Keeping Venice from Sinking

Slowly, gradually, Venice is sinking. In the last century, the marshy land that the city sits on has lowered by about 11 inches.

But the far greater threat is the rate at which the sea level is rising. In recent years, Venice's acqua alta, or high water, has resulted in an average of 100 floods a year. The increasing sea level is largely a consequence of climate change.
Since the Great Flood of 1966, which displaced 5,000 people from their homes and destroyed $6 billion worth of treasured artwork, Italy has been working on a plan to fight back the waters of the Adriatic Sea. That plan has become Italy's biggest public works project ever.
The MOSE Project, or Experimental Electromechanical Module Project, is scheduled to begin operating next year. MOSE, named after Moses and the parting of the Red Sea, is a system of floodgates seeking to protect the Venetian Lagoon from becoming inundated with water from the sea. When inactive, the gates will lay flat on the seafloor; when water levels rise, they will be pumped full of air and rise above the surface to block sea water.
This project is so controversial, though, that it took almost four decades of political fighting for construction to start. Eight years and several billion dollars later, experts are still unsure about MOSE's ability to save Venice.
Pictures from my own trip to Venice in 2010, luckily it was dry.  But clients that were in Venice later that year during a high tide/full moon experienced a flooded Venice.


What do China, Skiing and Club Med have in common?

In December, Club Med launched its first village in the ski resort of Yabuli in China’s far north, barely 120 miles from Vladivostock.

Club Med has chosen to set up its first 4 Tridents village in the northern province of Heilongjiang exactly 110 miles from Harbin and just over 120 miles from Vladivostok (Russia). The famous holiday brand has set its sights on the ski-resort of Yabuli.

The Chinese Olympic team trains nearby, at Peak 2, as do the soldiers of the People's Liberation Army. Its ski school and its beginners’ training area (very wide to avoid accidents), its 18 slopes covering 20 miles, situated between 470 and 1000 metres altitude, and its Siberian temperatures make Yabuli one of the best equipped ski resorts in China. You can also go ice skating there or go tobogganing.

The company, directed by Henri Giscard d’Estaing, has acquired two attached hotels in the resort. The 284 rooms have been revamped by the Shanghai based interior designer Margaux Lhermitte (Naço architectures). The village has 27 suites, 22 deluxe rooms (52 m2) and 235 rooms of 36 m2. You can also enjoy facilities such as the Club Med Spa run by L'Occitane, a pool and a conference room.

In a country where skiing is an activity that is the preserve of the happy few, Club Med is targeting a wealthy clientele eager to discover the joys of skiing, a sport regarded by the Chinese as chic and fun.

Yabuli Ski Resort is located in the piedmont of the Daguohui Mountain of the Shangzhi City, 193km away from Harbin City in the west. It was the hunting ground of the royal family in Qing Dynasty and closed by the new government after the dynasty was overthrown. This resort has been now the biggest comprehensive ski resort in China since it was reopened to the public in 1980.


Travel Geek - New Boeing 747 model

Boeing rolls out its 747-8 Intercontinental

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This is one long plane!


Spain lodging options

Looking for an interesting lodging option while traveling around Spain?  Try a Parador.

The Spanish Paradores are hotels for luxury accommodation in Castles, Palaces, Fortresses, Convents, Monasteries and other historic buildings. There are also modern hotels, built in traditional style, in areas of outstanding beauty.

Paradores were founded by Alfonso XIII of Spain as a means to promote tourism in Spain, with the first opening in Gredos, Ávila, in 1928.

These hotels can be found from Galicia in the North West through Catalunya to Andalusia in the south of Spain, the Canary Islands and in the Spanish cities in North Africa.

The hotels in the Parador Group were set up by the state to use quality tourism to act as guardian of the national and artistic heritage of Spain and to assist regions with fewer economic resources.

Guests of the Paradors receive the high standards for which the group is renowned at prices which are very reasonable by international standards.

As you can see Parador's are located throughout Spain:

Parador's can be located in historic buildings:

The "Castell de Cardona", a typical Parador, situated in an old castle.

And modern buildings:

One of the modern Paradors, the "Aigua Blava" Parador, overlooking Aigua Blava Bay in the Costa Brava.


Classic Vacations Aruba

Please contact me for more information about these special deals to Aruba!


Free Lonely Planet Apps

With severe winter weather affecting much of the country, Lonely Planet has made 14 of its iPhone travel guides free through Friday, February 4.