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  • Great Chefs Of The World

    Cafe Sistina: 360 degrees

    Cafe Sistina: 360 degrees

    Cafe Sistina in Honolulu is a landmark of upscale Italian cuisine and is one of the most…moreCafe Sistina in Honolulu is a landmark of upscale Italian cuisine and is one of the most photographed restaurants in the city because of its frescoes. Owner and Chef Sergio Mitrotti is also the artist, who, over the years has moved effortlessly from the stove to the scaffolding during dining hours. His interpretation of the Sistine Chapel is populated by the powerful creatures who are Michelangelo'signature. The walls are also full of unique details that make dining at Sistina a pleasure for all the senses. Sergio has recently completed a large mural on the Declaration of Independence commissioned by the Honolulu Supreme Court. Cafe Sistina 1314 S. King St. Honolulu 808 5960061 www.cafesistina.com less

    Morocco: Scenic Voyage magical Tour

    Morocco: Scenic Voyage magical Tour

    Morocco is only 10 miles from Spain and its 3 main gateways Casablanca, Tangiers and Marr…moreMorocco is only 10 miles from Spain and its 3 main gateways Casablanca, Tangiers and Marrakech. Low cost airlines connect them with 2 to 3 hours flights to major European capitals. Casablanca is a bustling metropolis. Its must-see site is the spectacular King Hasan Mosque built right on the Atlantic coast and the second largest in the world after Mecca. The next stop is Rabat, the present capital of Morocco. Plenty to see. Not to be missed is the great Mohammed V Mausoleum with the Hassan Tower. The Medina with its Andalusian blue walls. The Atlantic beaches are wide and pristine. In 1500 bc The Phoenicians used Asilah it as trading port. the Portuguese came in the 15th century and staid for 300 years leaving military fortification. Its position on the Atlantic makes it a great fishing port. Tangier is an international city on the northern tip of Morocco in direct view of Spain. It has access to both Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, and is a major cruiseship port. After A circle of writers, artists and Hollywood stars converged to Tangiers after WWII and a made it a fashionable spot. The world came to watch the action from its sidewalk cafes in the medina. Among the luxury hotels in Tangiers is the 5 star Movenpick on the Mediterranean side with luxurious amenities and superb Moroccan cuisine. Moroccan cuisine is very diverse with influences from Berber, Mediterranean and Arab cuisines. Cape Spartel faces the strait of Gilbratar and is considered the northernmost point of the African continent. The Hercules grotto nearby fill up at high tide. The entrance of this mythical place has the shape of an upside map of Africa. Further east on the mediterranean a and Cabo Negro and Martil, cities of endless beaches facing the pristine waters of the Mediterranean. Chefchaouen.is surrounded for miles by olive groves is This is also one of the busiest mountain markets town. The Andalousian architecture of white and blue houses can be found in the kasbah and its gardens, at the center of the medina. This is also a dying and weaving center. The famous djellaba, the long garment worn by the men and women of North Africa, was created here. We stop at the Holy City Of Moulay Idriss where the founder of Islam is buried. His tomb is a pilgrimage site for Muslims. Close by is the beautifully preserved archaeological site of the Roman city of Volubilis. From here on to the Imperial City of Meknes. Sultan Moulay spared no expense in creating this jewel of a city, building 40 kilometers of walls, an artificial lake and Bab Mansour, the grandest of all gates in Morocco on the big square which rivals Marrakech with its theatrical events. Fez, was the first Imperial City built in 790 A.D. by Moulay Idriss II. This is the world last surviving Medieval city with great monuments and a sprawling a Medina with the oldest tanneries in the world. Fez is also known for great shopping in its bustling souks. Great accommodations can be found in the Riads, old historic Moroccan homes converted to Hotels. Fez is the home of Scenic Voyages one of the premier travel agencies in Morocco serving all travel from Europe and the US . The drive to the Sahara is 300 miles over the dramatic Atlas Mountains. Here great Moroccan specialties like tagine and cous cous can be tasted in restaurants along the mountains. Erfoud is the beginning of the Sahara. Great empty spaces populated by camels with occasional encampments of nomadic people. A four wheel drive is necessary to get to the the sand dunes of Merzouga. Overnight in a Berber Bivouac sleeping under the stars in the desert. sunrise comes while gliding on camelback on the golden sands of the Sahara . This is truly Spectacular. And a big surprise is the luxurious Breakfast at the bivouac. We drive to Zagora in the Dra Valley at the edge of the desert surrounded by oasis and Casbahs like Tifoultoute, ancient fortified towns still inhabited today Ouarzazate has the sprawling and impressive Atlas Film Studios where Gladiator and Kundun were filmed. In Marrakech a visit to the monumental Saadian Tombs is a must. The great Mosque needs to be seen. And then the Medina has some of the best shopping anywhere.. But the big story is in Djemaa Elfna, a grand open theater with storytellers, fire eaters, snake-charmers and endless open-air restaurants. Food stalls display the great variety of dishes of Moroccan cuisine. Taroudant is an ancient city in the south with the feel of an old market town. Local women grind a nut with healing properties called argan used to make cosmetic creams. Taroudant with its rug weaving and crafts tradition is a great shopping stop. Agadir is a resort town on the southern Atlantic with beaches that go on forever and endless luxury hotels. It is also one of the busiest fishing ports in North Africa, Next stop Essaouira, an 800 year old Atlantic port with a massive fort and charming café’s and restaurants. El Jadida with beautiful Atlantic beaches was a Portuguese settlement from the 15th to the 18th century and it is heavily surrounded by fortified walls. Last stop back in Casablanca. This hectic city slows down on the week-end and this is the last chance to experience the relaxed Moroccan way of life before returning home. Air travel courtesy of Royal Air Morocco Travel co-ordination courtesy of the Moroccan Tourist Board Morocco is a great and safe destination for students, families and meeting planners. www.scenicvoyage.com/ less

    Cooking with Zarela: All aflame- Green chile.

    Cooking with Zarela: All aflame- Green chile.

    Mexican born Zarela Martinez is one the leading U.S. restaurateurs. Her namesake restaura…moreMexican born Zarela Martinez is one the leading U.S. restaurateurs. Her namesake restaurant is a Manhattan institution and a culinary trend-setter. She has authored several acclaimed books:"Food from my heart","Food and life of Oaxaca" and "Zarela's Veracruz". Her 13 part series "Zarela, Cocina Veracruzana" is airing on PBS. She has made guest appearances on many TV shows including "Julia Child:cooking with master chefs" and " Martha Stewart". less

  • 10 Best Things To Do

    Luxury Wine Tour of Umbria

    Luxury Wine Tour of Umbria

    Umbria , untouched by mass tourism , has preserved the magic of its past and the richness…moreUmbria , untouched by mass tourism , has preserved the magic of its past and the richness of its tradition. Etruscans and Romans made wine here 2,500 years ago. Today on this magical Luxury wine tour you’ll meet the great winemakers continuing the great tradition, its great chefs and the great artists of its past. Your trip start in the middle of stunning vineyards outside Perugia at the luxurious Borgo Brufa resort Set in a highly panoramic position . The Goretti estate has its wine tastings in an imposing 14th Century tower , symbol of the winery. Outstanding wines are the L’Arringatore and their awarded Sagrantino grown in Montefalco. Taste the wines with a lunch al fresco with great views of Perugia. Starting from its central square with the cathedral, the Palace of the notaries and Fontana maggiore Perugia will stun you with its perfect Renaissance architecture. At the Hotel 3 Vaselle owned by the lungarotti family Multi-award Chef Domenico D’Imperio holds his Umbrian Cooking Lessons.here he show show to make classic Frascarelli with tomato sauce and basil, You’ll visit the Lungarotti winery, a pioneer in winemaking in Umbria. The winery founded in the 60’s by Giorgio Lungarotti is run today by 3 Lungarotti sisters. taste its excellent , Rubesco Riserva , The Wine museum run by the Lungarotti Foundation is a history lesson on the making and drinking of wine with a world class collection of art works ranging from ancient books to ceramics. The Sportoletti brothers own 40 acres on the hills of Spello and Assisi Taste their great Assisi rosso and taste the food prepared by mrs sportoletti or the Villa Fidelia Bianco Assisi is a dazzling city that will draw you into an enchanted time warp experience. It has managed to preserved most of its medieval buildings andUnesco declared it a World Heritage site. Frescoes by Giottos adorn the Basilica of St Francis of Assisi. you’ll stay at the Roccafiore Luxury Resort Right across from beautiful todi This is a rich and comfortable rural farm house with its own winery where youll taste their Rosso Sangiovese.and a cuisine thats a blend of home made and sophistication. Cantina Peppucci is is a small family business housed in the 13th Century St Antimo Abbey in a spectacular settino and considered one of the most fascinating architectural jewels of Medieval Umbria Taste their excellent Petroro Red, Montorsolo Grechetto di Todi, Alter Ego Red. Visit Mr Todini’s winery and Taste the superb Nero della Cervara then have lunch at his resort with great views of Colli Martani. Todi is another medieval jewel. The Captain’s palace and the Prior’s Palace face the sloping main square, one of the most picturesque in Italy. Todi is regularly used as a film set. Taste the simple foods of Umbria whose ingredients and preparation have remained traditional and flavours are brought out singing with their wines to in perfect harmony. Orvieto’s wine history runs thu history from the Etruscan in 7th century bc. To the magnificent medieval cathedral from the 12th century with carvings of vines on its front Inside enjoy great frescoes by fra angelico and signorelli You’ll be staying at Locanda Palazzone, a 13th century palazzo turned luxury resort surrounded by vynyards with great views of Orvieto.. It is owned by Giovanni and Ludovico Dubini who also own the attached winery . They are the only producers who age Orvieto Taste their great food and wines like Terre Vineate, campo del Guardiano. Owned by enologist brothers Enzo and Riccardo Cotarella the Falesco estate is home to great experimentation with old vinesTop wines are. Vitiano and Ferentano. Wine was grown on the Decugnano Hills since the 13th century. Decugnano dei Barbi makes a unique sparkling wine for which they are famous and ages it in cellars exavated in the lava rock. Taste the brut Decugnano Pinot Nero and have lunch al fresco around the pool. Castello della sala owned by the antinoris is a 1000 acres estate centered on a restored Medieval Castle built in the 14th Century, The castle’s tasting room feels like Henry the VIII could come in any time. Among their top wine is Cervaro della Sala.Tasting: Cervaro della Sala, , Muffato della Sala, e Pinot Nero Sagrantino is exclusively grown in the Montefalco and Bevagna area by no more than 20 growers. Marco Capri is one of the architects of its success . In the 1970’s Caprai took an ancient dessert wine and experimenting with the vine created the first Sagrantino red. Top wine is its a warded Sagrantino Collepiano. Wines: Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG, Sagrantino di Montefalco Collepiano DOCG, Montefalco Rosso DOC, Grecante Grechetto Colli Martini DOC In the midst of Montefalco’s main square the enoteca Alchimista is true to its name concoting inimagined flavours out of classic umbrian recipes. In Montefalco visit the St. Francis Church and its remarkable frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli. Paolo Bea’s family roots in Montefalco go back to the 1500’s.The small, still artisanal production focuses on organic farming barring chemicals in the vinyard. Wines tasting: Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG, Montefalco Rosso Riserva DOC St Chiara, Rosso de Veo, , Montefalco DOC Rosso. Meet Salvatore Denaro,a chef who grows all of his own food, does not have a menu and parties every night with his patrons. A true fellinian character and an unforgettable experience. Copyright Christina Tours, LLC less

    10 Best: Berlin- The Jewish Museum

    10 Best: Berlin- The Jewish Museum

    10 Best series highlights the best things to do in the top cities around the world. …more10 Best series highlights the best things to do in the top cities around the world. Designed by Daniel Libeskind, the architect who has been awarded the design for ground zero and the World Trade Center site, the Museum opened in Berlin in 2001 to great acclaim. The Museum, with its slanted walls and floors evokes dislocation, anxiety and memory. Hosted by Julia Grimpe, a well known theater and TV star who resides in Berlin. less

    Luxury Wine Tour of Apulia

    Luxury Wine Tour of Apulia

    The region of Apulia at the heel of Italy has 1000 hours more sunlight a year than the re…moreThe region of Apulia at the heel of Italy has 1000 hours more sunlight a year than the rest of the country and its local sun drenched grapes make superb wines. On this trip you will meet some of the top winemakers of the region, taste their wines and be dazzled by Apulia’s undiscovered richness of wine, food and art . Join us on this spectacular tour. Castel del Monte in Andria is a 13th Century castle and a Unesco World Heritage Site. Carlo de Corato, Rivera’s owner says the unique terrain around the Castle combined with the cool breezes coming down from the Balkans are the reason for outstanding wines like Falcone. You’ll also taste other top wines like Cappellacio and Rupicolo. Mr. Cocevola oversees the working farm, and winery near Castel del Monte producing superior wines likeVandalo. Other good wines are Rosso Cocevola, Pampanuto and Il Tratto. La Corte in Fiore, Trani. Housed in a 16th Century building, this restaurant has won many awards for its seafood specialties. You will love it. Trani is a medieval town built on the Adriatic Sea with one of the most spectacular 13th Century Cathedrals right on the water. You’ll have special access to the cript with splendid frescoes and mosaics. Hidden in the midst of an ancient olive grove this 500 year old Masseria where you will be staying has been a fortress, a farm and a refuge for pilgrims. Today Masseria Torre Coccaro is a 5 star resort, a sublime mixture of Apulian rusticity and world class luxury where you’ll begin to understand the magical allure of Puglia. Alberobello is famous for its 1,500 conical trulli homes. Today it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site. Enjoy strolling through the hilltop town of Martina Franca, a beautiful baroque city full of great churches and palazzos from the 17th and 18th century. Small fishing boats deliver the fish daily to the door of L’Ancora Restaurant built on the rocks right on the sea in Monopoli. Enjoy “crudo”, the Italian equivalent of sushi or their cooked specialties. Enjoy a free afternoon at Masseria Torre Coccaro with its own private beach on the Adriatic sea. For further pampering retreat to a cool spa built in in an underground cave. Ostuni known as "the White Town" is an architectural jewel with a striking medieval cathedral and endless winding streets to get lost in before your first glass of wine. At Torre Coccaro the Chef displays his remarkable skills at blending tradition with innovation using just picked seasonal foods grown locally on Coccaro’s land. A private yacht takes guests for swims in the crystal-water coves of Monopoli. Brindisi was a major port city during Roman times and a column still marks the end of the Appian way. Rubino is a family owned winemaker in Brindisi growing local varieties in vinyeards near the Adriatic sea. Luigi Rubino holds his wine tasting at the restaurant Penny, a hot spot on the harbour, housed in a 12th Century building in order to highlight food pairing. Enjoy a lunch with orecchiette, a local pasta specialty with fresh tomatoes and basil that works well with the red negroamaro. Then artichoke ravioli with shrimps sauteed in garlic and slivers of parmesan and tagliolini sauteed with squid and crabmeat, both served with the white malvasia called Giancola. Giancola is a beach on the Adriatic and the sea breezes give it its unique character. Rubino revived a 2000 year old indigenous vine called Sussumaniello producing a superb red called Torre Testa to be paired with red meat and aged cheeses. Cantine Due Palme in Cellino San Marco, is a co-operative of 1,000 growers specializing in local grape varieties like Negroamaro, Malvasia Nera and Primitivo. The Top wines Primitivo Ettamiano, Red Salice Talentino, Canonico Negroamaro, have consistently been winning awards. Taste their top wine Selvarossa with the enologyst and Winery Director Angelo Maci. Lecce is nicknamed "The Florence of the South" Because of the rich Baroque architectural monuments carved out of the local white stone. In Lecce you’ll stay at the Hotel Risorgimento, a five star Luxury Hotel in a spectacular 18th Century Palace in the heart of town . Have lunch at Atenze a landmark restaurant housed in a baroque palace with superb Apulian specialties. Go out on the town. Lecce at nite is a throbbing city in a magical setting. The original Leone de Castris was a Spanish nobleman who bought 10 thousand acres in 1665 planting olive trees and vines. The most famous is Five Roses born during World War II in discarded GI’s beer bottles when the wine became popular with U.S. top military brass. Taste the top wine of the collection: the Salice Salentino Donna Lisa. You’ll enjoy spectacular views of the harbour from your Palazzo Papaleo, a 5 star hotel in a 17th Century palazzo next to the Cathedral. Walk around Otranto, a bustling sea side town with remarkable monuments from the Middle Ages. Meet the fishing boats as they unload their catch at the harbour with Chef Massimo of Vico Lopez Restaurant. You will pick the fish to eat at his restaurant that night. After this magical tour Apulia will have carved out a place in your heart forever. copyright Christinatours,LLC less

  • Great Hotels Of The World

    EXPLORING MADRID: THE PASEO DEL PRADO ARTS DISTRICT

    EXPLORING MADRID: THE PASEO DEL PRADO ARTS DISTRICT

    Four major museums, a world-class botanical garden, and culinary delicacies whet one’s ap…moreFour major museums, a world-class botanical garden, and culinary delicacies whet one’s appetite through this enticing taste of the alluring arts district of the Paseo del Prado in Madrid. Join Iris Brooks and Jon H. Davis of Northern Lights Studio as they explore Spain’s vibrant capital city in a cultural feast for all the senses. less

    Le Meridien Hotel, Heliopolis

    Le Meridien Hotel, Heliopolis

    A luxury Hotel situated in the exclusive residential area of Heliopolis close to the Pres…moreA luxury Hotel situated in the exclusive residential area of Heliopolis close to the Presidential Palace. At the turn of the 19th Century a Belgian Industrialist created Heliopolis as a"city of luxury and leasure" with impressive recreational amenities and innovative architecture, 10 Kilometers from Cairo. With the expansion of Cairo Heliopolis is now well inside the city. It is home to the wealthiest class of egyptian society, with neighbouring churches, mosques and synagogues reflecting Cairo's multiculturalism and religious tolerance . less

    Golf at Saturnia

    Golf at Saturnia

    10 miles from the southern Tuscan coast are thermal baths known for their therapeutic wa…more10 miles from the southern Tuscan coast are thermal baths known for their therapeutic waters since pre Roman times. Today they are the TERME DI SATURNIA, a 5 star Resort and Spa, member of the Leading Hotels of the World. The resort boasts a golf course specially designed for those who like to play in the midst of nature. Conceived by the Californian architect Ronald Fream, this professional - standard 18 - hole course is set in the rolling hills of Maremma. It is open all year round thanks to the mild climate and the balmy sea breezes blowing from the Thyrrenian sea nearby. www.termedisaturnia.it/it/ less

  • World Heritage Sites

    Bejing Highlights part 1

    Bejing Highlights part 1

    Tiananmen Square is a large city square in the center of Beijing, named after the Tiananm…moreTiananmen Square is a large city square in the center of Beijing, named after the Tiananmen Gate (Gate of Heavenly Peace) located to its North, separating it from the Forbidden City. Tiananmen Square is the third largest city square in the world (109 acres - 960 by 550 yd). It has great cultural significance as it was the site of several important events in Chinese history. In November 1958 a major expansion of Tiananmen Square started, which was completed after only 11 months, in August 1959. This followed the vision of Mao Zedong to make the square the largest and most spectacular in the world, and intended to hold over 500,000 people The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is located in the middle of Beijing and now houses the Palace Museum. For almost 500 years, it served as the home of emperors and their households, as well as the ceremonial and political center of Chinese government. The Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987,[2] and is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world. In Beijing, hutongs are alleys formed by lines of siheyuan, traditional courtyard residences. Many neighbourhoods were formed by joining one siheyuan to another to form a hutong, and then joining one hutong to another. Since the mid-20th century, the number of Beijing hutongs has dropped dramatically as they are demolished to make way for new roads and recently luxury condominium. More recently, some hutongs have been designated as protected areas in an attempt to preserve this aspect of Chinese cultural history. less

    Bethlehem: Church of the Nativity

    Bethlehem: Church of the Nativity

    The Church of the Nativity is a basilica located in Bethlehem, Palestinian territories, a…moreThe Church of the Nativity is a basilica located in Bethlehem, Palestinian territories, and is considered to be the oldest continuously operating Christian church in the world. The church was originally commissioned in 327 AD by Constantine and his mother Helena over the site that is still traditionally considered to be located over the cave that marks the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth. The Church of the Nativity site's original basilica was completed in 339 AD and destroyed by fire during the Samaritan Revolts in the sixth century AD. A new basilica was built 565 AD by the Byzantine Empire, restoring the architectural tone of the original. The site has had numerous additions since this second construction, including its prominent bell towers. Due to its cultural and geographical history, the site holds a prominent religious significance to those of both the Christian and Muslim faiths. The site of the Church of the Nativity is a World Heritage Site, and was the first to be listed under Palestine by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The site is also on UNESCO's List of World Heritage Sites in Danger. The church is administered jointly by Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic authorities. All three traditions maintain monastic communities on the site The structure of the site. of the Church of the Nativity is a combination of two churches and a crypt beneath—the Grotto of the Nativity where tradition states that Jesus of Nazareth was born and a fourteen-point silver star, beneath the altar in the Grotto marks the traditional spot believed to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ. less

    Istanbul

    Istanbul

    Istanbul biggest draw remains its historic center, partially listed as a UNESCO World Her…moreIstanbul biggest draw remains its historic center, partially listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sultan Ahmed Mosque is popularly known as the Blue Mosque for the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior. It was built from 1609 to 1616, during the rule of Ahmed I. Like many other mosques, it also comprises a tomb of the founder, a madrasah and a hospice. At its lower levels and at every pier, the interior of the mosque is lined with more than 20,000 handmade ceramic tiles in more than fifty different tulip designs. Dolmabahçe Palace, located in the Beşiktaş district on the European coastline of the Bosphorus strait, served as the main administrative center of the Ottoman Empire from 1856 to 1922, Hagia Sophia is a former Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, and now a museum. From the date of its dedication in 360 until 1453, it served as the Greek Patriarchal cathedral of Constantinople, except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Empire. The building was a mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1931, when it was secularized. It was opened as a museum on 1 February 1935. Topkapi Palace was the Sultan's residence during Ottoman's times. Construction began in 1459, ordered by Sultan Mehmed II, the conqueror of Byzantine Constantinople. The palace complex consists of four main courtyards and many smaller buildings. At its peak, the palace was home to as many as 4,000 people, The Spice Bazaar, or Egyptian Bazaar is one of the largest bazaars in the city. Located in Fatih, in the neighborhood of Eminönü and is the second largest covered shopping complex after the Grand Bazaar. The building itself is part of the külliye of Yeni Mosque, and rents from the shops within was intended to help pay for the upkeep of the mosque. The structure was designed by the chief court architect Koca Kasım Ağa, but completed by architect Mustafa in 1660. less