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Jul. 22 2010 — 12:05 pm | 225 views | 0 recommendations | 1 comment

Visit Stieg Larsson’s Sweden by winning a trip to Stockholm and Sandhamn

Sandhamn, Sweden. Photo by Sue Frause.

I must be one of the few readers who has yet to pick up Stieg Larsson’s series of crime novels: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo; The Girl Who Played With Fire; and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. No surprise that the first two have morphed into popular movies, also.

But I have been to Stockholm, one of the main locales of the books, and it’s one of my favorite European cities. Although my roots are Norwegian, I have more of an affinity for how the Swedes live and play (plus like the Norskes, they have royalty).

Stieg Larsson’s three best-sellers revolve around journalist Mikael Blomkvist and computer hacker Lisbeth Salander, who lived and worked in Stockholm. The city has become such a popular destination with fans of the book that the Stockholm City Museum now conducts twice-weekly Stieg Larsson-Millennium Tours in English: Wednesdays at 6 PM and Saturdays at 11 AM. Or you can do the tour on your own by purchasing a map at the Stockholm Tourist Centre.

Another locale in the Millennium crime trilogy is Sandhamn, a resort island in the Stockholm archipelago. My hubby and I took a day trip there, and it’s beautiful. There are a number of ferries that sail from Stockholm to the island; we booked passage on one that featured an English-speaking narrator. Along the way we saw Swedish tennis star Bjorn Borg’s family home, along with a cabin where Greta Garbo used to stay. Plus all that lush landscape.

Now you can enter to win a trip to Sweden. The 2010 Larsson’s Sweden Sweepstakes includes round-trip air for two via SAS to Stockholm; passes to explore Larsson’s Stockholm; three nights in the Sheraton Stockholm Hotel; and one night in the Seglarhotellet in Sandhamn.

The contest is open to residents of the 48 states and the District of Columbia who are 18 and older.  The deadline is Oct. 1, 2010.

Seglarhotellet. Sue Frause photo.

Jul. 21 2010 — 4:11 pm | 524 views | 0 recommendations | 3 comments

Julia Roberts’ ‘Eat Pray Love’ to put Italy, India and Bali on the map (along with US locales)

Rice field in Ubud, Bali. Sue Frause photo.

The Eat Pray Love packages started rolling out soon after Elizabeth Gilbert’s book of the same name was featured on Oprah.

And now with the Julia Roberts’ movie coming out on August 13, hotels/resorts/tour companies are really cashing in on the EPL phenomenon.

Here are just a few of the EPL packages that will help you to let yourself go (the tagline of the movie):

Eat, Pray & Love Bali (Spiritual Tours)

Bali, Pray, Love package (Four Seasons)

Eat, Pray, Love Package
(Peter Island – BVI)

Eat, Pray, Love Weekend Package (Sonesta Bayfront Hotel, Coconut Grove, FL)

Where to Eat, Pray, Love in San Antonio (Texas)

According to USA TODAY, you can Eat, Pray, Love — everywhere!

And even Lonely Planet is jumping into the mix, launching a special page on its website devoted to EPL.

Jul. 6 2010 — 12:27 pm | 57 views | 0 recommendations | 1 comment

Vancouver’s St. Regis Hotel launches Canada’s first guest iPad program

St. Regis Hotel. Sue Frause photo.

One of Vancouver, BC’s newest boutique hotels to open is the St. Regis Hotel. And now it has added another perk to its list of popular rate inclusions.

In addition to complimentary high-speed internet throughout the hotel, they’ve instituted an iPad program, the first of its kind in Canada. Guests will be able to use one of the hotel’s Apple iPads to surf, search, read and play games while in the hotel or out and about in the city. It’s an easy, portable way to access local information; each iPad will be preloaded with links to favorite restaurants, attractions and shopping. The iPads may be checked out at the front desk on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Other freebies at the St. Regis are a full breakfast for two, bottled water, toll-free and local calls, business center access and local faxes.

Steve Jobs while introducing the iPad in San F...

Image via Wikipedia

Jul. 5 2010 — 1:47 pm | 130 views | 0 recommendations | 2 comments

Celebrate Bastille Day in France on July 14

Eiffel Tower. Photo by Sue Frause

I’ll be in Calgary, Alberta this year for Bastille Day — not sure what sort of French festivities will be going on in this Canadian city. No doubt I’ll find something … at least a glass of Champagne!

And maybe one of these Julys I’ll actually be in France … ooh la la! Here are some hot spots across the pond where there will be no shortage of bubbly flowing on July 14:

Hotel Raphael ~ Paris: Located a beret toss away from the Arc de Triomphe, watch the Bastille Day Military Parade as it wends its way down the Champs-Elysées. Later that evening, head to the hotel’s famous rooftop to see the Eiffel Tower’s fireworks display.

Villa & Hotel Majestic ~ Paris:
This new hotel is close to the Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Elysées and the Eiffel Tower’s fireworks show.

Hotel Regina ~ Paris: – A Belle Époque gem in the heart of the city, located directly across from the Tuileries Garden and the Louvre (free admission on Bastille Day).

Hotel Du Palais ~ Biarritz: Built by Napoleon III as a summer mansion, this oceanfront hotel features interiors with restored 19th century antiques, a Guerlain spa and a bunker and putting green for golfers. There are numerous golf courses along the Basque Coast.

Pan Dei Palais ~ Saint-Tropez: Luxury historic mansion turned boutique hotel in the heart of Saint-Tropez. Asian inspired architecture on the inside, sunshine and the French Riviera on the outside.

Palais Stephanie ~ Cannes: Located on the original site of the Palais des Congrès, where the first Cannes Film Festivals were held. In the heart of La Croisette and steps from the beach.

Sue Frause

Jul. 2 2010 — 7:59 pm | 628 views | 2 recommendations | 2 comments

Searching for the biggest, best Fourth of July fireworks displays

NYC Fourth of July, 2009 - 20

Image by Ed Yourdon via Flickr

If you’re looking for the biggest, best Fourth of July fireworks, I found a really wild website.

It’s called the Fireworks Display and Shows Worldwide Guide, and once you get over the garish colors, layout and goofy graphics, it’s got a ton of information.

I went straight to the 10 Largest, Biggest, Best 4th of July Fireworks category, and here are their top ten selections:

Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks – New York City
July 4th Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular
Central PA 4thFest – State College, PA
Welcome America! Philadelphia
A Capitol Fourth – Washington DC
Family 4th at Lake Union – Seattle*
Go 4th on the River – New Orleans
Fair St. Louis – Ohio
Lights on the Lake – Lake Tahoe
Freedom Over Texas – Houston

* The website listed Seattle’s display as the WaMu Family 4th. That was the name of the celebration until the sale of Washington Mutual to Chase. And when Chase didn’t want to sponsor the fireworks anymore, a grassroots effort to save Seattle’s Fourth of July fireworks resulted in a 24 hour-blitz where $500,000 was raised from both corporations and people in the community. You can read more about the down-home campaign in an article I wrote on my Seattle Travel Examiner site.

But the rockets red glare isn’t happening in a lot of cities this year, as reported in this CNN article Dark skies: No 4th of July fireworks here.

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    About Me

    I'm a professional freelance writer and photographer who has been in the journalism 'biz since 1988. I live on a small farm on an island in Puget Sound with my husband, chickens, turkeys and our very own field of dreams. When I'm not packing and unpacking from exploring the seven continents (yup, I've done 'em all), I enjoy theater, movies, jazz, fine food, heavenly spas and long dinner parties with my family and friends. Oh, I grew up in the '60s and I sort of remember it through the haze.

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