Author: Therese Iknoian

Munich Peace Church a treasure built of garbage

The East-West Peace Church is hidden in a grove of trees in Munich’s busy Olympic Park. Most visitors will walk right past the little forest, but you should in fact make a beeline for the historic homestead — a teeny village with several homemade buildings, gardens and even a church and a small chapel. Timofej Wassiljewitsch Prochorow arrived in Munich in 1952 at the age of 58, a Russian immigrant fugitive. A former Russian soldier, he had fled his homeland in the then-Soviet Union in 1943 seeking a place of peace, the story goes. According to stories, he was...

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Five tips for staying warm in Antarctica

Antarctica brings up a stark vision of snow, icebergs, glaciers, wind, and barren landscapes. With a high sensitivity to cold climes, it was not a place I was begging to go. The key to staying warm in Antarctica is to combine the right fabrics and fit for apparel and outwear. Head to toe, the key is layering. If I can stay happily warm in the cold, anybody can. You see, I suffer from something called Raynaud’s disease. Simply put, it is an odd phenomenon where your nervous system in even the slightest chill can freak out and shut down...

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Munich NS Documentation Center teaches terror of Nazi reign

Not all museums are pretty, happy places. The NS Documentation Center in Munich takes a hard, sometimes painful, often horrifying look at the rise of Hitler’s National Socialist party (NS), the terror of the Nazi regime, and indeed how that relates to today’s world events. The permanent exhibition is called, fittingly, “The Cradle of Terror – Munich and National Socialism.” The NS Documentation Center (NS-Dokumentationszentrum) is not called a museum or a memorial, but “a place of learning and remembrance.” Open in Munich since 2015, the center fulfills that mission by offering a chronological walk through the political times...

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5 spectacular must-visit Buenos Aires parks and gardens

Buenos Aires, with a population of about 3 million, is a web of busy streets often clogged with traffic and people rushing and jamming to get somewhere. It can be hard to look beyond that sensory overload to see the gems of Buenos Aires parks and expanses of green spaces that are tucked here and there in the city. Many in fact can be connected in such a way to allow you to feel as if you are in a huge, green, forested park and not a densely packed urban city. Take a quick jaunt through the must-visit Buenos...

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6 simple tips to save money on train travel in Germany

Saving money is the ultimate prize for any traveler. Certainly transportation in most any country can be one of the largest expenses of travel, and Germany is no exception. That’s why it’s important to know a few never-fail, simple tips to save money on train travel in Germany. We almost always choose train travel when traveling in Europe, especially in Germany where the train lines are so extensive. You can get to just about any little village on the train while watching the scenery go by instead of fretting about speed demons on the autobahn or deciphering signs in...

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A trek in Patagonia: walking in the shadow of Fitz Roy

The soaring crags of Fitz Roy are renown for playing hide-and-seek with travelers who trek in Patagonia due to swirling clouds from the region’s unpredictable weather. Decades ago, before technology helped alpinists and hikers track weather with a click, a small lean-to hut at Rio Blanco at the base of the mountain would be home to mountaineers waiting for a weather window to open to climb this epic peak. I didn’t come to Patagonia in Argentina to summit Fitz Roy’s crags. Far from it. That is the beauty of Patagonia’s Santa Cruz province and its spectacular mountains and hills....

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Remembering Christmas in Germany far from home

It was my first Christmas far away from home. I was 21 and an exchange student in Germany – a country that is very very into celebrating the Christmas season. I realized that when I discovered the country had what was called “First Christmas” and “Second Christmas,” which means the 25th is “first” and the 26th is also a holiday and another day to celebrate. Why not? For Christmas in Germany, it seems, everything lights up. Bells ring. Chestnuts roast. And every town has some version of the most adorable Christmas markets where everybody seems joyous and happy. The...

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How to relieve travel stress when flying

No matter if you are traveling for business, to visit friends or family, or on a dream holiday, travel stress can take a physical and mental toll. Simply finding the time to pack, make sure you have the right toiletries, tie down things at work or home prior to departure, or help family members prepare can create stress in your life. Add the pressure of dealing with the unexpected in unfamiliar surroundings – delays, cancelations, airplane food, finding bathrooms, coping with crowds, schlepping luggage, and lack of sleep, to name a few – and the body’s stress reaction can...

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4 must-see cemeteries on three continents

There is something spooky, breathtaking and awe-inspiring all at the same time about cemeteries around the world that offer fantastic, mythical, memorable architecture. Here are 4 must-see cemeteries on three continents: La Recoleta Cemetery (Cimenterio de la Recoleta) — Buenos Aires, Argentina The cemetery in La Recoleta tops must-do lists for Buenos Aires, but we must admit we didn’t think it could be any different than a couple of the mesmerizing cemeteries named below. Still, we went. And it was so much more. First, ignore the tourist “circus” of street vendors outside the gates, the Western shopping mall and...

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Michael and Therese celebrate with sparklers.

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