Posts with the category ‘Europe’

Alabama Shore Shows Diversity of U.S. Culture

November 13, 2015

On a recent trip to France, I had breakfast with Sofia Vandaele, General Manager of the newly remodeled and absolutely gorgeous Hilton Paris Opera. Sofia is Belgian and fluent in seven languages. It never ceases to amaze Americans – many of whom know only English – just how many different tongues the people in other countries speak. Sofia is very smart, not to mention charming which explains why she is one of the world’s youngest hotel managers. Big hat tip to a woman like that and who can also carry on a conversation in seven languages. Still, anyone who has visited Europe knows many countries are… Read More…

By the Sea in Spain Without My Camera

November 18, 2014

The night I did not bring my camera with me when I went into the village of Cadaqués center for dinner, I took a side street on my way back to my hotel and found myself at the edge of the Mediterranean Sea. I was here working on a story for The New York Times Travel about the painter Salvador Dali, who spend most of his life on this rock-crusted community and who depicted it in various works of art. Dali had his paintbrush, his sculptor’s’ hands. And I have little doubt the magnificent scene before me would have inspired him to create something. Without… Read More…

Vacations Just Like Home, Only Better

July 15, 2014

Some travel is a lot of work, and I don’t mean that in a negative way. Having just returned from a five week round-the-world trip that was ninety percent business and involved a lot of on-the fly booking of transportation and accommodations, I returned home exhausted. Times like this are when I crave the vacation that’s like home; but better. For me, that means a stay in a rambling inn in some unique setting where, unlike at my own house, people take care of my needs and leave me with no decision more difficult than what time to get out of bed in the morning. I started thinking about this… Read More…

Traveling Au Naturale From Icelandic Hot Tubs to British Baths

June 9, 2014

There’s nothing original about our present-day affection for the spa. People have been enjoying a communal soak for millenia, and nowhere is that more clear than at the bath so famous England named a town for it. While the Celts apparently discovered Britain’s only natural springs in 600 BC, it was during the Roman occupation that the water source was used to create a complex of pools, health areas and temples. Much of this survives to this day, drawing a million tourists a year to Somerset County, about 2 hours drive south of London. These days though, the water is a brownish/green and it no longer looks inviting though… Read More…

Bath Botanical A Garden of Sensory Delights

June 1, 2014

My dear friend and former neighbor, Marion Mapstone once told me the most important thing to know about gardening is not to be afraid to pull up, clip back and move things around. Her simple guidance didn’t turn me into a master gardener but I am no longer someone who keeps dead plants in the house because they are easier to care for. (Though once upon a time, I did.) While I now tend to a sizeable flower patch, Marion did more than show me how to handle plants, she taught me to appreciate them as a multi-sensory experience.   This came to me on… Read More…

Iceland Actor Gives Saga a Super Hero Performance

May 19, 2014

Ancient myths like Iceland’s Sagas continue to be told in their countries of origin because the themes are so timeless. In Hero, an Icelandic one man-show playing this summer in tourist-friendly  West Iceland, Kari Vidarsson puts a modern spin on the Saga of Bardur Snaefellsas. Haven’t heard of him? No worries, this summer for the first time, the play will be performed in English. This is great news because Kari’s interpretation of the Snaefellsas saga is a wild joy ride of cultural insight, delivered with poignancy and humor. Kari takes on the personality of a dozen characters who are part of the story of Snaefellsas, an… Read More…

Baiting the Hook to Lure Diners in Istanbul

December 29, 2012

When Jesus told his disciples, “I will make you fishers of men,” I’m pretty sure he wasn’t talking about what Ceyhun Baldan and Steve Ridvan are up to. But every night, on a bridge in Istanbul, Ceyhun and Steve and dozens of men like them toss out the bait and try to reel in the catch. Ceyhun and Steve are hawkers at Balik Noktasi, (or Fish Point in English) a seafood restaurant located on the Galata Bridge over the Bosphorus. It is one of dozens lining the lower level of the car and pedestrian crossing that offers a variety of fresh-caught fish. Each and every… Read More…

An Evening in Autumn Between Summer and Winter

December 10, 2012

(Read part 1 of this post here) In the Franconia region of Germany the Main River separates the towns of Sommerhausen and Winterhausen. A bridge connects them. This is a metaphor for the communities themselves. They are distinctly different in a way that complements both. Winterhausen is architecturally appealing and a beautiful place to spend a few hours aimlessly exploring the twisty cobblestone streets, but the absence of public accommodations, (I counted one bakery and one pub) leads me to believe it is primarily residential – maybe a response to Sommerhausen’s outgoing “drink our wine, visit our galleries” vibe. But stroll or bike along the… Read More…

An Autumn Day Between Summer and Winter

November 11, 2012

(Part 2 of this post can be found by clicking here)   Without a doubt the towns of Sommerhausen and Winterhausen are adorable year round, composed as they are of centuries old buildings and cobblestone streets and nestled in a valley below mountainsides draped in grapevines. The writer in me couldn’t help but appreciate the fact that when I visited these towns – which in English mean Summer house and Winter house – it was autumn, in my house, the best season of all. In the Franconia region of Germany, Sommerhausen and Winterhausen are two of a string of similarly attractive villages lining the Main River making… Read More…

Stamps Prove An Air Travel Truth

October 10, 2012

I’ve written before about my affection for the photo series Earth from Above by Yann Arthus-Bertrand. So I was alert when I read this quote from Joseph Corbett of the US Postal Service. “Once you’ve seen the world from above, you never look at it quite the same way again.” He’s right of course. Corbett makes this observation by way of introducing a new series of postage stamps that show us the world as viewed from airplanes and satellites. The artists who put together this beautiful collection of stamps have taken familiar subjects and given us a new perspective by with a top down angle…. Read More…

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