Adventure Travel for the Mildly Adventuresome

(Part 2 of 3 on Morocco)


The arrival/departure city for international flights to Morocco, Casablanca is a bustling major city with a population estimated at anywhere from three to eight million.

Like all large Moroccan cities, Casablanca has an Old Town — a walled, self-contained marketplace and residential center (or medina) in the middle of the modern city. More than in other Moroccan cities, stepping through the medina gate into the myriad winding streets...


(First of three parts)

Partway through my visit to Morocco in September ’04, I realized that there were similarities there to what one might find on a trip in California.

A quick look at a map showed that Morocco is roughly the same size as California, it has a long, west-facing ocean shoreline and, like California, it has deserts and a central north-south mountain range.

In Morocco I was not disappointed with the exotic differences from California that I found — I had...


(Second of two parts)

La Paz

La Paz is best remembered for great, inexpensive hotels, shopping bargains and streets of witch doctors. I found the most colorful and largest variety of shopping at the “witches’ market” (Mercado de Hechiceria), across from San Francisco Church (Iglesia de San Francisco) in central La Paz. Vendors there were helpful and unaggressive; they readily took dollars, and they either spoke English or communicated easily with simple sign language.


(Part one of two)

Bolivia is a land of former fantastic riches and present poverty. A major part of the country is steaming Amazon lowlands. Most tourism is to the nearly 3-mile-high Altiplano, with the highest capital in the world, La Paz, and the highest airport in the world. On an 8-day trip in October ’04, I stayed in modern 5-star hotels with room rates in the $40-$50 range.

Amazing Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, has floating islands made of reeds...


(Second of two parts)

Reliving a day in the life of ancient Israelis

Many cities around the world have touristy “old towns.” They usually have costumed “players” demonstrating traditional crafts and acting out the details of daily life from a previous era. The ones that I have visited in the U.S. attempt to recreate time capsules from one or two hundred years in the past.

In Galilee, I visited a recreated first-century village and a working farm called Kfar-Kedem (“To...


(First of two parts)

In February ’04 I spent 10 days in Israel, and five things made unexpected impressions on me.

• First, I spent a couple of days each in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem completely on my own, visiting historical sites and marketplaces without seeing any signs of the problems that fill the newspapers here at home. Security was tight and effective at EL AL Israel Airlines, but that has been the case for many years. On a previous trip about 10 years ago, I saw occasional...


Those of us who have visited the restored Catherine Palace outside of St. Petersburg in Russia have seen the photos of the destruction caused during the World War II “900-day” (actually “only” 872-day) siege of the city then called Leningrad.

German troops occupied the Catherine Palace area during the siege and there was bitter fighting there as the Russians finally prevailed. The palace was in ruins by early 1944. Russians, of course, claimed that the Germans were responsible for the...