The Atlas


3 Nov

Impressions Of Puglia

I have come to this lovely country that runs along the back of Italy’s boot and down its heel, a coastal plain of russet earth planted with ancient olives that reaches west into a hilly hinterland of vineyards and fruit trees and on to the Mediterranean.  It is a land shaped, in large part, by its geography.  For millenia Puglia has been a gateway...

26 Oct

Puglia and Basilicata

It is a region of Italy that reveals itself slowly but not grudgingly.  Puglia and Basilicata are hardscrabble neighbors, sandwiched between two seas, anchored in sandstone and limestone, used and abused as a gateway to and from other lands. Perhaps it is because they have needed to keep a low profile, to concentrate on keeping body and soul together,...

3 Sep

Sandra Chace’s Dog Wall

Sandra Chace’s story is a layered and complex one, shaped by a stunning intelligence and a deep well of passion.  She was a second sister to me for a few years in the 1960’s, living with my family in New York and attending my high school.  It was a galvanizing time:  the US was rocked by the deaths of MLK and RFK, by Vietnam and,...

21 Jul

Meditations #76

In the twilight of the past, history cannot be distinguished from myth. The mists have opened and closed over this rock that rises like an emerald from the dark sea. Tantalizing. Ulysses, Augustus, Tiberius. Hardy islanders, and strangers with peculiar habits. Photo:  Jeremy Lindblad Location:  Capri, Italy    

12 Jul


It is an amazing island because of its deep history stretching back millenia, because of its more recent history as a glamorous watering spot, because, in the face of a daily onslaught of day trippers, it maintains a dignity and a humor that is almost dismissive. I also believe there is something in the rock.  There is a magic to the island’s...

7 Jul

Sojourn in Italy

Villa Nozzole, Greve in Chianti I have grown up with Italy’s Chianti and Capri in my blood. I have returned this summer with my family, my little tribe of two sons, a daughter-in-law and fiancee.  When you rent houses, which is what we have done, they tend to be Saturday to Saturday and so we have had the luxury of two weeks soaking up the...

26 Apr

Meditations #73

A Pocket Trip The recipe: A nonstop flight A 4-night stay One destination And a singular objective The result: A serendipitous encounter An unforgettable meal A drop of sun on a gray winter canvas Adventure, knowledge, laughter And, of course, memories Location:  Cotswolds, Engand   to view itinerary:

7 Apr

The Cotswolds

Each Cotswold village, it seems, is more picturesque than the last, and the rolling countryside that links them, lined with thick hedgerows and limestone walls and, in spring, carpeted with daffodils and cowslip, is postcard perfect. Located 1.5 hours from London or just a 40-minute drive from Birmingham, the Cotswolds can provide a richly rewarding...

25 Nov

Meditations #69

Sometimes it is the familiar, from a life lived or imagined, that seduces. I return to a corner of Italy to find a world lightly marked by today’s maelstrom of change. Stillness, quiet and a gentle pace reign, and I recognize a de Chirico in the shadow and light and, in the faded terracotta, the farmhouse of my childhood Piazza del Duomo, Parma

15 Nov


Piazza del Duomo An hour and a half by road from Milan is the small, elegant and refined city of Parma.  In this foodie age it is probably better recognized for its parmigiano Reggiano, prosciuttos and salamis, all of which can and should be sampled with visits to the fattorias outside of town or the salumerias within.  We certainly wanted to indulge,...

2 Aug

Meditations #66

Travel is at its most fun when chance encounters and discoveries are made. Serendipity’s best friend is time. And so, I am convinced, that lingering in place with an agenda that smiles on change is the path to a meaningful journey Photograph:  Rebecca MacGregor Peljesac Peninsula, Croatia

24 Jun

Meditations #65

I live on a young island, with one foot on the Eurasion, another on the North Atlantic plate. Slowly, steadily, they drift apart, and the rift widens. Our livelihoods are at the mercy of capricious weather; our fortunes rise and fall on the smell of sulfur and fish; our landscapes are of ice and snow, vented steam, and lava sculpted...

28 May

Iceland: An Island Still Becoming

New York-Rejkyavik is a mere 4h37m, a remarkably short time in which to travel to a virtual moon. We all know that NASA sent its astronauts to practice their moon landing walks in Iceland’s northern lava fields, but that does not prepare you for the stunning beauty of the country, the diversity of its landscapes, the sounds of roaring mud pots...

29 Mar

The Nordic Touch

Even though winter is longer than for us in the US Northeast, it seems to wear less on the spirit here These are taxi driver numbers (and all of our taxi drivers spoke English fluently) — about 5.5 million population in Denmark and between 7 and 800,000 in Copenhagen — and they elicit from me a roll of the eye and an “of course”...

29 Mar

Sunday in Copenhagen

Sunday started out rainy and gray and then, as we made our way to Torvehallerne, the two covered markets that sell everything from flowers and cheese to artisanal breads and smorrebrode, the sun shone through.  This is a city that truly comes alive in the sun, for the orange and yellow painted building facades pop in the light, as if Copenhagen suddenly...

29 Mar

Nimb Hotel

The Nimb’s brilliance is its fine blend of fantasy and attention to detail   With only 17 rooms (more to come in the next year), the Nimb hotel is part of a larger conglomerate, owned by the Tivoli gardens, that includes numerous restaurants, bakery and wine bar.  Sited across the street from Copenhagen’s central train station and...

28 Mar

A Weekend in Copenhagen

It has been many years since I was last in Copenhagen and so I decided to come back for a long weekend with my son, Justin. I opted for the non-stop on SAS which was a mere 7h15m from New York but with a 6:30PM departure that had us arriving at 7:15AM – not ideal for a decent night’s sleep.  So, a bit loopy, we taxied in from the airport...

13 Dec

St. Moritz Church – Augsburg, Germany

Someone – I don’t remember who –  said that architecture is light. St. Moritz Church in Augsburg, Germany, has been through many lifetimes.  Built a millenium ago (1019), it has been ravaged by fire and wartime bombing, not to mention ill-conceived alterations.  But it has endured – no, it has prevailed – and so could...

10 Aug

The Alpina Gstaad

The Alpina Gstaad opened in this lovely alpine village in 2012.  With only 56 rooms and two chalets, a fantastic Six Sense Spa, and three sought after restaurants (Megu is the only Japanese restaurant in Gstaad and, so popular, it does three sittings a night in season), it is the first new five star hotel to open in Gstaad in the last one hundred years....

4 Jul


There is a Corsican saying:  “If you live in Corsica, when you die and go to Paradise, you will be disappointed.”  Black and green schist, red and white granite, snowcapped peaks, mountain slopes dense with pines, ancient olives and tangled bush, marine-rich turquoise water. An infinity of bays.  The Greeks called it Kalliste, “the...

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