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I Heart Hiking

Hiking is not hiking without cows.Why, you might ask, do I heart hiking so much? It’s one of my favorite things to do in the world. If I could eat, sing and write while hiking, I’d be in Heaven. Wait. I sometimes do indeed do all these things while hiking. And juggle too. Not really. […]

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Rhodes and AIDA — The Colossus and the Colossal

We’re nearing the end of our cruise of the Aegean and Black Seas. We are all a little weepy. We could go on and on and on with the cruise. We’ve heard rumors of an 80-day cruise, and we’re seriously considering it…until we come to our senses, remembering that we sort of have jobs. There […]

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Samos — Almost Turkey

Our boat from the hills above the Old Town of SamosJust to prove that I have other qualities besides adorableness, I’m going to gloat a bit now about my sense of geography. Or maybe my sense of intuition. You decide. I’ve just come back from the AIDA breakfast buffet with my usual quark and fruit […]

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City Hopping — Odessa, Ukraine

The port of OdessaThe first thing you’ll notice about Odessa if you reach the city from the port is that it’s industrial; the second thing you’ll notice is the Potemkin Stairs. The third thing you’ll notice if you choose to take the funicular instead of walking up the 192 steps–lazy–is that they don’t take euros […]

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Y’all ever Heard of Yalta?

The harbor and the buses . . . about ten feet from the ship.After Sochi, where we had to be schlepped into the port in tenders from the cruise ship due to all the 2014 Winter Olympics Potemkin spiffing up, we were pleasantly surprised to get a parking place practically on the promenade in Yalta, […]

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Winners of the First Annual I Must Be Off! Travel Essay Contest

First of all, thank you to everyone who entered your work in this competition. Your essays have taken me and my readers to far-flung and thought-provoking places–from Savar to Scotland, from Cairns to Cambodia, from Madeira to Matheran. They’ve challenged us to see the world from fresh angles, and I’m proud to have all of […]

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God on the Rocks — a Visit to The Metéora

One of 6 remaining monasteries at The MetéoraShe introduces herself jokingly as the Jungfrau Maria (the Virgin Mary), and the tour group–the one waiting for our tour group to remove itself from the cooler, inner area of the chapel–laughs boisterously. Her name is Maria, an informative guide who speaks fluent German, and also one who […]

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Back from Black

I have washed six loads of clothes, uploaded 799 photos, watered 47 very angry plants, restored two email accounts to working order (after Google decided that I was suspicious)–and my back is killing me. I need vacation. Already my tan is fading. As always, my students will ask me tomorrow night if I’ve been on […]

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City Hopping — Alicante, Spain

We’ve just returned from Alicante. I’d never really wanted to go there. You see, it is mentioned in a commercial for a low-cost airline that gives frequent flyer points at supermarkets. The TV spot shows a justifiably confused man at the check-out lane. Although he’s buying groceries, he’s also checking in to board a flight […]

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City Hopping — Warnemünde

It is said that the little spa towns along the shores of the Baltic Sea have their charms.Well, I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again here: this place is a make-do sort of holiday destination with samey architecture–well maintained villas, small hotels and little huts that sell smoked fish–and an uneasy feeling of […]

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