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My Blogger Pals Share Their 2016 Travel Secrets

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Sydney, Australia's newest precinct

If you want to see the newest and best part of Sydney, then you have to get yourself down to Barangaroo. This is where it is all happening. There are food trucks, coffee shops to die for and this amazing Turkish restaurant called Anason. Yeh, it is weird to think that the first permanent restaurant is Turkish, but probably not so much when you know that Australia is so multicultural. So this is the place to go on a sunny day in Sydney, as it sits right on the harbour. Sit back, drink a Raki which is what Anason means, and then have a Bosphorus Feast that makes you think you are in Istanbul. After that, if you can, explore this newest precinct and check out The Cutaway. It will blow your mind, as it is the largest underground cultural space in Australia.

Paula Mcinnerney from Website: contentedtraveller.com

 
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Five Apulio, Italy secrets

(1) If you want a day tour or a wine tour or a driver to show you the sights, get in touch with Giiovanni Fasano, at greenitalytours@mail.com or see www.greenitalytours.com. My friend and I joined Giovanni when he already had three people willing to take his wine tour. We visited the town of Gallipoli (wonderful beach, wonderful seafood), and walked about. Later had a wine tasting in nearby town of Nardo. (2) If you're in the beautiful white city of Ostuni, do stay at Hotel La Terra, the most central, and think about taking a tour of the winding streets in a golf cart. See www.ostuniapecalessino.com (3) In Bari, and close to the airport is Annavi B&B run by Vincenzo and Ana, the most hospitable of hosts. Sixty Euros a night for B&B. Vincenzo will meet you at the airport, deliver you to the airport, even give you a day tour to Alberabello or Matera if you get in touch early. www.bbannavi.it or bbannavi@gmail.com (4) In the lovely city of Lecce, there's a modernistic hotel called Le Befori Charming House. Run by three young men, the rooms are large and the price we paid was 100 Euros a night with the most wonderful croissants for breakfast. Perfect location for nearby tourism information office and access to the old city, and the public gardens. See: www.lebiforelecce.it/en/ (5) Next door to the above hotel is an ideal place to dine: Il Vico del Gusto. English is no problem for the courteous staff and the menu is varied from all kinds of pasta and all kinds of fresh fish. You can choose your fish from those on ice waiting for you. See: www.ilvicodelgusto.it

Barb Bagnell Writer

 
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Philadelphia beyond the Liberty Bell

Living in Philly, I suggest you visit Philadelphia's Magic Gardens, entrance on South Street between 10th and 11th Streets in Center Cty. You won't see any flowers, just a labyrinth of tile and glass murals representing the "interesting" mind of muralist Isaiah Zagar. Time your visit for before or after a meal time and walk west for two blocks to a moderately priced Afghan restaurant, the Sansom Street Kebob House for lunch or dinner (13th and South Streets). My favorite there is Qablee Pawlaw. Enjoy! Website: www.sansomkabobhouseonsouth.com

Suzanne Fluhr from Website: boomeresque.com

 
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Learn regional cooking in Italy

Tourists visiting Italy can take advantage of a unique opportunity to learn regional recipes and cooking techniques, and enjoy home-cooked meals in the homes of locals. The Cesarian program has the lofty goal of preserving the traditions of regional Italian cookery while participants learn about the history and culture of Italy.

Available in more than 90 cities throughout the country (including Rome, Florence, Bologna, Venice, Turin, Milan and Naples), the program carefully vets home cooks, linking them with guests seeking an authentic culinary experience. The initiative was founded in 2004 by professor Egeria Di Nallo, a sociologist at the University of Bologna, in collaboration with the Association for the Guardianship and Protection of the Traditional Culinary-Gastronomic Heritage of Italy. The Cesarine website has a calendar of available dates, locations and menus. When we visited, dinner or lunch was about 50 euros per person, including a first, second and dessert course with wine and coffee. Children are welcome. Reservations need to be made in advance.

Irene Levine from Website: MoreTimeToTravel.com

 
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Balancing your accomodation budget in London, England

When I visit London, I always begin with a splurge and stay in a really special hotel. To stretch my money, I combine that with a frugal stay in a more modest B&B, usually in Bloomsbury. For instance, I once stayed at the elegant 4-star The Montague on the Gardens in Bloomsbury, where I enjoyed a beautifully decorated guest room and a proper afternoon tea in the Lounge. I followed this with a move over to my favorite budget-friendly B&B, the Crescent Hotel, in an 1810 Georgian building and also in Bloomsbury, where the bathroom was in a converted closet and breakfast was in a basement room that managed to be cheery. I loved every minute (well, almost every minute) in each place and returned from my trip with a balanced budget.

Carole Terwilliger Meyers from Website: travelswithcarole.com

 
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Finding a quiet neighbourhood in Amsterdam

Most tourists only stay within Amsterdam Centre and rarely leave the ring (e.g. the boundary between "Centre" aka close to Centraal Station and Prinsengracht canal [the outer most canal surrounding the Central part of Amsterdam]. For a different side of Amsterdam away from the crowds, you'll want to walk along the charming shopping street of Haarlemmerdijk, which is full of boutiques and great cafes, into the charming residential neighborhood of Prinseneiland. Walk through the dark tunnel towards the local brown bar ('T Blaauwhooft) before continuing down Bickersgracht towards to the canal-side children's petting zoo [donation based]. Keep an eye out for the historic wooden bridges and the former warehouses before having dinner at De Gouden Reale and cruising the canals in your own boat at sunset (Canal Motorboats) 90 euros for 2 hours).

Karen A from Website: wanderlustingk.com

 
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Winter in Costa Del Sol, Spain

Winter is a wonderful time to visit Marbella along the Costa del Sol in Spain. There are fewer tourists in this quaint and interesting town situated on the Mediterranean Sea, so it is mainly Spaniards that vacation there in the off-season. Delicious seafood is in abundance at shacks, bars and restaurants along the promenade, and one of our favorite foodie finds was Restaurante La Red Marbella. Here, we not only enjoyed dining on fresh sardines grilled over an outdoor fire pit, but they also make some of the best and most authentic paella in the area. Plus, when the weather is nice (which it is mainly is even in winter), La Red is the perfect location to sit at a table on the beach for a couple of hours, while watching the waves lapping on the shore. Address: Playa de la Fontanilla - Arco # 6 Website: www.restaurantelaredmarbella.com/

Viv Chapleo & Jill Heeling from Website: wavejourney.com

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