Happy Lebron-starts-for-the-Lakers Day everyone! A momentous day, hopefully an auspicious one. There’s been a drought not only in Southern California’s water reserves, but in winning seasons for our Showtime squad and that just will not do. We were obviously spoiled by the Kobe era.
And if that weren’t enough, the Dodgers play the Brewers tomorrow to win the NL pennant race! Because everyone loves October baseball…let’s continue the series of NLCS/ALCS cities with LA! We goin’ back to Cali, Cali, Cali…
Vietnam is one of the most popular places in the world to travel, probably because it has everything: culture, art, delicious food, natural beauty, miles upon miles of beaches, history, welcoming people, hospitality and above all else, affordability. You can live like a king on a moderate budget, every dollar goes super far here, while not sacrificing quality.
When traveling to Vietnam, you’re going to want to traverse the entire country, as there are unique landscapes, disparate culture and people throughout. Even though it’s a smallish country, citizens from each region are very proud of their own distinct communities, from food to style and everything in between. Just don’t get into a debate about who invented pho…there’s no winning with that one (it was the northerners ;).
The south of Vietnam is a great place to start. Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) is the country’s largest city by population. The history of this city is rich, from its origin after Vietnamese conquered Khmer area, to the capital of French colonial rule to the then doomed epicenter of the Republic of Vietnam. Because of the timeline of all sorts of different influences, the city is a mishmash of architectural styles.
Above all else, this is probably the epicenter of the future of Vietnam, with skyscrapers sprouting up everywhere and a population that is projected to be near 15 million in the next few years. Not as cramped as Hanoi, this area is certainly still very crowded with motorbikes and people teeming into the streets every which way…and it’s ever changing.
blink and you’ll miss saigon
Austria is one of those fly under the radar countries. Like, in the way that it’s surprising you don’t hear about how amazing it is all the time. Because you should. Because it truly is.
Especially it’s capital and largest city, Vienna or Wien (they speak German here). Not Ween, that’s an alt-rock band. This is a European city: there’s sprawling boulevards, a backdrop of rolling hills and mountainous terrain, miles of shoreline along the Danube river, awe-inspiring art, stunning Roman and Baroque architecture, amazing food, interesting if not dubious history (umm home of Freud, Hitler and Lenin?), innovation and culture, and…it’s the
sound city of music.
plan your travel soon because vienna waits for you
Phoenix is hot.
Literally and figuratively. Phoenix has been one America’s fastest growing cities over the years, and it seemingly hosts every major sporting event possible (BCS bowl games, Super Bowl, Final Four, etc) because of its world class stadiums and ample hotel facilities. No doubt it’s in part by having the tony suburb of Scottsdale and college towns of Tempe and Glendale nearby adding to its metropolitan area mix.
The capital of Arizona, Phoenix is your perfect desert getaway for a weekend, that’s why so many snowbirds head south to Phoenix, especially in the winter. And for the rest of us: there’s spas, shopping, golf and fabulous chain restaurants. Jk there’s obviously great local stuff including a rich art and cultural scene (so many murals!).
phoenix is rising
I’m one of these weird people who visits Las Vegas and doesn’t really spend much time near the Strip.
I know, I know — what’s the point right?
Well…I prefer to lose my money in different ways than gambling (see: shopping), I have family in the city, and I’ve left my clubbing days where they belong…back in my twenties. And honestly? The locals’ Las Vegas is cool AF (except when it is literally scorching hot outside), there’s so much to offer visitors and natives alike.
And there’s so many big events in Vegas all year round, like this weekend’s Life is Beautiful Music & Arts Festival. And really, in Sin City, there is no lack of feeling that life is grand. It’s a city of hopes and possibilities. After the tragedy last year at Route 91, Las Vegans showed they are truly a strong community, and that they’re resilient and proud.
Obviously, if you’ve never been to Vegas before or if you’re there for some sort of celebratory shenanigans, by all means, strip ’til you drip. See: the Hangover. But as a warning, don’t sleep on the other parts of the city because you’ll be missing out on delicious ethnic eats from all corners of the world, arts and design rivaling any coastal cities, and architectural and natural delights all around.
Viva Las Vegas!
When I was in fourth grade, one of the books required for reading was called The Trumpeter of Krakow. This was a tale of persecution, crystals and alchemy, a haunting brass pronouncement, and arson. Things that every child should learn about.
Flash forward some years, who’d have thunk I’d be standing in the middle of Pope John Paul II’s hometown, staring at that very tower where the Trumpeter was murdered?
Not 10 year old me, that’s for sure.
Poland is one of those former Eastern Bloc countries that typically flies under the radar, which I guess is a good thing for them because it’s not yet completely overrun by tourists. I really loved visiting it, from the metropolitan and bustling capital Warsaw to the low key and casual Krakow. Of course, there is a very storied history of this country because of role as the incendiary event of WWII (when the Germans invaded) which then lead to them being occupied by USSR from then until the end of the Cold War in 1989. Lots of history. Don’t sleep on Poland, I guarantee you it will be one of Europe’s must visit destinations in the next few years.
As I spent a lot of this Labor Day weekend watching the US Open, I got serious green tennis ball colored envy. I need to go to Flushing, NY stat (my friend goes every year, I have no excuse). I mean, what a perfect way to spend a long weekend, exploring the last few days of summer in the city and then enjoying Primetime tennis! Until I make it there, all I can do is dream of past New York adventures.
concrete jungle where dreams are made.
The country lost one of its foremost American war heroes this week, Senator John McCain. A POW during the Vietnam War, he continued to serve his country after returning home, both in Congress and in the Senate, representing the state of Arizona.
here’s to home, RIP
Florence is the Renaissance city of all Renaissance cities. Sitting in the cradle of the Tuscan region, Firenze is the locale that probably best encapsulates all of which Italy is known. It’s a delightful mix of old world and modern Italy, with its cobblestone streets juxtaposed with industry and high fashion. There is more art than you’ll know what to do with and the food and culture is spectacular. Take a poll of people who have been to Italy, and I think 8/10 will say Florence is their favorite. There’s a reason for that, it’s an enchanting, captivating place.
the dog days are over…
Edinburgh is the perfect city for a day trip/long layover…especially during the month of August, when the city celebrates its nearly month-long creative arts and entertainment based Fringe Festival.
Even if you’re not visiting for the Fringe benefits (see what I did there?), it’s manageable, transit is well planned and there’s a lot to see and do in a small area. For being a smaller capital city, Edinburgh’s history is just so rich and jam packed with notable figures and events. Just don’t be like me and not realize that they use British pounds instead of Euros. Doh.