New Year’s Extravaganza – Amsterdam is Europe’s Epic Street Party

Amsterdam consistently ranks as one of the best places to usher in the New Year. The already laid back atmosphere of this chilled, friendly city gets even more relaxed as revelers take to the street for some serious merrymaking. For the Dutch, it’s about putting to bed the old year and celebrating the arrival of … Read more

The Perfect New Year’s Eve in Paris

Paris is variously known as the City of Love, the City of Light and the City of Fashion. No matter which Paris you claim as your own, the city is unparalleled in so many ways – its history, art, architecture, and cuisine are considered second to none. Paris:  Your New Year’s Destination Of course, Paris … Read more

4 Reasons To Travel For New Year’s

Using your winter break to do some traveling might not be your first idea but it’s definitely one of the best. Here are five reasons why doing one of our trips over New Year’s might be the perfect fit for you.

Happy 500th to the Sistine Chapel ceiling

Yesterday wasn’t just Halloween. It was also the 500th anniversary of the unveiling of Michelangelo’s famous frescos on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. That momentous event occurred on October 31, 1512. I’d like to personally say Happy Birthday to the ceiling. I have been to the Sistine Chapel and have craned my neck to stare at that … Read more

Lederhosen and dirndls back in fashion in Munich

As you probably know, right now Munich is in the thick of Oktoberfest. Though I’m not there in person (and, if you’re reading this, chances are you aren’t either), we can still live vicariously through the millions who will participate before it’s all said and done. It runs until October 4, 2015. I was just poking around the … Read more

Amazing kites hit the Sydney skies

I’m not a big kite person, so I wasn’t expecting to be wowed or anything when I clicked on a link about the Festival of the Winds in Sydney. But then I saw the enormous whale floating in the sky over Bondi Beach, and I was indeed wowed. These kites are pretty cool. The Festival of the Winds … Read more


Asparagus-mania in Germany

  Who likes asparagus? (I do.) If you like asparagus, you should go to Germany during the next two months. That’s because Germany has just entered Spargelzeit, otherwise known as asparagus season. This is the first I’ve ever heard of this, which kind of surprises me. (I like to think I’m in-the-know when it comes … Read more

Olympics in London and more

The Olympics will be in London this summer, and I’ve come across this cool video walking tour of the Olympic Park. It’s actually kind of a different spin on your average Olympics walking tour. It takes you through an interesting London neighborhood called Hackney, which has historically been very industrial and is now filled with … Read more

St. Patrick’s Day is near

As we speak, EF College Break travelers are in Ireland, gearing up for their big St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin. Yes, we all wish we were there too. You can live vicariously through them by checking out the EFCB Tumblr blog. Travelers are posting live every day from the trips. For those of us stuck … Read more

Crazy Valentine’s Day contest in Thailand

In case you haven’t gotten enough Valentine’s Day hype, I thought I’d direct you to this entertaining bit of Valentine’s Day news from Thailand. Seven couples are competing in a kissing marathon to see who can stay kissing the longest. To win, couples must remain lip-locked continuously, no exceptions—that includes when going to the bathroom … Read more

A Big Birthday in London

In case you missed it, Tuesday was Charles Dickens’s 200th birthday. Of course, Dickens is considered one of the greatest writers of all time, so there was quite a buzz about it online. Google even honored him by doing their thing with the thing. I like Charles Dickens. I remember enjoying A Tale of Two … Read more

Europe will be buzzing with Euro 2012

Going to Europe this June? If so, get ready to be caught up in Euro 2012 fever. The UEFA European Championship (Euro, for short) happens every four years, and it’s the biggest soccer event in Europe after the World Cup. Obviously soccer is huge in Europe, and the Euro championship pits 16 national teams against … Read more

Oyster time in Galway

Anyone like oysters? For those who do, this was a big weekend in Galway, Ireland. It was the annual Galway Oyster Festival (official name Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival). According to the festival’s website, the event is Ireland’s most internationally recognized food festival and the world's longest running international oyster festival. So it’s a … Read more

Barcelona’s biggest festival: La Merce

These are festive days in Barcelona. Starting today and running through Sunday, the streets of the Catalan capital will be alive with the celebration of La Merce, the city’s biggest annual festival. I have never been, but it looks like a great time. They have countless events and activities, including plenty of standard festival fare … Read more

Spain’s giant tomato fight

It’s that time of year again in Buñol, Spain. Time for La Tomatina, the world’s most famous town-wide tomato fight. Of all the world’s odd festivals and traditions I’ve written about for this blog, this one always stands among my favorites. It happens every year on the last Wednesday in August (that’s this Wednesday). More … Read more

Slow and steady wins the snail race in France

I ate escargot once. It was a long time ago. I was in France. They were pretty good. Definitely slimy, but not bad. They were drenched in a buttery garlic sauce, if I remember correctly. To me, eating strange foods is one of the great joys of traveling (I always liked this video of EF … Read more


It’s yodeling time in Switzerland

Starting today and through the weekend, there will be much yodeling going on in the heart of the Swiss Alps. The 28th annual Swiss Yodel Festival will be taking place in Interlaken. The Swiss Yodel Festival expects to draw 200,000 visitors. They come to see about 10,000 yodelers, flag throwers and alphorn blowers competing to … Read more

Almost time for the Paris Air Show

Anyone into aviation may be aware that the biggest air show of the year is coming up next week. It’s the Paris Air Show, taking place at Le Bourget, an old airfield on the outskirts of the city. All kinds of airline industry wheeling and dealing goes on at this event, and it draws a … Read more

Venice Biennale begins June 4

The Venice Biennale starts this Saturday. What is it? It’s a huge months-long art exhibition that happens every other year, turning Venice into an international showcase of art, music, dance, architecture, film and more. If you’re going to be in Venice this summer with EF College Break, you can check out some of the stuff. … Read more

Lights on in Sydney

Sydney, Australia is getting all lit up at night these days. You can see it in this video of the Sydney Opera House. The light show, called Lights On, is part of the Vivid Sydney festival—it started on May 27 and runs for about two-and-a-half weeks. The purpose of Vivid Sydney is to put Sydney’s … Read more

Time for the Monaco Grand Prix

It’s been a busy couple of weeks on the French Riviera. First, the Cannes Film Festival wrapped up this past Sunday. And now this coming weekend is the Monaco Grand Prix, the world’s most famous Formula One auto race. Starting today there will be parties and events, as well as practice and qualifying runs, and … Read more

World’s best beard crowned in Norway

One of my favorite things about traveling is that it makes you feel like the world is one big community. International competitions do the same thing. Last week I blogged about the Cannes Film Festival, last summer I blogged about the World Cup, and today I blog about the World Beard and Moustache Championship. The … Read more

It’s Cannes Film Festival time again

Cannes is back. The world’s most famous film festival got underway yesterday. Here’s the official website, so you can stay up-to-date on everything. You can see what movies are being shown, find out who is entered in the competitions, and watch trailers from all the movies. And here’s an interview with Angelina Jolie and Jack … Read more

Feast of the Snake Catchers in Cocullo, Italy

For many, Cinco de Mayo is a day to appreciate Mexican heritage and pride. But in one village in Italy, today is a day to cover a patron saint with live snakes. I’m talking about the Feast of the Snake Catchers in Cocullo. If you read this blog regularly, you know I like odd festivals. … Read more

It’s wedding time

Okay I’ve held out long enough. The Royal Wedding is tomorrow, I'm going to write about it. Of course a lot has been written and said over the months about the big day. I’m not that into it, so I didn’t read or listen to most of it. But here’s something that caught my attention. … Read more

Carnival time!

This is the time of year when Carnival celebrations abound. The festivals leading up to the beginning of Lent take place all over the world, and each country has its own traditions and customs. I was just poking around online, looking for something beyond the more well-known celebrations (like Brazil and New Orleans) and two … Read more

A special free clothing offer in Madrid

I don’t like to shop. But, I do like getting things for free, so I could have been persuaded to join the fun in Madrid a few days ago when the clothing store Desigual offered free clothes to the first 100 people to show up at their door.  There was only one condition: you had … Read more

More weird fiestas in Spain

Spain is known for its weird festivals and events. I’ve already blogged in the past about La Tomatina in Buñol (world’s largest town-wide tomato fight) and a siesta competition in Madrid this past October. Today I came across two more bizarre fiestas that have just taken place during this holiday season: Els Enfarinats flour fight … Read more


Thailand’s great monkey feast

Having recently enjoyed a feast of my own (thanks, Thanksgiving), I felt a special kinship to the macaque monkeys of Lopburi, Thailand, when I heard about yesterday’s annual monkey feast. Lopburi is about 90 miles from Bangkok (you can get there by bus or train). The city is famous for its ancient temples and its … Read more

What to do…

When I’m looking for things to write about for this blog, I go to a number of sources. Most of them are listed down at the right in the 'Links I Like' section. Today, as I was poking around the internet, it dawned on me that I should highlight one of these sites for all … Read more

Madrid’s national siesta championship

Here’s a competition I can really get behind: Spain’s first national siesta championship. It’s taking place in Madrid as we speak. I’m a guy who likes his sleep. I shoot for eight hours a night, and I’ve been known to take an afternoon nap every now and then. So I love Spain’s siesta tradition and … Read more

All about oysters in Galway

It’s happening right now. The Galway International Oyster Festival runs from September 22-26. It’s the place to be for oyster lovers. It all started back in 1954, when a Galway hotel man, eager to keep his business booming past tourist season, decided to hold an oyster festival in September. The people loved it. Every September … Read more

A week to honor comics in Brussels

Last week, an enormous Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, a giant Smurf, a huge Betty Boop and many others floated through the streets of Brussels. They were all inflatable comic book character balloons. I don’t often get to talk about Brussels in this blog, but I like Brussels (I’ve been through there a couple of times), … Read more

200th Oktoberfest set to kick off in Munich

This Saturday is day one of Oktoberfest 2010, and this year is extra special—it’s the festival’s 200th anniversary. The ancestor of Oktoberfest was a marriage celebration between Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen in the year 1810. Little did the two newlyweds know that 200 years later, millions of people from all over … Read more

Switzerland’s Alpine Beard Festival

This might not be blog-worthy, because I could barely find any information about it, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to write about the Alpine Beard Festival in Switzerland. Especially because this will be the festival’s 25th anniversary.The Alpine Beard Festival will take place this weekend as part of the popular Chur Festival. Chur … Read more

Puck Fair underway in Ireland

Today is the last day of the Puck Fair, a huge annual 3-day event in County Kerry, Ireland. The Puck Fair involves singing, dancing, drinking, and a very special goat. This is my kind of fair. It takes place in the small town of Killorglin (pop. 1,539). Every year, from August 10-12, Killorglin is flooded … Read more

Europe gone wild

When I lived in Prague, I once went to a temporary outdoor photo exhibit (it was the World Press Photo exhibition), and it was a great experience. I like good photography and I like the outdoors. Outdoor exhibitions tend to be free, and I enjoy just casually walking up to see some world-class photography without … Read more

Hitting the beach in Paris and Prague

We’re entering the dog days of summer, and people are looking for ways to beat the heat and enjoy that summer vibe. Well, two of my favorite landlocked European cities happen to offer that very opportunity. In Paris, they have recently opened up the annual Paris Beach (Paris Plage, in French). First started in 2002, … Read more

A week to party in Madrid

As most of you know, Spain won the World Cup yesterday. Congratulations, Spain. With Spain on the brain, I looked into what was going on in Madrid these days, and I found that there are two more reasons besides fútbol to be partying this week. First, there is the annual Fiesta del Carmen. This runs … Read more

Ping Pong all over London

Here’s an idea I can get behind. This summer, between July 24 and August 22, there will be ping pong tables all over London, free for anyone who wants to use them. One hundred tables in all will be available to the public, for residents and tourists alike. There will be paddles available at each … Read more

London’s Secret Cinema

There’s an organization that's really catching on in London. It’s for people who love movies, love events, and love being in on secrets. It’s called Secret Cinema, and it has more than 60,000 members and 40,157 facebook fans (and counting). Here’s how it works: Once a month, Secret Cinema members get an email about the … Read more

Calcio Storico in Florence

When I think of Florence, I usually think of Renaissance art, leather handbags, and the majestic Duomo. But not today. Today I learned about the Calcio Storico (a.k.a. Calcio Fiorentino), one of the more vicious team sporting events I’ve seen. The Calcio Storico takes place today, June 24, in the Piazza Santa Croce, one of … Read more

Expo 2010 underway in Shanghai

Would you like to travel the world in a giant vertical eco-airship powered by algae? Me too. That’s the idea of one Belgian architect, whose plan is on display at the just-opened Expo 2010 Shanghai China. The Expo started on May 1, and it’ll run until October. Its theme is “Better City, Better Life”. World … Read more

Snakes on the loose in Cocullo, Italy

We’ve got another weird one here. Today the small Italian town of Cocullo is celebrating its very special Feast of the Snake Catchers (festa dei serpari). Every year, on the third Thursday in May, the townspeople of Cocullo gather to honor their patron Saint Domenico. How do they honor him? With live snakes. Saint Domenico … Read more

Seville’s April Fair

Festivals are great. When I’m in another country, I love when there’s a festival. It’s a great way to get a taste of the local culture. People are in a fun mood. It’s nice to be outdoors. There’s always plenty of food, drink and music to be enjoyed. That's why I wish I were in … Read more

International Pillow Fight Day

Did you participate in International Pillow Fight Day last Saturday? I didn’t, but thousands of people all over the world did. As you can guess, International Pillow Fight Day is an organized event where people get together in cities all over the world and hit each other with pillows. I blogged about this last April, … Read more

Florence’s exploding Easter cart

With Easter coming up on Sunday, I’ve been searching the world for a favorite Easter tradition (there are many to choose from). I’ve settled on Florence. Because it involves an exploding cart. Florence's tradition is called Scoppio del Carro ("Explosion of the Cart"), and it occurs in the Piazza del Duomo every Easter Sunday at … Read more

Steampunk gala in London

Have you heard of steampunk? I hadn’t until a few minutes ago. But this past Saturday, steampunk’s biggest event of the year, The Great Exhibition 2010, was held at La Scala club in London. By all accounts, it was a very good time. Steampunk is an offbeat sub-culture that takes retro-future-sci-fi-technology and combines it with … Read more

Puppets in Prague

Puppets may be creepy, but I still like them. You know who else likes puppets? Czechs. The Czech Republic has a long, storied history of puppetry. That’s why every year in late May/early June, the city of Prague hosts the World Festival of Puppet Art.For those lucky enough to be in my favorite city between … Read more

Competitive sheep shearing in the French Alps

A few days ago, in a tradition usually associated with New Zealand or Australia, a town in the high French Alps engaged in an exciting sheep shearing competition. The point of a sheep shearing competition is to shear a sheep as fast as you can. The person whose sheep is completely sheared first wins. As … Read more

Florence’s Festival of Crickets

Every Ascension Day (I think it's May 13 this year), there's a very special celebration in Cascine Park in Florence, Italy. It’s called the Festival of Crickets (Festa del Grillo in Italian). As you may know, I’m a fan of other countries' oddball festivals, and this certainly qualifies. I’m also a fan of crickets, so … Read more

Surf’s up on Australia’s Gold Coast

One of the biggest surfing competitions in the world is going on right now on Australia’s Gold Coast. I don’t surf, I’ve actually never surfed, and I won’t pretend to know all that much about surfing, but I do appreciate a good surfing video. And I watched Point Break the other day. The event going … Read more

Sunbeams inside Abu Simbel today

I just learned something pretty cool about Abu Simbel. Abu Simbel is an amazing ancient temple in Egypt (though that's not the cool thing I just learned). The cool thing is that every year, twice a year, on February 22 (today) and October 22, the temple is the site of an awe-inspiring celestial event. When … Read more

Let the whirling begin, in Turkey

In the city of Konya, Turkey, the week-long Commemorative Ceremony for Mevlana is underway. This is the first I’ve heard of it, but by many accounts it is one of the world’s most amazing spectacles. It’s a huge Whirling Dervish festival, attracting more than a million people to Konya. Mevlana (a.k.a. Rumi) is a very … Read more

Summer’s end for Celtics

Well, it’s just about Samhain time. While the rest of us are dressing up like zombies and/or Elvis for Halloween, the traditional Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-en) will be honored in Ireland and other areas with a Celtic history.Samhain is an old Celtic tradition, and a precursor to our modern Halloween. The word means … Read more

London’s Great Gorilla Run

Today was a great day to dress up in a gorilla suit and run through the streets of London. It was the annual Great Gorilla Run, a charity event that raises awareness and money to help save the some 700 mountain gorillas left in the wild.It's a bit too early to get much of a … Read more

A big weekend for flying in Saint-Hilaire

Last time I wrote about sky-dining in Paris. Today I’m keeping it in France and I’m keeping it in the sky, because starting tomorrow and running through the weekend there will be all kinds of people flying through the air near Saint-Hilaire du Touvet in this year’s Icarus Cup (Coupe Icare, in French).Saint-Hilaire du Touvet … Read more

Getting dirty in Germany

Earlier this week I wrote about La Tomatina, the famous town-wide tomato fight in Buñol, Spain that leaves everyone and everything covered in tomato. Today I have stumbled upon another event; this one leaves everyone covered in mud.It’s the Mud Olympics, and it’s taking place this weekend in the town of Brunsbüttel, Germany on the … Read more

World’s greatest tomato fight

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I always enjoy a good quirky town event. And tomorrow is what I consider the mother of all quirky town events. It’s La Tomatina.Every year on the last Wednesday in August, in the small industrial town of Buñol, Spain (population approximately 9,500), more than 30,000 people gather to … Read more

Freerunning through Europe

In Europe, freerunning is the next big thing. Or, I shouldn’t say next, as it has already arrived, proven by last weekend’s Barclaycard World Freerun Championships held in London’s Trafalgar Square.Freerunning is a sort of extreme urban acrobatics. Basically it's running through a city, jumping and flipping off buildings and walls and guardrails and such. … Read more

Big week in Bilbao

It’s a big week in Bilbao, Spain. Literally. This week (always starting on the Saturday of the third week of August) is La Semana Grande. Look how fun it looks. This week-long festival has everything I could want from a week-long festival: food, loads of free concerts, nightly fireworks displays, giant puppets, and most excitingly, … Read more

A cocktail extravaganza in Berlin

Tom Cruise would be proud. Yesterday was the final round of the 35th annual World Cocktail Championship, hosted in Berlin. There were two separate competitions to be won (and I would have had no chance at either of them). One was to make the best drink. Pretty simple. The other was to put on the … Read more

Run for your life!

It’s that time of year again. Time to run as fast as your legs will carry you, while being chased by a dozen energetic bulls. Yes, we are in the midst of the famous nine-day San Fermin Festival in Pamplona.The San Fermin Festival takes place every year from July 6-14. Each morning (starting on the … Read more