Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

As an amateur photographer I have lots of bad habits, but by far the worst is not looking at my photos after I take them. Over time, the weight of all those photos becomes oppressive, as it can take hours to sort through my mostly crappy snapshots to pick out a handful of favorites. Eventually […]


When it comes to travel, Esteban and I are planners: Before every trip we peruse a stack of guide books from the library, study some history, and map out our logistics. Eight cities and three countries in one trip. WHAT WERE WE THINKING?! Although we still leave plenty of time for serendipity, planning helps us […]


Yesterday I wrote about the impact one’s choice of lodging can have on a trip — and about the unexpected joys of occasionally staying further afield. Such was the case in the beautiful little city of Freiburg im Breisgau, which lies in the foothills of Germany’s Schwartzwald (Black Forest). You need not be a cartographer […]


One of the least-discussed truths about travel is that your lodging sets the tone for everything — which is why I sometimes pay a bit more to stay in the heart of a city. But, as I learned last December in Freiburg, straying off the beaten path can sometimes yield its own delightfully unexpected rewards. […]


Although I haven’t been back to Cologne since I last visited at age 16, its cathedral has loomed large in my imagination. I’m pleased to report that I found it just as glorious in real life as I remembered in my mind’s eye. Even if you’re not particularly devout, standing in front of this monument […]


We were sad to leave Bruges this morning. I have so many little stories to share (like watching the movie In Bruges last night … in Bruges). But because I’m on a bouncy train — and because I don’t have time to construct a cohesive narrative — here’s a loosely structured list of The Top 10 […]


When I visit a new city, I like to learn a bit about its history — so I hope you’ll indulge a brief history of Bruges. No one knows exactly when Bruges was founded, but we do know that there was already a fortified settlement here when Julius Caesar and his troops arrived. Trade between […]


I’ve known for months that on a particular November day Esteban and I would be leaving for Europe, so I was confident of my preparations. I had a packing list; I’d gathered my toiletries; I’d charged my batteries. Yet, on the morning of our departure, I once again found myself doing the “Pack’n’Panic.” Piles of […]


Every year, Esteban and I grant a (purely ceremonial and very silly) award to the first friend(s) whose holiday card we receive. Once again, the four-years-running champions are our dear friends Jim and John. Their 2012 card was entirely too appropriate for this incurable Francophile. I will treasure it among my favorite keepsakes. But beyond […]


I adore my friend Laurice for a million different reasons. She’s smart, cool, funny, kind, a wonderful mom, and an unbelievable cook. She’s also incredibly creative and generous — and I’m always grateful when I’m on the receiving end of her creativity and generosity. Such was the case a few months ago, when she surprised […]


For years, my friends have been telling me to visit Strasbourg. “It’s got lovely architecture,” they’ve said. “It’s full of history.” “The cathedral is beautiful.” But as much as I wanted to take their advice, I’ve never quite managed to leave Paris. On this trip I had no excuse, though: Strasbourg lies almost exactly halfway […]


Before leaving for Paris, I bought two Cartes Musée for me and Esteban. These cultural passes are one of the best (and least known) deals for tourists: Not only do they grant you “all you can see” access to Paris’ museums, but they also allow you to bypass the long lines. The catch? The weather […]


To my friends, family, and faithful readers: I apologize that my posts have been a bit … um … “sputtery.” I’ve been spending my evenings with Esteban, rather than with my computer. Also, our Internet connection is as pouty and unpredictable as a French ‘demoiselle. But rest assured that all is well—and that I’ll continue […]


I am sitting in the very heart of the city where Elvis Presley recorded Heartbreak Hotel in 1956 … where Bob Dylan cut Blonde on Blonde in 1966 … and where Kansas laid down Dust in the Wind in 1978. Those are just three of the reasons Nashville, Tennessee is known as “music city.” When […]


A couple of days ago, I wrote about traveling to Reykjavik, Iceland and the Golden Circle. Today I’m back with the promised follow-up on the inimitable Icelandic horse. First things first: Is the Icelandic a pony_—_or a horse? That depends on your definition, I suppose. But based purely on size and conformation, let’s say “pony.” […]


I remember being furious as I sat on the bus from Kevflavík airport to Reykjavik, Iceland. The barren, rocky landscape was a stark contrast to the lush beauty of Kent, where Esteban and I had just spent a week. Esteban had been to Iceland before and he’d extolled the virtues of this small island nation. […]


I woke up today thinking about Chautauqua. Since 1874, people have come to this beautiful spot in upstate New York to study, paint, make music, dance, meditate, read — and relax. The 12-week-long personal-growth extravaganza features a different theme each week, and every day brings at least one distinguished speaker. (Jane Goodall, Fareed Zakaria, Al […]


A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled upon my blog-buddy Marcia’s post about the things she didn’t get to see during her recent trip to Paris. As I perused her list I realized (once again) how fortunate I’ve been to visit often—and to see so much. I thought Marcia might enjoy a small preview of […]


“There’s always next time.” That’s been my mantra every time I’ve visited Paris. Whether I’ve been there for two days or three weeks, I’ve never quite hit everything on my “must see” list. So it seems fitting that today I should happen across a recent post by my blog-buddy Marcia at InsideJourneys. Her experience in […]


Every August, millions of Parisians flee their city for a month of vacation. Their return in September is known as “la rentrée.” The re-entry: The return to their former life, their jobs, their homes. I’m not quite a Parisian, but I think I now know how “la rentrée” feels. It’s hard! (C’est dur!) Over the […]