Category Archives: Travel

The United States and Turkey

On October 8th the U.S.Embassy in Ankara suspended all non-immigrant visa services to Turks. In response, Turkey suspended all visa services to US Citizens, including online and physical "sticker" visas at border points. The visa suspension does NOT affect Americans who are connecting through Istanbul to destinations outside of Turkey.
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More than airbnb

Looking for accommodations for your summer vacation?  There's more than Airbnb and vrbo - much more!  For example, if you're traveling with little ones, you may want to check out kidandcoe.com. With over 1200 listings in 49 countries (many in France, Italy and the U.S.), family-friendly highlights are itemized for each property; i.e., baby monitor, crib, etc.  If on the other hand, chic and elegant is your thing, check out boutique-homes.com.  There's a home, an apartment or a room for every taste and budget.  Just give us a ring; we're happy to share the options.  
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Italian palaces welcome visitors

Italy is ALWAYS a popular tourist destination and every year there's more to see.  This summer you can see how the "other half" lives as a number of Roman aristocrats have opened their palaces.  At Montoro Palazzo Patrizi, Marquis Corso Patrizi Montoro conducts tours of his home which has been in the family since 1642.  Decorated with statues of Greek gods and Renaissance frescoes, the building is located near Piazza Navona and the Pantheon and is one of the most beautiful palaces in Rome.  Just in front of the Spanish Steps lies the Residenza Ruspoli Bonaparte.  Designed by Bartolomeo Ammannati in the 1500s, Emporer Napoleon III grew up here.  The current resident and hostess, Princess Giacinta Ruspoli, enjoys having tea with her guests while sharing the history of the palace.  Tenuta di Pietra Porzia was built in the 1200s by monks and bought by the ancestors of Count Vittoro Giulini in the 1800s.  The Count has turned his family's summer home into an inn with 16 bedrooms and a restaurant serving locally grown artichoke specialties.   Palazzo Ferrajoli is located on the Piazza Colonna and offers a unique view of Marcus Aurelius' pillar.  Built in the 16th century, the palace is famous for its Etruscan columns, floors of Venetian mosaics, coffered wooden ceilings, a labyrinth of mirrors and more.  Guests are guided through the palace by owner,  Marquis Giuseppe Ferrajoli,  who also offers them wine and snacks on the terrace at the end of the tour.  The Residenza Principi Ruspoli Cerveteri was built in the 1500s to defend the Vatican.  Now an exquisite inn, you can stay in splendid suites once inhabited by Handel, Caldarc and Benvenuto Cellini. As a man of the people, Pope Francis has eschewed such luxury and the Palace of Castel Gandolfo, the Papal summer retreat on the shores of Lake Alban, has been opened to the public as a museum.  Not only are visitors able to tour the grounds, but for the first time in history, one can view the pope's private chambers.    
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To Breathe or Not to Breathe

A recently published  guide comparing the air pollution levels in some of the world's top vacation destinations had some unexpected results. The research compared 28 cities in 19 countries; and while Beijing's "dangerous" Index of 328 is not surprising (anything over 151 is considered to be unhealthy) who knew that Dubai has an Index of 222!  And Mexico City, surprisingly, has an Index of just 91 (considered to be "moderate").  Luckily for travelers visiting Paris, Venice or Madrid, all three cities show an Index of 46 or below which is considered "good."   In contrast, Amsterdam has an Air Quality Index of 66 (with all those people biking?) and London is at  77. Bangkok  shows the lowest level ofpollution with an Index of 18 (go figure)  followed by Washington, DC (24), San Francisco and Madrid (both 25).  For further information check out http://waqi.info/
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