When I'm in Italy, I generally only eat Italian food. Italians are passionate about food. Some dishes are only available during a short window of time, when ingredients are at their peak. To eat well in Italy, finding the right restaurant is key.
France's bustling, modern Reims greets travelers with cellar doors wide open.
Rome is a showcase of Western civilization, layered with elements of the city's 2,000-year-old history. Rome is the birthplace of the Baroque style -- and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who lived and worked here in the 17th century, is considered its father.
Lately, I've really been enjoying what I consider to be the "second cities" of Europe, such as Naples in Italy, Marseille in France and Hamburg in Germany.
Sometimes I wonder why I lug my bag through airports, following my own recommendation to pack light enough to carry on and avoid checking any bags on international flights.
The last time I visited St. Petersburg, in the 1990s, the Russian city was gray and depressing. Three hundred years ago, St. Petersburg was a dismal swampland.