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.
New Nordic Cuisine: It put Copenhagen on world gastro map but at what cost? Too much for this travel writer
Copenhagen has 15 restaurants that have earned 24 Michelin stars. Noma has been voted the world’s best restaurant five times. Emphasizing natural, local products from land and sea, New Nordic Cuisine has become the world rage. But in three days eating our way across the Danish capital this month we found it wanting. Like, we wanted more to eat. And the prices were outrageous.
For the fourth straight year, Denmark is ranked the second-happiest country in the world. Why? We visited last week and locals say the social democracy that’s heavy in taxes but also heavy in security is the main reason. Danes don’t laugh and skip down the street but there’s a subtle lightness in their step. The quality of life is high. Their country is beautiful. People look after each other. Not surprisingly, all five Nordic countries are in the top eight of the rankings.
I took a recent assignment to Kranjska Gora, a Slovenian ski town where I chronicled Mikaela Shiffrin’s quest to break the World Cup ski wins record for women. It’s a tiny ski village with a thriving outdoor sports scene. I didn’t ski but I loved the Christmas atmosphere, food, beauty and half-liter bottles of beer for €3,30.
Wednesday marks my nine-year anniversary of moving to Rome. And again, as I do every Jan. 11, I list all the reasons I love living here. This year’s is another new list, ranging from Marina’s great Italian dishes to the scenic walk I take to my soccer pub. Of all the blogs I write, this is the easiest.
After nine years living in Rome, I’ve been to every corner of Rome’s Lazio region. It’s time I brought these places closer to you, dear reader. I am starting a new blog this month. It’s called TraveLazio. Every other Friday I will focus on one place in Lazio, easily accessible from Rome. It will be short, with lists of things to do and information on where to eat and how to get there. Lots of Marina’s photos. Hope you enjoy it. We aim to launch it Jan. 13.
Underrated Italian Towns 2023: Great places to visit or use as base just outside Italy’s overcrowded famous sites
If you’re planning an Italian vacation next year, consider some lesser-known places I discovered this year. They’re wonderful bases to explore more notable sites but also worthwhile places to spend a couple days off the beaten path. I recommend all of them. They’re good for the soul and good for the budget. They are my top 10 list of Underrated Towns in Italy 2023.
Have your Christmas shopping done? I do. But my gifts go worldwide, garnered from my list of all that was mostly bad in the world. Yes, it’s time for my annual Christmas gift list. It comes at the end of a tumultuous year that saw war in Europe, women’s rights violated in the U.S. and Italy leaning heavily to the far right. There’s something for everyone, maybe even a few laughs.
Christmas is coming and it always brings back great memories of my Christmases in my hometown of Eugene, Ore. This month it has me thinking. What do I miss about the U.S? I struggled to come up with a list. It’s a short one. Christmas definitely tops it. Here’s a brief look at what I miss about the U.S. as an American expat in Rome.
Next month marks my 45th anniversary of my epic solo trip around the world. In 1978-79 upon graduation from college I spent nearly a year traveling through Europe, North Africa, Southeast Asia and East Asia, visiting 25 countries. It changed my life forever. But some things have changed. I travel differently. True, I do have more money than I did as a starving backpacker. But my attitude and outlook have changed. Here are 10 things I’ve noticed and not all of them are positive.