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Sweet summertime in Stockholm

 Benoit DerrierEven more than many destinations, Scandinavia blossoms in summer, its warm, lively days stretching into long, luminous evenings. And at the centre of its lovely archipelago, nowhere more so that Sweden's capital. A mix of traditional and modern, stately and avant garde, its streets and squares come alive as Stockholmers enthusiastically grasp with both hands their chance to enjoy the relatively brief Scandinavian summer - and take advantage of the long summer " white nights",…

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Oklahoma City spirit and style

  Dreamstime Oklahoma´s capital (pop. around 681,000) is a place that exudes charm, character, a dash of sorrow, and overall a spirit that inspires visitors to live their lives more meaningfully. There´s the proverbial something for everyone here, and I recently spent three fascinating days it all - and like others who came before me and those who will follow… my soul was changed forever. Arriving at the easy breezy Will Rogers Airport I picked up my luggage in record time and headed off to…

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3 of Europe's most gay/LGBTQ-welcoming cities

  SolStock Welcome once again to Pride month, celebrated in increasing numbers of destinations around the world - although also under pressure in some of them, sadly even including part of the United States, the very country where the celebration of Pride originated. Of course, depending on where you go, travelling while LGBT+ can be a challenge, particularly if you're with a same-sex partner and/or if you are visibly queer. Sadly, there are still many countries where being gay is still…

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Bratislava, Budapest, Prague, and Vienna in 'Capitals, Castles, and More on a Danube River Cruise'

Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna; Chaoss/ Traveling with Grand Circle Cruise Line, one of several companies that offer voyages along the fabled, and fabulous Danube River, the crown jewels on our itinerary were the four capital cities and their architectural riches, intriguing histories and other attributes and attractions that place them high on many travelers’ “must see” list. They all  share common characteristics and add their own unique touches. read post    

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  • The Hong Kong tourism folks have come out with a flurry of initiatives in a pricey "Hello Hong Kong" campaign aiming to promote post-pandemic travel - including a widely covered giveaway of a half million free airline tickets (though this is not open to non-Asians till May 1). But as this opinion piece in the Washington Post points out, "the city remains one of the last places on earth where everyone is required to wear a face mask, even outdoors, despite the advice of health experts that the mask mandate is no longer needed," and all the happy talk papers over its descent into authoritarianism and oppression:

    Opinion | What Hong Kong’s spiffy marketing campaign for tourists can’t disguise
    No amount of spin or rebranding can conceal how this once free and vibrant city has become irreversibly less open.
  • I've visited Berlin several times but never noticed this. Interesting, though - the local dialect is often used in a way that can come across as rude but one speaker describes as meaning "being uncomfortably direct, brutally honest and free." Check it out:

    Berlin's beloved (and loathed) local dialect
    Berliners have a reputation for being generally cold, outspoken and rude. It's lovingly called the "Berliner Schnauze", and how you feel about it dep…
  • I last visited Antwerp several years ago so this Guardian piece with insider tips and suggestions brought back memories - plus I learned a few new things, too! Time for a return visit in 2023?

    A local’s guide to Antwerp, Belgium: high art, gritty graffiti and great coffee | Antwerp holidays…
    From Rubens and van Eyck to cutting edge street murals and fashion, art is at the heart of the Flemish city, says local guide Tim Marschan<em>g. </em…
  • Having greatly enjoyed my first visit to Leipzig a few years ago, I found this insider's guide from The Guardian interesting indeed:

    A local’s guide to Leipzig: dumplings, diversity and delightful G&Ts | Leipzig holidays | The Guard…
    With glorious boat trips on its canals and sumptuous food, from traditional Saxon to Vietnamese, this is a destination ripe for a city break, says re…
  • Here are some cool insider tips from Seattle locals:

    10 Mistakes Tourists Make While Visiting Seattle
    Emerald City locals share the faux pas they often see visitors committing.
  • The Guardian looks at how mass tourism to Barcelona is expected to come roaring back this summer, bringing many of the same ills that have divided locals in recent years:

    ‘Summer will be monstrous’: Barcelona wrestles with revival of mass tourism | Barcelona | The Guard…
    As visitors return after easing of Covid curbs, talk of diversification of Spanish city has been drowned out by sound of ringing tills
  • I've been intrigued by Paraguay ever since a good high school friend of mine spent a year there as an exchange student a loooong time ago - plus other reasons like a curiosity for off-the-beaten-path spots and the fact that Paraguay is the only Latin American country where most people speak a language other than the one (Spanish, Portuguese, etc.) left by its colonizers. So I really enjoyed this account of a month living in its capital Asunción from a blogger for the site
  • I went to college in Washington DC many years ago, and have been back a number of times since, but lately it's been quite a while. So just this week I was interested to catch this very recently in the Huffington Post. I'll be going back in exactly one month, so am taking note!
  • Just saw "Uncharted" several days ago - silly but quite a ride (not surprising, since it was adapted from a video game) - but one of the things I especially liked about it was seeing locations in Barcelona - the Sagrada Familia, Montjuich, the Barri Gòtic, Santa Maria del Pi, and so forth! Here's the trailer:

  • An interesting video put together by reknowned international "pickup" authority Steve Jabba detailing 10 of the world's best cities for single straight guys to pick up girls - many in Eastern Europe, a couple in the USA, and a couple of other surprises!
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