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The Anicent Roman Baths of Bath, England

Roman Baths at Bath, UK
Chuck Fri, 2015-12-11 07:00
While we’re in the mood of disagreeing with one of our favorite travel gurus, whose pseudonym we previously stated as Nick Reves, let’s talk about Bath. This is a town in southwest England that is the site of the excavations of extensive ancient Roman baths. We’ve yet to find a Loo, UK, but that might be because the Romans didn’t call them “loos”. I don’t know the Latin word for a toilet and don’t particularly want to look it up. Nick Reves raves about Bath. It is an impressive sight, we agree, but if one of the reasons to avoid Stonehenge is that it’s out of the way, then few people would...

Stonehenge: One Big Pile of Rocks

Chuck Wed, 2015-12-09 07:00
One prominent travel guru who shall go unnamed—let’s call him “Nick Reves”—has recommended skipping Stonehenge. This advice is given, if I remember correctly, because you can’t walk among the giant stones anymore: you have to view them from a distance. To me this is akin to skipping the Eiffel Tower because you don’t get to climb it, or avoiding the Mona Lisa because you’ll only get to see it from behind a throng of Japanese tourists ignoring the no-photo signs. Nick does get it right that Stonehenge is a bit out of the way. Damn those druids for not building it in the middle of London! It is...

Our Encounter With a True American Hero

The USS West Virginia During Pearl Harbor Attack
Chuck Mon, 2015-12-07 07:00
Above: The USS West Virginia During the Pearl Harbor Attack Every year on December 7 th , the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor that finally brought the United States into World War II, I think of a man we once crossed paths with in our travels. We spent only an hour or so with him, but that hour was one of the most memorable hours of my life. It was the summer of 2000 and we were vacationing in Hawaii. Our first few days were on the island of Oahu, as they are for most visiting from the mainland. We had lounged on Waikiki beach and had breakfast at Dukes (on a Sunday, no less, for...

The Cathedrals of Salisbury, Bristol, and Wells, England

Salisbury Cathedral, England
Chuck Sat, 2015-12-05 07:00
After we had danced our way out of jet lag at the European Swing Dance Championships in London, we had a few days to kill before we were due north to meet up with friends and, eventually, family. Regular readers of our blog know that we’ve been on a multiyear mission to visit each of England’s cathedrals, so naturally, we checked the map to see where a nearby concentration of hitherto unvisited cathedrals might be found. We were drawn a couple of hours west of London by the chance to see three new cathedrals and to stay in a little town with the wonderfully quirky name of Wookey Hole. Yes,...

Windsor Castle, London

Windsor Castle
Chuck Thu, 2015-12-03 07:00
Yep, we've arrived in Europe. Ok, we give up when it comes to luggage. More precisely, Lori gives up. It seems her bags have targets painted on their sides: “DESTROY ME, PLEASE”, the caption must read. We blogged a while back about our new luggage strategy and on our first transatlantic flight with spiffy new hard side bags, one of Lori’s wheels was RIPPED OFF. Ok, these weren’t exactly titanium-reinforced bags, but how does an entire wheel get shorn from a bag? I’d like to point out, however, that my bag was completely unscathed. This latest episode of luggage carnage (we have a long history...

5 Reasons The Columbus Zoo Might Be The Best

Entrance to the Columbus Zoo, Columbus, OH
Chuck Tue, 2015-12-01 07:00
Nobody will argue that The Columbus Zoo in Columbus, Ohio is one of the best zoos in America, but after we had a chance to visit in October, right before we left for our current 7-month stint in Europe, we suggest that it’s the best zoo in America. We’ve been to a few, and it’s time we get back to some we haven’t seen in years, but we suggest that if you’re a lover of zoos you should put a trip to Columbus high on your wish list. By the way, our evaluation of The Columbus Zoo is purely as that of an attraction. We imagine that all zoos have worthwhile missions and admirable research projects...

An American's Explanation of Rugby

A Rugby scrum in progress
Chuck Sun, 2015-11-29 07:00
We dropped into England in the middle of the Rugby World Cup and were immediately smitten with World Cup fever. We are particularly susceptible to getting caught up in big events like this when we travel. The excitement is contagious, whether it's the World Cup of Badminton or the Euro Finals of Kitten Wrangling. It doesn't really matter to us. It would have been helpful, however, to understand a bit more of the game before our arrival. But after carefully and diligently studying matches while nursing porters and ciders in some of the UK's finer establishments, we have discerned a few things...

Please Don't Make Me Drive Any More

Chuck Wed, 2015-11-25 07:00
No, we weren't in Paris. And no, we haven't been flying Russian airliners out of Egypt. By the magic of delayed blogging, however, we are in Europe, and we've been here a month. Forget what I said a few weeks ago about working hard to get caught up with our blogs. I'll blame all the driving we did this year in the states. Take a look at this map: The green lines show our road trips this year. We've driven almost neatly the perimeter of the Lower 48. That's almost 20,000 miles. 29 states and the District of Columbia. Please don't make me drive anymore. One of the things I like about Europe is...

Oregon Grape Harvest

Oregon Vineyards, Mt Hood on the Horizon
Chuck Tue, 2015-11-10 07:00
(Above: Looking across Oregon vineyards to Mt. Hood on the horizon.) In wine producing areas across the northern hemisphere, September and October is grape harvest time. Different varieties of grapes in different appellations mature at slightly different times, and winemakers decide on specifically when to harvest based on the sweetness of the grape they want to use in their wines, but these early fall months are consistently harvest time. A few years ago we were in California wine country during harvest: it was a very busy, heads-down time when the local winemakers are glad the tourist...

The Spruce Goose, Happily Nesting in Oregon

The Evergreen Aviation Museum, McMinnville, OR
Chuck Sat, 2015-11-07 07:00
“Another aviation museum, really?” That was Lori’s reaction when I told her about the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon. Regular readers recall that I regularly drag Lori to aviation museums. Forcing your spouse to go to museums they don’t like is one of the great pleasures of travel. “Yeah, the Spruce Goose is there,” I argued. “No, it’s not, that’s down in Southern California,” she countered. "I've seen it." “It says right here they have the Spruce Goose,” I said, stabbing the website on my iPad with my finger. She contemplates my rather convincing finger-stabbing...