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Yosemite Closes on Its 123rd Birthday

Yosemite Closes on Its 123rd Birthday Justin Sullivan/Getty

Along with all other national parks and monuments.

There will be no birthday celebrations for Yosemite this year. On Tuesday, California’s Yosemite National Park was shut down, along with the nation’s other national parks and monuments, after Congress failed to pass a resolution funding the government. It just so happens that October 1 is the 123rd birthday of Yosemite, which was established by environmental advocate John Muir in 1890. The park attracts up to 4 million visitors annually, but today none will be allowed in to wish Yosemite a happy birthday. 

Read it at The Atlantic

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If These Walls Could Talk

BFD

Iran to Study Resuming U.S. Flights

Iran to Study Resuming U.S. Flights Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty

First time since 1979 revolution.

Wow, that must have been one powerful phone call. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has asked for a study into resuming direct flights between his country and the U.S., which have not occurred since the 1979 revolution. The groundbreaking move comes just days after a phone call between Rouhani and U.S. President Obama, the first direct contact between nations. Rouhani’s ultimate goal is to ease Western sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program, but it appears he is willing to expand contact between nations.

Read it at Associated Press

It's one of the Seven Wonders of the modern world, but tour guides at Petra say that the conflict in Syria has taken a drastic toll on their livelihood. Souad Mekhennet reports.

The sun was at its highest point when Hani Al Nawafleh got off the metal chair that he always placed at the entrance to Petra, one of Jordan's major tourist attractions and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Some of the towering rocks of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, depending on how high the sun stands, are changing its colors from coral into rose—which is why people also call Petra the “Rose City.”

Al Nawafleh, who works as a guide, had been waiting for hours for customers. "It is really frustrating and bad," he said while beginning the tour. "I used to have at least eight to ten customers per day and have to turn down requests sometimes. But now I am happy if I have one or two per day."

The changes and challenges in the region have influenced the numbers of tourists in Jordan, a country that is dependent on tourism and foreign aid. "First it was what you call in the West the 'Arab Spring,' which made some people stay away," Al Nawafleh said while taking me to the horses that would carry visitors through Petra, a magnificent city carved out of beautiful rock that had been the ancient capital of the Nabataeans and a wealthy trading center among the spice trail.

The rock-cut architecture and water supply system made Petra world famous and became the scenery for movies such as Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade.

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It's Leaf-Peeping Time!

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Burma on the Cusp of Change

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'Breaking Bad' in Albuquerque

Apple Heaven

Buzzed on France’s Cider Trail

A line-up of aperitif, cider, and digestif at each meal may be out of style, but not on France’s cider trail. William O’Connor samples Normandy’s best offerings and most charming village

“C’est pour les bébés,” says the grizzled man as he pours us a taste of Calvados (44 percent alcohol). Grinning madly, he mimes a baby getting knocked out and falling asleep.

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Holger Leue/Getty

We laugh, partly at the idea of a baby drinking this heady digestif, and partly because, for a group with limited French, it was finally a joke we are in on.

My group and I are on Normandy’s famed La Route du Cidre, a circular drive on winding roads through dozens of apple orchards and idyllic French villages.

Bring Your Birthday Suit

Skinny-Dip Nirvana

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The Skinny Dipping Report

Ever felt the urge to dive into glistening water sans clothing? You’re in luck! The Skinny Dipping Report reveals nine fabulous spots around the world to swim in the nude. (Images NSFW.)

Self-described as "the world's leading authority on swimming naked and doing it well," The Skinny Dipping Report compiles an annual list—in the form of a calendar—of the best places to skinny dip around the globe. After receiving photography submissions, The Skinny Dipping Report edits its favorite selections down to 12. Each photo includes the photographer's name, story, and the best places to stay, eat, and drink in the location. Inspired by Paul Émile Chabas' painting, "Matinée de Septembre" (which caused a controversy in its day for featuring a nude woman bathing on a beach), TSDR aims to "make you want to be there (and who wouldn't?), to feel what the person in the photograph is feeling, to understand the particularity of the place and the moment through the lens of skinny dipping." Now wrapping up its 2014 issue (available in December), The Daily Beast commissioned The Skinny Dipping Report to curate nine fabulous places to skinny dip around the world. From Lahti, Finland to Livingston, Texas, a look at the best spots to swim nude.

Location: Stavros, Greece

Photographer: Aleksandra Martinovic

"It was one of the hottest days while on holiday in Greece. My friend, her boyfriend, and I woke up to find a wild, empty beach where we sunbathed, swam naked, and laughed all day. I always feel nostalgic about those times."

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Swans: Legends of the Jet Society

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Get Your Zen On

What a World

Siena’s Disembodied Saint

Among the stained glass windows and marble statues in Siena’s biggest church is a more alternative relic: the decaying head and finger of Saint Catherine. Nina Strochlic takes a look.

Italian churches are known for many things: extravagant architecture, historical frescoes, and smooth-cut marble statues.

But the Catholic Church doesn’t shy from the macabre, either. In smaller churches far away from the well-trodden holy sites, like Florence’s Duomo and the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Basilica, a strain of more unusual relics can be found: the semi-preserved bodies of ancient Catholic saints. Many have been interred in the back of worship sites, displayed in gilded cases behind panes of glass.

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AM Pietrantonio

In the scenic town of Siena, the resident mortal remains take an even more morbid turn. Prominently displayed in the vast Basilica di San Domenico is the disembodied, decaying head of Saint Catherine of Siena wrapped in a white nun’s habit. Nearby, her thumb is positioned upright under glass cover. These appendages are separated by 150 miles from the rest of her body, laid to rest under a sarcophagus displayed at the Basilica Santa Maria Sopra Minerva in Rome.

Soak It Up

Last Gasp of Summer

Instagram’s Coolest Pools

Instagram’s Coolest Pools

From a submerged Bar Refaeli to a Mediterranean idyll, a voyeur’s look at the stars’ sun-soaked scenes.

Zambian Safari

Wildlife, Storytelling, & Dung, Oh My!

‘Orphan Black’s Stunning Heroine

‘Orphan Black’s Stunning Heroine

The clone saga ‘Orphan Black’ is pulpy, adrenaline-fueled television at its finest. But how long can a show depend on the spellbinding performance of one actress?

Crisis in Ukraein

Ukraine: Truce and Consequences

Nostalgia

Why New York City Needs the Knicks

Forebearance

Rand Paul and the Welfare Rancher

Watch This!

Watch the Week in 90 Seconds

Globetrotters

Dispatches from Around the World

Marseille’s Comeback Tour

Marseille’s Comeback Tour

The bouillabaisse is just as tasty, but Europe’s 2013 Capital of Culture now has a lot more to offer. Anna Watson Carl reports.

Serengeti

Walking With Wildebeests

Global Marvels

What a World!

The Secret Life of Cappadocia

The Secret Life of Cappadocia

More than a natural wonder, Cappadocia's formations have been a safe haven to many. Nina Strochlic reports.

What a World

The Craziest House Ever Built

What a World

Turkmenistan’s Door to Hell

conde-nast-traveler

End of an Era?

Covering Burma in the 1980s

The Good Old Travel Guide Days

The Good Old Travel Guide Days

Tony Wheeler, co-founder of Lonely Planet Publications, remembers the fun early days of travel guide writing, but says they're not over yet.

Beacher's Madhouse

L.A.'s Craziest Nightclub

It's A Madhouse!

It's A Madhouse!

Miley Cyrus’ fav new haunt is Beacher’s Madhouse, the craziest club in Los Angeles.

Just Like Rodman

Most Structured Trip Ever

Visit North Korea!

Visit North Korea!

Take the vacation of a lifetime—in beautiful North Korea? That’s Uri Tours’ pitch. Lloyd Grove reports.

Directions

A Love Letter to New York

Maps of the Heart of Manhattan

Maps of the Heart of Manhattan

In ‘Mapping Manhattan,’ explore the city via 75 New Yorkers’ personal geographies. By Allison McNearney.

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