Month: October 2015

First Friday in Fairhope, Alabama

Downtown

I’d heard great reports about First Friday in Fairhope, Ala., as a street party event not to be missed. So I had to see it for myself. I rang up an old roommate. He moved his family to this small town of 15,000 several years ago to take a job in Mobile, the largest nearby city.

His sister demurred, “People move from Alabama, not to it.” But I was pleasantly surprised by Fairhope, an oasis in Alabama that harkens back to the way small towns were 30 years ago with some prices to match. Fairhope, founded in 1894 as a utopian, fair tax society, remains iconoclastic today.

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A Happy Place Called Novi Sad

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Constanta: Black Sea Beach is Also Ancient Port Not to be Missed

We all know the standard beach resorts in the U.S., but there are hundreds of places that foreigners go to the beach. Most of them you’ve never heard of. Some of them offer more than a U.S. beach resort ever can.

I recently returned from Constanța (pronounced Constanza) on the coast of the Black Sea in Romania. The Black Sea is the same water body on which Sochi (recently home of the Olympic Games in Russia) and the Crimean sit. It’s a beautiful salt-water sea with calm waves. So if surfing is your thing, this is not the place for you. This seven-kilometer long beach, known as the Black Sea Riviera, never sleeps.

Most U.S. beaches offer sun and sand, bars and nightlife. Consider Constanța for a little change of pace and romanticism. How many people do you know that go to the Black Sea for a vacation? Although Romanian is the principal language of Romania, most people in Romania also speak some English. But going to the beach in a place that speaks another language offers a layer of fun and intrigue to your vacation.

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Vukovar Fights To Rebuild from War While Immigrants Invade

Memorial water tower from war

Vukovar in Croatia is off the beaten path and fascinating to visit. The desire of the Croatian people for independence led to the breakup of Yugoslavia. For 87 days in 1991 under heavy siege by 36,000 well-armed Yugoslavian forces, mostly from Serbia, the 1,800 lightly armed soldiers of the mostly civilian, ragtag Croatian National Guard defended the city in a bitter battle that resulted in the destruction of 80 percent of it and the loss of many lives. Worldwide indignation over atrocities committed there was the turning point in ending the war. But Vukovar remains the first European city destroyed by war since World War II.  Today it is ground zero for hoards of Syrian refugees trying to cross into the Northern European countries.

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