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My Travel Corner

  • At sea: Sailing into the dream A used sailboat costs about as much as a used car. It won’t be new, and it may be a long-term project, but you can sail into the dream for less than $20,000. Our dream turned out to be a 1982 Catalina, a 27-foot sloop with a cranky inboard Atomic 4 gasoline engine and just enough ...
  • The Yellowstone ecosystem and grizzly bears The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is home to an estimated 700 grizzly bears, according to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The number of bears in this ecosystem (which includes Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks) had fallen to an estimated 136 when, in 1975, grizzlies in the lower 48 were listed as threatened ...
  • France: Of kings and champagne Twenty-five French kings were crowned in Reims. These crowned heads included Charles VII with Joan of Arc at his side in 1429. The city’s cathedral, a gothic confection built between the 13th and 15th centuries, was the setting for 19 of those coronations; a stone on its floor identifies its site as the place were Clovis, ...
  • My 50th state: North Dakota As of this summer, I have been in all 50 U.S. states. My sister and I treated ourselves to a driving trip to the last two on my list — North and South Dakota. We spent most of our time in South Dakota, with a special interest in the Black Hills in the westernmost part of ...
  • Croatia: Cilipi revisited — twice Over a period of decades, I have made three side trips, from Dubrovnik, to the village of Cilipi in Croatia. In 1976, I was one of a handful of press accompanying the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) to a meeting held in Dubrovnik. Some of the agents and press participated in a sightseeing program offered ...
  • Spain: The annual Manresa fest This year’s report on the Fira Mediterrània de Manresa finds me once again trying to capture the torrent of events and concerts that make up this citywide festival. I previously focused more on the concerts, but this time around, I decided to cover a bit more of the culinary and street life. Although it has its ...
  • Georgia: Black wine, polyphonic sounds Some travel experiences leave a warm glow long after the event, and an evening spent in Georgian wine country last fall is in that category. The setting was a cozy restaurant in a hill town named Sighnaghi, and the after-dark hours spent there involved dinner, a wine tasting and an extended session of traditional Georgian ...
  • Hungary: Horsemanship on steroids I have from time to time seen photos of Hungarian horsemen riding their horses while standing on the horse. Finally, a couple of years ago, I had the chance to see this. I was traveling with a few other travel writers. Our excursion from Budapest was typical of what any tourist can experience. We were transported ...
  • Germany: Now about that Onion Festival There are a lot of onions at a festival that celebrates the onion. So, I suppose it sounds a bit odd when I say I thought I would see even more at the Onion Festival in Weimar, Germany, this past fall. There were countless stands displaying and selling onion strings, or onion-and-garlic strings. Some also sold decorative ...
  • Germany: The pleasantest surprise This fall, a friend and I aimed to spend a weekend in Weimar, in the former East Germany, when the Onion Festival was on there. But we could not get a hotel room in Weimar. Erfurt, a larger city about a 15-minute train ride from Weimar, was our fallback. What luck that was! Erfurt was the ...
  • New Haven: The ‘glass’ is marble I read this week that Yale University is buying a huge collection of photos, mostly focused on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War era. To be more precise, it is Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library and Yale University Art Gallery that are acquiring the collection, which includes 57,000 prints, thousands of books and other ...
  • Traveling with teenagers in Italy, France I’ve been clearing out old files, all to reduce clutter and, no doubt, to make room for more of the same. Rifling through old papers has jogged many a memory, recalling long-ago trips to destinations no longer safe to visit and, in particular, the trips I hosted to Europe for my nephews, two untraveled teens from ...
  • Estonia: A squishy stroll In early September, I walked on a bog in Estonia. I hasten to add that, given I was not adept at this, the walk was very short. Within minutes, I had gotten my boot buried past my ankle in the waterlogged moss that I was supposed to stay on top of. I was wearing bogshoes, which ...
  • New York: Touring the 9/11 Museum at Ground Zero The 9/11 Museum, which opened this year, is underground, reaching down about 70 feet to bedrock. It extends under the two memorial reflecting pools that mark the footprints of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers, destroyed by terrorists in 2001. The museum had to go below ground because it is obliged by law to preserve the ...
  • New York: Tickets for the 9/11 Museum Last year, at my sister’s request, we booked a timed visit to the World Trade Center site in New York where I live, but this year, with the 9//11 Museum now open, she wanted to return to see the new facility. So, we did just that. Timed entry tickets are no longer required for visiting the World ...
  • Kenya and the world’s largest land mammal I have a foster elephant, and her name is Kamok. Actually, quite a few people are foster “parents” to the same elephant. This youngster, born in September 2013 in Kenya, was orphaned at birth (natural causes, it says on her paperwork). David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s orphanage for elephants and rhinos, located in Nairobi National Park, took ...
  • New York: The Guggenheim and Italian Futurism This past week, I had the great good fortune to participate in a guided tour of the current exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum on Fifth Avenue in New York. The show is “Italian Futurism, 1909-1944: Reconstructing the Universe.” I was part of a press group, and our narrator was Vivien Greene, the Guggenheim’s senior curator, 19th ...
  • Kenya and a brilliant idea On previous trips to Kenya, my game viewing was confined to national parks and national game reserves. Early this summer, I returned with a press group. We did some of our game viewing in the Maasai Mara National Reserve and Amboseli National Park, but we did more of it on adjacent private property. The land is ...
  • Kenya in the news This summer, I watched two impalas butt heads while another closely guarded his harem, giraffes munch in the treetops, wildebeest run across a river by the hundreds, a young orphaned elephant drink milk from a bottle and sleepy lions yawn so broadly you could count their teeth. And one very curious young elephant checked out the ...
  • Korea: Kings, queens and passengers No one wants a long layover or a long wait for a flight anywhere for any reason. However, my recent several spare hours at the Incheon International Airport in Seoul, Korea, were about as good as a long wait gets. With time to kill, I stumbled onto something called the Korea Traditional Cultural Experience Center. And that’s ...
  • Washington: A bloomin’ city Cherry blossoms are always a winning sight, but they were especially enchanting this spring when, with a couple of friends, I spent a weekend in Washington during the city’s two-week National Cherry Blossom Festival. We went into full tourist mode, watching the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade (on Constitution Avenue), wandering for a few hours among ...
  • Switzerland on a budget? Rex Fritschi is a long-time travel agent, now based in Wisconsin. But he was born in Switzerland and he occasionally returns to the homeland. He called me after a recent trip to discuss prices, meaning high prices. Mind you, he knew about the prices — after all, he is an agent and he certainly knows the place ...
  • New York: Farm to table in Lake Placid Asgaard Farm & Dairy in New York’s Adirondack Mountains is pretty picky about the products it will sell. Caitlin Aherne (who makes caramels — and soap — from goat’s milk at the farm in Au Sable Forks, N.Y.) said the proprietors recently fed an entire batch of below-standard goat cheese to the pigs, which must have ...
  • Chile: Atacama, a desert with many faces I did a lot of research about the Atacama, the world’s driest desert, for my book of travel trivia, but nothing beats seeing the place — which I finally was able to do when visiting Chile last year. My press group saw a wide range of “wondersome” natural attractions as follows, salt flats and their flamingos, ...
  • New York: The Village, tasty and charming I have found the best-ever chocolate chip cookies. That is my opinion after a three-hour walking tour in New York’s Greenwich Village operated by Foods of New York Tours. Those cookies, especially good when warm from the oven, can be had at Milk and Cookies (19 Commerce St). Our tour wasn’t all about sweets (thank goodness!) or ...
  • Montana: ‘Teepee capital of the world’ I write this in the wake of the annual Crow Fair, held in Crow Agency on the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana. The fair site is often called the “teepee capital of the world” because so many of the cone-shaped tents dot the grounds. Part of the time, I was lucky to be a guest of ...
  • Morocco: The Marrakech souks Sightseeing in Morocco’s Marrakech had to include the souks, or open-air markets, many of them identified with specific goods, such as jewelry, carpets, spices and so forth. The souks are a maze of narrow walking streets and alleyways that never head anywhere in a straight line, hugged on both sides by tiny or middling-sized open-front shops ...
  • Sweet pickin’: Strawberries in Japan Visitors to Japan might, quite reasonably, expect to sample sushi, sashimi and soba (the latter are, to us English speakers, noodles) … but strawberries? Yes, you heard (or read, rather) me right: strawberries. I did indeed indulge in grilled eel, green tea and other typically Japanese delicacies on a recent trip to the country. However, an unexpected, ...
  • Spain: Madrid for foodies I think I ate my way across Madrid during a recent trip to Spain with travel journalists. We had meals that really were worth writing home about, but I’ll write about them here: • Poncelet Cheese Bar, Calle de Jose Abascal, 61, is a relatively new establishment in a sleekly designed open interior space. A variety of ...