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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!

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Body Worlds Exhibition: The Happiness Project, Amsterdam

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If, like me, you thought that happiness was all in the mind, then a visit to the “Body Worlds: The Happiness Project” permanent exhibit in Amsterdam is in order. It will give you an unusual view of the very close and physical connection between the human body and happiness.

The exhibition is the latest by Gunther von Hagens, a German anatomist. He invented the ‘plastination’ technique that preserves biological tissue. For this exhibition, he has presented the human body in ways that have not been seen before. The exhibits consist of more than 200 specimens of real donated human bodies assembled in a variety of lifelike poses and dissected to show various structures and systems of human anatomy. The bodies are arranged in an artistic way to demonstrate how our everyday activities affect us. Many of the bodies are arranged in graceful stop motion.

Body Worlds 2

The exhibition covers seven floors. You start on the top floor and work your way down. Each floor has a different theme, brilliantly set out, which keeps it very interesting and educational. The exhibits on each floor focus on different aspects of the body, examining the mind and body connection and how different health conditions affect behaviour.

The overall ‘happiness’ theme of the exhibition comprises of dissected human body parts. It also deals with a whole range of other themes such as movement, stress and sex. The body exhibits provide insights to diseases, functionality of different muscles and body parts. Each exhibit has information cards carrying interesting facts.

Body Worlds Exhibition: The Happiness Project shows off the human body in a wonderful combination of art and science.

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Five Fantastic Food Destinations

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At isango! we believe there are two essential yardsticks to measure your experiences when travelling.  One is seeing the sights and the other is sampling the food.  Here we give you a taste of what foods to look out for at five popular destinations.

Flavours of New York City
New York City has been and continues to be the gateway for people coming to the United States.  So you will find every ethnic and world cuisine available.  New York also prides itself on inventing many dishes and foods.

Manhattan Clam Chowder

Manhattan clam chowder

Taking a foodie tour of NYC is a delight for the taste buds.  Hot dogs and New York style pizzas in the East Village; a Manhattan clam chowder; Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwiches; savoury French quiche, and Mexican yucca are just some delights in store for you.  You could also try out a knish appetiser or some Greek spinach pie to go with a succulent lamb souvlaki.   Then there is a sinful choice of chocolates to top off your meal.

Lyon, Gastronomy and Beaujolais
Lyon’s ancient fame lay in its silk weaving industry.  That has however changed.  Over the centuries it has become known as the capital of French gastronomy and its renowned cuisine.  The city and municipality has a deliciously bewildering array of traditional Lyonnais restaurants, called bouchons, serving local dishes such as salade Lyonnais; marrons glacés; coussin de Lyon, sausages, duck pâte and roast pork, and local wines.

Marrons Glacés

Marrons Glaces

The Lyon bakeries, fromageries patisseries and chocolatiers continue to make their wines, breads, cheeses and chocolates the way have for centuries.  In addition to its gastronomic delights, the Lyon area is at the heart of Beaujolais wine region.

Tapas In Barcelona
Barcelona offers a variety of pleasures but none as staggering as tapas!  Choosing or even listing them is a near impossible task.  Salmon sashimi with cream cheese; honey and soy, or cod; passata and black olive pâté; fried fish and seafood, patatas bravas; Galician octopus and ensaladilla rusa; croquetas made with ham, fish, chicken or spinach are just some choices.

Tapas

Tapas Barcelona

Whether you are strolling down La Rambla or feasting your eyes on the fruit, vegetables, fish, cheese or meats of La Boqueria (Barcelona’s food market), you will never be far from a tapas bar.  So feel free to wade into one of them and pick out your choice.  Don’t forget to wash it down with some cava, wine or draught beer.

Bangkok & Food
The two are synonymous and no one needs coaxing to dig in to a plate of Pad Thai (or phat Thai).  Take a walk down any street in Bangkok and you will be constantly reminded of food.  The innumerable fragrances waft out at you from myriad street stalls and restaurants.

Yong Tau Foo

yong tau foo

Thai street food is the safest and tastiest in the world and probably the most reasonably priced too.  Whether it be juicy pieces of grilled pork on a stick or a fiery bowl of ‘Tom Yum’ soup or Tom Yum Goong (Spicy Shrimp Soup) or good yong tau foo and pork stew with green chilli dip, you will find it really difficult to pass it up or stop eating.  Thai food is among the most appetising and popular cuisines in the world and it is an exciting experience to take a cooking class and learn how to make some!

When In Rome – Eat
That’s right!  Food in Rome is just as fascinating as the Colosseum, the churches and the Vatican museums.  Roman cuisine is some of the most delicious in Italy.  It is based on seasonal ingredients, plenty of fresh vegetables, meat and cheeses.  All put together in a simple way.  Lamb roasted with herbs and spices is a very important part of the cuisine so is pizza, of course.  In Rome they have three different ways of making pizza but a Roman characteristic is that it is thin with no lip to the crust.

Pizza

rome pizza

The Testaccio is the best place to find the original and traditional Roman food.  Another great place is the Rione Monti area, a stone’s throw away from the Colosseum, where you will find a range of authentic Italian delicacies in local family run shops and pizzerias.

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Ireland: Poetry In Everything

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Ireland inspires superlative, yet you will run out of them very quickly when trying to describe it.  It is an island whose beautiful countryside and long history have inspired more songs and poems than any other place on earth.  The green of this Emerald Isle is not just the colour of its landscape; it is an apt description of a jewel.

There is much to Ireland beyond her scenic wonders.  Ireland’s magic is also largely due to her history and culture.  It is a land of legends and mystery.  There is a story to every rock and glen and even more in the pubs!

Geography & Climate

Liffey River

Ireland has mountains running along most of its coast making a ring around a central plain and several lakes.  It has a number of rivers including the Liffey, Barrow, Boyne, Bann and Shannon which is the longest.  Ireland’s landscape has a range of moods such as wild Donegal, lonely Connemara and the soft, gentle hills of the southeast.  The western coast is famous for its rugged cliffs, islands and beaches.

Ireland has a relatively mild but very changeable climate because of the influence of the Atlantic Ocean, the Irish and the Celtic Seas.

Culture
Irish culture is broadly defined as being Gaelic but it is a combination of influences going back for more than 1200 years.  The Vikings, Normans, Welsh, English and Scots came, stayed and made significant imprints that are distinctively ‘Irish.’  Ireland has contributed mightily to the world but most extensively to literature, theatre and music.  Religion too has a strong sway on the Irish nation.  Thus, leading it to be called, “the island of saints and scholars.”

At almost any given time of the year, there are lively arts, theatre and music festivals in full swing – particularly in Dublin.  At almost every pub you will hear traditional (or “trad”) music full of upbeat jigs, clever lyrics and heart-tugging ballads.

Cities
Without exception Irish cities are beautiful.  They are packed with history, great architecture, pretty houses and winding cobblestoned streets making them sightseers’ and photographers’ treat.  Every city emits a lively atmosphere, has good food, warm, welcoming pubs and festivals aplenty.  The names themselves are poetry to the ears – Dublin, Cork, Kilkenny, Killarney, Galway, Sligo, Waterford, and of course Limerick.

Places to See

cliffs of moher ireland

Ireland has three World Heritage Sites: Brú na Boinne (superb Neolithic monuments), Skellig Michael and the Giant’s Causeway.  There are loads of other fabulous and fascinating locations to check out such as the Cliffs of Moher, the Aran Islands and County Galway.  Ireland is awash (forgive the expression) with impressive forts and castles.  Bunratty Castle, the Rock of Cashel, Holy Cross Abbey and Blarney Castle are just some outstanding structures and historically important. One could go on and on…

Best Time To Visit
Weather-wise, summer of course is the best time to travel to Ireland.  Also because it is the theatre, fashion, arts and music festival season.  However, late spring and early autumn are also lovely times on the island – without the crowds.
Whatever time of year you visit, a must-drink pint of Guinness at a thatched roofed pub; some trad music floating through the air; postcard scenery and you will find the Ireland you came to experience.

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La Tomatina 2014 – The World’s Biggest Food Fight

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It takes a special kind of person to want to get pelted by great big red squishy tomatoes.  Apparently there are literally tens of thousands of folks, around the world, who enjoy this treat.  So when August comes rolling around, they all head off to the normally quiet little Spanish town of Buñol (population: 9,000).  Once there, they take part in what is probably the biggest outdoor voluntary ketchup-making process – using hands, feet and other parts of the body to do so.

If you are planning to participate in this annual saucy affair, there are some things you should know about La Tomatina and its traditions.

La tomatina

Interesting Background Information

•    La Tomatina takes place on the last Wednesday of August, every year.
•    It originated in 1945.
•    Unlike other Spanish festivals, La Tomatina has no religious roots.  It began when some young men were not allowed to participate in the Giants and Big-Heads parade.  They started up a tomato fight in the Plaza del Pueblo becoming an instant success.
•    The fun and games begin when people try to climb a greasy two-storey pole to get hold of a ham tied at the top.
•    The tomato fight takes place in the town centre – the Plaza del Pueblo.
•    Before the event a large number of trucks bring in the tomatoes (generally from the Extremadur area).
•    The actual tomato throwing begins at exactly 11am – signalled by the firing of the canon.
•    The tomato fights last exactly one hour.
•    There are no teams.  It is every man and woman for themselves.
•    The chaos ends when the cannon is fired again.
•    By the end of the fight about 140 tonnes of tomatoes have been flung, squashed and pulped.
•    The town authorities then move in with fire truck and hose down the square to flush the tomato pulp.  The acidity of the tomatoes ensures that the ground is sparkling clean.
•    Since the crowds (over 50,000 in 2012) have grown too large to be accommodated in the Plaza, the town council has started limiting the number of participants by selling only 20,000 tickets.  Each ticket costs €10.
•    No ticket, No Entry!  There is no place to watch the tomato fight.

Tips & Rules
Before you go slinging tomatoes you should know and understand…

•    Squash the tomatoes before you throw.  Others could get hurt.
•    No tomatoes can be thrown after the second cannon shot.
•    No other objects are allowed to be thrown.
•    Watch out ladies!  T-shirts should not be torn off (your own or others) but this is seldom heeded.
•    Wear eye protectors such as goggles.
•    Don’t carry cameras, mobile phones, passports or other important documents.  Actually don’t carry anything.
•    Don’t wear flip-flops.  Instead wear covered shoes that you can discard after the fight.
•    Wear old clothes, or clothes you aren’t planning on wearing again.

After the chaotic fight and clean up, Buñol turns into one big party place with wine, cava and sangria flowing with really loud throbbing music to dance to.  Some organisers and sponsors have taken to organising a La Tomatina after parties.  Incredible!

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The Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2014 – Nothing Shy About It

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Born out of rejection and anarchic in style and content, The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is off and running madly this year.  Beginning on the 1st of August, the Fringe Festival, self-styled ‘the greatest show on earth’ has once again brought a vast array of talent and shows to Edinburgh like so many moths to the bright stage bulbs.

This year the show is bigger than ever.  The Fringe will give audiences a choice of 3,193 productions from 47 countries, and 49,497 performances in 299 venues.  That once again reaffirms Fringe’s status as the largest arts festival in the world – and this year it got bigger.  Whatever your taste in the arts, you are bound to find something suitable for your taste buds and maybe more!  You will see stuff that you will probably not see anywhere else.

Edinburgh Castle

The Fringe will have you feeling you are spinning round at the end of a bungee cord.  The festival is one huge dizzying array of shows and events that pop up at you from every corner, pub and even a former veterinary hospital.  Conventional theatres and venues are still the place to get your art thrills.  New venues have been opened to accommodate the increased entries, such as the La Belle Angèle on Cowgate and the Famous Spiegeltent will be located in St Andrew’s Square, alongside Stand in the Square, and a brand new open air stage.

However, the Festival is also taking theatre to the streets as well.  You will find pianists plink-plonking in the middle of the street; brightly colour-costumed acrobats cartwheel past you; Brazilian dancers sashay and swivel past and are soon lost in the whole seemingly chaotic jamboree.

The Festival Fringe has no selection process and is open for anyone to present any type of work.  That is a great recipe for off-the-wall, quirky performances and eclectic shows showcasing the vision of the performers from all across the world.  Many are amateurs, many trying to break into the big time and some are big names too.  They include Dame Diana Rigg, Jeremy Paxman, Glen Matlock, Clive Anderson, Pamela Stephenson, Nancy Dell’olio and actress Anne Archer, playing Jane Fonda.. It’s great for them too – they can network and meet theatre movers and shakers, cross-pollinate ideas and have fun at the same time.

As the Fringe goes merrily into its second week, some awards have already been presented.  The Scotsman Fringe First round winners were announced.  There are two more rounds to be announced.  The 2014 Fringe Sustainable Practice Award winners have also been named.

The organisers say that more than 60% of the shows are either comedy or theatre with circus and physical theatre growing categories that are popular with audiences.  There are shows about Scottish independence, the 100th anniversary of the World War One and even the Commonwealth Games.

It is difficult to choose and decide what to see but some shows have become standout.  These are KlangHaus, Ganesh Versus the Third Reich, Zulu Ballet and The War (an examination of the psychological effects of World War I, the disturbing living sculptures of Exhibit B).

Regardless of the categories, there are an endless array of events, performances and spectacles to experience and enjoy, and most certainly expand your artistic horizons.

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Spain For Thrill-Seekers

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Spain has more to offer other than churches, beaches, food and festivals.  It has plenty of adventure activities to take your breath away and get the adrenalin pumping. These alternatives take you up in the sky or to the bottom of the sea.

isango! has put together 5 adventure activities of Spain that will make your Spanish experience a highly memorable one.

Western Water Park Magaluf, Mallorca
This wet Wild West themed park will challenge the daredevil in you.  It also has rides and slides for children of all ages so no one gets left out.  Some of the slides are really heart-stopping like the Kamikaze slide that drops you a sheer 30 metres or the Tornado, a knuckle-whitening whirling twisting rush of water.  The Crazy Racer and the Huracan are just as fierce and awe inspiring.

Western Water Park

There is also a mini theme park, Kids Waterland.  Just as thrilling as the slides, are the daily high diving shows.  The divers take off from 30 metre heights and display their skills with perfectly synchronised combined dives involving two, three and more divers at a time.

Deep Sea Fishing, Fuerteventura
The thrill of landing a legendary shimmering silvery marlin or swordfish is hard to describe or rival.  The island of Gran Canaria, especially Fuerteventura, are superb deep-sea fishing waters.  There are an enormous variety of fish to catch.

With the aid of multi-lingual instructors, you are sure to experience the excitement when your fishing line goes taut and you battle the fish at the end of your line.  In keeping with the sporting etiquette, you return the defeated fish to the sea.

Gran Canaria Adventure Tour – Jeep and Camel Safari
Changing gears you can indulge in one of the most exciting means of exploring Gran Canaria.  This ruggedly beautiful volcanic island hides a lot of its beauty, which can only be seen and experienced by going on a combined Jeep and Camel Safari tour.

Camello2 Gran Canaria

The powerful open-topped 4×4 jeeps and towering camels will carry you over rocky mountain tracks to the famous Masplomas Dunes, the lovely little village of Cercado Espino and up to the picturesque highlands of Soria.  The stunning views of the Pico de las Nieves, the Presa de las Niñas and the Ayacata will be the highlights of your adventure.

Scenic Helicopter Tour over Gran Canaria
Another fantastic way to see the Gran Canaria is by helicopter.  Even as you lift off, you understand why an aerial view of this incredibly beautiful island is the best way to see it.  As the stunning diversity of Gran Canaria’s natural features unfurl below, you will appreciate its magical properties.

The rugged volcanic landscapes have many moods and facets that can only be appreciated from the air.  The glorious golden beaches, picturesque villages, twisting, mysterious ravines and the grandeur of the Maspalomas sand dunes will simply take your breath away.

Aguamar Water Park, Ibiza
The Aguamar Water Park on Ibiza is the one attraction that rivals the rave parties and beaches for attention and attendance.  It is the largest on the island and has an exciting range of water slides and other features to either cool you off or set the blood racing.

Located just 10 minutes from Ibiza Town, the Aguamar Water Park has loads of slides for every age.  Some are gentle and slow while others have tight twists and scream-causing turns.  The five fabulous and popular ones are the Kamikazee, the Black Hole, the Spiral, Rio Ventura and the Spiro Tubo.  When you are done riding the slides there are a lot of restaurants to choose from and shady spaces to enjoy a picnic lunch.

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isango! launches ‘Paris Magic Moments’

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Disneyland® Paris comprises of two fantastic parks – Disneyland Parks and Walt Disney Studios. A visit is a double treat filled with plenty of magical choice.  That however, can raise several issues.  What to do and how to get the most and best out of your visit.

Those vexing decisions can now be left in the very capable hands of Paris Magic Moments, isango’s newest website.

Paris Magic Moments, launched in the UK on 30th June 2014, is run by a travel team solely focused on, and dedicated to, Disneyland Paris.  The company has a Specialists Sales Team that will advise you on the lowest prices and the most competitive deals to suit your budget.

PMM

Open seven days a week and supported by a high-speed and hi-tech online booking system, Paris Magic Moments makes sure that you get those much-desired discounts and special offers that will add to your enjoyment and the overall ©Disney experience.

Unlike other travel and tourism booking organisations, Paris Magic Moments is a preferred partner of Disneyland Paris.  This means that PMM can bundle a wide range of options with Disney’s offerings and choices that you won’t otherwise have access to.  You can buy products and ticket packages, normally offered only by Disney Hotels, even if you are staying at Disney Partner/Affiliated Hotels.

Paris Magic Moments caters only to the UK market so travel and transport is geared to getting you to and from London and Paris.  The choices are really terrific as you can avail of options that include the Eurostar Passenger or the Eurotunnel Car Train or the P&O Ferries.

Paris Magic Moments’ service goes beyond just arranging your tickets.  They sort out another travel related bother – luggage.  This service is part of the Disney Express and saves you the hassle of moving your luggage onto the train, into the hotel and when you leave, the reverse process.  Now you simply check in on the train at the station, get your tickets and room keys while your luggage is taken to the hotel and the same applies when you leave Disneyland.

PMM’s offerings don’t stop at the door, so to speak.  They provide valuable budget savings on meals too.  There are a whole bouquet of meal plans and add-ons.  Guests staying at Disney or Partner hotels get vouchers for meals within Disney Resort.  Then there are the super thrills of enjoying the high-octane Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Dinner Show as well as meals at Cafe Mickey.

To give you a change of scene and pace so that you can round out your vacation, Paris Magic Moments offers Paris Day Trips.

Using the expertise and services of Paris Magic Moments will ensure that both you and the kids revel in the excitement and magic and the very best of Disneyworld® Paris.

Book your Disneyland Paris holiday now at www.parismagicmoments.co.uk

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Greece – An Enchanting Palette

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Greece is like a painter’s palette with (to my mind) two primary colours – astounding natural beauty and four thousand years of history. Mix and blend these two and you get an incredible rainbow of idyllic landscapes, a sophisticated yet languorous culture, artistic and architectural treasures, superb food, great wines and a warm friendly people.

Greece is the oldest tourist destination and has been since before the rise of Rome. It still remains one of the world’s most popular travel destinations.

Natural Features

Broadly speaking Greece consists of the mountainous mainland and thousands of islands.

The Mainland

Eighty percent of Greece is mountainous. Mytikas (9,570 feet) is the highest peak and also the location of the mythical Mount Olympus – home of the Greek Gods. The northern mainland portion is defined by majestic mountains and abundant forests. The central and southern region has vast distinctive wine-producing valleys and olive orchards. Not commonly known is that Greece has some of the best skiing slopes in Europe. The rugged landscape also offers great hiking and rafting opportunities.

The Islands

If ever the colour blue was considered an invention, then the waters around its islands would surely be the place it was created. At last count, there were between 1,200 and 6,000 islands in the Greek archipelagos. The number depends on how you describe an island because many are just rocks thrusting straight out of the water. That aside, 227 of the isles are inhabited with Crete being the largest followed by Euboea, Rhodes and Lesbos.

The Greek islands comprise of seven groupings – the Peloponnese, the Argo-Saronic Islands, the Cyclades, the Dodecanese, the East and North Aegean, the Sporades and Évvia, the Ionian Islands – and Crete. Whatever their location or size, the islands are epitomized by clear blue waters, dazzling white sandy beaches and idyllic villages.

The Cities

Greek cities are widely disparate. Each one is uniquely different from the other. Athens, sophisticated, modern yet firmly rooted in its magnificent past. The mother of western civilization, it is a treasure house. The Acropolis, the Parthenon and the Temple of Zeus are still its dominant landmarks.

Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest metropolis, in the north, is crammed with Byzantine monuments while elegant Corfu is reminiscent of Venice. Rhodes is renowned for the Colossus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The city is now home to the best preserved medieval town in Europe, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Culture

Four millennia of history and legend have made Greece a delectable melting pot. Starting from the Minoans, Romans, Arabs, Latin Crusaders, Venetians, Slavs, Albanians and the Turks, all have left their mark, and almost every town or village has a link to the past. The Greek experience is also about food, which is fresh, uncomplicated, simple and fulfilling just like the warm, genuine and welcoming people.

Festivals

Greece may not be as famous as some other countries for festivals but happily you will never lack one on your visit. Greek festivals are religious based and the largest one is Easter, which does not coincide with the rest of the Christian world. The Good Friday, Saturday night vigil, climaxed by a glorious midnight mass is memorable for the beautiful and moving rituals. If you find yourself in a small town or village the people will warmly include you in the days of feasting and celebration that follow.

Another reason for festivities (paniyíria) is when towns or villages celebrate the local patron saint. There is plenty of music, dancing and drinking that accompany these celebrations. With 330 in the Greek saintly pantheon, the chances of you getting to participate or witness such a happy event are really good.

Weather

Even with the weather, the Gods played favourites and gave Greece the balmiest and gentlest of climates. When exploring the islands, the best time to visit Greece is from mid-to-late May up to the end of August. Though, it is still excellent during September. May is perhaps the best time to visit the Peloponnese and Cyclades islands but the waters will be rather cool.

The northern mountains are usually covered with snow by early November and lasts till May. The long winter makes for great snow sports and skiing conditions.

Off season travel services and facilities are reduced but fear not for you will find at least a couple of hotels and taverns open in any but the smallest town.

Greece will surprise and you are bound to discover something terrific in this land of incredible historic sites, gorgeous beaches and imposing mountains.

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What’s New On isango! In July

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With things picking up nicely on the travel front, now that summer is well and truly here, isango! has introduced some really interesting activities and tours to make your vacation outstanding.

Thames Jetboat Cruise

Thames Jet

When you are done with seeing the sights around London you can get your rush on by getting on a Jetboat and zooming on the Thames a la James Bond.  Up tempo music blasting out of the sound system will accompany you as the boat skims across the Thames.  You will get a unique perspective of London as you roar past The Shard, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London.  At 35 knots not only will your hair be flying, so will your heart.

Oxford & Downton Abbey Tour

Downton Abbey1

A visit to Oxford, the world’s second oldest university is a must.  The “city of dreaming spires” is famed for its academic excellence.  Oxford is also celebrated for the architecture of its beautiful buildings.  There are examples of every English architectural period dating back to the Saxons.

The added flavour to this tour is a trip to a Downton Abbey filming locations.  For Downton Abbey addicts, there is an exciting visit to the village and the elegant home used as the fictional Grantham House that features so prominently in the Christmas Special of the TV-series.

Barcelona On A Segway

Barcelona Segway

You are going to love this!  Barcelona is a large city and many of its iconic sites are quite spread out.  So to save you from tramping around in the warm Barcelona sun, now you can zip around on a soundless, smooth-running Segway.  The tour is designed for small intimate groups.  You can visit some of the instantly recognizable landmarks of this wonderful city.  Some highlights of the tour include the Arc Triomf, Passeig Luis Companys, the wonderful park and zoo of La Ciutadella Parc and the statue of Christopher Columbus.

Dubai Aquarium And Underwater Zoo

Dubai underwater zoo n aquarium

In the heart of Dubai, you will find a fascinating and interactive underwater world.  The Dubai Aquarium is located in the centre of Dubai Mall, the world’s largest.  There is a 48 metre long tunnel that runs under the aquarium and gives you a view of the wonderful aquatic creatures swimming all around.

The Underwater Zoo is marvelously designed so that you can interact with creatures as diverse as Otters and Penguins.  You can also observe, up close, such exotic ones as Piranhas and Scorpions and Giant Camel Spiders.  The zoo is divided into different ecological zones that give you a perspective of the creatures’ habitats.

The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil – Vegas Show

Beatles

The Mirage, Las Vegas has custom built a theater for this show.  The unforgettable music and lyrics of the legendary Fab Four is combined by the incredible acrobatics and interpretive freestyle dance of the Cirque du Soleil.  Using over 6,000 speakers and 24 digital projectors, the show is a powerful experience and entertainment at its very best.

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4 Fine Wine Producing Regions of Italy

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Wine drinking in Italy is an essential way of life. One of the world’s oldest wine producing countries, Italy also produces the largest volume and widest variety of universally popular wines in the world. That status rests squarely on its quality and diversity.

While proof is always in the tasting, here are our picks from among, literally, hundreds of varieties.

Piedmont
This red wine is a product of the wine growing Piedmont region. Beautiful Turin is its capital. Pliny the Elder praised the superb quality of wine produced here. In Italian, nebbia means “fog.” Grape harvesting happens in mid to late October in the foggy season. It could also be because the grape develops a milky covering.

Piedmont

Nebbiolo is a light red wine, highly tannic and famously “tar and rose” scented. It requires several years of aging and is often blended to reduce the strong tannins. The grape does not grow well in other wine growing areas; it requires good drainage and a long growing sub-Alpine climate. These, among other requirements, make the region’s wines unique and a star in Italy’s wine heritage.

Chianti
Chianti comes from the lovely central Italian region of Tuscany. Its vineyards and olive groves with scattered stone villages are iconic of the Italian landscape.

Produced since the 13th century, Chianti is Italy’s most famous wine. It is forever associated with the “Chianti Mountains” and villages near Florence. Today the Chianti wine making region covers the provinces of Prato, Florence, Arezzo, Pistoia, Pisa and Siena.

Chianti

Chianti has gone through many changes in its recipe. The wine we know today is the creation of Barone Ricasoli in the late 19th century. The characteristics of the wine are its red, black and cherry colour; mint, spice floral, nutty, various wild herbs aromas and mellow tannins. Generally speaking Chianti is any Sangiovese-based wine and has three very broad classes – classico, superior and super Tuscans. The minimum aging period for Chianti is four months with some prized classes aged up to 38 months.

Trentino
Trentino-Alto Adige is a wine-producing province in north Italy, with the Dolomite Mountains as a backdrop. The mountains and other geographical features provide a climate ideal for good quality grapes producing dry and sparkling wines and popular reds.

grapes

Trentino produces plenty of grappa, a traditional home-made Italian drink. It is derived from the left-over seeds and skins used to make wine. However, it is most famous for several other wine varieties.

The two regions produce wines that reflect its dual German-Italian heritage. Alto-Adige produces Italy’s finest white wines. Here Muller-Thurgau, Rieslings Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, Lagrein, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris dominate. Two native red grapes – Teroldego Rotoliano and Marzemino – are the source for two of Italy’s most famous red wines: Carbernet/Merlot and Trentino Rosso.

Frascati
A mere 25 kms south of Rome in the Lazio region is the ancient, red-tiled roof hamlet of Frascati. This town and its surrounding volcanic-soil hills are forever bound to Rome and the rope is wine! Archaeological research shows wine was produced here as far back as 500 BC – and earlier! The soil is porous, well-drained and rich in potassium. That combination produces large harvests and quantities of wine, all of which has been eagerly lapped up by ordinary Romans, emperors and popes.

Frascati

Frascati is probably the most famous Italian wine. It is a dry and white wine that comes in two forms – still and sparkling. Two blends form the core of Frascati wines – Trebbiano and Malvasia. The Malvasia is fruity and citrus flavoured while the Trebbiano has a flowery aroma without much flavour. Frascati is inexpensive, which has made it a very popular tavern and cafe tipple.

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