A Walk Through Athens Greece

As a hardcore history nerd and amateur cultural anthropologist (yes, I’m only two classes away from having a bachelors in Anthropology), Athens was the perfect opportunity to finally live out my fantasy of exploring and studying ancient cultures and their ruins. It was an honor to have a personal experience with one of the most prolific civilizations that has ever graced this planet.  Think about it!  Without Athens modern democracy wouldn’t exist!  The idea of forums and a government by the people for the people was a concept that arose from the Athenians who, like the goddess Athena for whom


Port of Hamburg: Photo Essay

Sorry Philadelphia, but I’m having a love affair with Hamburg, Germany.  I love its old traditions balanced with a spirit of new ideas, its humble, working class beginnings, and this port city’s seafaring feel.  Where Philadelphia’s shipping history was almost snubbed out because of America’s highway system (in recent years, there’s been a huge push to revitalize it), Hamburg’s is still thriving 826 years later.  Honestly, a life at sea is not complete with a stop at Hamburg Harbor. This past winter, I took a trip back to visit Hamburg and was welcomed by unseasonably beautiful weather.  As a result,

Heini Hiltunen Timo Kaukonen, left, sweats it out at the Sauna World Championships.
From ESPN "Sports from Hell"

That Time I Almost Died in a German Sauna

There are two types of people in this world: there are those who go to saunas for relaxation.  Then there are those who turn relaxation into a competition.  Yes, there are literally people who go to saunas to challenge one another on who can stay in a sauna the longest.  Back in 2010 I read a story about that Russian guy who died in a sauna competition in Finland.  The relaxation aspect of it I can get, but I think it’s a bit crazy that people take it to a whole new level and put their bodies through stress just

dall sheep

Have You Seen the Dall Sheep?

Alaska is teeming with wildlife.  In fact, Denali National Park & Preserve is home to 39 species of mammals, 169 types of birds, 14 fish, and 1 amphibian.  Amongst them are wild bears, moose, coyotes, wolves, eagles, and other creatures worth excitedly wiping out your camera and accidentally dropping it for.  But no animal in Alaska gets the older male tourist population more pumped than the Dall sheep. When compared to the other majestic creatures that you encounter in Alaska, the Dall sheep are simpletons.  You can usually observe them far off in the distance, hanging out on the peaks

Sun Rise

From the Darkness Comes Light

Hey there readers, On A Travel Broad, I tend to focus only on the positive and exciting side of my life and travels.  I share with you pictures from my time living in Germany and stories of my jaunts through Europe and North America in hopes of inspiring you to go out and experience the world for yourselves.  But I hardly ever discuss the difficult times I sometimes face.  Some of these challenging times are by my choice because I love traveling and sharing my travels with you gives me purpose.  In the 5 years since I’ve started this blog,

deutsche bahn

How to Navigate Germany When Deutsche Bahn Train Drivers Go on Strike

If you want to tick off a group of Germans, tell them that the train is going to be fifteen minutes late. But if you tell them that none of the trains will be running due to a strike? Utter chaos! Hundreds of thousands of travelers depend on the Deutsche Bahn to transport them to airports, cities and neighboring countries in Europe. But as Deustche Bahn train drivers prepare to go on strike tomorrow through Monday, these travelers, many of whom will be converging on Berlin this weekend for the 25th anniversary of its fall, are scrambling for an alternative.

roma kids

Playing with Roma Children

Below Acropolis in Athens, Greece, Roma children work as street performers, playing accordions, drums and the bouzouki, a type of Greek guitar, for money.  They purposely target marketplaces and tourist areas, knowing that that’s where the cash flows the fastest.  There are several levels of aggressiveness when it comes to begging.  Some casually perform on the street corner — in fact, the older kids are very talented at playing folk music, turning street corners in to concerts.  Then there are others who go from cafe table to cafe table playing music while simultaneously begging for money. Some get creative by

favorite place in the world

Answer to the Infamous Question, “What’s Your Favorite Place in the World”

“What’s your favorite place in the world?”  It’s often the first question that everyone asks when they learn that I’m a travel writer.  In my younger years, I often answered with a place I had recently gotten back from, mostly for the sake of conversation.  “Oh I was surprised how much I loved Denmark” or “I loved Barcelona for the food”. But the more I travel, the more I realize that there is no definitive answer to this question.  People sometimes expect me to pick a favorite place because of the sites (“isn’t Paris the best because of the Eiffel

York Post

York: England’s Most Haunted Town is Actually Charming

York: England’s most haunted town.  Seems like a bold claim, but when you look at York’s gruesome history of the Black Death, murder, poverty, war, and genocide you can kind of see where these ghost stories come from.  As a result, many businesses in York are cashing in on things that go bump in the night.  Nightly ghost tours take upwards of 75 thrill-seekers at a time to go ghost hunting at famous sites, hotels offer premier rates to stay in their “haunted suite”, and pubs have banners and signs claiming York’s most haunted pub, not because of any quantifiable

cats of athens

The Cats of Athens

People often talk about how many dogs are roaming around Athens, but let’s take a moment to enjoy the cats. With the picturesque views and the natural coyness of cats, I have enough photos to do a 15-month “Kittehs of Athens” Calendar if I wanted to.  Here’s a few of my favorite felines so far.

The Sandwich That Got Away

Schwartz Deli MontrealI’ve had plenty of delectable sandwiches in my time.  Hell, I lived in Germany, the land of delicatessens, bakeries and belegtes brot!  But there is one sandwich in this world that I pine for.  One sandwich that I would drive 9 hours north through the Adirondacks, over the Catskill Mountains and across the Canadian border just to eat it again.  The sandwich I long for is the smoked meat sandwich from Schwartz’s Deli in Montreal, Canada.

Schwartz’s Deli wasn’t even on my travel radar.  The only reason I heard about their infamous smoked meat sandwich was through asking locals on what my travel partner, Shawn, and I should do while in Montreal.  It was all the same “You have to go to Schwartz’s – you need to order the smoked meat sandwich” – it was a hypnotizing mantra that repeated itself throughout the trip.

So after hearing about this freaking deli, Shawn and I decided to grab some smoked meat sandwiches on day two before heading upSchwartz 2 to Mount Royal.  We arrived at 11:30 am and were greeted with a line out the door of people waiting to be seated.  We didn’t wait long to be seated at the back of the narrow restaurant that seated a max of maybe 40 people.   Everything was a tight squeeze, but the staff was able to waltz through the crowd balancing sodas and sandwiches with precision and ease.  Even though they were used to feeding the masses, I still appreciated the artistry and finesse.

Schwartz’s was filled to capacity and you’d expect there would be a lot of commotion, but it was eerily silent – all of those people in a trance quietly enjoying their sandwiches, getting lost in the flavor.

And, my lord, when our sandwiches arrived it was bliss.  The beef was smoked until perfectly tender, the tangy mustard and sour pickles complimented the smoky flavor of the meat and it was housed between two glorious slices of rye bread.  Hallelujah!  It was perfectly balanced – it was zen – it was perfection at its core.  I now understand why Montreal has a musical all about Schwartz’s Deli and the sandwich that summons hungry patrons from far away lands.  Hours later, burping up the sandwich was even a joy.

Schwartz Deli Smoked Meat SandwichI sometimes feel guilty for leaving that sandwich behind and often dream about surprise visiting Schwartz’s – you know, just kind of stopping by to say “hey”.  I’ve tried to fill the hole that Schwartz has left in my life with other sandwiches like roast beef sandwiches, Reubens, cheesesteaks, but nothing will ever fill the void.

As my friend Nicole said when describing her favorite sandwich, “I wish I could cat call it.  Maybe this is how men feel when they holler at a woman.  Some hope that she’ll walk over, just like I have some hope that this sandwich will enter my life and into my mouth.”

And that is how I feel about Schwartz’s Deli’s smoked meat sandwich – it is a sandwich that you can holler at.


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