By S.G. Kazolias. Ask someone who has just returned from a Nile cruise or a resort in the Red Sea, just how dire Egyptians are and you will probably get a blank look and “huh?”. It is easy for tourists to travel to Egypt without seeing the country they are visiting. Tourists on a Nile cruise are taken by bus from the ship to a temple or shops and back and never venture into the poor streets of a country in crisis:
Cembra – Italy. Since the Dolomites were made World Heritage sites by UNESCO in 2009, the number of Alpine hikers and tourists has grown exponentially. But if you tire of the crowds and of finding mountain refuges and valley hotels booked out weeks and months in advance; if your mind spins from juggling the Südtiroler German names with those the Italians have been trying to impose on Alto Adige ever since they annexed it from Austria after WWI (how does Grassleitenpass become Passo Principe?), there is a valley not yet over-run by the international tourist industry and which is pure Italy without the noise, hustle and bustle: the Val di Cembra.
The tourist guide got off the bus and greeted the group of chubby British women with “Shopping in Playa Blanca ? Shopping in Playa Blanca?” He could have said “doggy wanna bone?” and it would have been the same. I knew I had to see this.
Playa Blanca, a sprawling resort on the southern coast of Lanzarote, is everything native born artist César Manrique did not want for his waterless, volcanic island. Thanks to Manrique, the farthest east and the most arid of the Canary Islands escaped the mega hotels which defaced La Palma, Tenerife and Gran Canaria.