How Lemons (and Menton) Made Monaco Famous

Glamorous MonacoThe castle where Monaco startedThe casino is reflected in the mirrored globeThe casino interior (or at least what you can see if you don't pay to gamble) Everyone knows Monaco, famous for glamorous casinos and the rich and famous, but few people have heard of Menton, its French neighbor. And yet Menton is the … Continue reading How Lemons (and Menton) Made Monaco Famous

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Want Some Brawn at Your Christmas Dinner?

Conventional wisdom says that Queen Victoria (or more accurately, Prince Albert) invented our modern Christmas traditions – the Christmas tree, carol singing and more.  But that’s misleading since many of our holiday customs (and even foods) date back into the Middle Ages (or even earlier).  It turns out that a Tudor Christmas was remarkably like … Continue reading Want Some Brawn at Your Christmas Dinner?

Bruges must be chocolate heaven

On my first sight of Bruges, I thought, "Oh, this is cute". On my second look, all I could see was tourists, and I thought, "Oh, this doesn't look good." On my third look, walking around the streets, I thought, "By all that's unholy, I may just overdose on chocolate over the next three days!" … Continue reading Bruges must be chocolate heaven

In Flanders Fields – Visiting Sanctuary Wood

     This is a World War I site with original and partially restored trenches outside Ieper, Belgium (called "Wipers" by the British soldiers of the time). The woods gave temporary sanctuary from German guns (hence the name) during the various battles that raged through what is now peaceful Belgian countryside. One of the first … Continue reading In Flanders Fields – Visiting Sanctuary Wood

Pussy cat, pussy cat where have you been?

Why, I've been to Royal Ascot to see the Queen! (but more about her, later...) I thought that attending the horse races at Royal Ascot would be a bit of a lark, a once-in-a-lifetime chance to attend a glamorous event, like the Oscars.  I thought there would be a fair number of "regular" people like … Continue reading Pussy cat, pussy cat where have you been?