Author Archives: Craig

Venezia, Italy – a place of quiet and intrique around every corner

No place in the world calms me like Venice. There are no cars, no motorini, and not even bicycles… just the sounds of everyday life happening. Continue reading

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Milano – unlike much of Italy but still quintessentially Italian

And with that, I will wish you great travels to a city that I adore and think of as a third home. Buon viaggio! Continue reading

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Rome, Italy – My home away from home

I will tell anyone who asks: Rome is to me what the sun is to Superman. It is my home, my love, and my return. If you must, take a map but “flying blind” really is part of the fun of Rome: getting lost, finding little cafés, little shops, or just watching people go about their business. Continue reading

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Delhi was more than I expected to be honest. The vibrancy and “controlled” chaos is unlike anything I’ve seen elsewhere.

(updated 20 January 2019) Delhi was more than I expected to be honest.   I knew that I would find poverty, immense poverty, and I suspected that I would harassed by men seeing the foreigner and by young children desperate to … Continue reading

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Chennai, where the people are so incredibly kind, the city takes pride in itself, and the way that southern Indians meld and blend spices calms me, and takes my breath away.

I love southern India: the people are kind, the city is fairly clean, and the way that southern Indians meld and blend spices calms me, and takes my breath away. Nites Oh my goodness, I am in love!  The Leela … Continue reading

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Kolkata is probably the most “melting pot” culture of all the cities that I’ve visited in India.

Kolkata is probably the most “melting pot” culture of all the cities that I’ve visited in India.  And, like New Delhi, you will encounter poverty right next to luxury and with very few exceptions, will one encroach on the other.  … Continue reading

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Mumbai is an incredible mix of old and new, upscale and slums, modernity and the way things have always been done… all of which should not be missed.

An incredible mix of old and new, upscale and slums, modernity and the way things have always been done… all of which should not be missed. Nites As this was my first time in Mumbai and I was here for … Continue reading

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This town, Thalpe, along with Galle Fort to the east, have made me fall in love with Sri Lanka.

Thalpe, along with Galle Fort to the East, have made me fall in love with Sri Lanka.  The people are so kind and the laid back beach culture that has taken over is a welcomed respite especially if you are … Continue reading

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Close enough to Yala National Park for the perfect safari

I would recommend 2 days max in Tissamaharama.  I’ve read that there is wonderful history to this little town but much of that has gone, or I couldn’t find it, such that it is a hustle and bustle little town.  … Continue reading

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Colombo works in all of its magic and intertwined wonder.

Colombo is an interesting mix of cultures that it really makes this lovely country difficult to point to just one influence: there is the Indian influence, just to the north of this lovely little island; the British influence in its … Continue reading

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Getting that best deal for that to-die-for hotel

Waiting until the last minute will limit your options and often not result in the best possible deal. If you plan in advance, you’ve got a better shot of scoring that really cool room/view/location. Continue reading

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Craig’s 50th Grand Tour

For as long as I can remember, I’ve known that I would celebrate my 50th birthday, in Italy, and with my friends. Over time, bits and pieces would form in my head and ultimately become reality: once I knew what I was going to do, it never changed. And once I realized, years ago, where it would be, I never wavered on the location or anything else. Continue reading

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Burano – the colours, the solitude, and the tranquility calm me and inevitably bring a smile to this sometimes-hardened face.

Just walk, and walk, and walk, and when you find a canal that looks intriguing, take it. Continue reading

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Torcello – during the day it is a day-tripper’s dream and a night it is calm oasis of nature sounds and the occasional lapping water along the canal sides.

Torcello is not a large island, and not a lot of people live here, but during the day it is a day-tripper’s dream and a night it is calm oasis of nature sounds and the occasional lapping water along the canal sides. Continue reading

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I am in love with Bergen. I can’t say anything more than it’s been some time since I’ve been to a place that is this inviting, the people this welcoming, and the food this outstanding.

I’ve heard Bergen described as being very German but I found it unique, inviting, lovely, and fun. I would live here in a heartbeat and I can’t wait to return. Continue reading

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Located over 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle, Tromsø is an amazing, but small town, that invites all travelers with open arms and stunning views.

Located over 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle, Tromsø is an amazing, but small town, that invites all travelers with open arms and stunning views. Nites Tromsø doesn’t have boutique hotels, as far as I could tell, and seems … Continue reading

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Shanghai – the new, modern China that is probably more “western” than any other place I visited.

Shanghai is an amazing place, and is arguably the most modern of China’s cities, if not the most western, but when taken in to consideration with the rest of China and what it has to offer, it really shouldn’t be missed! Continue reading

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Hangzhou/West Lake – a wonderful, relaxing, lake-side retreat to recharge and recenter before your next stop in the mad-packed land that is China.

West Lake – a wonderful, relaxing, lake-side retreat to recharge and recenter before your next stop in the mad-packed land that is China. Continue reading

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Chengdu – pandas, not to mention a laid back city (for China) but also one of the fastest growing and inviting cities.

Pandas. What more is there to say?! Don’t hire a guide, just follow my easy instructions and you’ll have an amazing time! Continue reading

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The perfect place to see the Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China really must be on everyone’s bucket list. It’s a work out, and an architectural feat of magnitude impossible to match! Continue reading

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The rapidly disappearing old parts of the city – the hutong – are a sight to behold

The rapidly disappearing old parts of the city – the hutong – are a sight to behold and should be seen before it is too late. Continue reading

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Murano – stunning glass work and so much more!

I have been visiting Venezia on a yearly basis, and every year includes a day in Murano: a day of strolling the canals, looking at the glass work, and occasionally strolling in to a church. But it wasn’t until this trip that I realized that there is so much more to this wonderful island and I am smitten!

Nights
Sometime in 2016 (I think), the Hotel Le Gare (http://www.lagarehotelvenezia.com/en/) opened on Murano and I have been dying to stay there since. It did not disappoint! The hotel is modern, but mixes in the famous glass of Murano, the architectural details and structures from the original building (an old furnace), and is just so welcoming and inviting that you may not want to leave.
I will also tell you that Murano is an island of two faces: during the day, it is overrun with tourists looking for that special gift to take home. But at night, when the tourists leave, this is a wonderland of solitude, and quiet, and even reflection like few other places I have ever been.
Bites
If you only have one night in Murano, be sure to book the Osteria Aquastanca (http://www.acquastanca.it/homepage-en/). It’s only a short walk from the Le Gare and the food is absolutely divine! When I arrived, the entrance was full of locals talking to the owner and the barman. And immediately after sitting down, the restaurant was joined by 2 other guests, at separate tables: one, a local woman having her dinner and another man, just returning from business, who stopped in hoping to have meal. And given that they kindly made vegetarian options for me – carcioffi (in season!) with fresh mozzarella – I knew I was in love.

Sites
At the time of this writing, I have been visiting Venezia on a yearly basis, and every year includes a day in Murano: a day of strolling the canals, looking at the glass work, and occasionally strolling in to a church. But it wasn’t until this trip that I realized that there is so much more to this wonderful island and I am smitten! Lose yourself. Wonder around. Get lost. It’s an island after all so when you see water, and if that’s not where you want to be, then turn in a different direction.
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Vignacastrisi – a tiny village of remarkable strength and beauty

So, why you ask, should you go to Vignacastrisi or any of the surrounding villages? Because it’s a part of Italy that if you really want to know more about, it is integral to the fabric of this culture, and these people, that I so dearly love. Italy is more than Milano, Firenze, or Roma but small communities that exist and even thrive on their uniqueness. Continue reading

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Otranto – the furtherst point east in all of Italy

Otranto may not be for everyone as there really isn’t a lot to do other than to go to the beach or rest at a pool until night falls and you begin your evening with a passeggiata, and perhaps a drink at any of the many cocktail bars popping up around Puglia, and then dinner, and another post-meal stroll. It’s the way life should be, if you ask me: relaxing, with friends, and good food, and good wine, and a true respect for that which has preceded us. Continue reading

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Lecce – The so-called Florence of the south

Halfway down the heel that is the book of Italy, you’ll find the most charming, and welcoming, city of Lecce. It’s been years since I’ve been to Lecce and upon my return, fond memories flooded back as if only a few months had passed. Often referred to as “the Florence of the south”, I think it has more to offer and is a monument of civic pride, and beauty, all unto itse Continue reading

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Vancouver BC – Truly, what a stunning city! And one that I want to return to to investigate, and wonder around, and get lost within. And although my time here was short, I have no qualms in recommending some great hotels and restaurants! Head north and enjoy!

Truly, what a stunning city! And one that I want to return to to investigate, and wonder around, and get lost within. And although my time here was short, I have no qualms in recommending some great hotels and restaurants! Head north and enjoy! Continue reading

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Asolo – a small Italian town of calm reflection

I’m not sure what drew me to Asolo – as I could honestly spend the rest of my life in Venice or one of the smaller islands – but there was something about Asolo that brought me to this small town at the foot of the Dolomites and brought a calm over me that was much needed. Asolo is only about 1 hour away from Venice (by car or train) and for a short get away, you really can’t go wrong this tiny little hamlet. Continue reading

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St Petersburg – truly one of the most beautiful cities with truly lovely people that I have ever visited.

Everyone keeps asking me “why did you go to St Petersburg” and I honestly can’t answer that other than to say “why not”? But now that I’ve gone, and returned, it is truly one of the most beautiful cities with truly lovely people that I have ever visited. Continue reading

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Piemonte is more than Barolo but that’s a good first reason to go!

Piemonte is one of the most elegant regions of Italy that also acts as a collective municipality overseeing the Barolo and Barbaresco wines. Continue reading

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Easter Island – a true once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that should NOT be missed

Easter Island (Isla de Pasqua) is an environment, a society, and a culture completely unto itself and should be visited by everyone at least once in their lifetime. Continue reading

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