General Travel News
The Mosque opens in Venice La Biennale
From 9 May to 22 November 2015 you will find a mosque in Venice. This is the first time that the 20,000 Muslims who live in the city will have a proper mosque to pray in. But this is not an ordinary mosque. It is a unique cultural exhibit. The mosque is located inside an old cathedral which was abandoned 40 years ago.
As part of the 2015 La Biennale Art exhibition in Venice, the Iceland Pavilion commissioned "The Mosque" - a work by artist Christoph Büchel, working in collaboration with the Muslim Communities of Venice and Iceland. Like Venice, Iceland has a small migrant community of Muslims who have been trying to build a mosque in Iceland but have only now received permission to build one. Unfortunately, in Venice the Muslims have not been given any permission to build a mosque.
The Mosque by Christoph Buchel "draws attention to the political institutionalization of segregation and prejudice, and to settlement policies that lie at the heart of global ethnic and religious conflicts today." Controversy has erupted after the inauguration of the exhibition and it is feared that Muslims will be prevented from praying there.
If you are planning to visit Venice this summer make an effort to visit this mosque which is located in the historic church of Santa Maria della Misericordia in the Cannaregio sestiere.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 May 2015 12:48
Halal restaurant in Boston
If you are craving good chicken tikkas and kebabs, you will ignore the ambience. Man o Salwa in Boston is not really a restaurant you eat in. It is a takeout place that has a couple of tables. But the food is delicious. If you are in Boston you should experience their culinary delights.
Mr and Mrs Irfan Qureshi and family run this Pakistani convenience store cum restaurant. The name outside says S&S Market. It is not lit up and you may think it is closed. But step inside and ignore the shelves of spices and rice and tea and just make your way to the counter where the Qureshi family is busy handling their "guests" - you do not feel like a customer there, you become part of the family.
You go through the menu and ask what is available. Not every thing is available every day. What you can definitely get are barbecued boneless chicken pieces (chicken tikka) and skewers of chicken kebabs. These are freshly made every day. And they are delicious. And spicy. If you are squeamish about spicy food then do not go. This food will make your taste buds bloom.
If you go on a weekend be preapred to wait for over 30 minutes to get your food. Avoid eating at the place. Take it home to your hotel or wherever you are staying and enjoy.
Man o Salwas
66 Summer St Somerville, MA 02143
Monday, Wednesday & Thursday : 11am - 10pm
Friday & Saturday : 11 am - 11pm
Sunday : 11am - 10pm
Last Updated on Sunday, 17 May 2015 18:31
Chicago's Water Tower Place attracting tourists
Chicago's premier shopping, dining and entertainment destination, Water Tower Place, has become one of the foremost tourist attractions in the city. Located in Chicago’s famous Magnificent Mile, the center features a stunning eight-level atrium and includes American Girl Place, Macy's and more than 100 stores and unique dining options — many of which are exclusive to downtown Chicago.
Water Tower Place has several best-in-class and first-to-Chicago retailers such as Hollister Co., bareMinerals, Eileen Fisher, The LEGO Store, A|X Armani Exchange, Henri Bendel, Swarovski, PINK, and Lacoste. New store openings in 2014 include Bath & Body Works, Build-A-Bear, Johnston and Murphy and The Art of Dr. Seuss.
All visitors to Water Tower Place are eligible to receive a Premier Passport filled with hundreds of dollars in shopping and dining saving, special offers and amenities from participating retailers and restaurants. To download the Premier Passport click here.
Last Updated on Thursday, 14 May 2015 00:57
Schengen visa waiver for Emiratis signed
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the European Union (EU) have signed a reciprocal bilateral short-stay visa waiver agreement exempting the UAE citizens from Schengen visa and making the UAE the first Arab country to receive such a visa waiver for its nationals.
From May 7, UAE citizens who hold diplomatic, special, service and ordinary passports will be able to travel without a visa to EU countries which make up the Schengen area for stays of up to 90 days (within any 180-day period of one year).
The UAE Ambassador to the EU, Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg and Belgium, Sulaiman Hamid Al Mazroui, and the Permanent Representative of Latvia to the EU, Ilze Juhansone, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the EU, signed the reciprocal bilateral short-stay visa waiver agreement in Brussels.
In a speech delivered after the signing, Ambassador Sulaiman Hamid Al Mazroui said waiving off the Schengen visa will provide the privilege to the UAE citizens to travel to 34 states and principalities in Europe.
He indicated that the waiver will include travelling with any of the UAE valid passports without having to undertake any online procedures or file any applications. The Schengen visa allows the UAE citizen multiple entries and a stay up to 90 days within a period of 6 months or 180 days in the Schengen zone.
"This achievement puts the icing on the cake and complements the already strong and growing bonds between the UAE and the European Union. It will no doubt improve many fields such as trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchanges. It also recognizes the leading role of the UAE in all aspects in the region. Today, I would like to extend a warm congratulation to the leadership of the UAE and its people who aspire to always enjoy the best.”
Last Updated on Friday, 08 May 2015 08:23
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi reveals new record breaking roller coaster
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi revealed one of its upcoming attractions at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM). The new roller coaster is set to break new world records, and is considered a major addition to the theme park’s offering as part of the undergoing large-scale expansion.
Already boasting the world’s fastest roller coaster, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is planning to become home to the world’s steepest steel rollercoaster featuring a starting hill inclined by 51 degrees and the world’s tallest loop of 52m (170ft). Named “Flying Aces”, the new roller coaster experience is inspired by Italy’s ‘ace of aces’ Count Francesco Baracca, a famous Italian aviator of the 1900’s whose legendary Prancing Horse emblem was inherited by Enzo Ferrari. The bi-plane themed coaster is expected to attract thrill seekers from around the world to its gravity-defying loops and swoops.
“We are proud of what Ferrari World Abu Dhabi has achieved over the past five years, and thrilled with the great feedback we’ve been receiving from our guests on all the new experiences introduced at the Park in the past few months,” said Jesse Vargas, Ferrari World general manager.
The park has recently introduced the Ferrari Driving Experience which allows visitors to drive the luxury car around Yas Island.
Last year it was announced that seven new rides would be added to the park over three years following the opening of Yas Mall.
Last Updated on Friday, 08 May 2015 08:18
Irhal Travelers’ Choice – Amman and the United States most popular
Where do a million Arabs want to go this summer? There was no cajoling. No persuasion. No incentives. We gave them the option to choose. They clicked. And now we have the score. Pure. Unbiased numbers.
But first something about our users. 1,050,464 unique users visited Irhal.com in 2014. More than 80% of them are Arabs. 36% are from Saudi Arabia. 64% of them live in the GCC-Levant. 18% of the visitors are not from the MENA region. All are looking for travel inspiration.
So, where do these people want to go this summer? Short haul destinations and cities that are a few hours’ drive away are the most popular. Amman, Jordan, is the No.1 destination on Irhal. Bahrain, Beirut, Dubai and Doha make the top 5. Istanbul comes in at No.6 while Paris is No.7. Los Angeles, Amsterdam and Athens ring in the top 10.
The ranking of countries is slightly different. The United States comes in as the No.1 destination where Arabs wish to go in 2015. Jordan, Bahrain, the UAE and Beirut make up the top 5. Surprisingly, Iran is No.6 followed by Spain, Germany and Saudi Arabia. France comes in at No.10.
Egypt is conspicuous by its absence from the list of top 25 destinations. With improvements in the political situation this could change by the end of the year. Malaysia and Indonesia seem to have lost their popularity while South Korea is in the top 20.
These results reflect the travel aspirations of 1 million Arabs. Will they actually go to these countries on a holiday? Perhaps. Can they be influenced? Yes.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 May 2015 03:18
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