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ENGLAND: Norwich is celebrating its new Lord Mayor with a four-day party that continues through Sunday. On the program are Friday’s historic 60-float street procession with dragon floats, led by the mayor; a two-day music festival in Chapelfield Gardens with Monobloco, Rio de Janeiro’s top carnival band; a weekend carnival with rides; street entertainers, outdoor comedy and cinema events; and fireworks Saturday over Norwich Castle. Find more details at the city Web site, www.norwich.gov.uk

FINLAND: Although it seems like a quirky festival idea, Sonkajärvi’s Wife Carrying World Championships does have historical roots. According to the Web site, back in the 1800s, bandit Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainen ordered his men to steal women from neighboring villages and would only accept men into his gang who could meet the challenge. Motivation for today’s obstacle course isn’t to win a place in the group but rather the championship title, a statue, and, best of all, the wife’s weight in beer. In addition to watching the races (one of which is a costume run), those on the sidelines can browse through a market and dance to Finnish and Estonian music. Get more details at www.sonkajarvi.fi/?deptid=15136

GERMANY: The world’s largest marksman’s fair, the Schützenfest, opens Friday in Hanover with a three-hour parade through the city. More than 13,000 participants, all members of rifle societies, carnival associations and folk clubs, as well as 100 bands, will make up the procession that celebrates the 500-plus-year tradition. The Schützenplatz carnival site will be set up with 260 rides (including the highest portable Ferris wheel), large beer tents, food stalls and entertainment stages. The festival is open 2 p.m. to midnight daily, with beer tents open 3-11 p.m. Find details at www.hannover.de/english

ITALY: The medieval architecture of Monterriggioni is the ideal setting for the town’s Feste Medievali di Monteriggioni — a medieval festival that runs Friday through the weekend and July 11-13. Included under the festival theme of "Fortress Life Between History and Legend" are two historical time periods: medieval and Renaissance. The first weekend is centered on 1254 when Siena was fighting Florence and will include a jousting field, 13th-century military camp, fighting demonstrations, children’s activities, medieval market and entertainment. The second weekend is centered on the Florentine siege of 1526. In addition to a market, weapons, children’s activities and period entertainment, regiments of Florentine artillery batteries will re-enact a battle. Tickets for Friday are 8 euros for adults and 6 euros for children 10-16; weekend tickets are 10 euros for adults and 8 euros for children. For more details, go to www.monteriggionimedievale.com (English version at bottom of page).

SPAIN: If you’re planning to run with the bulls in Pamplona this year, be sure you’re in shape to make a good getaway: your health insurance probably won’t cover any injuries. According to sanfermin.com, the official Web site for the event, it probably won’t cover any leaps from the St. Cecilia fountain in the Plaza de Navarrería, either. But even if you don’t want to chance the bull runs, there are lots of other events Sunday through July 14 during this celebration of San Fermin, patron saint of Navarre. Among them: the opening firing of the rocket, the Txupinazo, on Saturday; a big procession on Monday; bull fights, dancing, marching bands; PETA’s nude-race protest; and traditional events, old and new.

Let's GoCannes dollar deal

Thought Cannes was just for movie stars? Maybe now you can afford to visit the French city on the Mediterranean with a deal offered by the city’s tourist board.

A summer hotel promotion gives U.S. citizens exclusive hotel rates in guaranteed U.S. dollars. There must be a minimum three-night stay. Rates start at about $80 per night, including breakfast, and go up, depending on whether you choose a two-, three- or four-star hotel. All reservations must be made online and paid in advance.

For a list of hotels and more information, go to www.cannes-dollarate.com

French sales

Get Paris fashions at a bargain through Aug. 2 during the French capital’s annual city summer sales.

The country’s stores can only hold les soldes during a five-week period in the summer and winter, according to strict laws by the government. Depending on the region, stores in the rest of the country will hold sales through either Aug. 2 or 5.

Whale watching in Iceland

July through August is peak whale-watching time in Iceland. The award-winning North Sailing Company in Húsavík is offering three-hour tours to view these magnificent creatures in Skjálfanda Bay. Eleven types of whales pass by the area, ranging from the 150-pound harbor porpoise to the 190-ton blue whale.

Tickets are 35 euros for adults, 16 euros for children 15-16 years and free for those 14 and younger.

Other trips also are available. Details at www.northsailing.is


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