Columns

In Dingle town, when the sun goes down, traditional music fills the pubs. Photo by Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli

I once met an elfish, black-clad old man in the little town of Ventry, on Ireland’s Dingle Peninsula. When I asked if he was born here, he paused, breathed deeply, and said, “No, ’twas about five miles down the road.”

I asked him if he had lived here all his life.

He answered, “Not yet.”

When I told him where I was from, a faraway smile filled his eyes as he looked out to sea and muttered, “Aye, the shores of Americay.”...

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Yellow lampposts brighten a street in Trebon. Photo by Rick Steves

Submerged in a mucky peat brine, it occurs to me that this must be the strangest bath I have ever taken.

I’m in the well-preserved Czech spa town of Trebon. I’ve decided to supplement my intense time in touristy Prague by venturing south, deeper into the Czech countryside.

Trebon’s biosphere of artificial lakes dates back to the 14th century. Over the years, people have transformed what was a flooding marshland into a clever combination of lakes, oak-lined...

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The Dolomites, ideal for hiking … or thinking about hiking. Photo by Rick Steves

Leaning back in my lounge chair, I enjoy the heat of the sun on my skin. A vibrant sea spreads out before me, but it’s a sea of wildflowers. I’m not at the beach — I’m on a farm, looking out on Europe’s largest high alpine meadow, manicured by munching goats and cows. In the distance, stark snow-dusted peaks tower boldly against the blue sky. These are Italy’s Alps, the Dolomites.

My soundtrack is the happy laughter of Italian children enjoying a...

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The Capuchin Crypt in Rome. Photo by Rick Steves

Here’s one of my favorite European memories illustrating how, if you know where to look, you can find human bones on display in many corners of the Continent.

Deep under the streets of Paris, I was all alone ... surrounded by literally millions of bones — tibiae, fibulae, pelvises, and skulls, all stacked along miles of tunnels. I was in the Paris Catacombs. I jumped at the opportunity to pick up what, once upon a time, was a human head. As what seemed like two centuries...

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The Maya ruins of Chichén Itzá, on Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula, include the Warriors’ Temple pictured here.

Dear Globetrotter:

Welcome to the 546th issue of your monthly worldwide travel magazine, keeping the travel embers glowing.

Fair is fair. On July 9, President Biden signed an executive order proposing sets of rules to encourage competition and expand consumer rights across many markets, including air travel.

The order directs the US Department of Transportation, led by Secretary Pete Buttigieg, to propose a rule requiring airlines...

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The Bank of England was founded by a Scotsman in 1694, while the Bank of Scotland was founded by an Englishman in 1695.

The finished Hungarian Apple Strudel ready to eat. Photos by Sandra Scott

My grandmother was a great cook. She came to America from what was once the Austro-Hungarian Empire. After she left her little Hungarian town, due to political division, it became part of Czechoslovakia, and then another political division took place, and now the town, Malý Horeš, is in Slovakia.

Through all the changes, it remained a small town of Hungarians. In fact, its name in the languages of all the governing countries was always a form of the corresponding words for “...

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Wenceslas Square, where the history of the Czech people plays out. Photo by Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli

As we’ve had to postpone our travels because of the pandemic, I believe an occasional dose of travel dreaming can be good medicine. Here’s one of my favorite European destinations — a reminder of the fun that awaits us at the other end of this crisis.

It seems whenever my Czech friends take me around Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, we see the sights and then invariably end up in a pub, where my lessons on the country...

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