London: New ceramics gallery at The V&A
The Victoria & Albert Museum re-opens its famous ceramics galleries in a snazzily redesigned space this Friday.
It wasn't easy. Imagine how fearful curators were as they put on display more than 3,200 of the world's most breakable artworks.
Works by Picasso sit alongside 1,000-year old Ming vases, intricate Delft, and sculptures from ancient Egypt.
Curious how cermaics are made? A potter's studio and kiln is available, with classes for interested visitors.
In a clever move, there's a walk-through simulation of the studio of Dame Lucie Rie, one of the greatest potters of the past 100 years. Plus, in a snazzy design move, an external glass walkway links the galleries with the rest of the museum.
The V&A; is the largest museum of decorative and applied arts in the world. It's within easy walking distance of the Natural History Museum, Harrods, and Hyde Park. Opened in 1909, the galleries used to be on the 6th floor in a musty area. The six redesigned galleries now make much better use of skylights and windows, with sunlight bringing out the best colors in the artworks.
Details at the museum's website, www.vam.ac.uk.
Readers' new sunset photos
Our (endless!) sunset series has been eliciting tons of photos through myBudgetTravel, our social media site. So we put together the best of the best. Among the 17 photos we selected, check out Balinese lovers, a tall-masted sailing ship off of Key West, and a fiery French Polynesian seascape in Bora-Bora. Keep the photos coming, and tag them sunsets. See our slide show! • Recent submissions suggest we should start a rainbow series. Upload any images you have through myBudgetTravel, tag them rainbows, and we'll start featuring the series in coming weeks. • Plus, see our national parks series, and submit your own through myBudgetTravel. Tag them national parks. MORE We're thanking some of our newest SuperMembers—those who have reached 20,000 points over a time period—with free one-year subscriptions or subscription renewals to Budget Travel. Check out submissions from SuperMembers Nancyb926 (photostream), Buqo (photostream), jcjlkrebs (photostream), and Ruth Engel (photostream).
Better than San Juan?
We've been asking top guidebook writers to recommend alternatives to well known tourist attractions. Today, we talk with Stephen Keeling, author of the first-edition of The Rough Guide to Puerto Rico. We asked him: If you had to recommend an alternative destination to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where would you recommend? The island of Culebra, off the coast of Puerto Rico, is a stunningly gorgeous alternative to well-trafficked San Juan, where most tourists go. The island is a short plane or ferry ride from the main island of Puerto Rico. Unlike much of the Caribbean, Culebra remains low-key and unspoiled by resorts. Culebra's Playa Flamenco is one of the world's best beaches, but there are others, like Playa Soni, that are almost always deserted and just as beautiful. The bioluminescent bay in Vieques also off the coast of Puerto Rico is another reason to move past the main island. This mind-blowing phenomenon is best experienced during a nocturnal swim, with water glowing in the dark and dripping from your fingers like sparkling gems—quite amazing and totally underrated outside Puerto Rico. Think we've slighted San Juan? Please don't! San Juan is a terrific destination, both Budget Travel and The Rough Guides agree. We're just pointing out alternatives for some travelers. If you think San Juan deserves more credit, let us know! Each month, we pick one of our favorite cities and ask locals to show us around their all-time favorite spots. So, residents of Puerto Rico's coastal capital, we need your help! Fill out this online form and then watch for your town in an upcoming issue of Budget Travel. MORE TRAVEL ALTERNATIVES Better than Ha Long Bay, Vietnam? Better than the Inca Trail? Better than the Eiffel Tower? Better than Stonehenge? Better than Buckingham Palace?
In Paris: A four-day festival of affordable film
Film lovers in Paris will be happy to know that the city is putting its seats on sale for four days in mid-September. The Rentrée du Cinéma festival runs in theaters across town from September 13–16 and features tickets for only €4 ($5.75). That's more than half the price of a regular movie ticket. So take this as your opportunity to see Julie & Julia in Child's original Paris setting, or to challenge your French comprehension with one of the local favorites, like the dark and heavy prison drama Un Prophète (the prophet). Bon film!
This weekend: Celebrate North Carolina's apple bounty
They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away. You could probably get your apple fix for the entire year at the North Carolina Apple Festival, held in Hendersonville, N.C., this weekend. The 63rd annual festival begins on Friday and lasts through Labor Day, when there's a huge King Apple Parade. The backbone of the festival is the free Street Fair, which takes over eight blocks of Main Street, with 250 vendors selling arts and crafts wares. There's also live entertainment, like bluegrass music. Henderson County, N.C. is the seventh-largest apple-producing county in the U.S., with about $22 million in income a year. The state's apples are mostly red and golden delicious, Rome beauty, and gala. At the festival, there will be 14 local apple growers present, selling goodies like apple ice cream, apple freezes, and fried apple pie (yum). Hendersonville is about two hours west of Charlotte, N.C. Festival organizers expect more than 225,000 people to attend. How do you like them apples? Go to ncapplefestival.org for a full schedule and parking information.