When the fireworks have fizzled out, the celebrations have ended, and the fairy lights have been packed away, you can feel a bit lost in the haze of the new year, and with that, the winter blues begin to creep in.
Fortunately, at Life of Riley, we have ways of picking up the pace and shaking off the festive comedown! We believe that a New Year doesn’t necessarily have to mean a new you but can mean a new wealth of wonders just waiting to be explored.
From ancient Viking festivals to journeys into deep space, treks to the end of the world, and some good old-fashioned high-class fun; here are the events making us joyously jubilant this January…
Monte Carlo Circus Festival
Humans can be marvellous creatures and the magical Monte Carlo Circus Festival celebrates that fact beneath the billowing big top. Elegantly flying through the air, tumbling with glorious grace, delivering breathtaking balancing skills, and dancing, juggling and bringing that childlike joy to every single face in the crowd – the circus never gets old. At the Monte Carlo Circus Festival, expect to be starry-eyed as mind-blowing acts leave you oohing and ahhing. An age-old tradition, this circus was beloved by Prince Rainier III and has been showcasing performers dazzling skills for over four decades. It may not be your circus or your monkey, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be ringside for the fun.
Up Helly Aa
If anyone was going to put on a Viking festival filled with fire and screaming into the inky black night it would have to be found in the very north of Scotland on a remote tiny island. The Up Helly Aa is bucket list material. This annual event can be traced all the way back to 1874, a night ablaze in life and flame to mark the close of Scottish Christmas festivities. If you are lucky enough to make it there, you can expect to see a town chief and hordes of young men dressed to fearfully impress in full Viking regalia. There're parades and marches and much revelry. But the real revelry comes after dark when a life-size hand-built Viking ship is pulled through the town and set alight in all its blazing glory. Cue lashings of ale and whiskey, live music and dancing until the wee hours of dawn. Unforgettable.
Space Rocket Launch
To infinity and beyond. Forget spending January sorting your taxes and cleaning your attic, instead why not celebrate one of the most exciting acts that a person can witness – a space rocket launch. Yep, while it may sound like standing on the ground getting a crick in your neck from turning your eyes to the sky, watching a rocket zoom into space will truly tap into the awe and wonder of considering what’s out there. Lap up the tension as the gigantic rocket is put into place, wave at the astronauts who step aboard ready for the weightless wonder of leaving all they have ever known and get a closer look by joining a press conference with the astronauts and attending their farewell party. Oh, did we also mention that this event takes place in Kazakhstan? Just in case the event wasn’t rocket-fuel-fun enough, you also get to explore the treasures of this ambitious and exhilarating kingdom of the Stans.
Snow Polo World Cup
The Cartier Snow Polo World Cup comprises all the things we love and ties them up with a pretty bow. Beautiful horses, snowy plains, swiss chocolate and gold, and the artful sporty decadence of polo. What’s not to love? Set against the stunning backdrop of St. Moritz, you can expect an exhilarating run-up to the grand event, with plenty of chatter about who will take home the cup over a gooey vat of glorious fondue. The event itself sees a flurry of powdery snow, hooves, elegantly dressed riders, and polo mallets at the ready as the teams compete over a three-day course to determine who will take the cup. You get to capture the action while sipping on champagne and snuggled under a cashmere blanket, feeling the heat and energy of the crowd and gazing out beyond the course to where Switzerland’s majestic mountains stand proud. Of course, there are late night parties to boot and even the chance to blend this equestrian adventure with some time on the slopes.
Its 2020 and Everest is old news, Kilimanjaro may be cool, but for those hearty hikers out there – perhaps it's time for a new trick. This is where the Aconcagua Expedition comes in handy. South America’s highest peak ripples between the borders of Chile and Argentina. A mammoth mountain, dusted in snow and soaring to cloud puncturing heights of 22,841 feet – it's no wonder that in mountaineers the idea of tackling this summit causes a shiver of excitement down the spine. While the trek itself can be done in a day, it's no easy feat that’s for sure. Dizzying altitudes, extreme weather conditions, and the fear of being far from the beaten track make this an ultimate challenge. Luckily, you have a truly gifted mountaineering guide at your side, and of course – all those Argentinian steaks you have chomped in the run-up to this expedition will be giving fuel to your walking fire.
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