Santorini: Between the Sea and the Cosmos

Traditionally known in Greek as Thira (or Thera in Classic Greek), this island, which is part of a caldera born from a massive volcanic eruption 3600 years ago, didn’t get its more commonly known of Santorini until about eight centuries ago. Conquered and dominated over the millennia by Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, the Latin Empire,…

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A Travel Angel at the Vatican: Exploring the Papal City-State with the Wife of a Swiss Guard

So often when I travel, I feel like the universe conspires in my favor. Perhaps I’m inclined to be more open to adventure and opportunities that come my way, or maybe, because I seek those moments, I recognize them more readily. Or perhaps there truly is a divine hand at work that guides me towards people and circumstances that stretch and shape me for the better. Whatever the reason, in that chapel and in that moment, I knew precisely how fortunate I was, and I was grateful.

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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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Scenes from a Guide Summit

Name 20 countries from the European Union. Imagine the “typical” citizens of those countries–their features, their demeanors, their gestures, their accents. Now picture a collection of 120 people from those countries who are passionate aficionados on the history, art, culture, politics, and people of those motherlands all descending on a small town just north of…

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Cultural Eye-candy in St. Petersburg

“Dobryy den’,” I said to the Dorothy Hamill-coiffed customs agent.  I was eager to practice the little Russian I knew.  She must not have heard me because she didn’t respond to my greeting.  “Dobryy den’,” I repeated, this time with a smile.  Maybe I was pronouncing it wrong.  The third time I wished her good…

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Scandinavian Slices of Life

Leaving our ship that morning in Stockholm–and leaving 3000 tourists–Rick Steves and I found ourselves alone in the middle of a great city with only 5 hours until we needed to be back on the ship.  Abba, the harbor walk, the National Gallery, Swedish meatballs…how would we pack all the experiences into our memory banks…

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Cruising? Why?

In doing research for his newest guidebook, Northern European Cruise Ports, Rick Steves’ primary task is to double-check and update logistical and sightseeing information in port:  how to you get from the ship terminal to the city center, what are the operating hours for TIs/museums/churches, what’s new, what’s no longer around, and how do you…

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