#TravelTuesday – Ethiopia

Categories: News

may 26

Today’s Travel Tuesday destination is Ethiopia, courtesy of the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die Page-A-Day calendar.

Top Attractions:

1. Gonder: Strategically positioned at the foothills of the Simien Mountains, one of the highest ranges in Africa, the fortress city of Gonder became in the 17th century the first capital of the Ethiopian empire, under Emperor Fasilides. Surrounded by towering stone walls and filled with juniper and wild olive trees, the Royal Enclosure lies at the heart of Gonder and contains the country’s most important imperial buildings.

  • Where: 471 miles/758 km north of Addis Ababa.
  • Best Times: September-November for nicest weather; January 7 for Ethiopian Christmas; January 19 for Timkat (Epiphany).

2. Lalibela (pictured above): The subterranean rock-hewn churches of Lalibela are Ethiopia’s most popular—and mysterious—attraction. They have been in continuous use by Orthodox priests since the 12th century, when this remote mountain town was the capital of the Zagwe dynasty. Unique for the technical expertise used in their construction, they are also remarkable for their own refinement and are decorated with handwoven rugs, colorful paintings, carvings depicting saints and Christian symbols, and cross-shaped windows. The oft-photographed flat roof of St. George’s church (Beta Giyorgis) is carved with concentric Greek crosses.

  • Where: 454 miles/730 km north of Addis Ababa.
  • How: U.S.-based Adventures in Africa has scheduled tours featuring Lalibela. Tel: 866-778-1089 or 303-778-1089; www.adventuresinafrica.com 
  • Best Times: September-November for pleasant weather; January 7 for Ethiopian Christmas; January 19 for Epiphany; April or May for Fasika (Easter), corresponding to the Gregorian calendar.

3. Omo River Valley: A trip to the South Omo River Valley, much of it accessible only by boat, takes you back thousands of years through a kaleidoscope of vanishing nomadic cultures. Because Ethiopia is the only African nation never to have been colonized by Europeans, the tribes here haven remained nearly intact. The few thousand people who live in these green hills have preserved their culture to a remarkable degree, even as their numbers dwindle. Those who come to glimpse their distinct way of life before it disappears make one of the few tented camps or basic lodges their base, hiring guides to take them on trips to the communities nearby.

  • Where: The riverside town of Omurate is 457 miles/736 km southwest of Addis Ababa and is accessibly via private air charter.
  • How: U.S.-based Africa Adventure Company offers a 10-day Omo River safari. Tel: 800-882-9453 or 954-491-8877; www.africaadventure.com
  • Best Time: July-October for nicest weather.

4. Simien Mountain National Park: The Simien Mountains, know as the “Roof of Africa,” offer some of the continent’s most dramatic scenery: great volcanic plugs, formed 40 million years ago and eroded over the eons into fantastic crags, pinnacles, and flat-topped peaks stretching from Ethiopia’s northern highlands to Eritrea. This is the only place in the world to see many animal species, including the endangered walia ibex and troops of gelada, commonly known as the bleeding-heart baboon for the red patch on its chest.

  • Where: Trek begins in Debark 75 miles/120 km from Gonder.
  • How: Ethiopian Quadrants organizes treks of various lengths. Tel: 251/11-515-7990; www.ethiopianquadrants.com
  • Best Time: September-April to avoid the rainy season.

Read more on 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and the calendar line here.

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#TravelTuesday – Scotland

Categories: News

may 19

 

Today’s Travel Tuesday destination is Scotland, courtesy of the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die Page-A-Day calendar.

Top Attractions:

1. The Castle Trail (pictured above): A long history of battles, clan rivalries, and English invasions manifests itself in the 1,000-plus castles dotting Scotland’s landscape. Some are evocative ruins or little more than long-forgotten mounds in the heather, while others appear as sturdy and forebodding as the day they were built. Many remain inhabited after being flamboyantly refurbished in the Victorian era, when Scotland’s land-owning classes rediscovered a penchant for the turrets and towers of baronial architecture.

  • Where: Aberdeen is 125 miles/201 km north of Edinburgh.
  • Best Time: April-September for nicest weather.

2. Loch Ness: The deep waters of Loch Ness lie in a giant gash in the earth’s surface—a 60-million-year-old diagonal fault line that almost splits Scotland in two, with the Highland capital of Inverness at its northern end. Measuring 24 miles long and 775 feet deep, it’s one of the largest “lochs” (lakes) in Scotland, but its main claim to fame remains almost exclusively as home to the mythic Loch Ness Monster.

  • Where: Inverness is 171 miles/275 km north of Edinburgh.
  • Best Times: May-September for nice weather; end of July for Inverness Highland Games; September-October for fall colors in Glen Affric.

3. Balmoral Hotel and the Royal Scotsman: Standing proudly at the end of Edinburgh’s mile-long, shop-lined Princes Street is the historic and undeniably palatial Balmoral Hotel. Built in 1902 as a railway hotel, it is now one of the city’s most elegant landmarks, complete with kilted doorman at its entrance. Guests can day-dream their way through afternoon tea in the Drawing Room, eat like kings and queens in the refined surrounds of the Number One restaurant, or sample the bounty of Scotland’s best distilleries in the high-ceilinged Bollinger Bar in the Palm Court.

  • Where: 375 miles/603 km north of London.
  • Best Time: May-September for nicest weather.

4. The Hebrides: Off the crenellated northwest coast of Scotland lie the islands of the Hebrides. Divided neatly into two areas—Inner and Outer Hebrides—they are as representative of Scotland as the Highlands but manage to feel a world apart. The landscape of the Inner Hebrides never fails to impress, with high mountains dropping precipitously to the rocky shores and narrow sea-lochs cutting deep inland. On the island of Mull you’ll find the dark, rocky peak of Ben Mor and the scenic port of Tobermory, with its waterfront of gaily painted houses.

  • Where: Oban is the gateway to the Hebrides, 124 miles/200 km northwest of Edinburgh.
  • Best Times: May-September for best weather; mid-July for Lewis Highland Games; early August for Skye Highland Games.

5. Argyll Highlands: Halfway along Scotland’s filigree western coastline is the dramatic region of Argyll, where hills, glens, forests, and mountains stretch from the remote Ardnamurchan Peninsula, down to the Mull of Kintyre Lighthouse. Islands such as Colonsay, Mull, and Jura are just a ferry hop away across narrow straits, and slender fjordlike inlets dissect the landscape and mainland become wonderfully blurred.

Read more on 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and the calendar line here.

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#TravelTuesday – Wiltshire, England

Categories: News

may 12Today’s Travel Tuesday destination is Wiltshire, England, courtesy of the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die Page-A-Day calendar.

Top Attractions

1. Salisbury Cathedral: The 19th-century paintings of Turner and Constable familiarized the world with Salisbury Cathedral and its remarkable 404-foot spire, the tallest in the country and an iconic image of England. The cathedral was begun in 1220 and was completed in a record of 38 years (the spire was added toward the end of the century) making Salisbury the most architecturally unified of all the great European cathedrals and the very pinnacle of what is known as the Early English or pointed Gothic style. Inside is the oldest working clock in the world, dating back to the 1300s. It’s a strange mechanical contraption with no dial, designed to strike a bell to mark the passing hours. Climb up the spire’s internal steps for a striking view across the attractive and lively market town of Salisbury in the direction of Salisbury Plain and Stonehenge (see below), Wiltshire’s other significant site.

  • Where: 90 miles/145 km southwest of London; www.salisburycathedral.org.uk
  • Best Times: Tuesday and Saturday for the outdoor Salisbury Charter Market; April-October for the New Forest at its best; late May-early June for Salisbury Festival, and arts and cultural event.

2. Stonehenge: Britain’s best-known prehistoric site, Stonehenge is still as magical, mystical, and mysterious as it was probably always meant to be—but only if you catch it between tour bus caravans. No one knows for sure the reason for Stonehenge, although it is fairly certain that ancient Neolithic and Bronze Age peoples built this stunning collection of artfully placed rocks over a very long period, then used the site for rituals or ceremonies pertaining to the sun and perhaps also as a calendar. In the 17th century, the widely help view that the circle was somehow connected to the Celtic druids took hold and has never died, even though it has since been proved that Stonehenge predates the priestly cult by at least 1,500 years and probably more.

  • Where: 85 miles/137 km southwest of London.
  • Best Times: early morning or late afternoon to avoid crowds; summer and winter solstices (usually sunrise on June 21 and December 22), and spring and fall equinoxes (the half-way points between the solstices).

3. Stourhead Garden: Lying between gentle hills in the bucolic county of Wiltshire, Stourhead is arguably England’s finest and best-known example of 18th-century English landscape gardening, confirmation that no other country holds a candle to England’s horticultural expertise and passion. Stourhead’s poetic grounds—inspired by the paintings of Claude Lorrain and Gaspard Poussin—are punctuated with a neoclassical Pantheon, a grotto, and temples built to Flora and Apolla, creating a classical effect that is much mimicked around the world. The Stourhead estate was owned by the wealthy Hoare family from the early 18th century, and the gardens were created between 1740 and 1780 by Henry (“the Magnificent”) Hoare.

  • Where: 112 miles/180 km southwest of London. Tel: 44/1747-841-152; www.nationaltrust.org.uk
  • Best Times: March-April for daffodils; May-June for garden in full bloom; October for fall colors.

Read more on 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and the calendar line here.

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#TravelTuesday – Japan

Categories: News

may 5Today’s Travel Tuesday destination is Japan, courtesy of the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die Page-A-Day calendar.

Top Attractions:

1. Niseko: Three major bodies of water surround Japan’s main northern island of Hokkadio—the sea of Japan, the Sea of Okhotsk, and the Pacific Ocean—and when the freezing winter winds blow in from Siberia, they dump as much as 40 feet of dry powder snow (with a downy 4 percent moisture content). Niseko, a resort area that sits at the same latitude as Portland, Oregon, gets more of this perfect snow than Whistler or Vail could ever dream of, creating some of the world’s greatest ski runs.

  • Where: 160 miles/257 km southwest of Sapporo.
  • Best Times: December-March for skiing; May-October for fireworks at Lake Toya.

2. Hiroshima and Miyajima: It’s hard to imagine that the Hiroshima so devastated on August 6, 1945, is now a vibrant forward-looking city visited by millions every year who came from all over the world to pay their respects. The most prominent reminder of that fateful day is the twisted and charred shell of the old Industrial Promotion Hall, now known as the A-Bomb Dome (Genkaku Domu), left it its distressed state as a symbol of humankind’s self-destructiveness. Across the Motoyasu River is the Peace Memorial Park (Heiwa Kinen Koen), dotted with monuments to the victims of the world’s fist atomic-bomb attack, and a sobering museum with displays that relive one of the worst days in history, beginning with a watch forever stopped at 8:15 a.m.

  • Where: 537 miles/864 km southwest of Tokyo on the Seto Inland Sea.
  • Best Times: August 6 for bombing anniversary, when white doves are released; late March-April for cherry blossoms; October-early November for autumn foliage on Miyajima island.

3. Kyoto: To stroll through Kyoto is to travel through 11 centuries of Japan’s history. Once the home of the imperial court, the city as also a center of Japanese religion, aesthetics, music, theater, and dance, reaching its height as a center for crafts during the Muromachi Period (1334-1568). Spared by Allied bombing during World War II, the city is said to hold 20 percent of all Japan’s national treasures, including more than 1,700 Buddhist temples and 300 Shinto shrines, all dispersed (often hidden) amid its modern cityscape.

4. Tokyo: Japan’s frenetic capital is a trip in more ways than one. By turns reassuringly familiar and unsettlingly strange, Tokyo offers up neon-bright canyons of consumerism, contemporary pop culture escapades, outstanding dining, and blissful, Zen-calm gardens and shrines. The effects of the catastrophic 2011 earthquake and its aftermath will be felt for years to come. But to the unsuspecting eye, life in Tokyo continues without a blip at high speed and around the clock. An astonishing architectural mishmash, its densely packed neighborhoods include everything from the remnants of a 17th-century castle to high-tech towers wrapped in giant LED displays. With perpetual change hardwired into its DNA, it is the ultimate urban adventure.

5. Walking the Nakasendo: In the 17th century the 330-mile Nakasendo—literally “the road through the central mountains”—was the principal inland route between the Imperial capital, Kyoto, and Edo, the Shogun’s seat of power (better known these days as Tokyo). The 74-mile-long Kiso-ji section of the Nakasendo, winding its way through the Kiso Valley, is one of the most scenic and best-preserved parts of the route. Three of the 11 post towns (places where travelers would rest and take refreshments) that originally lined the Kiso-ji are particularly worth visiting for their efforts to preserve the look and feel of feudal Japan.

  • Where: Tsumago is 50 miles/80 km south of Matsumoto.
  • How: Walk Japan organizes 12-day tours of the region. Tel: 81/90-5026-3638; www.walkjapan.com.
  • Best Times: April for cherry blossoms; May for azaleas; late October-November for fall foliage.

Read more on 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and the calendar line here.

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Happy May the 4th!

Categories: News

Yoda needs your help counting to 100!

May the 4th Yoda Counts (2)

 Click the image to enlarge and print.

 

To find out more about Star Wars Workbooks, visit us at www.starwarsworkbooks.com.


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#TravelTuesday – Sri Lanka

Categories: News

april 28

 

Today’s Travel Tuesday destination is Sri Lanka, courtesy of the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die Page-A-Day calendar.

Top Attractions:

1. The Galle Face Hotel: Connoisseurs of Raj-era hotels seek out the Galle Face, one of the few remaining colonial hotels still rich in period detail and with a lingering air of pampered 19th-century luxury. Barefoot waiters serve tea or sundowners at the open-air, sea-breeze-swept Veranda Restaurant, a famed watering hole during British rule. To get even closer to the sultry waters of the Indian Ocean, savor your chilled Lion lager and spicy bar snacks on the Checkerboard, the large, paved, open-air patio. Many prefer the vintage suits in the Classic wing of the hotel that are a charming throwback to colonial times, seeming large enough to host a cricket match, with polished, creaking teak floors, ceiling fans, and ocean views.

  • Best Times: December-March is the driest season; January for the Duruthu Perahera procession: 3 days surrounding the full moon, celebrating Buddha’s first visit to Sri Lanka; February for full-moon festival, Nabam Perahera, when 100 elephants are paraded with music, dance, and celebration.

2. Galle Fort: In the coastal city of Galle, in Sri Lanka’s deep south, the old fortified city of Galle Forte stands protected by thick, 17th-century Dutch stone-and-coral ramparts. Asia’s best preserved colonial sea fortress, Galle Forte was built by the Portuguese 400 years ago and expanded by 17th-century Dutch settlers, who used it as the Ceylonese headquarters of the Dutch East India Company. Walk around it to soak up history embedded in its chambers, mosques, temples, warehouses, and hundreds of Dutch houses, many with tiled roofs and shuttered Dutch-style doors and windows still intact.

  • Where: 66 miles/107 km south of Colombo.
  • How: Sri Lanka In Style offers customized itineraries. Tel: 94/11-239-6666; www.srilankainstyle.com.
  • Best Time: November-April for best weather and for whale-watching; January for the Galle Literary Festival.

3. The Cultural Triangle: Three ancient capitals delineate Sri Lanka’s (aka Golden) Triangle: Kandy, in the south (see below); Anuradhapura, in the north and Polonnaruwa, in the northeast. Anuradhapura, founded around 380 B.C., was ruled by 113 successive kings (and four queens) whose magnificent palaces stood alongside dozens of monasteries housing tens of thousands of Buddhist monks; the ancient monarchs presided over a culture of great creativity. Reclaimed by the jingle after failing to Tamil conquerors from India in the 11th century, Anuradhapura was gradually uncovered beginning in the 19th century, and preservation work continues today.

  • Where: Anuradhpaura is 128 miles/205 km north of Colombo; Polonnaruwa is 162 miles/262 km northeast of Colombo; Kandy is 72 miles/116 km northeast of Colombo.
  • How: U.S.-based Asia Transpacific Journeys offers a 16-day “Splendid Sri Lanka” tour that includes Cultural Triangle destinations. Tel: 800-642-2742 or 303-443-6789; www.asiatranspacific.com.
  • Best Time: November-April for cool weather.

4. Kandy and the Esala Perahera: Nestled in the lush hill country, Kandy is Sri Lanka’s cultural and religious stronghold, forming the southern tip of the nation’s Cultural Triangle (see above). Although it is Sri Lanka’s second largest city, Kandy remains something of a small-town air. Temples and colonial-era houses blanket its hills, and everyone enjoys a stroll around its large artificial lake, created in 1807 by the last of the Sinhalese kings who made Kandy their capital.  Visitors who come in July or August during the centuries-old Esala Perahera festival will experience once of Asia’s greatest spectacles. Sri Lanka’s most revered relic is a sacred tooth of Buddha smuggled into the country in A.D. 310 and enshrined in the Dalada Maligawa, or Temple of the Tooth, in Kandy. In the elaborate perahera (pageant or procession) asking the gods for rain, a brilliantly costumed elephant carrying a replica of the tooth is preceded by a showstopping parade of dozens of other elephants and a frenzied cast of thousands of Kandyan dancers and drummers.

  • Where: 72 miles/115 km northeast of Colombo.
  • Best Times: Climate is good year-round; July or August for the Esala Perahera festival, which peaks at the full moon of Esala.

5. The Hill Country (pictured above): Although Sri Lanka is now known as the tea capital of the world, tea wasn’t planted here until 1867. In 1880, Scottish-born Thomas Lipton began buying tea directly from estates in the hill country, bypassing London’s wholesale markets to deliver, in his phrase, “direct from the tea garden to the teapot.” Today the cool central hill country is blanketed with lush green plantations of Camellia sinensis (the botanical name of the tea plant). Vestiges of the British era linger in Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka’s highest town, which still boasts some fine old colonial hotels, an 18-hole golf course, and an 1875-vintage race course. A dinner at the Hill Club, a massive stone hotel that was once home to a British plantation owner, is a step back into other times with one difference: Ladies are now allowed in the bars.

  • Where: 112 miles/180 km east of Colombo.
  • Best Time: December-April for the drier months.

Read more on 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and the calendar line here.

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#TravelTuesday – Botswana

Categories: News

april 21

 

Today’s Travel Tuesday destination is Botswana, courtesy of the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die Page-A-Day calendar.

Top Destinations:

1. Chobe National Park: At Chobe National Park, in a corner of African that evokes the game-rich continent of old, four countries come together: Botswana, Zambia, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. The 4,200-square-mile park teems with all kinds of wildlife but it best known for its incredible birds and also for its huge elephant population—in the dry season, it holds Africa’s highest concentration of them. Sunset boat rides along the Chobe River float you past herds of the creatures, along with yawning hippos, giant storks, and flocks of myriad waterfowl lining the banks.

  • Where: Kasane Airport is 63 miles/100 km west of Livingstone, Zambia.
  • How: U.S.-based Abercrombie & Kent offers scheduled safaris and customized itineraries that include Chobe. Tel: 800-323-7308 or 630-725-3400; www.abercrombiekent.com.
  • Best Time: June-September for cooler, drier weather.

2. Jack’s Camp: Ostrich Jack—hunter, explorer, bush hero—fell in love with the magic of this remote corner of Botswana in the 1960s, pitched camp, and never left. Today an old-fashioned, permanent safari camp run by Jack’s son, Ralph Bousfield, stands on the edge of the Makgadikgadi salt pans in the middle of the Kalahari, a desert bigger than the state of Texas. Jack’s Camp has a double life. When the rain comes, the salt pans—once the bed of a lake the size of Lake Victoria—sprout green and create an abundant water source for enormous flocks of flamingos.

  • Where: 124 miles/200 km southeast of Maun.
  • How: Uncharted Africa books trips to both Jack’s Camp and Planet Baobab. Tel: 267/241-2277; www.unchartedafrica.com.
  • Best Times: April-October for dry weather; November-March for wildebeest and zebra migration in the wet season.

3. Okavango Delta (pictured above): The inland delta where the Okavango River meets the Kalahari Desert has been called the world’s largest oasis. The Okavango, a tributary of the mighty Zambezi, creates a unique “water in the desert” ecosystem the size of Switzerland, forming floodplains, lagoons, channels, and islands that all act as a magnet for wildlife. As a local brochure puts it, “If you see 10 percent of what sees you, it’s an exceptional day.”

  • 62 miles/100 km north of Maun; 30 minutes by scheduled air charter.
  • How: U.S.-based Natural Migrations offers customized safari itineraries, including to the Wilderness Safari caps. Tel: 866-988-7575 or 541-988-7575; www.naturalmigrations.com.

4. New Selinda Reserve: Lions, large herds of elephants, and packs of wild dogs are just part of what distinguishes the Selinda Reserve, a 320,000-acre private wildlife sanctuary in northern Botswana that links the outer reaches of the Okavango Delta in the west with the Linyanti marches in the east. There’s much more that makes this place spectacular, however, and the husband-and-wife team of Dereck and Beverly Joubert have captured nearly all of it over the past 25 years in their award-winning National Geographic documentaries. But it’s only since 2007 that the two have truly been able to share this gem with the outside world.

  • Where: In northern Botswana, 30 minutes by air charter from Maun.
  • How: U.S.-based The Wild Source provides customized itineraries featuring Selinda. Tel: 720-497-1250; www.thewildsource.com.
  • Best Time: July-September when weather is drier and game is most abundant.

Read more on 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and the calendar line here.

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#TravelTuesday – Singapore

Categories: News

april 14Today’s Travel Tuesday destination is Singapore, courtesy of the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die Page-A-Day calendar.

Top Attractions:

1. The New Face of Singapore: The nation of Singapore, the second smallest in Asia, has seen more than its fair share of makeovers. Having evolved from an obscure, sparsely populated island crawling with tigers to a scruffy port city in the 19th century, it transformed itself again after declaring independence from Malaysia in 1965 into what it is today: the squeaky-clean economic heavyweight of Southeast Asia. Its recent bold plan: to create an equatorial Las Vegas, where glamorous casinos, trendy bars, late-night discos, and outdoor restaurants aim to appeal to both residents (the country boasts the world’s highest percentage of millionares) and visitors, who will hopefully feel enticed to linger longer.

  • Best Times: March-October for nicest weather; May-June for Singapore Arts Festival; August 9th for National Day; September for Grand Prix; New Year’s Prix.

2. Singapore’s Street Food (pictured above): It’s no wonder that eating (even more than shopping) is Singapore’s favorite pastime—the city may well be the best place on earth for sampling the astonishing variety of Asia’s many cuisines, which you can do with pleasure at a plethora of food stalls. In fact, the wealth of street food isn’t sold on the street at all these days. This being tidy and well-organized Singapore, sidewalk vendors have been relocated to government-regulated “hawker centers” ; by some accounts, there are over 100 of these open-air food courts. Day and night, locals and visitors, dignitaries and cabdrivers gather at stalls (all subject to stringent health inspection) that offer a staggering array of dishes. Here in the tropical heat, amid the din of clanging trays and the shouted orders and the smells of fermented fish paste, ginger, and curry is a gastronomic and cultural experience that can be had only in Singapore.

  • How: Makansutra offers a variety of 4-hour food tours. Tel: 65/6438-4038; www.makansutra.com; Cost: $135.00.
  • Best Times: March-October for nicest weather; July for Singapore Food Festival.

3. Raffles Hotel and the E&O Express: Despite Singapore’s full-throttle thrust toward the future and determination to be the epitome of cool, visitors who have their fill of modernity can still glimpse prized vestiges of its colonial past amid the malls and cutting-edge hotels. Its dignified Singapore Cricket Club lies smack in the middle of the city. And Raffles, arguably the world’s best known hotel, is one of Singapore’s most iconic sites. With its landscaped palm and frangipani trees, magnificent white facade, and antiques-filled rooms with 14-foot ceilings, the place “stands for all the fables of the exotic East,” or so wrote Somerset Maugham.

  • Raffles Hotel: Tel: 65/6337-1886; in the US, 800-768-9009; www.raffles.com; Cost: $475.00 (off-peak), from $695.00 (peak).
  • Best Time: March-October for coolest and driest weather.

Read more on 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and the calendar line here.

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#TravelTuesday – Ayutthaya, Thailand

Categories: News

april 7Today’s Travel Tuesday destination is Ayuthaya, Thailand, courtesy of the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die Page-A-Day calendar.

Once called the “Pearl of the East,” Ayuthaya—the artistic, spiritual, and military center of Southeast Asia—was the capital of Thailand from 1350 until its destruction by marauding Burmese 4 centuries later. Thirty-three kings of carious dynasties built hundreds of temples and created thousands of images of Buddha in a city-state that archives claim was one of the richest in the entire region. The city’s destruction in 1767 was so complete that rather than rebuild, the heartbroken king chose to relocate his court to Bangkok, 50 miles downriver, where he would soon build the Grand Palace. Today Ayuthaya’s ruins hint at the city’s former splendor, and visitors with a healthy imagination (and a good guide) will easily grasp its onetime grandeur and importance. While you’re there, check out the former kraal (stockade), where wild elephants were once kept and which is now used to rehabiliate ones that are elderly, injured, or orphaned.

  • Where: 50 miles/80 km north of Bangkok.
  • Best Time: November-February for the cooler dry season.

Read more on 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and the calendar line here.

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Short-form wisdom from The Girl’s Guide

Categories: News

Happy pub day to the brand new edition of The Girl’s Guide, a book as witty as it is brilliant as it is necessary.

At its simplest, it’s a guide for girls, born of one question (“What do you know now that you wish you’d known in your 20s?”) and one goal (to speak to modern women who have questions about everything—not just dating, but online bank accounts; not just social media but bikini waxes and job interviews and manners that make a difference and on and on).

It’s been through a few different looks since it was first published in 2006.

girlsguide

Looking back at the first cover is kind of like looking at your high-school picture.

In celebration, we’re sharing some of author Melissa Kirsch’s witticisms. Below you’ll find words to live by, with a pinch of snark and a healthy dose of empathy.

  • You’re a living, breathing person, not a series of hashtags and check-ins.
  • We’re all living in the Real World. Your life is right now.

GGclosedeyesgirl

 

  • A girl cannot live on witty Gchat correspondence alone.
  • Do not underestimate the joy inherent in a pile of clean, warm clothes.
  • If you feel like an anvil might very well fall out of the sky and crush you to smithereens every time you sit down at your computer to write a cover letter, or if the idea of even skimming job postings online gives you the dry heaves, take heart.

GGrelaxconfidence

 

  • Calories are not the demon spawn of fat, but a measure of energy content.
  • Forkfuls of Dijon mustard do not a meal make.
  • You never really stop needing your parents’ approval. You’re never magically an adult.

GGohmom

 

  • Try to limit your shopping excur­sions to quests for specific items: “Today I need to find a good winter scarf” vs. “Today I am trolling for happiness.”
  • Look into the other person’s eyes when you shake hands. I don’t mean give them the “Let’s get it on” smoldering gaze, but rather the “I’m pleased to meet you,” perfectly pleasant eye-lock.

GGhandshake

 

  • Nothing says “I’m faking a sick day” more than someone who gives the fine details of her stool consistency to her boss over the phone.
  • Thou shalt not flirt with the person your friend is interested in, involved with, has a crush on, or noticed first.
  • Humility is just as attractive as your third Instagram post this week.

GGselfie

 

And perhaps most importantly:

  • We have only so much time here—let it be spent on doing things that make us like ourselves.

 

The Girl’s Guide is available wherever books are sold including the following online retailers:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Powell’sWorkman

3d cover

 

 

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