March 30, 2015 |
On my second day in Paris, and the beginning of my 32d year, I stood among six or seven million skeletons as strangers sang "Happy Birthday" to me. There in the catacombs, 65 feet and 130 stone steps below the 14th arrondissement , I began my journey. It was last October, and Paris was the jumping-off point. From Gare L'Est, one of the city's oldest stations, I was to board the first of a series of trains that would take me across the waistline of Europe, tracing the original Orient Express through Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania, and Turkey.
March 15, 2015 |
Eastern Europe has experienced more change in the last generation than any other corner of Europe. With war-era grandpas now gone, across the former Warsaw Pact zone new museums and memorials deal candidly with the dark side of communism - and fascism before that. Here's the latest: In Prague, the National Museum on Wenceslas Square is wrapping up a long renovation. By mid-2015, visitors should be able to see its interior, decorated in the Czech Revival style that heralded the 19th-century rebirth of the Czech nation.
March 1, 2015 |
In my work throughout Europe, I struggle almost daily with this issue: When is a tourist experience actually a unique slice of a culture, and when is it a tired cliché kept alive by the travel industry? Amped-up Spanish flamenco bars, dirndl skirts in Germany, ape tours of the Rock of Gibraltar - when does something slip from authentic to cheesy? When you've traveled for several decades, as I have, you witness genuine customs giving way to rising commercialization ("gladiators" charging exorbitant fees for photo-ops at the Roman Colosseum comes to mind)
February 2, 2015 |
Most Americans born after World War II take peace and democracy in Western Europe for granted. Enfolded in the European Union, France and Germany became allies and Spain absorbed democratic values. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, former communist countries joined the fold and embraced parliamentary norms. But we forget all too easily that the 70 years since 1945 are an anomaly for Europe, whose previous 150 years of history were marked by war, ideological strife, and revolution.
January 25, 2015 |
Europe is far off, but the European Central Bank's decision to infuse money into the Eurozone via so-called quantitative easing will hit us all in the pocketbook, one way or another. Here's how: "Even if you don't live in Europe, this matters," says this post and video clip at Money.CNN.com. The markets' initial reactions were positive. Among other things, "the ECB's announcement showed investors that Europe may finally be serious about repairing its many economic problems. That should help contain the negative spillover to the U.S.," the post says.
January 14, 2015 |
The Philadelphia Orchestra last toured Europe in 2011 in deeply uncertain circumstances: The orchestra was still in bankruptcy and entering contract negotiations amid fears about the future. Yannick Nézet-Séguin had been appointed, but would not become music director until the next year. The orchestra was led by chief conductor Charles Dutoit. In contrast, the 2015 Tour of Europe, announced Tuesday, promises to be a consolidation of more successful times for the Philadelphia Orchestra, and under the leadership of Nézet-Séguin, already a well-known figure there.
September 13, 2014 |
Comcast Corp.'s WiFi ambitions are going global. The Philadelphia cable company and Europe's Liberty Global say they have formed a partnership to offer Internet subscribers more than 10 million WiFi hotspots on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Xfinity Internet customers who travel to Europe can use Liberty's Global's WiFi for free, while Liberty Global subscribers who travel to the United States can use Comcast WiFi for free, the two companies said on Thursday. The Liberty Global partnership is the latest expansion of Comcast's fast-growing WiFi network that Wall Street analysts view as a potential asset and possible threat to Verizon Communications Inc., AT&T Inc. and other traditional wireless carriers.
August 1, 2014
TWO FORMER Villanova guards have signed to play for teams in Europe. For Roman Catholic High's Maalik Wayns, this will be the first time he's taking his game overseas. Allan Ray, who as a senior was part of the Wildcats' 2005-06 Final Eight run, is making his eighth stop in six seasons (he sat out in 2009-10 with a knee injury). Wayns, who left college a year early and spent part of the last two seasons in the NBA with the Sixers and Los Angeles Clippers, will be suiting up for EuroLeague power BC Zalgiris, which is based in Kaunas, Lithuania.
July 21, 2014 |
Vladimir Putin has become a global menace. There is an irrefutable link between the Russian leader's reckless policies on Ukraine and the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. This tragedy is the direct outgrowth of his decision to train and arm Ukrainian separatists with heavy weapons in an effort to destabilize Ukraine. It doesn't matter whether the triggerman thought he was targeting a Ukrainian military plane rather than a civilian airliner. More than 200 European civilians, along with dozens of Aussies, Asians, and North Americans, lie dead because of Putin's determination to force Ukraine to join a new Russian empire.
July 4, 2014 |
Vlendy "Eric" Slueue does a lot of his work in a crowd. If he's free from the masses, and a soccer ball is at the Junior Lone Star midfielder's feet, his opponent may be in trouble. "People can't stop me one-on-one," Slueue said. "They can't. " In practice or in a game, the anticipation level rises when the ball finds Slueue. His turns and feints keep defenders off balance, setting up the next move. His best attribute? "I'm good with my left foot," Slueue said. A recent graduate of Bartram High, the 18-year-old native of Liberia drew a lot of Division I college interest but recently decided to play professional soccer.