International Travel

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How to find good restaurants in a new city

<p>Where to eat? It’s a question you’ve probably pondered when visiting somewhere unfamiliar. Though it’s fun to explore a strange suburb, town or city, when you’re hungry you’d rather minimise the chance of paying exorbitant prices for an unpleasant experience.</p> <p>Can economics help?</p> <p>We’ve combined economic theory with data from online restaurant ratings to identify a few simple strategies that will help you find a decent restaurant in unfamiliar places.</p> <p>The key? Location is almost everything – but in the opposite sense to what a real estate agent would have you think. When it comes to restaurants, quality of location is inversely correlated to quality of food and service.</p> <p><strong>Search costs</strong></p> <p>The first economic principle that’s important here are “search costs”.</p> <p>If you’re from out of town, it’s likely your search strategy will involve looking for something appealing within walking distance of where you are staying. To decide if it’s appealing will involve walking past it.</p> <p>Suppose you do this. Perhaps it not exactly what you wanted. Should you press on, looking for a better option?</p> <p>It’s a risk. You may end up trudging around only to end back at the same spot 30 minutes later. Settling on the first restaurant you find may therefore be the best option to minimise search costs.</p> <p>Economic theory provides a key insight about markets with search costs for customers. Businesses can take advantage of these costs to raise prices or lower quality. They can do this because they deal with more uninformed customers.</p> <p>Consider a large city with tourist and non-tourist areas.</p> <p>In non-tourist areas, restaurants will rely on local customers. If they do not provide good food and prices, customers are likely to go elsewhere next time. A restaurant that satisfies its customers will get return business; one that doesn’t is more likely to go out of business.</p> <p>In tourist areas, the situation is different. Visitors do not know the quality of each restaurant they encounter, and at best might be repeat customers for a few days. So restaurants can charge higher prices and serve lower quality food without much risk of harming long-term profits.</p> <p><strong>Big data to the rescue</strong></p> <p>To investigate how customer ignorance influences restaurants price and quality, we used data from Yelp, a major online platform where users rate restaurants.</p> <p>Yelp has a global outreach that allowed us to investigate this question in cities all over the world, such as Paris, London and Sydney.</p> <p>We mapped Yelp’s ratings onto topographical information from OpenStreetMap, an open-source repository of local information on streets and buildings.</p> <p>What we found was exactly what was predicted by economic theory: restaurants in tourist areas have lower ratings than those in non-tourist areas.</p> <p><strong>Mapping Sydney</strong></p> <p>The map below presents the results for Sydney. You can see the valley of tourist points (the red dots) in the centre of the city generally align with average ratings. There are just a few cases of exceptional ratings near tourist attractions, such as around the Sydney Opera House.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/279351/original/file-20190613-32356-1hm1zbw.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/279351/original/file-20190613-32356-1hm1zbw.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">Sydney.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Jeanne Dall'Orso, Romain Gauriot &amp; Lionel Page</span></span></p> <p><strong>Mapping London</strong></p> <p>The pattern is even clearer in London, where areas with higher local ratings seem to be systematically away from touristic locations. Our map suggests that you’d be advised not to look for lunch around Victoria Station, near Buckingham Palace (in the southwest corner) or near the British Museum (northwest from the centre of the map).</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/279352/original/file-20190613-32317-1obm5xr.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/279352/original/file-20190613-32317-1obm5xr.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">London.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Jeanne Dall'Orso, Romain Gauriot &amp; Lionel Page</span></span></p> <p><strong>Mapping Paris</strong></p> <p>Finally this Paris map suggests you are advised to venture away from all the landmarks you know – Eiffel Tower, the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, the Louvre – when looking for some good French food. Definitely steer clear of the area around the Paris-Gare de Lyon train station.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/279353/original/file-20190613-32335-235fwo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/279353/original/file-20190613-32335-235fwo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">Paris.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Jeanne Dall'Orso, Romain Gauriot &amp; Lionel Page</span></span></p> <p><strong>Visibility trap</strong></p> <p>The existence of tourist traps may come as no surprise. If you’ve ever gone sight-seeing in a big city, you know there are restaurants whose business is based on attracting tourists, and that they are often pricey and ordinary.</p> <p>This insight goes beyond just restaurants. In economic terms, any time a business deals with uninformed customers, higher prices and lower quality is more likely.</p> <p>A key characteristic to attract uninformed customers is visibility. A restaurant on a main road or busy thoroughfare, for example, can be found by potential customers simply walking around.</p> <p>To test whether restaurants with high visibility are indeeed more likely to offer worse deals, we looked at restaurants that were more visible but not necessarily in touristic locations.</p> <p>We focused on corner restaurants – visible to pedestrians from two streets instead of just one.</p> <p>Again we looked at Yelp ratings, and again the effect was there: corner restaurants had lower average ratings. The largest effect was for corner restaurants on big avenues in tourist areas, where average restaurant ratings were more than 0.2 stars (out of 5 stars) lower.</p> <p><strong>Chain reactions</strong></p> <p>Though our results show restaurants in tourist areas and in visible locations are generally more likely to offer worse quality and prices, there are some caveats.</p> <p>Economic theory suggests chain restaurants should have more incentive to keep the standard their consumers are used too, even if located in visible locations.</p> <p>A customer dissatisfied by the food/service of one chain restaurant is less likely to come back to the chain elsewhere. Corporate headquarters can therefore not allow individual franchises to use a visible location to lower quality or raise prices.</p> <p>This economic prediction was also confirmed in our data: restaurants that belong to a chain are not rated significantly lower in visible locations.</p> <p><strong>Find the hidden restaurants</strong></p> <p>So our advice is the following:</p> <p>You maximise your chance of finding a fantastic dining experience by stepping away from the beaten tracks. Whether searching online or on foot, look for the “hidden restaurants” tucked away on side streets and the like. Avoid the establishments with huge garish signs that are clearly pitching themselves to tourists.</p> <p>Your second-best option, when in doubt, is to look for a chain restaurant as a “safe haven” in a touristic location. Such establishments are unlikely to offer you a surprising experience, one way or other other. What you expect is probably what you’ll get.</p> <p>But when it comes to restaurants, the better option is usually around the corner.</p> <p><em>Written by <span>Lionel Page, Professor in Economics, University of Technology Sydney and Romain Gauriot, Postdoctoral Associate, New York University Abu Dhabi</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/how-to-find-a-good-restaurant-economists-can-help-117670"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p><em>This article was co-authored by Jeanne Dall’Orso, who now works as a data scientist for Masae Analytics in Paris. Jeanne also co-authored the 2016 paper <a href="https://econpapers.repec.org/paper/qutqubewp/wp041.htm">Disappointment looms around the corner: Visibility and local businesses’ market power</a> with Lionel Page and Romain Gauriot.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. 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International Travel

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How to make your holiday better for the environment

<p><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/cities/ng-interactive/2015/jan/20/costa-del-concrete-mediterranean-coastline-then-now-in-pictures">Recently surfaced before and after shots</a> of Benidorm – a seaside resort on the eastern coast of Spain – capture the physical transformations that have taken place in the region in less than 50 years.</p> <p>Gone is the small fishing village of single story houses and olive groves, and in its place has arisen the <a href="https://rua.ua.es/dspace/bitstream/10045/27662/6/benidorm_evolution.pdf">highest density of skyscrapers in Europe</a>. The economic and social opportunities that have accompanied these changes have altered traditional lifestyles just as dramatically. And it has even been proposed Benidorm <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/europe/benidorm-one-of-the-cultural-wonders-of-the-world-976708.html">should be made a World Heritage Site</a> in recognition of its tourism-driven cultural transformation.</p> <p>But despite the obvious benefits tourism can bring to an area, the change can be disruptive, and development can challenge preexisting economic, social and environmental models. In the Isle of Man, for example, where I conduct much of my research, a current controversial proposal is to build a <a href="http://www.iomtoday.co.im/article.cfm?id=36142&amp;headline=Meeting%20about%20proposals%20for%20development%20at%20Glen%20Truan%20golf%20course&amp;sectionIs=news&amp;searchyear=2017">caravan park</a> in an isolated area of natural beauty.</p> <p>But of course, tourism also has many positives and it often paves the way for empowering minorities. <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160738396000515">Research in Goa</a>, India, for example, shows that tourism enterprises tend to be owned mainly by women, giving them a source of income, independence and respect in a traditionally male dominated society.</p> <p><strong>From Costa Rica to the Scottish Highlands</strong></p> <p>This is why <a href="https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/5839GSDR%202015_SD_concept_definiton_rev.pdf">sustainable development</a> – an approach which tries to balance social, environmental and economic needs long term – is essential to make sure tourism brings impacts that are more on the positive side and less on the negative.</p> <p>Involving local people in tourism is usually the place to start, because it is local people who ultimately establish the atmosphere of a destination. Carefully planned <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/229681727_Ecotourism_impacts_in_the_Nicoya_Peninsula_Costa_Rica">eco-tourism in Costa Rica</a> for example, has involved local residents with the new developments to ensure any problems that arise are resolved.</p> <p>Similar involvement over in Scotland, has seen the <a href="https://strathprints.strath.ac.uk/42890/4/HamiltonAlexander_ATR2013_organic_community_tourism.pdf">West Highland Railway Line</a> run by local volunteers. And it is their enthusiasm that has helped to create a welcoming and award winning tourist attraction. By contrast, <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/267927716_The_Janus-Faced_Character_of_Tourism_in_Cuba">research in Cuba</a> found local people who felt excluded from tourism developments turned their frustrations towards visitors – damaging the island’s reputation as an enjoyable place to holiday in the process.</p> <p><strong>Expecting the unexpected</strong></p> <p>But of course, the ultimate aim of sustainable development is to protect the existing economic, social and environmental landscapes of a place. These are after all, what tourists come to explore. So rather than making a quick profit for a few, the idea is that sustainable tourism is something that will stand the test of time and bring diverse benefits for many.</p> <p><a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/259434808_Global_economic_value_of_shark_ecotourism_Implications_for_conservation">Shark tourism</a> is one example of a fast growing and lucrative activity which encourages people to enjoy, and make reliable livelihoods from these creatures – rather than <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/oct/27/shark-conservation-gaining-momentum">eat them into oblivion</a>, or kill them to sell their <a href="http://edition.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/06/24/traditional.treatment/">fins for traditional medicine</a>.</p> <p>But <a href="http://www-tandfonline-com.libaccess.hud.ac.uk/doi/abs/10.1080/09669582.2013.819876">tourism can be an unpredictable industry</a> and various challenges have left many formerly successful tourist destinations struggling to maintain visitor numbers. A series of terrorist attacks in Tunisia, for example, has seen the number of tourists <a href="http://www.tourisme.gov.tn/en/achievements-and-prospects/tourism-in-figures/figures-2016.html">drop by a third since 2014</a>.</p> <p>Changing tastes and increased competition has also seen many formerly vibrant seaside towns both in the UK and overseas struggling. Malta, for example, has had to work hard to <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0261517710000634">rebrand</a> itself as a cultural destination rather than a budget sun, sea and sand one.</p> <p><strong>On the down</strong></p> <p>So what happens when the tourists stop visiting? Well, if it’s not managed carefully, it can undermine the whole economic, social and environmental fabric of a place – and <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160738301000020">can lead to many socioeconomic problems</a>. High levels of poverty, unemployment, and ill health can be found in many former coastal resorts of the UK – which have struggled to find new sources of economic diversity. Blackpool, England’s emblematic seaside town for example, was recently estimated to have the <a href="http://www.lancashire.gov.uk/lancashire-insight/area-profiles/local-authority-profiles/blackpool.aspx">lowest life expectancy</a> for men and women in the country.</p> <p>Not far away from Blackpool on the <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jtr.883/full">Isle of Man</a>, much of the beautiful Victorian architecture built to serve the once large tourist crowds have been demolished. Yet fearless riders come every year to ride in the island’s legendary <a href="https://www.iomtt.com/">Tourist Trophy</a> (TT) motorbike races. Cheered on by crowds of visiting enthusiasts, this century old event keeps tradition alive, and at the same time it has evolved to stay relevant. In 2010, the first <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TT_Zero">TT Zero</a> race involving electric bikes took place.</p> <p>So when it comes to planning your holiday destination for the year ahead, try and choose somewhere that protects the local environment and respects human rights – and use local businesses rather than multinationals.</p> <p>It’s also worth reconsidering resorts that may have fallen out of fashion but still have much to offer. You’ll still have a great time, and take some lovely photos, but it might just be that by choosing somewhere off the beaten track, you can make a difference to another person’s life in the process.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/85478/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Brendan Canavan, Senior Lecturer in Marketing, University of Huddersfield</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/in-the-age-of-cheap-flights-city-breaks-and-world-cruises-how-to-make-your-holiday-better-for-the-environment-85478" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

International Travel

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“Most amazing video you’ve ever seen”: Rare footage emerges of giant squid

<p>Footage captured by scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Journey into Midnight project has shed some light on the elusive giant squid.</p> <p>The video footage obtained by the crew shows the huge squid wrap its tentacles around the recording device before speeding off after realising that the device is not food.</p> <p>The team have estimated that the juvenile squid is at least 3.7 metres in length.</p> <p>The team wanted to be sure of their discovery and confirmed it with one of the world’s best squid experts, Michael Vecchione.</p> <p class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/344212279" width="640" height="468" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; fullscreen" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><a href="https://vimeo.com/344212279">Giant Squid</a> from <a href="https://vimeo.com/oversixty">OverSixty.com.au</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p> <p>However, as the scientists are 160 kilometres off the coast of New Orleans, the weather can get pretty rough. A lightning strike knocked out the internet, so the team were anxiously waiting for it to come back online so that the sighting of the giant squid could be confirmed.</p> <p>Luckily, Vecchione confirmed it was a giant squid.</p> <p>Edie Widder, who was among the group of scientists exploring the Gulf of Mexico, said that the capture is “the most amazing video you’ve ever seen”.</p> <p>Widder also explained why he thinks giant squids are “amazing”.</p> <p>"It's got eight writhing arms and two slashing tentacles," Widder explained to <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/rare-giant-squid-captured-camera-us-225728843.html" target="_blank">Yahoo!</a> </em></p> <p>"It has the largest eye of any animal we know of, it's got a beak that can rip flesh.</p> <p>“It has a jet propulsion system that can go backwards and forwards, blue blood, and three hearts. It's an amazing, amazing life form we know almost nothing about."</p> <p>Widder was also part of the team responsible for the first time a giant squid was captured on camera off the coast of Japan in 2012.</p> <p>Scientists observed that the squid was intrigued about the artificial jellyfish that is used to capture footage of creatures in the deep, which is affectionately referred to as the “Medusa”.</p>

International Travel

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Mile high club: Pilot reveals the truth about what REALLY goes on

<p>Former navy pilot Chick McElwee started a company called Air Australia International that offers chartered flights, patient transfer and repatriation, as well as flight instruction.</p> <p>However, he offers something else that has piqued people’s interest – mile-high flights, which are f<span>lights where p</span><span>assengers are encouraged to have sex in the air, and they have sent his bookings through the roof.</span></p> <p>The idea came from someone making a passing comment about what the bed was for on board the plane.</p> <p>McElwee thought on his feet and didn’t mention it was for transporting unwell passengers, and said it was for couples wishing to join the mile-high club.</p> <p>He shared with <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-advice/flights/air-australia-international-pilot-reveals-what-really-goes-on-during-milehigh-flights/news-story/09e39f25b41104efd5444920c9e6a8d4" target="_blank">news.com.au</a>: </p> <p>“I said we’d done about 25 flights,” the pilot recounted.  </p> <p>“And then, suddenly, we started getting heaps of inquiries.”</p> <p>He’s improved the original cabin design, but the basics are still there: a double bed with fresh linen and pillows, a bottle of champagne, chocolates and the privacy curtain drawn between the cabin and the cockpit.</p> <p>For those who are worried about the pilot hearing your rendezvous, you needn’t worry.</p> <p>“You don’t really hear anything because the engines are so loud,” McElwee said about piloting the mile-high flights, “but you do feel it move because the plane is balanced. So when people move back and forward – you feel it.”</p> <p>Air Australia’s mile-high club is open to anyone over the age of 18 and who has a spare hour and $750 to spend for the flight.</p> <p>McElwee’s passengers have included celebrities, sportspeople as well as glamour models.</p> <p>“The customer base is not what you think it is,” he laughs.</p> <p>The customer base in question includes a 70-year-old woman who has flown multiple times with her much younger lovers as well as a naked man who was so desperate for another bottle of champagne, he burst into the cockpit searching for one.</p>

International Travel

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“Seriously, how is this happening?”: Woman falls asleep on flight and gets locked in dark plane

<p>Tiffani Adams woke up in a dark and locked plane after falling asleep on a flight. She took a 90-minute Air Canada flight from Quebec to Toronto on June 9 and, after falling asleep during her journey, she woke up to find the plane empty, dark and parked in Toronto.</p> <p>Her friend posted a Facebook post on her behalf to Air Canada’s Facebook page detailing her experience.</p> <p>"I fell asleep probably less than halfway through my short 1.5 hour flight," Adams said.</p> <p>"I wake up around midnight (few hours after flight landed) freezing cold still strapped in my seat in complete darkness (I'm talking pitch black)."</p> <p>Adams started to panic and call her friend who was waiting for her flight to land, but her phone died during the call.</p> <p>Adams then tried to charge her phone but found that the plane’s power had been switched off.</p> <p>"I can't charge my phone to call for help I'm full on panicking [because] I want off this nightmare asap," she said.</p> <p>"As someone with an anxiety disorder as is I can tell you how terrifying this was," Adams explained.</p> <p>"I think I'm having a bad dream bc like seriously how is this happening!!?"</p> <p>After finding a torch and making her way to the main door, she was unable to negotiate the drop beneath her as it was 50 feet (15 metres) above the ground.</p> <p>However, she was rescued by a man in a luggage cart who was “in shock” to see her on the plane.</p> <p>“When I see the luggage cart driving towards me I am literally dangling my legs out of the plane. He is in shock asking how the heck they left me on the plane. I’m wondering the same.”</p> <p>An airline spokesperson for Air Canada spoke with <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/woman-asleep-plane-locked-asleep-toronto-pearson-airport-quebec-a8970506.html" target="_blank"><em>The Independent</em></a> and confirmed the account. They also were told that Air Canada is reviewing the incident and have remained in contact with the passenger.</p> <p>Read the full Facebook post below.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Faircanada%2Fposts%2F2367790213268860&amp;width=500" width="500" height="293" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe></p>

International Travel

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Why tourists are flocking to Chernobyl

<p><span>Tourists have flocked to the scene of the world’s worst nuclear disaster in droves after the release of a new hit TV show.</span></p> <p><span>The new HBO miniseries <em>Chernobyl</em> has attracted travellers to Pripyat, the Ukrainian ghost city that was evacuated after one of the Chernobyl power plant’s reactors exploded, releasing radiation across a large part of Europe.</span></p> <p><span>Since the show went on air in May, travel interest in the infamous Ukrainian site has surged, according to local travel operators. Reports say demand for tours in the area have increased by up to 40 per cent.</span></p> <p><span>“Most of the people say they decided to book after seeing this show,” Victor Korol, director of tour company SoloEast told <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/chernobyl-tv-tourist-attraction/index.html"><em>CNN</em></a>. “It’s almost as though they watch it and then jump on a plane over.”</span></p> <p><span>The five-part HBO show focuses on the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear incident, along with the cleanup efforts and the inquiry that followed.</span></p> <p><span>Last April marked the 33<sup>rd</sup> anniversary of the blast, whose radiation fallout was estimated to affect <a href="https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20403-how-many-died-because-of-the-chernobyl-disaster-we-dont-really-know/">thousands of people</a>.</span></p> <p><span>However, Korol said Chernobyl is now safe to visit. “It’s the most popular question visitors ask,” said Korol, who has been taking up to 200 visitors to the area on the weekends since the series hit screens. </span></p> <p><span>“But it’s absolutely safe. The government would never allow tourists to come otherwise. The radiation [visitors] are exposed to on a tour is less than on an intercontinental flight.”</span></p> <p><span>According to tour guide Victoria Brozhko, the amount of radiation visitors can expect to get from their excursion to the Chernobyl exclusion zone is similar to the level they would get from “staying at home for 24 hours”.</span></p> <p><span>Craig Mazin, the creator of the <em>Chernobyl </em>series has described his visit to the place as a “religious” experience.</span></p> <p><span>“I’m not a religious man, but that’s as religious as I’ll ever feel,” Mazin told an HBO podcast.</span></p> <p><span>“To walk where they walked felt so strange, and also being under that same piece of sky you start to feel a little closer, in a sense, to who they were.”</span></p> <p><span>However, the behaviour of some other visitors has been met with criticism following the surge of photographs on social media showing tourists posing inappropriately among the ruins. In one picture, a woman could be seen posing on top of an abandoned building in her underwear.</span></p> <p><span>Mazin has urged travellers to behave “with respect” in a Twitter post. “It’s wonderful that #ChernobylHBO has inspired a wave of tourism to the Zone of Exclusion. But yes, I’ve seen the photos going around,” he wrote.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">It's wonderful that <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ChernobylHBO?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ChernobylHBO</a> has inspired a wave of tourism to the Zone of Exclusion. But yes, I've seen the photos going around.<br /><br />If you visit, please remember that a terrible tragedy occurred there. Comport yourselves with respect for all who suffered and sacrificed.</p> — Craig Mazin (@clmazin) <a href="https://twitter.com/clmazin/status/1138576162781683712?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 11, 2019</a></blockquote> <p><span>“If you visit, please remember that a terrible tragedy occurred there. Comport yourselves with respect for all who suffered and sacrificed.”</span></p>

International Travel

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You can now live in Reese Witherspoon’s Big Little Lies house

<p>Liane Moriarty's book <em>Big Little Lies</em> focuses on the tenuous relationships of complicated women and their families who live in the small community of Monterey. It’s now an award-winning HBO series well into the second season.</p> <p>With A-list stars such as Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Meryl Streep, fans are interested in the celebrities as well as the interesting and vast real estate in the hit show.</p> <p>Reese Witherspoon’s character is an uppity character called Madeline Mackenzie, but her house is a dream.</p> <p>The property that is used for filming the hit TV show is now available to rent, which is a seven-bedroom, eight-bathroom house located in Malibu’s Broad Beach in Southern California.</p> <p>According to the vacation rental site, a short stay will set you back NZD$4,594 to NZD$7,658 per night.</p> <p>If you’re after something more long term, the lease will set you back a jaw-dropping NZD$107,000 to NZD$153,000 per month.</p> <p>With enough space to sleep 12, a chef’s kitchen, an open and breezy floor plan, as well as being right near the ocean, this is definitely a place to stay if you can afford the price tag.</p> <p>However, the owners, who are both in their 80s, are well aware that the price tag puts the house out of casual enthusiasts of the show’s price range.</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery to see what the house looks like.</p> <p><em>Gallery photos credit: <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.realtor.com/news/trends/rent-big-little-lies-house-reese-witherspoon/" target="_blank">realtor.com</a> </em></p>

International Travel

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America's most interesting national parks

<p class="">I’ve long been fascinated by US National Parks. At the top of my list are Zion, Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon National Parks. </p> <p class="">Here’s why these are my favourite USA National Parks.</p> <p class=""><strong>Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona </strong></p> <p class=""><span>John Wesley Powell, an early explorer of the American West credited with leading the first group of Europeans down the Colorado River through the Canyon, wrote: “The wonders of the Grand Canyon cannot be adequately represented in symbols of speech, nor by speech itself.”</span></p> <p>After cycling for hours down a dusty track to reach a remote viewpoint over the Grand Canyon’s North Rim called Toroweap Overlook I have to agree.</p> <p>The stupendous view leaves me speechless. And to have this jumble of volcanic cinder cones and lava flows on the edge of one of the world’s great natural wonders virtually to myself is especially wonderful.</p> <p>Stratum upon stratum of multi-hued rock lies stacked beneath me. Dating back over two billion years, they reveal more dramatically than anywhere else on Earth how our world was formed, while two miles below, the Colorado River snakes through the gorge, carving ever deeper into this iconic symbol of the American Southwest.</p> <p><strong>Zion National Park, Utah </strong></p> <p>World famous for its massive rock walls of red and white Navajo sandstone that rise over 610 metres from the desert floor, Zion National Park is a canyon oasis of astounding natural beauty.</p> <p>Meaning ‘heavenly city’ in the vernacular of Utah’s predominant Mormons, Zion is a breathtaking blend of high plateaus, sheer canyons, and monolithic cliffs.</p> <p>These sheer walls were carved by decades of wind, rain, ice and the waters of the Virgin River.</p> <p>Once there, I soon discover that getting my feet wet is the best way to explore Zion’s most popular backcountry. In an area called the Narrows, you can explore a slot canyon which is significantly deeper than it is wide.</p> <p>Here, the North Fork Virgin River runs beneath thousand-foot walls of Navajo sandstone sculpted by thousands of years of erosion into some of the most beautiful rock formations in all of the American Southwest.</p> <p><strong>Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah</strong> </p> <p>This park’s spectacular natural amphitheatres contain the world’s largest collection of hoodoos — thin, flame-coloured limestone spires protruding from arid badlands that can rise as high as a ten-storey building.</p> <p>Spread over many miles, they resemble a ‘silent city’ of stone.</p> <p>I discover that the best way to experience Bryce’s natural wonders is on foot. More than sixty miles of trails weave through the canyon’s maze of sunburnt stone hoodoos.</p> <p>As I amble along the popular Navajo Loop Trail, I encounter famous hoodoos with names like Three Wise Men, Indian Princess, The Rabbit and even ET.</p> <p>The Palute Indians who once hunted here were the first to describe Bryce’s Hoodoos in anthropomorphic terms. Bringing fairy chimneys and goblins to mind, they still fire the imagination.</p> <p><strong>Other popular US National Parks:</strong></p> <p><strong>Olympic National Park, Washington </strong></p> <p>From its wild beaches to its lush, mossy rainforest and rugged, glacier-capped mountains, the park’s diverse habitats are ideal for adventurous travellers looking for a little bit of everything.</p> <p>It’s really three parks in one. Lofty mountains offer plenty of snow and glaciers. It’s lush, verdant Hoh Rainforest is home to Roosevelt elk, black bears and other distinctive wildlife. And its rugged coastline has miles of wild, deserted beaches sprinkled with sea stacks and tide pools.</p> <p>Nowhere else in America will you find three such entirely different worlds to be experienced within one park.</p> <p><strong>Glacier National Park, Montana </strong></p> <p>Nicknamed the Crown of the Continent because the water flows from it all the way to the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and to Hudson’s Bay, Glacier National Park straddles the Canada–United States border.</p> <p>An untouched wilderness of ancient forests, deep valleys and spectacular alpine scenery, the park is a paradise for hikers and trekkers.</p> <p>It also contains more than 130 pristine lakes and hundreds of species of animals, including Grizzly bears, mountain goats and moose, mountain goats, wolverines and Canadian lynxes. Popular activities include backpacking, cycling and camping.</p> <p><strong>Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming  </strong></p> <p>Named for the tallest mountain in the Teton Range, this national park is famous for its distinctive jagged granite pinnacles, numerous lakes, abundant wildlife, and historic barns and homesteads.</p> <p>A popular destination for mountaineering and hiking, Grand Teton is also a world-renowned trout-fishing destination and is one of the few places where anglers can catch Snake River fine-spotted cutthroat trout.</p> <p><strong>Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska</strong></p> <p>America’s largest national park, Denali is named after America’s tallest mountain, 6,190 metre-high Denali (formerly known as Mount McKinley).</p> <p>It’s six million acres of wilderness includes tundra, spruce forest and glaciers. Denali is home to grizzly bears, wolves, moose, caribou and Dall sheep.</p> <p>In spring, summer and fall you can bike, hike and mountaineer. In winter try snowshoeing, snowmobiling and skiing in the park’s rugged mountains and high Alpine tundra.</p> <p>Denali’s remoteness and strict protection of its wildlife habitat and ecosystems ensure that this arctic gem remains pristine.</p> <p><em>Written by Mark Sissons. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.mydiscoveries.com.au/stories/america-s-most-interesting-national-parks/"><em>MyDiscoveries</em></a><em>. </em></p>

International Travel

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Got $10 million? The Queen and Prince Philip’s first marital home is for sale

<p>If you have ever wanted to live in luxury, you now have the chance.</p> <p>The Queen and Prince Philip’s former home has just hit the market and it may not be as beautiful as it once was, but it sure is as grandeur.</p> <p>While she was still a newlywed princess enjoying her time with her new husband Prince Philip, the royal couple lived in this townhouse in Malta townhouse, while Philip was stationed as a naval officer between 1949 to 1951.</p> <p>What makes the home even more special is the fact it is the only home the Queen lived in outside of the United Kingdom.</p> <p>The property is a bit of a fixer upper now, however, it is not hard to image what the impressive mansion-like home would have looked like when the royals lived there.</p> <p>The Maltese home is located on the outskirts of Valletta and has a pretty phenomenal view over Marsamxett Harbour. There are photos of the couple at the time gazing over the villa’s roof terrace into the majestic waters.</p> <p>The Palazzo-style property boasts an impressive arched entrance hall with its original wide staircase, stone floors and a number of fireplaces still intact.</p> <p>The six-bedroom villa also hosts a generous three bathrooms, large lounge room, dining room, living room and kitchen.</p> <p>“Visiting Malta is always very special for me,” the Queen <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-48602842" target="_blank">said</a> during a visit to the country. “I remember happy days here with Prince Philip when we were first married.”</p> <p>The home is currently on the market for $9.7 million.</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery above to see photos of the gorgeous property.</p> <p><em>Images Homes Of Quality Ltd, <a rel="noopener" href="http://www.hoq.com.mt/" target="_blank">www.hoq.com.mt</a></em></p>

International Travel

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Finding happiness in Copenhagen

<p><strong>This should be interesting.</strong><span> </span>The lord mayor of Copenhagen is due any minute. We’re about to set off on a one-hour interview and bicycle tour of Denmark’s capital city.</p> <p>It’s a clear day – not a cloud in the Delft-blue sky – but chilly, so I’m content to wait for the lord mayor, 54-year-old Frank Jensen, atop my bicycle outside his offices at the ornate City Hall, the Rådhus. Across the street is the Tivoli Gardens, one of Europe’s most famous and – at four-million-plus visitors a year – one of the most popular, amusement parks.</p> <p>As I wait, I watch stylishly dressed Danes earnestly biking down Hans Christian Andersens Boulevard, the city’s main thoroughfare, named after the nation’s literary luminary. Among the bikers I spot women wearing high heels and men in suits. Nearby, tourists climb onto the lap of a larger-than-life bronze statue of the 19th-century writer and snap selfies.</p> <p>“Hello,” says Jensen as he bikes over to me from cobblestoned Longangstraede. “I’ve just come from a meeting with our prime minister.” I am impressed. No limousine with police outriders for this lord mayor; a three-speed bike will do nicely.</p> <p>“Follow me,” he says as we steer our bikes into the bicycles-only lane on Hans Christian Andersens Boulevard. “There’s a lot I want to show you.”</p> <p>For years I’ve been hearing and reading about the city as, well, a modern-day Utopia. It is, for example, often referred to as “The World’s Most Livable City”, “The World’s Happiest City”, and one of the world’s top two most-bicycle-friendly cities. Oh, and let’s not forget “Europe’s Greenest City”, “Europe’s Best Town for Foodies” and “Europe’s Design Capital”.</p> <p>The UK’s<span> </span><em>Daily Mail</em><span> </span>newspaper called it “Oh-so-cool Copenhagen”.<span> </span><em>USA Today</em><span> </span>claimed, “It’s not hard to be happy in Copenhagen.” The UK’s<span> </span><em>Guardian</em><span> </span>(a newspaper not usually given to gushing) gushed, “Copenhagen really is wonderful.”</p> <p>Can Copenhagen live up to such high expectations? I’ve come to the city to find out for myself. My first stop: this bike tour with the lord mayor.</p> <p><strong>I soon discover that in Copenhagen the bicycle is king.</strong><span> </span>As the lord mayor and I join a steady stream of bikers pedalling past Tivoli Gardens in a 3m-wide bike lane that’s separated from car traffic and pedestrians, he tells me, “More than half of Copenhagen’s residents cycle to work or school every day. It’s healthier, greener and cheaper than travelling by car. We have more bicycles than people and five times as many bicycles as cars.”</p> <p>He holds up his right arm to signal he’s stopping at an intersection and adds, “Even politicians bike to work. Sixty-three per cent of the members of our parliament ride to work daily.”</p> <p>Copenhagen regularly vies with Amsterdam for the top spot in the list of the world’s most bicycle-friendly cities. Jensen explains, “We’ve had a series of ‘action plans’ over the years that have helped us continually improve our biking infrastructure.”</p> <p>Indeed, the city seems to have been designed around bicycling. Copenhagen has more than 350km of cycle paths and lanes, many of which are separated by curbs from car traffic. Bike lanes have their own traffic lights for cyclists and such added touches as footrests and handrails so bicyclists can prop themselves up while waiting for a red light. Computerised lighting systems, called “green wave technology”, help bikers maintain just the right speed to zip through town without having to stop at light after light.</p> <p>“And there’s more coming,” says Jensen as we cruise down a newly-built bike path on Kalvebod Brygge, a redeveloped area along the waterfront that’s packed with luxurious hotels and glimmering new office buildings. “We are developing more than 26 bike superhighways, some as long as 22 kilometres, so even more people will be encouraged to commute into Copenhagen from the suburbs.”</p> <p>These new “super” bike paths pass by picturesque fields, through forests and around duck ponds, and allow bikers to commute without having to stop for car traffic. And there’s a free air pumping station every kilometre. “We’re always looking for ways to make Copenhagen more bicycle friendly,” says Jensen.</p> <p>By the time we reach the 4m-wide,<span> </span>Cykelslangen<span> </span>(“Cycle Snake”), the new DKK32 million (US$4.8m) elevated cyclist roadway that is cantilevered high over the harbour, I’m convinced. When it comes to biking, Copenhagen is supreme. But the greenest, the happiest, the oh-so-coolest?</p> <p>“Well,” says Jensen, “we were named ‘Europe’s Green Capital’ last year by the European Commission. We’re committed to becoming the world’s first carbon dioxide-neutral capital by 2025.” A 2010 law requires all suitable new buildings, from office buildings to parking garages to sheds, have green (as in garden) roofs. A government policy mandates that all Copenhagen residents be able to walk to a park in less than 15 minutes. And the once-polluted harbour is now so clean it’s safe to swim in.</p> <p>OK, I ask Jensen, what’s the secret behind this success? “I think almost everyone in Copenhagen takes pride in living here,” he explains. “We realise how lucky we are and are willing to cooperate.”</p> <p>We stop in front of a new office building. “We had a meeting with the building’s owners and skateboarders who wanted to use the building’s park at night,” he tells me. “The owners agreed to let the skateboarders use it in exchange for promising not to spray graffiti on the building. It’s been a huge success. Isn’t that cool?”</p> <p><strong>I drop in on Mikael Colville-Andersen,</strong><span> </span>an urban designer who works with cities and governments around the world to make them more bicycle friendly. “Copenhagen has become the model for livable cities everywhere,” says Colville-Andersen, who’s been dubbed “The Pope of Urban Cycling”. He’s made a business out of spreading Copenhagen’s gospel of sustainability and livability and is urging other cities to, as he says, “Copenhagenise”.</p> <p>As we sip coffee in a small café near his office, he tells me, “It’s about being user-friendly, having a well-designed infrastructure and the right attitude. There’s a feeling in this city that we are all in this together.” He tells me that hundreds of foreign urban planners and politicians visit Copenhagen each year to see how the city works. Most like what they see and many decide to import what they’ve discovered here. Says Colville-Andersen, “That’s further proof that Copenhagen is about the best place to live in the world.”</p> <p>That’s another “yes” vote for Copenhagen. To get an answer to my “Is it cool?” question, I jump on my Gobike, an electric, Wi-Fi-connected share bike complete with a GPS monitor, that I’ve rented for the day. I punch in the coordinates for Freetown Christiania, Copenhagen’s hippie haven.</p> <p>As I pedal to Christiania I remember what local newspaper columnist Henrik Vesterberg had told me a few days ago when we discussed Copenhagen’s claims to fame. “Don’t believe everything you are told about Copenhagen. We’ve got our share of problems.”</p> <p>I run into some of those problems after I park my bike outside of Christiania, a private self-governing 34ha island neighbourhood that bans both bicycles and cars. Founded in 1971 by hippie squatters in an abandoned military barracks, this bohemian commune has resisted almost all efforts to clean up its act.</p> <p>After repeated efforts to evict the squatters, in 1972 the Danish Ministry of Defence temporarily agreed to let Christiania use the government property and land. Now home to around 1000 non-conformists who pride themselves on living free from government rule, it is a collection of funky homemade houses, art galleries, and organic cafés. Graffiti, tie-dye designs and free-form artwork, especially hand-painted green marijuana leaves, cover almost every wall. Music wafts out of smoke-filled cafés.</p> <p>In 2011, the government agreed to sell the land to the Foundation Freetown Christiania, which in turn gives homes for free to residents. Technically there is still no individual home ownership here and that’s fine with the ageing hippies. A hand painted sign says it all: “We seek a lower standard of living for a higher quality of life.”</p> <p>On aptly named Pusher Street the air is ripe with the sweet, pungent smell of hashish. Small market stalls openly sell soft drugs such as marijuana and more than 20 varieties of hashish. It’s like a doper’s dream delicatessen come true.</p> <p>Christiania is the city’s second most-visited attraction (after Tivoli Gardens) and tourists are advised to observe its rules, which are posted everywhere: “Have fun, don’t take photos and don’t run.” The last rule is to prevent panic; buying and selling drugs is still technically illegal in Christiania and running might indicate a police raid. Sure enough, when a tourist raises his camera to take a picture of a stall on Pusher Street, I hear a seller shout, “No photos!” The tourist quickly stashes his camera.</p> <p>Christiania may be changing; the Copenhagen city council is keen to legalise marijuana and crack down on criminal gangs in the area. But longtime residents are fighting change. As I pass by a tumbledown house covered in psychedelic, dayglo paint, I recall Vesterberg’s comment about Christiania: “Old hippies are clinging to their ideals and doing their best to keep Copenhagen weird. I like that.”</p> <p>So do I, I think to myself as I spot a message painted on an exit sign at the edge of Christiania. It reads: “You are now entering the EU.” Further proof that Copenhagen is cool.</p> <p><strong>Regrettably I didn’t manage to land a reservation at Noma,</strong><span> </span>the “new Nordic” restaurant that’s been named the world’s best. But I spent time in Tivoli Gardens, wandered trendy suburbs like Vesterbro, and learned how to eat<span> </span>Smørrebrød<span> </span>and translate the almost untranslatable Danish word hygge as “cozy” or “sociable”.</p> <p>I’m beginning to understand why one writer described Copenhagen as “a city that exists primarily to inspire a deep regret among those cursed to live elsewhere.”</p> <p>To cap off my visit I signed up with “Dine With The Danes”, and found myself enjoying a delicious dinner with charming hosts, Dorte and Thomas Winther Bruhn and their teenage daughter Rasmine, in their ultra-hygge<span> </span>home.</p> <p>Like many Danes I asked, the Bruhns admitted the “Danes are so happy” thing was more cliché than reality. “It’s not as if we go to work singing, ‘Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s off to work we go,’” said Thomas. Dorte added, “I think a better word than ‘happy’ is “content.”</p> <p>But when we talked about Copenhagen, there was no disagreement. “It really is great,” said Rasmine as her parents nodded in agreement. “There’s no place like it.”</p> <p>After a week exploring the capital city I had to agree.</p> <p><em>Written by <span>Robert Kiener</span>. This article first appeared in </em><span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/destinations/Happiness-is-Copenhagen"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></span></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

International Travel

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10 must-see sites in Maui

<p><strong>1. Makena</strong><span> </span><br />This area on the southwestern coast of Maui is home to the island’s longest and widest beach: ‘Big Beach’ (also known as Oneloa Beach and Makena Beach). It remains relatively secluded and rich in natural beauty.</p> <p><strong>2.The Road to Hana</strong><span> </span><br />The road from Kahului to Hana winds along the coastline for 90 km, offering panoramic views as it passes lush gardens and parks, waterfalls and pools. The tiny town of Hana itself has retained its pristine natural beauty and old-fashioned charm.</p> <p><strong>3. Iao Valley and Kepaniwai heritage Gardens</strong><span> </span><br />Tales of long-ago warfare linger in the mists that crown the velvety green crags rising above Iao Valley. Today, it is a state park. Nearby Kepaniwai Heritage Gardens celebrate the cultural diversity of Hawaii’s immigrants and its original inhabitants.</p> <p><strong>4. Front Street, Lahaina</strong><span> </span><br />Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the main thoroughfare of Lahaina is a showcase of restored and preserved sites. In the early 1800s, missionaries came to this seaside village determined to save the souls of native islanders. There’s no proof that souls were saved but the buildings of the era have been.</p> <p><strong>5. Wailuku and Kahului<span> </span></strong><br />Wailuku, Maui’s county seat, and Kahului, the island’s business and retail centre, are nestled between the mountain peaks of Pu’u Kukui and Haleakala. For centuries this area was the population centre of Maui, and today it offers a vast array of culture, history, nature, dining, shopping and recreation. Gateway to Maui, Kahului is home to the island’s main airport and harbour.</p> <p><strong>6. Bailey House Museum</strong><span> </span><br />This former girls’ school was established in 1837 on the site of the royal compound of Kahekili II, the last chief of Maui. The building, now a museum, has exhibits on both traditional Hawaiian and missionary life.</p> <p><strong>7. Ulupalakua Ranch<span> </span></strong><br />Stretching across Haleakala’s southern flank, the Ulupalakua Ranch contains a winery and also a memorial park to the Honolulu-educated Chinese revolutionary Dr Sun Yat-sen.</p> <p><strong>8. Haleakala National Park</strong><span> </span><br />This stunning park encompasses rainforests, desert and beaches, but the lunar-like landscape of the crater of Haleakala – a massive, dormant shield volcano – is the main attraction. The park’s entrance lies at the end of a road that winds up from sea level in 60 km of scenic switchbacks. There are hiking trails, campgrounds and cabins in the park.</p> <p><strong>9. Kipahulu and Kaupo</strong><span> </span><br />Long before the first Europeans arrived on Maui, the Kipahulu district was prized by the Hawaiian<span> </span><em>ali‘i</em><span> </span>(royalty) for its fertile land and bountiful sea. Today, the rural communities of Kipahulu and Kaupo lie in a little-travelled area that is both isolated and rugged. The road beyond Kipahulu and Kaupo offers open vistas as it winds its way up to Ulupalakua, offering spectacular scenery of dry grassland along the way.</p> <p><strong>10. Molokini crater</strong><span> </span><br />This crescent-shaped crater, the remains of a volcano caldera, is technically not on Maui but a few kilometres off its southern coast. A marine and bird reserve, it is home to a dazzling array of corals, tropical fish, and also Hawaiian green sea turtles. If you’re lucky, you may spot a whale shark.</p> <p><em>This article first appeared in </em><span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/destinations/10-Must-See-Sites-in-Maui"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></span></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

International Travel

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Aussie woman sues Emirates claiming she was denied adequate water

<p>A Melbourne woman has sued Emirates airline, claiming she collapsed after being denied adequate water on a long-haul flight.</p> <p>54-year-old Lina Di Falco is suing the air carrier for damages after a serious injury on a 14-hour flight left her with constant ankle pain, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/jun/11/emirates-sued-over-claims-it-refused-australian-traveller-additional-water">AAP</a> reported.</p> <p>Di Falco told Victoria’s supreme court that she fainted and got her ankle broken on the March 2015 flight from Melbourne to Dubai after her repeated requests for water were disregarded.</p> <p>Di Falco said she was given just one drink with her meal over an hour after the plane took off. Barrister John Ribbands, representing Emirates, told the court on Tuesday the plane had a water fountain for passengers’ use, but Di Falco said she did not see it.</p> <p>She said she had asked for water four times before going to the bathroom, feeling dizzy and nauseous. She fainted and hurt her ankle on the way, causing pain that she described as nearly 10 out of 10.</p> <p>Di Falco complained to Emirates that not enough refreshments had been given to the passengers, and that her Middle Eastern holiday was wasted because of her ankle injury.</p> <p>After returning to Australia from her trip, the Moonee Valley City Council employee was told her ankle was broken. She underwent surgery and did not go to work for two months.</p> <p>The passenger’s barrister, Ron Meldrum QC, said she had been an “adventurous” traveller who enjoyed dancing and skiing before the incident.</p> <p>“It’s always aching ... since the accident,” Di Falco claimed. She said apart from no longer being able to exercise and garden, the injury also led her to withdraw from her friends and her marriage to break down.</p> <p>“Because of the accident, I couldn’t be ... the wife that he married,” Di Falco said, explaining her frustrations due to her inability to keep up with domestic duties.</p> <p>Di Falco said “the confidence I had for myself, it’s all gone” after the injury.</p> <p>The trial is expected to continue today.</p>

International Travel

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Exploring the other side of Honolulu

<p><strong>Downtown Honolulu is a glut</strong><span> </span>of high-rises, their balconies and picture windows competing for a view of the huge harbour – glorious on this warm, sunny February day. Fishing boats, freighters, cruise ships and tugboats wait at numerous piers. Flights are coming and going at the airport to the west. I’m reminded of Hong Kong, a workaday city going about its business. Yet, one of the world’s most famous beaches is just a 15-minute drive away.</p> <p>My husband, Glen, and I are on the tenth-floor observation deck of the Aloha Tower, located on Pier 9 in Honolulu Harbor. The tower, built in a style known as ‘Hawaiian Gothic’, was once the tallest building in Honolulu; the large A-L-O-H-A letters at the top greeted visitors arriving by steamship in an earlier era.</p> <p>Nowadays, the Aloha Tower is eclipsed by downtown skyscrapers but still offers incredible 360-degree views of city and harbour.</p> <p>John and Evelyn Fisher of Honolulu are also on the deck, pointing out city landmarks to a visiting friend. We join them in looking out at the Capitol District, Chinatown, Punchbowl Crater, Pearl Harbor and Waikiki.</p> <p>We love Waikiki. The iconic crescent beach, framed by Diamond Head promontory and lined with myriad shops, restaurants and nightclubs, is the go-to resort for more than four million visitors a year.</p> <p>But as delightful as Waikiki is, it’s just one district of Honolulu. I’d read articles lauding the city for its multicultural diversity, innovative new restaurants, emerging neighbourhoods, and live-and-let-live vibe. Honolulu appears on lists of top US cities.</p> <p>Clearly, there is more to this place than its famous beach resort. Glen and I want to know more. So, for a week, we put away our beach towels and swimming costumes, turn our backs on the beach, and head off.</p> <p><strong>We’d heard the buzz<span> </span></strong>about the up-and-coming Kakaako (‘ka-ka-ah-ko’) district between Waikiki and downtown. The city is redeveloping this light-industrial area, and has set aside some warehouses and garages for the arts and for entrepreneurs. We drive there early one morning.</p> <p>The family-owned Highway Inn, known for its traditional Hawaiian food, isn’t yet open for breakfast so we take a walk in the quiet back streets.</p> <p>On Coral Street, we pass Hank’s Haute Dogs, a little eatery that elevates the humble hotdog to gourmet status. On and around Auahi Street, we marvel at dozens of large, extravagant murals painted on warehouses.</p> <p>“Amazing, isn’t it?” says a bicyclist who stops to admire a chiaroscuro of a face covering a wall, created by chipping bits of concrete from white masonry.</p> <p>Further along, we come across Na Mea Hawaii (Things of Place), a bookshop, gallery and art studios set up in a converted garage. It’s a beehive of activity. Maile Meyer, a slight, energetic woman in her late 50s, shows us around. She created the venue “to encourage art with a native aesthetic and perspective,” she tells us. An artist is mixing paint for a seascape; upstairs, another is planning a new exhibition.</p> <p>Next door, artist Bill Reardon is welding a stair rail. He removes his helmet to reveal startlingly blue eyes and a big smile. He likes to create ‘found metal’ sculpture, he says. “Have you ever noticed how many discarded bedframes there are?” We hadn’t until then …</p> <p>Back at the now-open Highway Inn, painted wood panels and exposed pipes create a bright urban vibe. We sit at the counter and order<span> </span><em>poi</em><span> </span>(taro) pancakes topped with a<span> </span><em>haupia<span> </span></em>(coconut) sauce and chat with front-of-house manager Christina Martin, 47. She recently moved to Honolulu from the mainland. There are trade-offs to living here, like high rent, she says, “but the people make up for a lot.”</p> <p>Hawaiians’s hospitality is linked to ohana – their sense of family, she explains. “Ohana extends to friends. Once they take you in, you’re part of the family.”</p> <p><strong>Perhaps here, more than elsewhere,</strong><span> </span>the more family you have – real or not – the better. The Hawaiian archipelago of eight main islands is one of the most remote and isolated places on earth; almost 4000 kilometres from California.</p> <p>Even other South Pacific Islands are distant. For a long time, no-one could understand how, over a thousand years ago, Hawaii’s first settlers crossed more than 4000 kilometres of ocean without navigation equipment. Their methods of navigating by the stars and patterns of nature were not well understood until the 1970s. The Bishop Museum planetarium in Honolulu played a role in recovering the lost art of Pacific navigation, called ‘way-finding,’ says Mike Shanahan, director of Visitor Experience and Planetarium.</p> <p>The Bishop is housed in an immense stone Victorian building in the city’s northern suburbs. The Pacific Hall features the Polynesian migrations. The core of the museum, however, is the Hawaiian Hall. Its three polished-wood floors display ancient artefacts of Native Hawaiian culture.</p> <p>When I ask Shanahan about the most precious item in the museum, he excitedly tells me that for many years it was the feather cloak of Kamehameha the Great, Hawaii’s first king, who united the islands in 1810. But now, he adds, the museum is in the process of receiving from Te Papa Museum in New Zealand the feather cloak of King Kalaniopuu, Kamehameha’s uncle, who presented it to British explorer Captain James Cook in 1779. “It has been missing from Hawaii for more than 200 years,” he says. “It’s very special.”</p> <p>Culture educator Iasona Ellinwood takes me to see Kamahameha’s full-length cloak, on display in a glass case. The yellow feathers were plucked from some 60,000 mamo birds. The extinct mamo was mostly black. “It had just six to eight yellow feathers,” he says.</p> <p>An expert guide to Hawaii’s history and native culture, Ellinwood has a master’s degree in Hawaiian language. “Are you native Hawaiian?” I ask. No, he says. His birth name is Jason. “One of my Hawaiian language teachers called me Iasona and it stuck.”</p> <p>Close to ten per cent of Hawaii’s 1.4?million people claim Native Hawaiian heritage, while Asians make up 37 per cent and Caucasians 27 per cent. In fact, many people (23 per cent) are of mixed ethnicity, like the shopkeeper I met earlier who told me his father was Japanese and his mother Filipina, then added, “but we’re all Hawaiians.”</p> <p>“Live here long enough and we’ll call you Hawaiian, too,” said another local.</p> <p>The downtown Capitol District is pleasantly walkable, with tree-lined streets and small parks. The state executive offices are here, as well as the Iolani Palace, built in 1882 by the last king of Hawaii, David Kalakaua. The kingdom was overthrown just 11 years later in a plot by sugar plantation owners to bring the islands under US control.</p> <p>Nearby is the Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site, set in lovely shady grounds where we linger a while. The oldest house, from 1821, is a two-storey frame house shipped from Boston in 1820, which displays artefacts of missionary life. The first missionaries created a 12-letter Hawaiian alphabet and printed a Bible on a hand-operated press – replicas are on display.</p> <p>Next, we decide to follow the recommendations of Mark Noguchi, a local chef we meet, and visit Chinatown, a gritty downtown district that is reinventing itself as a destination for art-lovers, foodies and club-goers. We drive there late one weekday.</p> <p>Chinatown grew up in the late nineteenth century to serve Chinese plantation workers. Decades later it became known for prostitution and the drug trade. For a few years in the 1990s, a Chinatown revival flourished, associated with a new generation of chefs who developed Hawaiian Regional Cuisine, also called Asian Fusion. Today Chinatown is gentrifying. Art galleries, high-end restaurants and bars are starting to move in.</p> <p>“There are still places I wouldn’t walk late at night, but things are changing,” Noguchi had told us.</p> <p>Lucky Belly restaurant, located on Hotel Street, which was once famous for its brothels, is one of the most popular new eateries. We get there just as it opens for dinner and are seated near the large windows. Wood, exposed brick, mahogany-stained cement floor and Japanese pop art on the walls lend the room a cool, contemporary ambience.</p> <p>We order the intensely flavourful oxtail dumplings and the ‘Belly Bowl’. The ramen-noodle speciality arrives in a king-sized dish with generous portions of pork belly, bacon and sausage steeping in a rich broth.</p> <p>We leave the restaurant at dusk. Darkness comes quickly at this latitude. With the old markets and shops shuttered and our footsteps echoing on the near-empty sidewalks, we head back to our hotel.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>On our second-last afternoon<span> </span></strong>in Honolulu, we return to Kakaako to stroll the Kewalo Basin wharf. We chat with a man at a counter selling tickets for deep-sea fishing trips.</p> <p>“We’ve got a boat coming in with a 180-kilogram marlin,” he tells us. We watch two sea turtles chasing each other in the water as he banters with a nearby boat owner. “Wait and see, it’ll weigh in at 110.”</p> <p>“Maybe 130,” comes the reply.</p> <p>When the boat docks, the crew secures a chain around the marlin’s tail and hauls up an astonishingly large fish at least three metres long. On the scale, it weighs in at a whopping 184 kilograms.</p> <p>The marlin may well have ended up on the block at the Honolulu Fish Auction the next morning. Tours are offered a few times a month. We leave Waikiki at 5.30am and within 20 minutes are standing outside a refrigerated warehouse on Pier 38. Brooks Takenaka, general manager of United Fishing Agency, which runs the auction, leads us in. Big-eye tuna, mahimahi, swordfish, snapper, many weighing well over 45 kilograms, wait on iced-down pallets.</p> <p>Wholesale buyers huddle around the auctioneer, who fires off numbers as bidding starts on a tuna at his feet. Seconds later it’s over. The auctioneer jots a note and drops it on the fish, and the group shuffles to the next one.</p> <p>Up to 45,000 kilograms of open-ocean fish are sold this way six days a week. “It’s the only fresh tuna auction of its kind in the US,” Takenaka says. Most fish sold here is consumed in the islands, he says, adding that Hawaii’s fishery operates within sustainable limits and under stringent regulation.</p> <p>“Do you eat much fish?” I ask him.</p> <p>“Almost every day,” he replies.</p> <p>On our last afternoon the trade wind that had been with us all week disappears and temperatures rise. Seeking respite, we head to Punchbowl Crater, on the city’s outskirts, site of the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. We drive down to a shady lane in a vast lawn, where flat markers denote graves. The city sounds have disappeared and we’re enjoying the peace and quiet; we hear only birdsong and distant mowers. After a stop at a viewing platform on the crater rim that overlooks the city, we make it back to Waikiki by sunset.</p> <p>At Kuhio Beach Park, we join the throng gathered for a hula show. Lilting melodies, swaying hips and the performers’ joy charm us.</p> <p>The sun is setting in an orange-streaked sky, silhouetting a bronze statue of Duke Kahanamoku. An Olympic gold-medallist swimmer in 1912 and 1920, he introduced surfing to much of the world, and is a Hawaiian hero. In his later years – he died in 1968 – Duke was Honolulu’s first ‘Ambassador of Aloha’. “Aloha means love,” a plaque about him says, “the key word to the universal spirit of real hospitality.”</p> <p>“Come, get to know my city,” he may as well be saying, his back to the ocean and his arms outstretched to encompass all of Honolulu. In a recent article, a writer opined that the city consider turning Duke’s statue around so that he looks out at his beloved ocean.</p> <p>I think he’s just fine where he is.</p> <p><em>Written by <span>Janie Allen</span>. This article first appeared in </em><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/destinations/The-Other-Honolulu"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

International Travel

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Flight chaos: Eight hour delay after passenger’s huge mistake

<p>A passenger aboard a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight couldn’t seem to wait when it came to using the bathroom and as she rushed to the toilet, she accidentally opened the emergency exit door – causing the slide to deploy, according to reports.</p> <p>PIA Flight 702 was preparing to depart from Manchester to Islamabad on Friday night but was faced with a delay of up to eight hours according to<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.independent.co.uk/" target="_blank">The Independent</a>.</em></p> <p>The woman allegedly chose to ignore seatbelt signs and accidentally opened the emergency door towards the back of the plane, close to the toilet.</p> <p>All doors were “armed” which is what caused the emergency evacuation slides to deploy.</p> <p>“A passenger erroneously opened the emergency door causing the emergency slide to activate,” forcing all passengers to be removed from the plane, PIA said in a statement.</p> <p>When a slide is mistakenly deployed, the airline is able to continue to fly as per usual and replace it at its home base, which is the option PIA chose to take. Though problems tend to arise as fewer passengers are allowed to fly because of reduced evacuation capacity.</p> <p>38 passengers put their hand up to board a later flight.</p> <p>“All passengers were provided dinner. The offloaded passengers were provided with transportation and hotel accommodation and will be adjusted on the next available flight,” the airline said.</p> <p>Though not everyone was satisfied, as many complained that their luggage was left in Manchester.</p> <p>“Pathetic service from PIA. I am one of the 38 passengers who voluntarily offloaded from PK702 so it can fly to Islamabad only on the condition that all 38 of us will get our luggage,” a passenger tweeted.</p> <p>“First you did not give it to us in Manchester. … Then when we reached here today, we were told half of our luggage is still at Manchester airport,” she wrote after arriving in Islamabad.</p>

International Travel

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"Extremely proud to be making this announcement": Air New Zealand announces major change

<p>Air New Zealand has introduced changes to allow staff to “proudly” display their non-offensive tattoos at work, reversing a controversial long-standing policy.</p> <p>Starting September 1, the airline’s staff will be able to have tā moko and/or non-offensive tattoos visible when wearing their uniform or normal business dress.</p> <p>“I’m extremely proud to be making this announcement,” said CEO Christopher Luxon. “It reinforces our position at the forefront of the airline industry in embracing diversity and enabling employees to express individuality or cultural heritage.”</p> <p>The changes came after five months’ research with Air New Zealand customers and employees, as well as a few high-profile cases of job applicants being turned down due to visible tattoos. The airline has been slammed as hypocritical for preventing staff to display their tattoos while promoting using koru designs.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BwllccMF7mD/" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BwllccMF7mD/" target="_blank">A post shared by Air New Zealand (@airnz)</a> on Apr 22, 2019 at 11:02pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Luxon said according to the company’s research, one in five adult New Zealanders has at least one tattoo, with more than 35 per cent of people under 30 having been inked.</p> <p>“We want to liberate all our staff including uniform wearers such as cabin crew, pilots and airport customer service teams who will, for the first time, be able to have non-offensive tattoos visible when wearing their uniforms,” said Luxon.</p> <p>“There is an expectation that Air New Zealand will represent our country and our people authentically to the world and having a workforce who can bring their true selves to work is an important part of that.”</p> <p>The carrier’s spokeswoman said the appropriateness of the tattoos will be evaluated in the same way as speech: “…in the same way you shouldn't swear, make hateful comments, lewd jokes, or use violent language in the workplace for example, the same goes for tattoos”.</p> <p>She said, “Where the situation is not clear, we will have a Tattoo Review Panel to assist employees and managers to determine whether a tattoo is aligned with our policy.”</p> <p>Head of aviation at E tū union Savage said it was a “smart move” for the company. “Aotearoa is a Pacific nation. No one should be surprised to board an Air New Zealand flight or turn up at a New Zealand airport and be attended to by someone with a tattoo and a smile on their face,” said Savage.</p> <p>“Tā moko, tatau and tattoos are all Pacific artforms.</p> <p>“Air New Zealand is embracing diversity and inclusiveness to increase workplace wellbeing and productivity and as a union we support that.”</p>

International Travel

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4 must-see places in South Africa

<p>Home to an interesting political history and many archaeological finds, South Africa has lots of options for travellers other than wildlife safaris and great beaches.</p> <p><strong>1. </strong><strong>The Cradle of Humankind,</strong><span> </span>in Gauteng, is home to 40% of the world’s discovered human ancestor fossils. The Maropeng visitor centre offers impressive exhibits of the 3.5 million-year evolution of man, plus the opportunity to gaze at the stars as storytellers recount the daily life of our human ancestors. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a 40-minute drive from Johannesburg.</p> <p><strong>2. Vredefort Dome</strong><span> </span>is the world’s oldest meteorite impact scar, or astrobleme. With a radius of 190km, it is also the largest and the most deeply eroded. Situated 120km south-west of Johannesburg, the astrobleme is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.</p> <p><strong>3. Nelson Mandela’s Legacy</strong><span> </span>Officially, there are places of interest throughout South Africa for tourists wishing to follow the iconic statesman’s life journey. Now a World Heritage site, Robben Island lies off Cape Town, and is where he spent 18 of his 27 years in prison. Tourists also make the pilgrimage to the Eastern Cape village of Qunu, which was both his home during his young years, and his burial place.</p> <p><strong>4. Vilakazi Street,<span> </span></strong>Orlando West, Soweto, is the only street in the world that has been home to two Nobel Laureates, Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Mandela’s house is now a museum. Also in Orlando West is the Hector Pieterson Memorial, commemorating youth resistance against apartheid.</p> <p><em>This article first appeared in </em><span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/destinations/Must-See-Places-in-South-Africa"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></span></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

International Travel

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You can now go on a double date with George and Amal Clooney in Italy

<p>George and Amal Clooney are giving away an opportunity to join them on a lunch double date in Italy.</p> <p>As part of a charity sweepstake, the Clooneys are granting one lucky pair a double date at their Lake Como villa for “lunch, laughs and the chance to get to know this amazing couple on a personal level”.</p> <p>The competition announcement read: “You’ll bond with George and Amal over a delicious meal, take in the spectacular views of the lake and share a celebratory toast all together. Plus, you’ll take some incredible photos to remember it all by.”</p> <p>The prize also includes a paid flight to Italy and 4-star hotel accommodation for the trip.</p> <p>The lucky draw is held in support of the couple’s charity Clooney Foundation for Justice, which works to promote accountability for human rights abuse around the world.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">Amal Clooney’s husband George offers YOU the chance to join him and Amal on a double date… on Lake Como! Donations benefit the Clooney Foundation for Justice. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/omaze?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#omaze</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/georgeclooney?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#georgeclooney</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/amalclooney?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#amalclooney</a><br /><br />Enter here: <a href="https://t.co/MvrZaLUIc1">https://t.co/MvrZaLUIc1</a> <a href="https://t.co/1Lsxn3l70I">pic.twitter.com/1Lsxn3l70I</a></p> — Omaze (@omaze) <a href="https://twitter.com/omaze/status/1133767714453934080?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 29, 2019</a></blockquote> <p>In a video promoting the sweepstake, George said: “That's right, to benefit the Clooney Foundation For Justice, we’re inviting you and a guest to go on a double date with Amal, a world-renowned human rights lawyer, law school professor and a leading thinker on the concept of justice throughout the world and me... an actor.”</p>

International Travel

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Top 10 summer destinations in Europe revealed

<p><span>Looking to escape the cold winter snap? It might be a good idea to start planning a trip to the other side of the world.</span></p> <p><span>Lonely Planet has released its 2019 <a href="https://www.lonelyplanet.com/best-in-europe">Best in Europe</a> list to recommend 10 lesser-known places in the continent for your summer getaway, ranging from bear-stalked forests to regal riviera. </span></p> <p><span>The top spot goes to Slovakia’s High Tatras, a rugged mountain range by the northern border of the country where lynx, wolves, brown bears and native chamois thrive and roam. The region is also well-known for its rafting and boating tours as well as the scenic hike trails through the high terrains and underground caves.</span></p> <p><span>Also making the list is Bari, a charming Italian port town filled with cultural spaces and heritage sites. Highlights include Basilica di San Nicola, a Norman church dating back to the 12<sup>th</sup> century; the historic harbourfront theatre Teatro Margherita; and the versatile multi-use cultural space Officina degli Esordi where concerts and art exhibitions are abuzz. </span></p> <p><span>Rounding up the top 10 is Istria, Croatia. With indulgent gourmet foods (from seafood and steak tartare to truffles and wine), historic spots (Roman Amphitheatre and Euphrasian Basilica, to name a few), and gorgeous beaches and sea cliffs, the small peninsula is a place to be explored.</span></p> <p><span>Find the full list below.</span></p> <p><strong><span>Lonely Planet's best in Europe 2019</span></strong></p> <ol> <li><span>High Tatras, Slovakia</span></li> <li><span>Madrid, Spain</span></li> <li><span>The Arctic Coast Way, Iceland</span></li> <li><span>Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina</span></li> <li><span>Bari, Italy</span></li> <li><span>Shetland, Scotland</span></li> <li><span>Lyon, France</span></li> <li><span>Liechtenstein</span></li> <li><span>Vevey, Switzerland</span></li> <li><span>Istria, Croatia</span></li> </ol>

International Travel

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Want to become a better person? Travelling more might be the answer

<p>Travelling offers new experiences and can open people’s minds. It allows you to get out of your daily groove – of work, commuting, housework and cooking – to think about the things that really matter and enjoy some quality time in a different place.</p> <p>Of course, with growing awareness of the <a href="https://theconversation.com/in-the-age-of-cheap-flights-city-breaks-and-world-cruises-how-to-make-your-holiday-better-for-the-environment-85478">environmental impact</a> of long haul flights and tourism, many people are now opting for more sustainable methods of travel – with some choosing staycations <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/04/21/travel/24ecotourism-environment-travel-spread.html">over trips overseas</a>. But given that <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886916304172">my previous research</a> shows the positive impact cultural diversity can have on a person’s well-being, it makes sense to not miss out on those trips abroad entirely. Instead, look for more environmentally friendly ways to travel to different countries.</p> <p>My study found that having an enhanced affinity towards different cultures and global connectedness – also known as a “cosmopolitan” outlook – means you are more likely to have a better relationship with, and more positive appreciation of your body. You can develop a cosmopolitan outlook quite easily, simply by travelling, interacting with a diverse set of people, learning new languages, experiencing foreign foods and embracing an open mindset. And my research shows how the benefits of this type of global mindset can translate well beyond the everyday, and can actually influence who we are as people – and <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-cultural-diversity-can-help-to-boost-body-confidence-61719">how we think about ourselves</a>.</p> <p>But travelling doesn’t just change the way we think about ourselves, it stands to reason that it can also influence the way we behave. <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160738315300116#b0205">Scholars argue</a> that by acquiring knowledge of other places and people, travel can make us more peaceful in our interactions with others, while also spurring volunteering for global causes.</p> <p><a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2F0033-295X.98.2.224">Research</a> in social psychology also shows that culture influences peoples’ concept of “the self” – the image a person has about themselves. Take Japan, for instance. Japanese people tend to see their self as interdependent with others. It’s no secret that Japanese people are community oriented, respectful and <a href="https://japantoday.com/category/features/lifestyle/the-top-10-words-to-describe-japanese-people-according-to-foreigners">kind</a> to visitors. These are all attributes that help to contribute to a more balanced co-existence on the islands. Some western societies on the other hand, such as the US and the UK, emphasise more of a self that is independent of others with a focus on individual goals and achievements.</p> <p><strong>Mirroring behaviour</strong></p> <p>Of course, Japanese society is not without its challenges and crowded places. To successfully navigate such an environment, it is essential for citizens to adopt communal and empathetic behaviours towards each other. For instance, in Japan people do not speak on their mobile phones on the <a href="https://soranews24.com/2016/03/16/10-things-foreigners-in-japan-notice-about-japanese-phone-culture/">train</a> or subway, to avoid disturbing others that may be tired after a long day of work.</p> <p>And on rainy days they do not take their wet <a href="https://allabout-japan.com/en/article/6790/">umbrellas</a> into stores, the train or subway. Rather they leave their umbrella in a basket at their local station to avoid wetting others while standing in the crowded train. Upon their return, the umbrellas will still be there in the unprotected basket at the station.</p> <p>Could it be, then, that exposure to these types of positive behaviours could motivate travellers to adopt them and subsequently take their “improved manners” back home?</p> <p>Scientifically, this phenomenon may be explained by “mirror neurons”. As the name implies, mirror neurons are linked to the “mirroring” of others’ behaviours. Initially explored to explain ape’s social behaviour, there is growing evidence that mirror neurons are also <a href="https://www.cell.com/trends/cognitive-sciences/fulltext/S1364-6613(11)00194-X?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS136466131100194X%3Fshowall%3Dtrue">evident in humans</a>.</p> <p>Nested in our brains, <a href="https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.psych.60.110707.163604">researchers argue</a> that mirror neurons fire not only while executing an action, but also while observing somebody else performing the same or a similar action. <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/114/30/7969.full.pdf">Neuroscientific evidence</a> also suggests that specific brain regions are tied to an interdependent self, and that mirror neurons play a role in how a person integrates information about their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364661307000307">self and others</a>.</p> <p><strong>Wired for empathy</strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.psych.60.110707.163604">Research</a> also suggests that the relationship between mirror neurons and imitation is linked to an evolutionary process that made us wired to develop a more empathetic self. Broadly speaking, <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10551-011-0961-3">empathy</a> has to do with the sensing and sharing of feelings of one person by another – connecting people in mutual dependency.</p> <p>In this way, empathy is an important attribute needed to become a better person and mirror neurons seem to be the ideal cells to support <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nn1911">cooperative behaviour</a> among people. So it stands to reason that experiencing and observing empathetic behaviour during travels that you haven’t come across before, may activate your mirror neuron system.</p> <p>And it could well be that travellers integrate this empathetic behaviour as part of their brain – leading to more considerate interactions with others even after returning home. So maybe this is what people mean when they say they feel changed or inspired by their time away. Either way, it’s clear that getting a change of scenery every so often can be beneficial for our minds, bodies and maybe even our manners.</p> <p>So when it comes to thinking about your next trip, try to choose somewhere that protects the <a href="https://theconversation.com/in-the-age-of-cheap-flights-city-breaks-and-world-cruises-how-to-make-your-holiday-better-for-the-environment-85478">local environment and respects human rights</a> – and use local businesses rather than multinationals when booking your flights and accommodation. That way you can not only help to better yourself, but also the world around you.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/115009/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Hector Gonzalez-Jimenez, Associate Professor in Marketing, ESCP Europe</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/want-to-become-a-better-person-travelling-more-might-be-the-answer-115009"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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