Puglia wine tasting brings back memories of long coastlines and purple-red wines

Wine Tastings of Rome, a terrific Meetup group that could only have a more attractive name if Beyonce held its sign, brought in wine makers from around Puglia to one room at the Hotel Imperiale. Built in 1895, the Hotel Imperiale is as elegant as it sounds. It’s a gold palace with small balconies overlooking tree-lined Via Veneto, perhaps Rome’s most glamorous street where its rich and famous once preened for panting fans and fought with prying paparazzi. Walking into the snow-white interior, I felt thankful I wore a sportcoat as “retired journalist” and “elegant” aren’t usually found in the same sentence. The Hotel Imperiale makes you at least try to look the part.
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London theater beats Broadway but plays about one-legged sodomites do not

Theater in London is on every visitor’s to-do list. But here’s a tip: First check out the plays in the “fringe” theaters. They are London’s equivalent of off-Broadway. They’re only about 20 pounds ($29) and if they’re good they move to the West End. On the West End tickets are so expensive, theaters should have bankers out front negotiating loans. Tickets for “Mr. Foote” were 90 pounds ($130). However, my friend went to the theater desk in the Piccadilly Circus station that afternoon and bought them discounted that day for 35 pounds ($50).
Considering what we watched, it was like getting a discount on a colonoscopy.
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London markets a very English way to spend an afternoon

If you want a clear window into the lives of a people — as well as buy a candlestick holder from the 19th century — come to London. London is the public market capital of the world. It lists 73, covering nearly every neighborhood in a city the size of Rhode Island. From Bromley to Enfield, London has something for everyone, from old Beatles records to umbrellas, from silver earrings to top hats.
I came to England on a recent assignment and spent one day prowling public markets. Shopping is free. Buying is expensive.
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Prague in winter feels warm in a capital that has come in from the cold

Prague in winter is like curling up with your girlfriend in front of a roaring fire. It’s beautiful and romantic and oh, so warm if you find the right place. I’d been here in the summer of 2014 when the Charles Bridge had so many tourists it felt more like a mall after Thanksgiving than a 15th century European landmark. l heard as much English as Czech. I believe I saw shirts from every college in the Pac-12 Conference. The city made enough money off its “Prague Drinking Team” T-shirts to build another bridge.
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Liechtenstein: The Alps’ last monarchy is a tiny slice of royal beauty

The first thing you must know about Liechtenstein is how to pronounce it. Just imitate a cat coughing up a furball: LEEEECCCHHHHT-en-stein.The fourth smallest country in Europe is all of 62 square miles, the size of Staten Island. From one end to the other is 17 miles. It’s nine miles wide. Driving from one end to the other takes 25 minutes. It takes that long to get out of Heathrow Airport. Yet it still has 240 miles of well-marked hiking trails.

A few things you didn’t know about Liechtenstein. If you did, you need to get out more. Liechtenstein has:

No airport
No military
One train station
One ski resort
One hospital
One TV channel
One radio station
Two newspapers
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Two-year anniversary inspires all new list of why I love living in Rome

Two years ago today I landed in Rome with three bags, fewer friends and more risk than a mob informant. But today, I am approaching my 60th birthday in two months at the apex of my life. My happiness is growing like the lemon tree on my penthouse terrace overlooking the Tiber River. Retirement in Rome was the biggest chance I’ve ever taken but has made me happier than I’ve ever been. Looking forward to retirement, folks?
Retire to paradise, wherever you consider that is.
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The City of Dreams Manila is helping elevate Filipino food to a new audience

… since the opening of the City of Dreams in December 2014 by the famous Melco Crown Group, authentic and contemporary Filipino food has been given a new platform whereby international travelers will be able to sample the best Filipino dishes in the five-star casino resort.
The casino and resort is a multi-purpose site, which has gained worldwide acclaim for its variety of live entertainment, huge gaming floors that even include and the aforementioned slew of popular high-end Filipino restaurants. The City of Dreams is also full of retail shops and purpose built concert halls.
But, for us foodies, it’s the restaurants that prick our ears.
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Christmas in Paris: A somber look at its darkest day since World War II

On Christmas morning, I threw myself into France’s deadliest day since World War II. I hate to call it a “Ghoul Tour.” They do those in Hollywood. However, they’re distant, isolated incidents tied together by the vague concept of fame. Seeing where actors and rock stars overdose is not the same as seeing where a student was gunned down while watching a concert or an ad executive was shot to death before she finished her glass of Bordeaux at a sidewalk cafe.
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Christmas in Rome: Lighter on the lights but heavy on the meaning

Christmas in Rome is one of my favorite times of year. Keep in mind, my nearest family member is 8,000 miles away. I have no family ties. I have no religious ties. It also isn’t because this is the slowest month for tourism in Rome and I love the emptier streets and seats on public transportation. I can’t remember the last time I saw a tourist in a white fedora walk bewildered onto a bus with a map in his hand.
It’s because Rome has a much subtler approach to Christmas. Christmas here has meaning. It goes beyond the dollars people make and the gifts people receive. It goes back to Christmas’ roots, where the birth of Jesus Christ is celebrated and not the birth of iPhone 7.
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