Jul 28, 2015

Getting A Taste of Livermore Valley

Image via www.collinsteam.net
Just 45 miles (70 kilometers) east of San Francisco in California’s Bay Area sits Livermore Valley. Quaint and unassuming, the region often thought of as northern California’s “other” wine country, is in actuality its original one. Missionaries from the nearby San Jose Mission, founded in 1797, planted vineyards, thus making Livermore Valley California’s oldest wine region. It was Livermore’s wine industry, which dates back to the mid-19th century, along with its prime location resulting in it becoming a popular stopping point for prospectors traveling between San Francisco and Sacramento during the heady gold rush days, that put this city on the map.

Jul 9, 2015

6 Reasons to be Jazzed About the North Sea Jazz Festival*

The Netherlands is gearing up for one of its most popular events, the North Sea Jazz Festival.  Formerly held in The Hague, the festival moved to a larger venue in Rotterdam in 2006 and attracts upwards of 70,000 visitors each year. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the event, so in addition to its longevity, here are six more reasons to be “jazzed” about this festival:

May 19, 2015

Le Grand Depart and Tour Through The Netherlands

A map of stages 1 and 2 of Le Tour de France 2015 (photo credit: www.radiostadmontfoort.nl).
Photo credit: www.www.radiostadmontfoort.nl
The Netherlands will soon change from orange to yellow this as Utrecht hosts Le Grand Depart of the Tour de France. After five years, the festive start of the famous cycling race returns to the Netherlands, marking a record sixth time that the race starts in Holland, more than any other country outside of France.

Mar 29, 2015

A Perfect Day: Lille

The Vieille Bourse, the old stock exchange
It’s hard to believe that just a generation ago, Lille, known as the “first factory of France”, was seen as nothing more than a gritty industrial town. I must say the city cleans up nicely, due in large part to it being the European Capital of Culture in 2004, and is now a not-to-miss destination for those in the know with numerous cultural attractions, restaurants and boutiques.

Mar 24, 2015

Scooting Through Athens with Scooterise

Athens, Greece
When I only have a short amount of time in a city or it’s my first trip, I’m usually an advocate for a Hop On-Hop Off bus tour. However, on a trip to Athens with my teen and tween queens, Miss P and Miss V, in an effort to minimize the eye rolling, sighing and overall whining, I aimed to find a tour that would engage them more than a basic HO-HO, and came across Scooterise.

Mar 16, 2015

North London Half Marathon: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Mo Farrah starts the North London Half Marathon
Photo credit: Vitality North London Half Marathon

After completing the North London Half Marathon, I am happy to report that I have claimed another destination on my quest to run the world. Olympic gold medalist Mo Farrah fired the starting gun, and I, along with 7000 other runners including three buddies from my running group in Holland, took to the streets of North London for the inaugural event. Here’s my take on the event: the good, the bad and the ugly.

Mar 6, 2015

The Marvelous Jardin Majorelle

The villa at Jardin Marjorelle
Marrakech is truly a vivacious city. A little too vivacious, truth be told, so during my recent visit, I found the Jardin Majorelle to be a welcome reprieve. Created in the 1920's by French painter Jacques Majorelle, this idyllic garden set in the center of the Ville Nouvelle neighborhood of Marrakech was made famous by the designer Yves Saint Laurent who purchased the property after Majorelle's death and gifted it to the city.

Nov 16, 2014

The Pretty Churches of Santorini

The Greek island of Santorini is known for the beautiful sapphire blue waters of the Aegean Sea that surrounds it, the houses carved into its cliffs that are stuff of architectural dreams, and of course, the white-washed buildings with blue domes that speckle the island like polka dots.

Oct 20, 2014

Run the World: 20 kilomètres de Paris

A race. In the fall. In Paris. Sounds pretty close to perfect to me!  It also sounded good to 24,500 other people. 24,500 other people who were fast enough to register for the race before it sold out. Since I’ve never been one to let lack of speed deter me from running a race, I made my travel arrangements for Paris for said weekend with the faith that some how, some way, I would participate in the 20 Kilometre de Paris.

Oct 16, 2014

Philadelphia in an Instagram

Not long ago, I had the opportunity to spend a day in Philadelphia. Not even a day, really. More like a few hours, so I wanted to maximize my time and see all that I could in that short period of time. I’ve always believed the best way to get an overview of a city is via a Hop On Hop-Off (HO-HO) bus. This is especially true if you are somewhere for the first and/or a very short amount time. You get the lay of the land, which, if you’re anything like me and have no sense of direction, is really helpful. Then there’s the commentary, which provides some history of place, and a bit local trivia.