Travel news

January 2011 archives

The History of the English Pub

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The history of the English Pub, presented for your pleasure.

The World's Most Scenic Lavatories

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This list of the most scenic bathrooms in the world "A Loo With a View" has been floating around the web for a bit, but it still seems too good not to share. My favorite is the one in Mumin Papa Café, Akashi, Japan, built into an aquarium (pictured). From The Independent:

Luke Barclay, author of Loo With a View, set off on a two-year global mission: to find bathrooms, dunnies, restrooms and outhouses of distinction to write home about. And not just toilets distinguished by innovative designs or a flash flush, what Barclay sought was a loo that offered more than just a facility, he wanted breathtaking atmosphere, a space in which to contemplate the world. On his journey, the intrepid Brit found 40 latrines that met his criteria: in the rice plantations in Bali, just off Interstate 15 in Las Vegas, and slap bang in the middle of a mini desert near Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia, to name but a few. "Considering the amount of loitering I have done in toilets with a camera," says Barclay, "it is a miracle that I am not in prison." But if he were incarcerated for crimes against human discretion or decency (or whatever the exact charge might be), it would seem he'd have company in the clink. Barclay's introduction explains that he is not alone in his appreciation of the finer lavs in life. A number of other bog spotters exist, and together they form "a small but enthusiastic global community - undivided by class, race or religion - united by a love of loos that have views".

Dirtiest Hotel in America in Pigeon Forge, TN

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Congratulations to the Grand Resort Hotel & Convention Center in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee which was named Dirtiest Hotel in America by the good folks at Trip Advisor. Here's what a recent visitor had to say:

"If you are looking for a hotel with chewing tobacco spit oozing down the halls and corridors; spiders actively making webs in every corner of your room; carpeting so greasy and dirty you wouldn't want to sit your luggage down - let alone walk around barefoot...... by all means, stay at The Grand Resort."

Ick. New management is vowing to clean things up pronto, but I'd steer clear of this place no matter how good the nightly rate might be.

Pigeon Forge is also home to America's greatest theme park named for a country music star: Dollywood. I definitely recommend going there (I've been twice) but take it from Trip Advisor, don't stay at the Grand Resort Hotel.

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The 9 runners-up for Dirtiest Hotel can be found here.

Via Gawker.

America's Rudest Cities "Stab You in the Front"

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Would rudeness affect your travel plans? Travel and Leisure Magazine ranks America's Rudest Cities and, despite its reputation, New York City did not come in first. It did come in second which I take umbrage with because I think NYC is actually one of the nicest cities - or as T&L says in their article:

When comedian Jim Dailikis moved to New York City from Australia several years ago, he expected a city full of rude, abrasive people. But New Yorkers didn't really live up to the stereotype, he says. "They're friendly, but they have a different way of showing you," he says. As he now says in his act, "I love New Yorkers--they stab me in the front."

What's the number one city in rudeness? Los Angeles. Hmmm. I can't really argue with that. I'm a big fan of Angelenos (I was born and raised there) but I certainly think they are ruder than New Yorkers. I mean, have you been on the 405 Freeway at rush hour? Case closed.

Where does your city rank on the listings? Find out here. Anchorage, Alaska ranks least rude, by the way.

Ed. Note: This post's photo is a screenshot from TV sitcom classic "Full House" which took place in San Francisco. They ranked #14.

Lonely Planet City Guides 50% Off

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For the next five days, Lonely Planet City Guides are 50% off if you enter the code 50CITY at checkout. There are over 51 titles from all over the world.

Hotel Bar Fever Hits Barcelona

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kingcole.jpgThe King Cole Bar in New York


There are few things in this world I like more than a cozy, chic hotel bar. Favorites include the King Cole Bar at the St. Regis in New York and the revolving Bona Vista Lounge at the top of the Bonaventure in Los Angeles. Apparently their popularity is picking up overseas in Spain:

REVELERS searching for a spot to celebrate in hard-partying Barcelona have always had ample options, from thumping multilevel clubs to cramped hole-in-the-wall cava bars. But lately, Barcelona has taken a page from the New York bar scene, with newly fashionable hotel bars attracting stylish Barcelonans in addition to guests. No longer lonely hangouts mostly populated by jet-lagged travelers, the bars and lounges at luxury hotels are now among the city's most desirable drinking destinations.

Read more about the hot and sexy Barcelona hotel bar scene.

Your House in Umbria

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Hmmm. Todi sounds lovely but I'm not sure why I'd trust the University of Kentucky to make this pronouncement:

Twenty years ago Todi, perched on a hill in the Tiber Valley in Italy, was celebrated as the world's most liveable town, a modern paradise. That was the conclusion reached after a lengthy study by a team from the University of Kentucky.

Now longtime residents are of course complaining about the increased flow of people. But I have to say, this description of Todi does make me want to swing by for a visit:

The Umbrian town with one of the country's finest piazzas looks out on a rolling landscape familiar from Italian Renaissance paintings, with handsome 13th- to 15th-century palaces and churches and concentric Etruscan, ancient Roman and mediaeval city walls.

More from The Age.

New Home For Florida's Salvador Dali Museum

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Cristina, Duchess of Palma de Mallorca and the daughter of Spain's King and Queen, was on hand in St. Petersburg, Florida yesterday to cut the ribbon the brand new $36 million home of theSalvador Dali Museum. Here's some of what Reuters had to say:

The new building houses the largest collection of Dali's work outside of Spain with 96 oil paintings and over 2,000 other pieces of his art. It is twice the size of the old museum, a converted warehouse, which opened in 1982.

The paintings and other pieces of art were collected by A. Reynolds and Eleanor Morse of Cleveland, Ohio beginning in 1942. In 1980, the couple were looking for a location for a museum to house all their collection in one place and the city of St. Petersburg agreed to provide one on its waterfront. The museum opened two years later. Reynolds Morse died in 2000 and his wife died last July.

The most prominent feature of the building is a 75-foot-high geodesic dome on the front of the museum called "The Glass Enigma" made up of 1,062 triangular glass panels, none of which are the same. The Enigma allows natural light into the building while providing a sweeping view of Tampa Bay for those inside. It is similar to the dome on the Dali museum in Figueres, Spain which was designed by Buckminster Fuller.

Great Restaurants Around the World

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The NY Times curates a list of 10 Restaurants Worth a Plane Ride. They include eateries in Spain, France, Australia, England, Singapore and Uruguay.

Meanwhile, Eater has a list of the 38 Essential New York Restaurants.

Cancun Underwater Museum Gets Its Close-Up

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To file under "Things to Do" next time you're in Cancun: The Cancun Underwater Museum. Four hundred concrete sculptures were submerged off the coast of the Mexican island in a bid to draw snorkelers. Taken by Jason deCaires Taylor, they appeared as part of the Offbeat Traveler column in the Los Angeles Times.

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Winter Getaway: Santa Barbara for Bargain Hunters

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We've been talking a great deal about Key West recently, but West Coasters could no doubt also use a sunny vacay during these January doldrums. The Los Angeles Times investigates a bargain-basement trip to coastal oasis Santa Barbara, California:

Our penny-pinching tips for a winter's respite include five great little motels where you can stay for $100 or less, 10 awesome cheap-eats restaurants where you can dine for $10 or less and 15 free or low-cost things to do to keep you and the family deliriously happy.

Find out the details for Santa Barbara on the cheap here.

Is "General Aviation" a Security Threat?

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The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg wonders if the lax restrictions on "general aviation" (aka private planes and jets) could be a terrorist disaster waiting to happen:

We climbed aboard the eight-seat twin-engine plane. The pilot greeted us, took my bag from me, and placed it on a seat. I noticed that no door separated the cabin from the cockpit.

We took off a few minutes later and headed south, in the direction of the Pentagon, the White House, and the United States Capitol complex.

"So let's just say that I'm a terrorist pilot," I said, "and I have a bag filled with handguns and I shoot these two pilots and then I take control of the plane and steer it into the headquarters of the CIA," near which we would soon be flying. "What's stopping me?"

"There's nothing stopping you," my friend said. "All you need is money to buy a plane, or a charter."

Read the whole article here: "Private Plane, Public Menace": Wealthy travelers routinely bypass the TSA by flying on private jets. How long until al-Qaeda does the same?

36 Hours in Key West

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In a curious bit of kismet, just as we concluded Key West Week here at Everywhere, the New York Times also heads south bringing us 36 Hours in Key West.

Key West, haven to artists and writers, chefs and hippies, is somehow more Caribbean than Floridian. The indie-minded transplants work hard to keep it that way. One-speed bicycles weave their way through colorful village streets, crammed with as many chickens as cars. Happy hour blends into dinner. And everything is oriented around the ocean, from the fish market-driven menus and the nautical-inspired art, to the sunrise worshipers who gather each dawn and the tipplers who wave goodbye at sunset. Be careful or you might just catch what islanders call "Keys disease" -- a sudden desire to cut ties with home and move there.

Obviously Key West is the new hot spot for cognoscenti. Watch their travelogue below:

Top 10 Twitter Travelers

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Frommer's picks their ten favorite Twitter travelers. They tweet
news, deals, and tips along with details and pictures of their globe-trotting exploits.

Tips for Cutting Travel Costs

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The NY Times has a great article on cutting travel costs in the coming year.

Bargain hunters will need to be craftier when booking a trip if they want to get the best prices this year. It's no secret that airfares are up and added fees for everything from checked bags to exit-row seats are pushing the cost of flying higher. On top of that, hotel bargains are expected to be harder to come by as business travelers begin to return, diminishing the need for hotels to discount rooms in major cities.

But that doesn't mean a year in front of your television. There are still plenty of ways to cut costs. Here are 11 strategies -- and some useful Web sites -- to help you save on travel this year.

Read all 11 of their travel tips here.

Travel for Cheese Lovers

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Trazzler looks at the origins of various artisanal cheeses and tells you where to seek them out. Locales include the United States, France, Portugal, Italy, Spain, England and even Nepal:

It should come as no surprise that the kinds of rural communities that support the painstaking endeavor of perfecting the liquid-to-solid cheese miracle also tend to be beautiful unspoiled places to visit. Rural travel of this kind is booming in Europe and has taken off in the U.S. over the past 10 years, as well.

View the slideshow here.

News and going on's around the globe!