Countering the Peterhof Principle
Tree fountain, Peterhof

Countering the Peterhof Principle

To turn a phrase, tourist money corrupts; overwhelming tourist interest corrupts overwhelmingly. In some environments, like the rain forests of Borneo, that turns a safari into a show. In the wild, orangutans are very difficult…

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Latvia’s Drive-By Museum
Honoring the stalwart road surveyors at the Road Museum

Latvia’s Drive-By Museum

In the midst of a long day trip west of Riga, we chanced on an unusual museum, a testament to someone’s obsession for a subject – in this case, the enchantment of road building. Our…

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Spit and Polish, Part 2
Insect inclusions

Spit and Polish, Part 2

In part 1, we discover why the Curonian Spit along the Baltic Sea is so unusual and engaging (click here to read it). In this part, we polish up our know-how about amber, the Baltic…

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Revered: The Hill of Crosses
Approaching the Hill of Crosses, Siauliai, Lithuania

Revered: The Hill of Crosses

Heading from Vilnius to Riga, we diverted a bit to visit the renowned Hill of Crosses (Kryžių kalnas) near Siauliai, Lithuania. It’s really just two coupled mounds beside a country road in the middle of…

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Spit and Polish, Part 1
Weathercocks, Nida

Spit and Polish, Part 1

In this part, we discover why the Curonian Spit along the Baltic Sea is so unusual and engaging. In part 2, we polish up our know-how about amber, the Baltic gold - finding the good,…

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Way Out: Seeking the Otepaa Labyrinth
Finding ourselves at the labyrinth's center

Way Out: Seeking the Otepaa Labyrinth

A labyrinth is a symbolic journey…but it is a map we can really walk on, blurring the difference between map and world.”  -  Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking Incongruously, in a place known…

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A Ukraine to Remember
White Diana cafe, Ploshcha Square, Lviv

A Ukraine to Remember

We were hesitant about visiting Ukraine. Wasn’t there a war going on? Why would Czech car rental shops not cover travel there? How might we find our way around its notoriously poor roads? Except for…

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In the Comfort Zone: “From America? Let’s talk politics.”
Headline - Frenzy: America's rabble rouser

In the Comfort Zone: “From America? Let’s talk politics.”

Many American travelers worry about attitudes toward Americans as they travel around the globe. Perhaps we’ve been unusual, but we have mostly found openness to us. Where Americans are common, as in Paris, our lifestyle…

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The lyrics of love: Piaf in Tallinn
Erkki Otsman sings Piaf's lyrics of love

The lyrics of love: Piaf in Tallinn

What is the language of love? The tongue-twirling lyublu? The kissy kissy amour? The caress of amore? The abruptness of love? The explosive finish to liebe? Or the business-like Estonian armastus? We thought about these…

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Stones for the Departed: Return to the Ukraine of Our Ancestors
Finding hundred year old graves from the Lubin cemetery upon a densely forested hill

Stones for the Departed: Return to the Ukraine of Our Ancestors

The custom in Jewish cemeteries is to place a pebble, or small stone, on the headstone at a grave site. In doing this, you affirm you remember the dead. It’s a custom that might have…

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