In which we present a regular round-up of news from the world of Grown-up Travel
Books, movies that inspire kids to travel
Looking back, I blame Madeline.
When author Ludwig Bemelmans’ spirited minx Madeline raised a rumpus in that “old house in Paris that was covered with vines …” I just knew I had to visit Paris. I had been severely bitten by the travel bug and I was only eight years old. I’ve never recovered.
Inspiring your kids to travel — encouraging them to explore the world — can be done not only with books like Bemelmans’ but also with movies, blogs, travel guides made for kids, or even just maps on the wall and a pack of thumbtacks. Here are a few suggestions for planting the travel bug early:
It’s a growing trend among publishers of guidebooks: Produce a travel guide exclusively for kids — one with fewer words, more illustrations and travel advice from 10-year-olds rather than their boring parents.
Among his BookPage.com picks for what he calls “the budding traveller,” Robert Reid, U.S. editor for Lonely Planet, recommends an LP series called Not For Parents. With four new editions launched last month — Not For Parents Australia, China, USA and Great Britain — the guides include cartoon-based overviews of cities as seen through the eyes a child. Aimed at the eight-to-12 crowd, the fun-to-read books are also full of odd traditions, cool facts, spooky stuff and funny stories.
The Not for Parents series covers broader themes as well. The Not For Parents Extreme Planet tours the globe, revealing the highest, the deepest, the wildest, and the smelliest things on Earth. Not For Parents How To Be A World Explorer offers out-there tips on how to find food and water in the wild, how to avoid deadly diseases, and the always-useful tips on how to fight back against man-eating beasts.
Also kid-friendly: The kidsGo! guidebooks produced by Kids Go Travel Guides. The series is filled with fun things to do in places like London, Sydney and Bali, again written in kid-friendly language for ages eight-12. The best aspect of the series may be its website, which features posts from kids who are travelling now.
And finally, new on the endless subject of Disney: Birnbaum’s Walt Disney World for Kids 2012. Children rate all of the Disney theme parks with reliable measurements such as Cool, Really Cool and The Coolest!
Prince Charles, heir to Dracula’s blood line
The Romanian tourist board is to use links between the British Royal family and Count Dracula to lure in UK tourists, it has emerged.
Until now its lonely mountains have been synonymous with the legend of the vampire, the cruel ruler who drank his victims’ blood, terrified his enemies and could turn into a bat at will.
But Transylvania should also be known as the ancestral home of the Prince of Wales, defender of faiths, with a love of gardening and classical architecture, according to the Romanian National Tourist Office.
Links between the Royal Family and Vlad the Impaler, the 15th century nobleman whose deeds inspired the vampire legend, are being exploited in an attempt to lure tourists to the eastern European country.
The Prince himself appears in a video being used to promote the country in which he claims distant kinship with Vlad Tepes, the 15th–century Wallachian ruler on whom the Irish novelist Bram Stoker based his Dracula.
“Transylvania is in my blood,” he jokes in an interview first shown on satelite television last year. “The genealogy shows I am descended from Vlad the Impaler, so I do have a bit of a stake in the country.”
The Romanian National Tourist Office is using the video on Youtube and new brochures try and boost UK visitors by more than seven per cent.
The Greek island diet you can eat forever
Thanks to a healthy, natural diet, people living on the Greek island of Ikaria enjoy extraordinary longevity.
This post first appeared on the Culinary Backstreets blog
We’ve previously extolled the pleasures of Cretan cuisine at Athens venues like Kriti and noted that Crete has one of the highest life expectancies in Greece, thanks in part to its healthy food. So we were particularly intrigued by The Island Where People Forget to Die, a recent New York Times Magazine article on Ikaria, a Greek island in the Aegean that’s home to some of the world’s longest-living people.
The piece looks at a variety of reasons for Ikarians’ longevity, including their sleeping habits, regular exercise, close-knit community and relaxed lifestyle. But it’s the food part of the equation that really got us going. The New York Times describes the islanders’ traditional diet:
Breakfast [was] goat’s milk, wine, sage tea or coffee, honey and bread. Lunch was almost always beans (lentils, garbanzos), potatoes, greens (fennel, dandelion or a spinach-like green called horta) and whatever seasonal vegetables their garden produced; dinner was bread and goat’s milk. At Christmas and Easter, they would slaughter the family pig and enjoy small portions of larded pork for the next several months.
Wild herbs have traditionally been used by the islanders to make tea:
Leriadis also talked about local “mountain tea”, made from dried herbs endemic to the island, which is enjoyed as an end-of-the-day cocktail. He mentioned wild marjoram, sage (flaskomilia), a type of mint tea (fliskouni), rosemary and a drink made from boiling dandelion leaves and adding a little lemon.
Culinary Backstreets’ Athens correspondent, Despina Trivolis, can attest to the Ikarians’ partiality to greens, as well as their laid-back sense of timing. “Friends once told me a story of how they were in a taxi speeding to get to the port. They were already late, so you can imagine their surprise when the taxi driver pulled over and started collecting wild herbs,” she recalls.
Outrageous plan for $264 billion mega-city in Korea
Take that, Dubai!
It may look like something out of Star Wars, but this is actually Korea’s latest tourism project, set to rival the extravagance on show in Dubai.
At $264 billion, the ambitious plan would see the creation of a gigantic city on the islands of Yongyu-Muui in the port of Incheon, close to Incheon International Airport.
Spanning 80 square kilometres, its designers claim the 8City project would be the largest single tourism plan in the world. That’s if they can manage to pull it off.
It would include a “megastrip” which, at 200 metres high, 880m wide and 3.3 kilometres long, would be the world’s largest single architectural unit.
An “inner circle” would also be built, comprising of a tubular 14-kilometre building.
The city would be home to luxury hotels, condominiums, casinos and theme parks as well as shopping centres, a concert hall and Formula One racing track.
For those seeking something out of the ordinary, there would also be a medical tourism “healing town” and entertainment “hallyu” town.
The 5.7 million passengers passing through Incheon International Airport every year will be targeted, along with Chinese tourists, a head of the project developer said. “It will become the world’s top city that has the creativity of Dubai, convention centers and casinos of Las Vegas and Macau, as well as the shopping centers and financial hubs of Hong Kong and Singapore,” Park Seong-Hyun, vice chairman of EIGHTCITY Co., the project’s developer, said.