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Getting Your Feet Wet at Water Parks

Written By wartini cantika on Minggu, 30 Juni 2013 | 17.35

Narayan Mahon for The New York Times, Ben Garvin for The New York Times, Derek Montgomery for The New York Times

Clockwise from top left: riding a wave at Kalahari, twisting through a tube at Water Park of America, sliding on rides at Kalahari, getting soaked at Edgewater Hotel & Waterpark and nachos at Kalahari.

The first moments inside a water park complex almost always jar your senses. A rush of moist, chlorine-scented air fills your nose. Bright, cartoon colors, not to mention characters, surround you. And then there is the continuous loop of pop tunes vying with an endless whir of water — splashing, spraying, gurgling, rushing, dumping. On this last point, a caution to the uninitiated: if a bell or gong sounds, it is worth glancing up since it is likely to be a warning that some enormous vat of water overhead is preparing to dump its contents, and everyone but you knows it.

Connect With Us on Twitter

Follow @nytimestravel for tips, features and photography from all over the globe.

Narayan Mahon for The New York Times

The Hurricane, a ride in the Klondike Kavern Indoor Waterpark at the Wilderness Territory in Wisconsin Dells, Wis.

Water parks have long been a regular part of the landscape, but their enclosed iteration has become increasingly popular, and no region has embraced them like the Upper Midwest. Indoor parks — or combination indoor/outdoor parks — in states like Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois and Minnesota have become standard getaways year-round. They are particularly popular in summer, when the weather can range from unforgiving heat and humidity to sporadic thunderstorms, sometimes all in the same afternoon.

"Around here, the iffy weather can happen even in the summer season, but this means that it doesn't have to ruin your vacation," said Joe Eck, a general manager of Wilderness Territory, which with its four indoor and four outdoor parks, proclaims itself the nation's largest indoor and outdoor water park and is situated in Wisconsin Dells, Wis., a city that proclaims itself the Waterpark Capital of the World. (Water parks, no doubt, are part of an industry of superlatives.)

A culture unique to these hermetic worlds has emerged — one full of people marching purposefully through long corridors in bathrobes and flip-flops, of every imaginable deep-fried food, and of an unstated but unending arms race to build water rides ever more elaborate and dare-devilish. There are water park regulars, who already seem to know all the secrets specific to each park, like where to get a towel, how to claim an unoccupied seat in the mass of lawn chairs perched in front of the rides and the wisdom of hauling in boxes, even luggage carts, stacked with cereal from home.

Though I am a native of the Midwest and the mother of two children, I am by no means one of these veterans. Not yet anyway, though my children certainly aspire to it. Still, in a tour of five water parks in recent months, I have gathered some crucial pointers — enough to offer a primer for the water park novice. For nonveterans who wish to avoid the inevitable splash from the enormous bucket, it is the first step in easing your entry.

Not everyone agrees about precisely what constituted the first real stand-alone water park, but many in the business credit Wet 'n Wild, opened in Orlando in 1977. The nation's first indoor park appeared more than a decade later with the expansion of the Polynesian Resort Hotel & Suites in Wisconsin Dells, which, in essence, erected a roof overhead as a way to solve the seasonal woes of trying to do business in a Midwestern climate.

By the early 2000s, the indoor water park market exploded in this country, according to officials from the World Waterpark Association, a trade group. The most notable growth in the overall water park business in recent years seems to have turned to municipally owned operations (and old public pools transformed into splash pads, sprayers and slides) and a booming Asian market. But indoor water parks remain an area of moderate expansion. Five or 10 new ones open a year, adding to the roughly 150 that exist, mainly in the nation's midsection.

Inside many of these parks, there is essential, standard fare: a padded area where young children can toddle through water sprayers and flop down mini-slides into the shallowest of puddles; a surfing ride that mimics an ocean wave (and looks as mortifying to the novice as real ocean surfing); a lazy river that sends people bobbing on floats around a mesmerizing, gentle path and on and on; a wave pool that bounces riders up and down, up and down, up and down, until a wave calms and a new one sets in; and, of course, all variety of water slides and rides.

MONICA DAVEY is chief of the Chicago bureau of The Times.


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Bites: Restaurant Report: Tamerò Pasta Bar in Florence

Tommaso Ferri

Tamerò Pasta Bar has a funky, laid-back look.

The dining scene in Florence is mostly dominated by well-established trattorias, either tucked away in neighborhoods far from the city center and frequented by locals or situated in the heart of town and overrun with tourists. The opening of Tamerò late last year breaks this pattern: it's a hip spot in the residential Santo Spirito area that serves modern renditions of food from all over Italy and beyond.

Tamerò's eclectic décor retains touches from the days when the space used to be a garage: the concrete floor is still intact, as are the cracked white walls peppered with graffiti. Benches covered in burlap, and steel tables and chairs complete the funky, laid-back look.

Service starts with lunch, moves into early-evening apertivo and then dinner before its final iteration as a nighttime destination; on weekends, D.J.'s spin, the volume level is kicked up a notch, and dancing sometimes breaks out. Given the trendy feel and affordable prices, one might be skeptical about the food and service, but a late-spring visit confirmed that Tamerò takes no shortcuts. The focal point of the menu is over a dozen kinds of excellent pasta, handmade daily by a team in the front window.

Precursors to this main event include a handful of starters like roasted vegetables deeply marinated in rich olive oil and creatively presented in a glass jar alongside crispy Sardinian flatbread.

Then come the generous portions of noodles, which range from basics like tagliatelle with fresh cherry tomatoes and basil pesto sauce to less traditional dishes like potato gnocchi with broccoli and speck. A standout went one step further in its complexity: squid ink tortellini filled with citrus-flavored potatoes and coated in a spicy tomato sauce laden with chunks of meaty octopus.

Picks for non-pasta eaters are far from a letdown. The beef chili, for example, is a thick and flavorful stew made from hearty Tuscan beef and accompanied by deep-fried pieces of thin polenta; the appealingly crispy breaded cod is served in a long wood boat with a side of house-made mayonnaise and ketchup.

It's worth saving room for the short dessert menu, which constantly changes but usually includes a variety of cheesecake; we sampled one topped with roasted pears, which was both crunchy and light on the sweetness.

The 25 or so wines on the list come from small labels, mostly Tuscan, and many are available by the glass.

Tamerò Pasta Bar, Piazza Santo Spirito, 11r; 39-055-282-596; tamero.it. An average meal for two, with two glasses of local wine, is 35 euros, $50 at $1.28 to the euro.


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T Magazine: Travel Diary | Yuvi Alpert’s Holiday in Havana

The men's accessories designer Yuvi Alpert creates pieces that are informed by the ways the modern man moves through the world. There's an appealing international flavor to his simple, elegant, unbling-y jewelry line Yuvi by Yuvi Alpert (the latest collection shows in Paris this weekend); and Men in Cities, his monthly limited-edition releases of affordable men's accessories, like wallets, bracelets and neckties, is meant to simplify shopping for guys on the go.

So it's no surprise that a designer who says his biggest influence is travel takes some pretty great trips. The last big one, in April, was to Havana, Cuba, with his brothers Roy and Alex, his favorite partners in crime. "We love creating these adventures," he said, "sort of like the Jewish version of 'The Darjeeling Limited.'" He'd always been drawn to Cuba, from both a cultural and an architectural standpoint, he said, a pull that increased in college in Miami. Now, the experience in Cuba is showing up in his work. Several of the items in his latest collection, Men in Beige, were inspired by the trip, including the pen, bow tie and pocket square, and there's more where those came from. Alpert said that he is creating additional pieces based on the "colors, designs and architecture I saw in Cuba." Here, he recounts his adventures.

Portraits of Cuba by Yuvi Alpert


17.35 | 0 komentar | Read More

In Transit Blog: A Vacation Under the Sea

Travelers may be able to sleep among the ocean's depths, surrounded by coral reefs, in two luxury underwater hotels planned for Dubai and the Maldives.

The Water Discus Underwater Hotels, developed by Deep Ocean Technology, a company based in Poland, are designed to be sustainable.

The proposed property in the Maldives may feature a dive center, bar and 21 guest rooms in the section submerged beneath the sea's surface; a restaurant, spa and recreation area will be above it.

Amenities may include a helicopter landing pad, exotic garden and a rooftop seawater swimming pool. Plans call for guests to be able to dive among tropical fish and rent underwater scooters and a three-passenger submersible for marine adventures.


17.35 | 0 komentar | Read More

Getting Your Feet Wet at Water Parks

Written By wartini cantika on Sabtu, 29 Juni 2013 | 17.35

Narayan Mahon for The New York Times, Ben Garvin for The New York Times, Derek Montgomery for The New York Times

Clockwise from top left: riding a wave at Kalahari, twisting through a tube at Water Park of America, sliding on rides at Kalahari, getting soaked at Edgewater Hotel & Waterpark and nachos at Kalahari.

The first moments inside a water park complex almost always jar your senses. A rush of moist, chlorine-scented air fills your nose. Bright, cartoon colors, not to mention characters, surround you. And then there is the continuous loop of pop tunes vying with an endless whir of water — splashing, spraying, gurgling, rushing, dumping. On this last point, a caution to the uninitiated: if a bell or gong sounds, it is worth glancing up since it is likely to be a warning that some enormous vat of water overhead is preparing to dump its contents, and everyone but you knows it.

Connect With Us on Twitter

Follow @nytimestravel for tips, features and photography from all over the globe.

Narayan Mahon for The New York Times

The Hurricane, a ride in the Klondike Kavern Indoor Waterpark at the Wilderness Territory in Wisconsin Dells, Wis.

Water parks have long been a regular part of the landscape, but their enclosed iteration has become increasingly popular, and no region has embraced them like the Upper Midwest. Indoor parks — or combination indoor/outdoor parks — in states like Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois and Minnesota have become standard getaways year-round. They are particularly popular in summer, when the weather can range from unforgiving heat and humidity to sporadic thunderstorms, sometimes all in the same afternoon.

"Around here, the iffy weather can happen even in the summer season, but this means that it doesn't have to ruin your vacation," said Joe Eck, a general manager of Wilderness Territory, which with its four indoor and four outdoor parks, proclaims itself the nation's largest indoor and outdoor water park and is situated in Wisconsin Dells, Wis., a city that proclaims itself the Waterpark Capital of the World. (Water parks, no doubt, are part of an industry of superlatives.)

A culture unique to these hermetic worlds has emerged — one full of people marching purposefully through long corridors in bathrobes and flip-flops, of every imaginable deep-fried food, and of an unstated but unending arms race to build water rides ever more elaborate and dare-devilish. There are water park regulars, who already seem to know all the secrets specific to each park, like where to get a towel, how to claim an unoccupied seat in the mass of lawn chairs perched in front of the rides and the wisdom of hauling in boxes, even luggage carts, stacked with cereal from home.

Though I am a native of the Midwest and the mother of two children, I am by no means one of these veterans. Not yet anyway, though my children certainly aspire to it. Still, in a tour of five water parks in recent months, I have gathered some crucial pointers — enough to offer a primer for the water park novice. For nonveterans who wish to avoid the inevitable splash from the enormous bucket, it is the first step in easing your entry.

Not everyone agrees about precisely what constituted the first real stand-alone water park, but many in the business credit Wet 'n Wild, opened in Orlando in 1977. The nation's first indoor park appeared more than a decade later with the expansion of the Polynesian Resort Hotel & Suites in Wisconsin Dells, which, in essence, erected a roof overhead as a way to solve the seasonal woes of trying to do business in a Midwestern climate.

By the early 2000s, the indoor water park market exploded in this country, according to officials from the World Waterpark Association, a trade group. The most notable growth in the overall water park business in recent years seems to have turned to municipally owned operations (and old public pools transformed into splash pads, sprayers and slides) and a booming Asian market. But indoor water parks remain an area of moderate expansion. Five or 10 new ones open a year, adding to the roughly 150 that exist, mainly in the nation's midsection.

Inside many of these parks, there is essential, standard fare: a padded area where young children can toddle through water sprayers and flop down mini-slides into the shallowest of puddles; a surfing ride that mimics an ocean wave (and looks as mortifying to the novice as real ocean surfing); a lazy river that sends people bobbing on floats around a mesmerizing, gentle path and on and on; a wave pool that bounces riders up and down, up and down, up and down, until a wave calms and a new one sets in; and, of course, all variety of water slides and rides.

MONICA DAVEY is chief of the Chicago bureau of The Times.


17.35 | 0 komentar | Read More

Bites: Restaurant Report: Tamerò Pasta Bar in Florence

Tommaso Ferri

Tamerò Pasta Bar has a funky, laid-back look.

The dining scene in Florence is mostly dominated by well-established trattorias, either tucked away in neighborhoods far from the city center and frequented by locals or situated in the heart of town and overrun with tourists. The opening of Tamerò late last year breaks this pattern: it's a hip spot in the residential Santo Spirito area that serves modern renditions of food from all over Italy and beyond.

Tamerò's eclectic décor retains touches from the days when the space used to be a garage: the concrete floor is still intact, as are the cracked white walls peppered with graffiti. Benches covered in burlap, and steel tables and chairs complete the funky, laid-back look.

Service starts with lunch, moves into early-evening apertivo and then dinner before its final iteration as a nighttime destination; on weekends, D.J.'s spin, the volume level is kicked up a notch, and dancing sometimes breaks out. Given the trendy feel and affordable prices, one might be skeptical about the food and service, but a late-spring visit confirmed that Tamerò takes no shortcuts. The focal point of the menu is over a dozen kinds of excellent pasta, handmade daily by a team in the front window.

Precursors to this main event include a handful of starters like roasted vegetables deeply marinated in rich olive oil and creatively presented in a glass jar alongside crispy Sardinian flatbread.

Then come the generous portions of noodles, which range from basics like tagliatelle with fresh cherry tomatoes and basil pesto sauce to less traditional dishes like potato gnocchi with broccoli and speck. A standout went one step further in its complexity: squid ink tortellini filled with citrus-flavored potatoes and coated in a spicy tomato sauce laden with chunks of meaty octopus.

Picks for non-pasta eaters are far from a letdown. The beef chili, for example, is a thick and flavorful stew made from hearty Tuscan beef and accompanied by deep-fried pieces of thin polenta; the appealingly crispy breaded cod is served in a long wood boat with a side of house-made mayonnaise and ketchup.

It's worth saving room for the short dessert menu, which constantly changes but usually includes a variety of cheesecake; we sampled one topped with roasted pears, which was both crunchy and light on the sweetness.

The 25 or so wines on the list come from small labels, mostly Tuscan, and many are available by the glass.

Tamerò Pasta Bar, Piazza Santo Spirito, 11r; 39-055-282-596; tamero.it. An average meal for two, with two glasses of local wine, is 35 euros, $50 at $1.28 to the euro.


17.35 | 0 komentar | Read More

T Magazine: Travel Diary | Yuvi Alpert’s Holiday in Havana

The men's accessories designer Yuvi Alpert creates pieces that are informed by the ways the modern man moves through the world. There's an appealing international flavor to his simple, elegant, unbling-y jewelry line Yuvi by Yuvi Alpert (the latest collection shows in Paris this weekend); and Men in Cities, his monthly limited-edition releases of affordable men's accessories, like wallets, bracelets and neckties, is meant to simplify shopping for guys on the go.

So it's no surprise that a designer who says his biggest influence is travel takes some pretty great trips. The last big one, in April, was to Havana, Cuba, with his brothers Roy and Alex, his favorite partners in crime. "We love creating these adventures," he said, "sort of like the Jewish version of 'The Darjeeling Limited.'" He'd always been drawn to Cuba, from both a cultural and an architectural standpoint, he said, a pull that increased in college in Miami. Now, the experience in Cuba is showing up in his work. Several of the items in his latest collection, Men in Beige, were inspired by the trip, including the pen, bow tie and pocket square, and there's more where those came from. Alpert said that he is creating additional pieces based on the "colors, designs and architecture I saw in Cuba." Here, he recounts his adventures.

Portraits of Cuba by Yuvi Alpert


17.35 | 0 komentar | Read More

In Transit Blog: A Vacation Under the Sea

Travelers may be able to sleep among the ocean's depths, surrounded by coral reefs, in two luxury underwater hotels planned for Dubai and the Maldives.

The Water Discus Underwater Hotels, developed by Deep Ocean Technology, a company based in Poland, are designed to be sustainable.

The proposed property in the Maldives may feature a dive center, bar and 21 guest rooms in the section submerged beneath the sea's surface; a restaurant, spa and recreation area will be above it.

Amenities may include a helicopter landing pad, exotic garden and a rooftop seawater swimming pool. Plans call for guests to be able to dive among tropical fish and rent underwater scooters and a three-passenger submersible for marine adventures.


17.35 | 0 komentar | Read More

Q&A: Navigating England’s Literary Landscape

Written By wartini cantika on Jumat, 28 Juni 2013 | 17.36

Dylan Martinez/Reuters

Broadstairs, in Kent, has strong ties to Charles Dickens.

As celebrations for the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" hit full stride this summer, those seeking to experience England's literary destinations will have a dubious luxury of choice: in a country where seemingly every seaside cliff, meticulous garden, cobbled street or quiet watering hole has some connection to British authors or stories, how does one choose among the abundance of tours, excursions, museums and festivals?

For Louise Allen, the English author of dozens of historical romance novels, visiting the museums and haunts of her country's most celebrated writers has become a welcome byproduct of researching settings for her tales of lustful lords and ladies. Ms. Allen's travels led to her own contribution to the "Pride and Prejudice" celebrations — a guidebook titled "Walking Jane Austen's London," available in the United States in July from Shire Publications.

Below are edited excerpts from an interview in which Ms. Allen discussed her favorite destinations and tips for navigating England's literary landscape.

Q. What advice would you give for anyone trying to decide which tours and attractions are the best?

A. Check out the amount of detail in the brochure or Web site and see how good the response is to any queries you send them. Ask about the qualifications of the tour guide and the size of the group; you want to make sure you can hear the tour guide, and some destinations can get quite crowded. Also ask how you will be traveling. Some problems with some tours that I've seen are that they spend an awful lot of time traveling. People think England is a small country, but so are a lot of our roads, and traffic can be heavy, and you can spend an awful lot of time between places. So make sure you will be spending maximum amount of time at the things that interest you.

Q. What are some of your favorite destinations that might be a little less known?

A. Broadstairs in Kent is something that foreign tourists just never seem to get to even though it's a fairly easy trip from London. It is a charming, rather old-fashioned seaside town with a beach and great cliff walks and has strong ties to Charles Dickens. For lovers of Keats, there is Hampstead with his house and walks on the Heath with great views of London. For fans of C. S. Lewis or J. R. R. Tolkien, the Eagle and Child pub in Oxford is a great place to drop in. It has an English pub interior and is where the Inklings, the drinking club they belonged to, used to meet.

Q. What if you're traveling with kids?

A. Mix in some child-friendly activities along the way. If you want to see the Globe Theater, why not start at Southwark Cathedral where Shakespeare worshiped, take in the original 1822 Old Operating Theater, explore the fantastic Borough Market full of foodie treats, see the full-sized replica of Sir Francis Drake's Golden Hinde, then walk along the river to the Globe for fantastic views. For Harry Potter fans, visit Platform Nine and Three-Quarters at King's Cross so they can have their photos taken pushing a trolley through the wall.

Q. For those hoping to get in on the Jane Austen celebrations, what are some of the highlights?

A. In London, I think it's Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey for the real fans. It's a remarkable collection of monuments and memorials for her and all sorts of people — Burns, Keats, Shelley and many writers of Austen's period. Also, go to the houses she visited, particularly the one at Henrietta Street in Covent Garden where she stayed with her brother Henry. She writes a lot about going to the theater there, and you can visit the theater and do a behind-the-scenes tour. Bath, of course, is the other obvious one, and the Jane Austen House Museum at Chawton, which is absolutely delightful.


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In Transit Blog: Hawaiian Airlines Offers New Service to Asia and the Pacific

From the New York area to Australasia, the air travel choices have been few; either go west to pick up a trans-Pacific flight from San Francisco, Dallas or Los Angeles, or fly first to Dubai or Hong Kong and transfer there.

But in March Hawaiian Airlines became the only United States airline currently offering service to Auckland, New Zealand, opening a route from New York and its 10 other American cities that breaks a long, long trip into two nearly equal flight segments.

For travelers departing from New York's  Kennedy International Airport, Hawaiian now offers service through Honolulu to Auckland, and Sydney and Brisbane, Australia, as well as destinations in Japan, Korea and, in July, Taipei.

By using Honolulu as a transfer point, the airline is using a hub-and-spoke plan that has been very successful for fast-growing global airlines like Singapore and Emirates, although there are significant differences, according to Peter Ingram, chief commercial officer at Hawaiian Airlines.

"We are not situated geographically to serve as a midpoint connection destination — as is Dubai – except between Oceania and North America and Southern Asia and North America. Our route map is ideal for connections between Oceania and Southern Asia and many sought-after travel destinations in North America."

To further encourage travelers to choose Hawaiian over other airlines that serve Asia and the Pacific from New York, the airline offers what it calls a "procrastination vacation," a free stopover of unrestricted length in Honolulu for those who want a dual-destination holiday.

With the lowest-priced economy fares to Auckland about $1,899 on Hawaiian, ticket prices are competitive with Air New Zealand's flights leaving from Los Angeles and San Francisco.


This post has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: June 27, 2013

A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that Hawaiian Airlines is the first carrier to offer service to New Zealand. Other airlines have previously offered service to the city; Hawaiian is the only carrier currently offering service.


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In Transit Blog: Dollar, Thrifty Open New European Locations

Dollar Rent A Car and Thrifty Car Rental have expanded their presence in Europe, with more than 135 new locations at airports and major leisure destinations in France, Spain and Luxembourg to open by the end of June. Once all are operating, there will be 335 Thrifty and 259 Dollar locations across Europe, according to Hertz Global Holdings, which owns the brands. The company said the expansion is part of a long-term strategy for continued growth in additional European countries, the Middle East and Africa.
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36 Hours in Gettysburg, Pa.

On July 1, 1863, Confederate and Union troops descended on the grassy hills of Gettysburg, thrusting the sleepy town of 2,400 into the Civil War. The three-day Battle of Gettysburg ended the Confederate invasion of the North and resulted in staggering losses — an estimated 51,000 casualties in all for the campaign — for both sides. Each year, about 1.2 million visitors journey to the Gettysburg National Military Park. This year, about 200,000 are expected to attend the town and park's commemoration of the battle's 150th anniversary, which runs through July 7, with plenty more events and exhibits continuing through the end of the year (gettysburgcivilwar150.com). Avoiding the crowds, though, has its merits, offering a more solemn experience. Either way, Gettysburg — which is still a small town, with a population of only 7,645 — has a lot to offer beyond history lessons. The town's compact but lively center, lined with Federal-style buildings, is filled with mom-and-pop shops and restaurants, and serves as a great base for exploring the region's vineyards and winding country roads.

FRIDAY

3 p.m.
1. Students' Union

Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College (300 North Washington Street; gettysburg.edu) sits on 200 bucolic acres north of the town's center. Walk among the mostly brick Georgian and Victorian buildings and stop at the stately, white Pennsylvania Hall, an administrative building that was a signal corps station and field hospital for Union and Confederate troops during the battle. Sit in the Adirondack chairs on its expansive lawn, then step into the Musselman Library for the student-curated exhibit "Slaves, Soldiers, Citizens: African-American Artifacts of the Civil War Era," on view until Dec. 13. In the exhibition, unsettling artifacts like slave collars and shackles are on display next to a United States Colored Troops cap pouch and rifled musket and proof of freedom passes.

5 p.m.
2. Homegrown and Homemade

Walk down North Washington Street to Johnny Como's Cupcakes and Coffee (62 Chambersburg Street; johnnycomos.com), which, with its recreated pink 1950s kitchen and Betty Boop posters, is like stepping back in time. Order a maple bacon or peanut butter madness cupcake ($3.50). There are also cupcakes across the street at the Wells Family Baking Company (100 Chambersburg Street; 717-337-2900), a good place for coffee and biscotti; try the lemon anise or cranberry pecan (up to $2). Continue on Chambersburg Street and browse locally made jewelry, scarves and goat-milk soaps at A & A Village Treasures (53 Chambersburg Street; aavillagetreasures.com). Down the road, Gallery 30 (26 York Street; gallery30.com) sells pottery and hand-painted gourds by local artisans as well as blankets, pillows and tablecloths woven in Pennsylvania.

8 p.m.
3. Meal With a View

You used to have to drive about 30 minutes to the chef Neil Annis's restaurant Sidney in East Berlin, Pa., for his locally sourced, seasonal American menu. Now you'll find an outpost, Sidney Willoughby Run (730 Chambersburg Road; restaurantsidney.com/willoughby-run), which opened last summer, overlooking the battlefield. The night I ate there I had fall-off-your-fork-tender braised beef short ribs and a salsify purée so creamy it was like a sauce to the broccoli rabe and wild mushrooms. If it's on the menu, try the savory Cheddar and goat cheese macaroni with chunks of Maryland blue crab. Dinner for two, with wine, about $110.

10 p.m.
4. Hops Stop

Settle in for a nightcap at the Appalachian Brewing Company (401 Buford Avenue; abcbrew.com) across the street (a second location, in town, 70 Presidential Circle, opened this month). The brewing system's copper tanks below the cozy wooden bar can be toured by appointment during the day. At night, try one of its 16 draft beers on tap, including a seasonal craft ale like Hinterland Hefe Weizen.

SATURDAY

8:30 a.m.
5. Cup of Joe With Abe

Grab a quick breakfast of coffee, Amish baked goods and fresh strawberries or blueberries at the Gettysburg Farmers' Market (Lincoln Square; gettysburgfarmmarket.com), which takes place on Saturdays, from 7 a.m. to noon, in Lincoln Square, marked by J. Seward Johnson Jr.'s bronze life-size sculpture of Abraham Lincoln greeting a modern-clothed man with a wave of his stovepipe hat. For a souvenir, pick up a bottle of Torchbearer Sauces, made mostly with Pennsylvania-grown peppers, in one of its tongue-in-cheek flavors like Zombie Apocalypse (ghost and habanero peppers) or Oh My Garlic.

9 a.m.
6. Origin Story

Arrive at the Gettysburg National Park Service Museum and Visitor Center (1195 Baltimore Pike; nps.gov/gett) before the crowds descend midmorning. The most popular way to navigate the park's 26 miles of roads is by car. CDs of self-guided tours, starting at $21.99 for 90 minutes, are sold in the bookstore. For a tour with a licensed battlefield guide, reserve a two-hour bus tour ($30 per adult) or a two-hour private tour starting at $65 per vehicle. Reservations can also be made online at tickets.gettysburgfoundation.org up to three days in advance or by phone, (877) 874-2478, within three days of your visit. The museum ($12.50) offers a primer on the Civil War through short videos, photographs and artifacts like Robert E. Lee's battlefield cot and desk. The short film, "A New Birth of Freedom," shown in the adjacent theaters every 15 minutes, lays out the origins of the war, the debate over slavery's expansion to the new territories and the battle's legacy, immortalized by Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, as a defense of democratic ideals. The Gettysburg Cyclorama, a monumental 1884 painting by the French artist Paul Philippoteaux that depicts Pickett's Charge, is worth a look.

10 a.m.
7. Battle and Burial

Gettysburg National Military Park spans 5,989 acres of woodlands, farmlands, craggy ridges and sloping valleys, with more than 1,300 monuments erected by the battle's veterans and state governments. Start at McPherson Ridge, where, early in the morning of July 1, 1863, fighting broke out between Union cavalry and Confederate infantry. Then drive south to Little Round Top, the craggy hill that Union soldiers, in a downhill bayonet charge, defended against Confederate troops. At the High Water Mark, look out on the open field that some 12,000 Confederate infantrymen crossed in a mile-long front known as Pickett's Charge. After the decisive defeat, Confederate troops retreated to Virginia, ending Lee's campaign into Pennsylvania. Cross the road to Soldiers' National Cemetery, where about 3,500 Union soldiers lay buried, 1,632 in unmarked graves. The cemetery was dedicated on Nov. 19, 1863, and following a Massachusetts politician's two-hour oration, President Lincoln took two minutes to deliver "a few appropriate remarks" — the Gettysburg Address.

1:30 p.m.
8. Sweet Break

For lunch at Café Saint-Amand (48 Baltimore Street; cafesaintamand.com), a French-style bistro, try one of its savory crepes, like the Swiss cheese and caramelized onions ($6.95), then one of the sweet, like the glazed apple with ginger crumbs and candied walnuts ($5.95). Or walk down Baltimore Street to Mr. G's Ice Cream (404 Baltimore Street. 717-334-7600) for a scoop ($2.55) of one of its 16 homemade flavors like salted caramel and mint Oreo.

3 p.m.
9. Civilian Side

A number of historic houses and foundations line Gettysburg's streets. Skip most of them and go to the Shriver House (309 Baltimore Street; shriverhouse.org; $8.50), which gives a glimpse of the battle's effect on civilians. A 19th-century-attired guide takes you through the meticulously refurbished home of the Shrivers, a family who, having fled the battle, returned to find their house repurposed to treat wounded soldiers. At Lincoln Square, drop into the David Wills House (8 Lincoln Square; davidwillshouse.org; $6.50), a lawyer's Federal brick home where President Lincoln stayed the night before he delivered the Gettysburg Address to thousands of people. The bedroom, with its original mahogany Rococo bed, is said to be where Lincoln added finishing touches to his speech.

8 p.m.
10. Stout Spot

You could go to the darkly lighted, laid-back Garryowen Irish Pub (126 Chambersburg Street; garryowenirishpub.net) just for a pint of stout, but it would be a shame to miss out on its rib-sticking Irish dishes like shepherd's pie topped with inch-thick mashed potatoes or Irish onion soup, which cleverly subverts the French original by substituting Guinness for wine. Dinner for two with wine, about $50. Bands, playing anything from traditional Irish music to alt-country, start around 10 p.m. on Saturdays.

SUNDAY

10:30 a.m.
11. Hearty Start

Hunt's Battlefield Fries (61 Steinwehr Avenue; 717-334-4787) may look like a memorabilia shop, with its walls and ceilings lined with old-fashioned metal tins of Coca-Cola and "I Love Lucy" and military baseball hats for purchase, but breakfast is no side business here. Try the chef and owner Scott Hunt's sugar and cinnamon French toast or home fries, with freshly squeezed orange juice, to find out how serious it is. Breakfast for two about $20.

Noon
12. Wine Way

Apple orchards and farms still blanket Adams County, but some have reinvented themselves as vineyards. Take Lincoln Highway to the Adams County Winery (251 Peach Tree Road, Orrtanna; adamscountywinery.com), an 1860s red barn in Orrtanna where you can taste up to six wines, including a sweet Niagara, for free. The Historic Round Barn and Farm Market (298 Cashtown Road, Biglerville; roundbarngettysburg.com), in a 1914 white barn in Biglerville, sells fresh produce and its own pickled vegetables and jams. Pick up some cheeses and snacks for a picnic across the road at the Hauser Estate Winery (410 Cashtown Road, Biglerville; hauserestate.com). After trying a flight of six wines ($6), including a chambourcin and a sweet apple wine, order a glass of your favorite and set up your picnic on the patio overlooking the valley.

LODGING

Last year Gettysburg Hotel (1 Lincoln Square; hotelgettysburg.com), built in 1797, renovated its 119 rooms, lobbies and meeting spaces in a style that's at once modern and in keeping with its stately Georgian facade. Rooms start at $159.

If you're looking for a more intimate experience, try one of the 12 rooms at James Gettys Hotel (27 Chambersburg Street; jamesgettyshotel.com), built in 1804. Its suites have a bedroom, sitting room, kitchenette and private bath, and a basket of homemade muffins and fruit is delivered to your door each morning. Rooms start at $145.


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Heads Up: Arts Bloom in Inglewood, Calif.

Written By wartini cantika on Kamis, 27 Juni 2013 | 17.35

Over the years restless artists have established new creative districts around Los Angeles, from downtown to Santa Monica to Culver City to Chinatown. The latest is in an unlikely place: Inglewood.

This working-class city of about 110,000 12 miles from downtown Los Angeles is known for the Great Western Forum, where Magic Johnson's Lakers took home countless titles; for Hollywood Park thoroughbred racetrack, scheduled to close at the end of the year; for amazing soul-food restaurants; and for the original Randy's Donuts, a drive-in with a 30-foot-tall replica of, yes, a doughnut on its roof.

But in recent years, this slice of suburbia has become a haven for visual artists hoping to escape the high prices, homogeneity and elitism of more established arts districts. One indication of Inglewood's rising cultural star is its annual Open Studios, a weekend-long event in November (Nov. 9 and 10 this year) that is drawing art lovers to the city. When Open Studios began in 2006 the event had seven participating artists. Last November the number was hovering around 50.

"The artists here have been under the radar for a lot of years," said Renée Fox, an East Coast transplant who helped found and organize Open Studios. "It's almost our duty to have people see the cool aspects of this place."

Inglewood's creative class is scattered around the city, from cinder-block warehouses to '50s-era bungalows to a former military parts plant (in the case of the local artist and architect Chris Mercier, whose three-dimensional pieces skirt the line between sculpture and architecture). But outside of Open Studios, the best places to visit are the biggest art collectives — the Beacon Arts Building and 1019 West. Both were opened in 2010 by the local entrepreneur Tony Kouba. Visitors can arrange tours with artists and check for events via the Web sites for each of the buildings (Beaconartsbuilding.com and 1019west.com).

The Beacon, a cavernous 32,000-square-foot space at 808 North La Brea Avenue, was once home to the Bekins Moving and Storage Company. With its striking concrete columns and hum of activity, the industrial building has become a hot destination. The building has a gallery space that hosts pop-up shows, including an exhibition for Open Studios artists last fall that featured abstract paintings, off-kilter sculptures and a mannequin of a woman — striped like a zebra, draped on a sofa. The Beacon is now home to more than 30 artists.

One of the Beacon's artists, Emily Nyburg, came to Inglewood from New York. She was drawn by the community's diversity and friendliness. "I can be myself here," she said. "There's no pressure." Her work merges painting, architecture, clothing, accessories and furniture. A purse, priced at $950, is fitted with a host of zippers that resemble a jacket; a painting is composed of shards of tattered cloth. Down the hall another artist, Lisa Soto, spins intricate "wire drawings" of wire, Mylar, graphite and charcoal.

Ms. Fox, whose haunting, close-up paintings of flowers and other botanicals line the walls of her nearby home and studio, said the quality of the art is not surprising. The Beacon's owners, with her input, chose artists based on the strength of their work. "We didn't want to dilute the talent," she said. "We're all very serious about what we do here."

Still, Ms. Fox said, "When I mention Inglewood, people still give me this blank look like, huh?" About two miles west of the Beacon, two blocks from Randy's Donuts, is 1019 West, which is inside what was one of the city's first Volkswagen dealerships. It is home to about 40 artists and counting.

This arts enclave has attracted some well-known practitioners like the installation specialist Pontus Willfors, whose work includes a salvaged wood sculpture that resembles a giant tree, and the painter Scott Grieger, whose cheeky work (a world map made of baloney called "Globaloney") dates back to the early 1970s. It's also a huge draw for students at the nearby Otis College of Art and Design.

Michael Massenberg, an artist who has lived in Inglewood for 20 years and is a member of the local arts group Inglewood Cultural Arts, welcomes the bohemian newcomers who have set up shop in faded pockets of the city. "This is one of L.A.'s best kept secrets," he said. Perhaps not for long.


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Personal Journeys: Our 3-Day, 2-Hike, 1-Shark Vacation

Elizabeth Weil

The author's husband and daughters on the Coastal Trail.

It was not a good sign: the need to explain to our children that the holiday we'd planned, 15 miles from our Northern California home, was a legitimate vacation and that people from across the country, maybe even the world, would fly thousands of miles for the pleasure. We — the adults — were pretty sure hiking inn-to-inn through lovely Marin County qualified as a real vacation. But our children were unconvinced.

Their friends had flown to Hawaii. Or Egypt, followed by Paris. We told our daughters, ages 8 and 10, to each put a couple of changes of underwear, a clean shirt, a fleece jacket, a toothbrush and a book in a backpack. Then we threw our stuff in our Subaru, drove north across the Golden Gate Bridge, parked in a casual lot just off Highway 101 in Sausalito and headed up a trail.

We travel for beauty, for the exotic, to bond with our loved ones out of context, exhumed from the quicksand of daily life and parted from our smartphones. Staycations, in my opinion, are bunk — or, more generously, it takes a stronger person than I am to find the beautiful and the exotic, and lose the smartphone, in one's own home.

But this trip was different; that was the party line. My husband, Dan, and I were not flaking on our parental duty to show our children the world. We were taking them on an enriching adventure, just one that happened to be nearby.

The plan, Day 1: Hike eight miles on trails from the sparkly tourist town of Sausalito up and over the Marin Headlands to the rugged cove of Muir Beach. Day 2: Walk 10 miles on trails from Muir Beach to Stinson Beach, which is sort of the Hamptons of Northern California. Then hike two more miles down the sand and swim (yes, swim!) across the lagoon mouth to gorgeous-but-surly Bolinas. Day 3: Surf and loaf around Bolinas, hoping to avoid the great white sharks that congregate there. Then return to Sausalito via bus and resume being resident Californians once reunited with our car.

The Marin Headlands are unspeakably beautiful — God's country for investment bankers and hippies who made smart real-estate moves. Being locals, we had day-tripped there dozens of times. But that first day, just an hour up the dusty single-track road, the rolling hills looked different. Yes, still emerald green and affording knockout views. But without the car and the knowledge that we'd soon be back in it, the same terrain we'd walked on many times looked wilder; less like a park, more like a fantasy wilderness.

Also, I'm somewhat embarrassed to say, we felt the Headlands were ours. Everybody else was just toe-touching for a few hours. By evening they'd be home, emptying the dishwasher and watching Netflix. Us? We'd moved in for a long weekend. Red-tailed hawks greeted us, circling. Poppies, irises and monkey flowers bloomed at our feet.

Still, wherever you are, hiking with children is a high-stakes game. To win, you need candy or humor, and probably both. That first afternoon we stumbled on a comedy gold mine: the bro hug. A bro hug, for the uninitiated, is a handshake that flows into a shoulder-first, backslapping embrace.

My 8-year-old daughter, Audrey, claimed to have bro hugged me by mistake after I offered her some sunscreen. This was just 10 minutes after she'd given her father a big I-love-you-Daddy embrace to thank him for a piece of chocolate, so I'm not sure I believe her. No matter. The bro hug became our trip's leitmotif, a real gift. We bro-hugged our way up and over Wolf Ridge and along the Coastal Trail.

Perhaps worn down toward the end of our eight-mile day, this frivolity gave way to lingering status anxiety. Dan and I began to wonder if we should have become lawyers instead of writers, allowing us to jet the family off to tropical paradises. As we descended the rugged slope toward Muir Beach, we, along with the girls, indulged in a collective fantasy that we were slipping down the water slide into the Fairmont Kea Lani Maui pool.

As anybody who's been to one of those resorts can tell you, you can travel half way across the planet and learn nothing besides the pool bartender's name — or you can travel 500 yards and have your mind blown. Entering the Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, the Zen Buddhist practice center where we spent our first night, we were stunned into silence.

Our rooms were clean and simple. The grounds were breathtaking. And the place was zazen quiet. For dinner, we ate a delicious tagine in a room filled with silent, bald, black-robed monks. (The dozen other guests there for a workshop, "Transforming Depression and Anxiety: A Path of Skillful Compassion," didn't lighten the mood much.) In the morning, after breakfast, Hannah, our older daughter, darted for the front gate. Audrey followed, rapping, "Om in the house with the freaky freaky quiet people."


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In Transit Blog: A Renovated Vermont Resort Reopens

Largely closed for most of the past three months, Topnotch Resort and Spa in Stowe, Vt., will reopen Friday after a $15 million face-lift.

The first major update since the popular family-friendly resort opened in 1959, the project includes guestroom renovations featuring new furniture, artwork and flat-screen TVs.

Among dining upgrades, the new casual restaurant and bar The Roost will open in the expanded lobby. Small plates and craft beers will be served indoors, where views frame Mount Mansfield, and outdoors on the patio with a fire pit and bocce court. The resort's original restaurant, formerly known as Norma's, was remodeled and will be reopened as Flannel, with a menu trumpeting Vermont-grown and -raised ingredients.

In summer, as in the winter ski season, rooms start at $350 per night, though an inaugural deal available through July 31 offers rooms from $275 per night with a $100-per-room resort credit.


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In Transit Blog: Environmental Group Rates Beaches for Water Quality

A day at the beach could mean potential health risks, at least at 11 "repeat offenders" called out for chronic high bacteria counts in the Natural Resources Defense Council's annual assessment of water quality. The survey covers more than 3,000 ocean and Great Lakes beaches in the United States.

Released Wednesday, the report card analyzes water contamination levels as measured by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The guide also rates 200 of the most popular beaches on a five-star scale, with 13 beaches this year earning the highest scores for quality, including three along Alabama's stretch of the Gulf of Mexico, three in Orange County, Calif., and three in the Great Lakes.

Storm water runoff is the main threat to swimmer health, said Steve Fleischli, director of the water program at N.R.D.C., citing overflowing sewers and trash. "It's our urban slobber running untreated into our waterways."

The nonprofit environmental organization advocates for greener measures on land like  porous pavement, green roofs and rain barrels that absorb storm water and higher E.P.A. water quality standards. Current standards do not include swim-related rashes and ear, eye, and sinus infections.

Perhaps the most useful part of the report is a Web-based map searchable by ZIP code with analysis of 2012 data on beach closures and contamination rates.


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In Transit Blog: In Italy, a Cocktail With a Splash of the Sea

Written By wartini cantika on Rabu, 26 Juni 2013 | 17.36

Hotel bartenders have been known to choose cocktail ingredients from on-property gardens or beehives, but rarely the beach. Now one Amalfi Coast resort in Italy has dipped into the Mediterranean to make its new quaff, the Nettuno, or Neptune.

At the Palazzo Avino in Ravello, the bartender Stefano Amato concocted the salty drink earlier this spring using seawater that is actually a bottled and sanitized variety supplied by a Spanish producer and intended for kitchen hands to clean crustaceans or fill fish tanks. Mixed with rum, lime, kiwi, rosemary and sugar, the salty punch provides a literal taste of the sea to tipplers drinking in dramatic coastal views from the hotel's terrace.


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Check In: Hotel Review: Hotel O in Paris

Serge Ramelli

The lobby at the Hotel O.

From 149 euros for a double, or about $199, at $1.34 to the euro.

BASICS

This futuristic-looking boutique hotel is blocks from Paris's postcard attractions. The 29-room, five-story property, which opened in October, is the first hotel by Ito Morabito, the young French designer who goes by Ora-Ito professionally. His iconoclastic career has included designing for Heineken, Nike, Toyota and Christofle. Hotel O, a collaboration with Elegancia Hotels, has the swagger of a first-rate design hotel — the fashion photographer Ellen von Unwerth has staged a shoot here for Italian Vogue — if not the square footage. Playful touches abound, including a wall of motorcycle helmets from the luxury brand Ateliers Ruby displayed in a panoply of colors in the lobby.

LOCATION

Hotel O's central location in the First Arrondissement is a short stroll from the serene Jardins du Palais Royal. The shops of Rue St.-Honoré are five minutes away, and the Louvre is 10 minutes. A number of the city's most talked-about restaurants — La Régalade Saint-Honoré, Yam'Tcha and Spring — are in the neighborhood.

THE ROOM

I wasn't prepared for how aptly named my 120-square-foot Cocoon room, the smallest double unit, would be; my luggage, left out, would have obstructed my sole walking path. (The 170-square-foot Galileo units, the largest of the double rooms, were considerably more spacious and featured beds cleverly tucked into alcoves.) Size notwithstanding, my cozy room was well designed and gave off the vibe of a futuristic ship cabin with all the wood, its stylish custom bed with light switches embedded in the headboard and a gently curving backboard that extended almost up to the ceiling and over the length of the bed. The dominant hue — for my room — was burned yellow in everything from the felt wall to the thick, pleated felt curtains, and its use made the room feel more streamlined.

ROOM SERVICE

My 16-euro breakfast was considerably more expensive than the cost of pastry at a corner cafe, but it included any selection of items from a well-curated spread. I chose a basket of mini croissants, pains au chocolat and baguettes accompanied by creamy Échiré Butter, Alain Milliat jams and a pot of hot Kusmi chamomile tea. The order arrived in less than 20 minutes.

THE BATHROOM

The elevated, capsule-like bathroom, which opened by sliding door, was minimalist and functional with gleaming white Corian flooring and walls, a single minuscule sink and, for a hint of luxury, a shower stall with a rain shower head separated by glass partition. Ora-Ito branded toiletries were scented with rosewood and sage oils.

AMENITIES

The hotel bar, with a curved wall of wooden slats, was a stylish setting for sipping inventive cocktails. The selection of spirits included Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey. The complimentary Wi-Fi worked well in my room. Guests can borrow laptops for use in the lobby or bar.

BOTTOM LINE

Travelers staying in Paris for more than a few days or with oversize luggage should probably pass — or at least upgrade to the largest room, the Galileo unit. Anyone else seeking bold design, a cheerful staff and a well-situated base for exploring the main tourist attractions of Paris as well as its lively shopping areas and restaurants would do well to choose Hotel O, particularly at such reasonable rates.

Hotel O, 19, rue Hérold; (33-1) 42-36-04-02; hotel-o-paris.com.


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T Magazine: The Making Of | A 19th-Century Victorian House in London, Built With Mirrors

In the latest off-site commission of the Barbican Gallery in London, the Argentine artist Leandro Erlich has created a surreal new artwork in the Borough of Hackney. Located on an empty lot on Ashwin Street near Dalston Junction station, Dalston House is the latest in a series of projects by Erlich that seem to defy the laws of physics, challenging audiences' sense of reality. Visitors will be able to hang out the windows and scale the walls of Erlich's replica of a late-19th-century Victorian terraced house. Although these death-defying activities might appear to break all health and safety regulations for a public art project, they're perfectly safe: it's all an illusion, created with mirrors. Here, the artist explains how he realized his vision.

1. Be instinctive.
"I immediately jumped at the idea of a facade. I have created similar projects relating to local architecture in many other countries, but this time the motivation was not just the city of London but also the chance of building the project out in the street, in full public view. With Dalston House, the dialogue between the project and the urban landscape is full of potential."

2. Make the most of mirrors.
"The installation is composed by the reproduction of a building facade lying flat on the ground and a large mirror placed in a 45-degree angle. The reflection creates the illusion of seeing the facade vertically. The public is invited to step on the facade, giving the impression of defying gravity."

3. Embrace illusion.
"Perception is the inherited tool we are all born with and we use to understand the world and to achieve knowledge. I think illusion here acts as a trigger, seducing the viewer to participate in the experience while questioning their understanding of reality. The question is not just opposing the illusionary and the real, [it's also] understanding that what we call real is part of a construction."

4. Work with the best possible people, no matter where they are.
"The project involved my studio in Buenos Aires, the Barbican curators Lydia Yee and Alona Pardo, a team from Belgium dealing with the large mirrors, a British team that fabricated the facade and a technical supervisor from the Barbican Gallery."

5. Do your research.
"I visited the local archives of the neighborhood to find out more about its history. Nevertheless, the final design is a combination of things that were inspired by the long walks I took around the area."

6. Don't take your work too seriously.
"I think humor is always somehow present."

Dalston House is open to the public from June 26 to Aug. 4 as part of the London Festival of Architecture. 1-7 Ashwin Street, Dalston, E8 3DL. Admission is free.


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In Transit Blog: Flying to New Zealand, and Then Beyond

Once fliers have made the long-haul trip to New Zealand – nonstops between Los Angeles and Auckland are 13 hours – three-hour flights to Australia and Fiji may seem like a relative breeze.

Designed to encourage travelers to get around more easily once they've flown halfway around the globe, the new Explorer Pass from Air New Zealand streamlines pricing for flights to Australia and the South Pacific as well as destinations within New Zealand.

Available only to Americans and Canadians flying Air New Zealand inbound from North America, the pass divides the airline's regional route map into four zones based on distance, with flight legs priced from $79 to $109 within New Zealand and upward of $214 for one-ways to seven Australian gateways and nine in the South Pacific including Tahiti, the Cook Islands and Fiji.

Available through Dec. 31 for travel from now until June 30, 2014, the pass is available only through travel agents or by calling the airline at (800) 262-1234.


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In Transit Blog: Tapping Artisanal Beers and Booze at Hotel Bars

Written By wartini cantika on Selasa, 25 Juni 2013 | 17.35

Hotel restaurants have long poured private label wines. But with the rise of artisan distilling and craft brewing, bespoke selections are now the toast of hotel bars around the world.

In southern Brazil, Ponta dos Ganchos commissions three distinct blends of cachaca, aged two to eight years, from Adega Scherer distiller, available in caipirinhas as well as neat  at the beach resort.

In the United States, the Brown Palace Hotel and Spa in Denver recently teamed with local Wynkoop Brewing Company to create a series of cask beers using ingredients specific to the hotel, including honey produced from rooftop beehives.

The Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston recently debuted its new Oak Long Bar Blend, a bourbon with notes of vanilla and port from small batch producer Angel's Envy, at its Oak Long Bar + Kitchen.

Perhaps most impressively, 10 years ago, in anticipation of its 25th anniversary this year, the Wauwinet on Nantucket Island bought a proprietary barrel of single-malt whiskey from the island's Triple Eight Distillery; it's now available as the resort's unique 10-year-old Woody 25. Guests can sample it at the Wauwinet bar or order a 750-milliliter bottle through room service for $250.


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In Transit Blog: Walkabout – 6/24: Bike-Sharing in North America; Medical Tourism in Malaysia

Walkabout

A weekly capsule of travel news curated by our writers and editors.

Move Over, Citi Bike According to this guide to bike-sharing programs in North America, Minneapolis is challenging New York City's claim to the largest system in the U.S. (Jaunted)

Alternative Medicine A new survey of the most popular destinations for medical tourism ranks a Malaysian hospital at No. 1. Asian hospitals dominate the list. (Skift.com)

Power Down? A federal advisory panel continues to study whether to ease rules against using electronic gadgets on planes during takeoffs and landings, but the effort remains contentious. (USA Today)

This Way The future of street signs: When a passerby presses one of five buttons located on the signpost, LED-light displays point him in the right direction. (Smithsonian)


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In Transit Blog: W Hotels Will Promote Human Rights Campaign

Known for its style, W Hotels adds seriousness to its packages in a new partnership with the Human Rights Campaign, the group advocating for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Via the HRC Pride 365 program, overnight guests get a one-year membership to the H.R.C. and triple Starwood loyalty points. For each stay, the hotels donate $10 to the campaign.

The Pride package starts this week, and the hotel says there will be more fund-raising events with the campaign, including V.I.P. dinners and auctions.


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In Transit Blog: Resorts Get a Southern Living Signature

The magazine Southern Living already has its own line of furniture, bedding and even plants. Now, in an interesting and uncommon marketing move, it's branding 15 independent southern resorts as its Southern Living Hotel Collection, beginning July 1.

The upscale inaugural group, planned to  expand eventually to 100 addresses, includes well-known historic hotels like the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, N.C., established urbanites including the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans and rural destination like Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tenn.

Membership is by invitation, and perks for guests who reserve via the collection's Web site are still to be determined. Future tie-ins may include Southern Living recipes on menus and sponsored classes and events on the properties.

Members say it's a marriage of like minds. "What they do aligns with what we do," said Tracey Johnston-Crum, director of marketing communications at the Grove Park Inn. "It's about tying the two brands together and illuminating what's best in the South."


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Frugal Traveler: In Europe, a Few Coins for a Wealth of Culture

Written By wartini cantika on Senin, 24 Juni 2013 | 17.36

Lourdes Segade for The New York Times; Djamila Grossman for The New York Times; Jock Fistick for The New York Times

Left to right: outside a small performance space at Mercat de les Flors in Barcelona; Volkesbühne in Berlin; inside the Kaaitheater in Brussels.

I figured I might someday take an amibitious cultural jaunt through Europe, catching a classical concert at La Monnaie in Brussels, a musical off Las Ramblas in Barcelona, and cutting-edge dance performances in Berlin — all from the best seats in the house. I just imagined it would have wait until I retired as the Frugal Traveler columnist and retrained as, say, a plastic surgeon to the stars.

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Follow @nytimestravel for tips, features and photography from all over the globe.

Djamila Grossman for The New York Times

Tending bar at the Madame Claude bar and performance space in Berlin.

In this job, experiencing European culture has typically meant going to museums, preferably on days when they are free. For performing arts I've settled for concerts-in-the-park, and waited in line for hours for a heavily discounted, obstructed-view nosebleed seat to Chekhov's "Three Sisters" at the Comédie-Française in Paris.

But it turns out that to gorge on performing arts in Europe, you don't have to book philharmonic tickets months in advance or ask the concierge to procure a last-minute box at the opera. Instead, you seek out the kind of performances that you (or starving artists you know) might see in your own city: alternative arts in settings not necessarily promoted at the tourist information booth and not always listed in your guidebook. In other words: Europe, Off Broadway style. Not only will this approach save you money — lots and lots, in fact — but it will also grant you access to an intimate, often quirky side of cities usually reserved for discerning residents and a smattering of traveling artists hooked into the local scene through friends and colleagues.

In May, I spent three long weekends in three cities — Barcelona, Berlin and Brussels — all of which are popular with tourists and have affordable and thriving arts options. I decided to see as many shows as I could, as long as they were all under 20 euros (a little over $25 at $1.28 to the euro).

My endeavor did require a certain amount of intrepid travel, though not the kind that involves eating ants or crossing rivers on makeshift rafts. Think, instead: combing through foreign-language listings using Google Translate and, inevitably, sitting through a dud performance or two. The payoff, though, was a dazzling and utterly diverse set of shows ranging from the nearly mainstream (but still cheap) to the over-the-top and provocative, all taken in amid crowds of local artists and art lovers — and very few tourists.

Barcelona

Not only is the cultural scene in Barcelona not particularly international, it's often not even Spanish. The city's emphasis on its Catalan heritage and language can make it feel the most insular, but can also be an advantage: those looking for an immersive experience need look no further.

"What Barcelona longs to be is a city of creativity and innovation, especially if you compare it with other cities in Spain," said Francesc Casadesús Calvo, the director of Mercat de les Flors, what a friend in town called "the temple of dance." "Catalans are not afraid of new ideas, and we love the sparks that provoke innovation."

Mercat de les Flors resembles not so much a temple as an airplane hangar inside a cathedral. The cavernous performance space is housed in a beautiful building constructed for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition and later used as a flower market. The show I attended there was a four-part, 16.50-euro performance by IT Dansa, a company of dancers who come to Barcelona from around the world to study, now celebrating its 100th anniversary.

It was my first contemporary dance performance in years, so the notes I took were an exercise in clichés — "raw emotion," "lithe bodies," that sort of thing. But two pieces stood out: "In Memoriam," by the Belgian choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, which featured mesmerizingly violent movements performed by dancers who appeared connected by string; it put Hollywood fight scenes to shame. And "Whim," by Alex Ekman, a Swede, was a raucous and hilarious ensemble free-for-all set to a soundtrack that ranged from Nina Simone's version of "My Baby Just Cares for Me" to Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" — not a musical selection I expected to find in Barcelona. Strangely enough for a dance performance, language was a slight barrier: the program was in Catalan.

The regional pride that pervades the city is perfectly understandable in an area with a fervent independence movement, but it can be a hurdle of sorts for tourists. After seeing a chamber choir performance of Catalan Baroque works at the smallest hall in the grand Palau de la Música Catalana (8 euros), I mentioned to a taxi driver in Spanish that I had enjoyed the concert but was sorry I couldn't understand what the director was telling the audience. "You were in the cradle of Catalan culture," he replied. "If he had spoken Spanish, people would have gotten up and left."

Seth Kugel is the Frugal Traveler columnist for the Times Travel section.


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Explorer: A Rinse and a Roll on a River in Nepal

I will admit that after 25 days of third world travel with my future in-laws, my motives for going off to paddle some difficult white water last year were complex. Yes, I've been a kayaker for a decade, and the Bhote Koshi River, which pours down the Tibetan Himalayas into Nepal — rated Class V during high water, but in winter "a classic Class III," according to one outfitter — appeared to be within my abilities.

Amrit Ale

There are rafting and kayaking trips available on the Bhote Koshi River, which pours down the Himalayas into Nepal.

But I was also a 41-year-old man who had lived alone most of my life, some of those years in wilderness. While the trek in Nepal with my fiancée and her sister and parents had been lovely, when they opted for a couple of days of sightseeing in a national park, I welcomed the idea of peeling off with one of the porters, who was also a river guide. Which is how he and I came to be standing between the river and the road at 8 a.m. one day in February, fog rising off the water, wearing wet suits and helmets and life jackets, flagging down a rickety local bus and hoisting plastic kayaks onto its roof.

A few hours earlier, we had arrived at a riverside restaurant at first light after two hours of winding roads from Katmandu in a shared taxi. We sat in the cold mist and ordered milk chai.

"Mark G, what will we eat?" Saroj asked. In Nepali, you add "gee" after someone's name as a sign of respect.

He wasn't asking for my order as much as my prediction. I said, "Chapatis and eggs?"

Saroj exchanged a volley of Nepalese with the waiter and then announced, "We will eat noodles."

Saroj and I had been hiking together for 19 days. He was from a village but had worked as a river guide for seven years and lived in Katmandu. Many Nepalese men appear to Americans as extremely polite, shy to the point of deferential, quick to smile. Saroj not so much. He wore shoulder-length hair tied in a knot, smoked cigarettes, spoke little and smiled slightly while bemusement flashed in his eyes. He spoke English in blunt declarative lines that could sound surly, all of which is to say he acted like almost every river guide I have ever known. When I had first asked him about guiding on the gentle rivers in India, his eyes lighted up. "Ah, very difficult to make Sikhs wear helmet on turban."

After our noodles we changed into river gear, and I climbed aboard the bus while Saroj rode on the roof minding the boats. We contoured along the steep flank of river canyon terraced for farm plots like a big green wedding cake. In the villages, brick structures clung to the hillside, smoke curling from stove chimneys, and schoolchildren in uniform raced to jump aboard. After half an hour, the driver stopped and ordered everyone off. Saroj lowered the kayaks and climbed down.

"Bandh," he said. It was early 2012, and the latest round of government price hikes on natural gas had sent Nepal into turmoil. Students shut down the highways in what is called a bandh — a cross between a protest rally and a sit-in. Gas lines in Katmandu wrapped around the block, and power outages crippled the city every day for six hours or more. Among the many plots to produce electricity was a proposal to dam the very river we were approaching.

"Now we walk," Saroj said.

We shouldered the heavy boats and trudged, paddles in hand, through the next village, where adults and children regarded us as spacemen. A blacksmith hammered metal in his shop. After a mile Saroj said, "We launch here," and we crossed a delta of cobble and garbage and lifted the boats over boulders to the river. The plan was to warm up on the easy section, then drive farther up the canyon to run the hard stuff in the morning.

The water was low, and the rapids were rocky but not fierce. Waterfalls poured down from the steep jungle off sheer rock walls. Unlike wild places in America, people actually live here: we paddled past stone homes jutting over the banks, and men swimming while carrying a rope across the current to haul felled trees. The rapids were choked with boulders, and Saroj and I snaked between them without so much as an Eskimo roll, which was fine with me: the water was cold and I had no dry-top with rubber gaskets on throat and wrist to keep warm and dry. Saroj lent me his own life jacket, and I ended up wearing a farmer-john wet suit, three layers of fleece and a windbreaker — warm enough as long as you didn't submerge.


17.36 | 0 komentar | Read More

In Transit Blog: F.A.A. May Relax Restrictions on Electronic Devices on Planes

If you're reading this just as the flight attendants are making the "shut down your portable electronic devices" announcement, take heart. Soon you may not have to speed-read your final words before taking off. The F.A.A. is considering loosening its ban on portable electronic devices during takeoff and landing, Nick Bilton and Jad Mouawad report. That's right. You and your fellow passengers may be able to keep on texting and e-mailing and shopping and playing video games until you're above the clouds. A decision is expected in September.
17.36 | 0 komentar | Read More

In Transit Blog: Tapping Artisanal Beers and Booze at Hotel Bars

Hotel restaurants have long poured private label wines. But with the rise of artisan distilling and craft brewing, bespoke selections are now the toast of hotel bars around the world.

In southern Brazil, Ponta dos Ganchos commissions three distinct blends of cachaca, aged two to eight years, from Adega Scherer distiller, available in caipirinhas as well as neat  at the beach resort.

In the United States, the Brown Palace Hotel and Spa in Denver recently teamed with local Wynkoop Brewing Company to create a series of cask beers using ingredients specific to the hotel, including honey produced from rooftop beehives.

The Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston recently debuted its new Oak Long Bar Blend, a bourbon with notes of vanilla and port from small batch producer Angel's Envy, at its Oak Long Bar + Kitchen.

Perhaps most impressively, 10 years ago, in anticipation of its 25th anniversary this year, the Wauwinet on Nantucket Island bought a proprietary barrel of single-malt whiskey from the island's Triple Eight Distillery; it's now available as the resort's unique 10-year-old Woody 25. Guests can sample it at the Wauwinet bar or order a 750-milliliter bottle through room service for $250.


17.36 | 0 komentar | Read More

Frugal Traveler: In Europe, a Few Coins for a Wealth of Culture

Written By wartini cantika on Minggu, 23 Juni 2013 | 17.36

Lourdes Segade for The New York Times; Djamila Grossman for The New York Times; Jock Fistick for The New York Times

Left to right: outside a small performance space at Mercat de les Flors in Barcelona; Volkesbühne in Berlin; inside the Kaaitheater in Brussels.

I figured I might someday take an amibitious cultural jaunt through Europe, catching a classical concert at La Monnaie in Brussels, a musical off Las Ramblas in Barcelona, and cutting-edge dance performances in Berlin — all from the best seats in the house. I just imagined it would have wait until I retired as the Frugal Traveler columnist and retrained as, say, a plastic surgeon to the stars.

Connect With Us on Twitter

Follow @nytimestravel for tips, features and photography from all over the globe.

Djamila Grossman for The New York Times

Tending bar at the Madame Claude bar and performance space in Berlin.

In this job, experiencing European culture has typically meant going to museums, preferably on days when they are free. For performing arts I've settled for concerts-in-the-park, and waited in line for hours for a heavily discounted, obstructed-view nosebleed seat to Chekhov's "Three Sisters" at the Comédie-Française in Paris.

But it turns out that to gorge on performing arts in Europe, you don't have to book philharmonic tickets months in advance or ask the concierge to procure a last-minute box at the opera. Instead, you seek out the kind of performances that you (or starving artists you know) might see in your own city: alternative arts in settings not necessarily promoted at the tourist information booth and not always listed in your guidebook. In other words: Europe, Off Broadway style. Not only will this approach save you money — lots and lots, in fact — but it will also grant you access to an intimate, often quirky side of cities usually reserved for discerning residents and a smattering of traveling artists hooked into the local scene through friends and colleagues.

In May, I spent three long weekends in three cities — Barcelona, Berlin and Brussels — all of which are popular with tourists and have affordable and thriving arts options. I decided to see as many shows as I could, as long as they were all under 20 euros (a little over $25 at $1.28 to the euro).

My endeavor did require a certain amount of intrepid travel, though not the kind that involves eating ants or crossing rivers on makeshift rafts. Think, instead: combing through foreign-language listings using Google Translate and, inevitably, sitting through a dud performance or two. The payoff, though, was a dazzling and utterly diverse set of shows ranging from the nearly mainstream (but still cheap) to the over-the-top and provocative, all taken in amid crowds of local artists and art lovers — and very few tourists.

Barcelona

Not only is the cultural scene in Barcelona not particularly international, it's often not even Spanish. The city's emphasis on its Catalan heritage and language can make it feel the most insular, but can also be an advantage: those looking for an immersive experience need look no further.

"What Barcelona longs to be is a city of creativity and innovation, especially if you compare it with other cities in Spain," said Francesc Casadesús Calvo, the director of Mercat de les Flors, what a friend in town called "the temple of dance." "Catalans are not afraid of new ideas, and we love the sparks that provoke innovation."

Mercat de les Flors resembles not so much a temple as an airplane hangar inside a cathedral. The cavernous performance space is housed in a beautiful building constructed for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition and later used as a flower market. The show I attended there was a four-part, 16.50-euro performance by IT Dansa, a company of dancers who come to Barcelona from around the world to study, now celebrating its 100th anniversary.

It was my first contemporary dance performance in years, so the notes I took were an exercise in clichés — "raw emotion," "lithe bodies," that sort of thing. But two pieces stood out: "In Memoriam," by the Belgian choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, which featured mesmerizingly violent movements performed by dancers who appeared connected by string; it put Hollywood fight scenes to shame. And "Whim," by Alex Ekman, a Swede, was a raucous and hilarious ensemble free-for-all set to a soundtrack that ranged from Nina Simone's version of "My Baby Just Cares for Me" to Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" — not a musical selection I expected to find in Barcelona. Strangely enough for a dance performance, language was a slight barrier: the program was in Catalan.

The regional pride that pervades the city is perfectly understandable in an area with a fervent independence movement, but it can be a hurdle of sorts for tourists. After seeing a chamber choir performance of Catalan Baroque works at the smallest hall in the grand Palau de la Música Catalana (8 euros), I mentioned to a taxi driver in Spanish that I had enjoyed the concert but was sorry I couldn't understand what the director was telling the audience. "You were in the cradle of Catalan culture," he replied. "If he had spoken Spanish, people would have gotten up and left."

Seth Kugel is the Frugal Traveler columnist for the Times Travel section.


17.36 | 0 komentar | Read More

Explorer: A Rinse and a Roll on a River in Nepal

I will admit that after 25 days of third world travel with my future in-laws, my motives for going off to paddle some difficult white water last year were complex. Yes, I've been a kayaker for a decade, and the Bhote Koshi River, which pours down the Tibetan Himalayas into Nepal — rated Class V during high water, but in winter "a classic Class III," according to one outfitter — appeared to be within my abilities.

Amrit Ale

There are rafting and kayaking trips available on the Bhote Koshi River, which pours down the Himalayas into Nepal.

But I was also a 41-year-old man who had lived alone most of my life, some of those years in wilderness. While the trek in Nepal with my fiancée and her sister and parents had been lovely, when they opted for a couple of days of sightseeing in a national park, I welcomed the idea of peeling off with one of the porters, who was also a river guide. Which is how he and I came to be standing between the river and the road at 8 a.m. one day in February, fog rising off the water, wearing wet suits and helmets and life jackets, flagging down a rickety local bus and hoisting plastic kayaks onto its roof.

A few hours earlier, we had arrived at a riverside restaurant at first light after two hours of winding roads from Katmandu in a shared taxi. We sat in the cold mist and ordered milk chai.

"Mark G, what will we eat?" Saroj asked. In Nepali, you add "gee" after someone's name as a sign of respect.

He wasn't asking for my order as much as my prediction. I said, "Chapatis and eggs?"

Saroj exchanged a volley of Nepalese with the waiter and then announced, "We will eat noodles."

Saroj and I had been hiking together for 19 days. He was from a village but had worked as a river guide for seven years and lived in Katmandu. Many Nepalese men appear to Americans as extremely polite, shy to the point of deferential, quick to smile. Saroj not so much. He wore shoulder-length hair tied in a knot, smoked cigarettes, spoke little and smiled slightly while bemusement flashed in his eyes. He spoke English in blunt declarative lines that could sound surly, all of which is to say he acted like almost every river guide I have ever known. When I had first asked him about guiding on the gentle rivers in India, his eyes lighted up. "Ah, very difficult to make Sikhs wear helmet on turban."

After our noodles we changed into river gear, and I climbed aboard the bus while Saroj rode on the roof minding the boats. We contoured along the steep flank of river canyon terraced for farm plots like a big green wedding cake. In the villages, brick structures clung to the hillside, smoke curling from stove chimneys, and schoolchildren in uniform raced to jump aboard. After half an hour, the driver stopped and ordered everyone off. Saroj lowered the kayaks and climbed down.

"Bandh," he said. It was early 2012, and the latest round of government price hikes on natural gas had sent Nepal into turmoil. Students shut down the highways in what is called a bandh — a cross between a protest rally and a sit-in. Gas lines in Katmandu wrapped around the block, and power outages crippled the city every day for six hours or more. Among the many plots to produce electricity was a proposal to dam the very river we were approaching.

"Now we walk," Saroj said.

We shouldered the heavy boats and trudged, paddles in hand, through the next village, where adults and children regarded us as spacemen. A blacksmith hammered metal in his shop. After a mile Saroj said, "We launch here," and we crossed a delta of cobble and garbage and lifted the boats over boulders to the river. The plan was to warm up on the easy section, then drive farther up the canyon to run the hard stuff in the morning.

The water was low, and the rapids were rocky but not fierce. Waterfalls poured down from the steep jungle off sheer rock walls. Unlike wild places in America, people actually live here: we paddled past stone homes jutting over the banks, and men swimming while carrying a rope across the current to haul felled trees. The rapids were choked with boulders, and Saroj and I snaked between them without so much as an Eskimo roll, which was fine with me: the water was cold and I had no dry-top with rubber gaskets on throat and wrist to keep warm and dry. Saroj lent me his own life jacket, and I ended up wearing a farmer-john wet suit, three layers of fleece and a windbreaker — warm enough as long as you didn't submerge.


17.36 | 0 komentar | Read More

In Transit Blog: F.A.A. May Relax Restrictions on Electronic Devices on Planes

If you're reading this just as the flight attendants are making the "shut down your portable electronic devices" announcement, take heart. Soon you may not have to speed-read your final words before taking off. The F.A.A. is considering loosening its ban on portable electronic devices during takeoff and landing, Nick Bilton and Jad Mouawad report. That's right. You and your fellow passengers may be able to keep on texting and e-mailing and shopping and playing video games until you're above the clouds. A decision is expected in September.
17.36 | 0 komentar | Read More

In Transit Blog: Tapping Artisanal Beers and Booze at Hotel Bars

Hotel restaurants have long poured private label wines. But with the rise of artisan distilling and craft brewing, bespoke selections are now the toast of hotel bars around the world.

In southern Brazil, Ponta dos Ganchos commissions three distinct blends of cachaca, aged two to eight years, from Adega Scherer distiller, available in caipirinhas as well as neat  at the beach resort.

In the United States, the Brown Palace Hotel and Spa in Denver recently teamed with local Wynkoop Brewing Company to create a series of cask beers using ingredients specific to the hotel, including honey produced from rooftop beehives.

The Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston recently debuted its new Oak Long Bar Blend, a bourbon with notes of vanilla and port from small batch producer Angel's Envy, at its Oak Long Bar + Kitchen.

Perhaps most impressively, 10 years ago, in anticipation of its 25th anniversary this year, the Wauwinet on Nantucket Island bought a proprietary barrel of single-malt whiskey from the island's Triple Eight Distillery; it's now available as the resort's unique 10-year-old Woody 25. Guests can sample it at the Wauwinet bar or order a 750-milliliter bottle through room service for $250.


17.36 | 0 komentar | Read More

Frugal Traveler: In Europe, a Few Coins for a Wealth of Culture

Written By wartini cantika on Sabtu, 22 Juni 2013 | 17.35

Lourdes Segade for The New York Times; Djamila Grossman for The New York Times; Jock Fistick for The New York Times

Left to right: outside a small performance space at Mercat de les Flors in Barcelona; Volkesbühne in Berlin; inside the Kaaitheater in Brussels.

I figured I might someday take an amibitious cultural jaunt through Europe, catching a classical concert at La Monnaie in Brussels, a musical off Las Ramblas in Barcelona, and cutting-edge dance performances in Berlin — all from the best seats in the house. I just imagined it would have wait until I retired as the Frugal Traveler columnist and retrained as, say, a plastic surgeon to the stars.

Connect With Us on Twitter

Follow @nytimestravel for tips, features and photography from all over the globe.

Djamila Grossman for The New York Times

Tending bar at the Madame Claude bar and performance space in Berlin.

In this job, experiencing European culture has typically meant going to museums, preferably on days when they are free. For performing arts I've settled for concerts-in-the-park, and waited in line for hours for a heavily discounted, obstructed-view nosebleed seat to Chekhov's "Three Sisters" at the Comédie-Française in Paris.

But it turns out that to gorge on performing arts in Europe, you don't have to book philharmonic tickets months in advance or ask the concierge to procure a last-minute box at the opera. Instead, you seek out the kind of performances that you (or starving artists you know) might see in your own city: alternative arts in settings not necessarily promoted at the tourist information booth and not always listed in your guidebook. In other words: Europe, Off Broadway style. Not only will this approach save you money — lots and lots, in fact — but it will also grant you access to an intimate, often quirky side of cities usually reserved for discerning residents and a smattering of traveling artists hooked into the local scene through friends and colleagues.

In May, I spent three long weekends in three cities — Barcelona, Berlin and Brussels — all of which are popular with tourists and have affordable and thriving arts options. I decided to see as many shows as I could, as long as they were all under 20 euros (a little over $25 at $1.28 to the euro).

My endeavor did require a certain amount of intrepid travel, though not the kind that involves eating ants or crossing rivers on makeshift rafts. Think, instead: combing through foreign-language listings using Google Translate and, inevitably, sitting through a dud performance or two. The payoff, though, was a dazzling and utterly diverse set of shows ranging from the nearly mainstream (but still cheap) to the over-the-top and provocative, all taken in amid crowds of local artists and art lovers — and very few tourists.

Barcelona

Not only is the cultural scene in Barcelona not particularly international, it's often not even Spanish. The city's emphasis on its Catalan heritage and language can make it feel the most insular, but can also be an advantage: those looking for an immersive experience need look no further.

"What Barcelona longs to be is a city of creativity and innovation, especially if you compare it with other cities in Spain," said Francesc Casadesús Calvo, the director of Mercat de les Flors, what a friend in town called "the temple of dance." "Catalans are not afraid of new ideas, and we love the sparks that provoke innovation."

Mercat de les Flors resembles not so much a temple as an airplane hangar inside a cathedral. The cavernous performance space is housed in a beautiful building constructed for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition and later used as a flower market. The show I attended there was a four-part, 16.50-euro performance by IT Dansa, a company of dancers who come to Barcelona from around the world to study, now celebrating its 100th anniversary.

It was my first contemporary dance performance in years, so the notes I took were an exercise in clichés — "raw emotion," "lithe bodies," that sort of thing. But two pieces stood out: "In Memoriam," by the Belgian choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, which featured mesmerizingly violent movements performed by dancers who appeared connected by string; it put Hollywood fight scenes to shame. And "Whim," by Alex Ekman, a Swede, was a raucous and hilarious ensemble free-for-all set to a soundtrack that ranged from Nina Simone's version of "My Baby Just Cares for Me" to Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" — not a musical selection I expected to find in Barcelona. Strangely enough for a dance performance, language was a slight barrier: the program was in Catalan.

The regional pride that pervades the city is perfectly understandable in an area with a fervent independence movement, but it can be a hurdle of sorts for tourists. After seeing a chamber choir performance of Catalan Baroque works at the smallest hall in the grand Palau de la Música Catalana (8 euros), I mentioned to a taxi driver in Spanish that I had enjoyed the concert but was sorry I couldn't understand what the director was telling the audience. "You were in the cradle of Catalan culture," he replied. "If he had spoken Spanish, people would have gotten up and left."

Seth Kugel is the Frugal Traveler columnist for the Times Travel section.


17.35 | 0 komentar | Read More
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