Please Excuse Us While We Redecorate

Okay, so we aren’t redecorating as such, more updating the website template and creating a new Pre-2016 Archive section where you can find all of the content from 2009 to 2015 in its old format (Arras theme), be that recipes, catwalk reports or travel guides. I’ve been rather fond of Arras and clung onto it but it’s time for the sun to set and Charlotte’s VVeb to relaunch with a fresh look.

Sunset at Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, Namibia June 2016
Sunset at Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, Namibia June 2016

I started Charlotte’s VVeb when I was fresh out of university, right at the start of the recession. It was almost impossible to get a job, particularly in media. One of my former employers suggested I start a website called Charlotte’s Web and well, I couldn’t afford the £10,000 for the domain. A few weeks later, someone casually suggested dropping one of the letters, or changing one and hence Charlotte’s VVeb was born (that’s two Vs for those not paying attention!)

I stopped regularly blogging in 2011. I was exhausted and working very hard as a trend forecaster, travelling a lot and in a relatively fresh relationship. Since then the blog world has really evolved. There are blogging superstars, making millions of pounds/dollars/Euros each year in endorsements. They have millions of followers on social media, which was really only in its infancy when I started this website. Their blogs (not forgetting their vlogs too) have generally focused on them and their personal lives and well, I wasn’t really interested in telling you all what I ate for breakfast, who I was dating or what I just bought at the shops! 

Read more…

Baku Old Town

A Tour of Baku – Azerbaijan

The top tourist hotspots and highlights from Baku and its Old Town in Azerbaijan. I visit the Flame Towers, Martyrs’ Alley, the Maiden Tower,  and try some tea, jams and cakes in a tea house, as well as a formal dinner in a traditional but cosmopolitan Azerbaijani restaurant.

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wroclaw.jpg

Wroclaw Poland – European Capital of Culture 2016

Wroclaw is the capital of Lower Silesia in Poland. In 2016 it will be European Capital of Culture.

Here’s our top 10 random facts about the city:

Wroclaw Poland European Capital of Culture 2016

1) The city is renowned for its international music festivals such as Wratislavia Cantans.

2) The city has a particular affiliation with jazz music and holds the Singing Actors’ Jazz Festival and Jazz All Souls’ Day.

3) The launch of Era New Horizons Wroclaw saw the city become a hot spot on the film festivals’ map.

4) The city has a multicultural heritage with Polish, German, Czech, Austrian and Jewish influences found almost everywhere throughout it, particularly in terms of architecture and food.

5) Dwarves drawn on the walls of the city became a symbol of the backlash against the armed militia and dark days of the 1980s.

6) The city has had about 50 different names.

6) Wroclaw is referred to as the Flower of Europe.

7) The city developed throughout the Middle Ages and many sources suggest that by 1000 A.D. Wroclaw was already a sizeable settlement.

8) By the 13th century the city was an established centre of international trade.

9) In August 1939 the city became a main concentration point of Hitler’s military units that were invading Poland.

10) The city’s slogan for 2016 will be: “Spaces for Beauty”.

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wtmfeatured

A Taste of Eastern Europe at World Travel Market 2013

Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes in the travel industry? Here’s a snapshot of Eastern European marketing at World Travel Market (WTM) 2013, ExCeL London. WTM is one of the biggest travel industry events in the world. It’s attended by members of the press and travel buyers. Check out the East European offering in the gallery below…

Bulgaria's Stand

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Bulgaria's stand showcased, among other things, their great ski facilities

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M&S New Wines From Macedonia, Croatia & Turkey

I got rather excited two weeks ago when I popped into M&S on my way home from work and found they had started stocking Tikves Vranec Merlot, a red wine from Macedonia. It was priced at £8.99 (though this is an introductory price, it’s probably going to go up at some point) so I couldn’t resist trying it. The name translates as dark horse and its quite apt. I’ve been a fan of Macedonian wine for a while but it’s not very well known or stocked here so I’m sure a lot of people may find this wine a pleasant surprise. It’s a strong wine, great for meaty dishes, think steak or game, and cheese too. The wine positively bursts with berry flavour. If you like syrah and cabernet sauvignon, try this, you’ll love it. The next time I popped into M&S I really explored the wine aisle and I’m glad I did. Not only did I see a white Tikves, this time a Smederevka Rkaciteli, priced at just £6.99 (again, for now!). There’s also some great value wines from Croatia and Turkey too. Check them out in the gallery below. Happy shopping!

Tikves Vranec Merlot, a red wine from Macedonia priced at £8.99

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Tikves Vranec Merlot, a red wine from Macedonia priced at £8.99

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Brudenell Hotel

Royal Tokaji Gourmet Tasting Dinner at Brudenell Hotel

If you, like me, love Tokaji, or you just want to find out a bit more about Hungary’s most notable wine, then Suffolk-based Brudenell Hotel’s Royal Tokaji gourmet tasting dinner on 5th July, 2013, will be right up your street.

Brudenell Hotel
Brudenell Hotel

Founded in Hungary in 1990, the Royal Tokaji Wine Company has become one of the most prestigious wineries in the region producing single-vineyard wines from Mezes Maly, Nyulaszo, Szt Tamas and Betsek. Brudenell Hotel’s head chef, James Barber, has matched a different wine to each of the four courses.

Wine, dine and stay from £120 per person based on two sharing an Aldeburgh coast facing room, including a full Suffolk breakfast. Or book in for just dinner, priced at £55 per person. The evening begins at 7pm with an aperitif. The dress code is smart casual.

Tel: 01728 452071 ; www.brudenellhotel.co.uk

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Sierakow Manor

Poland Your Way – Culinary Course

I recently did a bit of consulting for an UK-based tour operator, Poland Your Way, for the launch of its Polish culinary course. The operator has launched this fabulous package for enthusiastic gourmands interested in learning more about Poland, its cuisine and culture. Travellers have the option of staying for three or four nights, with accommodation and courses provided at a country manor hotel, close to the historic city of Krakow.

Sierakow Manor
Sierakow Manor

The hotel, Sierakow Manor, was once a 19th-century Polish nobleman’s home but it has been lovingly restored, offering a perfect mix of historical elegance and modern comfort. During the day, guests will gain an understanding of Polish culinary traditions, local ingredients and cooking techniques. Classes and demonstrations will be run for English speakers. The groups will be relatively small, with a maximum of 12 people per class.

Some common dishes you’ll get to know include pierogi (dumplings), uszka (a smaller version of pierogi), barszcz (beetroot soup), golabki (stuffed cabbage leaves) and bigos (hunter’s stew). The hotel also produces a range of traditional pickles and jams, as well as stocking a range of local produce such as honey, cheeses and beers. All items are available for sale for guests to take home.

Sierakow Manor Bedroom
Sierakow Manor Bedroom

Each evening guests will enjoy a three-course dinner of traditional Polish food, with wine or Polish beers. On one night, there will be a tutored vodka tasting experience, comprising of eight varieties.

If you stay for the fourth night, you also have the option to enjoy an excursion into Krakow, a guided city tour and an optional lunch in the historic Kazimierz district.

3 nights £505 per person (sharing twin or double room). Non-cooking partner, £355, includes all meals and the vodka tasting. £100 single supplement.

4 nights £655 per person (sharing twin or double room). Non-cooking partner £505, includes all maels and the vodka tastking. £130 single supplement.

Poland Your Way can also arrange optional extra excursions for those who want to extend their stay futher.

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Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik International Wine & Jazz Festival 2013

Dubrovnik is renowned for its summertime music festival in July and August but there’s a good excuse to visit the city in May when it will host its own International Wine & Jazz Festival.

Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik

Running from 24th to 27th May, the festival will feature jazz singer and pianist, Diane Schuur, the Duke Ellington School of the Arts Jazz Ensemble, conductor and clarientist, Miachael Kissinger and the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra.

The festival will blend jazz, blues, pop and crossover classical musicians. Visitors will also enjoy award-winning Croatian wines, fine artists and craftsmen from throughout the region, and an outstanding array of Dalmatian cuisine.

For more information visit www.dubrovnikwinejazz.com

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Pilsen

Plzeň Czech Republic – European Capital of Culture 2015

Plzeň (Pilsen), the fourth largest city in the Czech Republic, has been selected as the European Capital of Culture for 2015, alongside Mons in Belgium.

Pilsen
Pilsen

Pilsen entered the competition with the motto: “Pilsen Open Up!” The city wowed EU ministers with its new theatre, a multi-cultural quarter devoted to design and non-professional artists and modernisation of the sports centre. The city has also promised to build a new amusement park, Gambrinus Park, with a skate part, a rope climbing centre and an artificial climbing wall.

In 2016, Wroclaw in Poland will be a European Capital of Culture – read more that here.

Siberia

56th Parallel Promotes Siberia Adventure Opportunities

Sydney-based 56th Parallel adventure travel specialists are promoting Siberia as a place to add to your bucket list.

Often perceived as desolate, inaccessible, the world’s image of Siberia is beginning to change. Now Russia’s harshest lands are emerging as a place to relax, play and explore, with tour company, 56th Parallel making trips to Siberia easier and more luxurious than ever before.

Siberia
Siberia

The 56th Parallel website www.56thparallel.com will aim to share Siberia’s true beauty with the rest of the world. The company offers a range of itineraries catering to all tastes, from action-packed adrenaline tours, to more leisurely experiences based around exploring Siberia’s ancient and modern cultures, customs and cuisine. Clients can also create their own customised, private itineraries. Clients can enjoy everything from the ballet, to rafting and rock climbing, the banya (Russian sauna) and vodka tasting.

With nine UNESCO sites and nearly 100 sites under consideration, Siberia’s natural beauty has always inspired tourists, artists, photographers, wildlife lovers and adventure sports entusiasts for generations.

Check out the promotional video from 56th Parallel below…

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Vladivostok Voyager

Real Russia Launches Explore, Discover & Experience Tours

Premier providers of travel and visa services to the Russian Federation, Real Russia, have launched a series of tours to take travellers beyond the clichés of Russian culture – vodka, fur, spies – revealing the true beauty of this country. These tours will take you everywhere from the 60,000 lakes of the north west region of Karelia, to the volcanoes of the Kamchatka Peninsula in the east.

 Vladivostok Voyager
Vladivostok Voyager

Travellers can peruse the tours online at www.realrussia.co.uk and pick from a range of classic trips like the Trans-Siberian or Trans-Mongolian tours, to lesser known explorative expeditions like Vladivostok Voyager. Once you’ve been inspired by a trip, the team at Real Russia tailormake the trip to your individual requirements according to season, duration, personal preferences and budget. The tours on offer can take you through all nine of Russia’s time zones, in any season, even the harsh winter.

Real Russia has provided inspirational tours to Russia and former Soviet states including Ukraine, Georgia, Kazakhstan and the Baltic countries for more than a decade. The UK-based company is and officially accredited specialist agency and has partnered with local companies in 50 cities across Russia.

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