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coming into Hydra port

A one-day Greek island cruise

I’ve been to Athens before, so I’ve already done the usual Athens itinerary like visiting the Acropolis. So, with only one free day after my conference was over, I signed up for the Athens One Day Cruise. I love being on the water, and the cruise promised to include visits to three different islands: Hydra, Poros…

How Americans see the Dutch

(Nederlands vertaling beneden) A couple of weeks ago I posted about how the Dutch see the Americans. It wasn’t particularly complimentary, so I promised to write the opposite post: how the Americans see the Dutch. Here’s the problem: the Americans don’t see the Dutch. What I mean is that America is big and Holland is small,…

10 Things the Dutch Think about Americans

You’re not like most Americans.” A student of mine, a trainee English teacher, said this to me.  I laughed, and the conversation moved on to other topics, but I’ve been thinking about what he meant by this. What the Dutch think about Americans – and I dare say this applies to other Europeans too – is…

Bicycle baptism

All we were trying to do was to get out of the car while it was stopped in traffic. The plan was to walk to the restaurant two blocks away while my husband went to park the car. It made sense. I stepped out on the right side, but not before saying to the kids…

Christmas market madness

The days are short and the weather is cold, this time of year, and, here in Holland, that often means cold and wet, not snowy. Nevertheless, it’s the most popular time for open-air markets: Christmas markets, to be exact. Going to a Christmas market has become almost traditional in Holland in recent years. Originally, this…

Chateau Chaumont

Forbidden Spaces in Chateau Chaumont

What intrigues me almost as much as the chateaux we’ve been visiting, is what we usually haven’t seen.  The rooms that are all done up for the tourists, dressed up, you could say, are lovely: period furniture; beamed, painted ceilings; ornate tapestries; and so on. There are signs explaining who lived there, along with interesting…

Going to the Fair

There’s something magical about a county fair. It has an innocence about it; it hearkens back to a time when people enjoyed games and events that didn’t involve a screen or computer in any form. A time of smallholder farming and pride in what people produced through their own labor. I visited county fairs in…