Wednesday, August 25, 2010

10 Things I've Learned about New Orleans

1) There is such a thing as humidity so thick you can cut it with a knife.
2) Beignets are good but overrated. Cafe au lait on the other hand...
3) Rue Bourbon doesn't have much of a nightlife during the week.
4) A/C is an absolute must during the summer.
5) People really do talk like Cajuns.
6) I am as much in love with all things Parisan as ever.
7) Venetian masks are best purchased in Venice. They lose their charm in the States.
8) The Mississippi is prettier in Iowa.
9) Staying in the French Quarter is an absolute must.
10) I plan to come back one day! (hopefully, with Adam!)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Velodrome d'hiver

I'm sure most of you know I love to read, however it seems the only time I have to truly lose myself in a book is while traveling. So, on my latest airline adventure I grabbed one of my newest acquisitions, Sarah's Key. Its World War II storyline proved to be a natural attention grabber, and I eagerly settled into what I hoped would be a riveting tale. I was not disappointed. While technically a work of fiction, the book is based on the mass arrest of Parisian Jews known as the Vélodrome d’hiver. In short, over 13,000 Jews were arrested over a two day period (July 16-17, 1942) and sent to the notorious Auschwitz concentration camp. This was not the only time the Vichy regime conducted a mass round-up of Jews, however, "this event is particular for a number of reasons, foremost being its scale. Because they had not developed the reflex of hiding, women and children were this time involved. The action was part of the vast deportation plan of European Jews...The Vél’ d’hiv’ Round-up was a concrete case of execution of the Final Solution."

I don't want to give too much away, but let me just say that as often happens with historical works of fiction, Sarah's Key introduced me to an event I knew little about prompting further research on the part of this historian. And in a Sophie's Choicesque ending that is both heart wrenching and unforgettable, the horror of a past genocide and its present day impact bring the story -and the reader- full circle.

Friday, August 6, 2010

TravelLog: Manhattan, NY

Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, you read that right. For third time since November 2009 I am flying to New York City. However, this time instead of visiting my best friend (who, I'm happy to say, is back in my neck of the woods!!) and automatically having a place to stay, I became intimately acquainted with the majority of hotels located in Manhattan. And let me tell you, there are hundreds to choose from. You can imagine the fun I had. Anyway, I'm going with two friends, one of whom has never been to New York City. Should be oodles of fun introducing her to one of my favorite places.

What's on our agenda?

Sunday: Lady Liberty & Ellis Island

Monday: Metropolitan Museum of Art

Tuesday: Broadway musical!

Misc: I also want to finally visit Strawberry Fields, tour more of Central Park, and as an extra added treat, I must go back to the City Bakery to taste the world's best hot chocolate. Plus, there's the usual tourist hot spots: Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Flatiron building, Times Square (and Starbucks!), Chrystler Building, UN.....