WOW Air Is Offering $199 Flights to New Delhi

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 08/31/2018 - 17:06
<p><a href="" target="_blank">WOW Air is offering one-way flights to New Delhi</a> from the U.S. this winter from as low as $199. At those prices, you can make your bucket list trip to India a reality.</p><p>Travelers flying out of Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. can take advantage of the deal on flights from January through March. (Fares are slightly higher out of Pittsburgh or St. Louis.)</p><p>Late winter is an ideal time to visit New Delhi. <a href="" target="_blank">February and March are particularly temperate</a> and it’s possible to avoid the extreme heat that will start to set in come April.</p><p>Of course, as with any low fare, there are a few stipulations. The flight includes a layover in Reykjavik, and the low price is for WOW Basic fare, which only includes the ticket and one personal item. Bringing a carry-on or checked bag and selecting your seat cost more.</p><p>Although the airfare may be miniscule, everything in New Delhi will seem supersized once you arrive. The city is known for its collection of record-breaking buildings. Not only does New Delhi have the country’s largest Hindu temple (Akshardham Temple), it’s also got the largest mosque and the biggest shopping mall in southeast Asia.</p><p>And after you buy your ticket, click through <i>Travel + Leisure</i>’s <a href="" target="_blank">guide to New Delhi</a> to plan what you’ll do in the city.</p><p>WOW Air also has $199 flights from the U.S. to Barcelona and Milan, if you're feeling a European getaway.</p>
Categories: Travel

What to Know If You're Flying This Labor Day Weekend

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 08/31/2018 - 16:49
<p>Get ready for a very busy Labor Day weekend, even if you’re not heading for the beach.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Airlines for America (A4A) announced</a> that it expects 16.5 million passengers to fly worldwide on U.S. airlines from Wednesday, August 29 through Tuesday, September 4 — a 3.5 percent increase since last year.</p><p>That's about 2.36 million passengers traveling on U.S. airlines each day, an increase of 79,000 from last year. In order to accommodate the influx of passengers, airlines will offer 2.76 million seats per day (an increase of 92,000 since 2017).</p><p>Travelers who are getting to the airport on Friday, August 31, should leave themselves extra time for lines and security. A4A expects this to be the busiest travel day, with an estimated 2.76 million passengers flying on U.S. airlines worldwide. That matches <a href="" target="_blank">advice from RewardExpert</a>, which expects Friday and Tuesday, September 4 to be the busiest for the weekend.</p><p>Thursday, August 30 and Monday, September 3 should be fairly lighter, with 2.6 and 2.58 million passengers traveling, respectively.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">This Map Will Tell You Exactly When Fall Foliage Will Peak This Year</a></p><p>“This Labor Day, U.S. airlines are enabling more passengers than ever before to take to the skies to see loved ones or visit exciting destinations because of improved accessibility for all,” A4A Vice President and Chief Economist John Heimlich said in a statement.</p><p>He added that the increase of passengers is largely due to air travel’s affordability in 2018, with “inflation-adjusted fares in the first quarter of 2018 averaging 8 percent, or $30, below Q1 2010.”</p><p>Airlines have also reported stronger operations, such as on-time arrivals and departures as well as properly handled baggage, and lower rates of customer service complaints for the first quarter of 2018. These factors could also have affected travelers increased ability and willingness to fly over the coming week compared to last year.</p>
Categories: Travel

This New Airline Will Offer Affordable Flights Along the West Coast

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 08/31/2018 - 16:28
<p>West Coast travelers rejoice: a new airline is coming your way.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">California Pacific Airlines</a>, based in Carlsbad, California, announced details of its inaugural West Coast service and fares. Connecting the West Coast’s tech- and tourism-heavy regions, the airline will fly nonstop from Carlsbad (outside of San Diego) to San Jose and Reno starting Nov. 1, and to Las Vegas starting Nov. 15.</p><p>“Today’s announcement marks the culmination of a multi-year effort that will bring significant convenience in air travel between San Diego’s North County and the top Western-Region destinations our community wants to fly to nonstop,” Ted Vallas, the airline's chairman, said.</p><p>Located less than an hour's drive from downtown San Diego, McClellan-Palomar Airport provides an easy and less congested alternative to San Diego International Airport.</p><p>“Our initial set of cities will address the needs of both business and leisure travelers from nearby McClellan – Palomar Airport,” Vallas said. “Passengers can spend less time fretting the drive to and from the airport, and spend more time enjoying their destination."</p><p>In addition to the <a href="" target="_blank">convenience of the new routes</a>, California Pacific aims to keep prices “competitive,” with fares starting as low as $99 each way. Booking at least 21 days in advance will typically get you the lowest prices, according to data provided by the airline, and you'll want to book early anyway considering each flight will <a href="" target="_blank">only offer 50 seats</a>.</p><p>After purchasing Aerodynamics, Inc. earlier in 2018, California Pacific Airlines will also continue offering the small regional airline's routes from Denver to Pierre and Watertown, South Dakota. Not exactly “California Pacific,” but still an extremely affordable option for travelers heading to South Dakota.</p>
Categories: Travel

JetBlue Wants to Fly You Business Class to Europe for Cheaper

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 08/31/2018 - 16:01
<p>JetBlue has its sights on Europe.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">In an interview with <em>The Points Guy</em></a>, President and Chief Operating Officer Joanna Geraghty confirmed that the airline is actively considering routes and aircraft to begin operating transatlantic flights.</p><p>“We know that out of Boston there’s a number of really interesting markets we’d like to fly to in Europe, the same in <a href="" target="_blank">New York</a>,” Geraghty said.</p><p>She also hinted that the airline could sell business class seats to Europe (in Mint class) for a fraction of the traditional cost to fly business overseas. “If you look at what we did with Mint, disrupting that trans-continental market, we think there’s a similar opportunity for Europe, but we haven’t made any decisions yet,” she said.</p><p>The interview specifically mentions destinations like <a href="" target="_blank">London</a> and Paris.</p><p>Although Geraghty did not mention any time frame for expansion into Europe, it would likely be another few years until flights take off. Rumors of JetBlue’s route expansion to Europe <a href="" target="_blank">have been circulating since 2016</a> — and the airline is still looking for the right plane to take passengers across the ocean.</p><p>JetBlue executives announced the airline was <a href="" target="_blank">considering using the new Airbus A321LR</a> for service. Airbus expects to begin delivery of the first A321LR aircraft later this year. JetBlue said <a href="" target="_blank">it could place an order</a> on the aircraft next year.</p><p>In the meantime, JetBlue is currently waiting on delivery for its order of 60 A220 jets. The first aircraft are expected to arrive in the JetBlue fleet in 2020.</p>
Categories: Travel

If This Marathon With 23 Wine Tastings Doesn't Make You Want to Run, Nothing Will (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 08/31/2018 - 09:57
<p>If your idea of a triathlon consists of an appetizer, entrée, and wine pairing, there’s a marathon in France that should excite your athletic instincts.</p><p>The annual <a href="" target="_blank">Marathon du Médoc</a> is a 26.2-mile race in Bordeaux, France, every September. What makes this particular race interesting is that there are 23 different wines that participants are supposed to try as they make their way through the course. There is at least one break for steak.</p><p>The route winds through vineyards, past chateaux, and allows “runners” time to sample cheese, ice cream, and oysters as they race through all 26 miles. Despite the extreme conditions, no contestant has ever died at the Marathon du Médoc. (It perhaps helps that every participant must submit a medical certification in order to compete.) But, according to one journalist for <em>The Guardian</em> who participated in the race, <a href="" target="_blank">there is an awful lot of projectile vomit on the course</a>.</p><p>The race takes about six-and-a-half hours and participants are encouraged to take their time. Oh, and all the athletes of the Marathon du Médoc are required to show up in costume, by the way.</p><p>Registration for the <a href="" target="_blank">Marathon du Médoc</a> costs $102 (€87) and is limited to 8,500 participants. The only qualification is that you must have been born before September 9, 1997. This year’s race, taking place on September 8, is closed but you can try to get on the waiting list — or just go to Bordeaux to watch the spectacle from the sidelines.</p><p>And hey, it’s never too early to start training for next year with a bottle of wine. See you at the finish lane.</p>
Categories: Travel

Southwest Announces New International Flights for Spring 2019

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 08/31/2018 - 09:01
<p>Southwest announced Thursday that the airline's spring schedule for 2019 will include new international and nonstop routes. Travelers can expect new options for spring break and beyond from major U.S. cities.</p><p>Starting in March, the airline will add new and returning seasonal flights to Cancún from Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Raleigh-Durham and San Antonio; to Jamaica and the Dominican Republic from St. Louis; and to Cabo San Lucas from Baltimore. This is in addition to the airline's existing routes, which can be seen on <a href="" target="_blank">Southwest's route map</a>.<p>New service to Cancún and the Caribbean is a great excuse to book a flight for spring break — even if you're no longer a student. There's also no reason to wait until March — the Farmers' Almanac is predicting a long, cold and snowy winter, and a warm-weather getaway could be just what the doctor ordered.</p><p>There will also be new nonstop service between Cleveland and Tampa, Cincinnati and Orlando, Dallas and West Palm Beach, Dallas and Harlingen, and Houston and Lubbock.</p><p>Flights for travel through April 7, 2019, are now available on <a href="" target="_blank">Southwest's website</a>.</p>
Categories: Travel

These Flights to Tahiti Are Super Cheap — and Your Overwater Bungalow Is Waiting (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 08/31/2018 - 08:51
<p>Yes, it’s still technically summer, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to start thinking about holiday travel. Especially when holiday travel could involve heading to a <a href="" target="_blank">tropical paradise like Tahiti</a>.</p><p>According to <a href="" target="_blank">Scott’s Cheap Flights</a>, getting to French Polynesia could be in the cards for Thanksgiving and holiday travel dates thanks to a few seriously good flight deals.</p><p>According to the site, Delta is running a truly spectacular deal for flights to Papeete, the capital of Tahiti, from cities including Austin, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Phoenix, Arizona; and San Jose, California.</p><p>Though prices vary by route, the deals are all taking place for travel between November 2018 and March 2019, excluding Christmas Day and New Year's Eve.</p><p>For example, if you’re looking to have a long weekend in Tahiti, you can fly from Austin on Saturday, Dec. 8 to Wednesday, Dec. 12 for just <a href=";safe=off&amp;rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS738US740&amp;source=lnms&amp;impression_in_search=true&amp;mode_promoted=true&amp;tbm=flm&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0ahUKEwiG77HvqJXdAhXM54MKHUjtCC4Q_AUICigB#flt=AUS.PPT.2018-12-08*PPT.AUS.2018-12-12;c:USD;e:1;sd:1;t:f" target="_blank">$656 round-trip</a>.</p><p>Departing from Charlotte, would-be travelers can get <a href=";safe=off&amp;rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS738US740&amp;source=lnms&amp;impression_in_search=true&amp;mode_promoted=true&amp;tbm=flm&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0ahUKEwiG77HvqJXdAhXM54MKHUjtCC4Q_AUICigB#flt=CLT.PPT.2018-12-01*PPT.CLT.2018-12-05;c:USD;e:1;sd:1;t:f" target="_blank">round-trip tickets</a> from Saturday, Dec. 1, to Wednesday, December 5 for $655. Over those same dates, guests can depart from Pheonix for just <a href=";safe=off&amp;rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS738US740&amp;source=lnms&amp;impression_in_search=true&amp;mode_promoted=true&amp;tbm=flm&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0ahUKEwiG77HvqJXdAhXM54MKHUjtCC4Q_AUICigB#flt=/m/0d35y.PPT.2018-12-01*PPT./m/0d35y.2018-12-05;c:USD;e:1;sd:1;t:f" target="_blank">$652 round-trip as well</a>.</p><p>Those looking for a longer stay should try departing from San Jose, California. From there, <a href=";safe=off&amp;rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS738US740&amp;source=lnms&amp;impression_in_search=true&amp;mode_promoted=true&amp;tbm=flm&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0ahUKEwiG77HvqJXdAhXM54MKHUjtCC4Q_AUICigB#flt=SJC.PPT.2018-11-06*PPT.SJC.2018-11-14;c:USD;e:1;sd:1;t:f" target="_blank">guests can travel</a> from Tuesday, Nov. 6 to Wednesday, Nov. 14 for just $629.</p><p>Travelers departing from San Francisco can also score great deals on <a href="" target="_blank">French Bee</a>, one of the newest airlines to operate non-stop flights to Tahiti. For example, you could find tickets from Friday, Nov. 2 to Thursday, Nov. 8 for just $647 on the <a href=";safe=off&amp;rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS738US740&amp;source=lnms&amp;impression_in_search=true&amp;mode_promoted=true&amp;tbm=flm&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0ahUKEwjL55v5rJXdAhUB3YMKHY5kC_UQ_AUICigB#flt=SFO.PPT.2018-11-02*PPT.SFO.2018-11-08;c:USD;e:1;sd:1;t:f" target="_blank">nonstop, round-trip route</a>.</p><p>If you spring for the longer stay, you can spend all the money you saved on flights on an island hopping adventure to a <a href="" target="_blank">few of the archipelago's lesser-known islands</a> such as Rangiroa, Taha’a, and Moorea. But, even a few days on the serene island of Tahiti is well worth the long-haul flight. Especially since deals like this are few and far between.</p>
Categories: Travel

Alexa Will Now Order Your Favorite Dunkin’ Donuts

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 08/31/2018 - 08:35
<p>Dunkin’ Donuts, America’s beloved coffee and donut chain, has come a long way since first opening its doors in 1950. With the launch of the company’s latest announcement, an ordering service integrated in Amazon Alexa devices, Dunkin’ might just be the most technologically advanced donut shop in the country.</p><p>To order on-the-go, customers must be a member of <a href="" target="_blank">Dunkin’s DD Perks</a>, which handles the financial part of the transaction, and have the Dunkin’ Donuts skill installed on their Alexa device.</p><p>To order, simply say, “Alexa, order from Dunkin’ Donuts,” and follow the prompts to pick a previously visited location and saved order, how you’d like to pick up the order (in-store or drive-thru), and confirm.</p><p>Though this is Dunkin’s first attempt at letting customers order food through the device, die-hard Dunkin’ fans shouldn’t be surprised to learn this isn’t the company’s first Alexa integration. Last year, on <a href="" target="_blank">National Coffee Day</a>, Dunkin’ introduced the Dunkin’ Donuts Quiz, an Alexa skill that allows customers the chance to quiz their knowledge on munchkins, cold brew, and the history of coffee. Want to play yourself? Simply say, “Alexa, play Dunkin’ Donuts Quiz,” for a fun break between asking her to <a href="" target="_blank">check you in for flights</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">reserving your hotel rooms</a>.</p><p>It’s a match made in coffee heaven. Especially since America runs on Dunkin’ and Alexa might just be trying to take over the world.</p>
Categories: Travel

Airport Grounds Worker Dragged Under Wheel of Plane Pushing Back From Gate

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 08/31/2018 - 08:12
<p>The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are investigating an incident that left a 60-year-old grounds worker seriously injured at Philadelphia International Airport last week.</p><p>An Aer Lingus flight was pushing back from its gate on the evening of August 24 when a worker was caught “under an airplane moving tug and wheel of the plane,” <a href="">according to the Philadelphia Inquirer</a>.</p><p>The injured man — who was checked into a local hospital in critical condition — was employed by a different ground handling company, Dubai-based Dnata. According to local reports, the grounds crew was handling the plane during the pushback.</p><p>Details about the incident are still vague. Dnata did not explain what sort of work the man was doing when he was injured nor how the accident occurred. “A formal investigation is currently being undertaken to determine the facts and we will continue to work with the relevant authorities,” a Dnata spokesperson said in a statement.</p><p>While being run over by a plane is incredibly uncommon, it is not unheard of for grounds crew. <a href="">Over a 22-year study</a>, the NTSB recorded 80 accidents, involving 98 workers and 21 fatalities. Two-thirds of those accidents took place while the plane was departing the gate.</p>
Categories: Travel

Airport Worker Expertly Flips Cone, Dabs, and Flings Himself Onto a Baggage Cart in Victory

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 08/31/2018 - 08:02
<p>Working on the tarmac is a hard job, but somebody’s gotta do it. Luckily, there are lots of ways to brighten your day when work’s got you down.</p><p>Take this airport employee, for instance, who has some serious skills when it comes to flipping the orange caution cones. Frankly, if we had the same talent, we would also be dabbing and throwing ourselves onto baggage carts.</p><p>The video itself was also posted by Instagram user <a href="" target="_blank">Sofía Troncoso</a>, and reposted by Herb on Facebook, with the caption, “This is why my flights take so long so board.”</p><p>While the post is might be meant to be tongue-in-cheek, it should be noted that tarmac employees have little to do with boarding times, as <a href="" target="_blank"> pointed out</a>. Flight delays are much more likely to be caused by single-aisle planes, disorganized passengers, and other issues.</p><p>So let’s all enjoy that this magic moment was captured on camera, and that airport employees can have their fun while at work, too.</p><p>Lots of Facebook commenters are happy to know that their friendly, neighborhood tarmac workers are going their job and finding moment to have a good time.</p><p><iframe allow="encrypted-media" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="141" scrolling="no" src=";include_parent=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><iframe allow="encrypted-media" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="161" scrolling="no" src=";include_parent=false" width="100%"></iframe><iframe allow="encrypted-media" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="141" scrolling="no" src=";include_parent=false" width="100%"></iframe><iframe allow="encrypted-media" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="141" scrolling="no" src=";include_parent=false" width="100%"></iframe><iframe allow="encrypted-media" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="141" scrolling="no" src=";include_parent=false" width="100%"></iframe></p>
Categories: Travel

The Biggest Legoland Yet Is Coming to New York — With Rides You Won't Find Anywhere Else (Video)

Travel and Leisure - Fri, 08/31/2018 - 06:46
<p>Legoland New York is going to be bigger and better than any Lego fan could have ever dreamed.</p><p>The park will have more than 50 rides and attractions over 170 acres of playground, <a href="" target="_blank">according to <em>Parents</em></a>.</p><p>Located in Goshen, New York, <a href=",+NY/Goshen,+NY+10924/@41.0547267,-74.3639797,10z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m14!4m13!1m5!1m1!1s0x89c24fa5d33f083b:0xc80b8f06e177fe62!2m2!1d-74.0059728!2d40.7127753!1m5!1m1!1s0x89c32c140260817d:0x42740f029e60824b!2m2!1d-74.3243191!2d41.4020382!3e0" target="_blank">about 70 miles from NYC</a>, this <a href="" target="_blank">new Legoland</a> will be the largest in the U.S.</p><p>Among the new and exclusive rides and attractions include a “minifigure experience,” in which guests can feel what it’s like to be a real Lego toy from manufacturing to unboxing, a balloon ride, a Pirate-themed play section, and water rides.</p><img alt="Legoland Resort New York "src=""><p>The park will also be decked out with famous New York landmarks in Lego form, like the Statue of Liberty and Times Square. <a href="" target="_blank"><em>PopSugar</em> reports</a> there will be eight themed lands for guests to explore.</p><img alt="Legoland Resort New York "src=""><p>Guests can stay overnight in the 250-room hotel completely decorated in Legos, which will be open all year long. The park itself will only be open from April to November.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Legoland New York</a> is expected to open in 2020. Prices are not yet announced, but will likely be the same or close to other parks' admission fees (about $89 for children and $95 for adults).</p>
Categories: Travel

Serena Williams' 'Pre-flight Ritual' Is Surprisingly Relatable

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 08/30/2018 - 16:42
<p>If Serena Williams doesn’t <a href="" target="_blank">exercise before getting on a plane</a>, you don’t have to, either.</p><p><i>Travel + Leisure</i> spoke with the tennis champion at the <a href="" target="_blank">Lotte New York Palace</a>, where she was staying ahead of the U.S. Open.</p><p>One might expect that one of the world’s foremost tennis players has elaborate pre- and post-flight rituals, but Williams swears that isn’t true.</p><p>“I should exercise before a flight, but I don’t. I’m really bad,” Williams told T+L. “My pre-flight ritual is to sit in one place, move my legs, and then fall asleep.”</p><p>Williams prefers a window seat to avoid having to get up for other people, “plus, I lean on the window,” she said.</p><p>However, her travel routine has changed a bit since <a href="" target="_blank">Williams became a mother</a> last year. “Now that I’ve had Olympia, I have to run after her and make her sit down,” she said. “She has a lot of energy on the plane and flying with her is an experience. I don’t have any tricks yet, I’m still learning.”</p><p>In a recent Instagram post, Williams detailed just what flying with a child is like: “When I finally got her to calm down and sit still, she threw up all over me and in the aisle." </p><p>When traveling on her own, comfort and sentimentality are key. The two things Williams said she always packs is a blanket gifted by her husband, <a href="" target="_blank">Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian</a>, and a teddy bear named Max. “I’ve had Max for years, probably about eight years, so we’re really close,” Williams said. “I got him at Build-a-Bear. He’s already been restuffed and he probably needs another restuffing.”</p><p>Between the U.S. Open and adjusting to life as a new mother, Williams doesn’t have any elaborate vacation plans in the near future — although she did mention <a href="" target="_blank">the Seychelles</a> as the next place on her bucket list. Just don’t expect to see her stretching out in the aisles on her flight over.</p>
Categories: Travel

How Airlines Are Carrying More Passengers on Fewer Planes

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 08/30/2018 - 13:01
<p>You’re flying with more people than ever before.</p><p>According to data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), airlines smashed records last year by transporting 741 million passengers across the country.</p><p>Over the past 10 years, there has been a 9.2 percent increase in passengers. But, at the same time, there were 18.5 percent fewer flights available when that number peaked than in 2005.</p><p>The average flight now carries 91 passengers. About 10 years ago, that number was 69.</p><p>Earlier this year, airlines set a record for passenger load factor (a figure that measures efficiency and how well planes are stocked with passengers). Around the world, flights are operating at about 82 percent full, <a href="" target="_blank">according to the International Air Transport Association</a> (IATA).</p><p>While there are more passengers flying than ever before, the trend is also due to something called “upgauging.”</p><p>Upgauging is aviation industry lingo for when airlines use larger aircraft that can accommodate more passengers. By allowing more people onto each flight, airlines can lower the operation cost per passenger. </p><p>"The economics on the cost side always favor a larger aircraft,” Seth Kaplan, managing partner for Airline Weekly, <a href="" target="_blank">told <i>Travel Weekly</i></a>. "Upgauging also saves on engine maintenance and airport fees. There are just powerful incentives to try and get more seats per flights."</p><p>Anybody who has been paying attention to the saga of the “incredible shrinking airline seat” will recognize the forms of seat densification. In the mid-1990s, standard seating on a Boeing 777 was nine across. <a href="" target="_blank">Now it’s common to see 10 seats in a row</a>.</p><p>But there is a limit to how far upgauging can go. Over the past few years, airlines have retired some notable jumbo aircraft in favor of smaller, more fuel-efficient jets. Last year, United retired its final Boeing 747, <a href="" target="_blank">once referred to as the “Queen of the Skies.”</a> And earlier this year, the future of the jumbo A380 aircraft was brought into question. Due to <a href="" target="_blank">one life-saving order from Emirates,</a> the double-decker plane will remain in production for another 10 years. But because of its sheer size (making it difficult to land at standard airports), the plane’s future is uncertain beyond that.</p>
Categories: Travel

You Can Now Stay on the Hottest Stretch of South Beach for Just $20 a Night

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 08/30/2018 - 12:31
<p>The bad news: summer’s almost over. The good news: your next beach getaway will only set you back $20 a night.</p><p>But really.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Generator</a>, the trendy European hostel chain that <a href="" target="_blank">turned the idea of a youth hostel on its head</a>, has just opened its first North American <a href="" target="_blank">outpost</a> on South Beach’s legendary Collins Avenue.</p><p>Located just one block from <a href="" target="_blank">Miami Beach’s golden sands</a>, the retro-chic property will have all the same amenities as your favorite beach resort: yoga, mixology classes, a red-hot outdoor pool scene, three food and beverage venues serving everything from cocktails to kombucha, and Insta-ready interiors done up with colorful murals, bespoke furniture, and neon lights.</p><img alt="Generator Hostel opens in Miami "src=""><p>Upstairs, the shared guestrooms feature stylish wood furnishings, coastal accents, and comfy bunk beds, while the private rooms — which start at just $95 night — all have spacious en suite bathrooms and may include sweeping ocean views.</p><p>The design-forward hotel brand opened in 2011 and has expanded to 13 properties in cities across Europe, including Madrid, Paris, Rome, and Berlin. Each hotel embraces the spirit of its locales and feels truly authentic to place, but they all offer free Wi-Fi, 24-hour reception, female-only accommodations, and a café.</p>
Categories: Travel

Why Croatia and Its Gorgeous Islands Are Best Seen on a Cruise Ship

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 08/30/2018 - 12:00
<p>Vis is said to be one of the prettiest of the 1,244 islands along <a href="" target="_blank">Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast</a>. I can see it in the distance from the island of Hvar, where some 15 years ago I bought an old stone house that I spend time in whenever I can. But<br />I had never been to Vis, even though it’s only 30 minutes away by boat. Jadrolinija, the extensive Croatian ferry network that is the lifeline for the <a href="" target="_blank">islands</a>, doesn’t go there directly from Hvar. By the time you take the ferry two hours to the city of Split and then another two hours out to Vis, you’ve killed the whole day. I understood the logic of this system after talking to one of my neighbors, a Hvar native who hadn’t been to Vis either. “Why would I want to go there?” she asked me in some surprise. The ferry system is designed for natives like her who use it to work and shop on the mainland — not for island sightseeing.</p><p>All of which is to say that the best way — indeed, the only way — to revel in the full glory of the Dalmatian Coast, from the lush peninsula of Istria at the top to the medieval <a href="" target="_blank">walled city of Dubrovnik</a> at the bottom and Vis right smack in the middle, is to find a cruise ship that will hop from port to port in a way that few of Jadrolinja’s ferries seem to want to do.</p><p>Now, I am not ordinarily a big fan of cruise ships: I prefer my buildings vertical and stable, not horizontal and bobbing. But the <em>Crystal Esprit</em>, which does regular weeklong sailings in the Adriatic from May through September, is different. Sleekly retrofitted by <a href="" target="_blank">Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises</a> in 2015, it carries only 62 passengers. The cabins are roomy and plush, and the inside and outside bars, lounges, and restaurants all have a clubby atmosphere. So I did not hesitate to embark in Venice for a seven-day cruise along the coast, making port at some places I already knew well and others I’d been meaning to see for years but suspected I would never get to.</p><p>The fishing port of Rovinj, our first stop, sits about midway down the western coast of Istria, the arrowhead-shaped hump that juts into the Adriatic just south of Trieste, Italy. Road signs are in Croatian and Italian, and Italy’s happy influence has given Istria a reputation for some of Croatia’s best eating and drinking. With that in mind, I set out with a small group of passengers to the medieval town of Motovun, about a 45-minute bus ride inland.</p><p>The Venetians built this remote hilltop stronghold to control access to the forests of Mediterranean oak below, which they used to construct their naval galleys. But it turns out that truffles love to nestle in the roots of these oaks, and so we gorged on a ridiculously rich polenta with black truffles at Mondo restaurant, a ramshackle collection of rooms perched by the steep cobblestoned path to the hilltop. We bought local truffle cheese and jars of black truffles to take home. And we listened to the tale of Giancarlo Zigante, who in 1999 found what was then the largest white truffle in history — it weighed 2.9 pounds — according to the <em>Guinness Book of World Records</em><i>.</i> He dubbed it the Millennium Truffle, and, after spurning extravagant offers from around the world, shared it with his friends. Good for you, Giancarlo!</p><img alt="Statue of Jurai Dalmatinak by Cathedral of St Jacob, Sibenik, Croatia "src=""><p>On board the <em>Crystal Esprit</em><i>,</i> we formed little cliques and gossiped cattily about the other cliques. A posh English foursome who played bridge every night took a lot of heat, but I don’t recall why. I fell in with a group of couples that included a former FBI counterterrorism agent, an accountant from New Jersey, and an English travel agent. The travel agent’s wife brought along a canister of anti-seasickness pills, but she hardly took any. The <em>Crystal Esprit </em>is a smooth-sailing ship, and the Dalmatian waters are exceptionally boat-friendly: the sea stays deep almost to the shoreline—and there’s virtually no commercial traffic to avoid.</p><p>After Rovinj, we put in at Šibenik, where the Krka River meets the sea. A short drive inland, the Krka tumbles over its travertine bed in a series of seven dazzling waterfalls that bring in tourists from all over—another not-too-distant but oddly inaccessible landmark crossed off my bucket list. Back in Šibenik, the FBI couple and I sampled ingeniously reimagined, traditional Dalmatian dishes at <a href="" target="_blank">Pelegrini</a>, one of only three Michelin-starred restaurants in the entire country (the cubes of beef tongue breaded with sage and mushroom duxelles were a standout).</p><img alt="Sea snail and veal tartare at Pelegrini restaurant, in Croatia "src=""><p>After that, it was on to Vis, and, I have to say, it is exquisite. Like so many of these islands, it has a craggy spine of limestone, but its landscape is particularly savage and wild. Marshal Tito holed up in the caves at the center of the island toward the end of World War II. It was here that he negotiated the future of Yugoslavia. Back in the day, people stayed put; our guide said his great-great-grand-mother lived inland and never once saw the sea, only a few miles away.</p><p>Charming fishing villages are in ample supply in <a href="" target="_blank">Croatia</a>, but Komiža on Vis has got to be among the top three. The handsome fortress overlooking the harbor was built as a defense against pirates and paid for by a fish tax—the record catch here is 3 million sardines in a single day. (The fortress is now a museum that claims the world’s largest collection of knots. Just saying.) Every December 6, the people of Komiža burn a fishing boat as an offering to Saint Nicholas, then bless new boats with the ashes.</p><p>On Hvar, I bypassed group activities and went straight to my house, where workmen were building low stone enclosures called <em>jerulas</em> around the two olive trees in my garden. (I wrote about restoring my house for <em>Travel + Leisure</em> in 2016.) I am honor bound to report, however, that some of my newfound friends got extra merry on an excursion to the Tomić winery in the town of Jelsa. Who can blame them? Croatian wine has been making a name for itself in the past 10 or so years, and vintner Andro Tomić, who runs the winery and produces a potent Plavac Mali, is among the reasons why.</p><p><strong>Related</strong>: <a href="" target="_blank">Croatia: Readers' Choice Destination of the Year 2016</a></p><p>Next up was Korčula, where legend has it that Marco Polo was born. We were faced with a dilemma: take a dreamy sailboat cruise around the majestic walled harbor, or hang back and watch the broadcast of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding shipboard. In the end, we managed both. Anne, our group’s English rose, collaborated with the <em>Crystal Esprit’s</em> heroically flexible chef, and we returned from the cruise to a proper buffet of fresh-baked scones, with cream and strawberry jam, and finger sandwiches of smoked salmon and cucumber (“With the crusts cut off!” Anne announced triumphantly.) This kind of bend-over-backward helpfulness characterized the ship’s whole crew.</p><p>We disembarked the following morning in <a href="" target="_blank">Dubrovnik, the jewel of the Adriatic</a> that is now crawling with <em>Game of Thrones</em><i> </i>groupies (part of the series was filmed there). I didn’t feel like hanging around. Dubrovnik is one of those remarkable places, like Venice, whose popularity may be its undoing. But this cruise had opened up a new vista for exploring fantasy destinations in a region I have come to love dearly. Among them are Lastovo, Rab, and the Kornati archipelago. I can’t tell you when I will get to see those places, but at least now I can tell you how. <em>(S</em><i>even-night sailings from $6,980 per person, all-inclusive.)</i></p>
Categories: Travel

News Anchor Who Watched 'Back to the Future' Too Many Times Blames Plane Crash on 'Flux Capacitor': Video

Travel and Leisure - Thu, 08/30/2018 - 11:14
<p>Great Scott! Looks like an unsuspecting newsperson just got pranked.</p><p>People across the internet have been delighted by a news report by Kathryn Burcham of Boston 25 News in which she accidentally claims a local plane crash was caused by an imaginary piece of technology from the 1985 movie "<a href="" target="_blank">Back to the Future</a>," <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Mashable </em>reported</a>.</p><p>In the clip, Burcham says the 20-year-old pilot, Jacob Haselden, who crash-landed a skydiving plane at Cranland Airport in Hanson, Massachussetts, told her the accident was due to a “defective flux capacitator.”</p><p>A “flux capacitator,” or capacitor, as in the movie, is a component in Dr. Emmett Brown’s DeLorean that makes time travel possible.</p><p>So, either that baby hit 88 miles an hour and blew a fuse, or Burcham misreported what caused the crash.</p><p>It’s unclear whether Burcham simply misspoke or was given bad information from the pilot. The “flux capacitator” was not mentioned in the story on the <a href="" target="_blank">Boston 25 News website</a>.</p><p>Still, the clip of Burcham has made its rounds on social media and Reddit. Kids of the '80s and '90s are probably still giggling.</p><p>But as one Twitter user pointed out, the pilot might have said “flux gate compass” when interviewed, creating a simple misunderstanding.</p><p>The user also mentioned that a flux gate compass probably would not have caused a crash, other than creating a “distraction.”</p><p>According to <a href="" target="_blank">7 News Boston</a>, Haselden was piloting the plane for Go SkyDive Boston. Other passengers were able to get out of the plane before the incident, and he was the only person on board when it crashed. Haselden managed to escape with minor injuries. An investigation is currently underway.</p><p>As Marty McFly would say, “This sounds pretty heavy.”</p>
Categories: Travel

Which Airports, Airlines and Days Will Have the Biggest Delays This Labor Day Weekend

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/29/2018 - 17:03
<p>As the summer draws to a close, all travelers’ eyes are set on the most precious of holiday weekends: Labor Day. It is the last summer weekend to finally accomplish all those things you said you were going to do for the past three months: visit family, barbeque, go to the beach.</p><p>Thus, there’s not a minute to be wasted spent waiting for a plane delay.</p><p>“Nothing can put a damper on a vacation like having to wait hours at the gate,” RewardExpert co-founder Vlad Tyschuk said in a statement. “Knowing where and when you’re most likely to experience travel disruptions is the first step towards ensuring smooth sailing for the holiday.”</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Using five years of flight data from the Department of Transportation</a>, RewardExpert determined which airports, airlines, and travel days are historically more likely to experience delays — so you can avoid them.</p><p>According to the report, the worst days for delays are the days everybody is most likely to be at the airport: The Friday before Labor Day (this year, that’s August 31) and the Tuesday after (September 4).</p><p>The best days to travel are the actual weekend, Saturday and Sunday. Decent days to travel are Wednesday (August 29), Monday (September 3), and Wednesday (September 5).</p><p>And where you’re traveling can affect the likelihood of delays. The best airport to fly in or out of is Honolulu, with a 90.9 percent on-time performance for Labor Day weekends past. (Sounds like a good excuse to book a trip to Hawaii next year.) Runners up are Salt Lake City, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Phoenix and Dallas-Fort Worth.</p><p>On the opposite end of the spectrum, those traveling to and from New York City are the most likely to spend their Labor Day waiting at the airport. Newark-New Jersey and New York LaGuardia were the worst airports in the country, with on-time performance ratings of 76.6 and 76.7 percent, respectively. Other oft-delayed airports include San Francisco, New Orleans and Boston.</p><p>Which airline you’re flying can also impact your delay wait time. Of the major U.S. airlines, Hawaiian is most likely to get you to your Labor Day destination on time, with an on-time performance rating of 94.76 percent. Runners up were Alaska Airlines (90.37 percent on time) and Delta (87.93 percent).</p>
Categories: Travel

American and Delta Announce New Routes for 2019

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/29/2018 - 16:04
<p>Missed out on that great trip to Europe this summer? You can start planning next summer’s adventure now. Tickets went on sale Monday for nine just-announced daily and seasonal routes to Europe that American Airlines is rolling out next spring and summer.</p><p>On March 31, 2019 American will kick off daily service between Charlotte Douglas International (CLT) and Germany’s Munich Airport (MUC). That same day American will also begin a new daily seasonal flight (March 31–October 26) between Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) and London Heathrow Airport (LHR).</p><p>New seasonal service will be added between Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) and Scotland’s Edinburgh Airport (EDI) on April 2, and between PHL and Berlin-Tegel Airport (TXL), Italy’s Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport (BLQ) and Dubrovnik Airport (DBV) in Croatia in early June.</p><p>On May 3 American will add daily seasonal service between Chicago’s O’Hare Airport (ORD) and Athens International Airport (ATH) and, on June 6, daily seasonal service begins between Dallas-Fort Worth and both Dublin Airport (DUB) and Munich (MUC).</p><p>American Airlines announced some flight reductions and suspensions. On December 18, the Fort Worth-based carrier will begin operating it flights between Chicago O’Hare and Narita International Airport (NRT) three days a week, instead of daily.</p><p>The airline is also <a href="" target="_blank">canceling a handful of flights</a>, including year-round service from Chicago to Shanghai, China in October and year-round flights between Philadelphia and Munich, Germany in March.</p><p>This week, Delta Air Lines also announced new routes and some increased flight frequencies to look forward to in 2019.</p><p>Daily nonstop Delta flights between Tampa International Airport (TIA) and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS) will launch on May 23, 2019.</p><p>Starting June 16, 2019, Delta’s flights between Los Angeles International Airport and both Amsterdam Schiphol and Paris Charles de Gaulle airports will begin operating daily. Delta currently flies between LAX and Amsterdam four times a week and between LAX and Paris three times weekly.</p><p>Next summer Delta will also add a second daily flight between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Paris (CDG) and between JFK and Tel Aviv.</p><p>Travelers hoping to fly on Delta Air Lines summertime flight between Pittsburgh International Airport and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport in 2019, however, will be out of luck. Delta announced that after 10 years of offering seasonal flights between PIT and CDG it will not be bringing that service back in 2019.</p>
Categories: Travel

This College Town Just Might Have New England's Best Dining

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/29/2018 - 13:00
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>, has been a cultural and intellectual hotbed since its founding nearly 400 years ago — and has a list of claims to historical fame to match, from Harvard, the country’s oldest university, to the <em>Cambridge Chronicle</em><i>,</i> its oldest weekly newspaper.</p><p>Until recently, the culinary standard was also set by an old pioneer. The beloved <a href="" target="_blank">Harvest</a> <em>(entrées $26–$46)</em><i>,</i> though 43 years old, is a regional stalwart of farm-to-table dining. But now new restaurants are arriving, part of a broader Cambridge renaissance that includes everything from start-ups to pop-up boutiques. Chefs trained in <a href="" target="_blank">New York City</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">London</a> and Spain’s Basque region (and, of course, good old <a href="" target="_blank">Boston</a>) are importing influences from their travels and setting up shop from MIT to Mount Auburn Street.</p><p>The scene is dominated by a fresh breed of neighborhood joint: cozy, comfortable hangouts that cater to the community without sacrificing a sense of culinary adventure. Here are our picks of the best places to try.</p><h2>Pammy’s</h2><img alt="Spaghetti at Pammy's, in Cambridge, Massachusetts "src=""><p><a href="" target="_blank">This welcoming spot</a> from husband-and-wife team Pam and Chris Willis is quickly becoming a favorite haunt for locals — and a standard-bearer for the city’s revitalized restaurant scene. The dining room is filled with plants and vintage pieces sourced from around the Northeast, such as a statue of Demeter, the Greek harvest goddess, salvaged from a Hudson Valley estate and reassigned to watch over the buzzing bar. Chef Chris makes everything from the sausage to the XO sauce in-house, but the custom-milled flours and heritage cereals ground in a trusty Italian grain mill are the true stars of his kitchen. Don’t miss the freshly made pastas, such as tightly coiled <em>lumache</em> (literally, “snails”) in a Bolognese sauce made with <em>gochujang</em><i>,</i> a Korean fermented chili paste. The team also has a way with quality meats, especially in dishes made with the local Berkshire pork, like a chop served with dashi sauce over cream of wheat or a loin paired with cured pork belly and arugula. <em>(Entrées $17–$32.)</em></p><h2>Freepoint Kitchen</h2><p>Inside the unassuming gray-brick shell of a former Best Western, you’ll find Cambridge’s newest boutique hotel, <a href="" target="_blank">Freepoint</a> — an eclectic, art-filled space that debuted last year after a $6 million renovation. The property is centered around a loungelike restaurant, where <em>Food &amp; Wine</em> Best New Chef alum Matthew Gaudet serves small plates like monkfish bouillabaisse and a Cuban sandwich made with house-roasted pork. Don’t expect a standard hotel breakfast, either: mornings at Freepoint are brightened by options like a bagel with house-made, whiskey-cured salmon and a miso-and-avocado grain bowl.<i> (</i><em>Small plates $8–$18.) </em></p><h2>PAGU</h2><p>Chef Tracy Chang’s family legacy — her grandmother opened a Japanese restaurant in Cambridge during the 1980s — carries on at <a href="" target="_blank">this Japanese tapas spot</a> near Central Square, where the menus are an embodiment of Chang’s diverse biography. At brunch, tapas like the <em>tortilla española</em> with <em>txistorra</em>, a <a href="" target="_blank">Basque-style</a> chorizo, reflect her five-year stint cooking in northern Spain, while squid-ink <em>bao</em> stuffed with oysters and cult-favorite “Guchi’s midnight ramen” show off her mastery of Taiwanese and Japanese techniques. For dessert, choose the smoked-purple- yam ice cream, where Asian flavor meets Basque molecular gastronomy in one perfect, savory bite.<i> (</i><em>Entrées $15–$32; brunch $4–$23.)</em></p><h2>Alden &amp; Harlow</h2><img alt="Alden & Harlow, in Cambridge, Massachusetts "src=""><p>When this trendsetter opened four years ago, it was credited with kicking off Harvard Square’s dining renaissance. Since then, it has become the center of chef Michael Scelfo’s growing empire — he opened the seafood-focused <a href="" target="_blank">Waypoint</a> <em>(entrées $15–$23)</em><i> </i>two years ago, and this fall he’ll launch the bar-restaurant <a href="" target="_blank">Longfellow</a> upstairs from <a href="" target="_blank">Alden &amp; Harlow</a>. But the subterranean dining room of his original restaurant is still buzzing every night, packed with a crowd that feels like a true Cambridge cross section, from proud college parents to twentysomething entrepreneurs. Highlights of Scelfo’s playful New American approach include melt-in-your-mouth chicken-fried rabbit, Scotch eggs made with blood sausage, and the delicious — if irreverently titled — “ubiquitous kale salad.”<em> (Entrées $12–$26.)</em></p><h2>Mamaleh’s</h2><p>Like most diners and delis, modern Jewish delicatessen <a href="" target="_blank">Mamaleh’s</a> excels at breakfast, lunch, and brunch. What sets this place apart are the thoughtful twists and touches you’ll find if you look take a closer look: the French toast is made with babka, for example, and the latkes come with added caviar if you want (you do). All the standards are here — knishes, pastrami, egg creams, and a sublime matzo ball soup, each executed with a more delicate touch than your typical corner sandwich shop. Luckily, you can order most of these items at dinner, too, plus an expanded roster of Middle Eastern small plates, like <em>fattoush</em><i> </i>and parsnip hummus, as well as entrées like the ornate “Jewish pupu platter” piled with kreplach, chopped liver, and more.<i> </i><em>(Entrées $23–$42.)</em></p>
Categories: Travel

Dying to Visit Japan During Cherry Blossom Season? Go the Unexpected Route by Doing So on a Cruise

Travel and Leisure - Wed, 08/29/2018 - 12:00
<p>From my bird’s-eye perch in the women’s sauna, 15 decks up on the 2,670-passenger <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Diamond Princess</em></a><i>,</i> I watched the Sea of Japan glide by, its deep cobalt waters cut by choppy waves. The ship has the largest Japanese-style spa at sea, and it follows <a href="" target="_blank">traditional </a><em><a href="" target="_blank">onsen</a> </em>rules in terms of layout and etiquette — men on one side, women on the other, with a sauna and hot pools in each indoor section. A shared outdoor pool sits in between them, but I was content indoors, where the <a href="" target="_blank">sauna provided warmth</a> away from the chilly spring air and the floor-to-ceiling windows framed impressive ocean views. The steam eased my body, and the endless expanse of sky and sea soothed my soul.</p><img alt="Onsen-style spa on board the Diamond Princess "src=""><p>When I think of cruises, I picture plying the Mediterranean coast or zipping in and out of Caribbean islands, both of which I did in my twenties. It never occurred to me to sail around Japan. I always imagined that some day I’d hit up <a href="" target="_blank">Tokyo</a> for the high-gloss shopping malls, then <a href="" target="_blank">hop a bullet train</a> to Kyoto to <a href="" target="_blank">see the temples</a> — in other words, the trip that nearly every first-time visitor to Japan takes. But when I came across this eight-night itinerary, circumnavigating the island of Honshu (with a quick stop in South Korea), a cruise suddenly made a lot of sense. Japan is a maritime nation, after all.</p><p><a href="" target="_blank">Princess Cruises</a> does 77 sailings a year there, from three-day weekend jaunts from Tokyo to Taipei to 22-day voyages that encompass Japan, China, and Vietnam. This trip, timed to the blooming of the <em>sakuras</em>,<i> </i>the famous cherry trees, would dip into lesser-known ports, like Sakaiminato, on the main island of Honshu, best known for the 153 bronze statues of <em>yokai </em>(animist spirits) that line its Mizuki Shigeru Road, and Hakodate, on the northernmost island of Hokkaido, which was the first Japanese city to open to international trade, in 1859. Depending on how far north or south in the archipelago you are, the flowers are in various stages of blooming, and by traveling all corners of the country, you have a better shot of seeing them at their peak.</p><p>My husband, Emilio, and I began with a night in Tokyo, where we spotted young women with hair the color of cherry blossoms strolling through Harajuku in their platform shoes. There, the sakuras had come, awed everyone, and gone. After boarding the ship in Yokohama and sailing the Kanmon Straits, past the island of Kyushu, we were able to see a few late bloomers at the Tottori Flower Park outside Sakaiminato, our first Japanese port of call. But they were not nearly as impressive as the miles of tulips, planted in star-shaped formations at the front of the park, or the orchids hanging from the hothouse ceiling.</p><p><strong>Related</strong>: <a href="" target="_blank">This Flower Cruise Through Japan Is the Best Way to See the Cherry Blossoms</a></p><p>Later on, at the Adachi Museum of Art, home to a dry garden and paintings by modern Japanese artists, we saw remarkable landscapes by the renowned pre–World War II painter Yokoyama Taikan. His pieces were neither abstract nor figurative; <em>Autumn Leaves</em> reminded me of iPhone photos with filters applied, so that the red of the maple glowed against an electric blue, watery background. The paintings exhibited what our guide, Shun Adachi (no relation to the museum’s founder), called <em>yugen</em>, a concept that he translated as “mysterious profundity.” “A flower has visible beauty,” he explained. “But its <em>yugen</em> comes from the fact that it survived wind and rain and sun — and from the knowledge of its future, that it’s dying.”</p><p>The excursions opened our eyes to Japanese culture, but so did the ship. The majority of the passengers were Japanese, with the rest a mix of North Americans, Europeans, and Israelis. On sea days, as we made our way north through the Sea of Japan, I found myself hopping next to Japanese senior citizens during a folk-dance class and being wrapped in a <em>yukata</em> (a summer-weight kimono) by women who had volunteered to help me dress in the ship’s collection of traditional garb. During lunch at Kai Sushi, the chef taught me how to season sushi properly. (It turns out that you don’t mix a soy-wasabi slushie in your dish, but rather place a dab of wasabi on top of the nigiri and then gently tap the fish side only in your soy sauce.)</p><img alt="A lake in Hokkaido, Japan "src=""><p>In Hakodate, a historic port on the northernmost island of <a href="" target="_blank">Hokkaido</a>, we took an elevator to the top of the 351-foot observation tower next to the Goryokaku, a fortress built in 1864. From there you can see the moats that shape the grounds into a pentagram, and the entire five-pointed star was planted with sakuras. Budding and hung with lanterns, the cherry trees were lovely, but not quite in full bloom. After touring the Motomachi district, where the first Westerners to arrive in Japan had built a Roman Catholic church and a Russian Orthodox church, Emilio and I explored the new part of town, ducking into a teppanyaki restaurant for sautéed snow-crab legs.</p><p><strong>Related</strong>: <a href="" target="_blank">The Best Times to Visit Japan for Cherry Blossoms and Bargain Prices</a></p><p>The next day, after we had rounded the northern tip of Honshu and headed south again, we docked in Aomori. This city, as our guide Naoko explained, is home to more cows than people (not to mention snow monkeys and black Asian bears in the surrounding birch forest).</p><p>It was outside Aomori, in the neighboring city of Hirosaki, that I had my Goldilocks moment: The sakuras were just right. Hirosaki Park, home to 2,500 trees and a 17th-​century fortress, was a sea of pink and white. Blossoms covered branches so completely that the treetops looked like bowls of popcorn. Hundreds of picnickers were setting up blankets and buying snacks of fried squid balls, octopus on a stick, and soft serve made with the revered local apples. It took traveling more than 2,100 nautical miles from Tokyo, but I could finally experience the beauty of the flowers — and appreciate their <em>yugen</em><i>.</i> (<em>12-night sailings from $2,399 per person.)</em></p>
Categories: Travel