Weekend Travel Press Digest / 7 Nov 2011
This week the travel press bring some rather unusual destinations to the forefront. The FT presents a luxury Amazonian safari that can only be accessed by air or water, whilst writer Clive Aslet gets lost in Transylvania - with absolutely no mention of Count Dracula. Meanwhile, second cities are in the spotlight, with Brasilia (Brazil’s unexpected capital) and Johannesburg being explored by the NY Times and the Independent. Lastly, Amman is voted the Telegraph’s favourite Middle Eastern city, and receives due praise for its cultured ways.
The FT has found an alternative to a sweat-soaked Amazon expedition: the luxury cruise. This water-based safari takes place on a striking vessel designed by Peruvian Jordi Puig. It has 16 suites on 2 levels, all with floor to ceiling windows and a decor of wood and white linens. Naomi Mapstone discovers that whilst onboard, life takes on a rather dreamlike quality. She sees the legendary pink river dolphins, regarded by the locals as unlucky or enchanted; able to take human form in order to mate with Amazonian maidens. This is a journey with every chance of adventure, along with a maraschino cherry on top.
The FT's Clive Aslet pays a visit to Transylvania, a world which shares a great deal more with the lyrical novels of Thomas Hardy than modern Europe. He is captivated by this arcadia, with its beautiful open countryside and deliciously scented pastures. The most wonderful feature, however, are the enchanted forests of the Carpathian Mountains. There are more brown bears here than anywhere else in Europe. Aslet explores the future of eco-tourism for this unique country.
The Independent travels to Jo’burg for 48 hours in late November, the perfect time to visit. It’s early summer there, and purple jacarandas are blooming all over the city. It is a place of tremendous wealth disparities; whilst many areas were redeveloped for the 2010 World Cup, there are still some areas to avoid. Stay in a hotel set in sprawling gardens, dine with the locals and pay a visit to church…
Gail Simmons reveals some insider secrets of the liveliest, safest and most underrated of all Middle eastern cities. Although it was originally built over seven hills, it has now extended over nineteen- making it a wise choice to take a taxi. Whilst the city may lack the exotic features of its neighbours, it makes up for it in theatres, galleries, cinemas and restaurants- especially in trendy Jabal Amman. Meanwhile, it has its own remarkable classical culture in the Downtown area, where the ancient Citadel offers views over the city.
Brasilia is a modern Brazilian dream. This retro-futuristic capital city was erected on an expanse of dry plains in the late 50s and 60s. The NYT explains why it is coming of age, with its awe-inspiring sunsets, Samba hotspots and top-shelf restaurants. It’s a great deal calmer than Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo, but it isn't lacking in spirit...