Cityscape

Reveling in the Many Splendors of Cartagena

Sandra Bertrand

Walking back through the main entrance to Cartagena, we passed through the historic Puerta del Reloi or Clock Gate, smack in the middle of a plaza of carriages.  Taking a chiva ride is one of the main attractions for tourists, but for us the sun was already too high to pull these horses from their little pockets of shade.  Throughout our stay, particularly during the evening hours, these carriages would be as plentiful here as the cars on their way to the hotspots and high-rises of nearby Boca Grande.  More than once we would find ourselves hopping onto the narrowest of street curbs without a moment to spare to let the rushing hooves pass.    

Colombia: A Colonial Wonderland in High Relief

Sandra Bertrand

 A late afternoon snack at Patagonia, conveniently situated around the corner from our hotel, provided all the local color any curious turista could hope to find.  Circumventing a customer’s motorcycle parked three-quarters inside the door, we encountered bullfighting posters, rustic workmen’s tables crowded with midday diners and a narrow bar where we opted for a plate of grilled chorizo and a popular Colonial beer.  

The Impressionists’ Take on Normandy’s Elusive, Illuminating Light

Barbara Noe Kennedy

What is it about northern France that makes it so striking? The ornate half-timbered villages, rolling pastures sprinkled with Normande cows, snow-white cliffs, and red-poppy-spangled fields for sure. But there’s also something about the light. A clarity that illumes the bright blue skies scuttled with fluffy white clouds, casting brooding shadows for an instant before brightening again. 

A Visit to Panama

Sandra Bertrand

Immediately upon our Copa Airlines arrival, we settled back in our prearranged taxi to enjoy the looming skyline of Panama City.  It was a warm mid-July night and already the towering skyscrapers were ablaze in all their nocturnal glory.  After all, this is ground zero for the global banking empire.  Even president Juan Carlos Varela’s attempts to hire a commission last year to create more fiscal transparency may find insurmountable difficulties.  Elite lawyers and familial ties run deep.  

Secrets of Quebec City

Barbara Noe Kennedy

Tucked inside centuries’-old fortress walls high above the St. Lawrence River, the capital of La Belle Province beckons with Old World charm. It’s nearly impossible to miss its most famous sights, including the iconic Château Frontenac hotel rising high above the St. Lawrence River in belle-époque splendor; the historic railroad hotel sparkles after a multimillion restoration. And the neighboring Plains of Abraham is where the British won Québec from the French in a pivotal battle in 1759. 

In Praise of Spain’s Architecture

Dan Whitman

Madrid puts together immodesty and grace as few other capitals do. Everywhere are reminders that this was once an empire that vied with all others. These blend with the charm of a thousand little eateries and places to while away a spring or summer afternoon, some of them still sparkling with decorative tiles from the nineteenth century. Ingrained in the Spanish character is a certain indifference to the past, but a pattern going back 1500 years, of letting it be and encouraging it to speak for itself.

Exploring Burgundy The Province

Barbara Noe Kennedy

Burgundy’s wines are among the most celebrated in the world. Indeed, Montagny, Meursault, and Chassagne-Montrachet are just a few that demonstrate this region’s fervent devotion to terroir and tradition. I adore Burgundy’s wines. But sometimes I wonder why “Burgundy the Wine” is so much more famous than “Burgundy the Province.” Follow this itinerary revealing the charming persona of this hidden gem—its main train station is located only an hour and a half south of Paris—and you’ll see what I mean.

Time-Traveling in Peru: A Journey to Machu Picchu

Michael Verdirame

It is hard to say anything about Machu Picchu that has not already been said.  Discovered—or again, rediscovered—by Hiram Bingham in 1911, the site has been the subject of awe and fascination for over one hundred years.  While much about it has come to light in the last century, there is still much that is not known, and may very well never be known. Many historians believe that Machu Picchu served as a lush and secluded estate for the Incan emperor Pachucatec, though others have speculated that it served a more lofty purpose, perhaps for worshiping the Incan gods or as the end point of a religious pilgrimage.  

Cities With Successful Public Transportation Systems (and a Few Without)

Emily Logan

Americans took a record 10.8 billion transit trips in 2014—the most in 58 years. More cities are realizing the critical role public transportation plays. In addition to getting people from point A to point B, a solid system can make an area the most sought-after neighborhood and attract talent and jobs. As buses and rails rise in popularity, cities’ individual experiences offer lots of lessons, from best practices to cautionary tales about how to build and maintain a great public transportation system. 

Balancing Fear and Freedom in Israel

Michael Verdirame

Yom Kippur will even see a complete shutdown of Tel Aviv’s airport, with no flights allowed in or out.  With all that being said, Tel Aviv and its citizens seem more concerned with quality of life—time spent socializing with friends over drinks and tanning on the beach—than the seemingly endless religious and territorial conflict that surrounds them not only in Israel, but in the entire Middle East region.

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