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Friday, January 20, 2012

When you hear this phrase, the “bread basket” of the Roman Empire, a panorama of beautiful travel photos may spring to mind, from Greece, Turkey, Spain…

Surprisingly, these are the wrong postcards. The “bread basket” of the Roman Empire was their provinces in North Africa, covering vast swatches of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya. While today’s Sahara desert is rapidly expanding, there are still areas of these countries where you can get an idea of the fertile allure that it had for the Romans.

Learning about the Roman Empire in Africa may seem somewhat unconventional. Yet, isn’t that what Travelhoppers is all about—finding unconventional and amazing travel experiences? These awe-inspiring sites may be undervalued, but they offer a unique experience not available in Europe. First, Roman sites in North Africa are not major tourist attractions. They are often out of the way and, thus, you may have the entire site to yourself on your own terms, without barriers or restrictions.… Read more

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Now what, you may ask, is the interest of learning a small measure of French? Those of you who have traveled to France can relate to the frustration of waiting years to use your high school French knowledge, only to be rebuffed with English by a smug crêpe seller. Moreover, they only speak French in that one European country — Paris, or something. Mandarin Chinese is much more practical.

French, the language of love and sex and croissants, you might think is limited to France and various other country “bits” (southern Belgium, western Luxembourg, western Switzerland, eastern Canada). Furthermore, French is one of the six official languages of the U.N., and one of only two official languages of the E.U. You can discuss politics with ambassadors — how much more practical could you get?

Fortunately, France engaged in a long and proud history of colonization and exploitation all over the world, so today you can also nasalize your vowels in parts of the Caribbean (think Martinique and Haiti), South America (French Guyana), North and Western Africa (Morocco and  Senegal) and Asia (Vietnam, if you’re lucky enough to encounter someone born under the colonial rule).… Read more