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  • Great Chefs Of The World

    Croatia Wine Tour Part 1

    Croatia Wine Tour Part 1

    Zagreb is a bustling modern city with a thousand year history. The 20th century blends wi…moreZagreb is a bustling modern city with a thousand year history. The 20th century blends without effort with its great buildings and monuments from the 17th 18th and 19th century. Samobor is where people from Zagreb come to relax. The town with its beautifully preserved medieval plan looks almost unreal. When here must try the famous aperitif called Bermet and its very special custard cake which the people of Samobor claim has no calories. 30 minutes from Zagreb is a small winery called Korak. The family has been in the wine business for centuries. The current winery has been producing superior wines for 20 years Rieslings and Sauvignons are exceptional. Opatje is a popular Summer and Winter resort on the Adriatic. The emperor of Austria loved this place. It was the Austrian nobility favorite spot in the 19th centuries and it shows. This place is all about indulging and pampering. Motuvun is an old medieval town on top of a hill is in the heart of Istria. Population 500 tradition lives on in Motuvun. In Li’vade there is an outstanding restaurant called Zigante, the cathedral of the Istrian truffle . The Chef prepares a pasta with black truffles, the Summer variety. A white truffle found by Zigante is in the Guinness Book of Records. And of course the store is all about …what else? Great food needs great olive oil. In Buje one can taste what has been a specialty of Istria for centuries: the many varieties of olive oil. In Brtonigla is Astarea one can taste traditional recipes of Istrian grandmothers prepared to perfection by loving traditional hands In the rich wine country of Umag, is another outstanding winery: Kabola with its awarded wines like Malvasia and Grey Pinot. Fusion spa in the hotel Melia has experts from Thailand and India practicing a range of sophisticated massages from Thai to Ayruvedic, to Tibetan Chi Nei Tsang massage In Umag another major winery: Coronica . The wines of Istria are shaped by the red soil rich in iron and the salty sea air. Coronica uses no fertilizers and focuses on its native grapes producing mostly Malvasia for whites and Teran red. Rovinj is a beautiful Adriatic town with a beautiful harbor and a charming an old town which owes its goods looks to the long presence of the Venetians. With a big influx of tourists from nearby Italy and northern Europe it has great hotels and restaurants. less

    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

    Cafe Sistina Honolulu

    Cafe Sistina Honolulu

    Located in the heart of downtown, Cafe Sistina is a culinary landmark in Honolulu. Founde…moreLocated in the heart of downtown, Cafe Sistina is a culinary landmark in Honolulu. Founded by Chef Sergio Mitrotti 20 years ago, it is not only a temple to Italian cuisine but also a temple to art. The Chef, over the years, has frescoed this airy and spectacular place with scenes from the Sistine Chapel. The Chef spent time in New York and Los Angeles before moving to Hawaii and his cooking style, as Italian as they come, has been influenced on the way by the experimentation of New York and the eclecticism of Californian cooking, creating a unique fusion cuisine. Café Sistina offers a country Italian menu and a fusion cuisine integrating West Coast fresh flavours and the produce indigenous to Hawaii. 1314 King Street Honolulu, Hawaii 808-596-0061 www.cafesistina.com less

  • 10 Best Things To Do

    10 Best: Bangkok - Thai Boxing

    10 Best: Bangkok - Thai Boxing

    Rajadamnern Boxing Stadium or, in Thai, Sanam Muay Rajadamnern is an indoor sporting are…moreRajadamnern Boxing Stadium or, in Thai, Sanam Muay Rajadamnern is an indoor sporting arena located in Bangkok. Along with Lumpinee Stadium, the Rajadamnern is one of the two main stadiums for modern Muay Thai. The stadium has its own ranking system and championship titles up to Middleweight . The fighters go through their spiritual 'Wai Khru' (a ceremony to thank their revered teachers, spirits, boxing ring and the sport itself.) Following the 'Wai Khru' ritual, they go straight into 'Ram Muay', a dance where each boxer demonstrates his skills and style. These pre-match ceremonies are believed to bring good luck, protection, respect, and a fair and honourable fight to the boxers. Once all the formalities are out of the way, it's time for action. And this can get bloody and gory. less

    10 Best: Bangkok- The six-hour dress

    10 Best: Bangkok- The six-hour dress

    The 10 Best series highlights the best things to do in the top cities around the world. …moreThe 10 Best series highlights the best things to do in the top cities around the world. They say that you can get a suit or a dress made in Hong Kong in 12 hours. Bangkok is very competitive and will do the same in half the time. Our hostess Sunida puts this claim to the test and gets a dress made in six hours at James Fashion. Hosted by Sunida Thirasak, a Bangkok native now living in New York. less

    10 Best: Bangkok-live with elephants

    10 Best: Bangkok-live with elephants

    Just one hour from Bangkok, in Ayutthaya is ElephantStay, a place where you can live, wo…moreJust one hour from Bangkok, in Ayutthaya is ElephantStay, a place where you can live, work and play with 90 elephants. Ewa Narkiewicz and Michelle Reedy manage this not-for-profit project which retires old elephant and gives young ones a sustainable future. The elephants at Elephantstay work in movies too taking acting roles in Oliver Stone's "Alexander. www.elephantstay.com Hosted by Sunida Thirasak a Bangkok native presently living in New York. less

  • Great Hotels Of The World

    Tuscany Luxury Wine Tour Part 2

    Tuscany Luxury Wine Tour Part 2

    Authentic Italian cowboys, tending to the cattle farms that produce the renown Florentine…moreAuthentic Italian cowboys, tending to the cattle farms that produce the renown Florentine steak have been a tradition in Maremma, Western Tuscany. Near Grosseto in the South is the Saturnia Resort and Spa whose thermal waters have been known known since Roman times. The moisturizing thermal plankton is the active ingredient. The Thyrrhenian Coast is rugged and beautiful. The Pellicano, a five star luxury resort has villas hidden in the cliff overlooking a secluded bay near trendy Porto Ercole.The cuisine is also 5 star run by a Michel awarded chef. The Coast is also home to glamorous wineries which in the race to stand out among the competition have contracted famous architects to design their headquarters. Like Rocca di Frassinello in Zavorrano a partnership with Les Domaines Baron de Rothschild-Lafite designed by Renzo Piano. The winery as a cathedral. And the Petra Winery in Suvereto designed by Mario Botta. L’Andana co-owned by Chef Alain Ducasses is another five star resort in Castiglione della Pescaia. It also raises cattle on its 1000 acres Estate. The Bolgheri area is known for wineries like Grattamacco, making “Supertuscans”, higher quality wines made from Sangiovese, Merlot and Shiraz. San Giminiano the walled Medieval city in the province of Siena holds regular Medieval festivals and re-enactments. The next resort is Borgo di Colleoli near Palaia built entirely around a medieval castle and carefully restored. It ha san innovative Tuscan kitchen and an extensive wine cellar. Pisa: beyond the leaning tower lies an historic city with great churches, monumento and charming piazzas. Bagni di Lucca was known for its thermal bath since Etruscan and Roman times. The mountain community and spa by the same name are hidden in the hills surrounding Lucca. Lucca is not to be missed. Home to composer Giacomo Puccini it is an historical city with sophisticated dining, great markets and vibrant night life. Cantine Bernardini, housed in a 16th century palazzo owned by the Bernardini family, is a Lucca landmark serving local specialties and wines. Several wineries are scattered in the hills surrounding the town. In Montecarlo we find the awarded winery Montechiari producing excellent reds on its 20 acres estate. 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

    Cruising the Nile on the Oberoi Philae part 1

    Cruising the Nile on the Oberoi Philae part 1

    A nile cruise is a magical way to experience the 7000 year history of Egypt because the l…moreA nile cruise is a magical way to experience the 7000 year history of Egypt because the largest concentration of temples lies along the river Nile between Luxor and Aswan. This 7 day cruise starts in Luxor, which has been called the greatest open air museum and is probably the oldest tourist destination in history. The ship is the Oberoi Philae, a vessel built in 1996 with 50 luxurious cabins and all amenities. A true floating luxury Hotel. The ship sails north to Quina . The wonderfully preserved temple of Dendera is a rare sight to behold. The main temple dedicated to the Goddess Hathor, goddess or pleasure and of love, usually represented as a cow, or a woman with a cow’s head. Its hypostyle hall has towering columns inscribed with hieroglyphs. The massive stone roof is rich with painted reliefs. Under the temple are dark chambers and underground passages. The courtyard has a rare statue of the god Bes the patron of childbirth. After Dendera the ship sails back to Luxor. A beautiful sphinx way leads to the entrance of the temple of Luxor. Built by Ramses the Great it was dedicated to the god Amun. A couple of miles north is the spectacular Temple of Karnak. Built over more than a thousand years by generations of Pharaohs Karnak is the largest religious complex in the world. The great “Hypostyle Hall” is an incredible forest of giant pillars, covering an area larger than the whole of Notre Dame Cathedral. The West Bank is a quick boat ride across the Nile, Here a baloon ride gives an overview of the immense funerary valleys below. The Valley of the Kings, is a vast City of the Dead where magnificent tombs were carved into the desert rocks, decorated richly, and filled with treasures for the . In the next valley rising out of the desert plain as if carved out of the limestone cliffs, is the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut ,Ancient Egypt’s only female Pharaoh. On the way back to the river Nile, the road passes by the famed Colossi of Memnon, the only survivors of a once imposing temple. The ship sails south to Essna. The Oberoi Philae ranked 3rd in BEST SMALL SHIPS OF THE WORLD awarded by Conde' Nast Traveller, USA in 2009 http://www.oberoihotels.com/oberoi_philae less

  • World Heritage Sites

    Marrakech a World Heritage Site

    Marrakech a World Heritage Site

    In Marrakech a visit to the monumental Saadian Tombs is a must. The great Mosque needs t…moreIn 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. The Medina of Marrakesh is an old Islamic capital originating from the 11th century. It is enclosed by 16km of ramparts and gates. The city owes its original splendour to the Almoravide and Almohade dynasties (11th – 13th centuries), who made Marrakech into their capital. 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. Unesco declared the Medina of Marrakech a World Heritage Site. 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

    Byblos

    Byblos

    Byblos today is believed by many to be the oldest continuously-inhabited city in the wor…moreByblos today is believed by many to be the oldest continuously-inhabited city in the world. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Only a third of the once grand Roman Theatre of Byblos has survived to this day. It was built in 218 AD and its floor once contained a mosaic of the god Bacchus, now at the National Museum of Beirut. less