Best of Europe: There’s No Place Like Rome

For 21 days, Rick and I are tour members on one of his own tours: the Best of Europe. We’re trying to combine vacation with quality control and research. And it’s going great! Join us as we traipse from the Netherlands to Germany, Austria to Italy, and Switzerland to France with a terrific tour guide and…

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The Best of Europe: Florence

For 21 days, Rick and I are tour members on one of his own tours: the Best of Europe. We’re trying to combine vacation with quality control and research. And it’s going great! Join us as we traipse from the Netherlands to Germany, Austria to Italy, and Switzerland to France with a terrific tour guide and…

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Best of Europe: The Charm of Venice

If you’ve been to Venice and haven’t been allured by its charm, you did it wrong. Too often people day-trip or cruise into Venice, stick to only the touristy sections (namely the area encompassing Rialto and Piazza San Marco), and never get beyond their comfort zone to allow themselves to discover the true magic of…

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Letting Fate Be Your Guide in Venice

Letting Fate Be Your Guide in Venice It’s early morning.  6:30 to be exact.  I’ve yet to take my shower, but centuries-old buildings are bathing in amber-and rose-tinted sunlight and summon me for a visit.  There’s so much to do today, and I need to maximize my time here.  Ninety minutes of Venice practically all…

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Walk Like a Roman

When I think of Rome, I recall ancient sites, coin-filled Baroque fountains, sexy (and not-so-sexy) men casting Ciao, Bellas at every passing female, and platefuls of pasta that, without fail, end up blissfully in my belly.  Equally engrained in my brain are nostalgic, cinematic images of Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn zipping on a Vespa…

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“Freeky Fries” and Fancy Rest Stops

When I think back to road trips that I’ve taken in the U.S., I don’t fondly think of rest stops.  More often than not, I recall dimly lit parking lots, shady-looking characters lurking by a picnic bench taking drags off slinky cigarettes, seatless toilets in malodorous bathrooms, and–if you’re lucky–there’s toilet paper.  I once got…

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