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Archive for the ‘Cheap Activities’ Category

Once a year, Ben and Jerry’s gives away ice cream at its scoop shops free.

fcdheader2TODAY’S THE DAY!

In the U.S. and Canada, find your nearest scoop shop here.

Overseas, give one of these two links a try:  1, 2.  (You’ve got a chance if you’re in Aruba, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, or the UK.)

Enjoy!

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I love capitols — can’t get enough of their marble halls, gilded domes, dark wood paneling and hundreds of tiny desks (at least they always *look* tiny from the viewing gallery) with multicolored voting buttons.  They capture a regal era removed from our own with a permanence found rarely in modern architecture.

While in DC at the beginning of January, my destination of choice was the new visitors’ center at the U.S. Capitol.  On the way, I passed the inauguration grounds with stage building in progress, pictured on Tuesday.  (Where did you spend your inauguration day? Share your stories in the comments.)

In sheer contrast to the classical American dome is that of the German Reichstag, whose glass dome by Sir Norman Foster was added to the building after reunification.  The overarching theme of Germany’s new governmental architecture is transparency, with buildings and offices as visible as possible.  From the visitors’ area of the dome, it is possible to look down into the plenary room below, as pictured here.

Reichstag, inside view

A visit to the Reichstag is fun and free — check all the details for making yours a smooth one in this previous post.

Follow other Photo Friday participants here.

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DC Inauguration Site

Wherever you are in the world today celebrating (EuroCheapo’s got the partial scoop on events in Europe) — Happy Obama Day to you!

Are you headed to the Mall, attending a Ball, or watching the events on your TV in the hall? Share the stories of your Inauguration Day experience in the comments.

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Winter Feels Good logoOn Saturday, January 10, retailers, resorts and recreation programs across the United States will be sponsoring free introductions to the outdoor sports of cross-country skiing and snoeshoeing.

If it’s not too darn cold, Winter Trails 2009 is an excellent reason to get off your kiester and get moving!  Are you one of the millions of Americans who’ve resolved to shed weight this year?  Take your first steps toward that goal, on a pair of free rental skis or snowshoes!

If there’s snow on the ground in your state, there is probably an event being held somewhere.  Check out the full list of locations here.  Before heading out, fill a thermos with your warm beverage of choice, consult the list of appropriate outdoor wear and fill out, print and sign the event release form.

Stay warm and have fun!

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I’m sadly making my way back across the Atlantic today, but before I go, I wanted to share a picture from my brief visit to New York City.  This fair maiden guards the Columbus Circle entrance to Central Park, which I walked from top to bottom on New Year’s Day.

Gateway to Central Park

Have you already completed your first travels of 2009?  Have something planned for January or February?  Please share your destination in the comments.

  • Follow other Photo Friday participants here.
  • Download this month’s free desktop calendar here.

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The LDS has made it possible for travelers with a layover in Salt Lake City to visit their Temple complex downtown:  they offer a complimentary hourly shuttle service from the airport direct to Temple Square (and back!).

In the months of July and August, temple shuttles travel half-hourly from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. with returns from 10:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday; in the shoulder season, the same hours are traveled hourly.  November through March and Sundays year-round, the shuttle runs a limited 9 a.m.-2 p.m. schedule, with returns from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  There is no service on holidays, and travelers are permitted only hand luggage on the shuttle.  The visit requires at least a two-hour layover.

LDS shuttle mapsThe Temple is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.  It’s also possible to visit the Tabernacle, home of the world famous Tabernacle Choir, or, if the timing is right, to hear a choir concert — Thursday nights from 8-9:30 p.m. or Sundays from 9-11 a.m.  Admission to all is free.  Find out more information for your specific date by calling their visitors’ center directly: 1-800-537-9703.

Thanks to Travel Tips from a Frequent Traveler for the tip and the map image!

Related posts

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Vicky Cristina BarcelonaTuesday is discount day at one of the largest English-language (i.e. not dubbed) cinemas in Berlin.  On tap this week was Woody Allen’s newest, Vicky Cristina Barcelona.  Though a sadder movie than I expected, what disappointed me most was the portrayal of one of those three title characters — can you guess which one?

The film is set in — surprise! — Barcelona, and while every review you’ll read will extol the gorgeous sweeping views of the enchanting city, it felt more like they spent a few days shooting at spots around town before retreating to other locations.  Would that Spain had been more influential in the plot.  As written, the film and its romantic intrigues could have easily been set in any other number of romantic, European, Mediterranean locales. 

La Sagrada Familia ceiling

One of the first things Vicky and Cristina do upon arriving in town is a pilgrimage to La Sagrada Familia, the masterwork-in-progress of architect Antoni Gaudi.  Vicky is pursuing a master’s in Catalan culture (without, I might add, much ability to speak Spanish), inspired by the works of Gaudi and the dulcet strains of the Spanish guitar.  If you’re not familiar with his work, Gaudi’s style was influenced by art nouveau and his whimsical architecture, like La Sagrada Familia, detail on door (Pontius Pilate)that of Hundertwasser, is usually fiercely loved or hated.  For lovers, it is easy to take in a great variety of his works in just a short visit to the city.

Making La Sagrada Familia unique is that it remains under construction, over 12 decades since breaking ground and eight decades after Gaudi’s accidental death; work continues despite setbacks from a civil war, two world wars, and the near-complete destruction of Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia, sculptural detailmodels and plans.  Workers hope to finish by 2026, the centennial of Gaudi’s passing, though with any construction project of this magnitude, it is unclear whether or not they will achieve this goal.  If you could ignore the modern equipment, it would be like stepping back a thousand years, when many cathedrals across Europe were built, each taking hundreds of years to complete.

The church, open at 9 a.m. daily, is located near the subway station bearing its name.  Admission fee:  10 euros adults, 8 euros students.  Included in the admission price is entrance to the church and two on-site museums.  The site has two excellent gift shops with a variety of reasonably-priced Gaudi gear and a wide selection of postcards.

La Sagrada Familia stained glass

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