As New Yorkers were rummaging for umbrellas and trench coats last weekend, the coming summer’s first enthusiasts were sunning themselves on the pebbly beaches of the Côte d’Azur. March afternoons in the 70s are why Nice, France’s sunniest city and the capital of the fabled Riviera, has been popular with hedonists since Roman times — and with Jews for at least 800 years or so.
I remember how amazed I was, many years ago, when it first dawned on me that a plane between cities could be the cheap option.
It was around 1999, the dawn of European discount air travel, and I had to figure out the cheapest ride between Paris and Nice. The train cost over $200; the flight, about 20 percent less, and it shaved six hours off the trip.
There may be no more dramatic landscape than the sculptural green mountains curving majestically around the sparkling bays of Rio de Janeiro. And there may be no better time to finally see this glorious city than in the months after February’s Carnival celebration, when prices drop and crowds are pleasantly thin along the fabled beaches.
The hottest new shopping destination in Sofia, Bulgaria is a shiny, glass-clad monolith on the busy highway between downtown and the airport. Called simply “The Mall,” its facade is plastered in a riot of international name brands: Carrefour, Zara, Benetton. There isn’t a Cyrillic letter, or a Bulgarian name, in sight.
Just as it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere for the barfly, winter-jaded New Yorkers can take comfort in knowing that somewhere on this planet, it’s feeling like summer.
Down in the balmy Southern Hemisphere, February and March are lounge-by-the-pool months — and nowhere more so than in Auckland, New Zealand’s rising capital of cool. If you’ve been hankering for Oceania, are passing through the South Pacific, or simply have miles to burn, head for Auckland, where locals turn every summer day into an outdoor party.