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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 April, 2009

New Australia driving tour launched

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Travellers taking Australia tours this year will have the opportunity to take advantage of a new driving route that has been opened in the state of Victoria.

Tourism Victoria announced that the new self-drive tour links the state capital of Melbourne with the Yarra Valley wine region, Mornington peninsula and Phillip Island.

These destinations form a rough triangle in south-east Australia, making them particularly convenient for tours.

There are nearly 100 wineries to visit in the Yarra Valley, including the Australian base of Moet and Chandon, as well as other activities including hot-air balloon rides.

A Mediterranean feel pervades the Mornington peninsula owing to its olive groves, vineyards and waterfront cafes, while Phillip Island is known as a wildlife haven and every evening hosts a penguin parade.

Tourism Victoria recently announced the launch in Melbourne of Australia’s first city tour run by street artists, which introduces visitors to Melbourne’s underground art scene and explores winding lanes and alleyways filled with graffiti.

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-19120396-ADNFCR

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Depeche Mode to play Rome

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Rome tours will include some musical entertainment for many visitors later this year when the city hosts a gig by British electro rockers Depeche Mode.

To support the release of their new album Sounds of the Universe, the band will be embarking on a tour that will get underway in Luxembourg on May 6th and visit the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on June 16th.

There will be plenty of other destinations on the extensive tour, including London (May 30th), Berlin (June 10th), Paris (June 27th), Seville (July 12th) and New York (August 3rd, 4th).

Sounds of the Universe, Depeche Mode’s first album since 2005′s Playing the Angel, will be released on April 20th.

The band have enjoyed several number one hits around the world during a career spanning almost two decades, including Ultra and Songs of Faith and Devotion, both of which reached the top of the charts in the UK.

Rome’s Stadio Olimpico will also prove a popular venue with tourists on May 27th this year when it hosts the Champions League final.

Rome – Visit some of the ancient landmarks such as the Colosseum or tour the opulent Vatican.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19119787-ADNFCR

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See the collages of Max Ernst in Paris

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People visiting Paris this summer will be able to visit the Musee d’Orsay to see an exhibition of collages by the great modern artist Max Ernst.

The display will be open for people on Paris tours to visit from June 30th to September 13th.

Ernst was born in 1891 and was greatly influenced by the proliferation of unusual and striking images that appeared in books, magazines, newspapers, advertisements and other media from the second half of the 19th century onwards.

Between 1933 and 1936, the artist used a broad selection of illustrations, graphics, book covers and other pieces to create his own book, which had no text and consisted of a section for every day of the week.

The collection of collages will arrive at Paris’ Musee d’Orsay following a tour that has already taken it to Bruhl, Hamburg and Madrid.

Until July 19th this year, visitors to the famous museum will also be able to see a series of exhibitions inspired by the art and architecture of Italy, exploring subjects including Ernest Hebert’s artistic interest in Italian peasants.

Paris – Enjoy the view from the Eiffel Tower or see the Mona Lisa in the "city of light".ADNFCR-1652-ID-19119443-ADNFCR

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Open Road USA

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A road trip across America always sounds so idyllic; nothing but the open road, endless diners and Jack Kerouac in the back seat. Unfortunately, unless the world’s biggest ball of string is your cup of tea (yes it does exist in Branson Missouri) there isn’t much to do on that eternal roadway. The city stops along the way are the highlights, so plan with care.

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Iceland a Journey Through Earth and Time

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8071_5_winter20caving204The literary classic Journey to the Center of the Earth has inspired many film and novel adaptations since its publication in 1864. Now, the story is inspiring trips to the tale’s terrain. Iceland is where Jules Verne first envisioned Lidenbrock and friends descending into the center of the earth. Since then it has been used as the filming location for the 2008 film and the creative basis for many other adaptations. Iceland’s landscape combines lush green valleys with snow covered mountain tops. Giant glaciers still cover the land and create an icy setting perfect for star gazing.

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Macau to host series of spring events

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Travellers taking Macau tours over the coming months will have plenty to remember their trip by as the destination plays host to a number of unusual events.

One of the highlights will be the Feast of the Drunken Dragon, a tradition based on an old Buddhist tale that will be held on May 2nd.

Local fishermen participate in the festival by performing a ‘drunken dance’ with wooden dragon heads and tails as part of a procession that leads from Senado Square towards Macau’s inner harbour.

The 20th Macau Arts Festival will take place between May 2nd and 30th this year and will feature orchestral concerts, exhibitions, dance shows, Chinese opera and more than 70 performances by artists from Europe and the UK.

Bringing the month of May to a close on the 28th will be the Macau International Dragon Boat Festival, which will see local and foreign teams competing against one another on the Nam Van lake.

Macau is one of the two special administrative regions of China, the other being Hong Kong.

Hong Kong – Part mystical Chinese city, part 21st Century metropolis, Hong Kong combines temples and skyscrapers.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19117144-ADNFCR

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Singapore Botanic Gardens turns 150

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People travelling in south-east Asia this year will be able to visit the Botanic Gardens during Singapore tours as the attraction celebrates its 150th anniversary.

The Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG) was founded in 1859 and has developed into one of the city-state’s most popular tourist sites, attracting more than three million visitors every year.

It will open an exhibition dedicated to the evolutionary scientists Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace as part of its anniversary celebrations in July, followed by a photographic display exploring the world’s rainforests in December.

Permanent attractions at the Botanic Gardens include a tract of primeval forest, a herbarium, Asia’s largest collection of rare palms and an orchid culture that is thought to be the most comprehensive in the world.

Divya Panickar, a spokesperson for the Singapore Tourism Board, said: "The 150th anniversary of the founding of the SBG is truly a milestone event in the city’s history.

"Like Singapore itself, the SBG keeps evolving to ensure it remains a vital and integral part in the lives of the city’s residents and a highlight on any visitor’s itinerary."

The Singapore Night Safari is another popular natural attraction in the Asian city state, along with the city zoo and the Bukit Timah reserve.

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-19116800-ADNFCR

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Experience The War of the Worlds on London tours

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Science fiction fans should fit a visit to the O2 Arena into their London tours in June to experience Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds.

This stunning stage adaptation of HG Wells’ classic novel will come to the venue in south-east London on June 20th and 21st.

Wayne himself will conduct the Black Smoke Band for the multimedia show, which will also feature a guest appearance by Jennifer Ellison and other performers.

Arguably the highlight of the production is the 35-foot Martian machine that scans the audience with insect-like eyes and fires heat rays into the crowd.

Spectators will also see a hologram of the actor Richard Burton playing the role of the journalist George Herbert projected onto a 100-foot-wide screen.

The live production of The War of the Worlds is setting off on a tour this year that will also include shows in Dublin (June 7th), Glasgow (June 11th) and Holland (June 30th to July 2nd).

Visitors to London will be treated to another otherworldly experience at the O2 Arena from August 5th to 9th when it hosts the Walking With Dinosaurs show.

London – Ride the London Eye, visit the Tower of London or take a day out of the city to see Stonehenge.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19116568-ADNFCR

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Relaxing Vacations in Oceania

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As the continent most known for Australia’s walkabouts in the outback and the largest population of dangerous and deadly creatures anywhere, Oceania is a paradise only for the out-doorsy adventurer right? Well, maybe not. Companies have begun launching new cruises and services to make your trip down-under more of a luxury and less of an effort. Those who want to explore the world but not necessarily hike mountains or bunjee jump into the Pacific can now experience even the most rugged of terrains and discover their peaceful neighbors.

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They Aren’t Called French Fries? Trying Out the Local Cuisines

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I was more than a little nervous about giving up the fantastic variety of Californian cuisine for my move to London. Sure I’d be living in a fantastic neighbourhood (Kensington, ever heard of it?), taking fun classes (hi, field trips to Oxford, Parliament, the Globe), working a fun company, meeting tons of new people, and travelling like mad (read my Dublin post anyone?), but all I could think about as I jumped on that United jet was, what about burritos? Cheeseburgers? Pluto’s salads? As delightful as afternoon tea sounds, anyone who’s hopped on the “English cuisine” Wikipedia page can probably understand my hesitation. I’m sorry guys, but chip sandwiches? How does somebody even come up with that?

Chip Butty - Annie Mole

Chip Butty - Annie Mole

Which isn’t to say a chip butty isn’t one of the first things I tried when I got here (add a little ketchup and it’s not bad!), but I certainly wasn’t prepared for the richness of the culinary culture here. continue reading

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