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Communist Prague: 3 places to learn about it

If you’re interested in the history of Prague and Czechoslovakia in the Communist era, a number of walking tours are on offer, as well as a few museums. I visited the three main sites that have to do with the Communist era in Prague: besides the more mainstream visit to the Museum of Communism, I’ve…

The Willet-Holthuysen Museum: An elegant Golden Age house in Amsterdam

This entry is part 23 of 25 in the series Amsterdam Museums

Many tourists visiting Amsterdam come to see the beautiful buildings in the old center. The UNESCO site – officially called “the Seventeenth-Century Canal Ring Area of Amsterdam inside the Singelgracht” – is lined with elegant “Golden Age” houses. It’s very picturesque and very Instagrammable. You can see a few of them on the inside: one…

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…

The KGB Museum in Riga, Latvia

You could easily miss the KGB Museum in Riga if you didn’t know where to look. Commonly referred to as “the Corner House,” it looks on the outside like a quite stylish residential building. I walked right by it and had to retrace my steps a block or two away. Basically what the KGB did…

Castle De Haar: An extravagant vision of the medieval

Castle de Haar is one of the most fanciful castles I’ve ever seen, if you discount Sleeping Beauty’s castle at Disneyland. It’s got a moat, a formal garden, towers and turrets galore. Stunningly ornate, especially inside, it’s a medieval princess’s dream. Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you click on one of them and…

A Riga City Tour: 10+ things to see in Riga

This could have been a review of a tour that doesn’t actually exist. What I mean is that the Riga city tour I took was sponsored by #LiveRiga, a campaign of the Riga Tourism Development Bureau, but it is not run on a scheduled basis. Rather, our guide, Juris Berze, is a freelance tour guide,…

Two Latvian food tours

As you’ve probably guessed, I love food. I can’t call myself a foodie, exactly, because I’m not choosy about what food I eat. I’m likely to enjoy whatever national cuisine I try, or at least find it interesting. Generally, I’m happy with anything from street food to chic food. But tasting the difference between one…

Muiderslot Castle (a.k.a. Amsterdam Castle)

This entry is part 22 of 25 in the series Amsterdam Museums

When you were little, did you ever draw a picture of a castle? If you were like me, the castle in your picture was square, with a tower in each corner, crenellations along the walls and a drawbridge to an arched gateway in front. I’ve been to a lot of castles in my travels, but…

Eating Europe’s Jordaan Food Tour: A review

Rows of pretty small houses and shopping streets lined with a mixture of hip and quirky stores, along with a smattering of “coffee shops” leaking the reek of marijuana out onto the sidewalk: this used to be my image of Amsterdam’s Jordaan neighborhood. It never occurred to me until I took a Jordaan food tour…

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