IT WASN’T BY ACCIDENT I arrived early to the train platform that morning. Rumors of the Swiss train system’s punctuality had not only piqued my curiosity but also inspired my 15-minuteearlier wake-up call. I took a seat near my platform in the Zürich Main Station, one of the busiest in the world, and marveled endlessly as the iconic Swiss Railway Clock took its 1.5-second pause before it started its next minute rotation, a design thought to “bring calm in the last moment and easy punctual train departure.”
Like many European travelers, I’ve picnicked beneath the Eiffel Tower in Paris, pröst-ed at Oktoberfest in Munich and snapped a selfie at the Tower of Pisa, and now the lesser-known destinations and obscure experiences beckoned. Armed with a Swiss Travel Pass from Rail Europe — the pass gives holders access to trains, buses and boats as well as free entrance to 500-plus museums, with suggested itineraries and tips for getting off the beaten path — I boarded the train on time and set off on a journey to explore the cities I had never heard of before and experience Europe’s less famous foods, sights and smells.
In response to a recent travel report from Intrepid Adventure Travel that found 43.4 percent of travelers look to get off the beaten track, many tour operators increase their offerings to include tours of little-known sites throughout Europe. Rail Europe makes it easy to hop around to these undiscovered destinations, but tour operators like Intrepid Travel also offer options such as hiking tours through Andorra and rafting trips through Slovenia.
Best of the Alps, a cooperation among many Alpine destinations, encourages travelers to get out and interact with locals throughout Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland. Its website features a range of artists, adventurous men and women, chefs and others who tell their stories and offer inspiration for ideas on what to eat, drink and do while in town. Hear from a wooden sledge maker about the 100-year-old history of these hybrid snow bicycle/sleds before taking to the hills in his native Grindelwald for a test drive through the snow, or learn why one of the country’s most celebrated chefs now cooks for an exclusive crowd within a furniture store in Davos before you book one of the few tables in the store.
As harmful to the environment as air travel is, some airports are taking measures to become more environmentally conscious. One example is Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where an adjacent solar farm powers certain airport operations.
TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.
Ryanair will soon start its first round-trip Georgia flights. The flights, which start this November, will connect the capital Tbilisi (TBS) to Milan Bergamo (BGY) four times weekly and the western city of Kutaisi (KUT) to Bologna (BLQ) and Marseille (MRS), both twice weekly. Then, in April, Ryanair will add twice weekly flights between Tbilisi and Cologne (CGN).
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Attend one of the most acclaimed fall events, Autumn at the Arboretum, in Dallas. In its 14th year, the annual event is known as one of the best pumpkin festivals in the country, with its creative displays featuring more than 90,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash. The event takes place at Dallas Arboretum, Sept. 21 –Oct. 31. Alongside thousands of pumpkins, guests glimpse 150,000 autumn flowers across the 66-acre space.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.