The Most Terrifying/Amazing Bar in the World

velootje ghent

I’m in the process of making a photo album…no not the Facebook kind, the real kind. Like kind you hold that has actual printed pictures in it. (What can I say, I feel like pretending we’re still in the 90s.) Anyway, I was going through old photos this weekend and did a bit of reminiscing. It went kind of like this: “Aww, look, that’s the time we got deported and had to live in Ireland! Hey, remember these barnacles we ate in Lisbon? Ahaha, failed selfie! And…oh wait…what’s this? When did I get abducted and dragged into a cave of horrors?”

That’s exactly what crossed my mind when I came upon the photos I took in Ghent at Velootje, which is either the most terrifying bar I’ve ever been to in my life, or the most amazing. Continue reading

Autogrill: Italy’s Superior Answer to Buc-ee’s

Autogrill italy

There’s a weird cult of people in the Gulf states who are obsessed with the gas station Buc-cee’s. The sprawling convenience store is, to them, a mecca around which all road trips must be planned and all snack stops must be made. These people wear beaver-branded shirts and will drive for miles on empty in hope that a Buc-ee’s will appear around the next bend. I, having never felt anything above ambivalence for any purveyor of petrol, do not understand these people. Or rather, I didn’t until my recent encounter of Italy‘s Autogrill. Continue reading

Broadway Market Plus Some Other Fun Stuff

Netil Market London

When we first moved to London we had eight sets of guests come visit in about five months. It was a total whirlwind, which seems both so long ago and just like yesterday. At that point, I only knew to take my friends and family to the main tourist attractions, and the best bit of local color I had to offer was Borough Market. And while Borough is an amazing destination for guests and locals alike, I’m now totally kicking myself for not putting everyone on a tube heading for Broadway Market.

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Will Wander for Wine

vienna wine hiking day

I really admire travelers who throw everything in a backpack, buy one way tickets and arrive at their locals sans hotel. How adventurous! How bold! How so entirely not me! Much as I try to be otherwise, I’m a rabid over-planner. I plan my travel itineraries to the hour and often have back-up reservations for my back-up reservations. Beyond that, I read everything I can get my hands on about a location before I arrive. So it caught me off guard when I got to Vienna and discovered there’d been a major blip in my planning radar. A wine-related blip. Thank goodness I caught my mistake in time.

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Vienna is Made of Meat and Cake

vienna austria demel

Let’s just get it out in the open: Vienna is not a food city. Yes, there is food, but to my taste it is simply not noteworthy. It’s largely (and by largely, I mean entirely) meat-based and practically devoid of vegetables. How the Austrians have all avoided scurvy for this long, I’ve no idea. That said, the grand tradition of the Viennese coffee house is alive and well, thus the cake and caffeine selections throughout the city are stellar. Let me repeat that: The cake and caffeine in Vienna are stellar.

I’m in. Continue reading