Discover the age-old continent through these Europe travel stories, its curious, unsung places as well as its more familiar spots.
You may notice a few countries that may not traditionally be considered European. Europe’s borders are never easy to define. So I’ve decided to go by the old definition I learned in school: In the east, Europe ends at the Ural Mountains. That means the Caucasian countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia – are part of Europe, according to Sophie’s World. This is probably also according to the countries themselves: all three are members of the Council of Europe and cooperate with the European Union with a view to future membership. Also, all three countries participate in the Eurovision Song Contest; can’t argue with that.
Latest Europe travel stories
As I’m standing on the shore, looking out over Mondsee, the large Alpine lake with the mystical name, I can’t help but think of a woman of caliber. The woman I’m thinking of is fictional. Her name is Lisa Engel and she is – or rather, was – a police commissioner in an Austrian turn-of-the-century TV series called Eine Frau [...]
I'm out searching again, this time for a childhood crush. He was a contemporary of Maria Antonia; the two of them met gleefully once during their childhood, so the story goes. I'll tell you about it in a bit. And there is a surprise at the end! Festung Hohensalzburg (fortress) guarding Salzburg's Altstadt (Old Town). This one you will have [...]
Kölner Dom - Cologne Cathedral in English - is imposing. More than 600 years in the making, this structure was built to inspire awe. Awe of the Christian god. And of Prussian power. Some think the proximity of the railway station makes the cathedral – and indeed the city of Cologne – ugly. I don’t. I rather like that juxtaposition [...]
In the southern part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, about 20 km from the border with Croatia, is a little town with a peculiar story. On 24 June 1981, on a hill ca. 3 km from the town of Međugorje, Virgin Mary allegedly appeared before six local children - Ivan, Jakov, Marija, Mirjana, Vicka and Ivanka - for the first time. [...]
This is Schönbrunn. One of the best preserved Baroque palaces in Europe. And since the competition is pretty stiff, that's really saying something. After having their home completely destroyed by Turkish invaders in 1683, the Habsburgs needed a new place. First they built a hunting cottage. Then, as work progressed - and Habsburgian power expanded - it wound up being [...]
A sinister house in Torgau The lovely 1000-year-old town, best known for being a major hotspot of the Protestant Reformation, has been venue of important historical events. Martin Luther stopped by 60 times. The people of Torgau were loyal followers, so he was preaching to the choir. The local Hartenfels castle church was the first protestant church in the world, [...]
If you love winter and snow, Oslo might just be your dream destination. The snow-covered pine forests with hundreds of frozen lakes and wide, white meadows are right out of a fairy-tale. City lights sparkling on the hills are reflected in the waters of the fjord. Snow brightens up the long winter nights and candles are lit everywhere; it is [...]
A new year, folks! With new opportunities. Where do you want to go in this year of lucky 2's? Or, just as importantly, where do I want to go? Travel is still limited. Let's believe this will all end with Omicron the Onerous, though. In 2020, a short road trip in Greece replaced a longer one through Benin, Togo, Ghana [...]
Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter from 9 stories up on a fine Sunday morning in December. You're in for a treat today, folks: England's second city. I know! You're from Manchester and you beg to differ. It's a tale of two cities. And since we are still in the age of wisdom and the age of foolishness, in the epoch of belief [...]
That’s the question! We have a saying up here, which in essence means ‘taste is like your bum: divided’. A bit crass, I know. But if ever there was a place where it is appropriate, well, that place is Naples. And in my defense, it does sound better in Norwegian, rhymes n’everything: Smaken er som baken: delt. After an initial [...]
11 things I’ll love about Jæren? Where the heck is Jæren, you ask? How do you even pronounce it? And what is this letter 'æ'? Let’s begin with the name. The closest English pronunciation I can think of is Yaren, with the emphasis on the first syllable, and the ‘a’ pronounced as in mad. If you say it with a [...]
Remember Pippi Longstocking? Mischievous, fun-loving, freckled little redhead, about 9 years old, who lived in a big, ramshackle villa all by herself. Strong in every sense, she could lift her own horse. Generous, unpredictable, thoughtful, philosophical, living completely by her own rules. I loved watching her on children’s TV when I was little. An inspiration. In one episode, Pippi celebrates [...]