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London

Why LONDON?

Like every glittering metropolis, however, it can be easy to miss the highlights amid all the noise and haste. Theatre, Art, Fashion, Shopping, Nightlife, Meals you’ll never forget is what London has to offer.

This mini-guide is filled with the information you need to get in and out of London while impressing the clients and co-workers and still having time to eat royally, take jealousy-inducing pictures and pick up the kinds of souvenirs the folks back home will actually keep.

1. Fastest airport transport

London has several international airports and all are serviced by public transportation into central London in around an hour and a half. But why struggle on and off trains with luggage if you don’t have to?

By far the most comfortable way to get from the airport into the city is by using a car service.

2. Great rooms, great views

London has plenty of high-end accommodations, from heritage hotels to glossy futuristic skyscrapers. For Old World style, Claridge’s is a top choice. Its opulent art deco interiors have played host to stars like Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant. Some Deluxe King rooms have views of Brook Street, a Mayfair parade lined with fine restaurants and lavish boutiques.

3. Best meals

London is teeming with competitive foodies and the best restaurants are often filled weeks in advance — it’s wise to book ahead.

4. Unique clothes

All the big international brands are represented in London and there are plenty of high-end department stores, but the best-kept secret is the city’s boutiques, which show off the wealth of homegrown fashion.

5. Best Selfie spots

As London was named “selfie capital of the world”earlier this year, it’d be wrong to leave without getting a few. The obvious places remain the best. For the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, you’ll get the best shot by walking halfway across Westminster Bridge, which crosses the Thames. For a stunning picture of yourself next to St. Paul’s Cathedral, go to the Millennium Bridge, which runs between the cathedral and the Tate Modern art gallery.

6. Neighborhoods in a nutshell

One of the joys of London is its neighborhoods. Locals talk about each area as a “village” with its own identity and feel. Here’s a brief selection that you won’t regret taking time out of your day to explore.

 

 

Courtesy : CNN Travel

Read more on : http://edition.cnn.com/2014/10/15/travel/london-mini-guide/index.html?hpt=travel_hp_blogroll

BeachIsCalling

The Beach is Calling !!!

We’re all familiar with the undesirable qualities of City Life so thank the gods of urban planning for the occasional sandy edge. Below are few cities where one can strip of into shorts or a bikini and enjoy  a day with their toes in the sand.

1. Miami Beach – Miami, Florida

More than 14kms of the east coast of the barrier island that holds the Florida city is taken up by palm-backed white sand and this beach plays an important role in civic life. With a reputation of hedonism and truly said and heard that its nightclubs – especially in the South Beach area – are magnets for the rich, famous and beautiful. The neighborhood of the South Beach rewards exploration with major arts events such as the annual Art Basel Miami Beach .

2. Clifton Beaches – Cape Town, South Africa

Despite the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean, practically year round, beaches of Clifton remain a magnet for the visitors due to their spectacular natural beauty and unbeatable African sunsets. The beaches are divided into four small but interlinked coves by massive boulders, they cater to different demographics. First for the local moneyed set, second for the sizable gay contingent, third being family oriented and fourth being the liveliest among all as this is where the Cape Town’s hip set come to top up their tans.

3. Bondi Beach – Sydney

Though most of Australia’s beaches lie in close proximity of cities, but sydneysiders are justifiably bullish about the one’s on their doorstep. Coogee, Manly and gorgeous and often practically deserted northern beaches such as Palm Beach all have their advocates but for an iconic all-rounder you can’t miss with Bondi. Bondi happens to be one of the World’s most famous strips of sand, lying in the heart of the city, it ensures its popularity with tourists and locals alike.

4. Waikiki Beach – Honolulu

Hula girls and twangy guitars may mostly be confined to Honolulu’s hotel lobbies these days, but Waikiki Beach retains a widescreen aura fostered in countless movies. This city happens to be as one of the top holiday destinations in the United States, but the turquoise waters and views of the Diamond head crater make up for the surfeit of concrete and garish short-sleeve shirts.

5.  Barceloneta Beach – Barcelona, Spain

Not the most beautiful but yes the hardest to beat when it comes to atmosphere. Lying in the heart of the city and lined with Palm trees and backed with buzzing bars and cafes, it is a 60m long abstract golden fish. Not to mention the superb seafood tapas creates a value of its own.

6. Brighton Beach – UK

Brighton has earned its reputation as “London on Sea”.  The towns fusion of hip urban energy and fresh sea air acts as a tonic to travelers and commuter ills. Marked with low tides, this beach is a far cry from the paradise clinches but it resonates charm and pulses with energy.

7. Ipanema Beach – Rio De Janeiro

This 1,600m long and 90m deep stretch of white sand is famous for the “tall and tanned and young and lovely” females that throng the beach. Majestic granite peaks create a spectacular backdrop while the Cagarras Islands in the distance offer a counterpart to the brilliant blue of the Atlantic. This is where dental-floss bikini and the crocheted G-string for men made the debut.

 

 

Courtesy : CNN Travel

Read more on : http://edition.cnn.com/2014/07/31/travel/best-city-beaches/index.html?iid=article_sidebar

Berlin

Berlin 25 years later

Throughout its tumultuous history, Berlin has seen strife and triumph unfold in its streets, from weathering the dark days of the Cold War to emerging as a unified city in 1989.

One of the most famous sites is the Brandenburg Gate is beautifully curbed and marveled followed by Templeholf airport which once used to be the busiest now serves as a recreation ground for Berliners to host Kite festival. People of Berlin has a playful spirit as the people have an interest in new things and the resources here just seem to be unlimited, a lot of skills and enthusiasm and an eagerness to get involved in things for all sort of creative endeavors. Talking of creativity Street Art, no city comes close to Berlin’s exquisite array of talent and sets an example of reunification of the people of Berlin.

Urban innovation in Berlin have been considerate as the old buildings find new life with glass roofs and atrium’s and an unmatched riverside beach atmosphere. The Halloween season attracts a lot of tourists and students all around the globe. An unbeatable event takes place in Berlin every Sunday during Spring and Summer where thousands of people gather to sing Karaoke late into the night. The subcultures of Berlin can be felt during the Mauerpark flea market where different groups perform around the field.

Pergamonmuseum, the museum of Berlin houses a large collection of classical and near-east antiquities. And not to forget their also lies a hidden lake very close to the Berlin Zoo. City of Berlin is marked by a Bear known as Berlin Bear and this bear stands on the Moabit Bridge, the fighting lion structure though reminds of the city’s difficult past and depicts the strength of unification.

Berlin is politics, history, culture; its fast, quiet, a playground, colourful, grey, romantic and many more things undescribed.

 

 

Courtesy : CNN Travel

Read more on : http://edition.cnn.com/2014/11/03/travel/berlin-wall-25-things-irpt/index.html?iref=allsearch

 

 

Brussel

Five of my favourite must Do’s in Brussels

When I landed in Brussels a couple of days ago, the resident manager of the Citadines Toison D Or told me, ” Brussels is a city where you must relax. ” And I completely agreed.

Antique market at Sablon

Every weekend, there is an antique market that opens up at Sablon..and guess what, it is just ten minutes from the residence where I am staying. I was there all of this morning,roaming around the stalls and talking to the dealers. There were paintings, tiles, books, records, porcelain wares, jewellery.

Comic strip museum

There are several museums here – history, arts, culture, music, chocolates, beer..but my favourite remains the Comic art museum. I had written an entire post here on how comic arts are a part of Brussels. Walls of streets and hotels have comic art strips on them.

Have some beer with puppets

Once you are done admiring the Grand Place, take a tour into the lanes and you will discover the Royal Theatre Toone. There is an ancient marionatte theatre, here with wooden benches and a small gallery which also serves as a pub and cafe.

Get your hands groovy with chocolate

There is an aroma of chocolate the moment you enter the streets of Brussels. Every street is filled with chocolatiers..some still make hand made chocolates while others, the big retailers get them made in a factory outside the tour.

Try the local beers

Belgium I hear is home to hundreds of beer and if you have not tasted the local beer then you have not had the taste of Belgium at all. You can visit the traditional bars here or go on an organised brewery tour which will take you outside the city as well or like me, just sit and do some beer tasting.