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Posts Tagged ‘cheap hotels’

I don’t know whether it’s the spring weather, the latest run of Fashion Weeks in my favourite cities or my thirst for travel right now but I’ve got shopping on my mind. More precisely I’ve got shopping in Lisbon on my mind. While not the first city I think of when it comes to fashion and style, Lisbon has a secret that it can’t keep much longer. This city has style! As for shopping, there is a lot of chic hiding here!

If you think of shopping in London in the 1940s, you’re pretty close to what it’s like to shop in Lisbon’s city centre today. Polished wooden counter tops where dainty hand-embroidered handkerchiefs, bed linens and towels hang behind polished glass. Handmade leather gloves, shoes, hats are all ready to try on, antique display cases shine and your packages are wrapped in kraft paper and twine as you leave.

Romantic isn’t it?

Lisbon’s newly revamped Waterfront is a mecca for design shops which are taking a turn back to the traditional arts and crafts which once made Portugal famous. The city hosts a new generation of hand-crafters and if you’ve got a keen eye for something different, something old yet with a touch of the contemporary, then you’ve got to check out Lisbon.

Top things to buy: leather, linen, silver, Old World trinkets…

Where to shop:

Luvaria Ulisses (Rua do Carmo, 87a) – selling hand-made gloves since 1925

Joalharia do Carmo (Rua do Carmo 87b) – selling 18th century styled jewellery and silverware

Paris em Lisboa (near Rua Garrett) – selling monogrammed linens, starting at £7

Café a Brasileira – the city’s most famous coffee house. Latte and sweet, just £2.20

Casa das Velas (Rua do Loreto) – selling candles since 1789, a pair of ecclesiastical candles for £15

Chapelaria Azevedo Rua (Rossio Square) – hand-made men’s fedoras, £57

As you can see, you can find some beautiful treasures here for a fraction of the price they would cost you in London, even Paris. It’s incredible that Lisbon isn’t so popular among shoppers. Ladies, really you’ve got to get on this. The best time to visit is spring, May of course when it’s not too hot and when the spring flowers are in full-bloom in the streets. The beach is just a 30 minute train ride away as well. As well, Lisbon has plenty of cheap hotels but the real deals are found outside the city centre. For something chic, check out the places within close reach of Rossio.

image from: http://weheartit.com/entry/6261500
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Are you tired of Lonely Planet’s “off the beaten track” way around a city only to discover that the quiant cathedral you think you’re discovering for the first time is also being discovered for the first time by a dozen other backpackers with similar Lonely Planet editions hanging out their sacks or back pockets? That’s what happens when hotels, restaurants, tiny museums are featured in guides with such strong readership, such loyal readership. They’re not “off the beaten track” anymore.

But you really really want to get the most out of your trip to Barcelona… without a Lonely Planet.

Le Cool has a happy alternative, The weird and wonderful guide to Barcelona, guaranteed to take you places tourists have never dared to go. Including some hip hotels in Barcelona, funky hostels that there are no signs for and underground absinthe bars that’ll put a wild spin on your night.

Red and hardcover, this little book is complete with witty narratives, maps and ideas that will certainly fill any Barcelona trip. Written by locals for those travellers with a keen for something a little off-beat, a little different. Walking guides, essential stops, interviews with the rich/trendy/famous of the capital of Catalan, where to find a good sex club (should you swing that way), buy cheap cigarettes and don’t worry the Gaudi-mahem is kept at a necessary minimum.

Where can you find the book? It’s available directly from Le Cool as well as Amazon.co.uk. I had a copy once. A travelling friend passed it along to me after his trip to Barcelona, telling me to take it, use it and then pass it along again. I did take it to Barcelona, I stayed at a hostel mentioned there, drank absinthe cocktails with funny names in a dark basement, drank my latte at a chic coffee bar and did a tour of a few off-beat museums. During a trip to Berlin a few months later, I met someone on their way to Barcelona and I passed the Weird and Wonderful guide on to them.

Do you have a copy of this book? These guides are also available in several other cities… check’em out!

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Düsseldorf museums can be interesting places to see for the whole family. Many theatres also have special stage programs for kids, like the puppet and doll shows, not to mention the children’s theatre, or the Spektakulum. The museums in this city have set as an aim to ensure that children learn in a playful and entertaining way, through a wide variety of specials and guided tours, so that they can say “Culture is cool”.

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The river Rhine is accessible from almost everywhere in the city and attracts many skaters, cyclists and strollers to its banks. On the Rhine promenade, opposite the Oberkassel side of the Rhine, adults and children are flying their kites; inline skaters have free passage along the banks between Oberkassel and Heerdt. The Köln-Düsseldorfer and Weiße Flotte lines offer various round-trips in and around Düsseldorf for children and adults who have the heart of a sailor. Take a trip to Zons or Kaiserswerth, or simply enjoy the view of Düsseldorf from the Rhine!

Especially during the summer months, Unterbacher See is a popular destination for families: the lake covers 87 hectares, thus invites young and old alike for surfing, sailing, swimming or paddling. If you don’t want to get your feet wet, you can also walk or cycle along the paths on the banks. There are camping sites for staying overnight in Düsseldorf’s biggest recreational area, and if you get prior permission from the authorities, you can even have a barbecue.

There are six indoor swimming pools, four open-air pools and an adventure pool, for swimming, splashing, sliding – even if the weather gets wrong. All the indoor pools offer a family day ticket, with swimming courses for adults, children and young people. Some pools also have exercise programmes like baby swimming, aqua jogging, snorkelling or hydro power. Do your children like to play outside? In Düsseldorf, there are many playgrounds and recreational facilities where they can vent their energies – and parents can also get a bit of rest here. If you’d you like to show your children that cows are not purple as shown on the TV, bring them to one of the zoos, where they can observe, feed and pet the animals. And of course, there’s always the alternative of picnicking at some places nearby, but if you need to find a restaurant in the city, visit http://gastronomie.duesseldorf-tourismus.de/ (they have an English language site too).

For finding your accommodation in Düsseldorf, I’d recommend www.liligo.co.uk, you will find all the necessary info here, cheap flights, car rental possibilities and other useful things.

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