Budapest, Buda on the Left, Pest on the Right, Chain Bridge linking Inevitably I am asked my favorite stop on our recent trip, or my favorite place in Europe in general. These are obviously bad questions because its like comparing apples and oranges. I prefer to say why I like each place, or the specific experience or phenomenal package that makes a given location significant to me. That said,...
Americans have a romantic view of train travel in the most technical sense. We see travel by train as a return to a lost era which was in many ways more pure than ours. The root of any romanticism is retreat from the present into the idealized past. In European countries motion was often pastoral or sylvan. American romanticism, while possibly naturalistic a la Emerson or Thoreau, can also be...
Why I Dislike the Hagia Sopia.
Despite the near 40 hours on a train punctuated by several late passport checks at various borders, we arrived in Istanbul keen to see the sights, starting with the Hagia Sophia, built by the Byzantine emperor Justinian I in 360 AD. Supposedly upon entering it for the first time Justinian exclaimed that he had out done even Solomon. Certainly, the massive dome was an architectural marvel at the...