team its first victory with a faultless performance.

Current world champion Kimi Raikkonen says "it will take a miracle" to retain his title, but commentators suggest this year”s Ferrari car might be suited to the heat and humidity of Singapore.

"The atmosphere will be very exciting", said the Finn.

Singapore – Enjoy the wonderful shops or explore Singapore”s colonial history, whatever you do end the day with a Singapore sling at Raffles. ADNFCR-1652-ID-18786558-ADNFCR

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Ancient ruins found near Venice

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Ruins of the ancient Roman city of Altinum have been discovered on the outskirts of Venice.

Satellite imaging has revealed a collection of ancient buildings and infrastructure including temples, theatres and streets.

Researchers at Padua and Venice universities are now formulating plans to excavate the ruins, which could soon be available for tourists to find.

Paolo Mozzi, researcher at the University of Padua”s geography department, explained that Altinum had been an important seafaring centre before it was overrun by Attila the Hun in the 5th century.

He continued: "The hypothesis is that as Altinum also succumbed to the Barbarian invasions, the inhabitants fled farther down to the lagoon to build Venice on the islands, using some of the stones."

Meanwhile, the Venice Film Festival organisers have announced the next year”s event will take place a week later than usual beginning on September 2nd, in a bid to avoid the traditional holiday rush.

However, there is concern that the new dates for the Venice festival, the world”s oldest, will conflict with the Toronto Film Festival, which begins on September 4th.

Venice – Fall in love all over again on a Gondola ride on the Grand Canal and lose yourself in the grand St Marks Square.ADNFCR-1652-ID-18785936-ADNFCR

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UK Farmstay holidays offer “back to nature” breaks

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Farmstay breaks in the UK are an "excellent way" of "getting back to nature", according to VisitBritain.

There has been a doubling of interest in UK farmstay holidays during the last 12 months, according to responsibletravel.com.

This reflects a growing interest in agro tourism that exploits the growth of environmental concerns and a desire for organic produce.

Sian Brenchley, a spokesperson for VisitBritain, explained that farmstay holidays also offer holidaymakers an excellent learning opportunity.

She said: "The attraction of farmstay breaks is that they are an excellent way of experiencing Britain in a new way, getting back to nature and really being able to be fully involved in the holiday experience.

"They are proving extremely popular for families with children and the experience not only provides a holiday break, but also education."

Meanwhile, the Soil Association”s Organic Fortnight, which promotes sustainable agriculture, will be coming to an end this weekend on Sunday September 21st.

Culture and Sightseeing – City Tours – Whichever city you are in these tours will help to ensure you do not miss a thing.
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What does ‘adventure’ mean to you?

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When I was up at the Edinburgh Fringe festival, I met a group of guys that were on to a great concept: an information sharing site, in the form of an interactive video dictionary.  Think Urban Dictionary, Wikipedia and Youtube, combined.

Their site, Wordia.com, launched today, and it looks promising (I may or may not have been talked into recording a definition for them, hehe).

I would like to upload another video on Wordia, but I need your help!  What travel-related word should I define?

Respond below if you want to get involved…this could be fun!

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September is ”the time to visit SeaWorld”

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Tourists have been urged to visit the SeaWorld theme park in Florida during September to experience the "bigger picture".

In an article for Jim Hill Media, Eric Davies points out that the quieter season is really the best time to enjoy the Florida theme park.

Access to all of the "innovative" attractions to be found across the 200-acre park is thought to improve because the number of visitors is thought to drop by around 35,000 after August.

This makes "getting on your favourite ride, show or attraction there a relative breeze".

Mr Davies wrote: "During this quieter time of year, when it is a lot easier to get around this 200-acre marine park, you can really take in the bigger picture."

SeaWorld recently held a new green initiative for Californian residents with electronic equipment they are keen to dispose of, reports Sign on San Diego.

Those that dropped off any unwanted goods – from TVs to computers – received an entry discount voucher for the theme park and a coupon book for Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets.

Family – Theme Parks – Treat the family to a day at one of the Disney resorts or to a splashing day out at a Spanish waterpark.
ADNFCR-1652-ID-18784382-ADNFCR

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Outback Concert in the Caves season opens

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This weekend will see the annual Concert in the Caves taking place in the Australian Outback.

A blend of exiting outback adventure and classical music, the Jenolan Caves will open this year”s calendar on September 20th with a performance from Cellist Georg Mertens.

This accomplished virtuoso has spent the last ten years honing his compositions to the specific acoustics of the caves, which are easily accessible and signposted on routes out of Sydney.

Since its launch in 1997, the Concert in the Caves has evolved into a more refined affair, with comfortable seating and a selection of food and beverages on hand to keep tourists entertained.

Visitors are also likely to be encouraged by the offer of free wine and cheese for all those who attend. There is also an opportunity to talk with the artists once they have finished their performances.

Mertens will be performing his haunting cello compositions on every third Saturday of the month, with performances beginning at 4pm.

Culture and Sightseeing – City Tours – Whichever city you are in these tours will help to ensure you do not miss a thing.ADNFCR-1652-ID-18784365-ADNFCR

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Weller to headline Desert Rhythm Festival

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Paul Weller will be making his way to Dubai at the end of this year”s UK tour for a headline performance on the opening night of the Desert Rhythm Festival.

Taking place between October 31st and November 1st, this year”s line up also features the Caribbean group Kassav.

The Desert Rhythm Festival will be family-orientated, with a special Halloween fancy dress theme to mark the occasion.

A competition will also be held to decide the best costume.

The festival hopes to unite international audiences with exposure to a wide range of different musical styles.

However, the remaining line up has yet to be announced for the festival.

Meanwhile, Dubai”s tourism authorities recently announced that they will be focusing on making the emirate the region”s main destination for Eid celebrations.

Laila Suhail, chief executive of the Dubai Shopping Festival told the Gulf Times: "We will be highlighting some of the true traditions of celebrating Eid in addition to presenting a comprehensive festivities programme to attract celebrating families locally and regionally."

Dubai – A true modern metropolis Dubai boasts a fine range of tourist facilities including the refined Burj al Arab hotel.
ADNFCR-1652-ID-18784094-ADNFCR

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Met celebrates 125th anniversary with ”special” opera

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There will be a special performance at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York on September 22nd to celebrate the company”s 125th anniversary.

However, it will not only be audience members in the prestigious Big Apple venue that will be able to watch Act II of Verdi”s La Traviata unfold on the opening gala night.

Some 600 movie theatre audiences around the country will also be able to watch the performance in high-definition as part of The Met: Live in HD season.

Nearly one million people tuned in to watch last year”s 225 performances that were broadcast to theatres throughout the US, which will be shown in digital 3D this year.

The Metropolitan Opera House will also be hosting a tribute to Luciano Pavarotti on September 18th, which has free tickets available for those quick enough to apply.

Pavarotti, who died on September 6th last year, made his debut at the New York venue in 1968 with a performance as Rodolfo in La Boheme.

New York – From the dizzy heights of the Empire State Building to the serene Central Park New York has it all!
ADNFCR-1652-ID-18782615-ADNFCR

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Tourists lining up for 20km de Paris

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This year”s 20km de Paris, a running tour of the French capital, is set to take place on October 12th.

Participants and spectators from across Europe will be congregating at the Pont d”lena Bridge opposite the Eiffel Tower for the start of the race, which begins at 10:00 local time.

The race will pass from here across the Bois de Boulogne and along the Seine River, before returning to the base of the Eiffel Tower once again.

Although the race is free to enter, competition for places is often tightly contested, with an estimated 20,000 runners descending on Paris every year, according to the World Events Guide.

Travellers may also struggle to get to Paris, after a fire in the Channel Tunnel last week has forced authorities to cancel services along the north side route until engineers assess the extent of damage caused by a fire.

This has resulted in a reduced service along Eurostar routes to the capital from the UK.

"Travellers should check-in as normal for the train times given on their tickets and we will try to put you on one of the next available trains," the train company said in a statement.

Paris – Enjoy the view from the Eiffel Tower or see the Mona Lisa in the "city of light".
ADNFCR-1652-ID-18782608-ADNFCR

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