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Continental Europe: A complicated icon

By Paul Knowles

As Protestants celebrate a milestone anniversary, the writer ventures to Germany in search of the real Martin Luther. (First published in edited form in The United Church Observer). (All photos by Nancy Knowles)

Continental Europe: A surprising find in a small Swiss town

By Paul Knowles (First published in the New Hamburg Independent and other Metroland community newspapers)

We small-town Canadians have a lot to learn about how to nurture and celebrate arts and culture. As a guy who has been deeply involved in this field for many years – as a writer, as an arts presenter, and as a volunteer on arts organizations – it’s tempting to throw a few stones at targets around the region. (All photos by Nancy Knowles; shown, the town's original Van Gogh)

Continental Europe: The Fête des Vignerons 2019!

By news services

Recognized by UNESCO on its list of intangible cultural heritage, the Fête des Vignerons brings generations together, connecting people from the villages, the countryside and the vineyards, locals and foreigners, and offers each one the opportunity to go beyond himself, to transcend and collectively participate in a show unique in the world, one which takes place only once in a generation.

Continental Europe: Giving peace a chance, in 2018

By Paul Knowles

John Lennon said some pretty smart things. Like, “All you need is love,” and “give peace a chance”.  And while John died 38 years ago in a tragedy that involved neither love nor peace, I still have to believe he was right. 

Continental Europe: 150 years of the Vienna State Opera

By news services

The Vienna State Opera will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2019 with nine premieres. The highlight of the upcoming season is a performance of the Woman Without a Shadow by Richard Strauss on May 25, 2019 – 150 years to the day after the opera house officially opened.

Continental Europe: Get off the beaten path in Europe and discover Mallorca

By Amanda Soufi

Five experiences you don’t want to miss on one of the world’s best islands

Continental Europe: European Waterways ‘Pops the Bubbly’ on Hotel Barge Cruise Menus To Reflect Culinary Traditions of France’s Champagne Region

By Andrew Stevens

Champagne Cruise Itineraries Include an Exclusive Tasting at the Hilltop Village of Hautvillers, Where Dom Perignon Discovered the 'Methode Champenoise'.

Continental Europe: Cognac workshop the highlight of Bordeaux experience

By Paul Knowles

Beside my keyboard, as I write this, there is a snifter containing a unique Cognac. It sits next to an elegant wooden box with a brass clasp. The box is labeled “Camus: Maison Familiale Depuis1863”. Inside the box is the 50 cl bottle, bearing the label “PMK”, and its unique code – 15-07-108. Oh yes, it also lists the details of the blend – 60% from the Camus vineyard in Borderies, 20% Fins Bois, 10% Petite Champagne, 10% Grande Champagne, each a different – although neighbouring – “cru”. A perfect blend, to my way of thinking. Of course, I am biased – the “PMK” on the label are my initials; this unique bottle of Cognac is my own, personal blend, the end result of the highlight of a trip to Bordeaux, France – a “Master Blender” workshop at Camus, the largest independent and family-owned Cognac House.

Continental Europe: Outside of our comfort zone

By Paul Knowles (first published in the New Hamburg Independent)

Let me make it clear, right off the top, that it is a terrific assignment. I’ve been asked to write a major feature for the United Church Observer about Martin Luther, on this 500th anniversary of the Reformation. This meant I was sent to walk in Luther’s footsteps in Germany for a week, trying to learn everything I could while we were there. It’s a great gig.


Continental Europe: “Stay open-minded. Stay with us.”

By Paul Knowles (first published in The United Church Observer)

When the Vienna Tourist Board’s Helena Hartlauer told some lunching and munching media about a new hotel in her Austrian city, no one was surprised. A travel rep promoting an accommodation facility? That’s her job. What was surprising, though, was absolutely everything else about the Magdas Hotel, whose apt motto is, “Stay open-minded. Stay with us.”

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