Where to Stay in Turkey: Six Choice Hotels

lykialodge-kapadokya-nevsehir

  On a recent trip, John and I found six hotels in Turkey that we consider excellent choices. These are not the grand palaces an Ottoman sultan might have envied (though Istanbul has several of those); rather, they're comfortable, well maintained, hotels with great locations, good Turkish hospitality, and  individual style. And they are a lot more affordable than the palaces. Where to ... Read Full Article

Guide to Wine Tasting on Mt. Etna in Sicily

Passopisciaro Agriturismo by Neil Weightman

The Mt. Etna volcano in Sicily is famous for steaming volcanic chasms, snowy peaks, and wild jeep expeditions, but the volcano’s most recent claim to fame is its wineries and wine tastings. Just a short drive from the famous seaside resort town of Taormina as well as the bustling coastal city of Catania, Mt. Etna’s wineries are easy to access, and this guide provides all of the information needed ... Read Full Article

La Venaria Reale, An Italian Duke’s Extravagance

Gallery in la Veneria Reale

  La Venaria Reale, about 6 miles from the center of Turin, in northern Italy, is  immense. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is said to be one of the five most visited cultural sites in Italy. Duke Carlo Emanuele II of Savoy started the whole thing in 1660 when he ordered a hunting lodge built in princely style; it was redone in the 18th century and completely restored in recent ... Read Full Article

Where to Stay in Languedoc Roussillon

Hostellerie Provencale

  I just love the Languedoc Roussillon region of France. Located just west of Provence, Languedoc Roussillon offers fantastic food and wines, authentic small towns, and some of the best sights in France, including the Pont du Gard and the walled city of Carcassonne. This region is also home to Nimes as well as numerous, untouristed, small town jewels to include; Uzes and Beaucaire. Here ... Read Full Article

Up Close Picture of the Week: a Souk in Marrakech

Souq in Marrakech

The illuminated Koutoubia Mosque looms high and imposing over the Djamma el-Fna, the centuries old heart of Marrakech. A call to prayer bellows into the ether; an Islamic crescent moon appears aptly in the deep indigo sky...this is Marrakech. And when in this ancient city, be sure to visit several of the colorful souks. Read more about Marrakech Magnifique! Written by and photo by Cam Hassard ... Read Full Article

Paris’s Natural 19th Arrondissement

Parc_des_Buttes_Chaumont

Located on the right bank of the River Seine, the 19th arrondissement is known for its interesting natural and man-made geographical features, including the Canal Saint-Denis, the Canal de l’Ourcq, as well two very popular parks, Parc des Buttes Chaumont and Parc de la Villette. The major tourist draw in this area is the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie’s museum and exhibition center. The ... Read Full Article

Venice in Winter: Intrigue and Mystery

doge palace

  Winter is a fine season to visit Venice. Finally, I get to mingle with actual Venetians, to rub shoulders with them on numerous vaporetto rides along the canals and to the islands and to haggle amongst Venetians over delicious fruit and vegetables  at the markets at the foot of the Rialto bridge. I am warmly welcomed in mom and pop shops, deep in the alleyways, when I enter and ... Read Full Article

Where to Eat and Drink in Venice

Small side canal in Venice

It is always tricky to know where to eat in Venice. While Italy has a wonderful culinary reputation, Venice is generally not known for fine restaurants. In my Venice travels, I've found the best strategy is to walk away from the crowds and get into out of the way neighborhoods where you will find authentic Venetian eateries. Snag a table with the locals and you will be virtually assured of finding ... Read Full Article

My Introduction to Thalassotherapy

Hydro-Jet-Therapy

  My husband and I got our introduction to Thalassotherapy on a recent trip to France, sponsored by the Gard Tourist Office. We were staying in La Grau du Roi-Port Camargue, an amazing French resort town located right on the Mediterranean Sea, not far from Nimes, and were invited to partake in a few Thalassotherapy treatments. Developed during the 19th century in Brittany, France, ... Read Full Article

Up Close Picture of the Week: Chagall Ceiling at the Opera Garnier in Paris

Opera Garnier ceiling

The Opéra Garnier, or Palais Garnier, in the 9th arrondisement, is anything but mundane. It’s huge, grandiose, over-the-top opulent, and a Paris sight not to be missed. It took 14 years to build and was the world’s largest theater when it opened in 1875. The ceiling, surrounding a 6-ton chandelier, was painted in 1964 by Marc Chagall. Chagall’s work is a contrast to the rest of the grand décor. ... Read Full Article