In C.S Lewis’ The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, the children find—behind the winter coats—the entrance to a wondrous world. Now Narnia may not be real, but discovering and exploring your possibilities overseas can prove just as magical.
From February 17 to 22, hit the Spanish capital for the Madrid Carnival and enjoy costume competitions, parades, music, theater, and, to round things off, the Entierro de la Sardina. Translated as the “Burial of the Sardine,” it sees a dead fish carried before a procession of singers, dancers, and Chinese-style dragons before being cremated.
A dense skyline of high rises juts into the sky, homage to dozens of varied architectural styles. Numerous LED screens displaying advertisements and neon restaurant signs have led some folk to call this “little Hong Kong.” But Panama City is much more than its skyline.
I’ve long been a fan of haiku poems, those little word-paintings that capture fleeting moments in time and nature. But Katikati, a small country town in New Zealand, isn’t the obvious place to find a haiku pathway. Home to around 4,000 people, Katikati is only a speck on the North Island map. Yet it’s well worth a stopover if you love poetry, art, and nature.
Get ready to buy in Panama. Right now, Panama’s economy is on a tear. Panama City and much of the countryside has been transformed since I first scouted real estate opportunities here nine years ago. A $5.25-billion expansion of the canal is well underway, $1.9 billion is being invested in a new city-wide metro system, and two Panamanian ports, Balboa and Colón, were Latin America’s two busiest last year.
I’ve always been fascinated with South America. So when my wife Dana and I contemplated the “second half” of our lives, it seemed natural to look in that direction. A few episodes of House Hunters International, featuring U.S. expats in Latin America, particularly piqued our interest.
As the day begins and the sun turns the snow-capped peaks of the Alps to gold, my husband Dave and I take a leisurely stroll. With our little dog Magic, we walk along the lake front to our favorite café, where for $4 we enjoy steaming cappuccinos and fresh buttery croissants. Our dog is welcome everywhere here, in cafés and restaurants, on buses, ferries, and trains.
I first visited Arequipa more than 20 years ago. Since then, Peru’s “white city” has lingered in my memory. I vividly recall the taxi drive into town from the airport back then. The day was warm, dry and sunny, and I saw the perfect cone of El Misti rising in the distance. Alone on a vast plain, the volcano dominated the skyline of the city’s Spanish-colonial heart.
Photographers call the last hour before sunset “the magic hour.” In Lisbon, Portugal’s capital, the luminosity is extraordinary. Traditional tiled houses dazzle. Pastel pink and yellow facades blush and glow. Glasses of vinho verde, a quaffable white wine, prism into silver half-moons on table tops.
From the crisp, cold summit of the Baru Volcano to the Caribbean isles of Kunayala, Panama is crammed with variety. You can live on the beach, or in lush comfort at a year-round temperature of 68 F, or pioneer your way into the green world of the Darien jungle.