A voice in the darkness

Will travel for tulips – Day 8 – Anne Frank Huis I read The Diary of Anne Frank for the first time, like many people, as an eighth grade student. It was required for my social studies class. I encountered Anne Frank again as I became a language arts teacher, requiring it as a reading assignment for…

A wander in the Western Canal Ring

Will travel for tulips – Day 3 – On to Amsterdam and the Western Canal Ring After only a quick two days in Brussels, I was heading back to Amsterdam for the bulk of my spring holiday. I was here for tulips, and Amsterdam it, I would see tulips. I made the mistake of waiting…

In Flanders Fields

Will travel for tulips – Day 2 – WWI Tour of Northern Belgium In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn,…

A hustle through Brussels

My only full day in Brussels started out less than promisingly, with a spitting cold rain pelting me as I left the city’s central station and tried to sort out where I could go before getting soaked. I had no map, no real plan – only a short list of things to see and do…

It’s about (Amster)dam time

When you’re a teacher, you count a year not by the January to December cycle like normal people do. We’re an August to June lot, counting a “year” as the school year like some kind of alternative planet we follow instead of the sun. To be fair, we are mostly on alternative planets when one is…

When you need a little (or a lotta) Christmas

A German Christmas story – Berlin – Christmas markets It is difficult to explain how a German Christmas market smells. A bit of a heady combination of spiced red wine, cinnamon, cookie batter, sizzling sausages, damp earth from a recent rain, and baking bread – it is all of these things and more. My first market…

A hobble around Museum Island

A German Christmas Story – Day 5, Berlin – Museum Island Despite a very swollen and rather stiff ankle, I wrapped it up with sport tape and an ankle support sock and set out for Museum Island, a UNESCO heritage site on the River Spree known for its architecture and concentration of art and artifacts….

The long shadows of war and wall

A German Christmas story – Berlin, Day 4 – Berlin Wall Memorial & Jewish History Museum It was hard to drag myself out of the hotel the next day after staying up half the night watching news footage about the Berlin Christmas market terrorist attack. The hope that it had been only an accident quickly faded away…

The landscape of terror has not been forgotten

A German Christmas Story – Berlin, Day 3 – Topography of Terror (afternoon) Germany is very upfront about the Holocaust. The Topography of Terror Documentation Center stands near a long stretch of the Berlin Wall on the former site of the Gestapo and SS headquarters. It is a low, modern building which seeks to lay…

From Prussian splendor to post-war gloom

A German Christmas Story – Day 2 in Berlin – Checkpoint Charlie and Schloss Charlottenburg I fell asleep early the night before and did not make it to a Christmas market after all. However, I unashamedly got thirteen hours of sleep after a restless night before leaving for Berlin and almost none on my flight,…

I am not a jelly doughnut, but that sounds good anyway

A German Christmas Story – Day 1 in Berlin Ich bin ein Berliner. Those were the first words used to introduce me to the conflict in Berlin, and indeed, the Cold War in general. Since I was only five years old when the Berlin Wall was torn down, I have no memory of the Cold War…

Defensive maneuvers at Changing of the Guard

Anglotopia Day 22 – Get me to the palace on time One can’t visit London without witnessing the colorful, entertaining, and pageantry of the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. And, on this particularly grey Monday morning, that was the thought of every tourist in London. I thought Monday would be safer say, than a…