When I was a kid, I had once gone to a Native American ceremonial event. I was young, but I had known that something was not quite right. Perhaps the caucasian-looking men toying around with blunted hatchets, with strikes of face paint, had links to a massacred people. But they were smiling too much and seemed to be having an inappropriate amount of fun; a stark contrast to the man in the background sitting somber and astute. Was he watching his people respectfully reenact some historical event, or examining a bunch of white guys flippantly revise his history? I’ll never know the answer, but when I visited a thematically Jewish restaurant in Lublin, Poland, last summer, I thought about that man and the pow wow. Read more
I’m a big fan of layovers when there’s a worthwhile escape. If you find yourself in the Munich airport on a layover, or have time to kill before a flight, don’t waste time at the gate: head to the world’s only full-scale brewery and beer garden, watch the sports analysts diagnose the latest football game while sipping back martinis at a gin bar, or surf a wave instead of wifi.
When my tour guide in Erfurt met me at the hotel, I thought about sending him away. He was dressed, he said, in the typical habiliments of the beer crier, the man once employed to wander the town and announce which breweries were serving beer that week. I used to know a guy in college who was a beer crier and I didn’t like his company much, but I guess his beer crying over his girlfriend was a different sort of thing. The beer crier of Erfurt was an important profession from the 15th to 17th century when, at the peak of things, there were 583 breweries in the city, but only thirty, at any one time, would be selling beer. (It’s important to note that Facebook was not yet invented, hence a man on the street alerting others to the location of the party.) Read more
When a city falls into economic despair how does it rise again? And what can make it a destination for travel and culture?
In 2017, Hull will host Britain’s UK City of Culture. When Liverpool hosted Europe’s City of Culture in 2008, it was a success and Britain decided it needed to keep running a spin-off to the continent’s yearlong event. Four years ago, the first UK City of Culture was held in Derry, the divisive city in Northern Ireland. Next year, it’s “Everyone Back to Ours,” as the slogan declares throughout the new host city, in anticipation of an event that residents and officials hope will dig out Hull.
Years ago, when I was on a month-long journey through Italy, everyone suggested that I visit the island of Capri. But everyone who had made such a recommendation told me that they had only visited for the day. They had all followed the same path: bussed to the top on the island’s winding roads, rode the chairlift at the peak for the panoramas, walked the markets, and then, ultimately, booked a boat tour into the Blue Grotto. The Blue Grotto, as the picture above shows, presents water so blue–so spectacularly illuminated–that if they could capture that color and set it in a stone, it would be the new must-have engagement gem. Read more