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The Travel Monocle sparks a lust for unusual places, adventures, and curiosity all over the globe.  We dare boldly to connect you, body and spirit, to experiences not ordinarily considered.  From the of-the-beaten-path gem of a restaurant to the frequently-visited monuments, the perspective you get from our travel monocle will be like none other.

The Travel Monocle


Spanish Triple-header: Barcelona, Bilbao and San Sebastian

By CPC | July 1, 2020

Article and photos by Joe Gschwendtner; courtesy photo One absolutely, positively cannot oversell northeastern Spain. The environs of Barcelona, Bilbao and San Sebastian are simply exquisite with cultural, gastronomical and urban attractions among the finest in all Europe. It was in 1979 that a friend insisted I visit his birthplace, Barcelona. The 1888 World’s Fair…

Poland part II: steeped in history

By CPC | June 1, 2020
Photo of Warsaw

Article and photos by Joe Gschwendtner We parted in Warsaw last month. No history of Poland is complete without knowing it once was the center of a Nazi killing field. The pre-war Jewish population was huge, as Poland was the most religiously tolerant country in Europe. The Holocaust began when Nazis rounded up the Jewish…

Poland: A rehabilitated, dynamic eagle (Part 1)

By CPC | April 1, 2020

Article and photos by Joe Gschwendtner While international travel for pleasure is not an option currently, now is the time to break out your photo albums and relive your previous travel adventures – or travel vicariously here through mine. World War II ended 75 years ago. Poland was a major casualty, ground up by the…

Slovenia Gem of former Yugoslavia

By CPC | March 1, 2020

Article and photos by Joe Gschwendtner In 2005, my wife and I discovered this diamond in the rough. Rough, as Slovenia was still drying out from the oppressive former Communist rule of President Josip Broz Tito and transitioning to a managed capitalist economy. Slovenia among the Balkan states, was ready for the free world, stoking…

New Zealand Part II: The South Island

By CPC | February 1, 2020

Article and photos by Joe Gschwendtner After touring Wellington last month, let’s ship out, on a 3.5 hour, $44 ferry ride, crossing Cook Strait to the South Island. The 12th largest island on Earth may also be its finest. If you are Maori, you’ll call it Te Waipounamu; if you are Hobbit, Middle-earth. After sampling…

New Zealand: Colorado in the South Pacific

By CPC | January 1, 2020
Photo: Rothmans Building, Napier, New Zealand.

Article and photos by Joe Gschwendtner An exquisite hike to a special place: Cathedral Cove on the Coromandel Peninsula.Our family has visited this magic land in the South Pacific frequently. We’ve tramped hundreds of miles on her world-famous tracks, lived through the Christchurch Earthquake and treated her two islands as our adventure land, writ large.…

Tasmania part II: The atrium

By CPC | December 1, 2019

The color contrasts at Binalong Bay detail the orange lichen, azure seas, white clouds and blue skies of the region. Article and photos by Joe Gschwendtner As noted in the October issue of The Connection, the Tasmania experience is a breed apart. It is refreshing and temperate, unlike the Australian mainland. Lightly populated, it’s a…

Tasmania: An affair of the heart

By CPC | November 1, 2019
Graphic for The Travel Monocle

A small sction of the Painted Cliffs rock formation at Maria Island National Park. Article and photos by Joe Gschwendtner; courtesy map Among the world’s most remote and enticing places, Tasmania vies for my blue ribbon. Time will stand still for you in “Tassie”… Getting there takes some doing. Brace yourself: Denver to California, then…

Life after the wall: A German merger

By CPC | October 1, 2019

A postcard highlighting many of Dresden’s architectural wonders as they stand today, rebuilt and celebrated. Article and photos by Joe Gschwendtner; courtesy photos Scant months after the Berlin Wall came down, I visited. Heady days for those fleeing Communism. Consumer goods. Variety. Freedom to do most anything. “Osties” with cars would drive west gawking at…

The real Germany: Tourist mecca, tumultuous history

By CPC | August 1, 2019

Step into the past and ride the old Soviet-era trolleys still in use in Lviv. Article and photos by Joe Gschwendtner Having visited Germany almost annually since 1953 and being the son of a 1927 immigrant father, I am intimate with this enchanting land. When one braids 150 years of history with natural beauty, economy,…

Helsinki: A Taste of Finlandia

By CPC | July 1, 2019

Scandinavian design has long been seen as avant-garde by the world; the Helsinki Central Library Oodi (pictured above) does not disappoint. By Joe Gschwendtner; courtesy photos One has favorite cities; Helsinki remains high on my list. With granite foundations, a comparable resolve in her people and Nordic wooded beauty, the allure is magnetic! I visited…

Turkey Part II: Turquoise Coast and More

By CPC | June 1, 2019

The Blue Lagoon in Ulodeniz, Turkey is one of the most photographed in the world. The gradations of blue and green are spectacular. It swims well too! Cappadocia. Formed in the same manner as Castle Rock’s buttes, the towers and geology of this region is otherworldly. One can spend days wandering and appreciating the region…

Turkey: A feast for any season (part one)

By CPC | May 1, 2019

Hagia Sophia. Mosque built by Emperor Justinian designed to impress. It will, guaranteed. Article and photos by Joe Gschwendtner My rapture with Turkey began in 1987 while visiting Istanbul on my way around the world. Numerous visits would follow. In 2018, it was time again to swill that city’s “wine.” The political actors had changed,…

The Canadian Maritimes Part 2 of 2

By CPC | March 1, 2019

Left to right. City Market in St. John, N.B. Great place to find most anything, including lunch.  Roosevelt Cottage, Campobello Island, N.B.  Middle Head Hike, Cape Breton National Park, N.S. Article and photos by Joe Gschwendtner Part two features the large southern provinces, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Should you have more time, consider pastoral,…

Eastern Canada: The Canadian Maritime Provinces and Newfoundland-Labrador Part 1 of 2

By CPC | February 1, 2019

Seascape looking out from the Ferryland Lighthouse in Newfoundland. Article and photos by Joe Gschwendtner Canada is vast, a travel jigsaw. Where to begin? How about in the east since the eastern provinces are more compact? Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland-Labrador have much in common. Shaped by the Atlantic with a…

Berlin’s Reunification and Renewal

By CPC | December 1, 2018

Potsdamer Platz before (bottom) and after (top) – from wasteland to the symbol of New Berlin. Article and photos by Joe Gschwendtner When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, reunification began instantly. Freedom was visual, in the faces of former East German citizens cascading with joy through gaps in the wall. In the satisfaction of…

Berlin: Resurrected Colossus

By CPC | October 1, 2018

Berlin’s Red Town Hall, seat of the mayor of Berlin. Built 1861-69 in Italian renaissance style. Article and photos by Joe Gschwendtner To visit Paris, London, or even Rome for a week or so is fashionable. Each packs a wallop of culture, green space, architecture, and history. For a place like no other, try Berlin;…

Portugal: Oporto and points north

By CPC | September 1, 2018

Joe Gschwendtner/author standing on parapets of Valenca’s 13th-century fortress. Article and photos by Joe Gschwendtner The Douro River valley is reason alone to visit Portugal in the fall. Terraced hills are necklaced with red, orange and yellowed leaves on vines grown heavy with grapes awaiting harvest. A bit of cheese, bread and last year’s vintage,…

Lisbon, Southern Portugal and Madeira

By CPC | August 1, 2018

View of Mosteiro dos Jeronimos in the Belem district. Article and photos by Joe Gschwendtner Many tourists in Portugal don’t get much beyond Lisbon. For good reason. It is a welcoming city of cobbled street neighborhoods, hills, monuments, wide boulevards, arches and squares, rich in architectural delights. Aimlessly wandering alleys, boulevards and seven hills makes…

Portugal: One Country, Many Flavors

By CPC | July 1, 2018

Article and photos by Joe Gschwendtner Portugal was on top of the world in the 16th century. Capitalizing on the skill of her navigators, their discoveries and trade routes, untold wealth flowed into the national treasury. It was a golden age in which (King) Manuel I and his explorers set the pace for all of…

Finding East Prussia: An adventure in Kaliningrad

By CPC | June 1, 2018

By Joe Gschwendtner In May, I got another close whiff of Russia on the Curonian Spit in Lithuania. For those with a yen for history, Kaliningrad is a Russian exclave, surrounded by Lithuania and Poland. It is a heavily militarized, warm water port on the Baltic. It was also once Königsberg, home of the Teutonic…

Lithuania: Another Baltic journey worth making

By CPC | April 1, 2018

Cathedral Square in Vilnius was the start of a human chain “The Baltic Way”– more than 2,000,000 people linked by hand to the Baltic Sea demonstrating solidarity of their suffering under the USSR. Article and photos by Joe Gschwendtner Lithuania is the southernmost and most populous of the three Baltic Republics. Like her neighbors, she…

Latvia: Baltic middleman

By CPC | March 1, 2018

Article and photo by Joe Gschwendtner; photos courtesy of Latvia.eu Sandwiched between Estonia and Lithuania, Latvia accommodates some 2 million people. Like Estonia, her terrain is rich in natural beauty, thickly forested with rolling plains. But for capital Riga with a million inhabitants, Latvia is otherwise a country of small towns and villages. In a…

Baltic pearls: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuani

By CPC | February 1, 2018

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in old town Tallinn, Estonia. Article and photos by Joe Gschwendtner While Europe struggles with politics and copes with a mass influx of not-always-welcomed migrants, three small Baltic States offer fresh adventures: well-preserved cities, idyllic lakes, sand dunes and enchanted forests – what travel guide “Lonely Planet” calls the super-nature experience. Many…

Lviv: A taste of the Ukraine

By CPC | January 1, 2018

Every year in May, umbrellas appear like butterflies in front of Potocki Palace on Kopernick Street. Article and photos by Joe Gschwendtner I set off to Lviv (‘Le-view’), Ukraine in May. Friends thought I had finally gone off the reservation. Know this: Ukrainians have a thirst for freedom likely second to none on the planet.…

Slovenia: Gem of the Balkans

By CPC | December 1, 2017

The Assumption of Mary Church, built in late 17th century. It’s tower is 171 feet tall. Article and photos by Joe Gschwendtner For 40 years, communist Joseph Broz Tito dominated the Balkan Peninsula. After World War II, excluding Greece and Albania, this land of various ethnic groups became known as Yugoslavia. While the capital of…

Seychelles: Garden of Eden

By CPC | November 1, 2017

Article and photos by Joe Gschwendtner Superlatives today are not lacking. Everything is amazing, incredible, awesome, special or very unique, the latter actually impossible. But how about “paradise” as perfection, a place against which all other places on earth are measured …? Check your world map, and travel 900 miles east of Zanzibar and 600…

Smorgasbord in Chile?

By CPC | October 1, 2017

Valley of the Moon, Atacama Desert; inset Perito Moreno Glacier, Los Glacieres National Park Article and photos by Joe Gschwendtner Mature Americans seldom consider South America for independent travel. Currency devaluations, revolutions and erratic creature comforts lead most travelers to tours and cruises. Chile is decidedly different. Discoverable along a 2,700-mile axis, she offers epic…

The Way

By CPC | September 1, 2017

A bird’s-eye view of San Sebastian, Spain (Donostia, if you are Basque) on the southern coast of Bay of Biscay. Article and photos by Joe Gschwendtner Harry is an old friend. I met him on a ferry in New Zealand in 1990. We got to talking about places and getting to the real marrow of…