Top 10 Belgian Trappist and Abbey Beers

De Ranke Brewery

We are shameless fans of lists – especially beer lists. They give us something to argue about. For those lucky folks experiencing Trappist beers for the first time, this gives you a starting point. Here is our list of the top 10 Trappist beers. Some are widely available, others are very hard to get. We are not professional tasters--our methodology is simple: Pure, biased, hedonistic opinion ... Read Full Article

The Heavenly Brews of Belgium’s Trappist Monasteries

A glass of refreshing Westvleteren blond

Every year hundreds of thousands of Belgian and European beer lovers from neighboring countries like Germany, the Netherlands, France, and Luxembourg travel for hours to the St. Sixtus Monastery in the tiny Belgian town of Westvleteren in West Flanders. They’re not coming for religious reasons though—they visit to collect two crates of the finest (Trappist) beer in the world, also called ... Read Full Article

The Five Best World War II Museums for Americans to Visit in Normandy

US memorial at Normandy

On June 6, 1944, 150,000 American, Canadian and British troops landed in rough seas along a sixty-mile series of flat sandy beaches on the French coast at Normandy. The liberation of France and Western Europe was underway. They fought their way up sloping white sand dunes, towering cliffs, and through small seaside villages until, after two month’s bitter fighting, they broke out of Normandy. ... Read Full Article

Belgium’s Top Ten Beer Festivals

Kerstbierfestival, Essen - Photo courtesy William Roelens

France has wine shows. Germany has its Oktoberfest. Belgium has beer festivals. Mention that you've frequented Belgian beer fests to a fellow enthusiast and you may get some envy or respect--for good reason. These events typically appeal to the aficionado rather than the casual beer drinker. Every year, thousands of Belgian and foreign beer hounds travel to towns big and small across the ... Read Full Article

Wiesbaden: Spas, Sightseeing and a Stunning Hotel

The Villa Sohnlein is a scale knock-off of the White House in Washington D.C.

It’s amazing how two German spa towns can be so different. I’d been staying in the small town of Baden-Baden, tucked away in the foothills of S.W. Germany’s Black Forest. From there I went straight to Wiesbaden, the capital city of the Federal State of Hesse, expecting to see much the same tourist fare offered by Baden-Baden. However, I soon came to realize that trying to compare these two ... Read Full Article

Touring the New BBC Broadcasting House

We enter the BBC Broadcasting House through a wide courtyard, thirty meters across, and 60 meters deep.

In March 2013, the venerated BBC consolidated its news, Online, TV and Radio branches and brand new technology in London into one center, the new BBC Broadcasting House on Portland Place. All of the BBC’s newscasters came together in this new studio, now London’s headquarters. A 1.5-hour tour of this new facility is now offered, and in July I was able to squeeze this tour into my London ... Read Full Article

Walking the Wales Coast Path

The view of the small fishing town of Tresaith from the WCP trail.

Wales has for long played second fiddle to England’s moors and fells as a destination for the UK’s trail walkers, but it now offers a unique path that puts it squarely near the top of the trail walking bucket list. The 870-mile long Wales Coast Path (WCP), completed in May 2012, offers the longest continuous coastal path around any country in the world—and it’s nirvana for hikers and ... Read Full Article

A Victorian Valhalla: Meeting London’s Famous Dead at Highgate Cemetery

Visitors come to a dead stop when they first see the gateway to Egyptian Avenue. Flanked by two pairs of columns with lotus bud capitals and a forbidding overhead archway, it leads to the “Street of the Dead”.

London’s renowned Highgate Cemetery exudes its own distinct spirit as you stroll through its long, narrow winding gravel paths. Shaded by a forest canopy of ancient, leafy, towering oaks, alders, willows, and silver birch and chestnut trees, you can see all of England’s quintessential natural beauty within the 37-acre confines of this park-like necropolis. At Highgate, nature’s ground cover ... Read Full Article

Taking the Waters in Baden-Baden, Germany

Further along “Culture Row” we take a quick walk through the 19th century Kurhaus. The austere white exterior of the Kurhaus—with eight towering Corinthian pillars—belies what lies inside.

The immaculate little town of Baden-Baden, tucked away in the foothills of S.W. Germany’s Black Forest, is a luxurious cross between Monte Carlo, Paris, a spa, and an English park. Within a few minutes’ walk in Baden-Baden you can see the world’s most beautifully appointed casino, stroll through a verdant green park that is a dead ringer for an English Victorian garden, and sip an espresso ... Read Full Article

One Day in Brussels

Guild houses in the Grand Place

  The “wow” factor is high as you walk through the narrow uneven cobblestone alleys to suddenly emerge on the large square at the Grand Place. It’s the number one sight in Brussels, and one of the finest medieval squares in Europe. The tall Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque facades of the elaborately crafted guild houses tower above you on all four sides of the square. Rebuilt in the 1690’s ... Read Full Article