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Pingyao: A Look Into China's Past

Pingyao

You expect Marco Polo to round the corner at any moment. Pingyao is the very rare Chinese city, perhaps the last of the country’s great walled towns, to have escaped the successive waves of modernization that have swept China over the past 100 years—the 1911 Chinese Revolution, the 1949 Communist Revolution, the 1966–76 Cultural Revolution, and the rampant industrialization and globalization of the last generation. Its 72 watchtowers look out over a turbulent sea of tiled roofs, with curving eaves tipped with ceramic dragons. Red paper lanterns float over the pedestrian streets like so many autumn moons. The city is a time machine into the Chinese past and traditional Han culture. It’s all here, Pompeii before Vesuvius, a fine-grained, highly detailed, movie-set-perfect microcosm of traditional China, built during a seminal and flourishing period. The nearly one-square-mile town includes the ornate, tiered, three-story City Tower and numerous large Confucian and Taoist temple complexes, all part of one of the world’s best-preserved ancient cities.

Pingyao is 400 miles southwest of Beijing and accessible via train. The closest airport is Taiyuan.

Photo: Tony Law

Mediterranean Lighthouses To Get a Makeover

201406-hd-historic-lighthouses-faro-di-punta-scornojpg

Over the next 18 months, lighthouses around the Mediterranean are going to get a makeover. The multi-country Mediterranean Lighthouse Project, known as MED-PHARES, intends to restore nine historic lighthouses, lanterns and watchtowers in Italy, Tunisia, Lebanon and France, with the hope of reaching out to more throughout the Mediterranean.

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Daily Transporter: Shrinking Boston

Summer sprinkler fun

An exhibit at the Boston Public Library compares the modern city with the Boston of a century ago. One surprising revelation: even with a steady influx of immigrants in the past ten years, the city still has not regained its 1910 record-high population of more than 670,000.

See Boston in Best Chinese Restaurants in the U.S.

Editor’s Picks: Boston
America’s Coolest Distilleries
America’s Best Comedy Clubs
America’s Top Free Attractions

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

Daily Transporter: Sleep in a Castle Tower

walled village

In 1951, the government of Portugal fashioned a hotel within the stone towers and turrets of the 13th-century castle at Obldos, creating the first in a network of 35 pousada-hotels. The buildings aren’t all castles—some were convents, monasteries, forts, granaries, or royal estates—nor are many as traditionally outfitted as the Castelo de Obidos.

See Obidos in Europe’s Best Affordable Castle Hotels

Editor’s Picks: Portugal
25 Secret European Villages
New Wonders of the World
Best Secret Beaches on Earth

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

Daily Transporter: Secret Prohibition Tunnels

beautiful bar

When Germans settled in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, they—being Germans—began brewing beer. Tunnels dug beneath OTR were intended as lagering cellars but came in handy during Prohibition. (Cincinnati also sits above seven miles of subway tunnels from an never-completed system.)

See Cincinnati in America’s Best Road Trips

Editor’s Picks: Cincinnati
America’s Best Beer Gardens
Best French Restaurants in the U.S.
America’s Best Outdoor Bars

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

Daily Transporter: Remembering D-Day on France's Normandy Coast

english channel

Seventy years ago this morning, the U.S. Army Rangers landing at Pointe du Hoc thought of nothing but the German guns and concrete bunkers above them. Today’s visitors to the cliffs can thank them—and the 156,000 Allied troops who took part in D-Day—for the opportunity to think of nothing but the view.

See Normandy in Storm Photos Around the World

Editor’s Picks: Normandy
Places You’d Rather Be Right Now
World’s Coolest Tree-House Hotels
World’s Most Beautiful Buildings

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

Daily Transporter: Chilean Mummy

cowgirl in the atacama desert

Last week, a group of Chilean school kids on a field trip uncovered a Chinchorro mummy that may predate Egyptian mummies by 4,000 years. The students were digging near the border with Peru, in an area that had experienced a landslide in April.

See Chile in World’s Coolest Hot Springs

Editor’s Picks: Chile
World’s Prettiest Mountain Towns
Most Romantic Hotel Fireplaces
World’s Strangest Statues

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnycGet the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo: hajarali

Daily Transporter: New Traditions in Vienna

new public space

The fight over which institution—the Hotel Sacher Wien or Demel Bakery—could claim to serve the “original” sachertorte raged on nine years before the hotel took the cake, but Vienna has embraced some new traditions, too: the Museumsquartier, pictured here, has become a favorite summer hot spot for culture and people-watching.

See sachertorte in Food and Travel: Reader Photos

Editor’s Picks: Vienna
World’s Coolest Observation Decks
World’s Greatest Public Bathrooms
Celebrities’ Favorite Places

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo: Jessica Sample

Daily Transporter: Monument Valley

pop-ups in the navajo nation and monument valley

In 1849, one of the first U.S. soldiers to see Monument Valley dismissed it as "desolate and repulsive looking," but John Wayne—who starred in seven Westerns set in the 29 square miles of iconic red rock formations—called it "the place where God put the West."

See Monument Valley in America's Most Beautiful Landmarks

Editor’s Picks: Utah
Best Places to Rebound
Ultimate Adventure Travel Bucket List
Celebrities' Favorite Places

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

Daily Transporter: Virginia Garden Week

Charlottesville beauty

In 1927, a Garden Club of Virginia flower show raised $7,000 to save some trees planted by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello. That initiative inspired Virginia Garden Week—eight days and 250 house-and-garden tours across the state—which begins today.

See Virginia in America’s Best Spring Drives

Editor’s Picks: Virginia
Best Beaches on Earth
World’s Strangest Natural Wonders
America’s Coolest Summer Cottages

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

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