Posted: Saturday, January 3, 2015
Our first full day in Moscow began, appropriately enough, at the Kremlin, where we saw some of its amazing treasures—including eighteenth-century carriages and tsars' thrones—and had a private tour of the lavish, nineteenth-century Grand Kremlin Palace. (We didn't run into President Putin!)
Posted: Thursday, January 1, 2015
New Year's Eve is one of the most popular holidays in Russia, and Saint Petersburg was decorated with "New Year's trees" and lights in anticipation of the evening's celebrations. Our group spent the evening at the annual Tsar's Ball in Catherine the Great's palace in Tsarskoe Selo (now part of the town of Puskin). As we arrived in black-tie and ball gowns, they greeted us with a military brass band and literally rolled out the red carpet over the snow.
Posted: Wednesday, December 31, 2014
We have enjoyed extraordinary access to the city's rich cultural offerings—from early entry into the State Hermitage Museum (where we had the staterooms and galleries to ourselves to explore without the usual crowds), to a performance of The Nutcracker at the Mariinsky Theatre, the very stage on which it premiered in 1892. Our day has been full of masterpieces, from da Vinci to Matisse, with a few imperial Fabergé eggs added for good measure!
Posted: Monday, December 29, 2014
Our Russian winter adventure began in Saint Petersburg in late December—one of the most magical and festive times of the year, and one the Russians call the "White Days."
Posted: Thursday, December 11, 2014
Our driver in Panama City told us that as recently as five years ago, most of the city didn't have stoplights. There just weren't enough cars to require more than stop signs at intersections.
Posted: Wednesday, December 10, 2014
The Museo del Oro (Gold Museum) in Bogotá should be a model for any art institution in the world, from the largest and most prestigious to the small and local. Coherently and poetically, it tells the story of this prestigious material from the perspective of its meaning to the multiple indigenous tribes that have lived in the territory we now know as Colombia, and that in some cases continue to thrive today throughout the country's diverse regions.
Posted: Tuesday, December 9, 2014
With rich and fertile soil, a lack of seasons, and two coasts, the food here in Colombia is spectacular. Ripe, local fruit is everywhere—including mangoes, guavas, bananas, and plums—as are the arepas: a plump and tasty bundle of cornmeal, butter, and salt that is either filled or mixed with white cheese and then fried or broiled.
Posted: Sunday, December 7, 2014
I had been looking forward to visiting the Bogotá home of textile artist Olga de Amaral, whose work can be found in the Met's collection; however, little did any of us know just how great our visit would be. Not only did we meet the artist herself, we also met her family—her husband, Jim (a prolific sculptor himself), as well as their two daughters and their son.
Posted: Saturday, December 6, 2014
Our trip across Colombia and Panama began in Cartagena—a Caribbean city on the northeast coast of Colombia, where the tropical air hit our skin as soon as we arrived. Our hotel, a former convent in the heart of the Old City, is steps away from the famous San Pedro Claver Church, where we began our first walking tour.
Posted: Saturday, September 13, 2014
With a cultural heritage that spans world civilization from prehistoric to contemporary times, Turkey is home to some very important museums. In the past week, we've seen some of the top Turkish museums, including the recently reopened Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara, which we visited on a day trip when traveling from Cappadocia to Istanbul.