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Take Flight (Part 2) : Nantes, Cape Town, Dubai, Galapagos & New Zealand

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Nantes, France

Best for: Creative endeavours

Why go?: From April 20th-22nd, all eyes will be on Liverpool when French street theatre company Royal de Luxe will be bringing their Little Girl Giant to the city as part of commemorative celebrations for the sinking of Titanic.

 

Description: Nantes, France

The creative team, responsible for halting London traffic in 2006 with their mechanical Sultan’s Elephant, hail from Nantes, and their return to the UK is likely to ignite interest in this art-friendly French city.

Visit their permanent workshop Les Machines de I’ile, where you’ll find a carousel of fantastical creatures, and a smaller replica of their famous elephant. Their new three-tiered carousel of underwater creatures and sea ships will open this summer.

In 2012, the city will celebrate the final year of its Estuaire cultural festival, with more art installations popping up along the banks of the Loire estuary.

 

Cape Town, South Africa

Description: Cape Town, South Africa

 

Best for: Having it all

Why go?: This destination has everything – from beautiful white sandy beaches, azure skies, stunning landscape, unequalled biodiversity, local culture and trenches of history.

Africa’s most popular tourist destination, the city is most famous for its landmark, Table Mountain, its waterfront and harbour and, of course, Robben Island just 5 miles offshore and where many political prisoners, most famously Nelson Mandela, were incarcerated.

To indulge your tastebuds, visit the suburb of Constantia, where vineyards date back to the 1600s, and where many award-winning restaurants can be found.

 

Dubai

Description: Dubai

 

Best for: Sheer extravagance

Why go?: If you want wow factor, Dubai has it in bucket loads. Stand open-mouthed before its awe-inspiring landmarks like the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab hotel, the world’s tallest building at 2,717ft the Burj Khalifa and the man-made archipelago of 300 islands The World.

It’s a place of opposites – from mountains to sand dunes, green parks to white beaches, ancient homes to ultra-modern architecture. And for shopaholics, you’ll barely be able to contain your excitement.

Savour the scents of the past in the narrow alleyways of the spice souk, barter yourself a bargain in the dazzling gold souk, or delve into a myriad of designer shops in the many malls.

Galapagos

Description: Galapagos

 

Best for: Going wild

Why go?: Looked upon as the crown jewel of the natural world, the islands provided the foundation for Darwin’s theory of evolution and are as rich and varied with life under the sea as they are above.

Almost always sunny, there are 13 major islands and 17 smaller ones making up the Galapagos.

Their most famous resident is the Galapagos tortoise, which can weigh more than 500lbs with a shell measuring 59 inches – they are among the largest tortoise on earth and can live to the ripe old age of 150.

Although the dominant wildlife on the islands is reptilian, the Galapagos also boast 300 species of fish, as well as whales, seals, dolphins, star fish rays, sharks,…and many species of birds exclusive to the islands, most famously the red-pouched Booby.

 

New Zealand

Description: paekakariki-hill

 

Best for: Dramatic landscape

Why go?: From rugged coastlines to glaciers, subtropical rainforests to fjords, mountains to vineyards there’s a bevy of beauty to ogle on the South Island. While North Island boasts breathtaking beaches, bubbling hot pools, geysers and Maori culture.

It may have been one of the last lands to be settled by humans, but it was the first place to launch commercial bungy jumping. So if the kayaking and scuba diving on offer don’t give you enough of an adrenalin rush, you can always take the ultimate heart-stopping leap of faith.

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