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Revelers hold steins of beer aloft at the Oktoberfest in Munich on Sept. 26, 2019. Oktoberfest steins won't be hoisted in 2020, but it's elements such as the popular songs played at the annual event that remind past attendees of those good times. <br>Michaela Handrek-Rehle/Bloomberg

Oktoberfest Play List: 10 songs you’d hear in Munich beer tents

One thing has always taken me a bit by surprise at Munich’s Oktoberfest celebration — and no, I’m not talking about the humongous size of the beer steins. (Although, granted, they are something to behold.) I’m referring to the soundtrack I hear as I make my way through the Spaten-Franziskaner-Brau, Hacker-Pschorr and Paulaner brewery tents.


Draguignan days: There’s more to this city in Provence than the American military cemetery

The town of Draguignan in southeastern France is a little off the beaten track. While it is in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region — think St. Tropez and other popular Riviera destinations — hordes of tourists don’t make their way there.


Masks and social distancing aren’t Rick Steves’ idea of an enjoyable travel experience

Travel has changed considerably since European travel expert Rick Steves published his first guide, “Europe Through the Back Door,” in 1979. In the time it took Steves to write 50 guidebooks, host 10 seasons of “Rick Steves’ Europe” on TV, start a public radio show, release a mobile app for audio tours and grow a company that guides 30,000 people through Europe each year, he’s adapted to innumerable changes to the industry.

This may be the moment for a micro cruise

If you’re a traveler for whom the close quarters of a cruise ship dining room, swimming pool or casino are the stuff of pandemic nightmares, it might be time to consider a micro cruise. Voyages on these extremely small ships — as few as four passengers and often no more than 20 — offer many of the joys of traditional cruising but with virtually no risk of exposure to crowded ports, tour buses or lido decks.


Rome restaurants ready for visitors, but things will be a little different

As Italy opens up to its residents, Europe and eventually the rest of the world, businesses in Rome are trying to figure out how to navigate an Eternal City without the daily traffic of tourists and full offices. The centro storico, Rome’s historic center, has long relied on tourism to support many of its restaurant and food services.



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Furai Japanese Restaurant’s entrees are hit or miss in Vicenza

On a warm, cloudless day at the end of a summer mostly lost to the coronavirus pandemic, I decided I wanted a late afternoon lunch, al fresco, under a white umbrella.




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City breaks or beach-bumming? Go for both!

With the newfound freedom of the summer holidays comes a dilemma as old as the ages: a vacation full of culture and architectural wonders, or lazy days on the shore, sand between the toes? Choose your city break wisely and yes, both can be yours.


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  • Crowded UK beaches stir virus concern and official warning

    Summer heat saw crowds of daytrippers descend on U.K. coastal resorts, leading one southern town to declare a major incident and Health Secretary Matt Hancock to warn that he could close beaches to head off any potential new round of coronavirus cases.


  • Its outbreak over, Slovenia’s mountains and food culture are calling

    For as long as I can remember, my refuge in troubled times has been nature — the wilder, the better. Particularly the mountains, thanks to girlhood adventures with my mum in Austria’s Dachstein Group and Italy’s Dolomites. Whenever I return home, even almost two decades later, my mud-caked hiking boots are slung in Mom’s trunk and our flasks are filled before I can even unpack. Walking is our mother-daughter jam. It’s where frustrations are vented, the world is put right, and we can return a bit lighter.


  • Europeans emerging from lockdowns find a conspicuous absence of Americans

    The coronavirus and accompanying travel restrictions have forced a distance between Europe and the United States unseen since the dawn of commercial air travel.


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    Largest all-women surrealist exhibit in Frankfurt extended through July 5

    “Fantastic Women,” the terrific new show at the Schirn exhibit hall in Frankfurt features 260 works of 34 artists from 11 countries, and is billed as the largest-ever exhibit dedicated exclusively to female surrealists.


  • Southern Europe mulls how to get tourists back as beaches, nightclubs sit empty

    The Mediterranean resort town of Ayia Napa is known for its boisterous parties. Each summer, thousands of young foreign tourists pack the dance floors of its nightlife district after a day at the beach. But the pandemic silenced the exuberant Napa Strip district as the island nation of Cyprus went into a lockdown to halt the spread of the coronavirus. Now nightclub owners wonder when social distancing rules will be eased enough for the party to resume — and what those new parties will look like.


  • A lockdown a la Nice

    Nice, France, is a city on hold. Its hotels are boarded up, its restaurants are shuttered, and its residents are confined to their homes 23 hours a day.


  • On Europe’s slow trains, the rewards are right outside your window

    The day before our vacation in France, I asked my three children what they were most looking forward to. Was it the swimming, the sunshine, the beach or — and I would have put my house on this — eating ice cream every day? “The sleeper train,” said the oldest. His brother quickly concurred. And the 3-year-old? Also the train.


  • The quieter corner of the isle’s rugged West Coast is better explored on foot

    I bounced the rental car slowly up the narrow, one-lane road and pulled up near the only other car in the unpaved parking area. My family and I tumbled out and looked up at the very, very long mountain path that disappeared into the cool mist.


  • Ruhr region of Germany embraces a new and different future by finding uses for shuttered mines and factories

    The Ruhr region in Germany has turned its industrial heritage into an asset and is inviting the world to enjoy the results.


  • Chefs in Sweden’s Malmo make exquisite dishes out of what’s locally available

    Most days, chefs around the world call their distributors to order food items for the days ahead. They might order seasonal produce, or a standby ingredient for a signature dish. Not so for Erik Andersson Mohlin. He’s at the whim of his distributors. Regular menu items are as relevant to the chef-owner of Spill as a vintage Burgundy is to a fast-food joint. You see, every dish on the nightly menu is made with ingredients that were destined for the rubbish bin, often because they’re bruised or slightly overripe. But here in Malmo, a port city in Skane, Sweden’s southernmost province, one distributor’s trash is a visionary chef’s treasure.


  • UPDATE: Holland’s spectacular spring flower show is canceled

    When 40 bulb growers from the Lisse area got together in 1949 to hold a flower exhibit at a 15th-century Dutch hunting estate called Keukenhof, they probably didn’t realize that their gathering would plant the seed of what was to become one of Holland’s biggest attractions.


  • Spirit tourism: Britain sees spike in visits to distilleries

    Many people these days are thirsting not just for a drink but for knowledge about where it comes from. “Spirit tourism” is booming across the United Kingdom, with artisanal brands and micro distilleries popping up and many global brands distilled here.


  • Naples restored from dangerous afterthought to tourist-worthy hub

    On a trip to this thrumming city about 15 years ago, art historian Michael Stoughton hoped to visit a famous Baroque church in the Sanita neighborhood. An Italian friend said no — the area was too dangerous. If you must, the friend added, then take a taxi and make the driver wait for you.


  • London offers winter warmers with a festive flavor

    Mulled wine, warm spiced cider and hot toddies have long been British staples during winter. Whiskey expert Ross Dennis at Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery explains that the hot toddy comes from Scotland.


  • Following the DNA trail through Sweden

    Smoke billowed out of a hole at the center of a grass-covered tepee as I passed plates of cured moose sausage, flat bread, cheese and cloudberry jam to the seven other strangers gathered in this traditional Sami home in Sweden’s northernmost Lapland region.


  • Thirty years after its fall, Berlin Wall Memorial is a chilling reminder of the past

    Thirty years ago on Nov. 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall fell. Today the best place to see what life in the shadow of the Wall was like is at the Berlin Wall Memorial.


  • Ukraine’s Chernivtsi a charming city of architectural gems

    Tucked in the southwest corner of Ukraine, Chernivtsi is a cheerful city that graciously marries the glories and sorrows of centuries past with vibrant Eastern European urban life today.


  • London’s bookstores punctuate the city

    The first time I went to London, I asked a friend who lived there for bookstore recommendations. “Well,” he said with a pause, “that depends. What kind?” I was too embarrassed to admit I didn’t realize I had to specify. But given that I was in the center of the English-speaking literary world, it was an entirely reasonable question.


  • Best places to try a spicy, sweet mulled wine

    Gluehwein takes cheap red wine and makes it palatable by adding ingredients liked citrus fruit and many of the spices you find in gingerbread. Literally “glow wine”, it’s heated and served warm, but don’t be fooled: the alcohol hasn’t been burned off and it can make you plenty tipsy and unable to safely drive a car.


  • Escape Venice’s tourist crush with a trip to Vicenza, home of Renaissance great Palladio

    If you want to break away from the crowds that make Venice a poster child for the term “overtourism” and you love architecture, there is one place you must go: nearby Vicenza, a showcase for the work of the renowned Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio. Palladio, who lived from 1508 to 1580, drew inspiration from the architecture of ancient Greece and Rome, transforming these models into masterpieces that influenced everything from English country houses to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.


  • Battle tested: For military history buffs, France’s Sedan delivers

    Although Sedan is somewhat removed from France’s main tourist routes, a visit to this industrial town near the Belgian border is a must for military history buffs.


  • This U.K. hike is sublime. Just avoid the bombs, tides and quicksand.

    The path crosses a still-active military test-firing zone, pelted with bombs since World War I.


  • White-hot Refshaleoen: Meet the trendiest neighborhood in Europe you’ve never heard of

    The Oxford Dictionary defines hygge as “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment.” The Danish concept has become so popular that it made the dictionary’s word of the year shortlist in 2016. I first discover the true meaning of hygge at La Banchina, a 16-seat farm-to-table pescatarian restaurant overlooking Copenhagen Harbor.


  • Heat wave arrives in Europe, just in time for tourists

    The recent record-smashing heat in parts of Europe is running smack into the continent’s peak tourist season, adding crowds of visitors to the sweltering mix as cities try to care for their most vulnerable residents. Parts of France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Poland, Switzerland and the Czech Republic have seen temperatures soar into the 90s and even past 100 degrees Fahrenheit -- at least 20 to 30 degrees above normal. The extreme heat was expected to last into the weekend in some areas.


  • Seeing Paris, baguette by baguette

    I am in love with the art and heritage of French bread. Fortunately I’m not alone. Each year one chef is chosen in the Grand Prix de la Baguette de tradition francaise, an accolade bestowed each April for the past 25 years. The winner goes to a handcrafted baguette that beats out dozens of entrants from across Paris and tops a list of 10 finalists; all compete for a cash prize of 4,000 euros ($4,900) and -- most importantly -- mass recognition for superior artisanal baking.


  • One-day bike races have a passionate following in France, and amateurs can pedal the same route

    In a remote corner of northern France, three farm fields intersect. On a cold morning in mid-April, the crops that border a narrow crossing of rough-hewed cobblestoned paths barely reach ankle high. But three pop-up bars are doing a brisk cash-only business, and it’s clear that some of the hundreds of rowdy, flag-draped cycling fans who have gathered here have been drinking for hours.


  • Leonardo devotees flock to artist’s hometown of Vinci

    There are no more maps available. But it’s not a problem, says the woman at the front desk of our hotel. She takes out a piece of paper and rapidly sketches the almond-shaped town — just a couple of curved streets around the castle walls, with an “X” at the church and a dot at the museum ticket office. “I’m a descendant of Leonardo,” she jokes as she hands it over. That’s probably not the first time someone has used that line in Vinci, Italy, a hamlet perched among the Montalbano Hills known for producing Chianti, artichoke-scented olive oil and a certain genius who was born here in 1452.


  • The North remembers: In Northern Ireland, 'Game of Thrones' leaves a lasting legacy

    The Europa Hotel was once known as the most bombed hotel in Europe, but on a Friday morning in April, it's bustling with tourists and weekenders enjoying a hearty breakfast buffet. Almost no one recognizes Conleth Hill, the actor who plays Varys, the bald eunuch and royal adviser whose cunning enabled him to survive nearly eight seasons on one of TV's bloodiest shows, "Game of Thrones," without ever lifting a sword. The anonymity (aided by the reappearance of his thick, silver hair) doesn't appear to faze him. Here he's just another local who lives an hour away in Ballycastle, the seaside town where he grew up.


  • A solo quest to find the source of the mighty Rhine

    It's a solitary quest, indulging a fantasy of being reincarnated as a 19th-century explorer discovering the source of a mighty river. That the Rhine has been well-mapped for millennia doesn't matter; there are still personal discoveries to be had.


  • Here's why it's worth hiring an expert to plan your family trip to Italy

    Do you enjoy travel planning? Are you exhilarated by spending weeks or months scrutinizing every possible hotel, restaurant, tour, train schedule and other specifics of your vacation? If so, this story is not for you.


  • Make Reims a pit stop on the way home from Normandy

    Reims is in the middle of France’s Champagne country. Many of the bubbly’s makers have their headquarters here and vineyards surround the city. But Reims is probably best known for its magnificent Cathedral of Notre-Dame.


  • In London, eat your way through the history and future of Britain’s iconic dish

    Frank Dobson Square, a brick-paved chunk of East London, has seen better days. Its centerpiece, Dobson’s 1951 sculpture “Woman With Fish,” was vandalized beyond repair and removed in 2002. Those sitting on the benches around the square — who number three, including me, this Thursday morning — have only its former home, a forlorn metal plinth, to look at now. I haven’t come to see the sculpture, though, or its plinth. I’m searching for something else, something that records this locale’s unique place in British history. This is where the world’s first fish and chip shop, Malin’s, was founded in the early 1860s.


  • Touring the French Riviera on foot reveals what ships, buses would never let you see

    Warned of absurdly high cab fares, I shrugged off another warning about Nice — its robbers and pickpockets — and decided to walk to my hotel from the train station.


  • Relaxing in Spa, the Belgian town that started it all

    “Thirsty?” asks the flight attendant as she hands me a blue bottle. I twist the cap and sip the crisp, slightly acidic water. One look at the label, Spa Reine, and I wonder if the advertising gods are tracking me. Spa. That’s where I am headed. No, not to the spa — to the Belgian town.


  • Connecting past, future on a pilgrimage to Vienna’s Jewish Quarter

    On an unseasonably warm night the week August turned into September, every table at Pizza Quartier on Vienna’s Karmelitermarkt was filled. Pizza after pizza emerged from the wood-burning oven as parents sipped white wine while half-watching children -- mine included -- playing elaborate games of tag in the 19th-century market square. Come morning, it would be packed with the organic food vendors, pastry makers and florists that dot this little corner of Vienna’s Second District, Leopoldstadt.


  • Centuries of history come to life on a verger tour of Westminster Abbey

    I am a cathedrals nut. In France, in England -- and anywhere else I can follow a tall spire to a historic cathedral. Often, I design a cathedrals itinerary. And when I'm in London, I never pass up Westminster Abbey, one of the greatest.


  • In Albania, age-old traditions and Mediterranean beaches on the cheap

    Outside, the cicadas loudly buzzed and the scent of sun-baked oregano wafted through the car window. We descended from the clouds onto the Albanian Riviera. A pearl-like string of beach towns extended south toward the Greek border. The Albanians can be a party-loving bunch with electronic club music shaking up the beach clubs until the wee hours.


  • Ancient Sibenik’s latest rebirth marks it a Croatian leisure capital

    It’s just past noon as I gaze at the Adriatic Sea from St. Michael’s Fortress, a medieval bastion atop the old town of Sibenik, a coastal city that sits poised roughly at the center of Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast. Late September bura winds have cleared the skies, making the horizon crisp and the sea cerulean. I can smell cypress trees and hear the rustle of the soft sea-scented breeze. Only a handful of other visitors stroll around the fortress, looking out over the Sibenik Channel, the islands of the archipelago and the rooftops of the old town below.


  • Travel highlights in Europe for 2019

    Was your New Year’s resolution to take advantage of your time stationed in Europe by traveling around the continent as much as possible? You’re in luck, as the year 2019 is shaping up to be yet another great one for tourism.


  • Berlin leaves its mark on this visitor

    In the shadow of the ruined spire of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, a platoon of protesters lifted banners and voices in outrage. Their grievances were with the policies of Recep Erdogan, the president of Turkey, who would be arriving in Berlin the next day for a state visit. Erdogan would tie up traffic during his stay, which coincided with mine, rather as happened during the visit of the last dignitary who came to Berlin the same moment as I had, the Dalai Lama -- but for very different reasons.


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    German exhibit gives an in-depth look at the life of an American icon

    Who was Marilyn Monroe? A new exhibit at the Historisches Museum der Pfalz in Speyer, Germany, tries to answer the question with clothes, photos, letters and close to 400 items from her estate.


  • Turkey’s terrain, people, history make colorful trip

    I’ve either been pixie dusted or turned into Barney Rubble. Everywhere I look, towering rock “fairy chimneys” dot Turkey’s fantastical wonderland of Cappadocia. I’ll also explore mystical age-old cave churches, sleep in a “cave hotel” that entombs guests and wine, and scoot-duck-gasp my way through a spooky ancient underground city, one of dozens burrowed here. And wait until I dreamily float over it all in an Oz-like flame-breathing balloon.


  • In Edinburgh, ceilidh dancing is a great way for travelers to reel in new friends

    The cheerful melody bellowed from the accordion across the dimly lit room, filling me with jittery anticipation. Holding a hand of each stranger on either side of me, I bounced in a circle to the left and then to the right, doing my best to remember the steps that had just been explained.


  • Prague, Vienna and Budapest -- by road instead of river

    It’s no surprise that central European river cruises are booming. Gliding along the Danube or the Elbe through the countryside, perhaps topside with a glass of wine, is a lovely image. But my wife Eileen and I instead chose a "road cruise" from Budapest to Vienna to Prague last September. And we’re glad we did.


  • A hiker explores his father’s homeland peak by peak

    My son, Marc, and I had tromped through shin-deep snow for several hours, and by the time we reached the blustery top of the peak, we couldn’t see more than 25 feet because of a whiteout.


  • Berlin memorial to murdered Jewish victims of Nazis an unsettling must-see

    On Nov. 9, 1938, the paramilitary Nazi thugs of the Sturmabteilung attacked Jewish synagogues and shops across Germany. It was the first large-scale incident in what would lead to the death of six million Jews throughout Europe. To remember the dead, Germany created the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in central Berlin near the U.S. embassy.


  • A new river line hopes to redefine cruises for millennials

    Boris, a U Host, stood before a group of river cruisers relaxing in the U Lounge, a gathering space seemingly designed by Alice’s Wonderland of Furnishings. He wore all black, as if he had just rolled in from a night of chasing the White Rabbit around Paris. While he spoke, hands wrinkled with age and smooth with youth lifted glasses of riesling to their lips. Then arms slowly began to rise in response to his question.


  • Sweet discoveries: Nothing compares to eating fresh stroopwafels in Amsterdam

    My introduction to stroopwafels, the gooey caramel waffle sandwich from the Netherlands, was in a small village in the south of Spain, where I live. A Dutch couple had opened a small bakery tucked among the winding cobblestone streets. One morning, I stumbled into their store and watched as they cut a slab off a log of fragrant dough, pressed it with a waffle iron, separated the top disk from the bottom, spread the inside with caramel sauce and put the halves back together.


  • Italy’s Dolomites a pleasure to explore in the offseason

    I had two challenges to overcome when planning a late-May trip to Northern Italy’s Trentino-Sudtirol region: a major snow year and the offseason. The first meant that the thousands of miles of trails in the rugged Dolomite mountains were still buried. The second meant that many of the high-alpine refugios, famed for hearty food and rustic lodging, were closed between winter and summer. One more thing — I arrived in the rain, and the forecast called for more storms throughout my trip.


  • In Germany, two delightful destinations for dachshund lovers

    Outside the Dackelmuseum in Passau, Germany, I dropped to the cobblestone pavement to greet its four-legged ambassadors, year-old siblings Moni and Little Seppi. The black-and-tan short-haired dachshunds sniffed me, then Little Seppi reached up to gently lick my face. A kiss so soon? I felt special, though I’m guessing I was one of hundreds he’d smooched since the Dackelmuseum, or Dachshund Museum, opened in April.


  • Tour company helps hikers go it alone, with local support, along Spanish coast

    Serendipity — an unexpected delight — is the word that comes to mind when describing the seven-day hike my wife and I recently did in the wild and undeveloped northwest coast of Galicia, Spain. Simply put, anyone who is adventurous, loves traveling to Europe and is fit enough to do 10-mile hikes should seriously consider doing this hike.


  • Trying on a farmhouse in Northern Italy for size

    Framed by a mountainous horizon, the farm fields are littered with hay bales, both round and rectangular, and I’m reminded of the Virginia Piedmont, where I grew up. Such a gentle, pastoral landscape seems imprinted in my spiritual DNA, and is the real reason I’ve journeyed here, to Northern Italy’s Piemonte region: to discover whether the two places have more than similar names in common.


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    Sibiu, Romania: On the vampire trail to Dracula’s castle — and so much more

    Sibiu is the place to start a journey through Transylvania, but there’s plenty more to discover wandering through the city.


  • In Seville, Spain, young chefs are creating the next generation of tapas

    The first time I encountered tapas, I was 6 and didn't like them. My head was level with a huge wooden bar, and all I could see was a school of shiny silvery fish languishing near slices of bread. I've grown some since then; my head clears the bar most days. Meanwhile, tapas have become an international phenomenon.


  • In the south of France, a city is still ruled by ancient Rome

    A funny thing happened on the way to the Airbnb. As we dragged our suitcases along the cobblestones in the southern French city of Nimes, we saw a gladiator on a cellphone. The helmet-wearing warrior, looking straight out of ancient Rome, winked at my kids and kept marching toward the amphitheater.


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    Visiting American WWI sites a century after conflict ended

    A century after World War I, you can visit the places where the Americans fought and died. The landscape is still pockmarked with craters from artillery shells. Monuments honor those who fought. And white marble crosses and Stars of David, in well-groomed cemeteries, mark where many of those killed still rest.


  • In Slovenia, a ski and a swim make an unusual pairing

    As an American expat happily living in Slovenia for many years, I love exploring my adopted country and looking, more deeply than perhaps even locals do, into what makes it such a wonderful place to visit and reside. One line I hear frequently, and which guidebooks like to boast about, is that the country is so compact, with such a diversity of terrain, that you can ski in the morning and swim in the ocean in the afternoon. Would it be any fun? Only one way to find out.


  • Forget spritzes, shopping and fancy hotels. The best part of Lake Como is being on it.

    “Mom! Do you have the permit?? WHERE IS THE PERMIT???” I yelled above the engine of our custom Cantiere Ernesto Riva motorboat while zooming along Italy’s Lake Como. I had just gotten comfortable in my captain’s perch. Then, a gust seemed to sweep away the paperwork required for taking out this stunner of a boat, at a whopping $190 an hour.


  • You ate what?! A fearless foodie’s foray into the bouchons of Lyon

    Andrew picks up his beer and leans back against the red banquette seating at Le Romarin, a tiny bistro-bar in the heart of Lyon. Over the next 48 hours, we’re planning to eat our way across this famously gastronomic city, but something is worrying him. “I’m looking forward to the wine,” he says. “I’m looking forward to the cheese. I’m just not sure about the innards.” Most people would see his point. Not me. I love offal.


  • The next ferry you board might run on batteries

    Not far from Norway’s North Sea oil rigs, shipbuilders are assembling some of the first ferry boats ever to be powered entirely by batteries.


  • Northern Ireland’s lake lands: Rain, history and the Mellons

    We stood at the bar of the grand Lough Erne Resort, looking out at the driving rain. “You see that lake out there,” mused the barman wryly. “That was a field this morning.” This was my first trip to Northern Ireland’s lake lands in the western region, two hours by car from Belfast and a slightly longer drive from Dublin.


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    Switzerland-Italy train ride traverses different worlds

    The new Gotthard Base Tunnel is a 35-mile stretch through a mountain of granite. The scenery transforms from mountainous Alpine stretches to palm tree-dappled Mediterranean landscape. Even the outside temperature is a few degrees warmer than it was where the tunnel starts.


  • Medieval meets modern in charming Kilkenny, Ireland

    On a sunny Friday afternoon in April, the sleepy city of Kilkenny, Ireland, began to wake up. Chattering students filled the sidewalks, their book bags slung across school uniforms, many of the boys carrying the short, hockey-like sticks used in hurling. Locals hurried through Butter Slip, a narrow passage between two streets where butter vendors set up stalls in medieval times. And shoppers ducked into the small stores that share a main street with a 17th-century merchant’s house and an 18th-century town hall building that was served as a customhouse.


  • Biking Britain, end to end

    Our three-week British bike trip last spring could be called a series of literal highs and lows. We cycled what’s called the End to End: from Land’s End on the southwestern tip of Cornwall in England to John O’Groats in the northeastern corner of Scotland.


  • Don't overlook Germany's second-largest city

    Germany’s second-largest city, Hamburg, is awash with history, and played especially key roles in the stories of 19th-century emigration, World War II and the Beatles.


  • European war museums echo 'Never again'

    All over Europe, there is little stomach for war. The motto of one military museum I visited in Vienna says it all: “War is something for museums.” And many European countries have followed this advice — creating fascinating exhibits about their military heritage.


  • Air travelers on layovers see Frankfurt on foot thanks to walking tour

    In the just-waking hours of a cool, misty morning, we slipped into Frankfurt, Germany, the way dreams slide between vivid reality and hazy memory: surreal and ephemeral.


  • How to foil Europe's clever pickpockets

    I don’t give much thought to petty crime when I travel abroad. I’m well aware that it happens: I’ve been preaching about the importance of wearing a moneybelt for decades. And for decades — probably about a total of 4,000 days of travel — I’ve never been hit by a thief. Well, my happy streak finally ended: I was pickpocketed in Paris last summer.


  • Some European travel cliches are worthy experiences

    Amped-up Spanish flamenco bars, dirndl skirts in Germany, ape tours of the Rock of Gibraltar — when does something slip from authentic to cheesy?


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    Record-breaking cable car to Zugspitze opens near military recreation center

    A world record-breaking gondola is set to open Friday on Germany’s tallest mountain, the Zugspitze, just outside the Armed Forces Recreation Center Edelweiss Lodge and Resort.


  • Sweden's glass country sparkles with pride

    You can’t say you’ve seen Sweden if you’ve only been to Stockholm. Rural Sweden, especially the province of Smaland, is a worthy addition to any Scandinavian itinerary.

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