Searching for Sheela-Na-Gig

Thumbnail image for Searching for Sheela-Na-Gig

By Laurie McAndish King. Sheela-na-gig’s invitation is fraught with danger. Our relationship began with my quick peek at a wildly pornographic image in Thomas Cahill’s popular book, How the Irish Saved Civilization. An ancient goddess, Sheela is rendered symbolically, stripped of all but the essential features. She is naked, bald, and breastless, and reaches both arms behind her bent legs, using…

Read the full article

Trulli of Alberobello — Truly Amazing

Thumbnail image for Trulli of Alberobello — Truly Amazing

In the town of Alberobello, a UNESCO World Heritage site probably founded in the 15th century, there  are more than 1,000 of the most interesting dwellings. These trulli and their clever construction came about during the Middle Ages, popularized by a law prohibiting the construction of new cities without regal authorization—and taxation.

Read the full article

The Work Boats of Venice

Thumbnail image for The Work Boats of Venice

Gondolas delight both visitors and residents of Venice, but another icon of the waterways—the workboat—often goes unnoticed. The delivery boat, the police boat, and even the ambulance boat—all are crucial modes of transportation in a city without automobiles. Here we offer a look at unappreciated workboats, making a living on the canals in one of […]

Read the full article

Could I Eat a Horse?

Thumbnail image for Could I Eat a Horse?

The instructions were unnerving: Boil olive oil in a hot pan, lay the horsemeat in flat, and turn it when it starts to rise. I tried hard not to visualize horseflesh rearing up out of a pan of boiling oil. We were in search of the “Puglian delicacy” I had read about in a guidebook and was determined not to miss.

Read the full article

Americans in Bayeux — Normandy, France

Thumbnail image for Americans in Bayeux — Normandy, France

By David Greitzer. Few travelers visit Bayeux, a sleepy little hamlet of about 13,000 in the French region of Normandy and the closest city to the D-Day Invasion of June 6, 1944, where the allied forces stormed the beaches to liberate France from the Germans in World War II.

Read the full article

Barging the Canals of Holland

Thumbnail image for Barging the Canals of Holland

The geese and nearby morning rush-hour traffic startled me awake from my cozy bunk aboard the Hilversum, a 15-meter-long barge tied up in a small Dutch town that could have modeled for a Rembrandt masterpiece. Cruising through Holland’s arterial canals on our own privately piloted barge, we saw the countryside and some of its larger cities from a unique vantage …

Read the full article

Banana Tower

Thumbnail image for Banana Tower

By Laurie McAndish King. As a child, I imagined strolling across the Field of Miracles on a sunny day. I didn’t know why it was called the Field of Miracles, but supposed the Virgin had probably appeared to someone there. That, or an innocent baby had been cured of a horrible disease. Perhaps both, since it was called the Field of Miracles—plural.

Read the full article

The Alhambra

Thumbnail image for The Alhambra

No wonder Granada has been a magnet for artists for many years: Lush gardens, intricate pattern, birdsong, fragrance, breeze, running water from ever-present aqueducts and fountains, gentle ripples on reflecting pools … all combine to create an expansive, placid atmosphere. Even the exit signs are elegantly carved into white marble.

Read the full article

Granada Recipe

Thumbnail image for Granada Recipe

Granada’s oldest city walls date from Iberian times; the most recent are from the early 1300s! The city’s narrow streets reflect its history. Some are so tight that “if two donkeys meet, they cannot get through.” People started to get cars in Spain in the 50s, and many now drive small Smart Cars in order to navigate the narrow streets. There were also plenty of “streets that go nowhere.”

Read the full article

Another Trinity: Exploring the Dark Side of Irish Cuisine

Thumbnail image for Another Trinity: Exploring the Dark Side of Irish Cuisine

By Laurie McAndish King. I learned to bake brown soda bread from my Grandma Hayes. She stood nearly five feet tall, always straight and proud, had red hair and freckles that she hated, and strong, cool arms that I loved. I didn’t realize it at the time, but Grandma also taught me about transformation: creating rich sustenance from the simplest of ingredients.

Read the full article