One Fine Lady: The World’s Oldest Grape Vine in Slovenia!!

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At possibly 450 plus years old, she has seen more changes than the relatively young former Yugoslav country. Tended regularly by Tone Zafosnik for more than 30 years, the vine flourishes today and is a major tourist attraction in this town of 110,000. The vine produces about 60 kilos of grapes per year which is a enough for a few hundred 250 dcl. of souvenir bottles of the red wine (but it is only given to dignitaries like the Pope).

I was met by the Director of Tourism for the town and we shared a few minutes of the vine’s incredible history for CNN.

http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-616884

Slovenia is a tiny European Union country situated just below Austria about half the size of Switzerland with a population of about 2 million. Wine growing is a major industry there.

Produced and Hosted by: Percy von Lipinski

Associate Producer and Editor: Tracy Bymoen

Special thanks to Maribor Tourism, Old Vine House and Slovenia Tourism

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Flying like Superman (almost) in Switzerland

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http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-614923

Body Flying in an inverted wind tunnel is an American Idea dating back to 1964 when Jack Tiffany tried it for the first time at Wright Patterson Air Force Base located in Greene and Montgomery County, Ohio. It took another 15 years before a fully recreational closed system was first opened in Las Vegas where it continues operating today.

If you do try body flying anywhere you’ll be learning these important 5 techniques. Trust me, you don’t want to forget them, especially in an open air body flying system!

5 Top Tips for Open Air Body Flying:

1) RELAX but enjoy and have fun (it’s hard work at first but remember you’re having fun, unlike you, your body flying instructor has likely spent hundreds of hours to learn those fancy moves so don’t be intimidated)
2) Position with your chin up and hands and feet arched backwards
3) Land on your back which is notably the exact opposite of your natural instincts
4) Do not look down….ever or you’ll take off in an open air system and who know where you’ll land : > )
5) Watch your instructor. They’ll be communication visually with you at all times.

If you find you really love body flying, there’s even a name for you: “Tunnel Rat”

Most wind tunnels are of the enclosed type, that is, the wind recirculates back down. Subsequently the air temperature is easier to control for year round use and the energy required is significantly less. The downside though is that you don’t get quite the feeling of freedom that you do with an open system such as this one.

This one in Zurich, Switzerland operated by bodyflying.ch is very unusual because it is an open air system which provides a dramatically different experience as my video package clearly shows. The cost of operating this system along with the skills are much greater so, sadly this unique system will likely switch over to a closed system in about 3 years as the operating costs are far too high.

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to body fly in the wide open you’ve got less than 3 years to pack your bags, head to Switzerland, don a flight suite and prepare for the Adrenalin rush of your life as you float high above the world, skydiving in reverse!

It’s no wonder that “Tunnel Rats” from around the world seek this facility out for it’s unique body flying experience, here in the heart of Switzerland.

“Bodyflying” in Switzerland!

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Percy’s at the high adrenalin adventures again — this time in Switzerland:

http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-614923

DUBROVNIK, CROATIA TOPS MY LIST

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Prague, Czech Republic versus Dubrovnik, Croatia

Both incredibly “storybook” places and settings. Both very filled with narrow alleyways, ancient walls, hillsides and castles…

The defining difference? That which makes me favour Dubrovnik over Prague?
The Adriatic Sea. I think that has to be it. The sea breezes, the beautiful colours, the boats drifting just off shore… I’m a sucker for the sea.

A bit more about my experience in each place.

PRAGUE (a couple years ago):

I rose very early — shortly after sunrise, leaving my hotel around 6.30am — to wander. Non-stop. That’s saying a lot, because I am not by nature a morning person. At all. But this place inspired me. I wanted to be the first to hit the city’s streets in the morning so that I could watch the city wake up.

I discovered new and beautiful vistas around every corner, and took a record number of photos. One of my favorite photos EVER was taken in Prague, under the Charles Bridge. You would be shocked if I told you how many photos I took in just one day in Prague. Prague is a fantastically beautiful city — so fantastic, in fact, it is hard for me to put into words just how fantastic. In fact, I decided to call it Prague-tastic. It is its own level of fantastic! And I’ve been comparing all places to it, considering it an 11 on the wow meter, and metering my assessments of all other cities in the world against it.

Until now.

DUBROVNIK, CROATIA

I was wowed from the air, before I even landed. Looking out of the airplane window, foggy from far too many hours travel to get here, I wasn’t sure I could believe me eyes. The city already emanated a fairytale quality, and that was with me only seeing dark, torch-lit fragments of it. But I think that’s what did it. The torches, I mean. I thought it was just flickering lights at first, but they really were torches, as I discovered the following evening.  Dubrovnik’s Old Town is almost entirely lit with small torches — radiating brilliant light into the night sky and in many places reflecting it unto the sea — rather than actual lights! Even outside of Dubrovnik’s Old Town, the city has an incredible ancient appeal to it. The city has narrow winding streets, its homes are tiered along the hillsides and it feels more like a big village than a city.

I hadn’t even seen the city in daylight, and I was already sold on the place by the time my driver transported me to my hotel.

As I awoke the next morning to the beautiful sound of the Adriatic Sea lapping just below my patio and the views of its turquoise waters against the backdrop of the Old Town walls, my suspicion was officially confirmed.  I’d found somewhere even more fantastical than Prague. I have yet to come up with a word to sum it up though. And I guess I have to drop Prague-tastic from my travel vocabulary now?

I spent the day wandering the Old Town streets. Every alleyway, every corner, every torch-lit entrance set Dubrovnik’s fate in my mind. At dusk, I settled into a torch lit street-side cafe in Old Town, for a dinner of deliciously fresh calimari, to contemplate my Croatian discovery.

Dubrovnik just has that “it” factor. I think it’s the combination of the Adriatic and the fairytale like Old Town coastline that does it. Now I just have to invent a new word to sum up Dubrovnik…

This photo from my iPhone just doesn’t do it justice.

Some seriously cool looking Spring chicks!!

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Over the Easter weekend, I read about these eggs that this woman in the US who injects with food coloring in order to have them hatch into an array of rainbow coloured chickens. Apparently, she’s not the only one as I found a multitude of articles about others doing the same!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3615191.stm

At first, I had the reaction that most people do… “Is this safe for the poor little ones?” Well, turns out it is perfectly safe and even scientific! Researchers often inject eggs with colourants to help identify batches when the chickens hatch! And as the chicks grow into adults, the colour fades and they look normal.

Fascinating.

Here’s an article about the colored egg process from the University of Nebraska:
http://lancaster.unl.edu/4H/Embryology/colorchickens.shtml

CNN’s Five lodges you can’t reach by car

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This article by Katherine Dorsett of CNN is a great write-up about off the beaten track places to stay around the US. Love it!

Travel Opportunities Abound in IRELAND right now!

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I’ve heard from a lot of people that Ireland is really trying hard to attract tourism dollars back into the country. So, it’s a great time to visit Ireland, and really max out on the experiences this great little country has to offer. I might have to book myself a trip there ASAP!

Here’s a great article about the state of Ireland travel at the moment.

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