George Washington’s Mount Vernon

Lately, I’ve been trying to spend more time exploring my own (adopted) region. This weekend, with temperatures breaking 60 degrees, that mission—and my current Hamiltoninduced 18th-century history kick—sent me across the Potomac to explore our first president’s home and estate with my friend Adam (…who’s also been roped into seeing Hamilton with me in two weeks).

One of the best things about DC is that most of its top-tier historic attractions are free. Alas, visiting Mount Vernon has a price tag. To be exact, it’s $17 if you buy your tickets online or $20 at the door. But the experience is well worth it—whether you’re a history buff or a nature enthusiast or interested in visiting a petting zoo, there’s something for you. Continue reading “George Washington’s Mount Vernon”

Auschwitz

I’ve been conflicted about how to present my photos and experiences from the tour of Auschwitz. It seems inappropriate, somehow, to post my photos online. To be honest, it felt inappropriate to take the photos in the first place, even though our guide assured us that photography is allowed in most parts of the camps. I’m glad I did take the photos, because the experience would almost seem unreal if I didn’t have evidence of it on my camera. And I realize that although this tour is an experience everyone should have at some point in their lifetime, many people will never have the opportunity, so I decided to post my photos here to give people the chance to see it secondhand. Continue reading “Auschwitz”

A Weekend in Poland

Early Saturday morning, after two train rides, a stint on the London Underground, and a night spent trying/failing to sleep on a wooden bench in London Stansted, I finally arrived in Kraków, Poland for a weekend trip in what is probably one of the less obvious tourist destinations for someone with all of Europe just a quick flight away. But, being part Polish, I’d always wanted to go, so I grabbed a couple of friends and we went. And it was so much better than any of us had expected.

I knew visiting Poland would be nice just because of my ancestral ties to the place, but as it turns out, Kraków is just a lovely place to visit in general. Even though we were only there for a weekend, I’m probably going to have to write a few posts to cover everything – the food and drink we found definitely deserves its own post, as does our day trip to Auschwitz, and our hostel and other practical stuff probably does as well, so those posts will come in the next couple of days. If you read all of these posts, I fully expect you to book a holiday to Kraków immediately. Honestly. It’s that good. And it’s super, super cheap, so there’s really no reason not to go, especially if you’re already planning to be in Europe. Continue reading “A Weekend in Poland”

A Day at Stonehenge & Bath

One of the coolest things about this country (and all of Europe, really) is the history. I’m pretty sure that prior to coming here, the oldest building I’d ever seen only dated to the early 18th century. Maybe Massachusetts Hall at Harvard. Even the fort in my hometown that was built in 1839 seemed ancient to me (to be fair, forts had been erected on that site as early as 1755 and they were just destroyed a few times by the French… and some Americans… and the British… so there’s a little more history than the 1839 date suggests).

Compare those buildings to what I saw yesterday, when I stood in the remains of a Roman temple and spa dating back to the first century AD and finally got to see the mysterious arrangement of rocks that’s been standing in Wiltshire for millennia. Stuff from the 18th century seems like such small potatoes in comparison – it’s a whole different historical ballgame here. Continue reading “A Day at Stonehenge & Bath”