Travel

bohemians_1917.jpgMy roots are in Prague. Not my real hereditary-type roots — they lie somewhere in Lithuania, in some long-forgotten shtetl in the Pale of Settlement.

I’m talking about my cultural roots, my identity as a bohemian, or in the current vernacular, a boho. The bohemian movement started in Prague, or at least was perfected there. Also, Prague is the capital of Bohemia, which is an historical region that takes up about two-thirds of the current Czech Republic. So, Prague is Bohemian and bohemian. Around 1912, Franz Kafka met a Yiddish-Theater actor named Isaac Löwy, who introduced him into a world of writers, artists, thinkers, physicists and anarchists.

They hung out in bars or in Berta Fanta’s salon – upstairs from her husband’s pharmacy; they drank absinthe, they had sex with actresses (I’m sure they did; I don’t have historical data at my fingertips, but believe me, they did); they stayed up all night and talked about Expressionism and Modern Music; they discussed the ideas of Einstein and Freud, who were both kicking up their heels around this time.

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me-at-odonoghues-300x229We just spent a few days in Dublin on our way home from Italy. When we departed Rome on Thursday it was ninety-seven degrees and dry as toast; when we got off the plane in Dublin two hours later it was in the mid-fifties and drizzling. The first thing I did was to buy a wooly sweater and a cap. I love Europe — you can change cultures as easily as changing your clothes.

We were there to visit our friends Marc and Cathy. He’s an American of Irish descent and she’s a Dubliner born and bred. They showed us a grand time, a brilliant time. That’s the way they talk over there.

First stop on Thursday evening, we met Marc at O’Donoghue’s bar — a perfect place to slip into the spirit of the Auld Sod. I noticed that Irish bartenders aren’t mixologists. They draw pints, they pour shots and they engage one and all in charming conversation — that’s it. I asked for a gin Martini and the barman looked at me quizzically.

“So, that would be a bit of Martini in a glass and then … a bit of gin?”

“Well, more like a slug of gin and then just a whisper of Martini.”

“Ah, just a whisper then,” he said with a smile. The smile is everywhere.

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Borago1A long time ago, I made the choice to remain single. I really did not want to deal with relationships and I was genuinely happy to take life’s journey on my own. Little did I know that the Universe had a completely different plan for me. I met my (now) husband on September 12, 2012 at a wine tasting in Beverly Hills. Fast forward a year, and he proposed on September 12, 2013. Keep going… we got married April 12, 2014. Why does this matter? Well, it leads me into this restaurant… Boragó.

My husband and I have always had South America on top of our lists for travel. So when we planned our wedding, we planned it specifically to coincide with the wine harvest in South America. (If you’re a wine-o and you know it, clap your hands!) So April was an easy choice. Before we went on our honeymoon, we did our research and made sure we hit up the top restaurants. So begins the story of Boragó… a progressive restaurant in Santiago, Chile that collects its ingredients only from a 150 km radius of the restaurant.

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cullen_sink_sm.jpgMost everyone knows that in the UK an elevator is called a lift and an apartment is a flat, but beyond a few dozen words, we like to think that we speak the same language as our friends across the pond. Ha! 

I’ve been visiting for decades now, and the more I go, the more I know that sometimes, as I shake my head in assent, I’m not fully understanding what is being said.  There are completely different meanings for the same word, unknown expressions, syntactical differences and cultural nuances to be decoded in any conversation.  Reading the front page of The Guardian can be frustrating, and a quick trip to the supermarket can feel like a visit to a parallel universe.

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ImageWhat do I look for in a travel experience? The answer is simple: culture, nature, world-class shopping + food and the best nightlife, parties + events I can find. Sometimes in one day! Like many world-class cities London offers diversity, and my trip there this past fall provides a great example of how I was able to combine my favorite vacation pastimes.

In a stroke of good fortune, breakfast at the Soho Hotel resulted in me to sitting next to Howard Marks, best-selling author, intellectual and international drug trafficker. Howard had just wrapped up his press junket for his latest film Mr. Nice. Howard responded to my invitation to my hotel, the Shangri-La in Santa Monica, with a rather charming explanation that he was unable to enter the US due to his previous 'career activities'.

I caught a Black Cab (one of London's great style icons) to Regents Park for a midday stroll around one of the great parks of London. A stroll around the Midsummer Nights Dream style Rose Garden in the parks Inner Circle and the Japanese themed Duck Pond and waterfall which never fails to centers me. Regents Park Inner Circle is perfect for smelling the roses, literally and figuratively.

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