Hole in the Donut Cultural Travel

Stay off the grass! No climbing! Don’t pick the flowers! We’ve all seen them, signs that scream “no, no, no” and “don’t, don’t, don’t.” These days, they’re the norm rather than the exception. So imagine my surprise when, in Copenhagen, I witnessed families reveling in behavior that would elsewhere be frowned upon.

In Copenhagen's King's Garden, it's perfectly OK for kids to climb the trees

In Copenhagen’s King’s Garden, it’s perfectly OK for kids to climb the trees

In King’s Garden, parents stood beneath trees, coaching their children on how to climb higher into the gnarled branches. Nearby, no one batted an eye when kids frolicked in the central fountain. On the other side of the park, boys and girls tackled obstacle courses or rode on the back of giant wooden lizards in the playground sandbox. There’s even an outdoor theater in the park that offers free puppet shows for kids all summer long.

Read More

Rosenborg Castle in Kings Garden in Copenhagen, Denmark

Any visit to Copenhagen’s gorgeous King’s Garden eventually leads to Rosenborg Castle. Built by Christian IV, the 400-year-old Renaissance palace was the King’s his favorite abode and he was often in residence there. A visit to Rosenborg Castle is like walking back in time. Displays include not only possessions of Christian IV and his heirs, but is home to the Danish Royal Jewels and ancient tapestries on the walls that commemorate battles between Denmark and Sweden. The coronation thrones, with three life-size silver lions standing guard, are on display the Knights’ Hall. And the tower chambers hold collections of Flora Danica and one of the world’s finest Venetian glass collections. Read More

Bee on flower at Botanical Garden in Copenhagen, Denmark

During an idyllic afternoon at the Botanical Garden in Copenhagen, Denmark, I found this bee harvesting pollen from the flowers. The garden is located in the center of the city, on 24 acres of rolling landscape. Part of the Natural History Museum of Denmark, the goal of the Botanical Garden in Copenhagen is to add to the knowledge and understanding of the diversity of the vegetable and fungi kingdom. The centerpiece of the park is the 1874 Palm House, a Victorian era glass greenhouse that perches atop a small hill. I entered the Palm House from a side entrance and made my way through scores of segmented rooms, stopping in the central rotunda to climb the old cast-iron spiral staircase for a view from above. Read More

The 17th century Nyhavn Waterfront in Copenhagen, Denmark was once a busy commercial port. Today it is popular for dining and entertainment.

The Nyhavn Waterfront in Copenhagen, Denmark was once a busy commercial port. It was ordered dug by King Christian V in the 17th century to facilitate the shipping of goods and off-loading of fishermen’s catch. Over the next century, wooden townhomes were built along the canal and the are became synonymous with beer, sailors and prostitution. Nyhavn’s importance as a port gradually diminished due to the increasing size of ocean-going vessels. By the end of World War II Nyhavn Waterfront was all but deserted. Read More

More than 20 miles of casements were dug into the 230-foot high bluff that surrounds the Grund Quarter of Luxembourg City

There is a saying in the real estate trade: “The three most important factors in real estate are location, location, and location!” During a recent visit to Luxembourg City, I realized that this motto is as important for cities and states as it is for houses. Luxembourg City is the capital of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, as it is officially known. It is one of the smallest countries in the world, yet despite its diminutive size, Luxembourg is one of the most important countries in Europe. Along with Brussels, Belgium and Strasbourg, France, Luxembourg City is one of three official capitals of the European Union. It is also the seat of several institutions of the EU, including the European Court of Justice, the European Court of Auditors, the Secretariat of the European Parliament, the European Investment Bank, and the European Investment Fund. Read More

Talk about a tease! Florence Bucciacchio, my host from the Dijon Tourism Office began my familiarization of Dijon with a visit to the Les Halles Market, but she wouldn’t let me buy anything. “I’ve booked lunch for us at one of two Michelin Star restaurants in our city, and I don’t want you to ruin your appetite!” It was almost painful to walk through aisles heaped with specialty cheeses, fresh baked breads, homemade pastries, and artisan chocolates without being able to sample the wares. Finally, seeing that I was salivating like one of Pavlov’s dogs, she relented.

Les Halles Market is an important part of the gastronomy of Dijon, France

Les Halles Market is an important part of the gastronomy of Dijon, France

At the Le Gourmet Dijon kiosk, she introduced me to owner Gaëlle Herbert. “This is one of my favorite shops in the market. Gaëlle and her husband Laurent have been caterers and pastry chefs in Burgundy for more than 30 years. She makes everything you see here from scratch, using only local products.” Gaëlle carved a off a sliver of quiche layered with broccoli, cheese, and carrots for me to try. “Delicious,” I raved. She would have gladly kept feeding me if Florence hadn’t dragged me off to Loiseau des Ducs for my first immersion into Dijon cuisine. Read More