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June 21, 2019

Italy: Aquileia and Ravenna, the Mosaic Tour


A mosaic ceiling in Ravenna Italy

Mosaics, it turned out, became an unplanned theme of the Northern Italian segment of our 2018 road trip. (more…)

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April 28, 2019

Slovenia: Škocjan Caves


The suspended walkway leaves the cave.

Before departing Sovenia we had the opportunity for one last stop. We used this chance to see the Škocjan Caves. In 1986 the caves and area around them were established as an UNESCO World Heritage site, Slovenia’s first. As usual the UNESCO designation provided motivation for our visit. (more…)

April 5, 2019

Slovenia: Ptuj


 

The view of Ptuj from its castle

Three weeks into our road trip we reached the commune of Ptuj Slovenia. By this time in the journey we had crossed European borders ten times. We were completely confused about the language. Even the polite words we knew in the language of the country were in were lost in confusion. Not that we knew any words in Slovene anyway. (more…)

March 31, 2019

Austria: Graz


Pedestrianized central Graz

In retrospect I knew surprising little about Graz Austria before we decided to visit in October of 2018. I didn’t know that the commune is Austria’s second largest city. Before we planned to visit I did not know of the existence of Schloss Eggenberg, a Baroque palace located on Graz’s perimeter. Nor did I know that Graz was the capitol of Styria. In fact I didn’t know of the existence of Styria at all, though I probably should have. As always, travel is a great teacher. (more…)

March 27, 2019

Austria: Fertö / Neusiedlersee Cultural Landscape and the Semmering Railway


Fertö / Neusiedlersee on light wind day

In Central Eurpoe, near the border of Austria and Hungary, are two UNESCO World Heritage sites, “Fertö / Neusiedlersee Cultural Landscape” and the “Semmering Railway”. We “visited” both briefly on way from Bratislava Slovakia to Graz Austria. (more…)

March 20, 2019

Czech Republic: Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape


The parish church of the Valtice palace

The doubly landlocked Principality of Liechtenstein on the eastern border of Switzerland takes its name from the Liechtenstein family, who in turn took their name from a castle in lower Austria. In 1249 the family acquired a substantial landholding in southern Moravia. This large estate in the south of what is now the Czech Republic became the official residence of the Liechtenstein dynasty. (more…)

March 16, 2019

Czech Republic: Brno, Tugenhaut Villa


Tugendhat Villa

The next leg of our September/October 2018 road trip took us from Telč in the Czech Republic to Bratislava Slovakia. Google told us that the drive would take us about two and a half hours. There was some extra time for sightseeing and soon we rerouted to see the two UNESCO World Heritage sites along the way that we hadn’t visited. This habit of trying to visit all possible places inscribed UNESCO’s list has led us to see over 140 World Heritage sites so far. In the process we’ve learned much about history and culture. (more…)

March 14, 2019

Czech Republic: Telč


Renaissance and Baroque houses line the sides of Telč’s main square.

As we readied to leave Český Krumlov’s tourist throngs behind we went downstairs to load the luggage into the car. We were greeted by two police officers preparing to attach a boot to the wheel of our rental car. The car had been parked in a remote garage and had just been moved to the front of the hotel by the staff. We knew the entrance to our part of the hotel was in a pedestrian zone. But the hotel desk staff was insistent on moving the rental car to the front of the building rather than allowing us to shuttle our luggage through the cobbled streets to the garage as we did on the way in. (more…)

March 13, 2019

Czech Republic: Třebíč, Jewish Quarter and St Procopius’ Basilica


Třebíč, St Procopius’ Basilica

It was rainy, chilly, and brisk when we arrived in Třebíč. The climatic conditions added to the somber mood of the visit.

(more…)

March 11, 2019

Czech Republic: Český Krumlov


Český Krumlov with its castle in the background

I posit Český Krumlov is one of those places that are commonly “unknown” except by travelers who completely know about them. If you ask a random person to name places in the Czech Republic they are likely to say Prague. And Prague is the most popular destination in the Czech Republic by the numbers. But if you ask a traveler there’s a good chance that Český Krumlov will come up as a want-to-see destination. It is one of the Czech Republic’s top attractions, and for good reason. (more…)

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