A Visit to the Stalin Museum

The Stalin Museum in Gori, Georgia is very bizarre. There is the train carriage, green and primitive, that used to cart Stalin all over the country. It’s where he slept and had meetings and almost certainly condemned friends and foes after some feel good strategic get together across the Caucuses. There are statues everywhere in […]

Hiroshima in a Day

From Kyoto, Hiroshima is a must-see day excursion on the shinkansen train. It takes about 1.5 hours on the train and nothing can quite prepare you for how beautiful this city is and how extraordinary the full day excursion including Miyajima Island and the Hatsukaichi Temple are. Hiroshima was the first city, Nagasaki the other, […]

Far Beyond the Average Train

Shinjuku Station in Tokyo is the busiest railway station in the world. It carries multiple train lines, including the metro and an above ground railroad, and is used by an average of 3.5 million people daily. It has a subterranean shopping mall and street that stretches for miles. It is teeming with people and it […]

Tokyo Sights

Honestly, Tokyo is not a city of great sights. Yes, there are palaces and significant shrines here and there, but it’s more or less a city of feeling. Of foreignness and touch. With taxi cabs where the drivers wear gloves, where the car doors open for you, and where the interiors are immaculate with sometimes […]

Barbarians at the Gate

In the fifth century, the whole of Europe was swallowed up by the various tribes who lived outside of the Roman Empire – Visigoths, Huns, Vandals, Saxons, and Franks. Barbarians. They had not been “Christianized” but they were militarized and they took a crumbling Roman Empire and turned it inside out. 1,619 years later, they […]

A Trip to Slovenia

I had been to Slovenia once many years ago when I was in Venice for a couple of days. We had spent an hour in Trieste before driving to the Slovenian border. The border was long gone but the thrill of crossing over into the former Yugoslavia was amazing. Slovenia was incorporated into the EU […]

Notre Dame de Paris

Early in the day on Monday, April 15th, I had been visiting groups and snapping pictures around Notre Dame. It was a lovely day and the cathedral was as beautiful as ever. The crowds were out in full force and the line to the cathedral entrance was as usual snaking its way across the square. […]