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Algarve, Portugal – Sun and Sea

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Algarve, Portugal – Sun and Sea

Portugal’s southern coast, known as the Algarve, is famous for its 100 miles of Atlantic Ocean beaches and 300 days a year of sunshine. It has long drawn Europeans, and it’s true that some of the coastal development is dense and unattractive. Yet the region remains mostly unspoiled, and especially in the western Algarve you find quiet towns and villages, dramatic cliffs and rock formations, beautiful coves and grottos, intimate beaches. I took an early bus from Seville to Lagos, the westernmost of the coastal towns. I had bought a ticket on a “directo” bus, which I...

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La Mamounia Hotel and Travel Exploration Morocco

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La Mamounia Hotel and Travel Exploration Morocco

La Mamounia is one of Morocco’s most beloved hotels, and an undeniable beauty. It was built in the 1920s on the site of the sultan’s palace within the ancient walls of the old city. Its style is a mix of Art Deco and traditional Moroccan. Its 16th century gardens include 32 acres of palms, bananas, roses and jasmine, and ancient walls covered with bougainvillea. I joined my friend, Alecia Cohen, on the open air terrace where we enjoyed a glass of wine and a light lunch, along with the sounds of fountains and birds and the scents of spring flowers. With many years experience in...

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Essaouira, Morocco

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Essaouira, Morocco

First impressions upon arriving the Atlantic coastal port town of Essaouira at midday on an early spring day: clear, brilliant light; wind and crashing ocean waves and screaming gulls; whitewashed buildings that look inviting, familiar, European. And then you go through the walls that surround the medina, and there you are in Morocco, North Africa. The town is not a tourist town really–though it is a gem for tourists to discover. It has a unique atmosphere with narrow winding streets, small shops with well-crafted items to buy, and white-washed houses with the loveliest collection of...

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Welcome to Malaga—Moscata de Alexandria

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Welcome to Malaga—Moscata de Alexandria

Arriving Malaga in the evening via a low-fare flight from Amsterdam, the taxi deposited me a distance from my hotel, pointing me down a broad marble-paved pedestrian street that appeared to be the scene of a big party. It turned out that Avenida de Larios was a main street through town center, and the crowds were celebrating the last day of Carnival celebrations in Malaga. Once in my room on the third floor of a traditional building, I could enjoy the crowds below and from my little Spanish balcony nearly touch the tall structures of LED lights that added to the festive ambiance. This being...

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Rembrandt and the Dutch Soul

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Rembrandt and the Dutch Soul

Thanks to the loan of a museum pass from a local friend, I was able to obtain a hard-to-get ticket and entrance time to a new major retrospective of the works of Holland’s greatest master, Rembrandt van Rijn. The exhibition was devoted to Rembrandt’s works from the last years of his life in Amsterdam, from 1606 until his death in 1669. The exhibit consisted of 90 paintings, drawings and prints that showcased Rembrandt at the height of his powers. “Emerging from the shadow of tragic personal losses and financial setbacks, Rembrandt produced some of his finest works in his...

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Sicily Travel — a Sicilian Idyll

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Sicily Travel — a Sicilian Idyll

Winter in Italy and Sicily in 2012 was called the Grand Gelé, or the Big Freeze. One of the coldest winters in modern Italian history – the canals in Venice froze – didn’t deter our Sicily travel plans. One advantage of traveling in Winter — you have the attractions all to yourself. These images are impressions of our road trip circumnavigating the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea — Sicily. Taormina—tourist delight Perched atop a lofty hill overlooking the Ionian Sea is the lovely town of Taormina, the first stop on our Sicily itinerary. Mt. Etna … on the road to Siracusa After...

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Amazing Vietnam!

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Amazing Vietnam!

A ten-day exploration of Vietnam As an American who remembers well the war in Vietnam, to be a tourist in Vietnam means to revisit the war on some level. Vietnam will always be the place where a terrible war was fought and millions of people, including more than 58,000 Americans suffered and died. But Vietnam is a country with a long history that preceded those dark years, and with the march of time, and the growth of its booming Asian economy, Vietnam has become a fascinating and wonderful travel destination. The country is experiencing a rebirth, and the pace of its changes are truly...

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Incredible India

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Incredible India

To quote UCLA Professor Stanley Wolpert in the opening paragraph to his masterful work, India, “India is at once the oldest and most sorrowful as well as the happiest and most beautiful civilization on earth.” I confess, I am hopelessly enchanted and ensnared by the wonderful mystery that is India. I feel compelled to visit India again to continue my personal discovery of this fascinating, ancient, visually splendid, surprising and deeply affecting destination. I promise that anyone with the desire and the opportunity to travel to India will be rewarded with an unforgettable host of...

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A Trip Through Provence et le Cote d’Azur

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A Trip Through Provence et le Cote d’Azur

A ten-day exploration of the charms of the French Riviera and the grandeur of a Rhone River cruise. The following is a detailed report that follows our trip itinerary and includes traveler’s notes on the places we visited, impressions of our river cruise and hotels, meals and wines we enjoyed, notes on some hotels and excursions we made either with a group or on our own. Part 1: Nice, Eze, Aix-en-Provence, Arles Days 1-2 PARIS CONNECTION. Our 10-½ hour flight from San Francisco is not too painful, until we arrive Charles deGaulle airport, which is undergoing major renovation. Unfortunately...

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