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Jack Hummba

Hummba Blog

Thursday, 06 June 2013

Culinary Travel Trends

As strange as it sounds, food is increasingly becoming a major reason for people to pack their bags and head to the airport. The “Foodie Era” has encouraged people to not only travel for culture, historical or relaxation purposes, but rather with the intent of getting absorbed into the culinary atmosphere of a new place. From tastes to culinary styles, there is so much you can learn about a place through your tongue and tummy.

Adding to that, more people have realised that you no longer need to visit the swankiest restaurant in town to enjoy a culinary experience. Some argue that you are more likely to have an authentic taste experience by visiting a local market and stocking up on fresh ingredients to go crazy in the kitchen with. Readers Digest  says this is one of the best reasons to do a house swap instead of staying in a hotel, so that you’ll live, eat and shop like a local.

If you’re not much of a cook, then don’t worry, you don’t actually have to slave away in the kitchen every day to get a taste of local culture. Many markets around the world sell tasty traditional delicacies which you can sample. Then there are the small cafes and restaurants that focus solely on their country’s traditional dishes. The setting often allows for you to get lost in the both the gastronomical and cultural flavours of the place you’re visiting.

So when it comes to planning a foodie holiday; whether you plan to cook-up more fresh foods than Jamie Oliver could ever dream of, or eating from local stalls and eateries; you’ll need to do a little bit of research.

Thankfully, our Hummba audio city guides are not just for touring. They include the names and descriptions of some of the best fresh food markets and restaurants in the world’s most popular cities. Download mobile guides to the food-lovers’ cities of New York, Paris, and Rome!

Thursday, 30 May 2013

The Flower Carpets of Sitges

Sixty days after Easter Sunday, on the last day of the Corpus Christi Festival, hundreds of locals awake in the early hours of the morning to transform the streets of the Spanish town of Sitges (just south of Barcelona) into ‘flower carpets’. Known as Catif de flors in Catalan, these carpets are made up of thousands of brightly-coloured petals, flowers and seeds. They traditionally depict images of various Catholic effigies, but also feature a range of truly imaginative creations.

The Corpus Christi Festival is a Catholic celebration in honour of the Eucharist – the body of Jesus Christ. However, despite this being a predominantly religious festival, it still attracts hundreds of non-Catholic visitors every year. Most of the streets and plazas of Sitges become pedestrian-only zones, and the flower displays are the centre of attention.

The displays themselves are cordoned-off, which protects them from being trampled underfoot, but this can also cause a bit of overcrowding. Be sure to head out early, so as to avoid feeling cramped in the narrow pathways. Regardless of what time you head out, however, you’ll be glad that you did. The displays are quite simply breath taking; ranging from intricate and detailed to full on flower sculptures bursting with colour. The Catif de flors will not leave you feeling disappointed. To help you navigate the city, download the Hummba Audio Sitges Town Guide

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Tennis Spectating Do's and Dont's

The summer tennis season is upon us, which will see thousands of spectators flock to Europe to see the two of the most popular tennis Grand Slams of the year – the French Open at Roland Garros and Wimbledon. For first timers, the experience can be both magical and overwhelming, as there seems to be a never-ending list of etiquettes to follow, thousands of people, and long queues to navigate. These simple do’s and don’ts will help you get the most out of your tennis experience.

DO get there early 
The queues just to get in both Roland Garros and Wimbledon can become ridiculously long, and it could take you hours to get inside the grounds. To avoid wasting time sweating in the summer heat, aim to get there as early as possible. Chances are you will still have to stand in a queue, but for half the time. As the tournaments reach their final stages, the queues can quadruple in size – so plan on arriving at least a couple of hours before game-play, even if you already have a ticket.

DON’T talk on your phone during game-play
It doesn’t matter if you are seated at centre court or standing and watching the youngsters play on Court 18, having your mobile go off during game play, and then talking on it, is one of the biggest faux pas you could make. Not only will you get the ‘stink-eye’ from everyone around you, but you could get called out by the umpire or even the players themselves. Naturally, you will be removed from the Court and possibly the grounds themselves. This is a mistake you do not want to make.

DO get involved
Just make sure you do it at the right time. When the Umpire asks for silence, he truly means it. There can be nothing more distracting for players to have fans screaming at them as they are about to make their match-point serve, or any serve for that matter. It can also be quite disrupting for those sitting around you. When that excellent return is made, and that point won, go ahead and cheer, and enjoy that magical moment with the crowd around you.

DON’T walk around during game play
Picture this: You’re sitting in the cinema, or you’re watching a play at the theatre, when suddenly a person in your row decides they need to leave. Imagine how irritating that can be. That is the exact reason you should not be moving around after game-play has started. There is nothing more frustrating for your fellow spectators than to have their view suddenly blocked at that critical moment. If you do need to leave the court, wait until the end of a game, and then leave quickly and quietly.

DO enjoy the atmosphere
Just walking around the grounds of Roland Garros and Wimbledon can be quite an experience. Everyone is in high spirits and discussing the results, the upcoming games and their predictions. They’ll also most definitely be indulging in some of the tasty treats associated with the location. At Roland Garros you'll have to try their delectable macaroon and champagne (‘Ace’ instead of champers for minors) combination, and a day at Wimbledon wouldn’t be complete without having a taste of strawberries and cream.

DON’T forget to explore the city
You may have come to Paris or London just to watch the tennis, but both of these cities have so much to offer it would be a shame not to set some time aside to go exploring. Take a day and visit the incredible art museums of Paris, and be sure to take a ride to the top of the Eiffel Tower and take in the spectacular panoramic views of the city. A visit to London is not complete without paying a visit to the Tower of London, where the rich and dark history of the city is shared. Nor is it quite complete without a walk through its marvellous gardens and parks which connect Buckingham Palace to Kensington Palace – homes to the current Royal Family. Download the FREE Tourism Radio Paris and London  Mobile Guides to accompany on your explorations.


Thursday, 16 May 2013

Top Ten 2013 Summer Holiday Trends

Summer is starting to make its presence felt in the Northern Hemisphere, resulting in thousands of travel plans being dreamed up and made. We take a look at these Top Ten 2013 summer trends and how they will affect your plans, jazz up your holiday and improve your trip.

10. Airport Security

Getting on a jet-plane and flying off is made dramatically less exciting by having to do the airport security dance. If you’ve ever travelled by plane, you’ll know it. The coat-off, unlace/unbuckle shoe, whip-off-belt jiggle, which is then followed by the shuffle through and scramble to put it all back on. If you’re really lucky, you’ll set the detector off and have to add the full body feel up to the routine. However, now there is a way to escape having to even take you laptop out of its bag: join the TSA precheck club and frustrating security checks will become a thing of the past.

9. Luxury Contiki, without the price tag

Luxury and cheap and two very contrasting adjectives, but they go hand in hand when it comes to booking a luxury Contiki holiday this summer. Various Contiki tour operators, such as Abercrombie and Kent, have broadened their offering of activities and lodgings, so as to attract a wider range of travellers. This means you can taste the high-life, without forking out large sums of money. Just be aware that some tour operators will increase the size of the groups to lower the costs. For some, this just means more people to socialise with, but for other is can be a crowded nightmare. Make sure you check the max group capacity before you book if this is a concern.

8. Smartphone = Smart Traveller

Carrying fiddly bits of paper in the form of boarding passes and tickets is fast becoming a thing of the past. Especially with apps such as Passbook which is not free and ready to download, but comes standard with ios6. Passbook allows you to store your tickets for everything; from your boarding pass to your travel insurance to hotel bookings.

7. Online booking

Gone are the days when you needed someone else to book your flights and plan your trip. Online booking has been around for ages, but more and more people are relying on this method to not only get where they are going, but also ensure they get the best possible prices while doing so. And booking sites are encouraging this. There are a variety of accommodation and flight sites, such as Expedia.com and Travelocity.com, which allow travellers to find the best deals possible. These sites are not just promoting the cheap and nasty, but actual world-class airlines and hotels. You can also book your own travel insurance and rentals online, and usually for much less than what the travel agent is offering you.

6. House Swap

Accommodation can often take up a large portion of your holiday budget, and for some, staying in hotels even detracts from their holiday. So what to do? Well, just as Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet did in The Holiday, you can try a house swap.  It’s simple. You register on one of many house swap sites such as Lovehomeswap.com or homeswapper.co.uk, get vetted and then get choosing. You can find houses to swap locally and internationally, depending on your location. Just remember, while you may be living in a a wonderful new home for a week or two, a stranger will be living in yours.

5. Lying on the beach

According to Orbitz.com, three quarters of the US population is heading to the beach this summer, and Europe seems set to follow suit. The question is; which beach is everyone heading to? The Travel Channel seems to think its Australia’s Gold Coast. Famous for its perfect surf conditions, golden sands and warm water, the Gold Coast offers a variety of beaches for you to see, and be seen at. The most popular is Kirra Beach – so popular you’ll have to get there super-early to snag a spot, but you’ll only want to leave just after sunset.
Long-layovers and lengthy cramped flights can make travelling absolutely miserable, and unless you have cash to spare for an airport hotel, the best thing you can do is hope you’ll find a quiet corner in which you can doze. Or at least that’s what you had to do. Not anymore, at least not in Abu Dhabi’s International Airport. An introduction of sleeping pods will give you the full private-bed experience for as little as eight British Pounds an hour. Giving you the chance you need to shake off that jet lag and arrive at your destination refreshed and ready to start your vacation.

4. Sailing the Seven Seas

Cruising has always been popular, and why shouldn't it be? You get the full ride when stepping onto a cruise ship – comfortable to luxury accommodation, five-star dining, and world class entertainment. So why has there been a sudden burst of increased interest? Well it’s not really the actual cruise ships that are attracting all the attention, but rather where they are sailing to. The Western world has been thoroughly saturated with cruise ships, so now they are moving East. This means the chance to taste new cultures and explore different cities is easier than ever before. Liners cruising to the far end of the world include P&O, Crystal Cruises, and HollandAmerica.

3. Pop-up hotels

Festivals, retreats and random fields this summer are going to be able to offer you so much more in terms of accommodation. Pop-up hotels, in simple terms, are various forms of accommodation that can be set up practically anywhere and offer a full luxury hotel service. This idea has become very popular at festivals events around the UK. Glamping, which is luxury camping, has been taken to a whole new level at these events, and you know don’t only get the hotel-like surroundings but also the service that goes along with it. Or you can opt to stay in stacked hotel like the ones offered by snoozebox.com. You’ll have four solid walls, a full hotel service and a truly unique experience as no pop-up hotel is ever the same.

2. Self - Tours

Group tours can be great, you don’t have to organise anything, or consult chunky guidebooks to know what exactly it is you’re gazing at in awe. The problem is, they cost dollar and are limited to certain attractions. Enter the new almost-hands-free self-tour. Depending on the city you’re in, you can download a guide that uses geo-locators to pick up where you are and what attractions are surrounding you, playing audio information as you approach them. The best thing about these guides is that once they’re downloaded onto your smart phone they no longer need to use data and works completely off-line.  Download our Hummba City Guides today on Google Play and at the Apple app store.

 1. Sleeping Pods

Long-layovers and lengthy cramped flights can make travelling absolutely miserable, and unless you have cash to spare for an airport hotel, the best thing you can do is hope you’ll find a quiet corner in which you can doze. Or at least that’s what you had to do. Not anymore, at least not in Abu Dhabi’s International Airport. An introduction of sleeping pods will give you the full private-bed experience for as little as eight British Pounds an hour. Giving you the chance you need to shake off that jet lag and arrive at your destination refreshed and ready to start your vacation.


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