What’s pho breakfast? Noodle bowls with beef, fresh greens and broth, known as pho bo, are popular in Hanoi.

There are people who merely like to cook, and then there are people who lay awake at night devising an entire menu for their next dinner party. I am one of the latter.

When you are obsessed with food, it plays a critical role in many facets of your life, including in deciding where to travel. In researching various destinations for a spring 2018 trip, I came across a passage that read, "Vietnam is the culinary capital of Southeast Asia (sorry, Thailand)." I was sold.


Enjoying the “world’s best” gelato in San Gimignano.

My wife, Marina, and I took a 2-week vacation to Tuscany in April 2018 and did the whole trip without a car. We wanted to avoid Italian roads and drivers and parking hassles in medieval towns, so we decided to "go green" with public transportation, using Italy's excellent train and bus system supplemented by the occasional taxi.

We started to prepare a year in advance, planning to use airline rewards for our round-trip flights to Rome. We wanted to stay in monasteries or...

Trains run all day through the Dhaka slums.

Why Bangladesh?" That's what our friends asked us repeatedly when they found out about our planned visit. We didn't know anyone who had ever been to Bangladesh, and it was hard to even find a tour book (though we ultimately found guidebooks from both Lonely Planet and Bradt).

Several years ago I had planned to fly over to Dhaka, Bangladesh, for a 2-day of photo tour with Nijhoom Tours before a separately planned tour to India. Unfortunately, the photo tour got canceled,...

Impalas wandering through the tall green grass.

I was gifted a 6-night photo safari to Zulu Nyala Game Reserve near Kruger National Park in South Africa by my golfing buddy, Wanda. What she didn't know was that I had hosted two wine interns from South Africa four years earlier and had stayed in touch with them. (I live in Healdsburg, California, and during crush season, many of the local wineries employ interns from around the world.) I also had been friendly with a fellow from George, South Africa, named Gordon, who had sent me...

The Gehry-designed Fondation Louis-Vuitton.

On my seventh trip to Paris with friends in April 2018, I realized that I seldom ventured outside the central core of the city, always sticking close to the Seine. In fact, I can recall only one time, on my last trip to Paris, 10 years ago, when I made a worthwhile journey to Père-Lachaise Cemetery in the 20th Arrondissement, aided by the self-tour itinerary in Rick Steves’ Paris guidebook.

City layout

Paris is divided into 20 districts, or arrondissements, numbered in a...

Panoramic view of Colombo, including the Lotus Tower.

I have been fortunate to travel to many areas of the world that are renowned for their ancient cultures or scenic beauty and are designated as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization). Somehow, however, the offerings of the island nation of Sri Lanka, situated off the southern coast of India, managed to escape my attention until recently, when two of my travel forum correspondents infused me with their enthusiasm as they planned...

A glimpse of a Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo performance.

For years, Marvin dreamed of attending the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Scotland. As we were to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary in August 2017, we saw a trip to Scotland and, in particular, the opportunity to attend a performance during the annual, 3-week Tattoo as a fine excuse for going there.

Although we live in Florida, a summer family gathering would take us to Los Angeles, so it was easy for us to head directly to Scotland from there. From LA, we flew on Aer Lingus...

View of king penguin colony, Gold Harbour, South Georgia.

If you enjoy travel to pristine wilderness areas and observing wildlife up close, an expedition trip to the Arctic or Antarctic should be on your travel list.

When my wife, Betty, and I traveled to Antarctica in 2015, our trip didn’t include a visit to the Falklands (Islas Malvinas) or South Georgia. After travel discussions with others, we realized that we had missed out on exceptional bird, sea mammal and landscape viewing ...