Kadiköy

The political classes are forever looking for symbols to crystalize their support and distract from the failure of their policies. No symbol has remained more potent, persistent, and maybe ridiculous than the headscarf. We would dismiss the entire brouhaha, if it wasn’t for Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, one of […]

Waffles

Waffles are yet another example, along with modern beer, French Fries, and the saxophone, of how Belgium has been slowly and quietly conquering the civilized world. The original Gauffre developed in the Middle Ages out of the production of Oublies, the pressed wafers fed to the confessed Catholic […]

Galveston

The Galveston Seawall was always a little raunchy, but we were still sorry to see the Balinese Room and its pier vanish in Hurricane Ike on the evening of September 13, 2008. We used to walk from the nearby USS Flagship Hotel on Pleasure Pier (also wrecked) and guzzle on […]

Flers–Courcelette

This statue in the heart of the tiny village of Flers in northern France is remarkable for three reasons: First, it commemorates a foreigner, the British Tommy, or foot-soldier, who fought and died by the thousands in 1916 in the Flers-Courcelette phase of the World War I Somme Offensive. The French don’t […]

Tabasco Sauce

Some trips are planned and some are pure serendipity. We were wandering around the Louisiana Bayou when we happened upon the sleepy Avery Island, a pure salt dome surfacing out of the marshland and owned since the US Civil War by the Marsh, Avery, and McIlhenny families. Their family […]

Orient Express

The original Orient Express started running in 1881 from Paris to Istanbul via the northern, Romanian route (Paris-München-Wien-Budapest-București-Istanbul). After World War I, the southern route substituted Belgrade-Sofia for București to bypass the worst of the Balkan political mayhem. After growing up with Agatha Christie (Murder On the Orient Express), Graham Greene (Stamboul Train), and Ian […]

Chancellorsville

We spent days poring over the historical accounts, talking to Park Rangers, and trampling through the undergrowth outside Chancellorsville, Virginia, in search of the precise spot where, on 2 May, 1863, Stonewall Jackson was shot. Given the catastrophic effect on the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, we naturally expected some […]