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

Basilicata, Italy: a Tiny Treasure of Passion and Peppers

A Basilicata landscape

The Basilicata, located at the instep of Italy’s geographic “boot”, is one of the country’s smaller regions, one of its least-densely populated, most mountainous, and most often overlooked. But within its 3,869 square miles (slightly under 10,000 square km) are: a UNESCO World Heritage site (Matera) Italy’s largest national park (Parco Nazionale del Pollino) the longest ... Read Full Article

Windsor Great Park: 5,000 Acres of History

Autumn view of Virginia Water

Even on a cold winter’s morning, the hedges of rhododendron in Windsor Great Park are jungle green and glossy. Ducks tread over the wafer-thin ice of Wick Pond and coots bob along, unfazed by the frigid waters. Most visitors come to Windsor for the castle, spilling off trains and coaches for history’s sake. They jostle their way up the High Street, perhaps pausing for a glance at Wren’s Guildhall ... Read Full Article

Savoring September at a Snail’s Pace in the Piedmont

Mercato con Arco nu

Half an hour from the industrial bustle of Turin lies southern Piedmont, a renowned eden for epicurians. Each community has its own claim to fame: the truffles of Alba, the sparkling wines of Asti, the sausage and cheeses of Bra, the world-class wines of Barolo. The landscapes of the Langhe, of Roero and Monferrato, seduce you slowly, with the intricate -- and regionally appropriate -- ... Read Full Article