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The castle extends across the whole photo, with a large blockish building on the left and a round tower on the right.

Visiting Cesky Krumlov Castle and UNESCO site

When we arrived at Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic, it was almost dark and we couldn’t see much. Following our GPS, we found our hotel, checked in, and ate dinner at a nearby restaurant. Nothing too exciting so far, but we’d come because the town is a listed UNESCO world heritage site, a designation…

An outstanding art museum in the Hague: Mauritshuis

My initial interest in visiting Mauritshuis, an art museum in the Hague (Den Haag), had to do with one single painting: Girl with a Pearl Earring, by Johannes Vermeer, painted in about 1665. But this outstanding little Den Haag museum has many more gems of Golden Age painting. A disclosure: This is a sponsored post:…

Don’t tar all “influencers” with the same brush.

I hate the word “influencer.” It has taken on a bad connotation: young people, generally female and white, who claim “influence” through pretty poses on Instagram. Articles circulating on social media accuse them of all sorts of bad behavior: buying followers and demanding free rooms and meals from hotels in exchange for pictures, posing for…

Special places in Lebanon: two full-day tours

Recently I made a short trip to Lebanon, despite a lot of “But is it safe?” from everyone I mentioned it to. I’ll write about the travel warnings at the end of this article, but first I want to report on all the special places in Lebanon that I saw in the two free days…

The Baalbek Ruins in Lebanon: an extraordinary UNESCO site

On my recent trip to Lebanon, I was just blown away by the Baalbek ruins: a magnificent set of Roman temples in the Beq’aa Valley and a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. I saw Baalbek on a full-day small-group tour, which included other stops, but right now I just want to write about the Baalbek…

WWII and Cold War sites in Berlin

Berlin is a wonderfully diverse and dynamic city, and especially intriguing to visit as a tourist with an interest in history. In particular, Berlin is the place to go if you like learning about 20th century history, and, more specifically, World War II and the Cold War. I’ve written about a number of Berlin’s WWII…

Dunnottar Castle in Aberdeenshire

Dramatic Dunnottar Castle

As I wrote in my overview of Aberdeenshire castles, my expectation was that the Dunnottar Castle ruins would be worth about a half-hour’s visit. I’d seen photos, and its setting – on a cliff-edged finger of land extending out into the North Sea – made for some very dramatic photography. In those photos, however, it…

This half is 3 stories tall except for a tall, crenellated round tower at the corner.

Balmoral Castle tour: a review

If you’ve ever seen a film involving Queen Victoria, you’ve heard of Balmoral Castle. This is the place the queen used as her escape: her place in the country. She loved Scotland, and this location in Aberdeenshire is stunning, with its rolling hills and deep forests. As I was planning my October trip to Scotland,…

Flying EasyJet: a review

For years I’ve assumed that all budget airlines in Europe are essentially the same: EasyJet, Ryanair, Transavia, Flybe, and so on. They were, in my mind, necessary evils for those who travel within Europe. While I recognize that taking the train is far more environmentally responsible, it’s usually more expensive. This is particularly true if…

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