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Travel | The Guardian

On average 2 Articles by day

Latest travel news and reviews on US and world holidays, travel guides to global destinations, city breaks, hotels and restaurant information from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice

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Wild swimming site removes online map to ease overcrowding

Wild swimming site removes online map to ease overcrowding The Outdoor Swimming Society has taken down wildswim.com over concerns about popular bathing spots being overwhelmedOvercrowding at swimming spots around the country has prompted the Outdoor Swimming Society (OSS) to take down its online crowd-sourced map – at wildswim.com – for the first time since its launch in 2006. Founder Kate Rew made the decision after receiving letters from parish councillors, residents and the Woodland Trust expressing concern that beauty spots were being overtaken by swimmers. Traffic to the user-generated wildswim.com reached 151,000 unique visitors in May, a record for a site that usually averages 42,000 a month.“I have taken wildswim.com offline today, and we have removed all our top 10s and collections from public view. I want to slow down the transmission of information and I feel this is a positive thing I can do to help local communities,” said Rew. Continue reading...

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Share your favourite holiday memory of Italy

Share your favourite holiday memory of Italy Reveal your top Italian holiday moment, whether it’s culture or hospitality, seaside, city or rolling landscapeWith the Colosseum, Leaning Tower of Pisa and Uffizi gallery – not to mention Italy’s thousands of bars, cafes, restaurants and gelaterias – open to foreign visitors this week, we’d love to hear about your favourite memory of what is Brits’ third most-popular holiday destination.It may be a while before we can head off to enjoy la dolce vita, but in the meantime tell us all about your top Italian experience – maybe a family-run trattoria or idyllic agriturismo, a gorgeous beach or an amazing walking trail, a vineyard or an art gallery. Continue reading...

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10 of the best novels set in Portugal – that will take you there

10 of the best novels set in Portugal – that will take you there From a Saramago masterpiece to Monica Ali’s rural blues, via mountains, cities and coast, bookmark this reading list for a flavour of Portugal – and its people• More fiction trips: Italy | France | Spain | GreeceMy initial instinct on moving to Portugal a few years ago was to fill my bookshelf with non-fiction. There lay the path to the country’s history, culture and politics, I figured. And, so it proved. Titles such as Roger Crowley’s excellent Conquerors and Barry Hatton’s eminently readable The Portuguese brought me up to speed with the country’s major milestones and missteps, its key dates and dominions. Yet, only when I picked up my first Fernando Pessoa, my first José Saramago, did I get a flavour of the whims, wants and interior worlds of the Portuguese povo (people). My selection hops between the old and new, the native-born and the outsider-looking-in. It’s by no means exhaustive, yet, as Lord Byron wrote in Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, I hope it serves as a route to “pleasure in the pathless woods” of Portuguese (and Portugal-related) fiction.  Continue reading...

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More than 200 UK travel and hospitality firms want quarantine U-turn

More than 200 UK travel and hospitality firms want quarantine U-turn Companies join aviation industry in backlash, saying rules are unworkable and damagingCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageMore than 200 travel and hospitality companies have called on the government to change planned quarantine rules, which they say will be unworkable and deeply damaging to their industry.The companies have joined the aviation sector in a growing backlash against rules due to be introduced from 8 June. All visitors and returning travellers entering the UK will have to quarantine for 14 days and face spot checks and fines for breaching isolation. Continue reading...

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I started to miss brazenly beautiful Japan before I'd even left

I started to miss brazenly beautiful Japan before I There are so many bars, alleyways, shops and gardens I want to explore – but right now, its confidence and self-assurance seem unimaginableI can feel the damp of that late-evening heat. It made my skin glisten as I stood shoulder to shoulder on the balcony of a Tokyo hotel with my fiance, an espresso martini chilling my fingertips. Below, the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace sprawled in the darkness, bats swooped above the trees and warm August rain began to plop between the leaves. Wrapped in cool silk gowns, we stood in silence watching Shinjuku’s lights strobe and wink across the city. The soundless vision betrayed the roar of life below: gloved teens playing solo dance games in arcades, late-night shoppers clutching bags and bubble tea, drinkers doing shots in Golden Gai, friends paying for ramen at vending machines, and lovers kissing by the light of red lanterns.This was five years ago, our first time in Japan, a place I had delayed visiting until I’d met the person with whom I wanted to make those memories. Like many I had bought into Sofia Coppola’s soft-focus illusion of the country (in her 2003 film Lost In Translation) as a kaleidoscope of karaoke, cat cafes and mad crossings, but I quickly realised her film was a reductionist insult. Continue reading...

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Florence Baker: the polyglot slave girl turned intrepid explorer

Florence Baker: the polyglot slave girl turned intrepid explorer The Transylvanian-born orphan was sold to an English traveller, with whom she discovered the wonders of Africa, married and fought to abolish slaveryPassport detailsLady Florence Baker, née Flora Barbara Maria von Szász, or Sass. Born 6 August 1841 in Nagyenyed, then in the Kingdom of Hungary, now Aiud in present-day Romania.Claim to fameThe details of Florence Baker’s early life are sketchy – for dramatic reasons. As an orphan she was sold into the Ottoman slave trade, and in 1859 found herself on the auction block in Vidin, in present-day Bulgaria. Blonde, blue-eyed and polylingual, she caught the eye of English traveller Samuel Baker, who bought her. Continue reading...

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Midnight rambler: the joy of walking around Britain after dark

Midnight rambler: the joy of walking around Britain after dark For a year, Matt Gaw hiked across the country at night – savouring the planets, the midnight light and the sense of earthly troubles shrinking into the universeI still remember that first night walk in King’s Forest near my Suffolk home, two years ago. The clouds were smoking-room-thick, so there had been no visible sunset. The cold, white sky did not even blush. Instead, the light thickened and clotted as darkness began to form, seeping out from between stands of pines. It puffed from the shadows of my footsteps on the track and welled up from the deep ruts made by 4x4s.I’m not sure why I kept walking that night. Partly it was just the rhythm: the metronome swing of the legs, the freedom of having nowhere to be and no place to go. But also, I’d been rallied by my 10-year-old son who, in his campaign for an ever-later bedtime, argued that an average human spends 26 years of their time on Earth asleep. His words had wormed their way into my brain. When was the last time I had been out at night? Not camping or running or toddling home from the pub, but really out into the dark. Was my life being only half-lived? Continue reading...

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Wing and a prayer: the bizarre Chicken Church of Java

Wing and a prayer: the bizarre Chicken Church of Java Meant to be a dove, but looking more like a hen, one man’s vision of a temple for all faiths has enjoyed an unlikely resurrectionWho hasn’t at some time in their life dreamed of building a secret underground temple, a giant golden llama or a monument to Shirley Bassey made entirely of Nobby’s Nuts? Such singular visions, however, remain unbuilt without the necessary ingredients of money, monomania and several hundred spare weekends. But add a catalysing crisis, epiphany or “calling”, and you’re away.For Daniel Alamsjah, a devout Christian living in Java, Indonesia, his call came one night in 1988 in the form of a divine vision. Before him, Alamsjah saw a building shaped like a giant dove, residing on a hilltop. It would be, a disembodied voice affirmed, a place of worship for all faiths. And Alamsjah was just the man to build it. Continue reading...

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Trekking the Sabine Hills: in praise of Italy, summer and freedom

Trekking the Sabine Hills: in praise of Italy, summer and freedom The author recalls dawn starts, oven-hot air and the chorus of cicadas that accompanied his walk through the hills north of RomePoggio Mirteto, Cantalupo, Casperia, Vacone, Configni, Stroncone. Hilltop towns in the ancient land of Sabina, calling to each other across parched patchworks of vineyard and cornfield. Woods, orchards, olive groves. You could drive to these places, of course. But my experience is, when you arrive on foot they are different. They are better. And best of all in summer.You’ll need water with you at all times for this adventure. A light backpack with just one change of clothes. Trekking shoes on your feet, poles in your hands, sweat-wicking shirts and shorts and underwear. Plus a broad-brimmed hat, shades and a big tube of sun cream. Then just surrender yourself to the heat and the cicadas. Continue reading...

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Life after lockdown in Berlin: campsites, lidos and lakes reopen for summer

Life after lockdown in Berlin: campsites, lidos and lakes reopen for summer It’s not the carefree city we are accustomed to, but as more restrictions are lifted the happy, unmasked faces of my fellow campers seem as relieved as I amAs I’m swimming lazily out to a small island in the middle of a lake fringed with pine trees, the words “pandemic”, “Covid-19” and “virus” seem to be from a different world. They are not of course; we are still a long way from being coronavirus-free, but here at Naturcampingplatz Am Grubensee, 50 miles south-east of Berlin in the lake-strewn surrounding region of Brandenburg, my family and I are enjoying the peaceful escape we’ve been dreaming of since lockdown began 11 weeks ago – messing about in boats, cooking outside and regaining some sense of normality.Campsites officially opened in Germany on 25 May, complete with all the necessary sanitary facilities. Petra, the owner here, says the government has given guidelines rather than strict rules, and campsites are interpreting them as they see fit. There are hand sanitiser posts all around the campsite, masks are required inside the shop/reception, and the usual 1.5-metre distance rule applies.“We normally begin the season on 1 April, so I’ve been going grey worrying about the amount of money we’re losing,” says Petra. “Now I’m just happy to be open.” Continue reading...

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