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Posts by Barbara Kingstone
PHILADELPHIA – Anglophiles rejoice: Brilliant!: The 2013 Philadelphia Horticultural Society Flower Show will be on view at the Pennsylvania Convention Center from March 2-10, 2013, and the best of Britain doesn’t end with the show’s exquisite themed garden displays, on view for two full weekends for the first time ever. English culture remains alive and well across the Philadelphia region, with historic sites, top-notch museum collections, pubs, tearooms, theaters and sporting events. This season makes the perfect time to explore Philly’s British treasures, and the following are just a few places to start:
In May, the music world celebrates the 200th birthday of Richard Wagner. The composer had links with many places in Germany, but Wartburg Castle, outside Eisenach, has a fascinating tale to tell.
Lutherans know that Martin Luther translated the Bible from Greek into German while in hiding, safe in Wartburg Castle. But the magnificent old fortress also provided inspiration for Wagner’s opera Tannhäuser. Legend has it that, 800 years ago, Count Hermann I held a competition to discover the best troubadour in Germany; the contest took place in the castle’s Singers’ Hall (Sängersaal). But, there was a dark side; the worst of the six singers would be executed! From this story, Wagner created his hero, Tannhäuser.
Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the massive, brooding castle still stands; and visitors still admire the Sängersaal, the vast chamber with its medieval murals and carved wooden columns. From March onwards, Wartburg Castle is staging special concerts featuring Wagner’s works. In this anniversary year, this is a ‘must’ for any lover of classical music.
FRANTISEK KUPKA EXHIBITION
The exhibition “The Road to Amorpha” of the currently most highly acclaimed Czech artist Frantisek Kupka can be seen at the National Gallery in Prague until March 3rd, 2013. Kupka was a pioneer and co-founder of the early phases of the abstract art movement and Orphic cubism. The exhibition commemorates the 100th anniversary of the artist’s presentation at the Autumn Salon in Paris in 1912.
Harbour Island is one of the most beguiling islands in the Bahamas, easy to get to and graced with low-key charm and natural beauty. It is also an island of anonymity on which there is an unspoken law: no paparazzi, no ogling fans. Everyone is treated the same, so luminaries and A-listers (the Annistons and Mannings, the Buffetts, DeNiros and Jaggers of this world) can roam freely without a care.
Three Bees took time to evolve. Every family wish had to be considered and over time the original main Villa Bee became three distinct properties — hence the name Three Bees, consisting of the Villa Bee, the Beach Cottage and Bayside, with a few extra goodies for good measure.
Getting to Harbour Island is easy. Jets fly into North Eleuthera directly from Miami and Ft. Lauderdale and, after a five-minute taxi ride, the Three Bees staff takes over: a 10-minute transfer by boat from Eleuthera to Harbour Island. Harbour Island is only five miles long and one-and-one-half miles wide, so nothing is very far away. Once you’ve toured the island in a golf cart you’ll begin to feel – and be treated — like a local.
This month is America-Israel Friendship Month according to the Israel Calendar, February is an opportunity for Jewish communities and campus organizations to focus on the special relationship between the United States and Israel and educate the public about the longstanding ties between the two allies.
“The U.S.-Israel relationship is based on the twin pillars of shared values and shared interests,” said AICE Executive Director Mitchell Bard. “Given this commonality of interests and beliefs, it should not be surprising that support for Israel is one of the most pronounced and consistent foreign policy values of the American people.”
Some of the suggested programming ideas contained within the calendar are to discuss joint state, local and federal projects; statements by American presidents about the importance of ties with Israel; and the cooperative research between American and Israeli university researchers in science and agriculture that benefit America.
This is also an opportunity to focus on connections between American universities and their Israeli counterparts. For example, more than 400 American institutions in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have received funds from binational programs for cooperative research with Israel. Many schools also have study abroad and joint degree programs in Israel.
The Israel Calendar highlights a different aspect of Israeli history, politics or culture each month. The calendar is designed to provide the pro-Israel community with a clear area of focus to structure Israel activism on college campuses and in Jewish communities. “One goal is to create opportunities for cooperation and collaboration across campuses, communities and countries,” said Dr. Bard. “We want to encourage everyone to talk about the friendship between the United States and Israel this month to help people better understand why our two democracies have had such a long and mutually beneficial relationship.”
[NEWS/ALERTS] Starwood Hotels & Resorts across Canada are proving that certain benefits come with age
Starwood Hotels & Resorts across Canada are proving that certain benefits come with age! Participating hotels and resorts across Canada are offering a special Birth Year promotion that lets you pay the rate that corresponds with the year you were born during your stay.
Guests who book the Birth Year offer pay full rate for the first night of their stay and then on the second and third night rates equal to the year they were born. For example, guests born in 1948 will pay $48 for the second and third night of their stay at participating hotels.
This offer is valid on a minimum two night stay with a maximum of three nights (length of stay varies by participating hotel). The rates for the second and third night will be confirmed at check-in and verified upon presentation of valid ID to confirm your birth year. This offer is available at more than 55 hotels across Canada for stays booked and consumed before December 31, 2013.
Visitors to Hamburg can expect even more than the well-known maritime attractions in 2013, when the city is host to the prestigious International Garden Show, and celebrates the anniversary of its renowned ballet company. These and many more events will make for a diverse program that shows the many faces of Germany’s northern most metropolis. The top highlights for 2013 include:
40 Years Hamburg Ballet – John Neumeier
Celebrating its 40th anniversary, the internationally acclaimed Hamburg Ballet and its director and chief choreographer John Neumeier will be presenting a special jubilee program. Spanning the company’s artistic vision from the very beginnings in 1973 to its current multi-facetted repertoire, the season will include four revivals, one premiere, as well as two guest companies. Highlight of the anniversary program will be Hamburg Ballet Festival, which will open with the John Neumeier interpreted performances of “Scenes from Shakespeare”.
The Hamburg Ballet – John Neumeier kicks off the anniversary year with a tour of the United States in February 2013, with performances in Chicago, Orange County and San Francisco.
Celebrated as one of the great signature choreographers of tour time, American-born Neumeier is known for masterfully combining classical ballet tradition with very contemporary forms.
The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) has announced that total visitor arrivals in 2012 reached 48,615,113, an increase of 16.0% over the yearly total in 2011. Of the total figure, 48.9%, or 23.77 million, were overnight visitors, 6.5% more than in the previous year.
Arrivals from many short-haul markets posted positive growth figures, affected by the fact that many vacationers in the region cancelled their trips to Japan following that country’s earthquake and related incidents in 2011.
In the long-haul regions, the sluggish performance of both European and Americans economies caused a slight drop in the number of arrivals. The noticeable exception was the United Kingdom, which achieved a year-on-year growth of 5.3%, bringing that country’s yearly arrivals to a figure over 530,000.
Among the new markets, Russia showed the best results, with arrivals up 41.8% to more than 180,000, making the country the fourth largest European source market following the UK, France and Germany. As for other new markets, they have been affected for a variety of reasons. India, for example, was impacted by airline closures and strikes which led to decreased flight capacity between Hong Kong and India and an increase in fares.
The magic number of 50,000,000 visitor arrivals in one year approaches! It remains to be seen in which year that will happen.
[NEWS/ALERTS] The China National Tourist Office launches new website specifically for travelers from the U.S.
The China National Tourist Office (CNTO) launched a new website designed specifically for travelers from the U.S. The site, www.cnto.org, has been completely redesigned and updated with the goal of enabling tourists and travel professionals to learn more about the destination, its attractions, accommodations, and a multitude of information about traveling to and within China.
The new website provides information about the country’s top scenic spots, what to see and do, and trip-planning details, from obtaining a visa to a list of airlines that fly to China from North America. The multimedia section of the new site is entitled “China 360°” and includes photos and video of the many iconic attractions throughout China, including Beijing’s Temple of Heaven, Shanghai’s China Pavilion, the iconic native pandas and the Great Wall of China. In fact, it is because of these many wondrous attractions that CNTO will be rolling out a new theme in the coming months.
[NEWS/ALERTS] “Amazing Thailand, Amazing Romance” in celebration of the month of love throughout February
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has partnered with the Airports of Thailand Public Company Limited (AOT) and Immigration Bureau to launch “Amazing Thailand, Amazing Romance” in celebration of the month of love. Throughout February, the initiative will enable couples traveling together to expedite their arrival in Thailand by giving them the opportunity to use the Immigration Bureau’s “premium lane” when entering Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok.
Couples are encouraged to visit the “Amazing Thailand, Amazing Romance” counters – located at both the East Concord (which receives passengers from Gates A, B, and C) and the West Concord (which receives passengers from Gates E, F, and G) – to register for the “premium lane” and avoid traffic at immigration. Registration only takes a few minutes and requires that one partner provide basic information including name, country of residence, length of stay and e-mail address. The information will be used solely to provide updates to travelers regarding TAT’s upcoming events, promotions and activities.
Located just 15 degrees north of the equator, “Amazing Thailand” is one of Southeast Asia’s premier travel destinations and home to well-known tourist locations including the capital city of Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Ko Samui and Pattaya. Known as the “land of smiles,” Thailand features some of the world’s finest luxury hotels and resorts, and offers visitors a rich tapestry of exotic architecture, culture, cuisine, traditions and exciting adventures. For more information on Thailand, visit www.tourismthailand.org/us.