One small step for (the Isle of) man?
Frank Sinatra once famously sang… ‘Fly me to the moon and let me play among the stars’. And if the firm Excalibur Almaz has anything to do with it, we may well all be doing just that. The Isle of Man-based company is giving people the chance to go on holiday to outer space. They’ve managed to get their hands on a former Cold War Soviet space capsule that was once used to spy on the US and Britain. While it might look like a ‘glorified beer keg’, the pod is actually quite a serious piece of space kit. And once it’s had a make-over, it’ll be welcoming travellers onboard for trips to the moon and beyond.
If you fancy following in the footsteps of Neil Armstrong you’ll need to put your name on the list early – there’s currently only three tickets up for grabs. Oh, and PS, you’ll need to complete an astronaut training course and be prepared to spend a few months in space. You might have to raid your piggy bank, too, as these moon safaris will set you back a whopping 100 million quid. But according to the people at Excalibur Almaz, that’s a snip in comparison to some of the other space holidays out there.
Starry starry night
Here at Thomson Towers we love the idea of boldly going where no holidaymaker has gone before. But, like most people, we don’t have a spare 100 million floating around in our back pockets (we even checked down the side of the sofa but all we found was a couple of coppers and a button). But it got us thinking – surely there must be an easier (and cheaper!) way to admire the stars on holiday? So here’s our guide to star-gazing at down-to-earth prices.
Neil Armstrong once described the Mount Teide National Park in Tenerife as the closest thing to the moon that he’d ever seen. And, well, he’d know. It’s also happens to be one of the best places in Europe for stargazing. The latitude of the Canary Islands means you can see all of the northern hemisphere’s and most of the southern hemisphere’s stars all year round.
La Palma is probably the best place in the Canaries to get starry-eyed thanks to its incredibly clear skies. Head to the 4,423-metre Roque de los Muchachos for crème de la crème views of the heavens. This peak is home to an astronomical observatory with six enormous telescopes. Time your trip to coincide with the annual blackout when all the lights are switched off across the island to limit light pollution.
Thomson’s Super Safari excursion from Hurghada and Makadi Bay is spot on for budding Patrick Moores. You get to go out into the desert to view the night sky as you’ve never seen it before. Crane your neck upwards and you’ll clap eyes on an inky-black sky studded with thousands of stars. A guide is on hand to point out constellations and you get to look through a state-of-the-art telescope. Not bad for 30-odd quid.