Vittel

The European Spa Movement was synonymous with la Belle Époque, the 40-year dream period from the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 until 1914 and the carnage of the Great War.  European aristocrats and politicians held their collective breath and noses and tried their hardest not to notice the churn […]

Nancy

On 10 May, 1951, in a true exercise in dynastic futility, Archduke Franz Joseph Otto Robert Maria Anton Karl Max Heinrich Sixtus Xaver Felix Renatus Ludwig Gaetan Pius Ignatius von Habsburg-Lotharingen married Regina Helene Elisabeth Margarete, Princess of Saxe-Meiningen. The ceremony took place here in Nancy, France, at […]

Roma

A detail from the Roman victory column, Columna Centenaria Divorum Marci et Faustinae, shows how bloody and gruesome most Roman victories were. This particular structure, from AD 193, honors the old sage and Emperor Marco Aurelio (bearded and dispensing wisdom at top left) for his assiduous repression of […]

Tirol

No one was ever given a nastier clutch of nicknames than Margaret, the last Countess of Tyrol: Maultasch, Mouth Bag, Whore, Vicious Woman, Medusa, Mouth-Poke, Pocket-Mouth, Satchel-Mouth, Big Mouth, Pouch Mouth, the She-Wolf of the Tyrol, the Ugly Duchess, and Kriemhild (after the wife of Attila the Hun). […]

Der Rhein

Everything has to start somewhere. This bridge in Konstanz on the Swiss border marks the official start of the Rhein River, or point zero on the 1939 Rheinkilometer scale. From here, the Rhein flows west and north through Germany, Switzerland, France, and the Netherlands to de Hoek van […]

The Bosna

Sooner or later, you’re going to try one of these, as they spread all over the civilized world. The Bosna was invented in 1950 by the Balkan Grill Walter, a pretentious name for a tiny closet with a window in an alley off the Salzburg Altstadt. If you […]

Worms

The 38-year-old giant Martin Luther kicked the Protestant Reformation into high gear on this spot when he stood before the 1521 Diet of Worms to defend his Ninety-Five Theses. Like Jan Hus before him in1415, he was guaranteed safe passage by the Catholic Church fathers, only this time […]