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Briefly Bright Lights, Big Signposts
Posted by Gromco in Buenos Aires on 08/Apr/2012
BA street signBuenos Aires' street furniture is slated for a long-awaited overhaul. Starting immediately from the city's more affluent east and slowly expanding westward, throughout the next 10 months, thousands of bus shelters (refugios de colectivos), street signs, signposts, and ad displays will be replaced with newer, clearer, more modern, and more vandalism-proof versions. This process was actually supposed to start way back in 2001, but was repeatedly delayed due to funding uncertainty, judicial objections, and other equally legitimate-sounding causes. Separately, in a further beaufitication effort, the city has scheduled the planting of more than 5,000 trees in June and July.
Source(s): La Nación, La Razón, municipal government (March/April, 2012)  
Briefly Barcelona Tourist Arrivals Grow 4.4% in 2011
Posted by Gromco in Barcelona on 31/Dec/2011
The Ajuntament de Barcelona reported an increase of 4.4% in tourist arrivals in 2011 compared to 2010. The number of Russians visiting the city doubled, but the leader among the foreigners was the USA: the number of Americans grew 8.5% and has surpassed that of both the French and the Italians, whose presence in Barcelona has traditionally been very strong.
Source(s): Ajuntament de Barcelona (2011-12-21)  
Briefly The New Puerta del Sol: Moving El Oso
Posted by Gromco in Madrid on 19/Sep/2009
el osoNext week one of Madrid's most prominent symbols is going to disappear from its central square: due to reconstruction work in the capital's (and the country's) most central square, the landmark statue of a bear licking (sniffing?) a tree ("el oso y el madroño"), currently installed a few steps from the Puerta del Sol, will be moving a few blocks east, towards the Carrera de San Jerónimo.

The relatively unassuming (and easy-to-miss) statue of the bear is the work of the Spanish sculptor Antonio Navarro. [CORRECTED]

Source(s): El País, ABC (18 Sep 2009)   Photo: Sébastien Bertrand
Le Bristol Expands
Posted by Gromco in Paris + Places on 13/Sep/2009
Le BristolAfter two years of construction, Le Bristol, one of the swankiest hotels of Paris, will open a new wing with 26 rooms, 5 suites and a new restaurant.

This addition represents its first major expansion since the hotel's opening in 1925.

Read the rest of: "Le Bristol Expands
NYPL: Edna Barnes Salomon RoomThe LA Times reports and the NYPL confirms the opening of another Wi-Fi hot spot at the library's main building on Fifth Avenue.

Now, visitors with laptops can go online at the Edna Barnes Salomon Room (Room 316), in addition to the Bill Blass Catalog Room (315), the Rose Main Reading Room and the DeWitt Wallace Periodicals Room (108).

What makes this new addition so special?

Read the rest of: "More Wi-Fi Hot Spots at New York Public Library
L'Addition SVPStarting this month, diners in Paris and, more generally, in continental France, will see the sales tax (TVA) on their meals lowered from 19.6% to 5.5%. This Brussels-endorsed measure is supposed to stave off restaurant closings in France which have been become rampant in recent years, and create new employment in the industry. And, obviously, make dining more affordable to both French citizens and tourists.

But things are never quite simple in France: the discount rate doesn't apply to everything and the restaurants are not obligated to lower the final price on every single item on the menu. Read on for details and examples...

Read the rest of: "France Lowers TVA Sales Tax on Restaurant Meals to 5.5%
BiXi Launched
Posted by Gromco in Montreal on 20/May/2009
Bixi Tremblay DelanoëThe moment has finally come! After many months in the making, the much-talked-about Montreal public bike rental system, Bixi, has launched. Over the past few weeks the city has installed a number of automated bike rental stations and launched a web site allowing users to see availabilities in real time (both the number of available bikes and available docking slots).

Although the system is geared mainly towards residents of the city, tourists can take advantage of it as well, with monthly and even daily tariffs available.

Read the rest of: "BiXi Launched
Baixa Area To Be Renovated
Posted by Gromco in Lisbon on 18/Feb/2009
BaixaThe mayor of Lisbon announced the beginning of a 700 million euro renovation of the historic neighborhood of Baixa. The central Lisbon neighborhood, built after the 1755 earthquake, consists mostly of 4-to-5-story neo-classical walk-up buildings.

Once considered one of Europe's most elegant districts, Baixa has been on the decline for decades. Over half of its residents have left since the 1950's.

Read the rest of: "Baixa Area To Be Renovated
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