Our Whirlwind Tour of Europe

There’s an old joke about Americans’ whirlwind tours of Europe:
Son: Where are we Dad?
Dad: (Consulting itinerary) Well it’s Tuesday, so this must be France.

It’s funny. But it’s not really a joke at all. With so few vacation days, Americans tend to overdo their schedules and under-do their understanding. As a nation, we’re terrible at geography and foreign languages (including, some might say, English). So I couldn’t help but chuckle at our upcoming European road-trip: five German-speaking countries in 10 days, with notable gaps in our language (neither of us sprechen deutsch) and route planning (how exactly would we cross the Dolomites)?

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Petra: Rose-Red City, Jordan

The path to Petra was lit by candles shrouded in simple paper bags. Their muted, flickering lights danced on the canyon walls. Above, the full moon glowed like a searchlight, bathing the rippled mountaintops in yellow light. As the canyon narrowed, the candlelight played on walls marbled in shades of brown, orange, pink and red. The wind came in soft, regular drafts, like the earth’s own breath. The ambiance was eerie, mysterious, and beautiful. We felt as if we were taking part in an occult ritual.

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