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De Rotterdam Architecture Tour

Very little of Rotterdam survived World War II. While this means it is not the place to see the Netherlands you expect – charming streets along canals, 16th century merchants’ homes, or picturesque windmills – it is the place to see post-war architecture. This is why I signed up for a tour with De Rotterdam…

Rynek Underground Museum at Krakow Main Square

Krakow’s Old Town is centered around a lovely main square called Rynek Główny, which means main market. It dates to 1257, when it was rebuilt after the Mongol-Tatar invasions. Krakow Main Square Krakow Main Market Square forms the focal point of Krakow Old Town, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the center of the…

Wieliczka Krakow salt mine isn’t just a salt mine!

You wouldn’t think that touring a salt mine would be particularly interesting. I pictured tunnels carved into solid salt, and that was about it. It turns out that the Wieliczka salt mine outside Krakow, Poland, is much more than tunnels carved into salt. It has a history all its own, and, surprisingly, it has artworks…

orzechowiec, a nut cake we had for des

Urban Adventures Krakow food tour review

Polish food doesn’t have the excellent reputation of, say, French cuisine or Thai cooking. Frankly, it’s not something I ever really thought about. So when I traveled to Krakow for an influencer conference and was offered a place on an Urban Adventures Krakow food tour, I figured, “Why not?” I had minimal expectations of the…

Goshka with the Trabant, who would together take us on our Communism tour of Nowa Huta.

A Krakow Tour with a Twist

Crazy Guides’ communism tour advertises a visit to Nowa Huta, a “model communist city.” Built starting in the 1950s, this experiment in communist community-building is considered a landmark of Soviet-era socialist architecture and urban planning. I signed up for the tour with low expectations. I thought that the phrase our tour guide kept using, “worker’s paradise,”…

Ruminations on Auschwitz, Part 2

NOTE: This post is the second of two parts. The first is “Ruminations on an Auschwitz tour.” It would probably make more sense for you to start there. Problems of Auschwitz tourism I have some issues with how the tours of Auschwitz are conducted. I’m not criticizing the Krakow Shuttle’s conduct: their part of the tour…

Ruminations on an Auschwitz Tour

When I was a kid – six or seven years old, I’d guess – my parents decided I was old enough to see a documentary about the Holocaust. With no idea what it was about, I was delighted to be allowed to stay up past my bedtime. If my parents explained it at all, before…

Hacı Bayram mosque in Ankara, Turkey. The small section under the minaret is the mausoleum, and looks older than the rest. One Day in Ankara, Turkey.

One Day of Sightseeing in Ankara, Turkey

The last time I tried to visit Turkey was more than 30 years ago, and my attempt failed. I’ll tell that story at the end of this post. I will tell you, though, that I finally managed to get there recently when I flew to Ankara to lead a workshop. I tacked on one extra…

Jesus washes the disciples' feet in this fresco in Desesti church.

Wooden churches of Maramures, Romania

You’d think that after visiting the UNESCO-listed fortified churches of Transylvania and the painted churches of Moldavia, also UNESCO listed, we’d have gotten tired of visiting historic churches. Romania has yet another collection of UNESCO-listed churches, though. (Maybe Romania’s motto should be “Land of Churches”!) Right up near the border with the Ukraine, the wooden…

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