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Posts from April, 2009

The Dublin Report

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Guiness Factory Girls!

Guiness Factory Girls!

After a whirlwind of a weekend, we’re back! Exhausted, convinced of inability to ever arrive on time (nothing like a two mile sprint through the airport to get your blood pumping), and ready to keep travelling our quarter away! Dublin was beautiful, and for those of you thinking about a weekend trip, or just curious about mine (hi mom!) here is a list of my favorite parts of the Dublin experience. continue reading

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Joss Stone to perform in the Algarve

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Music fans will be able to incorporate some live entertainment into their Algarve tours this summer when Joss Stone performs in the Portuguese holiday region.

The British soul diva will play at the Monumento Duarte Pacheco in Loule on July 31st as part of Allgarve 09, a series of entertainment and cultural events taking place in the Algarve over the summer.

Stone has plenty of fans who will be willing to make the trip to southern Portugal to see her play, having sold more than ten million albums worldwide during a six-year career.

The sultry singer burst onto the scene in 2003 with The Soul Sessions, which reached number four in the UK album charts, followed by Mind, Body and Soul the next year, which climbed to the top spot.

Algarve visitors interested in checking out some traditional Portuguese music will be able to see fado singer Mariza on August 14th at Vila Real de Santo Antonio as part of this year’s Allgarve season.

The programme will also include a variety of art, dance, sport and gastronomic events.

Why not book the Unspoilt Algarve tour in advance?ADNFCR-1652-ID-19126614-ADNFCR

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Bonger art collection on show in Amsterdam

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The prestigious Bonger art collection is currently on display at an exhibition in Amsterdam.

People with a passion for art should fit a visit to the Van Gogh Museum into their Amsterdam tours before September 20th this year to see the showcase.

Andries Bonger began his collection after being introduced to modern French art by Theo van Gogh, the brother of the great Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh.

He amassed a broad collection that included many works by his friends Odilon Redon and Emile Bernard. The Dutch state acquired a large part of the archive in 1996 and gave it to the Van Gogh Museum on a long-term loan.

Visitors to the new exhibition will be able to see more than 80 works including drawings, pastels, prints and pieces of embroidery by Redon and Bernard.

The showcase also includes letters, photographs, documents and paintings by Van Gogh and Paul Cezanne.

People interested in learning more about Van Gogh’s art can visit an exhibition dedicated to his representations of the evening and night, which will be open at the Amsterdam museum that bears his name until June 7th.

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-19126580-ADNFCR

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Stand next to a woolly mammoth in Sydney

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Travellers on Sydney tours will be offered the unusual opportunity of standing toe-to-toe with a woolly mammoth at a special exhibition running over the coming months.

Tourists will be able to visit the When Mammoths Roamed display at the Australian Museum until June 24th.

Visitors can learn all about these fascinating creatures that wandered the icy plains of North America, Europe and Asia over 20,000 years ago.

Arguably the highlight of the exhibition for many people will be the collection of life-sized models of the great animals, which were nearly four metres tall and could weigh up to five tonnes.

The display also includes films, interactive exhibits, pieces of art and much more for visitors to get their teeth into.

People planning Sydney tours before August 1st this year will also be able to visit the Australian Museum to see Up Close and Spineless, an exhibition of photographs of invertebrate animals.

Sydney – Take a cruise of Sydney Harbour or relax on the white sands on Manly Beach.qADNFCR-1652-ID-19126368-ADNFCR

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Venture behind the scenes on Krakow tours

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People with a passion for theatre will be able to attend an event in Krakow later this year offering a tantalising glimpse of the work that goes on behind the scenes to bring plays and musicals to the stage.

Krakow Theatre Night, which is being held for the third time this year, will take place on June 12th and 13th.

A number of theatres throughout the city will participate in the event, inviting guests to see what a theatrical wardrobe looks like, how scenery is constructed and other elements of the creative process.

One of the most popular aspects of the festival will be the Haunted Night at the Theatre tour, which will include a few spooky surprises as visitors are taken to portions of buildings that are normally inaccessible.

Krakow Theatre Night, which will begin at 17:00 and reach its finale at 02:00 the following day, will offer free entry to all shows and events but seats may need to be reserved at some theatres beforehand.

Music fans will be arranging their Krakow tours for the first week in June this year as the city hosts the Selector festival on June 5th and 6th, which will feature performances by Franz Ferdinand, Orbital, Dizzee Rascal and others.

Krakow – A turbulent and fascinating history and nearby Auschwitz have seen Krakow become a popular tourist destination.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19124356-ADNFCR

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Venice ‘offers fantastic bargains’

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While it may have a reputation for being expensive, Venice offers plenty of accommodation that will suit travellers hoping to stick to a budget, according to a Conde Nast Traveller article.

One of the most affordable options recommended by the magazine is Al Ponte Mocenigo, which is accessible via its own bridge and offers amenities including a Turkish bath on the ground floor.

Travellers willing to spend a little more to add some luxury to their Venice tours may be interested in the Oltre Il Giardino near the Frari church, which combines the feel of a rural retreat with an excellent location in the heart of the city.

Yet another option is the Novecento, which Conde Nast Traveller describes as an "intimate, eclectic, east-meets-west" hotel that has a "welcoming home-from-home" atmosphere.

People who value a good view from their hotel window can stay at La Calcina, which boasts vistas of the Giudecca canal, while those who prize comfort will appreciate the custom-made beds, silk cushions and oriental rugs of Corte 1321.

Conde Nast Traveller also gave Venice its seal of approval in a recent guide to alfresco dining, in which it encouraged travellers to pay a visit to La Terrazza at the Danieli Hotel.

Venice – Fall in love all over again on a Gondola ride on the Grand Canal and lose yourself in the grand St Mark’s Square.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19124310-ADNFCR

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Sample some of the world’s best new hotels

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Travellers looking for some relaxation and romance this year may be interested in visiting one of the hotels featured in Conde Nast Traveller’s 2009 Hot List – a run-down of the world’s most exciting new accommodation establishments.

Italy is known for being one of the world’s most romantic destinations and is home to the Borgo Santo Pietro, an eight-bedroom luxury retreat south-east of Siena.

The property boasts facilities including tennis courts, a pool, a gourmet restaurant and a spa within its 12-acre grounds.

Also located in the Tuscany region of Italy is Castiglion del Bosco in the Val d’Orcia, an exclusive resort that for the next few years will be opening up its luxury suites to visitors.

Travellers planning to head further afield may be tempted to sample the splendour on offer at establishments such as Atlantis The Palm in Dubai and the Southern Ocean Lodge in Australia, both of which featured in the 2009 Hot List.

Conde Nast Traveller also published a list recently of what it considers to be the world’s best beaches, which included Bondi Beach in Sydney and Ipanema in Rio de Janeiro.

Relaxation and Romance – Wining and Dining – Dine in some unforgettable settings including the Eiffel Tower and in the shadow of the New York skyline.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19124012-ADNFCR

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Abta: Eurozone will always be dominant

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Eurozone countries such as Spain, France and Italy have risen to such prominence as holiday destinations for Brits that they will always be popular, regardless of the exchange rate, according to Abta – The Travel Association.

The pound has recently fallen to record lows in value against the euro and it has been suggested that this trend could lead to fewer people visiting traditional holiday hotspots in Europe.

Abta spokesman Sean Tipton said that even if visitor numbers do go down in countries such as Spain and Greece, they have become so popular that they will still be the dominant destinations.

"People are still going to be taking holidays in the eurozone because it is so dominant – countries like Spain and Greece have massive numbers of Brits visiting each year," he said.

"Twelve to 13 million UK holidays are taken in Spain each year. It is so dominant [that] even if numbers go down, it will still be number one."

Mr Tipton went on to point out that the USA is the only one of the top five countries for British travellers that is outside the eurozone, with Spain, France, Italy and Greece occupying the other top spots.

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-19122216-ADNFCR

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Denmark to boast new theme park

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Denmark could prove a popular destination for family tours this year following the opening of the country’s biggest theme park.

Two of the most popular family amusement parks in Denmark – Legoland and Lalandia – have formed a partnership with the neighbouring Givskud Zoo to create Legoland Billund Resort, which will open on April 24th.

Highlights of the giant park include Lego safari zones, a Pirate Lagoon area and a Lego Miniland, where millions of bricks have been used for reproductions of some of the world’s most famous landmarks.

The Lalandia complex includes a 40,000-square-metre covered activity centre – ensuring that spells of bad weather will not ruin the day for visitors – and the Aquadome tropical waterpark.

Families visiting west Denmark can also head to attractions such as the Danfoss Universe science park, the Orion Planetarium and Koldinghus castle.

The Billund complex is one of four Legoland attractions around the world, along with parks in Gunzburg in Germany, Windsor in the UK and California in the United States.

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-19122201-ADNFCR

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Check out some MotoGP madness in Barcelona

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Sports fans will be able to incorporate some high-octane entertainment into their Barcelona tours later this year when the MotoGP motorcycling season comes to the Circuit de Catalunya.

The sixth race in the 2009 MotoGP World Championship will be held on the testing track just outside Barcelona on June 14th.

Qatar was the destination for the opening event in the 2009 season last weekend, with Australian rider Casey Stoner taking an early lead prior to races in Japan, Spain, France and Italy before the end of May.

People who make it to the event in Barcelona will be treated to an impressive sporting spectacle as the courageous riders fly around the track at speeds of up to 185mph and attempt daring overtaking manoeuvres.

Other circuits that will feature on the MotoGP World Championship this year include Indianapolis in the US on August 30th and Phillip Island in Australia on October 18th.

Motorsport fans will also be provided with plenty of opportunities for globetrotting by the Formula One season, which will take in such exotic destinations as Monte Carlo, Istanbul, Singapore and Sao Paulo.

Barcelona – Wonderful Gaudi architecture and a cosmopolitan atmosphere have made Barcelona Spain’s most popular city.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19122003-ADNFCR

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