Taputapuatea Marea is the second most important archaeological site in all of Polynesia (Photo: MCArnott)

Exploring Life on Raiatea Island: A Cruise Shore Excursion in French Polynesia

Ambling through the untidy streets of Papeete, I find myself wondering what happened to the once blissfully depicted capital of French Polynesia. I know the cruise will take us to moss-laden jagged mountains, teeming marine life and stilted Read More

1314 Battle of Bannockburn

Visiting Robert the Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn, Scotland

The fourteenth century archer's right hand pulls his bow string taut. Suddenly, his arrow is released, flying over my head. I turn to see another soldier, his heart pierced by the arrow, stumble and fall. The Interpretive Center at Bannockburn Read More

cover photo

Getting the Lowdown on Bogota’s Graffiti Culture

When we reached the end of the tour, I was already thoroughly impressed. And then we rounded the corner to discover four massive graffiti murals that just sung of revolution, of angst-y political statement and dissatisfaction. They were commissioned Read More

Booted Racket Tail Hummingbird (©photocoen)

Watching Hummingbirds at the Mashpi Lodge in Ecuador

Purple-Crowned Fairies, Green-Crowned Wood Nymphs and Violet-Tailed Sylphs were fluttering all around me. Had I just landed in an elf forest? It most certainly felt like it. Surrounded by a towering wilderness of forested mountains with grey clouds Read More

Halloween-style jail in the Joan of Arc Garden in Québec City (Photo: MCArnott)

Hounding Halloween Ghosts in Québec City, Canada

A giant spider crawls on the side of an office building. A sailing ship has run aground in front of Québec City Hall. Halloween decorations set the tone for our family visit to Québec City, with grandchildren in tow. Ships have a lot to do with Read More

High Force

Seeking the Teesdale Assemblage, County Durham, England

The Durham Dales often take one a tiny step beyond the magic. While their more illustrious southern neighbours, the Yorkshire Dales have their own unarguable beauties, I always feel that Weardale and Teesdale offer just that little bit extra. And Read More

Maine Windjammers off Rockland (Photo by Stillman Rogers)

Sailing on Maine Windjammer Angelique

My husband Tim is a sailing ship nut who could happily spend day after day standing on a swaying deck watching the sails billow and the shore slide past. Born a century earlier, he might have run away to sea as a cabin boy. But would 12-year-old Mary Read More

Blarney Castle

Kissing the Blarney Stone

As the long line of tourists - us included - crept through the ruins of Blarney Castle, I kept shaking my head. Kissing the Blarney Stone has never been on my radar, yet here I am, being herded through the maze of unkempt rooms and twisty narrow Read More

Calle de Suspiros (©photocoen).

Strolling Around Uruguay’s Most Scenic Village: Colonia del Sacramento

I pick up the thermos and fill up the gourd with mate, a popular herbal tea in Uruguay. It's a drink you share with others, so I hand the gourd to my partner Coen, who takes one last photograph before he sits down next to me. We're sitting on a Read More

The construction of the Taj Mahal in the 17-th century took 22 years (Photo credit: MCArnott)

Connecting with the White Marble of the Taj Mahal

  The grand finale of my trip to India is neither a massive fort nor a sumptuous palace,  it's a mausoleum: the Taj Mahal. For some of the Indian celebrities interviewed on the occasion of its 350th anniversary (in 2004) the love story was Read More

Maulbronn Monastery (photo credit: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Ba.-Wü.)

Uncovering 860 Years of History at UNESCO Site Maulbronn Monastery

The road snakes through the German countryside, through forested hills and past tiny sparkling lakes in Baden-Württemberg. It’s a region famous for Germany´s Black Forest, the kind of place I always hope for when I plan a trip to Germany. Towns lie Read More

Cherries ripe for the pickin' at Seaquist Orchards in Door County

Getting in Cherry Condition in Door County, Wisconsin

"Cherry condition" per urbandictionary.com: When something is in near perfect condition. "Cherry condition" according to Door County, Wisconsin: When someone has exceedingly reaped the healthful and gustatory benefits of Montmorency tart Read More

Hand painted altar in a Franciscan church (©photocoen).

Discovering Franciscan Churches around Asunción, Paraguay

It all started with a photo: a beautiful photograph of an old wooden altar featuring an angel killing a devil, painted in blue tinges. Some of the paint had chipped off and the wood was damaged, and it was clearly a piece from colonial times. The Read More

Looking down Mill Creek at Sandwich Boardwalk, Cape Cod. Photo credit: H. Nijkamp

Playing at Sandwich’s Town Neck Beach and Boardwalk on Cape Cod

As you round the last bend on Boardwalk Road, the lush green of the salt marsh comes into view, further out the dunes rise up and the boardwalk appears in front of you. At extreme high tides the marshes may be entirely under water, giving the Read More

A view of Iceland's lava fields

Journeying to the Center of the Earth at Thrinukagigur Volcano, Iceland

“Because it’s Sunday,” says Saga (pronounced Saya), swinging her long blonde plait as the minibus accelerates away from Reykjavik’s Hafnastraeti car park, “I have a treat for you. Candy!” She holds up a box of chunky-looking chocolate-covered Read More

Clyde Butcher's fine art nature photography makes a meaningful souvenir.

What to Buy in Florida: Shopping for True Souvenirs from the Sunshine State

Mickey Mouse ears and crates of oranges: That is so last century when it comes to shopping for souvenirs that truly say “Florida.” Harry Potter is the new Mickey Mouse, and key lime products are much trendier in the citrus department. In Your Bucket Read More

Devil's Lake from the top

Studying the Ice Age at Devils Lake, Wisconsin

The difference could not be more stark than if I had flown to the moon. Less than a half an hour ago, I'd been dodging shrieking, laughing kids headed for waterpark fun in one of the many family-oriented resort-and-amusement parks of the Wisconsin Read More

Pontoon at Norman Reef, Queensland, Australia (With permission: Great Adventure Tours)

Boating from Cairns to the Great Barrier Reef

When we asked friends from Brisbane and Sydney what’s the best time to visit Australia, they said September to November, not March when we had planned to go. Our timing to experience the Great Barrier Reef wasn't the best either. The Lonely Planet Read More

The soccer museum in São Paulo's Pacaembu Stadium. (©photocoen)

Reliving Games in Brazil’s Soccer Museum of São Paulo

"The defeat of all defeats," the Brazilian headlines recently cried after Brazil's devastating loss against Germany in the World Cup 2014. Losing 7 to 1 on your own territory in the semi finals is a major crushing indeed. For the second time Brazil Read More