12 thing to do in 2013


1. Loony Dook

When: January 1
Where: South Queens ferry, Scotland
Edinburgh’s huge Hogmanay (New Year) shindig suggests the best way to be rid of the festive cobwebs is to throw yourself into the icy waters of the River Forth.
Surprisingly, quite a few people subscribe to this theory and the recently instituted event attracts masochists from around the world, many in fancy dress.
The name, derived from Scots for lunatic (loony) and swim (dook), is entirely apt.
Getting there: South Queens ferry is a 20-minute train, car or bus ride from the Scottish capital Edinburgh; www.theloonydook.co.uk

2. Up Helly Aa

When: January 29
Where: Lerwick, Shetland Isles, Scotland
Winters in Shetland are no picnic. Long, dark and unforgiving, they demand the odd injection of rambunctious levity.
That’s what this flamboyant fire festival delivers. A good humoured and rather boozy way of marking the end of the Yule season, the festival involves a procession of up to a thousand torch-carrying participants in Lerwick.
The procession culminates with torches being thrown into a replica Viking long ship. Then the party begins ...
Getting there: Fly to Lerwick from Edinburgh, Glasgow or Aberdeen; www.uphellyaa.org

3. Superbowl Sunday

When: February 3
Where: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Manna from heaven for couch-potato sports fans, the epically dimensioned culmination of the gridiron season is perhaps best observed from the comfort of a La-Z Boy with plentiful beer, nachos and friends.
The live experience, however, is never less than memorable and the fact that this year’s instalment takes place during Mardi Gras time in the Super dome adds extra incentive to get off the sofa.
Ticket prices might just put you off though.
Tickets from US$2,118; www.nfl.com

4. St Patrick’s Day

Where: Dublin
When: March 17
It’s the night that millions of people around the world pretend to have Irish lineage in the name of excessive alcohol consumption.
It figures that the annual shindig in Honor of Ireland’s patron saint is best marked in the Irish capital itself.
There are religious aspects to the day -- March 17 commemorates Christianity reaching Ireland -- but you won’t be alone if you choose to toast "Saint Paddy" with several pints of Guinness instead.

5. Yorkshire Pudding Boat Race

When: June 9
Where: Brawby, North Yorkshire, England
To many Brits, the Yorkshire pudding -- a delicious oven-baked treat traditionally used to mop up the gravy from a Sunday roast -- is a near obsession.
That’s the case with Simon Thackeray, who slipped into a flour and egg batter reverie when staring out of the window of his local pub on a Sunday and started imagining people rowing down the river in a giant Yorkshire pudding boat.
His dream has become a yearly reality as competitors row across Bob’s Pond in Brawby in their varnish-coated doughy boats.
Getting there: Brawby is located between York and Scarborough in North Yorkshire. The nearest train station is Malton, eight miles away; www.theshed.co.uk

6. Electric Daisy Carnival

When: June 21-23
Where: Las Vegas
If you like your tribal gatherings small this might not be the best place for you.
The biggest dance music festival in North America is a gargantuan party with attendances reaching around 115,000 in a single night.
What it lacks in intimacy it makes up for in panache, with more than 150 musical acts, 500 theatrical performers and 12 large-scale interactive and flame-wielding art installations, along with nightly pyrotechnics displays.
Getting there: The event takes place at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Tickets go on sale January 9; www.electricdaisycarnival.com

7. Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts

When: June 26-30
Where: Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset, England
As is its wont, the world’s most famous summer music festival has long since sold out.
So established it doesn’t even have to hint at headliners to get fans scrambling for tickets -- The Rolling Stones are strongly tipped to be appearing -- “Glasto” remains preeminent. For good reason.
Despite the ever-present threat of dismal British weather, the all-encompassing lineup ensures everyone is kept happy.
Getting there: Shuttle buses and charter trains transport festival goers to Glastonbury from Britain’s major cities. Tickets cost £205(US$333). There will be a resale of cancelled tickets in April. Register now! www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk

7. International Berlin Beer Festival

When: August 2-4
Where: Berlin
Two thousand varieties of beer. For brew lovers, the mile-long Karl Marx Allee at the International Berlin Beer Festival lined with the likes of honey beer made by nuns to crisp Kölsch and pierogies, caters to all tastes.
May your stein be ever overflowing.
More info: isitberlin.de

8. Safari

When: August
Where: Kruger National Park, South Africa
After a day scouting wildlife at Kruger National Park in South Africa, you can lay out in luxury at the Outpost safari lodge.
Poised on stilts overlooking the valley, private villas have three sides without walls, but you can lower electric blinds if the bush hyrax spooks you.
More info: From US$490 in off season (December-September); seasonsinafrica.com

9. Bestival 2013

When: September 5-8
Where: Isle of Wight, England
Winner of UK Festival Awards 2012 “Best Major Festival,” Bestival 2013 promises to be equally awesome.
This Isle of Wight boutique music fest features 350 live acts on 20 stages. Although the 2013 lineup wasn't announced as of publication date, the fest has recently hosted Stevie Wonder, Florence and the Machine and The Cure.
More info: Tickets from US$194, children 12 and under free; bestival.net

10. Aruba Caribbean Sea Jazz Music Festival

When: October 4-5
Where: Aruba
Every country has its jazz fests, but Aruba Caribbean Sea Jazz Music Festival offers a taste of its assorted culture. Cool sea breeze flutters your hair as you listen to jazz, Latin, soul and blues before feasting on paste chi and heading for the many after-parties.
More info: Tickets from US$50; caribbeanseajazz.com

11. Tignes skiing

When: December
Where: Tignes, France
After making the most of 2013, it's nice to drink a spiked hot cocoa at a chalet in Tignes and relax.
A Mark Warner ski holiday at Chalet Hotel Hauts de Toviere offers three-course dinners with wine, ski school and daycare for children. Bookings beginning on a Sunday in December get a 15 percent discount.
More info: From US$1,370 all-inclusive; markwarner.co.uk

12. Reykjavik Christmas

When: December
Where: Reykjavik, Iceland
It’s a popular week for holiday travel, but Reykjavik is a worthy place to cap off 2013.
The city teems with Christmas, hosting a Christmas of yesteryear exhibit at the City Museum, ice skating around the Laugardalur Christmas tree, plus the best holiday light display: aurora borealis.
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