Inside Krakow’s Collegium Maius

The Old Library Chamber is a peaceful place to read

The Old Library Chamber is a peaceful place to read

When I was a teenager, my vision of university was one of solid stone buildings, some covered in vines. The footsteps of a single person echoing from a lonely courtyard late at night. Vast libraries with wood panelled walls and statues of ancient Greeks. And new worlds of knowledge opened by brilliant professors, who would spark discussions that would rage far into the next morning’s light.

The RoadWisdom Guide to Traveling Iceland

Iceland feels like another world, one caught midway between geology and Norse myth...

Iceland feels like another world, one caught midway between geology and Norse myth…

I’m just back from a couple weeks in Iceland, exploring remote corners of the Central Highland deserts, and just soaking up the silence and that clean subarctic air.

Where Viking Rune Stones Meet Celluloid Dreams

The final scene of Shame was filmed on this beach...

The final scene of Shame was filmed on this beach…

It’s in the middle of the Baltic Sea, halfway to Latvia, but it’s Sweden’s largest island.

Salty Cathedrals Deep Under the Ground

A salty cathedral deep underground...

A salty cathedral deep underground…

I consume an enormous amount of salt — at least, according to my wife, who scolds me each time I twist that grinder over my dinner plate for more than 3 minutes.

“It’s an insult to the cook,” she says. “You didn’t even taste it first.”

Auschwitz: Looking Away is Not an Option

"Work sets you free." Just how inhumane would you have to be to think up a sign such as this?

“Work sets you free.” Just how inhumane would you have to be to think up a sign such as this?

Many people have written the horrifying story of Auschwitz, so I’m not going to rehash it here.

Squinting at Beer Through a Cigarette Haze

Old Town views across the Vltava River...

Old Town views across the Vltava River…

Prague is one of Europe’s most recognizable cities. It’s long been a favourite of backpackers for its low costs and cheap beer. And it’s firmly on every European tour itinerary thanks to its beautifully preserved UNESCO listed old town.

The Austrian National Library, Vienna

If there's a heaven for me, it would look like this library...

If there’s a heaven for me, it would look like this library…

I believe that a library is a sacred space, and a visit to a library is a form of pilgrimage.

London Calling

A lovely day for a walk down Regent Street...

A lovely day for a walk down Regent Street…

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a new blog. But I haven’t forgotten about you…

Rest assured that I’ve been hard at work on a new book and new articles. And I’m busy wading through stacks of reading and marking up maps as I plan several cool new trips for 2016.

I Accidentally Rented a Fruit Plantation

I had no idea it was going to be this big...

I had no idea it was going to be this big…

I knew this place was over the top when Tomoko made the Japanese sound for astonishment: a long, drawn out, “Ehhhhhhhh?”

We’d just pulled up to the gate of the villa I had rented, and we were looking down the palm-lined path that led to the house.

Where the Heck Are the Åland Islands?

The Åland archipelago truly is a magical place...

The Åland archipelago truly is a magical place…

It’s governed by Finland but its people speak Swedish.

It has its own flag, stamps, and parliament, and special trading arrangements with the E.U.

And it’s halfway between Finland and Sweden, smack in the middle of where the Baltic meets the Gulf of Bothnia. But it isn’t really a part of either country.