Saturday, September 25, 2010

Djemaa el Fna - the heart of Marrakech


New York has Times Square, London Piccadilly Circus, Brussels its Grand Place. Marrakech has Djemaa el Fna. Here the Mediterranean meets the Sahara.
Marrakech has two famous landmarks. The first is  the tower of the Koutobia Mosque, that rise above the low buildings of the Medina, and visible on a long distance.

Djemaa el Fna has none of the splendours often found in squares of other major cities around the world, but it is a truly magic place for those of us looking for adventure. 

Photo: Csörföly D
The other is the Djemaa el Fna, the square where traders, street vendors, and snake charmers meet during day to offer their services to native and foreign visitors.

Here you may end up with a monkey on your shoulder or involuntarily get an expensive snapshot with a strangely dressed man with a lamp-shade shaped hat on his head.

And do look out for the Henna women - girls!!!

At Djemaa el Fna you sense that  you are most certainly not in Europe anymore.

During nights the square is turned into a gigantic kitchen where you may tuck into a wide range of street food. You may, literally, eat yourself through the flavours of the Moroccan kitchen.

Last time we stayed  at a resort outside the city and missed this experience. In January 2011 we'll return and stay in a Riad within the Medina. Then this nighttime culinary adventure will be on the agenda.

Last stories from Marrakech, Morocco on Enjoy Food & Travel 
 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

New direct flights Rygge - Tampere, Finland


Ryanair starts 4 weekly flights from Rygge Airport to Tampere, Finland from October 31st. Tampere is a major industrial centre and the third largest city in Finland.

This is the first direct flight to be launched from Norway to a Finnish destination outside Helsinki. The city was founded in 1775 and is called the "Manchester" of Finland, due to the large industry activity connected to the area.

Tampere is known for its active cultural life. Some of the most popular writers in Finland, such as Väinö Linna, Kalle Päätalo and Hannu Salama, hail from Tampere.

The city has old theatre traditions, and an international theatre festival is held in Tampere every August, and Tampere Film Festival, an international short film festival every March.
Another important sight is the Tampere Art Museum .
Tampere Music Festivals organises international music events: Tampere Jazz Happening each November, and in alternate years Tampere Vocal Music Festival and Tampere Biennale.
Latest Ryanair news

View UPDATED: International non-stop flights from Rygge - August 2010 in a larger map

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bohus fortress through 700 years

Photo: Bohus fortress by Idarvol

As you drive on the motorway towards Göteborg, you suddenly see impressive stone structure resting on a cliff. It is the remains of Bohus fortress, a 700 year old fortification going back to when this part of Sweden belonged to the Norwegian kingdom. 

Royal seal of King Håkon V (died 1319)
So little is preserved from the Medieval era in Norway. Ironically, one of the best preserved buildings from the old Norwegian kingdom is found in Båhuslän. The work on this important fortress started in 1308, during the reign of Håkon V Magnusson, the last Norwegian king.

Earlier the main road between Oslo and Göteborg passed through the small municipality of Kungälv. That gave travelers a much better view of this impressive monument from the Middle Ages.

Now you need to know that it is there and stay alert to get a glimpse of the fortress as you drive on the new motorway, but if you do catch a glimpse of it you will see an impressive structure with a large round tower resting on a cliff overlooking the river below.  
Bohus fortress in 1658
Håkon V started works on two other important fortifications at the turn of the 14th century.

Akershus Fortress defended the capital city of Oslo from attacks from sea and land. To mark the extent of his Kingdom he built Vardøhus in Norways Arctic region, on the trade route from the Russian ports along its Northern coasts to the European continent. 
Much of Bohus fortress is no in ruins, but it was in fact extended beyond the original walls in the following centuries and it was an impressive castle and fortress during the 15th and 16th century.
The fortress was lost at to the Swedes at the Peace treaty of Roskilde as the Båhuslän area was given to Sweden permanently. The other Norwegian province that was lost was Jämtland and Härjedalen. As the fortress lost its importance as a border fortification, it slowly fell into decay.



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Monday, September 20, 2010

COMING UP NOVEMBER 2010: Comfort Hotel Trondheim

Photo: Interior from Hotel website
Sunday November 14th 2010 is the date of christening of my grand-nephew born earlier this summer. As young Eivinds parents live in Trondheim, I have already booked a room at Comfort Hotel Trondheim, the city's newest hotel. 

It is located at Krambugata, in the old city centre, a short walk from the harbour, and the cathedral, the city's main attraction.
It opened in September 2008 as "the town's most modern and coolest" place to stay.
The whole hotel is one free wireless access zone and 10 computers are available for guests.

Breakfast is included in the room rate and you can get coffee free all day. On Sunday there is a complimentary brunch with late check out until 3pm.
All room have free wireless internet access, and connections for Ipods and laptops via flat screen TVs. 

Facilities

The hotel has:
  • 196 rooms
  • Meeting facilities
  • Restaurant
  • Coffee shop
  • Cocktail Bar
  • Bicycle rental 
  • Currency exchange
  • Pet friendly
  • Smoking free
I will present a full review of Comfort Hotel Trondheim here on Enjoy Food & Travel after my stay in November.

Best bargain on www.choice.no!

Check price of room now on www.hrs.de versus on website. September 9th: Save NOK 200 by ordering on www.choice.no. 

Address: 
Comfort Hotel Trondheim
Krambugata 3, 7011 Trondheim, Norway
Phone:+47 73 58 88 88
Fax:+47 73 58 88 81
E-mail: co.trondheim@choice.no 
See official website here

See location on this map of Trondheim



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Latest stories from Trondheim, Norway 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

UNVERIFIED: New direct flights Oslo - Kiev spring 2011

Photo: Aerosvit Boeing 737 (UR-VVL) at Boryspil Airport, Kyiv by Håkan Henriksson
CAUTION: This information is taken from traveling press. Enjoy Food & Travel has not been able to verify that flights will start at the scheduled time.

Ukranian air carrier AeroSvit Airlines will start direct flights from Oslo to Kiev, Ukraine spring 2011.


Eastern European airlines are increasingly turning their attention to Norwegian airports.

Photo: R. Lezhoev
AirBaltic and Wizz Air are already flying to several destinations, and the latest to start direct flights is Ukranian AeroSvit Airlines.

From next spring they will fly from Oslo airport to Kiev five times a week with a Boeing 737-400 with 156 seats.

They initial plan was to start this fall, but the air carrier decided to wait in order to get a good start for the new flights.

AeroSvit Airlines is based in Kiev and flies to 11 European destinations as well as to China, India, Thailand and Canada.

More on Eastern European Airlines on Enjoy Food & Travel:

See all direct flights from Oslo airport on this map


View International non-stop flights from Oslo Airport - status August 2010 in a larger map