Love it or loathe it – the World Cup will dominate our TV screens for the next few weeks.  I thought I’d check out some of the countries taking part from the point of view of the British tourist.  I’ve used information from various sources including the Foreign Office.

 In alphabetic order, so as not to offend anyone!!!

Argentina – no need for a visa to visit the country.  The Foreign Office advice is full of information about social unrest in the country.  Also some details about pollution in the big cities – which is apparently bad.  However Buenos Aires is one of the biggest cities in the world and worth passing through.  One thing you can’t miss here is the Tango – not the orange drink, but the wonderfully sensual dance.  Tango came into being in the 19th century from the combination of different styles danced in the poor areas of the town. I

Get away from the city however for the most spectacular countryside.  The Iguazu National Park is a UNESCO Natural Heritage for Humanity site. The famous waterfall marks the border with Brazil.    You’ll also find here 2000 plant species and 400 bird species.  Like neighbouring Chile, Argentina is a country of contrasts – with rainforests, deserts and mountains.  Patagonia has glacier fields, sea lions, whales and elephant seals.  It also has the world’s most southerly city – Ushuaia.

 Australia – here you do need a visa, but easily obtainable online.  Over 670,000 Brits visit the country every year – many to visit relatives, Again a country of contrasts – deserts, fantastic beaches, rainforests and sophisticated cities.  You may think you know Australia through TV – its full of cricket, kangaroos and everyone’s a good Neighbour.  But do you know the city of Broome – with its camels.  An exotic pearling town, also check out dinosaur footprints preserved in rock and birdwatch from Roebuck Bay.

France – 14 million Brits can’t be wrong – fantastic country.  One of my favourite destinations in the world.  Ever since I was a student living for a year in Paris, I can do the city on a shoestring budget!  However there’s more to France than Paris.  UNESCO has classified 27 natural and cultural sites in the country as World Heritage Sites.  These include the ancient cities of Arles with Roman and Romanesque monuments.  The Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans, near Besançon, was built by Claude-Nicolas Ledoux. Its construction, begun in 1775 during the reign of Louis XVI, was the first major achievement of industrial architecture, reflecting the ideal of progress of the Enlightenment.  The two natural sites are: nature reserve, part of the Regional Natural Park of Corsica, occupies the Scandola peninsula, an impressive, porphyritic rock mass.  And the outstanding mountain landscape centred around the peak of Mount Perdu in the Pyrenees, a calcareous massif that rises to 3,352 m.

 More countries to tell you about another time!!!  In the meantime, blow those vuvuzuelas and COME ON ENGLAND!!

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