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Toilet Tourism Award Winners Revealed

Considering the news coming out of the White House these days it seems appropriate to chat about toilets, and who knew??: there are International Toilet Tourism Awards. Travelwirenews reports that six toilets have won the coveted titles in 2018. Submissions were received from destinations across North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. The toilets were judged for their design, quirkiness, location, accessibility, and economic contribution to their locality. And the winners are: Best Design: The Saskatchewan Science Centre, Saskatchewan, Canada. The design for the newly refurbished 2nd floor restroom was inspired by the boreal forests of northern Saskatchewan; the restroom is complete with floor-to-ceiling visuals of the deep forest and audio of birdsong and woodland sounds. Best Economic Contributor: The Cummins Mosaic Loo, Cummins, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia, Australia.  The local community converted a former railway station into a public loo with personality. Due to word of mouth, tourists now seek out the restrooms, which feature statues, mosaics, and paintings reflecting a more genteel bygone era from the early 20th century; the local businesses now benefit from tourists visiting the old-fashioned toilets in the center of town. Best Location: Hotel La Jolla, La Jolla, California. Sitting on the 11th floor, the restroom offers a breathtaking view of La Jolla and the Pacific Ocean beyond. Best Accessible Toilet: Brisbane Airport, Queensland, Australia. The airport's upgraded  accessible toilets have been designed to exceed accessibility legislation and make travel accessible to thousands of people with disabilities. Dedicated changing facilities allow for specialized equipment such as an adult changing table, a hoist, and a toilet with removable hand rails for people with severe disabilities. The airport even has an indoor loo for guide dogs. Quirkiest Experience: Bowl Plaza, Lucas, Kansas, United States. Bowl Plaza offers a public restroom with bling! It took four years to build and is now a major attraction in Lucas, the small town, grassroots arts capital of Kansas. The walls of the bathroom are covered inside and out detailed mosaics created by local residents and artists, and the entire building is shaped like a toilet tank. The entrance is even designed to look like a raised toilet lid with benches that represent the curved toilet seat. Winner for Overall Contribution to Toilet Tourism: The James Bond Toilets at Piz Gloria, Murren, Switzerland. Located at 2970m at the top of Mt. Schilthorn in Switzerland, the Piz Gloria revolving restaurant and visitor center has embraced a James Bond theme ever since the location was used as Blofeld's Lair in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service". The toilet experience has James Bond audiovisual effects: Bond girl Diana Rigg appears in the mirror when men wash their hands. There's a sign for men in the toilet saying "Shake, Don't Stir" and "Aim Like James". The ladies' room has music and a shot ringing out as an image of James Bond appears in the mirror beside a bullet hole, as well as an audio of Bond saying "Tonight, my place- just the two of us". 
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Time to Start Planning Your Winter Escape

It’s hard to imagine the cold, dark days of winter when it’s hot and sunny outside; but it WILL come.  And Now’s the time to plan your “escape.”  For a luxurious trip at a bargain price consider the current Sale Fare for Windstar’s Classic Caribbean 7-night cruise @$1699 per person.  For further information just give us a ring.
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Two Hours Beyond Hawaii and 100 Years Back in Time

  I've never considered myself to be a "cruise" person, but my husband and I recently sailed through the Society Islands of French Polynesia with Windstar; and I have  re-classified myself as a small-ship enthusiast. We set sail from Tahiti's capital, Papeete, which IS a bit "touristy", but woke up the next morning in Cook's Bay on the island of Moorea; we watched the sun rise over Magical Mountain. After breakfast we took a launch to the shore where we boarded a small speed boat and headed off for a day of spinner dolphin-viewing and snorkeling (lots of rays and small sharks amidst a myriad of other brightly colored fish and coral in crystal clear waters). Happily tired at the end of the day we motored back to our ship for a delicious dinner and some delightful wine that not only quenched our thirst but ensured an early night. The next morning found us moored off the "sacred island" of Raiatea.  Once the center of religion and culture in the Society Islands we chose to visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Marae Taputapuatea, the center of the "Polynesian Triangle" where the world of the living intersected with the worlds of ancestors and gods. After a full day of exploration, we once again concluded the day with great food and wine. And so the pace was set - over the course of the next five days we sailed to Taha'a,  Bora Bora and Huahine. Each day began early and was filled with exploring, hiking, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking (even some R&R) and ended with great food, wine, socializing, and entertainment. Apart from vanilla and coconut plantations, tourism is THE livelihood of Polynesia, but the islands are anything but crowded. Over-the-water bungalows can be found on most islands, but there are NO highrises. French Polynesia covers a total area of 2.5 million square km, with a land mass of of 3500 square km and population of 280,000. And we didn't run into a single unhappy, unpleasant "local". I can only imagine that this must have been what Hawaii was like 100 years ago.   If only it could stay this way forever.    
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“Tourlina” Travel App for Women

While traveling alone can be rewarding, for women it can come with risks. A new app “Tourlina” hopes to ease female travelers’ anxieties about exploring solo by creating a global, female-only network. Using a Tinder-like format, users can swipe through fellow explorers and friendly locals in order to get travel advice or find platonic companionship, like a buddy to sit with on a long train ride.
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