Info: www.utah.com/byways/high way_12.htm.
Valparaíso has stuck in my mind ever since I visited it briefly about 10 years ago. I never got back, but figure that now may be the time to nab a South American cruise bargain or discounted air fare from Lan (www.lan.com).
The Pacific Rim seaport on the coast of Chile was mentioned in Herman Melville's " Moby Dick" and thrived as a stopover for California Gold Rushers who preferred the harrowing nautical route around the Strait of Magellan to the long, tough overland trail across the American mainland.
Situated on steep, earthquake-prone hillsides overlooking the apparently endless South Pacific, it has a transit system that features Portuguese-style funiculars and a compellingly seedy air. Cruise ships have begun to dock there, which I hope won't ruin it.
Valparaíso sightseers can take in South America's oldest stock exchange and La Sebastiana, the eccentrically decorated home of Chilean Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda.
Travelers drawn to newly accessible and relatively budget-priced Eastern European cities tend to give Warsaw the cold shoulder, chiefly because it's a modern metropolis that had to struggle back to life after near-total destruction by the Germans in World War II.
Its Old Town was painstakingly restored post-war and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a 15th century town hall, market square, royal castle and cathedral.
There's little left of the Warsaw ghetto, leveled in the aftermath of the 1943 uprising, a desperate house-to-house battle waged by a handful of sick and starving Jews who had managed to avoid deportation to the Treblinka gas chambers. A visit to Warsaw is incomplete without paying homage to the doomed insurgents at Nozyk Synagogue, the single Jewish house of worship that escaped demolition at the hands of the Germans.
On a much happier note, Warsaw was the home of Frédéric Chopin. In preparation for the 200th anniversary of the composer's birth next year, Warsaw is remodeling its Chopin Museum and the manor house where he was born. I'm listening to "Claire de Lune" and planning a trip to Warsaw before throngs of Chopin-lovers get there next year.