Rio de Janeiro: Savor Carioca Culture

July 21, 2016
Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro

A “maravilhosa” sight: the beach of Ipanema. Photo: Jeff Dobbins

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.

Continue Reading…

Destinations, The Arts

Dresden: Opulent City of Music

June 12, 2016
Dresden, Germany

In beautiful Dresden, there’s music in the air. Photo: Geolina163 via Wikipedia CC

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.

Continue Reading…

Culinary Culture

California’s Lodi Wine Region

May 19, 2016
Lodi, CA Vineyard

One of the many vineyards surrounding Lodi. Photo: Jeff Dobbins

Exploring Northern California’s Wine Country is a quintessential pleasure in the Golden State. The Napa and Sonoma Valleys are justly renowned and favorite destinations of wine enthusiasts. But they’ve become so popular they’re sometimes quite crowded; the roads clogged with traffic and tastings rooms packed with tour groups. Fortunately for wine lovers there is a superb alternative that is convenient, yet still rural and relaxed – the Lodi Wine region. In fact, Wine Enthusiast Magazine named Lodi the Wine Region of the Year for 2015.

Continue Reading…

The Arts

New York’s Shakespeare in the Park

May 17, 2016
NYC Shakespeare in the Park

Magic in the moonlight – Shakespeare in the Park. Photo: Public Theater

Summer in New York brings one of the city’s finest cultural delights – Shakespeare in the Park.  Every summer, two new stagings of Shakespeare’s plays (or occasionally other works) are presented in an amphitheater in the heart of Central Park…completely free of charge!  Gathering with 1900 people to savor great theater under a canopy of stars is a magical experience.

Continue Reading…


Cordoba’s Fiesta de los Patios: a Celebration of Andalusia

April 28, 2016
Cordoba Patio Festival

A classic patio of Cordoba. Photo: Jeff Dobbins

Every Spring the city of Cordoba throws open the doors to its gorgeous courtyards for the Fiesta de los Patios (Courtyard Festival). During the festival (which UNESCO declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage site), visitors can tour approximately 50 of Cordoba’s private courtyards (los patios), which are brimming with colorful flowers, plants and traditional decor. Adding to the festivities are concerts, flamenco performances, street parties, and lots of tasty tapas.

Continue Reading…