Destination: Europe

War Story

Could a trip to the old battlefields of Europe with his veteran father work a little magic on their relationship? Jim Benning hoped so.

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Walking Off Writer’s Burnout

Walking Off Writer’s Burnout (Photo: Jeff Biggers)

Jeff Biggers hadn't written anything original in months. The joy was gone. Then he and a friend went for a stroll in Bologna.

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American Religion, Eastern European Identity

I love stories about complicated cultural identity issues. What’s at the intersection of religion and nationality? What happens when you add ethnicity to that question? How do people who find themselves in two not-quite-compatible subcultures reconcile the conflicting ideas, not just in their society, but within themselves? That’s why I liked this somewhat academic read about how some Armenians and Georgians are adopting American Evangelical religions—and struggling with the implications of what it means to leave traditional Orthodoxy behind.

From The rise of Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Caucasus:

But the biggest challenge for those seeking to convert others may be reconciling converts’ faith with their ethnic identity. Many of Pogosyan’s countrymen see those who leave the Apostolic Church as less Armenian. He takes pains to emphasize the long-standing relationship between Armenia and the LDS church, which first took hold in the Armenian diaspora in 19th-century Constantinople, as well as the increasing number of foreign missionaries of Armenian descent who have come to their ancestral homeland to serve. He is also careful to stress the cultural similarities between Armenia and the LDS church. “We’re very big on family values in Armenia,” he says, making the LDS church here a perfect fit. Ultimately, his faith has made him more Armenian, not less. It has strengthened his relationship with his family, his local community. “It has made me a better citizen.”

Read the entire story here.



Drawing Connections in Mostar

Drawing Connections in Mostar Candace Rose Rardon

Candace Rose Rardon began sketching in Bosnia to better remember the place. But something else happened along the way.

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A Bridge Not Too Far

The John Frost Bridge Photo: Peter Ferry

On a sunny summer day, novelist Peter Ferry bikes to a Dutch bridge where hundreds of soldiers perished

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Hands Like Shovels

Hands Like Shovels Photo courtesy of Jessica Colley

Jessica Colley had attended family funerals back in the States, but none had prepared her for her first Irish burial

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Tags: Death, Europe, Ireland

That’s Not a Bible in Your Bedside Table

Today in “Not an Onion Headline”: A hotel in Britain’s Lake District has swapped all its Gideon Bibles for copies of the racy bestseller “Fifty Shades of Grey.” The hotel manager, when asked about the change, noted that the Bible is also full of sex and violence. (Via The Awl)

Catching the Gist

Catching the Gist Photo by Jessica Colley

How to communicate when you don't speak the language? In Italy, Jessica Colley fumbled toward an answer.

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Subterranean Gulag Baroque

In an excerpt from his new book, "Straphanger," Taras Grescoe explores Moscow's extraordinary Metro system

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New Music: Sigur Rós’ ‘Voltari’

The Icelandic band, whose ambient, ethereal sound evokes the cool, steaming landscape of its native country, has released a new album, Valtari.

Most reviews find the album to be a lot like the band’s other stuff. As the Washington Post put it: “Ultimately the band’s commitment to pleasant but forgettable ambient soundscapes represents a sort of Rorschach test for listeners. One person’s transcendent experience is another’s somnambulant snooze.”

Funny the critic used “snooze.” For me, Sigur Rós has always made music to wake up to.

From the new album:

Tags: Music, Europe, Iceland

Interview with Gideon Lewis-Kraus: ‘A Sense of Direction’

Interview with Gideon Lewis-Kraus: ‘A Sense of Direction’ Author photo by Rose Lichter Marck

Frank Bures talks to the author about pilgrimage, authenticity and traveling in a world of infinite choices

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‘Paris Was the Landscape of What I Wanted to Be’

In the latest essay in The Rumpus’ “The Last City I Loved” series, writer Rebekkah Dilts looks back on her time as a foreign student in Paris. Here’s a taste:

Speaking and being spoken to in French, this language that’s like a song, opened a new vein of cognition and a different sensibility in me. Paris was the landscape of what I wanted to be: I wanted to have a history that I believed in fiercely, I wanted for art and words to be acknowledged, but also for softness and aesthetics to be appreciated. And I was embraced by a family again; to feel tenderness and a sense of belonging in the setting of so incredible a city was the greatest gift I could have been given. I felt a unique and profound freedom.

What Does $5 Buy You in Europe Today?

Editor’s note: For his new book, Europe on 5 Wrong Turns a Day, Doug Mack traveled around the continent using a decades-old copy of Arthur Frommer’s “Europe on Five Dollars a Day.”

So what will $5 buy in Europe these days?

During the course of their World Hum interview, Leif Pettersen asked Doug just that. Here’s what Doug came up with:

Old Guidebook, New Life

In an excerpt from "Europe on 5 Wrong Turns a Day," Doug Mack envisions a new future for himself in a vintage guidebook

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Interview with Doug Mack: ‘Europe on 5 Wrong Turns a Day’

Leif Pettersen talks to the author about his new book, travel snobbery, and traveling with "Europe on Five Dollars a Day"

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