Zanabazar – Mongolia’s monastic hero

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In brief: The 17th c. monk Zanabazar has become a fitting hero for the newly independent Mongolian people, one whose legacy has been spiritual, practical and artistic. Born in 1635 in Tibet, Undur Gegeen Zanabazar was a prodigy in languages …

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Cold comfort at the summer palace

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Sometimes the least traveled places can be the most interesting, even in tough conditions. On a dark, bitterly cold day, we went to Kolomenskoye Park at the outskirts of Moscow because of the ravine. The ravine, we had chanced to …

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Going with the flow

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We had seen quite a lot of Lisbon and its surrounding towns when we first visited in the fall of 2017. This time we kept quite busy with other matters and enjoyed the pleasure of just living in the town, …

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Observation post: Moscow

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Waiting in Moscow for a few days before beginning a rail trip across Siberia, we were pleasantly surprised to see the old city in such fine shape. We had not been here for 25 years and 40 years respectively, and …

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Iron, water, blood in Yekaterinburg

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Yekaterinburg began in 1723 with a dam made of Ural larch, one never replaced till this day. It was a planned city, named in honor of Queen Catherine I, and organized as a factory town for metal-working, where the factories …

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Granada a la carte

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Except for one day during our visit in Spring 2018, Granada was as sodden and chilly as the rest of western Europe. Yet, on this first trip together to the south of Spain, we were still ardent to drive here …

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Locks and loads: Panama’s Great Connector and Divider

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In brief: Connecting the Atlantic and Pacific was an engineering triumph, one you can see from a trip within the Canal. But it also split the country, a division of the well-off and poor still evident today. The locks of …

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High over Portugal

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How could we have missed out on Portugal in our travels all these years, and especially Lisbon? We kept asking ourselves this question during our unplanned, but leisurely stay in the capital of Lisbon, plus a week up north in …

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A Garden and Delights in Lisbon

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We took a recommendation and went to the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, a private collection by an developer of oil fields in Iraq early in the 20th century. As befits a devoted art collector, the 6000 pieces he accumulated (his “children” …

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Gone off: Mozambique’s divided old ports

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In brief: Two towns, split between colonialists and natives, long served as key African ports. Despite years of decline, both still tell the past and foretell better futures… They were vital ports once, both developed by invaders on sheltered islands …

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