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Monday, March 19, 2012

Top ‘o the mornin’ to ya! Shannon Princess Introduces New Artisan Program in Ireland

It’s March – and that means spring is around the corner!

During this month, the buzz is all about the good ‘ol St. Paddy. Needless to say, the place to visit during this time is the Irish country itself – Ireland!

Hotel river barge Shannon Princess, which cruises in Ireland, recently revealed a new itinerary that focuses on artisan experiences along the River Shannon.

The 10-passenger ship will journey through prehistoric villages, storybook castles, and spectacular green landscapes. Ashore, guests will be able to see how local cheese makers produce their dairy products, visit farmers markets and even sample seductive chocolate at a family-run artisan shop, among other exciting highlights.

Additionally, passengers will be treated to a unique taste of Ireland with Master Chef Olivia’s signature meals. All carefully-crafted meals are prepared with natural ingredients chosen from local producers and country markets along the Shannon. They even have the chance to concoct the dishes themselves by participating in the chef’s private seasonal foraging and cooking lessons.

While I thoroughly enjoy the debauchery that comes with celebrating the Patron’s day here in America, I can only imagine how much better it is on the other side of the fence! It may be too late this year to venture to the land of the Irish…But for now, I’ll just revel in the luck 'o the Irish spirit here, donned in shamrocks and tossed-out beads!
  
Got the Green Fever? Plan your Irish escape with Shannon Princess.
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Monday, March 5, 2012

Discovery On the Danube: Traveling along the Danube Gorge in Bavaria

Weltenburg Abbey, Danube Gorge
One can catch countless glimpses of stunning scenery along the Danube River. However, Janeen Christoff, special contributor to Travel Age West, recommends visitors craving the crème de la crème of natural wonders should take a ferryboat through the magnificent Danube Gorge. The gorge, aka the “Pass of Weltenburg,” in Bavaria offers some of the river’s most fascinating sites.

The gorge was astonishingly created when the river shifted and its waters, consequently, carved a passage, apart from the Danube. Interestingly so, some of the cliffs have been given nicknames over the years based on their unique formations, such as “Stone Virgin,” “Lizard Rock,” and “Beehive,” the latter bestowed for its countless honeycombed-shaped holes.

As mentioned before, the gorge offers an array of intriguing sites that can’t be missed in Bavaria.

  • Liberation Hall – Situated high on Michelsberg Hill, the 148-ft tall hall was established by King Ludwig I in commemoration of the Wars of Liberation in the fight against Napoleon. Since 18 nations in Germany participated in the war, 18 statues stand on 18 sides, each containing a tablet with a name of a German nation. The hall symbolizes the nation’s pride, and aimed to remind the people that “unity would guarantee freedom.”

  • Klosterl hermitage – Commissioned in 1450, its chapel - magnificently perched on the side of the cliff – most certainly constitutes a visit.

  • Weltenburg Abbey & Weltenburg Klosterbrauerei – Founded in the 7th century, the Abbey is home to one of the oldest breweries in the world. Renowned for its dark ale, the beer was awarded the World Cup of Beer in 2004. Moreover, the monastery is home to a magnificent church of baroque architecture. Built in 1716, the church features a splendid entrance hall which symbolizes the Four Last Things (death, judgment, heaven and hell) and the four seasons, which embodies the passing of earthly things.

Extraordinary baroque architecture, stunning scenery and world-famous beer make Bavaria along the Danube Gorge a definite must-see.

A visit to this breathtaking area along the mighty Danube River is only a cruise away!
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