In the Prada Universe nothing is as it seems. When I attend Prada shows in Milan, I sit transfixed, looking for a hint of the message. What did she mean by that bag? Are the heels on those shoes broken or are they meant to be angular and impossible to walk on? Is that just a wayward thread hanging, or do I see it on other garments? Why are the models smiling?
This season, the Prada show started innocently with basic grey suiting fabrics in designs that one would wear to work. Oh, she’s going back to her utilitarian roots?! But wait, now there's this whimsical beach scene with palm trees that evokes holidays in the sun and ocean breezes. The vacation scene caught my eye, since I am always on the look out for travel references.
Cruise passengers will be screaming with excitement on Disney Cruise Line’s newest ship. That’s all but guaranteed since the 4,00-pasenger Disney Dream will feature "AquaDuck," the first water coaster at sea—a whopper ride, 2 ½ football fields in length and 46 feet high, sitting atop the cruise ship.
The AquaDuck will use technology similar to Master Blaster at Typhoon Lagoon—it’s basically a high-speed flume. Riders will get in two-person inflatable rafts with water jets pushing them forward and upward with a top surging speed of about 20 feet per second. After the initial drop, the ride actually cantilevers some 13 feet off the ship—with nothing but the sea some 150 feet below. Talk about a rush!
In the mood for a thrill ride? Mapquest has modified its maps for Halloween. Go to the map for your destination city, then click the shrieking ghost icon on the right-hand tool bar to display all the haunted houses, creepy corn mazes, and ‘screamparks’ open for business through Halloween. You’ll find happenings like Austin House of Torment, Cleveland’s 7 Floors of Hell, or the haunted house at Pennsylvania’s de-commissioned and ultra-skeevy Eastern State Penitentiary.
The Danes have come up with an unusual way to lure travelers to their country. They’re very happy, and if you visit, it might rub off on you! (And save you some money.)
The claim of joyfulness is based on scientific surveys, not merely on, say, an interview with a Copenhagen resident after a few glasses of schnapps on a Friday evening. In one recent research endeavor—the World Values Survey, the work of a global network of social scientists—Denmark came out on top when it comes to the happiness of its residents.
If two’s company, three’s a crowd, and four’s too many, what does that make five? A really awkward number of people to travel with, is what my friends and I quickly realized when we were planning a trip to Italy. Five girls are too many for one hotel room, but it’s really expensive to book two. So, what to do?
Enterprising travelers that were are, we opted to rent an apartment in Rome, thinking it would be the most cost-effective way to experience the city. Wow, were we right.
Is there anything more annoying than being forced to listen to others chit-chat on their cell phones? (Truth be told, I don’t care if your brother’s friend’s girlfriend’s sister broke up with you know who…) So I’m holding out that US airlines will keep in-flight mobile use out of the air.
Across the Atlantic, it’s another story. Passengers flying Emirates, Royal Jordanian, and Ryan Air, are already free to make calls and phone use agreements have recently been announced for Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Hong Kong Airlines, and select British Airways business-class only flights.
An interesting hybrid between digital point-and-shoots and bigger, bulkier DSLRs, the new Olympus E-P1 ($799) combines a lot of the best of both worlds. (Tech writer Jonathan Blum does a great job summing it up here.)
What excites me the most about this camera is the pinhole-camera mode, which approximates the unpredictable, low-fi charm of a 120 Holga or Diana toy camera. It has a way of making the most prosaic of scenes look strangely appealing, with crazy-vivid color. The center is in focus, and the edges blurred out and nicely vignetted.
My favorite new online travel tool is called “Can I Bring It Back?,” developed by the UK government to inform British citizens what to leave behind when returning from their foreign travels. A recent survey of English travelers found that more than half of the respondents wanted more information on what was OK to bring home and what might be confiscated at customs.
Excuse my flurry of posts but there has been a huge surge of late-breaking contests that I just had to share. All you need to do is enter:
Larkspur Hotels "I Need a Vacation Because!" Contest (closes Nov. 17)
Facebook fans of the Larkspur Hotels page can enter to win a two-night getaway to one of the Larkspur
Collections’ eight hotels (one winner per hotel) in
California and Oregon. Contestants must post why they need a
vacation in 50 words or less. Entries will be judged on originality,
creativity, humor, and substance, and from what I’ve seen on the Facebook page,
TravelandLeisure.com’s savvy and creative readers have a pretty good
shot. The prize includes $150 voucher for Southwest Airlines and a $100
to the hotel restaurant. Winners do not have to cover taxes or fees.
Visit www.facebook.com/larkspurhotels to enter.
Endurance athlete and mountain biking champ Rebecca Rusch was in New York City last week, greeting fans at the special showing of Race Across the Sky, a documentary film about the 2009 Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race, in Colorado.