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March 2013

January 2013

'You're needed in Istanbul, 007...'

Operation: Euro2013 tour graphic

We seldom publicize tours, since our site focuses on independent travel, but every now and then we learn about an itinerary that's interesting enough (or amusing enough) to be worth featuring. In this post, we'll introduce you to Operation: Euro213, The Istanbul Venetian Affair, which Theme Park People have organized in cooperation with Globus Tours.

The 10-day tour begins in Istanbul on June 29, and it wraps on July 8 after a two-night stay in Venice. Along the way, participants will visit six cities in five countries, including locations from such films as Skyfall, From Russia With Love, The Bourne Identity, Casino Royale, The World Is Not Enough, For Your Eyes Only, Moonraker, The Living Daylights, Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade, The Pink Panther, XXX, Mission Impossible, The Tourist, and The Third Man.

The tour isn't cheap (US $3,300, double occupancy), but let's face it: James Bond doesn't stay in hostels, and if you want to experience what it's like to be a secret agent on expenses, neither should you.

For more information, visit the Ultimate Secret Agent Tour Adventure page at

BELOW: Members of a previous Theme Party People tour pose for a group photo in Venice.

Theme Party People tour in Venice, Italy

Images: Theme Party People.

A 'Fondue Carriage Ride' in Bern

Bern Tourismus is promoting a "Fondue Carriage Ride" this winter.

For a mere 190 Swiss francs, a couple can tour Switzerland's cozy capital in a pedicab or cycle rickshaw (dubbed a "Fonduekscha") while noshing on cheese fondue and white wine. (Singles pay 160 francs, so if you're traveling alone, you might as well save money by hooking up with a fellow fondue fan at your hotel or hostel.)

The 60- to 90-minute tours operate from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, with late-night departures available on request.

The video below, which is narrated in Bernese dialect, shows what to expect during your tour. For details, or to book a tour, visit the "Fondue Carriage Ride" page at Bern's English-language tourism site.



Enginuity will display Meccano models on February 9th

Meccano locomotive model by Dave Harvey

ABOVE: A Meccano model of a Burrell locomotive by Dave Harvey. According to a description at, the model weighs about 30 lb (13.5 Kb), has two drive speeds and a differential, and took some 500 hours to build. You can see it on February 9 at Enginuity in Shropshire.

The Meccano system, known in the USA as "Erector Set," has had a cult following among modelers since Frank Hornby of Liverpool, England invented Meccano in 1901. The system, which remains in production, includes girders, strips, plates, shafts, gears, pulleys, and other items that can be used to assemble anything from a simple children's toy to large working models with moving parts.

Meccano is no longer the household name that it once was (Lego is better known among today's young model builders), but it continues to attract homegrown engineers--especially those with a taste for nostalgia.

Enginuity, one of the ten Ironbridge Gorge Museums in Shropshire, England, will be featuring a display of Meccano models from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, the 9th of February.

The models include cranes, cars, clocks, trains, and many "quirky inventions." Some of the models contain vintage parts that are well over a hundred years old, and which are compatible with today's Meccano pieces.

Admission to the Meccano exhibition is included in the normal Enginuity admission fee, or with an Annual Passport Ticket which is valid for 12 months of unlimited visits to all 10 Ironbridge Gorge Museums.

For more information, contact the Ironbridge Tourist Information Centre at 01952 433 424 or visit

To learn more about the Telford and Ironbridge Meccano Society, which meets at Enguinity and is organizing the display, see