In the Name of Nebbiolo

Remember dinner parties? The ever-gracious host. The ebullient storyteller who commandeers the conversation. The witty chap in a blazer – a date on his arm and a quip on his lips. The elegant lady in a well-tailored dress which flatters but doesn’t reveal. Her kid sister with a contagious laugh and plummeting neckline. Sigh. It’s […]

La Tournée des Grands Ducs

La Tournée des Grands Ducs (literally, The Tour of the Grand Dukes) is a common saying in France to refer to painting the town red, Dionysian style, or rather … Russian. The term has it roots in the habits of two Grand Dukes of Russia – Vladimir and Alexei –  the mischievous sons of Emperor […]

Get Back – 15 ways my heart aches for Andalucia

Something’s afoot in Andalucía, Spain’s deep south.  First it started with the discovery of an Almohad-era Muslim Hammam in one of Sevilla’s most iconic tapas bars.  Then, just last week in the nearby town of Utrera, reports came in that archeologists had unearthed one of the largest and best preserved medieval Jewish synagogues in the […]

The Man with the Donkey

Last November between lockdowns, I made it down to Turkey for a glorious trip accentuated by a moment of pure serendipity. Making my way down the Aegean coast, I was in touch with a friend back home, and let him know I was headed to the Troy/Gallipoli area, known as Çanakkale – a place I’d […]

Spend it all

There is a noise I associate with heat and fever, and I am not sure if it’s real or from distortions of memory.  It could be from something as simple as the cicada, that strange beast that emerges from the ground, periodically, in the hot humid months, and rages against the known world with its […]

Cosmic Venice

Swish, swoosh — the oar smoothly fends the water. Quite the statement, the Venetian way of rowing: proudly standing up, and facing forward, eyes into the future.  Swish swoosh, the roar rhythmically breaks the green surface of the lagoon. The pungent smell of salt and shallow marshes. An island here, another there, and more as […]

1 Elephant, 2 Elephant, 3 Elephant

My idea of a fabulous time on safari is exploring by mobile tented camp, going from place to place, deep in the bush. To make that experience even better, add the possibility of tracking and counting herds of wild elephants in Botswana. No, I am not daydreaming of my own perfect little world – the […]

Favourites allowed

After spending a good part of two decades hunting for small (and charming) hotels in Greece, it’s the question I get most often: “Which hotel is your favourite?” It’s not an easy one to answer. It so depends on the circumstances. What the mood is. Who is coming along. The season. The budget. Ask me […]

ISO Piccante

I laughed a little too hard recently when reading Anne Lamott’s words, “By the end I was deteriorating faster than I could lower my standards”. I cannot be the only human whose covid days, home-cooked meals and masked conversations have become excruciatingly banal.  We’re all yearning for discovery, spice and a rollicking time anywhere but […]

A Road Trip Renaissance

If ever there were a time to revel in plans of future road trips, the moment is now. To imagine remote exploration, untethered from the nucleus of a country, an impeccably well planned but impossible to script journey. Driving along the Carretera Austral or Chile’s ‘Southern Route’, has long been a soul dwelling desire of […]

The Original Influencer

Twenty something, rebellious, and by all accounts, “randy”. A young English poet named George Gordon Byron (“Lord” to all but those who knew him well) swept through the small enclave of Sintra in 1809, penned a few lines of what would become Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, and sent letters home to friends declaring Sintra the most […]

WPIG: Anticipation Edition with special guest Greg Sacks

Anticipation – that mixture of stress and excitement, with a dash of trepidation. The rush that comes from thinking on what’s to come next. It’s that magic ingredient that keeps you watching a play performed, a sport in action. And it’s the sine qua non of electronic music.  Today we are talking about anticipation, and […]