Travel News — Underwater Museo Atlantico

Next week’s Friday we won’t be having a News Update, as our offices will be closed Thu Nov 24 and Fri Nov 25—Happy Thanksgiving!1

We’ll be back with the news December 2.

Museo Atlantico, underwater museum

Forbes magazine reports that more than 400 life-like sculptures rest eerily on the ocean floor, recently installed off the coast of Lanzarote, one of Spain’s Canary Islands, to create the Museo Atlantico, the first underwater art museum in the Atlantic Ocean. Just opened to the scuba diving-and-snorkeling public, the fantastic collection is the initial phase of a project created by the renowned, visionary British underwater sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor, for whom the ocean floors have become an exhibition space to house his enigmatic sculptures – commentaries on the transience of human existence, our relationship with nature, the power of the sea and its capacity for regeneration.

His life-size stone figures are attached to the sea floor with a special cement mix that draws ocean life to develop around them. Taylor also created the world’s first underwater sculpture park in 2006 off the west coast of Grenada in the West Indies, listed among National Geographic’s 25 Wonders of the World, and also co-founded Museo Subacuático de Arte, MUSA, in 2009, with a collection of over 500 of his underwater works, submerged off the coast of Cancún in Mexico. He has been working for more than two years on the figures for the Museo Atlantico, modelled on natives of Lanzarote.  The newly-sunken displays are built from a special pH-neutral marine cement that attracts sea creatures and promotes the growth of coral indispensable to support marine life. Lanzarote’s authorities have announced that 2% of the revenue generated by the museum will be allocated to research and protection of the island’s aquatic species.  To see photos, check this site: Museo Atlantico Underwater Museum


Now is the Time to Travel to the United Kingdom (and Paris)

Lower GBP and crowds means that this is the perfect time to visit the UK and Paris! In a post-Brexit world, we are seeing conversion rates dropping for hotels and taxes. And, though we’re entering winter, weather is not a major concern in this major cosmopolitan city.

ORE restaurant at Versailles by Alain Ducasse

The first full-service restaurant inside the Versailles Palace has opened, serving breakfast and lunch with a varied menu. It is open Tuesday-Friday, from 8 A, stops lunch at 2:30 P, but serves until 5:30 P with lovely desserts.  Groups can have a private function with waiters announcing courses. For photos and more information, see  ORE Restaurant at the Palace of Versailles

USD Highest in 14 Years

The dollar climbed to its highest level in almost 14 years against a basket of currencies this Friday. A growing perception that the economic policies of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump will push up consumer prices helped put the dollar on track for its biggest two-week rise against Japan’s yen in almost 30 years. Last week’s unexpected U.S. election result has prompted investors to ditch their once rock-solid conviction that growth in developed economies will remain tepid because of tough competition from emerging market economies with lower wages. That has led to a repricing of assets, most notably in currency and bond markets.


Another New Zealand Earthquake

An earthquake registering 7.8 and estimated to be 14 miles beneath the earth’s surface hit the south island of New Zealand on Monday.  At least two people died in the series of violent quakes and aftershocks, according to Prime Minister John Key. The quake struck some 55 miles northeast of the city of Christchurch just after midnight local time on Monday. It triggered waves of 2.49 meters above usual tide levels, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said, being the highest to hit the country in 38 years. However, it’s important to remember New Zealand remains a safe place to visit, business is largely as usual, regional and international airports are operating normally. More details at

Massive water park being built in the Outer Banks

North Carolina’s Outer Banks is renowned for its beauty, history and great fun in the water. In 2017, they will be known for one of the world’s newest and innovative new waterparks, as H2OBX is slated to open in summer of 2017. The new water park will be located in Powells Point, North Carolina, building on the architecture and feel of the area, and will have everything from their own lighthouse to pirate ships, and even the first ever airplane, the Wright Flyer. There will also be FlowRider, Surfing Simulator;30,000 square-foot Action Wave Pool; two high-speed Colorado Drop tube rides over 500 feet long and 71 feet long; 90-foot tall Aqua Drop launch capsule free fall slide; 500-foot long Constrictor slide featuring high-speed tight turns; pirate themed aqua play structure with more than 70 interactive features and seven slides including the Champagne Bowl body slide. In addition, the park will include at least four food and beverage locations, and 50 cabanas.

From Travel + Leisure news: Airline Excellence Awards

Air New Zealand has taken the title for the world’s best airline for 2017, according to’s Airline Excellence Awards, which rates airlines on a variety of categories that include best class cabins, catering and lounge options, and crew quality.The carrier received the first place spot for the fourth year in a row. Air New Zealand was highlighted for great financial performance, in-flight innovations, its dedication to the environment, and a great staff. The airline, which also won the best premium economy category, was also commended for its operational safety. Other awards: Etihad Airways won the best first class cabin for the third year in a row; Virgin Australia took the title for the best business class; Singapore Airlines’ economy class ranked as the top choice; Qantas took the lead on the best domestic class; Virgin America, Scoot,, and Norwegian took the lead in the low-cost airline market.

United adding an even less user-friendly way to travel

United is adding a stripped-down fare class, with no advance seat assignments, no carry-on luggage except one personal item that will fit under the seat; you can pay for larger carry-on, it seems.  The new “Basic Economy” fares will begin in the first quarter of 2017 for travel beginning April 2017. Looks like they will be the current lowest-economy fares, but with severe restrictions, including change flights or refund tickets.Those who book United’s Basic fare will not be able to select seats in advance; they’ll be assigned the seats within 24 hours of departure, and families might be forced to sit separately. Read more here


Summer Papal Residence becomes a tour-able museum 

Smithsonian Magazine reports that while for centuries popes of all stripes have retreated to the Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo on the outskirts of Rome, since Pope Francis took on the role he has eschewed the luxurious residence in favor of staying in his usual apartments in Vatican City. This has opened up the rare opportunity for tourists to peek inside his summer home. The Vatican first bought the then-small fortress in 1596 and 30 years later, Pope Urban VIII built a new wing on the residence, when it officially became the papal summer residence. Castel Gandolfo is located along the shores of Lake Alban, and about half of the 30 popes since Urban have used it to take a break as the summer heat settles over Rome. Not only are visitors able to tour the grounds of the papal palace, but for the first time in history anyone can step foot in the pope’s private chambers. Twenty never-before-seen rooms opened to the public on October 22, including a private library, study, chapel and simple bedroom. These rooms have witnessed history: During the Nazi occupation of World War II, Jewish women gave birth to their babies in the bedroom while they were being hidden by Pope Pius XII. The bedchamber is also where two Popes, Pius XII and Paul VI, died. The decision to convert the residence to a museum isn’t necessarily permanent, according to Dr. Sandro Barbaglio, curator of the historical section of the Vatican Museum. Tours of the Apostolic Palace can be booked via the Vatican Museums website. Tickets are 10 euros ($10.89) per adult. See Vatican website

Ancient tomb discovered in Luxor, Egypt

A new Pharaonic tomb was discovered at a temple in Luxor, Egypt, as announced by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities. The tomb was discovered by a Spanish mission working at the Millions of Years Temple of ancient Egyptian King Thutmose III at the external part of the southern wall of the temple. A mummy was found by the mission in a very good condition inside the tomb and research found that it belonged to a royal house servant named Amenrenef, and the tomb is believed to be dated around 1,000 years B.C. The mission aims to conduct thorough research about the tomb. The symbolic inscriptions include two protective goddesses Isis and Nephthys with their wings spread, the four sons of god Horus, the symbol for the sun disk and others. Luxor has recently been named by the UNWTO as the World Tourism Capital for this year.

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