Who doesn't want to know how to cook French Cuisine? Even I, lacking any sense of cooking, would love to learn how to make a delicious chocolate mouse myself and my guests. For this matter, Paris is filled with cooking schools that offer various cooking and baking classes geared towards locals and tourists alike.
One of them is La Cuisine Paris, located in the heart of the city and offering cooking classes in English. You can learn how to make a 3-course meal, how to make macarons, bake Croissant as well as Pain au Chocolat and Le Croissant aux or learn all about different cheeses.
The staff includes skilled international professional chefs (French and non-French). If you don't feel like cooking, and just want to explore the 'outside' of the kitchen, you can sign up for a Food Tour at various locations.
Highly recommended: Come hungry!
After discovering a scene from one of my favorite movies "Under the Tuscan Sun" had been filmed on a balcony at Hotel California Positano (the particular room is now named after the film), and being that I’m from California, I felt I was meant to stay there during my travels to the "Jewel of the Amalfi Coast".
The hotel has very reasonable rates for spacious rooms, a beautiful open-air terrace for guests to relax and enjoy breakfast or a drink, is within a short distance to walk to Spiaggia Grande (the main beach), explore the charming shops in town, dine at local restaurants, and also comes with a view that’s worth every euro (seen in the photo above is from the balcony of room 58).
Not only does the hotel have everything guests could ask for, but the Cinque family who owns the property are incredibly warm and friendly, especially Maria. An Italian grandmother, known by so many around...
Austria's historic and cultural allure may only be surpassed by the country's natural beauty. The Krimmler Waterfalls in the Hohe Tauern National Park are a perfect example of how mother nature must have taken a particular liking to our Alpine region. The glacial water rushes down three tiers of rock, creating a spectacle not to be missed. The falls measure an impressive 1250 feet and can be marveled at from several accessible lookout points. Feel the water's power and be amazed by the clouds of spray that fly up against a stunning backdrop of forests and mountain ranges. A great tip for a break is the Schoenangerl restaurant, which is located 4,216 ft above sea level!
I love waterfalls, and I found this one near Portland, Oregon to be stunning. My partner and I just stared in amazement at it.
Santorini, Greece is an unquestionably beautiful island, but you can take the island experience up a notch, from beautiful to breathtaking, by hiking the ancient footpath from Thira to Oia.
Start just before sunrise and meander the ancient dirt and cobblestone path, which is perfectly nestled at the cliffs edge, providing breathtaking views of the caldera. I set out on this path alone for a 4 hour hike, not too sure of what I would find along the way. Way up high, above the sea, away from the island crowds, as if walking through the clouds, I experienced the true beauty of the island- obvious natural beauty that surrounds you in every direction, but an ancient, deeply rooted beauty that can only be found in the silence, in the white washed churches scattered along the path, in the sun-smoothed cobblestone of the path ... in the clouds.
Don't forget layered clothes as once the sun rises...
One of the best ways to connect with a culture is to connect with it's people, and hiking from village to village in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala provides you just this opportunity.
The majestic lake is overlooked by three equally majestic volcanoes, and is surrounded by 12 remote villages. Each village boosts their own unique customs, culture, cuisine and dialect- and while often times similar to their neighbor, no two are exactly the same. From the colors of their huipil to their religious or shaman rituals, each village is an anthropological study in and of itself.
I recommend choosing a home base hotel on the lake and set out to experience 2 or 3 villages per day, allowing yourself time to shop the markets, visit the churches, eat tamales and enjoy village life on the lake in each location. To best experience villages across the lake, pick a starting village, take a boat across and set...
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!
Many islands have laws with steep fines against wearing beach wear when not on the sandy shoreline and while you may have heard of folks going au-naturel on St. Martin, that’s certainly not the norm throughout the region.
On St. John, however, things were a little different. About a mile walk from a parking lot on the edge of Cruz Bay along what’s called the Lind Point Trail, through typical island bush and over a hill and down through more bush past a fork (where either choice gets you to the same place) intrepid travelers are rewarded with a tiny strip of sand, only around 25 yards long, unofficially known as the island’s only nude beach: Solomon Beach.
I’ve been to this secluded sandy alcove a number of times and without fail the maximum number of sun worshipers was never above four or five. In fact, most times, the beach was deserted. So, for years this is where those with a passion...
There are many beautiful beaches on Hutchinson Island in Florida. Some of them like this one in Stuart have huge rocks and boulders.
When the tide is low you can walk up the beach in front of these rock formations. Don't forget to bring along your camera so you can photograph the beach, the surf, the huge puffy clouds that float over the island, and of course these interesting boulders.
After your explorations you can bodysurf, surf, fish, swim, or just relax in your beach chair.
This is a beautiful barrier island that's very laid-back. Enjoy your time here.
There is a Marriott Resort nearby if you want to stay for a while.
It's the epitome of Byzantine architecture and definitely my favorite place to visit in Istanbul.
Petite Tabac is one of five tiny islets that make up the Tobago Cays archipelago in the Grenadines.
Everything you could ever want in a deserted island paradise is here.
You’ll find shallow, crystalline waters teaming with colorful sea life including graceful sea turtles gliding to and fro. The borderline where sea reluctantly gives way to land couldn’t be graced with more picture-perfect white sand. And coconut trees dot the area just beyond—their fronds splashing green brush strokes across the azure sky and blessed patches of shade across the ground.
Further inland on these tiny isles of perfection you’ll find box tortoises lumbering along the ground and long, tan iguanas lounging in the trees. All the while, sea birds call from their nests in the rocks or as they lazily circle high in the sky.
But how to get there?
Well, at this very moment, you can find airfares from Miami...
Heading up north in Barbados is a great way to get away from the bustle of Bridgetown and the hustle of the west coast. And if you’re going north, why not go all the way to North Point?
First off, Mondays are the best day for this excursion as many cruise ships dock on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Next, set out early. If you’re on the west coast, 8:30am would be a good start. Even if you get lost, you’ll still be there before anyone else. And speaking of getting lost, it’s a good chance you won’t. The Barbados road system is very well maintained and there are lots of signs at most junctions.
Archer Bay is just a little ways west of North Point.
When you’re close, you’ll see a barely standing sign announcing you've arrived.
From here, take a right off the paved road and proceed along a dirt path through a gorgeous grove of trees.
Park by the cliff, then head down the footpath to the right. It’s a...
Anguilla has plenty of large, world-class beaches (many with equally alluring beach bars) like Meads Bay and Shoal Bay, but my favorite beach by far is the aptly named Little Bay Beach.
This secluded, tiny strip of sand roughly 40 feet long is nestled in the recesses of tall, yellow limestone cliffs on the north coast. Though all beaches on Anguilla are public, getting to this little piece of paradise can be a chore for most, so it’s often empty.
And by chore, I mean you can only get to it via one of two ways: by boat or by abseiling down those aforementioned picturesque cliffs!
The climb is roughly 30 feet, but someone has been thoughtful enough to permanently leave a rope dangling down the cliff face so it's not a major problem.
And once you're down, you'll be rewarded with a pristine little beach all to yourself. The water is calm, the snorkeling is great and if you need more...
The Praia do Mos is a beach in Lagos, Portugal on the Algarve's rugged west coast.
The beach is long and clean with golden sand.It is beautiful in February and March and wonderful in August.
Sunbathing, fishing and boat tours make for a great vacation.
There are many restaurants in the area including the fine one at the top of the cliff at the beach where you can watch the spectacular sunsets.
Hotels are near-by in every price range.
The Spanish Riding School is one of the most iconic attractions in all of Austria. It is absolutely unique in the world, and preserves an art so refined and courtly that it transports any viewer back into imperial times. The white horses, the Lipizzaner, are carefully bread, reared and selected in Austria to enter into the High School, where they undergo years and years of training. There they learn to transform the movements that are naturally in a horse’s pattern of motion into what can only be described as articulate dancing. Every step must be executed with absolute precision, and the daily Gala performances demand focus from horse as well as rider. Held in the ornate Baroque riding hall, a show by the Lipizzaner is an exclusive experience that should not be missed. The pirouettes, quadrilles and breathtaking jumps can only be perfected by the country’s most promising stallions –...
When Dom Perignon had his first sip of sparkling wine, he supposedly exclaimed: “Come quickly, I have tasted the stars.” After trying the Sekt of Vienna’s Schlumberger, you might find yourself agreeing with him. Their 300 year-old cellars hold a precious supply of the golden liquid, which was enjoyed by generations of Austrian royalty. The producer’s méthode traditionelle ensures perfect quality for every bottle and now you can uncover the secrets behind the luxurious Sekt yourself. Make the descent into a romantic labyrinth of drinkable treasure.
Break out the pots and pans next to Austrian star chef Toni Mörwald. The culinary legend will help you prepare some delicious Austrian specialties, and entertain you with some fun anecdotes at the same time. The school is located just south of Vienna and thus very convenient to reach if you are visiting the capital. Maybe try your hand at the traditional Tafelspitz, a succulent boiled beef that will definitely make your mouth water. Take the experience home with you in form of an official DVD and recipe folder, which will help you recreate the dishes anywhere, anytime.
Somewhere, there is a golden wine so exquisite that royals would travel the whole world to find it. That somewhere is the small town of Rust and their wine is the “Ruster Ausbruch,” which has enchanted kings and emperors for centuries. Rust itself is a picturesque place with its baroque facades and ornate stucco. Indeed, it has acquired a great wealth through its liquid treasure. Pay a visit to this place of culinary discovery and indulge in a truly exceptional wine.
Belize by far as the most amazingly crystal clear blue water and breathtaking aquatic life in the most swim-able stretch of ocean I have ever encountered. Home to the second largest barrier reef in the world, it is no wonder that scuba divers and National Geographic explorers alike flock from all corners of the globe to suit up and dive deep into the prestige waters of the Caribbean sea. I've been to Belize 3 times now and each time I have ventured out on a privately owned sail or speed boat to do some snorkeling out and around the reef(s) and near Blue Hole. The marine life you will encounter and literally swim side by side with is unmatched to any snorkeling trip I have ever done throughout the entire Caribbean. Eels, sea turtles, hammer head sharks, nurse sharks, and every type of colorful beautiful fish you can imagine were all right there swimming along side me as I floated...
Rootstock crafts great drinks and bites with laid-back style and without pretension. Chef Duncan Biddulph pays attention to the details—he focuses on incorporating locally farmed produce whenever possible and produces their wine and beer in small batches.
This spot is wonderful, especially for those who get a late start on the night—they serve food every evening (except Sunday) until 1am. The kitchen does not close because it may not be busy. The food is stellar and the selection of wines, beers, and spirits is beyond measure.
I love this place and if you don't see anything familiar on the menu, go ahead and ask. They really know their stuff. PS: brunch is fantastic & served until 4pm.
The Ruby Room is a distinct spot on Division Street in the Wicker Park neighborhood. Located in the center of shops, cafes, bookstores and people from all walks of life. There is a salon and spa on premises as well as a yoga studio! They also have amazing hair, skin and cosmetic products sold in the retail area, which I find a bit dangerous...
The architectural design of the space is great and there are small spaces for relaxation and rest. They have been a part of this neighborhood for many years. You may even get to see Ruby herself.
There is lots of public transportation available and plenty to do within walking distance. I think it is a great way to see different areas of Chicago and get out of the Michigan Avenue routine while visiting.
In the funky neighborhood of Decatur is one of the country's top rated beer bars. The old wooden doors make you think this place comes right out of the Old South, but it has a touch of Europe. Upstairs there is a bar devoted completely to Belgian beers like Boon Kriek and Blanche de Bruxelles. If you're not familiar with many of these beers, the staff is very knowledgeable and can recommend something to your tastes. It can be difficult to find a table on a Saturday afternoon so go early. They also have a nice pub food menu with staples like fish and chips.
Tesori is a new Italian restaurant located in the heart of the Loop. It features a wonderful bar area to pop in for a quick drink, or a large dining room for a more in-depth food experience. But the real treat is that it's located in the same building as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, which makes it the 'pitch perfect' spot to have a pre or post-orchestra beverage of your choice. Come for the music, but stay for a drink.
The morning after a heavy thunderstorm over Vejer, the town awoke to a heavenly sunrise which we viewed from the hotel's Africa Suite.
Dubrovnik has no shortage of stellar views, but if you are looking for one that's off the tourist path then go north of the Old City into the residential pedestrian walkways.
On Gornji Kono you'll find a paved area with park benches set up to enjoy a (likely private) sunset. See the attached map for the exact location.
A view is not the only thing you'll find here. Eploring the pedestrian walkways and seeing locals' backyards you'll get a glimpse of everyday life in Dubrovnik; notice the terraced yards, walled entrances, abundant gardens, and scooters parked at will.