Articles

Hitting the Right Notes at Summerfest

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Milwaukee plays host to the world’s largest festival. From late June to early July each year, Summerfest  takes over a 75-acre festival park with over 700 entertainers on 11 stages over an 11 day period. Last year despite a record setting heat wave, Summerfest attracted over 800,000 people participating in one or more days of the festival.

Along with some regional musical acts, this festival also attracts …

Brussels at a Bargain

Those looking for an August getaway without paying the high hotel costs associated with visiting Europe at the height of tourist season might want to consider booking a stay in Brussels. After business-people  frequenting the capital of Belgium and the European Union vacate the city, you can find a range of hotels that offer weekend rates during the weekdays.

Using Brussels as a base, you can then take short day trips via car, boat or …

Spain Celebrates – Summer Festivals and Parties

As the summertime approaches, the Spanish find reason to celebrate. Mark these festive dates for the best bashes on the Iberian Peninsula:

June – Welcome Summer in Mediterranean Spain

June 21, or thereabouts, is generally considered to be the summer solstice in the western world. In Spain, the official spring-to-summer jump is the 23rd of June on Sant Joan’s Day (San Juan in Spanish). The change of the season is celebrated with wild all-night shindigs …

The Flower Festival and Spanish Spring Celebrations

Walking down Barcelona’s Passeig de Gracia the other day, I looked to the horizon and saw green. Spring had sprung while I was updating Twitter, and there it was suddenly, fresh and vibrant on Barcelona tree limbs! It’s hard to say when the people of Spain celebrate the most, as there are festivals and holidays galore throughout the year. However, spring seems to be one of the busiest seasons for fiesta in the country, kicking …

Hopping Through Europe’s Easter Markets

Europe is known for having an extensive and impressive array of Christmas markets, but the seasonal merriment doesn’t have to stop there. In springtime, when flowers, trees and hibernating critters begin to come out of winter hiding, new markets also start to pop up across the continent. Some are devoted mainly to Easter, and all the fuzzy lambs, cheerful bunnies and religious traditions that come with it, while others are more widely in celebration of …

DOs and DONTs: New Year in Valparaiso

Valparaiso, for want of a better word, is a shanty town on the coast of Chile. Starting from its docks, sitting in that all too commonly found water, colored grayish brown by the offal of container ships, it extends up scattered hills away from the sea. The city grows up with them; it’s a bit all over the place – disjointed and beautiful. It makes up a sort of patchwork cloth of a city, with …

Aruba’s Fabulous Flurry of Festivals

Though best known for their colorful Carnival, Aruba has all kinds of cool festivals, annual events, and visitor-inclusive celebrations happening all year round!

Though Carnival lasts for three months, it really doesn’t matter when you visit Aruba as there are all kinds of gala events going on all year-round. And you need never worry about the weather for outdoor festivals: Aruba is outside of the hurricane belt and boasts a balmy average of 85 degrees …

5 Charming Christmas Markets in Germany

Germany has hundreds of Christmas markets – Munich alone has twenty four. Contrary to what many visitors believe, the most charming Christmas markets in Germany are not always the well known ones, but the smaller ones that often have a unique theme. These are often the Christmas markets that are most popular with locals as well.

Esslingen Medieval Christmas Market
Visiting Esslingen’s Medieval Christmas Market feels like stepping into a time machine and coming out …

Sri Lanka: A Paradise Rediscovered

For decades, Sri Lanka was battling political unrest. A civil-war between Tamil insurgents and the Sinhalese government almost destroyed the tourism industry. Then, the tsunami of 2004 devastated certain coastal regions of the country. Luckily, the riots have ended and the coastlines have been restored, and this tear-drop shaped paradise off the Southern coast of India is waiting to be rediscovered by travelers worldwide.

It is easy to list generic enticements to visit Sri Lanka, …

Everybody wants to Eat, Pray, Love (a beginner’s guide to travelling for mind, body and soul)

It’s become the manifesto for people yearning to do something different with their lives. Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestselling book ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ (which tells the story of her journey through Italy, India and Bali to cure herself of depression and feed a hunger to lead a more spiritual life) has encouraged thousands of dissatisfied professionals to up-sticks and head off into the yonder to ‘find themselves’. A journey of discovery, though, is not a one-size-fits-all path. …

Halloween Around the World

Americans mark autumn with two major holidays: Thanksgiving in late November, and Halloween on Oct. 31. The latter is a personal favorite: Ever since I watched It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! as a  child, Halloween has been one of my anchor points for the fall season. Halloween as we know it, with the trick-or-treating and funny costumes, is for all intents and purposes a strictly Western practice. Though it has in recent years spread …

The Mother of All Parties – the Oktoberfest

I KNEW I’d had too much to drink when everyone in the room began to look attractive — all 5,000 of them.

That tall, blond Germanic look can quiver my heart even when it’s perfectly sober. Yet perhaps sinking a bottle and a half of wine single-handedly was bordering on the excessive. But what’s a girl to do when the waiter refuses to prance around delivering one pathetic glass of wine at a time because …

The Witches of Navarra, Spain

Hidden in the Baztan Valley near the southwestern French border and a few miles away from the pristine shores of the Bay of Biscay, sits a little village with a big secret. Removed from the bustle of the Basque Country’s San Sebastian and the glitz of Biarritz, Zugarramurdi is a tranquil town where not too much has happened in the last four-hundred years.

This lush area of Navarra is an ideal blend of French, Spanish …