The Top 5 Cultural Sites in Amsterdam

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Traveling takes a lot of  research and planning – places of interest, restaurant, hotels and accommodation. I’m in the midst of planning a weekend in Amsterdam next month, and I’ve managed to wrangle up the top 5 cultural sites in Amsterdam that would be perfect to check out with friends and family.

1. The Rijksmuseum

The Rijkmuseum, the Netherland’s national museum,  is perhaps one of Amsterdam’s most iconic sites. The museum dates back over 200 years. It has been moved and renovated throughout the two centuries, but it has never lost its integrity and popularity in the museum world. The museum displays over 8,000 objects of art and history and owns a total collection of approximately 1 million items. The museum tells the story of Dutch heritage by showcasing paintings, drawings, sculptures and antiques. Some of these masterpieces include Rembrandt’s “Night Watch” and other famous pieces by Vermeer, van Dyck and Jan Steen.

Photo Credit: john.d.long@Flickr.
Photo Credit: john.d.long@Flickr.

2. The Royal Concertgebouw

The Royal Concertgebouw is the most prestigious music hall in the Netherlands, known for its outstanding acoustics. The Concertgebouw hosts  music concerts throughout the year ranging from classical music, to pop events, to jazz ensembles. The hall attracts over 800,000 spectators per year, making it the second most popular music hall in the world. It is also home to the much admired Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra which was declared as the official Royal Orchestra in the 1980’s. The orchestra performs 120 times a year, so check out their concert schedule during your visit.

Photo Credit: FaceMePLS@Flickr.
Photo Credit: FaceMePLS@Flickr.

3. The Anne Frank House

The Anne Frank House is the historic home that the young Jewish diarist hid from the Nazis  in during World War II. Anne did not survive  the war, but her diary did. Her story has attracted over 1 million visitors to see where the young girl lived during those years. The original copy of her diary is on display, and you will have the opportunity to walk throughout the home and see the rooms in which the two families hid for two years. The experience will be touching and  an unforgettable visit.

Photo Credit: Terrazz@Flickr.
Photo Credit: Terrazz@Flickr.

4. The Van Gogh Museum

This modern museum displays 200 painting and 550 sketches of the Dutch painter Van Gogh, featuring his work throughout his entire career. The museum holds the largest Van Gogh collection in the world, including his personal letters. Works from his contemporaries such as Claude Monet and Émile Bernard are exhibited as well, showcasing artwork through the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist eras.

Photo Credit: rinuseverseal@Flickr.
Photo Credit: rinuseverseal@Flickr.

5. The Jordaan

The Jordaan is a quaint and popular district of Amsterdam surrounded by canals. Originally established for the poor, it has evolved into a cultural haven for artists, business professionals, students and tourists. This Amsterdam district offers not only a charming environment, but also breathtaking churches like the Western Tower and church and the Northern Church,fascinating museums such as the Houseboat Museum and the Pianola Museum, local shops, charming cafes and restaurants.  This is a perfect area to take a relaxing stroll.

Photo Credit: stevecamden@Flickr.
Photo Credit: stevecamden@Flickr.

 

 

Dana Wolthuizen is studying English and non-profit business at Central College with a passion for travel writing.

An Unexpected Wonder: The Camden Markets

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As an American student from Iowa studying abroad in London, the city life is alluring to me, and I find myself trying to explore a new area of this sprawling city each day. On a Monday morning, a friend and I decided to wander down to the Camden Market. Little did we know at the time, it is more appropriately referred to as the Camden Markets because it is a collection of several markets with their own personality and vibrancy. Established in the 1970’s, the market area has been growing for almost 45 years. It has evolved into a hub of colorful stalls, shops, food stands and restaurants. It has been one of London’s most popular markets where punks, goths, hippies, artists, fashionistas, students and tourists coexist. All areas of the market are open daily from roughly 10 am to 6 pm, but most restaurants, bars, theaters and clubs keep their lights on until at least 11 pm.

Here’s a crash-course on each area of the Camden Markets:

Main Street:

My friend and I made our way down Camden High Street which eventually continues on into Chalk Farm Road, and we thought that we had begun to conquer the entirety of Camden Market. I chuckle at my ignorance. Honestly, we were already thoroughly impressed by the selection offered in the Main Street area with shops and restaurants spilling onto the sidewalks and street. Clothing racks, shoe boxes and sunglass holders surrounded us, and souvenir stands beckoned us to buy a trinket to bring home to Mum and Dad from our adventure across the pond.  After browsing the main drag, we stumbled upon Inverness Street Market. Let our shopping exploits continue.

Photo Credit: Dana Wolthuizen
Photo Credit: Dana Wolthuizen

Inverness Street Market:

Inverness Street probably has the longest standing history with the Camden Town area as the best spot to buy fresh fruit and vegetables since the beginning of the 1900’s. However, with the development of the other market areas, souvenir, clothing and footwear stalls have joined and taken over the ranks.  Don’t lose hope though. A few quality produce stands remained tucked in along the shops, still supplying faithful locals and wandering visitors such as myself.

Camden Buck Street Market:

The market continued on into Buck Street satisfying our wide-eyed amazement. Buck Street is a maze of narrow alley ways containing over 200 stalls. Some of the vendors offer their self-designed clothing or jewelry, but this area of the market is the best to find your fun and funky apparel like clever slogan t-shirts and pink neon shades.  

Camden Lock Market and Village:

 Ahhhh, what I consider to be the prized area of the Camden Markets. The Camden Lock Market situated near the Railroad Bridge has been labeled the “creative heart” of the market and even London itself. The Lock Market is the original arts and crafts area that offers any sort of art and trade you can image – music, films, books, poetry, home furnishings, painting, carvings and textiles. What makes it even more special is that customers can meet the artist of their new-found treasures. The Lock Market is also said to be home to a “Global Food Kitchen” full of affordable, international food stands. It was in the midst of the stands that my friend and I discovered the Dutch Pancake vendor, which we absolutely gushed over. As a native of a small Dutch town in Iowa, we were ecstatic to find some food that reminded us of home sweet home. I guarantee that almost everyone who visits will happen upon food that gives them the warm fuzzy comfort of home.  

Camden Market Photo
Photo Credit: Dana Wolthuizen

The Lock Village, right next to the Lock Market, has recently received a face-lift in the last several years. It now has an open layout with approximately 500 independent vendors selling novelty items, catering to visitors looking for an uncommon shopping experience. You’re likely to find peddlers like drum specialists and glass engravers here.

Camden Stable Market:

The last leg of our Camden Market tour. The Stable Market gives a bohemian feel full of retro furniture shops, antiques, alternative club wear and vintage clothing. This area may seem like a chaotic jumble, but it all seems to fit snugly together like a puzzle in which all 700 shops have their rightful place. You can find almost anything here.

Some of the vendors are housed in the old catacombs with bronze sculptures around every corner. They serve as an ode to when the area was used as an industrial stable in which horses used to pull barges along the canal. Also, you can’t leave the Stable Market without sampling some of the famous pan-Asian cuisine.

 

Unfortunately, my friend and I only allotted a few hours for ourselves to visit the Camden Markets – a mistake that we certainly won’t make again. I’m already looking at my calendar for an open weekend to return. Luckily, next time I’ll be a bit more prepared for all the market’s wonders, and I hope this little guide to Camden Markets helps you in your adventure as well.

 

Dana Wolthuizen is studying English and non-profit business at Central College with a passion for travel writing.

A Bear Here, a Bear There, a Bear Everywhere: Sitges’ Annual Bear Week

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Sitges, a charming town along the Spanish seaside, is known for its marvelous coastal views, fabulous beaches and its trendy gay scene. However, Sitges’ reputation gets a little spicier during its famous Bear Week. The scenery becomes a bit more hairy, huge and perhaps more cuddly as well.

Each year Sitges hosts their annual Bear Week which attracts over 5,000 visitors, making it one of the largest and most popular Bear Weeks in Europe.  The town is over taken with Bears, their biggest fans and anyone who wants to join in all the cheeky fun. Simply take a stroll outside, Bear Dinner Table Photoand you’re bound to run into a party on the beach or a Bear route featuring all of Sitges’ favorite Bear bars such as XXL, El Horno, Bears Bar and Ruby’s Bear Cave.

Not only will you stumble upon impromptu festivities throughout the week, but there are also planned events each night. The events range from a welcome party at the BSC Disco, to a MAD BEAR night at Bear Village, a formal dress White Night by the sea and catered dinners. The week’s grand finale is the Mr. Bear Sitges competition on the final day of the festival. There is something for everyone, whether you are a party bear, a dancing bear, a classy bear or a bear admirer.

Unfortunately, Bear Week has come and gone for 2014 from September 3rd to September 13th. But have no fear! The Bears will be stampeding Sitges again next year for Bear Week 2015 from September 4th to September 13th. However, accommodation in Sitges during this exciting week is snatched up quickly, so it’s smart to think ahead and book your accommodation months in advance.

Consider using Loving Apartments during all the Bear fun. Loving Apartments offers over a hundred different apartments in Sitges that would provide you with all the bare necessities. No need to grin and bear a boring hotel room when you can enjoy a self-catering apartment with a full kitchen, the option for each guest to have their own room in which to hibernate after a fun night out and comfortable furnishings. Depending upon your choice of  apartments, you may only be minutes away from bars along the Bear route, the famous gay beaches like Balmins Beach or fine local restaurants. If you happen to have a large sleuth of bears traveling to Sitges, use our Big Group Booking Tool which will allow you to specify how many guests you will have accompanying you, how many nights you plan to stay and what sleeping arrangements you would prefer. According to those requests, the tool will  immediately show you what apartments are available and calculate the price.

You are not going to want to miss one of the hippest and hairiest gay scenes in Europe, so let Loving Aparments provide you with the ultimate bear cave for Sitges annual Bear Week in September 2015.

 

London Fashion Weekend

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10421542_10152398164916915_4293083880176179199_n10539123_10152398164971915_5795393482765099123_nLondon Fashion Week (LFW) is a trade event for fashion industry professionals who must register or be invited in order to attend. In the span of five days over 170 UK and international emerging and established, ready-to wear and accessory designers will take part in the Designer Showrooms at LFW. They will showcase their work across 58 catwalk shows and 24 presentations.   Held twice each year, in February and September., from 1984, and organised by the British Fashion Council, it is considered to be one of the “Big Four Fashion weeks, along with New York, Paris, and Milan Fashion Week. Since its inception, Mercedes Benz and hairdresser Toni & Guy have joined as major contributors to LFW, being part of what has become a London cultural phenomenon.  London Fashion Week has truly become a part of British culture, London Mayor Boris Johnson has noted “I am delighted to support British fashion, which continues to be at the forefront of innovation. London is developing a reputation as one of the tech capitals of the world, but it is an already a global leader for fashion.”

The most notable and iconic venue of the week is Somerset House. Somerset House will host buyers that will spend an estimate 40 to 100 million pounds on designer collections. Celebrities such as Rihanna, Kate Moss and Victoria Beckham are frequent fixtures upon the front row that live streams 190 countries worldwide. Over 5,000 members of the press, buyers, fashion editors and celebrities flock to venues around London so see the latest creations by British designers.

Coming immediately after LFW, London Fashion Weekend, uses the same exhibition and catwalk venues. essentially being a designer shopping event, where members of the public can shop from designers of LFWcalibre, from the high profile to the emerging. Tickets prices range between £20 to £130. The Bronze ticket (£21.60) allows access to industry talks and a limited edition designer tote bag. However, if you’d prefer a more immersive experience the ‘Luxe’ ticket (£137.80) includes a welcome reception with canapés, catwalk front row seats, access to private lounges and host of other amenities.

More information can be found here: http://vlfw.seetickets.com/Content/vlfw

On visiting London Fashion Weekend you will be surrounded by attendees dressed in their best designer clothing posing for online bloggers and various members of the press, showcasing their personal street-style.

The British Fashion Council has noted that during the February shows, there were over 300,000 mentions of #LFW on twitter and nearly 100,000 images tagged #LFW on Instagram.

5 things you must bring with you to maintain your fabulosity while at  London Fashion Week:10455058_10152398165066915_1591144198211885102_n

  1. Flats or Sneakers: Be it a Christian Louboutin Spiked Stilettos or Ted Baker Leather Oxford Shoe, both men and women will need to give their ankles a rest. Remember beauty is pain, unless you have converse in your bag.
  2. Travel Sized Perfume: As the day progresses and wander from shoe to shoe, it’s always nice to smell your best. My favorite cologne at the moment is Prada’s Luna Rossa Extreme Eau de Toilette.
  3. Mints: You’ll have many conversations about the stunning collections with fellow fashion admirer. Therefore, fresh and minty breath is essential.
  4. Sunglasses: From the lights on the runways to the beaming flashes of the cameras around you, having frames are beneficial; Ray Bans are always a favourite.
  5. Camera: You can use your cell phone, or a fancy SLR – but you are going to want to photograph your experience

Head to the nearest mainline rail stations at Charing Cross and Waterloo. The nearest London Underground station is Temple, on the District and Circle lines.

Loving Apartments currently offers 26 places close to the LFW venues located in Soho, Holborn, and Bloomsbury. click here for more http://lovingapartments.com/United-Kingdom/London/List

Johnnathan Redmond is an Advertising Undergraduate @ University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a keen interest in Fashion and exploring London Culture.

STAG-gering Weekends

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Stag parties. The last hurrah before the big commitment of saying “I do.” It’s meant to be a party of a lifetime with a night full of pints of Czech beer, dancing, gentlemen clubs and camaraderie. However, stag parties come with a lot of planning, and the details can get a little hectic. Along with the pubs and night clubs, you are also going to want a place to relax after your night out. Luckily, Prague checks all of those stag party necessities off the list.

Photo Credit: theogeo @ Flickr.
Photo Credit: theogeo @ Flickr.

Loving Apartments offers accommodation in the heart of Prague, allowing its guests to be in the middle of the nightlife hub. Many of the apartments are within a short walking distance of some of the top rated night clubs, pubs and breweries throughout the city, including but not limited to popular venues such as Kulovy Bresk, Roxy Club and Lucerna Music Bar. Prague’s pub and club scene is never ending and caters to young men in their 20’s to older gentlemen, satisfying a wide variety of tastes in alcohol, music and dancing. Loving Apartment’s close proximity to such locations makes it convenient to get home safely at the end of the night. The last thing you want to worry about at your stag party is finding your way back to bed.

However, if you are looking to escape your mischief at the end of the night and leave behind the bustle of night life for a short while, Loving Apartments can also offer apartments outside this flurry of activity. The accommodation will lend more relaxation to guests who would prefer peace after an exciting night out.

Don’t fret over finding lodging to fit all of your friends, we provide apartments in Prague that can comfortably hold up to eight guests. Just in case that head count still doesn’t cut it, Loving Apartments has many apartments in the same building. This allows more space for each of your guests while still having the luxury of being right next door in case you need to top off your party with some nightcaps. Loving Apartments makes pricing and reserving for large groups easy with the Big Group Booking Tool. This tool allows you to specify how many guests you have, how many nights you need and what you would like for sleeping arrangements. The Big Group Booking Tool will then show you what apartments are available, how many there are in each building and the price of reservations with just one click of the mouse.

Photo Credit: christopher.woo@Flickr.
Photo Credit: christopher.woo@Flickr.

A monumental occasion of a marriage deserves a monumental celebration, surely one that spans the weekend! Consider spreading the fun out over a couple of days because the stag party is most certainly going to heat up once it gets started. Staying the weekend will allow you and your guests to recover during the day and gear up for round two the next evening.

So before the single life is behind you, raise your glasses and enjoy a weekend in Prague with Loving Apartments and the guys. Cheers.

 

Click here for the Big Group Book Tool: http://lovingapartments.com/Czech-Republic/Prague/Groups

A Round Up Of Our Favorite Nightclubs In Our Most Popular Destinations

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MENORCA

1. Cova d’en Xoroi Nightclub, Menorca:

If you are looking for a way to close out the summer months with a bang, then this nightclub, set high above sea level in the resort of Cala’n Porter on the south coast of Menorca, is the place to do it. It is considered one of the most impressive clubs throughout the Balearic Islands with its outside terraces that lead to natural caves with intimate seating areas and a dance floor. No matter which night you decide to attend, you are sure to enjoy one of the greatest nights of your life as you’re led by one of the regular DJs. If you’re looking for an evening you’ll never forget, check the events calendar on the website www.covadenxoroi.com, and attend one of the live music performances or a special themed night with an international DJ.

Photto Credit: dgbury @ Flickr.
Photto Credit: dgbury @ Flickr.

The club opens at 11:00 p.m. and closes at 6:00 a.m. (make sure to check the website as times change according to season and weather). The cover charge is 20 Euros which includes an alcoholic drink, and they enforce a smart casual dress code. If you want more information, or want to make a reservation, you can visit the website listed above, email them at cova@covadenxoroi.com, or call at +34971377236. Make sure this is a summer season you won’t soon forget and head to Menorca before the warm days are gone.

2. Space Menorca Nightclub, Menorca:

The summer months are a time for the young to travel, let loose, and really party hard. A new club on the island, Space Menorca, has introduced a new concept of sophisticated nightlife, with the most powerful sound systems, advanced LED technology, and the latest video mapping software. If this new club is trying to unveil a new way to party, then it certainly has the space to do so. It is divided into three areas: an open entrance hall with bar, for you to meet up with your friends before getting lost in the fray; a main club room with dance music, for you to get your groove on; and a large outdoor “chill-out” terrace upstairs with lounge seating and two bars, for you to take a break from dancing and chatting with your friends. There are also VIP zones in the club and upstairs which can be booked beforehand. There are constantly theme nights like Retrospective Sundays, Super Girl Wednesdays, and a different party night every Saturday. Go to the website www.spacemenorca.com to pick the perfect night for you and your friends.

Photo Credit: Abeeeer @ Flickr.
Photo Credit: Abeeeer @ Flickr.

The club is open every night from 12:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. and costs 25 Euros to enter, but discount coupons can be found all over the surrounding area (bars, restaurants, hotels, etc.). For more information you can visit the website listed above, email them at info@spacemenorca.com, or call them at 627 802 047. If you and your friends are looking to party in a whole new way, then travel to Menorca and check out this cutting-edge club.

MAJORCA

1. Pacha Nightclub, Majorca:

If you and your friends want to go out, but have different tastes in party music, then the Pacha Nightclub in Majorca is the place for you. It is set on Paseo Maritim in Plama, and spread over three floors. It has the usual terraces with wonderful views, a restaurant, and VIP rooms like most clubs. What makes it special is the three separate rooms which each feature a different kind of music with one playing mostly house music for those who like to dance, one playing funk for those who like to “get down” and funky, and another featuring chill-out music for those who need to relax and have a few drinks. The club also features a variety of party nights and exclusive music events. See the website http://www.pachamallorca.es or the dates of these events, and to view the days of regular theme nights like “Pacha Classics” on Mondays. If you wish to make reservations or just want more information, you can also visit the website listed above for contact information. The Pacha Nightclub offers a wide variety, but the summer season is about to pass, so don’t miss their prime events, and head to Majorca for the closing of the season.

Photo Credit: Traveling_Shan @ Flickr.
Photo Credit: Traveling_Shan @ Flickr.

ZERMATT

1. The Schneewittchen, Zermatt:

With the winter months just around the corner, it’s time to start preparing for your winter travel. For those of you who aren’t tired out after a day on the slopes, one of the best party clubs in the Alps, is very close by. It is located in the Papper la Pub, which is also a nice place for a drink, and opens at 11:00 p.m. running until 3:30 a.m. Since opening in 2003, it has been the meeting point for locals, season workers, VIPs, ski teachers, ski bummies, and international party people. It is a great place to meet people in the area and make friends with fellow visiting skiers. There is a wide variety of events held here. The most famous of the nights to attend are the Rock ‘n Roll Sundays which feature bands from all over the world. On top of this, the club shows popular DJs and party labels, and has some of the craziest party themes. You can check out the website www.papperlapub.ch/das_schnee.html to see what theme will best suit you, when guest DJs will appear, and the dates of special live performances. Whether you need to fill the time between slope sessions, or are just a party hound, the Schnee or the “snow” is, ironically, one of the hottest spots in the area.

Photo Credit: www.facebook.com/groups/197920295215/
Photo Credit: http://www.facebook.com/groups/197920295215/

VERBIER

1. Pub Mont Fort, Verbier:

For those skiers who like a cheap drink after they get off the slopes, then a wild party once they have rested up will find the Pub Mont Fort to be a paradise in the snow. This beautiful historic building in the heart of the Swiss Alps is host to many wild nights w/ after skiing parties, live music, half- priced happy hour and much more. On top of this, they have weekly drink promotions, sports on the big-screen, and great food. There are two large bars on both levels, and more importantly, customers can try their luck at the legendary shots bar, where the “shot master” creates a new shot almost every night. As the season approaches, go to the website www.pubmontfort.com to see the upcoming weekly promotions and parties. This place is for a variety of skiers with their delicious and fresh menu, wide variety of drinks, many types of live music, and a never-ending list of party ideas. Come out to Verbier and experience the combination of amazing skiing followed by a night of drinking and fun.

Photo Credit: PGCreativeLtd @ Flickr.
Photo Credit: PGCreativeLtd @ Flickr.

2. The Farm Club, Verbier:

For those skiers and partiers who love the spotlight, there is a nightclub which claims to have the highest profile in the resort. The Farm Club carries a great history, still having the two original owners, and has a great reputation that has yet to be challenge by others in the area. It has seen the likes of David Bowie and Diana Ross, both of whom used to dance the night away with slope workers and ski bums. To preserve this history, the booths, benches, and even support beams have been renovated and replaced. When you dance in this club, you are literally dancing in the same place as European royals and countless celebrities. The clubs chic, sexy interior is home to many events and parties, and should be on the list of any partier headed to the area for the ski season.

Photo Credit: www.facebook.com/FarmClubVerbier
Photo Credit: http://www.facebook.com/FarmClubVerbier

The hours for this season have not yet been posted, but last year the club opened at 11:00 p.m. and had no definite closing time. As the season gets closer, check the website www.hotelnevai.com/farm-club for current hours and upcoming events. This club is known as the place to see and be seen, so if you wish to get on the map, or share a drink with a famous celebrity while you talk about the slopes, this is the club to go to.

Top 6 Family-Friendly Events To Enjoy In Europe!

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Provence

Carrieres de Lumieres, 5th of January 2014

If you are trying to decide whether or not to take the family to Provence and the question is, “What can we all do together,” then look no further. The underground quarries just outside the villages have been host to sound and light shows featuring great artists for awhile now. Last year the show featured Van Gogh and Gaugin, and has been described as nothing short of beautiful. The artists’ works are projected gigantically on the quarry walls as you wander through a maze of underground tunnels. The images move or swim across the walls to a soundtrack that plays throughout your visit. This year’s show is called Monet, Renoir… Chagall, Journeys around the Mediterranean. It will move through these artists works and put you and your family in a different world for over an hour.

The shows run from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. through September and starting in October they run from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The price for adults is 9.50 euros, price for kids 7-17 is 7.5 euros, and kids under 7 get in free. This is a great activity for the whole family, and if you have very young children, then it is a great way to save some money.

Carrieres De Lumieres
Photo Credit: http://www.facebook.com/CarrieresDeLumieres

Rome

Time Elevator, open year-round

Are you considering heading to Rome but are worried that experiencing the history there might get a bit boring for you or your kids? Well, there is an exciting way to view the history of Rome that will make your sight-seeing much more special. The Time Elevator is an exciting adventure that includes all of your senses through the use of new digital, mechanical, and stereoscopic technologies. When you go into the Time Elevator you step into the history of Rome and immediately are taken back to the founding of the city. As you move forward you see the victories and defeats as well as the development and eventual fall of the Roman Empire. This is followed by later events focusing on the popes all the way to the Fascist period, and even some present day Rome.

Photo Credit: Time Elevator Roma Facebook Page
Photo Credit: Time Elevator Roma Facebook Page

You experience all of this on a treadmill, which is a fixed special armchair, with a sophisticated audio system with individual headphones in 6 languages (Italian, English, French, German, Spanish, Russian). Not only do you hear the action but you feel it as well through multi-sensory effects like rain, wind, and many others. This journey through time gives you a unique perspective and will be fun for all ages. It costs 12 euros for adults and 9 euros for children. If you want more information you can visit www.time-elevator.it.

Budapest

Folklore Show of the Danube Folk Ensemble, 29th October 2014

If you’re looking to experience the history of a country in an exciting and visually stimulating way, then Budapest should be next on your travel list. The folklore of all countries is interesting, but in Budapest, one group has been able to put the common folklore into a dance and music show and they have become one of the most popular folk acts in the world. They combine the continuous theatre dance with folklore dances, but also include modern aspects to better relate to the audience. They are made up of a 30 person dance ensemble accompanied by a 7 person folklore band. The show does not run every night of the week and takes a break for the winter months. The dates for the remainder of the year are one performance on September 30th, and October 2nd, 7th, 9th, 14th, 16th, 21st, 23rd, 28th, and 30th. The winter break follows and performances resume in May, 2014.

Folklore Show of the Danube Folk Ensemble
Photo Credit: ٭٭ NơƐണí ٭٭ @ Flickr.

The tickets are arranged into 3 categories depending on the quality of seat, and the seating map can be viewed at www.budapest.com by clicking on things to do, and then looking under the events category. Prices can be found here as well. Remember that the Euro is not used in Budapest, but they use the HUF. The most expensive ticket costs around 21 Euros (6200 HUF), but the conversion rates may change so be sure to check before you purchase tickets. They are also offering a special rate if you decide to purchase a dinner cruise right after the show. The hosts/hostesses will lead you on a 4 minute walk to take a cruise along the stunning Danube River. This special package only costs around 49 euros (14500 HUF) with a category I ticket at the current exchange rate. Reservations can be made by emailing tours.mailbox@budapest.com. Come enjoy a fabulous show with the family, and then treat them to dinner on the river at a very good price.

Folklore Show of the Danube Folk Ensemble 02
Photo Credit: Txapulín @ Flickr.

Lisbon

Family Sundays at Castelo de Sao Jorge, 1st and 4th Sundays of each month

Have you been having trouble getting your kids to enjoy history? Well, here is another fun way for you and your kids to experience some of the history of Lisbon. On the first Sunday of the month at 11:00 a.m., the “heralds of fun” at St. George’s Castle, will lead you through two hours of fun and games. The games will carry historical meaning and are meant for the kids, and even parents, to learn from them. The games played include break-the-jugs, the blind-stick, the treasure tower, and many more.

Castelo de Sao Jorge 01
Photo Credit: freakyman @ Flickr.

If you’re looking to learn more about the buildings history, then come back on the fourth Sunday of the month for a 1.5 hour tour of the castle and archaeological site. This tour will help you discover characters and stories of the past, while also striving to gain sensitivity and respect for historical heritage as an important aspect of culture. To make reservations you can call 218 800 620 or send an email to servicoeducativo@castelodesaojorge.pt. Each activity costs only 3 Euros and is sure to have you and your children hooked on history.

Majorca

Festa Des Verman (Wine Fair), 28th and 29th September 2013

If you and your family are looking to experience the culture of a place first hand, then this festival is a good start. Every September, the village of Binissalem celebrates their feast Festa Des Verman, or the grape harvest festival. This celebration includes a variety of events like a grape-crushing competition, mass village dinners, parades, and a wine-tasting contest. The two highlights of this event, of which people say you cannot miss out on, are the fire-runners and, more importantly, the infamous grape battle where it is mandatory that you wear white. The final day of the festival has local entertainment in the main square and free wine starting at 4:30 p.m. in the church square.

Festa Des Verman 01
Photo Credit: Porto Bay Events – Porto Bay Hotels @ Flickr.

This festival does not require reservations or purchasing tickets beforehand, but it could be quite crowded so be sure to arrive early. It is an exciting event to take the family to. And the grape battle is something your kids will not soon forget. Head to Majorca and witness as well as take part in a fantastic local festival, while enjoying some of the greatest wine in the world.

Festa Des Verman 02
Photo Credit: George M. Groutas @ Flickr.

Prague

Andante Boat, Operates all year

Whether you are looking for a simple sight-seeing cruise, want to have dinner while sailing through the historic center of Prague, or want a boat all to yourselves, the Andante boat is a perfect fit. This boat offers all of these options, and if you decide to rent out the boat for a group, there are even alternate destination choices like the quiet river town of “Slapy,” or a slow drift around “Nelahozeves Castle.”

Andante Boat 01
Photo Credit: crazbabe21 @ Flickr.

This beautiful boat has an air conditioned, inside dining room with 60 seats and an adjoined smoking room for 10, as well as a sun covered sight-seeing upper deck that seats 90. Catering is also available on the boat. You can head to www.prague-boats.cz to book a cruise or rent out a boat. Prices vary depending on the cruise and they can also be found at the same sight, but remember they are listed in the Koruna of the Czech Republic. The conversion is 1 Euro to roughly 26 Korunas, but be sure to check before you make reservations as the rate is constantly changing. The Andante Boat is a great way to have a family reunion that nobody will ever forget, or just take a relaxing 2-hour cruise with the kids to see the wonderful sights of Prague.