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If you’re into Alpine biking, check out the Garmisch-Partenkirchen’s bicycle festival May 26-30.

“Der Berg ruf!” (the Mountain Calls) festival includes an exhibitors hall with up to 80 exhibitors and 200 brands, contests and races (for children and adults, male and female), the start of the international Bavarian race with introductions to the team, marathon race for professionals and amateurs, air show, festival party and guided tours.

Details and registration at (in German). The town’s Web site is

Race in dragon boatsHave a group of fit people wanting to race in Frankfurt’s dragon boat race? There’s still time to enter a team in this event on the city’s section of the Main River June 15-17. Popular in Southeast Asia, dragon boat racing is becoming one of the fastest-growing sports in the world.

The 12.5-meter-long boats are manned by up to 18 paddlers, who are coxed by a drummer to keep them in rhythm. Race distances are 250, 500 and 1,000 meters. The DBF Web site notes that harmony and rhythm are more important here than muscle power.

Competitors can be amateurs but must be able to swim at least 50 meters in light clothing. There also are competitions for younger participants.

The 250 euros (plus tax) entry fee includes boats for the race, minimum of two races on Saturday (sprints), participant identification and certificates, names on the festival brochure and on, long-distance race and chance to win prizes of up to 450 euros. Those who want to enter only Sunday’s long-distance race pay 100 euros plus taxes.

Teams must register by May 15. Details at

Kaltenberg tournamentsEven though it doesn’t happen until July, the Knights Tournament in Kaltenberg, Germany, (about 30 miles north of Munich) is so popular it sells out early, so it’s important to order tickets now.

The tournament, which involves professional stuntmen and horses, is considered one of the top medieval events in the world. The choreographer is Mario Luraschi, who has worked in 400 movies and is well known on the horse and stunt scene. This year the audience will decide who wins at the end of the 90-minute show: the Bavarian Knights (the good guys) or the Black Knights (the bad guys).

In addition to the fights, there’s a medieval market with 110 stands of artisans, traders and food vendors joined by medieval entertainers.

Special activities are planned for children, including a children’s tournament (no parental help allowed).

The medieval world takes place in the evenings — 4:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. — except on Sundays when it operates from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Dates are July 6-8, 13-15, 21-22 and 27-28.

Tickets, standing only, cost 17 euros. Uncovered seating ranges from 22 to 32 euros. Covered seating costs 42 euros on Sunday, 49 euros on Fridays and Saturdays. Children under 6 years enter free; older children get in with a discount. The price includes access to the entire grounds.

More details at (in German). There is an English version, but it hasn’t been updated.

Send announcements of tours or other special travel deals to

Best BetsAUSTRIA: Join in Salzburg’s annual St. George’s fair this weekend. It opens Saturday with the tapping of the beer keg on Chapter Square. On Sunday at 9 a.m., horseback riders gather for the St. George procession in the square, and at 10 a.m. they ride through the old city to the fortress. After a morning service, the blessing of the horses takes place at 10:30 a.m.

BELGIUM: Experience the courtly greenhouses of Laeken’s aristocracy as the royal castle welcomes the public through May 6. The 6-acre site includes neoclassical rotundas, a dome and galleries with giant ferns, banana trees, grottos, glades and grassy views. Stroll through a canopy shaped by geraniums and fuchsias, wander through the Royal Park and visit the 20th-century castle stable and Queen Elizabeth’s workshop. The greenhouses are open 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays; 1-4 p.m. and 8-11 p.m. Fridays; and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 8-11 p.m. weekends. (April 25 is reserved for visitors with disabilities). Web site:

NETHERLANDS: Noordwijk’s annual floral procession takes place Saturday with the theme “Celebration.” On Friday evening, the decorated group of 20 floats, 30 luxury cars and marching bands takes an illuminated trial run though Noordwijkerhout. On Saturday they leave at 9:30 a.m. to travel the 25 miles to Haarlem via Sassenheim, Lisse, Hillegom, Bennebroek and Heemstede and arrive at about 9 p.m. They’ll remain at Haarlem on display until Sunday at 7 p.m. Details at

SPAIN: Seville celebrates spring with its annual April Fair, which begins Saturday and runs until April 29. On the program are midday processions of horsemen and carriages, colorfully costumed participants, evening bullfights and flamenco dancing. More details at

— Jayne Traendly


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