View from atop the Erbil Citadel, looking down at the plaza below.

My dream came true. Finally, after 62 years of travel, my intense desire to close a large, gaping hole in my travel map of the Middle East was fulfilled. 

MT Sobek (Emeryville, CA; 888/831-7526, mtsobek.com) put on a superb 9-day exploratory tour of Iraqi Kurdistan departing March 6, 2019. The tour cost $5,095, with a $715 single supplement. And what a tour it was! 


The sheer beauty of Iraqi Kurdi­stan absolutely shocked me. Mountains unexpectedly...

We still do the touristy things, like visiting the Eiffel Tower.

Those were the good old days, when I could walk all day, race through airports, bound up and down metro station steps with multiple suitcases in hand, tackle museum after museum to maximize my city museum card, then climb up to my sixth-floor hotel room without breathing (too) hard. I remember running to catch trains, strolling through endless vineyards, climbing every tower and every steeple just because they were there and visiting all the booths at the Christmas market. Backtracking was...

Hasedera Buddhist Temple in Kamakura.

A visit to Japan had been on my travel bucket list for a long time, and being retired allowed my wife, Betty, and me to spend a month there during cherry blossom season in March 2019.

Our itinerary would include two weeks of independent travel, one 9-day land-based organized tour and an 8-day cruise on Princess Cruises’ Diamond Princess ($5,400 for two). The cruise provided a mid-trip break from packing and unpacking and a chance to easily expand the geographical areas we could...

A mother lion and one of her three 8-week-old cubs.

Having taken two previous safaris (one in South Africa and one in Botswana and Zimbabwe) that were planned by Rothschild Safaris (Denver, CO; 800/405-9463, www.rothschildsafaris.com), as my wife, Marie, and I began to think of traveling to Kenya, we knew we would once again use Leora and her team to plan our January 2019 trip because of the personalized service we could expect.

We booked the international air travel, with upgrades, independently by using Delta SkyMiles and Capital One...

Our “meet and greet” with the leader of the pack.

My wife, Elisa, exclaimed in utter disbelief, “We’re going where in December?” “Above the Arctic Circle,” I replied.

In addition to traveling above the Arctic Circle, we would journey to Svalbard, “the northernmost inhabited place on Earth.”

As we would be traveling in winter, we would have the bonus of experiencing 24-hour polar darkness.

When I showed my wife where Svalbard was located on our world globe, she simply sighed....

View of Scicli from the Complesso Santa Maria della Croce.

When visiting the popular Sicilian tourist destinations of Palermo, Taormina, Mt. Etna, Catania and Syracuse, you’ll find modern comforts, but if you visit the Val di Noto (Noto Valley) of southeast Sicily, turn your watch back 50 years and be prepared for a laid-back, informal and super-friendly experience in the towns of Noto, Modica and Scicli, UNESCO World Heritage Sites known for their late-Baroque architecture and archaeological heritage.

“We’re welcoming and...

An image from our Patagonian photo tour — Torres del Paine National Park.

Throughout our 50 years of marriage, my husband, R.C., and I have enjoyed photographing the many places we’ve visited, adding to the joy of travel itself.

We would condense all our photos from each overseas trip into a “show” we could share with friends. In the days of slides, our rule was to make a trip fit into one tray (140 photos). Moving into the digital era, we’ve used software that has allowed us to share not only photos with clear labels but music from...

The Flame Towers in Baku, Azerbaijan.

When my husband, Alan, and I decided to tour lesser-visited destinations on our quest to see as much of the world as possible, we determined that the South Caucasus countries of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia would be perfect.

I usually compare offerings from many travel companies for each trip we take to determine the best itinerary, price, etc. When I received information from Flo Tours (a company I saw advertised often in ITN) while doing research for this trip, I knew that what...