Vilnius, Lithuania, was the last of my Baltic capitals and my favorite: small, friendly, interesting. Does that sound boring? It wasn’t. Vilnius is an excellent choice for a long weekend — three days is just about right. These are not the only things I did in Vilnius, but they were the best. 1. Take a photo tour with Mindaugas
The Retreat, the new, super-high-end hotel attached to the Blue Lagoon complex in Iceland, is like a giant Architectural Digest spread, except you can sleep inside of it. Can you take a bad picture inside of it?
I recently walked the Thames Path, a nearly 200-mile walking trail along the River Thames. These are some of the questions I asked, and can now answer. I wrote a separate post detailing all of my Thames Path accommodations, including what I paid. What is the Thames Path? If you’ve ever been to London, you’ve probably seen signs for it along the river. The Thames Path is a British National Trail that runs along the River Thames, all the way from the Thames Barrier in far eastern London to the source of the river — quite literally a spot on the ground in the middle of a field, near the village of Kemble. The Thames Path is about 184 miles.
One of the best parts of traveling is discovering the world’s most wonderful bookstores — and my heart exploded when I stepped into BooksActually in the Tiong Bahru neighborhood in Singapore. (Tiong Bahru is helpfully described by the Singapore Tourism Board as “one of the most happening hoods in town” — sort of like a sunny, very small Williamsburg, and punching well above its weight in terms of bakeries.) BooksActually is amazing, with walls stacked with novels (Singaporean classics and contemporary, plus all the other stuff worth reading), a super-smart and eclectic collection of art and design books, some lovely souvenirs, and, in the back, an entire room full of local vintage pieces. Outside, a vending machine sells “Mystery Books”; inside, two cats meow at customers. There is literally nothing more you could ask for from a bookstore. This is my interview with Kenny Leck, the founder of BooksActually and publisher of Math Paper Press.
A review of Hotel G in Singapore: I paid: $100 a night Hotel G location: Within walking distance of the National Museum and with easy access by bus/Uber/MRT (Bencoolen) to literally everywhere in Singapore. Hotel G vibe: Industrial-chic co-working space with tiny bedrooms Hotel G food: I got takeaway from the ground-level 25 Degrees, which offers the rare hamburger and French fries I did not enjoy. I didn’t go to the hotel’s other restaurant or bar, but I absolutely did feel underdressed when I walked through them on the way to the sidewalk. They were properly buzzing — I wish I’d made time. Hotel G amenities: There’s a gym I neither saw nor used. No pool. Free, unexceptional wifi. Use of a phone that included free calls to the US, which I used more than I thought I would—the reception was great, considerably better than what I would have gotten on Skype or a $.20-a-minute Project Fi call. The TV had HBO and all the international news channels. The room: This is a itty-bitty little …
Fact: I have never been to Puerto Rico for New Year’s Eve — which is to say, somewhere warm. Because I am a traveler of budget means, I did one of two things: For a number of New Year’s, I went to Scotland, with an ex-boyfriend, which was amazing, even if it did get dark at three o’clock in the afternoon. (We mostly stayed at his parents’ house and watched TV. I’m making it sound boring, but it was awesome.) Otherwise, I often went somewhere with my friend Katie — and bargain prices for flying on New Year’s Eve always meant that we’d come back on the 31st. This is usually cheaper, but also sadder, and I am not sure I recommend it. (I do not.)
I am hiking the Thames Path, a path that follows the Thames for 180 miles, from the Thames Barrier in London to its source, near Cirencester. Day Two: Vauxhall Tube to Hammersmith Bridge So: day two!
I am hiking the Thames Path, a path that follows the Thames for 180 miles, from the Thames Barrier in London to its source, near Cirencester. Day One: Paris to Vauxhall I do not remember the last time I was so excited to do something I couldn’t sleep the night before — which is difficult, because it means you are excited to do something having slept the hours of 2 to 5 the previous night, and you make questionable decisions like not bringing your sunglasses. Also, you are very tired, in that wiry, jittery way. But who cares: I am hiking as much as I can of the Thames Path before I need to return to France in five days: Sunday to Friday.
I recently walked the Thames Path, a 200ish-mile footpath from London to the river’s source. For my Thames Path accommodations, I stayed in hotels and Airbnbs along the way: much of the trip is in urban or suburban areas with few opportunities for camping. One of the reasons I split the trip into two parts was to spread out the costs. Here’s my main Thames Path post. Thames Path Day 1: Thames Barrier to Vauxhall I stayed at: The Chelsea Guest House In brief: The Chelsea Guest House is nowhere near Chelsea, but rather in Lambeth. It was very small and very cheap, at least for London. Would I ever go there again? Not by strong choice, though it was fine for one night, and the staff were nice. I paid: $58 Thames Path Day 2: Vauxhall to Hammersmith Bridge I stayed at: The Muse Haus Chiswick In brief: Basically a bed-and-breakfast for the Airbnb age — it’s a big townhouse with shared facilities, including a massive ground floor (with living room and kitchen) and …
Here’s the thing: I’m a good hiker. I like to hike! But I do not like danger. I do not like danger at all. I do not even like the slightest perception of danger. Maybe this is because I often hike alone? Maybe this is also because I am a scaredy cat. This is not an insult. You say “Scaredy cat,” I hear “Prudent evaluator of perilous situations.”