One of the best things about Dublin, Ireland, is the ease with which you can reach other destinations outside this hectic metropolis, whether it’s another city, like Belfast, or the famed Irish countryside. I took advantage of the abundant connections by hopping on a double-decker bus to the village of Enniskerry to see the famous gardens at Powerscourt Estate — 47 acres of spectacular grounds, including Italian and Japanese gardens, the tallest tree in Ireland, and a pet cemetery that includes a tombstone for a 17-year-old-cow named Eugenie. Read more>
I’ve booked vacations around available time off from my job, around seasonal weather in my destinations, around fluctuating airfares and hotel rates. But only once did I plan a vacation around a flower.
Spring in the Netherlands is all about the tulip. Given the fairly short lifespan of this iconic flower in the country that sparked the “Tulipomania” in the 1630s that nearly ruined it, I had little leeway in the weeks I wanted to spend here. So, with some careful planning, I arrived at the best time of year, when tulips of all varieties and colors greeted me wherever I went — in parks, markets, planters, and shop windows. But it wasn’t until I visited Europe’s largest garden, Keukenhof, and its seven million flowers that I truly appreciated my good timing. Read more >