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 Driving License

Or, more specifically, how a Spain driving license can be acquired by an American, non-EU expat like me. I have the temporary license now and anticipate receipt of the permanent Permiso de conducción Reino de España by summer’s end. I’m here to offer juicy details. WHY BOTHER, IF MADRID HAS GREAT TRANSIT? (♦) To explore…

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…

Ximena of Barquisimeto, Venezuela

Lucky ol’ me meets many people in Madrid: moved-to-the-big-city Spaniards from Extremadura, Andalucia, Asturias; EU-wandering Erasmus students; watchful-eye-on-Brexit Brits; young Auxiliares de Conversación, often from the States; expats for hauls long and short, from Australia, China, Bulgaria, hither, yon, beyond. They talk to me. (The fools!) Some chats are guarded, surface-y. Others far less so.…