Category Archive: Europe
“I set my watch 15 minutes fast. That way, when I die I’ll sneak into heaven before the devil figures out I’m dead.” – words of wisdom from the local dispensary, a spry gentleman one Guinness down in Westport, County Mayo
In almost every country we’ve visited around the world, with perhaps the exception of Bangladesh and Iran, we seem to stumble across an Irish pub. The problem with many of them: there’s usually something dubious, something un-Irish about them.
Possibly the food. Maybe the owners. Definitely the accent. Continue Reading »
Off the southwestern corner of Ireland, pitched west of the coast of County Kerry, sit two little islands, one of which has a 600-step stone staircase that appears to wind straight into the sky. Those stairs, it is told, were built by monks who long, long time ago cast themselves away from civilization in order to meditate, study and pray.
This is the island of Skellig Michael.
And we were fortunate enough to see it in a rather unusual state: one of pure, unadulterated sunshine on the most magnificent of Irish autumn days. Continue Reading »
Ireland is one of the few countries in Europe that has eluded us all these years. An upcoming road trip around Ireland to discover its landscape, meet its people, and capture a few stories – with a focus on the in-between places – aims to correct that.
This is about Berlin, chunky quotes, something new we’re trying this week, and a few giveaways to tie it all together.
Berlin. A city we love, a city we’ve chosen as a base. As we dig into Berlin and meet others who’ve done the same, we learn a little bit more about the city through them — its layers of history, humanity, creativity, and culture.
This week we’re undertaking something a little different to bring more of this to light. We’ll be enlisting the help of Berlin friends and experts to help — on what we’re calling a Virtual Tour of Berlin. Continue Reading »
In celebration of Robert Burns Day in Scotland, we share our favorite pints, places, and provisions from the fair city of Edinburgh. Now, what did we miss?
What’s the essence of Edinburgh? I probably need to return to answer that in earnest. But if you visit Edinburgh for a couple of days, here are a handful of things you could see, eat, drink and otherwise experience to help you answer that question for yourself.
This is a story about making peace with a squishy edible ball of sheep innards, and a song I rewrote to help me through the process.
I have a confession to make. I was afraid of haggis, almost deathly so. You could say I harbored an irrational fear of the stuff. Yes, haggis. Continue Reading »
If dreams really do come true, you could say that the Scottish Highland castle of Eilean Donan is proof.
Aye, the story — it goes something like this. Continue Reading »
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
– Mark Twain said it. Scottish storytellers live it.
“There was an unwritten rule in the Scottish Highlands,” Chris, our driver and guide, explained. “If someone came to your house seeking shelter and food, you must welcome them.” Continue Reading »
In a typical European medieval town, its castle lay at its heart. In Edinburgh, however, its castle is its head — the head of a fish, to be more precise. The Royal Mile, the main thoroughfare of Edinburgh that spills from the castle forms a sort of spine of the fish to which many closes (alleys) are connected.
And although Edinburgh has evolved over the centuries, much of the Old Town looks like one imagines it might have centuries ago, like something you might have even seen in Harry Potter. Continue Reading »