Friday, October 29, 2010

Cape Town, the Mother City of Africa – An Ideal Holiday Destination

Ever thought of visiting Mother City of Africa, one of the most beautiful regions in the world? If you haven’t, then book a flights tickets to Cape Town at the earliest else you’ll miss out on this exciting, adventurous place and regret later. Cape Town, the pride of Africa and the capital of South Africa, is a rare cultural gem. The city has an amalgamation of ethnic settlers of Indonesian, French, Dutch, British and German descent, the local Bushman and Hottentot tribes and the Bantu tribes from the north. It was in Cape Town that the Dutch started the first European settlement in South Africa in 1652. The Dutch settled here because of its strategic positioning between Europe and the East. Built on a history that reflects in the architecture, cuisine, music and dance, Cape Town provides a setting for many scenic wonders, magnificent seascapes and panoramic vistas.

Situated on the southwestern tip of Africa, Cape Town is recognized as one of the most beautiful places on earth. It is also considered as one of the most affordable destinations in the world. Cape Town has a great weather with warm languid summers and mild, moist winters – conditions that perfectly sum up the Mediterranean climate of this incredible city. Served by 20 international airlines on a weekly basis linking it to every major global hub, Cape Town is a cosmopolitan destination where cultural diversity creates an exciting vibrancy and adds to its creativity. It's African and yet European.

Wine and food are essential aspects of life at the Cape. In fact, Cape Town is known as the culinary capital of South Africa. Famous for its first class wining and dining, the city is also known as one of the wine capitals of the world. Western culinary history in the city dates back more than 350 years. There are a number of restaurants that operate in historic town houses and 18th century wine estates. Though French and Italian food has long been available here, but in the last decade Thai and Pan-Asian flavors have been introduced. Kurdish, Persian, Ethiopian, Lebanese and regional cuisines are also easily available now.

Coupled with its warm summer and temperate winter climate and friendly people, Cape Town continues to remain an ideal holiday destination throughout the year. The beautiful coastal areas of Camps Bay, Clifton, Llandudno, Bantry Bay, Hout Bay and Blouberg beckon the tourists. If you want to experience the military and maritime history, then a visit to the suburb of Blaauwberg on the north coast and Simon’s Town and other villages along the False Bay coast is a must.

Visitors throng to Cape Town to see some of its major attractions. Without visiting these, your visit to Cape Town will remain unfulfilled. If you want to have an aerial view of the city, then a ride on the cableway on Table Mountain, the breathtaking backdrop and icon of Cape Town, is worth considering. Victor & Alfred Waterfront is South Africa’s most visited tourist attraction with about 10 million visitors a year. Kristenbosch National Botanical Gardens, Robben Island, Cape Agulhas, Cape Point Nature Reserve, The Whale Coast, The Cape Winelands, The Garden Route, and the West Coast’s wild flowers & fishing villages are among the other top attractions.

Cape Town has so much to offer – something for everyone. Why not book cheap business class flights to Cape Town and head off to this city of hope, creative freedom and incredible spirit? When visiting Cape Town and meeting its people, you are bound to fall in love with this city. Experience Cape Town. Discover the ultimate combo of nature, wildlife, culture, adventure, heritage and vibe!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Favored Shopping Destinations in Moscow

Moscow is not really known as a shopaholic’s heaven, though if you are a traveler who can’t resist shopping on your travels, its useful to know where to shop in this city which in recent years has come to be known for its designer store laden opulent shopping malls which are a far cry away from the stores which during the Soviet years were plagued by food and product shortages.

However before you embark on any shopping trips in Moscow, you have to plan your journey to this the capital city of the largest country in the world, Russia. If you are planning to travel to Moscow from a US city, then you have to be prepared for a long haul flight for which business class travel is definitely recommended. Folks often believe that business class travel to Moscow like that to other European destinations is frightfully expensive but this is need not be the case for cheap business class tickets to Moscow are available if you know how to look for them. Often airlines that provide air links between US cities and the Russian capital offer special fares which take the form of business class discounts to Moscow and promote them via dedicated newsletters and social media tools. At other times, last minute bookings with airlines can also sometimes afford you deep business class discounts. However if all this seems too difficult for you because you want a certain amount of flexibility in order to plan your journey, you may want to consider using the services of a reputed travel agent, a professional who continues to thrive in spite of the popularity on online travel booking sites.

Travel agents (especially those run established businesses and have high sales volumes) often have a ready stock of business class deals which often represent discounts of up to 70% when compared to regular business class airfares. These travel agents have access to cheap business class tickets by way of the personal connections and relations that they have with various airlines. These connections are usually mutually beneficial relationships which have been nurtured over years.

It must be mentioned that these cheap business class airfares are by no means inferior to regular business class fares for they afford you all the amenities that are usually associated with full price business class airfares like priority check-in, fast track immigration, enhanced luggage allowance (extremely useful if you plan to hit the shops on your holiday), fully flat beds and limitless good food and wine along with great personalized service. These discount business flights sometimes have certain terms and conditions associated with them like advance purchase period and stay restrictions at the destination but these are minor inconveniences compared to the tremendous savings that they afford. Moreover these cheap business class flights often have added bonuses like mileage accrual and pre-flight seat selection which can certainly prove handy.

Once you have reached Moscow by way of your cheap business class seat and have toured its many sights, you may want to do a bit of shopping. Depending on the kind of shopping you need to indulge in, you should then chalk out your Moscow shopping expeditions.


Souvenirs from Moscow often take the form of tinned Beluga caviar, decorated wooden lacquer boxes, colorful dishes, Soviet regime memorabilia and 'matrioshkas’ or the famous Russian painted dolls. If you are looking for cheap souvenirs from your Moscow trip then markets like the Vernisazh Market in Izmailovo, the Stary Arbat( though prices here are definitely higher than elsewhere) and  the Vorobyovy Gory weekend market are your best bets. The Historical Museum Shop which is located off Red Square also offers a wide array of better quality Russian souvenirs and if it’s the expensive and exquisite Faberge eggs or 19th century icons that you are after then the Grand Collection Gallery located off Red Square is the place to head to.


Many tourists enjoy shopping and browsing in Moscow’s electronic markets like the Gorbushka complex and the Savelovsky market. Stalls located at both these markets sell a variety of electronic appliances, computers and other gizmos at prices which are not necessarily cheaper than elsewhere.


English language books cost more than Russian language books in the Moscow’s many famous bookstores. However Moscow has several excellent bookstores like Dom Knigi, Angliya British Bookshop, Biblio Globus, the House of Foreign Books, Respublika and Bookberry which all worth a browse if you are looking for something to read during your visit to Moscow.


If you are keen to sample and even take back some Russian eats for friends and family then the Sedmoy Kontinent and Ramstore supermarkets offers  specialty meats, seafood, sweets and cheese selections along with an extensive range of alcohol.

Department Stores

The GUM mall which extends along Red Square is perhaps Moscow’s most famous shopping destination. This three level, glass topped building which is adorned with wrought iron trimmings and sparkling fountains was once a dowdy Government Department Store which now has been transformed into a prime shopping destination that houses 200 diverse stores that retail just about anything. The stores at GUM range from up market, luxury boutiques to popular chain stores and fast food outlets and upscale restaurants. However aside from GUM Moscow has other several other malls that are definitely worth visiting like TSUM, Okhotny Ryad Shopping Center, Petrovsky Passazh and Tretyakovsky Proezd which is a faux medieval lane that lies between Theater Square and Lubyanka which is lined with several up market boutiques which represent the biggest names in global luxury retail.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Venice’s Grand Party – The Venetian Carnival

The Carnival of Venice is one of the largest and most important festivals to be celebrated in this city of canals. The Venetian Carnival can trace its origins back to the fourteenth century when it was held to celebrate the passage from winter to spring. Masks have always been a central theme of the festival because it was by sporting these elaborate masks that most humble folk could disguise themselves and mingle with the higher classes during the various festivities of the festival.
Even today masks and elaborate costumes figure prominently in the celebration of the Venetian carnival which is usually held every year in mid–February for ten days. This festival usually terminates on Mardi gras and is known for its many fun events like parades, theatrical performances, masked balls and parties which feature much revelry.

The Venice Carnival is known to attract scores of visitors from around the world and if you’ve always wanted to play dress up and hide your visage behind a mask this event gives you the perfect opportunity to do so.

Once you have decided to attend the Venice carnival you should start tracking the activities of various airlines that provide connections to Venice from the US for the flight to Venice is a long haul one for which business travel is definitely recommended if you want to avoid losing precious carnival time due to jet lag. These airlines themselves often offer incredible business class deals to Venice for carnival, which take the form of promotional fares. The airlines then promote these cheap business class tickets on the internet via their dedicated newsletters or by using trendy social media tools as is the norm nowadays.  These discount business class airfares to Venice however often require the fulfillment of certain conditions like advance purchases and restrictive travel dates. These are but minor inconveniences considering the tremendous savings that they represent. 

If however you are a traveler who can’t plan for vacations way in advance, you need not worry for it is often possible to get similar discount business class fares to Venice from a reputed travel agent. It also helps if you are regular client of a particular travel agent for they usually have access to a  number   cheap business class tickets to various worldwide destinations due to the relationships that they have with various airlines and they tend to offer these discount business airfares  to their regular clients first.

It must be mentioned that these deep discount business class tickets to Venice are in no way inferior to regular business class tickets for these cheap business class fares to Venice, come loaded with all the amenities and luxuries of regular business class airfares like fast track check-in and immigration, enhanced luggage allowance and airline lounge access and onboard comforts like fully flat beds and unlimited good food and wine accompanied by personalized service.

The Venice Carnival is one of Italy’s oldest festivals but by no means is it unique to Venice for similar celebrations also take place at the same time in many other cities in Italy. Carnival which is known as Carnevale in Italian originates from the Latin term ‘carnevale’ which means’ bidding farewell to meat’ and fittingly the carnival is held on the days that precede Lent or the period during which Roman Catholics abstain from meat before Easter. During the 16th century the Carnevale di Venezia used to commence on December 26 and last until Ash Wednesday. This lengthy celebration also featured mask wearing, gambling, brothels, cafes, theaters and parties though the mask wearing traditions of Carnival are believed to have been derived from the Roman celebration of winter which featured a fertility festival that was characterized by mask wearing.

Today much of the action of the Venice Carnival is centered on the city’s Piazza San Marco for it is here that crowds get to witness the ‘Flight of the Angel’ wherein a chosen celebrity flies down from the Torre Del Campanile amidst much fanfare and merriment. This event is usually followed by the historical parades of the Doge and Dogaressa and this parade in turn is followed later by another procession called the Fiesta Della Marie wherein traditional carnival groups follow seven Venetian girls attired in the most elaborate costumes. The Fiesta Della Marie parade kicks off at San Pietri di Castello and continues on until it reaches the Piazza San Marco.

The square additionally hosts several music and costume festivals in which both adults and children participate. The Carnival costumes run the gamut from elaborate interpretations of 18th Century fashions to supermarket superhero and pirate Halloween wear and both adults and children enjoying playing ‘dress up’ for the festivities. Other musical performances and events are also held at the Campo Santa Margherita and the Campo San Barnaba and the Stazione Marittima. Additionally the Rio Terra Canali that lies between the Campo Santa Margherita and Campo San Barnaba host several food and merchandise stalls that sell nuts, sweets and marzipan along with traditional carnival foods like fritelles(which are quite similar to doughnuts) which are specially made for the event.

Apart from these largely free events, the Venice carnival also features many balls, dances and dinners which are usually ticketed events that sport hefty admission tags but are extremely popular with the many tourists who descend on Venice for the carnival festivities.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Melbourne Queen Victoria Market

Many travelers believe that the best way to get a finger on the pulse of a destination is to visit its local markets. Melbourne, the garden city of Australia is home to one such historic market, the Queen Victoria market which is said to be the largest open air market in the Southern Hemisphere. The Queen Victoria Market is located in the heart of Melbourne city, close to the Melbourne Central Railway Station.

If you have a desire to head to the land of the antipodeans i.e. Australia, then you must be prepared to undertake an immensely long haul trek which is sure to take you across continents in your effort to reach Melbourne. For such a tedious journey business air travel is highly recommended as it will definitely help you avoid the agonies associated with traveling coach. Moreover you need not be fearful of the price of a full fare business class ticket to Melbourne for cheap business class airfares to Melbourne abound you just have to know how to locate them.

Once you have decided that your next holiday is going to be in Australia it would be prudent to start tracking the activities of various airlines that provide connections to a premier Australian city like Melbourne from the US for many a time these very airlines themselves offer incredible business class deals to Melbourne which take the form of promotional fares. These airlines then promote these cheap business class tickets on the internet via their dedicated newsletters or by using trendy social media tools as is the norm nowadays.  These discount business class airfares to Melbourne often require the fulfillment of certain conditions like advance purchases and restrictive travel dates. These are but minor inconveniences considering the tremendous savings that they represent. 

If however you are a traveler who can’t plan for vacations way in advance you need not worry for it is possible to get similar discount business class fares to Melbourne   from a reputed travel agents . Travel agents usually have direct links within airlines and are able to get access to a whole host of cheap business class tickets to various worldwide destinations. It must be mentioned that these deep discount business class tickets to Melbourne  are in no way inferior to regular business class tickets for  these cheap business class fares to Melbourne,  come loaded with all the amenities and luxuries of regular business class like fast track check-in and immigration, enhanced luggage allowance and airline lounge access and onboard comforts like fully flat beds ( almost a necessity for such a long flight) and unlimited good food and wine accompanied by personalized service.

After you have enjoyed the many delights that Melbourne has to offer and want to look for souvenirs to take home as gifts for family and friends then the Queen Victoria market is just the place for you. This historic market which has also functioned as a cemetery and a hold for livestock down the ages offers a wide assortment of vendors who sell a variety of Australian made as well as imported products at bargain prices. However it must be mentioned that this open-air market hosts a large contingent of vendors who sell a wide array of fresh produce which includes products like imported and domestic fruits and vegetables, seafood and exotic meats like kangaroo, rabbit and crocodile meat. The market also has vendors who sell local boutique wines and locally designed and produced apparel which make great gifts for family and friends back home.

Melbourne’s premier market especially lively on Sundays when it becomes a locale for families as Queen street is shut to traffic and turned into a lively open cafĂ© where there are buskers and other live entertainers along with rides and events geared towards families who often tend to visit the market with young children.

If you would like a more formal tour of this market, then that can be arranged by calling the market office at  +66 39320 5822. The market in fact offers several tours of various market attractions as it offers tours like the Foodies tour and the Style addict tour which are geared towards the specific interests of the visitors.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Best Restaurants for Hummus in Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv’s local cuisine like its population is amalgamation of various cultures and influences. East European, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Israeli cuisine seems to feature it all though the Middle Eastern influences on Israeli cuisine are especially strong given the location and history of Tel Aviv.

Given this strong Middle Eastern influence on its cuisine, it is no wonder then that Hummus is a central component of Israeli cuisine. What is Hummus? Hummus is basically a dish that is made from pureed chickpeas which are mixed with olive oil, tahini( a sesame paste), lemon juice and garlic. Hummus joints in Tel Aviv can be found all over the city and the dish is served with various toppings like cooked fava beans, pine nuts, more chickpeas and lemon juice, chopped parsley and more.

A plate of Hummus in Tel Aviv is always accompanied by some warm pita bread which is used to scoop up the dip. Servings of Hummus in Tel Aviv also feature side dishes like hard boiled eggs, harissa or an extremely spicy paste, pickles and even fresh onions.

According to Arabic traditions in  Tel Avib Hummus should be eaten at breakfast time or even for lunch and some of the specialty Hummus restaurants in Tel Aviv actually shut shop after 3pm though many others continue to offer this nutritious and rather healthy dish until the wee hours of the morning as Hummus is the favored snack for late night revelers in Tel Aviv.

If you love Hummus and want to sample its many variations like the Israeli Masbacha which is warm Hummus made with lemon-spiked tahini garnished with whole chickpeas, a sprinkling of paprika, and a drizzle of olive oil then you should  plan a trip out to the resort city of Tel Aviv which is chock a block with Hummus restaurants.  However Tel Aviv is located nearly half the world away from the US and is accessible only via an extremely long haul flight for which business class travel is highly recommended.

Now before you balk at the price of a business flight to Tel Aviv which maybe nonstop or which may have one or two stops en-route, you should be made aware that cheap business class airfares to Tel Aviv are in fact a reality. These cheap business class seats to Tel Aviv may have additional requirements like advance purchase and stay limitations but the savings that they represent and the comfort of travel that they provide   justifies these requirements.

So how do you find such discount business fares to Tel Aviv?  One way is by keeping abreast of airline industry news for many airlines that provide air links between US cities and Tel Aviv, themselves offer business class deals to Tel Aviv which they advertise through their newsletters and social media tools. If you do not have the time or the patience for such a search then you can always turn to an airfares consolidator. Airfares consolidators have a ready stock of cheap business class tickets to various worldwide destinations due to their exclusive consolidator contracts with several airlines and the consolidator that you choose is bound to have discount airfares to Tel Aviv which are likely to be nearly 70% than regular business class fares to  Tel Aviv. Such a cheap business class ticket to Tel Aviv is bound to improve the quality of your Tel Aviv vacation immensely as it will spare you the inconveniences and stresses that are often associated with travel in the coach cabin of an aircraft. 

So once you arrive in the port city of Tel Aviv in a relaxed state of mind, you will be happy to embark on your many adventures which will include eating your way through many of the excellent Hummus restaurants in the city.

Some of the highly ranked hummus restaurant in Tel Aviv include:-

The Ali Karavan 

This renowned Hummus restaurant is located in Jaffa and has been serving hummus to its loyal clientele for over forty years now. The restaurant is open from 7.45 am to 2.45pm or until its hummus runs out. The restaurant only serves Masbacha Hummus which topped with chickpeas or fava beans and accompanied by pita bread, onions and lemon juice. The Ali Karavan has three branches, one on Dolphin Street and two others on Shivtai Israel street.

However you do not need to go all the way to Jaffa for your Hummus fix for great Hummus is also served at numerous Tel Aviv restaurants like Hummus Assaf, Hummus Ashkara and  Ronen’s place on Basel Square which are located  in north Tel Aviv and  Achram and Hummus Beit Lehem which are located in the southern Tel Aviv.