Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Cool Tool: Dwell Walking Tour Podcasts

I don't know about your bank account, but between the current economic meltdown and my woeful underemployment as a freelance writer, ours isn't exactly overflowing. So any kind of travel that involves more than a tank of gas and a picnic basket is pretty much out of the question right now (and with gas prices, even that doesn't come cheaply).

But my thirst to explore different parts of the country and the world -- and even to discover some hidden corners of my own figurative backyard -- hasn't diminished. I find that I'm ripping travel articles out of magazines like never before and relishing TV shows that provide a glimpse into other places and other lives. (Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations and HGTV's House Hunters International are two current faves. After a recent episode of HHI, for instance, Nick and I became convinced that a move to Buenos Aires -- where one can apparently score a gorgeous apartment in the most exclusive sector of the city for as little as $130,000 -- was in our future.)

Anyway, I recently stumbled upon the podcast walking tours on Dwell magazine's website. Although they're intended to be listened to on an MP3 while actually hoofing it through the various areas featured, I've found that they're nearly as effective as brief armchair escapes that can be enjoyed from the comfort of one's own couch.

Hosted by local experts, the podcast tours highlight attractions that won't be found in your standard guidebook: The strange, exotic foods available on San Francisco's Clement Street; Manhattan's best design-focused bookstores and newsstands; Brooklyn's cutting-edge home shops; Berlin's architectural curiosities.

Other virtual destinations include New York's Soho, Chicago, Venice Beach, Prague, and Southern Italy. There are even podcast tours of major museum exhibitions and designers' ateliers. Photo slideshows accompany many of the tours, too, so you listen and scroll simultaneously while you imagine yourself wandering through some delightful, faraway place.

So, yeah, I'm not likely to board a plane anytime soon -- but there's nothing to stop me from dowloading and dreaming, right?

Check out all of Dwell's podcasts right here.


tinyparticlesoflight said...

I hear ya on the tight travel budget. Our dreams also include living in Buenos Aires next summer! Maybe we'll run into you...;)

Kerry said...

I LOVE House Hunters International. My favorite one was where that woman bought a totally run down casa in Mexico and redid it, all for something like a buck-ninety-two. Crazy stuff.

I have a suggestion for a future House Voyeur -- my best friends here in Portland (an architect and an engineer) designed and built their home and it has been featured both locally and nationally as an example of green construction and building in a small urban space. If you are interested, I can get you in touch with them.

Anonymous said...

Wow, pretty awesome! I'm going over to check right now to see if there any for Portland, because I am heading there tomorrow! Just a quick weekend trip to check it out with my SO. I see maple-bacon bars in my future...

And I hear ya on No Reservations. Practically every episode we see adds another travel destination to our list!

Anonymous said...

i fall asleep every night to hhi - one of my favs too. and living south of the border is definitely dirt cheap (maid for $500 a year!) and the tops for ultra modern architecture

Katie @ said...

Thanks for the link. I was really caught by the last image you included--Berlin, Germany! I just moved to Berlin (and started a blog, too!).

We often don't think of the places that we live as such a breathtaking places. Thanks for the instant reminder... though it's a good thing you didn't put any US countryside pictures on here. That's my fantasy place to be!


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