Category: Europe

Praha

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 […]

Bouillabaisse

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 […]

Schaerbeek

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 […]

Bruxelles

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 […]

Bruxelles

Everything has to start somewhere, and the European crusading frenzy started here on the Place Royal in 1201 when Godfried de Bouillion, the first so-called King of Jerusalem, leapt onto his steed and raised his standard to incite the attending mob into joining him on the 1st Crusade. […]