San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

San Miguel Allende VW Bug

Alarm A Mexican hotel room in the dark. 5 AM. I snap awake. Loud bangs, like sprays of gunfire, echo through the city streets. Uh oh, what was that? I’m lying on my beck in bed, next to my wife. She’s stirring. I fumble around for my iphone and find it. My face is glowing white in its light as I check Twitter to find out what’s going on. San Miguel de Allende is full of tourists—surely someone is asking the […]

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The NFL in London

London Eye

Traveling overseas with an infant is a lot easier than you’d think. Aside from lugging the baby carriage around, all you have to do is feed him and watch him sleep. Wait, I’m getting the sense that my wife would disagree. We took our 3 month-old son on a family trip to London recently. His memories of the trip have surely been erased from his rapidly forming neural pathways, but we think he had a good time.  Dean has me […]

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Norway

Myrdal train station

Emily and I spent last week in Norway, visiting the cities of Oslo and Bergen and the fjords of the country’s west coast. Oslo We began our trip in Oslo, Norway’s capital and largest city. We had a few hours to burn before checking into our hotel so we took a walk down to the harbor nearby to explore, waking ourselves up with some stiff Norwegian coffee. The harbor’s main attraction is Aker Brygge, a neighborhood occupying a former industrial […]

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Amalfi Coast

Positano Italy beach

No, I’m not on the Amalfi Coast, unfortunately. I’m stuck at home in Washington DC in a huge blizzard on its way delivering us 2.5 feet of snow. So in an attempt to get away from my TV, I’ve decided to write a blog post about a trip I took several years ago with my wife and her family to the Amalfi Coast in southern Italy. I was looking at the pictures the other day and thought that I should […]

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Hidden No More: The Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art

The exterior of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art

If you’re planning a trip to Tehran you should consider spending a few hours at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (TMOCA). Built by the Shah’s wife Fara Palavi in 1977, two years before the revolution, TMOCA is a holdover from Iran’s pre-Ayatollah days. The museum’s collection is estimated to be worth over $3 billion. Sadly most of its works have remained hidden from the public for the past forty years, not because the museum lacks wall space but because […]

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A Food Tour of Iran

Isfahan bazaar spices

It’s a shame that America’s relationship with Iran is still in the dumps after all these years. There is a food universe over there just waiting to be discovered.  I recently returned from a culinary tour through Iran, visiting food workshops, bazaars, and having meals at the homes of Iranian families. I enjoyed a variety of foods foreign to my palate and discovered a new world of cooking possibilities. My journey cut a path through the central part of Iran, […]

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Iran Part 3: Into Tehran

Milad Tower Tehran

This post follows Part 2: The Heart of Persia Kashan and Qom Kashan, a city of of a quarter of a million people halfway between Isfahan and Tehran, has a enchanting bazaar and several centuries-old merchants homes that have been converted into traditional hotels and restaurants. I made the mistake of choosing a highly-rated but modern hotel on the outskirts of town, so missed out on the chance to to stay at one of these beautiful homes with courtyard gardens, […]

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Iran Part 2: The Heart of Persia

Yazd islamic art

This post follows Part 1: Testing the Persian Waters Yazd While Yazd, a city of over 1 million people in central Iran, has all the trappings of a modern metropolis, its old quarter is almost 2,000 year old and contains hundreds of mud brick buildings. In fact, it doesn’t look that much different from Tatooine, the desert city in the first Star Wars. Through this maze of yellow buildings run winding alleyways that cut like veins though the city. These […]

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Iran Part 1: Testing the Persian waters

Shiraz Nasir-ol-Molk stained glass

So this was Iran. It was 3am, and I was in a dark cab alongside a driver with two word of English in his vocabulary, driving me in complete silence through the dark streets of Shiraz. Thirty years of animus, amplified by unending media coverage, has led us to believe that Iran is our enemy. Maybe they are. I don’t know, but things are seeming to warm up a bit. That’s why I went. I wanted to see Iran for […]

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American travel to Iran: The most up-to-date information

Qur'an Gate in Shiraz

Iran is a beautiful country with an unfortunate image problem that prevents many Americans from even considering it as a vacation destination. That is too bad. Iran has a lot to offer: warm and welcoming people, ancient ruins, about 20 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, exotic foods, and a rich culture going back many thousands of years. I just returned from a 10 day trip to Iran and wanted to share the latest (December 2015) practical information for an American to […]

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