Old Athenian Hangouts Take a Modern Twist

Music concert at Second Skin nightclub in Athens' Psirri district

Ancient Athens’ golden glory may be the reason why the city’s vibrant present is often overlooked by visitors. Its inhabitants, though, don’t like to dwell on the past. Well, sort of.. It’s been a few years now that the city’s modest old neighbourhoods, like the once unwelcoming industrial Gazi (Gas in English), have been given a new lease of life courtesy of a vast choice of modern restos ... Read Full Article

5 Reasons to Try Turkish Wine While in Turkey

The vineyards

Need five reasons to drink Turkish wine on your next visit to Turkey? The country's wines are quickly growing in prominence worldwide, and it's no wonder why. First, the world's very first wines were likely made in the region. Second, Turkey ranks sixth in the world in total grape production. Third, the only countries that have more land dedicated to vineyards than Turkey are France, Italy, and ... Read Full Article

Burning Down the House (Literally!): Celebrating Valencia’s Las Fallas Festival

The crema - when it all burns down

The Spanish city of Valencia is a fun place to visit at any time of year. But for five days in March, something extra special takes place. Processions wind through the city streets, with thousands of locals dressed in gorgeous traditional costumes. Parties and concerts begin at 1:30am and last until the next day. Parades liven up the afternoons and fireworks light up the midnight sky. There is ... Read Full Article

Thessaloniki, Greek Macedonia: The Paris of the North

White Tower

Once known as the ‘Paris of the North’, Thessaloniki (Salonika) definitely has a different ambience than Athens. Maybe it’s the city’s close proximity to the sea and the elegant Parisian-style buildings. Or perhaps it’s the vibrant ‘youthful’ feel because of the young people who stroll the plateias and crowd the sea-side tavernas. Thessalonki is, after all, a university city so a large portion of ... Read Full Article

The Crazy Days! ‘Carnival’ All Over Europe

Carnival in Venice

The ritual of ‘Carnival’ has been a prominent institution of cultural life since well beyond the days of antiquity—Ancient Greeks and Romans honoured deities Dionysus and Bacchus with wine feasts and orgies; Germanic Tribes chased wild winter spirits during the smoky nights of the ‘Rauchnachte’; Christians continued on with festivities of their own, with countless offshoots of festive tradition ... Read Full Article

Learning Italian in Bologna

Bologna's famous porticoes

Learning Italian in Italy can take you out of your comfort zone, but it definitely has its perks. One such perk involved having a lesson in a wine cellar, which I found did wonders for my fluency. “We have a saying in Italy,” said our teacher Giordana. “He who doesn’t drink in company is either a thief or a spy.” Giordana's announcement was greeted with smiles and raised glasses. The ... 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

On the Road From Athens to Corinth

Corinthian Columns

The road from Athens to the Peloponnese traverses the coastline past factories and shipyards then climbs high above the sea rewarding us with panoramic views of the sparkling blue Saronic Gulf. My friends and I on our way to visit Corinth, the ancient city that was once a strong rival of Athens. As we descend the pass, we reach a low, flat barren track of land known as the Isthmus that connects ... Read Full Article

Valencia, a City in Seven Markets

Fruits and vegetables in Benimaclet

If you’ve been to Spain, you’ll know that life there is lived by night: evening strolls, late dinners and drinks in the cafés, tapas bars and nightclubs. To feel the real spirit of Spain, you must stay out late. However, there is one thing that gets even the latest night owls out of bed before noon: the street markets. Spain is renowned for its bustling mercadillos; stalls set up in the streets ... Read Full Article

Greek Food: A Taste of the Ancient Past

Typical Greek Fish dinner

Did you know that when you sit down to a hearty meal of Greek food that you are often eating exactly the same dishes their ancestors did in ancient times? The first cookbook was written by a Greek, Archestrolus, in 350 BC suggesting that food was always an important part of Greek life. Some of these ancient dishes include dolmades (stuffed grape leaves) and many of the same fruits, vegetables and ... Read Full Article