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A MUSEUM OUT IN THE COUNTRYSIDE

(Outside Copenhagen) — When I read about the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, I himmed-and-hawked about making the treck out to the countryside. But boy oh boy am I glad I did. You take a quick train and then walk a few blocks, but the setting is what makes this such a special place.  Okay, the art too.  Set right along the Oresund, the peaceful setting gets your mood when you walk up the road and first see the building. The outdoor sculpture garden is serene, overlooking the water. A really cool cafe makes it perfect timing to plan to spend lunch, with windows overlooking the sea and a warmth like a cup of coffee. I lost some of my pictures, but check out what

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A classic amusement park right in the middle of the city

(Copenhagen) — You’ll read all about Tivoli Gardens, the amusement park built in the mid 1800s, it’s a top destination in Copenhagen.  But I suggest you hold off on visiting it until nighttime with all the lights come up and it takes on a whole new feel. There’s as many adults as kids, all just out for a stroll. And while you’re at it, stop by the moorish Nimb hotel and it’s world-reknown restaurant Nimb, considered one of the vanguards of the new-Scandavian cuisine. You’ll need reservations at Nimb, but there’s a more casual sibling right next door, with large community tables and amazing food. Have a bite and a nip, then go back out and enjoy the lights.   Last visited: November 2009

AMSTERDAM POSTCARDS

(Amsterdam) — I’d never been to Amsterdam before – not that interested in the coffeeshops and sex shops and drunken British lads. But after working like a fiend all year, I decided to make a Mileage Run over Thanksgiving, booking two weeks before and doing very little research. I jumped on a plane and just decided to wing it, knowing I just needed to get out of the country, fast. Icame for five days, but I was kinda done after three. It’s a small city. November is, I discovered, the absolute rainiest month in the year. No big deal, I was expecting that, I like going places when hoards of tourists aren’t there and get a chance to live like a resident. Living in New York taught me that. While everyone came in

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POSTCARDS OF BUENOS AIRES

Here’s a great BA guide from Travel & Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, and NYTimes.    

MOUNTAINS ROLLING INTO THE SEA

  The whole Amalfi Coast is a string of towns south of Naples, roughly starting from Sorrento on down.  Each has it’s own charm and personality. Not a big fan of Sorrento, more of a modern city that cruise ships and tour buses visit.  Keep going down farther, starting at Positano.  Positano is almost all about hotels and restaurants, not much else going on except lemons and pottery with lemons on it. You come to rest and look out over the sea, then eat. All of Positano is built on a steep cliff around a V shaped cove, with one main road that zig-zags from the top to the bottom, then back up again. The rest is just steep steps connecting each level.  The beach

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POSTCARDS FROM NEW YORK

 

A SUNDAY AT THE MARKET

(San Telmo, Buenos Aires)  Go to see the San Telmo market on Sundays. The whole neighborhood is taken over for market-goers, a lively scene, and cool stuff all over the place. Here are some suggestions from Travel & Leisure.    

AN ENTIRE MUSEUM BUILT AROUND ONE BIG SHIP

  (Stockholm) — One of the neatest museums in the world is Stockholm’s Vasa Museum. The entire museum is built around a single wooden sailing warship called the Vasa. Built during Sweden’s years as a world naval power in the 1600s, the Vasa, having just had its christening, slid out in the Stockholm harbor and, because it had so many canons on it, quickly tilted over, filled with water and sank instantly to the bottom.  It remained on the bottom for hundreds and hundreds of years, perfectly preserved by the rich mud until it was rediscovered in the 1960s, raised  and pumped full of preservatives. The whole museum is built around the ship, allowing you to get up close to its sides, peek in its

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A WALK THROUGH GAMLA STAN

(Stockholm) — In the heart of Stockholm is the city’s Old Town or Gamla Stan.  Sweden’s “Venice of the North” is all built on a series of islands and Gamla Stan is right smack in the middle of them. No cars are allowed, so you can calmly walk it’s twisted, windy streets. Small shops, bars and restaurants are tucked into all its nooks an crannies. One, Fem Sma Hus, has been in continuous operation since 1651.  I remember meeting my friends Bror-Erik and Irene once and when I asked how old the restaurant was, he said “This is a pretty new one. I think it opened in the late 1800s.” Last visited: November 2006  

A COOL GIMMICK FOR A BAR

(Stockholm) — I know, I know, it’s kitschy, but still kinda cool. The Icebar in the Nordic Sea Hotel. A nice place to say “I was there.”  You make reservations, show up, throw on some parkas and get 15-20 minutes in the box.  Not much else to describe.   Last visited: November 2006  

A CLASSIC HOTEL, WITH A REBOOT

(Stockholm) — The Berns was a grand lady hotel, but several years ago it undertook a modern day reboot, boldly revamped into a hipster hangout. I’ve never stayed here, but highly recommend at least stopping in for a drink in the soaring two-story lobby, complete with boom-she-boom soundtrack and great people watching.  Make sure you check out the concerts in the immense, totally gorgeous music hall, presenting some of the hottest bands going. We saw the then just-breaking punk-gypsy band Gogol Bordello, a raucous good time of spinning, laughing and dancing. Last visited: November 2009  

HIT THE MARKETS

(Rome) — One of the best things about Rome is killing an hour or two each day prowling the local markets. One of the best is Campo die Fiori. You  can get everything here, or nothing.    

THE MOST PERFECT BUILDING IN THE WORLD

(Rome) — The Pantheon, one of the great wonders of the world and certainly my favorite of all time. Every time I come back to Rome, the first thing I have to do is to go and see and touch this magical place. Built by my friend Emperor Augustus and rebuilt over hundreds of years, its recent reincarnation (hundreds of years ago) is a good as it gets. Look closely and you’ll notice the repeating motif of a sphere inside of a square. Lots has been written about this wonderful place, so I don’t need to go on here. But if you’re in Rome, you need to go here. Several times, so you can experience the changing light from morning to night.      

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A RARE SNOW DAY IN LYON

 

A perfectly preserved colonial town

(Paraty, Brazil) — Paraty tourism website    

A trek into a secret hidden civilization in the Sardinian mountains

(Tiscali, Sardinia)  — If you’ve ever seen the old movie Lost Horizon, you’d think hidden ancient civilizations are a thing of fiction. But the long-abandoned Tiscali nuraghi settlement is just such a magical place.  Invisible from the rest of the world for hundreds of years until it was rediscovered in the 1900s, this ancient civilization was a whole village tucked into a deep caldera that sinks into the ground on top of a mouton ridge, accessible only by a hidden crevasse that cuts through the rock, then descends hundreds of feet into the caldera.  Protected there, a whole community thrived, with animals, orchards, olive trees and a totally isolated prehistoric society. It is just indescribable. And once you cut down through the trails, see the

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A BEAUTIFUL CHURCH ON A HILL ON THE WAY TO TUSCANY

[ORVIETO, ITALY] — About an hour’s drive north of Roma is the mountain top village of Orvieto. It’s a great mid-day stop if you’re on your way form Rome to Florence or Tuscany. Really cool church, with really modern-looking stripey theme going on, everywhere. Excellent stop for lunch in the quiet town, or for the perfect overnight, sleep in the former convent-turned-hotel La Badia, an excellent property to sit, relax, a sip on a nice Orvieto crisp white wine. In winter, they have a great fireplace.

WHY STAY IN NOISY NICE WHEN YOU CAN STAY HERE?

(Menton, France) — Nice is nice, but it has grown to be loud, clanging city choked with tourists and pickpockets. Why not relax and go a couple of stops on the local train to the quaint little town of Menton?  My Swedish friends Bror-Erik and Irene turned me onto this place after they bought their retirement flat to escape the cold and dark Stockholm winters. Hard on the water, it is literally the last stop on the train before hitting Italy and the town of Ventimiglia.  In fact, if you want a contrast, check out the difference in countries and cultures as you ride the train across the border.  France: clean, cheery colors, pristine houses and flowing bougainvillea hanging over the rails. Instantly as you

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