Jul 302016
A Village of Quiet Charm

My 1999 visit to Gräfenhausen (origin of my Billigmeier family) epitomizes what not to do when visiting an ancestral town. I showed up there one afternoon, completely unplanned. I stood on the street, looked around, didn’t talk to anyone (didn’t actually see anyone to talk to), took a photo of a building that looked important, […Read more]

May 142010
Dancing and Singing

The French have a reputation for being rude. Especially the Parisians. Especially to tourists. Especially to American tourists. But when I was there in 1993, they didn’t live up to that reputation at all. In fact, they seemed to go out of their way to be friendly. Maybe it was traveling in October when they […Read more]

May 072010
Wandering Through the Wine Caves

I didn’t know which should concern me more—that I’d just gotten into a car with a strange man I’d found on the street who didn’t speak any language I did or that the talismans hanging from his rear view mirror ranged from a stuffed leprechaun to an icon of Jesus. But he had parked right […Read more]