Downtown NYC Gem: SoHo & TriBeCa’s Cast Iron Architecture

A walk around downtown New York City is full of distractions — from ambulance sirens, to darting cyclists, to fantastic shopping.  It naturally leads to a head-down, straight ahead approach.  As tempting as that inclination is, remember to look up as you might otherwise miss some incredible architecture! New York City’s TriBeCa and SoHo neighborhoods […]

How to Read a Japanese Kaiseki Menu

During our first visit to Japan, we were overwhelmed (in a good way!) by the traditions of the local culture. The culture of food, especially, had so many rules, courses, and new types of dishes to experiment with that we can see how first-time travelers may be overwhelmed. We attempt to demystify Japanese food, specifically […]

The Oldest Mosaics in Venice’s St Mark’s

Best Wine Bars in Venice

After spending the day touring Venice and exploring its St. Mark’s beautiful architecture and mosaics, relax with the locals at a Venetian wine bar and enjoy an aperitivo of cichetti and ombre. What to order in an Italian Wine bar Cichetti Cichetti (chi-KEHT-tee) are the bite-sized “Italian” brethren of tapas (basically, small snacks). Some of the […]

Visiting Varanasi (Benares): History, Sunrise, and the Ghats

“Older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together.” -Mark Twain, giving his (not entirely inaccurate) description of Varanasi I felt brilliantly alive from the first moment we arrived in Varanasi. Its sights, sounds, colors, and yes, death, brought me immediately into the present, […]

A Guide to Eating Thali in India

Thalis are one of the most delicious and inexpensive dishes that you will encounter throughout your travels in India; however, they can be intimidating if you don’t know how to eat them. Our friend, Surya, generously gave us a few lessons in how to approach eating thalis – we hope that this guide helps you […]

AUM: Symbol, Sound and Silence

The meaning of the AUM (OM) symbol Travelers to Buddhist and Hindu countries might find a review of AUM valuable, as it exemplifies many of the fundamental tenets of these faiths. The AUM symbol (also spelled “Om”) consists of three curves, one semicircle, and a dot; these are symbols of each person’s self and his […]

Sri Lanka: Dambulla Cave Temple (Video)

In this video, we take a walk through Sri Lanka’s magnificent Dambulla Cave Temple 2 (Cave of the Great King), which is filled with the country’s premier 18th century Kandy style sculptures and paintings.

Sri Lanka: Polonnaruwa Vatadage (Video)

Explore Sri Lanka’s 12th century Buddhist vatadage (covered stupa temple) in Polonnaruwa. This video of the Polonnaruwa Vatadage is produced in conjunction our guidebook on the subject “Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle: Anuradhapura, Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, and Dambulla.”