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A Farewell to Arms: A Salutation to Peace in Kobarid, Slovenia

Soca River

When Earnest Hemingway reached the Italian front in 1918, the Italian army’s wounds were still fresh from the disastrous loss the previous autumn at Caporetto, which saw 40,000 troops killed and wounded, plus another 280,000 captured. Despite the war, the beauty of the Julian Alps impressed the young soldier enough to later serve as the opening scene of A Farewell to Arms. “In the late summer of that year,” the novel begins, “We lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains.”

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October 7, 2013 by | 0 Comments

Save 40% on Day Trips from Rome

HURRY! Book by October 9th, 2013 to save 40% on select day trips from Rome. This exclusive offer applies to select departure times and dates through October 31, 2014. Please note that this offer is available for new transactions only and cannot be applied to any existing booking.

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October 3, 2013 by | 0 Comments

Decoding Finnish Festivities

Laskiainen

At first glance, some of Finland’s traditions and rituals may seem more than a little peculiar, even relative to Europe’s wacky standards – self-flagellation with branches, seafood-themed parties and it’s really quite incredible how many occasions it has been deemed acceptable to wear coloured overalls. In fact, many stem from Christian festivals, just with vestiges of ancient paganism and a sufficient dose of homespun absurdity. Finnish celebrations may be mad but they’re certainly quite magical.

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October 3, 2013 by | 0 Comments

Amsterdam’s Secret Gardens

Bosschehofje

Imagine walking around Amsterdam – it’s busy, there are crowds of people everywhere, you’ve just spent an hour and a half walking around the Rijksmuseum after queuing for two hours to get in. You’ve had enough; you’re tired and fed up. You want to sit down somewhere without someone bothering you. That’s when you spot a doorway. You try the handle, and it opens. Inside is a beautiful courtyard with a garden and some houses – maybe even a chapel. You walk in, and sit down. There is nobody else there. You have found one of Amsterdam’s best kept secrets. It’s called a ‘hof.’

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October 2, 2013 by | 1 Comment

Exploring Tallinn Beyond the Walls of Old Town

Pirita convent

While the charming Old Town is undeniably the highlight of a visit to Tallinn, there is a lot to see elsewhere in the city as well. Kadriorg Park and the Cultural Kilometre are a long walk or short bus ride away and the Estonian Open Air Museum, the Tallinn Zoo and the Pirita Convent are all easily accessible by bus or trolley. If you have the time, be sure to spend a couple days exploring the sights in Tallinn outside of the Old Town.

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October 2, 2013 by | 0 Comments

Copenhagen Food Tour

Cheese Tasting Counter

In recent years, Scandinavian cuisine (due in large to Denmark’s celebrated Michelin-starred restaurants) has risen in popularity. Therefore, I was more than a little excited to spend a day sampling some of Copenhagen’s famous culinary delights. To my surprise, I ended up with a special bonus; a fascinating cultural exploration of how this city has evolved through its food.

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September 26, 2013 by | 0 Comments

Meet Sergio Grom, a Private Guide in Rome

Meet Sergio!

An historian and certified guide who has been working in the tourism industry for more than 40 years, Sergio has led tours all over Italy and Europe. Over the last few years, however, his focus has been on his native city. Simply put, Sergio knows his territory and can help his clients design the perfect tour, one that meets their specific needs and preferences.

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September 25, 2013 by | 0 Comments

7 New Museums to Explore in Krakow, Poland

Krakow Pope John Paul II

A bunch of innovative museums have opened or reopened in Krakow over the last few years. Forward-looking and beautifully curated, they are a welcome addition to the manifold Renaissance charms of Wawel Hill and the fine decorative art displays in the National Museum. Several of these new venues are scattered around the historic Old Town within walking distance of each other, others are an easy tram journey out of the city center. When planning your itinerary in Krakow, bear in mind that most museums in the city close on Mondays and some have free admission on Tuesdays.

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September 25, 2013 by | 0 Comments

Faial: A Secret Island in the Middle of the Atlantic

(Photo: Anne Banas)

Known as “The Blue Island” for its abundance of summer hydrangeas blooming along hedgerows, Faial is part mystery, part cosmopolitan mecca. It was integral for transatlantic telecommunications in the 19th and 20th centuries, became strategic during World War II, and has withstood tumultuous seismic and volcanic activity for millennia. Today, its rolling cow pastures, rich sailing culture, and inviting people offer an authentic place to relax, let go, and truly get away. Best of all, it’s closer than you might think. Read on to discover secret Faial and one of the most memorable ways to see it: in a jeep—windows down—with a native islander as your guide.

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September 20, 2013 by | 1 Comment

Visiting North Holland and the Enclosing Dike

You can see the IJsselmeer on the left (lower part of the dike) and the Zuiderzee on the right.

Constructed between 1927 and 1933, the Afsluitdijk connects the North-Holland province with the Friesland province and runs over a length of 32 kilometers. It’s a fundamental part of the larger Zuiderzee Works that dams off the Zuiderzee (a salt water inlet of the North Sea) and turns it into the fresh water lake of the IJsselmeer.

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September 19, 2013 by | 1 Comment

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