Posts Tagged ‘press-tour’
York is one of England’s most picturesque and historically rich cities. Situated halfway between London and Edinburgh in Yorkshire, York has more miles of intact medieval city walls than anywhere else in England and also boasts what is said to be the oldest shopping street in Europe. The Romans, the Saxons, and the Vikings all left their mark on York, and now it’s also one of England’s biggest university towns with a plethora of pubs as well. Budget two days to delve in and explore this dynamic city.
Zurich is a really cool city. This was my second time here, although the last time was 15 years ago, and only for a day. (Definitely not enough time to do the city justice.) Not surprisingly, this time around I found the city to be completely different from what I remembered. Grand and bustling, Zurich has all the trimmings of a financial powerhouse capital for sure, but also has quiet old town streets that feel a million miles away from all that. The train station is one of Europe’s grandest, filled with modern art on the inside and classical European architecture on the outside. Leading off from the station is Bahnhoff Straße, the grand street that runs into the heart of town.
Napa wines are famous the wold over—and for good reason. Having recently moved to San Francisco, I was dying to head over and check out what all the hype is about.
Napa valley consists of a string of tiny towns located along Hwy 29, with Napa, California at the southern end and Calistoga towards the northern end. This glamorous stretch of farmland just an hour from San Francisco is famous for cabernet sauvignon, star chefs, and volcanic mud baths. Compared to California’s other wine regions, Napa Valley embraces an almost disneyland-like commercialism, catering to tourism on a grand scale. This means more wineries and more fantastic eateries, but it also means more people. Most wineries also require reservations (due to strict zoning laws that prohibit drop-in visitors), so the best way to go about wine tasting is to book one wine tasting and plan your entire day around it, keeping your winery count to 3 or less per day. Those seeking a quieter experience will also want to check out neighboring Sonoma Valley, or Southern California’s wine jewels: Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez Valley wine country.
London is filled with magnificent places to enjoy afternoon tea. Join us as we explore 3 standout spots in the city:
Dorset Square Hotel
The Potting Shed Bar & Restaurant at Dorset Square Hotel features an airy glass ceiling that fills the restaurant with natural light while the playful interior design lends an elegant, modern style. Afternoon tea here is particularly lovely, with tea served in beautiful floral dish-ware. Starting at £19.50 per person, you get scones with homemade jam and clotted cream accompanied by sweets like lemon tarts, carrot cake, and chocolate fruit-infused brownies. The finger sandwiches are creative as well, featuring tiger prawns, rare roast beef with horseradish crème fraiche, smoked trout with cucumber and lemon, and my personal favorite: truffled egg and cress.
Step Back in Time in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is pure storybook Germany. This city is a maze of winding cobblestone streets filled with crooked half-timbered buildings that look like they’ve been plucked right out of a fairytale. Encircled by old town walls made of stone, the city still retains its distinct medieval feel. There are old clock towers, fancy wrought iron signs, and flower pots spilling with blooms.
The Romantic Road
Although Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a small town, it’s far from off the tourist radar. This is due in part to its strategic location along the Romantische Straße, or “Romantic Road,” a title created by travel agents to describe the 220 mile stretch of highway between Würzburg and Füssen in southern Germany, which is filled with quintessential German towns and castles. Formerly a trade route in medieval times, the Romantic Road now serves as a principal tourist artery though Southern Germany.
Slow Down and Taste the Wine in Bacharach: Germany’s Rhine Valley Hideaway
Germany produces some of the best white wines in the world. The Middle Rhine Valley is a storybook paradise of crumbling castles and vineyards clinging to cliffs peppered with small towns. The best way to see the Rhine Valley is either by train, boat, or bike—all routes that hug the river for spectacular views. Out of the small towns that line the Middle Rhine Valley, Bacharach is our top pick for an overnight stay.
With the city taking its name from Bacchus, the God of wine, Bacharach has long been a trading center for wine. During the Middle Ages the rocky bottleneck in the Rhine River near Bacharach wasn’t navigable to big ships, so wine had to be transported on small boats to be loaded onto big ships in Bacharach’s harbor. Needless to say, the town prospered. These days big ships pass right by Bacharach without stopping, but it’s the tourist boats that now flood this quiet town. Outside tourist season, Bacharach is peaceful and sleepy, the perfect place to wander among half-timbered leaning buildings.
With so many great wineries surrounding the Bay Area, travelers to San Francisco will definitely want to find their way out to wine country. But where to start? Napa? Sonoma? Calistoga? We discovered the perfect weekend retreat in northern Sonoma County: The Farmhouse Inn.
Europe is filled with castles, but none quite invoke the fairytale romance we all imagine as children than the spellbinding castles of Bavaria. Two castles stand out among all the world’s top castles: Neuschwanstein Castle and Hohenschwangau Castle.
Castle #1: Hohenschwangau Castle
Hohenschwangau is perched above Swan Lake, and was the childhood home of King Ludwig II of Bavaria. The castle was built by his father, King Maximilian II of Bavaria, and is all original, decorated with scenes from medieval legends and poetry, the walls reading like giant storybooks. Translating roughly to “castle of the village of the swan,” this beautiful castle should be visited first before you set your eyes on nearby Neuschwanstein Castle, which is even more impressive.
Bavaria is my absolute favorite part of Germany. It’s iconic, friendly, flowing with great beer, and filled with incredible fairytale castles. A week in Bavaria will give you enough time to explore the dynamic city of Munich, then head south to one of Germany’s most picturesque regions for some castle hopping.
Munich City Guide
Munich is a beautiful city, filled with history and culture. Although Munich is quite a big city with a population close to 1.5 million, it still manages to retain a bit of a small town vibe. The city brims with festive beer halls, some of the country’s best shopping, and feels like the friendliest place in Germany. It’s got imperial palaces, crown jewels, modern art, and grand pedestrian boulevards. Munich is a true cultural powerhouse, with enough sights to easily fill a few days.