Saturday, 16 January 2016

A New York City layover - 3 stories

The Wythe Hotel, Williamsburg, New York, USA
The Manhattan skyline from the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg
creative commons image, Travel Junction on Flickr
A hipster's extended layover in New York City - Curiosity Travels
On Jessica Wray's 30 hour NYC layover with friends, the 3 managed to fit in beverages on more than one open air rooftop bar with a view.
After a short but scenic ferry ride, we arrived in Williamsburg to check out the rooftop bar at the Wythe Hotel. Housed in a refurbished historic factory, the hotel itself is a hip place to be and the rooftop even more so. We spent a couple of hours enjoying IPAs on the outside patio with the NY skyline just across the water... [read Jessica's article]

24 Hours: New York City - Nicholas Andriani
A confessed introvert, writer Nicholas Andriani, more inclined to wilderness than cities, describes the appeal of New York City during a short visit.
Take a taxicab or Uber, your choice, to the Jane Hotel. Built in 1908 for sailors docking in Manhattan, the Jane Hotel offers historic, cabin-like berths for single and double occupancy... [read Nicholas' story]

What to do on an 11 hour layover in NYC - Adam Atmtx
Lots of lessons learned, inspiration and incredible photographs in Adam's timeless blog post about his 2012 New York layover. From JFK, he fit in both a trip to Manhattan and the transit museum in Brooklyn.
I took the Air Train from the Airport to the Howard Beach subway station. There I waited 30+ minutes until the A train arrived. Surprisingly, it was nearly 9am until I got the World Trade Center station in lower Manhattan. Chalk it up to a couple of detours and transfers to get around some subway maintenance... [read Adam's story]

Related resources
Layover Ideas and Things to Do in New York City
New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) transportation guide
New York LaGuardia Airport (LGA) transportation guide
New York Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) transportation guide
New NYC Airports blog for aviation buffs

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Layover idea: crude oil bath

Baku Old Town Rooftops
Baku old domed roof tops on the "Haji banu" (Bath House)
creative commons image, good_day on Flickr
Azerbaijan luxury spa treatment: crude oil bath.

While the treatment may sound odd to Westerners, the treatment has long considered to be therapeutic. Having performed ablutions in oil since the 6th century BC, Azeris claim the ritual heals everything from impotence to skin complaints.

While Naftalan crude oil is too heavy for normal export uses (unlike Azerbaijan's plentiful Caspian Sea oil), it contains about 50 percent naphthalene, a hydrocarbon that is the active ingredient in coal tar soaps, which are used to treat psoriasis. As such, it is only used for medicinal purposes. People using the oil generally sit in a bath and are covered in oil up to their necks. There are numerous petroleum spas in the city of Naftalan itself. While the naphthalene in the oil is claimed to give it therapeutic properties, Western experts say it, and bathing in crude oil in general, might actually be carcinogenic.

Listed as #4 on the Telegraph Travel's list of the city's 10 weirdest tourist attractions, Baku, Azerbaijan is a good place to try it. "It’s a popular therapy amongst the oil-igarchs and their wives, and the carcinogens are overlooked," points out the Telegraph.

Want to take the oily dip? Here are some options:

A little history:
Archaeological findings in the region date to the 12th century AD. The qualities of Naftalan oil has been known since early times; Marco Polo noted them. The oil in the area was known to people as far as China and India, and was traded by caravans throughout countries of the Near East. Modern use of the oil has dated to the 1870s under Czarist Russia. Oh, the baths have also been featured on The Amazing Race.

Travel tip: Baku is home to the Museum of the Dwarf Book, and the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum.

Related resources
Bathe Like An Oligarch At Azerbaijan’s Oil Spas - Travel + Leisure
Take a crude bath in Baku - Men's Journal
Crude Oil Spas of Naftalan, Azerbaijan - Amusing Planet
Things to do in Azerbaijan
Baku Heydar Aliyev International Airport transportation guide