“Are you Jewish?” my seatmate asked me about five minutes into the Amtrak ride from New York to Philadelphia.
The question might strike some as unnervingly direct, but New Yorkers are famous for that. And it was far from the most personal question I’ve been asked by someone I’ve known for less time than it takes to make coffee — someone with whom the only apparent connection is a passenger fare.
Overlooked and underrated, the French city of Perpignan reveals its charms to those with the patience to look.
Perpignan, best known as a transit hub for the beaches of the Languedoc-Rousillon, has the misfortune to be located amid a region of surpassing visual splendor and historic import. Were it a city in Hungary or Romania, it would surely be a major draw. But Perpignan’s quintessentially Gallic streetscapes, riverside quays and plethora of medieval architecture are hardly unique in this corner of France.
April in Little Rock, Ark., brings a myriad of Southern blossoms, warm afternoons and a flowering of Jewish culture.
The Arkansan capital makes a diverting and attraction-rich stop for cross-country drivers on Interstate 40, which cuts across the United States from Wilmington, N.C., to Barstow, Calif. Already home to a prominent civil rights-era history, Little Rock has lately attracted tourists with Bill Clinton’s presidential library and museum.
That was my conclusion as I strolled along the streets of his chef d’oeuvre, the Eixample (ay-SHOM-pla) neighborhood of Barcelona. The Catalan city planner created such a singular masterpiece of urban design that professionals the world over make pilgrimages to this elegant district, drawing inspiration from its sunlit angles and human scale.