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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 in ‘Holidays & Festivals’

Italy and the Vatican Worship for Easter

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As the home of the Vatican, it is no surprise that Easter in Italy is a major event. The celebrations vary from the intensely religious to the carefree celebrations of spring. Catholic masses are conducted by the holiest of men in the Vatican and traditions of amusement take over neighboring towns. The historic Scoppio del Carro leaves worshipers in awe. The celebrations are extremely religious but are conducted on such a scale that members of any school of thought will enjoy them. Italy at Easter time is a spectacle and a dream but there is no Easter bunny in Italy, so don’t expect to be greeted by a sugar-covered chocolate marshmallows when you land.

Easter Sunday, a Day of Celebration

Pasqua, the Italian Easter, sees the people of Italy escape out of doors and enjoy the spring sunshine. People parade the streets holding large statues of Mary or Jesus before them in reverence. Catholic priests travel from home to shop to home offering blessings for good luck. In St. Peter’s Basilica the Pope says a special mass. An average of 100,000 people turn up for this even every year covering the earth beneath the Pope’s balcony. The night before the Pope baptises adults newly converted to Catholicism and calls the word to peace. continue reading

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Discover Easter Traditions on the Red Sea

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Those looking for a break from their traditional Easter this year can find refuge on the Red Sea Coast. Ethiopia and Egypt are celebrating Easter and the arrival of spring with their own traditions. While the Ethiopian Orthodox Church’s Fasika focuses on the solemn and religious nature of the season, Egypt’s Sham el Nessim relies more on tradition, making it accessible to all religions in the region.

Ethiopia Rejoices During Fasika

Travellers to Ethiopia during Fasika, which takes place based on the Eastern Christian calendar, will find people in a state of reflection and fasting. The 55 days leading up to Easter have strict dietary guidelines which limit food intake. When Easter Sunday arrives, mass is held in the local church. All of the followers can not usually fit inside the church and sometimes it must be held outside under a large tent. Decorative Vitenge and Kanga (cloth made to look like trees or butterflies) are hung from the ceiling. Long after light is gone the priest announces that Christ has risen. It is now 3am and the celebration shall begin.
Christian hymns are sung with the beating of drums and the high-pitched Kigelegele cries of the women. Dancing and feasting brings the fast to a close as the Ethiopians celebrate life. Formal dress of stark white robes dance against the jewel tone robes of the priests. Sequined umbrellas add to the mesmerizing spectacle before you. The celebration continues through the day with great feasting and family. continue reading

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As the Travel and Chocolate Industries Brace for the Busy Easter Season so does Washington DC

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Celebrate Easter with New American Traditions

Easter brings with it the promise of springtime and holiday fun, making it the perfect time to travel and indulge. It is Australia’s most popular time to fly and why not with the excess of events happening world-wide? The Easter Bunny certainly gains a few frequent flyer miles on his tour of the United States. Every year he visits almost every shopping mall in the country to meet his fans! Take a break from a shopping tour to snap a picture with the big bunny and tell him what you hope will be in your basket.

If touring Washington DC, visit the White House and get access to the South Lawn for an Easter Egg Roll. You must have a child under age 10 to attend but children of all ages can buy the souvenir eggs, given free at the event, online. These hand painted eggs will be signed by President Obama and the First Lady!

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The UK and Australia Aim to Re-invent Easter Traditions

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Springtime Comes to Britain

Deep into history the day when the cloudy top is lifted off Britain and sunlight finally hits the ground is an epic one. The Saxons originally celebrated this day by munching hot cross buns (bread rolls with crosses on top representing the lunar calendar and the goddess) and dancing in the sun. As Christians arrived on the rain-drenched land mass they brought with them Easter Sunday, the day on which Christian’s believe Jesus Christ rose from the dead. With hot cross buns re-oriented to symbolize The Cross, Christians celebrate the rebirth of their savoir and the rebirth of the earth, spring!

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Best Places to Celebrate St Patrick’s Day- Boston, Dublin and London

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Beannachtai na Feile Padraig! Happy St Patrick’s Day!

Like millions of people all over the world, you too can be Irish for the day on March 17 – St Patrick’s Day. Sport a huge green hat, paint a shamrock on your face, dress up as a leprechaun, and down a few pints of Guinness. It’s all part of the fun wherever folks claim Irish ancestry.

So where are the best places for St Patrick’s Day celebrations? There are plenty to choose from, but three of the best are Boston, Dublin and London. continue reading

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Romantic Valentine’s Day Adventures: Florence

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So…what are your Valentine’s Day plans?  Have you been searching all over town for that perfect, charming, romantic Italian bistro?

Here’s a better idea: why not surprise your sweetie with some authentic Chianti and handmade risotto in Tuscany?

Following on from my previous post about Valentine’s Day Adventures in Paris, I would now like to focus on the beautiful, fascinating, historical city of Florence—one of my favourite places in Europe. continue reading

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Christmas Shopping Adventures 3: London and Beyond

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I know that Christmas shopping can feel like a daunting annual ritual, especially when conducted in a bustling city like London!  With Pantomime season around the corner and Christmas just a day away, families are already flooding Central London to get into the Christmas Spirit.

This goes for visitors and Londoners alike: why not add some variety to your usual Christmas shopping routine by embarking on a special Christmas adventure? Here are some ideas: continue reading

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Christmas Shopping Adventures: New York

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This post is the first of 3 about our favourite places for Christmas shopping and the things you can do while you are there. Today, New York.

It goes with out saying that New York is one of the world’s most fabulous Christmas shopping spots!

Why not turn your Christmas shopping trip to New York into a Holiday adventure? continue reading

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Filipino Christian festival unlike anything seen elsewhere in the world

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The city of Iloilo in the Philippines is the home of a unique festival in honour of the infant Jesus Christ, or Santo Nino, which takes place each year in January.

Dinagyang combines some spectacular sailing action with an awe-inspiring array of carnival dancers in extravagantly-coloured costumes, making this one event the likes of which isn’t seen anywhere else in the Christian world.

The regatta is one of the key draws of the event, which includes some fantastic maritime action taking place on the water just off the nearby coast.

Among the highlights in 2009 will be the Iloilo International Dragon Boat Race, sure to please the assembled locals and spectators.

Each year the festival also crowns a Miss Dinagyang, who is rewarded for her virtues with a prestigious coronation ceremony.

The Philippines consists of more than 7,000 islands and is home to in excess of 75 million people.

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-18877055-ADNFCR

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Spectacular festival channels the spirit of the desert

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A wealth of artists and musicians from all over north Africa gather in the Malian city of Essakane for the ninth annual Festival au Desert.

From January 8th to 10th this festival has its roots in the culture of the indigenous nomadic Tuareg people.

It brings the desert alive with traditional rhythms and modern African sounds assembled together for a global audience.

The company behind the event also offers a range of organised tours so that the experience of the festival can be combined with taking in some of the sights and the sounds of this most spectacular part of the African continent.

As well as the event in Essakane visitors can take in Timbuktu, which is only two hours away, plus the beautiful Niger River and many other areas in the region.

Camel races, film screenings and conferences on themes related to the music and culture of the festival complete a rich line-up at one of the most intriguing events to be held in this mystical and vibrant part of Africa.

Mali is a former French colony which gained independence in 1960.

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-18853839-ADNFCR

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