• Home
  • /
  • Category Archives: Europe travel
In the background, the Palau de les Arts. In front of that, the IMAX theater. At the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain

The City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia (with teenagers)

I caught my first glimpse of Valencia’s City of Arts and Sciences last year as we drove by on our way to see the old center of the city. It was astonishing: massive, futuristic architecture contrasted sharply with everything we had seen so far. Note: Updated in February 2021. Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links…

Archways provide shade in Monells,, in the Baix Emporda,, Spain

Baix Empordà villages: a photo essay

Baix Empordà, part of the province of Girona in Catalonia, is one of those hidden gems, to use the cliché, that no one seems to know about. Many tourists visit Girona, and many of them venture out to the Dali Theatre-Museum in Figueres. Most, though, don’t stay long enough to explore the lovely stone villages…

a modernist building in Alcoi, Spain

Modernism in Alcoi, Spain

It was a hot Sunday morning in August when I walked from the deserted Plaça d’Espanya into the visitor’s information office in downtown Alcoi, Spain. The lone woman at the counter seemed thrilled to have someone to talk to. All I wanted was a map, but she insisted on telling me, in detail, about everything…

one part of Levante beach in Benidorm, Spain

Reconsidering Benidorm

Benidorm is one of those places everyone has an opinion about, and it usually isn’t good. When I asked my husband what he thought of the place, he described it as “an overgrown beach town with high buildings right up to the beach.” It was full, he said, with “loud Dutch and fat, pale, English…

Doorways in Arolithos Traditional Cretan Village near Heraklion, Crete

Arolithos “Traditional Cretan Village”

I’ve never seen a hotel quite like Arolithos Traditional Cretan Village before. I only stayed there because I took the gamble that Hotwire offers, and I thought that I’d lost the gamble. I’m still not sure one way or the other. Disclosure: If you click and book a room on Hotwire using a link in…

This view gives an idea of how the Rethymnon fortress walls tower above the sea. The building is the House of the Councillors.

Rethymnon in half a day

The town of Rethymnon on the north coast of Crete is a popular destination for visitors who want to venture away from their all-inclusive resorts for a bit of local color. The narrow streets of its old center wind between rows of narrow houses with balconies, often overflowing with flowers. Shops sell everything from made-in-China…

The church at Alkadi monastery in Crete

Arkadi Monastery and its Tragedy

Just a week or so after visiting the Ter Apel cloister, a place of peace and contemplation, I arrived at The Holy Monastery of Arkadi in Crete, a similarly contemplative religious place. Arkadi is Eastern Orthodox, while Ter Apel was Catholic and then Protestant, yet it looked to me as if the monks in both places…

a bulls-head "rhyton" from Knossos, apparently used for libations. It can be filled through a hole in the neck and the liquid can be poured out through the snout. Carved from stone, with inlays of shell, rock crystal and red jasper.

Knossos and the Minoan Mystery

On my recent trip to Crete to lead a workshop, I was able to visit just a couple of sites, one of which was Knossos, a UNESCO World Heritage tentative list site (along with the four other Minoan palace ruins in Crete). I was looking forward to seeing these ruins of an ancient civilization, the…

1234