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BIKING VIKING

#39 CYPRUS

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-06 23:50

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: CYPRUS

2014 CYPRUS MARATHON, PAPHOS, CYPRUS: 4:07:15 (2014-03-09)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736471579841513

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/cyprus-marathon-2014-03-09/

CYPRUS

Capital: Nicosia (285,000 people)

Population: 1,13 million

Currency: Euro (EUR)

Famous people from Cyprus:

Aphrodite (Goddess of love), George Michael (music), Pygmalion (King of Cyprus in Greek mythology)

Fun facts about Cyprus:

Cypriot legend claims Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, was born and rose from the foam (”afros,” in Greek) near a rock off what’s now Aphrodite’s Beach.

At the end of a stream of souvenir shops in Paphos you’ll find an archaeological site dating to the 4th century BC. But that isn’t what makes Paphos historically unique – the remains of ancient tombs, fortresses and palaces have made the whole town a Unesco World Heritage Site. Paphos is a top international treasure.

It has the world’s oldest wine label. To be exact, the Cypriot dessert wine commandaria is recognized as the world’s oldest named wine. Knight crusaders are thought to have named it in the 13th century, but it may have been made for 5,000 years. King Richard the Lionheart of England is said to have been so taken with commandaria that at his wedding he pronounced it ”the wine of kings and the king of wines.” Produced in the fertile high-altitude slopes in the southwest of Cyprus, it has a sweet, herby taste that evokes the island’s aromas.

More facts:

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/12/16/travel/10-unique-cyprus/



#38 ISRAEL

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-06 23:42

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: ISRAEL

2014 TEL AVIV MARATHON, ISRAEL 4:07:37 (2014-02-28)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736556886499649

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/tel-aviv-marathon-israel-2014-02-28/


ISRAEL

Capital: Jerusalem

Population: 8.1 million

Currency: Israeli new shekel (ILS)

Famous people from Israel:

Natalie Portman (actress), Dana International (singer), Shmuel Yosef Agnon (author, Nobel prize in literature), Ronnie Rosenthal (soccer), Aaron Ciechanover (biologist, Nobel Prize in chemistry)

Fun facts about Israel:

Israeli cows produce more milk per cow than almost any country in the world, vying only with South Korea.

With peanuts introduced to their diets earlier (mostly in the form of the snack, Bamba), babies in Israel are 10 times less likely to suffer from a peanut allergy than Jewish children in the UK.

Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv is the most expensive site on the official Israeli Monopoly board.

There are more than 40 kosher McDonald’s in Israel. The only one outside the Jewish state is in Buenos Aires.

More facts:

http://www.thejc.com/news/israel-news/105323/65-facts-you-didn’t-know-about-israel



#37 JAPAN

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-06 23:33

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: JAPAN

2014 TOKYO MARATHON, JAPAN: 4:56:46 (2014-02-23)

2016 TOKYO MARATHON, JAPAN: 5:23:23 (2016-02-28)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736521783169826

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/tokyo-marathon-japan-2014-02-23/

JAPAN

Capital: Tokyo (35,7 million)

Population: 127,6 million

Currency: Yen (JPY)

Famous people from Japan:

Yoko Ono (artist), Ichiro Suzuki (baseball), Shinji Kagawa (soccer), Shigeru Miyamoto (scientist, video game designer)

Fun facts about Mt Fuji and Japan:

If you plan on climbing Mount Fuji the season is very short. Climbing season begins on the first day in July, and it ends in the last week of August on the 27th. This means climbing season lasts less than two months.

One of the most interesting Mount Fuji facts is that this volcanic mountain is actually three separate volcanoes, one on top of the other. The bottom layer is the Komitake volcano, then the Kofuji volcano, then Fuji, which is the youngest of the three.

There are four different writing systems in Japan: romaji, katakana, hiragana, and kanji.

Tsukiji Market in Tokyo is the world’s largest fish market and the majority of fish in the world go through here.

Japan imports about 85% of Jamaica’s total coffee production.

In Japan, it is considered impolite and inappropriate to blow your nose in public.

Japanese enjoy slurping while eating; it symbolizes that the food is delicious.

More facts:

http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/facts-about-japan-1433.html

Logistic:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g298184-Tokyo_Tokyo_Prefecture_Kanto-Vacations.html

I stayed at a capsule hotel Green Plaza (including a Japanese spa) at Shinjuku metro station, just a five-minute walk from the start. I paid less than 40 dollars a night and it was a fantastic experience!



#36 HONG KONG

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-06 23:20

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: HONG KONG

2014 HONG KONG MARATHON: 4:18:11 (2014-02-16)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736519419836729

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/hong-kong-marathon-2014-02-16/

HONG KONG

Population: 7,1 million

Currency: Hong Kong Dollar (HKD)

Famous people from Hong Kong:

Jackie Chan (actor), Bruce Lee (Kung-Fu master, actor)

Fun facts about Hong Kong:

The world’s most expensive bottles of wine at USD232,692 per bottle were sold at an auction in Hong Kong.

The ‘father of fibre optic communications’ and winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physics is Professor Charles Kao from Hong Kong.

Mongkok has the world’s highest population density with an average of 130,000 people per square kilometre.

It has the most skyscrapers in the world, with 8,000 buildings having more than 14 floors, almost double that of New York.

It has historically been the world’s leading city with the maximum number of Rolls-Royce luxury cars per capita. The largest single order of 14 Rolls-Royce Phantoms was by The Peninsula Hotel Hong Kong.

More facts:

http://www.weekendnotes.com/interesting-facts-hong-kong/

Logistic:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g294217-Hong_Kong-Vacations.html

There are ”millions” of inexpensive hostels in Hong Kong. There is also a very convenient airport bus which leaves frequently from the airport to either Kowloon or Hong Kong Island. The best option is to find a hostel close to the finish at Victoria Park.



#35 BAHRAIN

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-06 23:01

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: BAHRAIN

2014 BAHRAIN MARATHON, BAHRAIN: 4:46:16 (2014-02-07)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736517026503635

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/bahrain-marathon-2014-02-07/

BAHRAIN

Capital: Manama

Population: 1,31 million

Currency: Bahraini dinar

Fun facts about Bahrain:

In Arabic, Bahrayn is the dual form of bahr (sea), so al-Bahrayn means ‘the two seas’.

Bahrain is actually an archipelago of 33 islands. The largest is 55km long by 18km wide and areas such as Sitra and Muharraq are actually separate islands.

In addition to freshwater wells, which were once in abundance, there are places in the sea north of Bahrain where fresh water bubbles up in the middle of the salt water.

Bahrain World Trade Centre is the first skyscraper in the world to integrate wind turbines into its design. Each turbine is 29m in diameter and their capacity is 675kw of wind power production. The 240m-tall tower has won several international awards including the LEAF (Leading European Architects’ Forum) award for best use of technology in a large scheme.

The British School of Bahrain holds the world record for the largest simultaneous coin toss. As part of World Maths Day in 2010, 1,117 staff and students took part in the toss which made it into the Guinness Book of Records.

More facts:

http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/facts-about-bahrain-2298.html

Logistic:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g293996-Bahrain-Vacations.html



#34 OMAN

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-06 22:53

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: OMAN

2014 MUSCAT MARATHON, OMAN: 5:10:41 (2014-01-31)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736515109837160

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/muscat-marathon-oman-2014-01-31/

OMAN

Capital: Muskat

Population: 3,31 million

Currency: Rial

Anthem: Nashid as-Salaam as-Sultani (”Peace to the Sultan”)

Fun facts about Oman:

In the past, Oman used to be one of the richest countries in the world, with the wealth mainly originating from the incense trade.

Oman gained independence from the Portuguese empire in 1651.

Oman is traditionally known for breeding Arab horses.

Every two years, an Omani person is chosen by UNESCO, for the most noteworthy contribution to environment. He is then awarded a prize by the ‘ Sultan of Oman’.

Oman follows the system of ‘Absolute Monarchy’.

More facts:

http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/facts-about-oman-3389.html

Logistic:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g1940497-Muscat_Muscat_Governorate-Vacations.html



#33 UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Dubai Marathon

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-06 22:45

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

2014 DUBAI MARATHON, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: 5:10:12 (2014-01-24)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736501259838545

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/dubai-marathon-united-arab-emirates-2014-01-24/

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Capital: Abu Dhabi

Population: 9,2 million

Currency: UAE dirham

Anthem: ”Ishy Bilady” (”Long Live My Nation”)

Famous people from United Arab Emirates:

Ahmad Mohammad Hasher Al Maktoum (Olympic medalist, shooter)

Fun facts about United Arab Emirates:

The Dubai Mall is the world’s largest shopping mall. Its internal area covers 5.9 million square feet.

The 1421-born Mohamed Bin Majid was considered to be the first Arab cartographer and seaman. He became known in the west as he assisted Vasco da Gama in finding the Africa to India route.

When the Burj Khalifa was inaugurated in January 2010, it officially became the tallest building in the world. Even until 2013, this 2,722 ft-tall structure has no rivals.

More facts:

http://www.10-facts-about.com/United-Arab-Emirates/id/892

Logistic:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g295424-Dubai_Emirate_of_Dubai-Vacations.html



#32 IRELAND

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-06 22:35

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: IRELAND

2013 DUBLIN MARATHON, IRELAND: 4:56:00 (2013-10-28)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736498559838815

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/dublin-marathon-ireland-2013-10-28/

IRELAND

Capital: Dublin (527,000)

Population: 6,2 million

Currency: Euro (EUR)

Famous people from Ireland:

U2 (music), Pierce Brosnan (actor), Chris de Burgh (singer), Fionnula Flanagan (actress), Bob Geldof (singer and activist), Sinead O’Connor (singer), James Joyce (author), Jonathan Swift (author), Oscar Wilde (poet)

Fun facts about Ireland:

St. Patrick was not actually Irish, he was Roman!

The longest place name in Ireland is Muckanaghederdauhaulia.

The Irish report the lowest annual number of UFO sightings in Europe.

Ireland has won seven times the Eurovision Song Contest (in 1970, 1980, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1996), more than any other country.

Ireland is a snake-free island. Due to its isolation from the European mainland, Ireland lacks several species common elsewhere in Europe, such as moles, weasels, polecats or roe deer.

More facts:

http://www.eupedia.com/ireland/trivia.shtml

Logistic:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g186605-Dublin_County_Dublin-Vacations.html



#31 GERMANY

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-06 19:41

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: GERMANY

2013 FRANKFURT MARATHON, GERMANY: 4:19:43 (2013-10-27)

2016 BERLIN MARATHON, GERMANY: 5:10:27 (2016-09-25)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736481843173820

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/frankfurt-marathon-germany-2013-10-27/

GERMANY

Capital: Berlin

Population: 81,9 million

Currency: Euro (EUR)

Famous people from Germany: Katarina Witt (figure skater), Bertolt Brecht (poet), Steffi Graf (tennis), Christoph Waltz (actor), Ludwig van Beethoven (composer), Johann Sebastian Bach (composer), Johannes Brahms (composer), Johannes Gutenberg (book-printing), Franz Beckenbauer (soccer)

Fun facts about Germany:

Germany became world’s first country to adopt Daylight Saving Time (DST), in the year 1916.

Germany is the largest economy, and the second most populous nation, of Europe. Germany claims the distinction of being the fifth biggest economy in the world.

Many great philosophers of the world, like Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Heidegger, were German.

The tallest church in the world, Ulm Cathedral, is in Germany. It is 161.53 meters (530 feet) high.

Germans do not answer phone calls with hi or hello, they say their surname instead.

The tradition of Christmas tree came from Germany.

In Germany nearly 70% highways have no speed limit.

German is the third most popularly taught language in the whole world.

More facts: http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/facts-about-germany-1207.html

Logistic:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g187337-Frankfurt_Hesse-Vacations.html

It’s easy to find great hostels in Frankfurt, I used Hostelworld while searching for accommodations.



#30 NETHERLANDS

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-06 19:32

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: NETHERLANDS

2013 AMSTERDAM MARATHON, NETHERLANDS: 4:03:11 (2013-10-20)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736479849840686

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/amsterdam-marathon-netherlands-2013-10-20/

NETHERLANDS

Capital: Amsterdam

Population: 16,8 million

Currency: Euro (EUR)

Famous people from Netherlands:

Vincent van Gogh (painter), Rembrandt (painter), Villem Barentsz (navigator and explorer), Johan Cruijff (soccer), Ruud Gullit (soccer), Marco van Basten (soccer), Dennis Bergkamp (soccer), Arjen Robben (soccer)

Fun facts about Netherlands:

Amsterdam residents are the second largest consumers of coffee in the world. On average, an Amsterdam resident consumes a minimum of 140 litres of coffee per year or about 3.2 cups of coffee per day.

Amsterdam Natives Are the Tallest in the World — The average height for a Dutch male is 184 cm, and the average height for a Dutch female is 170 cm. According to several different studies, this height is attributed to their DNA and healthy eating habits.

There are around 16 million bicycles in Holland, which supposedly means almost one for every inhabitant.

The highest point in the country is called the ‘mountain’ and it is as much as 323 meters high.

Holland is 6.7 meters below sea level, at its lowest point, which is a polder near Rotterdam.

Holland is the third largest exporter of agricultural produce, after U.S. and France, even though only 3% of the Dutch population is employed in the agriculture sector.

The war between Holland and Japan ensued on 8th December 1941. Netherland met defeat and lost one of its strongholds Indonesia to the Japanese army in March 1942.

More facts:

http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/interesting-facts-about-holland-1888.html

Logistic:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g188590-Amsterdam_North_Holland_Province-Vacations.html

Good advice about Amsterdam is to book accommodations several months before the marathon. Communications are very good in the Netherlands so you can even book a place outside the Dutch capital. I stayed 30 minutes east of Amsterdam and took an early morning train to the start.



#29 CROATIA

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-06 19:24

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: CROATIA

2013 ZAGREB MARATHON, CROATIA: 3:52:46 (2013-10-13)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736477989840872

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/zagreb-marathon-croatia-2013-10-13/

CROATIA

Capital: Zagreb

Population: 4,27 million

Currency: Kuna (HRK)

Famous people from Croatia:

Branko Lustig (film producer), Janica Kostelic (skier), Goran Ivanisevic (tennis), Blanca Vlasic (high jumper), Zvonimir Boban (soccer)

Fun facts about Croatia:

Zadar, the seaside town in Dalmatia holds the title of the best sunset in the world, according to Alfred Hitchcock. Quoted as saying ‘Zadar has the most beautiful sunset in the world, more beautiful than the one in Key West, Florida’.

The necktie, worn by business people around the world, is from Croatia. The cravat as it was named originated from Croatian soldiers who served as mercenaries for the King of France.

Croatia has 1246 islands, isles and inlets for you to sail through. Just 48 of them are inhabited.

DNA tests have proven that the yummy Zinfandel grape variety originates from Croatia.

The world’s first pipe organ that is played by the sea’s rhythmic waves is in Zadar, on the Dalmatian Coast.

Croatia has a leaning tower in Istria. The belfry in Završje is 22 meters high and is tilted 40cm to the north.

You know the movie 101 Dalmatians? Well here’s a fun fact about Croatia, that breed of dog is from the region of Dalmatia in Croatia.

Croatian coins are named after a lime tree. The Kuna is divided into 100 lipa, which is the Croatian name for the linden lime tree.

If you give birth on a Jadrolinija ferry from Hvar, your child will get free travel on the ferry for life.

Croatia enjoys 2,715 hours of sunshine a year. That’s more than Sydney, Australia.

The Mag Light was invented by a Croatian named Maglica

More facts:

http://www.slavorum.org/25-facts-about-croatia-that-you-didnt-know/

Logistic:

There are plenty of inexpensive accommodations in the beautiful Croatian capital. I stayed three blocks from the railway station at the very nice Hostel Temza. A newly opened hostel with great facilities and a very welcoming staff.



#28 BELGIUM

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-06 19:15

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: BELGIUM

2013 BRUSSELS MARATHON, BELGIUM: 4:18:06 (2013-10-06)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736475059841165

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/brussels-marathon-belgium-2013-10-06/

BELGIUM

Capital: Brussels

Population: 11,1 million

Currency: Euro (EUR)

Famous people from Belgium:

Adolphe Sax (inventor of the saxophone), Eddy Merckx (cyclist), Kim Clijsters (tennis), Jacky Ickx (racing driver), Enzo Scifo (soccer), Jean-Michel Saive (table tennis)

Fun facts about Belgium:

It offers over 1.000 different beers from 150 breweries acclaimed for their variety, flavour and character. Most beers have their own glass in which only that beer may be served.

Belgians drink an average of 150 litres of beer per person per year.

It produces 220,000 tons of chocolate per year, which is about 22kg of chocolate per Belgian. The Brussels’ International Airport is the world’s largest chocolate selling point.

Brussels has 138 restaurants per square mile.

There are more castles per square kilometre in Belgium than in any other country.

The scene of Napoleon’s final defeat at Waterloo was in Belgium.

It was the place for the world’s first recorded lottery, to raise money for the poor.

The comic strip Tintin originated from Belgium and has been in existence for 70 years with 200 million books sold worldwide.

The saxophone was invented in the early 1840′s by Adolphe Sax (1814-1894) in the city of Dinanti, Belgium.

80 percent of billiard players use Belgian-made balls.

It is the world’s largest diamond trading centre.

Both the name of the euro currency and the design of the € symbol were proposed by Belgians.

More facts:

http://www.weekendnotes.com/interesting-facts-about-belgium/

Logistic:

Be sure to book accommodation in time. Brussels is a popular weekend destination in Europe.



#27 SPAIN

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-06 18:49

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: SPAIN

2013 ZARAGOZA MARATHON, SPAIN: 4:34:56 (2013-09-29)

2014 BARCELONA MARATHON, SPAIN: 4:01:15 (2014-03-16)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736454749843196

Race report Zaragoza Marathon:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/zaragoza-marathon-spain-2013-09-29/

Race report Barcelona Marathon:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/barcelona-marathon-spain-2014-03-16/

SPAIN

Capital: Madrid (3,2 million)

Population: 46 million

Currency: Euro (EUR)

Famous people from Spain: Penelope Cruz (actress), Antonio Banderas (actor), Pedro Almodovar (writer), Francisco Goya (painter), Jose Carreras (opera singer), Miguel de Cervantes (novellist), Pablo Picasso (painter), Rafael Nadal (tennis player)

More famous people from Spain: http://www.thefamouspeople.com/spain.php

Fun facts about Spain:

Spain is the second largest country in the European Union.

Spain was the third most visited country in the world in 2013.

The national anthem of Spain has no words.

“La Tomatina” is an annual festival held in Spain where people throw thousands of tomatoes at each other.

More facts about Spain:

http://www.factslides.com/s-Spain



#26 DENMARK

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-06 18:40

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: DENMARK

2013 HC ANDERSEN MARATHON, ODENSE, DENMARK: 4:52:05 (2013-09-22)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736451066510231

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/hc-andersen-marathon-odense-denmark-2013-09-22/


DENMARK

Capital: Copenhagen

Population: 5,59 million

Currency: Danish Krone (DKR)

Famous people from Denmark:

Viggo Mortensen (actor), Vitus Bering (explorer), Nils Boer (physicist), Tycho Brahe (astronomer), Caroline Wozniacki (tennis), Michael Laudrup (soccer), Hans Christian Andersen (author), Karen Blixen (author)

Fun facts about Denmark:

First acknowledged in 1219, the Danish flag remains the oldest state flag in the world still in use by an independent nation.

The UN World Happiness Report has rated Danes as the happiest people on earth two years in a row.

Danes have a special word ”hygge” for that cozy feeling of togetherness. It means relaxing in great company.

Danish pastry is actually called ”wienerbrød” or ”Viennese bread” in Denmark.

The Danish language has no word for ”please”.

LEGO is actually Danish!

50% of Copenhageners commute to work every day on bicycle – come rain come shine.

Copenhagen has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other city in Scandinavia

Logistic:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g189524-Odense_Funen_and_Islands-Vacations.html

Danhostel Odense City is a very convenient place located on the corner of the railway station. If you arrive late in Copenhagen you can still take a night train to Odense and check in at the hostel with a password.



#25 NORWAY

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-06 17:53

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: NORWAY

2013 OSLO MARATHON, NORWAY: 4:25:37 (2013-09-21)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736449443177060

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/oslo-marathon-norway-2013-09-21/


NORWAY

Capital: Oslo (925,000)

Population: 5 million

Currency: Norwegian Krone (NKR)

Famous people from Norway:

Grete Waitz (long-distance runner), Ingrid Kristiansen (long-distance runner), Aha (music), Edvard Munch (painter), Roald Amundsen (polar explorer, first to reach South Pole), Fridtjof Nansen (arctic explorer), Thor Heyerdahl (explorer), Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (soccer), Marit Björgen (skier), Björn Daehlie (skier), Kjetil André Aamodt (skier)

Fun facts about Norway:

It is believed that the name Norway means “Path to the North”.

The coastline of Norway, including fjords and bays, stretches over 20,000 kilometers.

Norway is the sixth largest country of Europe, in terms of land mass. However, in terms of population, it ranks only 28th.

The Christmas tree, which stands in Trafalgar Square in London, has been presented by ‘City of Oslo’ to the UK, for over fifty years.

The per capita income of Norway ranks among the highest in the world.

Norway was rated the most peaceful country in the world, in a survey conducted by Global Peace Index in 2007.

More facts:

http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/facts-about-norway-1486.html

Logistic:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g190479-Oslo_Eastern_Norway-Vacations.html

Oslo is an expensive city, be sure to book your hostel/hotel in time



#24 LITHUANIA

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-06 17:49

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: LITHUANIA

2013 VILNIUS MARATHON, LITHUANIA: 4:19:18 (2013-09-15)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736439309844740

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/vilnius-marathon-lithuania-2013-09-15/


LITHUANIA

Capital: Vilnius

Population: 2,99 million

Currency: Euro (EUR)

Famous people from Lithuania:

Arvydas Sabonis (basketball), Zydrunas Ilgauskas (basketball)

Fun facts about Lithuania:

According to a study made by a French scientist in 1989, Lithuania is in the geographical center of Europe.

Lithuanians were the last nation in Europe to convert to Christianity.

The Lithuanian language is more ancient than Greek, Latin, German, Celtic, or the Slav tongues. It belongs to the Indo-European group and is nearest to Sanscrit.

Some philologists generally agree that Lithuanian is the most ancient of all the living languages.

Lithuania is known as the land of storks, the national bird for the country, with about 13,000 pairs.

Making vodka from corn was first discovered by the Lithuanians.

Lithuania was the first to declare independence from the Soviet Union in 1990.

Basketball is the most popular sport. Several Lithuanians have become NBA players, maybe most famous being Arvydas Sabonis.

By the end of the XIV century, Lithuania was the largest country in Europe, and included Belarus and parts of Ukraine.

Vilnius University was the first University in the Eastern Europe.

Hannibal Lecter from The Silence of the Lambs was born in Lithuania.

The mother of Pope John Paul II was of Lithuanian descent.

Logistic:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g274951-Vilnius_Vilnius_County-Vacations.html

There are plenty of great inexpensive options in Vilnius. Hostelworld has most of them listed. There are also great bus connections (luxury buses!) between the three Baltic capitals Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn. All three are very beautiful cities.



#23 ESTONIA

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-06 17:35

#23 ESTONIA

2013 TALLINN MARATHON, ESTONIA: 4:30:12 (2013-09-08)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736435643178440

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/tallinn-marathon-estonia-2013-09-08/

ESTONIA

Capital: Tallinn

Population: 1,34 million

Currency: Euro (EUR)

Famous people from Estonia:

Kristina Smigun (skier)

Fun facts about Estonia:

Estonia is the homeland of Skype, Hotmail and KaZaA.

Estonia was the first country in the world to use online political voting.

Estonia has two Independence Days. It first achieved independence from the Soviet Union on February 24, 1918 and again on August 20, 1991 after 51 years of occupation. The second date is known as the “Restoration of Independence Day.”

Estonia is the least religious country in the world with only 14% of the population claiming any religious beliefs.

Almost 50% of Estonia is covered by forest.

Estonia has the highest number of meteorite craters per land area in the world.

Chess Grandmaster Paul Keres was born in Estonia. When he died in 1975, over 100,000 people attended his funeral (10% of the country’s entire population).

Out of the nearly 200 countries in the world, Estonia ranks in the second place with a literacy rate of 99.8%.

Logistic:

https://www.tripadvisor.se/Tourism-g274958-Tallinn_Harju_County-Vacations.html

There are many inexpensive options in Tallinn. I stayed at the ”party hostel” The Monks Bunk just a minute walk from the start. A great place with a lot of fun people.



#22 ICELAND

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-06 17:31

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: ICELAND

2013 REYKJAVIK MARATHON, ICELAND: 4:20:26 (2013-08-24)

Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736433153178689

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/reykjavik-marathon-iceland-2013-08-24/


ICELAND

Capital: Reykjavik

Population: 320,000

Currency: Icelandic króna (ISK)

Famous people from Iceland:

Björk (singer), Leifur Eiriksson (explorer, discovered Vinland/America), Bobby Fischer (chess)

Fun facts about Iceland:

Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in Europe.

Life expectancy is 81.3 years for women and 76.4 for men– one of the highest in the world.

Many Icelanders believe in elves. Certain roads have been re-routed to avoid disturbing areas where elves are thought to live.

Icelanders value literacy and hold the world record for number of books per capita.

In 1980, Icelanders elected Vigdis Finnbogadottir as the world’s first female head of state.

Logistic:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g189970-Reykjavik_Capital_Region-Vacations.html



#21 FINLAND

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-06 17:23

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: FINLAND

2013 HELSINKI CITY MARATHON, FINLAND: 4:55:43 (2013-08-17)

Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736430326512305

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/helsinki-city-marathon-finland-2013-08-17/

FINLAND

Capital: Helsinki

Population: 5,4 million

Currency: Euro (EUR)

Famous people from Finland:

Jean Sibelius (composer), Tarja Halonen (Finlands first female president), Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld (polar explorer, completed the first crossing of the Northeast Passage), Paavo Nurmi (runner with nine Olympic gold medals), Jari Kurri (ice hockey), Tove Jansson (author)

Fun facts about Finland:

They drink more coffee per person than anyone else in the world, (12 kg per year).

Finland created a National Failure Day in 2010, (to learn from mistakes and not repeat them).

They host a whole bunch of odd competitions, including wife carrying, mobile phone throwing, air guitar and boot throwing.

Finland has been ranked number 1 in the world for education.

It has the least corrupt government in the word (according to 2012 statistics)

Finland has the most heavy metal bands, with 53 per 100 000 people.

Logistic:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g189934-Helsinki_Uusimaa-Vacations.html



#20 LUXEMBOURG

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-06 17:14

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: LUXEMBOURG

2013 LUXEMBOURG NIGHT MARATHON, LUXEMBOURG: 4:35:12 (2013-06-08)

Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736312883190716

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/luxembourg-night-marathon-2013-07-08/


LUXEMBOURG

Capital: Luxembourg

Population: 531,400

Currency: Euro (EUR)

Famous people from Luxembourg:

Marc Girardelli (skier)

Fun facts about Luxembourg:

Luxembourg is the least populated country in the European Union, with only 465,000 inhabitants. It is also the 20th smallest of the 194 independent countries in the world.

Luxembourgish, a Franconian dialect of High German, is the mother tongue of nearly all Luxembourgers. In spite of that, most official (written) business is carried out in French, whereas German is the first language taught in school and used in the media.

As of 2006, there were 181,000 immigrants in Luxembourg, accounting for 39.6% of the total population. 15% of the country’s inhabitants (over 1/3 of all immigrants) are of Portuguese origin.

Luxembourg has won five times the Eurovision Song Contest (in 1961, 1965, 1972, 1973 and 1983), a feat only surpassed by Ireland.

Luxembourg’s average unemployment rate from 1982 to 2013 was 3.3%, the lowest in the Europe.

Luxembourg is a well-known tax haven. In March 2006, there were no less than 155 banks in the country.

Between 1944 and 2002, the Luxembourgish franc had the exact same value as the Belgian franc. From 2002, the euro replaced both currencies.

The American organisation ‘The Heritage Foundation’ ranked Luxembourg first in Europe and fourth in the world for economic freedom.

Logistic:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g190356-Luxembourg_City-Vacations.html

It is easy to find inexpensive flights to Brussels (Charleroi) and from there you can catch a shuttle bus to Luxembourg. There is a Youth Hostel in Luxembourg that even includes a breakfast.



#19 SCOTLAND

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-06 17:07

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: SCOTLAND

2013 EDINBURGH MARATHON, SCOTLAND 4:24:05 (2013-05-26)

Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736308079857863

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/edinburgh-marathon-scotland-2013-05-26/


SCOTLAND

Capital: Edinburgh (1,34 million)

Population: 5,3 million

Currency: Pound sterling (GBP)

Famous people from Scotland:

JK Rowling (author and philanthropist), Adam Smith (economist), Alexander Graham Bell (inventor of the telephone), Robert Louis Stevenson (author of Treasure Island), Sir Walter Scott (author), Greyfriar Bobby (dog) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greyfriars_Bobby

Fun facts about Scotland:

The Flag of Scotland is a white X-shaped cross, which represents the cross of the patron saint of Scotland, Saint Andrew on a blue field. The flag is called the Saltire or the Saint Andrew’s Cross.

Scotland has three officially recognized languages: English, Scots (a relative of English) and Scottish Gaelic (a completely different language).

Scotland emphasizes on a broad education system and was the first country since Sparta in classical Greece to implement a system of general public education.

Edinburgh is Europe’s fifth largest financial center.

Genetic studies are now pointing that the mutation for red hair, which now reaches a world maximum in Western Scotland and Northern Ireland, may have originated in Central Asia too. This means that Scottish people may be (partly) descended from ancient people from Central Asia. Surprised? So were we, so here’s one source: www.eupedia.com

Logistic:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g186525-Edinburgh_Scotland-Vacations.html

There are many great inexpensive options in the beautiful Scottish capital. I stayed at the huge Castle Rock Hostel just a minute walk from the castle. Be sure to spend a few days in Edinburgh, it is an fascinating city!



#18 LATVIA

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-06 17:00

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: LATVIA

2013 RIGA MARATHON, LATVIA: 5:06:54 (2013-05-19)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736303206525017

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/riga-marathon-latvia-2013-05-19/


LATVIA

Capital: Riga (644,000)

Population: 2 million

Currency: Euro (EUR)

Famous people from Latvia:

Helmuts Balderis (ice hockey), Arturs Irbe (ice hockey), Stanislav Olijars (110 meter hurdles)

Fun facts about Latvia:

Over 50% of Latvia is covered by forest, and it’s one of the most environmentally friendly countries on the planet, ranking 2nd in the Environmental Performance Index.

Latvia has one of the highest rates of fashion models per capita in the world.

Latvia is the smallest nation to ever become a colonial power, as the Duchy of Courland set up a number of colonies in Tobago, Trinidad and Gambia in the 17th century (pictured: memorial cannons in Fort Jekabs, Tobago).

A Latvian-Jewish tailor named Jākobs Jufess invented the jeans (Levi Strauss backed him financially).

Latvia holds one of the largest song and dance festivals in the world (with over 40,000 participants), while choir singers and conductors are celebrities in Latvia. Latvia also has one of the largest collections of traditional folk songs in the world, numbering over 300,000.

Latvia is one of only 3 countries in the world, along with Canada and Finland, where ice hockey is the most popular type of sport.

Logistic:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g274967-Riga_Riga_Region-Vacations.html



#17 Czech Republic

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-06 16:14

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: CZECH REPUBLIC

2013 PRAGUE INTERNATIONAL MARATHON, CZECH REPUBLIC: 4:33:37 (2013-05-12)

2015 PRAGUE INTERNATIONAL MARATHON, CZECH REPUBLIC: 5:02:14 (2015-05-03)

2016 PRAGUE INTERNATIONAL MARATHON, CZECH REPUBLIC: 4:33:21 (2016-05-08)

Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736196603202344

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/prague-marathon-czech-republic-2013-05-13/


CZECH REPUBLIC

Capital: Prague

Population: 10,5 million

Currency: Czech Coruna (CZK)

Famous people from Czech Republic:

Antonín Dworák (composer), Milos Forman (filmmaker), Ivana Trump (athlete and model), Jaromir Jagr (ice hockey), Ivan Lendl (tennis), Emil Skoda (industrialist)

Fun facts about Prague:

The Charles Bridge has mathematical significance. Charles IV laid the first stone of this famous monument at 5.31 am on July 9, 1357. The notoriously superstitious king was into astrology and numerology, and chose this date because of its written form: 1-3-5-7-9-7-5-3-1 (year, day, month, time). Add this information to the stunning views and saintly statues, and Charles Bridge is clearly a required item on any list of what to see in Prague.

Thank Prague’s resident rebel sculptor, David Černy, for modern art with a sense of humor decorating the city. You can get a close-up of the babies with bar code faces on the castle side of the Vltava River, near the Kampa Modern Art Museum. For more of Černy’s twisted work, try the statues of two men pissing outside the Kafka Museum, or the upside-down horse inside Lucerna Palace near Wenceslas Square.

There is a Graffiti Wall devoted to John Lennon (who never visited Prague). This tribute to revolution began after John Lennon’s death in 1980. The unofficially named “John Lennon Wall” sits in a quiet corner near the Charles Bridge, filled with regularly changing portraits, Beatles lyrics and scrawled messages from international tourists. On November 17, 2014 – the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution – a group of students painted the entire wall white with “Wall Is Over” in block letters, but visitors disagreed and quickly filled the blank canvas once again. Visit the graffiti wall for a more alternative take on Prague sightseeing.

Josefov, Prague’s historic Jewish Quarter, includes the heartbreakingly overcrowded cemetery and Europe’s oldest active synagogue, the strangely named Old-New Synagogue (there’s a story behind it). Hitler supposedly planned to retire in Prague and preserve this area as a museum to an extinguished race, leaving the architecture largely untouched as he terrorized its residents during WWII. These days, the Jewish Museum in Prague manages this collection of 6 synagogues, historical relics, and a powerful holocaust memorial.

The Dancing House was inspired by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. This modern monument among the castles and cobblestones is definitely a sight to see in Prague. The collaboration of Canadian-American Frank Gehry and Croatian-Czech Vlado Milunić in the mid-1990s symbolizes yin and yang: communism blending into democracy. Gehry has said that he initially wanted to name the building after the famous dancing duo. Fans of food with a view might also want to try the (pricey) “Ginger and Fred” restaurant (ginger-fred-restaurant.cz) located on the top floor.

The Rolling Stones paid to light the Prague Castle. The iconic rock group played one of Prague’s first international concerts after the Velvet Revolution in 1989, and developed a close friendship with Czech President Václav Havel. Legend has it that, over drinks with the president, the band admired the prominent monument, but said it was a shame you couldn’t see it at night. Havel had bigger problems to worry about (like running a newly democratic country). So, the band paid the $32,000 (about 775,000 CZK) price tag and had their lighting designer install the system that tourists continue to enjoy today. Thanks, guys.

The locals drink more beer per capita than any other country in the world. This is probably the Czech’s best known claim to fame. The total consumption – divided by every man, woman, grandparent and baby in the country – equals approximately 150 liters per year, or in other words almost half a liter daily, for every person. Impressive! But after tasting a foam-topped pint from the birthplace of Pilsner (as we do on our Prague food tours), understanding why becomes much easier. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s cheaper than water on most menus.

Logistic: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g274707-Prague_Bohemia-Vacations.html



#16 SWITZERLAND

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-06 14:45

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: SWITZERLAND

2014 GENEVA UNICEF MARATHON, SWITZERLAND: 4:32:23 (2013-05-05)

Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736195389869132

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/geneva-marathon-switzerland-2013-05-05/

SWITZERLAND

Capital: Bern

Population: 8 million

Currency: Swiss Frank (CHF)

Famous people from Switzerland:

Henry Dunant (founder of the Red Cross), Albert Einstein (physics), Roger Federer (tennis), William Tell (legendary 14th century hero)

Fun facts about Switzerland:

Geneva is the seat of the European headquarters of United Nations (UN), World Health Organization (WHO), the World Trade Organization (WTO), United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), World Economic Forum (WEF), Airports Council International (ACI), International Organization for Standardization (ISO) & World Wide Web Virtual Library.

Switzerland was founded in 1291, as a union of three cantons chafing against Habsburg rule, and became independent in 1815.

There are four official languages in Switzerland, namely German, French, Italian, and Romansh.

Switzerland has the second highest life expectancy in Europe, after Sweden.

Jungfraujoch, at an elevation of 11330 feet is the highest train station in Europe.

Lac leman (Lake Geneva) is the largest land locked lake in Western Europe.

Switzerland has the densest railway system in the world with 3107 miles of tracks.

More facts:

http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/facts-about-switzerland-1360.html

Logistic:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g188057-Geneva-Vacations.html