Anthony Hennen Blog

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A friendly goodbye from Bulgaria

Traveling through Bulgaria is interesting because, in addition to no things working quite as they should, guidebooks are futile attempts to capture what is and what does not exist anymore. In Veliko Tarnovo, the monuments were still there, but hunting down the restaurants that Lonely Planet recommended were trickier. Except...

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Old World Illiberalism: The Fall of Schengen

As Sweden introduces identity checks at the Danish border, the Schengen Area has come under threat, along with the liberalism at the heart of what is valuable within the European Union. Sweden isn’t the first. Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Hungary, Austria, Germany, and Denmark have added checks, controls, and fences to...

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Rila Monastery: Frescoes and a Stray Dog

The Rila Monastery, founded in the 10th century, is one of the most popular tourist sights in Bulgaria. I spent little time in the church itself. Monks covered the exterior walls in bright frescoes depicting saints, the life of Christ, heaven, hell, demons torturing the sinful, etc. All that good stuff. Like...

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When Museums Obscure History: Eastern Europe and WWII

FBI Director James Comey is taking heat for a speech he gave, reprinted in the Washington Post, that blamed Poland for the Holocaust as well as Germany. Polish officials condemned him and summoned the American ambassador to apologize. However, the scandal should be over the lack over the Polish officials’...

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Wandering Through Moscow

Some months ago, I found a 1977 book published by the National Geographic Society: Journey Across Russia: The Soviet Union Today. A writer (Bart McDowell) and a photographer (Dean Conger) covered 30,000 miles, visited 50 cities and towns, and the 15 constituent republics of the U.S.S.R. It’s an admirable effort that...

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A Stop in Sofia, Bulgaria

I would not take my parents to Sofia. They struggle enough with D.C. or, for that matter, Columbus, Ohio. Sofia is inaccessible. Sidewalks claw at your feet with hidden angles and general malice. Cyrillic looks intimidating. The language divide demands that the day become a game of charades. The museums...

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Planning a Trip: Booking a Flight

No one makes money running an airline. Which is great for consumers, as the market is competitive enough to make profits razor-thin. So don’t stress about getting a cheap flight. Flights are already cheap. Buy early. Waiting for a cheaper flight sometimes works, but it’s a hassle and a gamble. In general,...