Chilling in the Swiss Alps

smiling blonde woman ice-bathing in frozen lake

Amy takes a dip in Arosa, Switzerland’s ice-cold Untersee lake. Courtesy Carmen Prantl of EisbadiArosa.

My mother has offered lots of advice over the years. Some of it I’ve heeded: “Look both ways before you cross the street.” “Always buckle your seatbelt.” Some of it I haven’t: “Don’t talk to strangers.” (As a journalist, that’s part of my job…and generally speaking, the stranger the better).

But one topic evaded her maternal warning system. “Never set foot in a frozen lake in a bikini.” Or rather, “Never set foot in a frozen lake, full stop.”

So if you’re reading this, Mum, look away now. The rest of you can read the full story in Wine Dine + Travel Magazine.
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Carmen Prantl, a volunteer with the EisbadiArosa ice-bathing organization, coaches Amy through her frozen dip in Switzerland’s Untersee lake. Courtesy Tschuggen Hotel Group.

Winter in Bavaria, Germany: A Festive Foodie Feast

If your idea of the perfect holiday season escape is like something out of Hansel and Gretel—charming half-timbered cottages and all-you-can eat sweet treats (minus the cannibalistic overtones, obviously)—then buckle up for Bavaria, my friends. Just be prepared to loosen your belt a notch or two, because this trio of festive destinations—Rothenburg, Bayreuth, and Nuremberg—will leave you full to bursting with the Christmas spirit, not to mention gingerbread and glühwein.

A present-laden car and stately nutcracker mark the entrance to the Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas shop and museum in Rothenburg. Copyright Amy Laughinghouse.

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Why Bath is Worth a Splash: Take a Deep Dive into Historic English City

There’s a brouhaha brewing in Great Britain, and I don’t mean the debate about the plummeting pound or the monarchy’s future following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. Rather, I refer to the tempest in a teacup that’s been simmering since two British broadcasters threw Bath, one of the country’s best-loved cities, under the (hop-on, hop-off) bus.

The square flanked by Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths is popular with street performers, like these strolling “pot heads.” Copyright Amy Laughinghouse.

Dan Snow, historian and host of the History Hit podcast, has suggested that a tour of the north leaves the classic quartet of UK must-sees–London, Windsor, Stonehenge, and Bath–in the dust. Compounding the controversy, Tom Holland—also an historian and co-host of The Rest is History podcast—agreed that he “wouldn’t bother” with Bath. Shock! Horror! Sacrilege!

While I am not an historian and may be the last 21st century biped bereft of a podcast, I am a long-term resident of the UK and a travel writer with plenty of mileage under my belt. Having recently revisited Bath, a ludicrously picturesque Georgian city where sinuous terraces of sunbaked stone gleam like drizzled honey on the hillsides, I’m more than willing to slip on my wellies and wade into a debate which has grown murkier than an over-steeped cuppa. To wit: I absolutely advise visitors to adventure beyond the “usual suspects,” but for heaven’s sake, don’t toss out Bath with the bathwater.

Click here for the full story in Go World Travel Magazine. I’ve detailed my favourite ways to soak up the best of Bath, whether you want to live it up like the lords and ladies in Bridgerton, subject yourself to spine-tingling chills at the Frankenstein museum, or hit some of the city’s buzziest bars and shops.