Ruth Cuevas

24 Hours in Kenya

From the moment I arrived, it felt like a true adventure. I donned my sunglasses as I walked across the tarmac to the 10-person prop-plane waiting for us on the runway. Everyone knew who I was and they acted like they were expecting me. Once we ascended, we flew over Nairobi, into the clouds and across the mountains in the horizon heading towards Masai Mara, Kenya. I knew there was a good chance I wouldn’t see any animals which happens, so I tried managing my expectations. If I saw even one elephant, zebra, hippo of giraffe, I’d be happy

A Guide to the Christmas Season in Germany

Anyone who’s stood amidst the glow of a Weihnachtsmarkt or Christmas market knows that the holiday season in Germany is special. While different regions of Germany have their own customs, some traditions are observed countrywide. Advent Sundays help usher in the festivities. Advent Sundays are the four Sundays in December leading up to Christmas. Because you count down to Christmas, the dates for Advent Sundays change from year to year (in 2018 they will be Dec. 2, 9, 16, and 23). Traditionally

Benefits of DOD-contracted universities | Stripes Europe

Being overseas doesn’t mean you have to put your education on hold. In fact, this might be a perfect opportunity for you to continue your studies. For years, the U.S. government has secured contracts with schools to provide educational programs in Europe to servicemembers and their dependents: Central Texas College (CTC), University of Maryland University College (UMUC), Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU), and the University of Oklahoma (OU). Each school offers services, coursework, cou

Johanniskreuz: A Hot Spot in the Woods

If you’re a motorcycle enthusiast, you’re probably either in heaven now that you live in Germany, or you’re intimidated. If you’re intimidated, don’t be. In fact, many of my friends say that riding in Germany feels much safer than riding in the USA because traffic feels more predictable. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can do whatever you want or that you don’t have to pay attention, but knowing that traffic rules aren’t as loose and carefree as other countries helps to relieve some of tha

Hidden oasis – Luisenpark Mannheim

Deep within the urban borders of the city of Mannheim, is the 100 acre public park known as Luisenpark. Named after the Grand Duchess Luise von Baden, daughter of Kaiser Wilhelm I, Luisenpark was built between 1892 and 1903.  The park is located in the eastern part of the city of Mannheim and can be spotted from almost anywhere because of the large telecommunications tower located near the park’s main entrance. Luisenpark is open all year around, from 9 a.m. to sunset. It is often recognized as

My Paris for your L.A.: How to be a Writer.

Before it was popular in movies, and way before Airbnb, I swapped my apartment for a few months with a complete stranger practically halfway around the world. I was lucky enough to be living just a few steps away from the infamous Boardwalk in Venice Beach, California. It sounds magical—and some of it was. But, I was also met with sudden unemployment, which lasted longer than I anticipated. Facing constant rejection from job applications, I was at a particularly low point emotionally, in relat

No Wonder Recycling in the United States is so far behind Europe.

Every time you read, share, comment or heart you help an article improve its Rating—which helps Readers see important issues & writers win $$$ from Elephant. Learn more. My friend spent much of her childhood between Amsterdam and the United States. When she was in graduate school, she moved back to the Netherlands and lived there for a few years, went to Germany for a semester, traveled throughout Asia, and eventually came back to Germany and Amsterdam for another couple of years before return

Follow the German Timber-frame Road

Monschau: On the westernmost edge of Germany along the Belgian border, is the town of Monschau. Monschau is located in the District of Aachen, in the state of North Rhine Westphalia. Traversed by the river Rur and surrounded by mountains, its clean air, quiet atmosphere and abundance of nature have made Monschau an ideal location for wellness retreats. In 1996, Monschau was named a health resort town. The half-timbered buildings in the town center have remained unchanged for the last 300 years.

Follow the German Timber-frame Road — Part 2

Celle: Returning to the Timber-Frame Road, to the west of Quedlinburg and south of Stade, is the village of Celle. Celle has the largest collection of timber-framed houses in all of Europe (around 400). The town is located on the Aller River, and is known for being the “gateway to Lueneburg Heath,” a nature reserve. Celle Castle dates back to 1530 and belongs to one of the oldest dynasties still in existence. The palace is known to be one of the best examples of Renaissance art in Germany. Durin

Follow the German timber-frame road (part 1)

For many a road-tripper, traveling through Germany evokes images of storybook villages surrounded by lush forests, castles perched high on mountaintops, or mysterious Roman or Celtic artifacts in unsuspecting locations. Aside from having some of the best road conditions throughout Europe, Germany has taken a lot of the guess-work out of planning by naming routes that highlight particular interests. Would you like to see castles? Take a drive on the Burgenstrasse (German Castle Road). Want to tra

What it’s like for a Mother without her Children

My ex-husband and I planned the trip for weeks: our two daughters, ages eight and ten, would board a plane and fly from Los Angeles to Florida. They would spend the entire summer with him, and a couple of weeks before school started, they’d return and our lives in California would go back to normal. It was hard to watch the girls get on the plane alone, but I knew these trips would help them grow up to be independent women in a way that no other experience could. That same summer, I landed a j

Pulling Out: Stories of Life, Love, and War in Iraq and Afghanistan

“The experience was new and fresh, and as I flew over the lights of the Arabian Las Vegas below, I knew I was once again entering a new phase. I knew that whatever was to come would only benefit me. I knew that I had to be sharp in this environment and that I had to be flexible and I knew more than anything, that despite the fact that I would soon be flying into a war zone, this was not where I was going to die.” – Pulling Out: Stories of Life, Love, and War in Iraq and Afghanistan

Exploring Bohemia, Heading to Prague

It’s in Bohemia where Prague, Karlovy Vary, and Cesky Krumlov reside, as well as beautiful artifacts like crystal, porcelain and other royal-worthy things. Beginning with Prague – a city where great writers like Kafka* were inspired to expose the humor in the human condition through writing that touched on our primal emotions. (Visit the place where he used to work if you get a chance – it’s  a Sofitel Hotel now but incredible!) It is a city that drew creatives here in droves. A place where Mila


Spain is a place where beauty exists in everything, design and architecture tells the tales of their past, and the people and food become yet another modality of creative expression. Arriving on a Thursday morning in an old Spanish city called Cádiz located in Andalucia, we found ourselves enveloped in so much history. Cádiz is known as the oldest city in Western Europe, founded by the Phoenicians in 1104 BC. Located on the southwestern coast of Spain, it boasts a long history abundant in landma

Giles Foden | the Last King of Scotland

These days, Giles spends most of his time as a university professor, teaching others how to write. Due to his unique experience in Africa, he has been called on for his expertise on the culture and environment and has authored several reports for private companies as well as provided briefings to British Diplomats assigned to African countries. Giles also worked as literary editor for The Guardian in London and has served as a judge of the MAN Booker Prize and the IMPAC Prize. His writing has ap

A trip to the beaches of Normandy - Travel blog

Every year people travel from all over the world to visit a six-mile long and two-mile wide stretch of beach, that potentially defined the world we live in. The Normandy beaches are a necessity for all those looking to understand everything there is to know about the Second World War. Ruth Cuevas author and creator of My Motorcycle Diaries, explains what it's like to visit the modern day beaches of Normandy. No study of WW2 is truly complete until you visit Normandy.  Beginning at the landing b

Christmas Markets in Europe

Things you can buy at most of the markets are: jewelry, knitted items, artisanal foods and candies as well as local crafts. Almost always, everything is bought or produced locally though there are some exceptions. The best-known drink at this time of year is called Gluhwein.  Gluhwein is a hot mulled wine sometimes served with a shot of Amaretto or Rum and is very good for keeping you warm as you walk through exhibits during chilly winter nights. Another traditional drink is  feuerzangenbowle –

Visit Frankenstein's Castle on Halloween in Germany

Every year, THE Frankenstein Castle in Germany, hosts such an event. The story of Frankenstein was first introduced to the world by Mary Shelley as the result of a bet between Percy Shelley (who would later become her husband), John Polidori and Lord Byron to see who could come up with the most terrifying tale. She won (go Mary!)! Mary Shelley’s story was first published anonymously in 1818 and then again in 1820 under her name. The inspiration of her story however, is disputed and little evide
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