October Contest Winner

Harry has been located! This month we presented you with a series of clues and asked you to guess Where in the World is Harry Dalgaard? The responses were extremely varied, and while no one got the exact location, some of you got within a few miles of the right spot. Because there are so many similarities between towns in this region, we decided to choose a winner that had gotten the closest to Harry’s exact destination, which was:

Nuremberg, Germany

The lucky recipient of our prizes this month is:

Caroline Fogarty
Peak Travel

Caroline will receive a delicious Bite of Oregon gift basket and a bottle of 2010 Andrew Rich Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Verbatim. Contest winners are also encouraged to snap a picture of themselves with their Avanti prizes and email them to us, so we can feature them and their agency in a blog post.

Thanks for playing along and helping us find Harry!

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October Contest: Clue #6 and Final Recap

Final clue of the contest! If you haven’t already guessed, now’s the time to take a shot in the dark (or submit your thoughtfully considered, expert answer)!

Clue #6: Europe’s first printing house was opened in this city in 1470.


If you need a refresher, here’s a list of all the clues:

Clue #1: This city was considered to be the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire.

Clue #2: This city is a very multicultural: around 37% of its residents have some sort of immigrant background.

Clue #3: A section of this city, called Old Town, is surrounded by a city-wall that is 5 kilometers long.

Clue #4: This city is still widely associated with its traditional gingerbread delicacies and handmade toys. Its famous Christmas market draws in over a million shoppers a year.

Clue #5: In 1515, a native of this city mapped the stars of the northern and southern hemispheres, producing the first printed star charts.

Clue #6: Europe’s first printing house was opened in this city in 1470.

Go comment on the contest post to submit your entry, if you haven’t already. Remember that you can guess up to three times, so if you’re not sure, feel free to comment with a few possibilities. Get your entry in by Sunday, November 3, at 11:59pm to be in the running for our fantastic prizes!

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October Contest: Clue #5

Let’s play “Where in the World is Harry Dalgaard”! Here’s a clue.

Clue #5: In 1515, a native of this city mapped the stars of the northern and southern hemispheres, producing the first printed star charts.

If you’ve got a guess, visit the contest post to submit your entry!

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Exploring Vibrant Guatemala: Part 2

Last month, we related to you readers the first half of the whirlwind adventure Jon experienced during his trip to Guatemala. He charmed us with stories of the amazing Mayan outdoor market spaces in Chichicastanengo, made us want to put on our dancing shoes with his tales of the lively nightlife scene in Quetzaltanengo, and succeeded in making us downright envious with his descriptions of gorgeous Lake Atitlán. This month, we’re moving on to the second half of his trip, where he explored some very different parts of Guatemala, and truly engulfed himself in the country’s vibrant culture.

Last we heard from Jon, he was basking on the shores of beautiful Lake Atitlán, enjoying a few days of peace and tranquility, which were certainly earned after his lively explorations through Chichi and Quetzaltenango. He still had more to explore, however, and so with some effort he tore himself away from the comforts of his lounge chair and moved on to his next destination: Antigua.

Antigua

Antigua

Antigua is a city located in the central highlands of Guatemala that has a rich cultural background and an interesting history. Considered the capital of Central America from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, Antigua was a bustling, wealthy city that served as a cultural, religious, and political center for the entire surrounding region. After a series of earthquakes, which devastated Antigua, Spanish authorities abandoned the city and ordered the relocation of the capital to present day Guatemala City. Regulations prohibiting the repair and construction of new buildings were issued as an incentive to convince people to relocate to the new capital. However, many residents remained behind anyway.

Because of this unique history, Antigua’s original eighteenth century Baroque architecture has largely been preserved. Consequently, visiting the city is a unique opportunity to see living traces of eighteenth century Spanish life, a very special cultural experience that recently earned Antigua the recognition of becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Jon was very impressed by the sheer beauty of Antigua’s architecture. He had the opportunity to explore countless ruins, and really delve into the colonial atmosphere of the town, an experience that he describes as very special indeed. How many times in life does one get the opportunity to walk around a town filled with buildings perfectly preserved from the eighteenth century? Not many, and Jon took advantage of the experience, visiting countless ruins and touring up and down the cobblestone streets, soaking in the sights along the way.

Even Jon’s hotel was incredible for its authenticity. Built on the ruins of a preserved Dominican convent, the Casa Santa Domingo is a five star hotel that serves as much as an archeological site as it does a place to stay for the night. The hotel has multiple museums that Jon spent hours exploring. He recommends the hotel highly as a place that is not only incredibly interesting to explore, but comfortable to stay in.

Perhaps Jon’s favorite part about his stay in Antigua, however, was completely separate from its gorgeous architecture. He had the opportunity to visit Antigua during its Semana Santa (Holy Week) festival. This festival is something Antigua is famous for around the world – to put it lightly, it’s not something to miss out on. In celebration of Lent, different parishes around the city take turns sponsoring a procession through the cobblestone streets. The floats in the parade are incredibly elaborate, and the procession’s path is decorated with beautiful carpets made of flowers, colored sawdust, and pine needles. Crowds fill the streets to catch a glimpse of the procession, and the whole city comes alive, with everyone coming together to celebrate. Jon describes the experience as very fun and lively, and recommends Holy Week as a great time of the year to make a pit stop in Antigua.

Jon’s next destination would prove to be just as incredible but with a very different feel to it: Copan, an ancient Mayan archaeological site.

Copan

Copan

Perhaps one of the most interesting elements of Guatemala is the fact that its culture is steeped in a rich Mayan history. The Maya civilization ruled and prospered in Guatemala for thousands of years, leaving a unique cultural impression on the country and its surrounding regions that lasts to this day. They also left behind many interesting artifacts and archaeological sites that draw in people from around the world with their historical splendor.

Perhaps one of the most accessible Mayan archaeological sites can be found at Copán, located just outside of the Guatemalan border in Honduras. Thought to have been “the Athens of the Mayan world” during its time, where art and astronomy once flourished, Copán is now known for its intricately carved monuments and high-relief stelae. Jon explored the site at length, an experience that is unbeatable for anyone the least bit interested in history. The experience is both fun and educational – Jon learned a lot about ancient Mayan civilization from his visit to the ruins.

After soaking up the historical significance of Copán, Jon headed for his next destinations, two places perfect to relax and enjoy some of Guatemala’s beautiful beaches: Livingston and Puerto Barrios.

Livingston

Livingston

Livingston is a port town that is located on the coast of Guatemala where the Río Dulce meets the Gulf of Honduras. It is renowned for a unique mix of Garifuna, Mayan, and Afro-Caribbean culture, which Jon describes as being very different than the rest of Guatemalan culture he experienced.

Livingston is well known for its rhythmic music, seafood, and displaced African culture. It is also known for its native medicines – if you want to pick up a love potion or a few hexes, this is the place to do it. Jon describes the beach of Livingston as a perfect place to sit back, unwind, and sample some delicious Guatemalan rum while taking in the sights.

After a short stay, Jon transferred to Puerto Barrios, located on the Amatique Bay, which has a very similar, ultra-Caribbean feel to it. A little bit bigger than Livingston, Puerto Barrios offers a great place to sightsee and go souvenir shopping. It’s popular on the backpacking circuit, and has a friendly, mellow feel to it. It was a perfect spot for Jon to relax a bit, before continuing onto his next, final destination: the massive Mayan ruins of Tikal.

Tikal

Tikal

During its time, Tikal was one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya civilization and remains today one of the largest Maya archaeological sites in the world. Jon’s visit to Tikal left him stunned by the historical significance and sheer beauty of the ruins, and gave him a deeper understanding of Guatemalan culture.

Tikal is perhaps the most impressive archaeological site in Guatemala, mostly due to the incredible height of its buildings. Its architecture is built from limestone, and contains the remains of Mayan palaces, temples, pyramids, residences, and even a building theorized to have been a jail. To say the least, it’s huge – Jon says he wishes he had spent three or four days exploring each of the buildings in depth.

Like Copán, Tikal is an unforgettable sight. Jon recommends Tikal as a place everyone should go to at some point in their lives. Similar to seeing the Egyptian pyramids, the massive ruins of Tikal inspire a deep appreciation for history and culture that can’t be found elsewhere. Seeing Tikal was one of Jon’s favorite parts of his trip, and was a great final destination spot for him to go before he returned to Guatemala City to catch his return flight home.

Antigua

Antigua

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October Contest: Clue #4

Where in the World is Harry Dalgaard? We’ve got another hint for you…

Clue #4: This city is still widely associated with its traditional gingerbread delicacies and handmade toys. Its famous Christmas market draws in over a million shoppers a year.

Visit the contest post if you’re ready to take a stab at it!

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October Contest: Clue #3 and Weekly Recap

Here’s another clue to help you locate Harry this month!

Clue #3: A section of this city, called Old Town, is surrounded by a city-wall that is 5 kilometers long.


So far this week, there have been three total clues:

Clue #1: This city was considered to be the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire.

Clue #2: This city is a very multicultural: around 37% of its residents have some sort of immigrant background.

Clue #3: A section of this city, called Old Town, is surrounded by a city-wall that is 5 kilometers long.

Visit the contest post to submit your guess!

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October Contest: Clue #2

Where in the World is Harry Dalgaard? We’ve got another hint for you…

Clue #2: This city is a very multicultural: around 37% of its residents have some sort of immigrant background.

Visit the contest post if you’re ready to take a stab at it!

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Norway – Land of the Midnight Sun

Land of the midnight sun, Norway is a magical place, sure to enchant any visitor willing to give it a chance. While Scandinavia is often skipped as a stop for first time visitors to Europe, Northern Europe offers all of the history and charm of its more popular neighbors to the South, and is an ideal destination for those making a 2nd trip to the continent.

Bergen

Bergen

We began our trip in Bergen, Norway’s 2nd largest city and gateway to the fjords. Bergen’s history has always been tied to the sea, and the center of its public life still revolves around the fish market and Bryggen, the old quayside lined with historic warehouses that are now listed as a World Heritage Site. Our first day was spent on a brief city tour that passed numerous statues of Edvard Grieg and Ole Bull, two of Bergen’s most famous composers. Later in the trip we also had the opportunity to visit Grieg’s house, a must for anyone with an interest in classical music. For lunch, we rode the cable car to Sky Skraperen atop Mt. Ulriken, the highest viewing point in Bergen. From here it’s possible to see all of Bergen and its surroundings while enjoying a gourmet meal. For the more adventurous, it’s also possible to take part in numerous hikes with breathtaking views of the area. Our remaining time was spent wandering Bergen’s charming cobblestoned streets and admiring its fairy tale houses.

Flam

Flam

Moving on from Bergen, our next stop was Flam, a route that is covered by Norway in a Nutshell. After a short train ride from Bergen, we transferred to the historic Flam railway in Myrdal. The whole process was seamless, with the historic train waiting across the platform from us as we arrived. The Flam railway is one of the world’s steepest, and it’s rightly dubbed as one of the world’s most beautiful, passing through deep canyons and by gushing waterfalls along the way. Prior to boarding the train, bikes had been loaded for us, and halfway to Flam we deboarded the train and rode the rest of the way down, allowing us the exhilaration of a completely downhill ride through the beautiful countryside. After thirty minutes or so, we arrived in Flam, a very small but very charming town, on the banks of the Aurlandsfjord. I appreciated it for its beautiful scenery and peaceful surroundings. From here, it’s possible to hike, kayak, or just sit and enjoy a beer in Flam’s award winning brewery – Aegir Brewery. Beer being close to my heart, I was pleasantly surprised by Norway’s burgeoning craft beer scene, with a brewery seemingly located in every town we visited.

Voss

Voss

When you’re ready to move on from Flam, Norway in a Nutshell continues with a fjord cruise to Gundvagen, and then continues via bus back to Voss, Norway’s adventure capital and also one of its top ski destinations in the winter. The fjord cruise is a fantastic experience, with the imposing cliffs making you feel incredibly small. We were also joined by a number of Porpoises who followed our ship. We didn’t have much time in Voss, but were able to sample some of the activities on offer, including an exciting rafting trip down the Voss river and the completely unique experience of indoor skydiving at Voss Vind. In addition to the soft and hard adventures available, Voss is a lovely town, bordering a lake of the same name and filled with a number of small shops and restaurants. It was also home to my favorite beer in Norway, the Oregonian, a delicious pale ale named in honor of the master brewer who was recruited from Oregon specifically to open Voss Brewery.

Bergen

Bergen

After Voss, we returned to Bergen, very sad that our trip was coming to an end. While we were only able to scratch the surface in the short amount time that we spent in Norway, I have fallen under its spell and plan to return at the first chance I get. With its rich oil reserves having vaulted Norway to being one of the richest countries in the world, the future is extremely bright for this quickly emerging destination.

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October Contest: Clue #1

Let’s play “Where in the World is Harry Dalgaard”! Here’s your first clue.

Clue #1: This city was considered to be the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire.

If you’ve got a guess, visit the contest post to submit your entry!

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October Contest: Where in the World is Harry Dalgaard?

Harry is in the wind again and we need your help to figure out where he’s gone this time! Watch Avanti’s blog, Twitter and Facebook to see hints as they’re posted and put your geography skills to the test.

Note: We are aware that some of you were having issues with posting your guesses. We’ve made some updates, so please try again!

Six clues will appear over the next two weeks and every player can submit up to three guesses. As long as just one of your guesses is correct, you’ll be entered to win a Bite of Oregon gift basket and a 2010 Andrew Rich Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Verbatim. Just make sure you get your entry in by the time the contest ends on November 3, 2013!

How to Play:

  1. To enter the contest, comment on this post with the following information:
    • your name
    • your company/travel agency (if applicable)
    • your email (must be valid so that we can contact you if you win)
    • a correct guess for the mystery location.
  2. Incorrect guesses will not be counted as entries, but you are allowed to guess up to three times over the two week period. Only guesses made as comments to this blog entry will be considered valid entries.
  3. Comments on this post are screened, so your information stays private. However, please be aware that if you win, your name and company/agency will be announced on Avanti’s blog, so only comment with that information you are comfortable with it being seen publicly. Your email will never be published, sold or used for any other purpose than contacting you if you win.
  4. Your entries are not weighted according to time/number posted (in other words, guesses made in the first week do not count more than guesses made in the second week, nor do multiple correct guesses count for more than one entry).
  5. Six clues will be posted over a two-week period on Avanti’s blog, Twitter, and Facebook. At the end of each week, they will also be recapped in a post on Avanti’s blog.
  6. At the end of the two week period, a winner will be chosen.If you have won, you will be notified via the email you entered on Avanti’s blog in order to comment and if applicable, asked for a mailing address so we can send you the prize. Your mailing address will never be published, sold or used for any other purpose than mailing you the prize.
  7. By commenting to enter the contest, you affirm that you have read and agree to the terms & conditions below.

The first clue will be put up on Monday here at the blog and will also appear on Avanti’s Twitter and Facebook, so follow us to keep up as each new clue is revealed! Comment below once you think you’ve got it, but remember: you only have three total guesses, so make them count!

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