- Michael Clemmer at Compass8 hrs ago
Once again, behemoth cruise ships are prowling the Venetian Lagoon. (It just isn’t the same as being serenaded by a stripe-shirted gondolier.) The ships slide slowly past Saint Mark’s Square on their way to Venice’s cruise ship terminal. It’s a perk for the excited passengers looking forward to experiencing the picturesque charm of Venice that some say their mother ships are ruining.
A regional court has overturned a law passed last November that banned giant cruise ships in response to the Costa Concordia ’s disastrous grounding the year before. While showing off for tourists on shore, captain Francesco Schettino ran his 114,000-ton ship aground, costing the lives of 32 of his passengers and causing an environmental nightmare. Venetian officials are understandably worried that something similar could happen again, so this coming June they will present the court with alternative routes for ships to use.
- Christy Karras at Compass12 hrs ago
In 1906, San Francisco was a thriving city of 400,000 residents, full of majestic Victorian mansions, beautiful hotels and a thriving arts scene. But the earthquake that hit on the early morning of April 18, 1906, changed everything — including how today's rebuilt city looks and works.
The earthquake destroyed many buildings and ruptured gas lines, igniting a three-day fire that ripped through the city. By the time it was all over, three-quarters of San Francisco's buildings were smoking piles of rubble. The author Jack London mourned, "Not in history has a modern imperial city been so completely destroyed. San Francisco is gone."
- Michael Clemmer at Compass1 day ago
Should you want to be hearin’ real Irish Gaelic spoken, or to bicycle around the westernmost part of Europe this summer, then the Dingle Peninsula is calling. Designated by the Irish government as a Gaeltacht (a park for traditional culture and language), Dingle has a population of only 10,000. About 1,500 of those blessed souls live in Dingle Town itself.
The peninsula, a mere 10 miles wide and 40 miles long, is perfect for biking. It’s pure, rural Ireland. As you pedal along the highway that outlines the peninsula, you can pretend you’re the title character from “Ryan’s Daughter ” or Tom Cruise in “Far and Away,” both filmed nearby. People have lived on the Dingle Peninsula for thousands of years. Go for a week and find out why.
Photo by Linda Hatfield.
- Kelly O'Mara at Compass1 day ago
After a harrowing four days, the ill-fated Apollo 13 shuttle safely landed in the Pacific Ocean on April 17, 1970. The mission was intended to be the third manned landing on the moon, but an oxygen tank exploded two days after launch. The damage crippled the craft’s normal supply of oxygen, electricity, and water, as well as the system that removed carbon dioxide.
As has been extensively documented in movies and books, astronauts James A. Lovell Jr., John L. Swigert Jr. and Fred W. Haise Jr., had to shut down the command module because of limited power. They instead used the lunar module as a type of lifeboat, though it was only originally designed to sustain two people for a day and a half – not three people for four days.
Mission personnel had to jerry-rig emergency procedures and create and a number of ingenious – and never before tested – fixes to bring the crew home. This included using the gravity of the moon to slingshot the shuttle back to Earth, creating a system to remove carbon dioxide, powering the command module back up while in flight, and attempting to course-correct the ship by burning the descent propulsion system.
- Michael Clemmer at Compass2 days ago
Things aren’t all good in Antigua Guatemala. The UNESCO World Heritage Site faces an uphill battle against rising crime, dispiriting poverty and (surprise) political dysfunction. In September 2012, the mayor and several members of his family and staff were charged with stealing $3 million from the treasury of the city of only 53,000 people. The U.S. State Department ranks the country of Guatemala as having a “critical” risk of violent crime. American tourists are particular targets because they are thought to carry more dinero than the average Guatemalan…and that’s probably true.
Despite all the bad press, Antigua — a crumbling jewel full of colonial Spanish architecture — still draws hundreds of thousands of American tourists every year, especially during Lent. Bottom line: stay in popular tourist areas and don’t go out alone at night.
JMartinC photographed these women and children in Antigua.
- Christy Karras at Compass2 days ago
Natural Bridges is both one of America’s most fascinating national monuments and one of the most remote. From the entrance beside a usually empty stretch of highway on a desert plateau in south-central Utah, it's impossible to tell what lies just a few hundred yards away. There, a river is digging a canyon into the plateau’s surface—and carving giant natural bridges in the process.
A natural bridge is a bit like the formations that populate Arches National Park (also in southern Utah). But while arches are created by wind and precipitation, bridges—true to their name—are undercut by water running below. The three bridges in the national monument’s White Canyon are impressively large. One of them, Sipapu, has the third-greatest span of America’s natural bridges, after Morning Glory and Rainbow natural bridges (both also in Utah).
- Michael Clemmer at Compass3 days ago
A modern pink plastic poncho is juxtaposed against an old green agave plant, stucco that may have been bright yellow a century ago, doors faded to the color of rich cinnamon for which Vietnam is famous, and a lintel that recalls years of French colonialism. A sliding metal-mesh door allows for ventilation (over privacy) on torpid summer days and nights when salty breezes blow in from the South China Sea, blanketing H ộ i An like hot, wet wool.
Well known to Portuguese sailors of the 16 th century as an important port, H ộ i An was already ancient when they arrived. Later the Japanese and Chinese regarded it as the best destination for trading in all Southeast Asia. Indeed, the Japanese believed the heart of all Asia lay beneath H ộ i An. Today, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and popular tourist destination.
Photograph by PJR Photography .
- Kelly O'Mara at Compass3 days ago
Before there were smart phones and Google Maps, people relied on road atlases and paper maps stored in their glove boxes. The most ubiquitous of these was the always-handy Rand McNally Road Atlas.
- Bekah Wright at Compass3 days ago
“Total bitch” is a term Alysia Reiner has given to describe her character, Natalie “Fig” Figueroa, on the Netflix hit “Orange is the New Black.” With the series return this summer, there’ve been hints of big surprises, including learning what drives Fig, and not just as prison administrator/assistant to the warden. Which leads us to wonder … When Reiner takes a break from her character’s “prison life,” what drives her travel-wise? Voluntourism? Spa treatments? Dining on insects? Check, check and check.
What’s something you never fail to pack in your suitcase? My journal and watercolors.
Carry-on or check-in? Carry-on only, baby, even for a month-long honeymoon. Even a ski trip. My new obsession is my LeSportsac Light as a Feather roller bag carry-on. It packs so much in so little space, and it’s super cute, too.
Window or aisle? Window. God, I love daydreaming out plane windows.