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Still Moving

I am on vacation and I have yet to stop moving.  24 hours door to door with a 7-hour layover in Bruxelles – turns out there is a cost to a $500 round trip to and from Roma. Oh, did I mention, I had a center seat to BRU and no seat – in fact I was standby from Brussels ...

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An Afternoon with Signora Maria

Visiting the cugini in Bologna, I had two missions: to enjoy the company of family, and to get my very own Signora Maria! Anyone who calls Signora Maria a terra cotta figure has clearly not met this delightful, whimsical character. Her creator is Anna Tazzari, an exquisitely talented artist in Bagnacavallo (outside Bologna).   My first exposure to Signora Maria was ...

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Little Tiles of Ravenna

What a lovely little Italian town is Ravenna. My Italian friends say “oh, che belli mosaici!!” (pronounced moh-ZAI-ih-chee). And yes, the mosaics here are unbelievably beautiful.  The little tiles of Ravenna are abundant and extant. Colorful and glimmering – golden little chips festooning the ceilings, the walls. Beautiful, indeed. Ravenna has it – and it knows it. You can buy a pass ...

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On the Street

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!  The latest in street performers in Rome. What are these people looking at?         This is a street performer unlike any I have ever seen on the street. Perhaps this pediatric attraction has been around for awhile, but not in my experience.  I happened upon little big blue baby while heading for my ...

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Hurry Up and Wait

I have often said, the Italy of my dreams is the Centro Storico.  Not necessarily the real Italy. Here I am smack dab in the middle of the train station in Milan. Just one of the Great Unwashed. Oh yeah: fair Italy — where is the goddam romance now.  The plan seemed pretty solid. To fly into Milan at a ...

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Riding the Rails

I admit, I have a romantic view of riding trains. Perhaps because the paternal grandfather I never met was a train man, or the fact that Dad would seek out some vintage train on an unused track and take my brother and me on a Choo-Choo train ride (old whistle and all), or that my father would take his daily ...

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Time for Reflection

I have always regarded travel as a chance to learn about myself by seeing the reflection of who I am through the eyes of strangers. So, for me this has been a time of self-awareness. And, also a time to see what it means to be an American at this particular moment of history. I was granted the opportunity of ...

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A Day at the EU Commission

You could not find a better time to visit the European Commission.  The crisis in the Ukraine being front and center of their attention — the signing of the “association” agreement happening a little over a week from this post.   We are coming to the end of our two-week adventure, we 13 U.S. journalists – brought to Europe (Berlin, ...

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An Eye-Opener

I have certainly heard about Radio-Free Europe, but in Prague, I learned how very little I understood about that service.  Right up front, RFE, as it is often called, does not even broadcast to Europe. Instead, it aims its signals, its journalism to Asia.    I and 12 other journalists were given the chance to see their facility on the ...

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Don’t Head to ATM without your Friends

Our group of 13 journalists arrived in Prague rather early for check-in. Which meant some of the group got rooms, most did not.  And so we set out in small groups for a quick lunch and a bit of exploring. “I”m going to a cash machine to get my Czech Koruna” (the euro likely works here but I both wanted ...

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