International Voyagers are well aware that the U.S. is not the only country to treat itself to national and local celebrations in July: the globe is liberally sprinkled with fêteful events that offer balm to the vacation-minded man. In view of which, we feel you'll be well advised to declare your own independence with an expatriate tour of these inviting worldly revels.
A likely destination awaits you at Vila Franca de Xira in Portugal where, on July 14, the Fair of the Red Waistcoat is celebrated by carousing local bull buffs. Between bull sessions you can make the rounds of restaurant and cabaret to sate yourself on haunting fado songs and enormous meals of Tagus shad, whole sides of beef, and flowing red Ribatejo wine. One eatery boasts its own private bullring, in which you may work up an appetite for your Lucullan $1.25 dinner by torero capers against a young quarter-weight (300 pounds) bull with padded horns. The best lodgings here are found in Estalagem da Leziria. July 14 is also, of course, Bastille Day in France, where in almost every city and town you'll encounter uninhibited Gallic gaiety in the form of fireworks and dancing in the rues. For those who can stay on the Continent a mite longer, we suggest a swinging visit to the early August jazz festival staged in the Belgian village of Comblain-la-Tour, an ancient hamlet of slate-roofed stone farmhouses set in a verdant rural scene. It's a hip to-do that draws top instrumentalists and singers from all over Europe.
Travelers who desire Far Eastern orientation would do well to indulge themselves in a tasty junket to Japan for a look at restless natives paying homage to the dead in joyful Bon dances and lantern festivals on July 13-15. Perhaps the most dramatic Nipponese spectacle of all is offered at Haramachi, some 170 miles out of Tokyo, where the Festival of the Wild0 Horse Chase is held. Refreshed by a stay at a local inn, you'll be treated to the memorable sight of 1000 riders clad in authentic Samurai armor galloping across the Hibarigahara Plain in an epic struggle for the shrine flags that have been shot high into the air.
If you choose to remain in the U.S., you'll find a first-rate trek meet at the foot of Colorado's Pikes Peak. The Manitou Inclined Railway eases you up a neighboring peak to a comfortable lodge for the night. Next day, burros tote you to the top of Pikes Peak Railway from whence, after savoring the view and assorted potables, you are trained back -- assuredly a kingly capper to a wanderful month.
For further information on any of the above, write to Playboy Reader Service, 232 E. Ohio St., Chicago 11, Ill.