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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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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Kosovo: The Ties that Bind

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Kosovo is newly emerging as a country, the latest from the former Yugoslavia to be independent – barely so with the ongoing help of NATO and the US since the 1990s. There’s a lot of tough history here, but we …

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Rise and Fall: Montenegro’s Mountain Men

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Mountains are in the name of the country, as Crna Gora, or black mountain, from the Venetian title, monte negro. They dominate the landscape, from the very edge of the sea to the innumerable limestone alpine mountains of the north, …

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Tracing Cross-Currents in Albanian Antiquities

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In our post about Albanian history (click here to read), we noted all the cross-currents of culture affecting the country – from its Illyrian origins, through Greek and Roman control, the influence of Byzantine and eastern Orthodox Christianity in the …

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