DIY-OE http://www.diy-oe.co.nz Independent travel information hub & travel blog Tue, 15 Apr 2014 22:12:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Holland Pass and DIY-OE are taking a break from each other http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/holland-pass-diy-oe-taking-break/ http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/holland-pass-diy-oe-taking-break/#respond Thu, 03 Apr 2014 19:43:27 +0000 http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/?p=7055 Friendship usually lasts forever… Well that’s what we thought when we met Holland Pass. But sometimes even best friends grow apart. You’re busy doing your thing and they are doing their thing. Or you’re going left when at a fork in the road and he/she prefers to turn right. It happens… This has also happened… Read More »

Holland Pass and DIY-OE are taking a break from each other is another travel blog post by DIY-OE - Independent travel information hub & travel blog

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Friendship usually lasts forever… Well that’s what we thought when we met Holland Pass. But sometimes even best friends grow apart. You’re busy doing your thing and they are doing their thing. Or you’re going left when at a fork in the road and he/she prefers to turn right. It happens…

This has also happened between us and our mates Holland Pass. We had fun together: we’re fond of their products, we still use their discount pass whenever we’re in Holland. But we won’t be promoting them on our website anymore. No worries, we still love them (and their discount cards, really) but the information here is taking a break for a while. Why we’re both travelling in a different direction is difficult to explain… It just happened, we guess.

Maybe in the near future we’ll meet up with them when our separate roads will merge again. From then on our Holland Pass pages will be visible again. For now: happy travels on the road of life, Holland Pass. See ya later.

Greetings,

your travelling mates @ DIY-OE

P.S. We’re sad to see you leave our travel blog, Holland Pass. But maybe one day…

There’s also good news… All the other information about finding discounted deals in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, or any Dutch city is still on our website. It’s just Holland Pass that is on holiday right now.

Our latest discount deals for Holland

Holland Pass and DIY-OE are taking a break from each other is another travel blog post by DIY-OE - Independent travel information hub & travel blog

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Cheap airlines in the spotlight: Vueling (fly from as low as €34.99) http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/cheap-airlines-in-the-spotlight-vueling/ http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/cheap-airlines-in-the-spotlight-vueling/#respond Tue, 01 Apr 2014 06:03:29 +0000 http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/?p=3394 Get to know the low fare airlines in Europe before you leave New Zealand. We share our travel experience on cheap airlines, so you’ll know where to get a bargain on travel. So let’s kick off with Vueling Airlines, a cheap airline based in Spain delivering unbelievable value for money: seats from as low as… Read More »

Cheap airlines in the spotlight: Vueling (fly from as low as €34.99) is another travel blog post by DIY-OE - Independent travel information hub & travel blog

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Get to know the low fare airlines in Europe before you leave New Zealand. We share our travel experience on cheap airlines, so you’ll know where to get a bargain on travel. So let’s kick off with Vueling Airlines, a cheap airline based in Spain delivering unbelievable value for money: seats from as low as €34.99 and from time to time flash sales with extremely discounted fares, but for a limited time only!

Why Vueling is one of our favourite cheap airlines

In 2004 Vueling started flying from Barcelona in Spain. The airline was modelled on the concept of Jetblue in the USA, offering quality transport at an extremely low price. It’s basically a cheap airline with service and friendly staff: low prices, high service. And from our first flight on Vueling this proved to be true.

The planes are either brand new or young and well maintained. Plus the interior is clean and vibrant, with yellow and grey accents everywhere. Seats are nice and come in the flavours: Priority (first 3 rows, so almost no one in front of you), Front row seats (rows 5 till 11), and XL (more legroom, overwing seats at rows 12 and 14). For all of these seats you’ll pay a small fee on top of the low fares if you select it in advance.

But you don’t have to choose and pay for your seat as you can also go for a regular seat. These are also called backrow seats and are located in rows 15 till 31 and can be selected free of charge from 7 days before your departure date. So you decide how much you want to pay for your travels and how much extra comfort you would like to have.

Where Vueling flies to: cheap flights all across Europe

In 2008 Vueling merged with competitor Clickair, making it what it is nowadays: “Southern Europe’s most dynamic, most innovative airline”. Their words, but we definitely agree. They now have bases in Spain, Netherlands, France, and Italy, from which they serve almost every country in Europe.

Basically you can fly on cheap airline Vueling from Aalborg (Denmark) to Zürich (Switzerland) and many cities in between and beyond. Think awesome European cities like London, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Munich, Rome, Paris, and heaps more. A big plus is that Vueling flies to major airports and not to regional airports, like some other cheap airlines do.

Vueling’s promo fares: fly from €34.99 across Europe

Every once in a while Vueling lowers its fares even more. These promo fares are available for a short time only, so you have to act fast. And that time is now. Vueling just announced a massive sale: 1,000,000 seats from as low as €34.99 (incl. taxes and service fees). As these Vueling promo fares usually sell out super fast, you better hurry to the Vueling website to book a seat to your favourite destination in Europe at this super low fare. Book before 8 April 2014 to fly between 14 April and 16 July 2014. Hurry, Vuealing’s super sale will end soon!

Where to fly to with these promo fares? Well we’ve seen amazing deals to/from Seville, Malaga, Barcelona, Madrid, London, Paris, Rome, Oslo, Berlin, Ibiza, Vienna, and many other amazing European cities. We’re still trying to decide where we want to travel to next.

Vueling announces flash sale: super low fares for one day only

Sometimes Vueling announces a super flash sale with extreme low fares for a limited amount of seats, for a limited time only: valid for ONE DAY ONLY! At the moment there’s no flash sale or discount code, just heaps of regular low fares from as low as €34.99, like the ones mentioned above. Check out Vueling’s low fares and go explore Europe.

Be surprised by where you can fly to for just a few bucks

Want to experience  a different city in Europe? And you prefer not to spend too much on flights? Then Vueling is the perfect choice for you. Their route network is expanding, while they maintain their low fees. And don’t forget about their special promo fares that are announced on a regular basis throughout the year. So it’s time to start planning your next weekend getaway or holiday in Europe.

Photo of Vueling planes at Barcelona airport

Heaps of low fare flights on Vueling to choose from: see heaps, fly cheap

Cheap airlines rule, but Vueling rocks

Forget about other cheap airlines that lure you with fares that seem extremely low but add fees for everything from printing a boarding pass to checking in online. Vueling is the friendly cheap airline that flies to major airports, that have good public transport connections. Plus their fares are low and add-ons are clear. You decided what you need when booking your flights across Europes.

So where will you be going? Having fun in the sun in Spain or Italy? Having a romance with the night life in Paris? Or…??? Simply book your next flight on Vueling and fill in the blank. Travel cheap, travel happy!

Want to know more about awesome and cheap airlines in Europe? Have a look what we have to say these other low fare airline we love flying with: airberlin (low fares to/from Germany) and easyJet.

Cheap airlines in the spotlight: Vueling (fly from as low as €34.99) is another travel blog post by DIY-OE - Independent travel information hub & travel blog

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Trade in mud or dust for snow & fun at Snowbombing 2014 http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/trade-mud-dust-snow-fun-snowbombing/ http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/trade-mud-dust-snow-fun-snowbombing/#respond Thu, 20 Mar 2014 20:47:25 +0000 http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/?p=6995 We’re a big fan of the European festival scene… In summer. But as you all know, Mother Nature can be fickle: not every summer festival in Europe is the tropical getaway you were hoping for. Hey the line-up makes up heaps but we still prefer dusty and sunny over rainy and muddy. We can’t wait… Read More »

Trade in mud or dust for snow & fun at Snowbombing 2014 is another travel blog post by DIY-OE - Independent travel information hub & travel blog

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We’re a big fan of the European festival scene… In summer. But as you all know, Mother Nature can be fickle: not every summer festival in Europe is the tropical getaway you were hoping for. Hey the line-up makes up heaps but we still prefer dusty and sunny over rainy and muddy. We can’t wait to see what the European festival summer will be like this year. Well the line-up at all festivals is amazing, so the outlook is good.

If you can’t wait until the summer festival season kicks off in Europe we have good news for you. Did you know there are also winter music festivals in Europe? This means no muddy or dusty festival sites but heaps of fun in a snowy area while listening to your favourite bands and DJs. And one of these winter festivals is the Snowbombing 2014 event, taking place in Austria from 7 to 12 April 2014.

Top 5 reasons why you should visit Snowbombing 2014

Well we already covered the mud/dust and sun vs snow and sun, so let’s focus on the other reasons why the Snowbombing festival rocks.

1. Party in an igloo: sip Glühwein while DJs are spinning

Have you ever partied so close to the stars that you can almost touch them? Danced the night away inside a real igloo complete with two dance areas, a chill out space fitted with luxurious fur rugs and three bars sculptured entirely from ice and snow (including the furniture)? No? Welcome to the Snowbombing Arctic Disco! A truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Fancy dress and fun at Snowbombing (photo by Ashley Bird)

(photo by Ashley Bird)

2. Fancy dress: ever seen 6,000 people dressed up in Lederhosen?

Here’s your chance… Ever since the phrase Snowbombing was first uttered, fancy dress has been a crucial ingredient of what makes it what it is. Snowbombing’s inherent silliness and sense of fun has seen some of the greatest party get-ups of all time! This year’s fancy dress fun begins at the Street Party, which has been given the theme of ‘Leder-Hoe Down!’.

3. World-class-line-up: of course!

Of course Snowbombing has booked amazing acts from around the world. As this year it’s Snowbombing’s 15th birthday, the line-up will be their biggest ever to date. Prodigy will start the party fire, treating Snowbombers to a high octane, adrenaline-fueled performance like no other! The Chemical Brothers are also set to unleash their Block Rockin’ Beats on the ‘Greatest Show on Snow’ with their debut DJ set at Snowbombing. Check out the full line-up.

Snowbombing: snow and awesome music (photo by Danny North)

(photo by Danny North)

4. Snow: more white powder than you can handle in a week

Yeah we know, we mentioned already that Snowbombing is a winter festival but there’s a difference between snow and snow. Snowbombing is blessed with stunning alpine peaks and panoramic snow covered plateaus. With 625 km’s of pistes, Austria’s steepest piste, a 3286m glacier AND an award-winning terrain park, Snowbombing offers pure powdery perfection. One of the best runs in Mayrhofen is the Ahorn Abfart, a life-affirming descent of 3,700 feet in around 15 mins!

With sunny and treeless summit slopes, broad carving areas and challengingly steep north slopes, fantastic deep snow areas with cornices, humps, powder runs and fun slopes there is something here for everybody.

Hey hey what about the fifth reason in this top 5? There’s only four now!

Oops okay, reason number 5: the best of both worlds

Combine your love of powder snow and wintersport with your love for music. Partyinh while listening to these amazing DJs and bands at Snowbombing after a day of skiing is so much better than listening to Austrian apres-ski music on CD or MP3. Try something new: rocking and dancing in the snow!

How to get to Snowbombing? Where to stay?

The Snowbombing festival takes place in Mayrhofen, a town in the Zillertal in the Austrian state of Tyrol. It is located approximately an hour from the Tyrolean capital city Innsbruck. More info about the location.

So book a cheap flight to Innsbruck and you’re good to go. Luckily there are heaps of hotels and hostels to be found in Mayrhofen (including cute Austrian hotels called “Gästehaus”). Oh and don’t forget to block these days in your smartphone calendar: 7 till 12 April 2014, as that’s the week Snowbombing takes place. Have fun!

What to expect at the Snowbombing festival? [photos]

Snowbombing: Eristoff Forest (photo by Danny North) Snowbombing: Fatboy Slim (photo by Danny North) Snow @ Snowbombing Snowbombing: Forest Party Amazing views Snowbombing: Friday night

Trade in mud or dust for snow & fun at Snowbombing 2014 is another travel blog post by DIY-OE - Independent travel information hub & travel blog

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Feeling homesick? Visit the New Zealand event in Amsterdam http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/feeling-homesick-visit-new-zealand-event-amsterdam/ http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/feeling-homesick-visit-new-zealand-event-amsterdam/#respond Tue, 04 Mar 2014 08:28:10 +0000 http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/?p=6962 No matter how much fun travelling around Europe is, everyone gets a little homesick after a while. Even sitting on the couch and sipping Gravity plunger coffee or Jed’s instant coffee and nibbling on the Whittaker’s chocolate from your care package, it isn’t quite the same as being back in New Zealand. But now there… Read More »

Feeling homesick? Visit the New Zealand event in Amsterdam is another travel blog post by DIY-OE - Independent travel information hub & travel blog

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No matter how much fun travelling around Europe is, everyone gets a little homesick after a while. Even sitting on the couch and sipping Gravity plunger coffee or Jed’s instant coffee and nibbling on the Whittaker’s chocolate from your care package, it isn’t quite the same as being back in New Zealand.

New Zealand chocolate

Does this make you feel homesick?

But now there is a cure for this homesick feeling… Simply visit the New Zealand Up Close event on 17 May 2014 in Amsterdam.

Yes that’s right… An awesome New Zealand event in Amsterdam. Our mates at 123NZ just told us about it and here are the details. It’s an event to show Dutchies the best of New Zealand, from cultural stuff to food and drinks.

This makes it also the perfect event for homesick Kiwis. Simply book a cheap flight to Amsterdam and you’re good to go.

Oh just don’t forget to buy a ticket in order to get access to the event. Tickets are just €12.50 and can be purchased here.

A ticket for New Zealand Up Close (or “Nieuw-Zeeland Dichtbij” as the Dutch call it) will give you access to an action and fun packed day that makes you feel right at home again. Here’s some of the stuff you can expect at this unique New Zealand event / festival:

  • Opening of the event will be done by Ambassador George Troup.
  • Haka performed by Njord.
  • George Nuku (the face of the Maori exhibition in Leiden) will be there.
  • Various workshops, like bone carving and Pāua jewellery.
  • Wine tasting. Well that’s wine tasting for the Dutch, for you it’ll be more like enjoying a glass (or two) of the good stuff from back home.
  • John Cordara will showcase the largest and finest collection of hand-carved Pounamu outside New Zealand.
  • Yummy Kiwi food and snacks, like pavlova, scones, Tim Tams, Milo, hokey pokey ice cream, Kumara, gourmet pies (made by Wild Moa Pies), and much more.
  • Heaps of travel info: our mates at 123NZ will show the Dutch how much fun and how easy it is to go for a working holiday in New Zealand.
  • …and much, much more: the latest info can be found on the event’s website.

This New Zealand event is also the perfect opportunity to go for that weekend in Amsterdam, you’ve been planning since the beginning of your OE. Therefore we have some more useful info for you.

  • How to get to Amsterdam: Check the low fares to Amsterdam on KLM, Easyjet, or Vueling.
  • Where to stay in Amsterdam: Take your pick from these low-priced hotels and hostels in Amsterdam
  • Things to do in Amsterdam: if you fancy visiting museums and other tourist attractions in Amsterdam, then purchase an Amsterdam discount card called the Holland Pass. This discount card is valid until March next year, so you don’t have to spend all your discount deals and free tickets to museums and attractions in just one weekend. More info about the Holland Pass

Need more info about what to do and see in Amsterdam? Have a look at this list of Amsterdam attractions. Easy as.

See you at the New Zealand Up Close event in Amsterdam… Well we won’t be there unfortunately but our 123NZ mates will be. Please say hi to them from us. Have fun.

Feeling homesick? Visit the New Zealand event in Amsterdam is another travel blog post by DIY-OE - Independent travel information hub & travel blog

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Holland Pass on sale: gotta love the discount (and promo code) http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/holland-pass-on-sale-gotta-love-the-discount/ http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/holland-pass-on-sale-gotta-love-the-discount/#respond Mon, 03 Mar 2014 19:02:33 +0000 http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/?p=2503 No matter which season you pick to visit Holland, there’s always heaps to do and see. And now you can enjoy all major attractions and museums at an even lower price than ever before. Holland Pass (the famous discount pass) has lowered its prices even more. For a limited time you can buy this unique… Read More »

Holland Pass on sale: gotta love the discount (and promo code) is another travel blog post by DIY-OE - Independent travel information hub & travel blog

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No matter which season you pick to visit Holland, there’s always heaps to do and see. And now you can enjoy all major attractions and museums at an even lower price than ever before. Holland Pass (the famous discount pass) has lowered its prices even more. For a limited time you can buy this unique discount pass at a discount: use the promo sale or promo code.

Discount Pass at discount prices: 5% extra discount

So what does this mean? Easy. You get all the goodies (same full Holland Pass) but you’ll pay less… A lot less.

  • Holland Pass #2 (includes 2 free entrance tickets): €35 (now €33.25)
  • Holland Pass #5 (includes 5 free entrance tickets): €52 (now €49.40)
  • Holland Pass #7 (includes 7 free entrance tickets): €72 (now €68.40)
  • Holland Pass Kids (kids aged 4 – 13; includes 5 free entrance tickets): €39 (now €37.05)

Keep in mind, the 5% extra discount is for a limited time only and only valid on Holland Pass 2014/2015! Hurry!

Holland Pass promo code, just for you

Every once in a while Holland Pass lowers its prices even more. The prices of these discount passes are already super low (compared to the normal entry prices you pay at these major attractions in Holland), but every once in a while a special promo code or promo sale lowers these prices even more. This is how to get an extra discount off any Holland Pass at the moment.

  1. Activate your 5% discount off the Holland Pass by clicking here
  2. That’s it, no promo code to remember or stuff like that. Easy as.

But hurry as promo codes and promo sales are only valid for a limited time! You don’t want to miss out in a deal like that.

Why buy the Holland Pass discount pass?

  • Free entrance tickets to must-see tourist attractions, like Rijksmusuem, Keukenhof, Madame Tussauds, Amsterdam Museum, EYE, Frans Hals Museum, Van Gogh Museum, Heineken Experience, and many more.
  • Free public transport in either Amsterdam, Rotterdam, or The Hague.
  • Free one-way train ticket from Schiphol Airport Amsterdam to Amsterdam central station
  • Discount card offering savings up to 50% at museums, attractions, restaurants, and shops
  • Free stuff, like a free city tour in Amsterdam
  • Skip the queue at attractions like Rijksmuseum, Heineken Experience, Madame Tussaud, Artis Royal Zoo, and Keukenhof
  • A 330 pages full-colour guide book
  • Plus many special offers

What can you do and how much will you save with Holland Pass?

Where you’ll go in the Netherlands doesn’t really matter as Holland Pass has discount offers all over Holland. Check out the list below for info on things to do and how much you will save with the Holland Pass discount tickets and free entrance tickets.

Or check out the calculations we’ve made on how much money you can save on attractions and museums in Amsterdam, ranging from 25% to 50%. That’s a massive saving. Money that you can use on typical Dutch drinks and snacks, like the ones below. Yummmm.

Photo of Dutch snacks: cheese and bitterballen

Enjoy Holland at a discount: get discounts on attractions, museums, and snacks like cheese and “bitterballen”

And in case you’re wondering, are there any other Holland discount cards that offer such a sweet deal? We’ve created a list of all pros and cons of all Holland discount cards: I Amsterdam Card, Museum Card, and Holland Pass.

Holland Pass on sale: gotta love the discount (and promo code) is another travel blog post by DIY-OE - Independent travel information hub & travel blog

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Travel inspiration: seven wonders of Thailand http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/seven-wonders-thailand/ http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/seven-wonders-thailand/#respond Wed, 19 Feb 2014 09:24:56 +0000 http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/?p=6941 Wonders should not be limited to sight-seeing or grand architecture as demonstrated by the Original 7 Wonders of the World. Today, wonders are more varied and are comprised of different accomplishments across multiple interests. Thailand is the perfect example of this new breed of Wonders; containing a mix of old world architecture, culture, and natural… Read More »

Travel inspiration: seven wonders of Thailand is another travel blog post by DIY-OE - Independent travel information hub & travel blog

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Wonders should not be limited to sight-seeing or grand architecture as demonstrated by the Original 7 Wonders of the World. Today, wonders are more varied and are comprised of different accomplishments across multiple interests. Thailand is the perfect example of this new breed of Wonders; containing a mix of old world architecture, culture, and natural wonders.

Thailand is a versatile destination guaranteed to inspire and delight any traveler.

Thailand Ayutthaya - RussBowling

Ayutthaya in Thailand (photo by RussBowling | Flickr)

Ayutthaya (Capital of the old Thai empire)

Similar to the original 7 Wonders, Ayutthaya contains the remnants of the Siamese capital (c. 1350) that was destroyed by the Burmese in the 18th century. It is now considered a historic park and protected by the Ministry of Culture. However, tours are still given and the ruins can be explored to an extent.

The highlights of the ruins are the “prang” (reliquary towers) and gigantic monasteries that are still standing as a tribute to the past splendor of the city.

The Tiger Temple

Originally meant to be a monastery dedicated to the search of wisdom and dhamma and through a series of incidents, the temple has become a wildlife refuge of sorts where the monks live in harmony with the local animals. Most of the wildlife consists of boars, peacocks, and local animals released by their owners, but the highlight for visitors are the 18 tigers that currently reside there. The monks now actively rescue orphaned tigers from the wild and keep any tiger that is born at the temple.

If you choose to visit there are multiple packages available all with different activities. One of the highlights is the “Tiger Cub Feeding Experience” where you will have 45 minutes with baby cubs and are able to bottle feed your own personal cub. However, beware, there are some strict dress codes that have to be complied with in order to visit the temple and interact with the tigers safely.

The Grand Palace in Bangkok

Possibly one of the most popular destinations of Thailand, the Grand Palace is built on 218,400 square meters of land (The size of 29.6 full size soccer (Futbal) fields) and has been the official residence of the Kings of Siam (now Thailand) since 1782. Almost any tour of South East Asia will involve a trip to the Grand Palace. Comprising of multiple buildings, halls, and pavilions, the Grand Palace is a great timeline of the architecture and styling of different generations and kings.

The Palace is currently partially open to the public as a museum, but is still being utilized as a working palace for government officials and remains as the location for the royal offices.

Pha Daeng National Park

Situated in the Northern Province of Thailand, the Pha Daeng National Park boasts an area of 1,155 square kilometers and is home to the headwaters of both the Mae Ping and Mae Taeng rivers. Comprised of limestone hills and lush forests, this national park is home to a variety of wildlife, plant life, and adventure. Tour operators often take their groups through the 2.5 kilometer walking trail as a sight-seeing tour, but there are also bungalows and camping spaces available for the public to use.

If you are thinking of visiting the Pha Daeng National Park, try and plan your trip to coincide with the annual rite to pay respect to the river goddess at the beginning of each harvest season.

Chatuchak Weekend Market

There is nothing like visiting a market and finding some hidden treasure to bring home. If this sounds appealing, then the Chatuchak Weekend Market is a dream come true! As the worlds’ largest market, 15,000 booths divided into 27 sections on 27 acres of land all vie for attention and sport unique merchandise and authentic hand-made products from all corners of Thailand.

It can be a very rewarding experience, however, like any tourist heavy attraction (~30%), there are people looking to scam the unwary out of their pocketbooks. Make sure you keep them hidden and close to your person to deter pickpockets and don’t hand your money to anyone on the pretense of having it evaluated for authenticity. If you do have worries about your money, there are exchanges set up throughout the market and at the entrances.

Thailand Phuket Fantasea - coolinsights

Phuket Fantasea in Thailand (photo by coolinsights | Flickr)

Phuket Fantasea

Essentially the cultural theme park equivalent to Disney World; Phuket Pantasea is dedicated to showcasing the charm and beauty of Thailand through traditional cultural shows and attractions.

Spanning 140 acres, every event, attraction, and decoration are inspired by Thai mythology, folklores and legends.

Boasting over 30 activities and attractions, Phuket Fatasea is the first ever Thai cultural theme park in the world!

Underwater Wedding Festival

Held in coordination with Valentine’s Day every year, the Underwater Wedding Festival in Southern Thailand hosts hundreds of weddings in Sri-Trang. Due to the enormous demand for this experience, the underwater vows can be taken the entire week of Valentines. It currently holds the Guinness World Record for having the “Largest Underwater Wedding Ceremony” in 2000 and is praised as one of the most anti-discriminatory events because of their desire to facilitate handicapped couples.

Home to some of the most fascinating cultural features and events, Thailand is truly a country full of Wonders. The most marvelous thing is: Thailand doesn’t stop with this list. There are numerous more events and experiences to be had such as the Candle Festival, Siam Niramit Theater, and countless awe-inspiring temples. Do yourself a favor by making sure Thailand is on your to-visit list and take time to venture off the beaten path to experience the Wonders of Thailand.

(thanks to Julius from Goway.com for sharing these highlights of Thailand)

Getting there: useful tips for travelling to Thailand

Many airlines fly from the UK and mainland Europe to Thailand nowadays but as the flight takes a bit longer than from London to Malaga, you might as well go for the 5-star treatment of Qatar Airways. They have heaps of special deals and promo fares to choose from, so it’s still cheap as chips: Qatar Airways UK Deals

And for deals on accommodation, you simply browse through this list of hotels in Thailand. No matter where you go to in Thailand there’s always a hotel promo deal that will suit you. Happy travelling.

Travel inspiration: seven wonders of Thailand is another travel blog post by DIY-OE - Independent travel information hub & travel blog

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Stopover in Amsterdam: luxury without the price (hotel review) http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/stop-over-amsterdam-luxury-without-price-hotel-review/ http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/stop-over-amsterdam-luxury-without-price-hotel-review/#respond Sun, 09 Feb 2014 10:30:43 +0000 http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/?p=6915 Hotels in or near major cities or airports can be quite expensive. Therefore it pays to be smart and flexible when planning a stopover, like we recently did in Amsterdam. There are several hotels at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol but if you broaden your search you’ll find hidden gems: three or four star hotels nearby that… Read More »

Stopover in Amsterdam: luxury without the price (hotel review) is another travel blog post by DIY-OE - Independent travel information hub & travel blog

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Hotels in or near major cities or airports can be quite expensive. Therefore it pays to be smart and flexible when planning a stopover, like we recently did in Amsterdam. There are several hotels at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol but if you broaden your search you’ll find hidden gems: three or four star hotels nearby that can be booked at a fraction of the price you would pay for hotels at the airport. This time we stayed at the Hampton by Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (a three star hotel).

The hotel is located in Hoofddorp, a town just a few kilometres from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. It takes just four minutes by train to get there (€2,10 for a one-way ticket), so perfect for a cheap stopover in Amsterdam The Hampton by Hilton is just across the street from the Hoofddorp railway station (don’t take the main exit, go for the smaller one at the end of the platform). Or you can use the hotel’s free shuttle service to/from the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

All information about the Hampton by Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol can be found here, so we won’t bother you with that now. We’ll fast forward to the main event: our review of staying at this three star hotel.

Arriving at the hotel was a pleasure. Check-in went fast and super-friendly (awesome staff). Even though we arrived a bit before the official check-in time we got our room key straight-away. The room on the fifth floor measured about 20 m², but due to perfect interior planning it’s more functional than bigger rooms at some of the other hotels we visited lately. Especially the bathroom / wardrobe sliding door is awesome. Wish we had one of those at home.

The mattress on the comfy bed is a bit firm (but that’s personal whether it’s a good or a bad thing) and is big enough to be a snug fit for two people.

Review score: Hampton by Hilton Amsterdam Airport

  • Overall rating:
    4.8 Stars (4.8 / 5)
  • Room:
    4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)
  • Breakfast:
    5 Stars (5 / 5)
  • Geeky stuff (wifi etc):
    5 Stars (5 / 5)

We especially liked

  • Friendly staff
  • Excellent breakfast: fresh and heaps to choose from at the breakfast bar
  • Functionality: space is used in a perfect way.
  • Free wifi: fast like it should be
  • Location: you’re at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in minutes.
  • Value: super affordable yet high service

We didn’t like

Nothing… Really? Yeah really! Wellll, if we nitpick we would say: the exterior. But hey what’s to expect from a hotel that is located in an area with offices and company buildings, and so close to the airport.

Photos of Hampton by Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol hotel

Hampton by Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol - reception Hampton by Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol - hallway Hampton by Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol - bed Hampton by Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol - flat screen TV Hampton by Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol - the bed Hampton by Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol - bathroom Hampton by Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol - shampoo and conditioner Hampton by Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol - bathrom Hampton by Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol - stairs Hampton by Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol - breakfast bar Hampton by Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol - breakfast

Conclusion: perfect hotel for a stopover in Amsterdam

As we paid only €61 for a double room at this three star hotel with free wifi and complimentary breakfast, the value for money is just awesome. See all low priced options and availability of the rooms at this hotel.

Looking for other hotels close to Amsterdam or Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, have a look at our reviews of two hotels in Zaandam: Inntel and Zaan Inn (both 10 minutes from the airport by train).

Stopover in Amsterdam: luxury without the price (hotel review) is another travel blog post by DIY-OE - Independent travel information hub & travel blog

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Typical road trip snacks in Europe http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/typical-road-trip-snacks-europe/ http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/typical-road-trip-snacks-europe/#respond Sat, 01 Feb 2014 20:57:17 +0000 http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/?p=6866 The ultimate overseas adventure must be the road tip. Just you, your mates, and a car. Oh and of course a map (or sat nav) and some money. See where the road will take you. Go explore Europe. Awesome. As you drive along in Europe, you’ll notice the differences in petrol stations and the snacks… Read More »

Typical road trip snacks in Europe is another travel blog post by DIY-OE - Independent travel information hub & travel blog

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The ultimate overseas adventure must be the road tip. Just you, your mates, and a car. Oh and of course a map (or sat nav) and some money. See where the road will take you. Go explore Europe. Awesome. As you drive along in Europe, you’ll notice the differences in petrol stations and the snacks you can buy there. Each country has some typical local (greasy) snacks to give you some extra energy to continue on your European road trip. And here are some of our favourites.

United Kingdom: sammies and crisps

UK road trip snack - meal dealDid you expect anything else here? The UK is renowned for its sandwiches and meal deals. Simply pick a sandwich to you liking, add crisps and a drink and you’ll have an affordable and yummy meal. Enough to keep you going on your road trip through the UK.

Our favourite is definitely the classic Ploughman’s sandwich. And don’t forget to go for a take-away barista coffee from Costa or any of the other proper coffee places that can be found at those food courts along the motorway.

Holland: sausage rolls and meatballs

Dutch road trip snack - sausage rollThe Dutch love their greasy food at gas stations. Bouncy meatballs are a thing of the past and nowadays you’re able to get better quality food and more variety at Dutch petrol stations along the motorway. But the classic meatball never disappears… Another Dutch classic is the sausage roll (called “saucijzenbroodje), a piece of meat wrapped in puff pastry. You can eat these sausage rolls warm or cold, but most petrol stations serve them hot.

However you won’t find any barrista made coffee at petriol stations in the Netherlands. All coffee is machine made. You’ll find Wild Bean Cafes at some BP petrol stations but the coffee is still machine made. The good news is that nowadays there’s heaps of choice in fresh sandwiches, like the ones in the UK (just with different toppings). And also there are little bakery shops that serve fresh baked sandwiches, created to your liking. You won’t go hungry on your road trip in Holland.

Germany: schnitzel on a bread roll

German road trip snacks - schnitzel by Caleb Zahnd (Flickr)

(photo by by Caleb Zahnd | Flickr)

Did you expect to see any other snack at German petrol stations? Just like in Italy, petrol stations in Germany are more like little supermarkets combined with a deli. Coffee is mostly made by machines, just like in Holland. You can either go for a complete meal or choose from a range of sandwiches.

And our favourite sandwich is of course the schnitzel sandwich. A piece of schnitzel on a bread roll with some special schnitzel sauce on it. Have it cold of heated. Yummm. It’s the perfect road trip food in Germany.

Italy: flat bread with ham (“piadina con prosciutto”)

Italian road trip snack - piadinaAs Italy is a country where food is sacred, flavours are strong, and quality is high, even at motorway petrol stations. Petrol stations are turned into little supermarkets and delis in Italy. Extremely good barista made coffee is cheap (€1 for espresso) and snacks are yummy. You can select from a range of Danish-like items but also savoury snacks and sandwiches.

Our all-time favourite in Italy is the “piadina con prosciutto crudo”, a kind of a flat bread served with ham. Sounds simple but the taste is amazing. Unfortunately you won’t be able to get these throughout Italy as it’s a local dish of the Northern part of the country. But if you have a chance go for the piadina. We prefer ham on ours but there are much more toppings to choose from. Your Italian road trip will be a yummy road trip.

Tips for planning a road trip in Europe

The first thing you need to get sorted is your car… We usually go for Hertz as they always have a special deal going on and their cars and services are immaculate.



Also when you’re planning a road trip don’t forget the music. As most radio stations in Europe have DJs talking in their own language through the music, it might be a good idea to bring your own music. But what’s good road trip music? Have a look at the songs we think are perfect for a road trip.

Typical road trip snacks in Europe is another travel blog post by DIY-OE - Independent travel information hub & travel blog

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Hostels in Holland: staying in unexpected places http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/hostels-holland-staying-unexpected-places/ http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/hostels-holland-staying-unexpected-places/#respond Tue, 21 Jan 2014 19:35:25 +0000 http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/?p=6818 When travelling around the world hostels are always a fun and cheap way to spend the night. You probably have your YHA or other Hostelling International card on you no matter where you go. No matter where you travel to, there’s almost always a HI member organisation present. In Holland (or do you prefer to… Read More »

Hostels in Holland: staying in unexpected places is another travel blog post by DIY-OE - Independent travel information hub & travel blog

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When travelling around the world hostels are always a fun and cheap way to spend the night. You probably have your YHA or other Hostelling International card on you no matter where you go. No matter where you travel to, there’s almost always a HI member organisation present.

In Holland (or do you prefer to say the Netherlands?) the HI hostel member organisation is called Stayokay and we recently found out that staying at these hostels is more than okay. It’s wonderful. It’s fun. We love it! First of all, you’ll find Stayokay hostels in amazing places and locations, like in a castle, on an island, or with magnificent views over a river. It’s all possible when you stay at Stayokay hostels in Holland.

There are 26 Stayokay hostels in Holland, so there’s always a hostel where you’re going. These hostels can be categorised as follows:

  • City
  • Countryside
  • Coast and water

And these category names say it all… Now you know what to expect. The concept of these HI hostels or Stayokay hostels in Holland is fresh and funky and they differ from what you would expect from a hostel. There’s no communal kitchen so you can’t cook or bring your own food or drinks.

But when you book a dorm bed or private room, you’ll notice that breakfast is included. And breakfast consists of real fresh organic bread, cheese, ham, eggs, jams, and what not. Plus these Stayokay hostels have a bar on-site and free wifi. Oh and each hostel’s location is far from being normal or boring… It’s all about location, location, location, and the location of Stayokay hostels is always amazing.

So when we toured the Netherlands we decided to check out some of these hostels as we heard great stories about the concept and some of the locations.

Hostel in Holland - Stayokay Texel

Welcom to Stayokay hostel Texel

Stayokay hostel on an island (Texel)

Texel is one of the islands that can be found North of the Netherlands in the Wadden Sea. Texel is the biggest and most popular island there and is a perfect destination for cycling, hiking, and all sorts of beach activities and sports.

The Stayokay hostel on Texel is easy to reach by car or push-bike. It’s not that far from the ferry. Prices at this hostel start from as low as €30, choose from dorm bed or private room. See full list of low rates at this hostel. The category of this hostel is coast and water.

Pros of this hostel

  • walking distance of village centre and pub (try the local beer)
  • free parking

Cons of this hostel

  • nothing, it’s close to perfection

Photos of the Stayokay hostel on Texel

Hostel on Texel - room Hostel on Texel - breakfast Hostel on Texel - outside
Hostel in Holland - Stayokay Texel

Welcom to Stayokay hostel Heemskerk

Stayokay hostel in a castle (Heemskerk)

Heemskerk is a small town between Alkmaar (cheese city) and Amsterdam. This hostel is easy to reach by car or push bike. Public transport will take a bit longer as it involves train and bus travel. This Stayokay hostel is basically a 13th century castle. As soon as you enter it feels like you travelled back in time.

It’s an amazing experience to spend the night in this castle. As it’s a hostel, it’s actual not that expensive to spend some nights here. Prices are as low as €28, choose from dorm bed (4 oor 6 bed dorm) or private room. Have a look at the full list of low rates at this hostel. The category of this hostel is countryside.

Pros of this hostel

  • everything: it’s spending the night in a real castle!

Cons of this hostel

  • curfew at midnight and no way to get in any later
Hostel in Holland - Stayokay Maastricht

Welcome to Stayokay hostel Maastricht

Stayokay hostel with scenic river views (Maastricht)

Maastricht is a major city in the South of the Netherlands. As this part of the Netherlands is so close to the Belgium border, Maastricht has a Burgundian feel. As with all big cities finding cheap accommodation can be quite difficult.

Therefore it’s amazing that there is a Stayokay hostel in Maastricht. And the location is sweet as, on the banks of the river Maas and yet the city centre is at walking distance. Prices are as low as €28, choose from dorm bed (4 oor 6 bed dorm) or private room. Have a look at the full list of low rates at this hostel. Check out the full list of low rates at this hostel. The category of this hostel is city (of course).

Pros of this hostel

  • view over the river Maas
  • walking distance of city centre
  • affordable parking (€6 a day)

Cons of this hostel

  • the smell when we arrived: was it a sewer issue or…??? Hopefully it was a one-off thing.

Photos of the Stayokay hostel in Maastricht

Hostel in Maastricht - breakfast bar Hostel in Maastricht - breakfast Hostel in Maastricht - deck Fancy a game of pool? Hostel in Maastricht - things to do Hostel in Maastricht - view

Hostels in Holland: staying in unexpected places is another travel blog post by DIY-OE - Independent travel information hub & travel blog

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Cheap airlines in the spotlight: easyJet http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/cheap-airlines-spotlight-easyjet/ http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/cheap-airlines-spotlight-easyjet/#respond Thu, 16 Jan 2014 19:44:47 +0000 http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/?p=6802 There are many options for travelling through Europe as there are so many cheap airlines to choose from. We certainly have a few favourites among the many European airlines. So let’s talk about the orange airline: easyJet, another one of our favourites in Europe. There are basically two things we like about easyJet: their extensive… Read More »

Cheap airlines in the spotlight: easyJet is another travel blog post by DIY-OE - Independent travel information hub & travel blog

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There are many options for travelling through Europe as there are so many cheap airlines to choose from. We certainly have a few favourites among the many European airlines. So let’s talk about the orange airline: easyJet, another one of our favourites in Europe.

There are basically two things we like about easyJet: their extensive route network and their carry-on luggage policy. Most cheap airlines have extremely low fares but they have a small allowance of carry-on luggage as they would love for you to check in your luggage (so they can charge you for it).

EasyJet is different. They only have two rules for cabin baggage: the maximum size is 56 x 45 x 25cm (including handles and wheels) and you must be able to put it in the overhead bin. No weight restrictions. However on busy flights your cabin bag may be placed into the hold. If you bring a slightly smaller bag no bigger than 50 x 40 x 20cm you can take it on board. Guaranteed. (more info)

Why we love easyJet: amazing destinations

The easyJet route network is quite extensive, they practically fly to any European country. And the great thing is that they fly to major airports, not the small, far-away regional ones like some other cheap airlines do. Check out the easyJet routemap.

Also easyJet has a great mobile website, packed with things like real-time flight info. You’re always in the loop about your flight. Their updates are honest and done regularly, so you’re not dependent on the info on the monitors in the airport. You can sit back and relax in the pub at the airport and simply check your mobile for easyJet flight info. Perfect as most airports have free WiFi.

Boarding your easyJet plane

No rush when boarding your easyJet planee

Another big PLUS is the fact that there’s no mad dash to plane when boarding starts, as they have allocated seating. Simply check in online and either pick your favourite seat (for a small fee) or have the system allocate a seat to you (no charge).

Tip: the system places you and your travel partner next to each other, so if you’re not picky about where you’ll be sitting then this is excellent (as it will save you the small fee).

Oh and did we tell you that it’s easy to find low fares on their website? Simply compare all days on the low fare calendar. Easy as… easyJet.

See more of Europe, travel cheap

That says it all… We love to save money on travelling so we can see more of Europe. And easyJet is the perfect airline to do that. Just like some of the other cheap airlines in Europe. Have a look at our reviews of Vueling (for low fares to/from Spain and many southern European countries) and airberlin (for low fares to/from Germany and other European countries).

And that’s it… These are the three cheap airlines we use for exploring Europe.

Cheap airlines in the spotlight: easyJet is another travel blog post by DIY-OE - Independent travel information hub & travel blog

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Copenhagen: amazing photos to support the travel stories http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/copenhagen-amazing-photos/ http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/copenhagen-amazing-photos/#respond Thu, 02 Jan 2014 20:43:52 +0000 http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/?p=6750 It happens to the best of us… Travelling to amazing places and taking heaps of photos, but then there’s no time to sort them all as it’s time to move on to the next city or country. Last year we visited the capital op Denmark – Copenhagen – in winter and had a blast. And… Read More »

Copenhagen: amazing photos to support the travel stories is another travel blog post by DIY-OE - Independent travel information hub & travel blog

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It happens to the best of us… Travelling to amazing places and taking heaps of photos, but then there’s no time to sort them all as it’s time to move on to the next city or country. Last year we visited the capital op Denmark – Copenhagen – in winter and had a blast. And now we finally had the opportunity to sort all our Copenhagen photos.

We showed you guys the things to do and see in Copenhagen in our blogpost ‘Copenhagen: a fairytale comes to life’. Now we can support the stories with even more photos. It took us a while but now all our photos are sorted. Apologies for the delay, we’ve been busy travelling and tasting incredible Danish beers like Carlsberg and Tuborg… (soft voice)… And we forgot about ‘em a little. Oops. So without further ado, here are our long awaited Copenhagen photos.

Copenhagen photo gallery

Carlsberg brand store View over Copenhagen Amazing view Copenhagen Fresh Danish beer Christiania Square near Amalienborg City hall Christiania gate Square near church Changing of the guard Guards at Amalienborg Copenhagen Copenhagen from above Nyhavn (Copenhagen) Changing of the guard Secure storage at Copenhagen airport City hall square The Little Mermaid Copenhagen church Carlsberg museum Colourful Nyhavn Central station in Copenhagen Hans Christian Andersen Walking to top of tower Carlsberg brewery Welcome to Carlsberg Carlsberg brewery Carlsberg Ride a bike in Copenhagen Colourful Nyhavn Copenhagen church Ring the bell Tivoli in Copenhagen WiFi on trains Solid beams Heaps to see The Little Mermaid

 

Copenhagen: amazing photos to support the travel stories is another travel blog post by DIY-OE - Independent travel information hub & travel blog

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Visiting an Italian icon: Ferrari museum in Maranello (Italy) http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/visiting-italian-icon-ferrari-museum-maranello-italy/ http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/visiting-italian-icon-ferrari-museum-maranello-italy/#respond Sun, 29 Dec 2013 19:09:13 +0000 http://www.diy-oe.co.nz/?p=6700 Whether you’re a petrol head or not, the Ferrari name rings a bell for almost anyone in the world. The name is synonymous with speed, victory, and the colour red. When we had the opportunity to make a stopover in Maranello (close to Modena) to visit the Ferrari museum, we didn’t have to think twice.… Read More »

Visiting an Italian icon: Ferrari museum in Maranello (Italy) is another travel blog post by DIY-OE - Independent travel information hub & travel blog

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Whether you’re a petrol head or not, the Ferrari name rings a bell for almost anyone in the world. The name is synonymous with speed, victory, and the colour red. When we had the opportunity to make a stopover in Maranello (close to Modena) to visit the Ferrari museum, we didn’t have to think twice.

The Ferrari Museum (or Museo Ferrari as the Italians call it) is the new name of the Galleria Ferrari, the Ferrari factory museum dedicated to Ferrari cars, its drivers, and its technological skills and innovations.

Arriving in Maranello by car, the first thing you see is the Ferrari factory. It’s an impressive building with even more impressive security measures, so all you can do there is stand in front of the gate and maybe see a (new) Ferrari car drive by on the compound (we were so lucky).

The Ferrari museum is located 300 metres from the Ferrari factory and is much more welcoming. The staff is friendly, dressed in red racing uniforms (did you expect to see any other colour here?), and they speak English.

Getting to the Ferrari museum in Maranello

This is the last piece of text we’re writing about the Ferrari museum, promised. Just a few more words to tell you how to get there, then it’s time for tons of photos of these amazing cars.

  • Location of the Ferrari museum: Maranello (close to Modena) in Italy
  • Getting there: Maranello is a 2 hours drive from Milan and only a 50 minutes drive from Bologna (directions)
  • Opening times: 9.30 am till 7pm in summer (closing time is 6pm in winter). More info about the opening times.
  • Entrance fee: €13
  • Factory and track tour: €13 (info and tickets).

Yes they do offer tours of the Ferrari factory and track, we only found out later. Therefore we’re putting itt in here, so you have all information in one place… And now it’s time for…

Amazing cars and technology at the Ferrari museum

Ferrari Museum in Maranello (Italy) Ferrari Museum in Maranello (Italy) Ferrari Museum in Maranello (Italy) Ferrari Museum in Maranello (Italy) Ferrari Museum in Maranello (Italy) Ferrari Museum in Maranello (Italy) Ferrari Museum in Maranello (Italy) Ferrari Museum in Maranello (Italy) Ferrari Museum in Maranello (Italy) Ferrari Museum in Maranello (Italy) Ferrari Museum in Maranello (Italy) Ferrari Museum in Maranello (Italy) Ferrari Museum in Maranello (Italy) Ferrari Museum in Maranello (Italy) Ferrari Museum in Maranello (Italy) Ferrari Museum in Maranello (Italy) Ferrari Museum in Maranello (Italy) Ferrari Museum in Maranello (Italy) Ferrari Museum in Maranello (Italy) Ferrari Museum in Maranello (Italy) Ferrari Museum in Maranello (Italy) Ferrari Museum in Maranello (Italy) Ferrari Museum in Maranello (Italy) Ferrari Museum in Maranello (Italy) Ferrari Museum in Maranello (Italy) Ferrari factory in Maranello (Italy) Ferrari Museum in Maranello (Italy) Ferrari Museum in Maranello (Italy) Ferrari Museum in Maranello (Italy) Ferrari Museum in Maranello (Italy) Ferrari Museum in Maranello (Italy) Ferrari Museum in Maranello (Italy) Ferrari Museum in Maranello (Italy)

Visiting an Italian icon: Ferrari museum in Maranello (Italy) is another travel blog post by DIY-OE - Independent travel information hub & travel blog

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