International Living is looking for destination experts from around the world to update its 730-page book, “The World’s Best: The Ultimate Book For The International Traveler.”
With something for just about any world traveler, The World’s Best reveals things like where to get the best cheese in London, where to find a palace on wheels in India, the best topless bathing in the Caribbean, the best gem shopping in Tokyo, and other insider tips and reviews on more than 70 countries and destinations.
Since the most recent version of the book came out in 2006, most of the suggestions, activities, hotels, and other content is still accurate and doesn’t need to be re-written. However, all of the facts, dates, prices, locations, and other details need to be checked and updated.
Some of the section updates and fact checking (such as museum entrance prices, event dates, etc.) can be done via the web or over the phone. However, International Living prefers it to be done by experts living in, or very familiar with, each area… people with true insider knowledge who can suggest additions and make changes where necessary.
If you’re interested in contributing to the book, check the list of sections that still need an assigned writer/updater .
Payment for updates depends on the section, as some are longer and more extensive than others. The base rate is $50 per hour, assuming it would take about an hour to update 10-15 pages. But, again, it depends on the size of the section and how much of it needs to be changed.
To apply: First, make sure you’re an expert on one of the sections in the list. Then, send a brief note stating which country/destination you’re interested in updating, and why you’re qualified to cover that country. Include with your note one or two hotel, restaurant, or event reviews that you think will fit into the book.
Then, email your note to International Living’s contact, Nazareen Heazle, here.
If you’re chosen to update a destination, you may also be able to contribute to other sections of the book, such as “The World’s Best Shopping,” “The World’s Best Beaches,” “The World’s Most Scenic Drives,” and so on.
List of destinations in need of writer/updater for “World’s Best” book:
SECTION ONE: THE WORLD’S BEST DESTINATIONS
The Southwest (Devon and Cornwall)
Croatia and Slovenia
The Isle of Man
Costa del Sol
Santiago de Compostela
The Commonwealth of Independent States
The Silk Route
New York (City and State)
New England (Boston)
The Jersey Shore
The Southwest (Phoenix, Tucson, Santa Fe)
California (San Francisco, LA)
British Columbia (Vancouver)
St John (US Virgin Islands)
St Kitts and Nevis
SECTION TWO: THE WORLD’S BEST HONEYMOON DESTINATIONS
SECTION THREE: THE WORLD’S BEST BEACHES
SECTION SIX: THE WORLD’S MOST SCENIC DRIVES
— SAMPLE SECTION FROM “WORLD’S BEST” BOOK ———————————————————————————————————————————————
THE BEST OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC
The Czech Republic, at the heart of Europe, has suffered the blows of almost every power to hit the Continent. As a result, it is rich in history and culture and filled with 40,000 monuments and 3,000 castles. Its capital, Prague, is one of the most beautiful cities in Eastern Europe, outdone only by Budapest.
This country is an outdoor-lover’s paradise. The Tatra Mountains rise out of the plains to provide excellent skiing and hiking. The 1,000 lakes and ponds that dot the Czech Republic are chock-full of fish. And the deep, wildlife-filled forests attract campers, backpackers, and hunters.
THE CZECH REPUBLIC’S MOST BEAUTIFUL CITY — PRAGUE
Prague, described by Goethe as “The most precious stone crown of the world,” is one of the most beautiful cities in Eastern Europe. The best way to see Prague is on foot. Start by climbing the 186 steps to the top of the Prasna Brana (Powder Tower) in Old Town. You’ll have a panoramic view of the city from the top. A remnant of the old city fortifications, it was built in 1475 and rebuilt in the 19th century.
Old Town’s best treasures Stare Mesto (Old Town) dates to 1120. Celetna Street leads from the Powder Tower through the heart of Stare Mesto. It passes the Tyl Theater, where Mozart’s Don Giovanni premiered in 1787 and where scenes from the movie Amadeus were filmed. Then it skirts the Church of Our Lady at Tyn, once a center of early Protestantism. The church’s twin spires dominate the skyline.
The street empties into Staromestske namesti (the Old Town Square). A medieval astronomical clock, Orloj, has kept time here since 1490. On the house, figures of Christ and the 12 apostles appear at two little windows above the clock face. Then the skeleton figure of Death, below, tolls the bell.
Legend has it that after its completion, the designer was blinded to prevent him from ever creating such a clock again. The Novomestska radnice, built in 1378, stands above dungeons. Its 15th-century council chamber, decorated with the shields of Prague’s medieval guilds, is still used. Novelist Franz Kafka (1883-1924) was born in the painted house next door to the town hall. Betlemska kaple (Bethlehem Chapel), Betlemske namesti 4; tel. (420) 224- 248-595, is a reconstruction of the Gothic chapel where the reformer Jan Huss preached his revolutionary ideas from 1402 to 1415. Huss, who was burned at the stake for his views, became a symbol of freedom to the Czech people. There is a monument to Huss in the Old Town Square.
The most beautiful bridge
The most beautiful bridge in Eastern Europe connects Prague’s Old Town and Mala Strana (Small Town). The Charles Bridge, built in 1357 by Charles IV, is lined with baroque statues. The bridge is especially lovely at night, when it is illuminated.
The best of Small Town
Small Town, despite its modest name, contains many of Prague’s best sights. Much here is baroque, even though the town was founded in 1257. Among other things around town, there are many things to see in the Maostranske namesti (Small Town Square), which is dominated by Kostel sv. Nikulase (St. Nicholas Church), Malostranské nam. 1, a Jesuit church with a beautiful high dome, a belfry, a nave, and ceiling frescoes.
Nerudova ulice (Neruda Street) is the most beautiful street in Small Town. The baroque buildings are identified by signs (a red eagle, for example), as was the custom before numbered streets were introduced. The magnificent Valdstejnsky Palac (Wallenstein Palace), Valdstejnske namesti, built in 1624 by Italian architects for the Hapsburg’s Gen. Albrecht Wallenstein, now houses the Ministry of Culture. Concerts are held here in the summer.
New Town bests
Prague’s New Town is not really new by most standards—it was established in 1348. At its heart is Vaclavske namesti (King Wenceslas Square), marked by a statue of King Wenceslas and filled with shops, restaurants, and hotels.
The Narodni muzeum (National Museum), Vaclavské nam. 68; tel. (420) 224-497-111, also on King Wenceslas Square, behind the statue of the king, displays neo-Renaissance paintings, artifacts from Czech history, historical and archeological collections, and a famous mineral collection.
Prague’s oldest pub, U Fleku, Kremencova 11; tel. (420) 224-934-01920, has been in existence at least since 1499. A huge place, it is filled with people singing and drinking its good dark beer.
Karlovo namesti (Charles Square), the biggest square in New Town, is named for Charles IV, who planned the city. Located in this square is the Novomestska radnice (town hall), which was the government center from 1398 to 1784. Antonin Dvorak’s mementos are housed in the Dvorak Museum, Ke Karlovu 20; tel. (420) 224-918-013, near Charles Square. During the summer, Dvorak’s music is played in the sculpture garden behind the 18th-century house.
The best-preserved ghetto
Jewish merchants settled in the area north of the old town hall as early as the ninth century. As the area grew, it became a center of Jewish culture. The well-preserved Prague Ghetto is now the State Jewish Museum. The Altneushul (Old-New Synagogue), built in 13th-century Gothic style, is the oldest surviving synagogue in Europe. Beside it is the Old Jewish Cemetery, Sikora 3, Josefov; tel. (420) 222-317-191, which holds 12,000 graves piled in layers. Tombs date from 1439 to 1787. If you lay a pebble on a grave here, it is said your dreams will come true.
The most visited tomb is that of the 16th-century scholar Rabbi Loew, who created the mythical, magical being called Golem. Today, visitors place scraps of paper with wishes on them in the crack in Loew’s tomb. During World War II, Jews hid their valuables in the tomb’s cracks before they were transported to concentration camps.
Franz Kafka is also buried in the cemetery. When the Nazis occupied Prague, they sent Kafka’s three sisters to a concentration camp, where they were killed. And they destroyed most of Kafka’s letters and manuscripts. However, his diaries were overlooked and are now housed among the treasures of the State Jewish Museum.
Klausen Synagogue, U stareho hrbitova, has a moving collection of drawings done by Jewish children in concentration camps. The names of 77,700 Czechoslovak Jews murdered by the Nazis are inscribed on the inside walls of the nearby Pinkas Synagogue.
Hradcany, the royal quarter The Hradcany Quarter grew up around Hradcany (Prague Castle), the former residence of the kings of Bohemia and today the seat of government.
A city within a city, it holds some of Prague’s best treasures.
Three walled court yards open into each other, progressing in architectural design from medieval to the 20th century. Off the first court yard is the former chapel, which houses the treasury. Gold, crystal, and jewels can be found inside.
The Hradcany also houses the National Gallery, website: www.ngprague.cz, which is divided into three chronological sections. The earliest and best, in the former Convent of St. George, houses the state collection of Bohemian Gothic paintings and sculpture.
The third courtyard of the castle contains the imposing Katedrala sv. Vita (St. Vitus’ Cathedral), the biggest in Prague, and the mausoleum of Czech kings, which holds the crown jewels (including the crown of St. Wenceslas, decorated with a thorn, reputedly from Christ’s crown of thorns). Behind the Hradcany is Golden Lane, Zlata Ulicka, once the residence of goldsmiths. The beautiful cobblestoned street, with its small houses, great palaces, and shops, brings the Middle Ages to life.
The bookstore at Number 24 was the residence of Franz Kafka in 1917 (who lived here just after he wrote The Trial and before he wrote The Castle). Ironically, the bookstore sells no books by Kafka, who has been largely ignored by the Czechs.
Nearby is Strahovsky Klaster (Strahov Monastery), Strahovské nadvori 1; tel. (420) 220-516-671, which houses a museum of Czech literature and beautifully preserved ancient manuscripts and Bibles from all over the world. It is one of the most impressive libraries in Europe. The Theological Hall, a vaulted gallery built in 1671, is lined with 17th-century bookshelves. Its white stucco ceilings are embellished with frescoes.
The Loreta, tel. (420)220-516-740; website: www.loreta.cz, another monastery, was founded in 1629 by Princess Lobkowitz. It centers around a replica of the Santa Casa in Loretta, Italy. Paired half-columns and relief panels add to its beauty. Its treasury contains saints’ crowns and religious objects made of gold and precious stones.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]