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A Beery break in Brno, Czechia

A Beery break in Brno, Czechia

Posted on 09 March 2017 by Chris Ford

Brno is the second largest city in  Czechia (formaly the  Czech Republic), Prague being the first, and in  my mind a far nicer place to go. Yes Prague has a lot of history and is beautiful but there are so many sites devoted to the place I thought I would talk about my favourite Czech city Brno.

The first thing you notice is there are no stag parties like in Prague, the locals simply won’t tolerate it, bars won’t let men in in big groups for fear of the town getting the Stag destination reputation that  Prague has and for this I’m very thankful for. Brno is a place you can go with a small group of friends or as a couple and feel right at home. Here are my top beer and food tips from my multiple trips to Brno in recent years.

 

The Czechs aren’t using the Euro yet so you will need some Czech Krouns , we found a weekend of generous drinking and eating left us with plenty of change from the £100 we brought with us, so Brno certainly won’t break the bank.

 

We stayed at the Barcelo Palace, it’s a nice hotel located in I think the perfect spot as its central while not right in the town centre either, within two minutes you are able to get to some top spots.

 

The Czech Republic’s national drink of choice is beer, and they tend to have the pilsner style (having invented it hardly surprising) and you will find no shortage of watering holes around the city, here are some of my favourites

 

Pivnice U Poutníka – Starobrněnská 16, 602 00 Brno, Czechia

A Small front room bar with a larger back space.  There were t wo taps on my visit, the double hop Poutnik and the nefiltrovany Poutnik 12 lezak, both delicious and the only place Im aware of to get them in Brno. This place gets really popular in the evening and things keep going until the early hours.

Pivnice U Poutníka

Starobrno Brewery , Mendlovo nám. 158/20, 603 00 Staré Brno, Czechia

Starobrno

Starobrno is the big beer of Brno and this is where is made right here in town. The Taproom and restaurant is massive and has been completely refurbed in recent years offering modern décor with classic traditional dishes and more contemporary both served to excellent standards. Of course the beer is as fresh as can be served directly from the brewery next door it doesn’t have far to travel!

Starobrno

 

Výtopna, Starobrněnská 339/12, 602 00 Brno, Czech Republic

While you won’t be blown away by the food here ( think fast food, burgers etc ) all your drinks are delivered by the model train that travels around from the bar to all the tables, you have to have one pint of Starobrno here just to experience that!

U Bláhovky – 54 Gorkého St.

U Bláhovky

This place has had a cult following since the late 1990s. Excellent Plzeň (Pilsner lager) on tap in fact this place was recommended to my by Vaclav the Pilsner Urquell head brewer as serving a great pint and hes right it does. You should get here early though this place fills up quickly in the evenings but it’s worth the visit and you will most certainly be drinking with locals. One warning this place is about a 20min walk from the main square but not an unpleasant one and google maps is your friend.

Pivnice U Kocoura, Biskupská 6, 602 00 Brno, Czechia

Pivnice U Kocoura

Along with their own brand lager and Pilsner Urquel this place has a rotating tap menu from different Czech breweries and was the only place in Brno I had an IPA which was both Czech And delicious. The bar and inside seating area is quite small but outside is a large beer garden boasting a fantastic view for you to take in while enjoying your beer.

 

Potrefená Husa Brno , Starobrněnská 334/3, Brno-město, 602 00 Brno-Brno-střed, Czechia

Potrefená Husa Brno

This place is part of a chain owned by the Staropramen brewery but don’t let that put you off we really like it. Its modern cool bar with great food and the entire Staropramen range including the excellent unfiltered version. Also has a nice outside seating area.

Pegas Brno , Jakubská 4, 602 00 Brno-Brno-střed, Czechia

Pegas Brno

This is a cool beer hall and microbrewery, they only sell their beers and they are really good. Lots of locals in here and grumpy waiters, but worth it. Theres also a hotel upstairs which I have stayed at in the past , but in my opinion not worth the premium they charge for it.

 

Monte Bú restaurant,  Údolní 532/76, 602 00 Brno, Czechia

Monte Bú restaurant

This place is a bit of a cab right away but so worth it. Certainly the best steak Ive ever had and really cheap too, I had the tomahawk steak which is served and cut at your table, all washed down with fantastic pilsner even talking about this makes me want to go back.

Monte Bú restaurant

Flights

If you are London based like me Ryanair fly directly into Brno airport from Stanstead , Id also recommend booking a taxi in advance for airport pickup as there isn’t a rank as such and most cabs hanging around are already pre booked. There is a bus service from the airport into town but I have yet to try it.

I hope this has inspired you to take your own trip to Brno its one of my favourite places to holiday and maybe it will be yours soon too.

 

 

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A Weekend In the South of France

Posted on 04 November 2016 by Chris Ford

One of the most magnificent European locations for a holiday is the South of France. It has everything a tourist wants; from panoramic landscapes, canyons, rivers, medieval towns, to numerous vineyards and hilltop villages. You’ll experience traditional recipes in a completely different and new ways. In cooking terms, you’ll primarily benefit from cheese, truffles, nougat, olives, numerous herbs, and one of the World’s finest wines.

South of France

 

First Stop

Your journey begins when you arrive in Paris. Paris represents romance with its beautifully lit streets, romantic mythology, and historic buildings, which all together brand it the “City of Love”. You can enjoy your first night exploring the city’s oldest streets and embracing the beauty of the city’s gardens and it’s markets. The aroma of freshly baked baguettes and croissants is just heavenly in Paris. You could then take a train ride to the fascinating city of Avignon, where you can settle one of the many beautiful hotels in the Provencal countryside.

 Avignon

Apart from having the big-city, fast-life beauty, France is also a paradise for outdoor activities such as canoeing, hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, and golden beaches. The fascinating lifestyle of France extends across the vast avenues of Paris, the gorgeous beaches and the open land.
Embrace the cultured atmosphere of a candlelit dinner, while enjoying the calm waters of the river. Your romantic weekend getaway in the South of France will be filled with captivating memories.

Transportation

From Paris, there are several options when it comes to the means of transport – which mostly depend on how much of your budget you plan to devote to this. Public transportation is very well developed and organized (France has one of the best, fastest train systems in the world), but if you are of those valuing luxury, quality travel, it might be worth looking into one of the car rental companies. A good example of one would be PrimeRentcar.com, where you can even hire luxury convertible cars to take you through the beautiful coast.

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Aix-en-Provence

The city of Aix-en-Provence is recognized for the beauty of its old town and famous Mirabeau Square. Enjoy the captivating fountains, live café terraces, and charming shops. Visit the International celebration of Opera, the water festival and dance, and modern dance festival. Located in the centre of the old town the Hotel Du Globe, a charming choice for you to stay. You can dine in the heart of Aix-en-Provence, Le Bastide du Cours restaurant, which offers a very warm, relaxed setting. Its imaginative cuisine caters flavours from different parts of the world.

Aix-en-Provence

Nice

One of the most charming parts of nice is Vieux Nice. Filled with picturesque houses and shops, you’ll spend a great deal of time exploring the fascinating Cours Saleya; a flower and fruit market that will definitely catch your attention. There are many hotels in the city for you to choose. Some of the hotels include Negresco, Hyatt Regency, Le Meridien, Hotel La Perouse, and many more. Situated on the top of Le Meridien Hotel, dine at La terrasse and enjoy the view of the sea and mountains. There are elegant dishes such as chicken braised in thyme, and French cassoulet for you to enjoy.
Aix-en-Provence

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5 Singles Holidays for Solo Adventures

5 Singles Holidays for Solo Adventures

Posted on 18 February 2016 by Guest Post

For many adventure seeking singletons, the thought of traveling alone for the first time can seem somewhat daunting. Cast any fears aside as Health and Fitness Travel, the leading specialists in healthy holidays worldwide, round up their top 5 solo adventure trips. From jungle trekking in Bali to white water rafting through national parks in Costa Rica you can guarantee this will be an adventure you will never forget. With endless ways to take in the breath-taking scenery and experience the diverse cultures of some of the world’s most beautiful countries, you’ll wonder why you’ve waited until now to travel solo.

Turkey

Discover a whole new dimension to vibrant Turkey with a choice of tour and excursions on this solo friendly adventure. Explore the natural wonder of Pamukkale as you take a dip in the natural hot springs, where the calcium-rich waters cool and harden as they flow over small cliffs, creating a glistening white landscape. Immerse yourself in the rich Turkish culture and enjoy a performance by whirling dervishes, in a traditional Sema ritual that is a form of active meditation. Recover from your adventures at a wellness retreat, for a revitalising conclusion to your healthy solo adventure.

Bali

With striking coastlines and picture perfect landscapes, the beautiful island of Bali is the perfect destination for an adventurous singles holiday. From jungle trekking and volcano hiking to guided village cycling and snorkelling, there is no end of exciting ways to explore the island. When you’ve finished exploring, recover with therapeutic spa treatments and re-energise as you enjoy holistic activities such as yoga, Pilates and meditation alongside a whole range of other exciting fitness classes and activities.

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Costa Rica

From white water rafting through a volcanic national park to zip lining through the treetops, explore the beautiful tropical rainforests and unspoilt coastlines of Costa Rica on a solo travel adventure. Get to know other single travellers as you hike across the unique volcanic landscapes or take a dip in natural hot springs. Before you head home, recover at a luxury wellness retreat where you can unwind with a yoga class or enjoy a refreshing surf in the Pacific Ocean.

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Morocco

Discover the eclectic culture, picturesque landscapes and delicious cuisine of Morocco on a solo adventure in an exotic land. Marvel at snake charmers on a guided tour of Marrakech, explore the Atlas Mountains on a mountain bike tour and learn traditional Moroccan cooking methods on a cookery course. Once you have sampled Morocco’s rich culture, take time to recover with yoga and surfing at a luxurious beachfront wellness retreat.

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Philippines

Boasting dramatic landscapes, beautiful historic towns and miles of unspoilt, sandy beaches, escape to the Philippines for an exciting singles holiday adventure. Experience the vibrant, eclectic city of Manila on a guided city tour, discover the hidden valley and swim in the stunning natural pools, before experiencing Filipino culture first-hand at a traditional fiesta. Recover on a wellness breaks with endless ways to relax and unwind on this adventure-filled singles holiday.

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For advice, guidance and booking visit www.healthandfitnesstravel.com or call 0203 397 8891

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Antler Delta C1 Case – Perfect Ryanair Companion

Antler Delta C1 Case – Perfect Ryanair Companion

Posted on 13 January 2016 by Chris Ford

For years I only flew with the likes of British Airways and other so-called premium airlines so my only experience with budget airlines were the tales of hassle and hidden charges that I heard from friends and colleagues. This, I thought, I do not need.
Recently though, I wanted to go somewhere faithful BA didn’t fly to, a Czech town called Brno. In fact only two airlines fly there from the UK and Ryanair was who we ended up booking with.

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Having read the Ryanair rules, it became apparent that they are a lot tighter when it comes to the size of bag you can bring aboard than BA. And as I like to travel with hand luggage only this meant I needed a new bag that fit within the Ryanair criteria. Here they are…
You can carry one cabin bag weighing up to 10kg with maximum dimensions of 55cm x 40cm x 20cm, plus 1 small bag up to 35 x 20 x 20 on-board the aircraft. So upon a bit of research I came upon the Antler B1 Case.
First of all the Antler website is very helpful, they actually have a filter which lets you tick the airline you are traveling with and will then display the cases that are suitable which makes things all very painless.

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I selected the Antler Delta C1 case for a number of reasons, I wanted something sturdy that wasn’t going to fall apart after a few trips and Antler offer a 10-year Warranty on their cases which gave me the peace of mind it’s going to last. I also wanted a case with four casters and a combination lock (key locks are annoying and a combo lock allows me to put my valuables in my case in the hotel and feel safe the cleaner isn’t having a nose around my stuff!) Casters – well four means you can just glide the case along the airport floor, which after a long day traveling you really appreciate.

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Above while at the airport I thought I would make sure my case did actually fit the Ryanair luggage box.

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Well now I’m back from my trip I have to say I’m very impressed with the case, it’s well-made easy to transport, compact and I was actually surprised how much I managed to get in there in the end with a bit of clever packing.
The case is really lightweight and made out of high strength nylon that I’m confident can take some knocks.
Finally, the price. Before Christmas the Antler C1 was £136.00 but currently Antler have it in their sale for the bargain price of £67.50. Snap one up while you can!

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SPOT Gen 3 satellite tracker.

Posted on 25 October 2015 by Eddie

SPOT Gen 3 satellite tracker.

SPOT in the arctic

SPOT in the arctic

For my recent trip to arctic Greenland I was lent a SPOT Gen 3 satellite tracking device. This is a one way communication system that allows people to see where you are and also to report that you are OK or in trouble.

I went to a fairly remote region in Greenland and was planning to do some travel on my own, therefore a system to summon rescue in case of trouble was essential. Mobile phones won’t work in a remote country like this once out of the towns and marine VHF radio wouldn’t be especially reliable either.

The SPOT is palm size, it has a GPS receiver to determine your location and a low power transmitter so report your location and any messages. It has options to track continuously, send a message saying you are ok, a message that is customisable, a message saying you need help and a SOS button. The messages apart from the SOS, go to pre-defined lists of people either to their mobiles by SMS or email. These messages have links to Google maps showing exactly where you are on the planet. You can choose who each message goes to from the SPOT website, and the lists can be different for each message.

The SOS button sends a message to a call centre in an underground bunker from where they report your location and distress to the local rescue authorities, for obvious reasons I didn’t test this feature, but this was a great safety net for me to have.

On opening the box there is the device, a webbing strap, a karabiner, and a pack of lithium aa batteries. Once the batteries are in there is a simple set up system online and then it is good to go. There are some settings such as tracking interval that requires the device be plugged into the computer to change, this is straight forward too.

SPOT in the arctic

SPOT in the arctic

I found the device easy to use and the website fairly intuitive to set up the messages etc.

I set up the custom message to say good morning / good night to go to my girlfriend and the OK message to go to my family so they could see that I’m OK and where I was at that point.

I also set up a tracking map on my travel blog, so friends and family could see me in real-time as I moved around the area. This was either by sailing boat, foot or kayak. There was no problem with tracking any of these methods of transport.

SPOT in the arctic

SPOT in the arctic

The only 2 negatives I can think of are: They suggest putting it on the back of your rucksack to get the best reception, but there isn’t a low battery buzzer, so this is a slight concern (not that battery life was a problem), but when the unit reaches 30% battery the LED light turns red. That still gives at least a couple more days battery before it runs out, so as long as you glance at it every couple of days you’ll be fine.. And that the tracking only shows the last 7 days, but you can get round that with 3rd party websites.

Having this with me allowed me to be more independent, knowing that there was a safety net in case of incident, because unless I had a device like this there was no way of someone coming across me if I was injured otherwise. And some of the ground I was hiking over had a high risk of injury (think boulders like in 127 hours)

I expect to be going back to Greenland in the future and I will be certainly taking a satellite communicator with me for emergencies. I couldn’t justify the price of a sat phone, but these are much cheaper and still provide great coverage outside of mobile phone range and allow family and friends to know I’ve not been eaten by a polar bear etc.

In conclusion:

These are great devices that should be considered by people in places with sketchy mobile coverage either in remote countries or even regular visitors to the Lake district etc. The cost is reasonable with extras available depending on the needs of the user.

The Girlfriend comment

I got left at home on my own while he was away having fun. He assures me he was working hard, but I am not so sure! We had very limited communication whilst he was away due to the lack of internet and phone signal/price of the calls etc. On occasions that he left the village to have ‘an adventure’ (and he wonders why I am suspicious of the working hard comments!) there was no way of me contacting him, therefore it was nice to have the comfort. The occasional ping of an email/text letting me know that he was safe & well… and alive made me feel more content (don’t tell him, but when he was off having the adventures I was a little worried). This little gadget may be a little on the pricey side for some people, and I have to admit when he told me the price I thought this, but as the person left at home after the first message those thoughts disappeared, it was well worth every penny for my peace of mind.

They are available from the manufacturer here

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Food & Wine Festivals of Sicily/ Southern Italy in 2015

Food & Wine Festivals of Sicily/ Southern Italy in 2015

Posted on 22 July 2015 by Chris Ford

It’s the food and the wine that makes visitors travel to Italy every season! The whole year is practically filled up with festivals celebrating the richness of the land, its culture, its history, its people. People from all over the world love to visit Sicily because there are so many things to do and see and it’s a bonus when there is a celebration going on during your stay. Have fun and learn something about Sicilian culture and tradition by joining in on the fun. If you are thinking of a trip to the island, why not schedule it on a festival month? Booking a villa with a pool in Sicily in advance could be a great idea for relaxation after going around the island.

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photo by :https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trapani#/media/File:Trapani,_Sicily.jpg

Stragusto – If you like food, then it’s time for a visit in Sicily. Go to Trapani which is located on the west coast of the island! From July 24 to 26, 2015, the place comes alive with celebrations of Sicilian, Italian and Tunisian street food, accompanied by local wines, music and other events. You will love the different flavours of traditional Sicilian street food dishes made from the freshest ingredients.

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Sagra del Pesce Spada a Pozzillo – For those who love seafood, this is a pretty good reason to pack your bags and visit the seaside hamlet of Acireale in Catania, on the east coast. Running from July 26 to 27, you can enjoy the swordfish in the manner they prepare it in Sicily. There are local specialties such as the swordfish sandwich.

photo by https://www.flickr.com/photos/ralphandjenny/

Festa del Raccolto – This is a harvest festival on the 31st of July for the purpose of celebrating the end of the year’s labours. You will have a chance to taste traditional way of cooking local products such as chickpeas, and fava beans. The event includes prayers, music, and festivities to make the town of Cianciana alive.

Sagra dell’Olio – Typically on the 31st of July, the people of Furnari in the Nebrodi Mountains welcome visitors to attend the celebration of their fruits of labours. Taste locally produced olive oil in bruschetta and other local dishes. There will be lost of olives and wine to taste. Feel the mountain music as folks play their favourite sounds.

Sagra delle Melanzane a Milazzo – Before taking the hydrofoil to the Aeolian Islands, stop in Milazzo and join the fun as they celebrate one of their favourite ingredients – the eggplant! Two days of tasting various dishes and folk music will surely make your stopover worth it! This is usually on the first weekend of August.

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Calici di Stelle nelle Città del Vino della Sicilia – This event happens in Castiglione di Sicilia in Catania, on August 10. Gala wine is the main attraction of this event where there will be tastings, music, entertainment, street performers and fireworks.

Sagra della pasta cu l’agghia e sasizza arrustuta – On the evening of August 14, in Buseto Palizzolo, get filled up on Pesto Trapanese and barbecued sausages, melon and lots of wine!

Sagra dei Sapori Chiaramontani – This is a one-day feasting on traditional Sicilian food and wine as towns people celebrate the cockerel and other local products with music and fireworks! It is celebrated on the 17th of August in Chiaramonti Gulfi.
La Sagra del Mare- This is the perfect event for seafood aficionados! In Mazara del Vallo on the 3rd week of August, the people celebrate fruits of the sea. You will have fun watching townsfolk frying fish, prawns and squid in huge frying pans. You can also try boiled octopus and wash them all down with local wine!

La Sagra del Tortone – Watch a medieval procession on the 16th of August in Sperlinga in the Madonie Mountains and have a taste of the traditional cake made of flower, yeast, olive oil and sugar.
Sherbet Festival – If you happen to be in Sicily on the 1st week of September, you willstill be feeling the heat of summer. Join this festival as locals celebrate with home-made ice cream, sherbet and granita made by the very best producers. There will be concerts and other interesting events to see.

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Cous cous Fest – One of the most interesting and biggest events to attend in San Vito Lo Capo in Trapani. This is an international festival where you will get your fill of the dish, meet new people and learn about various cultures. Famous chefs from around the world come together to participate in a cous cous cooking competition. The festival usually lasts a week, from the 18th to the 27th of September. Your vacation will be filled of activities as you join cooking workshops, cultural events, talk shows, and seminars. Not just that, you can join the partying in the evenings where it will be characterized by live music and shows. Different artists will perform every night.

20th Edition “Montevago Wine Festival” – This is for wine enthusiasts who can have the opportunity to attend shows, taste wines and watch exhibitions. A three-day food and wine festival, it is a perfect time to discover the extraordinary wines of Sicily as well as relax in the beautiful sunny town of Montevago, along the Wine Road Terre Sicane.

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Sagra della Salsiccia – In honor of the sausage, three days of partying happens on the 2nd Sunday of September in Aragona. This is characterized by a homage to the local patron saint and there will be market stalls, fairground rides, music and fun!

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Acer Live Blog Weekend in Dublin

Acer Live Blog Weekend in Dublin

Posted on 19 June 2015 by Chris Ford

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This weekend Acer have invited a bunch of bloggers including me to Dublin for a hands on experience using some of their tech in real life scenarios with some challenges set  throughout the weekend designed to show off what their devices have to offer, in fact Im currently sitting in my hotel room in Dublin typing this on the Acer Aspire Switch 10E.

Heres my first look video on the Acer Aspire Switch 10E

Day 1

We spent the evening in Dublins Cooks Academy learning how to make Sundried tomato stuffed chicken at potato’s, I’m shocked how well it turned out! although the expert guidance from the Cooks Academy staff made things very easy to follow.

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Day 2

 

As I write this again on the Aspire Switch 10E I realise what a handy device it is, if you are traveling like me its ideal, the versatility of a fully functioning Windows computer with the portability and ease of use of a tablet,  in fact while in bed this morning I used the Switch in tablet mode to catch up on the latest news with ease using the touch screen.

This morning we went to the Na Fianna GAA Club in Dublin to experience a bit of Irish culture, first we learnt to play the traditional Irish drum, then we went onto the sports field to try our hand at some Irish sports.

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Our Bodhran teacher sang us a song while playing the drum, this was filmed on the Acer Liquid Jade Z

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Holiday Like a Hero

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Holiday Like a Hero

Posted on 10 June 2015 by Chris Ford

Have you ever dreamed of experiencing life as a superhero without all the hassle of having to fight bad guys? Wouldn’t it be great to wield great power so long as you didn’t have to contend with great responsibility?

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While great power may still be hard to come by, you do now at least have the chance to live like a superhero, albeit without the superhuman abilities. For a limited time only, the folks over at Ibiza Summer Villas are offering holidaymakers the opportunity to book a stay in the Iron Man Mansion, located atop the cliffs of Es Vedrà.

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Boasting panoramic sea-views, an infinity pool and a dedicated helipad, the property can only be reached by air or by sea, meaning it might not be the most convenient option if you intend on checking out the famous nightspots of San Antonio and Playa d’en Bossa. That being said, the villa is fully equipped with all mod cons, and the letting company is happy to arrange for private catering to be delivered straight to your door. On top of that, if you’re staying in the home of a superhero, why would you ever be inclined to leave?

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As you might expect, none of this comes cheap. Prices are not quoted on the Ibiza Summer Villas website, and you have to submit an email enquiry in order to receive additional information about the property. On the other hand, if you can find a group of like-minded friends who are willing to split the cost, the short-term expense may be worth the investment in exchange for the long-term bragging rights.

For more information and a wider selection of photographs, head over to the Ibiza Summer Villas website.

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A Staycation at the Montague on the Gardens, London

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A Staycation at the Montague on the Gardens, London

Posted on 28 August 2014 by Chris Ford

Despite the name of this blog, it’s not often that we get the chance to partake of activities that a gentleman might traditionally enjoy.

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So when I was offered the opportunity to spend a staycation in London at the fancy-sounding Montague on the Gardens hotel, I was rather excited.

I had heard of The Montague before in cigar circles (yes, there is such a thing). Complete with its own cigar terrace, it’s known as a cigar-friendly venue, so I swiftly packed my travel humidor with some fine Habanos and was on my way.

We were off to a great start when the friendly receptionist explained that I’d been upgraded to a Deluxe King room. As someone more used to being on a Travel Lodge budget, needless to say I was impressed. The room (well two rooms really) was decorated in a fun yet high-end way something in between traditional and modern. The first room featured a shower room, desk along with sofa and TV area going through to the next room was the bed and a second bathroom.

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Another classy touch was a box of posh biscuits and a handwritten card from the manager, hoping we had a great stay. We intended to do just that.

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First up was afternoon tea, which was held in the hotel’s conservatory. I’d never been before, though my companion had been to The Ritz for afternoon tea and was keen to see how Montague would compare.

We started by choosing which tea, but not from a menu, Instead our server brought us a chest of teas to smell as she talked us through the different varieties. Once we’d sniffed out our selection, the food arrived…

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Finger sandwiches, scones and colourful cakes stacked high on a cake stand, it looked great. We stopped to admire it, but just for a moment. This food wasn’t going to eat itself. We found everything to be delicious, with special mention going to the smoked salmon sandwiches (we had seconds… then thirds!), the warm scones and the mini fruit tarts.

Afternoon tea at Montague is a relaxed affair. You can linger for as long as you want to (unlike The Ritz) and it’s good value for money too at £25.00 per head but still top quality. I think it’s safe to say that my first afternoon tea won’t be my last.

After tea, we didn’t know if we’d ever have room to eat again. But after luxuriating in our swanky room for a while, we finally felt ready to venture out for dinner. Montague on the Gardens is in Bloomsbury so there’s tons of choices, but we ended up at Steak and Lobster, Bloomsbury Street.

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We didn’t need to ponder the menu for long. As you’d expect from the name, you can either choose steak, or lobster. We went for one of each and both came with unlimited fries! I have eaten steak in many places both premium and budget, to be honest I wasn’t expecting to be blown away. But honestly, it was the best steak I’ve had in a long time, perfectly cooked and packed with flavour. My companion said the lobster was equally as impressive.

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Back at the hotel, I was ready for my cigar. But in the summer months, the terrace is used as a restaurant, so was out of bounds for smoking until 10pm. Still, it was hard to be disappointed for long. The top-notch staff at the Montague couldn’t do enough for us, and opened up a beautiful terrace where we could sit and enjoy a drink and a smoke before bedtime (in the unbelievably comfy kingsize). Zzz.

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Before check out in the morning, we had breakfast in the hotel (more food!). It was steep at almost £20 per person, but was as top quality as you’d expect of a hotel of this calibre, and there was lots of choice.

Then, our staycation was over and it was time to go home. Getting the tube home, I was back to being a pleb. But I’ll have to look into this gentleman lark more often. I found out how the other half live and now I think I’ve got a taste for it.

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This trip was sponsored by Cars are the Stars, our trips theme was Herbie the Love bug ( hence the romantic hotel and dinner) for more info or if you just fancy one of those Meerkats! head over here

yakov

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Where to Gamble in Las Vegas

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Where to Gamble in Las Vegas

Posted on 13 May 2013 by Chris Ford

You could be forgiven for thinking that wherever you set foot in Las Vegas is a sure-fire bet as far as finding yourself a top-drawer gambling destination is concerned. The sad reality is that this simply isn’t the case, and much as you just might find an old boot nestling amongst a net-full of salmon, you’ll find there are some gambling haunts nestling amidst the Las Vegas gems that don’t even nearly live up to their home town’s reputation. Here are a few suggestions that’ll help you avoid the few bad apples if you’re planning a trip to the world’s most iconic party town:

The MGM Grand: They don’t come higher profile than this place. The MGM Grand is truly a super-casino. When it opened in 1993, the Grand boasted the largest hotel in the world, and can still lay claim to the largest holiday resort complex in the United States, with 19 restaurants, a vast array of shops and a leisure complex which features five outdoor pools along with a series of rivers and waterfalls that cover a staggering 6.6 acres. The MGM Grand is not only big, it’s beautiful, particularly so since its ‘Grand Renovation’ project in 2011, which has imbued this ‘Gaming City’ with a contemporary edge.

Bellagio: Arguably the world’s most elegant casino, the Bellagio’s classical bowed façade tells you everything you need to know about the superb class of this establishment. Particularly notable are the wonderful Fountains of Bellagio, the soaring water jets that line the front of the building so gracefully, made famous by Brad Pitt & Co. in recent spy caper Ocean’s Eleven. The Bellagio is also notable for its beautiful conservatory and botanical gardens, which offer guests some respite from the dynamic pace of Vegas life.

The Street: Nope, we’re not talking about some cutting edge new establishment called The Street. We actually mean the street, any street in Vegas in fact. Simply load up a game of poker, slots, you name it on your smartphone or tablet using a reputable online casino app such as PokerStars after reading up on your Texas Hold’em strategy, and you can enjoy the thrills of casino gaming from the sidewalk. This option is actually particularly great for Vegas, as it offers gamers the opportunity to wander amongst the magnificent surrounds of not just one, but many of the world’s greatest casinos whilst they get their kicks.

 

Caesar’s Palace: The magnificent towers of Caesar’s Palace dominate the Las Vegas Strip, proud and brash monuments to the American Dream. With regular entertainment from the likes of Elton John and Celine Dion, along with some of the city’s most celebrated restaurants and interiors, it’s not hard to see why this place is amongst the most legendary casinos in the world.

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