Hand Crafted Travel specializes in small group and independent travel to Europe. Discover new destinations, get inspired by our photos, and learn about planning your own European adventure.

Rome bans gladiators

Rome's new mayor Virginia Raggi has banned gladiators from local tourist local sights. Although most are actually dressed as Roman soldiers, they usually refer to themselves as 'gladiators', and charge from $5 to $10 to pose for photos. A string of complaints from tourists claim they were duped or threatened into paying more than agreed, or that they were even pick-pocketed while posing with 'gladiators.'

Raggi has also issued an order banning electric-pedal rickshaws, which have started to show up in the crowded historic core.


Travel Thought for the Week

"Four hoarse blasts of a ship's whistle still raise the hair on my neck and set my feet to tapping. The sound of a jet, an engine warming up, even the clopping of shod hooves on pavement brings on the ancient shudder, the dry mouth and vacant eye, the hot palms and the churn of stomach high up under the rib cage."
– John Steinbeck, American novelist, Travels with Charley


Hotel Report Card: Schlosshotel Münchhausen

Schlosshotel Münchhausen ★★★★★

Schwöbber 9, 31855 Aerzen, Germany, Tel: (0)5154-7060-0

Germany has, by some counts, more than 20,000 castles and palaces, so it's no surprise that some of them have ended up as hotels.

Schlosshotel Münchhausen is an elegant palace on the edge of a lake, a fairy tale setting for the Fairy Tale Road. Two in-house dining rooms: one posh and seriously expensive, and one more moderately priced in the cellar.

Location: A. If you're seeking a quiet country escape, this is the perfect place. Located a couple of miles from the Pied Piper village Hamelin.

Property: A+. The 16th century palace was beautifully restored in 2002, and includes many period antiques. Set in beautiful parkland, surrounded by a moat, and with an 18-hole golf course.

Rooms: A+. Rooms perfectly capture the elegance and history of the castle, while providing completely modern fixtures and amenities.

Hotel Style: Castle; Area: Off the beaten path; No. of Rooms: 68; Singles: €130 to €300, Doubles: €160 to €300; Credit Cards: MC/V/AX

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Vegans protest Britain's new fiver

Britain is introducing new, more durable bank notes produced using a plastic polymer – and vegans are not happy about it. The first of the bills, a new £5 note, was released last month. A new £10 note will be released this coming summer, and a new £20 note is scheduled for 2020.

It turns out that the polymer contains trace amounts of animal fat, which has led to protests on social media, and a petition drive by outraged activists.

What travelers should know, whether or not they are vegan, is that the new £5 note is now in circulation. Don't be surprised on your next trip if your money feels a bit...plastic-ey. After May 17, 2017 merchants will no longer be able to accept the old paper £5 notes, but you can always exchange them for the new currency at any Bank of England location.


Travel Thought for the Week

“It took me some years to learn how to paint like the Renaissance artists, but it took all of my life to learn how to paint like a kid.”
– Pablo Picasso (1881–1973)

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