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Step off the plane at Memphis International Airport and, while you're still in the jetbridge, before even entering the terminal proper, the tangy sweet smell of BBQ sauce assaults your olfactory. There's no escaping the scent; Memphis' airport is home to no fewer than three barbecue restaurantstwo locations of Jim Neely's Interstate BBQ, and one Corky's BBQ.
Upon landing from our Delta flight in from Atlanta (another airport that smells of yummy eats), we made a bee-line for the Interstate BBQ and their BBQ pulled pork sandwich and then played the tourist with some browsing in the airport's dedicated Elvis souvenir shop. Oh, and what was playing over the airport's sound system? Elvis' greatest hits, naturally.
Wish you were here!
Wish You Were Here / Thailand Travel / Chiang Mai Travel / CNX / Festival Travel / Songkran / → All Tags
Earlier this week we shared what we were packing in our suitcase all to make our Songkran trip to Thailand a whole lot easier. Well, we've finally made it up the Northern city of Chiang Mai to use it all.
We're in the city to kick up our heels and celebrate the Thai New Year, "Songkran," which begins today on this side of the world. For the next three days we will be touring temples and soaking in the heat while dodging plenty buckets of water in a futile attempt to stay (somewhat) dry during all the "water play,"
So far we've just been working on getting our bearings, but we do have our artillery for tomorrow; a giant super-soaker gun purchased from the street market.
New York has its Staten Island Ferry, Venice the Vaporetto and Bangkok the Chao Phraya River Bus, but no city ferry line seems quite as regal as that of Istanbul.
Last night, we hopped a Vapur (the name for these old ferries) for the first time, traveling from the docks at Eminönü near the Spice Market to about 25 minutes up the Bosphorus to Ortaköy, a neighborhood just before the towering Bosphorus Bridge. Though a private water taxi charges 120 Lira ($67 USD) for a one-way ride between these points, sharing the ferry means a far budget friendlier cost of only 3 Lira ($1.67) each way.
Island Travel / Wish You Were Here / St. Maarten Travel / Caribbean Travel / Plane Spotting / SXM / → All Tags
Tease! A group of guys in town from a cruise ship pose before an American flight from MIA zips into SXM
A huge hello from the Dutch/French Caribbean island of St. Maarten/St. Martin, perhaps better known as aviation geek paradise. Taking a little of our own sage advice, we pounced on one of the 80% off JetBlue #NYCFlightWeek airfare specials released last week, to find ourselves now transported 3.5 flying hours south of New York City. It may be 34 degrees on the East Coast, but it's 84 where we standwhich just happens to be right underneath arriving aircraft, at the famous planespotting destination of Maho Beach.
Joining us on Maho Beach? Oh, just about 1,000 others on this extremely busy day. We'd say about 90% are here for the adrenaline rush of having a Boeing 747 charge you straight-on, only to zoom some 100 feet overhead as it lands at the island's Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM).
Cruise Travel / Ships / Celebrity Cruises / Celebrity Reflection / Wish You Were Here / Travel Snapshot / Art Travel / Art Basel Miami Beach / → All Tags
Ahoy! If you're hanging out in Florida and are anywhere near the coast from Miami on up to West Palm Beach, break out a pair of binoculars to spot us. Just look for a white sliver on the horizon, that'll actually be the ginormous white Celebrity Cruises ship Celebrity Reflection. We promise to wave back.
There's no ultimate destination other than a return to Miami for the start of the Art Basel festival of contemporary art. You see, this is a preview cruisethe ship's maiden US voyage. It's a bit like an airport practice run, when terminals invite people to come simulate operations so, on opening day, the kinks have been well worked out. We would say we're "kicking the tires" of the Reflection but, well, it's a boat with a massive hull...and a multi-million modern art collection with 6,059 original pieces from the likes of Jeff Koons, Anish Kapoor, Christo, Marina Abramovic, Richard Prince and Robert Rauschenberg.
Germany Travel / Friedrichshafen Travel / Wish You Were Here / Dornier / Zeppelin / Aviation / Museum Travel / → All Tags
The skies are gray. The building is gray. The airships are gray. Waitairships?! Yeah, we just said airships.
It's in the 40s here in Friedrichshafen, Germany, but we've taken this detour to the southern edge of the country for a few reasons that don't care what the weather forecast says.
For one, it's the birthplace of the Zeppelin airship, way back when Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin decided to get in the balloon business. Perhaps you're most familiar with the Hindenburg (cue "oh the humanity") as that was a Zeppelin craft, though technology means they're built far safer and better these days. At the Zeppelin Halle near Friedrichshafen-Bodensee Airport, the dirigibles still take passengers up on the same route over Lake Constance as the Count's 1900 maiden flight. In town, there's that Zeppelin Museum we've previously written about.
Wish You Were Here / Travel Snapshot / Australia Travel / Queensland Travel / Surfers Paradise / Beach Travel / Surfing Travel / Nature Travel / → All Tags
The mercury is beginning to drop and autumn is right around the corner. At the same time, things are doing the opposite and heating up Down Under. Soon, the sun will be shining with the southern summer in Australia
We come to you now from the Gold Coast of said continent. The name of the specific city: Surfers Paradise. With beach after beach as far as the eye can see, we understand why it's considered the playground for the nation. Sun, sand and surf are some of the more popular attractions for the region, but nature walks, wineries and paragliding are all part of the fun.
Bonjour from the banks of the river Orne, in the area of Normandy called "La Suisse Normande"Swiss Normandyon account of the hills, where autumn is setting in.
This is World War II, Band of Brothers country, and unusually for France there's not a whole lot of ancient history to see, mainly because the Allies bombed and shelled the crap out of it before the D-Day Normandy Landings and in the rest of the Liberation of France.
Greetings from Singapore! More specifically, the food hawker stalls of Lau Pa Sat Markets. These markets, just a smidgeon of the hawker stalls found around the country/city, are in the heart of the financial district and truly a gem in the shadows of some of the skyline's tallest buildings. Sure, the name and the location sounds touristy, but this is a favorite for locals alike.
Housed in a building that is just about 118 years old, the structure features iron work from the Victorian era. The market itself claims to be the city's first market center, but eventually turned into a food hawker center in 1973.
Wish You Were Here / Cornwall Travel / Music Travel / Britain Travel / Events / Live Music Travel / → All Tags
Perched on a hill, stuck out on Britain's most southwesterly peninsula, in plain sight of Arthur's fortress island Tintagel, you find the tiny Cornish church of St Endelienta, home — for three weeks a year — to the St Endellion festivals of music at eastertime and in the summer.
It's our fifth year returning to this idyllic, windswept hamlet with a couple hundred musical co-conspirators — all of whom pay their way to come down to Cornwall to play or sing for the love of it — and we can't imagine life without the festivals. One of us calls Endellion his "musical centre of gravity", and every particle (and nearly every holiday cottage) for miles around is swept up into a maelstrom of musicmaking.
WIsh You Were Here / Michigan Travel / Mackinac Island / Island Travel / Great Lakes Travel / Historical Travel / → All Tags
This photo of the hotel and its Esther Williams pool is unedited. Yes, it really looks like this.
If we told you that the temperature is low 80s, the sun is high and the clouds are absent and the water is Bermuda-blue and clear, you probably wouldn't think that we're speaking of somewhere way way up near Michigan's border with Canada, huh? Well, we are and we give Mother Nature a gold star on this one. It's Mackinac Island, a vacation destination since the railroads constructed the imposing Grand Hotel in 1887 and started funneling genteel city folk up here for the summer season.
This year the hotel celebrates its 125th Anniversarythis weekend, actuallybut what's being celebrated the most is the fact that it still exists, still is owned privately by a family and still made of wood. Consider that it was built in a remote location with basic handtools and underskilled laborers in only 93 days, with the intention of it not lasting nearly this long, and you can begin to understand the importance of it hitting the century-and-a-quarter mark.
Happy midsummer! (Or midwinter if you happen to be in the southern hemisphere.)
We're spending midsummer in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, with its nearly nineteen hours of sun. Yes, nineteen. At midsummer, the sun rises just after 4am and sets just before quarter-to-eleven at night. We figured out pretty fast that it's difficult to tell what time of day it is just by looking outside.
Estoniansall 1.3 million of themlove midsummer. It's a huge thing here, like the Fourth of July in the US or the late May bank holiday in the UK, where everyone takes time off and goes somewhere fun.