Do You Plan to Visit in Chisinau

Quick, name a wine- and food-loving European city within range of ancient monasteries and world-class vineyards! You’re probably thinking of something in France or Italy. How about Chişinău, Moldova? Now better connected than ever by air to western Europe, this leafy capital makes an appealing – and affordable – short break, offering a nice mix of accessible sights, hopping nightlife and post-Soviet exoticism.

 

Day On

Morning

Day one is walking day, so fuel up at Coffee Molka, a quirky cafe that doubles as a coffee museum. This is where you can ogle antique presses and grinders while sipping coffee brewed over hot sand – an old Turkish method; make sure to ask for a demo. From here it’s a short stroll over to the Army Museum, home to a moving exhibition on repression under the Soviets. The deportations and other crimes committed by Stalin in Moldova are documented in vivid detail through dioramas, collages and sometimes graphic videos.

Once you’re sufficiently introduced to the horrors of Chişinău’s past, it’s time to enjoy the pleasures of its present. Walk northwest on the city’s main drag, B-dul Ştefan cel Mare, which contains some fine examples

Trackling with your first bike tour

Deciding to go really is the hardest part. Setting the date (and having a rough idea of duration) helps concrete your trip, giving you a deadline to work towards. First-timers should head off during the warmer months and – unless you’re keen to channel Sir Ranulph Fiennes – pick an easy route for the first week or two. Training before your tour helps, but it’s not imperative – you’ll get fit on the road.

 

 

Buy the right kit

Invest in the essentials: a good free-standing tent, a decent touring bike, waterproof panniers (bike bags) and a cooking stove. Opt for a sturdy, steel-framed touring bike with steel front and rear racks to hold your panniers. Your bags should be hard-wearing as they’ll carry everything you need such as the tent, stove, sleeping bag and mat, electronics and clothing.

Every gram and inch counts. Opt for lightweight gear and use dry bags to compress your clothes. Resist the urge to overdo it and blow your budget on gear that might not last; real kit gems such as baby wipes, mosquito spray and chlorine tablets often cost

Things to do in Paris

City of love, fashion capital, literary paradise… Paris has many different guises. And while museum entry can be steep and fine dining comes at a premium, the French capital can also be a cheap date.

Whether you go weak at the knees for soaring church spires or want to rub elbows at an authentic French market, let yourself be seduced by our top 20 free must-sees.

 

1. Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris

Festooned with gargoyles and Gothic touches, this imposing icon of Paris is essential for every visitor. Entering this grand medieval edifice is free (although it costs to climb its twin towers) as is a stroll along the neighbouring Seine for an alternate view of the cathedral’s spiky apse and naturalist sculptures.

 

2. Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen

Window-shopping (or lécher les vitrines to the locals) is a great way to take an indulgent peek at objets d’art and wild curiosities you’d never actually buy. The St-Ouen flea market and antiques fair is the perfect place to let your imagination run riot. Marvel at bearskin rugs, antique tapestries and brass diving bells in this decadently eccentric marketplace. (But try to keep your eyebrow-raising in check when you look at the price tags.) Hop off the

Civil War history through the lens

Alexandria, Virginia, may be most celebrated for its colonial connections to George Washington, but this charming city near the nation’s capital also claims the title of longest Union-occupied Confederate city during the Civil War. As spies, civilians, runaway slaves and soldiers intermingled in the city’s cobbled streets, elegant Carlyle House became a hospital that served wounded soldiers from both sides. The perfect setup for conflict, right?

Indeed, this fascinating period in Alexandria’s history has been captured by the PBS drama Mercy Street (pbs.org/mercy-street), now in its second season (it airs at 8pm on Sunday nights). The story centers on two volunteer nurses – one a staunch Northern abolitionist, the other an entitled Southern belle – who duke out their philosophical beliefs. Making it even more poignant, the series is based on real-life events inspired by diaries, journals and letters of Alexandrians who experienced four years of war firsthand.

Today, many of the historical places featured in the series are open to visitors to Alexandria, with Mercy Street -related special events and exhibits mounted through the year as well as walking tours organized by Visit Alexandria.In the meantime, read on for our list of seven sites featured in this drama that TV and history buffs alike shouldn’t miss.

Probably most

The Nordlandsbanen rail route

A journey on the Nordlandsbanen will allow you to experience fascinating tales of the past, to be stirred by the power of nature, and to taste the fresh flavours of the region.

 

The journey

Though perhaps less well-known than the Oslo-Bergen train ride, the Nordlandsbanen, which stretches northwards for 729km between regal Trondheim and spirited Bodø, could certainly lay claim to being the more unique route. As well as being Norway’s longest train line, it also crosses the Arctic Circle, one of the few railways in the world to do so.

An efficient service and spacious, comfortable trains make it a delightfully sedate way to make the ten-hour journey, but it’s the huge diversity of scenery that’s most appealing. Gently rolling, emerald-green fields rest under huge skies, and Norwegian flags whip proudly over the pillar-box red hytter (cabins) dotted haphazardly over the hillsides. Moments later, the train will track its way through dense woodland, a wall of pine trees on either side of the train breaking just long enough to snatch a two-second-long postcard of mist haunting the treetops in a shadowy forest beyond.

Then, coasting out of a tunnel, the ground falls away to one side, and suddenly a 100m-high waterfall appears. Plummeting into a churning white froth below, the roaring deluge plays out silently

Asia traditional sports

A crowd roars as a favourite local wrestler pins his opponent for the championship. A rumble of shock as a single horse-and-jockey fall to the back of a long field of galloping racers. Tense anticipation as kok boru captains astride their horses struggle for possession of a goat carcass and control of the game. For the Central Asian nations, language and history are not the only ties that bind.

 

Nomadic sporting traditions handed down over thousands of years have been used in Central Asia to train for work and for war. Almost all are played exclusively by men, although women’s Kyrgyz wrestling is sometimes present in modern competitions.

A resurgence in the popularity of these games across Central Asia, as well as the hosting of international competitions such as the World Nomad Games, in recent years has also transformed them into a vehicle for sharing the region’s culture with the broader world. Watching these traditional sports is a rich addition to any trip through the region.

 

Kok boru

Kok boru – or goat-carcass polo – is the most famous of Central Asia’s traditional sports, and certainly the one that grabs the most headlines. Historically, the sport was used to train young shepherds to protect their herds from predatory wildlife and prepare

Time for a little traveling

With that in mind, we checked around Lonely Planet to learn about some personal favourite travel items of the most well-travelled staff in publishing.

 

Tom Bihn Travel Tray

I’ve got a Tom Bihn collapsible bag that’s always on my nightstand holding my phone, passport, a small flashlight, and glasses in case of a middle-of-the-night emergency. Late night in London one year, during Super Bowl Sunday back in America, I was evacuated during a small fire. I remember thinking ‘What are the odds I thought it through enough to be prepared for such a situation and it actually happened’. It’s gone everywhere with me ever since. It’s great to know the essentials are always there to grab and go.

 

REI Co-op Rhyolite Rain Jacket

At REI one day, I was eyeballing a cheaper jacket at the shop and asked the salesperson what he thought about the quality. He told me something that was either an outdoor truism or a clever sales tactic: ‘Don’t think about a rain jacket like a piece of clothing. Think about it as equipment that’ll protect and last a long time’. I caved and got the higher-end jacket and never looked back.

This thing has kept me dry from ocean spray and Hamakua Coast rain

Things to do in Delhi ideas

If there’s one thing you can guarantee when travelling somewhere new, it’s an unexpected cost you didn’t budget for – an irresistible detour, a magical momento you just have to have, a few extra days in somewhere amazing.

Take heart though; in Delhi, you can stretch your budget by exploring a string of free sights and attractions, leaving more left over for those little indulgences.

 

When visiting India’s historic capital, it’s worth paying out for big-hitting sights such as the Red Fort and Qutb Minar, but don’t overlook the abundant free sights and experiences in this fascinating city.  Take your pick from verdant parkland, centuries-old monuments, mysticism and faith, colonial pomp and circumstance and exploring contemporary Indian culture and the arts.

 

Keeping the faith at the Bahai House of Worship

This lotus-shaped temple was conceived and created by architect Furiburz Sabha in the suburbs of South Delhi, close to the burgeoning commercial district of Nehru Place.  In step with the tenets of the Bahai religion, the house of worship is open to all and everyone is invited to worship according to their own customs. Reflected in nine encircling pools, the gleaming marble structure is set in expansive gardens that teem with visitors, yet

Are You Need for Speed on Your Traveling

Net connectivity and travel have become increasingly entwined. An online connection has become a crucial part of how we navigate, research, connect and even work on the go. Wi-fi – open to all devices and often free – is the lifeblood of this connectivity.

To celebrate it, we decided to take a look how it has changed the places we visit, and to find the world’s weirdest, fastest and best wi-fi.

 

Dream landmarks with wi-fi

Awesome – you finally made it to your bucket list destination! But the internet has demands: ‘Pics or it didn’t happen’. On top of that, sharing video of your trip as it happens is more popular than ever, thanks to real-time services like Snapchat Live Story and spread to Facebook Live, Instagram Stories and WhatsApp Status. If you’ve got no service when you’re ready to broadcast, you’re out of luck.

Don’t worry though. These top picks of picturesque architectural wonders have outdoor wi-fi for immediate sharing ­– the Eiffel Towerand Cathédrale Notre Dame in Paris; the Taj Mahal in India; the Sydney Opera House in Australia; and Petra, the city carved out of stone in Jordan.

 

Wi-fi from . . . phone booths

Now that most people use their own

A perfect voyage to Antarctica

Majestic landscapes, sensational wildlife and a surreal remoteness lure intrepid dreamers to Antarctica, the pristine last frontier of our planet. A destination this extreme may incite an urge to chart the course on your own, but it’s best to call in the experts to guide you on this once-in-a-lifetime journey.

Because of its delicate environment, strict regulations and a lack of tourism infrastructure on the continent’s shores, most travelers visit Antarctica on expedition cruises that circumvent the Antarctic Peninsula and its surrounding islands. Prep for your voyage with the help of a polar travel tour operator – they’ll handle the planning, but suitable packing, physical conditioning and mental readiness is up to you.

 

Lean on an outfitter for the logistics

Antarctic cruises have the benefit of organized pre- and post-voyage transportation and sometimes include additional excursions around Ushuaia, Argentina (where most Antarctica-bound vessels call in to port) plus accommodations, on-board meals and expedition gear included in the price. Pick a reputable, International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators-affiliated (iaato.org) outfitter to ensure a safe and environmentally responsible experience.

 

The more you know, before you go

Reading about Antarctica’s history, geography and wildlife will not only provide pre-trip inspiration, but will help you appreciate the journey

The new Athens scenary

Despite the headline-grabbing economic crisis, Athens is flourishing as a fertile stomping ground for the creatives. The long-awaited opening of major cultural venues, the rise of world-class street art and a flux of independent galleries are proof that creativity can make a difference even in the toughest of times. In some ways parallel with its ancient past as the birthplace of Western culture, Athens is defining a new era for itself as a mecca for contemporary arts.

Inspiration is ripe in this city of contrasts: social tensions remain high, demonstrations are dramatic, rich Mediterranean culture thrives and stunning landscapes are within easy reach. What makes 2017 even more inspiring for Athens’ growing art community is the arrival of the Documenta (documenta14.de) exhibition to the Greek capital. One of the world’s leading contemporary art events will be held outside Kassel, Germany, for the first time in its history.

 

Independent galleries

Kolonaki, the city’s upmarket neighbourhood known for boutiques and well-to-do flats, is also where independent galleries are finding an audience. In the Depot Gallery’s (depotgallery.gr) whitewashed space, international and Greek artists straddle the line between art and design. At the Pulse (facebook.com/thepulsekolonaki), photography and contemporary art merge so well that a hotel and restaurant are in the works, designed with professional visual artists and art

Moroccos floral festival

Dawn is tinting the Atlas Mountains rust-red as the rose-pickers of Hdida set out for work. Dressed in flip-flops and jellabas, they follow a dusty path down to the fields, and before too long are lost in foliage.

Fruit trees teeter over the trail, laden with figs, dates and oranges. Barley and alfalfa sprout from the orange earth, watered by channels beside the path. Pomegranates dangle from overhanging branches. But the women aren’t here to pick fruit; they’re here to harvest something more fragrant.

‘Can you smell them?’ asks Ait Khouya Aicha, as she pads into a meadow fringed by walnut trees, and heads for a tangle of shrubs. She pulls down a branch: it’s covered by flowers from trunk to tip, shocking pink against the deep-green leaves.

‘These are the roses of the Asif M’Goun River,’ she says, cradling a blossom in her hand. ‘They are famous around the world. But to understand why, you must smell them.’ Pulling on thick gloves, she snips off the flower and breathes in the scent. The perfume is heady and sweet, with notes of honey and treacle.

‘The fragrance is best in the morning, but we must work quickly,’ she says, dropping the flower into a

Secret valleys of the Sichuan Himalaya

A few hundred kilometres west of Chengdu, deep in the Sichuan wilderness of western China, four magnificent mountains stand side-by-side, dominating the provincial skyline with their soaring peaks. Named after this towering quadruplet, Four Sisters Mountain National Park is composed of three major valleys that cut into the eastern escarpment of the Trans-Himalaya range.

The national park was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2006 as a giant panda sanctuary, and the area is stacked with traditional Tibetan history and culture, yet it sees just a small fraction of the visitors that Sichuan’s more popular Jiuzhaigou and Huanglong national parks do.

Awesome – you finally made it to your bucket list destination! But the internet has demands: ‘Pics or it didn’t happen’. On top of that, sharing video of your trip as it happens is more popular than ever, thanks to real-time services like Snapchat Live Story and spread to Facebook Live, Instagram Stories and WhatsApp Status. If you’ve got no service when you’re ready to broadcast, you’re out of luck.

Don’t worry though. These top picks of picturesque architectural wonders have outdoor wi-fi for immediate sharing ­– the Eiffel Towerand Cathédrale Notre Dame in Paris; the Taj Mahal in India;

What to do on France

France is the world’s top tourist destination and for good reason. There’s a lot packed into just one country – artistic and architectural masterpieces, remarkable museums and natural landscapes, and a history harking back far beyond the Romans.

Top it off with fine wine, food and a culinary culture that permeates through every city and small town, and the only hard part is deciding where to go first.

 

Paris

France’s chic, sexy capital has to be experienced at least once. Mix picture-postcard icons with simple Parisian moments and you’ll truly fall in love with the city. Scale the Eiffel Tower then walk or cycle along the Seine, or cruise down it on a bateau-mouche (bateaux-mouches.fr). Venerate Notre Dame then grab a post-cathedral café at Café Saint-Régis, ice-cream at Berthillon or super juice at literary café of mythical bookshop Shakespeare & Company. Hit the Louvre then collapse on a bench with a Pierre Hermé macaron in the Tuileries or Palais Royal gardens. Delve into hilltop Montmartre with a local Paris Greeter (greeters.paris). Escape to posh leafy Versailles and come back blown away by France’s most famous chateau.

 

Loire Valley

Stunning châteaux are scattered around the lush Loire Valley. Stand in awe of the Renaissance supertanker of a castle Château de Chambord, and graceful

The Slovenian Alps who Loves Sport

Finally, spring. And after months of gray days and long nights, it’s about time. But where to go? Shake off those memories of winter and last bits of snow with one of our spring getaways.

We picked our top spring break destinations – with a couple surprises thrown in – that have direct flights from major North American airports and are sure to change the color of those winter blues. Thaw out in the Caribbean or sunbathe among the stars in LA. If something off-beat is more your style, we have some beer-bong-optional picks as well. Spring is the perfect time to night-kayak through a bioluminescent bay in Puerto Rico, practice your sea lion roar in Baja California, or get hopped-up in Asheville.

 

Hawai’i, the Big Island

With year-round temperatures that hover between 70°F and 80°F (21°C and 27°C), there’s never a bad time to head to the Big Island. But March marks the end of the high season, and budget travelers can usually find discounts on the largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago. Through April, the island sees upticks in visitors hula-ing at major festivals like the Merrie Monarch Festival (a worthy trip in itself), but if you time it right you can score a spot on

Quebec traveling tips

From late October to mid-April, Québec province becomes Canada’s icy adventure playground, and skiers flock here in droves to take to the slopes.

But you don’t have to be a pro on the pistes to get under the skin of this fascinating corner of Canada in winter. In fact, there are myriad winter activities on offer, such as dog-sledding, fat biking or tubing; or simply exploring the province’s unique identity in Montréal and Québec City – these cities can be at their most beguiling in the cold season, particularly if you time your visit to coincide with one of the big winter festivals, Igloofest or Carnaval de Québec.

 

Montréal

In place d’Armes, a historic square in Old Montréal, there is a pair of bronze sculptures standing on either side of the plaza. The first is a man clutching an English pug; the other is a woman holding a French poodle. The owners are turning their exaggerated noses away from each other, while the two dogs are staring at each other, eager to meet.

This take on Montréal’s mixed heritage says a lot about a city (and a province) characterized by dualities – it’s at once French and English, Québécois and Canadian, old and

How to find wildlife and nature on your adventure

As spring hits, the northern hemisphere blossoms into life. Discover Wordsworth’s lyrical landscapes as England’s Lake District transforms under a blanket of daffodils or recline with a picnic beneath the cherry blossoms in Japan.

Elsewhere in the world, underwater worlds are waiting to be explored and brilliant birdlife throngs the ever-enchanting Galápagos.

 

Palau is the place for underwater adventures in paradise

The Micronesian nation of Palau looks pretty amazing above water: it’s a sprinkle of 200-odd lush-green limestone outcrops, sheltered lagoons, white sands and blindingly turquoise seas. But it’s under water where things become truly spectacular. This is the sub-aqua Serengeti, with 1500 fish species, soft corals and sea fans, sheer drop-offs and WWII wrecks.

Palau is balmy year-round, and there’s no really bad time to dive here. However, dry-season April, when seas are calmer and clearer, is a good choice. Also, whale sharks and manta rays are more likely January to April, while green and hawksbill turtles are most often seen April to July. The icing on the cake? Jellyfish Lake, a lagoon pulsating with a million translucent, stingless jellies – it’s like snorkelling through the chorus line of an immense submarine ballet.

  • Trip plan: Keen divers should consider a liveaboard trip,

Exploring the best sights below London

From glimpses of another world, like the woolly mammoth that once wandered around Canary Wharf, to sobering reminders – imagine the sheer fear of following the masses down to the tube shelters as bomb sirens went off above you during WWII – London’s underground spaces represent a layered tapestry of its history. War, death, plagues, hide-outs and adventure: you’ll find them all beneath modern-day London.

 

Ride the postal railway

Back in Victorian London, the Post Office had a problem. Millions of letters to deliver, but increasingly crowded streets slowing things down. The solution? An underground rail system that air-blasted mail across the capital on tiny cars.

It was a hit, and not only for post: operators often had to turn down requests for a ride from men on their way home from the pubs near Euston, where the ride began.

In 1927, the system was upgraded to become the world’s first driverless electric railway, trundling 6.5 miles underneath London and linking sorting offices and postal depots from Paddington to Whitechapel.

The line stopped running in 2003, but in 2017, for the first time ever, Mail Rail is opening up to the public. From mid-2017, visitors will be able to take a 15-minute ride through a 1km stretch of

April for culture and traveling

Between ancient wonders, city-wide water fights and lots of laughs amid mellow weather, there is something for everyone in this round-up of April’s cultural offerings.

Rub shoulders with Roman gladiators at the Colosseum before summer temperatures hit; get your Indiana Jones on in Jordan; bask in Melbourne’s balmy weather and get a bellyful of laughs at the comedy festival; and escape Thailand’s scorching heat with water sports galore.

 

Discover your inner Indiana Jones in Jordan

Compact Jordan is the complete package. Ancient wonders? Visit the 2000-year-old rock-hewn city of Petra or Kerak’s Crusader castle. City sights? Try Roman Jerash or the souks of Amman. Jaw-dropping landscapes? Camp in the alien-esque deserts of Wadi Rum. Wildlife? Explore Dana Nature Reserve. Beach? Pick between the salty Dead Sea or snorkel-friendly Red Sea.

More surprisingly, Jordan can also be very green – especially at this time. In April, humidity and rainfall are low, temperatures loiter delightfully around the low 20°Cs (68-73°F), the central valleys are lush from winter rains and there are wildflowers everywhere. In particular, Ajloun Forest is abloom with strawberry trees and rock roses and Dana’s oases are bright with oleander and birds. Also, the vastness of Petra can be explored without breaking a

Havana coastal road traveling tips

Bengaluru is a city that loves its pint. Ever since the British arrived here in the early 19th century the capital of Karnataka has enthusiastically embraced the culture of grabbing a drink at the end of the day. Today Bengaluru is chest-thumpingly proud of its drinking culture and home to a roaring craft beer scene with an ever growing number of microbreweries. Visit our pick of Bengaluru’s best bars and you’ll soon understand why.

The Bengaluru drinking scene spans the spectrum, from nostalgic holes-in-the-wall to chic cocktail lounges that could hold their own in Paris or New York. Keep a particular eye out for the city’s craft beers – local brewers create everything from wheat beers to pale ales and stout – and Bengaluru mixologists who add Indian herbs and spices to the standard cocktail palette. Here’s our pick of the best places in Bengaluru to wet your whistle after hours.

 

Daytime tipples at Noon Wines

The appeal of Noon Wines & Scottish Pub (No 17/21, Vasavi Complex, St Marks Road) lies in its nonchalance. This ‘hole in the wall’ outpost of colonial-era Bengaluru is open for only five hours in the day (12-5pm), but nostalgia seekers flock here for inexpensive wines and