How Air Malta sees the world in the next 6 months

 

It is summer time and it is time for vacation. And even if it is not summer time, the weather in Malts is always pleasant. If you have enough of the grey weather in Germany, why not packing and taking the first flight to one of the Maltese treasures? For the German tourists, we tried to find out the latest news from Air Malta.

 

1. What are the biggest challenges for Air Malta in the next 6 months?

The fluctuation in fuel  prices; the Euro zone crisis; the aim of the airline to reduce costs and increase revenue through commercial initiatives

2. What do you offer new to your customers this year? Do you have any new destinations opened to the public?

From Germany to Malta we don’t offer new destinations. However, from Malta we do increase capacity to Russia by 50% and add flights to Tripoli. As of the end of October we also offer a  business class for flights from Berlin to Malta.

Furthermore throughout the year we offer various campaigns with price reductions (for instance via Facebook).

3. When is your high season?

April to October

4. What are your expectations for 2013 for the German market?

To increase traffic by 2%

5. What are the most popular destinations for the German tourists?

Air Malta operates to Malta from five German cities: Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich.

   

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The Japanese paradise on Regent Street

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As I was wondering without an aim on Regent Street – nothing new for me; no wonder that I am very often late to appointments while in London – I recognized a familiar logo: Mitsukoshi, a store that I did not see since I left Japan, more than 5 years ago. And, as a kitsch version of Alice in Londonland, I opened the door and entered the department store.Image

 

Mitsukoshi Department Store was opened in London, on Regent Street, at the end of the 1970s. In 1985, a restaurant was opened at the same place, the first such big Japanese restaurant in England at the time. The prices are both in pounds and yen. At the ground and first floor the most famous fashion brands that are so much appreciated in Japan. At the basement, one can buy English tea and cookies. Image

 

The explanations are carefully elaborated for the use of the Japanese tourists. When I paid the unannounced visit at the Department Store, on a Monday afternoon, the only customers present were Japanese. ImageImage

 

One of the main attractions is the JP books sections where you can find the latest manga news and magazines, visual English books in Japanese and lots of colourful magazines. For someone looking to improve or learn Japanese from the scratch, here is the best place to refresh the language. ImageImageImageImage

 

The following stop was the Japan Centre nearby, with a lot of traditional restaurants – not the usual ‘Asian deli’ that I can find in Germany replicated under different names. I did not have too much time to explore the sorts and brands in the supermarket, but I did not see too many green tea cookies so I took some more pictures and ran away. ImageImageImage

Open season for Jazz in Malta

Once upon a time, I used to go regularly to the famous Montreux Jazz Festival. I was just a kid with a lot of free time and enthusiasm for music. Wherever I was on a longer or shorter trip, I loved to have a taste of some quality jazz clubs and I can’t count now the number of hours I spent listening to amazing jam sessions held by more or less famous musicians. When I landed in the lovely New Orleans the first time in my life, the first thing I did after a long continental flight was to run to see the old jazz clubs and get dizzy from too much hopping from a club to another.

In the last four-five years, I did not have too many musical experiences, particularly jazz, but like in the case of bike riding, you will never forget to react with pleasure when some good music is getting through your ear. Right now, I am going through one of those periods of time when I can live without hearing any music at all – apparently, it will be impossible to imagine my life without being able to write – but I still wait for opportunities to restore my musical condition.

For the moment, I am looking for occasions and one of them may be this Malta Jazz Festival, whose 23rd edition will be held at Ta’liesse, Valetta, between 18 and 20 July. For almost 25 years, this open air festival is considered one of the main highlights in Malta’s calendar and gives an impression about the exquisite cultural recommendation that characterizes the tourism in this sunny corner of the world.

This year’s edition will be inaugurated by the Grammy winner Robert Glasper Experiment, who’s boldly playing with hip-hop, jazz, rock and R&B without paying too much attention to the limited musical categories. Gerald Clayton and his trio who will offer a unique piano experience. On Friday, the stars of the festival will be Gregory Porter – and his virtuoso voice and Vijay Iyer whose trio was awarded the 2010 Echo Award (the ‘German Grammy’) for the best international ensemble. The most important concerts of the last day of the festival will be held by the multi-Grammy award winner pianist and composer Michel Camilo who will outline once again the beauty of the jazz, latin and classical music, and the Israeli guitar player Gilad Hekselman and his band

While I was writing this article, I also listened to some of the musicians and I think that you don’t even need to be a jazz aficionado to attend at least one of the concerts. All you will get is good music that suits anyone looking to have a relaxing and unforgettable holiday. And, as in the case of ski, it is never too late to start being in love with jazz. Thus, if you would be interested to get more insights about jazz and even have a class with a famous musician, the Malta Summer Jazz Camp, an event organized for the first time in collaboration with Malta International Airport  will help to better understand this music and to practice your hobbies. 

Travel kit by Body Shop

Unexpectedly hit by the sudden and long-waited spring, I am trying to manage my time between long walks during the day and late evening shifts spent writing and doing the usual chores covered otherwise during the light time. 

Shopping is part of the non-scheduled activities, but my biggest excuse is that I do ground research for my posts and prepare the inspiration for new trips and photographic moments. 

As a women interested in fashion and other beautiful addictions, every time I enter a beauty shop I spend some more minutes checking the possible choices for the travel. This time, I spotted a functional travel kit by Body Shop. It contains 3 empty bottles of 80ml, and 2 of empty jars of 25 ml. I would take some shampoo, body cream, night and day creams, cleansing and a body milk too. Eventually, one may write on each bottle on a small etiquette what is the content of each bottle that may avoid the confusion of using the body milk as a shampoo or conditioner. 

All the recipients are hold in a transparent zipped bag that will definitely pass the usual airport control. It can be reused as often as possible and if carried properly, can last at least 2 years. Thus, the investment of around 8 Euro is relatively low and affordable. 

Now it is time for a new adventure in the city! Write to you soon!Image

Source: http://www.thebodyshop.co.uk

Travel with responsibility: About Slow Fish and responsible fishing

Are you planning a trip to Italy, the first half of this May? Have a look at what you can do in Genoa, Porto Antico, where the will be a lot of events organized by the Slow Food campaign. Do you want to know more about it? We made for you an interview about the campaign as such and the events scheduled!

 

 

– What does it mean the ‘slow fish’ movement? 

 

Slow Fish is a campaign and not a movement. As almost all Slow Food campaigns it is characterized by three aspects:

            – Network

            – Events

            – Communication

 

The international Slow Fish campaign promotes artisanal fishing and responsible fish consumption. Slow Fish tries to show people the richness and complexity of the world of fishing, so that consumers make more informed choices and widen their choices beyond the most popular – and often overfished – species. The campaign invites people to find local solutions that support a better management of the sea resources. Slow Food has been working in the field of sustainable fishing for years with the biennial Slow Fish event in Genoa (Italy), local initiatives all over the world and projects supporting responsible fishing communities. The multilingual website –

www.slowfood.com/slowfish – brings together existing information and resources on the issue, and communicates what the Slow Food network is doing.

 

Knowing the limits of fishing

 

– Many communities, especially in Africa, depend for their daily survival upon fishing. What are the solutions for finding the right balance against intensive fishing and poverty? What are the possibilities to pressure for balanced policies outside the EU?

 

It is important to train local fishermen how to fish in a sustainable way. They need to know the limits of fishing and also that the techniques they use can be destructive for the future. Therefore they need to learn about low impact techniques.

 

To find the right balance, foreign fleets need to stop fishing so much. Also foreign fleets should only be allowed to fish sustainable and in the right quantity, and additionally they must share the fish stock with the local population (must be a priority)! Furthermore the government should control the fleets to avoid illegal fishing. Also, the government should train the fishermen.

Important to know is, that the environment of fishing is different from country to country (e.g., some rivers carry more sediments than others, and therefore the amount of fish can vary). Thus the starting points in finding a balance are different.

As a part of the common fisheries reform, foreign fleets are only allowed to fish the surplus. They should respect the same rules in Africa as they would in the EU (respect the maximum sustainable yields). The problem is that this new law still doesn’t talk about sharing the fish with the local community. Agreements between the EU and African countries differ a lot and therefore ca be more or less fair. The money foreign fleets pay for fishing should go into coastal development and not into someone’s pocket.

 

 Slow Fish, an unique event

 

– What will happen in Genova? What are the main events that you prepare for the public and specialists? What are your objectives?

 

ImageIn Genoa (Italy), at Slow Fish, academics, researchers, small-scale fishers, representatives of public bodies and enthusiasts discuss sustainable fishing and production, responsible fish consumption and the health of marine and freshwater ecosystems. A large market, conferences, meetings, workshops and tasting sessions make Slow Fish a unique event entirely dedicated to the world of fishing and its issues. The 2013 edition will take place outdoors from May 9-12 in the streets of Porto Antico, in the heart of the city.

 

Main events:

 

(for further information check the website: http://slowfish.slowfood.it/en/)

 

–        Fish n’ Chef

–        Dinner Dates

–        The Postrivoro

–        Workshops for children and adults

–        Water Workshops

–        Pescando s’impara à Learning by fishing

–        Slow Fish, Green Fish

–        Workshops for the Slow Food network

 

The objective is to educate people about the complexity of the issue. It should Slow inform consumers, encourage interaction between those involved in the world of small-scale fishing and promote good, clean and fair fish.

 

Say ‘cheese’!

 

– What other events do you plan for the next months?

 

You can find the events at: http://www.slowfood.com/international/28/national-and-international-events-calendar#A3

 

A really important and international event is “Cheese”. It is Slow Food’s biennial event dedicated to cheese and dairy which brings together hundreds of the world’s best cheeses and their producers, as well as experts, cheese mongers and cooks, with a focus on promoting artisan production, diversity and raw milk. The street markets, educational activities, dinning areas, in-depth conferences and more offer a tasty path to understanding this fascinating world. 

An estimated 160,000 people attended in 2011. The next edition, from September 20-23, 2013, will bring together once again the Slow Food’s network of artisan dairy producers, cheese mongers, herders and experts in Bra, Italy.

With a bad head on the road

There are two big disasters that I am more than afraid to face when on the road: allergies and headaches. If the first I can relatively keep under control with healthy food and a lot of anti-stress care, the headaches are unexpected and persistent; they break my mind into little pieces and keep me away of any pleasure of the road. They come and go when they really want to.

Two months ago, when I was trying to spend beautiful time with friends and relatives in London, I was hardly able to enjoy my time. At least for a couple of hours when suddenly, after midnight, I was feeling as fresh as at 9 am. And the story goes on and on. What can you do for avoiding such unpleasant medical situations?

Here are a couple of advices:

– Even though you may go to the most exciting trip of your life, you better calm down. The pressure of the once-in-a-lifetime feeling is so strong that your fragile health system will react sooner than expected. Most likely, exactly when you need less. Take it easy, relax and sleep and prepare for your trip with a lot of energy.

– Take with you the pills that usually help you to get rid of the pain. As in many countries you cannot buy medicine for free without the recommendation of a local doctor, be sure that you have with you all you need. In my case, I never leave without painkillers and allergy pills.

– Before leaving, be sure that you have a list of the emergency services, English-speaking doctors and eventually your local embassy. When you travel with kids, that part of the preparation should not be skipped!

– A health/travel insurance is always healthy. – An extended article about this issue will be posted soon! – It may be pricey and not a good financial investment for someone travelling on a budget, but it is very important to have it especially when you go in far away countries, with high medical risks.

– Be sure that you check the weather conditions and you have with you the proper clothing. If you did not know, for instance, that it was snow in London till the last week and you want to wear your spring T-shirts, there are high risks to get a serious cold that will almost destroy the rest of your trip.

– Be careful with what you eat and drink. It is exciting to try new drinks and local foods, but more information about the ingredients may help you to avoid unpleasant situations. Especially if you are in a country whose language is unknown for you, use the advantage of living in the 21st century and carefully ‘google’ the product and find out what you will put in your mouth.

– Rest is important: as a budget traveler you don’t have too much time and you don’t know when you will be back. Thus, you want to see as much as possible in less than 24 full hours. However, you want to survive for your next trip abroad, isn’t it? Try to set up a reasonable schedule, with a list of priorities and ‘must see’ places. Use your time to relax, to peacefully look around and get into the local ambiance. You will not see ‘everything’ in one day? Relax, you’ve been there and you had your own slice of the local life.

 

Once upon a time, in Yemen

Once upon a time, in the Southern part of Yemen a beer factory used to function. It was the only brewery of the Arabian Peninsula at the beginning of the 1990s. They produced the famous Seera Beer. The local population developed a taste for beers and alcoholic beverages in general, forbidden under the Islamic law during the British occupation. 

In the 1970s there were breweries in Sudan or Pakistan or in Iran, but the end of the 1980s brought a new wave of religious fervour that leaded to the closing of the factories. 

In the case of Yemen, the workers were under pressure for a long time already, but the last brewery manager, the West German Eckhardt Zitzmann, was still optimistic in 1990 that the company will continue to work. He even was sure that the non-alcoholic beverage would diminish some of the opposition against the National Brewing Company. In the then communist South of Yemen, where during the Cold War the Russians sent their ‘specialists’ for various reasons, the vodka was also known, but did not get too much popularity. The production of Seera beer was not only a source of lust – even though the bottles were sold as discretely as possible, including by small openings in the walls that could not be seen easily. The factory was producing around 50,000 Hectolitres pro year, for local consumption and, where possible, export in the area. 

The fact that the company was a big contributor to the local budget – the taxes were extremely high and the price of a bottle was around $3 at the beginning of the 1990s, more than $15 according to the nowadays prices – did not prevent the Army of the North to destroy completely the factory. In 1994, during another stage of the conflict. The bottles were broken and the entire factory was burned to the ground. The West German manager might not have been surprised, as he used to work in the brewery sector in Iran till 1979.Image

Busy year for tourism in Johor

Johor is a very busy part of Malaysia, with a lot of events, mostly sport competitions, taking place all over the year. Even though it may be a little bit late for the Monsoon Surf Challenge or for the Orchid Exhibition – both held at the beginning of January – from April the busy life of those involved in the tourism sector in Malaysia is getting even busier. 

In the month of April only, there it is schedule a sailing event – Sail Malaysia Passage to the East, a golf and shoot challenge. May will bring the motocross and cubcross championship,the first in Johor. The 25th Johor International Scout Jamboree will take place at the beginning of June, a month when also a horse show is expected, in Johor Bahru. The famous local Mersing Carnival is read it ready to start on 15 August and attract local and international tourists for almost two weeks. Eventually, for two days, between 24 and 25 August you can take some free days from the carnival and run to watch the Malaysian Rally 2013 – FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship. 

One of the best opportunities for photographers is the Johor Bahru Lantern Festival, that will last for en entire month, starting with 5 September. On 15 September, Malaysia Day Carnival is a day of happiness and colours. The same month was chosen for the yearly edition of the International Triathlon.

Another recommended time of the year when the sport lovers are welcomed is November, when the hockey championship and the boat parades are scheduled. Decembers is a combination of new sport events – the shooting competition and the two fishing competitions – but also a handicraft fair and the famous street food festival. 

Johor has a lot of good connections with the rest of Malaysia and is very close to Singapore, thanks to the international airport. 

South Korea by bus

Everyone is talking a lot about North Korea those days, and I also saw a lot of travel impressions lately. However, as I am very practical and looking to provide information about beautiful things going on in this world, I will skip the eccentricities of a trip to Phenian and will focus instead on the idea of a trip to South Korea by bus.

I love a lot to travel by bus, including the public transportation, because I can see more than by plane or train, as very often the route goes through villages and beautiful landscapes. This is how I discovered Thailand and Japan and many other beautiful corners in Europe. And this is the reason why I would like to introduce in details the K-shuttle bus tour.

The Must-See Routes

South Korea has a high concentration of interesting places: Seoul, Busan, Wonju, Gangneung, Pyongchang, Buyeo, Yeosu, Suncheon, Andong, Gyeongju, Jeonju.

A classical tour lasts two nights and three days. The usual departure days of the buses are on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, early in the morning, at 8.30.

Why K-shuttle

There are at least three important advantages for the customers of this tour bus:

– The bus ticket allows you to hop on and hop off anywhere on the routes covered by the K-Shuttle. You can set up your own itinerary and enjoy fully the pleasure of seeing South Korea from the Southwest to the Southeast and beyond.

– Each bus will have a professional English interpreter-guide that will present the locations en-route and will help the travellers with any other practical information encountered during the trip.

– All passengers will receive their own ‘passport’ with stamps from the locations visited. Thus, you will keep with you the strong memories of this marvellous trip.

Practical details

According to the company, the tickets can be purchased online or reserved through phone. The sectional shuttle tickets are allocated on first come, first served basis, according to the remaining seats. For the package tours, the reservations are possible up to 5 days prior to departure. The tickets are issued by the K-Shuttle guide when boarding the bus. It is highly recommended that the boarding takes place at least ten minutes before the departure time. Before you make the reservation be sure that you checked the website to be sure about the availability, as the buses may not function during the national holidays and when the road and weather conditions are problematic. In the event of cancellation, 10% fee will be deducted from refund in the event of no-show. In the case of the package tours, 100% refund policy will be applied if the trip is cancelled seven days prior to departure, 70% if cancelled three days prior to departure and 50% if cancelled the day of departure.

Seoul

The city offers a perfect image of how modern mentality should not deny the traditional roots but integrate them into the landscape of the future. One of the major attractions is the N Seoul Tower where you can have a larger view over the downtown region. Changeokgung Palace and Jongmyo Shrine are the landmarks of the historical part of the city, both objectives being included on the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Busan

It is Korea’s second largest city and the first port. In the center, along the beautiful coastline there are many shopping opportunities and modern hotels. Korea’s most popular beach is Haeundae, visited each summer by over one million people.

Buyeo

It is the last capital of the Baekje Kingdom, where every corners tells a story about the history of the royal family. The most important objectives are: Busosanseong Fortress, Baekje Palace, the royal palace sites, Buddhist ruins, Busosan Mountain, the remains of the royal tomb.

Suncheon

It is the favorite stop of anyone in love with nature. Its bay preserves one of the top five coastal wetlands in the world, and is the most extensive reed area in Korea. By visiting Naganeupseong one may discover the hidden treasures of the daily life in Korea during the Joseon Period. The Buddhist cultural treasures are outlined in the Songgwangsa Temple. Here is the place where the International Garden Exposition Suncheon Bay, starting 20 April for 6 months.

Jeonju

Is branded as the city of taste and style, with many samples of local cuisine, many of them displayed in the Hanok Village.

Yeosu

Part of the Hallyeonhaesang National Park, a visit to this city can offer the chance of navigating around nothing more nothing less than 300 islands. One of the most appreciated is Odongo Islands, where even in the middle of the winter one can admire the beautiful red camellia flowers.

Andong

This city includes the UNESCO World Heritage Site Andong Hahoe Folk Village, highly appreciated by the British Royal family as the genuine sample of Korean lifestyle. Here lived for 600 years the members of the Pungsan Ryu family, hence the rich testimonies of the Joseon period.

Wonju

Is famous for the Chiaksan National Park, but also for Gangwon Gamyeong, where the history and culture of the Joseon period can be discovered. Last but not least, here is located a 1000-year old Guryongsa Temple.

Gangneung

It offers a beautiful sample of the marvelous effects of a meeting between the mountains and sea. The city is worldwide famous for the high concentration of natural tourist resorts, but also for the historical cultural sites. The beauty of the places inspired many writers from the Joseon Dynasty, such as Shin Saimdang, Yi Yulgok and Heo Kyun. The emerald water of the Gyongpodae Beach is unforgettable. Those fascinated by history will be pleased to pay a visit to another testimony during the Joseon Period – the Seongyonjang house. Curious to know more about the Korean cuisine? A visit at the Jumunjin Fishery Market will reveal some important secrets.

Gyeongju

This city used to be for thousand years the capital of the Silla Dynasty. Due to the rich history, the entire city can be considered a museum. The recommended attrations are the Bulguksa Temple and the Seokhuram Grotto, part of the UNESCO World Heritage. If you want to stay here more, do not hesitate to book a night city tour.

Pyeongchang

This city is located 700 meters above sea level and is scheduled to host the 2018 Winter Olympics. The Korea’s Alps were changed in the last months as one of the world-class cities for skiing and snowboarding. Another beautiful face of this city is showed during a long walk in the Odaesan National Park.

After so many information, don’t you feel tempted to book your flight to South Korea tomorrow?

Get your beer reservation for Belgrade

Every traveller in Europe must have thought about the famous Munich beer festival, which is late in the autumn. However, beer is a lovely drink in Germany, and in Munich, but it’s magic goes beyond the borders of Germany. Only think about the tradition of the Belgian beers!

In the last decades, in many places in Europe special beer festivals are organized, gathering people from all over the world not only for the love of the beer, but for the various cultural happenings and events held on this occasion. One of the most dynamic cities in South-Eastern Europe, Belgrade, has its own Belgrade Beer Fest. It is held between 14 and 18 August, in Usce Park.

The festival was organized for the first time in August 2003. In the last 10 years, the festival gathered around 4 million visitors that decided to spend some time enjoying at least one of the over 70 local and international beer brands distributed.

The entrance is free and dozen of concerts are organized on each edition. At the last edition, around 70,000 foreign tourists discovered the beauty of Belgrade.

In 2005, the Independent placed the festival among the top 20 of the world events that should be seen.

In addition to the entertainment side, the festival is used as an opportunity for various social campaigns, as it is the case with support for recycling and a clean environment.