All posts filed under: Europe

Paris for Dessert

My first planned trip to Paris was in my mid-20’s and I decided to take a vacation with a handful of friends. We drove to JFK Airport and got stuck in between the shuttle bus shifts in long-term parking. By the time we got to the gate, Air France had just closed the flight and gave our seats away. They had two seats left and two of our companions went. Three of us decided to go later and one went solo. Needless to say, this is the second Air France flight in my lifetime where I have “missed” a flight to Paris, but let’s just say this one had a happier ending and I went home with a belly full of food and wine fit for the finest connoisseurs. 😋  A few weeks ago, Air France had a promotion to give away invitations to a culinary dinner experience curated and prepared by venerable French chef Daniel Boulud and his teams at Feast & Fêtes and Restaurant Daniel. Two lucky guests would win a pair of …

#TalesOnRail with Rail Europe

“Ring! Ring!” sounds an alarm clock early in the morning. “Today is the day!” That is what goes through my mind as I eagerly awaken in anticipation of travel days. With each awakening on the first of these days is like opening a book to the first page in a chapter with a ticket in your hand or in these modern times on your mobile app! There is a mystique and a magnetism of train travel as countryside sand towns roll by. Time stands still and the mind can wander, writing a story on its own. “The train is a small world moving through a larger world.”  When I am visiting Europe, there is something mystical about train travel where creativity flourishes and ideas pop up randomly from the flurry of activity or in the stillness of inactivity. The desire to document that moment before it escapes again left behind on the piece of track we just left. Time stands still even though you’re not. “Oh look! There’s a beautiful pasture!” “The sky is about …

Full Moon Rise at Stonehenge

On Sunday, 27 September, 2015, 28 amateur and professional astronomers and photographers ranging from ages 5 to 65 descended upon the English countryside in Salisbury, UK, to the Stonehenge monument in Amesbury. The reason for this occasion that has been occurring for the past twelve years was to view the full moon rise amongst the stones.    Since 2002, Pete Glastonbury has been organizing this special access event to view the full moon risings for the last 12 years. The first was a special commission for Stonehenge that included renowned archaeoastronomers Professor Gerald Hawkins, Professor Vance Tiede and Professor Hubert Allen. Fast-forward a dozen years and we have English Heritage’s steward Simon Banton as unofficial guide and new generations of astronomers.    This year wasn’t any regular autumn full moon rise, but a “super moon” coinciding with a blood full moon in combination with a total lunar eclipse later in the evening. This phenomenon has not occurred in more than 30 years, the last occurring in 1982, and the next one expected in 2033. The …

The Postcard Project

Do you collect postcards or send them while you are traveling? Far from being obsolete, it is a regular travel ritual for me and I always leave time in a place that I am visiting to roam the streets and search for them, even if I have been to the particular place before. An article recently published in the Washington Post ponders on the question of whether postcards are now obsolete in the age of digital connectivity, Facebook, and Instagram. At just one moment, many simultaneously can be instantly gratified by seeing or reading your posts in one push of a button. If you are one of the creatively gifted ones or have spent years refining your skills in photography, those images or posts may be even better than a postcard that you can pick up on Canal Street, at the tulip market in Amsterdam, or even next to the Picasso Museum in Barcelona.    For me, I still send them on my travels. Perhaps the charm is encapsulated in a scene with the actress …

Preface: Sonophilia

Next week in the hills outside of Salzburg, Austria, Sonophilia will be hosting its inaugural summer retreat in the secluded town of St. Jakob am Thurn in the Hallein district. Schloss St. Jakob am Thurn is a castle with tower dated back to the 12th or 13th century and part of the Count Plaz. With approximately 600 residents, St. Jakob am Thurn remains as true to its origins as when it was built in the hills of Salzburg. Kulturzentrum St. Jakob will be the home of the inaugural Sonophilia Retreat. I am looking forward to returning to Salzburg, the visit to St. Jakob am Thurn, and delighted about the invitation to attend Sonophilia. The hills will indeed be alive next week!