It’s been 30 years since I was in Berlin. The Berlin Wall was about to come down, but East Germany was still hanging on and Checkpoint Charlie was still up. It was pretty grim.
Berlin, of course, has undergone tremendous changes since then, as my daughter, Lia, writes about in her first guest post for this blog. The city is now a swirl of activity, culture, and culinary experimentation.
In this post, Lia focuses on Berlin’s art and food, both of which she absorbed with gusto. For baby boomers like me who remember Berlin mostly as an outpost of the Cold War, the transformation is a revelation — I can’t wait to go back.
By Lia Norton
The last time I was in Berlin, back in 2008, it was for a… Continue reading
You may have experienced it yourself when battling humongous lines to enter San Marco in Venice, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, or the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, or when you found yourself in a wave of fellow travelers struggling to get a peek at the changing of the guard at palaces in London, Athens, or Prague.
You may have been put off by hordes of drunken revelers in Amsterdam, Mallorca, or Berlin (of which, we trust, you were not one yourself).
You may have found small Alaskan ports or Croatian islands too overrun by your fellow cruise ship passengers to appreciate the beauty that attracted you to such cruise itineraries in the first place.
You may have sought out privacy in Iceland’s hot springs, only to find them packed with Game of Thrones fans drawn… Continue reading
Part II of a two-part series. Our story so far:
In my previous post, I confessed to spending three months in Europe shortly after finishing college determined to view every painting on the Continent by the 15th-century Flemish artist Hieronymus Bosch.
My quest took me the length and breadth of Western Europe on a tight budget, in rumpled clothing, and with an almost fanatical zeal to complete my Bosch life list. In the process, I befuddled just about everyone I knew. I was no trained art historian, just an amateur Bosch aficionado equipped with a rail pass and an oddly compelling travel obsession.
I see a lot of Top Ten travel lists of this and that, often filed away and forgettable. But a friend just sent me a particularly interesting compilation of Top Ten travel lists — ranging from the world’s best nightlife destinations to best culture and history to cheapest and most expensive places to visit — as voted on by 7,000 travelers who took part in a recent survey by hostelworld.com.
Now it’s true that most people using hostelworld.com, a site where you can book hostels and inexpensive hotels/inns/guesthouses around the world, are probably much younger than the typical baby boomer demographic. But I was struck by, well, how much I agreed with the findings of the survey – though perhaps for different reasons in some cases.
Whether that means I’m still a 20-year-old backpacker at heart, or… Continue reading
Part 2 of a 3-part series
In our last post, we began our quick guide to European cruising rivers, starting with the Danube, Rhine, Seine, and the Volga and other Russian waterways — probably the best known of the top 12 cruising rivers in Europe.
In this post, we’ll take a look at four more rivers — well, actually five rivers and one canal — ranging from France to Portugal, Germany and the Czech Republic to Sweden.
The Rivers of Bordeaux: the Dordogne, Garonne, and Gironde
You can get an intimate look at Bordeaux, perhaps the world’s premier red-wine-producing region, on this three-river cruise that begins in the city of Bordeaux itself. Bordeaux, situated along the Garonne River — which connects to the Bay of Biscay via the Gironde River along France’s western coast — is a treasure trove of architectural… Continue reading