International Travel

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A side-trip on the Bear Trek

<p><em>Justine Tyerman ventures deep into 007 territory, embarks on a short but hair-raising hike and learns about the history of the ‘</em><em>Village on the Wall’</em><em>...  </em></p> <p>Our Swiss guides casually sauntered down the steep, narrow track as if it was a sidewalk in downtown Zurich. I, on the other hand, exercised extreme caution, placing each foot carefully on the slippery mountainside strewn with loose rocks, making sure I came to a complete halt in a safe place before gazing around at the jaw-dropping views.</p> <p>It was Day 3 of our Swiss ‘Bear Trek’ expedition, and radically different from the previous two which involved strenuous, all-day hikes up and over mountain passes. Instead we deviated from the usual itinerary, taking a side-trip to the top of the Schilthorn. This involved catching a series of impressive cable-cars which whisked us from the Lauterbrunnen Valley far above the clouds to a mountain peak almost 3000 metres above sea level. Grey and drizzly in the valley, it was another world up there, bathed in bright sunshine, hobnobbing with mountain peaks.</p> <p>The 360-degree panorama from the Schilthorn summit gave us an entirely different perspective on the Bernese trio – the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau – and more than 200 members of mountain royalty including Europe’s highest mountain, Mont Blanc, 4,808m, in neighbouring France. Communing eye-to-peak with such alpine giants was breath-taking. Below us, the clouds were neatly tucked into the folds of the valley like a fluffy white duvet.</p> <p>But there’s more to the Schilthorn than spectacular alpine scenery. The mountain featured in the sixth Bond movie, <em>On Her Majesty’s Secret Service </em>(1969), and the revolving restaurant, Piz Gloria, served as the headquarters of the <span>evil genius and super-villain Ernst Stavro</span> Blofeld. At the top of the mountain, there’s a highly-entertaining, interactive Bond World, replays of 007 movies, a Walk of Fame featuring the actors, stuntmen, cameramen and directors, and even Bond-themed toilets that won an international tourism award for ‘best bathrooms’. The restaurant serves 007 burgers. I just had to have one for lunch while I watched the parade of peaks drift by the revolving restaurant.</p> <p>The Schilthorn is also renowned for its vertiginous Skyline Walk, a 200m-long glass and steel bridge that clings to the rock face below the cablecar station at Birg. Only in Switzerland would I agree to do such a thing. I trust the engineering here – 100 percent. I felt so confident, I even crawled through an eight-metre steel-mesh tunnel above a sheer drop and walked along a wire suspended high above the rocks... enclosed inside a sturdy safety net. Thrilling but safe. My colleagues decided the tunnel was a fine spot for some relaxed sight-seeing but I wasted no time in there.</p> <p>The Schilthorn has another claim to fame. It’s the starting gate of the 15km ‘Inferno’ ski race to Lauterbrunnen, the largest amateur ski race in the world. The race dates back to 1928 on one of the longest pistes in Switzerland. There’s a summer version of the event too, the Inferno Triathlon from Thun to the Schilthorn, which began in 1992. One of the toughest endurance races in the world with an ascent of 5500 metres, it must also be one of the most scenic.</p> <p>Having explored the Schilthorn’s many attractions and magnificent views, our local guides Jana and Nick led us down the top section of the triathlon route, the only hiking we ended up doing that day. It was a short stint compared to previous days but one that required intense concentration and focus. A carelessly-placed foot could have led to a rather rapid descent. I was astounded to think triathletes could run up such a track... and even more astonished to see a sign at the top which read: ‘High-heeled shoes prohibited!’</p> <p>Jana said: “Believe me, it does happen!”</p> <p>Late afternoon, we took a cablecar down to Mürren where we checked into the lovely Hotel Alpenruh.</p> <p>Nick conducted a walking tour of his delightful, car-free village which sits on a ledge high above the Lauterbrunnen Valley. You wouldn’t want to be a somnambulant in Mürren – at the edge of the ledge, there’s a sheer drop of 800m to the valley floor.</p> <p>Mürren, the highest, continually-inhabited village settlement in the canton of Bern, has a fascinating history with records dating back to 1257 when the ‘Village on the Wall’ was first mentioned. Millions of years before that, 200 million to be precise, Mürren was submerged under the ocean, and 25,000 years ago, it was 1.2km under glacial ice which only began to recede 8000 years ago.</p> <p>Prior to the 1850s, the inhabitants of the high terrace survived by subsistence farming but as the region warmed and the snow and ice melted, Mürren became more accessible, and along came international tourism.</p> <p>It’s a place of many firsts, Nick explained as we walked around the pretty little village.</p> <p>With the opening of Mürren’s first hotel, the ‘Silberhorn’ in 1857, and the ‘Grand Hotel Des Alpes’ and the ‘Kurhaus’ in 1870, the village became the summer retreat of aristocrats, politicians, painters and scholars from all over Europe, especially Britain. In 1891, the Lauterbrunnen to Mürren railway was inaugurated and in 1910, Mürren enjoyed its first winter tourism season. We came across the original passenger car of a horse-drawn tramway opened in 1894 to transport guests and goods from the train stations to the Grand Hotel Kurhaus.</p> <p>Nick pointed out the Allmendhubel Funicular opened in 1912, and a memorial to British skier and mountaineer Sir Arnold Lunn who set the world’s first slalom course in Mürren in 1922, and organised the first world championship in downhill and slalom racing in 1931.</p> <p>In 1923, the British Ladies Ski Club was founded in Mürren and in1924, Lunn started the Kandahar Ski Club, the oldest, most distinguished British ski club whose 1400 members include royals and celebrities.</p> <p>The first Inferno Race (from Schilthorn to Lauterbrunnen) took place in 1928 organised by a bunch of British ski enthusiasts; in 1930, Switzerland’s first ski school was founded; and in 1937, Mürren celebrated the opening of the first ski lift in the Bernese Oberland.</p> <p>The mid-1960s saw the construction of cableways from Stechelberg to the Schilthorn and in 1969, the revolving restaurant ‘Piz Gloria’ opened, thanks to the makers of the Bond movie ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ who helped fund the completion of the project.</p> <p>I loved the tranquillity of the vehicle-free village, the deer grazing in the nearby meadows and sun-blackened walls of the traditional old chalets and barns with their window boxes and steep-pitched rooves. The oldest house in the village dates back to 1547.</p> <p>Nick joined us for dinner at the Hotel Alpenruh where we consumed a large cauldron of rich, creamy fondue made from local cheese. It was a fun evening, our last night together as a group - three Aussies, one Kiwi and our Swiss tour leader. I would miss the camaraderie of the Aussies and the immensely-capable Birgit, but I was excited to be heading to Montreux and then on to Zermatt.</p> <p>My travel itinerary for the next day looked terrifying with four tight changes in four hours involving cable cars, buses and trains.</p> <p>But I knew it would go smoothly, just like clockwork, with the various stations, timetables and modes of transport all perfectly synchronised and aligned. That’s Switzerland. Stress-free travel...</p> <p>See also the first two of Justine’s stories about the Bear Trek: <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.oversixty.co.nz/travel/international-travel/the-slow-coach" target="_blank">Part 1</a> | <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.oversixty.co.nz/travel/international-travel/in-the-company-of-mountain-gods" target="_blank">Part 2</a></p> <p><em>The Bear Trek is part of the Via Alpina, a classic among long-distance hikes in Switzerland. The Via Alpina is a challenging mountain hike through the picture-perfect landscapes of Switzerland’s Northern Alps. A series of 20 daily stages takes hikers over 14 alpine passes and through a great variety of alpine terrain, villages, flora and fauna - a hiking enthusiast’s dream. Mountain restaurants and hotels provide meals and accommodation along the way. Eurotrek organised our accommodation and luggage transfers so we just carried a light day pack. They also provided excellent detailed maps of the route.</em></p> <p><em>Justine Tyerman was a guest of </em><span><a href="https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-nz/"><em>Switzerland Tourism</em></a></span><em>, travelled courtesy of </em><span><a href="https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-nz/planning/transport-accommodation/tickets-public-transportation/"><em>Swiss Travel Pass</em></a></span><em> and hiked in the </em><span><a href="http://www.schilthorn.ch"><em>Schilthorn Region</em></a></span><em> with </em><span><a href="https://www.eurotrek.ch/en"><em>Eurotrek.</em></a></span></p>

International Travel

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Meghan Markle’s homeless brother says she helps charities more than her family

<p>Meghan Markle’s estranged half brother has spoken out about how he has been left homeless and is sick of his sister and Prince Harry not helping out family.</p> <div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>Thomas Markle Jr, 53, fell on hard times after losing jobs and splitting up with his fiancee. He has since been forced to move in with his elderly mother in New Mexico after his life “fell apart”.</p> <p>Thomas told<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.the-sun.com/news/408950/meghan-markles-homeless-brother-says-hes-sick-of-her-helping-charities-but-not-her-family/" target="_blank">The Sun</a></em><span> </span>how he lost out on jobs due to having the same last name as the famous royal.</p> <p> “Being associated with Meghan has nearly destroyed me.</p> <p>“I am homeless and could have been under a bridge with a cardboard sign begging for money.</p> <p>“But thankfully my Mom has taken me in.</p> <p>“Mentally, this has been a f***ing nightmare ever since Meghan got together with Harry.”</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/B8MjqZQpfba/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" 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/B8MjqZQpfba/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal)</a> on Feb 5, 2020 at 11:02am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>He says that he has thought about changing his name to “escape the curse” and that the Palace or Meghan herself could have helped him out.</p> <p>“For her to sit there on her royal pedestal and watch this happening to her family — she should have done her humanitarian work for us.</p> <p>“I’m sick of hearing about her and Harry helping this charity, that charity — whatever cause is in this week.”</p> <p><em>Photo credits: The Sun</em></p> </div> </div> </div>

International Travel

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“£1billion handshakes”: Prince Harry in talks with Goldman Sachs

<p>Prince Harry is in talks to appear as a guest speaker for Goldman Sachs – a move that a PR guru said signals the Duke’s path towards financial independence.</p> <p>The Duke of Sussex first held talks with the Goldman Sachs in November to discuss his possible appearance as a speaker for the investment firm’s interview series <em>Talks at GS</em>, according to the <em><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-au/money/personalfinance/prince-harry-in-talks-with-banking-giant-as-he-sets-sights-on-earning-millions/ar-BBZVEO5?li=AAgfOd8">Mirror</a></em>. Previous speakers have included stars such as David Beckham and Gwyneth Paltrow as well as business leaders such as Walt Disney Company chairman Bob Iger.</p> <p>Harry will likely speak on two subjects: mental health and the needs of military veterans, a source told <em><a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2020/02/12/goldman-sachs-is-lining-up-prince-harry-for-online-interview-series.html">CNBC</a></em>.</p> <p>The prince will not be paid for his appearance, but a public relations expert said it could pave the way for the Sussexes to forge new sources of income.</p> <p>“They’re going to earn fortunes, whether through speeches or ambassador work – these are £1 billion handshakes,” PR consultant expert Mark Borkowski told the <em>Mirror</em>.</p> <p>The banking giant declined to comment on the report.</p> <p>Goldman Sachs has previously been criticised for its role in the financial crisis of 2007-2008 and the 2010 European sovereign debt crisis among others. In 2016, the firm paid a US$5.06 billion settlement after it acknowledged it defrauded investors <a href="https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/goldman-sachs-pays-7b-for-role-in-global-financial-crisis-20160412-go4igz">during the lead-up to the US financial crisis</a>.</p> <p>Earlier this month, Harry and wife Duchess Meghan <a href="https://pagesix.com/2020/02/07/prince-harry-and-meghan-markle-make-first-public-appearance-since-megxit/">reportedly appeared as keynote speakers</a> at a JPMorgan Chase event in Miami.</p>

International Travel

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Queen summons Meghan and Harry back to the UK

<p>Her Majesty has called back Meghan Markle and Prince Harry from their relaxed new life in Canada to attend a Commonwealth Service.</p> <p>The Duke and Duchess of Sussex moved to Canada after announcing they were quitting royal life and becoming “financially independent”.</p> <p>The 93-year-old monarch has reportedly asked them to return to the UK next month for the service at Westminster Abbey.</p> <p>The couple attended the Commonwealth Service last year with Meghan heavily pregnant with Archie.</p> <p>If the couple attend the March 9 event, it will be the first royal engagement for Meghan since the couple quit.</p> <p><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=34784X1028065&amp;isjs=1&amp;jv=13.26.2-stackpath&amp;sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thesun.co.uk%2Fnews%2F10925713%2Fqueen-calls-meghan-markle-prince-harry-back%2F&amp;url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thetimes.co.uk%2Farticle%2Fharry-and-meghan-earn-1m-for-speech-in-florida-hrvf07xln&amp;xguid=17e9c84a97d49625f2521cd872b72ac6&amp;xs=1&amp;xtz=-660&amp;xuuid=b4ad45a1df2960b47ffacfe9162e3ff2&amp;xcust=01702c414a0700030f308df2f70a03073005306b0086e" target="_blank"><em>The Sunday Times</em></a><span> </span>reported the couple will make a round of final engagements in March before returning to North America. </p> <p>However, the Queen is “remarkably unfazed” by the couple’s decision to start a new life in Canada.</p> <p>“If that’s what they want, if they want to go, we must let them go,” she told friends.</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/BxNPb_9B0fn/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" 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/BxNPb_9B0fn/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal)</a> on May 8, 2019 at 8:39am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Prince Harry made his first public appearance at JPMorgan’s Miami billionaire’s summit, where he gave a speech and was reportedly paid $1 million plus expenses for the opportunity.</p> <p>The couple were reportedly flown on the JPMorgan private jet from Vancouver to Palm Beach and the summit was attended by the likes of Patriots owner Bob Kraft and billionaire philanthropist Robert Frederick Smith. </p>

International Travel

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The longest day

<p><em>The tramping boots prove their worth as Justine Tyerman’s best hiking buddies on the Walk Japan’s Izu Geo Trail.</em></p> <p>Konnichiwa! I heard the tramping boots (TBs) chortle as they sauntered off to the drying room with the sweet young kimono-clad girl who welcomed us to our ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn.</p> <p>The TBs were in fine fettle after our six-hour hike along spectacular forest and coastal tracks on the Izu Geo Trail.</p> <p>We had just finished the longest hike of our seven-day, six-night Walk Japan hiking tour of the Izu Peninsula – just two hours by train from Tokyo but worlds away from hustle-bustle of the megalopolis.</p> <p>I was heading straight for the revitalising waters of the onsen baths with my lady friends while the TBs were looking forward to hobnobbing with their counterparts from around the world.</p> <p>They had once again proven their worth as my best tramping buddies, delivering me safely to my destination at the end of an exhilarating day of hiking in the great outdoors.</p> <p>I could hear them bragging about having been chosen ahead of my lightweight walking shoes, “all very flash and trendy but where’s the tread and ankle support when you need it, eh?”</p> <p>They were right in their element.</p> <p>Day five was the longest hike of the Izu Geo Trail, around 12km with a steep climb or two, “nothing compared with some of the tramps I’ve done in my time”, the TBs crowed.</p> <p>We were accompanied by guide John Sweeney, an Australian chap who lives nearby in a mountain village of only 30 people with his Japanese wife Kiyomi. The couple also run an English language school.</p> <p>John leads an interesting life guiding many Walk Japan tours and also working with search and rescue services.</p> <p>He delivered a thorough safety briefing about watching where we placed our feet and only looking at the scenery when we stopped, an important message given that the track was steep and strewn with tree roots. Always on the lookout for hazards, the TBs agreed.</p> <p>John also mentioned the ‘s’ word which set my heart pounding. The presence of snakes in Japan had not even occurred to me until now but the thought of encountering a venomous mamushi or pit viper was not appealing. I decided to stick close to John and stamp my feet to ward off any vipers lurking in the undergrowth.</p> <p>Aussies the world over just love to terrify Kiwis with snaky stories.</p> <p>Starting from the fishing port of Arari, we set off towards Tago on the coast-hugging Imayama section of the Nishiizu Trail. It was a warm, sunny day and we were hiking uphill so we were grateful for the shade of the forest.</p> <p>After about 45 minutes, we all came to a complete standstill, gazing in wonder at a faint but distinctive cone shape in the distance. It was Mt Fuji rising majestically if somewhat hazily above the cloud on the horizon. Everyone went ballistic with their cameras and iPhones. A photo board showed us the mountain in mid-winter blanketed in snow under clear skies towering above Suraga Bay... but we were all thrilled just to get a glimpse of the famous volcano.</p> <p><strong>Always someone to chat with</strong></p> <p>When we could tear our eyes away from Fuji, from our elevated position high above the ocean, spectacular deeply-eroded cliffs, jagged headlands and rocky offshore islands were clearly visible in both directions. The breath-taking beauty of the landscape far exceeded my expectations and my heart soared as we hiked this wonderful trail in the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park.</p> <p>With 12 of us in the group (13 counting John), there was always someone to fall into step with and chat with as we walked. I enjoyed such interesting conversations with wonderful people from diverse backgrounds and countries.</p> <p>After a couple of blissful hours hiking, we emerged on a narrow road at the top of a hillside covered in terraced aloe vera fields, some cultivated for harvest, some left to grow wild. A small motorised wagon stood on tracks that led steeply downhill. John said the owner of the aloe vera fields used the wagon to get up and down the steep slope when tending and harvesting the crop. Brave man, I thought as I peered over the edge to where the track plummeted downhill.</p> <p>The pretty little fishing port of Tago was our picnic lunch spot. Many neat and tidy boats were tied up at the quay alongside a seriously-high tsunami protection wall with hefty gates, a reminder of Japan’s exposure to such natural disasters.</p> <p>We stopped at a gated cave in the side of a hill where a kamikaze boat was stored during World War 2. Packed with explosives, the powerful boats were located in strategic positions around the coast in preparation for a US attack.</p> <p>As we headed out of Tago towards Futo Beach on the Tomyagasaki section of the Nishiizu Trail, John drew my attention to a long, narrow white-ish thing on the side of the road. It looked like a strip of flimsy material but on closer inspection, it turned out to be a snake skin. Caught up in the sheer exhilaration of the hike, I had forgotten all about my snake phobia.</p> <p>“Where was this snake now in his brand new and even larger skin?” I wondered.</p> <p>Even the unflappable TBs were slightly rattled.</p> <p>John also took the opportunity to tell me that two hikers we had met coming in the opposite direction that morning had mentioned they saw a snake with a large frog in its mouth.</p> <p>“Don’t worry, it was so busy digesting the frog, it was not interested in us,” he said cheerfully.</p> <p><strong>Hiking seemed effortless</strong></p> <p>The afternoon trail was even more stunning than our morning hike – sparkling calm, blue ocean, the coast stretching for miles, a cloudless sky, sheer cliffs undercut by deep caves, strings of jewel-like bush-topped islands rising abruptly from the sea, joined by necklaces of sand... and all around, the joyful sound of birds singing in the trees. Leaving our backpacks on the side of the trail, we took a side track out to a high promontory overlooking the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean. There was rare silence as we absorbed the enormity of the panorama.</p> <p>The trail returned to sea-level at Futo Beach where a string of volcanic necks stood like mismatched sentinels along the seashore. The necks are former magma pathways in the vents of what were once a series of ancient submarine volcanos. The softer rock has eroded away exposing the solidified magma within. A bizarre and fantastical sight.</p> <p>The hiking was quite strenuous that day but it seemed effortless – the landscapes were utterly breath-taking. The TBs were in heaven and didn’t want the trail to ever end.</p> <p>Weary but happy, we arrived on foot at Accueil Sanshiro, a modern inn overlooking the Dogashima coast and Sanshiro Islands.</p> <p>The TBs were intrigued by the Japanese practice of removing outside footwear at the door and slipping into slippers. So much more sociable for them to spend the evening with other TBs than hanging out in a bedroom overnight with the ‘lightweights’.</p> <p>Witnessing a west coast sunset on such a clear evening was top of the agenda for everyone so our customary leisurely soak in the onsen baths was cut short to make sure we were all in position, cameras poised, at around 6.30pm.<br />The sunset was spectacular – the fiery ball slid towards a mauve horizon casting a shimmering golden pathway across the sea. A magical sight framed by islands and headlands.</p> <p>A sumptuous feast of fresh local seafood including abalone cooked in their shell at the table awaited us in the banquet room. There was barely any room on the table for wine glasses. The hungry hikers relished every mouthful.</p> <p>Failing to do justice the hotel’s onsen due to ‘sunset frenzy’, I arose early next day and soaked in the lovely outdoor pool overlooking the sea.</p> <p>A buffet breakfast offered a choice of Japanese and Western dishes – I chose fresh salads and vegetables over my usual cereal and yoghurt. I was turning distinctly Japanese... just like the song!</p> <p>The TBs reappeared at the door of the ryokan looking spick and span after a ‘boot spa treatment’. They were so eager to be the footwear of choice on the last day of the hike, I didn’t have the heart to side-line them... it was just as well. Their sturdy support was much in need as we descended from Kodarumayama.</p> <p>– <em>To be continued</em></p> <p><strong>Factbox:</strong></p> <ul> <li>The Izu Geo Trail is a 7-day, 6-night guided tour starting in Tokyo and finishing in Mishima. The trail explores the Izu Peninsula in the Shizuoka Prefecture, one of the most unique geological areas on Earth. The mountainous peninsula with deeply indented coasts, white sand beaches and a climate akin to a sub-tropical island, is located 150km south west of Tokyo on the Pacific Coast of the island of Honshu, Japan.</li> <li>An easy-to-moderate-paced hiking tour with an average walking distance of 6-12km each day, mostly on uneven forest and mountain tracks including some steep climbs and descents.</li> <li>Walk Japan pioneered off-the-beaten-track walking tours in Japan in 1992 with the Nakasendo Way tour. Since then, the company has created 29 guided, self-guided and speciality tours introducing the geography, people, cuisine, customs, culture and history of the real Japan that often remain inaccessible for visitors to the country.</li> <li>Walk Japan has been widely recognised, including selection by National Geographic as one of the 200 Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth.</li> </ul> <p><em>Justine Tyerman was a guest of <a href="https://walkjapan.com/">Walk Japan</a>.</em> </p>

International Travel

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Jeremy Clarkson slams Meghan Markle: “Get a grip”

<p><span>Jeremy Clarkson has said Meghan, Duchess of Sussex needs to “get a grip” and stop crying in a turbulent interview. </span><br /><br /><span>The <em>Top Gear</em> star told <em>British GQ</em> that the royal must toughen up after she reportedly rejected the classic “stiff upper lip” philosophy. </span></p> <p><span>“Everybody cries. Everybody cried when Diana was buried. But I mean, as a general rule, you’ve got to get a grip,” he said.</span><br /><br /><span>“I think the expression ‘get a grip’ needs to come back into the lexicon as soon as possible. Everybody needs to get a grip. Meghan Markle … just get a grip.”</span><br /><br /><span>Clarkson’s abrasive comments may come as a surprise to many who watched and listened as he came to the defence of the couple when he said the public shouldn’t blame them for wanting to step away from their royal duties. </span><br /><br /><span>He had previously said people were “allowed to resign from jobs they didn’t like”, and that royal life may have come to a shock to Meghan.</span><br /><br /><span>Meghan shocked royal fans across the globe when she admitted being unhappy with her life in a documentary called <em>Harry &amp; Meghan: An African Journey.</em></span><br /><br /><span>“It is not enough to just survive something, right?” She said in the emotional doco.</span><br /><br /><span>“That’s not the point of life. You’ve got to thrive.</span><br /><br /><span>“You’ve got to feel happy and I think I really tried to adopt this British sensibility of a stiff upper lip. I tried, I really tried.”</span><br /><br /><span>In January, she walked away from her royal duties alongside her husband Prince Harry and the couple have moved with baby son, Archie, to Canada.</span><br /><br /><span>Meghan has already reportedly signed a voiceover deal with Disney in return for a donation to a wildlife charity.</span></p>

International Travel

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Coronavirus in Wuhan: Residents shout ‘stay strong’ from windows

<p>In Wuhan, China, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, <a href="https://youtu.be/bqXfnN76S-I">residents have been shouting</a> “Wuhan <em>jiāyóu</em>” meaning, “Wuhan, stay strong” out of their windows, from apartment building to apartment building, to <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-51276496">send words of encouragement</a> to fellow citizens, doctors and medical staff at the front lines of the battle.</p> <p>When facing a crisis, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/03057240.2011.541774">humans historically seek solidarity</a>. Community solidarity is often seen as a great way for the community to feel alive and charged with energy after facing hard times.</p> <p>This solidarity was seen after <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/09/hurricane-katrinas-lesson-in-civics/402961/">Hurricane Katrina</a> in New Orleans in 2005, after <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/typhoon-haiyan-filipinos-use-social-media-ensure-no-victim-goes-flna2D11581515">Typhoon Haiyan</a> in the Philippines in 2013 and after the <a href="https://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/random-acts-of-kindness-during-the-fort-mcmurray-fire/">Fort McMurray wildfires</a> in Alberta in 2016.</p> <p>More recently, there are tales of <a href="https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/andie-bulman-pov-bartering-storm-1.5435804">neighbours shovelling each other out of their homes </a> after the historic snowstorm in St. John’s, N.L. Near Manila, <a href="https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1213189/bayanihan-eruption-unaffected-cities-towns-welcome-evacuees?fbclid=IwAR1w0IUcuPh_Z8sCk2MBJgR23bGOVMVfoLWCz6U4Hyyn-kO6Vh5hAzBdKt0">strangers offered up their homes</a> to evacuees of the Taal volcano eruption.</p> <p>But how do you show community solidarity in the face of a crisis when speaking with your neighbours — and coming together — could literally kill you?</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bqXfnN76S-I?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span class="caption">‘Wuhan jiāyóu’: chants of solidarity spread across city at epicentre of coronavirus" video from ‘The Guardian.’</span></p> <p><strong>Boost morale</strong></p> <p>As the 11 million citizens in Wuhan entered the nth day under lockdown because of the coronavirus, people have been forced to stay indoors to limit their contact with others. As fears grew, some felt the need to boost morale and create a sense of community solidarity.</p> <p>Soon, social media posts circulated asking residents in Wuhan to go to their windows and shout out “<em>jiāyóu</em>” starting at 8 p.m. local time. The posts were widely shared, leading to the phenomenon that took place.</p> <p><em>Jiāyóu</em> (加油) directly translates to “<a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-asia-45897668/add-oil-the-new-expression-coming-your-way">add oil</a>” in a way that might mean “add gasoline to your car” so you can continue to push hard and do what you need to do. In a general sense, the sentiment is “stay strong” or “keep going.” <em>Jiāyóu</em> is a common phrase used to encourage someone if they are facing a challenge.</p> <p>As the city of Wuhan faces the life and death challenge of the coronavirus, <em>jiāyóu</em> works as a phrase that resonates with residents of a city struggling to survive.</p> <p>“Wuhan <em>jiāyóu</em>” (武汉! 加油!) is now the motto of Wuhan to keep spirits high in the face of this spreading pandemic.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/312746/original/file-20200130-41485-17ocjao.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /> <span class="caption">A comment left on ‘The Guardian’s’ Youtube video of the ‘jiāyóu’ chants.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">YouTube/The Guardian</span></span></p> <p>In addition to raising morale and giving a strong sign of life to a city that has been rendered a ghost town, the <em>jiāyóu</em> chants have also served another purpose: for the global media audience, it has helped to humanize the citizens of Wuhan.</p> <p><strong>Apocalyptic fear</strong></p> <p>Even with the exceptional stories like the reporting of “Wuhan <em>jiayou</em>” by <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-51276496">the BBC </a> and the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/28/indoor-fishing-and-chanting-battles-how-chinas-quarantined-millions-are-keeping-busy"><em>Guardian</em></a>, western media <a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1i4fvH-EFDU_xzP-gt3OxZR0RGAvLqU5J/view">has been shown to</a> inevitably contribute to reducing the people at the core of these stories into numbers and statistics.</p> <p>So far, it seems, with a few exceptions, western mainstream media has focused on medical and scientific stories. The images and videos shared of Wuhan <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/jan/27/china-coronavirus-who-to-hold-special-meeting-in-beijing-as-death-toll-jumps">are of a ravaged</a> and scary ghost town. Some include <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/video/world/asia/100000006936419/coronavirus-china-wuhan.html">videos of overflowing hospitals</a> and medical staff in <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2020/jan/30/coronavirus-live-updates-china-death-toll-wuhan-evacuation-foreign-nationals-citizens-latest-news">heavy protective gear</a>. Others have spread stories of <a href="https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/bc-rumours-panic-coronavirus-outbreak-1.5443998">apocalyptic fear</a>. Many social media posters have engaged in <a href="https://twitter.com/SimuLiu/status/1222459446799921153?s=20">fear mongering</a>. With all this, it can seem that few have treated the citizens of Wuhan as anything but <a href="https://globalnews.ca/news/6466587/coronavirus-risk-reaction/">potential carriers of the virus</a>.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/312903/original/file-20200130-41516-38tn9c.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /> <span class="caption">Simi Liu, recently cast as Marvel’s first Asian superhero has been speaking out against the racist fear mongering circulating on Twitter.</span> <span class="attribution"><a href="https://twitter.com/SimuLiu/status/1222459446799921153?s=20" class="source">(Twitter/@similiu)</a></span></p> <p>While these videos and images depict the reality of a city dealing with a pandemic, the face masks and crowded hospitals allow viewers to overlook the silent majority — the tens of millions of people in self-isolation at home.</p> <p>The <em>jiāyóu</em> chant and the videos that captured it have since gone viral. It is a way for citizens to reclaim their narrative. It helps to draw attention to the millions of diligent and law-abiding citizens who are doing their job in fighting this pandemic and encouraging others to keeping going in this fight against an invisible virus.</p> <p>I believe the humanization of the Wuhan citizens helped to send a wake up call to the world about the plight of those not infected but isolated in their homes. Many westerners have largely focused on whether the virus will spread in their countries. Few may have stopped to think of those in lock down in Wuhan and other cities in China.</p> <p>Some took to social media to ask why the world is not praying for Wuhan or China. Why are there no Facebook profile filters to show solidarity with those struggling against the virus?</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/312741/original/file-20200130-41554-1q6puo7.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /> <span class="caption">Screenshot of Orlando Uy’s Facebook comment about the lack of Pray for China activities on social media.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">(Facebook/Orlando Uy)</span></span></p> <p>Most recently, in Wuhan, <a href="https://uk.news.yahoo.com/chinese-premier-inspects-wuhan-supermarket-120000938.html">Premier Li Keqiang’s visited</a> a Wuhan supermarket where the coronavirus allegedly originated. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPfZmZZ9M0o">In an act of solidarity, he chanted “<em>jiāyóu</em> Wuhan”</a> with a crowd of shoppers to encourage them to continue fighting the coronavirus.</p> <p>While the premier was likely genuine, there is also a small warning in this government official’s act. There is a risk that acts of solidarity like “Wuhan <em>jiāyóu</em>” could be co-opted by government bodies to shift attention or responsibility away from authorities.</p> <p>This type of co-option was observed in <a href="https://odihpn.org/blog/bayanihan-after-typhoon-haiyan-are-we-romanticising-an-indigenous-coping-strategy/">the exaggerated use of “resilience” and “survival” narratives</a> after Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines to paint a picture of a rapidly recovering community doing well by being resourceful and helping each other.</p> <p>These narratives of community resilience pushed forth by official government messages can act to shift responsibility away from the state and international humanitarian organizations that have formal responsibilities in disaster risk reduction and recovery.</p> <p>Thus, Premier Li Keqiang was able to use the peoples’ chant, “Wuhan <em>jiāyóu</em>” to rally support in the grocery store. But he did not create a space for questions about accountability and government action. This is often the double-edged sword of community solidarity: it is powerful, but it can also be misused by the powerful. <!-- 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/130851/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 style="text-align: center;"><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/qPfZmZZ9M0o?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span class="caption">Premier Li Kequiang shouting ‘Wuhan jiayou.’</span></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/yvonne-su-742700">Yvonne Su</a>, PhD, International Development and Political Science, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-guelph-1071">University of Guelph</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-in-wuhan-residents-shout-stay-strong-from-windows-130851">original article</a>.</em></p>

International Travel

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The hotel that offers free stays for couples who make babies

<p><span>This Valentine’s Day, a Canadian hotel is raising the game with a special offer.</span></p> <p><span>Hotel Zed is bringing back its Nooner Valentine’s Day promotion for the fifth year in a row, inviting couples to book a four-hour room for CA$59. </span></p> <p><span>However, there’s a new twist this year: If a pair welcomes a baby into their lives nine months after the Nooner stay, they will win a free stay at any Hotel Zed of their choice for the next 18 years.</span></p> <p><span>“I don’t think we’re going to convince someone who’s not thinking about having a baby to have a baby. But if you’re serious about expanding your family, why wouldn’t you try?” Hotel Zed CEO Mandy Farmer told <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/hotel-zed-valentines-special-offer/index.html"><em>CNN</em></a>. </span></p> <p><span>“If you succeed, you’ll win a way to celebrate your baby’s conception for the next 18 years.”</span></p> <p><span>Farmer told <a href="https://www.insider.com/canadian-hotel-zed-offers-free-stays-for-couples-who-can-make-babies-during-a-valentines-day-promo-2020-1"><em>Insider</em></a> the prize might give the lucky winners “a new annual tradition”. “Definitely beats a stale box of chocolate or another flower bouquet!”</span></p> <p><span>Conception is not the only way couples can win the prize. The promotion is open to everyone regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation, and therefore applies to pairs who welcome their baby through adoption or surrogacy.</span></p> <p><span>Couples are required to submit documentation with dates to receive the <a href="https://www.hotelzed.com/specials/valentine-s-day-nooner-baby-maker/">Nooner Baby Maker prize</a>.</span></p>

International Travel

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In the company of mountain gods

<p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Justine Tyerman practises her “one foot after the other” mantra on day two of the Bear Trek in the Swiss Alps. </span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Kleine Scheidegg Pass looked formidable in the early morning light, shaded by the massive granite North Face of the Eiger. I was tempted to bury my head under my cosy down duvet, feign a pulled ligament or something and allow Guide Birgit and Team Super-Fit to hike on without me.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">I had made the mistake of studying the profile of Day Two of the Bear Trek the night before and discovered that before we even started the climb, the track plunged all the way to the valley floor, appropriately called Grund, adding hours and vertical metres to an already challenging ascent.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The warning bells I had earlier ignored before I left New Zealand were clanging away again inside my head, but so too were my Kiwi tramping friend’s words that had kept me going the previous day: “One foot after the other and you’ll get there... eventually.” </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Besides, I was the only Kiwi in the group and I couldn’t let the Aussies get the better of me. I floundered my way out of duvets and pillows so deep, they must have placed the entire Swiss goose population in serious jeopardy, showered, pulled on my hiking gear and presented myself in the dining room with a brave smile on my face.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Over a hearty breakfast at our lovely Hotel Kirchbühl high above the village of Grindelwald, Birgit studied the itinerary for Day Two.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The detailed route map proposed by Eurotrek, the company that organised our hike, went from Grindelwald to Lauterbrunnen via Kleine Scheidegg Pass, covering 19.5km, ascending 1230m and descending 1465m, a hiking time of seven hours, 25 minutes.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Birgit frowned... and then beamed.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I think we’ll take the train to Alpiglen,” she said. “No point in walking all the way down just to climb back up again. And we’re staying in Wengen for the night which is much closer than Lauterbrunnen.”</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Tall, lean Ms Super-Duper Fit was crestfallen but I was so relieved I hugged Birgit.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">What a wonderful, wise woman</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">, I thought.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> How I love the Swiss Transport System. There’s always a train, bus, cablecar, gondola or funicular right where you need it. Catching the train to Alpiglen and staying at Wengen would lop off about three hours and hundreds of vertical metres. This would enable us to have a more relaxed, enjoyable experience with ample time to revel in the landscape, take photos and stop for a leisurely lunch on this most pristine of sunny autumn days.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The first rays of sun kissed the tip of the snow-capped peaks as we set off, well-fuelled, after a substantial hikers’ breakfast. The train deposited us at Alpiglen where we began the climb to Kleine Scheidegg Pass, 2061m. The ascent was steep and steady but the unfolding of the landscape as the mighty Bernese triumvirate - the Eiger, Mönsch and Jungfrau - came into view, made every step rewarding. Bright sunshine, clear skies and mild temperatures added to the magic of the day.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">We crossed gurgling, gin-clear, ice-cold streams trickling down lush, green mountain pastures, and stopped to pat friendly cows with tinkling bells. They were so tame, they licked us with their long purple-black, sandpaper tongues.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Encounters with other hikers and bikers of different nationalities were more frequent than on the previous day but we had the well-formed trail largely to ourselves.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">I was last to “summit” the pass but the heady exhilaration of having made it to the top obliterated the pain in my calf muscles and thumping of my heart. The Aussies were good sports. They didn’t seem to mind waiting for me. With breath-taking alpine panoramas, there was no down-time for them – cameras and iPhones were working overtime.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Above Kleine Scheidegg, in the shadow of the 3970m Eiger, there’s a tiny museum that documents the triumphs and tragedies of past climbing expeditions on the treacherous Nordwand (North Face). The stories are chilling especially the horrific tale of the climber in 1936 who, despite valiant rescue attempts, froze to death on the end of his rope after his three companions perished. He was just metres from safety.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Sphinx Terrace and observatory at the “Top of Europe” was visible high above us - building such a structure on a narrow ridge 3571m above sea level is a marvel of engineering. So too the cogwheel Jungfrau Railway train from Kleine Scheidegg to Europe’s highest railway station (3454m). Opened in 1912, the top 7km of the 9.4km of railway climbs through a tunnel hewn in the rock of the Eiger and Mönch, an audacious project that took 16 years to complete.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">As we sat in the sun gazing at the mountain gods, I felt a deep sense of reverence to be in their company.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">It was a quintessentially Swiss day – a sprinkling of fresh snow dusted the peaks, the edelweiss was in flower, and the alpine chalets were competing for the brightest window boxes and neatest firewood pile.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Swiss stack their firewood under the eaves against the chalet walls or in purpose-built sheds. The pieces are always perfectly cut to exactly the same size and arranged with the utmost symmetry – like an artwork.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It’s a Swiss thing,” Birgit said, “a point of national pride. A messy wood pile would be shameful in Switzerland.”</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Descending from Kleine Scheidegg Pass, the rumble of an avalanche echoed around the mountains as a slab of ice broke free from a blue-white glacier and thundered down the valley, an awesome sight and sound from a safe distance.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Late in the season, a few of the mountain restaurants were already closed but the Bergrestaurant Allmend was open and served an excellent lunch platter. With only a short downward hike to Wengen ahead of us, a little schnapps was in order, “a Swiss tradition,” Birgit said.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">An easy downhill hike from the Allmend took us straight to the Silberhorn, our hotel in the centre of the delightful, car-free resort of Wengen.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The exquisite picture-postcard village, with its traditional wooden chalets and belle époque hotels, is perched on a sunny terrace 400 metres above the Lauterbrunnen Valley with stunning vistas of the Jungfrau and Schilthorn.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Famous for its World Cup Lauberhorn ski piste, Wengen also has excellent year-round, family-friendly activities for everyone including skiing, toboggan runs and winter and summer hiking trails. Mountain trains and cableways provide access to spectacular vantage points throughout the Jungfrau region.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">After a relaxing soak in the Silberhorn’s outside Jacuzzi, I managed to do justice to a delectable five-course feast at the hotel’s excellent restaurant - melon and prosciutto, lentil soup, salads, beef ragout and apricot tart... among many other choices.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">High altitude can sometimes disrupt sleep patterns but the exertion of the day and the larger- than-usual-dinner... and a glass or two of wine...  acted as a powerful sedative for me.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">I fell asleep looking at the map of the next day’s hike with the words “22km, 2000m ascent, 1400m descent, 9 hours” swirling around in my mind  – but by now, I was confident I would manage whatever trimmed-down version Birgit had in store up for us.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">I knew I’d reach my destination, eventually, simply by placing “one foot after the other...”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Read more about </span><a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/travel/international-travel/the-slow-coach"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Day One of the trek</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><strong>Factbox</strong>:</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">* The Bear Trek is part of the Via Alpina, a classic among long-distance hikes in Switzerland. The Via Alpina is a challenging mountain hike through the picture-perfect landscapes of Switzerland’s northern alps. A series of 20 daily stages takes hikers over 14 alpine passes and through a great variety of alpine terrain, villages, flora and fauna - a hiking enthusiast’s dream. Mountain restaurants and hotels provide meals and accommodation along the way. Eurotrek organised our accommodation and luggage transfers so we just carried a light day pack. </span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Justine Tyerman was a guest of </span><a href="http://www.myswitzerland.com/hiking"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Switzerland Tourism</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, travelled courtesy of </span><a href="https://www.swiss.com/au/en"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Swiss Travel Pass</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and hiked in the </span><a href="https://jungfrauregion.swiss/en/winter/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Jungfrau Region</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> with </span><a href="https://www.eurotrek.ch/en"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Eurotrek.</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> </span></em></p>

International Travel

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The Queen and Prince Charles hold crisis talks over Prince Andrew​

<p><span>The Queen and Prince Charles have come together to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the scandal-plagued Prince Andrew. </span></p> <p><span>Taking the time to step away from royal estate business, the pair have been in numerous meetings regarding “family matters,” according to a royal source, as reported by The Sun. </span></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/B789wrlH9Tg/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" 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/B789wrlH9Tg/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Andrew (@princeandrew9933)</a> on Jan 30, 2020 at 9:42am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span>“Both had hoped the Duke of York could perhaps be rehabilitated back into public life in time but that is now looking increasingly unlikely,” they said. </span></p> <p><span>It has further been revealed that a police probe into Prince Andrew’s billionaire paedophile friend Jeffrey Epstein could be reopened after it was dropped in 2016.</span></p> <p><span>The news comes just mere hours after a US law chief slammed the Prince by revealing the FBI tried to question him over Epstein but instead received “zero co-operation”.</span></p> <p><span>The FBI says they have a witness who claims she saw the Duke dancing with “sex slave” Virginia Roberts Giuffre at London’s Tramp nightclub in 2001.</span></p> <p><span>Ms Giuffre claims she was trafficked by Epstein and that the Duke slept with her that night when she was 17.</span></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/B764-uSgGkQ/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" 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/B764-uSgGkQ/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Quentin Anonsson (@quentinanonsson)</a> on Jan 29, 2020 at 2:22pm PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span>The 59-year-old royal has denied any wrongdoing but has stepped back from public life.</span></p> <p><span>Epstein killed himself in jail last year.</span></p> <p><span>Andrew denied that the FBI had approached him, telling friends he was “bewildered” at claims he has refused to co-operate.</span></p>

International Travel

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Longest running what?! Queen Elizabeth’s latest milestone

<p>Queen Elizabeth can tuck another special achievement as of January 2020, after becoming the world’s fifth longest reigning monarch.</p> <p>The 93-year-old surpassed the 19th century Emperor of Austria Franz Joseph I - with her time on the throne so far lasting 67 years and 356 days as of January 27, 2020.</p> <p>The record follows the Queen’s other long list of accolades, including her title as the longest-living reigning monarch.</p> <p>Adrian Hilton, a lecturer in politics, philosophy and political theology, took to <a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://twitter.com/Adrian_Hilton/status/1221353113401155585?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Etweet/" target="_blank">Twitter </a>to announce the news.</p> <p>The expert recognised that the Queen – who officially started her reign on February 6, 1952 – had moved up to fifth place on the list of the world’s longest reigning monarchs.</p> <p>“Just to say, today the Queen moved up a notch in the table of the world’s longest reigns, surpassing that of Franz Joseph I. God Save the Queen.,” he wrote alongside a screenshot of the Wikipedia lead table.</p> <p>K'inich Janaab Pakal, who was one of the most famous seventh-century Mayan rulers, sits in front of the British royal.</p> <p>In third place is Johann II of Liechtenstein, who ruled from 1858 and 1929, followed by Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand.</p> <p>King Bhumibol reigned from 1946 until his death in October 2016 and was the world's longest living reigning monarch before the Queen.</p> <p>Holding on to the top spot is Louis XIV of France, with an impressive 72-year and 110-day reign.</p> <p><strong>The longest-reigning monarchs </strong></p> <p>1. Louis XIV of France (reigned from 14 May 1643 to 1 September 1715)</p> <p>2. Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand (reigned from 9 June 1946 to 13 October 2016)</p> <p>3. Johann II of Liechtenstein (reigned from 12 November 1858 to 11 February 1929)</p> <p>4. K'inich Janaab Pakal (reigned from 29 July 615 to 31 August 683)</p> <p>5. Queen Elizabeth II (reigned from 6 February 1952)</p>

International Travel

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Revealed: The royal who will replace Harry and Meghan

<p>With Prince Harry and Meghan officially kicking off their new life in Canada, the palace is set to enlist the help of another royal to take on more engagements.</p> <p>Sophie Wessex, who is considered to be the Queen’s “long-term favourite”, will be “replacing” the Sussexes and representing the Queen after Harry and Meghan stood down from their royal duties.</p> <p>The 55-year-old is married to Prince Edward, the Queen’s youngest son, and is being asked to help “ease the burden”.</p> <p>“[Sophie] has been singled out as a person the Palace would like to help ease the burden,” an insider told<span> </span><em>The Sun</em>.</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-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B7ol_l_IuYJ/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" 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="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B7ol_l_IuYJ/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">Tonight The Countess of Wessex was joined by members of a women's parliamentary group and staff during a tour of the chamber of Parliament, Freetown, on the first day of her visit to Sierra Leone. She also met the Vice President Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh at the State House. The Countess seems to wear her @maisonvalentino printed skirt and @sophiehabsburg_official Cleo clutch. Blouse and shoes NO ID. #countessofwessex #windsor #westminster #royalfamily #royals #uk #england #kensingtonpalace #kensingtonroyal #sussexroyal #buckinghampalace #royaltour #sophierhysjones #earlofwessex #followme</a></p> <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 post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/sophie.countessofwessex/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> sophie.countessofwessex</a> (@sophie.countessofwessex) on Jan 22, 2020 at 11:50am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Speaking to the<span> </span><em>Daily Mail</em>, royal expert Phil Dampier revealed that the royal family is “seriously under-staffed”.</p> <p>“Sophie, has become a star in her own right. She is very close to her Majesty and is a favourite of hers. Recently she has been on several overseas trips and done fantastically well,” he said.</p> <p>Sophie is also said to be “very popular” with other senior royal members including Prince Charles, 71, and the Duchess of Cornwall, 72.</p>

International Travel

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Could sleeper trains replace international air travel?

<p>Dutch airline KLM recently launched a new advertising campaign called “<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4htp2xxhto">Fly Responsibly</a>”. Remarkably, it seems to encourage viewers to fly less. “Do you always have to meet face-to-face?”, the advert asks. “Could you take the train instead?”.</p> <p>The influence of climate campaigner Greta Thunberg likely explains why airlines feel obliged to say these things. <a href="https://theconversation.com/flight-shame-flying-less-plays-a-small-but-positive-part-in-tackling-climate-change-125440">Flight shame</a> – or “<em>flygskam</em>” – has gripped many regular flyers with a sense of unease about the aviation industry, which <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1352231014004889">consumes five million barrels of oil a day</a> and is predicted to account for around <a href="http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2015/569964/IPOL_STU(2015)569964_EN.pdf">22% of global carbon emissions</a> by 2050.</p> <p>European high-speed rail networks already offer an alternative to air traffic between European countries for distances shorter than 1,000 kilometres. For longer journeys, sleeper trains are becoming increasingly popular. These services run through the night and offer passengers a berth to sleep in. As more and more consumers question the ethics of their next flight, rail companies see an opportunity – and competition with airlines is heating up.</p> <p>But can night trains help offset the international journeys that most people currently make by aeroplane?</p> <p><strong>The renaissance of European night trains</strong></p> <p>From 2009 until 2018, the European night train network shrank steadily. The same is true for conventional intercity train networks, especially in southern and western Europe. This made air travel the only alternative on many routes. But that <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/20/brussels-vienna-night-train-returns-as-europe-eyes-flying-alternatives">appears to be changing</a>.</p> <p>When German Rail decided to withdraw its network of overnight passenger trains in 2015, Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) decided to take over some of its services. In 2017, ÖBB’s Nightjet services carried around <a href="https://www.railjournal.com/in_depth/obb-expands-abroad">1.4 million passengers</a>, more than doubling its total passengers from the previous year.</p> <p>In 2018, ÖBB achieved another 10% increase in passenger numbers. ÖBB CEO, Andreas Matthä, said that “<a href="https://www.railjournal.com/passenger/main-line/nightjet-passenger-traffic-up-10-says-obbs-ceo/">overnight services are a viable alternative to short-haul flights</a>” and committed to continue investing in new services. As a result, ÖBB is expanding its routes on the <a href="https://www.nightjet.com/en/">NightJet network</a> of sleeper trains. From January 2020, night trains will once again run between Vienna and Brussels, 16 years after the service closed.</p> <p>In the UK, <a href="https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/tocs_maps/tocs/GW.aspx">Great Western Railway</a> plans to <a href="https://www.gwr.com/travel-updates/planned-engineering/west-cornwall">renovate</a> the sleeper trains it runs to Cornwall. <a href="https://www.scotrail.co.uk/plan-your-journey/travel-connections/caledonian-sleeper">The Caledonian Sleeper</a>, which runs between London, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen has been revamped with a £150 million investment in new trains.</p> <p>In response to a public petition, the Swedish government plans to <a href="https://back-on-track.eu/swedish-draft-night-train-report-will-set-night-trains-on-the-tracks-from-scandinavia-in-2022/">reintroduce night train services</a> to other European countries. A sleeper train service <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/sweden-london-train-sleeper-malmo-amsterdam-cologne-munich-rail-a9288206.html?fbclid=IwAR3hXu2UX4z0wRqFiuCr1yTIfXJLlDM5sq0ExrgVxmxTlqRpXaEVzu0sMrI">from Malmö in southern Sweden to London</a> has been planned for 2022 at the earliest. The service could set off in the evening and arrive in the English capital at lunchtime the next day. At almost 1,300 kilometres, the trip is typical of the many rail journeys that could offset those currently taken between European countries by aeroplane.</p> <p><strong>An alternative to air travel?</strong></p> <p>Aviation industry CEOs are worried that flight shame could <a href="https://aviationanalyst.co.uk/2019/08/02/exclusive-domestic-air-travel-could-shrink-because-of-flight-shaming-lufthansa-munich-ceo/">threaten passenger traffic</a> and in some countries this already seems to be happening. Swedavia, an airline which operates ten of Sweden’s busiest airports, <a href="https://www.swedavia.com/about-swedavia/swedavias-newsroom/#gref">reported a 4% fall</a> in passengers in 2019 compared with the previous year. The decrease was primarily in domestic travel, while the number of international passengers fell to a lesser extent. Despite this, European air traffic still <a href="https://go.updates.iata.org/l/123902/2019-07-11/83d46z?utm_source=IATA.org&amp;utm_medium=product-page&amp;utm_campaign=BIS007-MonthlyStats-2019">grew by 4.2% in 2019</a>.</p> <p>It’s too soon to say whether the night train revival is a permanent trend prompted by <em>flygskam</em>. Nevertheless, environmental awareness still motivates the choices of travellers.</p> <p><a href="https://www.westminster.ac.uk/research/groups-and-centres/transport-studies-research-group">Researchers</a> who study consumer profiles in different markets recently identified a new one: the “<a href="https://dataset2050.eu/">environmental traveller</a>”. People who fall into this market segment try to maintain a lifestyle that is as environmentally friendly as possible – and that includes reducing the number of flights they take.</p> <p>But the researchers found that awareness of the environmental crisis doesn’t automatically translate into behaviour changes, such as choosing other transport modes over air travel. Most often, distance or cost are more powerful motivations, particularly for short and medium-haul routes.</p> <p>A <a href="https://repository.tudelft.nl/islandora/object/uuid%3A21e9731a-6ec3-4230-847f-38ffa364ba8a">recent study</a> from the Netherlands found that passengers who travel for leisure purposes seem to be most attracted to the option of night trains. It’s possible that night train services could simply generate new demand from these customers instead of substituting existing airline passengers. The researchers found that 40% of business travellers still opted to fly the day before and stay in a hotel instead, though many thought the relative comfort of sleeper trains was appealing.</p> <p><a href="http://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document.html?reference=IPOL_STU(2017)601977">Research</a> conducted on behalf of the European parliament is much more pessimistic, concluding that there are more challenges than opportunities for night trains to grow in Europe. Chief among them is the continued growth of low-cost airlines. <a href="http://www.nachtzug-retten.de/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/2013-04-30_uic_study_night_trains_2.02.pdf">Infrastructure costs</a> currently prohibit long-distance night trains which might be able to tempt more passengers out of these aeroplanes. Subsidy and investment to expand rail networks may be necessary for the sector to compete with aviation. <a href="https://www.aef.org.uk/issues/economics/taxation/">Making airlines pay fuel duty</a> could also help.</p> <p>In the meantime, <em>flygskam</em> could still be effective if it means people keep the pressure on the aviation industry to reform and reduce its growing carbon footprint.<!-- 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><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/enrica-papa-251240"><em>Enrica Papa</em></a><em>, Senior Lecturer in Transport Planning, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-westminster-916">University of Westminster</a></em></span></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/could-sleeper-trains-replace-international-air-travel-130334">original article</a>.</em></p>

International Travel

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Shakespeare fans can stay in Juliet’s House this Valentine’s Day

<p>Looking for a unique Valentine’s Day gift? This year, you have the opportunity to give the love of your life a special one: an overnight stay at Juliet’s House in the Italian city of Verona.</p> <p>Airbnb is giving one couple access to the 13<sup>th</sup> century Casa di Giulietta, where it was believed that William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet first declared their love to each other.</p> <p>The winning couple will be the first to stay in Juliet’s bedroom since 1930, Airbnb said. They will also be able to enjoy a candlelit feast cooked by two-Michelin-star chef Giancarlo Perbellini and go on a private tour of Verona with a professional photographer.</p> <p>Couples who wish to be in the running for the prize are encouraged to submit a letter to Juliet with their “poignant love story” and explanation as to why they should win the romantic getaway.</p> <p>“This stay will give one couple the unique chance to celebrate their love in what is possibly the most romantic home in the history of literature,” said Giacomo Trovato, Airbnb’s general manager for Italy.</p> <p>“Juliet’s House is the most important museum in the city of Verona, attracting millions of visitors every year,” said Federico Sboarina, mayor of Verona Municipality.</p> <p>“Partnering with Airbnb brings the widely known Shakespearian myth of Romeo and Juliet to life in a way never before offered. We are excited to promote our cultural heritage, share traditions that were previously safeguarded, and bring international visibility to the city of Verona.”</p> <p>Entries can be submitted at <span><a href="https://www.airbnb.co.uk/d/juliet">Airbnb’s website</a></span> until Feb 2, 11.59pm ET.</p>

International Travel

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Prince Charles meets Greta Thunberg before addressing World Economic Forum

<p>Donald Trump might not have wanted to meet Greta Thunberg but the future King of England was thrilled to meet <em>Time Magazine’s</em><span> </span>Person of the Year.</p> <p>Prince Charles, an environmental campaigner himself, looked overjoyed to meet the teen activist at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.</p> <p>Clarence House shared two photos on their social media page, showing the pair shaking hands and beaming at the cameras.</p> <p>As the media gathered around them, Thunberg said to the Prince of Wales: “I guess you’re very used to this.”</p> <p>“Very true, it’s taken me years to get used to this,” said Charles, to which Thunberg replied: “I am still not used to this.”</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-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B7oByWLAgYf/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" 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="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B7oByWLAgYf/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">The Prince of Wales meets environmental activist @GretaThunberg at @worldeconomicforum 2020. #wef</a></p> <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 post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/clarencehouse/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Clarence House</a> (@clarencehouse) on Jan 22, 2020 at 6:33am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The photos seem to have been taken backstage before the Prince of Wales spoke to a room full of political leaders from around the world, including Trump.</p> <p>Prince Charles gave the keynote speech at the 50th Anniversary of the World Economic Forum and officially launched his Sustainable Markets Council.</p> <p>The project aims “to work towards a more inclusive, equitable and green market for all.”</p> <p>In his speech, the royal said: “We are in the midst of a crisis that is now, I hope, well understood. Global warming, climate change, and the devastating loss of biodiversity are the greatest threats humanity has ever faced – and one largely of our own creation.</p> <p>“I have dedicated much of my life to the restoration of harmony between humanity, nature and the environment, and to the encouragement of corporate social and environmental responsibility.</p> <p>“Quite frankly, it has been a bit of an uphill struggle. But, now, it is time to take it to the next level.”</p>

International Travel

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Duchess Meghan’s father speaks out against Sussexes’ exit

<p><span>Duchess Meghan’s father has said his daughter was “cheapening” the image of the royal family after she and Prince Harry announced their plan to step down as senior royals.</span></p> <p><span>In a Channel 5 documentary, Thomas Markle said the Duchess of Sussex “got every girl’s dream” but was now “tossing that away for money”.</span></p> <p><span>The retired television lighting director claimed the couple were “destroying one of the greatest long-living institutions” by deciding to abandon their official roles.</span></p> <p><span>“When they got married they took on an obligation, and the obligation is to be part of the Royals and to represent the Royals. And it would be foolish for them not to,” he told the network.</span></p> <p><span>“This is one of the greatest long-living institutions ever. They are destroying it, they are cheapening it, making it shabby… they shouldn’t be doing this.</span></p> <p><span>“With Meghan and Harry separating from the Royals… it’s disappointing because she actually got every girl’s dream.</span></p> <p><span>“Every young girl wants to become a princess and she got that and now she’s tossing that away… it looks like she’s tossing that away for money.”</span></p> <p><span>The Duchess’ half brother Thomas Markle Jr said his father thought Meghan had “let down” the royal family. “My dad said to me, ‘This is not the girl I raised’,” he said.</span></p> <p><span>Thomas Snr and </span></p> <p><span>Last week, reports said that the father could be called on to testify against Duchess Meghan as part of her legal action against the <em>Mail on Sunday</em>.</span></p> <p><span>The Duchess is suing the paper over <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jan/15/meghan-duchess-sussex-mail-sunday--case-letter-thomas-father">breach of copyright, invasion of privacy and misuse of personal data</a> after it published excerpts from her letter to her father in 2018.</span></p>

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The Queen steps out with Prince Andrew for the first time since BBC interview

<p><span>Queen Elizabeth showed her support for son Prince Andrew as they made a public appearance together for the first time since the Duke of York stepped down from his royal duties.</span></p> <p><span>The 93-year-old monarch was photographed Sunday morning attending church in Hillington with Prince Andrew, who stepped down from royal duties in November following the backlash over his <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/i-don-t-drink-or-sweat-prince-andrew-denies-allegations-from-epstein-s-sex-slave-virginia-roberts">BBC interview</a> surrounding his relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.</span></p> <p><span>The <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtBS8COhhhM">50-minute interview</a> sparked outrage as the 59-year-old was accused of lacking empathy for Epstein’s victims as well as failing to denounce the behaviour of the disgraced US financier. He was also criticised for not showing regret over his friendship with the accused sex trafficker.</span></p> <p><span>Since the “<a href="https://people.com/royals/queen-elizabeth-prince-andrew-attend-church-prince-harry-meghan-exit/">disastrous</a>” interview, Prince Andrew has stood down from all 230 of his charitable patronages. He <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jan/19/prince-andrew-joins-the-queen-at-norfolk-church-service">retains his HRH status</a>.</span></p> <p><span>The church visit came hours after the Queen reached an agreement regarding Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s decision to step back from their senior royal roles.</span></p> <p><span>In a statement released on Saturday, Her Majesty announced that her grandson and his wife would be giving up their HRH titles and paying back £2.4 million of the public fund spent on refurbishing Frogmore Cottage.</span></p>

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