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August 2010

Breaks In Ibiza – Ibiza Hotels

Posted August 31, 2010 by BookingBuddy

Ibiza-3 Mention Ibiza and most people immediately think of huge clubs filled with thumping music, as well as lobster-red tourists flooding the beaches. However, those of you willing to venture beyond the island’s glitzy facade will be pleased to discover plenty of beautiful, tranquil spots. Discover Ibiza’s historical side with a trip into the Old Town – especially beautiful when it’s lit up at night – or check out The Egg, a sculpture commemorating the claim that Christopher Columbus was born in Ibiza. Commune with nature at Es Vedra, an imposing rock just off the coast of Cala d’Hort. Grab a seat at Cafe Del Mar and enjoy some cool drinks while taking in some of the stunning sunsets Ibiza is renowned for.



Invisa Hotel La Cala – Relax and enjoy your beach break at this hotel in Santa Eulalia. The Invisa Hotel La Cala has a range of spacious rooms, most of them with private balconies overlooking the hotel’s pool. If the pool gets too crowded, just head over to the nearby beach, mere minutes away – just follow the trail through the gardens. The hotel can also arrange car or bicycle hires for you, making it much easier for you to explore the island. Room rates start from about £60.



Es Vedra – The islet of Es Vedra is no more than a few kilometres wide, but this tiny rock enjoys more than its share of myth and mystery. The island is a nature reserve, and completely uninhabited by humans. The minerals in the rock form a highly magnetic field, leading to the formation of many myths about the island. If you’re lucky, you’re may be able to stumble into secret cove popularly known as Atlantis. There is a natural cave with a painting of Shiva, as well as many carvings and images left by other artists.



Bacchus – Hidden away in the quiet village of Santa Gertrudis is this charming, laidback restaurant. Housed in a 350 year old finca –a traditional villa – Bacchus is named after the Roman god of wine. You’ll find a healthy selection of that here, but take some time out to enjoy the food too. Enjoy unpretentious dishes such as breaded beef, seared tuna steaks, and stirfried vegetables. If you’re not too sure what to go for, just ask for the menu del dia, and enjoy three courses of the day’s finest offerings.


Check here for cheap flights to Ibiza.



What To Do In The UK – September

Posted August 26, 2010 by BookingBuddy

Blackpool-lights-tower  Summer may have left us once again, but that doesn’t mean you’ve got to spend the next few months holed up at home. Tear yourself away from the television and discover exciting events all over the UK this month.

3rd September – 7th November – Blackpool Illuminations, Blackpool

The Blackpool Illuminations have delighted locals and visitors since it was first put on more than 120 years ago. If you haven’t experienced them before, why not make a trip up there to view them? Popstar Robbie Williams handle the honours at this year’s Big Switch On.


9th – 12th September – Heritage Open Days, all around the UK

Ever wanted to have a peek into the castles and grand houses around the UK? The Heritage Open Days lets you do exactly that this weekend, with free admission to hundreds of privately-owned homes, factories, temples and yes, even castles.


11th – 12th September – Thames Festival, London

This free festival takes place on the Southbank, between Westminster and Tower Bridges. Shop from up-and-coming designers at the market stalls, indulge in tasty food from all over the world and enjoy performances by choirs, musicians and artists. There will be a spectacular fireworks display to cap off the festivities. 


Breaks In Faro – Faro Hotels

Posted August 25, 2010 by BookingBuddy

Faro The sun may have disappeared over here, but sun-lovers can always hope on a cheap flight to Faro to extend their summer. The town literally shines in the off-season, when the sun gleams off the beautiful white buildings lining Faro’s streets. Walk through the Old City (Cidade Velha) to get a glimpse of Faro in times past. The Ria Formosa lagoon is a huge nature reserve – visit the beaches around the area, or spend some time chilling out in the small towns surrounding the lagoon.



Hotel Eva – This bright, modern hotel has a great location near the Old City, and is a short walk from most attractions. Some rooms overlook the harbour, so you’re sure to wake up to fantastic views over the sparkling waters. The rooms themselves are clean and spacious, with neutral decor and modern amenities. The hotel also has a range of fitness facilities, including a stunning rooftop pool that looks out over Faro Marina. Start your day off with a bite from the hotel’s breakfast spread of bread rolls, fresh fruits, sausages and more. Room rates start from about £80, and include breakfast.



Ria Formosa – With its stunning beaches and abundance of wildlife, the huge Ria Formosa Lagoon is a popular attraction for many. Spend a few lazy hours soaking up the sun while laying on one of its amazing beaches, or explore the varied flora and fauna thriving in the nature reserve. You can also go on boat trips through the lagoon, stopping at islets and small towns along the way.



Restaurante Adega Nova – Step into this family-run place to experience traditional Portuguese dishes without the frills. The restaurant itself is dimly lit, with customers seated casually along wooden dining benches. The grilled fresh fish seems to be a favourite with many. Their seafood paella comes in a huge serving, overflowing with chunks of fish, squid and prawns. Seafood fans may also want to get the camarao a gillo – pan-fried prawns in a garlicky, spicy piri piri sauce, with half a lemon for seasoning. 

Check here for cheap flights to Faro.


Breaks In Lugano – Lugano Hotels

Posted August 24, 2010 by BookingBuddy

Lugano  The Swiss city of Lugano is a great destination for a short holiday. It’s located on the shores of Lake Lugano, and boasts wonderfully warm weather through most months of the year.  This unique micro-climate gives the city a distinctly Mediterranean feel, and you’ll even see palm trees lining Lugano’s pristine streets! The city is compact and has lots of pedestrianised streets, making it a dream to explore. Get to the top of Monte Bre for spectacular views over the lake and the city, and have a look at the picturesque village of Bre while you’re there. The lake itself is a popular spot for swimming and other water-sports.



Swissminiatur – This family-friendly theme park lets you explore Switzerland without leaving the shores of Lake Lugano. You’ll feel like a giant as you wander around the miniature scale-models of Swiss buildings. Visit Heidi’s village of Maienfeld, or have a close-up look at the details of the impressive Burgdorf Castle. The Dome of Milan is one of the park’s new additions, and – unlike many of the other tiny buildings – can also be viewed from the inside.



Hotel Federale – With its fantastic location halfway up a hill, guests at this hotel are sure to enjoy breathtaking views over Lugano. It is also less than five minutes from the train station, so you won’t have to worrying about lugging your heavy bags up a hill. The hotel itself is unmissable, housed in a triangular building and featuring a striking pale pink exterior. The rooms are compact, clean and comfortable, and are decorated in either a simple, modern style, or a more elaborate, traditional look, with luxurious fabrics. Room rates start from £170.



Locanda Del Boschetta –Housed in an unassuming building with low-key decor, this casual eatery is nevertheless a popular destination for Italian-inspired Swiss fare. Tuck into succulent beef or fish, cooked over hot coals while you watch. Other tasty, no-frills dishes include grilled calves’ liver, fresh fish from lake, and gelato in several flavours. 

Check here for cheap flights to Lugano


Breaks In Limerick – Limerick Hotels

Posted August 19, 2010 by BookingBuddy

Limerick  Feeling in need of a short break soon? Why not pop over to Limerick for a long weekend? This compact city on the banks of the River Shannon is just great for a short trip to relax and recharge. Most of the main attractions are clustered around the city centre, so you won’t have to travel far.  O’Connell Street is a great shop for shopping – step into Penneys or Debenhams to indulge in a spot of retail therapy. The Hunt Museum features over 2000 objects collected by the Hunt family, ranging from stone-age artifacts to works by Picasso. Most walking tours will also take you to St. John’s Cathedral and St. Mary’s Cathedral, as well as King John’s Castle.



Limerick Strand Hotel – Enjoy splendid views over the River Shannon, while being only a bridge away from the city centre. The Limerick Strand Hotel is housed in a clean, modern building, with large glass windows everywhere to help make the most of the view. The rooms are spacious, with delightfully plump pillows and plush carpets. Treat yourself to a few hours in the spa, and enjoy a manicure or a massage to help soothe away your stresses and aches. Room rates start from £90.



Lough Gur – Limerick has been settled for a long time, and some of the earliest traces of its first inhabitants can be seen at Lough Gur, a lake near the town of Bruff. The remains of the Neolithic settlement here dates from around 3000 BC, and the lake is surrounded by a series of majestic standing stones and a mysterious stone circle. Pop into the visitors centre to learn more about the area’s history, or pack a picnic and enjoy the splendid views over the lake’s clear waters.



Aubars Bar and Restaurant – Located just off O’Connell Street, this popular restaurant has been winning praise for its casual, modern dishes. Enjoy comfort food such as fish pie, topped with rich, creamy potato mash, roast chicken breast moistened with a red wine jus, or chunky seafood chowder, full of the day’s freshest catch.

Check here for Limerick travel information.


Bright Spark Sets Off Security Alarm With Pocket Full of Fireworks

Posted August 18, 2010 by BookingBuddy

Fireworks  You may not be able to bring a bottle of water or a nail-clipper with you on your flight, but it seems you may just be able to get away with some fireworks.

Despite being known for their strict measures, it seems customs and security staff at two US airports somehow allowed Paul Jones board his flights with 200 fireworks in his pocket. The security faux pas was only discovered when Jones arrived at Heathrow airport.

The Briton was attending Independence Day celebrations in Kansas and decided to take the leftover fireworks home to Manchester with him. He claims he did not realise the threat to security he posed by tucking them into his pocket and carrying them onboard his flight. Security staff missed spotting the fireworks even though he had to remove them from his pocket and place them in trays before stepping through the airports’ metal detectors.

The fireworks were finally discovered when security staff at Heathrow Airport requested permission to look through Jones’s suitcase. Jones was allowed to leave with the fireworks, as well as a lighter that was in his pocket, when he explained how they came to be in his possession. 


Breaks In Cannes – Cannes Hotels

Posted August 17, 2010 by BookingBuddy

Cannes  Fancy rubbing shoulders with the movers and shakers of the entertainment industry? Then grab yourself a cheap flight over to the town of Cannes, on the sparkling shores of the French Riviera. It plays host to the Cannes Film Festival in the summer months, but you’ll find the streets filled with a galaxy of stars even during the off-season. Take a stroll down La Croisette, and see if you can spot your favourite actors at a cafe or in a luxury boutique. The old town – La Suquet – is filled with narrow, winding streets and provides a break from the glitzy trappings of the main promenade.



Ile Sainte-Marguerite – The Man in the Iron Mask wasn’t just a character made up by Alexandre Dumas - he was in fact based on a mysterious person imprisoned on Ile Sainte-Marguerite in the 17th century. Hop on a ferry from Cannes to visit this little island and the prison where the masked inmate was held for over 30 years. Present-day visitors can stay in Fort Royal as guests at the youth hostel, instead of as prisoners. The Fort also houses a Museum of the Sea, featuring exhibits picked up from Roman and Saracen shipwrecks.



Hotel Splendid – The Hotel Splendid certainly lives up to its name with splendid views over the harbour and fantastic rooms. It is housed in a beautiful building, only a short walk from charming La Suquet and star-studded La Croisette. The rooms themselves are decorated in a sophisticated blend of old-fashioned style and new technology, echoing the city’s culture. Room rates from £170.



La Palme D’or – The menu may be pricey and the restaurant filled with celebrities and their hangers-on, but the food at La Palme D’or is generally acknowledged as some of the best in the city. The food is traditional French fare, often given a lighter, modern twist. Try the melt-in-your-mouth veal confit, which requires 48 hours notice, or see what the chef invents today with his ‘Dessert of the moment’. Their present summer menu features three dishes created especially for Tim Burton. 

Check here for cheap flights to Cannes.


Down The Chute – And Into The News

Posted August 12, 2010 by BookingBuddy

Slide1It sounds like a scene from a movie – an irate flight attendant, angered by a passenger’s rudeness, leaves his job by sliding down a plane’s emergency chute. Those of you who have had to deal with rude, abusive customers may have dreamt of reacting in a similar manner.


But that’s exactly what happened on Monday, when Steven Slater, a JetBlue flight attendant grew increasingly frustrated when a passenger ignored his repeated requests not to open the overhead lockers until the plane they were on had come to a complete stop. The final straw came when the passenger’s bag hit Slater in the face, and who berated him instead of giving him an apology.


The flight attendant then used the plane’s public address system to announce his anger, and grabbed a can of beer from the galley before dramatically deploying the emergency chute, sliding down it and walking to his parked car.


Slater was subsequently arrested and charged, but has since turned into something of a folk hero. There are Facebook fan pages and websites set up for him, and avid fans can even buy t-shirts with slogans such as ‘I Slide For Slater’.


While many are currently celebrating the flight attendant’s daring stunt, Slater also has his detractors, who criticise him for the way he handled the situation. Whose side are you on? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. 


Breaks In Strasbourg – Strasbourg Hotels

Posted August 11, 2010 by BookingBuddy

Strasbourg_full  A trip to Strasbourg is guaranteed to be a feast for your eyes and your tastebuds. This historic city is full of majestic cathedrals, beautiful old buildings, and quaint neighbourhoods. Enjoy a stroll along the medieval Ponts Couverts, or spend some time admiring the workmanship in the grand Church of Saint-Thomas. The Orangerie Park is a great spot for a romantic stroll, while the Secrets of Chocolate museum provides a tasty way to find out the process of chocolate-making. The Alsatian region is well-known for its distinctive cuisine – a mix of French and German tastes. Take some time out to enjoy heaping servings of sauerkraut, flambé tart, foie gras and much more



Petite France – Strasbourg is a picturesque city, but nowhere is it more pleasing to the eye than this little corner. Petite France looks like it came straight out of a fairytale - it’s full of narrow, cobbled streets, and pretty black and white buildings overlooking canals. Fisherman and tanners used to work and live here, but these days, you’ll find quaint little hotels and cosy restaurants, as well as the occasional souvenir shop catering to busloads of tourists. The old Ponts Couverts – or Covered Bridges – are situated at one end of the canals. They have since lost the roofs that gave them their name, but are no less picturesque.



Hotel Hannong – Make your stay in Strasbourg as fuss-free as possible with a stay at the Hotel Hannong. The hotel is only 10 minutes away from the TGV station, and is just a short walk away from a tram-stop, allowing you to explore the city easily. The hotel itself is bright, clean and modern, with beautiful painting and objet d’art adding a touch of interest. Venture out to the rooftop terrace after dark to enjoy a stunning view of the city, or to mingle with other guests. Room rates start from £85.



Brasserie Au Dauphin – Come to this historic restaurant for a taste of traditional Alsatian cuisine. Start with some foie grass, or a seafood plat, piled high with whelks, oysters and prawns. Their specialties include sauerkraut with Riesling, served with six toppings, and sauerkraut with fish. If you’re not one for sauerkraut, how about giving the Rhine Boatmen Chowder a go? Made with poached fish and served with fresh noodles and mushrooms, it’s guaranteed to have you loosening your belt at the end of the meal. 

Check here for Strasbourg travel information


Breaks In New Orleans – New Orleans

Posted August 10, 2010 by BookingBuddy

New-orleans  Despite being devastated by Hurricane Katrina a few years back, New Orleans is still a popular destination for visitors. The Big Easy is one of the most atmospheric cities in the US, and boasts a long, colourful history. Don’t miss a trip to the French Quarter, the city’s oldest (and best-known) neighbourhood, where the buildings feature beautiful iron-worked galleries wrapped around their facade. The notorious Bourbon Street is the city’s party central, filled with bars, clubs, restaurants and drunken revellers. For a macabre look at the city, take a trip through New Orleans’ old cemeteries, or join a walking tour and discover the city’s most haunted spots. Don’t leave the city without tasting some of its world-famous cuisine, which ranges from the traditional – gumbo, po-boys – to the, shall we say, exotic, such as nutria, a large rodent much like a beaver.



Le Pavillion Hotel – You won’t be far from the action at this elegant hotel. Located only a few blocks away from the French Quarter, it’s close enough that you won’t feel like you’re missing out on the fun, but far away enough that you can be sure of some peace when you need a rest. The hotel itself is a throwback to the age of beautiful, grand hotels – full of marble floors, huge chandeliers and grand staircases. The rooms are just as luxurious – expect plush four-poster beds, sumptuous draped curtains and thick, soft carpets. Room rates start from around £75.



Cafe du Monde – This coffee shop on Decatur Street in the French Quarter is a landmark New Orleans dining spot. There are probably other items on its menu, but most people are there for only two things – their beignets and cafe au lait. The beignets – square, doughnut-like pastries dusted with powdered sugar, are world-famous, and can lead to long queues outside the cafe. Enjoy it with the classic Cafe du Monde coffee, made with chicory and made creamy with fresh, hot milk.



Audubon Nature Institute – The Audubon Nature Institute, is a haven for nature-lovers. Marvel at the jewel-hued insects in the Insectarium, or enjoy a game of golf at the Audubon Golf Course, set among beautiful old oak trees. You’ll spend many happy hours admiring the mix of exotic and familiar animals at the Audubon Zoo, often voted one of the country’s best zoos. The Aquarium of the Americas features an impressive Gulf of Mexico exhibit which holds 400 000 gallon s of saltwater as well as hundreds of sea creatures. 

Check here for New Orleans travel information


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