All posts filed under: Second-Time Travel

Snow & Steam — A Couple’s Tour of Iceland

(Photo: Courtesy Lauren Oster) I saw Iceland for the first time in a friend’s photo: she and her rock-star girlfriend were luxuriating in a pearlescent hot spring surrounded by snowdrifts and billowing steam, explorers on a magnificent alien planet. My husband and I finally explored those hot springs and snowdrifts for ourselves five years ago, and we promptly fell in love with them; we went back two years ago, and we’re planning to go again next winter. We try to play it cool by alternating trips to Iceland with trips to other countries, but the truth is that we daydream about moving there. “Iceland” is a misnomer, and a deliberate one at that: the Vikings gave it a nasty-sounding name to trick other Scandinavians into steering clear of it and settling instead in “Greenland” (which actually is kind of a frozen hellscape). Iceland is green, gorgeous, and breezy in the summer, and temperatures in the spring and fall hover around what you’d expect in New York City, though the daily mini-seasons, when storms blow in …

Dublin, Take Two: A Writer Revisits the Emerald Isle

The first time I took a whack at Dublin, I was working as an assistant in my first job after college. The second, I was an established travel writer “on holiday” with my then-boyfriend. There are some things that remained the same: the nippy weather, the reliable Guinness pours, the warm, amiable charm of the Irish people. But being able to go and do it “the proper way” this time — staying at a hotel instead of a six-to-a-bed mixed hostel room — gave me a whole new perspective on the city. Where to Stay The Shelbourne. It’s hard to get more central than St. Stephens Green, and this hotel wins not only for convenience but for cozy-yet-luxe accommodations. It was built in 1842, but the old-world charm melds nicely with modern conveniences. Paintings by local Irish artists hang in hallways and common areas and the spa is perfect when you need a warm sauna at the end of a cold day. Dylan Hotel. If it’s a more boutique-y feel you’re after, The Dylan is a laid-back hotel …

The Slightly More Secret Side of Paris

There is nothing better than walking around Paris, wherever your feet take you, stopping at cafés, either with your better half, in love, or by yourself, in love with the city. You’ve likely got a list of things you daydream about seeing or returning to. If you don’t, the guidebooks will send you to the Louvre for the Mona Lisa and the Raft of the Medusa, up la Tour Eiffel and down into the Catacombs, all wonderful and all places you should visit first. But here’s a slightly more secret list — the hidden Paris that you might have overlooked on your first visit. Visit Atelier Brancusi Constantin Brancusi’s studio, remounted in a purpose-built building designed by Renzo Piano, and hidden to the side of the plaza at the Centre Pompidou. Have lunch or tea at Ladurée in St. Germain de Prés This is the best location of a wonderful chain of patisseries. Ask to sit upstairs in the deep blue salon. Order a sandwich or salad followed by an assortment of macaroons, or just order …

7 Tips for the Perfect Trip to Kauai

Our summer home is on the north shore of Kauai. Ok, that’s not true. My husband and I don’t own a beach house. We don’t have plans to buy a beach house, Mega Millions windfall notwithstanding. We’ve never even stayed in Kauai for more than two consecutive weeks. But, through 5 visits in 10 years, Kauai has become our favorite place. Travel nirvana. We have mastered the art of “power decompressing” on this lush little dot in the Pacific and, truly, sometimes achingly, feel it’s a home away from home. If you’ve been to Kauai (probably on your honeymoon) you very likely: Stayed at the St. Regis Princeville resort, drank Green Flash cocktails on the Makana Terrace, got a couples massage. Spent at least one full day driving all over the island ticking off the requisite Must Do’s, including standing in the hour-long Ono-Char Burger line and sampling each of the island’s 15 most pristine beaches for approximately 10 minutes apiece. Went to a luau. Took lots of pictures with pretty scenery in the background. …

A Music Journalist’s Go-To Spots in London

While known for its legendary performances, sticky floors and the place made famous by The Who poster, the Marquee Club will be forever remembered as the spot I met my UK BFF Katrina Kelly. We met in the graffiti’d dressing room after a show for a band we loved, Twenty Flight Rockers. Katrina was dating the guitarist Ian, while I was seeing the drummer, Mark. It was 1986, my summer abroad, and when I wasn’t in class or interning for Melody Maker, Katrina and I were inseparable. I was 19 and she was 22, and we were living on a stretched budget in the Kensington section of London. We lived for record release parties, gallery openings, guest lists, concerts and free drinks. We knew a ton of doormen, bartenders and musicians. Fast-forward 28 years and our tastes have matured and our wallets are a bit little fuller. Katrina and I still love being together in London, but we experience it with more sophistication. Since 2010, I’ve been visiting London regularly for my job, so I’ve …

Second-Time Travel: Santorini, Greece

I love the Mediterranean Sea. Ever since I visited for the first time as a high school foreign exchange student, summer has never felt the same without a trip to this part of the world. The brilliant sunshine, chill attitude of the locals, delicious food and long summer nights are my idea of paradise. A visit to Greece is a magnificent way to experience the Mediterranean. The amazing cliffside architecture is a marvel — the dizzying, white washed buildings glitter brilliantly at different times of day. (Given the rocky terrain, it’s not for young children.) Find a favored travel partner who is comfortable just relaxing and appreciating the scenery, or visit on your own. The breathtaking views, delicious food and warm Greek hospitality make it hard to leave. Since a flight transfer from Athens is essential, spend a couple of extra days in one of civilization’s capitals to see history for yourself. Where to Stay This is the most important decision of your trip. Every part of the island is beautiful, and it is possible …

Second-Time Travel: Bermuda

One of the best things that I’ve discovered about living on the Eastern Seaboard is that Bermuda is only a short 90-minute flight from most of its major cities. Depending on the season’s flight schedule, one can be up at dawn and on a Bermuda beach by noon. (This is far faster than battling it out in Montauk or planning 18 months in advance for a summer share.) The warm balmy weather, crystal blue water, gorgeous scenery, impeccably polite locals and delicious cuisine all beckon. Bermuda is an easy-going place where one can swim, snorkel, dive, hike, sail, golf and find many other enjoyable ways to pass the time. The evenings are Hollywood-perfect with just the right amount of humidity and breeze for dining al fresco followed by a moonlit walk as the tiny tree frogs serenade you. From the moment one spots the tiny island with the multi-colored houses from the plane, Bermuda is instantly relaxing. Over the past several years, my husband and I (and, now, our toddler son as well) have been …

Second-Time Travel: Al Fresco in Miami

Every year, at the peak of winter, I leave New York to spend a week in Miami. It’s not a vacation; I work virtually, continuing my daily routine as if I was in the office. I just move my office south. It’s one of those few benefits I gained from going to the University of Miami: I can discuss football at great length, I’ve mastered (and since given up) the fine art of tanning, and I have a number of friends who remained in Miami — with guest rooms. I can tell by the way my colleagues air-quote “working” that they assume I’m on South Beach, taking conference calls from the chaise while sipping a mojito. But I’m nowhere near the beach. For me, being in Miami is simply about being outside, where the only layers I need are SPF. And then, I rarely go out during the day. I look forward to the evenings, dining al fresco and enjoying the fact that I’m not trudging through snow. And I have that mojito. Even then, …