Wow Place #219: Osaka Pastry Quest

When planning a trip, I inevitably fall under the spell of FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out. Before I know it, I’m frantically researching on the web, then making a list of ALL the places I need to visit and ALL the activities I need to experience. For instance, here’s what my recent Japan itinerary […]

Wow Place #217: Kolkata Street Life

“Tipping point: The crisis stage in a process, when a significant change takes place.” – We tend to think of “tipping points” in scientific terms, ie. the tipping point for a chemical reaction, the tipping point for climate change. But I think there are emotional tipping points as well – those times when your life […]

Wow Place #218: The Great Bavarian Berg Quest, Germany

Back in the 90s, my buddy Will and I had an opportunity to drive cross country: him to take a class on the east coast, me to see an old girlfriend in Wisconsin. Along the way, we created a quest: to visit as many roadside restaurants as we could until we discovered the “perfect” steak. […]

Wow Place #216: The Autobahn

Other countries seem to do speed better than the United States. The Japanese have their bullet trains; the French have their TGV. The Chinese have their Maglev. Here in the States, we haven’t really jumped on the high-speed train bandwagon yet. We’re more of an automobile kind of country, and there’s only so fast you […]

Wow Place #215: Japanese Conbinis

I was driving by a convenience store in my neighborhood the other day and noticed a large banner on the front door declaring, “Under New Management!” What could that mean? Brand new décor, perhaps? Free samples? An espresso bar? Of course not! This is an American convenience store. It’s not a New Zealand mini-mart, where […]

Wow Place #214: Hirome Food Court, Kochi, Japan

Am I the only one out there who LOVES food courts? I seek them out most everywhere I go. Some of the best of them, of course, can be found in big shopping malls, which is why I inevitably end up wandering around such places when traveling. The basements of department stores in Tokyo are […]

Wow Place #213: Old Town Geneva, Switzerland

It was about day 25 of my Eurail-pass trip around Europe when I finally got fed up with all things Medieval. I’m not talking about those cheesy Medieval Knight shows where you eat giant turkey legs in the grandstands while watching actors jousting lazily with other bored actors. No, I’m referring to Europe’s ever-present Romanesque […]

Wow Place #211: Egyptian Museum, Cairo

When I say, “I grew up in a museum,” as I did in my last post (Wow Place #210), the implication is that museums are clean, neat and well-organized places, with an emphasis on “Don’t Touch That!” And that’s true for most museums I’ve been to around the world. Exhibits are labeled. Protective glass has […]

Wow Place #210: Udvar-Hazy Center, Washington, D.C.

I grew up in a museum. Okay, not a *real* museum. Ask anyone, however, who came to visit my house in the 70s and they’ll tell you, “That home was clean with a capital C.” My Mom, Shirley, insisted that everything be in its place – like a museum. God forbid she would allow her […]