Michael Hunt is an American expat in Helsinki. He also happens to be a fellow ex-sportswriter who threw himself in Finland’s culture as I did in Italy’s. We met in Helsinki and he told me his story and why Finland’s social democracy shouldn’t be such a filthy title.
Rovaniemi, Finland, is a 75-minute flight from Helsinki and is the mythical home of Santa Claus. In 1985 the city built a Santa’s Village where it looks like a Currier and Ives painting with huge Christmas trees, sleigh rides and Christmas carols. Santa is around, too. But it’s more than a kid’s Christmas dream. It’s also a winter wonderland where we went dog sledding and saw the Northern Lights.
Thinking of going to Italy with the special someone? It’s always good to research before you go anywhere. Christmas is coming so what better gift than a book about Italy? You’ve already been? Read up more. You’ll want to go again. Here are 10 of my favorite books on Italy since moving to Rome in 2014.
Mallorca gets almost 12 million tourists a year but 60 percent of them come in the summer months. Many come just for the party beach atmosphere. The island wants to spread tourism to the off season and had to put tough restrictions on binge drinking to make it happen.
There’s more to Mallorca than beaches and bars. The countryside is packed with points of interest and activities. I took excursions to a winery, a forest rife with hiking trails and a small, historical village. It’s Mallorca off the beaten path.
Mallorca has some of the best beaches and summer nightlife in Spain but if you want to get away from the crowds, hang in its capital of Palma de Mallorca in the fall. It rained on me every day last week but there’s still plenty to do and see. The oceanscape is beautiful, the cathedral is one of Spain’s greatest buildings and the cuisine is superb. Just bring a raincoat.
You think of Nottingham and you think of Robin Hood. Come to Nottingham and you’ll come away thinking of good times, good beer and a vibrant city. I spent four days here last month and the debate about Robin Hood’s existence still rages, just like the nights do.
Sandwich, England, is a perfectly preserved medieval village and ideal for a weekend away from the chaos of London 1 hour and 45 minutes to the north.
I attended the World Travel Market, one of the biggest travel fairs in the world, and I saw encouraging signs of countries opening up and restrictions lightening. It still has a long ways to go.
The Black Forest was apparently the inspiration for Grimm’s Fairy Tales although there’s no concrete evidence it’s true. What is true is the aptly named forest is a wonderland of outdoor natural fun from an endless maze of hiking trails to spas throughout the region. We spent four days bouncing from hiking trails to the Jacuzzi to an exquisite dining table.
So many people liked last week’s blog about how Italy stacked up against other retirement destinations, I decided to re-post a blog I wrote almost exactly a year ago about how to move to Italy. They’re valuable tips that you should cut and paste. I’m in Germany on assignment this week and you can thank me later.