The Daily Traveler: Old Olympic Venues

In honor of the upcoming 2012 Olympics, I check in on some past Olympic venues.

Old Olympic Venues You Can Still Visit


Helsinki, Finland

Summer 1952

Not all sports arenas continue to host athletic events once the torch has left town. After the 1952 summer Olympics in Helsinki, the city repurposed some of its sports complexes into museums. The Olympic Stadium is now the Sports Museum of Finland (pictured) and the Tennis Palace is an exhibition space for the Helsinki City Art Museum as well as a movie theater.

Click through to see the rest of the slideshow at the Condé Nast Traveler.

Photo courtesy of the Sports Museum of Finland

The Daily Traveler: World's Fair Sites

Of all of the slideshow assignments I've received from the Condé Nast Traveler to date, so far this has been my favorite to research and write. It's inspired a new travel goal: to visit as many World's Fair sites as possible.

15 Amazing Structures Originally Built for World's Fairs

The Crystal Palace
1851 Great Exhibition; London, England

Though it's the only building on this list that's no longer around, Hyde Park's Crystal Palace—constructed for the 1851 Great Exhibition out of nearly a million square feet of glass—is important because of the impression it made and the impact it had on the architecture of subsequent World's Fairs. The 1853 New York Crystal Palace in New York City; the 1876 Horticultural Hall in Philadelphia; the 1879 Garden Palace in Sydney; and the still-standing 1900 Grand Palais des Champs-Elysées in Paris all took design cues from London's giant iron-and-glass exhibition hall. After the Exhibition closed, the Crystal Palace moved from Hyde Park to Sydenham, where it became an educational center and amusement park, with fountains and water towers, statues, and fair-like events, including car races and ballooning. The palace was plagued by financial problems, but it was ultimately destroyed by a giant blaze in 1936. At the Crystal Palace Park today, you can still see some of the ruins, including cast-iron dinosaurs that were once part of a natural history exhibit.


Click through to see the rest of the slideshow at the Condé Nast Traveler.


Photo Courtesy of the  Crystal Palace Foundation

The Daily Traveler: Hotels in Old Forts


Old Forts Make Cool Hotels—See These Photos for Proof

For the Condé Nast Traveler website, I created a slideshow old forts that are now hotels, from the Victorian-looking officers' quarters in San Francisco to a Kasbah in Morocco.

Cap Rocat

Mallorca, Spain

On a secluded peninsula in the Bay of Palma, Cap Rocat is a 19th-century military fortress that's been transformed into a 24-room hotel. You have to cross a drawbridge to enter, and the old "bunker," or gunpowder depot, is now the setting for cocktails or private events. But to get the best views of the bay, you should leave the bunker and peek out over the fortress walls on the rooftop terrace.

Click through to see the rest of the slideshow at the Condé Nast Traveler's website.


Photo courtesy of Cap Rocat

The Daily Traveler: National Park Views Not to Be Missed

National Park Views Not to Be Missed

This slideshow features 30 amazing images from our National Parks. I've captioned all of them, but the photos really speak for themselves. A tiny sampling is below—you really should check out the full slideshow, because each one is more incredible than the last. We have such a diversity of scenery in America. All photos here are courtesy of the National Parks Service.

The Daily Traveler: Strange Festivals

Today is Phil Collins Day, But That’s Not the Oddest Festival in the World

Today, Greenpoint, Brooklyn, holds its annual Phil Collins Day celebration. Though the former Genesis drummer has no direct connection to the neighborhood, Collins fans will still feel it in the air tonight, donning homemade masks and spilling their secrets in a confessional booth created for the occasion (video of the confessions will be sent to Collins).

The singer-songwriter may not seem like a natural peg to plan a festival around, but he's certainly not the only unusual thing to be fêted. Check out these other weird celebrations around the world…

Tunarama Festival
Port Lincoln, Australia
Held each year over the Australia Day long weekend in late January, Tunarama has people looking at the fish in a whole new light—namely as projectiles. The festival's signature event, the Tuna Toss, has competitors seeing how far they can hurl the fish across the beach. (The current world record is 37.23 meters, or a little more than 122 feet.)  If the prospect of fish-throwing doesn't excite you, there are also food and wine events, foot races, sand-castle-making, and live music.

Click through to read the rest of the article online at the Condé Nast Traveler's website.


Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images.

The Daily Traveler: Beauty Advice

I did a round-up of travel tips from beauty experts. Each one recommended a product that works well for travel and can be taken through airport security. I'll give you the  one for free:

 Beauty Experts' Favorite 3 oz. Travel Products

"The best beauty item to take through security: Burt’s Bees Hand Sanitizer. It’s natural, it smells faintly of cinnamon, it gets rid of germs without creating antibiotic resistance—and it’s about 7 billion times cleaner and more glamorous than airplane-bathroom faucets." —Jean Godfrey-June, beauty director at Lucky

To read the rest of the story, click through to read it on the Condé Nast Traveler website, or download the PDF above.

The Daily Traveler: Solar Flares


How Solar Flares Interfere with Flights

Yesterday a massive solar flare—the biggest since 2005—had irksome consequences here on Earth, including forcing airlines to divert some of their flights. But how could the sun affect our air travel—and how big is the danger? We asked scientists to break it down for us.

First off, the phenomenon is not rare. "Solar flares happen all the time," says C. Megan Urry, chair of the Department of Physics at Yale University and director of the Yale Center for Astronomy & Astrophysics. "They have a range of brightnesses and most are too small to affect the Earth very much, but, occasionally, there are super big ones, like the flare of November 4 last year."

During the solar flares, Urry explains, "Much of the energy is emitted at very short wavelengths: X-rays and ultraviolet light. The largest ones involve 'coronal mass ejections', or CME, that also send very energetic particles our way."

These particles are the source of the troubles—especially for airplane equipment. "Energetic particles from the solar flare impact on the upper atmosphere of the Earth and ionize it, or release charged particles," says Jules Halpern, professor of astronomy at Columbia University. "The more ions there are, the more difficult it is for radio waves to propagate. This is particularly a problem for communication with flights going over the North Pole."

The equipment isn't the only thing at risk, however. "Exposing flight attendants and passengers to these particles is not a good idea," Urry says. "They could cause cell damage or mutations."

On the bright—no pun intended—side, Urry notes that "these particles should also cause unusually bright Northern Lights," for those lucky enough to be in areas that can see them.

The Daily Traveler: Urban Design Slideshow

Seven Genius Urban Design Innovations

No. 2: Cyclehoop Car Bike Rack
It doesn't take much to create a structure you can lock a bike to, so we’re impressed when a bike rack has a bit of creativity behind it. Cyclehoop's Car Bike Rack—which has been making the rounds at special events in the U.K., such as the Big World October Walk, one of the events leading up to London's Olympic Games—works anywhere you can parallel park a car, and it has space enough for 10 bikes. It gets bonus style points for the pop-art colors.

No. 5: SFMTA Bus Shelters
The bus is often the most neglected form of travel, design-wise, getting neither the grand terminals of train stations nor the high-tech hubs of airports. At least San Francisco has a well- designed bus shelter, courtesy of Lundberg Design. The colorful, crimped roofs of the shelter aren't just there for visual whimsy; they harness solar energy that's used to power the LED displays, and excess energy feeds back into the grid.

Click through to see the rest of the slideshow at

The Daily Traveler: Hangover Cures


Recover on New Year's Day Like the Cast of The Hangover Part II

The Bangkok Cure: Kill That Hangover with Vitamins—and Another Drink
Alex Holzer, mixologist at The Dome at Lebua in Bangkok, Thailand, has a cocktail with a special connection to hangovers, because it was “specially created for the cast and crew of The Hangover Part II,” he says. In addition to some hair of the dog, Holzer loads his cocktail up with healthful ingredients: “Honey is a source of carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, and protein. The Chinese have known about the medicinal benefits of green tea since ancient times, using it to treat everything from headaches to depression. Rosemary contains antioxidants and is an excellent source of Vitamins A, B6 and C, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and copper. Its connection with memory has been noted for a long time. Green apples contain sodium, and we add Vitamin C by making juice out of it to maintain the green clear color.”

  • 1 oz Chivas 12-year-old blended scotch whiskey
  • 1 oz Zen green tea liquor
  • .3 oz Martini Rosso
  • .5 oz green apple juice
  • .3 oz Angostura Bitter
  • .3 oz honey/rosemary infusion (house-made)
  • garnish with a rosemary sprig

Click through to read hangover cures from London, Sydney, Moscow, and Milan on The Condé Nast Traveler website.

The Daily Traveler: Underground Tours

Underground Tours that Won't Make You Miss the Sunlight

The most memorable experiences are not always up on the surface—sometimes you have to go underground. Of course, journeying to the center of the Earth isn't always easy: Right now, Brooklyn railway historian Bob Diamond is suing New York City for access to an old Long Island Railroad tunnel where he used to take groups. Though we won't know the outcome of his case for a while, in the meantime here are five underground tours that are so interesting you won't miss the sunlight.

The Coolest
Bill Speidel's Underground Tour

Location: Seattle, Washington
Cost: $8 for children, $13 for students and seniors, $16 for adults
The Tour: After the Great Seattle Fire rolled through Pioneer Square in 1889, the city took the opportunity to rebuild on top of the ruins, protecting itself against floods, mud, and seepage that had plagued the low-lying area. Bill Speidel's Tour takes you through what remains of the old city, where places that were once first-floor storefronts and streets remain eerily intact. FYI: Come thirsty—tours begin at Doc Maynard's Public House, a college-crowd bar known for its live music.

Click through to read the rest at the Condé Nast Traveler.

Photo: Bill Speidel's Underground Tour, Seattle, Washington