Dig a pliosaurIf you’re into fossil digs, you might be interested in a two-day excursion to the site of the discovery of a gigantic pliosaur on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard in Norway.

Paleontologists from the University of Oslo and the Natural History Museum have discovered “The Monster,” which has dinner-plate-sized neck vertebrae and lower teeth as big as bananas. The skull is more than 6 feet long.

Spitsbergen Travel has organized the excursions with the ∅glegraverne 2007 team on Aug. 6 to 7, 8 to 9, 13 to 14 and 15 to 16. The price is 3,900 Norwegian kroner (about $660) per person (note: the minimum age is 14 years).

The price includes transportation with a Polar Circle boat to and from Elveneset, one night’s accommodation in a double tent with sleeping bag and accessories, meals, field lectures and services of an experienced guide.

Spitsbergen Travel also offers other summer tours of this archipelago, located between Troms∅ and the North Pole. The tours take in giant fjords, glaciers, drift ice and polar bear regions. Around 60 percent of the islands in the archipelago are covered by ice.

Find more details at

Cool IcelandIf you want to vacation out of the heat, consider Iceland. Claiming “the whole island is air-conditioned,” the Nordic Adventure Travel Web site at has a wide range of information, including schedules for flights, buses and ferries; sightseeing excursions; geographical information; accommodations; museums; horse rental tours; hiking and hut accommodations; kayaking; and angling and golfing.

Mmmm, apple strudelWant to know the secret of good apple strudel? If you’re in Vienna, stop by the Schönbrunn Palace’s Café Residenz between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Every hour a professional pastry chef demonstrates the best techniques for baking an original Viennese apple strudel. You also get the recipe to try yourself.

The presentation takes about 20 minutes and is in German and English. It costs 4 euros per person.

The café’s Web site is

Genghis Khan exhibitIn the 13th century, the grandson of Genghis Khan and his fighters wreaked havoc and destruction on Hungary.

Taking a look at the man and his legacy, the Hungarian National Museum in Budapest is sponsoring the exhibition “Genghis Kahn and his Heirs: the Mongol Empire” through Sept. 2. Pieces from the Tatar era will be added to the 500 Mongolian artifacts in the show, which includes paintings, gold, Buddhist statues and manuscripts.

Admission is 2,000 forints (about $10) for adults, 1,000 forints for children.

Details at

The Wicklow WayThe county of Wicklow, south of Dublin in Ireland, features mountains, lakes, glacial valleys, forests and farmland. The area is the most westerly section of the E8 footpath, which covers much of Europe.

If you’re interested in seeing this area by foot, you may want to hike the 132-kilometer Wicklow Way. It begins in the southern Dublin suburb of Rathfarnham, crosses Dublin, runs through County Wicklow and ends at the village of Clonegal in County Carlow.

The path has a Web site at It says the hike is ideal for those of average fitness and should take eight to 10 days to complete.

The site also gives a description of the trail, maps, nearby towns and accommodation suggestions. Details at

Best BetsENGLAND: Duxford’s Imperial War Museum presents its annual Flying Legends air show this weekend, featuring classic American and European piston-engine combat aircraft in addition to its static models. The gates open at 8 a.m. Flying starts at 1:45 p.m. Admission is 24 pounds (about $50) for adults, 9 pounds for children 5 to 15. Find more details at http://duxford.

HUNGARY: According to the event Web site, “knighthood” originated with the early Magyars (Hungarians) in Europe. Their war practices led to the formation of armored cavalries in Western Europe. Hungarian knights also were active participants in the crusades. To celebrate this heritage, the International Palace in Visegrád holds its annual International Palace Game, a medieval festival, Saturday through Monday. Each day’s program begins with a 9:30 a.m. royal parade on the main street, which also features a medieval market and military camp. Jousting tournaments take place daily from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Additional tournaments are scheduled from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Sunday and Monday. Archery and other games also are on the list. There also are concerts; troubadours; historical dancing; an Italian flag show; and wrestling, spear throwing and horse riding competitions. Admission is 1,800 forints (about $10) for adults, 800 forints for children. Find details at

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