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How to keep the passion for travel alive during coronavirus outbreak

by Ace Damon
How to keep the passion for travel alive during coronavirus outbreak

Trips may be off the agenda at the moment.

But that doesn't mean you have to stop exploring new places.

Here, we bring together the best travel books, virtual tours and TV and radio programs that will keep your passion for travel alive.

Mexican travel

Paul Theroux's book On the Plain of Snakes describes his journey through Mexico. In Mexico City, in the photo, he describes how he is mugged

Theroux completes his trip through Mexico by car

Theroux completes his trip through Mexico by car

After driving for five days at his Cape Cod home, veteran travel writer Paul Theroux crosses the border into Mexico full of optimism in On The Plain Of Snakes, a bold and colorful travel diary about the nation to the south of America, on whose border President Donald Trump aims to build a giant wall.

On one level, Theroux's car journey is about sniffing stories to tell what a country is suffering terribly from poverty and drug violence.

But there is also an uplifting personal side: although he recognizes that he has become an "old gringo" (now 78), the act of hitting the road soon fills him with & # 39; euphoria & # 39; and makes you feel young again. "As soon as I got behind the wheel, I felt a feeling that it was like being caught by a cosmic wind, remembering what to travel in the best possible way: I was released."

Theroux's ability to capture encounters and his keen interest in dialogue enrich his journey along the banks of the Tijuana River, while he learns from migrants about the dangers of crossing the north and the "drug tunnels" under no man's land. This is not your average air tour.

It goes south, to Monterrey and, later, on the secondary roads to Chiapas and Oaxaca, where it crosses the lake of snakes (the plain of snakes). A different world soon opens: "Green pastures of cows, old wooden pens and tiled roofed ranchitos, wildflowers, butterflies and hawks floating in the cloudless sky".

Mexico City, however, is another matter, where a corrupt policeman steals it and leaves it "shaking", only for the same encounter to happen again a few days later. He's broke for several hundred dollars.

Through bumpy roads, he avoids landslides and dead cats, as he enters the turbulent and joyful chaos of Mexican life. It is not surprising that a bribe is needed before he can cross America on his way home.

However, the great pleasures of this book are admiring Theroux's stubborn persistence, being happy that he did it and not you, and sitting in self-isolation and enjoying his many setbacks and ideas.

  • On the Plain Of Snakes by Paul Theroux (Hamish Hamilton, £ 20, September brochure, £ 9.99).

Land of the rising sun

The book, Be More Japan: The Art of Japanese Living, where you can learn all about Japanese culture

The book, Be More Japan: The Art of Japanese Living, where you can learn all about Japanese culture

Those planning a trip to Tokyo for the 2020 Olympic Games in July – now postponed until next year – can experience life in the land of the rising sun at home with Be More Japan: The Art Of Japanese Living.

Learn all about J-pop (Japanese pop music), how to behave in an onsen (a hot spring), martial arts, sumo wrestling, the Japanese semi-obsession with robots and video games, street food etiquette, sushi and the that makes the perfect Japanese garden.

There is a special section on otaku, Japanese for & # 39; geekery & # 39; and a word used to describe fans of anime (animation), manga (comics or graphic novels) and video games.

This partly explains the rise in popularity of "maid cafes", where waitresses dress in maid clothes and act as maids. Colorful images add to the text of this well-designed coffee table book that will make you dream of the Far East, in all its peculiarities.

  • Be More Japan: The Art of Japanese Living (D.K., £ 16.99).

Amber adventure

Along the Amber Route traces the history of the old commercial passage from St. Petersburg to Venice

Along the Amber Route traces the history of the old commercial passage from St. Petersburg to Venice

More than 90% of the world's amber comes from the Baltic Sea – where ancient Greeks and Romans purchased the award-winning condensed pine resin for transportation to the south.

Along the Route of the Amber, C. J. Schuler traces this brilliant old commercial passage.

The result is an enchanting travel trip that begins in St. Petersburg – to see the famous Amber Room in the Catherine Palace – before heading to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Kaliningrad, Poland and the Czech Republic, finally arriving in Venice.

Schuler goes hunting for amber on the beaches (eventually finding a piece of Baltic gold washed near Klaipeda in Lithuania), visits many amber museums and reflects on his own family's connections on the south route ; his father is from Wroclaw, Poland, an important point of preparation.

Well-designed maps highlight his journey, in which Schuler describes his travel frustrations and fills the text with intriguing historical devices. Some amber is 50 million years old and was especially prized by the ancient Greeks and Romans, he says, for its mysterious ability to feel cool in summer and warm in winter.

The Amber Route is comparable to the Silk Road, from China to Europe, if not so exotic.

Perhaps when Covid-19 is finally ready and sprinkled, there will be a tourist stampede.

  • Along the Amber Route by C. J. Schuler (Sandstone Press, £ 16.99).

Virtual experience

See the New Seven Wonders

Airpano is a project by a team of Russian photographers specialized in photographing 360-degree aerial panoramas from exceptional places around the world. Locations range from Manhattan's skyscrapers to Bolivia's salt flats, along with the New Seven Wonders of the World, which include the Great Wall of China and the salmon-pink ruins of Jordan's Pink City of Petra.

Take a walk in Peru

Ancient delight: join real-life trekkers to take a virtual look at Machu Picchu

Ancient delight: join real-life trekkers to take a virtual look at Machu Picchu

It usually takes four days to walk the famous 42-kilometer Inca Trail from Ollantaytambo to the ancient lost city of Machu Picchu in Peru, but now you can see everything in an hour without having to get off the couch – just go to YouTube ( follow the link below).

This panoramic video follows a party of hikers who climb the Andes to achieve incredible views, such as the mist-shrouded ruins of Winay Wanya, which only those who walk usually enjoy.

Watch grizzly bears fishing

Explore.org is the largest collection of live cameras that observe wildlife and nature across the planet. Viewers can watch in real time or click on the highlights to see fascinating images of Alaskan brown bears catching fish, mountain gorillas resting in the jungles of Congo or a giraffe taking a quick drink from a waterhole in South Africa.

Find some space

NASA's Curiosity Rover, which has collected many images of Mars since landing in 2012

NASA's Curiosity Rover, which has collected many images of Mars since landing in 2012

Staying indoors all day is not much fun, but you can dramatically widen your horizons by looking closely at the planet Mars, some 140 million kilometers away.

Using images collected by NASA's Curiosity Rover, which arrived in 2012, viewers at home can contemplate an austere rocky landscape that includes enigmatic features such as Pahrump Hills and Murray Buttes.

Arty app

Google Arts & Culture is an innovative little app that allows you to take a virtual tour of more than 1,200 museums and archives worldwide.

The fascinating content ranges from a peek inside Captain Scott's hut in Antarctica to a trip through Europe with impressionist painter Claude Monet, in which his works now hanging in the National Gallery of London are paired with the scene today.

Hot photos

If you're using your time at home to organize a zillion travel photos, check out the inspirational images taken by the 2019 Travel Photographer of the Year award winners.

Families will appreciate the incredible work of young travelers from the age of 11 – and if you already have a super photo, registration for 2020 will open on May 1st.

… IN THE ACCOUNT

Secrets of Egypt

In the second series of this show, archaeologists research Queen Cleopatra's lost tomb and dive into ancient ruins in the Mediterranean Sea.

In series one, you can watch on channel4.com, the tomb mysteries found in the Valley of the Kings are investigated.

  • Secrets of the Valley of the Kings of Egypt (Sunday, 8 pm, one hour, C4).

Hairy bikers in Provence

Hairy bikers start their Mediterranean adventure in the French city of Marseille, pictured

Hairy bikers start their Mediterranean adventure in the French city of Marseille, pictured

Si King and Dave Myers – also known as Hairy Bikers – head to Provence as part of their quest in the Mediterranean to eat healthier. Starting in Marseille, they try the classic Bouillabaisse (fish stew) before heading west to taste octopus pastries and grilled snails.

  • The Mediterranean adventure of furry bikers (Wednesday, 7 pm, one hour, BBC Two).

AND THE RADIO …

Melbourne sounds

Peter White, blind from birth, explores Melbourne in Australia through sound.

  • The documentary: Sounds of the city (Tuesday, 10:00 pm, 30 minutes, BBC World Service).

By bicycle in Majorca

Every year, thousands of British cyclists go to Mallorca to take advantage of its dry climate and challenging and winding roads. It is not surprising that Bradley Wiggins, who is interviewed, has a training base there.

  • Mallorca and middle-aged men in Lycra (Tuesday, 8:30 pm, 30 minutes, Radio 4 Extra)

Romania's "Amazon"

Romania's forests are vast and mysterious – home to brown bears and lynx – and known to some as Europe's Amazon. However, they are under pressure from loggers, and protecting them can be dangerous work, as Tim Whewell reports.

  • Crossing continents: the man who died for trees (Monday, 8:30 pm, 30 minutes, BBC Radio 4).

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