I have no idea why I came to trust Dave.
The man loved snakes, scorpions, and spiders. I hate spiders — and I’m not too keen on snakes or scorpions.
But this was the rain forest, where Dave seemed at home, and where, to me, everything seemed strange and foreboding.
I watched as a line of ants, dwarfed by the leaves they were hauling, marched past my feet.
I listened as distant howler monkeys made eerie noises like the wind wailing through the trees.
I cringed as a bright yellow spider made its resolute journey across the shoulder of one of my companions. Dave’s face lit up as he snatched the spider and held it in his palm, showing it off like a trophy.
“Completely harmless!” he announced. Anne, the young woman who provided the shoulder, merely shuddered.… Continue reading
Historic inns at some of the most popular U.S. national parks are sending out alerts that, because of cancellations and travel restrictions imposed in the wake of COVID-19, there is potential space to be had this summer if you act quickly to reserve.
The lodgings run by the Xanterra company — including historic and atmospheric inns such as El Tovar perched on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, Zion Lodge in Utah, and The Oasis in Death Valley — are even offering up to 30 percent off their regular rates this summer to entice customers.
Summers are usually fully booked months in advance, so for those who do want to travel and feel they can safely do so, this is an opportunity to experience some of America’s greatest outdoor spaces in style.… Continue reading
Auto Europe, one of my affiliate partners, is giving away a 7 Night Italian Road Trip Escape, valued at over $3,200.
The winner will receive seven nights accommodations at three prestigious Italian resorts, a $250 credit toward a rental car, a food tour in Rome or Florence, some handy travel accessories, and expertly written Italian travel guides.
The contest ends at 11:59 pm on Saturday, August 6th, 2016.
You can enter the contest by going here.
Learn more about Auto Europe, an international company that rents cars all over the world (including, of course, Europe).
When my wife and I were in Nuremberg, Germany, this past September, we stayed for four nights in a lodging that was adjoined to the Imperial Castle that sits on the highest point in the city.
It was a short stroll to the castle entrance and all the other landmarks of the old city, which has been beautifully restored after its destruction in World War II.
It was five-to-ten minute downhill walk to the Hauptmarkt, or Market Square. The Albrecht Durer Haus — where Germany’s most celebrated painter lived — is even closer. The main train station is about a mile away.
We had a sparkling clean room with a view, a private bathroom, and a gigantic German buffet breakfast — wonderful breads, cheeses, meats, fruit, yogurts, eggs, juices and coffee (including espresso drinks) — that was included in the rates.… Continue reading
Hamilton — a musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton, one of the U.S. Founding Fathers and the first Secretary of the Treasury under President George Washington — is the hottest show on Broadway, currently showing at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. The cast recording was also one of the top albums of 2015.
It’s fitting to mention it today because Hamilton was born on January 11, 1755 (some sources say 1757).
One of the leading figures in the American Revolution, Hamilton was known as a brilliant orator and influential advocate of a strong federal government, putting him at odds with Thomas Jefferson and provoking jealousy from his one-time friend Aaron Burr, who eventually killed Hamilton in a duel. (Burr, a fascinating figure in his own right, is now primarily remembered for shooting his rival.)
The Travel… Continue reading
It was news to me, but National Grandparents Day is on Sunday, September 13th.
According to Family Travel Association:
- 50 million U.S. households are now led by grandparents, forecasting a continued travel boom by this large group of baby boomers.
- Today’s grandparents are far more active than their parents were, spending lots of time planning trips around specific activities.
- As a result, multi-generational adventure travel is up 30% year after year. (Multi-generational travel is the fastest growing segment of the travel industry and tops the list of travel trends, according to the Virtuoso Luxe Report.)
- More grandparents are traveling with just the grandchildren, leaving the greandkids’ parents’ behind.
- 22% of all grandparents traveled with just their grandchildren in the past year.
Here are a few suggestions for multi-generational travel, whether it’s… Continue reading
Fourth in a Series
On the fourth day of my recent “Magical Lake Michigan:”cruise aboard the Grande Mariner with Blount Small Ship Adventures, we reached the top of Lake Michigan in early evening.
Dinner, normally served at 6:30 p.m., was delayed a bit while we sailed under the five-mile long Mackinac Bridge, which spans the Straits of Mackinac and connects the Upper and Lower peninsulas of Michigan.
The bridge was opened to traffic in 1957 and is considered an engineering marvel, costing $100 million to build. It’s the fifth largest suspension bridge in the world and the largest in the Western Hemisphere. Four million vehicles cross the bridge annually.
Sure, the Caribbean pirates of yore were a cutthroat crew: They plundered, pillaged, and sent many a scurvy dog to Davy Jones’ Locker — then squandered their booty on rum and loose women.
But nearly two centuries after their last victims walked the proverbial plank, those swashbuckling scoundrels still command rock-star power.
Maybe it’s the devil-may-care attitudes flaunted by fictional pirates like Treasure Island’s Long John Silver, Peter Pan’s Captain Hook and Pirates of the Caribbean’s Jack Sparrow — hoisting their Jolly Rogers on the mainmast, unfurling their cryptic treasure maps, sporting their earrings and puffy shirts in an otherwise overstarched age.
Maybe it’s the colorful monikers of real-life pirate captains — Blackbeard, Calico Jack Rackham, Black Sam Bellamy — whose crimes reflected little of the Hollywood image.
Whatever the reason, if you’re hooked on the… Continue reading
Second in a Series:
My wife, Catharine, and I always like to arrive one or two days in advance at the embarkation point of a cruise, partly to explore and get acclimated to a new location, and partly just to plain avoid missing the boat.
We also like to seek out the ship wherever it may be docked, if it’s arrived in port a day or two early. We were looking for the Sagitta, the Island Windjammers’ 24-passenger sailing vessel where we would spend the next week, sailing from St. Lucia to several other Caribbean islands.
And so Catharine and I walked down to the Rodney Bay Marina — on the far northern end of St. Lucia — from our hotel, the Bay Gardens Inn. (Which, by the way, I heartily recommend; it’s small,… Continue reading
I see a lot of Top Ten travel lists of this and that, often filed away and forgettable. But a friend just sent me a particularly interesting compilation of Top Ten travel lists — ranging from the world’s best nightlife destinations to best culture and history to cheapest and most expensive places to visit — as voted on by 7,000 travelers who took part in a recent survey by hostelworld.com.
Now it’s true that most people using hostelworld.com, a site where you can book hostels and inexpensive hotels/inns/guesthouses around the world, are probably much younger than the typical baby boomer demographic. But I was struck by, well, how much I agreed with the findings of the survey – though perhaps for different reasons in some cases.
Whether that means I’m still a 20-year-old backpacker at heart, or… Continue reading