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By Rail in Mongolia

Posted by on October 27, 2015 in Culture, Travel | 12 comments

 By Rail in Mongolia

Fred loves train travel.  You meet an interesting cross-section of a population and get to peer into a country’s backyards as the train passes.  Wherever we go, we take train trips, and Mongolia was no exception. The vast country has relatively few kilometers of rail–all built for them by the Soviet Union.  Besides a few spur lines to mining towns, the only rail line in the country is the one that connects Beijing with Moscow.  The fancy Chinese spur to the Russian Trans-Siberian zips people straight through Mongolia, but Fred...

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The Far Corner of Mongolia

Posted by on October 21, 2015 in Travel | 9 comments

 The Far Corner of Mongolia

People who have been visiting our shop since our trip to Mongolia this June have been happily shopping for our unusual felt slippers, as well as colorful purses and bags decorated with elaborate hand-embroidery.  Where are they from?  They are all made by Kazakh-ethnic women who live in the mountainous far-western corner of Mongolia. Fred and his friend Jeff visited this Mongolian corner and spent almost a week in the Kazakh-majority far-western province of Bayan Olgii.  They went trekking in Tavan Bogd (the “five saints”)...

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“Gers” and “Yurts” in Mongolia

Posted by on September 19, 2015 in Culture, Shopping Overseas, Travel | 6 comments

 “Gers” and “Yurts” in Mongolia

Mongolia is a wonderful country whose vast landscapes are scattered with round portable nomad tents.  The majority of the Mongolian population call theirs “gers”, but the minority Kazakh people in far western Mongolia call theirs “yurts”.  Kazakh yurts, however, should not be mistaken for Mongolian gers.  There are a number of differences. The two nomadic dwellings rang from the same sources, but have developed differences over the centuries.  In contemporary Mongolia, you often see a mix of gers and yurts in tourist...

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Driving in Mongolia

Posted by on August 22, 2015 in Antarctica Majestic, Shopping Overseas, Travel | 11 comments

 Driving in Mongolia

  Mongolia is a vast country–13th largest in the world–with a small population–3 million.  Of interest to the driver, is that it has fewer kilometers of road per person than any country in the world, and some of the worst urban traffic. Until the 1990’s virtually all vehicles, and there weren’t many, were of Russian manufacture.  Now those old and patched-up Russian vehicles have migrated to the far corners of the country. They have been replaced in most places by foreign, mainly Japanese-made,...

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Why Travel to Mongolia?

Posted by on August 5, 2015 in Shopping Overseas, Travel | 6 comments

 Why Travel to Mongolia?

Fred and Sharon, former diplomats, have never lived in Mongolia.  As a long-time repressive client state of the former Soviet Union, the U.S. didn’t even formally recognize the country until the late 1980’s.  As a result, there was no U.S. Embassy in Ulaan Baatar (Red Hero) at which they could serve until too late in their careers. Fast forward into the 21st century, and the country had turned into a multi-party democratic country more quickly AND more peaceably than any other former communist state.  Fast becoming a major...

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Novia Scotia and the Cabot Trail

Posted by on July 3, 2015 in Antarctica Majestic | 7 comments

 Novia Scotia and the Cabot Trail

Mid-May was a great time to visit Novia Scotia.  We were there one week before a 24-hour relay race with 70 teams of 17 runners each…and the commencement of the tourist season. We were also a couple of weeks before the onslaught of black flies, which takes place in June before the heat of the summer.  (While visiting Fred’s parents nearby in the state of Maine, we learned that the bites of black flies are something you want to avoid.) Although we still saw banks of leftover snow from a hard winter, the weather was nice every day...

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Quebec and Canada’s Maritime Provinces

Posted by on June 25, 2015 in Culture, Travel | 2 comments

 Quebec and Canada’s Maritime Provinces

We traveled recently to Quebec City to visit friends who teach there at the University of Laval.  We also planned a road-trip with them to parts of Atlantic Canada, the ocean-bound northeastern corner of North America, which is comprised of four provinces with their own personalities. Our trip explored two of those provinces–New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.  New Brunswick is mostly forested with beautiful beaches and the three cities of Fredericton, Saint John and Moncton. Nova Scotia has the big seaport of Halifax; the postcard-perfect...

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Hungary and American Football !

Posted by on April 8, 2015 in Culture, Travel | 3 comments

 Hungary and American Football !

Our last stop in Middle Europe was beautiful Budapest.

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Attention All Pilots: Middle European Aviation Museums

Posted by on March 27, 2015 in Culture, Travel | 6 comments

 Attention All Pilots:  Middle European Aviation Museums

Pilots don’t miss this visit to Middle European aviation museums!

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Krakow, a Showcase of Culture

Posted by on February 11, 2015 in Culture, Travel | 1 comment

 Krakow, a Showcase of Culture

Krakow is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.

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