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Europe

You Can’t Keep a Good Ship Down:

Nor a Bad One, Such as the Vasa. The crowd of travel bloggers moved with slow deliberation around the perimeter of the viewing area examining the Vasa from every angle. For some of us, it was seeking out the best shot of the massive hulk that dominated the entire museum. For others, it was drawing […]

Europe

Indulge Your Eyes and Fingertips at Madrid’s Royal Tapestry Factory:

Where Age-Old Techniques Produce Timeless Beauty. Her name was Camino, meaning “path”, and she was our charming tour guide at the Royal Tapestry Factory in Madrid. Her demeanor was professional, but her appreciation for what she was showing and telling us was clear: the function, product and history of an 18th century factory commissioned by […]

Europe

Nelson’s Victory

Crest Over the Companionway of the HMS Victory

Step Into History at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard The lady was undergoing yet another facelift. The ravages of time were still evident from the many beatings she had taken. But we had to admit, the old girl looked remarkably good considering she was over 250 years old. The HMS Victory, the flagship Vice-Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson […]

Europe

A Warm Sicilian Welcome Awaits You at Hotel Sirius:

An Ideal Location for Sampling the Many Charms of Taormina. It was late afternoon when Simon, Otto and I drove through the gates and down a steep ramp into the parking lot on the roof of Hotel Sirius. We had just arrived in the remarkable hill-top Sicilian town of Taormina, and we were about to […]

Europe

Spending a Day in Linköping:

The Main Square in Gamla Linkoping

There’s No Such Thing As Boredom in This Historic Swedish Town. It was mid-morning when Simon, Otto, a fellow travel blogger, and I were met at the Linköping train station by Maria, our guide for the day. The weather was mild and sunny, we had our schedule in hand and Maria was ready to show […]

Europe

Treasures of Salisbury Cathedral:

Salisbury Cathedral seen from the Cathedral Close

Wondrous Surprises Await You at This Medieval Wiltshire Church What do the Magna Carta, the oldest working clock in the world and the tomb of a British prime minister have in common? They all reside in Salisbury Cathedral. And on a rainy morning in the historic Wiltshire town of Salisbury, Simon, Otto and I discovered […]

Europe

The Ups and Downs of Naples with Context Italy:

How a First-Rate Walking Tour Gives this Popular Italian Destination Fresh Perspective Our descent from the heat of a late Naples morning brought us cool relief, and the knowledge that with every step, we were moving back in time. Fiorella, our Context Italy tour guide had already led us through the cobbled streets of the […]

Accommodation / Europe

Hotel Carlemany, Girona, Spain:

Sculpture in the Lobby of Hotel Carlemany

Hospitality and Heart Define this Costa Brava Hotel As we drove slowly through the center of Girona in search of our accommodations, what we saw was anything but awe-inspiring. Perhaps it was the long drive from Guadalajara, or the fact that we were just plain tired, but everything around us seemed drab and uninteresting. But […]

Europe / Weekly Wow!

[Weekly WOW #099] The Mysterious Circles of Avebury, England:

Part of Avebury Circle in Wiltshire

Teachable, Touchable Stones that are Anything But Ordinary. “If you like Stonehenge, Avebury will blow you away.” It was this piece of advice, along with a chance meeting, that led us to a WOW of an experience. Simon, Otto and I had just spent two extraordinary days in Wiltshire, and were on our way to Derby, […]

Europe / Weekly Wow!

[Weekly WOW #098] Medieval Mikvah in Besalu, Spain:  

Candelabra in the Besalu Mikvah

Ritual Bath Opens a Window on a Once-Thriving Jewish Community. It was thirty-six stairs down from the square in Besalu’s Jewish Quarter into the 14th century ritual bath, known as a mikvah. With each step I noticed the air gradually cooling, as the daylight receded, giving way to illumination from two windows in the chamber. […]