Oh, I see! moments
Travel Cultures Language

All Aboard for
Aha Moments!

by Joyce McGreevy on May 9, 2017

The Amtrak Station in Salinas, California leads to aha moments, thanks to Trails & Rails, a partnership with the National Park Service. (Image © Joyce McGreevy)

Catch a train in Salinas, a town made famous by John Steinbeck’s novel East of Eden.
© Joyce McGreevy

Time-Traveling on Trails & Rails

Unsteadily hiking the path, I meet a National Park Service guide.  She tells me that “Spanish explorers traveled this historic California trail, named for Juan Bautista De Anza.” This was the land of the Chumash, Pima, and Quechan peoples. Wait—I’m in a moving train. But as I’ll discover, I’m “right on track” for aha moments.

“Believe it or not, you’re in a national park right now,” says guide Kathy Chalfant, as the Coast Starlight rolls southward. We’re following California’s coast and time-traveling to the 1700s. Oh, I see: Sometimes a train commute becomes a journey into history.

65 Countries in One Day

by Joyce McGreevy on May 2, 2017

Traditional dancers outside the Embassy of Peru in Washington, DC show why crossing cultures draws so many visitors to Passport DC. (Image © Joyce McGreevy)

Elegantly dressed young dancers perform outside the Embassy of Peru in Washington, DC.
© Joyce McGreevy

Crossing Cultures at Passport DC

Crossing cultures, collecting passport stamps—the appetite for travel is insatiable. When I heard about an opportunity to visit more than 65 countries I was intrigued. Imagine, the sheer feast of cultural heritage and traditions!

But a multi-country tour? It recalled the 1969 movie, If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium. In that screwball comedy, a busload of tourists barrel through Europe so fast they don’t know where they’ve been until they get their photos developed.

You Say Potato . . . I Say Pomme de Terre

by Meredith Mullins on December 12, 2016

Potatoes on French market shelves, showing the cultural heritage of the potato in France. (Image © Meredith Mullins.)

Potatoes taking their rightful place on French market shelves
© Meredith Mullins

How France’s Parmentier Changed the Cultural Heritage of the Potato

Imagine . . .

a world without mountains of crispy French fries,

a holiday dinner minus fluffy clouds of mashed potatoes,

a steak without a baked potato dripping with sour cream,

a plate begging for a huddle of new potatoes with a hint of parsley and butter that launches pomme de terre into the strata of haute cuisine,

silence instead of the crunch of a potato chip while watching a ball game.

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