Blog posts tagged with 'travel'

Varanasi, India
Kindly contributed by Piers Moore Ede, author of the new book Kaleidoscope City. Whether he is attending Ramalila -- the city's annual performance of the Ramayana, talking those who work the cremation ghats along the Ganges or simply searching for the best mithai, or sweet, in town, Ede presents a vibrant, kaleidoscopic portrait of contemporary Varanasi.
  There are certain cities which offer up their charms immediately: navigation is easy, comfortable accommodation abounds, the right views materialise before one’s camera. Other cities are far less easy. First time visitors find themselves lost in the backstreets, ripped off by touts, unable to reach the city of their expectation.
In the tradition of the great literary pilots like Antoine de Saint-Exupery and Beryl Markham, Mark Vanhoenacker's new book Skyfaring provides a meditation on modern-day flight. A commercial airline pilot, Vanhoenacker speaks from the cockpit to the questions of the everyday traveler. What was his first flight experience like? How does he manage the jet lag? Has he ever seen anything “up there” he can’t explain? Vanhoenacker explains a lot, from the working life of a commercial flight crew to the physics of flight.
An Interview with David Downie
In his new book A Passion for Paris David Downie embarks on an irreverent secular pilgrimage to the most romantic sites in Paris, weaving his own observations of the city's most alluring parks, atmospheric cafes and inspiring vistas with those of literary lights Victor Hugo, Georges Sand, Charles Baudelaire and other great Romantics. In this interview he answers our questions about Paris, revealing some unexpectedly romantic spots, from aisle seats to cemeteries.
  Longitude. How did your own love affair with Paris begin? Downie. In the fall of 1976, on a dark and stormy night... the affair was not love at first sight for either of us. I was 18 and bent by the weight of the world.
Kitchens of the Great Midwest
If director Wes Anderson and food writer M.F.K. Fisher joined forces to produce a novel, it would probably look something like the quirky Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal. Set in various towns across the Midwest, the novel follows the life of Eva Thorvald, an orphan who becomes one of the top chefs in the country. A worthwhile protagonist, Eva is fresh, sweet and bubbly without being cloying and also possesses an amazing natural palate and enviable culinary prowess. Readers spend the majority of the uniquely structured novel learning about Eva from the people who pass through her life, including a proud Scandinavian father, a jilted high school boyfriend and a jealous competitor.
Passage to Cuba
As relations between the United State and Cuba continue to soften, travelers are eager to glimpse the island nation for the first time -- and before the country changes too quickly. Cuba's isolation meant certain elements of its culture remained frozen in time, allowing the visitor to feel themselves transported back to a different era, in which the automobiles, music and dance of previous days are preserved.
An Interview with Stephan Van Dam
Map maker, designer and entrepreneur Stephan Van Dam shares the vision and inspiration behind his unique maps, from sexy packaging to the “art of ellipses.”
  Longitude. How and when did VanDam Maps begin? Van Dam. While studying environmental design at Parsons I invented an origami design which refolded automatically. It craved cartographic uses. So I sought out a group of European cartographers to show me the ropes and became a map maker. I also patented the fold and built a machine to fold the maps. When American Express agreed to offer The World Unfolds to card members I was in business and a publisher.

Travels in Vermeer
In Travels in Vermeer poet and professor Michael White copes with the aftermath of his divorce by studying Johannes Vermeer paintings around the world. White stumbles into this mechanism accidentally when he takes an impromptu spring break trip to Amsterdam to escape life. While there, he visits the Rijksmuseum and walks into the Vermeer room, where the paintings are “unexpectedly small, but the force of the spell they cast is so eerily powerful that it’s difficult to move, to breathe.” White is mesmerized, and though he tries to explore the rest of the museum, he finds himself back in the Vermeer room, his faith in love suddenly restored.
In his bestselling book Jungle, a true story of survival and self-discovery that reads like a thrilling novel, Yossi Ghinsberg relates his adventures as a young Israeli backpacker in the Bolivian Amazon.  After four weeks of trekking deep into the rainforest, Yossi and his companions realize that their once-in-a-lifetime adventure has become a dangerous nightmare. Yossi’s bravado will especially appeal to the independent backpacker, but any traveler can empathize with his unflagging spirit of adventure and desire to experience something unique. “What I’m doing here in South America is looking for the extraordinary,” Yossi writes to his brother Moshe before setting out.
My Passage to Cuba
Kindly contributed by Cynthia Carris Alonso whose new photography book Passage to Cuba takes readers through the crumbling, baroque splendor of Havana, from well-known spectacles like the National Capital Building and Havana Cathedral as well as the colorful exteriors and unexpected gems of ordinary neighborhoods.
Restless Empire
All countries are in some way shaped by their geography, and certainly this applies to Russia, “a nation whose sheer size and diversity have challenged rulers and shaped its identity,” according to the editors of Restless Empire: A Historical Atlas of Russia. This ambitious atlas proves an invaluable resource for both Russian scholars and less-informed readers looking for an illustrated overview of how the country’s size and shape has morphed throughout its tumultuous history. Even those who know nothing about Russian history can point to the mammoth nation on the wall map, but this helpful atlas transforms the complex, enormous nation into digestible pieces through colorful maps and illuminating text.