Photo du Jour: Happy in Marrakech, Morocco

These faces of Marrakech, Morocco make me smile. Whether playing soccer on the dusty labyrinthine backroads of the “Pink City,” working in a sun-drenched herb market, or shuttling bread dough atop their heads to take to a communal oven, the young men’s faces exude happiness.

Greeting Autumn at the Heidelberger Herbstfest

What a splendid day for an autumn fest on Heidelberg’s Hauptstrasse! With our bellies full with Neuer Wein (new wine), Zwiebelkuchen (onion pie), Bier, Bratwurst, and Thai fare, we’re now at home resting, watching all the Herbstfest revelry from our fifth-floor apartment.

A Day at Versailles: Visiting the Palace of the Sun King

On a September day that was replete with sunshine, we voyaged to Versailles, the decadent Baroque palace of France’s roi soleil (sun king). As Shawn and I wandered among the palace’s 250 gardened acres and peered through windows into the gilded interiors — just as a subject might have done 300 years ago — I was remindedContinue reading “A Day at Versailles: Visiting the Palace of the Sun King”

The Beauty and Tragedy of Sevilla, Part II

We arrived at Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballeria de Sevilla in the evening hours. The summer sun was still blazing down, the stadium grand with elegant trimmings. It is Spain’s oldest bullring; its construction began in 1749. There was anticipation in the air as merchants peddled striped seat cushions, cigars, frozenContinue reading “The Beauty and Tragedy of Sevilla, Part II”

The Beauty and Tragedy of Sevilla, Part I

Sevilla. The name evokes a variety of passionate images: Flamenco-dancing women clad in vibrant, polka dot-studded dresses, their feet striking a floor with thunderous blows… A matador de toros poised to enter a ring facing possible goring or death… Spirited bodega-goers clinking glasses overflowing with jewel-toned sangria and amber cerveza… On a balmy long weekend earlier this summer, ShawnContinue reading “The Beauty and Tragedy of Sevilla, Part I”

Our Peterhof Gardens Promenade

Often referred to as Russia’s Versailles, the Peterhof Palace gardens (Петерго́ф) offered us a picturesque — albeit congested and hectic — spot to stroll during a visit to St. Petersburg earlier this month. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Peterhof was commissioned by Peter the Great in the 18th century.