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We’re all happy again in Kazimierz, the ancient Jewish neighborhood of Kraków. After the German invasion in 1939, the Nazis forced the Jews out of here and across the river into the hideous ghetto and killing ground most people associate with wartime Kraków. This once wealthy neighborhood fell […]


One of ancient Bohemia’s gifts to the language of the world was the concept of “defenestration”–the throwing of political enemies out of multi-story windows. The practice got underway in 1419 with the tossing of 15 local political leaders through the windows of this castle. The Second Defenestration of […]

Slavkov U Brna

We were driving along a Czech highway at German speed–that’s the other side of 100MPH–when we spotted these unmistakable cement silos dressed up as unmistakably grouchy French artillery. Suddenly it dawned on us that the nearby village of Slavkov U Brna had to be the former Austrian settlement […]


Waiter! There’s a crab in my bouillabaisse! But fortunately for the purist, this little guy is only there for decoration. The true bouillabaisse contains no shellfish, not even mussels–in fact, it contains nothing fish-wise but Rascasse (a pungent Marseillaise rockfish), Chapon (a Scorpion Fish), Mullett, John Dory, and Conger […]


This tiny, hidden cemetery in a Flemish suburb of Bruxelles was originally cleared for the Tir National, a rifle range for training Belgian sharpshooters. In both World Wars, I and II, the German occupation authorities took advantage of its hidden location to use it as an execution ground […]


Our nominee for Best Guide Ever is Jimmy Miller, son of the original and justifiably famous Alligator Annie, who whiled away an entire day exploring the cricks and bayous of southeastern Louisiana with us. We met him early in the morning at the Bayou Delight Restaurant on Bayou […]


Down the street from his famous neighbor, Le Mannekin Pis, in Bruxelles, the capital city of Belgium, this statue, Le Cracheur (The Spitter), sits on a corner outside one of the city’s premier gay bars and vents his low opinion of tourists and citizens alike in a never-ending […]