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TOPIC: travel

food / travel

Gùsto! How · What · Where Locals Eat (And Drink) In Hamburg

Sausages, potatoes and sauerkraut ... Ja, but not only! Let us take you on a culinary tour of Hamburg, where hip vegan cafes meet sushi and ramen bars, and Bavarian beer flows aplenty.

It’s the Northern German city where the Beatles got started, a vital trade hub for centuries — and a city where you can get a delicious curry wurst mit pommes. Willkommen to Hamburg.

German cuisine is usually thought of as sausages, potatoes and sauerkraut. And while those foods are popular and culturally significant, there is so much more to be found in Hamburg. The city's old brick buildings now house hip vegan cafes, sushi and ramen bars, beer houses, döner restaurants and more!

When going to Hamburg, be prepared to try cuisine that may be completely new to you. The city’s restaurant and bar culture is diverse and deeply multicultural, with restaurants mixing German culinary traditions with other European cuisines and tastes and techniques from the kitchens of Asia, South America, Africa and beyond.

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Crossing Europe, Sans Gas? My Summer Vacation 'Stress Test' For Electric Cars

The author set off on a three-week vacation trip across Europe in an electric car. Would the charging infrastructure be enough to get all the way, or would they end up stranded without battery, far from home?

BERLIN — "Do we really want to do that?" my wife asked. "Nearly 3,000 kilometers across Europe, in an electric car? We've already failed over much shorter distances."

She was right about that. But it's 2023, and e-mobility has outgrown its niche. It is set to become the new reality — in fact, it already is. After all, we're driving through Europe, not the desert.

After a lot of persuasion, I finally managed to assuage her worries. But I also prepared myself for a fairly big adventure. After all, our three-week vacation tour this year took us not only through Germany, but also Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and Italy.

On our last long electric trip just over a year ago, we got stuck in a charging station jam after only 160 kilometers. The charging park in Nempitz, Saxony-Anhalt, was overrun, and before we could get to the charging point we had to line up and wait for 45 minutes.

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Albania, The Brutal Demographics Of A Neverending Exodus

Since the fall of communism in 1991, the small Balkan state has been slowly but inexorably emptying itself, at the pace of incessant waves of emigration. With an aging and declining population and a birth rate in free fall, it is facing all kinds of challenges.

MEMALIAJ — It is 1 p.m. on a summer Saturday, and only the barking of a dog breaks the silence in the street of this small Albanian town. The sun illuminating Minatori Square doesn’t change a thing: there’s not a soul to be seen in this former mining town in Southern Albania. On the steps leading up to the cultural “palace," there is no one. Behind the drawn curtain of the old kepuce italiane ("Italian shoe") store, no one. In the red-brick buildings that threaten to crumble into ruin: no one.

“There’s nothing here anymore. No work, no money, no bread. Everyone left after the end of the dictatorship," says Stefan Arian, a 60-year-old man who speaks rusty Greek, sitting at the Café Qazimi, one of the few businesses still open. It’s hard to picture that, not so long ago, this abandoned town was one of Communist Albania’s great working-class centers. Built from scratch in 1946 to exploit the nearby coal mine, the city counted up to 12,000 inhabitants in its heyday. Barely more than 1,000 remain.

Memaliaj isn't the only one: Kukës, Zogaj, Përmet, Narta — there are dozens of such towns and villages in Albania. From North to South, the small Balkan state is criss-crossed by semi-ghost towns, with few or no inhabitants. It is the mark of a unique demographic phenomenon: since the fall of the communist regime 30 years ago, the country has been slowly but inexorably emptying itself through incessant waves of emigration.

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Summer Paradises Lost: Seven Vacation Spots That Time Forgot

Luxury havens abandoned overnight, summer resorts that were the victims of bad business decisions. As summer ends, we look at seven abandoned vacation spots that were once the height of glamor before fading — or rusting — away.

This summer has seen record tourist numbers in many parts of the world. Yet amid the over-tourism, it's hard to imagine that all over the world there are resorts and beautiful destinations that have been completely abandoned.

Defunct tourist destinations have become popular attractions in their own right. The sight of a once grand structure, now eerie and destroyed, excites the imagination.

But why do once-popular sites get left to ruin? Sometimes the economy falls on hard times, draining the pockets of owners and investors. Other times, people simply become disinterested. Sometimes an environmental disaster washes away something that was once glorious.

From Italy to Indonesia, we rounded up seven former tourist destinations that have fallen on hard times so you can jet-set around the world from the comfort of your own home.

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Esther Cabezas

Dark Summer: Inside The Harsh Living Conditions Of Ibiza's Seasonal Workers

A severe housing shortage means that many of those who come to serve the millions of tourists on the Spanish island can't find a decent place to sleep. Some wind up sleeping in their cars or on flea-infested mattresses. The spirit of Ibiza as an easy-going meeting place is fading away.

IBIZA — It's a world-renown paradise off the coast of Spain, with more than 2 million visitors arriving each year. But now, during the summer high season, the island of Ibiza has become a hell for the many people who work to serve the rush of tourism in hotels, restaurants, markets, shops, parking lots and airports.

The workers say the situation keeps getting worse, in particular due to the lack of affordable housing and the unavailability of sufficient housing resources provided by companies to accommodate their staffs.

More and more, the seasonal workers who come to the "Beautiful Island" to earn a decent salary — as is also happening on the nearby island of Mallorca with caravans — have to rely on their imagination, explorer skills, or simply making do to earn a much-needed income for their survival and that of their families throughout the year.

If you take a walk around Ibiza, you will soon find parking lots, some well-hidden and many of them near workplaces, filled with cars serving as living spaces, camper vans, old and new caravans, improvised camps in wooded areas, half-built buildings filled with mattresses, people sleeping on the beach.

Each worker finds their own way to make it through the season, if they manage to do so. In this report, we have spoken with some of those in this situation who have kindly shared their stories.

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food / travel
Michelle Courtois

Gùsto! How · What · Where Locals Eat (And Drink) In Pondicherry

Imagine a city with French and Southern Indian fusion cuisine, with gorgeous, century-old colonial-era buildings and beautiful beaches, surrounded by warm, turquoise water. It exists: Pondicherry.

The southern city's cuisine is like no other in India. It combines recipes, flavors and methods from French cooking with regional Indian, often with touches of East Asian and Northern Indian influence.

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Anne-Sophie Goninet

End Of The Road? When A Vanlifer Buys Her First House

After living in a campervan for more than a year, the author reflects on the limits of both settling down and rolling on forever.

SAINT MALO — It’s an old stone house lost in the countryside of France’s northern Brittany region, with a bright and spacious living room, and a beautiful green garden that opens onto a huge plot of land. And now it’s ours.

When my partner and I were at the notary’s office, signing the ownership title in our first home, we knew it was one of those big steps in life we’d never forget. But in our case, it wasn’t just the nervous excitement of opening a new chapter; it was also the bitter-sweetness of closing another.

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food / travel
Michelle Courtois

Gùsto! How • What • Where Locals Eat (& Drink) In Cape Town

The best tables near Table Mountain!

Penguins on the beaches, a flat-topped mountain, a place where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet: Cape Town, or as others call it, the “Mother City," is a place where eating and drinking is truly a worldly and unique experience.

Known as the “Rainbow Nation,” South Africa is a diverse country and it shows in the country's cuisine. It involves combinations of ingredients, flavors and methods from Malaysia, Indonesia, India, the Netherlands, indigenous Southern African cultures, Germany, Portugal, France and even the UK. Needless to say, South African food is a truly global mix.

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food / travel
Franco Giubilei

Italy's Legendary Clubbing Scene Gives Way To The Nomadic Dance Life

Four decades ago, there were 9,000 dance clubs in Italy. Today, there are just 3,000. Where is everyone going instead, and why?

ROME — As the sun sets on one era, a new one comes, at least for the dancing bodies of young Italians: they dance on the beach, on agricultural sites, or in villas rented out and made available for partying.

They dance wherever there is a DJ, space to move and enough isolation so as not to anger any neighbors.

Gianni Indino, national director of Silb, an association for club management, records the number of club parties every weekend in the Romagna area, especially in the summer when numbers surge drastically. “The other night, on the coast of Rimini, three club managers agreed to join forces and organize an event by the beach, which brought in 5,000 people," he says. Holding these events outside of regular venues makes these parties "extremely irregular," he says. "Hygienic measures were certainly not up to standard considering that the three managers offered one bathroom each.”

This is just one example of the new fashions taking place in the Roman seaside, which has always been a popular space for nightlife. But this is a tradition that is now expanding like an oil spill on all of our coasts, Indino tells us: “Now, it’s the same everywhere. From the Venetian coast down Romagna to Lazio, Tuscany, Liguria ... It’s the same thing in Sicily and Sardinia.”

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Living Abroad

The Best Destinations For Expats In 2023

Find out the best and worst destinations worldwide for expats, according to the latest Expat Insider survey.

Global expat community InterNations conducts one of the biggest annual surveys on life abroad, Expat Insider. In 2023, close to 12,000 expats representing 171 nationalities took part. Covering key areas such as working abroad, the ease of settling in, quality of life, personal finances, and expat essentials, the findings are a must-read for anyone interested in living abroad.Sunny & Spanish-

Speaking: Common Themes in the Top 3

Mexico Is #1 — Again.

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This Happened

This Happened — July 26: Solar-Powered Flight Around Earth

The Solar Impulse 2 completed its historic circumnavigation of the Earth on this day in 2016, after a journey that spanned approximately 26,000 miles (42,000 kilometers) and took over a year to complete. It demonstrated the feasibility of long-duration, solar-powered flights, encouraging further research and innovation in renewable energy technologies for aviation and other sectors.

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Valeria Berghinz

French Drama At The Italian Opera — With Low Notes Of Politics Too!

Veteran Italian Maestro Alberto Veronesi protested what he believed was the politicization of the La Bohème production that he was set to conduct. In accordance to the opera's tradition of backstage melodrama, the situation only escalated from there.

Oh the opera, with its powerful voices and high emotions.The melodrama built in to the art form has also been known to play out backstage — and then, the rare occasion when it's pushed back out in the spotlight.

This time, the stage was set in the Tuscan seaside town of Viareggio, where the 69th edition of the Festival Puccini, a celebration of Italian composer Giacomo Puccini's most famous works, kicked off last Friday with a bonafide coup de théâtre.

The opening opera was Puccini’s iconic La Bohème, a four-act tale set in 1830s Paris following the bohemian lifestyle of a poor seamstress and her friends. But after the French director of the current production decided to change the setting of the story to take place during the leftist student protests in France in May 1968, the Italian conductor protested by arriving on stage blindfolded.

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