Europe’s baffling linguistic enigma (BBC Travel)

Though the Basque and Armenian languages share no superficial resemblances, they do share a baffling litany of words and grammatical elements. A few steps from the entrance to the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, one of San Sebastian’s most visible landmarks with its sky-piercing gothic spire, lies a simple, two-faced earthen slab. In this corner …

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The French region with a new currency (BBC Travel)

Bayonne, France -- It didn’t take long after my arrival in Bayonne, France, to realise that this riverside town of meandering medieval alleyways flanked by narrow wooden-framed homes is a different kind of Basque Country. French Basque Country counts a population of just less than 300,000, compared to more than two million Spanish Basques, with …

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Why are the Maltese so competitive? (BBC Travel)

Valletta, Malta -- There is a competitive nature that courses through Malta so raw and unbridled that it’s written into the skyline of its capital, Valletta, and permeates across all walks of life on the archipelago. I’m talking about pika – a Maltese word that roughly means ‘a neighbourly rivalry’, but is one of those terms that feels like a fool’s errand when foreigners try to interpret it.

The case for traveling to ‪#‎NorthKorea‬

My decision to visit North Korea was reflex. It was 2007, I was a young (and quite skinny) English teacher in Seoul, and tours over the 38th parallel were becoming popular. The seaside town of Gumgangsan, located a 40-minute drive over the DMZ on the eastern coast, was receiving rafts of slick tour buses from …

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