Author Archive

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

Provence: Exactly as We Hoped it Would Be

Even people who have never been to Provence, France probably have a pretty good idea about what it looks like; images of the lovely region in Southeast France are everywhere at home. Nashville has a chain of bakeries with the Provence moniker, and of course there’s the fancy soap and lotion store that you can […]

2 Comments » - Posted in France by

Monday, September 1st, 2008

You Have More Money Than I Do, but I Have Nachos…

When we waved a loving goodbye to Piedmont, Italy the other day and, once again, loaded our backpacks into the Peugeot and set off down the road, we were headed into unknown territory. Literally. We’ve had a guidebook for every country we’ve been to so far, but we were headed into France without so much […]

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Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

Hay, Man

For the past few days, we’ve been driving through Northern Italy, where the scenery looks something like Under the Tuscan Sun meets The Sound of Music.  Which is to say, it’s incredible.  We’ve crossed over a number of high mountain passes that have landed us in valleys full of fields of hay, where the smell […]

2 Comments » - Posted in Italy by

Monday, August 25th, 2008

Eastern Europe, Naturally

Trying to picture Eastern Europe before I ever saw it, I always envisioned lots of communist bloc housing.  And also cabbage.  And clouds.  After having spent about six weeks there, I can report that it has at least the first two of these things in ready supply.  As it turns out, though, Eastern Europe also […]

3 Comments » - Posted in Slovakia,Slovenia by

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

Getting Hungary

The twentieth century was a tough one for Hungary.  Until then, the nation had been one half of Austria-Hungary, one of the most powerful empires on earth.  World War I brought widespread destruction to the land, both during and after the actual conflict.  Hundreds of thousands of Hungarians were killed in battle, and under a […]

2 Comments » - Posted in Hungary by

Saturday, August 16th, 2008

At Evil’s Epicenter

Auschwitz.  Even the name of the infamous Nazi death camp sends a chill down my spine.  Although the camp and its neighbor, Auschwitz II (also called Birkenau), are both in Poland, they were the setting for a living nightmare experienced not only by Poles, but by people throughout Europe.  From places as far away as […]

1 Comment » - Posted in Poland by

Sunday, August 10th, 2008

Tracking Dracula ’til the Cows Come Home

When you think about Romania, one of three things probably comes to mind: (1) Nadia Comaneci’s perfect 10 in the ’76 Olympics; (2) the draconian rule of Nicolae Ceausescu1 ; or (3) Dracula himself.  (After all, the count who was the inspiration for the evil character is said to hail from Transylvania, an area in central […]

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Monday, August 4th, 2008

In Defense of Dubrovnik

In 1776, the Republic of Dubrovnik became the first foreign state to recognize a small, upstart republic known as the United States of America.  The people of Dubrovnik had, for centuries, guarded their own freedom against incursions by larger, wealthier states.  It seems they were eager to support others who wanted to do the same. […]

1 Comment » - Posted in Croatia by

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous

Realizing that you’re in the midst of one of the best experiences of your life always feels pretty strange.  Although such a sensation is usually reserved for big, life-changing events–your wedding day, the birth of your child, etc.–I found it a little while ago aboard a yacht named Jolly. Yup, I was on a yacht.  […]

2 Comments » - Posted in Croatia by

Friday, July 25th, 2008

Czech, Please

For a country that has only been around since 1993, the Czech Republic has a fascinating history, and one that’s full of interesting phrases… When Czechoslovakia turned Communist in 1948, scores of non-believers were violently oppressed and imprisoned.  Twenty years later, during a 1968 movement known as the Prague Spring, it adopted a milder version […]

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