Vantage Point

Recommended hotels, restaurants, travel advice, etc. by friends, many of whom have been struck with wanderlust.  The information is provided alphabetically by city and features web links.

Contents :  Amsterdam, The Netherlands | Boppard, Germany | Chiang Mail, Thailand | Copenhagen, Denmark | Danakil Depression, Ethiopia | Paris, France | Washington, DC

Amsterdam, The Netherlands.  Younger brother, Chai, just returned from a whirlwind tour of northern Europe.


Among his many rave reviews was Amsterdam’s public transportation system, the GVB, a network of linked bus routes, ferries, metro stations, and trams.  Passes can be obtained at a number of stations and include entrance fees to all the major museums.  Their website provides extensive information on getting around the city and how to best take advantage of the GVB’s extensive network of routes and transfer stations.

Amsterdam GVB-01

He gave an enthusiastic endorsement of the city’s Mercure Hotel Amsterdam Arthur Frommer, a charming boutique hotel in Amsterdam’s City Centre.  The rates during the spring season were more than affordable and included a daily breakfast buffet in the cozy and inviting Breakfast Room.  Best of all was the fact the hotel was easily within walking distance of the Rijksmuseum, home to Johan Vermeer’s iconic “Girl with the Pearl Earring; the Stedelijk Museum; the Van Gogh Museum; and the Anne Frank House.

© Mercure Hotel Amsterdam
© Mercure Hotel Amsterdam

While traveling westward to Frankfurt, Germany, he stopped in Boppard at the Best Western Bellevue Rheinhotel and recommends it highly.  Despite it’s four star and grand facade, the hotel is more than affordable.  The rooms are cozy and the staff welcoming.  Try to make your reservation for rooms facing north towards the Rhine.  The views are nothing short of exquisite.

Bellevue Rheinhotel
© JPMoser

Chiang Mai, Thailand.  For short and long term apartment rentals, check out :

Copenhagen, Denmark.  Special thanks to my friend and colleague C. Poulsen for the following recommendations :

― For anyone interested in Danish history, plan on visiting the Land de Legenden, i.e., “The Land of Legends.”  It’s about a 35-45 minute drive west of Copenhagen.

― Malerklemmen is located about 1 hour and 15 minutes south-west of Copenhagen.  It’s a great place to visit to sample Aebleskiver, i.e., round Danish pancake balls, but they also have a great Christmas buffet which serves traditional Danish dishes.  It used to be a place where the Fogde (dated 1750) used to stay on his travels through the country to claim taxes for the King.  It’s a place not too many know about, including many Danes.   I used to go there at least twice a year.  N.B…You may need Google to translate the site.

Noma has been rated the best restaurant in the world for the third year in a row.  Chef and owner Rene Redzepi has elevated Danish cuisine and the result is worth the trip.  Contact the restaurant for reservations as soon as you have your trip planned.

Rosenborg Castle is located about 5-10 minutes from the US Embassy in downtown Copenhagen.  The crown jewels are stored there and its definitely worth a visit.

Roskilde Festival is one of the most sought after festivals for any band to play at.  I used to live very close to this location when I was a kid and used to go every year.  There used to be about 100, 000 guests and about 20,000 people working it, but it has been limited to 80,000 guests now.   It’s the biggest festival in North Europe if not all of Europe.

“You know you are truly alive when you’re living among lions.” ― Karen Blixen

Tectonic plates in Africa join and form the Danakil Depression, in Ethiopia. Considered the hottest place on the planet, and lying well below sea leave, the area is characterized by volcanos and scorching heat.  Once again, C. Poulsen has provided spectacular images of his recent trip there :

Recently, my buddy Tim was in Paris and, in strolling down Rue de Furstenberg, effortlessly managed to seduce our culinary senses.  Chef Manuel Martinez’s La Maison du Chou was just one of his many stops in the City of Light’s Left Bank, but it was enough to hold our attention and captivate our palates…

© T. Foley

“The best poet is the man who delivers our daily bread…the local baker.” ― Pablo Neruda

Washington, DC.  My great friend, Ellie, an aficionado of noteworthy food and drink, highly recommends the following restaurants :

Acacia.  4340 Connecticut Avenue, NW.  A bistro and wine bar, this well-received restaurant features a wine list hailed by Wine Spectator as one of the finest in the world.

Kaz Sushi Bistro.  1915 I Street, NW, near the Farrugut West Metro Station.  The menu is extensive and the bistro has a fantastic carry-out menu, too.

Kushi Izakaya & Sushi.  Mount Vernon Square at 465 K Street, NW.  Japanese food and sushi bar in a modern setting and reasonably priced.


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