One of my brother’s first encounters in Morocco was with a Maroc man who had moved from Casablanca to Marrakech, and he gushed endlessly about what a good decision he’d made. A fellow traveler I chatted with in Marrakech said he had just come from Casablanca and didn’t like it at all. Even the front desk clerk at my hotel in Casablanca, mistakenly thinking I was just beginning my Moroccan adventure, said “You’ll love Marrakech!” It didn’t inspire confidence. But Casablanca surprised me in the very best way, and it ended up being the perfect place to end my Moroccan adventure. Casablanca is the point of entry for most North American flights, and its large port also makes it a popular cruise destination. If you have a layover in Casablanca, here’s how to make the most of it–even if you only have a few hours to spare.Continue reading How to Make the Most of Your Layover in Casablanca, Morocco
One of the first things we research before we take a trip is where we’re going to eat. As we geared up for a visit to Montreal, we couldn’t ignore the serious grudge match between The City of Saints and The City That Never Sleeps. The debate was simple: which city has better bagels?Continue reading Battle of the Bagel: The Ultimate Guide to New York and Montreal Bagels
There are certain cities you can visit over and over, and London is definitely one of them. We have many friends and family who call it home, so we’ve been fortunate to make several return visits over time. While there are some classic London sights we’ll never tire of, our local guides have introduced us to unique, off-the-beaten-path sights and activities that tourists may not get to. If you’re looking for something new to do on a second, third or fourth visit, then check out some of London’s best hidden gems.Continue reading London’s Best Hidden Gems: Fun Things To Do Off the Beaten Path
Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is so recognizable it’s almost synonymous with the Basque city. It’s difficult to imagine today, but in the late 1980s and early 1990s Bilbao was suffering from severe decline due to dwindling industry, rising unemployment and ongoing Basque separatist conflict. The Guggenheim Museum was a last-ditch effort to save the city, and it paid off in spades. Gehry’s building was so successful in drawing in tourism dollars, that the “Bilbao Effect” is now used as a term for urban renewal and reinvention. The Guggenheim Museum is still a great reason to visit Bilbao, but the bustling Basque city has a lot more to offer. Here are some fun things to do in Bilbao:Continue reading 5 Things to Do in Bilbao Besides Visit the Guggenheim
I have a pretty stupid confession to make. I don’t drink, and that’s why it took me so long to make my way to Dublin. From the seven-floor Guinness Storehouse to the number of pubs per capita, this is a place that knows how to put the “happy” in happy hour. So I couldn’t help but wonder if Dublin would be fun for someone who wasn’t going to imbibe. Well, it turns out Dublin has plenty to offer. If you’re planning your first trip to Dublin, here’s what you should add to your to-do list.Continue reading 5 Things You Must Do On Your First Visit to Dublin
Wandering souls can’t always explain exactly what it is that beckons them to a particular destination. It could be the glimpse of a photograph in a magazine, or a particularly memorable description in a book. Perhaps the location was the backdrop of a popular movie, or mentioned in the lyrics of a favorite song. But I can explain exactly what it was that drew me to Greece. My parents went there on a vacation when I was a girl–the first one I could ever recall them taking, and one of the very few trips they enjoyed without the kids.
Every major city has a neighborhood both tourists and locals adore, and in Athens that neighborhood is Plaka. We met several locals who spoke reverently about it, and when we got there we immediately understood why. It’s impossible not to be captivated by the cobblestone streets and the brightly colored buildings juxtaposed against the vibrant bougainvillea plants. Plaka is Athens’ oldest neighborhood, and its classic beauty draws quite a crowd. There are innumerable restaurants and shops vying for your attention (and your dollar!), and it’s easy to miss the true gems. But fear not: here’s a walking tour to highlight the best this delightful neighborhood has to offer.
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when our street art obsession began. But New York City has been the ultimate enabler, feeding our addiction from a well that never seems to run dry. Alas, junkies are never satisfied. Our appetites grew, and pretty soon we found ourselves down deserted alleys in foreign cities trying to get a fix. We’ve hunted down street art in ditches and mansions. And then in Athens, we nearly overdosed.
Do a quick search on Athens and the first thing you’ll see at the very top of the list, perched like the magnificent fortress itself on its rocky hilltop, is the Acropolis. It’s a one-of-a-kind archaeological treasure, deserving of all that prestige, and you should absolutely go and see it when you visit the ancient city for the first time. But too many people make Athens a stopover on the way to the one of the stunning 200-plus Greek Islands without giving it much thought. They squeeze in a visit to the Acropolis then hop back on a plane or ferry. But we’re going to let you in on a secret–Athens has so much more to offer than just ruins.
In case you missed it, I kicked off Part One of our Kyoto travel guide here. Kyoto’s a really fun place to visit, especially in the fall. Picking up where I left off, here are some of my other must-see destinations: Continue reading Kyoto Travel Guide: What to See and Where to Eat – Part Two