Although the former Soviet republic might seem remote, Uzbekistan once sat at the very center of the world. In the first millennium, no traveler could pass from Asia to Europe without stopping in the Silk Road strongholds of Bukhara and Samarkand, and as a result these cities evolved into rich cultural centers. For intrepid travelers, today’s Uzbekistan is a promised land: a Muslim-majority nation that’s both safe and affordable, with few tourists and an abundance of well-preserved mosques and harems. And since the death of authoritarian president Islam Karimov last year, the new regime has taken steps toward reform that have given both Uzbeks and the international community reason for optimism. Improving relations with Iran could soon bring a rail link to the Persian Gulf, and in 2016, the Afrosiyob high-speed-train line began connecting the country’s major cities. Meanwhile, Uzbekistan should benefit from the so-called Iron Silk Road, or Trans-Asian Railway — a Chinese-funded network of routes knitting together Beijing and Europe — once a segment connecting the country through Kyrgyzstan is completed. Book a customized journey with Exeter International, which specializes in the region. —Heidi Mitchell
Almost all of the Earth's islands are natural and have been formed by tectonic forces or volcanic eruptions. However, artificial (man-made) islands also exist, such as the island in Osaka Bay off the Japanese island of Honshu, on which Kansai International Airport is located. Artificial islands can be built using natural materials (e.g., earth, rock, or sand) or artificial ones (e.g., concrete slabs or recycled waste). Sometimes natural islands are artificially enlarged, such as Vasilyevsky Island in the Russian city of St. Petersburg, which had its western shore extended westward by some 0.5 km in the construction of the Passenger Port of St. Petersburg.
In 2018, four unconnected people suddenly undergo personality changes at what would have been their moments of death: Marcy, a young, intellectually disabled woman, is assaulted but fights off her attackers and is no longer impaired; high-schooler Trevor concedes a mixed martial arts fight after being overmatched; heroin-addicted college student Philip drops his syringe just as his roommate injects a fatal overdose; and young mother Carly stares down her baby's abusive father. FBI agent MacLaren tracks their subsequent communication and confronts them; they reveal that they are among thousands of time travelers sent from the future to avert a global crisis, and that MacLaren was to die that night while pursuing a murderer they have already killed; MacLaren is taken over by a fifth traveler, who happens to be the team's leader.
Tel Aviv has attracted a lot of attention for its nightlife and creative culinary scene in recent years. These days its center of gravity has shifted south, to the site of the ancient port town of Jaffa (technically part of the city itself). This month, the Setai opens in a former Ottoman prison; a new W Hotel housed in a 19th-century former convent and pilgrims’ hospice is scheduled to open in March. It’s just the latest in a growing list of upscale hotels, restaurants, and boutiques to arrive among the winding streets of this former fishing village. Jaffa’s once-shabby flea market is now populated by a number of high-end antique dealerships, which sit alongside trendy cafés and bars — many offering live music into the night. Don’t miss Maskit, an iconic Israeli fashion house known for its embroidery that has been recently reincarnated after closing in the 1990s. Numerous interesting chefs have also set up shop among Jaffa’s churches, mosques, and archaeological sites. Try Beit Kandinof, a restaurant housed in a 17th-century building, where creative dishes like artichoke-and-pesto bruschetta are served alongside local art exhibits. —Sara Toth Stub
A picture-perfect trio of islands lapped by turquoise waters, the Maltese archipelago has all the charm of nearby Sicily with far fewer tourists. Valletta, the tiny nation’s capital and a UNESCO World Heritage site, feels like something plucked straight from Westeros. The historic walled city dates back to 1565, and has a vibe that’s Mediterranean with a North African twist. This underrated destination is finally stepping into the global limelight as a 2018 European Capital of Culture. To celebrate the occasion, the city has planned more than 140 projects and 400 events throughout the year. The festivities begin on January 20, with contemporary dance, a choral symphony, and acrobatic performances across the city’s four main squares. Should you miss the grand opening, swing by in February for Carnival, or in June for the Malta International Arts Festival and the Valletta Film Festival. —Diana Hubbell
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The word island derives from Middle English iland, from Old English igland (from ig or ieg, similarly meaning 'island' when used independently, and -land carrying its contemporary meaning; cf. Dutch eiland ("island"), German Eiland ("small island")). However, the spelling of the word was modified in the 15th century because of a false etymology caused by an incorrect association with the etymologically unrelated Old French loanword isle, which itself comes from the Latin word insula. Old English ieg is actually a cognate of Swedish ö and German Aue, and related to Latin aqua (water).
A suicide bomber and his victims are set to become travelers, but the bomb explodes and only Donner, the bomber, survives. Devastated by his failure, Donner tries to betray the traveler program to the authorities, but the entire hearing is populated by travelers who hold a trial and convict Donner of treason. Donner is overwritten by a new traveler, who must serve Donner's prison sentence, and reports that things in the future are getting worse despite the changes enacted by Traveler teams in the 21st. Luca approaches Donner in prison, implying that he has lost faith in the Director. Ken, David's boss, believes David's relationship with Marcy is inappropriate. Upon meeting Marcy, he believes she has defrauded the system. Marcy saves David's job by repaying her benefits. Grace, Trevor's guidance counselor, and Jacqueline, Carly's social worker, genuinely care about them, respectively. Grace tries to help Trevor with his academics, and Jacqueline promises that she will not let the system fail Carly and her child. Philip discovers that gambling outcomes are deviating slightly from the historic record.
Mac investigates a mass arrival of Travelers, while also trying to repair his marriage with Kat. Philip is given assistance with his addiction from fellow Traveler 4514, Jenny. Marcy treats David for PTSD, but is dealing with feelings of detachment and disassociation herself. Carly and Jeff try and clean up their act for Child Protective Services and regain custody of their son. Trevor and Grace bond in the hospital while recovering from their injuries.
Though decades of civil war made parts of the island unsafe, tourism is on the rise in Sri Lanka, where international visitors exceeded 2 million for the first time in 2016. The momentum is particularly strong along the south coast, which has the highest concentration of hotels and resorts after Colombo. The 172-room Amari resort recently opened on the beachfront in Galle (known for its UNESCO-protected Dutch fortress) with ocean views from every balcony. Water also plays a central role at Alila Koggala, a new luxury eco-resort with 36 suites and private villas, opening 20 minutes outside of Galle in June. The property sits on the serene shores of Lake Koggala and will feature an ayurvedic spa where treatments can be taken on a platform floating on the lake. Further along the south coast, Mirissa Beach is attracting travelers in need of a full mind-body reset. The laid-back surfer town — think Venice Beach minus the tech crowd — comes alive at night with bars and barbecue restaurants overlooking the turquoise bay; when you’re ready to turn in, there are earthy, low-key lodges peppered throughout the jungle, such as Surf & Yoga, which offers daily on-site yoga and private surf lessons. —Alex Schechter
It’s easy to see why this outcrop of land just an hour’s drive from Melbourne has long been a weekend retreat for the city’s well-heeled residents. Rolling vineyards in its interior give way to seaside villages and sandy shoreline. Travelers can swim with wild dolphins, visit wineries on horseback, or soar above the landscape in a gondola. And with a new flurry of openings, the region has begun to attract global attention. The latest addition is Point Leo Estate on the peninsula’s southernmost point. Set on 330 acres, it combines a tasting room, a 110-seat fine-dining restaurant, and a sculpture park, with more than 50 works by Australian and international artists like George Rickey and Inge King. Its arrival follows the launch of Jackalope, a seductive, art-infused boutique hotel neighboring a working winery. Elsewhere, Peninsula Hot Springs, a day spa set amid geothermal pools, is slated to unveil seven new pools and a new treatment list in 2018. —Carrie Hutchinson
Rising above its associations with the annual hot-air-balloon festival, Albuquerque will this year set out to prove itself as a fully-fledged destination. The Sawmill District, just north of the historic Old Town, is being revived as a creative center, anchored by the arrival of the Hotel Chaco. The design of this boutique property, which opened in April, is inspired by the state’s indigenous culture, with handmade Navajo wool textiles and pueblo-inspired motifs. Come spring, downtown ABQ will also see the arrival of a new entertainment hub: the $40 million One Central, which will have a sleek bowling lounge, as well as upscale stores and restaurants. And just outside town, visitors will soon be able to experience the striking Sandia Mountains in a nail-biting new way. The proposed Mountain Coaster, an alpine sled-style ride that plunges riders down the mountainside in a total vertical drop of 380 feet, is due to open this fall. Getting to Albuquerque is becoming even easier, thanks to new nonstop flights from major U.S. cities via Southwest, United, and Alaska Airlines. —Melanie Lieberman