2093 Slices
Medium 9781743607107

West Madeira

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

West of Funchal is where the Madeiran sun shines brightest, with long light-filled days, dramatic sunsets and millions of the island's sweet miniature bananas and Malvasia grapes ripening in the heat. Varied and scenically dramatic, there's a lot to see and do off the slow road west, from the fishing traditions of Câmara de Lobos to the cutting-edge art of Calheta.

MAs with other parts of the island, you'll need a car to see everything in a long day. Take the slow road from Funchal's Hotel Zone to Câmara de Lobos, to perhaps see the last of the village's fishers bringing in the catch. From there take the Via Rápida (south coast road) to delightful Ribeira Brava for a look around the Museu Etnográfico da Madeira and lunch on the seafront at Borda D'Agua.

RBack on the road, your next stop is Calheta and its unexpectedly striking Casa das Mudas gallery of contemporary art. Still in Calheta, drive down to the artificial beach for a dip in the Atlantic and a coffee.

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Medium 9781741795240

An Award-Winning Performance

Simon Winchester Lonely Planet ePub

Deborah Steg took her first transatlantic trip when she was two months old. Since then she has been smitten with a passion to travel. She lives in New York City.

As I was walking along the Croisette towards the far end of the Bay of Cannes, I noticed a large crowd in the distance resembling a beehive surrounded by worker bees. It was a balmy spring afternoon at the height of the Cannes Film Festival, and the sun was just starting to set. The sky was a deep cerulean blue with ribbons of white clouds streaked across the horizon. This location seemed too far from the centre of town for a photo shoot or celebrity interview, and as I approached I realised that it was just locals and tourists dressed casually and gathered curiously around the aftermath of an accident. Rather than styled and coiffed celebrities, there were several policemen on the scene and a large tow truck that was blocking the lane that led back to the centre of town.

Somehow I knew I would find my mother in the mêlée – and there she was, chatting to a very distressed looking Claudia Schiffer doppelganger. She didn’t even notice me come up behind her. From what I could piece together from overhearing the eyewitnesses’ accounts to the police, a car had come careening down the Croisette too fast and hit one of the parked cars, a white Mercedes-Benz that was now parked kerbside and looked like its driver’s side had been used in a crash test. The other vehicle, a Fiat, had not fared as well. The car had flipped over upon impact and looked like a large sardine can.

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Medium 9781786572356

Western Anatolia Highlights

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

Ancient ruins scatter this region where civilisations once prospered. On street corners and windblown plateaus, weathered inscriptions and chipped statues tell the stories of the Phrygians, Greeks, Romans, Ottomans and others. Wonderfully, because most of Western Anatolia’s ruins are off the tourist circuit, at some sites it might be just you, the Anatolian wind and a ticket salesman who is keen to chat. Arrive early or late to have vast theatres and civic squares to yourself.

The ruins of Hierapolis, a multicultural spa city in Roman and Byzantine times, stand in decaying splendour atop Pamukkale’s famous snow-white mountain of travertine rock formations.

Splendiferous Afrodisias boasts two of western Turkey’s most photogenic relics. The tetrapylon (monumental gateway) welcomed travellers when Afrodisias was the provincial capital of Roman Caria, and the 30,000-seat stadium still echoes with the roars of gladiators and spectators.

The Roman ruins of Sagalassos, which was also a major Pisidian city, are scattered in an unbeatably poetic location at an altitude of 1500m in the Taurus Mountains.

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Medium 9781742208022

The East

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

Welcome to a different Sri Lanka. You've probably experienced the booming beach resorts in the south and west. Maybe you're searching for somewhere a little less developed, a coastline that retains a more earthy, local feel. Well, the East might just be that place.

A mellow, emerging region, there's near-zero package tourism here – most places to stay are family-run guesthouses and small hotels. Still a little raw around the edges, the East remains primarily a land of fishing villages, sandy lanes, chickens in the yard and tradition. It's a culturally fascinating combination of ocean-orientated Muslim communities, astonishing Hindu temples, crumbling colonial forts, dazzling markets and a coastline of killer surf, hidden bays and stretch-for-miles white sand beaches.

Sure, there's the odd blot on the landscape. But with vastly improved infrastructure – upgraded highways, new bridges and better train and air links – the East will not remain a country cousin for long.

AMar–Apr The most reliable months for spotting blue whales in the seas off Trincomalee.

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Medium 9781743218716

Central Thailand

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

The past is never far behind in central Thailand. Cycle around the temple ruins in Ayuthaya and you can imagine how grand this former capital must have once been. Visit the memorials and Death Railway in Kanchanaburi and you'll find new empathy for the WWII prisoners of war who suffered there.

Central Thailand doesn't just do history, though. Nature is a major player here, with the jagged mountain ranges that dominate Kanchanaburi's horizons hosting spectacular waterfalls, deep caves and some of Thailand's few remaining wild tigers. In the region's multi-ethnic northwest, lethargic Sangkhlaburi encourages lakeside lazing near the gateway to Myanmar, or you can sleep among the trees in lush Thong Pha Phum National Park.

Lopburi combines both nature and history in its own unique way, as hundreds of monkeys scamper among the Khmer-era temples in what was once Thailand's second capital.

ACentral Thailand experiences the country’s three seasons in equal measure: hot from February to June, rainy from June to October and cool (relatively speaking) from October to January. The one constant is the humidity.

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