Focus on Archaeology

I first visited Egypt 22 years ago. On my fourth trip to the country, in November 2004, I traveled with my 25-year-old daughter, Katie. I wanted to see her eyes light up at the sights that make Egypt one of this world’s greatest tourist destinations. I wanted her to say, 40 years from now, “Way back in ’04, I saw the pyramids for the first time with my MOM.”

Katie could only take one week off from her job. Friends and relatives questioned, “Only one week? What can you do in just one...


A trip to Uruguay in April ’04 was my first to that country. I went to see Montevideo, its capital city. I also wanted to visit the small town of Colonia (its full name is Colonia del Sacramento) in the southwestern corner of the country, about a 2-hour drive from Montevideo. Having seen photos of its quaint, cobblestone streets and having heard that it had begun its existence as a Portuguese settlement, I was intrigued.

It is hard to believe that this lovely town beside the Rio de la...


The Great Wall. There’s little doubt that it is China’s most famous sight. Stretching almost four thousand miles across China, it meanders snake-like over mountains and valleys and over vast steppes and arid deserts. Some sections of the wall are in ruins; others are barely visible, all but obliterated by time. Still other sections have been restored.

There is more than one Great Wall, built over a period of almost 2,000 years. The earliest parts were constructed between 453 and 221 B...


Malaysia Airlines’ ad sounded almost too good to be true: $999 would take us halfway around the world to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s cosmopolitan capital. To that we could add as many (or as few) as we wanted of the dozens of destinations Malaysia Airlines flies to in the Far East. We’d be using Kuala Lumpur as our hub for the Far Eastern destinations, but it would not cost us a penny more to add to our travel agenda, if we chose, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore, Yangon, Hanoi, Manila. . .


by Julie Skurdenis

I first made the acquaintance of Erik the Red in the fourth grade. I was intrigued by this 10th-century Viking who left the country of his birth (Norway), settled in another (Iceland), then was exiled and resettled in yet a third country (Greenland).

Of course, as nine-year-olds in a far gentler time — or so it seems many years down the line — we were not told that Erik the Red was not the most savory of characters, that he was exiled from Iceland for murder...


By Julie Skurdenis, second of two parts (jump to part 1)

In January’s ITN, Julie explored remnants of Chinggis Khan’s empire.

Naadam Festival

The Naadam is Mongolia’s biggest holiday of the year. Held on July 11, 12 and 13, on the anniversary of the 1921 revolution when the Mongolians ousted the Chinese, Naadam originated in Chinggis Khan’s time when Mongolian warriors competed in three “manly” sports: wrestling, archery and horse racing. They still compete, although,...


by Julie Skurdenis, part one of two

By all accounts, Genghis Khan was not a nice guy. Nice guys finish last, and Genghis Khan was determined not to be at the back of the pack. In the late 1100s and early 1200s, this Mongol warrior carved out a vast empire that stretched from Beijing to the Caucasus Mountains in Western Asia. His capital was in Karakorum in central Mongolia, 240 miles southwest of Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia’s present capital.

With my husband, I traveled halfway ’...

Neris River and the Pajauta Valley with Hearth Mound in the foreground.
Kernave in Lithuania — royal mounds and excavated artifacts