By Judy Newell
Mexico Travel News
Featured destination: Oaxaca
With indigenous handicraft markets, a renowned culinary scene and world-class museums, Oaxaca is a haven for artisans and artists. It’s also known for its architectural treasures. Founded in 1529 but inhabited since prehistoric times, this World Heritage city built on a grid pattern (with square blocks centered on a zócalo, or main square), earns UNESCO points for being a star example of Spanish colonial town planning.
After touring important sites like the ornately decorated Santo Domingo church and the Cathedral of Oaxaca, break for a siesta at a sidewalk cafe under the arcades at Plaza de la Constitución, where you can sip a cup of tejate (a cold drink made with ground cocoa) or down a glass of mezcal. Just outside of the city, Monte Alban—a mountaintop archaeological site of pyramids, plazas and other ruins—was once the capital of the ancient Zapotec civilization and is now listed as a UNESCO site.
Don’t miss the Juárez and 20 de Noviembre markets, which overflow with pottery, rugs and other handicrafts, as well as typical foods including pizza-like tlayudas (large tortillas topped with Oaxacan cheese, meat, and refried beans) and chicken sauced with the city’s famous black mole.
Lufthansa to increase service to Mexico City
Lufthansa will add another flight to its non-stop North American service when it begins flying Mexico City to Munich on April 3, 2014. Lufthansa will serve Mexico City five times a week from Munich, in addition to the daily flight from Frankfurt. The new Mexico City route will be operated with an Airbus A340-600 with 306 seats.
New flight Guadalajara-San Antonio
Volaris announced the launch of new international service between the cities of Guadalajara, Jalisco, and San Antonio, Texas. Flights will start on December 14, 2013. The new service is part of Volaris’ new “Volaris always with you and your budget” initiative, which provides travelers with the lowest available fares in the market and includes 25 kg of checked-in luggage.
Story of Hawaii Museum opens second location on Maui
Take a chronological journey through Hawaii’s history in the 2,000-square-foot gallery museum opened recently at the Maalaea Harbor Village. The museum’s exhibit covers the Hawaiian Islands from its Polynesian ancestry to statehood and the golden era of the Matson Cruise Line. The narrative is told using cartography and artifacts from Hawaii’s unique history. It is located adjacent to the Pacific Whale Foundation and across from the Maui Ocean Center.
Did you know?
At 19 miles long and three miles wide, Perito Moreno Glacier is the largest glacier in Patagonia. Found just a few kilometers from El Calafate, this glacier is also one of the few advancing glaciers in the world. While most glaciers today are receding due to global warming, Perito Moreno continues to advance, giving way to a unique phenomenon where the glacier bridge collapses every three to four years.
Lincoln celebrates 1,000 years of traditional crafts
The newly built Heritage Skills Centre at Lincoln Castle and the workshops at Lincoln Cathedral are filled with skilled traditional craftspeople creating stained glass, stonemasonry, lead and more.
Between May 31 and June 1, 2014, ‘1000 Years of Traditional Crafts’ will give you the chance to see up close craftspeople demonstrating traditional skills from blacksmithing and pole lathe to willow weaving and jewelry making. This is a unique opportunity to be in the heart of one of England’s most historic cities to enjoy inspiring traditional crafts in action.
Venice to limit ship traffic through famed lagoon
Italian authorities will prevent cruise ships exceeding 96,000 gross tons from sailing through the heart of the city starting November 2014. The ban comes after environmentalists and others protested the massive ships, a campaign that gained steam after the January 2012 Costa Concordia disaster.
Large cruise ships will be banned from the canal between the city and Giudecca Island while a new access channel is developed to the cruise ship docks. Also, starting in January 2014, authorities will reduce by 20 percent the number of 40,000-ton ships that can sail on that waterway. Currently, ships travel the canal to give passengers stunning views of St. Mark’s Square and the city.
“Finally the trend toward gigantic ships in the lagoon has been turned around,” Venice Mayor Giorgio Orsoni said in a statement, according to Reuters. “We’ve had enough of these mega cruise ships just meters away from San Marco; from now on there will be clear limits on the size of ships that can enter Venice.”
Deal of the Week
No single supplement on 2014 river cruises
AmaWaterways will waive the single supplement fee on an “unprecedented number” — 68 to be exact — of river cruise departures in 2014. Six ships have a limited number of single-berth staterooms.
The single supplement will be waived on a number of itineraries, including “Vietnam, Cambodia & The Riches of the Mekong,” “Paris & Normandy,” “Provence & Spain,” “Tulip Time,” “The Romantic Danube,” “The Enchanting Rhine,” “Vineyards of the Rhine & Mosel” and “Christmas Time Cruise.”
Judy Newell heads the travel company Perfect Journeys, which specializes in custom-designed independent tours, cruises and travel for singles, couples and friends. Perfect Journey’s next small group tour is “Argentina & Chile for Wine Lovers” in October 2014. Contact Judy by cell phone at 415-111-8765, by email at email@example.com, or view the latest travel specials on the website www.perfectjourneys.net.
Sources: Smarter Travel, Travel Pulse, Volaris, Cox & Kings, Greatdays, Reuters