The Mummers are one of those distinctly Philadelphia traditions that can be difficult for outsiders to understand. It’s like scrapple or booing Santa Claus at a football game. Each year on New Year’s Day the Mummers Parade takes place. Weather permitting, this community of sequins-wearing, string band dancing and playing group strut their stuff through Philly starting at city hall and then preceding down Broad Street towards South Philadelphia. And in true Philadelphia fashion, either you love them or you hate them.
The Port of Hamburg in Germany plays such a central part in the city’s history and identity. Today, the city is modern, urban and cool with a diverse population and an equally unique culture. But you can’t avoid the waterfront that’s so central to Hamburg.
There are no shortage of cruises around and through the city. The city cruise I took was one of my favorite things I did in Hamburg during my visit. It was fun and informative. But it isn’t just the historic Speicherstadt, a huge and complex series of warehouses, or the countless hangouts and pretty buildings along the waterfront. The Port of Hamburg will impress with its mix of engineering, mechanics, ingenuity and scale. Hey, this is Germany after all.
Five days a week, guitar players and enthusiasts make the pilgrimage to Nazareth, Pennsylvania, to visit Martin Guitar. The longtime family-run company, officially called C. F. Martin & Company, makes guitars for popular current favorites like John Mayer and Ed Sheeran. Elvis, three-quarters of the Beatles, Tom Petty and many others have played their instruments. And with a visit to Martin Guitar’s museum and a factory tour, it’s easy to see just why these expertly crafted instruments are so coveted.
The Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia has officially made my husband and me into opera fans. When the Academy of Vocal Arts kindly offered tickets to see one of their two upcoming operas in German I was instantly excited. When it comes to language learning I’m willing to try just about anything. Soap operas, romantic comedies — even if I don’t enjoy it in English, I’m willing to try. But this sounded like a lot of fun. And it also happened to coincide with our anniversary and made the perfect date. In the end, it was the Academy of Vocal Arts’ production of Richard Wagner’s Das Rheingold that really wowed us.
Although the Big Apple is known for being rather pricey, there are plenty of free things to do in New York City. Free doesn’t have to be a dirty word. Even if you’re a luxury traveler, you have no excuses! There are some really fun and engaging things to see and do that shouldn’t be missed even if you aren’t a budget traveler. I’ve put together a list of my favorites free things to do in NYC! You’ll have such a good time that you’ll forget you’re not even paying a dime with these free things to do in New York City.
The Freer|Sackler, that is the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, is easy to miss along the imposing and impressive National Mall in Washington, DC. The galleries are surrounded by significant museums. Just across the way is the popular Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Castle. The Hirshhorn Museum and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum are also nearby neighbors. It’s easy to not notice the Freer|Sackler given all those “distractions,” not to mention its petite buildings, relatively speaking.
But the Freer|Sackler Galleries are home to an impressive collection of Asian art as well as works from the American aesthetic movement, northern Africa, and the Islamic world. What’s more, there’s never been a better time to visit the museum. The dual museums celebrated a reopening in October 2017 after the Freer Gallery of Art was closed for renovations that lasted nearly two years. I recently visited the galleries and to say that the museums house an extraordinary collection is an understatement.
Smartphones have made so many aspects of travel easier. In our pockets we hold a device with maps, transportation schedules, a way to call a taxi, order food, book a hotel room, pay for things — the list is seemingly endless. But as we depend more on our smartphones, we depend on having access to the internet. That could mean researching and buying a SIM card, a personal wifi device, or you could simply use Google’s wireless service: Project Fi.
I’ve been a Project Fi subscriber for several years and taken my Fi phone with me. While you can always seem to find free wifi when out and about at restaurants and hotels, I’ve depended solely on Project Fi on the rest of my adventures in Germany and Austria.