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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 February, 2009

Tavira to celebrate Algarve cuisine

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Holidaymakers may be tempted to fit a visit to Tavira into their Algarve tours this year when the city hosts a festival celebrating regional cuisine.

Set to take place between March 21st and April 10th, the Festival de Gastronomia Serrana will focus on food that is produced in the uplands of the Algarve’s mountain regions.

Lovers of good food will be able to visit participating restaurants to tuck into excellent meals while also enjoying some of the Algarve’s most beautiful countryside.

Establishments taking part in the festival include Cantinho da Serra in Bemparece, O Constantino in Montes e Legares, A Mesa do Cume in Alcaria do Cume and Monte Velho in Umbria.

An added incentive for visitors will be the opportunity to enter a prize draw offering a free weekend in a local hotel.

People on Algarve tours can try all sorts of foods during their holiday, including the hot and spicy chicken that the region is famous for and the fresh fish that is caught every day in coastal towns and villages.

Why not book the Unspoilt Algarve tour in advance?ADNFCR-1652-ID-19043970-ADNFCR

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Top-flight football on offer in Lisbon

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Football fans visiting the Algarve in Portugal over the coming months will be able to take Lisbon city tours to see two of the country’s top sides in action.

The Portuguese capital is home to Sporting Lisbon, who play their home games at Estadio Jose Alvalade, and SL Benfica, who are based at Estadio da Luz.

After 19 games of the 2008-09 season, these two sides are neck-and-neck in Portugal’s Liga Sagres with 37 points, four behind league leaders and reigning champions FC Porto.

People planning visits to Lisbon over the coming months will be able to see Sporting take on Pacos Ferreira on March 8th, which will be followed by a home match against Rio Ave on March 15th and a meeting with Naval on April 11th.

Benfica’s forthcoming home fixtures will see them play Vitoria Guimaraes on March 15th, Academica on April 11th, Maritimo on April 26th and Trofense on May 10th.

People who would prefer to experience the culture and history of Lisbon during their visit to the city can head to attractions such as the Gulbenkian Museum, Castelo de Sao Jorge or the thriving neighbourhood of Belem.

Why not book the Lisbon City Tour before you travel?ADNFCR-1652-ID-19042442-ADNFCR

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Check out the Riad Art Expo in Marrakech

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Travellers who have an interest in modern culture and arts will be able to attend the Riad Art Expo during Marrakech tours in March.

This large fair dedicated to traditional Moroccan art and craftwork will be open to the public at the Palais des Congres in Marrakech on March 28th and 29th.

Representatives of many crafts and art-forms will attend the exposition, including ceramics, leather work, interior design, landscaping and brassware.

In total, more than 100 exhibitors will showcase their various products and services at the Riad Art Expo, which is recognised as one of the leading art, craft and lifestyle events in Morocco.

One of the highlights of the event will be an awards ceremony recognising the work of local artists and craftsmen, focusing on the contribution they make to the tourism industry.

People on Marrakech tours who would like to find out more about the city’s local trades can head to one of its famous souks, where just about everything is sold from food and drink to clothes and souvenirs.

Why not book a Full Day visit of Marrakech in advance?ADNFCR-1652-ID-19042436-ADNFCR

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Explore Argentina in the Algarve

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Portugal will not be the only country that people on Algarve tours will be visiting this year as the region hosts a series of events celebrating the culture of Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina.

The short season will come to the Algarve city of Portimao’s Teatro Municipal from March 7th to 31st.

A display of photography by Julio Pantoja entitled ‘Las Madres del Monte’ will be open for free in the theatre’s exhibition hall throughout the festival.

Between March 12th and 14th, film fans will be able to see screenings of work by the director Lucrecia Martel, who was one of the members of the ‘New Argentina Cinema’ movement that began in the late 1990s.

Other events set to take place at the Teatro Municipal before the end of March include tango performances in the main auditorium and a showing of the theatre production The Coleman Family’s Omission.

During a tour of Portimao, travellers can visit locations such as the attractive main square or the beach of Praia da Rocha.

Why not book the Portimao Shopping Tour in advance?ADNFCR-1652-ID-19041623-ADNFCR

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Algarve festival to celebrate local cuisine

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Holidaymakers on Algarve tours will be given the chance to try the best cuisine that the region has to offer at a special festival next month.

The 16th Monchique Sausage Fair will be held on March 7th and 8th, celebrating a particular type of sausage made in the town of Monchique from the meat of black pigs bred in the area.

Originally set up by the local council, the food fair has been held in Monchique on the first weekend in March every year since 1994.

People whose taste buds are not stimulated by the idea of eating meat will be able to find plenty of other local delicacies at the event, including regional brandy and honey, homemade bread and local confectionery.

Monchique itself offers plenty for people on Algarve tours to see and do, with a picturesque location at 902 metres above sea level, nestled between two towering hills.

The town has retained its rural and rustic atmosphere, with cobbled streets, a 17th century Franciscan monastery and a 16th century parish church.

Why not book the Silves and Monchique Sightseeing Tour in advance?ADNFCR-1652-ID-19040169-ADNFCR

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Algarve prepares for International Film Festival

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Film buffs on Algarve tours will be able to expand their cinematic knowledge in May when the Portuguese holiday region hosts its 37th International Film Festival.

The festival will be represented across the full extent of the Algarve, with various events and screenings frequently being held in big towns such as Portimao, Lagos, Albufeira and Faro.

Set to take place between May 1st and 10th, with an exact date to be announced soon, the festival is Portugal’s oldest cinema event, with a history dating back to 1972.

Each year, an overriding theme is selected for the festival, with this year’s event focusing on the concept of "cinema and globalisation".

This subject will be used as the focus for the short film competition, one of the most significant sections of the festival, which will be based in Portimao from May 4th to 9th.

The Algarve is Portugal’s most popular holiday region, boasting an attractive blend of big towns, seaside hotspots and picturesque landscapes.

Holidaymakers on Algarve tours who enjoy a spot of golf will be able to visit one of the many courses that are dotted all over southern Portugal.

Why not book the Unspoilt Algarve tour in advance?ADNFCR-1652-ID-19040041-ADNFCR

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Touring cars to roar into Marrakech

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Marrakech will be the place to be for petrolheads and motorsport obsessives in May when it hosts the fifth and sixth rounds of the 2009 World Touring Car Championship (WTCC).

This year’s competition will get underway with two rounds in Brazil between March 6th and 8th before heading to Mexico on March 20th.

People on Marrakech tours will have their chance to get in on the action when the WTCC comes to the Moroccan city between May 1st and 3rd.

The race will be held on a street circuit in Marrakech, construction of which is currently underway and progressing on schedule, according to Aly Horma, president of the event promoter MGP.

Mr Horma revealed that half of the concrete blocks that will serve as impact walls for the race are already in place, while the 12-hectare paddock area is also taking shape.

This year’s WTCC season will see the world’s best touring car drivers competing for the title currently held by Yvan Muller of France, who won last year’s competition by a comfortable margin.

After its visit to Marrakech, the championship will head to destinations including Valencia in Spain, Porto in Portugal and Imola in Italy.

Why not book a Full Day visit of Marrakech in advance?ADNFCR-1652-ID-19038987-ADNFCR

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Berlin gets into carnival mood

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The German capital will let it all hang out at the Berlin Carnival Parade once again this year on February 22nd.

This cavalcade of dancing, music, entertainment and weird and wonderful costumes has become a firm favourite for locals and visitors on Berlin tours alike.

With its family-friendly atmosphere, this event has grown in scale every year and in 2009 it promises to be bigger and better than ever.

Its route takes the parade from its starting point in Ernst-Reuter Platz and past some of the most famous sights of this fascinating metropolis ending up on Kundaam, which is a key spot for sightseeing and shopping in the city.

In the two decades since the fall of the infamous wall, Berlin has become known as something of European party capital, with renowned nightclubs and world-famous outdoor events.

The Berlin Carnival Parade is certainly one of the year’s highlights and is sure to provide fun for all ages.

Why not book the Super Berlin Tour before you travel?ADNFCR-1652-ID-19037358-ADNFCR

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There is more than the Louvre – other 20 Paris museums

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Paris is a world capital of culture and history so it’s normal to find a wealth of museums there. But if you think Paris museum, you’ll immediately think Louvre. True. What an amazing place: unmissable. But for once, let’s spread the word about everything else. If you have time for a second museum, you’re facing a very tough choice.

We have shortlisted here 20 other Paris museums that we believe are worth checking out (there are actually more than 100 museums in Paris). Many Paris museums are named after their founder or after the street where they are located, so you can’t just guess from the name…

Note: the Paris Sightseeing Pass grants free access to many Paris museums, and it grants “skip the line” privilege.

ART AND HISTORY MUSEUMS

Orangerie museum – Located in the Louvre gardens, this Paris museum exposes masterpieces from Renoir, Cezanne, Picasso, Monet and Matisse.  A modern display area was opened in 2006 to illuminate the paintings with natural light (yet indoor).

Musée d’Orsay – Mostly focused on 19th century, this Paris museum hosts impressionist painting and photography. The building itself (a former train station) is an immense glass hall worth the visit.

Centre Pompidou – probably the 2nd most recognizable building in Paris after the Eiffel tower, this museum of modern and contemporary arts is an artwork in itself. Boasts the largest modern art collection in Europe, with (as we write) 62229 works from Kandinsky, Giacometti, Man Ray, Chagall, Matisse, Picasso and 5528 other artists.

Picasso museum – Dedicated to the Spanish master, this Paris museum displays a large collection of paintings, sculptures and other forms of creativity from all periods of Picasso’s life.

Musée Rodin- This Paris museum is entirely focused on the life and work of Auguste Rodin, a French sculptor mostly known abroad for “The Thinker” and “The Kiss” statues. The museum has one of the most romantic gardens where the sculptures are displayed.

Palais de Tokyo- Nothing to do with Japan a part the name, this is a creative art lab for contemporary artists finding new ways of expression while mixing gendres and techniques. Always different artists on display, as well as special events and an uber-cool bar and restaurant.

Carnavalet museum – This Paris museum displays furniture from the Renaissance and other key periods of Paris’s history. Not to miss: the keys of the Bastille fortress symbol of the French Revolution of 1789.

Cité de la Musique – Extensive display of anything that has ever been built to produce music and sound, this is an interactive exhibition often enriched by concerts, musical shows for children and live workshops.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY MUSEUMS

Arts et Métiers museum- Literally, “the museum of arts and works” is an amazing collection of scientific and industrial discoveries. From early airplanes and cars, to the very own tools used by the first chemist (Lavoisier and all), to the first personal computer and memories, the first Baudot telegraph, Bell’s telephone, watches, photography, raw materials… all hosted in a magnificent monastery from the 11th century. This Paris museum is dubbed “the Louvre of science”.

Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle – This place is so well known in Paris that it’s just nicknamed “The Museum”. Its roots date back to 350 years ago when monks started collecting and studying plants and animals of all species. Today, thousands of stuffed specimen are assembled in a majestic display telling the story of animal evolution. Unknown to most tourists, the world’s oldest animal park – or zoo – is still in operation here, ask for the “Ménagerie”.

Palais de la Decouverte – More than a museum this is an interactive exhibition center focused on scientific education. New themes and topics are continuously addressed through conferences and real scientific experiences being run on site.

WORLD CULTURE MUSEUMS

Musée du Quai Branly – The name doesn’t mean anything else than its address, but this is the latest addition to the “big” Paris museums. Opened in 2006, it is dedicated to ancestral arts from Oceania, Africa, Asia and Americas. Next door to the Eiffel Tower.

Institut du Monde Arabe -Also known as “IMA”, this organization is dedicated to Arabian cultures and has been setup in cooperation between France and 22 Arabian countries. Around a museum spanning history from pre-islamic to arabian-muslim civilizations, there are temporary exhibition, movies, language centers, and an immense library.

Musée Guimet – The museum of Asian arts, displays artworks from south-east Asia, China, Korea, Japan and India.

SPECIAL INTEREST MUSEUMS

Opera Museum- Not well known, located within the Opera Garnier, this Paris museum displays sceneries, costumes, booklets and jewelry used in opera performances, same dating back to 300 years ago.

Cinematheque- This movie library is home to 40000 movies and a nice collections of memorabilia costumes and sceneries. But the highlight is the building itself – a Gehry new-classical-cubist building reworked to fit 4 movie theaters.

Immigration museum – Quite an unusual idea, this museum is a place made to remember the life of immigrants across centuries. It is a showcase of hope, dream, courage, creativity and sorrow.

Galerie des Gobelins – Formerly the manufacturer of France’s royal tapestries, it has now turned into a museum displaying antique tapestries and furnitures. A must if you’re into tapestries.

Musée du fumeur- The smokers’s museum… a surprising Paris museum where you can find, unsurprisingly, cigarettes, cigars, pipes and other smoking gadgets.

Musée Galliera -The fashion museum, displaying haute couture and accessories from the most famous French fashion designers. The themes and collections change very often to prevent fabrics deterioration.

As mentioned, there are so many other museums in Paris. Which ones do you suggest as worth mentioning in our future post for the next 20 museums?

Daniele

[This post has been syndicated from the isango! Travel Blog]

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Berlin welcomes the summer with famous concert

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Visitors on Berlin tours are invited to enjoy a fantastic summer’s evening in the beautiful forests surrounding the city later this year.

On June 27th the famous Waldbuhne wooded area on the outskirts of the city becomes a magical open-air concert venue as the Berliner Philharmoniker brings its season of concerts to a close.

Whole families make the journey to this enchanting spot for the occasion and many bring bountiful picnics of champagne and other gourmet nibbles as they settle down for an unmissable programme of classic music.

The concert usually ends with a performance of the traditional favourite Berliner Luft, prompting much singing-along and swellings of pride among the audience.

This yearly highlight of the city’s cultural calendar stands on a similar footing to the world-famous Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in London and is held is very high regard by not only the audience but people all across Germany.

Why not book The Original Berlin by Bike tour in advance?ADNFCR-1652-ID-19032028-ADNFCR

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