Five Unmissable Holiday Destinations for 2012
What's happening around the world this year?
1. Tromso, Scandinavia
Itchy’s heard that this year is supposed to be the brightest and most historical significance of the Aurora Borealis since 1859. (We had to look it up too – apparently in plain English this means that the northern lights are going to be bloody great this year.) So this is the perfect time to visit the north of Norway, Sweden or Finland to witness them first hand. The ideal time to plan a holiday is January to March or November and December and the popular resorts are found in Northern Norway and Sweden. The best part is that you can take anyone you want with you as Scandinavia has a little bit of everything – from arts and culture, to exciting night life. Just remember that it's not a cheap destination and tempratures can drop to below minus 20. Pack thermals and book in advance.
2. Middle Earth, New Zealand
Those of you who've seen the Lord of the Rings films will already be following The Hobbit blog on Sir Peter Jackson's latest project; Bilbo Baggins is swept into a quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Filming ends in March and the finished project hits the cinemas on the 14th of December and the best place to watch it has to be the country it was filmed. If you want to tone up those muscles then take a walking holiday around the filming locations of the rolling hills of Matamata and Tongariro National Park. You're unlikely to run into Sir Ian McKellen or Martin Freeman wandering around the premiere (damn) but the locals are probably used to seeing hobbits and wizards running around so if you like to dabble in costume, take some friends and giant feet.
3. Yeosu, South Korea
Apart from the opportunity to order jugs of Korean beer for £2, and stock up on cameras and laptops in the country that makes most of the consumer electronics, you can now pop to Yeosu city in the south of Korea for “The Living Ocean and Coast” World Expo. There are an expected eight million visitors from 100 countries and the revenue generated is supposedly in the area of 12.2 trillion Korea won (around £6,948,040,000,000) so think of it as a ulitarian holiday for the entireity of the world. The mascots include the personifications of plankton named Sunny and Watery in Korean (yup) and Itchy dares you to learn the theme song before you go; 'Stories told by the sea' by IU – a South Korean singer and actress. It's a Green holiday for environmental friends or teaching your kids about saving the planet.
4. Columbia , South America
If you've ever wanted to party like it's the end of the world – and everyone who remembers 1999 will know what we're saying – then your big opportunity is here. Spend the weeks leading up to Christmas in Columbia and herald the end of times... basically, the Mayan calendar runs out on December 21 2012, so OBVIOUSLY the world is going to end. This is probably a date you want to spend with your nearest and dearest, but Itchy recommends taking those mates you know are a laugh and maybe one or two teetotalers so if the apocalypse doesn't actually come you'll still get back to your hotel room in one piece.
5. London, England
Itchy loves a bit of a staycation and there's no better year than 2012 to stick around in the captial. If you've not yet got tickets for the Olympics – and if you have we hope you already have somewhere to stay – then look at booking a room somewhere for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of the accession of good old Liz. They include a four-day holiday by moving the Spring Bank Holiday (the last Monday in May) to June 4, a Gary Barlow-produced concert, a parade on the Thames and endless street parties. Take a handful of friends and a bottle of champagne. For friends who complain that the monarchy is outdated and useless, remind them that this is the second bank holiday they've awarded us in two years.
Right then, you've got no excuses... get booking!