Rijksmuseum reopens! Amsterdam

Rijksmuseum reopens! Amsterdam

Is the Rijksmuseum now the best museum in the world? I wondered as I entered the Netherlands’ national museum for the invitation-only press preview earlier this month. Years ago, when I first visited the Rijksmuseum as an art history student, I remember floorboards creaking as I approached Rembrandt’s iconic Night Watch. The  Dutch Masters were […]

12.04.2013 · Filled under: Architecture, Art, Europe, Netherlands · Tags: , · 9 Comments »
Postcard from Europe: Rijksmuseum countdown, Amsterdam

Postcard from Europe: Rijksmuseum countdown, Amsterdam

Walking through Amsterdam’s Museumplein tonight after a gala candlelit dinner at the Concertgebouw, I noticed the Rijksmuseum is keeping its own ‘night watch’ countdown until the museum’s official reopening to the public on April 13.  The building looks spectacular from the exterior and I can’t wait to see the interior tomorrow at the press preview. […]

03.04.2013 · Filled under: Architecture, Art, Europe, Netherlands · Tags: , · 5 Comments »
The exquisite 6th century mosaics of San Vitale, Ravenna

The exquisite 6th century mosaics of San Vitale, Ravenna

The 6th century mosaics in the Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy, have been drawing pilgrims, art historians and lovers of beauty for nearly a millennium and a half. In all my Italian travels, how did I avoid visiting Ravenna for so long?  It was always slightly out of my way, easy to postpone. My art […]

04.03.2013 · Filled under: Architecture, Art, Europe, Italy, Spirituality · Tags: , , · 19 Comments »
High style at the Bata Shoe Museum

High style at the Bata Shoe Museum

Time for ArtSmart Roundtable, a group of travel bloggers sharing a passion for art and cultural destinations.  This month’s topic is the Best Museum You’ve Never Heard Of. For me that would be the delightful Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto. I came of age in Bata shoes. Indigo suede ankle boots with rust stars on the ankles […]

The most beautiful bookstore in the world

The most beautiful bookstore in the world

Stepping into Boekhandel Dominicanen in Maastricht, Netherlands, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Occupying a Dominican church dating from 1294, the shop well deserves its reputation as the most beautiful bookstore in the world. The medieval church lacked a congregation and was actually being used for public bike storage before undergoing refurbishment for the Selexyz book chain by Dutch architects Merkx […]

14.11.2012 · Filled under: Architecture, Europe, Netherlands · Tags: , , · 13 Comments »
A ghostly tour of the Elgin & Winter Garden Theatre, Toronto

A ghostly tour of the Elgin & Winter Garden Theatre, Toronto

Step up to the birdcage, buy a ticket for a tour of the last operating double-decker Edwardian theatre in the world.  It’s cool and dark inside.  The Elgin below, all red velvet with leering gilt satyrs, the Winter Garden a fairylit birch forest above.  But if you think something beckoned from behind an old backdrop, […]

31.10.2012 · Filled under: Architecture, Canada, Myths & Legends · Tags: , , · 6 Comments »
Lagoon dreams: Venice, Burano & Torcello

Lagoon dreams: Venice, Burano & Torcello

I’ve dreamed of the lagoon since returning from Venice, dreamt of jade water shivering as it crosses sandbars, spangled with sun diamonds. Though we rented a car for several days to explore, we left it at the hotel that Sunday morning and took Bus 19 (about a 15-minute ride, 1.30 Euro) from our hotel in Campalto […]

The delight of Miami’s Art Deco architecture

The delight of Miami’s Art Deco architecture

Surrounded by curving white lines, steel balustrades and porthole-shaped windows, I could easily imagine I’m aboard an ocean liner steaming out to sea.  After all, I’m in Miami, the world’s largest cruise port.  Instead, I’m on the roof-top Spire Bar of The Hotel of South Beach surrounded by the best in Tropical Art Deco. With […]

Key West for culture trippers

Key West for culture trippers

Like Alice passing through the looking-glass, I entered the Florida Keys through a dissolving veil of rain. The summer squall cleared as fast as it had blown in and I spent several sunny days exploring Key West’s unique architecture and thriving arts scene. There’s always something raffish about a port town. With its strange past […]

Exploring culture, food, and Route 66 fun in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Exploring culture, food, and Route 66 fun in Albuquerque, New Mexico

The drum is a heartbeat, faster than mine. Apache Crown dancers pace the circle, bodies painted, pine boughs bobbing at their hips, bells the size of tangerines adding an edgy jangle. With cotton sacking disguising their human features, feathers dangling from where their eyes should be, the dancers are eerie, otherworldly. My heartrate rises to […]

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