Category: Europe

Woluwe-St.-Pierre

This shot of our neighborhood in Bruxelles says everything about the Belgian dilemma. In the distance, le Cinquantenaire, a massive memorial to 50 years of Belgian independence built out of the profits of Congolese slavery. In the foreground, Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery surveys the parks and boulevards he […]

Mondorf-les-Bains

In May of 1945, as news reports then had it, all of the top Nazi leaders vanished from the face of the earth. Hermann Göring, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Wilhelm Keitel, Julius Streicher, all of them gone. No one knew that they had been whisked away to the hidden resort […]

Bruxelles

That aging grand dowager of Bruxelles, the Hotel Metropole, has enormous historical significance, considering the minor capital in the tiny country it dominates. In late July of 1903, a bunch of obscure and excruciatingly long-winded Russians took tea here as they plotted the 2nd Congress of the Russian […]

Saronno

Back when we used to make a regular run from Lugano in Switzerland south to Milan, this obscure commune was a compulsory stop, if only to check out these two dudes atop the first church on the way into town. The Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin of the […]

Lidice

On the dreary morning of 27 May, 1942, SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich was on his way to work in Prague Castle when a pair of British-trained Czech suicidal bombers, Jan Kubiš and Jozef Gabčík, attacked his car on a country road outside of town and assassinated him. Adolf Hitler’s initial […]

Mosel River

The Middle Mosel, from Trier to Pünderich, might be the most beautiful river valley in the world. Terraced vineyards, broken castles, pristine crosses, and overhung footpaths line the banks between bucolic towns that have rarely suffered the sting of war or the axes of urban renewal. Life slows […]

Boscotrecase

To anyone who has seen the inside of an Italian slum, the Neapolitan Commune of Boscotrecase, on the southern slope of Mt. Vesuvius, breathes organized crime. For years, public services have been, in effect, privatized to the Camorra, who have dumped millions of tons of industrial waste anywhere […]