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Medium 9781743216781

Trinidad & Sancti Spíritus Province

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

%41 / Pop 466,106

2014 was a big year for Sancti Spíritus province. Its two main colonial towns both celebrated their 500th anniversaries amid much publicity, partying and cleaning up of important public buildings. It was proof that this small but well-endowed province guards what is arguably Cuba’s most precious historical legacy. Trinidad, thanks to careful preservation efforts, is considered one of the most intact colonial towns in the Americas, while Sancti Spíritus (the city) has a more intangible, crumbling allure.

Complementing its historical depth, Sancti Spíritus province boasts beaches – Playa Ancón is a stunner, easily the best on Cuba’s underwhelming south coast – and mountains. Within mirror-glinting distance of Trinidad lies the haunting Escambray, which, with a network of decent trails, is Cuba’s best hiking area. The rest of the province hides a surprisingly varied cache of oft-overlooked curiosities, including lightly trodden ecoparks, a seminal museum to guerrilla icon Camilo Cienfuegos, and the Unesco-protected Bahía de Buenavista.

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Medium 9781628872323

4 LUCERNE

Fisher, Teresa FrommerMedia ePub

A Lucerne city view with the Court Church

L ucerne ( Luzern in German) and its magnificent lake represent the very essence of Switzerland, located at the heart of Switzerland not only geographically and historically, but also spiritually. For this is storybook Switzerland, the fabled homeland of William Tell, where the seeds were sown in 1291 that led to the Swiss Confederation (see box p. 112). Little wonder that this historic city, with its world-class museums, rich cultural scene, and fairytale setting—beside a vast, shimmering lake and against a rugged backdrop of dense green forests and snowcapped mountains—is one of Switzerland’s most popular tourist destinations.

Essentials

The Lucerne Tourist Office website is www.luzern.com.

Arriving    Lucerne has excellent train connections. Situated at the junction of four major rail lines, it is connected with every other major city in Switzerland by fast train. Allow 50 minutes from Zurich, 11⁄2 hours from Bern, and around 3 hours from Geneva. Call  0900/300 300 (www.sbb.ch) for rail schedules.

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Medium 9781628873368

2 THE BEST SPECIAL-INTEREST TOURS: Ancient Rome, Baroque Rome, The Best Museums, The Best Churches, Best Piazzas, Underground Rome, Vatican City

Elizabeth Heath FrommerMedia ePub

A shaft of heavenly light illuminates the interior of St. Peter’s Basilica.Ancient Rome

I
n towering brick or crumbling marble, the awe-inspiring ruins
of ancient Rome are concentrated in the archaeological park south of the
centro storico
. Drenched in history, dotted with umbrella pines and ridiculously picturesque, are such famed sights as the Forum and the Colosseum, as well as the most sacred hills of Rome, the Capitoline and the Palatine. Bring a bottle of water (refill it at the icy-cold spigot along the Via Sacra in the Forum or from an ancient spring—yes really!—on the Palatine) and a picnic, and wear comfortable shoes for this half- or full-day tour. In summer, avoid these sites during the intense heat of midday.
Start:
Take bus 30, 95, 170, or 628 to Via del Teatro di Marcello, or take bus 40, 62, 64, 70, 87, or 492 to Via d’Aracoeli or Piazza Venezia, and walk.
The arched walls of the Teatro di Marcello.❶ ★ Teatro di Marcello. The familiar arches of this 1st-century-b.c. theater, used for plays and concerts, inspired the design of the Colosseum, built 100 years later. Via del Teatro di Marcello.

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Medium 9781760342760

Upper Galilee & Golan الجليل الاولى هضبة الجولان הגליל העליון רמת הגולן

Planet, Lonely Lonely Planet Publications ePub

The rolling, green hills of the Upper Galilee (the area north of Rte 85) and the wild plateaus and peaks of the Golan Heights offer an incredible variety of activities to challenge the body and the soul and to nourish the stomach and the mind. Domestic tourists flock to the area – some are looking for luxurious tzimmerim (B&Bs), boutique wineries and gourmet country restaurants, while others come in search of superb hiking, cycling and horse riding, white-water rafting and even skiing. The region has still more attractions, including dazzling carpets of spring wildflowers, some of the world’s best birdwatching and the spiritual charms of Tsfat, the most important centre of Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) for over five centuries. The entire region, its summits refreshingly cool in summer, is just a short drive from the Christian sites and refreshing beaches of the Sea of Galilee.

ADec–Mar Skiing on Mt Hermon – if there’s enough snow.

AFeb–Aug Spring flowers bloom earliest in the Hula Valley, latest on Mt Hermon.

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Medium 9780762780983

Beer Festivals

Williams, Lee Globe Pequot PDF

Beer Festivals

T

here simply isn’t a better way to try a bunch of new beers at one time than going to a beer festival. Want to try a hard-to-find beer before buying it? Interested in sampling some quality craft brew that’s not sold locally in your hometown? If you consider yourself a beer lover and you haven’t been to a beer fest before, find the nearest event and go. Immediately.

January

Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival

Vail Cascade Resort & Spa, 1300 Westhaven Dr., Vail, Colorado 81657; bigbeersfestival​

.com; @BigBeersFest

B

ig Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival takes place each January in the snow-covered ski-resort town of Vail at the Cascade Resort & Spa. The emphasis, as you might have surmised from the name of the festival, is squarely on strong

Belgian-inspired beer styles, warming barleywines, and American strong ales. The festival is one of the most well received and attended in the state. Head brewers from many of the best breweries in the nation attend, hosting seminars and epic beer dinners and sharing their creations. If your tastes lean more toward big sweet barleywines, strong dark Belgians, and generally beers that pack a punch in terms of aroma, flavor, and boozy heat, then attending this festival is a no brainer. Many breweries brew beers especially for this festival, so it is also great for those who go out of their way to taste the rarest and newest American craft-beer creations. Since it is a strong ale festival, pacing your intake is essential, even if you consider yourself a “seasoned” drinker. If there is a downside to the festival, it’s cost. Vail isn’t cheap off-season, and a high-end beer festival hosted at the spa during peak ski season is expensive. It’s definitely worth attending once; just be prepared to save your pennies beforehand.

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Medium 9781556501739

Geneva & The Valais

Krista Dana Hunter Publishing ePub

The Valais region encompasses Switzerland's most rugged terrain. Our coverage extends from the gateway city of Geneva to the upper reaches of the Walliser Alps along the Italian frontier. Visitors are apt to enter the region in Geneva, a small, cosmopolitan city between the border of France and the western end of Lake Geneva, known in French as Lac Leman. The city bustles with the business of international organizations, plays along a garden-lined lakefront, and harbors a pleasant pedestrian old town.

The city of Lausanne lies across the lake, drawing visitors for its own pleasant lakefront and the Olympic Games History Museum. Beyond, in the Valais region, protrudes the magnificent Matterhorn Peak, with famed Zermatt at its foot and secluded Saas-Fee just over the hill.

(Genve)

Population: 184,758

Base elevation: 374 m/1,227 feet

Gateway city

While Geneva's cuisine, language, and fashion sense reveal its French heritage, the city's people are today a cosmopolitan mix of over 200 nationalities. As home to some 250 international organizations and host to thousands of conventions, trade fairs, and meetings each year, Geneva enjoys a reputation as the world's neutral ground. Over the years, it has also garnered nicknames such as "the world's smallest big city," "city of parks," "city of peace," and even the lofty "capital of human knowledge." Geneva is an ideal gateway to the Alps.

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Medium 9781609520847

The Risky Path

Lavinia Spalding Travelers' Tales ePub

HOLLY MORRIS

The Risky Path

How do you keep your fears from shrinking your world?

The dirt lane that passes through Porabari, a village on the Dhaleswari River, in Bangladesh, is lined with dozens of nondescript wooden crates stacked on top of one another. A waft of hot cooking oil from a nearby food stand makes its way through the sweltering air. A dozen men, women, and children offer curious, placid stares as I walk past the crates. Sweat streams down my face and body, but it’s not the 98-degree heat and punishing humidity that leave me sopping. It’s raw panic. Some of the crates appear to move, ever so slightly. One jiggles. A devilish forked tongue flickers out of a slit.

Snakes, I think to myself with Indiana Jones dread. It had to be snakes.

All my life, I’ve had nightmares about snakes; in these dreams, serpents wrap around my head in a twisted tiara and across my neck in mocking threat. Awake, my fear has diminished me, limited my experience. I’ve walked miles to avoid crossing giant rock fields (likely snake habitats) and passed up the opportunity to fish alpine lakes teeming with cutthroat trout but reputed to have rattlers, because I know an encounter will leave me an irrational mess. This fear, stuck in my craw for decades now, may not be just about snakes. I have a hunch it’s somehow related to my Big Fear: a life of stagnation, of narrowed options, of arriving at the pearly gates with a rucksack of regret. More than a decade ago, when desk life felt stultifying, I looked at fear and renamed it potential. I quit my steady job to travel the globe in search of women who live by their inner compass and make change in the world. I found a professional outlet for that ethos by making these women the focus of a travel series, Adventure Divas, and sold it to PBS. Then I hit the road to produce the program.

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Medium 9781743214664

Latvia

Planet, Lonely Lonely Planet Publications ePub

Tucked between Estonia to the north and Lithuania to the south, Latvia is the meat of the Baltic sandwich. We’re not implying that the neighbouring nations are slices of white bread, but Latvia is the savoury middle, loaded with interesting fillings. Rīga is the main ingredient and the country’s cosmopolitan nexus; the Gauja Valley pines provide a thick layer of greens; onion-domed cathedrals sprout above regional towns; cheesy Euro-pop blares along coastal beaches; and the whole thing is peppered with Baltic-German, Swedish, Tsarist Russian and Soviet spice.

Travelling here is easy, language difficulties rarely arise and the simple allure of beaches, forests, castles and history-steeped streets holds plenty of appeal. Latvia may not provide the all-you-can-eat feast of other, more high-profile destinations, but it makes a tasty addition to any European menu.

AJun–Aug Summer starts with an all-night solstice romp; then it’s off to the beach.

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Medium 9781603448147

10. December—American Alligators of the Everglades

Gary W. Vequist Texas A&M University Press ePub

10. December

American Alligators of the Everglades

Winter in the Everglades sounds like an oxymoron, but there is indeed a noticeable winter season. Instead of snow and subfreezing temperatures, relative dryness and pleasant temperatures characterize the region (versus the steamy heat of summer). Winter in the Everglades is also characterized by increased biodiversity as northern migrants join the resident wildlife. Scores of wading birds and waterfowl seem to occupy every waterhole. And lurking in the water and along the shores are the ubiquitous alligators, waiting for a chance to lunge at unsuspecting prey. Far from being a quiet season, December in the Everglades can be action-packed.

What’s Remarkable about Alligators?

Almost all aspects of the American alligator are fascinating, from their bone-crunching jaws to their hundreds of millions of years of evolution to their unique anatomical and physiological features. One particularly odd alligator characteristic that is both remarkable and cause for conservation concern is the fact that the temperature of the nest almost solely determines the sex of newborn alligators. If the nest temperature is 86 degrees or lower all of the young will be female, whereas if the nest temperature is 93 degrees or higher all of the young will be male (nests in the midrange can produce both sexes). The primary determinant of the temperature seems to be the material the nest is built of. Nests constructed of leaves tend to be hotter than those constructed of moist marsh vegetation. Over their hundreds of millions of years of evolution alligators have somehow managed to find a nice balance, so there’s always enough males and females to keep the species going. But what happens under climate change? Could we end up having all male young, or will the alligators adjust by using moister and cooler material to construct their nests?

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Medium 9781743217702

Directory A–Z

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

For more accommodation reviews by Lonely Planet authors, check out http://lonelyplanet.com/hotels/. You’ll find independent reviews, as well as recommendations on the best places to stay. Best of all, you can book online.

Brazilian accommodations range from battered, windowless cells to sumptuous seaside guesthouses, with many possibilities in between. Nearly every pousada (guesthouse), hostel and hotel serves some form of café da manha (breakfast). Private rooms with communal bathrooms are called quartos. Rooms with a private bathroom are apartamentos.

At the bottom end of the price scale, you'll find cheap hotel rooms outside of major cities and resort areas. Expect a bare room with nothing but a bed and maybe a fan.

Midrange listings are usually comfortable but not stylish, with decent beds, air-conditioning, hot-water bathrooms and cable TV. The top end offers more spacious digs, with maybe a veranda, a pool and other amenities. Many midrange and top-end hotels have safes in the rooms for storing valuables.

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Medium 9781743216859

Venice & the Veneto

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

Venice really needs no introduction. This incomparable union of art, architecture and life has been a fabled destination for centuries. No matter how many photographs, films or paintings you've seen, the reality is more surprising and romantic than you could ever imagine. Most of the world’s most famous writers and artists have visited to admire the mosaics of San Marco, the Old Masters in the Accademia and the city’s maze of calle (lanes) and canals. They’ve written and painted Venice into the world’s imagination, so it is no wonder that tourists outnumber locals by two to one on summer days.

Beyond Venice, the Veneto region is often overlooked but is no less enticing. Giotto’s spectacular frescoes in Padua, Palladio’s elegant architecture in Vicenza, Verona’s romantic riverside location and the Unesco-designated landscapes of the Dolomites would be unmissable anywhere else. So take our advice: love Venice then leave her. You won’t regret it.

AJan & Feb Snow-covered gondolas, skiers in the Dolomites and Carnevale parties in Venice.

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Medium 9781742208770

West Hollywood & Beverly Hills

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

In West Hollywood, rainbow flags fly proudly over Santa Monica Blvd and the set-piece Sunset Strip is where Hollywood has mingled for decades. Of course, ever since Will Rogers founded it, Beverly Hills has been the standard-bearer of Angelino wealth and power. And there remains ample bling on her boulevards.

MBreakfast at Luca on Sunset, then hike Runyon Canyon before it gets too hot. Afterwards, meander down to Melrose Ave to enjoy a long shop that starts off high end with Reformation and Nudie Jeans and ends in that mosh pit of kitsch between Fairfax and La Brea.

RMake like Larry King and grab a classic deli sandwich at Nate ̓n Al in Beverly Hills or head down the block for a Mediterranean lunch with a twist at Momed, a stroll along Rodeo Dr and a digression into Barneys.

NBegin with a cracked-ice cocktail at Comme Ca, where the menu will likely be inviting, but if you manage to put off dinner consider a reservation at Hakkasan or industry haunt Grill on the Alley. Unless you plan on catching a show at Groundlings, after dinner make the drive to the legendary Bar Marmont and stay awhile.

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Medium 9781628871500

8 Earthy Delights: Europe

Pepper Schwartz FrommerMedia ePub

8

Earthy Delights: Europe

If you thought that Europe’s glories all reside in its cities, think again. Some of the most soul-stirring spots in the UK, Ireland, Italy, France, and the other countries of Europe are rural and not only that, wonderfully serene. Which makes them perfect places to head to when you and your honey want to have a vacation that’s both wonderfully relaxing and often intellectually stimulating.

Cotswolds, England

Strolling through Storybook England

This is quintessential rural and village England. It is totally charming—but you could have a lot of company, particularly in summer and early fall. For romance, that makes a shoulder-season visit a great idea. High season is July through August. Aim for spring or late fall to avoid having your sentimental journey to the Cotswolds run over by tour buses.

One of the best ways to see the adorable villages, quaint inns, and gentle landscape is on foot. Numerous tour operators can take you on short or long hikes to famous towns as well as tiny villages off the tourist path. Walk the Landscape (www.walkthelandscape.co.uk) and Compass Holidays (www.compass-holidays.com) organize guided and self-guided hikes in the Cotswolds.

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Medium 9781742209920

Orkney & Shetland

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

Up here at Britain's top end it can feel more Scandinavian than Scottish, and no wonder. For the Vikings, the jaunt across the North Sea from Norway was as easy as a stroll down to the local mead hall and they soon controlled these windswept, treeless archipelagos, laying down longhouses alongside stony remains of ancient prehistoric settlements.

An ancient magic hovers in the air above Orkney and Shetland, endowing them with an allure that lodges firmly in the soul. It's in the misty seas, where seals, whales and porpoises patrol lonely coastlines; it's in the air, where squadrons of seabirds wheel above huge nesting colonies; and it's on land, where standing stones catch late summer sunsets and strains of folk music disperse in the air before the wind gusts shut the pub door. These islands reward the journey.

AJan Shetland's Up Helly Aa: horned helmets and burning Viking ships on the beach.

AJun Orkney rocks to the St Magnus Festival: book accommodation ahead.

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Medium 9780892729425

Route 11

John Gibson Down East Books ePub

Route 11

Belfast – Lincolnville Center Searsmont – Liberty

Highway: Routes 52, 173, 220

Distance: 26.5 miles (one way)

HERE is a fine afternoon drive through rolling, back-of-the-midcoast hill country, where you’ll travel from the appealing waterside city of Belfast to the tiny inland town of Liberty. Midcoast Maine is one of the state’s most attractive regions, but too many visitors cling only to the overbusy, narrow coastal strip. Behind the coastal zone, a setting of hillside farms, low mountains, scenic ponds, and quiet villages lies, ready for the visiting. The roads connecting these sights roam over rock ribs and hills, cut across fields of uncut hay, and lumber through sleepy crossroads. Nearly devoid of traffic, roads in this region are reminiscent of the kinds of drives older Mainers remember from their childhood, and that many big-city visitors lamentably have never seen. Here are those same roads today, awaiting the traveler’s attention.

First, Belfast, itself, is worth a visit. Before starting out, spend some hours in this nicely situated old city, with its architecturally distinctive downtown, shops, restaurants, bookstores, railroad terminal, marina, and classic movie theater. Belfast perches on a hillside over a splendid bay fed by the broad Passagassawakeag River. The bay, in turn, dotted with sailing and power craft, leads southeast to the open Atlantic. Belfast is easy to cotton to.

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