Free city tours are hot

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There are a variety of ways of orienting yourself in a new, major city. We’ve found that free city tours, now proliferating around the globe for out-of-towners, can be the best way. You can do the hop on-hop off bus, …

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Had we but World Heritage enough, and time…

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For a traveler, there is never enough time. Sure, you can see “the highlights” of a city in a few days, of a country in a week or so. But, in most places, the longer you stay the deeper into …

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Countering the Peterhof Principle

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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 to find. We only saw …

Posted in Europe, Russia, TripTips | 2 Comments

Estonian Prison Blues: How We Nearly Ran Afoul of Europe’s Visa Rule

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We thought we had figured out a legitimate way to stay in Europe for six months, when a normal visa lasts just 90 days. We just discovered we were wrong…and so far wrong we could have ended up in an …

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The Unbearable Ubiquity of English

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I first visited castles along the Rhine with my sons in the late 80s. At a restaurant, I tried to order food with the little German I knew at the time. When the waiter left, my older son observed with …

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The Highs and Lows of Campervanning

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Planning a recent trip of 3800 kilometers – from Darwin in the Northern Territory to Geikie Gorge in Western Australia and back – we realized that would mean a lot of one night stops. Mostly we rent cars but with …

Posted in Australia 2013, TripTips | 4 Comments

Atoning for Errors of Emission: Airline Carbon Offset Programs

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We had just about finished the booking of a flight to Brisbane, and Qantas was selling us options: better seating, a car to rent, hot lunch, more baggage, and a carbon offset for our trip. Now we try to be …

Posted in Australia 2013, TripTips | 1 Comment

The Move from Wellington to Melbourne: Uprooting and Replanting, Part 2

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In January, we uprooted ourselves from Wellington (see The Move, Part 1); here’s what it took to replant ourselves in Australia. We had become quite familiar with Wellington and how things work in New Zealand. For Australia, and Melbourne, we …

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The Move from Wellington to Melbourne: Uprooting and Replanting, Part 1

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Tree specialists know that uprooting and replanting a tree can put great stress on it, endangering its viability. We like to think of ourselves as more resilient than that, but the stresses are there when we face moving from one …

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Panic in the Streets: On the Right – err, Left – Side of the Road

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Many of you have had the experience of coming from the United States or continental Europe to England, New Zealand, Australia (and astonishingly around 75 other countries), and finding yourself driving on the other side of the road. Even as …

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