You’ll Love These 9 Art Masterpieces in Florence, Italy

Florence, Italy, attracts millions of visitors each year and is well known for its art – art museums and galleries housing many of the world’s great art masterpieces. It has long been considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The city is just one of the many reasons that I love Italy. Since the 15th Century, Florence has been an economically prosperous city due to an Italian banking family known as the Medicis. Cosimo de’ Medici became a patron of art, science, philosophy, and architecture, which helped the city to become known as the birthplace of the Renaissance. The Historic Center of Florence is a UNESCO World Heritage site, with significant architecture, monuments, and cultural history combined with its art history.  Artists like Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Donatello, Botticelli, and Ghiberti created masterpieces thanks to his patronage. […]

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Celebrate World Whisky Day

Take some grain, corn, rye or wheat will do, perhaps malted barley. Ferment in a still. Age in a wooden cask, oak works well, for various years. Then put into bottles. Voila – you have whisky. Or whiskey, if you prefer. (I like the  distinction between the two spellings found here.) Such a simple basic process is at the root of all whisky making, from the rot gut from the backyard still to the smoothest Irish whiskey, although the process of refining the smooth taste has evolved over generations. In fact, whisky has become strictly regulated, with very specifically defined classes and types based on both the type of grain, malt, and the process of aging. While purists maintain that whisky should be served neat, or with a splash of water or on the rocks if you must, today’s bartenders and mixologists […]

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A Dozen Gardens From Around the World

The days are getting longer, and with flowers blooming in the yard along with a few peeks of the sun in the sky, it’s a great time to be in Seattle. Spring is finally here! Since the flowers in my garden are not terribly impressive yet – things will be in full color in another few weeks – I turned to some of my blogger friends to get a take on some of their favorite gardens around the world. I selected a dozen of them, one for each month of the year, and hope you can work a visit into one of them during your next vacation. 1.Springtime tulips at Araluen Botanic Park, Western Australia Western Australia conjures up images of red desert, barren gorges and rugged wilderness, but half an hour’s drive from Perth we found Araluen Botanic Park. […]

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Travel for Library Lovers

If you’re a lover of books and literature, you probably already visit libraries when you travel. Whether it’s stopping off to do a little research or get an internet connection at a local library, or to visit a historically or culturally significant site, sleuthing out a library in advance of your travels is worth your time. And if you’re going to be in one destination or an extended period of time, you may be able to get a temporary library card giving you access to books and services for the time you’re there. For a book lover, that’s a big travel bonus. (If you’re looking for reading ideas, you can find some of my recommendations here.) I asked a few traveling friends to share some of their favorite ideas about libraries. The Long Room, Dublin: when Jedi knowledge meets monastic […]

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Guadalajara Cathedral in the Central Historic District

As Mexico’s second largest city, there are many reasons to visit Guadalajara: it has high-quality museums, some of the best street food in Mexico and is the birthplace of mariachi, the quintessential Mexican musical genre. It is a wonderful combination of cosmopolitan city and historic center, blending the old with the new, the modern with the traditional, and the hip with the historical. It also has a massive jewel in its crown – the Guadalajara Cathedral, a minor basilica that is part of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Guadalajara. Visiting the Guadalajara Cathedral is one of the top things to do in Guadalajara, whether you’re exploring the city on your own or joining an organized walking tour of Guadalajara. Located in the downtown Centro Historico (Avenue 16 de Septiembre, Hidalgo y Morelos), Guadalajara Cathedral is known for being one of […]

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Thailand by Regions: What to See & Do

From ancient culture and mystic temples to lush landscapes and sugary sand beaches, Thailand offers a little something for everyone, making it a popular spot for a vacation.  The neighboring countries of Myanmar, Malaysia, Laos, and Cambodia have all had some influence upon Thailand and its people, but the Land of Smiles remains largely unspoiled by European colonialism and has preserved its own distinct culture. The country is larger than most people realize and you likely won’t see it all in one visit – unless that one visit is a long one.  To plan your visit, think of Thailand as one country with five different regions, each region offering some a little different, a little special.  So, let’s discover Thailand: The North is the heart of Thailand’s historic heritage, and the main destination in this part of the country is […]

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Celebrate World Wildlife Day

Today, March 3rd, is UN World Wildlife Day. The UN General Assembly made this proclamation four years ago as a way to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants. I’m not an eco-blogger or traveler, but I do make every effort to respect the world around me, making sure that I don’t engage in any behavior that harms the earth and its creatures. Or, if I’m to be more honest with myself and you, I try to minimize the damage my behavior causes to the earth and its creatures (because, yeah, air travel is not eco-friendly). Although I don’t write much on the topic, either, I’m pretty pleased with this podcast I did with Bret Love about Rwanda’s ecotourism attractions, and how tourism is bouncing back after the terrible atrocities of the Civil War and genocide. […]

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How to Use the NYC CityPASS for Savings on New York Attractions

  So you’re finally making the trip to the Big Apple. You plan to see all the sights, take in a Broadway show, and check out the amazing dining scene. But all that is going to be heavy on the wallet. If you want to get more for your dollar, you should buy a New York CityPASS. Offering admission to up to six New York attractions, the NYC CityPASS is a smart way to save money when visiting New York attractions.  What’s Included There are two types of passes to choose from: the New York City CityPASS and New York C3 Pass. There are ten attractions in total to choose from on these New York sightseeing passes – nine on the CityPASS and ten on the C3. With the NYC CityPASS you get tickets for six different attractions; three of these […]

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Wine, Wineries and Vineyards On California’s Central Coast

California is the nation’s largest wine producer and California’s Central Coast offers some of the best wine and most breathtaking scenery in the state. Many wineries are small, family-owned operations so travelers have the opportunity to meet with the actual winemaker or proprietor to learn about the history and culture of this area. From Ventura up to Monterey, the cities of California’s Central Coast are home to tasting rooms and artisanal wineries while the valleys are home to picturesque vineyards and wine estates. As always with travel on California’s Central Coast, the best way to explore is a California road trip along the Pacific Coast Highway. Ventura Region Commonly known as the gateway to California’s wine region, Ventura County boasts its own world-class wine experience with numerous boutique wineries crafted from California’s best grapes. The best way to experience these […]

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20 Best Beaches in Fuerteventura Spain

With 3,000 hours of sunshine every year, and winter temperatures averaging in the low 70’s,  Fuerteventura beaches lure travelers to their shores. Offering beautiful stretches of white and black sand, terrific year-round surfing, sailing, diving, sport fishing, and all sorts of adventure both on land and water. Fuerteventura is one of the Canary Islands (but owned by Spain), located about 63 miles off the coast of Africa.  Flights to Fuerteventura Spain go into the airport at El Mattoral, from dozens of cities across Europe, making it an easy and affordable destination for a beach vacation. So Which Fuerteventura Beach is For You? There are over 150 beaches on the island ranging from fine, white sand to black volcanic rock formed from volcanic activity, dating back thousands of years. Generally speaking, the beaches on the north part of the island have […]

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