Top five weekend travel media stories

Here are some of the best travel stories culled from the travel sections of this past weekend’s newspapers.

1. In the Financial Times, Claire Wrathall pens a sailing exploration of northern Croatia’s Kornati islands, which take a backseat to the country’s southern Adriatic islands and port cities.

2. Seven writers weigh in on their first independent teenage trips in a Guardian travel feature. It’s amusing throughout, though the stories told by Terry Alderton and Emma Kennedy are especially funny.

3. In the Los Angeles Times, Michele Bigley recommends ten kid-friendly pit stops along Highway 1 between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

4. In the Winnipeg Free Press, Phil Reimer ponders the future of Antarctic cruises after the heavy-fuel ban takes effect next August. (Another great piece exploring the future of cruises among other tourism ventures was written by Doug French for the June 7 Christian Science Monitor.)

5. In the Irish Times, Ruadhán Mac Cormaic celebrates the virtues of Paris beyond the city’s six most central arondissements, sharing top-five hotel, restaurant, and activity lists.

(Photo: Flickr/Alaskan Dude)

Brief California U.S. Highway 1 report

For those of you planning to take Highway 1 from San Francisco to LA (or visa versa), you probably already know right now is not the best time to do it. Because of the devastating wildfires, the highway is closed to all traffic in some of the most picturesque areas, such as Big Sur.

I just completed the drive and here is what I found.

You can take Highway 1 from San Francisco all the way to Carmel without a problem. In fact, we didn’t see or smell any fires in that area. We actually took extra time to drive the 17-mile Pebble Beach loop that, roughly speaking, connects Monterrey and Carmel “the long way”. You pay $10 to drive the loop, but since such a big portion of Highway 1 is closed, it is money well spent. It is a beautiful piece of the country.

From Carmel, it gets tricky. We had to cut across to Highway 101 and take it all the way to San Louis Obispo. Soon after SLO, the highway starts hugging the coast again. You can get back on Highway 1. Far south around Santa Barbara, we saw the most dramatic wildfires. It looked like the mountains were spewing smoke (which they were). All the roads, however, remain open in that area.

If you can postpone the road trip, I would definitely postpone in order not to miss Big Sur. If you, however, are ready to go, you can still make the most of it.

(Picture taken on Mulholland Drive, somewhere in the Hollywood Hills, yesterday. Firefighters were busy putting out fires around the greater LA area. The air definitely smells of smoke up there.)

How bad are the wildfires around Highway 1?

Anyone out there living in the Big Sur area? If so, I am very, very sorry to hear about the devastating wildfires.

I am supposed to drive down from San Francisco to LA tomorrow and I was hoping to take Highway 1. Is that just completely insane? Is highway 1 still closed around Big Sur?

I have been reading a lot about the wildfires, but I can’t find updated local information.


Photo of the Day (6/11/07)

Sorry, couldn’t help myself: I took this a couple of days ago on the California coastline, below Big Sur, off Hwy 1. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful stretches of road–and coastline–in the world.