Flickr user GogoTheGogo has taken a photo of what looks like the end of a perfect day. The image features a solitary figure in silhouette walking through the grass against a fiery orange sky in Zagreb, Crotia. I love the warm colors, the way the light plays off the little puffs of cloud, and most of all, the anonymity of that lone figure who gets to take this magnificent scene in.
Extreme cold and snow have gripped parts of Europe in ways that the continent has not experienced in years. The images of people struggling to cope with the elements are chilling (no pun intended). Even in Split, Croatia, a coastal town on the Adriatic Sea, snow has blanketed the beaches as temperatures have plunged nearly 30 degrees below average for this time of year. Seeing people walk along the palm tree-lined shore as snow falls unrelentingly is almost too incongruous to process.
As a kid, I spent lots of summer vacations staring at boats in the harbor. I never had a good reason for it but today, Flickr user nicocrisafulli’s photo brought all those boat memories rushing back. There’s something childlike and wonderful about their motion, sound and colors: the way they chaotically bob up and down, the soft thwapping of the covers whipping in the breeze and their colorful hulls accented by a rainbow of blues and reds. It’s pretty much exactly what we see in this shot, which was captured in the beautiful Mediterranean city of Dubrovnik, Croatia. I can already smell the crisp sea air in my mind.
Have any great travel photos you’d like to share with the world? Why not add them to the Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.
A new travel-planning website and booking engine is launching this month in beta, and I was excited to give it a test run, having first heard about the site this spring at a EuroCheapo travel happy hour. Wanderfly.com is a “personalized recommendation engine” that takes your interests, budget, and even social network connections to give you inspiration and help you plan your next vacation. Flights and hotels are pulled from Expedia, with restaurant recommendations, activities, and sightseeing descriptions culled from Lonely Planet, FourSquare, NileGuide, and Yelp.
Let’s say you have a week to travel in early September for Labor Day. Budget is under $1,000 per person for flights and hotels, and you’re interested in culture, beaches, and food. Plug all those into the search engine and you’ll get a series of destinations to review, refine, share, and book. While the site still has a few bugs (budget busters would sneak through the filters, the help feature is not fully enabled), the interface is slick and user-friendly, the features are thoughtful, and the content is reliable.
What’s cool about the site:
- Since I’m currently based in Turkey, I loved that your point of origin could be pretty much anywhere in the world so I could run searches from New York and Istanbul to get a wide variety of places convenient for different parts of the world.
- A wide (1,200 and growing) network of destinations gave me some ideas I’d never considered or even heard of (Kalingrad, Russia; Azemmour, Morocco; Krabi, Thailand), as well as some more tried-and-true vacation spots(Sunny Isles Beach, Florida; Mykonos, Greece; Split, Croatia).
- Weather and news tabs give you an idea of the current climate (could be too hot on that Egyptian beach) and happenings, though you might come up with nothing for more obscure destinations. I also love that many of the news feeds are through Twitter accounts like @visitbritain, giving up-to-the-minute quickie items.
What will be cool about the site:
- Ability to share trip ideas and plans with friends via email or Facebook is great for planning a trip with multiple people or getting feedback on a destination. Currently, Facebook Connect will tell you who you know in a given place, but I’d probably remember if I had a friend in Lutsk, Ukraine.
- Festivals and special events come up via Eventful , but on the beta site event dates will pop up well after your search range so don’t plan around that blues festival just yet. There are also plans to add destination reviews, currency converters, and travel tips.
- After all the searching, sorting, and sharing, you can actually book through the site, though only if you have a US credit card. The booking interface is also easy to use and gives options for frequent flier numbers, seat and meal preferences, and room types.
All in all, Wanderfly is a nifty new tool for dreaming and planning your next trip. If they could find a way to integrate time-sensitive deals, local blogs, and multiple-destination trips, this could be the only travel site you need.
One of the best things about traveling is seeing items and situations that seem completely foreign to you — like a pile of strange-looking fish for sale, for example. Pirano snapped this photo in Split, Croatia. No word on whether he/she made a purchase.
Capture any seemingly strange scenes from your last trip? Upload them to Gadling’s Flickr pool and we’ll consider them for our Photo of the Day feature.