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Book Reviews Europe History Travel

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 […]

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Europe History

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 […]

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Economics Europe

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 […]

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Europe History

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 […]

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Culture Europe

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 […]

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Europe

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 […]

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Europe Travel

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 […]

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Europe Travel

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 […]

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Europe Travel

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 […]

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Europe Travel

Day 12 – At Sea

The twelfth day of our trip was a good way to relax and catch our breath before our last two stops of Naples and Rome. From Dubrovnik to Santorini, we had had eight straight days of running around ports and trying to do and see as much as possible. But I don’t regret running around […]