Arena Travel Blog

  • News from the Bridge Room in the Algarve 2017

    Host report by James & Jane Tullett:

    If you are looking for a relaxing time away over Christmas to enjoy bridge and sunshine, Armacao de Pera is the place for you. The Holiday Inn Algarve has recently been renovated and is decorated to a high standard throughout and the hotel staff could not have been more helpful. Many of the rooms have sea views which provide wonderful vistas over the sandy beach, rock formations and heated outdoor pool.


    Breakfast and dinner are buffet style, plenty of choice every day and complimentary wine, beer, soft drink provided with your evening meal. Afternoon tea, coffee, cake and biscuits are served in the Bar Boa Vista. This is also the venue for sunset cocktails and entertainment after the evening bridge session has finished. The bridge room is light and spacious, adjoining the restaurant and offers wonderful sea views and seating terrace. We were welcomed with wonderful weather, sunny and warm (compared to back home). It was lovely to explore the village without having to don thick coats or even a sweater. We enjoyed wondering round the local market with impressive displays of fruit, vegetables and exotic looking seafood.

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  • Stitchtopia Highlights of 2017

    Facebook Post

    We've had a very busy year here at Stitchtopia, we've travelled across the globe from Saigon to Yorkshire and we've made some amazing memories along the way! We've taken toboggan rides, giggled our way through a 'laughter yoga' session and tried our hand at so many traditional crafts in the places we've visited. Take a look at just some of our wonderful tours from 2017...

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  • Strasbourg & German Christmas Market Quilting Cruise



    Bright and early, we arrived at St Pancras station to begin our journey over to Germany! We met our quilting expert Karin Hellaby and fellow travellers before grabbing some edible supplies to keep us going through the day.

    We reached our floating home, MS Serenity, late afternoon and got settled in before our first meal on board and a chance to get some shut eye before the adventures begin tomorrow!

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  • News from the Bridge Room in Madeira 2017


    Host report by Pauline Durie:

    Funchal is the capital city of Madeira – the largest in an archipelago of 4 islands. It is situated in a large bay surrounded by mountains and is a popular destination for cruise ships that arrive and leave daily.

    Funchal like all of Madeira is completely captivating for its natural beauty. The flora and fauna of the municipal gardens provide some spectacular species of trees and plants growing round a lake populated by gracious swans and fountains. The botanical gardens which are best reached by cable car were still boasting several flowering plants even in the middle of November. The year round warm climate provides ideal conditions for the business of terrace farming which is the main occupation of the inhabitants of Madeira. Local markets are abundant with vibrant colours of fruits and vegetables. Several guests took advantage of the view point tour that culminated in a steep climb up to Sierra Santa where the weekly Sunday market was bustling with people buying their weekly groceries whilst enjoying a glass of the local ‘poncha’ – a fiery cocktail not for the faint hearted.

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  • Textiles of Vibrant Vietnam - Hoi An, Saigon & Mekong Delta

    DAY 10 - HOI AN

    Our day started early with a walk of the old town of Hoi Ann, a pretty little riverside town thriving on its tailoring and pottery industries. We started our tour at the Japanese Covered bridge and then wandered slowly through the main streets visiting the temple, the covered markets, the coffee shops and then on to the tailors. We took part in a lantern making workshop under expert guidance and this was followed by a very professional musical performance. One of the highlights of the morning was a visit to the photographic gallery of Rehahn, a gentleman who has documented most of the ethic minorities in Vietnam and not only photographed them but collected many of their costumes. These costumes are on display along with the stories of the people, their lives and his adventures to find them. In the afternoon we took a boat up the river to a local family run pottery and met a 94 year old lady who gave us a pottery demonstration with her granddaughter operating the wheel with her foot. The day ended with us returning to the old town for a wonderful meal and stroll round the night markets.

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