by Dan Gifford, Arlington, VA (Part 6 in a series of 6)

On the island of Rarotonga, nothing can be built taller than a coconut tree. This inspired bit of zoning regulation sums up why we chose the largest of the Cook Islands over better-known South Pacific destinations like Tahiti or Fiji. No highrise hotels, no megaresorts, no way to accommodate hoards of people.

We owed our stop here to an acquaintance of mine, a remarkable woman named Diana Lockwood. Diana founded Pacific...


by Lesley Friedsam, Tampa, FL

I am walking on an ice floe atop the Southern Ocean, the most inhospitable sea on Earth. The only thing between me and a thousand feet of water filled with orcas, whales, penguins and seals is a 2-foot-deep crust of white, blue, gray and turquoise ice. The ice is not a flat, shiny sheet. It is raised and humped, crevassed and sculptured. Gigantic icebergs, some multistories high and a city block long, are part of this landscape created by summer meltings...


by Dennis Cavagnaro, Oakland, CA

Taiwan’s Alishan Forest Railway climbs from 30 meters at Chiayi to 2,274 meters at Alishan in just 3½ hours and gives all the adventure and spectacle any railfan could ever want. Better yet, it takes the nature lover from sea level through tropical, subtropical and temperate forests, each with its distinct flora and fauna. The railway doesn’t quite reach the frigid forest level but makes that possible for the committed hiker.

The railway...


by Beverly Shaver, El Cerrito, CA

Years of travel have taught my travel companion and me the value of a pause between segments of intensive touring. After a week of “Bags out at 7:00,” we find it wonderfully restorative to spend a quiet interval by ourselves in some interesting city, easily sandwiched into our itinerary.

And so, after a 9-day tour through western Germany in October ’02, we scheduled ourselves a week’s time-out before embarking in Amsterdam on a river cruise...


by Tyler Morse, New York, NY

The top of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania was my goal, so in May ’02 I joined 11 others in Amsterdam and we flew to Nairobi, where we boarded a bus and rode for seven hours through southern Kenya and then northern Tanzania to the Marangu Hotel in Moshi. This was the embarkation site for our climb up the mountain.

The Marangu Hotel (P.O. Box 40, Moshi, Kilimanjaro Region, Tanzania, East Africa; phone 255-27-275-6594 or 255-27-275-6361, fax 255-27-275-...


by William Schoenemann, Port Ludlow, WA

Latin America is so close to the U.S., but for some reason (mainly security) many international travelers shun countries other than Costa Rica. My wife and I decided we should visit some of our neighbors.

Finding a reasonably priced trip that took in more than one country was not easy, but we finally decided to go with a customized itinerary from Global Travel, visiting Guatemala and Belize in February ’03.

Surrounded by...