The Castles of France’s Loire Valley

The Castles of France’s Loire Valley

It was almost sunset, and the countryside of the Loire Valley was tinged with a warm, golden glow. Our hot-air balloon’s basket nearly brushed the treetops below us, so the pilot squeezed a lever to inject more fuel into the flame. Almost instantly, the black-and-yellow balloon soared higher, and we continued our thrilling flight over rows of vines, rolling hills...

Amore and Italian Citizenship in Turin, Italy

Amore and Italian Citizenship in Turin, Italy

For eight years, New Jersey native Michelle Bottalico has been calling the northwestern Italian city of Turin home. Along the way she’s met her husband-to-be, acquired Italian citizenship through ancestry, and furthered her photography business. “After traveling around Italy, I liked it so much that I decided to look for work and live here.

Swapping BBQ for Souvlaki: Texans in Cyprus

Swapping BBQ for Souvlaki: Texans in Cyprus

Over the last 6,000 years nearly every major empire around the Mediterranean has occupied Cyprus at some point. And most of them left something behind. The Ancient Greeks left ruins. They built a temple here to Aphrodite, the goddess of love, then forbade women to enter it. The Crusaders left castles. The Knights Templar had their headquarters here and actually owned Cyprus...

Cyprus: Beaches, Mosaics, and Mythology on a Divided Isle

Cyprus: Beaches, Mosaics, and Mythology on a Divided Isle

Cyprus is located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa, and throughout history has been ruled by diverse civilizations. The Phoenicians, Assyrians, Ancient Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Franks, Venetians, Ottomans, and the British have all left their mark. Today, this complex history is reflected in Cyprus’ fascinating cultural sites...

Southern Germany: Where Alpine Vistas, Romantic Castles, and Bavarian Traditions Meet

Southern Germany: Where Alpine Vistas, Romantic Castles, and Bavarian Traditions Meet

Standing on a path overlooking the Neuschwanstein Castle, we could hear the clip-clop of horses’ hooves. A pair of chestnut-colored horses stomped past me and my husband, pulling a carriage carrying visitors. While the animals were a handsome pair, it was the scene of the medieval-style castle...

4 Coastal Cities in Croatia Perfect for Part-Time European Living

4 Coastal Cities in Croatia Perfect for Part-Time European Living

Based on the idea that Croatia could make a good part-time retirement destination, I’ve singled out four coastal cities that would make ideal hubs for exploring Europe: Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar, and Pula. Here, you can take advantage of well-developed transportation networks and urban amenities such as hospitals and shops...

The Best Places to Visit in Croatia 2021

The Best Places to Visit in Croatia 2021

Every year, millions of travelers flock to Croatia, drawn to the Southeastern European country’s sun-drenched islands, historic towns, and national parks. Dubrovnik’s walled city gets the lion’s share of visitors, with seaside Rovinj and Plitvice Lakes National Park also attracting much attention. While these spots are certainly worth a visit, the country has much more Read more...: The Best Places to Visit in Croatia 2021

Armenia: Ancient Monasteries, Warm Hospitality, and a Rich Cuisine

Armenia: Ancient Monasteries, Warm Hospitality, and a Rich Cuisine

My husband, Shawn, and I spent 10 days in Armenia and used the capital city of Yerevan as our base. We were only able to scratch the surface in our exploration of this ancient country. However, we came away with a great appreciation for Armenia’s cultural heritage, its food and wine, and its welcoming people...