April 2014 hosts some of the biggest and boldest travel festivals, events and anniversaries all around the world – these are just a few…
1 April 2014 – 10th Anniversary of Gmail
Hands up who doesn’t have a Gmail account? It was ten years ago on 1 April 2004 that Google first launched its free email service which was available by invite only. Given the launch date, many suspected that this was an April Fool’s Day hoax as the service also came with 1 Gb of storage!
To 6 April 2014 – British Travel Week
The week of 30 March to 6 April is designated British Travel Week which really encourages travellers to consider Britain for their next getaway. And with handsome castles, one of the best beaches in the world at Rhossili Bay in Wales and a packed annual calendar celebrating the works of William Shakespeare, there has never been a better time to rediscover Britain.
7 April 2014 – Duke and Duchess of Cambridge tour New Zealand and Australia
Today marks the start of a three week tour of both Australia and New Zealand for Kate and William, who is accompanied by baby son George. Coinciding with Easter, the couple will visit war memorials to commemorate the centenary of the start of World War I. They will also visit the Blue Mountains, where families were affected by severe bushfires last year. William made a similar tour aged nine months with his parents Prince Charles and Princess Diana, although this is Kate’s first trip to both Australia and New Zealand.
7 April 2014 – Toledo, Spain – 400th Anniversary of the Death of El Greco
The pioneer of the Spanish Renaissance, El Greco, will be celebrated in the Spanish city of Toledo and beyond throughout 2014 as this year marks the 400th year of his death. Born in 1541, Doménikos Theotokópoulos, aka El Greco, was best known for his paintings, sculptures and architectural contributions. He’s probably best known for the works of El Expolio, The Burial of the Count of Orgaz and View of Toledo. He lived in Toledo for 27 years and the city hosts a wide range of special programmes including exhibitions and cultural activities all about El Greco.
10-13 April 2014 – Augusta, Georgia, US – The Masters Golf
The 78th annual Masters Golf tournament enters its 78th anniversary in 2014 as pay gets underway at the world-renowned Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. The 72 par event was established in 1934 and last year saw its first ever Australian winner in Adam Scott.
13-15 April 2014 – Thailand – Songkran
This wet and lively festival of Songkran is celebrated across the country to welcome in the Thai New Year. A traditionally Buddhist observance, the liberal spraying, squirting and drenching of water spares nobody, travellers included; nobody minds though as April is the most humid month in Thailand.
13-20 April 2014 – Semana Santa
Holy Week, aka Semana Santa is celebrated all across the world to mark the last week of Lent and the week prior to Easter. One of the best places to witness colourful Semana Santa festivals steeped in heritage is across Spain, particularly in Seville and Malaga, who really go to town. Pageantry and art combine to provide a curious spectacle: robed figures sway to a hypnotic drum beat whilst supporting giant religious effigies.
16 April 2014 – California, USA – 90th Anniversary of MGM
On this day in 1924 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, better known as MGM, was founded and over the last ninety years, the studio has produced some real gems. It’s produced legendary movies Gone With The Wind in 1939, Ben-Hur in 1959 and the Wizard of Oz in 1939, which itself celebrated its 75th anniversary last month.
17 April 2014 – New York, USA – 50th Anniversary of the Ford Mustang
Can you believe that its fifty years since the Ford Motor Company unveiled the very first iconic Mustang to the world, at the World Fair in New York. Massively successful from day one, the Mustang also starred in James Bond; Goldfinger in 1964, the modified 1971 version appeared in Gone in Sixty Seconds and movie character Sean Boswell powered that iconic Mustang Fastback in The Fast and the Furious 3: Tokyo Drift.
18 April 2014 – International Day of Monuments and Sites
Today is an internationally recognised day which aims to raise awareness of both the diversity and fragility of monuments and key heritage sites across the world. The day educates on the efforts taken by various bodies to protect and conserve them for future generations. Get involved; visit your local heritage spots and learn more about their place in history.
23 April 2014 – UK – 450th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s Birth
The UK is abuzz this year as celebrations of the birth of legendary poet and playwright William Shakespeare continue. Although his actual date of birth remains a mystery, historians do know that he was baptised on 23 April 1564. Take in a performance at the brand new Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at the world famous Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on London’s Bankside with a packed annual calendar of operas, plays, operas and concerts. Don’t miss the enigmatic ‘Summer by Candlelight’ series, as well as timeless classics such as Much Ado About Nothing, All’s Well That Ends Well and Antony and Cleopatra.
26 April 2014 – South Africa – 20th Anniversary of the first Multi-Racial Elections
2014 marks the twentieth anniversary of the very first full multi-racial elections in South Africa.it was back in 1994 that Nelson Mandela was elected president. He was inaugurated on 10 May as a worldwide audience. Nelson Mandela passed away on 5 December 2013 although you can learn more about this great man via the film ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’, starring Idris Elba and Naomie Harris which is released on DVD this month. The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela is also highly recommended.
26 April 2014 – Tanzania – 50th Anniversary of Formation
On 26 Apr 1964 both Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged and formed what was known as the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar. In October 1964 the country was renamed Tanzania.
30 April 2014 – Dublin, Ireland – 20th Anniversary of Riverdance
The legendary theatre show Riverdance – where rapid Irish stepdancing is offset by motionless arms – celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year. It was originally performed as interval filler at the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest at Dublin’s Point Theatre. The troupe has performed their catchy song and dance numbers all over the world, wowing millions of spectators.