Jul 10, 2014

Everyone Loves a Parade


De Parade arts and theater festival in Holland
The little ladies and I recently joined some friends for an afternoon at De Parade, a performing arts festival that travels around The Netherlands. A delightful combination of fair, circus, and theater, De Parade travels through four major Dutch cities - Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Amsterdam - pitching colorful tents in parks and squares and staging a succession of theater, musical and dance performances, bands and children’s shows.

Jun 28, 2014

The Marvelous Mauritshuis


The Mauritshuis Museum in The Hague, recently reopened to great fanfare after a 2-year renovation. I’ve always loved this museum, which appears to float on the water, because of its intimate feel. Despite its expansion, which has doubled the size of the museum with an additional wing accessible via underground tunnel that can accommodate larger pieces of art and house special exhibitions,  this intimate feeling remains.

Apr 22, 2014

Road Trippin' Along the Dalmatian Coast

Croatia has long been one of the places on my travel bucket list and I am finally able to cross it off. My family and I are doing a short tour of Croatia’s Dalmatian coast by car for spring break, including driving from Split to Dubrovnik. 

We flew into Split, where we rented a car and drove to Dubrovnik. The 155 mile (250 kilometer) drive along the vast coastline, dotted with tiny, picturesque towns, is frequently cited as one of the top drives in the world.  The journey took just over 4 hours, though it could have been shorter had we not continued to stop to take in and take pictures of the absolutely stunning views of the azure waters of the Adriatic Sea on one side, and the majestic mountains on the other. 
One of the towns we passed was Omiš. This cute seaside village and harbor may be all rainbows and sunshine now, but its history is much more sinister. Located where the Cetina River meets the Adriatic Sea, Omiš was an infamously dangerous nest of the pirates from the 13th to the beginning of 15th century. The pirates mostly targeted Venetian ships, ambushing them as the attempted to navigate the Adriatic Sea. 

We also passed Medici, a small village popular for its restaurants and beautiful pebble beaches, and Makarska, a popular tourist destination in the heart of the Makarska Riviera, just at the foot of the Biokovo mountains. 
When traveling between Split and Dubrovnik there is a six-mile stretch of land that crosses into Bosnia-Herzegovina, so we had to go through border control and show our passports. Croatia plans to build a bridge at some point so that visitors and locals, who also have to do this every time they go between Split and Dubrovnik, can bypass this little exercise. But until then, it is what it is, and while the process was relatively quick and painless (but it's not the busy season), I'd still file it under random. 
We also passed a number of churches on our drive, and each village seemed to have distinctive steeple or bell tower that also serves as a landmark. I would have loved to have taken pictures of each one, but there wasn't always a convenient place on the road to pull over causing me to resort to "drive-by shooting", which resulted in windshields and rearview mirrors being prominently featured in my photos.

As evening fell, our journey came to an end. Dubrovnik, with its characteristic orange rooftops and turquoise blue water, was now in view. And while we certainly did "enjoy the journey", we were happy to have reached our destination. 

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Apr 15, 2014

Walking Along the Via Dolorosa


Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem
Easter is a very special time for Christians to visit the Holy Land. From the Mount of Olives where Jesus is said to have prayed the night before his crucifixion and ascended to Heaven to King David’s tomb on Mount Zion, Jerusalem is where some of Christianity’s holiest sites can be found. Another one of these sites is the Via Dolorosa, or the way of sorrows, the road Jesus traveled as he carried his cross to his crucifixion.

Apr 7, 2014

Running the World: Berlin Half Marathon


Running toward Brandenburg Gate
The Berlin Half Marathon was a memorable race characterized by break-neck speeds. Not by me of course, but by winner Leonard Koman, whose time of 59:14 is the fastest half marathon debut time in history. If you double that time and then add on another 25 minutes, then you get my finish time. While I may not have broken any records, I did manage to conquer another destination on my quest to run the world.

Apr 6, 2014

A UNESCO World Heritage Site Tour of Budapest



One of the stops on our city tour of Central Europe was Budapest.
The Hungarian capital, divided into two halves across the Danube River, yet united by a series of bridges, instantly captivates, thanks in large part to its beautiful landscape, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and highlights the great historical periods of the city.

Apr 1, 2014

The Intersection of Bike and Art


The Rijksmusuem, Amsterdam
What do you get when you combine one of the world’s greatest museums and one of the world’s greatest bike cultures? You get the bike path that goes through the Rijksmuseum.
The bike path is actually a tunnel that runs through the museum, separating galleries and serving as a shortcut across the city. While this unique bike path gets numerous cool points from cyclists, Rijksmuseum board members aren’t so psyched about it. At least, they weren’t initially.

Mar 27, 2014

Place du Casino in Monte Carlo



Monte Carlo Casino
It’s easy to be intimidated by the high-roller reputation of Monte Carlo. Located on the French Riviera and home to the famous casino, the city screams glitz and glamour.  Get in on the glam life and revel in your own flyness by arriving via helicopter. The 7-minute ride from the Nice airport offers marvelous views across the Cote d’Azur and of Monaco.  The helicopter ride includes a transfer from the heliport to anywhere in Monaco and I always head straight to the heart of the principality, Place du Casino.

Mar 24, 2014

My Proposed Itinerary for Obama's Visit to The Hague


President Obama is visiting the Netherlands for the Nuclear Security Summit 2014 (NSS) in The Hague. While in the Netherlands President Obama's agenda includes a quick tour of the Rijksmuseum and meeting with Prime Minister Rutte while in Amsterdam, and dinner with King Willem-Alexander at the Royal Palace in The Hague. President is only scheduled to be in the Netherlands for two days, but hopefully he’ll get a chance to see some of what The Hague has to offer. Here are my suggestions for President Obama - and you - for things to do or see while in The Hague.

Mar 23, 2014

Travel Memories: Vogue Covers in Paris


Vogue covers on the Champs Elysées (photo credit ‪msellaneous.tumblr.com)
With the Gap, Abercrombie and Fitch and other chain stores dominating Paris' Champs-Elysées it’s easy to forget that you are in one of the world’s style capitals. However, a few years ago, I was fortunate enough to get a stylish history lesson as I strolled along this famous boulevard.