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World’s first ANGRY BIRDS WORLD entertainment park opens in Qatar

You would have enjoyed the Angry Birds game, but now it is time to enjoy the Angry Birds entertainment park. And, it’s unique. The world’s first ANGRY BIRDS WORLD entertainment park has opened its doors to residents and visitors to Qatar, transforming the classic bird-flinging game into a cluster of high-octane attractions designed to entertain every member of the family. Located in Qatar’s largest fashion, dining and entertainment destination, Doha Festival City, the 17,000 sq.m park comprises an indoor space of 6,500 sq.m. 

Inspired by the popular digital game, the park offers its visitors a heart-pounding experience with many attractions such as the Blast Bomb – a drop and twist tower that features free-fall motion from a height of 11 metres, or Red Alert where visitors are hurled into an exhilarating 360-degree spin.  One of the park’s uniquely impressive attractions is the Big Tree, which offers both children and adults a fun edutainment experience encompassing science, music and art.  

For adventure junkies, the tree also houses “Own the Sky”, a 106-metre zip line that allows participants to cut through the air at rip-roaring speeds. Visitors can also test their physical strength with “Fierce Flight” – an incredible ropes course challenge.  

ANGRY BIRDS WORLD is a new addition to Qatar’s expanding urban and family entertainment offering, which tourism officials have marked as a priority in a five-year strategy designed to diversify visitor source markets. Qatar’s entertainment portfolio includes a range of exciting festivals, celebrating everything from food and shopping to music and comedy. The country’s longest nation-wide festival – Qatar Summer Festival – kicked off this June in tandem with the Russia FIFA World Cup 2018, with fan zones in venues and hotels across the country designed to give a taste of what is to come in 2022 when Qatar hosts the FIFA World Cup. 

Simo Hämäläinen, Senior Vice President, Brand Licensing at Rovio Entertainment, commented: “Our new world-class attraction based in Qatar is another clear demonstration of the global appeal of the Angry Birds brand. Rovio’s current licensing roadmap is strongest to date, bringing great new ways for our fans to enjoy Angry Birds. The brand’s future looks bright and is being spearheaded with the theatrical release of The Angry Birds Movie 2 in September 2019.”

ANGRY BIRDS WORLD constitutes one of the four major entertainment parks that are introduced by Trimoo and set to open at Doha Festival City, located along Al Shamal Road. Upon completion, the unique entertainment destination will be home to –  SNOW DUNES™ – the country’s first indoor snow park set in an ancient Arabian village; VIRTUOCiTY™ – the region’s first dedicated digital gaming and entertainment hub; and JUNIVERSE™ – the world’s first city in space that aims to inspire and entertain children.

Angry Birds World in Numbers 

  • World’s 1st Angry Birds World entertainment park 
  • Over 20 high-quality thrilling rides
  • Over 17,000 sq.m of mad fun (6,500sq.m – indoor  | 10,500sq.m – outdoor)
  • Trampoline Park – 1,300 sq.m
  • Roller Glider – 106m long
  • Super Slingshot Tower 42m high | capsule can reach 60m high
  • 1st indoor/outdoor karting track in the world  (1st multi-level karting track in the region, 261m track length | 11 Go Karts)
  • Over 70 arcade games
  • How about snagging450 sq.m retail area 
  • Refuel on the goMore than 7 Food & Beverage options

Have you ever been to a theme based entertainment park? Share your experiences in the comments section below.

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eat! BRUSSELS, drink! BORDEAUX goes for big innovations in seventh year

On 6, 7, 8 and 9 September this year, the eat! BRUSSELS, drink! BORDEAUX festival will once again take over Brussels Park. The public will be able to go there to discover the signature dishes of about twenty Brussels chefs. To achieve the perfect balance and introduce new combinations, some fifty Bordeaux wine growers and wine merchants will be offering a wide range of wines that illustrate the simplicity, diversity, quality and accessibility of Bordeaux wines. A wonderful opportunity for Brussels residents and visitors to treat themselves to a delightful moment of relaxation and conviviality.

eat Brussels

The eat ! BRUSSELS, drink! BORDEAUX festival has again called on the best Brussels chefs. The seventh festival is full of innovations:

• A wider variety of restaurants. Several new chefs who have emerged from the Brussels scene will take part in the adventure to introduce the public to their emblematic dishes.

• For this year’s festival, a cheese bar and a dessert counter will be introduced to round off the chefs’ offerings. Every day, the cream of our cheese makers and pastry chefs will take turns introducing visitors to new flavours.

• This year, the Bordeaux Wine School is breaking new ground with the “secret gaming table”. The game is modelled on black jack and the participants are invited to bet on the characteristics of the wine in a blind tasting. The age of the wine, its flavours, its “appellation d’origine contrôlée”, etc. The bets are open and good humour guaranteed.

eat Brussels

Twenty-odd Brussels chefs

New chefs representative of Brussels are joining the celebration and will be enriching the festival’s offering. They will each be presenting visitors with a signature dish that symbolises their culinary identity, costing just 9 euros!

The unmissable TCHIN VITTEL zone

The TCHIN VITTEL zone offers visitors cooking workshops throughout the festival. In the company of the talented bistronomy chef Bruno Antoine, they will concoct their bistronomy box, which they will then be able to enjoy in a friendly atmosphere.

eat Brussels

Innovations

Dessert counter

Several great pastry chefs will take turns every day to complete the festival menu. They will be offering sweets lovers delicious dessert selections at the set price of 9 euros. Bordeaux wine growers and wine merchants will be glad to recommend you a wine that makes a perfect match for your dessert dish.

The chefs:

Nikolas Koulepis – Pâtisserie Nicolas Koulepis Anaïs Gaudemer – Cokoa Loic Henon & Joaquim Braz de Oliveira – Forcado Yasushi Sasaki – Pâtisserie Sasaki

Cheese bar

There is nothing like tasting a selection of cheeses accompanied by an excellent Bordeaux wine. Why not have a sweet wine with a blue cheese? This year, eat! BRUSSELS, drink! BORDEAUX is offering you the chance to meet several great Brussels cheese makers. They will introduce you to new flavours with their original selection.

The cheese makers:

Julien Hazard – Julien Hazard Affineur Véronique Socié – La Fruitière

Hélène Milan – Le Comptoir du Samson Octave Laloux – Saint Octave

Simply Bordeaux

eat Brussels

The Wines of Bordeaux, a key partner in the festival, are once again taking part in this gastronomical journey. The festival is a unique opportunity to discover the merits of the wines of Bordeaux and to meet nearly 50 Bordeaux wine growers and wine merchants who will share their passion in a congenial and relaxed way. These men and women who make the wines of Bordeaux will tell you their stories and share their anecdotes. These easy-to-drink, accessible wines, the result of the meticulous blending of several grape varieties, will thrill people’s taste buds. A unique opportunity to discover the new, fresh and fruity Bordeaux reds, the dry white wines, the rosés, clairets and sweets wines which make wonderful apéritifs and go well with all styles of cooking. Wine pairings devised for the occasion will also be offered for the chefs’ dishes, the desserts and the cheese boards presented at the festival.

The Bordeaux Wine School workshops

(c)VISITBRUSSELS -E.Danhier

The Bordeaux Wine School tent offers a straightforward and entertaining overview, so that you no longer mix up Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, can match food with wine or even, quite simply, put your sensations into words. This year in addition the “secret gaming table”, festival goers will be able to explore new workshops on the subject of wine and gastronomy. The Wine School is joining forces with the chefs attending the festival to present unexpected wine pairings. The mouth-watering Choco’Bordeaux will thrill gourmets’ taste buds… All the workshops will be accessible with the WINE PASS.

The Bordeaux “Master classes”: another way of exploring the wines of Bordeaux Comfortably installed in the very beautiful Salle des Guichets of the BIP Building, novices and well-informed amateurs are guided through the estates and regions of the Bordeaux grands crus. 4 master classes will enable you to explore a Bordeaux wine family in more depth:

  • Sweet Bordeaux Master Class: a master class on the original pairing of sweet white Bordeaux wines with Belgian cheeses
  • Crus Classés de Graves Master Class: the Crus Classés de Graves will be presented in Brussels for the first time. The 2014 vintage will take pride of place
  • Master Class on the great wines of the Médoc: the Conseil des vins du Médoc [Wine Council of the Médoc] will introduce 6 “appellations” by way of 4 different vintages (2005, 2011, 2012 and 2015)
  • Grands Crus Classés de Saint-Emilion Master Class: a stroll through the prestigious Grands Crus Classés of Saint-Emilion
eat Brussels

Enjoy cashless!

BORDEAUX has switched to a cashless payment system. Visitors can obtain their swipe cards from one of the ticket offices, put money on them and use them as they please throughout the festival. This swipe card picks up your credit and/or Wine Pass. To pay for your drinks, simply place your swipe card on the cashless terminal and payment for the credits or tastings is automatically deducted. The chosen formula is simple. One credit is worth 1 euro.

eat Brussels

The dishes

All the chefs offer their signature dishes, their desserts and their cheese boards at a single price of 9 credits (i.e. €9). The credits are valid all over the festival site for buying dishes, soft drinks, beers and/or coffees.

Bordeaux wines:

Bordeaux wines can be discovered through a tasting route. Visitors must acquire a Wine Pass for this purpose (charged to their magnetic card). This Wine Pass is available on presale until 30 June at the price of 15 euros. The price will then change to 16 euros (€20 at the door) and includes, among other things, no fewer than 10 tastings (7 “Tent” tastings + 3 tastings of your choice), one Wine School workshop, one Omer beer tasting and one Vittel water. A great way to discover the wealth and subtlety of the wines of Bordeaux.

Have you have enjoyed Bordeaux wines? How was your experience? Please share with us in the comments section below.

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SMURFS: A BELGIAN CREATION READY TO TOUR THE WORLD

Holy Smurf! Come along to an unusual immersive experience that will prepare Belgians (and all Earthlings) for Smurf life. In 1958, Belgian writer Pierre Culliford, also known as Peyo, fell in love with the mischievous little blue gnomes while writing a Johan and Peewit story (The Flute with Six Holes). Sixty years later, Smurf Village 2.0 has come to the Brussels Expo. Come and meet Peyo’s star creations from 9 June 2018 until the 27 January 2019 in Hall 4. Their empire includes more than 50 million comics sold in more than 90 countries, 272 TV episodes broadcast in more than 100 countries, 41 YouTube channels, 3 feature-length films and 4 theme parks. If you haven’t heard of the Smurfs by now, ghastly Gargamel will turn you into salt dough! 

2018: YEAR OF THE SMURFS

Only a country as Smurf-tastically surreal as Belgium could name 2018 the ‘Official Year of the Smurfs’. The Minister of Foreign affairs is mobilising his global network of diplomats for this special occasion. Brussels Airlines is also transforming an Airbus A320 into a colourful ‘Aerosmurf’ (take a look at the background). Over the years, Peyo’s little blue gnomes have become the most authentic ambassadors for Belgian humour and values. The Smurfs made their debut in the world of comics in 1958, as minor characters in one of Peyo’s earlier Johan and Peewit medieval adventures. In order to celebrate the Smurfs’ sixtieth birthday in style, the IMPS society wanted to use their copyright to the Smurf universe to create a major event to celebrate Peyo’s impressive legacy. This initial idea was coupled with the creativity and know-how of Stéphan Uhoda and his team. This association gave life to The Smurf Experience.

LED BY SEASONED PROFESSIONALS

The Smurf Experience is a fully immersive show. ASBL L’Usine à Bulles will be responsible for production and creation, as part of a co-production with DC&J Création. Meanwhile, operations will be led by Cecoforma (Uhoda group), an organisation specialised in communication and events. They are well known in Brussels and Wallonia, and have a strong international network. Leading this unusual project is Stéphan Uhoda, chairman of L’Usine à Bulles and CEO of Cecoforma. Born in 1953 in Liège, Uhoda is a culture and heritage aficionado. He joined his family’s service station business after studying at the University of Liège Administration and Business School.

Also read: Smurfs are coming to Brussels Ice Magic!

In 1978 he went on to manage the company. Cecoforma was involved in the technical assistance sector, in both Belgium and abroad. Uhoda diversified in 1990 after the Wallonia Region bought Cecoforma on behalf of the European Commission. In 2016, he acquired Dynamic Events, a B2B and B2C event management company. As a collector of contemporary art, Stéphan Uhoda has also invested in a number of cultural institutions in Liège. “Arts and culture are sources of inspiration for people, including entrepreneurs. The Smurf Experience is a project that is at the intersection of different kinds of work that the Uhoda group carries out. Above all, it was the product, the Smurfs, which convinced us to take on this project. The Smurfs are an amazingly powerful communication tool for spreading important messages,” says Uhoda.

To bring the Smurf Experience to life, L’Usine à Bulles called on seasoned professionals, starting with set designer Marcos Viñals Bassols from Barcelona. He studied interior architecture at the Institut St Luc, followed by set design at La Cambre. He has worked extensively with Belgian directors and producers. He was responsible for, amongst others, the set design for the Battle of Waterloo Memorial. “I was raised on comics, Peyo’s work in particular. Nowadays, children grow up to cartoon Smurfs on the TV, in cinemas or on YouTube,” explains the designer. “The main challenge to overcome in the Smurf Experience set was how to translate the expectations of the different target audiences (children and ‘big kids’) into something coherent.” Meanwhile, L’Usine à Bulles chose Mario Iacampo as executive producer of the project. He is the managing director of Exhibition Hub, an international exhibition creation, production and distribution company. They have worked on projects such as Van Gogh-The Immersive Experience and The Art of the Brick, which showcased Lego sculptures of American comic-book superheroes.

IMMERSION 2.0 IN SMURF WORLD

From 9 June, the Smurfs are in Hall 4 of the Brussels Expo for six months. They are inviting you to join them in an incredibly immersive world for an unusual adventure that is fun and educational in equal measure. Visitors will feel like they’ve been shrunk to Smurf-size (thanks to out-sized interiors and characters) as they explore the enchanted world full of discovery and danger. In nine unique spaces covering a total of 1,500 m2, visitors can get a taste of the Smurf lifestyle, speak their language and fight their longstanding enemy Gargamel.

What is the Smurfs Experience? By diving into a giant comic strip, visitors will go deep into a magic forest to reach the Smurf village. They will taste a magic elixir in Papa Smurf’s house that will turn them into Smurfs themselves. Far away, Gargamel is working on a terrible machine that will destroy the village’s climate, our climate. Visitors will have to brave the enchanted forest, avoiding terrible traps that lead to the infamous Gargamel’s lair. They will need all the Smurfs’ help if they are to capture the evil wizard and destroy his awful invention. The adventure has a happy ending and visitors are invited to the village party where they can learn the Smurf dance!

PERFORMING ARTS AND TECHNOLOGY

By using the latest technical innovations, this immersive Smurf experience has a realistic interactive dimension. Animated hologram Smurfs are incorporated in the spaces. A computer graphic Gargamel, trapped in a cage, interacts with the audience thanks to live motion capture. There are giant projections on tarpaulins thanks to video mapping and technology developed by Faceshift means visitors can look into a virtual mirror and see a Smurf version of themselves reflected back! There will also be several amazing virtual reality experiences for them to try out. “This technology was specially adapted for the Smurf Experience through the creation of unique content. One of the big moments in the Experience is a virtual reality section where visitors escape Gargamel and fly back to the village on a stork. It’s a gripping, realistic flight!” says producer Mario Iacampo. Dirty Monitor is the company which developed the different apps used in the Smurf Experience.

“We wanted to present the Smurfs as modern characters that have moved with the times, not as old trolls with white beards, no offence Papa Smurf. Since their inception, Peyo’s blue gnomes have always had this amazing capacity for reinvention and relevance. We have ensured that all the technology can be used by all our visitors, young or old,” adds Chloé Beaufays, the Smurf Experience spokesperson.

The performing arts are present throughout this ambitious show. Throughout the visit there are different activities involving characters in costume. Two of them are at the entrance in a comic strip frame to talk to visitors. Others work Grumpy Smurf, Lazy Smurf and Jokey Smurf puppets from a 120cm stand. “These actors share spontaneous interactive moments with the audience. They can adapt each performance to their reactions,” says Mario Iacampo.

DEFENDERS OF UNIVERSAL VALUES

Part of the show’s appeal is the values the Smurfs espouse: honesty, courage, tolerance, solidarity and generosity. They have healthy lifestyles and care about protecting the environment. “These universal values transcend age, gender and culture, and it’s in this spirit that the Smurf Experience was created. The Smurfs’ values encourage you to reflect on the modern world,” explains Véronique Culliford, the CEO of IMPS.

In 2016, the Smurfs were chosen as ambassadors for 17 sustainable development goals (SDG) set out by the United Nations. 195 countries adopted these goals in 2015. The SDG correspond to three main objectives to be fulfilled between now and 2030: end poverty; protect the planet and guarantee prosperity for everyone. They have been chosen as the themes in the educational content incorporated in the Smurf Experience. Seventeen objects scattered throughout the visit embody the SDG and are accompanied by information sheets and projections. For example, there is a washing line for gender equality, a safe to reference the eradication of poverty and a rolling pin is a symbol of reducing economic inequality. There are also teaching materials for school groups which have been produced with the different education systems in the north and south of Belgium in mind. These materials are available in the three national languages.

“The SDG are a fabulous resource for making young children think about sustainable development,” says Marcos Viñals Bassols. “What’s more, as the Smurf Experience is expected to go on tour around the world, particularly in countries where children don’t necessarily know about the pressure our planet is under, this educational message takes on even more importance.”

A SHOW PARTLY FUNDED BY TAX SHELTER

With a 5 million euro budget, the Smurf Experience is an ambitious immersive show. A fifth of the budget came from Tax Shelter, which expanded to performance arts in 2017. Combining performance with innovative sound, image and set technology, the Smurf Experience corresponds perfectly to the newly expanded Tax Shelter framework. By using this funding source L’Usine à Bulles has collaborated with the DC&J Création cooperative, Tax Shelter specialists Inver, the Theatre de Liège and Theatre Jean Vilar.

The Smurf Experience also relies on the support of several private and public partners. Its main sponsor is Daoust, a Belgian human resources company that was named Business of the Year 2016 (Ernst & Young, L’Écho) and Best Career Transition Company at the HR Excellence Awards 2017. Daoust will be sporting Smurf colours throughout 2018. “The Smurfs are an important source of our national pride. Our collaboration with the Smurfs highlights the Belgian roots our family business holds dear. Beyond this Belgian spirit, this collaboration was a no-brainer as Daoust and the Smurfs share common values such as respect, friendliness and being family-oriented. These values are really at the heart of our famous “Welcome to the Family!” motto explains Giles Daoust, company CEO and recently named Young Top Manager in The Entrepreneur Awards.

Also read: Comic festival unveils great new features this year

BNP Paribas Fortis, as well as other public institutions (the National Lottery, Brussels Region and some of its organisations such as Visit Brussels, the Wallonia-Brussels Federation and the German-Speaking Community) are also lending their support to the Smurf Experience.

AN INTERNATIONAL CALLING

In 2019, the Smurf Experience will set out on a five-year world tour. The sets, the storyline and the technology incorporated in the show were planned so that they can be adapted to a range of audiences around the world. Several interested parties from Europe, the Middle East and Asia have been in touch, before the Experience had even been launched. Peyo’s little blue gnomes have succeeded in the fantastic feat of becoming ambassadors for Belgian heritage around the world.

ONCE UPON A TIME…

It all began on 23 October 1958 in the pages of the Belgian magazine Spirou. Johan and Peewit were the heroes of a comic set in the Middle Ages. A little voice appeared on the 36th page of their ninth story saying, “Can’t you look where you put your Smurfs? You nearly smurfed me!” Then a little blue-skinned gnome popped up from behind a stone. It led Johan and Peewit to the village. The Smurfs had made their début in Peyo’s world. Nobody could have imagined that this modest beginning would mark the start of a global phenomenon. As minor characters in “The Flute with Six Holes”, they could have disappeared after “the end”, but the audience’s enthusiasm made that impossible. From then on, Peyo took them on their own adventures, firstly in short stories in a smaller format, then in a series of full size albums the success of which grew and grew.

Thirty-six albums later, with more than 50 million albums sold around the world, the Smurfs have become international icons of Belgian comics. But these mischievous little blue creatures soon leapt off the pages and onto our cinema and TV screens, and digital platforms. ‘The Smurfs and the Lost Village’ came out in 2017. It was the third feature-length animated film starring Peyo’s mini heroes and the first full-length CGI (computer generated imagery) animation. A new 3D animated series is planned for 2020. The Smurfs also have their own official YouTube channel available in 41 languages. They star in musicals and are special guests at theme parks in Antwerp, Dubai, Malaysia and Moscow (in 2019), and soon they will be heading to China too.

PEYO: A MODEST, SELF-TAUGHT MAN

Pierre Culliford (known as Peyo) was born in Brussels on the 25 June 1928. He had to work from the age of 15, starting out as a cinema projectionist, then moving on to working in a cartoon studio. The studio closed and Peyo decided to move on to comics. He published comic strips in a wide variety of daily papers, but it was difficult at first.

He did not become successful until he joined Spirou magazine. With fellow artists Franquin, Morris and Roba, their work formed a milestone in humorous European comics. After the Smurfs appeared, Peyo continued working on the adventures of Johan and Peewit, as well as Poussy the cat, and he created Benoît Brisefer, a boy with super-powers (known variously as Tammy Tuff, Benny Breakiron and Steven Strong in English). However, the global success of the Smurfs meant they ended up taking up all his energy. He devoted himself to them and their destiny (in all its forms) until his death in 1992. There are qualities that were embodied in Peyo’s art and were key to the success and timelessness of his work: clear storytelling, a poetic sense of humour, an effective style and constant creativity, not forgetting key values which transcend generations such as tolerance, belief in the future and respecting others.

Studio Peyo was founded in 1964 and trained several big names in Belgian comics, such as Derib, Gos and Walthéry. Six illustrators (three of whom were trained by the father of the Smurfs) still carry on Peyo’s work today. One of them is Thierry Culliford, Peyo’s son, who cowrites new stories with Alain Jost and Luc Parthoens. The 36th album, ‘The Smurfs and the Dragon of the Lake’, came out in March 2018.

Some statistics about the power of the Smurf brand

• 700 active licences

• 100 million Schleich figurines sold

• 1 billion dollars of annual revenue generated by selling retail products

• Over 75 million video game downloads

• 1 Smurf Haribo eaten every minute around the world

60 YEARS OLD AND STILL GOING STRONG

The opening of the Smurf Experience on 9 June was one of the key moments in the “Official Year of Smurfs”, which is packed full of events.

• Since 24 March, one Brussels Airlines Airbus A320 has been flying with a Smurf makeover.

• In April, the studio that creates the Smurf comics created a special drawing for the 60th anniversary of the Atomium. It is on display in front of the kid’s sphere.

• On 24 May, the Expo Peyo, an exhibition telling the life story of the great comic artist, opened in the Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles in Paris (opposite the Pompidou Centre). The exhibition is on until 28 October 2018

• On the 19 June, a Smurf mural will be officially unveiled close to Brussels Central Station (next to the Hilton Brussels Grand-Place). A second fresco will be inaugurated in Rochefort.

• On the 31 August, the Smurfs will once again serve as mascots at the Memorial Van Damme athletics event.

• In September they will be guests of honour at the 9th Brussels Comic Strip Festival.

• In October, the Smurfs’ birthday month, (their actual birthday is 23 October), a heritage book about Peyo’s work will be released.

Also read: A lot for comic lovers in Brussels this year

Have you ever been hooked by cartoon strips like Smurfs?  How far you can travel to be part of this experience? Please share your experience in the comments section below!

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Comics Festival unveils great new features this year


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Comic Book Festival
BOZAR © visit.brussels – Eric Danhier

There are not many comics festivals in the world like the now famous Brussels Comics Festival in the European capital. To mark its 9th year, from 14–16 September 2018, the Brussels Comics Festival contains its own batch of novelties. This year the brave Alix is celebrating 70 years of existence and will be honoured right through this weekend dedicated to the 9the art. Since its inauguration in 2010 by visit.brussels, the Comics Festival has come a long way. Launched after a year dedicated to Brussels about the 9th art, each year the Comics Festival welcomes nearly 100,000 visitors and more than 250 comics artists.

Comic Book Festival
Parc de Bruxelles – Warandepark © visit.brussels – Eric Danhier

This year, the Comics Festival will once again be taking up its place in Brussels park where the traditional tents will be pitched over 14, 15 and 16 September coming. Aside from the regular giant balloon parade or the rally of cars drawn from the huts of the greatest comics, the Comics Festival offers lovers of the genre talks, screenings, signings and other activities suitable for all.

Comic Book Festival
Parc de Bruxelles – Warandepark © Visit Brussels – Jean-Paul Remy

For its 9the year, this unmissable event for comics fans has its own batch of new features:

• The courageous Alix will be honoured throughout the festival. From the exhibition poster to the Balloon’s Day Parade, the Gallic hero will be present everywhere.

• There will be two exclusives exhibitions:

o “Alix–The art of Jacques Martin”:This is the show-piece exhibition of this year’s festival. In collaboration with the publisher Casterman and the Royal Museum of Arts and History (Parc du Cinquantenaire), it will be produced by all parts for the Comics Festival. This will bring together around 150 original drawings arranged by topic (historical references, treatment of women and homosexuality, treatment of the imagination, etc.) situated among the permanent museum collections in the Parc du Cinquantenaire and will be on display for 4 months.

Also read: A lot for comic lovers in Brussels this year

o “Live in Fran Disco”–Thierry Van Hasselt/FMK(Wallonia-BrusselsFederation): This exhibition honours the winner of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation Prize for Comics (Prix Atomium 2017), Thierry Van Hasselt/Fremok for his work “Live in FranDisco”.

Comic Book Festival
BOZAR © Visit Brussels – Jean-Paul Remy

• A Smurf balloon will be appearing in the Balloon’s Day Parade.

• An exceptional comics improv contest: “Spirou vs Fluide Glacia: the clash!”In recent months, a curious tension has been noted in the relations between SPIROU and FLUIDE GLACIAL, two monuments of the comics newspaper press. No holds barred, it seems. As a sharp observer of this battle, Thierry Tinlot, former head editor of the two newspapers, has put himself forward as a referee and proposed an improv match during the comics festival! The only weapon of choice: humour! Players and artists will be defending the honour of their respective magazine. We’re talking here about Berco and Munuera siding with Spirou, and Mo/CDM and Ju/CDM with Fluide… Provided, however, this means the two publications don’t mutually destroy one another. This super-original face-off is taking place at BOZAR. In collaboration with the Belgian Professional Improvisation League.

• Lastly, there was one publisher missing from the Comics Festival. A very important publisher from the north of the country: The Comics Festival is proud to welcome Standaard Uitgeverij this year.

Comic Book Festival
BOZAR © visit.brussels – Eric Danhier

Second edition of the Atomium Comic Strip Prizes

Comic strips are an art that has fallen from favour in recent years. It has often proved difficult for professional comic strip artists to make a living from their work. visit.brussels, in close collaboration with the Brussels-Capital regional government, highlights the city’s support for creativity and brings together existing initiatives in awarding mainly cash prizes that will help the winners to finance their work.

Comic Book Festival
Parc de Bruxelles – Warandepark © Visit Brussels – Jean-Paul Remy

In 2017, as part of its 8th edition, the Comics Festival presented the Atomium Comic Strip Prize for the first time. Some 7 prizes, worth a total of 100,000 euros, were presented in September 2017 in BOZAR. Building on this success, the Comics Festival is reliving the experience in 2018, while expanding the concept even further: no less than 9 prizes will be given out for a total amount of 115,000 euros. The sponsor of the second awards ceremony will be French screenwriter Fabien Vehlmann, author of the series “Seuls” and “Spirou and Fantasio”.

Comic Book Festival
Parc de Bruxelles – Warandepark © visit.brussels – Eric Danhier

So if you love comics, then Brussels is place to be for you this September.

Have you ever been at Brussels Comics Festival? Share your experience with your favourite comic characters.

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Riding this Eel is indeed electrifying

SeaWorld San Diego threw open Electric Eel —  San Diego’s tallest and fastest roller coaster with astounding loops, twists and airtimeon May 10, 2018. Featuring multiple-launch experiences, Electric Eel propels riders forward and backward as they speed through the ride’s station house accelerating to more than 60 miles per hour in seconds. Riders then rocket skyward nearly 150 feet where they will brave an inverted “heartline” roll and a twisting loop for an exciting feeling of airtime as riders crest the top before breathlessly returning to the station.

“Electric Eel will bring a whole new level of excitement to SeaWorld,” said SeaWorld San Diego’s Park President Marilyn Hannes. “This new, first-of-its-kind coaster at SeaWorld will give riders the rare opportunity to feel what it’s like to move like an eel as they twist and flip along nearly 900 feet of undulating track.”

Complementing the Electric Eel roller coaster is a hypnotic live eel habitat featuring a collection of moray eels. The eel habitat, located at the eastern edge of the Ocean Explorer realm and already part of the guest experience at SeaWorld, features large viewing windows where visitors can plunge into the world of the eel as they swim and dart through the caves and crevasses of their naturalistic deep-ocean environment.

The Electric Eel attraction area will also feature an interactive educational experience called  Mission: Deep Discovery, which will allow a team of one to four players to embark on a virtual deep sea adventure aboard a manned-vehicle while they encounter the marvels of the deep ocean.

“We always strive to provide new reasons to visit SeaWorld and give our guests experiences that matter with a blend of exciting rides and incredible animal and educational experiences,” said Hannes. “We want our guests from around the world to not only have a great time, but be inspired to care about the ocean and the animals that live there.”

Electric Eel joins Manta and Journey to Atlantis as the third coaster-type ride experience at SeaWorld San Diego. It is located on an approximately 2-acre site on the eastern side of the park between Ocean Explorer and Journey to Atlantis. The new coaster is an expansion of the park’s Ocean Explorer realm, which opened in summer of 2017 as part of the park’s largest new attraction premiere in its history, also including the inspiring documentary-style Orca Encounter; and the summer nighttime extravaganza Electric Ocean, a nighttime transformation of the park into a sea of glowing color and energy, inspired by the phenomenon of ocean bioluminescence. Electric Ocean is set to ignite at SeaWorld on June 16 and light up the park on select dates through Sept. 2, 2018.

SeaWorld is open 365 days a year and is located on SeaWorld Drive off of I-5. Park admission is $89.99 for ages 10 and older; $84.99 for ages 3–9.

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment™ is a leading theme park and entertainment company providing experiences that matter and inspiring guests to protect animals and the wild wonders of our world. The company is one of the world’s foremost zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, behavioral training, husbandry and veterinary care. The company collectively cares for what it believes is one of the largest zoological collections in the world and has helped lead advances in the care of animals. The company also rescues and rehabilitates marine and terrestrial animals that are ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. The SeaWorld® rescue team has helped more than 31,000 animals in need over the last 50 years.

The company owns or licenses a portfolio of recognized brands including SeaWorld, Busch Gardens® and Sea Rescue®. Over its more than 50-year history, the company has built a diversified portfolio of 12 destination and regional theme parks that are grouped in key markets across the United States, many of which showcase its one-of-a-kind zoological collection. The company’s theme parks feature a diverse array of rides, shows and other attractions with broad demographic appeal which deliver memorable experiences and a strong value proposition for its guests.

Have a look at a video of this Electrifying Eel on my YouTube channel by clicking on the link below-

Have you ever had such an amazing roller coaster ride? Share your experience with us in the comments section below!

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India Summer Days return to Karlsruhe and lot more in SouthWest Germany


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On the weekend of 14th to 15th July 2018, the INDIA SUMMER DAYS return to Karlsruhe under the heading ‘Baden-Württemberg meets Maharashtra’: a small piece of India right in the centre of Karlsruhe, with all its sumptuous colours, music and dance. India fans can indulge in live music, an Indian bazaar, culinary delicacies and numerous other cultural highlights, as well as Ayurveda and yoga workshops.  Last year India Summer Days were held for the first time alongside the “Pre-Festival” in the middle of the Günther-Klotz-Anlage.

SouthWest Germany, the federal state of Baden-Württemberg, is right in the heart of Europe and is bordered by France, Switzerland and Austria. Easy to get to, easy to get around, easy to have fun: that’s SouthWest Germany, a real four-season destination! With history and high-tech, romantic palaces and vibrant cities, natural beauty, glamour and fun, SouthWest Germany guarantees something for everyone. 

Also Read: Germany Unplugged – Holidaying in the SouthWest

Due to its varied historic and cultural heritage, South West Germany is abound in cultural monuments. Six of 42 UNESCO World heritage sites in Germany are located between the lake of Constance and the northern part of South West Germany. Ice Age Art in South West Germany, Historic Stone Age lake-dwellings on Lake Constance, the Frontiers of the Roman Empire , the Maulbronn Monastery and the Monastic Island of Reichenau. Worth mentioning as well, are the apartment buildings of the French architectLe Corbusier in Stuttgart, „the Weissenhof Estate“. Le Corbusier designed as well the master plan of the Indian City Candigarh in 1952 which was declared by UNESCO as World heritage in July 2016.

Wherever you go in Southwest Germany you are never far from a grand palace, a romantic castle, half-timbered houses – and something good to eat and drink. Stop in a café for coffee and cake; linger in a beer garden over a locally-brewed pint; taste wines at a traditional wine festival; sample schnapps and world-class gin in the Black Forest. Order traditional dishes in a Weinstube (tavern) and gourmet meals in Germany’s most Michelin-star studded region. In 2018 there are many foodie reasons to come to Southwest Germany, or Baden-Württemberg, as we call it.

Europa Park

In the heart of the border triangle, between the Black Forest and Vosges, lies the best theme park worldwide- Europa-Park. Whether Ireland, France or Spain ‒ 15 European themed areas with exemplary architecture, gastronomy, and vegetation are waiting to be discovered by visitors from around the world, embarking on a journey of discovery through Europe with over 100 attractions and shows and the promise of lots of fun and adventure for the whole family. The park’s own 4* hotels provide everything visitors need for a perfect family holiday or romantic wellness weekend with an authentic atmosphere and ambience unique to each themed hotel.

Shop till you drop! Read: Munich is a ultra-chic shopping destination

At India Summer Days, visitors will experience the great diversity of Indian culture and tradition in an authentic way. The focus will be on Maharashtra, Baden-Württemberg’s partner region in the heart of India, which has been linked to Karlsruhe for years. Last year Balaji També and a team of Ayurveda doctors, yoga teachers and cooks traveled from Atmasantulana Village, India, to the summer festival in Karlsruhe and offered many informative workshops on Ayurveda, Ayurvedic products, pulse diagnosis, Ayurvedic nutrition, healing music, meditation and yoga. Numerous other artists and musicians as well as yoga and Ayurveda experts will be arriving in Karlsruhe directly from India. This region has got special relations with Maharashtra. Stuttgart meets Mumbai wine festival also celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2014. The long and enduring town-twining between Mumbai and Stuttgart which dates back to 1968.

India Summer Days, Credit: jowapress.de

Susanne Schlung, Marketing Director of the State Tourist Board said after her recent visits to Mumbai and Delhi that  she could see a lot of interest in traveling to Europe and especially the interests of travellers who travel the second or third or….time to explore a region of Germany – such as SouthWest Germany. She was really surprised that a lot of the people she met during our stay, know of Cuckoo-clocks, the Black Forest with its delicious Black Forest cake and Baden-Baden with its Spas and Casino.

Sharing culture! Read: A culture feast at Upper Rhine Valley

Susanne said, “Due to the demand for smaller family groups, apartments and smaller busses for more people are more relevant. Small groups and individual travellers also like to try our lovely traditional food and beverages (beer and wine) as well as our high level cuisine in lots of Michelin starred-restaurants. But on the third or fourth day of their journey they need to have Indian food again. No problem; south west Germany has a lot of Indian restaurants to offer! Indians also like Shopping! So, in south west Germany they have lots of possibilities to go shopping – from traditional souvenirs , e.g. the Cuckoo-Clock at the Tiitisee-Shops up to designer wear in the Outlet City in Metzingen which is a 30 minute drive to Stuttgart or Wertheim Village in the north of SWG. Outlet City Metzingen offers at about 80 different luxury designer brands (such as Hugo Boss, Prada, Nike, Michel Kors, Armani, Burberry, Gucci & Jimmy Choo).”

Europa Park

German cars, especially Mercedes Benz and Porsche are well-known and loved in India. There are two museums in the capital city of SWG, Stuttgart, were one can see a lot of cars and learn something about the history of the cars. Traveling by train, which is very fast and convenient in Germany is also very popular with travellers.

Have you visited SouthWest Germany or Europa Park? How was the fun? Please share with us all!

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David moves on from Nahm and leaves a legacy of Thai food behind

After 18 successful years, multi-award winning chef David Thompson has concluded his involvement with Nahm, the restaurant he created with Como Hotels. Renowned worldwide for his dedication and commitment to Thai food culture, David took the decision to leave Nahm last year in order to continue his work exploring and protecting the history and legacy of Thai food and flavours and to pursue new opportunities through Aylmer Aaharn, the Thai food group he co-founded in 2014. Final Dinner Service under Chef David Thompson will be on Monday 30th April 2018. 

Photo Credit: mycitylife.com.au

Chef David Thompson, who was presented a lifetime achievement award in 2016 for his dedication to Thai food culture at Asia’s 50 Best, has left Nahm at a point of excellence. The restaurant has remained on the World’s 50 Best Restaurant list for 7 consecutive years and was recently awarded a Michelin star in Bangkok’s inaugural year of the guide. 

Photo Credit : nytimes.com

David Thompson visited Thailand for the first time in his twenties and immediately got enchanted by the country, the culture and some of the cuisine. He hardly knew that in next three decades he would be one of the fines Thai chefs of his generation. That fated journey in mid 80s resulted in the beginning of his love affair with Thailand, its food culture and gastronomic history.  Initially he achieved success back home in Sydney in the 90’s, opening two popular critically acclaimed restaurants: Darley St Thai and Sailors Thai.  His research and connection with Thailand continued, as did his love for the language and people, allowing him to tap into ancient recipes and deeper layers of Thai food culture. In 2001 this research cumulated in Nahm, which opened in London and within 6 months it had achieved a Michelin star (the first Thai restaurant to do so).  In 2010 David took a decision to live in Thailand full time and opened Nahm in Bangkok. David Thompson also opened Long Chim in Singapore at the city’s Marina Bay Sands shopping mall in 2015 and in just third week of opening he was cooking for more than 50 of Asia’s finest chefs and restaurateurs.It was indeed a feat of sort for any cook. 

Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images

David Thompson writes: “Nahm grew into an extraordinary restaurant with its success acknowledged in so many ways. I believe that this has been due to the hard work and talent of all those involved, but most particularly the staff. For me, the most rewarding aspect is that Nahm has been a happy restaurant. Even as Nahm’s reputation grew, refined its service and succeeded as a business, the restaurant always retained its sense of sanuk; the pleasure in looking after customers. The application of culinary integrity in the kitchen was never to the cost of the joy in doing what we all loved. This is what I will always remember. It is a rare restaurant that can achieve all of this”. 

Nahm restaurant in Bangkok. Photo courtesy: cwfoodtravel.blogspot.in

Nahm opened at COMO’s Halkin Hotel in London to immediate critical success and was awarded a Michelin star within six months. David received the ‘London Chef of the Year’ award at the Carlton Evening Standard Food Awards in 2003. Throughout this time David worked on his highly regarded cookbook, Thai Food, which provides a comprehensive overview of Thai cuisine, features over 300 recipes, and has won an extensive array of celebrated book awards. David opened the current Nahm restaurant at the Metropolitan Hotel in Bangkok in 2011, again with the COMO Group. Aylmer Aaharn, the Thai food group headed by David Thompson, currently manages operations across six countries including Thailand and Australia.

Have you ever been to Nahm and tasted some of Chef David Thompson’s preparation? Share your experience in the comment section below.

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Block the dates! Seventh edition of the Eat! BRUSSELS, Drink! BORDEAUX this September

On 6, 7, 8 and 9 September, lovers of good food and wine have a date with Eat BRUSSELS, Drink! BORDEAUX Once again, the festival will spotlight the big names in Brussels gastronomy and the wines of Bordeaux. The visitors can embark on a culinary voyage, tasting the signature dishes offered by the great chefs of Brussels. All amid the greenery of the Parc de Bruxelles.

For the seventh year of the Eat! BRUSSELS, Drink! BORDEAUX festival, the best chefs in Brussels are once again taking over the stoves in the pop-up kitchens set up in the Parc de Bruxelles. Each of them will offer a gourmet public his (or her) signature dish. A great opportunity to discover the talents of Belgian gastronomy in a pleasant, convivial setting. visit.brussels have been in partnership with Les Vins de Bordeaux for the last five years.

Over fifty wine growers and wine merchants will be present at the event to show off the full range of wines from Bordeaux – reds, whites, rosés and crémants – that will be the perfect partners for the dishes concocted by the chefs. The 6 families of Bordeaux wines are each represented in their own special pavilion. Bordeaux Red & Bordeaux Supérieur Red; Côtes de Bordeaux; Saint-Emilion Pomerol Fronsac; Médoc & Graves; Sweet Bordeaux; Rosés, Dry whites and Crémants de Bordeaux. The Bordeaux Wine School will offer workshops in which novices can be initiated into Bordeaux wines and the more experienced can enhance their knowledge.

New features in 2018:

– An updated offering: New chefs will be joining the event to fly the flag of their restaurants. Several signature dishes will also have a vegetarian version. Ten restaurants have already confirmed their attendance. Returning are Vincent, Garage à Manger, Brinz’l, Le Tournant, Augusta, Rouge Tomate, Racines and Stirwen. And two new participants have already confirmed: Crab Club and San Bol.

– New cheese and dessert bar

– The festival will have 4 new, original themes for the Masterclasses: Crus classés from Graves, grands crus classés from Saint-Émilion, grands vins from Médoc from the 2015 vintage, Sweet Bordeaux & Belgian cheeses.

– The eat! Awards: This year, the eat! Awards will make their appearance. They will reward the chefs who were most successful during the event.

Photo: VisitBrussels/ ©E.Danhier

Have you enjoyed any such gastronomical event? How was the fun? Share your experiences in the comments section below.

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World’s largest cruise ship ready for the first voyage

The world’s biggest cruise-liner, Symphony of the Seas, has left the shipyard of Saint-Nazaire in France to embark on its maiden voyage in the Mediterranean. French shipbuilder STX handed over to U.S. giant Royal Caribbean International on Friday. The ship, which weighs 228,000 tonnes, is 362 metres long just 20 metres shy of the length of the Empire State Building. It is marginally bigger than its sister ship, the Harmony of the Seas, which STX France delivered to Royal Caribbean in 2016.

Love cruising? Read: Which are the world’s most popular cruises!

Majestic view of the Symphony of the seas

The Symphony will head to Malaga in Spain and spending its first season in the Mediterranean before heading to its home port of Miami. Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., and Laurent Castaing, General Manager of STX France, led the traditional flag-changing ceremony, which symbolizes the ship’s official delivery from the ship builder to Royal Caribbean.

Crew celebrating the inauguration

Symphony of the Seas will welcome her first guests on Saturday, March 31 for a one-time-only, 5-night preview sailing, calling on Naples and Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy. The ship’s maiden 7-night Mediterranean voyage departs Saturday, April 7 from Barcelona, Spain, where the crescendo of thrills will be brought to life by the 2,200 international crew members who proudly represent 77 countries around the world. Symphony of the Seas will homeport in Barcelona for the summer, visiting Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Provence, France; and Florence/Pisa, Rome and Naples, Italy.

The 25th ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, Symphony of the Seas is 228,081 gross registered tons, measures 238 feet tall and spans 1,188 feet long. She will welcome 5,518 guests at double occupancy in 2,759 staterooms, including 28 additional balcony rooms that overlook the ocean or signature Boardwalk neighbourhood. One Oasis Class ship, seven distinctive neighbourhoods, the tallest slide at sea with the Ultimate Abyss and countless adventures for guests of all ages, the family adventure of a lifetime has surprises at every turn.

Language of the cruise! Read: Cruise Lingo to help travellers talk the talk!

New Culinary Adventures

• Hooked Seafood: This upscale eatery atop of the world’s largest cruise ship in the Solarium serves up the real taste of New England-inspired seafood and unparalleled ocean vistas to match. Approachable and unassuming, the menu offers classic coastal favorites, such as lobster rolls, crab claws, signature fish sandwich, and a raw bar where oysters are shucked to order.

Playmakers bar at the Symphony of the seas

• Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade: Stretching the length of a reimagined Boardwalk, now touting fresh energy and swagger, the whole family can watch the home team play across 31 big-screen TVs, during the day and into the late night. The indoor and outdoor arcade, packed with over 20 games, offers the opportunity for friendly competition. The on-point menu of classic American bar food features everything from wings, burgers and popcorn shrimp to picture-perfect sundaes; as well as craft beers and cocktails.

• El Loco Fresh: Made-to-order tacos and burritos wrapped with fresh tortillas are among the Mexican “street food” favourites that will hit the spot for adventure seekers looking to fuel up with minimal downtime.

• Sugar Beach: The signature candy and ice cream shop is the sweet spot on the Boardwalk with more than 100 types of candies, a lineup of ice cream flavors and even DIY activities for the aspiring culinary artist.

New destinations for cruise! Read: Adventure seekers can now visit Havana on Empress of the seas

A view from balcony of the rooms around central park

New Ways to Play

• Battle for Planet Z: Royal Caribbean’s first glow-in-the-dark laser tag game brings two teams of eight head to head in an out-of-this-world adventure to determine who will claim the last planet in the galaxy.

• Escape the Rubicon: In the ultimate race against the clock, friends old and new must band together in the Rubicon submarine – a sophisticated, custom-built escape room – to solve a collection of puzzles before time runs out.

Royal suite with a loft

Unparalleled Family Accommodations

  • Ultimate Family Suite: A two-level, 1,346-square-foot suite filled with awesome thrills offers more than enough room for the whole family – and friends – to come together and catch up on “me time.” Features include an in-room slide, a private cinema with an 85-inch HD TV, a floor-to-ceiling LEGO wall, a 212-square-foot balcony complete with table tennis and a full-size whirlpool. Complete with a Royal Genie, who caters to every whim, there are many more surprises awaiting guests along the way.

Fly into cruise! Read: Cruisefly for Royal Caribbean cruises

A family suite at the Symphony of the seas

Beginning Nov. 10, Miami, FL. will become the ship’s year-round homeport, making Symphony of the Seas the first new Oasis Class ship to sail from the cruise capital of the world using Royal Caribbean’s new state-of-the-art Terminal A. The 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises will call on Perfect Day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s newly revealed destination in the Bahamas.

Aerial view of the helipad of the Symphony of the seas

Royal Caribbean International is an award-winning global cruise brand with a 49-year legacy of innovation and introducing industry “firsts” never before seen at sea. The cruise line features an expansive and unmatched array of features and amenities only found on Royal Caribbean, including jaw dropping, state-of-the-art entertainment and industry-acclaimed programming that appeals to families and adventurous vacationers alike.

Also read: Vagabond at a cruise- Super Star Virgo

On board, guests are catered to with the cruise line’s world-renowned friendly and engaging service by every staff and crew member. Royal Caribbean has been voted “Best Cruise Line Overall” for 15 consecutive years in the Travel Weekly Readers Choice Awards. The cruise line sails 25 of the world’s most innovative cruise ships to the most popular destinations in Bermuda and the Caribbean, Europe, Canada and New England, Alaska, South America, Asia, and Australia and New Zealand.

Have you been on cruise with Royal Caribbean Cruises? Share your experiences in the comments section below!

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A marathon on ice for preservation of water 


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Listvyanka, Russia, March 7, 2018 – Baikal Ice Marathon. (PPR/Carl F. Bucherer)

Located in Siberia, Lake Baikal is the largest, deepest, and richest freshwater lake in terms of biodiversity in the world. The annual Baikal Ice Marathon offers competitors from around the globe the opportunity to race across the frozen surface with the goal to help keep the water clean. One of the top 25 adventure marathons in the world, the Baikal Ice Marathon is both psychologically and physically demanding. The event is held at the start of March, when practically the entire lake is covered in ice. It is a long, cold, lonely 42.2-kilometre trail across the barren white landscape where progress is marked only by checkpoints positioned at 5 kilometre intervals. The vast open spaces, the bright rays of the sun, and the incredible, breathtaking beauty of the landscape help the hundreds of elite runners complete the course between the opposite shores.

Listvyanka, Russia, March 7, 2018 – Baikal Ice Marathon. (PPR/Carl F. Bucherer)

Carl F. Bucherer keeps the commitment to environment

With their participation in the 14th Baikal Ice Marathon, Carl F. Bucherer once again demonstrated a respectful attitude toward the environment and the brand’s commitment to the value of preservation. The idea of participating in one of the world’s most difficult tests of strength and endurance was born in September 2017, when the Swiss watch manufacturer’s Executive Vice President Sales, Laurent Lecamp, and friend of the brand, renowned businessman, and four-time IRONMAN finisher Vladimir Voloshin first met at the opening of the Carl F. Bucherer boutique in Moscow, Russia.

Listvyanka, Russia, March 7, 2018 – Baikal Ice Marathon. (PPR/Carl F. Bucherer/Alexey Sedov)

Along with the values of the watch brand itself, both men share a passion for sport, considering it a source of inner strength and inspiration that allows them to move forward innovatively while preserving traditions. To prepare for the challenging race, Laurent Lecamp and Vladimir Voloshin, who live in different parts of the world, developed a groundbreaking formula for cooperation based on their shared outlook and values.

Due to extreme weather conditions, temperatures of –31°C, and a wind speed of 108 km/h, this year’s marathon had to be cut short after 21 kilometers, turning it into a challenging half-marathon with 153 participants. Laurent Lecamp and Vladimir Voloshin both finished 56th.

Clean Water Preservation Run 

Lake Baikal is located on the border of the Irkutsk region and Buryatia and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The lake’s shape is reminiscent of a giant crescent moon, stretching some 620 kilometers from the Northeast to the Southwest. Its width ranges from 24 to 79 kilometers. The ice marathon crosses over one of the most beautiful parts of the lake. As part of the Winteriad, a larger winter games festival that takes place at Lake Baikal, the Baikal Ice Marathon is held for a noble cause – the preservation of clean water. All of the participation fees from all of the athletes are donated in full to protect the lake and to maintain its purity and beauty. By participating in the event, Carl F. Bucherer is once more demonstrating their commitment to the value of preservation by supporting various international environmental projects.

Listvyanka, Russia, March 7, 2018 – Baikal Ice Marathon. (PPR/Carl F. Bucherer/Alexey Sedov)

A Strong Friendship 

The Baikal Ice Marathon marked the start of a close relationship between Carl F. Bucherer and Vladimir Voloshin. In April, Vladimir Voloshin will visit the company’s headquarters in Lucerne and the manufactory in Lengnau, Switzerland. “Being a friend of the watch brand Carl F. Bucherer is a great honor and a great responsibility at the same time,” said Vladimir Voloshin. “We complement one another perfectly because we share the same goals and values. Reliability, accuracy, and quality are extremely important to me, as these characteristics are what enable people to achieve good results in both business and sport.” Laurent Lecamp said: “Our shared experience of coping with extreme situations was unforgettable. It was proof that together, we can overcome any obstacle.”

Listvyanka, Russia, March 7, 2018 – Baikal Ice Marathon. On the left Vladimir Voloshin, Friend of the Brand of Carl F. Bucherer. On the right Laurent Lecamp, Executive Vice President Sales of Carl F. Bucherer. (PPR/Carl F. Bucherer)

Vladimir Voloshin 

With a career in international marketing that spans more than 20 years, Vladimir Voloshin has worked for global companies in the Baltic states, Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, and Russia. He is the Managing Partner of Newman Sport & Business Consulting, founder of the international IRONSTAR triathlon competitions and the ROSA RUN festival, host and moderator of a talk show featuring business leaders and top athletes, and an expert speaker at international marketing conferences and at TED events. He is also the first President of the Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO Alumni Association.

Listvyanka, Russia, March 7, 2018 – Baikal Ice Marathon. (PPR/Carl F. Bucherer)

Sporting achievements: 

  • Four-time IRONMAN finisher, participant in the IRONMAN World Championship in Hawaii
  • Two-time IRONMAN 70.3 finisher
  • Two-time finisher of the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon and Abu Dhabi International Triathlon
  • Finisher of the Bosphorus Cross Continental Swim and the legendary Paris–Roubaix cycle race
  • Finisher of the Quintuple Ultra Triathlon (19 kilometers swimming, 900 kilometers cycling, 211 kilometers running)
  • Finisher of the 186-kilometer 24-hour ultramarathon
  • Finisher of the Marathon des Sables multiday 240-kilometer run through the Sahara Desert
  • Finisher of the HARD RUN 2017 50-kilometer ultramarathon
  • Eight marathons (pacemaker in six), 12 half marathons (pacemaker in 11) in Russia and abroad
Listvyanka, Russia, March 7, 2018 – Baikal Ice Marathon. (PPR/Carl F. Bucherer)

Have you ever run a race in ice? Share your experiences in the comments section below.

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