Let's go / Best bets
Stars and Stripes August 27, 2009
Walk with an Alpine shepherd
Enjoy the beauty of one of Switzerland’s national parks with a shepherd, his flock and sheep dogs on a walk through the mountain valley Val Müstair.
The excursion is about five to seven hours long, with three to four hours of walking.
During the hike, you can wander among the sheep and watch the shepherd work with his dogs as well as learn how the canines have protected the sheep through the years from bears, wolves and foxes.
The walks are scheduled for Sept. 4, 18 and Oct. 2 (minimum of four persons), although other walks can also be scheduled. The price is 15 Swiss francs (about $14) per person, free for children up to age 16.
Reservations can be made up to the evening before a scheduled walk at the Val Müstair tourist board. Its telephone number is (+41) (0)81858-5858. The region’s Web site (in German, with some English translations) includes information on the offer and other year-round activities at www.muenstertal.ch/activpassangebote.htm.
Paris bed and breakfast
If you’d like to spend a night in a Parisian neighborhood with a family of locals, you might want to check out the list of bed-and-breakfast options at www.2binparis.com.
BB Paris, the first Parisian bed-and-breakfast network, has a large selection of possibilities throughout the city. Apartments also are available. Through an interactive map on the site, you can choose a place by clicking on an arrondissement (neighborhood) or a city attraction. From there, photos of the properties and prices pop up. The site also offers last-minute deals and weekend stays.
SpongeBob SquarePants may have a glamorous film and television career, but the popular cartoon character isn’t too busy to join other Hollywood stars in using his name to make the world a better place.
His particular cause is fresh water, and you and the kids can check out what he has to say at an exhibition going on through Nov. 21 at Paris’ Pavillon de l’eau (Water Pavilion), where he goes by his French name, Bob l’Eponge.
“SpongeBob SquarePants as You’ve Never Seen Him” is divided into two parts. The first tells his story through history’s great paintings. The second has SpongeBob telling more about his activist role, including how he met the famous World Wildlife Federation panda.
The pavilion is at 77 avenue de Versailles. Admission is free. The Web site is www.pavillondeleau.fr (in French).
Best BetsBELGIUM: On Sept. 2, 1944, U.S. tanks with the 3rd Armored Division rolled into Mons, liberating the first Belgian city from German forces. Since 1999, the city has commemorated this event with its annual “Tanks in Town.” At 10 a.m. Saturday, Sherman, Chafee and Pershing tanks plus tank destroyers and half tracks will be on display in the Bois Brulé in Ghlin, outside Mons, and alongside a military flea market. At 9 a.m. Sunday, the armored vehicles will begin a 10-mile parade along the historic liberation road into the city center, where they will remain on display in the Grand Place. Tickets to the Saturday event cost 5 euros for adults and are free for children 14 and younger. Find more details at www.tanksintown.be.
DENMARK: Sixteen European jousting masters will descend on Horsens’ annual European Medieval Festival this weekend to compete in the first official European Jousting Championship. They will follow authentic medieval guidelines. The tournament is just one event at what bills itself as northern Europe’s largest medieval festival. Also included will be a re-creation of a medieval market, street entertainment, military camp, wedding processions, flag throwers, parades and other Middle Ages merriment. Get the full program at www.middelalderfestival.dk.
ENGLAND: It’s party time Saturday through Monday in West London as the city neighborhood swings into the Caribbean fever with the annual Notting Hill Carnival. What began in 1966 as an event to promote the steel-band musicians who played in Earls Court every weekend has grown into what is heralded as Europe’s biggest street festival. Saturday is competition day for the steel bands and Sunday is children’s day. On Monday, the streets will explode with a carnival parade featuring wildly costumed dancers, calypso and soca musicians, giant sound systems, steel bands and floats, while music stages and food stalls and other vendors will fill the sidewalks. Organizers suggest arriving by noon. More details, including transportation and safety tips, can be found at www.thenottinghillcarnival.com.
NETHERLANDS: For a quieter atmosphere, head to Arnheim this weekend for the annual World Statues Festival. Participants will take the part of living statues, striking poses and telling stories without words or sounds and with only limited motion. On Saturday night, a new feature called Statues by Night will have the contestants experimenting with audience reactions. On Sunday, championships start at noon for professional entertainers, amateurs and children, followed by a parade and concert. Find full details at www.worldstatues.nl.