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Photo Courtesy of Embratur

The vigorous sounds of beating drums, flags flying, fans singing and chanting; finally, the FIFA World Cup 2014 has come to Brazil. With the excitement of the tournament setting the scene, visitors to the 12 host cities should take the opportunity to absorb themselves in the local culture and experience the hidden gems that make each location unique.

São Paulo, the City of Paulistanos
True to its city motto of “Non ducor, duco,” which translates to “I am not led, I lead,” São Paulo will lead the celebration by hosting the first games of the World Cup. Located in the southeastern part of Brazil, between Curitiba and Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo is a major business hub, but its hospitable people, the “Paulistanos,” know how to enjoy the diverse pleasures of life through food, art and music.

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Ironman World Championships 2013 in Kona, Hawaii. Photography by Tony Svensson

Ironman “Kona Inspired” athlete Kelly Miyahara has learned through both extraordinary triumphs and devastating tragedy that anything is possible. Kelly felt like “the luckiest girl in the world” when, in 2005, she was given her dream job: Jeopardy! Clue Crew member, allowing her to travel the world for a living.

After the tragic loss of her fellow Ironman teammate and friend, Marisela (Mari) Echeverria, Kelly set out to prove, once again, that anything is possible. This past month, she competed in honor of Mari in the Ironman Word Championships in Kona, Hawaii.

We caught up with Kelly recently and found out what makes her such an inspiring athlete.

“Kona Inspired” Kelly Miyahara crosses the Ironman finish line. Marco Garcia – AP for IRONMAN

Traveling Type: What made you decide you wanted to compete in Ironman?

Kelly Miyahara: The Ironman World Championship is a very special event.  Think, the Super Bowl or World Cup of triathlons. It’s where the world’s best triathletes compete. Normally, the way to earn a slot there is to qualify by winning your age group at a “qualifying” Ironman event, win a lottery slot, or be invited as a special guest. My very special journey was as a Kona Inspired Contest Winner. I was 1 of 7 slot winners in an international contest that asked entrants to share inspiring stories following the Ironman mantra, “Anything is possible.”

 

What does it mean to be a “Kona Inspired” in Ironman?

Kona Inspired entrants submitted 90-second videos telling their stories fitting the mantra, “Anything is Possible.”  My story is heartbreaking, yet it fits the mantra perfectly. On the very day of the Ironman World Championship last year, October 13, 2012, my friend and teammate, Marisela Echeverria, was struck and killed by a bus on the California coast while training for her first Ironman. We had shared the last 2 years of our lives as part of TEAM in Training (LA’s IronTEAM) while training and fundraising for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The night before our big day at Ironman Canada in 2012, Mari received a devastating phone call. Her father had passed away. Needless to say, she left to be with her family and didn’t race her first Ironman with the team. Not giving up, Mari got back out there a few weeks later after securing a charity slot into Ironman Arizona in November. Just 4 weeks before the race was when tragedy struck again. The unthinkable happened, and it was with Mari’s loss that I learned that anything really is possible.

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Not long after Paul Revere warned Boston that the British were coming, Lewis and Clark left St. Louis on their mission of discovery to the uncharted west.

Now the whole country is poised to watch a World Series that not only matches Red Sox bats against Cardinal arms but also beans vs. bratwurst, chowder vs. beer, and Old Ironsides vs. The Arch.

Boston, Beyond Fenway Park
Although Philadelphia might argue, Boston has good reason to call itself “the cradle of liberty.” The Freedom Trail, a well-marked pedestrian pathway, passes sites so old that visitors almost expect to hear John Adams condemning taxation without representation.

One of those sites, Faneuil Hall, has attracted 20 million curious visitors – about 10 times more than the annual attendance at Fenway Park, the century-old ballpark where the Sox start the World Series Wednesday. READ MORE

Baseball season isn’t over yet, and the tailgating is getting as good as ever – especially if you’re a Milwaukee Brewers fan. Tonight at 9|8c, don’t miss the finale of Fandemonium, when Adam Richman hits the state known for its beer, cheese and sausage for a little baseball action.

As he wanders the parking lot of Miller Park, Adam finds some bold brats and a pretty remarkable grill. Check out this sneak peek of tonight’s episode: And if you happen to find yourself in Milwaukee, don’t miss our travel guide for some of the best cheese around!

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If you think watching sailing is less than exciting, think again. America’s Cup finals, a regatta legend, has landed back on US water for the first time in 18 years. San Francisco Bay is currently playing host to the world’s top 2 teams — Oracle Team USA and Emirates Team New Zealand — as they compete in the best-of-17 series that runs until September 21. Wearing lifejackets and helmets, these world-class sailors foil above the water and carve through massive white caps, led by their captains and tacticians to manipulate 72-foot catamarans. Not impressed? Here’s a video that might change your mind.

But this particular America’s Cup is even more intriguing than fast boats and a prestigious reputation. Oracle Team USA, the defending champions, started the regatta under major scrutiny, and so far it’s showing in the results.

Just days before America’s Cup started on September 7, an international jury fined Oracle $250,000 and slammed the team with a 2-race penalty. Why? In a cheating scandal dating back to an America’s Cup World Series warm-up event in 2012, the jury found a sailor and 2-dock crew guilty of adding lead pellets to the forward posts of a 45-foot catamaran. Yikes. It’s the most severe penalty ever dolled out in America’s Cup history and — fair or not — the fall out is such: USA must win 11 races to retain the trophy, and New Zealand only needs to win 9. So far, New Zealand has trounced team USA in every race but one. Perhaps USA will pull it together to keep the trophy from the Kiwis. But one thing’s certain: given the off-and-onshore drama, this is a regatta to watch. Here’s how.

America’s Cup Course Loop

The course races 2 loops across San Francisco Bay in a semi-figure-eight pattern from the Golden Gate Bridge past Alcatraz to the finish buoy in front of the Bay Bridge.

Where to Watch

You can glimpse the race from the viewing areas along the northern and eastern San Francisco waterfront. America’s Cup Village, located at Marina Green, has bleacher seating. Or, do what I did and head right to America’s Cup Park at Piers 27/29. This area lines up perpendicular with the finish buoy. Giant TV screens track the boats and provide pretty cool graphic images of wind analysis throughout the race. Watch the finish from the waterside railing behind the park, and hang around for the second race (2 run per race day). Grab a glass of Napa or Sonoma wine at one of the bars in the park areas and kick back on the faux grass with a mix of USA and New Zealand fans. Free entry.

 

By Patty Hodapp

Patty Hodapp is a freelance writer and solo traveler reporting from the intersection of fitness and adventure. Her slew of expat addresses runs deep — most recently, a tropical Spanish island in the Mediterranean. She covers endurance sports, outdoor gear and adventure travel. Besides Travel Channel, she has written for Outside, Men’s Fitness, Shape and several other publications.


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Photo Courtesy of Getty Images

Beating out Istanbul and Madrid, Tokyo has been tapped by the International Olympic Committee to be the host city for the 2020 Summer Olympics. The race was really between the Istanbul and Tokyo — Madrid had been eliminated in a first-round ballot. The final tally wasn’t even close; Tokyo easily won by 24 votes.

In case you didn’t know, the last time Tokyo was host city for the Summer Olympics was in 1964. The city has now gained the unique distinction of becoming the first Asian city to host the games twice. City officials are already taking proactive steps to revitalize the city’s waterfront, where the Olympic Village will be situated, but there are several reasons why Tokyo is already a great tourist destination. We love the Japanese and Tokyo’s amazing attractions, including Mori Arts Centre, Ueno Park, Tokyo National Museum, Tsukiji Fish Market and Imperial Palace East Gardens.

But let’s not forget Brazil. With the 2020 Summer Olympics still a ways off, many sports fans are focused on Brazil as the hot destination for the next few years. Not only will Rio de Janeiro host the 2016 Summer Olympics, but it will also be one of 12 cities to host soccer matches for the FIFA World Cup 2014. If you’re a soccer fan, don’t delay! FIFA is already accepting applications for World Cup tickets. Score big and make plans to visit Brazil’s World Cup cities.

 

Photo Courtesy of Embratur/Brazilian Tourism Board

The wait is over for soccer fans! Tickets to the FIFA World Cup 2014 are now on sale. Fans will be able to request tickets based on a random selection draw, from Aug. 20 through Oct. 10, and on a first-come, first-served basis from Nov. 5 through Nov. 28.

Fans are currently able to buy tickets based on the date and the venue of the match, or to follow their favorite team. Twelve cities in Brazil will host the best international soccer teams as they battle it out to become the FIFA World Cup 2014 champions. Host cities will include Fortaleza, Salvador, Manaus, Brasilia, Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte and Porto Alegre.

In addition to hosting the World Cup matches, Rio de Janeiro will also host the 2016 Summer Olympics, making it a hot tourist destination over the next few years.

For now, it’s all about the World Cup. For more information on tickets and pricing, visit the FIFA website and or download the official guide to tickets.

Take a tour of the 12 Brazilian cities that will host the soccer matches for the FIFA World Cup 2014. See our slideshow and explore each city’s amazing culture and tourist attractions.

Tonight on at 9|8c, Adam Richman heads to the Indy 500 for a full dose of Fandemonium! Since the first running of the race in 1911, the Indy 500 has become the largest single-day sporting event in the world, with a staggering 600,000 fanatical race fans making the pilgrimage to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, aka the Brickyard, each year.

And as Adam finds out first-hand, the tailgating scene is equally massive. From an out-of-service ambulance turned into a rowdy party vehicle to Bret Michael’s own rocked-out RV, the Indy 500 superfans take their parking lot parties to new levels.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway holds race events year-round, so if you’re jonesing for a little race action of your own, check out our Indianapolis travel guide for a few tips!

 

Did you miss the Kentucky Derby this year? If so, don’t worry, you can always make the trip to Louisville next May … or tonight at 9|8c when Adam Richman does the betting for you on an all-new episode of Fandemonium.

The Derby is more than just the 2-minute race. It’s a weeklong celebration that takes over the city of Louisville, KY. But to get the most of your visit to the Run of the Roses, you need to know where to find the best parties with the most tradition and what to do when you find them – which is where we come in. Check out our Louisville Travel Guide for tips on navigating the “fandemonium” of the Derby.

Tune in tonight for a firsthand look at how horserace enthusiasts get dirty at the Derby, and watch a sneak peek of the action:

Sure, it’s been ridiculously hot out this past week. But you know where it’s definitely NOT hot? Alaska! Specifically, the tiny town of Paxson, AK, home to Arctic Man and a population of about 40.  And tonight at 10|9c, Adam makes the trek to Paxson to see what Artic Man is all about on an all-new episode of Fandemonium.

Arctic Man is an epic winter sports extravaganza, centered around an especially dangerous downhill ski race. But it’s also a huge tailgating and camping party, with thousands of fans hunkering down for the festivities, unique dishes (moose head soup, anyone?) and camaraderie in the cold.

Are you brave enough to face the cold for this adrenaline-fueled event? Check out our Arctic Man travel guide to begin planning your own chilly tailgate. And don’t miss these sneak peek photos of the fan fun!

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