Monday, December 4, 2017

TRAVEL HOTSPOTS: VICTIMS OF THEIR OWN SUCCESS

BY JANET STEINBERG



Some popular destinations are teeming with tourists, their public squares are congested with pedestrians, and the streets are clogged with taxis and tour buses.   Yes, they are overcrowded…but yes, they are worth visiting!   With the advent of the mega-humongous cruise ships, too many tourists can become an environmental problem.  In some places around the world that once sought tourist’s dollars, they are now figuring out ways to limit the number of visitors per day.  For starters, here are four to put at the top of your Bucket List.  Go there while you still can. 

VENICE, ITALY:  One of the most beautiful cities in the world, Venice is also one of the world’s premiere travel destinations drawing some 18-million visitors annually to this unique city. Napoleon called the Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square) the largest drawing room in Europe.  I call it the most unique living room in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  It may be the most crowded, (with people and pigeons); the wettest (when the tide rises); or the most expensive ($15 for a cappuccino) living room in the world, but it is by far the most unique. 

PEOPLE AND PIGEONS IN ST. MARK’S SQUARE

Monday, November 20, 2017

A LETTER TO VIRGINIA: YES, VIRGINIA, THERE IS…


BY JANET STEINBERG

With the remake of the 1934 mystery film Murder on the Orient Express lighting up the nation’s movie screens for the holiday season, I thought of what a newspaper editor might have said to an 8-year old girl named Virginia if she had written the following question, instead of the one about Santa Claus:
 
Dear Editor: I am 8 years old.  Some of my little friends just saw a movie named Murder on the Orient Express and they say there is no Orient Express.  Papa says, ‘If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.’  Please tell me the truth; is there an Orient Express?


Yes, Virginia, there is an Orient Express.  It exists as certainly as your family car, the planes in the sky and the ships on the sea.  As a matter fact, come along with me and I will tell you about a journey back in time when I was a passenger on the Venice Simplon-Orient Express (VSOE) for a luxurious overnight trip to Venice.  

Because I rode the rails in pre-Chunnel days, there have been some slight itinerary changes since my time on the train.  However, the classic journey, wrapped in timeless romance and epitomizing the golden age of rail travel, is still the same. 

THE JOURNEY BEGAN IN LONDON

Monday, November 6, 2017

SPENDING TIME WITH FRIENDS I NEVER MET



BY JANET STEINBERG
 

The magic carpet of travel has taken me around the world and given me the opportunity to meet some of the most famous people in the world.  It has also given me the opportunity to spend time with those I never met …but would have liked to meet.  Please allow me to introduce you to my new best bronze friends that I have never met…and, unfortunately, never will!

ALLIES SCULPTURE:  Lawrence Holofcener’s  bronze sculpture, celebrating the relationship between Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was unveiled by Princess Margaret in London England on May 2, 1995.  The sculpture commemorated fifty years of peace.  I could almost hear the amiable conversation between President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill holding his trademark cigar. Like millions of other tourists, I was honored to take my place between two of the 20th century’s most exalted heroes. 

ROOSEVELT & CHURCHILL IN LONDON

Monday, October 23, 2017

SLOVAKIA’S CAPITAL CITY: SMALL IN AREA, BIG IN ATTRACTIONS

Dobry den.  (Good day.)  Welcome to Bratislava.

BRATISLAVA, the powerful capital of Hungary for more than three centuries during the Middle Ages, is now the bustling modern capital of Slovakia (the home of Andy Warhol’s parents).  This picturesque city, situated where the Danube River meets the Carpathian Mountains, borders Austria in the west and Hungary in the south.

Formerly a part of Czechoslovakia, Bratislava became the capital of the Slovak Republic on January 1, 1993.  It is the seat of the most important political, scientific, industrial, commercial, educational and cultural institutions of Slovakia.  Bratislava, formerly known as Pressburg, is populated by some 599,000 Slovaks.  

Bratislava Castle, built more than 1000 years ago on a promontory some 270 feet above the Danube, dominates the city as it stands guard over the river.  The landmark castle derived its nickname of the “upturned table” from its silhouette that gives that appearance.  From the castle grounds, one can enjoy a panoramic view of the city’s contrasting architecture.
The baroque, historic, Old Quarter of Bratislava is in sharp contrast to the unsightly concrete structures erected by the Communists in the 1970s.  The Old Quarter houses a wide spectrum of museums and galleries.

Monday, October 9, 2017

FAR AWAY PLACES WITH STRANGE SOUNDING NAMES



BY JANET STEINBERG


PART TWO

As I said in PART ONE of this series, you have probably never heard of these far away places with strange sounding names that hover below the average traveler’s radar. However, trust me…once you have been there you will never forget them.

Once again, let’s have some fun and test your knowledge of geography.  Before you read beyond the name of each place, see if you can name what country it is in.  The country’s name is included somewhere in the text that follows each name!

SZENTENDRE: A cruise along the Danube Bend, the most scenic stretch of the Danube River takes you to the town of Szentendre, Hungary. Just north of Budapest, Szentendre is home to the fabulous Margit Kovács Ceramic Museum, It is also the best place to buy paprika and Helia-D, the magical face and eye creams in the little black glass jars…cheaper than in Budapest, and less than in the US.

TOWN SQUARE IN SZENTENDRE