BBC News - Passport Blog | Starting 11 April, it will be illegal in France for any woman, citizen or tourist, to wear a full-faced veil.
That means no niqab in the Louvre, no niqab while shopping in the Marais, no niqab while walking the Champs-Élysées. Although the French law has gotten the most notice, Belgium was actually the first country to enact a ban last April. There are rumbles of similar laws in Italy, but other European countries have largely shot down similar attempts.
Food adventurers lamenting that they’ll never see the inside of El Bulli, now that the temple of experimental cuisine on the Costa Brava is being transformed into a cooking foundation, have reason to celebrate. Mad-scientist brothers Ferran and Albert Adrià have another trick up their sleeves. The just-opened Tickets, in Barcelona’s former cabaret district, aims to reinvigorate that Catalan staple, the tapa—with an Adrià twist, of course. “We want to offer a new approach to a traditional cuisine,” says Albert, whose nearby, more classic tapas bar, Lolita (formerly called Inopia), still draws lines around the block, even after five years. At Tickets, guests can grab a seat at one of six themed bars, including a parrilla grill station and another devoted to Mediterranean ingredients. On the menu: inflatos (fried, aromatized cereals) and artichokes with smoked Idiazábal cheese serum. For the concoctions that made El Bulli famous—sliced Parmesan ice cream, spherified “olives”—choose something off the menu at the cocktail bar, 41. As its name might suggest, Tickets is dining as entertainment, a concept driven home at the Technicolor dessert area, set beneath a big-top tent, where staff theatrically greet guests with flattering comments. “Only if they deserve it,” Albert says. 164 Avda. del Paral-lel; 34/93-423-2448; dinner for two $90.
Photo by Javier Salas
Now that it’s shoulder season, we’re dreaming about far-flung getaways—places where we can leave the crowds behind. So whether you’re looking to stroll the cobblestone streets in San Miguel de Allende, lay by the sparkling Andaman Sea in Phuket, or dine on Sicilian pastas in Taormina, you’ll find it this week on Vacationist.
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T+L Features Director Nilou Motamed shares her pick of the best island escapes, including Southport Island, Maine, and Caye Caulker, Belize.
Florence’s stately Grand Hotel closed for renovations last September and is slated to reopen quietly on May 1 as the St. Regis Florence. The already 5-star hotel’s re-branding from Luxury Collection to St. Regis signals the arrival of butler service, fewer but larger guest rooms, 19 luxury suites, a spa (individual spa suites are the thing here; no more stripping down in a locker room before your massage), and all sorts of sterling silver bells and whistles.
I've never made a travel itinerary for any trip I’ve taken. Why not? Partly because when I’m on vacation, I like to go with the flow. But it’s also because I don’t really like to spend a ton of time researching. Let’s not forget that half the fun in traveling to a new destination is the excitement that comes from the unexpected.
Knowing there are quite a few folks out there who think similarly, American Express, T+L’s parent company, developed a new booking service it's calling Nextpedition (tomorrow is its grand debut). Primarily targeting twentysomethings, Nextpedition creates trips based on your travel profile. But here’s the catch: you won’t know where you’re going or what you’re doing until the last minute.
As any University of Virginia grad will breathlessly assert, Charlottesville, VA is America's greatest college town. Perhaps even the world's. (Oxford? Bah!) Even this state-school graduate must admit there's a case to be made. C'ville, as it's known, is a lovely and vibrant little town rich with history, thanks in no small part to UVA's spacious, rolling grounds that have been painstakingly preserved since the university's founding in 1819. But there's more to Charlottesville than just UVA (and its famous Corner, a stretch of shops and eateries where students gather to slop down cheap, serviceable sustenance).
This spring there are plenty of new ways to sail the Continent’s waters. Launching its maiden voyage on the Danube River, the Viking Prestige (vikingrivercruises.com; trips from $1,556 per person, double) has whisper-quiet electric engines and French balconies along the top two decks.
On Crystal Cruises Serenity (crystalcruises.com; $118 per person for four-hour tour), the Stieg Larsson’s Stockholm tour sends guests traipsing through Södermalm Island, where the author’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo spent many evenings.
In Finland’s bucolic Åland Islands, Seabourn Pride (seabourn.com; trips from $5,249 per person, double) now calls at Mariehamn, as famous for its cobblestoned streets as it is for the saunas dotting its shores.
Photo courtesy of Viking River Cruises
BBC.com News | While the situation in northern Japan is still facing numerous challenges, life in the rest of Japan is returning to normal faster than most would have expected.
As a result, the US State Department and other countries' foreign offices are adjusting previous advice to defer all trips to Japan.
For example, as of this morning, the US State Department advises citizens to defer non-essential trips to Tokyo and defer all travel to the evacuation zone around Fukushima. But it's given the green light to travel elsewhere in Japan.
My experience in the world of sports piqued when I joined my local tee ball league; I spent my time in left field picking flowers and after hitting the ball, I may or may not have run to third base first. Needless to say, I don’t know a thing about sports.
That being said, I’m told that the NCAA Final Four (that’s basketball, folks) is upon us, and to celebrate, since the games are being played in Houston, Four Seasons Hotel Houston is offering some pretty cool specials. If you're a local and weren't able to score tickets (or just happen to be breezing through town), and want to enjoy the games in style, hit up the Lobby Lounge for salmon sashimi cleverly shaped like basketballs. (Just try to tell me those aren’t awesomely adorable.) For $16, you’ll score four.