1. Whole Foods Markets launched a new travel company Whole Journeys this year. Next month marks their inaugural trip to Turkey. Eleven more tours are planned including an epicurean biking trip through Italy and a hiking trip on a caravan road in China where horses used to carry teas. Prices range from $2,800 to $4,500 per person.
2. As the iPad sweeps its domination across the globe, travel booking sites are taking notice. Some, like Orbitz, Kayak, and Travelocity have released enhanced apps specifically for iPad which take advantage of the larger, (than a phone), screen by adding additional menu and filter options.
3. The largest wind farm — 165 turbines — in Africa resides in Morocco. The North African nation’s King Mohammed VI wants the entire country powered with renewable energy by 2020. They’re well in line to get there with two million square feet of solar panels already soaking up the rays. Morocco. Who woulda thunk?
4. Next month Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum reopens after ten years of rehaul and additions. A new Portuguese stone-and glass-clad Asian Pavilion has been added complete with reflecting pool. Eight thousand works cover 800 years of history through art and architecture.
5. Singapore’s Changi Airport is practically a destination in itself. Terminal 2’s orchid garden features butterfly, moth, and spider orchids. Terminal 3 has real butterflies in their own garden or swim in a roof top pool. Want a unique fishy experience? At Fish Spa and Reflexology, tiny fish exfoliate your feet. That’s what I call a great way to spend a long layover.
6. America’s National Parks may not be in as much doom-and-gloom as you thought because of sequestration cuts. Three years ago, they received an $80 million grant for improved access. The improvements will be in the form of path expansions for pedestrians and bikers or new fuel-efficient visitor buses. The park system is continuing to use the grant money now and into the near future.
7. The tiny heritage-infused district of Sheung Wan is drawing attention. Close to Hong Kong’s city center yet distinct in personality, Sheung Wan is a cross-section of past, present, and future. Alleyways, derelict brothels, and run-down meat packers are making way for cozy cafes and artist-types to move in, leaving the higher-rent district just to the east. Galleries as well as several theaters now attract more. Shall we meet there?
As always my friends, please travel safely and well, returning home better than when you left.