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 […]

Rijsstaffel

One of my favorite childhood meals used to come when the family crossed the Dutch border to the town of Bergen op Zoom for Indonesian Rijsstaffel. An ancient (at least to my 12-year-old eyes) Dutch ex-colonial couple had taken over a manor house and turned it into a restaurant. Bowls of aromatic […]

Waterloo

It was the bloodthirsty celebrity matchup the world had been waiting for. Not until El Alamein in 1942 would the world see a more anticipated and personalized battle than Waterloo. That earlier conflict, on 18 June, 1815, pitted the invincible French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte against Arthur Wellesley, the brilliant […]