People around the World: Europe

This third post in a series, following entries on Africa and Asia, takes us to Europe, which, with or without Russia and Turkey, is the sixth-largest continent in terms of geographic size and the third-largest in terms of population.

I hope you enjoy the photos below. Leave a comment about which picture is your favorite…and thanks!

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Holiday Decorations around the World

There hasn’t been too much winter chill in the air lately in East Tennessee, where daytime temps have been hovering around the 50-degree mark, only just turning colder a few days ago. Still, Christmas is less than three weeks away, and holiday decorations are up in force.

Though not a religious person, I still enjoy the spirit of the season, particularly the lights, the holly, and the trees. Combined, these decorations suggest a communal spirit of giving, and a general air of hope, something of which the world has been in short supply lately.

Here is a sampling of holiday decorations witnessed by yours truly during his travels around the globe. I shall start with cities that I once lived in, then move on from there.

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Top Ten Large European Cities

Europe has been on my mind lately. I haven’t visited the continent since 2012, so it could be that I simply miss the place. Or it could be that recent late night TV airings of Skyfall and Midnight in Paris have left me nostalgic for my wandering days.

I immediately started thinking of some favorite places in Europe. A few, like the Bernese Oberland of alpine Switzerland, are pleasantly rural. Most, however, are either specific sights in specific cities…or the cities themselves.

Europe is blessed with dozens of cities and towns worth visiting. I have decided to share my favorites with you in a series of top ten lists. I am dividing my rankings into three separate lists. First, large cities – cities with over 1,000,000 residents. Next, mid-sized cities – let’s say 50,000 – 1,000,000. Finally, small cities and towns – any community with fewer than 50,000 people.

Here are my Top Ten Large European Cities:

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Holiday Travels – Part One

I have mentioned in previous blog entries that my first solo international trip – to Mexico City over Thanksgiving 2002 – raised the travel bar for me. With apologies to my parents (who always put together a great Thanksgiving Day spread), Turkey Day 2002 was probably the best Thanksgiving of my life. Others, since then, have come awfully close.

The other day I started thinking about all the places I’ve been to – not just over Thanksgiving, but at any time. I have been to 41 U.S. states and more countries than I can keep track of. I have set foot on six continents. I have completely filled two passports and had extra pages added to both. According to flightmemory.com, I have flown almost 740,000 miles. That said, holiday season travel gives me an extra lift, because travel over Christmas always reunites me with my parents, whom I wish I could visit more often, and because travel over Thanksgiving maintains my own tradition – 11 years running – of going someplace new, sometimes with friends but often by myself.

Seeing as it is mid-way between the two holidays as I write this, I thought I’d share, over these next few days, a few fond holiday season travel memories.

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