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.
July 20, 2015 |
Standing at an edge of the eastern Pacific Ocean on sand as white as the moon and as soft as cashmere, I spot scores of sea turtles treading water in mid-wave. They are waiting for the sun to set so they can safely come ashore and bury their eggs. But I won't see their amphibious landing, because like all humans, I must leave the island before dark. This is the Galapagos, and I am merely an interloper, a party crasher. Yet, those minutes I spend on the silky beach, my toes submerged in water the color of blue topaz, are some of the most memorable in my life.
July 18, 2015 |
NEW YORK - When the hymn "Amazing Grace" gets to the line about saving "a wretch like me," it's not routine self-flagellation. The author of the song was a wretch indeed, a slave trader who sent some of his nearest and dearest off to be worked to death, as dramatized in the new Broadway musical Amazing Grace about John Newton, who wrote the song's lyrics as the capstone of his redemption. That title, unfortunately, isn't the only predictable aspect of this show, whose backstory also includes the Broadway debut of Christopher Smith of Bucks County, a former suburban police officer who, seized by Newton's story, spent a decade writing the music and lyrics, and coauthored the book.
July 13, 2015 |
As a little girl growing up in New Jersey, I loved hearing my father tell me stories about his Navy service aboard an aircraft carrier in the Pacific during World War II. The war was already raging when my then 17-year-old dad persuaded his reluctant father to allow him to enlist in the Navy in 1942. It was an unusual choice for a farm boy from the tiny town of De Kalb, Texas, who had never seen the sea. By the time he turned 18, Dad was serving with 3,000 shipmates on the USS Yorktown, the Navy's newest warship.
July 6, 2015 |
The Inca Trail is a rite of passage. It is a religious experience, stretching from Peru's aptly named Sacred Valley, not too far from the city of Cusco, all the way to Machu Picchu. Really, it's only around 30 miles and can be traversed in a couple of days, but what it lacks in distance it makes up for in ecosystems, vistas, and ruins that are in no way ruinous. The trek begins at a small parking lot near a gatehouse that serves as the origin for most hikes to Machu Picchu; travelers must show their entrance tickets and have their passports stamped before beginning the hike.
July 1, 2015 |
Every immigrant's story begins with a journey. Some escape from harsh regimes; some leave for education or employment opportunities; others simply seek the promise of a new life in a new land. Silvana Cardell's Supper, People on the Move pays homage to these stories in a harrowing, captivating dance-theater piece. Filled with symbolism and metaphor, it forcefully conveys the emotional power of the psychological and physical perils that can plague an immigrant's passage. Supper , performed through last weekend at Crane Arts' Icebox space, opens on six performers seated at set of long folding tables, their hands and arms linked, then broken apart in waves, a series of slow gestures that embody the longing of farewell.
June 29, 2015 |
I spent my first semester of college in London making friends, traveling, and having all sorts of unexpected adventures, thanks to a program my university calls the First Year Study Abroad Experience. Lots of cool things happened, but my best story is the time my friend Sara and I got lost in Pompeii at night. We were the last ones allowed inside for the day, and we had only an hour to spend there. They had run out of maps by the time we arrived, so we were left to our own devices to explore.
June 29, 2015 |
Luis Medina's eyes wandered curiously upward to the stained glass windows of St. Joseph Pro-Cathedral in Camden. He tapped his ring finger repeatedly against his thumb and swayed in the pew. Medina, 23, stood beside his much younger peers, whose eyes were focused on the priest welcoming them into the church on their confirmation day. With very limited language and the cognitive skills of a 4-year-old, Medina, who has autism, is locked in...