Category Archives: International

Ten ways to rekindle your romance in Greece

Whether you are looking for an ideal honeymoon destination or just a romantic escape, the beauty and diversity of the Greek landscape forms the most romantic backdrop to celebrate your love. Search for your fairy-tale romance in the Greek islands, a perfect honeymoon destination bathed in sunlight all year long. Explore with your other half the islands on a cruise and enjoy sun-kissed beaches, superb natural landscapes, cosmopolitan resorts and traditional settlements alike or taste exquisite local dishes. Santorini, Mykonos and Corfu rank among the most popular romantic getaways in Greece but don’t forget to pay a visit to the rest of the Aegean and Ionian islands as well!

A night out facing the Thermaic Gulf

Enjoy your drink or a glass of wine, on one of the boat bars that sail in the Thermaic Gulf along Thessaloniki’s old beachfront. The cityscape bathed in the moonlight will steal your heart away!

Kerkini Lake

A boating trip in Lake Kerkini

Opt for an unforgettable boating trip in the arms of nature, in the calm waters of Lake Kerkini. This man-made lake is situated only 35 km NW of Serres town, amidst amazing natural surroundings, and it offers a beautiful view of Mt Beles and the valley of Rodopi. Flocks of rare bird species will keep you company while you enjoy your outing!

A swim under the moonlight

Go swimming with your better half under the moonlight in the tranquil waters of Schoinias beach; you can have this unique night swim experience only 50 km away from the centre of Athens. Walk barefoot on the sand and enjoy your cocktail in one of the beach bars along the coast.

Canal D’Amour Beach in Corfu

Natural spa on the Canal D’Amour beach

Visit the well-known Canal D’Amour Beach in Sidari, Corfu Island. Explore the unique geological formations, swim in the cool waters, treat your body with the therapeutic grey mud of its rocks and feel all the goodness of a natural spa by the seashore.

A stroll in the castle of the knights

Hold hands with your loved one and wander along the stone cobbled alleys of the medieval town on Rhodes Island and let the magic of fairy-tale surroundings take you on a journey through time!

A bicycle ride in Nafplio

Discover a new way to get around town that is more convenient, hygienic, economical and environmentally friendly.  Travel to Nafplio and enjoy a bike ride along the coast facing the Argolic Gulf as well as the well-known castles Bourtzi and Palamidi.

A carriage ride on Spetses Island

Take a trip to lordly Spetses Island and enjoy your ride on a horse-driven carriage along the coastline. Admire the island’s mansions and the Old Seaport area. Make a stop at Poseidonio square and taste the local almond sweets that are traditionally offered in weddings and other happy occasions.

Travel by train

Board the train of a bygone era, which crosses the green Vouraikos gully and then climbs the steep mountainsides of Mt Helmos all the way to Kalavryta town. Sit back and relax in the historic rack railway carriages, known as Odontotos. Enjoy with your partner the route across this lovely part of Greek countryside accessible only by train.

Aerial View of skiers at Ski Resort Vasilitsa in the mountain range of Pindos, in Greece.

Skiing under a starlit sky

If adventure is what both of you are after, then why not try your ski routines under the starlight? Every Saturday you can go for night skiing at Vasilitsa ski resort right in the heart of the Pindus range. Ski down the lighted pistes in the company of your loved one and feel the adrenaline rush in your body!

Dinner at Chora, Alonnisos Island

Taste top quality local fresh fish dishes such as lobster spaghetti and kakavia soup (made of a variety of small tasty fish); and make sure you try the Alonnisos prime quality tuna fish, maybe as one of the courses during a candlelit dinner, in a place that for some people is considered to be the loveliest Chora (main town) of the Sporades Islands!

With so many romantic activities to pick from, Greece could be rated as the perfect choice of place to pop the question, to spend your honeymoon, to celebrate your anniversary, to have a great time on your first date, or to find your better half visiting idyllic locations. Next to the amazing Greek countryside, you will find accommodation in traditional guest houses, rural tourist lodgings, youth hostels, luxury hotels, tourist resorts and mansions, offering to you and your partner the opportunity to spend the perfect holidays in Greece!

Have you spent some romantic time in Greece? Share your lovely experiences with us in the comments section below.

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Your own ‘Haven’ at Norwegian Cruise Line’s private sanctuary at sea

Hidden away at the top of the ship is The Haven by Norwegian®, an exclusive enclave accessible by private keycard with Norwegian Cruise Line’s most luxurious and well-appointed accommodation offering. It’s like your private abode within the cruise ship, with access to all that the ship has to offer along with additional benefits such as personal service of a concierge and 24-hour butler throughout your stay. On top of that, complete privacy and tranquility are just steps away on a sundeck reserved exclusively for guests of The Haven. From embarkation to disembarkation, boarding of tenders to shore, award-winning shows to unique specialty restaurants; The Haven will make for a unique and unforgettable experience!

Haven Observation Lounge

Also read: When hulk of a ship becomes an artwork!

Escape to private Haven venues

·         The Haven Lounge: Catch up with your fellow Haven members, grab a cocktail from The Haven Bar, or just sit back and relax with a book. The Haven Lounge is your place to get away from it all.

·         The Haven Restaurant: In addition to the main dining rooms and specialty restaurants on board, Haven members also have private dining options available. Enjoy an exclusive array of dishes in The Haven Restaurant or have your butler serve you meals in the privacy of your suite.

·         The Haven Courtyard and Sundeck: Soak up the sun, take a dip in the pool, then let the world melt away as you relax in the hot tub. No matter how you plan to spend your time, this private sanctuary provides the perfect escape.

Need a choice? Read: Which are world’s most popular cruises!

The Haven Restaurant on Norwegian Bliss

Indulge in exclusive amenities

·         Exclusive access: Haven members are offered distinctive platinum keycard that allows them access to private areas onboard along with exclusive access to The Haven Courtyard area with a private pool, sundeck, hot tub and fitness area. Members are also provided a Mobile phone that can be used throughout the ship; this service is available on Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Epic.

·         Concierge service: The Concierge service will help you book dining, entertainment, shore excursions among other activities. Members can skip lines and be personally escorted on and off the ship at the pier and at ports-of-call. Garden Villa guests also get complimentary limousine service from pier to airport.

·         Exclusive dining: Haven members are given priority when reserving restaurants and have access to special Haven menus along with grab and go breakfast items including parfaits, diced fruit in a martini glass, fresh pastries and gourmet meats. They are the privileged ones to get VIP invitations to exclusive breakfast, lunch and cocktail parties on board.

Also read: Experience bliss on a cruise holiday

Haven Courtyard on Norwegian Escape

Ultimate luxurious stay

The 6,694 sq. ft. Garden Villa is the largest 3-bedroom suite on board followed by Deluxe Owner’s Suite with Large Balcony, Courtyard Penthouse with Balcony, Spa Suite with Balcony and Family Villa with Balcony.

·         3-bedroom Garden Villa: A sanctuary of contemporary design featuring a spacious living room, walls of windows, outdoor terraces with a hot tub and a private dining area; these villas sleep up to eight guests.

·         Deluxe Suite: Floor-to-ceiling windows provide an ever- changing view in this chic suite. Includes a bedroom (some ships offer two) with a luxury bath, plus a separate living and dining room.

Also read: Vagabond at cruise- Super star Virgo

·         Penthouse: Beautiful dining and sitting areas, spacious rooms, and amazing balconies make these penthouses unforgettable. Some of the opulent Courtyard Penthouses with Balcony are designed to be a romantic hideaway ideal for two with a round queen-size bed.

·         Family Villas: Chic décor adds a modern twist to this sumptuous villa. The master bedroom provides you with a retreat, while your kids can have their own room with a flat-screen TV and private bath. A private balcony completes this sanctuary at sea.

·         Spa Suite: The perfect way to experience a total spa holiday, the Spa Suites include a king-size bed and additional bedding to accommodate one guest, hot tub, oversized waterfall shower and multiple body spray jets, spa decor, easy access to the adjacent Mandara Spa and fitness centre, as well as complimentary access to the Thermal Spa Suites during regular Spa hours.

Love cruising? Also read: World’s largest cruise ship ready for the first voyage

Haven at Norwegian Bliss

This private keycard-access only for Haven members is unlike anything available at sea, reserved exclusively for guests to relax, dine and enjoy exquisite privacy.

Have you ever travelled in a Norwegian Cruise Line cruise ship? How was your experience? Share with us in the comments section below.

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TripAdvisor to become Facebook and Instagram of travel


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TripAdvisor is soon going to acquire a full-fledged social media avatar as good as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and FourSquare. It will create a social media platform for travel and makes restaurant critics, travel experts and influencers of every user. TripAdvisor unveiled a new site and mobile experience launching later this year. Currently in beta, the world’s largest crowd-sourced travel platform is evolving to become the most personalised and connected travel community, inspiring and empowering individuals with social assistive tools to plan and book better with relevant advice and information from people and experts they trust. During a preview event in New York organised for press on Sept 17, a demonstration of the new platform revealed that the new TripAdvisor will be optimised for mobile devices and take heavy cues from Instagram and Facebook.

Beta version of the new look

TripAdvisor has set out an ambitious strategy to transform itself into a social media platform for travelers. Users will be able to create personal profiles where they can post reviews, recommendations, photos and videos of hotels, restaurants, and attractions. While this feature already exists, the update will amp up the social media aspect, with users able to follow friends, influencers and major travel brands. Members will be able to save posts that appear on their travel feed, and, like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, social media validation will be possible with the addition of “Like” buttons. The new TripAdvisor expands its community beyond travellers to also include brands, social media influencers, publishers and friends. Travellers can follow and connect with individuals or content creators who share information that is relevant to their interests.

Complementing our more than 661 million reviews and opinions, TripAdvisor members will be able to create and view inspirational and helpful new forms of content including photos, videos and articles. The new platform is also being pitched as a space for content creation, for sharing content, and as a one-stop shop, where users can book their hotel directly from the site. Members will also have the ability to create “Trips,” which can be in-depth travel guides, itineraries or simple wish lists of things to do while traveling. Trips can be made private and saved for personal use or shared with the community to inspire and help others.  

Powered by the world’s first “travel feed,” TripAdvisor members will also be able to discover more relevant information faster when planning travel. Assisted throughout the entire travel planning process, members can draw advice and inspiration from their friends, family and trusted experts. When a member logs onto the TripAdvisor app or site, their homepage transforms into a personalised feed of information. When searching a particular destination, the feed automatically narrows the scope of the information displayed to that particular geographic location. For example, members planning a trip to Paris may see a food critic’s article on the best restaurant in the city, an influencer’s travel guide of “must-do’s,” and a friend’s review of a new hotel near the Eiffel Tower.

Steve Kaufer, CEO, introduces the new TripAdvisor travel feed on Sept. 17, 2018 in New York 

“TripAdvisor is poised to disrupt the travel industry once again as we create a more personalized and connected community,” said Stephen Kaufer, CEO & co-founder of TripAdvisor. “The new TripAdvisor is the one travel site that brings together social-assistive tools, amazing content and our existing booking capabilities to merge the joy of planning and discovery together into a single experience. We are assisting our members at each step of their journey as we become a more personalised, inspirational and useful TripAdvisor.”

A New, Valuable Audience for Brands and Publishers

While in beta, more than 500 social media influencers, well-known consumer brands, publishers and travel partners have joined the new TripAdvisor — with more being added every day. In addition to the many content creators joining the platform, TripAdvisor’s team of destination experts and TripAdvisor Media Group brands, including Smarter Travel, Cruise Critic and TheFork.com, will also contribute to the site experience through unique profiles. These partners have already started to create hundreds of pieces of inspiring and helpful travel content, grow their followers, and provide valuable feedback to improve the experience.

Members will be able to follow favorite brands like National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel Channel, Business Insider & Insider Guides, PopSugar, Great Big Story, Pandora Music, GoPro, Goop, NYC & Company (via their consumer-facing tourism website, nycgo.com), Nashville Music City, and The Knot, among many others. Members will also be able to follow leading social media influencers like television personality and restaurateur Giada De Laurentiis, as well as travel bloggers, like TravelBabbo.

TripAdvisor’s Impact on Travel and Tourism

TripAdvisor has unveiled its new site and mobile experience at a time when the company’s impact on the travel and tourism industry is massive and growing. Two recent studies show a growing reliance on TripAdvisor during the travel planning, booking (pre-trip and in-destination) and post-trip experience. According to a 2017 Oxford Economics Study, the TripAdvisor platform has influenced $546 billion USD (10.3%) of global tourism spend annually in the travel and hospitality industry as consumers sought our review content as a part of their decision-making process. A 2018 study from comScore found that 60% of people booking travel online went to TripAdvisor during the travel planning and booking process, and a full 74% of travellers used TripAdvisor when booking on hotel websites. The new TripAdvisor site and mobile experience is set to come out of beta and launch globally to the public later this year across all markets and languages where the company operates.

TripAdvisor covers approximately 7.7 million accommodations, airlines, experiences, and restaurants and provides travellers with the wisdom of the crowds to help them decide where to stay, how to fly, what to do and where to eat. TripAdvisor also compares prices from more than 200 hotel booking sites so travellers can find the lowest price on the hotel that’s right for them. TripAdvisor-branded sites are available in 49 markets, and are home to the world’s largest travel community of 456 million average monthly unique visitors, all looking to get the most out of every trip.

How excited you are with the new look on TripAdvisor? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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When hulk of a ship becomes an artwork!

Norwegian Cruise Line has revealed that Eduardo Arranz-Bravo, the award-winning Spanish artist, created the hull artwork for the fourth and final ship of its Breakaway-Plus class, Norwegian Encore, debuting in Miami in November 2019. A representation of his modern and abstract style, the ship’s hull will feature a labyrinth of color inspired by Arranz-Bravo’s life by the sea in Barcelona and pay tribute to the vibrant guest experience for which the Norwegian brand is recognized.

Norwegian Encore by Norwegian Cruise Line

“Norwegian Cruise Line is a dynamic, pioneering company known for its innovative experiences and breathtaking collection of beautifully designed ships,” said Arranz-Bravo. “I am honored to not only bring that vibrancy to life even more on Norwegian Encore but also showcase my love for the ocean and my hometown of Barcelona.” Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, played a key role in the selection of Arranz-Bravo as the hull artist for Norwegian Encore, having been inspired by his work for many years. Del Rio’s passion for the arts has helped elevate Norwegian’s on-board experience, most recently with the multi-million-dollar art collection curated for Norwegian Bliss. “We are well-known for our iconic hull designs and know that Arranz-Bravo’s lively design will complement the colorful destinations in the Caribbean that Norwegian Encore will visit when she debuts next year,” said Del Rio.

Also read: Vagabond at a cruise – Super Star Virgo
Spanish artist Eduardo Arranz-Bravo

Recognized for his inventive and humanistic approach to abstract art, Arranz-Bravo’s work is showcased throughout the world and portrays a constant evolution that some refer to as futuristic.  He is highly regarded, having been the recipient of countless awards and accolades, and was one of three artists chosen to represent the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. “Eduardo’s design will be a perfect complement to the collection of hull artwork within our fleet and is a testament to the dynamic experience our guests will have on board,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line.  “We are proud to welcome him to our Norwegian Cruise Line family.” 

Need a choice? Read: Which are world’s most popular cruises!
Norwegian Encore by Norwegian Cruise Line

At approximately 167,800 gross tons and accommodating up to 4,000 guests, Norwegian Encore will complete the Breakaway-Plus class, the most successful class in the company’s history. She is currently being built at Meyer Werft, in Papenburg, Germany and will feature many innovative dining, entertainment and recreational activities that guests have come to expect from the industry-leading brand. Following her unveiling, she will cruise out of Miami every Sunday and sail seven-day voyages to the Eastern Caribbean, beginning with her first journey on November 17, 2019 through April 12, 2020.

Norwegian Encore by Norwegian Cruise Line
Love cruising? Also read: World’s largest cruise ship ready for the first voyage

About Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line is the innovator in cruise travel with a 51-year history of breaking the boundaries of traditional cruising.  Most notably, Norwegian revolutionized the cruise industry by offering guests the freedom and flexibility to design their ideal cruise vacation on their schedule with no set dining times, a variety of entertainment options and no formal dress codes. Today, Norwegian invites guests to enjoy a relaxed, resort-style cruise vacation on some of the newest and most contemporary ships at sea with a wide variety of accommodations options, including The Haven by Norwegian®, a luxury enclave with suites, a private pool and dining, concierge service and personal butlers. Norwegian Cruise Line sails around the globe, offering guests the freedom and flexibility to explore the world on their own time and experience up to 27 dining options, award-winning entertainment, superior guest service and more across all of the brand’s 16 ships.

Norwegian Encore by Norwegian Cruise Line
Also read: Experience bliss on a cruise holiday
Have you ever travelled in a Norwegian Cruise Line cruise ship? How was your experience? Share with us in the comments section below.

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Where a train takes you to the Caves!

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Estimated to be over 2 million years old, the Al Hoota Cave is one of Oman’s most popular natural tourist attractions. Located off route 21 between Nizwa and Bahla at the foot of Oman’s epic mountain Jabal Shams, just 2 hours drive from Muscat, it is the first and only cave in the Arabian Peninsula which is open to visitors. With a total length of around 4.5 kilometres, around 500 metres of the cave is accessible to the general public.

The one hour guided tour starts from the Visitor’s Centre with a short ride in an electric train that carries passengers up to the cave entrance. Once inside the cave, it’s a feast for the eyes as you walk on the pathway and witness an enormous subterranean cavern filled with stalactites, stalagmites and colourful solid rock columns. Don’t miss the popular lion’s head, the cat, the old man and countless other intriguing shapes and an 800m long underground lake that is home to the rare blind fish – Garra Barreimiae and many other animal species like bats, arthropods, mollusks, spiders, snails and water beetles.

More on OMAN: The jewel of Arabia gets a stylish new gateway

While the Al Hoota Cave is made of stone, it was created by water. Like many other caves in Oman, the Al Hoota Cave system was formed by the dissolution of limestone by acidic water. When rainwater dissolves carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or soil, it produces a dilute carbonic acid that dissolves the limestone as it runs over it, thus forming the cave. Every 100 years, the water dissolves through 10mm of rock – so it takes a long time to create something as spectacular as the Al Hoota Cave! Fascinating features such as stalagmites, stalactites and of course the magnificent lion of the cave are formed by mineral deposits as water drips into or moves through the cave system. Some of the columns and curtains you will see in the cave have been shaped over millions of years.

Post the tour; also visit the geological exhibition for an interesting insight into the geology of Oman and an in-depth study on how these caves were formed. Owing to its delicate ecosystem, a maximum of only 750 people are allowed to visit the caves on a day, hence it is ideal to do prior booking. The cave is open to visitors every Tuesday to Sunday from 9am to 6pm.

Love turtles? Read: Go for turtle watching in OMAN

You could combine your trip with a visit to Nizwa to experience the magnificent Fort and Friday market or see the traditional architecture of Al Hamra and the beautiful atmosphere of Misfit al Abryeen. You could stroll through Wadi Tanuf or do the rim walk at Jebel Shams before lunch at Al Hoota followed by an afternoon visit to the cave.

Love caves? Read: Myth and mystery of the cave 90 feet deep

Have you ever been to Al Hoota cave? Share your experience with us in the comments section below.

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Why Lido De Paris is the favourite show for Indian tourists!


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Paris thrills here! The pulsating liveliness of the Champs-Élysées exalts the Parisian art de vivre. The capital comes alive on the world’s most beautiful avenue. And, established on the Champs-Elysées for more than 70 years, this iconic cabaret has been the incarnation of Parisian nights since 1946

The Indian Choice

For over two decades now, Lido de Paris has been the most preferred cabaret and entertainment site for Indian tourists and business visitors in Paris. The show’s wholesome entertainment, most modern use of technology and attractive sets in a typical French ambience have been enjoyed by families, groups and individuals visiting from India.

An Exceptional setting

Entering the Lido Parisian cabaret is as awe-inspiring as discovering a treasure. Tassels by the thousands, gilded mosaics… A hall decked in the colours of the night leads towards the recently renovated panoramic theatre that seats over 1,100.

A breathtaking show

Welcome to Paris Merveilles, the acclaimed show from director Franco Dragone, the international figure of live shows. Sensual, intimate, elegant and spectacular, this waking dream will take your breath away and leave you dazzled. Welcome to a fantastic whirlwind of technological wizardry led along by the most beautiful girls in the world.

An Indian Dinner

In addition to our different menu options one will be also able to choose a dedicated menu for Indian with a vegetarian option. A three-course menu prepared with fresh and high quality ingredients. 

“Legendary”, “sumptuous”, “breathtaking”, “magical”, “romantic”……. are just some of the superlatives used by the tourists to describe Paris.The French capital is the whole world’s dream. Every year, almost 40 million visitors come to discover it’s incredible variety of  heritage. Its is Mythical Paris, with the Champs Elysées….. Monumental Paris with the Eiffel Tower…. Cultural Paris with the Louvre, the musée d’Orsay……Paris by night with the Lido, the cabarets, the theatres….Gastronomical Paris with it’s starred restaurants…..Paris Seine with it’s bridges, the Ile Saint-Louis, the Ile de la Cité…. Paris Chic with the Avenue Montaigne and the Place Vendome…..Green Paris, with the Tuileries, the Luxembourg…..

Now, Paris is also “Paris Merveilles” with the new Lido show created and staged by Franco Dragone. So next time you are in Paris, drop your inhibitions and enjoy one of the most extraordinary cabaret performances in the entire world. Won’t you!

Also read: An evening in Paris- with your love!

Have you ever been to Lido at Champs-Élysées and enjoyed the cabaret performance? Share your experience with us in the comments section below.

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Helsinki’s cultural quarter gets a new skylight!


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Finland’s capital Helsinki has gained a major new cultural institution and a striking new public space with the completion of Amos Rex. The art museum opens after a five- year, €50 million project designed by architecture firm JKMM, which has seen the refurbishment of the landmark 1930’s Lasipalatsi building in Central Helsinki. At the heart of the museum, 13,000 cubic metres of rock has been excavated to create a new 2,200 sqm world-class flexible gallery space topped with a series of domes and skylights that form the new undulating landscape of the Lasipalatsi Square.

Photo: Mika Huisman/Amos Rex

Amos Rex’s exhibition programme extends from the newest, often experimental, contemporary art to 20th-century Modernism and ancient cultures. Amos Rex aims to present captivating and ambitious art refreshingly and exuberantly. The goal is for the past, present and future to produce unique experiences and surprising encounters beneath and above ground, and on the screen. Amos Rex opens with Massless, an exhibition by the Tokyo-based digital art collective teamLab, which will run until 6 January 2019. In the early half of 2019, Amos Rex will present a retrospective of the Dutch art collective Studio Drift as well as Rene Magritte: Life Line, the first major exhibition of this pioneer of the surrealist movement in Finland. These exhibitions will run in parallel from 8 February to 19 May.

Amos Rex 20180708 Amos Anderson museo, Helsinki. Credit: Tuomas Uusheimo

The opening of Amos Rex is said to be one of the biggest events to occur in the cultural life of Helsinki for a generation and will offer unrivalled facilities for the display of art, exhibitions, film and performance. Art used to be something we hung on the wall and went respectfully to contemplate. Today art is increasingly interactive and conversational. It is something people make and experience together. Contemporary art finds all the time new forms and new media and this is exemplified in the work teamLab. teamLab’s immersive and participatory digital artwork is a fantastic way to demonstrate the expressive possibilities opened up by new galleries. Digital technology has allowed art to liberate itself from the physical and transcend boundaries, and it can turn the relationship between people in the same space into a positive experience.

European art scene: Brussels shines the spotlight on contemporary art

Vortex of Light Particles, which has been especially created for this occasion, will be the largest installation in the exhibition. It will create a digital simulation of water pouring upward in reversed gravity towards the uniquely and beautifully domed ceiling, flowing from this underground space to the skylight above. The trajectories of these simulated water particles will form a series of lines, which will in turn create waterfalls and vortex all along the walls and ceiling of this space.

Amos Rex 20180620 Bio Rex, Helsinki. Credit: Tuomas Uusheimo

Amos Rex is the latest addition to the buzzing cultural quarter of Helsinki, which already includes the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki Music Centre, Alvar Aalto’s Finlandia Hall, the National Museum of Finland, the Finnish Museum of Natural History, the Ateneum Museum, Helsinki Art Museum (HAM) and the soon-to be completed Oodi Central Library. The centrepiece of the new museum is a 2,200 sqm gallery space created beneath the Lasipalatsi square which will offer the curators of Amos Rex the opportunity to accommodate large scale works of art and performance, and to stage exhibitions, installations and performance in a hugely flexible space with a high degree of technical control.

Also read: A year to celebrate the art of circus

The refurbishment of the 1930’s landmark together with the new museum extension are remarkable additions to Helsinki’s urban culture.The square adjacent to Lasipalatsi is one of the most important public spaces in Helsinki. Now the newly landscaped Lasipalatsi Square with its gently curving domes will be received as a welcome addition to Helsinki’s urban culture.

Have you ever witnessed the Finnish art scene? Please share your experiences with us in the comments section below.

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This full moon experience the Kandy Esala Perahera

Held annually in the full-moon month of ‘Esala’, the Kandy Esala Perahera is the ultimate celebration and showcase of Sri Lanka’s rich heritage and vibrant culture. The significance of the month of ‘Esala’ (which falls on July or August) is that it is believed to commemorate the very first teaching imparted by the Buddha, following his enlightenment. Conducted in reverence to the sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha which is contained in the ancient palace of Kandy known as ‘Sri Dalada Maligawa’, the flamboyant annual procession unites Sri Lankans from all corners of the island and draws culture enthusiasts from across the globe. This year, the Kandy Esala Perahera is taking place from 16th to 26th August in its usual series of colourful Kumbal Peraheras, Randoli Peraheras and vivacious ritualistic ceremonies.

Read more: Dalada Maligawa houses Buddha’s sacred tooth as relic

Majestic origins and timeless rituals

With an origin rooted in centuries passed, The Esala Perahera in Kandy is one of the oldest and most significant of all Buddhist festivals in Sri Lanka. The Sinhalese term ‘Perahera’ refers to a procession of ceremonial musicians, drummers, dancers, singers, acrobats,whip crackers, flag bearers, sword carriers, fireball dancers and various other performers accompanied by a large number of elaborately adorned elephants parading the streets in celebration of a religious event. Primarily hosted to honour the sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha, the Esela Perahera is also conducted with the intention of beseeching blessings from the divinities for bountiful rains and a prosperous harvest, as well as an intercession to shower blessings on the people. The illustrious ten-day festival commences with the ‘KapSituveema’ – a ritual where young jackfruit trees are planted in the premises of each of the four ‘Devales’ (Shrines of God) dedicated to the four ‘Guardian Gods’ Natha, Vishnu, Katharagama and Pattini, and ends with the traditional ‘Diya Kepeema’ – a water cutting ceremony which is held at the Mahaweli River at Getambe in Kandy.

Read more: Peradeniya, Kandy – Much beyond botanical gardens

A flamboyant fusion of history, culture and religion

Exploring every facet of Sri Lankan culture and Buddhist heritage, the Esala Perahera features an endless variety of traditional local dances, including graceful Kandyan dances, striking whip and fire dances and many other folklore inspired performances. During each perahera, a myriad of festively dressed Kandyan drummers, eastern percussionists, singers and acrobats along with mahouts chaperoning dazzlingly embellished tuskers and elephants take to the streets to illuminate and enliven the procession.The entire route of the procession is decorated with  countless lights which are beautifully synchronized with the proceedings and performances of each Perahera.

Read more: An orphanage for the mighty at Pinnawala

An idyllic base in the heart of the bustling festivities

The Kandy Esala procession that is held annually to pay homage to the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha

Located 116km away from Colombo, in Sri Lanka’s scenic Hill Country, Cinnamon Citadel Kandy is nestled in the heart of the city of Kandy, making it the ideal base for those traveling from far and wide to view the Perahera. Set against the picturesque backdrop of the Knuckles Mountain Range shrouded in varying degrees of mist, and built to resemble the majestic realm of the last Sinhalese kings, Cinnamon Citadel Kandy takes you on an enchanting cultural journey and tells you an ancient tale of its own. The resort bears many vivid features in the form of vibrant tones of red and traditional Kandyan art, which evoke a rich cultural presence and a true sense of regal luxury. Cinnamon Citadel’sample verdant gardens which are located near a tranquil bend in the Mahaweli River offer a quaint and tranquil atmosphere for guests to relax and unwind after a long and exuberant day of crowding alongside the streets to witness the magnificent Esala Perahera.

Also read: A lot of tea and a bit of Ramayana at Nuwara Eliya

Idyllically located amidst all the action, Cinnamon Citadel Kandy will once again join the nation in celebrating the grand festival, whilst offering a convenient base from which guests can experience and enjoy the bustling festivities during the Perahera season.

Have you ever visited Kandy or have been witness to Kandy Perahera? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below.

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A timepiece for the adventurers on the top of the world!

The award-winning Favre-Leuba Raider Bivouac 9000 recently demonstrated that it’s not just a timepiece – but a mountaineering tool that redefines reliability. Recently, the Bivouac 9000 broke records becoming the only watch in the world to reach the top of the world – the summit of Mt Everest.  Record-breaking mountaineer Adrian Ballinger and his team battled biting cold temperatures of -40 degrees C and lower, in the harshest of conditions, noting that “at 8,800 meters, the Raider Bivouac 9000 performed flawlessly all the way to the summit of Mt Everest.” 

Moving towards the summit

Coinciding with the 280th anniversary of Favre-Leuba, the Bivouac 9000 previewed during Baselword 2017 and was officially launched on the consumer market in October 2017. Within months of the launch, the watch won the prestigious 2017-18 Watchstars ‘New Star’ award for the best new watch to enter the market. The Raider Bivouac 9000 is indeed a ‘New Star’, but it pays homage to its 1962 predecessor with the same name. The core idea of the aneroid barometer is taken forth from the original Bivouac but the engineering and functional capabilities of the Bivouac 9000 ensure the watch’s performance, innovations and precision mechanics once again redefine expectations and hold true the brand claim of conquering frontiers. 

Performing in tough conditions is Raider Bivouac 9000

The retro-futuristic Bivouac 9000 is the ultimate timepiece tool for adventurers, especially mountaineers as it shows the altitude using an aneroid barometer. The watch’s altitude/ barometer indicates short term changes in weather based on atmospheric pressure enabling mountaineers to determine if they should proceed to the summit or take shelter. It also helps them better understand their current geo-position, vital knowledge especially during low visibility conditions when it’s hard to determine distance to a destination, as well as providing climbers with a more accurate location to broadcast in case of an emergency rescue mission. For sailing explorers, the barometer is a dynamic indication of whether to change the navigation course due to unforeseen meteorological conditions. 

Adrian Ballinger at the summit with Raider Bivouac 9000

Even at the top of the world – the Bivouac 9000 demonstrated just how it’s redefining reliability and strength of engineering. As Ballinger testified – the watch performed flawlessly throughout the gruelling climb to the world’s highest peak, unaffected by the extreme weather conditions which would have affected the battery life of most digital watches. Favre-Leuba’s Raider Bivouac 9000 showed that it’s a watch with a mission – to never fail even against the harshest conditions.

Inside the Bivouac 9000:

  • The watch’s barometer features an airtight capsule made from a special alloy. The capsule expands when the air pressure drops as the wearer climbs, and contracts when the air pressure rises during the descent. 
  • The 48mm titanium case is engineered for optimized performance (altimeter/legibility), featuring a bidirectional rotating bezel to keep track of altitude based on atmospheric changes.
  • Hand-wound FL311 movement, based on the EMC 3903M caliber; specially designed mechanisms for altimeter and power-reserve indicator; power reserve of 65 hours 
  • Hours, minutes, small seconds, central hand to display altitudes of 3,000 m per full rotation, subdial for displaying altitudes of up to 9,000 m and air pressure in hPa, power-reserve indicator, date display 

More about SWISS masterpieces! Read: A marathon on ice for preservation of water!

Favre-Leuba is the second oldest active Swiss watch brand, with a rich heritage in watch engineering and designing spanning over 281 years. Led by eight generations of the Favre family until the 1980s, Favre-Leuba was acquired by the Tata Group on November 16th, 2011. With the global scope of the Tata Group behind it, Favre-Leuba is now transitioning a legendary brand into the contemporary while continuing to cherish that which its forefathers breathed life into, the art of watch engineering. Not many can claim the power of history and own a piece of it. Today – Favre-Leuba is creating historic legends to be cherished for those that believe that being exemplary is just the start of their own legend. 

Have you used any such timepiece for adventure? How was the experience? Share with us in the comments section below

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World’s first ANGRY BIRDS WORLD entertainment park opens in Qatar

You would have enjoyed the Angry Birds game, but now it is time to enjoy the Angry Birds entertainment park. And, it’s unique. The world’s first ANGRY BIRDS WORLD entertainment park has opened its doors to residents and visitors to Qatar, transforming the classic bird-flinging game into a cluster of high-octane attractions designed to entertain every member of the family. Located in Qatar’s largest fashion, dining and entertainment destination, Doha Festival City, the 17,000 sq.m park comprises an indoor space of 6,500 sq.m. 

Inspired by the popular digital game, the park offers its visitors a heart-pounding experience with many attractions such as the Blast Bomb – a drop and twist tower that features free-fall motion from a height of 11 metres, or Red Alert where visitors are hurled into an exhilarating 360-degree spin.  One of the park’s uniquely impressive attractions is the Big Tree, which offers both children and adults a fun edutainment experience encompassing science, music and art.  

For adventure junkies, the tree also houses “Own the Sky”, a 106-metre zip line that allows participants to cut through the air at rip-roaring speeds. Visitors can also test their physical strength with “Fierce Flight” – an incredible ropes course challenge.  

ANGRY BIRDS WORLD is a new addition to Qatar’s expanding urban and family entertainment offering, which tourism officials have marked as a priority in a five-year strategy designed to diversify visitor source markets. Qatar’s entertainment portfolio includes a range of exciting festivals, celebrating everything from food and shopping to music and comedy. The country’s longest nation-wide festival – Qatar Summer Festival – kicked off this June in tandem with the Russia FIFA World Cup 2018, with fan zones in venues and hotels across the country designed to give a taste of what is to come in 2022 when Qatar hosts the FIFA World Cup. 

Simo Hämäläinen, Senior Vice President, Brand Licensing at Rovio Entertainment, commented: “Our new world-class attraction based in Qatar is another clear demonstration of the global appeal of the Angry Birds brand. Rovio’s current licensing roadmap is strongest to date, bringing great new ways for our fans to enjoy Angry Birds. The brand’s future looks bright and is being spearheaded with the theatrical release of The Angry Birds Movie 2 in September 2019.”

ANGRY BIRDS WORLD constitutes one of the four major entertainment parks that are introduced by Trimoo and set to open at Doha Festival City, located along Al Shamal Road. Upon completion, the unique entertainment destination will be home to –  SNOW DUNES™ – the country’s first indoor snow park set in an ancient Arabian village; VIRTUOCiTY™ – the region’s first dedicated digital gaming and entertainment hub; and JUNIVERSE™ – the world’s first city in space that aims to inspire and entertain children.

Angry Birds World in Numbers 

  • World’s 1st Angry Birds World entertainment park 
  • Over 20 high-quality thrilling rides
  • Over 17,000 sq.m of mad fun (6,500sq.m – indoor  | 10,500sq.m – outdoor)
  • Trampoline Park – 1,300 sq.m
  • Roller Glider – 106m long
  • Super Slingshot Tower 42m high | capsule can reach 60m high
  • 1st indoor/outdoor karting track in the world  (1st multi-level karting track in the region, 261m track length | 11 Go Karts)
  • Over 70 arcade games
  • How about snagging450 sq.m retail area 
  • Refuel on the goMore than 7 Food & Beverage options

Have you ever been to a theme based entertainment park? Share your experiences in the comments section below.

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