Why this is a spa for your soul: Sweden’s amazing Nyrups Naturhotell

If you yearn for the different, the soulful, a stay at Nyrups Naturhotell is the answer. Deep in the birch and beech forests of Skåne, Sweden’s southernmost province, near the town of Höör, this experience brings the essence of living in communion with nature to the post-modern, complicated world. No glitzy fanfare, no need to travel to remote corners or to bring anything special beyond an open mind. The secret sauce is the simple power of nature.  As it turns out, that’s pretty potent.

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Nordic Noir goes to the spa: Sweden’s Ystad Saltsjobad

It was Inspector Kurt Wallander, the fictional lead of the eponymous “Nordic noir” PBS/Masterpiece series, that interested me in Ystad in the first place.  Coastal, windswept, with a rich history dating back a millennium, it seemed an appropriate setting not only for crime stories but also as a place to launch a 5-day road trip through Skane, Sweden’s southernmost province.  I was determined to start with a spa. The venerable Ystad Saltsjöbad, with various packages and ad hoc services, was the perfect fit. The seaside location was a strong plus; to my mind, nothing is more restorative.  An easy reach by car from Copenhagen’s airport.  It was an inspired choice; I knew I would regret that my schedule allowed for only an overnight stay.  Continue reading “Nordic Noir goes to the spa: Sweden’s Ystad Saltsjobad”

At the Wrong Departing Airport? 5 Tips to Manage the Crisis

You’re packed, organized for departure, with plenty of time for the pre-boarding ritual we know all too well. The trip to the airport is smooth, fueling excitement for the travel adventure ahead.

Until. You realize you’re at the WRONG airport. Woops. Supposed to be at  La Guardia, but you’re at Newark.  Supposed to be at London City, but you’re at Gatwick. You were SO sure, you didn’t bother to check as you left home.  It happens to (most) everyone sooner or later.

Here are some tips to manage the crisis… Continue reading “At the Wrong Departing Airport? 5 Tips to Manage the Crisis”

How to stay informed on the road: every traveler needs this app

National Public Radio (NPR) is, for many, the sine qua non of the well-informed.  Now savvy travelers –  globe-trotters to road warriors – can stay current with NPR’s new phone app,  NPR One. It’s a treasure trove of real-time local and national news and analysis plus an array of NPR-produced podcasts.  Available free on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, and Microsoft.

Sure, live streaming of public radio has been going on for some time – but this new on-demand app combines NPR’s flagship programming, Morning Edition and All Things Considered, with the latest updates of national and local newscasts. Further, from a choice of podcasts offered, the listener can curate a very personalized list, augmented by recommendations by NPR One.

Their tagline, “It’s public radio made personal” is right, and it is the app every traveler needs to stay in-the-know.

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UPDATE: 7 Podcasts I Think You’ll Love

microphone and podcast image

NOTE: This is an updated post from the original publication date of April 6, 2016. 

I’m a big fan of podcasts. They are chock-full of interesting backstories behind the headlines; they provide a brief but deep look at topics I wouldn’t take the time to read about. Podcasts provide great fodder for dinner party conversation; they are helpful in working through mindless chores at home, and in the car on road trips when reading or watching videos don’t mix well with driving. 

The following podcasts are my favorites and speak to an array of interests.  In various formats, they explore that intersection where the profound meets our frail and imperfect humanity. I’ve updated this list to reflect two new entries: Hidden Brain and RadioLab.  Enjoy! Continue reading “UPDATE: 7 Podcasts I Think You’ll Love”

Five things I learned from birdwatching in Down East Maine

 

During a recent trip to Down East Maine, birdwatching per se was not top of mind. I set out to experience and get in tune with the natural splendor of the of the place,  Acadia National Park in particular.

As so often happens, the most enlightening travel experiences come from unexpected quarters. My renewed appreciation of the region’s vast ecosystem came through birdwatching, with a pro, Michael Good, MS.

Oh, I recognize common “backyard” birds: brilliant male cardinals, squawky blue jays, blackbirds with flashy red trim (not a scientific term). I’ve got a bead on swans, geese, various ducks. In summer, I can spot a neon yellow finch, dazzling hummingbirds. Shorebirds, beyond majestic blue herons or elegant egrets, get lumped into one of two categories: “gulls” or “smaller-birds-that-live -at-the-beach.”

Beyond that, I am an ornithological black hole. But here’s what I learned….

Michael grounded this field trip in biology by sharing  the Latin name, gender and approximate age for each bird, and weaving the geography and biodiversity of Mt. Desert Island into the bird narrative.  His knowledge made it interesting; his passion made it fun.

Continue reading “Five things I learned from birdwatching in Down East Maine”

Attention travelers: 7 Days with Carry-on? Here’s how to make it work

Can a solo woman traveler, fussy about style, travel with only carry-on luggage for a week? Is the carry-on manageable on/off airplanes without incurring  arm/shoulder injury or the mortification of asking for help? The answer is yes.

I had held a near-religious conviction that a 7-day, fashion-conscious travel wardrobe required a bag exceeding carry-on size restrictions. Awkwardly wrestling with a large two-wheeled bag, I was always relieved to relinquish custody to the airline and watch the thing slip away into the netherworld of baggage handling.

The moment of truth came when a bag didn’t make the plane to Florence. While there are worse places than Italy to buy fill-in clothes, I knew I had to take a second look at carry-on travel.

The upshot is that carry-on only does work for me, for 7 days. No upper body trauma, and little stress.  Here’s what I found…. Continue reading “Attention travelers: 7 Days with Carry-on? Here’s how to make it work”

Keep your Sanity: More on Quiet London

Need some quiet London places that enrich the mind, body, and soul?   3 Score has found some oases in London. Here are more suggestions to soak up the cultural atmosphere but keep your sanity intact.  Continue reading “Keep your Sanity: More on Quiet London”

UPDATED: Travel Planning Checklist – 5 Steps Toward Less Stress


No matter how often you travel, good preparation is still key. We’ve updated our checklist and added two brand-new suggestions at the top.  No need to scroll through searching for fresh content.  So let’s get to it: even seasoned travelers (you) can benefit from reminders to help make your trip angst-free and a rich cultural experience. Isn’t that what travel is about?  Continue reading “UPDATED: Travel Planning Checklist – 5 Steps Toward Less Stress”

My Top 10 Travel Apps

Mac App store logo

These ten apps enrich any trip either by avoiding/mitigating hassles  or simply setting the stage for serendipitous memories.  A few of the apps are indispensable in everyday life, too.

Note: Trip planning or itinerary-based apps (e.g. TripAdvisor, packing guides, Trip-It, etc.) are not included here. All below are free unless noted and all but one are available for both Android and iPhone. Continue reading “My Top 10 Travel Apps”