5693 Slices
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Medium 9781742201993

Big Bend & West Texas

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

Big Bend West Texas

Welcome to the land of wide open spaces. Along I-10 there’s not much to look at – just scrub brush and lots of sky – but dip below the interstate and you’ll find vistas that are as captivating as they are endless. Sometimes the rugged terrain looks like the backdrop in an old Western movie; other times it looks like an alien landscape, with huge rock formations suddenly jutting out of the desert.

But what is there to do? Plenty. Exploring an enormous national park that’s nearly the size of Rhode Island. Stopping in small towns that surprise you with minimalist art, planet-watching parties or fascinating ghost-town ruins. Chatting with friendly locals whenever the mood strikes you. And letting the delicious slowness of west Texas get thoroughly under your skin.

Jan Feb Forget winter w eather – the desert is moderate and dry.

Mar–May Prime time: the weather is still cool and wildflowers are in bloom.

Jul Aug If you can take the heat, you’ll avoid a lot of the crowds.

» Reata (Click here)

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Medium 9781743210239

Food & Drink

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

If we’re honest, you probably didn’t choose Germany for its food, right? But the culinary revolution that has been simmering for years under the sausage-cabbage-and-carbs layers is now finally bubbling to surface. Up and down the country you’ll come across chefs playing up local, seasonal produce and making healthy and creative street food. There are exciting riffs on vegetarian and vegan food, and organic everything. Even some wines these days can rival the French and Italian old-timers. So dig in and drink up – you might just be surprised.

The German love of nature and eye for quality is reflected in what lands on the table. Long before 'seasonal' and 'local' were buzzwords, Germans made the most of locally grown produce. Menus burst with Spargel (asparagus) in spring and Pfifferlinge (chanterelles) in summer. In autumn the earthy delights of game, pumpkins and wild mushrooms enchant. Regional food at its best is about perfect timing, top-quality ingredients and dishes with natural, integral flavours.

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Medium 9780253001238

5 The Beach

George Gmelch Indiana University Press ePub

5    THE BEACH

It is the clichéd sun, sand, and sea that still draw the most visitors to the Caribbean, though there is increasing interest in alternatives to the beach, such as adventure and heritage tourism. Few places have been more inspirational in our leisure life than the beach, note Lena Lencek and Gideon Bosker in The Beach: The History of Paradise on Earth (1998). These sandy stretches capture our imaginations with more directness, and in the industrialized world, beaches have served as places of retreat and relaxation.

The beach is a playground. The opportunities for recreation range from the active (swimming or snorkeling in the warm turquoise sea, diving the coral reefs, parasailing, water-skiing, and jet-skiing) to the passive (relaxing in a lounge chair, reading, sunbathing, and people-watching). The possibilities of romance and sex are also part of the allure. Barbados's travel brochures, like those for most tropical destinations, portray the island's beaches as sites for sexual adventures. The brochures feature color photographs of bikini-clad bronzed women lying on the sand or frolicking in the sea or beautiful, anatomically perfect couples holding hands while strolling on the beach at sunset or gazing at night into the velvety horizon, drinks in hand (Lencek and Bosker 1998). The language of the brochures appeals to our fantasies; they talk of “romantic interludes” and “tropical escapades” (Chambers 2000).

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Medium 9781742208787

Old Town Square & Staré Město

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

Staré Město (Old Town), with its evocative medieval square, maze of alleyways, and quirky sights like the Astronomical Clock, is the beating heart of the historic centre. Its origins date back to the 10th century, when a marketplace emerged on the Vltava’s eastern bank. A thousand years later, it’s as alive as ever, and surprisingly little changed by time.

MFor the quietest experience and most magical views of Charles Bridge, start your morning as early as possible. Start on the Malá Strana side and cross the bridge towards the Old Town. Be sure to climb the Old Town Bridge Tower. Then make a beeline for the Astronomical Clock to catch the famous hourly chiming before the tourist crowds start to multiply.

RAfterwards, take the lift up the Old Town Hall Tower for views over Old Town Sq and the historic centre. Have a leisurely lunch at Kalina, sampling gourmet versions of Czech dishes from the tasting menu. Then, wander the quaint cobblestone backstreets around Betlémské náměstí, stopping in to see Jan Hus’ old stomping ground at Bethlehem Chapel.

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Medium 9781743214695

Belarus

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

Eastern Europe’s outcast, Belarus (Беларус) lies at the edge of the region and seems determined to avoid integration with the rest of the continent at all costs. Taking its lead from the Soviet Union rather than the European Union, this little-visited dictatorship may seem like a strange choice for travellers, but its isolation lies at the heart of its appeal.

While the rest of Eastern Europe has charged headlong into capitalism, Belarus allows the chance to visit a Europe with minimal advertising and no litter or graffiti. Outside the monumental Stalinist capital of Minsk, Belarus offers a simple yet pleasing landscape of cornflower fields, thick forests and picturesque villages. The country also offers two excellent national parks and is home to Europe’s largest mammal, the zoobr (or European bison). While travellers will always be subject to curiosity, they’ll also be on the receiving end of warm hospitality and genuine welcome.

AJun–Aug Come to Belarus to escape the crowds elsewhere in Eastern Europe.

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Medium 9780892725854

Nash Island and Moose Peak Lights

Caldwell, Bill Down East Books ePub

Nash Island Light, on the smaller of two Nash Islands, marks the entrance to Pleasant Bay, leaving Cape Split to starboard. This has long been prime lobstering ground for fishermen from Jonesport, and lobster buoys can be thicker than flies. First built in 1838 under President Martin Van Buren, it was rebuilt and greatly improved in 1873 under President Ulysses S. Grant.

When Captain John F. Purrington was keeper, he had so many children there, five miles out from Jonesport, that he had a schoolroom built and a teacher hired for them. After they had finished grammar school on the island, they were sent to board on the mainland during term, so they could attend high school in Jonesport.

The light was unmanned and automated in 1958, 120 years after it had been first built.

Moose Peak Light, on the point of Mistake Island, was built in 1827, while John Quincy Adams was president.

Jonesport, five miles away, is the nearest town for mail and supplies. In summer, keepers could take the inside passage behind Head Harbor Island, past the Spectacle Islands, and into Moosabec Reach to do their chores ashore at Jonesport. But in winter, it was a hard run outside Head Harbor Island down to Mark Island, and thence along the Reach to town. Either required careful seamanship, for, during the sixteen years between 1919 to 1935, Moose Point Light endured more dense fog than any other spot along the Maine coast.

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Medium 9781743215777

Southeastern Anatolia

Planet, Lonely Lonely Planet Publications ePub

Southeastern Anatolia is a unique part of Turkey, and apart from small Arabic and Christian pockets, this expansive region is predominantly Kurdish and extremely welcoming to visitors. Choose from a menu of historical cities, including Mardin, on a hill dominating Mesopotamia; Şanlıurfa, swathed in historical mystique and featuring the incredible temple of Göbekli Tepe; the old city of Diyarbakır, ensnared in mighty basalt walls; and the endangered honey-coloured riverside town of Hasankeyf. Move on to Nemrut Dağı (Mt Nemrut), topped with colossal ancient statues, or shimmering Lake Van, edged with snowcapped mountains. Wonderfully isolated spots include Darende and the perfect hilltop village of Savur, while Gaziantep is a must-visit destination for its astounding mosaics and superb local food. A few places could be off limits to foreigners when you visit – mainly near the borders with Iraq and Syria – but most of southeastern Anatolia is safe and accessible to independent travellers.

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Medium 9781628872545

7 THE WESTERN HIGHLANDS & THE GULF OF CHIRIQUí

Nicholas Gill FrommerMedia ePub

7

The Western Highlands & the Gulf of Chiriquí

Western Panama is home to the cool highlands of the Chiriquí Province, a tropical mountain paradise brimming with lush rainforest and trout-filled streams, and dotted with storybook villages nestled on the verdant slopes of the region’s dominant peak, the 3,478m (11,410-ft.) Barú Volcano. Given the region’s fertile soil and ideal year-round temperatures, the Chiriquí area is Panama’s agricultural breadbasket, and many of the mountain’s valleys and hillsides are blanketed with a colorful patchwork of fruit trees, vegetable fields, and coffee plantations—one of the country’s signature products. The air is fresh and sweet here, and the roads that wind through the peaks and valleys overflow with pretty pink and white impatiens and exotic blooms.

The Chiriquí Highlands region is a mecca for adventure, and travelers can participate in activities such as white-water rafting and kayaking Class II to Class V rivers, canopy rides, or hiking through primeval forest dripping with vines and bromeliads and interlaced with creeks. Laidback activities include scenic drives and tours of coffee plantations or orchid farms. The Chiriquí region is well known as a hot spot for bird-watching, and hundreds of species have been recorded in the area, including showcase birds such as the resplendent quetzal, blue cotinga, trogons, and toucans. The region is a corridor for migratory species that pass through from November to April.

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Medium 9781742203010

Vancouver, Whistler & Vancouver Island

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

Vancouver, Whistler & Vancouver Island

Visitors to Canada’s westernmost province are never short of superlatives when typing their travel blogs. It’s hard not to be moved by looming mountains, wildlife-packed forests and uncountable kilometers of pristine coastline that slow your heartbeat like a spa treatment. But British Columbia (BC) is much more than just a nature-hugging diorama.

Cosmopolitan Vancouver is an animated fusion of cuisines and cultures from Asia and beyond, while historic Victoria and resort town Whistler have their own vibrant, alluring scenes. And for sheer character, it’s hard to beat the province’s kaleidoscope of quirky little communities, from the rustic Sunshine Coast to the laid-back Southern Gulf Islands.

Wherever you head, of course, the great outdoors will always be calling. Don’t just point your camera at it. BC is unbeatable for the kind of life-enhancing skiing, kayaking, hiking and biking you’ll want to brag about to everyone back home.

Dec–Mar Powder action stripes the slopes of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains.

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Medium 9780870817212

Circuit Hikes From Access Points on the West Side

Jack P. Hailman University Press of Colorado ePub

“West is best,” according to some enthusiasts. Despite the popularity of the park’s East Side, which is easily accessible from Estes Park and much of the northern Front Range, some of the most rewarding hikes can be found on Rocky’s West Side.

The seven accounts in this section are ordered geographically by access point from north to south along US 34. The Grand Ditch Circuit is accessible only from the Colorado River Trailhead, but the Red Mountain Circuit can be hiked from four other points as well. The Green Mountain Trailhead serves both the Big Meadows and Green Mountain Circuits, although both can be hiked from alternative access points (we chose to describe Green Mountain from one of them). The Kawuneeche Valley Loops, the imposing Continental Divide Circuit, and the unique Shadow Shore Circuit all have but one direct access point.

Those staying in Timber Creek Campground, the park’s only West Side campground, might enjoy doing a circuit hike that begins near their campsite. If so, the Red Mountain Circuit leaves right from the campground.

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Medium 9781741799262

Beacon Hill & Boston Common

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

Abutted by the Boston Common – the nation’s original public park and the centerpiece of the city – and topped with the gold-domed Massachusetts State House, Beacon Hill is the neighborhood most often featured on Boston postcards. Aside from these two sites (which kick off the Freedom Trail), the retail and residential streets on Beacon Hill are delightfully, quintessentially Boston.

MStart your day with breakfast at the Paramount, which should sustain you for a while. Then dedicate your morning to exploring the first few sites along the Freedom Trail, starting at the Boston Common, touring the Massachusetts State House, and investigating the ancient headstones in the Granary Burying Ground.

RIf the weather is fine, enjoy a picnic lunch in the Public Garden. Your afternoon is free to browse the boutiques and shop for antiques along Charles St (Click here). Take a detour to marvel at the architecture on Louisburg Square and check out the current exhibit at the Museum of Afro-American History.

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Medium 9781742207506

Southern Mallorca

Planet, Lonely Lonely Planet Publications ePub

Southern Mallorca

The fortresslike coastal geography between the Badia de Palma (Bay of Palma) and Colònia de Sant Jordi has preserved this area as one of the least developed of the island. Much of the coast is buffered by tall, nearly impenetrable cliffs splashed with the sapphire blue waters of the Mediterranean. They may not always be very accessible, but their untamed, raw beauty is hypnotising.

Beyond the cliffs are intimate coves and long beaches, true marvels of nature. Whether enclosed tightly by fjord-like cliffs, or silky sweeps of sand backed by pines and junipers, these are some of Mallorca’s best beaches. And best of all, the existence of parks and natural areas, and the proliferation of working farms and rural estates, has, for the most part, kept this part of the island free from the worst excesses of overdevelopment. In other words, this is how all of Mallorca’s coast once looked.

Mallorca’s southern beaches live for the summer, to the extent that you won’t find much going on if you arrive before Easter or after October. That’s not to say you can’t visit at other times: if you do you’re likely to have the place to yourself, including some eerily quiet resort towns with just a handful of restaurants, hotels and shops open. But summer is undoubtedly the best time and you’ll enjoy it most if you seek out southern Mallorca’s resort-free stretches of coastline.

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Medium 9789814423335

You Get What You Pay For

Richard Lord Monsoon Books Pte. Ltd. ePub
"You Get What You Pay For" by Elka Ray 

A short crime fiction story set in Thailand, first published in "Crime Scene Asia, Vol.1" (Monsoon Books, Singapore)

Nobody in their right mind would fly all the way to Thailand only to shop in Prada, but that’s exactly what Candice is doing. She could buy the same stuff back home for less money, since imported luxury goods are heavily taxed here. But, of course, she’s not looking at the price tags. I’m sitting in Starbucks waiting for her, and we’ve been in this mall for more than three hours already. It’s a high-end place, the customers falling into two categories: bewildered-looking tourists in cheap, un-ironed clothes and immaculately turned-out Thai ladies who lunch, all of whom seem to be toting small dogs and five-thousand-dollar handbags. A few of these ladies’ husbands are sitting near me in Starbucks, killing time on their mobiles and iPads. I see the guy at the next table check his Rolex and frown. Moments later, his perfectly-coiffed wife appears, trailing two giant Hermes bags. I check my own watch. Where the hell is Candice? See All Chapters
Medium 9781588437679

Flora & Fauna

Ferne Arfin Hunter Publishing ePub

Green oak and kermes oak, deciduous in other parts of the world, hang onto their leaves and are virtually evergreen here. Other common sights are the tall, slim cypress trees that line roads or form windbreaks on the hills. Pine woods, prone to forest fires in the high summer, include typically Mediterranean Aleppo and Maritime pines. Parasol pines (easy to spot because they look like their name) are distinctive in the headlands above the coast. The shade of micocoulier, (nettle trees) and plane trees give Provenal village squares their typical character.

Since their introduction, at least 2,500 years ago, olive trees have so taken to local conditions that they are often found naturalized, mingled with wild fig and almond trees. In the wild, they can reach as much as 60 feet in height, with trunks of 12 feet or more in circumference.

As with agriculture, other plant life tends to be typical of local microclimates: bamboo along water courses; fragrant herbs such as rosemary, thyme, savory and mint in the garrigues (the arid limestone areas), and sturdy alpines on the higher slopes.

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Medium 9781786570246

The West Coast

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

Hemmed in by the wild Tasman Sea and the Southern Alps, the West Coast is like nowhere else in New Zealand.

The far extremities of the coast have a remote, end-of-the-road feel, from sleepy Karamea surrounded by farms butting up against Kahurangi National Park, to the southern end of State Hwy 6, gateway to NZ's World Heritage areas. In between is an alluring combination of wild coastline, rich wilderness, and history in spades.

Built on the wavering fortunes of gold, coal and timber, the stories of Coast settlers are hair-raising. A hardy and individual breed, they make up less than 1% of NZ’s population, scattered around almost 9% of its land area.

Travellers tend to tick off the ‘must see’ sights of Punakaiki, and Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers, but sights such as Oparara Basin, Okarito Lagoon and the Coast's many lakes will amaze in equal measure.

ADecember through February is peak season, so book accommodation ahead during this period.

AThe shoulder months of October/November and March/April are increasingly busy, particularly around Punakaiki, Hokitika and the Glaciers.

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