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France

Notre Dame as I'd like to remember it. Photo from Paris-visit.org

Notre Dame as I’d like to remember it. Photo from Paris-visit.org

The news out of Paris is beyond imagining — fire is ravaging Notre Dame Cathedral. As I write this, Parisian officials fear catastrophic damage and perhaps total loss of this world treasure — with late word that its towers and façade may be saved. French President Macron has vowed to rebuild.

For the millions who have visited and loved and worshipped in this magnifient edifice — with so much historic, artistic, and architectural glory — as well as for residents of Paris who have been privileged to view it on an almost daily basis, the news is heartbreaking. And for those who have not had the good fortune to see it and now perhaps never will, words cannot express.

I don’t think I’ve ever been to Paris — from my first visit in 1966 until my latest visit three… Continue reading

Mont-Saint-Michel is a remarkable sight as you approach. Photo from Normandy Tourist Board.

Mont-Saint-Michel is a remarkable sight as you approach. Photo from Normandy Tourist Board.

As regular readers of this blog know, I have a soft spot for off-the-beaten-track destinations.

Yes, I love Paris and Venice and London, but I also like to explore the lesser-known out-of-the-wsy places that many travelers never reach.

Once years ago, I  set off by train from Paris to visit Mont-Saint-Michel, a medieval abbey off the coast of Normandy that I had read about in college in the Henry Adams’ book, Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres.

The trip took two full days because the train connections were awful, but I made it, and didn’t regret it. It’s a dramatically situated Gothic masterpiece, rising atop a rocky island with a maze of narrow streets surrounding it.

Traditionally, Mont-Saint-Michel has only been reachable by land when the tides are out, via squishy mud flats. When the tides come in,… Continue reading

Santorini's harbor is part of an ancient volcanic caldera that wiped out Minoan civilization. Photo from Visit Greece.

Santorini’s harbor is part of an ancient volcanic caldera that wiped out Minoan civilization. Photo from Visit Greece.

Here’s Part 2 of our two-part series on Ten Top European Natural Wonders, starring five more incredibly scenic spots on land, on water, and up in the sky:

The Greek Island of Santorini 

If you bypass the often-crowded Aegean island of Santorini — also known as Thira or, in ancient times, Thera — due to its popularity as a sun-soaked tourist destination, you’ll also be missing one of the most memorable and expansive seascape panoramas in all of Europe.

Few views can compete with those from a terrace perched high atop the cliffs overlooking Santorini’s deep, seven-by- four-mile circle-shaped lagoon, formed from a mostly underwater caldera left by a titanic volcanic explosion some 36 centuries ago. One of the most powerful volcanic eruptions in history, it wiped out the island’s… Continue reading

Last of a 3-part series.

In our first post in this series, we began our quick guide to the 12 most popular European cruising rivers, starting with the Danube, Rhine, Seine, and the Volga and other Russian waterways — probably the best known of the top cruising rivers in Europe.

In our second post, we’ took a look at four more rivers  (actually five rivers and one canal) ranging from France to Portugal, Germany and the Czech Republic to Sweden.

In this third post, we’ll complete the top 12 list with cruising rivers in Spain, Germany-Luxembourg, Italy, and, once again, France.

Spain’s Guadalquivir

Seville, Spain's, Plaza de Espana. Photo from Seville Tourism.

Seville, Spain’s, Plaza de Espana. Photo from Seville Tourism.

A Guadalquivir cruise offers one of the most pleasant ways to explore Andalusia – Spain’s southernmost province and site of some of the country’s most fabled cities. The river itself, though one of… 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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