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Now that we're just about halfway through the World Cup, the excitement of the matches combined with the culture and energy of Brazil has us thinking about strapping on a pair of soccer cleats. With Team U.S.A faring better than expected, the country is enjoying a similar frenzy and soccer is finally getting a bit of the attention enjoyed by baseball.
Feeling the fever as well? Include a beginner soccer program in your next vacation:
Leonardo DiCaprio has done it again.
The actor/yacht enthusiast topped his last high flying adventure this week when boarded the famous Topaz luxury mega-yacht Topaz in Rio de Janeiro and sailed it down to Sao Paulo for the World Cup.
FIFA World Cup 2014 / World Cup Travel / World Cup / Brazil Travel / Google / Google Maps / Google Travel / → All Tags
We have a long-standing policy against implying or suggesting or hinting - let alone declaring - that gee-whiz Google Maps and Google Earth technology can allow people "travel without ever leaving home." That phrase needs to be driven out of the lexicon, then captured as it tries to flee, then cast into the sea in a chained iron box protected by witchcraft and pirate curses.
That said, this thing that Google did where they put a bunch of the FIFA World Cup 2014 stadiums on Street View is actually pretty cool. It's not "just like being there." It's not even the "next best things to being there." But it's still pretty cool.
McDonalds / FIFA World Cup 2014 / World Cup Travel / World Cup / McDonalds-Around-the-World / Brazil Travel / Australia Travel / Japan Travel / → All Tags
World Cup fever is heating up with the first game's kick-off happening in less than 2 weeks. It's not just Brazil that's getting all excited for the world's largest soccer tournament - McDonalds is getting into the excitement with some really special burgers that are worldly in their own sense.
The Golden Arches is celebrating the world's most popular sport by creating a few new menu items with an international sport flair. Each new burger will be named after a country and feature some ingredients and flavors of that country all served up between a bun that looks like a soccer ball. All of the 800 restaurants in the host country will sell sandwiches "from" Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and U.S.A., and the fun isn't limited to Brazil since new snacks can be found on the menus in Japan and Australia.
Sports Travel / FIFA World Cup 2014 / World Cup / World Cup 2014 / Brazil Travel / Soccer Travel / Events / Rio de Janeiro Travel / → All Tags
We remember the last World Cup like it was yesterday. You knowSouth Africa, vuvuzelas, "tekkies," picturesque stadiums in a country that seems (and is) so very far away, and Spain's victory over the Netherlands. In reality, that was a whole three years ago and the world is quickly moving on to celebrate today as the one-year mark before yet another FIFA World Cup.
The soccer championship series occurs every four years, changing host countries in a wooing process similar to that of the Olympic Games. The last five destinations have been South Africa, Germany, Japan, France and the United States. For 2014, it'll be Brazil's time to shine as the major cities see their stadiums transformed into seething hoards of soccer hooligans wearing their team colors in every manner possible.
We understand that 2013 has pretty much just started, but when it comes to planning for something as big as the World Cup it pays to start as early as possible. We’re not surprised that the folks in Brazil have been putting in the overtime to ensure that everything is ready to go before the very first kick-off. What is a little surprising is that the prostitutes are also getting ready as well, but for them it’s all about studying.
Prostitutes want to be prepared for all the tourists heading to the country in little over a year, so they’re signing up for English language courses. After all it’s a little bit easier to negotiate the terms of a deal when you’re both sharing the same way of communication. Prostitution is legal in Brazil—that’s a fun fact—and the advocacy groups are going all in to ensure that the ladies are prepared as possible.
Now that this year's World Cup has been over for a couple months, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) is getting around to discussing those pesky plastic horns so popular in South Africa, the Vuvuzela. Unfortunately, they aren't liking what they're hearing because UEFA has announced a ban on vuvuzelas in stadiums for all European Championship and Champions League matches.
Prior to the South Africa World Cup, vuvuzelas weren't part of the football (soccer, whichever word) fans cheering aresenal, but then those fans traveled to World Cup, spent some pocket change on the big horns, and decided that practically bursting the ear drums of fans of the opposing team was good fun. Thus, the vuvuzela has migrated north and European games aren't having it.
2010 World Cup / World Cup Travel / World Cup / Airline News / Flight Attendants / Emirates / → All Tags
Who were those women in veils behind the South African president and other FIFA officials during the World Cup trophy presentation yesterday? Why, they were flight attendants for Emirates Airlines, a major sponsor of the 2010 World Cup who obviously gave enough money to get their girls up in the spotlight.
Following yesterday's final match between Spain and Holland, which Spain won with a single goal during stoppage time, a whole line of these khaki-clad, red-lipped ladies emerged with trays of the player's medals. Asking who they were was a popular question echoed across Twitter, but the answer lay in the big red ad banners for Emirates around the field. They also showed up the day before to present the third place prize to the German team.
Only days after three runners were gored during the famous Pamplona Running of the Bulls, Spain puts a positive sheen back on their country with the 2010 World Cup win. So will Spain see a spike in tourism thanks to La Furia Roja's bringing home the trophy? Yes and no.
Despite the fact that FIFA believes this World Cup final to be the most-watched television event of all time, eclipsing the 2006 World Cup audience estimate of 700 million, a microscopic portion of those will have the resources to travel to Spain. There will be fair-weather fans, yesthose who book a trip to Spain just to share in the triumphant spirit that's sure to last at least the rest of the summer, but we'd like to think that the largest group of tourists coming to Spain in the next year will be those of Spanish heritage, their patriotism having flared up with the World Cup win.
So Spain, prepare to welcome your old friends and family back. Keep the sangria cold.
What do you think? Has Spain's win made you dream of a trip to Madrid or Barcelona?
[Photo: Jaunted; we took a picture of the television]
2010 World Cup / World Cup Travel / World Cup / Nature Travel / Zoos / Germany Travel / Animals / → All Tags
Not to put too fine a point on it, but the World Cup makes people across the planet go totally batshit crazy. One of the stranger rituals that's emerged in recent years happens in Germany, where Paul the Octopus plays the modern Oracle at Delphi. The Oracle, of course, was famously consulted by the Greeks before they embarked on the wars that gave birth to and shaped Western civilization. In Paul's case, he's given supplications and asked to predict the outcome of Germany's World Cup matches.
Paul is given food in two separate boxes, where one box has Germany's flag and the other is marked with the flag of Germany's opponent. The box that Paul goes for first is who he predicts to win the match. So far his record this year has been perfect, including predicting Germany's loss to Serbia and win over Argentina. At some point Paul's choices became so eerie that people started insisting, far from the mollusk predicting soccer outcomes, that he was actually influencing who won and lost.
Travel Contests / 2010 World Cup / World Cup Travel / World Cup / Soccer Travel / Amsterdam Travel / Holland Travel / → All Tags
Can you believe that the World Cup is already almost over? The final game, between The Netherlands and Spain happens this Sunday, and we've scheduled our travels around it, of course.
If you want to do something more with all the energy you spend yelling at the TV, then Holland's tourism board is hosting a contest to test just how devoted you are to the Holland team, and it's actually a fun contest with a great prize. Simple take a photo of yourself showing your Holland Oranje pride and post it to their Facebook page for a chance to win two tickets to Amsterdam. You've got to show them how you "plan on displaying [your] orange spirit for the final match."
Here's some inspiration: we actually own some neon orange Dutch wooden shoes (don't ask) and we'd drive to one of these US cities also named Holland and do some creative posing in front of the town sign. Hopefully you'll come up with a better idea, but that's a start.
You have from now until Tuesday at noon to submit your photos, so Hup, Holland, Hup!
[Photo: VisitHolland's Facebook page]
2010 World Cup / Sports Travel / Soccer Travel / World Cup Travel / World Cup / Germany Travel / Spain Travel / → All Tags
You've seen them on TV, the masses of fervent World Cup fans jumping, shouting and waving around scarves of their country when their team takes a win in the 2010 World Cup, but where are they? Obviously the biggest parties in the capitals of the winning countries, and just in case you have the ability to join them, here's where to find the biggest World Cup celebrations today, during the Germany vs. Spain semifinal game:
Party with Germany at: Straße des 17. Juni in the Tiergarten, Berlin
At the base of the Siegessäule monument (a column celebrating victory, naturally) sits a massive stage, where live bands perform and entertain the tens of thousands of Deutschland supporters who pack the entire grand street leading up to it. This is the Straße des 17. Juni, a lovely and impressive thoroughfare that cuts through the center of the city's Tiergarten park. Fans spend their entire day here, arriving early to secure the best spots for watching the huge game screen. When Germany scores, the roar of the crowds here can be heard for quite a ways into the city. Here's a video of the crowds during the Argentina v. Germany game, just to give you an idea of the craziness.