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Posts in ‘isango! reviews’

isango! Travel Ideas for April – Spring Magic

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It’s spring in most of the Northern Hemisphere.  It is during this time, when the flowers bloom and the world is green and pretty with the promise of pleasures to come, that the travel bug bites.

Here are some exciting isango! picks of places to be this month.

Los Angeles, Southern California
The Oscar season is over but the stars will always shine in Los Angeles, the Entertainment Capital of the World.   Visit Mann’s Chinese Theatre’s to see nearly 200 Hollywood celebrity handprints, footprints, and autographs embedded in the concrete of the forecourt.  Stroll along the Hollywood Walk of Fame where some 2,500 celebrities are immortalised by stars on the sidewalk.  Take a tour of the incredible mansions of Hollywood’s superstars in the famous Bel Air, Beverly Hills and Holmby Hills districts and you will realise that the movies are really the biggest thing in this town.

los angeles

Glamour and beauty is all around whether you are relaxing at the Venice Beach or are window shopping at Rodeo Drive.  There is also charm and quaintness to be found in the small shops, stalls and cafés in the narrow passages of the Farmers’ Market.

Paris
‘I love Paris in the springtime,’ sang the poet and he had every reason to do so.  It is a magical time to be in Paris.  The Paulownia trees and lavender are among a myriad flowers breaking out, in all their glory, in every garden and park.  This is especially so of the Tuileries Garden and the Jardin du Luxembourg.

Spring also brings out the locals and kick starts the café culture.  The alluring aroma of coffee and hot croissants is simply irresistible.  The Paris springtime nights are magical and dinner in one of the many restaurants or cruise ships on the Seine will be etched long in the memory.

Paris

At this time of the year, the countryside around Paris is absolutely gorgeous.  Take a day trip to the Champagne region of France.  The geometrically ordered rows of grape vines marching across hillsides and encircling tiny picturesque French villages are the stuff of picture postcards.

Japan
The month of April is the best time to visit Japan.  The country will be blanketed by the beautiful, delicate pink cherry blossoms (sakura).  This collection of islands is absolutely packed with natural beauty and a gracious people who have created a unique and amazing cuisine.  Japan has 16 World Heritage Sites reflecting an ancient history and a rich culture.

japan123

Among its countless splendours are the centuries old shrines and temples of Kyoto, which are national treasures and the finest symbols of Japanese heritage.  A trip on the legendary Nozomi Bullet Train from Tokyo to Kyoto is an enthralling journey that goes past the iconic Mt. Fuji and scenic countryside.  Tokyo is an eclectic mix of the old and the futuristic, best exemplified by wild street fashions, inspired by (and often outdoing) anime comics, and the wonderfully sedate ancient Geisha traditions.

Turkey
Istanbul mirrors its vibrant history.  Straddling the Bosphorus Strait, it links Asia with Europe.  The city has evolved into a multi-cultural melting pot and the financial hub of the country.  The minarets of the Blue Mosque and St. Sophia Church easily rub shoulders with modern skyscrapers and look down upon bustling shopping malls and restaurants.

istanbul

The old city of Istanbul (once Constantinople) is where most of the famous historical sites of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods are located.  The new city is epitomised by the upmarket and trendy Taksim Square and Beyoglu in the Galata district (once home to Istanbul’s Jews), which are a hive of flourishing art galleries, museums, bars, nightclubs, entertainment centres and restaurants.  The action in Istanbul never stops and is in perpetual high-gear.

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Romantic Winter Getaways (Part 1)

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In this first of a two part series, we feature romantic experiences around the world, handpicked by us for you and your loved one to experience in the cold cold months. We’ve covered all geographies and topographies so you have a diverse set of experiences to choose from. We’ve hit the Arctic Lapland, glamour capital Miami, canals of Venice, sunny Mexico, Scottish Highlands and artistic Budapest. 

1) SEEING THE NORTHERN LIGHTS AND REINDEER SLEIGH SAFARI, FINLAND

Northern Lights in FinlandCreate memories of a lifetime as you and your partner witness nature’s finest lightshow in Finnish Lapland.  Aurora Borealis or the northern lights paints the night sky in greens, violets and blues in the darkest winter months. Be part of this mystical phenomenon by chasing the lights between December and April, when all you have for company is the frosted forest, a blanket of snow, stories of the Arctic from your guide and Finnish style hot berry juice by the campfire.  For more fun in the Arctic wilderness, be sure to visit the reindeer farm and dash through the snow on a reindeer sleigh safari

2) PRIVATE GONDOLA RIDE FOR TWO, VENICE, ITALY

Venice by eveningA private gondola ride for two in Venice is the perfect occasion to pop the question. Wait till early evening when the crowds are gone and the light is right. On this gondola ride you glide through your own private Venice far from the hubbub of modern tourism. Glide through hidden canals, cross landmark bridges amongst Venetian gothic architecture and reflect on once upon a time grandeur. Prebook your gondola ride without having to haggle for the price at the destination.


3) LOBSTER DINNER CRUISE CANCUN,  MEXICO

If your perfect romantic getaway involves being surrounded by clear turquoise blue waters and walking on white sandy beaches then head to Cancun - Mexico’s premiere coastal destination. Opt for a sunset cruise on board the Spanish Galleon Colombus where you and your partner can enjoy gorgeous views of the Caribbean sea while you dine on delicious seafood and unlimited fine wine as the relaxing music of saxophone fills the air.  

4) MIAMI BEACH WEDDING, FLORIDA, USA

Tropical beach weddingIf you both love the outdoors, why not exchange your wedding vows in an outdoor wedding ceremony with soft sand under your feet, gushing ocean waves and cool sea breeze for company? The warm glow of the setting sun will give you lush photo opportunities to capture your special day. 

 

5) LOCH NESS, GLENCOE AND THE HIGHLANDS DAY TOUR FROM EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND

Scotland castlePerfect getaway for couples who relish myths, folktales and legends – Scotland is abundant with such stories. Experience the rugged beauty of the Highlands as you walk through ancient ruins of magnificent palaces and fortresses strewn along the coast. Soak yourself in the misty beauty of Glencoe, voted as Scotland’s most romantic glen in a poll. Centuries of Scottish history shall come alive as you pass from one charming town to another, crossing many a lochs in the stunning Scottish landscapes.

6) THE CHAMPAGNE REGION: TASTINGS AT MOET & CHANDON AND HOUSE OF MUMM, CHAMPAGNE, FRANCE

Champagne in the vineyardWe know that Paris never gets old, however a short day trip from Paris to the  Champagne-Ardenne region encapsulates a quintessential French experience unlike no other. Start your day exploring the quaint streets of Reims, known throughout the world for its sparkling wine, Champagne and follow it up with a guided tour of Reims UNESCO World Heritage Cathedral. Journey through Rheims Mountain Regional Park in the Epernay region where you can get a tour of the Moët & Chandon wine cellars. Get a real sense of the history and how the champagne is produced, along with tasting sessions and plenty of opportunity to stock up on your favourite champagne! 

 

7) NEW YEAR’S EVE CELEBRATIONS IN BUDAPEST

What can be more romantic than welcoming the New Year on a boat on the Danube? Partake in the bonhomie created by live Hungarian gypsy music, and traditional folk dances. Watch the illuminated landmarks of the city from the comfort of your boat, while you tuck into some delicious Hungarian food. A boat trip on the river ensures a memorable New Year's Eve party in the Hungarian capital.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this feature…

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To be in Edinburgh during its Edinburgh Festival

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It is worth gearing up for, for the annual August festival of Edinburgh; which is also the largest annual cultural festival in the world. There are just so many things you can do at this time; with foreigners descending to the streets, the city is buzzing. In short, there is a lot of cheer and excitement everywhere.

The Edinburgh Festival is a collective term for many arts and cultural festivals put on by various unrelated organisations and are therefore officially separate events, but regarded as the same event as a whole, as it’s all taking place at the same time. There are so many festivals you’ll enjoy; out of which the Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe are the largest and original components of the festival. I personally love the Military Tattoo and the buzz and excitement I had in the Princes Street garden waiting for the fireworks display to start and setting up my camera to capture the night.

Fireworks on display

Fireworks on display

Edinburgh International Festival: This festival of performing arts takes place over three weeks from around the middle of August; and includes top class performers of music, theatre, opera and dance from all around the world. It also hosts a series of visual art exhibitions, talks and workshops.

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo: Don’t be misled by the term ‘tattoo’ here. There is no ‘ink’ involved : -) but rather it is used to describe the ceremonial form of evening entertainment performed at the esplanade of Edinburgh castle each year by Military musicians that composed of British Armed Forces, Commonwealth and International Military bands. It is Scotland’s best-selling spectacle and so is not a surprise that tickets for this big event is always sold out in advance; hence the need to be alert about it couple of months prior to the event. The Tattoo activity will entertain you with its high-tech illumination, imaginative graphics, thundering sounds of drums and bagpipes, impressive marching and specially commissioned fireworks.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe (or simply The Fringe): The Fringe is the world’s largest arts festival. It is an unjuried festival, meaning there is no selection committee and therefore any type of performance can participate; and includes a street fair which is located on the Royal Mile. Other shows include Music, Dance & Physical Theatre, Musicals and Opera, and Children’s shows, in addition to assorted Events and Exhibitions.

Other popular festivals include iFest, Edinburgh Comedy Festival, Edinburgh Interactive Festival, Edinburgh People’s Festival, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh Mela, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Edinburgh Art Festival and a whole lot more. Enough of reading and hearing about it; only when you have been a part of this big event can you say you have really seen the best of Edinburgh!

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Give Away: The Three Sisters Indian Cookbook

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three-sisters-cook-bookAs the weather is currently so lovely in Europe after a wash-out summer, Team isango! has decided to embrace the Indian summer* by giving away The Three Sisters Indian Cookbook courtesy of The Book People.

The Three Sisters Indian Cookbook is written by Sereena, Alexa and Priya Kaul and is full of recipes from their childhood in Kashmir. The three came to the UK in the 1970s and settled in Derbyshire, when they had families of their own they craved the dishes that their mother used to cook and this is the result.

The cookbook is full of mouth-watering recipes, from the familiar samosas, Aloo Tikki and Chicken Jalfrezi to the lesser-known Sukhi Macchli (dry spiced fish) and Bhindi Churma (crispy okra chips). The book also has a Masala Dabba section with information on the spices that are regularly used, and some useful preparation tips. The sisters have even created their own spice box that you can order from their website.

The recipes are easy to make and the ingredients even easy to get outside of India, so there are no excuses not to get creative in the kitchen!  We love the sound of the autumnal flavoured  Saeb-Adrak Aur Dalchini Chutney ( Apple, Ginger and Cinnamon Chutney)

We have five copies of The Three Sisters Indian Cookbook (published by Simon & Schuster; RRP £16.99) to give-away: simply send an email with ‘Cookbook’ in the Subject line to competition@isango.com  – ends 4th of Oct 2011.

* and yes… we realise the term Indian summer is very likely from Native American roots but it fitted so nicely…

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isango! Customer review: Vintage Car Tour

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We thoroughly enjoyed this trip and Don our driver kept us well informed all of the way. He queued up for our Alcatraz tickets.
The weather was not to good on the day but Don said that if we were here in the Summer the Golden Gate bridge would most probably be shrouded in mist.
He was a mind of information and kept you listening.
Would we recommend this excursion our answer would be a definite yes.

Edward, United Kingdom

Edward booked: Vintage Car Tour

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isango! Customer review: Vatican Walking Tour

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This tour is the best way to see the Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s. Our wonderful tour guide, Francesca, was a wealth of knowledge and her passion bought Rome’s history to life. If you are lucky enough to get Francesca as your tour guide you are in for a fantastic experience.

Janine, Australia

Janine booked: Vatican Walking Tour

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Customer review: Paris Opentour Hop-On Hop-Off Bus

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I cannot reccommend the hop on hop off tour bus enough! It was so convenient educational and took away all the stress of trying to find my own way. I had 4 teenagers with me, but many had small children. Make the most off your holiday and enjoy the time instead of stressing out of how to get where.
I am going to Rome next year and will certainly be booking the bus tour there. Value for money & stress free!!
Great shopping at Sacre Coeur!, Kids didnt want to go originally, ended up having to return the next day because the views were amazing!

Sajdah, United Kingdom

Sajdah booked: Paris Opentour Hop-On Hop-Off Bus

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isango! beats Local on TripAdvisor review

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We stumbled across an Isango Review on TripAdvisor, which speaks for itself.

Question from Tourist:

Isango charge £19.50. for a half day tour.

Could filling a taxi be a better & cheaper option ?

Answer from Local:

The rate would be 60 MAD return per person, but this applies to people who take a taxi from the taxi rank in Agadir’s city center, not from the port. So unless you are willing to take a petit taxi from the port to the city center, then haggle hard to get a half seat for 30 Dirhams, only then this would be feasible. The rate of 60 MAD return each would include an old taxi with no seat-belts or AC, and no foreign language speaking driver of course.

It is just my opinion, but I would not recommend this option.

Reply from Tourist:

Thank you for the information. You have made my mind up & I will go with Isango.

The full forum discussion can be read here:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g293731-i9519-k4164836-Isango_tour_to_Taroudant-Agadir.html

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Customer review: ATV and Blue Lagoon, Iceland

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Amazing trip thru lava fields… As an ATV novice, I chickened out going up the second hill… but the guides made me feel OK about it! Great trip, highly recommend, and the suits they give you keep you very well insulated. I didn’t feel a thing!

Juliane, United States

Juliane booked: Atv and Blue Lagoon, Iceland

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Customer review: Marrakech Discovery With 2 Meals

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Great Tour with excellent guide. Would recommend. Very full day but worth it. Lovely meals :-)

Samantha, England

Samantha booked: Marrakech Discovery With 2 Meals

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