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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 January, 2009

Fiesta de San Medir in Barcelona

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Barcelona is known for its football, its culture and its architecture – but like all cities on the Iberian Peninsula, it knows how to put on a great festival.

One of the best occurs in early March and is known as the Fiesta de San Medir.

Taking place in the arty district of Gracia, the event celebrates the life of San Medir, or Santo Emeterio, who is the patron saint of broad beans.

Luckily, for those with a sweet tooth anyway, that tradition seems to have been widely forgotten about and now the sugar plant is the champion of the day.

A parade takes to the streets, with horses and carriages all dressed up in colourful costumes, and passengers throw sweets to the crowds gathered on the Calle Grande de Gracia.

At the end of the festival a firework display takes place in the Jardinets de Gracia, marking the end of a day where not a single broad bean has been celebrated.

Why not book the Barcelona Hop on Hop off tour before you travel?
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Aqualand in Mallorca

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Mallorca has gorgeous beaches and blue seas but Mother Nature can’t provide fun water rides – so luckily Aqualand is on hand to offer them.

Aqualand El Arenal can be found in the south of the island, near the beach of the same name.

While this is a great place to take the family, with three special areas for children: Polynesia, the Dragoland and the Mini Park, it also features some scarier rides like the Banzai, the Devil’s Tail and the Grand Canyon that provide thrills for older visitors.

Banzai offers a great opportunity for people who want to experience surfing but have never managed to stand up on a board – visitors speed down two slides on a small dinghy and then drop into a swimming pool after aquaplaning at speeds of up to 50 km/h.

Polynesia on the other hand is a slower paced affair, with lots of fun rides more suited to children.

Colours are in abundance, along with an Aboriginal mask that shoots water, allowing the smallest holidaymakers to get lost in their imagination.

Why not book the Caves Drach (North) tour in advance?
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Pure vintage at the Mallorca International Classic Car Rally

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Cars and petrol heads of all ages are set to descend on Mallorca in March for the Mallorca International Classic Car Rally, or Rally Clasico Isla de Mallorca.

This isn’t one of those rallies where drivers spin round muddy tracks at breakneck speeds and spectators teeter over dangerous objects to get a look – this is a far more civilised affair.

More than 40 teams have already signed up to take part in the event, which celebrates the best and brightest in both style and function.

The rally itself is more of a beauty pageant than a race, with prizes awarded for the best-looking vehicles, as the cars wind their way along an 18-stage, 600km track, which includes some of Mallorca’s best scenery.

However, points will still be up for grabs by the teams, so some competitive spirit and skilled driving should also be expected.

Last year’s competition saw Porsche 911 RSRs dominate the top positions in the general classification field.

Why not book tickets for the Citysightseeing Bus before you travel?
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A touch of the traditional on Mallorca’s Angel Sunday

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Easter celebrations on the island of Mallorca continue until the Sunday after the event, when the capital city of Palma de Mallorca indulges in Domingo del Angel, or Angel Sunday.

This free event includes a procession as well as lots of traditional Majorcan food, which makes the most of the island’s abundance of vegetables, including a native tomato called a Ramallet.

However, Angel Sunday is not all about culinary pleasures, with the standard Spanish festival practices of music, parties and fancy dress all well represented.

Visitors are advised not to party too hard however – festivities start in the wee small hours, when locals and tourists alike join in a walk from the town hall to the Castillo de Bellver, where the fun really starts.

The Angel Sunday celebrations have their roots in the 15th century, when the Festividad del Santo Custodio de Palma would feature a procession, along with a handing out of blessed bread to the poor.

Why not book the Western Water Park on your own tour in advance?
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Romantic Valentine’s Day Adventures: Florence

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So…what are your Valentine’s Day plans?  Have you been searching all over town for that perfect, charming, romantic Italian bistro?

Here’s a better idea: why not surprise your sweetie with some authentic Chianti and handmade risotto in Tuscany?

Following on from my previous post about Valentine’s Day Adventures in Paris, I would now like to focus on the beautiful, fascinating, historical city of Florence—one of my favourite places in Europe. continue reading

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Miguel de Unamuno’s house in Fuerteventura

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Anyone with an interest in history visiting Fuerteventura should make sure they take a trip to the former house of Miguel de Unamuno.

De Unamuno was a writer, philosopher and rector of the University of Salamanca who was exiled from the Spanish mainland for speaking out against the political situation of the time.

He arrived in Fuerteventura in March 1924 and set up his home in this 19th century former hotel, located in Puerto del Rosario.

It was only a decade later that the Spanish monarchy fell and the country eventually came under the control of General Franco.

De Unamuno’s home is now a museum and is set up to mirror the style that it was in when de Unamuno lived there in the 1920s.

Large amounts of furniture from the period, along with photographs of important people that influence the man are also on display in the museum, which is open Monday to Friday from 09:00 until 14:00.

Why not book the Volcan Grill tour in advance?
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Fancy dress and rowing at Vienna’s Dragonboat Cup

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Two events that don’t always go together – fancy dress and rowing – take place at the Dragonboat Cup in Austria.

Made up of a number of races through June, with the finals taking place on Vienna’s Danube on June 27th and 28th, this is an excellent opportunity to see some great rowing and some fantastic fun.

Earlier rounds take place on the Schwarzl Lake in Graz (June 6th), the Traunsee Lake in Gmunden (June 13th) and the Zell am See’s lake (June 20th).

Teams of up to 20 compete in the races, with men frequently dressed up as women and a whole host of other crazy costumes on display too.

While anyone wanting to row will need to shell out €990 (£845) per team, coming along and watching the rowers get their dresses wet is completely free of charge.

What legendary British Olympic rower Sir Steve Redgrave would make of it is anyone’s guess.

Why not book the City Tour & Boatride in advance?
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Celebrate San Isidro in Madrid

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May is one of the best months to visit Madrid; Labour Day is on May 1st, Dos de Mayo – which celebrates the insurrection which led to the Spanish War of Independence – is on the 2nd and then festivities take place to celebrate St Isidro, one the city’s patron saints.

During this time, crazy parties, feasting and general merrymaking can be expected in the Spanish capital for around ten days.

Fiesta de San Isidro is one of those events which are impossible to avoid – every street will be filled with music and every local ready to have a good time.

Individual localities in the city will have their own parties, while Madrid’s squares will showcase music from traditional Spanish flamenco to more modern tastes.

San Isidro, or Isidore in English, was born in Madrid in the 11th century and is also the Catholic patron saint of farmers.

Part of his tradition includes the story that King Phillip III of Spain was cured of an illness when he touched the saint’s relics.

Why not book the Flamenco & Spanish Dance at "Florida Park" before you travel?
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Take in the arts on Tenerife

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Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, has more to offer than just its stunning beaches, inspired scenery and eternal spring.

The island has a thriving cultural scene and nowhere is this more prominently displayed than at the Circulo de Bellas Artes de Tenerife.

Currently showing is ‘Paisajes Transitorios’ (Transitional Landscapes), a collection of works by Luis del Pino.

The items on show focus on the theme of harbours – apt considering Tenerife’s island status – and the way in which they showcase a world in constant flux.

Additionally, despite this idea of change, harbours are similar in every country of the world, a sharp juxtaposition to their transitional nature.

Del Pino uses a large variety of bright colours in the exhibition, including acrylic and fluorescent materials.

Paisajes Transitorios will run until February 7th and when visitors have had their fill of this thought-provoking art they can go back to enjoy the many other attractions that Tenerife has to offer.

Why not book the Magic Vision tour in advance?
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Romantic Valentine’s Day Adventures: Paris

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Valentine’s day is coming, and romance is in the air! (Or rather, the High Street shop windows are full of red, heart-shaped trinkets and pink, flowery whatnots, and you have succumbed to the pressures of consumer culture…).

Either way, you—the love-struck shopper—have one thing on your mind: what in the $%#! am I gong to get him/her? continue reading

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