1532 Slices
Medium 9781743216781

Varadero & Matanzas Province

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

%45 / Pop 692,536

With a name translating as 'massacres,' Matanzas province conceals an appropriately tumultuous past beneath its modern-day reputation for glam all-inclusive holidays. In the 17th century pillaging pirates ravaged the region's prized north coast, while three centuries later, more invaders grappled ashore in the Bahía de Cochinos (Bay of Pigs) under the dreamy notion that they were about to liberate the nation.

The Bahía de Cochinos attracts more divers than mercenaries these days, while sunbathers rather than pirates invade the northern beaches of Varadero, the vast Caribbean resort and lucrative economic 'cash cow' that stretches 20km along the sandy Península de Hicacos.

Providing a weird juxtaposition is the scruffy city of Matanzas, the music-rich provincial capital that has gifted the world with rumba, danzón, countless grand neoclassical buildings and Santería (the province is the veritable cradle of Afro-Cuban religion). Tourists may be scant here outside of Varadero, but soulful, only-in-Cuba experiences are surprisingly abundant.

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Medium 9781743213889

Canberra & NSW South Coast

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

Journey south from Sydney through the raw beauty of stunning Royal National Park to emerge at laid-back Wollongong, a friendly city framed by excellent beaches and featuring good restaurants and an unpretentious but energetic after-dark scene.

Further south is a roll-call of relaxed coastal towns with a menu of easygoing activities. Go kayaking around Huskisson and Jervis Bay, spy on seals and penguins around Narooma, or learn to surf at Batemans Bay. Migrating whales are the attraction at pretty Eden near the New South Wales (NSW)–Victoria border, and NSW's colonial heritage is celebrated in food-obsessed Berry and sleepy Central Tilba.

Inland from coastal NSW, the stellar museums, galleries and public buildings of the modern city of Canberra tell the story of Australia with poignancy and passion. Emerging neighbourhoods in the national capital like New Acton, Braddon and the Kingston Foreshore are introducing a hip sheen with excellent cafes, bars and restaurants.

AFeb–May (except Easter) Sun’s still shining and kids are back at school.

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Medium 9781742206196

Gold Country

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

Hollywood draws the dreamers and Silicon Valley its fortune-hunters, but this isn't the first time droves of young folk looking to hit paydirt streamed into the Golden State. After a sparkle in the American River caught James Marshall’s eye in 1848, more than 300,000 hungry prospectors from America and abroad started digging for gold in the Sierra foothills. Soon California entered statehood with the official motto, 'Eureka,' solidifying its place as the land of discovery and opportunity.

The miner forty-niners are gone, but a ride along the aptly named Hwy 49 through sleepy hill towns, past clapboard saloons and oak-lined byways, is a journey back to the wild ride that was modern California’s founding. Between the quaint antique stores and sprawling wineries, fading historical markers still tell tales of Gold Rush violence and banditry. Many travelers hardly hit the brakes while rushing between California’s coasts and mountains, but those who slow down will be rewarded with a taste of the helter-skelter era that first kick-started the heartbeat of this state.

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Medium 9781741795240

The Snows of Carrara

Simon Winchester Lonely Planet ePub

Paris-based David Downie writes for leading publications worldwide, from the Australian Financial Review to the San Francisco Sunday Chronicle, Gourmet, Bon Appétit and the London Sunday Times. His latest travel-cookbook is Cooking the Roman Way: Authentic Recipes from the Home Cooks and Trattorias of Rome (www.cookingtheromanway.com). David is currently working on Paris, Paris, a collection of travel essays.

‘The snows of Carrara never melt’, said my wife, Alison, as she read aloud from the guidebook we’d bought a week earlier in the Cinque Terre. She paused to regard me with a gimlet eye. ‘If it snows, how am I supposed to take photos to go with your article?’

‘Snow?’ I repeated, chuckling. ‘No, dear, that’s not snow. It’s marble dust. All the books say so. Besides, it doesn’t snow on the Italian Riviera in May.’

The idea of snow seemed completely out of place in this Mediterranean paradise, where Tuscany meets Liguria. The rocky beaches were already colonised by large pale bodies and just yesterday we’d been hiking and building up a sweat in the spring sunshine.

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Medium 9781742202945

Prince Edward Island

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet ePub

Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island (PEI) is as pretty as a storybook, and it just so happens that the island’s depiction in a storybook (Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables ) is what has made the place famous. And like Anne Shirley, the heroine of that book, the island is a red-head – from tip to tip, sienna-colored soil peeks out from under potato plants, and the shores are lined with rose and golden sand. Meanwhile the Green Gables–esque landscape is a pastoral green patchwork of rolling fields, tidy gabled farmhouses and seaside villages.

Yet despite the pervasive splendor of the province, the first thing most visitors notice, and fall in love with, is PEI’s charm and relaxed atmosphere. The ‘Gentle Island’ really lives up to its nickname, and the least authentic things you’ll find here are the orange nylon braids of little girls in tourist spots dressed up as ‘Anne.’

Jun Enjoy the spring calm and blooming wildflowers before the crowds hit.

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