International Travel

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Why are we so moved by the plight of the Notre Dame?

<p>Scrolling through news of the Notre Dame fire on social media feeds was like watching a real-time archive of grief in the making, as people expressed their dismay and sorrow at the damage wrought.</p> <p>Why is it that some heritage places publicly elicit more emotions than others? There is no simple answer to this question. But the outpouring of grief for Notre Dame is not simply because it is a beautiful gothic cathedral, or because it is more important than other places.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">Extremely heartbreaking 💔<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Notre_dame_de_Paris?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Notre_dame_de_Paris</a> <a href="https://t.co/Vro3m29tMA">pic.twitter.com/Vro3m29tMA</a></p> — Selena🥀 (@SelenaVogue_) <a href="https://twitter.com/SelenaVogue_/status/1118035100883726337?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 16, 2019</a></blockquote> <p>For starters, some heritage places may seem more symbolically important than others because we know more about them, through history, tourism or a personal connections.</p> <p>They are destinations; as leisure travel has given rise to tourism, they have been transformed by millions of visitors, with their visibility only increased by photos shared on social media. Notre Dame has become an icon, easily recognised by many people as representative of human culture, its meaning surpassing, in some ways, its material self.</p> <p>Many of us will bring memories of visiting the cathedral and our understanding of its significance to the images of Notre Dame on fire, which might explain why we feel so strongly about the destruction of this heritage. As Roland Barthes explained in his influential photographic text <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/497164.Camera_Lucida"><em>Camera Lucida</em></a>, we interpret images according to political, social and cultural norms.</p> <p>Knowing that Notre Dame survived two world wars, the French Revolution and the Paris Commune, as well as Nazi occupation and Hitler’s intention to raze it to the ground, may also change our perspective and feelings about this place.</p> <p>As somewhere that has been included in many works of literature and cinema – most notably in Victor Hugo’s <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30597.The_Hunchback_of_Notre_Dame"><em>The Hunchback of Notre Dame</em></a> and the Disney film adaptation – Notre Dame was already part of the heritage of humankind.</p> <p>This can help explain why some places only gain attention in moments of destruction or iconoclasm (the destruction of image due to political and religious reasons) rather than as an icon.</p> <p>In 2001, for example, the Taliban regime blew up two of the tallest representations of Buddha in the Bamiyan Valley, in Afghanistan. The lack of media circulation regarding this destruction, compared to what we witnessed today, suggests we know the statues of the Buddhas more through their destruction rather than a shared history and values we have attached to them – in the Western world at least.</p> <p>We should be conscious that all heritage places deserve the same attention, regardless of their “instagrammability”.</p> <p>As <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGf8r2JSeuw">we have seen</a>, people sang and prayed in front of Notre Dame, while parts of the roof and the spire of cathedral fell to their death. Although it is difficult to measure the emotional impact from the loss of a monument by fire, it is nevertheless quite real.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/115555/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Jose Antonio Gonzalez Zarandona, Associate Research Fellow, Heritage Destruction Specialist, Deakin University and Cristina Garduño Freeman, Research Fellow, Australian Centre for Architectural History, Urban and Cultural Heritage (ACAHUCH), University of Melbourne</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/why-are-we-so-moved-by-the-plight-of-the-notre-dame-115555"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

International Travel

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Which countries are the safest to visit?

<p>You may have an ideal list of places you want to visit, based on their cuisine, culture, history and sights.<br /><br />However, to be prudent, you should also factor in safety considerations, in order to minimise the risk of running into trouble while you’re travelling.<br /><br />With the 2018 Global Law and Order Index report from Gallup, you can find out exactly which countries are safe, and which you should leave off your travel bucket list for the time being.<br /><br />More than 148,000 people from 142 countries, aged 15 years old or older, were interviewed.<br /><br />Respondents answered questions that delved into their personal experiences and feelings of safety in the place they lived.<br /><br />The survey reveals the answers to the following questions:<br /><br />1) In the city or area where you live, do you have confidence in the local police force?<br /><br />2) Do you feel safe walking alone at night in the city or the area where you live?<br /><br />3) Within the last 12 months, have you had money or property stolen from you or another household member?<br /><br />4) Within the past 12 months, have you been assaulted or mugged?<br /><br />According to Jon Clifton, global managing partner at Gallup, the survey wanted to address the discrepancy between official statistics and people’s personal experiences.<br /><br />“The challenge is that in some dangerous societies, people don’t report if they’ve been mugged or assaulted, so the official data may not accurately reflect the security situation on the ground,” he says.<br /><br />The scores reflect the proportion of the country’s population who indicate that they feel secure.<br /><br />The higher the number, the more local residents report feeling safe.<br /><br />The country deemed safest in the world is Singapore, which is known for its low crime rate.<br /><br />This is followed by Norway, Iceland and Finland, which are all tied at second place.<br /><br />As for countries you should think twice before visiting: Venezuela, Afghanistan and South Sudan top the “least secure” list.</p> <div class="view view-article-slider view-id-article_slider view-display-id-article_slider_block view-dom-id-989be53767a54d0b0ee4627f311cb9d9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>The most secure</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Singapore (97)</p> <p>Norway, Iceland, Finland (93)</p> <p>Uzbekistan, Hong Kong (91)</p> <p>Switzerland, Canada (90)</p> <p>Indonesia (89)</p> <p>Denmark, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Austria, China, Netherlands, Egypt (88)</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>The least secure</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Venezuela (44)</p> <p>Afghanistan (45)</p> <p>South Sudan (54)</p> <p>Gabon (55)</p> <p>Liberia (56)</p> <p>South Africa, Mexico (58)</p> <p>Dominican Republic (60)</p> <p>Bolivia, Sierra Leone, Botswana (61)</p> <p><em>Written by Siti Rohani. This article first appeared in </em><span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/destinations/which-countries-are-safest-visit"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA87V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></span></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

International Travel

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The tiny Denmark town building Western Europe's tallest skyscraper

<p><span>When it comes to tall buildings in Europe, most people will generally think of towers in London, Frankfurt or Madrid. However, a plan has been announced to build one of the continent’s tallest skyscrapers in a small rural Denmark town instead.</span></p> <p><span>Brande, a town of just 7,000 people on Denmark’s rural Jutland Peninsula, is set to house a 320-metre skyscraper that will serve as the headquarters for fast-fashion giant Bestseller. </span></p> <p><span>Designed by architectural studio Dorte Mandrup, the Bestseller Tower will be the tallest building in western Europe, beating out London’s The Shard by about 10 metres.</span></p> <p><span>“It will be a landmark that places Brande on the map, but it will also function as an architectural attraction benefitting hotel guests, students and other users of the building,” said Anders Holch Povlse, Bestseller’s owner and Denmark’s richest man.</span></p> <p><span>Last month, the local council in Brande voted to move forward with the tower project. According to the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/apr/01/like-the-eye-of-sauron-western-europes-tallest-building-planned-for-tiny-danish-town-brande-bestseller"><em>Guardian</em></a>, most locals have supported the initiative from the clothing company – which was founded in the small town – to build the soaring structure over the flat rural landscape. Upon completion, the high-rise will be visible from 60km away.</span></p> <p><span>“There really is no opposition,” said Anders Udengaard, local politician and longstanding Bestseller critic. “But for most people looking at a project like this being built in a community as small as this is, it does seem rather insane, doesn’t it?”</span></p> <p><span>If anything, resistance against the project seemed to come from the country’s urban residents. “Such a big building will make the world claustrophobically small,” said Trine Kammer of Aarhus, Denmark’s second most populous urban region. “Why do I have to be reminded of Bestseller when I’m walking by myself in a quiet wood?”</span></p> <p><span>Danish satire website Rokokoposten has also likened the proposed building to the villainous Tower of Sauron from <em>Lord of the Rings</em>.</span></p> <p><span><a href="https://www.designboom.com/architecture/bestseller-tower-brande-skyscraper-denmark-dorte-mandrup-04-04-2019/"><em>Designboom</em></a> reported that the construction project is set to break ground this year with completion expected to take place in 2023.</span></p> <p>Have you ever visited Denmark? What was the highlight for you? Tell us in the comments below.</p>

International Travel

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Why every Australian must take this panoramic train trip

<p><span>From the green Alpine pastures to the bold urban districts, there is a lot to see in <a href="https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-au/destinations/holiday-destinations-in-switzerland.html">Switzerland</a>. Every corner of the mountainous Central European country packs a surprise that every traveller can appreciate. </span></p> <p><span>Taking a train trip is a convenient way of getting around to see everything the nation has to offer. The Grand Train Tour of Switzerland combines eight different lines throughout the country, covering a total of 1,280 kilometres of travel across Swiss’s diverse highlights that you can explore with a <a href="https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-au/swiss-travel-pass.html">single ticket</a>.</span></p> <p><span>Here are the reasons you should hop on the train to enjoy the best of Switzerland.</span></p> <p><strong><span>Personalised trip</span></strong></p> <p><span>The train tour, which runs all-year round, is easily customisable – you can start at any point and go in whichever direction you’d like. </span></p> <p><span>When in doubt, you can follow the popular suggestion to depart from Zurich, the country’s largest city and one of the most stylish European metropolises. Wherever you are beginning, the integrated train network makes it easy to go places.</span></p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/qCxSEDlc21s" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><span>Exploring the destinations off the train is also made easy, thanks to the all-in-one Swiss Travel Pass. Besides train travel, the pass also gives you access to buses, boats and public transportation in most areas, as well as free admission to over 500 museums and discounts to excursions – you can pick and plan your itinerary as you please.</span></p> <p><span>Prefer to sit back and have somebody else deal with the details? Go for the <a href="https://www.switzerlandtravel.com.au/grand-train-tour-of-switzerland">9-day rail adventure package</a>, which includes must-have experiences and overnight stays in some of the most famous Swiss cities and resorts with all the nitty-gritty taken care of.</span></p> <p><strong><span>Great destinations, spectacular sceneries</span></strong></p> <p><span>On the <a href="https://grandtraintour.myswitzerland.com/en/">scenic rail journey</a>, you can enjoy a variety of glorious landscapes in every route. If you’re starting from Zurich, take a day to stroll around – the global banking and finance centre is full of urban charms, with numerous museums and art galleries, as well as hip riverside bars.</span></p> <p><span>From Zurich, there are two directions – you can go up north, passing Europe’s largest waterfall the Rhine Falls to arrive at the medieval old town of Schaffhausen. Then you can continue the journey through the Rhine river that stretches out to the beautiful Lake Constance, and find yourself at St Gallen, the gateway of the Alps, at the end of the line.</span></p> <p><span><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/media/7825983/swis5-stsy9923.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/33cff19d2ca748f0be068f6b8e183909" /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>'Dragon Ride' between Fraekmuendegg and Pilatus with a spectacular view of Lake Lucerne. Credit: swiss-image.ch/Urs Wyss</em></p> <p><span>Otherwise, you can take a trip down south to Lucerne, a city situated by the lakeside amid spectacular mountainous panorama, and continue from thereon to Interlaken, the gateway to the “Top of Europe” Jungfraujoch. Afterwards, the train follows the banks of Lake Thun before heading into the Simmental, where green Alpine pastures, flowering meadows and traditional villages can be seen from the train. From this point, you can expect the postcard view of Switzerland – alpine forests and mountain villages – until you get into a tunnel to emerge in the vineyards of the Lake Geneva region and arrive shortly in Montreux.</span><span></span></p> <p>Following that, Zermatt is the next destination. The resort lies at the foot of the Matterhorn. Its touristic development is closely linked to what is most probably the world's most famous mountain. The village is all car-free, has preserved its original character and offers nearly unlimited possibilities as far as excursions are concerned.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/media/7825982/swis6-stsy9950.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/410affc08fd2466e8b19895529385cdb" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Gornergrat Train Zermatt, Valais. Credit: swiss-image.ch/</em></p> <p><span>Once you’re done and dusted, hop on the “slowest express train in the world”, the Glacier Express to St Moritz. Follow up with Bernina Express to enjoy one of the continent’s best scenic rail journeys through UNESCO-protected landscapes to the borders of Italy.</span></p> <p><strong><span>All in one tour</span></strong></p> <p><span>Whatever you are looking for in Helvetia, the Grand Train Tour of Switzerland can get you there. Travelling independently and enjoying all the tourism highlights, from picturesque sceneries to cultural sites and urban centres, have become more convenient and seamless than ever.</span></p> <p><span>Scroll through the gallery above to see more stunning images of Switzerland's Grand Train Tour. </span></p> <p><span>Will you be visiting <a href="https://www.switzerlandtravel.com.au/switzerland-travel-brochure/">Switzerland</a> on your next trip? </span></p> <p><em><span>This is sponsored content brought to you in conjunction with </span></em><span><a href="https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-au/home.html"><em>Switzerland Tourism</em></a><em>.</em></span></p>

International Travel

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4 modern man-made marvels in Southeast Asia

<p>Southeast Asia is well-known for its gorgeous natural and historical attractions. Just think of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Halong Bay in Vietnam and Borobudur in Indonesia.</p> <p>Equally gorgeous and impressive, though, are these modern, man-made structures. Check out these four impressive sites that are also attracting large crowds.</p> <div class="view view-article-slider view-id-article_slider view-display-id-article_slider_block view-dom-id-c42fd07198902a614a7d8230cf786566"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>1. Golden Bridge, Vietnam</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>High up on Ba Na hill near Danang City in Vietnam sits a pair of giant hands holding up a pedestrian walkway.</p> <p>The 150-metre long Cau Vang, or Golden Bridge, rises more than 1400 metres above sea level and offers spectacular views of the surrounding area.</p> <p>Although brand new – the attraction just opened in June – the hands have been aged to look like they’ve been around for many decades. According to the principal architect, the project was designed to look like the hands of God pulling out a strip of gold from the land.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>2. Gardens by the Bay, Singapore</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Futuristic-looking giant trees and a man-made forest under a glass dome are all part of this 101-hectare multi-award winning horticultural destination that opened in 2012.</p> <p>The giant Supertrees are between nine and 16 storeys tall and you can take a stroll on a suspended walkway between two of these trees to enjoy the view from up above.</p> <p>A short walk away, you’ll come across the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest. The former houses a collection of flowers found in deserts around the world, while the latter has the world’s tallest indoor waterfall and showcases plants that are usually found some 2000 metres above sea level.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>3. Statue of Lord Murugan, Batu Caves, Malaysia</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Located just 12 kilometres from the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, Batu Caves is the site of the tallest statue of a Hindu deity in Malaysia and the second tallest in the world.</p> <p>The statue of Lord Murugan, located at the Sri Murugan Perumal Kovil at the foot of Batu Caves, was completed in 2006 and stands a little over 42 metres tall.</p> <p>There are three limestone caves in the area, all of which house Hindu temples and shrines.</p> <p>Visitors have to scale 272 steps in order to reach the entrance of the caves.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>4. Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque, Brunei</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>With floors and walls made from gleaming Italian marble, made-in-England chandeliers, granite from Shanghai and millions of glass mosaic pieces covering the golden main dome, this is definitely no ordinary mosque.</p> <p>Named after the 28th sultan of Brunei, the grand mosque was completed in 1958.</p> <p>The impressive building is surrounded by an artificial lagoon, where a replica of a 16th century royal barge is docked at the end of a marble bridge.</p> <p><em>Written by Siti Rohani. This article first appeared in </em><span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/destinations/4-modern-man-made-marvels-southeast-asia"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA87V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></span></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

International Travel

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Hidden gems in India you must visit once in your lifetime

<p>With its rich history, and geographical and cultural diversity, <a href="https://www.incredibleindia.org/content/incredibleindia/en.html">India</a> is a sight to behold. Plenty of curious, hungry travellers fulfil their appetite for adventure in the South Asian country as they immerse themselves in the beautiful array of architecture dating back to the Mughal Empire and surround themselves with the illustrious scenery of mountain tops and caves.</p> <p>With its immense population of 1.3 billion, India remains one of the most ethnically diverse countries around the world. Home to over a dozen major and minor linguistic groups, the country’s beauty lies within the multiculturalism of its people.</p> <p>Colour, music and spirituality are just a few of the plethora of experiences India has to offer, and with every corner of the land providing a different array of wonder, India is a place that you must visit at least once in your lifetime.</p> <p>Whether you choose to live like a local and experience the authenticity of the country through the markets and rikshaw rides, or prefer to explore the historical regions of each city like a true traveller, there is something for everyone in the subcontinent.</p> <p>Here is what makes the country of India so special.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/djjl_6n4ef0" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><strong>1. Taj Mahal, Agra</strong></p> <p>As a traveller, you cannot visit India without witnessing the sheer brilliance of the Taj Mahal. Located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, this UNESCO World Heritage Site dates back to 1653. The history behind it is even more magnificent, as the ivory-white marble mausoleum is a symbol of one of the greatest love stories ever told.</p> <p>Translating to the “Crown of the Palaces”, the Taj Mahal was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died while giving birth to their 14<sup>th</sup> child. The extravagant structure holds the tomb for both Shah Jahan and his wife, and was designed by architect Ustad Ahmad Lahauri. Costing close to 32 million rupees during the time of its completion, or AU$1.2 billion in today’s currency, the project is the masterpiece of close to 20,000 artisans. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, it was called “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage”. In today’s era, the structure is considered to be the finest example of Mughal architecture and has become the forefront of India’s ancient history.</p> <p><strong>2. Red Fort, Delhi</strong></p> <p>Located in the capital city of Delhi, the Red Fort is a historic monument dating back to 1648. The palace was home to the emperors of the Mughal dynasty for close to 200 years, until 1856. The Fort, or more traditionally known as Lal Qal’ah, is a work of art consisting of four enormous red sandstone walls, which stand 23 metres high. The location is home to entertainment halls, projecting balconies, intricate gardens and an ornate mosque.</p> <p>While the monument was originally built under Islamic customs, a fusion of Persian, Timurid and Hindu traditions are all reflected throughout the craftmanship and architectural work of the building. The palace holds a cultural significance for the people of India, with the Prime Minister hoisting the Indian “tricolour flag” at the main gate every year on the country’s Independence Day (15 August).</p> <p>Classed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007, the elaborate ancient wonder tells the story of the Mughal Empire and the subsequent British invasion in 1857. Lal Qal’ah was the site where the British put the last Mughal emperor on trial before exiling him to Yangon in 1858.</p> <p><strong>3. Vagator Beach, Goa</strong></p> <p>So, you’ve read about two of the many glorious structures India has to offer, but it doesn’t just end there, as the country is home to plenty of tropical beaches that attract multiple tourists each year.</p> <p>Vagator Beach in Goa is considered to be one of the most photographed beaches in the region, with its bright blue seascape and warm sand beneath your feet, the location isn’t anything short of paradise.</p> <p>As dramatic red cliffs provide panoramic views of the seashore, the area is the perfect opportunity to experience India like a local. With flea markets being held every Saturday and Sunday, and an abundance of authentic Indian cuisine options to choose from, it’s not hard to see why the tropical setting is a favourite amongst tourists.</p> <p>Be sure to brush up on your bargaining skills before hitching a ride to the markets as you may end up receiving a discount of 50 per cent or more off the quoted price.</p> <p><strong>4. Adalaj Step Well, Ahmedabad</strong></p> <p>Ahmedabad, or otherwise known as Amdavad, is a modern city with historical roots, as it holds a rich legacy of fallen empires. Located in the region of Gujarat, the busy capital is a stark difference to the towns of Australia, with densely populated suburbs and the honking of cars every way you turn.</p> <p>But that’s the beauty of the century-old metropolis, as you dig deeper you uncover the beauty it truly holds. Unbelievable architecture, 100-year-old mosques and contemporary buildings are all located within the confines of the busy city.</p> <p>Combined with museums, top-rated restaurants and the hustle and bustle of India’s street-food scene, Ahmedabad should be at the top of your list when visiting the country.</p> <p>Located 19 kilometres north of the city is the Adalaj Vav Step Well and is considered to be one of the finest Gujarati step wells to exist, simply due to its exquisite craftmanship. Similar to other monuments around the country, the structure was built by a royal, this time it was Queen Rudabai in 1498. Featuring three entrances and 16 pillars, the five-storey-deep octagonal well is embellished with intricate carvings, each telling a story throughout time.</p> <p>Now that the sheer brilliance of <a href="https://www.incredibleindia.org/content/incredibleindia/en.html">India</a> is calling your name, be sure to pay a visit and experience first-hand how ancient history and remarkable scenery come alive throughout the Asian subcontinent.</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery above to witness some of the many beautiful sights India has to hold.</p> <p><em>This is sponsored content brought to you in conjunction with </em><a href="https://www.incredibleindia.org/content/incredibleindia/en.html"><em>India Tourism</em></a><em>.</em></p>

International Travel

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Travelling during a storm: 4 things you need to know

<p>It was a week of natural disasters recently when the Philippines and Hong Kong had to deal with Typhoon Mangkhut, and the Carolinas in the USA had to deal with Hurricane Florence. The storms left a trail of destruction in its wake, as well as deaths and injuries.<br /> <br />If you’d been scheduled to travel to those destinations when the storms were taking place, you may have been anxious trying to decide what to do.<br /><br />Here’s some advice on the steps you should take if future travel plans become affected by natural disasters such as storms or volcanic eruptions.</p> <div class="view view-article-slider view-id-article_slider view-display-id-article_slider_block view-dom-id-24ffe0424e99039ecbcf5083a01bcbf6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>1. Has your embassy issued a travel advisory?</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p><a href="https://smartraveller.gov.au/Pages/default.aspx">Smartraveller</a> may issue a travel notice advising that non-essential travel to the affected area should be postponed. For example, if you have a family emergency, you may still consider going ahead with the journey, but if it’s for a holiday, you should postpone your trip, or look for alternative destinations.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>2. Get in touch with your airline</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Airlines will likely cancel flights during the affected period, such as the time the storm is predicted to make landfall. Affected passengers will likely be allowed free rebooking for a certain period so do get in touch with the airline to find out the details.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>3. Call your accommodation provider</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>If you’ve booked rooms or accommodation that have flexible cancellation schemes, you can easily make changes to your booking.</p> <p>However, it may get trickier if you’ve booked a room that has strict non-cancellation policies. In this case, try getting in touch with them directly to work out a solution.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>4. Check your travel insurance</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>This is one of those times when you will be pleased that you have purchased travel insurance.</p> <p>Just make sure you’ve read all the fine print to see what coverage the policy offers for trip postponement, disruption or cancellation.</p> <p><em>Written by <span>Siti Rohani</span>. This article first appeared in </em><span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/tips/travelling-during-storm"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA87V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></span></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

International Travel

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7 hidden features on airplanes you had no idea existed

<div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even">Keep an eye out for these on your next flight.</div> <div class="field-item even"></div> <div class="field-item even"><strong>1. The magic button for extra room</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Did you manage to snag an aisle seat? Not only can you get up without crawling over people, but you can make your seat extra roomy at the push of a button, thanks to one of the coolest secret airplane features. Reach under the armrest closest to the aisle and feel around near the hinge. You should find a button, which will instantly let you swing the armrest up when you push it, according to<span> </span><em>Travel + Leisure</em>. Once it’s in line with your seat back, it won’t dig into your side anymore, and you can move your legs around without hitting anything.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>2. The hidden handrail</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>We’re willing to bet you hate it when people aggressively grab your seat on the way to the bathroom. Once it’s your turn to make your way down the aisle, though, you realise you have no choice but to follow suit – or do you? Flight attendants don’t just touch the ceiling for fun when they walk; the bottom of the overhead compartment has a scalloped area that gives better grip when walking down a moving airplane, according to<span> </span><em>Condé Nast Traveler</em>. Next time you need to get up, reach to the ceiling for balance.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>3. Secret sleeping area</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>A long-haul flight is hard enough on passengers, but imagine being a pilot or flight attendant trying to make it through a 14-hour workday. It’s an exhausting job, so some planes, like Boeing 777 and 787 Dreamliner planes, have secret passageways that let staff get some decent shut-eye, according to<span> </span><em>Insider</em>. A locked door near the front of the plane or a door posing as an overhead bin hides the entrance to a set of beds, kept private with thick curtains.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>4. Hooks on the wings</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>If you peek out the window to an Airbus plane’s wing, you can spot yellow bumps with holes in the middle on an otherwise smooth, white surface. If there’s an emergency water landing, the wings would be very slippery for passengers trying to get to the inflatable slide that would have deployed. To help travellers get off without falling, the easy-to-miss airplane features let cabin crew slip a rope through one hook and fasten it to the next, according to pilot “Captain” Joe. Passengers could hold on to the rope while on the plane to make it away from the plane safely.<span> </span></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>5. Triangle above window</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Scan the wall of your plane; above four windows, you’ll see a black triangle. Each one lines up with the edge of the airplane’s wing, according to pilot “Captain” Joe. If a flight attendant needs to check the airplane’s slats or flaps – the moving parts on a wing – they’ll know exactly where to go for the best view. If you’re getting motion sick on a plane, you might want to see if you can move to a seat between the triangles. The wings are the plane’s centre of gravity, so sitting between them would give you the smoothest ride.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>6. Holes in the windows</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Look closely at an airplane window and you’ll spot something weird: a little hole in the bottom. Take an even closer look and you’ll realise that unlike other windows, this one is made of three panes, and the hole is in the middle one. The quirk is there to protect against the pressure drop of flying high into the atmosphere, according to<span> </span><em>Slate</em>. As a plane ascends, the pressure outside drops massively, but the cabin is designed to stay at a comfortable pressure. That leaves a big difference in pressure inside and outside of the plane. The outside window takes on most of that pressure, and the hole in the middle one helps balance the pressure difference. The inner window is just to protect the middle one. </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>7. Hidden handcuffs</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>If passengers are getting unruly, flight attendants have the right to restrain them. In the US, they might use typical cop-style cuffs, but most will use plastic restraints similar to zip ties, according to<span> </span><em>Express</em>.</p> <p><em>Written by <span>Marissa Laliberte</span>. This article first appeared in </em><span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/flights/7-hidden-features-airplanes-you-had-no-idea-existed"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA87V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></span></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

International Travel

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Liz Hurley sends fans into a frenzy with her latest holiday snaps

<p>British actress and model Elizabeth Hurley has sent fans into a frenzy with her latest snaps on Instagram. Hurley is currently relaxing in the Ananda Resort in the Himalayas, but seems to find the time to relax in the sun.</p> <div class="embed"><iframe class="instagram-media instagram-media-rendered" id="instagram-embed-0" src="https://www.instagram.com/p/Bv9DzmlA9iQ/embed/?cr=1&amp;rd=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.instagram.com" height="646" width="450" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="true" allowtransparency="true" data-instgrm-payload-id="instagram-media-payload-0" scrolling="no"></iframe></div> <p>Fans were on board with the outfit, with some asking whether or not she’s a vampire as she doesn’t appear to age.</p> <p>One fan commented, asking “is that you 20 years ago!?” whereas another said that Hurley is “the English rose”.</p> <p>The star seems to be showcasing her latest swimwear in her clothing line<span> </span>Elizabeth Hurley Beach.<span> </span>The swimwear Hurley is wearing can be found in her latest line<span> </span>Cruise.</p> <p>Hurley launched the London-based swimwear line named<span> </span>Elizabeth Hurley Beach<span> </span>in 2005 after deciding that she wanted to take a break from acting.</p> <p>On the company’s website, she explains:</p> <p>“I wanted to develop resort collections, which make women feel fabulous at any age.”</p> <p> </p> <div class="embed"><iframe class="instagram-media instagram-media-rendered" id="instagram-embed-0" src="https://www.instagram.com/p/Bv_XmK6ADbv/embed/?cr=1&amp;rd=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.instagram.com" height="700" width="450" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="true" allowtransparency="true" data-instgrm-payload-id="instagram-media-payload-0" scrolling="no"></iframe></div> <p>Her fans were also loving the video above, as it’s gained more than 370,000 views in less than 15 hours. Hurley is again wearing a piece from her swimwear line.</p> <p>One fan couldn’t contain themselves saying, “Still amazing, you are timeless!”</p> <p>What do you think? Let us know in the comments.</p>

International Travel

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No tourists allowed: Komodo Island implements tourist ban

<p>The Indonesian island inhabited by endangered Komodo dragons will be closed to tourists starting 2020 following reports of rampant smuggling of the lizards.</p> <p>According to <span><a href="https://en.tempo.co/read/1190397/komodo-island-off-limits-for-tourism-in-2020-says-govt"><em>Tempo</em></a></span>, the government will close the Komodo National Island indefinitely starting January next year, with the reopening date still pending.</p> <p>The announcement came after authorities busted a smuggling ring which had sold 41 Komodo dragons abroad for up to Rp500 million (AU$49,570) each.</p> <p>Spokesman for the East Nusa Tenggara government Marius Jelamu said authorities will focus on conservation efforts during the closure, including examining the lizards’ food supply and preserving the island’s natural environment.</p> <p>The closure will only apply to the Komodo National Park, meaning that visitors may still see Komodo dragons at other conservation areas such as Flores, Rinca and Gili Motong islands.</p> <p>According to the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF), there are approximately 6,000 Komodo dragons left on earth, most of which are concentrated on the island. In 1991, the national park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site to protect the giant lizard population.</p> <p>This is not the first time that a popular tourist destination had to be shut down for conservation purposes. The famous Maya Bay in Thailand has been off-limits to tourists since June last year due to extensive environmental damage from tourists and boats. The <span><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/03/thailand-bay-made-famous-by-the-beach-closed-indefinitely"><em>Guardian</em></a></span> reported that 80 per cent of the coral around the bay, which was featured in Leonardo DiCaprio’s film <em>The Beach</em>, has been destroyed.</p>

International Travel

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The tropical puppy island to add to your bucket list

<p><span>The combination of sparkling sea waters, hot bright sand and adorable puppies might sound too good to be true, but it’s what you can expect when you visit this dreamy destination.</span></p> <p><span>Perched on the Turks and Caicos Islands near the Bahamas, Potcake Place is a dog rescue charity that allows tourists to walk local puppies and dogs along Grace Bay Beach in Providenciales.</span></p> <p><span>The pups are called Potcakes, named after the food that locals give them. According to the founder and director of the charity Jane Parker-Rauw, Potcakes are predominantly German shepherds, Labrador retrievers and fox terriers.</span></p> <p><span>The charity helps 500 strays get adopted every year. However, according to <a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/terripous/theres-an-island-where-you-can-play-with-rescue-puppies-and?utm_term=.fn5XvGRAl&amp;bffbanimals#.ia2DJP4Qj"><em>Buzzfeed</em></a>, Parker-Rauw noticed that the puppies were quite wary around people. To solve the problem, in 2010 she started allowing locals and tourists to come and play with the canines for a few hours every day on “puppy socialisation walks”, in order to let them get used to being around humans before they find a new home.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BrgIXAvH8_6/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BrgIXAvH8_6/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Mathilda Hermodsson🌍 (@mathildahermodssonn)</a> on Dec 17, 2018 at 12:34pm PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BuEf3hhBWmg/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BuEf3hhBWmg/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" target="_blank">Hi, my name is DiVina and I like long, romantic walks on the beach with #shelterdogs. 🐾 #adoptdontshop #turksandcaicos #gracebay #animalshelter #crazydoglady</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/divinaface/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" target="_blank"> DiVina Gurrola</a> (@divinaface) on Feb 19, 2019 at 8:35am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BtkqlsbFDxT/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BtkqlsbFDxT/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Jessica Demaris (@booboojessy)</a> on Feb 6, 2019 at 11:53pm PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BtdzGtqBe_B/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BtdzGtqBe_B/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" target="_blank">We can’t adopt an island dog, we can’t adopt an island dog...</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/unstoppabledogs/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" target="_blank"> Meg McCarthy-Cataldo</a> (@unstoppabledogs) on Feb 4, 2019 at 7:53am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span>While there is no charge to walk a puppy, the queues could be long and the number of dogs available for trips varies day to day.</span></p> <p><span>Parker-Rauw said these short excursions could do wonders for the young dogs’ development. “These short interactions with nice people both in and out of the adoption center really help to give them confidence that yes, most people really are good,” said Parker-Rauw. </span></p> <p><span>“We have seen hundreds of times a very shy puppy just excel and develop over a short time this way. It's lovely.”</span></p> <p><span>Parker-Rauw said she and her rescue organisation, which is 100 per cent run by volunteers, are hoping to reduce the number of dogs on the street without resorting to euthanising. She said her efforts on educating, neutering and spaying the canines in her shelter seemed to have paid off, as she believed there are now fewer strays. “For the first time in a long time, I have some hope that we are actually getting where we need to be,” she told <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/potcake-place-puppy-turks-and-caicos/index.html"><em>CNN</em></a>. “No more homeless dogs.”</span></p> <p>Will you add this place to your travel bucket list? Let us know in the comments.</p>

International Travel

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Island paradise! Inside Bruce Willis’ luxurious $46.5 million Caribbean home

<p>Bruce Willis and his wife Emma Heming Willis have put their beautiful Turks and Caicos’ Parrot Cay island home on the market.</p> <p>But the lavish abode does not come cheap with a price tag of $46.5 million (US$33m).</p> <p>The Caribbean house features two guest villas, with the direction of the property facing towards the sunset.</p> <p>The home is perfect for those who prefer to be away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, as it is located on a long stretch of private beach in the Caribbean.</p> <p>The actor purchased the property in 2000 and finished construction in 2004, according to the <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.architecturaldigest.com/" target="_blank"><em>Architectural Digest</em></a>.</p> <p>The main house was then renovated in 2018 after the birth of his two children with Emma. The mansion holds a special place in the couple’s hearts as it has been the location of many holidays, birthdays and anniversaries.</p> <p>Last month, the pair celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary in the calming space by renewing their vows.</p> <p>“It’s always served as a safe haven for us all,” said the couple in a statement.</p> <p>“A place where Bruce could be totally anonymous. From flying kites to building sandcastles to swimming in the pool all day, it’s just a safe, chill and happy place.”</p> <p>The luxury property is spread out over 465sqm and includes an open floor plan. Also included is a spacious master bedroom that takes up the entire upper level of the main house.</p> <p>It also comes with one of the island’s biggest pools, with unlimited access to a butler who brings you waterfront cocktails whenever you fancy.</p> <p>Even the guests aren’t left out, as each villa comes with its own private pool.</p> <p>The home even comes with a private garden to keep the kids entertained for hours on end.</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery above to look inside Bruce Willis’ mega mansion in the Caribbean.</p>

International Travel

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How have our travel habits changed over the past 50 years?

<p>We tend to assume that travel today is fundamentally different from what it was half a century ago. We have easier access to faster forms of transport, and we expect to be able to move quickly and easily whenever we wish. But a <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/457732/nts2014-factsheet.pdf">recent overview</a> of travel behaviour in England – celebrating 50 years of data from the <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-travel-survey-statistics">National Travel Survey</a> (NTS) – shows that while some things have certainly changed, much remains the same.</p> <p>According to the authors of the report, the most striking change to our travel habits is that “we are travelling further but not more often”. In other words, though the individual trips we take are longer in terms of distance, the number of times we travel has remained much the same over the past 50 years. What’s more, there has been little change in the total time spent travelling, due to faster travel speeds. And the purposes of our trips have changed only slightly: the biggest change has been an increase in the number of journeys we take to escort others.</p> <p>Predictably, we’ve seen an increase in car use, as a result of their greater availability and affordability. This has been accompanied by a decrease in travel by bus and bike. None of these trends will be surprising to anyone who has thought carefully about the nature of everyday travel in Britain. But if we dig behind the survey data, some less obvious patterns and trends are revealed.</p> <p><strong>What’s missing?</strong></p> <p>Although the NTS is an unparalleled set of data, even this has its limitations. As the authors recognise, walking trips tend to be under-recorded, and it is not possible to gain fully comparable data on walking as a means of everyday travel over the full 50 years. What is clear, however, is that our feet remain one of our most important forms of transport.</p> <p>In 2014, according to the survey, 22 per cent of all trips were made on foot, and walking constituted 76 per cent of all trips under one mile. Though we walk less than we did in the past, travel on foot remains an important means of travel – but one that tends to be neglected in both official statistics and transport planning. All too often, the needs of the pedestrian <a href="http://www.research.lancs.ac.uk/portal/en/publications/you-feel-unusual-walking%28ea131f03-a31a-4eb7-b772-df46076c17e1%29.html">are ignored</a>.</p> <p>And while there may not be data available beyond the 50 years covered by the NTS, it is possible to gain some insights into even longer-term travel trends by using oral history and survey techniques. Research using these methods <a href="http://www.ashgate.com/default.aspx?page=637&amp;title_id=4826&amp;edition_id=4959&amp;calcTitle=1">suggests that</a> the distance and time spent travelling has remained reasonably stable over the last century, and perhaps beyond.</p> <p>Historically, most trips were over short distances, and the time that people have been willing to commit to travelling has remained much the same. Obviously faster forms of transport, especially the private car, have allowed longer distances to be covered, and there are more very long journeys than in the past, but for most people, most of the time, everyday travel takes place relatively close to home.</p> <p><strong>Home, sweet home</strong></p> <p>Why have travel trends remained so similar over long periods of time? Answers to this question almost certainly lie in the nature of society and human relationships: something that cannot be revealed by statistics. In essence, human societies across the ages seek to fulfil certain aspirations: to provide income, food and shelter; to be near and protect family; to socialise and to be with friends. Most of these needs and aspirations can be met close to home, and therefore shape our travel behaviour.</p> <p>Certainly, as families have become more dispersed and labour mobility <a href="http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/lms/labour-market-trends--discontinued-/volume-111--no--11/job-mobility-and-job-tenure-in-the-uk.pdf">has increased</a>, this has led to some people making ever longer journeys. But most of us are still able (and indeed prefer) to fulfil most of our everyday needs close to home.</p> <p>One other aspect that statistics such as the NTS cannot reveal is the experience of travel. What is it like to travel today and how has this changed over time? Arguably, this is one area where there has been significant change. The advent and widespread use of the private car has meant that comfortable, convenient and private transport has become the norm for most people.</p> <p>A century ago, only an elite could travel privately and in relative comfort, with most using shared space on various forms of public transport. For those who walk or cycle, the experience of travel will have changed less, though increased traffic has probably made the experience less pleasurable for many.</p> <p>Half a century of the NTS reminds us of the importance of travel in our lives, and challenges assumptions that everyday mobility has changed dramatically over time. But it also shows us that, when it comes to what’s important to us, some things never change.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/49029/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Colin Pooley, Emeritus Professor of Social and Historical Geography, Lancaster University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/how-have-our-travel-habits-changed-over-the-past-50-years-49029"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>.</em></p>

International Travel

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Why it's OK to charge tourists more for chips

<p>It was recently reported that <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/27/the-chips-are-up-bruges-cafes-charge-tourists-extra-10">cafes in Bruges charge tourists 10 per cent</a> more than locals for chips. Explained as “discount for customer loyalty”, tourists automatically end up in a higher price bracket.</p> <p>This reminded me of a conversation I overheard between two tourists in Sicily who felt they were regarded as “walking wallets” by local shop owners, a sentiment I often hear hinted at by holidaymakers when walking foreign streets. As the summer holiday season fast approaches, it’s perhaps timely to question the ethics behind inflated prices for tourists.</p> <p>Tourism has long been regarded as a vehicle of economic prosperity and source of increased revenue. It is one of the world’s largest industries, with a global economic contribution of over <a href="https://www.wttc.org/-/media/files/reports/economic-impact-research/2017-documents/global-economic-impact-and-issues-2017.pdf">US$7.6 trillion</a> (£5.8 trillion). The United Nations World Tourism Organisation forecasts that by 2030, the number of international tourist arrivals will reach <a href="http://www.e-unwto.org/doi/book/10.18111/9789284414024">1.8 billion</a>. With one in ten jobs on the planet reliant on tourism (that’s <a href="https://www.wttc.org/research/economic-research/economic-impact-analysis/">292 million people</a>) and an equivalent worth of <a href="http://www2.unwto.org/content/why-tourism">10% global GDP</a>, there is little wonder that host communities want to make the most of the opportunities it brings.</p> <p>One of the most famous places for hiking prices up for visitors is Venice. The city’s “<a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/11592890/Venice-rips-off-tourists-says-complaint-taken-to-EU.html">two-tier system</a>” became so extreme that a complaint reached the European Commission in 2015 which claimed discriminatory practices against tourists – the complaint was rejected. And when Thailand planned to introduce national park fee increases in 2015 it was clear that the higher prices would fall on <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/news/Should-foreign-tourists-pay-more-than-locals/">holidaymakers rather than local people</a>. The increased fees for “<a href="https://www.thainationalparks.com/posts/new-national-park-entrance-fees-announced">foreign adults and children</a>” came into effect from February 2015.</p> <p>Such differential pricing may seem unfair. But if locals had to start paying the same prices as tourists, it’s likely that many of them would be prevented from enjoying heritage sites in their own communities. Many would be priced out of their own homes. Their wages are rarely anywhere close to the levels of their travelling guests.</p> <p>Travel guidebooks are the first to warn you “not to pay the price first given” in local markets. I have to admit, I have often tried to “look like a local” by hiding my camera to avoid “tourist prices”. But this is a moral argument: a willingness to pay higher prices may actually represent a more responsible approach to travel.</p> <p><strong>Paying our way</strong></p> <p>A two-tier tourism payment system, where locals are charged less for the same product, may be one way of implementing <a href="http://www.tourism4development2017.org/">sustainable tourism practices</a> and protecting valuable resources. We should consider the longer-term impact on valuable resources caused by large numbers of people passing through a location for short intense periods of time, often simply to take a photo (before getting back on their large tour buses).</p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/sustainable-tourism-is-not-working-heres-how-we-can-change-that-76018">Issues of sustainability</a> must be coupled with increased awareness of local reliance on tourism where traditional industries have declined and natural resources are depleted. Expecting tourists to pay a little more to protect and maintain the sites they enjoy is morally defensible – whether this be Bruges, Venice or Thailand.</p> <p>A form of “tourist tax” on food, accommodation and attractions may seem unfair (even discriminatory), but tourism shouldn’t be a one-way transaction. Foreign visitors often place significant pressure on scarce and limited resources at certain times of the year. We all need to recognise this impact. The concept of “<a href="https://www.odi.org/sites/odi.org.uk/files/odi-assets/publications-opinion-files/3246.pdf">pro-poor tourism</a>” is one approach. This strategy encourages us to view tourism as a tool of poverty alleviation, especially in some countries that have few other natural resources or export markets.</p> <p>The ability of tourist spending to bring about social, cultural and economic benefits should not be underestimated. A generous tip or willingness to pay more goes some way in acknowledging the strain (and damage) that tourists can put on fragile infrastructures and communities.</p> <p><strong>Ripped off</strong></p> <p>Recognising the positive contribution that tourists can make is important, but of course one needs to be aware when informal “tourist taxes” and inflationary practices become exploitative and fraudulent. When a family in Rome was <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/10039834/British-tourists-complaint-over-54-ice-cream-hits-a-nerve-in-Rome.html">charged £54 for four ice creams</a>, it made international newspapers, prompting concerns about the way some operators hike the price up for visitors.</p> <p>But the example is extreme – and a simple price check before purchase would have helped the family avoid this unfortunate situation. Perhaps more worrying has been the rise of <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/20-tourist-scams-to-watch-out-for-when-traveling-abroad-this-summer-2016-7?IR=T">sophisticated scams</a> involving switching goods, acts of deception and false stories of hardship to elicit money from unsuspecting visitors.</p> <p>There are inevitably going to be hidden and additional costs associated with being a tourist. Some are justified. A degree of sensitivity to local needs and social responsibility towards helping replenish resources and repair damage needs to be balanced against naivety (and sometimes stupidity) in our holiday transactions.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/80234/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Sally Everett, Deputy Dean (Business School), Anglia Ruskin University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/why-its-ok-to-charge-tourists-more-for-chips-80234"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

International Travel

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Sophie Delezio's big news

<p>She touched the hearts of many around the country due to her bravery in the wake of a horrific car accident in 2003, and now, Sophie Delezio is on the road to turning her lifelong dream of moving to London into a reality.</p> <p>The burns victim completed high school last year, and to further her education, she applied for entrance to study sociology and international relations at five of England’s top-ranking universities – four of them in London.</p> <p>The move won’t be easy for the teenager, as the 17-year-old will find herself needing to adapt to new surroundings and a much different environment from her family home in Sydney’s North Shore.</p> <p>“Yes, a part of me is a little nervous about moving away,” Sophie told <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.nowtolove.com.au/celebrity/celeb-news/sophie-delezio-moving-overseas-54700" target="_blank">Women’s Weekly</a>.</em></p> <p>“I will miss my family and my friends but at the same time there is a sense of anticipation that is almost overwhelming. It’s as though I am finally getting an opportunity to spread my wings and sample everything that the world has to offer – but on my terms and in my own way. It’s an adventure.”</p> <p>But despite the excitement and intrigue, there is an element of risk involved. Ever since the horrifying incident, this will be Sophie’s first time attempting her intricate medical regime herself.</p> <p>Though she remains optimistic, as she feels that she’s ready to venture out and experience something new.</p> <p>Sophie’s medical needs are extensive. Each day she needs to change the dressings on a number of wounds. And with grafted skin, there is also a danger of infection. And that’s not even the hardest part, with the most critical areas being just below her knee joints where her legs fit into prosthetic limbs.</p> <p>Due to the prosthetics being a tight fit, there is a risk of her skin tearing.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BvaSIePhsXb/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BvaSIePhsXb/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by womensweeklymag (@womensweeklymag)</a> on Mar 24, 2019 at 5:10pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>“I know the routine backwards and forwards,” says Sophie. “I know where every single piece of dressing is in my cupboard, how to apply and when. The only thing I sometimes can’t do is wind a bandage around a part of my leg if it’s at an off angle. Then I might need a little help, but otherwise I am self-sufficient.”</p> <p>Her father Ron, 65, has full faith in his daughter’s abilities.</p> <p>“Sophie is a very determined young woman,” he said.</p> <p>“She has had to be determined and strong all her life. After everything that she has endured in the past 15 years, her just being alive is a testament to how determined she really is. She has had a plan to live overseas for at least a couple of years and she's been quietly working toward that goal the entire time.</p> <p>"Her injuries are such that she needs constant treatment from a team of surgical and burns-care specialists. In the past 15 years, she's probably had more than 100 operations to adjust the skin grafts that cover her body. That’s an incredible amount of surgery for anyone to have, let alone a teenager who is trying to live life the best she can. Yet we've let her assume the responsibility for most of the regime herself in recent years. I can't tell you how proud I am of her. She's incredible."</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery above to see Sophie all grown up!</p>

International Travel

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4 things you need to know before visiting Singapore

<p><span>There are a lot of things you can expect when taking a trip to Singapore – good food, great shopping scene, well-maintained historical sites and vibrant culture and nightlife are just a few of them. To enjoy these to the fullest, here are four tips you can follow to make your visit as smooth-sailing as possible.</span></p> <p><strong><span>1. Prepare for the heat</span></strong></p> <p><span>Perched near the equator line, Singapore has a tropical climate with consistently warm weather and high humidity. This means that a short walk outdoors can give you a lot of perspiration. Dressing accordingly can help you beat the heat – opt for breathable clothing and comfortable walking shoes. Don’t forget to pack an umbrella just in case of rain or shine. </span></p> <p><strong><span>2. Get around</span></strong></p> <p><span>With great transport system and small land area – the island nation is slightly smaller than Canberra – it’s easy to get around in Singapore. As mentioned above, walking might not be the most comfortable way of getting around as you may end up sweaty and sticky – even locals sometimes choose to grab a taxi for a short trip. </span></p> <p><span>Taxis are quite popular, and the fares are not too expensive. However, you can only hail them at designated spots. Finding an available cab during peak times or rainy weather might also be quite hard. You might want to carry cash – drivers would often prefer them, and cards generally attract surcharges. For more convenience, you can also download ride-sharing apps.</span></p> <p><span>Otherwise, the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) subway system is quite affordable and easy to navigate. Tickets and EZ-Link cards are available to purchase at the stations.</span></p> <p><strong><span>3. Feast on local food</span></strong></p> <p><span>The culinary scene in Singapore is one not to be missed. You can try out degustation menus at one of the many Michelin-starred restaurants or go to the hawker centres for authentic local delicacies. If you are concerned about hygiene, fear not – according to <a href="https://theculturetrip.com/asia/singapore/articles/survival-guide-top-10-tips-for-traveling-to-singapore/"><em>The</em> <em>Culture Trip</em></a>, each hawker stall would come with a coloured placard to indicate the cleanliness level from A (the best) to D (a risk). Have a go at some of the country’s signature dishes such as Hainanese chicken rice, chilli crab, kaya toast, bak kut teh and more.</span></p> <p><span>The nightlife here is also well and alive – however, keep in mind that alcoholic drinks are more expensive.</span></p> <p><strong><span>4. Know the laws</span></strong></p> <p><span>Singapore comes with many rules and regulations. Actions that might go unmonitored in other places – carrying <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/don-t-travel-until-you-know-these-laws/">certain kinds of chewing gum</a>, spitting on the street, littering or even <a href="https://www.goabroad.com/articles/study-abroad/singapore-laws-to-know-before-you-go">not flushing the toilet</a> – could result in a fine if you get caught. Even harsher punishments await those who are found to be doing, possessing or selling drugs, including medical and recreational marijuana. </span></p> <p><span>Have you ever been to Singapore? Share your story in the comments.</span></p>

International Travel

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Why tourists go to sites associated with death and suffering

<p>On a beautiful summer day in 2016, as I walked with a group of college students along a well-trodden path sprinkled with needles and cones from majestic pine trees, our mood was somber and morose. The chirping of birds and the burning off of the dew on the grassy hills by the rising sun in this idyllic setting did not help either.</p> <p>We were cognizant of what had happened here not too long ago.</p> <p>This place – <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09528829608576624">the Ponar Forest</a> – is the site where 72,000 Jewish men, women and children from Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, and nearby villages were massacred by the Nazis and their collaborators.</p> <p>I am an educator of the Holocaust, and my travel course takes students through Central Europe to a number of Holocaust sites. The aim is to provide students with a hands-on learning experience.</p> <p>However, some could well argue that this course is just another form of “dark tourism” – an interest in locations that are associated with human suffering and death.</p> <p>What is so problematic about dark tourism? And are there redeeming features that make it worthwhile?</p> <p><strong>Is it voyeurism?</strong></p> <p>First, let’s understand what dark tourism is.</p> <p>In January 2016, Otto Warmbier, an American college student, was <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/17/world/asia/north-korea-otto-warmbier-sentenced.html">arrested in Pyongyang, North Korea,</a> for allegedly stealing a political propaganda poster. He was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor after a one-hour trial. A mere 17 months later, Warmbier was released to his parents in a vegetative state. <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jun/19/otto-warmbier-dies-coma-student-north-korea-prison">He died a few days after.</a></p> <p>Warmbier was on a trip advertised by <a href="http://www.youngpioneertours.com/">Young Pioneer Tours</a> to destinations that, they said, “your mother would rather you stayed away from.” This tragic incident vividly illustrates the perils associated with certain locations.</p> <p>This then is what is referred to as <a href="http://hdl.handle.net/1959.9/346560">“dark tourism.”</a> It involves traveling to sites associated with death, natural disaster, acts of violence, tragedy and crimes against humanity. It could also include <a href="https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCTHR-07-2012-0059">travel to dangerous political hotspots</a>.</p> <p>While data about the number of people embarking on dark tourism are not readily available, there are indications that it is becoming more popular. Over the past 20 years there has been a dramatic <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2017.01.011">increase in the number of peer-reviewed articles on dark tourism.</a> From 1996 through 2010, between three and seven papers appeared annually; from 2011 to 2016, that number increased to between 14 and 25. My own Google search of “dark tourism” yielded nearly four million hits.</p> <p>Some scholars have argued that <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13683500.2014.948813">dark tourism is akin to voyeurism</a>: that is, fulfilling a desire for the forbidden. Other researchers though have found little evidence that people are interested in death per se. A commonly reported motive seems to be <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2017.01.011">learning about past events</a>, a curiosity that drives an interest in such sites.</p> <p>Of course, it is hard to say with certainty what the real motives might be. Studies rely on self-reported data, and <a href="http://www.sciencebrainwaves.com/the-dangers-of-self-report/">respondents in such studies like to be perceived in a positive light.</a> This is especially true if the questionnaire touches on a sensitive subject that may reveal a disquieting or troubling characteristic.</p> <p><strong>Ethics of travel to some spots</strong></p> <p>Nonetheless, there is an important <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2017/06/23/tourism-to-north-korea-isnt-about-engagement-its-torture-porn/?utm_term=.f20ff6354833">ethical dimension to dark tourism</a>. Take the case of tourism in North Korea. Proponents have argued that anti-American sentiment may be decreased by the people-to-people contact enabled by such tourism, or that such visits may create a subversive effect. Proponents believe through such exposure North Koreans may come to appreciate the liberties enjoyed by people in the developed world and begin to question their own ways of living.</p> <p>Indeed, the <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13683500.2015.1032896">past decade has opened up North Korea to tourism</a>, allowing citizens from most countries to visit. Critics, however, argue that the average North Korean does not interact with tourists; <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/north-korea-holidays-tourism-how-to-travel-pyongyang-is-it-right-human-rights-record-a7203306.html">the guided tours are well-scripted</a>, allowing engagement with the regime and not the people. Moreover, tourism legitimizes the regime while enriching it at the same time. In North Korea, for example, it is estimated that <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0163660X.2016.1232635">tourism is a US$45 million per year industry</a>.</p> <p>The question that emerges then is whether it is ethical to promote a repressive regime that is repeatedly cited for human rights violations. This question is germane to all tourist locations that have <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/amnesty-international-reveals-the-10-worst-attacks-on-human-rights-across-the-world-last-year-a6892911.html">questionable human rights records</a>, from China to Hungary.</p> <p>And what of places of human suffering from <a href="https://www.smartertravel.com/2017/06/19/disaster-tourism-tragedy-draws-tourists/">disasters</a> such as the <a href="https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/chernobyl-bg.html">Chernobyl nuclear power plant</a> in Ukraine, or from fascist regimes that are no longer in existence such as the <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2014/08/07/why-the-world-should-not-forget-khmer-rouge-and-the-killing-fields-of-cambodia/?utm_term=.07e29c3fd704">killing fields of Phnom Penh, Cambodia</a>? Are they free from ethical constraints?</p> <p>Few would doubt that it is immoral to benefit from others’ calamities, no matter how far removed these incidents may be from our present time or place.</p> <p><strong>Observing boundaries</strong></p> <p>So how do we in particular, as Holocaust educators, escape the trappings of dark tourism?</p> <p>I strive to provide my students with an educational experience that pays tribute to the social, cultural and artistic aspects of European Jewry. For example, we pay a visit to the Polin Museum in Warsaw, which tells the history of Polish Jews. At the same time, however, going to the former concentration camps of Auschwitz, Majdanek or Treblinka does privilege places of human suffering and death.</p> <p><strong>How then do we maintain our intended purpose?</strong></p> <p>An important point of emphasis in our Holocaust travel course is the need to respect the sites we visit. My students are told clearly, especially in places of death and martyrdom, that exhibits and artifacts are to be inspected visually. Never should they reach out to touch or take anything.</p> <p>Students can, at times, fail to understand the criminal meaning of some acts and get into a great deal of trouble. In 2015, for example, <a href="http://time.com/3931830/teenagers-arrested-auschwitz-artifacts/">two teenagers were arrested</a> for taking found objects at Auschwitz. More recently, another student stole some artifacts from Auschwitz in order to <a href="http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4991041,00.html">complete an art project</a> for her graduate degree.</p> <p><strong>Why intent matters</strong></p> <p>When places of death and torture are respected from the perspective of valuing the sanctity of life and not seen as a source of titillation resulting from a <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13683500.2014.948813">voyeuristic need</a>, then these behaviors, I believe, will not occur.</p> <p>Indeed, the atmosphere at the Auschwitz museum cafe may appear to be <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0458063x.2017.1295720">Disneyland-like</a>, with visitors casually resting over their cups of coffee or ice creams. In fact, however, it is the attitude or intent of the visitor that ultimately determines dark tourism’s presence.</p> <p>Even in Auschwitz, then, a visit per se is not a sufficient criterion for dark tourism. Snapping a smiling selfie at such a site, however, should be of some concern.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/81015/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Daniel B. Bitran, Professor of Psychology, College of the Holy Cross</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/why-tourists-go-to-sites-associated-with-death-and-suffering-81015"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

International Travel

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Why we just can't resist coastal glamour

<p>Tourists are naturally drawn to Europe’s coastlines in the summer – but one particular type of seaside region has fascinated travellers more than most since the 19th century: the riviera. Although the word is usually used to refer to the French Côte d’Azur, the term has acquired a widely acknowledged meaning in our collective imagination. The concept of “riviera” (literally meaning “coastline” in Italian) defines a lakeside or seaside region composed of multiple resorts and small towns, all sharing a developed tourist industry. They are often, crucially, reserved for socioeconomic elites who can afford the regions’ high costs of living.</p> <p>The word riviera also denotes certain attributes. It speaks to comfort, the quietness of life and exceptional climate. Beyond its precise definition, we can easily visually imagine what a riviera looks like. It has palm trees along the sea, a clear blue sky, magnificent hotels and casinos. And, these days, it also probably has extortionate food and drinks and yachts hogging marinas that might once have been populated by fishing boats.</p> <p>This vision is epitomised by the French Riviera, with its glamorous Cannes Film Festival and the exclusive principality of Monaco, where one in three residents is a millionaire. All along the Mediterranean coast, right up until France meets Italy, holiday villas host elite visitors, seeking shelter from the paparazzi.</p> <p>Even the official summer residence of the French president is located just off the French Riviera, on a private peninsula. The current president Emmanuel Macron, for all his desire to shake things up, <a href="http://www.theweek.co.uk/95503/inside-fort-bregancon-may-invited-to-macron-s-summer-retreat">intends to keep this tradition alive</a>. His plan to build a private swimming pool there <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-44562016">caused controversy at the beginning of the summer</a>.</p> <p><strong>More than just a coastline</strong></p> <p>We could easily decide to call any stretch of land along water a riviera. After all, most lakeside or seaside places feature the same environmental attributes – holiday accommodation, tourism and leisure services, transport infrastructure, usually a good climate. But a riviera is really defined by socioeconomic exclusivity. This is the ultimate factor that really turns a stretch of coastline into something more enticing.</p> <p>As the riviera is seen as the coastline <em>par excellence</em>, it captures our imagination more than any other beach resort. While sipping an overpriced spritz, one pretends, for an instant, to be part of the films, stories and social circles happening here. Not every coastal town can convey this feeling; it has to have been recognised and placed on everyone’s mental map. For instance, the entire French Mediterranean coast could not fall into this definition. Instead, only the collection of towns and cities between Cannes and Monaco truly embody the definition of France’s most exclusive coastline.</p> <p>This socioeconomic definition has enabled more areas to brand themselves as rivieras. Take the Swiss one, for example, which really only consists of a few towns around Vevey and Montreux. By travelling only a few miles too far to the west or to the east, some of the conditions of a riviera completely vanish. Switzerland has even renamed that local district “Riviera – Pays d’Enhaut”.</p> <p><strong>Can’t fake the feeling</strong></p> <p>A quick look at Wikipedia’s <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riviera">list of rivieras</a> shows just how many countries, in one way or another, have acquired their own riviera.</p> <p>Some use the term to recognise the already existing touristic power of a certain region. Others adopt it as a strategy to attract more tourists. In England, the region of Torbay in Devon began being advertised as “the English Riviera” in the 1980s, following a peak of popularity in the 1970s. With its collection of small coastal villages, palm trees and relatively clement weather, Torbay can indeed resemble Nice or Cannes at times. But despite a concerted effort to push the label through campaigns, the region has actually seen fewer visitors since the initiative. Meanwhile, Cornwall, much of which very much matches the definition of a riviera, has retained its popularity without using the term.</p> <p>But rivieras are now facing more dynamic competition as a result of changes to the tourism industry. “Instagrammable” has also become more than a term in the tourism world: it’s an obligation. Travellers are looking for certain visual standards – something that rivieras have offered since the 19th century. The idealised scenes depicted in the famous advertising for riviera travel are practically an analogue version of an Instagram account: a couple lazing in the sun and sipping a cocktail on their hotel’s private jetty, with yachts and palm trees in the background. We’ve all seen this scene in our social media newsfeeds.</p> <p>The ubiquity of Instagram inevitably means that other coastal regions are catching on, becoming consciously more visually attractive rather than looking as though they’ve been destroyed by mass tourism. As a result, rivieras could lose their visual originality.</p> <p>At the same time, sites like AirBnB have made it cheaper and easier to access these once “exclusive areas”. While this might not have an impact on the prices of food, drinks, and social events, the overall socioeconomic balance of rivieras could indeed change – for better or for worse.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/101637/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Jordan Girardin, Associate lecturer, University of St Andrews</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/a-short-history-of-the-riviera-why-we-just-cant-resist-coastal-glamour-101637"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

International Travel