Travel Digest – July/August 2010

Canada

No travel plans yet?  Love seafood?  How about heading to Prince Edward Island over 17-19 September, the days of the island’s International Shellfish Festival.   As an island that harvests fresh seafood every day, it’s no surprise that PEI is fast becoming a Canadian culinary destination and over those days visitors can be a part of the ‘Biggest Kitchen Party in Atlantic Canada.’  Chowder challenges, oyster-shucking competitions, shellfish sampling, boat cruises and more are all part of the festival.  Visit www.peishellfish.com to learn more.

We’ve mentioned the lovely Charlevoix region of Québec often in these pages.  For those who’d rather spend their visit in a cottage than a hotel, visit www.genevrier.com to see the well-priced offerings there.  Chalets for couples or small groups look rustic and inviting and it’s a wonderful area for touring with magnificent scenery and delicious food everywhere.

Germany

Music lovers planning to be in Europe in September may like to include Berlin in their plans.  For 20 days from 2 September the Musikfest Berlin will take place.  Some figures: orchestras from all over Europe will give 24 concerts featuring over 60 works by around 25 composers; 37 world-renowned soloists will take part, as will 27 choirs.  Venues range from the Philharmonic Hall to the city’s churches and full details can be found at  http://www.berlinerfestspiele.de/en/aktuell/festivals/05_musikfest_berlin/mfb_start.php.

Prefer art?  Still in Berlin, but in the following month (7-10 October) the Art Forum Berlin will take place.  And  running parallel to the art fair, Berlin’s museums, galleries and private cultural institutions will present programmes of high-quality exhibitions and special events (www.art-forum-berlin.com).  At this time, treat yourself to a stay in the 5-star hotel Brandenburger Hof Berlin which is offering an exclusive VIP Art Forum Package, including three overnight stays with breakfast, access to the exclusive Art Forum opening event, admission to the Vernissage in the historic Ermisch halls, plus daily admission and limousine transfers to the fair. From Euros 1,415 per person sharing a double room.   Book directly at: [email protected]  And for an extensive events calendar and Berlin travel information visit www.visitBerlin.de.

Norway, Greenland and Iceland

Two cool-water cruises to Norway, Greenland and/or Iceland this summer are being offered at half price.  One is 9 days (the ‘Realm of the Polar Bear’), the other 14 (‘Arctic Highlights’), with departures in August and September.  All details by contacting the Great Canadian Travel Company at 1 800 661 3830 or  at www.greatcanadiantravel.com

Peru

Rail services to Machu Picchu have resumed following months of repair work after the line was damaged by heavy rain and landslides earlier this year. A normal rail service has resumed for the whole line from Cusco to the Inca citadel. The rail route was partially reopened in April in combination with a bus service but was forced to close in June due to strike action.  The railway is the only access to Peru’s main tourist site other than a four-day trek over the Inca trails. Machu Picchu is the most visited site in South America with an average of 2,000 tourists visiting the site daily.

How about including some Spanish lessons when you visit Peru (or Cuba)?  BC-based Tours of Exploration are inviting participants to enjoy a bit of studying during their visits to Peru (5-19 November) or Cuba (next spring).  The Peruvian package includes visits to Lima, the Sacred Valley of the Incas and Lake Titicaca and cost US2,620 pp, twin.  The packages feature Spanish instruction for people of all levels and cultural insights into the country are an important part of the program, encouraging participants to practice their Spanish in restaurants, hotels, museums and markets.  Call 1 800 690 7887 or visit www.toursexplore.com for details.

U.S.A.

The new Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, has been open for just two months and already more than 135,000 ‘passengers’ have toured the painstakingly-authentic recreation of the world’s most famous ship. The world’s largest Titanic Museum, which is also the newest major attraction in the popular resort area surrounding the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is exceeding its business projections in all areas and sells completely out of tickets on most days.  See what it’s all about at www.titanicpigeonforge.com and, perhaps, plan a detour when you travel in the region.

Many Canadians think of Arizona as a winter destination, but summer offers some great deals at some of the state’s most luxurious resorts.  And, as the locals say, “It’s a dry heat!”  The Arizona Office of Tourism has launched a www.ValueAZ.com site giving details of these special offers.

How about a summer visit to Washington, DC?  The Eldon Luxury Suites Hotel is offering luxury suite accommodations for up to four people, with fully-equipped kitchens, continental breakfast, a $50 credit towards a grocery order of your choice and other up-grades.  Prices start from $199 per suite per night for two nights, with additional nights from $154.  The property is within walking distance of the capital’s major attractions