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Going Local: Experiences and Encounters on the Road, by Tripatini member Nicholas Kontis
It’s that sudsy time of year again, as Germany’s Oktoberfest is underway again. When many of us think “beer”, Deutschland naturally springs readily to mind – and for some, perhaps also Belgium, known for some distinctive brews of its own. But after more than a quarter century recovering from its unfortunate 20th-century stint behind the Iron Curtain of the Cold War decades and resulting beer-industry degradation, the beer-pioneering Czechs are once again coming into their own as a beer destination - and indeed, a world brewing power. Indeed, the pedigree of what we today think of as beer – brewed with barley and hops, here in particular the reknowned Saaz hops – goes back almost as far as you can go in Europe. That is, to at least the 7th century, when Slavic tribes displaced Celts in what is now Bohemia and Moravia, and by 933, beer production was documented by the Benedictine monks of Břevnov Monastery outside Prague. Furthermore, the world’s most popular beer... keep reading
Three Cheers for Algiers!
Quick, what’s Africa’s largest country? If you said Congo, Libya, or South Africa, well, yes, they’re certainly up there, but the answer is Libya’s (plus Morocco’s and Tunisia’s) next-door neighbor Algeria – bigger than Alaska plus California put together, or nearly three times the size of the British Isles. It shares many allures in common with Morocco and Tunisia, but although it has been a major trading partner for Europe (especially in petrol and natural gas), touristically it has flown very low under the radar for decades because of years of civil strife as well as shortsightedly putting all its eggs in the energy basket) – and to this day remains still largely a business rather than leisure destination. But thanks to the drop in petrol prices, the régime is finally becoming more interested in encouraging tourism, and at least these days, things are calmer overall,, and... keep reading
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