Statue at Sofia City Center

Statue at Sofia City Center

Milky water of the Blue Lagoon

Milky water of the Blue Lagoon

Summer on the Russian "datcha" (country house)

Summer on the Russian "datcha" (country house)

Rusted Ferris wheel, a reminder of happier years in the Chernobyl ghost town of Prypiat

Rusted Ferris wheel, a reminder of happier years in the Chernobyl ghost town of Prypiat

Europe

About the beer: Oktoberfest in Munich

An American's take on the world's biggest beer festival.

I took another swig of crisp, clean German lager as I spied the nascent Oktoberfest fairgrounds across the street. Only the steel frames and brewery names were up – the stark beginnings of the world’s ...

Meteora, Greece: The Old Master

A meeting with Father Pefkis.

In the mountainous interior of Greece near Meteora, gigantic granite outcroppings, most of them topped with Christian monasteries, point skyward like fingers tipped in prayer. They are a stone’s throw from the pass of Thermopylae, ...

Small-town Italy: Varenna

Serenity on Lake Como.

Varenna is a stunning, yet underrated, jewel on Lake Como just north of the more well-known and widely visited Bellagio. If you’re looking for a tranquil atmosphere to accompany magnificent views of the lake, Varenna ...

Honoring the fallen at Ypres

WWI reminders in Belgium.

Though the reasons for WWI are murky to most Americans – something about the assassination of an Archduke, as well as the unification of feudal-era principalities into modern nation-states – the war brought our country ...

Small-town Italy: Urbino

Urbino, a former center of culture during the Renaissance, has largely been forgotten by tourists due to its location in the Marche region of Italy. But, despite having far fewer visitors than its more glamorous ...

When in Lisbon

Couchsurf, spend less euros and soak it all in.

If you’re dying to go to Europe but discouraged by the value of the euro, consider Portugal, where you can actually spend less than $50 a day. Portugal’s capital city, Lisbon, has stunning Moorish castles, ...

Small-town Italy: Civitanova Marche

Chill out on the Adriatic coast.

If you’ve visited the major sites in Italy and yearn for something unique and different, consider Civitanova Marche, a pleasant seaside village with a distinctive local flavor. The little fishing town and seaside resort in ...

Decadence in Bruges

Must-sees in Belgium's medieval masterpiece.

In the Middle Ages, back when canals were the super-highways of Europe, Bruges experienced a surge of wealth and culture. Before the canals started silting, there was a direct route to the sea from the ...

No worries in Potsdam

Germany's Versailles is an easy side trip from Berlin.

“You’re American? What are you doing here? Usually Americans just visit Berlin.” This was the response I received after a vendor asked me a question in German. Apparently, most American tourists forego 1,000-year-old Potsdam, Berlin's ...

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 ...

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