All over London, cloaked in yet another layer of once-unthinkable snowfall, people look to this summer’s Games for much-needed cheer. The record chill that has seized Europe this winter seems to mirror the mood across the Continent. From the British Isles to the Urals, Europeans are depressed about falling incomes, rising taxes and bleak prospects, and the punishing cold just seems to rub it all in.
For oenophiles, Israel is becoming a serious destination for wine tourism.
About five years ago, I was scanning reds by the glass in a Park Slope wine bar when something unusual caught my eye.
“Recanati,” read the listing. “Cabernet Sauvignon, Israel.”
Suddenly, in the last few years, it’s Israel’s turn to be one of the world’s hot new regions for serious wine. And boutique outfits like Recanati, with vineyards throughout the Galilee, are turning their wineries into a destination for oenophile vacationers — a kind of Napa Valley for the Holy Land.
Lodz, Poland’s third-largest city, has long held a special resonance for Jewish visitors.
This onetime outpost of the Russian and German Empires was among the world’s most Jewish cities before the Holocaust, with a quarter-million Jews, a good third of the city’s total. Every year, thousands of heritage travelers come to bear witness to Lodz’s wartime ghetto and the largest Jewish cemetery in Europe.
So fixed is that mournful image that it takes a mental leap to consider what Europeans already know: Lodz is suddenly the coolest place in Poland.
A frenzy of chatter greeted the recent announcement that Virgin Galactic would begin offering commercial flights into space for $200,000. Those wishing to see Planet Earth from afar may have to wait until later this year, when space flights are expected to take off from New Mexico.
Santiago, the blossoming capital of Chile, has long been the Latin American also-ran — overlooked as travelers flocked to the tango of Buenos Aires, the Inca wonders of Machu Picchu and the sexy shores of Brazil.
That’s precisely what makes Santiago such fun to discover. As one of the hemisphere’s most vibrant economies, crisis-defying Chile is becoming an international destination for investors, professionals and tourists, and one of my top picks for 2012.
The first thing you may notice about Tucson is the profusion of flowering plants, blossoming cactus and exotically shaped greenery. “I expected it to be dry and arid, like Phoenix,” commented my mother in surprise.
A few weeks ago, I boarded an Air Europa 767 in Barcelona, bound for Miami — and found it 80 percent empty, with room to stretch out and snooze across three seats. It felt like 1995. The price was retro too: about $550 for a trans-Atlantic flight.
This was not, however, the luxury of a bygone era. A Catalan friend explained to me that many thousands of Spaniards have recently run out of their two-year unemployment benefits, a scenario repeating itself across recession-stricken Europe.
The chilly fog of Paris, and its neat rows of Hausman-era rooflines, receded as we drove north on the highway toward Lille, the city giving way to thick forests and wide-open fields of green still vivid on this late-fall weekend.
It was Thanksgiving weekend, to be precise, and my husband, Oggi, and I were spending the holiday with cousins who settled awhile back in French horse country. Twenty-five miles northeast through thick woods dotted with streams and the odd chateau take you into the Department of Oise.