Travelers' Intercom

The sanctuary of Parroquia Franciscana Santa Marianita, located near Puerto Ayora’s main square — Galápagos. Photos by Wanda Bahde

Nearly everyone who visits the Galápagos Islands visits the Charles Darwin Research Station in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz island. However, most miss the hidden treasure of Parroquia Franciscana Santa Marianita ( [in Spanish only]).

From the exterior, this parish church — located on Avenue Charles Darwin near the town’s main square — could be any small, traditional Catholic church, but its sanctuary is contemporary, airy...


Following the passing of my husband, Ray, a travel consultant suggested I contact airlines to see if Ray’s United and Delta airline miles could be merged into mine. (The suggestion came during a discussion I was having with Pat Lalonde of Lion World Travel [Toronto, Ontario; 800/387-2706,] about their East Africa tour.)

I contacted the airlines about this on Jan. 20, 2020. Both were compassionate and cooperative, and I learned that miles CAN be...

Sun and ocean meet at Playa Flamingo, Costa Rica. Photo by Glenn Schmidt

Costa Rica, in Central America, contains a total of 67 volcanoes, most of which are dormant. Before my wife, Kris, and I and two other couples visited in January 2020, I had known about only two.

Arenal, the volcano we saw during our visit, stands 5,479 feet tall, less than half the height of Irazu, the country’s tallest. Nevertheless, it looked pretty imposing from our perch at the Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa (, less than 2 miles away....

Edna R.S. Alvarez in Cricklade in southwestern England.

If you’re searching for an off-the-beaten-track, quintessen-tially English village, one with a few contemporary twists but not chock-full of camera-carrying tourists, I can heartily suggest the Saxon village of Cricklade, England.

Listed in England’s 11th-century Domesday Book, the town is located in north Wiltshire, about 90 minutes west of London off the A419, just south of the Cotswolds.

I learned about Cricklade from my daughter, who drove both of us there in...


It was my privilege to sail on the final Holland America Line (HAL) cruise of the MS Prinsendam*, the “14-Day Norwegian Fjords Explorer,” June 17-July 1, 2019, round trip from Amsterdam.

I sailed with my nephew’s wife and her 20-year-old son. She and I had a Signature Class cabin, and her son had an interior cabin.

Just three months earlier I had taken another cruise with Holland America Line, or HAL (855/932-1711,, the “14-Day...

Lady Gaga and Judy in Walvis Bay. Photo by Pat Lewinski.

Several years ago, a friend who had been a missionary in Namibia for many years said it was a wonderful place. I also read that it had spectacular scenery, which is always a draw for me. 

Most tours there were running $4,000-$6,000, which is over my usual budget, but when I saw a Namibia trip on my weekly Travelzoo email for $2,100 from New York City with a company called Exoticca (Barcelona, Spain; phone, in the US, 888/488-0592,, I called my friend Pat Lewinski...


From our holiday trip to Italy in December 2019, my husband, Bill, and I came up with the following recommendations, starting with a couple of restaurants we discovered.

• Trattoria da Guido (Via Faenza, 34/R, FLORENCE; phone +39 055 2645741; [in Italian only]) — This is a restaurant advertising “Cucina tipica toscana” (“Typical Tuscan cuisine”). We liked it so much that we ate there both nights we were in Florence. ...


At my age, I’m proactive. I don’t wait until there is a problem but plan ahead.

I’ve been a subscriber to International Travel News for about 30 years, always reading the print edition. When I learned that the May 2020 issue was published online only because travel advertisers had temporarily suspended advertising due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I worried if there wouldn’t be another print issue of ITN. 

These are uncertain times. When a nearby...