International Travel

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5 Long (and Iconic) Train Trips

<p>We track down some of the world's greatest rail journeys.</p> <p><strong>1. The Original Trans-Siberian Express</strong></p> <p>Spanning 9288km of track, this is perhaps the most iconic of rail journeys and the longest passenger train route in the world. With an average speed of just 77km/h, the trip from Moscow to Vladivostok isn’t for those on a tight schedule – you’ll need to set aside a minimum 146 hours, 8 minutes (six and a bit days), and most journeys include stopovers. But for that investment you’ll cross multiple time zones and witness the breadth of Russia’s majestic terrain, from verdant woodlands, through mountains and desert, to grassy steppe. While itineraries vary, most journeys break at Irkutsk, one of the largest cities in Siberia, with ornately decorated 19th century buildings, just 70km from World Heritage-listed Lake Baikal.</p> <p><strong>2. The Canadian</strong></p> <p>The trip from Toronto to Vancouver is a sleepy 83 hours long – but considering you’ll be winding through the steep and snow-capped Rocky Mountains and Canadian Shield forests, the pace suits anyone looking for relaxation, rest and peaceful views. Huge glass windows make the most of the scenery as the train wends its way across 4466km of Canada’s diverse landscape.</p> <p><strong>3. The Blue Train</strong></p> <p>South Africa’s famous Blue Train spans 1600km of track linking Pretoria with Cape Town. More like a hotel on rails than a train, there are lounge carriages where passengers can mingle in comfort and some suites contain full-sized baths. High-tech additions like the driver’s eye camera view meet classic decor and a butler service. The journey takes 27 hours from start to finish and crosses some of the most diverse and picturesque scenery on the African continent. Don’t expect to feel the rush of wind through your hair though, as its average speed is just 57km/h.</p> <p><strong>4. The Indian Pacific</strong></p> <p>Departing from Sydney, it takes about 70 hours for the Indian Pacific to traverse the Australian continent on its way to Perth. Stopping at the mining town of Broken Hill, Adelaide, and Kalgoorlie you’ll cover 4352km at an average speed of 85km/h. At that rate, you’ll catch the full glory of the sun setting across the horizon on the longest stretch of straight rail track in the world. Travel in spring for the best of Western Australia’s wildflowers.</p> <p><strong>5. Jinghu High Speed Rail</strong></p> <p>For those who like their train travel to evoke the future rather than the past, China is calling. The showcase of China’s modern rail fleet was launched in 2012 and shaves 20 hours off the 1303km trip from Beijing to Shanghai, delivering passengers to their destination in five super-fast hours. It is currently the fastest long-distance passenger train in the world, reaching speeds of 300km/h.</p> <p><strong>Train Facts</strong></p> <p><strong>Fastest passenger train</strong></p> <p>The MagLev Chou Shinkanzen – a Japanese magnetic levitation train – broke the world speed record for a passenger train back in April. During a test run near Mt Fuji, this new breed of bullet train reached an incredible speed of 603km/h. The planned top speed in operation is 505km/h and it will ultimately connect Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka, with the first stage opening in 2027.</p> <p><strong>Longest train journey</strong></p> <p>The China-Europe Block Train travels 9977km from Yiwu to Madrid over 21 days. But train buffs who have made the Trans Siberian trip needn’t feel miffed, as this is a decidedly unglamorous freight service designed to cut up to two weeks off the sea freight time between the two cities.</p> <p><strong>Longest and heaviest train</strong></p> <p>Australian-based BHP Billiton intentionally set the record in 2001 over a 275km distance in Western Australia. The 7.35km-long train comprised 683 freight cars carrying iron ore and eight locomotives, distributed along its length. The total weight of the train was 99,735 tonnes.</p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on </em><em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/train-journeys/5-Iconic-Train-Trips">Reader’s Digest</a></em></p> <p><em>Images: Reader’s Digest</em></p>

International Travel

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Egypt’s King Djoser tomb reopens

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">15 years after its closure, the ancient tomb of Egyptian King Djoser has reopened for public viewing.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Also known as the “Southern Tomb”, the predominantly underground structure is filled with corridors embellished with hieroglyphic carvings and tiles.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After closing in 2006 due to risks of collapses, the tomb has since undergone $8.2 million worth of renovations.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Fifteen years ago nobody could go down to the tomb because of collapses,” Ashraf Owais, director of Saqqara Monument Restoration, said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Since 2006, the tomb has had its corridors reinforced, lighting installed, and had its carvings and tiled walls refurbished.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mustafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt described the newly-renovated site, including its opulent contents.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“After descending the deep stairs and reaching the burial pit, one finds a coffin that is considered one of the largest made with pink granite stone, composed of 16 pink granite blocks with a total weight of 120 tons,” he said.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Exclusive: Completion of the Restoration Project of King Djoser Southern Tomb in Saqqara <a href="https://t.co/YfmKVe5YXj">https://t.co/YfmKVe5YXj</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/egypt?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#egypt</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Egyptology?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Egyptology</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Archaeology?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Archaeology</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Sakkara?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Sakkara</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/indyfromspace?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@indyfromspace</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/yukinegy?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@yukinegy</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/ARCENational?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ARCENational</a> <a href="https://t.co/nronuKppZl">pic.twitter.com/nronuKppZl</a></p> — Luxor Times (@luxortimes) <a href="https://twitter.com/luxortimes/status/1437495561230422020?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 13, 2021</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though the Southern Tomb belongs to Djoser, his body is actually stored in the nearby Step Pyramid, the world’s oldest pyramid.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Both structures are found in the Saqqara village, which is one of Egypt’s richest archeological sites and home to the world’s oldest brewery.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The renovations of both the Southern Tomb and the Step Pyramid come as the country works to revive its tourism industry, which has been severely affected by the pandemic and protests in 2011.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Images: dr_mostafa_waziry / Instagram, Getty</span></em></p>

International Travel

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Vietnam to reopen Phu Quoc island to tourists

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Vietnam </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-09-10/vietnam-to-reopen-resort-island-to-foreign-tourists/100453458" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">plans</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to reopen the island of Phu Quoc to inbound tourists from October, as the country looks to revive its hard-hit economy.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The island will be expected to open for a six-month trial period, according to a statement from the government.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Vietnam is currently closed to all visitors except returning citizens and investors, but the island will soon be open to fully vaccinated tourists with a negative COVID-19 test result.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">During the pandemic, Vietnam’s tourism industry experienced a large decline as the number of visitors plummeted from 18 million in 2019 to 3.8 million last year. </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/Ba1VPFujeFt/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <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/Ba1VPFujeFt/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Visit Vietnam (@visitvietnam)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The prolonged pandemic has seriously hurt the tourism industry,” Vietnam’s Tourism and Culture Minister Nguyen Van Hung said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Before opening up the island, the tourism industry said all residents of Phu Quoc would be fully vaccinated.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The ministry added that the island had not reported any community infections and had sufficient quarantine and treatment facilities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The country has contained the virus for much of the pandemic, but has faced a recent surge in cases of the Delta variant.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh conceded that Vietnam has been facing a lengthy battle against coronavirus and could not rely solely on lockdown and quarantine.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The news comes as 570,000 people in Vietnam have been infected and 14,400 people have lost their lives.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: visitvietnam / Instagram</span></em></p>

International Travel

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See the new Ferris wheel in Times Square

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The pandemic has seen New York City’s Times Square go quiet, but a new attraction has launched to bring the people back and turn the economy around.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Times Square Wheel gives riders a bird’s eye view of the ‘Crossroads of the World’ in midtown Manhattan over a 12 minute ride.</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-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/tv/CTeKIW3D4fH/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <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/tv/CTeKIW3D4fH/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Eric's New York (@visitnewyork)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I don’t remember the last time I’ve been on a Ferris wheel. That was so much fun,” said Deborah Johnson after having a go.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It was special to be able to go that high in a Ferris wheel in Times Square. How often do you get that opportunity? Never,” said Penelope Bustamante.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height:0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7843925/gettyimages-1336385436.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/91fb7961d60e42bf89651a2af5649abb" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Getty Images</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Vito Bruno, the man behind the concept, said the idea was to bring back the joy of childhood. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It’s a feel-good thing. It’s just the right time. You see people come alive again. New York and this country needs happy right now,” he said.</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-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CTAAsMdHDf0/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <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/CTAAsMdHDf0/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by NYC's CULTURE CURATOR (@fomofeed)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But, some riders were less enthused about the experience.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It wasn’t as exciting as I thought it would be. This was </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">eh</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">,” said Arlene Shchulman.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I thought I could go up to the elevator at one of the hotels and get a better view. Or maybe I’m just a jaded New Yorker.”</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Getty Images</span></em></p>

International Travel

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Roving gangs of bored monkeys raid homes

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With the floods of tourists that usually flock to Bali unable to holiday on the resort island, its hungry resident monkeys have taken to raiding villagers’ homes in search of food and entertainment.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Villagers in Sangeh say grey macaques have been coming to their homes from the nearby Sangeh Monkey Forest, spending their time hanging out on roofs and waiting for the right time to snatch a snack.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With concerns that the monkeys may turn wild or lead a full-on assault on the village, residents have been taking food, including fruit and peanuts, to the forest.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We are afraid that the hungry monkeys will turn wild and vicious,” villager Saskara Gustu Alit said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">About 600 macaques live in the sanctuary that surrounds the famous Pura Bukit Sari temple.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Normally, the protected area is a popular spot for local residents shooting wedding photos, as well as international holidaymakers.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Prior to the pandemic, over 6,000 visitors typically came to the forest each month, but these numbers have dropped drastically to about 500 people, as Indonesia banned all foreign travelers from entering Bali in July.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The sanctuary has also been closed to local residents, meaning the monkeys have had no visitors at all.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height:0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7843827/gettyimages-1135018189.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/ec2eada32b94480fa0759c0eaf95153a" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Getty Images</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Operations manager Made Mohon said that the closure has also meant that the sanctuary is running low on money to buy food for the monkeys.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Donations from villagers have made a difference, but they are also donating less and less as they feel the economic sting, he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“This prolonged pandemic is beyond our expectations,” Made Mohon said. “Food for monkeys has become a problem.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The monkeys’ daily diet of 200 kg of cassava, their staple food, and 10kg of bananas costs about 850,000 rupiah ($80) a day.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though macaques are omnivores and can eat a range of jungle animals and plants, the monkeys living in the sanctuary have developed a preference for other things, thanks to their contact with humans.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Often the monkeys will wander into the village and sit on roofs, causing mischief by removing and dropping roof tiles or making off with religious offerings placed outside by villagers.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“A few days ago I attended a traditional ceremony at a temple near the Sangeh forest,” Gustu Alit said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“When I parked my car and took out two plastic bags containing food and flowers as offerings, two monkeys suddenly appeared and grabbed it all and ran into the forest very fast.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Since the monkeys usually have visitors to interact with - whether they’re jumping on shoulders, stealing sunglasses, or pulling at clothes - Gustu Alit believes boredom, not just hunger, is driving the monkeys.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“That’s why I have urged villagers to come to the forest to play with the monkeys and offer them food,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I think they need to interact with humans as often as possible so that they do not go wild.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><em>Image: Getty Images</em></span></p>

International Travel

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10 ways to experience the world from home

<p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Welcome aboard Armchair Airlines, equipped to take you out of your living room and to your next virtual vacation. </span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Going in and out of lockdown has been a total drag and we're counting down the days to when our lives can go back to normal. For those sick of trying to fill the hours of lockdown, here are 10 online experiences you can safely enjoy from your living room bubble.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7843716/gettyimages-1166558312.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/4a0a33be212b4bedb471c4613e83857b" /></span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Getty Images</span></em></p> <p><strong>For the chefs who want to learn how to make more than just banana bread </strong></p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/AttractionProductReview-g304554-d20376822-Small_Group_Authentic_Mumbai_Virtual_Cooking_Class_with_Dessert-Mumbai_Maharashtra.html" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Small Group Authentic Mumbai Virtual Cooking Class with Dessert</span></a></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Learn how to make Pav Bhaji and Rice Kheer from Kajal. Based in Mumbai, Kajal picked up authentic home-style family recipes from her mom and sister. In 2017 she started hosting food tours and Pav Bhaji was always one of the most popular dishes. This Maharashtrian delicacy is a thick vegetable curry made from seasonal vegetables, potatoes, tomatoes and onions served with pav, which is a bread roll topped with butter and best served hot. The word 'pav' comes from the Portuguese word for bread and 'bhaji' in Marathi means a vegetable dish.</span></p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/AttractionProductReview-g189433-d20369790-Virtual_Private_Cooking_Class_Live_from_Santorini-Santorini_Cyclades_South_Aegean.html" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Virtual Private Cooking Class Live from Santorini</span></a></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Have you been to Greece? Kathrin’s booked you a first-class ticket, ready to teach you how to make her famous Santorini Tomato fritters. In the class, feel free to chat with Kathrin as she shares all she knows about the food, culture and traditions of her home, Greece. </span></p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/AttractionProductReview-g298082-d20952623-Virtual_Experience_Cocktails_Stories_From_Vietnam-Hoi_An_Quang_Nam_Province.html" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cocktails &amp; Stories From Vietnam</span></a></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Shake up a cocktail or two with bartenders and mixologists in Vietnam. Learn how to create some classics like the Daiquiri, Mojito and Espresso Martini but each with a local twist. So whether you’ve been to Asia and miss its flavors or would like to learn about them – this experience is for you. </span></p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/AttractionProductReview-g312741-d20937277-Argentinean_Empanadas_cooking_Virtual_Live_experience-Buenos_Aires_Capital_Federal.html" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Argentinean Empanadas cooking</span></a></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The gastronomy of Argentina combines influences from Creole, native, Spanish and Italian food. Learn to whip up some tasty empanadas as Camila teaches you more about typical Argentine foods.</span></p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/AttractionProductReview-g294316-d20987011-Virtual_Peruvian_Cooking_Class_Lomo_Saltado-Lima_Lima_Region.html" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Peruvian Cooking Class "Lomo Saltado"</span></a></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hang out with Chef David as he teaches you how to make Lomo Saltado, a popular, traditional Peruvian stir fry dish. Also pick up interesting stories and background on Peruvian culture and heritage as you travel with your tastebuds. </span></p> <p><strong>For a little meditative break </strong></p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/AttractionProductReview-g188644-d20384882-Yoga_and_Mindful_Conversation_with_a_Brussels_Local_Online_Experience-Brussels.html" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Yoga and Mindful Conversation with a Brussels Local </span></a></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Start your journey to achieving a balance between mind and body with Shanthuru. Practice Yoga together and dive into the world of mindfulness conversations. Shanthuru can tell you all about vegan food culture in Brussels and beyond. Wherever you are on your journey, a beginner or advanced, Shanturu can make this experience customizable to ensure it’s tailored to your level.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><img style="width: 500px; height: 333.3333333333333px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7843715/gettyimages-967871316.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/356e858db0eb4eed9baf3f2311ee4586" /></span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Images: Getty Images</span></em></p> <p><strong>To walk the streets of a different city</strong></p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/AttractionProductReview-g187497-d20434781-Best_of_Barcelona_Live_Virtual_Tour-Barcelona_Catalonia.html" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Best of Barcelona Live Virtual Tour</span></a></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Walk the streets of Barcelona in this small group guided virtual tour. Learn more about the iconic attractions in Barcelona including the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell and the Gothic Quarter (Barri Gotic). An interactive experience from home, full of stories, anecdotes and insights, including quizzes, polls and live Q&amp;A session with your guide. </span></p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/AttractionProductReview-g187323-d20433091-Best_of_Berlin_Private_Live_Virtual_Experience-Berlin.html" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Best of Berlin - Private Live Virtual Experience</span></a></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you’re starting to feel down about not being able to travel, the next best thing is a virtual tour that allows you to explore the world from home. This tour takes you through Berlin’s top monuments and popular spots in the city, including the Reichstag Building, Tiergarten, Soviet War Memorial, and Brandenburg Gate. </span></p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/AttractionProductReview-g297683-d21032853-Taj_Mahal_Virtual_Tour_with_a_Guide_Online_Experience-Agra_Agra_District_Uttar_Pra.html" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Taj Mahal Virtual Tour with a Guide</span></a></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Learn from a local the beautiful love story behind the iconic Taj Mahal and what it took to build this historic monument. The virtual tour will take you through the history, intricate design details and different areas of the estate. Your tour guide will also be able to share more about Indian culture and heritage. </span></p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/AttractionProductReview-g294217-d21190627-Old_Town_Central_A_Real_Time_Online_Tour_in_Hong_Kong-Hong_Kong.html" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Old Town Central: A Real-Time Online Tour in Hong Kong</span></a></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Walk the busy streets of Hong Kong with a friendly expert guide that will take you through a bustling open-air market dotted with small traditional shops to show you their curious trade practices. Got a question? You can ask the shopkeeper directly! Enjoy this hour-long tour from the comfort of your home. The group size is small and intimate so that you can interact directly with your guide, who lives in this very neighbourhood and you’ll get to mingle with virtual travellers from other parts of the world too!</span></p>

International Travel

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Polluted lakes turn pink, frustrating local residents

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though many tourist spots boast being unusually coloured, Argentina’s pink lakes won’t be widely advertised.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Several lakes outside the city of Trelew have suddenly turned bubblegum pink, concerning locals and prompting authorities to search for an explanation.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Since then, the authorities have uncovered a truck which has been disposing waste from nearby fish factories in the region’s network of lagoons.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Environmental and virologist Federico Resrepo told AFP that the colour change was due to sodium sulfate in the fish waste, which is an antibacterial agent used to preserve prawns for export.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Juan Micheloud, the environmental control chief of the area, told AFP: “The reddish colour does not cause damage and will disappear in a few days.”</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Experts say pollution from a chemical used to preserve prawns for export purposes may have changed this Argentinian lagoon's color to bright pink. <a href="https://t.co/doGMeE9U6d">pic.twitter.com/doGMeE9U6d</a></p> — DW News (@dwnews) <a href="https://twitter.com/dwnews/status/1419773772727341059?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 26, 2021</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Residents have complained about the pollution, which has also caused foul odours to spread. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In protest of the pollution, residents of the neighbouring town of Rawson blocked the roads to prevent trucks transporting fish waste from leaving the factory.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We get dozens of trucks daily, the residents are getting tired of it,” environmental activist Pablo Lada told AFP.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Those who should be in control are the ones who authorise the poisoning of people.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With the factories generating thousands of jobs within the province, tension has been growing between frustrated locals and the area’s reliance on the factories economically.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Fish processing generates work … it’s true,” Lada said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“But these are multi-million-dollar profit companies that don’t want to pay freight to take the waste to a treatment plant that already exists in Puerto Madryn, 35 miles away, or build a plant closer.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The lagoon, which covers an area between 10 to 15 hectares, is not used for recreation, and is located within the Industrial Park of Trelew.</span></p>

International Travel

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See the world’s 10 best outdoor bathing spots

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Whiling away the hours soaking in a hot spring is a must for many travellers, and though we might not be able to travel now, these ten spots should be added to your travel bucket list.</span></p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.qssupplies.co.uk/" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">QS Supplies</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> has ranked the best hot springs around the world, with each location receiving a score out of ten based on reviews on TripAdvisor, social media mentions, the number of rainy days and other factors.</span></p> <p><strong>1. Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa, Iceland</strong></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height:281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7843366/spa1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/43aed5804a8942679858bc914031165e" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Guide to Iceland</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Taking out the top spot with a score of 6.79/10, the Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa offers warm waters containing minerals which both give the lagoon its name and are great for the skin.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The water is drilled out of the ground, used to heat up fresh water that heats Icelandic homes at a nearby plant, and is then filtered and fed into the lagoon.</span></p> <p><strong>2. Travertine Hot Springs, USA</strong></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height:281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7843367/spa2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/0e22ffb4c55e4263aa0bc48448c233c4" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Instagram</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Scoring 5.39 out of ten, these geothermal hot springs are just outside the town of Bridgeport, California. The hot, mineral-rich waters are popular among locals and hikers, offering a stunning view of the surrounding sierras.</span></p> <p><strong>3. Pamukkale Thermal Pools, Turkey</strong></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height:281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7843368/spa3.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/284afc518ecf44719a9cc2d135f81135" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Getty Images</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988, the natural thermal pools of Pamukkale in western Turkey have been visited for thousands of years.</span></p> <p><strong><span style="font-weight: 400;">The mineral-rich waters have also caused stunning limestone cliffs called travertines to form over the last 400,000 years, with the nearby Greco-Roman city of </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://oversixty.com.au/travel/international-travel/gate-to-hell-myths-confirmed" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hierapolis</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> having been a popular spa town since the 2nd century.</span></strong></p> <p><strong>4. Hammam Al Andalus Baths, Spain</strong></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height:281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7843369/spa4.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/757268114ffb4cf09b0a53920d612a20" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Hammam Granada</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After being closed for five centuries, the Arab baths in Granada, Spain, were restored and reopened to the public in 1998. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The baths feature geometric mosaics, carved columns, and vaulting ceilings, along with pools of varying temperatures.</span></p> <p><strong>5. Bagby Hot Springs, USA</strong></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height:281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7843370/spa5.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/7d1eba5520774e8b977b47743c16794b" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Forest Service, The United States Department of Agriculture</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Nestled in among the towering firs of Oregon's Mount Hood National Forest, the hot springs are a secluded haven for nature lovers. The springs are contained in hand-hewn tubs and cedar plumbing. </span></p> <p><strong>TIED: 6. Chena Hot Springs, USA</strong></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height:281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7843371/spa6.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/79a8852a7b29448c9c9a5e96c89aa4c4" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Chena Hot Springs / Instagram</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Chena Hot Springs are surrounded by the icy Alaskan landscape and offer amazing views of the Northern Lights.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The nearby Chena Hot Springs Resort is also home to the world’s biggest ice museum, featuring ice sculptures, an ice chapel, and an ice bar.</span></p> <p><strong>TIED: 6. Terme Di Saturnia, Italy</strong></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height:281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7843372/spa7.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/8a4a10ce618d4c3e97e86e8571dec40c" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Discover Tuscany</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Terme Di Saturnia can be found in the central Italian region of Tuscany, with the most popular of the springs being the Cascate del Mulino - the “waterfalls of the mill”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The mill that the site takes its name from is surrounded by rippling thermal pools, backed by a tranquil forest.</span></p> <p><strong>8. Termas Geometricas, Chile</strong></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height:281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7843373/spa8.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/10c0251062d649d7bef81525ef36de62" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Termas Geometricas / Instagram</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With waters warmed by nearby Villarrica volcano, the Termas Geometricas hot springs are the largest complex of springs in Chile.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Temperatures range from 30-45 degrees across 20 pools surrounded by mountains, waterfalls, rivers, and lakes.</span></p> <p><strong>9. Ma’in Hot Springs, Jordan</strong></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height:281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7843374/spa9.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/8192d671d4594a3d8d9dc1021855e5e8" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Ma’in Hot Spring Resort and Spa</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Located near the eastern coast of the Dead Sea, the Ma’in hot springs are filled with waters with minerals taken from the basaltic mountains. With water temperatures reaching up to 67 degrees and a surround of waterfalls, the springs offer a change of scenery from Jordan’s dry environment.</span></p> <p><strong>10. Szechenyi, Hungary</strong></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height:281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7843375/spa10.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/352d3c2d24aa4999852afc6d57f84e8a" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Szechenyi Baths</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A large complex of baths fed by two hot springs, Szechenyi Baths are a popular spot for tourists and locals alike in Budapest for their medical and relaxing qualities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As one of the largest spa baths in Europe, there are 15 indoor baths and three outdoor baths for guests to choose from.</span></p>

International Travel

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Italy’s Mount Etna has a new peak

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One of the craters on Italy’s Mount Etna has grown in height after six months of activity, making Europe’s tallest active volcano even taller.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The southeastern crater, one of the volcano’s youngest and most active, has risen to a new record of 3,357 metres above sea level, according to the National Institute for Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) in Catania, Sicily.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Thanks to the analysis and processing of satellite images, the southeast crater is now much higher than its ‘older brother’, the northeast crater, for 40 years the undisputed peak of Etna,” INGV said in a press release.</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-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CLicTK6nemz/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <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/CLicTK6nemz/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Your Authentic Italian Page (@italian_vacations)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The “conspicuous transformation of the volcano’s outline” has come after about 50 episodes of volcanic activity that has seen ash and lava belched from the crater since mid-February.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though the volcano poses little damage to surrounding villages, Sicily’s government estimated in July that 300,00 metric tonnes of ash has been cleaned up so far, after dirtying streets, slowing down traffic, and damaging crops.</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-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CLZ0KpuAIJ9/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <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/CLZ0KpuAIJ9/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Growing Up Italian™ (@growingupitalian)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Living in Catania, a two-hour drive away from Mount Etna, pensioner Tania Cannizzaro told AFP that the volcano was both beautiful and annoying, with ash that sometimes falls “like rain”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Depending on the wind, the rumblings of the volcano reach Catania and make the windows shake,” she said, adding that the streets and balconies turn black under the ash.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“But there is also the spectacle, especially in the evening, when you see this red plume that moves.”</span></p>

International Travel

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New Zealand named among best cities for Airbnb stay

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With international travel on the cards for 2022, </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.money.co.uk/home-insurance.htm" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">money.co.uk</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> has ranked the global top 10 destinations for Airbnb stays.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Using </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://bigseventravel.com/top-50-bucket-list-destinations-world-2019/" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Big 7 Travel</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">’s bucket list locations, based off of a survey of 1.5 million people, money.co.uk researched each destination on the popular site, using the Bayesian average calculation - which factors in both the average rating and number of reviews - to compile their list.</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-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CPUS4nBA490/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <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/CPUS4nBA490/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Waikato NZ (@waikatonewzealand)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Waikato, New Zealand took out the top spot, beating various popular destinations from around the world and scoring 100/100 on the popularity rating.</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-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CEV4Frmjxy5/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <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/CEV4Frmjxy5/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Waikato NZ (@waikatonewzealand)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Just behind the famed home of the Hobbiton Movie Set was Beijing, with a score of 98, and Kerry, Ireland, with a score of 96. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Other top-ranked cities included Rio de Janeiro, Havana, Moscow, New Orleans, Antarctica, Barbados and the Croatian city of Dubrovnik.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Waikato New Zealand / Instagram</span></em></p>

International Travel

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Queen stays at Balmoral despite staff member testing positive

<p>Despite a member of the Queen’s staff at her Balmoral summer estate, testing positive for COVID-19, the Queen has decided she will be “carrying on at Balmoral as normal” a source claims.</p> <p>Her Majesty, 95, is double-vaccinated and she’s decided to stay on at Balmoral while the employee who tested positive was sent home on Saturday.</p> <p>Spokespeople for Buckingham Palace in London have said all the staff at Balmoral are tested for COVID on a daily basis and are wearing facemasks at all times.</p> <p>But royal insiders suggest the Queen and her family could be waiting for the results of their own PCR tests.</p> <p><strong>Staying in her beloved Scottish sanctuary</strong></p> <p>It’s been reported her Majesty decided to stay in Scotland so she could ‘get back to normal,' following the death of Prince Philip in April and the public spats between Buckingham Palace and Harry and Meghan.</p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="/nothing.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/200733da73f04977b0c6c98781030eb8" /><img style="width: 345.21484375px; height: 500px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7843241/the-queen-um-2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/200733da73f04977b0c6c98781030eb8" /></p> <p>The monarch, who once described COVID as a “plague sweeping the planet”, has her Scottish castle full of relatives including Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, Princess Beatrice and husband Edoardo Mozzi, and Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex.</p> <p>The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children are expected to arrive later this month.</p> <p>Scotland has been a welcome retreat for the royal family since Queen Victoria's day, with the Windsors relaxing and enjoying country pursuits in the stunning setting of the Scottish Highlands.</p> <p>Sources have reported that since the employee came up positive on Saturday, most staff were sent home and the staff canteen and bar were shut.</p> <p>The royals themselves are “pretty much carrying on as they were” before the positive test. However, the Queen and her family missed Sunday's church service on the Scottish estate - with insiders suggesting they may have done so while they wait for the results of their Covid PCR tests.</p> <p>Under government guidance, people in England and Northern Ireland who have had two COVID vaccine doses, no longer have to self-isolate if they come into contact with someone who has tested positive.</p> <p>Instead of undergoing 10 days of house-arrest, they are now advised to take a PCR test. They are also advised to wear facemasks in enclosed spaces and to limit contact with others, particularly the clinically vulnerable.</p> <p><em>Photo: Getty Images</em></p>

International Travel

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Would you climb a 47-metre tower for a free car lease? In Norway, you can

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At 47 metres high, the tallest free-standing climbing tower in the world has opened in Norway, and car company Ford’s new campaign has brought it additional attention.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After opening in June this year, professional climbers were invited to try and reach the top of the tower, with the fastest climber taking home a free two-year lease on a Ford Explorer PHEV.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The company even crane-lifted their newest model onto the top of the tower, sitting on top of a special platform that supports the weight of the plug-in hybrid car.</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-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CR8cy0XgSIy/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <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/CR8cy0XgSIy/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Ford Norge (@fordnorge)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ford’s Explore New Heights challenge saw 14 climbers compete after successfully completing a qualifying test.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sharing the footage to their Instagram page, Ford eventually found a winner.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the clip, many of the climbers can be seen losing their grip and combating the jumps and obstacles designed by champion climber Martin Mobråten.</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-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CSG0pIUAPUZ/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <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/CSG0pIUAPUZ/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Ford Norge (@fordnorge)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Eventually, Leo Ketil B</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">ø</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">e, 21, managed to score the free lease with a time of three minutes and 33 seconds.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Any who made it to the top alongside Leo were rewarded with breathtaking views across the Skagerrak, a strait running between Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Visit Norway</span></em></p>

International Travel

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See the whistling island of La Gomera

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">On the small island of La Gomera, one of the eight which form the Canary Islands, a once-threatened language is now enjoying a revival.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Silbo Gomero, the only whistled language in the world which still exists, has been a compulsory subject on the island since 1999 and an optional subject in the rest of the archipelago.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Now, almost all of the island’s 22,000 residents can understand it, and it has since been declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The language uses six condensed sounds - two representing the five spoken vowels in Spanish, and the other four representing 22 consonants which are lengthened or shortened to mimic Spanish words.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Since whistles can be heard further than shouts, Silbo Gomero was created to communicate over long distances because they can be heard for kilometres.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are several different whistling methods used on the island and experienced whistlers can often tell who is whistling by their “accent” alone.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But, to save confusion most whistlers introduce themselves and call out the name of their intended recipient.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The most traditional method is captured in </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">José Darías</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">’ </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Whistling Tree</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> sculpture at Mirador de Igualero, a viewpoint overlooking a ravine where the language was most frequently used.</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-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/COkb6dNIhtR/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <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/COkb6dNIhtR/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Turismo de La Gomera (@lagomeratravel)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Eugenio Darias, a 70-year-old retired Silbo Gomero teacher, pioneered the Silbo Gomero programme and remembers when many more of the inhabitants would use the language to communicate across the island’s deep ravines.</span></p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?height=476&amp;href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fdw.travel%2Fvideos%2F748836829170434%2F&amp;show_text=false&amp;width=476&amp;t=0" width="476" height="476" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="true" allow="autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; picture-in-picture; web-share"></iframe></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It was difficult terrain to work on - nobody wanted to climb up and down the ravines to pass on a message,” Darias explained. “Because of this, so many whistling conversations were happening at the same time, and we would have to wait our turn. It was like traffic!</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“However - during the 1960s and ‘70s, most agricultural land was abandoned and many of the workers left the island,” he continued.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“As Silbo Gomero was mostly used between local livestock holders, when they left the island, the whistling left with them too.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Additionally, modern technology and improved roads and paths on La Gomera took away the practicality and necessity of Silbo Gomero.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But, Darias stepped in to ensure it would be used and understood by future generations.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It can even be heard in areas where there is no phone service.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I know of two goat herders who still whistle to each other,” Darias said. “They are nephews who live on the south side of the island. Their livestock moves around in an area with no mobile network, and that’s why it’s necessary for them to use it.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When asked if he would use Silbo Gomero if his phone ran out of battery, Darias made his stance clear.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Of course!” he said. “After all, we’d still communicate that way if phones didn’t exist.”</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Images: Hello Canary Islands, lagomeratravel / Instagram</span></em></p>

International Travel

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Surprise discovery of huge tropical fish on US beach

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A large colourful fish has washed ashore on the US coast, with aquarium officials describing it as a rare occurrence.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The 45-kilogram opah fish, also called a moon fish, was found on Sunset Beach in Seaside, a city in northwest Oregon.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“While rare this far north it is not unheard of,” Seaside Aquarium said of the unusual appearance of the fish in the area in a </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.facebook.com/SeasideAquarium/posts/6224256220917665" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Facebook post</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Keith Chandler, the general manager of Seaside Aquarium, told CNN that finding an opah on the Oregon coast is “uncommon” and that the fish was “in such great shape”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“They’re pretty cool fish, and we don’t normally see them on the shore,” said Mr Chandler.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It was pretty exciting for locals.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Due to the condition of the fish, Mr Chandler believes it had been on the beach for less than an hour before aquarium staff were notified.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Unfortunately, it washed up not living, but we got to it before the birds,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mr Chandler said the opah is being stored in a large freezer, and that one lucky school group would get the chance to dissect the fish once the school year starts.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to the </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/opah#overview" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, little is known about the opah since they live deep in the ocean.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The species is usually found in temperate and tropical waters.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The NOAA describes the opah as having a silvery-grey, round body, with a rose red belly, red fins, and eyes encircled with gold.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Seaside Aquarium / Facebook</span></em></p>

International Travel

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Bargain Italian homes sell for under $2

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Houses in Italy are selling for as little as one euro, thanks to a new initiative started by several Italian municipalities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The 1 Euro House Project hopes to revitalise particular areas of the country and stem the rate of residents moving away.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sambuca di Sicilia, a municipality in the region of Sicily, has seen incredible success from the initiative, with approximately 16 dwellings being purchased since the scheme was announced in 2019.</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-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CODg8wLNIqu/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <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/CODg8wLNIqu/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Bell’Italia (@bellitalia_magazine)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Since then, Sambuca has attracted reporters and foreign buyers looking for a bargain home.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though the reasons behind Sambuca’s huge popularity in comparison to other unpopulated towns involved in the scheme are unknown, the area has hopes to replicate its initial success.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A second batch of abandoned homes have been put on the market for a symbolic two euros (NZD $3.38).</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-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CKG2wZbslyR/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <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/CKG2wZbslyR/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Sambuca di Sicilia (@sambucadisicilia)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Since the 2019 scheme, local authorities have continued to receive requests from foreigners interested in buying a bargain property. In response to the continued interest, they have decided to sell about 20 abandoned buildings, many of which are adjacent houses, giving buyers an opportunity to buy more than one and knock them through.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The chosen properties are all within the old “Saracen” neighbourhood, which were abandoned after a catastrophic earthquake devastated the area in 1968.</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-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CQbEoqpsUP8/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <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/CQbEoqpsUP8/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Sambuca di Sicilia (@sambucadisicilia)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The homes will be going to auction at a starting price of two euros and will be sold to the highest bidder.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Most of the homes are in need of repairs, while others are still filled with forgotten items and broken furniture.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Any who are interested in partaking can complete and submit an application - available from the </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.comune.sambucadisicilia.ag.it/Case%20a%202%20Euro/Index.htm" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">town’s website</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> - until November 5, with the public auction likely to take place several weeks later.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In 2019, the homes sold for prices ranging from one euro to </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">€</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">25,000 (approximately $40,000 NZD).</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, most went for somewhere between </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">€5000 and €10,000 (NZD $8000 to $16,000).</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: irusya_busya / Instagram</span></em></p>

International Travel

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Take a virtual tour of New York’s brand new Legoland

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The first theme park to open in the Northeast United States in 40 years pays homage to a beloved toy.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Legoland New York opened its doors to the public last week, with seven different lands for kids and adults to explore.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The opening comes as a sign of relief for the state and industry that have both been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The pandemic took a devastating toll on New York, and as we make our comeback, the new Legoland New York Resort in Orange County is a testament to the resilience and ingenuity that this state has always been known for,” </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-full-opening-theme-park-legolandr-new-york-resort-orange-county" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Governor Andrew Cuomo said</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in a statement on Friday.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“This is historic,” Cuomo said. “This is the first new theme park in the Northeast United States in 40 years.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The theme park features 50 rides stretched out across 520 acres.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Built in Goshen, a village in Orange County, the theme park is roughly 95 kilometres from Manhattan.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Reservations are required and the park uses a cashless system for tickets, games, food and other services.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Images: legoland.newyork / Instagram</span></em></p>

International Travel

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Lost 3000-year-old city rediscovered

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In one of the most important archaeological finds since 1922, a 3,000-year-old “lost city” has been discovered by Egyptian archaeologists in present-day Luxor.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to prominent archeologist Zahi Hawass, who led the expedition, the newly-found city dates back to the era of king Amenhotep III, who ruled from 1391 to 1353 BC.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Many foreign missions searched for this city and never found it,” Hawass said in an online statement.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The Egyptian expedition was surprised to discover the largest city ever found in Egypt,” the 74-year-old added.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The excavation started in September 2020 and within weeks, to the team’s great surprise, formations of mud bricks began to appear in all directions.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“What they unearthed was the site of a large city in good condition of preservation, with almost complete walls, and rooms filled with tools of daily life.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to Hawass, the city was the largest administrative and industrial settlement at the time on the western bank of Luxor, in southern Egypt.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The team also found rings, scarabs, coloured pottery vessels, and mud bricks bearing the seal of king Amenhotep III’s cartouche which help confirm the dating of the city.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The discovery of this lost city is the second most important archaeological find since the tomb of Tutankhamun,” said Betsy Bryan, a professor of Egyptology at John Hopkins University in the US.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Images: Dr Zahi Hawass / Instagram</span></em></p>

International Travel

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World’s deepest pool opens in Dubai

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dubai, home to the world’s tallest skyscraper and largest mall, has recently welcomed another record-breaking attraction - the deepest dive pool in the world.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A new pool that is 60 metres deep and filled with 14 million litres of fresh water - equivalent to six Olympic swimming pools - opened on June 29 by invitation only as part of the Deep Dive Dubai attraction. The pool will be open to the general public later this year.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The pool also holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s deepest swimming pool for diving, taking the record from Poland’s 45-metre-deep Deepspot pool.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The pool will feature two underwater habitats with a dry chamber at six and 21-metres deep, 56 underwater cameras, and advanced sound and mood lighting systems.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The attraction will also include a ‘sunken city’, with an abandoned streetscape and an apartment, garage, arcade and more that divers of all levels can explore.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Its first visitors have included movie star Will Smith, who shared a video of his visit to the pool on Instagram.</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-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/CRCKVIfB-br/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <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/reel/CRCKVIfB-br/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Will Smith (@willsmith)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“So I’m always in Dubai, and a friend of mine told me I have to check out this pool. There’s something weird about it. Deep Dive Dubai, I’m about to go down. The deepest pool on Earth, 200 feet deep. Madness,” Smith said in the video.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The diving complex also offers courses for diving beginners and certified divers, as well as a restaurant equipped with windows and TV screens where non-diving family and friends can watch the divers.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The depth of the pool has prompted Deep Dive Dubai to post a notice on </span><a href="http://www.deepdivedubai.com/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">its website</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> discouraging visitors from seeing the city’s famous Burj Khalifa after diving.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Don’t visit the top of the skyscraper after diving,” the notice read.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“After any dive, it’s recommended to wait 18-24 hours before ascending higher than 300 metres. However, there is no risk in diving after having visited the tallest building in the world.”</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Images: Deep Dive Dubai</span></em></p>

International Travel

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Record-breaking sandcastle built in Denmark

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The world’s tallest sandcastle has been constructed in Denmark, standing more than 20 metres high and made up of nearly 5000 tonnes of sand, according to its designers.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At 21.16 metres tall, the castle is over three metres taller than the previous holder of the title which was built in Germany in 2019, according to Guinness World Records.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Using a total of 4860 tonnes of sand, the intricately decorated structure was designed by Wilfred Stijger and built with the assistance of 30 of the world’s best sand sculptors in the small seaside town of Blokhus.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Stijger said he wanted the structure to represent the power coronavirus has had over the world since the start of the pandemic, and topped the sandcastle with a model of the virus wearing a crown.</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-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CRACXXLjgCp/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <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/CRACXXLjgCp/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Wilfred Stijger (@stijgerart)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It’s ruling our lives everywhere,” Stijger said. “It tells you what to do … It tells you to stay away from your family and not go to nice places. Don’t do activities, stay home.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To stabilise the sandcastle against the chilly and windy conditions of the autumn and winter, the sand contains approximately 10 percent clay and a layer of glue that was applied after completion.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Blokhus residents have enjoyed the local features incorporated into the sandcastle, such as beach houses and lighthouses, and depictions of windsurfing and kitesurfing.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The castle is expected to stand until around early next year, until the onset of heavy frost.</span></p>

International Travel