National Museum of Scotland Displays The World

Ancient Roman cameo glass, 'Portland vase'

Scotland has scores of museums, all of them interesting, but the National Museum of Scotland, in Edinburgh, is truly exceptional. Its collections of thousands of objects cover natural history, world cultures, geology, archaeology, science and technology, and of course the entire story (pre-history included) of Scotland. The museum is set in the heart of the city, on Chambers Street near the George ... Read Full Article

Paris: In Search of Hemingway

Inside a writer's booth at Shakespeare and Company

On a chilly December night I laze under the terrace awning of a café by the cobbled Place de la Contrescarpe, staring across to the mouth of winding, fairy lit Rue Mouffetard. There is the musty scent of Gauloises in the air, hot café, the literary spirits of yesteryear lingering in the amber washed night street. I soak up Ernest Hemingway’s Parisian hood, a nook where he and many other literary ... Read Full Article

My Favorite Foods of Europe

Yummy Stroopwafels

To travel is to taste the world. And Europe presents a particularly eclectic hotchpotch of flavours. From the strange to the sublime, I’ve sampled various dishes and foodstuffs throughout my jaunts across the continent and here (in no particular order) are some of my personal favourites: Gran Canaria Though the Atlantic archipelago presents a popular European mix of English, German and Italian ... 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

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

A Tour of London’s Street Art

Crane by Belgian artist Roa

Next time you're in the East End, take a moment to soak up London's street art. It's bold, witty and often subversive, much like the city itself. The works of artists who revel in pseudonyms like Jimmy C, Stik, Ronzo and, of course, Banksy, have turned the formerly mean streets of Spitalfields and Shoreditch into a continually evolving open air art gallery. Once, not so long ago, the East ... Read Full Article

Visit Amsterdam’s Zoo for Family-Friendly Fun

Tray Bike Eateries. Courtesy of Artis Zoo

Amsterdam is well known for its history, art, and adult entertainment, but when I found myself wandering the historic canals and streets with a 3-year-old niece on my shoulders, I had to find something a little more family friendly. Enter the Amsterdam Artis Royal Zoo (Natura Artis Magistra). With over 1.2 million visitors each year, the zoo is the second-most visited site in Amsterdam ... 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

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

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