Day Hike: Marseille to Cassis Along the Calanques

It’s never been easy for me to say good-bye to summer. A creature of the sun who had the poor luck to grow up in the snowy northeastern United States, I spent my first twenty-three winters hiding inside and eating pastries, one step up from a hibernating bear. I get stir-crazy when the weather gets cold, because…

Time Travel: May, 2014 – Slowing Down in Split

I was very unpopular in beautiful Croatia. Despite my best efforts to abide by all spoken and unspoken rules and to be apologetic for my ignorance as I navigated the country’s unpredictable off-season transportation and accommodation logistics, the people I came across were impatient and bitchy with me. I was almost tossed off of long-distance…

11 TAPIF Must-Dos

If you’ve decided to embark on the Teaching Assistant Program in France, chances are you already have the travel bug and an interest in deeply discovering a foreign place instead of skimming its surface like the average tourist. There are lots of ways to take advantage of your resident expatriate status while living abroad and to do…

What ze ‘ell? French Habits You Won’t Find on a List of Stereotypes

Many Americans have a mental image of “French Life” that runs somewhere along these lines: smoking at outdoor café tables, bicycling alongside a river with a baguette under an arm, wearing scarves and generally looking “chic,” drinking wine while discussing culture and art. And of course, all of this takes place with the Eiffel Tower as backdrop,…

Time Travel: Plitvice Lakes, Croatia, May 2014 – Perfectly Imperfect Travel

Going to Plitvice Lakes was one of those travel decisions I made based on the advice of a stranger or, in this case, strangers: a group of tipsy Brazilian dudes I met in the common room of a hostel in Zagreb, Croatia. The Plitvice Lakes consistently make the pages of glossy 100-Places-to-Visit-in-Your-Lifetime magazine issues, with photos of bright turquoise water…

Six-Day Wander: London, Again!

Every time I go to London, I love it more. The city is a business hub, but has an enduring reverence for literature, art, and intellectual curiosity. A place of royals, tourists, immigrants, foreign investors, politicians, workers of all kinds, students, and ceremonial cavalry horses “who may bite or kick” (according to actual warning signs), it swarms but accommodates….

Worst-Kept Secret

The Cinque Terre secret is REALLY out. Not that Cinque Terre doesn’t deserve it – the collection of five tiny towns, clinging to the vertiginous Ligurian coast like pastel-colored barnacles and connected by scenic paths that wind through olive and lemon groves high above the sparkling Mediterranean, is enchanting. But the towns’ charming small size also means…

Four-Day Wander: Barcelona

Barcelona is a covergirl with a troubled past, a high-maintenance celebrity who stumbles into her town car after a night of dancing and heavy drinking several times a week, but still somehow manages to arrive fresh-faced on set every morning. She’s gorgeous, reliable, and expensive to cast. Make-up hides her scars– when uncovered, some add to her beauty while others mar it. Her…

One-Week Wander: Malta

Desperate to escape Lyon’s unrelenting damp and grey, I took advantage of the university break this past week and fled to Malta, a tiny Mediterranean country made up of three islands south of Sicily. January/February is the off-est of seasons for Malta. Visiting felt a little bit like walking in on somebody half-naked in a fitting room, because everything was…

Quick Cheapskate Tips for European Wanderings

I’m booked for a weekend trip to Tu(o)rin(o), Italy with some friends, and it cost a grand total of 60 euros: 38 euros round-trip for the bus between Lyon and Turin 22 euros for my half of a hotel room in the center of town Not bad! If you’re willing to rough it a little,…