Category Europe

Berlin Street Art Tours with Local Artists

Jack Nicholson Street Art by MTO in Berlin Kreutzberg neighborhood

How do you get a sense of the real Berlin and where do you find this urban mecca’s best street art?

A few taps...

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Romantic Paris: best hotels, best restaurants, best experiences

There's nothing more romantic than a Parisian sunset.Ah, Paris and Romance…the two go hand in hand like, well, those in love.  And the only way to enjoy Paris as a couple is to be “flaneurs” or saunterers. It’s not about rushing around ticking off the sights.

The City of Light makes a perfect backdrop for couples: from its tree-lined boulevards and parks to the quays and bridges of the Seine. Forget the tourist-clogged Champs Elysees and Eiffel Tower and stroll arm in arm with your beloved admiring the city’s voluptuous sculptures and luminescent light.

Why not indulge in a sublime pastry then choose an art exhibition or a performance at the Opera Garnier or buy your sweetheart a bouquet of blushing roses. You won’t find more exquisite blooms than those in Paris’ tucked-away flower shops. Luxuriate on a café terrace clinking glasses of the palest pink rose. Eschew a cab, and take out a free Velib bicycle to peddle slowly along a boulevard bike path under the dappled light of plane trees...

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Photo Friday: Sailboats at the Tuileries in Paris

Model sail boats for rent in the Tuileries gardens in Paris

I took this picture of the rickety cart filled with handmade wooden sailboats with their much-patched sails one spring day in the Tuileries gardens in Paris.

In fact, I’ve taken pictures of these boats  and the kids sailing them every time I have visited Paris over the past 25 years. And the same man has been there renting them every single time. I’ve tried to talk to him over the years to learn a little bit more about him, where he makes the boats and mends the sails and just how long he has been doing this. But he is a cagey fellow and doesn’t like all those inquisitive questions.  His face is tanned from spending every afternoon outside in the park, summer and winter, rain or shine.

The first time I saw him my oldest daughter was just a babe in arms and she has now just announced her engagement at the age of 26! I feel like he has watched my family grow up just like he must have seen hundreds of other little kids get big and have children of their own, which they bring down to th...

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Photo Friday: Hiking the Pyrenees’ Green Hills

Pyrenees-Photo-Friday

I took this picture of my husband when our family embarked on a three-day walk in the Pyrenees in early summer, not far from the town of St Jean Pied de Port. It is the last stop in France on the pilgrimage route over the Pyrenees to St James grave in St. Jacques de Compostela. This is one of Europe’s most well-known and also very crowded walks but there are equally spectacular trails, such as this one above the Valley of the Nive, that are completely deserted.

The Pyrenees form the border between France and Spain. At lower elevations there are dozens of moderate trails that traverse a softly folding landscape of limestone hills covered in lime green grasses dotted with grazing sheep which supply delicious brebis cheese for the hungry walker.

France is a walker’s paradise...

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Paris Beach: Sand by the Seine in Summer

Every summer for four weeks Paris is turned into a beach

It’s the middle of summer in Paris and all you see are other tourists flocking to the usual sites…the Louvre, Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower. Les Parisiens have escaped to their summer houses.  But wait, what’s that down by the Seine? A guinguette, or outdoor café, locals sunning themselves on deck chairs, a few petanque pitches, kids playing in the sand, and people singing French tunes around an outdoor piano.  And there’s not a map-toting, camera-wielding, white-sneaker-wearing person in sight.

For four weeks each summer, starting around July 20, a couple of the busiest quarters of Paris are transformed into beaches! Yes, you heard me, beaches! In French it is called Paris Plage.

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Summer in the Stockholm Archipeligo

summer-fun-in-Sweden-by-Susan-Gough-Henly

In Sweden summer is prized like the love of a life, a season that is longed for through the dark of winter and transforms everything, under the blaze of 16 hours of glorious sun a day. And there is no better place to see this passion unfold than the Stockholm Archipelago, a necklace of 24,000 islands that is strung some 130 kilometers along the Baltic Sea on either side of Sweden’s largest city.

Stockholm itself sprawls across 14 islands and while some, like leafy Djurgarten, offer bucolic delights, most Stockholmers escape to their own special island for the month of July, when the lovely sun shines so long that it never really gets dark.

Tove Janssen, the renowned children’s book author of the Moomen tales, gives a clue to how deep the love runs when she described her family summer home on Blido, nicknamed The Island in the Sun.

“My grandfather came to a long green field bordered with forest and hills so it looked like a valley of paradise.  One end was open to the bay for the grandchildren to swim.  He built a big house with lots of rooms and stairs and terraces and verandas and started to plant flowers and trees and the field became a Garden of Eden.”

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Walk the Amalfi Coast

walking the amalfi coast mfp

A sunny day on the Amalfi coast…steep, craggy limestone hills rise like an ancient dragon from the indigo depths of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Alas, most visitors miss the magic, trapped as they are in a cacophony of honking horns and diesel fumes, kitschy limoncello souvenir shops, and serpentine traffic jams on the cliff-hugging roads.

Positano Walking Adventures

Enter the PositanoFrank Carpegna-Walking with the Gods…the perfect way to slow down and smell the rosemary, while marveling at a culture and a cuisine hewn from a landscape as harsh as it is breathtaking.  By walking on paths that have been used for centuries by monks and farmers you not only feel the majesty of place in your pounding heart but also carve a monstrous hole in your stomach.  All the better to be filled with mountains of made-this-morning fusilli tossed with everything fresh from the garden which goes down very easily with the Tears of Christ wine grown on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius...

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Santorini: Where to stay, what to do and where to eat

Santorini WWW

Oia is the only place to base yourself on Santorini. This is the source of all Santorini’s iconic images that grace the covers of travel magazines.

Here is everything you need to know to enjoy your stay in Oia: Where to Stay, What to do, and Where to Eat.

Where...

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Santorini: Plan Your Trip

Santorini the Low Down

Ah, Santorini…its curving white cubed buildings and blue church domes, pots of fuchsia bougainvillea, and winding staircases descending to the lapis lazuli waters of a drowned volcanic crater. One of the world’s major sigh-inducing images, for sure. No wonder, then, that it’s on all hot lists as the perfect island escape.

A long history

Once upon a time, it was a rather ordinary round, brown blob in the Aegean Sea. But the island classically known as Thera was smack bang on important trading routes as an outpost of the sophisticated Crete-based Minoan civilisation. Then, some 3600 years ago, one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history gouged a massive crater and all that remained was a mere crescent-shaped landscape, with striated red, black and ochre cliffs embracing a flooded caldera, a few other specks of land becoming satellite islands.

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