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Category Archives: Great Destinations To Travel To

Celebrate life in Spain during these major festivals

We all know that Spain is known for its delicious food and rich culture, but it's also a country famous for its grand festivals. Spain is one place that never has a shortage of occasions to commemorate.

With so many to chose from, it can be difficult to pick a few to check out. Here's a look at three of the best celebrations that Spain has to offer:

Fiesta de Verano (Málaga) – This celebration typically kicks off with an amazing fireworks display on the second Friday in August. During the event, which is usually around 10 days long, visitors and residents of the town dress up in traditional Spanish costumes, dance in the street, eat regional fish and sip sweet, red wine.

Festival de San Fermin (Pamplona) – If you're an adrenaline junkie, you should consider traveling to Pamplona in July. This weeklong festival celebrates the patron saint of the region, San Fermin. Runners deck themselves out in white and red garments, and line up in the center of town only to be chased by six angry bulls for just over half a mile. The goal is to run fast enough to make it into the bullring at the end of the course – though few make it that far.

La Tomatina (Valencia) – Every August, approximately 30,000 people come to Valencia for one week to throw almost 250,000 pounds of tomatoes at each other. According to a Spanish legend, the festival began in 1945 after a brawl broke out between two raucous carnival goers. The only thing that was available to throw was the soft, red fruit.

Because these festivals are so famous and enjoyable, they draw enormous masses of crowds to Spain. If you don't want to deal with the stress of using the crowded subway or hailing a cab, book door-to-door service using Hermes Worldwide, an executive transportation company that will take you from the airport to your hotel in major Spanish cities or other destinations around the world.

 

Modern culture flourishes in the city where east meets west

Historic Istanbul, Turkey, is known for its fascinating position, both geographically and historically. Once the seat of the Ottoman Empire, this ancient city has been a location of cultural cross-pollination since the establishment of the Silk Road. But despite its deep history, cultural omnivores will find a city alive with youthful energy.

The Pera Museum is the sight of many much-lauded art shows, and is home to an extensive collection of its own as well. An exhibition of Spanish artist Goya's paintings and etchings just closed. The show caught the attention of art critics from all over the world for the way that it featured some of Goya's darker sensibilities, expressed in his etchings. The museum's next exhibition is expected to be as well-curated as the last, and will feature some of the rising stars of the art world.

Running from August 5th to 11th is the International Performance Association's (IPA) annual festival. The IPA is a Berlin-based performance group, and this year is the first that they are having their festival abroad. The event will feature more than 20 performance art pieces.

The global culture of Turkey is perhaps best expressed in the country's cuisine. Elements from Middle Eastern and Asian dishes blend together for flavorful and delicious meals that incorporate elements from territories once controlled by the Ottoman Empire. Those interested in trying the tastes of Istanbul can go on a food tour of the city with Istanbul Eats. The company offers several walks that take travelers to new restaurants, and allow them to explore the city. As muslims in Istanbul are celebrating the holy month of Ramadan, the tours change slightly, encouraging visitors to experience a traditional breaking of the fast.

Istanbul is just one among hundreds of cities worldwide where Hermes Worldwide offers limo transportation. Make a quick reservation today for door-to-door service to and from any of these fantastic events in Istanbul. 

In Seville, Easter is about much more than bunnies and eggs

When you're planning a trip to Spain, don't just look at your calendar, take a look at the church calendar too. Like many Old World countries, most great festivals revolve around the Catholic church calendar, particularly the Easter holiday. The beautiful southern city of Seville is a great place to go for the Spanish Easter celebrations.

Holy week, or Semana Santa as it is called in Spain, lasts the entire week leading up to Easter. In Seville, there are many processions in the street throughout the festival. Participants in these processions wear pointed hoods and carry wooden floats designed around Bible passages.

If you would rather observe the Semana Santa festivities than take part in them, the rooftop bar at the Hotel Dona Maria is a great vantage point. Right across the street from the city's main Cathedral, you can watch everything from up high.

It's worth it to stay in Seville for a couple of weeks after Easter and watch how the city winds down. Because the Easter holiday is a week-long celebration preceded by 40 days of lent, the people of Seville like to let loose when the whole ordeal is over. They get the chance with the Feria de Abril, sometimes called the Fiera de Sevilla.

This fair lasts a week and includes music, dancing and wine tasting. Everyone comes together to welcome spring and relax after a long period of religious observance. Citizens of Seville would agree that the real culture of the city comes alive during this festival.

Hermes Worldwide offers limo transportation in Seville as well as 15 other cities in Spain. If you are in Spain for the Easter celebrations, book your chauffeured transportation with us for a smooth, worry-free trip wherever you need to go.

Luxury W Hotels set up shop in the Athens of South America

Bogota, Colombia, has earned a rough reputation in recent years, since conflict between the government and non-government insurgents escalated in the 1990s. Those visiting Colombia were urged by U.S. government officials to go with caution and to stay safe while they were there. Recently though, Bogota, and Colombia itself have been undergoing some change, and the country is becoming safe for tourism again after many years of turmoil.

Violence and insurgency in Colombia have been steadily declining since 2002, which allows the government to pay more attention to tourism and local infrastructure. MarketWatch reported on July 25 that the Colombian government has started an $8 billion highway project to improve transportation infrastructure around Bogota.

W Hotels is building its first location in the Colombian capital city, a sign that the increased safety and uptick in tourism in Bogota may be here to stay. The city is now one of the fastest growing economic hubs in Latin America, and the W Hotel chain would like to take advantage of this growth. The hotel is set to open in 2014, and is being built in the upscale Usaquen district. It will be surrounded by shopping outlets, restaurants and cafes when it launches.

Bogota has been attracting more luxury travelers recently, due in part to its burgeoning restaurant scene. The city plays host to a mix of traditional Colombian restaurants as well as an impressive array of cuisine from around the world. Particularly noteworthy are the Asian-fusion Wok, and hole-in-the-wall French creperie Crepes and Waffles, both topping many recommendation lists. Those looking to try traditional Colombian fare might be interested in Abasto.

Hermes Worldwide offers a full range of luxury transportation in Bogota, Colombia. The knowledgeable drivers are familiar with the area and can keep you safe and comfortable while you're sightseeing. Call today to arrange door-to-door service for your trip to Bogota.

4 things to do when revisiting Rome

Rome is generally considered mandatory viewing for anyone touring Europe. Once the capital of Western civilization, a visit to Rome can be like a crash-course in world history. Whether you’re interested in the early republic, the Roman Empire, the history of the Catholic Church or the rise of fascism, Rome has been through it all.

Still, a first visit to Rome gives you so much history to see that you might not get to experience any of the city's local culture. Going back again can provide you with a completely new look at Rome. Here are four things you must do on a second trip to Rome to get the most out of your experience.

1. Eat. If you're going back, you already know all about Italy's famous food. This time around, make eating a priority. But don't just go to the notable restaurants, try checking out some small italian pizzerias, many of which are well worth their reputation.

2. Get to know Napoleon. During his conquests in Europe, Napoleon controlled Rome from 1798 to 1814. There is hardly any mention of him in the present-day city, but the Museo Nepolionico has preserved some of the history of this important figure's time in Rome.

3. There is one place you will have to visit again. Legend has it that if you throw a coin over your shoulder and it lands in the Trevi Fountain, you will one day return to Rome. Make sure you keep your valuables well hidden or in the hotel safe, as this area is a favorite among pickpocketers.

4. Go out. Though food and wine are particularly important in Italian culture, Romans also love their nightlife. Try booking a luxury sedan from Hermes Worldwide to take you to the trendy Pigneto district, especially if you missed the fun the first time around.

Would you go glamping?

There's a reason they call it the great outdoors. Even the most urban city-dwellers can benefit from spending some time with nature. And now you can get a great experience in the woods without even having to pitch a tent.

The newest trend in luxury travel is called glamping, short for glamorous camping. Glamping has become so popular that even the royally wedded Dutchess Kate Middleton recently gave it a try. Thanks to websites like goglamping.net, you can book your next glamping trip almost anywhere in the world.

Instead of regular campsites, which offer a place to pitch a tent and maybe some outhouses, glampsites come equipped with all the comforts of luxury hotels. They typically feature a comfortable bed, real furniture and a stove for cooking (though some sites have pre-prepared food). Glampers are then free to hike, fish and spend time with nature without roughing it.

Though it is a newly coined term, glamping is a rather old concept. African safaris have always offered their guests luxurious tents and a comfortable stay. Another benefit: this kind of upscale camping is still quite easy on the environment, so you can observe wildlife guilt-free.

And many luxury hotels are getting in on the action too. Those interested in observing an entirely different type of wildlife might like to try urban glamping. The Hyatt 48 Lex in Manhattan offers a Suite Glamping Package where guests can sleep in beds on hotel terraces. The package comes with snacks and wine services as well.

Whether you choose to go on a foreign or domestic glamping trip, Hermes Worldwide can pick you up and take you to your glampsite. Our concierge services can also help you to find everything you would like to bring on your glamping trip in the local area. 

For London Olympics, travelers take to the seas

In honor of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee last month, a flotilla of boats celebrated with a pageant on the River Thames. The participants included vessels of all kinds, from tall ships to rowed boats, and it got people thinking that the river might offer an alternative to gridlocked London streets for Olympic spectators. After this summer, it seems that traffic on the Thames might stretch beyond rowing regattas.

While London remains in the international spotlight as Olympic anticipation begins, the city has been working to prepare for increased crowds and international attention. One of the major focuses of pre-Olympic coverage has been on traffic and crowds in London.

So, while the British government works on smoothing traffic routes in preparation for the Games, many of London's more affluent residents and visitors are planning to bypass roads entirely, and instead will be traveling by boat to the events. Maritime bodyguards from Protection Services International, a private security firm better known for protecting supertankers from Somali pirates, are offering security to high-profile Olympic spectators in honor of the event, for a price of course.

And with all the excitement on the Thames, extra attention has been brought above it as well. Last month, Emirates, a Dubai-based airline, privately funded a cable car spanning the width of the river. The cable car will connect tourists with the Olympic Village and remain open after the games.

Still, many domestic and international travelers will choose chauffeured transportation as their means for arrival to the games. The increased river traffic will make for interesting viewing for those on London roads at the time of the Olympics, with some of the world's biggest super yachts set to attend. But no matter where you go this summer, Hermes Worldwide can pick you up and provide concierge services to make your trip special.

Study shows Texans love to travel within their home state

Texas is known for being big. As the second largest state in the country, it's no question that there are plenty of great places to visit and a lifetime's worth of things to do. The Lone Star State draws in tons of tourists every year, but when Texans want to travel, where do they go?

It shouldn't come as a surprise that, in fact, most Texas residents prefer not to stray too far from home when they go on vacation.

Hotwire recently surveyed hotel bookings of residents from the four major cities in Texas – Dallas, Austin, Houston and San Antonio – to see where they traveled most frequently. While Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and New York City were included in the top 10 visited destinations from each city, the lists had another similarity that was particularly interesting.

The top three locations visited by residents of the four major Texas cities were all other major cities in the state.

In an article about the report, USA Today pointed out that some might settle on the conclusion that this trend makes sense considering the size of Texas, but the reality is that each of these destinations is no more than a four-hour drive from one another. As Hotwire spokesman Clem Bason told the source, "Clearly, Texans love Texas."

Anyone who is traveling in or between any of these fine cities should make sure that they arrange luxury transportation so that their trip goes as planned. By settling for just any car service, travelers may find themselves amid a Texas-sized mess if their transportation is unreliable. That's why it's best to go with the dependable service provided by Hermes Worldwide.

For the best July Fourth celebrations, head to these historic American cities

The Fourth of July is revered as one of the most sacred holidays in America – it is its birthday, after all. Being right in the heart of the summer, it's the perfect time to travel into the city to celebrate. It's no coincidence that the cities that were integral in the country's development host the biggest parties every year.

One of the most elaborate and dramatic displays takes place right along the Charles River in Boston. The Boston Pops have long been an Independence Day staple in the Hub, but it wasn't until 1974 that their annual concert exploded into a masterpiece. The event now features a mystifying firework display that's synchronized to the "1812 Overture" and blasting cannons. The show is broadcast nationally and watched by roughly 7 million Americans every year.

In New York City, the Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks display draws around 2 million people to both sides of the Hudson River. It's just under a half hour long and features about 75,000 pounds of fireworks. During the daytime, masses of people also head to Coney Island for the annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.

If one day of celebrating just isn't enough, Philadelphia is the place to be. As the place where the Declaration of Independence was signed, the City of Brotherly Love hosts parades and events for two weeks leading up to July Fourth

Getting around is going to be tricky in these and other major cities in the U.S. this Independence Day, so be sure to reserve transportation as soon as possible if you haven't already. 

Study reveals the most and least polluted beaches in America

When someone books a luxury limousine, the last thing that they expect to see is a dirty, unkempt interior. Similarly, one who goes to enjoy a day at the beach would never think that the water is polluted. But, the unfortunate truth is that there are a number of oceansides that aren't quite as clean as one would hope. The good news is, however, that the Natural Resources Defense Council gauges the cleanliness of beaches every year to determine which ones aren't quite up to par.

The council's analysis of more than 6,000 beaches in America last year was released on Wednesday, and it appears that just 8 percent of the water samples taken revealed that public health standards were being violated. The states with the lowest contamination rates were Delaware and New Hampshire, where only 1 percent of the samples collected were in violation of the criteria. Louisiana and Ohio were by far the worst offenders with 29 percent and 22 percent contamination rates respectively.

Of all the beaches tested in the country, 12 were given a five-star rating for testing more than once a week, quickly notifying the public if there were extraordinarily high bacteria levels and responsibly handling beach closings and advisories. Those beaches were:

♦ Gulf Shores Public Beach, Alabama
♦ Gulf State Park Pavilion, Alabama
♦ Bolsa Chica Beach, California
♦ Huntington State Beach, California
♦ Newport Beach, California
♦ Dewey Beach, Delaware
♦ Ocean City at Beach 6, Maryland
♦ Park Point Franklin Park / 13th Street South Beach, Minnesota
♦ Park Point Lafayette Community Club Beach, Minnesota
♦ Hampton Beach State Park, New Hampshire
♦ Wallis Sands Beach, New Hampshire
♦ South Padre Island, Texas.

To find out more information about specific beaches in the United States, visit the Natural Resources Defense Council's website.