The welcome smell, sights and sounds of spring are in the air in the northern hemisphere after a dreadful winter of snow, ice, blizzards, floods and rain that caused all manner of travel delays. The travel woe continues regardless however, as we are now experiencing the onslaught of British Airways strikes, following Lufthansa’s lead militant moments.
The European country of Greece is in meltdown causing a multitude of travel concerns in the wake, along with pessimistic Tourism projections for the summer ahead. The countries of Portugal, Italy, Britain and Spain all look shaky and we can expect a lower euro and GBP. Let just hope that we can dust these winter travel blues off with a spring clean and that we have some USD left in the bank!
Here are the best worldwide events for April 2010!
Guns N' Roses, Atahualpa Olympic Stadium, Quito, Ecuador, 1st April
As their Chinese Democracy tour comes to an end, veteran stadium rockers Guns N' Roses hit Quito for a night. See Axl Rose and the rest of the band in concert at the Estadio Olímpico Atahualpa.
A band shrouded in scandal and glamour, Guns N' Roses burst onto the scene in 1987. Hard rock verging on heavy metal, the searing guitar playing of Slash and Izzy Stradlin was accompanied by the screeching vocals of Axl Rose. The band soon caught the world's attention and Sweet Child o' Mine became a rock anthem worldwide.
This was followed by years of difficulties, as the band struggled with lukewarm reviews and personal issues. However, since the release of their most recent, long-awaited album, Chinese Democracy in 2008, Guns N' Roses have returned to stardom.
Further Information: http://web.gunsnroses.com/index.jsp
Good Friday Procession in Rome, Palatine Hill, Rome, Italy, 2nd April
On Good Friday the Pope leads a solemn procession by torchlight, from the Colosseum to Monte Palatino. It reenacts the 14 Stations of the Cross, from Jesus' death sentence to the placement of his body in the tomb.
Pope Benedict XVI will carry a large wooden cross part of the way, and at every station he offers a brief prayer. At the final station he will also give a speech, linking the re-enactment to current events. Tens of thousands of the faithful are expected to gather with torches and lights to follow this solemn procession.
Further Information: http://www.vatican.va/
Celebrate Easter with thousands of others on the South Lawn of the White House. This annual Easter egg-hunting tradition dates back to 1878 and is the largest public celebration at the White House; hell you might even spot President Obama there!
The tradition started with President Rutherford B Hayes, and ever since then Presidents and their families have enjoyed the White House's largest public celebration. It has been customary for Presidents, First Ladies, their children, grandchildren and pets to attend the festivities. Amongst the most eagerly anticipated guests each year, is of course, the Easter Bunny.
The White House Easter Bunny is usually a staff member dressed in a special rabbit suit, and was introduced by Pat Nixon, wife of President Richard Nixon, in 1969. Strict guidelines prohibit the bunny from being seen without his costume head, but the identity of the staff member inside is revealed every once in a while.
Further Information: http://www.whitehouse.gov/
Saborea Puerto Rico: A Culinary Extravaganza, Escambrón Beach, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 9th – 11th April
If 3 days of eating the finest Caribbean specialties and drinking rum on sunny tropical shores is your idea of fun, head down to the idyllic Escambrón Beach in Puerta de Tierra for Saborea Puerto Rico: A Culinary Extravaganza.
Foodies can watch culinary seminars and cooking demos and take part in rum and wine tastings with expert sommeliers. Chefs, food and spirit producers, celebrities and big cheeses of the food industry are all on hand to make sure you taste the very best Puerto Rico has to offer.
Further Information: http://2010.saboreapuertorico.com/
Zurich Marathon, Zürich, Switzerland, 11th April
If you're going to challenge yourself to a 42km run, then you might as well do it somewhere pretty. The Zurich Marathon has practically no hills and has plenty of opportunities to admire Lake Zurich, whether you're running or not.
The race starts and ends on the Höhe Landiwiese near to the Wollishofen train station and competitors make their way around most of Zurich's main sights.
Further Information: http://www.zurichmarathon.ch/e/e_index.php
Takayama Matsuri, Takayama, Japan, 14th – 15th April
Takayama's biannual Takayama Matsuri festival dates back to the 15th century. Spectacular float parades, solemn ceremonies and traditional folk performances are held at the city's main shrines: Hie Jinja shrine during the spring festival and Sakurayama Hachimangu shrine in autumn.
The Takayama festival floats are stunning, even by the standards of other Japanese festivals. Beautifully decorated with dolls, thick woven curtains, lacquerware and bamboo blinds, even their interiors are covered with intricate carvings.
The festival opens and closes with a solemn ritual ceremony at the shrine. In between there are processions featuring the floats and hundreds of participants dressed up in medieval costumes. There's also music, dancing and traditional marionette performances dedicated to the gods.
Further Information: http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/indepth/history/traditionalevents/a17_fes_takayama.html
Show of Peace, National Stadium, Beijing, China, 17th April
Set to be China's largest televised music concert, “Show of Peace” promotes world harmony to viewers across the globe. A host of international artists, including former Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, perform to crowds at Beijing's 'Bird's Nest' National Stadium.
Further Information: http://www.showofpeace.com/
Ardingly Antiques and Collectors Fair, South of England Showground, Ardingly, England, 20th – 21st April
Eagle-eyed collectors and antiques enthusiasts hunt for gems at the Ardingly Antiques and Collectors Fair, held at the South of England Showground. Hundreds of stalls sell everything from 19th-century silverware to textiles, ceramics and paintings.
Further Information: http://www.dmgantiquefairs.com/
Bent Festival, The Tank, New York City, USA, 22nd – 24th April
Taking circuit bending to the next level, the Bent Festival comes to New York's Tank venue. The event showcases the very best in the new and exciting art form that merges electronic circuits to create music and art.
By taking old toys with electronic circuits and then hacking them apart and fiddling with the insides, these mad scientists create bizarre but often electrifying sounds and sights. Don't worry though, this is not a tech convention - the emphasis is on having fun and the creations usually reflect this by displaying a strong and unorthodox sense of humour. The festival includes musical performances, art installations and workshops showing you how to get involved.
Further Information: http://www.bentfestival.org/
Alicia Keys, Pavilhão Atlântico, Lisbon, Portugal, 29th April
Nine-time Grammy Award winner Alicia Keys performs at the Pavilhão Atlântico, Lisbon as she tours her latest album, The Element of Freedom. A classically trained pianist and gifted songwriter, she is also blessed with a strong, soulful voice.
Some of Keys' earliest compositions featured on her 2001 debut album, Songs in A Minor, which was released when she was just 19. A deep, melodic collection of R&B and hip-hop-inspired material, the album sold massively and paved the way for her continuing success.
Further Information: http://www.pavilhaoatlantico.pt/ven/Pages/Homepage.aspx