An Eight-Day Week in Paris

Bonjour! Did you know that the French say huit jours when referring to a week’s time? There are various explanations but I like the one that mentions Sunday to Sunday “inclusive,” as opposed to “exclusive” weeks (interestingly the more common quinzaine used for two weeks only has one bonus day). I just had the great good fortune to spend a French week in Paris and … Continue reading An Eight-Day Week in Paris

Sublime Seville

Real Alcázar Seville Entrance
Entrance to the Alcázar Palace

I can’t wait to go back to Seville and spend another week – or even longer! Seville’s compact nature, strategic position on the Guadalqivir river and history dating to the 10th century CE is reflected in the Moorish influences juxtaposed with Castillian, ancient  architecture with contemporary throughout this lovely city. Continue reading “Sublime Seville”

Apulia, Puglia, Adriatic Sea, Italy

By the Sea, By the Sea – Puglia Part 2

Puglia’s pristine coastline invites comparison to the Amalfi Coast. There are the same winding roads and stunning views, but none of the congestion. As in the interior, there are charming villages, with Otranto at the top of my list. The exquisite Church of the Madonna of Altomare sits above the bay overlooking Otranto. While every town has its places of worship, this one stands apart with … Continue reading By the Sea, By the Sea – Puglia Part 2

Trulli, Puglia, Italy

Trulli, Madly, Deeply – Puglia Part I

Compared to just about everywhere else in Italy, Puglia is relatively quiet, especially come September 1, when the Italian families who spend August there have returned to work and school. This may be the best time to enjoy the spectacular wine, bountiful produce and seafood. Inland Puglia features traffic-free country roads lined with trulli, fields of sheep, and endless groves of olive trees. There is nothing quite like just pressed olive … Continue reading Trulli, Madly, Deeply – Puglia Part I

Awesome Oslo – part 2

Exploring Oslo by bike is a great way to see the city.  From the Akershus Fortress, stopping at Snøhetta Architects’ fabulous Opera House (and be sure to take a walk on the roof),  then through the heart of the city to Vigeland Park and the beautiful residential neighborhoods that adjoin it, there are well marked bike paths and friendly locals to help out if necessary.  I can … Continue reading Awesome Oslo – part 2


Fika is the Swedish term for taking a break to enjoy coffee with a pastry and is a custom I quickly adopted.  Kardemummabullar and kanelbullar (cardamon and cinnamon rolls) are the perfect accompaniment to fresh brewed coffee any time of day! Two favorite spots are Mellqvist Kaffebar in Södermalm (favorite of Mikael Blomqvist as well as his creator Stieg Larsson) and Snickarbacken 7 in central Stockholm. The … Continue reading Fika-licious

Short and Sweet – Summer in Stockholm

If good things come in small packages, then summer in Stockholm definitely qualifies.  Even before the autumnal equinox, leaves are turning and mornings are cool. Nonetheless, September may be the best time to visit as the cruise ships have departed and the crowds have thinned.  Central Stockholm spreads across 14 islands whose bridges provide magnificent vistas of old world buildings and  busy waterways. There are a … Continue reading Short and Sweet – Summer in Stockholm

Venice on My Mind

St. Mark’s Square with the its Basilica, numerous caffès and the  Doge’s Palace  is thronged with tourists year-round. However, there are wonderful neighborhoods to explore where the Venetians live and play. Whether you are going to Venice for the Biennale (through November 22, 2015) or just to enjoy one of the most beautiful cities on earth, make sure to visit the lesser known areas of Dorsoduro,  and Santa Croce. … Continue reading Venice on My Mind