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Frugal Traveler: Churches and Cheap Seafood Off the Coast of Chile

Written By wartini cantika on Kamis, 31 Oktober 2013 | 17.36

Seth Kugel

The Church of San Francisco in Castro.

Around dusk on my last day in Chiloé, an archipelago just off the coast of southern Chile, I finally made it to the farthest point on the island of Lemuy, winding around sheep farms on tidy dirt roads to a little town called Detif, home of one of Chiloé's traditional wooden churches, which are recognized as a World Heritage site by Unesco.

As is often the case with old churches in tiny villages, entry required finding the villager with the key. That villager, a woman named Griselda in a blue apron and not-very-recently-dyed auburn hair, turned out to run a little provisions store just across the street. As far as I could tell, it was the only business in town.

"Sorry to bother you so late," I said in Spanish, "but is it possible to see the church?"

I got the feeling she was thrilled to have a visitor, especially so late, and in the off-season. "Someone from another country is here to see the church!" she shouted to her husband as she fetched the key. She turned out to be a lovely woman and a knowledgeable resource. The head of the local church committee, she told me fishing, then a mussel farm, had upheld the economy; now it was largely pensioners, she said. (Her children were raising families elsewhere in Chiloé.)

Unlike the magnificent carved-wood interiors of other Chiloé churches I had seen, this one was homespun and whitewashed, with worn vestments of long gone priests lovingly displayed and icons of saints ready to be picked up and carried in the coming Christmas procession. Griselda told me that Mass is said once a month.

Chiloé (pronounced chill-oh-AY), which lies at about the midway point between Santiago and Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, has long been a beloved but distant and rustic getaway, favored by Chileans and backpackers but inconvenient for vacationers from farther away or with less time to spare. A grand effort to change that is underway: with a new airport obviating the bus-and-ferry trip from the mainland, boutique hotels and hostels supplementing the already large supply of guesthouses, and even a growing availability of espresso in what was once exclusively Nescafé territory, Chiloé is looking to challenge Patagonia and the Atacama Desert as Chile's go-to escapes.

Whether that's a good thing, it's not yet the case. There's hardly any way, for example, to examine the hundreds of lodging options on the island on Trip Advisor or Booking.com or Airbnb — which is why I had gone door to door, looking for housing options in Castro, Chiloé's largest city, best known for its palafitos, houses on stilts traditionally owned by fishermen but now frequently offering beds to sleep in.

Seeing a sign for Hospedaje (Lodging) at 547 Pedro Monti Street, I rang the bell. And rang again. I was about to leave when a window popped open and 75-year-old Sergio Cárdenas poked his head out. "Just a moment," he said. "I just need to put on some pants." He showed me around his home, which was still being repaired after a fire next door earlier this year (I also later found that the bathroom lacked hot water and wouldn't pass muster with most). When I asked him if he served breakfast, and he gave me a sad look. "But I'm all alone," he said. I dropped off my bags and set out to explore the islands.

Chiloé does not offer the shock-and-awe landscapes of Atacama or Patagonia; it is a place of subtler appeal, known for those charming wooden churches, palafitos, plentiful just-off-the-boat salmon and shellfish, indigenous-influenced crafts. It also has a vaguely separatist spirit: residents often call themselves Chilotes rather than Chileans, and maintain an understated independent spirit, like Texans without the bluster.

On my first day, I took an easy bus (1,500 pesos, about $3 at 508 pesos to the dollar) from Castro's antiquated but very functional bus terminal to Chiloé National Park. It was lovely if somewhat uneventful. There are well-maintained trails to the desolately beautiful coastline and through some of its quickly changing forests, with bilingual signs explaining the changing landscape. (Entrance is officially 1,500 pesos, but I didn't see a place to pay.)

But almost as lovely was the bus ride across the island. Chiloé's landscapes are wildly uneven without being dramatic; green hills and valleys and full of sheep, reminiscent of New Zealand. (When a man on the bus told me Chiloé does not have a professional soccer team, to me the reason became obvious: there was not enough flat land anywhere for a pitch.) This time of year, there's an added splash of color: bright yellow flowers known locally as espinilla coat the landscape, great for photographs but bad for agriculture — the plant, Ulex europaeus, is actually an invasive weed the islanders could do without.


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In Transit Blog: Hotel Yoga? Everyone’s Invited.

Yoga classes at hotels have long been a popular guest amenity, but now some properties are opening them up to the public as well.

The Beverly Hills Hotel and the Hotel Bel-Air, which are both Dorchester Collection properties in Los Angeles, have complimentary Saturday morning 60-minute classes (on Nov. 30, the classes will be at the Beverly Hills Hotel, and all other Saturdays through the end of the year, they will be at Hotel Bel-Air).

Participants are provided yoga mats and are also given free, freshly pressed juices.

The Palomar San Diego, a Kimpton property, has complimentary hourlong vinyasa-style classes on Wednesday evenings next to the rooftop pool and offers students beforehand a free healthy snack like a fruit kebab or a smoothie. The Tides Inn in Irvington, Va., offers 90-minute paddleboard yoga three times a week, where the poses are done on a paddleboard on Carter Creek adjacent to the hotel. The classes are free for guests, but nonguests must pay $40 to join.

The Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa in Lake Arrowhead, Calif., about 90 minutes from Los Angeles, has two to three yoga classes a day in different styles including restorative and power that guests can take free but cost $25 to $30 for everyone else. The price covers access to the spa facilities, which include a Jacuzzi, steam room and pool. The Z NYC Hotel in Long Island City in Queens also has seasonal 45-minute beginner yoga classes on its rooftop on weekend mornings, which cost $15 for guests and nonguests.

Hotels are trying to build a sense of community by opening yoga classes to the public, said Albert Herrera, the senior vice president for global product partnerships for the luxury travel network Virtuoso.

"We're seeing that today hotels want to be more than a place for guests," he said. "They want to be a local hangout. A yoga class is a great way to do that and also increases the chances that these locals will become aware of, and come in for, other offerings such as the restaurant or spa."


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In Transit Blog: You Make the Call: Inappropriate Travel Behavior

This week in the Travel section, Stephanie Rosenbloom tackled behavior on airplanes, examining why we act the way we do while traveling. (Bare feet anyone?)

To get you involved in the discussion, we posed this question: What behavior have you observed while traveling that seemed inappropriate?

Here are some of the responses we received on Twitter. (You can read more reaction in the comments section of the article.)

@nytimestravel Businessman had 3 vodka/orange juice on a 45 min flight. Flash forward to him standing in front of me at rental car line.

— Ian (@1anMcB) 29 Oct 13

@nytimestravel people who place their carry-ons above other peoples seats near the front of the cabin instead of above their own seats.

— Robert Coon (@robertwcoon) 29 Oct 13

@nytimestravel Conducting personal hygiene in public. At train station waiting area, a girl hit me up for floss (and proceeded to use it).

— i blog spain (@iblogspain) 29 Oct 13

@nytimestravel don't dye your hair red in the hostel sink at 2am. please. don't.

— Olivia (@livlivinglife) 29 Oct 13

@nytimestravel And the worst of the worst: Jr high/HS trips filling the entire plane, taking flash photo "selfies" and playing loud games.

— Vera Greene (@VeraGreene) 29 Oct 13

@nytimestravel Guy at a hostel who entered wrong room (mine) & got in the wrong bed (mine) wearing only a speedo …. #theworst #nothankyou

— Erin Shields (@erinkshields) 29 Oct 13

@nytimestravel woman loudly arguing on a plane to another person about how US is better than all other countries yikes! it was a long flight

— Naomi Prioleau (@naomiprioleau) 29 Oct 13


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Heads Up: In the Backwoods of Lost River, a Gay Retreat

Christopher Jackson

The Guesthouse Lost River, which opened in 1982 in West Virginia, played a role in attracting gay visitors to the area.

The beauty of Lost River — beyond its rolling green hills and picturesque grain silos and clear streams snaking through West Virginia's hardwood forests — is its surprising cosmopolitanism. The area, in the state's eastern panhandle and just two hours from Washington, is definitively the backwoods, with poultry farms and scant cellphone service and grocery-store cashiers who say "What's that?" when asked about organic milk.

Families have long been drawn to Lost River State Park, with its $5 horseback rides for children, easy hikes and the rural retreat of Robert E. Lee's father. The Trout Pond Recreation Area, Seneca Rocks and Smoke Hole caverns are a short drive away.

Lost River is also a major destination for gay tourists from Washington: a sort of Provincetown on the Potomac (the actual river is a tributary of the Potomac River).

"Lost River is definitely a talked-about place to go among the D.C. gay community," said Michael Cole-Schwartz, the communications director for the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights advocacy group. "It's nice to get away to the country without worrying about local attitudes that might be unfriendly toward gay people."

But even local officials acknowledge that West Virginia is not known as the most progressive of states. In the last presidential election President Obama got only 28.7 percent of the vote in Hardy County, Lost River's home.

"Live and let live" is how many locals view their relationship with the gay newcomers, said Diane Mathias, 44, who is gay and a lifelong resident of Lost River Valley. Ms. Mathias runs the Mathias Garage with her father in a nearby community.

"Some of the locals may say 'gay people are damned to hell' at church on Sunday, but they'll still come here Monday morning to get their oil changed," said Ms. Mathias, who said her regular customers know she is gay.

With the legalization of gay marriage in the District of Columbia and Maryland in recent years, more gay couples are holding their wedding receptions in Lost River. The growing gay presence also has helped the economy, as gay men and lesbians added businesses like the new Lost River Farmers Market and the Lost River Trading Post, an upscale store that opened in September in nearby Wardensville.

Lost River is one of four unincorporated communities in a judicial district with a total population of about 2,700. Its transformation began with the Guesthouse Lost River, which a local entrepreneur, Bob Dillard, opened more than 30 years ago. Reached by following a winding forest road off State Road 259 and turning left at the sign for Deer Spring Taxidermy, the Guesthouse has the feel of an upscale hunter's lodge with its stone hearths, pine walls, burgundy leather couches and the occasional antler chandelier. At the bar, mostly same-sex couples sip beer and cocktails with names like Lost River Kiss and Sex in the Mountains. The Guesthouse has a 24-hour gym and poolside bar.

"This was a safe place for people to come, and it was safe for me," said Mr. Dillard, a brawny 67-year-old who is gay. He moved to Lost River in 1978 after more than a decade abroad to help develop 2,400 acres that his brother's property development company had snapped up when a ski-resort corporation's plans to build there fell through.

"There was nothing here," said Mr. Dillard, looking out over five buildings and winding wisteria-covered walkways. When he opened the Guesthouse in 1982, there were just six rooms. There are now 18.

"Two or three couples would always be gay," he said. "Back then, in those Conestoga wagon days, I was always afraid some heterosexual couple was going to go ballistic on me, and there'd be a 'massacre at Lost River' kind of situation."

In 1984, to sidestep this potentially explosive situation, Mr. Dillard decided to make the Guesthouse an official gay establishment. He started advertising in the Washington Blade, a newspaper serving gay men and lesbians, transgender people and bisexuals. From then on, he said, "I had an incredible following of people, and I felt very comfortable because the heterosexuals who would come were friends with the gays who were coming."

Mr. Dillard sold the property in January 2012 and turned his full attention to real estate. He has developed and sold more than 400 homes in the Lost River Valley, the vast majority to gay couples.

Nothing much has changed at the Guesthouse under its new owners save the restaurant menu. But it's clear that attitudes toward gays continue to evolve.

"At my church, we have some people who will really voice their opinion about gays; they just cannot accept them and they don't want to try to understand them or have anything to do with them," said Evelyn Webster, 79, who has lived her whole life in Lost City, a community adjacent to Lost River. "But in the last 20 years, I've seen these feelings change a lot. I think because so many people have come out of the closet, and many of us find that we have someone in our family or a close friend who is gay."


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Q&A: ‘Sightseeing at 26.2 Miles at a Time’

Written By wartini cantika on Rabu, 30 Oktober 2013 | 17.35

Hannibal Hanschke/European Pressphoto Agency

Participants in the Berlin Marathon on Sept. 29.

Among the throngs of runners crossing the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on Sunday for the New York City Marathon, a fair number of them will travel not to Boston for their next race, but to lesser-known, far-flung destinations like Napa Valley, Mont-St.-Michel, France, even the savanna of South Africa.

"Sightseeing at 26.2 miles at a time" is how Thom Gilligan of Marathon Tours & Travel described this trend of traveling to marathons.

"There's no better way to break through the touristic veneer of a destination than to participate, elbow to elbow, with local people," he said.

Below are edited excerpts from a conversation with Mr. Gilligan on traveling to marathons, notable or exotic.

Q. What should you keep in mind when traveling to a big city marathon?

A. The World Marathon Majors, which includes Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York City, these are mega-races, with anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 runners. That brings a whole number of concerns like getting to the start, getting your number. In New York, for example, you have to get bused out to Fort Wadsworth in Staten Island, and sometimes you're out there for two, three hours. But with that, you get the bells and whistles — music, large crowds supporting you, great finish lines, bragging rights.

Each of these events has certain requirements for entry, so you must check beforehand. London has a lottery, and an American could sign up for it, but it's a long shot because most of the places are reserved for British residents. Berlin and Tokyo have lottery systems, too.

That's why it's best to go through an international tour partner — I.T.P. — who has a block of guaranteed entries along with the packages that can include flights, hotels, sightseeing, a prerace pasta dinner. For London, we offer a minimum three-night package starting at $985 a person based on double occupancy, which includes the entry fee, but not airfare.

I.T.P.'s also get group rates on hotels, and this way you get a core group of people that you can sightsee with, train with.

Any marathons in exotic locations that you recommend?

Antarctica speaks for itself. You're running on King George Island, the largest of the South Shetland Islands, on an area called the Fildes Peninsula. It's a rough terrain; quite often you're running on ice and snow, a lot of rolling hills, steep, gnarly ups and downs.

The Safaricom Marathon in Kenya, you're running in a game reserve among the wildlife. It's hilly, a mile-high altitude, so it's cool in the morning, high 50s, and by midmorning it gets up into the low 80s. The Great Wall Marathon is another destination; the Australian Outback Marathon by Ayers Rock, another.

Do you recommend going through an operator for these far-off marathons?

Some of them, like the Great Wall and Antarctica, you have to because they are put on by travel agencies. Because of their location, there's a lot of travel details — the only way, for example, to get to Antarctica, which we host, is by chartered ship — and the agency handles those things.

Any lesser-known marathons that are worth the trip?

Reykjavik, in August, is one of those great little boutique destinations. Bermuda in January; you're running past pastel-colored homes, golf courses, bays and inlets.

Some of the security restrictions New York's marathon organizers are taking in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings include searching all bags near the course and screening family members at the finish line. Will this dampen the atmosphere? 

From what I saw at the Chicago Marathon this month, the security measures are done in a subtle way and don't take anything away from the experience.


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Check-In: Hotel Review: The Marker Hotel in Dublin

Doreen Carvajal/The New York Times

The checkerboard facade of the hotel.

From 189 euros for a double, or about $250, at $1.33 to the euro, which includes access to a spa, indoor pool and steam room.

Basics

The 187-room Marker Hotel rises like an upended checkerboard from Dublin's Grand Canal Square. It is part of a vibrant, new commercial district in the city's docklands that has transformed from a neighborhood of coal merchants to the "silicon docks" outpost for Google's gleaming compound of office towers. The six-story geometric design is inspired by Ireland's rugged landscape of bare rocks. But the Marker's facade also unintentionally reflects the nation's checkered past through boom and bust. After six years of construction delays during Ireland's economic downturn, it finally opened in April on a street named Misery Hill — a legacy of when the hangman plied his trade there.

Location

The luxury hotel is steps from the glass diamond-shaped Bord Gais Energy Theater, which is mounting productions like Riverdance. A pedestrian path made of bright red resin and glass leads toward the waterfront along the Liffey River. The hotel is about a 10-minute cab ride to Grafton Street and its bustling promenade of shops, and within walking distance of the National Gallery of Ireland.

The Room

Our room faced a towering brick docklands chimney, a remnant of the industrial era now surrounded by a pocket park. It seemed to blend with the heather gray and mustard of the bedroom and its comfortable king bed draped in stitched quilts. The Wi-Fi connection was speedy, and the desk illuminated with lamps by Philippe Starck.

The Bathroom

It was spacious, with cream-colored walls and a floor of Italian Carrara marble. An enormous Villeroy & Boch sink was set in a marble counter stocked with toiletries from Malin + Goetz, which almost made me hungry with cilantro hair conditioner, peppermint shampoo and rum body wash.

Dining

We skipped room service for the rooftop bar with a 360-degree view to the river and the sea. Its comfortable couches get crowded with happy-hour Google refugees, but hotel guests have priority. The Singapore Slings are about $11, but the sunsets (and memories) are worth the price. Inside the hotel is a brasserie that emphasizes Irish cooking and offers a two-course pretheater menu for about 25 euros. The executive chef, Gareth Mullins, has been making local waves with his cronuts, a hybrid of croissants and doughnuts.

Amenities

The Marker has mastered the homey touches, offering free tart lemonade in the lobby and free use of retro Johnny Loco cruiser bikes for impromptu rides on the square. It has an emerald indoor pool that I found a little too dark for my taste, and a spa offering treatments like a moor mud wrap at about 140 euros.

Bottom Line

This is an urban oasis for travelers with quick access to Dublin's central core and the bonus of a neighboring theater and promenades. The cheerful staff strives to please and mostly succeeds, with some exceptions like a waiter who ignored us until we ordered at the bar ourselves. Overall, the Marker is a tranquil retreat to rest and savor the sea gulls circling the river on a Dublin evening with a pint of pale ale.

The Marker Hotel, Grand Canal Square, Docklands; (353-1) 687-5100; themarkerhoteldublin.com.


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Bites: Restaurant Report: Lievito Madre al Mare in Naples, Italy

Lievito Madre

One of the pizzas at the restaurant.

Pizza-making runs deep in the Sorbillo family DNA: dozens of members of this Neapolitan clan have become renowned pizzaioli in their home city and beyond. Perhaps the best known is Gino Sorbillo, a 39-year-old business school graduate whose father was one of 21 pizza-baking siblings.

He built his reputation as a world-class pizzaiolo at his own Pizzeria Gino Sorbillo, on Via dei Tribunali in Naples's compact historic center, the epicenter of Neapolitan pizza production, where microclimate and microbial terroir (the unique outcome yeast produces in a specific place) are credited — along with passed-down skill and quality ingredients — for creating the finest examples of the city's thick-rimmed wood-fired pizzas.

At his newest venture, Lievito Madre al Mare, which opened in June, Mr. Sorbillo brings his skills to the cusp of the posh Chiaia district and just yards from the Bay of Naples. The location offers pleasant breezes and sprawling views across the bay to Capri.

Lievito Madre is an experiment of sorts. "After nearly a century of the Sorbillo family making traditional pizza in the center of Naples, I wanted to try out a new model," he said, "one that was more modern and more forward looking and business driven."

The menu is divided into lists of seven — starters, pizzas, craft beers and desserts. The pies are each made with sourdough starter — lievito madre — then leavened for at least eight hours at room temperature, which can reach 95 degrees in the summer.

During a visit in August, I paired the Casa Sorbillo, a beer made exclusively for the restaurant by the Campanian beermaker Karma, with potato croquettes, fried pasta fritters and a "Cetara" pizza topped with tomatoes, black olives, capers, smoked buffalo's milk provolone, oregano and anchovies. It had a thick, spongy rim and overly thin, nearly transparent center. Mr. Sorbillo later explained that the meager center was caused by a faulty oven. To correct such cooking irregularities, a new oven was built and inaugurated in late September.

Lievito Madre may still be working out the kinks, but its location and spectacular views have already positioned it as one of the city's busiest pizzerias. Mr. Sorbillo hopes the new oven will propel Lievito Madre's pizza to the list of Naples's best. 

Lievito Madre al Mare, Via Partenope, 1; (39-81) 1933-1280. Average meal for two, without drinks or tip, is about 25 euros, or $33 at $1.33 to the euro.


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In Transit Blog: Dancin’ in the Aisles: Virgin Gives Its Safety Message Some Song and Dance

Singing. Dancing. Life vests.

Virgin America is introducing a musical version of its in-flight safety video.

Beginning Friday, passengers on domestic Virgin flights will be treated to Federal Aviation Administration safety regulations set entirely to music in a video directed by Jon M. Chu ("G.I. Joe: Retaliation," "Step Up 3D") with music and lyrics by Todrick Hall, a former "American Idol" contestant, and choreography by Christopher Scott of "So You Think You Can Dance" and Jamal Sims, who helped create films like "Step Up: Revolution" and the recent "Footloose."

"The most important aspect of any safety video is that people actually pay attention to it," Steve Forte, the chief operating officer at Virgin America, said in a release. "Using the universal languages of music and dance, we think even more people will pay attention, and hopefully be entertained at the same time."

To help promote the release, the airline is giving customers 20 percent off flights purchased on Tuesday only (the code is "GETDOWN") for travel Nov. 4 through Dec. 17.

Virgin has also partnered with Instagram to find talent for the next version of the video. Dancers must film their best freestyle moves and upload them to Instagram to be considered. Entry forms and guidelines can be found online at vxsafetydance.com/entries/add/class:enter.


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Heads Up: Competing to Tell Jack the Ripper’s Story

Written By wartini cantika on Selasa, 29 Oktober 2013 | 17.35

Just before 9 p.m. on a recent Thursday in London, five guided tour groups, about 150 people in all, converged on a nondescript courtyard on the eastern edge of the central financial district. Some tour guides wore 19th-century top hats and long, dark cloaks. Others grasped photographs of mortuary corpses. And each guide jostled for the best spot: near the tiny flower bed in the far corner where, in 1888, Jack the Ripper murdered a prostitute named Catherine Eddowes — slitting her throat, slashing her face, pulling out her innards and walking off with her uterus.

This fall marks the 125th anniversary of the Whitechapel murders, carried out by Jack the Ripper, perhaps the world's most infamous serial killer. So many years later, interest in the Ripper endures. "It's probably the greatest whodunit in the history of crime," said Richard Cobb, a beefy northern Irishman who operates the Jack the Ripper Tour, a histrionics-heavy production.

The demand for, and supply of, these tours have increased in the lead-up to the anniversary. And the competition between tour operators has intensified. With about 15 companies in the game, novelty is no longer a sufficient customer draw. One operator boasts that its guides are "all retired British Army and Royal Marine Sergeant Majors." Mr. Cobb has trademarked something called Ripper-Vision: essentially, a hand-held projector that flashes grisly mortuary photographs onto the pavement.

"It's become a big business," Mr. Cobb said. "Loads of companies looking to make a fast buck ... trying to get up with the big boys." Every night in what is now hipster-vogue East London, between 7 and 9 p.m., a gore-drenched battle for tourist dollars rages.

In 1888, things were not looking good in the East London district of Whitechapel. Even as Queen Victoria's empire was marinating in riches, the slums in London's East End were overcrowded. Ladies of the night roamed the cobblestone streets. And then Jack the Ripper struck. His heinous murders, five prostitutes in 12 weeks (the victim count is sometimes disputed), drew the world's gaze. He was never caught.

Today, many tour guides compete on the strength of their in-house "Ripperologists," often published authors with blogs and YouTube channels and contributions in the Britain-based Ripperologist magazine. Richard Jones, founder of Discovery Tours, has led Ripper tours since 1982. "I've probably done about 9,000," he speculated. A former postman, Mr. Jones now publishes Ripper history books and articles and appeared in an informative DVD accompanying the 2001 movie "From Hell," which cast Johnny Depp as Inspector Fred Abberline.

Donald Rumbelow of London Walks is another Ripperologist — though he bristles at the designation. "I have a lot of other interests," he said over a noontime glass of wine at the Ten Bells, where Annie Chapman was reputedly seen boozing before her murder. "Jack pays for my pleasures, as it were." Mr. Rumbelow is a retired police officer who used to patrol Mitre Square, where Catherine Eddowes met her fate. He prides himself on his bare-bones tour guiding: no photos, no hyperbolic hushes, "and I won't dress up."

New rivals now bring flash and frill — and turf wars. "I've had a lot of run-ins," Mr. Cobb admitted. Stylistically, he opts for the big personality — costumes, actors and "CSI crime scene-style descriptions" of limbs askew and organs littering the streets.

These days, gaggles of tourists pay £8 to £10 ($12.50 to $15.50, at $1.55 to the pound) to spend about two hours retracing Jack's steps. Popular stops include Dorset Street, where Mary Kelly had her skin peeled off in the early hours of Nov. 9, and Wentworth Street, where the Ripper scrawled a cryptic note on the wall in chalk.

All this has been tough on residents who, year round, find their vintage shop- and cafe-studded neighborhood transformed into a circus. But Kathryn Olivarius, 24, a Ph.D. student who lives above one stop on Gunthorpe Street, often listens to the tours from her balcony, over a glass of wine: "I just hope people remember that these women who Ripper killed were real people who lived extremely hard lives."

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: October 27, 2013

An earlier version of this article misstated the role that Johnny Depp played in the movie "From Hell." He played Inspector Fred Abberline, not Jack the Ripper.


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In Transit Blog: Walkabout: A Dubai Airport’s Outsize Ambition; Ellis Island, Still Wounded, Reopens

Walkabout

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

Sizing Up Though it's still years away from completion, Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai expects to become world's largest airport. Currently operating just one runway, Al Maktoum plans to ultimately operate five runways with an annual capacity of 160 million passengers. (CNN)

Soft Reopening Although much of the damage Ellis Island and its immigration museum suffered from Hurricane Sandy remains unrepaired, the National Park Service announced that it would reopen the island to visitors today. (The New York Times)

Fruit for Your Flight? JetBlue announced plans to open a pop-up farmers market at its Kennedy Airport terminal starting tomorrow. (Slate)

Haunted Trails In Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., where the tour guides say "Halloween is our Christmas," the fall season is even busier than usual, thanks to a new Fox series that plays off the legend of the Headless Horseman. (NBC)


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In Transit Blog: A Dubai Hotel With Villas Over the Water

Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas, the upscale Bangkok-based chain, opened its first location in Dubai last month, the Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa.

The 293-room resort is on the eastern crescent of the Palm Jumeirah and has 12 glass-floored overwater villas — the first in Dubai — where guests can glimpse the marine life such as sea turtles and schools of red snapper. There is also a 10-treatment-room spa with a Thai massage suite, six dining options including an Asian restaurant and an afternoon tea lounge, and the option to get around the property in either three-wheeler tuktuks or on boats to cross the several lagoons.

The property's general manager, Jean-Francois Laurent, said that the hotel captures both the big city and resort experience. "We're on a crescent and surrounded by lush vegetation, but the view of modern Dubai is always in the background," he said in a phone interview.


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In Transit Blog: Calendar: Coming Events in Florida; Turkey; and Wisconsin

Sarasota Chalk Festival, Florida More than 500 artists will contribute works to a street gallery in Sarasota that will eventually vanish. This year, participants will use pastel chalk to create images along the pavement on a patriotic "Legacy of Valor" theme (above, chalk work by Valentina Sforzini). The free event, from Nov. 13 to 18, also features musical performers, an area devoted to children's works and a vertical gallery of street art on approved walls and other surfaces.

Art and Design, Turkey Istanbul will host a series of art and design events in November. Art Istanbul, a weeklong celebration of contemporary art and culture from Nov. 4 to 10, will feature cultural activities, discussions and education programs in conjunction with the city's museums, cultural centers and galleries, as well as with Turkey's leading international art fair, Contemporary Istanbul. From Nov. 7 to 10, painting, sculpture and video works from 92 galleries by more than 650 artists from 21 countries will be exhibited at the fair. Trends in the world of design will be the focus at Istanbul Design Week, from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1.

Old-World Crafts, Wisconsin Visitors to Eagle, Wis., during November can learn historic crafts or trades at Old World Wisconsin, an outdoor living history museum. The new preholiday Heritage Arts Workshops, held every Saturday of the month, include skills demonstrated at the museum, like blacksmithing; Norwegian spoon carving; rosemaling (decorative painting); and wood-stove cooking from Polish, German, Finnish, Irish and Danish menus. Classes range from $35 to $160.


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Personal Journeys: Off Ireland, a Rugged Journey to Remote Ruins

Written By wartini cantika on Senin, 28 Oktober 2013 | 17.35

James Sparshatt/Newscom

A hiker on Skellig Michael.

If anyone can explain why 10,000 people each year make the stomach-churning passage to Skellig Michael, a desolate rock pinnacle eight miles off Ireland's southwest coast, John O'Shea can.

From spring to early fall for the last 15 years, the ruddy-cheeked Kerryman has ferried passengers across the roiling Atlantic from Derrynane Harbour to Skellig Michael aboard his stripped-down fishing trawler, one of only 14 boats authorized to make the trip. If conditions permit a landing on the 54-acre crag, and often they don't, passengers must then hop from a pitching boat onto a concrete quay and scale 618 stone steps. The steps are rough, narrow and slippery when damp, which they usually are, without so much as a flimsy handrail as a barrier between you and oblivion hundreds of feet below. And all this to view a scattering of ruins below the 714-foot summit.

Why would anybody brave such a journey?

"I guess they're trying to figure out what those guys were doing out there," Mr. O'Shea said as he set off with me, eight other passengers and four of his beloved mutt terriers under a steely sky last fall.

"Those guys" were monks who used to live on this remote rock, from A.D. 600 to 1200, according to estimates, and they were why I had come, too. Physical traces of that community remain, battered by wind and rain but still clinging to the upper reaches of the island: carved Celtic crosses marking graves; the ruins of a small church; a primitive oratory and a few beehive-shaped monastic cells painstakingly built of mortarless, flat stones stacked in ever-constricting circles. They were relics of a time before rationalism ruled the Western world when blind faith in the divine was the pole star of life.

For centuries this monastic community bore witness to just how tenacious we can be in pursuit of the divine. According to Unesco, which in 1996 bestowed world heritage status on Skellig Michael, the island "illustrates, as no other site can, the extremes of a Christian monasticism characterizing much of North Africa, the Near East and Europe." Separated from the rest of humanity by howling winds and treacherous seas, the island served the same function as any other monastery: providing a mystical beacon, a clarion call, to guide the world toward God.

During the hour and three-quarters it took to cross through licorice-black seas, I got to know the other passengers, all Irish and all first-timers to Skellig Michael. Most of us sat under the open sky on backless wooden benches that lined the deck's perimeter. The light was flat, shadowless, the boat vibrated from the engine's noisy thrum, and the wind smelled of seaweed and salt. Somewhere ahead Skellig Michael was shrouded in low clouds and vaporous marine air.

"Skellig Michael is on our Irish bucket list," said one man, half of a 40-something couple from Dublin who were both accountants, wore matching jackets and sometimes finished each other's sentences. Another husband-and-wife pair announced that they were on a birding trip. (They already had one sighting from the ship: a majestic northern gannet with a six-foot wingspan, gliding silently overhead like a predator drone.) A university student from Cork in sunflower yellow jeans and blue patent leather high-top sneakers who said that he was nursing a hangover spent much of the passage poring over schematics of Skellig Michael in a hardback book he had lugged aboard. "Skellig Michael somehow seems a part of who we Irish are," he said, shivering because he had worn a T-shirt with no jacket.

And there was an elderly man in rumpled clothes and a tweed cap, accompanied by a friend who resembled him and by his daughter, a 50-something blonde with sparkly gold sandals and red toenails who arrived 30 minutes late for the boat, latte and iPhone in hand. "I've been wanting to see Skellig Michael all me life," he said excitedly. "Surely it's a holy place."


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In Transit Blog: The Latest Getaway Holiday? Halloween

Halloween is no longer just one night of dressing up and eating too much candy on a school night. Like most holidays, it's been amplified with a monthlong roster of events aimed at kids both young and old. For travelers, that means sweet deals from hotels and attractions looking to capitalize on those who want to celebrate all things darkly hallowed.

New Orleans may be the shooting location for the FX network's popular thriller "American Horror Story: Coven," but the city's roots in dark magic are as long as the line to get into VooDoo Fest. The annual music festival takes place Nov. 1 to 3, with Pearl Jam and the Cure headlining. But for weekenders, the highlight may be the festival's partnerships with local hotels and airlines, which are offering ticket holders discounts on rooms and flights. More details can be found at worshipthemusic.com/travel.

Or, for a an elegant lesson in New Orleans's darker culture, the Hotel Monteleone's Criollo Restaurant is to serve a "Legend of the Rou-Ga-Roux" dinner on Oct. 30, honoring the folklore of the Acadian werewolf.

The dinner, $90, includes a five-course meal that includes black grouper cheeks and cane-marinated pork tenderloin, with spirits, or rather drinks, care of Donner-Peltier Distillers, the maker of Rougaroux Full Moon Dark Rum and other liquors. The hotel itself, like most New Orleans accommodations, is said to be haunted.

In San Diego, the Marriott Del Mar is offering guests a Halloween Fun Parking Package on Thursdays through Sundays until Nov. 2. Starting at $144 a night, it includes a deluxe room with complimentary parking and free shuttle service to and from the city's annual Scream Zone at the Del Mar fairgrounds. One of the largest Halloween events in Southern California, Scream Zone features a giant zombie paintball challenge, a haunted hayride to Zombie Town, a House of Horror and a giant indoor maze.

Also on select nights through Nov. 2, Universal Studios, Orlando, is offering a Gory Getaway package that combines a hotel stay with tickets to the theme park and Universal's Halloween Horror Nights which, this year, will feature shows and attractions themed around the AMC television show "The Walking Dead" and movies like "Resident Evil" and "The Rocky Horror Picture Show."

Packages start at $299 per adult for a three-night stay at the Best Western Plus Orlando, or $605 to stay on site at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Studios and include a two-day park pass, a CityWalk Party pass and one night's admission to Halloween Horror Nights. Further discounts are available to Florida residents.


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In Transit Blog: New Bolt Service on the West Coast

Bolt Bus, the intercity bus line and transportation solution for cash-strapped college students and thrifty business travelers alike, is expanding its service to include three more cities on the West Coast. On Oct. 31, the big orange buses will begin a new route with stops in Los Angeles, San Jose and Oakland, Calif. In honor of the occasion, the company is selling one-way tickets on the new route for $1 to passengers who book travel within the first four days of service, Oct. 31 to Nov. 3.

Bolt, which is owned and operated by the Greyhound Lines bus company, began service in the Northeast in 2008. Last year company expanded to include routes in the Pacific Northwest, from Seattle to Vancouver, British Columbia.

Customer response to the service in the Pacific Northwest was "overwhelming," Alexandra Pedrini, a spokeswoman for Greyhound, said in an e-mail. "With such a high population density in the state and great locations to visit, it was a natural move to bring service to Californians," she said.

Passengers can expect the usual 14 inches of legroom, leather seats, power outlets and free Wi-Fi on the new buses, as well as reserved seating, if tickets are booked online. The frequent-rider rewards program is as simple as a coffee card: buy eight one-way trips and get the ninth free, no restrictions.

Avoiding traffic, on the other hand, may not be as easy.


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Heads Up: Competing to Tell Jack the Ripper’s Story

Just before 9 p.m. on a recent Thursday in London, five guided tour groups, about 150 people in all, converged on a nondescript courtyard on the eastern edge of the central financial district. Some tour guides wore 19th-century top hats and long, dark cloaks. Others grasped photographs of mortuary corpses. And each guide jostled for the best spot: near the tiny flower bed in the far corner where, in 1888, Jack the Ripper murdered a prostitute named Catherine Eddowes — slitting her throat, slashing her face, pulling out her innards and walking off with her uterus.

This fall marks the 125th anniversary of the Whitechapel murders, carried out by Jack the Ripper, perhaps the world's most infamous serial killer. So many years later, interest in the Ripper endures. "It's probably the greatest whodunit in the history of crime," said Richard Cobb, a beefy northern Irishman who operates the Jack the Ripper Tour, a histrionics-heavy production.

The demand for, and supply of, these tours have increased in the lead-up to the anniversary. And the competition between tour operators has intensified. With about 15 companies in the game, novelty is no longer a sufficient customer draw. One operator boasts that its guides are "all retired British Army and Royal Marine Sergeant Majors." Mr. Cobb has trademarked something called Ripper-Vision: essentially, a hand-held projector that flashes grisly mortuary photographs onto the pavement.

"It's become a big business," Mr. Cobb said. "Loads of companies looking to make a fast buck ... trying to get up with the big boys." Every night in what is now hipster-vogue East London, between 7 and 9 p.m., a gore-drenched battle for tourist dollars rages.

In 1888, things were not looking good in the East London district of Whitechapel. Even as Queen Victoria's empire was marinating in riches, the slums in London's East End were overcrowded. Ladies of the night roamed the cobblestone streets. And then Jack the Ripper struck. His heinous murders, five prostitutes in 12 weeks (the victim count is sometimes disputed), drew the world's gaze. He was never caught.

Today, many tour guides compete on the strength of their in-house "Ripperologists," often published authors with blogs and YouTube channels and contributions in the Britain-based Ripperologist magazine. Richard Jones, founder of Discovery Tours, has led Ripper tours since 1982. "I've probably done about 9,000," he speculated. A former postman, Mr. Jones now publishes Ripper history books and articles and appeared in an informative DVD accompanying the 2001 movie "From Hell," which cast Johnny Depp as Inspector Fred Abberline.

Donald Rumbelow of London Walks is another Ripperologist — though he bristles at the designation. "I have a lot of other interests," he said over a noontime glass of wine at the Ten Bells, where Annie Chapman was reputedly seen boozing before her murder. "Jack pays for my pleasures, as it were." Mr. Rumbelow is a retired police officer who used to patrol Mitre Square, where Catherine Eddowes met her fate. He prides himself on his bare-bones tour guiding: no photos, no hyperbolic hushes, "and I won't dress up."

New rivals now bring flash and frill — and turf wars. "I've had a lot of run-ins," Mr. Cobb admitted. Stylistically, he opts for the big personality — costumes, actors and "CSI crime scene-style descriptions" of limbs askew and organs littering the streets.

These days, gaggles of tourists pay £8 to £10 ($12.50 to $15.50, at $1.55 to the pound) to spend about two hours retracing Jack's steps. Popular stops include Dorset Street, where Mary Kelly had her skin peeled off in the early hours of Nov. 9, and Wentworth Street, where the Ripper scrawled a cryptic note on the wall in chalk.

All this has been tough on residents who, year round, find their vintage shop- and cafe-studded neighborhood transformed into a circus. But Kathryn Olivarius, 24, a Ph.D. student who lives above one stop on Gunthorpe Street, often listens to the tours from her balcony, over a glass of wine: "I just hope people remember that these women who Ripper killed were real people who lived extremely hard lives."

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: October 27, 2013

An earlier version of this article misstated the role that Johnny Depp played in the movie "From Hell." He played Inspector Fred Abberline, not Jack the Ripper.


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In Transit Blog: The Latest Getaway Holiday? Halloween

Written By wartini cantika on Minggu, 27 Oktober 2013 | 17.35

Halloween is no longer just one night of dressing up and eating too much candy on a school night. Like most holidays, it's been amplified with a monthlong roster of events aimed at kids both young and old. For travelers, that means sweet deals from hotels and attractions looking to capitalize on those who want to celebrate all things darkly hallowed.

New Orleans may be the shooting location for the FX network's popular thriller "American Horror Story: Coven," but the city's roots in dark magic are as long as the line to get into VooDoo Fest. The annual music festival takes place Nov. 1 to 3, with Pearl Jam and the Cure headlining. But for weekenders, the highlight may be the festival's partnerships with local hotels and airlines, which are offering ticket holders discounts on rooms and flights. More details can be found at worshipthemusic.com/travel.

Or, for a an elegant lesson in New Orleans's darker culture, the Hotel Monteleone's Criollo Restaurant is to serve a "Legend of the Rou-Ga-Roux" dinner on Oct. 30, honoring the folklore of the Acadian werewolf.

The dinner, $90, includes a five-course meal that includes black grouper cheeks and cane-marinated pork tenderloin, with spirits, or rather drinks, care of Donner-Peltier Distillers, the maker of Rougaroux Full Moon Dark Rum and other liquors. The hotel itself, like most New Orleans accommodations, is said to be haunted.

In San Diego, the Marriott Del Mar is offering guests a Halloween Fun Parking Package on Thursdays through Sundays until Nov. 2. Starting at $144 a night, it includes a deluxe room with complimentary parking and free shuttle service to and from the city's annual Scream Zone at the Del Mar fairgrounds. One of the largest Halloween events in Southern California, Scream Zone features a giant zombie paintball challenge, a haunted hayride to Zombie Town, a House of Horror and a giant indoor maze.

Also on select nights through Nov. 2, Universal Studios, Orlando, is offering a Gory Getaway package that combines a hotel stay with tickets to the theme park and Universal's Halloween Horror Nights which, this year, will feature shows and attractions themed around the AMC television show "The Walking Dead" and movies like "Resident Evil" and "The Rocky Horror Picture Show."

Packages start at $299 per adult for a three-night stay at the Best Western Plus Orlando, or $605 to stay on site at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Studios and include a two-day park pass, a CityWalk Party pass and one night's admission to Halloween Horror Nights. Further discounts are available to Florida residents.


17.35 | 0 komentar | Read More

Heads Up: Competing to Tell Jack the Ripper’s Story

Just before 9 p.m. on a recent Thursday in London, five guided tour groups, about 150 people in all, converged on a nondescript courtyard on the eastern edge of the central financial district. Some tour guides wore 19th-century top hats and long, dark cloaks. Others grasped photographs of mortuary corpses. And each guide jostled for the best spot: near the tiny flower bed in the far corner where, in 1888, Jack the Ripper murdered a prostitute named Catherine Eddowes — slitting her throat, slashing her face, pulling out her innards and walking off with her uterus.

This fall marks the 125th anniversary of the Whitechapel murders, carried out by Jack the Ripper, perhaps the world's most infamous serial killer. So many years later, interest in the Ripper endures. "It's probably the greatest whodunit in the history of crime," said Richard Cobb, a beefy northern Irishman who operates the Jack the Ripper Tour, a histrionics-heavy production.

The demand for, and supply of, these tours have increased in the lead-up to the anniversary. And the competition between tour operators has intensified. With about 15 companies in the game, novelty is no longer a sufficient customer draw. One operator boasts that its guides are "all retired British Army and Royal Marine Sergeant Majors." Mr. Cobb has trademarked something called Ripper-Vision: essentially, a hand-held projector that flashes grisly mortuary photographs onto the pavement.

"It's become a big business," Mr. Cobb said. "Loads of companies looking to make a fast buck ... trying to get up with the big boys." Every night in what is now hipster-vogue East London, between 7 and 9 p.m., a gore-drenched battle for tourist dollars rages.

In 1888, things were not looking good in the East London district of Whitechapel. Even as Queen Victoria's empire was marinating in riches, the slums in London's East End were overcrowded. Ladies of the night roamed the cobblestone streets. And then Jack the Ripper struck. His heinous murders, five prostitutes in 12 weeks (the victim count is sometimes disputed), drew the world's gaze. He was never caught.

Today, many tour guides compete on the strength of their in-house "Ripperologists," often published authors with blogs and YouTube channels and contributions in the Britain-based Ripperologist magazine. Richard Jones, founder of Discovery Tours, has led Ripper tours since 1982. "I've probably done about 9,000," he speculated. A former postman, Mr. Jones now publishes Ripper history books and articles and appeared in an informative DVD accompanying the 2001 movie "From Hell," which cast Johnny Depp as the Ripper.

Donald Rumbelow of London Walks is another Ripperologist — though he bristles at the designation. "I have a lot of other interests," he said over a noontime glass of wine at the Ten Bells, where Annie Chapman was reputedly seen boozing before her murder. "Jack pays for my pleasures, as it were." Mr. Rumbelow is a retired police officer who used to patrol Mitre Square, where Catherine Eddowes met her fate. He prides himself on his bare-bones tour guiding: no photos, no hyperbolic hushes, "and I won't dress up."

New rivals now bring flash and frill — and turf wars. "I've had a lot of run-ins," Mr. Cobb admitted. Stylistically, he opts for the big personality — costumes, actors and "CSI crime scene-style descriptions" of limbs askew and organs littering the streets.

These days, gaggles of tourists pay £8 to £10 ($12.50 to $15.50, at $1.55 to the pound) to spend about two hours retracing Jack's steps. Popular stops include Dorset Street, where Mary Kelly had her skin peeled off in the early hours of Nov. 9, and Wentworth Street, where the Ripper scrawled a cryptic note on the wall in chalk.

All this has been tough on residents who, year round, find their vintage shop- and cafe-studded neighborhood transformed into a circus. But Kathryn Olivarius, 24, a Ph.D. student who lives above one stop on Gunthorpe Street, often listens to the tours from her balcony, over a glass of wine: "I just hope people remember that these women who Ripper killed were real people who lived extremely hard lives."


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Personal Journeys: Off Ireland, a Rugged Journey to Remote Ruins

James Sparshatt/Newscom

A hiker on Skellig Michael.

If anyone can explain why 10,000 people each year make the stomach-churning passage to Skellig Michael, a desolate rock pinnacle eight miles off Ireland's southwest coast, John O'Shea can.

From spring to early fall for the last 15 years, the ruddy-cheeked Kerryman has ferried passengers across the roiling Atlantic from Derrynane Harbour to Skellig Michael aboard his stripped-down fishing trawler, one of only 14 boats authorized to make the trip. If conditions permit a landing on the 54-acre crag, and often they don't, passengers must then hop from a pitching boat onto a concrete quay and scale 618 stone steps. The steps are rough, narrow and slippery when damp, which they usually are, without so much as a flimsy handrail as a barrier between you and oblivion hundreds of feet below. And all this to view a scattering of ruins below the 714-foot summit.

Why would anybody brave such a journey?

"I guess they're trying to figure out what those guys were doing out there," Mr. O'Shea said as he set off with me, eight other passengers and four of his beloved mutt terriers under a steely sky last fall.

"Those guys" were monks who used to live on this remote rock, from A.D. 600 to 1200, according to estimates, and they were why I had come, too. Physical traces of that community remain, battered by wind and rain but still clinging to the upper reaches of the island: carved Celtic crosses marking graves; the ruins of a small church; a primitive oratory and a few beehive-shaped monastic cells painstakingly built of mortarless, flat stones stacked in ever-constricting circles. They were relics of a time before rationalism ruled the Western world when blind faith in the divine was the pole star of life.

For centuries this monastic community bore witness to just how tenacious we can be in pursuit of the divine. According to Unesco, which in 1996 bestowed world heritage status on Skellig Michael, the island "illustrates, as no other site can, the extremes of a Christian monasticism characterizing much of North Africa, the Near East and Europe." Separated from the rest of humanity by howling winds and treacherous seas, the island served the same function as any other monastery: providing a mystical beacon, a clarion call, to guide the world toward God.

During the hour and three-quarters it took to cross through licorice-black seas, I got to know the other passengers, all Irish and all first-timers to Skellig Michael. Most of us sat under the open sky on backless wooden benches that lined the deck's perimeter. The light was flat, shadowless, the boat vibrated from the engine's noisy thrum, and the wind smelled of seaweed and salt. Somewhere ahead Skellig Michael was shrouded in low clouds and vaporous marine air.

"Skellig Michael is on our Irish bucket list," said one man, half of a 40-something couple from Dublin who were both accountants, wore matching jackets and sometimes finished each other's sentences. Another husband-and-wife pair announced that they were on a birding trip. (They already had one sighting from the ship: a majestic northern gannet with a six-foot wingspan, gliding silently overhead like a predator drone.) A university student from Cork in sunflower yellow jeans and blue patent leather high-top sneakers who said that he was nursing a hangover spent much of the passage poring over schematics of Skellig Michael in a hardback book he had lugged aboard. "Skellig Michael somehow seems a part of who we Irish are," he said, shivering because he had worn a T-shirt with no jacket.

And there was an elderly man in rumpled clothes and a tweed cap, accompanied by a friend who resembled him and by his daughter, a 50-something blonde with sparkly gold sandals and red toenails who arrived 30 minutes late for the boat, latte and iPhone in hand. "I've been wanting to see Skellig Michael all me life," he said excitedly. "Surely it's a holy place."


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In Transit Blog: New Bolt Service on the West Coast

Bolt Bus, the intercity bus line and transportation solution for cash-strapped college students and thrifty business travelers alike, is expanding its service to include three more cities on the West Coast. On Oct. 31, the big orange buses will begin a new route with stops in Los Angeles, San Jose and Oakland, Calif. In honor of the occasion, the company is selling one-way tickets on the new route for $1 to passengers who book travel within the first four days of service, Oct. 31 to Nov. 3.

Bolt, which is owned and operated by the Greyhound Lines bus company, began service in the Northeast in 2008. Last year company expanded to include routes in the Pacific Northwest, from Seattle to Vancouver, British Columbia.

Customer response to the service in the Pacific Northwest was "overwhelming," Alexandra Pedrini, a spokeswoman for Greyhound, said in an e-mail. "With such a high population density in the state and great locations to visit, it was a natural move to bring service to Californians," she said.

Passengers can expect the usual 14 inches of legroom, leather seats, power outlets and free Wi-Fi on the new buses, as well as reserved seating, if tickets are booked online. The frequent-rider rewards program is as simple as a coffee card: buy eight one-way trips and get the ninth free, no restrictions.

Avoiding traffic, on the other hand, may not be as easy.


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Personal Journeys: Off Ireland, a Rugged Journey to Remote Ruins

Written By wartini cantika on Sabtu, 26 Oktober 2013 | 17.35

James Sparshatt/Newscom

A hiker on Skellig Michael.

If anyone can explain why 10,000 people each year make the stomach-churning passage to Skellig Michael, a desolate rock pinnacle eight miles off Ireland's southwest coast, John O'Shea can.

From spring to early fall for the last 15 years, the ruddy-cheeked Kerryman has ferried passengers across the roiling Atlantic from Derrynane Harbour to Skellig Michael aboard his stripped-down fishing trawler, one of only 14 boats authorized to make the trip. If conditions permit a landing on the 54-acre crag, and often they don't, passengers must then hop from a pitching boat onto a concrete quay and scale 618 stone steps. The steps are rough, narrow and slippery when damp, which they usually are, without so much as a flimsy handrail as a barrier between you and oblivion hundreds of feet below. And all this to view a scattering of ruins below the 714-foot summit.

Why would anybody brave such a journey?

"I guess they're trying to figure out what those guys were doing out there," Mr. O'Shea said as he set off with me, eight other passengers and four of his beloved mutt terriers under a steely sky last fall.

"Those guys" were monks who used to live on this remote rock, from A.D. 600 to 1200, according to estimates, and they were why I had come, too. Physical traces of that community remain, battered by wind and rain but still clinging to the upper reaches of the island: carved Celtic crosses marking graves; the ruins of a small church; a primitive oratory and a few beehive-shaped monastic cells painstakingly built of mortarless, flat stones stacked in ever-constricting circles. They were relics of a time before rationalism ruled the Western world when blind faith in the divine was the pole star of life.

For centuries this monastic community bore witness to just how tenacious we can be in pursuit of the divine. According to Unesco, which in 1996 bestowed world heritage status on Skellig Michael, the island "illustrates, as no other site can, the extremes of a Christian monasticism characterizing much of North Africa, the Near East and Europe." Separated from the rest of humanity by howling winds and treacherous seas, the island served the same function as any other monastery: providing a mystical beacon, a clarion call, to guide the world toward God.

During the hour and three-quarters it took to cross through licorice-black seas, I got to know the other passengers, all Irish and all first-timers to Skellig Michael. Most of us sat under the open sky on backless wooden benches that lined the deck's perimeter. The light was flat, shadowless, the boat vibrated from the engine's noisy thrum, and the wind smelled of seaweed and salt. Somewhere ahead Skellig Michael was shrouded in low clouds and vaporous marine air.

"Skellig Michael is on our Irish bucket list," said one man, half of a 40-something couple from Dublin who were both accountants, wore matching jackets and sometimes finished each other's sentences. Another husband-and-wife pair announced that they were on a birding trip. (They already had one sighting from the ship: a majestic northern gannet with a six-foot wingspan, gliding silently overhead like a predator drone.) A university student from Cork in sunflower yellow jeans and blue patent leather high-top sneakers who said that he was nursing a hangover spent much of the passage poring over schematics of Skellig Michael in a hardback book he had lugged aboard. "Skellig Michael somehow seems a part of who we Irish are," he said, shivering because he had worn a T-shirt with no jacket.

And there was an elderly man in rumpled clothes and a tweed cap, accompanied by a friend who resembled him and by his daughter, a 50-something blonde with sparkly gold sandals and red toenails who arrived 30 minutes late for the boat, latte and iPhone in hand. "I've been wanting to see Skellig Michael all me life," he said excitedly. "Surely it's a holy place."


17.35 | 0 komentar | Read More

Heads Up: Competing to Tell Jack the Ripper’s Story

Just before 9 p.m. on a recent Thursday in London, five guided tour groups, about 150 people in all, converged on a nondescript courtyard on the eastern edge of the central financial district. Some tour guides wore 19th-century top hats and long, dark cloaks. Others grasped photographs of mortuary corpses. And each guide jostled for the best spot: near the tiny flower bed in the far corner where, in 1888, Jack the Ripper murdered a prostitute named Catherine Eddowes — slitting her throat, slashing her face, pulling out her innards and walking off with her uterus.

This fall marks the 125th anniversary of the Whitechapel murders, carried out by Jack the Ripper, perhaps the world's most infamous serial killer. So many years later, interest in the Ripper endures. "It's probably the greatest whodunit in the history of crime," said Richard Cobb, a beefy northern Irishman who operates the Jack the Ripper Tour, a histrionics-heavy production.

The demand for, and supply of, these tours have increased in the lead-up to the anniversary. And the competition between tour operators has intensified. With about 15 companies in the game, novelty is no longer a sufficient customer draw. One operator boasts that its guides are "all retired British Army and Royal Marine Sergeant Majors." Mr. Cobb has trademarked something called Ripper-Vision: essentially, a hand-held projector that flashes grisly mortuary photographs onto the pavement.

"It's become a big business," Mr. Cobb said. "Loads of companies looking to make a fast buck ... trying to get up with the big boys." Every night in what is now hipster-vogue East London, between 7 and 9 p.m., a gore-drenched battle for tourist dollars rages.

In 1888, things were not looking good in the East London district of Whitechapel. Even as Queen Victoria's empire was marinating in riches, the slums in London's East End were overcrowded. Ladies of the night roamed the cobblestone streets. And then Jack the Ripper struck. His heinous murders, five prostitutes in 12 weeks (the victim count is sometimes disputed), drew the world's gaze. He was never caught.

Today, many tour guides compete on the strength of their in-house "Ripperologists," often published authors with blogs and YouTube channels and contributions in the Britain-based Ripperologist magazine. Richard Jones, founder of Discovery Tours, has led Ripper tours since 1982. "I've probably done about 9,000," he speculated. A former postman, Mr. Jones now publishes Ripper history books and articles and appeared in an informative DVD accompanying the 2001 movie "From Hell," which cast Johnny Depp as the Ripper.

Donald Rumbelow of London Walks is another Ripperologist — though he bristles at the designation. "I have a lot of other interests," he said over a noontime glass of wine at the Ten Bells, where Annie Chapman was reputedly seen boozing before her murder. "Jack pays for my pleasures, as it were." Mr. Rumbelow is a retired police officer who used to patrol Mitre Square, where Catherine Eddowes met her fate. He prides himself on his bare-bones tour guiding: no photos, no hyperbolic hushes, "and I won't dress up."

New rivals now bring flash and frill — and turf wars. "I've had a lot of run-ins," Mr. Cobb admitted. Stylistically, he opts for the big personality — costumes, actors and "CSI crime scene-style descriptions" of limbs askew and organs littering the streets.

These days, gaggles of tourists pay £8 to £10 ($12.50 to $15.50, at $1.55 to the pound) to spend about two hours retracing Jack's steps. Popular stops include Dorset Street, where Mary Kelly had her skin peeled off in the early hours of Nov. 9, and Wentworth Street, where the Ripper scrawled a cryptic note on the wall in chalk.

All this has been tough on residents who, year round, find their vintage shop- and cafe-studded neighborhood transformed into a circus. But Kathryn Olivarius, 24, a Ph.D. student who lives above one stop on Gunthorpe Street, often listens to the tours from her balcony, over a glass of wine: "I just hope people remember that these women who Ripper killed were real people who lived extremely hard lives."


17.35 | 0 komentar | Read More

In Transit Blog: The Latest Getaway Holiday? Halloween

Halloween is no longer just one night of dressing up and eating too much candy on a school night. Like most holidays, it's been amplified with a monthlong roster of events aimed at kids both young and old. For travelers, that means sweet deals from hotels and attractions looking to capitalize on those who want to celebrate all things darkly hallowed.

New Orleans may be the shooting location for the FX network's popular thriller "American Horror Story: Coven," but the city's roots in dark magic are as long as the line to get into VooDoo Fest. The annual music festival takes place Nov. 1 to 3, with Pearl Jam and the Cure headlining. But for weekenders, the highlight may be the festival's partnerships with local hotels and airlines, which are offering ticket holders discounts on rooms and flights. More details can be found at worshipthemusic.com/travel.

Or, for a an elegant lesson in New Orleans's darker culture, the Hotel Monteleone's Criollo Restaurant is to serve a "Legend of the Rou-Ga-Roux" dinner on Oct. 30, honoring the folklore of the Acadian werewolf.

The dinner, $90, includes a five-course meal that includes black grouper cheeks and cane-marinated pork tenderloin, with spirits, or rather drinks, care of Donner-Peltier Distillers, the maker of Rougaroux Full Moon Dark Rum and other liquors. The hotel itself, like most New Orleans accommodations, is said to be haunted.

In San Diego, the Marriott Del Mar is offering guests a Halloween Fun Parking Package on Thursdays through Sundays until Nov. 2. Starting at $144 a night, it includes a deluxe room with complimentary parking and free shuttle service to and from the city's annual Scream Zone at the Del Mar fairgrounds. One of the largest Halloween events in Southern California, Scream Zone features a giant zombie paintball challenge, a haunted hayride to Zombie Town, a House of Horror and a giant indoor maze.

Also on select nights through Nov. 2, Universal Studios, Orlando, is offering a Gory Getaway package that combines a hotel stay with tickets to the theme park and Universal's Halloween Horror Nights which, this year, will feature shows and attractions themed around the AMC television show "The Walking Dead" and movies like "Resident Evil" and "The Rocky Horror Picture Show."

Packages start at $299 per adult for a three-night stay at the Best Western Plus Orlando, or $605 to stay on site at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Studios and include a two-day park pass, a CityWalk Party pass and one night's admission to Halloween Horror Nights. Further discounts are available to Florida residents.


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In Transit Blog: New Bolt Service on the West Coast

Bolt Bus, the intercity bus line and transportation solution for cash-strapped college students and thrifty business travelers alike, is expanding its service to include three more cities on the West Coast. On Oct. 31, the big orange buses will begin a new route with stops in Los Angeles, San Jose and Oakland, Calif. In honor of the occasion, the company is selling one-way tickets on the new route for $1 to passengers who book travel within the first four days of service, Oct. 31 to Nov. 3.

Bolt, which is owned and operated by the Greyhound Lines bus company, began service in the Northeast in 2008. Last year company expanded to include routes in the Pacific Northwest, from Seattle to Vancouver, British Columbia.

Customer response to the service in the Pacific Northwest was "overwhelming," Alexandra Pedrini, a spokeswoman for Greyhound, said in an e-mail. "With such a high population density in the state and great locations to visit, it was a natural move to bring service to Californians," she said.

Passengers can expect the usual 14 inches of legroom, leather seats, power outlets and free Wi-Fi on the new buses, as well as reserved seating, if tickets are booked online. The frequent-rider rewards program is as simple as a coffee card: buy eight one-way trips and get the ninth free, no restrictions.

Avoiding traffic, on the other hand, may not be as easy.


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In Transit Blog: From Orbitz, a New Loyalty Program

Written By wartini cantika on Jumat, 25 Oktober 2013 | 17.35

Orbitz, the online travel agency, has started Orbitz Rewards, a loyalty program that it said was designed for simple use and immediate gratification.

The president of Orbitz.com, Chris Orton, said in a telephone interview that the program allows travelers "to earn and burn instantly."

Members can earn Orbucks, the loyalty currency (one U.S. dollar equals one Orbuck), for hotels, flights and vacation packages, and redeem them immediately for hotels. Customers, for example, could book a flight and have Orbucks in their accounts within seconds for use on the purchase of a hotel for the current or a future trip, he said.

In addition, there are no points to calculate, no blackout dates and no restrictions on combining rewards with other offers. Earning Orbucks as well as both airline frequent flyer miles and credit card points is allowed.

Orbitz Rewards members earn 3 percent of the transaction when booking hotels on a desktop computer, and 5 percent when booking through the company's mobile apps. For stand-alone flights and vacation packages, booking either way earns 1 percent in Orbucks.

Star and SuperStar members (booking 4 and 12 hotel room nights in a calendar year, respectively) enjoy benefits that include a priority customer service line, and free upgrades and Wi-Fi. A concierge service helps SuperStar members with booking restaurants, events and arranging golf tee times.


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36 Hours in Milwaukee

Darren Hauck for The New York Times

Clockwise from top left: walking on the grounds of the Milwaukee Art Museum; a tray of food at Mader's; taps at Lakefront Brewery; Leon's at night; and walking toward the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Milwaukee is a city that evolves slowly. Its roots as a blue-collar town — as the German Athens, as Brew City — are still evident in the names of local landmarks (Pabst Theater, Pfister Hotel, Miller Park, where the Milwaukee Brewers play); the neatly demarcated enclaves that still retain strong traces of their ethnic origins; the countless cozy neighborhood taps; and the locals' love of sausage, cheese and beer, not to mention the array of festivals (German Fest, Irish Fest, Polish Fest) that overtake the lakefront every summer. Yet this city — Wisconsin's largest, population 600,000 — is hardly a backward-looking place. Following a few decades of diminishing population, numbers have risen slightly in the years since the 2010 census, much of the increase due to young people moving into a few revived downtown neighborhoods like Walker's Point and the southerly, suddenly hip Bay View, with its bars and galleries. The result is a city that possesses a renewed vitality while still holding on to an Old World character.

FRIDAY

4 p.m.
1. Cheese Factory

Improbably, the Clock Shadow Creamery, which opened in the fashionable Walker's Point neighborhood in 2012, is Milwaukee's one downtown cheese factory. A small outfit in a corner space in a green building, it produces a variety of products — from ricotta to the local favorite, cheese curds — and offers half-hour factory tours for $3 (reservations required). Keeping company in the same space is the equally new Purple Door Ice Cream, which uses only local and natural ingredients and serves up beguiling flavors like absinthe made by the Great Lakes Distillery nearby, and fig and black tea. A single-scoop cone costs $3.50. Purple Door will move into its own space a couple of blocks away in 2014.

7 p.m.
2. Third-Coast Cuisine

Nearby, the airy new restaurant Blue Jacket epitomizes "Third Coast" pride. The seasonal dishes are locally sourced, while the beverage menu, using regional beers and spirits, was created by Bittercube, a Milwaukee-based bitters producer. Whitefish, served with brussels sprouts and guanciale ($16), comes from Lake Superior, and smelt, a Great Lakes staple, are put to good use as kettle-chip batter-fried snacks ($9). They go nicely with the Lake Bluff Gimlet ($9), laced with lavender syrup and bitters made with hops harvested in Door County upstate.

9 p.m.
3. Old-Time Cocktails

After-dinner cocktails await in the historic Mitchell Street neighborhood at Bryant's Cocktail Lounge, a dim, lushly upholstered time capsule of a bar inside a nondescript two-story house. On a recent evening the soundtrack was Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin playing over a vintage McIntosh stereo system. Sit in the barely discernible back room banquettes if you want to be invisible; the alternative is the long bar, crowded with young couples calling out for chocolate grasshoppers, pink squirrels and other ice cream drinks, along with brandy old fashioneds, Wisconsin's unofficial state tipple. In December, ask for the Christmas punch. Drinks are $7 to $12.

SATURDAY

10 a.m.
4. Art Inside Art

The Milwaukee Art Museum ($17 adults) houses a fine collection — including works by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Richard Diebenkorn and Joan Miró — but, somewhat like the Guggenheim, the building itself is the institution's most noteworthy attraction. The Quadracci Pavilion, designed by Santiago Calatrava, looks as if it is about to soar over Lake Michigan. Café Calatrava inside offers lovely views and an ever-changing menu, often reflective of exhibitions. Recent entrees included house-made pappardelle with wild boar ragù and an ale-braised venison osso bucco. Expect to pay $20 to $30 for lunch. Current shows include an exhibition of the undersung 19th-century American painter Thomas Sully.

12 p.m.
5. Beer Town's Boswell

For decades, Harry W. Schwartz's was Milwaukee's great hometown bookstore. When it closed in 2009, the Downer Avenue location was taken over by its book buyer and rechristened Boswell Book Company. The sprawling shop has long hours, a huge Wisconsin section, many author readings and a smart, attentive staff. Down the street, be sure to take a gander at the vintage Downer Theater movie house, in operation nearly a century.

1 p.m.
6. Party Cut


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In Transit Blog: A New Ethiopian Lodge With a Focus on Conservation

The first resort in Ethiopia's wildlife-rich Bale Mountains National Park, Bale Mountain Lodge, opening Nov. 1, is poised to expand the African safari checklist beyond the Big Five.

Located about 250 miles southeast of Addis Ababa, the 15-room lodge lies within the 1,367-square-mile park of mountains, plateau and forests.

The nonprofit environmental organization Conservational International considers Bale Mountain a biodiversity hot spot based on its rare species, including Ethiopian wolves and Bale monkeys, plus endemic mountain nyala (a kind of antelope), black-maned lions and giant forest hogs.

Overlooking a mountain stream at an elevation of 7,800 feet, the eco-lodge was designed with such features as hydropower and biogas for cooking to be carbon positive. Rooms include private decks and wood-burning stoves, and common areas include a waterfall-fed pool and spa.

The lodge employs a resident naturalist and is working with universities from Mississippi to Stockholm to encourage research in the remote area.

The goal, according to the lodge owner Guy Levene, a former British Army colonel, is to use tourism to conservation ends. "We really believe that we can make a difference by raising the standards of service available in Ethiopia, highlighting the numbers of rare endemic species within the park and by reducing man's negative impact upon the environment through reducing illegal grazing, deforestation and cultivation," he wrote in an e-mail.

Rooms start at $220 per person, double occupancy, including meals, drinks and one activity — like a game drive or fly fishing — daily.


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Overnighter: ‘My West Coast Martha’s Vineyard’

That first time I walked through the grassy dunes of Point Reyes National Seashore, back in 1997, it felt familiar. On this stretch of California sand, I'd found the West Coast doppelgänger of Gay Head, on the southwestern point of Martha's Vineyard, from where I'd recently moved. Though it was summer, I was wearing a fleece, and the sandstone cliffs of Limantour Beach were shrouded in fog. But the echoes of the Vineyard in Point Reyes were immediately clear: a rugged, relatively remote refuge with salty air, fresh fish and a strong sense of place.

The differences, though, soon became evident. At Point Reyes, there was no mugginess or mosquitoes. No ferry lines or frozen mudslides. No tennis whites or Nantucket reds. No crowds. It was my West Coast Martha's Vineyard, I decided one recent weekend while sitting solo on a hay bale in the sun eating a grass-fed goat burger, only better.

On the Point Reyes peninsula, a winding hour-and-a-half drive north of San Francisco, friends and I have hiked for miles and kayaked with harbor seals; we've pitched tents on pocket beaches and shucked oysters at ramshackle farms. And come fall, when the weather warms and the (slightly less chilly) water beckons, we even swim.

Point Reyes also has more Holsteins, herons and herds of tule elk than humans; locals live in a handful of blink-and-you'll-miss-them-type of towns: Olema, the tiny gateway, at the well-trodden intersection of Highway 1 and Sir Francis Drake Boulevard; Inverness, on Tomales Bay, with its own bare-bones yacht club founded in 1912; Marshall, which draws oyster-slurping day-trippers, with six-packs and sauvignon blanc in tow; nearby Bolinas, notoriously unfriendly to outsiders.

With a bookstore, a bakery beloved by cyclists and a feed barn that doubles as a yoga studio, Point Reyes Station (population 848) is the metropolis of West Marin, what the locals call their rich agricultural region, home to organic dairy farms, sustainable grass-fed cattle ranches — and 70,000 protected acres of pine forests and coastal prairie.

The original plan, promoters said, was to turn it into "a Jones Beach on the Pacific," before John F. Kennedy, urged by a group of local conservationists, declared it a national seashore in 1962: 80 miles of shoreline forever free of condos and golf courses, cabanas and cotton candy stands.

Still, at 51, the Point Reyes National Seashore remains every pastoral cliché: cow country, birder's paradise, heaven for hikers. Now add to that list foodie destination, as local restaurants are finally on par with the local ingredients. "West Marin is one of the most vibrant local food sheds in the world," said the writer Michael Pollan, a friend to its tight-knit group of farmers, ranchers and cheesemakers. Alice Waters recently told me it's where she wishes Chez Panisse could be.

In February, Margaret Grade and Daniel DeLong, two friends of Ms. Waters, opened a restaurant, Sir and Star at the Olema, which is as committed to using ingredients farmed/foraged/fished "within arm's reach," to use Ms. Grade's phrase, as was their famed Manka's Inverness Lodge, before it burned to the ground in 2006. Now, instead of committing to Manka's seven-course prix fixe feasts, hiking-boot-clad diners pop by for homey dishes like Dave's Beef, Cooked Around the Clock — or, on a Saturday night, wait so long for a table that the supply of homemade dinner rolls runs dry.

Dave Evans (of the aforementioned beef), a fourth-generation rancher and owner of Marin Sun Farms, is thrilled that the culinary scene here is thriving. "It was always 'barbecue oysters with the same sauce,' " Mr. Evans said. "Now it's, like, 'artisanal oysters, in a brown butter shallot sauce' — and three other ways."

Not everyone, of course, is thrilled with change coming to an area meant to remain unchanged. "Point Reyes Station used to be a country town," said Barbara McClellan, owner for the last 38 years of the novelty shop Lil Bit of a Lot o' Things. "Not anymore," she lamented, surrounded by gag gifts like phony hickeys, dusty Christmas decorations and "Everything Must Go!" signs. Her store will become a wine shop when Osteria Stellina, the farm-to-table trattoria next door, expands next month.

As Dan Morrissey, the third owner of the 100-year-old barbershop down the block, bluntly put it: "All the old people here are dying, and the yuppies are moving in." Real estate prices have jumped roughly 20 percent in the last few years, according to brokers.


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In Transit Blog: Feeding Fliers With Local Fare

Written By wartini cantika on Kamis, 24 Oktober 2013 | 17.35

Wolfgang Puck now has company: a number of airports across the country are opening restaurants from high-profile hometown chefs, offering local flavor to fliers.

In contrast to the coast-to-coast Puck empire, the new arrivals include the kinds of chefs who are solidly identified with their cities. Some are expected to open spinoffs at the new Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport. The chef Michael Voltaggio, of Ink and Ink.Sack, is taking Ink.Sack, an upscale sandwich shop, to the airport. Suzanne Goin, who runs four restaurants in Los Angeles, including the acclaimed Lucques, is expected to open Larder at Tavern, a high-end deli, in November.

In Chicago, the chef Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill operates several Mexican sandwich shops, Tortas Frontera, at O'Hare International Airport, including a new outlet in the international terminal. At Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport, the chef Bryan Caswell, of the noted city restaurant Reef, opened 3rd Bar Oyster & Eating House in the renovated south concourse in April. And at Denver International Airport, Justin Cucci, chef and owner of the popular farm-to-table restaurant Root Down in the Lower Highlands neighborhood, opened an airport outlet last month.

The restaurants, most of which tailor their menus to on-the-fly diners with extensive to-go options, are reinterpreting the concept of eating local.

"We've tried to bring Denver to D.I.A.," said Rod Tafoya, president of Mission Restaurant Group, Root Down's airport concessionaire partner. "Half the traffic at D.I.A. is connecting, so if we show them a little about Denver and what's unique, they might come back."


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In Transit Blog: A Hotel Chain Drops Pornography Channels

Pornography is off the pay-per-view menu at all 171 Nordic Choice Hotels, Scandinavia's largest hotel group. In a statement, Petter Storalen, owner of Nordic Choice, said the decision was prompted by the company's charity work with Unicef to combat child trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Whether because of falling revenues from customers who access entertainment on portable devices or political pressure, other hotel companies also have dropped adult movies. In 2011, Marriott International announced it would phase out mature content at its hotels.

In praising Nordic Choice's decision, Morality in Media, an antipornography advocacy group in Washington, D.C., called on Hilton Hotels & Resorts to follow suit. In an e-mail, a Hilton spokeswoman, Jacqueline Toppings, responded that its entertainment systems are "designed to allow guests to block adult content using the remote control or request the content be disabled by calling the front desk."

Nordic Choice operates hotels ranging from the Clarion Hotel at Stockholm's Arlanda Airport to the trendy Thief hotel in downtown Oslo, where pornography channels have been replaced by video art.


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