Worldwide Accommodation 2014-12-15T10:53:53+00:00 OsborneBrook Simply Puglia. /blog/blog/post/2014/12/12/simply-puglia 2014-12-12T00:00:00+00:00 2014-12-15T10:53:53+00:00 Alessandra Guarneri <h2>MY PUGLIA h5. Name: Alessandra h5. Occupation: Business Development at Worldwide-Accom Do you know that feeling when you want&#8230;</h2> <h2>MY PUGLIA</h2> <h5>Name: Alessandra</h5> <h5>Occupation: Business Development at Worldwide-Accom</h5> <p>Do you know that feeling when you want to leave everything and everyone, pack your stuff and go somewhere, anywhere, but go!?!&#8230;<br /> That happened to me after high school, about five years ago.<br /> I didn&#8217;t travel too far like some others do, because my heart belongs to Europe, so I chose to go to Puglia.</p> <p>I spent five unforgettable months in the most beautiful, hospitable, tranquil and amazing place.</p> <p>I found beauty and splendour in unique places, like Savelletri, in Fasano: between Bari and Brindisi&#8230;.breathtaking locations.</p> <p>An unspoilt, pure haven. Tranquility, almost as though, only I, alone, was there. Heaven on Earth, where the heel of Italy ends.</p> <p>Think about a crystal clean Adriatic sea, waves caressing the rocks, old Olive groves, prickly pink pears and baron land, against an ever blue sky. Yes&#8230;you are in Puglia.</p> <p>If I need to describe citizens in one word I would probably say, relaxed, friendly.<br /> In those five months I met the most humble, grateful, easy going people that I have ever met.</p> <p>From young kids to the elderlies, everybody makes you feel at home: hosting you, offering delicious food, making you feel like a local.</p> <p>Italy is known for each region having their own local specialties when it comes to dishes, using the individual produce of the region and Puglia&#8217;s dishes rate as one of the best that you will ever taste.- This will always be something I remember, when I think about this place.</p> <p>Think, Taralli, focaccia, vegetables, wine&#8230;it will be love at the first &#8220;taste&#8221;, trust me.</p> <p>You can&#8217;t miss the ongoing summer outdoor parties, where people gather, eat, enjoy, laugh, mix and celebrate these simple, yet totally vibrant occasions, which reflects the soul of Puglia.</p> <p>I am a proud Italian, sure, I have grown up in one of the most fascinating countries, despite politics, despite government, despite anyone and anything, I just love Italy with all my heart and as a true Italian, I would like to let all people know how unbelievably exciting Puglia is, in every way imaginable.</p> <p>I am now living in London, though I adore this city, I know that one day I will go back to the Heel: Lecce, Ostuni, Alberobello, Monopoli, Cisternino&#8230;don&#8217;t know where yet, but I will definitely go back.</p> <p>Grab some of your best friends, be wild, genuine and natural&#8230;that is all Puglia asks from its people.</p> My Verona by Alessandra - always magical! /blog/blog/post/2014/11/19/verona-always-impeccable 2014-11-20T00:00:00+00:00 2014-12-09T16:53:31+00:00 Alessandra Guarneri <h2>MY VERONA h5. Name: Alessandra h5. Occupation: Business Development at Worldwide-Accom I grew up in this attractive, charming city&#8230;</h2> <h2>MY VERONA</h2> <h5>Name: Alessandra</h5> <h5>Occupation: Business Development at Worldwide-Accom</h5> <p>I grew up in this attractive, charming city and every time I go back it&#8217;s like time has stopped: unforgettable memories come up in my mind.</p> <p>This time, I had the great pleasure to stay in Verona for work, looking for the perfect apartments, the most kind owners and the most unique spots to suggest to our beloved customers.</p> <p>Very close to Venice and to the seaside, Verona is important for delicious wine (Valpolicella, Recioto, Amarone&#8230;), the international events &#8211; Vinitaly, Fieracavalli and Marmomacc; the one and only Opera, the food such as Tortellini, an exquisite kind of pasta; the Pandoro &#8211; typical Italian Xmas sweet and the tourism, of course.</p> <p>Built inside the castle walls, called Bastioni, which now host concerts and any kind of events, Verona can be visited by foot. <br /> 14 bridges lead people to the other side of the river Adige &#8211; the most ancient bridge is Ponte Pietra, a must to see, stoned, Roman arched bridge from where you have a breathtaking view over the city.</p> <p>To not forget are the Roman Theatre and the Roman Monuments, including all the Castle doors and arches.</p> <p>Every little street is a discovery, with it&#8217;s own history and own reason to be impressive; never forget to look up, you don&#8217;t want to miss anything of the imposing historic buildings with elaborated flowered terraces and balconies, stunning window frames and ancient stairs which lead inhabitant to the roof.</p> <p>As I arrived I couldn&#8217;t stop admiring the Arena: huge and ultra impressive, located in Piazza Bra, between the Roman Town Hall and a small park, perfect to rest and have a bite.<br /> I walked through all of Via Mazzini, discovering that new luxurious shops have opened and the first Xmas lights made my stroll just perfect.</p> <p>Here I am in Piazza Erbe, a famous open market by day and by night the favourite meeting point for locals. <br /> From here I could go ahead through Via Cappello, famous for the Juliet&#8217;s balcony, or walk in Portoni Borsari, another important fashion avenue; or just admire Corso Sant&#8217;Anastasia.</p> <p>Behind Piazza Erbe stands a statue of Dante, giving the name of the square, Piazza Dante where during Xmas time there is a cute market selling handmade presents and delicious local food.</p> <p>I met the first owner, a lovely young woman from Boston, moved to Verona for love.<br /> Yes LOVE LOVE LOVE&#8230;.that is all about when you stay in Romeo and Juliet&#8217;s nest: the most famous Shakespearean Drama.</p> <p>I had the pleasure to visit every kind of apartments, suites, villas: all of them so different in style and design. Choosing only the ones perfectly suitable for our customers and scrutinising apartments well to ensure that they met the standards of comfort, cleanliness and have the amenities required by our company. <br /> Meeting with owners was also important to determine that they were like minded people with the integrity and care that we seek, to welcome customers.</p> <p>A tranquil, particular and ancient city with a great park, on the hill, called Colombare, from where to admire a flawless view over Verona: very striking and the perfect spot where to run away from a stressful day and to meet with friends or just chill during a Spring or Summer day.</p> <p>The first stop after Verona was Valpolicella, one of the most prestigious, popular and important areas of Veneto.<br /> Well known by the wine lovers and it&#8217;s evergreen hills: worldwide-accom is now getting more and more accommodations in this unique place, to offer our customers the experience of an unforgettable stay, outside the hustle of the city.</p> <p>What about Garda Lake?<br /> Yes. I have also been there and words fail me&#8230;&#8230;like I was having a dream, walking through Sirmione, Bardolino, Lazise and many more vibrant, colourful villages with magical soul where endless walks and swans prevail above every thing.</p> <p>Maybe were the castles, maybe the ancient building, maybe the history of the places or the typical Italian, characteristic spots but I wanted to live these 7 days in my fairy tale.</p> <p>I could never explain how beautiful this whole area is and how much it is worth to visit for a lifelong memory.</p> Francesca and Marco Conti: Quantity or Quality /blog/blog/post/2014/11/9/quality-or-quantity 2014-11-17T00:00:00+00:00 2014-11-18T14:06:32+00:00 Jill Kammer <p>I am not a blogger, as a rule, however, I felt I wanted to comment on this particular subject, especially&#8230;</p> <p>I am not a blogger, as a rule, however, I felt I wanted to comment on this particular subject, especially for the sake of others that are thinking of booking apartment accommodation.</p> <p>Recently we were planning a trip to Europe and being a family of four, I had heard a lot about people booking apartments rather than hotels. I was inquisitive, as we had always booked hotels through our travel agent and had never thought of an apartment. With the kids now being too old to sleep together on a hotel rollaway beds in our room, I started my search on the internet for self catering apartments with two bedrooms so my husband and I could have more privacy.</p> <p>Knowing that an apartment will come with an equipped kitchen, so we would not be forced to eat every meal in a restaurant and also we would have more space was really starting to sound like a great solution.</p> <p>When I started my internet search, however, I became confused by the number of agencies offering apartment accommodation 100&#8217;s of countries, boasting, “we have one 10&#8217;s of thousands of apartments” and then following up with phrases like “live like a local”. I immediately thought, how could the agency possibly know each apartment with this number of apartments; how could they know the standard, the cleanliness and condition, of each apartment or even know who the owner was. After I book and pay the money on line, would there even be an apartment when I got there?</p> <p>Upon investigating these sites further, I learned that these huge operators take no responsibility, the fine print states, that they take no responsibility for the the quality of the apartments which they publish online and they basically allow apartment owners, room owners; anyone that wants to rent accommodation on the internet to just upload pictures and descriptions in any country and then charge a fee, to the owner, as well as charging a second fee to the client. Then they add a smiley picture of the owners, which is supposed to create more trust, with the idea that this should give you the confidence to book, even though the company never meets these smiling owners and never sees the apartment. Only the client sees the apartment on arriva. I am not taking that kind of risk, I thought, but kept searching, until I came across the website</p> <p>These people seemed to have far less apartments, but high quality. A family run operation that took full responsibility for what they were offering, as they inspected every property which they added to their site. That made more sense to me and seemed no risk at all. I didn’t want to scroll through thousands of apartments anyway, to find the right one and I wanted to be sure that they had inspected what they were offering us, especially as we were coming all the way from Australia.</p> <p>We are back home now and I definitely made the right decision going with</p> <p>We booked 3 apartments with them, Rome, London and Paris and we were more than pleased with the all three. They were well maintained, very clean apartments, with all the amenities we needed and the check in/out process was seamless, with friendly check in staff that assisted us with all our questions about the area, the best way to get around and the closest supermarkets. They even called us in Rome to make sure everything was going well.</p> <p>We are now more relaxed about apartment rentals, because we have found a company that goes for quality rather than quantity and they take responsibility.</p> My Rome by Elena: an insider's view on life in Rome /blog/blog/post/2014/10/27/my-rome-by-elena-an-insiders-view-on-life-in-rome 2014-10-27T00:00:00+00:00 2014-10-27T16:36:11+00:00 Alessandra Guarneri <h2>MY ROME h5. Name: Elena h5. Occupation: Restaurant Floor Manager I was born and raised in Rome and somehow,&#8230;</h2> <h2>MY ROME</h2> <h5>Name: Elena</h5> <h5>Occupation: Restaurant Floor Manager</h5> <p>I was born and raised in Rome and somehow, this city doesn’t stop to surprise me! <br /> I love to find and explore new spots in this city and I discover something new almost daily. Rome never fails!</p> <p><strong>My breakfast hunt</strong> My typical day starts with a huge breakfast at <strong>Vitti</strong>, a fabulous deli, spacious and comfortable. Great Italian coffee and delicious home made cakes.<br /> Popular and always crowded, everyone is friendly, professional and caring.</p> <p><strong>Vitti</strong><br /> Via di Tor Vergata, 273, 00173 Roma<br /> 06 723 3228</p> <p>Working in a restaurant, only gives me time for a quick lunch. My first choice is always <strong>Pinsere</strong>, where you can enjoy an amazing pizza with all the ingredients you can even imagine. It never lets me down!</p> <p><strong>Pinsere</strong><br /> Via Flavia 98 Roma</p> <p>Are you up for happy hour? Ok, let me tell you that there is not a happy hour, or better apartivo than in Italy, especially in Rome. A great choice is <strong>Meo Pinelli</strong>, where they serve delicious cocktails, combined with a generous buffet. An historical venue, located in the well known Cinecitta’ area.<br /> For a winter aperitivo or after a working day, there is the one and only <strong>Caffè Cantù</strong>, where you can choose amongst a wide range of teas and infusions, served with fresh pastries, while surrounding by an interesting atmosphere.</p> <p><strong>Meo Pinelli</strong><br /> Piazza di Cinecitta 55/61, 00174 Roma</p> <p><strong>Caffè Cantu</strong><br /> Via Appia Nuova 564, 00179 Roma</p> <p>After an entire day, trying to spoil clients with food and good wine, it is time for me to be pampered by someone else! <br /> I love going to nice and cozy restaurants where they serve quality food at a reasonable price.<br /> If you enjoy fish and shellfish, I highly recommend <strong>Cru.Dup</strong>; Nestor, the owner and chef is extremely gracious and really cares for his clients.</p> <p>When I am being a typical Roman, I crave great food and the best place to go is <strong>Zarazà</strong>. Apart from being in spectacular location, they have an outstanding menu.</p> <p><strong>CRU.DOP</strong><br /> Via Tuscolana, 898, 00174 Roma</p> <p><strong>Zarazà</strong><br /> Via Regina Margherita, 45, 00044 Frascati</p> <p>Fancy a glass of wine with friends, while enjoying contemporary art pieces and listening good music? <strong>Circolo degli Artisti</strong>, only €5 entry. Full of young and good people.</p> <p><strong>Open Baladin</strong> is a must &#8211; sipping a beer in a picturesque location-</p> <p><strong>Birreria Open Baladin</strong><br /> via Degli Specchi 6 zona Campo dei Fiori, 00186 Roma</p> <p><strong>Circolo degli Artisti</strong><br /> Via Casilina Vecchia, 42, 00182</p> <p><strong>My hidden treasure</strong> in Rome is <strong>Gianicolo</strong>! A petite hill by the Tevere, from where you can admire a breathtaking view over Rome. <br /> Do not miss it if you are around!</p> My London by Alessandra: an insider's view on life in London /blog/blog/post/2014/10/23/my-london-by-alessandra-an-insiders-view-on-life-in-london 2014-10-23T00:00:00+01:00 2014-10-24T12:39:17+01:00 Jill Kammer <h2>MY LONDON h5. Name: Alessandra h5. Occupation: Business Development at Worldwide-Accom I’ve been living in London for nearly 3&#8230;</h2> <h2>MY LONDON</h2> <h5>Name: Alessandra</h5> <h5>Occupation: Business Development at Worldwide-Accom</h5> <p>I’ve been living in London for nearly 3 years and from the beginning I tried to discover the city and its more interesting and charming spots. I’m in my early twenties and as a proper Italian girl I love being in places with personality.</p> <p><strong>My breakfast haunt</strong> My favourite breakfast is served at Ottolenghi fresh, delicate with a Mediterranean touch. Perfect to start the day in the best way.</p> <p><strong>Ottolenghi</strong><br /> <em>287 Upper St, <br /> London N1 2TZ</em></p> <p>For a lovely brunch I recommend <strong>Pitfield Cafe</strong>, where you can enjoy great food while being surrounded by a vintage and unique atmosphere.</p> <p><strong>Pitfield Cafe</strong> <br /> <em>31-35 Pitfield St, <br /> London N1 6HB<br /> 0700am to 0700pm</em></p> <p>Lunch means only two places to me <a rel="nofollow" href="">Brixton Market</a> and <a rel="nofollow" href="">Chelsea Farmer Market</a> where you can experience high quality, healthy and exotic meals in exciting locations.</p> <p>Do you have a spare afternoon? Definitely go to <strong>London Fields</strong> improvise with a disposable BBQ with friends or sit outside in <strong>Proud Camden</strong>, located in the 200-year-old Grade II Listed Horse Hospital in the Stables Market, right in the middle of the vibrant Camden Town.</p> <p><strong>London Fields</strong><br /> <em>Hackney, <br /> London E8 3EU</em></p> <p><strong>Proud Camden</strong> <br /> <em>The Stables Market, <br /> Chalk Farm Rd, <br /> London NW1 8AH<br /> 11am &#8211; 2.30am</em></p> <p>My idea of a great night out to relieve the pressure of a working day is chilling at <strong>Spiritual Caipirinha Bar</strong> or <strong>Troy Bar</strong> really wonderful venues if you want to get in touch with artists and musical backgrounds from all around the world while sipping a nice ale with friends.</p> <p><strong>Spiritual Caipirinha Bar</strong> &#8211; Exceptional ambiance, incredibly friendly staff and interesting decor make this place a flawless experience. They serve the best Caipirinha and Mojito in town!</p> <p><em>4-6 Ferdinand St, <br /> London NW1 8ER<br /> 6pm &#8211; 1am</em></p> <p><strong>Troy Bar</strong> is all about great music and jam session, so make sure you are a music lover before to pop in.</p> <p><em>10 Hoxton St, <br /> London N1 6NG</em></p> <p>For a cool week end out <strong>Hootananny</strong> and <strong>Rockwell House</strong> are the go to venues of the London night life. At <strong>Hootananny</strong> each night is totally different, live music and Djs playing and I can guarantee that the crowd will be always totally up for it. A great pub, taken to the next level by a massive sheltered area outside. Free entry. <strong>Rockwell House</strong>, an amazing roof terrace where you can admire a breathtaking view over The City.</p> <p><strong>Hootannanny</strong><br /> <em>95 Effra Road, <br /> Brixton, <br /> Greater London SW2 1DF</em></p> <p><strong>Rockwell House</strong><br /> <em>10-14 Hewett Street, <br /> London, EC2A 3NN</em></p> <p>When my nostalgia for Italy surfaces, I treat myself to a proper Neapolitan pizza at <strong>Pappagone</strong>, a real Italian corner in London! I favour <strong>Hi Sushi Salsa</strong> and <strong>The Drunken Monkey</strong> for the perfect girls night out.</p> <p><strong>Pappagone</strong><br /> <em>131 Stroud Green Rd, <br /> London N4 3PX</em></p> <p><strong>Hi Sushi Salsa</strong><br /> <em>Camden Lock, <br /> London NW1 7BY</em></p> <p><strong>The Drunken Monkey</strong><br /> <em>221-222 Shoreditch High St, <br /> London E1 6PJ</em></p> <p>I’m going to let you in on a little secret!! go to <strong>Blackfoot</strong> in Angel to find the best burgers in town.</p> <p><strong>Blackfoot</strong><br /> <em>46 Exmouth Market<br /> London EC1R 4QE</em></p> <p>My hidden treasure in London is <strong>Hampstead Heath Park</strong>, the perfect getaway from the London hectic life, but still in the heart of the city.</p> <p>All of the venue above have one thing in common: they are all affordable for an average Londoner. ENJOY!</p> My Rome by Leon: an insiders view on Rome /blog/blog/post/2014/10/23/my-rome-by-leon-an-insiders-view-on-rome 2014-10-23T00:00:00+01:00 2014-10-24T19:02:28+01:00 Leon Kammer <h2>MY ROME h5. Name: Leon h5. Occupation: Company Director at Worldwide-Accom To use the old cliche, when in Rome&#8230;.I&#8230;</h2> <h2>MY ROME</h2> <h5>Name: Leon</h5> <h5>Occupation: Company Director at Worldwide-Accom</h5> <p>To use the old cliche, when in Rome&#8230;.I like to stand at the bar, with the locals, which is the best people watching spot; Bar D&#8217;Angelo for breakfast, grab a &#8220;cornetto&#8221; and an espresso. There is something about the echoing of those clicking cups and spoons, mixed with the sound of steam, hissing from the espresso machine, which creates an energy, stating, &#8220;Rome is awake&#8221; and we the army of baristas will take care of you!</p> <p><strong>D&#8217;Angelo</strong><br /> Via Della Croce 30<br /> Roma</p> <p>Rome is not really a brunch place. The Italians like three meals a day and each meal has an importance.Most of the shops close for up to three hours, so lunch is a celebration and I love to go to the ancient part of Trastevere, where the washing is still hung on a line between two rustic buildings and right there between two buildings, in what is almost an alley way, is the delightful <a rel="nofollow" href=";pb=!1s0x132f6047597f7715:0xa061090e6e354fc7!2m5!2m2!1i80!2i80!3m1!2i100!3m1!7e1!4s!5sda+lucia+rome+-+Google+Search&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=vjVKVKDjNa3Y7Abpt4GoCQ&amp;ved=0CIwBEKIqMAs">Da Lucia</a> a family run establishment, with outdoor tables and some of the best Italian home cooking, I have ever tasted. The menu has not changed in generations and the carrafs of house wine could not be better suited for these simple delicious dishes. This honest no frills establishment let&#8217;s me know, I am in Rome and I&#8217;m alive!</p> <p><strong>Da Lucia</strong><br /> Vicolo del Mattonato 2<br /> Roma <br /> Phone:+39 06-580-3601.</p> <p>Rome does not cater for a big club scene like London. It&#8217;s more suited to street life and my favourite place for an Aperitiff is Campo dei Fiori the famous Piazza which by day is a food and vegetable market, with outdoor vendors selling all kinds of delicious things; not to be missed for it&#8217;s old world charm and character.By night, the market disappears, the cobblestones are swept and hosed and the fun begins, hundreds of people gathering in the Piazza, walking, chatting or taking up a seat, at one of the many outdoor bars, Campari in hand.</p> <p><strong>Piazza Campo dei Fiori</strong><br /> Roma</p> <p>The aperitifs and the &#8220;passiagiate&#8221; (the pre dinner stroll) is a ritual, which I love, starting around sunset, people appear in droves, for a relaxing stroll, naturally all carried out with great style. A place I like to always visit when in Rome is <a rel="nofollow" href="">Ciampini</a> an old family establishment, which boasts the best gelato in Rome; talk has it, that the recipe used, is a well kept, family secret.</p> <p><strong>Ciampini</strong><br /> Piazza S. L. in Lucina, 29<br /> Roma<br /> Phone:+</p> <p>Dinner in Rome is late, around 9pm is starting time and one of my favourites again in Trastevere is <a rel="nofollow" href="">Le Mani In Pasta</a> Not a large place, so I always book. The chef is from Sardegna and is a master with fish and wonderful home made pastas</p> <p><strong>Le Mani In Pasta</strong><br /> Via dei Genovesi 37<br /> Roma<br /> Phone:+39.06.581.6017</p> <p>I could go on forever, these are just a handful of places I love about Rome, one of the most exciting old world cities to discover.</p> My London by Jill: an insider's view on life in London /blog/blog/post/2014/6/19/my-london 2014-06-19T00:00:00+01:00 2014-10-23T11:37:42+01:00 Jill Kammer <h2>MY LONDON h5. Name: Jill Kammer h5. Occupation: Director of Worldwide-Accom I’ve lived in London for 4 years, and&#8230;</h2> <h2>MY LONDON</h2> <h5>Name: Jill Kammer</h5> <h5>Occupation: Director of Worldwide-Accom</h5> <p>I’ve lived in London for 4 years, and I love this city like no other, I&#8217;m never bored, life on London is full &#8211; full of good things and I long for little that isn&#8217;t readily available &#8211; perhaps the sun in winter would be nice.. but that&#8217;s about my only gripe.</p> <p><strong>My idea of a great night out in London</strong> is a dance show at <strong>Saddlers Wells</strong> or a night out at the Theatre, London has so much to choose from, there is always something on at <strong>the National Theatre</strong>, <strong>The Barbican</strong> or one of the small theatres like <strong>The Gate</strong> in Notting Hill, for me the smaller shows are the best, not the big west end shows which are over produced and without heart IMHO.</p> <p><strong>My breakfast haunt</strong> for an early morning breakfast is <strong>the Riding House Cafe</strong>, delicious toast avocado, porridge, eggs, and a great place to meet for work related breakfasts, its a great atmosphere and the long table means you’ll be comfortable eating alone.<br /> <strong>The Riding House Cafe</strong><br /> <em>7:30 am – 11:00 pm<br /> 43-51 Great Titchfield St<br /> London<br /> W1W 7PQ</em><br /> <strong></strong></p> <p><strong>My best lunch spot</strong> to meet up with a friend is <strong>Princi</strong> in Wardour St in Soho, it&#8217;s also a great place to eat when dining alone as part of the cafe has long benches where you share the space, they do great authentic Italian panini and salads, the cakes are out of this world, it’s the same Princi as in Milano, it’s so totally authentic that you might be in Milan when you’re eating in there… it’s so lovely to travel without going to airport! They also have a restaurant on the right hand side with really good wood fired pizza. Coffee is perfection here too.<br /> <strong>Princi</strong><br /> <em>135 Wardour Street<br /> London<br /> W1F 0UT</em><br /> <strong></strong></p> <p><strong>My favourite place to go when I have something to celebrate</strong> is <strong>Zafferano</strong>, this is the most amazing Italian food, at least as good if not better than anything I ate in 10 years living in Rome, the service is impeccable and friendly and the atmosphere cosy and elegant, my mouth is watering at the thought.<br /> <strong>Zafferano Restaurant</strong><br /> <em>15 Lowndes Street<br /> London<br /> SW1X9EY<br /> 020 7235 5800</em><br /> <strong></strong></p> <p><strong>My favourite places to while away time</strong> on the weekends would have to be the food markets in London. I often go to Borough Market on a Saturday, it’s busy but the vibes are great, people are so upbeat and so are the stall holders, my favourite cakes are from the “Free From Stall” where I buy a Chocolate cake that is sugar free and so rich (in a good way) you can only bear a thin slice. The take away food stalls always have something incredible, my current favourite is the South Indian stall that have delicious Dosas. The smaller farmers markets in London are also wonderful, there is one on a Saturday morning at the Duke of York Square just near to Sloane Sq, you can buy local cheeses from the UK which are very good and super healthy, lots of amazing ready made food like the organic Caribbean stall that sells the vege plates and rotis, these are dotted around London and you’ll likely find one in your neighbourhood on a Saturday morning. The food trucks are perhaps the best things, one I go to has a tea and crumpets truck, a fish burger truck, a turkish flatbread truck… these all produce amazing food…. such a treat for the palate.</p> <p><strong>My hidden treasure in London</strong> is <strong>Brixton Village</strong>, it’s really easy to get there, just 200 metres from the Brixton tube, I love wandering around the market, the area is colourful and full of interesting stalls, shops and cafes, my main motivation is to eat at the Franco Manca pizzeria, delicious Neopolitan pizza, wood fired and there are a whole host of other international cafes and bars. <br /> <strong></strong></p> London Flower Power /blog/blog/post/2014/4/2/london-flower-power 2014-04-02T00:00:00+01:00 2014-04-02T17:21:09+01:00 Jill Kammer <p><em>by Margaret Barca</em> From the drifts of crocuses that appear in Hyde Park in spring to tumbling, colour-filled cottage gardens&#8230;</p> <p><em>by Margaret Barca</em></p> <p>From the drifts of crocuses that appear in Hyde Park in spring to tumbling, colour-filled cottage gardens and the formal ‘garden rooms’ of Sissinghurst, England is the perfect place for garden lovers. But for those fortunate enough to be in London in May – and smart enough to have booked their tickets well ahead of time – the Chelsea Flower Show is THE biggest, brightest bloom of all.<br /> Held by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) in the grounds of the Chelsea Royal Hospital for more than a century, it’s a showcase for inventive and avant garde design, colour and creativity, and the newest trends from around the world. It’s a coming together of hands-on gardeners, horticulturalists, designers and those who just wish they could create some of this magic on their own turf. (Many visitors are, literally, green with envy).</p> <p>More than 500 exhibitors are booked for 2014. While there’s plenty of serious design there is also whimsy. We love the sound of the display based on Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit books, complete with the famous vegetable garden, the blue door and espaliered tree, and naturally, Peter’s favourite ‘Long Scarlet’ radish.</p> <p>There are displays exploring conservation and sustainability, exhibits commemorating the centenary of the commencement of WW1, magical gardens, Spanish and Italianate gardens, gardens based on star constellations and conceptual gardens based on touch and taste. There are Zen-like Japanese creations, sculpture gardens and wonderful Australian native-plant gardens. There’s even a garden planned to evoke the spirit of the Viking age, inspired by Nordic maritime exploration (seriously! ) And of course, lots and lots and lots of flowers. <br /> The Chelsea Flower Show is quite an event on London’s social calendar – all the best people go – and of course, it is almost always visited by Queen Elizabeth, who is the patron of the RHS.</p> <h3>A few fascinating Chelsea Flower Show facts:</h3> <p>Gnomes and other brightly coloured mythical creatures are banned <br /> In 2000, a new pavilion replaced the large canvas marquee, which was cut up and turned into over 7000 handbags, jackets and aprons, by the Old Chelsea Marquee Company.</p> <p>In 2008 fashion designer and passionate gardener, Manolo Blahnik, designed a rose-printed shoe just for the show<br /> Guests have included Ringo Starr (a regular), Sienna Miller, Jamie Oliver, Joanna Lumley, Helen Mirren, and swags of royals (the Queen, Prince Harry, Zara Phillips and more)</p> <p>In 2009 James May of Top Gear fame designed a garden in plasticine – and was awarded a gold medal made of plasticine. <br /> It takes 800 people 33 days to build the show from bare grass to the finished article. <br /> Royal Chelsea Flower Show 20 – 24 May 2014.</p> <p>As soon as you have <a href="">booked your apartment</a>, book your tickets to the Chelsea Show on line. They do sell out, as the number of visitors is capped.<br /></p> <p><em>All photos courtesy of Royal Horticultural Society, London</em></p> I love Paris in the tea time /blog/blog/post/2014/2/15/i-love-paris-in-the-tea-time 2014-02-15T00:00:00+00:00 2014-07-07T20:38:07+01:00 Jill Kammer <p><em>By Margaret Barca</em> We often think of tea as being ‘terribly British’ but, in fact, the French (Parisians in particular)&#8230;</p> <p><em>By Margaret Barca</em></p> <p>We often think of tea as being ‘terribly British’ but, in fact, the French (Parisians in particular) have been drinking tea for centuries, and their tea shops and salons de thé are …well, very Parisian. A proper pot of tea, perhaps some petit sandwiches and, of course, elegant patisseries, makes a perfect break in the day. There are hip newcomers – chic little cafes that pop up with stylish fit-outs and clever little morsels (this is Paris after all!) – and there are the classics.</p> <p>For top-shelf tea to enjoy in your apartment, you’ll find an amazing range of teas and tisanes (herbal teas) in beautifully curated ‘tea shops’, which often also stock all things tea, from lacquered caddies to teaspoons and samovars.</p> <h3>Carette</h3> <p>Carette faces the Place des Vosges, one of the most beautiful squares in Paris – golden in autumn, lush in spring, a cool green in summer. There are tables inside and out, and it’s popular with up-market American visitors who stay in this smart area, but also with savvy locals. I love the old-fashioned little savoury sandwiches in waxed paper (very Miss Marples) and the tartes au citron – creamy, custardy, with a sharpish citrus tang. There’s lots more though – impossibly perfect chestnut cream Mont Blancs, éclairs and macarons. Tea comes in silver pots, and there’s excellent coffee.</p> <p><strong>25, place des Vosges,</strong> <br /> <strong>4th Arr</strong><br /> <a rel="nofollow" href=""></a></p> <h3>Angelina</h3> <p>Angelina is something of an institution in Paris. It opened in 1903 and retains its Belle Époque ambiance (though ‘refreshed’, as designers say). It can feel rather proper, but when you hear that Marcel Proust took tea here (and perhaps Madeleines), as did Coco Chanel, you understand why. It’s also famous for its distinctive Mont Blancs and its signature hot chocolates, chocolat l‘Africain (amazing! but I don’t even think about the calories). Rue de Rivoli, across from the Tuileries, is the original venue, but try the salon at the Luxumbourg Museum. Ideal if you are on the Left Bank, visiting the Luxembourg museum or gardens. It’s new and crisply white, but the chocolate is just as rich.</p> <p><strong>226, rue du Rivoli,</strong> <br /> <strong>4th arr</strong></p> <p><strong>19 rue de Vaugirard (Luxembourg Museum), <br /> *6th arr</strong><br /> <a rel="nofollow" href=""></a></p> <h3>Rose Bakery Tea Room</h3> <p>There are several Rose Bakeries in Paris. The one in the upper Marais is very au natural, with crates of oranges, and super healthy salads, but if it’s afternoon you’re after, make for Le Bon Marché, the chic department store on the Right Bank. It’s light and airy, with organic cakes that are just a little indulgent. There are tea cakes, not cream cakes, icing not crème pâtissière, the lemon cake has polenta, the scones are filled with fruit, the carrot cake has Parisian flair. A lovely place to take a break from sightseeing and</p> <p><strong>Le Bon Marche (department store)</strong><br /> <strong>24 Rue de Sevres,</strong> <br /> <strong>7th arr</strong><br /> <a rel="nofollow" href=""></a></p> <h3>Dammann Frères</h3> <p>The Dammann family have been tea-sellers since 1692, and blending teas for three generations. Their Places des Vosges store is divine, with a wonderful apothecary atmosphere, all dark polished timbers, secret drawers, subtle herbal fragrances and exquisite packaging, with literally dozens of teas and tisanes. Their newest ‘Early Green Earl Grey’ tea uses bergamot fruit from Calabria. Really. Tea here is part science, part art.</p> <p><strong>15, Place des Vosges,</strong> <br /> <strong>4th arr</strong><br /> Open daily<br /> <a rel="nofollow" href=""></a></p> <h3>Mariage Frères</h3> <p>Established in 1854, this company is, literally, steeped in tea. Their ‘emporiums ‘(some with tea salons are dotted around Paris. The one on rue du Bourg-Tibourg, in the Marais, is lined with canisters and old-fashioned counters and is a treasure trove for gifts. And the teas! Imperial Jasmin, Black Magic tea, Rose tea, Blue tea. Pop upstairs and look at the tea museum. And in the tea salon, with its old-world potted palms, the most surprising menu is studded with sweet and savoury tea-flavoured delicacies: tea-infused crème brûlée, tea sorbets, scones with tea jam.</p> <p><strong>30, rue due Bourg-Tibourg,</strong> <br /> <strong>4th arr</strong><br /> <a rel="nofollow" href=""></a></p> <p>For an authentic Parisienne experience, take a look at these beautiful <a href="">Paris apartment rentals</a> for your accommodation needs.</p> <p>Photos courtesy of Angelina and Pole Luxe; <br /> Le Bon Marché and Rose Bakery; Dammann Frères.</p> Romantic in Rome /blog/blog/post/2014/2/15/romantic-in-rome 2014-02-15T00:00:00+00:00 2014-02-15T18:34:07+00:00 Jill Kammer <p><em>by Margaret Barca</em> Valentine’s Day – San Valentino – was just here, and we’re still thinking romance. Of course, it&#8230;</p> <p><em>by Margaret Barca</em></p> <p>Valentine’s Day – San Valentino – was just here, and we’re still thinking romance.<br /> Of course, it doesn’t matter what time of year you’re in Rome – it’s romantic. <br /> And what could be more romantic than going somewhere a little more special than usual for your pre-dinner aperitivo? Here are a few favourites. Salute!</p> <h3>Grand Hotel de La Minerve</h3> <p>You have to love the roof garden here. You’re right in the heart of Rome’s centro storico and, during the warmer months, from the elegant bar on the terrace you feel as if you could literally touch the dome of the Pantheon, one of the city’s (one of the world’s) great buildings. At the extremely stylish Il Bar, bartenders whip up a classic martini or an impressive mojito (in several different varieties, though it’s hard to pass the Originale).</p> <p><strong>Piazza della Minerve, 69</strong><br /> <a rel="nofollow" href=""></a></p> <h3>Salotto 42</h3> <p>If your idea of romantic is up close and personal, this could be the bar for you. It’s small and arty with book-lined walls, and casual by day. As the sun goes down however, cocktails and aperitifs come out, served with small snacks (because Italians never like to drink without eating something – very sensible!). The music, and the crowd, can get noisy later, but you’ll be moving on to a romantic dinner, so who cares? And when you step out into the piazza, you’re are facing the time-worn columns of Hadrian’s Temple, circa 144 AD. The Eternal City… how romantic is that?</p> <p><strong>Piazza di Pietra, 42</strong><br /> <a rel="nofollow" href=""></a></p> <h3>Hotel de Russie</h3> <p>In one of the city’s smartest areas (via Babuino, near Piazza Popolo) the Stravinskij Bar at the five-star Hotel de Russie attracts a chic crowd. The piazza overlooked by the terraced ‘secret’ garden – a lush green oasis – is the perfect place for an aperitivo (or two). If it’s chilly, you can retreat to the comfy sofas inside. Drinks here do not come cheap, but when the candles are twinkling, there’s the faint fragrance of orange blossom in the air, and the waiters are whizzing around, there’s a very special vibe – you could ONLY be in Rome.</p> <p><strong>Via del Babuino, 9</strong> <br /> <a rel="nofollow" href=""></a></p> <p>If you&#8217;re coming to Rome you should consider one of these <a href="">beautiful apartment rentals</a> in the neighbourhoods of these wonderful hotels so you can really enjoy Rome like a local.</p> <p>Photos: <br /> Captions <br /> Il Bar, the rooftop bar at Grand Hotel de la Minerve<br /> Bar Stravinskij, the piazza and garden at Hotel de Russie</p> A big bird and two top galleries in London /blog/blog/post/2014/1/30/a-big-bird-and-two-top-galleries-in-london 2014-01-30T00:00:00+00:00 2014-01-30T16:23:23+00:00 Jill Kammer <p><em>by Margaret Barca</em> It’s big, it’s blue… it’s a bird. And, on the so-called Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square in&#8230;</p> <p><em>by Margaret Barca</em></p> <p>It’s big, it’s blue… it’s a bird. And, on the so-called Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square in front of London’s National Gallery, it’s a tangible reminder that contemporary art is alive and well in the capital.</p> <p>For more than one hundred and fifty years that plinth stood empty, then in the late 1990s, the powers that be ( agreed that contemporary sculpture would be commissioned and displayed here on a temporary basis. The current exhibit – a bright blue cockerel, officially Hahn/Cock or the ‘blue cock’ – created by German artist Katharina Fritsch will be standing proudly there until mid 2014. The next commission will be announced in March.</p> <p>While you are thinking contemporary, there are two galleries (or strictly speaking, three) to add to your London to-do list.</p> <h3>Saatchi Gallery</h3> <p>Though better known to some as the former husband of Nigella Lawson than the <strong>artoholic</strong> he claims to be, Charles Saatchi’s eponymous gallery and his wealthy art collecting habits have played an influential role in the evolution of contemporary British art, or at least how it is viewed.</p> <p>Saatchi Gallery is wonderfully grand – very London, actually – and like London’s public galleries, it is free to enter. It occupies a fabulous building, the Duke of York’s HQ, with columned portico and parade-ground green in front, in the Kings Road, Chelsea. The generous spaces are a foil to curated exhibitions of contemporary art by young British artists with little profile, or international artists who are not well known in the UK.</p> <p>Some of these artists have gone on to show and exhibit with major galleries and to build stellar reputations. Check the website for current exhibitions (though if you are in London over spring/summer, Pangaea: New Art from Africa and Latin America sounds fascinating and typical of the ‘adventurous curatorial ambition’ Saatchi promotes.</p> <p>And if you enjoy going beyond the standard tourist to-do’s, the gallery has some excellent talks and events, including Sunday’s ‘Saatchi Salons’ from 2pm–4pm (there is a fee and you need to book ahead).</p> <p>You’re near Sloane Square and the King’s Road, so plenty of places for a pre or post exhibition drink/snack, though it’s hard to beat the gallery’s stylish Mess Restaurant Bar &amp; Café, especially in the summer when it spills outside.</p> <p><strong>My name is Charles Saatchi and I am an Artoholic</strong> (Phaidon, London, 2009) is a small but lively book worth dipping in to.</p> <p>There are some beautiful self catering apartments in the area around the Saatchi Gallery, <a href="">click this link to view</a></p> <p><strong>Saatchi Gallery</strong><br /> <em>Kings Road, Chelsea<br /> Open daily 10am–6pm</em><br /> <a rel="nofollow" href=""></a></p> <h3>Serpentine Galleries</h3> <p>The original Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens has been a showcase for contemporary art and architecture for more than four decades, showing both emerging British and internationally renowned artists. Now, there’s a second gallery, the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, a few minutes’ stroll away across the Serpentine Bridge. The new gallery occupies an 1805 former powder magazine, converted by Zaha Hadid Architects, that melds a sweeping, sculptural roof with a classical façade. It’s a new cultural destination for Londoners, with four exhibitions a year planned (watch for designer Martino Gamber’s Design is a State of Mind, March–April 2014). Both galleries are free.</p> <p>Not to be missed over spring/summer is the Serpentine’s annual Pavilion, with a temporary pavilion designed each year by an international architect (past architects include Frank Gehry and Oscar Niemeyer). Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto’s 2013 ‘Cloud Pavilion’ was a whimsical white structure of delicacy and delight (with a café inside).</p> <p>Ask about the audio walks too. You can download (to your mobile) one of 12 specially commissioned audios that run for the time it takes to walk from one gallery to the other.<br /> Brilliant idea, amazing stories.</p> <p>And leave time to wander around possibly the best art bookshop in London, Koenig Books.</p> <p>Serpentine Galleries gives a walk in the park a whole other dimension.</p> <p><strong>Serpentine Galleries</strong><br /> <em>Kensington Park <br /> Open Tues-Sun 10am– 6pm</em><br /> <a rel="nofollow" href=""></a></p> <p>Credits<br /> Photo of the serpentine sacker gallery © 2013 Luke Hayes<br /> Photo of the Cloud Pavilion, Sou Fujimoto Architects, Photo © 2013 Iwan Baan</p> Move over macarons… Parisians are having a new love affair /blog/blog/post/2014/1/15/move-over-macarons-parisians-are-having-a-new-love-affair 2014-01-17T13:18:21+00:00 2014-01-17T13:18:21+00:00 Jill Kammer <p><em>by Margaret Barca</em> Parisians have found a new delicacy to be passionate about. Yes, exquisite little choux-pastry éclairs are the&#8230;</p> <p><em>by Margaret Barca</em></p> <p>Parisians have found a new delicacy to be passionate about. Yes, exquisite little choux-pastry éclairs are the ‘new’ macaron. They’re airy-light with jewel-like glazes and intensely delicious fillings (think salted caramel, green tea).</p> <p>Just as Ladurée (and others) have endlessly tempted us with their inventive macarons in myriad varieties (blackcurrant–violet, bergamot, myrtle and ethereal pillows of almond–marshmallow), now Parisian pastry chefs have deftly turned their hands to the éclair, transforming them into a modern morsel. Of course, the classics are still there – Paris does classic very well – so chocolate, coffee and vanilla are as lovely as ever. But the new flavours… oh my!</p> <p>Parisians are so mad for éclairs that there is even a Quinzaine des éclairs, which translates as a fortnight of éclairs (not a week! an entire fortnight). People vote on their favourite pâtisserie’s éclairs.</p> <p>And did you know, the word éclair means a flash, or lightning – it’s said these cakes got their name because they were gone ‘in a flash’.</p> <p><strong>Stohrer</strong> <br /> <em>51 rue Montorgueil</em><br /> 75002<br /> <a rel="nofollow" href="">Stohrer</a><br /> If it’s tradition you’re after, head to Stohrer, the oldest pâtisserie in Paris, started in 1730 (that alone makes it worth a visit). It’s smallish and charming, and a little old world, very well stocked, and sells both sweet and savoury morsels. (If you are having friends for a drink at your apartment, the savoury cocktail bites are fantastic). The éclairs (chocolate, vanilla, caramel or coffee) have a classic, creamy filling. Rue Montorgueil is well known for its food shopping, so you can stock up on cheese, bread, wine and more while in the area.</p> <p><strong>L’éclair de Génie</strong><br /> <em>14 Rue Pavée <br /> 75004</em><br /> <a rel="nofollow" href="">L&#8217;eclair de Genie</a><br /> This is the ‘concept store’ of master pastry chef Christophe Adam and it is hardcore – I mean it is JUST éclairs (well, there are some chocolates, but…). I love that the name means ‘flash of genius’! It is sleekly modern, with one long yellow counter, groovy soundtrack and a mouth-watering selection of éclairs. It is basically take-away, but you can eat them there – some clients can’t wait to scoff them – though if you do, wait a moment as they are little too chilled straight from the counter. Parisians buy them by the boîte, with 6 or 10 (around 30 to 50 euro). Mascarpone with salted caramel, passionfruit and raspberries, cassis and vanilla and more – they all look amazing, they taste divine. Adam has another concept store in the 16th, at 53 rue de Passy.</p> <p><strong>L’Atelier de L’éclair</strong><br /> <em>16 Rue Bachaumont <br /> 75002</em> <br /> <a rel="nofollow" href="">Latelier de Leclair</a><br /> Another shop dedicated JUST to éclairs. The little coffret (a chic black box) with 5 mini éclairs is rather adorable – and perfect for sampling. The red fruit éclairs were summery and lovely. They also have their own speciality – savoury éclairs. Yes, with smoked salmon, with chorizo, with pesto and goat’s cheese, even chicken curry.</p> <p><strong>Yannick Martin</strong><br /> <em>302 rue Saint Honoré 75001</em> <br /> You’ll often see a queue snaking out of this little shop at lunchtime <br /> but it’s worth a little wait. This is a bakery too (with <br /> buttery little quiches, salads and sandwiches). The éclairs include classics, but the pistachio (in a gorgeous Paris-designer green), look heavenly and taste the same. The shop is quite close to the Louvre and Tuileries if you want to enjoy your éclair in the gardens.</p> <p>So now there is yet another thing to do in Paris – indulge in éclairs!</p> <h2>WHERE TO STAY</h2> <p>Worldwide-Accom have over <a href="">beautiful Parisienne self catering apartments</a> in the centre of Paris starting at €194 per night for a <a href="">Studio near the Arc de Triomphe</a> up to a <a href="âce#.UtjvqXnIZeI">luxury Latin Quarter apartment</a> for €781 per night that can sleep 7 people.</p> Much Ado About Shakespeare /blog/blog/post/2014/1/9/much-ado-about-shakespeare 2014-01-09T00:00:00+00:00 2014-01-09T12:04:22+00:00 Jill Kammer <h1>London theatre and the Bard’s birthday bash <em>by Margaret Barca</em> British-born Hollywood star Jude Law has had some impressive&#8230;</h1> <h1>London theatre and the Bard’s birthday bash</h1> <p><em>by Margaret Barca</em></p> <p>British-born Hollywood star Jude Law has had some impressive reviews for his role as king in Shakespeare’s Henry V, playing at the Noel Coward Theatre in London’s West End until 15 February. Dr Who’s David Tennant has been playing to sold-out houses as<br /> Richard 11 at The Barbican. They’re just two of the big-ticket shows on in London’s 200 or so theatres.</p> <p>In fact, once you’ve have booked your London apartment, start planning your theatre tickets because a trip to London seems hardly a trip to London unless you see a show. That could be a West End musical, the Royal Ballet, a pantomime or even fringe theatre, but in 2014, you should consider including something by, or about, Shakespeare because it’s a big year for the Bard.</p> <p>26 April 2014 marks the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth. The Royal Shakespeare Company, based at Stratford-upon-Avon, will start on the complete cycle of Shakespeare’s plays, which will take over six years, many touring to London and beyond. Shakespeare Week in April will be a feast of plays, events and birthday celebrations (</p> <p>In London, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is a fascinating reproduction of the 1599 timber theatre built by Shakespeare’s playing company, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, which was destroyed by fire in 1613. The modern Globe stands only a few hundred metres from the original site, on the banks of the Thames.</p> <p>The theatre is definitely atmospheric. The wooden benches are covered but the theatre is open to the elements and your view is likely to be obscured at some stage by one of the supporting pillars. If you’d like to be even more Elizabethan there are Yard Tickets (that’s standing room only – but they are only £5). If it rains, the show must go on (and you are not allowed pop up a brolly!).</p> <p>There are no performances from October to April but during that time you can tour the theatre, visit an exhibition space, or see a production in the Globe’s just completed, handmade oak Jacobean (and indoor) Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. The theatre, lit by hundreds of candles during performances, will open in January 2014 with The Duchess of Malfi (originally performed by Shakespeare’s players). Eight Shakespeare plays are scheduled at the Globe itself this year, including Hamlet, Antony and Cleopatra, All’s Well that Ends Well and Titus Andronicus.</p> <p>Elsewhere, King Lear will be at the National Theatre from mid January to 25 March. In May and June the Royal Ballet will be performing The Dream, based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream, at the Royal Opera House. Shakespeare in Love will be at the Noel Coward Theatre in July. At the Victoria &amp; Albert (V&amp;A) there’s a special installation, Shakespeare: Our Greatest Living Playwright, to mark the anniversary (</p> <h2>SHAKESPEARE’S GLOBE THEATRE</h2> 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London SE1 just near the Tate Modern) <p></p> <h2>WHERE TO STAY</h2> <p>Worldwide-Accom have over <a href="">70 beautiful self catering apartments</a> in central London starting at £104 per night for a <a href="">Chelsea 1 bedroom</a> up to a <a href="">luxury Knightsbridge apartment</a> for £745 per night that can sleep 7 people.</p> <h2>BOOKING TICKETS</h2> <p>For these and general theatre tickets, check out and<br /> . Time Out has lively reviews and handy information on ticket deals (standby, last minute etc) as well as offering discount tickets</p> <h2>LATE TICKETS</h2> <p>If you’re in London and hoping to get late or last minute tickets, try the excellent non-profit TKTS, Clocktower Building, beside the park in Leicester Square to buy half-price tickets (in person only) on the day of the performance (opera, dance, West End musicals and more) though they also have advance tickets for many shows.</p> 6 Places to get high in Rome /blog/blog/post/2013/12/12/6-places-to-get-high-in-rome 2013-12-12T00:00:00+00:00 2014-01-18T14:35:50+00:00 Jill Kammer <p><em>by Margaret Barca</em> Rome is full of surprises. At street level you can stroll past the ancient, the medieval and&#8230;</p> <p><em>by Margaret Barca</em></p> <p>Rome is full of surprises. At street level you can stroll past the ancient, the medieval and the modern. But sometimes you need the big picture to really put the city into perspective. Here are 6 places where you can gaze across the monuments and landmarks, the parks and piazzas, the sinuous curve of the Tiber River and the hills that cradle the ancient city. Head for the high ground.</p> <p>1. <strong>The Janiculum Hill</strong> (the Gianicolo), rising above Trastevere and as far as the Vatican, offers – some think – the finest view of Rome, a panorama that sweeps across the city with its iconic domes and distinctive umbrella pines. It’s usually quiet on the belvedere, away from the tourist hubs – quiet, that is, except for the cannon that traditionally fires a blank at noon every day to mark the time. Open daily and you can also see the skyline at night.</p> <p>2. <strong>Cupola of St Peter’s</strong> Climb the narrow corridors and winding staircase (320 steps) to the top of St Peter’s dome for superb views of parks, gardens, statuary and ancient and modern Rome spreading out before you. It costs 6 euro to climb (7 euro for the lift). If you only want to go to the roof, it’s still a splendid view and there is even a small coffee bar (this is Italy!). Don’t forget the Vatican dress code – cover up or be turned away. Open daily, check the times at</p> <p>3 <strong>Castel Sant’Angelo</strong>, the fortress-like round Castle of the Holy Angel built, as a mausoleum by Hadrian II, has had a colourful – if bloody – history as a dungeon, a papal residence and scene of political intrigue. Today it&#8217;s a museum with a rooftop terrace offering terrific views across the Tiber. Open Tue–Sun 9am–7.30pm (last tickets 6.30pm).</p> <p>4. <strong>The terrace at the Pincio Gardens</strong> (Giardini del Pincio) is another great vantage point, only a minute or so from the Spanish Steps, above the Piazza del Popolo. It’s a choice spot to catch a Roman sunset over the cupola-dotted skyline. Open daily.</p> <p>5. <strong>The Garden of Oranges</strong> (Giardino degli Aranci) or Parco Savello, on the Aventine Hill behind the Basilica of Santa Sabina, is another very Roman retreat, a small but tranquil park offering views of Rome rooftops and domes. Again, this is a lovely place to enjoy the sun’s setting rays. The garden is off Via di Santa Sabina. Open daily.</p> <p>6. <strong>The terrace of the Vittoriano</strong> (the white ‘wedding cake’ of the National Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II, much maligned by the Romans) is also in the running for ‘best view’ in Rome. Make your way past the gelati vendors and crowds, climb the many steps, then past the café are two glass lifts. For a fee (around 7 euro) you can take the lift to the Terrazza delle Quadrighe. You might not like the building but you have to love those amazing 360-degree views of Rome. Spettacolo! The Vittoriano is on Piazza Venezia. Open daily: Winter 9.30am -4.30pm, Summer 9am–5pm (last admissions half an hour before closing).</p> <p>There are so many beautiful short-term apartments available in Rome, and many in the beautiful areas mentioned above, click here to choose your perfect <a href="">Rome apartment</a> a range of over 200 personally inspected properties.</p> Hola! From Frida Kahlo to fajitas /blog/blog/post/2013/12/11/hola-from-frida-kahlo-to-fajitas 2013-12-11T00:00:00+00:00 2013-12-12T13:17:31+00:00 Jill Kammer <h2>Mexico comes to Paris <em>by Margaret Barca</em> One of the loveliest art museums in Paris is the Musée de&#8230;</h2> <h2>Mexico comes to Paris</h2> <p><em>by Margaret Barca</em></p> <p>One of the loveliest art museums in Paris is the Musée de l’Orangerie, tucked away in a corner of the Tuileries gardens on the Right Bank, and home to some of Claude Monet’s wonderfully poetic waterlily paintings (Les Nymphéas), as well as many fine Impressionist and post Impressionist works. If you haven’t visited you must.</p> <p>At the moment, however, and until mid January 2014, power, passion and pain come more readily to mind than poetry with a temporary exhibition of works by the legendary Mexican artists Frida Kahlo (1907–1954) and her partner Diego Rivera (1886–1957).</p> <p>Frida Kahlo’s turbulent and tragic life, her idiosyncratic style and mesmerising self-portraits have made her an international icon in the art world. Her partner Diego Rivera, less well known outside Mexico and the USA, was a renowned and often controversial muralist, highly influential as the founder of the 20th century Mexican art school. Their work is vastly different – one intensely personal, the other deeply political – but in many ways linked by their great love of Mexico, their experience and interpretation of life and death, revolution and religion, realism and mysticism. The work of these artists is rarely exhibited in Europe, so take the chance if you can (and you can also see the Monets while you are there). Tip – the exhibition is proving popular with Parisians, so book tickets ahead, or arrive early to avoid the queues.</p> <p><strong>The flavours of Mexico</strong><br /> And while you are thinking Mexico… why not head to the haut Marais for another south of the border experience? Still one of the hottest Mexican tickets in town is the small (very small) Candeleria. This shabby-chic taqueria, serving surprisingly authentic Mexican food (tacos, tostadas, spicy salsas and margaritas), opens daily from lunch until late. Of an evening, somewhat hidden behind the taqueria, lurks a cocktail bar (open from 6pm – 2am most nights) with a cool vibe serving Mexican beer and sodas, tequilas and some potent cocktails to a lively, often standing-room only crowd. Mexico in the Marais… ay yi yi!</p> <p><em>Frida Kahlo / Diego Rivera<br /> 
Art in Fusion<br /> Musée de l’Orangerie<br /> Jardin des Tuileries, (Seine River side), 1 ème<br /> Exhibition open until 13 January 2013</em><br /> <strong></strong></p> London - To Market, To Market /blog/blog/post/2013/12/1/to-market-to-market 2013-11-26T00:00:00+00:00 2013-12-12T12:22:51+00:00 Jill Kammer <h2>London’s oldest food market</h2> <p><em>by Margaret Barca</em> As a visitor to London, of course you’re going to catch up on&#8230;</p> <h2>London’s oldest food market</h2> <p><em>by Margaret Barca</em></p> <p>As a visitor to London, of course you’re going to catch up on what’s new at the Tate Modern (always something amazing) and you’ll definitely want to go the Globe Theatre, but while you’re in the area – and it’s less than 10 minutes’ walk away – don’t miss London’s oldest food market, Borough Market.</p> <p>The heart of the market, near <a href="">London Bridge</a> and next to Southwark (pronounced, more or less, ’suth-erk’ ) Cathedral dates back to 1755, so it has history on its side, but – along with the whole British food business it seems – it’s had a renaissance, and it positively hums along these days. You’ll hear all the buzz words – provenance, quality, ethically sourced, artisan, organic and more. But the Borough lives up to the talk.</p> <p>It&#8217;s a mash of fresh produce stalls, delis and bakeries, as well as stalls selling prepared food to eat on site, rimmed by cafes, wineries, bars and more. Try to avoid Saturday when it’s madness (locals, foodies, tourists, lots of queues), but find a time, take a basket AND take a healthy appetite. About as far from bangers and mash as you can get, Cannon &amp; Cannon, ‘the British charcuterie boys’, supply fine artisan-cured meats – Scottish red deer chorizo and Suffolk salami are typical. If you are after sausages, they don’t come much better than those from The Ginger Pig. Pieminster keeps British pie tradition alive with classic and more exotic fillings (venison with wine and Puy lentils anyone?). Eat them hot on the spot, or take them home to heat.</p> <p>We also love Mrs King’s chunky, Billy Bunter&#8212;style pork pies.Fruit and vegetable stalls are impressive, and with the colder weather, winter veg such as cabbage, kale (very fashionable) and Brussels sprouts are at their best.</p> <p>For a quick bite, head to Porteña for Argentinian empanadas, little pastry parcels stuffed with spicy chicken and olives, beef or spinach and gruyère. Divine (loving that flaky pastry!). The fragrance wafting off the vast paella pans loaded with seafood paella entices quite a few punters to order something more substantial, while warm duck confit being shredded and stuffed into bread rolls is a posh portable meal. Another option is one of Bill Ogglethorpe’s legendary toasted cheese sandwiches from Cappacasien Dairy (they also sell fine organic-milk cheeses). For soft, washed-rind cheeses, heavenly yoghurts and fromage blanc try the French Beillevaire stall and Neal’s Yard Dairy is fantastic for British farm cheeses.</p> <p>If you like oysters, it’s hard to go past Richard Haward’s Oysters (his family has been cultivating oysters since 1792), or sample oysters washed down with a porter (so very English) at Wright Bros. Artisan baker Matt Jones’ Bread Ahead has recently opened a bakery at the market, so you can’t get much fresher or closer to the oven than that. Ask about their mince tarts too. Patisseries include an outlet of London’s Comptoir Gourmand, and we weren’t the only ones with sticky fingers as we ate our raspberry tarts then and there. Near Christmas, Borough market is even busier than usual, with additional stalls and seasonal goods, including Christmas cakes and puddings.</p> <p>If you have time for a little wine-tasting, Bedales, or the Wine Pantry have both well-stocked and well-informed. Or pop into the Globe, the cosy little corner pub, for a hearty ale.</p> <p><strong>Borough Market</strong><br /> 8 Southwark Street, London, SE 1<br /> Underground: London Bridge Station<br /> <strong>Market opens:</strong> <br /> Mon–Tue 10am – 5 pm (lunch only) <br /> Wed–Thu 10am – 5pm<br /> Fri 10 am – 6pm<br /> Sat 8 am – 5pm</p> <p>Check the website <strong></strong> There’s a map that locates stalls and stores and usually <br /> opening days/ hours, as not everyone is open every day.</p> Paris – Brunch on rue de Bretagne /blog/blog/post/2013/12/1/paris-brunch-on-rue-de-bretagne 2013-11-26T00:00:00+00:00 2013-12-01T11:17:28+00:00 Jill Kammer <p>It’s no secret the French love their food, they like to shop and they also love Sunday brunch, especially in&#8230;</p> <p>It’s no secret the French love their food, they like to shop and they also love Sunday brunch, especially in the arty <a href="" title="the 3rd and 4th arrondissements">Marais district</a>. On a Sunday, head to the haut Marais (the upper or north Marais), around rue de Bretagne, and join them.</p> <p>A favourite with locals is Café Charlot, a retro-look brasserie with zinc bar and white subway tiling. It attracts a hip local crowd and although it can be a bit of a crush (those miniscule tables!) the people watching makes it worthwhile.</p> <p>Prepare for clusters for good-looking clients and clouds of smoke if you sit on the terrasse. You can go classic for breakfast (croissant, juice, café crème) or order ‘bio’ or organic eggs (‘bio’ is big in Paris, especially around the Marais) served boiled with cute toast soldiers, or a la Bénédictine.</p> <p>Just across the way is the Marché des Enfants Rouges, the oldest covered market in Paris. It’s small, rustic, a little hidden away and undergoing some renovation (or is that scaffolding just propping up the roof? ). But you can buy great bread and pastries (it’s Paris, of course you can), fish that looks as though it’s just stopped swimming, cheese, olive oil from Provence, flowers and more. Best of all, a number of traiteurs (delis with lots of prepared foods) offer Spanish, Japanese, Italian and Moroccan food. You can take it home to your apartment, or in fine weather eat at the Square du Temple park opposite. Or you can eat at the market – tables are rustic, but prices are cheap and, naturally, you can have beer, wine or even champagne. Rug up if it&#8217;s a chilly day (maybe order a vin chaud, a warm wine) and if you are eating brunch/lunch here, don’t come too early – it takes a while for the French to arrive, and that’s when the atmosphere kicks in. We loved the Moroccan food – glistening chicken and olive tagine, fluffy couscous and mint tea in little jewel-coloured, gold-rimmed glasses.</p> <p>Another very Parisian option is to buy one of the most popular of all French ‘take-aways’ a poulet rôti, or roast chicken. You may well see a queue snaking out of the nearby Boucherie du Marais. In France boucheries (butchers) sometimes also have prepared food, including a rôtisserie that roasts ultra-crispy-skin chickens. With a generous serve of roast potatoes (you buy them by weight), mouth-wateringly cooked in either butter or duck fat, these make a perfect Sunday lunch or dinner with a green salad. While you are queuing, you can see little faisan or pheasants, plucked clean except for their feathery little 1 1lumed heads, reassurance for the fastidious, fresh-food loving French that the poultry is indeed fresh.</p> <p>You will now certainly need some cheese, so step into Jouannault fromagerie, at number 39, and sample before buying, as the French do. As you head home with your baguette, perhaps some chèvre, a mignonette lettuce and fragrant poulet, it’s hard not to feel at least a little bit Parisian. (Who, moi? )</p> <p>(These are Sunday opening times, check for other days. All shops in <br /> the 3rd arrondissment. Always check opening hours in case they have changed)</p> <p><strong>Café Charlot</strong> <br /> 38 rue de Bretagne (corner rue Charlot), <br /> open daily 7 am– 2 am <br /></p> <p><strong>Le Marché des Enfants Rouges</strong> <br /> 39 rue de Bretagne <br /> (off the street, <br /> next to Jouannault) <br /> open Sunday 8.30am–2pm</p> <p><strong>Boucherie du Marais</strong><br /> 17 rue de Bretagne, <br /> open Sun 7.30am–1pm</p> <p><strong>Fromagerie Jouannault</strong> <br /> 39 rue de Bretagne, <br /> open Sun 8.30am–1.30pm</p> 25 Destinations You Must Visit Before You Die /blog/blog/post/2013/3/7/25-destinations-you-must-visit-before-you-die 2013-03-07T00:00:00+00:00 2013-03-07T03:48:43+00:00 <h2>25. Aurora Borealis, Alaska</h2> <p>Not all destinations are physical. While you can certainly marvel at photographs, nothing beats heading north&#8230;</p> <h2>25. Aurora Borealis, Alaska</h2> <p>Not all destinations are physical. While you can certainly marvel at photographs, nothing beats heading north to catch this spectacular display coloring the night skies. Avoid the hassle of international travel by taking a plane to Alaska where this remote and wild location is sure to offer a stunning array of lights.</p> <h2>24. Antarctica</h2> <p>Because most tourists search for tropical locales or sites steeped in history, few have ever set foot on the icy continent. Antarctica has been described as nature untouched, and there are no five-star hotels or fine dining opportunities there. Charter a spot on an icebreaker, and carve your own path through a region others have never traveled to.</p> <h2>23. Ryoan-ji, Japan</h2> <p>Located in Kyoto, this Zen garden is considered the paragon of its form, and the temple is a World Heritage Site. The garden is carefully tended to each day by the monks and serves as the ideal spot for all of life&#8217;s contemplations.</p> <h2>22. Angkor Wat, Cambodia</h2> <p>As the largest religious monument in the world, this temple is surely fit for a God. The site is a prime example of blending cultures with its Khmer and Dravidian architectural styles and its progression from a Hindu temple to a Buddhist one.</p> <h2>21. Galápagos Islands</h2> <p>Where else can you see iguanas basking beside sea lions and giant tortoises? With a number of threatened species, visitors should tread lightly in the land that inspired Charles Darwin. While many places are protected, be wary of your footprint in this haven of biological diversity.</p> <h2>20. Mesa Verde, Colorado</h2> <p>You don&#8217;t need to go abroad to tour history. While a number of looters have absconded with this locale&#8217;s artefacts, the structures at Mesa Verde in Colorado carve out a rich and varied history of the Anasazi.</p> <h2>19. The Great Wall of China</h2> <p>Once built to keep out roving hordes, the site now attracts more hordes than it repels. An impressive feat of engineering in any time, the fact that parts of this wall were constructed as early as 7th century BCE is sure to inspire wonder.</p> <h2>18. Masai Mara, Kenya</h2> <p>Named for the Maasai people of Kenya, this reserve is notable for its healthy population of large cats and for serving as the site for the Great Migration. Go between July and October to catch these enormous herds of giraffes, zebras and gazelles, or watch one of the 470 species of birds there in flight.</p> <h2>17. Machu Picchu, Peru</h2> <p>Located in Peru, this site is often called the City of the Incas. Built around 1450 CE, the city was abandoned when the Spaniards arrived and has been a World Heritage Site since 1983.</p> <h2>16. The Blue Lagoon, Iceland</h2> <p>Iceland may sound frigid, but this geothermal spa stems from a lava formation. Located near Reykjavík, the water is a toasty 98 degrees Fahrenheit. Be prepared to shower in the communal area before and after your swim.</p> <h2>15. The Maldives</h2> <p>For those who prefer a traditional beach holiday, few places can conjure the perfect image like the Maldives. With pristine, white beaches set against sparkling turquoise, all you need is a hammock and a gentle breeze.</p> <h2>14. Trans-Siberian Railway, Russia, China, Mongolia and Korea</h2> <p>For those longing for a charming way to travel, hop aboard the Trans-Siberian Railway. Beginning in Moscow, the line terminates in Pyongyang, connecting Russia with China, Mongolia and Korea.</p> <h2>13. Route 66, USA</h2> <p>If it was good enough to inspire hopeful immigrants during the Dust Bowl, why shouldn&#8217;t you also get your kicks on Route 66? Named the Mother Road of America, you can drive the revitalized road for weeks and not see everything along the way.</p> <h2>12. Fallingwater, USA</h2> <p>A testament to the vision of Frank Lloyd Wright, the home in Pennsylvania was lauded by Time as his best work. Its integration with nature is a talking point among the architectural elite.</p> <h2>11. Amazon Rainforest, Brazil</h2> <p>With 1.7 billion acres to explore, you could spend your whole life in this one location. The forest spans nine nations and is home to a level of biodiversity that is unsurpassed.</p> <h2>10. Bagan, Burma</h2> <p>This ancient city of Burma once held over 10,000 temples, over 2000 of which remain. While the temples highlight the syncretic culture of the region, they remain faithful to many Buddhist traditions.</p> <h2>9. Yosemite, USA</h2> <p>This World Heritage Site sees millions of visitors each year for good reason. With 10 million years of geological diversity on display, Yosemite has something to offer any outdoorsy traveler.</p> <h2>8. Petra, Jordan</h2> <p>This ancient part of Jordan is famed for its architecture, carved right out of the mountain. Described as &#8220;a rose-red city half as old as time,&#8221; the location serves as a testament of the accomplishments of its former inhabitants.</p> <h2>7. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda</h2> <p>Come face to face with something familiar in Uganda&#8217;s Impenetrable Forest. As one of the most diverse places on Earth, nearly 50% of the critically endangered mountain gorillas reside there.</p> <h2>6. Great Barrier Reef, Australia</h2> <p>Widely regarded as Australia’s most beautiful natural attraction, the Great Barrier Reef is home to a stunning array of marine life. It’s the largest coral reef in the world. You can venture out in a glass bottomed boat, go snorkelling and scuba diving or even view this magnificent reef from the air.</p> <h2>5. Golden Temple, India</h2> <p>A Sikh monument, the temple was constructed for all people to worship as equals and remains a popular site of worship today. The temple takes its name from its façade, which is overlaid with gold.</p> <h2>4. Venice, Italy</h2> <p>A truly remarkable city built on tiny islands (118 of them). When you first arrive in <a href="">Venice</a>, you’re immediately struck by how hard it must have been to construct. Make sure you take a ride on a gondola and bring along a bottle of wine to enjoy, too.</p> <h2>3. Angel Falls, USA</h2> <p>As the world&#8217;s highest waterfall, this impressive natural wonder must be seen to be believed. Because the falls are in a remote location, be prepared to travel by boat and by foot to visit.</p> <h2>2. Pyramids of Giza, Egypt</h2> <p>With a history that is equal parts fact and fiction, the mysterious pyramids serve as the final resting places of great rulers. While these structures have long since been picked over by looters, the stories they tell continue to fascinate travelers.</p> <h2>1. Grand Canyon, USA</h2> <p>The immensity of this site, visible from outer space, cannot be conveyed. With nearly 280 miles of winding paths, you can explore billions of years of geological history to your heart&#8217;s content.</p> 6 Reasons to Visit Rome at Christmas Time /blog/blog/post/2012/11/29/6-reasons-to-visit-rome-at-christmas-time 2012-11-29T00:00:00+00:00 2012-11-29T08:30:25+00:00 <p>Rome is a great place to visit at Christmas. Unlike New York where it is full of glitz and glamour,&#8230;</p> <p>Rome is a great place to visit at Christmas. Unlike New York where it is full of glitz and glamour, Christmas time in Rome, focuses on the religious festivities and the real meaning behind Christmas.</p> <h2>Christmas Markets</h2> <p>Piazza Navona is one of the most beautiful squares in Rome and Christmas is no exception. It becomes a big Christmas market during the holiday season until the 6th of January. A large Christmas with different stalls selling sweets, Italian foods and traditional ornaments too is set up during Christmas. There are also many Christmas markets in Rome and local parishes host the nativity plays</p> <h2>St Peter’s Square</h2> <p>There is a beautiful nativity scene at <a rel="nofollow" href="">St Peter’s Square</a>. The nativity scene called “gargantuan presepe” is built in the centre of the square and is free to visit night and day. For those who want to experience Papal Midnight Mass at the Vatican, send a request via the Vatican’s website.</p> <h2>Christmas Trees</h2> <p><a rel="nofollow" href="">Piazza Venezia</a> has a 23 foot Christmas tree in the centre of the square. There are 15,000 lights, making it one of the mot well lit trees in all of Rome. At the Vatican, there is a large Christmas tree in Piazza San Pietro and the traditional nativity scene.</p> <h2>Comfortable temperatures</h2> <p>Although it is winter in Rome, the lowest the temperatures drop to is to 4 degrees Celsius and the highest is13 or 14 degrees which is relatively warm compared to other parts of Europe. Unlike the UK where it rains a lot in winter, the air in Rome is relatively dry. It makes visiting outdoor attractions possible such as the Colosseum.</p> <h2>Less crowds</h2> <p>Spring, summer and autumn are the most popular times to visit Rome. Winter is the quieter time of year. There are less queues, restaurants and bars are less busy. There are still a lot of tours to around the city but as there are not as many tourists, there will be less advanced booking needed.</p> <h2>Good value</h2> <p>Visiting either side of Christmas, November or January, is much cheaper then during the summer months for flights and accommodation. When travelling with a family, it may be an idea to investigate some of the <a href="">Rome apartments for rent </a>for the holiday season. It allows you to have a home away from home, relaxing in comfortable surroundings. Another bonus visiting in January is that there are many sales as in the rest of Europe. Although with the credit crunch, it may begin just before Christmas. The high street shops on Via del Corso. There are also many small boutique shops in Trastevere and Monti.</p> Best Traditional Cafés and Brasseries in Paris /blog/blog/post/2012/11/22/best-traditional-cafs-and-brasseries-in-paris 2012-11-22T00:00:00+00:00 2012-12-17T14:27:33+00:00 <p>Cafés and brasseries are at the very heart of French culture. There are thousands all over Paris, but for the&#8230;</p> <p>Cafés and brasseries are at the very heart of French culture. There are thousands all over Paris, but for the uninitiated, there are some a lot better than others. Brasseries offer a more complete menu than cafes, but both serve food and alcohol, along with tea or coffee. It is an unwritten law that once you have purchase your espresso, you can sit for a long as you want, to admire the view on a sunny terrace or to shelter from the weather on a rainy day.</p> <h2>Les Deux Magots</h2> <p><a rel="nofollow" href="">Les Deux Magots </a>on the Left Bank is one of the most famous cafes because of its former clientele. Jean Paul Sartre used to come here with Simone de Beauvoir, and Albert Camus was a visitor along with Ernest Hemmingway and Pablo Picasso. The café has become a rather elitist institution, but it is still possible to sit with a coffee and a croissant and watch the world go by.</p> <h2>Café de Flore</h2> <p>Just on the other side of the road is <a rel="nofollow" href="">Café de Flore,</a> which has changed little since World War II. The décor is traditional with red booths and wide mirrors, but it now seems to attract a lot of upwardly mobile clients rather than the students of past times. Café de Flore was also visited by Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir and served as an alternative location for their passionate debates. It is well worth a visit, just to soak up the ambiance of post war Paris.</p> <h2>Brasserie de l’Isle St. Louis</h2> <p>On the Right Bank, the <a rel="nofollow" href="">Brasserie de l’Isle St. Louis </a>on the Isle St. Louis has a wonderfully welcoming atmosphere. Serving traditional menus, it is unpretentious and friendly, offering a wide range of food and wine. Located just off the Pont Louis Philippe, it is well situated to catch the afternoon rays on a sunny day. The terrace looks out over the Seine and to Notre Dame and is a great meeting place in a beautiful historic setting.</p> <h2>Café de la Paix</h2> <p>The <a rel="nofollow" href="">Café de la Paix </a>is situated just around the corner from the rue Montorgueil, the site of the oldest street market in Paris. It looks out over the Place de l’Opera and the café is part of the Grand Hotel built in 1858 by the same architect who built Opera Garnier. It has incredible ornate frescoed interiors and there is a splendid winter garden in the hotel. Rather like Les Deux Magots, it was a famous meeting place for other well-known writers such as Guy de Maupassant and Emile Zola. It is such a famous café that the legend has it that you are sure to bump into a friend on a visit here.</p> <h2>Le Frog and Rosbif</h2> <p>The <a rel="nofollow" href="">Frog and Rosbif </a>may not actually qualify as a brasserie, but it serves the same functions in that it offers a good selection of food and drink in a less formal setting. The only difference is that it is an English pub with a micro brewery in the cellar. It is a great place to come and watch live sports and experience a more international atmosphere. It is good for brunches and all things English set against a backdrop of traditional French culture.</p> <p>Paris is a wonderful place to explore on foot and we at Worldwide Accom have a number of <a href="">Paris apartments for rent</a> in central Paris, meaning you are never very far from a café or brasserie, where you can stop and enjoy a drink in one of the most unique cities of the world.</p> Fantastic Attractions to Visit in London This Christmas /blog/blog/post/2012/11/15/fantastic-attractions-to-visit-in-london-this-christmas 2012-11-15T00:00:00+00:00 2012-11-15T01:07:36+00:00 <p> London is a vibrant city at any time of the year, but a visit at Christmas is to experience&#8230; <p> <p>London is a vibrant city at any time of the year, but a visit at Christmas is to experience a wonderful festival of lights and entertainment unparalleled anywhere in the world.</p></p> <p> <p>The most significant aspect of Christmas in London, is the lights, that add that magical quality to Christmas in London. The most well known are those that illuminate <a rel="nofollow" href="">Oxford Street</a> every year. Oxford Street is the commercial centre of London with every major department store competing for the best window displays and decorations. Selfridges’ theme this year is ‘Not Your Usual Christmas’ inspired by film maker Bruce Weber. Anya Hindmarch’s “All I’ve Ever Wanted windows showcase a Santa’s Grotto with glittering accessories and there is a Children in Need Pudsey Bear Collection showing a teddy bear’s picnic with a twist. The lights go on in Oxford Street at the beginning November and stay on until the 5th January. </p></p> <p> <p>There are also light displays in <a rel="nofollow" href="">Carnaby Street</a>,celebrating 50 years of the Rolling Stones, Regent Street, Marylebone High Street and Trafalgar Square which boasts the giant Christmas Tree donated by Norway every year.</p></p> <p> <p>Skating by the Thames has become very popular in recent years, with ice rinks set up at <a rel="nofollow" href="">Somerset House</a> and Hampton Court. Somerset House is centrally located and hosts Skate Club Nights and also Skate School for those who need a little help on the ice. There is also the Christmas Arcade to purchase Christmas gifts or to just soak up the atmosphere.</p></p> <p> <p>Christmas Markets are a big hit with everybody, with a variety of locations throughout the capital. <a rel="nofollow" href="">Hyde Park Winter Wonderland </a>has a sparkly addition of rides and attractions, including a Giant Observation Wheel and two circuses. The Southbank Centre Christmas Market has moved the traditional German style wooden huts to Queen’s Walk, along the river just between the Southbank Centre and the London Eye. Selling toys, gifts, food and drink, it is a great place to wander round and explore the South Bank.</p></p> <p> <p>Christmas shows and Pantomimes are a must see for any visitor to London. Traditional pantomimes are showing all over London, from Dick Whittington to Cinderella and Hansel and Gretel, there is something for everyone and all ages. Alternative Christmas shows at the Royal Albert Hall include traditional Christmas Carols and Christmas music in a wonderful setting.</p></p> <p> <p>No Christmas would be complete without a visit to Santa’s Grotto. There are a great number of locations throughout London. The Harrod’s Christmas Grotto is high on the list for unique although expensive gifts. There are other grottos at Canary Wharf, Greenwich, and the Museum of London. There is also an opportunity to meet Santa in his Reindeer Lodge at London Zoo. The Rain Forest Café also has a special event for the season and has a very different type of grotto in the middle of a rainforest.</p></p> <p>Wherever you want go in London to celebrate the Christmas season, renting one of the <a href="">many London apartments</a> is the perfect choice of accommodation. Close to all the main attractions and reasonably priced, the apartments have everything you need to enjoy the comforts of a home from home. Make the most of your time in London and enjoy an unforgettable experience in the world’s Christmas Capital.</p> 5 Reasons to Visit Greenwich the Home of Longitude /blog/blog/post/2012/11/9/5-reasons-to-visit-greenwich-the-home-of-longitude 2012-11-09T00:00:00+00:00 2012-11-09T00:40:27+00:00 <p>Greenwich is well known as the place from which the rest of the world takes its time. It is also&#8230;</p> <p>Greenwich is well known as the place from which the rest of the world takes its time. It is also a historic town on the eastern approach to London by sea or by land and home to the Naval Museum and the Queen’s House, a magnificent building designed by Inigo Jones.</p> <h2>1) The Royal Observatory</h2> <p>The Meridian that divides the earth’s eastern and western hemispheres passes through here and today, the line is projected by a laser onto the ground so that visitors can have their photographs taken with a foot on either side of the line. The <a rel="nofollow" href="">Old Royal Observatory </a>is still standing and was built by Wren, on the foundations of the palace where Henry the VIII and his daughters Elizabeth I and Mary Tudor were born. The building has an octagonal structure, crowned with two turrets and at 1pm everyday, a ball on a rod is dropped and has been ever since 1833. Greenwich Mean Time was established nearly 50 years later in 1884 and became the basis of time measurement for most of the world following an international agreement. The Observatory, also known as Flamsteed House, after the first Astronomer Royal appointed by Charles II, has an interesting exhibition of astronomical instruments, chronometers and clocks.</p> <h2>2) National Maritime Museum</h2> <p>As an island nation, Britain has a long seafaring history. The museum, also built by Wren, includes exhibits from Elizabethan galleons to modern cargo and naval ships. One of the highlights is the uniform worn by Nelson when he was wounded and killed in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The bullet hole and bloodstains are clearly visible. Even more spectacular are the Royal Barges that were built for Prince Frederick in 1732, elaborately decorated with gilded mermaids, shells and garlands with the Prince of Wales feathers on the stern. The museum also has collections of memorabilia of Captain Cook’s expeditions and other great seafarers.</p> <h2>3) The Cutty Sark</h2> <p>This has been beautifully renovated after the disastrous fire which left this historic clipper very much the worse for wear. Fortunately, as the ship was being renovated, most of the original artefacts had been taken off so that renovation of the ship itself could go ahead. The <a rel="nofollow" href="">Cutty Sark </a>was launched in 1869 and won the annual clipper race from China to London in 1871 taking 107 days. It made the last sea voyage in 1957and was put on display in 1957. The Queen opened the Cutty Sark and the Museum in April 2012 and it remains one of the biggest attractions in Greenwich.</p> <h2>4) The Queen’s House</h2> <p>This was designed by Inigo Jones after his return from Italy and was completed in 1637. It was originally intended for Anne of Denmark, the wife of James I, but she died while it was being built. It then became the home of Henrietta Maria, Charles I’s queen. Although Henrietta Maria loved the house and later occupied it during the civil war as dowager queen, it was not much used by royalty after that. It has been restored and furnished in the style of the late 17th century. It boasts a magnificent ‘tulip staircase’ named after the design on the balustrades and a main entrance hall of a perfect cube, 12 metres in all directions.</p> <h2>5) Greenwich market</h2> <p>No trip to Greenwich is complete without a visit to the <a rel="nofollow" href="">Greenwich market</a>. It is especially popular on Sundays and hosts a vast range of stalls, dealing in everything from clothing and crafts to a variety of food produce from many different countries. Traditional dishes such as eel pie, fish and chips are available along with spicy sausage baguettes, curry and samosas.</p> <p>Getting to Greenwich could not be simpler and if you are renting one of the <a href=""><br /> London apartments from Worldwide Accom</a>, the river is always an easy option. Clipper boats run to Greenwich daily and from a variety of locations along the river. Taking a trip along the river is an interesting and relaxing way to get to Greenwich, it is also a delightful way to see more of London and learn about the history of this capital city.</p> 5 Important Works of Art to See in Rome /blog/blog/post/2012/11/1/5-important-works-of-art-to-see-in-rome 2012-11-01T00:37:27+00:00 2012-11-01T00:37:27+00:00 <p>A trip to Rome is a pleasure for so many reasons. For those who love art, there is an abundance&#8230; <p>A trip to Rome is a pleasure for so many reasons. For those who love art, there is an abundance to see in churches museums and piazzas.</p> <p>1)<br /> Some of the most beautiful sculptures and paintings in Rome can be seen in the Villa Borghese. The villa and its park were designed in 1605 for Cardinal Scipione Borghese who had the house designed for pleasure and entertainment. It was the first of its kind in Rome with the he gardens laid out by Pietro, the father of Bernini, and the fountains by Giovanni Fontana. It was open to the public as it is today, but now the museum is divided into two sections, the Museo Borghese which has Bernini’s wonderful sculpture of Pluto and Persephone, with Pluto carrying off his bride and the upper floor, and the Galleria, which houses the art collection.</p> <p> <p>2)<br /> The <a rel="nofollow" href="">Vatican Museums</a> has some of the world’s most important art collections. The Sistine Chapel, is the main chapel in the Vatican Palace and the walls were frescoed by artists such as Botticelli and Michelangelo in the 15th and 16th century. The painting of the Last Judgement by Michelangelo and the ceiling of the chapel are just two of the masterpieces along with frescoes by Raphael and Perugino.</p> </p> <p> <p>3)<br /> The basilica of <a rel="nofollow" href="">St. Peter’s</a> is another treasure trove of precious works of art. Some were salvaged from the original basilica while others were commissioned from Baroque and Renaissance artists. The enormous dome was the work of Michelangelo while the Baldacchino, or the canopy that covers the Papal Altar is the work of Bernini in the 17th century. Michelangelo was also responsible for the famous marble statue, La Pieta, which is now behind glass after an attack in 1972.<br /> <p></p> <p> <p>4)<br /> Away from the Vatican, the Palazzo Corsini houses the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica. This collection has paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck, Murillo, Caravaggio and Guido Reni. It also has 17th and 18th century paintings by Italian regional artists.</p> </p> <p> <p>5)<br /> The <a rel="nofollow" href="">Capitoline Museums</a>, situated at the Capitol, the citadel of ancient Rome is a must see for every visitor to Rome, art lover or not. A broad flight of steps, the Cordonata, leads up to Michelangelo’s Piazza del Campidoglio and is surrounded by the Plazzo Nuovo and the Palazzo dei Conservatori, which houses the Capitoline Museums. The museums have a fine collections of sculptures and paintings which date from ancient Rome to the Victor Emmanuel Monument of the 20th century.</p> </p> <p> <p>No matter where you are in Rome, there will always be a famous piazza with a well-known sculpture or a galleria close to hand. Any stay in one of the many <a href="">Rome apartments for rent </a>will guarantee a proximity to artwork in one form or another. The difficulty will be in making the choice, there is such a wide range, that it may be you will have to book another trip to see all that you missed the first time round.</p> </p> 4 Top Italian Blogs /blog/blog/post/2012/10/26/4-top-italian-blogs 2012-10-26T00:00:00+01:00 2012-11-06T06:42:29+00:00 <p>Before going to Italy, and to get a feel for places to visit and activities to do on your next&#8230;</p> <p>Before going to Italy, and to get a feel for places to visit and activities to do on your next holiday, check out some of these great Italian blogs.</p> <h2>I Love Florence</h2> <p>Elena has been writing her &#8220;diary&#8221; of what she does in Florence or what she recommends you do in the capital of Tuscany daily. Elena’s site <a rel="nofollow" href="">Io Amo Firenze </a> which in English means &#8220;I Love Florence&#8221; provides recommendations on where to go out for dinner, exhibitions, bars, live music, clubbing and other events taking place in the city. She has written around 284 restaurant reviews and her blog is so popular that she receives more than 2000 users a day. Her blog is about those who love Florence and following the success of her site, Elena has now written a book about her <a href=" ">love of Florence</a></p> <p>Florence is not just a summer destination, there are plenty of places to visit leading up to Christmas. During this time, there is a small Christmas Market in Santa Croce in the centre of Florence. There are wooden stands with typical food products and Christmas tree decorations from Europe and Italy. There is also the ice rink the centre and it is also open on New Year&#8217;s Eve!. On the 31st of December don&#8217;t miss the free live classic concert in the center of Florence.</p> <p>For those who like fashion and cinema, until the 28th of January there is an exhibition of original Marilyn Monroe stage costumes, shoes and accessories at Ferragamo Museum. Elena personally recommends it, in her words, it is “incredibile!” (same meaning in English)</p> <h2>About Italy</h2> <p>Husband and wife team Katia and Niccolo are the owners of <a rel="nofollow" href="">Newblog.aboutItaly</a>. The blog was set up in 2007 with the aim of creating a site with useful information and tips about what to see and do all over Italy. They also wanted to promote the different events and festivals taking place throughout the country at different parts of the year.</p> <p>The site is updated twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays in both Italian and English so they can reach a wide audience. For Halloween celebrations next week, they have just published an article about the <a rel="nofollow" href="">scariest Halloween parties</a> in Italy, where festiva- goers can find out about some of the exciting Halloween events taking place in the main cities in Italy. Check out the site fore more information about Lucca Comics (1st to 4th Nov.), the Book Trade Fair in Pisa (taking place on 10th and 11th Nov.), Florence Marathon (25th Nov.), and from the end of November and in the whole month of December they will publish articles about the many Christmas markets in Italy and the several events taking place at Christmas time.</p> <h2>Italy Magazine</h2> <p>The website receives over 140,000 visits a month and has more than 23,000 Facebook fans which is not surprising as the site has everything a visitor to Italy could wish for. There is information about what to see and do in all parts of the country, information about Italian schools and even where and how to plan your own Italian wedding. <a rel="nofollow" href="">Italy Magazine</a> caters for those who are after cookery holidays, those who want guided vacations and also those who enjoy trekking and hiking in the Italian countryside.</p> <h2>The Curious Eater</h2> <p><a rel="nofollow" href="">The Curious Eater </a>was set up by Sofie, a Belgian, living in Florence. A freelance photographer, her blog is full of unique and interesting photos of her time at different restaurants and food she loves. As her blog says, she is a curious eater and wants to discover the people behind the delicious food she finds. Sofie writes about eating in Belgium, but mostly about Florence and Tuscany. Her work has been published in the US, Italy and Belgium. Sofie says “I think I have the best job in the world!” and who could disagree with her, eating and taking photographs throughout Italy sounds like a great job.</p> 6 Reasons to Visit Île de la Cité /blog/blog/post/2012/10/22/6-reasons-to-visit-le-de-la-cit 2012-10-22T00:00:00+01:00 2012-11-22T06:49:35+00:00 <p>The Île de la Cité, the boat shaped island on the Seine was first inhabited by Celtic tribes as far&#8230;</p> <p>The Île de la Cité, the boat shaped island on the Seine was first inhabited by Celtic tribes as far back at 3rd century BC. It is one of the oldest parts of Paris and is a must see destination for any visitor to to the city, here are just 6 reasons to visit this beautiful island.</p> <h2>Notre Dame</h2> <p>The famous cathedral was commissioned in 1159 with the first stone laid in 1163. Henry V was coronated at <a rel="nofollow" href="">Notre Dame</a> in 1422 and Napoleon in 1804. During the Revolution it was desecrated but was restored during the 19th century by the architect Viollet-le-Duc. It has recently been fully cleaned and its now white façade makes a perfect picture for anyone visiting Paris.</p> <h2>Le Palais de Justice</h2> <p>The site occupied since Roman Times is home to the country’s law courts. Trials are held here and are public, tourists can visit the courts. The law courts were built in grounds of former royal residence and when the royals moved out, it has since been used as a place of government and houses the conciergerie and the Sainte Chapelle. The Cour du Mai located on the Boulevard du Palais is the main entrance of the Palais de Justice.</p> <h2>Sainte Chapelle</h2> <p>Built in 1247, it is one of the greatest architectural masterpieces. There are 15 stained glass windows portraying more than 1,000 biblical scenes. Each glass window is separated by 15 metre columns into the star roof. There are classical music concerts held in Sainte Chapelle regularly.</p> <h2>Conciergerie</h2> <p>This was the main prison during The French Revolution, during which time there were over 4,000 prisoners. Marie-Antoinette was imprisoned at <a rel="nofollow" href="">the Conciergerie </a><br /> until her execution in 1793. The building was renovated in the 19th century and still retains its 11th century torture chamber.</p> <h2>Pont Neuf</h2> <p>Pont Neuf which means new bridge in English, is the oldest bridge in Paris. The first stone was laid in 1578 and connects the left bank to the right bank of Paris. It was also the first bridge to be built in Paris with no houses on it and the first to have pavements for pedestrians.</p> <h2>Best Hot Chocolate</h2> <p>The <a rel="nofollow" href="">Café la Charlotte de I’Isle</a> is located on the Ile St Louis. It is known to serve one of the best hot chocolates in all of Paris, rivaling Angelines near the Tuileries Gardens.</p> <p>We at Worldwide have a wide range of <a href="">apartments in Paris for short-term rent</a> for those who wish to enjoy a longer stay in the comforts of their own apartment. All of our apartments are located in the centre of Paris, meaning you are never far from the main attractions of the city.</p> <p>Written by Robin Sharman</p> Italian food varieties – Pizza isn’t alone /blog/blog/post/2012/10/11/italian-food-varieties-pizza-isnt-alone 2012-10-11T00:00:00+01:00 2012-10-11T07:13:04+01:00 <p> Modern Italian cuisine as we know it dates back to the 4th century yet it can be very easy&#8230; <p> <p>Modern Italian cuisine as we know it dates back to the 4th century yet it can be very easy to stick to the safe option of pizza. When visiting a place such as Rome there is one thing you will not have to worry about, and that is struggling to find a good place to eat. Italy is known as the home of a great homemade pizza but there is much more out there on offer. Pizzas may have a variety of different toppings but alternating between a ‘Margarita’ and a ‘Roma’ doesn’t mean you have tried an assortment of foods when on your holiday. Italian cuisine features simple combinations of exceptionally high quality ingredients which are engrained into Mediterranean tradition and culture. Try as many things as possible when visiting Rome, if you don’t you will definitely miss out.</p></p> <h2>Meat Dishes</h2> <p>To the North of Italy meat dishes are their area of expertise. Pizza can be very filling and heavy, especially in the baking Roman sun, so why not have a change of scene and opt something a little lighter? Prosciutto (also known as Parma ham) is a dry cured ham and is usually served in thin slices uncooked. Other cured meat delicacies such as Salami, Pepperoni, Bresaola make for great antipasti with a few olives and cheeses on the side. It’s easy to try a selection of Italian specialities without breaking the bank or filling up too much before your main meal.</p> <h2>Rice Courses</h2> <p>Risotto is a typical Italian dish served and flavoured in a variety of different ways. The rice is cooked in a broth until it reaches a creamy consistency. Depending on the ingredients flavouring the dish Risotto can be meat or fish based however, most Risotto dishes have the similarity of including parmesan cheese, butter and onions. Compared to pizza this classic Italian meal will leave you satisfied on the hunger front yet blown away with the flavour and aroma.</p> <h2>Home comfort foods</h2> <p> <p>If you’re a home bird who enjoys a taste of the family favourites then Venice (or Venetian cuisine) is the place to be. Known for its comfort food, Venice offers familiar specialities such as Spaghetti Bolognese or Lasagne. These meals will provide you with a taste of home at a Michelin star standard. Using home grown Italian ingredients such as vine ripened plum tomatoes these home comforts reach a whole new level!</p></p> <p> <p>As explored it is apparent that Italy has a large variety of foods on offer. Just remember, you are able to order a pizza as a takeaway any day of the week. I would recommend making the most of your meals, keeping an open mind set and trying all you can on your next visit to Rome.</p></p> <p> <p>This guest blog was written by travelling foodie Rachel Coope on behalf of MF Airport Parking. If you’re looking to travel to Rome from Manchester then why not check out their <a rel="nofollow" href="">low cost Manchester airport parking</a> options. </p></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Autumn in Rome /blog/blog/post/2012/10/4/autumn-in-rome 2012-10-04T00:00:00+01:00 2012-10-05T01:42:19+01:00 <p> During the summer months, the city of Rome becomes a sweltering haze of heat waves and stifling pollution. Locals&#8230; <p> <p>During the summer months, the city of Rome becomes a sweltering haze of heat waves and stifling pollution. Locals flee to neighbouring regions to escape the furnace and return in the autumn months when the crowds of tourists and sizzling city have cooled. A prime time to visit, Rome is comfortably warm, allowing for outdoor excursions without much overexertion. Visiting the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain or the Vatican can be done at any time of year. Visiting Rome in autumn uncovers a road less travelled, one less of architecture and more of action. Here are five examples of what to do in an autumnal Rome.</p></p> <h2>Roman Festivals</h2> <p> <p>Shopping in Italy can be costly, but exploring the cultural hub of the arts, crafts and antiques fairs is a wallet-friendly way to shop around. Street markets sell pumpkins and figs, while the Via dell’Orso displays crafty souvenirs and Via dei Coronari, antiques. At night, the Roma Europa Festival fills the city’s streets with theatre performances, dance and music, rivaling the equally popular Rome Jazz Festival, held in the Auditorium Parco della Musica.</p></p> <h2>A Unique Tour of Rome</h2> <p> <p>Beating a mundane tour guide, the WHAIWHAI guidebook leads you around the city through short tales and enigmas. The scavenger hunt can be started at any point and any route can be taken, guiding you to corners you would never have discovered on a self-guided tour. The game can be played solo or in groups.</p></p> <h2>Eating in Rome</h2> <p> <p>Places to eat in Rome are as common as <strong>coins in the Trevi/pesto on pasta</strong>. Autumn is truffle season and the perfect time for trying something extra special. Imported from nearby farms, delicious truffles will be a feature on any restaurant menu. Food enthusiasts can even take a day trip to nearby Piedmont’s Alba Truffle Fair to sample fresh produce. Porcini mushrooms also bud in the autumn months, adding to the array of gourmet goodies found all over Italy. The finishing touch to any meal in Rome is a large glass of wine, recently harvested in neighbouring Tuscany.</p> <h2>Capital View</h2> <p> <p>Taking an autumnal walk is a pleasure wherever you are, but Rome’s regal Villa Borghese houses spectacular gardens where burnt orange treetops enhance the already magnificent views. Boat rides can be taken on the lake before wandering through the tree-lined avenues and floral paths. The Temple of Aesculapius and its towering roman columns makes for a typically Italian backdrop. With one of its nine entrances located close to the Spanish Steps, the gardens are a secluded and peaceful piece of Italian history residing in the heart of the city.</p></p> <h2>Opera in Rome</h2> <p> <p>Late September sees the start of the opera and theatre season in Rome. Famous for its operatic finesse, The Teatro dell’Opera di Roma has previously performed Madam Butterfly, Attila and the Romeo and Juliet ballet, to name but a few. The Terme di Caracalla is another popular venue, having performed Giselle earlier this year on its outdoor stage.</p></p> <p> <p>Laura Jane Dale is currently interning for online travel guide, <a rel="nofollow" href="">My Destination</a>.</p></p> <p> </p> 4 Great Travel Blogs To Review Before You Book Your Next Holiday /blog/blog/post/2012/9/21/4-great-travel-blogs-to-review-before-you-book-your-next-holiday 2012-09-21T00:00:00+01:00 2012-09-27T02:56:29+01:00 <p> If you want to plan your next holiday to Europe, but you feel it is such a large area&#8230; <p> <p>If you want to plan your next holiday to Europe, but you feel it is such a large area and you don’t know where to start, try looking at travel blogs to find the best places to go and attractions to visit. These are just some of the travel blogs I have read and recommend for helping you decide where to go on your next holiday and what to see there.</p></p> <p> <h2>Discover Tuscany</h2> <p>Husband and wife team Stefano Romano and Lourdes Flores set up <a rel="nofollow" href="">DiscoverTuscany </a> nearly 10 years ago. The site is full of content around activities to do in Tuscany, with videos and photos. It is almost like a guide and it feels as though they are really speaking to you as you read through the places to visit .There is information about all the main cities in Tuscany, Florence, Siena, Chianti, Mugello, Maremma, There is information on what to do in Tuscany, hiking, cycling, shopping, even cooking classes. They have over 27,000 fans on Facebook, that is saying something. There is also an events calendar showing all the activities taking place, updated regularly so you can be sure there is an activity on whatever time of year you decide to go.</p></p> <p> <h2>Travel Sign Posts</h2> <p>This blog was set up by Tony and Helen Page. Tony has been travelling for more than 30 years and now he and his wife Helen update the blog with information on the places they have visited throughout Europe. They have information about country guides, city guides, river cruises and even walking tours. They also go into detail about places to visit in the UK, outside of London. London is a big pull for people but <a rel="nofollow" href="">Travel Sign Posts</a> have information about other cities in England as well as London such as Glastonbury, York and Oxford.</p></p> <p> <h2>Europe Up Close</h2> <p><a rel="nofollow" href="">Europeupclose</a> is a European travel blog set up by Mike Coletta and Terri Fogarty. They set up the website in 2006 and offer advice for those travelling to Europe. Terri runs a travel agency in the US called Euroescapes and Mike started in website development and marketing. This site has received numerous awards over the years. There are tips for those travelling to Europe, aimed at the US market. It encourages people to use public transportation system in cities such as London and Paris, something which many regular travellers to Europe may take for granted There is also an interactive travel deals section which has to a live feed, meaning it is always up to date. There are easy to use facilities to book hostels, connecting to hostelworld and there is a quick link to Rail Europe which is very handy if you want to can buy your interail pass.</p></p> <p> <h2>DTravelsRound</h2> <p>Diana turned 30 and decided that was the time to start travelling. She quit her job in 2010 to go solo backpacking and she spent 7 months abroad. Then she went back to the US (probably to fund more of the travelling) and then quit to go and look after Elephants in Thailand. Many people have set up their own travel blog but few have been awarded the Featured Blogger 2012 for Lonely Planet. Diana also is Travel Tip Author for TravelDudes. Diana updates <a rel="nofollow" href="">DTravelsRound </a>nearly every day and receives numerous comments. There is a great deal of information on her blog and it is a must read for anyone who is overwhelmed by choice and cannot decide where to start their travel adventures.</p></p> Berlin Events This Autumn /blog/blog/post/2012/9/14/berlin-events-this-autumn 2012-09-14T03:11:14+01:00 <p> Berlin is one of the most exciting vibrant cities in Europe and as such is well worth a visit&#8230;. <p> <p>Berlin is one of the most exciting vibrant cities in Europe and as such is well worth a visit. Now that the peak of summer is over, with shorter days and cooler temperatures, it is the perfect time to explore what the city has to offer. An added bonus is that as it is outside of the main tourist season, there are great deals on offer to tempt the most intrepid traveller. Here are just a few events taking place in Berlin this autumn.</p></p> <p> <h2>Berlin Marathon</h2> <p>The Berlin marathon is in late September every year. The runners start at Schloß Charlottenburg on the Straße der 17 Juni and finish on the Kurfurstendamm. It is the biggest marathon in Germany and participants come from over 70 countries. The race is also for those in wheelchairs and on rollerblades, allowing everyone to take part. </p></p> <p> <h2>Festival of Lights</h2> <p>From the 10th until the 21st of October, the festival of lights takes place in Berlin. More than 50 famous landmarks will be lit up throughout the city including the Brandenburg Gate, the radio tower in Alexanderplatz and the Berlin Cathedral. The lights are on from 7pm until midnight and the best part about them, is that it is free. All information about the event is in Potsdamer Platz. The opening ceremony starts here where some celebrities will switch on the lights. It is a beautiful time to go to Berlin, seeing all the famous landmarks and Berlin apartments lit up throughout the city. </p></p> <p> <h2>Berliner Oktoberfest</h2> <p>The annual Berlin beer festival is similar to the one in Munich but on a much smaller scale. The festival lasts for two weeks from late September until the beginning of October. More than 200,000 descend upon Oktoberfest which takes place in Zentraler Festplatz and Kurt-Schumacher-Damm. Entrance is free and the fairground offers rides with half price tickets on 10th of October. </p></p> <p> <h2>JazzFest Berlin</h2> <p>The Jazz Fest takes place every year in October and November and has been since 1964. This year it will run from the 1st to the 4th of November. Originally, it was associated with Joachin Ernst Berendt who was known as the “Jazz Pope”. In January earlier this year, the <a rel="nofollow" href="">Berlin Jazz Festival </a>recruited a new director, Bert Noglik. The programme for this year has not yet been published but will be available on the 19th of September with the ability to order tickets in advance. </p></p> <p> <h2>Jewish Culture Days &#8211; Jüdische Kulturtage</h2> <p>Every November, Berlin celebrates its Jewish heritage for 2 weeks. There are Jewish concerts and films and exhibitions taking place. It is also tailored for non German speakers as well, with the films at Arsenal and Filmkunsthaus Babylon being shown in original version with English subtitles. This year’s theme is “The spirit of Jewish humour”.</p></p> <p> <p>While you&#8217;re holidaying, you&#8217;ll need some accommodation and we&#8217;ve got a stunning range of <a href="">luxury Berlin apartments</a>, all personally inspected and verified. We take the photos and write the descriptions on all properties listed on our site.</p></p> <p>Written by Jo Turnbull</p> Using your mobile to plan a holiday in Venice /blog/blog/post/2012/9/6/using-your-mobile-to-plan-a-holiday-in-venice 2012-09-06T02:33:51+01:00 2012-09-06T02:33:51+01:00 <p> Venice is an unforgettable holiday destination. Whether you are visiting on a romantic break, keen to soak of the&#8230; <p> <p>Venice is an unforgettable holiday destination. Whether you are visiting on a romantic break, keen to soak of the history of the city, or just looking for some great places to eat out, your mobile will you help to have an amazing holiday. Use mobile apps to steer your way through the crowds, get the best seats at the best restaurants and much more!</p></p> <p> <h2>General travel guides</h2> <p>Guide books are so bulky to carry around and, compared to mobile versions that allow you to do so much more than bookmark a useful page, they&#8217;re somewhat limited. There are a number of good mobile guides to Venice.</p></p> <p> <h2>Venice Travel Guide</h2> <p>A traditional guidebook that has listings for all the major attractions in the city, it allows you to set preferences for your trip by selecting your &#8220;intensity&#8221; &#8211; an effective way of guiding you to the things you really want to see and do.</p></p> <p> <p>It will use your preferences to set you a sight-seeing itinerary. We&#8217;d recommend that you get used to the way the app works before setting off on your holiday, then customise your &#8220;favourites&#8221; as you get to know the city.</p></p> <p> <h2>LUXE Venice</h2> <p>If you&#8217;re looking for a really stylish guide to Venice, then you can&#8217;t go wrong with LUXE, described as &#8220;the world&#8217;s coolest guidebook publisher&#8221; by The Times and also lauded by Vanity Fair and The New York Times.</p></p> <p> <p>They promise to give you snappy, &#8220;brutally honest&#8221; recommendations about Michelin starred restaurants, hamburger joints and &#8220;after hours treats&#8221; and, indeed, everything in Venice. They also promise that all their editors have personally visited the places they review, so you can be sure of getting a first-hand report.</p></p> <p> <h2>Venice 2Go</h2> <p>For a more in-depth introduction to the many famous places in this remarkable city, you should turn to Venice 2Go which features long articles about landmarks and places of interest (largely taken from Wikipedia). So, if you don&#8217;t really understand who the Doges are and why they are important, download this app and answer all your questions about Venice.</p></p> <p> <h2>Venice &amp; The Veneto Travel Guide &#8211; Lonely Planet</h2> <p>The well-known travel guide publishers have invested heavily in producing comprehensive, very user-friendly mobile versions of their guide books. They promise to help you avoid paying over the odds for gondola rides and bypass the tourist crush. It&#8217;s recommended to download the full version before travelling, so you can access it offline when internet access is poor.</p></p> <p> <h2>Maps and walking tours</h2> <p>Many mobile guide books do feature maps, but maybe you&#8217;re looking for something more specifically dealing with finding your way around?</p></p> <p> <h2>Venice Maps and Walking Tours</h2> <p>There are no cars in Venice, so this is a city to explore by foot &#8211; and by gondola! This app covers the main attractions of the city pretty comprehensively; it is your personal city guide. There are a number of tours featured that take you along the Grand Canal, through the Ghetto and across to Murano Island etc. The tours are also themed for different tastes, such as the Romantic Tour and others for shoppers and wine enthusiasts. This is a great way to discover the highlights of Venice.</p></p> <p> <h2>Discovering Venice</h2> <p>Similarly Discovering Venice delivers what it promises with detailed descriptions and well-designed maps that will encourage you to feel confident as you navigate the maze of narrow streets and canals. Just choose the area you want to explore and it provides you with clear instructions about streets to follow and which &#8220;vaporettos&#8221; to board.</p></p> <p> <h2>Food, Drink and nightlife</h2> <p>No holiday in Italy is complete without tasting the local delicacies and Venetians are proud of their local cuisine. Choosing where to eat, especially if you want to avoid tourist traps can be a challenge&#8230;</p></p> <p> <h2>Venice: Wallpaper* City Guide</h2> <p>Another super-cool app from the renowned style magazine, they promise insider tips and recommendations on where to visit for real indulgence. The app isn&#8217;t restricted to food &amp; drink (they also include interesting insights into the city&#8217;s architecture) but the section on the coolest cafes, hippest bars and the restaurants to be seen in (as well as enjoy fantastic food in) is a real highlight. It will definitely whet your appetite.</p></p> <p> <h2>Venice Restaurants Official Mobile Guide</h2> <p>Not only is this app official (produced in collaboration with the city authorities) it promises to be the most comprehensive. It covers every type of eatery; from cafes through to high class restaurants offering fine dining.</p></p> <p> <p>You can search by type of cuisine, location and best rated, but more importantly in this very expensive city, you can also view typical prices for each establishment. This is a great way to find where the best local delicacies are being served.</p></p> <p> <h2>History &amp; Culture</h2> <p>There&#8217;s a lot to take in as you wind your way through the city, but to be sure that you don&#8217;t miss the villa Lord Byron stayed in, or the best galleries to visit, it&#8217;s worth investing in an app that specialises in the history and culture of Venice.</p></p> <p> <h2>Venice Past &amp; Present</h2> <p>This is an educational video book that provides you with a &#8220;virtual tour&#8221; of the city&#8217;s main attractions, explaining why they are so special. It&#8217;s a useful way to decide what you want to see and do when you get away, treat it as pre-holiday homework.</p></p> <p> <h2>Magical Venice</h2> <p>This isn&#8217;t a city guide; it&#8217;s a collection of some truly beautiful images of the city, taken over 25 years, during all twelve months of the year.<br /> As well as inspiring you to take some artistic snaps of your own, it offers a glimpse of not just the most famous sights, but the places best loved by Venetians themselves.</p></p> <p> <h2>Cultural Journeys Venice</h2> <p>Curated by a local cultural expert, this app is packed with useful information; from opening hours, to direct ticket purchasing and all the vital tourist information. It&#8217;s a great way to keep up-to-date with what&#8217;s on and plan a visit to the theatre or opera as part of your stay.<br /> Jenny Simpson loves writing about travel and tech. You can raise funds for your travels by selling your phone for cash to <a rel="nofollow" href="">Envirofone (Envirophone)</a>.</p></p> The Paralympics Start This Week /blog/blog/post/2012/8/29/the-paralympics-start-this-week 2012-08-29T00:00:00+01:00 2012-09-27T02:56:50+01:00 <p> The Paralympics start this week, Wednesday the 29th of August and will last until the 9th of September. There&#8230; <p> <p>The Paralympics start this week, Wednesday the 29th of August and will last until the 9th of September. There will be 4,280 athletes from 166 countries competing in 20 sports in 19 venues. To coincide with the Paralympics and to celebrate this being the first time the Paralympics are hosted in London, there will be a number of events taking place across the capital.</p></p> <p> <h2>Liberty Festival</h2> <p>The disability arts festival called<a rel="nofollow" href=""> Liberty</a> is hosting free music, dance and entertainment at venues across London. There will be three days of live music, dance and comedy from the 1st of September to the 3rd of September inclusive. The top deaf and disabled performers will be taking part in this event. There will also be a showcase of some of the best performances over the past 10 years, which also marks the tenth anniversary of the festival.</p></p> <p> <h2>Unlimited</h2> <p>This summer there is also the Unlimited Festival taking place at the Southbank Centre which celebrates disability, culture, sport and art. There will be 29 unlimited commissions at the Southbank Centre from the 30th of August until the 9th of September. Funded by the National Lottery, it is part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad project. One of the fist performances is on Thursday. It is free to enter but you will need to <a rel="nofollow" href=""> book online</a> or phone the Southbank Centre to reserve your ticket.</p> </p> <p> <h2>Torch Relay</h2> <p>The Paralympic torch relay began on Snowdon on the 22nd of August where the National Flames were created. Last Friday, the Flame was used to light the cauldron in Trafalgar Square and on Tuesday it was taken to Stoke Mandeville, which is the home of the Paralympic movement. It was then combined to create the Paralympic Flame. For those in London, on the 29th, the Torch Relay will pass through many parts of the city. Make sure you are there if you want to see the torch. It will be at Piccadilly Circus at 10:49am and then Tower Bridge at 1:12pm.</p></p> <p> <h2>Events</h2> <p>There are still tickets available to go and see the events. Check out the London 2012 website to see what is available. The Paralympic men’s and women’s marathon events are free to watch, taking places throughout the London streets. You can also watch the events live in Hyde Park and Victoria Park. Be sociable, leave your <a href=""> London apartment</a> and meet up with friends and family to watch the Games. There is also a big screen in Trafalgar Square where you can catch all the action.</p> </p> The Top 10 in Venice /blog/blog/post/2012/8/24/the-top-10-in-venice 2012-08-24T00:00:00+01:00 2014-08-07T11:51:48+01:00 <p> Venice is one of the most well known cities in the world. Famous for its canals, gondolas and Murano&#8230; <p> <p>Venice is one of the most well known cities in the world. Famous for its canals, gondolas and Murano glass, not forgetting its unique history, art and architecture, the “City on the Water” is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Located in the lagoon of the Adriatic Sea, Venice appeals to all ages and is one of the most interesting and exciting places to visit.</p></p> <p> <h2>1) Rialto Bridge</h2> <p>This is one of the most famous bridges in Venice and in the world. It was the first of four bridges to cross the Grand Canal. Along the bridge are many Venice souvenir shops and on the other side is the <a rel="nofollow" href="">Rialto Market</a> where you can purchase fresh fruit and other market foods.</p></p> <p> <h2>2) St Mark’s Square</h2> <p>The square is bustling with tourists day and night, especially during the peak months. If you want to visit and take photos when no one is around, visit early in the morning or head over to Venice during the quieter months – November to March. The square is home to many restaurants and cafes, but prices are at a premium, so you need to check the menu before you order.</p></p> <p> <h2>3) St Mark’s Basilica</h2> <p>The Basilica is located at one end of <a rel="nofollow" href="">St Mark’s Square</a> and is a multi domed Church, one of Venice’s top attractions. There are 5 domes, all decorated with golden Byzantine mosaics and well worth a visit inside. Arrive early as the queues build up during the day.</p></p> <p> <h2>4) The Campanile</h2> <p>Next to the basilica is the Campanile, which is accessed by a spiral staircase, or for those faint of heart, a lift. The panoramic views from the top are breathtaking, showing Venice and the other islands in all its glory. The bells are close to the tower and ring throughout the city.</p></p> <p> <h2>5) Visit the Doge’s Palace</h2> <p>The <a rel="nofollow" href="">Palazzzo Ducale</a> as it is known in Italian, is next door to the Basilica. It was once the home to the Doge, the elected ruler of Venice and the building is a combination of Byzantine, Gothic and Renaissance architecture. The Bridge of Sighs is one of the most well known bridges as it originally lead to the prison and is so called as the prisoners sighed as they walked over it, to meet their fate and their incarceration.</p></p> <p> <h2>6) Murano Island</h2> <p>Murano island is place where the worldwide famous Murano glass is produced. The glass has been made in the same way it has for centuries and visitors can watch this in action. If you have enough time on your next trip to Venice, stop off at Murano island for the day, it is possible to watch the glass being made and then buy the finished product.</p></p> <p> <h2>7) Canal Tour</h2> <p>Hop on a vaporetto to see Venice by boat. There are many vaporettos which leave by Venice station. The water buses are good value, from around 7 euros for an hour or 18 euros for a 12 hour travel card.</p></p> <p> <h2>8) Venice Biennale</h2> <p>This is an arts, film and dance festival taking place every other year since 1895. International artists from all over the world come to Venice for the festival. There are five different events, the International Film Festival (which takes place annually August and September), The International Art Exhibition (June to November), the International Architecture Exhibition from September to November and the Festival of Contemporary Music and Theatre (September/October).</p></p> <p> <h2>9) Peggy Guggenheim Collection</h2> <p>This is one of the first contemporary art museums in Italy and houses work from Pollock, Mondrian and de Chirico. The museum is open Wednesday to Monday 10:00 am to 18:00.</p></p> <p> <h2>10) Giardini Pubblici</h2> <p>At the far eastern part of Venice is a large public park. It is a relaxing place to visit to escape the other parks of the city. It is big enough to contain a children’s playground as well as a good work out area for those who want to jog around the park</p></p> <p> <p>Venice is an amazing city and one that everyone should visit. Its unique transport system along with the historic buildings and Venetian culture make it the number one tourist attraction worldwide. Whatever your needs for accommodation, we have a wide range of <a href="">apartments in Venice for short term rental</a>. Visit WorldWide Accom to check out the apartments for your holiday.</p></p> <p>Written by Jo Turnbull</p> 5 Attractions to Visit in the 18th Arrondissement of Paris /blog/blog/post/2012/8/16/5-attractions-to-visit-in-the-18th-arrondissement-of-paris 2012-08-16T00:00:00+01:00 2012-08-16T01:39:13+01:00 <p> Paris is divided into 20 arrondissements which is indicated by the last two digits of the numerical post code&#8230;. <p> <p>Paris is divided into 20 arrondissements which is indicated by the last two digits of the numerical post code. For example, Montmartre is in the arrondissement 18 and therefore the post code is 75018. The arrondissements are laid out in a clockwise direction, from the centre of Paris. Each has its own unique characteristics, here is a look at 5 attractions to visit in the 18th.</p></p> <p> <h2>Montmartre</h2> <p>The hill overlooking all of Paris can either be accessed by walking up a few stair cases or an escalator which takes you directly to Sacre Coeur. The hill is 130 metres high and from the top there are amazing views of Paris. The hill is named after Mons Martis which means mountain of the martyr after the Bishop of Paris, Saint Denis who was beheaded here in 250AD. Montmatre was originally outside of the city limits which meant it was free from taxes and due to the wine making by the nuns in the area, it became a popular drinking destination. Today, it still attracts a lot of tourists to the area and there are many cafes, bars, restaurants and clubs to go to, one of the most famous – the Moulin Rouge.</p></p> <p> <h2>Sacre Coeur</h2> <p>The sacred heart which is the direct translation of Le Sacre Coeur, sits at the top of Montmartre constructed between 1875 and 1919 . The Basilica is open daily, from 6:00 am to 10:30pm. The Basilica is made of Chateau Landon stones which secrete calcite when it rains. This calcite acts like a bleach and therefore a natural cleaning product, helping to keep the Basilica looking white. Tourists can climb the dome of the Basilica, which is open daily until 7:00pm in summer.</p></p> <p> <h2>Les Deux Moulins</h2> <p>This café made famous by the French film Amelie Poulin is located on Rue Lepic, at the junction of Rue Cauchois. <a rel="nofollow" href="">Les Deux Moulins</a> means two windmills in French, named after the two historic windmills nearby, the Moulin Rouge and the Moulin de la Galette. The weekends tend to be the busiest but there is not normally a long wait (if going during the off peak season). Inside there are photos from the film and visitors can of course have a crème brulee, one of Amelie’s favourite foods.</p></p> <p> <h2>Moulin Rouge</h2> <p>The Red Windmill located on Boulevard de Clichy is a cabaret in Paris. It is known as being the birthplace of the cancan which originally was a seductive dance. However, the cancan soon became a popular and entertainment dance which led to many other cabaret shows being open throughout Europe. Built in 1889, <a rel="nofollow" href="">Moulin Rouge</a> still retains many of its original features and has shows daily. It is expensive to see the performances (it costs from 50 euros without dinner), but all those who have seen the shows have described it as spectacular and well worth it.</p></p> <p> <h2>Rue des Abbesses</h2> <p>Situated just one block from the Boulevard de Clichy, many tourists may miss this street. Although quieter than the Boulevard, this street still has many bars, restaurants and boutique shops. Le Saint Jean is a friendly and lively café with a wide selection of typical French food. For those staying in one of the <a href="">Paris apartments</a>, without internet, head over to Le Vrai Paris which offer free WiFi as long as your order a drink/food.</p></p> <p> <p>The 18th arrondissement is now one of the most trendy areas in Paris to live and visit. Rent for some of these <a href="">apartments in Paris</a> is not as expensive as in the centre but it is slowly rising, forcing many lower income families to head further out of the city.</p></p> <p>Written by Jo Turnbull</p> Events for The Last Week of The Olympics /blog/blog/post/2012/8/9/events-for-the-last-week-of-the-olympics 2012-08-09T00:00:00+01:00 2012-08-09T02:22:07+01:00 <p> The twenty two gold medal won for Great Britain for the women’s heptathlon, athletics, double sculls, sailing, tennis and&#8230; <p> <p>The twenty two gold medal won for Great Britain for the women’s heptathlon, athletics, double sculls, sailing, tennis and show jumping beats the previous record of 18 at Beijing and there are still four days left of the Olympics. The total number of medals now puts team GB just behind China and the USA.</p></p> <p> <h2>Tennis</h2> <p>The Williams sisters claimed their third gold medal in women’s doubles after beating the Czechs 6-4, 6-4. Serena also won the singles gold, beating Maria Sharapova and is now the only woman in history to win and singles and doubles “Golden Slam” in all four major tournaments and the Olympics.</p></p> <p> <h2>Boxing and Wrestling</h2> <p>The semi final of the lightweight and middleweight women’s boxing match took place yesterday (Wednesday the 8th). It was the first time women’s boxing entered the Olympics (104 years after men’s boxing made its debut). Katie Taylor, Ireland’s world champion was favourite to win her semi-final match and she is now through to the final of her 60kg division. Leeds based Nicola Adams has also made it through to the final, in the 51kg division and will fight Ren CanCan.</p></p> <p> <h2>Athletics</h2> <p>Today, (Thursday) is the 7th day of athletics at the Olympic Stadium, beginning with the 110m hurdles at 9:00am. In the evening, there is the decathlon and the 1500m mens triple jump final, the 800m and the 200m final. Thursday is also the javelin final for women and the 800m semi final.</p></p> <p> <h2>Basketball</h2> <p>The men’s basketball semi finals takes place on Friday with the finals on Sunday. The US are favourite to win, keen to take home the gold medal again, following their victory in Beijing. The US so far has remained undefeated in their basketball matches. Spain is seen as the biggest challenger to the US title. The US women’s basketball team is also favourite to win, and like the men’s basketball team they want to defend their title, which they won four years ago in Beijing.</p></p> <p> <h2>Diving</h2> <p>Saturday is the men’s 10m platform semi final. Tom Daley will be hoping to score a medal after finishing fourth in the synchronised final last week. He has been training all week and taken some well earned relaxation in his <a href="">London apartment </a>in the Olympic Village. Tom won gold at this year’s European championships and is mentally preparing himself for another gold this Saturday. </p></p> <p> <h2>Closing Ceremony</h2> <p>This Sunday evening at 9pm will see the Closing Ceremony at the Olympic Park,. If the Closing Ceremony is anything like the Opening, it will be just as spectacular. There will be a Handover to Rio de Janeiro who will be hosting the Olympics in 2016. The Olympic Flame will also be extinguished which symbolises the end of the Games in London. More than 4,000 performers will take park in the Ceremony from the six east London Host Boroughs. If you did not manage to buy tickets for the Olympics, The Paralympic Games takes place from the 29th of August to the 9th of September. There are still tickets available to purchase through the <a rel="nofollow" href="">London 2012 website</a>.</p></p> <p>Written by Jo Turnbull</p> Olympic Events and Venues This Week /blog/blog/post/2012/7/31/olympic-events-and-venues-this-week 2012-07-31T07:33:55+01:00 <p> The Olympics is now in its first full week and this past weekend has already been very exciting especially&#8230; <p> <p>The Olympics is now in its first full week and this past weekend has already been very exciting especially with the spectacular Opening Ceremony. The first gold medal was won by China’s Yi Siling. Ryan Lochte won the first gold for his country, the United States and 16 year old Ye Shiwen of China set the world record of the women’s 400m swim at the weekend.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Aquatics Centre</strong><br /> At a cost of £268 million to build, the Aquatics Centre is one of the most expensive sporting venues for the Olympics. It houses nearly 1,000 athletes and will be the scene for the Swimming until this Saturday, the Diving until the 11th of August and synchronised swimming from 5th Aug – 10th August. There is a 50m competition pool, 25 m diving pool, 50m warm-up pool. The centre was opened in July 2011 by Tom Daley and can house up to 17,500 spectators during the Games. After the Games, it will be transformed into a leisure facility for swimmers with crèche and a public plaza.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>North Greenwich Arena and Velodrome</strong><br /> Gymnastics take place in the <a rel="nofollow" href="">North Greenwich Arena</a> (known to locals as the O2). Thursday is the women’s all around gymnastics final. Every one will be watching Jordyn Wieber, who will be just 17 years old when she competes this week. She won the junior title in 2008. Another final, happening on Thursday, is the women’s team sprint cycling final at the Velodrom. Victoria Pendleton is favourite to win another medal for Great Britain and is keen to do so after stating she will retire from the sport after the Games. The Velodrom has a 6,000 capacity, no need for air-conditioning as it is 100% naturally ventilated. After the Games, it will be the centre piece of the new VeloPark. On the ground level, there is 360 degree of London across the Olympic Park.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Olympic Stadium</strong><br /> The <a rel="nofollow" href="">Olympic Stadium </a>in the heart of the park, is the setting for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Friday morning sees the 100m hurdles taking place in the stadium. Jessica Ennis for Great Britain will be looking to secure her medal. She will take on the 100m hurdle, then the high jump and 200m. On Saturday, is the Men’s 100m heat and the 400m first round in the morning from 10:00am. There is plenty of room for the spectators, as the Stadium has a 80,000 seat capacity. 10,000 tonnes of steel were used to build the venue, much less than other Olympic stadiums and it is one of the most sustainable stadiums – the 800,000 tonnes of soil excavated for the site was used elsewhere in the park and the top ring of the Stadium was made out of surplus landpipes. After the Games, still be used for athletics and for other sporting events.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Hyde Park</strong><br /> The women’s triathlon takes place in Hyde Park at 9am on Saturday . Helen Jenkins was world champion in 2008 and will be working towards a gold. Switzerland’s Nicola Spirig will be her nearest competitor as she has yet to claim she has an Olympic medal. The triathlon comprises of a 1.5km swim, 40km cycle and a 10km run. This is a single event, no heats before hand. The swim will be in the Serpentine in Hyde Park and the cycle ride will be the leaving the park through the Queen Mother’s Gate and the event will finish in the park. There is a 3000 capacity seating area.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Basketball Arena</strong><br /> The Basketball Arena is a temporary venue in the Olympic Park but is one of the busiest for the duration of the Games. 288 athletes will take part in the basketball games over the next two weeks. Until the 8th of August, they will be playing in the Basketball Arena and then after this time, all games will be in the North Greenwich Arena (normally called the O2).</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Dorney Lake</strong><br /> The women’s double sculls takes place on Friday at Dorney Lake, Eton. Katherine Grainger is after gold after she won silver the past three Games., With partner Anna Watkins, she has formed a great partnership but their biggest rivals are the Australians – Kim Crow and Brooke Pratley.</p></p> <p> <p>It is a busy week ahead with London at full capacity. Make sure you check out TFL before you begin your journey to avoid any delays in getting to your sporting event and get an early start. The athletes will be staying in their very own new <a href="">residential London apartments</a>, meaning they can avoid all the congestion on the roads and railways and concentrate on taking as many medals back to their home country. For the rest of us, going to the Olympics may well be a bit of a squeeze, but if the attention to the detail of the venues is every bit as good as the Opening Ceremony, it will be well worth it.</p></p> <p>Written by Jo Turnbull</p> Run Britannia with Sweaty Betty /blog/blog/post/2012/7/27/run-britannia-with-sweaty-betty 2012-07-27T00:00:00+01:00 2012-07-27T20:09:24+01:00 Jill Kammer <p>We love Sweaty Betty, it&#8217;s Britain&#8217;s answer to LuLu Lemon and their products are great quality and well priced, in&#8230;</p> <p>We love Sweaty Betty, it&#8217;s Britain&#8217;s answer to LuLu Lemon and their products are great quality and well priced, in the spirit of the Olympic games they are inviting you to grab your running shoes and embrace British heritage with Sweaty Betty Run Britannia &#8211; a series of 5K and 10K sight seeing runs around London. Starting from four of Sweaty Betty&#8217;s most iconic boutique locations, Soho, Kensington, Harrods and the Kings Road, join Sweaty Betty for a morning or evening run. Remember &#8211; come ready to run. See London&#8217;s iconic sights.</p> <p> <p><strong>The Capitol Run</strong></p> <p>Starting from the Sweaty Betty Soho boutique, join our running club for a 5K or 10K run and see the sights of this local community from Kensington Piccadilly Circus to Big Ben.<br /> The Details:</p> <p>Date: Daily from 27th July</p> <p>Time: 6:30 pm</p> <p>Place: Sweaty Betty Soho,<br /> 21 Beak Street, W1F 9RR</p> <p>Distance: 5K or 10K, come ready to run</p> <p>The Landmarks:</p> <p>Piccadilly Circus<br /> Covent Garden<br /> The London Eye<br /> Big Ben<br /> The Houses of Parliament<br /> Horse Guards Parade</p> <p>Run Britannia FAQs..</p></p> <p> <p><strong>The Royal Parks Run</strong></p> <p>Starting from the Sweaty Betty Kensington boutique, join our running club for a 5K or 10K run and see the sights of this local community from Kensington Palace Gardens to Hyde Park.</p> <p>The Details:</p> <p>Date: Daily from 27th July</p> <p>Time: 7:30 am</p> <p>Place: Sweaty Betty Kensington <br /> 5 Kensington Church St, W8 4LD</p> <p>Distance: 5K or 10K, come ready to run</p> <p>The Landmarks:</p> <p>Kensington Palace<br /> Kensington Palace Gardens<br /> The Serpantine<br /> Hyde Park</p> <p>Run Britannia FAQs. </p></p> <p> <p><strong>The Palace Run</strong></p> <p>Starting from Sweaty Betty Harrods, join our running club for a 5K or 10K run and see the sights of this local community from Harrods to Buckingham Palace.</p> <p>The Details:</p> <p>Date: Daily from 27th July</p> <p>Time: 7:30 am</p> <p>Place: Sweaty Betty Harrods, meet at the<br /> corner of Hans Crescent and Brompton<br /> Road, SW1X 7XL</p> <p>Distance: 5K or 10K, come ready to run</p> <p>The Landmarks:</p> <p>Harrods<br /> Hyde Park Corner<br /> Green Park<br /> Buckingham Palace<br /> The Mall</p></p> <p> <p><strong>The Riverside Run</strong></p> <p>Starting from the Sweaty Betty Kings Road boutique, join our running club for a 5K or 10K run and see the sights of this local community from Harrods to Buckingham Palace.</p> <p>The Details:</p> <p>Date: Daily from 27th July</p> <p>Time: 6:30 pm</p> <p>Place: Sweaty Betty Kings Road<br /> 125 Kings Road, SW3 4PW</p> <p>Distance: 5K or 10K, come ready to run</p> <p>The Landmarks:</p> <p>The Kings Road<br /> Battersea Power Station<br /> The Chelsea Bridge<br /> Battersea Park<br /> Albert Bridge<br /> Battersea Bridge</p></p> <p> The Countdown is Over - The Olympic Games Start This Weekend /blog/blog/post/2012/7/26/the-countdown-is-over-the-olympic-games-start-this-weekend 2012-07-26T00:00:00+01:00 2012-09-27T02:58:05+01:00 <p> After 7 years of planning, a 100 day countdown and a 70 day torch relay in the UK, the&#8230; <p> <p>After 7 years of planning, a 100 day countdown and a 70 day torch relay in the UK, the Olympic Games begins this weekend. There will be 10,500 athletes and 8.8 million ticket holders at The Games during the 17 days with 26 different team sports being played over this time.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Opening Ceremony</strong><br /> The ceremony curated by Danny Boyle, begins at 21:00 on Friday, the 27th of July. Two time gold medalist, Sir Chris Hoy will be the flag bearer for Team GB, for the second time, after carrying the Union Jack at the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. David Beckham will also be taking part on Friday who was asked as gesture of thanks for his help in London winning the Olympic bid. If you do not have tickets, there will be many places to watch the ceremony. Trafalgar Square, which has been host to the Olympic count down clock is one of the venues dotted around London to watch the Games. Hyde Park is another central venue to watch all the action. </p></p> <p> <p><strong>Olympics Games Venue</strong><br /> There will be 26 sports played during the Games, most taking place in the <a rel="nofollow" href="">Olympic Park</a>. London transport has been distributing leaflets to encourage those who do not need to take the tube or train, to walk. Unfortunately as the Olympic Park is out in Stratford, there are limited other means of getting there. The aquatics centre, the basketball arena and bmx track to name a few are at the Olympic park. Taekwando, weighlifting, wrestling, judo and fencing are just some of the sports taking place in Excel in the Docklands. The famous Wembley Stadium will be the home for the football matches and the Arena for badminton.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>This Weekend of Sport</strong><br /> Due to scheduling conflicts, many of the athletes will not be able to attend the opening ceremony. Saturday is a full day of sport and they will need plenty of rest, staying in their <a href="">rented London apartments </a>in the Olympic Village. There are 19 sports events on Saturday, including archery, badminton, basketball, beach volleyball, boxing, cycling (outside of London), equestrian, fencing, football, gymnastics, handball, judo, rowing, shooting, swimming, table tennis, volleyball and women’s weightlifting. Swimming will take place in Hyde Park and the nearby Horse Guards Parade for beach volleyball. Sunday is the first day of the diving but all eyes will be on the young Tom Daley the following day when he makes his Olympic 2012 debut. There is also fencing, judo, hockey, sailing, water polo and men’s weightlifting taking place on Sunday.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Cycling</strong><br /> If you are in Surrey this weekend, you may catch a glimpse of some of the Olympic cyclists. The men’s cycle race begins at 10:00am on Saturday 28th of July at The Mall. The cyclists will be making their way south, through Fulham, over Putney bridge and then into Richmond park. They will be cycling through Esher and West Mosely, then round to Dorking. The full course in available on the <a rel="nofollow" href="">Olympic’s 2012 website</a>. The women’s cycle race takes place the following day at 12:00 on Sunday the 29th of July, they will follow the same route. </p></p> <p> <p><strong>Weather</strong><br /> This summer has been the wettest on record, but now the sun has made a comeback, will there by sunshine for the Olympics? <a rel="nofollow" href="">The Met office </a>says this week will be warm with temperatures up to 29 degrees but the cooler weather will return on Friday. However, the British are used to the fluctuations in the weather and even if the rain does return it will not dampen their or the tourists’ spirits or who have come to London to watch The Games.</p></p> <p> <p>London and Surrey is going to be very busy this weekend. If you are thinking of heading into the city, avoid the rush hour of 7 am– 10 am in the morning and then 4pm &#8211; 7pm in the evening. If you are in town on Friday, watch the opening ceremony in Hyde Park which has the biggest outdoor screen in the UK.</p></p> 5 Events in Amsterdam this Summer /blog/blog/post/2012/7/20/5-events-in-amsterdam-this-summer 2012-07-20T00:00:00+01:00 2012-07-20T01:51:46+01:00 <p> If you are in Europe this summer, hop over to Amsterdam for the weekend. Tickets can cost under £100&#8230; <p> <p>If you are in Europe this summer, hop over to Amsterdam for the weekend. Tickets can cost under £100 (if booked well in advance) and you can even take direct flights from London City Airport, saving you time and money (avoid paying for the airport express trains) as you can use your Oyster card. There are lots of activities taking place in Amsterdam this summer, here are just a few.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Comedytrain International Festival</strong><br /> In July and August, the comedy club kicks off in its 10th year. The <a rel="nofollow" href="">Toomler comedy café </a>is organising the Comedytrain International Festival which takes place in Toomler, Breitnerstraat. There are top acts from the well-known comedians such as Adam Hills, Ron Vadry and Adam Bloom (all in English so no need to learn Dutch).</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Robeco Summer Concerts</strong><br /> Despite it feeling like winter due to the constant rain, it is the time for the annual summer classical musical concerts. The concerts are sponsored, meaning the tickets are relatively cheap, starting at 12.50 euros. If you have always wanted to go to a classical music concert, but could not afford to do so, now is your opportunity.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Gay Pride</strong><br /> The Gay and Lesbian Summer Festival starts this Sunday (the 22nd of July) and lasts until the 2nd of August which is also the date of the Gay Pride Parade. <a rel="nofollow" href="">Amsterdam Gay Pride </a>takes place next weekend – the 28th of July until the 5th of August. The canal parade is the highlight of the festival, which happens on Thursday the 2nd of August. It very extravagant and is a carnivalesque boat parade.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Open Air Theatre</strong><br /> The Vondelpark has been running for just over a month and lasts until the 2nd of September. There are three free performances to watch weekly at the <a rel="nofollow" href="">Vondelpark Open-Air Theatre</a>. The open air theatre has been showing free performances to the public for nearly 40 years, since 1974.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Kwakoe Festival</strong><br /> This is one of the biggest events in Amsterdam and takes place in the south-east part of the city in Bijlmerpark. It runs over 5 weekends, starting this Saturday until the 19th of August. This multi-cultural festival is now in its 36th year and is aimed at bringing people from different cultures together for dance, food, drink and sport. Kwakoe takes its origins from the celebraion of the abolition of slavery in Suriname and the Dutch Antilles on 1st July 1863. More than 300,000 people visit the festival over the 5 weekends. There are large stages for the performances, DJs, live music and a large Caribbean market. It is great for all the family and there is also an area for young children at the festival.</p></p> <p> <p>We have a range of different <a href="">Amsterdam apartments for rent</a>, to suit any budget. They are all close to public transportation and near the main tourist attractions allowing you to see the most of Amsterdam during your visit.</p></p> <p>Written by Jo Turnbull</p> 5 Exciting London Events in July (Excluding The Olympics) /blog/blog/post/2012/7/13/5-exciting-london-events-in-july-excluding-the-olympics 2012-07-13T00:00:00+01:00 2012-07-31T07:29:42+01:00 <p> Despite the weather, the show must go on especially in the run up to the Olympics when millions of&#8230; <p> <p>Despite the weather, the show must go on especially in the run up to the Olympics when millions of visitors will be descending upon London. Here are just a few of the events taking place this month before The Olympics begin.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>1) BBC Proms</strong><br /> The word &#8220;Proms&#8221; stands for Promenade concert which are informal and inexpensive concerts where people pay just £5 for a ticket. The central arena at London’s Royal Albert Hall has a capacity of 900 Prommers to stand and 500 in the Gallery. This year the <a rel="nofollow" href="">BBC Proms </a>are part of the Cultural Olympiad 2012 which is a four year programme of cultural events leading up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games which are soon here. Today is the first night of the Proms and it lasts until the 8th of September with different performances during this time. Next Friday for a week, there will be Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra performing the Beethoven symphony cycle.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>2) Outdoor Concerts</strong><br /> Although a few have been called off due to the wet weather such as PWL Hit Factory Live in Hyde Park, there are still summer concerts taking place this month. Bruce Springsteen will be headlining Hard Rock Calling in Hyde Park which starts today and runs until Sunday.<a href="">Epsom Downs</a> is the setting for many concerts this July, next week RazorLight will be playing at the Queen’s Stand and next month there will be the <a rel="nofollow" href="">Last Night of The Proms</a> </p></p> <p> <p><strong>3) Shakespeare Exhibition</strong><br /> The <a rel="nofollow" href="">British Museum </a> is presenting a brand new exhibition &#8220;The World and Works of William Shakespeare&#8221;. It is a major exhibition and the staff are working round the clock to ensure all historical objects such as the paintings, jewels, rare manuscripts are ready for the opening next Thursday, the 19th of July. The exhibition is a collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company and is part of the World Shakespeare Festival and the <a href="">London 2012 Festival</a>.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>4) Olympic Walks</strong><br /> Get set for the Olympics, it is only 47 days away. If you are lucky enough to go to the Olympics, you may want to take a tour beforehand to orientate yourself with the area. There has been a lot of new buildings and <a href="">many apartments in this part of London </a>built as part of the redevelopment project of this area. The professional Blue Badge Guide will be leading the group through the Olympic and Paralympic Games venues. The walks take place in East London daily, leaving at 11am and 2pm from Bromley-by-Bow underground station. Prebook online if you would like to take part. Online pre-booking is essential for walks during the Games.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>5) London 2012 River of Music</strong><br /> As part of the <a rel="nofollow" href="">London 2012 Festival</a>, the Scissor Sisters will perform at the BT River of Music next weekend, the 21st and 22nd of July . This is a once in a life time weekend of free music taking place at landmarks along the Thames. Musicians will be represented across 6 stages, the musicians being from the major continents of the world. If you want to have guaranteed entry for the event, it is free, but you will have to pay the £3 processing fee. (So not 100% free).</p></p> <p> <p>Let’s hope the rain stays away long enough for everyone to enjoy the outdoor concerts over the next couple of weeks.</p></p> <p>Written by Jo Turnbull</p> Wimbledon Championships Final This Weekend /blog/blog/post/2012/7/5/wimbledon-championships-final-this-weekend 2012-07-05T00:00:00+01:00 2012-07-05T03:10:45+01:00 <p> There has been a mixture of sunshine and showers this past week and some of the favourites to win&#8230; <p> <p>There has been a mixture of sunshine and showers this past week and some of the favourites to win the Championships have now been knocked out. Spain won the football on the weekend and as Nadal was defeated last week, which country will now win Wimbledon? If you are lucky enough to have tickets to <a rel="nofollow" href="">The Championships </a>for the finals, it will be another exciting weekend of sport.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Who is Favourite to Win the Women’s Single Title?</strong><br /> Maria Sharapova was a favourite as she had just won the French Open, making her the top seed player in Wimbledon. She was the runner up to Wimbledon last year, losing to Petra Kvitova. However, Maria was knocked out in straight sets on Day 7 by German Sabine Lisicki. She will therefore will not be making an appearance on Saturday.</p></p> <p> <p>Kim Clijsters was another favourite to win, but she has since retired from tennis on Monday. Her last match ended in just 49 minutes when she was beaten by No 8 seed Angelique Kerber. Kim had won four Grand Slams in her career and was hoping to win her first Wimbledon title but it wasn’t the case, as she has now retired at just age 29.</p></p> <p> <p>Serena Williams looked like she would have made an early exit on Day 7 of the Championships, but she managed to overcome her sluggishness and beat Yaroslava Shvedova after three sets, 6-1, 2-6, 7-5. She then won her quarter final match against No 4 seed Petra Kvitova in straight to arrive in the semifinals yesterday afternoon . Serena is hungry for her 14th Grand Slam title, 5 of which she has won at Wimbledon.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Who is Favourite to Win the Men’s Single Title?</strong><br /> Earlier this week, Andy Murray was at a disadvantage of Court No 1 as the rain halted play just when he seemed to be beating Cilic, the score was 7-5, 3-1. The rain stopped play for the rest of the day, meaning only eleven of the sixteen single matches on Monday were played. Yesterday, after a grueling three hours and two minutes, Murray beat Ferrer on Centre Court, meaning he has secured his place in the semi finals in the fourth consecutive year. With Nadal now out, (who defeated Murray in three consecutive semi finals), Murray has a more likely chance of getting through to the final. No one wants the title more then him as it has been 76 years since the British Fred Perry won the Men’s Final. </p></p> <p> <p>Rafael Nadal was a favourite to win the Men’s Championships this year and claim the Men’s Title for the third time. However, it was not to be as he was knocked out of the Championships on Day 4 by No 100 seed Lukas Rosol in five sets. It was the Czech’s first time at Wimbledon and maybe it was beginner’s luck as he beat Nadal 6-7 (9-11) 6-4 6-4 2-6 6-4.</p></p> <p> <p>The always cool Roger Federer breezed through his quarter final yesterday against Mikhail Youzhny as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge watched from the Royal Box. Federer has now won through to 32 Grand Slam semi finals in his career and he is not even 31. He is now set to meet defending champion, <a rel="nofollow" href="">Novak Djokovic</a> in the semi finals tomorrow. </p></p> <p> <p>If you are passionate about tennis, your eyes will be glued to the tv this weekend. This final (Men’s and Women’s) will be one of the best tennis matches at Wimbledon. Let’s hope Andy Murray gets through to the final and wins the Men’s Title for Great Britain.</p></p> <p> <p>Next time you are thinking of coming to London, visit our selection of our <a href="">apartments in London from Worldwide Accom for rent</a>, located near all the main transport links. Visit our website to find the perfect holiday apartment for your stay in England’s capital city.</p></p> <p>Written by Jo Turnbull</p> Where to Watch the Euro 2012 Final in Italy /blog/blog/post/2012/6/29/where-to-watch-the-euro-2012-final-in-italy 2012-06-29T00:00:00+01:00 2012-07-13T01:41:25+01:00 <p> This Sunday is the final of Euro 2012. After Italy beat Germany 2 – 1 in last night’s match,&#8230; <p> <p>This Sunday is the final of Euro 2012. After Italy beat Germany 2 – 1 in last night’s match, Sunday in Italy will be crazy. The Italians love football and given the celebrations from the semi final, there is sure to be one big celebration if they win Euro 2012.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Verona</strong><br /> The main square, Piazza Bra, is one of the best places to watch the game. When England played Italy earlier this week, all eyes were glued to the tv. The Piazza Bra was busy, but only in the restaurants that were showing the match. As it is summer, people will also be dining outside in the Piazza Erbe where more restaurants will be showing the game. It is a great way to attract new customers as many people passing by will stop to take a look at the match and may even grab something to eat as well.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Venice</strong><br /> Venice is a very romantic city, but that doesn’t mean they do not watch the football. Italians are passionate about the sport and what better place to watch it than by the canals. Riva Delgli have many restaurants where you can have dinner, watch the boats pass and in some watch the football as well. There are a few sports pubs in Venice. The Raging Pub in Campo Santa Margherita prides itself on being one and serving the best beer and spirits in town. There are about 60,000 people living on Venice island, and as it is now summer, there will be many more tourists <a href="">renting holiday apartments in Venice</a>, so expect crowds on Sunday.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Florence</strong><br /> This city in the heart of Tuscany, will no doubt be buzzing on Sunday for the final. There are many places to watch the Spain vs Italy game. The Finnegan Irish Pub on the Via San Gallo, near the main train station is the only Irish owned bar in Florence. They will be showing the game and will be serving their Irish beer. The House of Sizzle is another favourite which is on the Via Dei Benci. It is a mixture between and British and American restaurant and sports bar,. Alternatively, head down to the river to watch the game on the outdoor big screens, they will be serving drinks and bbq food as well.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Rome</strong><br /> The Romans are more passionate about football than those in Florence and Sunday will be a big party even if the Italians do not win. For those that want to be in the heart of all the action, there are many sports bars to watch the game. There is a Finnegan Irish Pub in Rome, on the Via Leonina, but if you fancy a real Italian bar, head to the Ma Che Siete Venuti A Fa&#8217; in the Tastevere district. There will also be big screens in many of the piazzas across Rome such as the Piazza del Poplo and the Piazza del Verano in San Lorenzo.</p></p> <p> <p>Wherever you are in Europe, make sure you watch the Euro 2012. Kick off is at 19:45 UK and Lisbon time or 20:45 European time. It is set to be one of the best games of the century.</p></p> <p>Written by Jo Turnbull</p> Tennis and Football All in the Same Week /blog/blog/post/2012/6/20/tennis-and-football-all-in-the-same-week 2012-06-20T00:00:00+01:00 2012-07-13T01:40:27+01:00 <p> It happens every two years when the Football World Cup or Euro Cup clashes with the Wimbledon Championships and&#8230; <p> <p>It happens every two years when the Football World Cup or Euro Cup clashes with the Wimbledon Championships and this year it has happened again. But then, doesn’t it make the week more exciting? June 25th is the start of the Wimbledon Championships and also the week the semi finals for Euro 2012 begin. Here is your guide on what to see and do if you are lucky enough to have tickets for the tennis, you will still be able to watch the football in the evening:</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Museum</strong><br /> The museum is open all year round but it is busiest during the summer months. It houses all the memorabilia and the history of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTCC) which was responsible for staging the tennis tournament. Some of the tennis players such as Venus Williams have been known to go the museum early in the day before their big match. It is also where Pat Cash had his book signing one year.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Shop</strong><br /> The shop sells a wide range of souvenirs of the Championships. Every year there is a new ladies and men’s towel as well as a new Ralph Lauren Wimbledon tshirt Ralph Lauren designs the ball boys and ball girls uniform which changes annually. There are also books about the history of Wimbledon, mugs, map of the AELTCC.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Eat Strawberries and Drink Pimm’s</strong><br /> There are many food stalls at Wimbledon and of course there is the famous strawberries and cream. You are paying for where you are rather than the quality as the strawberries can cost up to £4.00 per pot. But eating fresh strawberries on a warm summer day while drinking Pimm’s and watching tennis is a perfect way to spend the afternoon.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Murray Mound</strong><br /> Relax on Murray Mound, which was called Henman Hill when Tim Henman used to play. There is a big screen outside Court Number 1 where people who do not have tickets to the court watch the tennis. From Murray Mound, you also have great views of London.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Watch Tennis</strong><br /> There are 19 courts but the three where the big matches take place are Centre Court , Court Number 1 and Court Number 2. Players come from all over the world to take part in the Championships. As Wimbledon is a little further out, instead of <a href="">renting one of the London apartments </a> in the city, they rent a house short walk away from the tennis courts.</p></p> <p> <p>A trip to Wimbledon is a fantastic day out and now with the cover on Centre Court, play lasts right into the late evening. For those who are unable to get tickets to the Championships, they can visit the shop, Murray Mound and The Museum throughout the year. Don&#8217;t worry about the football, you will still be able to catch all the action in one of the pubs nearby and there may even be a few screens within the ALETC showing Euro 2012.</p></p> <p>Written by Jo Turnbull</p> Venice Transportation /blog/blog/post/2012/6/18/venice-transportation 2012-06-18T00:00:00+01:00 2012-06-18T12:43:19+01:00 Ava Kammer <p>Transportation to and from the airport may seem daunting! This user-friendly website may make things a little more clearer, now&#8230;</p> <p>Transportation to and from the airport may seem daunting!</p> <p>This user-friendly website may make things a little more clearer, now available in English as well!</p> <p>;view=frontpage&amp;Itemid=43&amp;lang=english</p> Best Bars In London to Watch The Euro 2012 England Match /blog/blog/post/2012/6/14/best-bars-in-london-to-watch-the-euro-2012-england-match 2012-06-14T00:00:00+01:00 2012-06-15T01:56:18+01:00 <p> England and Sweden are playing on Friday, June 15th , kick off at 19:45 UK time. Both teams will&#8230; <p> <p>England and Sweden are playing on Friday, June 15th , kick off at 19:45 UK time. Both teams will be under pressure to win this match as Sweden was beaten 2 &#8211; 1 by the Ukraine earlier in the week and England drew 1 – 1 with France in their first Euro 2012 match on Monday. There are many pubs and bars in London that will be showing the game this Friday, here are just a few recommended bars to watch the match.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>1) Long Acre</strong><br /> The bar located in Covent Garden on Long Acre street is offering complementary drinks on any Friday during Euro 2012, that means the 15th, 22nd and 29th of June, but you will need to book in advance. Contact <a rel="nofollow" href="">Long Acre </a> and speak to the manager about the complementary drinks offer. Alternatively, happy hour is 5pm until 7pm where you can get 50% off sharing platters avoiding drinking on an empty stomach The staff are very friendly at this bar and due to its central location it can get quite busy. </p></p> <p> <p><strong>2) Verve</strong><br /> The Verve is also in Convent Garden and is open until 3am. You can contact them to reserve a booth or get on the guest list to avoid waiting in the queue. The Verve will be showing the match this Friday and Happy Hour is from 5pm until 8pm where it is 50% off all drinks.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>3) Cargo</strong><br /> Location under the arches in Shoreditch is a trendy bar/club called Cargo. They will be putting up big screens for guests to come and watch the games. There are many drinks deals, including 4 beers for £10 until 9pm every night. For the England game there will be a £10 entrance fee, but book your spot to avoid the queue. The nearest station is Shoreditch High Street or Old Street.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>4) Bar Italia</strong><br /> Although this is a good bar and café to watch the Italian matches, it is also a pretty lively bar to watch the other Euro 2012 games. If Italy win the World Cup again this year or are at least in the final this will be one of the best bars to watch it, there was a massive street party when Italy won the 2006 world cup. Italians are very passionate about their football and their food. Bar Italia is in Soho, nearest tube station is Leicester Square or Oxford Circus on the Bakerloo line.</p></p> <p> <p>London will be very busy this Friday. The English are passionate about football and will want to see their team do well. If you are heading over to London for the weekend, check out our <a href="">London apartments for rent </a>on our website. You will be able to find some fantastic deals on apartments located within zone 1 and 2.</p></p> <p>Written by Jo Turnbull</p> Best Places to Watch Euro 2012 in Berlin /blog/blog/post/2012/6/8/best-places-to-watch-euro-2012-in-berlin 2012-06-08T00:00:00+01:00 2012-06-08T01:38:21+01:00 <p> Today is the start of Euro 2012. Germans love football and this weekend the first match Germany is playing&#8230; <p> <p>Today is the start of Euro 2012. Germans love football and this weekend the first match Germany is playing is against Portugal this Saturday. It is going to be tough to get through to the final as all four teams in Group B (Germany, Portugal, Denmark and Holland) are in the top 10 of FIFA’s world rankings. There will be a great atmosphere, so if you are in Berlin this weekend, here are some of the places you should go to watch the game.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Brandenburg Gate</strong><br /> Between the Victory Column and the <a rel="nofollow" href="">Brandenburg Gate </a>there will the football fan mile as crowds of football supporters come to watch the match. Preparations are well under way setting up a public viewing platform on the Straße des 17. Juni. They are expecting up to 300,000 people to come and watch the match on Saturday. There will be live bands on stage before and after the game to get people into the football spirit. The Straße is in the centre of Berlin, accessible by the S-Bahn S5, S7 and S&amp;% and the U-Bahn U2 and U-Bahn U9.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Prenzlauer Berg</strong><br /> In this neighbourhood, there are a number of courtyards where the football games will be shown. Kulturbrauerei, on Schönhauser Allee, is a former brewery and has an open courtyard with a big screen to watch the match. Traditional German beer is served as well as BBQ food just off the grill.</p></p> <p> <p>If you prefer to go to a local bar or restaurant, there are plenty in Prenzlauer Berg. Donath located on Schwedter Str, is an Italian restaurant serving German beer and Italian wine and will be showing the match this Saturday. It is a favourite local for the Italians who come to watch their home team play.</p></p> <p> <p>A more traditional German pub/bar also on Schwedter Str is Halifeor. They will be showing the match on three projector screens. There is a large terrace outside and it can get quite cozy inside when full. They serve traditional German beer, from 2 euros each and cocktails from 5 euros.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Alexanderplatz</strong><br /> Home to one of the busiest subway stations in Berlin, this square also has a beer garden with large tv screens to view the football. Many locals come to <a rel="nofollow" href="">Alexanderplatz</a> to watch the German games. It will be busy, so arrive early to “reserve” your place. There are numerous food stalls nearby selling bratwurst and currywurst.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Friedrichshain</strong><br /> The German football magazine has set up in the Astra Kulturhaus, in Friedreichshain. They will be showing all 31 of the Euro 2012 games on one large tv screen and other smaller monitors in their indoor tents and outdoor area. Up to 3,500 football fans can come and watch the match for free. Season ticket holders can reserve an area as it is going to get very busy.</p></p> <p> <p>Germany will want to beat Spain and take the Euro 2012 title home with them. An extra bonus for the players is that they will each receive €300,000 if they win. If you want to go to Germany this summer, have a look at some of our <a href="">Berlin apartments for rent </a>we have on our website. If you have an apartment in Berlin and would like us to rent it for you, please <a href="">contact Worldwide Accom</a>.</p> </p> <p>Written by Jo Turnbull</p> Epsom Derby – The Beginning of The Diamond Jubilee Weekend /blog/blog/post/2012/5/30/epsom-derby-the-beginning-of-the-diamond-jubilee-weekend 2012-05-30T00:00:00+01:00 2012-09-27T02:57:44+01:00 <p> Epsom Downs is located 3km from Epsom town and 25km from Waterloo. Epsom Downs holds the Derby every year&#8230; <p> <p>Epsom Downs is located 3km from Epsom town and 25km from Waterloo. Epsom Downs holds the Derby every year in early June and the Derby is one of the most Classic English Races. Tickets to the Queen’s stand and Duchess’ stand can be bought in advance, alternatively, if you arrive early, you can take a picnic and enjoy the Derby free of charge.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>History</strong><br /> Epsom became famous for its natural mineral water and then became known as a spa town. It was also famous for its Epsom Salts which were originally prepared by boiling down Epsom mineral water. As its popularity grew, more people moved to the area and recreational activities began. The first recorded race meting at Epsom Downs was in 1779 and is named after the organiser, the 12th earl of Derby. The Derby is a high profile race and in 1913, Emily Davison, a suffragette protesting about women’s right to vote threw, herself in front of the King’s horse. She died of her injuries 4 days later.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Ladies Day</strong><br /> The Friday before the Derby is ladies day and it hosts the <a rel="nofollow" href="">Epsom Oaks race</a>. Tickets to the event can cost from £15 and up to £425 + VAT for the Queen’s Stand Blue ticket which includes drinks and a four course lunch meal. The Coronation Cup also takes place on Ladies’ day. Dress to impress if you are heading to Epsom Downs for Ladies Day. There is a prize for the best dressed woman presented by Laura Bailey, the official face of the Derby. Hats are essential for his unique race.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Derby</strong><br /> The Derby is always held on a Saturday in early June. There are many races before the actual Derby race including the five furlong sprint. The Derby race is at 16:00pm. For those looking to indulge their passion in betting on horses, there are a variety of tote stands where bets can be placed.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Queen’s Stand</strong><br /> The <a rel="nofollow" href="">Queen’s Stand</a> is where HRH views the Derby. Last year was the first time Katherine Middleton came to Epsom Downs to watch the race. The Queen’s stand has also been used to in many films such as James Bond and TV commercials. It is a great wedding venue as well.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Epsom Fair</strong><br /> Every year the fair comes to the Derby. There are numerous rides such as the dodgems and attractions for visitors as well as take away foods like burgers, chips, hot dogs. You will not be short of ice cream stands or stalls selling candy floss. Watch your wallet when you come to the Derby as it also draws a lot of pick pocketers.</p></p> <p> <p>It is always a great day out at the races. For those with a large group of family and friends, it is fun to bring a picnic and relax on the grounds near the course. If you really want to get a good view of the course arrive early or purchase a ticket to enter the Queen or Duchess stand but remember for the Queen’s Stand, formal dress is required.<br /> We have many <a href="">London apartments at Worldwide Accom </a>for rent, located near all the main transport links. Visit our website to find the perfect holiday apartment when you are next in London.</p></p> A Day Trip To Kingston Upon Thames /blog/blog/post/2012/5/25/a-day-trip-to-kingston-upon-thames 2012-05-25T00:00:00+01:00 2012-09-27T02:57:12+01:00 <p> Kingston Upon Thames is a former old market town just 10 miles south of London situated on the river&#8230; <p> <p>Kingston Upon Thames is a former old market town just 10 miles south of London situated on the river Thames. It is in the county of Surrey and was originally where the Saxon kings were crowned. Kingston is located in zone 6 of the London transport network, with 4 trains an hour from London Waterloo. It is well worth a trip out to visit here are some of attractions to see.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Theatre</strong><br /> The <a rel="nofollow" href="">Rose Theatre </a>built in 2008 was a welcome addition to Kingston. There are constantly new shows taking place and with its modern seating, kids can get really up close to all the performers. Tickets can be bought through the box office or online.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Boat cruises</strong><br /> Between April and October, the Turk Launches and Parr Boat Hire operate services between Kingston, Hampton Court and Richmond. You can also hire out boats for private functions.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Parks</strong><br /> Kingston has numerous parks within a few miles of the town centre Canbury Gardens is located north of Kingston bridge, (right in town) along the Thames and has a wide riverside path which is also used for the 10km Richmond Riverside run. Bushy Park which is the second largest of the Royal Parks is just over the river, on the Hampton Wick side. Richmond Park is situated off of Kingston Hill and is listed as Grade 1 on the English Heritage Register. It is also home to 750 fallow and red deer. Wimbledon Common is also easily accessible from Kingston.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Dining</strong><br /> Kingston is a great place to eat out. There is a wide selection of restaurants including Byron, <a rel="nofollow" href="">Jamie’s Italian</a>, Wagamama, Strada, Freres Jacuques, Pizza Express, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Nando’s as well a number of pubs that serve traditional British food. Since the development of Charter Quay, there are many restaurants overlooking the river, which is very pleasant in the warmer months.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Shopping</strong><br /> Kingston is one of the best shopping towns outside of central London. The Bentalls Centre is a shopping mall that was built in the mid 1990s and includes some of the most well known high street shops such as Apple, Zara, H&amp;M, Esprit. At the far end of the centre, there is the Bentalls department store which has concession stands of some of the higher end fashion such as Coast, Miss Sixty and Phase Eight as well as English china and souvenirs.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>The Market</strong><br /> The market is open every day except Sunday (and for some stalls Monday too) and sells fruit, vegetables, fish and meat much cheaper than in the supermarkets. If you head down towards the end of the day there will be an even bigger discount as the traders are unable to sell the goods the following day. At Christmas time, there is a German market selling mulled wine, frankfurters and Christmas gifts.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Pubs</strong><br /> The Ram on the river front has a large back garden overlooking the Thames. The Slug and Lettuce is in the new development of Charter Quay right by the river. The Pavilion faces on to the Thames and is a perfect location on warm summer’s day. Those wishing to have some cheaper drinks, can head to the Wetherspoons just across the road from Oceana.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Clubs</strong><br /> There are many clubs in Kingston, one of the most well known in Oceana. With more than 6 different themed rooms and music, you will never run out of rooms to visit and dance in. Essence is a night club on the river, with one main dance floor, Saturday night is R&amp;B and Garage. It is free to enter before 10pm, £10 after. The Hippodrome in Kingston is the newest club in the area, with 3 different theme nights throughout the week.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>History</strong><br /> Kingston is full of history, it was where the Saxon kings were crowned and the coronation stone is now situated by the Guildhall. It is also home to one of the oldest bridges in the UK, the Clattern bridge which runs over the River Hogsmill joining the Thames. <a rel="nofollow" href="">Hampton Court Palace</a>, where Henry VIII lived is just over Kingston Bridge and in winter the front garden holds an ice rink making it a picturesque setting.</p></p> <p> <p>When you are next in London, take a day trip to Kingston Upon Thames. It is only 30 minutes from Waterloo. It has everything you could want in a town without the hustle and bustle of London.</p></p> Events in Paris in May and June /blog/blog/post/2012/5/18/events-in-paris-in-may-and-june 2012-05-18T00:00:00+01:00 2012-05-18T04:26:13+01:00 <p> Summer is right around the corner, which means there are a number of events taking place in Paris. If&#8230; <p> <p>Summer is right around the corner, which means there are a number of events taking place in Paris. If you are going to Paris in the next few weeks, it is a perfect time to go.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Nuit des Musées </strong><br /> What are you doing this Saturday? The 19th of May is the <a rel="nofollow" href="">Nuit des Musées</a>, or in English, “Museum Night” throughout France. This means all museums are open from 7pm to 1am and entry is for free for everyone. The initiative was launched in 2005 by the French Department of Culture and has been positively received. There are similar events taking place on the same day throughout Europe.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>The French Open</strong><br /> The 2012 Tennis Championships take place at Roland Garros from 27th of May to 10th of June. Tickets are not as hard to come by as they are for Wimbledon, you may be able to get one from a ticket punter near by, but best to visit some of the more genuine sites like Ticketmaster.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Paris Fair</strong><br /> The annual Paris fair &#8211; <a rel="nofollow" href="">Foire du Trône</a> takes place throughout May and is great for kids. It is open every day from 12 noon until midnight and until 1am on the weekends. The Foire du Trône is located outside the Boulevard Peripherique in the south east of Paris.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Saint-Germain-des-Prés Jazz Festival</strong><br /> Now in its 10th year, the Jazz festival last for 2 weeks from 20th of May to 3rd of June on La Rive Gauche. International musicians flock from all over the world to perform at these mostly free concerts, which occur in cafes, hotels and local libraries. There are concerts every day and free photo expositions. The festival opens this Sunday with a free concert at the Saint-Germain church.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Bicycle Festival</strong><br /> In 2 weeks time, Friday 1st of June to Sunday, 3rd of June, the Paris bicycle festival takes place in the Luxembourg gardens. Tous à vélo, meaning &#8220;Everybody on your bikes&#8221; attracts a number of people each year and there are activities for those that take place at the Jardin du Luxembourg. The nearest metro station to the bicycle festival is Odéon or RER Luxembourg.</p></p> <p> <p>We have a number of different <a href=""> short term rental apartments in Paris</a>, including Saint-Germain and the Latin Quarter to suit independent travellers, couples and families.</p></p> <p>Written by Jo Turnbull</p> <p></p> More Diamond Jubilee Celebrations Take Place This Week /blog/blog/post/2012/5/9/more-diamond-jubilee-celebrations-take-place-this-week 2012-05-09T01:28:42+01:00 <p> 2012 is the year of the Diamond Jubilee. The peak of activities starts in June, but there have already&#8230; <p> <p>2012 is the year of the Diamond Jubilee. The peak of activities starts in June, but there have already been a few events earlier this years to start the celebrations. In March the Queen made a speech to Parliament to mark the occasion and unveiled a stained glass window which was commissioned for the Jubilee. There has only ever been one Diamond Jubilee in the UK before and this was for Queen Victoria in June 1897 which means there is more reason to celebrate and take part in the Jubilee this summer.</p></p> <p><strong>Diamond Jubilee Pageant</strong></p> <p> <p>This week sees the <a rel="nofollow" href="">Diamond Jubilee Pageant</a> which takes place in the private grounds of Windsor Castle, on Thursday the 10th, Friday the 11th of May and over the weekend. There will be over 550 horses (flown in from all over the world) and 1,000 dancers and musicians. Sunday is the height of the Pageant when there will be a special performance in front of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh. All performers have been specifically chosen to represent different countries in the show and tickets to the event were sold on the Pageant website, ranging from £30 to £100.</p></p> <p><strong>National Portrait Gallery</strong></p> <p> <p>Next Wednesday the 17th of May is the opening of the exhibition of The Queen at the <a rel="nofollow" href="">National Portrait Gallery</a>. The exhibition shows the different ways the Queen has been represented since coming to the throne in 1952. There are 60 different works of art, one for each year of her reign. One of the highlights of the show will be the portrait of the Queen presented in 3D by Chris Levine. The piece of art is called Lightness of Being and was created in 2004. There will also be archival material with film footage and postage stamps. The exhibition is on at the National Portrait Gallery until the 21st of October 2012.</p></p> <p><strong>Parade and Muster at Windsor</strong></p> <p> <p>On Saturday, the 19th of May, there will be a parade through Windsor Castle and town before The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh. The parade will consist of nearly 2,500 troops from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force. The parade will then muster in the castle grounds for a special event for the Armed Forces personnel and their families.</p></p> <p><strong>The Royal River</strong></p> <p> <p>The Royal River at The National Maritime Museum is currently running until the 9th of September 2012. This exhibition is celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the 75th Anniversary of the National Maritime Museum and contains many Royal artifacts including the speech of King George VI who opened the museum, his admiral of the Fleet Uniform and silver barge decorations.<br /> There are many events taking place this week and next to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee. It is a special occasion, so for those living in London or visiting over the next couple of weeks, take full advantage of the activities put on for the celebrations.</p></p> <p>Written by Jo Turnbull</p> <p></p> The Best Shows in London /blog/blog/post/2012/5/4/the-best-shows-in-london 2012-05-04T00:00:00+01:00 2012-05-04T02:08:52+01:00 <p> London has an abundant number of theatres all over town showing a variety of theatre shows. Some people may&#8230; <p> <p>London has an abundant number of theatres all over town showing a variety of theatre shows. Some people may be put off by expecting high prices, but it does not have to cost an arm and a leg to see your favourite musical. There are a several venues where you can get a discount on theatre tickets. Here are some of the best plays in London.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Thriller</strong><br /> Since January 2009, Thriller has been showing at the Lyric Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue. It is a live and uplifting show with the hit songs from Jackson Five in the late 1960s, through Michael’s solo career up until 2010. This is certainly one for those die hard MJ fans or even those who just appreciated his incredible music and dancing ability.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Matilda</strong><br /> Matilda made its debut at the <a rel="nofollow" href="">Cambridge Theatre, Covent Garden</a>, last November and has since won the Ned Sherrin Award for Best Musical as part of the Evening Standard Awards. It has also won Best New Musical, Best Director, Best Actor in a Musical, Best Actress in a Musical, Best Theatre Choreographer, Best Set Design and Best Sound Design for the 2012 Oliver Awards. Matilda is based on the book by Roald Dahl which tells the story of a intelligent girl who is not appreciated by anyone except for her teacher Miss Honey and while at school, Matilda discovers she has telekinetic abilities which she then uses to her advantage.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Shrek</strong><br /> Another new musical in Covent Garden to open recently, is Shrek The Musical which began performances in May last year. Amanda Holden who played Princess Fiona has now been replaced by former Girls Aloud band mate, Kimberly Walsh. The show has just received an extension and you can book until May next year. Based on the well known Pixar animation film, the musical has been adapted for the stage but is still a hit with children and adults alike.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Lion King</strong><br /> The <a rel="nofollow" href="">Lion King</a> which plays at the Lyceum Theatre in London, (just off the Strand) is based on the 1994 Disney film with music by Elton John and lyrics by Time Ricer. The musical made its first debut in 1997 in Minnesota before arriving in London in October 1999. It is the highest grossing Broadway show of all time, with $853.8 million taken through the box office. The show in the West End has been so popular that the cast were invited to perform at the Royal Variety Performance in 2008 and then at the London Palladium last year for some of the Royal Family.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>The War Horse</strong><br /> After making its debut in March 2009, the War Horse has since won a string of awards. Based on the children’s, book by Michael Morpurgo, the story is about the love a boy has for his horse and the journey he embarks on when his horse is sent to the front line in WWI. The horse is made from stage puppetry which really comes alive in the theatre.</p></p> <p> <p>London has far more shows than have been written in this post, these are just the tip of the iceberg. If you are coming over to London, stay in one of the many <a href="">London apartments</a> on our site and you will never be too far away from one of London’s best musicals.</p></p> <p>Written by Jo Turnbull</a><br /> <br /> <p></p> 5 Reasons To Visit Covent Garden /blog/blog/post/2012/4/27/5-reasons-to-visit-covent-garden 2012-04-27T00:00:00+01:00 2012-05-04T02:05:57+01:00 <p> Covent Garden is located right in the centre of London, within walking distance of The Strand, Leicester Square and&#8230; <p> <p>Covent Garden is located right in the centre of London, within walking distance of The Strand, Leicester Square and Shaftsbury Avenue. Its name derives from the time when it was a garden of Westminster Abbey and Convent. Now a popular destination for Londoners and tourists alike, the former vegetable and fruit market has something for everyone.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Museums</strong><br /> Home to the <a rel="nofollow" href="">London Transport Museum</a> on the east side of the piazza which was a flower market, it was opened in 1980. The museum tells the story of the History of London Transport thoughout the 19th century. It is quite reasonably priced for London, £13.50 for adults with discounts for groups. The museum is open every day 10:00 – 18:00, exception is Friday when it is open one hour later.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Restaurants</strong><br /> Chez Gerard, is a popular French restaurant, at the higher end of the scale. In summer it is always pleasant to sit on the terrace, but you will need to book in advance if you want to choose your table. If you prefer somewhere a little more casual, there are a number of other restaurants around Convent Garden. There is a delicious pizza restaurant and a Cornish pastie place with a seating area outside both located on the ground floor of the piazza.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Pubs</strong><br /> The Punch and Judy pub is one of Covent Garden’s oldest pubs, built in 1787, its named after the puppet show performers who entertained the children of the flower sellers. It is a traditional British pub serving good old fashioned British food and beers. There is a terrace outside, with good views of Covent Garden but can get very busy on a sunny day.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Theatre</strong><br /> Covent Garden is the place to visit for Theatre. The well-known Drury Lane is home to the Theatre Royal which has seen shows such as Oliver and it is currently showing Shrek The Musical. The Theatre Royal is owned by Andrew Lloyd Webber and is a Grade I listed building. The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre is also located near Covent Garden, just behind Covent Garden the piazza, off the Strand. </p></p> <p> <p><strong>Opera</strong><br /> The Royal Opera House which is home to the Royal Ballet and Opera is located in the piazza of Covent Garden. Built in 1858, it was completely renovated and extended in the late 1990s and is now is the most modern theatre facility in Europe. For those who are not fluent in Italian or Latin, there are subtitles on the screen. There is also an electronic libretto system that provides translations onto small videos for the most expensive seats.</p></p> <p> <p>There is always so much to see and do in Covent Garden, you could easily spend a week here. There are many street entertainers in the piazza and seasonal events take place in the piazza. At Easter, all 210 eggs from the <a href="">Big Egg Hunt</a> were on display in Covent Garden. Enjoy your next visit to Covent Garden.</p></p> <p> <p>We have a wide range of apartments in central London, including Covent Garden. Visit our website to find your <a href="">London holiday apartment</a> and be close to all the action when you are in town.</p> <p>Written by Jo Turnbull</p> <p></p> 2 For 1 Offers: London Attractions Along The South Bank /blog/blog/post/2012/4/20/2-for-1-offers-london-attractions-along-the-south-bank 2012-04-20T00:00:00+01:00 2012-09-27T03:02:05+01:00 <p> There are many attractions to visit in London and it can work out quite expensive if you want to&#8230; <p> <p>There are many attractions to visit in London and it can work out quite expensive if you want to go to even a few of them. However, these attractions offer a discount rate for those that use the train or “go by train” and allows people to buy two tickets for the price of one. One of the busiest stations in London is Waterloo which is home to a number of London attractions.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>London Eye</strong><br /> Once you exit Waterloo, one of the first tourist destinations you will see is the EDF London Eye. At 135 metres, it is one of the world’s tallest observation wheels and on a clear day you can see for miles. It is a great place to start your trip in London as it gives you a sense of where you are. With the <a rel="nofollow" href=""> days out guide</a>, you can get 2 for 1, meaning it can cost from as little as £10 each. The cost also includes entry to the London Eye 4D Experience and a 3D film.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>South Bank Restaurants</strong><br /> Walking along the South Bank away from Big Ben and The Houses of Parliament, you will come across a number of restaurants. Strada, Giraffe, Wagamama, Las Iguanas are just some of the places to eat out along the South Bank. You may be able to get 2 4 1 offers with or Further along the South Bank is Gabriel’s Wharf which is home to a fish restaurant, French crêpeire, Gourmet pizza and a variety of shops.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>London Dungeon</strong><br /> <a rel="nofollow" href="">London Dungeon</a> like the London Eye is located south of the river Thames, about 15 minute walk from the Eye, but closer to London Bridge station than Waterloo. The Dungeon is a great destination especially for those with a family. There are live actors, scary rides and also special effects throughout the dungeon. The whole tour takes around 90 minutes and with 2 4 1, it will cost you just under £25.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Clink Museum</strong><br /> Also located in London Bridge, is the Clink Prison Museum. Dating back to 1144, it is one of England’s oldest prisons. It is also one of the cheaper London attractions, at a cost of just £7.00 for two people. The museum is open daily 10:00 – 18:00 and visitors will be able to hear the stories of former inmates and the notorious South Bank.</p></p> <p> <p><strong>Borough Market</strong><br /> On a warm day, a trip to <a rel="nofollow" href="">London Borough markets </a> is worth a visit. The market sells a variety of foods such as South African, Indian and your good old fashioned British bangers and mash and fish and chips. The market often has special events taking place for festivities such as St George’s Day which takes place on the 23rd of April.</p></p> <p> <p>For a long time, London Bridge was an undesirable part of time. However, Since the Jubliee extension in 2000, London Bridge and The South Bank has seen a big transformation. Now there has been a lot of development in the area and many shops, restaurants and <a href="">London apartments </a>have been built. The South Bank and London Bridge is a buzzing part of town and when the Shard opens this summer, it is set to bring even more people to this area.</p></p> 6 Fantastic Events in London 2012 /blog/blog/post/2012/4/13/6-fantastic-events-in-london-2012 2012-04-13T05:32:46+01:00 2012-04-13T05:32:46+01:00 <p>2012 is set to be a busy year in London. There is so much going on starting with the Marathon,&#8230; <p>2012 is set to be a busy year in London. There is so much going on starting with the Marathon, then the Diamond Jubilee right up to the Olympics in August. If you have never been to London before, there is no better reason to go in 2012.</p> <p><strong>1) London Marathon</strong><br /> Now in its 32nd year, this will take place on Sunday April 22nd. It is a major event in the London’s calendar. Each year up to nearly 40,000 people race the 26.2 miles around London, through the famous landmarks such as Tower Bridge, past Big Ben and along the Thames. Show your support by going up to London on this Sunday and cheering on the runners.</p> <p><strong>2) Chelsea Flower Show</strong><br /> This annual event attracts around 157,000 people each year, the number limited due to the size of the venue. The <a rel="nofollow" href="">Royal Horticultural Society </a> hosts this event in Chelsea, West London and tickets can be bought through the website priced at £45 each. Other retailers can sometimes offer cheaper tickets but you should do a background check on any you feel look suspicious.</p> <p><strong>3) Diamond Jubilee</strong><br /> The Queen starts her Diamond Jubilee with the Derby on Epsom Downs on Saturday June 2nd. Epsom Downs is located just outside Epsom, which can be accessed by train via Victoria or Waterloo station. Everyone can go to the Derby, but you will have to buy tickets to gain access to the Queen’s Stand. The Queen always attends the Derby and this year will be more special as it is the beginning of the Diamond Jubilee weekend. Monday and Tuesday are bank holidays meaning everyone gets a four day weekend.</p> <p><strong>4) Wimbledon</strong><br /> One of the four grand slam events, the tennis takes place last week of June, first week of July. With the new cover on centre court, there is less disruption when it rains and play can last until the late hours of the night. All the top athletes attend Wimbledon and people queue to catch a glimpse of their favourite stars on court. Wimbledon village where <a rel="nofollow" href="">The Championships </a> is located is also a nice day out as it is right by the Common and as the name suggest feels like a “village” far out of London.</p> <p><strong>5) London 2012 Festival</strong><br /> The festival will start on 21st of June a few days before the Olympics begin and will last until 9th of September. There will be more than 1,000 performances and events. There will be leading artists from all over the world coming to London to celebrate London 2012. The Festival is also the finale to the Cultural Olympiad which was set up in 2008 to inspire creativity in arts and culture around the country.</p> <p><strong>6) The Olympics</strong><br /> Ever since London won the bid for the Olympics, they have been busily constructing what was the poorer part of London into an Olympic park. There has been redevelopment of the areas outside the park with new shopping centres, facilities and more <a href="">London apartments</a>. The Olympics start on the 27th of July and finish on the 12th of August. The <a rel="nofollow" href="">Olympic tickets </a>were made available through a ballot and now it is not clear when people will be able to buy tickets before the Games. <br /> Visit London this year to experience a holiday you will never forget.</p> <p>Written by Jo Turnbull</p> <p> </p> London - Yoga for Travelers /blog/blog/post/2012/4/13/london-yoga-for-travelers 2012-04-13T00:00:00+01:00 2012-04-13T18:32:50+01:00 Jill Kammer <p>When you&#8217;re traveling, keeping up your regular exercise routine can often get stumped by either inferior and uninviting gyms and&#8230;</p> <p>When you&#8217;re traveling, keeping up your regular exercise routine can often get stumped by either inferior and uninviting gyms and yoga studios or restrictive expensive one off fees for casual visitors. If you practice YOGA or PILATES <a rel="nofollow" href="">triyoga</a> is the perfect solution.</p> <p>There are no membership fees, you can just pay for a class of which there are an abundance in 4 central London locations, 7 days a week, from 06:00 to 20:00. Your don&#8217;t have to book either, just check the online <a rel="nofollow" href="">Class Schedules</a> and drop in.</p> <p>The atmosphere is warm and friendly &amp; non judgmental, the studios are beautiful large white spaces, tranquil, spotless and warm and there are many different methods/styles offered at all levels from beginners to advanced.</p> <p>Perhaps you&#8217;ve always wanted to try yoga but have never had the time, why not give it a try while you&#8217;re on holidays in London.</p> <h2>triyoga offers many styles including</h2> <ul> <li>anusara yoga</li> <li>community class</li> <li>iyengar yoga</li> <li>kids + teens yoga</li> <li>kirtan</li> <li>kundalini yoga</li> <li>meditation</li> <li>mummy + me</li> <li>mysore self-practice</li> <li>open practice</li> <li>pregnancy yoga</li> <li>private yoga</li> <li>postnatal yoga</li> <li>remedial yoga</li> <li>restorative yoga</li> <li>restorative yoga + pranayama</li> <li>scaravelli inspired yoga</li> <li>toddler yoga</li> <li>vinyasa flow</li> <li>yin yoga</li> <li>yoga/pilates fusion</li> <li>yoga for back care</li> <li>yoga for runners + sports</li> <li>yoga for stress</li> </ul> <h2>Locations</h2> <p><strong>Chelsea</strong><br /> <a rel="nofollow" href="">Class Schedules</a><br /> 372 king’s road<br /> chelsea<br /> london<br /> sw3 5uz <br /> 020 7483 3344</p> <p><strong>Primrose Hill</strong><br /> <a rel="nofollow" href="">Class Schedules</a><br /> 6 erskine road<br /> nw3 3aj<br /> London<br /> <em>nearest tube: chalk farm</em><br /> 0207 483 3344</p> <p><strong>Soho</strong><br /> <a rel="nofollow" href="">Class Schedules</a><br /> 2nd floor, kingly court<br /> soho<br /> london<br /> w1b 5pw<br /> <em>nearest tube: oxford circus</em><br /> 020 7483 3344</p> <p><strong>Covent Garden</strong><br /> <a rel="nofollow" href="">Class Schedules</a><br /> wallacespace, 2 dryden street<br /> covent garden<br /> london<br /> wc2e 9na<br /> <em>nearest tube: covent garden</em><br /> 0207 483 3344</p> Easter in Paris 2012 /blog/blog/post/2012/4/4/easter-in-paris-2012 2012-04-05T00:00:00+01:00 2012-10-22T02:31:20+01:00 <p>Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and with the long weekend coming up at Easter,&#8230; <p>Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and with the long weekend coming up at Easter, it is the perfect time to go There are still a few last minute deals with Eurostar and on some hotels and apartment rental companies.</p> <p> <p>Good Friday, is not a holiday in France, so all the shops, museums and restaurants will be open. If you are a chocoholic, why not visit Fachon, nearest station is Madeleine. They always have a display of chocolate Easter eggs, chickens and bells. You won’t find chocolate bunnies as there is no Easter bunny in France, instead it is a flying bell from Rome. Head over to the Latin quarter, Boulevard St Germain and visit <a rel="nofollow" href="">Patrick Roger’s boutique</a>. There are always lots of beautiful Easter goodies made out of cocoa on display in his boutique and of course to buy. </p></p> <p> <p>Over the Easter weekend, Parisiens tend to make the most of their time from work and head to the park. The Jardin du Luxembourg is one of the most beautiful gardens in Paris, located in the Latin Quarter. The Palace du Luxembourg is in the centre of the park facing one of the fountains bordered by many green deck chairs. You will often see people snoozing in the deck chairs or people sailing their toy boat in the pond. There is also an Orangerie in the garden which house some of the parks botanical flowers. The park is catered for children as well. There is a puppet theatre in the park and a playground as well. For those that are feeling energetic, they can rent out an hour of tennis on the courts.</p></p> <p> <p>On Easter Sunday there are a number of masses throughout the day at <a rel="nofollow" href="">Notre Dame </a>. It is free to attend, but as it is Easter Sunday, it may be busy. Take a seat in the nave 15 to 20 minutes before service starts to reserve your attendance. After mass, stop by one of the many cafes on Île de la Cité for a grand crème (coffee with milk) or un café (black coffee).</p></p> <p> <p>Easter Monday is a holiday in France. Many Parisians take the long weekend and head out of the city as it is the first holiday weekend for the year. It will therefore be quieter in Paris, which means you can enjoy the sites without the millions of people in the way. One of the great places to spend Easter Monday is in the Jardin des Tuileries and then taking a walk up to the Avenue des Champs-Élysées.</p></p> <p> <p>We have a wide range of <a href="">Paris apartments </a> for rent all located in the city centre in areas such as St Germain, Notre Dame and the Latin Quarter. You will never have to walk too far to see any Paris tourist attraction.</p></p> <p> </p> Easter in London 2012 /blog/blog/post/2012/4/4/easter-in-london-2012 2012-04-02T00:00:00+01:00 2012-10-22T02:31:43+01:00 <p>There is a lot happening in England’s capital over the 4 day Easter weekend. There are activities for all the&#8230;</p> <p>There is a lot happening in England’s capital over the 4 day Easter weekend. There are activities for all the family, some which do not even cost a penny. Take the kids out of the house and head into London for a weekend full of Easter adventures.</p> <p><strong>View the Giant Easter Eggs</strong></p> <p>The giant Fabergé eggs that were part of the <a rel="nofollow" href="">Big Egg Hunt</a> are on display in Covent Garden Piazza. The world’s biggest egg hunt launched at the end of February in which 210 handcrafted eggs were hidden all round London. Bidding for the auction closes at 5pm on Monday the 9th. The auction for the eggs is expected to raise more than £1million for the charities, Elephant Family and Action for Family. All 210 eggs including the “where’s wallie” egg were handcrafted which included designs by Chapman brothers and Zandra Rhodes. <br /> <strong>Visit Harry Potter’s Studio</strong></p> <p>This attraction located in Watford recently opened on March 31st and is the studio where the film was made over 10 years. There are different sets such as the Great Hall, Dumbeldore’s office, Gryffindo common room and Hagrid’s hut. There will also be costumes and props on show as well a creature effects workshop. Catch the train from London Euston and then a bus to the venue. This is an extremely popular attraction as to be expected, so make sure you book well in advance.<br /> <strong>Go on a Chocolate Adventure</strong></p> <p>Kew Gardens is holding family activities focusing on ancient <a rel="nofollow" href="">Mayan culture</a> and the history of chocolate, which is appropriate for this time of year. There is an Easter egg hunt on the 8th of April where the children have to find Buzzie Bee, Snap, Venue, Trap and the Easter bunny. There are also self-guided trails within the gardens where everyone can learn about the history of chocolate and appreciate how it has developed into the chocolate we have today.<br /> <strong>Boat Race</strong></p> <p>The famous Cambridge vs Oxford Boat Race takes place on Saturday, April 7th, starting at 2:15pm. If you want to catch a glimpse of the action, head down to the Thames and watch the boats race past. There may be up to 300,000 spectators so arrive early to ensure a good spot to view the race. If you do not want to wait in line, you could visit one of the many pubs/restaurants that line the 4 mile course from Putney to Mortlake..</p> <p>Easter is one of the best times to visit London. Spring has come, the flowers are out and the weather is turning milder. If you are coming to London as a family, it may be nice to rent out of the <a href=> London apartments </a> we have on our website. They are all within central London so you will easily be able to get around the city, visiting all the attractions.</p> Kid's Paris /blog/blog/post/2012/3/13/kids-paris 2012-03-13T09:37:18+00:00 Ava Kammer <p>Great Events for kids in March 2012! If you manage to get your hands on a copy of the free&#8230;</p> <p>Great Events for kids in March 2012!</p> <p>If you manage to get your hands on a copy of the free insert (&#8220;Paris MOMES&#8221;) which comes with the newspaper, &#8220;Liberation&#8221; every month, you will have all the information you need on how to keep kids entertained throughout your trip to Paris. Although in French, the &#8220;agenda&#8221; on the back pages is pretty straightforward: key dates, addresses, opening times etc.</p> <p>A few examples this month:</p> <p>An exhibition at the Musee Guimet (16th arrondissement) from the 14th of March to the 14th of May, suitable for children aged 11+.<br /></p> <p>Hansel and Gretel production (French) at the Theatre du Coteau (in Plessis-Robinson, 92) on the 18th of March, suitable fro children aged 4+<br /></p> <p>For other events, check out FUSAC, the English-speaking magazine available at several locations throughout Paris, or</p> Professional Paris /blog/blog/post/2012/3/13/professional-paris 2012-03-13T00:00:00+00:00 2012-03-13T09:12:27+00:00 Ava Kammer <p>The city of Paris offers more than just tourist attractions, wonderful food, cafes and bars: &#8216;Salons&#8217; are open to the&#8230;</p> <p>The city of Paris offers more than just tourist attractions, wonderful food, cafes and bars: &#8216;Salons&#8217; are open to the public are widespread throughout the year. Here below are a few trade shows taking place over the months of March and April 2012.</p> <p>&#8220;Salon Mondial du Tourisme&#8221; &#8211; world tourism &#8211; 15 to 18 March 2012 at the Paris expo, Porte de Versailles</p> <p>&#8220;Renover&#8221; &#8211; trade show dedicated to renovating and decorating your home &#8211; 16 to 18 March at the Paris expo, Porte de Versailles</p> <p>&#8220;Salon Mondial Body Fitness/Form Expo&#8221; &#8211; fitness and equipment &#8211; 16 to 18 March 2012 at the Paris expo, Porte de Versailles</p> <p>&#8220;Salon du Livre&#8221; &#8211; books &#8211; 16 to 19 March 2012 at the Paris expo, Porte de Versailles</p> <p>&#8220;Pokemon Tournament&#8221; hosted by The Pokemon Company International &#8211; 17 March 2012 at the Espace Champerret</p> <p>&#8220;Franchise Expo Paris&#8221; &#8211; 18 to 21 March 2012 &#8211; Paris expo, Porte de Versailles</p> <p>&#8220;Salon des Vins, des Vignerons Independants&#8221; &#8211; wine and independent wine merchants &#8211; 23 to 26 March 2012 at the Espace Champerret</p> <p>&#8220;Drawing Now, Le Salon du Dessin Contemporain&#8221; &#8211; contemporary drawing &#8211; 23 March to 1 April 2012 at the Carrousel du Louvre</p> <p>&#8220;Salon National de l&#8217;Immobilier&#8221; &#8211; real estate &#8211; 29 March to 1 April 2012 at the Paris expo, Porte de Versailles</p> <p>&#8220;Convention International du Disque de Collection&#8221; &#8211; vintage vinyl collections &#8211; 31 March to 1 April 2012 at the Espace Champerret</p> Sundays in Berlin /blog/blog/post/2011/9/2/sundays-in-berlin 2011-09-02T00:00:00+01:00 2011-09-02T09:32:53+01:00 Ava Kammer <p>Nothing beats the casual, friendly atmosphere of Mauerpark on a Sunday afternoon! A fabulous flea market, live music, drinks, barbecues&#8230;</p> <p>Nothing beats the casual, friendly atmosphere of Mauerpark on a Sunday afternoon!</p> <p>A fabulous flea market, live music, drinks, barbecues and mass karaoke make for an excellent relaxing Sunday in Berlin.</p> <p>See link below for information and videos:</p> <p></p> The infamous 'aperitif' /blog/blog/post/2011/9/2/the-infamous-aperitif 2011-09-02T00:00:00+01:00 2011-09-02T09:43:38+01:00 Ava Kammer <p>Whatever your top priority may be, use &#8220;Les Amis de l&#8217;apero&#8221;, a social network dedicated to finding the perfect bar!&#8230;</p> <p>Whatever your top priority may be, use &#8220;Les Amis de l&#8217;apero&#8221;, a social network dedicated to finding the perfect bar!</p> <p>Both Paris and Berlin offer a wide variety of &#8220;apero&#8221; themes, ranging from live music, live sports events, and even board games.</p> <p>&#8220;Les Amis de l&#8217;apero&#8221; allows you to choose a bar, based on a Parisian arrondissement, a particular dress code and even a specific cocktail.</p> <p>A free service allows site users to choose a bar and send an invite to friends.</p> <p>A sister site for Berlin is now also up and running.</p> <p>Paris:</p> <p>Berlin:</p> For the Romantics... /blog/blog/post/2011/6/9/for-the-romantics 2011-06-09T00:00:00+01:00 2011-06-09T11:05:42+01:00 Ava Kammer <p>This beautiful museum and (and cafe!) are both perfect small museum trips. Situated in the 9th arrondissement, a few minutes&#8230;</p> <p>This beautiful museum and (and cafe!) are both perfect small museum trips. Situated in the 9th arrondissement, a few minutes walk from Montmartre this museum was once the home of artist Ary Scheffer, built in 1830; it became the property of the city of Paris in 1983, when it became the Museum of the Romantics, dedicated to arts and literature of the early 19th century.</p> <p>The museum is just one of the several run by the Mairie de Paris: run by the city themselves, most of these museums are free of charge (for permanent exhibitions) and are open from Tuesday until Sunday.</p> <p>Musée de la Vie Romantique<br /> 16 rue Chaptal<br /> 75009 Paris<br /><br /> Open everyday from 10am to 6pm (except for Mondays and public holidays)<br /> Free admission to the permanent exhibitions and around 7 euros for temporary exhibitions</p> <p>Other museums run by the city council are:</p> <p>Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts<br /> Maison de Victor Hugo<br /> Musée Zadkine (Home to famous Russian sculptor)<br /> Musée d&#8217;Art moderne de la Ville de Paris<br /> Maison de Balzac<br /> Musée Bourdelle (Antoine Bourdelle, assistant to Rodin)<br /> Musée Carnavalet (Museum of the the history of Paris)<br /> Catacombes de Paris<br /> Musée Cernuschi (Asian art museum)<br /> Musée Cognacq-Jay (Dedicated to the 18th century)</p> Inside or 'en terrasse'? /blog/blog/post/2011/5/4/a-lintrieur-ou-en-terrasse 2011-05-04T00:00:00+01:00 2011-05-20T07:57:08+01:00 Ava Kammer <p>Whilst your answer to this question may have once depended on whether or not you were a smoker, it now&#8230;</p> <p>Whilst your answer to this question may have once depended on whether or not you were a smoker, it now all comes down to strategy: where and at what time will the sun most likely been shining? Facing east or west? Morning or afternoon?</p> <p>This so-called obsession may not be exclusively Parisian or French: it is certainly universal. However, a new application, &#8220;Terraceandsun&#8221;, has now been dedicated to finding the best &#8216;terrasses ensoleilles&#8217;, depending on the time of day and the arrondissement.</p> <p>Application users can view the top voted &#8216;terrasses&#8217;, add suggestions, search for sun by entering a time or arrondissement of choice. With the invention of such a great service, could the once inevitable question, &#8220;A l&#8217;intérieur ou en terrasse?&#8221; become obsolete?</p> Venice Apartments vs Venice Hotels – Another Story! /blog/blog/post/2011/4/12/the-real-venice 2011-04-12T00:00:00+01:00 2012-07-13T05:44:53+01:00 Jill Kammer <p>I&#8217;m just back from a delightful trip to Venice to inspect a lot of new apartments, April can be glorious&#8230;</p> <p>I&#8217;m just back from a delightful trip to Venice to inspect a lot of new apartments, April can be glorious in Venice, the sunshine warmed my body through to the bone and the flow of tourists is still handleable.</p> <p>Although I normally stay in one of our apartments, this was a last minute decision to go so I had to settle for a well positioned Hotel between San Marco and the Rialto bridge which is perfectly located for the daily grind of apartment visits as often the route from one to another will mean we cross paths with the Hotel and can drop in when necessary. But I can&#8217;t help but to mention the 16 Euro room service charge to bring up the inclusive breakfast? For me the perfect way to start the day is to wake very early and work from bed with a strong caffeine drink and get work out of the way before I take off for the day Shall I bother to mention the standard of the breakfast, a repulsive sugarfest of juice from a carton, tinned fruit, dry croissants yuck, I just wanted (and ordered) a piece of wholemeal toast? Shall I mention the one night I was in my pj&#8217;s already and instead of dropping by the bar on my way up to my room to take up a gratis pot of hot water to enjoy my herbal tea I asked to have a pot of hot water delivered to the room &#8211; at Euro 5. I will definitely plan my next Venice trip further in advance so I can make a piece of toast in the morning, laze in bed with my laptop drinking coffee at early to get work out of the way and of course boil that kettle whenever I want&#8230; small things, but they mean a lot when traveling for a week and you enjoy a routine.. Just saying &#8230;.</p> Just turn the corner /blog/blog/post/2010/10/14/just-turn-the-corner-belleville-i 2010-10-14T00:00:00+01:00 2012-11-02T16:18:48+00:00 Ava Kammer <p>If you ask a Parisian about Paris’ level of safety what to avoid and where not to end up alone&#8230;</p> <p>If you ask a Parisian about Paris’ level of safety what to avoid and where not to end up alone at night, they will most probably tell you that in general, Paris is a safe city, but you can easily turn a corner and find yourself in a rather “daunting” street or neighborhood. For example, you may be having a coffee outside Centre Georges Pompidou, then head over to Rue Saint Denis, where the majority of stores either sell pornographic DVDs or charge a small fee for, let’s call them, “exclusive viewings”… The atmosphere can literally change in a matter of seconds. However, sticking to the classic guidebook, step-by step arrondissement itinerary can be a downfall</p> <p>Belleville, for example, once an ‘up and coming’ quartier has now, almost, ‘arrived’. While it may seem scummy as you leave the metro station, at either Pyrennees or Belleville, the long Rue Piat, &#8211; also not the most glamorous of Parisian streets &#8211; leads to one of the highest points in Paris: the top of the beautiful Parc de Belleville.</p> <p>The café/bar, ‘La Mer a Boire’ has been granted this exclusive position, overlooking the city. Quite appropriately, the expression “Ce n’est pas la mer a boire!” has come to be used in modern times as the expression for saying that something is uncomplicated: rightly so, the atmosphere this popular bar is layed back and friendly. You can sit at a table overlooking the park and the rest of the city whilst drinking red wine and sharing une assiette de charcuterie ou fromage.</p> <p>After your Belleville apero, the Rue de Belleville and its many Asian restaurants merit a visit. Many of them are recommended by several guidebooks or have been written up in local newspapers: if so, they will exploit this to their advantage in an all but modest fashion, and this is probably the one to go for. After dinner, if you’re up to it, head for Bar aux Folies on your way back down to metro Belleville, towards the bottom of the road and join the bustling atmosphere for one last drink.</p> <p>The ‘villagy’ atmosphere of Belleville is charming, once you get to it, and although you may have to explore, twist and turn, through bustling streets and unusually quiet lanes to get there, if not only for the view, it is definitely worth it.</p> <p>More of Belleville to come…<br /> • Rue Menilmontant<br /> • Marche de Belleville<br /> • La Bellevilloise</p> Sunday in Paris /blog/blog/post/2010/10/12/sunday 2010-10-10T00:00:00+01:00 2011-08-30T10:38:42+01:00 Ava Kammer <p>For Parisians, nothing is ever perfect …and this includes the weather: a sunny, cloudless sky, like the one today can&#8230;</p> <p>For Parisians, nothing is ever perfect …and this includes the weather: a sunny, cloudless sky, like the one today can be completely ruined by ‘un petit vent’. Nevertheless, this unusually warm October day seemed to entice every Parisian and tourist in the city, and rightly so. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the ‘petit vent’ behaved itself.</p> <p>Today, we ended up in the Marais: it seemed the rest of the city did as well. Rue Franc Bourgeois, parallel to Rue des Rosiers in the 4th arrondissement had been made in to a pedestrian only street and people were pouring out of tiny jewelry shops, browsing in Camper and Bobbi Brown and hovering outside every café that had a ‘terrasse’, waiting patiently for the chance to overpay for a cup of coffee. At the end of Franc Bourgeois, lies the perfectly shaped Place des Vosges hosting several restaurants and cafes all the way around its perimeter; Café Victor Hugo however has a special place with both tourists and locals, serving a wide range of dishes, from big goat’s cheese salads with honey and walnuts to bigger, heartier ‘plats’ such as grilled salmon and ‘filet de boeuf’: whatever you choose, it seems that ordering a side of ‘frites’ is customary.</p> <p>After over-eating, we walked back towards the masses in Rue Franc Bourgeois, past the Centre Pompidou, and down towards the Seine, over the bridge, right into the madness of Rue de la Huchette in the 6th arrondissement. The street follows through to Place Saint Michel and the two boulevards, Saint Germain and Saint Michel. Such an &#8216;exhausting&#8217; stroll deserves an &#8216;apero&#8217;: Rue de Buci, near metro Odeon, just parallel to Boulevard Saint Germain, houses several bars and restaurants and seems to be buzzing 24/7. 3 bars are worth mentioning: first on the left, Cafe Conti which is a little more expensive than the others but has good WiFi, hence the difficulty getting a table. The second, a little further down on the left, we have dubbed &#8216;Happy Hour&#8217; as the sign indicates a few selected 5 euro cocktails, but fails to mention what the bar is actually called&#8230;&#8216;Happy Hour&#8217; stands out for its decor, with tiny tables and heart shaped seats out the front and a tendency to serve different flavoured mojitos on a regular basis (yesterday was strawberry or mango). The last bar, and the local favourite, is Bar du Marché, the last one on the right. It is almost impossible to get a table, but when you do, you are served by an amusingly dressed waiter/waitress and will have a wide selection of meals as well as &#8216;plats de fromage ou charcuterie&#8217; to accompany your &#8216;verre de Bordeaux&#8217;.It gets to 7 o&#8217;clock and suddenly the bridges of Paris are lit and the roads become crazy, all those having come in, now going back out, crossing their fingers that such good weather will last until the next &#8216;dimanche&#8217;.</p> The Best Pizza in Rome /blog/blog/post/2010/8/20/the-best-pizza-in-rome 2010-08-19T00:00:00+01:00 2010-09-08T11:22:44+01:00 Jill Kammer <p>There are so many pizzerias to choose from in Rome (as there are apartments in Rome), many quite good, but&#8230;</p> <p>There are so many pizzerias to choose from in Rome (as there are apartments in Rome), many quite good, but in my mind the three below rate way above for their thin crust Roman pizza as well as for the atmosphere you expect from a Roman Pizzieria. Don&#8217;t forget to order some of the delicious &#8220;Supli&#8221; fried rice balls stuffed with mozzerella to start to really enjoy the true Roman pizzeria experience and remember that according to tradition, beer accompanies pizza, never wine&#8230;</p> <p><strong>Montecarlo &#8211; Pizzeria<br /> Vicolo Savelli<br /> Piazza Navona</strong><br /> The best thin crust Roman pizza available and everybody knows it, don&#8217;t get there after 8 pm unless you are happy to wait for a table with the other 20-30 people, the wait is never too long &#8211; they don&#8217;t serve coffee to linger over after you&#8217;ve eaten and will very nicely remind you that there are others waiting to eat. Don&#8217;t miss this one!!!</p> <p><strong>Pizzeria Ai Marmi (aka The Morgue)<br /> Viale Trastevere, 53-59<br /> Trastevere</strong><br /> This is one of Rome&#8217;s most famous pizzierias, it&#8217;s bustling authentic atmosphere with seating outdoors and in, full of local families and large groups crushed in together on the small marble tables (hence the nickname the morgue). This is not only one of the two best but is also an experience not to be missed..</p> <p><strong>Baffetto<br /> Via Governo Vecchio 114<br /> Piazza Navona</strong><br /> Famous pizzeria in Rome, often with queues waiting for tables, you&#8217;re likely to be sitting with strangers at a large table, which although disconcerting for the first minute, it&#8217;s a lot of fun and the thin crust Roman Pizza is delicious. A wonderful Rome experience.</p> The Best Coffee in Rome /blog/blog/post/2010/8/17/rome-open-food-markets 2010-08-17T00:00:00+01:00 2010-08-20T22:26:51+01:00 Jill Kammer <p>I can confidently say that these are by far the two best places to enjoy coffee in Rome, with many&#8230;</p> <p>I can confidently say that these are by far the two best places to enjoy coffee in Rome, with many options to buy their coffee in airtight containers to take home&#8230;</p> <p><strong>Sant&#8217;Eustachio Cafe<br /> Piazza Sant&#8217; Eustachio<br /> Pantheon</strong><br /> This famous cafe has a great range of gift wrapped coffee products branded with their label, friends who have sampled the coffee before in Rome will be most appreciative to be able to drink a cup of the real thing at home&#8230;</p> <p><strong>Cafe Tazza D’Oro<br /> Via degli Orfani 84<br /> Pantheon</strong><br /> An institution here in Rome, Tazza d&#8217;oro has been around for near 70 years and in this time they&#8217;ve perfected the art of the perfect cafe&#8230;</p> <p>While you&#8217;re dreaming of all that delicious coffee, why not take your pick from our Rome apartments.</p> The Best Gelati in Rome /blog/blog/post/2010/8/20/the-best-gelati-in-rome 2010-08-16T00:00:00+01:00 2011-03-03T02:26:56+00:00 Jill Kammer <p>There&#8217;s Gelati and there&#8217;s Gelati. If you want to enjoy a real taste sensation, don&#8217;t just dive into any old&#8230;</p> <p>There&#8217;s Gelati and there&#8217;s Gelati. If you want to enjoy a real taste sensation, don&#8217;t just dive into any old Gelateria, the list below are some of Rome&#8217;s best gelaterie where the owners use real fruit, fresh eggs and you will not believe the difference in taste: honey icecream, bergamot, chocolate that is as rich in flavor as the best chocolate bar you&#8217;ve ever tasted and without the addition of flavors and colorings&#8230;</p> <p><strong>San Crispino<br /> Via della Panetteria 42<br /> Trevi Fountain<br /> Closed Tuesday</strong><br /> My personal favorite, delicious seasonal flavors, created by masters who use only the freshest of ingredients, there are no cones offered here, only cups as the owners won&#8217;t have anything with artificial colors or flavors in their store..</p> <p><strong>Giolitti<br /> V. Uffici del Vicario 40<br /> Pantheon</strong><br /> Many say it&#8217;s the best gelato in Rome &#8212; go try it and decide for yourself, interesting flavours such as fig and marrons glacé&#8230;.</p> <p><strong>Gelatone<br /> Via dei Serpenti 28<br /> Colosseo (Monti)</strong><br /> Best citrus flavours in Rome, such as pink graperfruit, blood orange, slurp it up whilst walking back to your apartment in Rome from the Colosseo&#8230;.</p> <p>Another i am told about, but have not yet tried, is at the Cipro Metro at the Vatican. Some Italians I recently met told me that this is by far the best in Rome, so if you find yourself at the Metro Cipro near the Vatican give it a try.</p> <p><strong>Gelatia Sant Eustachio<br /> Piazza S Eustachio 47<br /> Pantheon</strong><br /> If you&#8217;re lactose intolerant, then this is the best for you&#8230; right opposite Cafe Eustachio is a gelateria with a large range of soya gelato, plus their regular gelato is very very good&#8230;.</p> <p><strong>Delle Palma (1000 flavors)<br /> Via della Maddalena 20<br /> Pantheon</strong><br /> This is not really one of the best, however if you&#8217;re traveling with kids then they are definitely going to consider it the best for the variety alone, kids particularly love this famous Roman Gelateria for its unique flavors such as merengue and around 20 different varieties of chocolate, there is also a huge variety of sweets sold by weight&#8230;</p> A Guide to the Eateries of Venice /blog/blog/post/2010/8/20/a-guide-to-the-eateries-of-venice 2010-08-01T00:00:00+01:00 2010-08-25T11:15:09+01:00 Jill Kammer <p>Finding a good restaurant in Venice for those not &#8220;in the know&#8221; can be a little tricky, however on a&#8230;</p> <p>Finding a good restaurant in Venice for those not &#8220;in the know&#8221; can be a little tricky, however on a recent trip I discovered a small book &#8211; A Guide to the Eateries of Venice by Michela Scibilia, when I realised that my own few favorites were included I bought it in view of my next Venice trip, I am writing this on the train on my way home from that trip and have to say it was a wonderful guide which I kept with me at all times, Michela is a local Venetian who has placed all of her own favorite restaurants on a map on the front and back of the guide which allows you to find the closest hidden treasure whenever hunger strikes, I highly recommend finding a copy as soon as you hit Venice. She also has another book called &#8211; Venice Botteghe which is a guide to shopping in Venice including music, books, fabrics, carpets, masks&#8230; you name it, in addition, she maps out basics such as internet points, coin laundries, supermarkets and atm machines, equally as informative and a definite must have for anyone visiting Venice</p> Florence Station - taxis from Santa Maria in Novella Station /blog/blog/post/2010/8/20/httpitaly-accomblogspotcom200506florence-taxis-from-santa-mariahtml 2009-06-01T00:00:00+01:00 2010-08-20T23:57:38+01:00 Jill Kammer <p>I was in Florence today to inspect some new properties and am now definitely convinced that there are no signs&#8230;</p> <p>I was in Florence today to inspect some new properties and am now definitely convinced that there are no signs directing you to the taxi stand. On my previous visits I have only ever discovered it by walking around the outskirts of the station until I found it, always arriving at the end of the very long queue &#8212; so for anybody arriving by train in Florence in need of a taxi &#8212; don&#8217;t go to the exit to the left of the right, but go directly ahead through the ticket selling area and make a left at the road &#8212; it appears that everybody getting off the train takes a taxi, so don&#8217;t waste time!</p> Rome Marathon, Sunday March 16th /blog/blog/post/2010/8/16/rome-marathon-sunday-march-16th 2008-03-16T00:00:00+00:00 2010-08-16T13:12:33+01:00 Osborne Brook <p>For all the runners out there, here&#8217;s a photo of today&#8217;s Rome Marathon race as it passes near our office&#8230;</p> <p>For all the runners out there, here&#8217;s a photo of today&#8217;s Rome Marathon race as it passes near our office &#8230;.<br /> The winner at a time of 2:09:36 was Ken Kemboi Chelimo of Kenya. The women&#8217;s winner with a new record time was Souad Ait Salem from Algeria at a time of 2:25:07.</p> Winter in Meta di Sorrento /blog/blog/post/2010/8/16/lorem-ipsum 2008-02-16T00:00:00+00:00 2010-08-16T22:36:31+01:00 Osborne Brook <p>The winter months on the Sorrentine Peninsula and the Amalfi Coast is known to be very quiet and some say,&#8230;</p> <p>The winter months on the Sorrentine Peninsula and the Amalfi Coast is known to be very quiet and some say, don&#8217;t go, it&#8217;s all closed, so on a very sunny February weekend we decided to take a drive down to Meta di Sorrento to stay in one of our properties Apartment Sunset and take some photos and see for ourselves just how closed it is in February.</p> <p>We arrived in Meta at lunch time as planned with thoughts of sitting out in the sun eating a bowl of steamed mussels and drinking a glass of chilled Falenghina &#8230;.. in the beach side restaurant underneath the apartment building that had been so fondly described by our colleague who had inspected these properties &#8230;. to our dismay the restaurant was under winter renovation, although the incredibly friendly owner was there serving free coffee to his friends who were sitting in the sun and he gave us a mouth watering description of his menu that would be offered from the first week of March&#8230; we were just a few weeks early &#8230;. Although there wasn&#8217;t much doing in the town at all, there were a few restaurants open and the beach was a total sun trap and there were a few swimmers and sunbathers, but mainly there were a bunch of locals at the beach lounging around, chatting, reading the paper, definitely not a tourist in sight.</p> <p>The accommodation was fabulous and had every possible amenity we could have dreamed of and we vowed to return in spring to enjoy a weekend of complete relaxation which is what I believe you could achieve in this tiny Sorrento town, breakfast on the balcony, a morning at the beach followed by lunch on the balcony, a afternoon nap followed by a dinner on the beach &#8230;.</p> 1/2 a Million Balls Roll Down The Spanish Steps /blog/blog/post/2010/8/16/hello 2008-01-17T00:00:00+00:00 2010-08-20T12:50:28+01:00 Osborne Brook <p>TV cameras filmed half a million colored balls cascading down Rome&#8217;s 18th Century &#8211; Spanish Steps, in the most recent&#8230;</p> <p>TV cameras filmed half a million colored balls cascading down Rome&#8217;s 18th Century &#8211; Spanish Steps, in the most recent stunt by the man who dyed the waters of the Trevi Fountain red, Graziano Cecchini. The balls rolled down the steps into the boat-shaped Barcaccia fountain in Piazza di Spagna below in a spectacle that stunned passers-by, who snapped photos and scooped up the balls as souvenirs.</p> <p>The municiple police briefly cordon off the area whilst street cleaners shoveled the balls into garbage trucks while Mr Cecchini and his three accomplices were arrested once again &#8211; the stunt cost Cecchini close to $30,000. The guerilla artist told the Italian press the stunt &#8220;represented a lie told by a politician&#8221;.</p> <p><object style="height: 344px; width: 425px"><param name="movie" value=""><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"><embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowScriptAccess="always" width="425" height="344"></object></p> Da Oio A Casa Mia - A True Roman Experience /blog/blog/post/2010/8/16/da-oio-a-casa-mia-a-true-roman-experience 2007-11-18T00:00:00+00:00 Jill Kammer <p>Da Oio A Casa Mia is where you go to enjoy true Roman cuisine in a completely unpretentious atmosphere in&#8230;</p> <p>Da Oio A Casa Mia is where you go to enjoy true Roman cuisine in a completely unpretentious atmosphere in the Testaccio quarter of Rome, an old working class zone just across the river from Trastevere, you may find it a little rough and ready in the service department &#8211; but this just adds to the authenticity of a real Roman location&#8230; you&#8217;ll eat the most wonderful Roman delights here such as Caccia Pepe, Carbonara, Ox Tail and Tripe. Don&#8217;t Miss it!!</p> Il Baretto - New Hip Rome Cafe/Cocktail Bar /blog/blog/post/2010/8/16/il-baretto-new-hip-rome-cafecocktail-bar 2007-11-15T00:00:00+00:00 Jill Kammer <p>Now Rome is&#8230; as most people know, an incredibly beautiful historic city, but cool, modern and hip?&#8230;.. it&#8217;s hard to&#8230;</p> <p>Now Rome is&#8230; as most people know, an incredibly beautiful historic city, but cool, modern and hip?&#8230;.. it&#8217;s hard to find, it&#8217;s just not Rome&#8217;s thing &#8230;. so when you happen upon a fabulous new cool cafe, cocktail bar, it&#8217;s worth talking about. Il Baretto has just opened on via Garibaldi on the way up to the Gianicolo Hill from Trastevere. It&#8217;s just a 5-10 minute walk up from John Cabot University and is &#8211; SO &#8211; worth the walk. The same owners have GOA, one of Rome&#8217;s well established nightclubs. The garden at Il Baretto is definitely its best asset, in spring and summer this place will be heaven, but even today a freezing but perfectly sunny Rome Autumn day, the modern interior and the abundance of glass make this a heavenly spot to spend some time&#8230; I happen to be sitting in here borrowing their wifi while waiting for an appointment. This would be a perfect stop after a visit to the Gianicolo hill or Villa Pamphili, so don&#8217;t miss it.</p> The Trevi Fountain Turns Red /blog/blog/post/2010/8/20/the-trevi-fountain-red 2007-10-21T00:00:00+01:00 2011-03-03T02:37:06+00:00 Jill Kammer <p>Graziano Cecchini, 54, was filmed on closed circuit cameras standing in a crowd of tourists and pouring red dye into&#8230;</p> <p>Graziano Cecchini, 54, was filmed on closed circuit cameras standing in a crowd of tourists and pouring red dye into the waters of the 18th century monument on Friday and then throwing the can into the basin.</p> <p>Mr Cecchini, who is known to police as an extreme-right sympathiser, has been placed under investigation for allegedly damaging a historical or artistic building, police said in a statement.</p> <p>The charge carries a sentence of up to one year in prison. Mr Cecchini has not been arrested.</p> <p>Mr Cecchini denied wrongdoing in newspaper interviews and said he was not the man shown in the CCTV images.</p> <p>After the man poured the liquid and escaped, tourists and locals scrambled to take pictures of the unusual sight of the fountain&#8217;s waters running bright red.</p> <p>Police found leaflets near the fountain signed by a rightwing group claiming responsibility for the act. The leaflets said the red paint was a protest at the cost of organising the Rome Film Festival and symbolically referred to the event&#8217;s red carpet.</p> <p><object width="500" height="405"><param name="movie" value=""></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="500" height="405"></embed></object></p> Driving from Rome to the Maremma /blog/blog/post/2010/8/20/driving-from-rome-to-the-maremma 2006-10-31T00:00:00+00:00 Jill Kammer <p>If you are driving up to the Maremma region from Rome, you must stop at this roadside shop for a&#8230;</p> <p>If you are driving up to the Maremma region from Rome, you must stop at this roadside shop for a panino, forget stopping at an Autogrill ! Each time we passed this tiny shop we noticed a dozen cars or more lined up, so something in there had to be good. We finally stopped on our way up this weekend to find delicous and inexpensive local produce. The highlight though is the rolls and sandwiches they make which are out of this world, don&#8217;t miss it! Although you can&#8217;t miss it, the shop is located just as the road narrows to a two lane highway near the border of Lazio and Tuscany.</p> A Weekend at Rocca di Castagnoli /blog/blog/post/2010/8/20/a-weekend-at-rocca-di-castagnoli 2006-10-22T00:00:00+01:00 2013-01-05T18:00:23+00:00 Jill Kammer <p>It seemed as though winter simply did not want to arrive in Italy this year. On the last weekend in&#8230;</p> <p>It seemed as though winter simply did not want to arrive in Italy this year. On the last weekend in October the beaches near Rome were full of Roman&#8217;s that were enjoying a beautiful sunny and warm day a the sea. Rome is famous for its Ottobrata Romana &#8211; the Roman October which can be described as an Indian Summer but these glorious sunny, warm autumn days rarely ever go all the way through to November. This year they did, however as if with a magic wand on November 1st autumn suddenly hit with a cold, windy and rainy day. This is it, I thought, winter has arrived and I better start thinking of cuddling up by the fireplace.</p> <p>On Friday, November 4th however we woke up to a glorious, yet crisp morning so my husband and I decided to pack our weekend bags and drive up to Rocca di Castagnoli for the weekend. What better place then the Chianti Wine Region to truly enjoy the beautiful fall colours?</p> <p>Laura, <a href="">Rocca di Castagnoli&#8217;s</a> manager was hospitable as always and is thrilled to have guest all year around. Emanuela met us at 10:30 pm when we finally made it and had turned the heating on in our apartment (the Lungo) a few hours earlier so we arrived to a nice cosy home in the Roccca.</p> <p>The drive to <a href="">Rocca di Castagnoli</a> itself is quite magnificent. Almost from the very moment you leave the A1 highway you find yourself winding along the soft Tuscan hillsides and through the colourful and prestigious Chianti vineyards. However if you arrive at night as we did, all is not lost. Waking up in Rocca di Castagnoli, out of season is a delight to be savoured. Only two other apartments were occupied while we were there and obviously everyone came to enjoy the countryside this time of year when it is private and quiet. Even the family with children were extremely discreet so the feeling was that of having the entire place to yourself.</p> <p>We awoke to a silence that was sublime as much as it was strange coming from a bustling and noisy city such as Rome. The view from any point of the Rocca was quite breathtaking as our eyes explored the soft autumn colours of the Tuscan countryside that unravelled from the height of Rocca di Castagnoli down through the valley.</p> <p>Rocca comes from the word Roccia meaning Rock and was the stronghold or fortress of a village or town. In this case, Rocca di Castagnoli is the fortress of the hamlet that was built around it, called Castagnoli. Today, this medieval village has been completely restored and belongs to the winery that carries the same name and that is located just below the Rocca. When you stay at the Rocca di Castagnoli, you are in fact living in a medieval hamlet that is also a working winery. Each apartment name carries the name of the last inhabitants that lived in each apartment /home: Giulis, Mazzina, Filomena, Cesira etc. As they are all women’s names I cannot help but wonder what the living expectations of the men were compared to the women’s in this village.</p> <p>The apartments are all quite large and as they were not built to be &#8220;a hotel room&#8221; but rather come from antique homes, they are quite irregular in shape and size. I loved this fact as there are no two apartments alike and each one has a series of nooks and crannies, internal steps and hidden corners. The castle itself is quite extraordinary and I could not help but think how much fun it would be to be a child and play hide and seek here.</p> <p>After breakfast we drove through Gaiole in <a href="">Chianti</a>, the closest village where there is a coffee shop, supermarket etc. (5km from <a href="">Rocca di Castagnoli</a>) and made our way to Arezzo, one of Tuscany’s ancient and beautiful cities with important works of art from Piero della Francesca and Cimabue. The first weekend of every month, Arezzo becomes particularly lively as one of the best Antique markets sprawls out through the entire historical center of the city. There really could be few better backgrounds to a good antique market then the medieval city of Arezzo. The city in which Roberto Benigni filmed his Oscar winning film La Vita Bella is elegant and lined with great little osterias and trattorias where you can enjoy an exquisite Tuscan meal.</p> <p>In the late afternoon we drove back to our fortress and turned on the fireplace more for the romantic effect then the actual heating. Rocca di Castagnoli has a very efficient heating system in which there are pipes running under the terracotta tiles making every apartment warm and cuddly throughout the winter.</p> <p>For dinner we drove down to Gaiole in <a href="">Chianti</a> again and had dinner at the Osteria al Ponte, the restaurant owned by Rocca di Castagnoli. It was a wonderful culinary experience during which time we tasted all the specialties of the area and season: Tuscan &#8220;crostini&#8221; (pates) Ravioli with sage, home made Pici pasta with wild boar sauce, Chianti style Tripe (I admit, I skipped that and let my Italian husband Andrea enjoy that) all accompanied by a lovely Rocca di Castagnoli Chianti Classico, DOCG wine. What can I say, Rocca di Castagnoli simply has an excellent mix of quality and friendliness in all its products, whether they are offering you accommodation, wine or dinner.</p> Lovers Bridge in Rome /blog/blog/post/2010/8/20/lovers-bridge-in-rome 2006-10-01T00:00:00+01:00 Jill Kammer <p>If you&#8217;re in Rome with your husband, lover, or even your best friend &#8211; go to the lovers bridge, Ponte&#8230;</p> <p>If you&#8217;re in Rome with your husband, lover, or even your best friend &#8211; go to the lovers bridge, Ponte Milvio &#8211; one of Romes older bridges that spans the Tiber River near the football stadium. Roman lovers and bosom buddies buy a simple lock, write on their names, eg: Dario and Marzia then lock it up to the chain and throw the key into the river to symbolize their friendship for life. The chain seems to be just about full and another has begun on the other side of the bridge.</p> Ponte Milvio Antique Market /blog/blog/post/2010/8/20/ponte-milvio-antique-market 2006-10-01T00:00:00+01:00 2011-03-03T02:29:06+00:00 Jill Kammer <p>If you&#8217;re fortunate to be in Rome on the first Sunday of the month, this antique market is a wonderful&#8230;</p> <p>If you&#8217;re fortunate to be in Rome on the first Sunday of the month, this antique market is a wonderful place to stroll for a few hours, of course you&#8217;ll only have room for the smaller items in your suitcase, but there&#8217;s plenty of interesting small objects there &#8211; like small picture frames, jewlery, nick nacks, books etc&#8230; Today I found a brand new guide book for Italy from 1955 which was a freebie on TWA flights, what a wonderful find &#8211; at a quick glance I can&#8217;t say that recommendations have change much, including restaurants, I also found two small Limoges butter dishes that are quite magnificent, these I could have easily slipped in with my luggage if I was traveling.We were at the market in search of an odd sized antique dining table for our kitchen, which had eluded us until today&#8230;</p> <p>We&#8217;ve been searching for this table for around a year, but today was our day and we in fact found many different versions of the table we were after and finally did the deal to be delivered next week. You will come across the Lemonade and chou chou stand as well, locals line up for a freshly squeezed lemon juice with sugar and either mint, fresh ginger or natural flavor, the couple that run this stand take their product very seriously and use old fashioned methods to create their juice as they say it tastes better this way, and it does. In winter they replace the cold lemonade with a spicy hot apple cider drink.</p> <p>They also make chou chou with both peanuts and almonds on the spot, so they&#8217;re always fresh and hot.<br /> Some of the other great finds are these bolts of heavy furnishing fabrics, handmade fabric lamp shades, handmade elaborate velvet cushions and some interesting deco pieces.</p> <p>There are also a few Asian antique stalls, Tibetan and Chinese that are very well priced in comparison to the stores. Ponte Milvio Antique Market is on the first Sunday of each month only and runs along the Tiber River at Ponte Milvio which is a couple of klm north of the Vatican and about a 7 Euro cab ride or about a 40 minute walk from the centre.</p> Apartment vs Hotel - Why Choose an Apartment /blog/blog/post/2010/8/20/apartment-vs-hotel-why-choose-an-apartment 2006-04-20T00:00:00+01:00 2011-03-03T02:46:22+00:00 Jill Kammer <p>When our family planned our last Easter holiday, there was the usual family debate deciding where we to go. Finally&#8230;</p> <p>When our family planned our last Easter holiday, there was the usual family debate deciding where we to go. Finally everybody voted on Nice; so, I commenced the process of pouring over many websites looking for an apartment, that might suit our family of four.</p> <p>We were looking for a short-term apartment but after many hours of internet surfing, I just couldn&#8217;t seem to find a website that could offer us the kind of apartment that we had in mind. After becoming frustrated with the lack of choice I decided to dump the whole apartment idea and book a hotel instead,confirming two rooms in a pretty cool looking hotel.<br /> At the time of booking I had no doubts that this was the way to go.<br /> Our two daughters aged 18 and 14 would enjoy the independence of their own room and we figured it could be a more relaxing way for us too, no food shopping or cooking or even tidying up..</p> <p>We arrived in Nice and the hotel was as expected, modern, hip, with an impressive foyer; the location too seemed perfect, right between the old town of Nice and the modern shopping area, just one block from the beach.<br /> We were all pleased until we were shown to our rooms &#8211; which although modern and nicely renovated, we were a little shocked to see the space we were to spend the next eight nights; although accurately described in square meters on the website &#8211; the rooms looked and &#8220;felt&#8221; very small and cramped.</p> <p>The next morning we took off to explore Nice and immediately came across the daily fresh food market in the old town, when we saw the wonderful produce &#8211; strawberries, white asparagus, every kind of olive you can imagine, trestle table after trestle table offering the most delicious variety of fresh food and local specialities. we were both excited by this great variety and abundance of offerings and disappointed that we were going to miss out on sampling the wonderful local produce that Nice had to offer.</p> <p>We also missed hanging out together as a family &#8211; as these short holidays are really the only time we spend long stretches of time together especially now that we have teenagers who are old enough to be independent. We walked on the beach in the mornings and would bump into our daughters mid morning &#8211; having to make a date with them late afternoon if we wanted to see them. Great for the first few days, but at the end of eight days we all missed the usual laughs and interaction in the kitchen or living room &#8211; the room to room telephoning was wearing thin and when we were all in one of the rooms together it was so tiny we could only bear 10 mins before taking off to our own space again.</p> <p>The cost of hotel room service was another hitch, even for a cup of coffee in the morning, the price was totally over the top. Lunch and dinner out at restaurants every day, can become both tedious; clocking up around Euro 120 each evening for dinner wasn&#8217;t much fun either. We were tired of &#8220;having to&#8221; go out every night, restaurants are wonderful when you&#8217;re in the mood, but not much fun when you are forced to eat out for 24 meals on a row.</p> <p>So looking back at our &#8220;hotel experience&#8221;, a small room, a mini bar and not the kind of privacy or freedom that we are used to, made me think that I should have tried a little harder to find that &#8220;right apartment&#8221; &#8211; which would have been more of a home, even if only for eight nights.<br /> We could have enjoyed more space, more amenities, sampled and cooked the local produce, which is a lot more fun and paid a lot less. The experience reminded us of why we chose to be in the business we are in and prompted us to begin exploring the idea of expanding into the south of France .</p> Gondoler ride for 50 cents /blog/blog/post/2010/8/20/gondoler-ride-for-50-cents- 2005-10-18T00:00:00+01:00 Jill Kammer <p>A new discovery for me is Traghetto in Venice, I had always used the bridges when going from one side&#8230;</p> <p>A new discovery for me is Traghetto in Venice, I had always used the bridges when going from one side to the other of the Grand Canal &#8211; these &#8211; as anyone who has stayed in Venice will know can sometimes be quite out of the way, but a recent trip with a friend in tow for company taught me something so useful and fun. There are seven points on the grand canal &#8211; in between the bridges &#8211; with a Gondola service that takes you from one side to the other, they are mainly situated near Gondola service points, the cost is just 50 cents which you just hand to the charming Gondoliero who will hold his arm out to steady you as you get on and off, I found the whole experience absolutely gorgeous. If you catch the traghetto near to the Rialto market in the morning you will see the local women get on with their shopping bags who all stand up for the ride across&#8230;</p> Luxury Apartments with Hotel Services /blog/blog/post/2010/8/20/luxury-apartments-with-hotel-services 2005-10-18T00:00:00+01:00 Jill Kammer <p>Undoubtedly the most <a rel="nofollow" href="/italy/venice/giudecca/apartment-bucintoro">luxurious serviced apartment complex in Venice</a> (and probably the only one!) We had the pleasure of staying&#8230;</p> <p>Undoubtedly the most <a rel="nofollow" href="/italy/venice/giudecca/apartment-bucintoro">luxurious serviced apartment complex in Venice</a> (and probably the only one!) We had the pleasure of staying there for the weekend in the apartment &#8220;Bucintoro&#8221;, a two bedroom, 1 &amp; half bath apartment on the fifth floor of this restored grain mill on the island of Giudecca. This apartment towers over Venice with the most beautiful views over Dorsoduro and the Giudecca canal. There are 8 apartments available of different sizes available for rental, but it&#8217;s the daily services that I found unique for an Italian apartment complex, such as daily linen and towel change, daily cleaning and a fully stocked fridge of juice and water and breakfast items that is restocked daily is truly unique for Italy. The kitchens have quality appliances such as as espresso machines that allow you to make a cappuccino for breakfast whilst watching boats on the canal in the morning, croissants can be heated up in the oven and sliced bread is left each day to toast. The view is out of this world, with luxury passenger liners, vaporettos and other small boats passing all throughout the day.</p> Chianti - Best Food and Wine /blog/blog/post/2010/8/20/chianti-best-food-and-wine 2005-07-06T00:00:00+01:00 Jill Kammer <p>Last weekend we had the good fortune of traveling to Tuscany to inspect one of our latest properties in the&#8230;</p> <p>Last weekend we had the good fortune of traveling to Tuscany to inspect one of our latest properties in the heart of Chianti &#8211; Rocca di Castagnoli. Possibly due to the fact that the Palio was on in Siena (only 30 minutes away) Chianti was a true paradise, hardly a soul to be found anywhere, and after a two week heatwave in Rome the significant drop in temperature in the countryside was a great relief. The point to this blog is that in a restaurant in Radda in Chianti, we found absolute perfection, its name &#8211; Chiasso dei Portici, Telephone 0577 739270, not only was the food exceptional, the wine, the service and the ambiance in the beautiful garden terrace probably the best we&#8217;ve experienced in 5 years in Italy. Don&#8217;t miss this restaurant if you&#8217;re in the area. We also truly enjoyed the stay at Rocca di Castagnoli, a working vineyard that produces award winning wines (of which we sampled and purchased their chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon that were iresistable). The owners have recently renovated a medieval tower into rooms with en-suite bathrooms and the borgo (tiny town) into self catering apartments, they&#8217;ve done a great job, added a beautiful swimming pool and the prices are very very reasonable. This property has a level of privacy and tranquility not always found in this type of accommodation &#8211; highly recommended.</p> Little Things Mean a Lot /blog/blog/post/2010/8/20/little-things-mean-a-lot- 2005-06-12T00:00:00+01:00 Jill Kammer <p>Being fortunate enough to live in the absolute heart of Rome; any more central and our bed would be on&#8230;</p> <p>Being fortunate enough to live in the absolute heart of Rome; any more central and our bed would be on the Spanish Steps; our office is located just five minutes on foot from our apartment &#8211; so sometimes when I indulge myself in the pleasure of taking that short walk as though it were the first time, I can momentarily forget that I had to wait ten minutes before the water in the shower turned hot this morning or that I lined up for an hour and a half in the post office yesterday to pay an electricity bill &#8211; because the girl behind the counter was answering her cell phone to argue with her boyfriend every five minutes.</p> <p>Romans seem to have infinite patience &#8211; I guess it has to be from being around for so long.</p> <p>Every one of these small hassles are worth it just to live in this magical disorganized and extraverted city; If New York is &#8220;the city that doesn&#8217;t sleep&#8221; then Rome is the city that doesn&#8217;t wake up until around 10:00am.</p> <p>I make my way down the elegant cobblestoned Via Vittoria where no one is ever seen inside the upscale boutiques, as everything seems to be home delivered.</p> <p>Via Vittorio is also the home of the Rome conservatorium, a magnificent and imposing building that could only be located in Rome; the heavy stoned facade is a colored mix of red and terracotta, perfectly faded over many years; something which could not possibly be imitated today; one of the many ancient buildings in Rome that are so surreal it is like being on a movie set.</p> <p>I&#8217;m treated to the sounds of the early conservatorium students rehearsing a classical violin piece or the high vocal pitch of a Puccini opera that I vaguely recognize but can&#8217;t name.</p> <p>As I turn the corner into the famous Via Del Corso, where in just a few hours the street will be packed with old and young alike taking their lunchtime &quot;passagiatta; attractive overtanned girls in six inch heels and large black sunglasses, some strolling slowly licking their a gelato as though it were the weekend even though it&#8217;s only Wednesday.</p> <p>Italians don&#8217;t let a minute go by without their daily pleasures &#8211; no matter what the day of the week is.</p> <p>Via Del Corso is definitely the best street in Rome for people watching &#8211; in fact it is more like &#8220;people on display&#8221; you can watch or participate.</p> <p>Buy the outfit, make sure it&#8217;s short and tight, get a tan that&#8217;s three shades too dark, find a partner that also has a tight outfit and is overtanned and you&#8217;ve made it; you can now strut your stuff down Del Corso.</p> <p>I close my eyes and smell the fresh coffee wafting out from the bars, almost knocking over the hurrying delivery boy whipping into a bar balancing a fresh batch of &#8220;cornettos&#8221; on a tray.</p> <p>I smile to myself as the blonde traffic cop in full make up who looks more like a model in uniform with her long hair, blows her whistle at a Vespa driver zipping down a one way street, then shrugs as she is ignored.</p> <p>As I take a left turn off Del Corso and reach the front door of the office in Via dei Greci I think to myself; with this constantly going in a spectacular backdrop almost 3000 years old, why would anyone even care if the little things don&#8217;t always work.</p> <p>I open the front door and the corridor is dark &#8211; I&#8217;m informed the electricity in the whole street just blew and won&#8217;t be fixed until morning.</p> <p>Oh well, back to Via Del Corso &#8211; tough life.</p> Italy - Buying an Italian Sim Card /blog/blog/post/2010/8/20/italy-buying-an-italian-sim-card 2005-06-10T00:00:00+01:00 Jill Kammer <p>Yesterday in the vodafone shop in Rome, my daughter and I came accross 3 lovely Australian girls, all first time&#8230;</p> <p>Yesterday in the vodafone shop in Rome, my daughter and I came accross 3 lovely Australian girls, all first time travelers who were nervously checking their phrase books for the right words &#8212; needless to say, they couldn&#8217;t find the phrase &#8220;I&#8217;d like to buy an Italian sim card please&#8221;. Lucky them &#8212; they were in earshot of our conversation and detected our Aussie accents and asked for help. For all travelers in Italy, buying a sim card is a piece of cake, inexpensive and only takes a few minutes. You only need to show your passport and pay Euro 15, this will allow you to receive unlimited incoming calls on your new Italian number &#8212; even when you&#8217;re out of credit &#8212; the sim card is already loaded with Euro 5 credit and you can recharge it in any tabacchi store or by walking into any vodafone shop. International SMS/text messages are 30 cents per message. On the way out of the shop &#8211; another couple asked me, are you Australian? Do you know how to get your messages from Telstra? &#8212; for that I was no use at all ;)</p>