Held at Church of the Ascension, The Avenue, Wembley from 8pm on Monday 22nd May 2017.
As the season draws to a close, thought turn to a well-earned holiday. No doubt everyone has already made their arrangements for this summer but just in case you're still in need of inspiration, here are a few ideas you may wish to consider, along with some of the more unusual attractions these places have to offer.
1. A Trip to Bavaria
The capital of Bavaria is of course Munich and despite being 300km from the nearest sea, you can go surfing in the Englisher Garten, a huge park in the heart of the city. The artificial stream that circles the garden uses a special pumping mechanism that creates a big wave at one particular spot, so if surfing is your thing, this is the place to show off your moves! If this is too energetic for you, there is also a Nudist Beach in the same park.
There are many things (apart from getting married!) that you can do in Cape Town. Some of the more offbeat are visiting a Jackass Penguin Colony, going Tandem paragliding strapped to a surprisingly handsome young thrill-seeker, attending an artisan gin-making course or exploring an abandoned underground canal system. Something for everyone I think.
In the Gothenburg Natural History museum is the only mounted Blue Whale in the world. The original skin was laid over a wooden frame and the jaw hinged to allow visitors to descend into the belly of the beast, which was comfortably outfitted with benches, carpeting, and wall-hangings. Originally the whale’s jaw was open all of the time, and the attraction drew people far and wide. Sometime in the 1930’s a couple was found “making love” inside the creature, and from then on, the museum decided to only open him up on special occasions.
Styria is a mountainous, forested state in southern Austria, known for its wine, spas and castles – one of which, the Burg of Graz, houses an architectural and engineering marvel called the Doppelwendeltreppe, or “Double Spiral Staircase”, built around the end of the 15th century. The stairs split and rejoin several times as they circle upward to the top, and Graz people call it the “stairs of reconciliation” for if you go separate ways, you will ultimately reunite.
On Monday 21st August a total Solar Eclipse will occur along a thin band stretching across the entire width of the United States. Making landfall in the state of Oregan at 4 minutes past 4pm, the shadow of the moon will zip 11 states, finally heading out into the Atlantic from South Carolina a mere 75 minutes later. We will be observing it from a place called Rexburg in Idaho, famous for having a Mormon University, being built on a volcano and growing GREAT potatoes. Can’t wait!
Trip to the Drakensberg
The Drakensburg is the name given to the eastern portion of the Great Escarpment, which encloses the central Southern African plateau. The name comes from the earliest Dutch settlers who called them the “Mountains of Dragons”, possibly because the pointy tops giving an appearance similar to that of the back of the mythical European dragon or maybe due to old local myths of dragons roaming the mountains or even possibly because of the large number of dinosaur fossils to be found there (which would have been confused with the remains of dragons). As well as getting out and enjoying the amazing scenery, going on a Safari, white water rafting etc, the Drakensburg is also home to a number of vineyards which offer many wine-tasting opportunities.
Among the more unusual attractions in this fine city are “Escape Rooms”, where you are locked in a room and can only get out by solving an array of puzzles. Or perhaps you’d prefer a ghost tour of such places as Australia’s oldest lighthouse, Ballarat’s old cemetery or the Ararat Lunatic Asylum. When all this has tired you out, you can relax in Australia’s first ever cat café - enjoy a coffee and snacks while playing, patting and relaxing with an array of kitties. Those with allergies might want to give it a miss — but it’s a paradise for cat lovers.
Already an established industrial heavyweight of international standing, the Northern Ireland port city of Belfast had acquired a new speciality by the end of the 19th century - shipbuilding. The launch of Titanic in April 1912 was the crowning achievement of a remarkable era of shipbuilding in the city. It was the largest man-made object ever to have taken to the seas. An elaborate building and museum has been built next to the slipways where Titanic was built and showcases the Titanic story from her early beginnings to her tragic end. You can even go on a tour of the shipyards on a Segway – a two-wheeled contraption that appears to defy the laws of physics. Take care where you steer, however, because Segways ironically don’t float!
You may think of Antarctica as a dead continent but it is fast becoming the supreme travel destination for the true adventure traveller. Some of the more exacting activities on offer are Kayaking - drift quietly past leopard seals sunning themselves on ice floes, circumnavigate icebergs floating in the middle of the sea, and paddle with penguins jumping through the air at the front of you. Or you could take a “Polar Plunge” by jumping off your boat into the sub-zero Antarctic waters. (check out Polar Plunge on You Tube if you don’t believe me). You can even go camping on the ice in a tiny two-man tent. According to the Quark Expeditions website: “it’s cold, it’s uncomfortable, and you can’t eat, drink, or pee on Antarctica, but once you are back on board your ship after surviving a night, you’ll be filled with pride and gratitude that you never have to do that again.”
Cape Breton Island
At the extreme Eastern end of the North American mainland lies Cape Breton Island is the 77th largest island in the world, the 18th just in Canada. It is also 600km closer to Cornwall in England than Vancouver on the Western coast of Canada. In the city of Sydney there is a 60 foot high fiddle and bow which celebrates the island’s traditional fiddle music which was brought to North America by Scottish immigrants during the Highland Clearances. Although fiddling has changed considerably since this time in Scotland, it is widely held that the tradition of Scottish fiddle music has been better preserved in Cape Breton. The types of tunes commonly associated with Cape Breton fiddling are jigs, reels, marches, strathspeys, clogs.