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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

Roscoff Skies

After a rainy drive to Roscoff, we were rewarded in clouds. Other rewards included delicious local delicacies (crèpes and cider), a hike around Île de Batz, and a visit to a gorgeous botanical garden. The next day, we were off to Cornwall by ship…… 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

Morocco, Week Fourteen

Week fourteen began with Austrians and ended with Germans. I had two delightful Austrian house guests, Sabine and Hans-Peter, who kept me entertained on Monday and Tuesday. Both of them had quit their jobs, bought motorcycles, and embarked on an around-the-world journey. (They took crash courses in motorcycle repair before leaving.)

Next up: traveling down the western coast of Africa. Their trip ends, I suppose, when they get tired of traveling and move on to the next thing in their lives. We ate delectable Moroccan food, played with Loki, and had a long, fascinating conversation about the attitude toward the film The Sound of Music in Austria and why most Austrians have never seen it.… Read More

Morocco, Week Twelve

“The only things they trust are the racing ships
Posiedon gave, to sail the deep blue sea
like white wings in the sky, or a flashing thought.” (The Odyssey)

One of the perks of working in a school is getting to hear children say all sorts of silly things. Students at AST (especially the kindergartners) are fond of exclaiming, “Oh my God!” at the drop of a hat, for instance. Talking about volcanoes? “Oh my God!” Finding out that a dinosaur in a book is too tall to fit on the page? “Oh my God!” Explaining that a tomato is a fruit? “Oh my God!” I suppose our students just have a flair for the dramatic.… Read More

Morocco, Week Eleven

Another slow week, which means a short blog post this time. After a long work day on Monday, I took a spontaneous trip to the school swimming pool with a couple kids in tow.

We practiced swimming, splashed, and even had a spirited game of marco polo, then headed to Wafae’s house for soup and Moroccan pastries. (I have been specifying the type of pastry every time because I am aware that you, my readers, are extremely discerning and absolutely need to know whether each pastry is Moroccan-style or French-style.)… Read More

Hay-on-Wye, book lover’s paradise

Imagine a town with bookshops on every corner. And in between every corner. And, well, everywhere. Guess what? That town exists, and it’s in Wales! Hay-on-Wye, often called “the town of books”, is the kind of place I want to go when I die. Everywhere you turn, books! New, used, antique, fiction, nonfiction, prints, maps… everything you could ever want! There are around 30 separate bookshops in Hay-on-Wye, so start planning your trip now.… Read More