Sweden 2013: The Good News and Bad News

Välkomna till Sverige!  (Welcome to Sweden, Y’all!) Let me describe Sweden at “midsommar,” the longest day of the year (June 21).  This day is one of Sweden’s biggest holidays for good reason…It’s the most beautiful time of year in Scandinavia, the season of the “midnight sun.”  The midnight sun is only visible as far south[…]

Reflections on Returning from Italy

Whenever I return to the states from having been abroad, there is a short period of time during which I can look at American life with fresh eyes, before the habituation of being American reasserts itself and everything seems perfectly “normal”.  This time, we flew from Italy into Atlanta, rented a car, and drove the[…]

Italy 2012: Images of Tuscany

Today is our last day in Italy.  Italy is my new favorite country to visit.  The people have been uniformly cordial.  The food is excellent.  The culture is artistically outstanding.  The landscape and architecture are very beautiful.  There is a constant sense of the presence of a long rich history here.  I look forward to[…]

Italy 2012 — Part 2: La Dolce Vita

It’s impossible to visit Italy without being constantly reminded of its illustrious history.  Two thousand years ago, at the height of the Roman Empire, Italy was the center of the greatest empire and concentration of wealth, power, and learning that the world had ever known.  The conquering Romans left their marks from the British Isles[…]

Italy 2012 — Part 1

Our flight to Verona, Italy, took us via Denver and Frankfort, where I got to speak a little German.  The short flight from Frankfort to Verona took us over the Swiss ad Italian Alps.  It was easy to see that the Alps are younger mountains than the Rockies in the US, because they are more[…]

Turkey Tour: Final Thoughts

This two-week tour of Turkey was managed by Go Ahead Vacations, a Boston-based tour company.  Susan and I had traveled using their services once before, to Italy in 2006.  We decided that for a country like Turkey, with which we were completely unfamiliar, that going with an organized tour was the best way to see[…]

Turkey: Religion and Politics

Above:  Hercules (Greek-300BC) Atalya Museum Our Turkish tour guide, Mehmet, has a college degree in English literature.  His spent his military service working as a translator.  Obviously, his English language skills are outstanding.  Having been a tourist guide for twenty years, he has visited these Turkish historical sites hundreds of times.  Thus, he has refined[…]
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