River Cruise: The Ultimate Shopping Shuttle

We cruised aboard the AMABella

You’ve done Paris, you’ve seen Rome but when’s the last time you’ve dug for vintage treasures in Budapest? Or shopped off-the-runway furs in Vienna? For true shopaholics looking to welcome 2015 with a (fashion) bang there’s no better place than Eastern Europe. With local Christmas markets popping up across the region, from big cities to small hamlets, it really is the most wonderful time of the ... Read Full Article

Take a New Look at Arty London

The Bertrand Lavier Fountain 2014  at the Serpentine Galleries

London galleries and museums are more often than not an overwhelming experience - an endless parade of disoriented visitors blocking your view and usually accompanied by a busy soundtrack of camera clicks. But there’s a different and far more interesting art and design game being played in a handful of addresses, mostly a stone’s throw from the main thoroughfare. With a little effort, you can ... Read Full Article

Florence: Powering Through Five Museums in a Day

The restored Niobe room, in the Uffizi, represents Roman copies of late Hellenistic art.

Florence is the birthplace of the Renaissance and the city is packed with museums. But on a trip with our two middle schoolers, for whom Renaissance art meant very little, we settled on a model any visitor can use to achieve maximum museum exposure with minimum time, with or without kids. The secret is threefold: a small and walkable city, advance planning, and judicious application of ... Read Full Article

Through The Oberland: Cycling Central Switzerland

The Alps

There is simply no better way to explore a new country than by bike, especially when that country is Switzerland. Luckily, with some help from My Switzerland and SwissTrails, we were able to spend three-days cycling along the Lakes Route that stretches from French Montreux on Lake Geneva to Bad Horn in the northeastern border of the country. The alpine nation has always held a special place ... Read Full Article

Top 5 Cornwall Festivals for 2015

Newquay Fistral Beach coast PhSR 01

Cornwall sees its fair share of festivals and events, but if you had to choose just one, which would you attend? Holidaycottages.co.uk has put together their top five annual events to help you decide the best time to visit Cornwall. Flora Day, May Celebrated for hundreds of years, Flora Day isn’t quite like any other festival in Cornwall. The folk festival brings the town of Helston to life ... Read Full Article

Memories of Communist-era Prague

These American kids definitely stuck out. Think it was the jeans?

Prague is undeniably a magical city, a beautiful tourist paradise rich in history. But a visitor who was a student there 45 years ago reveals a different city hidden in plain sight, one with a drab, painful, and very recent past. Travelers just need to know where to look.  Prague in 1969 My friend Mike spent five months - from January to May of 1969 - studying in Prague and Brno with Portland’s ... Read Full Article

Angoulême: Springboard to Southwest France

The Charente River

As one of four administrative regions that comprise the department of Poitou-Charentes, Angoulême is the capital of the Charente. Nearby Cognac, also in the Charente, is better known internationally but with its burgeoning hip comics industry Angoulême is giving Cognac a grand-cru run for its money. There’s plenty to see and do in Angoulême (see “Angoulême’s Fabulous Flights of Fancy” on ... Read Full Article

Five Movies to Watch before your Next European Vacation

Beautiful Austria

If you’re planning your next holiday in Europe but don’t know how you’ll get through the time before you leave, it’s a good idea to get settled on the couch with a travel-based film. Make some popcorn, put your comfy pants on, and indulge in a weekend movie marathon — only those shot in Europe though, of course! There have been dozens of great films set in European countries over the years, so it ... Read Full Article

Angoulême’s Fabulous Flights of Fancy

Angouleme City

One of the reasons I travel is to discover and learn. When I first visited Europe, I didn’t know what a rampart was. But as I travelled from one old French town to another I saw how towns, questing for invincibility, had fortified themselves with surrounding walls. They were standard issue in Europe of yore. As barbarous behavior diminished and towns grew, they eventually burst those walls leaving ... Read Full Article

The Oxford Experience: A Summer Learning Program

Hall of Residence

And that sweet City with her dreaming spires, She needs not June for beauty’s heightening, Lovely all times she lies, lovely to-night! “Thyrsis,” Matthew Arnold, April 1866 A century after Arnold penned those words about the city of Oxford a latter-day pop manifesto urges us to “Open your mind, arms and heart to new things and people.” If you think you are ready for some time under the ... Read Full Article