Growing Together: Moldova’s Family-Run Et Cetera Winery

For years, we had our sights set on participating in a grape harvest. As the golden months of the summer of 2014 dwindled, and Europe’s grapes grew plumper and riper, we decided to meander to Moldova to meet the newest vintage. It’s said that a whopping 25% of Moldova’s working population is involved in winemaking,Continue reading “Growing Together: Moldova’s Family-Run Et Cetera Winery”

Germany’s Sommertagszug Tradition: Greeting Spring & Bidding Farewell to Winter

In parts of Germany three weeks before Easter, it’s customary to celebrate spring’s return with a summer procession, or Sommertagszug. Believed to have pagan origins, the fest celebrates spring’s return and winter’s banishing. Children take to the streets with sticks adorned with colorful, ruffled ribbons, topped with pretzels and eggs. In Heidelberg, they walk alongContinue reading “Germany’s Sommertagszug Tradition: Greeting Spring & Bidding Farewell to Winter”

A Vietnamese New Year’s Reminiscence

When I unpacked a red and gold Vietnamese ox ornament last week, it reminded me why I love travel: serendipitous events, cultural immersion, and the opportunity to mingle with “citizen diplomats.” With today being the Vietnamese New Year, or Tết, it seems fitting to reminisce on a Hanoi happening from my travel memory bank that epitomizes all threeContinue reading “A Vietnamese New Year’s Reminiscence”

Dizzied by a Dazzling Array of Dirndls in Bavaria

Whenever I see Bavarians dressed in traditional German attire, I can’t help but recall a playful prank that my former American colleagues routinely played on friends and family who would come to visit them in Germany. The husband and wife would get laced up in their finest Trachten-wear (German traditional dress consisting of men’s LederhosenContinue reading “Dizzied by a Dazzling Array of Dirndls in Bavaria”

Twisting Tongues in Bavaria

German words have a reputation for being long, and at times, very descriptive. I have a few quirky favorites. The first is Zahnfleisch, which literally means “tooth meat” or “gums.” The other is Schneebesen, which literally translates to “snow broom,” but means “whisk.”

Of Angels & Alphornists – Out & About in Oberammergau, Germany

We had merely set out on a routine errand to find a hair stylist and pharmacy in  Oberammergau, Germany. Instead, we found ourselves pleasantly distracted by something quite out of the ordinary, at least for us: the soothing, foghorn-like sound of Alphorns, playfully known as ‘Ricola horns’.

A Stroll Through Balinese Markets

  Balinese markets are a feast for the eyes. In Ubud’s bazaar and food and produce markets, there are stacks of colorful rattan offering boxes, wooden masks with intimidating gazes, small cases comprised of beads in swirling patterns, delicate batik silk scarves, walls of oil-adorned canvases, and overflowing mounds of tropical fruits. The markets are aContinue reading “A Stroll Through Balinese Markets”