Rio de Janeiro is known for it spectacular natural beauty, but the “Cidade Maravilhosa” (Marvelous City) is also home to a rich local culture. Cariocas, as the people of Rio are known, have developed a culture that reflects their character – diverse, sensual, vibrant and reveling in the pleasures of life. Superb food, art, design and, of course, music and dance are elements of Rio’s distinct carioca culture.
Dresden, the enchanting city on the River Elbe, has long been a center of exceptional music. Home to superb musical ensembles, world-renowned opera, numerous music festivals and prestigious music academies, Dresden has drawn music lovers for centuries. You may have even heard of a few…like Handel, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, Schumann and Strauss. With its abundant roster of concerts and events, Dresden offers an embarrassment of musical riches.
“Wow! Wait, um…where is…?” I stammered, dazzled and bewildered. The map I clutched bore no relation to the tangle of lanes before me. I had crossed through Bab Bou Jeloud, a fantastic arabesque gateway, and entered Fes el-Bali – the ancient medina of Fez. I came seeking an authentic, exotic world…and boy, had I found it.
Vietnam’s Sapa region is a place of spectacular vistas and captivating cultures. Its lush valleys of cascading rice terraces and mountain peaks wrapped in clouds are stunning to behold. The area is populated by hill tribes, whose distinctive garb and customs offer a glimpse into their age-old cultures. With its natural beauty and intriguing communities, Sapa is a remarkable place to explore.
Hanoi is the dynamic, colorful, chaotic capital of Vietnam. A center of power for over a millennium, the city has endured numerous wars and occupations to meld native, Chinese and French customs into a rich culture all its own. It is a place where the ancient and modern clamorously coexist. Visiting this fascinating and frenzied city (where simply crossing the street is a hair-raising adventure) is feast for the senses. It’s little wonder that travelers on Tripadvisor recently named Hanoi #4 of the World’s Best Destinations.