A Day in Riga

A Day in Riga

Riga is the capital city of Latvia, a small-by-American-standards country in northern Europe. Now you know. I boorishly posted A Day in Minsk without telling you what, where or when a “Minsk” is, likely spurred irritable searches in browser address bars. Sorry. As if you didn’t already have enough grief in life without my bungling!…

A Day in Minsk

A Day in Minsk

Attractive, clean, safe, livable. Minsk deserves those adjectives. I was surprised. My parents would have liked it. I hesitate to flatter it this way. “Inside Europe’s last dictatorship” cries the 2012 Guardian headline about Belarus. “Better to be a dictator than gay,” responded leader-for-the-past-quarter-century Alexander Lukashenko, when criticized for his rights record by an out-of-the-closet…

Kyiv: First Impressions

Kyiv: First Impressions

(♦) Kyiv is 1,500 years old, give or take a century, and boasts an enviably deep line-up of historical draws. Tally ’em up: two UNESCO world heritage sites, the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra caves monastery and St. Sophia’s Cathedral, both tracing roots to the eleventh century. St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery. St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral, St. Andrew’s Church,…

Visit to Ronda, Spain

Visit to Ronda, Spain

“You’ve got a lot of nerve,” a native Spaniard might tell me, “to book a tourist trip to inland Andalucia in August.” True. I’ve lived in Spain three years, know better. Andalucia cities regularly rack up summer scorchers north of 40° Celsius. (104° Fahrenheit. Ow! Ow!) I’ve listened wide-eyed as natives swapped anecdotes on surviving…

Spain Taxes for U.S. Expats

Must we? Didn’t we Yankees endow earthly civilization with the Big Mac, Love Boat re-runs, the Chia Pet? Isn’t it enough that we grace Spanish soil with our Stetson-crowned, Buckaroo-booted presence? Must we submit to the indignity of expat taxation, too? I’m afraid so. Presume yourself to be liable for a Spain tax on worldwide…