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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 March, 2009

The UK and Australia Aim to Re-invent Easter Traditions

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Springtime Comes to Britain

Deep into history the day when the cloudy top is lifted off Britain and sunlight finally hits the ground is an epic one. The Saxons originally celebrated this day by munching hot cross buns (bread rolls with crosses on top representing the lunar calendar and the goddess) and dancing in the sun. As Christians arrived on the rain-drenched land mass they brought with them Easter Sunday, the day on which Christian’s believe Jesus Christ rose from the dead. With hot cross buns re-oriented to symbolize The Cross, Christians celebrate the rebirth of their savoir and the rebirth of the earth, spring!

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Cats dances onto the Hong Kong stage

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Hong Kong tours will offer the opportunity for theatre enthusiasts to see a new interpretation of the classic show Cats this year.

A production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s legendary musical will come to the Lyric Theatre at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts from May 15th to June 14th.

Based on a collection of poems by TS Eliot, Cats is famous for its intricate sets, imaginative choreography and dazzling costumes.

The show follows the adventures of such interestingly named felines as Munkustrap, Jennyanydots, The Rum Tum Tugger and Grizabella, telling their tales through songs including the famous Memory.

Cats ran for 21 years in London and 18 years on Broadway, during which time it picked up numerous accolades including Olivier and Tony awards for best musical.

The show will not be the only piece of culture on offer to people on Hong Kong tours this spring, as on May 8th and 10th the Hong Kong Cultural Centre will present concerts featuring a selection of classic operatic arias.

Hong Kong – Part mystical Chinese city part 21st Century metropolis, Hong Kong combines temples and skyscrapers.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19092376-ADNFCR

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Lily Allen to tour Australia

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Music fans on Australia tours may get the chance to see contemporary pop songstress Lily Allen in concert this year.

As part of an international series of shows to promote her latest album, Allen will play at the Tivoli in Brisbane on June 8th before giving two shows at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney on June 9th and 10th.

Fans will also see the Smile singer perform twice at Melbourne’s Forum on June 12th and 13th before she heads back to Europe.

Allen is currently flying high in the music business after her album It’s Not Me, It’s You, released in February, shot to the top of the charts in the UK, Australia and Canada.

The record also gave the singer her second number one hit in the UK with The Fear, which spent four weeks in the top spot in February.

Travellers looking for some musical entertainment during their travels in Australia can visit the Sydney Opera House, which over the coming months will host The Ultimate Pink Floyd Experience (May 8th), a gig by the Kronos Quartet (June 5th) and other events.

Sydney – Take a cruise of Sydney Harbour or relax on the white sands on Manly Beach.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19091297-ADNFCR

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Barcelona celebrates the guitar

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Guitarists and music fans will be arranging Barcelona tours over the coming months as part of plans to visit the city while it hosts the Guitar Festival.

This giant celebration of one of the world’s most popular musical instruments began on March 24th and will continue to present intimate gigs and major concerts around the city until June 18th.

One of the highlights of the festival for many music fans will be the appearance of David Byrne, one of the founding members of Talking Heads.

Byrne will perform a number of pieces he created in collaboration with Brian Eno at the Palau de la Musica Catalana on April 24th.

Madeleine Peyroux will also perform at this venue on May 8th, followed by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Jackson Browne on May 13th, while Wilco will play at L’Auditori on June 4th.

Music fans could also be planning Barcelona tours this year to visit two major festivals being held in the city – Primavera Sound (May 28th to 30th) and Sonar (June 18th to 20th).

Barcelona – Wonderful Gaudi architecture and a cosmopolitan atmosphere have made Barcelona Spain’s most popular city.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19090150-ADNFCR

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Bauhaus exhibition heads to Krakow

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Travellers on Krakow tours will be offered the opportunity to expand their artistic horizons this year when the Polish city hosts an exhibition exploring the Bauhaus movement.

Bauhaus twenty-21 will be open at the International Cultural Centre in Krakow from May 8th to July 5th.

Named after a German expression meaning ‘house for building’, the Bauhaus school was founded by Walter Gropius in 1919 and was subsequently led by the architects Hannes Meyer and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

In its efforts to find solutions to contemporary design problems in urban environments, the school introduced a number of principles that supported the development of modern architecture.

Bauhaus twenty-21 explores the architecture and design history associated with the movement and also illustrates the philosophies that governed its creative output.

From July 17th this year, the International Cultural Centre in Krakow will present an exhibition of film and theatre posters by Alfred Halasa, a graduate of the city’s Academy of Fine Arts.

Krakow – A turbulent and fascinating history and nearby Auschwitz have seen Krakow become a popular tourist destination.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19089071-ADNFCR

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Catch the climax of Serie A in Rome

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Football fans planning Rome tours in May will get the chance to see some world-class sporting entertainment as the 2008-09 Serie A season draws to a close.

The city’s two top-flight sides – Roma and Lazio – share the city’s Stadio Olimpico and both will be looking to pick up maximum points at home as they target a top-four finish.

Roma appear to have a fairly straightforward run-in, with all of the teams they will face in May currently in the bottom half of the table, starting with Chievo on May 3rd.

Francesco Totti and his team-mates will then line up against Catania on May 17th before playing their last game of the season against Torino, currently third from bottom and staring relegation in the face, on May 31st.

The fixture list has also smiled upon Lazio – they will play Udinese, currently 13th in Serie A, on May 10th before facing bottom-of-the-table Reggina on May 24th.

Rome’s Stadio Olimpico will then play host to two of the giants of European football when it serves as the venue for the 2009 Champions League final on May 27th.

Rome – Visit some of the ancient landmarks such as the Colosseum or tour the opulent Vatican.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19087799-ADNFCR

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New website launched for Iceland national park

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Adventure tours could prove an increasingly popular option in Iceland this year following the launch of a new website representing Vatnajokull National Park.

According to the Icelandic tourist board, Vatnajokull is the largest protected wilderness in Europe, covering 11 per cent of the country’s total landmass.

Incorporated within the park’s territory are the Skaftafell and Jokulsargljufur reserves, the entire Vatnajokull glacier and Dettifoss, which is reportedly Europe’s most powerful waterfall.

The new website provides all manner of information relating to the park, including guides to its volcanoes and calderas.

Among the other natural phenomena that visitors can see in Vatnajokull National Park are glaciers, canyons, sand flats, rivers, lakes and areas of lush vegetation.

People who travel to Iceland during the summer will be able to visit up to four of the country’s lighthouses as they host exhibitions as part of the annual Reykjavik Arts Festival.

Lighthouses in each corner of the country will be involved in the initiative, from Bjargtangi in the Westfjords to Daltangi in the east.

Active and Adventure – Air Activities – Enjoy an exhilarating helicopter ride over New York or a serene hot air balloon ride over the Australian outback.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19087462-ADNFCR

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Met Museum to look at Francis Bacon

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Art lovers should remember to fit a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art into their New York tours this summer to see an exhibition of work by Francis Bacon.

The major retrospective will be open from May 20th until August 16th at the famous museum on the eastern edge of Central Park.

Arranged to mark the 100th anniversary of Bacon’s birth, the exhibition will be the first major showcase in New York dedicated to the artist in 20 years.

Now recognised as one of the most influential and important painters of the 20th century, Bacon was known for creating bold and expressive pieces of art that often featured nightmarish imagery.

Some 130 works will feature in the Met Museum exhibition – 65 paintings and 65 archival items – spanning the entirety of his career.

Until May 24th this year, the New York museum will present a display of French sculpture from the Renaissance era to the rime of the revolution, featuring pieces by Germain Pilon, Michel Anguier and others.

New York – From the dizzy heights of the Empire State Building to the serene Central Park, New York has it all!ADNFCR-1652-ID-19086737-ADNFCR

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Visit Cape Town for the Book Festival

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Cape Town tours could prove popular among literature lovers later this year as the South African city hosts the Book Fair.

The fair, which welcomed more than 50,000 visitors last year and is the largest literary event in sub-Saharan Africa, will come to the Cape Town International Convention Centre from June 13th to 16th.

Vanessa Badroodien, director of the fair, describes it as "a perfect place to get an overview of the literature and publishing from other African countries".

The 2009 event will be boosted by collaboration with the Goethe Institute and will be attended by some of the leading intellectuals from across southern Africa, who will participate in various discussions and debates.

Some 392 seminars and other interactive events featured in the Cape Town Book Fair last year, as well as exhibitions by more than 300 organisations from 31 countries.

Cape Town tours offer travellers the chance to see some of the city’s most famous attractions, including Table Mountain and Cape Point.

Cape Town – From the wine route to the game parks there is so much to see and do in Cape Town.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19085585-ADNFCR

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Head to London for some sporting drama

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Football fans will soon be booking London tours to ensure that they are in the city when Chelsea play Liverpool in the quarter-final of the 2009 Champions League.

The draw for the next round of the European club competition was made today (March 20th) and paired the Blues with the Reds for the fifth consecutive year.

Visitors to London will be able to head to Stamford Bridge to see the deciding match in the tie on April 14th following the first leg at Anfield on April 8th.

The other English sides in the draw will be heading to slightly sunnier climes for their quarter-final games, with Manchester United playing Porto in Portugal and Arsenal heading to Spain to take on Villarreal.

Sports fans in Barcelona will also be provided with some top entertainment following Barca’s pairing with German outfit Bayern Munich.

Supporters who see their teams make it all the way to the final will be able to arrange Rome tours to coincide with the game, which will be held at the Stadio Olimpico on May 27th.

London – Ride the London Eye, visit the Tower of London or take a day out of the city to see Stonehenge.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19085215-ADNFCR

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