A Lesser Known Italy

Catherine Mitchell

There is so much more to Italy than Rome, Florence and Venice. Don’t get me wrong; I love those cities. In fact, Florence is my VERY favorite city – and I’ve traveled to over 100 countries and can’t even begin to count the number of cities.

My most recent trip took me to another Italy – one of fewer world-renowned artistic treasures and more eye-popping landscapes – to new foods and even another language.

The map shows the area traveled.

The first city, Fano, is more central than northern Italy, but it was my first stop. While I went to visit family, there is much to be said for this city on the Adriatic coast. It boasts beautiful white sand beaches, and the historic center is a walled city, with much of the wall and a city gate still standing.  The ancient Roman via Flaminia ended here. Sections of it are still visible. Fano is also home to the oldest Carnevale (Mardi Gras) parade in Italy. And it’s a perfect walking city.  (More…)

Chautauqua 2019

Linda Schatz

It’s 1874.  I’m a Methodist Sunday School teacher. I travel by steamship on the calm waters of Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York and arrive at a small shoreline settlement for a vacation learning experience. I’ll hear speakers on the Bible, teaching methods, science, and social issues. The roads rise gently from the lake and are only wide enough for one horse and carriage.

Wait—it’s 2019, and I’m one of several thousand knowledge and culture seekers arriving by car at Chautauqua Institution. With six of my women friends, it will be a vacation week of thought-provoking lectures, excellent dance, music, vocal and theater performances, and animated political and philosophical discussions.  Oh, and a tap dancing lesson to bring back my fun days of hopping to a beat and flexing my ankles.  (More…)

It’s Never Too Late to Return a Book

Diane Russell

The day after my 66th birthday, I looked through the paperbacks on my bookshelf.  It was time to decide which books I would donate to the Friends of the Library for resale.

One book caught my eye, as it did every year. It was Ivanhoe, the classic authored by Sir Walter Scott.  Only the book wasn’t mine. It was lent to me 39 years earlier by John Doe (pseudonym to protect privacy).

We both participated in the 1979-80 USSR academic exchange sponsored by IREX (International Research and Exchanges Board), an international nonprofit organization specializing in global education and development.

My spouse and I befriended John and his partner in August 1979 when we all took a month-long crash course in Russian while living in the Moscow State University dormitory.  (More…)

Santa Fe and New Mexico

I’m a transplant to Santa Fe.  I grew up in Miami, graduated from FSU in Tallahassee, lived in San Francisco, Bern, Switzerland and Los Angeles.  Finally I settled here in 1994 at the age of 35.  No regrets whatsoever.  I chose to live in Santa Fe after compiling a list of pre-requisites that included:  small-size city, diverse population, vibrant arts scene, and proximity to nature.

The oldest capital city in the United States, Santa Fe celebrated its 400th anniversary in 2010.  It was located first in what was known as New Spain, then Mexico, and finally in New Mexico (a US territory that became a state in 1912).  (More...)

A Week in Sante Fe

Joyce Carpenter

It is 5:30 on a beautiful evening in New Mexico, and I am going to the pre-opera dinner at The Santa Fe Opera Theatre, where I will be fed a meal in keeping with the evening’s opera (tonight it is Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte, so Italian wines and pasta will be served). The dinner speaker will tell us about the music, the performers and the stagecraft of this particular production.

Opera goers in Santa Fe dress in anything, from tattered jeans and battered hiking boots to fabulously expensive designer creations that border on the bizarre. I happily take advantage of every opportunity to dress up, and so I am dressed in my favorite opera outfit – a rather posh cream, lace dress and sparkly shoes with high heels.  (More…)

Mexico–Novillada at Huamantla

Brenda Tipps

After breakfast, after the extra cup of coffee and the tidying up of our room, we have nothing to do now, except wait. I remember now, that this is a commonplace phenomenon in the taurine world. One finds oneself waiting for someone who is usually waiting for someone else, or for some event of some kind. One is assured that the event, or person, is going to materialize imminently, “ahorita,” – – any minute now. And no one, no one is concerned – – except the Anglos.

This morning my husband, Kelly, and I are waiting for a taxi, or some other vehicle, to take us to Huamantla, a mountain town perhaps a forty minute drive from the ranch where we are staying.  At 4 o’clock there’s to be a novillada, that is, a bullfight for novilleros, young men or women, aspiring matadors, who will fight novillos rather than full-grown bulls.  (More…)

Want a Better Travel Experience? Five High and Low Tech tips.

Diane White

Traveling can be stressful. What can you do? From apps to therapy dogs, I’ve put together a list of my favorite high- and low-tech travel tips for getting there, getting around, and getting a better travel experience.

Beyond the basics travel apps. If you are a frequent traveler, you may already have these basic apps on your phone: Google Maps, Kayak and your airline’s app for mobile boarding passes and travel alerts. Beyond those, here are three apps that may help your travel experience.  (More…)

Tornado on the Way!

Diane Russell

What started out as a pretty, warm day in northern Iowa ended as a dangerous night when a tornado formed suddenly in southern Minnesota.

In August 2017, my husband and I were in northern Iowa with some fellow roller coaster friends to ride the coasters at Arnolds Park Amusement Park on Lake Okoboji. The nearby towns were so tiny that we had to stay at a small motel in Spencer, Iowa, 30 minutes south.  (More…)

Come wiz Me to ze Casbah!

Shelly Belzer

One of the phrases people of a certain age have imprinted on their memory was not spoken by Charles Boyer in the movie “Algiers,” which he made in 1938 with Hedy Lamarr, although comedians continued uttering it in a bad French accent for years afterward.  “Come wiz me to ze Casbah” was probably most famously spoken at the movies by Bugs Bunny.

“Algiers” was an American remake, down to some of the same camera angles, of the 1937 “Pepe le Moko,” starring the French film icon Jean Gabin.  With scenes of those movies in my mind’s eye, I set foot in the Casbah in Tangier in April.    (More…)

Cape Cod: Finding Her Secrets

Judy Huge

On hearing I was fresh from building a house on Cape Cod, the first 84 people I met after moving to Wisconsin 18 years back broke into huge grins as they leaned in to confide, “You’ll love Door County. It’s the Cape Cod of the Mid-West.” There was no doubt they felt proprietary. I guess that’s the way I feel about “my” Cape and why I’d like to make a few introductions.

The Cape I know is a bit shy. She hides her secrets on winding dirt roads, in the hollows of dunes, deep in the coolers of one-named ice cream stands or high on the shelves of artists who craft each coffee mug so the warmth you feel holding it on a winter morning seems to have come directly from the hands of the one who shaped it.  (More…)