Travelers' Intercom

While planning our May 2018 trip to Morocco, it became apparent that my wife, Paula, and I would likely be spending two or three hours in Casablanca's Mohammed V International Airport (CMN) while awaiting our return flight.

There was relatively little practical information (e.g., a decent terminal map) available online about this airport. What I did find were mostly negative reviews of the facilities, the staff and the prices at airport shops and food outlets.


Narrow roads with no shoulders require constant vigilance on Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way. Photo by Ron Carlson

Having driven rented, leased and owned cars in 75 countries over 56 years, I would like to share a bit about car rentals, insurance and the collision-damage waiver (CDW).

As I mentioned in a previous letter ("Tips on Driving in Europe," Sept. '17, pg. 15), many major US credit cards cover collision damage, with no deductible, but be sure to check the terms, and use the card for making both the reservation and the final payment.

If you do that and your...


My husband, John, and I spent several weeks hiking in the Swiss, French and Italian Alps in June and July 2018. At each destination, we took advantage of a multiday travel pass in order to traverse the network of hiking trails via train, gondola, bus and on foot.

• While staying in Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland, we purchased the 6-day Regional-Pass Bernese Oberland for €270 (near $306) per person. It enabled us to travel freely on the gondola from Grindelwald up...


In the suburb of Nouaceur, adjacent to Casablanca, Morocco, the Relax Airport Hotel (phone, in the US, 888/205-7322, is ideally situated for stopover travelers. Away from any noisy flight paths, it's just a 10-minute hotel-shuttle ride from the airport.

Also, the hotel offers an unusual feature that makes it perfect for long layovers. You can stay from 9 a.m. the day you arrive until 2 p.m. the following day — up to 29 hours — all...


My longtime traveling companion, Joan Anderson, and I took a tour of several Balkan countries in September 2017 with Overseas Adventure Travel, or OAT (Boston, MA; 800/955-1925,

First of all, I'm an independent traveler and have taken only two tours over the past 38 years. Joan and I were thinking about taking an independent tour of the Balkans, but I remembered how difficult this was for me in 1990.

Back then, the main transportation was bus (and an...


My wife and I highly recommend the private touring and transfer services of All Around Italy (Cerveteri, Rome; phone +39 334 334 6131,, which we used in Rome following a Mediterranean cruise. I found the company online and made reservations with them by email on Nov. 6. The contact person, Mary, was prompt, efficient and knowledgeable.

At 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 5, 2017, we were picked up in a private van by our driver, Valentino, at the disembarkation point in...

Edna R.S. Alvarez and guide Charlie Vogt birding in Refugio Paz de Las Aves, Ecuador.

I have had the wonderful life opportunity to go on many international bird-watching trips, beginning in the 1980s. These have consistently taken me to beautiful, backroad areas in South and Central America, the Caribbean, Asia, Africa and Europe.

I am now 79. Until a few years ago, I traveled exclusively with commercial birding-tour companies that were headquartered in the US or UK. Recently, as my energy has waned, I've turned to two other options.

1. My first...

Portrait of Madame Ginoux, one of van Gogh’s “L’Arlésienne” series. Photos by Lorenz Rychner

Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum has the largest number of Vincent van Gogh's paintings, but did you know the Kröller-Müller Museum comes second? And that it would be worth a visit even without all of those van Goghs?

The Kröller-Müller Museum ( is rated among the world's top art museums, and on the latest trip that my wife, Kathy, and I took to the Netherlands, we finally found out why when we visited on Aug. 3, 2018.

To find this museum on a...