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  1. 10 amazing Australia bucket list experiences

    When it comes to bucket list experiences, Australia does not disappoint. The country is a gold mine for adventure. Blessed with a variety of landscapes ranging from lively cosmopolitan hubs through to desert plains and the colourful ocean life minutes from its shores. Whether you’re a city lover, scuba diver, wildlife-seeker, sports enthusiast or adrenaline junkie, Australia has a once-in-a-lifetime experience for you. So grab your bucket list, we’re about to tick a few things off it. Diving in the Great Barrier Reef Definitely one of Mother Nature’s proudest achievements, the Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral ecosystem. There are several ways to admire the reef, whether it’s scuba diving or from above on a boat trip. Either way, this is a bucket list experience that everyone must do once in their life. Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb For the best views of this famous city, book yourself a Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. It’s not for the faint hearted but it offers unbeatable views (especially at night) and is a great way to get your adrenaline pumping. Meet dolphins in the wild Dolphins are friendly creatures, but usually you need to take a boat trip to see them. Their usual home is along the shores of Monkey Mia in Western Australia, however, they regularly swim into shallow waters to mingle with humans. Organised tours are operated by locals who know the best spots and have their own personal stories. Travel through the outback on board The Ghan Considered one of the world’s greatest rail journeys, The Ghan Railway reaches areas of Australia that are otherwise inaccessible. Crossing the states of Southern Australia and Northern Territories, the train will stop off at Alice Springs, Katherine, and Coober Pedy (the end points are Adelaide and Darwin). Drive the Ocean Road Over in the southern state of Victoria, lies Australia’s most scenic road trip. The Great Ocean Road is the world’s largest war memorial (it was built to commemorate WW1 veterans) and runs by several prominent landmarks. The most famous of these landmarks is the Twelve Apostles limestone stack formations. Soak up the atmosphere of Melbourne Melbourne definitely takes the top spot as Australia’s coolest city. It’s the perfect place to view colourful street art, shop in stylish second-hand stores, enjoy international fusion cuisine and drink cool cocktails into the early hours. Remember to also take a day to relax, embrace the city’s café culture and soak up the atmosphere – in a city as interesting as Melbourne, this is sometimes all you need to do. Cage Dive with Great White Sharks If you’re an experienced diver, head to South Australia and come face-to-face with one of the ocean’s greatest creatures. Most tours have to be booked in advance and many operators request that you already know how to work scuba equipment. There’s also the option of watching from the boat though. Witness the Aurora Australis The northern lights might get more attention, but the lesser known southern lights are just as spectacular. They are a lot more elusive (and your timing needs to be impeccable) but it is undeniably worth it. The best time to see them is September with secluded Tasmania topping the list of locations. Watch the sunset over Uluru Rock Complete your Australian adventure with this fiery sunset. While the drive to Uluru rock is far (and bumpy!) the red glow from the rock in the later hours is one nature’s best tricks. What’s your top Australia bucket list experience? How many have you ticked off?
  2. It’s October and that means it’s fright time. Not just because it’s Halloween in two weeks, but because the latest instalment of American Horror Story is now on our screens. Acclaimed by critics and worshipped by fans, the show has become a favourite with TV fans obsessed with the macabre. Many of the season’s standalone storylines (that fit into a wider universe) are based or inspired by real-world events, such as New Orleans voodoo queens and disappearing colonies. The producers have brilliantly brought these storylines to life with some of today’s finest actors, impeccable special effects and location scouts who spent weeks looking for the perfect filming sites. Fans of the show have made it their goal to not only track down every filming location used, but also the real-life locations of the stories some of the seasons were based on. Ready for a pop culture guide/history lesson? Let’s get started. Season 1: Murder House The Harmon residence might not have been the friendliest or happiest home in the world, but there’s no denying that the house was beautiful. In real life, it is known as The Alfred Rosenheim Mansion and can be found on the wealthy Westchester Place in Los Angeles. Its real history is also fascinating (but a lot less gruesome). Rosenheim was an architect by trade (as well as a roller-coaster designer!) and built the house in 1902 for himself and his family. They sold it after eleven years to California’s richest man, A.J. McQuatters (the then president of the Alvarado Mining and Milling Company). The house then switched hands in the early 1930s to actor Edward Everett Horton. After that – believe it or not – the house was sold to Catholic Order of Nuns who used it is as a convent. They built a chapel on its grounds, and all the attic scenes were filmed here. It was damaged by an earthquake in 1994 and the nuns put it on the market for an impressive $3 million. The producers of American Horror Story weren’t the only film-makers to choose the house as a backdrop. Spiderman, Seabiscuit, The X-Files, The Twilight Zone, Six Feet Under, Bones, Dexter, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer have also filmed here. Season 2: Asylum While Asylum was set in gloomy 1960s New England, the series was mostly filmed in sunny Orange County. The exterior shots of the asylum were the Santa Ana Courthouse – an imposing Romanesque structure that was perfect for bringing the frightful Briarcliff Mental Institution to life. Season 3: Coven Die-hard fans will want to visit the Lalaurie Mansion - and we mean the real one. While the Gallier House was used for exterior shots, and the Hermann-Grima House was used for interior, this isn’t where everything went down in 19th Century New Orleans. On Royal Street, near the waterfront, you’ll find the real Lalaurie House. Purchased in 1832 by Doctor Louis Lalaurie and his wife Delphine, it became the location of many lavish parties and gruesome crimes. The couple was well-respected among the New Orleans elite but the slave trade began to notice the high-turnover of their house slaves. When a fire broke out, their secret was no longer safe. When law enforcement got to the property they discovered the missing slaves in the attic - many of them disfigured, mutilated and amputated. Some were also dead and never disposed of. The couple had already fled the city and it's widely believed that they moved to France. Many believe it was a slave who started the fire in the kitchen in the hopes of attracting attention from law enforcement. Over the years the building has been used as a saloon, barber and furniture shop. It was even owned by the actor Nicolas Cage at one point. For somewhere more light-hearted, remember to pop by Miss Robichaux's Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies aka the Buckner Mansion in NoLa's Garden District. You’ll also find Maison Vitry in the Treme District stepping in as Marie Laveau’s Cornrow City Salon. Season 4: Freak Show While this season was meant to be set in Jupiter, Florida, the producers kept to New Orleans. The circus camp was a purpose-built set that is longer there. But fans can still stop by Dandy’s home. The real location is Longue Vue House & Gardens in the Lakewood neighbourhood. The diner in the series is Camellia Grill in the French Quarter. Die-hard fans might also want to make the trip to Philadelphia. Specifically to the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia to learn more about the real-life Edward Mordrake. Season 5: Hotel Welcome to Hotel Cortez, aka the Cecil Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. While not used as a filming location by the producers, this infamous hotel and its shady past inspired the series. It opened in 1927, and since then has there has been over a dozen deaths caused by suicide, accident or murder. Its name changed in 2013 to Stay on the Main. The deaths that have taken place on the property are not the only thing that’s a bit off-putting. It was also the reported residence of serial killers Richard Ramirez in 1985 and Jack Unterweger in 1991. It is also rumoured that the Black Dahlia (who was actually portrayed Season 1 Murder House) made the Cecil Hotel her last stop before her death in 1947. For filming, the producers used The Oviatt Building at 617 South Olive Avenue for its exterior shots. The lobby and hotel rooms were a purpose-built film set inside Fox Studios, but there’s one place you can visit. The ornate wood-panelled ballroom is the lower level of the Los Angeles Theatre at 615 South Broadway! Season 6: Roanoke If you’re looking for the farmhouse where Matt and Shelby stayed, you’ll be disappointed. The house was purpose-built for the show in the Calabasas area of California. But you can still visit the real Roanoke (sort of). The modern-day Fort Raleigh National Historic Site in North Carolina is where the Roanoke colony was established by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1587. At the same time, a native Croatoan tribe also lived on the island and not everyone peacefully co-existed. Colony leader John White travelled back to England for more people and supplies. But between the harsh winter and the Anglo-Spanish war, he didn’t return for three years. When he did, there were no people or buildings, only the word Croatoan carved into a tree. Many historians, archaeologists and conspiracy theorists have tried to work out what happened to them. While you won’t find any remains in the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, there is a visitor centre with information. Season 7: Cult We’re only half-way through the current season and we’re not sure how many locations we might be introduced to. But eagle-eyed fans picked up from the trailer alone that the house the ice cream truck drives in front of is the same house that belonged to the Doyle’s in the 1978 Halloween slasher flick. The real-life location of these houses is Orange Grove Avenue in West Hollywood (the Myers House was 707 Meridian Avenue, South Pasadena, California.) Now that the show is running, we’ve discovered that the show’s main characters Ally Mayfair-Richards and Ivy Mayfair-Richards live in the Doyle’s former house. And a murder has already taken place across the street – in the same house where the Wallace family lived in Halloween. Oh, and the murder took place while a bit of babysitting was going on. Coincidence or homage? You decide. What is your favourite season of American Horror Story so far and can you name any locations that we’ve missed?
  3. New Zealand isn't just for backpackers

    Hitchhiking around New Zealand and trying to relive scenes from Lord of the Rings may seem like the perfect holiday for some. But what if you like hot showers, excellent food and sumptuous sleeping arrangements? The good news is you don’t have to scratch New Zealand off your list. New Zealand has more to offer than roughing it, and we’re here to help you to enjoy one of the world’s most beautiful countries in style. Getting Around Forget long distance buses. New Zealand is the land of the road trip, and renting a car can be one of the most rewarding ways to experience it. Take a trip from the north island to the south island (with a ferry in between) and watch the landscape shift dramatically from beautiful beaches, and volcanic mountains, to windswept plains, glaciers and snow-capped peaks. Or simply rent a car to do short trips into the nearby countryside from wherever you’re staying. Sleeping With so much natural beauty to take in, you’d be forgiven for forgetting about urban life in New Zealand, which is contemporary and energetic. Nowhere is this more evident than Auckland, where skyscrapers rise up from beautiful beaches and sparkling ocean. View it all from a luxurious suite in the Sofitel Auckland. If the city gets too much, get in your car and head to Solitaire Lodge, a leisurely three hour drive from Auckland, to experience the awe-inspiring Lake Tarawera in one of the world’s best boutique hotels. New Zealand is also one of the greenest countries on earth, with numerous, thoughtful eco-lodges. However, the south island does it best with Hapaku Lodge, which offers 360 degree views from handcrafted, sustainably-built treehouses. Eating and Drinking New Zealand is in the midst of a culinary renaissance. A new generation is celebrating their country’s gloriously fresh, local produce. Taste award-winning, cool-climate wines on the south island and immerse yourself in what looks to be wine’s next big thing. Try the sauvignon blanc from Cloudy Bay, or sample the pinot noir from Delta in Marlborough. For delicate food in an unpretentious setting, visit Grove in Auckland. And if you’re in the market for the pinnacle of New Zealand’s fine dining scene, look no further than The French Cafe, voted the best restaurant in the country in 2016. Things to Do New Zealand, after all, is a place of adventure and excitement. Add some exploration to your holiday by taking one of the many cruises out of Auckland to The Bay of Islands and bask in the sublime beauty of New Zealand’s ocean landscapes. While you’re on the water, New Zealand is teeming with marine life, so seize the opportunity to tangle with world-class marlin, kingfish and snapper. For serious thrill seekers, the appeal of New Zealand is its status as one of the originators of modern bungee jumping. Start at Karawau Bridge, the first commercial bungee in the world, and build up courage for The Nevis, a 143m jump from a cabin shakily suspended in mid-air by nothing but cables.
  4. 5 budget winter sun destinations

    Let’s face it, the UK never gets winter right. And there’s only so many months we can take of sludge, grey skies and electric blankets. Instead of patiently waiting for April to arrive, many of us just take off somewhere else for a week (or two) to perk up our spirits. Problem is, the later months of the year can get expensive and we’ve already splashed out on our ‘main’ holiday for the year. So we recommend these 5 cheap winter breaks to see you over until spring. 1. Canary Islands No matter what time of year it is, you can always rely on the Canary Islands for a sun-drenched getaway. Even better, they don’t have to cost you the world. With a range of accommodation offers you can stay in a five-star villa or a two-star self-catering apartment. The choice is yours. Keep an eye open for Canary Island deals, as there are always plenty of them floating around. 2. Gambia Gambia might not be a place you’d immediately think of when you picture a relaxing sunshine holiday, but it’s one of the world’s hidden gems. It’s much cheaper than other more established resorts, and you can stay in high-end hotels on a mid-range budget. January is its coldest month, but even then it is a toasty 24°C. You also won’t need a visa if you’re only there for travel. Related: A beginner’s guide to the Gambia 3. Cape Verde Savvy travellers have been heading to Cape Verde for a few years now. The beaches are pristine, the landscape not dissimilar to the Canary Islands, and the sunshine beautiful - so it’s not hard to see why. The islands are also home to a unique Creole Portuguese-African culture, which is especially noticeable in the local foodie scene. 4. Doha With new skyscrapers popping up along its glittering coastline, Doha is sometimes hailed as the new Dubai. There’s no pretending that Dubai is a cheap winter sun break, but Doha has many of the same things that attract people to Dubai – at a much cheaper price. 5. Marrakech December is an excellent time to visit Marrakech. The scorching summer heat has now cooled, plus the famous souks and bazars are less busy. Our tip, however, is to dine at the local restaurants rather than the hotels (the opposite to most travel advice, we know) as it’s the hotels who like to hike up the price of a three course meal.
  5. A shopaholic’s guide to Milan

    Milan might be filled with beautiful architecture and fascinating history, but it’s no secret that many people flock here because of the city’s undeniable influence on the fashion industry. The streets themselves look like something straight out of Italian Vogue. Those wacky catwalk fashions you see at Fashion Week? You might look ridiculous wearing them in the UK but in fashion-centric Milan, it is the norm. While you might assume you need to re-mortgage your house to shop here, savvy shoppers know how to find a designer bargain. You just need to know where to look. So grab your shopping bags, we’re going to Milan. Quadrilatero d'Oro If you really want to buy the latest high-end threads and don’t mind dropping a few grand, then visit the beating heart of the fashion industry. Roughly translating to the highly apt 'rectangle of gold’, you’ll spot all the big brand names such as Prada, Versace, Valentino, Tiffany & Co, Roberto Cavalli, and Fendi. Keep an eye out for the flagship Gucci store and the Armani Megastore. Even if you aren’t planning on dropping some serious cash, it’s still an impressive place. The window displays are works of art and the atmosphere is energetic. Corso Buenos Aires If you’re looking to pick up some familiar high-street names, then head to Corso Buenos Aires in north-east Milan. It boasts the largest concentration of clothing stores in Europe, most of which are mainstream and recognisable. H&M, Zara, Nike, Adidas, and Guess all make an appearance. After you’re finished shopping, take a breather in the nearby Indro Montanelli Public Gardens where you’ll find the Planetarium and the Civic Museum of Natural History. Corso Vittorio Emanuele II Similar to Corso Buenos Aires, this is a great place to pick up some high-street favourites. But it is also home to one of the city’s biggest department stores, La Rinascente. Boasting eight floors, you’ll find everything from clothing to perfume. Serravalle Designer Outlet There’s a joke amongst locals that only tourists shop in the expensive city centre. Experienced shoppers know that you can find top designer labels for much less in the many outlets found around the city – especially the ones you have to make more effort to get to. Serravalle is the city’s biggest outlet and lies 50 miles outside of the city centre (a convenient shuttle bus service runs 3 times a day from Milan Foro Bonaparte and once a day from Piazza Duomo). Here you’ll find 300 designer brands all with a price tag of 30-70% off. The shopping centre also had free WiFi, multilingual staff, a children’s playground and restaurants. Basement Outlet Not far from the city centre, you’ll find this unbelievable gem. While outlet stores have a reputation for being sweaty and a fight-for-all, Basement has a more boutique feel. Hidden beneath street level in a basement (hence the name) you’ll find some well-known designer labels for 30-70% off. Top tips for shopping in Milan: Sale season is the same as the UK: January and August. Most shops in Milan operate from 9:00 till 19:30 (13:00 – 15:30 is usually lunch break). Only shop in the designer stores if you really want this season’s top fashions and have the money to spare You can still own designer threads for half the price if you know where to look Don’t get hung up on shopping – Milan is a lot more than just fashion!
  6. In the UK we are no stranger to Greek cuisine, thanks to the availability of Mediterranean style restaurants. However, nothing beats the real thing. And no trip to Greece is complete without filling your plate up with as much delicious local cuisine as possible. While it’s tempting to stick to what you know and order a Greek Salad, Moussaka, or Baklava – we instead recommend giving one of these traditional recipes a try that are not as readily available in the UK. Amygdalota This almond based cookie is extremely popular and isn’t hard to find. Typically you’ll find them in casual settings and many Greek locals like to pair it with a glass of warm Greek coffee. Ellinikos (Greek Coffee) On the topic of coffee, we recommend trying Greece’s most popular type of hot drink: Eillinikos. Available in three variations, choose between Vari Glyko (strong & almost honey sweet), Metrios (medium sweetness) and Sketos (without sugar). Courgette Balls (kolokithokeftedes) This popular starter brings together a creamy filling and a crunchy coating, with a burst of flavour made up of courgette, feta cheese and fresh mint. Greek Fava Dip (Yellow Split Pea Puree) If Santorini is your Greek island of choice, you’ll see this appetizer popping up on menus across the island. Sometimes extra olive oil is added, so it can be used as a side dip as well. Saganaki – Fried Cheese Calling all cheese lovers. This only takes 10 minutes to prepare (it’s literally cheese coated in flour and fried) and makes for the perfect comfort-food appetizer. Spanakopita Also known as a Greek spinach pie, this tasty and hearty dish is prepared with (or, sometimes, without) feta cheese, butter, olive oil and baked until golden and crispy. It can also be served as a starter, side or main meal. Yemista Bursting with juicy flavour, Yemista is the Greek word for stuffed tomatoes (but sometimes you’ll find variations made with green peppers, courgettes, eggplants or aubergines) that are usually filled with rice and various herbs (sometimes mincemeat). Pastitsio The perfect main when you need something tasty and filling. Pastitsio is a baked pasta dish with added ground beef and béchamel sauce. Galaktoboureko Moving onto desserts now, you have to let this beautiful sweet dish melt in your mouth at one point of your holiday. A traditional sweet dish that goes back hundreds of years, it is made up of crispy pastry sprinkled with melted butter and usually served with custard and syrup. Loukoumades If you like your desserts a little more savoury than sweet, then try these golden puffs of fried dough. Usually sprinkled with sweet syrup, walnuts and cinnamon.
  7. Monarch Holidays Announcement

    Following this morning’s announcement that Monarch Holidays have ceased trading, the team at Barrhead Travel are working hard to ensure that all of our customers affected are contacted as soon as possible. If you have any urgent queries, please do not hesitate to contact our team on the following telephone numbers: Customers currently in resort: 0141 248 8844 Customers with forward bookings: 0141 248 9988
  8. 10 alternative city break destinations this winter

    Winter is the perfect time for a city break. A nice budget friendly way to fit in one last holiday before the expensive festive period. But Europe only has so many cities – or so you think. Amsterdam, Berlin, Barcelona, Rome and Paris are undoubtedly Europe’s most popular cities. However, even if you’ve ticked all these urban hubs off your bucket list there are still numerous other cities perfect to explore this winter. Here is just a selection of some of Europe’s hidden metropolises with just as much culture and entertainment as the big players. 1. Bucharest Looking for a spooktacular Halloween break? Why not take a trip to the home of Dracula! Bran Castle is a three hour drive from Bucharest, and there’s no shortage of tour operators offering a bargain price. In the city itself, you’ll find an eclectic mix of historical buildings and post-1980 architecture in the six distinct districts. 2.Hamburg This well-known German city is hardly the most out-there destination, but it doesn’t have the same celebrity-status as Berlin. However (in the same way that some British people consider London to be heavily commercialised) many Germans consider Berlin to be a metropolitan hub full of hipsters and reckon Hamburg offers a more genuine Germanic experience. 3.Galway or Cork If you’re looking for a super quick weekend away with your pals, Dublin is usually top of the list. But don’t forget about Cork or Galway. The two coastal cities offer everything you would come to expect from Ireland: music, scenery, nightlife, history and culture. 4. Tallinn The capital of Estonia is already popular with stag dos and beer enthusiasts, but it also packs a lot of history into its compact walls. Its Old Town survived the war and is well-preserved, while the modern part of the city is a mix of Baltic, Nordic, Teutonic and Russian cultures. A great time to visit is during the annual Tallinn Music Week (27 March – 2 April) when the city highlights its growing rock and electronic music scene. 5. Marseille Paris isn’t the only chic city you can reach via Eurostar: the quieter city of Marseille in the south of France is only 6.5 hours from London. As you wander around the various areas of the city, you’ll be met with independent boutiques, contemporary art galleries, beautiful churches, and trendy rooftop bars. 6. Valletta While Malta might be widely considered a great escape for a beach break, its capital city is home to the biggest density of historic sites in the world. Malta is also home to some Europe's best festivals. 7. Gothenburg If you’re looking for a city full of cultured arty types – then we recommend the Swedish city of Gothenburg. You’ll find colourful architecture, charming canals and street art. There’s even an amusement park with a lime green rabbit as its mascot! 8. Bologna Craving a taste of real Italy? Bologna is a foodie hub of Italy that has remained sheltered from mainstream tourist crowds. The city is also home to Europe’s oldest university and, as such, the nightlife is second to none. 9. Athens Athens is not exactly unknown, but Greece is more famous for its beaches and holiday resorts that its ancient capital city. The Acropolis is by far the city’s most popular attraction, but make sure you also stop by the Temple of Poseidon, Museum of Delphi and The Panathinaiko Stadium (where the very first Olympics was held). 10. Trondheim Looking for a winter wonderland? Norway’s original capital boasts northern Europe’s second largest cathedral (Nidaros Cathedral) and the scenic Nidelven River winds its way through its streets. Viking heritage is also in full-swing here, with the Stiklestad Cultural Center built on the site of country’s goriest battle. If you’re lucky, the northern lights might also make an appearance.
  9. 10 of the best festivals in Aruba

    Aruba is definitely one of the livelier Caribbean islands, and boasts a constant stream of festivals throughout the year. Whether it’s water sports, gastronomy, music or a colourful Mardi Gras – Aruba doesn’t need much excuse to fill out its streets for a party. If you’re visiting Aruba soon, check to see if any of these lively gems fall during your holiday dates. Aruba Carnival Unashamedly loud and colourful, The Aruba Carnival the most vivid event in the entire festival calendar. The most recent one lasted from November 2016 until March 2017 and included several spectacular events including the Jouvert Morning Pajama Parade, Children's Balloon Parade and a Mardi Gras event – before finishing off with Carnival Monday. Aruba Fashion Week Aruba is well-respected within the Caribbean for its taste in fashion and Aruba Fashion Week is a big event. The next Fashion Week is taking place in December, with 18 designers ready to showcase their newest designs and a trade show with 25 exhibitors signed up already. Aruba Food Truck Festival Food trucks have been changing the foodie landscape across the world – and Aruba is no exception. Back in April the country held its very first food truck festival, at Plaza Nikki Habibe, with eight different food truck companies in attendance along with four beer tents. Aruba Hi-Winds Aruba boasts the perfect weather conditions for windsurfing, so it’s no surprise that the largest amateur windsurfing event in the Caribbean takes place here every year. Aruba Hi-Winds attracts over 100 amateur windsurfers from the Caribbean, U.S., Europe, and Latin America, and they go onto compete in various competitions, in different categories, off the shore of Fisherman’s Huts. Dande Festival This is Aruba’s largest traditional music event and features more than 50 musical acts performing traditional Dande song using authentic Aruban instruments such as the tambu, wiri and raspa. The Dande Festival always typically takes place over the New Year period, and the next one starts in December 2017. Love Festival The festivals in Aruba are not all about sports or traditional culture – Love Festival brings together some of the best dance acts in the world to party under the sunny skies. The 2017 edition will be held in December and will feature Roger Sanchez, Stefano Noferini, and Dennis Ferrer. National Anthem and Flag Day On March 18th 1976, the Aruban flag that we now know was officially adopted to the sound of Aruba Dushi Tera (composed by Padu del Caribe, Hubert Booi and Rufo Wever). Every year since, a charming folkloric festival is held at Plaza Betico Croes in Oranjestad, along with a food festival and other cultural events. Aruba Wine and Dine Restaurant Week The date for the next Wine and Dine Restaurant Week is yet to be set, but it’s one of the biggest food related events on the island. Every year, several restaurants from across the island offer an exclusive Restaurant Week menu with terrific savings. Care is also taken to ensure that these restaurant hit different foodie types – whether you’re after fine-dining or fun family tapas! Annual Aruba International Pro Am Golf Tournament Golfing is amazing in Aruba, and in late August professional and amateur golfers get together for this two-day, 36-hole tournament featuring gifts, prizes, and special events. It’s held at the Tierra del Sol Golf course in the north of the island, and features a challenging course designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. with a desert layout similar to links courses of the American Southwest. Aruba Cup Need more golf? In December Aruba will see another golf tournament rock up on its shores. This competition will feature only top golfers as they go head to head for coveted title, and is also held at the Tierra del Sol Golf course. If you stay at the attached accommodation during the Aruba Cup you’ll be treated to Unlimited Golf, daily breakfast, use of the pool, gym, sauna and steam room, complimentary wireless internet access and $35 credit to be used at the Spa. What’s your favourite Aruba festival?
  10. The Iguazu Falls are one of the world’s most famous waterfalls. A trip to South America is definitely never complete without a day trip to witness them in real life. Whenever you visit one of the world’s natural wonders, it’s always good to arm yourself with some background knowledge. You’re probably already aware with some key facts anyway, but are you familiar with the following 10 pieces of information about the Iguazu Falls? 1. It has a larger average annual flow than any other waterfall You probably already knew that the Iguazu Falls is the world’s largest waterfall system. So it’s probably no surprise that it boasts the largest annual water flow of any other waterfall. In the rainy season from November to March, it can reach a whopping 450,000 cubic feet per second. 2. It name means Big Water Guarani is a native South American language that is still spoken by some indigenous tribes – with Iguazu roughly translating to Big Water. 3. Legend has it a scorned lover created the waterfall Apparently Mboi, a deity in the form of a serpent, was to marry a beautiful young woman called Naipi. Then she fell in love with a young warrior, Tarobá. When the young woman and her lover tried to escape in a canoe, she split the river in a fit of rage (with his serpent tail) and they fell to their death. 4. But others believe it was a volcanic eruption Which is probably more likely, but we’ll leave you to decide. 5. It was discovered by Spaniards Specifically it was the Spanish Conquistador Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, who was the first European to stumble upon the falls. One of the falls on the Argentine side is even named after him. 6. Birds even live inside the falls You’ll spot some birds plunging into the falls. Don’t be alarmed. The birds you see are Great Dusky Swifts and they nest on the rocks behind the walls. 7. Indiana Jones even stopped by The Iguazu Falls were used as a backdrop in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. They also featured in Moonraker (1979), The Mission (1986), Mr. Magoo (1997) and Miami Vice (2006). 8. The surrounding rainforest boasts a whopping 2,000 species of plants It is also home to the opossum, the only marsupial that is found outside Australia. 9. It is UNESCO World Heritage Site And they were also made a New 7 Wonders of Nature on November 11, 2011. 10. There are three ways to view the falls You can walk along the viewing platforms, take a boat on the lower stream or jump on a helicopter ride. All are equally beautiful and provide a different view of this beautiful piece of nature.
  11. 7 must-visits on a touring holiday of China

    Whether you measure it by population, landmass, or tourist sights – China definitely believes in the saying ‘go big or go home’. This is a country that has a lot to offer and you’ll want to make the most of any trip you take there. This is why touring holidays are very popular, whether it’s escorted or self-guided. We’ve rounded up seven amazing cities and villages that are must-visits while in China – and we even have an exclusive Escorted Tour with Wendy Wu that covers them all! 1.Beijing Start off in the capital of Beijing; a cultural and historical treasure trove are just a few of the guises of this magnificent mega city. A progressive and modern place that is growing at an explosive rate, you may have to peel back to the layers of modernity to find the three millennia of a tumultuous but glorious past beneath. Beijing has been a political centre for 800 years, the last of the 4 Great Ancient Capitals of China. Huge sights such as the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and Summer Palace perfectly illustrated the great wealth of China’s old imperial families, whilst the stark austerity of Tiananmen Square and the executive buildings surrounding it are a monument to more recent history 2.The Great Wall No journey to China is complete without a visit to the Great Wall. Found two hours from Beijing, the most convenient place to stay is the compact-sized city of Juyongguan. The wall itself is over 700 years old and clocks in at 5,500 miles – but don’t worry, most tours won’t make you walk the full way (you’re free to just admire it). 3.Xian If it’s history you’re looking for, you’ll find it in Xian. It is home to some of China’s most fascinating sights, diverse architecture and delicious fares, thanks to its[TC3] important role in China’s history. The Museum of the Terracotta Warriors is considered the primary historical attraction that all travellers must pay a visit to. Here you’ll be able to admire one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the 20th century. 4. Yangtze River If you’ve got four days to spare, we recommend a cruise along the Yangtze River. While cruising down this 6,300km waterway, you’ll pass the Three Gorges Dam (the largest hydroelectric dam in the world), the Wu and Qutang gorges, and the Goddess Stream. 5. Guilin Surrounded by picturesque mountains, the stunning city of Guilin even has a pretty name that translates into Forest of Sweet Osmanthus (a fragrant tree planted in large numbers throughout the city). While in the city we recommend trying some of the local food, which is a mix of Cantonese and Zhuang cuisine. Keep an eye out for dishes that contain what is known by the locals as the Three Treasures - Guilin chili sauce, Guilin pickled tofu and Guilin Sanhua Jiu (rice baijiu). 6. Yangshuo Leave the city behind and explore the scenic village of Yangshou[TC4] . A river cruise is a popular option, where you’ll slowly glide round river bends as staggering peaks rise over the horizon while grazing buffalos and local fishermen go about their day on the river banks. 7. Shanghai While China is full of intriguing history and oriental architecture, don’t pass up the opportunity to explore the modern metropolitan hub of Shanghai. You can spend hours exploring shopping malls, watching a sports game, dipping in and out of museums or wandering the streets admiring the modernistic skyline. What city or area of China is your favourite must-visit?
  12. How to experience Hygge in Copenhagen

    Hygge: A quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture). – Oxford Dictionary. This Danish catchphrase has definitely made its way into the conscious mind of the UK with many Hygge how-to-guides popping up in magazines and bookshops. But it’s always better to experience something first-hand rather than read about it. So we recommend that a trip to Copenhagen is definitely required if you want to truly bring some proper hygge into your life. Here are some top activities that should definitely inspire to inject some Danish wellbeing into your everyday life. Stop for some hot brunch Brunch is a big thing in Copenhagen and will help set your mind in a positive direction for the rest of your day. Some of the most popular and trendy brunch cafes in the city include Café Bang & Jensen, Mad & Kaffe, and Café Europa. For a really quick bite you can stop by one of the several Meyers Bageri bakeries that you find around the city. Canal Boat Tour While a canal boat tour isn’t the warmest thing you can do in the city, it definitely is one of the most relaxing ways to see as much of the city as possible. A canal tour will take you by some of the most recognisable sights of Copenhagen including The Little Mermaid statue, colourful Nyhavn and The Royal Danish Opera House. Nansensgade Nansensgade is the trendy neighbourhood of Copenhagen that is home to second-hand boutiques, cosy cafes and an annual street festival. It’s also conveniently located next to the famous Copenhagen lakes – perfect for a scenic afternoon walk. King’s Garden Like any major city, Copenhagen can get busy. When you want to retreat head to King’s Garden, an expansive green space in the city. The gardens were originally laid out during King Christian IV reign in the early 1600s, and are the country’s oldest royal gardens. Inside the grassy escape, you’ll find an herbaceous border, a rose-garden and a multitude of different-sized sculptures. Tivoli Gardens during Christmas From November through to the end of December, European cities sparkle from the lights of their Christmas markets. Tivoli is one of the world’s oldest amusement parks, and from mid-November its grounds are decorated with Christmas stalls selling everything from Danish tree decorations to heart-warming Danish street food. How do you inject some Hygge into your own life?
  13. New women-only taxi service in Paris

    Paris has a new taxi service that is just for women. What do you think about this? Do you think it is a good thing? http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/ground-transportation/female-only-taxis-paris
  14. Hands up if you get travel sick? *my own hand up in the air* I've suffered from travel sickness ever since I was a child and I doubt it will ever go away. Tablets help me a bit but I find sticking to a form of transport that doesn't make me feel quesy (it's buses, cars and long trains journeys that act me up, I'm fine with planes and short train journies) and listening to my iPod really helps. If you also get travel sick how do you manage it?
  15. Interesting opinion piece in Travel Weekly about airports testing travellers patience. Do you agree that cruise terminals and train stations are better designed and managed? http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/articles/286832/opinion-its-time-to-overhaul-our-atrocious-airports Airports are stressful but I wouldn't say they are worse than some train stations I've been to. I've never got lost in an airport but I have managed to walk into St Pancras thinking it was Kings Cross and have managed to get on the wrong train before (thankfully it was a local Glasgow train - my friend was once travelling from Amsterdam to Leiden and accidently got on the Berlin train!).
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