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Thursday, October 12, 2017

British Airways' top 18 must-see destinations for 2018.


British Airways has revealed its annual travel predictions for the year ahead, selecting the top 18 must-see destinations for 2018. 
 
Operating a daily service from Sydney, British Airways connects customers to London Heathrow Terminal 5 where they can connect to a network of over 200 destinations worldwide.

Highly-anticipated sporting events, new routes and TV programmes all influence the top travel predictions. The latest season of Game of Thrones has put Croatia firmly on the map, and a number of far-flung destinations rank among the top picks, including Barbados and Muscat.

As one of the most desirable holiday destinations, the Seychelles is a must-see for 2018. Famed as some of the most idyllic islands on the planet, the Seychelles has something for everyone, whether you're a sun-seeker looking for serious relaxation, or a thrill-seeker wanting to scuba dive or trek through the jungle. From 24 March 2018, British Airways will be the only airline to offer direct flights from the UK.

Nicole Backo, British Airways' regional general manager, South West Pacific, said: "Savvy holiday-makers are always looking for top tips to explore the latest and coolest destinations. We've built up years of experience to offer deals to suit all travellers, from city breaks, to fly drives to multi-city tours."

Customers can use British Airways Holidays to tailor-make their itinerary; stopping off at cities around the globe, adding car hire where needed and booking accommodation from a huge choice of hotels.

1.     BARBADOS

Ringed by glittering azure waters, white-sand beaches fringed with palm trees and lush greenery, this genteel island makes for a truly special holiday. Those looking for action will find exhilarating water sports, whilst those looking for relaxation will love the sandy shores and gentle surf.  Soak up the history in Bridgetown, enjoy a spot of afternoon tea at a 17th-century plantation before heading to the legendary Fish Fry for dinner.  Wander the scene with a Barbadian rum whilst enjoying the energetic Calypso background music.

2.    COPENHAGEN, DENMARK

Budding explorers must take a visit to Scandinavia's coolest capital.  Innovation is the theme here in Denmark's capital city, which is home to a thriving design scene, new and old architecture, quirky bakeries and pop-up bars.  Perfect for a long weekend, visitors should take a stroll into Tivoli Gardens, stop by and see The Little Mermaid by the coast and relax by the harbour.

3.    CROATIA

Croatia's rare blend of glamour and authenticity have made it one of Europe's hottest holiday destinations. Customers can fly British Airways to the fashionable setting of Game of Thrones, Dubrovnik, to the coastal city of Pula and to the capital Zagreb.  Festival fans will be delighted to know that, with no Glastonbury happening in 2018, British Airways flies directly to Split. Situated at the heart of the Dalmatian coast, this city is bursting with energy and a charming Mediterranean vibe set against a backdrop of pine-fringed coastline and mountainous landscape, and is a convenient driving distance to Hideout festival, a leading European music festival.

4.   INVERNESS, SCOTLAND

A small and compact city, Inverness is the gateway to the Scottish Highlands, a diverse and spectacular region of wilderness renowned for its lochs, sweeping glens, imposing mountains and rugged coastline.  Ideal for adventurous holidaymakers, the highlands offer mountaineering and climbing during the summer, and skiing at Aviemore in the winter months.  For a more relaxing day trip, Speyside is located just south of Inverness and has the largest concentration of whisky distilleries in Scotland.  With British Airways offering direct daily flights to Inverness from London, customers can be in Scotland in no time.

5.    LISBON, PORTUGAL

The Portuguese city of Lisbon sits on several hills rising from the northern banks of the Tagus river.  A beautiful and historic city, a mini-break to Lisbon offers traditional colourful culture and beautiful beaches alongside a modern foodie scene and busy nightlife amid picturesque, pastel coloured surroundings.

6.    MALTA

Discover remarkable history, glistening hidden coves and timeless villages by visiting Malta, one of the smallest counties in the world and a melting pot of Mediterranean culture.  Made up of three tiny Islands on the southern edge of Europe, a must-visit is Valetta, Malta's capital and a 2018 European Capital of Culture.  This remarkable city is small and easy to explore on foot, bursting with ancient palaces and baroque churches.

7.    MYKONOS, GREECE

A firm favourite amongst sun seekers, Mykonos is a must-visit due to its picture perfect beauty, fascinating history, spectacular beaches, cultured old town and whitewashed villages.  By day, holidaymakers enjoy snorkelling, diving and exploring the hidden coves and beachfront bars whilst waiting for night to fall, when some of Europe's best nightclubs come to life.

8.    NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE

A brand new route to Music City will be music to travellers' ears, as from May 2018 British Airways will be travelling directly from Europe to the home of country music and good living.  Discover Nashville through its streets, stories, and the stars on its pavements.  Must-sees include the famous Bluebird CafĂ© and The Country Music Hall of Fame, whilst must-dos include a whiskey tour of Jack Daniel's distillery followed by a huge traditional Southern meal of delicious crispy fried chicken and shrimp.

9.    NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA

It has never been easier to get to New Orleans; the birthplace of jazz, rock 'n' roll and R&B. Famous for its Mardi Gras, customers can make the most of the city by visiting during the historical celebrations to catch the popular parades and electric atmosphere.  Plan a visit to the architecturally fascinating French Quarter, followed by an evening out on the monumental Bourbon Street.

10. NEW YORK

Wake up in the city that never sleeps by treating yourself to a long weekend in New York in 2018.  With an iconic skyline, energetic nightlife, bounty of museums and endless shops, a trip to the Big Apple is guaranteed to leave you dazzled, and you'll find it easy to see why it's been voted The Best City in the World in the Conde Nast Traveller Readers Awards 2017.

11.  MUSCAT, OMAN

Those seeking out the modern face of Arabia while still wanting to sense its ancient roots will enjoy the magic of Muscat, Oman's charming capital city.  The balance between tradition and modernity is well established, with medieval forts, palaces and bazaars sitting beside modern malls and opulent resorts.  Visit the Mutrah Souq where Muscat comes to life with in clouds of incense, glittering gold jewellery and precious Omani artefacts.

12.  OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA

Oakland's booming tourism this year, particularly among millennial travellers, has raised its profile and helped it hit the hotlist for 2018.  The city offers museums and historical sites, a vibrant arts scene, innovative restaurants and bars, and boutique shops. Catch the train for a short journey to San Francisco, a small city which is big on food, eclectic sights and history.

13. RUSSIA

From party capital Moscow to culture capital St Petersburg, Russia is a brash, exciting and fascinating place to visit blessed with so many cultural and national treasures that it would take several trips to see them all.  Take advantage of British Airways flights to Moscow and St Petersburg, which are both proud host cities for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

14. SANTIAGO, CHILE

Stretching 4,300km from the driest desert in the world to massive glacial fields, few countries can boast the rich contrast of Chile. Santiago provides the perfect base, a colourful and cultural feast for the senses.  By day the sights, vineyards, coastline and mountains are all within easy reach of this city, where by night the streets are thronging with partygoers.  British Airways now offers direct flights to Chile's leafy capital from London.

15. SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA

The futuristic capital of South Korea, where modern skyscrapers and pop culture meet Buddhist temples and street markets, is a must-visit for 2018.  Explore the fascinating culture of Seoul in one of the most authentic ways possible – through its local cuisine.  For those who prefer an activity holiday, hiking is a popular activity in Seoul, and there are world-class golf course and ski resorts within driving distance.  Snow sport lovers should plan to visit in February to tie in with the Winter Olympic Games being held in Pyeong Chang.

16. SEYCHELLES

A paradise for honeymooners, families and sun worshippers, the Seychelles is famous for its beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters and colourful coral reefs.  Made up of 115 diverse individual islands, there is something on offer for holidaymakers seeking ultimate relaxation or adventure, from snorkelling and scuba diving to wandering through exotic markets or relaxing on the blissful shores of the numerous white beaches.  From March, British Airways is the online airline to fly directly to the Seychelles from the UK.

17.  TALLINN, ESTONIA

2018 will mark the 100th Birthday of the Republic of Estonia, with celebrations aplenty across the country.  These will be led by the capital, Tallinn, a vibrant city whose historic centre has a UNESCO World Heritage status.  Fusing modern and medieval with its ancient cobbled streets, glass skyscrapers, baroque palaces and trendy cafes, Tallinn is a fairy-tale city which is perfect for a weekend break.

18. TORONTO, CANADA

Treat yourself with a trip to Toronto, the biggest city in Canada and a metropolis with fantastic art, culture, sightseeing, restaurants and nightlife.  Time your visit during the star-studded Toronto Film Festival, which draws global crowds and is one of the largest publicly attended film festivals in the world attracting over 480,000 people annually. With direct flights from London to Toronto year round, find your way to a vibrant city which is perfect during sunny summer days or snowy winter evenings.


To book and for further information please visit ba.com.

 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Ten Reasons to Cruise in Asia this Summer






It's so close to Australia

The cruising hubs of Singapore and Hong Kong are so close to Australia, meaning it takes half the time to fly to either of these port cities than to Europe. Once you get there, sit back, relax, and leave the rest of your holiday in the hands of the experts, allowing you more time to enjoy the holiday experience, onboard and off!

You can visit places not accessible by car, train or bus

Cruising in Asia offers travellers the ability to visit hard-to-reach places that are inaccessible by car, bus or train. On cruise lines such as Azamara Club Cruises, the boutique size of ships such as Azamara Journey, means they can fit into smaller ports such as Borocay in the Philipines, Komodo Islands in Indonesia, or sailing up Thailand's Chao Phraya River to dock right next to the bright lights of Bangkok overnight. The line will also launch 30 brand new ports worldwide in 2018, allowing guests to see more of the world's hidden gems. The majority of these new ports will cater to smaller ships, such as Georgetown (Penang) in Malaysia and Hambantota in Sri Lanka – the gateway to the beautiful Bundala National Park, which teems with flocks of greater flamingos.

Forget overcrowded, overnight trains and buses!

Many travellers delight in experiencing local modes of travel, but cruising allows guests to swap Asia's famed crowded buses and trains for luxury. Forget airports, stations, transfers and check-ins! Whilst on board, guests on lines such as Azamara can indulge in health, beauty and restorative treatments at Sanctum Spa, hair styling and a mani-pedi at The Salon, a dip in one of the pools, or acupuncture. What's more, ships such as Azamara Journey cater to a maximum of 690 guests, which keeps the experience intimate and the service personal.

Watch the sunset in one country, wake up in another

What other form of travel allows you to watch the sunset over the network of rivers, streams and canals of Cochin, India, then wake up in the lush serendipity of Colombo, Sri Lanka? Asia isn't the sort of destination you can skim over or whiz through; with so many rich cultures and phenomenal sights to explore, an Asia cruise allows you time to immerse yourself within the destinations.

Go to places on the top of your bucket list, as well as those you've never considered

Countries such as Japan, Indonesia and Thailand are at the top of many Aussie bucket lists, but an Asia cruise allows you to combine these destinations with those you wouldn't have otherwise considered. Why not get a taste of Salalah, Oman, the perfume capital of Arabia, or the bright lights of Yeosu, South Korea, or the leafy streets and colonial architecture of Yangon, Myanmar?



Courtesy of Robert La Bua, Tourism Oman

It's a Balinese villa at sea… only better

Balinese-style villas are a top travel trend that fill today's social media feeds, but an Asia cruise offers guests the opportunity to experience this level of luxury on a grander scale AND immerse themselves in multiple exotic destinations at the same time. Suites onboard an Azamara voyage include ocean views, sea breezes, plush cotton robes and slippers, French bath products, fresh flowers, fine linens, private verandas, complimentary drinks, 24-hour room service, a stateroom attendant and assistant, and a butler who can assist with restaurant and spa reservations, private parties, dinners for two and more!




No stress, no language barriers, no organisation – leave to someone else!

One of the downsides about travelling – especially in a country that doesn't speak your language – is the stress of planning, travelling between destinations and organising activities. Fortunately on an Asia cruise with a line such as Azamara, guests needn't bother with this hassle as expert teams curate custom experiences for every travel style, whether it be experiencing local life behind the scenes (Cruise Global, Meet Local), food and wine (Cruise Global, Taste Local), exclusive, custom after-dinner experiences (Cruise Global, Nights Local), or cycling (Cruise Global, Bike Local). Guests also won't be bothered by large crowds, with each excursion catering to a maximum of 25 guests, to preserve the intimacy of the local experience.

The best of Asian cuisine, both onboard & on shore

The countries of the Asian continent have incredibly rich and diverse cultures, influenced by thousands of years of history, customs, rituals and languages – all of which have shaped a fantastic array of culinary experiences waiting to be discovered. A cruise in Asia allows guests to explore local cuisines both onboard and on shore, as ship chefs often visit local markets to inspire their creations, whilst on shore excursions might see cruisers sample the local speciality such as Okonomiyaki in Osaka, Japan, explore local markets and souks with the ship's chef in Dubai, or take a local cooking class in Hoi An, Vietnam.

Escape Christmas with the in-laws & enjoy a luxurious Christmas onboard, amongst the best of Asia

This year, why not ditch the hassle, chores and family chaos of the festive season, by escaping on a stress-free Asia Christmas cruise. An Azamara Asia cruise will put a twist on the traditional Aussie Christmas, making for an unforgettable holiday; everything will be taken care of onboard – from Christmas dinner and decorations to festive activities – and you get to explore spectacular, new exotic destinations every day!

Chinese New Year!

One of the most exciting times to cruise in Asia is during Chinese New Year. 2018 will see the Year of the Dog welcomed in from 16th February with celebrations continuing into early March. Visit the local New Year Markets during on shore excursions, which will usually be decorated with lanterns, and pick up New Year goods such as clothing, decorations, food and small arts, or enjoy the local New Year traditional cuisine.

Guests can discover the wonders of Borneo, Vietnam and Thailand on a 14 night round-trip cruise departing Singapore, 25 March 2018. Sailing on Azamara Journey, the cruise makes calls to Bintulu, Bandar Seri Begawan, Kota Kinabalu, Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok and Ko Samui. Fares start from AU$3,499/NZ$3,719 per person, twin share for an Interior Stateroom.

Or, guests can explore the delights of Indonesia on a 7 night Borobudur and Bali cruise, sailing on Azamara Journey. Departing Singapore 14 January, 2018, the cruise visits Samarang, Surabaya, Celukan Bawang and finishes up in Bali. Fares start from AU$1,999/NZ$2,139 per person, twin share, for an interior stateroom.

To make a booking or for further information visit www.azamaraclubcruises.com, phone 1800 754 500 or contact your local travel agent.


*Terms and conditions apply, see www.azamaraclubcruises.com for full details.


Saturday, September 30, 2017

Go for a walking safari in Africa


Before the modern 4WD safari became so popular – and, in fact, before arrival of cars in general – the only way to experience the African bush was on foot. The most famous African explorers of the 19th Century, the likes of Burton, David Livingstone and Henry Morton Stanley, and even Ernest Hemmingway in the early 20th Century, would all have discovered Africa on a walking safari of sorts. Expeditions were typically fraught with drama and danger in equal measure, a far cry from today's safari experience.

In the 1940s, however, the concept of the modern walking safari was pioneered by Norman Carr in Zambia's Luangwa Valley, who wanted to give people an opportunity to experience wildlife in close proximity. Today, the walking safari is considered one of the most authentic and exhilarating ways to explore Africa's national parks and reserves.

Devon Meyers has been guiding across Africa for 12 years, and is a passionate advocate of the walking safari. Here he tells us why is should be a must-try experience for every safari guest.

Why do it?

"Walking in the wild is the oldest form of safari and the aim is to enjoy nature in a natural, non-threatening way. More to the point, climbing out of a vehicle and stepping down to the same level as lions, elephants and zebra delivers an incredibly intimate insight into the intricacies of the African veldt, not to mention an opportunity to encounter some of country's most exciting wildlife from a unique – and often thrilling, perspective."

How does a walking safari differ to a traditional game drive?

"Walking safaris and game drives represent two very different types of experience, and I always advise our guests to try out both. Certainly a game drive generally allows guests to get a little more up-close-and-personal with wildlife – albeit from within the confines of a vehicle, and photographic opportunities are sometimes better from a vehicle. On the other hand, while we don't get as close to bigger wildlife on a walking safari, it's a great chance to see other lesser known species including birds and insects – and the experience is definitely a more visceral one."

What does a typical day look like on a walking safari?

"Walking safaris generally take place in the morning from 7am – 10am, or in the late afternoon from 3pm – 6pm, with a maximum of six guests per group. The distance of the walk will depend on two key factors – the fitness level of the guests, and what we find along the way. Generally, we try and tailor walks to ensure they are at a comfortable pace and distance for specific participants.

"Sanctuary Swala is the most remote camp in the Tarangire, which means that the areas our walks cover are not only teaming with wildlife, but are also pretty much devoid of vehicles, which delivers a very natural and authentic experience for our guests.

"Every walking safari is different and we're always on the lookout for whatever nature offers us on the day. Sometimes we'll encounter a great sighting within the first hour and spend quite a bit of time following and viewing what we have found. On other days, we might uncover elephant tracks and follow them to find the herd. This sometimes means we cover slightly longer distances, but it's incredibly rewarding for guests when they track down wildlife themselves."

Are Walking Safaris Safe?

"Like any interaction with wild animals, walking safaris have their risks. Before we set off, all our guests are given a comprehensive safety briefing, which covers everything they need to know, from how we'll be communicating along the way, to emergency procedures. For example, we'll often use hand signals or clicking of the fingers or tongue to communicate, as these are more natural sounds and therefore more likely to go unnoticed by the animals.

"During a walking safari, guests are accompanied by me and a TANAPA (Tanzania National Parks) Ranger. My role is to lead from the front and guide guests, while the TANAPA Ranger follows the group, and has the very important job of keeping an eye out for wildlife from the rear.

"It's also a requirement by law, and an industry standard, to carry a rifle while guiding walking safaris in any 'big game' areas. This is obviously for the protection of guests, but is there as an absolute last resort. In my career as a safari guide, having spent literally thousands of hours guiding guests on foot, I have never yet had to fire my rifle on a walking safari – and that's a record that I endeavour to keep!'

Favourite animal to track in the bush?

"I really enjoy the tracking and stalking all types of game, but if I had to choose, it would probably be buffalo. In any herd, there are hundreds of eyes, ears and noses, looking, listening and smelling for what may be around them. This makes them a very tricky group of animals to stalk and view without being noticed, and I really enjoy rising to the challenge."

Most memorable sighting on a walking safari?

"I have been fortunate enough to witness plenty of interesting and memorable sights during walking safaris, including mating black rhinos and lion kills. But watching a group of seven old buffalo bulls chase a pride of lions and force them to take refuge at the top of a tree was one of the most astounding. The lions had to wait until the buffalo had lost interest in them before they were able to come down and make for cover."

When is the best time to do a walking safari?

"Walking safaris from mid July until the end of March. Outside of this period the grass is extremely tall, making walking uncomfortable and less safe due to low visibility."

Devon's walking safari essentials.

"First up, binoculars, binoculars and binoculars! These are important for spotting wildlife and getting a closer look. A decent set of binoculars will significantly enhance any safari experience, whether on foot or in a vehicle.

"Comfortable, closed shoes and neutral coloured clothing (such as dark greens, grey and khaki) are also important for comfort – and to make sure guests bend into the environment.

"Hats, sunscreen, and sunglasses. Water. And of course, a small camera!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Gorilla Trekking in Uganda: a Guide



Uganda is best known for its concentration of primates, including its most celebrated residents – half the world’s remaining mountain gorilla population.

Gorilla trekking is high on the wish list for many travellers, and Uganda is one of few countries where it is still possible to observe gorillas in the wild. But the recent move by Rwandan authorities earlier this year to implement a significant price hike for compulsory gorilla trekking permits from US$750 to US $1,500 per person for all visitors has added significantly to Uganda’s appeal, with Ugandan permits considerably more affordable at just US$600 per person.

One of the best places to see gorillas in Uganda is the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the country’s southwest. Bwindi is home to just over half the world’s last surviving mountain gorillas, as well as the spectacular Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp. Comprising just eight tents, it is one of the most remote and atmospheric camps in Africa. Frequently visited by gorilla families due to its unique location, it is the perfect base for a once in a lifetime encounter with mountain gorillas.

We asked Michael McCall, what guests staying at a Forest Camp can expect when embarking on a gorilla trekking trip.

Early Rises!

“Expect a wake up call at around 6.30am, followed by hearty breakfast, after which you will be escorted to the starting point for the gorilla trek, conveniently located just a five minute walk from Sanctuary gorilla Forest Camp.”

“This is where you will be introduced to your guides for the day and receive a safety briefing ahead of the trek. You’ll be one of just eight trekkers, and you’ll be accompanied by a Uganda Wildlife Ranger plus two armed rangers (to fend off any rogue forest elephants). There’s also a porter for each guest, who will be carrying everything you need during the trek, including water and a packed lunch.

Time to trek.

“Every trek is different, and can last between four and 10 hours, depending on the location of the gorillas. The terrain is varied and may involve climbing up and down some quite mountainous trails. Along the way, your guide will be looking (and listening!) out for clues from the surrounding forest, including scouring the foliage for droppings, left over food and knuckle fingerprints. The aim is to find out where the gorillas have spent the night, as they tend to only travel up to 1km per day and are likely to still be nearby the nest.

“Once you’ve located your chosen gorilla family, you’ll have around an hour to observe them in their natural habitat. And of course, the rangers are extremely knowledgeable and will be on hand to answer all your questions and explain gorillas’ behaviour.

“While there are certainly restrictions on how close you can get to the gorillas (10M) they can be as curious as you are, so be prepared to say hello!

Welcome home.

“Once your magical hour has come to an end, it’s time to head back to camp where your drink of choice and a much-welcomed refreshing towel will be waiting to welcome you home.

“The laundry team are also on standby to clean boots and clothes for your next adventure. And for those with stiff muscles, a visit to the masseuse in the mini spa for a well-deserved post trek massage is a must.

“After dinner it’s time to kick back, relax and share your stories around the campfire!”

Trek Essentials.

For anyone planning a gorilla trek, here is Michael’s list of essential items you should definitely not leave home – or camp, without!

· A good quality waterproof camera.

· A poncho or rain jacket as it can rain heavily, even in the dry season.

· A walking stick, which will be provided by the Camp.

· Gloves which come in useful for grabbing bushes, or sliding downhill on the seat of your pants as you never know where your trek might take you!.

· Bug repellent. DEET strength.

· A good-quality, solid – and comfy hiking boots.

· Cool, comfortable clothing in muted colours. Michael recommends long sleeves, trousers, long socks and gaiters to keep bugs out and prevent scratches.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

President's secret New York rail tunnel keeps us guessing



LURE OF A NEW YORK BEST-KEPT SECRET

David Ellis

IT was once a New York City well-kept secret, a long-abandoned rail station deep below the famed Waldorf-Astoria Hotel at which American presidents, giants of industry and matrons from highest society, would be dropped from their very own private trains and whisked by elevator to dine or overnight in the 5-star Waldorf hotel above.

And if they wished, have their limousines that they had brought with them aboard those personally-owned trains, off-loaded by their chauffeurs and taken by separate elevators to the hotel's carpark, instantly ready for further travels and appointments around the city.

Today, the old subterranean station that was first used in 1938 and then most-heavily through the 1940s, is known simply as Track 61 and largely gathers dust between occasional filming usages and some off-beat product launches. And it's acquired something of a "holy grail" status amongst so-called urban explorers, those engaged in a constant battle of wits with its owners, the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel above, as they leave personal marks proving their success in breaking into this dark, dank and supposedly impenetrable cavern.

And to also boarding an historic rail car still down there to leave further marks alluding to their visit, a rail car which once would have been hooked-up to the train of President Franklin D Roosevelt – with his various luxury and first-ever armour-plated presidential limousines, that would have been carried aboard and be hauled by elevator to the street above while the President dined in the Waldorf.

Like President Roosevelt's personal passenger carriage (which is now in Miami's Gold Coast Rail Museum,) the rail car that carried his limos has 15mm thick steel armour-plating, 76mm thick glass windows, and two escape hatches.

President Roosevelt used the private train extensively as he suffered from polio, and rail gave him a more comfortable means of travel with his wheelchair and other aids as he criss-crossed America, addressing vast crowds from the observation platform of the train's last carriage.

FOOTNOTE: To this day, whenever a President of the United States stays at the Waldorf-Astoria, a diesel train with a team of FBI and Presidential guards waits below at the Track 61 platform with motors running, in case urgent escape is needed in the event of an attack on the President.


PHOTO CAPTIONS:


[] THIS rail car, parked permanently on Track 61 under the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City today, was part of the personal train of President Franklin D Roosevelt, carrying his various luxury and armour-plated limousines with him on his rail travels around America. (Waldorf-Astoria Hotel)

[] PRESIDENT Franklin D Roosevelt surrounded by security guards – within his car, on foot on the roadway, and in the car behind. The limo is a 1939 Lincoln K-series dubbed "The Sunshine Special" because of its retractable roof, and one of the first American Presidential cars to be armour-plated and to have bullet-proof windows – yet not have a bullet-proof roof. (Miami Gold Coast Rail Museum)

[] TRAVELLING by rail allowed President Franklin D Roosevelt to address vast crowds from the observation platform of the last carriage of his train, despite him being handicapped with polio. (Miami Gold Coast Rail Museum)




Friday, July 21, 2017

Beautiful Sanya, Romantic Paradise


#China #Sanya Celebration Focus on International #Tourism




The 2017 Sanya Celebration ("Celebration"), an international tourism promotional event organized by the Municipal Government of Sanya, officially kicks off in July. From July to September, themed "A romantic invitation to the beautiful Sanya city," the event will be hosted in the following countries in four groups: Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia; the United Kingdom, Germany; Russia, Kazakhstan; Singapore and India to introduce the city's unique charms.

"Beautiful Sanya, Romantic Paradise" Sanya City Promotes "Sanya Celebration"
Located on Hainan Island in south China, Sanya is a renowned tropical coastal paradise for vacation and a key international gateway of the island. Sanya Tourism Commission statistics show that with a steady rebound of international tourists in recent years, especially in 2017, Sanya has attracted near 280,000 inbound tourists from January to May, increasing over 70 percent compared to the same period last year.

Tianya Haijiao, a popular visitor attraction in Sanya City
At the events, Sanya will introduce its latest city information, the classic coastal resort products, folk customs tours of local Li and Miao ethnic minorities, ecological forest tour, countryside tours and traditional Chinese medicine therapy tours.

The Celebration will present the city's advantages in terms of tourism resources, economy and cultural heritages to promote inbound tourism of Sanya City as well as Hainan island. The city is targeting to receive 1 million international visitors in 2018, building it into the biggest international tourism in South China area.

Following the Belt and Road Initiative (B&R) development strategy, Sanya is actively expanding in the markets of Asia and Europe as well as Commonwealth of Independent States to build a transportation hub and destination along the Maritime Silk Road within 4-, 8- and 24-hour reach.

About Sanya

Located in the southernmost point of China's Hainan island, Sanya is an international coastal destination. The city has been praised by global visitors as the only Chinese seaside vacation destination for its stunning coastline and profound cultural heritage.

For more information about Sanya please visit: http://english.sanya.gov.cn/publicfiles//business/htmlfiles/englishsite/tourism/index.html

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Visiting South Australia’s Flinders Ranges

#southaustralia

South Australia’s Flinders Ranges is representative of the magnificent outback landscapes that typify Australia as a wondrous natural and cultural destination.

South Australia's Flinders Ranges are ideally explored by 4WD or SUV (South Australian Tourism Commission)

The Flinders Ranges can be considered the southernmost region of the “outback” and at just 200 kilometres by road from the state capital of Adelaide, are easily accessible for self-drive travellers and escorted tourists alike. They stretch from Crystal Brook near Port Pirie in the south to Arkaroola in the north, a distance of more than 400 km

The ‘birth’ of the ranges occurred around 540 million years ago during the Cambrian Period when the region was subjected to severe faulting. Over the subsequent millions of years, erosion created the unique and dramatic red and ochre landscape formations we see today and sets them apart from the many other ancient landforms in the outback.

Human history is equally significant and the stories and beliefs relating to its creation are central to the way of life of the region’s Adnyamathanha people. Their Yura Muda stories provide an intriguing standpoint from which to view the land and its stunning physical features. It is possible to hear evocative spiritual accounts of the formation of the ancient ranges from the descendants of the original inhabitants.

European settlement in South Australia began in 1836 with the establishment of Adelaide. Drovers and cattlemen quickly ventured north in search of pasture and early encounters with the Adnyamathanha were marred by conflict.

The Aboriginal Dreaming Trail runs to the Nepabunna community where visitors can meet some of the locals and get a feel for their contemporary way of life. Visit the Tunnel of Time exhibition at the Wadlata Outback Centre in Port Augusta and learn about the local traditions and impacts of early settlement.

Flinders Ranges Seasonal Events Program offers a range of additional cultural activities including Adnyamathanha cultural tours.

Camping at Rawnsley Park Station  (South Australian Tourism Commission)

Wilpena Pound, an enormous natural amphitheatre, is considered the centre of the Flinders Ranges National Park. After the failure of agriculture in the early 20th Century, the emphasis switched to tourism and the sprawling cattle stations converted to tourist resorts. Rawnsley Park Station is named after Rawnsley Bluff, the southern tip of Wilpena Pound. The property is 29,000 acres including part of the neighbouring Arkapena and Prelinna Stations added in 2009.

The plants of the region sustained the small indigenous communities for thousands of years, providing food, tools, shelter, medicines, ornaments and ceremonial objects. At least 85 plant species in the park are of national, state or regional conservation significance.

The native animals of the Flinders Ranges are well adapted to the climatic extremes. Permanent waterholes for stock and the removal of dingoes have allowed native animals to return including kangaroos and echidnas. Birdlife is also rich and varied, with more than 100 native bird recorded species making bushwalking or cycling a rare experience.

The proximity of the famous Barossa Valley wine region makes it simple to include an enriching wine and food tour through some of the countries acclaimed vineyards like Wolf Blass, Seppelts and Kaiser Stuhl as well as the many small boutique vintners.

Did You Know? Aboriginal legend says that Arkaroo, a mythical monster, drank Lake Frome dry and crawled up into the mountains. He urinated to create the many waterholes of the area then squirmed across the land to create Arkaroola Creek.

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