Kvarner is definitely one of the most beautiful regions in Croatia, as this is where you will find the awe-inspiring Absytrus Islands of Krk, Cres and Lošinj. Absytrus was the brother of Medea. The islands that are named after him are steeped in history and legend. The internationally known Apoxiomen, by the Greek sculptor Lizip, was discovered off the coast of Lošinj in the late 90s. This athlete cast in bronze dates back to the 4th century B.C. The famous Baška tablet was discovered on Krk. The Crikvenica, Rijeka, Opatija and Vinodol Rivieras are also located in the Kvarner region.
The most popular drinks in the Kvarner region are Vrbnicka Žlahtina, a white wine produced in Vrbnik, and Trojšcina, a white wine produced on Susak Island. These are soaked up by Kvarner scampi (the Adriatic’s biggest and best), lamb served with sheep cheese or šurlice, a type of pasta from Krk Island eaten with seafood or goulash. Rab cake and Lovran chestnuts finish off a traditional meal in this region of Croatia.
Just on the outskirts of Berlin’s city centre is the very popular Charlottenburg Palace, dating from the early 18th century. It was a present from King Friedrich III to Sophie Charlotte, his wife. It is surrounded by very attractive parkland which lies beside the River Spree. Surrounding the palace is the upper class neighbourhood of Charlottenburg. A ramble around the grounds is recommended, after which one can get their culture fix in the six museums on Schlossstrasse, which faces the Palace.
During the years of the GDR, Alexanderplatz was architecturally and politically the centre of East Berlin. To this day its socialist style has retained its interest factor, with broad streets radiating from the square. One of these is Karl-Marx-Allee, which has excellent examples of previously Stalinist architecture. Alexanderplatz is bordered by Berlin’s tallest and biggest structures, such as the TV Tower. Down the road is the Nikolai Quarter, restored during the 80s, and Red City Hall. Some of Berlin’s most ancient churches, such as the Church of St. Nicholas dating back to the early 13th century and St. Mary’s Church, which dates from the late 13th century, are also here, which lends some very interesting variety to the overall look of the square.
Anne Frank is synonymous with the city of Amsterdam. This young girl and her family hid from Nazi forces at Prinsengracht 263 for over two years but they eventually were discovered. She and her sister were sent to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp where she died. While in hiding Anne kept a diary. This was subsequently discovered by her father who survived the camp and was sent to a publisher. It became a world wide phenomenon and was translated into numerous languages as well as influencing a number of screen plays and theatre productions. Today the Anne Frank Huis is a memorial to this terrible period, including many of her own belongings on display, a map where her father monitored the progress of the Allies and an exhibition on the holocaust.
The Van Gogh Museum is a must if one wishes to discover more about the life and times of Vincent Willem van Gogh. This brilliant but very troubled artist sliced a section off one of his ears during one particularly notorious period of insanity. He also endured many very dark periods that resulted in alcoholism, psychosis, self harm and eventually led to his killing himself. Despite these episodes – or maybe as a result of them – he produced a large number of globally famous works, such as Sunflowers. The museum has a range of temporary and permanent exhibitions that attract many thousands of visitors every year.
The Hilton Chambers, in the fashionable Northern Quarter of Manchester City, is a hostel that tricks you into thinking it’s a hotel. It may have all the atmosphere and camaraderie that comes with a hostel, as well as a fully equipped, modern kitchen. However, its mainly private en suite rooms, which house anything from two up to ten guests, are stylishly decorated and offer unlimited WI-FI. Free luggage storage and a barbeque terrace outside are also available, ensuring that this hostel cum hotel has set the bar as high as it can go when it comes to standards of service for budget accommodation.
Hatters Hostel is right in the centre of Manchester, meaning it is at the heart of all the action and where it‘s at. It is ideal for groups travelling with each other, as the majority of rooms are dorms with shared bathrooms, and there is a spacious communal area for hanging out. Here, two things are guaranteed above all others – fun and great service with a smile. Together, these have ensured that The Hatters is one of the most popular hostels in the city. Its staff take pride in being fountains of knowledge about the best places to eat, the best places to hang out and events that are going on during the few days or so of your stay. Chances are, these are just a short walk away from the hostel, due to its great location. Buses, trams and railway lines are only 5 minutes down the road.
A visit to Dos Palillos is a must if you want to see what happens when traditional Spanish tapas meets exquisite Japanese, Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese flavours. Chef Albert Raurich was behind the gourmet cuisine at El Bulli for ten years, and was head chef for the last six. Hence it is safe to presume he knows what’s what when it comes to inspiring and innovating. Highlights of the menu include delicacies such as fresh seaweed sunomono with molluscs, Japanese burger, meat gyoza and Cantonese style Iberian pork, to name just a few.
It is not difficult to see at a glance why Moments restaurant, located in the recently built and very attractive Mandarin Oriental Hotel, is worthy of a Michelin award. The menu features classic Spanish offerings such as rice with broth, as well as veal and fish stews. However, shrimp tartar, seabass with fig chutney and hibiscus salt and veal cheeks with turnip vegetable ravioli and red fruits also feature. Intriguingly, an anti-aging menu is also available, offering mini pizza pies with artichokes and Joselito ham, and buckwheat macaroni with scallops and vegetables.
The Hong Kong Flower Show at Victoria Park is running from 9am to 9pm every day, from the 16th to the 25th of March 2012. Come along and savour the sweet fragrances of the blooms on show. The displays consist of houseplants, magnificent bouquets and a variety of garden designs, as well as photography and sketch displays. Contestants travel from all over the world to compete in the show, which this year has taken Floral Delights as its theme. The theme flower is the hyacinth. A wide variety of plants and flowers as well as gardening products will be on sale from the stalls. The specialist knowledge offered by the people working here will be invaluable for anyone with an interest in flowers and gardening. Feel free to pick their brains! Tickets are available at the onsite ticket booth at HK$14 for an adult ticket, or HK$7 for a concession.
Entertainment Expo Hong Kong 2012 begins on the 19th of March and continues for four weeks up to the 15th of April. This is a great opportunity to celebrate the great innovations being made in Hong Kong’s movie, television, music and digital entertainment industries. Presentation ceremonies honouring the brightest and best in the industry will be hosted during the month at the Hong Kong Film Awards, which forms part of the Expo. No doubt this is also the time when a large number of films will either be given the green light or stopped in their tracks.
The 4 star Best Western Hotel Cristal is a perfect base for either the working or pleasure traveller. This is because its location just down the road from the Central Station means guests can easily access both Munich Airport and the Trade Fair. Its location in the heart of the city makes it perfect for shoppers and sightseers alike, with attractions like the Oktoberfest, the Marienplatz, Pinakothek art galleries (both old and new), the Hofbräuhaus and a host of museums all on its doorstep.
Fans of the colour blue will love the 3 star Hotel Belle Blue. As its name would suggest, blue is the main colour theme across its 30 unique and luxurious guestrooms. In less skilful hands, this idea may have resulted in gaudiness, but the hotel’s expert interior designers ensured that the utmost in good taste and contemporary style remained a priority throughout the hotel. Of course, there is more to this hotel than merely what is inside; it boasts an enviable location in the heart of Munich which also is removed from the noise that such a location normally brings. Hence, while many of the prime attractions of the city are within walking distance, one is still assured a good night’s sleep.
The Louvre Museum is France’s biggest museum, with a massive collection of artworks spread across eight categories. These are Oriental Antiquities, Islamic Art, Egyptian Antiquities, Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities as well as more contemporary Paintings, Sculptures, Art items, Prints and Drawings. Visitors can also learn about the beginnings of the Louvre, such as the moats that date from the late 12th century. The Venus of Milo, the Winged Victory of Samothrace and the Mona Lisa are just some of the world famous pieces housed here.
The Musée d’Orsay is situated in the old Orsay station, which itself was built where the Palais d’Orsay previously stood to serve the 1900 World Fair. The Orsay station blended perfectly into the majestic environment and operated until 1939. In 1977, work on what was to eventually become the Musée d’Orsay began, and it has been exhibiting artworks to the masses since 1986. Its collection dates from the mid 19th century to the early 20th century, and it is critically acclaimed for its impressionist paintings, which are recognised around the world.
Beijing’s Forbidden City dates from the late 14th century, during the time of the era of the Ming Dynasty, and has survived to this day. With a total of 9,999 rooms, it boasts the distinction of being the world’s biggest and most complete imperial palace grounds. For 500 years it was China’s administrative hub, and it is not difficult to see why it played such an important role for so long – with a 6 metre deep moat and a wall reaching ten metres, no unwelcome visitors could get in. Hence it was the perfect location to conduct the affairs of state.
The Great Wall of China is an immense feat of human achievement, beginning at Jiayuguan Pass and reaching five provinces east, crossing barren desert, snowy peaks and green valleys to conclude at Shanhaiguan Pass. From space it closely resembles a huge dragon. Its original purpose was to defend China against attackers, while ensuring that no one left the country unless they had prior permission. Today it is recognised as being among the ‘Eight Wonders of the World’ and is listed as a World Heritage Site, making it an essential day trip destination from Beijing.
Posh Pads at The Casartelli has something for everyone; whether you want an apartment just for one night, for a week or maybe even as long as a month, they have something for you. Not only can you book accommodation for whatever duration you like, but you can be guaranteed that it will be generously sized, will have all the conveniences you may expect from a 5 star hotel, and will be fully serviced. The Casartelli building itself dates from the mid 18th century, but was completely renovated to mix period elegance with modern facilities. Just down the road within walking distance is the Liverpool One Centre and Albert Dock.
Hope Street Hotel has its origins in an old warehouse in Liverpool’s Georgian Quarter, but oh how far it is come from those humble beginnings. The building has had a total overhaul and now is home to one of the World’s 50 Coolest Hotels (or so Condé Nast Traveller voters thought, anyway). The location of this luxurious 89 room hotel is exceptional; it is surrounded by both of Liverpool’s cathedrals, a number of its prestigious educational establishments, concert hall and theatre. From its rebuild to its reincarnation as a luxury hotel, this has been a labour of love for a native team of builders and designers. The interior is modern, yet does not forget its roots; the wooden beams, metal pillars and brick walls complement the simple design.