September 21, 2015 |
If you visit Munich, Germany, on your European trip, you may see its coat of arms on everything souvenir: a little monk figure holding a beer mug. The name Munich - in German, - is a derived form of "little monk. " Monks of the Benedictine Order operated a monastery and brewery at the place that later became Old Town Munich, first mentioned in 1158. Born and raised in Munich in the state of Bavaria, my husband and I this year observed our 50 years in the United States. As a young couple with a 6-year-old daughter, we embarked on our America adventure in March 1965, with just a promise of a hotel job in Washington, a few suitcases with clothes and necessities, and high anticipation.
September 14, 2015 |
Fixed income? I had no idea what those words really meant until we retired and were there. Like many baby boomers, we've taken our share of financial hits. We've also made a few "great decisions at the time" that have come back to bite us in our fixed incomes. Neither of us got the 30-year handshake, which would have given us the financial freedom to play in Europe like many of our friends. We play anyway. The other day, we went on a European road trip . . . in Bucks County and New Jersey.
September 6, 2015 |
Sri Lanka. Even the name sounds exotic, conjuring images of mystical journeys, long-ago kingdoms, and towering temples. But the country, where I recently spent four weeks on vacation and business, is also very much of our modern age. That contrast is at the heart of Sri Lanka's charm and rhythm, and can be felt everywhere in this island nation of 20 million. Take Sigiriya. On a glorious mid-June morning, I walked the 1,200-or-so steps to the top of this ancient rock palace and fortress and surveyed the surrounding countryside in awed contemplation.
September 3, 2015 |
The first time, Matt Szczur said, it kind of catches you off guard. You make the big leagues out of spring training, but April is barely half over when you're called into the manager's office. The general manager is in there, too, they're telling you that they want you to get regular at-bats, that they're real happy with you, but that you're going back to triple A. It's not a shock anymore. Szczur, the former Villanova football all-American and baseball star from Lower Cape May High School, now 26 years old, has shuttled between the Chicago Cubs and their top farm club 10 times this season.
August 31, 2015 |
'Don't smell it before you eat it," the Icelandic waitress warned me. I stared down at the cubes of rotten, fermented shark in front of me. The smell of ammonia wafted past my nose, and before I lost my nerve, I speared the shark, chewed it hastily, and washed the whole business down with a searing shot of schnapps the Icelanders not-so-affectionately dub "The Black Death. " Now that I'd conquered the infamous hakarl, I sat back in satisfaction, but not with just my adventures in galling gastronomy.
August 24, 2015 |
Ever since reading John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley , I've wanted to take a road trip with a beloved dog and see some of our country from a new perspective. However, unlike the author, I'm no camper. Now, in the age of Airbnb's and pet-friendly hotels, it is much easier to take Fido - in this case, Oliver - on the road. So, after some intensive manners classes for Oliver and equally intensive discussions to convince my husband the trip would be interesting and fun, we made decisions about where to go and researched places to stay.
August 17, 2015 |
I have been a baseball fan since I was big enough to sit in a seat at Veterans Stadium. My dad and I have been to hundreds of games together. So I was excited about my trip to Cuba. I fervently hoped to have some baseball interaction along the way of our controlled, guided tour. As we rode along in our bus, manufactured in China, we saw lots of grass fields with children practicing, lots of stadiums for the national teams, lots of statues of interesting mascots. Baseballs and bats were for sale in almost every craft market.
August 10, 2015 |
At a business dinner in Brussels, a woman from Warsaw told me she always liked meeting in Brussels. Why? Because Brussels is the second-most boring city in Europe, she said, but she lived in the first. Warsaw gets a bad rap, even from the natives. (Sound familiar, Philadelphia?) After that dinner in Belgium, I resolved to go and see about the city in Poland for myself - which I did, last year with my 19-year-old son. It didn't start well. We connected through London's Heathrow, and upon arriving in Warsaw, my son Sam said, "But we were just in London.
August 3, 2015 |
We had two days to see Ecuador. This country advertises itself as the perfect one-stop vacation: With the Andes, Amazon, coast, and Galápagos, "all you need is Ecuador. " But we had a time limit, so we chose the Andes and decided to pack as much doing into 48 hours as possible. In Quito, the Ecuadorean capital, we selected the cheapest rental car, a Chevy Spark. The Budget representative glanced skeptically at the three of us and our three bulky packs. "I'm sure we'll be able to fit everything just fine," I assured him. I neglected to mention that we were planning on taking the little thing to a 12,000-foot elevation.
July 27, 2015 |
My husband and I are on a pilgrimage throughout sunny Italy to visit the lands of our forefathers. Since our journey takes us to the remote towns of Gioiosa Marea in Sicily and Badolato in Calabria, we find it necessary to rent the Opel wagon that will be our faithful companion for the duration of this yet-unexplored territory. Today, we set out to visit Badolato. The Autostrada takes us to Messina, Sicily, and the ferry that crosses the Straits of Messina to Reggio Calabria. Armed with GPS maps of Italy, tablet, and a smartphone, we venture into the land of Calabria, searching for the new road that will take us from Tyrrhenian shores to those of the Ionian Sea. All is fine until we come upon the popular rotunda , or roundabout, where the GPS goes crazy after we make a supposedly wrong turn.