Archives March 2019

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Which airports in Europe should I fly into?

So you have started planning your next adventure in Europe. Once you have decided on your itinerary it is time to find out which airport to fly into. There are many airport options in Europe so we will break down a few of the main European airports that will provide you with good access to any of the European adventures.

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IRELAND

Dublin

Dublin’s airport is the main hub for many travelers flying into Ireland and as a gateway to Europe. It has great accessibility from the US and Canada. All major airlines fly into Dublin. Note that if you are planning to visit other European destinations you can fly directly from Dublin to the major airports in the UK, Spain, Portugal, France, Italy and Germany. United Airway and Ireland’s own Aer Lingus operate direct flights to Boston, Washington­-Dulles, Orlando, San Francisco, and New York.

UNITED KINGDOM

Manchester

Although both Manchester Airport terminals scored three stars for customer service received, Terminal 3 (43%) scored staggering 10% less than Terminal 2 (53%) due to one-star ratings for prices charged in shops and food outlets, and for the long queues at security. Passengers at Terminal 1 also didn’t appreciate queues at security and passport control as well as prices in shops and food outlets.

London (main hub)

Fly here: LCY — London City

London City Airport (LCY) is the only airport that is actually within a borough of London. Located just 11km east of the heart of the city, LCY is the best option when flying into London.

Unfortunately, it’s a small operation and doesn’t have the sprawling destination list that other area airports boast. From the airport, downtown is reachable in 20 minutes by taking the Docklands Light Rail, allowing to connection points to the Underground and Overground network.

LHR — Heathrow

London’s largest airport is located 23km west of the capital. As the busiest airport in Europe by passenger traffic, this is the airport you’ll most likely find yourself at.

Connected to the London Underground via the Piccadilly line, this is your cheapest and best option for getting into downtown.

If you are in more of a hurry, the Heathrow Express’s non-stop service to Paddington station only takes 21 minutes but can be on the pricey side if you don’t purchase in advance.

London’s Gatwick Airport is currently the second-­largest and second-­busiest in the United Kingdom, right behind Heathrow. Its two terminals saw over 38 million passengers last year, and that number is only going to grow with proposed plans to add a second runway to the airport. Gatwick’s dominant airlines are British Airways and EasyJet, but more than 40 other carriers operate there, and that means tons of affordable flights to and from many destinations all over the world. The average flight price is a commendable $934, which means Gatwick is generally a good option when planning a trip to England.

PORTUGAL

Porto

The north of Portugal is served by Porto airport (OPO). The airport is becoming a hub for low cost airlines such as Ryanair. Generally, there is not massive seasonal variation as experienced by Faro airport. The airport is connected to the city centre via metro and bus routes.

To fly to the Douro Valley, Porto Airport is your best option and it isn’t far from the main destinations in Northern Spain either. The Algarve is served by Faro airport and you can also transfer from Lisbon.

Lisbon

Lisbon airport is the main international airport of Portugal and this is the airport to fly into for the entire central region. The airport handles the highest number of international flights and most flights from outside of Europe fly into Lisbon. There are two main terminal buildings

Faro

Faro airport serves the southern side of Portugal and the popular region of the Algarve with its stunning beaches to choose from. Most passengers use this airport in the summer months.

FRANCE

Paris Charles de Gaulle

Located in Paris, Charles de Gaulle Airport is the busiest airport in France. In addition to serving as France’s busiest airport, it is the second busiest in Europe, after London’s Heathrow Airport. Charles de Gaulle Airport also ranks as the tenth busiest airport in the world, and is thus economically significant for France.

Paris Orly Airport

Orly Airport is located in Paris, between Villeneuve-le-Roi and Orly. The international airport serves as a secondary hub for both overseas and domestic territories flights of Air France. Orly Airport is the second busiest airport in France, after Charles de Gaulle, serving 28,862,586 passengers in 2014. Flights to and from Orly Airport operate to destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, North America, Europe, and the Caribbean. The airport is managed by Aéroports de Paris, which also operates Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Nice Airport

Nice Côte d’Azur Airport an international airport located approximately 5.9 kilometers southwest of Nice. The airport served 11,660,208 passengers in 2014, making it the third busiest airport in France. In addition, Nice Côte d’Azur Airport is an operating base for easyJet, the low-carrier cost airline based out of Britain’s London Luton Airport.

SPAIN

Barcelona

Barcelona Airport also is known as ‘El Prat Airport’ and is the second biggest in Spain and one of the busiest airports in the world. Over 35 million passengers pass through this airport every year which is expected to increase in future and more than 290,000 flights arrive and departe at the airport. One of the main benefits of this airport is that it is only 14 km far from the Barcelona city center. Passengers can use a taxi, bus, train or even rent a car.

Madrid

Madrid Barajas is the largest and busiest airport in Spain. It is located at the District of Barajas in Madrid. The airport name ‘Barajas’ is derived from the district next to it, which comprises of metro station operating on the same rail line which is also serving the airport. It has 4 terminals and more than 20 counters for information that are situated throughout the terminals making it easier for people who are looking for assistance. Not only counters, there are more than 100 staff members available to help passengers. It operates flights to Asia, Europe, America, Canada and many other countries.

ITALY

Milan

Milano Linate Airport is the ideal airport for travelers visiting Northern Italy or any of the surrounding European destinations. Just 10 minutes from the sophisticated city of Milan you can grab a taxi or take the bus to the city centre any time of the day. The distance to the centre is approximately 10km.

Rome

Rome, the eternal city and destination for over a quarter of Italy’s tourist business is a city surrounding a country and visitors can marvel at the sights from ancient Rome, one of the world’s greatest empires and still spend time in the Vatican, the home of the Pope and destination of choice to millions of the world’s Catholics each year. Religion apart, the Vatican has amazing architecture including the world famous Sistine Chapel in the Pope’s residence and the Basilica and Piazza of St Peter.

Venice

The Marco Polo Airport is located just 8km away from the city centre. Travel to the floating city by water taxi or train that will take approximately 20 minutes to get there.

Use Skyscanner and  to compare flight prices. Ryanair is one of the biggest low cost carriers in Europe so if you are planning on flying around Europe from place to place it would be a good idea to check out their site.

These airports were chosen to get you in close proximity to any of the fruit and foraging tours that we currently offer. If you are planning a different itinerary you can talk to our travel specialists to get advice on other airport options in Europe.

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7 Unmissable things to do in Porto

  1. The Church of St Francis
    If you are a fan of gothic architecture then you will find plenty of treasures in Porto. The Church of Sao Francisco do Porto was completed in 1410. The gold plated interior is dazzling. Discover the eerie catacombs.
  2. Palácio da Bolsa
    You won’t need to walk far if you are visiting the church as the Palace is right beside it. You can opt to do a short guided tour to learn about the art, history and construction of the Palace. Be sure to explore the central courtyard, the golden room and the Octagon.
  3. Dom Luis Bridge
    This iconic bridge is part of the Porto landscape, linking the Port wine houses with the lively Ribeira district.
  4. Café Majestic
    Café Majestic is situated on Rua de Santa Catarina. It is one of the most beautiful examples of Art Nouveau in the city. With leather seats and chandeliers this cafe and book shop will leave you with life long memories. The perfect place to have coffee with a pastel de Nata. J.K. Rowling is thought to have spent time here when writing Harry Potter.
  5. Livraria Lello & Irmão
    We feel that all bookshops are inspiring in a way and this wonderful attraction is no exception. Rich in history this ornate book shop has been around since 1906. Stained glass, a magical staircase and books as far as the eye can see are just some of the features of this famous bookshop.
  6. Sip Port by the Harbour at Wine Quay Bar
    It would be rude not to sample a sip or two of Port when you are visiting the city of Porto.
  7. Cycle to the beach
    Porto is well known for it’s stunning city centre but did you know that you will be surrounded by some stunning beaches. So if you feel like a dip in the Atlantic ocean you are never far from the sea. Grab a bike at the hungry biker cafe and head to the beach for a day in the sun.
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We fall in love with this city over and over again. The hilly streets, the antique shop windows, the harbour, the galleries, the gardens and the restaurants will keep you entertained for days. A city that’s full of life while also maintaining a relaxed vibe gives us the perfect balance to start and finish our journey.

HOW TO GET TO PORTO

Getting to Porto is relatively easy. There is good access from some major hubs in Portugal and Spain. Here are the three easiest ways to get to Porto if you are flying from mainland Europe:
Fly into Porto Airport
Travel up from Lisbon 2 1/2 hours
Travel down from Santiago de Compostela 2 1/2 hours

If you are travelling from the US than you may want to fly directly from New York to Lisbon. If you plan to fly into Madrid than be mindful that you will need to get an overnight train from Madrid to Coimbra (12 hours approx), followed by a bus or train to Porto which will take approximately 1 hour.

WHERE TO EAT

Homemade chocolat at Chocolataria Equador with a wide selection of bonbons, truffles and chocolate bars. If you have a sweet tooth than this is a firm favourite for locals and visitors. You will find stores on Rua das Flores and Rua Sousa Viterbo.

Try the famous Bacalou dishes and the fish cakes at Adego Sao Nicolau, a restaurant that has become an institution nearby the river. The low curved roofing makes it feel intimate and homely. Pair your dishes with some of the regions finest ports.

If its a lunchtime snack you are looking for than Bar Gazela is where you want to be. Situated on Santa Catarina you will enjoy the traditional atmosphere here. We highly recommend a spicy hot dog with a cold beer.

These are just a few of our top tips when travelling to the charming town of Porto. If you would like to add a fruit picking or wine tasting experience to your Portuguese adventures please contact one of our travel team.

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What is your Celtic Tree Sign?

Our fascination with star signs dates back thousands of years to a time when the sky was still mysterious and NASA hadn’t yet made its mark on the world. In Ancient Greece astrologers were known as scientists.

Is it a way of us understanding our place in the natural world?

Maybe reading your horoscope provides you with a welcome boost in positivity or knowing a few of your key personality traits gives you that extra stream of confidence. Whatever your reason, it is a nice to know that you might share similar positive and negative fates with others in the world. With Astrology we are allowed to remain inquisitive, to wander, to imagine a different future and this longing to predict the future self has stood the test of time.

Farmers used the skies as a calendar using the farmers Almanec calendar to read the pattern of the seasons from the sky.

Travelers used the skies as a compass. First compass was developed by the chinese in 2nd century BC but used for geomancy and fortune telling, not navigation (wikipedia).

The astronomer Ptolemy recorded the 12 signs that we know today and promoted them in his book. For centuries, astronomy and astrology were considered the same thing as both involved the study of the planets. After the 17th century the study of Astronomy became more and more scientific as Newton popularised his theory of gravity.

There was a renewed appreciation for the zodiac in the Age of Aquarius in the 60’s and 70’s. Psychologist Graham Tyson found that people used astrology “under conditions of high stress”. This doesn’t mean that a person believes what is written about their sign but it could be related to the fact that our lives are so stressed and busy we find horoscopes to be a manageable way of making sense of the immediate future. With positive predictions we can imagine a better future.

In a sense it may give some structure to an otherwords disorganised society where we are overloaded with information, facts and figures.

Each star allows us to be a little different from the other but also part of a community. Knowing that their are many more like minded aquarius people out there gives me some hope. In addition, it holds enough mystery that we can elaborate on the general characteristics and create our own narratives.

Everyone knows there sun sign, even if you aren’t a horoscope fan. This is based on where the sun was on your birthday. But have you heard of your Celtic tree sign? Let’s breakdown the Celtic tree signs a little bit.

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Battle of the Oranges in Ivrea, Italy

At this time of the year in the small town of Ivrea, Italy thousands of people gather for the Battle of the Oranges each year! This tradition dates back to the 1930’s. It is believed that the oranges represent the head of an evil 12th century leader of Ivrea. This gigantic food fight looks like a fun way to spend a weekend and is exactly the type of fruit filled experience we love.

HOW TO GET THERE
You can fly into Turin which is just a 1 hour drive or 2 hours by train to Ivrea or take a flight to the bustling city of Milan which is an hour and a half away from the town.

THINGS TO DO IN IVREA
Visit one of the nearby lakes of Lago Sirio or Lago di Viverone for a breath of fresh air. There is a beautiful walk around the lake and in summertime you can enjoy sunbathing and swimming from the edges.

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Admire the impressive frescoes in the Church of San Bernardino. THe convent dates back to 1456.

Take a stroll around the Centro Storico with it’s cobbled streets and historic buildings. Don’t forget to pick up some gelato along the way.

If you have been to Ivrea or taken part in the Battle of the Oranges we would love to hear all about your experience.

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5 Easy Mindful Exercises for Outdoor Lovers

It is so easy to forget to stop, look around, listen and learn from the environment around you. Feel free to use these five easy mindful exercises on your next outdoor adventure.

Mindful breathing

Try mindful breathing for 3 minutes. It sounds like a short amount of time but with our habit of distraction this short burst of mindfulness is difficult for some. Take your time. Pick a place that you feel comfortable, I like to go into a forest or under a tree in a nearby park. Now stand still, breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Focus your attention of the act of breathing, letting all other thoughts subside. If you feel you need too you can start by counting the breaths you take but don’t let the counting take over. Do this a few times a week and you will be so much more attentive to the nature around you.

Mindful observation

A simple but effective exercise for all nature lovers. This one is perfect for those of us who love to look around while we are outdoors. It is all about appreciating what’s around you. Choose a flower, a plant, a tree or any natural thing around you. Allow yourself to visually explore this object and examine it from root to tip. Think about its position, its movement and its place in the environment.

Mindful immersion

Instead of treating an activity as a task, enjoy each moment of the experience. This is a lovely mindful activity to try outdoors. So when you go for a walk concentrate on each step. Become absorbed in the motion, one foot in front of the other. Once you get into a rhythm and focus on each step you will feel like you are taking gigantic leaps and enjoy each step a little more.

Mindful listening

Another one that is great when you are living life outdoors. This exercise is designed to help you listen carefully. You pick a song that you have never heard of, pick a quiet place, play the music and allow yourself to discover the new sounds, lyrics, instruments and rhythm. Leave any music preferences aside and listen intently to this new composition.

Mindful Appreciation

If you can do this exercise once a week you will feel more fulfulled. We might not realise it but the majority of things and people in our lives go unappreciated and even unnoticed. On a daily basis we pass by people, interact with people and pass over objects that make our world a better place. For this exercise you need to appreciate three things per day that would usually be undervalued. Maybe it’s the tree that grows the fruit you eat, maybe it’s the smell of flowers or maybe it’s an old pair of socks that never lets you down. Write down the objects/persons at the end of each day and acknowledge how your life is better with it/them in it.

If you enjoyed these easy mindful exercises or have some of your own to share with us we would love to hear from you.

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