Russian Orthodox Church in Sofia

Russian Orthodox Church in Sofia

Blue Lagoon bathing area

Blue Lagoon bathing area

Summer on the Russian "datcha" (country house)

Summer on the Russian "datcha" (country house)

At the summit: a view of Eastern Europe's Carpathian Range stretching toward the horizon.

At the summit: a view of Eastern Europe's Carpathian Range stretching toward the horizon.

Europe

Small-town Italy: Conegliano

Rome, Venice and Florence are all amazing experiences, but it’s also nice to just relax in a small Italian village with the locals and experience Italian culture in a different way. Few Americans have heard ...

History-rich Mechelen, Belgium

In Mechelen – pronounced with a guttural "ch" – religion has played a tremendous role for over 800 years. The city's provided shelter, freedom for women, even beer...and it’s also served as a dark double-edged ...

Solo in Venice

Traveling alone offers new perspective on this tourist favorite.

In Venice, I was a third wheel. Or more like a unicycle. The other wheels were found on a bicycle built for two, riding in the opposite direction. This was not the best city for ...

A señorita in Girona

Laid-back culinary capital of northeast Spain.

It wasn’t long ago that we visited Girona. After a six-hour drive from Nice, France, and just a few drops of fuel left, we arrived in the northeast conurbation of Catalonia. It was impossible to ...

Greek Islands on the cheap

Your budget guide to Santorini, Milos and more.

The Greek Islands are on any traveler's list who envisions a Santorini sunset or a gorgeous Milos beach. Although prices have increased dramatically since Greece joined the European Union, there's still something magical about islands ...

Go Gallic in Trier

Germany's oldest city is chock-full of ancient history.

Germany’s most ancient city is Trier, its name derived from the Roman name Augusta Trevororum under Caesar Augustus. It was known as the “Second Rome” before Constantinople. While the Romans had been in neighboring Gaul ...

Olympos, Turkey

Mediterranean paradise earned.

Getting to Olympos, Turkey, our final destination, was turning out to be a real doozy. This sleeping spread-eagle business on the cold green floor of the Kharkiv, Ukraine, airport, catching a 3 a.m. flight with ...

Wagner's Lucerne

This idyllic Swiss city celebrates the composer's 200th birthday.

May 22 is the bicentennial of the birth of German composer Richard Wagner. Although born 1813 in Leipzig, the operatic genius has a strong connection to Switzerland. Wagner – then Royal Saxon Court Conductor – ...

Il Dolce Far Niente: Rome to Firenze

Italy is best explored at a leisurely pace.

"Il dolce far niente": The sweetness of doing nothing. Pleasant leisure. The joy of relaxation. Rome was a mighty city; an ominous feeling swept through the maze of narrow cobblestone streets and left me with ...

Warsaw revived, Poland renewed

Varsav (Warsaw) is a large, booming city full of treasures. The Royal Łazienki Park offers palaces, gardens, lakes and forests in a less intimidating, family-friendlier format than Versailles. Animals in the park include peacocks, squirrels, ...

Antwerp: spiritual, corporeal, coarse and refined

Definitive high-meets-low Belgian culture.

I got off the train to Antwerp, Belgium, at Central Station, named by Newsweek as the fourth most beautiful train station in the world, just around the crack of dawn. The town square was lifeless, ...

Skeletons in the armoire: Paris catacombs

Under the city's streets is a vast, ancient network of tunnels.

The air was cool and exuded a musty, almost earthy odor. The passageway with squat ceilings no more than six feet high was lit by small dim lights, each bright enough to see only a ...

Secrets of Ghent

Most of us in the U.S. remember the name “Ghent” from the Treaty of Ghent that finally ended the War of 1812 with the British. At the time, communication was slow, and Gen. Andrew Jackson ...

Spain's Costa Brava awaits

The road was treacherous. It was mid-Feburary. The blustery weather showed no signs of mercy. Driving along the northeastern coast of Spain from France, I felt like I was living some kind of nocturnal Spanish ...

Carl Durant is heading back to Belgium

Personal, political, economical

Belgian singer-songwriter Carl Durant, a mainstay of the local circuit for the past several years, is heading home. Durant arrived with his wife in San Diego during 2002 to work at an early-stages startup company ...