Celebrate Slovenia’s Jubilee Year

Ptuj SloveniaThis year, 2011, marks the 20 year anniversary of Slovenia’s declaration of independence from Yugoslavia.  There is no better time to visit this jewel in Eastern Europe’s crown.  The whole year will see many special events, the adoption of new visions for development and a huge celebration to which the whole world is invited.  A very special part in these gatherings will be played by Slovenian expatriates and their descendants – the biggest such gathering in Slovenian territory is planned for early July.

This year the Slovenian Tourist board plans to make it easier for Slovenians, their descendants and friends to visit Slovenia, through numerous special offers and discounts.  To ensure that Slovenians, their descendants and friends throughout the world know about these offers, details are posted on the Slovenia.info website.  The website, which posts special tourist deals and packages for expatriates, emigrants and their nearest and dearest, has also organised a forum for impression of relatives and former citizens.  The Slovenian Tourist Board has even put together the special packages in cooperation with a range of tour operators, and will be continuously updating them.  We can’t wait to get there, neither should you!

For more information visit www.slovenia.info – book a deal now!

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Fashion Week Focus: Style from Kiev SS11

The Orthodox Church in Ukraine may have tried to scupper Kiev’s Spring Summer 2011 Fashion Week but their efforts proved unfruitful. Check out our favourite style and looks from the catwalk below…

Day 6: Olena Molchanova

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Колекція: Fresh Fashion: Олена МОЛЧАНОВА / Olena MOLCHANOVA

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Top 40 Styles: Catwalk Report from SS11 Russian Fashion Week

Last week fashionistas descended upon Moscow for Spring/Summer 2011 Russian Fashion Week, the biggest fashion event in Eastern Europe.  The RFW SS/2011 schedule included over 50 shows of cutting-edge designers from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, France, Peru, Italy and more.  Check out our favourite catwalk ensembles below…

Anna Direchina

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Anna Direchina's spring/summer catwalk collection embraced the feminine form. There was a selection of traditional springtime pieces including macs and boots but also more elaborate and colourful designs. Beautiful gowns were a key feature of the collection.

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50 Years On – The Evolution of Hamburg Sound

On the 17th of August 1960 The Beatles played their very first concert at Hamburg‘s music club Indra. During the following two and a half years, with 281 gigs played, they laid the foundation for their career. Exactly 50 years later, the all-star band Bambi consisting of members of Maplewood, Nada Surf, Moby and Cat Power will bring pop history back to life by re-creating exactly the same songs the Beatles performed on that very day.

Beatles fans from all over the world are jumping at the chance to experience this anniversary concert and after that explore what else Hamburg has to offer. From The Beatles to Hamburg’s new fresh pop music sound there are countless cutting-edge music clubs lining the neon bright Reeperbahn, which has become a renowned entertainment boulevard over the last 20 years.

Beatlemania Museum Hamburg

Today, the Kaiserkeller, where The Beatles played after their guest slot at the Indra, serves as a club, while the Große Freiheit 36 is one of the main stages of the Reeperbahn Festival. Germany’s biggest club festival invites about 170 international newcomers to Germany’s most creative neighbourhood, St. Pauli, for three nights of fantastic music.

A festival ticket entitles one to attend the weekly Beatles tour with musician Stefanie Hempel, who tells anecdotes from the Beatles era and sings Beatles songs.  There is also a the museum, Beatlemania, five storeys exclusively devoted to commemorating the Fab Four which must not be missed.

In the beginning of the Sixties, the band helped two more of Hamburg’s musical institutions to hit the big time. The Moondoo tempts with Black Music and House Tracks and the tiny but very creative Molotow at Spielbudenplatz 5 replaces the once legendary Star-Club, which in its first year saw The Beatles’ first single, Love Me Do, climb to number 17 of the British charts.

In the ’60s, Hamburg made The Beatles stars and now the city invites everybody to re-discover this magnificent legacy. The Beatles themselves never tired of stressing the importance of their apprenticeship years in the music metropolis Hamburg with John Lennon confessing, “I was born in Liverpool, but I grew up in Hamburg.”

For more information on the concerts visit Bambi Kino: August 17. -20., 2010, Indra Club (Große Freiheit 64) , 20:00 h, www.bambi-kino.com

To find out more about the Beatlemania Museum go to www.beatlemania-hamburg.de

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Nights in Ljubljana Old Town

Nights in Ljubljana Old Town is a mini festival closing the summer in Ljubljana Old Town festival and symbolically concluding Ljubljana’s summer event season.  Taking place between 24th and 28th August, it traditionally features outdoor concerts accompanied by a diverse mixture of other cultural and entertainment events taking place in the streets and squares of the old part of the city centre.  Entrance is free so if you find yourself in Ljubljana at the end of August, make sure you take full advantage of the festivities.

Ljubljana Slovenia

For more information about Ljubljana and the city’s events go to www.visitljubljana.si

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Upland Escapes to Slovenia & Austria

Upland EscapesAward-winning Upland Escapes offers over 40 years of combined experience in seeking out the very best and most rewarding walking in a range of landscapes. Whichever Upland Escape you choose, you can rely on finding wild, untouched uplands, wild flowers and animals and rural, rustic landscapes, allowing you and your family to really get away from it all. All Upland Escapes walking holidays are single-centre based in delightful B&B’s, local village houses, and even cave houses, allowing you to become fully immersed into local life.

You are free to walk as much or as little as you wish and there are no set itineraries, which means that our holidays are truly unique and flexible, making them ideal for families. What’s more, each Upland destination receives full support from an English-speaking Upland Manager, available 24 hours a day, on hand to provide guided walks or advice and tips to allow you to discover the area for yourself. Combining fresh mountain air with an array of activities to seek and discover, presents the perfect holiday option to revitalise the body and mind.

Upland Escapes offer walking holidays in a number of stunning European upland destinations that include the Julian Alps in Slovenia, and the Carinthian Alps in Austria.

The Julian Alps, Slovenia
In the little known corner of the European Alps of Slovenia, sits the astonishingly picturesque Julian Alps. These alps are a stunning limestone mountain range, home to Slovenia’s only National Park. This area provides spectacular scenery with evocative evidence of the fierce struggles between Austrian and Italian troops in World War One. The Julian Alps is a protected region that is home to deer, boar, wolves, and even brown bears. Wooded slopes lead down to deep gorges and ravines, where turquoise rivers, such as the pristine Soca, have carved out beautiful waterfalls and caves.

For culture, the small market town of Kobarid is home to an award-winning museum focusing on the battles of the Isonzo/Soca front between the Italians and the Austro-Hungarian Empire during World War I. The Soca river is superb for organised activities such as white-water rafting, canoeing and canyoning. It is also possible to fish for marbled trout or spend a day exploring the area by mountain bike. With a hire car, take the car-train from Most na Soci to Bohinjska Bistrica, to visit the beautiful lakes of Bled and Bohinj for the day. A drive to the Soca valley takes your breath away. Venture over the border and you could spend the day in the lovely Italian town of Cividales, with its medieval centre, Celtic hypogeum and 15th Century cathedral.

In the pretty town of Kobarid, next to the Soca River sits the town-based escape which takes the form of an attractive apartment in the centre of the town. The town itself has a quiet charm and several shops to buy locally-made produce such as honey, cheeses and excellent ice-cream. Some of the restaurants in and around Kobarid are rated among the best in Slovenia. For more rustic cuisine, there is great gnocchi to sample at Dreznica’s Inn, and in Kosec, your host can offer delicious home-grown dishes including lamb, local cheeses and seasonal vegetables – fresh from her garden. Regional cuisine includes Soca trout, venison, mountain curd cheese and cured hams. The beer is excellent and there are good red wines from the nearby Brda Hills.

When to go: July/August summer holiday
Average high: 26 degrees
Prices: Start from £290.00 pp for 3 nights including accommodation, hire car, self-guided walks and local Manager support. From £425 pp for 3 nights with additional organised walks and lavish packed lunches.
Discounts: Under 2s go free / Groups of 6 or more – one person in the party gets a free holiday (conditions apply).
No price hikes during school holiday time

The Carinthian Alps, Austria
This region is Austria’s most southernmost and sunniest spot as the river Gail carves its way down the Lesachtal, before joining the Danube. The valley is bounded by limestone summits which form the Italian borders and to the north sit the Lienz Dolomites where traditional ways of life, particularly farming, still survive to this day. In this area, the hay surrounding hillside villages are still cut by hand in August. You can explore the area by taking a walk through your village of St Jakob, with its traditional wooden barns and tall gothic church, before setting out to see working water-mills and the pilgrim church at Maria Luggau. The locals cherish their village and at it’s heart, you stay with the Ainetter family who have been looking after wearing travellers for generations. Less than 15 minutes from St Jakob, there are shops, restaurants and two swimming pools at the nearby town of Kotschach-Mauthen. Cycle-hire is available from here too, as are water sports including kayaking and rafting for the more adventurous.

Kotschach-Mauthen has two fine gothic churches and a museum dedicated to World War I fighting that took place nearby. Bicycles can be hired, which is an excellent way to explore the area and with a hire car, you can visit charming Lienz, with its town museum and 15th Century fresco cycle. Excavations are still taking place in Roman Lienz, presenting opportunity to explore and ‘step back in time’.

Food & Drink
At the Gasthof, Monika serves venison and boar as well as Carinthian kasnudeln; pasta parcels enclosing a variety of fillings. The Austrian approach to food tends to the hearty, but there are always varied salads available alongside mixed grills and sausages. Carinthia’s fruit trees provide fillings for all kinds of tarts and strudels. Pleasant wines are produced in the east of the region.

When to go: July/August summer holiday
Average high: 27 degrees
Prices: Start from £290.00 pp for 3 nights including B&B accommodation, hire car, self-guided walks and local Manager support. From £425 pp for 3 nights with additional organised walks and lavish packed lunches.
Discounts: Under 2s go free / Groups of 6 or more – one person in the party gets a free holiday (conditions apply).
No price hikes during school holiday time

For more information visit www.uplandescapes.com

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O2 Lounge Terrace – The Flair of NYC in Moscow

This summer if you find yourself in Moscow and seek a little city chic one evening then there is no better place to head than the O2 Lounge Summer Terrace with its new theme “The Flair of New York in the Heart of Moscow”. The summer concept is reflected both in the venue’s décor and its food and beverages. Despite recent tensions between the USA and the former USSR power caused on the recent discovery of Russian spies in the West, these two mega cities, that have so much in common and yet are located on the opposite sides of the planet, will finally be juxtaposed on the 12th floor of The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow.O2 Lounge Ritz-Carlton Moscow

The summer menu of The O2 Lounge will be enhanced by New York classics and Moscow unbeatable hits: Cobb Salad with avocado, blue cheese, bacon, shrimp and baby salad leaves, Russian Crab Salad, Okroshka Summer Soup and Crab Cake with basil citrus salad and spicy avocado cream. Guests will also be offered grilled dishes such as US Prime Beef Burger, US Prime Rib Eye with cognac pepper sauce, Grilled US Prime T-bone steak and traditional Shashlyk.

While relaxing on the summer terrace, the guests will be able to order American ice cream and traditional New York hot dogs, and the barmen will invite guests for a glass of O2 Cosmopolitan, Traditional Manhattan, Fifth Avenue (Gin, Martini rosato and lavender foam), New York Cheesecake (Vanilla Vodka, Grand Marnier, cream, mascarpone), Moscow Lassie (Vodka, apple juice, Cucumber, mango puree, jog hurt) or Russian Lemonade.

About The Ritz-Carlton

The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow is located just off Red Square, next to the Kremlin, in the heart of the cultural and business center of Russia’s capital. The hotel enjoys the largest guest rooms and suites in the city all fully equipped with cutting-edge technological amenities. The O2 Lounge on the 12th floor offers magnificent views of the Kremlin and Red Square, and the full-service spa by ESPA are among the hotel’s premium amenities. For more information and reservations, contact your travel professional, call The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow at +7 495 225 8888 or visit www.ritzcarlton.com

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Berlin Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2011 Style Round-up

Last week Berlin showcased its Spring/Summer 2011 Fashion Week, sponsored by Mercedes-Benz.  Check out our favourite looks, from chic sophistication to 1950s kitsch.


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3ph was the result of a student project at the University of Economy and Engineering. At Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week last term's collection was showcased. Think classic, casual chic.

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Snap Up an Air Berlin & NIKI City Tour Pass

Air BerlinJust in time for school leavers and graduates, Air Berlin, Germany’s second largest airline has introduced the ‘airberlin city tour pass’ to give young people between the ages of 18 and 27 the chance to travel to a total of five city destinations out of the the Air Berlin and NIKI defined route network from only €199 per ticket.

Book your ticket to your five favourite cities out of 50 destinations in 16 countries for travel during July and August 2010 to cities such as Rome, Barcelona, Berlin, Vienna and Helsinki.  But be warned, Air Berlin is urging people to be quick as tickets are for a limited time only with 3,000 available in total!  Get your ticket now!

Customers must send proof of identity via email or fax to the Air Berlin Service Centre when booking. The ticket price for the promotion is €199 per ticket including tariffs and taxes and booking is only possible via the internet, visit airberlin.com/citytour for more details.

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Russian Standard – Golden Summertime Iced Tea

Golden Summertime Iced TeaSo far, the weather in London has proved particularly promising.  With sunshine comes the desire for a sweet, cool, refreshing beverage, preferably enjoyed while basking in sunshine, be it in the city or in the countryside.  However, sometimes drinking the same old Cosmo, Pimm’s or G&T just won’t do.

Being a lover of all things Russian it appeared it was time to experiment with a little cocktail-making.  Combining the Russians’ passion for tea and the unbridled joy delivered by a few daily doses of vodka seems like a natural fusion.  Invest in a bottle of Russian Standard Gold, brand new for 2010, a smooth, rich vodka, with a pure taste and notes of honey, vanilla and almond.  Then just follow some simple instructions (below) and you’ll be able to indulge in as many delicious Golden Summertime Iced Teas as you desire!

For added authenticity, serve in a Russian tea glass – you’ll soon be transported to a lively train hurtling through the countryside between Moscow and St Petersburg, or indeed better yet, a grand ball reminiscent of the era of powerful Tsars such as Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great or Tsarina Catherine the Great!


Combine the following

45ml Russian Standard Gold

60ml peach puree

90ml strong black tea (invest in a small box of Russian Caravan Tea from Whittard)

15ml honey water (you can create your own with a dollop of runny honey dissolved into warm water)

15ml lemon juice

Shake with ice and strain, garnishing with a slice of white peach and crushed ice

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