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Boiling sulfuric water flows in Kusatsu’s town center. Photo by Miyako Storch

In earlier days, many rice growers in Japan worked hard from March/April until late October/early November to tend to their fields, and after the harvest was over, they treated themselves to R&R by soaking in onsens (hot springs). Luckily, Japan is part of a volcanic chain, and there are thousands of hot springs.

Hot water and good food were the themes of the trip to Japan that my husband, Bernie, and I took, Sept. 16-Oct. 8, 2019.

Before leaving home, we ordered vouchers...

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On a trip to Japan, my daughter Stacy and I stayed in a virtual ghost town when we lodged at Ryokan Sakaya - Nozawa Onsen (9329 Toyosato, Nozawa onsen, Nagano 389-2502, Japan; ryokan-sakaya.com), April 17-19, 2019. We arrived at the end of the ski season and all of the ski hotels in the resort were practically empty. The week before, the hotels were full!

We had found the ryokan online and called ahead. We asked for a traditional room with tatami mats on the floor as opposed to...

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My husband and I visited our friend Hilde in Turbenthal, Switzerland, Sept. 15-22, 2019.

Turbenthal is a small village with no hotels, but we couldn’t stay in Hilde’s tiny apartment. Instead, not far away, she found us the Zentrum Rämis Mühle (Rämismühle, Mühlestrasse 8, 8487 Ramismuhle, Switzerland; phone +41 52 396 44 44, www.raemismuehle.ch [in German only]).

We paid CHF872 (near $890) for seven nights — a great value! We had a lovely, large room with a...

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The Celebrity Eclipse. Photos by Dorothy Chang Van Horn

To treat my travel bug after two years of cabin fever and the humdrum routine of medical appointments, hospitalizations, surgeries and bouts with dialysis, I prescribed myself a dialysis-at-sea cruise of the Western Mediterranean aboard the Celebrity Eclipse of Celebrity Cruises (888/751-7804, www.celebritycruises.com). I did this with the assistance of Brandie Debroux of Dialysis at Sea (800/54407694, ext. 205; brandie@dialysisatsea.com).

My travel companion, Patrick Karst, and I...

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Frank Stewart in a cable car in La Paz.

After dreaming about a visit for many years, on June 24, 2019, I boarded Avianca for Bolivia, a landlocked republic that is home to the soaring Andes, South America’s largest lake (Titicaca) and the world’s largest salt flat (Salar de Uyuni). Its territory even includes part of the Amazon rainforest. Bolivia was once part of the Incan Empire, which stretched from Colombia to Argentina.

During my 3-week visit, I would take an 11-day group tour that I had booked through the...

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In the letter “Obtaining an India e-Visa” (March ’20, pg. 14), a traveler described how he paid $178 to a third-party visa-processing service for a one-year multiple-entry e-Visa to India rather than attempt to complete the confusing online application process on the Indian government’s website (https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html), where he would have paid only $40 plus a 2.5% credit card fee.

Rather than get a one-year visa, in January 2020 I...

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In the letter “Watch Credit Card Statements” (March ’20, pg. 24), a subscriber wrote that he handed over his credit card to a waiter in a taverna in Greece for a few minutes and later discovered that a fraudulent charge had been made during that time.

Even though an incident like that cannot be prevented, you can contact the bank that issued your credit card and request that a notification be emailed to you whenever your card is charged over a certain amount or...

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I read the account of the traveler Michael Burge and his wife (March ’20, pg. 52), who took an around-Australia cruise with Oceania Cruises and felt that $109 per person, each way, was too much to pay for the cruise line’s airport/port transfers. They found alternative transportation.

I cruised with Oceania Cruises on the “Indian Ocean Odyssey,” which began Feb. 3, 2020, in Cape Town, South Africa, and was to end 28 days later in Singapore. Because of the...

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