Pages

29 September 2013

A barging holiday in France and life onboard Brave Bart

Welcome to Barging in France onboard <i>Brave Bart</i>.  All photography unless noted is the property of Barging in France. Unauthorized used is prohibited.
Welcome to Barging in France onboard Brave Bart.  All photography unless noted is the property of Barging in France. Unauthorized used is prohibited.

Ever since my river cruise in Europe and a canal-boat tour of Amsterdam, I've become quite enchanted by the romantic notion of traveling through Europe upon its waterways. And while my passion for river cruising has not waned; there is yet another mode of slow travel upon the waterways that captivates me—barging. The thought of spending a week onboard a classic canal barge ignites from within a wanderlust that must be satiated—not only to sail upon the waters, but immerse myself into the destinations and cultures. If you know me, traveling is not only about the places I visit but the journey along the way; and a boating holiday in France provides a means to that end.

26 September 2013

Valletta: Europe’s Most Underrated Capital?

Welcome to Valletta, Malta and to the Alexander Ball Temple in the Lower Barracca Gardens. Photo: Cebete.
Welcome to Valletta, Malta and to the Alexander Ball Temple in the Lower Barracca Gardens. Photo: Cebete.

When you think of grand European capital cities, places like Rome, Paris and Vienna probably come to mind at first and while these famous cities are undoubtedly brilliant, it’s easy to forget about some of the smaller, yet equally fascinating, capitals across Europe.

Valletta, Malta’s historic capital city, is a prime example. Its incredible beauty, history and culture make it one of the best city break destinations in all of Europe, yet this tiny Mediterranean island of Valletta  on Malta remains well under the radar of many holiday-goers.

25 September 2013

Ekeberg Sculpture Park comes to Oslo, Norway

Rodin's 'Eva,' 1881, will be just one of the 30 sculptures located in Ekeberg Park when it opens in Oslo, Norway. The park will celebrate 'feminine inspired in all its diversity.' All photography is the property of Ekebergparken.com. Unauthorized use is prohibited.
Rodin's "Eva," 1881, will be just one of the 30 sculptures located in Ekeberg Park when it opens in Oslo, Norway. The park will celebrate "feminine inspired in all its diversity." All photography is the property of Ekebergparken.com. Unauthorized use is prohibited.

As you know, recently I accompanied Innovation Norway on an epic tour of the Norwegian fjords and had the opportunity to discover the art, culture and history of this spectacular country. It's also no secret that I am a huge fan of discovering art as evidenced by my ArtSmart Roundtable series published on the first Monday of each month. And so it with this theme that I am thrilled to announce a remarkable new sculpture park opening in Oslo Sept. 26, 2013 that will surely become one of Scandinavia's finest!

22 September 2013

Twilight in Paris

La Trinité and Place d'Estienne d'Orves. Designed by Théodore Ballu, La Trinité, tower of which is in foreground, was completed in 1867 and is located at the Place d'Estienne d'Orves in the 9th arrondissement in northern Paris near Montmartre. All photography: ©Brian Jannsen Photography. Unauthorized use is prohibited.
La Trinité and Place d'Estienne d'Orves. Designed by Théodore Ballu, La Trinité, tower of which is in foreground, was completed in 1867 and is located at the Place d'Estienne d'Orves in the 9th arrondissement in northern Paris near Montmartre. All photography: ©Brian Jannsen Photography. Unauthorized use is prohibited.
"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast." Ernest Hemingway
"Paris is always a good idea." Audrey Hepburn as Sabrina Fairchild in "Sabrina"
"America is my country and Paris is my hometown." Gertrude Stein
"Paris… is a world meant for the walker alone, for only the pace of strolling can take in all the rich (if muted) detail." Edmund White
"A final reminder. Whenever you are in Paris at twilight in the early summer, return to the Seine and watch the evening sky close slowly on a last strand of daylight fading quietly, like a sigh." Kate Simon

By day or by night, Paris truly is the City of Light but at twilight, something magical happens—the fading light of the day reveals an ethereal beauty, fleeting moments of poetic expression onto the magnificent canvas of iconic landmarks, Parisian cafés and quaint cobblestone ways.

Once again, I am thrilled to be working the master of light and lens himself, Brian Jannsen who captures the visual romance of Paris with such exquisite artistry that it takes your breath away literally! Join me this unforgettable guided tour through Paris—from the rive droite and rive gauche (right and left banks) and whether you walk, hop onto the metro or hire a car with SmartShopping.com, you'll never look at Paris the same way again. Finally, be sure to read more about Brian at the end of this article. For now, bienvenue à Paris.

09 September 2013

Celebrating a Country Christmas in the UK

Castleton
Castleton at Christmastime. Photo: Paul Simpson Photography.

If you’re living in the city, whether it’s by choice or because of business, it certainly does have its advantages but by the time the holidays roll around and you're anticipating that first Christmas snow fall, you won't find the winter wonderland of your imagination within the city centre; for as soon as it does snow, it quickly turns brown and melts away. But all is not lost. If you’re looking to enjoy a white Christmas then you’ll have to take a few days and venture outside the city limits into the less populated areas of the United Kingdom.

08 September 2013

ArtOdysseys: Norway — Then and Now

Norway: Then and Now. Here's a side-by-side comparison of the Kviknes Hotel in Balestrand. The photo on the left shows a modern-day view while the photo on the right shows the original building that was completed in 1894. In 1912, the 1894 building was extended westward to complete the inn as we see it today. Photography: Left - Courtesy of Kviknes Hotel. Right - Nelson Minar.
Norway: Then and Now. Here's a side-by-side comparison of the Kviknes Hotel in Balestrand. The photo on the left shows a modern-day view while the photo on the right shows the original building that was completed in 1894. In 1912, the 1894 building was extended westward to complete the inn as we see it today. Photography: Left - Courtesy of Kviknes Hotel. Right - Nelson Minar.

Welcome to the September ArtSmart Roundtable. We're a company of travel bloggers—art aficionados who love to share our passion for discovering art while during our travels. Each month, we highlight one art subject and this month's topic is "Travel Art." With my recent voyage to Norway back in July, I remain awe-struck by the all the historic places we visited, some dating back to the 18th century, others to the dawn of time. While researching some of the articles I have published and yet to publish, I stumbled upon vintage travel photography of the places I had visited. To my surprise and delight, I was astonished to find that some of my current perspectives mirrored those in photographs snapped over a century ago! So, it with this theme of vintage travel photography that I dedicate this month's article to Norway: Then and Now—a look to the past and present of Norway's fjord country. At the end, be sure to review the rest of the Roundtable's contributions.

01 September 2013

Is there an age limit on cycling holidays?

Niedermorschwihr Vineyards in Alsace, France. Photo copyright: CRTA - Zvardon. Unauthorized use is prohibited.
Niedermorschwihr Vineyards in Alsace, France. Photo copyright: CRTA - Zvardon. Unauthorized use is prohibited.

It goes without saying that people of all ages are into cycling, holidays and perhaps even cycling holidays, but the challenge lies in whether our physical fitness is up to putting the mettle to the pedal for extended periods of time. We would like to believe that it is, but we must ask ourselves whether or not there is an age when we have to think about giving up the wheels in favor of a less physically strenuous holiday. I say not!