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Australia Day is on 26 January and it commemorates the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet. It is marked by visits to the beach with bottles of chilled white. Sydney is one big party for most of the month, with art exhibitions, concerts and plays.


Up to 25 January you can still catch a few pantomines in the UK. Aladdin, for example, is still showing at the Belgrade theatre, Corporation St, Coventry, (01203 553055); until 9 February Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is showing at the Mayflower Theatre, Commercial Rd, Southampton, (01703) 711 811.


The annual Mozart week in Salzburg, Austria, runs from 24 January-2 February and is marked by a profusion of performances. Not on the scale of the musical festivities in Vienna in summer but worth a flying visit.


Last chance to see the Picasso Exhibition in Paris, open until 30 January, at the Galerie Nationale du Grand Palais. Open to 10pm on Wednesdays and 8pm Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (closed Tuesdays).


18-26 January is jazz week in Leiden, Holland. A local affair but then again Leiden is not very far away.


10 January-9 February. The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is now in full swing. Given that all devout Muslims are fasting from dawn to dusk, tourists visiting Islamic countries should try to avoid eating or drinking in public during daylight hours to avoid causing offence. This particularly applies in eastern Turkey, Iran, the Gulf and parts of Egypt. The fun begins after dark when, having broken their fast with a ceremonial plate of dates, many people spend the night banqueting.


24-26 January inclusive, the Independent Travellers' World takes place at the Royal Horticultural Halls in Victoria, London. This is where travel experts, travel enthusiasts, tourist boards, travel agents and publishers get together. Cafes and bars help to smooth over the experience. Opening hours are Friday noon-6pm and Saturday/Sunday 9.30am-6pm, entry is pounds 3 Friday and pounds 5 Saturday and Sunday. Specialist talks, seminars and shows are free on the day and it's all jolly good fun.

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