Archive for the ‘journeys’ Category
The Continental Travel Group recently visited Iceland and a shout out is deserved to our guide Jóhann Scheither who is fluent in both German and English,of course. We did a lot of driving and Jóhann was read more
North Coast, California. A glorious new preserve for the public.
One hundred and thirty miles north of San Francisco, the moody bluffs of the Mendocino Coast have long been a spectacular place from which to observe marine life: passing humpback whales, sun-happy sea lions, foamy waves strewn with kelp. The incorporation of the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands — nearly 1,300 acres — gives hikers new access to a contiguous 12-mile stretch of coastline and fields of wildflowers, cypress forests and cliff areas (some overlooking dramatic blowholes, pinnacles and sea caves), much of it previously off-limits to the public.
And Congressional proposals to include the north coast lands as part of theCalifornia Coastal National Monument have been introduced, which would mean better protection and more funds for maintenance; plans also exist to extend the California Coastal Trail through the new preserve.
— BONNIE TSUI
The rebirth of a quake-ravaged city.
Three years after two large earthquakes devastated central Christchurch, the city is experiencing a rebirth with creativity and wit — thanks to the ingenuity of its hardy residents — and is welcoming tourists back again. Though much of the central city has yet to be rebuilt, entrepreneurs and volunteers are finding surprising ways to make temporary use of empty lots and bring life back to the downtown. The Gap Filler program, begun a couple of months after the first quake in September 2010 and expanded after a more destructive second quake in February 2011, has created an open-air performance space made of blue pallets, a dance floor with coin-operated music and lights, and even a nine-hole mini-golf course in vacant lots across the city. The Greening the Rubble campaign has since the 2010 quake been planting temporary gardens on the sites of demolished buildings. To replace the badly damaged 19th-century ChristChurch Cathedral, a magnificent transitional church by the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban opened in August with sturdy cardboard tubes for the roof. Businesses are also trickling back downtown. One bar, built inside shipping containers, has a name that encapsulates the spirit of the entire city.
— JUSTIN BERGMAN
More flights and lodges in Central?America’s eco-frontier.
Twenty years ago, when Francis Ford Coppola opened Blancaneaux Lodge in western Belize, relatively few travelers had ventured into this small Central American country. Slowly they arrived, many of them curious to witness the scenery that had captivated the film director, which he described in an email as “completely remote, with a beautiful pristine river you could drink the water out of and the most star-studded night sky I had ever seen.” Since then, upscale rustic hotels have cropped up all over Belize — there’s the one-year-old El Secreto in Ambergris Caye, for example, and Belcampo, an eco-lodge and sustainable farm in the south that’s about to unveil a sophisticated redesign — adding to the lure of rain forests, Mayan ruins and coral reefs. It helps that Belize is easier to reach: Delta recently announced nonstop flights from Los Angeles to Belize City, and regional carriers like Tropic Air have expanded their routes, connecting Belize to resorts like Cancún and making remote towns like San Ignacio more accessible.
— PAOLA SINGER
A place to meditate on freedom,?and the creative life that followed.
When Nelson Mandela was incarcerated at Robben Island prison, he found inspiration in Cape Town. “We often looked across Table Bay at the magnificent silhouette of Table Mountain,” he said in a speech. “To us on Robben Island, Table Mountain was a beacon of hope. It represented the mainland to which we knew we would one day return.”
Cape Town’s importance to Mandela, who made his first address there as a free man, will doubtless draw many visitors in the wake of his death. The country has transformed itself since Mandela’s imprisonment, but there’s still much to be done. Many in Cape Town have been grappling with that challenge, including its creative class, which has been examining whether inspired design can solve some of the issues stemming from years of inequality.
The city formally takes up that issue this year during its turn as World Design Capital. Cape Town is celebrating design in all its forms, putting on fashion shows by students and established designers alike, hosting architecture open houses, welcoming the public into artists’ studios and folding the annual visual arts spectacular Design Indaba conference this past February into the design capital program. Also part of the lineup are locals seeking to rejuvenate impoverished black-majority townships:The Maboneng Lalela Project turns township homes into galleries and performance spaces; Foodpods constructs sustainable farms, giving residents access to healthy produce; and the Langa Quarter project seeks to make the precinct a cultural tourism destination.
Cape Town is again reinventing itself, and the world is invited to its renaissance.
— SARAH KHAN
Downtown Atlanta- A revitalized city center welcomes ?new museums and streetcars.
Atlanta plans several ribbon cuttings in 2014, but the main event is the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, scheduled to open in May next to the Centennial Olympic Park and the Georgia Aquarium downtown. The 42,000-square-foot, environmentally friendly museum will feature permanent galleries devoted to domestic and international rights struggles and will house the Martin Luther King Jr. papers owned by Morehouse College. By midyear, visitors will be able to take the new Atlanta Streetcar on a 2.7-mile loop that will link the park to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site and other stops. Another parkside attraction, the 94,000-square-footCollege Football Hall of Fame, host of the N.C.A.A. season.
Ditch those poles. Art and bike trails await.
This ski town has a big development off-piste: The long-awaited reinvented Aspen Art Museum will open its doors this summer. The 33,000-square-foot space, designed by the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, is meant to reflect the mountain experience. Visitors first take a lift to the roof and take in the view from the sculpture garden before descending to tour the galleries. There is also plenty of news for outdoor types this year, too, with new mountain biking trails planned throughout Aspen and Snowmass, a new mountain skills center and expanded lift-serviced biking.
— BONNIE TSUI
On a rugged shore, Europe at its best..
What if you could combine the rugged beauty you’d find on Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast with the ruins of an undiscovered Turkey or Greece, all wrapped in the easygoing nature characteristic of rural Italy — at a fraction of the cost? Turns out you can, on the coast of Albania. The roughly Maryland-size country, between Greece and Montenegro, sits about 45 miles east of Italy on the eastern shores of the Adriatic and has limestone-ringed beaches, ancient ruins like Butrint and waterfront inns where you can stay for less than $50 a night. Rampant development threatened to turn it all to concrete in the years after Communism, but a new government took office in September on promises of keeping the coast authentic. Head to villages like Qeparo, within sight of Corfu, where you can kayak past Cold War submarine tunnels, swim by abandoned forts and watch the tide rise during a dinner of fresh fish at an inn called the Riviera. This is Europe when it was fresh and cheap.
— TIM NEVILLE
Time glints as a gleaming adventure around the world is experienced.
Shot over 5 weeks, visiting 15 different cities in 10 countries.