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Bratislava’s old town has come a long way since it was nearly a ghost town in the Communist era.

Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia and once a nearly desolate ghost town, is one of the big surprises of my recent travels. Its compact old town bursts with colorfully restored facades, lively outdoor cafes, and swanky boutiques. The ramshackle industrial quarter to the east is rapidly being redeveloped into a forest of skyscrapers. The hilltop castle gleams from a recent facelift. And even the glum communist-era suburb of Petrzalka has undergone a Technicolor makeover. It...

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With their Greco-Roman themes and incomparable beauty, the gardens at Versailles were built to illustrate the immense power of the king.

Just like today, the royal families of the past were fond of their countryside getaways. These lavish retreats provided an escape from the city and the summer heat, a place for diversions like hunting and horseback riding, and enough land to build grand showpiece palaces and gardens. While Europe has many royal retreats, a few are remarkable for their sheer size, over-the-top opulence and the larger-than-life personalities who built them.

The granddaddy of European...

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Painted limestone head of a bearded Queen Hatshepsut, Egypt’s first female pharaoh, at Cairo’s Egyptian Museum.

Dear Globetrotter:

Welcome to the 521st issue of your monthly foreign-travel magazine, which is assembled largely from YOUR travel reports and articles, that is, items submitted by our subscribers. It’s travelers like you informing other travelers, your fellow readers, with the focus on destinations outside of the US.

I’m just here, aided by the rest of the ITN staff, to coordinate things, make announcements and share additional news.

Here...

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Driving the backroads (as here, in Dartmoor, England) yields surprises by the mile. Photo by Cameron Hewitt

It’s easy to travel through Europe without a car, but there are times when I enjoy the freedom of having my own wheels. I don’t drive in big cities, but having a car can be the best — and, sometimes, only — way to get off the beaten path. When exploring small towns or the countryside, I connect the dots with a rental car.

Last spring, for example, a great little car helped me get around the whitewashed hill towns of southern Spain and the beach towns of...

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Parterres edged with hedges. Photos by Yvonne Michie Horn

Hands down, Edinburgh’s Royal Mile wins as the city’s most visitor-trod street. And well it should be. To walk its length is to follow in the footsteps — most likely the carriage rumblings — of the kings and queens who for five centuries made the journey between the formidable castle-fortress that dominates the Old Town skyline to Holyrood Palace.

Since the 16th century, Holyrood has served as the Scots’ official royal residence. Today, Queen...

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Visitors exploring the colorful medina in Essaouira. Photo by Randy Keck
This is part one of a three part series. Read part two here. Read part three here.

In April 2019 I ventured to exotic Morocco with the hope of finding a balance between discovering its historic, cultural and natural world attractions and finding the on-the-ground pulse of the country today.

I found a land of contradictions, often difficult if not impossible to define. Moroccans today appear to live with a tug-of-war of values between the often polar-opposite, if not...

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Lake Nicaragua contains about 400 islands, some of which are active volcanoes. Since the lake was severed from the Pacific Ocean by a belt of volcanic cones, unique freshwater species of swordfish have evolved.

At Basque-style tapas bars, pintxos are already laid out, so you can simply point to or grab what you want.

When it comes to eating in Spain, I love gathering around the table or bar for tapas -- a parade of small dishes served family style. I never tire of them. The experience is like an edible scavenger hunt, where I collect small portions of seafood, salads, meat-filled pastries and deep-fried tasties and piece them together for a light evening meal.

My tapas memories are vivid: In the heart of Spain's Andalucía region, on a warm summer evening, I elbow up to a...

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