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Bath, England—Fire and water. The two elements have never blended so well as a healing power as they do in Bath, the historic city west of London, especially in the summer 2012.

Spend some time wandering the neighborhoods of greater Jerusalem to experience its diverse communities and the people who represent them.

The City of Brotherly Love is home to one of the nation’s liveliest and fastest-growing arts scenes. BY REBECCA L. RHOADES

An architecture from the Arizona Desert. STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY BENNETT W. ROOT, JR.

Instead of glitzy hotels and high-rise condos, this waterfront town in northwest Florida has historic homes, a storefront revival, artfilled galleries and a welcoming, yet rebellious, spirit. STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY LESLIE LONG



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Volume 2012.2 September 2012. Copyright ©2012 by HMH Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Advertising rates and information sent upon request. Acceptance of advertising in TravelWorld International Magazine in no way constitutes approval or endorsement by HMH Media, Inc. or NATJA of products or services advertised. TravelWorld International Magazine and HMH Media, Inc. reserve the right to reject any advertising. Opinions expressed by authors are their own and not necessarily those of TravelWorld International Magazine or HMH Media, Inc. TravelWorld International Magazine reserves the right to edit all contributions for clarity and length, as well as to reject any material submitted. Not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts. This periodical’s name and logo along with the various titles and headings therein, are trademarks of HMH Media, Inc. PRODUCED IN U.S.A. SEPT 2012 / TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL

From P hi l l y , Wi th


The City of Brotherly Love is home to one of the nation’s liveliest and fastest-growing arts scenes.


One of the largest museums in the United States, the famed Philadelphia Museum of Art covers 10 acres and houses more than 300,000 works spanning 2,000 years.


Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is the mosaicked vision of artist Isaiah Zagar. It spans a half block on the city’s famous South Street.


hiladelphia, our cultural star is rising.” With those six little words—and some added trumpet fanfare—Philadelphia’s mayor, Michael Nutter, heralded the opening of the new campus of the Barnes Foundation, home to one of the world’s greatest collections of post-impressionist and early modern art. The event, which was held this past May, not only celebrated the relocation of the world-renowned museum, it also cemented the city as one of the world’s great arts destinations. Wait…Philadelphia? A great arts destination? That’s right. Sure, Philadelphia is known worldwide for its role in our country’s history. After all, it’s not called the Birthplace of America for nothing. It was here that the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed, the first American flag sewn, and the nation’s first public library, post office and hospital established. Today, however, Philly is known more for its, how shall we say, less-than-refined attributes. According to the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, eating a cheesesteak ranks among the top things tourists want to do when they visit, right up there with visiting the Liberty Bell. And while many tourists want to visit the TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL / SEPT 2012

Folk art statues, bicycle wheels, colorful glass bottles, handmade tiles and glittering mirrors can be found throughout Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens.

Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture, located in Love Park at the beginning of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, is an iconic symbol of the City of Brotherly Love.

A bronze casting of Auguste Rodin’s bestknown sculpture, The Thinker, sits

Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA), it’s usually not to view the works inside. “They want to run up the stairs,” says Tony Luke Jr., owner of Tony Luke’s, a famous South Philly cheesesteak stand. “Rocky is as much a part of the lure of Philadelphia as anything else is.” And that crowd at the bottom of the stairs? Well, they’re lining up to have their photos taken with the bronze sculpture of Rocky Balboa, used in the film series’ third installment. It remains one of the city’s most popular pieces of public art. So how exactly did Philadelphia go from being the home of celluloid sports heroes and sandwiches slathered in Cheez Whiz to a sophisticated art-filled cosmopolis that will please even the most committed of dilettantes? For the best answer, hit the streets.

in front of the Rodin Museum, the largest collection of Rodin’s work outside of Paris.

THE MUSEUM MILE Any art tour of Philadelphia should begin on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, arguably the most artistic boulevard in the country. In fact, some of the greatest art in the world can be found on this 1.1-mile stretch that begins at City Hall and ends at the PMA. In addition to the Museum of Art, the Parkway is home to the Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building, a museum SEPT 2012 / TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL

Designed specifically for the Municipal Services Building Plaza, the whimsical installation Your Move features oversized game pieces, including dominoes, Monopoly, Parcheesi, checkers, chessman and bingo chips.

Painted in 1998 by Meg Saligman, Common Threads towers eight stories above Broad Street, just north of City Hall.

annex; the Rodin Museum, home to the most extensive collection of Auguste Rodin’s work outside of Paris; the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts, founded in 1805 and the oldest art museum and school in the United States; and the Galleries at Moore [College of Art and Design]. On May 19, 2012, the Parkway welcomed the new home of the Barnes Foundation. Previously housed in neighboring Lower Merion, Pennsylvania, the Foundation was created in 1922 by Dr. Albert C. Barnes, a pharmaceutical entrepreneur, “to promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts.” Upon his death in 1951, Barnes stipulated that his collection, which he had spent years obsessively arranging in the mansion he built specifically to display it, should remain exactly as it was. Due to financial problems related to the lack of public accessibility, the Foundation’s board announced plans in 2002 to relocate. However, critics were sure that such a move would desecrate the institution. “I respect Dr. Barnes’ intention of how he expected the works to be seen by students, comparative to other works and architectural elements,” says Philadelphia resident and Foundation Founding Member Duncan Busser. “The specific desire for his work to stay outside of Philadelphia …

was not respected, [because] his intent to keep it free and for ‘students only’ was not sustainable, and the artwork itself was going to suffer.” The new $150-million location remains faithful to Barnes’ vision, maintaining the same gallery sizes, wall color and even structural orientation as the original. The lighting system, which seamlessly mixes natural and artificial illumination into a diffuse, even light, allows the artwork, which is displayed exactly as it was in Lower Merion, to shine. “The artwork at the Foundation is wonderful,” says Busser. “There are more Renoirs there [181 to be exact] than anywhere else in the world. I love [Jacques] Lipchitz sculptures, and the PMA only has 5 or 6, while the Barnes has upwards of 20.” The collection also includes 69 Cézannes, 46 Picassos, 59 Matisses and scores of other paintings by such well-known names as Monet, Degas and Van Gogh. Sculpture, metalwork, Native American jewelry and ceramics, and more, round out the collection. But the opening of the Barnes wasn’t the only big news to come out of the Parkway’s art world this year. In July, the Rodin Museum, a little jewel box of a building nestled among the trees on the eastbound side of the Parkway, reopened following a three-year, $9-million renovation that SEPT 2012 / TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL

ABOVE: Philadelphia’s creativity goes beyond the visual arts to include its food, its shops and its neighborhoods. ABOVE, RIGHT: Kent Twitchell’s 1990 portrait of Dr. J was the first mural painted not on the building but on a synthetic rubberlike material that was adhered to the brick. It revolutionized the mural-creating process.

refurbished and returned all its sculptures to their original locations inside and out, and restored the grounds’ formal French garden, fountain and reflecting pool. The project was aimed at cleaning up the pollution and grime that had built up over the years since the institution was first opened in 1929. Visitors enter the museum through a monumental 18foot tall bronze portal, The Gates of Hell, one of Rodin’s major pieces. Other major works on display include The Kiss, The Thinker and the Burghers of Calais. “Individually, each institution in the Parkway Museums District is distinctive and makes a significant contribution to Philadelphia’s vibrant cultural landscape,” says Timothy Rub, director and chief executive officer of the PMA. “Cumulatively, the collections and programs at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Barnes, the Rodin Museum and the PMA offer a wealth of artistic experiences, enlivening this great boulevard and reaffirming the important of the arts to the future of our city.” MUSEUM WITHOUT WALLS While Philadelphia’s museums are lauded around the world, the city’s great art is not confined to their interiors. TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL / SEPT 2012

In fact, Philly is home to more than 5,000 cataloged pieces of public art spanning the historical timeline from early 18th-century municipal improvements to a plethora of modern-day civic expressions. Take the Parkway, for example. Standing on the front steps of the Museum of Art, visitors can see Rudolph Siemering’s Washington Monument directly across the street in Eakin’s Oval; Alexander Stirling Calder’s Swann Memorial Fountain a little further down in Logan Square; and Alexander Milne Calder’s architectural sculptures, including the famous statue of William Penn on City Hall. Off to the side of the museum sits Emmanuel Fremiet’s 1890 monument, Joan of Arc. The gleaming, gilded bronze statue is one of two cast; the other remains in Paris. A few blocks away is the more contemporary Iroquois, a 40-foottall, bright red installation by Mark di Suvero. And from the far east end of the Parkway, the Grecian columns of the PMA provide the perfect backdrop for Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE statue, one of the city’s best-known landmarks. “We have more public art than any other city in the world, thanks to the history of the One Percent program and the extraordinary work of the Mural Arts Program,” says Busser.

Since 1984, Jane Golden, executive director of the Mural Arts Program, has helped produce more than 3,000 murals throughout the city.

In 1959, Philadelphia became the first city in the country to adopt a One Percent for Fine Arts legislation. By law, every new building project built with public money must donate at least one percent of its total cost toward commissioning original works of public art. From the fun—Claes Oldenburg’s 45-foot-tall steel Clothespin and Your Move, a grouping of oversized board game pieces—to the somber—Glenna Goodacre’s 30-footlong bronze dedicated to Ireland’s Great Hunger; Jacques Lipchitz’s 30-foot-tall totemlike Government of the People; and the suffering figures of Nathan Rapoport’s Monument to Six Million Jewish Martyrs—to the culturally diverse— Sabrina Soong’s brightly painted gateway, The China Gate, Philadelphia’s streets and squares are a veritable urban sculpture museum. But when it comes to outdoor art, Philadelphia has cornered the market on murals. Known internationally as the “City of Murals,” Philly boasts more than 3,000 indoor and outdoor murals, with another 135–150 created annually, all courtesy of the nonprofit Mural Arts Program. Started in 1984 as an anti-graffiti initiative, the program has gone on to spawn similar programs across Pennsylvania, in U.S. cities such as Cleveland, Detroit and

Washington, D.C., and in locations as far away as Paris and Hanoi. “Murals represent people’s stories and struggles,” says Jane Golden, executive director of the Mural Arts Program. “Murals are a point frozen in time, when people came together to accomplish something tangible. It’s something that’s unique in the life of this city.” Philadelphia’s murals tell stories of hope and redemption, of cultural traditions, of community leaders and celebrities long gone. They tackle controversial issues such as race, class and gentrification, immigration and violence. They also beautify blighted neighborhoods with their brilliant and colorful designs. In one, a young boy reaches for a bird, its blue wings extending beyond the building’s roofline. In another, Jackie Robinson, rendered in a black-and-white image, slides into home, his outstretched hand signifying not only his winning run but breaking the color barrier. There’s even one featuring the whimsical dancing figures of Keith Haring, painted by the legendary artist himself. Some have even become city landmarks, including Meg Seligman’s eightstory tall Common Threads mural on Broad Street, and the bright yellow and black mural commemorating native resiSEPT 2012 / TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL

ABOVE: Considered one of Jacques Lipchitz’ best works, the 30-foot tall bronze Government of the People, dedicated in 1976, stands in the shadow of City Hall in the Municipal Services Building Plaza. RIGHT: The Philadelphia Museum of Art crowns the city’s culturally rich Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The mile-long stretch is home to many parks, public works of art and museums, including Alexander Stirling Calder’s Swann Memorial Fountain (forefront) and the Barnes Foundation (center right).

dent Larry Fine (of Three Stooges fame) on South Street. Another icon of the South Street art scene is Isaiah Zagar, whose gaudy, glittery mosaics have exploded beyond his Magic Gardens to building facades, garden installations and even garage doors. If he had his way, Zagar would pave the entire city in slivers of mirror, broken tiles, shards of pottery, bottles, bicycle wheels and other found items that many would consider junk. His immense creation that is the Magic Gardens is a massive multilevel indoor and outdoor mosaic sculpture garden that spans half a block on South Street between 10th and 11th Streets. Visitors can spend hours wandering the labyrinthine tunnels and grottos, covered with tiles, sculptures and varied texts embedded in the walls, and always find something new to see. Guided tours are also available, as are walking tours that explore Zagar’s work throughout the neighborhood. TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL / SEPT 2012

“I saw something like this when I was a young man and it knocked me for a loop,” says Zagar, when asked why he decided to create such a display. And while he won’t speak about the public’s reaction to other art throughout the city, his thoughts on why people visit the Magic Gardens offers some insight into the importance of all public art. “I see all these people, and they’re joyous when they come and look at this,” he says. “It’s mind-boggling to see people who are genuinely happy to be someplace.” So whether you love fine art museums, contemporary sculpture, colorful imagery or crazy, over-the-top designs, one thing is certain: It’s time to put Philadelphia on your list of must-visit art destinations. Rebecca L. Rhoades is an established travel journalist and photographer based in Philadelphia.





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Wright’s plainer design, interrupted by angular elements, mirror the essential nature of his “desert camp” site. His prominent use of colored stone from the desert’s floor tie the site and the structure tightly together as a central feature in his organic architecture.

he neighborhood of my youth consisted primarily of little boxed living spaces organized by rank and file, like soldiers on parade. I ate, slept, played and learned life’s early lessons in our family’s little “box house” and those of my friends. Growing up with such limited architectural exposure, it is hard to describe my delight at discovering that living and learning spaces could incorporate an aesthetic that was exciting, engaging, and made living easier and more enjoyable. It was this experience of this discovery—and the years of exploration that followed—that drove me to Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home and studio in Scottsdale, 26 miles north of Phoenix. I wanted to see how Wright, a colossus of American architecture, had adapted his famous Prairie style to the sand and sagebrush of the Sonoran desert. As I drove northeast toward SEPT 2012 / TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL


TOP, LEFT: Looking north from the site’s “prow,” one can appreciate how canvas stretched between ceiling trusses would provide a magical, defuse light “ideal for drafting.” LEFT: Sculpture located strategically throughout the complex reinforce the abundant creative energy of Taliesin West. SEPT 2012 / TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL

Wright was particularly fond of the color red and it predominates as one looks south towards the drafting studio (OPPOSITE, TOP), in the entrance to the cabaret (ABOVE) and in the patio outside his private living quarters.

the McDowell Mountains, I could not imagine the treat that lie in store at the end of Frank Lloyd Wright Drive. My father introduced me to Wright’s work when we toured Robie House, his premier Prairie house style statement on Chicago’s south side. Here I began to understand Wright’s organic architecture: Total design, inside and out, for the purpose of inducing an enjoyable, stimulating experience of space in harmony with the essential nature of its location. The Robie house experience connected me to similar feelings of being captivated by the space I was in that I had had when visiting the Saarinen designs at Cranbrook Academy of Art and the Kingswood School just north of my childhood home. Along with the aweinspiring structures created by Mies van der Rohe in Chicago and New York City, “design,” “style” and even “architecture” took on a new depth of meaning for me. It was with this excitement

in mind that I approached my recent exploration of Taliesin West. Frank Lloyd Wright is often called America’s greatest architect. In 1991, some 30 years after his death, those laurels became official after the American Institute of Architects’ national survey. His work was innovative and visionary; artistic, but firmly anchored in humanistic principle. While the manifestations of his vision were constantly evolving, most often as a function of circumstances (as reflected in his home and studio at Taliesin West), his work was always grounded in his concept of an organic architecture that flowed from a sense of place and usefulness for those who would occupy the space. Wright grew up and started his career in Chicago, initially as a draftsman for the architectural firm of Joseph Lyman Silsbee and later under the tutelage of Louis Sullivan of Adler & Sullivan, another

giant of American architecture. By the turn of the 20th Century, however, he had his own studio in Oak Park, north of Chicago. There, his concepts of breaking the “box” of traditional living spaces and bringing nature and natural elements into his living designs created the foundations of his Prairie School. Numerous residential design commissions followed. Two decades later, Wright estab-

During his long and productive life, Wright’s presence infused both the design and the essential life of Taliesin West and its apprentices. Today, his image as reflected in this and other paintings and reproductions of his drawings, keep the master’s design concepts very much alive.


lished a studio for apprentices in Wisconsin named Taliesin, celebrating his heritage by adopting that name from a poet of Welsh mythology. But personal circumstances frustrated development of Wright’s career in Chicago, and in 1928, he found himself in the Arizona desert consulting with Albert Chase MacArthur and his brothers on the design of a luxury hotel north of Phoenix, the future Arizona Biltmore. That lead to further desert commissions from Dr. Alexander Chandler and eventually a rhythm of living and working that would find Wright at Taliesin in Wisconsin during the summers and working and exploring the Arizona desert during his winters. Health issues reinforced Wright’s desire to spend more time in the warm, dry climate of Phoenix, and in 1937 Wright acquired several hundred acres of sand, cacti and colored rocks just south of the MacDowell Mountains looking “over the rim of the world.” Here Wright built his “winter camp” which would morph into a permanent home, studio and school of architecture: Taliesin West. Camp was indeed an apt term for the early years at Taliesin West. The site was raw and pure: crystalline air, intense light, angular mountains and large rocks strewn across a broad horizontal plain. While the severity of the site would inspire a new desert architecture, it also dictated the terms of early camp life--tents, kerosene stoves and water hauled in daily. Undaunted, Wright, his family and his apprentices who had traveled with him from Wisconsin, set about the task of creating a design concept from the elements they encountered as they set up their camp. Almost a decade earlier, Wright and his then-fellows had built a working camp—Ocatillo (Wright’s spelling)— SEPT 2012 / TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL

Wright balances consistency in essential design elements with surprise in architectural and design details to create an exciting aesthetic experience for student and visitor alike.

outside of Chandler, Arizona. There he created a camp of cabins with wood frames and canvas roofs. He discovered that these building elements created workspaces with a beautifully diffused light, ideal for drafting. The lessons of Ocatillo were implemented on a grander scale at Taliesin West: Redwood frames and canvas roofs would provide the first living space for Wright, his family and the apprentices, but not in cabins, rather in an integrated complex of buildings for working, teaching and living. The Taliesin West site was perfect for Wright’s organic design architecture. Wright himself described the evolution of his desert design: “It was a new world to us and cleared the slate of the pastoral loveliness of our place in Southern Wisconsin. Instead came an aesthetic, even ascetic, idealization of space….” “The plans were inspired by the character and beauty of that wonderful site.” “The design sprang out of itself, with no precedent….” After absorbing the potential presented by the site, Wright positioned his complex of buildings with its “prow” pointing south by southwest to take substantial advantage of the views and movement of light during the day. Then he created a new “desert masonry” for the walls of the drafting studio, the office and living quarters. Rocks (boulders really) from the site were set into wood forms and cement made from site sand was poured over the rubble. When the cement dried, the forms were stripped away from newly created walls, resulting in a distinctive look for all of the

sites’ buildings drawn directly from the desert. With his process set, Wright and his apprentices tackled the labor-intensive challenges of building out the Taliesin West “complex.” There would be an office where Wright met clients and from which he managed the ongoing business of the community. A long drafting and working space was set in at a right angle to the axis of the project, yielding a relatively constant soft light particularly suited to drawing and drafting. The Wright living quarters were situated across a spacious patio stretching toward the prow of the complex. The family quarters, long off-limits to tourists (consistent with Wright’s wishes) have been exquisitely restored and are open to visitors on a limited basis. Here, one can reimagine the richness of the life of a community resident at Taliesin West while touring the Garden Room, the Sun Trap and the Cabaret (theater) where Wright’s special design of the inside space created phenomenal acoustics (the lecturer can be clearly heard in the back row, and the tones of the grand piano resonate clearly throughout the space), while the outside design fits elegantly into the surrounding desert and the fellowship’s complex. Wright constantly tinkered with the space design at Taliesin West. Desert masonry walls, redwood ceiling trusses and canvas roofing were the principal elements from which Taliesin was constructed at the beginning. Ceiling elements overhung roofs. This permitted walls to be “half walls” allowing horizontal light, but not the harsh and punishing direct sun characteristic of desert light. Glass was not used—and was not permitted—as a construction element until well into the 1950s. Plastics eventually replaced the canvas roofing when available material became suitable to mainte-

nance of quality working light. Rooms were rearranged and gathering places for apprentices and others in the Fellowship were modified from time to time. Through all this, however, the essential design of Taliesin West remained unchanged, consistent with Wright’s vision. Wright lived and worked at Taliesin West until his passing in 1959. In the years since his death, his School of Architecture and his Foundation have sustained and built on his vision through a variety programs, both academic and lay, active here and at Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin. (The School of Architecture offers accredited degrees, including Bachelor and Master programs.) They accommodate over 100,000 visitors each year and graduate budding architects whose talents have been developed in the shadow of Wright’s genius. It is a special legacy for them and for Wright’s many fans. Visiting this evocative spot allowed me to re-experience the joy I found so many years ago when I discovered Robie House and experienced the magic of Wright’s organic design for the first time. Visitors today can enjoy the experience of Wright’s vision and design artistry as they would have when Wright was in residence. It is a trip well worth taking.

If You Go Taliesin West is celebrating its 75th anniversary (and the Centennial of Arizona statehood) in 2012. A variety of tours of Taliesin West is available, except on certain holidays. Details are available on-line at or by calling (855) 860-2700.


A Whole Different Kind of Florida

Instead of glitzy hotels and high-rise condos, this waterfront town in northwest Florida has historic homes, a storefront revival, art-filled galleries and a welcoming, yet rebellious, spirit. STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY LESLIE LONG Wonderful textures and color abound in Apalachicola.


’ll admit I’m biased. From the moment I set foot in this town, I was smitten, and I swear it has nothing to do with the fact that the first street I walked down was called Leslie Street. I have a fondness for places on the water, towns with character—and if they’re out of the way and rough around the edges, all the better. Apalachicola met all my criteria. About as far from a typical Floridian tourist town as it could be, Apalachicola (or Apalach, as the residents refer to it) was once the largest port on the Gulf of Mexico. Established in 1831, it has a gracious Southern charm and a passionate townfolk who are all too happy to tell you why they live here (residents mind their own business) or felt drawn to relocate here (there was just something about it). The town boasts more than 900 historic homes and buildings in its National Historic Register District. Stroll along the wide residential streets beneath sprawling trees covered with Spanish moss and you’ll see rundown shacks, immaculate craftsman cottages and grand renovated homes originally built by the town’s lumber and shipping magnates. Its diverse charm led it to be named as one of America’s top distinctive destinations by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Additionally, 90 percent of Florida’s oysters and 10 percent of the nation’s oyster supply hail from Apalachicola’s waters. EVEN THE HOTEL WAS A HISTORIC LANDMARK My home base was The Gibson Inn, the town’s first hotel built in 1907. With its native heart pine and black cypress construction, the Inn was once the town’s crown jewel and the area’s ultimate luxury hotel—famous for being the only hotel between Pensacola and Jacksonville heated entirely by steam. SEPT 2012 / TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL

Gibson Inn,

Coombs House Inn,

The old-world elegance of the Coombs House Inn.


The Gibson’s distinctive style was known as Florida “Cracker” Architecture, consisting of a wood frame structure used widely in the 19th and early 20th centuries, along with a metal roof, raised floors, center hallways, high ceilings and large wraparound porches. In honor of the area’s steamboat past, a widow’s walk and cupola were built atop the roof. After checking in, I walked up to my room via a few wonky staircases going in several different directions. My large room overlooked the main street and to the right was a water view. When standing in just the right spot, I could see the sunrise over the water from my bathroom window. In 1983, the Gibson Inn’s current owners began a two-million-dollar restoration project that many say launched the town’s revival. Staying in this friendly place puts you the center of the town’s action, especially on Friday nights when the bar fills up with a lively group of regulars who spill out onto the porch. COOMBS HOUSE INN WELCOMES SWIMSUIT MODELS AND MORE Whereas the Gibson is akin to an eccentric uncle, the Coombs House Inn is more like an elegant aunt. While I was in town, the crew from Sports Illustrated (including the swimsuit models) was holed up at the Coombs, trying to keep their presence on the down low. But word did get out and the fruits of their labor can be seen in the magazine’s 2012 Swimsuit Issue. The Coombs House Inn bills itself as “a romantic bed and breakfast” and is housed in several picture-perfect Victorian mansions painted a bright citrus yellow. Inside, you’ll find fine antiques, upholstered chairs, glowing fireplaces and an old world elegance. Like The Gibson Inn, Coombs House has a storied past. Built in 1905 by a lumber baron named James N.

Coombs, the main house was practically destroyed by a devastating fire, which led to almost 30 years of vacancy. The present owner, Lynn Wilson, and her husband bought the house, turning it into the gracious establishment it’s become. Famous for copious breakfasts, gorgeous gardens, pretty porches and romantic rooms, Coombs House has risen again. HISTORIC STOREFRONTS ATTRACT SHOP OWNERS OF ALL STRIPES While many come here for the beach houses across the causeway on beautiful St. George Island, the town of Apalachicola has other charms to discover and every stroll I took uncovered something new. Each building here seems to have a story to tell and many of them are up and running again thanks to adventurous shopkeepers who have committed themselves to the town’s reinvigorated spirit. For a small town, there are a whole lot of stores breathing new life into its old buildings. FROM HANDMADE CHOCOLATES AND TUPELO HONEY TO KNITTING AND BOOKS Apalachicola Chocolate Company sells fresh fruit granitas and homemade chocolates displayed behind vintage glass cases and filled with luscious treats such as fudge, caramel turtles and a chocolate concoction made with the locally produced Tupelo honey. A beautifully renovated former cotton warehouse and ship chandlery is home to the beautiful Grady Market where you’ll find an impressive array of classic and not-so-classic clothes and accessories along the banks of the Apalachicola River. Riverfront apartment suites occupy part of the complex, and more businesses are planned for the near future. A charming bookstore called Downtown

Apalachicola Center for History, Culture and Art.

Outside the Bowery Art Gallery.

Old liquor store.

Books & Purl resides in an older home on Commerce Street and sells the unique combo of books and knitting supplies under one roof. There are housewares shops, an old soda fountain, a beautiful garden store and more within the few blocks of this very walkable downtown. ART THRIVES IN THIS TOWN OF ARTFUL ARCHITECTURE Whether it’s antiques, photography, sculpture or paintings, you can find it in the galleries of Apalachicola. As a visitor from New York, I was intrigued by the Bowery Art Gallery, which couldn’t be further from its city namesake. Set on a charming back street next to the bucolic backyard of The Garden Shop, I found a high quality of art. Owner Leslie Wallace Coon sculpts spectacular resin dogs. She and two co-owners, Ann Seaton and Paula Harmon, show and curate a variety of fine work. A selection of jewelry combining metals with local stones and sea glass was especially beautiful and unique. “Apalach seems to bring out the creativity in those who move here,” fabric artist and gallery exhibitor Elaine Kozlowsky told me when she saw me admiring them. “Those necklaces are made by a former lawyer.” The Artemis Gallery along Commerce Street specializes in folk art and Florida landscapes. Along Market Street, Richard Bickel Photography is the gallery and studio of a fine photographer who has settled in town, publishing several books on the area along with others on more far flung locales such as Morocco. My favorite buildings were the ones without pedigrees. Apalachicola’s more noteworthy buildings are often juxtaposed with shabbier structures basking in the bright Florida sun. The bleached paint colors, peeling signs and vestiges of TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL / SEPT 2012

One of the many creative items at the Bowery Art Gallery.

Oh the treats at the Apalachicola Chocolate Company.

another era gave these crumbling beauties a different kind of appeal. Perhaps someone will come along to rehabilitate them and give them new purpose. Or maybe they’ll just remain there, reminding everyone of the passing of time and the town’s illustrious history. Just as the area’s diverse residents feel able to simply be themselves, the buildings of Apalachicola, whether grand or far less so, all seem to have a place.

And finally, a building that reminded me of Edward Hopper. There is a restored brick building along the river, where art is shown and town events take place. It’s called the Apalachicola Center for History, Culture and Arts, and in the twilight it looks like one of the buildings made famous by Edward Hopper’s paintings. On myLarge lastCaribbean night inlobsters town,areI prepared on attended opening an an open flame grillat forthe thoseCenter guest on the and ran into acatamaran few of lobster the people I’d fest in Grenada.

Artemis Gallery 127 Commerce Street 850-653-2030 Richard Bickel Photography 81 Market Street 850-653-2828 Apalachicola Center for History, Culture and Arts 86 Water Street 850-653-3930

There are so many interesting structures about town.

SHOPS Apalachicola Chocolate Company 15 Avenue E 850-370-6937 Grady Market 76 Water Street 850-653-4099 Downtown Books & Purl 67 Commerce Street 850-653-1290 The Garden Shop 147 Commerce Street 850 653-1777

met while walking through town. Happy just to be here, I strolled along the riverside park. The sun was setting and a beautiful rim light glowed around the periphery of the building. Inside, the light was warm and yellow. The night was breezy and a few people stood outside talking or walking their dogs. History, art, beauty, contentment. I had seen all Apalachicola had to offer, and at that very moment, I felt it all, too.

IF YOU GO AREA INFORMATION Franklin County Tourist Development Council 866-914-2068

HISTORIC HOTELS Gibson Inn 51 Avenue C 850-653-2191 Coombs House Inn 80 Sixth Street 850-653-9199 888-244-8320 Leslie Long is a New York–based travel writer and photographer. Although she loves where she lives, nothing thrills her more than head-

ART GALLERIES Bowery Art Gallery 149 Commerce Street 850-653-2425

ing out of town—whether it’s a weekend at the beach or halfway around the world. Her articles have appeared in The New York Post, Time Out Kids New York, Westchester Magazine and SEPT 2012 / TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL

ATrip Back In Time Bath, England—Fire and water. The two elements have never blended so well as a healing power as they do in Bath, the historic city west of London, especially in the summer 2012. BY SUSAN WOOD PHOTOGRAPHY BY KATHRYN REED


he season will go down as one which saw a successful Olympic Games, triumphant not only London, but for all of England and its many diverse regions and cultures. Nowhere is this diversity so evident as it is in Bath. This small-city getaway which offers England’s only natural hot springs was developed as a religious center called Aquae Sulis by the Romans more than 2,000 years ago, when the mineral-rich waters drained off the limestone in the hills onto a lower, marshy plateau. The Romans


The Roman Baths provide visitors with an up-close-and-personal view of the ancient soaking tubs in a complex still standing today as a point of interest.

The Bath Abbey was built in 1499 in front of the town's bustling courtyard that hosts many events and street performers.

believed the water was sacred, so they soaked up the lifestyle. Even the word “spa” reflects its significance. SPA in Latin is salus per aquam, meaning health through water. In the 18th century, the worlds of royalty and literature took part in the ritual of bathing. Today, visitors of the historic Roman Baths walk in the steps of ancient Romans and learn about the past through an audio tour, holograms and displays how long-ago peoples immersed themselves in the bathing culture—a sign of decadence and celebration of cleansing the human body. Next door to the historic baths, modern-day bathers can soak in the hot springs at the Thermae Bath Spa, one of the world’s most notable spas. The five-floor facility has a unique architectural blend of old and new. Maintaining and restoring the historic side of the complex while enhancing the offering with modern-day amenities, the giant glass Bath fortress complements some of the oldest TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL / SEPT 2012

buildings in Great Britain the main attraction for visitors seeking a trip back into time. Today’s Thermae Bath Spa attracts between 15 to 20 percent local residents and the balance tourists, with more than half coming from the United States. All the guests have one thing in common: the belief that age is a state of mind. At any given hour while the spa is open, visitors of all ages can be found bobbing in the baths on flotation noodles like children. Thermae spokesperson Charlotte Hanna explains, “Soaking in the pools has become a very social thing.” The spa offers visitors a standard two-hour session for £26, as well as a variety of treatments such as massage and facials. A variety of special packages is offered, for example the Twilight Package, which provides soaking time in the pools and dinner, for which most people come dressed clad in robes and slippers. To each his own. That may be the mantra of Bath.

Bath, home to the where the ancient Romans soaked, is a hot tourism spot.

Bath is known for its Georgian-style, medieval architecture celebrating the old as well as the thoroughly modern day life of chic and hip England. Take the structural magnificence of the Circus or even the Royal Crescent housing complexes—the latter situated in a half circle above a royal park named after Princess Victoria. Its shape resembles Rome’s Colosseum. “A lot of work goes into maintaining the city’s stunning architecture as well as its history and heritage, as it all adds to the uniqueness of Bath,” said Visit Bath spokesperson Audra McSherry. Off the Abbey Courtyard, a tour through the Bath Abbey church will transport a tourist back to 1499. Then, a saunter down Milsom Street will take a shopper through a paradise of high fashion. Is it any wonder that social dignitaries of literature, such as Pride and Prejudice author Jane Austen, lived here? The city has erected a museum, the Jane Austen Centre, to celebrate the writer’s five years spent in Bath. In her day, Austen

understood the eloquence and social order of what Bath’s development threesome, Richard “Beau” Nash, Ralph Allen and John Wood, had started so long ago. Culture is embraced here. Over the years, even the street performers have become a constant—mainly in the courtyard where something is usually happening. The artistry of Bath has stood the test of time. It’s owned by the National Trust in order to maintain its all-important heritage, but not at the expense of progress. These days, a visitor can hop a Bath double-decker bus near the scenic Pulteney Bridge approximately every 10 minutes to go sightseeing. The route takes riders to 38 stops worthy of historic merit on a 40-minute tour. Along the way, it becomes quickly evident that the city has found an ideal way to mingle the new (Starbucks anyone?) with the old. From a fun dinner at the Lime Lounge to the organic, vegetarian breakfast at the Marlborough House, there’s a multitude of SEPT 2012 / TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL

Bath, England has some of the oldest buildings in the world.

restaurants and places to lay one’s head for the night within strolling distance of the city’s cobblestone streets. STONEHENGE With so much to eat, drink and be merry in Bath, it’s hard to imagine taking a daytrip to explore nearby sites. But Bath is the ideal launch pad to one of the most recognizable attractions in the world: Stonehenge. The national historic site, completed around 2400 BCE, was constructed by hundreds of laborers over the course of a TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL / SEPT 2012

thousand years or more. Two weeks before the Opening Ceremonies graced the London stage, Stonehenge was host to the Olympic torch. It was fitting that the internationally recognizable symbol of peace and goodwill made its way to the ancient structure outside of Amesbury believed to have healing powers of its own. (Stonehenge welcomes thousands of visitors every year to celebrate the summer solstice.) One individual, American track star and four-time gold medalist Michael Johnson, added to the magic in July when he carried the Olympic flame in a

lap around the rock circle. “Michael Johnson, the torch and sunrise at Stonehenge. Who could ask for anything more?” asked local teacher Phil Monk as he watched the spectacle. Monk ran the torch himself days earlier as one of 8,000 runners who carried the flame 8,000 miles on a windy course that encompassed 1,018 communities in England. Among them was Winchester, once the capital of England, and another notable daytrip from Bath. Touring the cathedral at Winchester allows visitors to experience the site where legendary King Arthur is said to have

held court with the Knights of the Round Table during the 12th century. Visitors with their own wheels can simplify matters and tour the area a their leisure, driving the verdant countryside filled with rolling green hills, farms and picturesque villages. Caution: chances are you’ll have to negotiate a series of roundabouts requiring keen awareness. Veteran writer and NATJA member Susan Wood ran the Olympic torch in 2002 in South Lake Tahoe on its way to Salt Lake City. SEPT 2012 / TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL

Jerusale The Many Faces of


here are few places on earth that evoke more fervent religious, political and cultural passion than Jerusalem. It is the seedbed of the three monotheistic religions, the location of some of the world’s most historic sites, a city where multiculturalism is both a way of life and the source of constant tension—and this includes true differences among the many sectarian groupings as well as those who are determinedly secular. Returning to Israel after a 30-year hiatus, I was impressed by many things, not least the dramatic increase in new construction in both East


and West Jerusalem, new routings of narrow roads and new freeways with familiar names such as “Begin East” and “Begin West” to accommodate the increase in traffic, the spanking-new tram/train, and a number of stunning new structures, including the new Supreme Court Building, the Israel Museum, the greatly expanded Holocaust Memorial, Yad Vashem, and the Mt. Scopus campus of the Hebrew University. But the sociologist in me led me to focus on the diverse communities and the people who represent them. Soon I will be writing about this as well as the cacophony of


Spend some time wandering the neighborhoods of greater Jerusalem to experience its diverse communities and the people who represent them. PHOTO ESSAY BY PETER I. ROSE

debates on the streets and in the media in Hebrew, Arabic, Russian and English that energize life in ways rarely matched in other societies. Here, as a visual foretaste of things to come, I offer a collage of informal portraits, most taken with a long lens as I wandered the neighborhoods of greater Jerusalem and the alleyways of the Old City, taking a quick side trip to see the new museum and walk the along the beach in Tel Aviv. I spent almost a day in the area of the Western Wall and another at Yad Vashem, and with the guidance of a

longtime Israeli colleague, I was taken to places rarely visited by short-time visitors. I debated about labeling these photos but decided against it. I think that they speak for themselves. Peter Rose, a retired professor of sociology and anthropology, is also a prize-winning travel journalist and photographer. His many books include, They and We, Mainstream and Margins, Tempest-Tost, Guest Appearances and Other Travels in Time and Space, and With Few Reservations. SEPT 2012 / TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL




An Affordable Gateway to Italian

Take a trip into a Tuscan villa and discover more than you ever thought was possible. Story and Photography By Nell Raun-Linde

FROM TOP RIGHT: Basilica San Francesco in Asissi; Castiglion Fiorentino, Loggia di Vasari.

When one trip ends, the questions start: “So where are you going next?” “Italy,” was my reply last year, “for a month . . . to a villa in Tuscany.” Say that to friends, associates or anyone within hearing distance and the reactions you’ll get will range from, “Oh, lucky you,” to “What a trip! I wish I could do that.” “Yes,” I reply and think to myself, “It took more than luck to reach that point.” Three years earlier, five writer colleagues and I rented an apartment in Florence. We toured the Duomo, the 15th-century cathedral with a red-tiled dome designed by Brunelleschi, and the 11th century Baptistery with bronze doors by Ghiberti. We absorbed art and history in the cathedral of Santa Croce, and marveled at the works of Botticelli and da Vinci in the Uffizi Gallery. During that trip we vowed to return the following year and spend a week in a villa in the Tuscan countryside. We’d explore Etruscan and medieval hill towns while living the Under the Tuscan Sun lifestyle.

FINDING A VILLA “Next year” soon became three. It took two years of casual talk before we began serious research. Stay out in the country or remain close to a town? Find digs in a restored farmhouse? Rent several villas/condos built around a pool? We found many “country” villas on an Agriturismo Web site. But where are they, in what province? The site isn’t just about Tuscany, but had listings by province or commune: Siena, Umbria, Tuscany... Where to start? Two of us Florence buddies had the job of sorting and narrowing the options while another calculated the amount of money needed and the distance to TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL / SEPT 2012

travel by train and bus. We reviewed hundreds of offers in Tuscany and Umbria, and discarded many: too big, too small, too close to town, too far away from transportation, too many buildings close together. As we went about our regular work and travels, we kept searching and consulting with those who considered coming along. We always found more questions: Did we each want a bed? “Sleeps 10” means the number of people under a roof, not the number of beds. Most beds sleep two and sometimes there’s a daybed in the room. Did we each want a separate room and were we willing to pay extra for them? If we rented a villa for a month, would everyone stay for the entire four weeks? If not, we would have to match times. And what happens if some dropped out and others were stuck with a bigger share of the rent? The holiday season came and went and some people did drop out while others wanted in. We decided to establish some ground rules: Pay a $500 deposit for four weeks’ rental, $250 for two. No deposits would be refunded. Our organizer worked on money charts and bedroom charts. Finally we had six bedrooms, seven beds and seven people committed each week. A spring deposit to the owner secured the beautiful Villa Podere Sionne property. Photos showed a restored stone and brick two-story farmhouse with a pergola over the patio and a spacious cottage all set in the middle of green fields, rolling hills and vineyards. Italian cypress trees bordered the hilltop road leading to the main paved road and amenities. In mid-summer, after a few more “adjustments,” we paid the final rent balance and secured the property for September. Finally, we felt satisfied and prepared. Well, not really prepared. We had just begun. Transportation? Communication? Cooking? Cash



ABOVE: National Archeological Museum in Chiusi. RIGHT: Sienna Duomo.

(euros) for food and maid service? We rented a car that held only five people and counted on using a touring service van in Chiusi, 5 miles away, with a reasonable rate and service. Unfortunately the owner was on vacation and then “booked up” during half of our stay. Luckily we found we could take a bus from the main road to the train station, 5 miles away, then take a taxi back from there. As it turned out, we found a favorite taxi and could call (when our cell phones worked) for Aneillo, our driver, to pick us up at the villa. Aneillo took us to Cortona, Montalcino, Lucca and Assisi. We took turns with our rental car, usually on short rides, especially for groceries. The Chiusi Scala train station lies halfway between Florence and Rome and had frequent trains passing through that we took to many hill towns and the cities of Florence, Rome and Siena. One short trip involved two trains. From the train station at Orvieto, we climbed on another train, a funicular “steep rail” to get to Orvieto’s hilltop.


TUSCAN AND UMBRIAN HILL TOWNS Arezzo is one of the easiest hill towns to reach from its train station, without the long, steep, uphill climb some require. It has a wonderful, sloping main square, Piazza Grande, laid out in the 1200’s (and sinking ever since). The Piazza has 16th century Loggia di Vasari arches on the high side in front of the building that had been Vasari’s home. We saw this architectural feature in several places during our travels. Vasari designed arches to border the town square of Castiglion Fiorentino—the Loggia di Vasari, c. 1494. Its graceful arches open to an expansive view of the valley far below and hills beyond. The walls surrounding the arches hold della Robbia wreaths and coats of arms of long-ago citizens. Montepulciano, a lofty, walled hill town, sits atop an almost 2,000-foot limestone ridge. We left Chiusi on a bus, winding up and down hills of the beautiful countryside to the town’s train station area. There, small buses give visitors a ride up the steep hill to



ABOVE: Villa Podera Sionne. ABOVE, MIDDLE; a street in Montepulciano. The Villa gate and entrance to villa Arezzo Piazza Grand.

the Piazza Grande. As usual, the town square has a Duomo, this one with a di Bartolo altarpiece. Vineyards stretch out below, nature’s architecture, giving up grapes that become Montepulciano’s famous Vino Nobile. “Our town,” Chiusi, tops a hill above the Chiusi Scala train station. Chiusi was an ancient Etruscan walled city whose heyday lasted from 900 B.C. until 200 B.C. when the conquering Romans came. Beneath the Duomo in the center of Chiusi, we climbed down to ancient wells. Nearby, the city’s Etruscan museum has an abundant collection of artifacts, some from 700 B.C. On a hillside below the city, we viewed ancient Etruscan tombs. Most of us, there for the entire month, touched on more than a dozen hill towns, plus Florence and Rome—our departure city. The ramparts and walls surrounding the cities are also part of city architecture. Built to protect people in those hill towns, some were even built by the Etruscans in Cortona and Lucca. Tuscany, from later Roman times, was home to many towns surrounded by heavily fortified


walls, including fortresses and towers. We stood behind them, walked along them, and peered out at the mass of red tile rooftops down the steep slopes and into the valleys below. In Assisi, the Basilica of San Francesco (St. Francis) sits high on the hill and seems to stretch on forever. It has three levels, three sanctuaries, which include the crypt of St. Francis in the lowest sanctuary, frescoes outside and inside the middle, and 27 frescoes in the upper church that tell the stories of St. Francis. However, the hill town of Pienza stole my heart. Smaller than most hill towns, it sits high above a green valley and looks to hills beyond. Pope Pius II rebuilt Pienza, his home town, from 1459 to 1462 with his architect, Bernardo Rossellino. Its main square, Piazza Pio II holds the cathedral with paintings and frescos. The original palace, the Palazzo Piccolomini, still stands in this square, and it’s now a museum. A spectacular part of this town, which was designated a World Heritage site in 1998, is the outer terrace that runs from the church and its “hanging garden” and curves around the hilltop. Between a 3-

foot-high wall and the buildings, a walkway provides room to stroll and view the panoramic scene. Hill town Montalcino reaches for the sky at 1,800 feet and has two main distinctions. One is its wine, Brunello de Montalcino, made from sangiovese grapes grown in the region. Strict rules govern its making. If followed, it can sport the designation, DOCG, government approval. The town is watched over by La Fortezza—a fortress with a tower and ramparts that stretch out along the edge of the cliff. Inside La Fortezza you’ll see ancient walls that have been standing for 700 years, taste the Brunello wine, and then climb the rock stairs where the corridor opens onto the outside ramparts. Can you imagine the view?

VILLA LIFE Villa mates often went in different directions for day trips. Sometimes we stayed behind in the villa’s gardens to read and write about our adventures and drink wine in the warm afternoons under the pergola. Other times we’d walked the mile to the su-

permarket, the ATM and modern shops. Food was a highlight during our trip and we always ate lunches out on the road. Once a week Chef Marisa from a nearby hotel restaurant in Citi de Pieve, came to the villa to cook Sunday dinner for us. We enjoyed appetizers and wine, prima and secondi courses (once we ate wild boar), each with wine, one or two desserts with limoncello and espresso, and then, more wine—for whoever was up for it. Yes, luck did touch our group that September in Italy: to ride through the countryside in varied modes of transport; to see undulating hills of green and silver; to breathe fresh air scented by earthy fields and fresh foliage; to eat, to drink, to laugh, to appreciate life. What a dreamtime it was, that month in Umbria and Tuscany.

ABOVE: The Villa gate and entrance to villa Arezzo Piazza Grand.

Nell Raun-Linde has been published in AAA, Senior, inflight, wine and regional magazines, web magazines, as well as San Francisco Bay Area and other U.S. newspapers. She has a passion for reading, history and family. SEPT 2012 / TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL



Art, Architecture and Nightlife in

AMSTERDAM Discover museums, castles and cuisine in this forward-thinking capital of the Netherlands. Story By Marc Kassouf • Photography By S. Nathan DePetris

On my first visit to Amsterdam, I fell in love with the city and felt instantly at home, but not for what you may think. While the city’s laissez faire attitude toward marijuana and soft drugs draws many visitors, my addiction lies in its unparalleled ability to be both a large capital and a small town, simultaneously. Like all large cities, this Dutch metropolis has culture and arts galore. Yet, at the same time, it’s a walkable town with a quaint charm, a certain untranslatable Gezelligheid, that warms the heart and stirs the mind. Canals ring the city center around the river Amstel with picture-postcard row houses and ornate bridges, each with distinct architectural styles and elements to explore. The gay history of Amsterdam was not always one of tolerance, however. It’s hard to believe that this progressive and forward-thinking bastion of acceptance once hanged gay men publicly. Records detail gruesome tortures to elicit witch-trial-type confessions as late as the 1800s. It wasn’t until the hippy ’60s that the Dutch even allowed such “undesirables” to congregate privately and eventually decriminalized homosexuality. But in the decades since, the city has shone like a beacon of hope, spreading by example its ray of acceptance and solidarity worldwide.

GAY PRIDE & EVENTS Our Lord in the Attic Church at the Amstelkring Museum houses a full altar, pews, balconies and the ever-present confessional.

Amsterdam’s official Gay Pride orbits around the world-famous Canal Parade. Instead of floats driving down a road, this pride parade literally floats down the waterways of Amsterdam. Lavish displays and dozens of boats ply the canals of the city as the parade sails down its arteries. Although not a gay pride per se, the celebration of koninginnedag, the Monarch’s birthday (April 30), brings out all the guys


and gals. Gay bars and clubs have special parties that spill onto the streets, with orange beer flowing in all taps to honor the ruling House of Orange. A trip to Amsterdam isn’t complete unless we pay homage to the countless gays and lesbians persecuted and killed worldwide at the Homomonument. Located in front of the Westerkerk which is synonymous with the nearby Ann Frank house, the monument commemorates gay and lesbian lives lost during the holocaust and in decades since. A granite pink triangle, the symbol used by Nazis to brand gays in concentration camps, sits on three elements:

At the Bols museum and mixology experience, a rainbow of bottles tantalizes visitors from behind the bar.

The mint tower anchors Muntplein, Amsterdam’s epicenter.



Few tourists ever venture into the secret courtyard of the Begijnhof, nestled halfway between the Spui and Rokin Streets.

one side is on the ground, one raised up to the air, and the last jutting out into the canal such that three smaller triangles form a larger one.

FINE ARTS At the Rijksmuseum, the building itself is a masterpiece by architect Pierre Cuypers, and is undergoing renovations through 2013. This exquisite example of neogothic architecture houses some of the richest displays of fine art, including Dutch masterpieces by Rembrandt and Vermeer. Conversely, the Stedelijk museum exhibits modern art ranging from impressionists, fauvists and cubists, to contemporary: works including Matisse, Picasso and Warhol. If you’re looking for works by Van Gogh, most can be found in his namesake museum which has recently been expanded and renovated. For the eclectic seekers, consider the Amstelkring museum, also called Our Lord in the Attic. This cuTRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL / SEPT 2012

riosity of Dutch history is a Catholic church spanning the tops of three row houses, literally in the attic, and chronicles worship in hiding during the Reformation. Visit the Houseboat museum to see how barges, a common sight in Amsterdam, are converted into living spaces. Spanning mankind’s history, the Sex Museum tells the story of sex, sexuality and its representations in artifacts and art.

CULINARY ARTS When you ask the Dutch about their iconic cuisine, they point to a plethora of ethnic specialties that dot the city. Apparently there’s only one national dish: the ever-elusive Stomppot, a potato gruel of various ingredients. But, while finding Stomppot may be a challenge, there are numerous classics: French, Italian and Asian restaurants aplenty. One notable specialty cuisine is the Indonesian Rijsttafel (literally, rice table), imported during the colonial days when

A birds-eye view of Amsterdam’s heart from a typical veranda overlooking the Amstel River, as seen from the Rembrandtplein.

Dutch ships were plying the waters alongside the English, French and Spanish. This spread of dishes is served in a single course, featuring vegetables and meats spiced liberally. One of the best places for a tasty, moderate Rijsttafel is at Sampurna on the Singel, at the flower market. While in Amsterdam’s gayborhood of Reguliersdwarsstraat, head to De Kroon restaurant overlooking the Rembrandtplein for the best view. The café is more than 100 years old and sports views of the square and city beyond. Another great view is from the De L’europe Terrace café overlooking the Amstel, nearby canals, and the Blue Bridge. The Bols museum, uniquely Amsterdam, provides a mélange of history and beverage experience. There are amazing exhibits to explore and learn about the history of gin, genever and Bols company, the tour culminates with a flourishing show of mixology; you get to drink what you select to be mixed. Tip: consider

buying two tickets ahead of time as each is good for two cocktails. The Bols has some of the best quality and value in town as evidenced by the locals who come here and skip the museum but head for the bar. For a quick snack, two ubiquitous options abound: the Flams frit, or Belgian fries, are sold on virtually every corner with sauces from basic mayonnaise to more exotic flavors. Doner kebab and falafel stores dot the city as well, offering pita stuffed with lamb meat or vegetarian falafel dumplings, and side salads galore.

OTHER SIGHTS, SOUNDS AND ATTRACTIONS Coffered ceilings, gilt and old world charm abound at the Old Tuschinski theatre, just around the corner from the gay bars. No matter the movie, whether it’s “Avatar” or “The Road to Zanzibar,” this architectural gem will stimulate the senses. This is how movies should be shown, with an intermission to mingle SEPT 2012 / TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL




Castle Muiden, just minutes outside Amsterdam, enchants visitors with its fairy tale fortifications and fantastical gardens.

and grab a drink. Splurge a little when you visit, and purchase a box seat (request the front row as boxes have several rows), with the full champagne, fruit, nut and chocolate service; it’s a movie experience unmatched elsewhere. Dating back to the 1200s, the Muiderslot, or Muiden Castle, is a popular local attraction featuring fantastical fortifications, a moat and gardens. It’s less than 30 minutes out of Amsterdam’s Centraal station via public transport (see castle Web site for details), and inscribed in UNESCO’s world heritage list as part of the Defense Line of Amsterdam. As a castle connoisseur, I can honestly say that this remains one of my favorite castles, a fairy tale medieval vision come to life.

CLUBS, BARS AND NIGHTLIFE The city has a plethora of gay bars and clubs, many concentrated in two areas: Reguliersdwarsstraat and Warmoesstraat, both streets teaming with activity. The recent history of venues on Reguliersdwarsstraat is dizzying and involves one bar baron buying up gay clubs, then failing; it’s only through the efforts of the local community and government that these clubs have re-emerged (for a complete history, see ). The curTRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL / SEPT 2012

rent incarnations of all-time favorites are Bar Eve (formerly the ARC), and LudwigII (April) and the revitalized SoHo; rumor has it that Exit will re-open late summer 2012. Similarly the grungier establishment on Warmoesstraat, Cockring, has been taken over and re-introduced to the community as Club FuXXX; it’s still known for its adult parties and easy hookups. Modern and trendy with a dark industrial décor, Club FuXXX tends to draw guys with one thing on their minds. Whether in its main bar, upstairs or in the attic, hookups happen by the minute. Note that all of Amsterdam’s bars are welcoming, regardless of fetish or theme. I may not feel comfortable at a true leather bar in North America, for example, but Der Spiker, while definitely dedicated to the fetish, also felt welcoming to the average guy. Thermos Sauna Amsterdam is by far one of the most lavish multi-level gay saunas in the world. Along with what you’d expect, it also has a full bar, hair salon, spa and restaurant all under one roof (though the locals’ warnings about the restaurant food was so severe I’ve never tried it). A relaxed atmosphere during the day attracts an after-work stud crowd, college jocks and the tourists who admire them. Unlike the ladies of the red light district, the boys,

Beautiful canals and row houses blanket Amsterdam and the Dutch countryside.

while present, are not displayed so boldly in windows. It’s rumored that, while the Dutch people and government were ambivalent to the idea of equal opportunity for the boys to work in the red light menageries, too many tourists (probably the same ones oogling the ladies) complained about having scantily clad men on display. So if you want to see a working boy, or have a drink or chat, you’ll have to find one of the few private clubs and get buzzed in. Once past the cloak-and-dagger routine to enter, it’s actually quite a pleasant and unique atmosphere. Two reputable clubs, established and licensed, are the Blue Boy and “Y,” both near the central station.

ACCOMMODATIONS AND LOGISTICS When I visit the city, I usually stay at the Golden Bear Hotel, a three-star gay B&B mostly with shared (and some private) baths. While the décor may be Spartan, the location, comfortable duvet beds, and cooked-to-order breakfast can’t be beat for the price. For a menu of accommodation options, Eden Hotels Group offers six three-star and four-star hotels strategically located throughout Amsterdam. All Eden hotels in the city and the Golden Bear are members of IGLTA (International Gay & Lesbian

Travel Association), a testimony of their commitment to catering to gay and lesbian guests.

TRAINS AND TRAMS From airport to city, visitors should take the train. Even if you plan to grab a cab when you get to the city’s central station, taking a train from the airport is easier than finding your flight’s gate. Follow signs outside security and passport control to the central terminal area, where huge tunnel-like ramps lead down to the train concourse. Outside are bright yellow schedules showing which platforms will have the next train, based on the time of day, and it’s as easy as boarding the first train with “Amsterdam Centraal” displayed. Tickets can be purchased from kiosks or a ticket window. The short train ride is not only pleasant, but also the most efficient way to get to the city center. Once at the central station, another architectural gem designed by Pierre Cuypers, you can take a tram to virtually anywhere in this small-big-city. If you skipped the tram and cabbed-it with your luggage, you should seriously consider taking the tram for hops around the city’s attractions. Passes can be purchased both outside the station, near tourist attraction hubs, and at stores displaying “VVV” signs. SEPT 2012 / TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL

Windmills dot the shoreline of polders at Zaanse Schans village, Holland.

IF YOU GO IGLTA ( Air Berlin ( Dutch Railway ( Amsterdam Gay Pride ( UitBuro ( Homomonument ( Lord in the Attic Museum ( Sex Museum ( Amsterdam History Museum ( Begijnhof ( Sampurna Restaurant ( De Kroon CafĂŠ ( Special Bite ( Ludwig II Bar ( Bar Eve ( TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL / SEPT 2012

Gay Area, Reguliers St. ( Club Fuxxx ( Thermos Sauna ( Castle Muiden ( UNESCO World Heritage ( Tuschinski Theatre ( Golden Bear Hotel ( Eden Hotels ( Writer Marc Kassouf has traveled to more than three dozen countries, lived on four continents, and sailed on more than sixty cruises. He owns an award-winning travel agency and has published instructive articles for travel agents. A collection of his articles can be found at



Take A Journey to the

WAYFARERS CHAPEL A journey off the beaten path leads to a spiritual retreat nestled within the luxurious canopy of majestic redwoods. By Dan Christopher

Like a dazzling diamond that almost

The natural surroundings have been incorporated in the architectural design of this landmark retreat. PHOTO: DAN CHRISTOPHER

takes your breath away, the multi-faceted Wayfarers Chapel is a glistening architectural gem set on a meticulously groomed knoll overlooking the foamy surf of the Pacific Ocean. Partially hidden from the view of passing motorists, the crystal-like chapel is a delightful surprise for those who take time to seek it out. A gentle stroll up the hillside from the parking lot rewards you with unexpected natural treasures. There is good reason to suggest that the chapel’s airy design was influenced by pioneering architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It’s a family matter. Constructed mostly of glass draped over looming redwood arches,

the intimate and angular sanctuary in Rancho Palos Verdes, in Southern California, is a window open to the heavens. It is open daily to visitors of all denominations and serves as a national memorial to 18th century scientist, philosopher and religious reformer Emanuel Swedenborg. It is elegant in its simplicity, featuring a stone altar that rises above honey-colored pews that seat only 100. This inspired oasis retains a modern design, though it was actually opened back in 1951, a creation of Lloyd Wright, son of Frank Lloyd Wright and an architect in his own right. The chapel design epitomizes “organic architecture,” a term created by the elder Wright.





Today, the organic design philosophy, which integrates ecology, social responsibility and beauty, is carried on by The Wright Way Organic Resource Center in Malibu, founded by grandson and architect Eric Lloyd Wright. He had apprenticed under both father and grandfather, and like them pursued architecture of function, form and minimal environmental impact. Towering redwoods that stand like protective sentries just outside the Wayfarers Chapel are as much a part of the spiritual design as the edifice itself. Lloyd Wright is quoted as saying: “I wanted particularly to allow those trees and those trunks to be seen and the space beyond and into infinity to be observed, so those who sat in the sanctuary would perceive the grandeur of space out beyond and around them.” Chapel administrator, Rev. Harvey Tafel, told me that Wright’s “tree chapel was genius…in creating a sacred space that allows visitors to sit and contemplate and pray and feel a sense of the presence of God.” Each year, the chapel is visited by 400,000 people, many for Sunday services, weddings, baptisms or services of remembrance. The open and welcoming Wayfarers Chapel seems to TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL / SEPT 2012

fully embrace the concepts of the builder and the teachings of the Swedenborgian Church, which dates back to 1787 London and has since become global. Its declared mission is to encourage inquiry, respect for differences and acceptance of other traditions of life and religion. Founder Emanuel Swedenborg said, “All religion relates to life, and the life of religion is to do good.” “It’s a Protestant denomination,” Rev. Tafel told me, “with a forward-moving kind of theology and belief system.” As for the chapel, he says, when visitors become attuned to the surroundings, they will always want to come back.” Wayfarers Chapel is located 20 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. For more information, visit: Dan Christopher is an award-winning professional photographer and a veteran broadcast journalist well known throughout the Pacific Northwest. During his extraordinary 40-year career in television news in Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington market, Dan worked as a news anchor, reporter, producer and writer. Now, Dan is very pleased to be devoting his talents full-time to photography, a craft he truly loves.


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World-renowned for sea kayaking, orca whale watching and a thriving arts scene, the San Juans are just a 30-45 minute scenic flight from Seattle or a ferry cruise through an archipelago. They enjoy a climate unique in the Pacific Northwest, with about half the rain of its neighbors. Growing trends include culinary tourism and multiexperiential tours.

Come discover Albany; New York’s historic Capital City on the banks of the mighty Hudson River! Albany has enticed visitors for 400 years with historic sites, fabulous attractions, family friendly amenities and entertaining events. World-class museums, unique galleries, stunning architecture, delicious cuisine and welcoming accommodations ensure your experience is legendary.

Old-Québec tells of its 400 years of history through its narrow winding streets. With French notes in the air, one feels transported into a European feel. Bistros serve “Café au lait” and boutiques offer local artisans work of art. The unparalleled quality of restaurants put Québec on a pedestal for exquisite cuisine. Outdoor enthusiasts are impressed with the variety of activities available.

ALASKA Sitka Convention and Visitors Bureau 907-747-5940

ARKANSAS Fort Smith Convention & Visitors Bureau (479) 783-8888

Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau 800-844-4781

ARIZONA Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau 602-452-6250

CALIFORNIA Big Bear Lake Resort Association 909-866-6190

Long Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Palm Springs 760-322-8425

San Mateo County/Silicon Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau 800-288-4748

KENTUCKY Buffalo Trace Distillery 800-654-8471

Bowling Green Area Convention & Visitors Bureau 1-800-326-7465

COLORADO Glenwood Springs




FLORIDA Visit St. Pete/Clearwater

LOUISIANA Shreveport-Bossier Convention & Tourist Bureau



St. Augustine and Ponte Vedra 904.829.1711

ILLINOIS City of Chicago 312-744-2390

MICHIGAN Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau 517-377-1423

NEVADA Destination Henderson Nevada


INDIANA Brown County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Napa Valley Wine Train


Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority

Oliver Winery



Nevada Commission on Tourism


Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau 626-395-0211 TRAVELWORLD INTERNATIONAL / SEPT 2012






In the heart of Southern Kentucky, Bowling Green is a bustling city treasuring its smalltown heritage. Rev up your sense of adventure at the National Corvette Museum or discover more than sweets at the Duncan Hines Exhibit. Exciting roller coasters, raceways and an underground boat tour are blended with the charm of nearly 100 historic register listings and family-fun farms.

In Oklahoma, you’ll find hospitality around every corner. We’re situated at the crossroads of the nation, where Southern hospitality goes hand-in-hand with solid Midwestern values; where the don’t-quit attitude of the Old West combines with a sophistication you would expect only in big cities back East. We are a one-of-a-kind state with something for everyone. Discover the nation's most diverse terrain and the ultimate in outdoor adventures.

Fort Smith was a town on the edge of the nation in the late 1800's; the last stop at civilization before entering Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) and the lawlessness that lay ahead. Today, Fort Smith embraces and celebrates its Wild West heritage and preserves the memories of those rough 'n tumble times.

NEW BRUNSWICK, CANADA New Brunswick Parks & Recreation (506) 444-5122

Lake Erie Shores & Islands 800-255-3743

Valley Forge Convention & Visitors Bureau (610) 834-7990

Positively Cleveland New Brunswick Tourism & Parks 1-800-561-0123

NEW YORK Albany, An Amazing Discovery


Tuscarawas County Convention & Visitors Bureau

QUÉBEC, CANADA Québec City and Area 418-641-6654


RHODE ISLAND The Newport & Bristol County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation

OKLAHOMA Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau




South County Tourism Council

Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce

Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Dept.





TENNESEE Cherohala Skyway National Scenic Byway

Ulster County Tourism

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NORTH CAROLINA Outer Banks Visitors Bureau 877-629-4386

OHIO Greater Licking County Convention and Visitors Bureau 740.345.8224


OREGON Lincoln City Visitor and Convention Bureau 541-996-1271

PENNSYLVANIA Delaware County's Brandywine Conference & Visitors Bureau

VIRGINIA Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau 757-385-6645

WASHINGTON San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau 360-378-6822

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TravelWorld International: Arts & Architecture Travel Sept 2012  
TravelWorld International: Arts & Architecture Travel Sept 2012  

Arts and Architecture Issue: TravelWorld International Magazine. Travel where the experts love to go. From Philly, With Art. Taliesin West....