Arena Travel Blog

  • Last Minute Mother's Day Makes

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  • News from the Bridge Room in the Azores

    Host report by Pauline Durie:

    I confess to having no knowledge of the Azores prior to this holiday. They are an archipelago in the mid-Atlantic. São Miguel - the largest - has lake-filled calderas, a spectacular coastline and even boasts a tea plantation and a ceramics factory renowned for handmade and hand painted pottery.


    Left: Volcano crater and both sides of the island, Right: Green and blue crater lakes, Sete Cidades

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  • A Textile Journey through Japan

    After a long but comfortable flight we arrived in the wonderful country that is Japan. Our itinerary allows no time for jet lag to seep in and we are whisked off to our first visit - the beautiful Meiji Jingu shrine. The coach journey through the streets of Tokyo gives us our first glimpses of the architecture, Japanese people and their homes, all very different from our own. What stands out clearly in this early part of our journey is that there is no litter or rubbish anywhere!

    Japanese textiles is our theme and the Amuse museum, although small, had an exhibition on Boro- this blew my mind!

    Boro means rags and in the Aomori prefecture (area), clothes were made by using pieces of hemp and cotton cloth from clothing once worn by ancestors for generations and generations. Bodoko were sheets used to lie on at night time, laid over beds of straw, sometimes used for childbirth. Receiving the baby onto a Bodoko, once worn by ancestors, meant the baby was not delivered alone. The large coats in the photographs were actually sleeping bags!

    My love of family, storytelling and quilt making is all wrapped up in Boro, so imagine my delight of finding even more Boro in a local flea market!

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  • News from the Bridge Room in Malta 2018

    Host report by Janette & Toby Mace:

    The db Seabank Resort + Spa is a self-contained resort hotel on the longest sandy beach in Malta, which is edged by a long flat promenade with lovely views over the bay. The hotel itself has the best indoor swimming-pool we’ve seen, fully glazed with views onto the hotel patio - so very bright and ideal for daily aqua-gym!

    We organized a tour to Valletta, European City of Culture 2018, with its love-it-or-hate-it new parliament building designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano. Another popular trip was the harbour cruise and the tour to the breath-taking Mdina, an amazingly uniform and well-preserved collection of local sand-coloured limestone buildings, forming a citadel. From the Fontanelle Gardens cafe on the ramparts there is a panoramic view as far as Valletta.

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  • Hearts & Crafts by our Stitchtopia Experts


    We just adore this lovely bag by Carol. She has personalised and decorated a canvas bag with a simple heart motif making it an adorable Valentines project. She suggested using the bag to add your 'sweethearts' favourite things this Valentine’s day. After all, wrapping paper is so outdated!

    The pattern can be viewed in Carol’s book ’3-minute Crochet’.

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