Artsmart Roundtable: San Pietro in Spoleto

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spoleto basilica san pietro

Just outside the Umbrian town, Spoleto, I discovered a church that confused me. Perched all alone and covered in animals (both on the facade and surrounding the church, itself) it wasn't a sight that I had seen before. The litter of kittens wandering the grounds was quickly explained by the woman who drove up to feed them, tossing cat food from her car window. But the animals on the facade, they required more observation and contemplation. As I stood in front of the building, I racked my architectural historian database for points of comparison and came up blank.

Quick Tip: Checking Bags In Museums

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Are you planning on heading to an art museum on your next trip? Will you be carrying your backpack with you, complete with a laptop and a camera? I've got a few tips for you that will help you avoid any surprises at the coat check.

On my most recent trip to New York City, I was lugging a full backpack around the city for an entire day, with no place to rest; a tiring proposition at best. I saved a visit to the Museum of Modern Art for the early afternoon, when I would need the break from my pack the most. Ah coat check, you were to be my savior. But when I reached the counter and handed my backpack to the checker, he asked if I had any laptops or cameras inside. Why, yes, I did. "Well, you'll have to carry those yourself," he said. It turns out that to avoid liability for expensive items, MOMA requires you to hold onto these items for yourself while you're perusing their collection. Good for them, but for my tired and worn out self, it was quite a physical burden. Luckily my camera had a strap, so I could wear it around my neck. But I had no such help with my laptop, which at several pounds, quickly grew to be a little too much for me to carry around. Somehow, I made it through my visit without dropping and breaking my precious gear, but I want to help you avoid my sad situation with these helpful tips for your next museum visit.

Getting Your Feet Wet in Kona with Captain Zodiac

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captain zodiac kona hawaii

I'm not usually a guided tour kind of girl. So, when I found myself in Kona on the Big Island and prepping to go on a whale watching/snorkel tour I was looking for fun and frugality. And the bottom line with a tour, sometimes you have to pay someone to do something you can't do yourself. I can't drive a boat and I can't find whales, so Captain Zodiac did that for me.

I satisfied my frugal requirements, by hopping on Captain Zodiac's "Beat the Crowd" excursion. For only $5 more than their normal morning and afternoon sessions (which run $97), you add an extra hour of time on the sea in a less crowded snorkel environment. You can enjoy the water while everyone else is back on land eating lunch, which is also added to the package with an on-board lunch of fresh pineapple, sandwiches and chips. Without even stepping on board, you're already getting more bang for your buck.

Essential Travel Skills: Choosing A Restaurant

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restaurant line 2 Amy's DC
Image: Mr. T in DC.

When it comes to travel skills, finding a good place to eat is one of the most essential. But, when you're on the road, especially in a foreign country, making a good choice can be harder than you think. After all, when you don't speak (or read) the local language, menus and signs are less than useful. I've got a few tips and tricks to help you make better restaurant choices on your next trip.

Chimes Bed And Breakfast In New Orleans

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chimes new orleans

On our recent roadtrip through the southern United States, we made sure we spent a few days in New Orleans, home of po-boys, funky jazz, and perfect beignets. Our temporary home in the Big Easy was the Chimes Bed and Breakfast, a wonderful old house tucked near the Garden District and the St. Charles Streetcar line. We chose Chimes for it's location, but soon discovered oodles of other reasons it's a great place to stay. From well designed rooms to an affable host, it left no question in my mind that the Chimes is where I'll be the next time I'm in town.

Artsmart Roundtable: Looking at the Abstract Paintings of Mark Rothko

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rothko national gallery of art painting
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

We're art museum fiends here at Travellious, but I remember the days when I couldn't tell a Rothko from a Rembrandt. The photo above is of my former art history professor who taught me the subtleties of looking at art and the first to make me fully appreciate the beauty of Mark Rothko's paintings. I'm hoping that this new series will help you become a bit more "art smart."

Travel Chatter: What's Hot on the Net, August 18, 2011

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Slowly, but surely, we're getting back in the habit of sharing our favorite travel related links. Here are my favorite from the past week:

Travel Handmade A series of posts and tutorials on how to make your own handmade travel gear. Love the first in the series, the duffel bag. Might have to break out the sewing machine and re-teach myself how to sew.

Vayable allows people to buy and sell experiences in cities where they're visiting. Instead of more formal tours, an individual does the showing around in an area of expertise.

Protect Thy Passport Audrey and Dan at Uncornered Market share some invaluable tips on keeping your passport safe and sound while on the road. I really love the idea of keeping a laminated photocopy of the page in your wallet to use in a pinch.

Maybe it's because I'm a farmers market nerd, but I always love when Eileen of Bearshapedsphere shares with us/gloats over her farmers market haul in Santiago. I'm always impressed and love seeing what's in season in her part of the world.

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