While we may celebrate Easter with a roast lamb dinner and (too many?) chocolate eggs, there are countries across the world that have some rather more quirky traditions to celebrate this holiday …
You’ve seen an Easter chocolate egg and even a chocolate bunny but have you ever seen an Easter chocolate bilby? These small desert dwelling marsupials are an endangered species and chocolatiers across Australia decided to raise awareness of the rabbit-like animals by creating chocolate likenesses over Easter.
In Corfu on Holy Saturday, the locals enjoy the tradition of ‘pot throwing’. People throw pots and other earthenware, usually filled with water, out of their windows. It is thought that the tradition was started to welcome spring, symbolising that new crops will be gathered in new pots.
Easter is often seen as a symbol of new life, but not in Norway! Norwegians spend their Easter break indulging in all things crime, with many new crime novels released during this time and detective dramas shown on television over the weekend. Even the milk cartons carry detective stories on their sides!
Everyone gets involved in Easter on the island of Bermuda; locals and visitors alike. The highlight is the Good Friday KiteFest, where people take to the skies with their homemade kites which are usually brightly coloured and have bold geometric designs.
Easter traditions vary according to the different regions of the country but many celebrate by making papier mache Judases which they then blow up as part of their celebrations using fireworks – similar to our traditions on Guy Fawkes night.
For over 130 years, Washington DC has hosted the annual Easter Egg Roll, a race on the South Lawn of the White House which involves rolling a coloured hard-boiled egg with a large serving spoon. In more recent times, the event has expanded and now includes egg hunts, music, sport and crafts.
In Florence, a 350-year-old tradition known as Scoppio del Carro or ‘explosion of the cart’ is celebrated. An ornate cart packed with fireworks is lead through the streets to the Duomo. The Archbishop of Florence then lights a fuse during Easter mass that leads to the cart outside and sparks a lively firework display which is meant to ensure a good harvest.
Haux, a town in the South of France celebrates Easter Monday by cooking a giant omelette in the town’s main square. The omelette uses more than 15,000 eggs and can feed up to 1,000 people. Apparently, the tradition was started when Napoleon and his army passed through the town and ate a meal of omelettes they enjoyed so much they ordered a ‘giant’ one for the next day.
To celebrate Easter a little differently next year, contact us today to get planning your Spring 2022 trip!
Have you always wanted to visit a ranch? We can help you make that dream a reality!
Indulge at a luxury resort ranch, become a real cowboy during a stay at a working ranch or get your teeth stuck into lots of outdoor activities at a guest ranch.
There are ranches all over the western United States and Canada offering amazing experiences for guests with a range of riding abilities amid incredible scenery and open spaces.
Take a look at some of our favourite ranches below;
Zapata, a Nature Conservancy Preserve, is a 103,000 acre property in central southern Colorado, nearby the incredible White Sand Dunes National Park. The land itself is home to bison, antelope, elk and deer.
Activities offered here include horse-riding, hiking, volleyball, basketball, trap shooting, archery and white-water rafting.
Nakiska Ranch offers a taste of country living at a real working ranch in an incredible natural setting. The surrounding region of Clearwater offers an environment of quiet seclusion, located approximately half-way between Vancouver and Jasper in the British Columbia interior. Cattle and horses graze peacefully nearby on the border of the beautiful Wells Gray Provincial Park.
Activities offered here include horse-riding, hiking, flight-seeing, boat and fishing tours, canoe tours and rentals and golf.
La Reata Ranch is a family-owned working cattle ranch located on 5,000 acres of hilly countryside in the beautiful Saskatchewan River Valley. Get a true ‘hands-on’ experience by grooming and saddling your own horse who you will be paired with throughout your stay.
Activities here includes horse-riding, fishing, boating and a number of authentic ‘cowboy experiences’ which vary by season and may include trail rides, cattle branding (early June) and a cattle drive (late September / early October). You can try your hand at tying a lasso, roping cattle and barrel racing!
Goosewing Ranch is located just 40 miles northeast of Jackson and offers exceptional views of the Grand Teton Mountains. The valley in which the ranch sits is also host to some of North America’s most spectacular game: elk, moose, mountain sheep, antelope, bear, eagles, geese and cranes.
Activities include trail rides, arena riding, fly fishing, shooting, archery, river tubing, wagon rides, biking, swimming and a hot tub.
Just an hour from San Antonio, nestled in the spectacular Texas Hill Country, Dixie Dude Ranch continues to adhere to its original purpose - a real working ranch where longhorn cattle, Spanish goats, and pigs are raised and where real cowboys work the horses and compete in rodeos.
Activities include horse-riding, swimming, fishing, hiking, hayrides, basketball and volleyball.
Sundance Guest Ranch is located just four hours from Vancouver in a beautiful setting overlooking the Thompson River Valley and is home to a herd of over 80 horses. Friendly wranglers lead daily morning and afternoon trail rides, offering a leisurely way to explore this rugged and untouched land.
Additional facilities include an outdoor pool, tennis courts, hiking trails, volleyball net and games room. A 9-hole golf course and fishing sites are also nearby.
Tanque Verde is one of the best-known ranches in Arizona, located on the edge of the Saguaro National Park, near Tucson. One of America’s old cattle and guest ranches, it has now become a luxurious ranch, striving to provide the ultimate ranch experience. Whether it’s the food, activities, or lodging, they take pride in providing an exceptional experience.
Activities include trail rides, arena riding, a breakfast ride, BBQ cookout, swimming pool, hot tub, biking, fishing and a fitness centre.
Lone Mountain’s location, near the Big Sky Ski Resort and Yellowstone National Park have long made it a popular option. The ranch offers a diverse experience with the ranch life as well as exploration of some of the region’s most beautiful natural areas—all amid warm and genuine informal western hospitality.
Summer activities include trail riding, canoeing, biking, hiking, Yellowstone tours and yoga. In winter, take a sleigh ride or go shoe-shoeing.
The ultimate in luxury, Siwash is surrounded by 80,000 acres of Canada’s cowboy country and is rated among the best guest ranches in North America. It is also a genuine, family-run working ranch who are happy to tailor your experience completely to your own needs.
Summer activities can include horse-riding, trout fishing and canoeing. Winter activities at the ranch include snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, ice skating, tobogganing and tubing.
This is just a selection of the ranches that are dotted throughout North America. If you would like to visit any of these incredible properties for yourself, or if you have another one in mind, contact us today to get planning a once-in-a-lifetime trip!
New Years' Eve is usually a great excuse for a party across the world. While the parties may be different in 2020, the hope for the future that is at their heart will be stronger than ever as we look forward to a brighter 2021.
In the meantime, take a look at some of the best celebrations below and look forward to the New Year with us.
Sydney is normally host to one of the most iconic New Year celebrations in the world. As one of the first places to see in the New Year, spectators usually line the streets near the Harbour to see an incredible firework display from the sails of the Sydney Opera House. The Harbour Light Parade, where more than 50 illuminated boats float past is also a great tradition.
Scotland celebrates Hogmanay, usually with a three-day celebration, beginning on December 30 with a torchlight procession through the streets of the city. A huge street party and outdoor concert with a firework display over Edinburgh Castle traditionally follow on December 31 with the first ceilidh of the New Year on January 1.
In France, the New Year or ‘St. Sylvestre’, is traditionally celebrated for the entire month of January. On the night of December 31, the heart of the action is usually found on the Champs-Elysees. Of course, you could always opt to spend the stroke of midnight sharing a kiss beneath the sparkling light show of the Eiffel Tower.
New York’s infamous ‘ball drop’ is arguably the most iconic of the world’s New Years’ Eve celebrations. The tradition began in 1907 and, though it may be a little different this year, it usually attracts around a million visitors to the city. If you don’t fancy being in Times Square, there are many hotels which offer New Years’ packages, including The Knickerbocker, where you can watch the celebrations below from their rooftop.
For something a little different, a trip to the Bahamas over New Year could be the answer. Nassau usually celebrates with a ‘Junkanoo’; part party, part procession, part carnival which dates back to the 16th century and normally winds through the streets until well after sunrise on January 1.
Koh Phangan is home to the most famous full moon party in the world and New Years’ Eve is no exception. The celebrations usually centre around Sunrise Beach in Haad Rin. This is not an option for the faint of heart; the party is known to begin as soon as the sun goes down on December 31 and continues well into the afternoon of January 1.
Dubai has often been quoted as hosting the largest firework display in the world, lighting up the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, and Burj Al Arab as well as a stretch of beach. The best seat in the house is in front of the Dubai Fountain.
In Las Vegas, you could be forgiven for thinking that any night was a celebration, so on New Year, the city must do something special. In a ‘normal’ year, you would expect to find celebrity-hosted nightclub parties and world-class dinner shows. Many casinos also have firework displays at midnight that can be viewed from throughout the Strip.
Rio's Copacabana Beach is usually the centre of New Year celebrations as revellers, dressed in all-white, celebrate Réveillon, a party infused with religious, traditional, and superstitious beliefs. Fireworks and live music set the mood, as people make offerings to Lemanjá, the goddess of the sea to bring them good fortune in the New Year.
The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis are an incredible natural phenomenon and seeing them is a true bucket list experience. But where are the best places to view these amazing lights? From as close to home as Norway to as far afield as Canada’s Yukon, we have ideas for everyone for the 2021/2022 season!
Thanks to its location within the Arctic Circle, Fairbanks, Alaska is known as one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights. They are most visible between August and May, with the sweet spot between 22:00 and 02:00 every night.
Stay at Bettles Lodge, a fly-in property located in a prime spot under the aurora band of highest frequency activity. Staff here even provide wake up calls when the viewing is at its best so you won’t miss a thing (or any sleep)!
Tromso, Norway is the perfect location to see the Lights closer to home, with the best time to visit between October and March. Visit in January to get the chance to attend the annual Northern Lights Festival too. The town of Tromso itself is a great place to stay, with more pubs and bars per capita than anywhere else in Norway.
Stay at the Thon Hotel, in the centre of the city, for the perfect duality of city excitement and a front row seat to Mother Nature!
Kiruna is a remote area of Swedish Lapland that offers a more unique Northern Lights experience. The best time to visit is between October and March, although they may be visible a little outside of these months during periods of clear weather.
Lulea is another great option, which offers a host of other winter activities alongside Aurora Borealis viewing, including dog sledding and ice fishing.
The Northern Lights can be viewed up to 200 nights of the year in Finland. As well that, you can also go dog sledding, ice fishing and snowmobiling. Rovaniemi is also the home of Santa so a trip to Finnish Lapland could make a magical Christmas holiday for the family.
To make your trip extra special, spend a night or two at the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel.
With its otherworldly landscape, geothermal pools and volcano tours, Reykjavik is also a popular place to see the Northern Lights. For the best viewing, visit between September and April.
Spend time at Hotel Katla in the more isolated region of Vik in southern Iceland for an uninterrupted Northern Lights encounter. From here, you can also take snowmobiling tours, play a round of golf at the nearby course, or go for a glacier hike.
You cannot get much more remote than the Yukon, in the north west of Canada’s vast expanse. Its location in the Arctic Circle makes an incredible location for viewing the Aurora Borealis from August to April.
Stay in your own cabin at Southern Lakes Resort, which is accessible only by floatplane from Whitehorse. As well as the Northern Lights, go dog sledding with the resort’s own pack of huskies.
From the traditional turkey dinner to a specific movie you watch with your nearest and dearest every Christmas Day afternoon, Christmas is all about family, friends and the traditions we build with them.To celebrate the holiday, here are some of the ways Christmas is celebrated around the world.
Toronto’s Santa Claus Parade has been a staple tradition every November since 1905 and is one of the largest Christmas parades in the world. Although the practice is becoming less common, people have traditionally taken part in ‘mummering’ (in Newfoundland & Labrador) or ‘belsnickeling' (in Nova Scotia), where people visit others’ homes in disguise and their identity must be guessed. Once their identity is known, they are usually offered food and drink by the host.
The USA is home to its fair share of unusual Christmas decorations, including California’s Surfing Santa Competition. In Hawaii, a traditional Christmas dinner is often a spit-roast pig, in Montana, residents take part in the annual Ice Climbing Festival and in Alabama, Elfapalooza hosts the second largest congregations of elves in world.
Although Christmas is not a national celebrated holiday in Japan, that does not exclude its citizens from having their own, quirky festive tradition. Following a successful marketing campaign in 1974, the fast-food chain KFC has provided Japanese families across the country with their Christmas dinner – “Kentucky For Christmas!”
Traditions here vary according to region and culture but braaing, like a British BBQ, is a big deal here. No Christmas celebration is complete without boerewors sausage and steak. For dessert, malva pudding, a caramelized sponge containing apricot jam, is often served with custard. In some areas, the caterpillars of the Pine Tree Emperor Moth (or Christmas Caterpillar) are considered a festive treat and are said to bring good luck in the coming year.
The Swedish Yule Goat dates back to ancient pagan festivals but its most modern incarnation arose in 1966 when a giant straw goat was erected in Castle Square, Gavle, a tradition which continues to this day. The Gavle Goat is 42 feet high, 23 feet wide and weighs 3.6 tonnes. You can even watch a livestream of the area throughout the Christmas period.
Like South Africa, Christmas in New Zealand is a summer celebration so a popular way to celebrate is with a ‘barbie’ on the beach. New Zealanders also have a unique Christmas tree tradition; many families have a pohutukawa tree, a coastal species that blooms a bright-red colour in December.
Have you heard the legend of Krampus? He is said to be the evil accomplice of St. Nicholas who wanders the streets in search of badly behaved children. Throughout December, Austrians all over the country will often don terrifying masks and pull pranks to scare adults and children alike. There is even a Krampus festival held every year in Vienna.
Norwegian folklore suggests that on Christmas Eve, spirits and witches take to the skies to cause mischief. As witches often use brooms as their preferred mode of transport, it is tradition for Norwegian households to hide anything the witches might have been able to use so that they can’t be found.
Iceland is home of the Yule Cat, which is said to roam the countryside at Christmas. The legend was traditionally employed by farmers to incentivise their employees; those who worked hard would receive a new set of clothes and those who didn’t could be devoured by the cat-like beast. Today, Icelandic families often gift each other clothes to avoid an unfortunate demise.