Boarding Pass

By David Tykol

Dear Globetrotter:
Welcome to the 338th issue of your monthly overseas travel magazine.

He had never missed a deadline in 24½ years of submitting columns to ITN, so when Kevin Keating’s “Kilroy Was Here!” was exceptionally late for this issue, I correctly feared the worst. Kevin had died on February 7th at his home in Sausalito, California. He had been suffering from prostate cancer. He was 74.

Kevin’s special brand of humor has brightened the pages of ITN since the September 1979 issue. Back then he titled his column “Wish You Were Here,” the catch phrase he closed with each month, but his ability to turn ordinary observations into anecdotes full of color and humor never faltered through the years.

In sharing stories from his travels as well as a lifetime of hobnobbing with journalists, his writing strengths always amazed me. To the point. Loved alliteration and quirky characters. Got to the punch line and took it a step further to the insight.

Back in the day, Kevin did a large part of the writing for Stan Delaplane at the San Francisco Chronicle. Of four travel books Kevin wrote, two were written with Delaplane. Kevin did end up with his own weekly column in the San Francisco Examiner. An award-winning writer, his stylings could more recently be found in United Airlines’ Hemispheres magazine.

I feel as though a bright corner of ITN has been darkened. But I cherish all those years of his writing with a wink and a smile.

Again looking back, in the May 1996 issue an article of mine appeared about a trip I took to Peru led by Jerzy (Yurek) Majcherczyk. This trip included a visit to a section of the Colca Canyon, which at 10,607 feet is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

Yurek was part of the team of Polish explorers who first ran the Colca River in 1981 and helped bring recognition to the canyon, which subsequently was listed in the 1984 “Guinness Book of World Records” as the world’s deepest canyon.

Yurek told me he would someday write up his exploits on that trip, and he recently sent me a copy of the finished product. His book, “The Conquest of Rio Colca” (2000, Layconsa Impresiones, Arequipa, Peru — 269 pp., paperback), chronicles his adventures and more — an enlightening, inspiring account.

It is available for $20, including shipping, from Jerzy Majcherczyk, P.O. Box 3011, Wallington, NJ 07057; phone 201/384-5137 or e-mail or yurek@ (Issue the check to “J. Majcherczyk.” You can do it; just take it one letter at a time.)

Peru’s Minister of Tourism informed Yurek that Colca Canyon and Colca Valley comprise the second-most-visited tourist site in Peru, following Machu Picchu and ahead of the Amazon, Lake Titicaca and the Nazca Lines.

While most visitors actually can get nowhere near the deepest part of the canyon, on my trip I was thrilled to get some great eye-level shots of condors gliding by at the Cruz del Condor overlook at the upper end of the canyon.

An ITN reader traveled to Spain in September ’03 and had problems with the rental of a car. Among them, he said that no one in the rental office nor at his hotel desk mentioned that, in Madrid, Sept. 22 was “sin coche” day, when from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. no cars would be allowed back into town.

He needed to get back to his hotel to pick up his wife and their luggage, and a 10-minute trip ended up taking 2½ hours and involving some creative driving and arguments with police officers. By the time he arrived, his wife was in a state of panic.

According to www.22september. org, the website for European Mobility Week, “sin coche” day, or “In Town, Without My Car” day as it’s officially called, is an annual event that “raises awareness and promotes changes in behavior and involvement of citizens” in order to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution and increase the use of mass transit alternatives.

The very first “In Town, Without My Car” day was held in 1998 in France and Spain. It was introduced throughout the European Union in 2000 on Sept. 18. Since then, it’s always been on Sept. 22.

The week has a theme each year. In 2003 it was “Accessibility”; in 2004 it’s “Safe streets for children.” In 2003, 1,035 cities participated, the vast majority of them in Europe but also some in Canada and even South America.

The complete list of cities participating in 2004 won’t be known until after the summer holidays, but on the first page of the website is an icon with a little walking guy on it and if you click on that you will get the full list of 2003 participants (Vienna, Paris, Innsbruck, Frankfurt, PARTS of London. . .). This might give you some clues about which cities will be “sin coche” on Sept. 22 this year.

Plan accordingly.

Alice Doyle of Boulder, Colorado, wrote, “In the December ’03 issue, page 2, you noted a website that lists “no-frills airlines.” I checked it recently and found that, at least for Frontier Airlines, our preferred airline from Denver, it is quite inaccurate.

“Frontier offers assigned seating, free snacks and drinks, and connecting flights, and it has a mileage program (15,000 miles required), a credit card and live TV on its Airbus flights. The prices are good and the personnel very pleasant. Frontier does much more than just ‘get you there’.”

Thanks for keeping the record straight, Alice.

Another correction — the results of the reader survey on best airline, worst tour company, most favorite country, etc., will begin to appear in next month’s issue. Watch Armond’s “Departure Lounge” for that.

In this issue, on pages 108-110, are items on a few freighter-booking companies. We asked each to briefly describe what people interested in freighter travel could expect and what their companies offered.

One of those companies is TravLtips. TravLtips happens to be ITN’s longest-running advertiser. It has been placing ads in ITN since the November 1977 issue, a year and half after ITN began publishing.

As Armond says, that should tell you something about how astute they are. They know where to turn to reach the world’s most frequent travelers as well as the people most passionate about traveling.

Some of those people have expressed this passion in the essays found in this month’s centerspread. Reading them, I am assured that — among ITN readers — I am in good company. — D.T.