View from an ice cave in a glacier in Iceland. May 2004

View from an ice cave in a glacier in Iceland. May 2004

Forrest trail in Moscow, Russia.

Forrest trail in Moscow, Russia.

Ukraine: what looks to be an ambulance van left over from World War II.

Ukraine: what looks to be an ambulance van left over from World War II.

Europe

Lost to history but preserved in legend

Beethoven's Coriolan is the esoteric pick of the week

Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture is not an esoteric piece of music. The overture is quite popular, in and of itself. The overture is not a freestanding piece, though. It was written as incidental music for a ...

Art meets nature in the Canaries

Lanzarote offers an off-beat artsy vibe, stunning beaches and volcanic wonders.

The island of Lanzarote, part of Spain’s Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa, is for many budget tourists synonymous with cookie-cutter resort towns and all-inclusive holiday packages. The truth is that the island’s ...

Elegant and unimportant

Faure's Pavane not that revolutionary

Let’s get a little crazy and combine a summer piece of music with the esoteric pick of the week. The power of this concept is overwhelming me. It’s the perfect summer storm. Faure composed his ...

Absorbed in history-rich Berlin

The city's chock-full of culture, monuments and off-the-beaten-path finds.

Berlin was always on our list of places to go someday, but the timing just never seemed right for one reason or another. As it turned out, May 2015 was the 70th anniversary of the ...

Juan’s foreign affairs, cont’d

Fresh from an April junket with his wife in the Bavarian Alps paid for by nonprofit foundations backed by German industrialists, House Democrat Juan Vargas embarked alone on another free foreign journey in May, thanks ...

France's Haute-Savoie: not the Riviera

Ditching the Mediterranean for a different beauty in the French Alps.

On a steep narrow country road 3,700 feet above sea level, my travel partner accelerated the engine, heading toward the sound of alpine bells. As herdsmen rallied the cows to graze on the undulating pastures ...

In search of Romeo and Juliet

The course of true history never did run smooth

Lamb’s Players fine production of West Side Story raises a question. The musical based Tony and Maria on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. But where did the Bard’s star-crossed lovers come from? And were they real? ...

How to start with Mozart and end up with nihilism

The arbitrary fame of the Haffners leads Garrett to wonder what really matters

Mozart’s Haffner Symphony is a fairly famous piece of music, but who the hell was Haffner? Haffer got not just the symphony but also a 55-minute-long serenade. That’s about 90 minutes of music by Mozart ...

Craft beer's eastern front

More challenge for the corporate giants and all they symbolize.

Poland is the forerunner in the Eastern European craft brewing world. Serbia and Bulgaria are right behind.

What enters with difficulty goes not out easily

From "The Dove's Necklace" by Ibn Hazm

Some men there are whose love becomes true only after long converse, much contemplation, and extended familiarity. Such a one is likely to persist and to be steadfast in his affection, untouched by the passage ...

Temple of Wes

Prada's precious new watering hole makes Milan the hip destination.

Dear Hipster: What would be the ultimate hipster vacation destination for this summer? — Deb, Golden Hill Well, until recently that might have stumped me enough to cop something lamely ironic, and overzealously punctuated, like, ...

Tour de Belgium: Sax and the saxophone

Music-themed explorations in Brussels, Dinant and beyond.

Last year, Belgium celebrated the 200th anniversary of the birth of the inventor of the saxophone, Adolphe Sax. His birthplace and important milestones occurred in the Wallonia (French-flavored) part of the country. It’s his inventions ...

Rhodes, Greece: island of the knights

History lives and breathes in this center of the ancient world.

Rhodes is probably best known as the island once home to the Colossus of Rhodes, a 98-foot-high statue of the Greek god Helios and one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Today, the ...

Ağva's "Club Bar"

Finding a good tequila shot in Turkey: about as hard as you'd think.

My friend Saba and I decided to take a trip outside of Istanbul to Ağva, a vacation village in the mountains, by the Black Sea. Saba is a native Turk, but she majored in American ...

Switzerland's Jungfrau

A case of "Alpenism" at the Top of Europe.

Riding the train up to the 11,371-foot Jungfraujoch, Europe’s highest point accessible by railway, I fell in love. I first glimpsed her after departing Grindelwald station, when the cogwheel stopped briefly at Brandegg and she ...