Travel Writing

Let’s narrow things down!

International and U.S. Travel

A Walking Tour of Naples, Italy

I’m reblogging this post from The Gen X Travels, a fellow WordPress blogger, for two reasons: 1) it has some great “in the moment” photos that I think my travel readers will enjoy and 2) because I want to be able to find it later when I’m planning my own trip to southern Italy. All…

Keep reading

Carhenge: Ever heard of it?

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I took a three-day trip to Mount Rushmore from southwest Missouri. On the way to and from, we ventured off the beaten path to see some less-visited sites. One of those was Carhenge. Can you guess what it is? Yep, you’re right. It’s a Stonehenge made of cars.

Keep reading

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis

In March, I had the opportunity to visit The Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, Missouri. Named for the city’s patron, Saint Louis IX of France, the structure, according to a tourist guide, “combines architecture of Romanesque style on the exterior with a wondrous Byzantine style interior.” In other words, WOW.

Keep reading

How to get from Delphi to Olympia by bus

See this restaurant? It doubles as the Delphi bus station.   COVID-19 Preface: Greece officially reopens to travelers on Monday, June 15. According to this Associated Press story published today, “Timely and strictly enforced lockdown measures have so far kept the infection rate in Greece low and the death toll below 200.”) It was a little…

Keep reading

During COVID-19, Take Your Tastebuds to Venice

“A Table in Venice” by Skye McAlpine Takes You There Last week, my daughter ordered this beautiful cookbook, A Table in Venice: Recipes from My Home, by Skye McAlpine from Amazon. Its 287 pages showcase 100 recipes from Venice and the greater lagoon. Yes, the region may be under lockdown, but our fascination with all…

Keep reading

Dear Venice, Get Well Soon

Best wishes for a speedy recovery I took this picture of my daughter last June as she and I returned to Venice from a day trip to Bologna. In the distance, you can see Venice in the lagoon poised for the few remaining months of problematic mass tourism that remained in 2019. It’s quite a…

Keep reading

Photo Friday: Sunny Church in Skopelos

On every Sunday morning last June, my husband and I were mesmerized by the calming tones of musical chants floating on the breezes wafting across the natural amphitheater arrangement of Skopelos Town. Also known as the Old Town or Skopelos Chora, the largest town on Skopelos Island is home to 123 churches Greek Orthodox churches.…

Keep reading

Photo Friday: A Venetian mosaic

The travel is in the details This unexpected mosaic tucked into a corridor in the San Marco sestiere of Venice, Italy will take your breath away. Even the wrought iron barrier is beautiful and provides a contrasting frame for this photo taken by my daughter in June 2019. The design reminds me of a beautiful…

Keep reading

Time to spare in Bologna, Italy is a good thing

Missing a Renaissance masterpiece isn’t One Saturday last June my daughter and I wandered into the Church of Santa Maria della Vita in Bologna, Italy.  We were killing time as we waited to meet friends (my daughter’s Italian language tutor, actually) for lunch and a quick tour of the public library before heading back to…

Keep reading

Your Acropolis Ticket is A Ticket to History

Athens’ Acropolis attracts a global audience hungry for history When you visit The Acropolis during the summer months, expect crowds. In fact, The Acropolis hosts more than 2.5 million visitors from January through October. However, despite those crowds, expect to enjoy quiet moments for gazing at and studying the historic wonders that exist there. Yes,…

Keep reading

The Jewish Ghetto of Venice: A Walking Tour

Five facts and photos from our brief visit to this less traveled Venetian sight In June, my daughter and I took an afternoon in Venice to see the Jewish Ghetto located in the Cannaregio sestiere, in the north of the city. Two years earlier, on a previous week-long trip to Venice, I had wanted to…

Keep reading

Stepping Across a Controversy in Venice

Santiago Calatrava’s infamous bridge made my bucket list This past June, I returned to Venice, Italy for five days to visit my daughter who was serving an internship at the U.S. Pavilion of the 2019 Art Biennale. While there, my goal was to experience a few sights I had missed in 2017 when we visited…

Keep reading

A great man is always willing to be little

His expression compelled me to stop and linger at the display in Mycenae.     Only three to four inches in height, this ivory Mycenaean sculpture does not overwhelm with its size or weight, but with its expression. Made between 1250-1180 B.C. this “Ivory Male Head Figure” was excavated in the ruins of Mycenae (Mykines)…

Keep reading

I say Heraklion, you say Iraklio

At first, Crete’s largest city threw us for a loop The arrivals terminals at Crete’s airport may disappoint you. First, it’s curiously dim. I remember telling my husband it felt like a Walmart store. Its cold LED lighting cast a cool glow on the blue and gray interior. Second, the ladies bathroom was a mess.…

Keep reading

Need a new perspective on Ancient Greece?

The Areopagus in Athens puts Ancient Greece in its proper perspective This morning, we walked through Athens to the Areopagus, the location of a judicial court, where Paul made his “To an Unknown God” sermon to the Athenians with—wait for it— the Acropolis in the background with its temples to Athena, Poseidon, Erechtheus and  other…

Keep reading

Knossos Palace: A Minoan Culture Club

Treat yourself to Heraklion, Crete in Greece “The Minoans. Very smart people,” the guard told me, tapping her index finger on her temple. She had just explained to me (without my asking, by the way… she was that enthusiastic and had walked over on her own to explain) the purpose of a raised ridge near…

Keep reading

Scenes from a sunny house in Athens

AirBnB delivers again This is our first major trip where by the time we return home, we will have utilized  AirBnB seven times! Today’s post is about our stay near the Athens International Airport with Tania and her son, Kostas (yes, another Kostas!). Tania’s house is called “Sunny House” and it’s ten minutes from the…

Keep reading

When your AirBnb host shows you the town

…to share his enthusiasm for Olympia As with all three of the towns we have visited so far in Greece since we left Skopelos Island, there is more to the towns than just the historical sites. For example, Delphi is a quaint Alpine-style village full of shops and establishments that cater to the tourist market…

Keep reading

Carrying a torch for Olympia, Greece

Olympia, Greece was worth three bus rides and a taxi Yesterday, we toured the Sanctuary of Olympia, the mammoth archaeological site at Olympia, Greece.  Thanks to the Olympic Games, I would venture to say that most of us have heard of this site. However, I myself didn’t realize that there was virtually a complete city…

Keep reading

Meet our AirBnB hosts: Kostas and Toula

Our fabulous hosts at Mycenae AirBnb offers something that a traditional hotel doesn’t: contact with local residents. We met Kostas and Toula on our first night in Mycenae after three weeks on Skopelos Island. That day, we had ferried to Skiathos Island, flown for 25 minutes to Athens, then taken a bus to Athens’ KTEL…

Keep reading

Just Takin’ A “Delfie” Selfie

“Delphi” rhymes with selfie I didn’t know until yesterday that to pronounce Delphi like the Greeks, one pronounces it with the stress on the first syllable and with a long “e” sound on the second. Whoops. Silly me. If you pronounce it to rhyme with selfie, you’ve got it right. So… I think it made…

Keep reading

Stafilos Beach for the win

…Stafilos had a dog, so that pushed it ahead of the pack We visited four beaches (Glisteri, Glifoneri, Panormos, and Stafilos) during our three weeks on Skopelos Island and they each were clean, comfortable, and drop-dead gorgeous. However, Stafilos Beach had a dog, so Stafilos for the win. When we visited Stafilos last Friday afternoon,…

Keep reading

The Flying Dolphin: A Need for Speed

Riding Aegean’s Flying Dolphin high-speed passenger ferry When we booked our return ferry tickets from Skiathos to Skopelos last week, the woman at the ticket office confirmed our booking by asking, “There’s a Flying Dolphin you could take. Would a Flying Dolphin be okay?” That’s strange, I thought. Of course, a Flying Dolphin would be…

Keep reading

Going to the hospital in Venice

H is for Ospedale I’m betting that the question, “Wonder where the hospital is around here?” passes through the minds of most visitors to Venice… at least those visitors who stay on the island and think about where they would go if they twisted an ankle or suffered whiplash doing a double-take at an especially…

Keep reading

When you finally meet your online Italian language tutor

Desperately seeking Clara in Bologna, Italy Last Saturday, my daughter and I ventured out of Venice to Bologna. The purpose of our trip was to meet Clara Ori. Clara teaches online lessons in the Italian language and she and my daughter have been working together since last September. Once or twice a week, they meet…

Keep reading

A Visit to the Venice Biennale 2019

“May You Live in Interesting Times” In interesting times, artists create. In uninteresting times, artists still create. Regardless of the global political climate, the Venice Biennale—the Olympics of art where countries each exhibit in their own pavilion or exhibit space—continues. Sure, some countries may decline to participate from year to year or may be late…

Keep reading

A tour of our studio apartment in Greece

Here’s what €40-80 will get you on Skopelos Island, depending on time of year I thought it might be interesting to write a post about our lodging here in Skopelos Town, sometimes called the Chora, on Skopelos Island in Greece. We’re staying in a room that sleeps three people at Mayorka Studios, which is located…

Keep reading

A Visit to Rodios Pottery in Skopelos

A Greek pottery master continues a family legacy Yes, you can call Nikos Rodios a Greek pottery legend, but you can also call him the juggler of Skopelos. When we arrived at his studio Saturday morning in Skopelos Town, Rodios was waiting for a large bowl to dry on his “extra” potters wheel. (He uses…

Keep reading

A Quick Getaway to Glifoneri Beach

We downsized our Sunday afternoon with a walk to this nearby beach We had planned to go to Stafylos Beach, about one mile away across Skopelos Island. However, that would require a bus, and we didn’t know if there would be buses running on a Sunday, since Greek Orthodoxy does play a major role here…

Keep reading

Greek Dancing in the Dark

A slice of Skopelos life Last night, after a dinner down by the harbor at Στου Δημητράκη (by the way, where we dined on giouvetsi, mousaka and ekmek—more on that later), we ventured up the hill to the City School to watch a night of traditional dancing. The show started at 9 p.m. and lasted…

Keep reading

Casual Chaos: A Ferry Tale

We had to pay attention. We had to think. Traveling to new places can make you appreciate or at least think differently about the rules and procedures of your own country. And when it comes to safety procedures, sometimes I think the United States tries too hard to keep people safe. We’ve gone so far…

Keep reading

Don’t Touch the Marble!

What to know before you visit the Acropolis in Athens “Don’t touch the marble!” a thirty-something woman called out into the distance from her perch in front of the Parthenon. With one hand on her hip, and another shading her eyes beneath her billed beach cap, she waited and watched. About thirty feet below, a…

Keep reading

Frank Lloyd Wright Wronged

When your eyes become accustomed to an architectural wonder It’s important to see the beauty in our midst. One day many years ago when we lived in Phoenix, my husband and I were invited to visit an acquaintance and her young daughter who happened to be occupying a house designed by the world-renowned architect, Frank…

Keep reading

Dear Venice… We have to talk.

Finally, I’ve found a city I can trust myself with — Ravenna, Italy. I didn’t mean to fall in love. I wasn’t looking for someone new. I had never even heard of Ravenna until I went to Italy. But, Venice, I’m torn. In so many ways, Ravenna attracts me. It’s untouristy. Affordable. Strangely familiar. And…

Keep reading

Sins of the flash in Torcello, Italy

The quiet rebellion of women who take pictures anyway When you visit the island of Torcello in the Venetian lagoon, you observe a sign inside the basilica that forbids photography. Ugh, you think. But it’s so beautiful. Inside, the apse—a half-dome of sorts—is encrusted in gold mosaic. The Virgin Mary resides in its center, alone,…

Keep reading

A dull ache for a sharp object left in Italy

When Mom’s pocket knife gets confiscated   When the security employee at the gate asked me to step aside, I remembered. My pocket knife. Oh no, my pocket knife, I thought, realizing I had left it earlier in the little cosmetic bag inside my purse. I had forgotten to check it with my luggage and…

Keep reading

How I found connection in the Basilica of San Vitale

Of tenacity and Easter cupcake sprinkles in Ravenna, Italy Here’s a scenario: Your daughter requests sprinkles on the Easter cupcakes you’re baking. However, pretend the shaker needed to sprinkle on the dotted decorations has not been invented yet, and the only way to get the sprinkles perfectly placed and evenly dispersed on the cupcakes is…

Keep reading

Verona, Italy is the bomb dot com

And other observations my daughter made when she visited on a daytrip from Venice My daughter spent three months living in Venice in 2017 as an intern at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, a small, yet world-renowned modern art museum located on the Grand Canal. Her time there was magical, challenging, beautiful, and life-changing. On four…

Keep reading

Vicenza, Italy: where the art is the city itself

And other observations made on a daytrip from Venice to the City of Palladio My daughter spent three months living in Venice in 2017 as an intern at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, a small, yet world-renowned modern art museum located on the Grand Canal. Her time there was magical, challenging, beautiful, and life-changing. On four…

Keep reading

Padua, Italy: The bluest blue I’ve ever seen

And other observations my daughter made during a quick morning trip to Padua from Venice My daughter spent three months living in Venice in 2017 as an intern at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, a small, yet world-renowned modern art museum located on the Grand Canal. Her time there was magical, challenging, beautiful, and life-changing. On…

Keep reading

What’s It Like to Live in Venice?

Read “The Politics of Washing” to Find Out While I was surprised to learn that 16.5 million people visit Venice, Italy each year, I was even more surprised to learn that the city claims a mere 55,000 permanent residents, according to this article in The Guardian. That’s 300 tourists for every resident. With numbers like…

Keep reading

10 Things You’ll Find in Venice in March

    An unlit candle in a bowl on a round table outside a glowing café. A lone fuschia glove dropped on the steps of a bridge in Campo Sant’Angelo. A woman sweeping her windowsill with a handheld broom. A cocoa-brown poodle posing happily for its owner’s camera. A row of uncomfortable, wood-and-metal chairs lined up…

Keep reading

Favorite place on Earth

Monument Valley, Utah Well, it happened again. I travelled someplace new and I am forever changed. This time: Monument Valley, Arizona. There is nothing quite like spotting something on the horizon that appears surreal, other-worldly and truly unknown. And then it is something that changes you and makes you feel small, insignificant, yet important to…

Keep reading