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Travel News

Florence

By Judy Newell

Mexico News

Plans to Build World’s Tallest Statue of Jesus Christ

Statues of Jesus are scattered around the world, drawing thousands of tourists. Just take Christ the Redeemer in Brazil and Christ the King in Poland as two great examples. México is joining the throngs of Jesus statues by building their own statue of Christ, and it’s expected to be the world’s tallest statue of the religious figure.

Set in Victoria City in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, one of the most dangerous cities in the nation, the statue will be called Cristo de la Paz and will stand at 77 meters tall (or about 253 feet tall) with arms outstretched.

The current record holder for the tallest statue of Jesus Christ is 40 meters tall, and it’s the Cristo de la Concordia in Bolivia. Cristo de la Paz will be nearly twice as tall.

Cristo de la Paz is the brainchild of Mexican actor Eduardo Verastegui Cordoba, a native of Tamaulipas. He plans to present the project to Pope Francis in Rome.

The statue’s construction will begin this year and will be conducted by the firm that designed the Mexico City Airport. It plans to build the statue atop an esplanade that will be able to hold 10,000 people. With the construction of Cristo de la Paz, developers hope it will turn the area into a tourist and pilgrim destination.

It’s currently unclear who is funding the project or how much it will cost, but the Catholic Church seems to be playing some part in this project, as they are the ones who announced that construction will begin early this year.

International News

World Pipe Band Championships

A rousing climax to the cultural calendar of Glasgow in 2019 is set for August 16 and 17 when 8,000 pipers and drummers from around the world will converge on Glasgow Green for the World Pipe Band Championships. Scottish independence hero William Wallace would love it.

 

Updated Warning over China Travel

On January 3, the US State Department updated its travel warning about China, urging Americans to “exercise increased caution” in the country “due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws as well as special restrictions on dual US-Chinese nationals.”

The State Department’s “Level 2” warning noted that Chinese authorities have “exit bans” to prevent US citizens from leaving China, sometimes “for years.”

“In most cases, US citizens only become aware of the exit ban when they attempt to depart China, and there is no method to find out how long the ban may continue. US citizens under exit bans have been harassed and threatened,” the warning said.

In recent weeks, the State Department has issued a number of Level 2 travel warnings for countries, including the United Kingdom, Spain, Russia, France, Italy, Belgium, and the Netherlands, citing the risk of terrorism. A Level 2 warning was issued for Burma, urging travelers to “exercise increased caution…due to areas of civil unrest and armed conflict.”

Level 2 travel warnings are one step more serious than Level 1 warnings, which urge travelers to “exercise normal precautions.” The next more serious warnings are Level 3, or “Reconsider travel,” and Level 4, or “Do not travel.”

The updated warning does not apply to Hong Kong. The State Department’s advisory on that special administrative region urges travelers to “exercise normal precautions.”

Cruise News

New Paddlewheeler for New Orleans

The City of New Orleans, a new paddlewheeler, is set to start offering Mississippi River trips this month. The vessel was purchased by the New Orleans Steamboat Company in 2016.

The company is aiming to have the boat ready for tours by January 21, when the Natchez goes into its annual service and maintenance layup. After that, both boats will operate simultaneously.

The Natchez and the City of New Orleans look similar, both painted red and white with giant red paddlewheels and exterior deck space for close-up views by passengers of the giant propeller. But the new boat has more indoor space.

The main deck of the Natchez is occupied mostly by the boat’s vintage 1925 steam engines. The Natchez is one of only six commercially-operated steamboats left in the US. The new boat is run with a modern diesel-electric system. It takes up less room, allowing for more indoor space for dinner seating, jazz brunches, and special events.

Trips of both paddlewheelers will include narration about the city and shoreline sights such as the port, historic Jackson Square, and the Chalmette battlefield, a significant Civil War landmark downriver. And there will be plenty of live band music as the boat plies the Mississippi.

Words of the Wise and Well-traveled

“Each time I go to a place I have not seen before, I hope that it will be as different as possible from the places I already know.” Paul Bowles

Deal of the Week

Italy: Gastronomy and More

Florence, Bologna, and Rome, 9-day/8-night custom package starting at US$3,295 per person.

 

While gastronomy is the theme, there’s plenty of culture to keep one amused. Overall, this is a moveable feast through Italy’s most important culture and gastronomic centers. Plus, there are optional cultural activities for consideration.

 

Package pricing includes:

8 nights accommodations with breakfast and VAT:

4 nights, Florence: Hotel Minerva, 4-star, deluxe double room

2 nights, Bologna: Hotel Corona d’Oro, 4-star, deluxe double room

2 nights, Rome: Grand Hotel Palace Roma, 5-star, deluxe double room Activities

Welcome dinner on arrival

Private cooking class in Florence

Private full-day tour to Chianti with wine tasting (10 hours)

Cheese tasting in Parma

Truffle hunt and lunch (7 hours)

Private Trastevere Food Walking Tour (3 hours)

Transportation

Airport transfers inbound and outbound

Private transfers from Florence to Bologna

1st class rail from Bologna to Rome

Private railway transfers outbound and inbound

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 perfectjourneys.net.

Sources: TravelPulse, CNBC, Associated Press, Eurobound

 

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