Last Saturday, a judge in Chile ordered the police to track down the man who may have poisoned the poet Pablo Neruda nearly 40 years ago. Two months ago the poet’s body was exhumed after his former driver alleged that Neruda had been poisoned by agents of the dictator Pinochet. Subsequently, Dr. Sergio Draper, who had previously testified that he was with Neruda when he died, changed his story and asserted that a mysterious Dr. Price was actually with the Nobel Laureate at the time of his demise. Now there’s speculation that the mystery doctor was actually Michael Townley, a CIA agent working for the Chilean secret police.
Like many of you dear Travel Between The Pages followers and visitors, I’m a huge fan of the Netherlands in general, and of Amsterdam in particular. In fact, I’ve lost count of just how many times I’ve been there. So, I found this new little tourism campaign from Holland.com endearing. Of course, it once again raises that persistent kerfuffle re: Holland vs the Netherlands. If you’re still confused, take a look at the video below. But first, enjoy Holland. The Original Cool.
Well, almost everybody loves a road trip, in fact in the U.S. at least 80% of travel and tourism is by motor vehicle. A newly launched website/app called Roadtrippers is designed to help travelers plan road trips while eschewing generic chains and mundane attractions. Like a hybrid between Yelp and Mapquest, Roadtrippers combines mapping, travel guides, and gps functionality into a single simple and intuitive interface that syncs across web and mobile platforms. It offers a wide selection of places to stay, food choices and cultural attractions for vehicle-based travelers. Plan a route, explore sightseeing options, flag pit stops, find entertainment and custom itineraries. And, it’s all free.
The British tourism website VisitEngland has launched a charming new ad campaign featuring the lovable claymation duo Wallace & Gromit. The first video installment shows the pair preparing to set-off on their big summer holiday adventure. Take a peek:
On my short visit to Paris last month, I heard about the city’s next step in its ongoing urban sustainability project, but never got to see the participants first-hand. Along with the wildly popular Velib bike sharing system, Paris is now introducing a pilot program called “eco-grazing” to reduce the dependence on mechanical lawnmowers. With the introduction of a small herd of Breton Ouessant sheep at the Municipal Archives in the 19th arrondissement, Mayor Bertrand Delanoë hopes to build an image of Paris as a green city.
During a recent visit to Budapest, I was intrigued by the discernible connections to Hungarian history conspicuous every where that I looked. Hungarian artist/photographer Kerényi Zoltán has created a project called Ablak a Múltra or Windows to the Past that links the past and present of his country through one lens. His compelling website shows images taken from an online collection of historical photos from the entire 20th century overlaid with his own contemporary shots from the same locations.
all images © Kerényi Zoltan
Although the official name is Alexandra Kávézó, everyone just calls Budapest’s palatial Alexandra Bookstore “coffeeshop” the Bookcafe. Even though I have been hearing about the bookstore cafe for the last three years, I was not prepared for the gobsmacking grandeur of the venue. And the bookstore itself is awesome.
Opened in November 2009 after years of renovation, the Alexandra Bookstore flagship location is housed in a stunning Art Nouveau/neo-Renaissance building in the heart of Pest on the famed Andrassy út. The structure was designed by Gustav Petschacher in 1884 to house a restaurant, ballroom and luxury appartments, but did not reach its full glory until 1911 when it was transformed into the Parisi Department Store by Samuel Goldberg.
Under the Communist regime, the beautiful building was used as a book warehouse and later as a clothing store. It languished for years until the Alexandra Bookstore chain commited to a complete renovation to return the structure to its past splendor.
Today, the heart of the magnificent store is the opulent Bookcafe, which was originally designed and decorated with frescoes and a lavishly gilded dome by Karoly Lotz. This resplendent space is every bit as grand, and actually more beautiful, than Budapest’s famed New York Cafe. It certainly rivals any of the historic coffeehouses of Vienna or Prague. But I’ll let the photographs speak for themselves.
Just two weeks after the release of the film adaptation of The Great Gatsby from director Baz Lurman, a first edition of the book written by F. Scott Fitzgerald is to be sold by Sotheby’s, New York on June 11th . Despite its condition, the dust jacket has a large chip from lower left of front panel, folds rubbed, chipping to ends of spine panel, rear panel with some small chips along edges, some old tape reinforcements along folds, some experts expect it to bring $100,000 to 150,000 when it goes under the hammer along with other lots including a group of Fitzgerald’s letters and an unpublished poem. This copy of The Great Gatsby once belonged to the critic and author Malcolm Cowley who became one of the most influential figures of American letters. In this copy Cowley has transcribed over 100 notes and comments made by Fitzgerald in his personal copy which is now in the collection of Princeton University Library.
I wish that I had heard about this brilliant device before I started on this current trip. The Crankerator is just what it sounds like: a hand cranked charger for your smart phone, tablet or camera. You can also use it as a back-up battery charger by plugging it in to a computer or wall charger. The unit has a 2000 mAH lithium battery and can be purchased here for $60.