Hurtigruten Cruises Around The Fjords Of Norway, wondeful choice for weekend getaways for couples

Hurtigruten Voyages

The Norwegian Coastal Hurtigruten Voyage along the spectacular Norwegian coastline has been described as “The World’s Most Beautiful Voyage”, and it’s a great choice for weekend getaways for couples. Established more than 110 years ago, the service is an essential connection to the outermost coastal communities, that carried cargo and passengers. The vessels hardly ever deviated far from their usual route, always hugging the rugged Norwegian coast, encountering some of least inhabited areas of Norway.


Hurtigruten Voyages
Hurtigruten Voyages

The Hurtigruten vessels ferry passengers, post and supplies to 34 ports around the coast of Norway, most, almost never called on by commercial cruise liners. The voyages depart from Bergen on a daily basis and travel northbound to the Arctic Circle and further as it meanders its way along the spectacular splendour of the coast of Norway.

Many of the ports of call are tranquil communities on tiny islands where the inhabitants depend for their survival on the Hurtigruten ships to bring the communities essential supplies and to reunite friends and family.

Each Hurtigruten ship has its own style and personality and no two trips will ever be the same, as the continually-evolving seasons, weather, fauna and flora, local people you encounter, and the friendly English speaking staff make every sailing a unique experience.

Travellers from all around the world come to enjoy the stunning coastline and relaxed ambiance on board. Many prefer to travel during the summer months, to experience the midnight sun when the sun touches the horizon before arching skyward, immersing the resplendent scenery in continuous daylight. Others opt to travel in the winter when the Northern Lights sometimes light up the night sky in a spectacular show of shimmering lights.

The relationship between the fleet and community could be the reason for the attachment many Norwegians have for the service. The tradition and history of the service, and the immense undertakings of the crews and captains that have helped navigate so many coastal communities into the contemporary age, has at no time been regarded with anything other than admiration.

For more infos about the ship, visit


We’re not usually the type of travelers who would visit a tourist trap like the Ice Bar in Stockholm, but every so often you have let yourself get suckered into paying 18£ to stand around in a dumb outfit freezing your ass off and drinking watered down vodka cocktails.

The surprise was how much we enjoyed partaking in such a ridiculous activity.

First, you pay an excessive amount of money for what you know is basically just a photo op. Then you stand around the IceHotel Lobby until your group is let into the bar. Everyone is provided a giant shiny blue parka, a pair of damp mittens (attached to the parka with strings in the sleeves, just like when you were in elementary school), and a voucher for one specialty cocktail. Then you spend 40 minutes shivering, drinking, snapping photos, and generally feeling ridiculous.

IceBarDrinks The Ice Bar in Stockholm (sometimes you just have to do the tourist thing)

Was it worth it? For us, it was worth the laugh, the photos, and the random luck of making two wonderful friends who we now see on a regular basis in London (Hi Jason and Luis!). And I think that’s 36£ well spent.

MarinaKevIceBar The Ice Bar in Stockholm (sometimes you just have to do the tourist thing)


Vasaplan 4, entrance in the lobby of Nordic Sea Hotel in Stockholm city
111 20 Stockholm
P: +46 8 50 56 35 20.
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A visit to Oxford and Cambridge is worth studying

Oxford and Cambridge are sometimes lumped together as Oxbridge, the elite universities where children of the British Establishment and talented young people from overseas study. In fact, the towns where these universities are located are quite different. Both offer the visitor a glimpse of quintessentially British institutions that have been copied all over the world.

Oxford is the better known of the two universities. It vies with the universities of Paris and Bologna for the title of oldest university in the world. In Oxford, the university does not dominate the town to the extent it does in Cambridge, but the major sights, which are all free, are associated with the university.


Visit the colleges for their medieval architecture and “dreaming spires,” and for their associations with history and literature. Christ Church, Merton and Wadham colleges are best known for their architecture, while Magdalene is known for the lovely deer that roam its grounds. The manuscript room of the Bodleian library is worth a visit, as is the Ashmolean Museum. For a view of the city, climb to the top of the Cathedral Church of St. Mary’s.

There is a reasonably wide range of accommodation in Oxford, but with the revaluation of the pound much of it is out of the budget range. However, some of the interesting hotels such as the Old Parsonage are still reasonable. It resembles some of the old colleges, having been built in the thirteenth century and restored in the seventeenth. It has a bar and licenced restaurant, and rates from about $27 single with breakfast to $50 double.

Several guest houses and bed and breakfast places offer simple accommodation for about $13 a person and up. Try Dilkush Guest House near the railway station, Victoria Guest House a little outside the centre of town, or Mrs. Passmore’s Guest House in the centre. These accommodations normally include a large English breakfast, making them quite a bargain.

Because of the large student population, reasonably priced food is readily available in Oxford. A student favorite is St. Michael’s Tavern, which serves pub grub, such as sandwiches and meat pies, and good pizza. Several of the pubs that are frequented by undergraduates are the White Horse, the King’s Arms, known for good food, and the Turf Tavern, an interesting medieval building with low doorways and dark wood. It has a good but somewhat pricey lunch menu. At the other pubs, expect to pay about $1.35 for a pint of good British beer, $4 or so for lunch.

For a lighter and less expensive lunch, try the Wyckham Tea Room in Holywell for excellent sandwiches and strong tea. Brown’s is a hamburger place that is inexpensive and popular with students.

The Trout Inn on the outskirts of Oxford is a pleasant dining spot. It is an old converted mill just on the river, with good, moderately priced food. As a splurge, the Bleu Blanc Rouge offers French cuisine in attractive surroundings. Table d’hote dinner without wine is about $16 a person.

If you’re in the mood to see old American or foreign films, the Penultimate Picture Palace on Cowley Road is a repertory cinema with low admission prices – only about $1.35 at last report.

Cambridge is a considerably smaller and, in the opinion of many, more charming town than Oxford. There is little here except the university, and the major sights are the colleges. Visit King’s College’s beautiful chapel. King’s is one of the richer colleges, partly because the economist J. M. Keynes made a lot of money in the stock market when he was handling the college’s finances. Trinity College is famous for its beautiful quadrangle and the number of famous scientists who have been associated with it, including Sir Isaac Newton.

Reasonably priced accommodations are available in Cambridge at the Arundel House or the Guest House, where rates run between about $22 single and $50 double. Breakfast is included at the Guest House, but is extra at the Arundel.

The Blue Boar Hotel, a seventeenth century inn, is the sort of place where the visiting parents of well-off students stay. It is attractively furnished, centrally heated, very conveniently located and run by the highly regarded Trust House Forte chain. Rates range from about $40 single to $70 double with breakfast. In a lower price range, a number of bed and breakfast houses provide accommodation for about $13 a person; the Ellensleigh Guest House, for example.

Among the reasonably priced restaurants in Cambridge are any of three branches of the Eros for Greek food, the Don Pasquale for Italian food, the Oyster Tavern, and the Peking for Chinese food.

While in Cambridge, don’t miss a chance to punt along the Cam River, which runs behind the colleges. Punts can be hired at the bottom on Mill Lane. A popular journey by punt is up the river to Grantchester to take cream tea at The Orchard, a favorite haunt of the poet Rupert Brooke.

Despite inflation, it’s still economical to visit Greece

Despite inflation, it’s still economical to visit Greece – In many ways, Greece is a perfect country. It is beautiful, clean, safe and, for most of the year, warm. It has sights to equal those of any country, and it is Western enough that most travelers will not be intimidated by it. The Greeks have been famous for their hospitality since ancient times. While mass tourism has strained this genuine spirit of hospitality, it still has not eliminated it.

 visit Greece
visit Greece

Although inflation is raging there as it is elsewhere, Greece is still one of the cheapest countries in Europe. However, Greece will soon join the Common Market, so its price structure may soon come to resemble that of northern Europe.

As in many countries that depend heavily on the revenue from tourism, travel is well organized in Greece. Hotels and restaurants are all classified by price and service offered, with L being the highest class, A the second highest, and E the lowest. This makes it easy to determine approximately what prices will be in any given hotel or restaurant, even without the aid of a guidebook.

Hotels rated L will generally be above the budget range, but some of those rated A are well within it. For example, the Hotel Ambassadeurs and the Hotel Astor in Athens charge only $24 single, $33 double for room with bath. At the Blue House pension, which is also rated A, rates drop to $15 for a bathless single, $24 for a bathless double. At the B-class Hotel Adonis in the Plaka, the old part of the city that is now a night club area, a room with bath is about $20.

In the C category, which is still perfectly acceptable, rates drop to about $9 for a bathless single, $16 for a double with bath. In Athens, the Elena and the Kronos offer these rates. In an A class hotel, breakfast will be $2 extra, lunch or dinner another $8. In a C class hotel, these charges drop to about $1.80 for breakfast, $6 for lunch or dinner.

In E class hotels the rates drop as low as $4 single, $5 double without bath. On the Greek islands, where hotels are relatively scarce, it is always possible to rent a room in a private home for about $7 to $8 double.

In Athens, there is no problem finding accommodations. The Greek National Tourist Organization, with branches at the airport, on Syntagma Square downtown, and at the port of Piraeus, will make reservations for visitors in any hotel category between luxury and D. However, Athens is crowded in summer, so if your heart is set on staying at a particular hotel it is better to make reservations in advance.

There is a great variety of budget accommodation available in Athens. One particularly outstanding find for women is the modern Athens YWCA, very near Syntagma Square, where a room with bath is as little as $8. Dormitory and bathless rooms are even cheaper, and there is a good, very inexpensive cafeteria in the building.

It would be possible to list a number of budget restaurants in Athens such as the Vassilis near Syntagma Square, but the fact is that most Greek restaurants will not strain the budget. It is difficult to spend more than $10 for a meal in any except the luxury restaurants – these can usually be identified by their decor, their classification and the fact that many of them serve foreign (to Greece) food. For a delicious meal of Greek salad, moussaka (similar to shepherd’s pie), beer or wine, Greek coffee and baklava the bill should seldom exceed $8 or so, and will often be much less.

Athens is interesting, but most people say you haven’t seen the real Greece until you’ve visited the islands. A cruise is a very pleasant way to do this, but cruises do tend to be expensive and often result in insulating the traveler from the country itself. For the visitor without the time, money or inclination to take a cruise, a visit to one or two islands can give a very good impression of what island life is like.

Probably the most spectacular island is Santorini or Thera, a volcanic island where the most popular way to reach the main city is by donkey up a steep, winding road. Here as in the other islands the cheapest accommodation is in private homes, where a double room usually runs from $6 to $9. People offering rooms usually meet the boats, so there is no trouble finding one.

In a somewhat higher price range, the C-class Hotel Panorama offers a single with bath and breakfast for about $15, while the Atlantis, a B- class hotel and the best on the island, offers the same for about $22.

Mykonos is a very popular island that is more convenient to Athens. (It was featured in the film The Greek Tycoon.) Here the hotel selection is wider, with the Leto and the Ano Mera in the A category, offering singles without bath at about $13, doubles with bath for about $35. Since Mykonos is very fashionable, food prices tend to be a bit higher here, especially in the restaurants located near the water. Still, it is hard to spend more than $12 or so for dinner.

Top Beach Destinations to Visit in Europe


Do you really know the best beaches in the world that you can have fun in?If you agree that you know some, think again. This is because, beautiful white sand beaches can be found all over Europe ranging from Brittany, Poland, German and Corsica.We should not also forget to mention the Bulgaria’s environmental award winning beaches and the marvelous beaches in the underdeveloped coast of Turkey.

Beaches in Bulgaria

Golden sands beach stands out from the rest in Bulgaria and Europe in general.The soft and golden sand in the golden sand beach is acclaimed to be the best in the world.The beach resorts here sit 16 kilometers from Varna city that was built in 1950s.This beach resort town is filled with a lot of camping sites and hotels that are of good value.The golden sand in Bulgaria has received many environmental awareness awards.The beach has solar transportation offer and the beach is always monitored for toxins.

Corsica Beaches

Pinarello beach defines beach life in Corsica.The bay of Pinarello in Corsica has herb scented slopes, white sands and craggy coves that attract a lot of visitors.The beach also has an old church, a handful of restaurants full of seafood and jetties that stretches into the crystal clear water.This offers an idyllic, small scale Mediterranean beach life.

Beaches in Germany

Kampen beach, Silt is the most outstanding beach in German that is of world class nature.This beach is situated on the modern and fashionable island of Silt on the North Sea.Kampen beach has got a bracing air and a beautiful backdrop of cliffs that are red in color.Visit this beach and grab a giant wicker beach chair that is waiting for you there.

Beaches in Poland

Sopot beach is the best beach in Poland that gives very high competition to other major sand beaches in Europe.This beach has one of the best cooling water in the world.The Sopot beach since the ancient times has been attracting a lot of visitors from all parts of the world majorly from Germany and Poland.Volleyball nets always decorate the beautifully bleached white sands and vodka bars and beer gardens lines up the Monte Casino’s main street.The temperatures at Sopot beach are often above 20 degrees.

Italy Beaches

Italy is endowed with Praia del Fuoco beach that is stunningly beautiful.Praia del Fuoco beach is a very romantic beach that is hidden at the end of Capo Vaticano coast.This is at the union of the toe of southern Calabria.Transportation to this beach is by boat only.This beach is lapped with aquamarine waters and has a rocky cover that has steep shelves and soft sand.

Beaches in Turkey

Turquoise coast beach in Patar is the most mouthwatering beach in Europe.It is a 19 kilometer stretch that is composed of soft sand at the Mediterranean coastline.The beach is flanked by big mountains of white sand, which are a nesting place for loggerhead turtles.However, this area has for a long period of time remained underdeveloped due to the protection of this beautiful beach by the Turkey government.Get yourself a turkey travel visa and explore this god given beautiful and unique beach and many others in Europe.

Rome: the Great Awakening of the Eternal City

Sublime and idle, grand and intimate, the Italian capital keeps its luster in the crisis. Despite his moods and his nonchalance, she has not finished talking to her. Cultural riches to the art of living and gastronomy, rediscovery of an ever present Eternal City.

Rome: the Great Awakening of the Eternal City -The Colosseum, the most emblematic building of ancient Rome in the year 80, for his inauguration, 5,000 wild and 2,000 gladiators were killed there.

It is always wrong to forget Rome. Under the pretext that the masses of pilgrims flock there blissfully sandals to receive a blessing, that millions of tourists leave their ice flow on their fingers and feet, as legions of motorcycles disturb the most romantic moments, there not renounce the boundless charm of the Eternal City.

In Italy in crisis, Rome offers more than ever to any visitor the comforting pleasures of contemplation, walks always surprising delight new delicacies pecked in the streets, watching real actors are the inhabitants of this theater giant. An outdated Americano, perfectly served swallowed sips contemplating the facade of a church, we do not retain the name is enough to understand that what happens between these seven hills holds a unique lifestyle, which absorbs all the drama and always returns to celebrate the fun.

For nearly three millennia, a miraculous superposition of cultural sediments of unsurpassed fertility reinforces the metaphor of humanity. Take the Colosseum, Circus whose fame shone from the Atlantic to the Caucasus. It is the most emblematic building of ancient Rome and was probably the largest place of extermination of antiquity during his inauguration, which lasted one hundred days in the year 80, there sacrificed beasts 5000 and 2000 Gladiators lost their lives, shedding torrents of blood.
Admire the golden sunsets

Very soon, thousands of Christian martyrs eventually devoured by wild beasts. To the point that small cabochons, inserted into the columns of the circus at the time of the popes, and still visible today, offer a “year plenary indulgence” to those who gather there. In 2014, it is the Tod’s brand is generously supported restoring the building. Today, Chateaubriand could not write as he did in his time: “Rome slumbers amid the ruins”, or James Joyce compare the city to a “cadaverous woman.”

But Rome is lounging, no doubt, in this green stone carved where thousand domes and spiers arise, ancient columns, unusual and welcome pines, the inevitable “typewriter” Vittoriano, white marble monument erected in honor of Victor Emmanuel II and the Italian unit. In this dazzling décor stand out, too often ignored, perched groves where it is good to take a little height to admire the golden sunsets.
“Every generation rediscovers Rome differently,” says Marina Valensise, Director of the Italian Cultural Centre in Paris. Here the Vatican.

“Every generation rediscovers Rome differently,” says Marina Valensise, Director of the Italian Cultural Centre in Paris. Here the Vatican.

It is precisely in the garden of the Janiculum, which overlooks the chic and bohemian Trastevere, begins the film already worship, Paolo Sorrentino La Grande Bellezza (2013): a Japanese tourist in awe of the view that s’ extends beneath his eyes, collapsed and lost consciousness. Following fresh and sterile wandering a Roman citizen, Jep Gambardella, friendly and idle, which travels from Rome holidays terraces, through palaces and galleries, contemplate sunsets and touches of gorgeous women with nothing to do without doing anything of his life. This magnificent fiction captures the dazzling beauty of a city where, ultimately, we can lead a life between alabaster statues and ancient bronzes without it nothing happens in its own existence.

“The best of the Romans tourists”

Time is suspended between the Forum and the dome inevitable, Saint-Pierre. The author of the story that served as the film frame, the talented writer Raffaele La Capria, Neapolitan, Roman adoption today, describes the happiness in the form of sweet discomfort and regrets that the city is no longer devoted to indolence. “The walls still speak, he says, but to bring more power to the imagination, to invite them to make love not war, they speak the language stupid fractions, the lonely, the mad, the obscene, the exhibitionist. ”

Rome has the taste of a glass of Amaretto, sweet with a background of bitterness, and its inhabitants, sometimes “morons beauty”, in the words of a tourist guide heard in passing, hardly see what the surrounds. “The best of the Romans are the tourists,” despairs Jep in La Grande Bellezza. Which makes brilliant writer Alessandro Piperno that “Rome is given to all, as a prostitute.” In a delicious trattorias frequented by natives, the Fiaschetteria Beltramme via della Croce, close to the Spanish Steps, Jacqueline, the owner, summarizes this sentiment: “Sometimes I want to cry at the beauty of my city , she says, but seeing what becomes its inhabitants, who have nothing to say to them. ”

All this can be explained if one believes Giuliano Ferrara, charismatic editor of newspaper Il Foglio. “Rome is the symbol of the lack of social mobility Italy résumet it. This is a conservative city, with a pope who changes from time to time and a mayor who remains a high political figure since the end of the Christian Democrats. In many respects, it is lagging behind the country and is the Conservatory of Italian political history. And the eternal nature the city there will be no big changes! ” Except that in this cultural inconsapevole potenza (unconscious cultural power) that is Italy, Rome is the fixed point of radiation.

Pope Francis, best promoter of the city

Magnificent spectacle that these parliamentarians, surely the best-dressed throughout Europe, which make their way between groups of tourists at lunchtime to join their favorite table. Palazzo Montecitorio (Chamber of Deputies), Palazzo Madama (Senate) and Palazzo Chigi (Office of the President of the Council of Ministers) are distant from each other a few steps and offer pedestrian show that discusses politics wandering between admirable column of Marcus Aurelius and the impressive Pantheon.

In the capital of a country without a state where the public service is by far the largest employer, it is hardly worried formalism. Amazing nonchalance (sprezzatura), the diplomat Baldassare Castiglione, sets from the sixteenth century as the attitude par excellence of the courtier. “The Roman sprezzatura, detailed analysis ment Marina Valensise, the brilliant director of the Italian Cultural Centre in Paris, is the only way to live with so much beauty without going crazy.”

Rome is yet queen, that the Christian world. “You must see the spiritual power continues Marina Valensise as the heir and successor of the Roman Empire. What determines we always unconsciously is what historical legacy still alive, unlike Athens. This is why every generation rediscovers Rome differently was wrong to lament: Rome is the center for the production of an intangible asset, which is the taste of life in the late 1950s, Fellini films hypnotic sweetness in La Dolce Vita.,.. today is Paolo Sorrentino that weaves a new fiber with La Grande Bellezza. ” Add their Pope Francis, best promoter of Rome at this time, who began his pontificate by the historic words: “Buena will be!” (Good evening). It has also demonstrated the power of attraction of the Eternal City Newly confident, with a smile, he needs since he was in Rome, being “un po ‘furbo” (a bit tricky) .