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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 November, 2008

Austrian snow golf tournament tees off in January

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One of the world’s most popular sports is given a unique twist in the Austria ski village of Obertauern each January.

Many amateur golfers find the game hard enough but the Snowgolf World Championship introduces an even bigger variable into this most unpredictable of games.

From January 29th to 31st the tournament puts keen snow golf players and a few famous celebrity names from around the world through their paces on a course constructed entirely of the white stuff.

A highlight of the event is the Million Dollar Putt Contest where a lucky player could see his or her wallet grow a fair bit fuller at the end of the weekend.

The tournament is an open amateur event which anyone is free to enter but prospective players should be warned – competition is likely to be fierce.

Although conflicting theories exist as to its exact origins, it is believed golf began in Scotland somewhere near the current site of the St Andrew’s championship course. Perhaps, given the local weather, it’s the home of snow golf as well…

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-18889545-ADNFCR

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Retro transportation given new lease of life in Bordeaux

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Most visitors flock to Bordeaux for the wine but there are a certain number who have other things on their mind when they arrive, like roller skating.

In the heart of the city at the Place Pey Berlan, the last Friday of every month sees hundreds of roller skaters strut their stuff at Nuit de Rollers.

Both roller skates of the four-wheeled variety and newer in-line skates will be on display along with a range of styles and techniques.

While novice skaters out there might feel a bit intimidated by all the skills on show they shouldn’t worry too much as they won’t be the only first-timers.

Besides, there’s something to be said for watching the adept and experienced showing off while relaxing and taking in the spectacle without expending too much energy.

The roller skate was invented in the 1760s by an inventor called Joseph Merlin, who arrived at a party on his newly-designed wheeled shoes.

He made quite an entrance, smashing an expensive mirror as he tried in vain to stop himself.

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-18889324-ADNFCR

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Sydney to Hobart yacht race creates post-Christmas buzz

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Each year courageous seafarers battle it out to reach the capital of Tasmania in a 628 nautical mile dash to the finish line.

The annual Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race sees competitors leave Sydney Harbour and steer their boats almost due south as they attempt to be the first to reach Hobart.

Setting off on Boxing Day – December 26th – at 13:00 local time, hundreds of crew will begin the event at the world-famous location.

The plucky sailors will then embark on a journey that will see them brave the elements on the fringes of the Tasman Sea before taking on the Bass Strait on their way to the finish line.

Friends and family of the crews and yachting enthusiasts the world over will be able to view of a state-of-the-art ‘yacht tracker’ on the event’s website which uses the latest GPS technology to keep tabs of each craft as they proceed in the race.

The event began in 1945 and has seen some of the finest yachtsmen and women compete – as much for the prestige of victory as for the ample prize money on offer.

Sydney – Take a cruise of Sydney Harbour or relax on the white sands on Manly Beach.ADNFCR-1652-ID-18889307-ADNFCR

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Movies by the beach make for a great occasion

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One of the most beautiful spots on the Californian coastline is the setting for an understandably laid-back filmic treat every January.

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival attracts some of the best in mainstream and independent cinema to its enviable coastal location from January 22nd to February 1st.

Known for its golden beach, beautiful palm trees and surf culture-infused lifestyle, the relaxing idyll will welcome big names from both in front of and behind the camera, with festival honours going to the likes of Penelope Cruz and Kristen Scott Thomas.

A highlight will be the presentation of the American Riviera Award to Mickey Rourke, in honour his superb resurgence to major movie-making in the past few years.

Alongside the usual raft of screenings there will be a rich programme of forums, discussions and other fun events to support the varied range of films on offer.

With beautiful scenery, plenty of sunshine and – for a few days in January – fantastic movies, Santa Barbara really does seem to have it all.

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-18886958-ADNFCR

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Ice racing reaches its finale in Auvergne

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The prestigious Andros Trophy ice-racing championships will reach its season-ending climax at Super-Besse near Auvergne on January 31st next year.

Based on the hugely-popular sport of rallying, this takes extreme under-tyre conditions to a whole new level as specially modified, souped-up automobiles are thrashed around ice circuits in some of France’s most beautiful and famous locations.

A typical Andros Trophy event will see competitors pit themselves against one another through qualifying rounds and into the final.

At Super-Besse, the best drivers will be staking their claim to walk away with the coveted trophy after a long and gruelling season keeping their cars as firmly stuck to the ice as possible.

Former Formula One star Alain Prost is the current three-time defending Andros Trophy champion – proving he’s just as adept at driving a rally car round on the ice as he was touring the world’s motor racing circuits.

The Andros Trophy traces it’s history back to 1990, when the first formal event took place in the ski resort of Serre Chevalier.

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-18885257-ADNFCR

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Adelaide says “g’day” to great music

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Adelaide is home to a key leg of one of the most popular music festivals in Australia, even the world – Big Day Out – on January 30th.

Built on a core philosophy of really good music, the festival includes some of the best-known bands from around the world, transcending but by no means excluding the thriving contemporary music scene in Australia.

Among the highlights across the different venues will be the guitar driven sounds of Arctic Monkeys, Serj Tankian and the Dropkick Murphys.

Catering to more electronic tastes are Hot Chip and the Ting Tings, while hip-hop fans will no doubt be excited about an appearance by Lupe Fiasco.

Possibly the biggest draw this year, however, will be the legend that is Neil Young, who is lined up to play a 90-minute set.

As if those superb guests weren’t enough then there’s plenty to keep revellers occupied in between sets, with a selection of side shows and other attractions on hand.

Adelaide is the capital of the state of South Australia.

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-18885235-ADNFCR

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Get fabulous, darling, at Paris Fashion Week

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Possibly the most important seven days in the entire fashion year, Paris Fashion Week gathers together just about everyone who’s anyone in the world of couture from January 22nd to 29th.

While the fashion shows are for professionals in the field only, during the event the whole of Paris comes alive in a flurry of chiffon and needlessly high heels as the glitterati of the industry turn out to celebrate in inimitable style.

Across the French capital parties and events far outnumber the fashion shows and every visitor is sure to catch a glimpse of someone famous or, at the least, very thin with excellent bone structure.

Split into three sections – Haute Couture, Pret-a-Porter and Men’s Fashion – the designer’s shows will feature everything from extravagant evening wear to the latest in smart men’s suits.

Paris is considered by many to be the fashion capital of the world and is the historic home to a raft of the biggest names in the business, from Chanel to Yves Saint Laurent.

Paris – Enjoy the view from the Eiffel Tower or see the Mona Lisa in the "city of light".ADNFCR-1652-ID-18885199-ADNFCR

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Australia’s cultural heart celebrates its diversity

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Sydney is known for many things and it does a fairly good job of incorporating most of them into the expansive and incredible event that is the Sydney Festival each January.

For three weeks from January 10th to 31st, the city sees a wealth of events and performances with something for virtually every kind of cultural consumer.

Theatre, music and dance are given a huge presence at the festival, with concerts, theatrical productions and dance shows catering to a wide range of tastes.

Guests young and old will find plenty on offer – family and children’s events ensure that no-one feels left out, while thought-provoking cinema and discussions will plenty of food for thought among older visitors.

Free attractions through the days and nights give something back to the army of dedicated culture vultures who flock to the city for the duration.

The festival will feature in excess of 80 experiences incorporating some 300 or more artists and performers. The Sydney Festival began in 1977 and has grown in stature ever since.

Sydney – Take a cruise of Sydney Harbour or relax on the white sands on Manly Beach.ADNFCR-1652-ID-18882684-ADNFCR

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Former British colony celebrates its ancient Chinese customs

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Chinese New Year is one of the biggest and boldest celebrations to be found anywhere in the world and the festivities in Hong Kong are up there with the very best.

For the millions of people who take part in the occasion the main draw might be the parade of incredible, brightly-coloured floats, costumes and the all-important dragon dancers which work their way through the bustling streets on the first night of the new year, 26th January.

A recently-expanded route takes the parade through the Tsim Sha Tsui East area of Kong Kong, giving even more revellers the chance to take in the incredible spectacle, set against the backdrop of an illuminated Victoria Harbour.

Elsewhere in the territory, there are extravagant flower markets and a stunning spring lantern festival, which features elaborate paper constructions that are lit from within so as to emanate a beautiful coloured glow.

According to traditional Chinese astrology, 2009 will be the year of the Ox, which has connotations of dependability, logic and tenacity.

Hong Kong – Part mystical Chinese city, part 21st Century metropolis Hong Kong combines temples and skyscrapers.ADNFCR-1652-ID-18882669-ADNFCR

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Films for little ones given centre stage in London

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Cinema aimed at younger audiences is given its chance to shine at the London Children’s Film Festival this month.

From November 22nd to 30th at the capital’s world-famous performing arts centre the Barbican, the festival will include a host of screenings and events to keep the young (and the young at heart…) entertained all week long.

Coinciding handily with the half-term holidays for schools all over London and beyond, the highlights will include: The Ten Lives of Titanic the Cat; Leaps and Bounds and – perhaps the most popular attraction of the whole week – the sing-a-long version of modern Disney classic The Lion King.

Alongside the screenings there will also be a range of activities on offer, with a great emphasis placed on using film as a key medium for learning alongside other traditional means.

Launched in 2005, the London Children’s Film Festival has grown year on year and in 2008 could be the biggest and best yet.

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-18882245-ADNFCR

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