BRETAGNE – Notes & Photos

Bretagne is possibly the most underrated corner of France, at least among the far-abroad travelers. While you’ll find many an American book, blog and podcast singing paeans to the glories of Dordogne, Collioure, the Loire Valley, Alsace, Normandy, the French Alps and Provence, Bretagne evades their attentions. And for the life of me I cannot…

ALSACE – Notes & Photos

Alsace just might be the most visually Disney-like place I have ever been to. Every town and village is candy-colored. Every half-timbered storefront beckons like the Witch’s house in ‘Hansel and Gretel’, with their candies and pretzels and storytelling signs. Roses and wisterias snake up facades and fountains. It’s almost too whimsical, almost fake. But…

PROVENCE and CÔTE D’AZUR – Notes & Photos

It was in Provence that I actually liked France for the very first time. It was October 2003, and I had finally escaped the misery of Paris for a long weekend with my girlfriends.  I still remember catching that first glimpse of the Mediterranean Sea from the road — its sparkling waters blending into cloudless blue…

BAVARIAN ALPS or How Travel Dreams Are Made

I’m not a mountains person, but as soon as I saw the idyllic, bucolic landscape of the Bavarian Alps from the window of my tour bus, it was love at first sight. All I could think was “I can’t believe God has made something so beautiful.” Give me a minute, I think I might have…

Travel Dreams Come True: TWO DAYS IN THE RHINE VALLEY

My college boyfriend had three crushes: Asian girls with giant racks, me (not Asian, no giant anything to speak of) – and Germany. I could never understand that third one: for me, Germany was not country to be visited. It wasn’t even a place — but a concept. Growing up in the USSR, I was…