Category: Travel Guides

Bar table used by Obama in the bar turns tourist spot in Vietnam

Obama’s visit to Vietnam came in 2016 and generated high expectations in the country, where he was hailed by thousands of people almost as an idol.

Excited by the interest of tourists and the curious, the owners of the Bun Cha Huong Lien bar in Hanoi turned the table where former President Barack Obama and New York chef Anthony Bourdain dined in 2016.

The owners put the table, the two blue plastic benches they sat on, the utensils used, a saucepan and two bottles of beer the same as Obama and Bourdain consumed. The dinner, which consisted of a plate of pasta with pork, remained for posterity in images made by the channel “CNN”.

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Since the image of the then president with a beer in hand during the official visit to Vietnam rolled the world, this small bar, better known among the residents of the region, became a place of pilgrimage of curious and tourists, more attracted by the history of the place than by the gastronomy itself.

The donuts were quick to create a ” special Obama menu “: a plate of ‘buncha’ (pork, rice noodles and fish sauce), fried Vietnamese rolls and a Hanoi Beer, the local beer. In an interview with the Vietnamese channel “Kenh 14”, Nguyen Thi Lien, one of the owners, said that the idea of exposing the table inside a glass was not yours, but some customers so that Obama’s visit would be eternalized.

“We came up with a good idea. Also, since there is only table and stools in there, it does not take up much space and does not detract from the business. We just want to show appreciation for the visit. It’s not an advertising strategy, “she told portal” “.

As proof that the intention is not fame, Lien revealed that in the past two years has received several offers from collectors wanting to acquire the objects in question, but she always refuses to sell.

“For us, Obama is a good man and, despite several people coming in contact, we can not sell these objects, ” he said.

She stated that the glass was installed in February, but had no repercussions until this week a photo has spread to social networks.

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Some netizens criticize. Others have argued and said it is a way to continue to explore Obama’s visit commercially.

Some people, on the other hand, see the decision as a way to celebrate a historic moment and wonder why it took nearly two years to expose the “famous” dinner.

The restaurant was also decorated with several pictures of Obama talking to Bourdain and alongside some clients who were in the place on the day of the visit of the former president, who appeared by surprise. The images came to Bourdain, who shared the picture on Instagram himself on the 12th, with the caption: “I’m not sure how I feel about it.”

Obama’s historic visit to Vietnam came in May 2016, in the last year of his second term, and raised great expectations in the country, where he was hailed by thousands of people almost as an idol.

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Picasso or Goya fill the walls of a French museum hidden among the rocks

The walls and the stone floor of “Carrières de Lumières”, an old rock quarry in the south of France, today serve as a canvas for the works of Picasso, Goya or Sorolla, projected on a large scale to the rhythm of music for Immerse visitors in Spanish painting.

This interactive exhibition that houses the town of Baux-de-Provence (southeast of France) uses a hundred projectors, to show pictures by Goya, Rusiñol, Zuloaga or Sorolla and a tour of the work of Pablo Picasso.

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During the thirty minutes of the show, visitors will be able to observe and step on the works of art, which are projected on walls and floors to achieve a “total immersion” effect.

The experience begins with images of Picasso’s life that follow each other while “Asturias”, the famous composition of the Spanish pianist Isaac Albéniz, which, like the rest of the soundtrack, is reproduced on vinyl to achieve “the texture and the flavor “of another era, explained one of the filmmakers, Gianfranco Iannuzzi.

Along the 16-meter-high limestone walls, paintings such as “El quitasol” by Goya, “María la guapa” by Sorolla, and numerous creations by the artist from Málaga such as “Las señoritas de Avignon” or “Guernica” Grays contrast with the bright colors that prevail in the exhibition “Picasso and the Spanish masters”.

A part of the exhibition, open to the public until January 2019, is dedicated to the portraits of women that the painter made throughout his life and that reflect all the pictorial styles through which he passed, “from the voluptuous curves to the sharp angles “, in the words of the organizers.

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The place where is since 2012 “Carrières de Lumières” was known as “Val d’Enfer” (Valley of Hell) by the peculiar shapes of its rocks, which were exploited for years to extract the limestone that was used in various buildings .

Already in 1959, the artist Jean Cocteau recorded his film “Le Testament d’Orphée” between these immense walls, and from 1976 the site began to host shows of light and sound.

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Paris receives a record of tourists in 2017 and gives by overcome terrorist crisis

Index last year hit historic mark and represented growth after two consecutive declines

The city of Paris and its region had a record number of tourists in 2017, with 33.8 million customers in hotels, 9.5% more than in 2016, overcoming the drop in the previous two years due to the jihadist attacks.

The Regional Tourism Committee (CRT) said in a statement that this recovery is due both to the increase in international clientele (13.7%) and national (5.9%).

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In total, it surpasses by 3.4% the number of 2011, considered so far the reference tourist year, with 32.7 million tourists.

The CRT, according to its analysis, says the increase is explained: “both by the context and by the unprecedented efforts made to restore confidence to tourists.”

Americans, British, Chinese, Germans, and Spaniards re-formed the top five nationalities in 2017, but the most outstanding annual increase of 32.8% was that of the Japanese, who ranked 10th.

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The average occupancy rate of hotels (73.2%) also registered a large increase.

The CRT predicts that by 2018 the upward trend will continue, taking into account the air reservations destined for Paris airports, and estimates that in the coming months of March and May a total increase of 11.4% is possible.

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Argentinean Ecoparque tries to change paradigms with the help of “animal trainers”

“Today, zoos tend to be ecoparques, it is no longer an exhibition of animals and ready,” said the coordinator of the “animal trainers.”

The personal trainers do not act only in gyms; in Argentina they are also in zoos, working to keep the animals in good condition and helping in the transfer of the animals to other spaces, a vital work for the creation of the Ecoparque of Buenos Aires.

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Currently, about 100 instructors are supervised in the animal behavior sector of Ecoparque – one of the most popular in Argentina – by María Eugenia Dahdah. According to the coordinator, “animal trainers” are fundamental for animals to become accustomed to the presence of veterinarians, what they are going to eat and the spaces they will occupy in the “paradigm” change that is being experienced by one who, with more than 100 years of history, is the oldest zoo in the city.

Since 2016, these 16.7 hectares are being rebuilt to fit the animal life and transmit to the visitors the new message: the main one is animal conservation, so, the show ended.

“Today, zoos tend to be ecoparques, it is no longer an exhibition of animals and ready,” clarified Maria Eugenia.

This work, which in her opinion is “what the public knows least,” will allow offering environments ideal to the size that each species needs, with the appropriate stimuli and where they can develop all the behaviors they would have in life in the forest. Once this mission is in place, the management of the place wants to re-educate the public about the animals and continue with the work of genebank.

The behavioral area has a team of veterinarians, biologists, and environmental science technicians to coordinate the activities that caregivers do every day.

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“When we know that an animal will be transferred, whether in or out of the park, we talk to the caretakers and from there we begin to see which infrastructure we have to build and what elements are needed,” said Maria Eugenia.

Some activities include getting them to get on the scale, trust the caregivers and get in the box for transportation.

The former zoo of Buenos Aires acts specifically as ” place of passage ” and rescue of animals that belonged to private collectors. According to the coordinator, the problems of animal trafficking and the practice of transforming wild animals into pet animals that persists in Argentina are “very serious”, which means that afterward many cannot be reinserted in the woods and have to stay in Ecoparque.

For María Eugenia, education is the key to changing people’s perception of animal care and the role of zoos and eco parks.

“If we are a place that will receive animals, we will do the rehabilitation, release them and do a follow-up work so that this does not continue to happen,” he said.

Ecoparque has gone through “a very significant change” and has already transferred 370 animals to shrines and other centers around the world. The expectation is that of the almost 1,000 animals that the space shelters today only remain 200 until the year 2023, date of total opening.

The species that will remain will be autochthonous (so that people know the regional fauna ), rescued from the traffic or wounds and those that could not be returned to the environment due to health issues.

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Ten must-see destinations to travel in 2018

“From almost every continent, ten countries attract attention and inspire travelers.”

The list Best in Travel 2018 of Lonely Planet, largest publisher of world travel guides, chose ten must-see countries to visit this year. All destinations fulfill a number of criteria such as event celebrations, which can generate news for travelers, or places that are unfairly not so prominent, according to the publisher. Based on these categories that are analyzed by travel experts, the list has selected ten countries, ten cities and ten regions for travelers on call to be inspired. And to begin the year, EFETur replies some tips on the ten countries chosen by Lonely Planet. Check out:


The Chilean capital, Santiago; the romantic, bohemian and coastal Valparaiso; the vineyards of the Casablanca Valley; the Patagonia or the Atacama desert are some of the urban and natural beauties of the Latin country, which has several reasons to head this classification. In addition, this year, Chile celebrates 200 years of its independence and can offer interesting regional feasts to experience.

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile.  Photograph.  Elena Tornero

Among the tips highlighted by Best in Travel 2018 are an itinerary through the Andean country with some different experiences, such as making the five-day W route through Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia; visit Easter Island to see the striking moai statues; or use the “San Pedro do Atacama oasis as a base” to visit volcanoes, flamingos lakes and other places in the “driest polar desert in the world”.

South Korea

High mountains, 2,400 kilometers of coastline or urban centers, such as Seoul and Busan, coexist with the traditional culture of South Korea, “a wonder almost unknown,” according to Lonely Planet, which in addition to a two-week travel itinerary proposes a series of visits and activities in the country that will host the 2018 Winter Games.

Sungnyemun Gate in Seoul, South Korea Photo: EFE / Jeon Heon-Kyun.

For example, “strolling through a hanok “, a traditional Korean village with a long history located between the Gyeongbokgung palaces, Changdokkgung and the royal shrine of Jongmyo, to sample regional cuisine such as bibimbap, seafood tarts, accompanied with white wine from makgeollí rice


The Best Travel Guide 2018 ranked Portugal as a country that “fled the shadow of its neighbor, Spain, and focuses the spotlight as a dynamic center of art, culture, and gastronomy.” Other highlights are accessibility to natural treasures, secular traditions, and avant-garde passion.

View of Lisbon.  EFE / Manuel De Almeida.

The itinerary proposed by the guide begins in Oporto, goes through Lisbon and stops in Évora, before arriving in the Algarve and ending the tour in the historic citadel of Sagres.

According to Lonely Planet, it is essential to visit the Douro Valley wineries, “the oldest wine region in the world”, as well as a stroll through the forests and castles of Sintra.


This small country of fewer than one million inhabitants in northeastern Africa, on the one hand, overlooks the ocean and, on the other hand, has a border with Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia. The most striking attraction is nature, because “it is in the process of cracking because of the three divergent tectonic plates.” Hence the landscapes of its deserts, releasing steam and luster that the large crystals of salt provide on the shores of its deep lakes.

A market in Djibouti.  Photo: EFE / Mazen Mahdi.

The incredible seabed, such as Ghoubbet Bay, dive among the whale sharks. One of the proposed routes indicates start by the capital, travel to the extraterrestrial landscape of Lake Abbé and then go to the crystalline shores of Lake Assal, and then go to the bay of Ghoubbet to end with a passage through the massif of Goda.

New Zealand

In 2018, the Pike29 Memorial Track is inaugurated, a new Great Walk, the first to join this network of routes, the Great Walks, which for decades took travelers “to some of the most extraordinary wilderness on the planet.”

Snow-capped mountains in Tongariro National Park, New Zealand.  Photo: EFE / Kim Ludbrook.

Its proximity to the Pacific Ring of Fire makes New Zealand a more than special destination. “It’s a fast place where you can live the best adventures at your own pace,” as Best in Travel 2018 mentions. Enjoy the urban environment of Auckland; the bubbling neighborhood of sultry Rotorua; Nelson; Wellington; driving on Route 6 and crossing the Aorakil National Park Mount Cook to end in Queenstown is the itinerary proposed by Lonely Planet. Among the essential experiences is the new Great Walk, as well as canoe trip along the river route along the Whanganui River, or see “the sunset over Lake Waikaremoana”.


Image of the island of Gozo with the church Ta 'Pinu in the background.  Photo: Efetur / Cedida by Tourism of Malta.

The Maltese capital, Valletta, is set to begin in 2018, where it will reign as the European Capital of Culture. A reason to add Malta to the special destinations for 2018. The archipelago is a treasure chest, a product of a long history accompanied by the Mediterranean Sea and the sun of its privileged climate. A one-week trip to Malta, should be, according to the Best in Travel 2018, with a few days in Valletta; a visit to Hypogeum (underground structure of about 5,000 years); Boat trip to the Blue Grotto; a time to beach in Golden Bay, for example, and visit in the cities of Mdina and Rabat, finalizing the itinerary in Island Gozo.


The city of Mtsjeta, in Georgia, declared a World Heritage Site.  Photo: EFE / Misha Vignanski.

In 1918, 100 years ago, this Caucasian country became independent of Russia. Its long history and its spectacular territory, “amazing economic value” and that citizens of several countries “can visit Georgia without a visa for a whole year” are the other attractions that make this place worthy of occupying the number 7 post in this ranking The traveler is discovering on his journey “Orthodox churches on top of high mountains, medieval monasteries surrounded by green valleys and towns carved out of cliffs,” summarizes Lonely Planet. Essential in Georgia are the 15 monasteries excavated on the slopes of the caves of Davit Gareja, on the border with Azerbaijan. There is also the medieval town of Vardzia and Kazbegi, a village that is the starting point for excursions through the Upper Caucasus.

Mauricio Islands

Beach in Mauritius.  Photo: Efetur / Beatriz Mapelli.

Impossible to talk about the island without falling into the clichés. It is an idyllic setting with sapphire waters. It is a melting pot of cultures (there is a European past, its inhabitants are African, its vast colony is of Indian origin) and its coral reefs are a paradise for diving and snorkeling. This year, the site commemorates the 50th anniversary of its independence, another reason to visit it, and it offers the best resorts and other landscapes away from the beach that are worthwhile, such as the Black River Gorges National Park and the Land of the Seven Colors or the wooded zones and the plantations of cane. In the tips proposed by Lonely Planet, there is also the Grand Baie; the côte souvage, the village of Chamaret (entrance to the aforementioned National Park) and the leafy Île aux Aigrettes.


The Great Wall, one of China's biggest attractions.  Photo: EFE / How Hwee Young.

It is very complicated to summarize in a few paragraphs the reasons why one should visit this enormous country, but one of them is undoubtedly his recent commitment to modernity and technology. According to Lonely Planet, the idea is to spend a month in the country, starting with the capital, Beijing, with visits to the Summer Palace and the Forbidden City and an excursion to the Great Wall. A bullet train journey to reach Xian can be a unique experience. The publisher’s script also indicates visiting Shanghai, one of the country’s finest examples of modernity, as well as taking in the views of the world’s highest point and picturesque rural areas of Yuanyang and its rice plantations. Finally, you will love Hong Kong.

South Africa

Chapman Peak, in the Table Mountain National Park, in Cape Town (South Africa).  Photo: EFE / Nic Bothma.

Wildlife, beaches, and mountains also feature the South African landscape, also remembered by Nelson Mandela, whose centenary is celebrated in 2018 with a special program of events that will appeal to visitors. It is impressive, according to Lonely Planet, to take a photo safari through the Kruger National Park; visit the remote Wild Coast and immerse yourself in the country’s past at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg and on Robben Island where Mandela spent most of his time in prison. On the 15-day itinerary proposed by the Best in Travel 2018, in addition to Cape Town, it is included on the Hermanus tour to see the whales. Important not to forget the Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park; swim with sharks at the Protea Banks and visit Johannesburg. Not to mention, of course, the Kruger National Park.

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