Monthly Archives: April 2016

Awesome Architecture On Airport That You Can Enjoy It

Beyond passport control at Schiphol Airport lies a sprawling space for taking in nature’s sights and sounds – Airport Park. This indoor/outdoor lounge was designed to look like an urban park with ivy-covered furniture, tree logs masquerading as seating. Travellers can relax with organic treats from Park Café at one of the picnic tables on the outdoor terrace, listening to the sounds of animals and cyclists.  Airport Park isn’t only appealing to travellers’ tired eyes, but to the eco-friendly. LED lighting and fibre optics cables powered by natural light illuminate the park. Those with mobile phones that need recharging can put their travel-stiffened legs to use by going for a spin on a bicycle that produces energy.

The architecture in the international terminal of Beijing’s airport is a mix of ultra-modern and traditional Chinese elements. Designed by London firm, Foster + Partners (architects of London’s Gherkin and the German Reichstag parliament building), construction on the terminal was completed in four years – breakneck speed – just in time to welcome the international community to Beijing for the 2008 Olympics. Inside, travellers are sure to marvel at the massive, curved ceilings and a colourful Chinese pagoda. Unusually for a Foster-designed building, colour is playfully employed, with touches of red representing Chinese culture and traditions.

You’d be forgiven for thinking you were going on a journey to outer space than an international flight when you arrive at Lyon-Saint Exupéry airport. The railway station at Lyon’s airport looks as though it is about to set off into outer space with its futuristic design, as the structure splits off into two identical steel arches with a triangular peak resembling more of spaceship rather than a port for high-speed trains. Designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava the station was completed in 1994. Calatrava has won numerous awards and his designs projects include Valencia’s controversial City of Arts and Sciences, the sports complex designed for the 2004 Olympics in Athens, and another amazing airport, Sondica, in Bilbao, Spain.

The whimsical design of Barajas Airport’s Terminal Four welcomes travellers to Spain’s vibrant capital. The exterior and interior ceilings are adorned with over 200,000sq m (2,100,000sq ft) of laminated bamboo strips to create a wave-like effect but most striking is a 1 km-long (0.6 miles) row of pillars along the terminal’s central pier, each one painted a slightly different shade to form an eye-popping rainbow of graduated colour. The London-based architectural firm, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, designed the space by deriving inspiration from previous work at London Heathrow and in 2006 it won the prestigious Stirling Prize for architecture, the only airport to do so.

At the foot of the snow-capped Rocky Mountains lies the enormous Denver International Airportwhere unusual and sustainable features make up its incredible architecture. The striking Jeppesen Terminal building designed by Curtis Fentress Architects features a canopied roof, made out of Teflon coated in fibreglass, and is structured into triangular peaks to resemble the mountaintops, Native American tepees and western settlers’ wagons that have been integral to Denver’s geography and history. The Teflon roof can withstand heavy winds and snow, but is light enough to let in 10% of solar rays and reflect 90% of radiation. And for extra eco-friendly points, Denver also has the largest airport solar panel farm in the nation.

Do You Plan For River Cruises

Immerse yourself in the drama and beauty of the world’s largest river, the Amazon, on a South American river cruise with Aqua Expeditions. Departing from Iquitos, Peru, you sail down the wildlife-rich Amazon and its winding tributaries – the Yarapa, Yanallpa and Ucayali rivers, ending in the Pacaya Samiria Reserve.

The three-night voyage on board the 5-star Aqua Expeditionencompasses extraordinary diversity from flooded forests and local villages to iguana-laden islands and untouched habitats. Three daily expeditions with trained guides offer an opportunity to see wildlife up close such as dusky pink dolphins, chattering monkeys, sleepy three-toed sloths, spine-chilling caimans, and vibrant-coloured macaws. For the bravest passengers, there’s even the chance to fish for piranhas.

The luxury vessel accommodates 32 guests, with 16 private suites to choose from and a Jacuzzi on the top deck. Each of the air-conditioned cabins offers panoramic windows to soak up jungle views from the comfort of your own room. Prices start from £1,726pp.

Europe’s waterways offer a wealth of opportunity to discover some of the continent’s lesser known, enchanting historic cities.Avalon Waterways’s eight-day Romantic Rhine River Cruise departs fromAmsterdam to Zurich. Highlights include Cologne’s cathedral, Koblenz’s cultural centre, Heidelberg’s castle, Strasbourg’s statues, Breisach’s Black Forest and Basel’s romantic bridges. On board the elegantly furnished Avalon Visionary featuring spacious suites, passengers have everything they need, from a hair salon and library to a rooftop whirlpool, and an outdoor viewing platform. Prices start from £1,735pp.

Alternatively, plough a course on the Danube with Uniworld which offers premium boutique-style accommodation on board its vessels. Expect exquisite furnishings, original artworks, world-class cuisine and top notch service on board River Beatrice on an eight-day sailing through Germany, Austria, and Hungary. Nine excursions take in the best each city has to offer from Budapest’s fairytale streets, one of the world’s most gorgeous libraries in Vienna, Salzburg’s Mirabellgarten as seen in The Sound of Music, and finally, a concert and walking tour in Passau. On board, passengers can unwind on private French-styled balconies with personal butlers at their beck and call. Prices start from £2,199pp.

Freash and clean water for holiday tips

With gorgeous beaches, traditional Greek villages and a deliciously sleepy lifestyle all in store, flotilla sailing is one of the most fun and relaxing ways to cruise the Greek islands – absorbing the rich history and culture with several stops inland along the way.

One of the most popular island groups to sail around are the Cyclades comprised of Mykonos, with its profusion of bars and clubs, and Santorini, renowned for its white-washed houses tumbling down sheer cliffs.

Flotilla holidays are a great water holidays option for active families and groups of friends, as you sail with a fleet of three to 10 flotilla yachts. Pretty island breaks, good snorkelling and walks amid dappled olive groves and pine-clad hillsides await.

Water holidays: Dhows, Zanzibar

Traditional dhow boats ply the waters off Zanzibar and offer a romantic way to explore this stunning Indian Ocean island. Book a dhow trip, and relax under billowing sails as you glide to the Menai Bay conservation area where there’s a chance to spot dolphins and whales, and go snorkelling amid dazzling coral reefs.

When you get hungry, the dhow boat will anchor off an uninhabited island where you can feast on freshly grilled fish, seafood and tropical fruit, all washed down with spiced coffee. Spend the afternoon sunbathing or swimming in pristine lagoons, before sailing back to Zanzibar as the sun slips into the ocean.

Glide across shimmering turquoise waters, from one sandy isle to another all fringed with dipping palms; it’s truly tough to beat a yachting holiday in the Caribbean.

From the fresh lemon yellow sun rising over the ocean, to the fuzzy warm evening air, bobbing just offshore with a clinking icy rum punch in hand, after a day on the beach, this is a paradise water holiday at its very best.

Whether you choose the British Virgin Islands, Antigua, or St Lucia, enjoy the wonderful Caribbean on a yacht.

Take to the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean, and spend an exhilarating water holiday kayaking in the territory of majestic polar bears. Norway’s Svalbard archipelago lies between Norway and the North Pole; it is an icy landscape of glinting lakes, imposing glaciers and truly impressive wildlife. Several companies offer boat trips which incorporate kayaking excursions, allowing visitors to feel the full force of this awe-inspiring landscape.

Further south, Norway’s iconic fjords provide the perfect backdrop to a kayaking holiday. Surrounded by towering mountains laced with hiking trails, it’s a dream holiday for adventurers and nature-lovers.

Water holidays: Whale watching, Mexico

Sail around Mexico’s Baja Peninsula on a spectacular whale-watching holiday for an unforgettable experience. The area’s deep waters are home to the mighty blue whale as well as dolphins, manta rays, seabird colonies and seals. Every year around 24,000 whales make their way to the lagoons and bays along Baja’s coastline, so expect to catch numerous sightings of these gentle giants.

Equally as impressive as the wildlife is the scenery: imagine endless coves, unique desert islands, burnt orange cliffs, isolated sandy beaches, all lapped by glittering turquoise waters.