Travel

Hilary Larson's travel tales and tips.

The 2012 Forecast

12/27/2011
Travel Writer

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 Northern Greek coast is cheap, lovely and all yours in 2012.

‘The Westchester Of Paris’

12/13/2011
Travel Writer

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.

The ruins of a royal castle ruins and Roman walls in Senlis. Photos courtesy of Office de Tourisme de Senlis

On The Art Trail In Arkansas

12/06/2011
Travel Writer

When I heard about a new museum of American art opening in the Arkansas Ozarks, I had two equally shameful reactions.

The New Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is a state-of-the-art collection in the Ozarks. Hilary Larson

Chanukah Season San Francisco Style

The holiday, as only the hipster city can do it.

Travel Writer
12/01/2011

It’s Chanukah season in San Francisco — and in a city where every weekend features some one-of-a-kind festival, you can expect a lot more than candle lightings and latke parties. Try Yiddish drag queen caroling, a pop-up Jewish record store, Chinese-food comedy on Christmas, and a historic tribute to one of history’s wiliest Jews, Harry Houdini..

Traditionalists will still find menorahs and latkes. But San Francisco embraces the holidays with the same blend of hipster irony, earnest identity-probing and wacky originality that are its trademarks.

The Kinsey Sicks, a wisecracking barbershop quartet of drag queens.

The Quieter Caribbean

11/15/2011
Travel Writer

The smallest nation in the Americas still looks, in many respects, the way it must have looked in 1492, when Christopher Columbus glided by.

One of the islands resembled St. Christopher, to his way of thinking, so Columbus named it after himself. The other, a volcanic peak capped with frothy white clouds, looked snowy from afar — “nieves” to the Spanish crewmen.

A peaceful panorama of St. Kitts. St. Kitts Tourism

High Culture, Lowish Price

11/08/2011
Travel Writer

After Athens, Madrid might be the most-scrutinized world capital this month, as global leaders anxiously train their eyes on the Mediterranean financial meltdown.

But while cultural offerings are taking a hit in other cash-strapped cities, Madrid is the defiant exception. From the lavish gardens of the Royal Palace to expanded hours at the Prado, visitors to the Spanish capital will see scant evidence of crisis. 

Madrid’s inviting central alleys are packed with inexpensive lodgings. Hilary Larson

The New Culture Of Lodging

11/01/2011
Special To The Jewish Week

As I’ve been on the move lately, a kind of endless summer from March on the Pacific to October in Italy, I’ve noticed a sea of change in the world of travel lodgings.

Hilton and Marriott aren’t going anywhere. But for tens of thousands of travelers worldwide, the 10 a.m. checkout and the sterile mauve bedspread are becoming a thing of the past.

Views of the breakfast room at the Palazzo de Tomasi B&B in Gallipoli, Italy. Photo by Hilary Larson

A Different Roman Holiday

10/25/2011
Travel Writer

We were in Apulia, lounging on beaches along Italy’s coastal heel, when it occurred to my husband and me that both we and our rental car needed to be dropped off in Rome — 400 miles and two metropolitan traffic jams away.

We could have booked an airport hotel and written off the last day as a multi-hour schlep. But we wanted to extend our beach vacation to the very last possible hour — and in doing so we hit upon some inspired, even under-sung corners of Roman charm.

The beach at Anzio, located on a scenic point just south if Fiumicino. Photos by Hilary Larson

Along The Apulia Promenade

10/18/2011
Travel Writer

Lungomare is the Italian word for a seafront promenade. Every coastal town worth its dot on the Italian map has one: a stretch of travertine where lovers snuggle on benches, locals walk their dogs and everyone comes to contemplate the sea.

A piazza in Lecce Photos by Hilary Larson
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