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Category: History

Murano glassblowing

For as touristy as we know it will be and as it ends up being, the glass blowing demonstration while on Murano Island near Venice is spectacular.  We find ourselves two seats in a hot studio that is somehow much hotter than the very hot day outside.  The actors of the show are a master […]

Azulejos

We are immediately taken by the azulejos, the Portuguese blue tiles that cover the inside and outside walls of so many sites.  These tiles are both art and construction material, and they come in the form of realistic stories and geometric patterns. The most traditional are an incredibly calming blue; however, as we explore further, […]

Portugal history lesson

The first two mornings in Portugal include walking tours of the city full of history and local bites.  Although Portugal’s history could go back as far as prehistoric times, followed by the Carthaginians and Romans, we’ll being in 1143 with their independence. They hit a true high in the 15th and 16th centuries as one […]

Myanmar

“The control measures on the Rohingya expanded and tightened as time went on, and by 2016, 86 checkpoints had been set up in northern Rakhine State.  The routine stop-and-search of vehicles to check for Rohingya passengers greatly amplified the perception of the group as a security threat.  This in turn fed the narrative, made so […]

Campeche, city of colors and lights

Visiting Campeche’s old quarters is like stepping back into the past.  This might be because as a UNESCO world heritage site, the area needs to look and feel like it did back in the mid 16th century soon after the Spanish began the conquest of the Yucatan Peninsula.  The best part of UNESCO sites are […]

Tall pyramids, narrow steps

It’s hard to call Chichen Itza and Uxmal “ruins”. They’re hardly ruined at all, still possessing the spirit that I imagine filled the air more than 1,000 years ago. Chichen Itza and Uxmal, both around Merida, were built by the Mayans. Today, Chichen Itza is a buzzing marketplace with local craft makers drawing nearly as […]

Teotihuacans, Mayans and Aztecs

The Mayans and the Aztecs were little more than a seventh grade history lesson before visiting the National Archeology Museum in Mexico City. Here, the civilizations came alive through the remains of long dead rock, carved into stories both intentional and functional. We arrived at the Museum after dark, greeted by the sounds of the […]

Getting ready for Norway

Trying to find a book on Norway, I came across many of the history books that write of the many battles that occurred through the Viking Age and into the Middle Ages.  Although the blood and guts seemed exciting and although it is clearly an essential part of Norwegian history, I decided to take a […]

Hmong New Year

The New Year is the only holiday of the year for the Hmong. It is, as you can imagine, a big to-do. It’s a chance to feast with family. It’s a chance to show off their new clothing for the year. And it’s time for young Hmong to meet a partner at the market. (Thankfully […]

Annecy

Annecy at its surface is a wonderful resort town nestled in the French Alps, fun in the summer, fun in the winter.  Filled with cafes, ice cream stands, old shop-lined streets, and picturesque little restaurants, the town is snuggled next to Lake Annecy and surrounded by the towering mountains of the Alps. When we try […]