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Archive for December, 2011

A Beach in Winter

By Linda Tancs

A haven for beachgoers might not immediately jump to mind as a place to count down the New Year–that is, unless you’re in Ravenna, Italy.  Now in its fifth year, Sea in Winter offers travelers the opportunity to enjoy a sea-centered holiday season.  Enjoy the sand-made Nativity at the marina, Sunday shopping tours through January, art shows, yachting, and a BBK disco-sponsored New Year’s Eve celebration.  Of course, Ravenna was the seat of the Roman Empire in the fifth century and then of Byzantine Italy until the eighth century.  Boasting a unique collection of early Christian mosaics and monuments, there’s enough to keep you busy while you revel in the New Year.  Buon anno!

Ski Tours of the Dolomites

By Linda Tancs

Alpine fever is at a peak in the Dolomites, where travelers enjoy some of the best on-piste ski touring in the world.  Not just a summer haven for hikers and climbers, the peaks afford some 16 skiing tours through 12 different ski resorts with runs enough for every experience range.  With variety like that, why not take the family on a ski safari?  You’ll explore the Dolomites entirely on skis, moving from hut to hut each night.  Of course, there’s also snowshoeing and backcountry skiing for those wanting a more relaxed vibe.   The Dolomites cover 90,000 acres of the Italian Alps.  Go ahead, pick your piste.

Your Own Private Idaho

By Linda Tancs

The idllyic surroundings of Musha Cay and the Islands of Copperfield Bay may seem like an illusion but that first step into the natural nirvana of the monkey jungle assures you that it’s all very real.  The jungle is only one of several hidden exotic locations on Musha Cay and the surrounding islands, a Bahamas retreat owned and designed by magician and entertainer David Copperfield.   Hosting up to only 24 guests at any given time (at a rate of $37,500 per day with a four-night minimum), this ultra-luxe experience delivers the kind of magical moments only the likes of Copperfield could provide.  Are you ready for a wonder-full experience?

Kayak Race in Australia Ends the Year

By Linda Tancs

Along Australia’s mighty Murray River from Yarrawonga to Swan Hill comes the Murray Marathon.  One of the world’s largest annual kayak races, the event is a 404 km, five day flat-water race along the Murray River, which borders Victoria and New South Wales.  The YMCA Victoria fundraiser begins on 27 December and heads downstream through Tocumwal, Picnic Point, Echuca, Torrumbarry and Murrabit before finishing in Swan Hill on New Year’s Eve.  Just in time for a festive rendering of Auld Lang Syne.

The Hotel Tell-All

By Linda Tancs

Are you in search of the bare naked truth about your next travel destination? Is the beach really as pristine as those sun-kissed glossies would suggest?  Wonder no more.  At Oyster, they aim to expose those photo fakeouts that could upend your next holiday.  Oyster visits hotels undercover and takes hundreds of photos of each hotel so their members can see the truth before they book–from Bermuda to Botswana.  As the saying goes, the world is your Oyster.

First Time Opening of London Mansion

By Linda Tancs

Two Temple Place, the neo-gothic mansion on London’s Embankment once owned by financier William Waldorf Astor, has opened to the public for the first time.  Now an exhibition space, the magnificent dwelling will also be the first venue in London to showcase regional collections.  Admission to the gallery is free.

A Christmas Celebration at Winchester Cathedral

By Linda Tancs

The choristers of Winchester Cathedral have toured to international acclaim.  Today and 22 December are your chances to make beautiful music with them at the free carol service.  In this historic setting representing the seat of Anglo-Saxon and Norman power, you’ll bear witness to 15 centuries of English history.  The cathedral is also the final resting place for literary great Jane Austen.  And as she so aptly put it, may your Christmas abound in the gaieties which that season generally brings.

Eye on Blackpool

By Linda Tancs

Blackpool is a seaside borough in northwest England.  Heavily dependent on tourism, its newly regenerated Promenade features, among other things, a reopening of its iconic, Eiffel-esque tower.  After a 10-month restoration project, the structure boasts an entertainment complex befitting any tourist destination, including a dungeon and 4D cinema.  But nothing beats the panoramic view of the Eye, the refurbished observation deck with views rivaling London’s famous wheel.  On a clear day you can see forever, as the song goes.

The Artist Behind Brazilian Architecture

By Linda Tancs

Today is the 104th birthday of Oscar Niemeyer, a Brazilian architect specializing in international modern architecture.   His whimsical creations include the concrete hyperboloid Cathedral of Brasilia and the UFO-like Museo de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói across the bay from Rio.  You could plan a tour of Brazil solely around his works alone as this list of Niemeyer buildings will attest.

A Titanic Cruise Fare

By Linda Tancs

Following the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic in April next year, Horizon & Co. will mark the occasion with a series of space-limited excursions to her final resting place.  In July and August, the company will offer three opportunities to visit the wreck site and dive down in a deep sea submersible unit to explore the vessel close up on the ocean floor.  For an experience like that, expect to pay a titanic sum–that is, from $66,257 for submarine divers or $12,498 for non-submarine divers.  If those numbers give you pause, consider the effects of inflation.  In 1912, a first class suite on Titanic was around $4300; that’s $50,000 or so in today’s money.

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