I went to Istanbul last week to celebrate my birthday. It was my first trip back in 30 years. What I found was a city all cleaned up with a depressed population beaten down by runaway inflation and devalued money. Many expressed their frustrations while still welcoming me to their city which is remarkably more beautiful than I remembered. Even the Grand Bazaar got a makeover. This is the first of a four-part blog.
Traveling in Muslim countries: Today’s trip to Istanbul reminds me of what lures me back to land of Islam
I’m going to Istanbul today. Turkey is one of 17 Muslim countries that I’ve traveled in, much to the chagrin of many Americans. I love traveling in Muslim countries for a variety of reasons, from the history to the architecture to the fact that they are just so different. I give 10 reasons why I’m lured to the land of Islam plus some travel tips for worried travelers.
Asia is not only the world’s biggest continent, it’s also the most diverse. Cross a border and you’re in a totally different world. It has something for everyone: foodies, budget backpackers, adventurers, history buffs. Guest blogger Elizabeth Long talks about three of her favorites: Singapore, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.
Walk Across Rome Part II: From Termini station home I pass 2,000 years of history with good food and wine as fuel
What I love about Rome is you can walk all over town without ever walking down a busy street. Thanks to all the piazzas and the maze of narrow, cobblestone streets, it’s easy to lose yourself in the quiet parts of this chaotic city. And you always stumble onto historic sites, beautiful piazzas and interesting shops. For the second time, I traversed the city while avoiding traffic. I walked from Termini train station to my home in the Monteverde neighborhood. I zigzagged eight miles for 5 1/2 hours. Here’s my report.
America’s the greatest country in the world? How can anyone say that if they’ve never been anywhere else?
Is America really the greatest country in the world? It may be for you. But it’s not for me. It’s not for everyone. Then why do so many Americans say it? A reader’s friend accompanied her to Italy recently and complained the minute she hit the ground. She compared everything to the U.S. and provided more evidence that, indeed, America’s the greatest country in the world. I took issue with that and mentioned some very scary statistics that show the U.S. lags behind in a lot of categories.
Andy Luotto has been a little bit of everything since he left his home in Brooklyn to be with his father in Italy at 14. Actor. Author. Singer. Comedian. Scuba diver. But more than anything he is a chef. He has owned four restaurants and was an executive chef at a five-star restaurant in Venice. He sat down with me for an interview before he did a cooking demonstration at Rome’s Osteria Il Matto.
Rome’s ethnic restaurants: As Italians travel more, they are growing in popularity and here are my seven favorites
There once was a time when Italians would rather eat frozen pizza than ethnic food. That is changing. Italians are traveling more. More immigrants are coming to Italy. The combination is a growth of ethnic restaurants. Rome doesn’t have the variety of London or New York but I’m enjoying what we have. Here I pick seven of my favorite ethnic restaurants from Eritrean to Vietnamese.
Every February when the Catholic celebration of Carnevale arrives, every pastry shop in Italy is filled with a sweet fried dough called Chiacchiere. Called frappe in Rome’s Lazio region and different names everywhere else, it comes out either baked or fried in long, flat strips or bent in different shapes. They’re served plain or with powdered sugar or dark chocolate. I’m not Catholic but this is one tradition I wholeheartedly endorse.
India is world’s largest democracy and within its borders lies some of the most diverse landscapes and cultures in the world. Indian guest blogger Arpit Jain offers some suggestions on what to do and where to go.
For Valentine’s Day, I’m taking Marina to a four-star palace in Sutri, a little historic town cut into ravines about an hour north of Rome. It made me think of all the great hotels we’ve stayed at in Italy. We’ve been all over the country and stayed in dozens of hotels, resorts, agriturismos and AirBnBs. These are my five favorite.
After living in Rome for nine years, I know my way around the city’s restaurant scene. When visitors ask me where to eat, I’m always stumped. There are too many choices. But occasionally I try. Like now. This is my fourth edition of my Five Favorite Restaurants in Rome list. Four are new from last year and there’s a new No. 1. I’ve been to all five many times, particularly in the last year, and highly recommend all of them.
If you’re into adventure travel, do not miss Costa Rica. I’ve been there three times and could go another dozen and not do it all. Guest blogger Cory Harrison describes five different adventures in today’s Dog-Eared Passport.