16 Jun Famous Landmarks that almost didn’t survive WWII

 When discussing World War II and its lasting impact on international populations and politics the focus is, rightly, on the human cost of the conflict. Six years of war claimed the lives of over 72,000,000 soldiers and civilians worldwide, and some regions have never regained the prosperity they enjoyed before the battles. Every aspect of society was altered by the massive conflict, which saw the birth America as a superpower, the fall of several empires, the rise of the Soviet Union, and the introduction of some of the most destructive weapons the world has ever seen. During the chaotic war years when the preservation of human life took precedence over all else, innumerable works of art and architecture fell victim to the astounding destruction. Mystery continues to surround the fate of some treasures, including Portrait of a Young Man by Raphael, and the infamous lost Amber Room of the Czars. Though teams of historians and experts have devoted years to finding stolen works, repairing damaged décor, and protecting sites against future damage, it is an imperfect science. As ISIS’ recent destruction of irreplaceable historic sites across Iraq and Syria has taught us, sometimes the survival of iconic buildings and structures is left entirely to the whim of occupying forces. Though it may be easy to despair for the art and history of the Mideast during the current conflicts, it is important to remember that less than 100 years ago the treasures of...

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13 May Treat Yourself

One of my favorite things about traveling is the chance to try out foreign foods, specifically candy. Nothing can compare to the discovery of a new favorite sweet in a wrapper that is impossible to decipher. Foreign candies have also given me some of the more startling taste sensations I’ve experienced. You should never let a few bad tastes stop you from adventuring, though. To help further your quest for sweet sensations I’ve compiled some of the candies you absolutely must try. Some of these are so good the taste more than justifies the price of the plane ticket. Wine Gums – England Wine gums are chewy, gummy candies that are flavored after a variety of your favorite alcoholic beverages, with none of the hangover after-effects. In every bag you’ll be able sample burgundy, champagne, claret, gin, port, and sherry. Cheers! Kinder Country – Germany Purportedly a good source of your daily dairy, Kinder Country bars consist of a milky cream layered over puffed rice and then covered with some of the best milk chocolate you’ve ever had. Super delicious, but it melts fast, so eat quickly! Chimes Mango Ginger Chews – Indonesia Made with ginger grown in the volcanic soil of Java, these chews are spicy, sweet, and great for settling your stomach after a night out on the town. As a bonus they’re also gluten free and vegan, so feel free to share! Alfort – Japan Though many people don’t associate chocolate sweets with Japan, these cookies...

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06 May Where the World Vacations

Spring is here and with it comes the inevitable urge to travel during the upcoming summer months. Though the vast majority of Americans travel domestically, there are still those who wander farther. These are the people who dream of tropical getaways to Mexico, or hiking adventures in the northern wilds of Canada. These are the travelers who don’t feel fulfilled until there is a new stamp in their passport and a new security tag on their baggage. Seasonal wanderlust is hardly limited to Americans. In fact, Europeans are famous for their vacations. It certainly helps to live on a continent full of distinct nations easily reached by a car trip or short plane flight. Interestingly, a study conducted on travel trends for the EU noted that vacation destinations differ by nationality. Here are some of the results. Italians vacation in France. Yep, even Italians need a break from pasta occasionally. They head inland to the mountains and cities of France for a refreshing getaway. British go to Spain. It’s no secret that the Brits love the Mediterranean coast. Tans, tea, and tapas; Spain is the dream destination for everyone looking to escape the grey skies of England. The Irish visit the UK. This is a bit of a surprise until you consider that you can get a round trip from Dublin to London for $50. $50! You can hardly buy a suitcase for that price! Czech tourists choose Slovakia. Though not well known in the US, Slovakia is a gorgeous...

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15 Apr Flea-Bitten: A Guide to Flea Markets in Europe

[caption id="attachment_2301" align="aligncenter" width="300"] An awesome Lion's Club Flea Market I stumbled upon in Denmark.[/caption] Caught the Shopping Bug? Whether it’s to find that one elusive dinner plate to complete a set from the 1940s, or because a modern couch just doesn’t have the same charm as an orange couch from the 1970s, there are many reasons people flock to flea markets. The air is always filled with excited chatter, music, and the mingled smells of food and dusty age. Flea markets are rarely just about buying old things - they also bring to life a sense of community and familiarity. Europe has some of the oldest and largest flea markets in the world, and stopping by at least one or two is almost a requirement for a well-rounded study abroad or travel experience. Flea markets give people an inside look into the culture, history, food, and customs of an area, all in one unique place. During your time abroad, take a day or weekend to hop on the train and get down to one of the flea markets dotted all across Europe. Even if you have no intention of buying anything, you won’t be disappointed in the rich experience you will have. Just be sure to keep an open mind and try to engage someone in conversation - people selling vintage pieces usually have amazing stories to go along with the items. Mercatone dell’Antiquariato del Naviglio Grande Held along the Naviglio Grande, this flea market...

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16 Feb By Any Other Name

There’s a good reason parents spend such a long time choosing the moniker for their newborns: names shape our self-identity and how others perceive us. This is not only true for people, but also products, places, and pets. Despite all the precautions taken by parents, countries, and governing bodies, sometimes an odd name sticks. This is never more evident than in regards to the place names in the UK. Whether they have outlasted their original meaning or were just oddly named in the first place, here are our Top 5 Puzzling Place Names.   5) Lost, Aberdeenshire Luckily not too many people are “Lost.” With a population of less than 2 dozen, this hamlet originally went by its Gaelic name taigh òsda, which translates to “inn.” Not many people come to stay in Lost though, unless they actually are. 4) Gog Magog Downs, Cambridge Despite the rather ominous biblical name given to these chalk hills, they are relatively non-threatening. Inhabited as early as the Bronze Age, the Gog Magog Hills used to house forts, these days the most you’ll find is a 5k fun-run. 3) Barton in the Beans, Leicestershire One of the main attractions of this town, according to online sources, is the post box. Yep, it’s really that small. Entered in the Domesday book, this town’s name harkens back to one of its earliest crops: beans. 2) Catbrain, Bristol Before you get upset and call PETA please be reassured: no cats were harmed in the making of this...

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12 Feb Love Makes the World Go ‘Round

Here it comes…the day when couples are expected to shower each with love and expensive gifts, while their singleton friends gather together to get drunk, defiant and depressed. Well that’s what happens in the States, but there are many different Valentine’s Day traditions happening in different countries around the world. Here’s an insight into how different cultures celebrate February 14. Italy Long before Juliet was meant to be blowing kisses at Romeo from her balcony, Italians celebrated Valentine’s Day as the Spring Festival. The young and romantic would stroll arm-in-arm through gardens, resting beneath tree arbors to enjoy poetry readings and music. Today on Valentine’s Day, Italians are more likely to be exchanging gifts and chocolate over a romantic dinner. And when we say chocolate, we don’t mean a Hershey Bar. Italians believe the bigger and better the chocolate, the stronger the love you will have. France France has given the world its most romantic city, most seductive accents, and it’s sometimes claimed, its best lovers. It’s even said that the first Valentine’s Day card originated in France when Charles, Duke of Orleans, sent love letters to his wife while imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1415. Today, you’re more likely to find French people wining and dining each other than exchanging heartfelt cards on February 14.   United Kingdom In the UK, Valentine’s Day is when you can discover your secret admirer, or confess your secret passions for another. Sending anonymous Valentine’s cards is a tradition...

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07 Aug Animation Innovation

When it comes to dominance in the field of animation, Japan and the USA usually get most of the credit for groundbreaking characters and massively popular franchises. This severely maligns the contributions of many other talented industries, foremost among them the UK. Many of the most beloved cartoon characters of the past 50 years are British. Here are Panrimo’s Top 7: 7) The Snowman [caption id="attachment_979" align="aligncenter" width="480"] Do you wanna build a snowman?[/caption] http://www.sfsymphony.org/SanFranciscoSymphony/media/Library/Artist-Images/S/Snowman_480x270.jpg?width=480&height=270&ext=.jpg Long before Elsa took over as the Snow Queen, the reigning power of the winter wonderland was a friendly, carrot-nosed snowman who never uttered a single word. Anyone who has seen this British film can attest to the childlike joy that the flight over the forest evokes. C’mon, you know you want to revisit this classic. 6) Paddington Bear [caption id="attachment_980" align="aligncenter" width="600"] In that hat, he's practically invincible.[/caption] http://www.thewrap.com/sites/default/files/2013/Jun/07/96071/8536-2.jpg Most Americans know Paddington best as a storybook character, but he also starred in his own, very successful TV show, the earliest episodes of which aired back in the 1970s. He has since returned to the small screen in two more series, broadcast across a variety of networks. Not bad for a small bear! 5) Dennis the Menace [caption id="attachment_981" align="aligncenter" width="406"] Nice rugby shirt, Dennis.[/caption] http://forbiddenplanet.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/Dennis_the_Menace.jpg Dennis is arguably the most famous character to have gotten his start in ‘The Beano’ a long-running British comic (since 1938!). Though he has been cast in American and British versions, both animated and live action, his roots lie in...

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10 Jul Tips on Tipping

In the USA gratuity has gotten a bit gratuitous. You have to wonder if it wouldn’t be better to just go ahead and raise minimum wage again so these poor people don’t have to depend on our pennies and dimes to get by. However, for as ever-present tipping is in America, many other countries don’t operate on the same rules. To avoid inadvertently offending the wait-staff, here are some tips on tipping. http://www.beausides.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Chinese-bellhop.jpg China Outside of the more European sensibilities of Hong Kong, tipping is neither expected, nor encouraged in China. The service industry isn’t trained to expect it and may be confused if you attempt to hand them a few singles. Though some tour services may allow you to thank their guides in this way, don’t feel obligated. Czech Republic Though a common courtesy involves rounding up the bill to the nearest denomination of 10 korun, no one will fault you if you refrain from doing so. (Note that in more international cities like Prague, more and more services expect a 10% tip for services rendered. Blame the tourists.) An important point to remember: tipping on a credit card charge isn’t done. England Tipping is expected and encouraged, but, as would happen in the USA, if the service is horrible you can legally refuse to do so. Keep in mind that, similar to their American counterparts, many service workers are faced with a ‘tip jar’ system, where they must evenly divide their takings at the end...

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19 Jan Passing through Social Faux Pas in London

[caption id="attachment_2343" align="alignnone" width="660"] Tip #1: Don't wear these masks.[/caption] While England and the US share a de facto official language (English, although legally the US has no official language), it’s clear that cultures and customs remain distinct, and occasionally incompatible. Navigating social situations can become tricky, particularly when addressing international politics (Ireland anyone?). Keeping that in mind, I present a few guidelines when speaking with London locals, superiors, or even (if blind chance intercedes) the Queen. First, be aware of small talk. Britons are more reserved than Americans. Idle discussion with a new coworker can prove uncomfortable. Don’t take it personally if they shrug you off and bury their face in a newspaper or computer. Likely, your positive demeanor and openness for discussion took the individual off-guard. Throw in a couple self-deprecating statements about yourself and you might just open them up as well. Recognizing the function of humor, sarcasm and wit in British discourse will be your most important tool. And don’t get unnerved if your statements elicits sarcasm; this is a defense mechanism employed when conversation has struck a tender spot for the individual. Don’t take sarcasm or irony personally; offer a bit of your own (without making a fool of yourself) and this impasse may be crossed. If you’ve struck up a light conversation, it’s best to stick to open questions as opposed to loaded ones (“what do you think about the Queen?”) or personal assertions. Comment on the weather and...

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03 Nov Tours, Tastes, and Tradition: Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon

[caption id="attachment_2314" align="alignnone" width="660"] Feeling poetic yet?[/caption] It’s chilly this early in London. You wake up early for your Stratford-upon-Avon excursion. You walk to the train station, feeling your bag bounce with each step. Inside tumbles The Riverside Shakespeare, a hefty book containing Shakespeare’s plays; his impact upon London, literature, and love. The train ride takes 3 hours to Stratford. There’s time to kill. A “Free Wi-Fi” sign stares at you. Now would be the perfect time to watch Anonymous, the thriller questioning Shakespeare’s existence (scholars are still debating, and you have yet to be convinced of either side). However, you’ve left your computer. You bury your head in the Riverside, oblivious to the time passing. You’ve arrived! Stepping off the train, you meet up with your coordinator before heading toward the River Avon. Ironically, ‘afon,’ the Welsh word from which ‘Avon’ takes its name, translates as “river,” literally titling it, “River River.” Here, walk along the river, stopping to take in the incredible architecture and quaint riverbanks behind them. You’ll be literally following the footsteps of Shakespeare, admiring the magnificent Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Swan Theatre, both featuring an incredible selection of performances. Learn with your coordinator how Shakespeare began to hone his imagery, with phrases forming in your head as you continue strolling down the street: Shall I compare thee to a Summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And Summer's lease hath all too short a date - Sonnet...

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