Far Horizons

Looking over Westminster Bridge toward Big Ben — London. Photos: Keck

by Randy Keck (Part 1 of 2 on the UK)

London cuisine today is clearly on par with those of the major gastronomy centers of Europe. This was one of the primary discoveries of a March ’10 visit I made to the city as a guest of the tourism promotion organization Visit Britain and Ireland. Our group of five writers had the chance not only to visit the annual “Best of Britain and Ireland” travel and tourism exhibition but to experience some of London’s finest...

Classic autos compete for attention with the Gran Teatro de la Habana on the Paseo del Prado. Photo: Keck

by Randy Keck (Part three of three parts on Cuba. Part one, in the May 2010 issue, thoroughly explored the legal considerations for Americans considering traveling to Cuba.)

On the morning of day seven of my January ’10 tour of Cuba, our ElderTreks group of 16 visited the Cienfuegos Botanical Gardens for a highly informative guided walking excursion that featured many varieties of exotic palms.

Colorful Trinidad entertains

We continued on to the colorful city of...

Sightseeing in style in Old Havana. Photos: Keck

by Randy Keck (Second of three parts on Cuba. Part one, in the May 2010 issue, thoroughly explored the legal considerations for Americans considering traveling to Cuba.)

Havana — lost in time

The most accurate way to describe Havana and Cuba in general is with two words: time warp. This haunting reality was ever present during my 12-day January ’10 Cuba tour, which was hosted by Toronto-based ElderTreks (800/741-7956, www.eldertreks.com), an ITN advertiser. Their...

Street ball erupts with no warning in the streets of Trinidad, Cuba. Photos: Keck

(First of three parts)

I participated in a group tour to Cuba in January of this year courtesy of Canadian-based ITN advertiser ElderTreks (Toronto, Ont.; 800/741-7956). This inspiring journey indeed answered scores of long-held questions I had concerning the Cuban equation. It also left many questions unanswered and, predictably, posed additional ones.

In this three-part treatise on Cuba, I will discuss not only the amazing experience of traveling around Cuba but, specifically...

The large temple of Abu Simbel in Egypt. Photos: Keck

(Part 3 of 3 on Egypt)

One of the highlights of my fall ’09 Egypt adventure with Value World Tours was a day excursion from Aswan to Abu Simbel. Most fortunately, I was scheduled to fly to Abu Simbel, which reduced travel time to and from the site dramatically and also provided awe-inspiring aerial views of the fabulous twin monuments.

I later learned that the vast majority of day-trip visitors to Abu Simbel travel by road in required bus and auto caravans across the...

The reconstructed Philae Temples near Aswan. Photos: Keck

(Part 2 of 3 on Egypt)

The main thrust of my September ’09 Egypt journey was a seven-day/seven-night cruise on the timeless Nile, and the first half of the cruise was upstream, heading south, from Luxor to Aswan.

From Cairo, an easy hour-long flight south transports visitors to Luxor, home port for the majority of the scores of passenger vessels that ply the Nile on four- to seven-day cruises.

Luxor: riverboat central

On the Luxor waterfront, the Crown...

View of the Nile and Cairo from the Cairo Sheraton Hotel. Photos: Keck

(Part 1 of 3 on Egypt) I had the opportunity to visit Egypt in September ’09 on a journey replicating the 12-day “Egypt Grand” tour offered by my host, Value World Tours (an advertiser in ITN), in concert with the Egyptian Tourist Authority and EgyptAir.

A split stay in exotic, ancient Cairo prior to and following a seven-day Nile cruise provided the opportunity for visits to the cornucopia of historic attractions for which this huge city of nearly 23 million is so...

The entrance to ornate Dolmabahçe Palace. Photo: Keck

by Randy Keck (part 3 of 3 on Turkey)

The final portion of my April ’09 exploration of Turkey began with a short drive from Bursa to Yalova, where we boarded a vehicular ferry for the 40-minute crossing to one of the world’s most populous (17 million) and most intriguing cities, Istanbul. The city is literally the crossroads between east and west, with the Bosporus dividing the city into two sectors, one in Europe and the other in Asia.

Istanbul’s four main...