public marks

PUBLIC MARKS from wiredsetman with tags blog & london

11 June 2007

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

Before I thrill you with my review the Patagonia Freightliner (pictured at right), a quick note about bias. You're going to notice that most of these reviews veer towards the positive. This is not because I am taking kickbacks, or because I am generally a very enthusiastic person, or because I fear that by criticizing others, I am opening the door to criticism of myself. The reason is that I put a serious amount of research--days worth, all told--into determining which items would function best on the road. I'm pleased to report that just about everything performed well above expectations, which is either an endorsement of my research skill, or, more likely, a testament to the constantly improving quality of stuff.

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

When the Sony Reader appeared on store shelves last September, it didn't make the kind of splash a lot of people expected, and in the months since it hasn't sent waves rippling through the industry. Tech reviewers were less than whelmed by the Readers feature set--no backlighting, no search, no annotation, no wireless web streaming--and they considered the price, $350, to be way too high. Literary types, on the other hand, dismissed the Reader in a rather haughtier manner. They saw it not only as a poor substitute for a book, but as a threat to the hallowed tradition of "the book," another broadside from the over-stimulated, attention-deprived, caffeinated present on the deep-thinking and ever-threatened literary tradition.

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

Here is my first thought after stepping off the Queen Mary 2 and reuniting, after two long and lonely months, with my family: It is amazing how much weight the human female can gain in a mere 60 days. Especially so if the female in your arms was 5 months old the last time your saw her, and has since aged to the ripe old mark of seven months. Back in Hong Kong, when I bid Greta and her mummy a tearful goodbye, she weighed 14 pounds; she now tips the scales at 18. In the interim, she has mastered several impressive new skills: She can sit on the floor without toppling randomly over; she can stick her tongue out, and at three a.m. she is able to make a compelling and rhetorically sound argument--without uttering a single intelligible phoneme--that a crib is a cruel and unusual place for a baby and that where she truly belongs is in bed between mummy and daddy.

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

Editor's Note: No time to read the entire blog? Click here for a slideshow of blogger Mark Schatzker's 80 day trip around the world--a journey that involved everything from mud-bathing in Napa to hiking the Great Wall and dancing to bawdy Italian folk songs. What a gig!

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

Editor's Note: The Queen Mary 2 slipped under the Verrazano bridge at five a.m. this morning depositing Mark in the same location from which he departed 80 days ago. Awaiting him were his wife, Laura, and daughter, Greta, and a couple staffers from Conde Nast Traveler who came under the false impression that doing so would excuse them from going to the office. For a man who has spent 80 days on the road writing blog posts, foraging for food, and pestering people with questions, he looked remarkably fresh. We credit the algae wrap (and the handsome budget). Initially Mark promised to send a post today highlighting his last night on the QM2, but we insisted that he reserve his writing for tomorrow. An unlikely request, but we've been as blown away by the blog as anyone. After time with the family and some shut-eye, Mark will be back online tomorrow (no doubt trying to find out if he can resurrect the budget for a visit to Peter Luger Steakhouse).

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

On March 5th, my budget was a strong, vigorous and ready to tackle the world. It had known only good times in its short life, (see here, here, and here; ed.) and in those sweet, carefree days my budget's might was exceeded only by its innocence. Seventy-eight days later, my budget was drawn and gaunt, emaciated, starving, dehydrated and on the verge of expiration. It hadn't had sustenance since Mongolia, when my hotel reimbursed me $10 for an inadvertent overcharge. Since then, nothing. Three days ago, its teeth started falling out. My budget had come down with scurvy.

07 June 2007

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

Day 78: A shout out to my man Francis, that rare breed of waiter who knows how to call a spade a spade. Francis demonstrated this exceptional ability last night at dinner. I was flummoxed, unable to decide what to choose as an appetizer, and so I put the following question to Francis: "How about the Atlantic seafood tian? Is it any good?" His answer: "Not really." Boom. An honest answer from an honest man.

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

Day 77: Over the course of the past 75 days, I have slept on a communal bed in rural China, witnessed the slaughter and butchering of a sheep in Mongolia--a sheep whose liver, kidney, stomach and lungs I helped eat one hour later--and danced with a 76-year-old grandmother in the hills of Cilento, Italy, while her husband serenaded us with bawdy songs on his accordion. These are events we would consider far from the mainstream, and yet, at the time, they didn't feel strange or out of the ordinary. In each case, I was struck by the fact that I had never done any of these things before.

18 May 2007

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

One of the many charming character traits of the English is their attitude towards their own weather. If, as a visitor to England, you experience four days of near-incessant downpour and you happen to make a casual reference to the foul nature of the conditions to a local, they will nod in deep agreement, roll their eyes at the darkened heavens and say, "I can't understand where it all came from so suddenly. Last week was beautiful." Rain, amazingly, takes the English by surprise. They see it as a freak occurrence, the kind of thing most people only ever read about in textbooks.

16 May 2007

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

The overnight ferry from Guernsey arrives in Portsmouth at 6 a.m. I got up, therefore, at 5:30 a.m., and when I looked in the mirror that morning, I thought of one man: Laurent Derame.

15 May 2007

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

Feudalism is dead and long gone, a hilariously primitive system of law and order that vanished, along with plague and chivalry, with the Middle Ages. This is what most people will tell you, and they are wrong. Feudalism is alive and living in quiet, tax-sheltered comfort on a grass-covered chunk of granite in the middle of the English Channel called Sark, though lately it's been doing a bit of soul searching.

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

While the rest of the world has turned its back on clarified butter, Normandy has not, and for this it is deserving of high praise. This means, however, that if you're going to travel along the coast of Normandy, you may wish to consider a high-cardio form of locomotion, especially if you're going to be doing things like eating a sole that took its final swim in sea of clarified butter.

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

Bad news was waiting in Burgundy: A wind was blowing. It was a perfect day to send up a kite, and therefore absolutely not perfect for going up in a hot air balloon, which was the reason I had driven all the way from Monaco. I was, in other words, grounded.

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

I never thought I would say this, but I now know what it feels like to be George W. Bush, seeing as I seem to have annoyed, appalled, and enraged half of Europe with a couple of recent postings. In my defense, I will say only that I only ever report what I see and feel.

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

One of the things about traveling is that you can step foot in a town or city you have never been to before and be reminded -- powerfully reminded -- of people and places that have receded far into the past. This is what happened to me at the Vigilius Mountain Resort.

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

Editor's Note: When Mark started his 80 day journey back in early March, the first question many of you had was "where is he going next?" Mark never did reveal much about his itinerary during those early days. In fact, he still keeps that information close. There are a number of very, very important reasons for his secretiveness, but don't fret, readers, as all will be divulged in the September issue of Conde Nast Traveler. But one thing we can tell you. We're having a contest based on Mark's final, final international stop before completing his around the world journey. One lucky winner will win a trip for two to Palm Springs. Click here for details.

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

Getting the feet -- and everything else -- wet at Vigilius Mountian Resort. Wir sollen Uns unbeschrenkt uber Nacktheit unterhalten. The above sentence is German for, "It is now time we had a frank and open discussion about nudity." There's a good reason it's in German. Let me paint you a picture: It is early evening at the Vigilius Mountain Resort, a hotel and spa complex Monte San Vigilio in Italy's South Tyrol. I have just returned from my triumphant via ferrata assault on Mount Fenberg. Though it is not the cheapest hotel I have stayed at on this generously funded circumnavigation, the Vigilius is the one I like best. It is modern, both starkly and warmly. To behold its neat interior vistas is to rinse the mind of clutter.

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

Italy isn't a very big country, but a lot changes as you drive north. The economy picks up, for one thing. Northern Italy, many people say, is the tugboat that pulls Italy along, while southern Italy is the anchor. The Po Valley, which runs from the Italian Alps into the Adriatic near Venice, is one of the most industrialized regions on the planet. If you keep driving north of the Po Valley, people start speaking German, but you're still in Italy. It's fair to say that more changes in one hour of highway driving in Italy than in one day of highway driving in Nebraska.

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

Things started going wrong for Florence about a thousand years ago, when a very important man named Hugo--a margrave, no less--decided he wanted to live in Florence instead of the then capital, Lucca, a decision which brought on a period known as The Golden Age of Florentine Art. Half a millennium later, A guy named Lorenzo di Medici started running the show and throwing serious money at local artists like Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci (best known for his thrilling novel, "The Da Vinci Code") and Botticelli. Pretty soon, all the talk was about Florence: The architecture! The paintings! The sculptures! The ravioli!

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

Thanks in great part to Starbucks, we have become a culture of Italian-style coffee drinkers. We drink cappuccinos, we pour honey into caffe lattes and sprinkle cinnamon on top, and a few of us even know the words "espresso macchiato," which is a quarter of an inch of mud-like coffee topped with a little milk and a tiny dollop of foam. Or at least that's the definition I'm going with. The very concept of macchiato is troubled by controversy.

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

The following post is dedicated to James Hathaway, genius marketer, loyal blog-reader, and nice guy. James Hathaway is the Communications and Conservation Manager at the Orvis Company, which makes fly-fishing rods. As some of you may remember, I brought 6/7ths of an Orvis fly-fishing rod with me to Mongolia. My plan was to bring all seven sevenths of the rod, but something went greivously wrong during the packing phase of the trip and the end result was that I found myself standing on the bank of a Mongolian River with an incomplete-and useless-fishing rod.

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

Wrong on both counts: I'm Canadian and I've long been a fan of sexually suggestive folk music. I even have a suggestion to make: "Red Staggerwing," which is on All the Roadrunning, the album by Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris that came out last year. It's not quite as blunt as "La Cilentana," but it's playful in the best way. I consider this album a must-have. In fact, I've listened to it at least once in every country I have visited on this trip.

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

My Slow Day in Italy didn't begin nearly as slowly as I'd imagined. Tilde woke me up at 7:30, I had a quick shower, a quicker breakfast, and then it was into Tilde's car. The three of us--Tilde, myself, and her daughter, Wanda--were headed into the mountains and I wasn't quite sure why. Tilde said something about a crazy man named Ali and sausage. That's all I knew, but it seemed like as good a reason as any.

14 May 2007

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

Concierge.com asset, video. Concierge.com travel writer, Mark Schatzker, treks around the world in 80 days. Follow his intrepid journey on his blog as he attempts to circumnavigate the globe “the old-fashioned way.” In this video he shows you some of the items accompanying him on his journey. Find out more at http://www.concierge.com/cntraveler/blogs/80days. From Wiredset Digital Agency. Ingredients Flour - 500 grams (100 grams per person, 80 percent soft flour and 20 percent hard flour) Eggs - 3 (possible more or fewer, depending on "feel") Water Weigh and mix the flour. Pour it in a tall pile on a pastry board, and form a crater in the center with hands. Crack the eggs into the crater and beat well. Fold the flour into the eggs and when they are absorbed add water. Knead the dough with hands, adding water, until it has reached a desired consistency.

Around the World in 80 Days: A Travel Blog by Conde Nast Traveler at Concierge.com

Concierge.com asset, video. Concierge.com travel writer, Mark Schatzker, treks around the world in 80 days. Follow his intrepid journey on his blog as he attempts to circumnavigate the globe “the old-fashioned way.” In this video he shows you some of the items accompanying him on his journey. Find out more at http://www.concierge.com/cntraveler/blogs/80days. From Wiredset Digital Agency. Sometime after lunch, we hopped into Tilde's Alpha Romeo and paid a visit to the butcher, Luigi, to get some Podolica bisteccas.