One of the World’s Great Museums Is Also the Czar’s Attic

Winter Palace, home of much of the Hermitage’s collection Two recent events — one mundane, the other calamitous — came together in my mind and prompted me to write this short piece about one of the world’s greatest museums, the Hermitage, in St. Petersburg, Russia. The mundane event is my recently begun exploration of the […]

The Power of Supercortemaggiore

Back in the summer of 1965, my friend Arlee* and I drove through several West European countries. We picked up our car – a Fiat so tiny it made VW bugs look like whales – in Milan and headed south. Driving in a new country was exciting. I remember the amusing (to me) name of […]

Risking Life and Limb for a Good Photo

Arc de Triomphe at the center of the Place de l’Étoile – a hub with 12 spokes Back in 1965, I made my first trip to Europe. In Paris, I learned you could go to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. But how to get there? It stands in the middle of the Place de […]

Diving Into History: Williamsburg, Jamestown

Two of the three ships that carried the first English colonists to Jamestown in 1607 I wrote last week about Chincoteague and Assateague, Part One of the “just the two of us” vacation that Sandra and I took in May. Here’s Part Two. It’s about our visit to Virginia’s “Historic Triangle” of Williamsburg, Jamestown and […]

Chincoteague, a Walk on the Wild Side

Osprey returning to nest Before visiting our son Adam and his family in the Washington, D.C., area at the end of May, Sandra and I took a few “just the two of us” vacation days and visited two great destinations, each about three hours south of D.C. – Chincoteague and Assateague islands on Virginia’s “Eastern […]

Dear Mr. Delta

UPDATE: I sent a slightly revised version of the letter below to Delta’s complaint line the evening of May 16 and received a very gracious and responsive reply early the next morning. (I’d originally written this complaint primarily for the amusement of my blog’s readership, and only later decided to send it directly to Delta.) […]

Furo Adventure

If you haven’t bathed in traditional Japanese style, you’ve missed a great experience. I’ve had a few opportunities to bathe like the locals do in Japan, but none to rival the one I’ll recount below. First though, for readers unfamiliar with Japanese customs, here’s brief intro. In Japan, you get clean before you get into […]

There’s More to Wine Country Than Vineyards

A geothermal generating plant at The Geysers About a month ago, I wrote, in “California’s Next Big Thing,” about the pleasure of exploring this multifaceted state and enjoying vineyards, wineries, cheese makers and locally grown delights – from almonds and avocadoes to pistachios, garlic and a near-infinite selection of fruits and vegetables. I concluded, tongue […]

California’s Next Big Thing

It’s been over four years since Sandra and I moved from Hawaii to Wine Country – aka Sonoma County in Northern California – and, while winter is a little chillier here than in “the Islands,” we really love it. One of the things we like best about this area is something we just couldn’t do […]

Refuge for Birds, or …?

Last week I recounted my 1971 adventure motoring down the lower reaches of the Sepik River in Papua New Guinea. Today, I’ll go back only to June 2006, when Sandra and I had an altogether different kind of watery adventure – at a bird refuge on the shore of Lake Takern in southern Sweden. Several […]