Sep 102013
Reverse Culture Shock: Paris

“The thrill of take off: the burn of reentry.” Or it could be less of a burn: a mild irritation, perhaps. But if you’ve returned from overseas back to your place of birth after enough time to settle into a daily routine in a foreign country, chances are you’ve experienced reverse culture shock. What was […]

 Posted by at 1:01 pm
Aug 082013
Church Ceilings, Around the World

Grandiose, Ostentatious, Awe-inspriring, Humbling … Such is the way that religious institutions—churches, synagogues, temples, mosques—are described around the world. Their designers created physical tributes to the deities that guided many lives throughout the centuries. Even today, in an age when our attention is torn from one flashing screen to another, these monuments still stop us […]

 Posted by at 1:50 am
Jun 202013
French Woman Window Thingy

Sure, it’s a weird thing to obsess over. But once I noticed my first, it was impossible to stop looking for more. And I found them, all over France. This story starts in Port de Vannes market on our first weekend together in Paris. This market is a veritable orgy for the antique browser, tables […]

 Posted by at 9:46 pm
May 022013
The 35 Bridges of Paris in an Evening

Three shapes emerge when you look at a map of Paris: a circle, a spiral, and a horseshoe. The peripherique is the 35km circular highway that defines the boundaries of “Paris proper.” The spiral is provided by the twenty arrondissements (or “neighborhoods”) of Paris that—in an effort to disorient tourists—begin in the middle and spiral out […]

 Posted by at 12:51 am
Mar 132013
Wild Goose Chase

Yeah, it’s cliché, and I am certainly not the first birdwatcher to use, or perhaps abuse, this phrase. But when one travels to The Netherlands in winter to look for geese—totaling nine commonly occurring species—“Wild Goose Chase” suddenly seems awfully appropriate. I’d learned of the bounty of Branta when my wife and I relocated to […]

 Posted by at 6:07 pm
Mar 072013
Cow Pies in Paris

I’ve written about the risk, and in some neighborhoods the statistical inevitability, of stepping in dog crap in Paris. I never thought I’d write about dodging fresh cow dung in the City of Light, but I also hadn’t yet heard of the Salon International de l’Agriculture. The “International Exhibition of Agriculture” is a week-long showcase of […]

 Posted by at 12:22 pm
Mar 012013
Sedgley Goes to Sedgley

“There isn’t much up there.” Such was the way an affable, older British gentleman concluded our conversation after I’d interrupted his Sunday morning stroll to ask for directions. He pointed me to an alternate route—“just in front of that white cottage”—that would take me off the main road, a popular path with the Sunday strollers. […]

 Posted by at 10:52 am