Destination: Europe

September 18, 2005

DESTINATION: ITALY

Visiting Puglia? Don't forget your pickax

I could imagine the ghosts of Capuchin monks looking down on me from the upper floor of the weathered building as we drove into the courtyard. The historic dwelling, known as Cappuccini for the monks who lived here in the 16th century, would be my home for the next two weeks.

September 11, 2005

POSTCARD FROM POLAND

Island-hopping in Eastern Europe

Eastern Europe is opening up at a dizzying pace and nowhere more so than in Poland. Since the fall of communism in 1989, the country has been modernizing rapidly. In 2004 it joined the European Union, cementing its position at the corner of the continent. Around the same time, the budget-airline boom reached the major Polish cities, connecting them to European airports at low prices. With appetites whetted by popular destinations such as Prague, Czech Republic, and Budapest, Hungary, visitors are flocking to see what else the region has to offer. Wroclaw is a fine place to start.

August 28, 2005

CRITIC'S CHOICE | DUBLIN

Dublin, beyond the Blooms

THE notion of a holiday built around literature is a contradiction, which makes Dublin the right destination for those inclined toward the literary life.

August 28, 2005

Getting a flavor for the language

THE pubs here are as much a literary institution as a social one. Even if you don't drink, it's a place to immerse yourself in the speech from which so much that is distinctive about the city's literary life springs.

August 21, 2005

RARE RETREATS

SPAIN: Napoleon slept here, and so can you

IF you've been looking for those castles in Spain — to sleep in, that is — the network of state-owned paradores that crisscrosses the country will fill the bill.

The French connection

August 14, 2005

The French connection

THE French tricolor flew above Place du Général de Gaulle on a misty morning as white-gloved gendarmes in snappy blue uniforms, rifles across their chests, stood at attention and the band struck up "La Marseillaise." It was July 14, Bastille Day.

July 24, 2005

CRITIC'S CHOICE | BERLIN

A portal to the new Berlin

For Westerners, the center of Berlin suddenly shifted east when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. The geographic heart of the metropolis still lies in the bohemian neighborhood of Kreuzberg, with its big, loft-like apartments and sometimes raucous night life. But reunification of East and West has meant that the city's spiritual core has returned to Museumsinsel — Museum Island — a spot of land in the Spree River that is home to an array of seminal art museums stuffed with astounding collections. Nearby, the once drab East Berlin neighborhood around Auguststrasse, just a short walk across the river, has metamorphosed into the liveliest contemporary gallery scene in Europe.

July 10, 2005

A fresh surprise in Old Europe

I first saw them through the window of our train as it pulled into the station at Pragersko, on the way from Ljubljana to Ptuj. There they were, strange, woolly creatures with scary masks, jumping and whirling, the cowbells on their belts creating a cacophonous symphony.

June 5, 2005

DESTINATION: GREECE

A sunny view on Santorini

There we stood, on the side of a highway on this Aegean island's wine country. We were stranded. Darkness was about to fall.

Bonny, bonny banks

June 5, 2005

Bonny, bonny banks

"Haste ye back," beckoned a sign at the car ferry terminal at Ardrossan on Scotland's western coast as the boat eased up to the dock after crossing from the Isle of Arran.

May 29, 2005

A EUROPEAN UPSTART

New kid on the Med

Next to the sleek sailboats and fat-cat yachts on the Côte d'Azur, easyCruiseOne looks like a big, orange rubber ducky in search of a tub.

May 22, 2005

TRAVELER'S JOURNAL

An American toddler in Paris

When we told friends we were going to Paris with our 1-year-old, they looked at us as though we were out of our minds.

May 15, 2005

EUROPE | SPAIN

Salvador Dalí as you've never seen him

It may seem excessive, but there are three museums commemorating the life and work of Salvador Dalí in the northern area of Catalonia not far from the French border, but what was his life if not excess? The museums are a little off the main American tourist routes in Spain, but they are well worth the trouble to find. The three brim with art and kitsch and reflect the many sides of the artist. Here is a look at them.

May 8, 2005

Novel landscapes

One was a convent-bred beauty with melting black eyes who abandoned her husband and ran away to Paris, where she went through lovers like handkerchiefs.

May 8, 2005

POSTCARD FROM SPAIN

Pleasure seekers find it in Madrid

Madrid has become one of Europe's most dynamic cities, combining exceptional art galleries with its gently hedonistic passion for the good life. Madrid is one of the few places on the planet that routinely experiences traffic jams at 2 a.m.; after all, it's said to boast more bars than any city in the world. That much is known by anyone who has spent any time here. What is less known is that the Spanish capital is arguably the most hospitable city in Europe.

May 1, 2005

TASTE OF TRAVEL: FRANCE

Well done in Provence

It was the discovery of our week in Provence. In fact, it was the discovery of our entire 18 days in London, Paris, Burgundy and Provence.

April 17, 2005

NEWS, TIPS & BARGAINS

Focus is mainly on the planes

Forty German aircraft, plus exhibits narrating two centuries of aviation history, are displayed in a two-story addition to the German Museum of Technology in Berlin that was to have opened Saturday.

April 10, 2005

POSTCARD FROM IRELAND

For Cork City, it's finally show time

Like the rest of Ireland, Cork is a bursting-at-the-seams success story that's giving rise to a yearlong party. Cork's designation as the European Capital of Culture for 2005 should prompt more visitors to take a look at this energetic port city of commerce that dates to the 7th century but is now thoroughly modern. For the rest of the year, it will be crawling with cultural events.

March 20, 2005

NEWS, TIPS & BARGAINS

Once there was a storyteller ...

The 200th birthday of Denmark's Hans Christian Andersen, who wrote "The Little Mermaid," "The Emperor's New Clothes," "The Princess and the Pea" and dozens more beloved fairy tales, is being celebrated around the world this year with hundreds of events, exhibits and tours.

March 6, 2005

Channeling spring

BRITISH weather forecasters were predicting snow for the January morning I arrived in Jersey. That wasn't what I had in mind. I wanted to vanquish the winter blues with flowers, which is not as absurd as it might sound; spring comes early to the 45-square-mile island in the English Channel. While the rest of Northern Europe languishes in winter's clutches, daffodils pop up in cemeteries and bright primroses decorate the front yards of vacation cottages, unseen and thus unappreciated by the sun-seekers of summer.

February 20, 2005

Return to glorious Lipari

That's it, I thought, emptying a plastic bag of capers, the last of the little hoard I'd brought home last summer from the Italian island of Lipari. I've eaten capers many times without really knowing what they are: the immature buds of a shrub that loves heat and bright sun and grows in rocky crevices around the Mediterranean. I put one in my mouth and rolled it around. Its flavor was earthier and more intense than an olive, and its essence took me back to the island flung into the middle of the Tyrrhenian Sea, where the parched, volcanic soil yields little but capers and where my Italian grandfather was born.

February 13, 2005

TRAVELER'S JOURNAL

The perils (and joys) of spontaneous dining overseas

My family was stunned.

February 6, 2005

NEWS, TIPS & BARGAINS

Churchill, moment by moment

Britain's largest exhibit space dedicated to its great World War II prime minister, Winston Churchill, is scheduled to open Friday in London.

January 30, 2005

CRITIC'S CHOICE / PARIS

Keepers of the cinematic flame

As much as any country on the globe, France has made great films during every decade of cinema's existence, and Paris shops have the paper evidence to prove it. The city has numerous places to buy posters, magazines and books, stores that are fertile hunting grounds for collectors of every stripe.

January 30, 2005

CRITIC'S CHOICE | PARIS

Paris, with popcorn

Nobody writes songs about January in Paris. It's cold and bleak, and the impenetrable rain clouds make 8 a.m. as dark as midnight. It's perfect weather for going to the movies, which is what I do.

January 16, 2005

TASTE OF TRAVEL: SPAIN

Madrid menus go for the bold

My first real culinary discovery in Madrid — made while I was a student backpacking through Europe — was a restaurant called La Latina in a neighborhood of the same name. The service was rushed, the décor nonexistent and the food not especially good. But the place was exceptionally cheap, and I gradually ate my way through most of its menu, my introduction to traditional Spanish cuisine.

Choirs that move a nation

December 19, 2004

Choirs that move a nation

Never let it be said that Welsh men don't know how to express emotion. Just listen to them sing out loud and strong, harmonies oozing together, sending sinners to hell and putting the righteous on the path to heaven. Then their voices get soft and sweet and you fall in love with them.

To music, art and Welsh pride

December 19, 2004

To music, art and Welsh pride

Open a scant month, the long-awaited Wales Millennium Centre on wide, flat Cardiff Bay, has already been nicknamed "the Armadillo" by the cheeky Welsh.

December 12, 2004

SPECIAL WINTER ISSUE

Braving the spires of Chamonix

Neither guidebooks nor snapshots and not even long-ago memories prepared me for the intimidating beauty of the French Alps. As our tour bus pulled into the Chamonix Valley, there they were — a jagged row of snow-covered peaks that hovers over the legendary town like a wall of colossal teeth.

December 5, 2004

DESTINATION: ENGLAND

Malice in the palaces of Tudor London

Despite tales of tumbling heads and murdered wives, I'm a sucker for the Tudors, one of England's ruthless royal dynasties. And there's more fun to be found in exploring two of England's monarchical Henrys than all the Georges put together.

December 5, 2004

TRAVELER'S JOURNAL

An eerie journey to Poland that continues to haunt

There used to be a small hotel right on the grounds of Auschwitz, the former Nazi camp in Poland. I spent a night there in the old communist days of the '70s. My room — more like a cell — overlooked the camp gates and the infamous "Arbeit Macht Frei" ("Work makes you free") sign, guaranteeing troubled sleep.

November 21, 2004

TRAVEL TURKEYS

This guy can dance but not to their tune

No one goes to Istanbul at Christmastime.

November 21, 2004

TRAVEL TURKEYS

Bali drive leaves them lightheaded

It was late December, and Brian and I were sharing a plate of boiled vegetables in peanut sauce at a cafe in the seaside town of Candidasa on the Indonesian isle of Bali. We were disagreeing about where to go for New Year's Eve. Both of us thought we should celebrate the holiday somewhere special, but we couldn't agree on what that meant.

November 21, 2004

TRAVEL TURKEYS

Where the wild things are -- inside the tent

You may have heard the story of the innocent 15-year-old preppy who signs up for a wilderness course and is mistakenly lumped in with a bunch of at-risk youths. She tells the group's leaders there's been a mix-up, but no one believes her. She tells the other teens and is laughed at, cursed at and treated like just another juvenile delinquent. So, for the next three weeks, she does her time.

November 21, 2004

TRAVEL TURKEYS

A roundabout way to get some sleep

Sleep is the enemy of the traveler. It's the dark demon that devours six, seven, eight hours a day. It rips the voyager from the quest, the explorer from the exploration.

November 21, 2004

TRAVEL TURKEYS

Complain? Or just sit there and stew?

Bathing is an art in Japan. Bathing has style. Bathing has etiquette.

November 21, 2004

TRAVEL TURKEYS

Look who came to dinner: Hairy

Three hobbled horses tore up the embankment like wildly rearing rocking horses, then stood stock still, ears pricked and rigid. My family and our two guides were eating chicken legs by campfire. Having gone to fetch a sweater from the tent, I paused to wonder at the horses' sudden fright. I approached the big brown Morgan and stroked its neck. It remained taut, alert.

November 21, 2004

TRAVEL TURKEYS

Cheeks like roses, nose like a cherry, drunk as a skunk

If you're anything like me — and let's hope you're not because your dental bills will automatically double — your Christmas wish last year was something as pitiful as this: Time to organize the great sock drawer of your mind.

Belgium's gentle fall

November 7, 2004

Belgium's gentle fall

I could never fathom why people return to the same place over and over. There's so much of the world to see. But I'm now beginning to understand how a place can grow on you, having been twice to the Ardennes.

October 24, 2004

DESTINATION: PORTUGAL

No need to storm the castle

For 20 years, my friend Vicki Sullivan had been talking about the red roofs of Lisbon. She caught a brief glimpse of the Portuguese countryside on a one-night layover decades ago and had been determined to return ever since.

October 24, 2004

NEWS, TIPS & BARGAINS

Tower Hill rises in tourist appeal

The Tower of London, one of Britain's most popular tourist attractions, has been spruced up with a new visitor center, restaurants and more.

October 10, 2004

DESTINATION: ITALY

Just like nonna used to make

As in most traditional Italian families, life in the Mauriello home revolved around cooking and eating.

October 3, 2004

DESTINATION: FRANCE

Hot on Hannibal's cold trail

Gasping for breath in the thin Alpine air, we peered into the thick veils of clouds, desperate for a glimpse of the Italian plains stretching somewhere below. Above us, Monte Viso, the 12,600-foot, twin-peaked colossus of the southern French Alps, appeared briefly through the mist. But in the distance? Whiteout.

September 26, 2004

DESTINATION: FRANCE

500 miles in a pilgrim's footsteps

"My friends all think I'm crazy: 'Why would you walk 500 miles?' " lamented Jan.

September 19, 2004

DESTINATION: SCOTLAND

The true spirit of the islands

Leaning into a huge wooden fermentation tank, I inhaled the yeasty aroma of its contents. "Don't sniff too heavily," Ardbeg Distillery Manager Stuart Thomson told me. "It'll take your breath away."

September 19, 2004

DESTINATION: FRANCE

Where Champagne is king

"Champagne," actress Marlene Dietrich said, "gives you the impression that it's Sunday, that the best days are still to come."

September 19, 2004

DESTINATION: BELGIUM

Happy hours in Brussels

"The things we do with beer, eh?" the waiter said as surprise registered on our faces. We had just tasted a delectable dessert: a sorbet made with three hop-brewed beverages — a wit (white) beer, a kriek (cherry) lambic and an abbey-style ale.

Île hop: Who needs hip?

September 5, 2004

LE PALAIS, FRANCE

Île hop: Who needs hip?

At 6:30 on a pitch-dark morning early last October, I was backing a French rental car down a ramp from the dock at Le Palais on Belle-Île onto the ferry, my eyes frozen on an attendant who was waving his arms frantically and yelling. "À droit!" (To the right!) Then, "À gauche!" (To the left!)

August 8, 2004

DESTINATION: ITALY

Sperlonga, a gentler stretch of coast

I looked around as we emerged from the crowded bus into the seaside piazza, and I knew our gamble had paid off.

August 22, 2004

Like it or not, Modernist design has a place here too

The 1945 air bombing of Dresden left many blanks on the map. Several of them in the old town, once sites of Baroque gems, are occupied by replicas of buildings there before the war. Some remain evocative ruins, such as the 1729 Kurlander Palace. Still other empty spaces have been filled with new buildings that make parts of Dresden seem like a miniature Berlin.

Dresden's spirit soars once more

August 22, 2004

Dresden's spirit soars once more

You can't get lost in Dresden. Wherever you go, you can see the stately white dome of the Frauenkirche, as much a landmark in this eastern German city as St. Peter's is in Rome.

August 29, 2004

DESTINATION: ITALY

Roaming Venice's backyard

I'd like to show you our favorite souvenir from our trip to this city, but my wife and I ate it. It wasn't biscotti, chocolate or delicious Montasio cheese. It was a lemon.

August 29, 2004

DESTINATION: IRELAND

Coasting in the counties

Something about the Derry Independent Hostel here made me suspect from the start that I might not fit in.

August 15, 2004

DESTINATION: THE NETHERLANDS

Becoming one with the mud

I flew all the way to the Netherlands to play in the mud.

August 8, 2004

The classic Crete

A mighty wind buffeted our Olympic Airways jet, bouncing it around as we descended at Heraklion, Crete's capital.

March 21, 2004

DESTINATION: NETHERLANDS ANTILLES

Caribbean paradise, no waiting

This remote island in the Caribbean doesn't make the best first impression — unless flat, scrub-covered desert with a scattering of cactuses stimulates your imagination.

Normandy mission

June 6, 2004

Normandy mission

Today, on the 60th anniversary of D-day, world leaders are gathering in Normandy on the north coast of France. Fireworks will light the sky over Arromanches-les-Bains, where the Allies constructed an artificial harbor to support troops infiltrating the countryside from the beachheads. And in little Falaise, a walking tour will be dedicated to the closure of a last pocket of German resistance, marking the end of the Battle of Normandy in late August 1944.

Italian fare like a warm embrace

April 25, 2004

TASTE OF TRAVEL: ROME

Italian fare like a warm embrace

I developed a little trick in my conversational Italian class a few years ago. Insecure in my command of vocabulary, I found I could deflect difficult conversation by changing the subject to Italian food and restaurants. Prosciutto, risotto, minestrone — those words I knew. My classmates played along. "Jerry is a buongustaio," one observed.

April 18, 2004

Lodging for the Games will cost you

Athens hotel rooms are still available for the dates of the Olympics, but you may have to pay dearly. Private home and apartment rentals are another option.

AMALFI

March 7, 2004

AMALFI

You walk slowly on the Path of the Gods high above Positano for fear of cutting a switchback short and falling over a cliff. Your imagination starts playing tricks, keeping you on the lookout for brigands and satyrs. You get used to going astray on trails that peter out into nothing or dead-end at farmhouses guarded by furiously barking dogs. Then, of course, you must retrace your steps, all straight up or down.

February 29, 2004

TASTE OF TRAVEL: ITALY

The heart and soul of Rome

During our most recent visit to Rome, old friends Serenella and Mario Franchi asked my husband and me to dinner.

November 9, 2003

Fellini's Rome

He was 18 and inexperienced — in all respects — when he came to Rome in 1938. For Federico Fellini, it was the beginning of a love affair that lasted more than 50 years.

June 22, 2003

Saddle sore and more in Iceland

Getting there

Sweden's treasured isle

June 8, 2003

Sweden's treasured isle

I have always been drawn to islands. The journey to reach them is half their allure, and the approach to each is different. If they have a sense of peace and solitude and aren't too taken with themselves, I am smitten.

All around Uto

Getting there

Rolling through Ireland

April 6, 2003

Rolling through Ireland

"So you'll be riding the Ring of Kerry, right?" asked Mary at O'Sullivan's Rent-a-Bike in Killarney.

In the city that cloth built, a rich tapestry

February 16, 2003

BELGIUM

In the city that cloth built, a rich tapestry

Tiny Belgium is packed with surprises, I have happily discovered these last few years. Ghent, 35 miles northwest of Brussels in the province of East Flanders, is one of the best of them.

An Austria frozen in time

January 19, 2003

An Austria frozen in time

One ancient Alpine day the people of Lungau, a 25-by-30-mile hand-shaped nest of glaciated and riverine valleys tucked behind Salzburg's Tauern Alps, chose the fittest man among them and sent him to find the end of the world. A three-day walk from his home in Zederhaus, one of the small villages scattered throughout Lungau, brought him to what appeared to be an impenetrable granite wall. Satisfied and likely relieved, he went home.

An Austria frozen in time

January 19, 2003

An Austria frozen in time

One ancient Alpine day the people of Lungau, a 25-by-30-mile hand-shaped nest of glaciated and riverine valleys tucked behind Salzburg's Tauern Alps, chose the fittest man among them and sent him to find the end of the world. A three-day walk from his home in Zederhaus, one of the small villages scattered throughout Lungau, brought him to what appeared to be an impenetrable granite wall. Satisfied and likely relieved, he went home.

January 12, 2003

NEWS, TIPS & BARGAINS

Deal of the week: 2 weeks in Provence under $2,000

Idyll Ltd. of Media, Pa., offers a two-week package for independent travelers in Provence, France, starting at $1,639 (March 26 departure) or $1,859 (April 9) per person, double occupancy.

Germany's seasonal glow

December 22, 2002

Germany's seasonal glow

All I ever want for Christmas is a flash of that intense openhearted joy that sometimes comes during the holidays. But the Christmas spirit is elusive. To catch it, you have to be in the right place at the right time. So this year I went river cruising in Germany.

December 29, 2002

DESTINATION: THE NETHERLANDS

In Amsterdam when it sizzles

When we lived in this city in 1998 and '99, we were always out of town for New Year's Eve. The last week of December, we caught a train to Paris or Bern, Switzerland, pushing against the tide of Brits, French, Germans, Belgians -- seemingly everyone in Europe under 30 -- as they poured into Amsterdam.

A hotel's life

December 29, 2002

A hotel's life

Of course it's true that you can't go home again. But there are times when you can't even go on vacation again.

A hotel's life

December 29, 2002

A hotel's life

Of course it's true that you can't go home again. But there are times when you can't even go on vacation again.

December 29, 2002

DESTINATION: THE NETHERLANDS

A good old New Year in Amsterdam

GETTING THERE:

December 29, 2002

DESTINATION: THE NETHERLANDS

In Amsterdam when it sizzles

When we lived in this city in 1998 and '99, we were always out of town for New Year's Eve. The last week of December, we caught a train to Paris or Bern, Switzerland, pushing against the tide of Brits, French, Germans, Belgians -- seemingly everyone in Europe under 30 -- as they poured into Amsterdam.

Germany's seasonal glow

December 22, 2002

Germany's seasonal glow

All I ever want for Christmas is a flash of that intense openhearted joy that sometimes comes during the holidays. But the Christmas spirit is elusive. To catch it, you have to be in the right place at the right time. So this year I went river cruising in Germany.

December 15, 2002

DESTINATION: ITALY

The accidental treasures of Venice

When I went through customs on my return from Venice, I had nothing to declare, no glass, no lace, no gondolier's striped shirt or straw hat.

July 4, 2004

A spot of tee-hee

It was a blustery Saturday night when I visited one of those traditional North London pubs that had been spruced up to attract a more affluent crowd. The revamp had had little effect on the bar's basement, where the old rough-around-the-edges feel — low ceilings stained with nicotine and a cozy assortment of scuffed tables and row seating — remained.

Frugal Brit fare beyond fish 'n' chips

April 25, 2004

TASTE OF TRAVEL: LONDON

Frugal Brit fare beyond fish 'n' chips

Eating cheaply was easy when I was last here more than a dozen years ago. I mostly frequented curry-in-a-hurry or fish and chips shops or avoided restaurants altogether because the quality of the food was not worth the time or expense.

November 2, 2003

England's dark intrigue

On Guy Fawkes Day, bonfires crackle and leap all over England. Children inveigle passersby for small change, chanting, "Remember, remember, the 5th of November." Scarecrows stuffed to resemble the most hated man of the hour are tossed on the pyre.

St. Albans' Sacred Place in History

July 21, 2002

St. Albans' Sacred Place in History

I've lived in Tokyo, traveled on the Trans-Siberian Railroad and built an igloo in the snowy wilderness of British Columbia, but the only trip I make almost every year is to St. Albans, my hometown.

Finding Swiss Bliss in Zermatt

July 21, 2002

Finding Swiss Bliss in Zermatt

If the Swiss ran the world, trains and planes would be on time. Every hotel room would have a view, and reservations would never be lost. Communicating would be easy because the Swiss seem able to speak whatever language you greet them in. You would never have a bad meal. In fact, nothing bad would ever happen.

May 9, 2004

DESTINATION: IRELAND

Pirate queen with Irish luck

She was the scourge of Spanish and English merchants. "Notorious by land and sea," her English enemies said. Queen Elizabeth I even put a price — 500 pounds — on her head.

May 2, 2004

DESTINATION: MALTA

Gozo is slow ... oh, so slow

A cabdriver taking us to the ferry at Malta's Cirkewwa Harbor shook his head when we told him we were planning to spend the remaining days of last April's weeklong vacation on Gozo, Malta's tiny sister island and only a third the size of its sibling.

April 18, 2004

DESTINATION: ENGLAND

A spot of tea and British history

I spent a great deal of time at St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church on a recent trip to London. But I wasn't praying.

February 8, 2004

DESTINATION: ENGLAND

A magical tour of Liverpool

Our family, exhausted after a day of sightseeing, must have seemed out of place in the busy, boisterous restaurant. "What brings you to Liverpool?" a young waitress asked.

January 11, 2004

DESTINATION: TURKS AND CAICOS

Low-key in the West Indies

Grace Bay Beach, Turks and Caicos

November 30, 2003

DESTINATION: ENGLAND

Bargains by the pound in London

London

October 19, 2003

DESTINATION: FRANCE

Salsa and samba by the Seine

When I heard drumming in the distance at the Parc de la Villette, I practically broke into a run. This patch of park in northern Paris, where Africans and Caribbean Frenchmen turn up on Sunday afternoons to play their homeland music, seemed to offer a taste of the immigrant city I'd been looking for.

October 5, 2003

DESTINATION: ENGLAND

Conquering York's historic sites

York, England

Clinging to the past in Cuenca

May 18, 2003

DESTINATION: SPAIN

Clinging to the past in Cuenca

I fretted the whole way to Cuenca. We had been in Madrid for a few weeks in January, and I needed a break from the noise and crowds of that vibrant city. Cuenca, it seemed, was the perfect respite: an isolated medieval town perched atop twin gorges in a stunning defiance of gravity.

May 25, 2003

Padua's pleasurable paradoxes

"Padua has," said Padre Paolo, "a field with no grass, a cafe with no doors and a saint with no name."

June 15, 2003

DESTINATION: IRELAND

Embracing a land's heart of stone

Lisdoonvarna, Ireland

June 22, 2003

DESTINATION: ITALY

La dolce vita on Tuscany's shores

We were vacationing in Italy — with Rome, Florence and Venice at our fingertips — so why did we spend a week sitting on a beach?

June 22, 2003

DESTINATION: ICELAND

Becoming one with the inner Viking

A misty drizzle was falling again, beading on my bright orange rain pants and my horse's thick black mane. It was cold enough to make my nose run and my toes numb. But none of that mattered once we took off at a gallop along the muddy home stretch.

June 29, 2003

DESTINATION: FRANCE

Waltzing into magical Avignon

Avignon, France

July 6, 2003

DESTINATION: NETHERLANDS

Well above the fray in Utrecht

Utrecht, Netherlands

July 27, 2003

DESTINATION: ENGLAND

In Cornwall, an eco-vision of Eden

Near St. Austell, England

August 3, 2003

DESTINATION: GERMANY

In Aachen, the legacy of Charlemagne

The driving rain didn't deter us or change our plans as we headed into town with our German friends Lutz and Marga. We settled into a small hotel in the heart of the old town, then, umbrellas aloft, went in search of Charlemagne's trail.

August 17, 2003

DESTINATION: POLAND

Primeval, postmodern Nidzica

Nidzica, Poland

August 31, 2003

DESTINATION: ENGLAND

Hill and dale on the Isle of Wight

Ryde, England

September 14, 2003

DESTINATION: ITALY

Rich pickings in Tuscany

Greve in Chianti, Italy

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