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Archive for 2019

Exploring the Green Heart of ITALY

Tuscany is an irresistible lure to everyone who loves art, architecture and landscape, but the famous cities—Florence, Siena, Pisa and Lucca—are becoming uncomfortably crowded. There, the best strategy is to select a few hidden treasures, rise early before the tour groups arrive, make reservations at the hour of opening, and then head out to less-frequented…

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Rediscovering MOSCOW

The Moscow I visited in 1976 was a gray, drab city of bare shelves, mediocre restaurants and surly officials. The shift from communism to capitalism brought crime, corruption and soaring prices. For many residents, that may still be true, but my experience of a brief stay in June was pure delight. Historic buildings have been…

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Fusing Old and New in CHINA

In China, historic landmarks alternate with a few spectacular new buildings by top Western architects, which mark a sharp break with the past. On one side is the Forbidden City and the gardens of Suzhou, with their still ponds and moon gates; on the other are towers that twist and swoop as though they were…

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Putting on the RAJ

The Rajasthani desert flat lands of the ancient Hindu Rajput warriors were once defended by imposing strategic forts that still loom from the surrounding plains where subsistence farming families toil in defiant bright saris and turbans. This vast region of contrasts stretches from Jaipur to Jodhpur to Udaipur (and beyond to Jaisalmer), a triangle (or…

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OMAN- Not a Thousand and One Nights

Lawrence of Arabia would be delighted if he flipped through this year’s travel magazines that all seem to point to the Arabian Peninsula’s politically neutral sultanate of Oman. It’s one of 2019’s hot destinations and Jane Adams has journeyed from its azure Arabian Sea coast through red desert sands to jagged mountain peaks. No camels…

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JAIPUR or Bust!

Review your bucket list. Does it include Jaipur, capital of Rajasthan? This is one list entry considered mandatory by Jane Adams, a recent delegate at the world’s largest writers’ festival held every year in the ‘Pink City’of the Rajputs. It was the sci-fi writer Stephen King who wrote, “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” The…

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Off the Beaten Track in SPAIN

Discover Spain’s northern provinces with Michael Webb.   I’ve explored Spain pretty thoroughly over the years, but it never fails to surprise me. The northern provinces, from the Basque Country to Galicia are far less traveled than Barcelona, the Mediterranean coast and Andalusia. Art lovers flock to the Bilbao Guggenheim and pilgrims still trudge the…

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Deep in the Heart of FRANCE

After over 50 years, Michael Webb revisits southwestern France. I have fond memories of my first trip to the Dordogne, a region of southwestern France that takes its name from one of the three rivers that flow through softly rolling farmland studded with medieval towns and villages. A college friend and I found a congenial…

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Car-Free Weekend in Santa Barbara

Go car-free and ride the rails to the Funk Zone for hip hotels, fabulous food and libations.   Get a taste of Santa Barbara from freshly baked breads and exquisite dinners, to sunset cruises and tiki bars. It’s easy to get around this cool, coastal town without a car — just walk, bike or take…

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