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Cacao beans drying

A Chocolate Museum

After all the attention to my renunciation, it’s time to return to our regularly-scheduled programming. I wrote this soon after I was in Guadeloupe last April, but somehow it got lost in the shuffle and I never posted it. Better late than never, right? Just seeing the bright hand-painted sign above the entrance to La…

The Valor factory's sign, reflected in the factory building

Visiting Valor in Villajoyosa

Last spring in Guadeloupe I visited an archeological park where I got to sample the pulp from a fresh-picked cacao pod. I heard more about chocolate cultivation at two coffee plantations. Given my obsession with chocolate, I decided to take the process a step further on my short visit to the Costa Blanca in Spain,…

The entrance to the Red Light Secrets Museum of Prostitution in Amsterdam

Red Light Secrets: Museum of Prostitution

This entry is part 12 of 18 in the series Amsterdam Museums

What I expected on visiting Red Light Secrets Museum of Prostitution was a presentation that titillates and that presents prostitution as a happy profession with practitioners who choose to become prostitutes. I expected that because I had read several blog posts by visitors to Amsterdam that made it seem this way. They emphasized the fun of…

a few bottles from the collection of antique medicines containing cannabis and other drugs

Hash, Marijuana & Hemp Museum

This entry is part 13 of 18 in the series Amsterdam Museums

It’s not surprising that Amsterdam is home to a museum of Hash, Marijuana and Hemp, given its generally tolerant policy toward soft drugs. You’d think, given the somewhat subversive subject, that it would be entertaining to visit. It wasn’t. The main part of the museum (hash and marijuana) The main part of the museum inhabits…

Body Worlds, on the Damrak in Amsterdam, is a permanent exhibit, unlike many of the other Body Worlds exhibits in other cities.

Body Worlds: Museum or Freak Show?

This entry is part 15 of 18 in the series Amsterdam Museums

Warning: If you’re squeamish, you might want to click away…but please share this post before you go! Body Worlds: The Happiness Project exhibit in Amsterdam is described on its webpage as telling: the amazing story of our own body and the impact of happiness on our health. More than 200 anatomical specimens of real human bodies…

the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace Museum exterior: a brownstone with an American flag fluttering in the breeze

2 small museums in New York City

A while back I posted a list of things to do that are cheap or free in New York City. There were a couple of items on that list that I hadn’t actually done yet myself, so when I had a day free in New York in April, I decided to try to fit one…

a clearer rock carving in Guadeloupe

Guadeloupe’s Ancient Rock Art

There’s not much left to show that the Arawaks ever lived on Guadeloupe. And it’s not completely clear what happened to them. One story is that they were all wiped out by the Caribs, who arrived in the 15th century. Another is that they coexisted with the Caribs, but not for long, since Columbus arrived…

Museum van Loon: a restored Golden Age house

This entry is part 5 of 18 in the series Amsterdam Museums

After the Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder museum and Het Grachtenhuis, our last stop was the Museum van Loon, a restored Golden Age canal house. This is what I’d been expecting when we visited Het Grachtenhuis: rooms that gives an impression of how wealthy residents of Amsterdam’s Golden Age lived and, to a much lesser extent,…

Museum Het Grachtenhuis: Unexpectedly Interesting

This entry is part 4 of 18 in the series Amsterdam Museums

I already posted about the first of the three little museums I visited recently in Amsterdam with a friend: Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder. After a bite for lunch—Burgermeester has surprisingly good burgers!—we moved on to the Museum Het Grachtenhuis. Grachtenhuis means “canal house,” so it’s not surprising that this museum is housed in another one…

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