There's no denying that travel is getting more difficult and more expensive and with increased fuel prices, people are having to make do with less and less disposable income.
The parade at the Festa di Sant'Efisio in Cagliari, Sardinia
Yet, at the same time, these circumstances may mean a real boost for local destinations like the state parks near your hometown or the local attractions you've never had time to check out. People are discovering that a journey is a journey, and they can have an awful lot of fun in a bed and breakfast close to home.
And armchair traveling on GoNOMAD is free!
This month Agata Chabierska takes us on a visit to the wine cellars of Moravia in the Czech Republic, Kent St. John goes reindeer sledding in Lapland, and Max Hartshorne tries shopping and cooking for himself in an apartment in Tours, France.
Cindy Bigras captures the splendor of an ancient parade in Sardinia, Janis Turk meets the marbles champions of the world in Monroe County, Kentucky, and Marilyn Pennell reports on what to see and do if you're in Beijing for the Olympics.
We've also posted three stories in our new 'Reflections' section: a piece by Rick Steves on the friendly people and hostile signage in Iran, one by Jacqui Menard about a little girl in a tiny boat near the floating villages of Chong Khneas, and another by Julian Worker about helping an Iranian student practice his English.
Just another month of top-notch travel writing on GoNOMAD.com.
New stories recently published on GoNOMAD:
The Savor of the Sun: A Wine Tasting in The Czech Republic
There is a small, quiet town of merely four thousand inhabitants, located picturesquely atop green, vine-covered hills where winemaking secrets are passed from father to son with sacred attention. Velké Bílovice, wine capital of the Moravia region and one of the warmest places in Czech Republic, every spring invites oenophiles from all over Europe to explore its fruity treasures...
Walking on Roses: Sardinia's Festa di Sant'Efisio
Following the mass, at noon sharp, bells toll as the saint’s statue leaves the church to join more than three thousand participants from every part of Sardinia gathered to march through Cagliari. The excitement is palpable as the first maidens in traditional dress round the corner. They are followed by colorful carts called “traccas” pulled by flower-covered oxen...
A Self-Catered Vacation in Tours, France
After a week of eating in the finest restaurants of the Loire Valley, it was time to bring myself back to earth and begin again to eat like I do at home. Besides, with an exchange rate like this, it’s nearly impossible to afford eating out every night here in lovely France. I rented a small apartment in Tours, a city of about 70,000, two hours south of Paris on the Loire River....
Among the Sámi: A Visit to Finnish Lapland
After landing in Kemi, Finland, it was a short jeep and horse sleigh ride to Wanha Papila, ten modern cottages with a 100-year-old vicarage. In the restaurant, Ari the owner goes over our plans for discovering Finnish Lapland’s winter wonderland, his ice blue eyes sparkling. Since I was experiencing jet fatigue, I caught only bits and pieces but 'snowmobile' and 'ice cutter' as well as 'reindeer' filtered through mind fog...
The Marble Super Dome of Monroe County, Kentucky
Lost your marbles? Have no fear — you can find them again, along with a draw-string pouch full of childhood memories, in Monroe County, Kentucky. Simply head down a country road to the Monroe Marble Super Dome, where every afternoon brings a chance to shoot homemade marbles and meet the “marbleous” men who “whipped the world” in an international marbles tournament...
Rick Steves Visits Iran: Friendly People, Unfriendly Signs
I’m working in Iran, part of the “axis of evil” (as defined by my president) in a land whose own president leads chants of “Death to America.” This has me thinking about bombast and history. Bombast hogs the headlines, skewing understanding between the mainstream in each country. Never once has my saying "I am an American" resulted in anything less than a smile or “People and people together no problem, but I don’t like your president.”
Australia: Rafting The Nymboida River
I've seen the kangaroos, I've tasted most of the local beers and I have visited at least a dozen beaches. My journey through Australia was going quite well so far. Topping the drink and sun-drenched coast, though, was my trip to Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, to go whitewater rafting down the Nymboida River. After a quick Google, I found a local company that operates whitewater rafting adventures.
A Guide to Tipping Around the World
A tip, or gratuity, is defined as a gift of money given to someone for performing a service or menial task, over and above the payment due for the service. Tips, which are not required in all countries, are expected in some denomination for good service from those in the industries where tipping is expected. For the scope of this guide I will be giving a brief overview of the proper (and improper) amounts to tip in countries across the globe....
Gorgeous Greenville, South Carolina
Greenville has followed in the footsteps of other Southern cities that were able to turn around their image by refurbishing older structures and creating architecturally pleasing new ones. Sure there are tacky buildings, but the tree-lined streets drown out the drab exteriors. Whether you're driving, walking or taking the town's trolley, getting around town is easy. Even for the "navigationally-challenged," it's tough to get lost in Greenville...
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Visit the North Pole Aboard a Russian Icebreaker
For thousands of years the Arctic Ocean and its icebound islands have been a source of fascination to mariners, geographers and all who devote their lives to seeking out and exploring the unknown. Adventure Life of Missoula, Montana, organizes expedition cruises to remote regions of the globe, and their latest trip will take passengers to the North Pole on a Russian icebreaker...
VibeAgent: A Growing Social Network for Travelers
VibeAgent.com is a fresh and innovative hotel search engine that helps savvy travelers find the hotel that's right for them from the website’s unique social network. Anyone can become an agent and get the inside scoop on hotels from the community. Compared to other sites, VibeAgent is a work in process, but the distinctiveness of the “friendster-style” clientele suggests that the website will find its niche in the travel industry...
The Best of Beijing, 2008: What to See, Where to Go, What to Do
Are you headed to the Olympic Games or considering a trip to China? About two million visitors are expected in Beijing for the games which begin on August 8 and run through August 24. Learn more about summer travel to this ancient and intriguing capital. Taking a trip to China without a visit to the capital city of Beijing would be to miss a glimpse into the heart and soul of China...
Cambodia: The Floating Villages of Chong Khneas
She’s about four years old and she has sad eyes, tattered clothes and a smile that would melt anyone’s heart. I wonder where her parents are, and how she managed to stay afloat with a cooler full of soft drinks on the floor of her tiny tin boat. Breathless, she examines us one by one with her big brown eyes. “Coca-Cola?” I reach down and take the ice cold can from her tiny hands. I slip her a dollar bill and a fist full of coins...
Tales of Travel in Panama
Darrin DuFord, a past contributor to GoNomad, ventures through the tropics of Panama. In his recent book, Is There a Hole in the Boat? Tales of Travel in Panama Without a Car, DuFord mucks through muddy trails, encounters native tribes, samples local delicacies and becomes immersed into the thriving culture of Panama. Read more below for a taste of DuFord's adventures at the infamous Darién Gap...
A Conversation in the City of Poets and Nightingales
Shiraz is called the city of poets and nightingales in Iran. I had been in this city of nearly one million people for three days since arriving from Esfehan. I was walking towards the bazaar in the late afternoon, when a voice suddenly said, “Ex’coose me, do you speak Engleesh?” “I am English,” I said, turning towards the speaker who emerged from the crowd...
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