Destination News Alert - Food.
Croatia [ETH] the new tourism star of the European Union The Croatian National Tourist Board has released a new promotional video entitled OCroatia [ETH] the new Tourism Star of the European UnionO in the run up to the countryOs admission to the EU in July. The video is an extension of last yearOs Ode to Joy by Ana Rucner, which marked a shift in the tourist boardOs approach to focus more on inland Croatia. You can watch the new video below: Jun 2, 2013
Istanbul student writes to eTN to report police madness Things are worse in Istanbul right now. Police are resting during the daytime and attacking at night. We cannot believe the limited footages we see. It is very intense. We need the international press to report the police madness here. ETurboNews continues to receive updates on the situation in Istanbul, Turkey, and publishes this letter from a university student there: I'm writing on behalf of my friends. I'm a 22-year-old university student from Istanbul. I saw your e-mail address on Twitter. As you know, Istanbul is the cultural and economic capital of Turkey, and Taksim is the heart of the city. But today Taksim is also the home of resistance, opposition, and maybe awakening. On Monday, people gathered in Gezi Park which is the only vivid green area near the district, to protest the decisions enabling to destroy this beautiful symbol of Taksim and to build a big shopping mall there instead. The protests started as a nonthreatening sit-in, people were reading on the grass, playing their guitars, and singing together. They even tried to share their food with the police forces surrounding them. After 4 days, that scene changed dramatically. At 5:00 am Friday morning, police forces started to use water cannons on sleeping people and made a mess of their tents. First, hundreds become thousands in Taksim. Everyone who wanted to stand up to this cruel intervention of the police went there. There were artists, poets, journalists, writers, and university students, so no one can say that it was a protest without awareness. On the contrary, it was the awakening of Turkish society. Many tweeted that they were going to Taksim not for just Gezi Park but also for the silence of the government after the Reyhanli bombing, the ban of basic rights, serious OadvicesO of the government concerning discussions on family structure and abortion but mostly for Erdogan's attitudes towards his people. (He gets more repressive and deaf to his people day by day.) This is Turkish people standing up for what they believe in and trying to avoid this situation worsening. They all say that they are doing this for their future, for the next generations. Even the least politically engaged generation Turkey has ever seen is actually roaring, aiming to be heard and listened. However, now PM Erdogan is calling those people "marginal groups." Moreover, the police forces are trying to kill them by cruelly using tear gas. Right now, there are dozens of people waiting for help on the streets especially in Besiktas, another famous district of the city. It has been 48 hours since the clashes began, and it doesn't seem to be ending soon. At least we know that the fight on the streets might end, but for those of us fed up with condescending, inconsistent, and abusive ways of our PM, hope is on the horizon. A minister is someone the public voted for, the PM is the one that is responsible for and to his people. He must be a leader, a pioneer, a negotiator at times, and at times like this, he must be the help his people are reaching out for. He should so the best for the country, even if it means to have a failure on his part. The real question here is, how can a PM stand still when the incidents are this severe? We see police forces abusing their power, beating people heavily, using plastic bullets, so at the end of the day it comes down to this: how can he put up with the pictures, videos, and news from the sights where the excessive force can be detected clearly? And it's not even just Istanbul anymore, dozens of cities in Turkey like the capital Ankara, Izmir, Adana, and Eskisehir are burning with this fire of freedom. Is it that hard to accept negotiations with the people? The trigger is most likely the words of Erdogan, that "they" had already made their decision concerning Gezi Park, implying there is nothing people can do (yes, he really said that). Well, we did prove him wrong, didn't we? By the way, on the second day of the clashes, after the police ran out of tear gas bombs, they started to use some other chemical gas bombs. As I said before, especially in Besiktas today, we've seen people being ambushed. Police attacked Bahcesehir University, because there were medical treatments to the injured people within the campus. Can you believe that? Unfortunately, Turkish media doesn't work. That's the unkindest cut of all. They only say that some "marginal" groups attacked police in Taksim. Thus, we need you support to be able to raise our voice. We need the help of the international media. Please don't be a part of that violence by ignoring us. Things are worse right now. Police are resting during the daytime and attacking at night. We cannot believe the limited footages we see. Erdogan is leaving for Tunisia tomorrow. It is very intense. We need the international press to report the police madness here. FInd out more about the Student reporting from Turkey: http://www.jessicastockwell.com/traveljournalist.html Jun 2, 2013
Sri Lanka elephant lives up to his Rambo name I first set eyes on Rambo in the early 1990s when I started visiting the Uda Walawe National Park. He was a young male elephant at that time, with a very calm demeanor. He had a very unique identifiable feature, where his right ear was torn in several places towards the edge. He must have been around 20-25 years at that time and was just beginning to show the characteristic pigmentation of mature elephants along the front of his trunk and ears. Subsequently, Rambo discovered that coming up to the electric fence along the Thanamalwila Road and soliciting food from passers-by was a very rewarding exercise. He was, in fact, one of the first elephants who started this habit of coming to the electric fence. Many passing vehicles used to stop and feed him with juicy tidbits such as watermelon, bananas, and sugar cane. He always paid respect to the electric fence, and never ever did try to break out. (The fence is really a psychological barrier because a full-grown elephant can easily knock over the fence, especially during the daytime when there is no electric current powering the fence.) As time went by, many other elephants learned this behavior from Rambo. Being intelligent animals, this type of copying behavior is quite prevalent in elephants. A few years back, there were some 18 or more regulars along the Thanamalwila Road electric fence. It was always the males who loitered around, since females in herds are wary of taking such risks. I did some casual, visual observations during this time, and found that there were about 10-12 adult males, including Rambo, and that the rest were young adolescent males who were learning the ropes. There was very strict territorial and hierarchical behavior that was evident. The adults had carved out their own stretches of the fence, which they patroled, while a few of them had the adolescent apprentices tagging along behind them. Although, I do not condone feeding these elephants, one day I bought some bananas to undertake an experiment to check out their behavior. The males were very protective of their territory, grabbing all the bananas being thrown into their domain, while the adolescents were forced to wait patiently behind the adults, who always had the first pick. Try as much as I did, I could not feed one adolescent directly, since the adults would immediately chase it away. One or two sharp young fellows did, however, manage to sneak in and get a morsel or two. Sri LankaOs foremost elephant researcher, Dr. Prithiviraj Fernando, told me that if the elephants were really looking for food, they would have breached the electric fence long ago. His assessment was that they were having enough to eat inside the park and coming for their dessert to the electric fence. So perhaps the elephants knew a good thing going and were very careful to maintain the status quo without breaking down the fence. There were many debates and controversies about this activity, and there were even some suggestions, that if it were properly controlled, this would be a good tourist attraction. However, all this changed about a year ago, when the wildlife authorities realized that they could not properly enforce the no-feeding rule along the Thanamalwila roadside, and erected a second electric fence behind the existing one. A large amount of money was spent on this second deterrent barrier last year, which extends from the end of the reservoir bund, right up to the corner of the park boundary on the Thanamalwila Road around 25th km post. This has proven to be quite successful, and today there are no elephants along this stretch of the road. However, the authorities had not bargained for Rambo. Unable to indulge in his favorite past time, he now started swimming across the edge of the reservoir and got on to the steep embankment along the reservoir bund, to access the roadway and to solicit food from vehicles passing by. Now Rambo continues to patrol this stretch of the bund. While this is quite an amusing and intriguing sight, which attracts a lot of attention, there is some concern that Rambo is getting too dependent on this type of food. I saw him last week, and he seems to be quite content to stay along the bund, eating whatever little vegetation is there and looking out for the additional favorite tidbit. The villagers told me that he more or less spends most of his time on the bund, which means that he may not be getting adequate nutrition from anywhere else. In fact, a closer look at Rambo revealed that his body condition was not that great. No doubt, he is advancing in age (he would be about 40-45 years now), but I still feel that the deterioration could be because he is not getting enough proper food. The wildlife authorities have tried on several occasions to chase him back into the park, by lighting elephant deterrent fire crackers (ali wedi) but apparently, he swims back across after the authorities have left. This is another case in point, where it is important that we need to have a proper system in place for the management of our wildlife resources. Here is an iconic healthy male elephant, which is slowly beginning to step out of bounds, and who may soon turn into a problem. He needs to be managed. Elephants are very intelligent animals, and they learn certain behavior quite easily. That is why even a mature wild elephant, which is captured, can still be tamed. So, using a proper carrot-and-stick approach, in a carefully concerted manner, it should be possible to teach Rambo that he should not be indulging in this type of activity. This is very similar to the situation in Yala National Park, with its mischievous tusker, Gemunu, who has got used to way-laying vehicles to rummage through them, looking for food. Like Rambo, this is also an exciting attraction no doubt, but at the same time, it is a potentially dangerous situation. The authorities need to, therefore, make a proper effort to dissuade Gemunu by negative reinforcement that he should refrain from raiding vehicles. Unfortunately the Department of Wildlife and Conservation (DWC), leave aside being able to manage and develop Sri LankaOs wildlife resources, is unable to even maintain the minimum standards in the wildlife parks today. Yala is virtually a lost cause now, with severe over-visitation, a mass free-for-all, with no adherence to any park rules, causing great damage to the environment and distress to the animals. Uda Walwe is being overrun by lantana, with the whole terrain and vegetation undergoing radical change, affecting elephant migrating patterns there. Hence, very soon, Sri Lanka may lose most of its wonderful natural wildlife resources. Jun 2, 2013
A gourmet guide to Rome There are endless reasons to visit Rome, but often food is not one of them, unlike, say, Bologna or, increasingly, Puglia. It is one of my favourite cities, and where I grew up, but I am the first to admit that the constant influx of tourists means that it is only too easy to eat badly here and pay too much. Diners, or shoppers, need not despair though; there are some real treats in store for the gourmet, or gourmand traveller. Diane SeedOs Roman Kitchen Dont miss: Viva Voce, Via Del Gianicolo 3, in the Gran Melia Hotel Villa Agrippina A relatively new arrival to the scene, which I was eager to try, as the fame of Michelin starred chef Alfonso Iaccarino and his charming wife Livia (owners of the legendary Don Alfonso, in Sorrento)travels before themE I wasnOt disappointed. All the dishes were exquisite to look at and to taste. Even my companions starter of OMediterranean red shrimp marinated with mint, orange and sweet and sour ginger, with tender new spring vegetablesO looked tempting and IOm allergic to shellfish! My artichoke antipasto, with the vegetable prepared every possible way, was truly delicious, and my pasta capelletti (little hats) stuffed with artichokes Oa la romanaO, truffle and spicy sausage, with a parmesan cream, was sublime. The chicken stuffed with thyme and lime, with a potato OtartO and chard still makes my mouth water at the memory of it. A trio of three beautiful mini desserts, delicious petit fours with my coffee, and a selection of wines by the glass suggested by our young and very helpful waiter (who is training to be a sommelier and was thrilled to be asked) and we floated home in a rather blissful trance. Il Tempio dOIside, Via Labicana 50, on the corner with via Pietro Verri The place to eat fish in Rome.. Amazing seafood including oysters and raw shellfish, Carpaccio of fish dressed with pink peppercorns and lemon, fish and seafood based pasta dishes and an interesting setting. I hadnOt been before, as I live in Puglia, by the sea, so I am a bit snooty about eating fish anywhere else. Friends kept urging me to go though, so, on a recent trip to Rome, I did. I had the Carpaccio and a mixed antipasto beautifully presented, with (cooked) mussels and clams, crispy battered strips of zucchini, anchovy fillets and octopus salad. This was followed by perfectly cooked sea bass . The restaurant was very busy (I went at lunchtime) and the service got increasingly erratic, but I thoroughly enjoyed the food. At the other end of the scale, for authentic home cooking try either of these: La Tavernaccia Via Giovanni da Castelbolognese 63, across the river from Testaccio market, towards Trastevere A warm homely atmosphere, the best lasagne I have ever eaten in my life, excellent bruschetta, primi and meat, typical local offal dishes for those that want them, reasonable prices and a good selection of wines [ETH] Roman home cooking at its bestE Enoteca Corsi, Via del Ges 87/88 ItalyOs answer to the workmenOs caf, with a limited choice of daily OspecialsO maybe 3 or 4 pasta dishes, main courses and desserts. Sit at one of the trestle tables, order from the blackboard, or point at what your neighbour is eating and expect tasty food and good value for money in a very central location. It is closed in the evenings and on Sundays. Shops/markets Often the best food shops are found near markets and, although Campo di Fiori is not what it was (very scenic, but less good stalls than once they were, higher prices and some tourist tat) this area is no exception. With a judicious fruit purchase (the stalls at the end furthest from the flowers are the best) and a visit to the following two shops you have a perfect picnicE The Antica Norcineria Viola, on one side of the market square, dates back to the late 19th Century and sells every pork product you can imagine, from whole hams, to salami, sausages and sliced ham in all its varieties. A selection of dried goods as wellE Il Forno sells excellent fresh bread and delicious slices of pizza rustica [ETH] perfect as a snack, cut in squares with the bottom half wrapped in paper . Serious foodies shop at Testaccio market , rather than Campo di Fiori however (and everything costs much less) [ETH] although the old covered market has been moved to more sanitary quarters , losing perhaps some of the charm. Volpetti Via Marmorata 47 is the place to go to buy the best cheese, oil, ham, salami, bread, pizza rustica, you name it and you can taste it, buy it and take it home to enjoyE Last but not least if you want to learn how it is all done, take a class or a course at Diane SeedOs Roman Kitchen, a cooking school in the Doria Pamphilij palace, with a fantastic view, through a round window, of the OWedding CakeO in Piazza Venezia and the Colisseum in the distance. Other than saying that Diane is the bestselling author of over 10 books on Italian and Mediterranean food and that she taught me everything I know about food and cooking I am reticent on the subject. She is my mother and, although we are in Italy, and nepotism rules, I am still English at heart! So I will simply let the following quotes from journalists speak for themselves: Jill Dupleix, OThe TimesO, UK: OThe whole experience is informal, but with its continuous stream of history and anecdote stirred in, itOs fantastically educational and inspriring.The lessons themselves are a cross between a seminar and a convivial lunch party where the guests arrive early to help with the preparation and stay on for a few hours to eat the results.O Victoria Hislop, OThe Sunday TelegraphO,UK: OConversational cooking at its best, from a woman who loves her work.OThrowing in a bit of Rome history with the salt, amd peppering the recipes with anecdotes.O Jun 1, 2013
Anniversary festivals heat up the summer at Telluride, Colo. A number of festivals are set to take place this summer in Telluride, Colo., featuring special events to commemorate their anniversaries. The Telluride Bluegrass Festival will include special performances this year to celebrate its 40th year. Telluride's Historic Sheridan Opera House will celebrate its centennial with screenings for the Telluride Film Festival and a Speakeasy Gala. May 31, 2013
3 Omust tryO experiences in Japan Japan is like no other country in the world. A land of incredible contrasts, it offers overseas travellers so many diverse and unusual experiences that you wont find anywhere else. This article is about 3 Omust tryO experiences for any discerning traveller interested in visiting the Land of the Rising Sun. Experience a ryokan (an alternative to a traditional hotel) Did you ever fancy sleeping on the floor, in a bare room with practically no furniture and paying over $1300 a night for the privilege? Well, if you didnOt yet [ETH] you have to try it. ItOs not as bad as it sounds [ETH] it will give you a taste of how Japanese people used to live and it is an experience you wonOt find anywhere else in the world. The most famous ryokans in Japan are in Kyoto [ETH] choose from either Tarawaya or Hiragaya. Both ryokans are more than 100 years old and very traditional. We have chosen to experience Tawaraya for our story. It has been run for over 300 years by generations of the same family. When you arrive in Tawaraya by taxi an old Japanese gentleman greets you at the door and escorts you inside. DonOt arrive early; check in is strictly after 3pm. Japanese live by the rules so you are not likely to get in your room before the check in time. At the door you must take off your shoes and put the offered slippers on. In winter the staff warm them up for you so they feel nice on cold feet. When you enter the ryokan, watch your head. The entrance is about 1.5m high, definitely not designed with Western travellers in mind. But that makes you bow [ETH] and that is a traditional Japanese greeting showing respect. Like I said before, it is a very traditional experience. Ryokan Tawaraya I booked a suite which consisted of 2 rooms with a sliding door separating the bedroom and the living room. The living room has only one low table and 2 chairs in it and the bedroom has no furniture at all. How different is that? Once in the room [ETH] the idea is to unwind! Take a shower or a bath and change into the stylish kimonos thoughtfully provided by the ryokan. When you are relaxed and settled in on the floor at your low Japanese table on tatami mats, traditional Japanese dinner arrives. People in Japan eat early so the staff expects to start serving dinner at 6pm. More about the dinner later as it is a second Omust tryO in Japan. After the dinner [ETH] bed time. Oh joy of simple life! As if by magic you will find a super comfortable futon bed appears on the floor in the bedroom area. A comfy nightie is left on the beds for everyone and all beds are separate single futon beds. If you are hoping for romance [ETH] you better be able to fit on one small bed! Ryokan beds I wasnOt too sure about sleeping on the floor [ETH] but it was so cozy being wrapped up in my feather doona on a soft pillow with Tiffany clock gently ticking by my side that I think it was my favourite part of the stay. The service at ryokans is a little harsh and very Orule orientatedO. The latest you can get breakfast (served in the room) is 8.30am (a little too early if you ask me) so promptly at 8.15am all lights went on and a slightly grumpy lady has shouted Ogood morningO at me. Luckily her grasp of English was just good enough to understand Oturn it off!O All in all [ETH]it was a very interesting experience. Even though not at all luxurious in a traditional sense and very expensive I still recommend it! be adventurous & try it! Have a kaiseki [ETH] a traditional Japanese multi-course meal Whether you are staying at a ryokan or not this is a must try experience. There are a lot of Michelin star restaurants in Tokyo and Japan that specialise in serving this type of meal. If you are going for a Michelin star experience [ETH] be prepared to pay for it. Most menu options start from $300-350 per person, food only. We experienced Hamadaya, a Michelin star restaurant tucked in a quite side street in Tokyo. Kaiseki The restaurant occupies a traditional old Japanese house that used to be a home of a geisha 100 years ago. Now the restaurant features 7 private dining rooms and a small Japanese garden. Every group dines in a separate room, so you have to make sure the company dining with you is fun, as there is no atmosphere or entertainment. The focus is on food and on sharing the experience with your partner. Again, you get greeted at the front door by one of the staff and escorted into the house. It feels more like visiting a home of a long lost friend rather than going to a restaurant. After the obligatory slippers are on and you are comfortably settled in the private tatami room a meal service starts. There is no menu so be prepared for a surprise. Every little dish out of a 10-12 course experience is like nothing you have ever tasted beforeEit looks, smells and tastes OunusualO. The menu is mostly fish / seafood based so if you are allergic or simply donOt like the fish youOll have to let the restaurant know well in advance. I found that Japanese people donOt like surprises; it is much better to prepare them in advance with any special requests. You wonOt be able to request a last minute change as they only shop and prepare for one type of meal every day (and being a very small restaurant they donOt cater for variety of tastes). The meal lasts for about 2 hours. Ladies serve you in traditional Japanese kimonos. They look beautiful but hardly speak any English, so communication with your waiter is out of the question. Did I forget to mention? They serve you on their knees and always serve a man first. The drinks menu is very limited with focus being on local Sake. I am not a big fan of sake and was extremely pleased to discover a NZ Sauvignon Blanc served by the glass. All in all [ETH] a very interesting, one-off experience, you wonOt find anywhere else in the world. As for the food [ETH] I liked around 10% of what was served but then, I donOt have a very adventurous pallet. For me, the food was too fishy with very strong aromas. Would I do it again? No, but I will strongly recommend it as an experience tried at least once. Visit Meiji Shrine [ETH] a truly spiritual experience There are a lot of shrines in Japan. But Meiji Shrine is one of the most famous and beautiful shrines IOve seen. It is surrounded by a luscious large green forest, that is peaceful and serene. This place is a true oasis in the middle of a huge busy concrete city. The shrine that is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife. It is an austere and spiritual place that is a must visit for all tourists in Tokyo. On the grounds of the shrine is a prayer stand where you can write your wishes on a little timber card and place them on the stand. The wishes are meant to come true! Meiji Shrine Open your heart and enjoy Japan! It certainly has a lot of new and different experiences to offer all of us. Marina Noble is Founder of The Lux Traveller. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us. May 31, 2013
5 reasons not to miss IbizaOs Summer party season There are few places in the world that epitomize sea, sex and sun (or is that OsinO) better than the stunning Balearic island of Ibiza. The official birthplace of the OraveO, it is not surprising that it has the reputation of being the quintessential clubbing island of the Mediterranean. Ibiza has the beautiful people, the beautiful beaches and plenty of fun to go around year-round. But if you are looking for the ultimate in decadence and debauchery then IbizaOs Summer party season is when you must go and many of the islandOs clubs and venues have special events running right through to the end of August. Ushuaia Party And for those that canOt be convinced, here are 5 reasons why a last-minute Ibiza getaway may just be unavoidable. Experimental Beach Ibiza Having just opened on 1st May 2013, be one of the first to trial the newest venture from the guys behind the likes of Experimental Cocktail Club Chinatown in London and New YorkOs Experimental Cocktail Club Lower East Side. Given its patrimony you can be pretty confident that this one is going to be a success. Open from 10am to 1am for drinks, food or just a lazy day at the beach. Bomba Ibiza Another new Ibiza venue with a promising pedigree is CiprianiOs latest club Bomba Ibiza. Last year saw the opening of their Ibiza restaurant Downtown Ibiza. And this yearOs club opening is certain to offer the glitz and glamour that we have come to expect from the Italian group. The club was to debut on opening weekend, but it has been announced that it will be delayed (date to be revealed soon). But in true Ibiza spirit, to make up for the last-minute postponement, CiprianiOs Downtown Ibiza will be hosting a number of one-off parties over the next few weeks. And theyOve set the standard by kicking off the season with an exclusive set from Disclosure and Fatboy Slim. Ushuaia Party Perfectly placed in the 5* Ushuaia Ibiza Beach Hotel, the Ushuaia party is renowned for being one of the best outdoor summer events. The opening party, with its stellar international DJ line-up, was touted as the hip and happening place to see and be seen and certainly attracted the islandOs VIPs. And with parties held throughout the summer season there will be plenty of opportunities to check out the breathtaking views from the newly built Ushuaia Tower or lounge poolside, sipping your cocktail, while the DJs take to the decks and spin the ultimate Ibiza summer soundtrack. Ibiza Rocks Nothing says Osummer partyO like live music. And Ibiza Rocks, running from 5th June to 18th Aug 2013, always draws the cream of the Rock OnO Roll crop. It is one of the few venues not to launch on opening weekend. So if you havenOt already booked your Ibiza getaway and you needed one more reason to head to the island this year [ETH] this is it. Lap up the sun while enjoying an eclectic line-up including Franz Ferdinand, Aluna George, Tinie Tempah and Ellie Goulding, thereOs a little something for everyone. Nikki Beach Ibiza The Nikki Beach Group doesnOt need much of an introduction, much thanks to its notorious St Tropez location that attracts the rich and famous from June to September. But now Nikki Beaches seem to be popping up in every popular sundrenched destination: Koh Samui, Cabo San Lucas, Mallorca, Marbella, Miami, St Barth, and now the buzzing town of Ibiza (launching this summer) [ETH] an obvious choice for their newest spot. Located on the East coast of the island on a stunning beachfront property overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, Nikki Beach Ibiza will showcase its signature beach club, a restaurant and boutique. May 31, 2013
ShhhhE community-owned luxury in Kenya ne of my favourite camps in Africa is up in northern Kenya in a massive wildlife conservancy called Namunyak. You can be forgiven for never having heard of it [ETH] not many people have. ItOs north of Mount Kenya, and not too far from Samburu Game Reserve. The camp in question is called Sarara Camp. For those in the know, it is one of the best little spots in Africa. But donOt tell too many people [ETH] itOs a secret IOd quite like to keep! Sarara Camp It is special in many ways, but one of the key reasons is one which you might never discover [ETH] it is owned by the local Namunyak Samburu community. The money that you pay to stay here helps the local community , but also has done vast amounts in the fight against poaching in this region. Before the camp was here, all the rhino had been slaughtered, elephants were nearly poached out, as were GrevyOs zebras, and much other wildlife was running scared. There are now over 4000 elephants here, and strong populations of other wildlife. Wild dogs are frequently spotted, and leopards are commonly seen here, in fact this is one of the best places to see leopards in Africa. Giraffes many types of antelopes, warthogs, civets, genetsE just a whole range of African wildlife is now comfortable here. Elephants near Sarara Camp, Kenya And comfortable you will be too! This is a romantic luxury tented camp with stunning views, a pool with a view over a waterhole, great hosting, and fabulous food. From here you can take walks, game drives, go on fly camps, and take bush dinners. But there is yet one more special thing about Sarara E it is the one place in Africa where you can experience the Singing Wells. This is not a natural phenomenon, but rather a unique event where naked Samburu warriors dig deep wells into the dry riverbeds to find water for their cattle. They sing as they haul the water up from the depths and the songs attract the cattle which apparently recognise OtheirO song. Excellent wildlife, gorgeous accommodation, superb conservation credentials, community-owned, and a unique cultural event. What more could you hope for from an African experience? Sarara Camp goodbye Amanda Marks is Founder and Managing Director of Tribes Travel. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us. May 31, 2013
Top 3 luxury bistros of San DiegoOs Little Italy A coastal city of Southern California, San Diego is known for its relaxed attitude, friendly people andNdespite its modest sizeNa rather diverse selection of gastronomical delights. Adjacent to the downtown city center is the beautiful neighborhood of Little Italy. As one would expect, the area is home to the most authentic Italian food in town. Additionally, other gems of restaurants have taken root in the community, rounding out the fine dining selection in one of San DiegoOs most happening places to live, work, play and eat: Davanti Enoteca Situated right in the heart of Little Italy on India Street, Davanti is the kind of place that welcomes guests with warmth, complete with a disarming sense of familiarity. True to its Italian roots, the bistro boasts a spirited atmosphere, superb cuisine and servers well-versed with its menu. Revel in the bistroOs central, outdoor patio made festive with rustic, cabana-like booths and strings of lights. Start dinner the right way with wine and focaccia di Recco, a delicious flat bread stuffed with soft cow cheese and side of honeycomb. For the main course, Riccio di Mare e Granchio will satisfy seafood cravings with its sea urchin and crab meat in a bed of linguine! Davanti, Little Italy, San Diego Prepkitchen Overlooking the neighborhood from its second story perch, Prepkitchen beckons the famished with its uniquely urban street-front aesthetic. Upon consumption of its famously seasonal, farm-to-table cuisine, expect a dinerOs deal sealed with a culinary kiss. While the restaurant keeps its downtown cool, it plays no games with regards to using fresh, quality ingredients. In fact, its menu is known to change frequently, depending upon what is locally available. Go in at the right time or call ahead to prevent missing out on the Charred Octopus Chorizo or Roasted Pork Belly. For heartier cravings, try the Fusilli Bolognese, a flavorful pasta dish of beef, porcini, tomato, rosemary and Parmigian-Reggiano. Fresh and flavorful, to dine at Prepkitchen is truly an urban delight. Prepkitchen, Little Italy, San Diego Extraordinary Desserts Nestled inconspicuously among lofty townhouses, Extraordinary Desserts is a romantic bistro specializing in small bites, salads, paninis and, no surprise, desserts. Modernity and art must also be part of the house menu, as the ambience and design concept cannot be described without using both those terms. The dining experience itself is a work of art; thoughtfully crafted menu items such as the Imported Italian Tuna Panini make for a scrumptious meal, especially when followed by a fresh fruit tarte. Or, indulge on a Wednesday night, when the bistro sets up a buffet-style bar of imported and domestic gourmet cheese. Of course, another option would be to simply end a promising first date by sharing one of the houseOs gilded cakes. And yes, you read that correctly N Extraordinary Desserts gives Othe Midas touchO a whole new meaning! Extraordinary Desserts, Little Italy, San Diego Grace Yco is the Digital Marketing Manager at ViX Paula Hermanny. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us. May 31, 2013
4 great reasons to visit Bermuda with your family With a warm and welcoming environment, year round good weather and a fine selection of child-friendly hotels, Bermuda makes an excellent choice for a family holiday at any time of year. If Bermuda is somewhere youOre considering this year. here are four excellent reasons to help convince you to visit with your family. Bermuda Safe beaches BermudaOs powder pink beaches are just perfect for children of all ages. Playing beach games on sand that is soft and kind to young toes and paddling in the warm clear shallows is exactly what younger children want. For older, more adventurous kids, snorkelling the off-shore reefs that line the South Shore is fantastic and helps them get to know the local marine residents. YouOll also find plenty of hotels and water sport centres offering activities including jet skiing, whaler boats, sea kayaking. All of these are activities the family can do together, creating shared memories to last a lifetime. Lots to explore Once youOve enjoyed spending time on the beaches together thereOs plenty more exploring to be done across the island. One of the best ways to do this, and burn off excess energy, is to hire bikes. Once in the saddle itOs easy to investigate the islands green interior, pristine colonial style villages and the old naval forts dotted around BermudaOs coastline. For a spectacular birds-eye view across the island a trip up to Gibbs Hill Lighthouse will reward you with sweeping vistas. Or head underground to discover sparkling crystal caves and deep mysterious pools of water that glisten with reflections of stunning rock formations. Budding wildlife enthusiasts will find plenty of opportunities to make friends with the islandOs wild inhabitants at BermudaOs aquariums, zoos and nature reserves. If youOre lucky you may also spot a pod of migrating humpback whales during the Spring months. Bermuda forms part of their migratory route and upwards of 8,000 whales can pass itOs southern shores around February and April. Easy to combine with a trip to the States ItOs very easy to fall in love with Bermuda and once there many donOt want to leave. But, if you can tear yourselves away, combining your holiday with a visit to the US is very easy to do. BermudaOs Atlantic location is close to the east coast of America which makes it extremely easy to hop on a short flight and create the ultimate holiday experience for your family. Florida, home to Bush Gardens, Sea World, Universal Studios and Disney World, is a mere 2 and a half hour flight away. Whilst the bustle and excitement of New York City is reached in just over 2 hours. This opens a whole world of possibilities for extending your holiday with lots more family friendly experiences. A warm welcome to younger visitors Above all else Bermuda is renowned for the feeling of warmth and safety it exudes to all visitors. Bermudians are welcoming and always ready with a smile and friendly hello. If youOre ever out and about and need directions locals are more than ready to help. Hotels will also go that extra mile to make sure youOre equipped with everything you need to keep the younger members of your party happy and entertained. Many offer baby sitting facilities, kids club with plenty of activities for all ages and menus specifically designed to cater for the discerning taste buds of younger visitors. Sure, you can get that all over the world, but here, they really seem to care just a little bit more. Victoria Brenner is Director at The Couture Travel Company. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us. May 31, 2013
Eco-packaging is the way to young consumers' hearts Young consumers are increasingly aware of and concerned about the environmental footprint of the products they buy, and that's making them pay attention to packaging, writes Tetra Pak executive Suley Muratoglu. "[T]oday's sophisticated, environmentally conscious shoppers are now paying attention to how much energy, water and effort it takes to grow, manufacture and transport food, and finally understand that packaging plays a key role in protecting it," he writes. May 30, 2013
Frequent Flier Programs Are Back Frequent Flier miles were so hot a decade ago. Everyone seemed to be collecting them via airlines, credit cards, gas and food purchases N you name it. But often familiarity breeds contempt N or at least complacency [ETH] and the miles craze seemed to ebb ... until now that is. "With airfares continuing to rise unabated, airlines merging and melding, fewer flights but with packed cabins due to fewer available seats N the time is ripe for the renaissance of collecting and amassing airline miles," observed Michelle Cohen, whose company Mitch-Stuart, Inc. has delivered more than 1.5 billion miles to travelers over the past 20 years. "In our opinion, miles are back!" "We absolutely saw a lull in consumer interest in mileage programs," noted Stuart Paskow, CEO of Mitch-Stuart, the nation's largest provider of airline miles collected through philanthropic giving N "but I think, due to the circumstances, we're starting to see a new renewed interest."
Their company N which through the years represented most of the largest carriers, including American Airlines and Delta Air Lines, the proverbial hosts of making miles available to non-profit organizations Nwas the pioneer in the field. Their "Frequent Funder" concept which they created 20+ years ago morphed into Mitch-Stuart, Inc., becoming the official non-profit consultant to American Airlines. "Any non-profit entity interested in providing miles to contributors was told to speak with us first," Cohen observed. "It was a tremendous opportunity for everyone involved," she said. "It definitely gave Stuart and me the credentials and legitimacy in understanding and implementing non-profit mileage campaigns." They are not alone in their assessment of the potential increased consumer interest in airline mileage programs. According to Randy Peterson of Inside Flyer Magazine, the definitive resource for everything having to do with airline miles programs, "We're starting to see a new vigorNa new consumer energy [ETH] in collecting mileage." He related, "It seems all the right factors are converging at the right time for renewed consumer awareness in the benefits of frequent flier programs." For Mitch-Stuart, Inc, they're very excited at the prospects. "We've changed our business model to focus much more on offering non-profits unique travel packages for fundraising via silent and live auctions," said Paskow. "And it's been a very successful transition for us. But N that said N we'll be more than happy to work with the non-profit world in creating mileage programs as well." Among its myriad of industry credentials, Mitch-Stuart, Inc. has been the recipient of the Freddie Award for Distinguished Achievement [ETH] the most prestigious honor in the travel industry. Named in honor of the legendary aviation magnate Sir Freddie Laker, the awards are presented annually to those in the travel industry offering the best and most successful marketing programs. May 30, 2013
5 highlights from a tour of the Prosecco region Located north of Venice, in the foothills of the Dolomites, lies the Prosecco wine region, home to ItalyOs favorite sparkling wines. Just as with Champagne, true Prosecco must come from this specific region, with the most sought after producers located between the towns of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene. A beautiful area in which to relax and enjoy the Italian countryside, cycling through some of the most lovely vineyards in Europe, and enjoying a well-deserved post-ride aperitif. Vineyard Here are 5 highlights of any tour of this magical region. A wine tasting at Enoteca Veneta Located in Conegliano, this wine bar is affiliated with the famed Scuola Enoteca (Wine College), where many a famous wine maker in Italy got their start. This is a wonderful place to learn about prosecco, how it is produced, and try the various versions [ETH] from the driest, brut, to extra dry and dry. You can also try many other wines produced in Northern Italy, including some little known DOCs like Malanotte di Piave (a robust red from Raboso), or the famed Amarone. An afternoon snack at Osteria Senza Oste This osteria Owithout a hostO is located next to the winery Col Vetoraz, high on a hilltop in Valdobbiadene. Here, you will find a small stone house stocked with cheeses, salami, bread, and other regional specialities. Enjoy a snack, accompanied, of course, with some prosecco as you delight in a spectacular view of the surrounding hills, covered with terraced vineyards. The whole operation works on the honor system, where you simply leave your payment when you are finished. A ride through the hills of Valdobbiadene Small family-owned farms, a bucolic rural setting, grape vines covering every inch of hillside, clinging seemingly precariously to the steep slopes. Every once in a while, you catch a glimpse of a farmer carefully tending his vines by hand. A slower pace of life. Biking through this area is the perfect way to join in the local lifestyle, as you will fit right in with the many local cyclists enjoying the great outdoors. A visit to a Prosecco producer There is no better place to appreciate the art of Prosecco than from the producers themselves. Many have been making these wines for generations, and all share a passion for their craft. One of my favorites to visit is Col del Lupo, just outside of Vidor. Their vineyards are sought-after by many a photographer looking for that Opicture-perfectO vineyard. And their prosecco is just as lovely! A night in Asolo, OThe Pearl of TrevisoO The hilltop town of Asolo, just a bit west of Valdobbiadene, is one of the most picturesque towns in all of Italy. Home to luminaries such as Robert Barrett Browning and actress Eleanor Duse, this town is also known as the OCity of a Hundred HorizonsO, due to the spectacular view in all directions. Stay at Villa Cipriani (yes, the same family as the famous hotels in Venice), or Albergo al Sole, elegant five star hotels right in the center of Asolo. May 30, 2013
Top 3 restaurants in Mykonos with grandmasO best kept secrets! Mykonos is a cosmopolitan island and offers a wide variety of choices looking for that island chic lifestyle. Beyond the beaches, the clubs, the stories that every rock has to say, the island offers a wide variety of gastronomic experiences from Asian to American cuisine. In conquest for the authentic Greek recipes, three restaurants definitely worth visiting are: Bohemian Beach Restaurant Panormos beach bar and restaurant, cited at Panormos bay, one of the few remaining golden sand beaches with clear waters and no umbrellas and a matre allocating sunbathing chairs. In the beach there are a few restaurants but this is the trademark. The restaurant has been just renovated under the new ownership of George Zaglaras, a flagship name in the island. The chief chef Dmitri Papadimitriou, runs his kitchen in pride and a 20 years experience while his long white hair, his glasses and smile makes you feel at home! The dcor is simple but elegant while white color prevails everywhere and contrasts with potted plants and vases with minor orient touches. The restaurant is covered by a desert camouflage net and provides shade to the round white tables and the spread out cushions with low tables. The atmosphere is bohemian while the guest DJs play everything from lounge to Greek music depending on the crowds mood! The menu includes from brunch to cocktails and in the must try list we note three dishes: the saut mussels with fennel, dry onion dill and ouzo along; the octopus vinaigrette with arugula, dry onion and capers and rice pilaf from Kassos island with chicken breast, tomato, clarified butter and Greek yogurt. The crowd is upscale and connoisseurs, while still relaxed and unpretentious. Mediterranean Mykonos Town restaurants for people watching: Bakalo, in Lakka area of Mykonos Town A traditional white washed Mykonian house of the 18th Century in Lakka, at the heart of Mykonos town. The owners of Bakalo, Nikos Nanou, Edigio Guerreri and Vicky Hatzidakis decided two years ago to blend in their backgrounds of journalism, psychology and law to create along with the chef Yiannis Gavalas a truly Greek bistro with home made recipes often found in our grandmothersO secret books! Bakalo, Mykonos The dcor is modern and skillfully plays with the house architecture of arches and courtyard gardens to offer various corners of superb warm style. The menu is Greek home made food and in the must try list we add: the marinated sardines with sea fennel, the roasted lamb shank with braised vegetables and the crispy pastry phyllo with walnuts, almonds and syrup. The staff is a polite and young with a talent to make you want to eat it all while they take you through the menu of the day! Nautilus, off Matoyianni in Mykonos Town In the heart of Mykonos Town, in a small alley just off the main street with the glamorous shops you can find the small contemporary restaurant of Nautilus. A prime spot for people watching at the center of the happenings. The restaurant blends in with the town architecture with white washed cubic structures and has limited tables both indoors and outdoors so best to book a table in advance. The dcor is extremely chic and sophisticated, the staff is very friendly and polite and the cuisine plays with Greek flavors and produce in a very creative manner. The co-owner Vasilli Theodorou is always around making sure all runs smoothly and to the highest standards. The must try list includes seafood and we pick the grilled octopus tentacle with caramelized onions, along with the eggplant stuffed with Cretan graviera (sheepOs milk cheese). The crowd is young bon viveurs looking to blend in with the townOs energy and tempo rubbing shoulders with the celebrities from all over the world! May 30, 2013
Hangzhou [ETH] a shopperOs paradise in China Just a short 45 minute bullet train from Shanghai is the popular capital city of culture and leisure, Hangzhou. It has also been the national centre of the production of silk for centuries and today hundreds of thousands of ardent shoppers descend every year to browse through the diversity of quality products and textiles available. Many head straight for the Silk City of Xinhua and Jiankang Roads near Wulin Square, a pedestrian street comprising over 800 picturesque shops and booths selling all 14 different categories of silk fabrics, garments and handicrafts at wholesale prices. Originally the site of the national silk market in the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the street stretches for over 1,150 metres. Hangzhou, China One product in particular, the West Lake Silk Parasol, combines the cityOs signature feature of the West Lake with quality bamboo and dazzling patterns in superior silk. Hangzhou brocade is much coveted for its bright colours and elaborate craftsmanship and those in the know seek out the best pieces in the Hangzhou Du Jin Sheng Brocade Silk Factory. Ladies looking for a variety of fashions and homewares head to Wulin Road, also known as OLadies Shopping StreetO where it intersects with Feng Qi Road and where a concentration of shops catering to all tastes and budgets continues to expand. Weary shoppers can now enjoy here a massage and manicure or refreshment before tackling more bargain hunting. Wulin Square is home to Hangzhou Dasha, one of the cityOs biggest shopping centres where international luxury brands can be found. Other international shopping centres are the Intime Department Store and Guoda Store, both in Yunan Road which is 3,000 metres long and one of the busiest shopping districts in the city. Veteran shoppers looking to combine their pursuit of the latest international designer fashions and luxury brands with the spectacular scenery of the cityOs famed West Lake make a bee-line for the Lakeside International Fashion Street of Hubin Road. However the most famous shopping street in the city without a doubt [ETH] and a must on any visitorOs itinerary [ETH] is Qinghe Fang Street, an ancient pedestrian thoroughfare where the myriad of shops and stalls are characterized by the architectural style of the historic Southern Song Dynasty (circa 900AD). Many of the shops are hundreds of years old and have been operating the same business for centuries. At its heart is the Huqingyu Chinese Medicine Museum, and other shops selling trusted TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) products and treatments are located nearby. Historically the area is one of the busiest in Hangzhou [ETH] a focus for tea houses, pawn shops, money lenders and rice vendors [ETH] as it is located close to the former site of the Imperial Palace (during the Southern Song Dynasty when Hangzhou was the capital of China). There are also hundreds of fascinating markets for those constantly on the look-out for a bargain, and the eagle-eyed usually make for Sijiqing Clothes Market which is the cityOs largest and one of the countryOs most influential where clothes are sold to wholesalers and individuals at knock-down prices. Other popular markets include the Hangzhou Collectibles Market, a building of three floors containing numerous vendors selling a variety of antique and artefacts including jade, porcelain, calligraphy paintings, stamps and coins [ETH] some genuine and others less so. Visitors looking for interesting bric-a-brac and reproduction items should spend time in the large Hangzhou Civil Collectibles Market in Zhongshan Bei Road where everything from traditional doors and windows, jade and mahjong sets can be bought after strenuous haggling. Stamp collectors in particular will be interested to check out the Erbaida Collectibles Market held every Sunday in Hushu South Road in the Gongshu District. Tech savvy fans of the latest gadgets and technology will be interested to explore the Electronics Markets of Xixi Digital Market, Gaoxin Computer Market and EGO Digital Plaza, all on Wensan Road. On sale here is a comprehensive range of the latest phones, computers, cameras and computer games and software and much more. And just for fun, a stopover in Hangzhou is never complete for the dedicated shopper without a visit to the famed outdoor Night Market where are diversity of fashion accessories, gifts and souvenirs can be won after hard bargaining [ETH] all part of the enjoyment of complete retail experience in captivating city. May 30, 2013
6 of the best open-air food market venues in Paris Shopping at open markets (march) is a popular and fun way to find the freshest food in town. There are more than 80 open air markets located in Paris and the surrounding suburbs. Even if your French isnOt great donOt be intimidated by the outdoor markets. The merchants are generally very friendly and really donOt care if your French is less than perfect. Marche dOAligre (12th arrondissement) Metro: Ledru-Rollin Arguably the most locally authentic market, March dOAligre is open until 1 every day except Monday. DonOt miss the covered hall on the Place dOAligre, where you can stop by a unique olive-oil boutique for bulk and prebottled oils from top producers. Reasonable prices and an eastern Paris location ensure that youOll catch a glimpse of OrealO working class Parisian families going about their shopping. In addition to the produce, youOll also find stalls selling trinkets, cheap clothing, and household goods. Rue Montorgueil (2nd arrondissement) Mtro: Sentier, Les Halles Rue Montorgeuil is one of the oldest market streets in central Paris. As its name suggests, this market is a street market, meaning that the shops themselves have their place and stalls on the street, and close only on monday. Amongst the fruits-and-veg, meat, fish, and cheese shops, you can also enjoy nice cafs and restaurants, and a great atmosphere, two steps away from the beautiful Saint-Eustache church and the busy area of Les Halles!Open from tuesday to saturday between 10.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m., and sunday morning. Le Marche des Enfants Rouges (3rd arrondissement) Mtro: Filles du Calvaire Le Marche des Enfants Rouges is the oldest food market in Paris, built in 1615 under the rule of King Louis XIII. The name literally means O Market of the Red ChildrenO and is located in the chic northern part of the Marais. Stroll along the Parisian stalls in quiet pace, take a look at the gourmet shops, cheese shops and vintage shops. Be sure to also visit OChez HOannaO and taste one of the best falafel in town! Le Marche des Enfants Rouges Rue Cler Market Street (7th arrondissement) Mtro: Ecole Militaire The 7th arrondissement is home to rue Cler, one of the best market streets in Paris. Find a wonderful selection of specialty food stores, patisseries, butchers, delicatessens, cheese specialists, fishmongers, greengrocers, chocolate shops and cafs. Most of the street is a pedestrian area and still has its original cobblestones. This authentic market street is where the locals go to buy their favorite foods or to meet friends and enjoy sitting outside the many cafs while they watch the world go by. Rue Cler Market Street, Paris March Prsident Wilson (16th arrondissement) Mtro: Ina or Alma-Marceau Located in the 16th arrondissement just across the Seine River from the Eiffel Tower, the March President Wilson, located between the Place dOIna and the rue Debrousse, boasts evident charms. The avenue itself is very wide and lined with mature trees, and is set on the backdrops of the beautifully detailed OBeaux ArtsO buildings. This large open air market has a wonderful selection of food and other items, including clothing, wine and linens. March Prsident Wilson, Paris The March Bastille (11th arrondissment) Mtro: Ledru-Rollin The March Bastille in the 11th arrondissement is one of the largest open air markets in Paris. Set up along on the boulevard Richard Lenoir not far from the Place de la Bastille, it is as much an event as a place to shop, with blocks of specialized stallsNincluding rare wines, regional cheeses, game, seafood, and flowersNcatering to a large swath of Paris chefs and epicures. This lively open air market has a fun and vibrant feel all its own, and is a great spot to shop not only for fresh food but also for clothing, household items and jewellery. May 30, 2013
What's for dinner? Burgers and flies Insects are easy to farm sustainably, and they're full of protein and nutrients, but most European and American consumers are squeamish about eating bugs. To sidestep that problem, researchers are finding ways to breed insects with the perfect nutrient combinations to serve as feedstocks for fish, chickens and other more palatable livestock. The production process is cheap and waste-free and can be certified as organic. May 29, 2013
Cheapflights.ca Takes Great Pride in Announcing Its Top 10 Up-and-Coming Gay Wedding Destinations With LGBT Pride Month celebrations taking place around the globe in June, the travel experts at Cheapflights.ca, the online leader in finding and publishing travel deals, decided to take a look at the progress of marriage equality this past year with the release of its Top 10 Up-and-Coming Gay Wedding Destinations. As one of the first countries to legalize same-sex marriage, Canada was and is a trailblazer in the gay pride movement. In the past twelve months, many more corners of the world have come to embrace marriage equality as well. The gay marriage movement is now racing forward faster than ever before, opening up a host of new wedding destinations for gay couples. Join us as we salute those around the world taking this step forward. Here are five new hot spots where gay and lesbian couples can celebrate their love and commitment and have it officially recognized.
Newport, R.I., United States - Rounding out the northeast corner of the United States, Rhode Island became the final New England state to legalize gay marriage with same-sex weddings expected to start in August. Situated along the state's 645 km of coastline about an hour south of Boston, Newport gives couples looking to book a summer wedding the chance to declare their love against a backdrop of spectacular beach scenery. With a lively downtown area, a stretch of famous mansions that once played summer hosts to wealthy families and three vineyards to visit, this resort town is an ideal warm-weather wedding destination.
Queenstown, New Zealand - Gay marriage won't officially become legal in New Zealand until August 2013, but Kiwis are already prepping for an influx of tourism from same-sex couples, specifically those hailing from their neighbour to the north, Australia. New Zealand will become the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to officially legalize same-sex marriage, which means gay and lesbian couples will now be able to exchange vows in places like Queenstown. Already one of New Zealand's most desirable wedding destinations, Queenstown is a four-season town offering spring flowers, summer warmth, fall foliage and a winter wonderland. Indoor and outdoor wedding venues are plentiful and its reputation as a resort destination means it's accessible and ready for plenty of visitors -- including wedding guests. Montpellier, France - Often dubbed France's unofficial capital of gay culture, Montpellier offers couples a beautiful wedding destination on the southern shore of this romantic European country. Situated along the Mediterranean Sea in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, Montpellier has a vibrant arts scene and a young vibe. From wandering among medieval architecture to taking in a show, couples and wedding guests won't be at a loss for cultural experiences here. The city's sunny, Mediterranean climate and its proximity to some of France's finest vineyards don't hurt either.
Copenhagen, Denmark - While Denmark previously allowed short blessing ceremonies for gay and lesbian couples, the country made formal church weddings available to same-sex partners last year. The capital city of Copenhagen is teeming with history and romantic scenery. Plenty of canals, parks and narrow streets give the city an intimate feel for couples looking for a more private affair. Award-winning restaurants are turning Copenhagen into a respected foodie destination and the beer scene is booming with microbreweries popping up across the city. With one of the highest numbers of restaurants and bars per capita in the world and watering holes that often stay open until 5 or 6 a.m., couples won't be at a loss when it comes to taking the celebrations into the wee hours of the morning. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Gay marriage is only legal in some parts of Brazil, but the state of Rio de Janeiro officially invited gay and lesbian couples to walk down the aisle inside its borders this year. The people here know how to celebrate. Known for its colourful carnival festivities, mountainous scenery and famous landmarks like Ipanema Beach, Sugarloaf Mountain and the Christ the Redeemer statue (one of the New Seven Wonders of the World) atop Corcovado Mountain, Rio de Janeiro offers plenty of experiences for wedding guests. And you can be sure they're prepared to host a wedding celebration; after all, the city is preparing to play host to athletes and spectators from around the world during the 2016 Olympic Games. Camden, Maine; Montevideo, Uruguay; Rehoboth Beach, Delaware; Seattle, Washington and Saba, Dutch Caribbean round out our list of Top 10 Up-and-Coming Gay Wedding Destinations. For further details on these destinations and to read Cheapflights.ca's complete list, visit www.cheapflights.ca/travel/top-10-up-and-coming-gay-wedding-destinations. May 29, 2013
Supermodel Georgie Badiel adds sizzle to Caribbean Week in New York
International supermodel, Georgie Badiel, will add her grace and charm to the one of the most spectacular events for Caribbean Week in New York, the High Fashion Show. Georgie will walk the runway wearing the creations of some of the leading Caribbean fashion designers, demonstrating why she has been one of the most sought-after models since bursting onto the scene in the United States in 2008. Described as sizzling on the runway, Georgie has strut down the catwalk for world famous designers, including Chado Ralph Rucci, Diane von Furstenberg, Marc Jacobs, Christian Siriano, Oscar de la Renta, and Zang Toi. OAs an international fashion model I am used to being around beautiful people, but I think the most beautiful aspect of a person is the mind. I am extremely honoured to support this great cause because it is through education we can create a beautiful mind,O the former Miss Burkina Faso and former Miss Africa said of her participation in the Caribbean fashion show. Georgie began her career as a 15-year-old modelling in clubs in Africa. She signed her first modelling contract in Paris in 2005, and has graced the catwalk in London, Milan and around the world. She has also been a regular on the New York Fashion Week runways and was chosen as "Model of the Year" during the Arise Magazine Fashion Week in Lagos, Nigeria in 2012. Joining Georgie on the runway for the Caribbean fashion show will be Chantal Clarke of Jamaica - the winner of Face Of Fashion "Jamaica" 2013, along with other models. Dubbed OCaribbean Fashion Tourism 2013,O the fashion show will provide the platform for talented Caribbean models and fashion designers, as well as mainstreams brands, to showcase their talent. Buyers and investors have been invited to observe and decide which of the fabulous designs on the runway will attract their investments. The event is produced by Face Of Fashion, a fashion modelling and fashion design management company, in collaboration with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO). OThe Caribbean ranks amongst the top in every field on endeavour, including the fashion industry. Caribbean Fashion Tourism 2013 gives talented designers from CTO member countries a stage on which to show off their couture at an exciting one-of-a kind show,O said Carla Hazel, president of Face Of Fashion. The premier Italian wine brand, VOGA, which has come aboard as a sponsor of the fashion show, will fly their newly minted promotional ambassadors, the VOGUETTES, from Italy for the event. This will be the VOGUETTESO first ever United States. The national brand ambassador for VOGA, Filippo Lapides, is also scheduled to attend and VOGA is expected to host a VIP tasting lounge, transforming Caribbean Fashion Tourism 2013 into a fashion show with a truly global identity and appeal. Participating Caribbean fashion designers include Rykardo De Jude Pneuaner from Barbados; Derricia Williamson-Adelle 13 Swimwear from The Bahamas; of Geedaj Jones Designs (Glenda Jones) from Dominica; Carol Fraser [ETH] Miracle Hands from Guyana; Haitian fashion designer, Prajje Jean-Baptiste; Gillian Francis-MINKA from Jamaica; Queen Esther (Esther Joseph) Kuumba Designs from St. Lucia; Kimya Glasgow from St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Simon Duncun from Trinidad & Tobago and the mainstream sports wear designer, A+Dreams - Black Heart Fashion. The mainstream brands are Katty Xiomara and Gunas. Caribbean Fashion Tourism 2013 takes place on Tuesday 4 June from 6:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M. at the historical New Yorker Hotel in the heart of the New YorkOs fashion district. A portion of the proceeds will go to the CTO Foundation, a charity that provides scholarships and grants to deserving Caribbean nationals to pursue studies in tourism and hospitality. In addition to the fashion show, Georgie will be at the Student Colloquium, which precedes the fashion show; the Caribbean Gospel Celebration on 1 June and Rum & Rhythm on 7 June. Caribbean Week in New York is supported by American Express, Amora Studios, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Association of Travel Marketing Executives (ATME), the Atrebor Group, the Islands Of The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Butterfly By Design, Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CACCI), Cayman Islands, Caribbean Airlines, Cititech Solutions, College of the Bahamas, CTO Allied Members, CTO Foundation, Departures, Destination Weddings, David Williams Funeral Service, Dominica, Don-Ka-Me-Ly-On Productions, El Dorado, Elite Islands Resorts, the Empire State Building, Face of Fashion, Faces of East, Food & Wine, Friends of Crown Heights Educational Centers, Grenada, Grace Foods, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Hardbeat Communications, Hilton Curaao, Hyatt Regency Resorts [ETH] Caribbean, Islands, Jamaica, JetBlue Getaways, Jewel Resorts, Kalinago Beach Resort, Laura Davidson Public Relations, Local Bozo, MarryCaribbean.com, Martinique, Monroe College, Nassau/Paradise Island, Princess Hotel Guyana, Puerto Rico, Quinn & Company, Raddison Blu Resort, Marina & Spa, Reggae Vibes, Saint Lucia, Sandals Resorts International, Saveur, SOWEB Inc., Tower Isles Patties, St Eustatius, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Martin/St. Maarten, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Travel + Leisure, Trinidad & Tobago, Turnstyle Marketing, Turks & Caicos Islands, Turks & Caicos Islands Community College, University of New Haven, University of Technology Jamaica, University of the West Indies and the United States Virgin Islands. May 29, 2013
Swiss tour operator to experience Reunion Island In partnership with Swiss tour operator, Departure Voyages, Reunion Island Tourism (IRT) has organized a meeting to be held in Mayotte with an educational tour for Swiss tourism professionals. These twelve people will experience first-hand what Reunion Island has to offer as they meet from May 29 to June 1, 2013. The goal of the IRT is to boost an innovative and unusual experience in the Indian Ocean area in order to strengthen the presence of the island of Reunion in the Swiss market and thus trigger sales in the short and medium term through product knowledge. With European countries being a growing priority market for Reunion Island, the IRT is pleased to welcome this tour operator from Switzerland. Source: Reunion Island Tourism May 29, 2013
Enjoy a little luxury at BulgariaOs Pirin Mountain this Summer re you tired of the noisy Summer resorts packed with tourists and no space for you to enjoy on your own? Are you looking for a more relaxing holiday, surrounded by pristine nature, fresh mountain air and crystal clear springs? Then look no further than BulgariaOs beautiful Pirin MountainE Bansko It turns out thereOs a lot to love in Bansko [ETH] known as the best ski resort in Bulgaria [ETH] after the snow melts. In fact, Pirin Mountain offers a lot more this time of year than any other season. Hiking, biking and various kinds of excursions for every kind of traveller are the best way to discover the treasures of the region. With a history that dates back all the way to the first antiquity [ETH] thatOs the 1st millennium BC [ETH] and after spending years under foreign rule, including Alexander the Great and the Romans, Bulgaria established its first empire and played a major role in cultural development, philosophy, agriculture, language and social structure. Bansko is the perfect starting point to explore this cultural gem and feel the real spirit of Bulgaria. At BanskoOs Premier Luxury Mountain Resort there are superb spa facilities and unique fitness programmes for the traveller looking to relax and rejuvenate. Whether you like a new head start in your life or just to recharge your batteries, this is the place for you. Premier Luxury Mountain Resort The warm weather, the pristine nature and the alpine character of the Pirin Mountain offer the perfect environment for hiking and biking holidays for all levels. Unique rock formations, lakes, various beautiful hiking routes and the majestic nature call on all mountain lovers to escape from the everyday routine and enjoy the best in life. You will be surprised of how many things you can do in Bansko during summer! You can choose whether you want to relax, enjoy nature and rejuvenate or have a holiday full of fun and adventure! You can enjoy the opportunity to discover the real spirit of Bulgaria and visit traditional places. Fun, adventure, culture and tradition [ETH] you can enjoy it all! May 29, 2013
Top 5 luxury destinations in Koh Samui Koh Samui is one of the most popular areas in Thailand and boasts wonderful sights, tasty cuisine and much more. Finding the right accommodation for your trip is essential to make it the perfect holiday and below weOve compiled the top five luxury accommodation destinations in Koh Samui. Koh Samui sunset Chaweng Chaweng is the biggest town on the island of Koh Samui and has the longst beach too. ItOs packed out with quality restaurants along its beautiful sandy beach and there are also plenty of unique shops and bars to be enjoyed. There are plenty of luxury villas to choose from offering the finest amenities including swimming pools, fully-stocked bars and more. Bophut Bophut is one of Koh SamuiOs most charming, intimate villages and although the area is made up solely of old Chinese shop houses converted into elegant restaurants, bars and shops you can also stroll around the area at your leisure and indulge in its romance. ThereOs a Mediterranean feel to the area and villas of the highest quality can be found nearby. Bang Rak Bang Rak is home to the most famous landmark of Koh Samui [ETH] The Big Buddha. It sits on the beach and is near the airport which makes a convenient place to stay and relax. There are plenty of luxury villas to choose from and itOs less touristy than some of the other areas if youOre looking for a break from the mainstream. Lipa Noi Lipa Noi is on the west coast of the island and is famed for its laid back and non-tourist feel. It is at a safe distance from the commercial east coast and the beaches are untouched and spotless. With shallow seas and a prime location near the islandOs main car ferry port itOs a brilliant location for families. Large, luxury villas are easily found and can cater for families of all sizes. Plai Laem Plai Laem is in the top right-hand corner of the isle and is extremely quiet, offering private villas and rental houses as well as luxury hotels. ItOs ideal for a relaxing break and itOs only 10 minutes from Chaweng where all the action happens. Luxury villas to cater for couples or huge families can be found and you can enjoy the highest level of indulgence in the area. A trip to Koh Samui will be an exotic indulgence youOll never forget and choosing to stay in one of these luxury destinations will make your trip even more memorable. Mark Cox is Director at Samui Island Villas. May 29, 2013
Shop Otil you drop in Rio de Janeiro! Rio Fashion Week 2013 may have come and gone in BrazilOs fun-loving city, but Rio de Janeiro remains a hub of style and fashion all year round. Here are our picks of the best boutiques Rio has to offer [ETH] from stylish brands to the most elegant designs, these are shopping experiences that canOt be missed! Rio de Janeiro Farm Farm has been a shoppers haven in Rio since 1997, and now works alongside international brands to bring fashionistas the hottest collaborations in Brazil and beyond. Alongside their effortlessly stylish clothing, Farm also offer surfboards, paddleboards and bikes, making them a one-stop-shop for everything you need to be the best dressed visitor on the beach. Osklen Another Rio staple from the nineties is Olsken, a brand that was created by Oskar Metsavaht to provide fashionable yet functional clothes for the people of Rio de Janeiro. Popular with cariocas for their printed graphic tees and unusual fabrics, shopping at Olsken will have you fitting in in Brazil in no time. Lenny Lenny Niemeyer is the stylish brains and beauty behind the popular Brazilian swimwear brand Lenny. Specialising in eye-catching bikinis, bathing suits and kaftans, Niemeyer [ETH] a distinguished architect as well as fashion designer [ETH] set about to create luxury swimwear that sheOd always wanted to wear, but couldnOt find in her native Brazil. With 18 stores dotted around the country, see the collection for yourself and make like a true local. Maria Bonita Maria Candida SarmentoOs homegrown Brazilian clothing and accessories brand Maria Bonita has been a hit with the most fashionable cariocas and tourists that Rio de Janeiro has to offer for over two decades. Her designs range from plain and elegant to edgy and experimental, whilst never losing sight of their luxurious Brazilian heritage. May 29, 2013
Luxury at the library If your idea of luxury involves a good book, sumptuous surroundings and uninterrupted peace and quiet, you need to know about GladstoneOs Library. Sitting unassumingly in the picturesque village of Hawarden, Flintshire, the UKOs only residential library is a blissful hideaway for book lovers, writers, theologians and anyone needing to just simply just be. Gladstone Library ItOs a fair bet you havenOt stayed in a library before but you wonOt be surprised to hear that, in true library style, the emphasis is on hush. The rooms are perfectly peaceful, with no TV, DVD player or radio to interrupt the silence. And they are simple but deliciously so, immaculate white bed linen warmed by thick Welsh wool throws and en suite pristine. Gladstone Library The library itself is an astonishing chamber, its thousands of books teetering upwards towards a vaulted ceiling and packed into nooks and crannies. The library is the legacy of four-times prime minister and Liberal MP William Ewart Gladstone, who lived in the nearby Hawarden Castle and wanted to bequeath his collection of 32,000 books to the nation. His solution was to buy this plot of land and trundle across the village with his books in a wheelbarrow to store them in a corrugated building known as the Tin Tabernacle. Following his death in 1898, this was replaced with the elegant redbrick residence standing today [ETH] a far more fitting tribute to the Grand Old Man [ETH] and his initial collection has now grown to almost a quarter of a million books, pamphlets and leaflets. Gladstone Library In marked contrast to the stillness of the library and the bedrooms comes Food for Thought, a residential dining room that doubles as a public coffee shop and bursts with chatter and literary discussion. Dinner is a lively affair, the lack of table service obliging guests to grab a tray and queue up for hefty helpings of home-cooked recipes such as turkey and sausage escalope followed by apple crumble, infused with cinnamon and swimming in cream. At the tables is a blend of clergy, students, writers, locals and tourists, all seemingly aware of the privilege of being here and keen for new experience. Gladstone intended his library to match up Obooks who had no readers with readers who had no booksO. Even though he might not recognise the iPads and laptops quietly being tapped away at in the library, or some of the courses listed on the brimming events calendar, the pervading ethos of learning for all would be heartily welcomed by Othe peopleOs WilliamO. May 29, 2013
Six unforgettable luxury Sri Lanka experiences Sri Lanka has been creating quite a buzz in recent months. From its lush landscape and ancient monuments to its exotic cuisine and welcoming people, the mystical appeal of this island paradise means it is quickly emerging as a desirable destination for those in search of a spiritual, cultural and relaxing luxury holiday. Sri Lanka resort When my colleague Fiona recently returned from a once in a lifetime trip to Sri Lanka, I was naturally curious to hear all about it, so I asked her to share the highlights of her adventure along the Ceylon Tea Trails to the Osand villageO of Weligama. Wallawwa, Negombo OI was lucky enough to stay at the Wallawwa hotel in Negombo for part of my trip. Set in a breath-taking converted manor house just a short drive from the airport, this secluded boutique hotel had everything I could have wished for [ETH] it is close to Colombo, yet wonderfully peaceful.O Helicopter ride to the Ceylon Tea Trails OA helicopter ride across the south-west of the island offered me an unrivalled aerial view of Sri LankaOs undulating landscape, including parts that are inaccessible by car or on foot. Soaring over the dense jungles and paddy fields, I caught sight of water buffalos grazing, small villages and ruined palaces. It was such an incredible experience.O Sri Lanka tea Castlereagh Bungalow OOffering awe-inspiring views across the tea plantations, a trip to the Castlereagh Bungalow is like stepping back to colonial time. The personal tour of the grounds with James Taylor [ETH] the great, great grandson of the famous OTaylors TeaO founder [ETH] is not to be missed. I ended my day watching the pickers go about their delicate work as I enjoyed a mouth-watering high tea of cucumber sandwiches, homemade cakes and Sri Lankan tea [ETH] perfection!O Amangalla, Galle OSet within the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Galle Fort, this 17th century building is adorned with antique and period furnishings. Rooms at the Amangalla offer four-poster beds and freestanding bathtubs. The terrace is the ideal place to relax after a day seeing the sights whilst enjoying a delicious Sri Lankan curry.O Tuk-tuk tour of Galle OClimbing aboard a charming tuk-tuk is really the only way to ensure you see all of the many wonders that this sprawling city has to offer. From the Old Dutch Fort to the Buddhist Temple Complex, ensure you have your camera to hand as you discover delightfully vibrant street scenes at every turn.O Stilt fisherman of Weligama OThe sight of dozens of the world-famous stilt fishermen, expertly perched aloft their tall poles as the sun slowly set, isnOt one that I will forget in a hurry. In fact, the friendly locals even helped me to catch a fish myself!O May 29, 2013
Study: DDGS makes dairy cows release less methane into the air A researcher at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada found that increased intake of distillers dried grains with solubles lowered dairy cows' methane emissions while boosting their milk production and overall dry-matter intake, writes Holly Jessen. Aside from the decreased methane and increased milk production, using DDGS allows livestock growers to cut costs amid high corn and soybean meal prices, Jessen notes. May 28, 2013
AntarcticaOs SeaWorld Orlando Debut I have to admit that I had not been to SeaWorld Orlando until last week. Yes, I've visited SeaWorld in San Diego and enjoyed the marine life and aquatic shows, but for some reason I just never got over to the Orlando park, even though I've visited Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando multiple times for park openings, new attractions and my own vacations. When I heard about SeaWorldOs new Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, however, I thought it was finally time to explore the park -- or should I say parks in the plural, because SeaWorld, as I discovered, is a multiple-day destination with three major theme parks in close proximity. First there is SeaWorld Orlando itself, which is now a combination live marine animal encounter and a thrill ride experience. SeaWorld has always prided itself in having some of the most entertaining and educational shows around, from the celebrated Shamu Stadium to other offerings like the Dolphin Theater and Sea Lion & Otter Theater. For roller coaster buffs, Mantu and Kraken rides are some of the best around in the Orlando area, while Journey to Atlantis offers a great themed water flume-like ride. For dining, Sharks Underwater Grill where you eat a served, substantial meal while gazing at giant shark swimming in a tank next to your table, is another very different experience. Now SeaWorld Orlando has added a new signature new attraction -- or in SeaWorld speak a OrealmO -- called Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin. Think one of the smaller "lands" in the Magic Kingdom or Harry Potter attraction at Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure and you can get an idea of the size and scope of this latest addition to the areaOs theme park scene. Antarctica replaces SeaWorld's former penguin attraction, but it offers an entirely unique experience that is much more immersive and thrilling at the same time. You enter Antarctica through a world of icebergs, snowcapped peaks and even a scientific station (housing the Expedition Cafe). Clearly, however, the main attraction is the combination ride and interactive experience with some 250 penguins. You enter into a holding area in groups of up to 24 where you hear the story of a young penguin named Puck, who is born in the wilds of the great frigid continent. The doors then open and you board one of four ride cars, each with seating for six. You can choose either a OmildO or a OwildO experience, depending on your tolerance for spinning and twisting. The story continues as your ride car twirls around ice caves with screens depicting the animated adventures of Puck as he grows up to be a young penguin. He can be seen swimming in the frigid waters of Antarctica and narrowly avoiding being a meal for a giant sea lion. When the ride experience ends, you disembark to an area that truly makes Antarctica a very special attraction. You suddenly find yourself looking over a low glass barrier in a dimly lit room at 250 penguins either sitting in the snow, playing or diving into a pool below. SeaWorld guides are there to help you better understand the penguin habitat and the different species of penguins on display. You can stand there for quite some time watching the penguins frolic and interact -- but the room is a chilly 30 degrees Fahrenheit, so it's probably advisable to move on after a bit. You then go through a revolving, insulated door to another large room where you can watch the penguins go swimming and diving at lightening quick speeds in a giant tank. SeaWorld guides are there too to provide commentary and information. As animal expert Jack Hanna told me, this is an attraction that is supposed to be fun but also educational. Indeed, Hanna said he was there to see for himself just how SeaWorld had devised its new Antarctica experience so he might incorporate some of it into his own Columbus, Ohio zoo. Look for my interview with Hanna next month on TravelPulse TV, as well as other interviews with SeaWorld Orlando executives. You finally emerge back into the main area Antarctica, where you can dine buffet style at the Expedition Cafe on Italian, Asian and American (chicken and fries) -- representing three of the main countries with scientific installations on the continent. Not surprisingly, there is a large themed souvenir store with Puck penguin replicas and even a penguin cup that you can accessorize with a choice of decorations, including plastic hats, eyes, feet, cameras, shopping bags, ice cream bars and water bottles. That cup proved to be especially popular with my daughter when I brought one home. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, there is much more to SeaWorld Orlando than just the one park. You also can book a full-day experience at Discovery Cove, where you can swim, view birds and fish, and have a full interaction with dolphins, petting them, swimming with them and even riding them. For an additional fee, you can go "diving" using specially designed helmets that take you on an underwater tour to see multi-colored fish and coral reef. Discovery Cove, while nominally a high daily entrance rate, also includes all food at the park as well as entrance to the SeaWorld Orlando theme park during a multi-day visit. Then there's Aquatica, SeaWorld's updated take on a modern waterpark, which offers beautifully landscaped grounds (you believe you're on a tropical island rather than in the middle of Orlando) and two wave pools, a lazy river ride, a rapid river ride, plus 80,000 square fee of Obeach.O There are also numerous watersides for thrill seekers and other more traditional waterpark attractions, all set in a lush exotic waterscape. Put it all together with SeaWorld's seven main partner hotels, including the Renaissance Orlando where I stayed, and you have a multi-day theme park experience that includes unique shows, waterscapes and thrill rides. Those same partner hotels also are in close proximity to the three parks, so it's easy to move between them. They also offer front-of-the-line passes to guests staying at the hotels. Antarctica obviously isn't the only attraction in SeaWorld Orlando, but it caps a steady effort by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment to build up its Orlando theme park trifecta into a world-class attraction that can compete with its neighbors up and down Interstate 4. It certainly opened my eyes to see how far SeaWorld Orlando has come since the days when I mostly associated it with Shamu. My thanks go to Thomas Valley, director-national accounts at SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, who was my guide throughout my Antarctica penguin encounter and the reset of SeaWorld's parks. For more information on SeaWorld Orlando and all SeaWorld parks, travel agents can click on SeaWorld Parks. May 28, 2013 AirGuideOnline ISSN 1544-3760 06/03/2013
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