There are a lot of travel blogs in the world that aren’t very good. They don’t give enough details about how YOU can visit a destination. Or they feature a lot of photos but not a lot of information. Today’s “Travel Minute” is a good one.
The words and pictures on this blog are done by a husband and wife couple who used to publish a weekly tabloid in Minnesota’s Twin Cities. So they know a bit about journalism. And even though it’s aimed at Baby Boomers, the site called TravelPast50.com is useful for travelers of any age.
That’s because Kristin Henning and Tom Bartel are retired and can afford to travel non-stop on their own. More importantly, they can spend weeks or months in one destination, really getting to know how things work there. And that’s where the gold is in their postings.
They don’t just tell you what a wonderful country Japan is. They tell you what do when you’re there, how to navigate new circumstances, and other information that can make a trip easier and more meaningful.
In fact, they just returned from a long stay in Japan. Check out their excellent posts at TravelPast50.com.
Ed Viesturs in America’s foremost high-altitude mountaineer, and in his new book called The Mountain, he offers dramatic, hair-raising stories of his climbs and the climbs of others who wound up dying for their passion. It’s all there: ambition, rivalry, carelessness, ego, heroism and bravery. Climbing the big ones requires careful planning, realistic expectations, and a cool head.
I have a close friend who climbs mountains. He especially likes to climb ice, which is something I’ll never understand. But I can buy into the concept of testing yourself and honing your coordination, strength, and athleticism. I’m am in awe of folks who can battle not just heights but cold and wind and thin air to summit the peaks of the world’s highest mountains.
If you’ve never read Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, by all means get a copy. And if you want to feel like you’re climbing Everest with someone, then get a copy of Ed Viestur’s book, The Mountain.
He’s a passionate advocate for a difficult sport.
For several years now, major hotel companies such as Marriott and its sister brand, Ritz-Carlton, have been opening hotels like crazy in China. Corporate execs make regular forays to China to meet with the country’s leadership and lay plans for expanding there.
But Robert DeNiro?
Recently, the actor was revealed to be an investor in a major hotel, dining, and cultural destination in Shanghai that’s called Project 179. One part of the complex will be an 80,000-square foot boutique hotel that might resemble Manhattan’s hip hotels like the Bowery or Greenwich Hotel. The entire development will be ten times the size of that hotel, encompassing numerous restaurants. Given that DeNiro opened Tribeca Grill and Nobu among others, I think we can guess what restauran brands might be represented.
The design of Project 179 will reflect the heady 1920s of Shanghai. But I’m betting everything else will be very up to date.
I can still remember the excitement when the first commercial flight of Boeing’s revolutionary, wide-body jet, the 747, took place. It was in January of 1970 , and it was a Pan Am flight from New York to London.
The world was in awe.
It was the biggest commercial plane the world had seen. It could seat twice the number of passengers as the standard international jet at the time. With its distinctive double-decker top, it was instantly recognizable, and it changed long-distance travel forever.
But the 747’s days are numbered. Its four engines gobble fuel; today’s long-distance jets use only two, very reliable engines. I do remember, however, when many passengers would only fly the 747 on long flights because they felt better having four engines.
This year passenger airlines ordered only 31 of Boeing’s latest model of the 747, but they ordered nearly a thousand of Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner.
There is still one customer for the 747, however–the President of the United States. The current Air Force One 747 is 30 years old, and the Air Force wants a new one with four engines. Boeing is preparing an estimate even now.
Travel info at rudymaxa.com.
Camera lenses on today’s smart phones keep getting better as manufacturers add more megapixels. But here’s a way to turn your phone into a camera that can take wide-angle and fish-eye shots as well as detailed close ups.
Recently a company called olloclip—O-L-L-O Clip—put on sale a small, four-in-one lens package that fits in the palm of your hand or your pocket. Which makes it a great item to take when you travel.
You simply clip the four-in-one olloclip over the lens in the corner of any recent model of an iPhone or iPod Touch and you have two lenses. One is a fish-eye that’s great for shooting landscape shots; the other is a wide-angle lens—I use it to shoot hotel rooms.
But if you unscrew those two lenses you have two macro lenses that are what you need for sharp, up-close photos. Like dew on a leaf or a bee on a flower blossom.
These are high-quality lenses, nothing cheap, though the price is a reasonable $70. You can find the four-in-one system at olloclip.com or at stores include Best Buy or Apple outlets. There’s also telephoto lens for $100.