Hole in the Donut Cultural Travel

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

Place des Cordeliers in Dijon, France

Private mansions such as the Hôtel Gauthier (left) and the Hôtel Rigoley de Chevigny surround the rectangular Place des Cordeliers square in Dijon, France. The place is named for the former convent of the Franciscans (once known as Cordeliers), which is a few feet away on Turgot street. Following the Franciscans, who settled in Dijon in 1243, the convent was taken over by the Dominicans in 1858. Since 2015, the old monastery has been occupied by the Odalys City Les Cordeliers Hôtel.

The French word for hôtel can be confusing. In medieval London, the term meant an “Inn,” which almost every great nobleman possessed. Likewise, the French word represents old French hostels, which were generally owned by a French nobleman. The noblemen would use it as a place of temporary lodging, where they were treated as an occasional guest, along with other travelers Read More

Half-timbered houses in Dijon, France
The city of Dijon, France may be best known for mustard and gingerbread, but architecture buffs also find it an intriguing destination. Fortunately, Dijon was spared from major destruction during the bombings of World War II, thus much of its ancient architecture survived intact. These half-timbered houses in Dijon are tucked into a narrow lane in the historic old town. They are known as the maison des trois visages, or house of three faces. Look closely, however. Though they may look like three separate houses but they are actually two; one was modified to have two gables instead of one. Read More