The first time that I had traveled to Austria was 2010 and my plan was to visit the wineries of Vienna. My then-girlfriend, now-wife, and I took the subway to the end of the U4 line, Heligenstadt, hopped on the 38A bus that journeyed uphill, and then disembarked at Armbrustergasse, where the road split. For the vineyards, we were told that we had to continue from their on foot. Continue reading
When the Mad King was slain by Jaime Lannister, he fell upon his death bed of pine forest. His face and body formed the peaks of the Wilder Kaiser mountain range in Tirol, Austria. This is not the true story of the formation of the Wilder Kaiser, which means Mad King in German, but when my guide pointed up at the gray stone-peaked mountains with the beautiful death bed of pine forest below, I stopped listening to the legend and made up my own Game of Thrones-inspired tale.
Most people head to Edinburgh in August for the Fringe Festival: a few weeks when comedians and thespians and every sort of artist take over bars and performance spaces, nooks and crannies. There are vans parked around the city that double as comedy clubs for a crammed half-dozen audience members and huge trucks are stationed on pedestrian thoroughfares to serve as temporary film houses. It’s a joyous, if not overwhelming time to be in Edinburgh. There’s so much to do on any given day, from free shows to street festivals to ticketed events, that you’re faced with the realization that you’re going to miss most of everything. And then you head to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with kids and you really feel like you’re going to miss everything.
When considering what makes a restaurant great, it comes down to more than quality food. But at the best restaurants, there is often a narrative threaded through the courses, and certain intangibilities that stay with a person even after the meal is done. Two of the best Michelin star restaurants in Scotland, in a country that has only thirteen establishments with this distinction, have that story and stay power. And while the chefs are culinary raconteurs, that latent magic is produced by having these dining rooms housed in five-star boutique hotels. Continue reading
One hundred and fifty years ago, Mark Twain, yet to make a name for himself—his nom de plume was fresh at that point and he had yet to publish any of his celebrated novels—was on assignment in Hawaii. He had set off to explore the culture and history of the archipelago, submit copy to papers like the Sacramento Union, and document other experiences for eventual compilation in his humorous and informative travelogue, Roughing It. Continue reading