Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Get Up & Go: London’s hidden food gems

Get Up & Go: London’s hidden food gems
·         Food Tour
Google Maps certainly makes it easier to find the foodie hotspots ravenous locals are raving about, but a more enjoyable and hassle-free way to experience London on a plate is on a food tour with an expert! Let your Walk Eat Talk Eat guide lead you on a funny, gastronomic journey through various areas of London. Experience the Great and the Good: Best of British Tour and devour the nation’s most famous foods or treat all of your senses to the vibrant Markets and Meanderings: Camden Tour.
All of your food is included; you just need to bring a healthy appetite!  

If your mouth is watering and you’re chomping at the bit with all this talk of London’s hidden food gems then why not visit wotif.com and book a trip to London.

London’s hidden food gems


Unearthing a hidden food gem can be one of travel’s most rewarding experiences, especially when it’s not at a Michelin-star price. London is well known for its celebrity dining scene but the city is also home to plenty of gourmet delights without the hefty price tag.
Leading travel website Wotif.com’s London-based team has unearthed some of London’s best palate-pleasing eateries to suit any taste and all without breaking the bank.

·         Fish & Chips
Recently voted the UK’s best Independent Fish and Chip Restaurant at The National Fish & Chip Awards, Poppies Fish & Chips London is a winning London experience! Savour crispy, golden fish and chips whilst soaking up the uber-hip retro atmosphere. Keep an eye out for free live music at their Camden restaurant.



·         Afternoon Tea
Spoil yourself with afternoon tea fit for a…mad hatter! ‘Tumble down the rabbit hole’ and experience an afternoon tea with a difference at the Sanderson, in Soho. Named ‘the hippest hotel in the world’ by GQ Magazine, it’s no wonder this 5 star hotel has put its own quirky twist on the quintessentially British tradition of afternoon tea with The Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea.  With prices from £38.00 per person, eccentrics can delight in whimsical treats like the ‘strawberries and cream’ homemade marshmallow mushrooms, a ‘tick tock’ Victoria sponge clock and ‘Jelly Wonderland’.




·         London Pub
Originally part of the Britannia Brewery, The Britannia in Kensington is an elegant pub oozing history and charm. Serving a delicious range of gastro pub fare, including one of the best burgers around, this rub-a-dub (Cockney rhyming slang for pub) is the perfect place to sit back and enjoy traditional food and good beer! 

·         Cheap Eats
London’s street food scene has really taken off in the past few years. Who would have thought that tucked away in the city’s markets, food trucks and laneways was some of the most scrumptious food on offer - and at bargain prices!
If you’re venturing to Borough Markets, be sure to go with a hearty appetite because Hobbs Meat Roast serves up a mouth watering pulled pork roll. Sweet, juicy and delicious; this is the perfect treat to accompany a day of shopping. http://boroughmarket.org.uk/hobbs-meat-roast-2
Whilst the delicious Yum Bun is moving store in early 2014, keep your eye out for the Yum Bus! Serving award winning Vietnamese buns, both carnivores and vegetarians can rejoice with a range of flavoursome fillings available! Calendar available here: http://www.yumbun.co.uk/ 
If you’re craving some delicious salty goodness be sure to stop by Brick Lane Beigel Bake, London’s oldest and reportedly best bagel shop. Famous for their salt beef bagels, portions are generous and prices, surprisingly cheap. Open 24 hours, this one is a winner at any time of day.

·         Coffee
There’s no denying Australia is a coffee loving nation. When travelling overseas, our obsession can sometimes make it hard to find a decent cup of coffee. Fortunately, Aussie siblings Nick, Andrew and Laura empathised with the plight of many travellers and opened Taylor Street Baristas to help satisfy your coffee needs with its coffee shop located across London. So start your day with some of the city’s best coffee, paired with a vegemite and cheese English muffins – guaranteed to put a rose on every cheek and a smile on every face!



·         Cafe
Hidden down a side street opposite Liverpool Street Station, a neon ‘Sex, Drugs & Bacon Rolls’ sign heralds The Breakfast Club, Spitalfields. The menu is peppered with comfort food and Mexican flavours plus, for late risers, a ‘Late, Late Breakfast’ is available after 5pm.  After you’ve polished off your delicious meal, tell the staff you’re ‘here to see The Mayor’ and you will be escorted through to a concealed speakeasy style bar!
The Breakfast Club also has locations in Soho, Angel, Hoxton, Battersea Rise and will be opening a cafe in London Bridge in May (2014).


Thank you Wotif.com for this great information.
·         Food Tour
Google Maps certainly makes it easier to find the foodie hotspots ravenous locals are raving about, but a more enjoyable and hassle-free way to experience London on a plate is on a food tour with an expert! Let your Walk Eat Talk Eat guide lead you on a funny, gastronomic journey through various areas of London. Experience the Great and the Good: Best of British Tour and devour the nation’s most famous foods or treat all of your senses to the vibrant Markets and Meanderings: Camden Tour.
All of your food is included; you just need to bring a healthy appetite!  

If your mouth is watering and you’re chomping at the bit with all this talk of London’s hidden food gems then why not visit wotif.com and book a trip to London.





Sunday, March 30, 2014

Get Up & Go: Europe’s Top 10 Wild and Wonderful Festivals

Get Up & Go: Europe’s Top 10 Wild and Wonderful Festivals

Europe’s Top 10 Wild and Wonderful Festivals



Rail Europe has released its top ten picks of Europe’s Wild and Wonderful Festivals for 2014. With the aim to inspire adventurous travellers seeking out new experiences beyond the usual hotspots to enhance their next European trip, the list is in order of the calendar months and include festivals that are cultural, musical and downright unusual. 
  1. Battle of the Oranges in Turin, Italy (2-4 March)
Taking place in the ancient town of Ivrea in Turin, this free-to-watch annual event attracts over 100,000 spectators. A re-creation of a historic fight between the town’s people and a ruling tyrant, the event sees competitive teams battle with oranges. Turin is an hour’s train ride from Milan on the high-speed Trenitalia Frecciarrosa service. Click for suggestions on a travel itinerary within Piedmont.

  1. Lass Fallas in Valencia, Spain (19 March)
A celebration that dates back to the middle-ages where excess winter supplies are burnt, today’s rendition is a musical and explosive pyrotechnics celebration of Spain’s history and culture. Revelers dress in traditional costumes dance and dance to fiesta beats and gunpowder explosions. The best way to get to Valencia is on the high-speed AVE train from Madrid, which takes 1.40hrs or 3.00hrs from Barcelona. Travellers can also visit Rail Europe Connexion for travel ideas in the Valencia region.


Las Fallas Festival

  1. Oerol in Terschellings, The Netherlands (13-22 June)
1982 saw the island of Terschellings turn into a venue for art installations and the performing arts. Requiring three train rides and boat journey from Amsterdam, this artistic haven attracts hundreds of artists and thousands of visitors to the island over the 10 days each year. Amsterdam is about 3.30hr from Paris on the Thalys.

  1. Roskilde Festival in Roskilde, Denmark (28 June - 6 July)
One of the largest music festivals in Europe, the Roskilde Festival features 180 performers on a dozen stages entertaining more than 100,000 music revelers. With all genres of music available, the festival donates all profits to humanitarian and cultural causes. The best way to get to Roskilde is via the 20minute train ride from Copenhagen. Click on the Rail Europe Connexion site for suggested itineraries in Denmark.
 
  1. Tomorrowland in Boom, Belgium (18-27 July)
With more than 20 stages that transform into different storybook themes, crowds are transported into whimsical worlds where they dance to beats by world-renowned DJs. Attracting music revelers from more than 85 countries around the world, Tomorrowland is an extravagant two-weekend event. The journey to Boom is an hour on a train from Brussels. Click for itineraries around Brusells and Flanders.

  1. Secret Garden Party in Abbots Ripton, England (24 – 27 July)
One of the most sought-after summer festivals in the UK, the annual party carries a theme each year where party go-ers fancy dress, play, watch performances, compete in games and parade to summer tunes. From camping to glamping, this event draws in crowds from all societies. The train journey from London to Huntingdon is 55 minutes. Itineraries around that region of England can be found on Rail Europe Connexion site.



  1. Sziget in Budapest, Hungary (4-11 August)
Known as Eastern Europe’s ‘Burning Man’, Sziget is a music festival that runs around the clock with non-stop music, performances, cultural experiences and food. With over 1,000 performances during the week-long fest, the event set on the island of Obudai-Sziget in the Danube river attracts about 400,000 fans. Budapest can be reached via leisurely overnight trains from many countries in Europe including France, Switzerland and Germany. From Budapest, travel to other parts of Hungary is only a short train ride away.

  1. Zurich Street Festival in Zurich, Switzerland (2 August)
Zurich’s annual Street Parade Festival sees 30 love mobiles, a handful of stages and more than one million people dancing and partying to electronic tunes spun by 100s of volunteer DJs from around the world. Along with the free parade, more than 100 smaller parties sprout around Zurich over the parade weekend. Zurich is a 4hr train ride from Paris. Travelling around Switzerland is best with a Swiss Pass.

  1. La Mercè in Barcelona, Spain (20-24 September)
A four-day end of summer celebration all around Barcelona, this is the best time to see the city alive with non-stop entertainment, events, free concerts and free entries to museums. Each day starts with a parade of mythical characters that fill the streets. The Thalys high-speed train service links Paris and Barcelona in about six hours and onward itineraries can be found on Rail Europe Connexions.

  1. Hogmanay in Edinburgh, Scotland (29 December – 2 January)
Originally an ancient pagan song and fire celebration to ward off winter spirits, today, Hogmanay is a five-day fest in and around Edinburgh with performances, parades, open houses, firework displays, concerts and more. Edinburgh is leisurely 4.30hr train from London.



About Rail Europe
Rail Europe is the world’s No. 1 distributor of rail tickets and passes offering travellers the widest and best selection of European rail products across no less than 30 countries and 25,000 destinations on more than 11,000 different routes. Rail Europe tickets are sold through appointed General Sales Agents and directly to web users through localised websites (local currency, local language, local service). For more information about Rail Europe products and prices, please visit www.raileurope.com.au or contact your preferred travel agent.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Get Up & Go: Nevada USA - choofing into Ely

Get Up & Go: Nevada USA - choofing into Ely: It couldn't be further from Las Vegas than from here to the moon. But hey! this hotel is looking very Nevada-ish old-school neon with ...

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Nevada USA - choofing into Ely


It couldn't be further from Las Vegas than from here to the moon. But hey! this hotel is looking very Nevada-ish old-school neon with extra curricular enticement. Before walking through the doors of the historic Hotel Nevada & Gambling Hall I'm stepping on the stars in the footpath. Wayne Newton, Ingrid Bergman, Gary Cooper and other Hollywood and Las Vegas notables. This was surprising as Ely is a bit off the beaten track and certainly not in the grand five-star food chain.


The hotel was built in 1926 (six storeys too) and was the first building in the state to be fire-proofing.
Rooms were rented for $1.50 and up - touted as all with private toilet, '85 per cent private baths'.
Prohibition was still in effect and the hotel entertained with bootlegged refreshments and you could have a punt all day.


Ah, the heady days of 'Bathtub Gin' made from raw alcohol, water and flavourings and the gentle tipple of  'White Lightning' supplied by the locals made for an interesting aperitif or two!
The hotel is as she was all that time ago. OK modern appliances and all that comes with the 21st century but is hasn't been tricked up at all - in fact it's a classic, historic, atmospheric mess.
Walk in the door and the pokies (slot machines) are winking and blinking, paraphernalia of the past Wild West and Wild Rocker days adorn the walls and lots of wonderful nostalgic black and white images crowd the walls.


I enter a small lift and am deposited on the third floor for my room - damn, I don't get the Jimmy Stewart room.
Small room (as they were built almost 90 years ago); get my WiFi mojo happening and cosy up on my bed with a few chains hanging over it - more rustic décor than S&M.


A great sleep and down to a full-on Nevada breakfast - I'll have the lot'. Gotta love American breakfasts - this meal would take me out rustling cattle, fighting a range war, starting a gold rush and back home again for a barn dance - yeeha!
Many of the rooms have nameplates including John Wayne - this hotel was a stopping overnight place as the starts from the 30s onwards would be motoring to Sun Valley and other holiday resorts.
If you are ever in this neck of the woods - check out Ely, as it's got a wide-street, quiet nights kind of appeal - it's High Desert country and most of the downtown buildings have quaint painted murals  depicting the city's colourful history of pioneers, miners and the Pont Express AND . . .



the rich railroad history is classic here. You can even have a holiday and pay about $800-900 for the privilege of working on a classic loco - for train buffs this is holiday Nirvana.



The Nevada Northern Railway National Historic Landmark is the last of its kind - the sole survivor of the grand era of railroading in the Silver State. But there's no death throes here - it's a living, breathing, operating railroad. No pretty glass cases here holding polished remnants of machinery - this is get down and dirty, gritty equipment in the vast complex of buildings.
There are four original steam locomotives, six original diesel locos, and more than 60 pieces of original rolling stock - the oldest piece dates to 1872 when President Ulysses S. Grant sat in the White House (and not on a $50 bill).
Climb aboard and travel back in time - the train's waiting for you.


You can have Railway Reality Week - to work on the Railroad, for a hands-on experience for around $US999; a Winter Photo Shoots special - witness railroading as it was last century and photograph century-old original steam locos pulling vintage freight and passenger cars, around $US500.
Ely is in White Pine County, in the heart of Nevada's scenic heartland - founded in 1970 as a trading post called Murry Station, and eventually grew to be one of the country's major copper mining regions.


It's located at the crossroads of US Highways 50, 93 and 6.

www.nnry.com and the facebook page for the railway is www.facebook.com/nnry1 and on check out www.youtube.com/nnry1Happy trails and Rails . . .