Transfagarasan Highway

A twisted drive on the Transfagarasan Highway

Brakes? Check. Map? Check. No fear? Check.  We were about to drive on the  Transfăgărășan Highway, made legendary by the BBC program Top Gear as one of the world’s great road trips. The winding, twisting road carries intrepid drivers…
Athenaeum Bucharest Romania

A surprising week in Bucharest

We recently enjoyed a week in Bucharest, a city that pleasantly surprised us. While the Romanian capital is not among the first cities people think of when visiting Europe, we found it quite charming and extremely affordable. Initially we looked…
TheROOM Prague is a live-action escape game for all ages

Escaping Prague: Playing “TheRoom Prague”

I love games and puzzles of all kinds. So when we had the opportunity to play a live-action escape game during a recent visit Prague we jumped at the chance. Could we find our way out of TheRoom? The premise of TheRoom Prague is simple: you…
Carousel Bookstore Bucharest

Guide to non smoking restaurants in Bucharest

(Note: As of March 16, 2016 a new law went into effect in Romania banning smoking in public places. We visited the country later in the year and found almost 100% compliance with the ban. Dining (indoors) in Romania is now a smokefree experience.) We…

Bravo! Visiting the Luciano Pavarotti home in Italy

I must confess that I am not an opera fan but I found visiting the Luciano Pavarotti Home in Italy to be fascinating; sort of like Graceland for opera buffs. Recently opened to the public, the museum is set in a bucolic setting on a one-lane…

Communist Statues at Memento Park in Budapest

From the end of World War II through 1989, when freedom spread throughout the Iron Curtain countries, the people of Hungary were under the thumb of a communist dictatorship. One way for the totalitarian regime to keep control was through propaganda…
Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia Afterdeck

Queen for a Day on the Royal Yacht Britannia

The Royal Yacht Britannia, the private yacht of the British royal family, is open to visitors just outside of Edinburgh, Scotland.  No longer in active service, HMY (Her Majesty's Yacht) Britannia served the royal family for almost 45 years. The…
Clatite-Romanian pancake dessert filled with cherries

Tasting as many Romanian pastries as I can

When we arrived in Romania much of what we knew about the country was its role as an elusive nation behind the Iron Curtain during our childhood. What we found surprised us. A vibrant nation with a beautiful countryside that is rapidly putting…
highland cow (shaggy with big horns) in Devon, England

Our encounter with killer cows in England

We were staying for two weeks in the bucolic Devon countryside, nestled in a remote cottage perched on the edge of Dartmoor. This legendary, perhaps haunted, bog was made famous in works such as The Hound of the Baskervilles. Our visions of…
Pere Lachaise cemetery Jim Morrison tomb graffiti

The ghosts of Paris at Pere Lachaise

As the Woody Allen film Midnight in Paris depicted, the City of Lights has a long history of attracting fascinating characters. All those people eventually have to end up somewhere, often at Pere Lachaise and Montparnasse Cemetery. Paris has…
Eiffel Tower at sunset

A better Paris Metro map: PDF for download!

We found an easier way to get around Paris. Download this Paris Metro map pdf and you'll always know where you are in the City of Light. This official city map is difficult to find (we're not sure why), so we've made it available for you below. Paris' public…
Costanza restaurant rome

Our favorite restaurant in Rome: Hostaria Costanza

A restaurant is a favorite if it earns repeat visits. By that definition one of our top restaurants in Rome is Hostaria Costanza. We've been to Rome several times and on each visit we visit this small spot…
Belfast peace mural

Photos: Should the Belfast murals remain?

Belfast is famous for how its sectarian divide is portrayed in the murals plastered on building walls in Protestant and Catholic neighborhoods. The Belfast murals promote various factions in the centuries old struggle for dominance in this…
wood bruinng pizza florence central market

Mangia: Eating at the Florence Central Market!

Guest post ~ Florence is well known for its museums and historical attractions like Michelangelo’s David. But amid the vibrant streets near the Duomo stands a building which no visitor should miss. It hosts a real temple of food: the Mercato…

Hidden remnants of the Cold War in Berlin

I was strolling along Bernauer Strasse during a foggy night typical of Berlin. The low-lying mist shrouded the streetlamps, casting sepia shadows on the neighborhood. The hues were reminiscent of old newsreels from August, 1963, when this street…
Illumination from the Book of Kells

Seeing the Book of Kells in Dublin

Maybe it seems unusual to visit a dusty old library on vacation. But because my dad was a dusty old librarian himself it doesn’t seem odd to me at all, particularly when it’s the Old Library at Trinity College in Dublin. Dating back to 1592…
Flame-diana memorial paris

Exploring off the beaten path sights in Paris

Attracting millions of tourists a year, Paris is one of the most popular destinations in the world. But there are still plenty of off the beaten path sights in Paris where a visitor can roam freely. Explore the hidden gardens of the Eiffel…

European Breaks: Exploring the Eastern Mediterranean

As you seek your next European adventure you might want to consider some overlooked countries that are off the traditional tourist path. In the Mediterranean you'll find some of the least crowded beaches, charming cities and most breathtaking…