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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

Visit Sydney for the Italian Festival

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Travellers taking Sydney tours later this year may have the opportunity to attend the Italian Festival from May 20th to June 7th.

This event will come to venues all over the city and celebrate various aspects of Italian life, including food, art, fashion, cinema and music.

One of the most popular reasons for attending the Italian Festival is to sample the cuisine that the Mediterranean nation is so famous for.

In past festivals, the food and wine section has included participation from establishments including La Sala, the Bondi Trattoria, Bacino Bar and Sugo Restaurant.

Last year’s event also featured a concert by the classical pianist Andrea Padova at the Italian Institute of Culture and an exhibition at the State Library of New South Wales exploring the glory of Venice.

As well as enjoying the cultural and social events on offer, visitors to Sydney can take part in popular tourist activities such as climbing the city’s bridge and jet-boating in the harbour.

Sydney – Take a cruise of Sydney Harbour or relax on the white sands on Manly Beach.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19084385-ADNFCR

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Visit Venice for Vogalonga

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Travellers on Venice tours will be able to join in with a celebration of the city’s waterways and maritime heritage this year at the Vogalonga.

This huge boat race is one of the city’s most popular traditional events, with a history stretching back to 1975 when it was founded by a group of rowing enthusiasts.

Scheduled for May 31st this year, the race will follow a route starting in St Mark’s basin, heading off around St Helen island and passing the isles of Mazzorbo, Madonna del Monte and San Giacomo in Paludo.

One of the most popular places to gather to see the race is the Punta della Dogana opposite St Mark’s Square, which serves as the finish line.

The organisers of the Vogalonga describe it as "an act of love for Venice and its waters, its lagoon and its islands", which embraces local history and traditions while also welcoming participants and visitors from around the world.

In 2007, more than 1,500 boats carrying over 5,000 rowers took part in the Vogalonga.

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-19083301-ADNFCR

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Northern Territory wants more backpackers

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The local government in Australia is hoping to attract more backpackers and gap year travellers on Northern Territory tours this year.

Some 92,000 people embarked on backpacking trips in the Northern Territory in 2008, an increase of seven per cent on the previous year.

The state government is hoping to boost that number further this year by launching a campaign that includes a partnership with the online traveller forum gapyear.com.

Tourism minister Chris Burns said: "We’ve worked hard to increase the number of backpackers coming to the Territory and we want to see even more backpackers travelling across the NT.

"That’s why we’ve joined with gapyear.com to promote the Territory and help independent travellers plan their trip down under."

Two travel guides have been produced for publication on gapyear.com, one focusing on Kakadu and the other exploring the whole of the Northern Territory.

It was recently announced that a new viewing platform is being constructed at Ormiston Gorge in central Australia.

Uluru/Ayers Rock – Visit the Aboriginal sacred site which is Australia’s most visited tourist attraction.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19082930-ADNFCR

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Barcelona park to be expanded

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Travellers on Barcelona tours will soon be able to head off on an even longer adventure through the Collserola natural park, which is set for a major expansion.

Barcelona mayor Jordi Hereu and Catalan minister for the environment and housing Francesc Baltasar were among the attendees at a recent meeting to guarantee the future of the park.

The area will be expanded to cover some 8,320 hectares and will include the individual nature reserves of La Rierada-Can Balasc and Font Groga.

Mr Baltasar said that Collserola will now be the "big park" for most of the citizens of Catalonia and visitors to Barcelona.

It is expected that work to improve and develop the park into a more attractive area for visitors will be completed by the end of the year.

Other natural areas that visitors to Barcelona can explore during their trip include Parc Guell, which was designed by the architect Antoni Gaudi, and the Parc de la Ciutadella.

Barcelona – Wonderful Gaudi architecture and a cosmopolitan atmosphere have made Barcelona Spain’s most popular city.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19082144-ADNFCR

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Discover the Beauty and Culture of San Francisco

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The San Francisco Bay Area has long been esteemed as one of the most picturesque and culturally-diverse regions of the US.  With its gorgeous natural scenery, vibrant art and music events, ongoing festivals, and diverse social scene, San Francisco has a something for everyone!

1. Cable Car Tour of San Francisco (+ Bay Cruise!)

You can’t come all the way to San Francisco without hopping on a motorized Cable Car Tour.  This fabulous little ride takes you just about everywhere—to the Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square, Golden Gate Bridge, Palace of Fine Arts, North Beach, and more!

The tour ends with a refreshing, one-hour cruise through the San Francisco Bay.

2. Photography Tour of San Francisco

Discover your artistic side–and the beauty of San Francisco–on this guided photography tour.  Suitable for novices and experienced photographers alike, the tour is led by a local artist that possesses in-depth knowledge of San Francisco’s most picturesque parts! continue reading

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Kandinsky exhibition to open in Paris

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Paris tours could be the ideal option for people with a passion for modern art this year as the French capital hosts an exhibition dedicated to the great Russian abstract painter Wassily Kandinsky.

The retrospective will come to the city’s Centre Pompidou from April 8th until August 10th.

Both the Stadtische Galerie in Munich and the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum in New York have donated works to the exhibition, which will feature more than 100 finished paintings in total.

Kandinsky lived in Europe in the early 20th century, meaning his work was associated with both the Blue Rider and Bauhaus movements, both of which had a major impact on the development of modern art.

As well as providing a retrospective of his work, the Centre Pompidou exhibition offers an update on some of the recent additions to the Kandinsky collection, including watercolours from his ‘Russian’ period from 1914 to 1917.

Travellers on Paris tours can also visit the Centre Pompidou before May 11th this year to see an exhibition of work by Asger Jorn, one of the co-founders of the Cobra art movement.

Paris – Enjoy the view from the Eiffel Tower or see the Mona Lisa in the "city of light".ADNFCR-1652-ID-19080982-ADNFCR

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Harlem Globetrotters to swing by Rome

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Holidaymakers planning Rome tours later this year will be in for some top-class entertainment when the Harlem Globetrotters visit the city.

As part of a major European tour, the famous basketball exhibition team will perform at the Palazetto dello Sport on May 4th.

A number of other European cities will feature on the Globetrotters’ tour this spring, including Innsbruck (April 28th), Zurich (May 10th), Paris (May 13th), Barcelona (May 24th) and Lisbon (May 30th).

The Harlem Globetrotters were founded in 1926 and over the past eight decades have played more than 25,000 games in front of audiences including presidents, popes and royalty.

In 2000, Globetrotter Michael ‘Wild Thing’ Wilson set a new world record when he made a successful slam dunk in a basket that stood 12 feet off the ground.

People on Rome tours who would like to experience a more European sporting spectacle can head to the Stadio Olimpico to see either AS Roma or SS Lazio play a Serie A football match.

Rome – Visit some of the ancient landmarks such as the Colosseum or tour the opulent Vatican.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19080704-ADNFCR

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Explore the new Orchard Road on Singapore tours

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Travellers planning a Singapore city tour this year will be able to visit the all-new Orchard Road, which was recently reopened following a major redevelopment.

Some S$40 million (£19 million) was spent on the rejuvenation of Orchard Road, a scheme which has reaffirmed Singapore’s status as "one of Asia’s most popular cities for shopping, dining and entertainment", according to the local tourist board.

New features in the area include atmospheric up-lighting, new facades on shopping malls and outdoor ‘green rooms’ for street events.

The Orchard Road development is part of a wider urban renewal plan in Singapore that will see three new malls open this year, followed by a 218-metre-tall skyscraper with a 360-degree observation deck.

Singapore Tourism Board (STB) spokesperson Divya Panickar said: "More than ever, Orchard Road is a vibrant, trendy and exciting destination in its own right offering a diverse range of shopping options with activities and events to suit everyone."

During their visit to Singapore, travellers can also enjoy experiences such as the Night Safari tour, which offers a fascinating introduction to the city-state’s wildlife.

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-19079907-ADNFCR

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London exhibition looks at Japanese print master

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An exhibition will open at the Royal Academy of Arts in London this weekend exploring the work of one of the greatest printmakers in the history of Japanese art.

People on London tours will be able to see the showcase dedicated to Utagawa Kuniyoshi from March 21st until June 7th.

Kuniyoshi was known for his work in the ‘floating world’ or ‘ukiyo-e’ school of Japanese art and was one of the dominant figures in printmaking in 19th century Japan.

He developed a bold and expressive style that featured many innovative techniques for the time, a style that is represented in more than 150 works that will be exhibited at the Royal Academy over the coming months.

The showcase is the first major UK exhibition on Kuniyoshi since 1961 and is the third in a series at the Royal Academy of Arts dedicated to Japanese artists and printmakers.

From June 27th this year, the London institution will host a major retrospective of the pre-Raphaelite artist John William Waterhouse, which will feature more than 40 paintings, sketches and drawings.

London – Ride the London Eye, visit the Tower of London or take a day out the city to see Stonehenge.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19078663-ADNFCR

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Enjoy some movie music in Krakow

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Krakow tours will offer some top cultural entertainment for movie fans in May as the city hosts its second International Film Music Festival.

This event, which will take place from May 21st to 23rd, is organised by the Krakow Festival Office and the RMF Classic radio station to celebrate the relationship between the art-forms of filmmaking and music.

Live performances will be given at venues across the city centre by artists including the vocalist Max Raabe, who specialises in evoking the mood of classic German films from the 1920s and 30s.

One of the most popular parts of the festival this year will be a series of film screenings accompanied by the music of Tan Dun, who made a name for himself by creating the score for the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Another big attraction will be a projection of the hit film The Two Towers, the second installment in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, along with a live performance of the music that was composed for the movie by Howard Shore.

The Krakow Festival Office will arrange a number of events and cultural celebrations for people on Krakow tours to attend this year, including the Selector electronic music festival on June 5th and 6th.

Krakow – A turbulent and fascinating history and nearby Auschwitz have seen Krakow become a popular tourist destination.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19078299-ADNFCR

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