Let’s Go / Best Bets
Stars and Stripes March 6, 2008
Talk about a deal!Are you a talker? Is your mother language English? Then perhaps this is the perfect working holiday offer for you.
Pueblo Ingles is a Spanish-run company with the goal of connecting Spanish and native-English speakers so that Spanish participants can practice English. The company, which means “English Village,” has set up a series of “villages” throughout the Spanish countryside where the Spanish and English speakers can meet for seven days.
For the English speakers, it’s an expense-paid week, including lodging, meals and transportation between the village and Madrid. The only requirement is that they speak their own language — for up to 16 hours — and help others do the same.
Venues are in Valdelavilla, in the highlands of Soria; La Alberca, in the southwest corner of the Castile and Leon region; Cazorla, in the olive-oil region of Jaen in Andalusia; and Pals, in Costa Brava.
Most participants are between 25 and 60 years old, but in July, three sessions are reserved for teens. The company also is looking for medical personnel to participate.
The daily one-week schedule consists of one-on-one meetings, group activities, telephone sessions, conference calls, theater and presentations. Free time is scheduled in the afternoon and after 10 p.m.
Find details and information on how to sign up on the Web at www.morethanenglish.com.
Swim with whalesYou’ve swum with the dolphins. Now take it a step further and swim with the killer whales.
Orca Tysfjord in Tysfjord, Norway, offers killer whale safaris during which you can snorkel among the huge mammals. (The more fainthearted can sail among them on a large boat or inflatable dinghy.) The season is over for this year (Nov. 1 to Jan. 11), but you can start making plans for next year’s trip.
Located about 155 miles north of the Arctic Circle, the city’s waters attract the whales, which come in the fall to hunt for spring-breeding herrings. Other natural attractions are the sea eagles and the Northern Lights.
Each trip begins with a slide lecture in the center.
The boat safari costs 940 Norwegian kroner (about $180) for adults, 630 Norwegian kroner for children 4-10 years, free for those younger. The dinghy trip costs 940 Norwegian kroner and is limited to 10 years or older. The snorkeling trip costs 1,700 Norwegian kroner, including equipment, and 1,650 Norwegian kroner without. This trip is limited to those 16 and older.
The cost per person, per night, double occupancy in a base camp hotel is 670 Norwegian kroner. Rooms for one to four with sleeping bags cost 950 Norwegian kroner for the room.
For details, go to www.tysfjord-turistsenter.no.
Hike Swedish trailsAccept a challenge this August and join a 70-mile mountain trek through the Lapland wilderness on the Kungsleden (“King of Trails”) in Sweden. The backpack hike is suitable for all those who are in shape, regardless of age or hiking level.
The trek begins in the village of Nikkaluokta between Aug. 8 and 10 and ends in Abisko on Aug. 15. Hikers have up to six days to complete the walk, during which they have their hiking pass stamped at checkpoints. Participants carry their own tent for overnight camping.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included in the form of freeze-dried food given out at the checkpoints. Some cabins along the way — which can be used for short-term shelter but not for sleeping — also have shops.
The cost to participate is 145 euros for adults (about $220), 100 euros for those born between 1991 and 1995 and 40 euros for those born in 1996 or later.
Find more details here.
The history of London’s East End dates back to Roman times, and the cast of characters who have passed through or lived there is vast: Charles Dickens, Jack the Ripper, Joseph Merrick (the Elephant Man), Jack London, Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi and Josef Stalin, to name a few. Within its boundaries are the Tower Bridge, Tower of London, Canary Wharf and Docklands.
To celebrate itself, the area is holding an East Festival through March 11. It will feature live performances, art, history, film, food and fashion. This weekend includes the food festival Taste EAST in Spitalfields, which will turn its usual city look into a country scene with food stalls, music, stilt walkers, acrobats and storytelling.
What better place to hold an international boat show than in Venice? The Festival of the Sea, which begins Saturday and runs through March 16, looks at the nautical world from the aspects of business, history, luxury seafaring, new technology, ecology and tourism.
The show will spread across the city, with the main exhibitions in the Stazione Marittima and others in the Arsenal (historical and traditional boats), Molino Stucky Hilton (luxury events) and the Scientific and Technological Park (new technologies). The Stazione Marittima is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends; the Arsenal is open 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays; and the Hilton show is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekends.
Tickets are 13 euros for adults; no charge for children younger than 10. Details online at The Festival of the Sea.
The extreme northeast of the country will echo with the cries of “Mush!” beginning Saturday as Finnmarksl∅pet, Europe’s longest and most northern dog sled race, takes off in Alta. Teams will compete in races of various distances, the longest at 620 miles across the snowy Sami countryside for eight days.
For those who don’t race, the Borealis Winterfestival — Alta is known as the City of the Northern Light because of its location in the aurora borealis zone — runs through March 14, with cultural entertainment, markets and ski and snowmobile competitions.