Barbarians (and kids) at the gate

The Aurelian Walls of Ancient Rome are still in remarkably good condition in today’s Rome. It isn’t called the Eternal City for nothing. Built between 270- 275 AD under Emperor Aurelius, the Aurelian Walls eventually reached 19 kilometers of defensive walls guarded by Roman soldiers who were vigilalant in ensuring the Barbarians were not capable…

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Gdańsk’s not-to-be-missed Solidarność Museum

There is lots to see in Gdańsk, Poland. This trip looms large in our minds since it is the last international trip we took before the era of Corona lockdowns last year, and so we often found ourselves returning to idyllic life when international travel was the norm. Although the city offers numerous attractions to…

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Quarantine – a word comes full circle

I’ve always loved history and etymology, so not surprising I was attracted to both elements with the word quarantine. The English word quarantine comes from the Italian term ‘quarantena’. The term derives from the number ‘quaranta’ – meaning forty. During the period of the Bubonic Plague, or Black Death, that spread around Europe from the…

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Turn-of-the-century elegance in San Sebastian, Spain

During our holiday in France’s Pays basque, we also enjoyed crossing into Spain’s Pais vasco. I’ve already written about the regions’s Bilbao and its Guggenheim Museum. We also had an enjoyable tome visiting beautiful San Sebastian – or Donastia, in the Basque language. This elegant city is close to the French border, and was the…

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A day in elegant Bayonne, France

We loved our family holiday in France’s Pays Basque region – on France’s southwestern Atlantic coast. While there, we explored many interesting Basque cities and towns – and Bayonne was a great place to wander for a day during our travels. Bayonne, slightly north and inland from Biarritz , is worth a visit when you’re…

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Morocco’s stunning coastal fortress of Essaouira

Morocco’s spectacular Atlantic Ocean coastal town of Essaouira – formerly known as Mogador – has witnessed much over its long history. Founded as a base in the 7th century B.C. by the Phoenecians, six centuries later it had grown into an important commercial center for the manufacture of purple dye. By the 15th century A.D.…

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Exploring the medieval Vatican City: Viterbo, Italy

Last week I wrote about the Terme dei Papi – The Thermal Baths of the Popes – in northern Lazio. In this port, I wanted to highlight the beautiful town of Viterbo, just a few kilometers away from this spa, and well worth a visit before or after you soak in the warm waters. Viterbo, as…

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Old world elegance in Biarritz, France

This past summer, a holiday in France’s Pays Basque saw us for the first time  in elegant, seaside Biarritz. I’ve always been curious to visit this well-heeled watering hole. I have a soft spot for 19th century Grandes Dames, and Biarritz certainly fits the bill. Tucked away in the southwestern corner of France, along the…

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The Polish Cemetery at Montecassino

Today is a holiday in Italy – Liberation Day. It seems fitting to remember today all those who sacrificed their lives during fierce fighting on the Italian peninsula during World War II. I recently posted about my visit to the 6th century abbey at Montecassino that was destroyed during the war and rebuilt from the rubble.…

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