Travelers' Intercom

An ancient painting in the Tombs of Deir el-Medina. Many artisans who worked on tombs in the Valley of the Kings lived in the village of Deir el-Medina. Photo by Norman Dailey

In March 2021, after being cooped up for 12 months and knowing our vaccination regimen would be completed the beginning of April, my wife, Susan, and I were ready to spread our wings and take flight. The question was “Where?”

Our first step was to contact a good friend, Jim O’Brien, owner of Native Eye Travel (Brantham, Suffolk, England; phone +44 1473 328546,, who has worked with us in the past, but many of his scheduled small-group tours didn’t match when we wanted to travel, which was NOW!

I asked Jim if he booked trips to...


Reading Rick Steves’ article about fado (Sept. ’20, pg. 27) brought back the memory of an exceptional opportunity I had in February 2020.

I had heard so much about fado, Portugal’s traditional ballads, and wanted to learn more, so on a visit to Lisbon I went to the Fado Museum (Alfama, Largo do Chafariz de Dentro 1, Lisboa; phone +351 21 882 3470,, which I highly recommend.

There, I asked where I could listen to fado and was told of many bars and restaurants in the area. However, as a single female traveler, I wasn’t...


Here is a new pastime I use to help counter the COVID-induced travel doldrums. I grab my newly arrived copy of “Europe by Rail” (authored by Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries), randomly select a page and begin an armchair train journey.

I just turned to page 266, “Route 29 Maritime Cities.” The route takes me from Amsterdam to Oslo the slow way, via train, with complete information about frequency and distances of trains for nine stops along the way. For example, with trains leaving hourly, it takes two hours to get from Hamburg to Flensburg, Germany (on the...


Reading the reader’s letter “Fado Experience in Lisbon” (Nov. ’20, pg. 12) reminded me of a similar experience my wife and I had in June 2018.

Instead of listening to the usual women fado performers one finds in Lisbon, we decided to visit a small university town in central Portugal called Coimbra, where fado is sung by men only, former students at the university.

It was a unique and entertaining one-hour performance, featuring two singers and two instrumentalists, followed by all of us mingling and drinking glasses of port wine. We paid €10 (near...


While on a multicountry tour in 2014, our group was staying at a hotel in Budapest. It was a Sunday morning, and since my husband, Jerry Liedl, and I had some free time, our guide said we might want to visit St. Stephen’s Basilica.

She gave us directions, and the two of us set off, but after a few blocks, our way was barricaded for what we later discovered was a marathon run. We turned aside but confronted several other blocked streets. Finally, we saw in the distance a red dome with a cross on top.

“That must be the basilica,” we thought, so we headed in...


My husband, Alan, and I wanted to go to Romania and Bulgaria in April 2020, so in October 2019 we went onto and selected an Emerald Waterways ( river cruise from Bucharest to Budapest, planning an early arrival in Bucharest. We paid $11,970 for the two of us, purchasing our hotels and air separately.

We, being seniors, bought travel insurance, in this case with Generali Global Assistance (800/874-2442, through Vacations To Go.

In November, Alan fell ill and had a surgical procedure, spending eight...


Years ago, I visited Ávila, Spain, which has a beautiful, well-preserved wall surrounding the entire city. Before I left my hotel in Madrid, I took a screen shot of the bus schedule going there and returning. I also calculated the time I needed to allow for getting back to Madrid an hour or two before sunset.

For finding the points of interest I wanted to visit, I relied on the wonderful app, available for free from app stores. On the app, I bookmarked the places I wanted to see, using symbols, dots or asterisks in different colors.

I also bookmarked bus stations,...


To escape the winters in Michigan, my travel companion and I, now in our mid 70s, have been going to Europe and Southeast Asia each year for five to six months at a time. However, since none of the countries that we normally visit have been accepting US passports during the COVID-19 pandemic, on Nov. 3, 2020, we returned to Mexico, one of the few countries that will let us in and one that is familiar to us.

It was our ninth visit to the city of Oaxaca, in the state of Oaxaca.

As for the flight down, there were a few changes from previous trips. While we were boarding the...