Category: Europe

A Pilgrimage to Krakow: A Review

I fell in love with Krakow when I was teaching English in central Europe from 2002–2004. Part of it was the timing of my first visit. In Prague, where I was living, the Soviet-era project of state-sponsored atheism was largely successful. In Krakow, the Catholic Church had resisted the story told by communism, insisting instead that religion … Continue reading A Pilgrimage to Krakow: A Review


Grandpa’s Notes in a Book about World War II

Today is the 70th anniversary of VE Day, the day Germany surrendered and ended World War II in Europe. It has put me in a reflective mood, since my grandfather, who passed away last September, was in Europe that day. He was in Lippstadt, Germany, a few days away from turning 21 years old. Grandpa … Continue reading Grandpa’s Notes in a Book about World War II

Michael Lewis’s Financial Disaster Tourism

In January I posted on Moneyball, because I had just read the book and watched the movie. I've grown to appreciate the writing of Michael Lewis as a result, and over the past few months I have read the series of articles he wrote on the recent financial crisis, mostly in Europe. As is the … Continue reading Michael Lewis’s Financial Disaster Tourism

Why Did the Wall Fall?

Twenty years ago today, the Berlin Wall came down. I don't remember it. That is, I don't remember it being a single cataclysmic event which I have a distinct recollection of hearing about, but I do remember hearing about it over and over for months. Perhaps I would have understood its significance more if I … Continue reading Why Did the Wall Fall?

An Overdose of Hungarian Culture

This story, about the "Hungarian Seabiscuit" (a horse named Overdose) made me smile. But Overdose’s one setback may have done more to cement his reputation in Hungary than his dozen straight victories. At the prestigious Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp in Paris, Overdose appeared to win the premier sprint race with a time just shy … Continue reading An Overdose of Hungarian Culture

Holy Crapstone

I love funny place names (like Hell, MI or Intercourse, PA, or even Valentines, VA), so naturally I loved this article from the NY Times on funny town and road names in the UK. Here it is, in full: January 23, 2009 No Snickering: That Road Sign Means Something Else By SARAH LYALL CRAPSTONE, England … Continue reading Holy Crapstone

Day 15 – Rome (part 2)

On Wednesday, June 18, we got up in Rome and had breakfast at the little cafe next to our B&B - a creme-filled croissant and a cappucino. My kind of breakfast. Then we were off to the major sight in Rome that was geographically closest to us: the Basilica of St. John Lateran. The nun … Continue reading Day 15 – Rome (part 2)

Day 14 – Rome (part 1)

This was the day we disembarked from the cruise ship - not at Rome, technically, but at Civitavecchia, a town on the coast. We ate breakfast, got off the ship, took a shuttle bus to the entrance of the port, and lugged our luggage up the street to the train station. We bought three tickets … Continue reading Day 14 – Rome (part 1)

Day 13 – Naples

After our day at sea, the ship docked at Naples on the morning of June 16. We had signed up for our fourth and final shore excursion this day - a trip that involved Pompeii, a stop at a cameo company, lunch at a pizzeria, and a trip to the National Archaeological Museum (at least … Continue reading Day 13 – Naples