Bad Coffee in Paris?

‘Why do the French make such horrible coffee?’ I used to think when I lived in Paris in 1996. If I’d bothered researching the question I’d quickly have found the answer – bad coffee was French government policy. The French government pushed the cheaper, lower quality Robusta coffee beans, rather than the more expensive, higher quality Arabica coffee, because Robusta was what grew in French colonies. Since Robusta was best for making those tiny cups of bitter sump-oil-black espresso, which is what the French think of as coffee, that’s what they learned to like. And that’s the only coffee French bar staff learned how to make.

Now Arabica coffee is making inroads into France and – quite apart from the 50 or so Starbucks in Paris – other coffee bars are popping up. The Melbourne newspaper The Age ran an article on where to get a good cup of coffee. Try Le Bal Café (6 Impasse de la Defense, 18eme), La Cafeotheque (52 Rue de l’Hotel de Ville, 4eme), Coutume Café (47 Rue de Babylone, 7eme), Kooka Boora (62 Rue des Martyrs, 9eme), Cafe Lomi (9 Rue de Saussure, 17eme) or Merce & the Muse (1 Rue Dupuis, 3eme).

Stars & Bucks
? Coffee’s an international drink, I’ll find it in Papua New Guinea, where I’m going soon, and just before Christmas I had a coffee in that one off coffee shop Stars & Bucks in Palestine

Source: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/tonywheeler/my_lists/bad_coffee_in_paris_1/

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Alaska-Kamchatka Service Summer, 2012

Eastern Russia?s premier air carrier Yakutia Airlines has applied to the US Department of Transportation for approval to provide scheduled and charter air transportation between Russia and the United States, with the intention to commence weekly service between Anchorage, Alaska, and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Russia, on July 12, 2012. Yakutia plans to serve the route with its fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft. The service would reestablish a vital transportation link between Eastern Russia and the West Coast of North America.

Sportsfishermen from the US have long awaited a convenient way to get to Kamchatka, legendary worldwide for its unparalleled flyfishing. This volcano-studded peninsula, long isolated by geography and politics, is also expected to draw adventure travelers to experience its breathtaking landscapes, hot springs, unique wildlife, and the hospitality of its local Russian and native populations.  Regular service is expected to create countless new opportunities for business cooperation, as well as cultural and educational exchange between Eastern Russia and North America.

Schedules, prices, booking and tour information will be available after Yakutia Airlines receives final government approval to serve the route. 

Source: http://www.adventuretravelnews.com/alaska-kamchatka-service-summer-2012

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Uttarayan Kite Festival ? When Gujarat Shows its Aerial Skill

 

January 14th has a tremendous spiritual and cultural significance for the Indian state of Gujarat. Parents who usually find it difficult to get their kids out of bed will find the same kids strategizing and planning aerial battles even before sunrise. The markets turn colourful with a variety of decorative kites and homes exue the sweet fragrance of special recipes ? Undhiyu (mixed winter vegetable) and chikkis (made of sesame, peanuts and jaggery).

January 14 is the day Gujarat celebrates the ?Uttarayan Kite Festival?. People throughout the state fly kites on this special festival ? especially kids and the youth. The sense of enjoyment is contrasted against a cutthroat scuffle in the sky as the kids try to out-maneuver each other with their kites.

The meaning of word ?Utterayan? itself defines the reason for celebration. It?s made of two words ? ?Uttera? that means ?the north side?and ?yana? that stands for ?to go?. On January 14, the sun travels towards the northern hemisphere and indicates winter?s retreat. It?s believed that the God who was sleeping throughout the winter gets up that morning. That?s why people celebrate it in early morning and fly kites to show their happiness. The kites are fabricated with special light paper and bamboo to be sturdy enough to fight with the rival kites

In Ahmadabad ? the capital of Gujarat state, Utterayan Festival is celebrated in a special way. The city hosts an International KiteFestival as a part of official celebration of this occasion. Master Kite makers and flyers throughout the world come here and present their unique creations and skills to enchant the crowd. Wau-balang kites from Malaysia, llayang-llayanghave from Indonesia and giant banner kites from the USA are some international varieties of kites, which have wowed people in Ahmadabad in past years.

Source: http://blogs.hungrybags.com/2012/01/13/international-kite-festival/

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US National Park Week 2012: where to go when the parks are free

It?s April, so it?s time once again for one of the most tempting deals in American travel: National Park Week. Each of the 397 parks in the National Park System is offering free admission to visitors from April 21-29. The US National Parks are a bargain at any price, and the $80 annual pass is one of the best investments a nature-loving American traveler can make, but if you need an incentive to go visit some of the most breathtaking natural and historical wonders the world over, hopefully free admission will get you to hit the road this year.

And with the summer months seeing the lion?s share of visitors, April is a great time to go. An analysis of the best times to visit national parks as recommended by Lonely Planet authors found October to be the most highly recommended month, with September and April close runners-up. If you have to go in the summer, go (and we have some great tips on how to find solitude even during the busiest times of year); but if you can, shoot for the shoulder season, that sweet spot between high and low season, to enjoy some of the most popular parks without the crowds.

Which parks are best best in April? Spring wildflowers are carpeting the lower elevations, desert parks are at their most pleasant temperatures for exploration, and waterfalls are beginning to flow with full force with the onset of the snowmelt. Here?s a short list of some of our authors? favorite parks to visit during National Park Week:

Planning to explore a National Park this year? Where are you headed?

[Photo: Yosemite’s Vernal Falls from the Mist Trail, taken in April by jeroen020 on Flickr]


Plan the perfect trip to a national park ? download our free planning PDF, an excerpt from Lonely Planet?s Discover USA?s Best National Parks

Source: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/blog/2012/04/17/us-national-parks-week-2012-where-to-go-when-the-parks-are-free/

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Inn on the Square appoints new General Manager

(TRAVELWIRES) : Inn on the Square, a Three Cities Property, has appointed Clinton Thom as the hotel?s new General Manager.

: With 13 years of experience working for the Southern Sun Group within all operational departments, Clinton Thom has exceptional knowledge of the hospitality industry and an outstanding track record making him a valuable addition to the Inn on the Square team.

?I am honoured to join the Three Cities Group as the General Manager of the historic Inn on the Square. I look forward to working with the rest of the team and contributing to the success of this remarkable property,? says Clinton.

Clinton joins Inn on the Square after having served as the Deputy General Manager at one of the group?s most challenging properties, the Southern Sun OR Tambo International Airport, as well as at Southern Sun Pretoria where he was also responsible for a R39 million refurbishment.

?Clinton?s wealth of knowledge, experience, background and specific skills set matches what the Three Cities Group seeks in employment of Senior staff members. I have utmost confidence in his ability to provide the leadership and insight to drive this hotel to the successful level at which our other Three Cities properties are operating at,? says Three Cities? Operations Director Marius Earle.

Clinton began his career in hospitality as the Restaurant Manager and Assistant Food and Beverage Manager at the Holiday Inn Pretoria following which he was Assistant General Manager at the Garden Court in Sandton, helping to manage the hotel?s successful conversion from a Holiday Inn Garden Court to a Southern Sun Property.

Located in historic Greenmarket square, Inn on the Square is one of Cape Town?s heritage hotels and has re-opened doors after an extensive R35 million refurbishment. The hotel boasts new décor, a modern ambiance fused with a historic touch, and sees the return of the well-known Dish restaurant.

The ?Inn?s? central location invites guests to explore the beauty of the city of Cape Town on foot ? with the V&A Waterfront, the Cape Town Convention Centre and bustling Long Street all being within walking distance ? ensuring that every detail of this extraordinary city can be appreciated to the full.

Notes to editor:

Inn on the Square is part of the Three Cities Exceptional Hotels, a the leading hospitality marketing, management and training group in the South African hospitality industry, managing over 30 properties that include luxury city hotels, game lodges and resorts throughout Southern Africa. www.threecities.co.za.
Inn on the Square- www.innonthesquare.co.za; 021 423 2050

-END –

Media Contact

Contact Person: Catherine Dabbs
Company Name: Communication Services Africa
Email Address: catherine@celebsa.com
Telephone Number: 021.433.0347
For more information visit: http://www.innonthesquare.co.za


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Abu Dhabi CP, Gul stress expansion of ties

ANKARA: Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Turkish President Abdullah Gul held discussions on Tuesday on ways to strengthen bilateral relations between the UAE and Turkey.

They reviewed the excellent friendly ties between the two countries and their peoples in the light of the diligence of both sides to bolster relations in various avenues.

A number of regional and international developments and topics of common concern also came up for discussion.

Gul welcomed Sheikh Mohammed and the accompanying delegation at the Presidential Palace in Ankara and stressed that the visit embodies the mutual keenness of the leadership of both countries to bolster and expand the bilateral ties between them to serve the interests of both the people.

Sheikh Mohammed conveyed to Gul, the greetings of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as well as his good wishes for the welfare of the people of Turkey.

He also asserted that the recent visit by the Turkish President to the UAE paved the way towards added co-operation and gave a strong impetus to the growing ties between the two countries and their friendly relations.

Sheikh Mohammed stressed the importance of continuing consultation and bilateral coordination between the two countries for their mutual welfare. He also underlined the need for the exchange of visits between them as well as the boosting of bilateral trade and investment. This will strengthen the strategic partnership, especially as the UAE and Turkish economies are characterised by growth and development, the Crown Prince said.

Gul offered his greetings to be carried to President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa and expressed wishes for the progress and prosperity of the UAE people.

The Turkish President also hosted a state banquet in honour of Sheikh Mohammed and the accompanying delegation and was attended by senior Turkish officials.

The meeting was attended by Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Khalid Khalifa Al Mualla, UAE Ambassador to Turkey and other officials.

From the Turkish side, Foreign Minister Davutoglu, Finance Minister Mehmet Hamshk, National Defence Minister Ismet Yilmaz, other senior state officials and Turkish Ambassador to  the UAE Sefik Vural Altay attended the meeting. Sheikh Mohammed also visited on Tuesday the mausoleum of Kemal Ataturk, founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey.


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Source: http://www.exoticabudhabi.com/united-arab-emirates/5787_abu-dhabi-cp-gul-stress-expansion-of-ties.html

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Aerospace Training and Adventure Experiences Made Possible by Travel Advisors: The NASTAR Center and Virtuoso Enter Into Preferred Supplier Agreement

Southampton, PA – The NASTARCenter, the premier commercial aerospace training and research center in the world, and VirtuosoR , the leading luxury travel agency network, signed an agreement to make the dream of space-related travel experiences a reality for both public enjoyment and education, and to provide training for actual commercial spaceflight ticketholders.  As a Preferred Supplier, the NASTAR Center will provide Virtuoso?s upscale clientele with educational and spaceflight training simulation experiences at its world-renowned aerospace facility just outside of Philadelphia, PA.  In exchange, Virtuoso will provide access to its network of over 7,200 elite travel advisors in 20 countries, as well as marketing and travel-related services to promote, distribute, and sell the NASTAR Center programs.

The NASTAR Center offers unique educational and hands-on aerospace adventure experiences that range from Summer Camp programs to FAA approved Commercial Spaceflight Training.

Thus far, the NASTAR Center has trained over 240 people for upcoming commercial spaceflights in its training program, including 115 future Virgin Galactic ?Astronauts? and 70 Accredited Space Agents (ASA?s).

Virtuoso is the exclusive sales network throughout the Americas for Virgin Galactic?s suborbital spaceflights.  Virtuoso also has the largest network of ASA?s trained to sell Virgin Galactic.  The agreement with NASTAR will enable all Virtuoso member agencies, including its ASA?s, to sell the NASTAR Center programs to audiences around the world.

?For the first time, The NASTAR Center is making its programs available through travel agencies,? says Jim Osborne, vice president, air, space and specialty products at Virtuoso. ?Virtuoso advisors can now offer a wide range of training options for aerospace enthusiasts of every generation.  The appeal to future Virgin Galactic astronauts is a given, but we anticipate individuals and families alike will find NASTAR?s programs an exciting opportunity to enjoy an out-of-this world-experience.?

?Virtuoso has done a remarkable job of delivering unique travel experiences around the world,? said Brienna Henwood, Director of Space Training and Research at NASTAR Center. ?We are delighted to formalize our relationship and look forward to bringing new exciting and unique aerospace experiences to Virtuoso?s extensive agency membership and their clientele.?

Source: http://www.adventuretravelnews.com/aerospace-training-and-adventure-experiences-made-possible-by-travel-advisors-the-nastar-center-and-virtuoso-enter-into-preferred-supplier-agreement

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Tallest Holiday Inn set to open in Manhattan by October 2012

Manhattan gets the better of things even when it comes to the Holiday Inns. The brand is set to grace Lower Manhattan in a record breaking way.

Hotel architect Gene Kaufman , who has constructed big projects for other well known hotel brands in Manhattan, is busy with a 400 room, 50 story Holiday Inn at 99 Washington St, just a few blocks from the World Trade Center. When this Holiday Inn is completed, it will be the tallest of the brand?s properties.

The exterior of the hotel will be a low-rose which blends with the surrounding buildings but it is topped with a tower which will give guests an excellent view of the city, the Statue of Liberty, and the Hudson River. The facade features metal panels designed by the team of GSKA and will be reflecting the sunlight to brighten up the landscape below.

Guests can expect the usual goodies from Holiday Inn like a guest lounge, free internet, and a full service bar and restaurant. The Holiday Inn in Manhattan is scheduled to open in October 2012.


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World Food: the winning picture

We have spent the holiday break reviewing all the submissions to our World Food Facebook picture competition and we are ready to announce the winner! We were very impressed with the array of foods and dishes that you have snapped in your travels ? our stomachs were grumbling by the end of the day.

Before we reveal the winning entry, let?s have a look at the five runner-ups, in no particular order:

Mountain of moroccan sweetsLet dreams come true! A gigantic mountain of Moroccan sweets! Believe me. No one can resist this! ? Thomas W.

Grilled salted fishGrilled salted fish in Damnoen Saduak floating market, Thailand. ? Rene B.

Woman selling fish and chicken lollipopsTo anyone who has experienced the madness that is the local Laos bus service, they will recognise these wonderful fish and chicken ?lollipops? that the local ladies bring aboard along your journey? ? Angela P.

Man preparing pork for spitroastHavana, Cuba. A local man prepares a New Year?s Day feast. Hours later, the pig was still cooking, and residents of the street were having an unofficial block party! ? Jana I.

Man cooking Thai dry noodles on a boatNothing says Thailand more than having your meal prepared fresh on a boat. Here a bowl of Thai dry noodles is being skilfully made ? so scrumptious you might even consider having seconds! ? Christopher R.

All of the above will receive a copy of a Lonely Planet travel guide of their choice. Congratulations!

And without further ado, let?s reveal the winning entry of our World Food competition:

Man cooking jalebisApplause! Congratulations to Archana S., who sent this picture of an Indian master chef making jalebis, orange colored fried flour crisps dipped in sugar syrup ? sounds positively delicious. Callum, our independent judge, chose this picture as the winning entry because he loved ?the concentration of the cook set against the bustle and noise of street life carrying on behind?, exemplifying ?world food at its best?. Also, you can?t go wrong with a bit of deep fried dough! A Nokia Lumia 800 smartphone will be making its way to Archana in the next few days.

Thank you to everyone who took part in the competition and keep an eye on our Facebook page for any future contests.

Source: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/blog/2012/04/10/world-food-the-winning-picture/

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United Hates Houston?s Plan for Two International Airports

Residents of the Dallas/Ft Worth Metroplex probably rolled their eyes at the news that Southwest is pushing for more freedom at Houston’s close-in Hobby airport. They’ve seen it all before with Southwest’s fight against American at Love Field, right? Not quite. This is a very different situation, but don’t worry, there is still legacy airline […]

Source: http://feeds.crankyflier.com/~r/CrankyFlier/~3/ns_fVxcLBts/

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