Let’s Go / Best Bets
Getting around BritainThe British Tourist Authority has some suggestions for those who want to get out and see Britain. Among them are:
• Go to the Web site www.causewaycoastandglens.com for information on driving Northern Ireland’s breathtaking Causeway Coast and Antrim Glens.
Highlights include the Giant’s Causeway, a collection of six- sided basalt columns, and the Old Bushmills Distillery. Also online are two-night packages beginning at 79 pounds (about $140) per person. A two-night Coastal Route Package, including rental car, begins at $235 and is available by calling 800-664- 7474.
• English Heritage offers vacation rentals in unusual accommodations, including cottages, castles, a Roman villa, cloisters and a monastery. Depending on the accommodation and dates, a week’s stay ranges from 450 pounds to 1,125 pounds (about $905-2,260). Three nights range from 275 to 660 pounds. Details at www.english-heritage.org.uk/holidaycottages.
• This year is the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the British and American slave trade. One of the major players in banning the trade in human beings in the British empire was William Wilberforce, a British Parliament member in the 19th century. The Abolition of the Slave Trade Act in 1807 was one of his life’s works.
Wilberforce’s home in Hull, England, was recently renovated and will reopen March 25. The Wilberforce House includes an interactive museum that looks at the man and other abolitionists, the slave trade, life on plantations and modern-day slavery.
A major film on his life, “Amazing Grace,” will open in Britain this month, and the John Templeton Foundation has made a television documentary on his life called “The Better Hour.” For details on the anniversary, go to www.wilberforcecentral.org.
• Have your children always wanted to learn jousting like the knights of old? Or maybe they are more like jokers and always wanted to play the jester.
If so, they might be interested in attending a class at the jousting and jester academy at Warwick Castle May 26-28, or at a longer session May 26-June 3.
The “squires” train with exercises, including lancing rings and other targets. “Jesters” learn tricks such as plate spinning, juggling and stilt-walking. It’s one of the events on the castle’s 2007 program. Find details on it and other events at www.warwick-castle.co.uk/warwick2004/ev_programme.htm.
Belfast’s new symbolBelfast has adopted the RMS Titanic as its symbol for rejuvenation. While it might seem a strange object to choose, the ship represents the city’s shipbuilding heritage, which signifies the rebirth of the city.
A Web site has been built around the Titanic collections at the city’s Ulster Folk and Transport Museum. The Titanic Vault includes the largest collection of photo negatives of the Titanic and other ships of the time, still and moving images, sound recordings, newsreels and other printed material. The Web site is www.titanicinbelfast.com.
Basketball campApplications are being accepted for boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 19 interested in attending an annual basketball camp in Würzburg, Germany.
The program includes drills, scrimmages and lectures, plus playing the equivalent of nine games. The player-to-coach ratio is 10-to-1, with both European and American coaches. The facilities include seven indoor full courts and two half-court areas, two outdoor full courts, full track, weight and conditioning room and on-site restaurant.
About 35 percent of the participants typically are Americans. Instruction is in German and English.
Two five-day sessions run July 27-31 and July 31-Aug. 4 and cost 240 euros. A nine-day session runs July 27 to Aug. 4 and costs 445 euros. The price includes instruction, use of the facilities, supervised sleeping accommodations, full board with energy carbohydrate diet, basketball immersion, medical supervision and personal evaluation.
Call (+49) (0) 931-409046 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best BetsGERMANY: The annual horse and goods market at Bad Mergentheim will be held Sunday, with more than 80 stalls selling textiles, jewelry, teas, spices, toys, leather goods, watches and more. Horse activities also are on the program, including a parade at 10:30 a.m. The market runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Bad Mergentheim Web site is www.bad-mergentheim.de.
ITALY: If you’re driving in Rome on Friday, you might want to take the opportunity to get your car blessed at the Santa Francesca Romana Church near the Coliseum. In 1925, St. Francis of Rome was designated the patron saint of drivers, and today thousands of the devout take their vehicles to the church each March 9. If you decide to drive there, be sure to arrive early because the belief holds that the closer you get to the church, the more blessed you will be.
— Jayne Traendly