Travel Newsstand: Late February, 2018
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Read all about it! Doc Martin star picks his favorite places in Port Isaac, the seaside Cornish village where the show is filmed. Hong Kong gains and loses as the city is remade. Rome finds warehouse full of antiquities as it excavates for a new subway line. Brexit turns the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland into a lodging flashpoint. And much more.
England: From Cornwall to Manchester With a Stop in London
The eighth season of England's wildly popular Doc Martin television show, released last year by ITV, has yet to air on PBS. But Martin Clunes, who plays the impossibly maladjusted GP of a wacky seaside Cornish town, has been talking about the glories of Port Isaac, where much of the show is filmed. ... Back in London, consider a walking tour of Bloomsbury, the city's literary quarter. These days, it's awash in Middle Eastern restaurants and author-friendly pubs. ... If that isn't Dickensian enough, focus on London's most-famous sites identified with Charles Dickens. Example: Rules, Dickens' favorite restaurant, still operates. ... Up north, Manchester makes for a perfect weekend getaway. ... But other parts of Northern England are more ghost town than holiday hideaway. Traffic is plunging at Durham Tees Valley airport and it is down to about eight flights a day. And nearby Teesside Airport rail station now only has one train a week. They don't even bother running a shuttle bus to the airport terminal anymore.
Hong Kong: Grappling With Change and Cheesecake
Dim sum and the other Cantonese classics may dominate the Hong Kong dining scene, but locals sure have embraced the Cheesecake Factory. They are having trouble managing the humungous portions, though. ... Of course, more than just the food scene is changing in Hong Kong. The rapid pace of urban redevelopment has wiped out some of the city's most iconic streetscapes. The original Bird Market is gone. So is Wedding Card Street. ... Still, the pace of change does yield miraculous advancements. Like the cheap, clean and always expanding MTR subway network, which train aficionados and commuters say puts the New York and London systems to shame.
Italy: High (Milan's Newest Square) and Low (Rome's Subway)
Hong Kong may be able to build fabulous subways, but Rome? Not so much. Every time the city tries to extend its Metropolitana, all sorts of archeological treasures get in the way. As the city excavates for the C Line (after several stops have already been abandoned to history), "we have found enough materials to fill a warehouse," says a special agent hired to watch over the treasures. ... Not far away, in the Tuscan town of Pienza, pecorino cheese has repopulated a region once abandoned due to a lack of jobs. ... Sicily, however, has a continuing love affair with pistachios. The finest, Bronte pistachios from the base of Mount Etna, sell for around $60 a pound. ... Meanwhile, the stylish Milanese are flocking to Piazza Gae Aulenti, (left) a futuristic square in the heart of the city's business district.
Cuba: Singular Adventures Even As U.S. Travel Wanes
After a few years of giddy optimism and Obama Administration-inspired bureaucracy-busting, the Trump Administration has cracked down on travel to Cuba. Airlines have slashed flights and most of the good travel vibrations are gone. But, still, visitors are finding thrilling things to do if they make it to the once-again mostly forbidden Island. After a 20-year gap, for example, an American returned to Cuba and meandered around the countryside by bicycle. And even by Cuban standards, La Isla de la Juventud, The Isle of Youth, is a world apart. It has been both a prison and a Communist Utopian getaway in recent decades.
Ireland: Brexit Border Battle Makes for Bad Hotel Times
Britain (in the form of Northern Ireland) and the European Union (in the form of the Republic of Ireland) share their sole land border crossing. And given the seemingly endless kerfuffle over Brexit, the uncertainty over the border is taking a toll on Irish hoteliers. "Now, effectively, there is no border. Staff and labor, food and goods distribution is seamless," explains Tom Barrett, an Irish travel consultant. "But a hard border for sure will create difficulties getting things in and out." ... In Cork, Ireland's second city, you'll find Asian, African and Middle Eastern outposts and "an array of enticing new beers to pair with the vibrant selection of food at Cork’s diverse restaurants."
Tight Connections ...
Life after an airplane bombing The Winter Olympics has had too much wind and a controversy surrounding a sister of North Korea's dictator and Vice President Mike Pence. But almost no one has talked about the North Korean woman who bombed a plane before the 1988 Seoul Games, but now lives quietly in South Korea.
Chicken (or probably not) beef? An aging Air India Airbus A320--well, they're all aging, so maybe let's say a "retired" Air India A320--has been converted into a restaurant. And since many Indians still can't afford to fly, some pay for the privilege of simply sitting on a grounded plane.
Pets and politics The fight over emotional support animals on airplanes isn't just about airline policies and passenger preferences. It's apparently the end of civilization as we know it. -- Joe Brancatelli
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