The Staffordshire Potteries, England

The Staffordshire Potteries, England

One of my favorite art and travel experiences was to the Staffordshire Potteries in the UK. The Staffordshire Potteries are centered around Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, England. Once the industrial heart of England, much of the area now has a rural feel with over 30 pottery-related sites snugged in a pretty landscape. Though I was there in February, my memories are warm: […]

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 »
ArtSmart Roundtable: Genre paintings of Holland’s Golden Age

ArtSmart Roundtable: Genre paintings of Holland’s Golden Age

Time again for ArtSmart Roundtable, a group of travel bloggers with a contagious passion for art. Each month, Roundtable members publish a post on a chosen topic; this month is Art Genres. Be sure to scroll down for links to my colleagues’ unique blogs and perspectives. And now, genre paintings of Holland’s Golden Age. A quick check […]

05.11.2012 · Filled under: Art, ArtSmart Roundtable, Europe, Netherlands · Tags: , , · 10 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 […]

International Couscous Festival, San Vito lo Capo, Sicily

International Couscous Festival, San Vito lo Capo, Sicily

Sicilian food, like its history, is a stew of cultural influences. Closer to Africa than Rome, and under Arab rule for 200 years during the Middle Ages, it’s not surprising to find couscous on menus in Sicily, especially in the western end of this Mediterranean island. Each September, the beach resort of San Vito lo […]

11.09.2012 · Filled under: Europe, Festivals & Events, Food, Italy · Tags: , , · 9 Comments »
ArtSmart Roundtable: The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

ArtSmart Roundtable: The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

The former gallery guide in me couldn’t resist a regular appointment to chat about art so I’ve joined the ArtSmart Roundtable, a group of travel bloggers with a contagious passion for art. On the first Monday of every month, each member of the Roundtable publishes a piece on a chosen topic. This month’s topic is […]

03.09.2012 · Filled under: Art, ArtSmart Roundtable, Europe · Tags: , , · 6 Comments »
Sicily’s seductive beaches and strange symbol

Sicily’s seductive beaches and strange symbol

More than 2,000 years ago, Greek sailors sailing the Mediterranean around Sicily gazed upon its golden shores and likened them to the alluring legs of a woman. They called the island Trinakria, or three pointed, identifying it with the Thrinacia mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey. I love to wander Sicily’s beaches in the off season when […]

Myth and water around Lamezia Terme, Calabria, Italy

Myth and water around Lamezia Terme, Calabria, Italy

We’ve been using Calabria as a back door to Sicily for a few years, preferring direct flights to Lamezia Terme to non-direct flights to Palermo.  Car rental is a lot easier at Lamezia, too. This time we stayed in the area for a few days to decompress and explore.  Our first stop is always the quiet […]

Amsterdam for culture trippers

Amsterdam for culture trippers

Amsterdam charms with history, her lovely canals lined with houses that resemble gingerbread cookies piped with white icing.  And with more museums per square kilometer than any place else on earth, it would be easy to imagine the city as an open-air museum of Holland’s Golden Age.  But the spirit of adventure, tolerance and freedom that built […]

20.04.2011 · Filled under: Art, Destination Guides, Europe, Netherlands · Tags: , , · 5 Comments »
Investing in beauty: The European Fine Art Fair, Maastricht, Netherlands

Investing in beauty: The European Fine Art Fair, Maastricht, Netherlands

If TEFAF Maastricht is the mother of all commercial art fairs, she is a gracious hostess with a salon full of fresh flowers and the best-informed minds of the international art world. Often described as an incredible once-a-year museum in which everything is for sale, TEFAF this year hosted 260 of the world’s top art and antiques dealers showing everything from classical antiquities to crave-worthy jewellery by Lalique and […]

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