Europe from Above

As a college student studying abroad, I’m always on the look out for free opportunities, and one fell right into my lap during London’s Architectural Open House Weekend which took place from 19th September to 21st September. Approximately 800 buildings were opened to the public in order to show off their architectural wonders. The famous Gherkin was at the top of the list and was a “must see” for me. A friend and I woke up at the crack of dawn on Sunday morning to stand in line to get to the tip of the Gherkin. The view of the city was breath taking, and it inspired me to write about some of the greatest views that you can find from above in European cities.

1. The Gherkin

Of course, I had to make the Gherkin number one on the list. After all, it was the great inspiration for this blog in the first place. The Gherkin, a domed glass skyscraper, stands in the borough of the City of London at 30 St. Mary Axe right next to the Leaden Hall. Normally, a visitor won’t be able to make his or her way to the top for free except on the Architectural Open House Weekend in London. However, guests can visit the plaza of the Gherkin, and there are restaurants within the skyscraper that offer a remarkable view to enjoy while dining. If anything, the skyscraper makes for a beautiful photograph as one of London’s most iconic buildings.

View of London and Leaden Hall from the top of the Gherkin. Photo Credit: Dana Wolthuizen.

View of London and Leaden Hall from the top of the Gherkin. Photo Credit: Dana Wolthuizen.

2. The Fernsehturm

The Fernsehturm, also known as the Berlin TV Tower, is the tallest and one of the most prominent structures in Germany at 368 meters high. The tower dominates the Berlin skyline and gives a vast view of the city and surrounding areas. Adults can venture up to the top of the tower for €13  and children between the ages of 4 and 16 for  €8.50. The tower also offers a restaurant and a bar in the sphere of the tower, so you can enjoy the gorgeous Berlin skyline for an entire evening.

Photo Credit: Avda@Wikipedia.

Photo Credit: Avda@Wikipedia.

3. St. Stephen’s Basilica Rooftop

St. Stephen’s is Budapest‘s largest church topped with a massive dome. The rooftop of the the church offers a stunning, panoramic view of the Budapest that would be very difficult to find anywhere else. You’ll have to pay a small charge to climb up to the roof and there are a number of stairs involved, but the view will be worth the effort.

Photo Credit: Adam Kliczek@Wikipedia.

Photo Credit: Adam Kliczek@Wikipedia.

4. The Piazzale Michelangelo

The Piazzale Michelangelo is known as the best place to get remarkable views of Florence. The famous site is located at the top of a hill by the Arno River. You can either take public transportation to the top or make the trek yourself. Once there, you’ll see Florence sprawling before you, including an incredible view of the Cathedral of Santa Maria dei Fiore. The Piazzale has a replica of Michelangelo’s David statue, food stalls, souvenir vendors and space for parking, so there is plenty beside the view to keep you busy.

Photo Credit: ElmHoo@Wikipedia.

Photo Credit: ElmHoo@Wikipedia.

 5. Circulo de Bellas Artes Rooftop

Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid is a Protection Centre for Fine Arts and serves as a venue for conferences and art classes. It was originally founded by a group of artists in 1888. Since then, famous artists such as Picasso and Ramón José Simón Valle Peña have attended classes there. Today, there are four floors of art exhibits featuring paintings, drawing, sculptures and photography. However, one of the main draws of the building is its rooftop view. The rooftop also referred to as the “Tartan Roof” gives a 360 degree panoramic view of Madrid’s skyline with the mountains in the distance. You’ll get an especially good view of Madrid’s Metropolis Building, Plaza de le Cibeles and the City Hall.

Photo Credit: felipe_gabaldon@Flickr.

Photo Credit: felipe_gabaldon@Flickr.

6. Tour Montparnasse

Sure, everyone knows that the Eiffel Tower gives a great view of Paris from above. But what about a place in which you can get a view that includes the Eiffel Tower in the skyline? The Tour Montparnasse, an office skyscraper, provides that unique skyline scene. The skyscraper’s view rivals the Eiffel Tower’s, and you won’t have to wait hours in line to see it. The tower itself isn’t pretty; but when viewing the city from its top, you won’t have to worry about it ruining the skyline, right? You’ll be able to take as many photos and enjoy the beauty of Parisian monuments, gardens and streets from the 56th floor.

Photo Credit: y.caradec@Flickr.

Photo Credit: y.caradec@Flickr.

7. Janiculum Hill

Janiculum Hill, located in western Rome, provides one of the most awe inspiring views of the ancient city. If you climb up to the hill’s terrace, a broad view of Rome’s countless domes, monuments and churches will be waiting for you. After you’ve properly admired Rome from above, take the chance to  visit the San Pietro Montorio church and the Fontana dell’Acqua Paola, a baroque fountain built by Pope Paul V, on the hill as well.

Photo Credit: Dark Rome Tours & Walks@Flickr.

Photo Credit: Dark Rome Tours & Walks@Flickr.

 

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

Fashion Night Out: The Best Way to Shop is with Champagne

 

Vogue Fashion Night Out was started in 2009 as a means to encourage consumers to shop  and support the fashion industry during the economic downturn. Co-sponsored by Vogue and Council of Fashion Designers of America, Fashion Night Out (FNO) has become a celebration of fashion and style. The event takes place on various nights within September all over the world in cities like New York, Paris, Berlin and Londonfno. In it’s sixth year, London FNO includes many iconic fashion boutiques, department stores, flagships and high-street chains that make London such a brilliant fashion capital.                                                       

Last night, I had the considerable pleasure of partaking in Fashion Night Out. If you have never been to a Fashion Night Out, like myself, you have got a lot to look forward too. This year, there were over 70 participating stores that offered free champagne and special deals to  visitors. Each store had a specific competition event that encouraged pIMG_3137[1]eople to make  purchases and discover new designers. Fashion Night Out coordinators placed Vogue editors, models and fashion bloggers in certain stores throughout the night. The Vogue editors hosted fashion talks about the industry and where trends are headed in the next season. I went to see Katie Phalen at Topshop; after her talk, she chose her favorite Topshop looks. Needless to say, those selections sold out within minutes. Models were on hand to showcase new collections while chatting with us common folk.

 

 

I began my night by taking the tube to Bond Street, and wondering down Oxford Street. The first stop of the evening was to Zara. The Spanish based retailer greeted its guest with  male models wearing  Zara clothing, serving drinks and disbursing maps for Fashion Night Out. I was soon informed that the store- as along with others- had Fashion Night Out one day sales for attendees. Trust me, you have not lived until you have shopped while being served Prosecco by models. As the night progresses, queues start to get a bit lengthy, so my suggestion is to go early and skip the long wait time. The event went from 6 pm to 11 pm, and as I made my way to Regent Street, my shoulder and arms got tired from all of the goodies I received from each store. Some of the gifts raffled ranged from free samples of Marc Jacobs cologne, a gift card at Aldo, to skin supplies from Clinique.4985085880_b92646bfe9_o

 

Loving Apartments offers some wonderful apartments located near this event located in Covent Garden, West End and around Oxford Street. I would have loved to stopped by my apartment on Oxford street rather than suffering on the tube. If there isn’t a Fashion Night Out close to where you live, plan your trip to London and stay with Loving Apartments.

Stop to Smell the Roses: Fabulous Flower Markets

There’s nothing quite like a Sunday morning. No hurries. No obligations. Just a day to enjoy yourself before the busy week rolls around again. You’ve got the entire day in front of you. Take a moment to do some reading and brew yourself some coffee. Then why not take a stroll to the flower market to amble through the vendors and pick up some color for your day.

A Sunday morning like this is within your reach with Loving Apartments. Loving Apartments offers comfortable accommodation for you to take a holiday in many locations throughout Europe. Fortunately, some of those locations are home to vibrant flower markets.

Columbia Road Market in London

The Columbia Road Flower Market in London is open on Sundays from 8 am until around 3 pm. During these hours, the street overflows with blooms, greenery and sweet aromas. However, the aromas are not only from the flowers, but also from the fresh pastries and coffee from the bakeries and cafés that surround the burst of floral. Antique shops, art galleries and vintage clothing stores are also snuggled in along the market, adding a sense of quirkiness to the road.

Photo Credit: Dana Wolthuizen

Photo Credit: Dana Wolthuizen

Bloemenmarkt in Amsterdam

The Bloemenmarkt in Amsterdam can boast that it is the only floating flower market in the world. The floating market is found on Singel between Muntplein and Koningsplein in Amsterdam’s southern canal belt. The flower shops are housed in a row of floating barges – an ode to the days in which flowers were delivered to Amsterdam from the countryside by boats. Tulips are the specialty of the market, which should come as no surprise. However, the market has so much more than just tulips. They have almost every fresh flower imaginable and also houseplants, seeds and all the gardening necessities.

Photo Credit: Massimo Catarinella @ Wikipedia.

Photo Credit: Massimo Catarinella @ Wikipedia.

 

Marché aux Fleurs in Paris

Open daily, the Marché aux Fleurs may be the most fragrant and picturesque market that you’ll find within Paris. It’s an oasis of petals and foliage on the I’île de la Cité along the banks of the River Seine. If you want to experience the market at its finest, you should visit on a Sunday when the bird market is open along with the flower market. Visitors to the bird market can buy birds of all kinds from roosters and chickens to canaries, finches, parrots and other rare species. All the accessories for the birds are offered as well. Bird song is the perfect background to your perusing.

Photo Credit: Jim Linwood @ Wikipedia.

Photo Credit: Jim Linwood @ Wikipedia.

 

Mercat de la Concepció in Barcelona

The Mercat de la Concepció in Barcelona features a 24 hour flower market on the facade on Valencia Street. The market satisfies your needs for flora all day and all night, whether it be for a last minute romantic gift or for a late night hospital visit.  You know that you are nearing the flower area of the market when the enticing scent of the blooms begins to edge out the scents of the food stalls located in other areas of the market.

Photo Credit: Oh-Barcelona.com @ Flickr.

Photo Credit: Oh-Barcelona.com @ Flickr.

 

Campo dei Fiori in Rome

Campo dei Fiori, which translates to “field of flowers,” is the oldest open air market in the center of Rome. The piazza offers a large collection of fresh flowers for you to browse every day along with local produce and artisan creations as well such as pottery, paintings and textiles. It serves as a colourful haven from the modern and fast-paced supermarkets.

Photo Credit: OliverN5@Flickr.

Photo Credit: OliverN5@Flickr.

 

5 Activities that are Unique to London

Sure, there are loads of sights to see in London. But what can you do that doesn’t just require you to look and not touch? The key to having fun in London is to actually experience it. So get out from behind that camera shutter and engage in some hands-on activities that are unique to London, because there is no where else in the world where you can experience them.

1. Hop Aboard a Boat Tour on the Thames

There are several river cruises available to Londoners and visitors alike through sightseeing tours such as City Cruises or London RIB Voyages. Float past the Houses of Parliament, the Globe Theater, the Tower of London and the Royal Palace of Greenwich. You’ll be able to see all the iconic sights from a new perspective while enjoying the commentary and the peaceful water ride. If you’re interested in a more thrilling ride, there are speedboat tours available that will zip you right down the river, leaving all other boats in your wake.

Photo Credit: string_bass_dave@Flickr.

Photo Credit: string_bass_dave@Flickr.

2. Go for a Spin on the London Eye

Buy a ticket to ride in a London Eye capsule and see remarkable London views from above. The Eye was originally built as a part of the 2000 millennium celebrations, and it has been one of London’s top hits since then. You’ll reach the height of 135 metres at the top of the Eye. A full rotation takes approximately 30 minutes, so you’ll have plenty of time to relish the stunning view.

Photo Credit: .Martin.@Flickr.

Photo Credit: .Martin.@Flickr.

3. Embark on a “Jack the Ripper” Walking Tour

Jack the Ripper walking tours are offered every night. You begin the journey by Tower Hill and wander down the streets and alleyways that Jack the Ripper stalked. Prepare yourself for a dramatic guided tour that will give you the chilling history of the Ripper and his victims. Previously, the identity of Jack the Ripper was a mystery, but now DNA evidence has shed light on the Ripper’s identity as a 23 year-old Polish immigrant. It will be interesting to see how this new information will change these nightly tours.

Photo Credit: Ben124.@Flickr.

Photo Credit: Ben124.@Flickr.

4. Afternoon Tea at the Savoy

There’s nothing more British than having afternoon tea, and why not do it in style at the Thames Foyer at The Savoy? You can enjoy a cup of tea, homemade scones and savory cakes and pastries underneath a glass dome as a pianist serenades the room. It all makes for a magical afternoon in which you feel like you’ve just walked into a Downton Abbey episode. Don’t forget to bring your manners and dress smartly.

Photo Credit: Mister-E@Flickr.

Photo Credit: Mister-E@Flickr.

 

5. Hitch a Ride on London’s Ghost Bus

The London Ghost Bus Tour gives you the chance to see the haunted side of London. You’ll jump aboard a classic 1960’s bus and hear about the the murders, torture and execution that took place on London’s streets by the House of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London. You’ll be spooked, but also amused by the comedy horror theatre performance given by the guide. After the tour, you’ll never be able to look at the London through the same eyes again.

Photo Credit: lukaszzelezny@Flickr.

Photo Credit: lukaszzelezny@Flickr.

An Unexpected Wonder: The Camden Markets

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.

London Fashion Weekend

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

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

Eeire London – Top 4 Blood-Curdling Destinations To Visit This Halloween In London, 2013

London

halloween poster

No one celebrates Halloween quite like the Londoners. There are a ton of events going on in London this Halloween for both kids and adults. Whether you fancy going to a club or Halloween themed party, or sit back and let a spooky film do the work, or head out with your kids to a kid – friendly Halloween party, there are a ton of events and activities to participate in. Here are some of the best, not-to-be-missed events:

1. Halloween Hocus Pocus:

Wicked goblins, grotesque monsters, cackling witches, vampires and all sorts of creepy characters are awaiting your kids this year at the ‘Chessington World of Adventures’. This Halloween extravaganza transforms the park creating an ambiance that will surely give your little ones some hellish scare. The zoo will let visitors get up close and personal with owls, rats, snakes, spiders and other creepy crawly insects. A haunted house has been set up for kids to solve the Hocus Pocus mystery by revealing some spine-chilling secrets. Lots of scary stories will be told at the famous Market Square and other not to miss attractions include the Castle Dracula the Transylvanian village of Black Hollow. Let your kids enjoy some spooky adventures this Halloween by taking them to the Chessington World of Adventures.

Photo Credit: Roller Coaster Philosophy @ Flickr.

Photo Credit: Roller Coaster Philosophy @ Flickr.

2. Greenwich Market:

The Greenwich Market is one of the best London markets for your Halloween shopping. The whole market will portray an eerie twist to visitors through stalls selling everything you need to have an amazing Halloween this year. Each corner of the Greenwich market will have creepily-carved pumpkins, amazing Halloween costumes, ghoulish music playing and other blood-curdling decorations hanging around to give the Greenwich Market a seriously spooky transformation. Kids can get into the Halloween spirit by getting their faces painted, while other stalls will encourage people to bring in their own skilfully carved pumpkins and participating in competitions held for the best pumpkin. There will be plenty of other shows for you to participate in like a scary fashion show and a best-dressed competition for your dogs. The Greenwich market is a family-friendly event for you to enjoy this year.

Photo Credit: ell brown @ Flickr.

Photo Credit: ell brown @ Flickr.

3. Torture Garden Halloween Ball:

For all the 18+ looking to have some serious Halloween fun, this is the party to be at. Lots of thrills and chills are promised at this Halloween ball which features burlesque cabaret, amazing performance art and a dress code you cannot skip out on if you want to enter the Torture Garden. This Halloween is exclusively for those looking to enjoy authentic clubbing with friends on Halloween night. Almost 2000 clubbers are expected to join in on Halloween night for fetish filled mayhem.

But the fetish community is not the only people targeted at the Torture Garden Halloween Ball. It will attract several other underground cultures like burlesque, electro and goth. Each room will have its own theme showcasing everything from live music and art installations to fashion shows. So book your tickets now to The Torture Garden Halloween Ball taking place on Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd of November, right after the creepiest night of the year.

4. The London Dungeon:

You can’t get wrong with this one! The home of Halloween is going seriously big this year to celebrate its most loved celebration, Halloween. Some of the major attractions to look out for this year at The London Dungeon is an awesome new Dungeon, 20 live actors, 18 new shows, special effects, state-of-the-art themed decorations, amazing underground rides, story-telling and so much more.

This year’s special new character is The Pumpineer, who is joined by a cast full of blood freezing and terrifying characters like Jack the Ripper, Rat Catcher with a mob of real rats, Sweeney Todd and many more. Along with these ghoulish characters, you’ll be jumping out of your skin to the blood curdling screams of tortured souls. The 90 minute tour in The London Dungeon will put you through many more incredible experiences, thrilling rides, and so much more. Best of all, each visitor will enjoy a special Halloween treat.

So if this is the kind of fun you have in mind for Halloween this year better get your hands on tickets to The London Dungeon soon.

Photo Credit: Oscar del Rio @ Flickr.

Photo Credit: Oscar del Rio @ Flickr.

So if your planning on visiting London to enjoy its many gruesome treats this Halloween, make sure your visit is made perfect with Loving Apartments. Book a comfortable apartment with us at by clicking here.

Our Pick Of The Best Events To Enjoy In Europe This Weekend – September 28th & 29th, 2013

Barcelona: Salon Nautico, 24th-29th September 2013

For all those boating enthusiasts out there, Barcelona will be the place to be this week. The largest and most organized trade show in all of Spain, will take place at Port Vell. All the prestigious marine transport and sporting manufacturers meet and present to international clients. Although this event attracts a specific group of buyers who come to view the latest yachts, it has grown so large that it now includes many exciting activities for everyone like a boat parade, where a selection of the very latest in the boating and water sport world will sail across Port Vell. This event begins at 8:30 p.m. on the 27th and is free to all who come to the trade show, or just happen to be in Barcelona at the time. Another feature of the show is a Fun Beach where guests can learn or practice their skills in a variety of water sports like dinghy sailing, canoeing, paddle surfing, kayaking, and many others.

Photo Credit: Salón Internacional Náutico de Barcelona @ Flickr.

Photo Credit: Salón Internacional Náutico de Barcelona @ Flickr.

If you’re more the type to mix business with pleasure, than this event is the perfect place for both. The “Espai del Mar” or Sea Space is the site for professional conferences, talks with seafarers, presentations of Regattas, and even prize-giving ceremonies. If you feel like blowing off some steam after a long week of seminars, then head out to the first ever SUP (stand-up paddle) festival, where a race will be held on Saturday the 28th at noon. Places are limited in the race so if you’re feeling competitive, head to inscripcions@ucsurf.cat to register. If you are new to stand up paddle surfing, a demonstration will be held on Tuesday the 24th from noon to 5:00 p.m. The entry fee for the trade show is 12 euros, but visit www.salonnautico.com to register early and receive a 50% discount! Whether you are on vacation or working in the boating business, this annual event has proven itself for 50 years and is sure to send a wave of chatter all across Spain.

Photo Credit: Salon Internacional Nautico de Barcelona @ Flickr.

Photo Credit: Salon Internacional Nautico de Barcelona @ Flickr.

Berlin: Berlin Marathon, 29th September 2013

If you feel like mixing exercise with music, literature, and a wide array of activities than the Berlin marathon is something to add to your travel list. This marathon, one of the largest in the world with nearly 60,000 runners, is spread over two days to accommodate those on foot, those in wheelchairs, and even in-line skaters. With the moderate September weather, and the flat landscape, this is one of the fastest marathon courses and there is a good chance you will see a world record broken. And if you’re worried about growing bored with watching the runners/skaters, there is no need to fret because the course is lined with 80 bands at intervals of about 500 meters. Every time your focus starts to wane, a new band with a different sound will be there to give you new life! And if you don’t feel like watching the race, the music festival is a great thing to enjoy in itself with shows like the samba band at Wild Boar, the Turkish rock band Kottbusser Gate and the Jazz Big Band at York castle in Kreuzberg. To see more of the bands that will be performing, visit www.bmw-berlin-marathon.com and look at the interactive route map.

Photo Credit: mike.kaden @ Flickr.

Photo Credit: mike.kaden @ Flickr.

Unfortunately, the registration is closed for this year’s event, but if you wish to run in the future, the application can be found at www.bmw-berlin-marathon.com and you can register on the 30th of September, which is the recommended day because there are many applicants. Despite this, the race attracts a great number of people, and includes many other events in which you do not have to be a participant to attend. If you have general questions about the event you can email the marathon staff at any time at info@scc-events.com and if you wish to be more involved they welcome any help they can get. To volunteer, contact volunteer@scc-events.com at anytime. This marathon picks up the pace of Berlin and is a prime time to be in the city, and definitely something to check out if you’re in the area.

Photo Credit: steffenz @ Flickr.

Photo Credit: steffenz @ Flickr.

Florence: 26th Intercity Festival- International contemporary drama festival, 29th September to 31st October

For those of you who are addicted to the theatre and cinema, than Florence will be hosting its 26th annual Intercity Festival, which aims to connect Italian theatre and Cinema with international theatre companies and films. It is sponsored by a network of four theatres which are: The Royal Court Theatre, Schaubune am Lehniner Platz, Teatro Della Limonaia, and the Theatre National de la Colline. The festival has a wide array of events to attend and shows the diversity of theatre, film, and books around the world. It runs for an entire month and the activities include new Italian and foreign productions (translated to Italian), meetings and readings with authors, film festivals, seminars and exhibitions. Some of the featured events are a showing of UK cinema which includes classic films like “Life of Brian” and “The French Lieutenants Woman,” “A Tribute to Ping Pong” by Jo Stromgren Kompani which shows ping pong as much more than a sport but as a philosophy. The company presents with a combination of puppetry and voice over, and there will be many other interesting and diverse performances, films, and seminars throughout the month.

Photo Credit: Huntington Theatre Company @ Flickr.

Photo Credit: Huntington Theatre Company @ Flickr.

Ticket prices for the event range depending on what you wish to attend, and information on advance ticket purchases can be found by contacting Firenze Turismo information center at 055 440582.  This Festival promises to offer a wide range of things to see and despite the possible language barrier, many of the productions cater to an international audience.

London: FutureFest, 28th -29th September

If you are one of the many riding the wave of innovation then you must follow it to Shoreditch Town Hall in London where FutureFest will present some of the latest technological ideas known to man. They are basing the event on four major themes which leave something for even those who think they may not be a technology buff. These themes are: “Well Becoming” which will focus on how we can lead healthier and smarter lives, for those of you who have recently gone on a health kick; “In the Imaginarium” which will present the combination of the creative and scientific mind, for all those poets out there; “We are all Gardeners Now” which will focus on taking responsibility for our impact on the earth, for all of you who have been thinking green; and last but not least “The Value of Everything” which will focus on the political sphere of the future, for all of you blooming politicians. Two of the people who will be presenting are Lily Cole, a former model for vogue who graduated with a double first class degree in art history from Cambridge in 2011 and has recently led a team to develop a social giving network called impossible.com, and David Runciman who is a professor of politics at Cambridge University and is the author of two books published by Princeton.

Photo Credit: Matt From London @ Flickr.

Photo Credit: Matt From London @ Flickr.

To view a schedule of events, a complete list of speakers, and to buy tickets, visit www.futurefest.org. There will be four three hour sessions and tickets are 36 pounds per session and after purchasing your ticket, be sure to arrive 15- 30 minutes early for registration. This hopes to be a glimpse into a future that includes a wide array of interests and possibly solutions for major problems around the world, so be one of the first to witness history in the making.

Photo Credit:  LeWeb13 @ Flickr.

Photo Credit: LeWeb13 @ Flickr.

Nice: Triathlon de Nice, 29th September

This annual cycling, swimming, and running competition offers you the chance to compete on a world stage, as well as move through the scenic course in Nice which will offer beautiful views and take you far off the beaten path. You will swim in the Bay of Angels, then move to cycling the Col d’Eze which brings you to one of the best views in Cote d’Azur, and finish on Promenade des Anglais right along the beach. Although this event can be physically difficult, it promises to give competitors some of the greatest views and lead them along some of the most enjoyable routes found in the French Riviera.

Photo Credit: deepakhere.mypixels @ Flickr

Photo Credit: deepakhere.mypixels @ Flickr

Registration for this event is still open and runs from 40-80 euros, depending on which category you wish to apply for. You can register at www.triathlondenice.fr and click on the large button on the right which flashes orange and blue. If you are looking for a way to test your fitness against competitors from all over the world and see some of the best sights at the same time, then this competition is more than you could ever hope for.

Photo Credit: mitch98000 @ Flickr.

Photo Credit: mitch98000 @ Flickr.

Paris: Le printemps de la Renaissance : la sculpture et les arts a Florence 1400-1460, 26th September to 6th January

For those art lovers who wish to take a look back into the city of Florence at the beginning of the 15th century, a new exhibition coming to the Louvre on Thursday the 26th of September may interest you. It will be built around the sculptures by Donatello and will attempt to show the amazing cultural enthusiasm of the city that still holds onto their name which still today is closely connected with artistic events of the 15th century.

Photo Credit: Maarten Dirkse @ Flickr.

Photo Credit: Maarten Dirkse @ Flickr.

The exhibition will include sculptures of Ghiberti and Michelozzo, paintings by Brunelleschi, and pottery by Della Robia. Many other masterpieces will be brought together to attempt to retell the story of this amazing time in artistic and cultural history. This is a very important stop for any art lover who wishes to see a stunning collection that will only be together for a limited time.

Photo Credit: ell brown @ Flickr.

Photo Credit: ell brown @ Flickr.

London’s Top 3 Event’s To Enjoy This Weekend – September 21st & 22nd, 2013

1)    Open House Weekend 2013:

London’s annual Open House weekend will take place on the 21st and 22nd of September this year for its 21st anniversary. This weekend gives you the chance to venture into some of the largest historic (in some cases secret) buildings all over the city which would normally be closed to the public. The theme this year is ‘Celebrating Architecture, people and place’ and one building that is particularly important to stop by is the Battersea Power Station, a coal powered fire station that in its prime, powered more than one fifth of the city. It is your last chance to truly explore this building before it is redeveloped into a new London district.

Buildings open for viewing include 100 private residences, and many government buildings, historic sites, and educational establishments, as well as many others. The majority of these buildings will be open for walk-ins, but around 10% will require advanced booking (definitely Gherkin and Tower 42). Instructions for booking can be found at www.londonopenhouse.org. With over 700 venues open to the public, this is a perfect time for sightseeing. Come adventure through London and get lost in the architecture and the history.

Photo Credit: damo1977 @ Flickr.

Photo Credit: damo1977 @ Flickr.

Photo Credit: damo1977 @ Flickr.

Photo Credit: damo1977 @ Flickr.

2)    The Commitments at the Palace Theatre:

Roddy Doyle’s classic, bestselling novel, ‘The Commitments’, is a story of a rough group of Irish kids who find redemption through soul music. This story, also a hit movie in the 90s, has been adapted to the stage by Doyle himself. The group of kids in the play attempt to become “the finest soul act in Dublin,” and as music plays such an important role in the story, the prospects for the musical are very high. It will be making its worldwide premiere in London’s West End at the Palace Theatre. The musical will be directed by Jamie Lloyd who is most recently known for his work with the production of Macbeth starring James McAvoy. Some of the famous songs included in this musical are Night Train, Try a Little Tenderness, In the Midnight Hour, Papa was a Rolling Stone, Save Me, Mustang Sally and many more hits that are sure to have the audience singing along. The show opens on Saturday the 21st of September and runs through January of next year. Tickets can be bought online at www.thecommitmentslondon.com or by contacting the box office at 0844 874 0790. Show how much soul you have and be one of the first to see “The Commitments.’

Photo Credit: R/DV/RS @ Flickr.

Photo Credit: R/DV/RS @ Flickr.

3)    Live Transmission – Joy Division Reworked:

Joy Division was an English rock band formed in 1976 mostly famous for their hits ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ and ‘Closer.’ The group seemed to be on its way to success when its lead vocalist, Ian Curtis was diagnosed with epilepsy and he fell into depression. He would often have seizures during performances and his depression worsened until May of 1980, when he took his own life. The other members went on to have good music careers but the group would never put on another performance… or so everyone thought.

Due to the collaboration between the electronic musician Robin ‘Scanner’ Rimbaud and the avant-garde Heritage orchestra conducted by Jules Buckley, the music of Joy Division has been reinvented. ‘Scanner’ and the orchestra are joined by a 3-piece band consisting of members of Trapped Tigers and Ghostpoet, and the visual artist Matt Watkins to form ‘Live Transmission.’ This group will be breaking down the songs of Joy Division and giving an audio visual performance that pays tribute to music of Ian Curtis and Joy Division. The group will start off their tour of the UK at Royal Festival Hall on Saturday the 21st of September. It promises to be an original show that tests a new terrain of music, while paying respects to Joy Division and their musical spirit.

Photo Credit: SebastianDooris @ Flickr.

Photo Credit: SebastianDooris @ Flickr.

Photo Credit: Matt From London @ Flickr.

Photo Credit: Matt From London @ Flickr.

Top 5 Events To Enjoy This Weekend In London

1. London Fashion Week

Photo Credit: Yuliya Libkina @ Flickr.

Photo Credit: Yuliya Libkina @ Flickr.

This high profile event will once again return to Somerset House with 200 brilliant designers from the UK and all over the world showing off their new Spring and Summer collections. It begins on the 13th of September bright and early at 9:30 with Bora Aksu in the BFC Courtyard Show Space and runs through Tuesday the 17th. The week will be filled with exclusive showcases, the launching of new lines (including jewelry as well), and wonderful parties. Although it will be nearly impossible to get tickets to any of the main events, there are several exhibitions with free admission and many opportunities for people without connections in the fashion world to get the chance to buy not only new collections but to explore up and coming designers. As fashion week approaches, a spark seems to run through the city as everyone starts to show off their finest threads and get in the spirit of style.

Photo Credit: TellusFashion @ Flickr.

Photo Credit: TellusFashion @ Flickr.

2. King’s Place Festival:

The 6th annual Kings Place Festival will take place this upcoming weekend. It begins Friday the 13th of September with the Aurora Orchestra at 6:00 p.m. They will be followed by all music acts with the exception of one spoken word poet named Tom Service. As the event moves into Saturday, the acts and events become more varied, including a wine tasting, interactive theatre, music combined with painting, and even the opportunity to see your own personal concert in a booth with an anonymous artist. Diary of a Wimpy Kid fans will be excited on Sunday as the host, Alastair Watson, leads a draw along, among other activities, to bring the characters from the famous books to life. The last day of the festival will also include many more music acts and will close with the improv comedy group The Noise Next Door.

Photo Credit: Kings Place London @ Flickr

Photo Credit: Kings Place London @ Flickr

The festival will feature over 100 acts with a new show starting almost every 15 minutes so it is a perfect event for people of all ages and backgrounds. Whether you are in the mood to laugh, dance, sing, or just drink a beer and relax as you float along Regents Canal on the historic narrow boat Tarporley, Kings Place Festival will be the place to be this weekend.

Photo Credit: Richard Ash @ Flickr.

Photo Credit: Richard Ash @ Flickr.

3. Roger Waters – The Wall:

Roger Waters

Photo Credit: alterna2 @ Flickr.

Since the album was first released in the UK in 1979, ‘The Wall’ live has been seen by over 3.3 million fans in 192 showings, making it arguably one of the greatest rock shows of all time. For those of you who saw the show 30 years ago on the bands first tour, be prepared for ‘The Wall’ amplified by exactly 36. Roger Waters is bringing back this classic show to Wembley Stadium on Saturday the 14th of September with a wall that stands 36 feet tall. Giant projections on the screen move along with the music, and tell a story along with the songs. Waters also includes a six-piece band and several males on backup vocals to add to the musical experience. This show has been long anticipated, and tickets are very difficult to get at this point, but it is worth the trouble to see ‘The Wall’ Live for what is quite possibly its last tour. At the very least, I’m sure those who can’t get tickets will enjoy quite a show even from outside of the stadium. The gates will open at 6:15 p.m., and the concert will begin at 7:45 p.m.

Photo Credit: Jose Francisco Del Valle Moj @ Flickr

Photo Credit: Jose Francisco Del Valle Moj @ Flickr

4. Colourscape Music Festival:

This unusual event spans from the 14th to the 22nd of September on Clapham Common’s 220 acres of green space. The festival combines contemporary music with very colourful and interesting visual art. The feature of the festival is what is known as a colourscape. This is basically a walk-in structure of colour and light first created by Peter Jones in the early 70s. More than 35 of these have been made and they come in different types and have different visual effects. Three types were commissioned by Eye Music Trust and they are called festival 1 and 2, which are for large scale performances, events, and workshops. The third is a moonoroni which is for performances or workshops on smaller sites. Then three others were created in collaboration between artists Peter Jones and Lynne Dickens and these are: Mirror Islands and Wings for what is described as experiences of pure colour and light, and Sky Holes for colour and art workshops.

Photo Credit: joan!ta @ Flickr

Photo Credit: joan!ta @ Flickr

According to many people who have attended, the photographs do not do it justice, it is something that requires your actual presence. They describe it as ‘like flying’ or ‘breathing colour’ and many adults say that it makes them feel like children again. If you’re looking for something interesting to do this weekend, come to London and put on your very own coloured cloak and enter a whole new world.

Photo Credit: saw2th @ Flickr.

Photo Credit: saw2th @ Flickr.

5. The Herd Debuts:

Rory Kinnear has starred as Bill Tanner in the James Bond films Quantum of Solace and Skyfall, and is also a part of the Royal Shakespeare Company, most recently starring as Iago in the production of Othello, but now he is switching his focus to writing the script rather than performing it. His debut play, The Herd, comes to the Bush Theatre on the 13th of September and will be showing through the 26th of October. His play has been described as, “a witty and heartfelt look at family life when it doesn’t turn out quite the way you imagined.” The cast includes Emmy award winner Anna Calder Marshall from the film Anna Karenina, Adrian Bower, and Louise Brealey. The Oliver award winning director, Howard Davies, will be directing the show. The production focuses on Andy Griffith, the main character, and his 21st birthday, which he seems to care little about. This is contrasted with his mother who could not be more excited and worried about it. The play seems promising and should be good for an unexpected ending, and it’s rare to catch a blooming writer’s first masterpiece.

Photo Credit: Ewan Munro, Ewan-M @ Flickr.

Photo Credit: Ewan Munro, Ewan-M @ Flickr.