Tag Archives: Europe

Europe Under Siege Our New Normal?

After enduring winter’s fog obscuring our mountains, I rejoiced to see the sun rise over the Alps and Lake Geneva. Though daffodils dance with the promise of spring, people remain oppressed. Our resplendent view clashes with the darkness in our hearts, as we face a relentless enemy. As if it blew in overnight, coronavirus swept across the land leaving silence in its wake. No birds chirp in the gardens, no planes fly overhead, no cars rumble in the distance. We …

As Coronavirus Sweeps Europe Public Heeds Medical Experts

In Switzerland when we first heard reports of the coronavirus in China, we only half listened, but when our neighbor Italy announced outbreaks, we were all ears. The close proximity and community spread of a life threatening virus has Europeans on edge. Most citizens held their fears in check until the Italian outbreak, then within hours illness knocked on our doorstep. Our anxiety stepped up a notch. Surrounded by Italy, Austria, Germany, and France, hundreds of thousands of people cross …

Eilan Donan Castle

Scotland – On the Trail of Clan Mackenzie

Ever since I found out that my paternal lineage goes back to the 12th century Clan Mackenzie, I dreamed of following their trail from Eilean Donan Castle on the west coast across the Scottish Highlands and the Kintail mountains to Castle Leod on the eastern shores. The tale of the rise and fall of Clan Mackenzie, filled with the supernatural, cunning power, and vicious clan battles, makes a great story. Diane Gabaldon’s historical time travel book series, inspiring the popular …

Visiting Cambridge Makes Me Feel Smarter

I went to Cambridge, the prestigious medieval university, only as a tourist, but boy did I get educated. Though my former students have attended these hallowed grounds, I felt like a dunce when I realized Cambridge was not one central institution, but actually 31 different colleges under the administrative umbrella of the University. The colleges, established between the 11th and 15th centuries, have unique, individual histories. In 1209, after a dispute with the townspeople, scholars from Oxford University left and …

Punting in Cambridge To Celebrate Special Occasions

When my son’s British fiancé told us we were celebrating their engagement by going punting in Cambridge, I imagined kicking the pigskin around a ballpark. But the English don’t play American football. Then I thought it must have something to do with rugby, as her brother-in-law is an avid rugby man. Well, what a surprise! Punting has nothing to do with playing ball on a pitch (field), but instead involves a boat on a river. Imagine skimming across the water …