Discovery Adventures Announces New Tours For 2013

Discovery Adventures offers new options for 2013The calendar may still say 2012, and I know we all have a busy holiday season to navigate yet, but it is never too early to start planning our trips for the new year ahead. To help us out with that process, Discovery Adventures has announced a host of new tours and destinations, adding even more depth to an existing line-up of stellar itineraries.

For 2013, Discovery has unveiled 13 new tours to 11 new countries, offering diverse and unique experiences in some of the most amazing places on the planet. Those new destinations include Malaysia, Bhutan, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Iceland, Colombia, Chile, Israel and Singapore. The trips are designed to immerse travelers in the local culture and provide opportunities that aren’t easily found anywhere else. For instance, on the new Moroccan Dreams itinerary, visitors will camp in the desert and explore remote mountain villages, while the Malaysia & Borneo Adventure will provide contrasts between the bustling urban settings of Kuala Lumpur with the tranquil and serene rainforest. Other options include a visit to Iceland‘s lava fields, learning to cook in India and searching for the Big Five on safari in Kenya and Tanzania.

As the travel arm for the very popular Discovery Channel, Discovery Adventures feels that it has an outstanding reputation to live up to. That’s why the company is so selective about the destinations and tours that it offers. These new additions to their catalog bring the total number of trips to just 34, which is in sharp contrast to some other companies that offer dozens of options.

Their commitment to providing high quality tours for their guests doesn’t end there, however, as the company has also announced a new policy that guarantees that 100% of its trips will depart as scheduled. The new policy begins in January of next year and ensures that clients will be able to both book, and travel, with confidence.

[Photo Credit: Discovery Adventures]

Space Jumper Sets Multiple Records In Historic Free Fall

space jumper

Space jumper
Felix Baumgartner fell into the history books Sunday, jumping to Earth from the stratosphere and making him the first man to break the speed of sound in free fall.

Starting at over 128,000 feet in a helium-filled balloon, 43-year-old Baumgartner’s record comes exactly 65 years after Chuck Yeager first broke the sound barrier flying in an experimental rocket-powered airplane.

The Austrian skydiving expert also broke records for the highest free fall and the highest manned balloon flight.

Baumgartner spent five years training for the mission, designed to improve our understanding of how the body copes with the extreme conditions at the edge of space.

Skydivers typically jump from an altitude of 12,000 to 14,000 feet and reach a speed of about 115 miles per hour. Baumgartner’s record, when verified, will be about ten times higher and ten times faster.

“It was an incredible up and down today, just like it’s been with the whole project,” a relieved Baumgartner said in a release from Red Bull, the sponsor of the jump.

“First we got off with a beautiful launch and then we had a bit of drama with a power supply issue to my visor,” added Baumgartner. “It was really a lot harder than I thought it was going to be.”

Space Jumper
[Images courtesy Red Bull Stratos]

Video: Call Me Maybe, Says Austria, In Style

In a parody of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” YouTube video, the Austrian Tourism Board is front and center with their rendition. The video was actually filmed in New York City as part of the Austria Dirndl Temptation campaign.

Have no clue what that means? Dirndl is a type of traditional dress worn in Austria based on the historical costume of Alpine peasants. Lederhosen are pants, either short or knee-length. Both are still quite popular today in Austria, and are worn at weddings, festivals and even in daily life in the Lake District, a resort area also called the Salzkammergut.

Since June, a group of Dirndl and Lederhosen ambassadors chosen by the Austria Tourist office have been going on outings all around NYC in traditional costume. As they interact with New Yorkers, they spread the word about Austria.

Like what you see? Follow Austria on a discovery tour of all things Dirndl-related, and if, along the way, you like them on Facebook, you’ll get the chance to win a trip for two to the heart of Dirndl-country along with your own Dirndl and Lederhosen.

Retreating Italian Glacier Reveals Dead From World War I

World War OneTwo soldiers’ bodies from World War I have been discovered on an Italian mountain, the Telegraph reports.

Workers on the Presena glacier in the Trentino-Alto Adige region of the Dolomites in Italy found the bodies at an altitude of 9,850 feet. The glacier has been receding because of an unusually hot summer and the workers were covering it with a giant tarpaulin to keep it from thawing further.

The soldiers are believed to have been from an artillery unit of the Austro-Hungarian army and were killed in 1918. The skeletons were identified by remnants of uniform and insignia. No word yet on whether they can be named.

During World War I, Italy fought against Austro-Hungarian and German forces in the bitter cold of the mountaintops. One favorite tactic was to fire artillery shells above enemy positions to cause avalanches to bury them. In other cases soldiers died from wounds or exposure and were lost. Many of these bodies have been found in later years.

From more on the Italian Front, there is an excellent website and photo collection here.

The Presena glacier isn’t the only one melting. The entire Alps is seeing less ice cover, reducing the number of ski slopes and increasing the risk of avalanches for trekkers.

[Photo courtesy German Federal Archive]

Austria Opens Its First Yodel Hiking Trail

austria When people think of Austria, one thing that often comes to mind is the musical style of yodeling that was developed in the Alps. The country is proud of their melodious heritage, and is helping active travelers experience it outside of the theater with their first ever Yodel Hiking Trail.

Recently opened by Castello Hotel and Restaurant owner Christian Eder, the trail sits high above Austria’s Zillertal Valley. According to BBC, it is “dedicated to the art of the yodel – the ancient form of alpine communication that is so deeply entwined with Austrian folk music.”

From the village of Königsleiten, a serene area often said to be a muse for aspiring yodellers, trekkers walk a short distance to a cable car that transports travellers to the top of Königsleitenspitze mountain. This is where the 4-mile Yodel Hiking Trail begins. Starting at 7,464 feet in elevation, the path descends at moderate intensity. Along the way, there are five stations offering yodeling lessons. Each station has something unique to offer. For example, station two is a hut shaped like a cowbell that features musical cowbells inside. On the other hand, station three has what is thought to be Austria’s largest alpine horn, the original medium of communication between mountain dwellers. Additionally, at many of the stations hikers can listen to clips of Austria’s best yodellers and try to mimic the sound.

The Yodel Hiking Trail can be completed independently or with a guide.

[Image via Shutterstock]