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Two Muslim women pass by an intricately carved door of traditional design in Zanzibar’s Stone Town. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

I was interested to come across a recent report that the Indian Ocean island of Zanzibar was cracking down on tourists wearing skimpy attire in public.

According to CNN, Lela Muhamed Mussa, the minister of tourism, declared that tourists must cover themselves from shoulder to knee in public places — or their tour guides or operators would pay the price, with fines ranging from U.S.$700 to $2,000. (Tourists themselves, who support the bulk of the local economy, are exempted, though they’re likely to draw stares and recriminations from offended local residents.)

Predominantly Muslim Zanzibar attracts up to 30,000 tourists per month, attracted by its combination of sandy, sunny beaches bordering sapphire waters and the island’s equally colorful (if often sordid) history, centered around Stone Town, Zanzibar’s capital. It’s when the… Continue reading

A view from the top of the Rock, with Spain in the background. Photo by Clark Norton

Like Contributing Writer Robert Waite, I was also thrilled to finally set foot on the Rock of Gibraltar — in our case, it was a few years ago, when my wife and I approached it by sea from Morocco.

Previously, we had passed it a few times while crossing the Straits of Gibraltar from Spain to North Africa, but from a distance all you see is a…rock. Not that it isn’t an impressive rock — one time I wasted almost an entire roll of film trying to photograph it from too great a distance — but when you approach it it quickly becomes apparent how alive it is with people and activity.

I’ll let Bob take it from here — with a hearty recommendation that you visit when you can.

By Robert Waite… Continue reading

The Pergamonmuseum is filled with artworks from ancient Babylon, Islamic cultures, and classical antiquity. Photo by Lia Norton

It’s been 30 years since I was in Berlin. The Berlin Wall was about to come down, but East Germany was still hanging on and Checkpoint Charlie was still up.  It was pretty grim.

Berlin, of course, has undergone tremendous changes since then, as my daughter, Lia, writes about in her first guest post for this blog. The city is now a swirl of activity, culture, and culinary experimentation.

In this post, Lia focuses on Berlin’s art and food, both of which she absorbed with gusto. For baby boomers like me who remember Berlin mostly as an outpost of the Cold War, the transformation is a revelation — I can’t wait to go back.

By Lia Norton

The last time I was in Berlin, back in 2008, it was for a… Continue reading

Budapest's Parliament building is Hungary's top must-see attraction . Photo by Clark Norton Can't afford to fly to Budapest? Try using or Google Flights. Photo by Clark Norton

Budapest’s Parliament building is Hungary’s top must-see attraction . Photo by Clark Norton

Most of us, when we travel to another country, probably have in mind at least one “must-see” attraction., usually an iconic structure, museum, historic site, or natural wonder.

Examples might be Machu Picchu in Peru, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the Giza Pyramids in Egypt, the Roman Colosseum in Italy, and the Parliament building in Budapest, Hungary.

Recently, TripAdvisor — which has propelled itself into the world’s leading travel site and travel data bank — released a map of Europe displaying the “one thing you must do in each country, according to tourists.” (I found it in the Huffington Post.)

For most countries, the results were pretty true to form: The Roman Colosseum in Italy; The Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium; the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands; Tallinn Old Town in Estonia; the Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece; the… Continue reading

Monticello -- Jefferson's home, which appears on the U.S. nickel coin. Photo by Clark Norton

Monticello — Jefferson’s home, which appears on the U.S. nickel coin. Photo by Clark Norton

Dear Readers, 

While I’m traveling in Antarctica for a few weeks I’ll be reprising some of my most popular posts from the past three years. This one (now slightly updated) originally ran in December of 2013. 

On a recent family visit to Charlottesville, Virginia, I found it to be a very livable — and visit-able — city, which I highly recommend for baby boomer travelers.

Mostly I knew it as the home of the University of Virginia and Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, both of which were designed by our third president. Those two sites alone would warrant a visit, but anyone interested  in history, outdoor activities and good food would find a welcome respite in Charlottesville.

Now here are ten things I didn’t know about Charlottesville:

Montpelier, home of President James Madison. Photo by Lia Norton

Montpelier, home of… Continue reading

Sidi Bou Said, near Tunis, is one of Tunisia's premier -- and most colorful -- resort towns . Photo from

Sidi Bou Said, near Tunis, is one of Tunisia’s premier — and most colorful — resort towns . Photo from

When my son sang in a children’s choir some years ago, I attended a meeting where parents were debating whether it was safe to send their kids off to Britain to compete in the famous National Eisteddfod competition in Wales.

There had been some recent bombings and kidnappings in London, the first stop on their itinerary — hence the concern. I noted that the choir members would have more to fear from the bus ride from the airport into the city than from any sightseeing or other activities they would experience in London or Wales.

My statement was immediately misinterpreted by a number of other parents who thought I was suggesting that terrorists would be out to kidnap or bomb a busload of choir boys and girls just… Continue reading

Bletchley Park Mansion, site of The Imitation Game. Photo by Shaun Armstrong, courtesy of VisitBritain.

Bletchley Park Mansion, site of The Imitation Game. Photo by Shaun Armstrong, courtesy of VisitBritain.

British films were nominated 21 times in several Academy Award categories this year, including two for Best Picture, two for Best Actor, one for Best Actress, one for Best Director, and two for Best Supporting Actress.

Two were winners in major categories: Eddie Redmayne won the Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, while Graham Moore won for Best Adapted Screenplay  for The Imitation Game.

If you’re headed to England this year, you can visit a number of location settings for these films. Here’s where:

The Imitation Game

 The inspiring but ultimately tragic life story of brilliant mathematician and codebreaker Alan Turing is the focal point of this historical drama set in the Victorian estate of Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire, used as the unlikely… Continue reading

The cover of one of the most popular Tintin books.

The cover of one of the most popular Tintin books.

When my son, Grael, was a child, I used to read “The Adventures of Tintin books to him nearly every night.

For those of you who don’t know about Tintin, he was a brilliantly drawn cartoon character created by the Belgian artist Hergé, a boy reporter who,  along with his faithful dog Snowy and hard-drinking, foul-mouthed sidekick Captain Haddock, solved mysteries in exotic locales around the globe.

Besides outsmarting and outfighting dastardly villains, he had to overcome the interference of  two bumbling detectives, Thompson and Thomson, who looked exactly alike and were equally incompetent, and deal with eccentric figures like hearing-impaired Professor Calculus and operatic diva Bianca Castafiore.

Tintin was always getting into and then escaping from life-threatening situations, and the colorful  illustrations, reflecting a world that pre-dated mass tourism, made… Continue reading

Colorful quilts on display at the National Quilt Museum. Photo courtesy of the National Quilt Museum.

Colorful quilts on display at the National Quilt Museum. Photo courtesy of the National Quilt Museum.

Sometimes travel discoveries come strictly through serendipity.

While attending a recent family reunion in southern Illinois, my new daughter-in-law, Nona Patrick, mentioned that she knew of a quilt museum in Paducah, Kentucky, that she would like to see someday. As it happens, Paducah was just a 45-minute drive from our reunion site and, since we had some extra time before driving back to the St. Louis airport (yes, three states figure into this tale), I suggested we go see it then and there — especially since Nona and our son, Grael, live in Tucson, Arizona — not exactly next door to Kentucky.

Until a few years ago, when I wrote a story on quilting theme cruises for Porthole Cruise Magazine, I would have said I had little interest in quilting and would have… Continue reading






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According to government and private surveys:

  • Leading-edge baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) and seniors account for four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel today.
  • Roughly half the consumer spending money in the U.S.--more than $2 trillion--is in the hands of leading-edge baby boomers and seniors.
  • Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) travel more than any other age group.
  • When asked what they would most like to spend their money on, baby boomers answered “travel” more than any other category, including improving their health or finances.

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