Category: Europe

Braunau am Inn

In the 19th century, the tiny village of Braunau am Inn on the Austrian-German border gave the world the classic Christmas carol Stille Nacht (Silent Night), written by Franz Xaver Gruber for the guitar and sung by mournful German troops in the World War I trenches.   In […]

Remagen am Rhein

In 2000 years, the only invaders to cross the middle Rhein River were Caesar’s Romans and Napoleon’s French. Then on the afternoon of 7 March,1945, Sgt. Alex Drabik, a Polish-American from Toledo, Ohio, led his squad in a lunatic sprint across the creaking Ludendorff Bridge under withering German […]

Doel

The first thing you notice in this village on the Scheldt Estuary east of the port city of Antwerpen is the shops, restaurant, and hotel–there aren’t any. Anything that resembles a civic structure is boarded-up and ready for demolition. Then you notice that the only other human beings […]

Areopagus

For most of its existence, the Athenian law court that met on top of this outcropping, known as the Areopagus, was dedicated to trying cases of justifiable homicide. But around 400BCE, a famous prostitute named Phryne spent several hours here defending herself against the capital crime of impiety—the […]

Greek Gods

The Greek gods were nothing if not fun. And irrational. And capricious. And sometimes downright nasty. But at least they vaguely resembled the complete and complex human beings who prayed to them.

Cats

The islands of Rhodes and Malta have two things in common—their history with the medieval Knights Hospitallers and their huge feral and domestic cat populations. You’ll find hundreds of cats wandering all over the towns, religious monuments, and ancient fortresses of both communities.

Bastille Day

The mother of all Bastille Day parades stretches on the morning of July 14 from the Arc de Triomphe down the Champs-Élysées and up Rue Royale to the Place de la Madeleine on the Right Bank of Paris. For one day each year, the ultra-civilized French put down […]