London

      A Bustling Modern City Interspersed with Landmarks, Palaces,  and Touches of the Old   A Bird's Eye View of London London is a city of beautiful sights, sounds, parks, buildings, museums, and architecture.  Below is a bird's eye view including Russell Square,  Parliament Square,  a view of the British Museum from Contemporary Ceramics Centre across the street, Borough Market, and beautiful Georgian houses off Lambs Conduit Street.  See the ... Continue Reading

Hungary

The Setting Budapest is an exquisite city straddling the Danube River, with Pest, densely populated and with the magnificent Parliament building and St. Stephens Basilica on one side of the river, and Buda, with the medieval castle district on the other bank; several bridges traverse the Danube, with the magnificent Chain Bridge inviting  pedestrians with its lovely walkways. This UNESCO World Heritage Site includes the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter, and Andrássy Avenue, ... Continue Reading

Slovakia

Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, is set along the Danube River by the border with Austria and Hungary. It’s surrounded by vineyards and the Little Carpathian mountains, crisscrossed with forested hiking and cycling trails. The pedestrian-only, 18th-century old town is known for its lively bars and cafes. Perched atop a hill, the reconstructed Bratislava Castle overlooks old town and the Danube River. The feature image shows the back wall of a building housing a children's theatre program, ... Continue Reading

Poland

Poland Feature Photo: Zapiekanka, a toasted open-faced baguette topped with mushrooms and cheese (or any number of optional add-ons), is the most popular street food in Kraków, utterly scrumptious. The rotunda in the middle of Plac Nowy is packed with zapiekanka vendors, but the best of the bunch is Endzior (Plac Nowy; 48-12-429-3754; endzior.eu), description of zapiekanka adapted from New York Times, "36 Hours in Kraków," September 29, 2011. Kraków The historic center of Kraków, the ... Continue Reading

Austria

Austria Vienna Park Hyatt Hotel (our four-night stay at this exquisite, centrally located hotel was covered, except for breakfast, by our Hyatt points) An exquisite, luxurious hotel in a converted 100-year-old bank building overlooking Am Hof Square. Situated in Vienna’s new Goldenes Quartier, within the First District of the city, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It also sits within the heart of the most exclusive shopping district in Vienna, near Prada, Louis Vuitton ... Continue Reading

Czech Republic

Czech Republic Prague Prague, capital of the Czech Republic, is bisected by the Vltava River. Nicknamed “the City of a Hundred Spires,” it's known for its Old Town Square, the heart of its historic core, with colorful baroque buildings, Gothic churches, and the medieval Astronomical Clock.     The historic center of Prague is a UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Built between the 11th and 18th centuries, the Old Town, the Lesser Town ,and the New Town reflect the ... Continue Reading

Denmark

Copenhagen is a charming city with delicious food in charming venues.  We enthusiastically recommend the Free Walking Tour of the city. We stayed at the Westin Grand, where we used our points, and used the well-run Copenhagen Metro to get around. Save your appetite for Laura's Bakery 17 Linnesgade, a special dining spot in the culinary mecca, Torvehallerne Market. Fabulous morning pastries, kanelsnegle (intensely spiced cinnamon rolls), and Pop-Tart-like hindbaersnitters. You will never ... Continue Reading

Sweden

Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, is an enchanting city comprised of fourteen islands of the vast Stockholm archipelago on the Baltic Sea. There are views of water from every vantage point, sparkling on sunny days. People travel on foot over the fifty bridges or by ferry, a quick, delightful, inexpensive mode of transportation.  The Moderna Museet has one of the world's best collections of art, spanning from 1900 to the present day.     The Thiel Gallery, in a ... Continue Reading

Germany

We had lived in the Zehlendorf neighborhood of Berlin for half a year with our young children in 1972, when the Berlin Wall separated East from West, during a period of détente.  This visit was our first to unified Germany under the outstanding leadership of Chancellor Angela Merkel.  She spoke to a huge cheering crowd, estimated by the BBC at 5,000 people,  at the Brandenburg Gate during our visit, which was thrilling for us.  She began her speech by saying the 100,000 Jews living in ... Continue Reading

Turkey

      Our itinerary, ably arranged by Travel Atelier in Urgup/Nevesehir, Turkey (founded by the dynamic  couple Y. Murat Ozguc & Pinar Soyata Ozguc, info@travelatelier.com),  included: Cooking class & lunch, Cooking Alaturka Beautiful hotel (European side of the Bosphorus): Istanbul, Park Hyatt Istanbul-Maca Palas (European Side of the Bosporus), a well-located luxurious and gracious hotel; we economized by using our points at the ... Continue Reading

Spain

During our most recent visit, we visited Madrid and the beautiful and fascinating surrounding towns: Old Town of Avila (see introductory photo above), a UNESCO World Heritage Site Old Town of Segovia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Historic City of Toledo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site In Madrid, in the charming English tearoom popular with Madrilenos, we met the talented soprano Isabel Cantos with her then two young daughters, who enjoyed practicing their perfect English with ... Continue Reading

Portugal

Our itinerary included: Lisbon Sintra, Tivoli Palacio de Seteais Évora, Convento do Espinheiro There are great museums in Lisbon, including the  Calouste Gulbenkian (see photo above) located near Praça de Espanha, with one of the finest art collections in Europe,  and the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, in the city’s Santos district, Portugal’s national gallery with the largest collection of Portuguese paintings in the country. The Museu Nacional do Azulejo is dedicated to ... Continue Reading

Italy

NORTHERN ITALY 2014 Florence (Tuscany), Emilia-Romagna (Ravenna & Bologna), Lombardy (Milan), March 2014 Florence, home of friends near the Arno River, walking distance to the Ponte Vecchio; the Historic Center of Florence is a UNESCO World Heritage Site Favorite restaurant: Buca Lapi (reservations a must, we had eaten here during our first trip to Italy in 1966 and the food and ambience were marvelous both times) Favorite family-owned jewelry shop, Ore Due (short walk from the ... Continue Reading