Walden Pond: Warmer Waters and Loads of Mocha Syrup
The pond turned into a latrine is the perfect metaphor for today’s mass tourism. Thoreau’s Walden Pond, which is only half an hour’s drive from Boston, MA, is invaded every year by half a million “incontinent tourists”, more than double those visiting Guyana or Bermuda… and apparently, things get really wild…
More than half of the summer phosphorus budget of Walden Pond may now be attributable to urine released by swimmers, while a footpath to Thoreau’s cabin caused large amounts of soil to wash into the lake.
Despite all this, the site has a high rating on Google Maps and, judging by the reviews, the real issues are elsewhere. According to most visitors, Walden Pond Reservation remains “a true transcendental experience” and “a must visit if you are an American Literature fan”, but there are no showers, parking sucks, the staff is unfriendly, and well “ice mocha has way too much mocha syrup”.
Not exactly what Thoreau had in mind when he wrote “Walden” in 1854…
The Berlin Travel Festival: People, Places, and Memories
During the official celebrations of tourist nonsense, a new 3-day event will debut in Berlin trying to promote a more forward-thinking vision. The Berlin Travel Festival seems the perfect chance to get ready for the spring travel season.
Berlin Travel Festival, March 9-11, 2018, Arena Berlin – Photo Courtesy: BTF
People, places, and memories. This is what travel is about. And with this in mind, we are creating a new kind of travel festival. It will be one part pop-up store for curious travelers. Another part trade fair for the travel world. A wunderkammer of sorts filled with unexpected treasures.
Divided into five areas – Ocean Life, Culture Journeys, Weekenders, Outdoor Escapes, and The Nest – the festival aims to offer thought-provoking concepts, destinations, experiences, and perspectives. Save the date: March 9-11, 2018.
Flâneur: The Art of Wandering the Streets of Paris
Urban wandering can become a selfish art form or a secret vice? Absolutely yes, according to Federico Castigliano who in his inspiring book “Flâneur: The Art of Wandering the Streets of Paris” offers an idealized, romantic, and sensual vision of the “City of Lights”. Paris, a city to read and walk without haste, becomes “the realm of the possible” for those who are truly consumed by wanderlust.
Flâneur: The Art of Wandering the Streets of Paris – Photo Courtesy: Federico Castigliano
The Italian author, now settled in Beijing, identifies himself as a classic literary figure and may seem snobbish at times, but after all, he’s one of us, equally lost and on the run. Just see how he describes the ordinary travel experience:
Waking up early and braving the taxi or train ride to the airport weighed down with luggage; crossing the boutique-filled concourses, negotiating the security controls, checking in and proving my identity. And then, after hours of flying, arriving at an airport in another city, Beijing for example, only to find the same shops, the same soft drinks, and perfumes and then repeating the same actions in reverse to pick up my luggage and finally achieve my freedom once more… And if in Paris I was looking for Beijing, in Beijing I will end up looking for Paris, longing for a crusty baguette, a painting by Courbet, an Italian shirt.
The book is worth reading and includes an extensive bibliography that spans from Aldeguier and Balzac to Breton and Perec. More than wandering, it invites us to reflect on ourselves and on the path we want to follow in life. Don’t expect a happy ending or a linear storytelling without contradictions. How could it be?
Travel Trends for 2018: Don’t Just Follow the Crowd
The travel trends that come out at this time of the year make you want to stay at home and take a sabbatical to visit all the metro stations of the nearest large city or all the country’s “X-branded” pubs. Yet most people keep moving in herds.
The World’s Top Trending Destinations for 2018 – Infographic by Airbnb
The top trending places for 2018 include Gangneung, Edmonton, Indianapolis (Airbnb), Agadir, Victoria Falls, Cluj-Napoca (Skyscanner), Cartagena, Ljubljana, Tbilisi (Booking.com). Amazingly enough, one of the most popular experiences on Airbnb is called “Secret Concert in a Treehouse“… let’s not spread the word.
Remapping the City to Highlight Community Initiatives
We can look at a city as a simple repository of buildings, monuments, streets, restaurants, shops, squares, and green spaces devoid of life but with a glorious past. As tourists though, it’d be nice if a city map could reveal something more, such as places and cultural initiatives creatively shaped by the local community.
Remapping the City: A Map of Madrid and Its Community Initiatives – Illustration by Los Madriles
An alternative mapping project like that of Los Madriles in Madrid, Spain can then become a new way of looking at the urban territory and fully understand its great diversity. All major cities should have one, don’t you agree?
Italian Villages: In Between Sustainability and Cultural Heritage
If 2017 was the Year of Sustainable Tourism, 2018, at least in Europe, will be that of Cultural Heritage. Well, the tourism project that probably best represents this transition bears the signature of home rental giant Airbnb, in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Culture and the National Association of Municipalities.
Italian Villages Project: Sharing Rural Italy – Illustration by Airbnb
Italian Villages, this is the name of the interesting joint project, supports and promotes internationally twenty small rural communities, from north to south of the country. We like it for at least three good reasons:
- Offers an alternative to the usual tourist routes;
- Can guarantee the survival of villages otherwise destined to disappear;
- In the country with the largest number of World Heritage sites (53), it shows that there can be life beyond World Heritage sites.
The “Italian Villages” project is part of a wider national initiative, which involves 1,000 towns throughout Italy, and provides a rich and varied calendar of events.