Where in the world can you read Shakepeare's famous plays while on a stage, or in the box, and pretend to be the Bard while reading about the Bard?
Only one place that I know of, El Ateneo in Buenos Aires in the neighborhood of Barrio Norte.
Featuring one of the world's largest collections of books for sale, a terrific cafe and corner after dark corner ripe for long hours of book perusing and reading - this Argentinian bookshop that was once a theater is heaven for lovers of drama both acted and written.
There isn't really a bad time to go, the space is more than large enough to accomodate crowds and yet cozy enough to surround the visitor even when nearly alone.
The only thing you'll have to decide when you do go, is how you fit everything else into a day of sightseeing when inevitably everything else you had wanted to do won't seem quite as appealing after you've stepped through the...
Fab Places to While Away a Few Hours
Whether a bookstore or a park - the places I want to go just to stay for a while. Or, the places I have been and done just that!
Every Sunday in Berlin the world of kitschy fleamarket finds and cool hipster crowds meet at Mauerpark Market in Berlin. The market is full of antiques and dusty relics but also mixed with stalls of young designers selling inventive new fashions designs one would find in hip boutiques.
If you are in the mood to shop - be prepared to spend an afternoon wandering around the endless rows of stalls searching through piles of flea market treasures. But just when you think you are ready to drop - you can get an energy boost from one of the many food/drink stands intermixed between the stalls. You'll find Turkish delights such as pide (Turkish pizza) or lahmacun to brautwurst, as well as cafes, bars, and organic juice stalls.
Mauerpark is not just a place to find unique souvenirs and hot new designers, it is simply a place to people watch and get in touch with the vibe of Berliners. Over...
True, the ground may be a bit uneven, the sun may be shining brightly upon you and you just may have to endure friendly boaters waiving as they sail by, BUT it's a small price to pay for the experience and breathtaking view of practicing on the rocks of Lokrum, Croatia!
The island of Lokrum is a national park right off the coat of Dubrovnik, easily accessible by public ferry. Best to arrive early (& get permission from the park) so as to beat the crowds- and the sun bathers who eventually stake claim on these same rocks...and can you blame them? With a picturesque view of the dramatic Croatian coastline and the deep blue waters of the Adriatic sea, it's sure to inspire many a Sun Salutation! Namaste!
Shopping in Chefchaouen is hard to resist. There's so much to choose from and so many interesting shops in hidden alleys and corners. The clothes are slightly different in this town in the Rif Mountains of Morocco. Make sure to check out the woolen, hand-woven tunics that the Blue City is known for. Just avoid the leather goods, they aren't made locally but are instead shipped in from Fes. Therefore, tourists pay an added tax that's unnecessary. Wait, and shop for leather goods when you get to Fes!
Just outside the entrance to the Kasbah, in the old medina of the town of Chefchaouen (Morocco's famed "Blue City") is a lively square rimmed with trees and cobalt blue benches. Not unlike the Bathesda Fountain in New York City, if one sits in this square long enough it seems possible to watch the whole town go by. And all its tourists. There is a fountain, there are cafes, shops selling leather goods and postcards and roaming children happy to be responsibility-free. Sit long enough and you'll even hear the call to prayer ringing out from the mosque at the far end of the square.
Built in 978, ransacked during the Spanish Civil War and finally restored in the twentieth century -- Església de Sant Jaume de Queralbs is one of the oldest surviving Romanesque churches in Spain. It is worth a visit in and of itself, to the beautiful village of Queralbs. Once the mayor, a man by the name of Jaume (si, just like the church) will welcome you in by challenging you to open the ancient door with a key twice the size of a human hand. Once inside, you will see faded frescoes above the altar and statues of Christ, Mary and varying saints -- including, appropriately for Catalunya, the patron Saint of Pork: St. Anthony. Jaume will also show you photographs of what the church looked like before it was ransacked during the Civil War...all, for only €1!
Walking in feels like, pardon the obvious cliché, walking back in time. Elegant women in colorful saris stroll arm in arm down long, shaded boulevards. Men in linen suits actually relax by leaning against ancient palm trees. Benches are claimed by loving couples seeking silent moments.
At Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolan Botanic Garden in Mauritius, in my modern-wrinkle-free travelers clothing, I felt out of place. When I could ignore my own dress and move beyond appearances, what I found was the most literal example of a formal garden I've seen in any country I've visited. This sixty-acre oasis of cultured nature features a pond of Victoria amazonica lilies, its main draw, and an extensive collection of rare palms. The green expanses are broken up by gleaming white wrought iron details. It was first created as a private garden by a French governor 300 years ago, later it was turned into the...
One should certainly take a stroll down Las Rambla, the busy tree lined walking street of downtown Barcelona, but the walk can be exhausting and disheartening with its gauntlet of tourist traps. That’s when it is important to duck out into the side streets where real gems can be found. There is of course the newly re-opened Gaudi designed Palau Guell house, the throw back Bar Marsella where Hemingway once spent long hours, and of course La Boqueria – a food market that has been running in some form since the 1200’s. The market is a travelers dream – pyramids of fruit, hangings of delicious Spanish cured ham and glistening fillets of fish. Wandering amongst the stalls one warm august morning I was enticed by a colorful collection of smoothies, all freshly squeezed and ready for sipping.
One of the best day trips from Cuzco, Peru, is a visit to the Sunday farmer's market held in nearby Pisac. Locals from all over the region gather at the weekly market to sell and trade their goods, ranging from fresh-picked produce to handmade textiles and dyes to creamy cheeses.
Hiring a taxi in Cuzco at a cost of around $15 each way is the easiest way to get to the Pisac Sunday market, but if you're on a tight budget you can take a local bus to Pisac for only $2 each way. The winding road to Pisac travels through the Andes and looks out over the stunning Urubamba Valley - make sure to stop along the way for a birdseye view of the region's fertile farmlands surrounded by the towering Andes mountains.
At the Pisac farmer's market, this vendor was selling pieces of small bread, freshly baked that morning and still warm from the oven. My husband and I happily nibbled on the delicious...
With so many great views along the rugged coastline of California's Central Coast, it's hard not to stop at every single one. However, few can compare with this view from Nepenthe Restaurant in Big Sur. Any meal or cocktail is enhanced when this is your view.
Tucked into Cardiff's eminently wanderable shopping arcades, Spillers Records claims to be the world's oldest record store. They believe in vinyl and in promoting local bands. Listening stations let you sample staff picks. It's also the kind of place that posts top 10 lists by their customers, including one by perhaps the hippest 8-year-old in the world. (He had PJ Harvey's "Let England Shake," at number 1.) The guy and girl behind the counter helped me figure out which size T-shirt to get and confirmed that my choice of the new album by the Islets, a local band, was a good one. I wish I'd had more time to hang out there. Nice vibe. And the chance to linger in a record store is such a rare pleasure these days. Might be worth crossing an ocean for.
Although not made up of billlions and billions of stars, it is made up of millions and millions of photo cells that absorb sunlight and becomes a huge visual kaleidoscope at night. The light patterns and colors change every few seconds, making it one of the best light shows on the planet. And to top it all off, it is accompanied by the Sea Organ - an organ driven by sea water that has a deep bass sound as if whales are speaking to each other right at the sea wall. These two installations are not to be missed when in lovely Zadar. Many restaurant choices in old town make the stop even more worthwhile.
Next door to (and associated with) the Everard Read Gallery (probably the oldest in Joburg) is this beautiful gallery. You definitely want to stop by to check out the art and the architecture. If you are lucky, you might even get to meet Mark Read, who is as nice, bright and committed to his field and his country as you will find.
At a time when it seems like another brick-and-mortar bookstore disappears every day, it is really refreshing to witness the throngs of readers crowding into Powell's Books in Portland on a sunny Saturday. When you go, if you're a word nerd like myself, give yourself at least two hours of browsing time. Trust me, you'll need it.