National Air and Space Museum Gets a Facelift

The Wright Flyer, John Glenn’s Mercury spacecraft and the Apollo 11 spacesuit which Neil Armstrong wore on the moon, are just some of the countless space and air artefacts curated from Smithsonian, which will soon be exhibited in a renewed area in Washington, DC.

The Smithsonian revealed plans to revitalize the National Air and Space Museum within the next seven decades. The $900 million project will be accomplished on a phased schedule so that lots of the artefacts remain on view in display showcases as the building continues.

It’s ambitious, but it is a needed renovation of the building and a chance to make a new experience and new displays, and to place other artefacts on display that could have otherwise occurred in a more incremental way, said Peter Jakab, chief curator at the museum, in an interview with collectSPACE. We are being pushed to do bigger and bolder things than we may have done, but this is good, a more timely change the museum wish to make is on their website with a new website design.

Initially, the museum anticipated needing only to replace the heating, ventilation and electrical systems, which after almost 40 years had outlived their lifespan. But in planning to perform that work, it was found that the building’s outer rock was in a considerable state of disrepair, requiring that it too had to be replaced, Jakab explained.

So, that changed the game concerning the extent of the renovation and revitalization, he said. After that step was accomplished, it created the chance that each of the exhibitions would need to be touched in some way, even if it was just to replace the glass showcase systems in the exhibition.

The building will experience a complete refacing of its exterior cladding and its mechanical systems will be substituted. The visitor experience within the museum will also change with all 23 galleries and demonstration spaces being upgraded or completely redone.

The work will be split into separate stages, starting in summer 2018, with a part of the building open to people at all times. Construction is set to begin on the west side of the museum, which houses nine galleries, such as “Exploring the Planets.”

Some of the exhibitions haven’t significantly changed from the 41 years since the museum opened. The Milestones of Flight Hall, which visitors first encounter when entering the building, was renovated in 2016 and will be one of the last regions of the museum to be touched.

To safeguard the artefacts, most will be temporarily transferred to a state-of-the-art storage facility now being built close to the Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. A few of the items in the National Mall building however, are too big to transport and will have to be worked around.

By way of instance, the Skylab [backup orbital workshop] will be protected in place as that is quite a big and difficult matter to move, said Jakab.

Following the artefacts return to the museum when building is finished, the new collections centre will be used to hold other museum items not currently on display.

Lots of the galleries are being re-imagined and remodelled to participate visitors while they’re in the memorial and after they leave.

We really want to redefine the museum in terms of it being an adventure than being a place, Jakab said. We want to create a seamless experience that’s both digital online through custom craft websites, in addition to walking the galleries at the building.

When the new exhibitions start to start in 2021, visitors to the museum will see a few of the artefacts in fresh settings. By way of instance, the Apollo 11 command module, Columbia, will be exhibited at a custom-designed, climate-controlled case in “Destination Moon,” a new gallery taking the place of their present “Apollo to the Moon.” Recently captured 3D photography of Columbia’s interior will be displayed together with the spacecraft, showing components that would otherwise stay concealed from public view.

All the exhibitions will also incorporate new demonstration spaces, allowing the people to interact with content specialists through demos and talks, all shared through internet webcasts. Rather than simply relaying information, the new galleries will provide hands-on experiences. From the remodelled “Exploring the Planets,” for instance, visitors will tour the solar system and have a walk on another world via an immersive experience.

The exhibitions through the museum will be grouped by theme to allow for a simpler way finding and a much better guest experience.

We’ll be collocating galleries of similar subject matter,” said Jakab. “We are going to have space exploration package, where we will have three galleries beside each other: a gallery that’s centred on Earth, “One World Connected,” a gallery that focuses on the solar system and the planets, and then the re-do of our Apollo exhibition, “Destination Moon,” that is one of our core subject areas.

So we will have an Earth-moon-planets set of galleries which are adjacent to one another, ” he explained.

The Smithsonian has asked funds in its own 2018 federal funding to start the Infrastructure and outdoor work. In the years to come, additional funds will be requested. The Smithsonian estimates the total cost of the revitalization to be about $650 million.

Every indication we have so far is that the members of Congress feel this Isn’t only a fantastic project, but essential. So we have a Great deal of confidence that the complete funding required to make the repairs will come, said Jakab.

Moreover, the National Air and Space Museum intends to privately raise the $250 million it needs for new exhibitions.

The transformation of exhibitions starts a new era for the museum. We’re Developing innovative approaches to experience America’s favorite museum, said Gen. J.R. “Jack” Dailey, the museum’s outgoing director.

Shoe Destinations of the World

Travel guides have lots of unique pointers on categorizing the highlights of various destinations, like beaches, restaurants, and nightlife. However, for unknown reasons they constantly don’t highlight precisely what, to us at least, is of chief concern: the shoe-shopping circumstance. With summer vacation season is upon us here is our definitive roundup of the top cities for apparel pursuits, in no particular order.

 

Milan

Using its heritage cobblers like ballerina-maker E. Porselli in addition To both the local and worldwide luxury brands that line the Golden Triangle area of Via Monte Napoleone, Via della Spiga and adjacent streets (Via San’t Andrea, Via Gesù, Via Borgospesso), Italy’s fashion capital remains the world’s greatest place to go trying to find extravagant shoes. It helps that the support of employees is very good in shops like Gucci, Gianvito Rossi, Casadei, Rene Caovilla and Santoni.

 

London

While Harrods made some noise in 2015 with the introduction of its Shoe Heaven, widely regarded as the biggest shoe flooring of just about any department store, including a range of women’s pumps, lots of smaller theatres make shopping in the British capital for an endless delight. Matches, the favourite e-destination, has quite a few brick-and-mortar locations known due to their distinctive edit, while Browns London often pegs the forthcoming major name before anyone else. Also, take a look at English labels and Duchess of Cambridge Catherine Middleton favourites like Penelope Chilvers (who makes her cherished country riding boots) and L.K. Bennett (her go-to pumps). For the gents, it is a dapper shoe-fest with tags like Gieves & Hawkes, John Lobb, Grenson and Olivier Sweeney, turning out smart and classic brogues, wingtips and Chelsea boots.

 

Barcelona

No trip to Spain is complete without stocking up on espadrilles, and this is their birthplace. Many regional purveyors dot the city’s marketplaces, but the main attraction from them all is Castañer. While they manufacture the jute-soled summer shoes for Hèrmes, Paul Andrew, Valentino and many others, they also have their own large lineup of interrelated styles.

 

Lisbon

The city and state are significant footwear hubs occupied by tons of smaller neighbourhood brands. Check out Eureka because of its in-house label of Portuguese-made shoes that are street savvy and exceptionally money friendly. Think suede platform shoes for under $120 bucks. For a more Old-school Strategy, there is Sapataria do Carmo, a charming handmade

 

Sao Paulo

While the country’s biggest shoe maker might nevertheless be Havaianas, which Brazilians buy in bulk at the supermarket, lace connoisseurs flock to purchasing Iguatemi, a lavish mall selling Arezzo’s classic pumps, Rio surfer bran Osklen’s raffia sling back and a lot more. And don’t leave town without a set of Alexandre Birman’s signature Clarita stilettos.

 

Dubai

Yes, to many it is the shopping capital of the world, but Most of All, It’s home to Level Shoes, 1 helluva footwear fantasyland and reason enough to visit the city. The department-store concept is totally devoted to shoes at each price point, such as flip-flops, women’s sandals, custom made croc loafers and everything in between. The most recent assortment raises the wonderland result, from fundamental brands such as Chanel and Celine into a bold mixture of new artists and limited-edition creations.

 

Capri

A pair of handmade vases created before your very eyes. The Capri Touch resort in Ana Capri has one of the more glamorous setups for supple women’s sandals that might be bedazzled a little or a lot.

 

Tokyo

The scene here is much like an amusement park on your own credit card. For The most satisfaction, take a look at the topsy-turvy Comme des Garcon-run Dover Street Market, opening ceremony, and Japanese department store Isetan. The display and merchandising alone is eye-popping.

 

Hong Kong

Lane Crawford and its sister shop Joyce have built a sterling reputation as the place to look for exquisite luxury shoes in town. Added incentive: contrary to numerous key department stores, there is an emphasis here on both the Asian and international brands, so you really get a sense of regional tastes.

 

Dallas/Fort Worth

It’s tough not to be smitten by all the Western regalia in Texas and to leave town without your own honky-tonk cowboy boots is upsetting. For the most immersive experience, swing by Cavender’s, which has many stores in the area (and they’re still alive). In Fort Worth, Fincher’s is just another amazing store for snip-toes and saddle-ready styles.

 

New York City

To be a shoe manufacturer, making it in New York remains an important feat. Madison Avenue is a major designer mecca, with Aquazzura recently opening up shop a stone’s throw from Louis Leeman, Jimmy Choo and Roger Vivier. Together with the three B’s (Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys New York and Bloomingdale’s) continue to disperse an infinite supply of fantasy shoes such as women’s and men’s sandals.

 

Paris

While the grand old usual suspects, Galeries Lafayette, Printemps and Bon Marche, have plenty to rave about, authentic shoe aficionados have a stroll Down Rue de Grenelle because of its choice of multi-brand boutiques like Iris and for a trip to Christian Louboutin’s special shop.

AccorHotels Support Travelling Sustainably

AccorHotels’ manager of sustainability, Arnaud Herrmann, said the resort was dedicated to implementing more sustainable practices on a massive scale through its Planet 21 program. He said that you do not wake up and say, ‘I need sustainability,’. He claims it involves a lengthy process of creating the company culture and incorporating the principles within the business.

It doesn’t hurt that the movement toward sustainability has buoyed AccorHotels’ bottom line. The business has saved millions of euros by inviting guests to reuse towels and invest in integrating water-restricting hot water service repairs and save cash – and a part of that money has become its Plant for the Planet program, which has planted five million new trees within the last nine decades. (A bulk of U.S. resorts also have programs that reuse towels and linens.) The purpose is to make environmentally sound decisions easy for the consumer and without imposing undue financial burden and environmental degradation in the hospitality and tourism-focused house extension designs for accommodation developments. Ecology should be not more expensive, and should have no negative effect on relaxation, according to Mr. Herrmann.

The significance of big chains moving towards sustainability does not mean you need to cancel your visit to the tiny lodge in Central America; chances to travel sustainably are everywhere. Travelers think sustainable travel is either too costly or out of what they would like to do when they travel. More often than not, this isn’t true. Kelley Louise, executive director of Travel+SocialGood, a sustainable tourism advocacy group, said that it can apply to any type of travel, whether you are going to New York City for its newly-built sustainable hotel or home extensions and renovations or Costa Rica or even Europe. When it gets more applicable, it grows more powerful to be utilised as a force for good.

What, then, has prevented sustainable travel from gaining wider acceptance? It may be a branding issue. The word sustainable isn’t very digestible, Ana Duék, editor of Viajar Verde, a news website about sustainable travel, claims. The idea is to convey it in a more appealing way to travelers, using words such as ‘authenticity’ and ‘experience.’

That type of demystification is what associations such as Visit.org are attempting to accomplish. The website curates different regional travel experiences – ranging from free to several million dollars per individual – in the name of societal good. Sustainability, the thought goes, isn’t always something quantifiable like a specific number of trees planted, a temporary general plumbing fix, or a quantity of food waste decrease – it may also be about cultural exchange. An experience in the League of Kitchens, where people can register to cook at home kitchens around New York, demonstrates that sustainable travel need not necessitate leaving the nation.

The immersive cooking workshops aim to enable immigrant and refugee women. It is not about people sharing their skills with the natives, Michal Alter, a creator of Visit.org, stated. He says it is about the community sharing their history and experiences with all the visitors. Other experiences visitors can reserve on the website include an art workshop in Siem Reap, Cambodia, and a five-day wine tasting tour in Moldova.

Generally speaking, sustainable travel simply means being open to other cultures. Dare to speak to someone you usually would not speak to, Mr. Glaesser of the World Tourism Organization suggests. He adds to leave a favorable footprint, while it is a local purchase or some sort of respectful cultural or economic input.

 

Tips For Hiring Vehicles When Travelling Overseas

The concealed catches

Some of the catches routinely concealed in the fine print of the contract are:

Glass and tyres

Frequently excluded from the standard liability, you could be up for an additional charge or have no cover at all for damage to wheels, tyres, windshields and after market sunroofs, forcing you to pay for new tyres.

Underbody and overhead damage

You might find yourself totally liable for damage to the underbody like ironman suspension or top of the lorry.

Animals

Some agreements may charge an extra cost or not cover you for an accident including an animal. The Hertz contract, for example, will not cover you if you struck an animal or have a mishap while preventing hitting an animal at night time in an area they specify as rural.

Bad weather

Damage from flood, fire, storm, cyclone or other natural catastrophes might likewise incur extra costs on top of the standard liability.

car hire

Top suggestions for renting a vehicle

Before the hire

– Read the contract terms and conditions before you choose a rental company.

– Check your vehicle carefully in the existence of a sales assistant before acquiring your automobile. Make sure all pre-existing damage, no matter how small, is recorded. An error in the sunroof installation isn’t something you can complain about later if it wasn’t checked.

– Photograph the automobile at the beginning and end of hire. Try to time-stamp the photos and, if possible, get the sales assistant in the photos too.

– Request information about exactly what to do in case of a breakdown or mishap.

– Learn whether you need to bring the vehicle back with a full tank and exactly what is the charge per litre if you do not.

Throughout the hire

– As you exit the car hire depot the first thing to check for, apart from a running motor, is the nearby petrol station so you can fill on return without incurring the exorbitant fuel charges.

– If the automobile breaks down throughout the rental or you have a flat and desperately need replacement goodyear tyres, follow the company’s guidelines. Do not have it fixed without approval.

After the hire.

– In our investigation of Avis and Hertz, we found fuel mark-ups approaching 300%. Fill the car as close to the drop-off point as possible and keep your receipt to prevent a refuelling charge.

– While you’re filling up, hose down your car before returning it so that any potential damage shows up.

– To prevent having to pay for another person’s damage, aim to return your vehicle throughout opening hours.

– Get a company agent to check the vehicle in your presence immediately upon return, this includes the ironman 4×4 accessories if they have them, don’t let them sting you for those later.

– If there is no damage, the ACCC recommends you request a written declaration keeping in mind that the cars and truck was returned intact.

– Work out any conflicts over damages on the spot.

– If you have a problem, contact your local fair trading or consumer affairs office for advice or if it was an internartional hire check the recommendations from our sister organisations and consumer bodies.

 

Sport Fishing Promoting Tourism

Jammu & Kashmir is the centre of a range of outdoors activities. Placed on the northern part of India, this state is set down on the foothills of the Mountain ranges. The standing Himalayan varieties, the green valleys, and the frisky cascading waterfalls make it a perfect vacation location. The environment with all her beauty develops wonderful charm amongst the visitors. Tourism has constantly been considered the motivation that generates brand-new service opportunities and financial advancement for an area and Jammu & Kashmir is no exception. The State of Jammu and Kashmir has a higher capacity to become among the very best adventure tourist locations on the planet. It provides terrific unique Himalayan ranges and landscaping or ecological landscape designs, quick & furious rivers, breath-taking valleys, forests and difficult activities. After having actually been washed in the prettiness of nature, the travelers can really quickly include themselves in a range of outside activities such as water sports, travelling and fishing or fishing.

Sport fishing is a fundamental part of adventure tourism. J&K has among the most preferred fishing sites in the globe. The Valley of Kashmir is bestowed with natural water resources existing in the shape of torrential rivers, sars, springs, cold water streams, lakes and high rise lakes. These waters have fantastic prospective for the advancement of diverse kinds of fisheries like cold water fisheries, warm water fisheries, sport fisheries, tank fisheries and so on. Kashmir is referred to as angler’s paradise which supplies numerous opportunities for anglers with its different kinds of fishes particularly trout and mahseer.

It is true that this global paradise is also a fantastic location to take pleasure in adventure sports consisting of sport fisheries. The glittering lakes of Kashmir valley boast an appealing variety of fish types. The salubrious environment of the area fits the marine life. Anglers all over the world are typically brought in by the high elevation of streams and lakes, which have various verity of fish types. Kashmir being among the premier fishing areas on the planet has a huge variety of streams of numerous miles and a big variety of high rise snow fed lakes filled with brown and rainbow trout. There are lots of new locations which have the potential for adventure tourism and might draw in a great deal of travelers internationally. Regardless of having such potential in the quantity of travelers associated with daring activities, particularly in sport fishing, obvious actions of its financial influence on state are still lacking.

Fishing is the primary part of sport fishing. Nevertheless, business fisheries too use angling methods like long lining or trolling. Catch & release fishing is a growing practice by amateur anglers in their reversible singlet and fishing hat. In various locations of the world, the element of size limitations applies to some types which suggests fish listed below or above a specific size need to be released by law. Angling or fishing in Jammu & Kashmir is a preferred sport among the travelers. The streams and the sloping rivulets are the stockpiles of a fantastic series of fishes, which never ever makes the anglers discouraged. Angling in the mountainous rivers is always an uncommon experience. Spending quality time and relaxing in the sun of Jammu & Kashmir makes this sport more amazing. Angling in an uneven area on and against the supporting man-made structures, not unlike pool pavers and retaining walls, is constantly a subject of enjoyment and a long lasting experience.

The administration has taken actions to make sure that an angler cannot capture more than 6 fishes; any more will need to be released back into the water, so that the ecological balance is protected. Before fishing, travelers need to also consider the authorization of the Directorate of the Fisheries, Srinagar. If the travelers are not prepared with their devices for Angling then the neighboring stores are the outstanding locations for purchasing or working with a fishing pole. Angling in the popular Dal lake is an experience to be definitely had. Travelers can likewise witness fishing in Jammu & Kashmir from the stunning houseboats & shikaras and can see and delight in capturing fishes in traditional Kashmiri methods.

With the coming of spring & summertime, angling constantly ends up being a substantial business in Jammu & Kashmir. Typically, fisheries in J&K were established and promoted as a sport, mainly for the travelers. Every year a variety of adventure caring travelers (private or group) go to Kashmir for fishing in their comfortable basketball hoodie apparel, and its allied activities for trout fishing. Trout fishing in Kashmir is far, far less expensive than it remains in another part of the world. J&K is bestowed with world’s finest and ideal lakes, rivers, and water bodies for the fish animals. We can discover ranges of fishes and therefore anglers from all over the world flock every year to delight in the adventure of fishing in the streams and lakes of the valley.

Fishing is an excellent tool of adventure tourism in Kashmir and has the possibility to bring foreign economies to the state. Fish production in J&K has actually increased from last couple of years due to favorable efforts from department of fisheries J&K from 18.5 thousand tonnes in 2012 to 20 thousand tonnes in 2015.

Top 20 Pointers for Eating Overseas

On your home turf, you’re a food guru. You know exactly where to find the finest breakfast, and the very best coffee from an all day breakfast hot spot. As well as this, you know the ins and outs, where to sit, when to go, when to tip, how to order.

However none of that hard-earned regional understanding is helpful to you when you land in a foreign country for the very first time. And let’s face it, the quality of your dining experience can make or break your trip. So how do you prevent the tourist traps, find a really great meal, and not freak out when paying the bill all while getting a genuine taste of the city you’re in?

  1. GO BEYOND THE CONCIERGE

The concierge does usually have a little knowledge of the city you are in, however, they may not know what is the best or what is popular at the current time. They generally have a list of a couple ‘go-to’ suggestions that they offer, and you could miss out on something seriously good if you only go off their advice. If you do need their suggestions, ask them specifically what you are after, such as a good restaurant in a regional area, or a place that chefs would eat at.

  1. AVOID THOSE RESTAURANTS WITH SPRUIKERS

They can’t be missed in popular tourist locations, the bubbly waiter who promises you the very best Peking duck, paella, pizza or pasta in the world. If they were really as good as they were saying, then they probably wouldn’t need someone standing out the front of the restaurant trying to convince people to come in.

  1. INTERVIEW YOUR WAITER

Great restaurants will happily work together and promote each other; with just a quick chat with a quality chef or manager, you will be able to find a nearby breakfast cafe that does great coffee, probably even one that they go to themselves. You’ll also get a picture on great bars, eateries and before you know it, you’re on your way to an excellent culinary experience!

  1. SELECT YOUR TRAVEL DATES APPROPRIATELY

Having your heart set on eating a specific restaurant, only to find it not open when you get there, is a common mistake in travel, especially if you are travelling there during the holiday seasons, through local public holidays or big sporting events. Because guess what, those chefs you are travelling to specific restaurants for? They’re probably taking some time off too.

Heavy rains in the monsoon season can ruin the charm of outdoor noodle markets and dining terraces throughout south-east Asia from July to October.

  1. FIND OUT THE LINGO

Learn the basics of the local language so when you visit the world renowned restaurant and winery in Milan, Italy, you aren’t franticly trying to piece together a range of hand gestures and motions to try and convey that you need the bathroom, or you are ready for the bill.

  1. KNOW WHERE TO TIP (AND Just How Much).

You don’t tip in Japan and China, it’s optional in Switzerland and Sweden, but you need to in America. A service charge is included for you in France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Hong Kong, and Singapore, but you can round the costs up if you want to leave additional for your waiter.

In America, waiters normally anticipate to get tipped around a 15 to 25 percent of the overall bill to compensate for their low earnings. In London, a 12 1/2 per cent tip is added to your bill, but in some cases, this won’t be written in the tips area of the bill in hope that you will tip again. If you are unsure, it is definitely OK to ask the waiting staff, they are more than likely aware that you aren’t a local. If you don’t want to ask, thanks to technology, there are a range of apps and websites you can quickly look up to find out what to do.

  1. PLAN AHEAD.

The finer the restaurant you plan to dine at, the additional time you need to give yourself to book your place. For some of the finest eateries in the world, bookings open months in advance and sell out quite quickly.

  1. EAT IN… YOUR HOTEL

It used to be that dining in your hotel would guarantee you  bland international food, but this is not the case anymore. Take a look at Heston Blumenthal’s Supper by Heston at London’s Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park or even the excellent yum cha at Above & Beyond at the Hotels Icon and Intercontinental in Hong Kong. Spectacular food is available at your doorstep, given you are staying in the hot spots of each city!

  1. DON’T ASK YOUR TRAVEL GUIDE

Hotel tourist guides are great for sightseeing and transport. As for dining, they are probably going to suggest to you the closest cuisine to what you have at home. If you are from Australia, they will suggest to you restaurants that offer Modern Australian cuisine, just like you can get at one of the restaurants in the yarra valley.

  1. GO LUXE.

The magnificent Grant Thatcher released the very first LUXE travel overview of Bangkok back in 2002, and remains a travel bible after selling out to Melbourne-based travel guide entrepreneur Simon Westcott. There are now 36 pocket-sized guides from Beijing to Barcelona; Miami to Milan; and Sri Lanka to Stockholm. They’re precise, honest and humorous reviews of every country.

  1. KNOW THE RULES.

It’s not just what you eat; it’s also how you eat it. When consuming with your hands in Morocco the Middle East or India, use only your right hand. In China, use the colour-coded serving chopsticks to serve your food, instead of your own. In Naples, a pizza must be eaten with your hands and slightly folded in at the middle. In America, double dipping is a criminal activity of the highest order.

  1. WHAT TIME’S DINNER?

Not everybody eats dinner at 8pm, in Spain and South America; it’s more like 10 or 11pm. You can roam around the streets of Madrid at 1am watching families with young children taking a leisurely after-dinner stroll. In many Arab countries, supper is generally eaten after 10pm, while Parisians and Romans tend to eat around 9pm. In Sweden, 6pm is considered completely appropriate, while in New York City, dining establishments have the tendency to have two dinner sittings, the first as early as 5.30pm.

  1. TO MARKET, TO MARKET

The local fresh food market doesn’t just offer your usual fruit and vegetable options, surrounding the market are usually some of the best coffee, bakeries, butcheries and cafes. The fresh food markets even offer tastings of beautiful wines such as ones you would find in a yarra valley vineyard.

  1. AVOID THE TOURIST ATTRACTIONS

Traveller tourist attractions bring with them, an influx of traveller dining establishments. So to get a more localised experience, get off the beaten track, even if only by a block.

  1. SOMETIMES IT’S GOOD TO QUEUE UP

There is a limit between wanting to eat where everyone is lining up to eat, and actually lining up yourself. Here’s when it deserves the wait; for a Bloody Mary Sunday brunch at Prune in New York City, for lunch at Joel Robuchon’s L’Atelier in Paris, for Dim Sum at Hong Kong’s Michelin-starred Tim Ho Wan, and for Dumplings at Beijing’s Shandong QiangMian Mantou Dian.

  1. USE YOUR SIGHT

If you can’t read the menu, it’s not the end of the world. Take a walk around the restaurant and check out what other people are eating, if it looks good, ask the waiter what it is or just take a gamble and order it. Dinner is sorted.

  1. WALK AROUND

Get up, get out and walk around, or if you don’t know where to go, book a walking tour and work off lasts nights meal while you decide on tonight’s. Some good walking tours are John Paul Fortney’s strolling tour of Montmartre, including stops at three different regional dining establishments for entree, main course and dessert. Eating London’s East End Tour, which tells you about the history of the East End from the Excellent Fire of London to Jack the Ripper, with stops at different restaurants from a Brick Lane curry to traditional fish and chips and a pint of ale.

In New York, Myra Alperson visits the famous hot food suburbs such as Queens, the Bronx and Brooklyn introducing eaters to off-the-beaten course restaurants, markets and coffee shops. In LA, it’s worth doing the LA Conservancy’s Historic Downtown strolling tour, if only to walk through the sensational 1917 Grand Central Market.

  1. USE YOUR PHONE

There’s a plethora of information available on the internet that will inevitably lead to many a late night of red wine and bleary eyes before you get overwhelmed and quit.

  1. USE THE TWO BLOCK GUIDELINE

Every city has a hot food precinct, whether it’s Potts Point in Sydney, Williamsburg in New York City, or the Objective District in San Francisco. Discover it, book a hotel neat it, and apply the ‘two block rule’. Only look within a two block radius of your hotel and you will undoubtedly find great coffee, a winery, or even a ramen bar that you might end up frequenting.

  1. FLY SOLO.

Choosing supper can be troublesome when you’re travelling solo. That’s why Japan developed sushi bars and Spain developed tapas bars, and why American restaurants have fantastic bars. Hot restaurants might be booked out months beforehand, however if you are only after a table for one, they may be able to accommodate you.

Myanmar Trip is a Rural Awakening

I have visited the country many times, mainly throughout my youth in the 1970s when my father worked as a diplomat while Burma’s military dictatorship was at its cruellest. More recently, I visited at the end of 2014, before the elections introduced the country’s very first civilian federal government in 50 years (albeit 25 percent of parliamentary seats were held for the army). As I travelled around Myanmar, about 6 months after the new federal government took office, there was a palpable state of optimism. Some residents say that the country is now the most democratic country in Southeast Asia, although some problems remain and Myanmar’s security forces have been recently accused of human rights offenses against Rohingya Muslims.

We began our journey in Yangon, Myanmar’s former capital and still its biggest city. It’s a bewitchingly old-new place of collapsing colonial architecture and a horizon etched with the largest cranes hired for development. We take a walking tour into the historical downtown area with our guide, Joseph, who accompanies us throughout the journey and is marvellously able to integrate the personalities of a caring shepherd, a clear-sighted baby-sitter and a fluent historian. In Yangon, we admire the streets lined with Victorian-era structures – some improved by structural and engineered timber beams, others losing the battle with greenery. Most importantly, we stop to discover the local life, tasting the products of a betel-nut seller and stopping briefly at Merchant Road where lawyers provide lunch break services, having carried their tomes and typewriters with them to the pop-up stalls.

In the late afternoon we visit the magnificent Shwedagon pagoda, a site that dates back 2500 years. Set on a hill in the heart of Yangon, this Buddhist edifice appears ethereally suspended over the city. Its 110m high top is encrusted with diamonds. Through a telescope, you can see the biggest, supposedly 76 carats. For most of our visit, however, I looked on quietly at the local people making flower offerings to astrological animals, at little kids sounding gongs, and at nuns in apricot-coloured bathrobes checking out bibles in side pavillions.

As the schedule hits full speed, there are challenging moments, such as the 5am start to catch a flight to the ancient capital of Bagan on Day 3. Departure from Yangon’s domestic airport is remarkably effective and we check out the nation’s most stupendous site by 8.30am. In between the 11th and 13th centuries the kings of Burma constructed countless pagodas in the area with great charisma. It’s a beautiful location where substantial pagodas stretch across the horizon and myriad little stupas pepper the fields in between. The best method to get around is by bike. We feel part of the landscape, states Joseph, as he takes us on a bike trip to many of the most amazing pagodas – Ananda with its stunning Buddha images; Thatbyinnyu, practically 60m high and offering scenic views from its balconies; and Bupaya, one of the oldest temples in Bagan.

I am shocked that just a few of the pagodas are out of bounds. Last August, a 6.8-magnitude earthquake shook the area and 200 temples were damaged. Yet Joseph informs us that it was a “great” earthquake. For several years, he says, UNESCO chose not to approve Bagan World Heritage status because of the crass advancement that occurred in the 90s. But the most significant hit of the earthquake destabilised those concrete additions and there is now a brand-new spirit of cooperation as UN professionals join Myanmar authorities in the painstaking repair and construction works with frannas that could not damage the undoubtedly endless beauty of the city.

Exactly what this means for visitors is the absence of access to the interiors of some bigger temples, such as Shwegugyi, and a horizon dotted with pagodas under scaffolding which, in this most stunning of nations, takes a kind of halos of filigreed bamboo. Our travel plan was made to also allow a couple free days, among which we can enjoy Bagan in leisure. I had spent a lot of this time biking to remote temples, admiring the archeological museum (filled with 11th-century Buddha images and, oddly, striking mannequins with real hair) and checking out a museum dedicated to thanakha, the bark that is ground into a powder and used as sun screen.

A few days later we roam around thanakha orchards near Myaing. Then the journey moved north to the tourist attractions outside the city of Mandalay (itself unattractive, although the distant sites, such as U Bein’s teak bridge, the temples of Sagaing and more, are jaw-dropping); to the station of Kalaw, where we make our way through plantations of oranges, tea and coffee; and to Inle Lake, where the Intha people have established an approach to fishing where they row with one leg to keep an arm free to catch the fish.

I return home with a kaleidoscope of images in my head along with my video camera. Yet of all these, it’s the vision of the Myaing lodge that remains greatest in my mind. Incredible white geese slid past my lakeside bedroom window; egrets gathering in the shallows by banana trees as I watch under the patio’s glulam laminated timber frames; big dragonflies hovered over pot plants. It was ineffably tranquil and for a brief moment, all appeared right with the world.

Can the City of Venice be saved?

Venice is a name which you won’t feel unfamiliar. It is a city located in northern Italy. Too many titles have been added on this city such as “La Dominante”, “Serenissima”, “Queen of the Adriatic”, “City of Water”, “City of Masks”, “City of Bridges”, “The Floating City”, and “City of Canals”. The New York Times even described it as “undoubtedly the most beautiful city built by man”.
Venice is sinking

Our beloved city of water seems to be influenced largely by the global warming during recent years. As a matter of fact, this is not the first that Venice faces up with this flood problem, the city has a 1500 year’s history to battle with the wave starting from the collapse of the Roman Empire in the 5th Century.. However, in old times, the flood happened once or twice a year whereas now it happens every week. Therefore, you can even buy a pair of water-proof shoes from the ice cream vendors.

In old times, this kind of undesirable situation actually has brought Venice a lot of benefits. The city has become one of the most important ports along the Mediterranean Sea as it is surrounded by water and thus gets easy access to the sea. As a result, Venice has been one of the richest cities in the world by the 15th Century.
Between 1950s and 1980s, the city has sunk 20cm. 100 years ago, the time for the city to be covered by water in only seven days but now the number is shockingly 200; and Venice may only come across very high tides 5 times during one decade but now it seems that there were above 50 high tides only between 1993 to 2002.
Now when you come to visit Venice, you may need to find your way in the water because of the frequent floods. Even the Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has launched the anti-flood policy which seems to be the last chance to save our beloved city of water. Nonetheless, the anti-flood programme will be huge and complicated which may involve more environment damages.

The flood of tourists

Although the city is endangered right now and everywhere is in the water even the shopping malls, it can not stop the flood of enthusiastic tourists. Venice is known to be one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. It is estimated that there are almost circa 50,000 tourists per day and around 2.927 million tourists each year. The tourists are just like another flood to Venice.
When you come here, do not forget to try the canal which is the most famous transportation means here and can give you some unique experience.
Not sure if it is still a good idea to hire a car to explore a city, or maybe it is better to rent a canal. However, during the remaining 100 days when the city is not in the water, hiring a car is a good idea also. Car hiring companies like Avis, Sixt, Opodo, Enterprises, Europcar, Hertz, Carhiremarket, MyCarHire, and Expedia will take care of your car rental needs considerately.