All posts by Vago Damitio

Vago Damitio  (@vagodamitio) is the Editor-in-Chief for Vagobond. He jumped ship from a sinking dotcom in 2000 and decided to reclaim his most valuable commodity, time. He bought a VW bus for $100, moved into it and set out on a journey to show the world that it was possible to live life on your own terms. That journey took him from waking up under icy blankets in  the Pacific Northwest to waking up under palm tress in Southeast Asia. Three years later, his first book, Rough Living: Tips and Tales of a Vagabond was published. After diving into the Anthropology of Tourism and Electronic Anthropology at the University of Hawaii (with undeclared minors in film and surf) he hit the road again in 2008. Since that time,he's lived primarily in Morocco and Turkey, married a Moroccan girl he couchsurfed with, and become a proud father. He's been to more than 40 countries, founded a successful online travel magazine (this one!), and still doesn't have a boss. Life is good. You can also find him on Google+ and at Facebook
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Charming Aromas: Exploring Vienna’s Coffee Culture

There’s nothing like a good cup of coffee. But almost more important than the actual latte, cappuccino or drip is where you are when you’re drinking it. The charming Viennese coffeehouse culture places the city’s cafés on the must-see list while you’re on a weekend break in Vienna. For a different perspective on Austria’s capital — plus some much needed caffeine for those fighting jet lag — you should consider touring them.

Back in time

Though there were a couple coffeehouses scattered across Europe already, the first coffeehouse in Vienna opened its doors in the late 1600s. Battle of Vienna hero Jerzy Franciszek Kulczycki, or Georg Franz Kolschitzky as he’s often referred to in German, reportedly started the very first Viennese coffee house in 1683, with coffee beans left by the opposition.

Coffeehouses grew in popularity and became a place for friends to meet up, intellectuals to browse the papers and writers and poets to compose. The late 19th and early 20th centuries in particular saw a rise in prominent writers choosing to work within the quaint atmosphere of Viennese cafés, with their work now known as ‘coffee house literature.’

Viennese coffeehouses became a home away from home with some — including Austrian writer and poet Peter Altenberg — even having their mail delivered there.

Coffee culture, or cultural coffee?

The Viennese coffeehouse culture today sees many of the same traditions carried out. Marble tabletops and strong coffee greet you. You’re more than welcome to sit and read, write, or play cards and there’ll never be anyone rushing you out the door. Customers are often treated to live piano music in the evening hours, giving you all the more reason to sit and make yourself comfortable.

The servers are kind; they’ll refill your glass of water but otherwise leave you alone. Grab a few postcards or a journal to write in when you’re in town — who knows, you may be the next famous face to compose their work there!

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The cafés to be

As far as where to go, there are more than a few charming, traditional Viennese cafés to choose from. Café Central, which opened its doors in 1876, is steeped in tradition. Located in Vienna’s Old Town, this café became an intellectual hub for people including Leon Trotsky, Sigmund Freud and Adolf Hitler.

Café Landtmann’s location, on the bottom floor of the neo-baroque Palais Lieben-Auspitz, makes it another coffeehouse worth seeing. Near the University, Town Hall and spectacular Burgtheater, this café is where it’s at!

Finally, Café Prückel shows off a slightly different vibe. Its 1950s design will allow you to travel back in time, to a place where a strong cup of coffee and slice of apple strudel is all that matters. An added bonus? Live piano music several nights a week.

Are you looking to see a different side of vibrant Vienna? Then why not grab a simple cup of coffee.

Image by indigotimbre, used under Creative Commons licence.

Author’s bio

Shirley Beale is a foodie and traveller. She loves cultural experiences and tries to visit a many as she can of the world’s museums.

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Three Notable Airport Hotels in the UK

A look into airport parking near hotels

These days, an increasing number of top-notch hotels have been working closely with airports to provide both parking and lodging services to a wide range of tourists. Staying in a hotel room the night before will certainly reduce the overall stress and hassle of the entire process, especially if you have an early flight. Anyway, here are just three of the many fine hotels that are conveniently located near some of the UK’s most prominent airports.

Courtyard by Marriott
First off, the Courtyard by Marriott is a 10-minute walk from Gatwick Airport’s South Terminal. Besides offering reasonably priced rates on accommodation and parking, the Courtyard by Marriott provides “Park Here, Fly There” packages. Essentially, these packages allow tourists to enjoy overnight accommodations, in addition to eight or 15 days parking. The Courtyard by Marriott’s proximity to Gatwick Airport’s South Terminal is certainly convenient for tourists who are interested in having multiple parking options. UK parking service company www.parking4less.com notes that the South Terminal offers two different Long Stay car parks – a self-parking space and a Long Stay Plus option.

Sheraton Heathrow Hotel
Less than 10 minutes from the world-renowned Heathrow Airport, the Sheraton Heathrow Hotel currently offers 426 rooms and a parking space for up to 236 cars. Additionally, the Sheraton Heathrow Hotel offers a fine selection of Hotel and Parking options. Tourists can choose from three-day, eight-day, 15-day, and 21-day Hotel and Parking packages. While all of the aforementioned packages offer one-night accommodations, the three-day package only applies to weekend arrivals; the rest of the packages involve all-week arrivals.

Holiday Inn Express
Only 600 meters from the Luton Airport in London, the Holiday Inn Express is the closest hotel to the passenger terminal. Indeed, walking between the passenger terminal and the hotel should take no more than 10 minutes. The Holiday Inn Express has a 24-hour business center that’s particularly useful for printing out boarding cards and other important documents. All of the guest rooms are triple glazed and air conditioned, while the conference rooms can fit up to 56 people. The Holiday Inn Express can also provide rollaway beds or sofa beds in a wide variety of rooms. Of course, the Holiday Inn Express offers cheap hotel and holiday parking for up to 15 days parking.

Kings Landing

Travelling in Magic Movie Worlds – Game of Thrones Walter Mitty, and More

Films and television series are some of the best ways to see stunning backdrops from around the world. More and more, tourists are being inspired by familiar locations from their favourite box-sets or movies. They are getting off the sofa and venturing forth to sample some of these iconic views in real life.

You don’t need to travel far from UK shores in order to share a bit of the limelight; it’s easy to compare flights online and find tickets to some of the best film locations in Europe this summer. If you are looking for a place to go with a story attached, here’s three locations to explore.

Game of Thrones
For fans of HBO’s Game of Thrones there are plenty of incredible filming locations scattered throughout some of the most picturesque places in Europe. The old walled Croatian city of Dubrovnik was used by the production in season two to double for the fortress of King’s Landing.

Kings Landing - Image of Dubrovnik by Connie Ma

Dubrovnik is a stunning (and well-preserved) walled city dating from the Middle Ages and as it is one of the most prominent tourist destinations in the Mediterranean, it is very accessible from most European airports. The bay outside Fort Lovrijenac (the Red Keep in the show) was where filming took place for the naval battle of Blackwater in which Stannis Baratheon attempted a dramatic invasion to dethrone King Joffrey.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Enigmatic Sweden, with its huge forests, gorgeous towns and cities (not to mention its 95,000 lakes) has been made famous of late thanks to the Scandi-crime phenomenon brought about by Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. In both the Hollywood and Swedish film versions Stockholm plays a major cinematic role thanks to its cobbled streets, dramatic waterside views and arctic summer light.

For Stieg Larsson enthusiasts, Stockholm offers visitors the chance to follow in the footsteps of the antisocial computer-hacking heroine of the book and film series by following the self-guided detective trail. More information about this tour is available from the Stockholm City Museum where there’s a permanent exhibition.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty has given Iceland a leading role in a Hollywood blockbuster. Filming took place at locations across the country that reflect the diversity of the landscape. Seyðisfjörður in the east fjords, surrounded by Mount Strandartindur and Mount Bjólfur, is part of an energetic skateboarding sequence, which is both dramatic and inspiring. For the ultimate adventure (what the Walter Mitty film was all about) a trip to Iceland will not disappoint.

Film tourism may be a budding industry but it’s one that brings both magic and adventure to an otherwise ‘typical’ holiday. For the chance to walk in the footsteps of some of the greatest stars of today and behold the majestic vistas as your favourite characters, consider a cinema or television inspired holiday this summer.