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Posts tagged ‘history’

a gray day in Ghent

After a whirlwind weekend in Amsterdam we headed to the Flemish part of Belgium, where we planned to stay four nights before meeting friends for a weekend tour of Luxembourg.

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day-tripping in the kingdom in the sky

“There’s not much to do in Lesotho,” a South African friend told D, “except to look at it.” This struck D as reason enough to plan a brief visit to this, the highest country in the world. Having already decided to spend several days in the Drakensberg Mountains – Lesotho’s spiritual homeland, according to another South African acquaintance – it seemed silly not to make at least a day trip to Lesotho. Getting there, however, proved a bit of a challenge.

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last day in paradise

Mauritius is a fascinating place. Successive occupation by first the Dutch, then the French, and finally the British have forged a multi-religious, multi-ethnic nation that is Africa’s most densely populated. [With twelve million people crammed into a country the size of Maryland, Rwanda – where we live – is the most densely populated nation on the African continent. At 640 inhabitants per square kilometer, Mauritius is 40% more densely populated!] Rwanda definitely feels crowded, so it was quite a trip to visit an even smaller, even more densely populated nation.

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glimpses of Mauritius

After five days in Mauritius – three of which we spent waiting out a cyclone warning – we were beginning to feel more than a little stir crazy. As soon as the storm had passed and the meteorological service had lifted the cyclone advisory, we booked a car to take us around the island.

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water under the bridge

Every once in a while we like to look back at the bucket list we threw together at the beginning of our first Foreign Service tour, a few months into our marriage – to check if we can cross off any items and add a few new ones, but also to reflect on the time that has transpired and how it has changed both us and our goals.

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a tour of Tuscany

Old habits die hard, and the temptation to venture out from the cozy Tuscan farmhouse to explore the Italian countryside proved too great to resist. S and her family visited San Gimignano, Lucca, Siena, Pisa, and Florence, the hour-long car rides proving perfect for Junebug’s naps.

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Hogwarts high life

Cambridge is where D began his brief visit to England and also where his trip ended. Because his friend is a postdoc at one of the thirty-one distinct colleges that comprise Cambridge University, D had a chance to peek behind the curtain and experience this venerable institution of higher learning as both a tourist and an insider.

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rain or shine

Driving to the British seashore on a chilly, gray, autumn day reminded D of his only visit to Ireland a few years back. “First time in Ireland?” – the immigration official had asked D at the airport – “Well you’re in luck: it’ll be pissing rain the next five days!”

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fantasy village

After spending a week on Deer Isle with her family four of the past five summers, S thought there wasn’t much more left to discover on this little islet off the northern coast of Maine, but each year her family manages to discover one or two new gems.

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the back story

Composing the speech for Junebug’s baby-naming ceremony cracked open the floodgates of S’s memory. Writing about her grandmothers’ lives and looking through old photographs of their younger days, S tried to reconcile her recollections with the stories she had heard from her parents – it’s not easy to paint a portrait of someone’s life when one only shares in that person’s twilight years.

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