Europe

Must see locations, events and places to travel and enjoy in the Europe.

Welcome To Lemon Festival: Menton, France

The French Riviera town of Menton welcomes the end of winter with a celebration that involves tonnes and tonnes of sunny, juicy lemons. At the Fete du Citron or Lemon Festival, organised every year in February-March, lemons and other citrons are arranged to create 30-foot-high structures at the town’s Bioves Gardens. Artists and enthusiasts create designs based on the year’s theme, which has ranged from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea inspired by the Jules Verne novel, to Tribulations of a Lemon in China, a spin-off on a popular French novel. Come nightfall, the orange and yellow structures are illuminated with myriad lights, and often accompanied by sounds to bring the fruity creations to life.

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There’s also a parade once a day along the adjacent Promenade du Soleil that lends the festival a carnival air. There’s the Golden Fruits Parade and the nighttime parades, which have extravagantly decorated citrus floats that are sometimes accompanied by dramatic fireworks and followed by brass bands, confetti-showering crowds, and brightly-dressed dancers and performers. The whole town gets into the spirit of the festivities with shops selling citrus-flavoured foods and fragrances among other things.

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This Mini-Guide Will Help You to Discover The Real London Air

Brexit may have been controversial for the Brits, but travelers eager to visit London have reason to celebrate. Politics aside, the aftermath of Brexit brings tourism benefits to Americans because of a favorable exchange rate and more affordable transatlantic airfares.

Anglophiles drawn to the English capital will find that the city is still an eclectic mix of royal, modern, and indie. Even native Londoners would need more than a lifetime to uncover everything that their city offers.   Venturing beyond the historic center and popular must-see spots can feel as though you’ve wandered past a series of connected villages that sport football scarves as flags. Sometimes, it can seem like you’ve even, in the tradition of British television treasure Doctor Who, traversed through time and space itself.

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London’s calling. Answer in a classic red phone box

In spite of the current legislative upheaval, visitors will discover a welcoming city. Diversity is diffused throughout London’s 60,000 winding streets, from the experimental artist spaces to neighborhood ethnic eateries to the stocked stalls that line Saturday markets. In London, hipsters, global finance leaders, and expats convene as equals with a pint in hand at the local pub.

And that, Brexit or not, is a pretty great deal.

Situate your stay along the Thames, the aquatic artery that threads through the heart of London. Just steps from both the river and Trafalgar Square, the CORINTHIA boasts Victorian architecture, a planet-size crystal chandelier, a florist, and a swanky spa featuring an ice fountain and sleeping pods. Across the street from the Tower of London and a few minutes’ stroll from the river is CITIZENM. The 370-room hotel includes a lobby made to feel like your living room, if your living room were outfitted with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and Union Jack accent pieces.

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CitizenM Hotel’s Tower of London location is both proper and plush

Plus, there are Instagram-ready workspaces with complimentary espresso, a library saturated with style books, and a selection of iMacs in case you left your laptop at home. For an alternative stay, try the GOOD HOTEL, a floating former detention center for illegal immigrants. This new not-for-profit hotel will spend five years in the Royal Victoria Docks, serving up local craft beers in what was once the mess hall and waterfront views on its rooftop garden. Better yet: All the Good Hotel’s profits go into an education and entrepreneurship program for its staff.

Discover The Portrait Of The Unforgettable Dublin

DUBLIN WRITERS MUSEUM – Letters, rare editions, portraits, and other memorabilia from the likes of Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, Shaw, Yeats, Joyce, and Beckett fill this 18th-century mansion. The Michelin-starred restaurant Chapter One occupies its basement level.

JAMES JOYCE CENTRE – Far from a stuffy memorial to the literary cult figure, the centre hosts weekly Joyce-themed walks, spearheads the annual Bloomsday festival, and welcomes guest readers as starry as Stephen Fry.

TRINITY COLLEGE – Take a student-guided walking tour around this prestigious 16th-century university, home to the largest library in Ireland and the illuminated ninth-century Gospel manuscript, the Book of Kells.

TRINITY COLLEGE

TRINITY COLLEGE

SWENY’S PHARMACY – Daily Joyce readings take place at this former pharmacy where Ulysses’ Leopold Bloom famously buys lemon-seen ted soap.

PATRICK’S – Dublin’s 13th-century cathedral, one of the city’s few remaining medieval buildings, is a pilgrimage spot for fans of satirist and poet Jonathan Swift, who was also a dean of the cathedra.

NATIONAL LIBRARY OF IRELAND – Its holdings include the largest collection of W. B. Yeats manuscripts in the world, donated by the Yeats family.

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La Tomatina – Bunol, Valencia

LAST WEDNESDAY IN AUGUST.

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THIS HAS GOT TO BE ONE OF THE MESSIEST FESTIVALS WE’VE EVER SEEN.

We’ll give you a hot tip – don’t wear your Sunday finest. You can expect to get entirely covered from tip to toe in squished tomatoes at this annual food fight festival in Eastern Spain.

AND THIS IS ALL IN AID OF WHAT?

A rollicking good time. Is there a better reason? The origins of the festival aren’t clear, but that doesn’t stop thousands upon thousands of revellers turning up on the last Wednesday in August to hurl tomatoes at one another.

DO WE BRING OUR OWN TOMATOES?

The festival has grown to such extraordinary size that the town trucks in tonnes of the red missiles and dumps them in the centre of town for the food fighters to get stuck into.

HOW LONG DOES THE CHAOS LAST?

Partying lasts all week, but the messy part of the affair lasts just a few hours, from 11am to around 2pm. Most of the action happens close to the town centre, but the streets fanning out from there are all caught up in the mix, so you can expect to get pelted wherever you are.

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Ivrea Orange Festival – Ivrea, Turin

FEBRUARY.

A FRUIT FESTIVAL SOUNDS VERY QUAINT.

That’s what we thought, but no, this is war.

WAR DOESN’T SOUND LIKE MUCH FUN.

Ok, it’s not exactly war, but a re-enactment of an historic battle between the victorious yet humble village folk and a despotic lord – instead of using more historically accurate weaponry like swords, the actors use oranges.

OF COURSE THEY DO. THAT MAKES PERFECT SENSE.

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It’s thought that the use of oranges came about after young women decided to drop oranges from balconies on high onto boys below that they found attractive… but ignoring the nonsensical sequence of events that got us here, the festival is a colourful, entertaining, vibrant spectacle watched by over 100,000 spectators. It’s not possible for just anyone to take part in the actual battle, however; you need to register to be part of the regiment of foot soldiers.

OH GOOD, WE CAN STAND SAFELY ON THE SIDELINES AND CHEER THE VILLAGERS ON.

Sure, but be warned, being anywhere near the town square while the oranges are being launched will put you at risk of copping a juicing.

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Buso Festival – Mohács

FEBRUARY.

HUNGARIAN HALLOWEEN?

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The creepy costumes donned by the revellers at this eccentric Magyar carnival certainly give Halloween ghouls a run for their money.

WHAT ARE THESE MASKED MEN DOING? AND WHY?

Dressed as horned monsters with woollen pelts, these costumed fiends are entrusted with the job of frightening off the freezing winter weather. It’s a symbolic nod to a significant Hungarian historical event. In the 16th century, the townsfolk of Mohács dressed in disturbing get-up to frighten away the invading Turkish army.

ONCE THE AWFUL WEATHER HAS BEEN SENT PACKING, WHAT’S NEXT?

The festival lasts six days and over the course of this time there are lots of activities, open to all, that won’t scare you silly. There’s a costume competition for little monsters, a street procession that starts off on boats on the Danube and ends with horse-drawn floats in the centre of town, and a burning man effigy to signal the end of the cold. Everyone walks around drinking mulled wine and brandy and toasting their success at seeing in the imminent end of winter.

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Air Guitar World Championships – Oulu

LATE AUGUST.

IS THIS JUST GOING TO BE LIKE EVERY STUDENT HOUSESHARE ON A SATURDAY NIGHT?

You can expect a superior standard to your mate Dave’s beer-fuelled rendition of ‘Back in Black’. The competitors who make it to this, the holy grail of air guitar competitions, take their craft very seriously.

HOW SERIOUSLY?

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If you’re in any doubt as to the earnestness of the ideals of the competition, then have a read of the organisers’ ideology. These peaceful rockers believe that if everyone in the world played air guitar, wars would end, climate change would stop and all bad things would disappear. Now that’s got to be worth a riff, right?

HOW DO WE GET IN ON THE FUN?

Choose your song, practise like crazy, then send in a one-minute edited clip of your best effort. Or work your way through your national ranks. Be sure to play with technical accuracy and unbridled passion. Remember that your instrument must be invisible, although it can be either electric or acoustic in make (believe), and you are not allowed any air roadies or air back-up bands – that would, of course, be a totally unfair advantage.

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Sonar – Barcelona, Spain

JUNE.

THE DOOF DOOF COMES TO TOWN.

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Don’t come expecting your run-of-the-mill dance club acts: Sonar brings you back to the future of electronic music. The performances are a mash-up of everything that is hot in the sound scene. You can expect to see some familiar names showcasing new adventures and some artists who are so fresh they haven’t yet been defined.

OK, LET’S DO SOME TIME TRAVEL – TAKE US TO THE FUTURE OF SOUND.

Sonar doesn’t just stick to the standard ‘artist on stage in front of audience’ formula. The festival mixes it up with interesting exhibition and installation spaces in which to showcase electronic and advanced music sounds. Take for example the L’Auditori, a venue which is traditionally used for orchestras but which substitutes strings for sub-woofers when Sonar is in town.

GIVE US A HINT AT THE KIND OF HEROES AND PIONEERS WE CAN EXPECT TO SEE.

The festival-kick started in 1994 but it wasn’t till 1997 that it really started to attract some big electronic dance music artists. The line-up from that year lists the crème de la crème of EDM with names like Daft Punk, Kraftwerk, Kruder & Dorfmeister, Deep Dish, Herbert, Death in Vegas, and Coldcut. In 2016 the acts included Santigold, Underground Resistence, Richie Hawtin and James Rhodes.

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Roskilde Music Festival – Roskilde

LATE JUNE TO EARLY JULY.

WHAT MAKES A MUSIC FESTIVAL IN A SMALL TOWN IN DENMARK SO SPECIAL?

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Who knows exactly why Roskilde became the biggest North European culture and music festival. We do know that being a completely not-for-profit event certainly helps. All the proceeds of the festival go towards charitable initiatives in support of children and young people. The initiatives are entirely independent and are not limited to Europe. This said, though, it has something to do with rock and roll.

AH YES, ROCK AND ROLL. GETS US EVERY TIME.

Since 1971 in this case. From the early days of live bands on one stage, the festival has evolved to include different arts and culture-themed camps, like the Street Camp which features some of the world’s best skaters and games of street soccer and volleyball; the Rising City, which showcases up-and-coming artistic and musical talent; and the Graffiti Zone, a huge area filled with graffiti, murals, and other art installations.

YOU HAD BETTER GET AROUND TO TELLING US ABOUT THE MUSIC.

Nine stages with over 180 international and local acts. It’s a star-studded line-up that includes artists of the moment like Tame Impala and Wiz Khalifa, and musical legends like Neil Young and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

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Glastonbury Festival – Somerset

LATE JUNE (WITH A BREAK EVERY FOUR YEARS) BETTER PACK OUR OBLIGATORY GUMBOOTS.

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Each year, Glastonbury makes the headlines with images of British celebrities trudging through the mud in gumboots and hot pants. However, despite the cheap tabloid shots, this long-running festival maintains a focus on social activism and environmental issues, as well as a serious emphasis on music and the performing arts.

WE’VE HEARD THE HEADLINE ACTS DRAW A BIG CROWD.

It has a reputation as the biggest greenfield festival in the world – since the inaugural get-together in 1970, it now runs over five days and attracts more than 175,000 attendees.

THESE MUST BE SOME SERIOUSLY POPULAR POP STARS.

Glastonbury brings out the big guns – headline artists over the years have included such rock and pop behemoths as David Bowie, Van Morrison, The Smiths, Radiohead, The White Stripes, Neil Young and U2. In more recent years, the festival has widened its musical appreciation to include rap and R&B artists like Jay Z and Dizzie Rascal, and on some of the smaller stages you’ll be treated to up-and-coming acts before they hit the big time.