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Cinque Terre News: Flood Devastates Vernazza, Italy

Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy

The before/after photographs are harrowing: in the first, a postcard-perfect Italian village, with pine-green shutters and lemon and rose façades, lapped by the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean. In the next, the same village buried in a horrifying avalanche of mud, its harbor now the color and consistency of cement.

On October 25, flooding from a freak rainstorm devastated the town of Vernazza, one of the five villages that make up the celebrated Cinque Terre in Liguria . Rivers of water and mud cascaded down the steep and narrow streets, burying the town’s lowest levels in as much as 13 feet of debris, while also overwhelming the railroad tracks that provided the primary way in or out of Vernazza. (Part of the Cinque Terre’s allure is that four of its cliff-hugging villages are accessible only by train, boat, or hiking trail.)

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Ecuador to Limit Number of Visitors to Galapagos Islands

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Travel Weekly |  New rules are to be imposed to limit the number of cruise passengers visiting The Galapagos Islands in Ecuador.

Tour operators have until February 1 to incorporate the Galapagos National Park Authority’s new regulations, which are designed to protect the local animal and plant life, into travel programmes.

The rules will allow travellers to stay for a maximum of four nights and five days per ship, with a frequency of four landings within any 14-day period.

The archipelago’s 150,000 annual visitors have been mainly concentrated on the three islands of Isabela, Santa Cruz and San Cristobal for the past 14 years. (Photo credit: T+L Photo Contest)

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American Eagle First Airline Charged for Tarmac Delays

CNNMoneyAmerican Eagle suffered a dubious distinction Monday, becoming the first airline to get fined for excessive tarmac delays, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The government agency fined American Eagle, a subsidiary of American Airlines' AMR Corp., (AMR, Fortune 500) a a civil penalty of $900,000 for delays that occurred earlier this year at Chicago O'Hare International Airport.

Airlines are penalized for tarmac delays exceeding three hours. The department said this is the first time an airline has been fined since the rules on tarmac delays were imposed in April 2010.

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Apple Co-Founder Steve Jobs Dies

Yesterday, the world lost a true visionary. At the age of just 56, Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple and innovator of some of the most groundbreaking technologies of our time, died after a long bout with pancreatic cancer. His amazing creations changed the way we all live our day-to-day lives.

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Four Seasons LA Debuts iPads in All Guestrooms

201109-b-fourseasons-lajpgDo you have iPad envy? Book your next trip at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills and you can pretend like you own one during your stay. Each of its 285 rooms and suites will be stocked with iPad2s for guests to use throughout their stay starting October 3.

Each iPad comes with an innovative program called ICE (Interactive Customer Experience™) from Intelity that will make you feel like you're staying at the Jetson's. How does it work? Instead of picking up the phone to order room service, just press a few buttons and food arrives at your door. You can also make restaurant reservations, request valet parking, airport transportation, spa treatments, and housekeeping. So far, the Four Seasons LA is only hotel on the West Coast and the first Four Seasons property to offer this cool and convenient amenity.

Lyndsey Matthews in an online editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.

Photo Courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills

Proposed Airline Ticket Tax Bump Has Tempers Soaring

USA Today |  President Obama is asking passengers to pay a few dollars more in taxes for an airline ticket — which already is about 20% taxes and fees. And the travel industry is in an uproar about it.

Big airlines say people would buy fewer tickets if Congress approves the president's proposal to help cut the deficit and pay for the nation's aviation system.

Regional airlines, which carry more than half of domestic fliers each day, say it could force them to pull out of small cities.

Small-city airports worry about that.

And some travelers and consumer groups say it's just unfair to ask passengers to pay more on top of the taxes and fees that government and airports already charge.

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How to Sleep Comfortably in an Airport Terminal

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Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport is experimenting with an innovation that air travelers have fitfully dreamt of for years:  a safe and clean place to grab a few hours’ sleep.

Installed a month ago in the AeroExpress terminal, the prototype Sleepbox shows travelers a small, private oasis in which to spend layovers.  The 13-sq.-ft. box, covered with an attractive pale ash veneer, is efficiently kitted out with two bunks, LED reading lamps, electrical outlets for laptops or phone charging, WiFi, ventilation and sound systems, under-bunk space to stow luggage, and motor-controlled blinds.  Apparently, there is even an automated process to change the linens between guests.

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Let the Google Flights Backlash Begin

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No sooner did Google unveil Flights, its new airfare search tool, on Tuesday than the criticism began to fly—not least from key competitor Kayak. But let's let's let Robert Birge, Kayak's chief marketing officer, speak for himself.

"We recognize Google is a formidable competitor, but they haven't been successful in every vertical they've entered," Birge said in a statement that went on to laud Kayak's own attributes.

I got the statement in an unusual email today from the Kayak's P.R. rep, who suggested that Google Flights doesn't work for international destinations; has no regional airports; and has questionable accuracy when it comes to actual airfares. I noted some of those things myself when I spent some time on the site this morning and Tweeted about it.

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Korean Food Gets Mod Makeover in Seoul

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Leading Korea's new culinary wave is Jung Sik Dang, where chef Jung Sik Yim takes local ingredients to prepare dishes like kimchi consommé, pork jowl with yuzu, and even an amuse bouche with grasshoppers. Less experimental is Bistro Seoul, which presents Korean standards in an austere space. While Japanese and Chinese have long happily paid through their noses for expensive renditions of their cuisines, Koreans—like Thais—are just experiencing the phenomenon of taking familiar fare, gussying it up, and serving it in lovely locations. It’s not fusion, but modernization. You’re seeing this elsewhere in Asia—KL has some notable modern Malay restaurants. And while the Thais are kicking and screaming about this trend, other parts of Asia are embracing it.

Jennifer Chen is Travel + Leisure's Asia correspondent. You can follow her on Twitter at xiaochen6.

Photo of Jung Sik Dang courtesy of TomEats/www.tomeats.com

Travel + Leisure's Editor-in-Chief Reflects on 9/11

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As I listened yesterday to the roll call of 9/11 victims’ names, reflecting so many vastly different places of origin, so many different families and cultures, I was thinking about travel in its broadest sense. Despite 9/11, or perhaps even in some ways because of it, America’s connections to the world have broadened and deepened over the past decade. Though we are a country of immigrants, we are also a country known for turning inward, and for staying within our shores.  Despite the fear of terrorism, the ongoing economic crisis, the challenges of airport security, and the wages of wars and geopolitical strife, Americans have fanned out beyond our borders in greater numbers and with a greater spirit of exploration than ever before. 

We go farther off the beaten path, to China, India, Russia, and Brazil—economies that not entirely coincidentally are rapidly expanding—and to Africa, Bhutan, and Patagonia.  This is the best response to those that have us in their sights: an open mind, an open heart, and the thirst for new experiences of the world.


Nancy Novogrod is the editor-in-chief of Travel + Leisure.

Photographed by Richard Phibbs.

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