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Sabbatical 2016

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With its flamboyant facade, art deco foyer, and main hall outfitted with love seats and private boxes, the Pathé Tuschinski Cinema makes going to the movies a romantic affair. Framed by ornate twin towers, the historic building between the...
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Herengracht 497, 1017 BT Amsterdam, Netherlands
If you tire of highbrow culture, sample a lighter approach to art devoted to a single theme at one of Amsterdam's quirkiest museums: the Katten Kabinet (Cat Cabinet). While professionally curated, this homage to all things feline has a humorous...
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Gabriël Metsustraat 8, 1071 EA Amsterdam, Netherlands
It has been a decade since the major museums on the Museumplein—a grassy square connecting Amsterdam’s main art centers—have all been open at the same time. Here’s what to check out at the Van Gogh Museum. Sunflowers, The...
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Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam’s State Museum reopened in 2013 after a decade of renovations, and it is oh so worth a visit! Weave your way through the museum's vast assemblage of historic art (there are over 8,000 pieces!) to check out works from Dutch masters...
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Joop Geesinkweg 801, 1096 AZ Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam may not be as synonymous with gourmet cuisine as Italy, France, Germany, China or, well...anywhere. Yet despite its bad rap for being boiled, mashed comfort food—ironic when you consider Holland ruled the 17th century spice trade—Dutch...
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Tesselschadestraat 1E, 1054 ET Amsterdam, Netherlands
When in Amsterdam, do as the Dutch do and rent a bike. There are half a million bikes in the city, so be sure to look both ways before crossing the street! Bike rates average 12 Euro/day or 50 Euro/week. Mike's Bike Tours...
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Prins Hendrikkade 33A, 1012 TM Amsterdam, Netherlands
Canals are an integral part of the Dutch landscape so it's only fitting you see them up close and personal, from a boat. Viewing Amsterdam by watercraft puts you level with Golden Age mansions, world-class monuments like the Anne Frank House and...
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Pariser Platz, 10117 Berlin, Germany
Napoleon and his armies marched through it; revolutionaries and Nazis gathered beneath it; the Berlin Wall ran right behind: It's safe to say that Berlin’s iconic Brandenburg Gate, completed in 1791, has pretty much seen it all. Designed by...
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Herzbergstraße 55, 10365 Berlin, Germany
If you do only one tour during your visit, I suggest the free three-hour "Alternative Berlin" tour run by this company. It is mostly walking, with a subway and train here and there. (Make sure to follow your young, fast, walking tour guide...
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Friedrichshain, Berlin, Germany
While living in Berlin, I stayed on Warschauer Strasse, on the end closest to the U-Bahn station of the same name. On an evening walk before dinner, I took a walk down the street to explore my new surroundings. This particular set of doors is the...
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Platz der Republik 1, 11011 Berlin, Germany
Built by Kaiser Wilhelm I in the late 19th century as a gesture to parliamentarians, Berlin's famed Reichstag came into its own during the Weimar era—Germany’s first attempt at democracy. The parliament building burned under...
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Knaackstraße 98, 10435 Berlin, Germany
A vast majority of Berliners will gladly stop for a good old currywurst on their way back home from a festive evening at the pub. The history of this mouthwatering dish goes back to the 1950s when a German woman was given ketchup, curry powder,...
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Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany
Berlin isn’t exactly short of impressive parks, but the 520-acre Tiergarten, stretching westward from Brandenburg Gate, is one of its largest, most central, and most historic. The area, originally a royal hunting ground, became a park in the...
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Mühlenstraße 3-100, 10243 Berlin, Germany
The most famous remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall gets its name from its location on the east side of the Spree River, as well as from the collection of political and satirical murals. Originally painted just after the wall fell, the...
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Neuschwansteinstraße 20, 87645 Schwangau, Germany
Few sights encapsulate the magical feel of the Bavarian Alps like Neuschwanstein Castle. The impressive towers, vast halls, and mountain-top setting bring out your inner child, transporting you back to a time of bedtime stories and...
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Marienplatz 1, 80331 München, Germany
I would compare Marienplatz to the Grand Place in Brussels, but with a Bavarian twist. The square in Munich is almost as large, and its town hall just as impressive. A beautiful destination for lovers of architecture. While the square itself is a...
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Prinzregentenstraße, 80538 München, Germany
It takes some German engineering to surf in land-locked Bavaria. But endless rides are possible on the Eisbach wave, a man-made, standing curl in the middle of a narrow artificial stream that runs through the English Garden. It has drawn both...
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Marienplatz 8, 80331 München, Germany
The Neues Rathaus has an interesting show three times a day that you shouldn't miss. The character figures located right below the clock will rotate and play a story show.
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Olympiapark, Spiridon-Louis-Ring 7, 80992 München, Germany
Take a quick, ear-popping elevator ride to the observation deck of the Olympiaturm (190 meters or 623 feet), in the center of Olympic Park, and see across the whole city—as far as the Alps, in clear weather. The last elevator goes up at 11:30pm,...
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Neuhauser Str. 6, 80333 München, Germany
This 16th century church is in downtown Munich, and, other than its amazing architecture and ceiling paintings, it is also where King Ludwig II of Bavaria rests. The mad king drowned in 1886, close to his fairy tale castle Neuschwanstein. The...
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520 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106, USA
Prior to being rechristened as Independence Hall, this building was used and known as the Pennsylvania State House. The founding fathers of the United States met here in the Assembly Room to debate and adopt both the Declaration of Independence...
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19 S 22nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19103, USA
There’s truly no other place in the world like this unique and disturbing museum. It’s probably best that photography is strictly prohibited inside, because that might spoil the bizarre surprises that wait for those who haven't been...
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1218 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA
The AIA Bookstore, one of the most unique shops in the city, holds a million surprises. It stocks a vast selection of art, architecture, and design books, but also offers an amazing array of fun and creative toys, gifts, and novelty items, as well...
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N 6th St & Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19106, USA
The Liberty Bell, long associated with the American Revolution, actually predates the conflict. It arrived in Philadelphia in 1752 at Independence Hall, then known as the Pennsylvania State House. The bell was inscribed with a Bible verse:...
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532 N 7th St, Philadelphia, PA 19123, USA
The Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site is a quick and worthwhile stop for anyone interested in one of literature’s most enigmatic authors. It doesn’t take much time to tour the house and it provides a revealing glimpse into Poe’s life during...
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1500 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19102, USA
That the Mad Men-esque Butcher & Singer has landed on Philadelphia Magazine's 50 Best Restaurants list for two consecutive years speaks volumes about serial restaurateur Stephen Starr's keen design sense and unparalleled stagecraft. Although the...
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112 S 18th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103, USA
The Franklin Bar, a sort of modern speakeasy, peddles period-accurate cocktails (with a few inventive twists) served up by modish, bow-tied bartenders. Best to make a reservation to snag a spot.
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39 E Oregon Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148, USA
No visit to Philadelphia is complete without savoring this classic American cultural and culinary icon. The neighborhood offering the best options for authentic steak sandwiches is South Philly, where some of the best cheesesteaks are served up at...
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130 S 19th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103, USA
Philly boasts many fine coffee shops, but La Colombe is actually a coffee shop and a roaster of premium coffees. In my humble opinion, their coffee blends are the best available anywhere. Founded in Philadelphia and strictly fair trade, La Colombe...
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1219 S 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19147, USA
Federal Donuts, which sells wacky-flavored handmade doughnuts, coffee, and Korean-style twice-fried chicken, is just one example of how chefs in the City of Brotherly Love are pursuing their culinary obsessions. The original Center City shop has...
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Brunnstraße 3, 80331 München, Germany
For funny German souvenirs (like this kitschy cuckoo clock), check out Servus Heimat in the Stadtmuseum. For more upscale collectibles, head to Nymphenburg(Odeonsplatz 1), a 250-year-old traditional porcelain producer that works with such...
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Platzl 9, 80331 München, Germany
Germans, especially Bavarians (who are or are not Germans, depending on whom you talk to) love eating their meat and potatoes. While there, I went for a giant joint of pork with kartoffel (potato) salad. Nobody does fresh potato salad better....
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Kottbusser Damm 80, 10967 Berlin, Germany
Berlin is good for fast food—sushi, kebabs, pizza, currywurst. This style of köfte is from Anatolia, from Turkey. They fry minced sausages and serve it with mint, various herbs, and salad. Kottbusser Damm between Sanderstrasse...
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Rosenthaler Str. 39, 10178 Berlin, Germany
Ever been on a trip and found an attraction so weird and wonderful that words cannot give it justice? Well, in Berlin I found myself in this situation. While on a tour with "Alternative Berlin," I was transported to a hidden courtyard that has...
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Brunnenstraße 197-198, 10119 Berlin, Germany
If you're looking for the epitome of "Hipster Berlin," you can't find anyplace more suitable than Mein Haus am See. In the most hip area of Mitte, Rosenthaler Platz, the cafe is more than just a coffee spot. It's also a bar and club. During the...
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Bilderdijkstraat 158HS, 1053 LC Amsterdam, Netherlands
Although it's in Amsterdam's Oud-West, you'll feel like you've landed somewhere in the Far East when you dive into the Asian-inspired street fare at HappyHappyJoyJoy. The latest brainchild of Chef Julius Jaspers of TV's Top Chef fame, as well as...
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Herengracht 386, 1016 CJ Amsterdam, Netherlands
During Holland's Golden Age, when spice trade with Asia and North Africa was booming, wealthy merchants built mansions along the expanding canal ring that became Amsterdam. Today the fashionable homes have been reincarnated as upscale offices,...
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Singel, 1012 XG Amsterdam, Netherlands
Since 1862, fresh flowers and plants have arrived by barge from the Dutch countryside to Amsterdam. While this assemblage of flora still shows up daily, it comes by van, not boat, to the Bloemenmarkt, the world's only floating flower market. Here,...
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Prinsengracht 191, 1015 DS Amsterdam, Netherlands
Whether you call them 'pancakes', 'crepes', or 'pizzas', the delicious creations at the Pancake Bakery are sure to satisfy any hungry traveler. Directly down the street from the Anne Frank House, this restaurant is a small and consistently...
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George Maduroplein 1, 2584 RZ Den Haag, Netherlands
If visiting a miniature version of a country the size of a postage stamp makes no sense to you, stay away from Madurodam, a top tourist attraction in Den Haag featuring historic Dutch towns, ports, canals, roads and monuments re-created on a 1/25...