A loose movement called Nouveau Rough (the opposite of nouveau riche) is afoot in The Netherlands: younger chefs with rigorous training who eschew the frills of fancy-restaurant protocol and décor. Sounds a little Brooklyny, doesn't it?
It had been more than eight years since we were in Amsterdam. When the much-reconfigured Rijksmuseum re-opened, we were ready for another visit to the Netherlands. It was just a matter of following our usual practice of finding a musical event around which to build an itinerary.
In the Netherlands, the idea of "Unique and Boutique" is alive in every city. The hotels I discovered each had their own je ne sais quoi, their own special gift to their guests, separating them from their peers and enticing travelers' attention.
As she arrives to the Palace, the Queen would look up at the sculpture of Atlas carrying the heavens on his shoulder for the last time and perhaps feel a sense of relief that all the weight of the Netherlands will be off her shoulders.
With extensive fine art collections and emerging, contemporary ingenues, both Amsterdam and St. Petersburg offer true charm that lies in their flowing underbelly, elegantly preserved and deliciously accessible to all.