Saturday snippets: 18th April 2015

By | Category: Travel news
the re-opening Planetarium

the re-opening Planetarium

At the Bristol Science Centre, the Planetarium will re-open on 24 April as the UK’s first digital 3D Planetarium. Visitors will be able to see the brand new presenter-led ‘Summer Stargazing’ show (in a choice of 2D or 3D) as well as a ‘Space Explorers’ (2D) show, which is especially for under 6s. They will be able to discover the universe from the comfort of their seats – fly through rings of Saturn, journey to distant stars, and tour the Solar System and see it in a way that they’ve never seen it before! The adjoining ‘Space Gallery’ exhibition has also undergone a face-lift; with a brand new design and layout, it will act as a space port before visitors journey to outer space in the Planetarium.

It is only a month away until Welsh Wine Week. For those of you in the dark about Welsh wine, there are over 15 vineyards producing red, rose, white and sparkling wines. More than 20 different grape varieties are grown in vineyards across Wales and the oldest vineyard in modern times, that it Castell Coch just off the M4 was begun 140 years ago this year. Not all vineyards will be open but Ancre Hill near Monmouth, White Castle and Sugarloaf near Abergavenny, Penarth near Newtown and Pant Du in Snowdonia will be participating.

aruba

Aruba in party mood

Aruba is becoming a more popular destination for us and one event coming up in May might be the key to attract you to holiday on the Caribbean island. Sail Aruba 2015, is a two-day event in May commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, of which the island is part. Scheduled to be the largest event ever staged in the port of Oranjestad, it opens at 10am on Friday, May 1 when visitors can enjoy a seafood festival, open market, visit all ships in port and a Heartbeat of Oranjestad exhibition at the main cruise terminal. In the afternoon the Dutch Marines – based on the island – will host a range of stunts and activities, including boat boarding and search and rescue demonstrations. Meanwhile, the Aruba Sailing Association will organise races for local yachts, sunfish and beach cats. The second day, Saturday May 2, will include further entertainment and a waterborne fireworks display.

Aberdeen Art Gallery is undergoing a major refurbishment for the next 18 months but most of it is still open to the public. The Gallery and Cowdray Hall closed in early March and won’t open until winter 2017. In the meantime, twenty of the best known exhibits from the gallery have been transferred to the National Trust of Scotland’s Drum Castle which is about ten miles away. The exhibition will run for 2 years, complementing the castle’s own collection that includes masterpieces by Joshua Reynolds and Henry Raeburn.

Remember the stunning sight of the Tower of London surrounded by those 800,000 plus ceramic poppies last year? The Australian Broadcasting Commission, (ABC) has reported that a Poppy Park has appeared in a western Sydney suburb, Penrith. In what is known as Judges Park, and started by two brothers, the poppy park commemorates all 102,804 Australian soldiers who have given their lives in conflict. April 25th is ANZAC Day, the day traditionally when Australians remember those who died and fought at Gallipoli in WWI and that is why the park is appearing at this time of year. The fabric poppies are meant to last and will be on display until April 29th   when purchasers will have them sent on to them. All the money raised supports the local branches of the Returned Services League.

Yosemite Park

Yosemite Park

In this, the centenary of the National Parks Service in the USA, Brand USA – which is the tourism body set up to encourage us to visit the country – has launched a new website. Called The United States of Great Outdoor it brings together information like travel stories, photography and videos that focus on adventure, nature, family travel and other themes, along with stories organised by both interest and destination. New articles and video content will be added to the site on a weekly basis to showcase the breadth and wonder of the USA’s great outdoors making it easier for visitors to decide what they can see in the time available to them. The National Parks Service remains available as well.

Costa Rica is a very popular destination for Americans and Canadians. For us, there are no direct flights which might explain why so few of us visit the country. But Thomson will launch the first non-stop flight from the UK to Costa Rica for summer 2016 when it will also return to Cuba for the first time since 2013.In addition to the Gatwick to Costa Rica and Cuba, Thomson will launch the first Dreamliner flights from Stansted to Cancun, Mexico and Sanford, Orlando, starting next May. It will also have a new flight from Birmingham to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, as well as several new short-haul flights, and from Manchester it will offer Dreamliner flights to Aruba, increasing capacity on the route.From Glasgow and Newcastle, it will offer additional flights to Cancun in Mexico.

I thought that the small Welsh village of Llanwrtyd Wells had the unusual sports scene sewed up but Portland in Oregon is making a bid with a cycle race On June 27th this year it will host the World Naked Bike Ride which may attract as many as 10,000 riders. Now in its twelfth year, the first race attracted just 125. The idea behind the race is not just to be different as it is now one of almost 100 similar rides around the world including fourteen in the UK. Their website says that it “originated as a protest against society’s dependency on oil.  Today, especially in Portland, Oregon, many people ride to promote cycling not only as a viable mode of transportation, but a form which should be celebrated!” Cycling yes but chafing as well? That’s too much for me.

some of the remaining battlements overlooking the River Teifi

some of the remaining battlements overlooking the River Teifi

Cardigan Castle re-opened this week. After £12 million and years of restoration, the 900 year old castle which stands by the River Teifi received its first visitors. There is some work still to do so the non-open parts will be available from June onwards. the modern history is as fascinating as the old. The last owner had to move out in 1984 when it was declared uninhabitable. Refusing to leave, barbara Wood lived in a caravan on the site until she entered a nursing home in 1999. The council then bought the castle in 2004 so the site is independently run by trustees and not by Cadw or the National Trust.

Finally, at the beginning of the month, I received a press release from a bar in London announcing that they had developed two new cocktails called “The Heir” and “The Spare.” These were In honour of prince George, the first child of Kate and Wills and the spare for the yet to be born second child. Nothing to do with drumming up a little publicity with this cheap move then? Which is why I’m not naming the bar. After all, they didn’t develop a cocktail when my children were born or even my grandchild!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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