Old & New Europe: Italy & Sweden in 2019

Spending only two weeks in Europe is very short when considering all that can be seen and done.  Yet my recent two-week European trip was so intensely filled, that the day two weeks ago when we began this trip seems like some time in the distant past. The two weeks in Europe included visits to[…]

Swedish Traditions versus Anti-Immigrant Populism

  At first glance, it might seem that Sweden is an idealized version of California:  Sweden has: universal free access to healthcare, free college education, an excellent public transportation system, a high regard for conservation and alternative energy production, a high level of female representation in government and industry, and (last but perhaps not least)[…]

Photos from the River Cruise through Germany and the Netherlands

PIN Castle
I’m very lucky to be able to travel internationally as much as I do.  It’s a privilege once reserved exclusively to kings, military leaders, international merchants, and those individuals rich enough to afford to travel.  These days, travel has gotten cheaper in some ways (e.g. airfare, internet booking and phones) though more expensive in others[…]

Switzerland: the Manicured Wonderland

PIN Luzern
I had visited Switzerland only once before in 1973, driving my VW van with my parents, when they came to Europe to persuade me to come back to the US after I had stayed out of the country for three years. By that time, the Vietnam War was winding down, and the military draft was[…]

Iceland: Land of Fire and Ice

PIN Road through Iceland
Whenever I travel to “old Europe,” that is, the continent of Europe, I’m reminded that Europeans are much more aware of history than Americans are.  They see the old cathedrals, the castles, the city walls, the statues, the artwork…all products of their long history.  In Iceland, one is reminded constantly of “geological time.”  Geological time[…]

Stockholm & Oslo, Two of My Favorite Cities

Many years ago, I was told the following joke which highlights Scandinavian cliché stereotypes: In a ferry sailing on the Baltic Sea, two Danes, two Norwegians, two Finns, and two Swedes walk into the bar. The two Danes clap each other on the back, have some drinks, all the while laughing uproariously. The two Norwegians[…]

The Amazing Cities of Southern Spain

To tour a country as part of a group tour necessarily results in a superficial introduction to the countries visited. But the advantage is that all the logistical details are covered in advance by the tour company. In the case of this Go Ahead tour, we spent two days in Portugal, followed by five days[…]
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