Category Archives: travel

If You Love Me, Take Me to Villa Barbarigo at Valsanzibio

Why? Well, first, it is just the name. It takes a few minutes to get your mouth around all of those syllables! And there is more where that comes from.

It was built by

the head of a Venetian noble family, Zuane Francesco Barbarigo

Try saying that three times very quickly. More important, this is paradise on earth if you  love gardens.

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Want more?

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Myra Robinson can tell you much more.


Welcome to Bergen! Are you Neo-Fjordic yet?

We have become used to the New Nordic cuisine by now. Aggresively local. and sustainable. But if you were a young and ambitious chef situated in northen Norway, how would you “one up” the new nordics?

Yes, it is neo-fjordic. And it is not a PR stunt. Christopher Haatuft is making this work. NYT offers an in-depth review.

Time to make reservations at Lysverket?

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And btw, it is not all that the lovely town of Bergen has to offer!  Beyond its Leprosy Museum, Bergen is the gateway to Norway’s fjords. And it was a major Hanseatic League trading center.

Worth a trip? Yes! Count me in!


Hiking to Find the Heroic Wines from Sicily

What are heroic wines?

The slopes of Mount Etna, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, the volcanic islands of Lipari and Pantelleria are dotted with vineyards. The difficult terrain where the vines grow require truly heroic efforts from producers here. “You are completely at the mercy of Nature’s spontaneous and plodding rhythms. Every year, there is another challenge: the potential for cloudbursts, hail or drought; the onset of mold in the vineyard following rain; the hot sandy North African winds (sirocco); or the need to rebuild and replant a vineyard—by hand—on the steep terraces of the Etna volcano. To make wine in Sicily, you need the kind of stubborn passion to go on regardless of the obstacles. The rewards are absolutely worth it,”

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And that is not all Sicily has to offer when it comes to wine. That could mean putting Sicily on your agenda for a wine tour.

I am in!


Architect Alert! This Year’s Stirling Prize Candidates

Oliver Wainwright offers a glimpse at the best new buildings in the UK. A decision will be made this coming October which will win the Stirling Prize.

I found the addition to the British Museum to be quite amazing.

… you would be forgiven for not knowing that Richard Rogers had added a £135m extension to the British Museum: 70% of it is underground and off-limits to the public. Cleverly shoehorned into the museum’s north-west armpit, sandwiched between seven listed buildings, the World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre provides enough space to bring the museum’s entire collection together on the Bloomsbury site for the first time. Doing for the back-of-house what Norman Foster did for the front with his Great Court in 2000, the project provides light-flooded conservation studios as well as a new 1,100-sq-metre column-free exhibition hall – not forgetting the biggest truck-lift in Europe to ferry chunks of antiquity down into the storage vaults, the size of 14 Olympic swimming pools. It is open-heart surgery on an epic scale.

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Finding the Best Pho in Hanoi

It is, apparently, what you do in Hanoi. Our story begins

The search for the best pho in Hanoi leads me to a nondescript alleyway, as does the search for the best of most things in this ancient, labyrinthine city, where poking one’s head behind a storefront and detouring up rickety stairs more often than not yields the reward of discovery.

The rewards of discovery? If you want to learn more, here is the link to Dan Q. Dao’s nice article in Saveur! I do like their travel pieces!