1192 Chapters
Medium 9781628873122

13 THE MOSELLE VALLEY

Stephen Brewer FrommerMedia ePub

Stately Burg Eltz castle, at the north end of the Moselle Valley.

Driving along the Moselle River, you’ll encounter some of the most breathtaking views in Germany. A tributary to the deeper and faster-flowing Rhine, the Moselle River slowly twists and turns, carving a path through the countryside as it cuts through western Germany from France via Luxemburg. It’s a quiet area, the landscape its claim to fame, with lush vineyards sloping up the river banks giving way to evergreen forests. Roman ruins and castles dot the area as well, a testament to the wealth that once inhabited the area thanks to medieval trading routes. It’s the ideal place to join a relaxing river cruise, go for a restorative hike, or indulge in delicious regional cuisine, including some of Germany’s best wines, all grown locally.

The Moselle (Mosel in German) springs out of the Vosges hills of France; after reaching Trier, on the western German border, the river snakes along 193 kilometers (120 miles) to Koblenz at such a slow pace, people can easily canoe, kayak, or hop aboard a cruise to enjoy the river at its level. Riverside is the best way to appreciate the valley, though scenic views can be had on several roads connecting the small towns along the river banks. However one chooses to travel downstream, the former Roman city of Trier is a great jumping-off point for the area.

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Medium 9781628872644

3 EXPLORING WALT DISNEY WORLD

Jason Cochran FrommerMedia ePub

3

Exploring Walt Disney World

On November 22, 1963, around the time President John Kennedy was embarking on his public motorcade in Dallas, Walt Disney was in a private jet, conducting his first flyover of some ignored Florida swampland. By the end of the day, as Disney decided this was the place he wanted to shape in the image of his dreams, America had changed in more ways than one.

While the country reeled, Disney snapped up land through dummy companies. His cover was blown in 1965, but the fix was in: His company had mopped up an area twice the size of Manhattan, 27,443 acres, from just $180 an acre. Disneyland East was coming. Today, it’s the most popular vacation destination on the planet, and its four theme parks receive more than 50 million combined visits a year.

It’s no accident that Walt, a seller of fantasies, enjoyed his peaks during two periods of profound malaise: the Great Depression and the Cold War. It’s also no coincidence that his theme parks flowered while America was riven with self-doubt—the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, the death of Kennedy, and Watergate. His parks are, by design, comforting. They tell you how to feel and where to go, and in reinforcing uncomplicated impressions of history and the world, they never make you feel stupid or left behind. Ironically, what made his reassuring message of simplicity work was complex intelligence, specifically, the relentless drive for technological innovation and revolutionary engineering.

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Medium 9781628872767

3 WHERE TO STAY

Pauline Frommer FrommerMedia ePub

3

Where to Stay

Time now for a change of mood. In a book that celebrates the fun and attractions of New York, it’s necessary for just a short while—the length of this chapter—to deal with a far less pleasant topic: the overpriced accommodations of New York. By and large, hotels in Gotham charge more than hotels anywhere else in the U.S. (an average of $291 per night) for rooms that often aren’t nearly as spacious or full of amenities. Why? A record 58.3 million people visited NYC in 2015, keeping occupancy rates at over 85% for much of the year. Hotels can charge pretty much whatever they darn please . . . and most do.

Though I admit this unpleasant fact, I’m not discouraged by it. Bargains can be found in all price categories. Values exist. And this chapter will introduce you to the very best of them, as well as to a few worthy splurges, for those willing to splash out.

Furthermore, the hotels in this book are hotels that could only exist in the Big Apple. They will give you a more authentic experience than staying in a place chosen randomly over the Internet—and that, in the end, will make up for the high cost of lodgings here. I promise.

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Medium 9781628871487

5 CASTILLA-LA MANCHA

Harris, Patricia FrommerMedia ePub

A windmill in the La Mancha region of central Spain.

In popular imagination, La Mancha is a vast, arid plain where Don Quijote does battle with windmills. As you travel the region, you will find that every hillock seems to be topped with an old-fashioned windmill or the ruins of a medieval castle. The countryside is a land of olive trees, herds of sheep, and vast tracts of wine grapes, but the cities of Castilla-La Mancha are another story. Crowning high bluffs above the plains’ few rivers, the cities are visionary places. Every culture from the Romans onward has made Toledo a citadel on the plain: From its castellated walls, defenders could see attackers coming from days away. But their heights proved as important to art as to war. El Greco looked out from the walls of Toledo and saw the earth far below but the heavens at eye level—a perspective repeated again and again in his paintings of the Ascension. A millennium younger, Cuenca recapitulates the geography of Toledo in easternmost La Mancha, perching at a seemingly impossible height far above its river gorge. In the 20th century, Cuenca became a haven for artists who found in its improbable verticality inspiration for abstract flights of fancy. Cuenca’s casas colgadas, or “hanging houses,” cling to the edges, a perfect balancing act between solid ground and soaring faith.

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Medium 9781628870886

11 The Keys & the Dry Tortugas

Appell, David Paul FrommerMedia ePub

11

The Keys & the Dry Tortugas

The drive from Miami to the Keys is a slow descent into an unusual, often breathtaking American ecosystem, some stretches with nothing but emerald waters on either side. (On weekends, however, you’ll also see plenty of traffic in front of and behind you.) Strung out across the Atlantic like loose strands of cultured pearls, more than 400 islands make up this 150-mile-long necklace.

Despite the usually calm landscape, these rocky isles can be treacherous, as tropical storms, hurricanes, and tornadoes are always possibilities. The exposed coast poses dangers to those on land as well as at sea.

When Spanish explorers Juan Ponce de León and Antonio de Herrera sailed amid these craggy rocks in 1513, they and their men dubbed the islands “Los Mártires” (The Martyrs) because they thought the rocks looked like men suffering in the surf. It wasn’t until the early 1800s that rugged and ambitious pioneers, who amassed fortunes by salvaging cargo from ships sunk nearby, settled the larger islands. (Legend has it that the shipwrecks were sometimes caused by these “wreckers,” who removed navigational markers from the shallows to lure unwitting captains aground.) At the height of the salvaging mania in the 1830s, Key West boasted the U.S.’s highest per-capita income.

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