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I recently asked for some advice from fellow blogger Sophia Hsiao, whose gorgeous nature photography has me longing to visit Taiwan.  In response to my inquiry about Taiwanese cities to visit, Sophia recommended a few and added “Each city has its streets”.  Sophia then listed the best streets in her recommended cities. As a smart traveler, Sophia knows you can’t just show up […]

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Should you visit the Republic of Georgia?  Absolutely.  Can you travel independently in Georgia?  Yes, but only if you do your homework.  Focus your travel planning on transportation, finding great guest houses, and be prepared to respectfully appreciate Georgia’s religious culture. Transportation: Before I traveled in Georgia I was confused and intimidated by the transportation infrastructure.  From the outside […]

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People always tell me “You’re so adventurous!”  Of course I take this as a compliment but, well, I feel a bit like fraud, what with my fear of flying and generally risk-adverse personality.  An authentically adventurous woman?  I once knew one: her name was Emily and she was my grandmother. My Gram, Emily Evans Shaffer Harrington, was […]

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Any of you nerds out there wait breathlessly for UNESCO to announce the newest additions to their list of World Heritage Sites?  [Raises hand].  Well, a few days ago I was delighted to read that stećci, tombstones from medieval graveyards in the Balkans, had been added to the list. Most Stećci—about 60,000 of them—are found in graveyards in Bosnia […]

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I can never resist a thrift store.  Walking through a thrift store door is an act of optimism, a confidence that a few minutes of digging through racks will unearth just what I didn’t know I was looking for but what I most desire.  It’s more than finding a treasure;  it’s an act of recognition, […]

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I almost missed seeing Gelati Monastery because of HOB’s hangover.  We’d arrived hungry in Kutaisi, Georgia, the night before and couldn’t find a well stocked grocery store.  This was not a problem as the restaurants were quite cheap.  We stopped in a decent looking place, and since I couldn’t read the Georgian menu, I ordered several […]

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On the way to Georgia this May we had a 8 hour layover in Munich.  Hot diggety dog—a layover in Munich!  A chance to see Munich seemed like a special treat, since, even though we’d transferred at Munich Airport a dozen or more times, we’d never actually visited the city itself. In anticipation of our layover visit, we broke […]

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My hands tingled in Ushguli.  Technically, this was due to the altitude: Ushguli is said to be the highest permanently inhabited location in Europe.  Though these tingly fingers and my shortness of breath seemed more like symptoms of astonishment than of altitude sickness. Austere.  Astonishing! Ushguli is made up of four villages strung together in the mountains of the […]

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Over dinner at our guest house in Kashveti I asked our host Vaktang about the village church.  “We have an 11th century church with original frescos” he informed me, “but it’s closed to the public.”  Naturally, I was disappointed, but of course there were so many other wonderful sites in this UNESCO protected region of Georgia, […]

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  “We want to eat street food!” we announced to Irakli, the host of our guest house in Tbilisi’s old town. “No, not street food” Irakli instructed.  “Instead you’ll eat fresh-cooked food from simple restaurants.”  It was more of a demand than advice, and since Irakli is a expert on making people happy in Tbilisi, we set out […]

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