Summer Nights in Beaune

France. Burgundy. Beaune.  Any one of these place names might conjour thoughts of remarkable wines, pungent cheeses, or exquisite meals—and rightly so. But in the last few years, Beaune has been luring visitors to linger after their decadent dinners and explore the town with its Animations Nocturnes (Evening Animations). Beaune is a picture of bustling…

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Why Climb Every Mountain When You Can Take the Lift?

Oh, the Alps. Glorious. Majestic. Breathtaking. They’re the mountains of your dreams, every hiker’s delight, and a “must” destination for so many. For the past week and a half, Rick and I have been leading 26 tour members through the Alps from Austria to Italy to Germany and to Switzerland. And now we’ve arrived in…

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Conquering Fears and Storming a Castle in Austria

My friend Julie once experimented with “The Year of Trying New Things.” Whenever she encountered something she hadn’t tried  or didn’t want to try before (activities, food, routes, ways of thinking), rather than say no to it, she opted to try it…just for kicks. When Rick and I are faced with the choice of doing…

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The Dynamite Dolomites: Easy to Access, Easy to Love

I’m not what one would call an outdoorsy kind of person, and no one ever mistook me for a Birkenstock-wearing “granola girl,” but I sure do love hiking in the Alps. Our outdoor-loving and nature-respecting European counterparts make getting there so easy. From well-groomed trails and mountain huts to clear signage and industrial-strength cable lifts,…

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Are You Gonna Go My Way?

  Not all travelers are created equal. Whether you’re a bold adventurer, culture vulture, foodie fanatic , history buff, or nature-lover, how you travel can be as important as why you travel and where you go. As an avid travel and tour guide, I know that incorporating our personal passions—and even our individual idiosyncrasies—into our travels…

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It’s All German (and Turkish) to Me

One of my linguistics professors once said to me, “Language is culture.” He didn’t mean that it’s a part of one’s culture but that it both encompasses and permeates the culture. It defines—and is defined by— it. And whenever I travel, discovering the quirky phrases that make a culture tick helps me to get inside the…

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Germany

Confession time: I’m a last-minute packer, sometimes finishing up just hours before a flight. Fortunately, I pack so often that I’ve got my incomprehensible-to-most system down pat. On most trips, procrastination serves as stimulus to “get ‘er done.” Rare is it that something needed is forgotten at home. I get to the airport with sufficient…

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