Walking and Cycling Bordeaux

It’s not really fair to a city like Bordeaux–to approach it with such dogged ignorance. But this is the way I travel: without preconceptions, without study. I just go. I must be off, so they say. The short answer to why I don’t do (much) research before I travel is that I have no time […]

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The Good Times Roll by Maggie Downs

It’s just after 11 p.m. when the bartender tips my bottled beer into a plastic cup and shoves me out the door. I’m startled, and so are my new friends, some other backpackers I met a few days ago on a bus through the Laos countryside. This is the night we learn that all businesses […]

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The Big Five

If you’re planning a trip to a national park in Africa, have you saved room in your backpack for one of these? If you haven’t, you should–not because you’ll look sexier but because you’ll see sexier. I made do with my pitiful little Sony, so the quality of the photos below suffers in many ways. […]

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Plain Etiquette — Lessons from a Wise Sky

Plane etiquette should actually be called plain etiquette. The way we treat people on planes is the way we treat people. Period. Plain and simple. Recently I’ve seen several posts and videos about passengers behaving badly on planes: people clipping their toenails, people sleeping with their bare feet stuck into the air above the person […]

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Punches are Here to Teach You How to Roll

Of all Life’s lessons, I think I keep repeating the one entitled Punches are Here to Teach You How to Roll. I have been punched before (Rio de Janeiro, Paris). I’ve also been caught in a neck hold and thrown to a cement floor (Nice, France). My life has been threatened (Munich, Rio)–more than once […]

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From Lake to Lake to Lake to Lake — Rafting in Mecklenburg

The day before I’m scheduled to go rafting in northern Germany, I have a fever of 102, body aches and a migraine. I had a tick vaccination, which carried with it some pretty hefty added bonuses. I certainly hope the vaccination was worth the side-effects. If I don’t see at least one tick this summer […]

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Another Chance for Usedom

Recently, I dissed the Baltic Sea. I called it a ‘make-do’ sort of vacation spot. I pooh-poohed the smoked and pickled fish thing. I did. I haven’t become a fan of smoked and/or pickled fish, but I have warmed up to Usedom. But maybe it was because Usedom warmed up too. We had mostly excellent […]

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Z is for Zillertal

Sexy CowFor the last 18 years, I’ve been hearing Germans talk about where they renew their mental strength, where they recharge their batteries. For lots of Europeans–not just Germans–the place to do this is on a beach; but for lots of others, this place is the mountains. You’re either one or the other, unless you’re […]

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The Other Mallorca — Part II

Sóller, Mallorca (Spain)We’ve decided to hike from Deiá to Sóller and back today. It won’t be less than six hours. We park the car in Deiá, a town on a ridge with a few quaint restaurants, a tiny market, the requisite church and very limited parking. We’ve driven through the “town” before, so I know […]

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Eight Days in the Canary Islands — Day 8

Auditorio de Tenerife “Adán Martín” — the Symbol of Tenerife and the Canary IslandsWe’ve survived the high seas. Overnight, we have sailed into the port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, where our journey began. We have eaten our last meal on the ship and we have seen our last show. We have trod–now we’re getting […]

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