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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

Top competitors ‘mush’ to the dog-sled racing in Germany

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Usually confined to locations much nearer the Arctic Circle, dog-sled racing comes to Todtmoos in Germany on the 24th and 25th of January.

The International Dog-Sled Racing event sees competitors pit themselves against the world’s top teams across a range of distances, from short sprints to gruelling endurance events.

This competition traces its roots back to 1975, when 25 teams participated in the event. Now thousands of dogs and hundreds of mushers from all over the world descend on this otherwise unassuming corner of Germany for this gala occasion.

Moreover, thousands of spectators wrap up in their winter gear and wield torches to view the contests which take place amid the frozen natural beauty of the area.

The first organised dog-sled race is believed to have taken place in Alaska in 1908, although its history as a traditional activity dates back much further. It was also included in the 1932 Winter Olympics as a one-off demonstration event.

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-18870081-ADNFCR

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Cowboys from far and wide saddle up for Denver

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For almost a century the National Western Stock Show has combined the best in cattle and livestock sales and a huge rodeo competition, drawing in cowboys and cowgirls from across the United States.

From January 10th to 25th, the Denver Coliseum will play host to an archetypal American festival, a celebration of the frontier spirit and love of ranching animals that has underpinned much of the country’s proud history.

The indoor rodeo contests are the biggest of their kind and incorporate every discipline from bareback riding to steer wrestling, all of which delights the crowds which are expected to exceed half a million people.

Stock auctions bring the premier breeders and buyers in the ranching and farming industries, as well as exhibitions of agricultural machinery and demonstrations of farm skills such as sheep shearing.

Visitors young and old can take in the sights and sounds of this genuine slice of Americana in one of the country’s most beautiful states, Colorado.

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-18870052-ADNFCR

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Silent art of mime showcased in London

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For more than thirty years the London International Mime Festival has brought together the world’s most talented mime artists.

From January 10th to 25th a numbers of venues across the capital will once again see performances of some of the most entertaining silent theatre anywhere in the world.

Those who, on hearing the word ‘mime’, think of Marcel Marceau pushing against an invisible wall should think again – nowadays mime has established itself as one of the most innovative forms of visual art.

Highlights of the festival include: Ex-Machina Athens at the Southbank Centre; Loup Pour l’Homme at the Clore Studio; and Akhe Faust at the ICA.

The festival began in 1977 as a showcase of domestic mime talent which was far better known abroad than in the UK. As the art form underwent a resurgence in the 1970s and 80s, the festival also grew to incorporate international mime artists and performances.

Mime has its roots in the pantomime of ancient Greece and featured in Shakespearean drama in the form of dumbshow.ADNFCR-1652-ID-18869807-ADNFCR

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Sumo’s ‘heavyweights’ open the new season in Tokyo

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The January Tournament, or ‘Basho’, will take place at the Kokugikan Sumo Hall in Tokyo this January as the world’s top sumo wrestlers pit their might against one another.

The first of the year’s six major tournaments takes place from January 11th to 25th and will see some of the biggest names engage in bouts that involve just as much cunning and technique as they do power and strength.

Inside the arena the atmosphere reaches fever pitch as the huge crowds cheer on their favourite wrestlers, who respect the ritual and ceremony which goes hand in hand with fighting to defend their honour.

Many of the top sumo are household names in Japan. One of the most famous is Asashoryu who holds the title of ‘yokozuna’, the highest level of wrestler.

Foreign visitors at a sumo tournament often approach it with scepticism, given that it is unlike anything practised outside Japan, but few leave an event in any doubt about how exciting a spectacle it can be.

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-18867832-ADNFCR

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Unique golfing event honours one of the game’s favourite celebrities

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The Bob Hope Chrysler Classic brings together some of the biggest names in golf in an event made famous by one of the funniest men to play the game.

Comedian Bob Hope gave his name to this event in 1965 and cemented its place in the celebrity pro-am golfing calendar, attracting some of the biggest names in the sport, entertainment and even politics.

The tournament is played over five days and four different courses: the Palmer and Nicklaus Private courses at PGA West, the SilverRock Resort and the Bermuda Dunes Country Club.

In it’s 50-year history the event has seen appearances by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Burt Lancaster, President Dwight Eisenhower and Samuel L. Jackson (who won last year’s event), to name but a few.

It is thought that Bob Hope scored as many as six holes-in-one during his lifetime. The much-loved comedian died in 2003, aged 100.

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-18867744-ADNFCR

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A bite of the Big Apple set to get cheaper in January

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Dining out in New York City can be just as expensive as any city on Earth, but during January the fine cuisine it has to offer is set to be that much more affordable.

NYC Winter Restaurant Week sees some of the biggest locations in the city’s culinary compass offer reduced rates for their dining experiences.

In our credit-crunching times many gastronomes might be keen to book a table for a special occasion and take advantage of the tasty offers available during the event.

Among the 220 restaurants that took part in last year’s Week were Mai House and Ruby Foo’s.

The prices for three-course lunches were fixed at $24.07, in honour of the non-stop society of ‘the city that never sleeps’, with a three-course dinner available at $35.

New York has always been famed for its nightlife and gastronomy. It is home to Nobu, the joint venture between the famed Japanese chef Nobuyuki "Nobu" Matsuhisa and actor Robert de Niro, which is among the most exclusive and highly-regarded restaurants in the world.

New York – From the dizzy heights of the Empire State Building to the serene Central Park New York has it all!ADNFCR-1652-ID-18867494-ADNFCR

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Iceland ‘excellent’ for adventure

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Iceland’s natural surroundings are a good place to enjoy an adventure holiday, it has been suggested.

The country boasts a host of popular tourist attractions, including the famous Golden Circle tour that includes the Gullfoss waterfall and Geysir hot springs and the Blue Lagoon.

Maria Reynisdottir, assistant project manager for Visit Reykjavik, explained that country is particularly good for short breaks.

She said: "The main draw is Iceland’s nature, the amazing landscape…and opportunities for adventure activities.

"Because of short distances you can really pack a lot into even a short break here."

Among the adventure activities readily available are snow mobiling, horse riding and whale watching.

Ms Reynisdottir also noted that the capital Reykjavic offers tourists plenty of opportunity to experience local culture.

Figures from Statistics Iceland show that the number of tourists making overnight stops in the country grew by 51 per cent from 2000 to 2007.

The overall number of foreign tourists visiting Iceland also increased by 60 per cent during the same period.

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-18865397-ADNFCR

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Morocco “popular” for walking tours

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Morocco has become very popular for walking tours among holidaymakers, one expert has claimed.

Peter Sheard, senior associate at architectural network Gensler, claims that the coastline near to cities such as Rabat are particularly good for walks and are renowned for being "very beautiful".

More than seven million tourists visited Morocco in 2007, according to the country’s Ministry of Tourism, rising by 13 per cent compared to the previous year.

Mr Sheard suggests that Morocco’s growing popularity is due to its natural environment.

He said: "Morocco has been associated with trading and history for a long time but it is popular for walking activities and fishing.

"The coastline is dominated by the environment and it does have a certain relationship with its waterfront," he said.

Marrakech is currently preparing to host the 8th Marrakech International Film Festival, which takes place between November 14th and 22nd.

Marrakech – Be entertained by snake charmers in the old Medina or take a day to explore the Atlas Mountains.
ADNFCR-1652-ID-18865393-ADNFCR

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Highest number of visitors to Nepal in eight years

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Nepal has seen the highest number of tourist arrivals to the country since 2000, new figures have revealed.

According to the Nepal Tourism Board, 50,567 tourists entered the Himalayan country by air in October.

This is an increase of 16.6 per cent compared to the same period last year.

"Preliminary figures by the immigration office say the total number of visitors arriving in Nepal since January crossed 307,748, an increase of four per cent from the same period last year," the board said.

There was a growth of 26.3 per cent in visitors from South Asian countries, the board added.

"Britain, Israel, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and Sweden, along with the United States and Canada, have also maintained the increasing trend in the arrival figures," the board said.

In May, the monarchy was abolished in Nepal and the first president of the republic was sworn in two months later in July.

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-18862732-ADNFCR

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Finnish art exhibition in Dublin

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This weekend, an exhibition of art from Finland will open in Dublin.

Featuring works dating back to when the country was a Grand Duchy of Russia, the exhibition will showcase paintings of Finnish greats like Albert Edelfelt and Akseli Gallen-Kallela.

On display at the National Gallery of Ireland until February 1st 2009, the exhibition’s highlights include depictions of Finnish landscapes as well as national symbols that have come from the country’s myths and legends.

There is also an outline of the artistic trends of 20th century Finland, ranging from the works of the Septem Group, comprising of Magnus Enckell, Yrjo Ollila, Ellen Thesleff and Verner Thome, and the November Group, which is made up of Tyko Sallinen, Marcus Collin and Alwar Cawen.

Tickets, which go on sale from November 8th, cost €7 for adults.

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-18862727-ADNFCR

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