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Freitag, 19. Dezember 2008

The Pound Hits Low - Get Big Value For Small Bucks And Travel To Britain Now!

Our up-to-the minute tips on getting the most from your trip to Britain:

Mile-high savings

Get the best flight deals to Britain by using aggregators like and to see all fares in one place (and to get the scoop on fare trends). More and more low-cost carriers are serving routes from the U.S. to Britain, such as Fly Globespan ( Once in Britain, hop on the frugal British jet setter's best friend, Ryanair ( Frequent promotions mean that you take a short hop around Britain or Europe for free—as long as you pick up the taxes and fees!

VIP Pass—access all areas

Passes that cover multiple attractions in a city or region are an excellent way to pack in the most sites, while getting a chance to skip the queues. The Great British Heritage Pass, the London Pass, the Scotland Explorer Pass are just a few of the passes you can buy in advance of your trip through the VisitBritain Online Shop (

Hot bites

Look out for prix-fixe menus year-round in Britain. At Arbutus (, which recently was awarded a Michelin star, you can order a pre-theater, three-course meal for just £17.50 – about $34.00! The Kitchin ( restaurant in Edinburgh has a similar deal at lunchtime: a two-course meal is available for £15.50 (approx. $30) and a three-course meal is available at £19.50 (approx. $38). Similar deals abound all over Britain.

Sweet dreams

Self-catering apartments and bed & breakfasts offer an affordable way for visitors to save money during their stay in England, Scotland and Wales – all while preserving an intimate, home-away-from-home feel. Companies like base2stay ( and UMI ( in London, Royal Gardens (, and Coastal Cottages ( on Britain's beautiful coast have comfortable rooms for great prices.

Take a walk

The Original London Walks ( are an economical and enjoyable way to get to know London. The company has more than 300 walks through London each costing £6 (approximately $12), as well as Explorer Days, one-day sightseeing tours to Bath, Cambridge, Canterbury, Cotswolds and Oxford, Hampton Court, Stonehenge and Salisbury.


Dienstag, 16. Dezember 2008

Hogmanay - Celebrate An Unforgetable New Year in Scotland

For a New Year celebration you’ll never forget, head for a Scottish Hogmanay party. No one celebrates New Year quite like the Scots, who start celebrating Hogmanay on 29 December and don’t stop till 1 January.

The Hogmanay celebrations are probably inherited from the Vikings, who coming from further north than Scotland, paid more attention to the passing of the shortest day.

Most Hogmanay celebrations and traditions start on 31 December, when it is traditional to clean out the house and clear your debts. Every year, most towns and cities in Scotland have public Hogmanay celebrations, usually involving firework displays.

The most famous Hogmanay celebration is in Edinburgh, where the celebrations have evolved into a 4-day winter festival. On 29 December, there’s a dazzling torchlight procession from from to Royal Mile to Calton Hill overlooking the city.

Thousands of people – some dressed as Vikings dragging a Viking warship – make their way up the Hill to set the ship alight, watch a firework display and enjoy lively musicians and entertainers.

30 December is the Night Afore Fiesta – a family carnival with music, dance and street theatre. On New Year’s Eve, it’s Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Street Party, when thousands of people gather in the city centre for a night of concerts and partying.

There’s also a concert at the foot of Edinburgh Castle, and funky ceilidh bands at East Princes Street Gardens, all ready to give you the best New Year’s Eve of your life!

But the Hogmanay celebrations don’t end there. There’s more on New Year’s Day (known as Ne’er’s Day). First, there’s the One O’ Clock Run, a gentle, 1-mile fun run that’s open to everyone. A family favourite is Edinburgh’s Dogmanay, where Samoyed and Siberian Huskies team up for dog sled races through Holyrood Park.

If you didn’t overindulge the night before, there’s the Edinburgh Triathlon, where you’ll have to swim 8 lengths of the Royal Commonwealth Pool, cycle 3 times round Arthur’s Seat (11miles) then go round it one more time on foot.

Alternatively, if you’re still suffering from the night before, why not wake yourself up by throwing yourself into the icy waters of the Firth of Forth? It’s called the Loony Dook, and might just be the perfect hangover cure.

There’s lots more celebrations on New Year’s Day, including the Hogmanay Jazz Fringe, The New Year’s Day McEwan Sessions and church services all over the city.

And if you think all this partying might prove too much for you, don’t worry, 2 January is a Bank Holiday in Scotland, so you’ll have lots of time to recover.


Sonntag, 14. Dezember 2008

Beautiful Christmas Fairs in Germany

There are so many wonderful things to see and do in Germany at Christmas. Stroll through festively decorated streets and explore the enchanting Christmas Markets with their seasonal music and choir singing. Listen to the sounds of bells and trumpeters and attend one of the many concerts from classical to gospel in the churches and on outdoor stages. Adorned with decorations and festively lit, the pedestrian precincts and shopping centres offer everything your heart could desire. The arts and entertainment scene also takes a seasonal turn in December: in Germany’s major cities, you’ll find everything from plays, operettas and musicals to spellbinding readings. In addition, theme parks are open throughout Christmas for their winter seasons – take the whole family to magical Europa-Park Rust, a winter wonderland in white brimming with thrills, spills and surprises. There are also numerous winter sports you can get involved in and high-profile events such as the New Year ski jumping in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. You see, it’s not just Christmas trees and twinkling lights, Germany has something for everyone during the festive season.


Donnerstag, 11. Dezember 2008

New Year's Eve In Berlin

Last year more than one million people celebrated on the 2 km long party mile between the ,Brandenburger Tor' and the ,Siegessäule'. Live bands, top DJ's, national and international show acts on different stages guaranteed a brilliant party. This years top acts are: from 6:30 pm, Michael Mind, beFour, Marquess, Hot Banditoz, Monrose, Die Firma, Lexington Bridge, Groove Coverage, Lemon Ice, Lutricia McNeal, Room 2012, Rapsoul and Empty Trash. At 10 pm starts the live show of the German TV channel RTL II. At midnight, right in time for the spectacular fireworks, the acts are once again on stage. Stalls with food from all over the world and different light animations line the streets. A special highlight certainly is the fireworks at midnight to welcome the New Year. Gigantic pyrotechnic coordinated with music creates an unforgettable experience.

Last year more than one million people celebrated New Year's Eve at the Brandenburg Gate until the early hours. The first official New Years Eve party took place in Berlin in 1995. Through the years it developed into the biggest open air New Year's Eve party in the world, where people celebrated the New Year in a peaceful atmosphere. And the best: it is for free.


Mittwoch, 10. Dezember 2008

Barcelona city tour

We’ve spent 2 very intense and interesting days in Barcelona. Barcelona is a great city with so many sights to see. The Barrio Gotico (Gothic Quarter) with the old cathedral, the newly renovated waterfront with the Statue of Columbus, La Sagrada Familia, the architecture by Antoni Gaudi (La Pedrera, Casa Battlo, Parc Guell, the Olympic Park. The topography is great, on one side is the Mediterranean, on the west side is the hill Montjuic and on the north side is Mount Tibidabo, the highest mountain overlooking the city with an amusement park and a beautiful church on top. We ended up buying a 2-day ticket for the Bus Turistico (20 Euros for 2 days, 16 Euros for 1 day) and rode the blue, red and green lines of the bus, covering all the major sights. We also took the Tram Azul and the Funicular to the top of Mount Tibidabo. A great city. Tremendous nightlife, although we are not club goers, the activity and hustle and bustle until late in the night are great. La Rambla is just full of people and people of all ages are walking in the Barrio Gotico and as a tourist you feel completely safe. Lots of entertainment, we even saw a live concert in front of the old cathedral (La Seu) where people were dancing the Sardana, a traditional Catalan dance. Now we have just arived in Tarragona and do a little walking around this old Roman town before we head further south on the coast. Next report to follow... We are learning Spanish easier than we imagine.

Freitag, 31. Oktober 2008

London - The City Adventure

I just wanted to share one of my travel experiences I made in spring this year. I went to London the first time and can only say it's one of the most amazing cities in the world!

I found myself with some free time so I decided to fulfill a lifelong dream of visiting jolly old England. Knowing that I wouldn’t have enough time to do the entire country justice, I figured that for my first trip across the pond, a jaunt to London would be a great way to introduce me to the wonders of this merry country.

We’ve all seen London in television and movies with its double decker buses, crowded streets, stunning palaces and of course the tube. I was ready to start my adventure.

From my research, I determined that six or seven nights would be a tantalizing introduction. I was dead set on seeing Buckingham Palace; experiencing some nightlife and of course…eating fish and chips!

Although London is a great place to go anytime of year, I chose the spring and thankfully, I had terrific weather (with very little rain!!). Your absolute best bet for great weather is in July and August. But, hey, in England there is no guarantee of sun!

So after arrival I checked into the most quaint boutique hotel (by quaint I mean the room was tiny!!) They had the most helpful front desk staff that helped me plan my London itinerary.

I figured I’d spend much of my time exploring the city by foot. There are some breathtaking buildings and I was blown away by the history of the city. I was also struck by the dichotomy of the city. You will see chauffeurs and beggars standing on the same corner and proper ladies in stuffy hats sharing the sidewalk with punk rockers. I’m quite sure there is no place like it in the world!

Oh yeah, if you go, make sure you partake in afternoon tea! I found it was a great way to relax after being on my feet for much of the day.

On my third day, I continued my adventure by viewing the changing of the guards. What a spectacle of pomp and circumstance! Check out for dates and times.

After visiting Buckingham Palace, there are so many great sights to see. You can check out Big Ben, Parliament Houses, The Thames, and Trafalgar Square. If all that tradition is getting to be a bit much…stop for a beverage at the Hard Rock Café!

The rest of my vacation included visiting Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral and the National Gallery. The National Gallery is a must for any person who appreciates art – even a little! It houses one of the greatest collections of European paintings in the world. And…entrance is free!

The number of parks I encountered during my many walks pleasantly surprised me. The friendly clerk at the hotel told me that London has more parkland than most other capitals!

My trip to London would not have been complete without a trip on the tube. And true to form…it broke down! I must admit that I panicked for just a moment, but regulars on the train told me those train breakdowns are a common occurrence. In fact, they are so common because the tube is the most unreliable system…in the world! Breakdowns occur on average – every sixteen minutes!

Oh, I almost forgot the fish and chips! I actually went out twice to establishments recommended by locals. Duke of Cambridge has a Victorian pub ambiance with an extensive menu. I sat on the terrace and enjoyed a huge plate of traditional fish and chips! Great pub to visit with friends!

The Fish Shop on John Street is more upscale than your typical fish shop, but after a day of scouring London – you deserve a great meal in a nice place!

My trip to lovely London was unbelievable. From the regal sites, great galleries and rich history – I’m hooked. Research for my next trip is already underway and I hope to get a chance to experience even more of the city and experience the breathtaking countryside! You should too!

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