Category Archives: Europe

‘Green light’ for St Patrick’s celebrations around the world!

16 March 2017:  Over 250 iconic landmarks and sites around the world will be illuminated green over the coming days – as part of Tourism Ireland’s 2017 Global Greening initiative to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick.

The annual initiative, now in its eighth year, which sees a host of major landmarks around the world turn green for St Patrick’s Day, has grown from strength to strength, with many new landmarks signing up to take part this year.

Stadiums, statues, castles and towers will go green to celebrate our national day (17 March) with exciting additions for 2017 including the One World Trade Center in New York – the main building of the re-built World Trade Center in New York and the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.

Canadian landmarks going green this year include the Toronto Sign, Casa Loma, Whistler Ski Resort, Calgary Tower, Cabot Tower, The Big Fiddle, the Museum of Nature, the Big Nickel, the Distillery District, the Sails of Lights, the Futalognkosaurus (dinosaur) in the Royal Ontario Museum, Montreal City Hall, Complexe Desjardins, and La Tour McGill.
Click Tourism Ireland’s Global Greenings for footage of the world turning green.

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “This is the eighth year of Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative and each year I am delighted to see even more well-known attractions and landmark sites wishing to get involved. The eagerness of cities and countries everywhere to take part underlines the strength of the deep connection that people all over the world feel to Ireland. More than 70 million people around the world claim links to the island of Ireland and St Patrick’s Day is a truly unique opportunity to reconnect them with their heritage.”

Of course, the ‘greenings’ are just one part of the St Patrick’s Day celebrations. The place to be on 17th March is Ireland where there are two festivals which shouldn’t be missed.

In Dublin, Ireland’s capital city, the ‘St Patrick’s Festival’ will last for four great days, taking in the weekend and running from 16-19 March.  The city will be alive with music, film, arts, dance, culture, fun and even international rugby.

Each year the festival has a different theme with this year’s ‘Ireland We Are’ giving the city a chance to showcase all that Ireland stands for today.  Festival favourites include the world’s largest outdoor céilí, world-class museums hosting free workshops and guided historic walks including famous sites such as the Guinness Storehouse. The main event, the St Patrick’s Festival parade, is held on Friday 17 March in Dublin’s city centre.

In Northern Ireland, the newly curated ‘Home of St Patrick Festival’ celebrates St Patrick, the man and the saint, as one of the world’s most inspiring and loved saints of all time. Taking place in the beautiful landscape of Counties Armagh and Down, which was once Patrick’s home, the festival will culminate on Sunday 19 March with ‘The Voice of the Irish’ closing concert in spectacular Newry Cathedral.

News From Vaud Tourism. Lake Geneva Region. March 2017

Encounter in Vaud

Jean-Yves Cavin – Co-director of the Cully Jazz Festival

The Cully Jazz Festival, which will be celebrating its 35th edition this year, has become an illustrious event thanks to a clever blend of specific ingredients. The recipe isn’t that easy, but it’s a resounding success each year. Co-director and artistic director Jean-Yves Cavin has been able to maintain and improve its preparation. He tells us all about it in this new episode of the video series “Encounters in Vaud” which is produced by the Lake Geneva Region Tourism Office. Internationally reputed artists, a stunning setting, a goodly pinch of art de vivre, passionate winegrowers, charming wine cellars, a welcoming village and a strong sense of hospitality: the Cully Jazz Festival is all that. Be tempted…

Villars – Bretaye / 17.03.17 – 19.03.17

Afterseason Villars Electro FestivalCome and join the best of Electro clubbing at the Maison de Montagne in Bretaye. Swiss and international DJs will perform set after set in a heated tent with an incredible view, perched at an altitude of 1700m overlooking the Dents du Midi.

Leysin / 20.03.17 – 26.03.17

Worldwide Festival

The biggest “British” electronic musical event of the Vaud Alps is held every year in March in the Leysin resort and ski area. Presented by the star of British radio, Gilles Peterson, famous DJs perform for 5 days of musical madness!

Diablerets – Glacier 3000 / 25.03.17 – 26.03.17

Freeride Days

Enjoy the incredible ski region of Glacier 3000, offering powder snow and the motto “freeride for all”. Follow in the footsteps of some of Europe’s best proriders and experienced mountain guides.

Morges / 05.04.17 – 10.04.17

Divinum Wine Fair

Divinum opens its doors to the discovery of some exceptional vineyards as well as tasting of wines from all horizons. Let you guide by the wine-grower artisans whose mission is to satisfy your taste buds and to share with you their passion. Divinum is more than a wine fair, this is an experiment.

Leysin – Les Mosses – La Lécherette

Offer available from 13th March to 18th April 2017

The perfect hotel break !

7 days and 7 nights in the snowy mountains for CHF 710.- For the Easter holiday, from 13th March to 17th April, Leysin – Les Mosses – La Lécherette offer accommodation in a hotel with half-board, plus a daily ski pass (100 km of slopes), entry to the swimming pool as well as price reductions on ski equipment or ski/snowboard classes.

Villars-Gryon – Les Diablerets

Offer available from 1st April 2017 to 17th April 2017

Ski & Snow Fiesta

To celebrate the end of winter and the beginning of spring, Villars-Gryon – Les Diablerets offer a rich programme of music and crazy events from 1 April to 17 April. All that comes with special SkiSnowFiesta offers in some of the hotels, apartments, ski schools and sport shops. A wonderful way to spend the Easter holidays.

UNESCO new World Heritage Site in Stuttgart for Le Corbusier houses

Germany gains 41st UNESCO World Heritage Site

On July 17, 2016, the two Le Corbusier houses at the Weissenhof Estate in the Southern German city of Stuttgart were designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, making it the first World Heritage Site for Stuttgart and the 41st for Germany.
As part of a transnational joint application, Stuttgart and destinations in seven other countries applied to have 17 of Le Corbusier’s buildings listed due to the architect’s outstanding contribution to Modernism. The two Stuttgart houses are the architect’s only buildings in Germany and include the Weissenhof Museum, which illustrates the radical change in architecture around the time of the Second World War as well as Le Corbusier’s visionary thinking.
Germany’s other 40 UNESCO World Heritage Sites include the majestic Cologne Cathedral, the expansive Wadden Sea habitat, Classical Weimar and Regensburg’s charming Old Town. They can be explored on eight different themed routes<http://www.germany.travel/en/towns-cities-culture/unesco-world-heritage/unesco-routes/unesco-routes.html>, from natural wonders to architecture to palaces and parks.
For more information about Germany’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, visit www.germany.travel/unesco.

Toyota Cambridge Assembly Plant Tour

Toyota Visitors Centre
Toyota Visitors Centre

Toyota Cambridge Assembly Plant Tour

It all started with the usual long, one-hour drive out of Toronto, but soon we were there. As we headed in to the visitor centre we discussed our first impressions. Inside the centre we found many exhibits of the Toyota history and models of the past and present. After a short safety video in the conference room we made our preparations to step in to the factory.

Toyota Plant Tours in Canada
Toyota Plant Tours in Canada

As we began the tour we immediately took note of the extreme cleanliness of the factory. Sadly though visitors and employees are not allowed to bring any of their beloved personal electronics into the factory (no selfies), we are not able to show you the amazing robots and technology that were within the factory. Shortly after we climbed in to the trams that would drive us around the plant. The first stop was the west stamping area where they would take massive sheets of steel and use a multi-ton weight to stamp them (these where not in action when we were there).

 

Informative Free Tours to Toyota Plant near Cambridge, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada
Informative Free Tours to Toyota Plant near Cambridge, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada

The stamper had to be supported by concrete to prevent a mini earthquake every time they where in action. After, we visited the main assembly where we saw cars hanging above us as they were coming fresh out of paint, soon we headed to the west weld where the 10 thousand pound “Godzilla” robot moved multi ton cars around. The welding section impressed us with 600 separate robots. After seeing the sparks fly, we headed down to the final assembly line where the cars are started up for the first time. This one-hour super informative trip felt too short as we headed through the final corridor and back to the visitor centre. We where impressed that the Toyoda family built up from being a automated sewing business.

You can arrange the Free tour only week in advance by visiting TMMC.ca webiste or by phone:(519) 653-1111 x 2270 Keep in mind no walk in tours. Printable map of TMMC

Downloadable Toyota Tours brochure

16 weird and wonderful things to do in 2016 in WALES!

As Wales celebrates its Year of Adventure in 2016, VisitWales had highlighted 16 unique things to do in the destination – discover your own adventure! Choose from trampolining in a slate mine, experimenting with seaweed, catch some waves inland, find the world’s biggest Elvis festival and try to pronounce Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch…and much much more!

The Gobbins opens for dramatic cliff walks! Ireland News.

Gobbins(Toronto, ON – 04 Sept 2015) – Visitors to Northern Ireland’s famous Causeway Coastal Route now have the opportunity to experience an exhilarating walk to awaken the senses, above crashing waves on a spectacular cliff path over the Irish Sea. The Gobbins coastal walk experience, first enjoyed in 1902 by the Edwardians has now opened the doors to a modern cliff path to delight those who wish to experience the coast up close.

The magnificently restored Edwardian attraction features a series of tubular and suspension bridges, a staircase, caves and tunnels carved through the County Antrim basalt coast.

It offers a thrilling mix of rugged beauty, spectacular views, heritage, flora and fauna.

The route offers not just a walk along a cliff top but also includes metal bridges & water-splashed gantries installed along sheer cliff faces as well as below sea-level experiences of the caves and the bridges.
The Gobbins’ geologically diverse landscape is straight out of Game of Thrones and is actually in the vicinity of locations used in the filming of the hit TV show.

With access by guided tour, the journey begins at a state of the art visitor centre, from where walkers are transferred to the cliff path by minibus. Tours begin on the hour currently from 10am to 3pm daily. The full excursion including the visitor centre can take up to 3-4 hours. The walk is bracing and refreshing, and suitable for people of normal fitness levels.

Those not wishing to walk the path can still enjoy the stunning views and at the visitor centre learn about The Gobbins through an exhibition on the building of the path, its history from Edwardian times and the local geology and ecology. There is also a coffee shop and gift shop.

Only a 40 minute drive from Belfast, The Gobbins coastal path is in Islandmagee, a narrow peninsula just at the beginning of the world-famous Causeway Coastal Route and close to the famous Blackhead light house.

The area is an idyllic holiday spot and home to the Giant’s Causeway, the Glens of Antrim, Bushmills Distillery, Rathlin Island and miles of golden sand and loads of water-based activity. Walking the spectacular Gobbins Cliff path will now be a must for those touring Northern Ireland’s famous Causeway coastal route.

The Gobbins was originally designed by visionary engineer Berkeley Dean Wise and built in 1902. Its name comes from the Irish An Gobain, meaning ‘the points of rock’.

About Tourism Ireland:
Tourism Ireland is responsible for promoting the island of Ireland as a leading vacation destination for Canadians. In 2014, a record number of Canadians visited the island of Ireland. Ireland offers a wealth of experiences for travelers with scenic landscapes; vibrant cities; an abundance of culture and historical experiences; and world-class hospitality. For more about visiting Ireland go to www.ireland.com
www.gobbinscliffpath.com (http://ireland.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=107d4f82c3f67d157e09a3684&id=5534ba1d40&e=e11a1b6da8)

GREAT Value: 10 Free, Affordable and Unique Tours in Britain

6724There are so many free or affordable walking tours to choose from in Britain, delving into subjects from literature and art, to music and LGBT heritage. Get your walking shoes on!

  1. Charles Dickens walk around London – Free App

Follow the author’s footsteps around London with this app. You’ll be guided by GPS with suggestions for pubs along the way. Approximately two hours, search for ‘Walking with Dickens’ in the app store. www.dickenslondontours.co.uk

  1. The World Heritage Site Audio Tour of Bath, England – Free

Take yourself on a journey through Bath’s captivating sights, such as The Royal Crescent and Assembly Rooms. The tour comes with a free route map and 12 chapters/audio files. www.visitbath.co.uk

  1. Shakespeare Tour of Stratford upon Avon, England – $12 (£6)

Walk in William Shakespeare’s footsteps where he was born and buried. Highlights include the River Avon, Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Holy Trinity Church. Approximately two hours. www.stratfordtownwalk.co.uk

  1. Banksy tour of Bristol, England – $18.50 (£9.20)

Fans of provocative artist Banksy will love this street-art tour. What’s special about this tour is that the guides live and work in the local street art community. Approximately two hours. www.wherethewall.com/tours

  1. Food tour of East London – Pay What You Want

Eat like a king while spending only a few pounds. Sample samosas, taste the fish and chips voted ‘Best in London’ and peruse the hippest food trucks. Approximately two hours, suggested sampling cost $20-30 (£10-15). www.freetoursbyfoot.com

  1. LGBT Heritage tour of Manchester, England – $16 (£8)

Follow the stone rainbow flags to discover 200 years of LGBT life. Tour includes Mantos, the Gay Villages first openly gay bar and the statue of Alan Turing, the World War 2 mathematician persecuted for his homosexuality. Approximately 2 hours. www.manchesterguidedtours.com

  1. Mural Tour of Derry, Northern Ireland – $8 (£4)

Derry is divided culturally by hundreds of years of conflict by opposing religions. This historical tour explores the artistry and religious and political statements. Plus there’s free tea or coffee! Approximately one hour. www.derrycitytours.com

  1. Fear and Loathing in Cardiff tour, Wales – $12 (£6)

Wandering among Cardiff’s glorious gothic revival architecture, this tour takes in treachery, torture, execution, war, battles and piracy. Approximately two hours. www.cardiffwalkingtours.com

  1. Musical tour of Glasgow, Scotland – Free

Tour Glasgow to a soundtrack that features interviews with bands like Mogwai. You’ll find Franz Ferdinand’s Chateau and discover Glasgow’s cool underground scene. Download the tour through the Guidigo app and search for ‘Walking Heads.’ Four walks, all approximately one hour. www.walkngheads.net

  1. Rebus tour of Edinburgh, Scotland – $20 (£10)

Ian Rankin explores contemporary Edinburgh in his best-selling crime novels. Led by entertaining and knowledgeable guide Colin, the tour takes in locations featured in the books. Approximately two hours. www.rebustours.com

For more deals and discounts visit the VisitBritain Shop: https://www.visitbritainshop.com/

Info provided by:  Cathy Stapells

24 Free Things To Do In Britain

Visit Britain

1. Many British museums and galleries offer free entry. Try former brewery The Tetley for modern art in Leeds, northern England or, for something tangier, Colman’s Mustard Museum in Norwich, eastern England. There’s also the British Museum, National Gallery, Tate Britain, Tate Modern in London, Tate Liverpool in… Liverpool (unsurprisingly) and hundreds more. http://thetetley.org, www.mustardshopnorwich.co.uk

2. Similarly, few of Britain’s famous churches levy visitors. Consider the Romanesque splendour of Durham Cathedral in northeastern England, or, in December, King’s College Chapel’s famous Christmas Eve carol service in Cambridge, an hour above London via train. Start queuing before 9am to guarantee entry. www.durhamcathedral.co.uk, www.kings.cam.ac.uk

3. While paid-for boat trips out into southwestern Wales’ Cardigan Bay give visitors the best chance of watching dolphins, climbing to the overlooking village of Mwnt makes an ace budget alternative. www.discoverceredigion.co.uk

4. Tickets to many BBC shows in London, Sheffield, Birmingham, Belfast and other cities aren’t priced; check www.bbc.co.uk/showsandtours/tickets/index.html for the latest availability.

5. Peckish? Entry to August’s Clitheroe Food Festival in northwestern England is gratis, as are its demos and near-limitless sampling nibbles. clitheroefoodfestival.com

6. There’s no charge for staring at the Cerne Abbas Giant, a huge chalk sculpture in Dorset, southern England, and one of Britain’s finest man-made landmarks. Nor at Hadrian’s Wall, which spans the length of far northern England. www.nationaltrust.org.uk, www.visitnorthumberland.com

7. A true Northern Irish landmark, the 125ft-high Scrabo Tower has wondrous views over Strangford Lough, just south-east of Belfast. No disbursement is needed to climb up. www.discovernorthernireland.com

8. Or there are complimentary natural wonders. Up in Scotland, Ben Nevis is the UK’s highest mountain, but can be climbed in four hours. Ninety minutes’ drive west of Cardiff, Wales’s Rhossili Bay is a regular in charts of the world’s best beaches. http://ben-nevis.com, www.visitswanseabay.com

9. Look out for Common Blues and rare Marsh Fritillaries for no cost at Dunsdon Nature Reserve in south-western England: the marshy meadows attract hosts of butterflies, particularly in May and June. www.devonwildlifetrust.org

10. One of the Northern Irish capital’s grandest buildings, Belfast City Hall offers free, one-hour tours (Monday-Friday, 11am, 2pm & 3pm; Saturdays 2pm & 3pm) on a first-come, first-served basis. www.belfastcity.gov.uk

11. A fun, modern form of treasure-hunting, geocaching necessitates only a GPS device (i.e. your phone) and some common sense. Themed trails can act as an introduction to scenic British spots – for example, the Brecon Beacons Collection in eastern Wales. www.geocaching.com

12. When a major auction house – Christie’s in London, say, or Birmingham’s Fellows – has a big sale, why not go and view the lots, posing as a would-be buyer? No dues are required to do so. www.christies.com, www.fellows.co.uk

13. While some Banksy works sell for millions, others by the mysterious graffiti artist remain open to all. Follow a Banksy Walking Tour around Bristol to spy some of the best-remaining pieces, beginning with The Grim Reaper on a harbourside houseboat. http://visitbristol.co.uk.

14. Alternatively, head to Crosby Beach, near Liverpool, to see the Another Place installation: 100 ghostly, life-size iron figures by sculptor Antony Gormley, sprawling almost one kilometre out to sea. www.visitliverpool.com

15. Free guided walks, taking in the iconic Royal Crescent, are available in Bath, southwestern England. Further north, choose between culture and architecture by downloading the no-cost Manchester Walking Tours app to your iPhone. www.bathguides.org.uk, https://itunes.apple.com

16. Every August, Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival incorporates thousands of freebie arts shows – drama, comedy, cabaret, spoken word and so on. Wander the city’s cobbled Royal Mile to collect flyer invitations. www.edfringe.com

17. Other than the expenditure of hiring a two-wheeler, Britain’s bicycle routes are free to enjoy. An hour from London, the Crab & Winkle Way is a leafy, seven-mile former railway line linking cathedral city Canterbury with the oyster-fishing hub of Whitstable. www.sustrans.org.uk

18. How about a free festival? There’s London’s famous Notting Hill Carnival on the August Bank Holiday weekend, or the Cardiff Summer Festival, a blur of street theatre, music and funfair rides. http://thenottinghillcarnival.com, www.cardiff-festival.com

19. City farms will delight small children, with pattable horses, mucky pigs and cuddly little lambs. There’s one within Birmingham’s Sheldon Country Park and also Rice Lane in Liverpool; entry to both is on the house. http://birmingham.gov.uk, http://ricelanecityfarm.org.uk

20. While Stonehenge charges visitors, Northern Ireland’s equivalent does not. The seven Beaghmore Stone Circles, a 90-minute drive west from Belfast, are wild and atmospheric; one, known as Dragon’s Teeth, boasts some 800 separate slabs. www.discovernorthernireland.com

21. One of Britain’s classic royal spectacles, Changing of the Guard ceremonies outside London’s Buckingham Palace don’t cost a penny to view. www.changing-the-guard.com

22. Just up the Norfolk coast is Britain’s best seal hotspot. Take a long-lens camera to Blakeney Point’s saltmarshes in December and you’ll get to see hundreds of cute grey seal pups. www.nationaltrust.org.uk

23. During September weekends in Scotland, Doors Open Days scheme enables complimentary access to a variety of heritage sites, buildings, farms and more. Last year’s highlights included Glasgow Cathedral and creative offices at Dundee’s waterfront District 10 development. www.doorsopendays.org.uk

24. Sure, some of Wales’ 400 castles impose an entry tariff; but not the little-known Dryslwyn – despite the fabulous Towy Valley views from its regal hilltop perch. http://cadw.wales.gov.uk

How to spend a wonderful sommertime in the Lake Geneva Region ?

«Encounters in Vaud»
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Marie-France Meylan Krause – Director of the Roman sites and museum of Avenches
A 2,000 year-old town, as dynamic and fascinating as ever? That’s Avenches, of course. Let yourself get carried away by the passion of Marie-France Meylan Krause, the director of the Roman sites and museum of Avenches and discover this Roman town, whose ancient walls still vibrate to the sounds of major festivals taking place there: Opera Festival (http://www.avenchesopera.ch/fr) , Rock Oz’Arènes (http://2015.rockozarenes.com/en/) and Avenches Tattoo (http://www.avenchestattoo.ch/en) . A unique experience.

http://www.montreuxjazzfestival.com/en#top
49th Montreux Jazz Festival
Created in 1967 by Claude Nobs, the Montreux Jazz Festival from 3rd to 18th July, has become one of the leading cultural events of the planet. For two weeks, the Montreux Jazz Festival offers an exceptional venue to musicians, a moment suspended in an intimate setting where history continues to be written each year.
More info… (http://www.montreuxjazzfestival.com/en#top)
http://lausanne.diamondleague.com/en/home/
Athletissima
This athletics meeting, which is a member of the Diamond League and was listed as number 1 worldwide in 2012, has acquired international prestige over the years. Some 250 elite athletes from more than 70 countries are expected to participate. The event is held at the Pontaise Olympic Stadium in Lausanne on the 9th of July.
More info… (http://lausanne.diamondleague.com/en/home/)
http://yeah.paleo.ch/en
Paléo Festival
The Paléo Festival Nyon from 21st to 26th July, has become a must-attend music event in Europe. Each year, more than 200 concerts and shows are performed for the 230,000 spectators gathered on the 84 hectares of festival grounds. Each edition features unforgettable shows and architectural and artistic installations.
More info… (http://yeah.paleo.ch/en)
http://www.aupaysdesenfants.ch/en/
3rd Land of Children Festival
This event is especially dedicated to children, but not only! Families and groups of friends enjoy it too: laughter and fun guaranteed! Shows, entertainment, workshops and many other surprises to be discovered during the 9 festival days from 25th July to 2nd August held in Château d’Oex, Rougemont and Rossinière.
More info… (http://www.aupaysdesenfants.ch/en/)

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Belfast Zoo takes delivery of critically endangered dragon

Belfast Zoo takes delivery of critically endangered dragon

~ Finale of advertising campaign to showcase Northern Ireland to millions of Game of Thrones® fans worldwide ~
Dragon in Belfast Zoo
(Toronto, ON – 09 June 2015) – Following months of negotiations, Belfast Zoological Gardens (BZG) is delighted to welcome the arrival of a critically endangered dragon at Belfast Zoo.
Considered all but extinct, the animal is housed in a specially designed enclosure, and where possible, his prey will be sourced from outside the zoo’s own collection.
The infant male currently has a wing-span of 10ft, but when fully grown his skull alone will measure up to 23ft.
Belfast Zoo Manager Mark Challis said: “We’re thrilled to have such an exceptionally rare creature here at Belfast Zoo. This dragon is an important addition not only for us, but for Northern Ireland as a whole. Despite their fearsome reputation and fabled ability to burn entire cities to ashes, we’d like to reassure the residents of Belfast that our keepers have received expert training, and we’re looking forward to seeing him thrive in his new environment.”

The animatronic dragon, which is operated by two controllers, marks the culmination of a campaign by Tourism Ireland in partnership with HBO® to promote Northern Ireland as the home of Game of Thrones®, and capitalize on the rise of screen tourism.
On Tuesday 9th June, visitors to the zoo can expect to see ‘dragon feeding time’, and watch the chief vet give him a checkup. Other events in the series have captured the imagination of Game of Thrones® fans, with some tracking down the stunts within hours of them going live. Video clips have attracted millions of views online.

For more visit www.ireland.com