February 2009

       In Getting Into Guinness: One Man's Longest, Fastest, Highest Journey Inside the World's Most Famous Record Book, writer Larry Olmsted not only chronicles the 50-year history of Guinness World Records. He explains in some detail how he managed to set two Guinness records of his own. The book

Reviewed by Bobbie Leigh     Five superb masterpieces that – notoriously – rarely travel and leave the tranquil galleries of the Norton Simon Foundation and Museum in California have made a once-in-your–lifetime cross-country trek to the Frick. At the opening of Masterpieces of European Painting from the Norton Simon Museum,

Reviewed by Richard West     Remarkable, isn’t it, that Abraham  Lincoln, savior of democracy and the United States, and Charles Darwin, founder of modern biology and the world’s most influential naturalist, were born on the same date: February 12, 1809. And to think people still scoff at the notion of

        The pound was worth $1.44 when I checked this morning. A year ago, it was over $2. So if you've been putting off a return visit to London, this could well be the time to go. Here are six promotions – two airfare deals and four hotel offers

   It seems like every hotel worthy of the name is pitching a Valentine's Day deal in this year of the recession. But the fact is that the best romantic getaways are romantic year round, not just on February 14. So forget about the legions of mediocre hotels and their

        Years ago, I wrote a book on Brazil. I was happy and privileged to spend months traveling to the Pantanal, the Amazon and Bahia (not to mention Recife, Belem and Minas Gerais, among many other places, with countless adventures along the way).     But in the end, I

        Nothing comes close to the bacchanal that is Carnival in Rio, which runs from February 20-25, 2009. Sure, you can book your own trip, but hotel rates are grossly inflated during Carnival. It's easier by far to peruse the offerings of a company called Brazil Nuts, which offers

       The favelas of Rio, ramshackle squatter quarters on muddy hillsides, are best known for intractable poverty and violence. A shining exception within Favela do Pereirao in Santa Teresa  is the Morrinho Project. Started in 1998 by then 14-year-old Nelcirlan Souza, it's favela-as-Legoland, a miniature world using bricks and

        For many of us, Ipanema is the only place to stay in Rio, and with the new Fasano, a Brazilian-owned hotel, design mavens have a home. The all-too ubiquitous Phillipe Starck was enlisted and yes, there are billowing curtains (yawn) a la the Delano. But it gets (a

(Photo courtesy of the BBC) Reviewed by Richard West     Recently, I gazed at a map of the world and fondly remembered countries visited: sites seen, people met, divine meals devoured, memorable mementoes purchased, and also the unpleasantness of trips, luggage lost, vigorous bigotries, Delhi-belly-esque illnesses. Then a question arose: