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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26 May All Aboard!

The popular idiom of “planes, trains, and automobiles” is often first on our minds when we plan transportation for a trip abroad. What airport will I fly to? Is there a shuttle service? Should I buy a subway pass? These are all good questions to ask, but too often travelers forget the fourth option: boats. Rewind history 100 years and boats were still the top choice for traveling, domestically and internationally, to say nothing of transporting cargo in the days before semi-trucks. Though no longer nearly as popular as their heyday, ships, cruises, ferries, and barges still operate all over the world and can elevate your vacation from “great” to “ridiculously awesome.” Here are 5 suggestions to get you started. Prince Edward Island – Canada Located off the east coast of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island (PEI) is an idyllic getaway not too far from the mainland. With activities as varied as whale watching and golf, there is something for everyone! The Northumberland Ferry Ltd takes 75 minutes one way and is open to shuttle cars as well. The ferry’s path takes it past the beautiful Caribou coastline, so be sure to get a window seat. Small Cyclades – Greece When visiting Greece there are so many islands to choose from, it’s hard to know where to start! We suggest taking a tour of the Small Cyclades a group of 8 islands which includes Santorini and Ios. The Express Scopelitis service runs daily and provides...

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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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03 Jan How to survive a 17-hour flight

[caption id="attachment_2339" align="alignnone" width="660"] Only 16 hours to go![/caption] Yesterday a college friend called and asked me to attend his wedding. It takes place in less than two months. It wasn’t the short notice that surprised me. It was where the wedding is to be: a ceremony in Kyoto, Japan, with a party of sorts a week later in Tokyo. And then selfish thinking entered, and that constant biting of the travel bug began. “Well, I have always wanted to order sushi from its original source,” I mused to myself. “And at the first location I could act as ‘dignitary attaché’ and sign the environmental Kyoto Protocol the U.S. refuses to.” The trip was quickly turning into a productive one even before I decided whether or not to go. And then I remembered the flight. The time on a plane from the east coast of the United States to Japan is nothing short of 17 hours. One-way. Next to a crying baby in the lap of a mother who seems to have neglected it since birth, the child’s face red and full of runny snot. This thought led me to wonder what to do on a plane for so many hours. Initial reaction, like many seasoned flyers, is to drink as many miniature Absolute vodka bottles, and as quickly as possible. Then pass out, hoping to reawake when rubber hits tarmac upon landing. You then smile at the sleeping baby who only minutes before passed...

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