Whenever I travel, I always try to pick up the local newspaper.
I’m the kind of traveler who doesn’t want to be limited to hotels and tourists areas. I want to get a sense of the place. And I find newspapers are a great way to learn about a city — what’s going on, what’s important, what things locals are interested in.
It’s a little more difficult, however, to read newspapers when they are in a foreign language! This year, I traveled to two foreign destinations where French is the primary language: Paris and Montreal.
Even though my French is rudimentary at best, I still could fumble through enough of it to learn that some important European soccer figure had died (that was in a French sports paper) and that elections were coming up in Montreal. I even “read” in a Montreal newspaper about a study of neonicotinoids, a class of pesticides thought to harm bees — an issue I’ve written about in Maryland.