Mon04272015

Travel

Cuba libre: Local residents join mad rush of travelers


Natalie Elefant/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident Natalie Elefant noted the vibrant street performances as a traveler in Cuba.

The U.S. restored diplomatic relations with Cuba late last year, enabling Americans to import $100 worth of cigars and rum or $400 in total goods. It’s a small step between the two countries marked for decades by Cold War hostility, but a giant leap for travelers.

Two local residents – Peter Biffar of Los Altos Hills and Natalie Elefant of Los Altos – traveled to Cuba in February. They offered insight on what tourists can expect when they land in Havana.

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Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon public recreation space, above, features an elevated pedestrian bridge.

Seoul, South Korea, is a study in contrasts. Having grown quickly, the city is a mix of old and new.

Using public transportation, visitors can travel from the 531-year-old Changgyeonggung Palace to the 10-year-old Cheonggyecheon public recreation space and stream in 20 minutes. The palace, a large pavilion surrounded by columns, is famous for its early Joseon architecture. Visitors can watch the changing of the guard. The stream, carved from a former highway, is in the center of town and boasts a busy pedestrian bridge above.

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The Maine course: Uncovering a Los Altos connection


Courtesy of Libra Foundation
After decades living in Los Altos, Betty Noyce, the ex-wife of Intel Corp. co-founder Bob Noyce, moved to Maine. Pioneering her brand of “catalytic philanthropy,” Betty invested in the 5,000-acre Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, above.

We recently returned from a trip to Maine, where we heard a compelling human-interest story with a Los Altos connection.

Our trip included a wonderful stopover at the distinctive and picturesque Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, which prompted us to research the following article.

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How accurate are online reviews posted by travelers?

Is it just me or are tour operators and hotel owners calling to change your rating on TripAdvisor, Yelp or Booking.com?

It’s been happening to me more and more.

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Taking the high road: Ethical Traveler offers mindful tips


Courtesy of Andrey Voronov
The island nation of Mauritius, designated among the World’s 10 Best Ethical Destinations, boasts a statue of Lord Shiva.

At the end of each year, Ethical Traveler reviews information from nearly 200 developing countries to report which have been naughty or nice.

Then the nonprofit organization posts its World’s 10 Best Ethical Destinations online, in the hope that travelers will “vote with their wings” and prioritize travel in countries they can feel good about supporting, its website states.

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