Twenty Years in Paris – Part V
Call me a softie, a romantic at heart, or perhaps at the point in my life when I have crested the hill and begun what I hope to be a very elegant and gradual descent down the other side. Don’t get me wrong, I still love scuba diving, James Bond movies and the occasional leap off the top of a 2,000 foot tall mountain with nothing but a hang glider silently soaring over the beaches of Rio de Janiero. But sometime after my 40th birthday I noticed my priorities were shifting.
The obsession for the latest clothes, cars and cache has given way to experiencing life to the fullest every day. Life’s lessons learned have been punctuated by just how short life actually is. (more…)
Twenty Years in Paris – Part IV
Let’s face it. If you have been to Paris and liked it enough to return for another visit, you undoubtedly know the two biggest draws to the city. The visual eye candy comprised of amazing monuments, spectacular churches, ancient architecture, gardens, fountains, the River Seine and the cobblestone streets is reason enough for repeat visits to the crown jewel of Europe. The other reason is, of course, the food!
Clearly, the French can sculpt a statue, paint a canvas and design world class buildings. They can also create the most amazing, mouth-watering food I have ever seen anywhere. (more…)
Twenty Years in Paris – Part III
We arrived in Paris at the Gare du Norde train station and took a taxi to the Marriott Champs-Elysees where we discovered our room was not yet ready even though it was 4:00 p.m. and check-in was at 3:00. We asked if another room was available and after a few minutes of feverishly pounding his computer’s keyboard and making phone calls, the front desk clerk was able to change our room so we could unpack and get ready for dinner. Knowing that we were celebrating our 20th anniversary, the hotel manager kindly sent a celebratory cheese plate and bottle of white wine for our enjoyment. Abandoning all dietary common sense during our trip, we dove right in.
After such an elaborate appetizer, we had to think twice about heading out for dinner. Well, not really! We knew what was in store for us and finished dressing for dinner. This night’s destination was a small, left bank restaurant serving classic Parisian dishes. (more…)
Twenty Years of Paris – Part I
Working the system using a combined 55+ years of travel experience, the best option for free Business Class seats on our 20th anniversary trip to Europe for the dates we needed turned out to be via Washington, D.C. So our trip began with a flight from Atlanta to D.C. where we would make our connection to Amsterdam on a KLM flight.
Taking full advantage of our passionate belief that the journey IS the trip, we booked a morning flight to DC so we could enjoy the day in our nation’s capital. (more…)
We paid dearly for the hotel’s car to pick us up from the airport in Cancun for our 55 minute transfer to Playa del Carmen. Having been to Mexico several times before, and even fallen prey to two of the biggest tourist scams in the country, we knew it was better to be safe than sorry since we wouldn’t need a rental car for our long weekend stay in Playa. Paying off police officers who stop tourists in rental cars on their way to the airport only fuels the corruption fires that burn throughout Mexico.
The atmosphere on the flight to Cancun was even more festive than a flight to Las Vegas. After all, nobody is flying to Cancun for business. Everyone is headed for a vacation and many of us began our libations (more…)
Red rocks. Monumental works of nature. Spectacular formations carved by water a long, long time ago give Sedona a truly sensational setting in the desert that is otherwise, well, desert.
Situated in the Verde Valley of Arizona, the drive to Sedona from the Phoenix airport involves making your way (more…)
Ever since I started this blog several months ago, I have occasionally been asked what kind of photography I do professionally. Considering how varied some of that work is, I thought I would take this opportunity to show you some of the photos I recently shot on assignments.
Greystone Properties, one of the largest management companies in the U.S., asked me to shoot (more…)
No trip to Asia would be complete without visiting some of the local temples. Any trip to a foreign land should include experiencing the local culture and Southeast Asia has plenty (more…)
Do you remember your first love? How about your second? Remember how you would lie in bed thinking about what exciting adventure tomorrow would bring? How you couldn’t wait to see that person again. It didn’t even matter how you spent your time with each other. It was the chemistry and the magical feeling you had, just being with that special someone.
Love doesn’t apply only to people. Most people love their pets. Some people love to sing. Others love (more…)
One of my first impressions of the people of Vietnam was that they were mostly very hard working people who often make little money yet remain cheerful and friendly. They seem happy to take on tasks that Westerners would typically scoff at. Talent, ingenuity and a little love were evident in many of the details I saw while visiting their country.
The edible garnishes were simply awesome! Keep in mind that each and every dish served at this restaurant in Hoi An was accompanied by (more…)
An attempt has been made to breathe new life into the downtown area with the construction of a new baseball stadium, convention center, and a new bridge across the Maumee River. I was, however, able to seek some solace in the food. (more…)
I am interrupting my weekly blog post to comment on something unique that happened to me yesterday. My blog is hosted by a website called WordPress. Each day they choose a few blog posts to feature on their home page in a section called “Freshly Pressed.” Yesterday, my post 5 Days in Paris: Love Locks was chosen to be featured. After just a few months of blogging, I was Freshly Pressed!
The morning started with my receiving a few comments on this post, which was 2 weeks old. My new Wednesday morning post had just been published so I thought it odd that people were commenting on an older post and not the brand new one. A few minutes later, when I received a couple more comments, I knew something was up. After thinking about where this publicity could be coming from, I checked the WordPress home page and sure enough, there it was!
I had no idea what a ride I was in for. Every time someone clicks the “Like” button at the end of each post, I get an email telling me that someone “liked” my post. I also get an email each time someone leaves a comment. Almost as fast as I read each email, new ones appeared in my in-box. They were coming from all around the world and the comments were so complimentary and flattering. A few of them really touched me.
Being from German and Irish heritage, I grew up with a lot of meat and potatoes. And onions. Melt a stick of butter, throw in some onions, and cook any meat. Repeat the process with sliced potatoes and a green salad, and that’s what I call dinner.
As is typical with most classic European dishes, it all began with the basic ingredients the average family could afford. In this case the subject is veal, (more…)
Of all the holidays, Christmas has always been my favorite, mostly because of the gift of giving. Sure I love to receive gifts, but the truly rewarding part of exchanging gifts is giving to others. There is nothing more satisfying then seeing the joy a gift has brought to the person I have given it to.
I am so fortunate to experience the same sense of satisfaction and sharing when I introduce someone to one of my favorite places. Since I adore Paris, (more…)
The Best Chocolate Éclair in Paris!
One of my first stops on every arrival in Paris is at a local Patisserie for a chocolate éclair. The pastry is firm to the touch but soft and buttery inside. They come in two varieties, Mocha and Chocolate. The creamy center that fills your mouth with every bite is the real treat and varies widely from bakery to bakery.
Of course, there is much debate over who makes the best chocolate éclair in Paris. There are many formal and informal contests every year to pick the year’s “best”. On this trip I headed directly to Stohrer (51 rue Montorgueil) which is always ranked in the year’s top 3. One step inside the shop and I had severe sensory overload! Something in the back of my brain started flashing WARNING!, DANGER!, WARNING! It was just my first day in town. How was I going to pace myself over the course of this trip? OK, I’m in Paris! I can diet when I get home.
Decisions, decisions. Chocolate or Mocha? Mocha or Chocolate? And what about all the rest of the food porn that was so brilliantly on display behind spotless glass? Everything looked so amazing (more…)