Travel

Central Europe

12 minutes to read — 2353 words

Central Europe
Few cities can rival Berlin for dramatic twentieth-century history. Largely destroyed by Allied bombs in World War II, Berlin was rebuilt, then quickly became the epicenter of the Cold War. Divided by a wall and terrorized by a brutal secret police, the city and country were emotionally reunified at the end of the century. Today Berlin isn’t the most beatiful city in Europe, but its gritty charm, fantastic restaurants, and incredible museums make it one of the most fun and interesting.

Peru 2022

8 minutes to read — 1513 words

Peru 2022
The summer of 2022 has been a rough one for travel, but American Airlines has led the way in flight cancellations. We ran into the buzzsaw of American’s incompetence on our way to Peru: we were supposed to depart San Francisco on a Saturday morning and, after a brief layover in Dallas, arrive in Lima shortly after midnight local time. Thanks to American’s inability to properly weight the plane, our connecting flight to Lima was delayed 15 hours, forcing us to spend the night in Dallas and lose the first day of our vacation.

Costa Rica 2021

5 minutes to read — 1021 words

Costa Rica 2021
A red-eye from Los Angeles brought us to San Jose, Costa Rica early on a Friday morning. A driver picked us up at the airport and began driving us west toward the Pacific Coast. We stopped at a restaurant for a gallo pinto, a traditional Costa Rican breakfast of eggs, rice, black beans, and tortillas. Then we pushed on to Crocodile Bridge, a bridge spanning the River Tarcoles at a popular hangout for crocodiles.

Portugal

9 minutes to read — 1748 words

Portugal
Landing late at night at Lisbon’s Humberto Delgado Airport, we caught an Uber to our lodgings, a charming apartment in Lisbon’s Baixa neighborhood. Despite the jet lag, it was late enough that we had no trouble sleeping. In the morning, we strolled over to Padaria do Barrio, a tasty bakery. Then we ascended a series of hills, stairs, and elevators to Castelo de Sao Jorge. The hill on which the castle stands shows signs of human occupation dating to at least the 8th century BCE and has been the site of Phoenecian, Carthaginian, Roman, and Moorish fortifications.

Alaska 2021

11 minutes to read — 2238 words

Alaska 2021
I’ve spent two summers in Alaska, and a week on the Inside Passage, but I still jump at any opportunity to return to the state. The early summer of 2021 was an unusual time to visit, as much of the state had reopened after the COVID-19 pandemic, but the cruise ships that bring most of the state’s tourists still weren’t permitted to sail. We arrived in Skagway on a Wednesday evening and checked into the Black Bear Inn.

Hawaii

4 minutes to read — 831 words

Hawaii
Hawaii is an incredibly special place. Those lucky enough to visit are overwhelmed with far too many excellent options, but one of the best is Kona, also known as Hawai’i or the “Big Island.” Its combination of volcanoes and beaches is unmatched. I visited with my family in the winter of 2020. One of the early highlights of our trip was the hike out to Kiholo Bay. The walk takes you past the Queen’s Bath, a freshwater pool bored dramatically into the volcanic rock.

Maine

9 minutes to read — 1795 words

Maine
I’ve always been curious about Maine, but I’d never had an opportunity to visit. I’d planned a trip to Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic for the fall of 2020, but then the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Americans weren’t allowed to travel to Europe, and our vacation fell through. Maine seemed like a good alternative; the state required that visitors be tested before arrival, and it had implemented safety policies at hotels, restaurants, and bars.

Pacific Northwest

13 minutes to read — 2612 words

Pacific Northwest
Contents Idaho Bend and Sunriver Oregon Coast Olympic Peninsula Orcas Island Idaho Landing at the small airport in the town of Hailey on an overcast Friday evening, I was reminded of just how beautiful Idaho’s mountains and valleys are. I hadn’t visited the state since a backpacking trip in 2004. That trip had been further north, in a much more remote region. This time I visited the charming town of Ketchum, near Sun Valley Resort.

Sicily

13 minutes to read — 2725 words

Sicily
I hadn’t really thought about it before I visited, but Sicily’s remarkable and consequential history should be obvious. Much of the history of Europe is the history of the Mediterranean Sea. As a large island right in the middle of the Mediterranean, Sicily was strategically vital at least from the time of the ancient Greeks through World War II. Some of the island’s oldest signs of human habitation are cave paintings dating to around 8000 B.

France & Spain

7 minutes to read — 1475 words

France & Spain
It was raining heavily when my flight landed Toulouse-Blagnac Airport in Toulouse, France early on a Saturday evening. Ducking through the raindrops, I made my way to the car my wife and in-laws had rented. We drove southeast about an hour to the town of Carcassonne. Carcassonne’s predominant feature is the massive citadel, La Cité, that rings its hilltop. People have lived in the area around Carcassonne since around 3500 B.