Travelers' Intercom

Picturesque view from the window of our room at the Terceira Mar Hotel. Photo by Steve Plotkin

For the visit to our 105th destination (as defined by the Travelers’ Century Club’s list of countries and territories at, we were seeking a cheap foreign trip that required less than an 8-hour plane ride. Coincidentally, was promoting an air-inclusive deal from Azores Getaways (Estrada de São Gonçalos, 235, 9500-343 Ponta Delgada, Azores, Portugal; phone, in the US, 617/934-8474, azores

The deal was very attractive. The Azores government’s pricing strategy unbundles local tours in order to encourage off...

Roman Theatre of Verulamium in St. Albans, England. Photo by Diane Harrison

My parents and I travel frequently to London and enjoy day trips on the train. On our May 2017 trip, we visited St. Albans, a small city on the outskirts of London. We had traveled previously to St. Albans and remembered the town’s interesting Roman history and beautiful cathedral. 

We decided to visit on a Wednesday, as there is a weekly street market on St. Peter’s Street on Wednesdays and Saturdays, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. The market includes vendors selling just about anything, from new and used clothing and household items to groceries. 

We traveled on...

Swirls of white sand flow across the dunes, dwarfing hikers in Lençóis Maranhens

Our 6-week trip to Brazil, Jan. 26-March 8, 2011, was flawlessly organized by Clara Tort of (Seattle, WA; 800/747-4540,

We spent three or four days each in Belém, São Luís, Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, Natal, Olinda/Recife, Salvador, Brasília, Ouro Preto/Mariana/Tiradentes, Rio de Janeiro, Paraty and São Paulo.

For accommodations (top quality), breakfasts, airport transfers, car-and-driver service in some areas and English-speaking guides in some cities, we paid $17,454, which we considered very reasonable. Meals were on our...


Prior to my flight to Italy on April 25, 2017, I called Delta Air Lines to request meet-and-assist services. I informed the agent that I could walk perfectly well but, since I was now 82 and traveling alone, I wanted to have help in Amsterdam on May 9 to make the 90-minute connection to my flight home to Portland.

Because I had a 3-hour layover upon arriving in Venice for my flight back to Amsterdam, I did not need assistance for that international transfer, nor did I need it for two others in smaller airports. However, I was told that in order to make sure the assist for the...

Mount Fuji with Lake Kawaguchi seen through momiji (colorful maple leaves) at the Momiji Tunnel — Lake Kawaguchi.

We’d like to say a bit more about the Momiji Tunnel in Kawaguchiko in Japan, mentioned in our letter “Mt. Fuji from Hotel New Century” (Dec. ’16, pg. 49), and clarify that the traveling we did through the “tunnel” was on foot.

Having missed seeing Mt. Fuji on a March 2014 stay in the town of Kawaguchiko (aka Fujikawaguchiko), due to three days of solid clouds and fog, we were determined to get it right that autumn. 

So, during a visit in November, we planned a day trip from Tokyo, we made sure that the weather forecast promised a...


My husband, Gerald Liedl, and I had a one-day layover in Johannesburg, South Africa, on March 19, 2017, and ended up arranging a private 4-hour tour of the city with The KFP Tours (P.O. Box 16426, Leondale, Germiston, 1424, South Africa; cell phone 27731616063, [under construction]). The tour was excellent.The desk clerk at our hotel, the Peermont Metcourt (which we booked on, was the one who connected us with The KFP Tours. When we came down for breakfast, we asked the clerk if she could recommend a tour for that day. When we came out from breakfast, she...

Libby Cagle with a lemur on her shoulder, at Varuna Resort in Madagascar. Photo by Roger McDaniels

Nearing the end of a 50-day African holiday, my husband, Roger, and I arrived at Ruaha National Park in Tanzania on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016. 

From the airstrip, we had a wonderful game drive on the way to the Ruaha River Lodge (, seeing a lot of mammals and birds. When we turned into the drive taking us to the lodge, we were greeted by a bull elephant and had to wait for him to get out of the way. 

We spent the next two days on game drives and relaxing by the river while watching wildlife.

On Oct. 24, as I was getting ready to take a...

Exterior of La Cité du Vin. Photos by Stephen Addison

If you appreciate wine, especially fine wine, visiting France’s Bordeaux region is likely one of your travel aspirations. In recent years, however, the city of Bordeaux, itself, has been rejuvenated into an appealing destination. The town’s finest attraction, opened in June 2016, is the remarkable La Cité du Vin.

My wife, Paula Owens, and I visited this institution (“museum” is too limiting) on Nov. 25, 2016, at the end of a river cruise with Viking Cruises. Something of a World’s Fair of wine, it was crowded even then, deep into the off-season.