The Isle of Wight, UK

The Isle of Wight is a small island off the south east coast of England and has been a home of the romantic poets including Alfred Lord Tennyson and Swinburne as well as the much-loved Queen Victoria.

The island hosts an annual international jazz music festival and a rock festival known as the Isle of Wight Festival. The island has some of the best conserved wildlife and fossils in the United Kingdom.

Some places of interest on the Isle of Wight include Newport which boasts the main shopping district, Ryde, which also hosts the Ryde Carnival each year, and Sandown which is a popular seaside report.

Some other places to see include the Classic Boat Museum, Blackgang Chine, and the Isle of Wight Bus Museum.

Among the things to do in the Isle of Wight include cycling for which the island is very popular, rowing, sailing, trampolining, yachting, and marathon.

The island boasts a number of interesting restaurants including the Shoreside Inn, Fisherman’s Cottage, Folly Inn, and the Courtyard which serves Isle of Wight teas.


Birmingham, cultural capital of the UK

Birmingham (read here more news) is a city in the West Midlands of the United Kingdom and is the most populous city in England besides London.

There are several parks all around Birmingham with the largest being Sutton Park. There are several other well-known parks including Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Winterbourne Botanic Garden.

Birmingham is known for its Symphony Orchestra,Birmingham Royal Ballet, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, and the Birmingham Opera Company.

The two major art galleries in the city are the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.

Among the city’s festivals are the St. George’s Day party, Birmingham Tattoo, Birmingham International Carnival, and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

The city enjoys a temperate maritime climate which leaves it cool summers and cold winters Food is very important to Birmingham culture with the wholesale market selling meat, fruit, vegetables, and flowers.

The city’s well-known restaurants include Simpson’s, Turner’s, and Purnell’s. There is also a big Asian community and Asian food especially Indian and Pakistani is very popular. The city is served by the Birmingham Airport.


British music taking on a South African flavour


House music is being described as the biggest thing in South Africa for young people and now it is catching on in Britain and influencing musicians in the UK.

House music is as big as hip hop used to be in South Africa and is very commercial heard in shops, taxis, bars, parties, and on mobile phones. Some of the biggest names include Brothers of PeaceOskidoBruce Sebitlo, and Black Coffee.

House music first evolved from the Chicago club scene in the 1980′s, made popular in discotheques catering to black and latino communities before moving to DetroitNew York CityNew Jersey, and Miami. It then made its way into Britain but now the music is taking on a different sound – the sound of South Africa.

Soul and funk are major elements but so are percussionbass drumsynthesizer bassline,electronic drumselectronic effectspop samples, and reverb.

In Britain the music was first influenced by black dancers doing a move known as “foot shuffling” or “cutting shapes”. It became part of mainstream pop and dance worldwide since the 1990s.

House music is very popular in the Midlands and north of England in Manchester,Birmingham, and Nottingham but has also gained a foothold in London clubs.


Le Havre, where to see a little of the old and a little of the new in France

Le Havre is a city in the Seine-Maritime Department in Haute-Normandie on the North Western coast of France. The name Le Havre means harbour and indeed the city is set on a harbour.

Founded in 1517 by the French king Francois I, it was named Franciscopolis in his honour.

The German-occupied city was destroyed by allied forces during World War II and was later redesigned and rebuilt by Brazilian architect Auguste Perret. The rebuilt city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.

The Le Havre port is the second busiest in France after Marseille. For travelers who wish to move between England and France it is possible to take a ferry from Le Havre to Portsmouth in England. The trip takes five and a half hours.

For the traveler who wants to see a mixture of the old and the modern in France then Le Havre is the place. Several pre-war structures still exist such as the Musee du Havre, the Abbey de Graville, while the more modern include the Church of St. Joseph, arguably the most recognizable sight in the city with its bell tower rising over 100 feet.

Other modern buildings include the Hotel de Ville and the Musee des Beaux Arts Andre Malraux. Getting around Le Havre can be by done by bus or tram and the city is two hours from Paris by train.