Far Horizons

Jagged rockscapes abound in Cappadocia. Photos: Keck

by Randy Keck (Part 2 of 3 on Turkey)

My April ’09 exploration of Turkey continued with an early-morning departure inland by road from coastal Antalya to the important Roman city of Konya en route to our eventual destination, Cappadocia.

We passed through mountain ranges reminiscent of the California Sierras, stopping to frolic in the spring snow at an elevation of 5,600 feet.

Traditional Konya

Konya is nestled on a high, rather unimpressive plain in the...

Second-century Tetrapylon gateway — Aphrodisias.

by Randy Keck (Part 1 of 3 on Turkey)

A long-awaited opportunity to visit the much-heralded nation of Turkey finally materialized in April ’09. My exploration of the western half of that country was hosted by FLO-USA (Orlando, FL; 888/435-6872, www.flo-usa.com) and Turkish Airlines (800/874-8875, www.thy.com) and revealed a fascinating, overtly visitor-friendly destination offering limitless attractions.

I was traveling in a small group of three on a 14-day/12-night tour...


In the April 2009 issue, ITN readers, including some tour operators, weighed in on the subject of “tour companies and single supplements.” A variety of opinions and explanations were expressed.

My objective in this article is to try to tie up what seemed to me to be a few loose ends and provide some clarification based on my many years in the tour industry. My general intention is to explain why the single supplement exists and is usually necessary. The issue of single...

Magnificent stands of trees grace the Sete Cidades landscape. Photos: Gail Keck

(Part 2 of 2 on the Azores)

The second portion of my November ’08 sojourn to the Portuguese Azores with my wife, Gail, focused on the capital city of Ponta Delgada and the main island of São Miguel. The three days we spent on the island, hosted by Azores Express and the Azores tourist office, resulted in our having a capsule view of a lifestyle we found to be enviable.

Arriving in Ponta Delgada on our interisland flight from Pico in late afternoon, we were met by our...


by Randy Keck, Part 1 of 2 on the Azores

Many travelers are not aware that it is possible to fly nonstop from the US to the Azores. My wife, Gail, and I did just that on a 7-day November ’08 getaway, taking a 5-hour flight from our Boston gateway to the lush Portuguese islands nestled in the eastern Atlantic. We were hosted by Azores Express, the only airline that flies to the Azores nonstop from the US, and the Azores tourist office.

Despite being on the same latitude as...


Experienced international travelers have become used to periodic disturbances, including acts of violence in foreign lands, and typically factor such considerations into travel plans. Most are also philosophical about the fact that, on occasion, foreigners traveling overseas are also victims of such acts. This reality, however, does not deter most travelers from their chosen explorations. This is because, in terms of risk/reward assessment, basic common sense prevails.


Patan is Nepal’s ancient city of beauty and art. Photos: Keck

(4 of 4 on India plus Nepal)


During the latter part of my May 2008 visit to India, I had the chance to experience the Kathmandu Valley region of exotic Nepal. My short trip focused on some of Nepal’s prime historic locations, including several UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Those who have more time likely would be well rewarded by venturing farther afield to some of Nepal’s rural cultural destinations. Seasonal hiking and walking tours of various grades...

In Varanasi, seeing is believing, including a bull in a fabric shop.

Part 3 of 4 on India & Nepal

It is an impossible task to convey in these few pages any real detail concerning the numerous varied attractions of the four distinct destinations in central India that are the subject of this column. My goal, instead, shall be to convey essence and hopefully inspire readers to further explore this important region.

I will proceed in the order of my visitations during a May 2008 individual tour of India and Nepal hosted by SITA World Tours (...