Author Archives: Craig

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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Santiago – a unique blend of old, communist, and avant garde

Santiago de Chile is an interesting place to say the least: there are gorgeous examples of old architecture, remnants of hard times gone by but still in use, and modern buildings and streets that look forward to the future. For a brief stint – perhaps on your way to Patagonia, over to Easter Island, or in combination with Buenos Aires – this city has much to offer. For a longer stint, for which I must admit I was here on business, it can get a bit tough to keep yourself occupied I’m afraid. But don’t let that stop you as a lifetime is really not complete without a visit to Santiago and to experience the charm and friendliness of the Chilean people. Continue reading

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Berlin – where old meets new and a fresh look forward

I love Berlin. You see that on shirts and mugs all over the city but I really do love it here; it’s vibrant, it’s old meets new, and the people really are some of the nicest people I’ve met in my travels. Or perhaps I should say “I love Berliners”. Continue reading

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Delhi was more than I expected to be honest.

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 sell me pretty much … Continue reading

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Torino – Italian with a hint of Swiss mixed in

When I think of how to describe Torino, I constantly think of it as a hybrid between Italy and the Swiss: the locals have all of the traits that I love in an Italian but there is something a bit more Alpine – I truly don’t mean that offensively – about them that really does make this place absolutely unique. And the Alps in the distance don’t hurt things either! Continue reading

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Taormina may be a tourist mecca but it really can’t be missed.

Taormina is an interesting place for me, and also a bit of a quandary: it is incredibly touristy, and you are often overrun by tour groups but at the end of the day, both literally and figuratively, I do love this city and its people and think that everyone should visit at least once in their life. Continue reading

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Siracusa – a peaceful and relaxing get-away from the craziness that can be Sicily

Siracusa has such fond memories for me and my latest return did not let me down. The city is old, and there are parts that are falling down and in desperate need of repair, and then there are parts that are charming and inviting and, inevitably, the whole place puts a smile on my face. Continue reading

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London – trouble waiting to happen in this inviting and charming city

You can get in to any number of types of trouble when you visit London: lord knows I do every time! That trouble could be shopping, over-eating, drinking, or even just wondering and getting lost. But that’s part of the charm to London so come prepared – and leave that credit card in the room if you have no self-control (note to self) – and start exploring this truly wonderful city! Continue reading

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Sanremo, on the Ligurian coast: an era of days gone by

Sanremo is an interesting town along the Ligurian coast that I had always wanted to visit. For a short visit, it’s a lovely place. Continue reading

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Bern Switzerland – the capital of an amazing country that acts more like a welcoming village

I must admit that I have never visited Bern before, nor even thought about it.  I guess the largesse that is Zurich and Lausanne just overshadows what is truly an amazing town.  But if your travels give you the chance … Continue reading

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Cortona Italy – Cortona and the villa near it are truly one of the most amazing finds I have ever made.

Cortona and the villa near it are truly one of the most amazing finds I have ever made. Continue reading

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Athens Greece – Athens is probably one of the top 10 places that everyone should visit once in their life.

I’ve heard people say that Athens – and Greece in general – is not safe. I say you are wrong! Never have I met a more welcoming and kind country and its people than I have in Athens and Greece as a whole. Continue reading

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Porto Cervo – If money is no object, this is the place for you. But you should still go, if even on a budget!

Porto Cervo and the Costa Smeralda is a stunning and enchanting place that everyone should visit at least once in their lives. Continue reading

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Oxford UK – The tranquility that is Oxford

Oxford is amazing, the people really quite kind, and the variety of restaurants truly outstanding. Continue reading

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Cambridge UK – The perfect escape from the insanity that is London

The perfect escape from the insanity that I feel and find when in London Continue reading

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Bergamo Italy – A tranquility and joy of life that we should all aspire to

To say that I am enamored with Bergamo is an understatement. There is tranquility, a vibrancy, a friendliness, and a peacefulness in this hilltop town that no one word can adequately describe. Continue reading

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Vienna Austria – The sounds of kindness and warm-heartedness abound

I love Vienna. (Yes, insert the Ultravox classic, if you must!) The city is clean, the people are kind and helpful, the public transport is nearly perfect (the CAT train doesn’t quite run early enough for those early am flights out of Vienna), and the food really coming in to its own. If you haven’t been, you must go. And if you’ve been, please return: it is nearly Europe’s most perfect city! Continue reading

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Yalikavak Turkey – It’s not Bodrum, but a better neighbor

So Yalikavak isn’t in Bodrum. And so it may be a “suburb” albeit a hike away. Don’t hold it against them and go here for further recharging. And if you need a bit of culture, do the trip to Pamukkale: it’s worth your time and a numb butt! Continue reading

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Fethiye Turkey – The perfect place to relax and unwind

I can’t really explain what it was about Fethiye that I loved but I did and I cant wait to return! I hope you enjoy it too! Continue reading

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A college town with an attitude

The mix of English and French, and the desire for independence, makes this a great city with a funky attitude! Continue reading

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Sydney Australia – Beach town in a big city

Not everyone love Sydney, or will, but I suspect that the love/hate relationship will be the same as it is for San Francisco: you either love it or you hate it. So just bite the bullet and go! Continue reading

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The “red city” should be on everyone’s bucket list

Marrakech is divine and a place that should be on everyone’s bucket list. Like much or Morocco, the people are nice, the food amazing, and the sites just absolutely breathtaking. Continue reading

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