A short weekend in Philadelphia

The excellent Philadelphia skyline

When my mother-in-law invited me and my wife up to Philadelphia to visit a couple of art museums, I jumped on the opportunity. Philadelphia has wonderful a skyline, great examples of colonial Georgian architecture, cobblestones streets, and world-class museums. We stayed at the Loews Philadelphia, which would be the perfect location but for the huge collection of downright mentally ill people wandering the streets nearby. I saw one guy swearing and punching the air in front of him as he […]

» Read more

Southern Utah’s rugged beauty at Amangiri

The American Southwest is one of the most beautiful places on earth. It’s majestic and ancient, a time capsule of sand and rock. There aren’t many places like it in the world. I’m just back from a short trip to southern Utah, where we stayed at Amangiri (part of the Aman hotel group), a hotel nestled in a valley between orange, red, and grey mesas as tall as a skyscraper. There are a bunch of activities to choose from at the hotel, like […]

» Read more

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 […]

» Read more

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 […]

» Read more

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, […]

» Read more

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, […]

» Read more

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 […]

» Read more

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 […]

» Read more

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 […]

» Read more

Rediscovering Persia: Iran awaits

Amir Chakhmaq Complex

Iran, former member of the “Axis of Evil” and a country still deeply mistrusted by the United States, is not generally known by Americans to be a tourist destination. The Islamic revolution of 1979 and the subsequent hostage-taking at the U.S. embassy in Tehran basically killed that idea. But those of you who follow the news have probably seen that there has been a warming of relations (however small) between the two countries as of late. These developments got me […]

» Read more
1 2 3 4 9