The statue of Imperia holding the pope and the emperor (both naked) symboliizes the power of women over men -- or something like that. The statue stands in the harbor in Konstanz, Germany on Lake Constance. Photo by Kent St. John
This month Senior Travel Editor Kent St. John gets a three-fer visiting Lake Constance, which borders Switzerland, Austria and Germany. And Editor Max Hartshorne gets a four-fer, meeting Dean of Jan and Dean in Huntington, California (Surf City, USA), dining on piglets in Sardinia, sampling the cuisine of France's Loire Valley and, for good measure, taking in an Australian-rules football game in Melbourne.
Paul Shoul travels to Zaragoza, Spain, to report on the upcoming World Expo devoted to water and sustainable development. More than 100 countries are exhibiting -- but not the US. (How did we know?)
We have a great story by physician-wanderer Cooper Schraudenbach about the lost city of Gu-ge in Tibet and another by Laurie Ellis about her open-water swimming vacation in the British Virgin Islands.
Richard Frisbie contributes a moving piece about memorials to American WWI 'doughboys' in France and Charlotte Turner goes on a "pirate pub crawl" aboard a canal boat in Warwickshire.
Jacqueline Church describes the great eating in Boston's Chinatown, Anna Etmanska visits a remote monastery in Bhutan, and Phoebe Hornby spends the night in a Slovenian prison that's been converted to a hostel.
Megan Cross reviews the very latest handy travel gadgets and Dominic DeGrazier reports on the 500,000 people worldwide who have taken up couch surfing.
Just another month of top-notch travel writing on GoNOMAD.com.
New Stories recently published on GoNOMAD:
Huntington Beach, California: Surf City, USA
Huntington Beach California is the ultimate surfer's paradise. The eight and a half mile long stretch of beach in this city of about 200,000 south of Los Angeles is lit up at night with campfires. Small circular barbecue pits dot the beach, casting an eerie glow on their faces. Nowhere else in California's long coast can you legally build a campfire and sit by the warm glow like this. Find California hotels...
World Expo Zaragoza 2008: An Ancient City Looks to the Future
Flying into Zaragoza [also known as Saragossa in English] you see a patchwork landscape of beautiful brown and green rolling hills, dotted with sheep leading up to an ancient city surrounded by wind farms. This city has been a crossroads since 24 BCE when Roman legions named it for their emperor Caesar Augustus. Zaragoza is poised for change with the opening of this year's World Expo Zaragoza 2008...
Switzerland, Austria, Germany: The Three Faces of Lake Constance
One lake and three countries, all different yet all share a shore. Zipping between Switzerland, Austria and Germany is a breeze when done using Europe’s third largest lake as a focal point. The flags of each nation billow as passenger ferries ply busy routes past villages and castles hugging the curves of Lake Constance (Bodensee in German). The Rhine flows in and the Rhine flows out...
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Centre Loire, France: An Ancient Valley Full of Fascinating People
Chartres is a jewel among religious shrines of the world. These panes are among dozens of intricate stories that are told by images made by glass pieces. It's hard to do justice to the famous "Chartres blue" which is the most dominant color on the 12th century windows that face the main entrance. At night the city lights up this magnificent building with a light show that projects images such as these on the outside of the whole building..
Tibet: Exploring the Ancient Kingdom of Gu-ge
The Kingdom of Gu-ge was established in the 10th century along the banks of the Sutlej River at the bottom of this tremendous canyon system. It was an important and powerful center of commerce and Buddhism for 700 years, and then it mysteriously disappeared. There are theories of outside invasion or internal political strife leading to its demise, however, a sense of mystery still surrounds the place and the ruins left behind....
Sardinia: Notes From a Big Wild Island
Imagine eating an entire dinner that came from within 50 feet of your house. In the US, we pat ourselves on the back for the 100-mile diet, and it's hard to do even that. But tonight we met a family that runs a museum, a farm, and a restaurant in central Sardinia where everything they serve comes from their own land and their own hands. Agostina Vargiu and his 79-year-old mom welcomed us with a glass of fruity white wine...
France 1918-2008: Remembering the American Offensive in World War I
During a recent visit to France, which was planned more for viticulture than history, it became impossible to ignore all the military monuments and cemeteries set in the green fields and vineyards of the beautiful farmland north of Paris. Vague references to the Western Front, the Maginot Line, and the Battle of Verdun, remembered from my history lessons of so long ago, became clearer...
CouchSurfing.com: Finding Friendship and Hospitality Around the World
CouchSurfing.com allowed me to step into the real culture of Mexico City, and to a small hidden beach town on the Pacific. Ultimately, a group of Mexican friends completely accepted me as one of their own. And it took just a few minutes searching a website. I now have real (read: not virtual) friendships in Mexico City, and I look forward to returning their kindness in the future...
An Open-Water Swimming Vacation in the British Virgin Islands
Sure, it’s really nice to go the British Virgin Islands to relax, but in my opinion it’s even better to go to the BVI and swim! Lucky for me there’s an outfit called SwimTrek. There are many choices for people looking for active vacations: biking, hiking, kayaking, etc., but I had never heard of a vacation that catered to swimmers. Simon Murie started his company in 2003 and now offers trips in over ten countries..
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Bhutan: A Visit to Taktshang Goemba, "The Tiger's Nest"
Taktshang Goemba is an impressive sight from far away, but even more awe-inspiring up close and personal. A monastery carved in solid rock, perched precariously at the top of a sheer cliff. A holy place in a world, where the time stands still. At the entrance to the religious complex, we checked in our bags, cameras, cell phones, and presented our credentials to the army officer. Photography inside the Tiger’s Nest is strictly prohibited. .
Melbourne Australia: Where Footy is King
It has football’s laterals and lots of punts. It has soccer’s precision passing and nonstop action. Add in rugby’s aggressive tackling and wide open field, and you’ve got Australian rules football. On a recent trip to Melbourne Australia, I decided to find out what this game is all about. I found myself in the standing room section of the Melbourne Cricket Ground while the cheers of 72,000 fans roared up from the large circular green below...
The Very Latest Handy Travel Gadgets
The Lingo Digital Voice Recorder is a small, (only 2.2 oz), voice recorder that is easy to take on trips of any kind. Equipped with up to 59 hours of recording time, this recorder makes it easy to record and store lots of information without dealing with tapes. All it takes is two AAA batteries to start it up, a few minutes to learn the simple buttons, and you're ready to capture a personal diary of any trip...
England: A Pirate Pub Crawl Along the Canals of Warwickshire
“Canal-boat for ten near Rugby, Easter weekend, 2 spaces free, you up for it?” read the text message from my friend sometime in mid-February. Silly question, really. A pub crawl, sailing, (well, motoring,) for my supper? This adventure simply sounded too good to miss.
A Londoner born and bred, my first challenge was to find a road map that covered the rest of England. You know, that part outside London that other English people live in....
The Hostel Celica: A Night in a Slovenian Prison Cell
The door shut behind me with a resounding clang. I put my bag on the floor and climbed up onto the bed. Then nothing. Silence. Light poured in through the bars of the window. I was left all alone with my thoughts, penned in between four very thick walls. I’d landed myself a stay in the notorious Slovenian prison cum Ljubljana hostel, Hostel Celica. And I was paying for the privilege of spending a night behind bars!
Visiting Ensenada: A Bus Trip to Mexico’s Wine Country
Ensenada looks to all directions for its livelihood. To the west, the waterfront is busy. Fishing boats and trade ships come and go from its industrial docks. Moving away from the ocean and beyond city limits, the land turns agricultural. Grapes are grown here, which surprised me to learn. I hadn’t ever thought of Mexico as a wine-loving land. Yet half a dozen Mexican wineries call Ensenada home and bodega visits are a top tourist activity...
Dining in Boston's Chinatown: Dim Sum and Then Some
This is one of those secrets one is conflicted about sharing. Tell the world and risk long lines the next time you stop at your favorite noodle shop. But ridiculously good food, for short money, is too good a secret to keep, lines be damned! Located between the Financial District, the Boston Common, the Theater District and the Leather District, this is one of the most vibrant Chinese communities in the US. Find Boston budget hotels.