Archive for the ‘journeys’ Category
When it comes to choosing a rental car, I’m always spinning my wheels, trying to balance comfort and price, and always ending up with something as sensible (read: boring) as a Chevy Aveo or Nissan Versa. Yeesh! What am I—a bank examiner or something? Now I have every reason, if not necessarily the funds, to don a pair of Tod’s Gommino driving shoes and Brooks Brothers deerskin driving gloves (and perhaps a rueful smirk) and step behind the wheel of a real mean machine, thanks to Hertz’s new DreamCar program, which launched this week.
Other rental-car companies sometimes offer “specialty” vehicles, but they’re nothing compared to what’s available in the nationwide Hertz promotion. Some sample cars and daily prices: Porsche 911 (see photo), $350; Aston Martin Vantage, $1,000; Ferrari F430 Spider, Lamborghini Gallardo, or Bentley Continental GT, $1,500. Other available models, depending on location, include Tesla Model S, Cadillac CTS-V, multifarious Mercedes-Benzes, and my personal favorite, the SRT Viper.
Of course, travelers who rent cars like these can’t be expected to stand in line at the rental counter to pick up their golden chariots. Oh, no. Instead, a species of person called a “Hertz Executive Client Concierge” will greet Dream Car renters in the airport and usher them to the vehicle or, on request, deliver the ritzy ride to a customer’s doorstep.
The Hertz Dream Cars are currently available in Florida (including Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Tampa, and West Palm Beach). In the coming weeks, the program will roll out in cities including Los Angeles, Dallas, New York, Chicago, Boston, and Phoenix—35 major markets altogether. Gentlemen (and ladies), start your engines.
By Mark Orwoll Driving + Car Rentals, Luxury, Travel News Comments Travel + Leisure. You can follow him on Twitter @orwoll and Like him on Facebook.
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At the Eisbach, a small channel branching off the Isar River in downtown Munich, people in wetsuits line the banks, waiting patiently for their turn in one of the world’s more unlikely surfing capitals.
Munich is 500km from the coast and more than 1,100km from any surfable ocean breaks. But an ingenious band of surfers has not let the absence of conventional waves put them off. The Bavarian capital is the birthplace of a new sport: river surfing.
In August 2012, Munich hosted the second European River Surfing Championships on an outdoor artificial wave built next to the city’s airport. It was part of a three-week Surf and Style event that was sponsored by Lufthansa and had the full backing of the local authorities – a far cry from the early days of river surfing. The sport started in the 1970s, with a small group attaching tow-ropes to the bridge that crosses the Eisbach near the southern edge of the Englischer Garten park. They would hold the ropes, try to stand up on door-like planks and attempt to emulate the ocean surfers that they had seen overseas.
It did not take long to realise that the ropes were unnecessary. The fast flowing water of the Eisbach ploughs into a deeper section of the river that barely moves at all, creating a consistent, albeit dangerous, wave effect. Signs warn inexperienced river surfers not to attempt surfing – rocks, strong currents and lack of space combine to make getting in the water perilous. Ocean surfers have to learn new skills too: there is no time to get up and let the wave approach – surfers have to be riding the second they hit the water – and movement is lateral rather than up and down the break.
Jon Ruppersberg, who repairs boards at the Santo Loco surf shop in central Munich, said river surfing requires a different type of board. “A long board is usually perfect for beginners, but because the river is so narrow, you have to start the next turn as soon as you finish the last.” Consequently, many of the boards on sale at Santo Loco are specially made by a manufacturer in Salzburg, Austria, designed to be short, relatively broad and durable. Some also have Kevlar edges to prevent damage from regularly crashing against the Eisbach’s stonewall banks.
Partly because of the dangers, surfing the Eisbach was illegal until 2010. “You would quite often see surfers running through the Englischer Garten being chased by policemen,” Ruppersberger said. “[They] regularly had to pick up their boards from the police station.”
Surfers also tried to keep their activities quiet, stopping whenever anyone arrived with a camera. But regular surfer Quirin Stamminger said this started to change around five years ago. “The internet really changed things,” he said. “With Facebook and YouTube, more people found out about it, and more people wanted to try it.” The surfers stopped trying to hide, and instead used the publicity to get support for the legalisation of their hobby. In 2010 the City of Munich bought the land surrounding the wave from the State of Bavaria and agreed to take responsibility for what happened there, legalising the sport.
These days, Stamminger said no one really knows how many surfers there are in Munich. “There are probably around 1,000 active surfers, while 10,000 in Munich will have tried it at some point. But it’s a very loose scene,” he said. “There’s no one place that’s a surfer hang out. People meet at the Eisbach or the Flosslände wave near the zoo, then go back to their normal lives.”
The surge in popularity is not without its problems though. “The scene has changed a lot,” Stamminger said. “Even the guys who started three years ago realise how annoying it is when they have to wait behind 25 other people.”
There is also the increased risk of someone getting injured. “Something will happen, I’m 100% sure,” Stamminger said. “It’s a dangerous sport; there is always an element of risk. When it does happen, though, will the city shut us down?”
Slowly, the sport has spread beyond Munich in a somewhat disorganised manner. In most instances, it is a small, independent group discovering river waves in rural Europe or Canada. But other cities are catching on. Innsbruck in Austria is attempting to create an artificial standing wave where the Inn and Sill rivers meet, but construction has not yet been successful. The will is there, but the science still needs some work. In Montreal, however, two natural waves on the St Lawrence River are pulling in the surfers. Local company Kayak Sans Frontieres has even started offering surf lessons. It’s a long way from a few hardy souls trying to hang on to a rope in Munich’s Englischer Garten.
Dominik Bindl/Bongarts BBC
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Looking for some good reads while you’re on the road? Here are some new travelogues written by travelers, for travelers.
The Perfect Meal: In Search of the Lost Tastes of France, by John Baxter (On sale now, Harper Perennial Press). Following the 2010 decision by UNESCO to declare French formal dining a part of humanity’s “intangible cultural heritage,” Baxter journeys around the country to recreate the type of meal UNESCO deemed so significant. Full of humor, insight, and mouth-watering details, The Perfect Meal is a delightful tour of “traditional” French culture and cuisine.
The International Bank of Bob: Connecting Our Worlds One $25 Kiva Loan at a Time, by Bob Harris (On sale March 5th, Walker & Company). Hired as a freelance writer to tour the most luxurious destinations on earth, Bob Harris could not get over the disconnect between the ultra-deluxe hotels and the impoverished laborers who built them. Afterward, Harris loaned his earnings to individuals around the world through Kiva, a charity that uses the Nobel-prize-winning approach of micro-financing to lessen poverty. Heartwarming and fascinating (and also laugh-out-loud funny), The International Bank of Bob chronicles Harris’s globe-trotting journeys on which he meets the recipients of his $25 loans.
Here, There, Elsewhere: Stories from the Road, by William Least Heat-Moon (On sale now. Little, Brown and Company). An anthology of nearly thirty previously published travel stories, this collection by the best-selling author of Blue Highways explores the notion of discovering the “elsewheres” of the world. Journey with him as he searches for Faulkner inMississippi, chats with Japanese World War Two veterans in Nagano prefecture, and witnesses Mayan magic in the Yucatan.
Access All Areas: Selected Writings 1990-2011, by Sara Wheeler (On sale now, North Point Press). Another anthology, Access All Areas compiles smart and engaging travel essays by Wheeler in celebration of her fiftieth birthday. The prolific British travel author (and member of the Royal Society of Literature) has selected an eclectic mix of pieces that reflect her many varied experiences while traveling. At times tragic, and at other times hilarious, Wheeler’s Access All Areas covers almost all areas of the world, from pole to pole, with stops in Poland in between.
by Peter Schlesinger an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.
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USA Road trip including New York San Francisco Grand Canyon Arizona and Nevada
Shot with a Canon7D by Menassier Gabriel
Volvo Ocean Race (Leg 6 ItajaÍ to Miami) started at 3:00 pm EDT on 04/22/12
and is now in progress. Miami arrival EST Wednesday, May 9.
Fit for arduous travel schedules and lengthy commutes, the recently released luggage line from Powerbag features an on-board charging system to keep you on the grid no matter how far from an outlet you may be. Each bag’s removable and rechargeable power source comes equipped with an Apple device connector, Mini and Mico-USB cords, and a standard USB port, putting out enough power for up to four devices at once. Most importantly, the smart charge system diverts power to the devices that need it most, preventing your tablet from hoarding all the juice.
On the outside of each bag you’ll find a small button that illuminates to display the current battery level of the internal power source. The bag’s deliberately subtle design—charging level is momentarily displayed at a touch of the adjacent button—allows you to safely carry expensive electronics without drawing attention.
The Business Class Pack is a basic backpack with all the highlights hidden on the inside. We love the the number of compartments and velour-lined pockets, preventing your gear from getting all scratched up. Its most notable claim is a “checkpoint-friendly” zipper that opens to lie the bag flat so you don’t have to remove your laptop from the rear compartment for airport security screenings. Life changing.
Much like its over-the-shoulder brother, the Instant Messenger bag is defined by its subdued design and tech-driven inner workings. With a padded laptop sleeve and numerous zippered pockets, this sling bag has more than enough room for long-distance travel or the everyday commute.
Outfitted with a removable 6000mAh battery, the bags offer enough juice to fully charge an average smartphone up to four times before the power supply needs to be refilled. Both packs feature a small AC adapter plug on the outside that connects to any wall outlet for easy recharging. The Business Class Pack and the Instant Messenger bag sell for $180 each directly from Powerbag online. Other styles are also available, and smaller chargers are available at a lower cost.
by Evan Orensten from the original article at coolhunting.com
If all you know of Toronto is that it’s clean, safe, and able to double for New York City on film, then you haven’t been here in a while. The city has undergone a dramatic change in the past few years, led by remarkably hip restaurant, fashion, and nightlife scenes. Three locals give T+L their take on Toronto’s new style. —Jonathan Durbin
Cameron Bailey, Codirector of the Toronto International Film Festival
What characteristics would you identify as uniquely Torontonian?
We’re voracious cultural consumers. To be well-versed in both vintage dub reggae and different kinds of hot sauces from Asia is totally normal here.
Where do the film-industry players hang out during the festival?
The Hazelton Hotel’s One Restaurant (416/961-9600; dinner for two $250) is the hot spot. Locals like quieter places; Bar Italia (416/535-3621; dinner for two $95) is where director Atom Egoyan eats.
Has the city upped its style game?
Men’s style here used to be jeans and a lumberjack jacket. Now there are boutiques and tailor-made clothes.
The 2012 Toronto International Film Festival runs Sept. 6–16).
Matt George, Owner of the Men’s Clothing Boutiques, Nomad, and the Speakeasy-Style Goodnight Bar
What would you say is changing the city’s sensibilities?
There’s a huge community of new immigrants. We’ve got the largest Indian, Pakistani, and West Indian populations outside of London, creating a melting pot of ideas.
What are your favorite restaurants?
I love Woodlot (647/342-6307; dinner for two $75) and the Harbord Room (dinner for two $125). They’re real Canadiana—traditional and contemporary food. My go-to sushi spot is Sushi Kaji (416/252-2166; dinner for two $220) in a suburban strip mall in Etobicoke.
Nomad stores (416/682-1107 and 416/202-8777); Goodnight (647/963-5500).
Emily Haines, Lead Singer of the Canadian Rock Band Metric
What do you think is driving the city’s recent transformation?
Torontonians are great travelers. We’re aware of what’s happening internationally and bring these things back—but make them our own.
Where do you like to see music?
For big acts, I head to Sound Academy (416/461-3625). To catch a local band, there’s the fabulous little basement bar, Dakota Tavern (416/850-4579).
And for a drink afterward?
If I tell you then I won’t be able to go anymore! If forced, I’d say Communist’s Daughter (647/435-0103; drinks for two $12). They serve pickled eggs.
—Jennifer Chen. More in series coming soon Courtesy of : Travel & Leisure
by CHRISTOPHER ELLIOTT on JANUARY 5, 2012
As any new parent knows, air travel with young kids isn’t always easy. But few experiences come close to the Suelings’ Thanksgiving flight from Westchester County to Atlanta on Delta Air Lines.
After the family boarded, their children, ages 3 and 1 1/2, began “crying, screaming and hitting,” according to Christopher Sueling. His wife, Melissa, tried to calm her baby by nursing her, but it didn’t work.
“The flight attendants were just standing there, looking pissed off,” he says.
The jet taxied out to the runway, but then stopped and returned to the gate. The Suelings were told to get off the plane and that they needed to write to Delta if they wanted their money back. They even took a snapshot (see image, above) to document their ejection.
I’m the father of three young children, so I sympathize with the Suelings. I think Delta probably overreacted to the unruly family, and it certainly didn’t move quickly enough when they asked for a refund. I helped things along by contacting Delta on their behalf after they wrote to me last year asking for help, and they were eventually reimbursed.
But there are other passengers — and I think it’s probably safe to say that some air travelers on the Suelings’ outbound flight felt this way — who were relieved that the flight attendants showed them the door.
Why? Because they combined two of the least desirable qualities in a seatmate, according to many travelers I hear from: yelling kids and nursing moms.
I started giving the subject of unwanted seatmates serious thought after a recent story on XL passengers went viral in November. My editor asked me if there were other types of air travelers people avoided, and if we could try to identify the biggest offenders, as a public service to our readers.
The gadget guy. Passengers who can’t find the “off” switch on their iPhone (think Alec Baldwin) represent a special kind of annoyance to their fellow travelers. Not only do they often aggressively defend their right to use the electronics, even when federal law prohibits it, but they also have a tendency to be in your face about it. They’re less likely to follow the instructions of a crewmember and they show a complete disregard for the safety of others by operating their electronics when it could interfere with the aircraft’s critical systems.
The screaming infant. Noisy kids, and particularly very young children whose high-pitched voices reverberate throughout the cabin, rank high on every air traveler’s “most annoying” list. Here’s a little-known fact: When you’re a new parent, you develop the ability to block your baby’s incessant screams, so you basically can tune the child out whenever you want. The rest of your fellow passengers aren’t so lucky. The ear-piercing, glass-shattering screams have everyone else reaching for their earplugs. It’s highly irritating.
The barking lapdog. Pets on planes is a never-ending source of controversy, and with good reason. Pet owners, who insist they have a right to take Fluffy or Fido with them wherever they go, are clashing with travelers who claim they have allergies to pet dander, but are often just ticked off that they have to endure the sounds of a yapping, caged canine for the duration of a flight.
The oversize passenger. I could probably write about XL air travelers that take up more than one seat every week, because there are such strong opinions on both sides of the aisle. On one side, the passengers who are pushed out of their seat by big travelers who need to raise the armrests in order to sit down; on the other side, large passengers who believe their girth should be treated like a disability. In a way, both are victims — and both are annoyed by their critics.
The breastfeeding mom. I think most of us would be lying if we said we didn’t experience at least some level of discomfort at being seated next to a nursing mom. It’s not necessarily her baby, which we fear could projectile-burp the contents of its stomach on us, but the fact that she’ll probably expose herself at some point during the flight. There have been incidents involving breastfeeding moms, including one lawsuit against Delta by a mother who was kicked off a Delta flight a few years ago (sound familiar?).
The smelly or chatty adult. If you’ve ever been stuck next to the proselytizer pitching anything from a religion to insurance, you know how unbearable the flight can be. I’ve been there. But sometimes, a passenger doesn’t have to say anything in order to irritate you. She could have slathered half a bottle of retch-inducing gardenia perfume on her, pre-flight; or he could have simply refused to bathe the month before his trip, or downed a quart of vodka and inhaled a pack of unfiltered cigarettes to calm the nerves.
Bedbugs. Maybe the worst seatmates are the ones you can’t see. Here’s a woman on another Delta flight who says she was eaten by bedbugs on a recent flight. Delta again, huh? I would add to that list insects or rodents or — God forbid — snakes that come aboard and pester you during your trip. Highly annoying.
Hard decision, isn’t it? Air travelers are so easily annoyed by one another, and don’t even get me started with the things flight attendants do. But that’s another story.
Christopher Elliot writes for consumertraveler.com
Sri Lanka’s lush hill towns and pristine beaches have long appealed to a certain breed of worldly traveler, but the flare-ups of the country’s brutal on-again, off-again 26-year civil war kept all but the most devoted of them away. The conflict ended three years ago, and as a prolonged peace finally takes hold, this Indian Ocean island is on the cusp of a tourism boom.
Sri Lanka’s beach-lined southern coast, centered around the popular town of Bentota, is the country’s strongest draw—and big developers are moving in. The Minor Hotel Group chose the area to debut its sister brand to Anantara with last month’s launch of the 75-room Avani Bentota Resort & Spa (94-34/227-5353; doubles from $180) in a restored Geoffrey Bawa–designed building. A second Avani, a Six Senses resort, and a Shangri-La property are also in the works.
In the meantime, a handful of designers have opened boutique hotels, including the 15-room Villa Bentota (doubles from $224), the latest project from Sri Lankan tastemaker Shanth Fernando.
Farther south, in Beliatta, Hong Kong decorator Niki Fairchild has turned a century-old house into the glamorous five-suite Maya (94-47/567-9025; doubles from $170).
In the northwest, an ambitious government scheme aims to transform the Kalpitiya peninsula into the country’s next big resort destination. Until those plans are realized, the laid-back Bar Reef Resort (94-777/352-200; doubles from $125) has airy cabanas and a quiet one-mile beach.
Perhaps the biggest peace dividend has been the reopening of the leopard- and elephant-filled Wilpattu National Park, in the northwest. Stay at the two-year-old Ulagalla Resort (doubles from $374), which has 20 thatched-roof bungalows on 58 acres an hour from the park.
—Jennifer Chen. More in series coming soon Courtesy of : Travel & Leisure