Sardinia for the Rest of Us

Typical landscape of the Maddalena archipelago

Among the first things you hear when you arrive in Sardinia is a local exclaiming: “Look at our beaches. Look at our water. More beautiful than the Caribbean!” Usually the claim is made by someone who has never set foot on a Caribbean island so its validity is questionable, but you can understand why the assertion was made. The waters surrounding the second largest island in the ... Read Full Article

A Brief History of Spain

Moorish influence in the Canopy at the Alhambra

Before embarking on a trip to Spain, learning a bit about its history can make your trip more meaningful. The Iberian Peninsula was first inhabited around 800,000 BC and proved to be a much-desired piece of real estate through the centuries, as evidenced by the large number of foreign invaders that chart Spain's history. First came the Phoenicians, then the Greeks, and then the ... Read Full Article

On the James Joyce Trail in Trieste

James Joyce statue by the Canal Grande

The city of Trieste is in border country. Follow the coast all the way around, as James Joyce did in the early years of the twentieth century, and pretty soon you’ll be in Slovenia, with Croatia just a few miles further south. You are as likely to hear people say 'dober dan' as 'buongiorno', and the phone book is full of names like Gravnik and Decic. Trieste has always inhabited an ... Read Full Article

Anafiotika: The Hidden Village under the Acropolis

View with Lykevettos Mountain

The great city of Athens, Greece is made up of numerous small villages that have melded together over the years. Plaka is the most ancient, original part of the city where most of the archaeological sites are located. Just up on the hill above Plaka, under the flank of the Acropolis (“the high city”) there is the tiny village of Anafiotika, unique because of how it came to be. In 1841, King ... Read Full Article

Three Romantic Getaways in Europe

Dubrovnik, Croatia. Old Town

Valentine’s Day, a holiday steeped in romance and devotion, has been inspiring lovers to declare their love for centuries. It’s a day for heartfelt gifts, fancy dinners, pretty jewelry and even poems. And for travel lovers who use any excuse to plan a trip (that would be me!), it’s an opportune time to discuss a romantic summer getaway—of course, a European romantic summer getaway! Though ... Read Full Article

A Greek Senior Bus Tour in Evvia, Greece

Limnionas Beach

  “Would you like to go on an expedition with a group of Greek seniors?” my friend asked. I was visiting Athens for a few weeks last summer and the word “expedition” piqued my interested. “Why is it called an expedition?” I wondered. My friend Carol is an English woman who lives in Greece. “The reason they call these ‘expeditions’ is because they explore places that bus tours usually don’t ... Read Full Article

Walking in the Footsteps of the Philosophers in Athens

House of Simon

If you are wandering the ancient agora in Athens, at the junction of the SW corner near the Boundary Stone that marked the sacred precinct of the square, you will find a row of dwellings or shops. A cache of hobnails and a black glazed cup bearing the name “Simon” was discovered here and the site is marked “The Shop of the Cobbler Simon.”  This is apparently where the philosopher Socrates spent ... Read Full Article

The Jewish Museum of Athens: Recalling the Past

Ethnic Costumes - Jewish Museum in Athens

In a small, privately owned building just at the edge of Athen’s old Plaka district, all that is left of Greece’s Jewish heritage is displayed with artifacts that have been collected and restored since the 1970’s by tireless museum curators and volunteers. It is because of their dedication that the Jewish Museum of Greece now ranks among the top Jewish Museums in Europe. The idea of a ... Read Full Article

Uncovering the Past in Athens’ Metro Stations

Athens Metro Syntagma Station

Along the rail track near Monastiraki train station in Athens, a team of young archaeology students are digging for treasures. I was told they had discovered a ‘painted stoa’, a popular meeting place during the time of Plato and Socrates. I stand by the fence and watch in fascination as they dust, scrape, and carefully handle pieces of the ancient agora. Finding treasures like these in Athens is ... Read Full Article

Avoiding Credit Card Woes in Europe

Choose your credit card wisely

  Recently, we have noticed that our credit cards do not always work in some areas of Europe. Although not a cause for panic, there have been a few changes that travelers should be aware of when using credit cards in Europe. The Chip-and-PIN cards were introduced in Europe almost ten years ago and now more than 80 countries use them. The Chip-and-PIN credit cards use an embedded ... Read Full Article