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Travel News

Upper-Ganges

By Judy Newell

Mexico Travel News

Once Again, San Miguel Tops World’s Best List

For the second year in a row, San Miguel de Allende, a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, came in first place in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Top 15 Cities list.

“With its colorful, flower-festooned architecture, and cobblestoned streets, San Miguel has the feel of a village, but its large population of artists lends it a cosmopolitan air,” one Travel + Leisure editor said.

Mexican cities nabbed both first and second place, with Oaxaca coming in the number two spot. Mexico City also made its return to the top 15.

Several cities in India and Southeast Asia made the list, including the lakeside Indian city of Udaipur and Chiang Mai, a laid-back city of temples and tuk-tuks in the mountains of Thailand. Ranking sixth, Ubud, Indonesia, is also home to the publication’s Top Hotel in the World, the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan.

Perennial favorite Charleston was the only city in the US to make the top 15.

According to Travel + Leisure, here are the world’s top 15 cities:

1. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

2. Oaxaca, Mexico

3. Udaipur, India

4. Ubud, Indonesia

5. Kyoto, Japan

6. Florence, Italy

7. Luang Prabang, Laos

8. Hoi An, Vietnam

9. Chiang Mai, Thailand

10. Charleston, South Carolina

11. Mexico City, Mexico

12. Cape Town, South Africa

13. Rome, Italy

14. Istanbul, Turkey

15. Beirut, Lebanon

Rare White Lion Cub Twins

Two white lion cubs born in March are being presented to the general public for the first time at the Altiplano Zoo in Tlaxcala, which is located about two hours outside of Mexico City. They are the first twin white lion cubs to be born in captivity, according to government officials.

Although they weighed approximately a half kilogram at birth, their weight has since increased to 20 kilos. Similarly, they have grown from 18 centimeters to 60 centimeters during the past four months, according to Mexico News Daily.

The twins do not yet have names, but a white lion cub born at Altiplano Zoo last October was named after a public contest. The zoo is becoming somewhat of a sanctuary for white lions, which are a rare mutation of the southern African lion and are considered endangered.

International News

Switzerland Deluxe Rail Experience

10-day / 9-night package starting at US$5,550 per person.

The Gotthard Panorama Express and the Bernina Panorama Express are a great combination to experience the diverse nature of the Alps. This itinerary focuses your attention away from the city buzz to the calm and serenity of the lakes and mountains while enjoying the much-envied Swiss way of life.

Package pricing includes:

•          Airport transfers to and from Zurich

•          Two nights in Zurich and city tour

•          First-class rail from Zurich to Lucerne

•          Two nights in Lucerne and city tour

•          First-class rail from Lucerne to Lugano via the Gotthard Panorama Express

•          Two nights in Lugano and city tour

•          First-class rail from Lugano to St Moritz via the Bernina Express

•          Three nights in Sils in Engadin

•          Horse-drawn carriage to Val Fex

•          First-class rail from St. Moritz to Zurich

•          One night in Zurich

Cruise Travel

A Journey of Genealogy

Follow your family’s journey across the world and through the centuries on a special Cunard Line cruise. With Ancestry’s experts on board, you will learn how easy it is to start tracing family history and find out how AncestryDNA can find living relatives and reveal your ethnic mix across 1,000 years.

Queen Mary 2, Westbound Transatlantic Crossing, 7 nights, November 4, 2018. Fares in US dollars from: Inside $899, Oceanview—sold out, Balcony $1,399, Club Balcony $2,299, Grill Suite—sold out. Taxes, fees, and port expenses of up to US$95 per person are additional.

Ellis Island and New York’s Ancestral Trail

Enjoy a two-night post-voyage tour that will include fascinating insights into the early history of New York. Discover the hauntingly beautiful Ellis Island, and immerse yourself in the fascinating history of America’s busy immigration years. Explore downtown Manhattan, learning about the populations that settled there.

New York tour from US$690 per person. If you book this tour along with a balcony stateroom on your crossing, you will receive up to 40 percent off your cruise fare.

Words of the Wise and Well-Traveled

“I’m in love with cities I’ve never been to and people I’ve never met.” —John Green

Deal of the Week

New Upper Ganges Cruise

In late 2019, Pandaw will inaugurate an “all-Ganges” voyage of 1,000 miles from Kolkata to Varanasi. The 14-night voyage will be onboard the Katha Pandaw, with 14 deluxe staterooms, bistro-style dining, panoramic French windows, and an open-air lounge and bar. The cruise includes expert guides and all excursions.

In the days of the British Raj, paddle steamers plied this route on a regular basis, but with the advent of the railways in India, river navigation was abandoned and the rivers were allowed to silt up. Now, thanks to a multimillion-dollar investment from the Indian government, channels have been dredged and buoyed, and hi-tech GPS-based aids installed.

Varanasi, said to be the oldest inhabited city on the planet, is the most sacred city of Hinduism and a place of overwhelming beauty. It is surely the goal of any “passage to India.” At the other end of the holy river stands Kolkata in all its Raj-like magnificence.

Between are several of the most important Buddhist sites—including Sarnath, Nalanda, and Bodh Gaya—urban centers and pilgrim sites, and the majestic river teeming with bird life, not to mention the Gangetic dolphin.

14 nights from US$4,671 per person.

Judy Newell, an international travel consultant for over 40 years, heads Perfect Journeys and specializes in unique travel experiences to destinations around the world. She custom-designs journeys that are tailored to suit your interests, abilities, and budget. Please contact Judy for further information on Travel News topics and around-the-world travel; cell phone 415 111 8765; Vonage 949-300-3682; email judynewell@perfectjourneys.net. Her office is in Rancho Los Labradores, carr a Dolores Hidalgo. View the latest travel specials on the website www.perfectjourneys.net

 

Sources: Travelmarket Report, Travel Pulse, Eurobound, Cunard Line, Pandaw Cruises

 

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