Catch a Palio Horse Race in Siena!
When someone speaks the word “traditional,” what sort of image comes to mind? Perhaps one quiet in nature, moving at a pedestrian pace?
Well leave your traditional preconceptions at the door, because Italy’s most historic sporting event, which started nearly 800 years ago, is anything but.
Il Palio is a horse race held twice-yearly. It pits ten jockeys against one another in a wild chase through Siena’s main square, Piazza del Campo. Riding bareback around the dangerous bends of a thickly-laid dirt track, the fatinos are frequently thrown from their horses in a spectacle that rarely exceeds a very exciting 90 seconds.
Live like a Baron at Chateau Bouffemont!
The Internet has brought us many wonderful things, but one function Sir Tim Berners-Lee probably never envisioned was the ability to pay a small fee in exchange for a title of nobility. And yet, you may now buy a small patch of land and become a ‘Baron’ in a principality that you’ve likely never heard of.
Go behind-the-scenes with Red Bull Racing!
Millions tune in to watch the world’s best drivers take Formula 1 cars to the limit on the world’s most challenging circuits. However, hidden away from the public eye on an unassuming industrial estate in Milton Keynes you’ll find the Red Bull factory, where some of the planet’s most impressive engineers create and assemble the next generation of racing machines. It is closed to the public.
That is, until now.
Red Bull is the most dominant team of Formula One’s modern era, having won both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships for four years running. With legendary British designer Adrian Newey at the helm of technical development, Red Bull has spent the last decade pushing the boundaries in the fastest sport in the world.
It is now possible to experience what most F1 fanatics can only dream of; going behind-the-scenes at the most exciting factory in Britain’s Motorsport Valley. Take charge of a Red Bull race simulator. Sit in a real ex-F1 chassis, and wrestle with an ex-F1 steering wheel and pedals. A 180-degree screen gives the impression that you’re driving some of the most famous circuits in racing. Positioned on a hexapod, the car rolls, pitches and yaws, providing the closest thing to an F1 driving experience than non-drivers may achieve.
Perhaps most fascinating are the race bays and the ops room. The race bays are where the cars live when they’re not travelling the world, and where the team practice their lightning-fast pit stops. The ops room, meanwhile, is a ‘mission control’ style tiered room, from which the engineers at the factory monitor every movement of the cars on race day. With the number of personnel allowed at the circuit closely regulated, the ops room is a remote data link vital to securing victories on the track.
Fly to near-space by helium balloon!
For decades, we have listened to the voice of William Shatner declare space as “the final frontier.” With most seeing the skies as unreachable, beyond the limits of the ‘ordinary’ human, luckily the impossible dream is now becoming a reality.
Ever since American entrepreneur Dennis Tito made the first self-funded space visit in 2001, a number of organisations have been developing the technology to commercialise space flight. Perhaps the most interesting new project is by Spanish-based Zero2Infinity, who are on the verge of taking people to the edge of the stratosphere, using technology that has been around for decades.
The result is Bloon, and it’s the safest, cleanest and calmest way to fly to near-space. Using an inert helium balloon, Bloon rises above 99.5% of Earth’s atmosphere, carrying passengers in a pod which is much like the pressurised cabin of an aircraft. It will be as safe as a hot air balloon fight, and as comfortable as a private jet.
The ascent is so peaceful, in fact, that you need to worry about very little but the view. The space holds four people, and the experience is fully customisable. From the take-off location, to the meals served on board, to the design of the upholstery – virtually anything is possible.
The phrase “out of this world” might well be clichéd, but this is one experience where you’ll be well within your rights to say so.