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Israel, Day Eight: Bedouin It Wrong

After a very brief night’s sleep,1 we were back on the bus. We drove through the desert just before dawn, intent on making it up Masada before sunrise. Since we left the hotel several minutes late, this became a greater … Read More

Saint-Émilion, Home of the World’s Most Convincing Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Is nine months too late to write an overdue travel post? Last June we found ourselves in peaceful Saint-Émilion, staying in an historic farmhouse in the middle of wine country.

We began in Bordeaux on the day of a huge wine festival, enjoying local wine and the best sunset of our trip. The following day, we explored St. Émilion, an ancient city dating back to prehistoric times. We explored Roman ruins, sampled more local wine (of course), confused a cat, and visited a nearby market town with friends.… Read More

Colds & Christmas Crackers

I woke up in Wales on Monday morning, looked out the window, and went back to sleep. Here’s the thing about working in a school library: whenever a new super-strain of bacteria or virus emerges after circling happily through the kindergartners, it’s only a matter of time. Every teacher around you can be hacking and coughing and sneezing and sniffling, but you always think to yourself, “I’ll be okay. I wash my hands. I have a giant bottle of hand sanitizer that lives on my desk. If I see a child sneeze on a book, I wipe that book down with germ-killing alcohol. And then spray it with pure ozone. While wearing a biohazard suit. Besides, I have excellent immunity from constant exposure to these things. I eat about ten clementines a day.”

Well, readers, there comes a point when even the best precautions can no longer protect you from five to ten different versions of the common cold all vying, like tiny gladiators, to battle against your immune system in the grand stadium of your body. One of them is bound to get in.… Read More

Morocco, Weeks Fifteen and Sixteen

On Saturday afternoon I was off to Spain. You might remember from my last post that Eid al-Adha, the Muslim festival which includes sheep sacrifice, was coming up. Well, rather than listen to thousands of dismayed sheep bleating across the city (and smelling them roasting later on) I opted to travel to northern Spain. My goal, San Sebastián, (Donostia in Basque) was only two flights and a three-hour bus ride away.

On the first flight I sat next to a young man who had never flown before. Through him, I remembered the wonder of seeing the tops of clouds for the first time. It was great seeing the look in his eyes in the moment when the plane lifted off the runway.… Read More

Forty-Eight Hours in Glacier Park

Last week my camera and I took a trip into rural Montana and the mountains of Glacier National Park.

A storm rolled in as we walked down the country road.

But cleared up in time for a great sunset.

We hiked through a forest of dead trees.

Surprised a marmot.

And watched a second sunset over snow.… Read More