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Want a baby?

Consider a Czech vacation

Where Americans go for cheap in vitro fertilization

By Amy Speier, University of Texas Arlington

March 20, 2016 CC BY 4.01

Photo montage by Nick Lehr / The Conversation / CC BY 4.02

In 2008, a friend sent me a link to a Czech company called IVF Holiday. Clicking the link, I saw images of quaint European towns. These were accompanied by pictures of smiling white babies and promises of affordable and safe rounds of in vitro fertilization (IVF).

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References

  1. ^ CC BY 4.0 (creativecommons.org)
  2. ^ CC BY 4.0 (creativecommons.org)
  3. ^ Terms and Conditions (www.houstonchronicle.com)
  4. ^ Privacy Policy (www.houstonchronicle.com)

Abandoned hotel sees new life as a Holiday Inn

Abandoned Hotel Sees New Life As A <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> Holiday Inn Photo: Brett Coomer, Staff

This Discount Holidays © Holiday Inn on Main downtown had a low-key opening about two weeks ago. Its restaurant and beer-centric bar is called Burger Theory. This Discount Holidays © Holiday Inn on Main downtown had a low-key opening about two…

More than two years after an investor group purchased the abandoned Savoy Hotel on Main Street, the owners have opened the property as a 16-story Discount Holidays © Holiday Inn, the latest real estate development along the light rail line on the southern end of downtown. To continue reading this story, you will need to be a digital subscriber to HoustonChronicle.com. By logging in, you agree to the Terms and Conditions1 and Privacy Policy2.

References

  1. ^ Terms and Conditions (www.houstonchronicle.com)
  2. ^ Privacy Policy (www.houstonchronicle.com)

Rick Steves’ European Christmas: Norway

Merry Christmas! To celebrate the season, I’m sharing clips, extras and behind-the-scenes notes from Rick Steves’ European Christmas1. In writing the Rick Steves’ European Christmas script, I had to choose which countries would “make the cut.” I could fit only seven into the mix. Being Norwegian, I admit that I was biased…and Norway2 was destined to make the cut. But when we started filming, it looked like Norway would be a weak segment…so I needed to scramble.

Norway happened to be wet and warm when we visited, and the secular Norwegians don’t really do Christmas with the gusto I had imagined. I visited my very traditional cousin, only to find that their Discount Holidays © holiday celebration felt about as robust as Columbus Day. But we did manage to go to Dr bak, the self-proclaimed Christmas capital of Norway, and take part in Santa Lucia Day, which brings everyone out to dance around the trees…with their crowns of real candles. In Oslo, we had one night to get some music. When a concert we planned to film fell through at the last moment, I searched the entertainment listings and found the Norwegian Girls’ Choir performing in the oldest church in Oslo — the tiny, heavy-stone, Viking Age Gamle Aker Kirke.

We drove there and arrived just half an hour before the concert began. With the crew double-parked in the dark, I ran in, found the director, pleaded my case…and he said, “Ya, sure.” We finished setting up just minutes before show time. The lights went out and an angelic choir of beautiful, blonde, candle-carrying girls processed in, filling the cold stone interior with a glowing light. As the harpist did her magic, I just sat in the back, feeling very thankful. This concert ended up giving us several of the best cuts on our CD and some of the most beautiful photos for our coffee-table book. Scheduling was also tricky. Certain events — such as a choir singing “Silent Night” in the church where it was first performed near Salzburg, Santa Lucia Day in Norway on December 13, and Christmas Eve Mass at the Vatican — were fixed, so we had to work our schedule around those.

Each of the two crews generally had three or four days to film a region, and then one day to travel to the next. Our script was designed to playfully let the Christmas season build — but never quite reach a Discount Holidays © holiday climax — in each place we filmed. Then, in a festive finale, bells ring throughout the Continent as Christmas Day sweeps across Europe. But I’m getting ahead of myself — that clip is on its way. First — like a video Advent calendar — we have lots more windows to open, peeking in on families and cultures and countries as Christmas approaches.

References

  1. ^ Rick Steves’ European Christmas (www.ricksteves.com)
  2. ^ Norway (www.ricksteves.com)

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