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Spring breaks: 5 of the best cities in Europe

Spring breaks: 5 of the best cities in Europe From fiesta-mad Seville to buzzing Montpellier and blossom-filled Berlin, spring is a blooming marvellous time for a short break Summers in the flamboyant Andalucían capital often nudge 40C, but spring is a delight, with the parks in bloom and the scent of orange blossom and jasmine in the air. And in Semana Santa (Holy Week, 14-20 April) the streets come alive with floats and processions. There is also the raucous annual Feria de Abril – a week-long fiesta of parades, flamenco and partying long into the night (4-11 May; expect higher hotel prices if you visit then). Continue reading… Go to Source Author: Jane Dunford, Chris Moss, Mary Novakovich, Celia…

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10 of the best ethical holidays: readers’ travel tips

10 of the best ethical holidays: readers’ travel tips Trips that respect the environment and benefit local people make for particularly enriching breaks, as our picks from Belfast to Costa Rica show I was amazed to discover that it is possible to enjoy the extreme beauty of Ladakh while treading lightly and investing locally. Plastic-free co-operative shops that would be the envy of Brighton and Bristol abound in the capital, Leh. At shops like Dzomsa on Old Fort Road you can fill up your water bottles, scoop bulk fruit, nuts and herbal teas into paper bags and pick up unpackaged, locally made soap and knitted goods – the sun-dried Ladakhi apricots are wonderful. We trekked for eight days through…

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Milan art tour: fresco heaven, without the crowds

Milan art tour: fresco heaven, without the crowds Resist the urge to splurge in the city’s chic shops and instead lose yourself in its transcendental art Think of Milan and you think of fashion. The first time I spent more than a few hours in the city, I roamed the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II – Italy’s oldest shopping arcade, built in the 1860s and still home to the original Prada store, which was opened by the designer’s grandfather Mario in 1913 – wishing that I was rich (or at least, not quite so broke). What on earth is a girl with an overdraft and a fierce lust for buttery leather supposed to do in a place where everyone is…

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Japan’s arty-pelago: Naoshima and beyond

Japan’s arty-pelago: Naoshima and beyond Among shrines, rice fields and abandoned buildings, contemporary art has transformed 12 rural islands into a creative paradise – the setting for the 2019 Setouchi Triennale I’m sitting on a concrete floor watching water droplets as they skitter across the smooth surface. Around me, other people seem equally transfixed. They stand in silent contemplation staring at beads of water bubbling up from tiny holes in the floor, or lie gazing at the vast domed roof, where two oval openings let natural light flood in. The slightest movement echoes around the space. I take a pen out to make some notes and a member of staff suddenly appears at my side and indicates that I…

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10 great European art anniversaries in 2019

10 great European art anniversaries in 2019 From 100 years of Bauhaus to 500 years since Leonardo’s death, a host of landmark art events and exhibitions open around Europe this year It is 350 years since the death of Rembrandt van Rijn. There is a year-long programme of events in nine Dutch cities, focusing on Rembrandt and the Dutch golden age (listings at holland.com). In Amsterdam, the Rijksmuseum (15 Feb-10 June) will display all of its 22 paintings, 60 drawings and 300 engravings – the biggest Rembrandt collection ever seen in a single exhibition. Later in the year it has a Rembrandt and Velazquez show (11 Oct-19 Jan), while the Rembrandt House Museum has three exhibitions and the City…

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A local’s guide to Palermo, Sicily: 10 top tips

A local’s guide to Palermo, Sicily: 10 top tips It may still be basking in the glow of being Italian Capital of Culture 2018 but the city has been a cultural melting pot since antiquity The Sicilian capital, called the “Kingdom of the sun” by invading Normans in the 12th century, has been a cultural melting pot since Phoenicians and Greeks fought over it in the 5th and 6th centuries BC. Sitting close to where Europe ends and Africa begins, Palermo bears the scars – and echoes the glories – of centuries of domination. Once Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Norman and ultimately Italian – unified with the mainland only in 1861 – it has a relatively recent “made in Italy”…

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Voices in the wilderness: a singing retreat in rural France

Voices in the wilderness: a singing retreat in rural France Teaching singing and meditation isn’t an obvious calling for a former punk rocker, but this one helps our participant hit the high notes on a break in the remote Massif Central ‘Get that gob open, Liz,” says Peter. “I’m not seeing any teeth.” I obey, stretching my jaw wide as we’d done in an earlier “howling wolf” exercise, and find that not only can I hit a top F# without squeaking, I’m thoroughly enjoying myself. When I booked a three-day singing retreat at Peter Evans’s farmhouse in rural France, I had been apprehensive about displaying my pitiful abilities to some intimidating Oxford choral scholar type. But instead I found…

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On location: 2019 film releases to inspire your travels

On location: 2019 film releases to inspire your travels From Aladdin to Tarantino, China to LA, we pick the locations from upcoming movies that are worth a visit A live-action remake of Aladdin, directed by Guy Ritchie, comes to the big screen next year, with Mena Massoud as Aladdin and Will Smith as the Genie. It is set in the fictional kingdom of Agrabah, and was filmed in Wadi Rum in Jordan, where the protected desert landscape, sandstone and basalt mountains, canyons and otherworldly rock formations – such as Burdah Rock Bridge, one of the highest natural arches in the world – create a dramatic landscape. Continue reading… Go to Source Author: Antonia Wilson Tweet

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Yule love these … great European Christmas traditions

Yule love these … great European Christmas traditions Continental festivities include chocolate logs in Paris, tree-cutting in Norway and plenty of fish: eel in Naples, carp in Prague and fermented skate in Iceland As Orthodox Christians, Ukrainians celebrate Christmas on 7 January with a 12-dish feast called Svyatyi Vechir (Holy Evening). The night before, singers go from house to house wearing colourful embroidered clothes and carrying the star of Bethlehem to symbolise the birth of Jesus. The procession is often accompanied by a traditional vertep (a portable wooden puppet theatre that first appeared in the 17th century). I remember the thrill of participating in the carol singing when I was a child. I was regularly cast as an angel…

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10 of the best warming winter drinks around the world

10 of the best warming winter drinks around the world There’s more to Christmas drinks than mulled wine, as our pick of the best winter tipples, from hot beer in Krakow to Chile’s pisco eggnog, reveals Cheers: Gaumarjos! Merry Christmas: Shobas Gilotsavt Continue reading… Go to Source Author: Guardian writers Tweet

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