Arena Travel Blog

  • Highlights from the Festival of Quilts 2017

    We had a very busy week exhibiting at the Festival of Quilts at the Birmingham NEC last week. The show was incredible and we were in awe of some of the work displayed by some unbelievably talented quilters. The work on display certainly got our creative juices flowing!

    It was inspiring to see what had been created and there were definitely more than a few which caught our eye. It was also so lovely to see messages & meanings behind some of the artwork as it makes the piece take on a whole different meaning once the back story is revealed.

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  • News from the Bridge Room in the French Chateau with David Bird

    Host report by Kathy Williams:

    Set amongst the French Alps the Chataeu des Comtes de Challes was the most perfect setting for a bridge holiday. On our first evening Florian, the owner, gave us a wine tasting experience in his wonderful cellars. We tried four of the wines and then went into our first evening meal where the wine was included. Just as well there was no bridge that first evening!! Throughout the whole holiday the wine included with our evening meal was excellent. On some days we dined outside with spectacular views from the terrace.

    Our first excursion was to Lake Bourget taking a boat out to Abbeye Hautcombe. The second excursion was to the quaint old town of Chambery with its castle. We had a walking tour of the town going through many of it's little passages and into very old houses which are now apartment blocks. Saturday was market day with wonderful vegetables and a few bargins to be had.

    Both afternoon and evening bridge was very well attended. David Bird was our guest speaker and gave three excellent and interesting talks. David was willing and able to answer many questions during our stay. I am sure we have all learned something to improve our bridge.

    This was a lovely holiday with a lovely group. I am sure First for Bridge will be going back again in the near future.

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  • News from the Bridge Room in the French Chateau 2017

    Host report by Pauline and Nigel Durie:

    This beautiful chateau is situated on the edge of the Rhone Alps in the Savoie region of France and provides spectacular views from all directions. Accommodation is in three chateau buildings and all rooms are different. All are close to dining and bridge facilities. The bridge room itself is bright and air conditioned. The weather was beautiful, after a cloudy first few days, and afternoon bridge provided a cool relief for some. We were treated to exceptional service and gourmet food on the terrace with wine provided by the host from the chateau’s cellars. The owner of the chateau hosted a wine tasting with several very palatable wines to sample and a range of canapes to accompany them.

    The chateau grounds invite you to sit and enjoy the scenery (including the occasional bride!) and the pool was well used by many. A wonderful place to simply relax, swim, read a good book, discuss bridge hands and to generally enjoy the warm sunshine. A short walk into Challes Les Eau offered the opportunity to visit the shops or stroll around the lake by the small airfield. Some guests were delighted to have the chance to try gliding whilst others ventured further afield to enjoy a couple of rounds of golf.

    The included tours to Chambery, to visit the chateau and the market, and to Aix Les Bains were enjoyed by most guests. The bells of the chateau ring twice a month and we were fortunate that we were there to hear the music whilst sitting in the warm sunshine. Our tour guides were very keen to share the history of the region which really brought the area to life. The boat trip on Lac du Bourg (the second largest in France) at Aix Les Bains culminated in a visit to the very impressive Abbaye de Hautecombe – home to a growing community of young people and to some beautiful works of art.

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  • Top 10 Cutest Animals in Knitwear

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    It wouldn’t be a real British Summertime without near-freezing temperatures and with summer passing us by, it’s almost time to be thinking about wrapping up warm again. But it’s not just us humans who feel the chill, our furry friends need a helping hand every now and again too. We’ve rounded up the cutest animals we could find – oh, and they’re all wearing knitwear, what’s not to love!

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  • News from the Bridge Room in Lake Bled 2017

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    Host report by Rob Richardson:

    Slovenia is a small country in the Alps. It was part of Yugoslavia, and earlier the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It is the world's first officially recognised green country. The Hotel Park overlooks both Lake Bled and the castle, which sits atop a very high rock on the opposite side of the lake. The area is noted for scenery, rowing and Bled cake (flaky pastry, custard and whipped cream) . As there appeared to be no interest in rowing amongst our guests, and the scenery spoke for itself, the bridge staff concluded that we ought to research the best place for our guests to sample the Bled cake. This onerous task was performed diligently in the Brown Bear most lunchtimes.

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