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Driving into Tuscan/Umbrian Culture

Posted by on 8:13 am in Italy, Spotlight | 0 comments

Driving into Tuscan/Umbrian Culture

Tuscany and Umbria In all of Italy, Tuscany and Umbria are tops in my book. Friends who’ve visited all tell me they love it and although I normally don’t follow the herd, I have to admit I love it too. To me, Toscana and Umbro epitomize the Italy that travelers’ dream about – with all the intact medieval architecture and towering cyprus-lined lanes, plus wine and the flavors of delectable food. As with any trip time is limited, so are six days/seven nights going to be enough to cover these towns? Realistically, the answer is no – but...

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Eating Ireland

Posted by on 12:57 pm in Food and Wine, Ireland, Spotlight | 27 comments

Eating Ireland

Food in Ireland Fish and Chips in Ireland I am an unapologetic travel addict. So it’s no surprise I jumped at a recent, last minute invitation to stay with friends just outside of Limerick, Ireland. I was eager to see the land of verdant hills, castles, Celtic history, high crosses, pubs, and Guinness pints. The cook and foodie side of me couldn’t wait to discover a new cuisine, and perhaps add some recipes to my repertoire. Fish and chips, although cliché, were the first foods I wanted to sample. Locals in Limerick told me to order takeaway...

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KaZantip, Crimea’s Uncharted Republic

Posted by on 8:31 pm in Spotlight, Ukraine | 2 comments

KaZantip, Crimea’s Uncharted Republic

Welcome to Kazantip Craziness in Crimea “Stand up! I need to dope right now to get my reality back!” I get up hastily and peer into the darkness, trying to see who has awakened me. All I can see is half of a face in big gaudy red glasses. “Ah, it’s not you!” Obviously, a stranger is disappointed. He turns around and leaves the cold doss-house quickly. I thought, “If me is not me, so who am I, after all?” Loud music strikes my ears trenchantly; bright electric light dazzles my tired eyes. Who am I? Where am I? But let me start at the...

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Discovering Political Culture in Brussels

Posted by on 9:52 am in Belgium, Spotlight | 0 comments

Discovering Political Culture in Brussels

The Culture in Brussels Gets Political Brussels, the Capital It only takes a quick conversation with people that live in Brussels to learn that this city truly is based around a political culture. Brussels is the capital of the European Union and holds the NATO headquarters. Most locals work either in politics, journalism, or lobbyist groups. I am an American journalism and political science student that recently moved to Brussels for a study abroad program, but there is a lot of political culture to experience in Brussels outside of a...

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In The Know: Torino, Italy

Posted by on 8:13 am in Italy, Spotlight | 0 comments

In The Know: Torino, Italy

Torino, Italy: What to Know Formerly of Olympics Fame 2006 host of the Winter Olympics. Home to Italy’s most successful football (soccer) team, as well as the European Capital of Sport for the year 2015. The city that Italians say has the best chocolate in the country. Birthplace of a shockingly small number of names that non-Italians would recognize. Of course, I’m talking about Torino, Italy – Americanized to be Turin. A forgotten city when compared to its country-mates of Venice, Florence, and Rome, Torino has less of an ancient past and...

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All Roads in Italy Lead to Bologna

Posted by on 10:25 pm in Italy, Spotlight | 1 comment

All Roads in Italy Lead to Bologna

A Road to Bologna Discovering Bologna, Italy I sat on the computer staring at the screen mapping out my Italy trip with my wife. I wanted to visit Ljubljana and San Marino, Venice and Rome. I wanted a major city with sites and history. I discovered Bologna by accident – and not in a good way. The seventh largest city in Italy was conveniently located in the north of the country. It was a bigger city, had lots of options and an old section of town with loads of history. Still, when I mentioned stopping in Bologna and using it as a hub for an...

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A Garden in Fiesole

Posted by on 12:07 pm in Italy, Spotlight | 0 comments

A Garden in Fiesole

Fiesole, Italy The Sights in Florence I sat soaking up the sun in a small walled garden. Tumbling geraniums held the moss-covered stones together as they did most of this hillside town. The drone of bees left the air heavy. Once formal garden paths weaved through one another as they rambled towards a statue of the Virgin, standing forgotten in the center of the garden. A rose branch crept out to tenderly embrace her. Autumn sunshine danced through the trees, with midges floating contentedly in the warmth of its wake. Below me, the Duomo rose...

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Driving the White Villages of Andalucia

Posted by on 11:43 am in Spain, Spotlight | 0 comments

Driving the White Villages of Andalucia

Andalucia and its White Villages Driving Southern Spain Driving in a foreign country can intimidate the best of us. My first time driving in Southern Spain, I worried about mysterious traffic rules and weird signage – all of which would be in español! How would I get from place to place without roadside disaster? Calmer thinking prevailed when I ultimately decided that if I wanted to get the most out of southern Spain and its White Villages, the most quintessentially Spanish towns, self-touring was the way to go. Of course, after I got behind...

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The Scary Path in the Czech Republic

Posted by on 11:29 am in Czech Republic, Spotlight | 0 comments

The Scary Path in the Czech Republic

The Scary Path in the Czech Republic Haunted Jablůnka Candles light a path through the darkness of the forest floor and we creep forward, alert for the next horror awaiting us: witches, grim reapers, ghost brides, and a wolf behind the bushes. But the kids with us are brave. A skeleton sneaks up behind Klárka and taps her shoulder. She just looks back at him, solemn-faced. Natálka, Klárka, František, and Jeníček touch the hair of the beautiful but very dead girl in the coffin. They put a severed head in a bucket to tidy up for the...

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The Canals of Bruges

Posted by on 10:44 am in Belgium, Spotlight | 2 comments

The Canals of Bruges

Belgium, on the Water What struck me most was the way the sunlight danced across the water. It had been raining in Paris, and the rain had followed me as the train sped past windmills and back-roads lined with poplars decked in autumn finery. Old stone farmhouses sat in tilled fields of soft green. Yet when I reached Bruges, in Belgium, the sun broke through the grey clouds. It seemed that everyone had emerged into the sunshine to promenade through this medieval city, or else pass by in horse and carriage. Her meandering canals remain the...

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Beltane Fire Festival – Edinburgh, Scotland

Posted by on 2:32 pm in Scotland, Spotlight | 5 comments

Beltane Fire Festival – Edinburgh, Scotland

Beltane in Edinbugh Arriving for Beltane A deep Scottish brogue erupts from above, “Whit’s this – ah hear a Yank!!! ” As I’m likely the sole American present I stop and scan the crowd scaling this hill for its source. Seeing only unlikely candidates nearby, I continue climbing. Earlier that day I arrive by train and take time to wander through a town that two centuries ago was home to the author Robert Louis Stevenson. Just like his character Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, today’s Edinburgh is split into two parts. One half is the 18th...

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London Tenement Blues

Posted by on 2:46 pm in England, ITKT Blogs, Spotlight | 0 comments

London Tenement Blues

The London Tenement Rough Living London-Style I was living, if you could call it that, in various London hostels before I found a room for rent. I was eager for my own space, for drawers and a door. It had been weeks since I could unpack my bag. The room was in a house in the East End, a 45-minute commute to the city center. The neighborhood never made me feel unsafe, exactly, though I grew to recognize it as a bit rundown and “lower class.” The landlord company had only recently acquired the house. Even as they were soliciting...

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Uncovering Mojacar Man in a Spanish Resort

Posted by on 11:21 am in Announcements, Spain | 1 comment

Uncovering Mojacar Man in a Spanish Resort

Travel Mojacar Our First Time in Mojacar This was the first trip to Mojacar for my wife and I. This resort town in the Province of Almería, southern Spain is pronounced “Mahaca” and shouldn’t be confused with the island of Majorca. Before we booked our trip about the only thing we where aware of about the resort was its internationally recognized Mojacar Man or Indalo Man symbol. We drove into Mojacar with slight trepidation as always plan our holidays pretty carefully but this was a last minute decision and we decided to take a chance and...

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The Great Market Hall of Budapest

Posted by on 1:31 pm in Hungary, Spotlight | 1 comment

The Great Market Hall of Budapest

Also known as the Central Market Hall The Hungarian Fell of the Great Market Hall Built in 1897, the Budapest Grand Market resembles a gigantic Victorian Railway Station. For a real Hungarian feel, its 200-plus stalls are worth the visit even if you are not a shopper offer plenty to see and do for at least a couple of hours. Located at the end of the pedestrian shopping street, Váci Utca, on the Pest side of the Liberty Bridge, it is a five-minute walk from the center of Budapest. And a feel for the world Traditional Hungarian Cuisine A...

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London Lights up for New Year

Posted by on 2:55 pm in Announcements, England, Europe | 0 comments

London Lights up for New Year

It’s time to celebrate the end of a record-breaking year for the capital. Whether you want to join the 250,000 revellers that watch the fireworks in central London, experience a piece of history at the Royal Opera House or go back in time at the Landmark London – New Year’s Eve has something to offer everyone. The showstopper as always will be the world famous Mayor of London’s New Year’s Eve fireworks display around the EDF Energy London Eye, Victoria Embankment and surrounding areas. Large crowds will gather along the banks of...

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