Istanbul in Full Bloom

Tony in the Topkapı Palace gardens

For years, we have had the same conversation over and over, which ended with a rather disheartening question.

TRAVELER: “What’s your favorite city in the world? Oh, actually that’s probably an impossible question, isn’t it?”

TONY: “No, that’s actually a very easy question for me. Istanbul is my favorite city. I LOVE Istanbul more than any city in the world!”

THOMAS: “Tony, you always say Istanbul when people ask that question, but you haven’t been back to Istanbul in years. You have no idea how the city has changed. Do you think it would still be your favorite city?” Continue…

Paris Classique

When you’re a travel blogger, you spend a lot time searching for new angles. Sometimes, you forget that you don’t have to turn every destination on its side; occasionally, you need to stop and embrace the classics. When my step-sister Joely asked if the trip to Paris was too conventional, too boring for us, I thought, “Oops, I think we need to do some serious blogger damage control.”

Travel is travel; we love it all. Not everything has to be an epic battle or a series of close calls – we’re not masochists. Beautiful architecture, great museums, and cafés full of desserts are as enjoyable to us as anyone (maybe more so because we’ve experienced all extremes.)

So in this post, we revel in our inner tourist and explain why we love the time-honored Parisian classics. The only angles you’ll find here are Continue…

The Catacombs of Paris

If a casual stroll through Beaubourg and high-kicking cancan dancers are a little too frou-frou for your tastes, never fear: Paris has something for everyone. For those who prefer attractions of a darker nature, the city of lights offers up a creepy yet cultural visit to its massive system of catacombs, a sprawling labyrinth which contains the bones of over six million people. That’s right, six MILLION!

The hundreds of miles of tunnels under Paris began as simple stone quarries. (It took A LOT of stone to build this city.) In the 18th century, as bodies continued to pile up in the Cemetery of the Innocents, locals started to realize that it was the source of many of the outbreaks which continued to plague the city. To remedy the problem, the Council of the State decided to relocate the human remains from the cemetery into the quarry tunnels in effect transforming them into a formal ossuary. The initial relocation, which was done entirely at night Continue…

The Moulin Rouge

The Moulin Rouge is certainly the most well known cabaret house in the world. Founded in 1889 and immortalized by Toulouse Lautrec’s paintings of its cancan dancers, the Moulin Rouge pioneered that unique brand of seedy chic which other establishments emulate from Vegas to Berlin.

We attended their latest show Féerie with a wild group of twenty (friends and family) all celebrating the nuptials of my step-sister Joely and her fiancé Mark. The raucous production was a mad splash of sequins, feathers, heels and headdresses which gives over-the-top a whole new meaning. The tongue-in-cheek humor and unapologetic Continue…

Notre Dame Turns 850

Notre Dame just recently turned 850 years old and Paris is celebrating by giving the grande dame a few nips and tucks to help her maintain her youthful appearance. As any aging celebrity knows, a little work, some great lighting, and a set of new bells will keep the cameras pointed in your direction. They are also – and these are their words not mine – “renovating the great organ.” And while my metaphor just collapsed under the weight of that last sentence, beautiful Notre Dame Continue…