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European Travel

July 02, 2012

2012 London Olympics Preview: Eight Great British Trip Ideas


Village-cricket-game
HOWZAT?!: Game of village cricket in England (iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

Choreographed by Oscar-winning British director Danny Boyle (of Slumdog Millionaire and Trainspotting fame), the opening ceremony for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London promises to be a full-on tribute to Britain's green and pleasant land—complete with live cattle, a village cricket game, and farmers plowing their fields. However, don't let the silver-screen impresario leave you thinking your work is done once the pageantry fades on Friday, July 27. Here's our guide to getting out and actually exploring this green and pleasant isle before, during, or after the 2012 Summer Olympics.

1. Watch a Real Village Cricket Game
Rain be dammed, sipping a hand-pulled ale while watching a game of cricket unfurl on some bucolic village green is one of England's summer rites of passage. Finding a game may require some legwork on your part, but they can be watched on parks and commons throughout the metro London region, mostly at weekends. Shoreham Cricket Club is one such local club, tucked amidst the picturesque fairways of Kent's Darenth Valley golf course.
Travel: Victoria or London Bridge to Shoreham
Duration: Day trip

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Related Topics: European Travel · Holidays, Events, & Festivals · Trip Ideas

March 12, 2012

The Unofficial London 2012 Summer Olympics Guide to the East End


Museum-of-London-Docklands-London-2012-guide
Museum of the Docklands near Canary Wharf (courtesy, Museum of London)

Walking down from Canary Wharf through the Isle of Dogs on a crisp winter afternoon last month, it was hard to imagine that this part of London will, in mere months, become the center of the sporting and cultural galaxy with the arrival of the 2012 Summer Olympics. Yes, construction cranes dot the skyline, workers scurry to complete renovations to the Cutty Sark exhibit over in Greenwich, and vendors are starting to hawk overpriced London 2012 Olympics regalia. But the overall impression I got was of a city that's still busy with other affairs. In fact, a palpable British restraint hangs over getting too excited about the event until it actually starts; for now, there's moaning to be done about cost overruns, the ability of the Tube to handle all those visitors, and the fact that Brits just don't do extravaganzas.

Let's face it, though, London is used to tourists. Millions upon millions each year. But those same tourists aren't quite so familiar with the side of London where the Olympic events will take place. The London Olympic Stadium is located in the east London borough of Newham, which is a world away from the tony Kensington or Notting Hill neighborhoods with which so many North Americans tourists are familiar. The East End has historically been the poorer, working-class side of this sprawling capital city, a place that was blackened by factory soot in the Victorian era and leveled by German bombers during World War II.

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Related Topics: European Travel · Holidays, Events, & Festivals

September 02, 2011

Europe on Sale! Shoulder-Season Deals for Travel Throughout the Continent


London-Borough-Market 
London's Borough Market (Justin Lightley/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty)

Forget the blazing bonfire that seems to be the European banking system. Europe has started its annual fire sale for fall travel, and North American travelers are set to be the major beneficiaries. As the season shifts from summer to fall, savvy travelers are primed to save on shoulder-season airfare through most of the major transatlantic carriers, not to mention discover lower prices (and slimmer crowds) at local hotels and eateries throughout the continent. Here are some ideas for a last-minute hop across the pond.

Go North Before the Lights Go Out
Scandinavian Airlines has extended its fall sale booking window till September 5, with reduced fares to northern European gateways including Copenhagen, Helsinki, Oslo, Stockholm, and Gothenburg. Enjoy a region that's filled with fall colors, dramatic outdoor landscapes, and seasonal highlights like West Sweden's annual lobster harvest. Iceland is another accessible spot with decent shoulder-season deals through national carrier Icelandair. This rugged glacial splodge in the North Atlantic boasts volcanic landscapes, huge waterfalls, thermal springs, and an edgy vodka-fuelled nightlife. (This year also marks a peak in a decade-long solar-flare cycle that means Iceland's aurora borealis will burn even more brightly this fall and winter.)

Read Away.com's European Travel Guides

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April 05, 2011

Top Five Attractions Along the Royal Wedding Procession Route


Crown of westminster abbey(adKinn,flickr)
The ornate crown of the Westminster Abbey, London, England (adKinn\Flickr)

If you have been watching the news, and even if it is not celebrity news, you know that there is a really big wedding coming up. It is most certainly the wedding of the year, if not the wedding of the decade. There are doom-day countdowns, guest-list speculation, bets on the dress designer, and newly minted commemorative coins. Of course, I am talking about the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton that is to take place April 29, 2011.

Planning a visit to London in hopes of spotting Miss Middleton? Many residents and property owners are renting out their windows, decks, roofs, porches, and balconies to people willing to pay the price for a prime viewing spot. But a glimpse at the happy couple will not come cheap. We suggest skipping the Abbey and moving on down the road a bit, throwing some elbows along the route of the royal procession where the motorcade will pass post-ceremony. After the crowds clear, here are the top five attractions the Royal Procession will pass.

Buckingham Palace
The procession will begin and ultimately end at Buckingham Palace, which has been the home of Britain's royal family since 1837. It is one of the last working royal palaces in the world. Containing 775 rooms and covering 828,818 square feet (including the central quadrangle), the palace is open to visitors only a few weeks each year.
Buckingham Palace Travel Guide

Clarence House
The Clarence House is the official residence of the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry, and currently Prince William. From 1953 to 2002 it was also the home of Queen Elizabeth. The Clarence House is open to the public between August and October each year.

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Related Topics: European Travel · Holidays, Events, & Festivals

March 17, 2011

Honoring St. Patrick's Day


Guinness

You can have your green beer and your Irish pubs today, America.  Gulping cheap brew polluted with food coloring while accessorized with plastic four-leaf clovers has always felt like the perfect example of the way us U.S. citizens “celebrate another’s culture”: by getting shamelessly wasted before noon at a much-hyped Irish brunch in the nearest mall-theme restaurant to the tune of the latest U2 song (which, for the record, sounds about as Irish as Justin Bieber). Go head…swaddle yourself in various shades of green, head to toe, underwear to overcoat, and let the Irish car bombs splash all over you.  But know that this does not make you Irish. Really—it doesn’t even make you seem as if you even like the Irish.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m the worst kind of Irish-American. I have just enough of Irish blood to have some red hair in my beard.  My deep affection for all kinds of Irish whiskey qualifies me as a functioning alcoholic. And I’m one of those guys who screams along in an off-tune warble whenever The Pogues grace a jukebox (and yes, I also close my eyes and mouth the words during some of their slower numbers—but only to Macgowan-era tunes, thank you very much).  I love a well-poured pint, and I love my Irish pubs (D.C.’s Irish Times and Nanny O’Briens, in particular), and I’m the bastard that reminds you that Guinness tastes better in Ireland than anywhere else—because it does.

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Related Topics: Culinary Travel · European Travel · Food and Drink · Travel Rants

March 07, 2011

Your Travel Primer for the 2012 London Olympic Games


London-olympics-2012
February was a busy month for the planners of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, with the release of the final competition schedule and a flurry of press images showing construction progress on the Olympic Stadium, athletes' village, and other venues around the 500-acre Olympic Park in east London. March promises to be no less action-packed, with tickets to the 300-plus Summer Olympics' events (across 26 sports) being released worldwide on March 15 (distribution will be made via lottery). Residents of the United Kingdom and designated European countries can apply for tickets at the official London 2012 website. Residents from all other countries should apply for tickets through their local National Olympic Committee, National Paralympic Committee, or an authorized ticket reseller. U.S. and Canadian residents can apply for tickets from CoSport, the group appointed by the London Organising Committee to distribute tickets in Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Norway, Sweden, and the United States.

Away.com's London Travel Guide

Continue reading "Your Travel Primer for the 2012 London Olympic Games" »

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Related Topics: European Travel · Places to Stay · Travel News · Travel Tips

February 07, 2011

From Pizza to Pasta: Get Cooking in Rome


Pizza
(Kendra Bailey Morris)

It goes without saying that Italy is all about the food. Whether you're downing a big bowl of wild mushroom risotto with a glass of Sanviogese or diving into a pile of fried zeppoles drizzled in chocolate sauce, you can bet your bolognese you're going to eat really, really well in Italy, especially in the Lazio region, including the city of Rome.

Roman cooking, like much of Italy's cuisine in general, is based on simple preparation procedures using the freshest of local ingredients. Spaghetti is tossed with bacon, eggs, and parmesan to make a classic carbonara while bucatini is simply accented with salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and pecorino for "cacio e pepe" (a very simple cheese-and-pepper spaghetti dish). Fresh vegetables, such as eggplant and zucchini are rolled in seasoned breadcrumbs and fried for frittis, and of course, wood-fired pizzas are topped with everything, from hand-pulled buffalo mozzarella to earthy porcini mushrooms.

Continue reading "From Pizza to Pasta: Get Cooking in Rome" »

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Related Topics: Culinary Travel · European Travel · Food and Drink · Travel Tips · Trip Ideas

January 05, 2011

Run a Marathon Spanning Two Continents


Bridge
THE JOURNEY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE DESTINATION: Racers cross the Bosporus Bridge, Istanbul (Istanbul Eurasia Marathon)

With a new year comes a new resolution, and for many people it's the promise to get back in shape—whether by joining a gym, a running group, or signing up for that marathon you've always wanted to do. If you're one of the latter there's a marathon you may never have heard of. And one that not only will let you cross those dreaded 26.2 miles (42 km) off your to-do list, but also provide you with a stunning cultural experience. Istanbul, Turkey, is often referred to as the bridge between Europe and Asia, and every year this picturesque city hosts the internationally known Istanbul Eurasia Marathon.

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Related Topics: Asia Travel · European Travel · Holidays, Events, & Festivals · Trip Ideas

December 07, 2010

Move Over Italy, I Have a New Love—Norway's Lofoten Islands



By Guest Blogger
12/07/2010

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Reine, Lofoten, Norway(Keenpress,Nat Geo,Getty)
Lofoten, Norway (Keenpress)

I am a lover of places. Ever since I started to ride my bike long distances I felt myself drawn to certain views, towns, and the overall spirit of a place. It happened in the Monadnock Region where I grew up, the Finger Lakes area where I went to school, Ireland where my father's roots are, and Italy where I traveled and started my 21-year-old company Ciclismo Classico. In Italy I have even refined this love to two particularly beautiful places: Tuscany, where I lived for three years, and the island of Sardinia, where I have cycled all over and savored its beautiful warm sea.

This past summer I added the first non-Italy, non-New England place to my "places I love" list. My family and I traveled to Norway's Lofoten Islands above the Artic Circle, and I fell in love all over again. This incredible group of islands is simply one of the most picturesque places I have ever been. The green, sculpted soaring mountains, tiny fishing hamlets, abundant museums, winding roads, serenading sea birds, 24-hour light, and an ever-changing coastline has rooted itself in my heart forever.

I felt completely energized by the sun that never slept. It was an environment that fit my non-stop curiosity and love of the outdoors. I never felt rushed to get anywhere or do anything, since we literally had all day and night to experience the endless sights and sounds.

Continue reading "Move Over Italy, I Have a New Love—Norway's Lofoten Islands" »

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Related Topics: European Travel

November 24, 2010

Video Spotlight: Visit Scotland with Danny MacAskill


Mesmerizing. Check out this video of Scottish mountain biker Danny MacAskill riding his way from Edinburgh to his hometown on the Isle of Skye. Quite apart from the amazing stunts, enjoy some beautiful scenes from around Scotland.

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Related Topics: European Travel · Travel Videos
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