Last year I slept in a French chateau outside of Paris. This year I’m in a German schloss outside of Cologne. It was built in the early 1700s and is now a five-star hotel with a three-star Michelin restaurant (very swank, and no, I have not been able to get a table). The view out […]

So I unexpectedly saw my first play in Russian tonight. More than that I’m not entirely sure — and I’m inclined not to Google it, because this bewildered feeling of “OMG what the heck was that” is delightful and rare. Let’s just say the play is called “The Knight of the Flaming Pestle” and is […]

This post was supposed to be about me jetting off to Boston for the weekend. There would have been a wedding and tuxedos and a glamorous party at the venerable Boston Public Library. But alas! Instead of boarding my flight on Friday morning, I was fielding frantic calls from my immigration lawyer telling me that […]

On my last morning in Oxford, I was the only guest at the B&B, which meant I had the undivided attention of my hostess Sylvia as she brought me breakfast.  We started talking and I learned she was originally from Mexico but had been living in England for nearly 40 years.  She had a son […]

On my last morning in Oxford, I walked down to the famous Botanic Garden.  It’s small and, dating back to the 1500s, is the oldest botanic garden in England.  It sits on the bank of the river, across from Magdelen College, which conveniently provides for a wonderfully atmospheric tower to loom over the garden. I […]

After visiting Stowe, with its classical splendor and Brownian landscape design, I drove to Waddesdon Manor for something altogether different.  This was the Victorian lair of Baron de Rothschild, built in the grand French style, he hired a French architect to basically cobble together the greatest hits from the Loire valley chateaux . . . […]

As impressive as the gardens and park at Blenheim were, the ones at Stowe (which Capability Brown did early in his career) blew me away.  I loved the vastness of the views, which were designed to give the impression of going on forever without interruption (kind of like infinity pools today). And I loved how […]