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Dining on the Bosporus? Preposterous!

By Budget Travel
January 12, 2022
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Courtesy Zuma

Dining along Istanbul's Bosporus used to mean shelling out an absurd amount of lira at a stuffy hotel restaurant, but recently a crop of laid-back and worldly spots has opened—all with glittering views and down-to-earth prices. Our favorite is Zuma, a Japanese grill and lounge that turns out creative small plates, such as sea bass with truffle oil. Salhane Sokak No. 7, zumarestaurant.com, from $12.25.

—Debra Shigley, from the September 2009 issue of Budget Travel

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Inspiration

Hawaii deals for its 50th anniversary

Still want to squeeze in a trip to Hawaii by the end of the year? (We did name it one of the top budget travel destinations for 2009, after all.) The state officially celebrated its 50th anniversary on August 21, but that doesn't mean the party's over. In fact, if you use Facebook or Twitter—or just need some incentive to start—you could increase your chances of winning a free getaway to Hawaii. Marriott Resorts Hawaii, along with the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, Hawaiian Airlines, and Hertz, is commemorating the state's birthday by giving away 25 trips for two to Hawaii in the Tweet Yourself to Hawaii contest. To enter, you just need to provide your e-mail address—and if you have a Facebook account and/or a Twitter handle, you can get up to two more entries. The prize includes round-trip airfare for two on Hawaiian Airlines from one of its West Coast gateways, five nights at a Marriott Hawaii resort, a Hertz rental car, a $100 resort dining credit per day, and selected island activities, depending on the resort. Trips must be taken by December 20, 2009. The first drawing took place Friday, with additional drawings happening every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday until October 21. You can enter again (up to three times!) once each week and then follow Marriott Hawaii on Twitter to find out who won. A separate Marriott contest, Tweetup in Hawaii, invites you to really use your social media savvy: To enter, you must create a video explaining in three minutes or less why you love Hawaii, upload it to YouTube, and submit a link to your video on the contest website by December 20. Marriott will post the videos on the site and select a group of finalists. On January 4, 2010, the public will be able to vote for their favorite clip, with the top vote-getter as of January 15 getting a "Tweetup" in Hawaii: Round-trip airfare for the winner and 11 guests, a seven-night stay at any two Marriott resorts in Hawaii, a luau dinner and show, a commemorative Hawaii state quarter for everyone, a keepsake group photo, and 25,000 Marriott Rewards points for the winner. For details, see the Tweetup entry page. Hawaiian Airlines is also celebrating a different anniversary—its own. For its 80th birthday, the carrier is giving away 80,000 miles (the equivalent of two round-trip tickets from the West Coast to Hawaii) each week through September 23. To enter, play the Travel Through Time giveaway game online. It shows you Hawaiian Airlines' uniforms from different eras and makes you guess which year they were introduced (it also gives you hints!). Note: To enter the drawing, you have to join the (free) frequent-flier program at the HawaiianMiles sign-up site. And if you don't want to leave your vacation plans to chance, there are plenty of 50th anniversary and fall promotions still going on: • Four Hilton Family Hawaii hotels are offering your fifth night for just $50, plus a $50 spa, dining, or beach-craft-rental credit through the 50 Years of Aloha promotion (from $129, through December 20). • Prince Resorts Hawaii has a Spring Into Summer/Fall Into Winter & Celebrate Hawaii's 50th special at its four resorts, providing a $50 daily resort credit, no minimum stay required (from $179, through December 22). For the skinny, visit the Prince deal site. • Aston Hotels & Resorts has a Fall for Aston special with up to 40 percent off seasonal rates at its 25 Hawaii properties (from $83, through December 21). Details at the Aston deal page. For other vacation package promotions, see our Hawaii Real Deals. EARLIER Recent Hawaii news on our blog ELSEWHERE Find more Hawaii trip ideas at GoVisitHawaii.com

Inspiration

This weekend: Celebrate North Carolina's apple bounty

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away. You could probably get your apple fix for the entire year at the North Carolina Apple Festival, held in Hendersonville, N.C., this weekend. The 63rd annual festival begins on Friday and lasts through Labor Day, when there's a huge King Apple Parade. The backbone of the festival is the free Street Fair, which takes over eight blocks of Main Street, with 250 vendors selling arts and crafts wares. There's also live entertainment, like bluegrass music. Henderson County, N.C. is the seventh-largest apple-producing county in the U.S., with about $22 million in income a year. The state's apples are mostly red and golden delicious, Rome beauty, and gala. At the festival, there will be 14 local apple growers present, selling goodies like apple ice cream, apple freezes, and fried apple pie (yum). Hendersonville is about two hours west of Charlotte, N.C. Festival organizers expect more than 225,000 people to attend. How do you like them apples? Go to ncapplefestival.org for a full schedule and parking information.

Inspiration

Top 10 Paris expat blogs

Ever wondered what it would be like to live in Paris? Immersing yourself in an expat blog is one of the best ways to find out. It seems that every year a fresh crop of bloggers has arrived on the electronic scene to share the ecstasies and agonies of life abroad. Because their lives often include a lot of food and fun, expat blogs are also a great way to learn about the local happenings. I've selected my current favorites (not including my own), and invite you to add your personal picks in the comments. Petite Anglaise The mother of all expat blogs—this is the one that got Catherine Sanderson fired when her employer discovered it online. Sanderson sued for wrongful termination, won her case and a year's salary, and snagged a two book deal from Penguin in the process. The second of these, French Kissing, was just published last week and is a saucy fictional account (or so she claims) about online dating in Paris. SELECTED POSTS: Suspendered and Uptown Girl. Kung Fu Dana From pig slaughter to hip hop opera—musician Dana Boulé has recorded some of the most absurd and hilarious expat moments that I've ever had the pleasure of reading. Follow along as she discovers the city, masters the language and takes the French music scene by storm. And be sure to check out her hilarious video French Boy. SELECTED POSTS: So Mad I Could Spit (Shirley and Nancy Part 1) and Ce Que Tu Dis: Baudelaire. La Coquette Elisabeth Fourmont has been writing this fashionable Paris blog for more than five years. "Don't hate me because I live in Paris," she pleads, while pointing out some of the city's most stylish addresses. Great writing and sharp humor give La Coquette an edge over her fashion blog rivals. SELECTED POSTS: I'm okay, Eurotrash and (not) Watching Sunsets. Maîtresse Bring your high brow over to this literary blog, which promises that "reading is sexier in Paris." Lauren Elkin keeps her fellow bookworms abreast of the literary happenings in Paris, while still finding time for the occasional rant. SELECTED POSTS: This Star Called Paris and Aux Armes, Citoyens! Just Another American in Paris Churning out a new post nearly every day, Anne is clearly not just another American in Paris. Her blog captures snippets of daily life and offers wry advice to visitors (no white athletic shoes!). SELECTED POSTS: La Rentrée and 25 Things I Love About Paris. Foreign Parts J.A. Getzlaff is an American journalist who shares the loves (à aimer) and hates (à détester) of her adopted city. Count on her for more analysis and less sugar coating than you'll find in other corners of the blogosphere. SELECTED POSTS: Getting Sick, Part One and Menswear. God, I Love Paris A relative newcomer to the Paris blogosphere, this young Francophile is nothing if not prolific. She's already written 318 posts this year, and it's only August. Oldskool Paris bloggers should really be watching their backs… SELECTED POSTS: The Little Things I Love and Past Present. Paris Parfait Another prolific blogger (1,823 posts since January 2006!), Tara Bradford's posts are always illustrated with gorgeous photos. Her subject matter is varied—it's the Obama health care debate on one day and a new Paris shop opening on the next! SELECTED POSTS: La Vie Parisienne and In Search of the Unusual. Polly-Vous Français? Talk about obsessed, the author of this blog no longer lives in France and she's still posting (knowledgably) about Paris almost every day. Her archives remain a great source of insight and inspiration. SELECTED POSTS: French Flirting and Madame Tabac. Paris Wise Finally, something written by a man! A man who loves decorative arts, sure, but a man nonetheless. Drawing on his training in architecture, art history and gourmet cooking, newcomer Christopher promises to bring a sophisticated touch to the Paris blogosphere. SELECTED POSTS: Chicken or beef? and How to Find a Good Boulangerie in Paris. BONUS BLOG! Ask A Frenchman! As the name implies, this blogger is a native and not an expat, but his "Dear Abby" style blog appeals to the same audience. His responses to reader inquiries never fail to crack me up. SELECTED POSTS: Are French men totally obsessed with sex? and Are French women really that insecure? PREVIOUSLY 10 Top Paris Food Blogs

Inspiration

Paris attractions: Top 5 free events in September

The post-summer rentrée (think "back to school" for grown-ups) is in full swing, with crisp autumn air and a slate of cultural activities. Some of the best are even gratuit. Here's my selection of the top five free events in September. Dave Eggers at Shakespeare & Company (September 4) Author of the hit memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and the heartbreaking Katrina expose Zeitoun, Dave Eggers will be speaking to an undoubtedly overflowing room about Sudan and his recent book What is the What. The reading begins at 5:30pm, but come early if you want to get anywhere near this philanthropic indie publishing marvel. shakespeareandcompany.com, 37 rue de la Bûcherie, 5th arrondissement, 011-33/1-43-25-40-93. The Paris Techno Parade (September 19) Bumping up against the Techno Parade is perhaps the most efficient way to understand youth culture in France today. This annual parade winds slowly from Denfert Rochereau (14th arrondissement) at noon to Bastille (11th arrondissement) at 8pm. Traffic is blocked for hours while thousands of young people dance to electronic music in the streets. Can't imagine it? Click here to watch a video here that I made at last year's parade. Journées du Patrimoine/Heritage Days (September 19–20) A good number of French historical monuments are not open to the public…except for one weekend per year. The Journées du Patrimoine (Heritage Days) on September 19–20 will find hundreds of museums and monuments opening for free and hosting special events for the public. These include the presidential palace (Palais de l'Elysée), the Senate building (Palais du Luxembourg), City Hall (Hôtel de Ville), and many more. I'll be writing more very soon about my favorite picks, but here's a list (in French) to get you started. Ugo Rondinone at le CENTQUATRE (from September 17) One of the first visual art events for this year's Fesitval d'Automne (fall festival) is happening at the CENTQUATRE, a sprawling mortuary complex turned arts center. Rondinone's How does it feel? exhibition combines architecture, voices and neon lighting "to create a kind of sanctuary, both intimate and monumental" (11 bis rue Curial, 19th arrondissement). Slightly less morbid, the artist's Sunrise East installation in the Tuileries garden features a series of totem-like figures, each representing a month of the year (quai des Tuileries, 1st arrondissement). Fête des Jardins/Festival of Gardens (September 26–27) Gardens are a year-round draw in Paris, but this annual festival finds them buzzing with much more than bees. In addition to workshops and tours, you'll find free outdoor concerts taking place in some of the city's most flowery spaces. There's jazz manouche in the panoramic Parc de Belleville (19th arrondissement), classical music in the Parc Floral (12th arrondissement), and much more. Consult this online program for the full list of events. BONUS Magicien de Fer (through September 30) This free and fascinating exhibit about the career and personal life of Gustave Eiffel has been extended and is now running through September. As I wrote about here, this show is part of the city's celebration of the Eiffel Tower's 120th birthday. Place de l'Hôtel de Ville, 4th arrondissement.