By Doug Hansen
"To travel is to live," proclaimed Hans Christian Andersen, and for two weeks my wife and I lived our dream of exploring Portugal's towns, wine regions, historic spots and its popular island, Madeira. Here's what we found.
Portugal's compact size lent itself to discovery without overly long journeys. One of the oldest ...Read more
By Doug Hansen
Our second trip to Fiji confirmed my belief that Fijian hospitality and amenities are second to none. Fijians often say "Senga na lenga," which means "no worries," and during our weeklong stay we were as stress-free as we could be.
Getting to Fiji required a 10-hour overnight flight. We experienced a strange time warp by ...Read more
Known for iconic structures such as the Golden Gate Bridge and colorful neighborhoods like Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco is surrounded by natural beauty, making it one of America's best cities in which to get out and enjoy a hiker's paradise. Memorable times and beautiful scenes await on local trails that can enhance a visit to the City by ...Read more
Vacationers seeking a double thrill enjoy an exciting whitewater rafting trip on the Colorado River followed by a zip-line ride over the canyon through which the rapids race. Eating rather than excitement is the goal of folks in North Carolina, while visitors to a tiny community in Minnesota have an immersion in Finnish culture.
These travel ...Read more
By Nicola Bridges
During a visit to Prescott, Arizona, you can't help but feel steeped in the history of territorial wars and the Wild West. Relaxing in one of the many famous saloons from the gold-rush days on Prescott's famous Whiskey Row around the town's central plaza, it's easy to imagine prospectors, outlaws and gamblers bantering ...Read more
By Nicola Bridges
Sitting on a small rock bench in the shade of a twisted juniper pine, I'm listening to the sound of soft chimes gently ringing in the breeze, gazing mesmerized at the famous red rocks of Sedona that draw flocks of visitors to this mystical town in the high Upper Sonoran Desert of the Verde Valley region of Arizona.
I ...Read more
To track down Elvis Presley in Palm Springs, California, I first visited Donna Loren, the former "Dr. Pepper Girl" and the featured female soloist on the television show "Shindig" in the early 1960s. A music contemporary of Elvis, she lives here now in a home designed by John Lautner, one of great midcentury architects who worked in Southern ...Read more
Enjoying our first dinner during a visit to Sicily, we turned to our guide and told him the meal was excellent. This being Sicily, his reply was not surprising.
"You can steal my money, but don't touch my food," Alessio remarked. Then he added, "If lunch or dinner doesn't have at least five courses, it's a snack."
Food plays an important role ...Read more
Darn! My secret is out: Travel Channel has selected Crystal River, Florida -- my hometown -- as one of the best in America and the best in Florida. No matter where we travel, we inevitably return and wonder why we ever left this paradise. As I sit at my computer, I am looking out at the headwaters of a spring-fed river that meanders 8 miles to ...Read more
Among the several theme parks from which to choose in California, you're almost certainly bound to find one that suits your family's needs. California is home to Disneyland, which dates back to 1955, and it's most definitely worth a visit, but there are also other theme parks from which to choose.
Legoland in Carlsbad, north of San Diego, is ...Read more
Anyone looking for a prime example of urban resurrection definitely needs to discover Krakow. Since the end of Poland's hellish half-century (from the 1939 start of World War II to the 1989 end of Communist rule) Krakow has been massively repaired and restored to the point that it is now one of Europe's most appealing destinations.
During ...Read more
To fully appreciate Amsterdam, it's essential to understand where its name came from. A 13th-century document called it "Aemstelredamme," or "dam on the river Amstel." As centuries passed and commerce grew, Amsterdam expanded inland, requiring new defensive moats to protect its growing population.
Ultimately, the old moats became new inner ...Read more
The woman I met in Los Angeles grinned with nostalgia when I mentioned my recent visit to Wisconsin, and I got it when she spoke fondly of summers at the family lake house and boating on Lake Michigan.
Stunningly scenic Door Peninsula is really an island connected to the mainland by bridges across the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal. Some 75 miles long...Read more
Many years ago, wanting to impress my new bride with my camping skills, I suggested we take an overnight trip to Michigan and pitch our new green canvas tent on the white-sand beach. All went well until about 3 a.m., when a storm came up and the tent collapsed on top of us. We spent the rest of the night in our car and hadn't camped since.
But ...Read more
By Nicola Bridges
Lounging by the only hotel rooftop pool in Palm Springs, watching hikers climbing the San Jacinto mountain trails on the hillside backdrop, with 360-degree views overlooking the Coachella Valley shimmering in the 105-degree desert heat, it's hard to believe that at just seven floors high I'm on top of Palm Springs' only ...Read more
Under festive strings of white lights creating a relaxing mood, the ranch common room sways with people lost in their own worlds doing free-flow dancing, arms waving, many with eyes nearly closed, gyrating to the sound of New Age music. Prancing and weaving energetically around the group yoga teacher Darrin "Yogi D" Zeer starts jumping on the ...Read more
Who knew that Rotterdam, the Netherlands' second-largest city and biggest port, is also one of the country's coolest places? Having been heavily bombed during a German air raid in 1940 -- with its center essentially flattened -- the town, with its population north of 600,000 and from 170 nationalities, has come roaring back. Teeming with great ...Read more
It may be known as home to the World Court and the seat of government of the Netherlands, with its stunning Peace Palace the city's beating heart that is now under the auspices of the United Nations, but The Hague, a mere 45 minutes by train from Amsterdam, is also a vibrant and charming city. With its picture-perfect monuments and historic ...Read more
If you are hankering to see "Happy Feet" up close and personal, you probably think you have to go the far ends of the earth and be outfitted for polar conditions. But meeting up with penguins doesn't have to be a challenging expedition.
My first delightful encounter was during a visit to the Edinburgh Zoo, when a gate opened and a parade of ...Read more
By Bonnie and Bill Neely
When we visited Christchurch on the South Island of New Zealand (now renamed the continent of Zealandia), it was still recovering from the 6.3 earthquake in 2011 that destroyed or damaged many buildings. The Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament and the city center had already been damaged by a 2010 earthquake. The...Read more