22nd

Annual Guardian Angels – Motorcycle Police Officers Association Rally


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Guardian Angels  The Annual Guardian Angels – Motorcycle Police Officer’s Association Rally took place in Benidorm this year from 20 to 22 November on the occasion of its 10th Anniversary. Four-hundred people attended the event and enjoyed a weekend of companionship and the friendly atmosphere that was present throughout their stay. Hotelopia was in charge of lodging and we thank the Association for entrusting us with this task. Congratulations on your 10-year Anniversary!
Hotelopia has also made available to the Guardian Angels an exclusive website with which they can make hotel reservations in any of our destinations at special prices, for both personal and professional reservations.

Tuesday 22 December 2009 16:26 | Published by Blogtelopiauk | Category: Hotelopia Promotions
22nd

Dear Three Wise Men…


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SunsetTravellers, the moment has arrived to write a letter to the Three Magi from the Orient. Where would you like to go on a trip next year? Which destination would you love to explore? Which city or town to pick? Which country to tour? Now is the time to write down your travel wishes. Who knows? They might even come true. Have you been good?

Where would you like to go in 2010? What was the most enjoyable trip away you had in 2009?

Tuesday 22 December 2009 16:16 | Published by Blogtelopiauk | Category: New Destinations
18th

The longest streets in Spain


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Gran Vía de Les Corts Catalanes If you’re thinking about going to Barcelona to have a walk around the city, put on some comfortable shoes. This is because you are about to discover a city with 14 of the 20 longest streets in Spain. The Gran Vía de Les Corts Catalanes tops the list, with 689 street numbers that extend along a stretch of 13 kilometres. The second street on the list is also located in Barcelona. It is the Calle València. It is followed by the Calle Alcalá in Madrid and the Calle de La Azalea in Alcobendas (outskirts of Madrid). This ranking appears in a report presented by the telephone information company 11811. The study is based on the number of telephone subscribers on each street, i.e. the street numbers that correspond to a dwelling or business. While you are in Barcelona, if you would also like to take a stroll down the shortest street in the city, look for it in the area of Born, near the Santa María del Mar church. It only has one street number and close by there are some bars where you can sit down and have a rest after such a long excursion.

Friday 18 December 2009 17:03 | Published by Blogtelopiauk | Category: Hotelopia News
18th

Biking around cities


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bikeIn Copenhagen, the city hosting the Climate Summit, there are more bikes than inhabitants. Fifty percent of the population in the centre of the capital of Denmark uses this form of transport to get to work. Just before a new Xacobeo or St. James Holy Year is about to begin, a good option for travelling along the St. James’ Way could be on a bike. Bicycles are as much a part of life in China and Holland as rice and tulips. More and more travellers are choosing to tour the world pedalling along on two wheels. Bikes are also starting to fill up the popular places we visit. Towns and cities are becoming more bike-friendly. When you are planning your next trip, why not consider travelling by bike? This might mean having to change your normal way of doing things, to take on new experiences and discover places in a completely different way. It also means having to consider a few logistical aspects, but nothing so complicated that it should make you want to change your mind. For example, we recommend that before you embark on your adventure; ensure you know how your bike needs to be checked on to a plane, in case you will be flying. Conditions may vary, especially depending on the airline, as well as the airport. Don’t forget to take a wrench to remove the pedals and the handlebars (it is probable that you will have to do so at some stage during the trip). Also ensure that you can take the bike on board a train, as space may be limited, depending on the train’s itinerary or the time of day. And the most important thing, of course, is to make sure you have an enjoyable trip.

Friday 18 December 2009 16:56 | Published by Blogtelopiauk | Category: Hotelopia Travel Guides
14th

Visiting Santa Claus


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SantaSanta Claus, like the Three Wise Men, is the perfect guest. He comes once a year for a visit, he never shows up without being invited and he always brings fabulous presents with him. Even though this year he will surely pay us all a visit as well, wouldn’t it be fun to take up his invitation and go to see him at his house? I’ll bet the little ones in the family would love the idea. Santa Claus lives in Lapland, a few kilometres from its capital, Rovaniemi, an ideal city to lodge in. In Santa Clause’ village, as you would imagine, there is a post office where they receive all the letters that are sent from little boys and girls all over the world. You can also have a look around Santa’s workshop and meet his little helpers, the elves. Of course you will also want to see the reindeer, which are grazing out in the snow and getting ready to pull the sled. They say that there are more reindeer than people in this part of the world. A visit to the Santa Park could serve as a perfect excuse to go beyond the Arctic Circle, to discover this part of Finland and its amazing nature attractions. In the winters, it is likely that you will see aurora borealis displays. There are also lots of activities to enjoy: from rides on sleds that are pulled by a team of sled dogs to relaxing moments in a sauna or a Finnish massage at the hotel.

Monday 14 December 2009 15:13 | Published by Blogtelopiauk | Category: Hotelopia Travel Guides
14th

Travelling with Google


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google_mapsGoogle can be of great help to us on many occasions during our travels, such as to find a restaurant, the timetable for a museum, information on train arrivals and departures and it may even help us to translate a sentence. Today we are going to highlight three applications that this famous Internet search engine offers us.

Google Maps and Unesco
The association between Google and Unesco gives us the opportunity to go on a virtual visit to nearly 900 landmarks that form a part of Humanity’s cultural and natural heritage. We can journey to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, and on to the ancient city of Lamu in Kenia, stopping off on the way at the Alhambra in Granada. It can be very useful in searching for information on a destination, and it is also a great source of inspiration when you are deciding where to go on a trip.

Planning your trip
Google maps can be a helpful tool in organising your trip. Before you head off, you can mark the places of interest that you want to visit, insert information (for example, timetables and public holidays) for these places and then programme routes. Once at your destination, you simply connect using your mobile phone and start up the guide that you prepared before you left.

Searching with an image
In the United States on 7 December, Google presented a new platform for mobile phones that can perform searches based on a photo instead of using words, as we have up until now. So now when you are standing in front of a building, you can simply take a picture of it to find out more information on it. This may be the end of conversations like the one that follows. (Two people in Rome): “Are you sure that this is Trajan’s Column?” “Yes…well it must be, isn’t it?” “So, what was the column we saw yesterday, then?
Having said that and in spite of our dear “friend” Google, here at blogtelpoia, we would like to advocate the traditional method of asking for information from the people we come across on our journey. This forms a part of the charm of discovering a new place.

Monday 14 December 2009 15:02 | Published by Blogtelopiauk | Category: Interesting Stuff
14th

The Underground Vatican


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VaticanLegend has it that the Papal Basilica of Saint Peter is built on top of a church that is itself built on top of the tomb of Saint Peter. Is that true? On the occasion of Rome being the destination of the month in Hotelopia, we propose a different visit to the Vatican, located in the small country next to the capital of Italy, which will take you through its underground passages. Apparently, some excavation work recently “uncovered” a necropolis in which Saint Peter may have been buried. The route, which is still very much unknown to the majority of its visitors, is a passionate journey through the history of Rome, of Christianity and as such, of Europe itself. It also tells of the history of the Roman Catholic Church, because for years, some popes did not dare to excavate while others did, but kept the works as a secret, for fear of finding any evidence that might contradict the claims that had been defended for so many centuries. Nowadays, these excavations are of public knowledge and are even open to the public. You must however make a prior reservation, due to the fact that the forum is limited so as to ensure the area is conserved. To schedule a visit, travellers should contact the Vatican authorities directly: uff.scavi@fabricsp.va. In this email, you must specify the exact number of people in your party, the names of each person, and the language in which you would like the visit to be carried out in, the days you will be in Rome (availability will depend on the free spaces they have on those days) and your contact information. The price of the visit is approximately 10 euros per person. As long as you do not suffer from claustrophobia, why not discover a different way of seeing the Vatican?

Monday 14 December 2009 14:46 | Published by Blogtelopiauk | Category: Hotelopia News
14th

Christmas, a magic time to visit Rome


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RomeVisiting Rome at any time throughout the year is like taking a journey through time. It doesn’t matter if you stroll through the centre or the outskirts; you are bound to come across incredible monuments and works of art: the Coliseum, the Fontana di Trevi, the majestic Papal Basilica of Saint Peter, the marvellous Sistine Chapel…
If you decide to visit Rome at Christmas, you will discover that this a European city that maintains its traditions by holding the typical Christmas Market in the Piazza Navona, as well as the multitude of nativity scenes and mangers that you can admire throughout the city: Piazza di Spagna, Piazza Navona, Termini, Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major, the Sala Bramante at the Piazza del Popolo… the most impressive one however, is the one that has been set up for many years at Saint Peter’s Square…
If you would like to experience a really authentic, traditional Christmas, come to Rome and you will be delighted.

Don’t miss it!

Sistine Chapel
Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel is located in St. Peter’s Basilica and it is one of the places you must see if you go to Rome. It is known throughout the world for being the venue for the election of the new pope in a conclave and for capturing all the splendour and spirit of the Renaissance, with its renowned frescoes Creation of Adam and The Last Judgment, among others. There are 4 different itineraries in the Vatican museums with which to visit the Sistine Chapel, or you can go directly to the Chapel and avoid the crowds.
Where: Viale Vaticano
Tel: (+39) 06 6988 49 47
Timetable: Mon-Sat 8:45am-13:45pm

St. Peter’s Basilica
Saint Peter’s Square is a breathtaking sight for all travellers visiting Rome. The square is made up of two rows of colossal Tuscan colonnades that frame the entrance to the beautiful basilica. Famous artists such as Bramante, Rafael and Michelangelo all participated in building it, although Michelangelo is considered to be the mastermind behind it, especially as he designed its majestic dome. Its spectacular interior was decorated by Bernini and Giacomo Della Porta. We recommend going up into the dome to see Saint Peter’s statue, one foot of which is largely worn away from pilgrims kissing it for centuries. Don’t forget to also visit the papal tombs in the Vatican Grottoes.
Where: Piazza San Pietro
Tel: (+39) 06 6988 1662
Timetable: 7am-6pm (Apr-Sep until 7pm)

Roman Coliseum
The Roman Coliseum, which can seat up to 50,000 spectators, was originally an amphitheatre where the Roman public was entertained with battles between gladiators, wild animals and slaves. The outer wall is composed of three levels of arcades. It has suffered extensive damage with the passing of time, after having been left without care in the past. When you enter into its interior, you will be able to truly observe this grandiose monument and to travel back in time as you view the areas where the slaves were kept before they were released to the lions.

The Pantheon
The Pantheon is a building that dates back to Ancient Rome, which remains in relatively good condition, whereby allowing us to imagine how it used to look in the past. The Pantheon is a temple to all the gods and it has the largest dome in the world. This dome has a 9-metre central opening (oculus) that allows in natural light, as well as symbolising the union between the temple and the gods above. If you are in the Pantheon and it happens to start raining, you can watch the raindrops float down in perfect circles from the oculus and splatter against the marble flooring. The Pantheon contains the remains of the artist Rafael.
Where: Piazza della Rotonda
Timetable: Mon-Sat: 8.30am-7.30pm/ Sun: 9am-5.30pm
Phone nº: (+39) 06 6830 0230

Bocca della Verità
The famous Mouth of Truth is an enormous disk in the form of a mask, which is situated in the atrium of the Church of St. Mary in Cosmedin. According to the legend, it was said that if you put your right hand in this mouth and tell a lie, the mouth will close and you will not be able to withdraw it. Some even claim that the priests used to put scorpions inside it to perpetuate the myth. It is quite well-known, as it appears in several movies such as Roman Holiday, in which Gregory Peck pretends he loses his hand.
Where: Piazza della Bocca della Verità, 18, 00186 Rome

Where to eat

Osteria Der Belli Restaurant
This restaurant is located in the Trastevere, one of the most charming neighbourhoods in Rome, which is not as well-known as others. This restaurant is a simple, family-owned Osteria, which is run by two very friendly brothers, with an interesting menu and a good wine list. The prices are very reasonable, not at all expensive and its specialities are pasta and fish. It has a terrace for outdoor dining right in the square.
Where: Piazza S. Apollonia, 11, 00153 Rome
Tel: (+39) 06 5803 782

Vegetariano Il Margutta Restaurant
This vegetarian restaurant is very close to the Piazza di Spagna in Rome. It is an excellent option if you are in the area, for a bit of a change from pasta. This restaurant offers a wide range of very imaginative dishes. We recommend that you call first to make a reservation.
Where: Via Margutta, 118, 00187 Rome
Tel: (+39) 06 3265 0577

Cafetería Tazza D’oro
This traditional café in Rome makes a splendid cappuccino and after enjoying one, we are sure you will agree that it was one of the best you’ve ever had. They also make an excellent iced coffee with cream. It is very close to the Pantheon; it’s on one of the streets that branches out from the square, leaving the Pantheon behind you.
Where: Via degli Orfani, 84 (Pantheon), 00186 Rome
Tel: (+39) 06 6792 768

Hosteria Ulderico
This is a family-owned Roman Trattoria that is a real treasure. Its dishes are made using traditional Roman recipes, with a wide variety of pasta, rice (risotto), together with fish or meat for the main course.
Where: Via di San Giovanni in Laterano, 106, 00184 Rome
Timetable: Mon-Fri: 12pm-3pm and 7.30pm-10.30pm/Sat:12pm-3pm
Tel: (+39) 06 7046 0935

Hostaria la Piazzetta
Hostaria la Piazzetta is a restaurant situated on a medieval side street near the Roma Termini train station. The atmosphere is very welcoming and the staff is very pleasant. The dishes are delicious and quite varied; be sure to order the antipasti and the sweets. Try the rustic Italian dinner and the desserts. We would highly recommend La Crème Brûlé.
Where: Vicolo del Buon Consiglio, 23a, 00184 Roma
Timetable: 12pm-3pm / 7pm-11pm
Tel: (+39) 0669 91640

Shopping

Ai Monasteri
When you enter into this shop you will feel like you’ve gone back in time. It specialises in herbal essences, liquors, soaps, balms, deodorants, anti-aging creams, bath foams and different kinds of brandies elaborated by Italian monks.
Where: Corso del Rinascimento, 78, Rome
Timetable: 9am-1pm/ 4.30pm-7.30pm
Tel: (+39) 06 688 02 783

Piazza di Spagna and its surroundings
The boutiques with the top brands in fashion can be found near the Piazza di Spagna, on surrounding streets such as Via Condotti, Via Frattina and Via Borgognona.

Porta Portese Market
This is one of the most famous markets in Rome, where you are sure to find a bargain. It is also the oldest market in the capital and it is held on Sundays in the Trastevere, starting from 5 o’clock in the morning. This street market is similar to the ones held in Madrid (the Rastro) and in Notting Hill in London, where there are always lots of antiques and falsifications. There are also lots of places to get a bite to eat while you are wandering through the market. Be very careful with your possessions, as there are many pickpocketers around this market. If you go on the underground, get off at the Coliseum and then catch a bus to take you there.
Where: Viale Trastévere
Timetable: Until 1:00pm

CastelRomano Designer Outlet
This is an outlet shopping centre in the south of Rome. Here you will find all the top brands in clothing, footwear and accessories with products from previous seasons at prices reduced from 30 to 70%. To get there using public transport, take line B on the underground to Laurentina Station. When you come out of the underground, there is a COTRAL bus that goes to Pomezia, Latina or TorVajanica. Ask the bus driver if the bus stops at CastelRomano. You need to get off at the Via Pontina stop and the outlet is then a 10-minute walk away. We recommend you catch a taxi from the Laurentina stop.
Where: Via Ponte di Piscina Cupa, 64, 00128 – 13 Km from Rome
Timetable: Mon-Thurs: 10am-8pm /Fri-Sun: 10am-9pm Tel: (+39) 06 5050 050

Going out at night

Nightlife in Campo dei Fiori
The area of Campo dei Fiori in Rome is a good place to go out for a drink. It is full of restaurants, pubs and a few nightclubs. It has a great atmosphere and you can find people there of all ages. The most fashionable bars are: el Drunken Ship, which is right in Campo dei Fiori and is always full to overflowing, and the mojority of the crowd is in their 20’s. Spirit is quieter and has a minimalist decoration. Another option is the Shanti, which serves exotic teas and is also much quieter.

Going out in the area of Trastevere
This is one of the most beautiful and bohemian neighbourhoods in Rome. In Rome, the typical thing to do is to go out for dinner and then have a drink at a bar or an outdoor café. This area offers a wide variety of dining options and a number of small bars to go afterwards for a drink.

Bar Le Sorelle
This bar has a great atmosphere and is a good option to go for a drink after dinner. Here they play live music on Fridays and Saturday.

Nightlife in Testaccio – Matattoio
There are lots of bars in the area of Testaccio. This is the typical area of Rome where the locals and the people who live there go out. There are also many restaurants in this area.

Events

Nativity Scenes in Rome
During the Christmas season, the city of Rome becomes filled with Nativity Scenes that attract crowds of visitors. Some of the most well-known ones are the nativity scenes outside St. Peter’s Basilica and the one in the Piazza Navona, which, although it is much smaller, is delightful to see. The Sala Bramante, situated in the Pizza del Popolo, holds a large exhibition of nativity scenes. It is interesting to see how some entranceways into buildings have been converted into decorative Christmas displays with their small nativity scenes inside. It is really worth taking a walk around this lovely city to take in its Christmas spirit.
When: From the 8 December to 6 January
Where: Centre of Rome

Christmas Market in Rome
The annual Christmas Market at the Piazza Navona never fails to surprise its visitors. Here you can find all sorts of figures to decorate your Nativity Scene, as well as the typical sweets for this time of year, wooden toys and all kinds of Christmas decorations. You will also probably find some fantastic nativity scenes set up around the Piazza Navona, which are really worth taking a look at.
When: From the 8 December to 6 January
Where: Centre of Rome

Monday 14 December 2009 13:36 | Published by Blogtelopiauk | Category: Hotelopia Travel Guides,Travel News
09th

Cruise ships: who offers the most?


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It hasn’t been baptised as the Love Boat, but it wouldn’t be surprising if quite a few of the more than 7,000 passengers on board do find their other half while strolling along its passageways, on deck, on its artificial beaches, at the bar, the theatre or skating around the ice rink. It is none other than the “Oasis of the Seas,” the largest passenger cruise ship ever built to date. It can hold up to 6,300 passengers and over 2,100 crew members. For now, you will only ply the seas of the Caribbean on the Oasis, but plans are being made for this ship to also cruise to the Mediterranean in a few years time, mooring in Barcelona. This ship is a floating city with every service and activity imaginable on offer. It is a good option for people who like to travel by sea in the company of others. To date, the “Oasis of the Seas” has slashed a number of world records. I wonder how long it will take for another cruise ship to be built that can outdo it.

Wednesday 9 December 2009 14:39 | Published by Blogtelopiauk | Category: Hotelopia News
09th

Where are we going to go skiing?


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Winter is upon us and some ski resorts are now open and ready to receive lots of ski buffs after the first snowfall of the season, who are keen to get away for this long weekend break, in commemoration of the Spanish Constitution. Hotelopia recommends three destinations: Andorra, the Pyrenees and Alps. This time, we have skipped over Mount Saint Elias, located between Alaska (USA) and Yukon (Canada), where three ski mountaineers strapped on their skis and descended a 25- kilometre long “ski slope.” A feature documentary was made of their adventure.

Wednesday 9 December 2009 14:33 | Published by Blogtelopiauk | Category: New Destinations

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