Venetian Calm and Venetian Crowds

“Venice has been painted and described many thousands of times” wrote Henry James in Italian Hours, published in 1909 (and which I downloaded for free on my Kindle). A century later, my visit there, as a single mom with her…

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Venice: What I Learned from My Gondola Ride

I had been ambivalent about Venice. On my first trip to Italy, a little present from my great-grandmother after I’d finished graduate school, a friend and I had skipped it entirely. We were driving through Italy at our whim, staying…

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Columbus Day, Etc.: Pocahontas Was Just 10 Years Old?

I travel to get a better understanding of the present and of the past, but reading Tony Horwitz’s A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World reminds me that history is told by those who survived it. When contemplating…

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East and West Together: Happy Unity Day, Germany!

In this time of global tumult, it’s easy to forget that democratic movements generated a little anxiety at points before. Hard to believe it’s been 23 years since the Berlin Wall came down in November 1989.  East and West Germany…

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Cold Spring, N.Y.: Geo. Washington Drank Here

Cold Spring, N.Y. on a snowy day Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

The Brawny Sherpa and I headed to the Hudson House Inn in Cold Spring, N.Y., for a weekend away from the stress of our daily existence. The Inn, built around 1832, overlooks the Hudson River, and features a cozy formal…

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Getting Out of the House and Staying Put

Venice, Italy

I travel because I want to try out different lives. Could I remember the names of all the trees and remedies to become a shaman? Would throwing my slop into the streets of medieval Rouen be too much for me?…

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