I was lucky enough to be visiting Rinpung Dzong when a large group of monks began to dance. An amazing experience. I posted a full photoessay from my trip on my blog.
I was lucky enough to be visiting Rinpung Dzong when a large group of monks began to dance. An amazing experience. I posted a full photoessay from my trip on my blog.
On one of the highest peaks in Virgin Gorda, overlooking the North Sound, you'll find Hog Heaven, a bare-bones scenic lunch spot famous for its pulled pork sandwiches, conch chowder and fried plantains. The dramatic view is the real draw here, but the delectable dishes, cold-as-ice local beer and friendly staff complete the experience.
Recently opened Bar Oso, located in the heart of Whistler Village, is long time favorite Araxi's newest Spanish sibling. Very similar to tapas and pintxo bars found throughout Spain, Oso which means bear in Spanish and a nod to Whistler's wildlife, offers share plates of pintxos, charcuterie boards, and desserts. The menu is a collaboration of Araxi's Executive Chef James Walt's passion for locally sourced ingredients and Chef Jorge Muñoz Santos' background in Spanish cuisine. Add to that Bar Manager Jason Redmond's choices of craft cocktails with a focus on gins as well as local and Spanish wines and craft beers. Like Araxi, which has been around for over 30 years, Oso is taking cuisine in Whistler up a notch and will surely become another favorite for locals and visitors alike.
Benozzo Gozzoli's exhuberant depiction of the Journey of the Magi covers the four walls of the tiny chapel in this 15th-century ex-Medici residence. Painted between 1459 and 1461 in vibrant, jewel-like colours, the frescoes include the portraits of important members of the Medici among the procession that is shown making its way to Bethlehem; Lorenzo Il Magnifico, dressed in gold cloth, is in the foreground mounted on a white horse. This gem is often passed over by tourists is favour of some of Florence's better-known sights, so you may have the place to yourself.
The latest Bond film Spectre is inspiring audiences once again and the Draycott Hotel is celebrating the British national icon with the ultimate 007 experience! Occupying three restored red brick Edwardian town houses around the corner from Sloane Square in Chelsea, the Draycott evokes old world elegance and charm in a supreme London location with all the unassuming privacy needed for an international spy. Glamorous, iconic and secretive…first off guests can find a Bond worthy suit or cocktail dress with The Draycott’s bespoke VIP shopping service which pairs guests with a stylist who will guide you through Chelsea’s boutiques and renowned designers for the perfect look to kill. The Bond Cocktail Hour starts with complimentary champagne at 6pm, with the honesty bar open to all guests with all the makings to create their own 007 cocktail, such as the Vesper, created by the Bond himself in the classic novel Casino Royale, and of course, a vodka martini. Shaken not stirred. The Draycott’s concierge will then make sure a reservation is waiting at Scott’s, Bond author Ian Fleming’s and 007’s favorite restaurant, where a table by the window was always kept for them.
The Reichstag Building is where Parliament gathers and is also one of the best places to see all of Berlin from high above. The building itself reminds me of a glass version of The Guggenheim Museum in NYC, but instead of looking at art and sculpture, visitors to The Reichstag get an amazing 360 degree overview of the city of Berlin. Access to Reichstag is free, but you must register for a tour time in advance. There are two ways to go about this: 1) Register for a time online several days in advance (time slots book up online quickly). If choosing this option make sure you receive your reservation request email and then click on the confirmation link and enter in all your information. Receiving just the reservation request email is not enough. You need to remember to click on it and enter in your confirmation details. 2) Your other options is to stand in the reservation line across the street from the building and reserve a spot for that day or that week. Many more reservations are available at the ticket booth than online, but the line can be long. I strongly recommend going to the ticket line early in the morning when there are very few people there. Once in the building you are given an automated headset in your chosen language that guides you up the building and gives you information about all that you see.
One of the first places you will likely visit on a trip to Berlin is the Brandenburg Gate - the last remaining gate of its kind from before the Cold War. It sat directly between East and West Berlin and was a symbol of the division between Berlin and Germany. This was also the location for Ronald Reagan's historic speech to tear down the Berlin Wass: "General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" There used to be 14 of these gates throughout the city and one can only imagine how beautiful the city would have been with more of these around. We were in Berlin the week in November, 2015 that the Paris terrorist attacks took place. The Brandenburg Gate was where the city gathered to build candle vigils to those affected by the attacks and it was where news stations set up shop. This certainly is the place where Berliners and tourists alike come to gather as one during any time of celebration or mourning. Here is a photo of the Gate lit up in the colors of the French Flag. Quite the sight and quite the experience!
Berlin is a sprawling city, so being in the heart of it, surrounded by historic buildings, restaurants and museums is ideal. If you are looking for a luxury hotel that boasts this central location, but is also comfortable, friendly and unpretentious, The Hotel de Rome is the perfect choice. You'll be staying in what used to be the HQ of the Dresdner Bank - complete with a jewel vault that has since been turned an indoor swimming pool! Although the hotel may not seem to be in the hippest area of Berlin, it is one of the most beautiful buildings in Mitte and is a short 5- 10 minute taxi ride away from anywhere you want to go. You can walk to the Brandenburg Gate and The Reichstag in about 20 min, walk to Checkpoint Charlie and pieces of the Berlin Wall in 30 min, and even head up to the cool "SoHo area" of Berlin for shopping, eating and dancing in less than a half hour by foot. For me, the best parts of The Hotel de Rome were the pool, bar area, breakfast buffet and the concierge staff - I swear they have a direct line to any restaurant or hot spot you want to visit and they do a great job of finding out what kinds of places you like best and then pairing you up with the perfect LOCAL spot. More than once during my trip I was asked by a local Berliner, "How did you find out about this place?" The hotel is a member of of The Leading Hotels of the World, so if you are a member of their Leaders Club program you can receive the amazing breakfast included and a room upgrade!
www.cameltrekking-in-merzouga.com offers you camel rides to spend the night in nomadic tent in the middle of the dunes of Erg-Chebbi, If I had to choose a special destination that embodies the magic of Morocco would certainly be the Sahara desert Erg-Chebbi. Its desert oasis of charm, vast endless sands, and of course the sheltering sky. If any visitor to Morocco want to miss and get away from everything, this is the most extreme way than to set off across the great Sahara desert Merzouga www.marrakechdesertexcursions.com www.cameltrekking-in-merzouga.com www.deserttoursinmorocco.com
Learn about Catalonia's culture via a collage of objects from its past in this small but curious collection. Religious artifacts, pottery, tools, jewelry, furniture from Catalonia's diverse heritage are all on display here. Pose for pictures with massive dragons, and the giants paraded around in regional festivals, and then spend a quiet moment in Laribal Gardens, directly behind the museum.
From the first I Love Lucy episode to current cult favorites like Lost, the Paley Center’s archives include over 160,000 programs from seventy countries. Founded in 1975, the Paley Center has been dedicated to collecting, curating and discussing culturally significant TV, radio, advertising and new media programming since its formation and has even unearthed lost footage. You can watch or listen to your archival selections at individual stations, family consoles or drop-in on the screening room for themed programing each day. Make sure to check the calendar for panel discussions with writers, actors, journalists and more as well as advanced viewings of new shows and episodes.
The Annenberg Foundation is a community-driven institution in Los Angeles and their Space for Photography in Century City focuses solely on the art and conversation of photography. Their ability to partner with top organizations such as National Geographic and iconic photographers like Albert Watson has led to culturally relevant exhibitions highlighting themes such as climate change, war, fashion, celebrity and more. By mixing the latest digital technologies with traditional print exhibitions and curated event programming, the Annenberg Space for Photography creates immersive experiences that allow you to delve deeper into each topic and emerge with a more insightful perspective.
I don’t belong to a country club, but if I did I’d want it to be like the Fairview Dining Room in the historic Washington Duke Inn on the Duke campus. Most months you can sit on the patio overlooking hundreds of acres, including a world-class 18-hole golf course, with unimaginable sunsets. At other times, relax in the warm ambiance of the wood-paneled dining room while looking out over the snow-dusted grounds. The Fairview is magical. The restaurant itself looks back in time, and yet manages to be modernist, too, with both its traditional décor and a staff of first-rate professionals who greet their regular guests by name. Old-school formality -- with a twist. (For a more boisterous bar scene check out the Bull Durham Bar, also in the hotel.) The menu, under the guidance of executive chef Jason Cunningham, is completely of the moment, with an emphasis on local ingredients from area farms. Some of my most recent favorite dishes included the “woodfruit salad” with grilled shitake and smoked greydove mushrooms, parmesan-crusted diver scallops, and the seared duck breast atop an apple sweet potato hash. I’ve eaten at the Fairview for more than a decade, and Cunningham’s preparations are consistently excellent no matter the year or the season. The dining experience is crowned with top-flight service; it’s as though there’s a wizard behind the curtain making sure everything runs perfectly. What do I like best about the Fairview? I don’t have to golf to live the life.
Just a short distance from the Superdome and the museums and galleries in the Central Business District, this light filled space is casual and comfortable. Whether you need a stick-to-your-ribs breakfast or brunch, a few baked treats and coffee to go, or a multi-course meal from cocktails to dessert, this Southern food kitchen has it covered. The cocktail offerings include several creative coffee and tea-based concoctions, perfect for a pick me up. Pictured: the delicious corn and crab fritters with crab boil aioli and the warm cornbread, drenched in cane syrup. Enjoy!
If you can’t land a reservation at Vedge, one of Philly’s highest rated restaurants, consider dining at V Street, a street food bar created by Vedge chefs Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby. Vedge and V Street are both vegan restaurants and adored by vegans, vegetarians and carnivores alike. V Street offers flavorful takes on global street food, with plates like Peruvian Fries, Dan Dan Noodles, and Philly Shawarma Tacos. Happy hour is a great time to enjoy this small intimate space and specially priced cocktails and small plates. If you’re lucky, the happy hour menu will include my favorite treat, the Sichuan soft pretzels. Spicy! And ... yummy! Lunch is served from Tuesday to Friday from noon to 3; dinner from Tuesday to Sunday starting at 5 pm, and brunch is served Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 3. Reservations are recommended.
Devan's has been serving hand-crafted, filtered coffee to Delhiites since 1962. Not an easy feat in a community known for their love of tea! Devan's sources their beans from environmentally responsible plantations in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala. They also allow customers the "perk" of creating custom blends. For the tea lovers, Devan's offers a unique collection of Indian and Chinese teas. Fun fact: Coffee is mostly consumed in-house while tea is the #1 selling gift.
Welcome to Rajdhani, also known as "that yummy Thali place." A Thali is a round platter that serves a selection of various dishes. Traditionally, a proper Thali offers six flavors on one plate: spicy, salty, sweet, bitter, sour, and astringent. The platter can be veg or non-veg, but Rajdhani specializes in veg cuisine from Rajasthan and Gujarat. Make yourself comfortable and enjoy the 22,464 delicacies from 72 rotating menus. With four locations in Delhi, you will never be too far from an endless platter of goodness.
The Portal Native American Artisans Program brings artisans to the historic Palace of the Governors daily. One of the best known "Indian Markets" in Santa Fe (along with the seasonal Indian Markets held on the plaza on specific days in August and November), the artisans display their wares underneath the portal of the landmarked building. The program is year round and all artisans must be members of New Mexico tribes and pueblos. They must also follow very specific rules to ensure that all the pieces they sell are genuine. You'll find works in turquoise, coral, and silver, as well as a range of textiles. Word to the wise: if you like a piece, buy it when you see it—artists and artisans are rotated and you can’t count on finding the same item, or artisan, if you return a day later.
Visual art is not the only art that thrives in Santa Fe. The city's music scene encompasses country, blues, jazz, salsa, blue grass, rock, and everything in between. Restaurants and bars like El Farol on Canyon Road have been around since the 1960s and while flamenco is the music of choice there, Santa Fe's soundtrack is as diverse as its population. Wander into any bar, club, hotel lobby or even through the famous plaza and you'll hear music. The famed Santa Fe Opera and the Lensic Performing Arts Center present concerts by world renowned artists and blend beautiful architecture with beautiful music. In Santa Fe, art is not to be classified and categorized—only to be enjoyed.
Santa Fe Plaza, the heart of the city for over 400 years, is an ever-changing celebration of people, culture, delicious street food, and non-stop performances. Framed by historic adobe buildings housing shops, restaurants, and galleries, the plaza is furnished with wrought iron benches while street performers and musicians keep the scene lively. Artists from all over the world come here to express themselves in "The City Different."
The Santa Fe Farmers Market, held Saturdays and most Tuesdays from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm year round, is a must-see for Southwestern food lovers. The market began back in the late 60s and has grown to become one of the most popular farmers markets in the country. There are over 150 vendors here, where you can also find beautiful chile (green and red)—ready to be used in your favorite dishes. Buskers and other performers make the atmosphere lively and tastings of local honeys, jams, spreads, and other goodies are available. Nearby, the Santa Fe School of Cooking will teach you what to do with the chile you’ve purchased. They also have a well-stocked shop with gifts that are perfect for the chef in your family, from cookbooks to a selection of "santos" figurines of the patron saint of the kitchen, Saint Pasqual.
Sculpture, art, and nature meet on Santa Fe's Museum Hill: the site of four great museums and a new botanical garden. The Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, and the Museum of International Folk Art are all part of this great museum destination, including the new addition of the Botanical Garden. Orchard Gardens, the first phase of the Botanical Garden, opened in July 2013. Additional outdoor exhibits are in the works, along with a visitor’s center expected to open in 2016. All of the museums and cafes in this lovely area are located within walking distance from one other. Artful shoppers will love the museum shops where you can bring home one-of-a-kind gifts made by local jewelers and artists.
Santa Fe will alight a passion for Native American art in many travelers, and the city offers opportunities to see the works of current Native American artists as well as historic artifacts. The Museum of Contemporary Native Arts at Cathedral Place is home to the largest collection of contemporary Native art in the world, with over 7,500 pieces of art. Major artists like Tony Abeyta, Linda Lomahaftewa, George Morrison, Allan Houser, Helen Hardin, Truman Lowe, and Fritz Scholde have works on display. The museum includes paintings, drawings, jewelry, photography, and textiles. The museum shop is also a great place to find a special piece of art from an established or emerging artist to start—or add to—your own collection.
One of the most striking features of Santa Fe is the experience of being surrounded by the earthy sensuality of adobe. The city's 1957 preservation ordinance is one of the oldest in the United States and has preserved and encouraged the "Santa Fe style" of architecture. The roots of Santa Fe style date back to the Spanish Colonial period, from 1607 to 1810 (which were then followed by another 38 years when the city was part of Mexico). The Santa Fe style can be experienced throughout the city, including the New Mexico Museum of Art and the historic plaza, with the Palace of the Governors its centerpiece. Near the plaza you'll find an astonishing variety of more recent buildings that stay true to this beloved Southwestern design aesthetic, from private homes to iconic hotels.
You’ll be tempted by turquoise everywhere you go in Santa Fe, but head up to the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture on Museum Hill and you’ll learn more about its significance. The current exhibit, Turquoise, Water, Sky: The Stone and Its Meaning now on display through May 2016, recounts the long and fascinating history of this sacred stone and its use in Native American jewelry. Even after the exhibit ends, you'll still be able to learn about Native American jewelry here (as well as be tempted to buy some of the beautiful pieces for sale in the museum's well-stocked shop). But the museum goes beyond jewelry to include all forms of Indian arts, pottery, carvings, textiles, and other crafts. This unique museum puts the pieces in their Native American context, providing visitors with insights into the beauty of the design, as well as the cultures of their creators.
Downtown Santa Fe's Palace of the Governors on the plaza is one of the most iconic sites in the city. The oldest continuously inhabited building in the United States, it's perhaps best known for the Native American market beneath its portal. But inside is a historic gem as well—the New Mexico History Museum, which covers centuries of life in Santa Fe and hosts exhibitions related to the tri-culture of the Native Americans, Spanish, and Anglo peoples and cultures of New Mexico.
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