Postcard from Paris

Postcard from Paris

  I wouldn’t want to say that French trains and I don’t get along, but certainly our relationship has had something of the hit-or-miss about it. The first miss occurred before I even boarded a train. A Rail Europe agent had crowed about the ease of using an electronic...
Americans in Paris: Not Enough of ‘Em

Americans in Paris: Not Enough of ‘Em

The absence of tourists unsettled by the recent terrorist attacks makes this an excellent time to visit to the City of Light. ‘They must be right,’ I said. ‘The official word is that tourism’s down twenty percent, and it certainly looks it.’ I was talking to Valerie...
NOT LONG ENOUGH AT THE FAIR

NOT LONG ENOUGH AT THE FAIR

  Ever been to a trade show? If so, you know they’re oppressive: they reek of relentless deal-making; of order forms, checkbooks, credit cards and PayPal, with Apple Pay soon to join. Buyers and sellers seem to have few interests beyond prices and delivery dates,...
Venice Drinking

Venice Drinking

The truism “you can’t get a bad meal in Italy” takes a beating in Venice, sad to say. Venice scores low in fine dining, and it’s inevitable. Ninety-nine percent of visitors have one meal and never return, and that doesn’t inspire restaurateurs to always do their best....
That Sinking Feeling

That Sinking Feeling

In which our Far-Flung Correspondent heads for Venice for the world’s greatest muscle-powered nautical event: the Vogalonga.   Four decades ago in a galaxy far, far away—that is to say, Venice, which is, yes, in Italy, but no, not of this world—Toni Rosa Salva was fed...
Not Enough Time in Padua

Not Enough Time in Padua

  Alliteration conjures treasures in the Veneto. Venice, Verona, Vicenza come readily to mind, and a fourth joins them in an old folkloric rhyme:   Veneziani, gran signori; Padovani, gran dottori; Vicentini, mangia gatti; Veronesi, tutti matti.   Freely translated, it...
Souvenirs of Languedoc

Souvenirs of Languedoc

text and photos ©2011 by Bill Marsano Languedoc-Roussillon is almost invariably short-changed. It’s blessed by lovely, lively Nîmes and dramatically walled Carcassone, but Provence just across the Rhone gleams with Avignon, Arles and Aix, with gritty Marseille and...