Far Horizons

Street ball erupts with no warning in the streets of Trinidad, Cuba. Photos: Keck

(First of three parts)

I participated in a group tour to Cuba in January of this year courtesy of Canadian-based ITN advertiser ElderTreks (Toronto, Ont.; 800/741-7956). This inspiring journey indeed answered scores of long-held questions I had concerning the Cuban equation. It also left many questions unanswered and, predictably, posed additional ones.

In this three-part treatise on Cuba, I will discuss not only the amazing experience of traveling around Cuba but, specifically...

The large temple of Abu Simbel in Egypt. Photos: Keck

(Part 3 of 3 on Egypt)

One of the highlights of my fall ’09 Egypt adventure with Value World Tours was a day excursion from Aswan to Abu Simbel. Most fortunately, I was scheduled to fly to Abu Simbel, which reduced travel time to and from the site dramatically and also provided awe-inspiring aerial views of the fabulous twin monuments.

I later learned that the vast majority of day-trip visitors to Abu Simbel travel by road in required bus and auto caravans across the...

The reconstructed Philae Temples near Aswan. Photos: Keck

(Part 2 of 3 on Egypt)

The main thrust of my September ’09 Egypt journey was a seven-day/seven-night cruise on the timeless Nile, and the first half of the cruise was upstream, heading south, from Luxor to Aswan.

From Cairo, an easy hour-long flight south transports visitors to Luxor, home port for the majority of the scores of passenger vessels that ply the Nile on four- to seven-day cruises.

Luxor: riverboat central

On the Luxor waterfront, the Crown...

View of the Nile and Cairo from the Cairo Sheraton Hotel. Photos: Keck

(Part 1 of 3 on Egypt) I had the opportunity to visit Egypt in September ’09 on a journey replicating the 12-day “Egypt Grand” tour offered by my host, Value World Tours (an advertiser in ITN), in concert with the Egyptian Tourist Authority and EgyptAir.

A split stay in exotic, ancient Cairo prior to and following a seven-day Nile cruise provided the opportunity for visits to the cornucopia of historic attractions for which this huge city of nearly 23 million is so...

The entrance to ornate Dolmabahçe Palace. Photo: Keck

by Randy Keck (part 3 of 3 on Turkey)

The final portion of my April ’09 exploration of Turkey began with a short drive from Bursa to Yalova, where we boarded a vehicular ferry for the 40-minute crossing to one of the world’s most populous (17 million) and most intriguing cities, Istanbul. The city is literally the crossroads between east and west, with the Bosporus dividing the city into two sectors, one in Europe and the other in Asia.

Istanbul’s four main...

Jagged rockscapes abound in Cappadocia. Photos: Keck

by Randy Keck (Part 2 of 3 on Turkey)

My April ’09 exploration of Turkey continued with an early-morning departure inland by road from coastal Antalya to the important Roman city of Konya en route to our eventual destination, Cappadocia.

We passed through mountain ranges reminiscent of the California Sierras, stopping to frolic in the spring snow at an elevation of 5,600 feet.

Traditional Konya

Konya is nestled on a high, rather unimpressive plain in the...

Second-century Tetrapylon gateway — Aphrodisias.

by Randy Keck (Part 1 of 3 on Turkey)

A long-awaited opportunity to visit the much-heralded nation of Turkey finally materialized in April ’09. My exploration of the western half of that country was hosted by FLO-USA (Orlando, FL; 888/435-6872, www.flo-usa.com) and Turkish Airlines (800/874-8875, www.thy.com) and revealed a fascinating, overtly visitor-friendly destination offering limitless attractions.

I was traveling in a small group of three on a 14-day/12-night tour...


In the April 2009 issue, ITN readers, including some tour operators, weighed in on the subject of “tour companies and single supplements.” A variety of opinions and explanations were expressed.

My objective in this article is to try to tie up what seemed to me to be a few loose ends and provide some clarification based on my many years in the tour industry. My general intention is to explain why the single supplement exists and is usually necessary. The issue of single...