I love opera! The music, the stories, the drama! Opera is life on steroids, and I’m always in awe when I watch it live on a stage or listen to it at home or in the car. I was in Berlin when I learned that my ‘reliable’ contact to get me tickets for the BayreuthContinue reading “Bayreuth and Wagner”
When my Grandma talked about people she deemed ‘important’, in her tightly-knit German community of Southern Brazil, she would refer to them as “people who eat off Meissen plates.” As a child, I thought that the handmade plates from Germany were a privilege of very special people. Grandma passed away many years ago (at 96!)Continue reading “MEISSEN – the royal porcelain”
In ‘Faust’, Goethe’s masterpiece, one of the characters calls Leipzig ‘little Paris,’ for its beauty and love of arts. Long hidden behind the Iron Curtain, in communist East Germany, Leipzig’s beauty can now be seen again by the whole world. Art is everywhere in the city, even my hotel doubled as an art gallery forContinue reading “Leipzig, Germany – hidden no more”
Viewed from the Elbe River, Dresden has a striking silhouette: delicate spirals, soaring towers and imposing palace domes. Some buildings are still covered by layers of dark dust, a reminder of the Allied bombings the city endured at the end of World War II. Locked away behind the Iron Curtain since the end of WWII,Continue reading “Dresden, Germany – from ashes to glory”
I love to travel by train in Germany; it’s the best way to see the beautiful countryside. I once took a train in Berlin’s Hauptbahnhof Station to go to Dresden, a city long on my bucket list, but when I arrived there everything went wrong. My hotel faced the train tracks. My room had noContinue reading “Scared in Dresden, Germany”
Arriving in Berlin for the first time felt like going back home. That’s because my grandparents were German immigrants, and the language I heard growing up was German. Maybe because of that, and of the stories I heard about World War II as a child, Berlin touched me deeply. The German capital is a cityContinue reading “Berlin and the Wall”
I lived in New York for 31 years. I’m no longer there, but New York felt like home from day one, when from the window of my plane I saw the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center shining under the morning sun. Born and raised in Brazil, I was in my 20’s when IContinue reading “I LOVE NEW YORK!”
As of September, 2020, Americans are still not allowed to travel to Europe, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And while travel restrictions might be lifted at any time, it is a good idea to play safe and avoid traveling to crowded places, even after things go back to normal. That’s why I’m thinking ofContinue reading “Top 10 places to visit in Brittany after COVID-19”
On a visit to Bretagne (Brittanny), in France, my daughter Clara and I saw two of the best-known Parish Closes of Lower Bretagne: Saint-Thégonnec and Sizun. They were stunning monuments to the religious fervor of the 16th and 17th centuries, and a reminder of the enormous wealth brought to the region by the linen trade.Continue reading “The Parish Closes (Les Enclos Paroissiaux) of Brittany”
Have you ever been to a place so beautiful, so peaceful and relaxed that you felt like never leaving it? I have, and that place for me was Léhon, a small French medieval village near Dinan, in Bretagne (Brittany), France. I arrived there after a 30-minute walk, following a trail from Dinan. It was aContinue reading “LÉHON, Brittany – a pretty surprise in France”
With only two days left in Bretagne (Brittany), I had heard enough about Dinan to be curious. So I looked on the map, made a hurried hotel reservation, and drove 110 miles inland from Roscoff to the Côte d’Armor region, where Dinan is located. When I arrived in Dinan it was market day, and IContinue reading “DINAN, France – a true Breton town”
Driving west along the coast of Bretagne (Brittany) in France, from Roscoff to the end of the province, I noticed a drastic change in the landscape: the region called North Finistère is far less populated than its eastern part, where St-Malo is located. The North has open spaces, deserted beaches, lighthouses guarding jagged reefs andContinue reading “North Finistere, Brittany – sea and sky”
While vacationing in Bretagne (Brittany) with my daughter Clara, in February of 2017, we stayed in a rental in Roscoff, on the English Channel coast. But we often drove to Morlaix, a historic Breton town 15 minutes away, a place we felt attracted to from the first time we saw it. Morlaix had a very livelyContinue reading “Morlaix, France – an architectural jewel”
Of all the off-the-beaten-path places most Americans miss, few have so much to offer as Roscoff, a quaint port on the English Channel, in Bretagne (Brittany), northwest of France. Some US travel guides don’t even mention it, which is a shame: Roscoff has gorgeous views, great cuisine, rich history and a central location that invitesContinue reading “Roscoff, France – a town of the sea”
One of the most scenic coastlines in France is in Bretagne (Brittany), between Saint-Brieuc, west of Saint-Malo, and Perros-Guirec. That’s the Pink Granite Coast, or, as the French call it, ‘la Cote de Granit Rose.’ This remarkably beautiful coastline is quite different from the rest of Bretagne: the rocks have an incredible pink hue, rightContinue reading “The Pink Granite Coast”
Visiting Saint Vincent Cathedral, in Saint-Malo – a historic walled town on the coast of Brittany, France – I was intrigued by a marble sign on the floor. It was placed on the exact spot where, on April 20th, 1534, a seaman called Jacques Cartier knelt down to receive blessings from the local bishop, beforeContinue reading “Jacques Cartier, discoverer of Canada”
Our small and unassuming two-star Hotel San Pedro, in Saint-Malo, was a real gem and a great experience. That was because of Mireille, its owner and manager, who more than made up for the simple lodgings (although the location was great) by going out of her way to help her guests. She would start early,Continue reading “Saint-Malo, France – tragedy and survival”
I am a big fan of the south of France. But the first time I saw windy Brittany (Bretagne in French; Breizh in Breton), I felt my heart slowly switching allegiances, and I became a Bretagne lover. Bretagne is the name of the rugged northwestern peninsula of France, a land so completely different from theContinue reading “Saint-Malo, France – pirates and seafood”
My daughter and I rented a car in Avignon to go to Arles, a town on the bank of the Rhone River, in Provence. But when we got there, the streets were too narrow for the car. Claire had insisted on a smaller model, and each time I had to reverse, she’d look at meContinue reading “Arles, France – beauty, arts and a friend in Provence”
Provence, or La Provence, as the French call it, is the south-east part of France and one of my favorite regions in the country. Provence is sun, blue skies, sunflowers, lavender fields, amazing food and the best rose wine France produces – among other delicious things. In Provence, everything is gorgeous. As Aix-en-Provence native PaulContinue reading “La Belle Provence”
Provence has been home and inspiration to many of the world’s greatest artists since the 19th century. Some were native Provençal, some came from other lands, but they were all attracted by the intense light and colors of the south of France. Among the natives, none is more important than Paul Cézanne, considered the fatherContinue reading “Visiting Cézanne’s home in Aix”
Visiting the psychiatric hospital Saint-Paul de Mausole, where Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh spent one year, in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, moved me to tears. I’m a big fan of his bold colors and mad brush strokes, and I am aware of his tragic story. Van Gogh moved to the south of France in 1888, after two yearsContinue reading “Van Gogh and St-Rémy-de-Provence”
Most people will love Avignon for its perfect Provencal weather, art festivals and the Avignon Bridge (le Pont d’Avignon) half-way over the Rhone River. Probably the most famous bridge in France, it was immortalized in the children’s song “Sur le pont d’Avignon on y danse tous en rond”. Those who attended Catholic schools will rememberContinue reading “Avignon, France – the City of the Popes”
The first time I went to St. Rémy-de-Provence, a small historic town next to Aix-en-Provence, I was with my friend Monique, a native of Aix. She picked St. Rémy to show me the heart of her Provence, and as soon as we entered the village, I knew why. If you can imagine a perfect ProvencalContinue reading “The charm of St. Remy de Provence, France”
One of my main interests, when I visited Spain in January of 2020, was to watch an authentic – meaning not touristy – flamenco dance in Seville, the birthplace of flamenco. Once there, the next step was to find the right place for it. But what is flamenco, after all? While its exact history mayContinue reading “Flamenco and the gypsy soul”
The first thing I noticed in Ronda, even before exploring the town, was how friendly the locals are. I had arrived from Seville for a two-night stay in this town that is considered the most spectacular of the nine Pueblos Blancos (white villages) of Andalusia. It was raining and there were no taxis at theContinue reading “Ronda, Spain – a most romantic town”
Marbella’ was once the glamorous destination of the international jet set, but these days its fame has to do mostly with its many beaches and golf. The undisputed golf capital of the Costa del Sol (sun coast), Marbella is located in the southern Spanish province of Andalusia, a main golfing destination in Europe, with moreContinue reading “Marbella – a true story”
I had never heard of Nerja, until I began doing research for a trip to the province of Andalusia, Spain, in January of 2020. Then the name of this town on the Mediterranean started to come up quite often. Even those who avoid the rest of the Costa del Sol (sun coast), for considering itContinue reading “Nerja, Spain – the Balcony of Europe”
Some travel guides bypass Malaga, an important seaport and the largest city in the southern part of the Andalusian region of Spain, on the Costa del Sol (coast of the sun). A prominent travel writer in the USA even advises people to skip the ‘overbuilt and overcrowded’ Costa del Sol altogether. The problem with thatContinue reading “Málaga, Spain – arts & fun in the sun”
I did the right thing by starting my tour of the Andalusia region of Spain with Seville, then Córdoba, then Granada. That’s because Granada is different. At first it’s hard to define what makes it different; it seems to be something in the air. Perhaps the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada looming overContinue reading “Granada, Spain – a place of dreams”
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Hi, I’m Bea.
I am a writer, a former journalist and a boutique travel specialist. I have lived and worked in different countries on three continents, and I tell you about it on this blog.
I also use what I learned on the road to help you have the trip of your dreams.
And I absolutely love to tell stories…
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