There's lots to see and do in Newcastle. The ‘new castle’ which lends its name to the city is centuries old: it dates from the reign of King Henry II, 840 years ago. You can climb its steep, honey-coloured stone steps to visit the great hall before watching a video that explains the role of the fortress through the ages.
In woodland close to Rainau, a small town a little over 80 kilometres eastwards of Stuttgart, I saw one of the tallest remaining sections of the stone wall that was a key element of the Upper German-Rhaetian Limes. Crunching across pine cones and bouncing over sun-dappled ground springy with fallen pine needles, I visited a remnant of the stonework accompanied by Dr Stefan Bender, an archaeologist working at Baden-Wuerttemberg’s Limes information centre in Aalen. “It was known as the Devil’s Wall,” said Dr Bender as we approached the stonework. “People thought in former centuries that the devil had constructed the wall.”
Grotesque demons and visions of paradise feature in artworks by Hieronymus Bosch. Throughout 2016 a series of events is being held in the Netherlands to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Bosch's death in 1516.
During February, the francophone St Boniface district of the Winnipeg hosts the Festival du Voyager, western Canada’s biggest winter festival.Thanks to the seasonal weather, finding a place to chill in Winnipeg in winter isn’t difficult. However, chilling at Thermea by Nordik Spa-Nature has a whole different meaning — it’s a chic spa with saunas and steam rooms ranged around a four outdoor pools of varying temperatures.
“Lumiere was born in Durham in 2009 and became a blueprint for later festivals elsewhere,” said Helen Marriage MBE, the director of Artichoke, the creative agency that initiated Durham Lumiere in 2009. The event spawned Lumiere London plus a festival of lights in Northern Ireland’s second city.
Even without a seasonal dusting of snow, there’s something magical about a visit to the traditional Advent markets of Salzburg in Austria.
The Golden Chariot is south India’s answer to the Palace on Wheels; this is a luxury train transporting tourists in five-star comfort between sites of cultural and historic interest.
Stress is a distant memory as we glide, in defiance of the passage of time, in a houseboat on Kerala’s placid backwaters. For centuries people survived on board these vessels without watches, mobile phones and laptops, so for the three day duration of this trip I’ve packed mine away and pledged to undertake a digital detox.
“I come from a family of five generations of loggers,” says Darren before explaining that meant working in the bush, bringing logs to the sawmill and processing them. “I’m carrying on the legacy…in the form on promoting it for tourism, team building and allowing people who wouldn’t normally have the chance to get a taste of what it’s like to be a lumberjack and do it for a day with their friends.”
Munich residents meet at the Advent markets to socialise over post-work mugs of Glühwein (mulled wine). The Christmas markets in Munich are by no means held only to attract visitors to the city.