We go to Italy to admire the scenery, to gorge on the pasta, to saver the glorious gelaterias and, most of all, to taste the dolce vita first hand. It doesn’t immediately strike us as a location for extreme water sports, or as a place where we might meet our maker, which makes Lake Garda all the more pleasant a surprise.
Come dusk or dawn, the glittering surface of the lake will be littered with eager sailors and windsurfers zipping around the edge of the water, making it appear effortless. It isn’t. As any amateur windsurfer well knows, it requires brute strength to lift the sail from its resting position on the water’s surface, and a keen sense for when to twist and turn the sail to keep you from careering into a passing boat. There are a number of watersports companies dotted around the lake to give you more official instructions.
Another activity that will be loved by the active traveller is canyoning. If you’ve never been, canyoning essentially entails jumping off cliff faces, scrambling across slippery rocks and cascading down waterfalls into pools of water. Again, this is definitely an activity that needs instruction, and you’ll be able to find several different places to test your metal amongst the gorgeous mountain scenery towards the north of the lake.
Finally, if you happen to have flying experience or know someone who does, get yourself a seaplane lesson. Whilst the lake’s surrounding honey-coloured towns and castles are a spectacle from the ground, the view is all the more absorbing when they look like tiny, model villages from above. These teensy planes can take off and land on the water (just be careful not to take out a stray windsurfer when you do so!)
[Getting there: catch a train from Verona airport and choose a hotel. No need to move accommodation – choose one hotel and hop across the lake via ferry to reach the various hotspots (it’ll save you lugging suitcases everywhere!)]
There are only three months left in 2014, so time to get traveling! Here are some of the world’s most interesting festivals, sorted by date so you can plan accordingly.
September 20 to October 5, 2014
Image source: experiencehermann.com
The world’s largest “volksfest,” it might well be the world’s largest celebration of the wonders of beer. Oktoberfest dates back to 1810, when they held a horse race in celebration of a royal wedding. Evidently everyone enjoyed the drinking so much they decided to do everything again the next year. The horse race has been history (since about 1960) but the beer is still flowing — by the tanker-load. (Oktoberfest visitors consume about 7 million liters in 16 days.)
Oktoberfest takes place on the Munich fairgrounds, officially known as the Teresienwiese but locally called the “Wiesn.” In fact Munich locals call Oktoberfest the “Wiesn” too.
The festival is so popular it can be difficult to find a seat. The beer starts flowing on the dot at 9am during the weekend and 10am during the week, and the minutes before are marked by a bit of a rush for seats in the tents. However weekdays tend to be significantly quieter than the weekends, particularly around lunchtime.
One thing worth noting — while you can dress how you like, Oktoberfest wouldn’t be Oktoberfest without traditional Bavarian dress. Men wear traditional leather shorts (“Lederhosen”) and women a Dirndl dress. (Done right, the Dirndl reveals whether the lady is available: a bow to the right means she’s taken, a bow on the left means she’s available, and a bow on the front means she’s a virgin.)
Grape Throwing Festival
Starts September 28, 2014
Image source: traveltweaks.com
Held every year during the last weekend of September in Mallorca’s Binissalem wine-growing village, the Grape Throwing Festival celebrates the annual grape harvest. The main attractions here are grape-throwing fights, a grape-stomping competition, and lots of fun.
Nobody really knows how the Grape Throwing festival got started. The roots seem to be a harvest celebration after the local residents didn’t know what to do with the fresh-picked grapes that weren’t good enough for winemaking. Nowadays the festival lasts two full weeks with daily grape fights, grape stomping, and a truly enormous amount of wine.
The grape fights are the major attraction (in case you didn’t guess) and start with everyone assembling in the main square of Binissalem village. When the organizers fire a rocket into the air, everyone follows a traditional piper into a field just outside the village, where there’s a large pile of grapes. Someone blows a whistle, and everyone rushes forward to grab some grapes and start throwing them at everyone else.
When the fight is over, visitors are invited back to the town square to savour the local wines, eventually the event turns into a gigantic party.
Sun Festival Abu Simbel
Abu Simbel, Egypt
October 22, 2014
Image source: i.telegraph.co.uk
It’s not just a legend. If you’re looking for a quieter, less party-hearty event, the Sun Festival in Abu Simbel celebrates a remarkable piece of ancient Egyptian engineering. The Abu Simbel temple is designed in such a way that only twice a year does natural sunlight stream into the temple complex and illuminate the statue of the emperor Ramses II. This happens in February and in October — on Rameses’ birthday and coronation day.
During this time people gather around Abu Simbel temple to meditate and see the sunrise. There are also dancing and singing shows put on by the locals marking the event, and the food they serve is simply delicious. (Don’t miss it!)
If you’re a fan of architecture, the festival is particularly worth visiting. While the Abu Simbel temple complex wasn’t known to the West until it was found by a Swiss adventurer in 1812, it’s widely known to be a site of extraordinary beauty and grandeur.
Nassau, The Bahamas
26th December 2014 and 1st January 2015
Image source: s.www.bahamas.yabsta.com
Nassau turns into a giant party during Junkanoo. It happens twice in short succession, on Boxing Day and on New Year’s day. Street parades are the main spectacle, with elaborate floats gliding down the street and music streaming through the air. (In many respects, it’s the Bahamanian answer to Carneval and Mardi Gras.)
People spend months planning and building their floats and costumes, then on parade days cowbells and goatskin drums set the pace for the dancing. Nassau’s parades even have formal judgings and prizes, with groups slotted into different categories. (If you’re a James Bond fan, you’ll remember a Junkanoo parade from “Thunderball.”)
Get the best opportunity to visit the best national parks in the world. National parks have become the best tourist attraction sites globally; here is a list of the best national parks in the world.
Yala National Park
• It is among the best national parks in Sri Lanka. It is a great site for many types of wild animals; however it is majorly known to contain high population of leopards. It has been formed through a collection of other smaller national parks along the south eastern parts of the country. This park contains more than two hundred species of birds and over forty species of mammals and reptiles. It is the best place to explore since it has the best natural environment surrounded with beautiful green forest and rivers.
Central Park, New York
• It is located at the center of New York City in United States of America. Found in Manhattan Town, it is one of the oldest parks that were founded in 1857. It has gained worldwide recognition overtime due to its ability to hold large amounts of mammals, reptiles and bird species. This park covers about 800 acre of land and it is visited by 35 million tourists every year. It contains castles, reservoirs, fountains and many other beautiful features. It has over 500 bird species and over eighty species of mammals and reptiles.
Monsanto Forest Park
• It is located in Lisbon town in Portugal. It is one of the most beautiful parks in the world which covers up-to two thousand four hundred acres of land. Residents and foreigners come all over to this park to view the beautiful skyline of this park. The Monsanto forest is also a beautiful scene for lovers. If you want to spend the best honeymoon with your loved one, then Monsanto forest is your best place to adventure. The park is covered widely by natural trees which gives it the best environment to adventure in.
• It is located in Tel Aviv in Israel. It is one of the largest parks in Israel with over 16 million visitors every year The Park contains extensive resources such as sports arenas, sports courts, gardens, waterfalls, concert venues and beautiful lakes. The park contains a large jungle in the middle with greener pastures and plants. This jungle contains joggers, cyclist and many tourists who take a break with beautiful skylines of the noisy town with beautiful voices of singing birds and the view of boats along the lake side.
• It is located is Los Angele in United States of America. It is situated in the city of Santa Monica and it coves over 4000 acres of land. The park contains a zoo, an observatory, golf courts, venues to be used for concerts and many other attractive trails. Both residents and other foreigner’s visit this park in large numbers with an aim of exploring it. This Park has attractive and well develop venues where meetings can be held by various groups. It is not only a tourist attraction venue but also a place where concerts can be conducted. What then are you waiting for?
• Visit these beautiful parks in the world by getting Sri Lanka Visa today. Get it now and explores more.