Europe

Free desktop wallpaper for November 2012: The Romanian Parliament building, one of the world’s largest buildings created by dictator Nicholae Ceausescu.
November 2012 Desktop Calendar Wallpaper: The Romanian Parliament

This is the November 2012 offering for our desktop calendar series - always free and available for iPad too!  Get your November 2012 Desktop Calendar Wallpaper! We took this photo of the Romanian Parliament in Bucharest on the final stop of our Eastern European tour on Grand Circle’s River Adagio. Built by Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in […]

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Photo Friday: Alexandra Bookcafe, Budapest

by Chris on October 26, 2012

Photo Friday: The gold friezes and frescoes inside the Alexandra Bookcafe, just one of Budapest’s charming cafes/coffee shops.
Bookcafe Kavezo, Budapest

This is the latest in a series of travel photos inspired by #FriFotos on Twitter. The theme of this week’s Photo Friday is GOLD. Before we boarded the River Adagio, Don and I spent a few days in Budapest on our own. It was great to have the time to walk around and do what we wanted […]

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Life lessons I learned on my Grand Circle river cruise, where the average age of the passengers was 70.
Fellow passengers on River Adagio

On my most recent assignment, I took a river cruise down the Danube on the River Adagio, a ship run by Grand Circle Travel. Founded by the same woman who created the AARP, the line caters to retirees and mature travelers. My husband Don and I were the youngest passengers on board, by several decades […]

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A look at Vidin, Bulgaria, a town full of Communist art and communist architecture.
Monument of the Resistance, Vidin, Bulgaria

At first glance, the countries of Eastern Europe that lie along the Lower Danube might seem like an unusual choice for a vacation. But while the line that Don and I traveled on wasn’t exactly age appropriate, we ended up having a great time and learning quite a bit. I’ll be doing a series of […]

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Photo Friday: River Ships on the Danube

by Chris on October 12, 2012

Photo Friday: Two river ships, the River Adagio from Grand Circle Travel and the River Countess from Uniworld, docked near each other on the lower Danube River.
River ships on the Lower Danube

This is the latest in a series of travel photos inspired by #FriFotos on Twitter. The theme of this week’s Photo Friday is TWO (in honor of the hashtag’s second anniversary). At the beginning of this month, I spent 12 days on the River Adagio, a river ship operated by Grand Circle Travel that plies the Lower […]

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Ask Chris: Things to Do in Paris

by Chris on March 7, 2012

Ask Chris: A reader asks for recommendations on things to do in Paris.

This is part of my ongoing  ”Ask a travel expert” series. What to do in Paris?  Question: I am writing because I recently won two tickets on Air France to Paris and was wondering if you have any recommendations for what to do with a week in Paris! Eat, see, tour, where to stay on […]

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Fascinating Finland: My new Finnish glasses

by Chris on November 21, 2011

How a stern Finnish counter clerk named Anna found me glasses that I finally love.

My hatred of glasses goes back more than 30 years, when an optometrist  put a pair on me and said, “Does that seem better?” He had no idea. Until that day, I had always seen the world in shady outlines, a beautiful blur that fueled my imagination (even if it did cause me to trip […]

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Fascinating Finland: Finnish food

by Chris on November 1, 2011

Finnish food: If you don’t eat fish or reindeer, you may be out of luck. But for those who do, the simple ingredients and clever preparations will win you over.
Finnish cuisine, salmon

I grew up in Minnesota, so I knew a bit about the good – and bad – aspects of Scandinavian cuisine (lutefisk, never again!). But I was surprised to discover that the simple flavors and natural ingredients of Finnish food suited me, and we ate well on our visit, particularly in Helsinki and Lapland. I […]

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Finnish design: It’s a way of life in Helsinki, where the architecture and shops reflect the country’s innate quirkiness.
Finnish design, Helsinki

What surprised me the most about my visit to Finland is that Finnish design is not just something that you see in the shops of Helsinki. It’s a way of life, and one that reflects their history and innate quirkiness. When babies are born, the Finnish government gives the family a box full of goodies, […]

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Fascinating Finland: The Cult of the Sauna

by Chris on October 24, 2011

No one loves a sauna like the Finns. A look at Finnish sauna culture.
Finnish sauna

In September, I made my first trip to Scandinavia when I took the train throughout Finland, hitting Helsinki, Lapland and a few other towns. In a way, though, it seemed quite familiar; the result of growing up in Minnesota. All throughout my trip, people kept mistaking me for a native Finn, even though I never […]

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