Discover London

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Transport for London has released a marvelous series of retro travel posters and ads that hopes to inspire Londoners —and visitors too —to spend time exploring one of the world’s greatest cities. The campaign encourages folks to get out and discover all that London has to offer.

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Art Appreciation 101

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After listening to the world news I needed a good laugh. So many thanks to TBTP reader Vernon Coram for the link to Scorpion Dagger. James Kerr, the artist wiz kid behind the blog, reworks Renaissance paintings into hilarious, irreverent, kooky and very outré gifs.

Warning: this post may be NSFW and could be mildly offensive to religious sensibilities.

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Is Everyone Writing A Novel ?

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New York City-based artist, writer and composer Cory Arcangel started an innocuous Twitter feed called “Working On My Novel” two years ago. Using only retweets of the phrase, Arcangel has just published a book which pulls together a curated selection of those emotional tweets.

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Working On My Novel (Penguin) explores the struggles, frustrations and desperation of would be novelists, along with the elation, excitement and satisfaction in the creative process.

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By the way, all of the tweets collected in the book were used with the permission of the original writers.

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Zippy Among the Sluggish (it’s all relative)

Between April 1 and June 15, 2014, the folks at wefi , a national network analytics firm, collected data from millions of public wifi hotspots around the U.S.. Based on 45 day average speeds, they’ve determined the fastest wifi in U.S. hotel chains, at airports and public beaches. Even the fastest speeds are surprisingly disappointing. Where’s the broadband?

NYC To Turn Some Of Its 12,000 Phone Booths Into Free Wifi Spots

Top Hotels with the Fastest Wi-Fi:

  • Red Roof Inns (4.34 mbps)
  • Sleep Inn (4.14 mbps)
  • Ramada (3.69 mbps)
  • Holiday Inn (3.68 mbps)
  • Best Western (3.66 mbps)
  • Aloft Hotels (3.42 mbps)
  • Studio 6 (3.22 mbps)
  • Hilton (3.17 mbps)
  • Quality Inns (3.15 mbps)
  • Four Points by Sheraton (3.04 mbps)
  • Comfort Inn (2.99 mbps)
  • Candlewood Suites (2.69 mbps)
  • Radisson (2.43 mbps)
  • Clarion (2.42 mbps)
  • Doubletree Hotel (2.32 mbps)

Top Beaches with the Fastest Wi-Fi:

  • Clearwater Beach, Florida (2.9 mbps)
  • Atlantic City, New Jersey (2.8 mbps)
  • Mission Beach, California (2.1 mbps)
  • South Beach Miami, Florida (1.9 mbps)
  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (1.8 mbps)
  • Santa Monica, California (1.8 mbps)
  • Waikiki Beach, Hawaii (1.6 mbps)
  • Newport Beach, California (1.2 mbps)
  • Hermosa Beach, California (1.1 mbps)

Top Airports with the Fastest Wi-Fi:

  • Detroit Metropolitan Airport, MI (4.63 mbps)
  • Denver International Airport, CO (4.33 mbps)
  • Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, FL (3.74 mbps)
  • Los Angeles International Airport, CA (3.29 mbps)
  • Washington Dulles International Airport, VA (3.09 mbps)
  • Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport, AZ (2.88 mbps)
  • LaGuardia Airport, NY (2.67 mbps)
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, GA (2.66 mbps)
  • Logan International Airport, MA (2.51 mbps)
  • Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, MN (2.45 mbps)
  • McCarran International Airport, NV (2.41 mbps)
  • San Francisco International Airport, CA (2.29 mbps)

 

 

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Monday is majorly miscellaneous

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French Lessons

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What comes Afterglobe ?

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Isn’t a great bookstore worth traveling for ? See if these inspire.

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Venice is a time machine.

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Do you know the French Raymond Chandler ?

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If you can’t reach me, I’ll be spending the remainder of the summer catching up on all of the great short fiction that the New Yorker is posting for free.

Or maybe I’ll just go wild.

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I Like Big Books

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Founded in 1980, Pioneer Book store in Provo, Utah carries a wide selection of used, antiquarian, rare and out-of-print titles from the 17th through 21st centuries. Last week the popular bookshop unveiled its wonderful new façade featuring a huge bookshelf created by Salt Lake City-based artist Alicyn Wright.

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Pioneer Book manager Travis Patten chose the theme based on a similar mural found on a Kansas City library. Patten selected the specific titles for the painting based on their lasting literary appeal.

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You can discover more about the artist and the project at her website

images © Alicyn Wright.

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Altered Books

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Minneapolis-based artist Joseph Decamillis resuscitates discarded old books by reworking the covers with inserted miniature oil paintings on copper and steel plates. Decamillis’ work transforms the volumes into sculptural pieces while adding a new narrative dimension with his postage stamp size illuminated images.

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As an antiquarian book collector and seller, I’m always a bit queasy when I see old books mutilated in the name of art. Hopefully, all of the books in the “Miniature Paintings in Altered Books” series really are damaged and discarded volumes.

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Amsterdam Alternatives

This guest post is from Rotterdam resident and blogger Michael Afanasyev. You can follow Michael at his own blog Small European Country

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Amsterdam alternatives

Every major tourist destination has the “big ones”, the things everybody wants to see – like South Africa with the Big Five. Amsterdam has the Big Three. I mean, everybody goes to the Anne Frank House, visits the Rijksmuseum and takes the canal tour, right? Unfortunately, the popularity of these hot-spots tends to bring them down, too. To make the “experience” suitable for the masses, the attractions (yes, Anne Frank is also an “attraction”) make themselves suitable for mass consumption, in what I call the McDonaldsization of travel. I am not a huge fan of Amsterdam myself – to me it is a bit like a sleazy Disneyland. But over the years I’ve learned to appreciate the Amsterdam behind the touristy facade and discovered Amsterdam is more than red lights and canal tours. These are my suggestions for alternatives to the Big Three.

Hollandsche Schouwburg

During the German occupation this theater was first turned into “Jews only” venue. Soon after, it was transformed into a monstrous deportation center, right in the heart of Amsterdam. Rather than shuffle with the crowds through Anne Frank’s hideout for 15 minutes after a two-hour line, you can visit the Schouwburg. Try to imagine thousands of Jews packed into this theater, waiting for days and weeks for the journey to their final destination and their tragic destiny. Anne did not pass through here, in case you wondered.

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Stedelijk Museum

An American visitor once said to me “I didn’t come to Europe to see modern art”. Well, in the words of Jerry Seinfeld, “I think you may have made a big mistake”. I mean, the Stedelijk has paintings by Matisse, Chagall, Mondrian, Malevich, Kandinsky, Appel. It has Dutch design by Berlage and Rietveld. And that’s just on the ground floor! I’m not even talking about the exhibitions featuring the creme de la creme of contemporary art, just these modern classics are worthwhile. And the building itself – neat, calm, spacious – I’m sorry, Rijksmuseum, but you’ve really been out performed here. Besides, the best of the Dutch Old Masters is in the Mauritshuis in The Hague.

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Two hour line outside of the Anne Frank House

Rent your own boat

Yes, the best way to experience Amsterdam is from the water. No, its not on a canal cruise. A myriad boats of all types, shapes and sizes are up for rent in Amsterdam. Anything goes – from a one-man canoe to a party ship for 250 people. For any price range and taste, there will be a water-going vessel you can hire, that will give you the opportunity to explore the canals at your own pace and style. Just don’t drink and drive, OK?

I admit, I’ve been to the Amsterdam Big Three myself. Sure, they’re on everyone’s “to do list” but I think these alternatives are really worth considering.

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Amsterdam canals—go where the cruise boats don’t.

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How To Beat Jet Lag

Over the years, I’ve tried just about every reasonable suggestion (plus some farfetched ideas) on how to beat jet lag with little success. Maybe the tips on this infographic from the British travel experts Thomas Cook could help?

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One City in Five Hours

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I was looking for city maps for an upcoming Canada trip when I stumbled across a witty and entertaining series of hand-drawn maps with mini-guides. Each of the two dozen or so “One City, Five Hours” guides was illustrated by artist Oliver Jeffers and is accompanied by suggestions for a whirlwind visit. The touring suggestions for each of the international cities were penned by local travel experts, like Lola Akimade in Stockholm. The entire series, which was commission by United for its inflight magazine Hemispheres , can be found here.

Vancouver

“1 Tighten your laces and speed-walk through the Museum of Anthropology (6393 NW Marine Dr.; www.moa.ubc.ca), which showcases thousands of artworks, tools and other objects created by the indigenous First Nations peoples. On your way out, pause to admire the towering First Nations totem poles. Just remember, no climbing. ( 0:30 )

2 Hail a taxi and have the driver take you along the waterfront to Granville Island (www.granvilleisland.com), a former industrial wasteland that’s home to a busy market and pedestrian-only alleys full of artisan shops. Toss a loonie (that’s a Canadian one-dollar coin) to one of the island’s many buskers and get ready to shop. ( 1:15 )

3 Stop first at the popular Public Market (www.granvilleisland.com/public-market) and poke through its dizzying selection of tchotchkes and gourmet munchies. Then ditch the crowd for Railspur Alley and peruse the handcrafted wares at Funk Shui Atelier and Hartman Leather. Grab a souvenir for friends back home and a couple more for yourself. ( 2:00 )

4 There’s no better way to take in Vancouver’s incongruous skyline of glass towers and jagged mountains than from the water. And there’s no easier way to do it than by Aquabus (www.theaquabus.com). Hop aboard one of the colorful vessels and cross the truly gorgeous False Creek. Keep your finger on the shutter; this is prime picture territory. ( 2:30 )

5 Once in Yaletown, scurry over to Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar (1095 Hamilton St.; www.bluewatercafe.net) and nibble on expertly cut sashimi. The fish are farmed using sustainable practices, a point of pride in Vancouver, one of the world’s greenest cities. ( 3:45 )

6 Walk a few doors down to the Yaletown Brewing Company (1116 Hamilton St.; www.markjamesgroup.com), knock back a pint of Mainland lager and find out why beer is Canada’s most popular boozy beverage. Or, if you prefer, run around the corner for an indulgence of a different sort at Chocoatl chocolatiers. ( 4:00 )

7 Catch another taxi to Peking Lounge (83 E Pender St.; www.pekinglounge.com), a little antiques shop in Chinatown stocked with traditional wooden Chinese baskets, lacquer trays, handcarved Buddha statues and curios such as a “silk wine jacket,” which is (yep) a silk jacket for wine bottles. ( 4:30 )

8 Finally, book on over to the nearby historic district Gastown (www.gastown.org), where a steam clock—one of a handful in the world that still work—announces the quarter hour with a whistle and chime. Time to head home. ( 5:00 )”

 

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Posted in Art, Canada, Europe, Maps, Tourism, Travel Writing, USA | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments