Archive for the ‘European travel’ Category

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines Unveils New ‘Poison, Murder & Mystery Cruise’ for Summer 2015

August 6, 2014

Oporto, Portugal, will be one of the stops on the Boudicca's 16-night "Poison, Murder & Mystery Cruise" presented by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Oporto, Portugal, will be one of the stops on the Boudicca’s 16-night “Poison, Murder & Mystery Cruise” presented by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Secrecy and suspense will be aboard 880-guest ship Boudicca for a 16-night “Poison, Murder & Mystery Cruise,” departing Rosyth (Edinburgh) July 10, 2015. The cruise, presented by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines links the Duchess of Northumberland’s ‘Poison Gardens’ at Alnwick Castle – which starred as ‘Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry’ in the Harry Potter films – and that of Mr. Fred. Olsen Senior in Guimar, Tenerife.

Fred. Olsen unveiled this participative ‘murder mystery’ cruise at an exclusive VIP launch at The Tower of London, hosted by The Duchess of Northumberland and Fred. Olsen Senior, on July 24, 2014.

Guests will get to take part in this great adventure as it unfolds on board, whilst Boudicca takes a leisurely cruise to Leixoes (for Oporto, Portugal), Funchal (Madeira), Santa Cruz (Tenerife), Las Palmas (Gran Canaria), Lisbon (Portugal) and Newcastle (UK) – famous as the ‘Agatha Christie Route’.

This intriguing ‘Poison, Murder & Mystery Cruise’ is a first for any cruise line, and is the result of a creative collaboration between Mr. Fred. Olsen Senior and Her Grace, the Duchess of Northumberland. Fred. Olsen is delighted that, as well as hosting the largest participative ‘murder mystery’ event ever held on a cruise ship – which will be officially witnessed on board by ‘Guinness World Records’ – the Duchess will be joining the ship for part of the voyage, along with Mr. Fred. Olsen Senior, it is hoped.

“In Fred. Olsen, I was excited to meet someone with a fellow passion for poison plants, and together we have sown a seed that has flourished into this fascinating cruise experience for Fred. Olsen’s guests next year, linking our two unique gardens,” Her Grace, The Duchess of Northumberland, said.

“I wanted to create a ‘theatre of poisons and poisoning’, and working with Fred. has allowed me to bring this desire to life aboard a cruise ship, where guests can sample something new, something different and something very special indeed!”

“It seemed to me the most natural thing to undertake such a cruise, with so few ‘Poison Gardens’ in Europe,” said Fred. Olsen Senior, Chairman of the Fred. Olsen group of companies. “For me, it is very special to be able to link these gardens with a unique cruise itinerary, and we know that many of our guests share an enthusiasm for gardening. We also know, from previous experiences such as our Titanic Centenary cruise in April 2012, that they enjoy dressing up and taking part in murder mystery-themed events.”

Highlights of this cruise include:

– Visit to The Alnwick Garden and Alnwick Castle – the grand and magnificent home of the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland. Here, guests will not only see the Gardens – which have been transformed by Her Grace with an investment of over £40 million – but also visit the only ‘Poison Garden’ in Britain.

– In Tenerife, discover the mythical ‘Pyramids of Guimar’ and their own ‘Poison Garden’.

– Throughout the cruise, the subject of poison and mystery will be everywhere, with plays, talks and special tours – and a murder mystery starting as soon as guests get on board, which will run through to a ‘Grand Finale’ at Alnwick Castle.

Felix Francis, younger son of thriller-writing legend, Dick Francis, will be penning a short crime story on board as the intrigue around this cruise unravels.

Guest speakers on this cruise include:

Peter Dean, Her Majesty’s Coroner for Essex and a former Forensic Medical Examiner with the Metropolitan Police, with some fascinating and gruesome insights into his varied and often ‘dark’ career.

Doctor Dan Jones, eminent poison Historian and Archaeologist, who gives a closer look into Rasputin and the Borgias family’s darkest secrets!

Doctor Mark Siddall, curator of ‘The Power of Poison’ exhibition at The American Museum of Natural History, will be cooking up all manner of potions and poisons in a hands-on, interactive demonstration.

The Duchess of Northumberland is the visionary behind The Alnwick Garden, the largest visitor attraction in the North East. It is a registered charity, which aims to raise aspirations and run charitable programmes for the education and well-being of the local community. It offers local people access to projects, events, services and opportunities and it aims to promote a healthy, fulfilled quality of life. Alnwick Castle and The Alnwick Garden welcome over 800,000 visitors each year. She has travelled worldwide and around the UK, giving over 400 lectures about The Alnwick Garden and its charitable ethos.

She is particularly interested in natural poisons and aphrodisiacs and has built one of the only ‘Poison Gardens’ in the world, in which every plant is a killer. She had a trilogy of books published called ‘The Poison Diaries’ and recently a ‘Little Book of Poisons, Potions and Aphrodisiacs’ and one of ‘Jams, Jellies and Preserves’, with her own range of marmalades being commercially made from the oldest known recipe in the world.  The latest book, ‘The Little Book of Cocktails, Cordials and Elixirs’ – just recently launched – features some of the oldest recipes for cocktails and cordials ever recorded.

The cruise returns to Edinburgh on the morning of July 26, 2015, after two weeks of mystery, poison and murder at sea.

Prices start from $4125 per person, based on two adults sharing a twin-bedded, Inside cabin, and include accommodation, all meals and entertainment, plus port fees. If guests book by August 31 2014, they can take advantage of free door-to-door travel for guests who live within 250 mainland miles of Rosyth or up to $250 per person free onboard spending credit.

For further information on Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, visit the website at www.bortonoverseas.com.

 

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Eurail Promotion Provides Up to 5 Days Free Travel

August 6, 2014
Eurail Group G.I.E. is responsible for the marketing and management of the InterRail and Eurail Passes, providing unlimited rail travel across Europe © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Eurail Group G.I.E. is responsible for the marketing and management of the InterRail and Eurail Passes, providing unlimited rail travel across Europe © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

From August 1 to September 30, 2014 Eurail is offering non-European residents additional free travel days on the Eurail Global Pass Continuous and 4-Country Select Passes.

The free travel days are intended to enable passholders maximize their travel experience by discovering even more of Europe by train.

The number of extra travel days depends on the type of pass:  the campaign offers one extra travel day for the 4-Country Select Pass, two extra travel days for the 15-day Global Pass Continuous, three extra travel days for the 21-day Global Pass Continuous and five extra travel days for the one month Global Pass Continuous. This special offer is applicable to all product variations for both first and second class.

Since passes are available within a six month pre-booking period, Eurail customers can take advantage of the promotion until April 2015, and take advantage of off-peak travel.

“The advantages of shorter lines at tourism sites and lower prices are obvious,” says Silvia Görlach, Marketing Manager of the Eurail Group G.I.E.  “Visiting Europe once the large crowds have left is a completely different experience in which tourists have the chance to discover Europe, its culture and inhabitants in a more authentic and relaxed environment.”

Eurail’s Extra Days promotion runs alongside Eurail’s “Free Roaming” promotion, launched on July 7, offering the first 2,500 Eurail Select and Global Pass customers who register their pass purchase on www.eurail-roaming.com a Eurail Free Roaming SIM Card with a pre-paid credit of 18 Euros.

Eurail Passes are available from a worldwide network of Authorized General Sales Agents. Please visit www.eurailgroup.org/eurail.

Established in 2001, the Eurail Group G.I.E. is responsible for the marketing and management of the InterRail and Eurail Passes, providing unlimited rail travel across Europe. The organization is based in Utrecht (the Netherlands) and is wholly owned by 30 railways and shipping companies.The Group also has many partners including hotels, transport companies and museums, which offer their services either at a reduced rate or free of charge to rail pass holders.

 

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4-Star Villa le Barone, Chianti, Italy, Features Wine-Tasting & Cooking Lessons

July 31, 2014
The charming 28-room hotel Villa le Barone is set amongst the timeless landscape of Chianti, and has been in the famous Della Robbia family since the 16th century.

The charming 28-room hotel Villa le Barone is set amongst the timeless landscape of Chianti, and has been in the famous Della Robbia family since the 16th century.

Villa le Barone, the four-star luxury hotel in Panzano, Chianti, in the heart of Italy’s scenic region of Tuscany, offers guests the chance to enjoy a day of wine tasting and cooking lessons while vacationing in one of the most glorious and scenic regions of Tuscany.

What better place to enjoy a Chianti wine than in Italy’s own Chianti Region? Villa le Barone offers a memorable “Gastronomia Toscana” (Enjoy Wines and Tuscan Gastronomy) package which includes a welcome bottle of Prosecco and fresh flowers in the guestroom, an itinerary with or without a driver to explore the Chianti region, a large buffet breakfast, Tuscan dinner and a complimentary bottle of Chianti Classico or a free bottle of local grown extra virgin olive oil (agroqualità) as well as an option to take a local cooking class.

“When Villa le Barone was a farm at the beginning of the 20th century, it produced Vin Santo, and the grapes were hung in what is now the Garden House,” explains Jacqueline Aloisi de Larderel, proprietor and descendent of the generation of family who have owned the historic hotel since the 1600s. “The traditional dessert wine possesses a beautiful amber color and touched with a lovely smell of dried fruit, apricot, honey and acacia flowers.”

“A good meal in Tuscany concludes with Vin Santo (Holy Wine) and Cantucci (sweet almond cookies) and is quite a treat,” adds Corso Aloisi de Larderel, co-proprietor of the 28-room historic villa. “Dinner under the chandeliers of our restaurant or on the terrace of our hotel is the right time to dip the cantucci into the Vin Santo in the Tuscan tradition.”

Set in the heart of Tuscany, between the historic cities of Siena and Florence, Chianti is noted for its wine, food, landscape, culture, and its inspiration for poets and painters, with its rolling hills of vineyards, olive trees, woods, farmhouses, and castles. Individual churches are surrounded by dark cypresses and impressive monuments throughout the quaint villages of the area.

From July 15- August 31, 2014 and October 1 – October 13, 2014, the Villa le Barone’s Gastronomy di Tuscany (Enjoy Wines and Tuscan Gastronomy package) ranges from €960 (approximately $US 1,305/$CA 1,340) for a classic room to €1160 (approximately $US 1,580/$CA 1,680) for a Historic Room or Junior Suite, for two people for three nights.

From September 1-30, 2014, prices range from €1000 (approximately $1,360) for a classic room, to €1210 (approximately $1,645) for a historic room or junior suite for two persons for three nights.

The cooking course is an additional €100 Euros (approximately $136) and includes two hours with a Tuscan cook, a souvenir apron and the meal that you have actually prepared to enjoy. Car and driver for a day trip through Chianti is an additional €380 (approximately $517).

Rich History

Villa Le Barone was built as a tower in the middle ages and was the seat of a Baronetcy, hence the name “Le Barone.” During the Renaissance, the tower was torn down and converted to a Villa, surrounded by its agricultural estate, where the renowned Della Robbia family spent summers.

After the World War I, Marchesa Maria Bianca Viviani Della Robbia managed Villa le Barone as a wine and olive oil estate. Maria Bianca was the granddaughter of François de Larderel, a French 18th century industrialist, who discovered and developed the use of geothermal energy in Tuscany.

Marie Bianca’s daughter, Duchess Franca Visconti, converted the Villa into a charming boutique hotel, keeping the refined and elegant atmosphere of a private house, while offering all the contemporary comforts and amenities.  Villa le Barone is now the property of Duchess Franca Visconti’s heirs, whom you will meet when you stay at Villa le Barone.

The charming 28-room hotel Villa le Barone is set amongst the timeless landscape of Chianti, and has been in the famous Della Robbia family since the 16th century. The swimming pool, tennis court, fitness trail, fitness room and terraces are set amongst large rose gardens, with views over the surrounding countryside, olive groves and the vineyards of Chianti Classico. In the old winery, the restaurant serves traditional Tuscan food and of course, the world-renowned local Chianti wines.

For more information about the “Gastronomia Toscana” (Enjoy Wines and Tuscan Gastronomy package) or to simply learn more about the local wines in the area, to book a reservation, or to learn more about the variety of recreational activities one can enjoy at Villa le Barone, visit www.villalebarone.com.

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New Walking Tour Explores Vienna’s Schönbrunn Palace

July 24, 2014

Context, organizer of critically acclaimed walking tours, expands its program in Vienna with Gilded Ambition: a Tour of Schönbrunn Palace, a walk within the spectacular interiors of the Habsburgs’ summer residence and a close consideration of the interwoven history of the Habsburg Monarchy.

Built at the end of the 17th century by Emperor Leopold I, Schönbrunn Palace is situated within an expanse of glorious gardens, and home to almost 1500 exquisitely preserved rooms, many of which are open to the public. The palace provides a unique platform for understanding a complex history, and exploring the lives and loves of a long line of Habsburg monarchs. Each room is adorned with ancient artwork and fine furnishings that reveal an intricate and compelling storyline about those who lived there.

Gilded Ambition guides visitors through the lives of successive Habsburg monarchs, uncovering narratives and provoking discussion and consideration of this hugely influential family. Led by a local expert, the 2.5-hour walking seminar goes beyond standard show-and-tell tours, to instill a deeper understanding of the complex narratives and geopolitical influences revealed by the palace and its interior.

The tour also connects the past with the present, revealing how the Habsburgs’ legacy, as manifest in Schönbrunn Palace, continues to speak to modern day Vienna, its culture, its people and their outlook.

“Schönbrunn Palace is Austria’s most popular tourist attraction, yet we wanted to create a unique way to experience it.” says Natalie Holmes, Context’s Central Europe manager and co-creator of the tour. “The tour joins the dots between this magnificent monument, its complex historical significance, and its modern-day legacy.”

Gilded Ambition: a Tour of Schönbrunn Palace lasts 2 1/2 hours and is available daily. Group walks cost €65 per person, plus €14.50 (adult), €8.50 (child 6-18) for palace entry. Private tours cost €280 per party. As with all Context walking seminars, groups are led by a credentialed expert and limited to six (6) people maximum.

Founded by National Geographic writer Paul Bennett and designer Lani Bevacqua, Context Travel, which is based in Philadelphia, is a network of English-speaking scholars and professionals, including art historians, writers, architects and gastronomes, who organize and lead walking seminars in twenty-four (24) world cities, including: Florence, Rome, Venice, Naples, Paris, London, Edinburgh, Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, D.C., Istanbul, Athens, Beijing, Shanghai, Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Amsterdam, Tokyo, and Kyoto. A certified B Corporation, Context Travel was named one of the fastest growing American companies in 2011 by Inc Magazine. Travel + Leisure has called Context one of the top European tour companies for its innovative approach to travel and the depth of its programs. To learn more about Context, visit the website at: www.contexttravel.com.

See also:

On the Danube Bike Trail: Seeing Vienna by Bike and slideshow

Jewish Heritage Preserved in Vienna, Austria and slideshow

 

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Spend Holidays in Italy with Tourcrafters’ 6-Night Holiday Package for $1265 with Airfare from NY

July 17, 2014
The Vatican in Rome at night. Tourcrafters has 6-night holiday package in Italy for the holidays for $1265 including air fare from New York. © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The Vatican in Rome at night. Tourcrafters has 6-night holiday package in Italy for the holidays for $1265 including air fare from New York. © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Why not have a vacation over the holidays and spend Thanksgiving or Christmas in Italy? TourCrafters has put together a very affordable week-long Roman Holiday package that starts at only $1,265 and includes round-trip air fare from New York to Rome, six nights’ accommodation at the Hotel Rome Garden, daily buffet breakfast and fuel surcharge.

Rome is a delight any time with attractions like the Coliseum, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, Vatican Museums, and restaurants and cafés galore, but it is especially appealing over the holidays. On Thanksgiving, which is not an official holiday in Italy, everything—stores, museums and restaurants—is open and some restaurants even serve tacchino (that’s Italian for “turkey.”)

At Christmastime the city is dressed up in holiday splendor. Piazza Navona offers a Christmas market complete with carousel, the smart shopping street Via Condotti is aglow with lights, there’s an enormous Christmas tree in Piazza Venezia and St. Peter’s Square displays a famous nativity scene and another huge lighted tree. TourCrafters can arrange an optional tour of St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums (Sistine Chapel) or even an optional excursion to Naples (pizza’s hometown) and the ancient ruins of Pompeii.

The 3-star Hotel Rome Garden is special, too. It’s an elegant 19th-century villa located in a residential neighborhood that is close to a choice of good restaurants.

TourCrafters also has a 9-day/7-night Holiday Package to Rome and Florence that costs from $1,339 and includes airfare from New York to Rome returning from Florence, four nights at the 3-star Hotel Rome Garden, SMART class train from Rome to Florence, three nights at the 3-star Hotel Meridiana in Florence, daily buffet breakfast and fuel surcharge. (TourCrafters can provide add-on air fares from many other U.S. cities.)

Both packages offer daily departures from November 1 to December 28 but the packages must be booked and paid in full by August 28. The prices stated are per person, double occupancy, and are subject to availability. They do not include airport taxes of $109, city taxes (which must be paid in euros directly to the hotel) or the weekend supplement. The fuel surcharge is included but is subject to change by the airline.

For more information about the Rome and Rome & Florence holiday packages, visit www.tourcrafters.com, click “Special Offers” and then “Deal of the Week” For reservations, call 800-482-5995.

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Eurail ‘Free Roaming’ Summer Promotion Provides Free Roaming SIM Card

July 17, 2014

The first 2,500 Eurail Select and Global Pass customers who register their pass purchase on www.eurail-roaming.com can apply for a Eurail Free Roaming SIM Card© 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The first 2,500 Eurail Select and Global Pass customers who register their pass purchase on http://www.eurail-roaming.com can apply for a Eurail Free Roaming SIM Card© 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Eurail launches the “Free Roaming” summer promotion and makes it easier for pass holders to stay connected with friends and family while traveling in Europe. The first 2,500 Eurail Select and Global Pass customers who register their pass purchase on www.eurail-roaming.com can apply for a Eurail Free Roaming SIM Card. This offer is valid on all categories and classes of the passes purchased from July 7 to September 30, 2014 or as long as supplies last.

“Eurail is committed to adding value to its’ Eurail Pass products. The free Eurail SIM Card offer is one more customer cost-saving initiative to help pass holders stay connected while traveling in Europe. This promotion offers our customers the unique opportunity to avoid costly Wi-Fi or roaming charges,” explains Silvia Goerlach, Eurail Group Sales and Marketing Manager.

The Eurail Free Roaming offer includes a prepaid, pre-activated +44 (United Kingdom) and +1 (United States) SIM Card which provides free incoming calls(a surcharge of € 0.20 per minute is charged for US numbers) and 200 minutes of free Wi-Fi at selected Premium Hotspots. Additionally, the customer can freely combine up to 100 minutes of international calls, 300 text messages or up to 100 MB of data as long as the prepaid credit lasts.

Once the prepaid credit has expired, the customer can recharge the Eurail SIM Card, and take advantage of the same attractive Eurail Roaming conditions. These are offered via telecommunications partner Global Roaming, which works with 67 operators in Europe and is one of the worldwide leading providers in mobile communication services. The Eurail Roaming SIM Card has coverage in 30 European countries, including all those participating in the Eurail Pass program.

The Free Roaming Summer Promotion is valid for holders of a Eurail Global Pass, valid in 24 member countries or a Eurail Select Pass valid in four Countries. The Eurail Global Pass continues to be the most popular pass in the Eurail portfolio. It covers nearly the entire European continent and offers travelers the largest variety of countries to choose from.

Eurail Passes are available from a worldwide network of Authorized General Sales Agents. Visit www.eurailgroup.org/eurail-vendors.

Eurail Group G.I.E., the organization dedicated to the marketing and management of the Eurail Passes, is wholly owned by over thirty participating railways and shipping companies. Eurail Group has many benefit partners, including hotels, transport companies and museums, which offer their services either at a reduced rate or free of charge to rail pass holders.

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Sleep with an Eye for Art at Bavaria’s ‘Sightsleeping’ Collection of Castles, Palaces, Designer Hotels

June 11, 2014
Neuschwanstein Palace in winter © BAYERN TOURISMUS Marketing GmbH

Neuschwanstein Palace in winter © BAYERN TOURISMUS Marketing GmbH

Bavaria’s collection of Sightsleeping® hotels invites you to say in palaces, castles and designer hotels and surround your senses with the arts even where you sleep. The newest collection of 43 properties includes a stylish city hotel in Nuremberg, a chalet with lodge views of the mountains beyond Lake Tegernsee, and a 15th-century castle.

Membership in this exclusive collection is based on agreement by a jury of art experts, professional designers, journalists and tourism experts. Criteria for inclusion are the attraction value and the aesthetic level of an establishment. Only those candidates where sightseeing begins in the hotel itself can be included under the motto “Sleeping with an eye for art”. These hotels offer a new option in experiential travel, where arts and culture are as important in the hotel where you stay as they are in the destination visited.

“We offer many cultural events in Bavaria from exhibitions to classical concerts, jazz weeks and more”, explains theme manager Kristina Nagl. “With Sightsleeping® Hotels, we now offer guests accommodation options that are also culturally oriented. Sightsleeping® stands for a new type of travel, in which the hotel experience plays a central role. You are as you sleep. The arts are your muse”.

The Sightsleeping® jury meets in October each year to decide which new candidates to admit to the collection. The strict selection process guarantees the quality of the offerings. Criteria include the attraction value and the aesthetic level of an establishment. Palaces and fortresses or contemporary architecture with a modern design are all viable candidates for the portfolio. An important requirement is that the décor be worth seeing – with paintings, prints, drawings or sculptures with real aesthetic appeal, or where a concept can be identified. The hotels are often further distinguished by their own cultural offerings and organize readings by authors, concerts or theater productions.

Information about the Sightsleeping® hotels, events in and around them, and a downloadable version of the Sightsleeping® catalogue are available at http://www.bavaria.us/sightsleeping-hotels-bavaria.

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New Vienna Walking ‘Seminar’ Explores Sigmund Freud’s ‘City of Dreams’

May 8, 2014
Judenplatz, the old Jewish Quarter in Vienna, where the Misrachi-Haus museum today houses the excavation of the medieval synagogue, destroyed in 1420, and where there is a Holocaust Memorial. A new walking "seminar" examines Sigmund Freud's Vienna © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Judenplatz, the old Jewish Quarter in Vienna, where the Misrachi-Haus museum today houses the excavation of the medieval synagogue, destroyed in 1420, and where there is a Holocaust Memorial. A new walking “seminar” examines Sigmund Freud’s Vienna © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

A new walking seminar explores the life and work of Sigmund Freud, through his complex and fascinating relationship with the city of Vienna.

Context, organizer of critically acclaimed walking tours, expands its program in Vienna, with City of Dreams, Freud’s Vienna, a new walking tour that traces the life and work of Sigmund Freud and his relationship to Vienna.

The founding father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud spent most of his life in Vienna. His work in the field of psychotherapy remains highly influential, and today carries weight across a range of philosophies and disciplines. Such is the gravity of Freud’s legacy that Vienna has become known as the City of Dreams.

City of Dreams, Freud’s Vienna explores the places Freud lived and worked, to discover how the Austrian capital inspired his work, and how, in turn, his presence influenced the city. Though a successful doctor with a loyal local following, Freud’s story took a dark turn in the 1930s as the Nazis came to power. As a Jew, he and his family faced increasing persecution and were finally forced to flee following the German occupation of Austria.

As well as uncovering the charismatic psychoanalyst’s life, the tour takes an in-depth look at the wider socio-political upheaval that took place during Freud’s 47 years in Vienna. Led by a local scholar, City of Dreams, Freud’s Vienna, pays particular attention to the fate of Vienna’s Jewish community during World War II, and, in its aftermath, collective attempts at coming to terms with this difficult period of history.

“Freud spent the majority of his life in Vienna, and the interrelationship between him and the city is a fascinating story that we’re excited to tell,” says Natalie Holmes, who co-created the walk. “The tour not only covers the history of psychoanalysis and its inventor, but is also a journey into the collective conscience of the city itself.”

City of Dreams, Freud’s Vienna lasts three hours and is available daily. Group walks cost €70 per person. Private tours cost €305 per party. As with all Context walking seminars, groups are led by a credentialed expert and limited to six people maximum.

Founded by National Geographic writer Paul Bennett and designer Lani Bevacqua, Context Travel is a network of English-speaking scholars and professionals, including art historians, writers, architects and gastronomes, who organize and lead walking seminars in twenty-three (23) world cities, including: Florence, Rome, Venice, Naples, Paris, London, Edinburgh, Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, D.C., Istanbul, Athens, Beijing, Shanghai, Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Tokyo, and Kyoto. A certified B Corporation, Context Travel was named one of the fastest growing American companies in 2011 by Inc Magazine. Travel + Leisure has called Context one of the top European tour companies for its innovative approach to travel and the depth of its programs. To learn more about Context, visit its website at:www.contexttravel.com.

Tuscany Wine and Bike 2014 Wine & Culinary Tours Lets You Savor Wine, Land & History at the Pace of a Bicycle

April 23, 2014
Tuscany Wine and Bike itineraries offer a triple helping of understanding the wine, land and history of Tuscany while experiencing the beauty of an outdoor excursion © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Tuscany Wine and Bike itineraries offer a triple helping of understanding the wine, land and history of Tuscany while experiencing the beauty of an outdoor excursion © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Tuscany Wine and Bike (TWB) announced their new 2014 Wine Tasting & Culinary Biking Tour Itineraries effective April 26, 2014 through September 27, 2014. Led by local freelance oenologist and Winemaker Carlo Travagli and cycling enthusiast Luca Casini, TWB tours trek on mountain bikes across the provinces of Siena, Firenze, Pisa and Pistoia through the scenic, historic Chianti Wine Region of Tuscany.

“Each itinerary is actually a ‘triple itinerary’ that provides our guests with an understanding of the wine & cuisine, area & geography, and the culture & history of the places we will explore,” says Travagli. “I created these tours to give people an intimate look at my home — this extraordinarily beautiful, dynamic agricultural and world renown wine growing region.”

On the TWB TOUR, participants will awaken their senses through the vibrant colors, intoxicating scents, and breathtaking sights as Tuscany’s most robust seasons dramatically unfold before them. Cycling through fragrant olive groves, rolling vineyards, vibrant sunflowers fields, majestic woods, and other fascinating scenic spots, participants will uncover the most authentic aspects of Tuscany, often missed and overlooked by visitors using conventional means of transportation.

Additionally they will:  

Discover the Pearls of Tuscany, the historical points of interests, churches and buildings rich with art, centuries-old villages and towns as they follow paths and ancient roads like the “via Francigena.”

Experience Tuscan life, people, culture and places traveling through towns and farmlands, with opportunities to stay overnight.

Learn about one of the world’s most famous winemaking regions, the microclimates, viticultural areas and revered varietals, and the role of its landscape and history.

Savor the distinct flavors of the countryside including the local harvests, cherished honey, succulent olives & oils, sumptuous salumi, handcrafted cheeses, and enjoy the regional artisan products and cuisine of TWB select regional partners.

Taste regional wines among the vineyards and cellars while visiting local estates, receiving both lessons and guided tastings by Travagli, an award-winning winemaker of Chianti, Chianti Classico (Gallo Nero Black Rooster), Sangiovese, and IGT Super Tuscan wines.

No rigorous physical conditioning is required for the majority of the TWB itineraries.

“Most of our itineraries are designed for tourists without extensive athletic training.” Travagli stresses. “It’s for pure enjoyment and we try very hard to match each itinerary with the interests, comfort level, and ability of our guests.”

However, for both intermediate and advanced cyclists, Travalgi and Casini have designed several challenging itineraries including the 7-day Bio Week Tour.  The Bio Week Tours have additional activities such as cooking lessons, donkey treks, and urban bike tours. Customized Tours are also available.  For more information, visit the Tuscany Wine and Bike website, Email TWB or call (+39)333 9206700.

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Eurail Pass Offers ‘Mediterranean Deals’ with Free Travel Days Thru Apr 30

April 16, 2014
Rail travel in France © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Rail travel in France © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Eurail Pass travelers can now take advantage of the “Mediterranean Deals” promotion, adding one free travel day to the Italian One Country Pass and one free travel day to the Regional Passes France-Italy, France-Spain and Italy-Spain. The offer is valid for any variations of these products purchased through April 30, 2014.

As France, Italy and Spain count themselves among the most popular European tourism destinations, Eurail wants to entice its non-European customers even further by offering these special “Mediterranean Deals.” The French, Italian and Spanish railway companies offer an extensive and modern rail network, making traveling by train comfortable, relaxing and hassle free. Moreover, these Eurail Passes provide the traveler with the flexibility to choose from a selection of available travel days and dates, within a period of two months.

In March, Eurail announced that France will return to a revamped Eurail Select Pass after a one year absence. The Eurail Select Pass re-launches as a Four-Country Pass only. Starting on April 1st, only Four Country Select Passes can be purchased, with France as one of the 26 Eurail countries to choose from.

Eurail offers four types of Eurail Passes as part of its product portfolio to those residing outside of Europe: the Eurail Global Pass valid in 24 member countries, the Eurail Select Pass, the Eurail Regional Pass and the Eurail One Country Pass.

Eurail Passes are available from a worldwide network of Authorized General Sales Agents. Visit www.eurailgroup.org/eurail-vendors.

Eurail Group G.I.E., the organization dedicated to the marketing and management of the Eurail Passes, is wholly owned by more than 30 participating railways and shipping companies. In addition, Eurail Group has many benefit partners, including hotels, transport companies and museums, which offer their services either at a reduced rate or free of charge to rail pass holders.

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