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In Transit Blog: Calendar: Coming Events in Florida; Maine; Utah

Written By wartini cantika on Selasa, 31 Desember 2013 | 17.36

The Polaroid Years: Instant Photography and Experimentation, Florida

Polaroid pictures by 40 artists spanning the period from the initial release of the SX-70 camera in 1972 until the present are on display at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Fla., through March 23. The survey exhibition tells the story of the invention of instant photography and how it — and in particular Polaroid — influenced and inspired amateurs and professionals for nearly 40 years. Artists represented include pioneers of instant photography like Ansel Adams, Chuck Close, David Hockney, Robert Mapplethorpe and Andy Warhol, as well as works by a new generation of photographers.

U.S. National Toboggan Championships, Camden, Me.

Spectators at the annual three-day championships, held this year from Feb. 7 to 9, often pitch tents on the pond, build fires and bring their own couches to get the best views of the 400-foot toboggan chute. Hosted by the Camden Snow Bowl, a publicly owned ski and recreation area, the event draws beginners as well as serious competitors who make their own toboggans. There are local vendors selling food and gear, live music and a dress-up contest.

Utah Bald Eagle Day

Five locations across the state will host a public "watchable wildlife" program to view bald eagles on Feb. 8. Because of its favorable latitude, Utah attracts a high number of birds — an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 — during the winter months when they "hang and chill," according to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, which sponsors the event. At the Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area, the most popular and closest to Salt Lake City, participants have seen 100 or more eagles. Admission is free.


17.36 | 0 komentar | Read More

Personal Journeys: Dodging a Holiday in a Remote Mexican Town

Piotr Redlinski for The New York Times

A tourist relaxes at Casa Carolina, an inn near Xcalak, Mexico.

The night before Thanksgiving, while most of my acquaintances were setting tables or stuffing turkeys, I was in a lonesome town in Mexico, watching a salamander eat mosquitoes on a greasy kitchen wall. It was a hungry thing and went about devouring its prey with whip-quick lashes of an energetic tongue. Though I had chosen to avoid the feast day in the north, I didn't mind the little lizard's gluttony. Its meal, after all, was untroubled by the usual distractions: by football on TV or, moreover, the familiar family dramas. Despite — or perhaps because of — its enforced veneer of bliss, the month between the Macy's parade and the Times Square ball drop can often inspire an unseasonable longing to escape.

The place that I'd escaped to — Xcalak, a seaside town at the bottom of the Yucatán Peninsula — is one of those remote locations, like Key West or Gibraltar, whose inaccessibility is the essence of its charm. I had come for the holiday to evade the conventions of overeating and bickering with kin — to experience an admittedly transparent feeling of without-ness. Xcalak (pronounced ESH-cah-lahk) is a fishing village defined by what it lacks. Its few hundred residents largely live without electric power or modern indoor plumbing. There are solar panels and rain-catchment basins, but there aren't any banks or A.T.M.s. You can't use your credit card, and forget about your cellphone. The nearest place to refuel your car is an isolated Pemex station 30 miles away.

What the village has instead of creature comforts is an amiable vacancy, an atmosphere of off-the-grid seclusion that comes from the fact that it rests at the end of a very long road. It was the day before the holiday arrived when my companion, Cheyne, and I started on that road, leaving the Cancún airport in a rented Chevrolet. Content to be in exile, we traveled south on Highway 307, snacking on a bag of salted corn chips and speeding past an endless stream of garish all-inclusives. But two hours later, once we passed Tulum, the tourists — and the traffic — disappeared. The road abruptly narrowed and began to snake through drowsy towns of thatch-roofed shacks and vivid orange stores and wild dogs chasing bicyclists, none of whom had much appreciation for the local driving rules. As we neared the so-called city of Felipe Carrillo Puerto, it was obvious that we had left the guidebook Mexico behind: stooped-backed men appeared on the shoulder and were whacking at the overgrowth with vintage-style machetes in the kind of pointless toil typically reserved for chain gangs in the north.

It was in Felipe, three hours south of our departure, that we filled our tank for the last leg of the journey and finally consulted the traveling directions we'd been given by our hosts. These were decidedly ambiguous and give a flavor of the navigational patience required for the trip to Xcalak.

"Just south of the town of Limónes," our cheat-sheet read, "take the road toward the sea and Majahual. Before Hurricane Dean the signage was excellent. But most of the big signs blew down in the hurricane, so you have to pay attention to the distances to know where to turn."

Advised that our turn was precisely 67 kilometers past the service station in the center of Felipe, I pulled over for a moment and Cheyne took the wheel. Within an hour, she had found our exit and swung us off the highway to a smaller road that passed through marshy swamplands and stretches of an inhospitable scrub. An hour after that, on the turn to Xcalak, the thoroughfare that had once been simply narrow tapered even further to a hilariously slender one-lane road. This, we later learned, was a habitat for jaguars, which emerged from time to time, slipping out to hunt from the mangrove jungle hungrily encroaching from the berms.

At any rate, we flew past a garbage dump and the stench of burning palm fronds. Hawks and cormorants were whirling in the sun. It had been 30 minutes since we'd seen another car, and turning from the landscape, it occurred to me that the two of us were utterly alone out there — and that, in the excitement of all that isolation, Cheyne had our little Chevy moving at a rate in excess of 100 miles an hour.


17.36 | 0 komentar | Read More

In Transit Blog: Customizing Trips With a Computer Assist

Guidebooks and crowdsourced travel websites compete with advice on where to go. But the new site Trekkel attempts to automate a trip designer's job by asking users to rate their interests and itemizing a custom list of recommendations in return.

The free site asks users to pick one of 15 North American cities currently covered and rate their interests in going there, using a scale of 0 to 5 over a dozen categories including food and drink, architecture/design, family adventures, shopping and offbeat.

The computer cranks the numbers and returns with custom lists of things to do, including top sights, restaurants, hotels and activities based on your interest criteria. Those lists can further be sorted by price, meals served and time of day when open.

"It will work for someone who wants to just parachute in on a quick trip, but really the sweet spot is for someone who wants to make good use of their time," said Chris Dworin, who founded Trekkel to serve travelers like himself, who love to plan. "It enables people to spend their time reading about cool museum collections and city history rather than which of 27 Italian restaurants they should eat at."

All recommendations are plotted on a Google map, enabling users to see what is around them, though that feature will most likely become more useful once Trekkel launches a mobile application next year. Also on the horizon early in 2014: London and Paris.


This post has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: December 30, 2013

An early version of this post misstated the number of cities the travel website Trekkel offers in the United States. There are 13. Victoria and Vancouver are in Canada. The post also misspelled the name of Trekkel's founder. He is Chris Dworin, not Dorwin.


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In Transit Blog: Israel by Foot (and Bike and Sea)

From January to March 2014, Israel will host five races throughout the country – - three marathons, a half-marathon and an Ironman triathlon.

The marathons include one along the Sea of Galilee (Jan. 10), which is run at 650 feet below sea level; one in Tel Aviv (Feb. 28), which takes runners through the city and along beaches; and another through Jerusalem's historic sites (March 21).

The Ironman (Jan. 17) will be held in the Red Sea resort town of Eilat (it also has a half-Ironman option), while the half-marathon will be run on Feb. 7
or 8 in Ein Gedi along the Dead Sea.

According to Haim Gutin, the Israel commissioner for tourism in North and South America, the races are meant to attract visitors adding  that this is the highest number the country has ever held during these months. "Normally we do one or two, but we are making an effort to bump them to draw in more people," he said in a phone interview. "The weather is the most comfortable compared with the rest of the year, and through participating in them, tourists have a chance to connect with locals."


This post has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: December 31, 2013

An earlier version of this post misstated the location of the Ein Gedi half-marathon. It will take place along the Dead Sea, not the Red Sea.


17.36 | 0 komentar | Read More

In Transit Blog: You Too Can Play the Hotel Game

Written By wartini cantika on Senin, 30 Desember 2013 | 17.35

Forget matching colorful candy pieces or farming zombies. How about a mobile game that tests your juggling skills by managing a virtual hotel?

Created for Radisson hotels by Melty Games, Rad Hotel by Radisson simulates hotel management by starting players with six rooms – a mix of singles and doubles — that they must appropriately match to guests based on configurations including families, couples and solo travelers.

As more guests come and go, players must simultaneously handle requests for housekeeping, maintenance, room service and concierge advice quickly and with limited staff. The game gets more complex as players add staff members and rooms to manage demand. Check-outs provide guest satisfaction ratings of between zero and 5, and the game ends whenever it hits zero.

Rad Hotel, which is available free from iTunes, isn't the first game to simulate the challenges of the hospitality industry, nor to use the virtual world to market to potential customers; Aloft Hotels introduced itself via Second Life before it began in 2008.

But with Rad Hotel, Radisson aims to reach game-loving millennial travelers with an interactive platform "that created some buzz around the brand and kept them engaged in a digitally interactive way," a company representative said in an email.


17.35 | 0 komentar | Read More

Linda Ronstadt’s Borderland

We are driving outside Naco, Ariz., near the Mexico border, on a two-lane blacktop under a half-moon and stars. The distant mountains are lost in shadow, and there's not much to look at beyond the headlight beams and the rolling highway stripes.

In the middle seat of the minivan, Linda Ronstadt is talking about her childhood.

"We used to sing, 'Don't go in the cage tonight, Mother darling, for the lions are ferocious and may bite. And when they get their angry fits, they will tear you all to bits, so don't go in the lion's cage tonight!' We had really good harmonies worked out for that."

"We" is her sister, Suzy, and her brother Peter, who used to terrify her when she had to go to the woodpile at night.

"My brother would load me up as much as he could then he'd tell me, 'There's a ghost!' and then he'd run and then — Aaaaaah!! — there'd be kindling spread all over the ground."

The ghost stories — and howling coyotes and pitch-black landscape that surrounded her family's home — left an impression. "I am really scared of the dark."

Actually, as we drive through the night in the Sonoran Desert, what she really seems to be is delighted. She can't stop laughing.

When Linda thinks of home — meaning where your soul inhabits the soil, wherever else your body might be — it's not Southern California, the place forever associated with her professional life, as Queen of Rock in the land of Byrds and Stone Poneys and Eagles. Nor is it San Francisco, where she lives now.

Her home lies in dryer, poorer country.

It's in southern Arizona and northern Mexico, in Tucson and points south, where giant saguaros, slender and humanoid, signal touchdowns all over the hills and beside the highways. It's where the mountains are jagged islands in a blue ocean of sky, where the rock-and-thorn terrain is hostile to people but friendly to cottonwoods, organ-pipe cactus, green-skinned palo verde trees and mesquite. It's fertile range for cattle and horses, and well cultivated in alfalfa, peanuts and agave.

It's the cowboy-and-Indian West. It's a deep vein of Mexican-America, a rich stretch of bicultural borderland from Nogales to Agua Prieta. It was where Ópata, Yaqui, Pima and Apache Indians, Mexicans, Spaniards, Basques and Jesuit missionaries converged and collided in the 17th and 18th centuries.

It's where Linda's great-grandfather Frederick, an immigrant from Hanover, Germany, settled in the 1850s, becoming a mining engineer and a colonel in the Mexican Army. His son Federico, Linda's grandfather, was born on a Sonoran hacienda and brought his family to Tucson in 1882. Tucson is where Linda was born, in 1946, second daughter to Gilbert and Ruth Mary Ronstadt, sister to Peter, Suzy and Mike.

You may not have thought of Linda as a Mexican-American singer, but if you've heard her, you've heard her deep Sonoran roots. Hearing the ranchera singer Lola Beltrán for the first time can bring the shock of recognition to a Linda fan; there's influence and long tradition behind that lustrous voice. Those old Mexican songs in Linda's hit 1987 record "Canciones de Mi Padre" were ones she learned before she was 10.

Linda, who is 67, published a memoir this fall, "Simple Dreams," which touches only briefly on her Arizona girlhood before moving on to her recording career. I knew about Linda the rock 'n' roll sex bomb, who just made the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and I'd gotten to know her through her work in Arizona for civil rights and immigration changes. But after reading her book, I wanted to know more about little Linda the pony wrangler and devotee of Hopalong Cassidy, and the place she grew up in the 1940s and '50s.

I emailed her this summer and asked if she was up for a memory trip. She was — she still has a house in Tucson, and many relatives and friends to see. (Other families have family trees, she told me. "We have a family anthill. Tucson is just swarming with Ronstadts.") And she was eager to go back down into Sonora, a journey she'd made only a handful of times. We hatched a plan: We'd meet in November, when it's cooler, see points of Ronstadt interest in Tucson, cross into Mexico at Naco, then head down the Rio Sonora valley to grandfather Federico's hometown, Banámichi. She wanted to bring some old friends along as guides: Bill and Athena Steen and their son Kalin, who live in Canelo; and Dennis and Debbie Moroney, who raise cattle in Cochise County, near the border. Linda and Bill would meet me in Tucson, and we'd pick up the others on the way, for a truck-and-minivan caravan down memory lane.

Lawrence Downes is an editorial writer for The Times.


17.35 | 0 komentar | Read More

Personal Journeys: Dodging a Holiday in a Remote Mexican Town

Piotr Redlinski for The New York Times

A tourist relaxes at Casa Carolina, an inn near Xcalak, Mexico.

The night before Thanksgiving, while most of my acquaintances were setting tables or stuffing turkeys, I was in a lonesome town in Mexico, watching a salamander eat mosquitoes on a greasy kitchen wall. It was a hungry thing and went about devouring its prey with whip-quick lashes of an energetic tongue. Though I had chosen to avoid the feast day in the north, I didn't mind the little lizard's gluttony. Its meal, after all, was untroubled by the usual distractions: by football on TV or, moreover, the familiar family dramas. Despite — or perhaps because of — its enforced veneer of bliss, the month between the Macy's parade and the Times Square ball drop can often inspire an unseasonable longing to escape.

The place that I'd escaped to — Xcalak, a seaside town at the bottom of the Yucatán Peninsula — is one of those remote locations, like Key West or Gibraltar, whose inaccessibility is the essence of its charm. I had come for the holiday to evade the conventions of overeating and bickering with kin — to experience an admittedly transparent feeling of without-ness. Xcalak (pronounced ESH-cah-lahk) is a fishing village defined by what it lacks. Its few hundred residents largely live without electric power or modern indoor plumbing. There are solar panels and rain-catchment basins, but there aren't any banks or A.T.M.s. You can't use your credit card, and forget about your cellphone. The nearest place to refuel your car is an isolated Pemex station 30 miles away.

What the village has instead of creature comforts is an amiable vacancy, an atmosphere of off-the-grid seclusion that comes from the fact that it rests at the end of a very long road. It was the day before the holiday arrived when my companion, Cheyne, and I started on that road, leaving the Cancún airport in a rented Chevrolet. Content to be in exile, we traveled south on Highway 307, snacking on a bag of salted corn chips and speeding past an endless stream of garish all-inclusives. But two hours later, once we passed Tulum, the tourists — and the traffic — disappeared. The road abruptly narrowed and began to snake through drowsy towns of thatch-roofed shacks and vivid orange stores and wild dogs chasing bicyclists, none of whom had much appreciation for the local driving rules. As we neared the so-called city of Felipe Carrillo Puerto, it was obvious that we had left the guidebook Mexico behind: stooped-backed men appeared on the shoulder and were whacking at the overgrowth with vintage-style machetes in the kind of pointless toil typically reserved for chain gangs in the north.

It was in Felipe, three hours south of our departure, that we filled our tank for the last leg of the journey and finally consulted the traveling directions we'd been given by our hosts. These were decidedly ambiguous and give a flavor of the navigational patience required for the trip to Xcalak.

"Just south of the town of Limónes," our cheat-sheet read, "take the road toward the sea and Majahual. Before Hurricane Dean the signage was excellent. But most of the big signs blew down in the hurricane, so you have to pay attention to the distances to know where to turn."

Advised that our turn was precisely 67 kilometers past the service station in the center of Felipe, I pulled over for a moment and Cheyne took the wheel. Within an hour, she had found our exit and swung us off the highway to a smaller road that passed through marshy swamplands and stretches of an inhospitable scrub. An hour after that, on the turn to Xcalak, the thoroughfare that had once been simply narrow tapered even further to a hilariously slender one-lane road. This, we later learned, was a habitat for jaguars, which emerged from time to time, slipping out to hunt from the mangrove jungle hungrily encroaching from the berms.

At any rate, we flew past a garbage dump and the stench of burning palm fronds. Hawks and cormorants were whirling in the sun. It had been 30 minutes since we'd seen another car, and turning from the landscape, it occurred to me that the two of us were utterly alone out there — and that, in the excitement of all that isolation, Cheyne had our little Chevy moving at a rate in excess of 100 miles an hour.


17.35 | 0 komentar | Read More

In Transit Blog: Customizing Trips With a Computer Assist

Guidebooks and crowdsourced travel websites compete with advice on where to go. But the new site Trekkel attempts to automate a trip designer's job by asking users to rate their interests and itemizing a custom list of recommendations in return.

The free site asks users to pick one of 15 United States cities currently covered and rate their interests in going there, using a scale of 0 to 5 over a dozen categories including food and drink, architecture/design, family adventures, shopping and offbeat.

The computer cranks the numbers and returns with custom lists of things to do, including top sights, restaurants, hotels and activities based on your interest criteria. Those lists can further be sorted by price, meals served and time of day when open.

"It will work for someone who wants to just parachute in on a quick trip, but really the sweet spot is for someone who wants to make good use of their time," said Chris Drowin, who founded Trekkel to serve travelers like himself, who love to plan. "It enables people to spend their time reading about cool museum collections and city history rather than which of 27 Italian restaurants they should eat at."

All recommendations are plotted on a Google map, enabling users to see what is around them, though that feature will most likely become more useful once Trekkel launches a mobile application next year. Also on the horizon early in 2014: London and Paris.


17.35 | 0 komentar | Read More

In Transit Blog: You Too Can Play the Hotel Game

Written By wartini cantika on Minggu, 29 Desember 2013 | 17.35

Forget matching colorful candy pieces or farming zombies. How about a mobile game that tests your juggling skills by managing a virtual hotel?

Created for Radisson hotels by Melty Games, Rad Hotel by Radisson simulates hotel management by starting players with six rooms – a mix of singles and doubles — that they must appropriately match to guests based on configurations including families, couples and solo travelers.

As more guests come and go, players must simultaneously handle requests for housekeeping, maintenance, room service and concierge advice quickly and with limited staff. The game gets more complex as players add staff members and rooms to manage demand. Check-outs provide guest satisfaction ratings of between zero and 5, and the game ends whenever it hits zero.

Rad Hotel, which is available free from iTunes, isn't the first game to simulate the challenges of the hospitality industry, nor to use the virtual world to market to potential customers; Aloft Hotels introduced itself via Second Life before it began in 2008.

But with Rad Hotel, Radisson aims to reach game-loving millennial travelers with an interactive platform "that created some buzz around the brand and kept them engaged in a digitally interactive way," a company representative said in an email.


17.35 | 0 komentar | Read More

Linda Ronstadt’s Borderland

We are driving outside Naco, Ariz., near the Mexico border, on a two-lane blacktop under a half-moon and stars. The distant mountains are lost in shadow, and there's not much to look at beyond the headlight beams and the rolling highway stripes.

In the middle seat of the minivan, Linda Ronstadt is talking about her childhood.

"We used to sing, 'Don't go in the cage tonight, Mother darling, for the lions are ferocious and may bite. And when they get their angry fits, they will tear you all to bits, so don't go in the lion's cage tonight!' We had really good harmonies worked out for that."

"We" is her sister, Suzy, and her brother Peter, who used to terrify her when she had to go to the woodpile at night.

"My brother would load me up as much as he could then he'd tell me, 'There's a ghost!' and then he'd run and then — Aaaaaah!! — there'd be kindling spread all over the ground."

The ghost stories — and howling coyotes and pitch-black landscape that surrounded her family's home — left an impression. "I am really scared of the dark."

Actually, as we drive through the night in the Sonoran Desert, what she really seems to be is delighted. She can't stop laughing.

When Linda thinks of home — meaning where your soul inhabits the soil, wherever else your body might be — it's not Southern California, the place forever associated with her professional life, as Queen of Rock in the land of Byrds and Stone Poneys and Eagles. Nor is it San Francisco, where she lives now.

Her home lies in dryer, poorer country.

It's in southern Arizona and northern Mexico, in Tucson and points south, where giant saguaros, slender and humanoid, signal touchdowns all over the hills and beside the highways. It's where the mountains are jagged islands in a blue ocean of sky, where the rock-and-thorn terrain is hostile to people but friendly to cottonwoods, organ-pipe cactus, green-skinned palo verde trees and mesquite. It's fertile range for cattle and horses, and well cultivated in alfalfa, peanuts and agave.

It's the cowboy-and-Indian West. It's a deep vein of Mexican-America, a rich stretch of bicultural borderland from Nogales to Agua Prieta. It was where Ópata, Yaqui, Pima and Apache Indians, Mexicans, Spaniards, Basques and Jesuit missionaries converged and collided in the 17th and 18th centuries.

It's where Linda's great-grandfather Frederick, an immigrant from Hanover, Germany, settled in the 1850s, becoming a mining engineer and a colonel in the Mexican Army. His son Federico, Linda's grandfather, was born on a Sonoran hacienda and brought his family to Tucson in 1882. Tucson is where Linda was born, in 1946, second daughter to Gilbert and Ruth Mary Ronstadt, sister to Peter, Suzy and Mike.

You may not have thought of Linda as a Mexican-American singer, but if you've heard her, you've heard her deep Sonoran roots. Hearing the ranchera singer Lola Beltrán for the first time can bring the shock of recognition to a Linda fan; there's influence and long tradition behind that lustrous voice. Those old Mexican songs in Linda's hit 1987 record "Canciones de Mi Padre" were ones she learned before she was 10.

Linda, who is 67, published a memoir this fall, "Simple Dreams," which touches only briefly on her Arizona girlhood before moving on to her recording career. I knew about Linda the rock 'n' roll sex bomb, who just made the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and I'd gotten to know her through her work in Arizona for civil rights and immigration changes. But after reading her book, I wanted to know more about little Linda the pony wrangler and devotee of Hopalong Cassidy, and the place she grew up in the 1940s and '50s.

I emailed her this summer and asked if she was up for a memory trip. She was — she still has a house in Tucson, and many relatives and friends to see. (Other families have family trees, she told me. "We have a family anthill. Tucson is just swarming with Ronstadts.") And she was eager to go back down into Sonora, a journey she'd made only a handful of times. We hatched a plan: We'd meet in November, when it's cooler, see points of Ronstadt interest in Tucson, cross into Mexico at Naco, then head down the Rio Sonora valley to grandfather Federico's hometown, Banámichi. She wanted to bring some old friends along as guides: Bill and Athena Steen and their son Kalin, who live in Canelo; and Dennis and Debbie Moroney, who raise cattle in Cochise County, near the border. Linda and Bill would meet me in Tucson, and we'd pick up the others on the way, for a truck-and-minivan caravan down memory lane.

Lawrence Downes is an editorial writer for The Times.


17.35 | 0 komentar | Read More

Personal Journeys: Dodging a Holiday in a Remote Mexican Town

Piotr Redlinski for The New York Times

A tourist relaxes at Casa Carolina, an inn near Xcalak, Mexico.

The night before Thanksgiving, while most of my acquaintances were setting tables or stuffing turkeys, I was in a lonesome town in Mexico, watching a salamander eat mosquitoes on a greasy kitchen wall. It was a hungry thing and went about devouring its prey with whip-quick lashes of an energetic tongue. Though I had chosen to avoid the feast day in the north, I didn't mind the little lizard's gluttony. Its meal, after all, was untroubled by the usual distractions: by football on TV or, moreover, the familiar family dramas. Despite — or perhaps because of — its enforced veneer of bliss, the month between the Macy's parade and the Times Square ball drop can often inspire an unseasonable longing to escape.

The place that I'd escaped to — Xcalak, a seaside town at the bottom of the Yucatán Peninsula — is one of those remote locations, like Key West or Gibraltar, whose inaccessibility is the essence of its charm. I had come for the holiday to evade the conventions of overeating and bickering with kin — to experience an admittedly transparent feeling of without-ness. Xcalak (pronounced ESH-cah-lahk) is a fishing village defined by what it lacks. Its few hundred residents largely live without electric power or modern indoor plumbing. There are solar panels and rain-catchment basins, but there aren't any banks or A.T.M.s. You can't use your credit card, and forget about your cellphone. The nearest place to refuel your car is an isolated Pemex station 30 miles away.

What the village has instead of creature comforts is an amiable vacancy, an atmosphere of off-the-grid seclusion that comes from the fact that it rests at the end of a very long road. It was the day before the holiday arrived when my companion, Cheyne, and I started on that road, leaving the Cancún airport in a rented Chevrolet. Content to be in exile, we traveled south on Highway 307, snacking on a bag of salted corn chips and speeding past an endless stream of garish all-inclusives. But two hours later, once we passed Tulum, the tourists — and the traffic — disappeared. The road abruptly narrowed and began to snake through drowsy towns of thatch-roofed shacks and vivid orange stores and wild dogs chasing bicyclists, none of whom had much appreciation for the local driving rules. As we neared the so-called city of Felipe Carrillo Puerto, it was obvious that we had left the guidebook Mexico behind: stooped-backed men appeared on the shoulder and were whacking at the overgrowth with vintage-style machetes in the kind of pointless toil typically reserved for chain gangs in the north.

It was in Felipe, three hours south of our departure, that we filled our tank for the last leg of the journey and finally consulted the traveling directions we'd been given by our hosts. These were decidedly ambiguous and give a flavor of the navigational patience required for the trip to Xcalak.

"Just south of the town of Limónes," our cheat-sheet read, "take the road toward the sea and Majahual. Before Hurricane Dean the signage was excellent. But most of the big signs blew down in the hurricane, so you have to pay attention to the distances to know where to turn."

Advised that our turn was precisely 67 kilometers past the service station in the center of Felipe, I pulled over for a moment and Cheyne took the wheel. Within an hour, she had found our exit and swung us off the highway to a smaller road that passed through marshy swamplands and stretches of an inhospitable scrub. An hour after that, on the turn to Xcalak, the thoroughfare that had once been simply narrow tapered even further to a hilariously slender one-lane road. This, we later learned, was a habitat for jaguars, which emerged from time to time, slipping out to hunt from the mangrove jungle hungrily encroaching from the berms.

At any rate, we flew past a garbage dump and the stench of burning palm fronds. Hawks and cormorants were whirling in the sun. It had been 30 minutes since we'd seen another car, and turning from the landscape, it occurred to me that the two of us were utterly alone out there — and that, in the excitement of all that isolation, Cheyne had our little Chevy moving at a rate in excess of 100 miles an hour.


17.35 | 0 komentar | Read More

In Transit Blog: Customizing Trips With a Computer Assist

Guidebooks and crowdsourced travel websites compete with advice on where to go. But the new site Trekkel attempts to automate a trip designer's job by asking users to rate their interests and itemizing a custom list of recommendations in return.

The free site asks users to pick one of 15 United States cities currently covered and rate their interests in going there, using a scale of 0 to 5 over a dozen categories including food and drink, architecture/design, family adventures, shopping and offbeat.

The computer cranks the numbers and returns with custom lists of things to do, including top sights, restaurants, hotels and activities based on your interest criteria. Those lists can further be sorted by price, meals served and time of day when open.

"It will work for someone who wants to just parachute in on a quick trip, but really the sweet spot is for someone who wants to make good use of their time," said Chris Drowin, who founded Trekkel to serve travelers like himself, who love to plan. "It enables people to spend their time reading about cool museum collections and city history rather than which of 27 Italian restaurants they should eat at."

All recommendations are plotted on a Google map, enabling users to see what is around them, though that feature will most likely become more useful once Trekkel launches a mobile application next year. Also on the horizon early in 2014: London and Paris.


17.35 | 0 komentar | Read More

Linda Ronstadt’s Borderland

Written By wartini cantika on Sabtu, 28 Desember 2013 | 17.35

We are driving outside Naco, Ariz., near the Mexico border, on a two-lane blacktop under a half-moon and stars. The distant mountains are lost in shadow, and there's not much to look at beyond the headlight beams and the rolling highway stripes.

In the middle seat of the minivan, Linda Ronstadt is talking about her childhood.

"We used to sing, 'Don't go in the cage tonight, Mother darling, for the lions are ferocious and may bite. And when they get their angry fits, they will tear you all to bits, so don't go in the lion's cage tonight!' We had really good harmonies worked out for that."

"We" is her sister, Suzy, and her brother Peter, who used to terrify her when she had to go to the woodpile at night.

"My brother would load me up as much as he could then he'd tell me, 'There's a ghost!' and then he'd run and then — Aaaaaah!! — there'd be kindling spread all over the ground."

The ghost stories — and howling coyotes and pitch-black landscape that surrounded her family's home — left an impression. "I am really scared of the dark."

Actually, as we drive through the night in the Sonoran Desert, what she really seems to be is delighted. She can't stop laughing.

When Linda thinks of home — meaning where your soul inhabits the soil, wherever else your body might be — it's not Southern California, the place forever associated with her professional life, as Queen of Rock in the land of Byrds and Stone Poneys and Eagles. Nor is it San Francisco, where she lives now.

Her home lies in dryer, poorer country.

It's in southern Arizona and northern Mexico, in Tucson and points south, where giant saguaros, slender and humanoid, signal touchdowns all over the hills and beside the highways. It's where the mountains are jagged islands in a blue ocean of sky, where the rock-and-thorn terrain is hostile to people but friendly to cottonwoods, organ-pipe cactus, green-skinned palo verde trees and mesquite. It's fertile range for cattle and horses, and well cultivated in alfalfa, peanuts and agave.

It's the cowboy-and-Indian West. It's a deep vein of Mexican-America, a rich stretch of bicultural borderland from Nogales to Agua Prieta. It was where Ópata, Yaqui, Pima and Apache Indians, Mexicans, Spaniards, Basques and Jesuit missionaries converged and collided in the 17th and 18th centuries.

It's where Linda's great-grandfather Frederick, an immigrant from Hanover, Germany, settled in the 1850s, becoming a mining engineer and a colonel in the Mexican Army. His son Federico, Linda's grandfather, was born on a Sonoran hacienda and brought his family to Tucson in 1882. Tucson is where Linda was born, in 1946, second daughter to Gilbert and Ruth Mary Ronstadt, sister to Peter, Suzy and Mike.

You may not have thought of Linda as a Mexican-American singer, but if you've heard her, you've heard her deep Sonoran roots. Hearing the ranchera singer Lola Beltrán for the first time can bring the shock of recognition to a Linda fan; there's influence and long tradition behind that lustrous voice. Those old Mexican songs in Linda's hit 1987 record "Canciones de Mi Padre" were ones she learned before she was 10.

Linda, who is 67, published a memoir this fall, "Simple Dreams," which touches only briefly on her Arizona girlhood before moving on to her recording career. I knew about Linda the rock 'n' roll sex bomb, who just made the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and I'd gotten to know her through her work in Arizona for civil rights and immigration changes. But after reading her book, I wanted to know more about little Linda the pony wrangler and devotee of Hopalong Cassidy, and the place she grew up in the 1940s and '50s.

I emailed her this summer and asked if she was up for a memory trip. She was — she still has a house in Tucson, and many relatives and friends to see. (Other families have family trees, she told me. "We have a family anthill. Tucson is just swarming with Ronstadts.") And she was eager to go back down into Sonora, a journey she'd made only a handful of times. We hatched a plan: We'd meet in November, when it's cooler, see points of Ronstadt interest in Tucson, cross into Mexico at Naco, then head down the Rio Sonora valley to grandfather Federico's hometown, Banámichi. She wanted to bring some old friends along as guides: Bill and Athena Steen and their son Kalin, who live in Canelo; and Dennis and Debbie Moroney, who raise cattle in Cochise County, near the border. Linda and Bill would meet me in Tucson, and we'd pick up the others on the way, for a truck-and-minivan caravan down memory lane.

Lawrence Downes is an editorial writer for The Times.


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In Transit Blog: You Too Can Play the Hotel Game

Forget matching colorful candy pieces or farming zombies. How about a mobile game that tests your juggling skills by managing a virtual hotel?

Created for Radisson hotels by Melty Games, Rad Hotel by Radisson simulates hotel management by starting players with six rooms – a mix of singles and doubles — that they must appropriately match to guests based on configurations including families, couples and solo travelers.

As more guests come and go, players must simultaneously handle requests for housekeeping, maintenance, room service and concierge advice quickly and with limited staff. The game gets more complex as players add staff members and rooms to manage demand. Check-outs provide guest satisfaction ratings of between zero and 5, and the game ends whenever it hits zero.

Rad Hotel, which is available free from iTunes, isn't the first game to simulate the challenges of the hospitality industry, nor to use the virtual world to market to potential customers; Aloft Hotels introduced itself via Second Life before it began in 2008.

But with Rad Hotel, Radisson aims to reach game-loving millennial travelers with an interactive platform "that created some buzz around the brand and kept them engaged in a digitally interactive way," a company representative said in an email.


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Personal Journeys: Dodging a Holiday in a Remote Mexican Town

Piotr Redlinski for The New York Times

A tourist relaxes at Casa Carolina, an inn near Xcalak, Mexico.

The night before Thanksgiving, while most of my acquaintances were setting tables or stuffing turkeys, I was in a lonesome town in Mexico, watching a salamander eat mosquitoes on a greasy kitchen wall. It was a hungry thing and went about devouring its prey with whip-quick lashes of an energetic tongue. Though I had chosen to avoid the feast day in the north, I didn't mind the little lizard's gluttony. Its meal, after all, was untroubled by the usual distractions: by football on TV or, moreover, the familiar family dramas. Despite — or perhaps because of — its enforced veneer of bliss, the month between the Macy's parade and the Times Square ball drop can often inspire an unseasonable longing to escape.

The place that I'd escaped to — Xcalak, a seaside town at the bottom of the Yucatán Peninsula — is one of those remote locations, like Key West or Gibraltar, whose inaccessibility is the essence of its charm. I had come for the holiday to evade the conventions of overeating and bickering with kin — to experience an admittedly transparent feeling of without-ness. Xcalak (pronounced ESH-cah-lahk) is a fishing village defined by what it lacks. Its few hundred residents largely live without electric power or modern indoor plumbing. There are solar panels and rain-catchment basins, but there aren't any banks or A.T.M.s. You can't use your credit card, and forget about your cellphone. The nearest place to refuel your car is an isolated Pemex station 30 miles away.

What the village has instead of creature comforts is an amiable vacancy, an atmosphere of off-the-grid seclusion that comes from the fact that it rests at the end of a very long road. It was the day before the holiday arrived when my companion, Cheyne, and I started on that road, leaving the Cancún airport in a rented Chevrolet. Content to be in exile, we traveled south on Highway 307, snacking on a bag of salted corn chips and speeding past an endless stream of garish all-inclusives. But two hours later, once we passed Tulum, the tourists — and the traffic — disappeared. The road abruptly narrowed and began to snake through drowsy towns of thatch-roofed shacks and vivid orange stores and wild dogs chasing bicyclists, none of whom had much appreciation for the local driving rules. As we neared the so-called city of Felipe Carrillo Puerto, it was obvious that we had left the guidebook Mexico behind: stooped-backed men appeared on the shoulder and were whacking at the overgrowth with vintage-style machetes in the kind of pointless toil typically reserved for chain gangs in the north.

It was in Felipe, three hours south of our departure, that we filled our tank for the last leg of the journey and finally consulted the traveling directions we'd been given by our hosts. These were decidedly ambiguous and give a flavor of the navigational patience required for the trip to Xcalak.

"Just south of the town of Limónes," our cheat-sheet read, "take the road toward the sea and Majahual. Before Hurricane Dean the signage was excellent. But most of the big signs blew down in the hurricane, so you have to pay attention to the distances to know where to turn."

Advised that our turn was precisely 67 kilometers past the service station in the center of Felipe, I pulled over for a moment and Cheyne took the wheel. Within an hour, she had found our exit and swung us off the highway to a smaller road that passed through marshy swamplands and stretches of an inhospitable scrub. An hour after that, on the turn to Xcalak, the thoroughfare that had once been simply narrow tapered even further to a hilariously slender one-lane road. This, we later learned, was a habitat for jaguars, which emerged from time to time, slipping out to hunt from the mangrove jungle hungrily encroaching from the berms.

At any rate, we flew past a garbage dump and the stench of burning palm fronds. Hawks and cormorants were whirling in the sun. It had been 30 minutes since we'd seen another car, and turning from the landscape, it occurred to me that the two of us were utterly alone out there — and that, in the excitement of all that isolation, Cheyne had our little Chevy moving at a rate in excess of 100 miles an hour.


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In Transit Blog: Customizing Trips With a Computer Assist

Guidebooks and crowdsourced travel websites compete with advice on where to go. But the new site Trekkel attempts to automate a trip designer's job by asking users to rate their interests and itemizing a custom list of recommendations in return.

The free site asks users to pick one of 15 United States cities currently covered and rate their interests in going there, using a scale of 0 to 5 over a dozen categories including food and drink, architecture/design, family adventures, shopping and offbeat.

The computer cranks the numbers and returns with custom lists of things to do, including top sights, restaurants, hotels and activities based on your interest criteria. Those lists can further be sorted by price, meals served and time of day when open.

"It will work for someone who wants to just parachute in on a quick trip, but really the sweet spot is for someone who wants to make good use of their time," said Chris Drowin, who founded Trekkel to serve travelers like himself, who love to plan. "It enables people to spend their time reading about cool museum collections and city history rather than which of 27 Italian restaurants they should eat at."

All recommendations are plotted on a Google map, enabling users to see what is around them, though that feature will most likely become more useful once Trekkel launches a mobile application next year. Also on the horizon early in 2014: London and Paris.


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Favorite Place: Wintry Wanderings Among Chelsea’s Ghosts

Written By wartini cantika on Jumat, 27 Desember 2013 | 17.35

Andrew Testa for The New York Times

A view of the Thames from Chelsea Embankment.

I've lived in some historic places over the years — Paris, Greenwich Village, Washington — but it wasn't until I spent a winter in Chelsea a year ago that I felt as if I were inside a diorama. The ur-Chelsea, I mean: London, not the quarter of Manhattan that provided Joni Mitchell with inspiration for a song and, in the process, Bill and Hillary Clinton with a name for their newborn daughter. For historical voyeurism, London's Chelsea is hard to beat, especially if you incline to artist-writer types, or as my late friend Christopher Hitchens would put it, "people of that kidney."

Winter, I should add, is an excellent time for dead-celebrity stalking. In spring and summer, London thrums and buzzes like a hive. Pubs spill onto the sidewalk, tourists swarm (those Americans!) and the lush city parks that inspired the spare landscapes of Thomas Gainsborough resemble Woodstock re-enactments. Even residential Chelsea takes on the look of a Davos confab or world's fair.

Immediately next door to our little rental flat on Embankment Gardens, a sweet little enclave hard by the Thames, was the Chelsea Royal Hospital. In May, it becomes the site of the annual Chelsea Flower Show. As splendid an event as it is, the very acme of the floral monde, I was glad not to have been a collateral part of it. The empty winter streets, brisk but never too-cold air, and golden afternoon sun made for superb and invigorating perambulations.

We were in London because my wife was studying for an advanced medical degree in tropical medicine. Every morning she would bravely tootle off in the dark to catch her bus and the Tube. I was a stay-at-home spouse, banging away at a novel, and feeling rather inadequate to the task, given the density of illustrious literary figures who once lived around the corner.

Every afternoon, when the day's banging away was done and the larder of metaphors and bons mots was finally empty, I'd lace up my sneakers (trainers, as the British call them) and embark on epic walks, culminating with a rendezvous with my darling at the oyster bar at Harrods.

Yes, I know, Harrods: throngs of actual tourists (as opposed to, say, me) and that weird, creepy shrine to Diana and Dodi. Call Harrods a cliché if you insist, but the food courts on the ground floor are my idea of perfect heaven. And sitting at the marble counter with a glass of Sancerre and a dozen Kumamotos sure worked for my darling, after a long day of PowerPoint presentations on loa loa and other revolting filarial nematodes.

Having refreshed, we'd cruise the bright, gaily tiled food courts, gathering up whatnots for supper at home: Scotch eggs, fish pies, aromatic salamis and cheeses, dumplings, fresh-shot pheasant. The food courts are a gastronomic United Nations. On the way out, we'd dip down to the wine department in the basement for a bottle of claret, sherry, Chablis or whatever looked good (and cost less than £10,000).

Then came the mile-and-a-half hump back to Embankment Gardens in the dark, a goodish half-hour, through Hans Place to Pont Street, past Lillie Langtry's old residence. You remember the "Jersey Lillie" — beauty, actress, muse, concubine to the Prince of Wales (among others). She sat for Whistler and traded quips with Oscar Wilde.

Where were we? Down Pont Street and right onto Sloane Street by the Cadogan Hotel, where Wilde was arrested by detectives for "gross indecency." Down Sloane to Sloane Square, then west on the King's Road, epicenter of 1960s Swinging London. Then zigzags down smaller streets and a tree-lined allée that in the late 17th century was the driveway to the Royal Hospital, and down St. Leonard's Terrace toward Tedworth Square, where Mark Twain lived for a time.

Onto Tite Street, the home stretch, with a brief stop at the corner Tesco convenience store, for milk and a half-dozen newspapers, including the guilty pleasure of tabloids shouting "Gotcha!" at the latest naughty cross-dressing member of Parliament or Prince Philip for telling some derogatory anecdote about Princess Di. Bliss.

Christopher Buckley's book of essays, "But Enough About You," will be published in May.


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A Quiet Drink: A Chicago Cocktail Crawl

John Gress for The New York Times

Left to right: Tropic Thunder at the Aviary; Last Light at Scofflaw; and Box Lunch at Billy Sunday.

Chicago bars have a way with a resonant cultural reference.

One is named after a late-1800s White Sox outfielder turned temperance evangelist. A cocktail pioneer in another part of the same neighborhood is named after a renowned street photographer. A 10-minute walk away is a gin-centric bar whose name comes from a word coined to describe those who drank illegally during Prohibition. And popping up in unexpected places is the name of Nelson Algren, the author of "The Man With the Golden Arm," and perhaps most pertinently, "Chicago, City on the Make."

Cocktail bars across the country are pouring the past (resurrected recipes, speakeasy motifs, barkeeps with Smith Brothers beards) and earnestly so. In Chicago, some of the most engaging bars seem to specialize in what could best be described as studious fun. The history lessons come with a lilt, and the innovation with an intense enthusiasm.

Logan Square, on the northwest side of Chicago, is a locus of interesting, grown-up drinking. An excellent base camp from which to explore the area (and beyond) is Longman & Eagle, a restaurant and bar where travelers can also book a diligently designed room upstairs. (The bar is a fine place to have a Root & Rye cocktail made with root tea, Rittenhouse rye and the mellow, wine-based amaro called Cardamaro.)

Algren never slept here — it opened in 2010, 29 years after his death — but some of his words live on a Longman & Eagle wall, much-quoted lines from the novel "A Walk on the Wild Side": "Never play cards with a man called Doc. Never eat at a place called Mom's. Never sleep with a woman whose troubles are worse than your own."

Billy Sunday

"It certainly was not without a sense of humor, naming a cocktail bar after a gentleman who spent the majority of his life preaching against the evils of alcohol," said Alex Bachman, the bartender at the animated spot across from the square that gave the neighborhood its name.

But it wasn't necessarily intended to mock, either: "One thing I definitely admired was, he had a great conviction to what he believed in," Mr. Bachman said. (Then again, Billy Sunday the outfielder had a lifetime batting average of .248.)

John Gress for The New York Times

Alex Bachman behind the bar at Billy Sunday.

Billy Sunday the bar can be winningly cheeky: The savory Box Lunch — made with goat's milk; oats and spices like mace and cinnamon; palo cortado sherry; and Génépi wormwood liqueur — is served in a small milk bottle complete with striped straw. The food menu includes a category called Things in Jars (the oven-roasted tomatoes are top-notch). The playlist assembled by John Byron, the floor manager, features welcome Dylan ("Changing of the Guards") and a wonderfully weird cover of "Crimson and Clover" by the Chilean band Aguaturbia.

There is a nod to Algren here as well, with a sprightly cocktail called the Algren Sling — New Western gin, pineapple, Three Pins herbal liqueur, lemon and Angostura bitters accented with cherries. It is served in a cup made of a coconut shell ("Dried and polished but very much real," Mr. Bachman said).

"I've always had a deep appreciation for Nelson Algren, how he wrote about Chicago," said Mr. Bachman, who grew up on the North Side and whose résumé includes work in the beverage program at the restaurant of the late Charlie Trotter. "I would never go as far as to say that he would drink Singapore Slings during his life, but it's just a tip of the hat to him in the small way that we could."

Mr. Bachman's point of pride is the back bar's bottles of amaro and fernet, and it shows in his breakdown of the invigorating, biting drink called the Victorian, created here. "We wanted to showcase a spirit-forward cocktail that embraced a lot of the herbal components of amaro, so we used gin — the great botanical spirit that it is — as a vehicle to carry that very deep herbaceous character of the amaro and fernet Angelico," he said.

Steve Reddicliffe is the deputy Travel editor for The New York Times. A Quiet Drink appears in the Booming section.


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In Transit Blog: New Cruises for Rollin’ on the River

A lazy cruise down the Mississippi River, sipping cocktails while watching the paddlewheel turn: it's not just a vision of bygone days. Europe's boom in river cruising has reached the United States, in the form of luxury paddlewheelers.

Little more than a year after rolling out the Queen of the Mississippi, the first new paddlewheel boat to be set in the river in almost 20 years, American Cruise Lines has announced that it is building four more, the first two of which are already under construction. The new paddlewheelers will be set afloat in the Mississippi and the Columbia and Snake River systems, between spring 2015 and the end of 2017.

"There is a longstanding history of riverboating in America," Timothy Beebe, the vice president of American, said in a statement. "Since the 1800s, each new riverboat has sought to outdo the last by offering more amenities, comforts and service than its predecessors. The Columbia and Snake Rivers have not seen a new riverboat in over 10 years, so the upgrade is overdue."

Like its current riverboats, the new ones will accommodate 150 to 200 guests and will be outfitted with luxury amenities, including private balconies in "the largest staterooms ever," according to the company.

The cruise along the Columbia and Snake will take passengers 500 miles inland from the Pacific Coast, to the Idaho border, in rooms decorated with fine art portraying the expeditions of Lewis and Clark, following an itinerary similar to that of the company's Queen of the West, which has been sailing that system since its renovation in 2010.

Destinations on the Mississippi itinerary lie between St. Paul, Minn., and New Orleans. Those riverboats will join the American Queen on the river, a paddlewheel cruiser built in 1995, which fell into disuse in 2008 and was revived by the Great American Steamboat Company in April 2012.

The river cruise appeal is making the destination the focus, Britt Rabinovici, a spokeswoman for American, said in a telephone interview. "European river cruising is very popular, and people want that kind of experience here in America," she said, adding that most of their passengers had already done the large ship cruises and were looking for an intimate, more personalized experience, full of history, in places travelers wouldn't typically think of as "cruising ground."

American also operates coastal cruise ships in New England, Alaska and the southeast, but the company's fastest growing market is river cruising, Charles Robertson, American's president, told USA Today.

"Certainly the coastal cruises are growing as well, but the rate of growth is faster on the river operation, and we have an extraordinarily high repeat rate," he said.


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T Magazine: Letter From France | In Lyon, Artists and Designers Light Up the City

Lyon, France's third-largest city, was made for Christmas.

Like an average-looking woman who becomes beautiful under candlelight, the city becomes radiant for four days every December during the Festival of Lights. The event, which draws between three and four million visitors, shows off Lyon's unique approach to lighting, a pointillist style that uses small spotlights to highlight elaborate decorations and details of buildings for dramatic effect.

This year's festival invited Paris fashion designers to make magic, not on young models' bodies, but on old buildings. Jean-Charles de Castelbajac created a mystical Garden of Eden called "Lost Paradise" among the columns and arcades of the courtyard of the 17th century City Hall. His son, Guilhem, a photographer living in New York, projected a constellation of stars on the ground. The lingerie designer Chantal Thomass brought springtime to the Place de la Bourse with "Serenade," a 26-foot sculpture of a rose bouquet that was lit up with projections of her favorite flowers and tied in lace and satin ribbons.

For a show called "Dress Code," the facade of the Saint-Paul train station was dressed in illuminated images of clothing in homage to Lyon's onetime role as the center of Europe's silk industry. To make a new tunnel below the Croix-Rousse quarter, the old silk-weaving area, more attractive to pedestrians and bicyclists, it was permanently lit with constantly changing, projected videos of subjects both real (dancers and athletes) and imaginary (giant Technicolor flowers moving in the grass).

The festival highlighted the busiest season of the year for art and design in the city. It overlapped with the Lyon Biennale, which has brought together the works of artists from around the world every two years since 1991. In addition to works exhibited throughout the Lyon area, the Biennale, which opened in September and closes Jan. 5, includes art projects, conferences and workshops in public and private venues, including Lyon's troubled suburbs.

Several days before the festival, the city's Center for the History of the Resistance and Deportation opened an exhibition dedicated to women's fashion under Vichy rule during the four years of German occupation in the 1940s. The exhibition, which continues until April 13 next year, gathers hundreds of objects, including clothing, shoes, film posters and fashion magazines, to show how local tailors, dressmakers and shoemakers coped with the scarcity of materials like wool, cotton and leather. Suits and jackets were crafted from upholstery fabric. Shoes were made with uppers of straw, cloth, ribbon or cellulose, with heels of wood or cork. Hats were made of cellophane. Nylon from parachutes was recycled into nightgowns, electrical wiring woven into belts. Dresses got shorter to save on fabric. Buttons, ribbons and lace, which were not rationed, were liberally used. New fabrics like rayon were introduced.

"Dressing well was a form of resistance," said Evelyne Haguenauer, a deputy mayor of Lyon, who is Jewish, as we toured the show. "It was the resistance of women against sadness, and the resistance of the artisans — so many of them were Jewish — who struggled to keep their crafts alive."

Jeanne Guillin, who is 86 and lived in Lyon through the war, recalled how she and her sister drew black seams up the back of their calves and sponged their calves with flesh-colored foundation to give the illusion that they were wearing stockings. "The trick worked — except when it rained and the foundation started running," she said.

These days, the Village des Créateurs, created by the city in 2001, serves as Lyon's epicenter of style and design. It represents 70 local designers. Situated in the 19th century pedestrian Passage Thiaffait, in the heart of the once-derelict Croix-Rousse quarter, it contains multipurpose workshops, studios and retail shops.

Sophie Guyot, 39, a member who works just outside the village, represents the bridge between the style of old and new Lyon. A former student of textile design and a winner of the Atelier d'Art award for best young designer, she has worked with silk for the last five years. She buys giant bolts of white silk organza from China, as well as more costly locally made jacquard silk, to create one-of-a-kind and limited-edition dresses, ensembles, scarves and shawls. She hand-dyes all the silks herself with vegetable dyes in a tiny kitchen-turned-laboratory in the back of her atelier and retail space. Her specialty is to replicate the silk pleating traditionally done in Lyon. She also designs silk and cashmere scarves that are made for her by an old, family-owned, Lyon textile-making operation. "Sophie is carrying on the idea of Lyons savoir-faire," said Isabelle Gleize, director of the Village des Créateurs. "This is what the project is destined to do — to help young designers dare to live their passions."

Other designers working in the Village include Boris Fuchy, a fashion designer who works only in black silk; Sabine Orlandini, an architect-turned-ceramicist who creates usable ceramic sculptures; and Andrea Vaggione, an Argentina-born jewelry maker who works behind a screen onsite and whose signature pieces include pendants and rings in anodized aluminum with moveable pieces.

Talent also turns up in less expected places in Lyon. A few blocks away from the Village is Twig 7, a vintage furniture shop with designs from the 1950s on. Its walls are hung with constructivist pastels by Alain Rodary, a local painter. "You never know when you'll find something new and wonderful in this city," said Emmanuel Bojon, who opened the shop six years ago and knows Rodary well. "He's waiting to be discovered."


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Frugal Traveler: Planning a Trip: Guidebook Versus the Web

Written By wartini cantika on Kamis, 26 Desember 2013 | 17.35

I recently asked my friend Doug if he still uses guidebooks to plan his trips abroad. He's a smart guy and a veteran traveler, so I figured he would have a thoughtful reason one way or the other. He did not.

"I probably don't use guidebooks because I've essentially forgotten they exist," he said.

I'm guessing Doug is not alone. Sales of international travel guides in the United States are down 42 percent since 2006, according to the Nielsen BookScan Travel Publishing Yearbook. As online resources have expanded, I'll bet lots of people have shifted their travel planning to the web without giving it any thought at all. And I suspect some who still use guidebooks think they're wasting money for what they could find online free.

But are they? I decided to try an experiment: I would buy a brand-new guidebook, comb through it, then to try to replicate or improve upon what I found in the free but chaotic bounty of the World Wide Web. I bought and read most of the Lonely Planet's Hungary guide (which I chose because Lonely Planet is popular among Frugal Traveler readers and I know nothing about Hungary) and then got to work.

My first stop was LonelyPlanet.com, where I was somewhat shocked to find most of the content I had just paid $24.99 for was free online: a section on the country's history, practical information, specifics like airport transport in Budapest, and many more listings for hotels, restaurants and attractions than were in the book. (The site had reviews for 200 restaurants in Budapest while my book had only 48.)

Still, a few things were missing — important things. The dozens of indexed city and town and neighborhood maps were absent. Suggested itineraries were gone. There was no glossary of useful Hungarian phrases. (A spokeswoman for Lonely Planet said some guidebooks had significantly less online.) And, though the site was fine for finding something specific, it was clumsier to browse through and get a feel for the country, especially on a mobile device. The formatting also makes it difficult and time-consuming to copy, paste and print your way to a homemade guidebook.

Still, Lonely Planet's robust web showing does not apply to all guidebook companies — Rough Guides, for example, offers limited content online. So I also tried an à la carte approach.

For lodging, the obvious first stop was TripAdvisor.com, which replaces a guidebook's curated list of tightly written reviews with free-for-all user evaluations, only partly controllable by tools that filter and rank results by price, availability, location, type of reviewer (family, solo, people in your Facebook network) and more. Booking.com and Hotels.com also depend on customer reviews. Is that a valid substitute? To many, it is. Even if you prefer curated picks, there are free sites like TheHotelGuru.com, with reviews writers contribute themselves or cull from guidebooks and articles. (Of course, as with flights, the most up-to-date information on hotel prices is online.)

For sightseeing information, there were endless options, and I only scratched the surface. I checked Hungary's official tourist website, Gotohungary.com, which had good if limited ideas, but was lacking practical information like prices. My next stop was Wikivoyage.org, which is run by the Wikimedia Foundation and is the closest thing I found in format to an online guidebook. It had plenty of ideas for Hungary, although the length and quality of descriptions were erratic, the writing was dull and practical information was again scarce.

I also tried the user-generated reviews on Gogobot.com, which allows you to see rankings by people in "tribes" like yours: budget travelers, "trendsters," "spiritual seekers" and the like. Not bad.

But to me, the site that came closest to replicating a guidebook experience, while still harnessing the power of the Internet, is Stay.com. Sights and activities (and hotels and restaurants) are separated by category, and there are curated guides by the site's editors, users and local experts ("Family Fun in Budapest," for example). Best of all, you can click to add any item to your own "city guide"; the result is a personalized itinerary, complete with customized map, that can be downloaded to your cellphone and used without piling up cellular data.

There are so many ways to find restaurants online, I don't even know where to begin. I already had culled ideas from the sites I've mentioned. Next, local resources: with a simple Google search, I found a few compelling sites in English (chew.hu, Best of Budapest, Everythingbudapest.eu), as well as articles published in newspapers like this one. Chowhound's discussion boards had what sounded like knowledgeable Budapest tips. And I haven't mentioned the power of Facebook, Twitter, Couchsurfing and online travel forums for getting personalized advice.

It may sound like the web was blowing away my guidebook — but not so fast. Literally: It's not so fast. Marking up the guidebook took a few hours and came to an obvious end (the last page). But I could have sifted through these sites forever. For some people, that's fine: it's been shown that planning a trip actually makes us happier than the trip itself. But choice can be paralyzing. For those who want the deciding done for them, a trusted guidebook brand wins, at least in planning an agenda.

The score was more or less tied in some other areas, like overviews on culture and history, collections of some useful phrases and important cultural mores like tipping. Wikivoyage alone covered most of those.

Still, I found three ways that a guidebook stomps the web almost every time:

First, those curated maps. No site I tried — Google, Michelin, Bing — could match the book's maps, even after being customized to pinpoint hotels and restaurants and sights. If you do want to print out city or town maps and mark them up yourself, I found Bing Maps to be by far the cleanest-looking and easiest to print. (Use the full-screen feature, take a screen shot and print.)

Second, guidebooks offer information you may never think to look for online. In the Hungary book, I happened on a section about common tourist scams in Budapest, and an article on Budapest's Jewish population — neither of which I would have thought to look up on my own.

Finally, there's simple convenience. A guidebook means an extra pound or so in your bag. But it's all in one place, doesn't run out of batteries or go out of range or use international data and is unlikely to be ripped out of your hand by a thief. And for infrequent travelers, it doesn't have a steep learning curve.

If the web is a fully stocked kitchen where an experienced chef given enough time can produce a brilliant meal, guidebooks are an energy bar, packing all the nutrients you need into a handy package that can be tossed into your bag. Of course, there's one catch: at $25, that's one expensive energy bar.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: December 26, 2013

An earlier version of this article misstated the name and web address of an online guide for lodging. It is TheHotelGuru.com, not HotelGuru.com


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Heads Up: Does Anchovy Gelato Go With White Wine?

Andre Liohn for The New York Times

A scoop at Il Gelato Bistrò.

Artichoke gelato, tomato-basil sorbet, carrot granita. The list may seem more suited to a creative restaurant menu than a gelateria. But Rome's top artisanal producers have turned to savory flavors to gain an edge in a city where thousands of gelato shops compete for customers. And with the country in the economic doldrums, their unconventional flavors are reaching more gelato fans than ever, as plummeting commercial rents have allowed even more gelaterias to open or to expand existing brands.

In the past year, Rome's artisanal gelato shops — those making their product from scratch using high-quality ingredients — have doubled in number. Vice  (Via Fabio Massimo, 64; 39-3105-1733; viceitalia.it/vice), which opened its first location southeast of the Vatican in 2009, opened its fourth and largest in January. Gelateria Fatamorgana recently doubled to six locations, one of which opened near the Spanish Steps in May. Gelateria del Teatro opened a second location next to the Tiber River in July (Lungotevere dei Vallati, 25) and expanded its original shop near the Piazza Navona to a larger, adjacent space in June (Via dei Coronari, 65/66; 39-06-4547-4880).

What sets these artisanal gelato shops apart from the nearly 2,500 others in Rome is their dedication to using all-natural ingredients, while almost all the others rely on industrial mixes, vegetable oils and artificial colors and flavors — all of which are legally permitted in gelato production. Claudio Torcè, owner of the small Il Gelato chain and considered by many to be the founder of Rome's all-natural gelato movement, estimates that just 30 gelato shops in Rome eschew chemical additives. Many of his apprentices have gone on to open their own shops which embrace savory flavors, another of Mr. Torcè's innovations.

Andrea Puddinu, one of Mr. Torcè's students, opened his own shop in the Trionfale district north of the Vatican in 2012. He adheres to his master's all-natural approach and is particularly fond of unconventional flavors.

"Having savory flavors beside classic ones is a way to draw customers," said Mr. Puddinu, who runs Il Gelato Bistrò (Circonvallazione Trionfale, 11/13; 39-06-3972-5949; ilgelatobistro.it). In his estimate, 120 gelato shops have opened in the last year in Rome, though few are all-natural. Even so, natural ingredients are not enough to attract customers in a competitive market, Mr. Puddinu said. "To compete, we have to do something different. People come in looking for hazelnut or pistachio and see anchovy and smoked salmon, and they are taken aback at first, but they remember it. And they come back."

At Mr. Puddinu's gelateria, there is an average of 15 savory flavors served daily in the summer, fewer in the winter. He hosts savory gelato happy hours year-round. "I might even pair them with a glass of Champagne or prosecco. In the summer, it is an alternative to the classic aperitivo."

Marco Radicioni of the 18-month-old Otaleg (Viale dei Colli Portuensi, 594; 39-338-651-5450; otaleg.com) recently began hosting savory gelato happy hours, for which he creates custom flavors designed to pair with craft beer. At one such event in November, Mr. Radicioni served artichoke gelato with Moinette blonde from the Belgian brewer Brasserie Dupont, while Lilith, a bitter ale from Tuscany's Brùton brewery, was paired with gelato alla gricia — a riff on a local pasta condiment — made with pecorino Romano cheese, cured pork jowl and black pepper.

Pairing gelato, especially savory flavors, with alcohol is a way for Mr. Radicioni to draw customers in the winter, as well as to communicate his philosophy. "In Rome, most view gelato as a sweet, summer-only food," he said. "To me, this is shocking. It doesn't actually cool you off or quench your thirst. These events are a way to show customers that gelato is a versatile dessert and deserves the dignity of a dessert."

It is an uphill battle to combat the declining quality of Rome's most famous frozen treat, but Mr. Radicioni and about dozen artisans like him are giving it their all. "The average Roman's food culture is practically medieval and not open to innovation or quality," he said. " But there is a growing subculture that is curious and asks questions and craves innovation. Those are the customers I want."


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36 Hours in South Beach, Miami Beach

Cindy Karp for The New York Times

Clockwise from top left: view from Juvia; the Colony Theater; bikes on the beach; a margarita with Coronas; lifeguard stand. Middle: a dish at Juvia.

A weekend in South Beach ought not to begin with "What to pack?" but rather, "What to pursue?" Do you long for the South Beach of painted-on dresses, frozen margaritas and electric neon? The South Beach of stylish new (or renovated) hotels (Gale, Lord Balfour, SLS South Beach) and restaurants (Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, Khong River House, Tongue & Cheek)? Or the South Beach of yesteryear, of pastel Art Deco buildings, museums and monuments? Perhaps you simply crave ...the beach. Miami can be whatever you want it to be — laid back, decked out, gay, straight, a family recess, a single's playground — which is precisely what makes it such an effortless getaway. In this dreamland at the southern tip of Miami Beach, you can choose your own adventure.

FRIDAY

4 p.m.
1. Shop and Stroll

South Beach is a breeze to tour by foot or bicycle (you can rent a DecoBike for $6 for an hour or $24 a day; a complete price list is at Decobike.com/pricing), and an easy place to begin is Lincoln Road Mall. Retailers high and low line this wide outdoor pedestrian shopping and eating zone between Alton Road and Washington Avenue, where you can pick up South Beach essentials like crystal embellished Havaianas flip-flops and sarongs in tropical hues. You'll also find coffee shops, ice cream parlors, art galleries, bars, clubs and retail chains like Anthropologie, Madewell and Kiehl's. Designer names dot the surrounding streets. In other words: pack light.

7 p.m.
2. Dinner Al Fresco

For some, nothing beats the absurdity of drinking a frozen margarita the size of a noodle bowl stuffed with two upside-down bottles of Corona beer (yes, people do this) at one of the tables lining the sidewalk on Ocean Drive. This touristy beachside stretch of restaurants doesn't offer the finest cuisine, though what the area lacks in culinary flavor it makes up for with flavor of a different sort — an endless parade of creatively dressed (or underdressed) revelers enjoying the breeze off the ocean. More refined restaurants, like Altamare and YUCA, are on Lincoln Road. For some of the best outdoor gawking, seafood lovers can head over to SushiSamba and take in the unofficial fashion show with an irresistible plate of rock shrimp tempura ($17) and specialty rolls like the Ezo (salmon, asparagus, onion, chives, sesame, tempura flakes and wasabi mayonnaise; $13).

9 p.m.
3. Hotel Crawl

After dark, when the sun-kissed passers-by are but shadows, it's time for another walk, this time to check out Ocean Drive's Art Deco hotels like Colony, Boulevard and Starlite illuminated in neon blue, pink and red. You can head to a club (Cameo, Mansion, Nikki Beach) afterward, or for a more casual night, stop by Hotel Victor, just past the mansion once owned by the designer Gianni Versace. Here you can sit at a sidewalk table with a glass of wine and enjoy live music on the hotel's porch. If you're not in the mood for drinks, do as others do — watch (dance, even) from the street. Speaking of which, walk farther north on Ocean to the Palace, a gay restaurant and bar, and you might be lucky enough to catch a sidewalk drag show. Those in search of a little glamour should continue their stroll to Collins Avenue to tour the lobbies and bars of classic Miami hotels like the Delano with its dark, intimate corners and, if you desire a more boisterous scene, the vast, blue-hued Fontainebleau.

SATURDAY

9 a.m.
4. Morning Reading

Begin the day with an international newspaper and a sidewalk table at the News Cafe, a restaurant, bar and newsstand open 24 hours. Its halcyon days are gone, but the tables still fill up with tourists and a smattering of locals thanks to the reasonably affordable prices, full breakfast menu and prime people-watching location near the beach. The breakfast special (two eggs with fries; bacon, ham, sausage or turkey sausage; juice, coffee or tea; and bread) is $10.50. French toast, pancakes or Belgian waffles are $7.75. For a more sophisticated brunch (beginning at 11:30 a.m.), head a few blocks north to BLT Steak at the Betsy Hotel, a renovated structure that captures an old-fashioned charm. Dine indoors or out on the porch from a menu that goes beyond the basics: almond brioche French toast with cinnamon-caramelized bananas ($14), buttermilk pancakes with blueberries and orange blossom water syrup ($12), and the BLT Popover, an interpretation of eggs Benedict with béchamel and Gruyère ($14).

11 a.m.
5. Sun and Surf


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Q&A: Mapping a Darker Side of New York

New York City has long been associated with crime, in drama and in reality. From early bootlegging and street hustles to stock market frauds that have caused the global financial market to shudder, it's fair to say that the city has had its share of bad actors.

Terence Winter, the creator of "Boardwalk Empire" and a writer for "The Sopranos," has spent many hours looking into the lives of these criminals and the parts of the city they frequented. While growing up in Brooklyn, he got a taste of "the pre- and post-Gotti years."

He also worked on Wall Street, at the same time as Jordan Belfort, the main character of the screenplay Mr. Winter adapted for the movie "The Wolf of Wall Street."

"He worked for L. F. Rothschild, while I worked for Merrill Lynch," he said. "These were vastly more conservative places than what Jordan later created in Long Island with Stratton Oakmont. There was excess, but it was in the form of money and fast cars. Jordan's level of excess was more behavior and drugs and unbridled craziness."

Below are excerpts from a conversation with Mr. Winter about New York criminals and their haunts.

Q. When you think about crime and New York City, which places come to mind?

A. In Lower Manhattan, of course, you have Mulberry Street, in Little Italy. Umberto's Clam House is probably one of the most famous of restaurants that gets associated with organized crime there. In the Bronx, there is a famous section where gangsters would eat along Arthur Avenue, which is basically a Bronx version of Little Italy. If you go to Queens, there's Don Peppe, Altadonna Restaurant and Park Side Restaurant in Corona, all of which were alleged to cater to that world. Those and diners. Pretty much pick any diner in Queens and there was usually someone hanging out there in the middle of the night.

So diners were chosen for their convenience?

Yeah, you go sit in a booth, have coffee for hours and no one would bother you, so long as you left a good tip. A lot times that's where these guys would hang out. That's why, very famously, you'd see diners depicted in movies like Goodfellas.

What about the gangsters from the earlier eras?

Gangsters like Kid Twist and Big Tim Sullivan began to emerge around the late 19th century, into the early 20th. These guys were political fixers. They hung around the Bowery, Park Row and Tammany Hall. Those were the power centers of government, and also where a lot of saloons were. You might find them drinking in McSorley's Old Ale House or Pete's Tavern, down on Irving Place, although Kid Twist mainly hung around Brooklyn.

When Prohibition came in, you have people like Arnold Rothstein and Joe Masseria, who we depict in "Boardwalk Empire." Masseria hung in and around Little Italy. It was his area. That's where he felt comfortable. There were a lot of hotels around Broadway that gangsters would frequent. Living and dining in hotels was very popular back then. Most of them had great restaurants. Ultimately, Rothstein was killed in the Park Central Hotel.

"The Wolf of Wall Street" focuses on white collar crime. How did Stratton Oakmont compare with other firms on Wall Street?

It's important to distinguish that these guys were not on Wall Street. They were in Long Island. The firm that Jordan set up out there was his no-holds-barred version of Wall Street. Take the level of excess and debauchery that was on the real Wall Street and multiply it by a factor of 100 and that's what you got.

What were some of the places these guys hung out?

Since they had to work all day, they were pretty much restricted to the restaurants around Long Island. They had this sushi restaurant called Tenjin. These guys would come in and take that place over, it was basically an extension of Jordan's kitchen. At night the aspiration was to get though the Midtown Tunnel and into Manhattan. For them that was Oz. The meatpacking district was just starting to get big around Jordan's time. They'd also go to places like the Tunnel and the Monkey Bar. And Jordan had an incredible house in Westhampton, where he threw wild parties.

In the movie, there's a scene were Mr. Belfort is eating at Rao's, which had a reputation for being a mafia haunt. Was there overlap between the places white collar criminals and mobsters would go?

Yes, you know, there's something exotic about hanging out in a mob restaurant. Rao's is very famous for that. It's also very famous for being hard to get into. So it's definitely a badge of honor to say that you ate there and got to rub elbows with people who are perceived to be gangsters. Sparks Steakhouse has the same reputation, because it was where Paul Castellano was murdered in 1985. Plus a lot of guys at Stratton Oakmont kind of admired that world. There's a thin line between the way these guys dressed, how they acted and what they aspired to be.


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Frugal Traveler: Planning a Trip: Guidebook Versus the Web

Written By wartini cantika on Rabu, 25 Desember 2013 | 17.35

I recently asked my friend Doug if he still uses guidebooks to plan his trips abroad. He's a smart guy and a veteran traveler, so I figured he would have a thoughtful reason one way or the other. He did not.

"I probably don't use guidebooks because I've essentially forgotten they exist," he said.

I'm guessing Doug is not alone. Sales of international travel guides in the United States are down 42 percent since 2006, according to the Nielsen BookScan Travel Publishing Yearbook. As online resources have expanded, I'll bet lots of people have shifted their travel planning to the web without giving it any thought at all. And I suspect some who still use guidebooks think they're wasting money for what they could find online free.

But are they? I decided to try an experiment: I would buy a brand-new guidebook, comb through it, then to try to replicate or improve upon what I found in the free but chaotic bounty of the World Wide Web. I bought and read most of the Lonely Planet's Hungary guide (which I chose because Lonely Planet is popular among Frugal Traveler readers and I know nothing about Hungary) and then got to work.

My first stop was LonelyPlanet.com, where I was somewhat shocked to find most of the content I had just paid $24.99 for was free online: a section on the country's history, practical information, specifics like airport transport in Budapest, and many more listings for hotels, restaurants and attractions than were in the book. (The site had reviews for 200 restaurants in Budapest while my book had only 48.)

Still, a few things were missing — important things. The dozens of indexed city and town and neighborhood maps were absent. Suggested itineraries were gone. There was no glossary of useful Hungarian phrases. (A spokeswoman for Lonely Planet said some guidebooks had significantly less online.) And, though the site was fine for finding something specific, it was clumsier to browse through and get a feel for the country, especially on a mobile device. The formatting also makes it difficult and time-consuming to copy, paste and print your way to a homemade guidebook.

Still, Lonely Planet's robust web showing does not apply to all guidebook companies — Rough Guides, for example, offers limited content online. So I also tried an à la carte approach.

For lodging, the obvious first stop was TripAdvisor.com, which replaces a guidebook's curated list of tightly written reviews with free-for-all user evaluations, only partly controllable by tools that filter and rank results by price, availability, location, type of reviewer (family, solo, people in your Facebook network) and more. Booking.com and Hotels.com also depend on customer reviews. Is that a valid substitute? To many, it is. Even if you prefer curated picks, there are free sites like HotelGuru.com, with reviews writers contribute themselves or cull from guidebooks and articles. (Of course, as with flights, the most up-to-date information on hotel prices is online.)

For sightseeing information, there were endless options, and I only scratched the surface. I checked Hungary's official tourist website, Gotohungary.com, which had good if limited ideas, but was lacking practical information like prices. My next stop was Wikivoyage.org, which is run by the Wikimedia Foundation and is the closest thing I found in format to an online guidebook. It had plenty of ideas for Hungary, although the length and quality of descriptions were erratic, the writing was dull and practical information was again scarce.

I also tried the user-generated reviews on Gogobot.com, which allows you to see rankings by people in "tribes" like yours: budget travelers, "trendsters," "spiritual seekers" and the like. Not bad.

But to me, the site that came closest to replicating a guidebook experience, while still harnessing the power of the Internet, is Stay.com. Sights and activities (and hotels and restaurants) are separated by category, and there are curated guides by the site's editors, users and local experts ("Family Fun in Budapest," for example). Best of all, you can click to add any item to your own "city guide"; the result is a personalized itinerary, complete with customized map, that can be downloaded to your cellphone and used without piling up cellular data.

There are so many ways to find restaurants online, I don't even know where to begin. I already had culled ideas from the sites I've mentioned. Next, local resources: with a simple Google search, I found a few compelling sites in English (chew.hu, Best of Budapest, Everythingbudapest.eu), as well as articles published in newspapers like this one. Chowhound's discussion boards had what sounded like knowledgeable Budapest tips. And I haven't mentioned the power of Facebook, Twitter, Couchsurfing and online travel forums for getting personalized advice.

It may sound like the web was blowing away my guidebook — but not so fast. Literally: It's not so fast. Marking up the guidebook took a few hours and came to an obvious end (the last page). But I could have sifted through these sites forever. For some people, that's fine: it's been shown that planning a trip actually makes us happier than the trip itself. But choice can be paralyzing. For those who want the deciding done for them, a trusted guidebook brand wins, at least in planning an agenda.

The score was more or less tied in some other areas, like overviews on culture and history, collections of some useful phrases and important cultural mores like tipping. Wikivoyage alone covered most of those.

Still, I found three ways that a guidebook stomps the web almost every time:

First, those curated maps. No site I tried — Google, Michelin, Bing — could match the book's maps, even after being customized to pinpoint hotels and restaurants and sights. If you do want to print out city or town maps and mark them up yourself, I found Bing Maps to be by far the cleanest-looking and easiest to print. (Use the full-screen feature, take a screen shot and print.)

Second, guidebooks offer information you may never think to look for online. In the Hungary book, I happened on a section about common tourist scams in Budapest, and an article on Budapest's Jewish population — neither of which I would have thought to look up on my own.

Finally, there's simple convenience. A guidebook means an extra pound or so in your bag. But it's all in one place, doesn't run out of batteries or go out of range or use international data and is unlikely to be ripped out of your hand by a thief. And for infrequent travelers, it doesn't have a steep learning curve.

If the web is a fully stocked kitchen where an experienced chef given enough time can produce a brilliant meal, guidebooks are an energy bar, packing all the nutrients you need into a handy package that can be tossed into your bag. Of course, there's one catch: at $25, that's one expensive energy bar.


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