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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 in ‘Holidays & Festivals’

Dubai Shopping Festival 2015

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Dubai has suddenly come up these last few years as being one of the most popular and most developed countries in the Middle East. As a top tourist destination around the world, what attracts people more and more each year to Dubai, is their annual Dubai Shopping Festival. Every year, for about the first month of the year, (upcoming dates for 2015 are Thursday, January 1- Sunday, February 1) the largest shopping and entertainment festival is put on throughout the city. People of all age ranges come for a mix of international concerts, musicals/ shows, sports, outdoor events and fashion events. There is nothing else like it.

For the month of January, the shopping is endless. Dubai offers countless markets for cool, hand-made collectives and top brand designers for the greatest looks with the best prices. If you’re struggling with your look or just want to see the newest fashion trends, the DSFV Catwalk is where to be. The other thing that separates this shopping month from the rest of the world, is that Dubai offers tax-free shopping! The prices you see are the prices you get, and because they make such a big deal out of their festival, prices are marked down even lower than usual. This is how they get all the people coming in.

There are endless things to do and see this month if shopping til you drop is not your thing. Whoever you are and whatever you like, Dubai has something to offer you. If you’re up for a good race, watch the horses compete in the Dubai World Cup Carnival or get in the auto zone to see which car comes in first in the Hankook 24H Dubai. A race you probably won’t find anywhere else, is camel racing! Dubai dedicates a whole season towards this. This is a race where you can fully immerse yourself in their culture. Take advantage of the opportunity while it’s in season! You won’t want to miss this.

Don’t just stop at camel racing- Dubai offers all sorts of different entertainment during this month for you to experience! Check out international dances, folk music, ballets, fair rides, concerts, pop-up restaurants and more. This is also your chance to win big. Dubai’s Shopping Festival is FULL of top of the line prizes. As a matter of fact, over the past two decades, they’ve given out more than 1.7 billion in prizes. These include Rolls-Royces and pure gold. Shops here typically hand out scratch-offs, coupons and opportunities to win prizes and get discounts for your favorite things.

With all this shopping and all these activities, transportation is key. Purchasing a hop on, hop off bus tour is definitely the way to go. Top popular options for this include the bus tour with a dhow cruise, walking tours and museum tickets all included. If you’ve already booked your things to do separately, then booking the Big Bus Dubai: Day And Night Combo Tour will make things super easy for you. This allows you to hop on and hop off as you please, with more than 21 stops.

Go ahead and book your trip to Dubai now! You’ll have the shopping experience of a lifetime with the best deals, entertainment and maybe even a new prize. No tax means you have an even greater reason to buy. Immerse yourself in their culture, meet lots of new people and to make sure you see the whole city by purchasing a hop on, hop off bus tour. Get ready, and let the shopping begin!

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Christmas Time Throughout the World

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Christmas is the best time of the year for many. Spirits are lifted, a chill is in the air, variety of foods are cooked and shared… but most importantly, this is the best season to travel! Whether you’re going simply to meet up with family members or wanting the whole tourist experience, different major cities across the world have different Christmas traditions that are celebrated every year. Why not try and experience them all! Get ready to hear how cities such as New York, London, Berlin, Miami, Melbourne and Paris celebrate the Christmas season. You’ll be booking your trip before you know it!

Christmas around the world

New York

New York City is one of the most Christmas-like feeling cities during the November-December period. It tops the list for one of the liveliest places to visit, considering it’s always a touristy destination to begin with. The crowds are worth the experience. Here, you will see Rockefeller Center- where the biggest Christmas tree you’ll ever see will come to life on the Wednesday after Thanksgiving with its thousands of multi-coloured lights and a star on top. Right beside it, sits the skating rink. It’s small, but if you’ve made it this far, you have to say you’ve done a lap or two. Throw on some skates and enjoy the view; it is the most spacious square you’ll ever be in, in this crowded city. Glide around the rink and enjoy the views. Christmas time in the Big Apple is one of the most wonderful things to experience.

Miami

Moving your way right on down the east coast, down to the very tip of Florida, you will find that if you spend your holidays in Miami, life truly is a beach! Being a huge tourist destination round the year, Miami celebrates and takes the Christmas season to the next level every year as the crowds draw up to be bigger and bigger. Every holiday season, “Santa’s Enchanted Forest” takes over the Miami area filled with lights, rides, fried foods and the best yet, fake snow! Typical Florida. You’re going to want to do it all, but remember to dress lightly. No scarves and gloves will be needed for this trip. Bringing in the Christmas Season wearing a bathing suit on the beach sounds like a pretty good idea, doesn’t it?

London

Christmas in London

Now, hopping on over to the other side of the pond, there are an incredible amount of cities to celebrate the season. Starting with London, you’ll really see Christmas everywhere you go here. Even the tube stations go all out with different holiday lights and trees. Something special that London does, is create a “Winter Wonderland” in its very own Hyde Park, with free admission to walk through the ultimate transformation of the greenery to a never ending light site. Here they have the ultimate combination of skating rinks to rides to photo ops and more. Lines here are so long that they recommend you ordering your tickets online before actually arriving on site. By doing this, you’ll get a fast pass! This park is one of the most magical places in all of London. Nothing beats it when it comes to Christmas!

Paris

If you’ve seen London, you have to see France! Paris is another great destination to spend your holidays in. Disneyland Paris is a popular tourist attraction during the holiday season. The park is bursting with Christmas colours and you get to meet Father Christmas at the Santa Claus Village!

Berlin

Christmas in Berlin

Next, we move on to Berlin. If you’re not entirely over the Christmas season when December 26th hits the calendar, head on over to this city! In many parts of Germany, they continue to celebrate Christmas until January 6th, as this is the day of the arrival of the Three Kings. Also, you’ll find that it’s the best place to do all of your Christmas shopping! Belgium is known for its Christmas markets all over the World, allowing you to buy the most original presents for your friends and family.

Melbourne

Finally, if you’re in the crowd that likes to escape the snow during the holidays, Melbourne might just be your one stop to a beautiful, warm Christmas time. Melbourne has something called “Candles by Candlelight”. A strong Aussie tradition since 1938. Essentially, people gather outside in a park or other outdoor spaces to sing together a song called “Carlos”, a Christmas carol, by candlelight. This is normally accompanied by a band. Although many cultures have adopted this tradition around the world, the biggest and best place to experience this, is in the country that it started in. Every year, this event is located right in Melbourne at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl.

There are so many cool places to experience around this Christmas season. Experiencing different Christmas cultures and celebrations around the globe makes for a more diverse you. So get out there and see the world during the holidays! Create your own Santa’s Sleigh and travel till your heart feels content.

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Whats New On isango! – November 2014

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The way the world turns means that the northern hemisphere is slowing down as holiday and vacation destinations.  These are the months when warmer climates beckon.  So we bring you some really interesting things to do in exotic places around the world.  To keep the variety we have also picked a snow-packed location for your visiting pleasure.  We hope our choices tempt you to take them up.

Universal Studios Singapore Christmas Celebration Ticket

With its many pleasures Singapore never ceases to delight.  One of its biggest draws over the years is Universal Studios Singapore, especially its Christmas Celebration events.  You can get on thrilling futuristic rides based on blockbuster movies like the Transformers, Shrek 4 and Revenge Of The Mummy.  You will also be treated to fabulous LED light shows and even snowfall every hour.

Universal brings out all its famous and favourite characters for its Christmas bash.  The Sesame Street characters and Toy Soldiers will be out and about. They will be joined by Santa Claus and his elves – of course.

To make your Christmas celebrations at Universal even more enjoyable the Universal Studios Singapore™ Christmas Pass and the Studios Singapore™ Christmas Event Ticket entitles you to several special features. You get to use all the rides and attractions plus enjoy a Free Special Meal. That is not all.  In the evening you will be part of an exclusive and special Christmas event.

Charles Darwin Sunset Dinner Cruise

Darwin enjoys balmy weather and time spent on the water or waterfront can be one of life’s most rewarding experiences.  Get on board our luxury air-conditioned catamaran and cruise Darwin harbor at sunset.  You will cruise past some of Darwin’s historic landmarks such as Government House, State Square, Esplanade and the USS Peary Remembrance Look Out.  Every moment is a photographic opportunity.

The Sunset Dinner Cruise is a spectacular experience.  You can sit back and relax while you cruise the harbor and enjoy a glass of wine and a superb dinner.  Your dinner is just as magnificent as the views.  It is a territory style buffet and will consist of fresh baked bread, prawns, oysters, baked fresh fish (and other seafood), beef fillet, chicken, salads, fresh vegetables and a variety of deserts.

Hong Kong Art Gallery Tour

Hong Kong is recognized for being a commercial hub and a global financial centre.  Its gleaming high-rise towers speak of profit-making and a business first culture.  Happily this is not the whole picture.  Hong Kong has a large and ever growing art scene.  There are more than 200 art galleries to attest to its healthy art scene.

This tour will take you into several art galleries and their exhibitions where you can admire some really fine examples modern art from Chinese and international artists.  You will get insights into artistic trends as well as the Asian art market.  The guide will give you tips on how to value art works, auction tips and how to bargain in the art market.

The tour is a revelation for the art lover, connoisseur and investor and well worth the time.

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Buggy Adventure In Dubai

Dubai now has a well-established reputation as an adventure, sport and outdoor activity destination.  Some of the activities that burnish this standing involve the desert and its challenges.  There are several options to taking on the desert and her magic.

The buggy option is a great one because it is just that bit of an individual and personal adventure.  You can go solo or with a single partner on a roaring 800cc dune buggy across the undulating desert sands.

With a brief introduction and safety instructions you can roar off on your buggy through the trackless desert.  The buggies are fully equipped with a roll cage, bucket seats and a safety harness.

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Snowmobile Adventure – Winter Kingdom, Iceland

This is one for the adventure minded.  Every trip is unique as the guide will take you where the best snow is and that condition and location changes from day to day.  To use the often-repeated phrase ‘once in a lifetime’ a Snowmobile trip across an Icelandic glacier is well and truly that and some more!

Skimming across the snow and the stunning Icelandic scenery on a powerful snowmobile is one you will not forget. This high-speed adventure takes you to glaciers and other places you will not be able to access on foot.

Your adventure will take you up to and on Langjökull Glacier, Iceland’s second largest.  From here you can see the highest mountain in west Iceland, the domed Hofsjökull glacier, and the Kerlingafjöll Mountains.Reykjavik_8068_1

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Top 5 Adventure Activities in Australia

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If there is one country that can turn your vacation into an everyday adventure then Australia is the place that does it.  From the outback to the great cities; from tropical forests to the Great Barrier Reef; from picturesque green rolling hills to snow capped mountains – Australia has it all.   You will have unforgettable experiences in one of the world’s greatest holiday destinations.

So come let us share with you some of Oz’s greatest experiences.

Sydney Harbour Bridge Dawn Climb

Most of the time you drive across it, sail under it, view it from the window of an airliner.  There is however, one experience related to the Sydney Harbour Bridge you simply cannot miss out on.  And that is doing a Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb.  It is a 3 hour thrill like no other.  You climb the world-famed icon to the summit of its arch at 134 metres with the city, the harbour spread out below and gorgeous sky above.

Our tour is led by experts and you will be provided with a bridge suit, communication equipment, safety harness, lanyards and headlamp.  All you need to bring are your sunglasses, and sense of adventure – we’ll provide the rest!  We will also present you with a certificate and photo after the climb.

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You could also try out the following climbs.

·       The Day Climb

·       The Night Climb

·       The Twilight Climb

·       The Express Climb

Outer Barrier Reef Cruise with Diving – From Cairns

The Great Barrier Reef is one of nature’s most incredible and colourful creations. Words cannot describe it and has to be seen to be truly appreciated.  The Reef covers over 2,600 kilometres of coral cays, wall drop-offs, deep caverns and shoals of tropical fish that will make this adventure to the depths of the ocean an exciting one.

Our cruise takes you in comfort and style on a luxury reef craft. The dive part of the cruise is led by expert instructors.  We provide all the equipment and after a brief introduction you dive down to a dazzling underwater world filled with colour and infused by the sea’s magic.

You will also be treated to a buffet lunch and afternoon tea.

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Tully River Rafting Excursion – From Cairns

The Tully River is a mighty raging beast.  Just looking at its racing waters is enough to get your pulse pounding and the adrenaline gushing.  It is a rush you have to experience to truly come alive.  Running between wild towering rock walls and a rainforest the Tully offers Grade 4 rapids that will have your heart racing as fast as the waters.

Expert rafting guides will lead you along 12 kilometres of the Tully River for a memorable experience.  Remember to bring a swimming costume (you will get wet!) and a towel.  Wear lace up shoes.

After your tussle with the river you can enjoy a sizzling and delicious BBQ lunch on the banks of the Tully.

Helicopter Ride Over Uluru and Kata Tjuta

Spectacularly red, Uluru, better known as Ayers Rock, is located in Australia’s Northern Territories.  The world’s largest massive single rock stands majestically in the National Park along with the Kata Tjuta rock domes.  This is a UNESCO World Heritage area.  Both these rocky formations are sacred to the Anangu Aborigines.

Even if you walked around and up to its summit you will not get a true perspective of this amazing rock structure.  To get that perspective you need to see it from the air.  From the bubble window of a helicopter you can marvel at the wonderful arid land and wonder at the fiery red desert.  Bring your camera to capture this magnificent land.

Uluru-Ayers-Rock_7702_4

Scenic Hot Air Balloon Flight – From Cairns

Don a pair of dark glasses and a peaked hat and pack your camera.  Carried by the wind with silence for your companion a hot air balloon ride is like none other you have embarked upon.

Cairns-and-Port-Douglas_7523_1

Take off at dawn from Cairns, the hot air ballooning capital of the world, and watch the sunrise.  Your balloon will carry you on a romantic ride over the Cairns Highlands and the picturesque Atherton Tablelands.  Your photographs and the commemorative certificate at the end of the ride will ensure that you never forget this breathtaking aerial experience.

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Groove to the beats of Sunburn Goa 2014

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Picture this. On a pleasant December afternoon in Goa, you ride a scooter, which you have hired from a local boy, on the winding roads of Goa. As you enjoy the cool breeze brushing your face, you feel a vibration running through your spine and electro beats intermingling with the sound of the waves. That’s when you know that you have arrived in the land of Sunburn, Asia’s biggest Electronic, Dance and Music (EDM) festival.

There is no better way to round up the year with high voltage electro beats in the sun kissed sands of Vagator, a beach village in North Goa. In its seventh season, Sunburn Goa gets bigger and better as it will have the biggest ever line-up of over 150 artistes in the upcoming edition, to be held from December 27 to December 29, 2014.

goa sunburn

Sunburn Goa started off in 2007 and became a retreat where music, entertainment, dance, food, party and lifestyle came together. In its seventh year, it has become world’s fourth largest music festival. It has brought together renowned DJs from around the world attracting audiences from every nook and corner of the world. Some of the leading DJs who have performed over the years are Carl Cox, Axwell, Simon Dunmore, Gareth Emery, John 00 Fleming, Roger Sanchez and Paul Van Dyk, to name a few.

When in Goa for Sunburn, join the EDM extravaganza at 12 noon when the party begins, and groove to the knocks and thumps of electronic and trance till 10 pm at night when it ends for the day.  For those three days there won’t be any moment when the tempo goes down as one artist/ band after another perform and the crowds go maniacal on the music. After sunset, the music is amplified by the psychedelic laser lighting that seems to ricochet off of every surface, creating an almost dream-like effect.

The otherwise peaceful Vagator beach offers an amazing setting to the festival, with flat land, unruffled grassy slopes and a rocky cliff, where the stage is set up. The spectacular sunset adds to the beauty of the entire seascape.

goa

If you want to take a break from the music, you can try out the other stuff that Sunburn offers. Apart from the music events, it also hosts activities like bungee jumping, rappelling and rock-climbing, hot air balloon rides and ‘Sunburn cruises’ on yachts. Also, there will be a large open-air cinema theatre, dance machines, a library and a kite festival going on alongside the main programme.

If you are making a plan to catch up with Sunburn Goa 2014, this year’s line-up includes artists like Bauuer, Dimitri  Vegas & Like Mike, DubVision, Far Too Loud, Krewella, Oliver Dollar, Paul Oakenfold, Avalon and Damian Lazarus, amongst many others.

During your stay at Goa, you can also enjoy eating at the many shacks and restaurants located on the beach. Also there are several guesthouses around the area where you can search for accommodation and regular taxis operate at all times.

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5 Places That Make New Zealand the Perfect Honeymoon Destination

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After that perfect wedding, all you would want is a honeymoon that can match up to it. As you make a list of the possible honeymoon destinations, New Zealand should be on top, as romance exudes from every nook and corner of this tiny country. Whether you prefer a quiet getaway within a serene landscape or an adventurous retreat, New Zealand has it all!

Honeymoon in New Zealand

Need some help? We list five experiences that will make your honeymoon unforgettable!

Waiheke Island

Toast yourselves with a palatable local vintage in this picturesque island. Just a short cruise away from Downtown Auckland, the island is scattered with vineyards and olive groves. Walk hand-in-hand amidst the rolling vineyards while enjoying breathtaking views or visit one of the several wineries and indulge in wine tasting sessions.

The Waiheke Island also boasts about picturesque bays and safe beaches which give you ample opportunities to bask in the sun and treat yourself with some lone time with each other.

Milford Sound

Take your better half in your arms as you absorb in the beauty of these Southland fiords. Sheer cliffs, beautiful waterfalls and towering peaks, make it the perfect romantic escapade. An overnight cruise amidst the Milford Sound and a delectable candle light dinner is just what you need for an unforgettable experience. Milford Sound may be synonymous with rains, but that adds to the magnificence of the place as you will see cascading waters from the rocks under a misty grey sky.

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The rainforests of Auckland

Move over from the busy metropolis and lose yourself in the wilderness of the rainforests. The serenity and beauty of the forests makes for a perfect romantic sanctuary. Top it up with a walk in the beach which will surely drift you from all worldly cares!

Bay of Islands

Settle in for a romantic escapade at the bewitching Bay of Islands where the skies are a brilliant blue and the sea sparkles like diamonds. The place assures an utterly calming and relaxing honeymoon experience. If you are seeking an exciting expedition, you can go culture trotting at historic Waitangi, birthplace of the New Zealand nation. Otherwise a cruise through the azure waters to Cape Brett Lighthouse is completely aphrodisiac!

Gondola ride in Queenstown

Spirit away on top of Queenstown as you soar to new heights in a gondola. Gaze at the breathtaking panoramic views of the visually stunning landscape. See the city twinkle like stars under your feet! Being the adventure capital of New Zealand, Queenstown is for the energetic newly-weds. After the Gondola ride, you can either indulge in activities like skiing, sky diving and snowboarding or party in its many clubs.

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Xel-Ha – No Ordinary Water Theme Park

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Xel-Ha is one of those brilliant accidents – where nature’s handiwork meets man’s creativity.  It is located on Mexico’s Caribbean coast and 75 miles (122km) south of gorgeous Cancun.  The drive to Xel-Ha is just an hour and a half down the coast from Cancun.  It is a wonderful, breath-taking scenic trip.

Named after the nearby Mayan archaeological site, the Xel-Ha theme park opened in 1984.  Since then, the popularity of its facilities and attractions has never flagged drawing people from all over the world.

The Xel-Ha park area is created by the ox-bow curve of the coast and peppered with numerous tiny islands.  The area is pockmarked with numerous caves and grottoes.  The incredibly blue waters are populated by innumerable varieties of fantastically coloured tropical fish and underwater plants.  The waters are a mix of fresh underwater springs and the ocean’s salty variety adding to its amazing allure.  It is without doubt the world’s largest and most beautiful natural aquarium.

The sea-side of the park is protected by a shark fence making it safe for snorkelling, scuba diving and swimming.  The top attraction in Xelh-Ha is the opportunity to swim and interact with the super-friendly dolphins. You can hug these endearing creatures, which are not averse to giving you kisses or a speed thrill by pushing you over the water on their snouts.

There are other thrills to be enjoyed at Xel-Ha.  For the daring there is the Trepachanga, a river crossing activity where you hang on tightly to one rope while trying to keep your balance on another.  Then there is the zip-bike ride that has you soaring over the jungle giving you a bird’s eye view while making your heart race.  Test your grit at the Stone of Courage as you jump off a rock into the crystal clear waters below.

The fun and adventure is topped off with a trip to the buffet tables for a mouth-watering breakfast and lunch.  The choices are huge – international cuisine, sea foods and Mexican foods.

Spending the day at Xel-Ha is an experience that will beat most others hands down.

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Sydney – Tops Down Under

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The city of Sydney and its suburbs are spread around of the world’s largest natural harbours.  Its near perfect characteristic curve is located on the south-east coast of Australia on the Tasman Sea.  It is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse cities in the world.  It is also one of the most beautiful.

It is a city that has it all – a boisterously interesting history; great natural features and a vibrant art, fashion and cultural scene.  It is the site of two of the world’s most famous and outstanding man-made structures in the world – the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House.  To crown it all, it sits alongside miles and miles of fantastic golden sandy beaches, which are visited by some of the best surfing waves in the world.

SydneyBridge

For a visitor, Sydney has a bewildering choice of things to see and do.  Just touring the harbour area will take days.  There are other things to do as well though such as climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge  or taking a guided tour of the Opera House. This is a fascinating way to spend the day as you explore the unique design and engineering of the building, the Concert Hall and its acoustics.

Harbour cruises are a terrific way to experience the city because you get to visit Fort Denison, Taronga Zoo, Luna Park, Shark Island (so called for its shape), Darling Harbour and the Maritime Museum.  Night cruises across the harbour with a gourmet dinner are an exquisite experience too.

Once you have done the harbour you could make your way to the glorious shimmering sands of Bondi Beach.  A dip in Bondi’s clear blue waters alongside the beautiful people should be top of your list of things to do.  The other major attraction is the Royal National Park, known by Sydneysiders as the ‘Nasho’

 Sydney’s nightlife is enviable and must be sampled.  It is effervescent yet laid back in true Oz style.  Its bars, clubs, performing arts and other entertainment options are as diverse as its people and very often on the cutting edge.  But it’s the traditional beer and ‘tucker’ along with the warming friendliness and great charm of its people that sets this magnificent city apart from all others.  Whatever your style, sparkling Sydney is always entertaining.

SydneyNightlife

 Best Time To Visit

From a weather perspective the best time to visit Sydney is September to early December.  Other times to visit are February to April.  During both these periods, the weather is pleasant and the temperatures moderate.  December to February is the peak tourist months.

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Oktoberfest 2014, Munich

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It began, bang on time, at 12:00 noon.  Munich’s mayor Herr Dieter Reiter used a wooden hammer to pound a tap into the first Oktoberfest beer barrel at Schottenhamel Beer Tent.  It was the opening act of the Oktoberfest 2014 at Theresienwiese on September 20, 2014 in Munich, Germany.  It was the 181st such occasion of one of the world’s most famous and largest fairs.

The show then kicked off in earnest with a large and colourful parade put on by the tent operators and breweries. Their horse-drawn wagons loaded with huge beer barrels decked with flowers rolled sedately by.  The parade was led by the traditional Münchner Kindl (Munich child) mascot.

Oktoberfest1
Six days into the festivities and about 6 million visitors are expected to attend by the time it ends on Sunday 5th October.  It is also estimated that 6 million litres of beer will go down their thirsty throats.  Somehow that doesn’t seem excessive when you consider the numbers and the drink or bust attitude of attendees.  Folks ‘sleeping it off’ in parks and gardens is one of the more common sights, in the mornings, during Oktoberfest.

Not wanting to give a false picture that Oktoberfest is all about drinking and falling over, there is plenty of other interesting stuff going on all the time.  There is a parade of some kind nearly every day, dancing (traditional and a la carte), music and lots of costumes.  On the fourth day there was the usual special lunch for senior citizens.  The next day there was the solemn yet moving religious Oktoberfest mass.

The men donned their Bavarian best, with hats, braces, Wadlstruempfe stockings and lederhosen and participated in the Parade of Costumes and Riflemen on the second day of the fest.  The ladies on the other hand showed up in traditional Dirndi garb at the funfair tent “Festzeit Tradition.”  They hitched up their pretty bright red skirts and vigorously twirled and kicked their heels on the stage to lively music.

Beer oktoberfest
Comes the evening and night you would be forgiven for thinking that Munich was one overgrown fun fair and theme park.  As dusk gathers, the whole place is lit up by thousands of coloured lights from the beer tents also the blinking and flickering ones from various rides and roller coasters.  It is almost fairytale and Disneyland-ish and looks very pretty.

All this festivity and gathering of people from across the globe was actually sparked off in 1810.  What happens every October began as a wedding celebration for Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese from Saxony-Hildburghausen (hence the name of the Theresienwiese).  The commemoration soon morphed into the Munich Beerfest lasting for 16 days up to the first Sunday in October.

If you are fortunate enough to have got hold of accommodation during the fest and looking to plunge into the action here is what to expect in the coming days.

Sunday      28/9/2014    Traditional concert of brass bands
Tuesday    30/9/2014    Family Day:  All rides and performances are cheaper
Sunday      05/9/2014    12 noon: Traditional gun salute at the Bavaria monument

Timings:
Beer Serving Hours
Opening day 12.00 noon – 10.30 pm
Weekdays 10.00 am – 10.30 pm
Saturday, Sunday & holiday 09.00 am – 10.30 pm

Stall Opening Hours
Opening day 10.00 noon – midnight
Monday – Thursday 10 am – 11.30 pm
Friday 10.00 am – 12.00 midnight
Saturday 9 am – midnight
Sunday 9 am – 11.30 pm

More activities to check out while you are in Munich for the Oktoberfest-

Neuschwanstein Castle

A trip to the Neuschwanstein Castle
A visit to the Oktoberfest Museum
Road trip to Harburg and Rothenburg

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La Tomatina 2014 – The World’s Biggest Food Fight

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It takes a special kind of person to want to get pelted by great big red squishy tomatoes.  Apparently there are literally tens of thousands of folks, around the world, who enjoy this treat.  So when August comes rolling around, they all head off to the normally quiet little Spanish town of Buñol (population: 9,000).  Once there, they take part in what is probably the biggest outdoor voluntary ketchup-making process – using hands, feet and other parts of the body to do so.

If you are planning to participate in this annual saucy affair, there are some things you should know about La Tomatina and its traditions.

La tomatina

Interesting Background Information

•    La Tomatina takes place on the last Wednesday of August, every year.
•    It originated in 1945.
•    Unlike other Spanish festivals, La Tomatina has no religious roots.  It began when some young men were not allowed to participate in the Giants and Big-Heads parade.  They started up a tomato fight in the Plaza del Pueblo becoming an instant success.
•    The fun and games begin when people try to climb a greasy two-storey pole to get hold of a ham tied at the top.
•    The tomato fight takes place in the town centre – the Plaza del Pueblo.
•    Before the event a large number of trucks bring in the tomatoes (generally from the Extremadur area).
•    The actual tomato throwing begins at exactly 11am – signalled by the firing of the canon.
•    The tomato fights last exactly one hour.
•    There are no teams.  It is every man and woman for themselves.
•    The chaos ends when the cannon is fired again.
•    By the end of the fight about 140 tonnes of tomatoes have been flung, squashed and pulped.
•    The town authorities then move in with fire truck and hose down the square to flush the tomato pulp.  The acidity of the tomatoes ensures that the ground is sparkling clean.
•    Since the crowds (over 50,000 in 2012) have grown too large to be accommodated in the Plaza, the town council has started limiting the number of participants by selling only 20,000 tickets.  Each ticket costs €10.
•    No ticket, No Entry!  There is no place to watch the tomato fight.

Tips & Rules
Before you go slinging tomatoes you should know and understand…

•    Squash the tomatoes before you throw.  Others could get hurt.
•    No tomatoes can be thrown after the second cannon shot.
•    No other objects are allowed to be thrown.
•    Watch out ladies!  T-shirts should not be torn off (your own or others) but this is seldom heeded.
•    Wear eye protectors such as goggles.
•    Don’t carry cameras, mobile phones, passports or other important documents.  Actually don’t carry anything.
•    Don’t wear flip-flops.  Instead wear covered shoes that you can discard after the fight.
•    Wear old clothes, or clothes you aren’t planning on wearing again.

After the chaotic fight and clean up, Buñol turns into one big party place with wine, cava and sangria flowing with really loud throbbing music to dance to.  Some organisers and sponsors have taken to organising a La Tomatina after parties.  Incredible!

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