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A colorful architectural jumble of old clapboard houses and crumbling mansions, the captivating port town of Valparaíso comprises Chile’s cultural core. A UNESCO-protected gem of a city, the hodgepodge of hills and rickety cable cars here make for fascinating ambles, but “Valpo” may very well be South America’s most underrated locale. In the midst of a tourism renaissance, a bevy of happening little eateries, hotels, and boutiques have been cropping up about town. Recently back from a five-night stay there, I’m fresh off the ground with some of the best value recommendations for sleeping, eating, and taking it all in. Read more
Delightfully dynamic and effortlessly edgy, Berlin packs a punch not only on its hip factor, but also on its great-value offerings for budget-minded travelers. Dig just a little deeper (and not into your pockets) to discover a city – known for its tumultuous history, provocative arts scene, and no-holds-barred nightlife – that’s also filled with top-rate attractions that are absolutely frei. Just back from a week on the ground there, here are five great freebie finds in budget-friendly Berlin. Read more
Problem is, a lot of companies gently discourage parents from bringing kids younger than seven on such tours. Aside from the potential inappropriateness of the foods on offer – say coffee, booze, or stinky cheese – the tour guide will inevitably be pontificating about food culture or neighborhood history or some such thing demanding a measure of attention that some young kids are ill-equipped to give.
One New York-based foodie tour company comes out and says that “we have found that those under the age of 17 might be indifferent, fidgety, and may not fully appreciate our tours,” and at first the statement irritated me because it would appear to discourage not just young kids, but pretty much all kids.
October is upon us, and what better month to plan a trip to a destination that’s notorious for its haunted history? As a self-described Halloweenie, I am a huge fan of these three cities for their freak-out factor, but a plus for all travelers is that they also feature a wealth of other attractions, from world-class cuisine and museums to hopping nightlife. If you’re really adventurous, don’t forget to pack a digital camera and recorder to try to capture a truly spooky souvenir of your experience.
London: With the distinction of being the most haunted capital city in the world, London is a year-round destination for fans of the paranormal and macabre. Indeed, you could spend a month here and not have enough time to explore all of its hair-raising hotspots.
Thirty years ago, travel industry veteran Michael West traded the bustle of London for a quieter existence in southwest England. Upon his move, West began a daily ritual he still cherishes: long walks among the sheep on his Dorset farm. West enjoyed those walks so much that he wanted to find a way to share, and expand on, the experience with others. And so, in 1984, after much collaboration with his business partner, The Wayfarers — one of the world’s most respected walking tour companies — was born.
“I have to say it was certainly not business acumen — it was pure luck!” admits West, who effuses typical British charm with a mischievous twinkle in his eye. “I didn’t have any idea of what would happen. This is more of a way of life for us. We do it because we love it.”
Over nearly three decades, the company has found its niche by offering an authentic experience that combines breathtaking geography with local culture and a dose of daily exercise. Tours are offered in 20 countries over four continents, and groups are limited to 12 people. There are no chain restaurants or hotels. Instead, you’ll hang up your hiking boots in places like Italian castles and the lavish home of Jane Austen’s family friends, and feast on regional fare in pubs and even the homes of locals.
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