Architectural Digest Visits Cuba with Arrangements Abroad!

Architectural Digest cover This February, Arrangements Abroad organized one in a series of stellar trips to Cuba with a focus on art & architecture for the Sir John Soane’s Museum Foundation. Among the travelers was journalist Mitchell Owens, whose article A Design Lover’s Guide to Cuba for the May 2015 Architectural Digest just hit the stands. His short video on Havana, with spectacular images, may be seen here. The accompanying slide show is also terrific!

Tour Director Kate Klorer reflects on the trip:

“The Soane programs draw many architects and interior designers, so we put together an itinerary focusing on historic houses and some of the best 20th-century architecture in Cuba.

The incredible thing about Havana is that the city itself is like a museum, with examples of nearly every architectural style of the last centuries—from dramatic Baroque buildings of Habana Vieja to the Neoclassical villas of Vedado and elegant Art Deco and Art Nouveau structures throughout the city. Even with so many buildings in heartbreaking condition, Havana is one of the most astonishingly beautiful cities—by far the most captivating place that I have ever visited in all my travels across the globe for its architectural heritage.

Cuban architecture

Image of the Lopez Serrano building by Chas A. Miller, III

It was a lot of fun to be in Cuba with Mr. Owens and lecturer Hermes Mallea (author of Great Houses of Havana) as they pointed out unique architectural details that are distinctively Cuban— like the intricate ironwork that allows breeze to flow through windows on hot Havana days and colorful stained glass that brightens door frames and louvered shutters.”

Mr. Owen’s Architectural Digest video gives a superb glimpse of our week exploring Havana’s great buildings. You can also read the article about his journey here.

Come join us on the next trip! Mr. Mallea is leading a just added Art & Architectural of Cuba program that features the XVII Havana Biennial June 6-11, 2015!

Floating Through The Golden Ring

By Anastasia Mills Healy

KizhyA September 2 New York Times article on Russia’s Golden Ring — a group of historic, picturesque towns northeast of Moscow — enchants readers with its descriptions of fairy tale-like monasteries, brightly painted cottages and white butterflies flitting through the forest. But much of this story is devoted to how challenging – even for Russian-speaking travelers – it was to make the trip by car.

There were trucks on narrow roads, ubiquitous potholes and “Mostly there were no signs, or they were confusing or of little use, sometimes coming after the turn off.”

Volga Dream in MoscowNo wonder, according to the author, that the Europcar desk at Russia’s second-largest airport only rents 14 cars a week. And that most people who want to get their fill of spectacular onion-domed churches nestled in sleepy villages next to meandering rivers or tranquil lakes, board a riverboat.

June 2013 is our next trip to the fabled Golden Ring, aboard an elegant, five-star riverboat. Begin in Moscow, where we take a backstage tour of the grandly restored Bolshoi Theater prior to an evening performance, see the treasures of the Kremlin before it’s open to the public and enjoy special access to historic artifacts related to Prokofiev, accompanied by a foremost authority on the composer.

PeterhofAn optional postlude in St. Petersburg includes visits to Peterhof and Catherine’s Palace, a performance at the Mariinksy Theater and a tour of the Hermitage when it is closed to the public.

We’d say that beats dodging potholes, idling in traffic and constantly stressing about directions.

Learn more about our trip, “Waterways of the Tsars”:

Read the New York Times article “Old Russia, Reclaimed”:

Revealing the Layers of Cuba’s Architecture

The New York Times reports that 4 new books on Cuban architecture have recently been released, and we couldn’t be happier!  Our office loves to read and is thrilled to be accompanying trips to Cuba.  Below the link to the New York Times article are a few photos of Cuban architecture taken on one of our recent trips, as well as a photo of historian Julio César Pérez Hernández, who often lectures during our programs.






The Swerve: How the World Became Modern

We are delighted that Stephen Greenblatt, one of our lecturers and professor of humanities at Harvard, has published an exciting new book entitled “The Swerve: How the World Became Modern.”

According to the New York Times review, “the book relates the story of Poggio Bracciolini, the former apostolic secretary to several popes, who became perhaps the greatest book hunter of the Renaissance. His most significant find, located in a German monastery, was a copy of Lucretius’ ‘On the Nature of Things,’ which had been lost to history for more than a thousand years. Its survival and re-emergence into the world, Mr. Greenblatt suggests, was a kind of secular miracle.”

To read more about the book and its author, click on the New York Times link below.

Intelligent Traveler: Tip of the Week

Our travelers often ask us for advice on using cell phones abroad.  While it may make you and your family feel more comfortable to have a cell phone with you, you may be less comfortable with the bill you receive upon your return.  The New York Times has published an article about this very issue, with helpful tips on avoiding unwanted fees.

How do you keep in touch while abroad?

A Scot Reviews The Royal Scotsman

Scotsman Ian Keown reports on a ceilidh, Culloden and Cawdor, “congenial and cultivated fellow passengers,” magical landscapes, cuisine of high caliber and an encounter with a “soignée lady” aboard “one of the world’s most luxurious touring trains,” The Royal Scotsman.

“For American visitors, of course, the train is a godsend, eliminating the stress of driving on the left….And let’s face it, you can’t savor 35 of Scotland’s grandest malts when you’re driving.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

The Royal Scotsman: Through the Highlands on a Rolling House Party

Paul Theroux on Why We Travel

Paul Theroux is one of the best-known and most interesting travel writers around, with a long list of fiction and non-fiction travel books under his belt.  We thought this New York Times article on why he feels compelled travel through times of political and social change to be quite engaging.

Have you been witness to any unexpected significant events during your travels?