Turkey Sails Ahead in 2011

Turkey

TurkeyAs the third highest producer of luxury yachts in the world, boasting an unspoilt coastline of 8000km of spectacular beauty, and with 311 Blue Flag Beaches, Turkey ranks among the top sailing spots in the world.  Sailing enthusiasts can enjoy a tradition of regular international boat races and festivals throughout the year; while the more leisurely can discover the serene ‘Blue Cruise’ on a traditional wooden boat and a breathtaking coastline accessible only by boat.  The best bit?  A multitude of anchoring points offer fantastic settings for snorkelling, swimming and diving, as well as the opportunity to explore secret bays, local fishing villages and vibrant resort towns.

New marinas are opening all the time… the latest is planned for Dalaman on the Mediterranean coast, Turkey’s most popular spot for British visitors, with a capacity of 650 berths and sports (tennis, basketball, football), eating and shopping facilities.  This is an addition to Turkey’s wealth of world-class marinas, 29 of which are international standard, and 12 municipality operated marinas with a total capacity of 10,450 floating berths and 5,400 hard standing.  All are located between Istanbul in the north and Antalya in the south. In Istanbul both Atakoy Marina on the European side and Setur Kalamis-Fenerbahce (Amiral Fahri Koruturk) Marina on the Asian side offer 24-hour service.  Larger cruise-liners most often dock in the larger ports of Istanbul or Kusadasi, both of which are perfectly situated for access to some of Turkey’s most interesting historic sites.  Turkish Marina Management has an excellent reputation amongst international sailing crews for taking care of the yachts and their crew.

New marinas planned include: Marinturk Pendik Marina, Istanbul: 752-berth capacity and 100 hard standing; Marinturk Gocek & Poruklu Marinas, Gocek: 200-berth capacity and 150 hard standing; Alanya Marina on the east side of Antalya Gulf: 300-berth capacity and 150 hard standing; C&N Cesme Marina: 400-berths and 100 hard standing capacity; and Kas Marina: 450-berths and 100 hard standing capacity.

So what are you sailing enthusiasts waiting for?  Organise your sailing tour now!

For more information about sailing opportunities in Turkey visit www.gototurkey.co.uk

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The Curonian Spit – Lithuania’s Own Riviera

Most people will have heard of Lithuania; many may even be aware that Vilnius is the country’s capital city.  However, it may be a surprise to find out that Lithuania actually boasts some award-winning beaches and stunning UNESCO World Heritage sand dunes.  The resort towns of the Curonian Spit have been attracting tourists for many years and with the fall of communism in 1991, Lithuania’s attentions have turned to the West.

A visit to the Curonian Spit is not as simple as jumping on a plane for two-and-a-half hours, but it is well worth that extra effort.  Fly with airBaltic from London Gatwick South Terminal to Riga in Latvia, and then hop on a short flight to Palanga in Lithuania.  Both Gatwick South Terminal and Riga have luxurious lounges in which passengers can relax before boarding the planes.  It is well worth the investment, with complementary drinks, snacks, and in Riga, an impressively well-stocked water bar with water from thirty different countries.  On arrival in Palanga, simply take a taxi or public transport to Klaipeda, the region’s largest city.

Klaipeda Old Town Ltihuania
Klaipeda Old Town

Although Klaipeda is quite industrial it is home to a particularly quaint old town and luxurious hotels, none of which has a particularly hefty price tag.  Located in the up-and-coming port district, The Old Mill Hotel is one example of a brand new hotel, with lavish rooms, which does not come at a high price.  With great public transport links to the resort towns of the Curonian Spit, Klaipeda is an ideal destination to base oneself.  However, the city itself does have some interesting attractions, including the air-raid shelter at Memel-Nord where a rather animated local guide talks visitors through the history of the region and then demonstrates amber fishing.  Lithuania is renowned for its amber.  After dark stormy nights it is even possible for amateur amber enthusiasts to find small pieces washed up on the beach, but to be truly wowed, watch the pros.

The Old Mill Hotel Klaipeda Lithuania
The Old Mill Hotel – Room

Just a short ferry journey from Klaipeda visitors will find the Sea Museum which boasts an aquarium, dolphin shows and even a giant performing sea lion, named Pirate.  A trip to Lithuania’s most visited museum will certainly keep children amused.  Similarly, visiting Klaipeda’s castle ruins and watching members of the local war society re-enact marching, shooting and even firing canons will keep children thoroughly entertained and enthralled.

Klaipeda Folk Band Lithuania
Klaipeda Traditional Folk Music & Dancing

While wandering the streets of Klaipeda, for a truly authentic Lithuanian experience look out for local festivities.  During festival times traditional, local folk bands play music and dance in the street.  Even outside the festivals there is a great deal of merriment to be had in Klaipeda.  To take in the city as a whole a beverage or two must be consumed from the top of the recently refurbished Amberton Hotel.  The new block is one of the highest buildings in the area and gives visitors a 360-degree panoramic view of the city, port and surrounding countryside.

However, for those who want to embrace laid-back Lithuanian life, take a short ferry ride to the Curonian Spit and stay in one of the resort towns, such as Nida.  With its UNESCO World Heritage status, Nida is particularly strict with any new buildings and even refurbishment.  All buildings are painted in certain colours, generally red, white and blue.  Nevertheless, essential regeneration is taking place in Nida, and hotels such as Nidus have been thoroughly renovated to provide visitors with a comfortable place to stay.

Parnidis dune, Curonian Spit, Lithuania
On top of the Parnidis Dune

Walking around Nida is the best way to see the sights.  Visits to the lighthouse on Urbo hill (an area which during summer months plays host to a summer cinema festival) and a trek up the Parnidis dune are well worth the hard work on the thighs.  From both vantage points visitors cannot fail to be impressed by the spectacular views.  It is here in Nida that the real Lithuania can be found – here that countryside and the seaside are combined.  This is, quite simply, visually spectacular.

Pirate Ship Bar, Curonian Spit, Lithuania
Pirate Ship Bar at Juodkrante

Heading on to the beach, facing the aggressive Baltic Sea, is the only way to start the morning.  While the wind whips through your hair and the sun beats down on your face, join in with the locals at the free

Dead Dunes Curonian Spit Lithuania
Path to the Dead Dunes

summer yoga sessions.  Nevertheless, there is something for adrenaline junkies too. Irklakojis offers blokart (land-sailing) sessions, as well as kayaking, sailing, hiking and cycling tours.  The provisions for cycling, be it on a tour or independently, are impressive in Nida and the surrounding resort towns.  To take in the dramatic amalgamation of coast and forest hire a bike for the day and cycle the 50 kilometre cycle path which will take you through the pretty resort towns of Nida, Pervalka and Juodkrante.  If in need of refreshments, stop off in Juodkrante to enjoy a refreshing Svyturys beer on board the town’s very own pirate ship.

During a stay in Nida a boat trip is a must.  Local boat tours take tourists right up to the border of Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave.  It is from the sea that it is finally possible to comprehend just how impressive the sand dunes are.  Walking through the white sand of the Dead Dunes (do not stray from the path, as they are protected and hefty fines can be incurred if caught doing so), located between Pervalka and Juodkrante, may be as initially breathtaking as the Sahara desert but it is only from the sea that their sheer scale can be grasped.

For an awe-inspiring holiday consider visiting Lithuania’s Curonian Spit.  Whether searching for a holiday with real value for money, rest and relaxtion or an action-packed adventure, Lithuania’s Curonian Spit has something to please everyone.

Flights: airBaltic fly directly from London (Gatwick airport) to Riga and Vilnius and offers connecting flights to Kaunas and Palanga. Prices for flights from London to Vilnius start at 57 EUR per person including all taxes if purchased online at www.airbaltic.com.

Airport: To book your place in the No 1 Traveller Lounge at Gatwick South Terminal visit www.No1Traveller.com.

Hotels: To make a reservation at Nidus in Nida visit www.nidus.lt ; to make a reservation at The Old Mill in Klaipeda visit www.theoldmill.lt.

Tourist Information: For further information about Lithuania visit www.lithuaniatourism.co.uk ; www.visitneringa.com/en ; www.klaipedainfo.lt

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STS Fryderk Chopin Sets Sail from Szczecin

Chopin's Grave, Paris
Chopin’s Grave, Paris

Last week STS Fryderyk Chopin set sail from the Szczecin Seaport to promote Poland in several European ports over the next few months.  The project is organised by the Polish Tourism Organisation and commemorates the 200th anniversary of Frederic Chopin’s birthday. The artist may be considered one of the ambassadors of the Polish culture in Europe and one of the most recognised Poles abroad. Chopin’s works and life are related not only to Poland, but the whole Europe. Under the project the sailing ship “Chopin” will visit seaports in Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and the United Kingdom. A number of events are planned in the ports all aimed at promotion of Poland, including its tourist and historical values, cultural and artistic events, encouraging foreigners to visit Poland and presentation of Poland as a EU member state and a country which is active in many fields, including artistic, educational, scientific fields and with great cultural heritage. The cruise is attended by students of tourist universities, selected during recruitment and obliged to actively participate in the events and communicate project ideas. Examples of activities at ports include construction of a bust of Chopin using country-specific components (e.g. in London – umbrellas, France – wine bottles), Polonaise dance classes with an attempt to beat the Guinness record, ballet, classes and lectures devoted to Poland and Poles, open for all event participants.

The arrival dates are as followed:

Ystad June 14th

Malmo June 17th

Copenhagen June 18th

Stockholm June 23rd

Karlskrona June 28th

Hamburg July 2nd

Aarhus July 7th

Lubeck July 9th

Rostock July 13th

Kiel July 16th

Amsterdam July 22nd

Brugge July 26th

Antwerp July 31st

Ostenda August 5th

Brest August 14th

Nantes August 19th

St Malo August 26th

London September 3rd

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Learn to Sail in Romantic Rovinj, Croatia

Discover your sea legs and romantic Rovinj this year, with a luxurious sailing break in Western Istria, Croatia. The recently opened five-star Monte Mulini is offering couples the chance to learn a new skill, and more about each other, during a five-night stay which includes a 3-day sailing excursion along the lively coast of Rovinj.

Western Istria is a sailor’s paradise with crystal-clear waters and huge variety of flora and fauna make this coastline a natural paradise. For three days you can explore the 22 islands and islets on your own personal sailboat, complete with English-speaking skipper to coach you through the sailing basics. By the end of the trip you will know how to lift, lower and trim the sales and honed your skill at other essentials, including simple manoeuvres and weighing and slipping anchor.

At the end of a long day on the water, the Hotel Monte Mulini is a luxurious haven for couples. The true romance of its location is evident immediately on arrival, as its dramatic glass wall over three levels greets guests as they check-in with undisturbed views of the sea. The remaining public areas are similarly designed to maximise natural light and all guest rooms benefit from balconies offering fantastic views of the chic pool area and the surrounding bay and nature reserve.

For a bit of well-earned pampering, spend some time in the Hotel Monte Mulini’s spa. Set over two levels with reception and treatment rooms on the upper level, above the pool and sauna area, the Monte Mulini Wellness Centre includes a VIP Salon with zones which can be booked by individuals or couples for individually designed treatments which last for up to four hours.

Gourmet couples are well catered for at Hotel Monte Mulini. Mediterraneo is the hotel’s à la carte restaurant with 54 seats in a spacious terraced area for alfresco dining and relaxation on warmer days. While guests sample delicious Mediterranean fusion cuisine they can enjoy fine views of the pool area, the bay and romantic sunsets. On cooler evenings a further 118 covers are available inside, but guests still benefit from the views.

The traditional Croatian Wine Vault restaurant on the lowest level is a fine dining restaurant with 60 seats serving French delicacies, with an extensive wine list including the best labels from Croatian and around the world.

Rovinj itself is Croatia’s Blue Pearl of the Adriatic with its cobbled streets, Venetian architecture, natural forest parks and beautiful churches and chapels is a short stroll along the marina from the hotel and offers endless opportunities for aimless wandering. One of the most picturesque towns in the Mediterranean, the old town is perched on a narrow peninsula high up on a hill, crowded with terracotta-roofed houses and crowned by the 18th century Church of St Euphemia, the  bell tower of which dominates Rovinj’s skyline. A central square is edged with lively cafés and restaurants spreading out on to a charming harbour crammed with sailing and fishing boats – all in all perfect for watching the world go by.

The Hotel Monte Mulini’s luxury sailing break is available between 15th May and 11th June and costs €2,750.00 for two people. Included are five-nights accommodation in a deluxe room, with a full buffet breakfast, and a 3-day charter of a private yacht and skipper.

www.montemulinihotel.com

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Garden Festival in Croatia: Acts Announced

Petrcane, Croatia
Petrcane, Croatia

For those already thinking of their summer plans, one destination and event is particular is right up there: The Garden Festival in Croatia. Set in a stunning 900-year old fishing village on the Dalmatian Coast, it is an area of true beauty, one which festival goers explore to indulge in fine food, adventure and fun, all framed by the festival itself, which again takes place across the first and second weekends of July from 2nd-11th July.

The lineup is indeed taking shape to be the most inspiring yet in the Garden’s esteemed history, with everything from NYC deep disco from Metro Area jousting with the sublime sounds of Floating Points, one of the most talked about acts of 2009 for a string of revered releases and remixes, through to Leeds’ finest deck devil, Dave Beer. One of Scotland’s finest, The Revenge, is set to unleash his fine disco cuts, and since his Resident Advisor podcast his stock has risen even further. Two of the north of the border’s other favourite sons, Subclub’s Harri and Domenic, make their inaugural trips to Petrcane. London’s Horse Meat Disco also star, themselves enjoying their most fruitful year yet, and two late night specialists, Sebo K and Seth Troxler, bring a tech-noir edge to nocturnal proceedings. Of course it’s not just all about the new boys; some already legendary Garden guests also return, including Greg Wilson, Henrik Schwarz, Kelvin Brown, Terry Farley, No’ Fakin and a great deal more also star.

Croatia itself has enjoyed a bumper year as a travel destination, offering everything from secluded coves and deserted stretches of pristine beach to historic and vibrant cities, succulent seafood and an enriching culture of old and new. Many of those who attended one or more of the weekends this year also took time out to explore some of this inspiring and seductive country too. Visit gb.croatia.hr/Home for more info.

The Garden Festival by day
The Garden Festival by day

What’s what at The Garden festival 2010: the story so far 2020 Soundsystem • Bonobo • Crazy P • Henrik Schwarz • Killer Whale (The Arthur Russell Project) • Tensnake • Trojan Sound System DJ SETS: Adam Regan • Adam Shelton • Ame • Andy Blake • Basement Boogaloo • Ben Terry • Bobby Beige • Borja • Christophe (Redux) • Daddy G • Dave Beer • Dave Jarvis • Deano Ferrino • Discomendments • Dixon • Dolan Bergin • Dom Chung • Ed Cotton • El Diablos • El Harvo • Electric Minds • Emma Chibuku • Faze Action • Faith • Felix Dickinson • Filthy Dukes • Floating Points • Florian Keller • Futureboogie DJ’s • Geddes • Greg Wilson • Hang The Dj • Harri and Domenic • Horse Meat Disco • Ichisan & Nakova • James Hillard • James Holroyd • Jamie Jones • James Hillard • Jimpster • Joe 90 • Karen P • Kelvin Brown • Kid Bongo • Matty J • Metro Area (Darshan Jesrani) • Nick Shaw • No Fakin DJ’s • Ole Smokey • PBR Streetgang • Pete Herbert • Phat Phil Cooper • Qool DJ Marv • Red Rackem • Rub n Tug • Sam Redmore • Sean Brosnan • Sebo K • Seth Troxler • Shur-i-kan • Smith and Mudd • Soul Jazz Sound System • Ste Hodge • Stu Patterson • Subb-An • Terry Farley • The Revenge • Tirk • Tristan Da Cuhna •Yam Who?

The Garden Festival by night
The Garden Festival by night

Also, Argonaughty Boat Crews are confirmed!  Ahoy there me hearties!  There will be 20 voyages over the ‘Double Whammy’ period so get your cutlass polished ready, as mutiny, booty and plunder are not far from these here distant shores.

Weekend 1 Argonaughty Buccaneers: Tirk* Sub Club* Asylum/Hang The DJ* Mulletover* Crazy P* Faith* Below*Futureboogie Crews to include Greg Wilson* Harri & Domenic* Junior* Telford* PBR Strretgang* Geddes* Crazy P Soundsystem* Terry Farley* Stu Patterson* Dave Jarvis* Joe 90* El Harvo* Kid Bongo

Weekend 2 Argonaughty Bucaneers: Trojan/Andy Blake* Resident Advisor* Leftoot* Innervisions Crews to include Trojan Sounsystem* Andy Blake* Sebo K* Seth Troxler* Adam Regan* Bobby Beige* Daddy G* Ame* Dixon* Henrik Schwarz

Barbarellas After Parties Confirmed to Date: As per usual there will be some top club nights and hosts planned for next year’s after parties in Barbarellas Discotheque; the opening party will be on the 1st July and is the official start of the 2010 season. Barbarellas will be open from 23.00hrs until sunrise throughout the ‘Double Whammy’ event in 2010 – expect some very, very special guests.

Weekend 1 Club Hosts: Sub Club* Mulletover* Horse Meat Disco

Weekend 2 Club Hosts: Futureboogie* Resident Advisor presents* Freerange

Croatia on Tour: If you want a taste of Croatia in your home country, think about heading to one of the The Garden Festival European Tour Dates starting this February:

Saturday 6th Feb London UK, The Star Of Bethnal Green

Friday 12th Feb Ljubljana Slovenia, K4 with Crazy P Soundsystem and Futureboogie

Friday 12th Feb Brighton UK, Life (tbc) with Horse Meat Disco

Saturday 13th Feb Zagreb Croatia, A secret location with Crazy P Soundsystem and Futureboogie

Saturday 20th Feb Sofia Bulgaria, venue tbc with Crazy P Soundsystem and Futureboogie

Friday 26th Feb Birmingham UK, The Hare And Hounds with Crazy P Soundsystem and Futureboogie & after party with the Revenge

Saturday 27th Feb Nottingham, The Maze with The Revenge

Saturday 6th March, The Deaf Institute with El Diablos Social Club and The Revenge

All gigs will feature Garden friends and family, spreading the good word across the continent in anticipation of what is going to be a fantastic summer… Keep checking The Garden Festival for updated information www.thegardenfestival.eu

And for news of the Garden Petrcane festival season visit www.watchthegardengrow.eu

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