Tuesday December 10, 2013
If you like to visit small countries few people have considered for vacation, why not take a look at Liechtenstein? It's one of the "Best of the World" places to go in 2014, and there are some pretty unique things you can do there.
If you're the strong, risk-taking type and have a helmet, a climbing harness, and crampons packed in your carry-on bag along with your underwear, you can take part in Ice Night in Malbun on February 1st where you race to the top of the the ice-climbing tower.
If you're confined to a wheelchair, there are at least three well documented obstacle-free paths to try.
And if you lack deep knowledge of the birds and the bees, there's even a chance to meet SEXperts - Sexy Chicks and Horny Stags at the museum to see how the mating game plays out in nature.
Intrigued? See our Liechtenstein Travel Guide for the essentials for visiting the tiny Principality.
Sunday December 8, 2013
Because of its position as a crossroads in the Mediterranean, the Italian region of Puglia has been home to an amazing array of cultures and their various religious attitudes. Many of these unique religions were suppressed and had to be practiced clandestinely; churches are often found in underground or cliffside caves in Puglia.
The sheer number of remote and difficult-to-access places of worship have made it nearly impossible for the cash-strapped region to open these places to the public--so it's rare to have access to them. A program like Art Restoration in Puglia, Italy offers a way for those who like to volunteer to have access not only to seldom-visited sites, but to art and archaeology experts who can explain what's going on.
They tell me that there are only a few positions left for the 2014 summer program, so act soon if you have an interest in things like this and want to have a unique vacation in a very interesting corner of the world.
Saturday December 7, 2013
Lyon is a very interesting city, wedged between the Rhône and Saône rivers in the Rhône-Alpes region in the southeast of France. It's France's gastronomic capital. It has a very interesting Museum of Miniatures. It has a hill with a Roman site. It's a great place to spend a few days.
And now Lyon has the world's first "green" tunnel.
Lyon has recently added a new level to "Le tube" which passes under Lyon's city center Croix-Rousse hill. Now bikers and walkers can pass through an upper addition to the tube they call "eco-friendly."
But it's not just a bleak hole through Lyon's underground. They've added a sound and light show to entertain the slow travelers:
With the help of Paris company Skertzo, travellers can enjoy an eccentric mix of sound effects on their trip, and the walls of the two-kilometre tunnel are emblazoned with spectacular, shifting projections of everything from abstract art to a virtual garden.
Whether you can call a tube "eco-friendly" when you're blasting light and sound through it remains to be a battle fought by hard-liners, but it's an interesting concept for travelers. You can learn more and see a video of bikers trying to deal with pedestrians who don't seem to understand the concept of staying in their lanes by clicking: VIDEO: Lyon opens world's first green tunnel.
Friday December 6, 2013
Everyone has their "best of" list. If you want to have a little spat, just put yours out there. Probably every wide place in the road has been on a "best of" list somewhere on the internet.
But when National Geographic Traveler Magazine puts out a list, folks take a little more notice. Their 2014 Best of the World list is actually interesting. European entrants include some pretty far out places. Here they are:
Imagine: Liechtenstein! By the way, I love these suggestions. I could spend countless weeks in the Alentejo and Cathar Country--and have spent many weeks in Puglia. And wouldn't Aunt Fredda be perplexed if you said you were spending your vacation in Liechtenstein!
These aren't the most popular places in Europe. That's why I like them. The industry has to mix up the "in the know" favorite lists, because otherwise all the tour buses would clog up the same 7 places every year and nobody could move in or out.
Click on any of the links above to find out about these places. Then go.
Picture of Chateau de Peyrepertus Cathar Castle © 2013 by James Martin, licensed to About.com