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We’re funny (usually), controversial (sometimes) and insightful (always!). Our travel experts share their experiences below in hopes of hearing back from YOU. So read, comment and enjoy!

Posts from October, 2008

Spectacular festival channels the spirit of the desert

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A wealth of artists and musicians from all over north Africa gather in the Malian city of Essakane for the ninth annual Festival au Desert.

From January 8th to 10th this festival has its roots in the culture of the indigenous nomadic Tuareg people.

It brings the desert alive with traditional rhythms and modern African sounds assembled together for a global audience.

The company behind the event also offers a range of organised tours so that the experience of the festival can be combined with taking in some of the sights and the sounds of this most spectacular part of the African continent.

As well as the event in Essakane visitors can take in Timbuktu, which is only two hours away, plus the beautiful Niger River and many other areas in the region.

Camel races, film screenings and conferences on themes related to the music and culture of the festival complete a rich line-up at one of the most intriguing events to be held in this mystical and vibrant part of Africa.

Mali is a former French colony which gained independence in 1960.

Culture and Sightseeing – City Tours – Whichever city you are in these tours will help to ensure you do not miss a thing.ADNFCR-1652-ID-18853839-ADNFCR

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Skiing with a twist in popular Swiss resort

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Gay Ski Week in Arosa is all about being fabulous on the slopes and the week involves a range of events designed with that in mind.

The beautiful mountain resort will be awash with glitter and gaiety as gay skiers and snowboarders descend on the town to experience the finest après around from January 3rd-9th.

Visitors can warm up their vocal chords for the cabaret night, don their finest fishnets for the drag queen race and warm up after a hard day”s sunbathing at the fondue party – careful though, mustn”t overdo it on those carbs!

The week ends with a huge party in the centre of the town – and the dress code is "as white as possible".

Visitors wishing to enjoy all the fun can choose one of three special visitor passes giving entry to different events all over the village.

Arosa is a popular resort for Swiss and foreign skiers alike, with an elevation of 1,800m above sea level.ADNFCR-1652-ID-18853275-ADNFCR

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Happy Halloween from isango!

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BOO!

Halloween graphic

I must say – our readers certainly seem to be in the Halloween spirit. I wasn’t sure if Halloween was a popular holiday here in London, but I now know that it is!

May you dress in crazy costumes and eat too much candy……

Happy Halloween from all of us here at…

isango logo

 

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Charity marathon with a sweet reward

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Distance running and a sweet tooth might not naturally go hand in hand but that”s no barrier to the thousands of people who gather in Tasmania every year for the annual Cadbury”s Marathon.

Chocolate lovers and athletics enthusiasts alike will be donning their running shoes on January 4th in Hobart, Australia for the tasty event, the finish line for which is at the Cadbury factory.

The best part – and surely an advantage over every other marathon in the world – is that each competitor is given some free chocolate from the company to reward their having taken part.

Those not feeling energetic enough to complete the entire course can run the shorter half marathon course or just compete in the 5km or 2.5km events.

Cadbury”s chocolate was first sold in Birmingham in England in 1824 and is one of the world”s best-selling chocolate and confectionary brands, with its products available the world.

Special Interest – Nightlife – From an extravagant meal to an eerie ghost walk – plenty of things to keep you entertained after the sun goes down.ADNFCR-1652-ID-18851553-ADNFCR

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Kew Gardens revives Victorian holiday tradition

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London”s world famous Kew Botanical Gardens will be the scene of a winter activity with a very Victorian feel this festive season.

The Christmas Ice Rink will once again be in operation at the historic attraction, recalling the 18th century fashion to skate in front of the stunning Temperate House from November 29th to January 4th.

Those worried that the inclement weather might prove too chilly, mince pies and hot chocolate will be on hand to warm the cockles of the thousands of visitors who descend on the event each year.

Outdoor ice rinks are a popular attraction all over London, with temporary venues such as Bishopsgate in the City of London and Hampton Court Palace allowing Londoners and tourists alike to enjoy themselves in the fresh winter air.

Temperate House is the world”s largest Victorian glasshouse and is one of the most famous aspects of the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew, West London.

Active and Adventure – Air Activities – Enjoy an exhilarating helicopter ride over New York or a serene hot air balloon ride over the Australian outback.ADNFCR-1652-ID-18851549-ADNFCR

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Exhilarating sport shows off its most spectacular event

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Aquatic daredevils are probably familiar with the thrills of surfing but perhaps the most incredible spectacle of the sport is the huge tunnel of water known as a ”pipe”.

The Billabong Pipeline Masters concludes the men”s World Championship Tour and is held each year at Ehukai Beach on the Hawaiian island of Oahu from December 8th – 12th.

The world”s finest surfers, including nine-time world champion Kelly Slater, will descend on this, one of the world”s most beautiful surfing locations, for the season finale.

Each stage on the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) world championship tour boasts a total prize pool of $320,000, underlining how successful and popular this sport has become.

Visitors to the picturesque Oahu island have more than enough to enjoy at any time of year, with the stunning beaches, crystal clear water and world-renowned local food and hospitality.

With nine world championship titles under his Bermuda shorts, 36-year-old Floridian Kelly Slater – or ”Slats” to his friends – has dominated the sport like to no other surfer in the history of the sport.

Active and Adventure – Air Activities – Enjoy an exhilarating helicopter ride over New York or a serene hot air balloon ride over the Australian outback.ADNFCR-1652-ID-18851163-ADNFCR

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Humorous Videos and Facts about Sarah Palin

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After reading Sarah’s recent post about her search for Sarah Palin’s view of Russia in Alaska (quite funny and includes some beautiful photos of Nome, Alaska) I realized that I have been a bad citizen: I should have been posting more information about the US election all along. I suppose I was avoiding jumping on the media bandwagon – this election has been nothing short of a circus. And after all, this is a travel blog!

With the election just days away, I figure, why not join in on the Palin-bashing fun while I still can…I have thus spent the last few hours scanning through humorous videos and interesting facts about Sarah Palin, but, of course, everything has been done…and overdone.

Nonetheless, I present to you some of my favourite Palin-tastic clips and links. So click away, but you must promise to go through all of them!

1. The ‘Sarah Palin Rap’, as performed on Saturday Night Live.

OK, so I could not resist linking to the following clip, which is a bit dated yet still absolutely hilarious. Please, please, if you haven’t already, watch the SNL ‘Sarah Palin Rap’, as beautifully executed by Amy Poehler. You won’t be disappointed, I promise:

http://blog.socialmedian.com/2008/10/amy_poehler_sarah_palin_rap_pr.html

“All the mavericks in da house put your hands up…”

Priceless.

2. The ‘Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator’

Inspired by the governor’s colourfully-named offspringTrack, Trig, Willow, Bristol, and Piper(yes, these are really Sarah Palin’s kids’ names!) this interactive name translator will make you feel like one of Palin’s own:

http://politsk.blogspot.com/2008/09/sarah_13.html

If I were Sarah Palin’s daughter, my name would be Mullet Troll Palin. Sexy.

What’s your Palin name? Let’s compare – post below!

3. The Miss Alaska Beauty Pageant Video.

The year is 1984, and the next contestant is…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSdFIDygFwM[/youtube]

.

4. More ‘Fun’ Facts about Palin.

This one is a bit more serious and includes a video of Palin in rifle training…

Basically, I found a blogger that managed to gather all of the, um, ‘fun’ facts about Palin under one roof: his name is Jake Marsh, and his post, ’33 Facts You Didn’t Know about Sarah Palin’, can be found by clicking the following link:

http://thejakemarsh.com/1025/#more-1025

Thanks for doing that, Jake.

Well folks, I hope you have found this post to be entertaining and somewhat enlightening. I must say, I had fun putting it together.

Until next time!

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What Sarah Palin missed when she (apparently) saw Russia from Alaska.

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Nome, Alaska is about as close to Russia as you can get and still be in the United States.

Although I never saw Russia while I was there, Sarah Palin suggested that Alaska’s proximity to Russia gave her some insight into foreign policy issues.  Well, I was there, hoping to see Russia’s Coast, or Putin. As I stood at the shore of the Bering Sea, I was disappointed that I did not see either.  But the view from the Alaskan coast was, nonetheless, breathtaking!

Bering Sea Alaska

As I walked though the town, I saw something better:  a quaint bush village full of history, native Alaskan culture, and the end of the 1049-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Nome Alaska Boats

Nome is a unique dot on the map, where people can still make their living by prospecting for gold. The village is surrounded by mountains, and you can only get to Nome by plane. There are no roads leading there.

Mountains in Nome Alaska

Even if I never saw Russia (or Palin…or Putin…), I feel lucky to have been to one of the most remote villages in the United States of America.

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Snowshoes at the ready for unusual cross-country event

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The picturesque Non Valley in Northern Italy will be awash with competitors in the annual Ciaspolada snowshoe race once again this winter.

For the 36th year running, the event will see thousands of competitors race across the wintery valley, all wearing snowshoes or ciaspole, in the local dialect.

Racers from all over the world descend on this quiet corner of Italy to compete in the world-famous event, from those hoping to place highly in the competitive event or just looking to experience something a little different in the all-comers race.

Snow-shoeing is believed to have started many thousands of years ago among early civilisations living in snow-covered wilderness, who needed to develop a means of moving safely across vast expanses of soft snow.

The principle behind snowshoes is based on spread the weight of the body over a larger surface area, thereby giving buoyancy on the soft surface and avoiding that sinking feeling.

Modern equipment utilises all the latest lightweight metal technology, but traditional shoes are more commonly made of wood.

Active and Adventure – Air Activities – Enjoy an exhilarating helicopter ride over New York or a serene hot air balloon ride over the Australian outback.ADNFCR-1652-ID-18849146-ADNFCR

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Swaziland makes the world sit up and take notice

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The Southern African nation of Swaziland doesn”t register too highly with the wider world for most of the year.

However, during the Festival of First Fruits the country demonstrates its unique culture and language for all to see.

From late December to early January, the festival – known as Ncwala in the indigenous Swazi language – highlights the esteem in which the nation holds its ruling King with a series of ceremonies.

The celebration opens with the new moon toward the end of the year, when many people swarm to the beaches to daub themselves with sea foam which they believe has health-giving properties.

Throughout the event, the towns and villages of Swaziland come alive with traditional dancing, colourful costumes and the evocation of the ancient warrior tribes of the country”s rich history.

Visitors to this part of the continent should not miss the chance to experience Ncwala, one of the most unique and colourful festivals in this oft-overlooked nation.

Culture and Sightseeing – City Tours – Whichever city you are in these tours will help to ensure you do not miss a thing.ADNFCR-1652-ID-18849139-ADNFCR

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