Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Destination Hot Spots for 2015




If ever there was a year to travel, 2015 is it.  Several locations will mark major anniversaries, there will be landmark openings around the world, and there's a big push to normalize relations with a country frozen in time.

New York City
Central Park (2002)
The Lonely Planet recently named Queens as "best in the U.S.", even though it's not quite on tourist radars. Brooklyn still reigns as the trendy hot spot, but that might soon change.  Also, two big openings take place in the Big Apple this year:  the observatory at 1 World Trade Center in late spring, and the new Whitney Museum of American Art in May in Manhattan's Meatpacking District near the High Line and the Hudson River.

Europe
Photo source taken from World's Expo 2012 in Korea
The Milan Expo opens in May for 6 months and is expected to draw 20 million visitors.  The Expo is an incarnation of old World's Fairs that thrilled guests in the 19th and 20th century mixed with new products and technology.  If you've never been to a World's Expo, it is quite the experience! The theme of this year's exhibition is food and nutrition.  The U.S. will  participate by sending six authentic food trucks to Italy featuring regional American and ethnic fusion menus.





Guests receive a World Expo passport with paid admission into the exhibition.  You get a passport stamp from each country's exhibition hall that you visit.  Collecting the stamps is as much fun for the adults as it is for the kids!






Photo source




Pilsen, Czech Republic has been named "2015 European Capitals of Culture", home to pilsner-style beer and a Gothic cathedral.





Photo source

NORWAY




Another "2015 European Capitals of Culture destination:  Mons, Belgium.  Known for history ranging from World War I back to the ancient Romans.




Can anyone guess why Norway is popular this year?  Thank Disney!
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Let it go, let it go
And I'll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone!

Here I stand
In the light of day
Let the storm rage on,

The cold never bothered me anyway!

Sorry, I just had to add the lyrics (smile)!

Photo source
SINGAPORE, VIETNAM & FRANCE
Singapore is celebrating its golden Jubilee - 50 years since independence from Great Britain.  Vietnam celebrates 70 years since independence from France. It will be 50 years since the first U.S. combat troops arrived at Da Nang, which many say marked the start of the Vietnam War.


CROATIA / SLOVENIA


Photo source
Slovenia serves as a hub for the continent, separating Easter and Western Europe.  It is a must-see destination in its own right. Its well-known neighbors are Italy, Austria and Croatia.  The most popular cities to visit are Ljubljana (picture the legend of Jason and the Argonauts) and Bled (a fairytale come to life).





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CUBA is in the news again with the U.S. intending to normalize relations with the country.  This could lead to tourists rushing to the island to have a first-hand look at this country frozen in time, and before all those hotels and cruise ships start sprouting all over the place.  But don't pack your bags just yet.  For the time being, the only way you can legally visit Cuba as an American citizen is to take a "cultural exchange" tour licensed by the U.S. government.  The tours are expensive, and itineraries are limited.

OTHER ANNIVERSARIES  
August 29 is 10 years since the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.  The city's tourist industry is welcoming everyone to "come see the new New Orleans".
(Photo source)

South Dakota will hold their 50th annual Custer State Park Buffalo Round-up in September.  They're expecting a huge turn-out.  Also the 75th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally will take place in September
(Photo source)
Across the nation, a number of museums and historic sites will be hosting exhibits and events to mark 150 years since the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the end of the Civil War.
(Photo source)
The new year also marks 70 years since the end of World War II, both the defeat of Nazi Germany and the atomic bombing of Japan that ended the war in Asia.  Hiroshima and Nagasaki are planning memorial services on the August anniversaries of the bombings.
(Photo source)

Happy travels,

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