Travel Agenda: Robert Burns; bio-fuel test flights; Moscow's Winter Festival

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The Independent Travel


Preview the Robert Burns National Collection touring exhibition at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh. Visitors will also get to see a hand-written copy of JK Rowling's 'Beedle the Bard' (

This week...

Air New Zealand's bio-fuel test flight takes off in Auckland on Thursday, powered by a jatropha bio-fuel blend; Continental Airlines will follow suit in Houston on 7 January (; Back in Europe, Vilnius takes up the Capital of Culture mantle from Liverpool with a light and music show on New Year's Eve. See pages 10 and 11 for the ideal weekend guide. Its partner is Linz in Austria ( More celebrations will be taking place at The Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, which marks its 250th birthday in 2009, starting with free entry on Thursday (

In the diary...

Christmas arrives late in Russia, where the Orthodox Church celebrates on 7 January, corresponding to 25 December in the Julian calendar. Moscow's Izmaylovsky Park is the focus of the Winter Festival ( And in Mali, the renowned Festival in the Desert kicks off on 8 January in Essakane (