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Must-Sees in Prague

Snowy Prague
Chuck Tue, 2016-04-26 07:00
We spent 3 weeks in Prague. Other than our 3 weeks in Montenegro, it was the longest we've stayed put this 7-month stint in Europe. This was partly because we've heard such great things about Prague and partly because we figured it good timing for a longer stay as we wound down our foray into Central Europe and began to make our way back to "The West". The problem with having heard such great things about a place is the high expectations that develop. But Prague delivers on those high expectations. For travelers to Europe who are considering "plunging a bit further", Prague is a great place...

Final Thoughts on Poland

The Cloth Market, Krakow, Poland
Chuck Sun, 2016-04-24 07:00
Rick Steves, our favorite travel guru, described his first foray into Poland after the fall of the wall in dank and dreary terms. He described a grumpy, off-putting people that you had to go out of your way--albeit with only a smile or two--to warm to. Either times have changed or we are more magnetic personalities than Rick, because I think had we been in need of shirts there would've been a few shirtless Poles running around happy that they had run into us. For us, going to Poland was like going to see an aunt and a big brood of cousins we haven't seen in ages. You are greeted in...

Warsaw: The Most "American" City in Europe?

Warsaw Old Town Barbican
Chuck Mon, 2016-04-04 07:00
We have some catching-up to do. But as tempting as it is to glaze over our travels the last month and a half, I just can’t bring myself to do it. We had such great experiences in some of these places that it just doesn’t seem right. But before I get to today’s topic, Warsaw, I will provide a bullet-train speed summary of our travels since we left the hospitality of rural Southeastern Poland. Our last day in rural Poland we spent exploring the town of Przemyśl: their John Paul II square, churches (both Catholic and orthodox), and climbing their bell tower museum for splendid views of the...

A Place for our Stuff

Lori Sat, 2016-04-02 07:00
How Do You Pack for Seven Months? One of the first questions we’re asked when people find out that we’re traveling for seven months (or all the time, as Chuck likes to put it) is, “How do you pack for that?” Well, it is an ongoing and evolving process. We travel with a medium sized suitcase for each of us plus our backpacks with our electronic work gadgetry. We also have a smaller duffle bag for toiletries and such. We’ve learned that the four-wheel hard-sided suitcases work best for us, we just have to be careful not to overload them. We used to travel with smaller cases, but we just needed...

Hangin' With Our Poles

Zamek Krasickich, Poland
Chuck Thu, 2016-03-03 07:00
About a year ago I wanted to learn a lot more about a technology I was interested in, so I posted a project on offering to pay someone to mentor me (reading books and following tutorials only gets you so far). One of the responses was from a guy in Poland who offered to collaborate with me for free; the result is actually the current edition of this blog site. That mentoring project grew into a full-fledged friendship and I’ve found other projects (the paying variety) for him 1 . So last year when we decided we’d concentrate on Central Europe for this 7-month travel stint, there was...

Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp

Chuck Tue, 2016-03-01 07:00
I’ve been staring at a blank page trying to think of where to start on this blog. Or whether I should even write it. I’ve started, erased, and restarted it numerous times. It’s hard to relay what we saw—and the emotion we felt—at Auschwitz. Let’s start with why we went. We don’t travel because we’re on vacation. We’re not. We travel because we have an insatiable curiosity about the world, its people, their cultures. Travel is far and away a learning experience for us. The impact of seeing where history was made is indescribably different than just reading about it or hearing a lecture on it...

Poland's Wieliczka Salt Mine

Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland
Chuck Sun, 2016-02-28 07:00
Poles have been digging up precious metals and gems for centuries. Theirs is a mining country. In the 13 th century, they discovered salt in the town of Wieliczka (veal-LETS-kuh), just to the east of Krakow. For centuries it would make the region one of the richest in all of Europe. Today, with a package of table salt costing us pennies, it’s hard to imagine the worth of salt to medieval Europeans. People then didn’t value salt as a seasoning; its real value was as a preservative. Without refrigeration, salt was the primary way to preserve foods. At some points throughout history, salt’s...

Krakow, Poland's Medieval Capital

The Cloth Market in Krakow, Poland
Chuck Thu, 2016-02-25 07:00
Those UNESCO people really know what they’re talking about. After observing that so many of the places we have been visiting—and loving—lately (Split, Dubrovnik, Kotor) were listed as World Heritage Sites, we figure we should be paying attention to that designation. We might actually start going out of our way to see places on our list. Thank you, UNESCO people! For future reference, here is a link to the World Heritage Site website (a site-site, or for the technically and/or linguistically nitpicky, a metasite): You might have inferred so far into this blog,...

Reading Between The Lines of AirBnB Reviews

AirBnB logo
Chuck Tue, 2016-02-23 07:00
As we blogged recently , AirBnB is a big part of our travel strategy. Lori pointed out in that blog that a key part of our strategy is studying the reviews posted by prior guests. You can learn a lot about the property you’re considering by what other travelers have written about it. But given the adage, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” reviewers tend not to say everything they could, at least overtly. In today’s blog, we help you learn to read between the lines of AirBnB reviews. “Location, location, location” or “Location is what it’s all about here” This...

A Palacial Library in Budapest

Ervin Szabó Library, Budapest, Hungary
Chuck Sun, 2016-02-21 07:00
We love libraries. We love everything about them: the smell of the books, the storehouse of knowledge, the quietness, the understated majesty and mystique of words flowing through pages and time into people’s heads. And then put a library in a beautiful old palace…well, then, you’ve got some magic. The palace, in this case, is the 19 th century Wenckheim Palace, the Budapest residence of an Austro-Hungarian nobleman. In today’s special Sunday blog, we suggest that anyone’s to-do list for Budapest include the Metropolitan Ervin Szabó Library. It’s a real, working library of 1.1 million volumes...