Italy -- with more culture, crowds and chaos per square kilometer than anywhere else in Europe -- is most enjoyable when you're up-to-date on its sightseeing and infrastructure news.
As in other European cities, Florence is beefing up security these days. Visiting some major museums -- such as the Accademia (with Michelangelo's "David"), Uffizi...Read more
Both Spain and Portugal have interesting stories to tell and interesting cultures to share. Here's some travel news for those visiting in 2017.
Neglected corners of Spain's cities are being made more inviting for visitors. Sevilla's Triana neighborhood, long considered the "wrong side of the river," is becoming the most colorful and authentic ...Read more
When visiting Cuba, it seems every tourist does the same three things: tour the capital city of Havana, visit the charming colonial town of Trinidad, and commune with nature in the beautiful valley of Vinales. Trinidad and Vinales are each about a three-hour drive from Havana -- one to the east and the other one west.
While Cuba has decent ...Read more
I welcomed the year 2016 in Cuba, where my family and I and spent New Year's Eve prowling the streets of Havana. Fun and festivity were in the air. In one wild night, I made a new friend and was invited to a party I'll never forget.
Anticipating a Cuban New Year's bash, tourists usually gather in Havana's old town....Read more
For more than a thousand years, the distant silhouette of Mont-St-Michel has sent pilgrims' spirits soaring. Today, it does the same for tourists. This island abbey in the Normandy region of France, one of the top pilgrimage sites of Christendom through the ages, floats like a mirage on the horizon.
For centuries, devout Christians endeavored ...Read more
The festive swirl of heartwarming sights, sounds and smells of Christmas abound in Austria -- the land where the season's most-loved carol, "Silent Night," was first performed more than 200 years ago.
Austria is known for its slow-paced, stop-and-smell-the-strudel attitude. For Christmas, Austrians start early, go slow and touch all the holiday...Read more
San Gimignano is the epitome of a Tuscan hill town. About 25 miles from Florence and Siena, it's the region's glamour girl -- visually striking and perfectly preserved -- getting all the fawning attention from passing tour buses. But despite its tourist-trap feel, it's still worth slotting into ...Read more
Montmartre, the hilltop neighborhood hovering on the northern fringes of your Paris city map, is in many ways the perfect French cliche: red-and-white checkered tablecloths, artist's easels filling petite squares, and bohemian cabarets offering up high-kicking cancans. The literal high point is the bone-white Sacre-Coeur Basilica, from where the...Read more
If You Leave this Farm: The Dream Is DestroyedAmanda Farmer
A Memoir about courage, hope, and resilience. The story powerfully shows the internal struggle and conflict between personal desires, the crushing weight of constant submission to a father's misguided use of God-given authority, and the need to be accepted by one's ...
Humble, charming little Wales is a land of lusty men's choirs, salty harbors, slate-roofed villages, stunning mountains, and stout castles.
In fact, Wales is slathered with castles. During the late 13th and early 14th centuries, English King Edward I started building these awe-inspiring fortresses -- arguably the most breathtaking you'll find ...Read more
I've talked to too many people who put off their travel dreams just because they haven't found a travel partner: The prospect of going alone sounds either too daunting or just not all that fun. But traveling on your own can be rewarding, vivid and exhilarating -- a gift from you to you. Prepared with a positive attitude and solid information, ...Read more
The "Mona Lisa," the Colosseum, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Michelangelo's "David" ... Europe's cultural treasures are world-class, including some of the most beautiful and enduring objects humans have created.
But let's face it. Too many museums can ruin a perfectly good vacation. For some, Notre-Dame's vast interior can be a yawning bore, and the ...Read more
Every summer, Europe greets a stampede of sightseers. Instead of jumping into the peak-season pig pile, consider planning a trip for the off-season -- generally November through March. Here are some things to know when planning a winter trip.
IT'S CHEAPER: Off-season airfares are often hundreds of dollars cheaper. With fewer crowds in Europe, ...Read more
Once one of Belgium's medieval powerhouses, Ghent -- about 30 minutes away from Brussels and Bruges -- oozes with cobbles and charm. But it's also a living place -- home to one of Belgium's biggest universities. While there's a certain amount of urban grittiness, the heart of Ghent still looks much like it did circa 1500, when this was one of ...Read more
Sunsets decorate my travel memories. They can be a vivid, romantic capper for a beautiful day on the road. I've seen a lot of sunsets in my travels, and these spots are some of my most memorable.
AERO ISLAND, DENMARK. Four hours from Copenhagen, time-passed Aero Island is the perfect place to wind down. At a lazy day's end, stroll out to ...Read more
I love Venice, but when the crowds become unbearable, I make it a point to get out of the center and discover what the surrounding area has to offer.
One easy escape is to the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello, which hide out in Venice's lagoon. Water taxis and ferry boats zip from central Venice to the islands, so you can easily see all ...Read more
As a kid, my treehouse was my castle: no parents reining me in, a ladder that pulled up, and nails sticking down through the ceiling -- just long enough to keep out bullies taller than me. With my sliding tongue-in-groove panels, I could see who was coming. My refuge was the envy of other little kings.
The treehouse is long gone, but I can ...Read more
While it's nothing to brag about, I am a miserable linguist. I got into the University of Washington, which required two years of a foreign language, thanks to an intensive summer French class at a local community college.
It was probably the worst month of my life. The eight ways the French pronounce "uh" pretty much broke my spirit. But I ...Read more