A gourmet evening in Graubunden, Switzerland

Graubunden SwitzerlandEach winter for the last several years, two weeks of gourmet dining have been provided by top chefs in a fairly off-the-beaten-track region of Graubunden, Switzerland. Tom and I were thrilled to be invited to Brigels for this annual celebration of local ingredients, dishes and wines. Our evening of pampered fine dining was memorable from first course to last! Continue reading

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Coffee in Portugal — a family story

coffee shopPortugal surprised me with its coffee. My coffee experiences–at breakfast, on break or after dinner–were generally great, all over the country. From Guimarães and Porto in the north to coastal Algarve in the south, I enjoyed the coffee. Even small Cafés boast an impressive Italian espresso machine, and with apologies to Italy, a Portuguese espresso often seems to better its Italian namesake. Continue reading

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Our five top travel experiences in 2014

 Christmas

At the cusp of a new year, Tom and I have realized with a start, that another year has just zipped by. In 2014, we have been away from home, as much as at home. During a year of exciting travels, we have connected with old friends and made new ones. We’ve savored great food. We have experienced the joy–and occasional fatigue–of frequent travel. Continue reading

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We count our blessings

Merry Christmas 2014After a year filled with wonderful travels to destinations near and far, we feel blessed to spend Christmas at home, in the quiet (and with fingers crossed for a snow flurry or two before the holiday is done). Continue reading

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Kathmandu’s Sherpa Outdoor Orphan Home

 Sherpa Outdoor

Last month, my camera and I spent two weeks at the Sherpa Outdoor Orphan Home in Kathmandu, Nepal. It was my second visit in just over a year. This time, though, I had an opportunity join the household as a sort of grandfather-with-a-camera — sharing mealtimes, interacting with the children, and following their daily routine. I was impressed at what I found. Continue reading

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A vibrant Cologne Christmas–Part II

Cologne ChristmasCologne’s Christmas markets began with the Markt der Engel, or Market of Angels, with new venues being added over the years. The first market is still a favorite for many people, and I loved it. Newer additions have their own attractions, though, and I found something to enjoy at each one. Continue reading

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A vibrant Cologne Christmas–Part I

 Cologne Christmas

Cologne, Germany is a magnet for fans of Christmas markets. It’s one of the most-visited Advent season celebrations anywhere, located in seven venues spread across the city, and finding your way can be a daunting prospect. This year, I had an opportunity to be in town for opening day, before crowds arrived in their thousands, and over several days, managed to visit all seven markets. It was a glorious start to a Rhineland Christmas season in this vibrant metropolis with a 2,000-year history. Continue reading

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A cozy Düsseldorf Christmas

Dusseldorf Christmas

There are Christmas markets all over Europe, but some of the best are in Germany. No surprise, since so many of our holiday traditions were born there: advent wreaths with their candles, and decorated Christmas trees, to name just two. I was delighted to be invited for the beginning of the Christmas season in Düsseldorf, where the market opens a few days before others in the region. Continue reading

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A “Pure Ceylon Tea” experience in Sri Lanka

Sri LankaNo trip to Sri Lanka is complete without at least a pass through the country’s glorious central hill country. Go one better, though, and take your time: chug past tea plantations on one of the world’s great train rides–stop off to visit a tea factory–and spend a few nights in the cool, misty realm of a former British hill station. During our month-long stay in Sri Lanka, Tom and I did all of these things. Here are five indelible memories of our travels through Sri Lanka’s “pure Ceylon tea” country. Continue reading

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The slow train to Ella, Sri Lanka

Sri LankaThere is no hurrying a Sri Lankan hill country train, nor would you want to. The joy is in the going, the landscape that glides by, and the fact that you’re sharing the world of the people who live in this special place. You can travel from Kandy to Ella in one go (and vice versa), but we suggest breaking the seven-hour journey and slowing down even more. Continue reading

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