Hungary: High End Value, Old World Ambiance

Few cities rival Hungary’s capital, Budapest, for its combination of romantic allure, architectural diversity and distinctive cuisine. Its three original cities of Buda, Pest and Obuda, united to form a single capital spanning both banks of the river Danube in 1873. Today, hilly Buda’s well-preserved Gothic buildings and cobbled streets attest to its historic Middle Age origins, while across the river, the more commercially oriented Pest serves up a glorious cornucopia of cafes, museums, parks and shops. Seven roads and two rail bridges cross the Danube, connecting the two districts.


Santorini: An island in time

What is it about the Greek island of Santorini that captivates all who visit? It’s easy to credit its beauty to the shimmering blue Aegean, the drama of its white washed cube dwellings built atop one another, clinging to the cliff side, some even built cave-like into it. But inexplicably it’s much more than that. One has only to wander for a day along the winding pathway above the caldera in the village of Oia to sense the fundamental union of elements at play.

Canary Islands-romantic year-round vacation


The seven islands that make up the Canary Islands have long attracted sun worshipping Europeans. The islands all boast a year-round spring/summer climate.. Their unique topography and location near the coast of Morocco. give them an incredible array of eco-systems. In one day, you can watch the sun rise over shimmering Sahara-like sand dunes, head to a black sand beach to surf; swim and sun bathe and follow it up with a trek through pine forests of ancient trees.

Canary Islands - archipelago of eternal spring - Part Two


In Part One of my Canary Islands article, I gave an overview of the seven volcanic islands that make up this territory of Spain. Long popular with Europeans, the year-round vacation hot spot is now more accessible to vacationers from the US with a new Air Europa direct flight from Miami to Tenerife, the largest of the islands. From Tenerife, the other islands are easily accessible by ferry or air (www.aireuropa.com)..

Canary Islands: Part Three: Tenerife


Largest and best-known of the islands, Tenerife is about more than beach-es. Fine wines and cuisine, coastal and mountainous walking trails, colonial villages, locally grown produce, and a bustling capital draw visitors to this year-round vacation destination. Outdoor Explorations: The snow-covered dome of Tiede, Spain’s highest peak, rises majestically overhead. Surrounded by a moonscape of encrust-ed rock and vibrant volcanic colors, it is fabulous trekking territory. Dozens of trails, many of them carved out before the days of highways and autos, crisscross the terrain. Rather ride than walk? You can rise above it all with a cable car ride to the summit for an incredible panoramic view of the lu-nar landscape of Parque Nacional del Teide.

Vienna: Where Wine Taverns rival Coffeehouses and Cafes-Part One


Gardens and baroque sculptures enliven and adorn every pocket of public space. In all of Europe, only Vienna rivals Paris for its sensuality. Vivacious Vienna encourages visitors to indulge them-selves not only in the city’s coffeehouses and cafes but to savor its home grown award-winning wines in idyllic settings. The Austrian capitol is unique in being the only metropolis in the world to pursue serious viticulture within its city limits. More than 700 hec-tares (1730 acres) of vineyards comprise a distinctive ecological and recreational asset for Vienna’s resi-dents and visitors. The tradition precedes Rome’s occupation. During the Middle Ages, wine was Vien-na’s most important source of income.

Vienna: home of the sacher-torte


As Viennese wines have acquired awards, the city’s signature dessert has remained a favorite. The Sacher-Torte is most unusual in that it is the only dish I know of that has a hotel named for it.
The torte itself was created in 1832 when a young apprentice cook, Franz Sacher, was asked to fill in for the main chef of the difficult and despotic Count Metternich. The count ordered a new dessert for a soiree planned for the very evening that the neophyte cook was on duty. No one knows exactly how Sacher came up with the recipe. Rumor has it he consulted with his sister but the heat was on as he had been ordered by the Count not to embarrass the court. Fueled by youth and enthusiasm, the 16-year-old went to work and the delectably deli-cious chocolate Sacher-Torte was born. It was an immediate hit. Sacher went on to become one of the greatest cooks of his time and is considered the “father of Viennese cuisine.”

Cyprus: Eco-tourism in the land of Aphrodite


Few places on Earth can hold a candle to Cyprus when it comes to mythic lore. It was here that the goddess of love, beauty and sexuality emerged from the sea in a surge of foam. Nature lovers traveling to the rugged Akamas Peninsula on the old road from Lemesos to Pafos are blessed with the sight of Aphrodite’s Rock rising out of the indigo waters of the Mediterra-nean, just off shore from the beach that curls around