General Travel News
Breakfast with horses at Meydan Dubai
Start your morning with a five-star buffet breakfast at the Meydan Racecourse restaurant, Farriers. Follow this with a trip to the stables that house the stars of the world's most expensive horse race - the Dubai World Cup. Get to see how these stars are pampered - they even have a swimming pool for themselves.
You also get to visit the Meydan Grandstand and see the jockeys' lounge and parade ring. Breakfast starts at 7:30am and the stable tour starts at 8:30am and continues until 12 noon. Cost: AED 250 per person. Children between 4-12 AED 150. For bookings call +9714-381-3405.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 September 2014 11:54
A different kind of tourist spot - Trivia in Boston
Even before you have done the Freedom Trail, thrown a chest of tea into the sea and made the obligatory visit to see John Harvard’s statue, you feel intimidated in Boston. All you see around you are students. The greater Boston area is home to 85 colleges and universities – nerd town USA.
No wonder, one of the things Bostonians do for pleasure is to test their knowledge of random facts. Max Clark, Manger of the Trident Booksellers and Café in tony Newbury Street says that his weekly Trivia contest is no measure of one’s intellectual skills. People come to have a fun time.
Every Friday at 8:30pm all the guests in the second floor dining area are handed a slip of paper announcing the start of the Trivia contest. Five rounds of 5 questions are asked. The questions are diverse. Where do Gruyere and Fontina cheese come from? What is a mugwump? What is the title of the Godzilla movie in German? Which fish does caviar come from? … You get the drift. An eclectic set of trivia. The answers are tallied. Team, “Garbage,” is this week’s winner.
We ask for the check. We had ordered hummus and nachos. The menu includes fish and chips - sufficient options for those who are particular about avoiding non-Halal meat. We walk out into the cool September evening and head to the Hynes T-stop just a couple of minutes away.
Bookstores may some day become obsolete. Nooks and kindles and iPads may rule the world. Massively Multiplayer Online Games may be gaining traction but the live entertainment and inconsequential banter that are part of the Trident Booksellers and Café’s weekly Trivia contest will certainly continue to draw people to the store. Max can go home happy. Everyone had a good time. But he knows his work has just begun. He has to put together another set of 25 questions for next Friday.
Trident Booksellers & Cafe
338 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02115
Last Updated on Monday, 15 September 2014 11:11
Islamic influence in Spanish architecture
While the Andalucian south of Spain is famous for its Islamic architecture - particularly the Alhambra in Granada - the impact of Islamic architecture can also be seen in other parts of Spain. The Monastery of San Miguel in the northern Leon province of Spain is an example of what is called Mozarabic art.
The church was built by Cordobic monks in 913. Influenced by the Cordoba Caliphate, the Visigoths who lived under Muslim governance of southern Spain brought to the north a culture and art form that included the Arabic "mehrab" or arch design typical of Islamic mosques. The San Miguel Monastery is one example of such Mozarabic art. Leon is located about 250 miles from Madrid.
Last Updated on Monday, 15 September 2014 07:05
Legoland Florida opening in 2015
Legoland Florida Resort has opened the reservation line for overnight stays at its new Legoland Hotel, set to open next year.
LEGO has recently experienced a major renaissance thanks to the major silver screen hit “The Lego Movie” released earlier this year.
The five-storey Lego-themed hotel is currently being built at the main entrance of the theme park, 45 minutes from Orlando, and will include a pool, restaurants, interactive play areas and nightly entertainment.
Pirate, Kingdom or Adventure-themed rooms can now be booked for mid-June, and come with a queen-size bed for grown-ups, and a separate sleeping area for up to three kids. The hotel features 152 rooms and suites.
Legoland Florida Resort includes 50 rides, shows and attractions, in addition to a Water Park.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 September 2014 14:21
Top 5 first class amenity kits
We've examined the on-board AMENITY KITS handed out to first and business class passengers flying 27 airlines around the world and of the airlines examined, five were given a full six-star rating: Qatar Airways, Emirates, Etihad, Japan Airlines and United Airlines.
“For many of us, First Class and Business Class are a mysterious place and we wanted to get a better idea of what life is like in that rarefied space.”
“The kits are glorious examples of life’s ‘finer things’ and a peek into a lifestyle that maybe, on a special occasion, we can achieve as well,” said Oonagh Shiel, Cheapflights editor.
“After examining all these kits, though, we were struck mostly by the attention to detail and the touches of local cultures and craftsmanship that are a reminder of how diverse the world is and how exciting travel can be.”
Passengers flying ETIHAD receive a kit created in collaboration with Emirati enterprise Sougha, which promotes local artisans. Bags feature patterns of an ancient Abu Dhabi weaving craft, Sadou, that evoke Bedouin tents.
JAPAN AIRLINES collaborated with Spanish luxury brand Loewe to create its amenity kit, while Qatar bags are filled with diversions for kids (pictured below) — Spongebob backpacks, coloring books, and a toy — and adults get ultra-luxe products from Dior and Ferragamo.
In addition to Bulgari products, what makes the EMIRATES kit particularly special is its dark brown leather bag, soft and “ever so slightly distressed.”
And while not as fancy as its Middle Eastern rivals, UNITED AIRLINES scored a six-star rating — classified as ‘fly me to the moon’ — for its value.
Aside from the usual suspects — toothbrush, toothpaste, eye mask and earplugs — the kit (pictured above) also includes a shoe horn, hand sanitizer, floss, mints, comb, wiping cloth, pen and Philosophy products.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 September 2014 12:58
Hungary to run luxury trains to Tehran
Railway enthusiasts with a taste for nostalgia will soon be able to indulge their Orient Express fantasies after Hungarian Railways said it was launching a luxury Budapest-Tehran train service.
With ticket prices of between 10,000 and 23,000 euros, guests will receive “five-star” treatment.
“Iran has been opening up towards the west recently, so we thought the time was right to set this up,” Marcella Beke, sales director of the “Nostalgia” branch of the Hungarian state-owned rail operator told AFP Monday.
The first “Golden Eagle-Danube Express” train, which comprises 13 lavishly-decorated wood-panelled 1950s carriages and berths for about 70 guests, will set off from Budapest on October 15.
The two-week trip will cross Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey, and take passengers through the ancient Iranian cities of Shiraz and Persepolis before reaching the capital Tehran.
All the berths on the maiden journey have already been snapped up, mostly by British and Australian passengers; another 5 trips are scheduled for 2015.
The last Orient Express ran in 2009, with the luxury Venice Simplon-Orient Express continuing to run services between London and Venice.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 September 2014 12:43
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