Photo by rickydiver78 flickr.com/photos/rickydiver/
At Joobili we love travel more than Andre Agassi loves shaving his chest hair. We also love travel more than he loves tennis, but he hates tennis, which is strange because as we all know tennis begins with love.
Tennis begins with love, but travel begins with Joobili. There’s no point in jetting off somewhere only to find out you’ve missed the event that had the town buzzing by a day or two. So, what happens when you combine travel and Joobili? 1) a strong desire to shave your chest; 2) perfectly timed travel tips that combine holidaying with some great games of tennis; and 3) a whole lot of travel love.
There’s some tournaments with impressive displays of longevity such as Wimbledon or Western and Southern Open. But as Wee Ollie Rochus mentioned to big Ivo Karlović in the showers, length isn’t everything. Other events are all about seeing who’s the best male or female on the respective tours each year – fascinating duels at the end of a hard season. Finally, if you’re not interested in the best or the longest running tennis battles, then maybe an exotic location can tempt you… how about taking in a spot of tennis in Indonesia, Thailand or Uzbekistan?
Whatever you choose, there’s a whole world of tennis out there to explore.
Photo by Wit www.flickr.com/photos/-wit-/
You’re stuck at home. The sun is shining. You want to do something. You need to get away. You don’t want to spend May Day stuck in your living room or garden counting the tiles or writing inane comments on facebook. Seize the moment – check out our suggestions for a Last Minute May Day Getaway!
There’s plenty of classic May Day options available – from the traditional to the political. For instance you could cheer on an ’Obby ’Oss in Padstow surrounded by locals dressed in white during a 4000 year old celebration; sing ‘cuckoo’ as you dance around a maypole in Downton; be draped in garlands of flowers in Hawaii; make crosses from flowers in Spain; cross a scarecrow in England; set fire to a horse in Italy; bury a fish; get involved in some green morris dancing; or rock with the workers in Belgium.
There’s more than 140 other events you could attend this May Day. Let Joobili help you escape…
A member of the German aristocracy is marrying a commoner. If you’re living in the UK that means you get a day off work. If you’re British and not living in the UK it means that you feel bitter resentment towards everyone back home for getting a day off (you should pull a sicky – that’s what the author of this blog is doing). So for all those legitimately and illegitimately looking for something to do on Friday rather than sitting at home and making cynical comments, here’s a list of 5 things to do with your time on Friday April 29:
1. Smell flowers in Holland
2. Cover yourself in green leaves and go morris dancing
3. Throw yourself off a tower
4. Watch turtles
5. Pretend to be a pirate
Majestic works of art float listlessly through the sky, giant bulbs of colourfully covered gas mingle with the clouds, and men and women dangle hundreds of metres above you in baskets… either you’ve found some very special shrooms in the forest or you’re at one of the many wonderful hot air balloon events that grace our skies.
There’s something truly captivating about hot air ballooning. Of course it’s not as adrenaline packed as some air displays, nor does it have the latest technological advancements like many other air shows. Rather, what makes hot air ballooning perennially popular is the grand elegance and simple beauty of seeing our fellow humans stroke the sky with such softness.
So what marks out one of these wonderful events from another? Some claim their event is the largest on earth, others urge competitors to battle it out amongst mountains, whilst others still like to spice things up with live music, fireworks and formation skydiving.
And what do these big balls of air represent? Maybe (little) Saxony? Or is it (slightly bigger) Europe? No, it’s the biggest one of all – freedom itself!
Come float away on a timely travel trip with Joobili.
A way to a Joobilier’s heart is through her belly. Or so we hope, as we offer up some timely travel suggestions that will have you dribbling drool like a rabid dog desperate for his dinner.
Whilst food and travel have been intimately linked since the advent of mass tourism, the proliferation of international cuisine might lead you to conclude that the furthest you need to travel for some exotic grub is your local town centre. But such thinking is wrong on two counts. Firstly, local ingredients matter: if your tomatoes haven’t been grown in volcanic soil on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius, then your Margarita pizza is always going to fall short of what’s on offer in the winding streets of Naples. Secondly – at this is where Joobili comes in – timing is everything. There’s no point in turning up in such exotic locations as Prague or Barnsley just after they’ve cleared away the froth from the latest beer festival, you’ll be sick to the bottom of your stomach if miss out on a 500 year old festival in celebration of ham whilst on a gastronomically-inspired jaunt through France, and your tongue will never forgive you if you don’t give it the pleasure of wallowing in some delicious red juices during the Strawberry Fair in Malta.
Yes folks, there is a world of food and drink inspired travel out there.
For some, food is yet one more arena for competition. It’s about gaining international fame through helping yourself to humongous helpings of hotdogs, about dazzling village folk through your potato peeling prowess at the World Dumplings Championship, or about having the largest avocado.
For others, food and drink are about celebrating local specialities whether it be great British cheese, the pumpkin pies, pumpkin waffles, pumpkin burgers, pumpkin chili and pumpkin ice creams of Circleville, or the horse semen shots (yes, you read that correctly) of New Zealand.
Finally, for some travellers, being abroad means letting go, forgetting the diet, and pigging out. And where better in the world to eat like our pink curly-tailed cousins than at Pig Out In The Park?
Plan your foodie travel in a timely fashion with Joobili.
For many people Easter is about painting eggs, for others its about eating chocolate and for one gent it’s about being resurrected after dying for the sins of humankind. Whilst you can enjoy the first two at home, and the second only if you’re the son of God, the Easter related fun doesn’t stop there. Easter celebrations unite most of Europe in common celebration, and they also offer amazingly diverse possibilities for inspiring trips. There’s lots to choose from and Joobili is here to help you – whether you’re a spring chicken or a tired old bunny, you’ll surly find an event that will have you salivating harder than a chocolate deprived child locked in a cupboard full of chocolate eggs.
You can drum harder than a Duracell bunny; see a procession of thrones in Seville; shop in Easter markets in the most beautiful square in Europe; enjoy the best of Beethoven at a special Passion Week festival; (if you’re a woman) get covered in water by mischievous Hungarian village boys; explore the beautifully decorated streets of Braga; blow stuff up in Italy; or dance with death in Spain.
And that’s just the tip of the Easter Egg. Skip this way for more little bunny.
English people like to laugh at the arrogance of Americans when it comes to sport. This is because in the US people like to pretend their teams are ‘world champions’, in spite of the fact the rest of the world either do not play their ’sports’ (i.e. American ‘football’) or aren’t invited to take part in a ‘world’ series (i.e. baseball). But then the English have a bit of a tendency to do the same, to pretend they are hosting a world championship without telling many other people about it. Luckily the English don’t do it with sports anywhere near as boring as baseball or as advert-infested as American football, rather they stick to important, challenging and dignified sports.
For instance the best tossers in the land gather for the World Nurdling Championship, people happily lose fingernails at the World Conker Championships, they show their skills as expert trainers at the World Snail Racing Championship, reveal their blowing prowess at the World Pea Shooting Championship, practice being ugly at the World Gurning Competition, set their dinner free at the World Hen Racing Championship, get splattered at the World Egg Throwing Championship, lose their marbles at the World Marble Championship, throw sticks off a bridge at the World Pooh Sticks Championship and waggle their tootsies at the World Toe Wrestling Championship (in fact the proud English man George Burgess invented this championship just so England could be world champions of something, only for a Canadian to turn up and win the inaugural event).
Some people might worry that England’s continued demise on the international stage and the perpetual inability to play well at international football tournaments, has given English people the need to prove themselves to the world. A desire to be world champions of something! Well, now they are. They are World Champions of Quirk!
(as decided by Joobili)
This is a guest post from a fellow festival fanatic, Karl Webster, who recently broke free from the drudgery of his London job to embark on a personal ‘Questival’ (festival-hopping around the world). Learn more about Karl’s Questival at his blog Collective Effervescence.
When you’re done reading about La Endiablada, head over to Joobili to see more Weird Religious Festivals.
Often described as one of Spain’s wackiest festivals, La Endiablada takes place in Almonacid del Marquesado, a tiny two-bar town situated around two hours outside the nearest big city, Madrid. Almonacid is so small that the dead seem to outnumber the living (if the very pretty cemetery is anything to go by), and it’s so difficult to get to that if you haven’t got a driving licence, you’d better pack a tent. There is only one bus every day from Madrid. Literally one bus. Which is to say, it leaves Madrid at noon and does not return until the next morning, at 8am. And there are no trains. So you have to stay in Almonacid, where there is only one guest house – Casa Rural La Peñata – and the cheapest room is around €55 and is almost certainly occupied.
If you manage to overcome these obstacles, however, La Endiablada is definitely worth the effort – especially if you like the idea of gangs of men in ridiculous pyjamas running around the streets with what appear to be giant shell casings bouncing off their backs. Oh, and noise. You must also be quite partial to the deafening clang of cowbell copper that just goes on and on and on.
Strictly speaking, La Endiablada is not a festival. It’s more of a local tradition based around two successive events in the Catholic calendar: Candlemas (February 2) and the feast day of the town’s patron saint, San Blas (February 3). It is said to date back to the 15th century. It is also said to date back to the 13th century. Also, according to a man I spoke to who passed himself off as the town mayor, it just goes back a couple of hundred years. So perhaps it’s safer to say that no one really knows, or – frankly – cares. As for the specifics of the rituals, there was only one written record of the actual origins and that was destroyed in the Spanish Civil War. Apparently.
However, what we do know is that La Endiablada translates roughly as ‘The Brotherhood of Devils’ and refers to a group of around 100 of the town’s menfolk – ranging from those who can barely walk because they’re simply too young, to those who can barely walk because they’re simply too old – who dress like devils and parade around the town. These are not devils in the traditional sense, however. In fact, to be perfectly honest, they’re not like devils at all. Rather than horns upon their heads, for example, they wear red popish mitres, and rather than pitchforks, they carry hand-carved sceptres with amusing painted heads which, frankly, are more jester-like than Satanic. Also, as a finishing touch, they have tremendously large cowbells strapped to their backs. Not to mention the pyjamas. The pyjamas are something special. So colourful and camp and screamingly loud are the pyjamas that they make Lady Gaga look like Prince Michael of Kent. The overall effect is to make these so-called devils look like a cross between jesters from the commedia dell’arte and confused Catholic refugees from a Gay Pride sleepover. And it is in this joyfully ludicrous get-up that the men spend most of the two days running around the town or up and down the aisles of the church, buttocks thrusting backwards to set their cowbells a’bouncing and arms outstretched as if attempting to incite a fashion riot.
The reason for all this hullabaloo is actually to distract Satan – obviously – and stop him having a crack at the purity of the Virgin Mary. Why you would dress as one of Satan’s most festive minions in order to prevent your master from wickedly despoiling the mother of Christ is not clear, but it probably has something to do with the carnival tradition of masquerading as the enemy. The womenfolk of the town also get involved, although to a much lesser extent, with a group of eight or so young girls – dressed not dissimilarly to Russian dolls – performing a slightly dangerous-looking dance with sticks – not dissimilar to English Morrismen, but in the context of the madness of the La Endiablada, much less embarrassing. These girls also address the congregation in the main church service, taking turns to pay tribute to their friends and families and to dedicate themselves to the virgin and the patron saint. In this the most emotional part of the two-day celebration – the church is packed, the cowbells fall silent and many of the congregation find themselves weeping uncontrollably.
As well as a joyful, super-colourful celebration and a welcome boost to a tiny tourist industry, La Endiablada is clearly a very special occasion for this small, close-knit community. Although tourists are made to feel hugely welcome and are treated to free food and wine between the processions and services, ultimately this is a local festival in which local people celebrate the ties and traditions which unite them. As an outsider, it’s an experience that looks and sounds like nothing else you’ve ever experienced. In short, it’s fun and touching and just a little bit mental.
It’s time to go crazy! Snip the ends off business men’s ties, make a giant papier-mâché head of your least favourite politician, parade through the streets in skimpy clothing, drown yourself in endless mugs of beer… in short, enter that weird time-space anomaly that is the pre-lent Carnival Season.
Catholics across Europe (and some cheeky protestants too) prepare for 40-days of fasting by going mental in the streets. In the days and weeks before Ash Wednesday, this year falling on March 9th, there’s weird and wonderful celebrations that see normality turned on its head, sanity suspended and silliness take over.
There’s fruity fun with oranges, and freezing fun in the mountains. You don’t like fun? You’d rather see Turks chased by horned Hungarians? Or locals scared by masked Sardinians? Well that’s not very nice is it? I think you need a snog from a stranger after getting lost in a labyrinth of canals. And if you like that little game of tonsil tennis, then you’ll love the idea of women stealing men’s beer until receive a kiss for their trouble.
And that, my foolish friend, is just the tip of the Carnival iceberg. Get further inspired here.
Mirror mirror on my grubby tent’s wall, tell me which is the best music festival of them all? Open’er! Or at least that’s the most popular opinion amongst the 350,000 people who voted the Festival Awards 2010. Well they’re just the Best Major Festival, there was also whole host of other accolades handed out at the Festival Awards Europe in Holland last week. Here’s the list and links to help you plan your trips to 2011’s festivals…
Best Major European Festival: Heineken Open’er – Poland
Best Medium-Sized European Festival: Electric Picnic Music & Arts Festival – Ireland
Best Small European Festival: 5 Tauron Nowa Muzyka Festival – Poland
Best New European Festival: Temple House Festival – Ireland
Best Indoor Festival: Rolling Stone Weekender – Germany
Best European Festival Line-Up : Oxegen – Ireland
Best Newcomer: Florence and the Machine
Best Headliner: Muse
Festival Anthem of the Year: Muse – Uprising
YOUROPE Green ‘N’ Clean Festival Of The Year: Boom Festival – Portugal
Artist’s Favourite European Festival: Melt! – Germany