DENMARK: Ribe will be filled this weekend with hundreds of Vikings gathered to celebrate the end of winter at their annual market in the city’s Viking Center. Join them on a reconstruction of the oldest market square in Scandinavia to watch archery, horse shows and fighting events, buy crafts and eat and drink Viking style. You can also check out the Viking Center, made up of reconstructed buildings from the ninth century. The market runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. Find more details at

GERMANY: On Saturday evening, the Rhine River between Linz and Bonn will be ablaze in lights for the first of this year’s annual “Rhein in Flammen” (“Rhine in Flames”). Up to 2,000 Bengal lights and fireworks will illuminate the banks of Linz, Remagen, Rheinbreitbach, Unkel, Bad Honnef, Königswinter, Niederdollendorf and Bonn. Adding to the production, 60 ships strung with lights will glide down the river to Bonn for a grand finale of fireworks in the city’s Rheinaue Leisure Park.

If you miss this first pyrotechnic event, you can still catch three others on July 5, Aug. 9 and Sept. 13 on other sections of the river. Check with your local USO or go to

“Rats! They fought the dogs and killed the cats, And bit the babies in the cradles….”

So begins Robert Browning’s famous poem about the Pied Piper of Hamelin (Hameln), who was hired by the townspeople to rid the city of the vermin, but ended up spiriting away their children when the adults refused to pay him. From May 4 to Sept. 14, the city revives the German tale with a free open-air play at noon on the market square.

For the musical version, catch the free 40-minute play “Rats!” at 4:30 p.m. Wednesdays on the Hochzeitshaus-Terrace from May 14 to Sept. 10. Details at

ITALY: Venice renews its “wedding vows with the sea” Wednesday during the annual Festa della Sensa (Ascension Festival). To commemorate Doge Pietro Orseolo II’s maritime victories on Ascension Day in the 12th century, the city’s doges each year sailed in a boat procession to throw a ring into the sea in front of the Church of San Nicolò on the Lido. The act symbolized the city’s power and dominance over the waters.

Today dignitaries continue the rite in a historical procession that leaves St. Mark’s Square at 9:45 a.m. for the Lido, where at 10:30 the ring is thrown into the sea. At 11 a.m. a regatta begins at St. Mark’s Square, where a flea market also will be held. See more at

Best BetsBarrier-free resort area

“Barrier free!” is the slogan of the German Alps resort area around the Tegernsee, Schliersee and Wendelstein in Upper Bavaria. If you have a family member or visitor in a wheelchair, or one who is blind or deaf, the resort area makes sure these challenges don’t restrict them from enjoying themselves.

On the list of handicap-accessible are hotel rooms, restaurants, the Upper Bavarian railway, Wendelstein cable car, boat trips, smell-and-touch gardens and a casino. Mono-skiing and handbike riding are two of the activities available.

More details are available at (in English and German). You also can contact Anton Grafwallner via e-mail at

Outdoors in Slovenia

The Slovenian countryside has been described as “unspoiled,” “pristine” and offering a multitude of outdoor activities. If hiking, kayaking, canyoning, climbing, biking or mountaineering in such an environment sounds good to you, consider a trip with Lifetrek. Lifetrek is an agency run by young people who organize adventure trips and events. Most trips are scheduled spring through autumn, and a few require a minimum of six people.

Among the trips is a one-day biking tour from Bled through the Radovna River valley and three Triglav valleys in the Triglav National Park (near the junction of the borders of Austria, Italy and Slovenia) for 39 euros. An eight-day hiking trip around the Julian Alps costs 798 euros per person. It includes five days’ trekking from Tamar Valley via Mount Triglav to Krma Valley near Bled and sightseeing in Bled, transfers, accommodations and equipment.

Other trips include one-day rafting on the Soca River (25 to 35 euros), one-day hiking in Triglav National Park (78 euros), one-day rock climbing in the Alps (78 euros), horseback riding (25 to 100 euros), one-day kayaking (39 to 44 euros) and one-day canyoning (85 to 125 euros). Look for details at

Free discount pass

Download a free cultural discount pass for Ireland at April08.1. The offer is from the Irish Tourist Board, which says the pass is good at 130 cultural and heritage attractions.

Send announcements of tours or other special travel deals to

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