Wandering the hilly, narrow cobblestone streets in our home base of Montalcino, Italy, a Medieval city of interlocking passageways, steps and alleyways curving around and through and behind and beyond the main square, I reminded myself I was walking through history spanning eight hundred years.
A half a kilometer off the west coast of O'ahu, Matthew Solomona is in the midst of an esoteric explanation of why the water is so blue. It has something to do with the Pacific Ocean being a prism that captures and concentrates the wavelengths of all the azure in the visible light spectrum. It's very informative. But really, all we want to do is submerge ourselves in this aquarmarine stuff. So, my wife and I and our 15-year-old daughter grab the snorkel gear provided on the Hawaii Nautical catamaran tour and take the plunge.
Christian Estrosi, President of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, along with Maurice Lévy, Chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe, and Stephen Kaufer, President & CEO of TripAdvisor, launched “French Merveilles,” an innovative promotional campaign conceived by the teams of Publicis Groupe.
Tuesday April 4, Christian Estrosi announced the international partnership to re-launch the tourism industry in this region. The concept surrounds reinforcing the beauty of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur; which is home of incomparable wonders.
Under the gaze of the Alhambra Palace, and on soil trodden by poet Federico Garcia Lorca, the two hundred year old La Casa Grande de Zujaira sits proudly. I stand looking through the original metal gates at part of the ‘big house.’ Now split in two, the imposing white house, with its clock built by Gustav Eiffel’s apprentices, rests majestically with its terraced garden sprawling at its feet.
There’s nowhere quite like Cape Town, the jewel of South Africa. This fascinating city is a meld of cultures, history and landscape, crowned by the magnificent Table Mountain. Often regarded as synonymous with the “Mother City,” (Cape Town’s affectionate moniker), this landmark is the single most welcoming icon to its people, as well as to travelers from around the globe. Named a New Seven Wonders of Nature, the mountain is one of the oldest on earth, six times older than the Himalayas and five times older than the Rockies. It forms part of the Table Mountain National Park, which extends all the way to the Cape of Good Hope, the most southwestern extremity of Africa.
Just like many days and nights before, the aroma of Conch Butter Sauce, Souse and Potato Salad, and many, many, other traditional Caribbean dishes wafts through the air. Like magic, the aroma beckons you, leading you to the heart of Estate Princesse, right off Northside Road to the Cast Iron Pot in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. And the man behind the magic, no other, then award-winning, Chef Burton Peterson. Peterson who once worked in the famed Waldorf Astoria in New York, is no stranger to creating eventful and intricate dishes for U.S. Presidents, celebrities, royalty, and brides. This is probably why the Cast Iron Pot possesses an air of seclusion that makes you feel like royalty from the moment you enter the main dining area. You know you have officially arrived to St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, when you’ve had a meal or two, at the Cast Iron Pot.
McMenamins Grand Lodge (Mic MIN i mins) in Tualatin (T’WAL-i-tin) Valley, Oregon (OAR-i-gin) – you get the idea -- gives new meaning to the word funky -- also whimsical and droll and quirky. Oh yes, and historic. But if you're looking for glitz or glamour -- not to mention basic amenities such as a TV or a dresser -- the hotel is not for you. If you want a little bizarre, you're in the right place.
A Duchess, a baker, a plantation history maker: Meet this coterie of capable ladies of the river, including a duchess defined by her all-suite staterooms; a nationally known chef who has cooked for the likes of Mick Jagger, Lily Tomlin, and Shirley MacLaine; and a Louisiana rebel who saved the history of the Creole plantation that bears her name. You’ll find them all on the waters or near the shores of the mighty Mississippi. FIRST ALL-SUITE PADDLEWHEEL VESSEL
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With cruise season here, many folks who love that mode of travel will be taking to the season mega-ships that resemble floating ‘round-the-clock buffets and offer shore excursions too brief to provide a real sense of the destination. Others will opt for vessels and itineraries which provide very different experiences. They include Civil War buffs Tom and Elaine Preston, who take to shore to wander through reconstructed forts and trenches where one of the most important battles of that conflict was fought. Betsy and Andy Cross follow a machete-wielding guide as he clears a path through a dense rainforest that covers an area the size of India. Fun, rather than tropical foliage, attracts Lauren Davis and Jim Goodman to a Go-Kart race track, a ropes course and an exhilarating water slide.
Quebec’s French-Canadian allure is integrated with countless immigrant populations that have made this a prosperous area with an energetic blend of people and cultures. Despite being a family travel writer that lives on the East Coast of the United States, I had never visited our friends to the North. Our family decided it was time to go and explore this stunning area with our children Anna Cecilia (8) and Luca (5). A mere ninety minute flight from our home city of Washington, D.C., we had to find out what marvelous Montréal and it’s Eastern Townships were all about.
Although I would never intentionally seek out a taxi without a windshield, of course, I’m glad the only cab I could find to take me from Santo Domingo de los Colorados in Ecuador to a hummingbird preserve a few miles west didn’t have a windshield, nor windows either for that matter. My two-dented-doors vintage cab made Columbo’s battered old wreck look like a sleek new Jaguar.
It's a most undignified way to roll up to former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's favourite restaurant. We arrive at Lucca, in Sacramento's leafy Midtown, hooting and hollering on one of those 15-person party bikes that resembles a bar on wheels.Usually, Sac Brew Bike's tours hit rambunctious pubs. But, our group has chartered the party bike to peddle the eight blocks from Sac Brew Bike's bar and headquarters to fine-dining Lucca.
Elizabeth and Andy Beyer’s drive along California’s Sonoma Valley Wine Trail was a lifelong dream. They satisfied their love for the beverage during tastings at favorite vineyards. It was food that tempted Mary and Roger Nicholson to visit Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou. They sampled traditional dishes like fresh-from-the-sea food and lip-smacking desserts.
All around Las Vegas lie areas of breathtaking natural beauty, offering families with young children the easy opportunity to explore unspoiled wilderness without traveling great distances. To compose this list, I tapped the memories of three experts: my children, who spent much of their childhoods hiking Southwestern trails with me. These came up as the five places they most enjoyed when they were small.
Everyone has heard of Colonial Williamsburg with its dozens of buildings from the late-17th to mid-19th centuries. But it's not real, folks! Although few people have heard of New Castle, Delaware, it has almost as many buildings from that same era and real people live there. Okay, they're not dressed up like Revolutionaries, but the history there is even more...well, historic. It’s a genuine Colonial town but without the colonists.
Humans have developed a fascination for things we cannot explain. Our nature is to reason, that is what separates us from the animal kingdom.How do you explain that feeling that bristles the hair on the back of our neck? The alarm goes off, your heart starts beating quickly, your senses sharpen, your legs are ready to run and yet we always want to know more.
As self-imposed exiles go, this one is exquisite, sexy, opulent and indulgent.My wife, Kerry, and I are holed up in one of the new, sumptuous over-the-water bungalow at Sandals South Coast Resort in Jamaica, and, we don't want to leave. So, we don't. We sequester ourselves in a four-day cocoon of over-water coupledom to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.
For the record, Switzerland does not have a royal family and is actually as close as you get to a direct democracy in this day and age. But these are just details. If there was a Swiss royal family, I imagine they would live in a modern castle like The Dolder Grand, with Warhol and Dalí paintings hanging casually on the wall.
There is very little that can entice me to get up at 4 a.m. but how often do you get a chance to bathe a Buddha? And not just any Buddha but one that the actual real Buddha is said to have embraced himself. The statue at Maha Muni Pagoda in Mandalay, Myanmar is believed to be one of only five likenesses of Buddha created during his lifetime. And the daily cleansing ritual for the hundreds of pilgrims who attend is both literal and spiritual
My first surprise came during a visit to a vast pagoda complex in Myanmar. A Buddhist monk spoke to my wife Fyllis and me in English which, while not perfect, was good enough to be easily understood. Imagine, then, how astonished I was when he pulled a smartphone from the folds of his saffron-coloured robe and showed us pictures he had taken during his recent trip to Japan. More about the friendly monk later. This was but one of many fascinating encounters we have enjoyed during several trips planned by Myths and Mountains. That tour company promises journeys that “explore and experience,” and our time in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) lived up to that expectation-- and more.
Enjoying our first dinner during a group tour of Sicily, we turned to our guide and told him that the meal was excellent. This being Sicily, the reply was not all that surprising. “You can steal my money but don’t touch my food,” Alessio remarked. He followed that remark by claiming: “If lunch or dinner doesn’t have at least five courses, it’s just a snack.” I suspect the largesse ahead of us was a paltry morsel.So yes, food plays an important role in the lifestyle of Italians. Very important. Portions often approach gargantuan in size. And growing, harvesting, cooking and eating hold a place of near reverence in their daily lives.
Sandwiched between other spectators on a wooden bench, I nod my head enthusiastically to the six-piece jazz band tearing it up at New Orleans’ Preservation Hall. New Orleans celebrates its 300th anniversary in 2018, and I’m in Louisiana’s largest and most diverse city to fight my obsessive need to associate everything with 1980’s pop music. (Especially Van Halen.) If I can’t broaden my historical knowledge and musical appreciation in the Mississippi River mecca for everything from Cajun and Creole cuisine to Mardi Gras partying, there really is no hope for me.
The "wonderfood" of the future? Are you a food lover? Mexico City is famous for its tasty food, history, color, and crowds.
“Huerto Roma Verde” in the heart of México City, in Colonia Roma Sur, hosts “El Bonito Tianguis”. A highlight of the fast-growing annual event is “Insect Feast Festival 2018” each June to enlighten people about pre-Hispanic food through entomophagy gastronomy or insect-eating.
Sometime between being shot out of the waterslide like a cannon ball and jumping off the top deck into shimmering Shuswap Lake, we declare houseboating our new favourite way to vacation.
But, of course, there will also be simple lounging in the sunshine, awe-inspiring vistas around every bend, soaking in the top-deck hot tub, barbecuing on the front deck, outdoor showers on the back deck, wine at twilight and sleeping like a baby as the water gentle laps against the boat.
Mangoes are beloved in Nevis, but nobody buys them. They don't have to. Nearly ever Nevisian has a mango tree or three in their backyard and even if you don't have one, in the summer it literally rains mangoes and people can't give them away fast enough. There are officially 44 different kinds of mangoes in Nevis; the Amory Polly, Julie and Long mangoes are just a few of the most prized. Known throughout the Caribbean as St. Kitts' smaller, more luxurious sister island, Nevis has the laid-back luxury you'll crave after tiring of the ritz and glamour of St. Barts. Here you can chase monkeys barefoot or sit by the pool sipping an iced almond milk latte. Just one road circles the whole island, an easy 45-minute drive to circumnavigate.
This August in Hong Kong, gamers get together to cheer more than one hundred contenders for e-sports glory. Three tournaments players from all over the world who will compete for hundreds of thousands of dollars, the highest prize pool in Hong Kong’s e-sports history. Whether travelling with teens or e-sport lovers, there is more in store beyond the tournaments. An Experience Zone showcases e-sports products from game displays and VR experiences to mobile game trials and more. For more information and tickets see
Baltimore has a booming coffee scene. Hipsters are roasting, different types of milk are being frothed or just warmed, the coffee is served cold, warm, iced, drip, with mocha and in many variations in the coffee shops of Baltimore.However, what really stood out about the coffee shops in Baltimore to me was they take their coffee very very seriously.