Far Horizons

A colorful pedestrian bridge connects Tavira’s two historic districts — the Algarve, Portugal. Photo by Gail Minoff-Keck

From our 6-night home-base apartment on the Quarteira seafront in the central Algarve of southern Portugal, my wife, Gail, and I planned self-drive day trips to Tavira and Faro.

Both cities are unique in that they are removed from the main tourist grid, positioned on inland estuaries and without easy or immediate access to the Algarve’s famed beaches. Easy beach access is an absolute requirement for the vast majority of visitors who migrate annually to the region for the...

CONTINUE READING »
As in many towns in the Algarve, Lagos features calçadas, or mosaic stone-tiled walkways. Photos by Randy Keck

The 2-night stop that my wife, Gail, and I made in the tiny village of Salema in southernmost Portugal revealed something unexpected: just how closed down certain parts of the Algarve region can be during the winter off-season.

Dinnertime at the only restaurant open on a Tuesday night in Salema in late November 2018 revealed a spattering of British expats who have occupied parts of the Algarve coast as both part-time and full-time residents.

Among the Brits, mostly...

CONTINUE READING »
Painters whitewashing in traditional style in Porto Côvo, Portugal. Photos by Randy Keck

From late November to early December 2018, my wife, Gail, and I did an 8-day, self-drive exploration of Portugal's sun-blessed Algarve holiday playground.

The enviable mild winter climate makes the region a highly popular part-time and full-time retirement destination for thousands of British expats and other Europeans. We were there to discover the off-season heart, soul and pulse of this desirable stretch of gorgeous Atlantic coast some 280 kilometers south of the...

CONTINUE READING »
Wave Rock, near Hyden, Western Australia, is 110 meters long. Photos by David Bentley

An Aussie friend, David Bentley, recently completed a coast-to-coast journey solo from northeastern Australia to the far southwest in his faithful Troopy (78 Series Toyota Land Cruiser). This article is edited from his daily reports. — Randy Keck

Day 9 (May 15, 2018) — Having departed Kalgoorlie, I'm currently about halfway down the Holland Track, which runs from Coolgardie to Hyden in the southwest of Western Australia. It's another iconic 4WD track which has been...

CONTINUE READING »
David’s selfie and caption: “Big rock, big hat, big chin — David Bentley at Ayers Rock.” Photos by David Bentley

An Aussie friend, David Bentley, recently completed a coast-to-coast journey solo from northeastern Australia to the far southwest in his faithful Troopy (78 Series Toyota Land Cruiser). This 3-part article is edited from his daily reports. — Randy Keck

Day 4 (May 10, 2018) — I'm now at the famous Aussie Red Centre and Northern Territory landmark of Ayers Rock, officially known as Uluru. I had a nice, easy drive on well-graded gravel road all the way from Mt. Dare to...

CONTINUE READING »
Hats and caps cover the rafters in the Birdsville Hotel pub, a welcome watering hole for visitors and locals — Birdsville, Queensland. Photos by David Bentley

David Bentley, an Aussie friend who my wife, Gail, and I knew all the way back in the early 1970s when we were living in Tasmania, is a resident of Queensland and a 4WD freak. He recently completed an arduous, coast-to-coast journey solo from northeastern Australia to the far southwest in his faithful Troopy, a rather rare, long-wheelbase, diesel-engine, 78 Series Toyota Land Cruiser known as a Troop Carrier.

As David’s colorful, slang- and wit-filled reports from the road...

CONTINUE READING »
Fusterlandia, an enclave of colorful mosaics created by José Fuster, is located in Jaimanitas, southwest of Havana. Photos by Randy Keck

In part one of this article, I identified the US Department of the Treasury’s “Support for the Cuban People” travel provision that continues to allow independent travel to the island by Americans, as outlined on the PDF that is downloadable at the following URL: www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/cuba_fact_.... 

On each of my monthly trips to Cuba from October 2017 to April 2018, I have encountered a few American explorers...

CONTINUE READING »
“People-to-People” tour group members dancing with firstgraders at the Ibero-American Cultural Center in Holguín, eastern Cuba. Photos by Randy Keck

It is my privilege to travel to the fascinating country of Cuba on a regular basis as a tour director, leading groups on educational “People-to-People” tours under a license authorized by the US government.

Along with my experience, being on the ground and behind the scenes makes it possible for me to stay current on most events affecting travel on the island. I also try to remain up to date on the US administration’s policies governing travel to Cuba by US citizens...

CONTINUE READING »