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Europe May 2015

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77300 Fontainebleau, France
A quick 40-minute train ride from the Gare de Lyon in central Paris takes you to one of the best day trips out of the city: a forest preserve surrounding a palace that dates back nine centuries. The Forêt de Fontainebleau offers a hundred square...
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6 Rue de la Grange Batelière, 75009 Paris, France
Passages were designed in the 19th century to give Parisians protection from muddy streets and horse-drawn vehicles. Some 20 of these covered walkways remain today, including the Passage Verdeau; they are an excellent way to journey back into...
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17 Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie, 75004 Paris, France
Serendipitous light on a September afternoon--a rainbow arcing over the Eiffel Tower and ending at the gold dome of L'Église des Invalides in central Paris. (Under that dome, emperor worship continues--Napoléon I lies buried in a...
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Yıldız Mh., 34349 Beşiktaş/Istanbul, Turkey
A nice location in Istanbul is Otakoy-stroll the local neighborhood and enjoy a mint tea and sheesha on the waterfront. Local fisherman bring in their catch and even toss the cats hanging around a few treats. In the evening, young couples walking...
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Galatasaray Islet, Beşiktaş/Istanbul, Turkey
There’s a gorgeous venue in town that all the well-heeled folks and celebrities go to dine. It’s called Galatasaray Island, but most Istanbulites (locals) call it the Suada Club, or simply Suada. The island, on the edge of the Bosporus, is owned...
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Rumeli Hisarı, Yahya Kemal Cd., 34470 Sarıyer/İstanbul, Turkey
Most visitors to Istanbul probably don’t realize that there is a fortress there. Located on the western shore of the Bosphorus (just south of Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge) is a fortress that dates back to pre-Ottoman rule. Rumeli Hisarı...
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Bebek Mh., 34342 Beşiktaş/Istanbul, Turkey
I have long suspected that I'm absolutely useless when it comes to DSLR camera. It died on me, anyway, one fine September morning by the shore of Bebek in Istanbul. This was taken with my aging Bold 3 camera phone. "Bebek" means "baby" in Turkish....
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Tomtom Mahallesi, İstiklal Cd. No:8 D:163, 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
This elite rooftop restaurants is a popular place for locals to celebrate birthdays, milestones, and romantic moments. Called 360 for its magnificent 360-degree view of Istanbul, it's a great place to celebrate just being in Istanbul! Relax with a...
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Budapest, Állatkerti krt. 9-11, 1146 Hungary
It's an unforgettable experience: Getting up at the crack of dawn in mid-winter, walking through the large municipal park on the Pest side of town, checking in to the Széchenyi Thermal Bath (mostly with Hungarian pensioners because tourists...
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Budapest, Kazinczy u. 14, 1075 Hungary
An edgy crowd gathers at Szimpla Kert, a wacky ruin pub in the old Jewish Quarter. On entering, you’ll be overwhelmed by the maze of rooms, where you might find recycled computer monitors, towering piles of books, hookah pipes, or live...
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44 Boulevard Richard Lenoir, 75011 Paris, France
Flora Mikula, one of France’s rare female top chefs, has given up her gastronomic restaurant Les Saveurs de Flora to open her dream Paris place, a small urban auberge in the 11th arrondissement where travelers can mingle with les citoyens...
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Tilkicik Mevkii, Bakan Caddesi, Yalıkavak Mahallesi, No:2 Yalikavak, 48430 Bodrum/Muğla, Turkey
4Reasons bills itself as a hip, small, luxury boutique hotel. It is. My room (one of only 20) is a stylish, contemporary space with fresh flowers and a terrace view of the pool and bay beyond it. I fritter away the afternoon reading at the pool,...
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Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Ayasofya Meydanı, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Walk into Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya) and look up to the heavens to see why so many conquerors and their respective religions claimed this basilica turned mosque turned museum as their own. Visitors will swoon over the Byzantine gilded mosaics,...
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Alemdar Mh., Yerebatan Cd. 1/3, 34410 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
A city as ancient as Istanbul has many layers of history, and you’ll have to go below the surface to see the Basilica Cistern, the largest of the underground cisterns. Built in the sixth century for the Byzantine emperor Justinian, the...
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Beyazıt Mh., Kalpakçılar Cd. No:22, 34126 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Soon after conquering Constantinople and defeating the Byzantines in 1453, Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II commissioned the beginnings of the Grand Bazaar to reinvigorate trade with the city. More than 550 years later, the bazaar is one of the oldest...
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Budapest, 1085, Baross u. 4, 1085 Hungary
I was informed by a fellow traveler (in a charming Australian twang, no less) that the best bagel in the world was right here in the capital city of Budapest, mere steps from the café in which we were conversing over a beer and a ginger-mint tea...
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Budapest, Vámház krt. 1-3, 1093 Hungary
The Great Market Hall in Budapest should be any visitors first stop in order to get acquainted to the people, goods and grub of Hungary. The market is one of those strange places that caters to both locals and tourists alike without losing its...
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Budapest, Kelenhegyi út 4, 1118 Hungary
Throughout Budapest are a whopping 123 therapeutic hot springs, but these, in the stately, slightly dusty Hotel Gellért (built in 1918) might be the most famous. The communal bath in the center of the hotel spa is for everyone, but the most...
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Budapest, Andrássy út 22, 1061 Hungary
Budapest, Hungary is brimming with art, culture and a touch of decadence. Nowhere is this more apparent than at the Hungarian State Opera House on the luxurious Andrássy Way. If you don't have the time or money to take in a concert in this...
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75 Av. des Champs-Élysées, 75008 Paris, France
Picture this: You're heading along the Champs-Elysées, the Arc de Triomphe looming larger on the horizon. So close, yet so far—you need something to distract you from the long trek ahead. J'ai une idée brillante! Macarons!...