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Better Know A Holiday: St. John's Day (And Eve)

Better Know A Holiday: St. John's Day (And Eve) f_jensen_at_sdr.vinge, Flickr AKA: Fete Nationale du Quebec (Canada), Kupala Day (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Poland), Festa Junina (Brazil), Foguera de San Xuan (Brazil), Jaanilaupaev (Estonia), Saint Jonas' Festival (Lithuania), Jani (Latvia), Dia de Sao Joao (Portugal),...

Survey Ranks 'World's Most Unfriendliest' Countries

Survey Ranks 'World's Most Unfriendliest' Countries Have you ever been to a country that just seems to give tourists the cold shoulder? Now, there are some figures behind those unwelcome feelings; the World Economic Forum has put together a report that ranks countries based on how friendly they are to tourists. The...

New Airline Program Pairs Seatmates Based On 'Mood'

New Airline Program Pairs Seatmates Based On 'Mood' "Do you want your seat neighbor to be like-minded, share hobbies with you or speak a specific language? Do you want to chat, or to rest while flying?" These are the questions asked by airBaltic, the national airline of Latvia who is introducing a new SeatBuddy program. ...

The world's most ethical tourism destinations

The world's most ethical tourism destinations Each year, non-profit organization Ethical Traveler conducts a survey of the world's developing nations, analyzing their progress toward promoting human rights, preserving their environment, and developing a sustainable tourism industry. The study, run by Ethical Traveler's...

Israel, Chile, Slovak Republic among countries with highest adventure travel potential

Israel, Chile, Slovak Republic among countries with highest adventure travel potential A new study conducted by George Washington University, Vital Wave Consulting, and the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) shows that Israel, Chile, and the Slovak Republic led the way in adventure tourism in 2010. The study, which resulted in the third annual Adventure...

Travel then and now: Travel to the USSR and GDR

Travel then and now: Travel to the USSR and GDR This year is the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Soviet Union and 21 years since the reunification of Germany. While citizens of the USSR and GDR were unable to travel abroad and restricted in domestic travel, foreign travelers were permitted under a controlled...

Schengen and the disappearance of European passport stamps

Schengen and the disappearance of European passport stamps Creative new use for border crossing posts at German/Austrian border. In the late 1980s, an American spending a summer traveling across Europe with a Eurailpass would see his or her passport stamped possibly dozens of times. With a few exceptions, every time a border...

New photography book on food and travel profiles meals around the world

New photography book on food and travel profiles meals around the world There are a few key things that unite mankind, one of which is the need to eat. Whether the act itself is one of indulgence or subsistence is largely a cultural and geographic, and not just economic, issue. It's this dichotomy that forms the theme for a fascinating new...

AirBaltic expands, spruces up

AirBaltic expands, spruces up Yesterday, Latvian airline AirBaltic launched two new routes: Riga-Madrid and Riga-Beirut. Riga-based AirBaltic is an airline to watch. Little known in North America, the airline is notable for its low starting fares and the inclusion of most of Europe's most popular...

Adventure Tourism Development Index rates top adventure destinations

Adventure Tourism Development Index rates top adventure destinations The Adventure Tourism Development Index is a study put together by the Adventure Travel Trade Association, in conjunction with George Washington University and Xola Consulting. The joint effort examines 192 countries and ranks them based on their commitment to sustainable...

Tired of where you live? Buy yourself a new town in Latvia!

Tired of where you live? Buy yourself a new town in Latvia! Do you ever get bored of your own town? How about packing up all your stuff and moving to your very own town? This could be your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rename a town after yourself! Of course, the move would involve relocating to Latvia, and you'll need to...

Latvia fed up with "English pigs" - creates anti-Brit police force

Latvia fed up with The Latvian capital city of Riga is home to a lot of beautiful things, and I'm not just talking about their stunning blonde women. Sadly, a lot of that beauty is being spoiled by British tourists who don't understand how to behave when abroad. The mayor of Riga complains...

The Latvian way to fix the economy? Hot blondes!

The Latvian way to fix the economy? Hot blondes! The world is in a global economic meltdown, but Latvia is suffering a bit more than most other nations - their economy is expected to shrink by 16% this year. Some countries have introduced financial measures to get things back on track, others have been forced to simply sit...

Riga, Latvia: the best place you've never been

Riga, Latvia: the best place you've never been A lot has changed since the Cold War ended. If this is news to you, please stop reading immediately. You don't want to drink water from a fire hose. But, if you are in fact aware that the Berlin Wall fell (and that David Hasselhoff provided the soundtrack, to the joy of...

OK, in Latvia, do not speak Russian

OK, in Latvia, do not speak Russian Language is a funny thing: When you say something wrong, even in a foreign tongue, you don't have to be told you made a mistake. The reaction says it all. It comes in the form of a stony face, a pause, and an answer that in itself is a correction. At least that's what I was...

Hospital-themed restaurant in Latvia. Check in like a patient and order up a meal

Hospital-themed restaurant in Latvia. Check in like a patient and order up a meal Here's another unsual restaurant that joins the ranks of off beat eateries like the Toilet Restaurant in Taiwan. In Riga, Latvia, folks who head to the restaurant Hospitalis check in as if they are patients in a hospital. Once seated in the midst of operating tables,...

Independence days and elephants

Independence days and elephants I've whipped out my International Calendar to see what might be left to tell about November before it slips away from Eastern Standard Time in a few hours. What I see is a whole lot of independence days and a slew of other politically geared occasions. Nov....

Jail Hotels: bunking like an inmate

Jail Hotels: bunking like an inmate Call me weird, but there is something sickly exciting about living in a hotel that used to be a jail. I prefer hostels, bed and breakfast inns and motels to hotels -- with a special dislike towards 5-star luxury -- but should I have the opportunity to stay at the new Boston...

Europe's Red Asphalt: The Most Dangerous Roads in the EU

Europe's Red Asphalt: The Most Dangerous Roads in the EU Thinking of renting a car and driving through Europe this summer? Want to come back alive? Well then, there are a couple of countries you should probably avoid--mainly those located in the Baltics. According to a recent EU report, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia had the...

Word for the Travel Wise (12/17/06)

Word for the Travel Wise (12/17/06) After going through some of the language archives I just realized I forgot to include a very useful link in the Latvian lessons that can help not only with the exploration of Latvian, but many other langs as well. BBC Languages Quick Fix has a section for Latvian with audio...

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