Cityscape

The Impressionists’ Take on Normandy’s Elusive, Illuminating Light

Barbara Noe Kennedy

What is it about northern France that makes it so striking? The ornate half-timbered villages, rolling pastures sprinkled with Normande cows, snow-white cliffs, and red-poppy-spangled fields for sure. But there’s also something about the light. A clarity that illumes the bright blue skies scuttled with fluffy white clouds, casting brooding shadows for an instant before brightening again. 

A Visit to Panama

Sandra Bertrand

Immediately upon our Copa Airlines arrival, we settled back in our prearranged taxi to enjoy the looming skyline of Panama City.  It was a warm mid-July night and already the towering skyscrapers were ablaze in all their nocturnal glory.  After all, this is ground zero for the global banking empire.  Even president Juan Carlos Varela’s attempts to hire a commission last year to create more fiscal transparency may find insurmountable difficulties.  Elite lawyers and familial ties run deep.  

Secrets of Quebec City

Barbara Noe Kennedy

Tucked inside centuries’-old fortress walls high above the St. Lawrence River, the capital of La Belle Province beckons with Old World charm. It’s nearly impossible to miss its most famous sights, including the iconic Château Frontenac hotel rising high above the St. Lawrence River in belle-époque splendor; the historic railroad hotel sparkles after a multimillion restoration. And the neighboring Plains of Abraham is where the British won Québec from the French in a pivotal battle in 1759. 

Searching the Thames for a Slice of History

Neil Hall and Mary-Louise Gumuchian

Sandy has been mudlarking for a hobby for the last five years, scouring the river banks for historical artifacts. Some of his finds are so rare they are displayed in museums. "Over 2,000 years of time, everything has been thrown into the Thames, accidentally lost ... dropped so 2,000 years of history are down there," he said. "It's really the thrill of almost like time-traveling and knowing that the last person to touch this was from that time period," he added, describing the feeling of making a find.

In Praise of Spain’s Architecture

Dan Whitman

Madrid puts together immodesty and grace as few other capitals do. Everywhere are reminders that this was once an empire that vied with all others. These blend with the charm of a thousand little eateries and places to while away a spring or summer afternoon, some of them still sparkling with decorative tiles from the nineteenth century. Ingrained in the Spanish character is a certain indifference to the past, but a pattern going back 1500 years, of letting it be and encouraging it to speak for itself.

Exploring Burgundy The Province

Barbara Noe Kennedy

Burgundy’s wines are among the most celebrated in the world. Indeed, Montagny, Meursault, and Chassagne-Montrachet are just a few that demonstrate this region’s fervent devotion to terroir and tradition. I adore Burgundy’s wines. But sometimes I wonder why “Burgundy the Wine” is so much more famous than “Burgundy the Province.” Follow this itinerary revealing the charming persona of this hidden gem—its main train station is located only an hour and a half south of Paris—and you’ll see what I mean.

Spain Tourism Surge Brings Backlash From Locals

Sara White

On the walls of the grand old houses of this Balearic port which attracts millions of foreigners every year, a new kind of graffiti has flourished: "Tourists go home". Although still a minority protest, it points to tensions in Palma de Mallorca and elsewhere in Spain over rising numbers of visitors who are propelling the economy but also disrupting the lives of locals and straining services from transport to water.

In War-Torn Damascus, Syrians Flock to Burgeoning Bar Scene

John Davison

By a military checkpoint in Damascus's Old City, just a mile from the battered frontline between government and rebel-held territory, young Syrians sit on a garden wall smoking, drinking beer or soft drinks, and talking about anything but the war. It is a week night, but the Damascenes are keen to head out to a strip of new bars that have opened in the last few months -- some to socialize and others to work in the venues.

Time-Traveling in Peru: A Journey to Machu Picchu

Michael Verdirame

It is hard to say anything about Machu Picchu that has not already been said.  Discovered—or again, rediscovered—by Hiram Bingham in 1911, the site has been the subject of awe and fascination for over one hundred years.  While much about it has come to light in the last century, there is still much that is not known, and may very well never be known. Many historians believe that Machu Picchu served as a lush and secluded estate for the Incan emperor Pachucatec, though others have speculated that it served a more lofty purpose, perhaps for worshiping the Incan gods or as the end point of a religious pilgrimage.  

Report: Denmark Ranks as Happiest Nation on Earth

Philip Pullella

Denmark overtook Switzerland as the world's happiest place, according to a report on Wednesday that urged nations regardless of wealth to tackle inequality and protect the environment. The report, prepared by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the Earth Institute at Columbia University, showed Syria, Afghanistan and eight sub-Saharan countries as the 10 least happy places on earth to live.

 

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