Subscribe to isango! RSS feed
World’s leading site for travel experiences - Tours, Activities, Shows, Excursions and more
Find amazing experiences Book before you go. Local rates. Handpicked suppliers Find out more >>
Home Blog Support Why isango!
call us +44 (0) 870 049 2331
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 August, 2011

Sunny European Get Aways.

0

It’s official as Metro reported that UK’s summer 2011 is the coldest since 1998. The Met Office has concluded that the average temperature this summer was a mere 14C .  The report called the British summer ‘somewhat pitiful’… Hmmm, we can think of a stronger synonym or two for this appalling weather! So search for the sun elsewhere as September is looming and summer is officially at an end. Here are our suggestions to get your portion of Vitamine D in Europe.

by Flickr - Moyan Brenn

Rome, Italy. Temperature: 29C

Friends have recently returned from Rome describing it as epic but hot! (Perhaps this should be: epic and hot.) In any case Rome does tick the sun box as well as all the culture boxes. You can see ruins of the old Roman Empire, the Coliseum, the Forum and Palatine Hill. Admire the riches of the Baroque movement in Bernini’s architectural work at the Piazza San Pietro, his sculptures and a mix of both the Fountain of the Four Rivers at the Piazza Navona. Book for the Vatican and skip the line: walk through the Papal post and its surroundings and view the world famous works of painter Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel.

by Flick- Justin Knabb.

Cote d’Azur, south France. Temperature: 25C

Madonna was spotted jet skiing there and the French Riviera has always had it’s attraction for celebrities as Cannes, where the famous film festival is held, is conveniently located there. One of the most popular destinations is Nice, the capital of the Cote d’Azur.  It has 15 private and 22 well-kept public beaches for you to lie on and top up that tan.Speaking of which, you could also visit the seaside resort of  St Tropez. We offer a wine-tasting tour from Nice, we bring you to the lovely village of Port Grimaud and St Tropez. On the way back you make a stop for a wine tasting session. Sun, beach and wine: who could wish for more?

by Flickr - Wendjie Zhang

Seville, Spain. Temperature: 25C

How do you think the Seville oranges get their colour?  Seville in southern Spain is the crown of Andelucia. Relax, while walking through the city admiring the architecture. Their famous Gothic Cathedral was a former mosque and the largest Gothic building in Europe. After some sightseeing, enjoy some local tapas and visit a flamenco show in the evening all while on tour in Seville.

Photos by Flickr: Rome by Moyan Brenn/ Nice by Justin Knabb/ Seville by Wendjie Zhang

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Review: Woman In Black

0

3301_3301_encorewib100x150In an effort to beat the hype when the film-version with Daniel Ratcliff comes out next year, we visited The Woman in Black on the London West End. Warned that it was the scariest play on the West End, we entered the Fortune Theatre with beating heart…

The first person to take the stage is Arthur Kipps (Patrick Drury) he’s trying to tell us about his experience as a young lawyer attending to the affairs of Mrs Alice Drablow of Eel Marsh House.  When he saw a young woman in black at both the funeral and at the empty house, he tried to find out who she is.

The Set Up
We can’t hear Kipps clearly, as he is told by a booming voice from the back (first fright!). The voice is the Actor’s (Anthony Eden) who Kipps has hired to help him recite the story. After it’s become clear that reading the story would take too long, they decide to play out the story. This much to the reluctance of Kipps: he only wants to exorcise a ghost from the past by finally telling his family and friends about it. Still The Actor persists: he will be taking on the part of young Kipps and Kipps all the other parts.

This and other theatrical concepts are set up in the first half of the show: the use of sound to set the scene is explained and Kipps is told to use imagination when speaking about a dog or a horse and cart. This comical exchange ensures relieved laughs when the aforementioned situations arise in the much darker second half.

There is a bit of explicit foreshadowing in the first half, perhaps it benefits the less regular theatre-goers or even less experienced ghost story reader; for the rest of the audience it feels a bit like spoon-feeding.

Tension
The tension is built throughout, sometimes artificially broken like with clanging of buckets that the Actor trips over. Nevertheless it makes you realise you are at the edge of your seat. The sounds in The Woman in Black are heightened to fright – what the young Kipps witnesses outside the house is truly ear piercing.

The visual effects are effective; a opening door, an abandoned rocking chair, it plays with what the audience cannot see. The Woman In Black is simple and old-fashioned: it’s been on stage for the last 23 years, it’s not hi-tech Ghost the musical. (On that note, simplicity needs to be careful: a left open curtain takes away the illusion. You’d expect a ghost to go through the curtain and so make sure it falls back behind you.)

The End
Simplicity adds to the charm of The Woman in Black, just being a ghost story re-enacted by two men… or is it?  The tension heightens to climax as the lines of the “real story” and the “enacted story” are blurred; but when it’s finally explained who the woman in black is, the foreshadowing of the first half takes a bit of the end’s horrific realisation.

Our theatre blog is currently under construction - check soon on www.justlondontheatrebreaks.com/blog

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Win Prizes With Your Traveltips!

0

screen-shot-2011-08-25-at-153948

Where in the world did you…

…eat the most scrumptious pancakes?
…admire the most gorgeous view?
…have the most thrilling ride?
…discover the best place to swim?
…drink the tastiest pint?

screen-shot-2011-08-25-at-150116Tell us what places we cannot miss and send an email (if you can send us a picture!) to competition@isango.com with TRAVEL TIP in the subject line.

Prizes will be given for the best tips and we will place them on our blog.
Looking forward to hearing from you soon!

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Paris Vacation Apartment Rentals – Advantages for Family Vacations

1

Nowadays, a wide selection of vacation accommodation options for family holidays are available. No longer are families obligated to pile into small hotel rooms, or pay astronomic prices for suites. Paris, especially, offers an enormous selection of vacation rental apartments ranging from comfortable studios to large luxurious lofts that are perfect for family vacations. Whatever size or price range, you will find a vacation apartment that suits your family’s needs. If you are thinking about renting a vacation apartment in Paris for your next family holiday here are some advantages:

Cost effective Renting a vacation apartment is one of the most cost-effective options for family holiday accommodations. In Paris, where hotel prices are extremely high, prices for vacation apartments are generally less expensive than booking multiple hotel rooms. In addition, the amount of additional space that you get with an apartment compared to the price paid makes this type of stay much more economical. Plus, all vacation apartments have fully equipped kitchens, so savings from cooking some meals at home can also be factored into overall cost savings.

Comfort Vacation apartments are more comfortable for families than other accommodation options. Even if you rent a studio, the size of the space is generally larger than an average hotel room in Paris, or any other big city. In some apartments, children often have their own bed, or even room. There is always a dining area and, as mentioned above,fully equipped kitchens where you can make homemade meals. Vacation apartments include all the comforts of home.

Practical Families with small children must consider their special needs when looking at holiday accommodations. Vacation apartments offer practical solutions to meet these needs such as a calm place to have naps without the worry of housekeeping knocking on the door or to prepare special meals that only mom can make! In addition, a kitchen offers the freedom for midnight feedings and an apartment provides space for playing.

As you can see, vacation apartment rentals are one of the most practical and cost-effective accommodation options for families traveling to Paris.

About the author

Donna has lived in Paris for over ten years and has traveled extensively throughout the world with her family. She recommends booking a vacation apartment for your next trip to Paris.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

August Bank Holiday is coming!

1

Hoorah! Another Bankholiday is coming! Are you already thinking of the long weekend even though it’s just Monday? Have you not made any plans yet? Here are some some suggestions to make the most of that extra day off.

from zsl.org

London
“Someone told me it’s all happening at the zoo” sang Simon and Garfunkel. We do believe it’s true: visit London Zoo by Regents Park. New this year is the Penguin beach, where you can see the penguins from upclose! Don’t forget the rest of the animals, the gorillas, the lions the butterflies etc. Opening times 10-6pm daily book your London Zoo tickets here and skip the line.

Take a Street Art Walking tour: it was voted the London Tour for Londoners. See Shoreditch and Brick Lane in a completely new light as a guide leads you through the streets of London. Discover painting, installations and posters by artists where you were meant to see it: on the street.

Liverpool
the-cavern-club_liverpool_4119_1Spend your weekend in Liverpool, city of the Beatles and so much more. The Liverpool waterfront is an UNESCO World Heritage site, so take a Mersey Ferry and explore the Merseyside. Art lovers can visit the Liverpool Walker Art Museum, the national gallery of the North, or The Tate Liverpool . Antony Gormley has a public installation by Crosby beach consisting of 100 life-size sculptures of himself. You also have to visit the Cavern Club and discover how the legendary Beatles started. In a rush, see all the best bits with a hop on hop off bus tour of Liverpool.

royal-crescent_bath_5111_1Bath
Another UNESCO heritage site, Bath is indeed a very pretty part of England. Hollywood star Nicolas Cage fell so much in love with the Bath, that he bought a home there and switched on the Christmas lights. Already famous in the days of Jane Austen, Bath Spa is home to Britain’s only natural thermal spa. Relax in the warm waters and indulge in some spa treatments. You can easily spend the day admiring the beautiful architecture or go for some shopping in the city centre. Explore the hightlights of the city with an hop on bus Bath tour.

kings-college_cambridge_5106_4Cambridge
Cambridge came fourth in the UK TripAdvisor’s Traveller Choice Awards. It placed behind London Edinburgh and Bath (see above) but beat rival Oxford. You can visit the university and tour the ground of the infamous colleges daily. Still Cambridge is more than just a university city, there are plenty of things to do: enjoy some leisurely punting on the Cam, take afternoon tea in the Orchard Tea Garden or just explore the beautiful city centre. Visit our site to book a quick tour of Cambridge.

Make the most of the August Bankholiday, visit isango.com and book your own travel experience.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Friday Facts: The Berlin Wall

0

This year it’s been 50 years since the Berlin Wall was build. The Berlin Wall separated East Berlin from West Berlin for nearly three decades until it finally came down in 1989.

sdc12663

courtesy of E. Liparova

This picture was taken last Saturday during the 50th anniversary commemorations, from the Bernauer Strasse where there’s still a section of the Berlin Wall standing.

Quick History

After WWII Germany was divided between America, France, Great Britain and the USSR; Berlin too was divided in four. Soon Germany became a pawn between two world ideologies (Capitalism vs Communism) and the Berlin Wall became a symbol of the Cold War. West Germany’s economy bloomed and many East Germans tried to flee West. The easiest way to this was by reaching West-Berlin, a capitalist island in the communist East.  To prevent a complete exodus the communists erected the Berlin Wall, practically overnight on the 12th and 13th of August 1961.

Facts on the Berlin Wall:

  • After the 1961 wall was built, another one was erected parallel to it but 100 yards further. The space in between was  known as the Death Strip. It was covered with gravel to spot footprints and filled with tripwire booby traps and mines. Guards were also ordered to shoot anyone crossing.
  • Checkpoint Charlie was the third and most famous checkpoint opened by the US; it got its name from the phonetic alphabet. It was the scene of a dramatic stand-off between American and Soviet tanks in 1961 and from 1962 it was the only place where foreigners visiting Berlin could cross from West to East and back again.
  • The first version of the wall was no more than a barbed wire fence. The 1975 incarnation of the Berlin Wall would be the most memorable:  45000 separate sections of reinforced concrete, 3.6m high and 1.5 wide. It had barbed wire, mesh fencing, signal fencing and watch towers.
  • The Fall of the Berlin Wall happened in 1989 when communism already started the crumble. After a new law was made to allow East Germans to travel freely on the 9th of November 1989 thousands East Germans flocked to the Berlin Wall and people were seen hugging and dancing on top of the wall.

bebelplatz_6462_3Berlin has since become a very popular place to visit and is renowned for its art and culture scene. Take a tour in Berlin on a segway and zoom through the beautiful city visiting all the key places of Berlin’s rich history, like the Berlin Wall.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Follow The Inbetweeners to Crete.

1

inbetweenersThe Inbetweeners Movie has hit the cinemas!
The gang has graduated and they are going on their first lads-holiday in Crete. The first reviews agree that you can expect a film not too different from the successful television series: the jokes are simultaneously funny and cringing. The boys are looking for girls, there are alcohol fuelled antics aplenty. Among the discussions about the reputation of British youngsters abroad, The Sun has still given the Inbetweeners Movie four stars and The Telegraph deems it hilarious …

Obviously there is plenty to do on Crete than the activities depicted in the film -  if you feel inspired to soak up the Greek sun, why don’t you consider these options:

elafonissi_6613_4

Visit the Elafonissi Island, a little bit of paradise on earth. It is popular among Greek vacationers but remains largely secret for the throngs of tourists. Spend a day on the beach or go on a cruise and visit seaside villages. However, we wouldn’t blame you for lounging on the white beach or go for a leisurely swim in the Mediterranean waters.

spinalonga_heraklion_6464_1

Cruise to the infamous Spinalonga Island: previously Turks and the Venetians occupied the island and the fortress on the island was converted into a leper colony in 1903. These days you can take a boat to the pebbled beaches and spend a day swimming and diving, the tour includes a lovely BBQ lunch too.

aghios-nikolaos_heraklion_6402_1

You can shop til you drop in the local coastal town of Agios Nikolaos and Kritsa, a mountain village. Agios Nikolaos has a lovely high street with boutiques, as well as a market where you can browse for homemade handicrafts or fresh fruits, local honey and herbs. Krista is the place for handicraft shops and art stores for unique souvenirs. Also handy: there will be an English-speaking escort on hand to help with communication.

For more tours on Crete, visit the isango website.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Elvis Presley’s Graceland

0

BE048005It’s been 34 years after Elvis Presley’s death but fans still hold candlelight vigils at the gates of his Graceland mansion to remember The King.

Elvis was born 1935, in Tupelo Mississippi to his parents Vernon and Gladys Presley. His twin-brother Jesse was still born and Elvis would remain an only child. In 1954 he signed up with Sun Records in Memphis, a label owned by Sam Phillips and deemed the birthplace of rock ‘n’roll. Self-taught producer Philips has a knack for spotting talent: he’d also sign the likes of Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis. A picture of the four jamming in 1956 would later be printed as “The Million Dollar Quartet.” The unique event has recently inspired a jukebox musical Million Dollar Quartet that was sold out on Broadway and a hit in the London West End.

A mere two years after his first recording Elvis had transferred to the bigger label RCA and was on his way to become a world-star. He sold over a billion records, earned 14 Grammy nominations and acted in 33 movies.

In 1967, after an eight year courtship, Elvis Presley married Priscilla Beaulieu. Exactly nine months later their daughter Lisa Marie was born. Elvis and Priscilla in Germany when he drafted for the US Army. Remarkably this would be the only time Elvis would travel outside of the USA, despite his worldwide success.

elvis_graceland

On the eve of the 34th of anniversary of her father’s death Lisa Marie released a statement, in which she announced a new exhibition at Graceland in Spring 2012 “Elvis Through His Daughter’s Eyes”.

Elvis might have left the building but his legacy still lives on.

Discover the undisputed birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll and visit Graceland and other Memphis music attractions with an audiotour and discount.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Day Trippers – Oxford

0

team-isango-oxfordIt was another sunny weekend and Team isango! went to Oxford for the day. Oxford university is world-famous, its alumni include Nobel Prize winners(e.g. Sir John Eccles) politicians (e.g PM David Cameron and former PM Tony Blair), well-known actors ( e.g. Hugh Grant and Rosamund Pike) authors (e.g Michael Palin) and the list goes on.
christchurchOne of the largest colleges of the university is Christ Church College. The college’s big hall was used for filming some scenes of the  Harry Potter franchise and you can visit the building Mon-Sat 9am- 5.30pm and Sun 2pm-5.30pm. Tickets in peak season £7.50, concessions £6.

screen-shot-2011-08-15-at-153439The city with its historic buildings is a bustling town with plenty of shops, theatres and museums to keep tourists and residents entertained.  Team isango! visited the Ashmolean museum of art and archaeology. Opening times are Tues – Sunday 10am – 6pm, Bank Holiday Monday 10am – 6pm, admission is free.

greenery-oxfordOxford also has a lot of open spaces where you can lie on the grass and look at people punt on the Cherwell or the Thames.

We had fun and we hope you enjoy the pictures!

statue-with-bag

Oxford was more touristic than I thought. The main street is full of shops and people! There were street artists and the music bands all over, which was nice too. Visiting the city is very good ’cause it is not so big and you can easily see everything. Just take a tourist map and the fun can start. The old style of the buildings make the city look like it’s from a fairy tale. It was a very nice trip! – Claudio

A visit to Oxford is an easy day out from London – if you are in a rush: take a day tour from London and see Windsor, Oxford and Stonehenge in one day.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Friday Favourites: New York

0

newstatue

Favourite Place: New York.
Reason: It has a 24hr -lifestyle and a positive vibe, which makes you believe anything is possible!
Story behind the picture: It symbolises ultimate freedom for me (and the strength of women…) We were on our way to Ellis island where we learnt more about what an immigrant had to face before being able to start a new life in America.
Other place I’d like to visit: Bhutan – apparently they measure their inhabitants’ happiness there. That can’t be a bad thing!

For an insiders guide, take an audio tour in New York .

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS